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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

Neo-Nazi Leaflets Hit Jews in Florida Neighborhood [video]

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Local families in Mandarin, a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, woke up Sunday morning to discover hate-mongering neo-Nazi fliers on their doorsteps, specifically targeting Jews, News4JAX reported.

Local residents have contacted News4JAX after finding these fliers on their driveways Sunday, on the week before Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur. Those same residents said this was not the first time they have faced such trash outside their homes.

One neighborhood family called police after discovering the flier, only to be told that police had already launched an investigation, after another neighbor called with a complaint about the same flier.

The flier, adorned with a swastika, identifies itself as coming from the National Socialist Movement headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

That complaining family that spoke to the TV station is Jewish, and wishes to remain anonymous, but they want the authorities to send a message that these hateful fliers are unacceptable.

“It makes me mad,” said a family member. “It’s disgusting. For something like this to happen in 2016 at this point in time with everything going on. America was built on all types of people coming here, and for this to come up it’s disheartening.”

David Israel

Some UK Jews Flee Brexit ‘Horrors’ Back to Germany

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The June 2016 Brexit vote in favor of the UK leaving the European Union has resulted in a rise in the number of British citizens inquiring about an alternative European citizenship, the most popular destination being Germany and Ireland, Deutsche Welle reported. The German Embassy in London announced that on the first week after Brexit it dealt with about 200 inquiries a day, compared with the usual 20. Since then, the Germans have been fielding some 100 inquiries a day throughout the summer.

According to CBC News, these include some descendants of Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany to settle in the UK, who now wish to claim their German citizenship. German law allows anyone stripped of their German citizenship by the Nazis “on political, racial or religious grounds” between 1933 and 1945 to reclaim it, and this includes their descendants.

“I’m like, OK, if I don’t have to give up my British passport, don’t have to speak German and don’t have to have residency, then why not? What do I have to lose?” author and journalist Thomas Harding, whose book “Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz” was published in 2013 by Random House and Simon & Schuster, told CBC.

Harding came from the kind of Jewish refugee family who wouldn’t buy a German car or appliance when he was growing up, never mind reclaim its German citizenship. But he already knows what he would say to those polite German officials who would question him on his motives for coming home to the fatherland. “We never rejected Germany, Germany rejected us,” Harding offers his eloquent explanation. “We were German citizens and the Nazis ceased our citizenship in 1939. My grandmother always felt part of Germany.”

In 1993, a trip He took with his grandmother, Elsie, to look for her family’s summer home, seized by the Nazis in a village near Berlin, became the subject of Harding’s latest book, “The House by the Lake.” So that for Harding Brexit was not so much the reason as the final push for his return to his ancestral country.

An estimated 70,000 Jews fled Nazi persecution to the UK from Germany, Austria and Central Europe before the start of WW2. About 10,000 Jewish children came on the Kindertransport. Today, a German passport offers their descendants the freedom to travel, live and work anywhere in the 28 EU nations, which other Britons have given up with their Brexit vote.

Of course, most of the UK’s estimated 260,000 Jews wouldn’t dream of applying for any EU passport, never mind the German one, although some, we are led to understand, are considering applying for a Blue passport, the one that comes with that controversial anthem, Hatikva.

David Israel

ON THE FRONTLINES: For the First Time Since 1930’s Jews Returning to the Lions Gate

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Rising website}

Today’s trip into the depths of the “Muslim Quarter” brought myself and Rabbi Ben Packer to a recently reacquired pro
perty near to the Lion’s Gate. The property was found to belong to Jews when an attorney investigating another property saw this one listed in the binder.

Nestled up and to the left of the Lion’s Gate, the neighborhood has had no Jews living in it since the 1930’s when they were driven out.  In fact, the Border Patrol by the Lion’s Gate stopped us before getting permission from their commanders to let us through.

The property shares a courtyard with an Arab family who were very pleasant and received us warmly. According to reports the Arab on Arab crime in the neighborhood makes it a dangerous area altogether.  The family like others hopes that the presence of Jewish residents will bring much needed police and development.

Watch the video.

lions-gate_-packer-4-768x432

David Mark

Tamar Yonah Show – Jews Who Fight For Freedom and the Price We Pay [audio]

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Since the beginning, the Jewish People have been fighting for freedom. As evil regimes and power-hungry dictators try to rise up, feeling themselves ‘superior’ to others and enslaving them under their empires, the Jewish People stand up and say “No!” to tyranny. Until this day, power-hungry regimes try to kill the Jewish People and the light to the world they carry. Guest, Aaron Braunstein from the Jewish Covenant Alliance,  talks to Tamar about how Israel must continue to hold the torch of freedom, in order to prevent oppressive regimes like Iran, from taking over and spreading their evil empire.

Also, Shifra Hoffman of VictimsOfArabTerror.org  and Shuva.net  talks about joins us and talks about the rise (again) in terror attacks against Israel.

Tamar Yonah Show 18Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Frank Lloyd Wright, Meyer Levin, And The Jews

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), who designed more than 1,000 structures and is widely recognized as the most influential architect of all time, was also an interior designer, writer, and educator. He believed in designing buildings in harmony with the environment, a philosophy he called “organic architecture,” perhaps best exemplified by his Fallingwater (1935), which has been characterized as the best work of architecture in American history.

singer-091616-turner

He also developed the model of the “Usonian home,” his unique vision for American urban planning free of previous architectural conventions. His work includes original and innovative examples of many building types including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums, and he also designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.

Though Wright’s anti-Semitism was generally known, he struggled to keep it under tight control because many of his important clients were Jewish. However, when provoked, he would often resort to anti-Semitic invective; for example, he critically categorized some of his drafting room companions as “Jews” and when a Jewish apprentice came in over bid, he snapped: “Let your beard grow back and go on being a rabbi.”

His vituperation extended to making anti-Jewish remarks about his colleagues; for example, irritated that architect Albert Chase McArthur had married a Jewish woman, he always referred to their son as “Jew boy.” He vociferously accused Jews of being “warmongers” and publicly ratified Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford’s blaming the Jews for America’s entry into World War II.

It is therefore ironic that two of Wright’s most famous works were designed for Jews: Fallingwater for Edgar J. Kaufmann and the Guggenheim Museum for Solomon Guggenheim. Also ironic is that one of his most recognized works is Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, considered by many critics to be his most beautiful and expressive house of worship. Wright described the building as a “luminous Mount Sinai,” and the structural and decorative elements of the building were designed to reinforce its relationship to Jewish ceremony and events of the Jewish faith.

However, Wright made a point of declaring, “I will design an American synagogue for Jewish Americans, but I will not design a Jewish synagogue.”

Wright’s colorful personal life often made headlines, most notably for the 1914 fire and murders at his famous Taliesin studio in Wisconsin. In a November 9, 1946 letter from and about Taliesin, exhibited with this column, he writes:

Meyer Levin did something on Taliesin in Coronet when we were just starting this cultural enterprize [sic], and it might be nice to have the progress we’ve made recorded now, but we are leaving for our camp in Arizona on the fifteenth. Now is a poor time to photograph Taliesin Midwest so perhaps next June?

Wright is referring to the December 1937 issue of Coronet (also exhibited here) in which Levin wrote the feature article on Wright and the rebuilt Taliesin, which he describes as “a little Utopia, a Shangri-La.” In the article, which reads almost like a love letter to Wright and his work, Levin discusses Wright’s recent construction projects and the architect’s thirty apprentices who comprise the “Taliesin Fellowship.” The prose is accompanied by lovely drawings of several of Wright’s buildings, including specifically the “House for Edgar Kaufmann” (i.e., Fallingwater).

Levin, who greatly admired Wright, later wrote The Architect (1981), a masterwork in which he revisited early 20th century Chicago in a fictionalized treatment of Wright’s life.

Considered one of the most important Jewish writers and filmmakers of his time, the eclectic Levin (1905-1981) was a noted chronicler of contemporary Jewish life who dedicated his life to Jews, particularly Holocaust survivors, and to Jewish causes, particularly Israel’s struggle for birth and survival. As a war correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, his special mission was to uncover the fate of concentration camp prisoners. He was one of the first Americans to enter Dachau, Buchenwald, Theresienstadt, and Buchenwald and report on the atrocities he witnessed there. He later joined the Haganah underground in Palestine and his film The Illegals, which detailed the smuggling of Jews from Poland to Eretz Yisrael, is to this day acclaimed by film historians as a brilliant early example of cinema veritè, combining improvisation with the use of the camera to unveil hidden truths.

Levin worked on a kibbutz near Haifa and his first novel, Yehudah, was about kibbutz life. He went on to write several Jewish works, including Beginnings in Jewish Philosophy, The Story of Israel, An Israel Haggadah for Passover, The Story of the Synagogue, The Story of the Jewish Way of Life, and The Jewish Heritage. His massive 1972 novel The Settlers told the story of the Jewish pioneers in Eretz Yisrael in the early years of the 20th century.

singer-091616-coronetMany of his books were set among the Russian-Jewish immigrants in Chicago he knew so well, including Citizens (1940), a novel framed against the 1937 Chicago steel strikes about a Jewish doctor and the victims of a police massacre.

Levin famously became entangled in lawsuits with both Nathan Leopold, of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, and Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father.

In Compulsion (1956), his less-than-subtle fictionalization of the case of Leopold and Loeb, who were convicted of the murder of young Bobby Franks in 1924, Levin, who had been a classmate of both murderers, wrote a sympathetic treatment of Leopold credited with playing a significant role in his parole in 1958. Even here, however, Levin could not escape his preoccupation with the Holocaust, as he analyzed the protagonists from the perspective of the Shoah and ultimately cast them as a paradigm for Nazi Germany.

After its publication, the paroled Leopold brought a $1.5 million damage suit against Levin, alleging that that the dramatized account had unjustly appropriated his name for profit. The case was dismissed, with the court ruling that the First Amendment protected Levin’s fictionalized narrative.

Levin proved less successful, however, in a lawsuit he filed against Otto Frank – the father of Anne Frank – and the producers of the 1955 film “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Having immediately recognized Anne’s diary as a true voice of the Holocaust, Levin embraced it as his path to achieving what had become his life’s purpose from the moment he’d entered the concentration camps: to somehow make the unfathomable Holocaust real to the world. Among the first to focus on the significance of the diary and to recognize its literary and dramatic potential, he played a key role in publishing and publicizing Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in America (1952) after most New York publishers had rejected it. After Otto Frank granted him exclusive rights to adapt The Diary for a stage production, Levin drafted a script – many Holocaust deniers insist that the original diary itself was actually written by Levin – and became consumed with the desire to see his play performed.

However, Otto wanted Anne to be remembered as a positive symbol of hope rather than as a wretched Holocaust victim and, unhappy with Levin’s emphasis on the “Jewish elements” of his daughter’s story, he replaced Levin with other screenwriters. In Obsession (1973), Levin chronicled what he perceived to be conspiracies against him by powerful Broadway cabals, assimilated Jews, and others who, seeking to strip the Shoah of its inherently Jewish character, desired to make Anne a heroine with universal appeal.

Levin, sick with outrage over the attempt to play down Anne’s Jewishness, waged an obsessive battle to regain the rights to stage her story. To the dismay of much of the Jewish world, he sued Otto Frank in 1957. The case was ultimately settled after much acrimony with Otto paying $15,000 to Levin who, in turn, assigned all his rights to his Anne Frank script, and any interest he had in the diary, to Otto.

We end with a thought-provoking contrast, particularly for Jews: On the one hand, we have the anti-Semitic Frank Lloyd Wright, whose name and important contributions to architecture will be remembered forever; on the other hand, there is the incredibly talented Meyer Levin, one of the leading literary lights of the 20th century whose life and soul were spent fighting for Jews and Jewish causes but who, sadly, has already been largely forgotten.

Saul Jay Singer

American Campuses And Jews Who Know Not Zion

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

As another academic year begins at American colleges and universities, one can expect to see a continuation of the pattern in recent years in which many Jewish students either take a neutral stance in the face of the currently rampant campus assault on Israel or actually join in the assault.

Among the latter, some embrace the self-described “pro-Israel” but, in fact, Israel-bashing campus incarnation of J-Street, while others go further and enlist in the ranks of groups less coy than J Street, groups that, for example,  more unambiguously promote the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) agenda against Israel.

These include the explicitly anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). A number of Jewish students even join the cadres of the often openly anti-Semitic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), founded as an offshoot of the General Union of Palestinian Students and now the premiere BDS-cheerleading, Israel-demonizing organization on American campuses.

Significant voices in the Jewish community, looking at this phenomenon, and perceiving as well in some quarters beyond the universities a decrease in American Jewish identification with Israel, correlate these developments with supposed Israeli government failure to take steps towards advancing peace.

This argument has been made by, among others, Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, a newspaper produced with the support of the UJA-Federation of New York.

In an article that appeared earlier this year under the title “Frustration with Israel Growing Here at Home,” Rosenblatt discusses what he reports as having heard from members of the Jewish community, including community leaders, of grievances against Israel. Seemingly topping the list, and reflecting a view clearly shared by Rosenblatt, is “The hard fact… that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans, including many Jews, who want to see greater efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict and who put the onus for the impasse on Jerusalem.”

In the same vein, Rosenblatt observes, “Whether or not it is fair, the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and intransigent…” And “One national leader told me he’d like to fly to Israel, with a group of his top colleagues, to try to convince Netanyahu in dramatic fashion of the need for ‘a plan, any plan’ to break the impasse.”

And while these statements are couched as representing what Rosenblatt has heard from others, it is in his own voice that he states near the end of the piece “… Netanyahu and his government will continue to make decisions based on their own narrow and immediate political interests, and we can only hope they will coincide with national interests as well.”

The obvious implication is that the author does not see the prime minister as having been acting in Israel’s national interest, and that – reflecting the thrust of the article – Rosenblatt is referring specifically to the prime minister’s not being forthcoming enough in the quest for peace.

But can the falling away from Israel observed among many Jewish students on American campuses and among others in the American Jewish community genuinely be correlated with Israel’s not doing enough to advance peace?

First, is it true that Israel is responsible for the impasse vis-a-vis peace?

Any objective look at the history of efforts to achieve peace and at the reality on the ground today can only conclude that the claim of Israeli culpability is not credible.

Palestinian leadership is currently divided between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, which governs in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Hamas is openly dedicated not only to the killing of all Jews in Israel but all Jews worldwide. With Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians living there were free to turn the territory into another Singapore or Hong Kong and would have had wide Arab world and other support for doing so. That their leaders have chosen instead to eschew pursuing the building of a prosperous state for the sake of hewing to their genocidal priorities can hardly be blamed on Israel and cannot be remedied by any Israeli concessions.
The agenda of the Palestinian Authority differs little from that of Hamas. Abbas and his PA and Fatah associates insist on Israel’s illegitimacy and assert constantly that Jews have no historical, authentic connection to the land and are merely colonialist usurpers whose presence must be extirpated. The message hammered in their media, preached in their mosques, and taught in their schools is lurid defamation of Jews and the promotion of dedication to Jew-killing and to Israel’s destruction as the obligation of every Palestinian.

Abbas himself has repeatedly insisted that he will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders. He has rejected every offer of territorial compromise because proposals of a settlement have been conditioned on such Palestinian recognition of Israel and explicit acceptance of an agreement as a final status document. He and those around him refuse to forego future additional claims against Israel with the ultimate objective of the Jewish state’s dissolution. This was the same reason why Arafat in 2000 rejected Ehud Barak and President Clinton’s offers of a settlement and instead launched his terror war against Israel.

When Netanyahu imposed a ten-month moratorium on all construction within settlements, something no other prime minister had ever done, Abbas waited almost until the expiration of the moratorium to agree to a meeting and then predicated further meetings on an extension of the moratorium. Netanyahu has since been offering resuming bilateral negotiations without preconditions; Abbas refuses.

Abbas’s preferred scenario, like Arafat’s before him – the scenario Abbas is currently promoting at the UN and in Europe – is imposition of a territorial agreement on Israel backed up by international sanctions, an agreement that will entail no direct obligations on the PA but rather grant it a state without obliging it to forego further claims against Israel. It is the strategy enshrined in the Palestine Liberation Organization’s 1974 “plan of phases,” in which the PLO proposed to take whatever land it could gain by diplomacy and use that land as a base for pursuing Israel’s annihilation.

All of this is well known to anyone who cares to know. To correlate the falling away of support for Israel among some Jews, including some who have embraced stridently anti-Israel positions, with supposed Israeli intransigence vis-a-vis the quest for peace is disingenuous at best.

But there is a correlation to be made. Whatever weakening there is of Jewish support for Israel, on American campuses or elsewhere, can be correlated with the intensity of the local assault on Israel. Where the assault is most intense, so too is the falling away.

It has always been thus when Jews have been under siege, whether the target has been Diaspora Jewish communities or the Jewish state. Invariably some Jews have sought a solution to the painful onslaught by embracing the arguments of the attackers – however bigoted or absurd. They would either promote communal self-reform to, they imagine, placate the attackers; or detach themselves from the community to escape the assault; or even join the attackers to more dramatically disassociate themselves from the targeted Jews.

Israel’s experience of chronic besiegement has led to such reactions even within the country. Such predilections lay behind the Oslo process.

Arafat had never hidden his determination to pursue Israel’s destruction. Indeed, on the very night of the famous handshake on the White House lawn in September 1993, and the signing of the initial Oslo accords, Arafat was on Jordanian television from Washington explaining to his constituency and to the wider Arab world that they should understand Oslo as the first phase of the aforementioned “plan of phases” for Israel’s annihilation.

He and his associates repeated this and similar declarations of their ultimate objective, as well as engaged in other forms of anti-Israel incitement, throughout the weeks and months that followed. In addition, in the wake of Arafat’s arrival in the territories, terrorism reached levels of intensity never before seen in Israel.

Yet virtually half the population of Israel, and a much higher percentage of its elites, insisted on deluding themselves into believing that Israeli concessions via the Oslo process would placate the nation’s enemies and lead to peace.

Only after Arafat turned down all the concessions made by Ehud Barak at Camp David in the summer of 2000, likewise rejected President Clinton’s proposals, offered no counter-proposals, and instead launched his terror war, which over the ensuing few years killed more than a thousand Israelis and left thousands more horribly maimed, did those Israelis enthralled with Oslo begin to wake in large numbers from their delusions. Still more did so in response to Israel’s unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza in 2005 and receiving in return thousands of rockets aimed at its cities and villages and three mini-wars.

There remain Israelis who, despite all the intrusions of blood-soaked reality on their wishful reveries, continue to embrace fantasies of Palestinian leaders as peace partners and Israeli concessions as resolving the conflict. But they are far fewer now, as reflected in recent elections and opinion polls. It is significant, however, that greatly overrepresented among them are members of the nation’s elites – cultural, academic, journalistic, and elements of the political elite. Consequently, much of the chatter we hear from Israel, chatter dominated by those elites, entails reprises of Oslo-era delusions and gives a very misleading picture of what most Israelis think now.

Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor, touches on this in a cogent response to Rosenblatt titled “Why Israel Is Frustrated with American Jewish Leaders: Fringe Israeli voices that polarize and demonize our society are given legitimacy and resources in America” (published by Rosenblatt, to his credit, in The Jewish Week on January 27, 2016). Steinberg points out that many American Jewish leaders take their cue from such marginal voices. He goes on: “Like most Israelis, I also hope for a peace plan, but not any plan, and certainly not one that will bring us yet another disaster when it fails…. So no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR among liberal students, but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.”

But the problem is not simply that American Jewish leaders respond to fringe Israeli voices that demonize Israel and do so because such voices, while marginal within Israel, are overrepresented within the Jewish state’s vocal elites. Rather, too many American Jewish leaders are predisposed to embrace the message of those voices, the message that a solution to the conflict could be had if Israel would only will it. And they are predisposed to that message because too many American Jewish leaders are swayed by the indictments of Israel coming from strata of America with which they identify: the Obama administration, major constituencies within the Democrat party, elements of the cultural elite, the liberal churches, the professoriate and its campuses.

They are eager to embrace these groups’ indictments as fair and reasonable, even though they are not, and to seek modification of Israeli policies to assuage the indicters, all – as Steinberg suggests – with little consideration of what most Israelis think or of Israel’s actual predicament.

Again, this is an old story. Indeed, criticism of Zionist aspirations by some Jewish leaders and elements of the broader Jewish community, criticism in deference to external pressures, long predated the modern Zionist movement. In, for example, German states in central Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a major argument invoked against extending civic rights to Jews was that the Jews constituted a separate nation and so were unfit for such rights. A common Jewish response was to disavow any such national self-comprehension; and new, reformist congregations even stripped the liturgy of references to longing for Zion and Jerusalem to emphasize this new self-definition.

In addition, as is typical when minorities embrace the indictments of the surrounding majorities and seek to appease them via self-reform, Jews following this course did not acknowledge they were doing so to appease bigoted attackers. Rather, they cast their course as moral and ethical. They argued that while Judaism always had its universal mission, a mission of promoting a more ethical, humane order in the world, Judaism as a light unto the nations, that mission had become Judaism’s exclusive role over the preceding two millennia and any return to national aspirations was an atavistic step to be shunned.

(It took the Holocaust to swing many leaders of Reform Judaism in America, a branch of the faith derived in large part from reformist German Jewish congregations, to support the Zionist project and recognize the Jewish desire for national self-determination as not atavistic after all.)

The anti-Jewish indictment arguing that Jews did not deserve equal civic rights because they were part of a separate nation, and the accommodating response by major elements of the community, merged with a related indictment and related response.

An additional, common anti-Jewish line of attack was that Jews were uniquely disposed to focus only on their own narrow, parochial interests and disregard the plight of those beyond their own community. The response by some Jewish leaders and others within the community was to eschew Jewish communal issues – even as Jews were confronted with particular challenges and particular threats; to ostentatiously demonstrate their devotion to addressing problems other than those of their own community; and to depict the abandonment of the former and devotion to the latter as the moral, ethical course.

Essentially the same dynamic can be seen at play today as many Jewish leaders and the communal institutions they head give priority to accommodating those elements of American society critical of Israel, elements which they – in a skewed vision of reality that has its own distinct history – are predisposed to see as representative of the moral, ethical course which is the proper, universal Jewish vocation. They are more prone to giving ground in the face of criticism of Israel by those elements, however unfair and biased the criticism, than in looking closely at the threats Israel faces and its strategic challenges and vulnerabilities and responding forcefully to critics who ignore those realities.

It should come as no shock then, given all this, that so many Jewish students go off to college knowing little of those realities. How can it be otherwise when – even looking at students who grow up in households connected to Jewish institutions – what they and their families hear in their temples and read in their Jewish newspapers and imbibe from other community organs is as likely to be indictments of Israeli policy, all too fully internalized by rabbis and editors and organization heads, than any informed, reality-based,  clear-sighted, intellectually honest and unapologetic defense of Israel?

And what do Jewish students encounter on campus? One reality greeting them will be a well-documented increase in anti-Semitism, including even, in some instances, physical assaults on Jews, much of it incited and perpetrated by the, again, often openly Jew-baiting Students for Justice in Palestine (or, perhaps more properly, Students for Judaeophobia), whose objective is Israel’s annihilation. As noted, they will also encounter some Jews among the mostly Muslim cadres of SJP.

Also greeting them on many campuses will be what is, in effect, SJP’s Jewish auxiliary, Jewish Voice for Peace. Like “Students for Justice in Palestine,” “Jewish Voice for Peace” is a propaganda-driven misnomer; the only peace the organization proffers for Israelis is the peace of the dead. A perusal of its website reveals its parroting of virtually every anti-Israel canard promoted by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and their fellow travelers, and its endorsing of those groups’ goals.

For JVP, prior to the League of Nations action mandating creation of a Jewish homeland in “Palestine,” the area was not part of the Ottoman Empire but rather a Palestinian Arab state which the Jews subsequently usurped; and there was no Arab expulsion of close to a million Jews from Arab nations, and no Arab efforts to annihilate the Jews of the Mandate, and Jews have no right to national self-determination, and Palestinian Arabs have the right to pursue Israel’s dissolution.

That a small minority of Jewish students take the extreme step of affiliating with JVP or SJP should not be entirely surprising. Motivations no doubt vary from individual to individual. Some, for example, may simply be following a family tradition of bowdlerized, ultimately auto-genocidal, Jewish “morality,” while others may be rebelling against a more conventional familial Jewish connectedness.

But the broader reality is that, again, whenever Jews have been under attack there have always been some who seek to escape the assault by joining the attackers.

Perhaps this is even more the case in an academic environment, as students are particularly eager to be accepted by their peers and their professors and to deck themselves in the current campus fashion, whether its hue be far-Left red or fascist brown. The strange contemporary alliance between red and brown, far Left “progressivism” and Islamist fascism, seems particularly compelling for some.

J Street’s campus operation, which, like the parent organization, characterizes itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace, and which promotes the parent organization’s policies, has drawn a much larger following among Jewish students than JVP or SJP. But its pro-Israel claims run counter to those policies.

Israelis of almost all political stripes reject a return to the pre-1967 armistice lines, the so-called Green Line, in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The consensus is, as the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (the key UN document relating to the territorial issue) asserted, that those lines left Israel too vulnerable and invited further aggression against the country.

Yitzhak Rabin, in his last Knesset speech prior to his assassination, listed West Bank areas – an incomplete list, he indicated – that Israel would need to retain and populate in any final settlement to assure its security and survival. Yet J Street opposes any Israeli presence beyond the Green Line and advocates the United States supporting, via unilateral policy initiatives or a UN Security Council resolution or an initiative in conjunction with other major powers, reversing Resolution 242 and endorsing the Green Line as the basis for defining a future border.

J Street also advocates the United States instituting punitive measures against Israel for any activity beyond the Green Line. It also claims that American administrations have consistently viewed settlements beyond the Green Line as “illegal,” when in fact only the Carter Administration labeled them illegal and, as attested to by many experts in the field, there is much in international law that weighs in favor of their legality.

Israelis have fought three wars against Hamas in Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, with each conflict triggered by Hamas attacks, particularly rocket fire, against Israel’s civilian population. Yet J Street has repeatedly drawn a moral equivalence between Israel and its openly genocidal foe, and has often parroted Hamas claims and statistics about the course of the conflicts and the resultant casualties.

J Street is consistently silent about the goals of Hamas and of the Palestinian Authority, their mutual rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders in “Palestine,” and the PA’s rejection of all negotiation proposals offered by Israel or by the United States.

J Street asserts it opposes the “global BDS movement” that targets all of Israel for boycott, divestment and sanction, but does not oppose BDS efforts targeting the territories beyond the Green Line. It sees such boycotts as consistent with its goal of promoting Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line. But, again, the vast majority of Israelis, along with notable Western military and strategic experts, believe that such a withdrawal would render Israel fatally vulnerable.

In addition, the “global BDS movement” also promotes, like J Street, more circumscribed boycotts limited to the territories, as in its partially successful efforts to advance such boycotts in Europe. It does so because it knows that even such limited boycotts, which serve to weaken Israel’s presence in the territories, in advancing the goal of Israeli retreat to the Green Line serves also to undermine Israel’s strategic viability and ultimate survival.

J Street has worked with supporters of the Iranian government and strongly backed last year’s agreement with Iran that legitimized that nation’s nuclear program and released to the mullahs over $100 billion in embargoed funds in exchange for limited curtailment of its pursuit of operable nuclear weapons. It did so even as Iran has consistently reasserted its goal of annihilating Israel and consistently used its resources to arm and finance terrorist proxies, such as Hizbullah, that target Israel.

The leadership of J Street is obviously less interested in the concerns of most Israelis and the realities of their predicament than in aligning itself with an American administration ambivalent at best towards those concerns and realities and with other elites in America who share similar attitudes.

Among Jewish students, J Street’s true believers are drawn largely from those whose priorities are the same. Its Jewish student support is also drawn from those who see in J Street a middle course between unabashed advocacy of the rightness of Israel’s case and the legitimacy of its concerns and outright embrace of the assaults of those who want Israel destroyed, a middle course that many hope will pass muster as compatible with the campus zeitgeist. The group also attracts some of the innocent and uninformed who are sympathetic to Israel but know too little to appreciate the dangers that J-Street’s agenda represents for Israelis.

It is particularly among the latter two groups that the failure of much of American Jewish leadership as reflected in Gary Rosenblatt’s article looms large, the failure of leaders who bewail the falling away from concern with Israel’s well-being but seek to place the onus for the falling away on Israel.

The assault on American Jewish students is intense and entails not only the hate-filled attacks of fellow students but all too often similar hatred emanating from faculty, especially in the humanities and social sciences (and even faculty focused on Jewish studies, as recently reflected in the ugly, intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt anti-Israel screed produced by Hasia Diner and Marjorie N. Fried and published in Haaretz on August 1), as well as the widespread tolerance of college and university administrations for the assault on Israel and its supporters.

Students are rendered more vulnerable to the corrosive impact of the assault on their identification with Israel when Jewish leaders are remiss in their responsibilities to counter that vulnerability both by arming students with the truth about Israel and by providing a strong counter-force against those forces engineering the assault.

Rather than offering such a counter-force, some leaders of major Jewish organizations actually extend support to those engaged in the campus assault on Israel. Earlier this year, the current head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, a former high-ranking Obama administration official, spoke to J Street students and essentially endorsed policies toward Israel promoted in J Street’s campus activities. The ADL, both under Greenblatt and his predecessor, Abe Foxman, has also criticized state and federal efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation, including legislation to withhold funds from institutions of higher learning that enact BDS measures.

The ADL has argued that its stance is based on the defense of freedom of speech. But it requires considerable logical contortion to twist into a free speech issue withholding taxpayer funds from publicly supported colleges and universities that pursue policies biased against Israel and ultimately aimed at undermining that nation’s viability. The ADL stance seems rather to be directed towards conforming to the political predilections of particular echelons in America with which its leaders identify, and to doing so with little regard for the impact on Israelis and their well-being.

Among campus developments illustrative of the failure of American Jewish leadership vis-a-vis Jewish college and university students, few are as noteworthy as the relatively new “Open Hillel” phenomenon.

Hillel has long provided a center for Jewish activities and connectedness on campuses for those students seeking such connectedness and has, of course, been the leading organization in doing so. It reports that it has a presence at more than 550 colleges and universities. With regard to Israel, Hillel International guidelines declare that the organization is “steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations.”

The guidelines also assert that “Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; [or] exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

But in recent years, students on some campuses have taken exception to these guidelines and insisted, for example, that their campus Hillels host events co-sponsored by the virulently anti-Israel SJP and the hardly less anti-Israel JVP, both of which delegitimize and demonize Israel and seek to undermine its existence. Under the rubric “Open Hillel,” advocates of this course claim they are simply seeking to broaden the discussion of Israel beyond the positions articulated in the Hillel guidelines.

The first “Open Hillel” conference was held in the fall of 2014 and reportedly drew more than 350 participants. Jewish Voice for Peace played a prominent role in the conference program, as did other voices hostile to Israel and challenging of its very existence. An attendee, writing in The Tower Magazine, noted that “… while there were definitely some views expressed that were even more extreme than JVP, I never heard a single opinion expressed that could be called more ardently Zionist than J Street – which itself has a very problematic relationship with Zionism.”

Thus far only a handful of campus Hillels in America have declared themselves to have embraced the “Open Hillel” agenda. But in fact, many more do partner with organizations that support BDS at some level and promote other anti-Israel policies, most notably J Street but also at times groups such as JVP and even SJP. A key explanation for this is that many, likely most, rabbis serving as Hillel directors – either because of views held before coming to their Hillel position or because they have been won over to conforming to popular campus biases – are themselves sympathetic to the intellectually insupportable and morally obtuse blaming of Israeli policy for the absence of peace and for the wide hostility to Israel in academic circles.

In contrast, those Hillel directors who are fully supportive of Hillel International’s guidelines regarding Israel and are unabashed supporters of the Jewish state and its right to demand a genuine and defensible peace in return for concessions are a distinct minority.

Moreover, Hillel International has not aggressively sought to hold Hillel chapters to the guidelines on Israel as a condition for their continuing to use the Hillel name. Nor has the wider community of leading Jewish organizations openly addressed the highly problematic developments within this key Jewish campus institution, much less taken a stance on those developments. No doubt this is, again, in large part because so many prominent figures in those organizations are likely to be among the Jewish leaders who are not prepared to challenge Israel-baiting segments of society, such as major elements of academia, with which they identify, and prefer instead to blame Israeli policy for those groups’ hostility to Israel.

One hears some voices in Jewish leadership who are essentially sympathetic to the strong Hillel International parameters regarding Israel but at the same time argue that Jewish organizational life ought to provide a “big tent” and be open to Jews of all opinions who want to identify with the community.

Proponents of this view suggest, regarding Hillel, it ought to be seen as a positive that those Jewish students so critical of Israel nevertheless want to be part of campus Jewish communal life.

But of course they want to be part of Hillel not to share a common space with Jewish students different from themselves – Jewish students who, for example, see Israel differently from how they do. If that were their interest, they would create an “Open J Street” and “Open JVP.” Rather, they want to be part of Hillel so they can undermine support for Israel from within the flagship Jewish campus organization; so that they can use the organization in their quest to separate identifying with Israel – at least Israel as comprehended by and defended by the great majority of Israelis – from Jewish identity.

It is certainly true that one can identify as Jewish and even be committed to living life in a manner infused with Jewish content and yet be critical of the Zionist project or supportive of policies that would compromise Israel’s security and threaten its viability. But to welcome such people within a “big tent” of Jewish communal life is morally problematic. It entails giving communal sanction to those who would either deprive fellow Jews of the right of national self-determination accorded other groups or endanger the welfare and lives of the more than six million Jews for whom Israel is home.

Nor can the widespread hostility to Israel, nor the murderous hostility to all Jews that seeks justification in anti-Zionism, be legitimately invoked by Jews as a reason for challenging the Zionist project or Israeli policies vital to the security of the state. Again, it has been all too common for some Jews, in the face of anti-Jewish bigotry, even murderous bigotry, to blame other Jews rather than the haters.

More broadly, whatever the rationale or motivation, it is morally obtuse for Jewish leaders, such as those alluded to in the Gary Rosenblatt article cited earlier, to ignore the realities of Israel’s predicament and to insist on dangerous concessions by Israel to appease those indifferent to or hostile to the nation’s well-being, whether Jews or non-Jews, whether they are on American campuses or elsewhere.

Israel’s primary obligation is not to win a popularity contest either in the world at large or within some Jewish “big tent,” many of whose members have priorities inimical to the state’s well-being. Rather, its obligation is to protect and defend its citizens, build the state along the same ethical, Jewish and democratic principles that have been its essential guidelines since its founding, and to make its case as best its can to the world, including to the jaundiced within the Jewish world, but never to compromise its vital interests for the sake of advancing its case.

As Gerald Steinberg said in response to Rosenblatt, “… no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR… but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.” If that displeases some in the American Jewish establishment, then shame on them.

Kenneth Levin

History Of Jews In Golders Green

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

After the Jews were allowed back into England around 1656, they came from Europe by ship into the ports on the English East coast, mainly London, but also to some of the smaller ports, such as Dover.

London during that time period was a small city, bounded by a medieval wall with many gates, some of whose names are still in use today: Moorgate and Aldgate, for example. Indeed in the city itself one of the main streets retains the name London Wall, and the remaining sections of the wall can be seen alongside it.

The Jews who landed at London’s port, located at the eastern end of the city, did not have the wherewithal to go far, and settled in what it still known as the “East End,” like what happened in the Lower East Side of New York.

In 1809, the underground railway was extended to Golders Green and beyond, and many Jews who could afford to began moving in that direction. This was probably the real start of the Jews settling in the NW London areas.

Mikvah

Mikvah

There has been a prominent Jewish community in this part of London since the first half of the 20th century. The Jewish community took root after Hitler’s rise to power, with the first German Jewish immigrants forming the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash. Soon after, Galician Jewish immigrants formed other synagogues. With these shuls came the start of Jewish schools such as Menorah before the onset of World War II.

By the 1950s, the Jewish population had tripled. Today there are close to 50 kosher restaurants and eateries under rabbinical supervision in Golders Green. There are also more than 60 synagogues dotted throughout the area serving the extremely Orthodox to the quite liberal. They continue into neighbouring Hendon. In addition, there are 30 schools (some in outlying areas due to space restriction), many of them private.

Dustan Road

Dustan Road

In 1922, a group of Orthodox Jews consecrated a synagogue at Dunstan Road, Golders Green, and since then many others have joined them in that 2-mile square of space. The synagogue still stands. During the week you will see many Jews dressed in traditional clothing and openly wearing head coverings. As can be found in other parts of the world today, the shuls do have security, but Baruch Hashem there has not been any trouble or difficulty in Golders Green to disturb Orthodox Jews. As a matter of fact, on Shabbat and all holidays, very many walk to shul with their talliseim worn openly over their coat and heads covered by a hat or a shtreimel.

Jews make up 37% of the population according to the 2011 census, whereas Christians made up 26%. Ethnically, the Golders Green ward was 64% white (43% British, 21% other, 1% Irish).

Today, there is also an eiruv and at least one mikvah.

Golders Green is well known as a secure and safe “hub” of the London Jewish community.

Murray Lee

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/features-on-jewish-world/history-of-jews-in-golders-green/2016/09/11/

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