21st century anti-Semitism

From columnist Melanie Philips:

On Holocaust Memorial day, Sky’s Adam Boulton three times asks Britain’s Chief Rabbi if Israel’s policies have anything to do with causing antisemitism. No, Adam: it’s the Big Lie reporting of Israel by media outlets like Sky News, painting Israel utterly falsely as brutal and illegal occupiers and inhuman child-killers, which has helped foment this resurgence of open Jew-hatred in Britain and the west.

Indeed, images of Palestinians in the rubble of Gaza were shown even while the Chief Rabbi was talking, under the item’s rubric of “Auschwitz remembered”. Vile, and vicious.


A NYC councilman calls out the anti-Semitism of the BDS movement


Background: The NYC council is a democratically elected body of local government and is considered one of the most liberal and progressive in the country. Council members have been under pressure from BDS activists to boycott a planned trip to Israel. The council was discussing a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz when anti-Israel activists disrupted the proceedings with shouts and protest, claiming later that they “shut down the meeting”. A group called NYC2Palestine that is an umbrella organization of groups including Occupy Wall Street and Jewish Voice for Peace took responsibility for the protest. Councilman Greenfield is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and made these remarks afterwards.

Speech by Councilman Greenfield:
Thank you Madam. You know I’ve waited my turn here, I followed protocol in the NYC Council and haven’t spoken out because I respect this chamber. I have to tell you that I’m still shaken to my core, I’m upset, I’m angry. But I’ll tell you honestly I’m actually somewhat pleased at what we saw here today. If you’re wondering why I’m saying that it’s because for the last few weeks we’ve heard from people who’ve said “Oh we don’t dislike Jews, we only dislike the state of Israel. We have no problem with Jews, we simply don’t want you to go to Israel”. But we know that’s not really at the core of what they were saying and today they proved it. While we were discussing a resolution regarding the murder of 1.1 million human beings; I will point out that 90% were Jewish but the other 10% were political dissidents, they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were gays. Those were the people who were being killed together in Auschwitz-Birkenau. While we were discussing that, they had the nerve, the chutzpah, the temerity to unfurl a Palestinian flag and to yell at us while we were discussing that. And so the reason I am pleased is because we can stop pretending that this is about Israel when the reality is that every Middle East country that is in existence today is not democratic and persecutes people of other faiths, and persecutes gays, and persecutes people who disagree with them, and persecutes people on twitter, and persecutes women who drive except for one country which is the State of Israel. And so what you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism. That is what you saw and that’s what you watched and that’s what you witnessed. People who are upset for one reason. You want to know why they’re angry? You want to know why they are unfurling that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job, he only wiped out half of my family. And only by the grace of God is the other half, me, the grandchild, still alive today. That’s why those people are upset. Shame on them. Shame on them for hating Jews. Shame on them for hating people. Shame on them for disrespecting the most diverse democratically elected body in the United States of America and that is why we go to Israel. We go to Israel to make a message that is clear. That we will not be cowed by this fear and by this hatred that we have where these are people who would celebrate the death of Jews rather than mourn the death of innocents. I am embarrassed at what happened here today but I am pleased that we finally see what this is all about. Good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. Thank you.

Palestinian boycott of Israel is misguided


“Last week I went to the Soda Stream factory in Mishor Adumim, where I found out that 500 Palestinian workers had almost been fired and another 400 were on their way to being fired. I asked Basel Ja’afar (25), who got fired in 2014: “If you were face to face with one of the BDS activists, what would you say to him or her?” He answered, “I would ask him what the alternative is.” Basel used to draw NIS 6,000 in monthly salary at Soda Stream, but now, under the PA, must get by on a salary of NIS 1,450.”

“We live here, we will continue to live here and we don’t have anywhere else to live – neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis.”

Quote from Bassem Eid, Human Rights Activist, Political Analyst and Commentator on the  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Tal Yifrach Z”L

Yesterday we attended an event organized by the IAUJC, the mother and daughter of fallen soldier Tal Yifrach visited and spoke about his 21 years of life.


His sister, Noy has put together a remarkable video that gives a glimpse into the life of this wonderful young man, cruelly taken from his family and the Jewish people. A remarkable, courageous, positive and inspiring young man, the type of man we would like our sons to become and our daughters to marry.

Tal Yifrach planned to study mechanical engineering after his military service. He was part of an elite army unit but never swore or used foul language, never said a bad word about anybody. Fundamentally a person of warmth and friendship. In addition to his family he leaves behind a young woman who planned to spend the rest of her life with him. An entire universe of life and love and potential. Tal’s mother talked about the atmosphere within Israel when hostilities broke out, the horrible realization and sadness as Israelis realized they would have to fight another battle for survival. She talked about the feeling of not knowing if one might be brutally murdered standing at a bus stop of waiting for a train and the sickening confrontation of the mega-terror attack Hamas had planned for Israel on Rosh Hashana. She talked about her phone conversation with Netanyahu following the death of her son. She shared with us that she told the Prime Minister her hope that all the courage and bravery shown by her son could be transferred to him as the leader of the country.

There was a lot of emotional intensity in the room with the outpouring of grief and loss. And get this. Not a single word of hatred was uttered. Tal did not fight in the cause of hatred. He fought to defend his country and the Jewish people. Tal and his family want peace, not war. They do not hate, they want to live in peace and to coexist with their Arab neighbors. The intensity of emotional outpouring could have easily been diverted into any one of a number of larger agendas. But it wasn’t. The focus was on one individual and his family.

Afterwards, I was talking to a friend who suggested that we could have attended an equivalent event for a Palestinian family. Certainly families on both sides of the conflict have searing pain. But I wonder if emotions aroused at an equivalent Palestinian event would have been diverted towards an agenda? Would the agenda be one focused on peace and coexistence? There is a distinction between a war one fights to defend one’s country and an unprovoked war of aggression. Clearly we have a lot of education to do within the Jewish community here and strengthen support for Israel.

Please watch and share the video of Tal Yifrach (click on picture below). His loss is unbearable, we must make sure his memory lives on.

young TalThank you to all of those involved in putting this event together and thank you to Tal Yifrach’s family for being willing to share him with us. May we all know better days עם ישראל חי.


If you want the (very) bottom line

For those who need a pop culture explanation.

Click on pictures for links.

Howard Stern explains (succinctly and with profanity). Also points out the existence of anti-Semitic Jews (see next point):

Howard Stern

Are Jews helpful in your anti-Israel rants? A flow chart to help you decide.

use jews

People of the earth!


Sing it out:


Joan Rivers, doing what she does best – brutal honesty (although one has to admit that Egyptian TV is undoubtedly more brutal).

Joan Rivers

TV talk show host Bill Maher: “I feel terrible for a Palestinian child who dies, but if it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?”

Bill Maher

The situation above ground:


Shelter your children from bombs or your bombs with children?

moral equivalence

It is a very anxious time. From the safety and comfort of Ithaca, it is hard to find the words to adequately express the worry and concern that everyone in Israel be safe and to know what, if anything, we can do to help here in the US.

I’m posting a link to two eloquent statements, the first an OpEd in the Times of Israel from Shmuley Boteach, calling on President Obama to demonstrate responsible and moral US leadership.

Mr. President, my Kids are in a Bomb Shelter

and the second, a clip of a speech from the Senate by Sen. Chuck Shumer, a commentary on the falsehood of attributing any moral equivalence between Israel and the ideology of the genocidal Arab war against the Jewish state (click on picture for link).


For an insight into the responsible party behind the degeneration of the security situation, these tweets from Gershon Baskin, the Co-Chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, paint the sad reality.

Hamas is the political entity that governs Gaza. The leaders should be indicted for war crimes, not just for indiscriminate targeting of civilians, but for the horrific use of children as combatants and hostage shields. The fact that this terrorist organization treats its own children and civilians in this brutal fashion is horrifying.


Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar

The transcript of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eulogy at the funerals of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar on July 1st, 2014.


Iris and Uri, Bat-Galim and Ofir, Rachel and Avi, Dear Yifrach, Shaer and Fraenkel families, the honorable President and President-elect, distinguished participants and all who join you in grief.

Over the past 18 days, the images of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were engraved on the hearts of all the people of Israel.

The citizens of Israel have come to know their faces, and although we regrettably did not have the privilege of meeting them as we had hoped and prayed, the magic of their smiles captivated us, as did their gentle spirit and youthful joy.

Three gifted, innocent and upstanding boys were struck down by evil murderers who, with unspeakable cruelty and without batting an eye, violated the ancient decree: “Do not lay a hand on the boy.” (Genesis 22:12)

Dear families, your sons drew their moral values from you as they grew and set out on their own paths, which were cut short.

This day has spontaneously become a national day of mourning. The entire nation prayed for the boys’ return. The entire nation witnessed the noble spirit and inner strength of the parents, the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, the grandparents and the rest of the family. The nation immediately recognized the depth of your roots and your strength of spirit. You have taught us an unforgettable lesson – a lesson in faith and determination, unity and sensitivity, Judaism and humanity.

The entire nation joined together and was again reminded of who we are, why we are here and, no less importantly, what great strengths we possess. The light you radiate shines even brighter in contrast to the horrific darkness of those who seek our destruction – despicable kidnappers of children, heinous murderers whose brothers rejoice at the spilling of innocent blood.

A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion. This is the secret of our strength; it is the foundation of our unity.

Throughout the history of our people, we have proven time and again that even when faced with the greatest of tragedies and the deepest agony and despair, the force of life that pulses in us overpowers the murderous aspirations of our enemies.

I would like to say a few words to you, Rachel, Bat-Galim and Iris. You have taught the entire world the meaning of a mother’s cry, a mother’s love. Blessed are boys

fortunate enough to have such parents and such families, and how tragic the fate that tore you apart – an incomprehensible evil.

I want to thank all the citizens of Israel for lending a hand and for your spirit of volunteerism and unity.. I especially wish to thank the soldiers of the IDF, the people of the Israel Security Agency, the Israel Police, the Border Police and all the volunteers for their tireless efforts, day and night, to find the boys.

And I wish to express my appreciation to all the people of Israel who have shown generosity of spirit and deep solidarity with three beloved families who came into our lives and into our collective consciousness through no choice of their own.

We bow our heads in deep sorrow, but we also remember the Jewish people’s simple and ancient truth – “In your blood you shall live.” (Ezekiel 16:6)

Today, as we bring our boys to eternal rest here in Modi’in, the birthplace of the Maccabees, I recall the words of Yitzhak Tabenkin from over 60 years ago at the grave of Yitzhak Sadeh: “A tomb in the history of Israel is not always a sign of weakness. From David’s Tomb, from Rachel’s Tomb, from the tombs of many others, we have drawn the commandment to live. We will now draw strength from this tomb. Today, we are dedicating a tomb that teaches us how to live.”

I know, dear families, that even our nation’s warmest embrace cannot erase the searing agony, the terrible pain that will continue to torment your souls long after the official grieving period is over. I know the pain of bereavement, and there is none worse. But I also know that life has a force of its own, like a river that sweeps us forward and grants us the power of renewal and hope.

And the entire nation, which cries with you and embraces you today will continue to stand by your side and offer comfort and solace.

We will always remember Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, the pure hearted boys who will stay forever young. We will remember them, and with God’s help, we will be comforted in the building of our cities and our land.

May the memory of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali be etched in our hearts forever.