Protesting Palestine, targeting Jews

Cross posted from The CST

CST wrote last week about the danger of anti-Israel protests in the UK involving or encouraging antisemitism, either by targeting British Jews or by featuring antisemitic language and imagery.

Since then, several more examples of antisemitic incidents and other activity in relation to anti-Israel protests have been reported to CST:

  • Demonstrators on a march through central London assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who expressed her support for Israel as they walked past. Marchers surrounded her, called her a “Jew Zionist” and stole her phone. Later the same afternoon, demonstrators from the same march verbally abused another Jewish woman who was with her two young children, telling them to “Burn in hell.”
  • A pro-Israel demonstrator at a rally in central London was knocked unconscious by a group of assailants who were part of a counter-protest. While it is not believed that anything antisemitic was said, this level of violence from pro-Palestinian protestors is a worrying development.
  • A Rabbi walking in north London was verbally abused by a group of youths who shouted “Free Palestine”, “F*** the Zionists”, “F*** the Jews” and “Allah Akhbar.”
  • A brick was thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast.
  • “Baby murderers” was shouted at a synagogue in Liverpool.
  • A pro-Israel organisation in London received a telephoned bomb threat.
  • A visibly Jewish boy was cycling in north London when a woman wearing a black niqab threw a stone at him, hitting him on the head.

These are just a handful of over 70 antisemitic incidents reported to CST since the beginning of July. This is roughly double the number we would expect to be reported during this period under ‘normal’ circumstances. Approximately ten of these incidents have involved violence. Approximately 14 have involved the use of social media.

Roughly two-thirds of the incidents reported since 1 July have been related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, and the number of incidents reported to CST has escalated since the beginning of Israel’s operation in Gaza on 8 July.

Another disturbing factor is that the proportion of antisemitic incident perpetrators described to CST as being of south Asian appearance has been much higher during this period than is normally the case. Antisemitism in Muslim communities is something that others have written about before; the incidents reported to CST suggest that it is playing a significant role in the high level of antisemitic incidents currently being reported. In these circumstances, last week’s statement from the Muslim Council of Britain warning against such behaviour was most welcome.

There have also been several examples of antisemitic incitement on anti-Israel demonstrations and on social media since the conflict between Israel and Gaza began. Last week the hashtag #HitlerWasRight trended on Twitter worldwide. One protestor took this theme onto an anti-Israel demonstration in London:

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It should be noted that the antisemitic incidents recorded by CST since 1 July do not include antisemitic placards or chants on demonstrations.

Other protestors have used Nazi imagery to abuse Israel:

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Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic. It abuses the memory of Holocaust victims and offends contemporary Jews. It attacks Israel on the basis of its Jewishness. It should have no part in pro-Palestinian campaigning.

This flag commits the same offence, and compounds it by using a Star of David next to the phrase “Baby Killers”. The Star of David is a Jewish symbol. It is found on the Israeli flag, but it is also found on synagogues all over the UK. To use it in the manner it is displayed on this flag risks inciting hatred against British Jews.

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This incitement has also been seen on social media. This cartoon is from the Facebook page of UK Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Taji Mustafa. it evokes the antisemitic blood libel, in which Jews are accused of murdering non-Jewish children and consuming their blood in religious rituals. The Arabic on the knife reads “Arab silence”, but the person holding the knife bears a Star of David. The Stars and Stripes on the fork also suggests an antisemitic conspiracy theory regarding alleged Jewish control of America.

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CST has also received several reports of antisemitism on Twitter. These two tweets are clear examples of incitement against Jews in the Stamford Hill area of north London:

 

It has been suggested by some people that hate and abuse on social media is not as serious as other forms of hate crime and should not be included in hate crime statistics. We do not agree. Firstly, if a victim considers a tweet to be offensive or threatening enough to report it to CST, we will respect their feelings and their reaction to what they have seen. Secondly, if somebody shouts an antisemitic comment at a Jewish person in the street, it may only be heard by one person; if that same comment is put on Twitter, it can be seen by an unlimited number of people and it has a permanent record.

This pattern of antisemitic incidents in relation to the current conflict in Israel and Gaza is replicated in several countries around the world, most notably in France where Jewish shops and synagogues in Sarcelles were attacked last night. The antisemitic incidents and incitement seen in Britain over the past two weeks suggest that this danger is getting more, not less, acute. There should be zero tolerance within pro-Palestinian groups, and wider society, for anybody who targets Jews in word or deed.

Graham Jones MP accuses Israel of “deliberately killing children”

Graham Jones MP, a Labor Party member who serves Haslingden & Hyndburn, Tweeted the following on July 14th.

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According to the Jewish News, Jones Tweeted the accusations during an exchange with Jewish News editor Justin Cohen.  Jones subsequently deleted the Tweet as you can see by his timeline (and per a site which keeps track of deleted Tweets by MPs) and apologized to Cohen. According to Breitbart London, additional Tweets by Jones – which he also deleted – directly accused Cohen, who is Jewish, of ‘killing children’, despite the fact that he is not Israeli.

Beyond Jones’ vicious smear of Israel, “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” (per Jones’ Tweet to the Jewish journalist) is defined as antisemitic according to the EUMC Working Definition.

h/t JudgeDan

Independent op-eds spew hate and vitriol at Israel

The Independent doesn’t have a Jerusalem correspondent at the moment. So, during the war, they’ve been mainly relying on stringers and wire service reports. However, their lack of on-the-ground coverage hasn’t stopped them from using the ‘expert’ analysis of a few of their op-ed contributors:

Here are a few examples:

Adam Withnall

As noted on these pages yesterday, the Indy’s Adam Withnall seemed to characterize a few dozen Sderot residents – a community which been on the receiving end of thousands of Gaza rockets since 2001 – applauding attacks on Hamas military targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty.  Withnall cited one Twitter user who opined about the ‘spectacle’, that “If this is true then God help us all”, before asking,  “What’s become of the human race?”

Robert Fisk

A July 13th op-ed on the war by their “award-winning” Middle East correspondent titled (Why doesn’t the media ever mention the lack of progress in the Middle East?) blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, by failing to inform news consumers that they state has been “engaged in “pitiless, infinitely more wicked and obscene war”.

Mira Bar-Hillel

Hillel, the British reporter who (though Jewish herself) has acknowledged being antisemitic, published an op-ed on July 11th (Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport), which likened alleged Facebook comments (the veracity of which is in doubt) by Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked to crimes committed by the Nazis:

Hillel wrote:

She [MK Shaked] made me think about my mother’s sister Klara and her three small children who were living in Krakow in 1939 when the Germans invaded. They decided that the Jews – all Jews – were the enemy and had to be eliminated, not least the women and the little snakes they were raising. “Why? Ask them – they started it”, as the Nazis would say if asked

Later, Hillel referred to a few random hateful Tweets by Israeli teens as “angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric”, before ending with a rhetorical flourish worthy of a character in Howard Jacobson’s book The Finkler Question:

 I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!” 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Alibhai-Brown’s July 13th op-ed (Israel’s reaction has been vicious and misdirected) characterized the “mindset of hardline Zionists” thusly:

It is a combination of paranoia, indiscriminate loyalty and odium towards any person or group opposed to Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians.

Alibhai-Brown then seemed to compare Jihadists attacks with the actions of the Jewish State, and vilifies ‘British Zionists’ for not speaking out:

When Jihadis commit atrocities, British Muslims are collectively blamed, told to protest, to issue statements from mosques, to say sorry, to stop the Islamicists. Israel builds walls, grabs land, introduces racist rules, imprisons Palestinian children, uses grotesque force and gets undeclared donations from British Zionists, and British Jews are not asked to march, or issue condemnations or promises.

Alibhai-Brown’s diatribe then devolves further, accusing Israel of engaging in a plan of genocide:

The Holocaust – one of the most obscene, inhumane pogroms in world history – is now used as a guarantee of perpetual indemnity by a state which was to be a sanctuary and an exemplar of survival, dignity and morality. Israel’s leadership has discarded moral sense and wants to eliminate Palestinians altogether from the pitifully small bits of land they live in. They have learnt the wrong lessons from their own history and seem to be modelling themselves on Europeans who took over Australia, North and South America.

In contextualizing the UK media each day during the war, we can honestly say at this point that recent Indy’s attacks surpass even the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters.

Finally, you may recall that last October the Indy published a spirited editorial refuting accusations that the paper was institutionally antisemitic, claiming that the charges were “false”, “myopic” and “willfully ignorant” – words which actually quite aptly characterize the hateful agitprop directed against the Jewish State by Fisk, Bar-Hillel and Alibhai-Brown over the last few days.

Why is the Guardian ignoring recent antisemitic attacks in France? (Update)

Racist attacks targeting French Jews over the last week have included a firebomb attack on a synagogue in Paris and an individual assault on a Jewish teen, representing the latest in a wave of such antisemitic violence in France since the start of 2014.

Times of Israel reported the following in two reports on July 13:

A firebomb was hurled at a synagogue near Paris, part of a string of anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe coinciding with Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza

The firebomb went off Friday night at the entrance to the synagogue of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern suburb of the French capital, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. No one was hurt and the fire resulted in minor damage, Le Monde reported.

Also, in a separate incident on the same day:

…clashes erupted at the end of [a pro-Palestinian] march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas. The unrest was continuing early Sunday evening.

Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.

A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.

A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

A day earlier, on Saturday, July 12:

In Belleville, an eastern suburb of Paris, a demonstration Saturday by a few dozen people against Israel’s attack on Hamas featured calls to “slaughter the Jews,” according to Alain Azria, a French Jewish photojournalist who covered the event. The crowd also chanted “death to the Jews,” he said.

These attacks come on top of an earlier assault on a Jew in France, on July 8:

On July 8, the day that Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, a man described as having a Middle Eastern appearance assaulted a Jewish 17-year-old girl on a Paris street near the Gare du Nord train station by spraying pepper-spray on her face, BNVCA also reported.

The girl, identified by her initials, J.L., wrote in her complaint to police that the man, who was in his 20s, shouted: “Dirty Jewess, inshallah you will die.”

Further, these attacks haven’t occurred in a vacuum.  Though these latest assaults may have been inspired by the war in Gaza, it’s undeniable that France (and the Paris region in particular) has seen an elevated level of antisemitic attacks even before the start of the conflict seven days ago.

Though they make up only 1 percent of the French population, Jews are the object of 40 percent of all hate crimes in the country, one of the factors which explain why a record number of French Jews looked set to emigrate to Israel in 2014.

Yet, if you look at the France and Israel pages of the Guardian, there are no reports on the disturbing racist attacks on French Jews.

Guardian France page, July 14th, 10:00AM (Israeli time)

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At the very least, it seems quite odd that a media group which fancies itself a champion of anti-racist values would ignore such attacks on innocent Jews.  

Indeed, we’ve often noted that the Guardian’s single biggest problem, as a media institution, relates to such antisemitic sins of omission – their tendency to bury or downplay even the most egregious displays of Jew hatred, both in the Middle East and the West.

Indeed, in light of the Guardian’s ubiquitous reports on Jewish ‘price tag’ attacks against Arabs in the West Bank, moral consistency would seem to demand that such putatively progressive voices at the Guardian would devote as much space to similar instances of ‘collective punishment’ against innocent Jews in the diaspora. 

UPDATE: Several hours after this post, the Guardian published an article about one of the antisemitic attacks in France.  However, it didn’t mention the firebombing of the synagogue in Paris. 

Indy TV critic decries attack on free expression by ‘powerful pro-Israel lobby’

In monitoring the UK media’s coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we’ve previously noted the curious dynamic in which even culture critics (journalists who don’t cover politics or world affairs) manage to adopt the hard left party line on Israel and the perceived power of the ‘Israeli lobby’. 

A case in point is a review at the Independent, by TV critic Gerard Gilbert, of the upcoming BBC2 mini-series The Honourable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.  The series centers on “Nessa Stein, the daughter of a murdered Zionist arms dealer who now runs a charitable London organisation seeking a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

Half-way through the largely positive review, Gilbert adds the following, seemingly out of nowhere:

The Honourable Woman’s fair-minded take on the savagely divisive Palestinian question would presumably make it nigh-on impossible to get made in America with its powerful pro-Israel lobbies.

Of course, Gilbert doesn’t bother to cite an example of any previous “fair-minded” take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was nixed due to the “powerful pro-Israel lobbies” and, indeed, the critical success of the pro-Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras suggests that such advocacy art isn’t adversely affected by such ‘pressure groups’.

Quite interestingly, this broadside against the Israel lobby isn’t a one-off for the culture critic.

In 2011, Gilbert similarly expressed his frustration with the power of the lobby in an article at the Indy.

Here’s Gilbert’s take on a BBC programme about the controversy that surrounded Monty Python’s Life of Brian in 1979, and what he argued was the steady erosion, since that time, of the artistic freedom to engage in such criticism of religion:

Freedom of speech can be a much tougher call in the polarised 21st-century than it was in the fag-end of liberal Seventies Britain, and if BBC4 wanted to take a moment from our recent past to shed light on the present, then there are plenty of controversies of younger vintage available to them.

How about the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in 1989 over his novel The Satanic Verses, a death sentence that remains in place today, and that led to Rushdie spending almost a decade in hiding, as well as the violent attacks against various translators and publishers (including an arson attack at a cultural festival in Turkey that left 37 people dead)? Perhaps Sanjeev Bhaskar could play Rushdie.

Or how about a drama about the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad, and the subsequent worldwide protests, or the play Behtzi, which sparked riots by Birmingham Sikhs in 2004. Or how about, for that matter, the remorseless attacks on journalists and academics in any way critical of Israel

In response to Gilbert’s complaint about such “remorseless attacks” on the media and academia by powerful forces, The CST’s Mark Gardner observed the following:

I am unaware that the Chief Rabbi (of Britain, Israel, or anywhere else for that matter) has issued a death sentence against the Guardian, the Independent, the University and College Union, or any other “journalists and academics in any way critical of Israel”.

I am unaware of pro-Israel lobby groups having incited deadly riots against BBC offices around the world. I am unaware of British anti-Israel academics being burnt and bombed when they venture abroad.

I am unaware of rioting by Jews in Golders Green, or Tottenham, or Salford, or Gateshead, in response to British media and academic criticism of Israel.

The Indy’s Gilbert, like other UK commentators, absurdly conflates mere criticism – and other forms of legitimate political activism – by Jews and pro-Israel groups (over what’s deemed to be anti-Israel bias or even antisemitism in the public sphere) with the kind of threats or intimidation (or even violence) exhibited by some groups which truly threatens freedom of expression in the West.

Robert Fisk plagued by hypocrisy in ugly smear of B’nai Brith Canada

On July 2nd we posted about a shameful smear, by the Independent’s “award-winning” Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, of Canada’s leading Jewish human rights organization, B’nai Brith.

B’nai Brith’s crime, per Fisk, is that they used the “disease” metaphor when characterizing antisemitism – in the context of commenting on an ADL commissioned poll which found that 4 million Canadians are antisemitic.

Fisk:

Not long ago, I was handed the most outrageous, vile, dishonest and slanderous calumny uttered against the people of Canada. It was contained in a full-page advertisement in the National Post (founder, Conrad Black), a newspaper handed out – free, I’m happy to say – on my Air France flight out of Toronto. Here is the headline: “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease.”

the “disease” afflicting “almost 4 million Canadians” is “anti-Semitism” and this disgusting advertisement – published without comment by one of Canada’s leading right-wing newspapers – was produced by B’nai Brith Canada and the “Jewish Christian Alliance”.

But what, we have to ask, possesses Israel’s “friends” to publish this pernicious material about 4 million “diseased” Canadians? Does B’nai Brith Canada not realise that these very same despicable lies were used by the Nazis in their hate propaganda against the Jews of Europe? In Hitler’s Germany, Jews were described as microbes. Jews, according to Julius Streicher, were “the carriers of disease and vermin among men”. In August 1941, Goebbels called Jews “the carriers of infectious diseases” and two weeks later referred to Jews as “parasites”. By November, he was calling them “lice”. But now, 4 million Canadians carry “disease”. Undiagnosed “infections” will be passed on to children and grandchildren. The “community” is in danger of being “contaminated”. 

We noted that Fisk’s facile logic suggested that since both groups (B’nai Brith and the Nazis) used the disease metaphor in some manner – albeit one to characterize Jews and another to characterize those who hate Jews – both are nonetheless guilty of using Nazi-style propaganda. 

Following our post, the Indy published a letter by Yiftah Curiel, Spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London, which also demonstrates Fisk’s egregious hypocrisy in leveling such a charge:

Robert Fisk (30 June) is disgusted at the use by B’nei Brith Canada of terms such as “disease”, “contamination”, and “infection”, to describe the worrying phenomenon of anti-Semitism. He bemoans the fact that these terms were used by the Nazis against Jews.

Interestingly, Fisk has used the same terminology himself, referring to his wish “not to be contaminated by the war crimes of Israel’s pilots” (Voices, 20 November 2012), and when referring to Israel’s “cancerous threat of war” against Iran (24 November 2013).

The logic is as follows:  a Jewish organisation is wrong to use terms used by the Nazis, while he, Fisk, is at liberty to use these very “Nazi” terms when discussing Israel.

Yiftah Curiel

Spokesperson, Embassy of Israel, London W8

Times of London leads the pack with worst headline on murdered Palestinian

The UK media continues to churn out stories about the brutal murder of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teen whose burned body was found near Jerusalem last week, with most reports focused on the police investigation and, most recently, new videos of the abduction (from CCTV) which show the faces of the likely perpetrators.

However, though the coverage to date has been decidedly one-sided – in focusing almost entirely on the possibility that the Palestinian was murdered by a Jew in a revenge killing in response to the murder of three Israeli teens – almost all reports have qualified their claims by noting that this theory hasn’t yet been proven.

Typical is the following passage by the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont’s in a July 6th report:

The Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and murdered on Wednesday in what many suspect was a revenge killing by Israeli extremists in response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Similarly, Guardian headlines have been relatively restrained.  When the word ‘revenge‘ has been used, it’s surrounded by “quotes” indicating that this is still only an allegation.

However, The Times (of London) displayed no such restraint in a story written by Josh Mitnick and published in the print edition of the paper on July 3rd.  

Here’s a photo of the article:

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Times, July 3, page 27

Whilst it may very well be that the Palestinian was indeed killed in a revenge attack by Jews (or even ‘settlers’), the headline takes an unsubstantiated claim, blaming Israeli ‘settlers’, and sells it as a proven fact. 

Though the subsequent online edition (titled ‘Appeal for calm after Palestinian boy murdered in ‘revenge’ killing, pay wall) softened the charge a bit, the damage – per the nearly 400,000 Times print edition readers – has already been done.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 30)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

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And what terrible post of Bonbonniera has been deleted? This one…

19 Jun 2014 12:45pm

nakba denialism? very funny. You will have to indict the Guardian as being evil and fascist and the British officials of 1948 in the Mandate as evil and fascist too.

By early 1948 British officials were reporting that “the Arabs have suffered a series of overwhelming defeats.” They added: “Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands. It is now obvious that the only hope of regaining their position lies in the regular armies of the Arab states.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/26/british-secret-documents-palestine-partition

There was no nakba, the Arabs fled from Israel because their leaders were inept.

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None of these comments have been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

 

Chloe Valdary: The Death of a Black Man

This essay was written by Chloe Valdary and originally posted at Truth Revolt. It’s republished here with Ms. Valdary’s permission.

valdaryTake a black man and accuse him of adultery. Even worse, accuse him of rape. Spread a rumor that because of his skin color, he is inclined to be aggressive toward white women. Portray him in the most degrading way possible. Depict him devoid of all humanity. Preach that he and “his kind” are predisposed to be brute unintelligent beasts, who should at best be controlled by the innately “angelic” white population, and at worst, exterminated.

Opt for the latter. Preach it in your schools; preach it in your homes. Begin a campaign and devote yourselves to the mass slaughter of this race. Dress yourself in sheets of white; defend your towns, your family and your friends from the stench of this race. Burn crosses to intimidate their communities into silence. But do not stop there. Go farther.

Pursue these males wherever you can. Age does not matter; they can be five or fifty. Accuse them all of the most heinous of crimes imaginable. Evidence is irrelevant. Take your knife and your rope and all the townspeople that you know. Form a mob, form several. Wake them up in the dead of night. Their women and children will be screaming, but ignore their cries.

Drag the black men out of their beds. They will protest, they will swear they never did anything wrong, but do not listen to them. They are, after all, animals who have been raping your women and ruining civilization. So seize them, pull them kicking and screaming to the nearest tree you can find. Your buddies will back you up; they will support you. They have come out in the thousands and have egged you on. There is no need to let them down. 

Take your knife and stab at the black man’s body. Do not stop. He must be eradicated. Douse him in kerosene and tie the rope around his neck. Pay no attention to his gasping for breath; there is no need to let his humanity get in the way of the duty that you must perform. String him up. Tie him to the post. Tie the other end of the rope to the post. Can’t you hear the crowds chant? Can’t you hear them scream? They’re screaming for you. Set his flesh ablaze. Burn him to a crisp. Burn him till the life is snuffed out of him.

Now, take a picture. Memorialize your work for all eternity. Stand next to the rotting corpse and sing a song of victory. They will publish this image in the newspapers. Cut it out and hang it on your refrigerator door. Make copies out of it and give it to your neighbors. Turn it into postcards; send it all over the country. All of America must know that where the nigger resides, white men and women must rise up and take her nation back.

Ah yes, you, you will be the one who would have started it all. You will become prominent in all the great elite circles. You will be the one to be called upon to dine with great statesman and will be welcomed into high society. They will beg you to be friends with them and ask you of your methods on how to wipe out those greedy murderous insolent baboon blacks. Lead them! They want to become just like you; you are the savior who can inspire them! Professors in universities will study your methods for their research. You will rally their cause. 

They will build statues in your name. They will produce films in your honor. Your lynchings will make for glorious scenes in cinema that will tell the grand story of the birth of a nation. They will even commission operas to depict this epic of the White Race. Notable composers will complete the score. They will include the epithets you once hurled at the bleating baboons in their librettos. You will be the talk of the town. All will rise to see this grand opera wherever it is shown in America. You will be an icon.

But be warned: There will be those who protest. There always are. They will accuse you of evil. They will say you are not as good as you purport to be. They will say you hide behind the veneer of the white sheets you dress in but deep down you are the contemptible one. You are the one worthy of humanity’s scorn, not the black man.

Ignore them. This is for the sake of civilization. This is for the sake of elitism. This is for the sake of culture. This is for the sake of art. You are neither a murderer nor a vandal. You are a freedom fighter, and you must save your people from the black race’s powerful influence.  For this, the rope must be tightened. The subordinate primate must be massacred. His race must be eliminated, burnt to ashes, never again to rise.

For this the show must go on.

The above should stir and infuriate you. But this is no hypothetical — not the events I describe, nor the positive portrayal of racist murderers on a notable stage. The esteemed New York Metropolitan Opera plans to present a production entitled, The Death of Klinghoffer, which pays tribute not to the victim of a vicious lynching, but rather to those who lynched him. Not only should this spark outrage within you, it should move you to action. Call the Met and tell them that this sort of propping up of  21st century Klansmen and celebration of the massacre of Jews is unacceptable:

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General manager Peter Gelb at pgelb@metopera.org |Tickets and Customer Care: 212-362-6000 | Administrative Offices: 212-799-3100. | Associate Press Director Sam Neuman at SNeuman@metopera.org or call 212-870-7457. 

The Guardian vs Myron Kaplan on ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’

The New York Metropolitan Opera will open their production of ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ on October 20th, an opera based on the 1985 hijacking by Palestinian terrorists of an Italian cruise ship named the Achille Lauro, in which a 69-year-old wheelchair-bound Jewish man named Leon Klinghoffer was shot in the head before being thrown overboard.

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Leon Klinghoffer

Though the opera will be staged as planned, The Met recently cancelled plans for a cinema simulcast of the production, citing fears that it may inadvertently incite antisemitism due to what’s been characterized as its sympathetic view of the terrorists.

On June 18th, the Guardian’s classical music critic expressed his outrage at The Met’s decision in the following article, in which he dismissed  “concern in the international Jewish community” about the opera’s propensity to “fan global antisemitism”.

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So, we thought it would be helpful to reproduce an open letter written to the New York Metropolitan Opera by Myron Kaplan, a senior research analyst at CAMERA who also happens to be a serious opera fan.

Dear Mr. Gelb,

As a longtime fan of grand opera, I have attended numerous superb live Met performances both at Lincoln Center and via live Saturday matinée performance HD transmissions to theaters (not to mention listening to numerous Met Saturday matinée live radio broadcasts)—and have greatly admired your accomplishments at the Met. So it was with great dismay and disappointment that I learned that the Met had scheduled for the 2014-2015 season its first-ever performances of John Adams’s “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Mediocre music is the least of the work’s problems. Even more serious is a tendentious story line and an inflammatory libretto that falsely maligns Israel and the Jewish people.

This story line can be characterized fairly as “Understandably aggrieved Palestinian Arabs wreak vengeance on disabled Jew standing in for all his perfidious co-religionists.” This is an obscene inversion of the reality that was the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking and subsequent terrorist murder of passenger Leon Klinghoffer. In this regard, it must be noted that the librettist, Alice Goodman, during the writing of the opera rejected her American Jewish heritage by joining the Anglican Church, the leadership of which is known for its hostility toward Israel. Goodman is now a parish priest in England.

The most troubling aspect of the Met’s scheduling of “The Death of Klinghoffer” is the live HD transmission of this opera, set for November 15, 2014—one of 10 such transmitted opera performances planned for the coming season—to more than 2,000 theaters in 66 countries (including more than 700 U.S. theaters). This would make the live performance immediately available to hundreds of thousands of people (and potentially millions according to the Met), giving wide international distribution to what is, at its heart, an anti-Jewish slander.

I’m aware that it may not be feasible at this juncture to cancel all or any of the eight performances of this opera scheduled during the period of October-November 2014, but in order to minimize the harm, the Met should substitute another opera for the HD transmission.

As alluded to above, the opera is based on the 1985 murder of a helpless 69-year-old American Jewish man, Leon Klinghoffer, confined to a wheelchair—shot in the head while vacationing with his wife on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He was murdered by Palestinian Arab hijackers belonging to the Palestine Liberation Front, a component of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, and his body dumped into the water. The choice of the title, “The Death of Klinghoffer” and not “The Murder of Klinghoffer,” signals the work’s moral evasion and misrepresentation. In a sense, it is consistent with the PLO’s initial comments on the murder, that either Klinghoffer had died of natural causes or his wife pushed him overboard to be able to claim life insurance. The title’s sanitizing of murder is, however, also consistent with the opera’s anti-Jewish tone. Instead of properly characterizing the Palestinian hijackers of the cruise ship as permanent prisoners of their own rage originating from cultural indoctrination, Adams/Goodman impart idealism to them.

The opera opens with these words sung by the Chorus of Exiled Palestinians: “My father’s house was razed—In nineteen forty-eight—When the Israelis passed—Over our street.” Here, Israelis are likened to the avenging Angel of Death in the biblical story of the original Passover, exacting punishment on the ancient Egyptians after Pharaoh, breaking a promise, refused to let the Jewish people leave Egypt. This amounts to an artistically licensed slander, falsely suggesting that the Israelis, besieged by the armies of five Arab countries and Palestinian Arab “irregulars” bent on driving them into the sea, exacted widespread revenge upon Arabs residing in the ancient Jewish homeland.

Hijacker Rambo invokes anti-Semitic canards: “Wherever poor men—Are gathered they can—Find Jews getting fat—You know how to cheat—The simple, exploit—The virgin, pollute—Where you have exploited—Defame those you cheated—And break your own law—With idolatry.” Rambo’s lyrics, with virtually no artistic embellishment, could have been lifted from Nazi publications like Der Sturmer, as even a casual glance at the archives would confirm.

Repeatedly, the Palestinians are portrayed as humane idealists. Hijacker Molqi sings: “We are—Soldiers fighting a war—We are not criminals—And we are not vandals—But men of ideals.”

Hijacker Mamoud appears gentle and grieving as he tells of his mother and brother: “She was killed—With the old men—And children in—Camps at Sabra—And Shatilla— Where Almighty God—In His mercy showed—My decapitated—Brother to me—And in His mercy—Allowed me to close—My brother’s eyes—And wipe his face.”

This tear jerker falsely implies that Israelis, rather than members of the Lebanese Christian Phalange militia, massacred hundreds of Palestinian Arabs on Sept. 16-18, 1982 in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee districts. It gives no hint that the Phalangists acted in retribution for massacres of Christian Lebanese by the PLO and the September 14 assassination of the country’s Christian president-elect, Bashir Gemayel.

Mamoud shows himself to be consumed with seemingly permanent hate and a vision of martyrdom: “The day that I—And my enemy—Sit peacefully—Each putting his case—And working towards peace—That day our hope dies—And I shall die too.” But even this negative portrayal is mitigated by Mamoud’s meditation on the birds in the air— which may encourage the viewer to sympathize with him.

Leon Klinghoffer’s aria expressing his humanity and railing against the terrorists is insufficient to mitigate the harmful impression left by Goodman’s biased libretto and may even be seen as unnecessarily agitating the terrorists: “I came here with—My wife. We both—Have tried to live—Good lives. We give—Gladly, receive—Gratefully, love— And take pleasure—In small things, suffer—And comfort each other—We’re human. We are—The kind of people—You like to kill—Was it your pal—Who shot that little girl—At the airport in Rome?—You would have done the same—There’s so much anger in you—And hate.”

Goodman’s biased libretto condemns Jews and Israelis as a group, while the Arab hijackers, when condemned, are characterized as violent or revengeful individuals without regard to their ethnic/religious group. If Adams/Goodman intended some semblance of balance in this respect then they would have included, as well as anti-Jewish canards, anti-Arab/Muslim charges such as “Muslims want to destroy all infidels—their Koran tells them to do this.” But there is no semblance of this in this opera.

Then there is the matter of the renewed cruelty this Met production, not so much fiction but rather propagandistically manipulated facts, is likely to inflict upon the Klinghoffer family. After the 1991 premieres of the opera, The Telegraph (London) reported that Mr. Klinghoffer’s two daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, attended a New York production of the opera in 1991, which they described as “appalling” and “anti-Semitic.” A New York Times article reported on the antipathy toward Adams/Goodman by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer: “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold-blooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.”

If it’s necessary to provide at least one first-time HD transmission of a modern opera composed after 1930, there are two excellent candidates already in the Met’s 2014-2015 schedule: Shastikovich’s ‘Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk” and Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress,” both of which, according to critics, have excellent productions, conductors and singers. The Shastikovich substitution would involve merely a replacement of November 15 on the HD schedule with November 29 currently scheduled as a Saturday matinée performance of this opera. The Stravinsky substitution would involve replacement of November 15 on the HD schedule with May 9, 2015 already scheduled as a Saturday matinée performance of this opera.

Otherwise, classic operas already scheduled at the Met in 2014-2015, but not scheduled for HD broadcast, include “Aida”—currently scheduled for a Met evening performance on the same day, November 15, as the HD transmission. Why not substitute it on that day with the Adams opera? This magnificent Verdi opera is one of the favorites of opera fans worldwide. Certainly it would be a much greater drawing card than the Adams opera in all or nearly all of the countries. Other possibilities include “La Traviata,” “Magic Flute,” and “Barber of Seville.” For “La Traviata,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with December 27, currently scheduled as a matinee performance of this opera. For “Magic Flute,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with November 8, currently scheduled as a matinee performance of this opera. For “Barber of Seville,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with November 22, currently scheduled as a matinee performance of this opera.

Mr. Gelb, I trust that you will reverse an unfortunate decision just as you did in 2012 when, displeased with Opera News reviews of Met productions, you barred the magazine from subsequent reviews. Following an uproar from opera fans, you reversed the brief ban, forthrightly admitting to having made a mistake. Live transmission of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” a slanderous anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli concoction, is much more grave than the contretemps over Opera News. Mr. Gelb, we urge you, for the sake of the Met’s reputation and the constant struggle against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, to at least provide an HD transmission substitution.

Sincerely,

Myron Kaplan

Guardian erases the ethnic cleansing of Jews in the Mid-East, again and again and again…

A few hours ago we published our reply to a June 11th Guardian article which whitewashed the ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries between 1947 and 1972 – consistent with a pattern of such historical revisionism at the London daily which manifested itself again in a June 16th op-ed by .

Ramadani made the following claim in a piece titled ‘The sectarian myth of Iraq‘:

[Nobody] has yet produced historical evidence of significant communal fighting between Iraq’s religions, sects, ethnicities or nationalities. Prior to the 2003 US-led occupation, the only incident was the 1941 violent looting of Jewish neighbourhoods – which is still shrouded in mystery as to who planned it. Documents relating to that criminal incident are still kept secret at the Public Records Office by orders of successive British governments. The bombing of synagogues in Baghdad in 1950-51 turned out to be the work of Zionists to frighten Iraq’s Jews – one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world – into emigrating to Israel following their refusal to do so.

There are two claims – one about the 1941 “violent looting” (known as the Farhud), and another about a specific synagogue bombing in Baghdad. 

Farhud

First, regarding the “violent looting of Jewish neighborhoods“, Lyn Julius, an expert on the issue of Arab refugees from Arab countries, provided a brief account of the incident in a recent essay:

The Farhud – a Kurdish word meaning “forced dispossession” — erupted at the peak of World War ll. Over two days of rioting coinciding with the Jewish festival of Shavuot, a frenzied mob, including Arab neighbors and policemen, murdered around 180 Jews in Baghdad and other cities (the exact figure is not known); 242 children were orphaned, scores of women raped, hundreds wounded, 900 homes and 586 Jewish-owned shops were looted. Although some Arabs did heroically defend their Jewish neighbors, stories abound of pregnant women eviscerated, babies mutilated and Jewish hospital patients refused treatment or poisoned. The dead were hurriedly buried in a mass grave.

Though the question Ramadani raises – whether the anti-Jewish riots were “a direct result of incitement and deliberate, organized, German-Nazi propaganda” – is an interesting one (one which Julius addresses in her essay), by focusing on the narrow issue of who ‘incited’ the riots, he deflects from the more pertinent fact: that a “frenzied mob” of Iraqi Muslims perpetrated the atrocity, and they bear most of the moral responsibility.

Synagogue bombing:

Regarding the 1951 synagogue bombing:

Evidence revealed in 2006 by Tom Segev (a historian not known for towing the ‘Zionist narrative’) demonstrated that Iraqis from the Muslim Brotherhood threw the deadly bomb – not Zionists, as Ramadani claims.

On January 14, 1951, at about seven in the evening, a bomb – or perhaps it was a hand grenade – was tossed into the open courtyard of the Masuda Shemtov synagogue in Baghdad. The courtyard served as a gathering place for Jews, prior to their departure for the airport, on their way to Israel. At the time of the terror attack, the place was filled with several hundred people. Four of them, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed; about 10 were wounded. The Iraqi authorities blamed two activists from the Zionist underground, and had them executed.

Now, a recent publication is shedding new light on the mystery. The revelations come from Yehuda Tager, an Israeli agent who operated in Baghdad, was exposed and spent about 10 years in prison there. According to Tager, the bombing of the Masuda Shemtov synagogue was not carried out by Israelis, but by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Further, at Point of No Return (the blog on Jewish Refugees from Arab countries), further refuting claims that Zionist may have been behind the bombing, notes that by March of that year (1951), all but about 6,000 Jews had decided to register to leave Iraq – calling into question why ‘Zionists’ would go to such efforts to spur Aliyah when the overwhelming majority of Iraqi Jews had already decided to do so.

Also, Israeli historian Moshe Gat has argued that it is “highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing [mass] immigration”.

Leaving the one bombing aside, the broader fact that Jews in Iraq, once a community of 135,000, fled the country due to antisemitic persecution is undeniable, and the Guardian contributor’s suggestion that Zionist agitation caused their flight is simply a lie.

As Point of No Return has noted about life for Jews prior to the bombing in 1951:

Jews were leaving [Iraq] illegally at a rate of 1,000 a month in 1949. Jews fled because they were being persecuted, because of the execution of the anti-Zionist Jew Shafik Ades in September 1948, because they were sacked from the Civil Service, because they could not enroll in universities and colleges, because they could not travel, because money was being extorted from them, because they were being arbitrarily arrested and unfairly singled out as Zionists.

Here are the major antisemitic events, again, per Point of No Return:

  • 1932: German Charge d’affaires, Fritz Grobba, publishes instalments of Mein Kampf in Arabic daily newspaper. Radio Berlin begins Arabic broadcasts.
  • 1934 – 36: 600 Jewish clerks dismissed from government
  • 1934: regulation introduced requiring Jews to deposit £50 to travel abroad.
  • 1935: state secondary schools impose quotas on Jewish students. Hebrew and Jewish history instruction forbidden. Only the Bible can be read without translation.
  • 1936: government-licensed Jewish businesses must have a Muslim partner.
  • 1939: Iraqi public school system begins to follow a Nazi education model.
  • 1936: Three Jews murdered in Baghdad, one in Basra. Bomb thrown into synagogue on Yom Kippur.
  • 1936 – 39: despite the Chief Rabbi officially dissociating himself from Zionism and a condemnation of Zionism signed by 33 Iraqi Jewish leaders, seven murders of Jews and six bombings take place.
  • 1941: In the interregnum following a pro-Nazi coup, 179 Jews are killed and 911 houses looted in the Farhoud pogrom.
  • 1947: Iraqi Foreign minister threatens expulsion of Jews as part of coordinated Arab League plan if Partition of Palestine goes ahead.
  • 1948: state of emergency declared; 310 Jews court-martialed.
  • 1948: Jews receiving letters from Palestine accused of Zionism.
  • September 1948: Shafik Ades, Iraq’s richest Jew, hanged.
  • May 1948 – Dec 1949: 800 – 1,500 Jews dismissed from public service. Jewish banks lose their foreign exchange trading licences. Restrictions on high school and university students.
  • Jewish community ‘donates’ 113,000 dinars to war effort against Israel. Fines collected from Iraqi Jews: $80 million. Travel ban on Jews and on buying and selling property. Retroactive tax on Jews. Property of all Jews who had emigrated since 1933 confiscated. Government ceases to service Jewish areas. Property of Jewish prisoners impounded. Jewish newspapers shut down.
  • Feb and March 1949: 100 Jews tried for connections to Zionism.
  • March 1950: Iraqi Parliament Ordinance permits Jewish emigration upon forfeiture of citizenship. Some 120,000 Jews register to leave.
  • March 1951: Law no. 5 deprives all stateless Iraqi Jews of their property.

All of these events of course wildly contradict Ramadani’s suggestion that there was no significant ethnic, sectarian or religious inspired violence prior to the Iraq invasion in 2003.

As Elder of Ziyon argued in his own excellent fisking of Ramadani’s op-ed, The Guardian whitewashes historic Iraqi antisemitism, “Comment may be free, but The Guardian has an obligation to fact-check what people write”.

UPDATE:

Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London, had a letter published at the Guardian on June 18th in response to Ramadani’s op-ed.

 

Guardian puts politically correct spin on the demise of Iraq’s Jewish community

“Have you noticed how Arab nationalism can never be held solely responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Middle East’s minorities”?, asks Point of No Return, a blog about Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

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Violence in 1941 before the Farhud

Indeed, as we’ve documented on numerous occasions, the Guardian continually whitewashes the ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries between 1948 and 1972.  Here are a few recent examples.

  • On May 12, 2014, the Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black argued that the flight of hundreds of thousands Jews from Arab countries was “encouraged and facilitated” by Israel in the 1950s, and failed to so assign any blame whatsoever on Arab governments whose antisemitic policies were specifically designed to ‘facilitate” the expulsion of their Jewish citizens. 
  • A July 25th, 2013, edition of the Guardian’s Data Blog, edited by Mona Chalabi, titled ‘What happened to history’s refugees?, purported to document the major refugee populations through history, yet completely omitted any mention of the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

More broadly, argues Point of No Return, blame for the flight of Jews from Arab countries is typically cast on the “bêtes noires of trendy western elites” – colonialism and Zionism.

The most recent example of this politically correct habit of assigning blame for the ethnic cleansing of Jews either on Jews themselves or amorphous abstractions – rather than on antisemitic Arab leaders – can be found in a Guardian review by Christophe de Bellaigue of Justin Marozzi’s book Baghdad.

 De Bellaigue writes:

“There were 80,000 Jews in Baghdad before the first world war, and they sat in the Istanbul parliament – halcyon days before the combined effects of British colonisation, Zionism and Arab nationalism ended the Jewish presence for good. When Marozzi arrived in Baghdad in 2004, the community was seven-strong.”

Point of No Return responds:

It is inaccurate to blame British colonialism for the end of the Jewish community. Quite the contrary: the 1920s under British mandate were the real halcyon days for the Jews – a time of great prosperity, when Jews staffed the civil service and provided the backbone to Iraq’s economy. The country’s first finance minister, Sasson Heskel, was a Jew.

Nor is it accurate to blame Zionism. The Jews were largely non-Zionist. Zionism was not the cause of their departure, but it provided a solution to their precarious plight following the savage 1941 Farhud pogrom in which at least 180 Jews were murdered. After 1948, the Jews, even the Communists among them, had somewhere to flee to – the new state of Israel.

Even if Israel had not been established it is plausible that the Jews would have been driven out of Iraq, in the same way as the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Mandeans.

Virulent Arab nationalism must therefore take the lion’s share of the blame for the demise of the Jewish community, as well as the persecution and exclusion of the other non-Muslim minorities.

That wave of nationalism has now been replaced by xenophobic [and violent] Jihadist Islamism.

We are now seeing the catastrophic consequences for Iraq’s ancient Christian heartlands, whose inhabitants are fleeing in droves.

Moreover, yet again, a Guardian contributor has attempted to expunge from the public record an indisputable saga regarding the ethnic cleansing of Jews – hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of Arab malevolence who, decades later, reluctantly assume the role of history’s forgotten refugees.

CiF Watch prompts correction to Guardian characterization of abducted boys as ‘teen settlers’

Earlier today, we noted that the Indy responded to our complaint and corrected a passage in a June 15th articleabout the three Israeli youths abducted by Palestinian terrorists on Thursday night, which falsely characterized the teenage victims as “settlers”.

And, about an hour ago, the Guardian responded to our complaint about an article by Peter Beaumont - that we posted about yesterday – claiming that the Jewish victims were “teenage settlers”, and agreed to revise the passage (and headline) in question.

Here’s the original Guardian headline:

Here’s the original opening passage:

orig

Now, here’s the revised headline:

revised

Here’s the revised opening passage:

revisedAdditionally, the article now includes the following addendum:

addendum

Though we commend Guardian editors for the correction, as we argued in our original post, the term ‘settler’ is typically loaded with pejorative connotations, and its use in the context of Beaumont’s article about Israeli children abducted by terrorists raises troubling questions about the media’s group’s continuing pattern of blurring straight news and political agitprop.

Brussels Jewish Museum shooting suspect – lessons for Europe

 Cross posted from the blog of the CST

image

Miriam and Emanuel Riva, two of the Brussels victims.

On Friday 30 May, customs officials in Marseilles, southern France, arrested 29-year-old French national Mehdi Nemmouche on suspicion of having perpetrated the previous Saturday’s terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium. If this is the terrorist, then there are some blatant lessons to be learned about modern Jihadism and the security implications for Jews and non-Jews in Western Europe.

The truth is that by now, after over a decade of terror attacks and plots, from Madrid to Manchester, these lessons ought merely to be confirmed: but many people are still reluctant to accept them.

The Brussels attack occurred on Saturday 24 May and was carried out by a gunman using a pistol and an AK 47 assault rifle. CCTV images showed an unidentified man walking into the unguarded building, before he opened the museum door and shot inside, leaving three dead and another on the brink of death. The gunman then walked away. News of Nemmouche’s arrest was supplemented by statements from Belgian prosecutors and French authorities.

These were initial responses and came before Nemmouche’s initial questioning had concluded, never mind any actual trial and confirmation of guilt. Nevertheless, a summary of the current information is extremely worthwhile:

  • Nemmouche was radicalised whilst in French prison. He was jailed for robbery and spent five stints in prison. Of Muslim origin, he went from having little or no interest in Islam, to becoming a would be Jihadist radical.
  • He joined Jihadists in Syria. He left for Syria on December 31, 2012, three weeks after being released from prison.
  • In Syria, he fought with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), the most radical of the Syrian Jihadist groups: more so even than Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusrah, from which it split (and to which it is now hostile). ISIS is the most popular destination for western Jihadists traveling to Syria.
  • Nemmouche returned to Europe in March 2014. (Having spent over one year in Syria.)
  • He was known to the French authorities. How closely they were monitoring him before, during or after the Brussels attack remains to be seen. He was arrested in what is described as a customs search of the coach on which he was traveling from Brussels to Marseilles. (It had originated in Amsterdam.)
  • In his luggage was found the same weapons as apparently used in the Brussels attack; a baseball hat similar to that worn by the shooter; and news cuttings about the attack.
  • The weapons were found with a white cloth bearing in Arabic the name of ISIS and “G-d is great”.
  • Nemmouche also had a Go Pro camera similar to that used by Mohamed Merah when he filmed his murderous shooting attack at the Jewish Ozar Hatorah primary school in Toulouse, France in April 2012. Nemmouche has apparently admitted that the camera was strapped to his bag so it would film the attack, but it failed to do so. In his possession, Nemmouche had a 40 second film of the weaponry, which includes someone (seemingly him, but not definitely) saying they carried out the attack.

For now, the most important lessons appear to be very obvious:

  • Europeans (including hundreds of Britons) who travel overseas to fight Jihad pose a potentially deadly terrorist threat upon their return here.
  • The lack of internal European border controls makes it easy for radicals and weaponry to travel throughout the continent.
  • Comparisons of European Jihadists with International Brigade fighters of the Spanish Civil War are misguided, dangerous nonsense.
  • Those who rushed to claim that these killings were somehow not what they appeared (such as supposed brilliant intellectual Tariq Ramadan) should have kept their biases to themselves.
  • Even if some west European commentators and politicians want to keep hiding from the ramifications of each successive Jihadist terrorist attack and plot, their local Jewish communities can have no such luxury.
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British paper legitimizes lie that Female Genital Mutilation is practiced by Jews

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 140 million girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice most common in Africa, the Arab Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.  Additional evidence suggests that – though FGM has no foundation in Islamic law – the likelihood of experiencing FGM is greater within Muslim populations of these regions.

As we posted last September, however, a Guardian report by staff feature writer Homa Khaleeli (Female Genital Mutilation: Mothers need to say no, Sept. 8) made the following claim:  

Although Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities carry out FGM, mainstream spiritual leaders from all three religions have denied that the practice stems from religion.

Of course, we could find no evidence of any “denial” by any ‘Jewish spiritual leader’ that FGM might stem from Judaism – likely because, contrary to the implication of the passage, Jewish communities do NOT practice FGM.

As both CiF Watch and Elder of Zion demonstrated at the time, scholars have observed the near complete absence of the practice within ancient and modern Jewish communities.  Additionally, while it may have been once practiced by an extremely small number of Jews in Ethiopia, the practice died out when they moved to Israel.  So, given that there are practically no Jews remaining in Ethiopia today, it is extraordinarily unlikely that Jews anywhere in the world are currently practicing FGM.

In fact, the same day we published our post the Guardian – evidently responding to quite a few complaints – removed the offending passage and added the following:

corex

More recently, a CiF Watch reader emailed us an article from earlier in the year that appeared in the print edition of the London Evening Standard (Islamic leaders ‘must set FGM example for other religions’, Jan. 2), written by staff writer Anna Davis.  The report quoted a blog post in Huffington Post by a FGM survivor named Leyla Hussein similarly advancing the false claim that Jews practice FGM:

Evening Standard

 Again, the implicit suggestion that FGM is just as likely to occur in Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities is simply absurd.

To cite just one example, a 2012 study at the Beersheva Mental Health Center of Ben Gurion University, published in the Journal of Israeli Psychiatry, by Dr RH Belmaker, included the following passage:

Jews from Arab countries where FGM is practiced do not practice FGM. However, major immigration of Jews from Ethiopia to Israel permitted study of this practice. We confirmed the report that Ethiopian Jews did practice FGM in Ethiopia [but] we reported the dramatic and total cessation of this custom among this community after immigration to Israel. 

As Elder noted, you’d think that professional British reporters covering the issue would at least note the Israeli model, and explain the country’s success in eradicating FGM in hopes that such progress could be emulated in other communities – especially given the fact that 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are reportedly at risk of FGM in the UK each year.

To suggest that FGM is practiced within Jewish communities – and indeed within all religious traditions equally – is a gross fabrication, and represents the worst kind of political correctness. 

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