Why does the State of Israel observe the Jewish national day of mourning called Tisha b’Av every year?

Tisha b’Av is a Jewish fast day which has been commemorated annually on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. for the last 2500 years. It commemorates the destruction of the two Jewish temples built in Jerusalem that . The first temple was destroyed in 423 BC by the Babylonians and the second temple was destroyed by the Romans  in 70 Ad. Both events symbolized the end of Jewish sovereignty in those eras and both entailed the exile of the Jewish people exiled from their native land.  Today happens to be Tisha B’Av,  and while normally I commemorate this day outside of the modern State of Israel, this year I am fortunate to be spending it in Jerusalem, Israel. In fact, I can tell you that this is no minor fast, either in the diaspora or in Israel. In addition to a full day of fasting and prayer, many institutions sponsor talks and film screenings relevant to the theme of the destruction of the temple and the exile of the Jewish people in history.  The question for me is why does the State of Israel and the Jewish people all over the world, continue to observe this National Day of Mourning, today, since we now have a sovereign Jewish state in the ancient land of Israel.

One answer from the religious community, the community which regulates these religious rituals, is that although we now have political sovereignty, we have not yet achieved spiritual sovereignty in which all peoples respect each other and work together for the common good. This hope in the potential for a shared future of social goodness and peace – the future messianic times – as we all know, sadly, has not yet arrived. Our history tells us that the destruction and exiles of the Jewish people were caused not so much by the external forces but the internal divisions of the Jews of the time, that prevented a united front against the enemies.

Although the State of Israel can lay claim to many incredible achievements of the last 70 years, our history warns us not to rest on our laurels but to be vigilant and eager to improve our social fabric and unity of the Jewish people under the Divine rules of Justice and Mercy prescribed for us in our Torah.

In Jerusalem, on Tish b’A I participated in a film festival called “The Earth Trembles”: Contemporary Israeli films on contemporary social and political subjects were screened in the presence of the producers and actors.

The strength of the Jewish people is in its capacity to remember, not to forget, and to learn from the past. This is the ongoing task of the study of Torah, our holy books, which are meant to teach us the path how to improve the world we live in, not only for ourselves, but for all mankind.

Education for all, starting at birth, is a very large part of the Jewish endeavor. This is why it is hard to pull the wool over our eyes when others try to interpret our motives.

 

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech, at the January 14 meeting of the PLO’s Central Council lasted two hours.

Mahmoud Abbas, photo via Office of the President of Russia

Appealing to fashionable legal and moral fads, particularly in Western Europe, Abbas again set forth the supposedly problematic aspects of Zionism. His “historical survey” undoubtedly fails the minimum test of facts, but it is uncritically accepted in many circles.

Israeli Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen parsed his speech and here is his rebuttal. BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 738, February 12, 2018

 

  • “By every historical account, the Zionist revolution – the incredible ingathering of the exiles and the establishment of the flourishing and highly successful state of Israel – is a unique and unprecedented phenomenon. Those who insist on viewing it as yet another immigration wave among the 20th century global population movements fail to grasp the real nature of this revolution. In this respect, Abbas touched the key issue that, in his eyes, made the Palestinians the main victim of Zionism: if the Jews yearn for a safe haven, and the international community wants to provide them with one, why does it have to be in Palestine, at the Palestinians’ expense?
  • Of all the leaders of the Zionist movement, it was Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, who dealt most extensively with the kinds of claims made by Abbas. Below are several passages from Abbas’s address followed by statements by Ben-Gurion on the same topic.
  • Abbas: “How did the problem in our region begin? They talk about the Balfour Declaration, promulgated a hundred years ago. They criticize us – why do we talk about something that happened a hundred years ago? And we say: ‘We will keep talking about the declaration until Britain apologizes and recognizes a Palestinian state’.”
  • Ben-Gurion: “Our right to the Land of Israel does not stem from the Mandate and the Balfour Declaration. It precedes those. The Bible is our mandate… I can state in the name of the Jewish People: The Bible is our mandate, the Bible that was written by us in our Hebrew language, and in this land itself, is our mandate. Our historical right has existed since our beginnings as the Jewish People, and the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate recognize and confirm that right” (testimony to the Peel Royal Commission, January 1937, Bama’archa, vol. 1, pp. 77-78).
  • “A homeland is not given as a gift and is not acquired by means of political rights and contracts. It is not purchased with gold and is not conquered by force, but is built with sweat. This homeland is a historical creation and a collective endeavor of a people, the fruit of its physical, spiritual, and moral labor down through the generations. … The Land of Israel will be ours not when the Turks, the English, or the next peace conference agrees to it, and it is undersigned in a diplomatic treaty – but when we, the Jews, build it. We will not attain the real, true, and lasting right to the land from others, but from our labor. For the Land of Israel to be ours, we must build it; the mission of our revival movement is the building of the land” (New York, September 1915, Mema’amad Le’am, p. 10).
  • Abbas: “The Egyptian thinker Abd al-Wahab al-Masri described the Zionist entity in this way: ‘The goal of Israel’s creation is to establish a colonial state that has no connection to Judaism’ – that is, it exploits the Jews to its end.”
  • Ben-Gurion: “The Jewish religion is a national religion, and it encapsulates all the historical experiences of the People Israel from its inception to the present; hence it is not easy to distinguish between the national side and the religious side” (Kochavim Ve’afar, p. 128).
  • “Zionism is a faithful striving for the eternity of Israel, and in these years the eternity of Israel is embodied in the state of Israel and in the Book of Books” (Kochavim Ve’afar, p. 155).
  • “Zionism – as the faith of the People Israel down through the generations – determined that the Land of Israel would solve the ‘question of the Jews’ in its entirety. Not a partial solution for a people, and not a solution for part of the people, but a full solution for an entire people. That is, for every Jew who needs and desires to live in the ancestral homeland… The People of Israel never believed in a duality of matter and spirit. Without the physical presence of the people in the land, its spiritual presence will not be built. The spiritual center of the Jewish People can exist only in the worldly center” (Speech to the 20th Zionist Congress, August 1937, Bama’archa, vol. 1, p. 238).
  • “The state of Israel is the fruit of the vision of the Jewish People’s redemption down through the generations… and with the establishment of the state, the redemption vision was not realized. Because the overwhelming majority of the Jewish People are still dispersed among the nations, and the Jewish state is still not the fulfillment of the Jewish redemption, it is only the main tool and means to its redemption” (Kochavim Ve’afar, p. 92).
  • Abbas: “Herzl was an educated person who dealt with theater and poetry and did not have a connection to the Zionist story. He dealt with the issue only because the Jewish question began to arise in Europe. The Jews were desperate because of general problems and a crisis within their communities, not because of their religion.”
  • Ben-Gurion: “From a Jewish standpoint Zionism is not just a flight from persecution and restrictive laws, but primarily love of a homeland and a vision of the rise of a nation-state. Our Zionism is composed of a national ideology, a feeling of love for the land, an aspiration to political independence. And of a desire and a need to settle in the Land of Israel. Take away from Zionism the hundreds-years-long love for the ancestral homeland, take away from Zionism the political aspiration to independence – and Zionism is emptied of its content” (Bama’archa, vol. 2, p. 48).
  • “The definition of Zionism’s ‘ultimate goal’ is nothing but the full and complete redemption of the People Israel in its land, the ingathering of the exiles, national sovereignty” (February 1937, Bama’archa, vol. 1, p. 190).
  • “What happened in the Land of Israel last year, what is happening every day to the Jews of Yemen, casts a cruel light on the chances for the ‘spiritual center’ of a Jewish minority in an Arab environment. But some of the champions of ‘the majority’ and the Jewish state, too, distort the true content of Zionism. A Jewish majority – is that indeed the goal? Let’s assume that there are a million Arabs in the country. Do a million-plus-one Jews constitute a solution for the question of the Jewish People? The realization of Zionism does not depend on the number of non-Jews in the country – but on the number of Jews who have the ability and the desire to settle there. It is not the number of non-Jews that is decisive – it is the desire and the need of the Jewish People and the capability of the country that is decisive, and this capability, too, is not predetermined but depends on the creative energies of the Jewish People” (February 1937, Bama’aracha, vol. 1, p. 158).

I believe that this is why we continue to observe the fast of T’isha b’Av – because we have so much to learn from both the heroes and villains of the past, we cannot afford to discard any part of our multifaceted history as we move forward towards the Messianic era, which we believe depends not just on grace but on the concerted memory and efforts of each and everyone of us.

Author: Abigail Hirsch, MSW, filmmaker, blogger, Hungarian born, Canadian Jew, currently living in Jerusalem, Israel

Quora: public questions and answers where anyone in the world can participate

What is Quora? Their website states: “Quora is a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.” In my own words, anyone can  ask and/or respond to any question and this creates a grassroots conversation on many many subjects which exposes both peoples’ wisdom and their misunderstandings. This is why I love it. Check out these questions and answers and I encourage you to join and add your voice. Its possible to respond, and upvote and or downvote.

The first response and question illustrates exactly why I appreciate Quora

QUESTION:

RESPONSE:
Dani Ishai Behan
Dani Ishai Behan, Middle East historian

Because antisemites can’t mob and bully their way to victory here as they do on other sites (and in real life).
This site’s moderation doesn’t target and censor Israeli voices, nor does it countenance antisemitic harassment or threats. Quite the contrary, those tactics tend to result in an immediate ban.

That is why this site seems more pro-Israel than usual. Jews can actually be HEARD on here, and that’s a good thing. Until Quora, the only other option we had were our own websites, because no one else would have us (see: What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel).

As for myself, I was anti-Israel until I listened to both “narratives” and analyzed them extensively. Before that point, I would just imbibe whatever anti-Israel talking points were fed to me by my “comrades”. The hostile reactions I got simply for asking questions were far more revealing than anything we Jews could offer by ourselves. One who is genuinely on the right side of history should never be afraid of scrutiny. Rather, they should welcome it.

At a certain point, I realized just how important Zionism was to the things I cared about: indigenous rights, environmental health, anti-colonialism, and freedom from oppression. Zionism, far from being a “settler colonial” ideology, is the funeral pyre of colonial hegemony in the Levant and of our exile from our homeland. For this reason, Zionism has become an indispensable part of my identity as a Jew, and as a radical.

And here is another good one:

Michael Davison
Michael Davison, lives in Israel (1969-present)
The Naqba celebrated (or mourns) the failure of the Arab League to exterminate Jews and destroy Israel before it could be built. I don’t think that’s an appropriate thing for any Israeli to celebrate.

On the other hand, what about the Jewish Naqba? As a result of the injury to “Arab Honor” and “Arab pride”, over 850,000 Jews were expelled or forced out of their countries of birth in revenge. Somehow, this almost never gets mentioned.

Jewish refugees from Arab Countries

Educate yourself. The Naqba was a double-sided sword—but the Jews went and made new lives for themselves while the Palestinians were imprisoned in refugee camps for the past 71 years. Even Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the Arab League for their part in it:

“The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny, but instead they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe.

“The Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people and in destroying their unity. They did not recognize them as a unified people until the states of the world did so, and this is regrettable.” – The Current President of the Palestinian authority- Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), from the official journal of the PLO, Falastin el-Thawra (“What We Have Learned and What We Should Do”), Beirut, March 1976, reprinted in the Wall Street Journal, June 5,2003 and in ‘Palestine Betrayed’ By Prof Ephraim Karsh of Kings College, London.

The Naqba did not occur in a vacuum and was not a one-sided event.

Yes I upvoted this.

Why is Quora important to me?
The Jewish Talmud has a discussion that states that even if G-d himself were to intervene with a vote at the rabbinic court, the court must follow the majority on any ruling. And I do believe that the collective wisdom of the world has the potential to overcome antisemitism and other false and libelous doctrines. 

 

Judaism Israel and the World: 73 years after the Shoa.

Screen Shot 2011-12-19 at 3.28.34 PMThought: Words: Action:

Today is Yom Hashoa ve Hagvura – The day Jews both mourn and celebrate. They mourn the destruction of more than six million innocent men, women, and children, hunted down for the sole reason that they were Jews (the Shoa) and the Gvura (courage and heroism), they celebrate the courage of  all those who fought to survive. Every moment of continuing life every day required courage everywhere during this period and great courage was required and offered by many, many who died and many who survived: all of them fought to defeat the enemy and some lived to see the defeat of the vicious enemy –  Nazi Germany and her vicious antisemitic policy.

This day always comes shortly after celebration of the Passover holiday, commemoration of the miraculous Jewish liberation from slavery three thousand years ago. Regardless of whether you believe the exodus from Egypt actually happened or not, we have to acknowledge with the reader of the Passover Hagada that “if we had not been freed, we and our children and our children’s children would still be enslaved: but tonight we celebrate as free men and women.”

Last night I attended the annual shoa commemoration project of the Montreal community. Every year, six survivor families are chosen to light a candle and to share their story. Each survivor, flanked by their families, tell their story on a short prerecorded video. No matter how often one attends these programs one is consistently awed by these stories of survival and redemption.

When I returned home I saw two programs on PBS  ((Public Broadcast Station). One program (Nova) visits the city of Vilna/Vilnius to attempt to find the underground traces of the Great Synagogue of Vilna over which a school has been built. This documentary tells the story of the destruction of the culture of Vilna, which was also known by Jews as the New Jerusalem, and the murder of the 70,000 Jewish residents of Vilna, and the heroic survival of 8 of the 80 last Jews of Vilna – 76 men and 4 women who were tasked with burning the bodies of their brethren, while imprisoned in a deep pit over several months,  just before the arrival of the Russians. These 76 men and four women who realized that they too would be executed at the end of their task, succeeded in creating a secret underground tunnel which led from the pit in which they were imprisoned into the forest for a last ditch effort at escape. Only eight of the eighty persons survived this escape through the tunnel. And the whole episode became a legend which survived only as a “tale” told by the survivors.  A group of scientists returns to the site and succeeds in uncovering the remains of the tunnel thus verifying their story. At the end of the show, we see the eight survivors, now living in various parts of the world, reunited with each other.

The next program was a 90 minute production called GI-Jew, which told the story of the 500,000 Jewish American men and 20,000 Jewish American women who enlisted and fought in the American army to destroy the Nazi scourge and to save whoever could be saved from the Nazi onslaught. Among them were 1,000 Jewish American Rabbis who served as American army chaplains. Throughout the war they accompanied the troops and organized services for soldiers, and upon liberation for survivors. And victory was not at all assured over 5 long years of war in Europe and the Far East.

Whether you believe in the G-d of Israel or not, something has enabled the Jewish people to survive every attempt at destruction and to continue to thrive for the last three thousand years. I believe what has enabled them to survive and to thrive is the ideology of the Torah, which lays out a vision of justice and compassion for all living beings, individually and in community, and for the planet itself.

Yes, I was born a Jew to parents who lived through the terrible time of the Shoa in Europe. I have struggled with the issues of the Shoa (Holocaust in Hebrew) my whole life. What have I learned from this over the course of my lifetime? The lesson I take away from this is that the ideas of Torah are mightier than the sword. What are these ideas? First, the idea of a G-d interested in humanity, who has “an eye that sees and an ear that hears”. It is a G-d who prescribes rules for communal living, which include prohibitions against murder and theft, and also legislates that one is not to covet the goods and assets of one’s neighbor, including his wife. Also one where individuals and communities struggle with the right path that will conform to this G-d’s ideas of truth, justice, and compassion. And in this Jewiish world, there is  also room for human error and correction without resorting to violence. The torah prescribes economic principles as well as how to deal with murderers and those who may kill accidentally. It prescribes a code of behavior for the common man, for the King and for the priest and it tells us how to regulate time, weekly, monthly, and by the year. The laws of Sabbath and  dates of the holidays are thus prescribed. And the Torah does this while also giving us a narrative history of the Jewish people from their beginnings as a family to the creation of the nation in the dessert following the exodus and laws for dealing with the settlement of the land of Israel, whose boundaries are also described in the Torah.

We see that those who have missed out on the precepts of truth justice and mercy described in the Torah and who revel in the power of the sword, have repeatedly been doomed to the ash bin of history. This is evident in the demise of the powerful empires that did not know G-d or mercy or justice, such as the Assyrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, The French Empire, the German Reich, the Soviet Empire, etc. What is the remedy to all this fighting and destruction? One thing and one thing only: for every one to lay down their arms and to acknowledge that life, liberty, and happiness can only come to those who lay down their arms and struggle to improve the lot of their human compatriots. This is the most powerful idea, and the idea of redemption prescribed by the Hebrew prophets.  It is what we pray for at the end of the seder – for everyone to lay down their arms and to acknowledge the rule of the G-d of justice and compassion. Jews of course are aware of vengeance but we are admonished to leave retribution and vengeance up to the Almighty alone.  Our duty is to get on with our lives in a productive way. We leave vengeance to the Almighty as is discussed in this blog regarding Jewish views on vengeance. blog.

…The prophet rehearses the classical Jewish teaching that even a merciful and patient God will ultimately wreak powerful, unanswerable retribution upon the enemies of His chosen people.

 Following Torah prescriptions would work much better than war crimes trials, and better than hollow statements often made by politicians and human rights activists regarding peace and “never again”. Only organized actual disarmament by all rulers and civilians and working towards improving the lives of all, as prescribed in the Jewish Bible (Torah) will bring us to a just world where violence is renounced and the lion can lie down with the lamb as detailed in the biblical book of Micah chapter 4 verses 2 and3

verse 2: Many nations will come and say,
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the house of the G-d of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For from Zion will go forth the law,
            Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

verse 3; And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.

Redemption lies in getting the agreement of all peoples to lay down their arms in the name of justice and compassion and the rule of the Transcendent Law:  And I believe that the amazing thing is that this actually lies within our power today but we do have to start the ball rolling:  the right hashtag? – the right call  to all leaders and to all individuals to lay down their arms? to embrace love between man and man via the amazing instrument of the internet ? Is it possible?  I am envisioning setting a date in the near future for this to happen at the same moment all over the world – Like New Years Day during World War one when both sides spontaneously lay down their arms on the battlefield and celebrated together – “Peace on earth good will to men”. The Rabbis have said that if all the nations were to observe one Sabbath, at the same time, it would be a signal that the Messianic times had arrived.

Who will join me in this project?  How long can we all continue to deal with the effects of hatred, war and destruction? Wouldn’t a world focused on feeding the hungry and clothing all of the poor be a much better kinder world for all of us!

As i shared this post with my friends, many responded “its too idealistic, it will never work”. I believe that it can work and will work. Who could have dreamed seventy years ago that we would have a Jewish State that is not only able to defend itself but has become the strongest nation in the Middle East and a powerhouse for agriculture, water purification, medicine, pharmacology, technology, and humanitarian aid, – truly  “a light unto the nations”.

And here is another post which I discovered today illustrating the “gvura” heroism of those who took action and resisted the Nazi onslaught:With Eternity in their Hearts, Daniel Seaman

The story of young women at the outset of their lives who, when challenged by history, responded with remarkable courage. The Jewish “Couriers” who were real life “Wonder Women”.

 

The three couriers (from the left) – Tema Sznajderman, Bella Chazan, Lonka Korzybrodska (Photo – Ghetto Fighters House Archives)
 

During the Holocaust, Jewish resistance groups employed women as messengers to communicate with the world outside the ghettos. Daniel Seaman tells the story of three daring young women—Tema Schneiderman, Lonka Kozybrodska, and Bella Chazan—who risked their lives to help their people:

In December 1941, Tema, Lonka, and Bella were. . . invited to the Christmas party at Gestapo headquarters in the then-Polish city of Grodno, disguised as Polish Catholics. . . . [Before the war, all three had been] members of their local chapters of the [Zionist-socialist] He-ḥaluts Dror Jewish youth movement. . . . Once the war broke out, the youth movements, with their elaborate network of connections, proved to be an unexpected asset for the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were deliberately isolated [from one another] by the Germans.

Tema, Lonka, and Bella, like several other female members of the youth movement, were the natural choice to serve as the link between the communities, known as the “couriers” (k’shariyot in Hebrew). Disguised as non-Jews, they risked their lives to move from ghetto to ghetto, traveling through treacherous territory, transporting documents, papers, money, ammunition, and weapons across borders and into ghettos. . . .

Not long after that evening, the dangers of the tragic era would inevitably catch up with them and their luck would run out. First Lonka, who in June 1942 was caught at the border crossing at Malkinia. She was interrogated as a member of the Polish Underground, [her captors not realizing that she was a Jew], and held in the [notorious] Pawiak prison in Warsaw. When she failed to arrive at her expected destination, Bella set out to look for her. She too was captured at the same border crossing and also sent to Pawiak. Bella and Lonka never revealed their identities, never broke, never exposed secrets though tortured severely. They never broke character either, [maintaining the ruse that they were Polish Gentiles].

Of Tema’s fate, it is known that she was transferred to the Treblinka extermination camp after being captured in the Warsaw Ghetto on January 18, 1943, during one of her many daring excursions to the place. She most likely perished there.

While Lonka died in Auschwitz, Bella survived and lived to the age of eighty-two in Israel.

And this was a comment posted following this article by Nancy Rexin Evans who shares the story of her own Mother who also had risked her life and joined and underground movement.

Nancy Rexin Evans says:

  • This article was heart-wrenching and brought tears to my eyes as I read about this brave young woman and brought memories of my own mother, a 19 year-old non Jewish woman with a huge Jewish heart and a lot of ‘chutzpa getting angry at this ‘new fangeld upstart Adolph and his brown-shirts, a group of thugs going about, beating up people and going after Jews, her own friends included. She and others joined an underground movement where they started to print and distribute anti fascist flyers. She was caught after being betrayed by her best friend and room mate, arrested and interrogated for several months yet never gave away any names. Subsquently, she was sent to Ravensbrueck, outside of Berlin, afterwards to a labor camp from where the Americans liberated her. One of the soldiers became my dad. Two things stayed with me when Grandmother told me that the Jews were God’s chosen and to always remember that. The night before she died she made me promise to never forget the Jews and always stand up for them and Israel which we visited shortly before her passing, overwhelmed how beautiful Israel was. She would speak to schools, churches, the media, etc. about what happened and how survivors rebuild their home land. “Am Yisrael Chai” indeed.
    May we always remember! Never Again!. Thank you for this article and the bravery of those young women who should make us ashamed whenever we complain about little inconveniences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Speech and Fake News on Campus

In this post I  explore academia, professors, and their legitimate sounding papers and books that may even use legitimate concepts but apply these concepts fallaciously. I refer to the left, using the ideology of “colonialism” to apply to Israel, and the Palestinian strategy of applying the South African ideology of “apartheid” to the Israel/Palestine conflict, and plain deceptive media like “Electronic Intifada”

Over the years, I have become acquainted with Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of The Electronic Intifada, Jewish Voices for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, Israel/apartheid conferences.

Here are some images of Omar Barghouti.

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And here is his bio on wikipedia:
Omar Barghouti is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Wikipedia
Born: 1964, Qatar

Note that his first degree was from Tel Aviv University. He is identified with the website Electronic Intifada whose Home page has the following screen today: December 25, 2015 and is an example of the misleading media which employs classic antisemitic methods of lying and deception about the truth of what is going on.

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Of course they don’t tell you that on Christmas eve there were three separate attacks, car jammings and knife attacks on IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians as reported here in The Times of Israel. The Israel news report lists the incidents, the attackers and their victims, and the condition of both attackers and victims.

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This is how it was reported in the Israeli press.

One person was lightly injured Thursday morning in a suspected car-ramming in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, Israeli officials said, the third attack in as many hours Thursday morning.

The army said a car tried to hit soldiers and border police at the Adam junction next to the Rama army base. The driver was shot and killed at the scene, an IDF statement said.

The incident was the third attack of the day after two separate stabbing incidents, also in the West Bank.
Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed and injured two security guards at an industrial park outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Guards at the site shot and killed the attacker during the incident, police said.
One victim, 24, was listed in serious condition after suffering several stab wounds to his upper body. A female guard, also 24, was listed in moderate condition with a stab wounds to her upper body, according to police and the Magen David Adom rescue organization.
Less than an hour later, a Palestinian man attempting to stab soldiers with a screwdriver was shot and killed near the West Bank city of Hebron Thursday morning. The army said the assailant, “armed with a screwdriver, approached a checkpoint near Hebron and attempted to the stab security forces.” The soldiers opened fire on the man, killing him, the IDF said.

Sadly, Since September, Israel has endured hundreds of knife attacks and car rammings on civilians in many cities both inside Israel the West Bank. There have been many dead and many injured on both sides. However clearly the aggressors are the stabbers and terrorists. And the world media largely ignores it because of its anti-Israel bias. Some people call anti-Israel bias – antisemitism. So there you have it!

 

Benny Morris at McGill

Benny Morris, the Israeli historian of the 1948 war in Israel, recently spoke at the first  meeting of this year’s series of lectures sponsored by ISGAP, The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism

Benny Morris flyerBenny Morris, an Israeli historian, was the darling of the anti-Israel left for supporting the Arab narrative about the Palestine creation myth in 1948.

In this lecture, an update of his views  presented on Thursday November 12th. 2016, at McGill University, in addition to describing both sides of the war, the players and their motivations, He asked the question: “Was the war by the Arabs against the establishment of the State of Israel (1947-1948) in the area that was called Palestine during the governance of the English Mandate, an Islamic Jihadi war?” He has uncovered evidence that it was. He has uncovered broadcasts from the Allimah of Al-Azhar University, one of the the highest Islamic authorities, calling for a Jihad against the Jews immediately after the partition announcement in the United Nations.

At the same time, he pointed out how the armies that were unleashed against the nascent State of Israel, in addition to their Muslim anti-Jewish motivations, each nation fighting Israel had its particular agenda. Israel alone was fighting for survival. And this is why she had the absolute motivation to win at all cost, and did win her battle for survival. This war of 1948 which was long and brutal is called by israeli historians, the Israeli war of Independence.

This lecture brought out the largest audience ISGAP has ever had at Mcgill. Hecklers showed up prior to the lecture objecting to Prof. Morris giving his talk. They shouted loudly and we were not sure whether he would be able to speak, but finally they were persuaded to leave.

After the talk there was a lively question period. One question that I found very interesting was a question from someone, who could have been a professor, asking Why ISGAP, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism invited Benny Morris, a professor of Israeli history. Unfortunately Israel’s history then and now on college campuses everywhere is filtered through the lens of Jew-hatred. Even though critics of Israel love to proclaim that “criticism of Israel is not antisemitism”. The BDS movement’s focus on destroying the Jewish State is very close to it. And this person’s objection to even hearing the scholarly talk of a historian speaks for itself.

And by the way, Benny Morris has been vilified by both sides for his historical analysis and it is a credit to the Institute that they invited him to speak.

I am writing this a day after the Horrific Paris attacks. As I listen to the CBC and BBC all still appear to be confused by the attacks. Israel has been dealing with this kind of terrorism since its inception and even today the mainstream media is not reporting the hundreds of attacks perpetrated in Israel by the Palestinians, inspired by their Jew baiting, Israel baiting Imams. Over 609 attacks have been documented in Israel during the months of September and October of this year and even today we received news of a murder of a father and a son attacked in their van.

This article says it best How Many More Wake-Up Calls.

And here is a post if you needed any more confirmation about the antisemitic, anti-Israel incitement that goes on everyday over the internet.

Fortunately we now have organizations like PAL WATCH – Palestinian Media Watch who are there to document and expose these purveyors of hatred towards Israel and Jews everywhere.

And here is the video recording of the talk by Benny Morris at McGill University, Montreal, November 2015

https://vimeo.com/147348120

 

Anti-semitism? in the middle east?

Anti-semitism is a very unsexy subject. No one wants to be considered an anti-semite, a Jew hater; especially in the West. It is as unsexy as racism – taboo. So why has ISGAP, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism, presented over 100 speakers on this subject and posted all of them to Vimeo?

To really understand the deep seated anti-semitism of the current leadership in the middle east I suggest that you watch one of the ISGAP speakers, Edwin Black’s recent talk for ISGAP speaking about his book: The Farhud: The Arab/Nazi alliance and its lasting effects.

He points out that the Arab Jew-hatred did not start with World War II, but preceded it, and the Farhud, the Arab governing organization of the time, allied with Hitler, whose need for oil coincided with the Nazi and Arab Arab desire to eliminate the Jews. Few people are aware that Palestinian Arabs fought alongside Hitler all over Europe and in the Middle East: while England pandering to the Arab presence blocked any Jewish immigration to the area then known as Palestine, now known as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the area currently known as the West Bank and Gaza. Edwin Black removes the veil of ignorance about a nasty and unpleasant topic, the anti-semitism of the Arab world from 1850 to the present, which we ignore at our peril. He has researched a book on the subject and here lectures about it to a University audience. After listening to this talk, you will never again be able to close your eyes to the anti-semitism that pervades the middle east today and you will understand why there is no peace there now, nor will there be peace in the near future as long as the current Islamic leadership persists in their anti-semitic, anti-Jewish beliefs that have been inculcated for years:

And this is not to say that Jews and Islam have never been able to co-exist or that all Muslims hate Jews just that the road to peace between Israel and its neighbors needs to address these issues head on and so do the do-gooders in the West.

Is Jewish Nationalism Synonymous with a Jewish State?

defamation

I wrote this blog as a response to the opinion piece in the Gazette “Jewish Nationalism is not synonymous with a nation state.”

The author, Sam Bick, bandies about words like “nation” “nation-state” “nationalism” “ethno racial identity” without defining these terms and then makes some statements which are simply false.

He writes:
This idea of Jewish people as a “nation” or “race” in need of a territory is a new conceptualization popularized in 19th-century Europe, one that neglects the diverse experiences, practices and identities of people who have practiced Judaism around the world for hundreds of years — particularly Arabic-speaking Jews.”

The Jewish journey is documented in the bible, (the “Torah” in Hebrew). Canaan, Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people has been integral to the history of the Jews chronicled in the torah from ancient times. The destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem, the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and the dispersion of Jews from their homeland, Israel, and their longing to return  is documented in literature and poetry and historical writings over millenia.

A quick google of the name of the author, of this piece, Sam Bick, reveals that he has previously written for EI (Electronic Intifada) and Tadamon (which means allies in Arabic). Tadamon has an office in Montreal). Both of these organizations, EI (Electronic Intifada) and Tadamon are integral arms of the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel and Israel alone. They sponsor the infamous Israel/apartheid week conferences on campuses all over North America. EI and Tadamon have both been exposed for propagating opinions about Israel and the Jewish people that are designed to demonize Jews and Israel and whose aim is not peace but only the destruction of Israel.

I myself, speak from experience, having attended several Israel/apartheid week conferences in Montreal. By the way the BDS  – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – was initiated at the first UN Human Rights conference in Durban in 2001, a conference that was billed as “The First UN World Conference on Racism”. This “conference” turned out to be a witch hunt directed at Jews and Israel and Israel alone. This has been well documented and continues to be available to anyone who wishes to inform himself on these issues. It was here at Durban that the slogan “Zionism is racism” was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. Mercifully, this canard  was later retracted by the UN itself. However this fact seems to have gone above the heads of the EI and Israel Apartheid and BDS propaganda machines which actively continue to  libel Israel and Jews with this canard. For many, in our age, “truth” is an elusive thing subject to argument and debate. Most people are not aware of the background of the BDS movement or that they continue to propagate lies about Israel in order to advance their political agenda.

“Anti-israel haters should never have a free lunch” as Manfred Gerstenfeld so aptly put it when he spoke to this issue in Montreal several years ago.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

 

There must be a push-back on these issues by academics and others who are appalled at the re-cloaking of sheer antisemitism or Jew hatred into contemporary discourse.

Jews are a tiny minority, and it is for this reason, that we Jews and those who love truth must use our wits to fight this injustice.

 

Abigail Hirsch, CEO
AskAbigail Productions.com
filmmaker: Yiddish: a tale of survival

 

514-792-6065
askabigail@me.com

Israel Truth Week and pro Israel activists

Israel Truth Week will be having its second conference this Sunday March 23rd, in Toronto. It is free and open to all. The roster of speakers includes Jews and non-Jews. It is heartening to see the lies, which were spread about Israel and the BDS movement last week during “Israel Apartheid Week” being actively confronted.

Just reviewing the roster of speakers I discovered several Israel supporters I had not been aware of: Chloe Valdary, a Black student interviewed about her pro zionist views  in Front Page magazine; Aleysha O’Hare & Dimitri Bazos, students at U of Toronto, Shobie Kapoor, Founder of the Canadian Patriotic Society: ‘A Hindu-Canadian’s Case For Israel’, Mark Vandermaas, Rule Of Law Activist, Founder of Caledonia Victims Project and Israel Truth Week. The organizers also list links to books, posters and booklets available on the web to anyone interested in these issues. I especially appreciated the Israel Truth Videos.

A group of Israeli Arabs have been speaking up about the truth about Israel. and  here you can read about an Irish filmmaker, Nikki Larkin, who went to Israel to report on the plight of the Palestinians and was prompted to change his mind about the Israeli position

Here is a passionate video response to the BDS vote at UCLA:
http://www.frequency.com/video/fighting-bds-at-ucla-via-rabbidovid/152468323/-/5-98573

I spoke about these issues myself at the FreedomTalk grassroots conservative conference on political correctness, because I have been so appalled by the rise of the lies of the Arab/Palestinian beligerance against Israel and antizionist academic left of the Israel/apartheid week and self righteous BDS supporters.

 

 

 

 

Fighting For the Zionist Dream

Fighting for the Zionist DreamOn Sunday, April 29, 2012, the Jerusalem Post will be hosting their first annual conference on “Fighting for the Zionist Dream” in New York City. The conference, featuring several high profile speakers, is an attempt by the Jerusalem Post to bring to its readers the news makers and news reporters, both from Israel and the Diaspora, according to Steve Linde,  editor-in-chief.

In a special invite, Mr. Linde writes, “A year after the historic changes brought about by the Arab Spring, the Middle East is undergoing a huge transformation, the US is bracing for a dramatic presidential election, the global economy is in turmoil and Israel is facing enormous challenges on all fronts. How will all this affect the close relationship between Jerusalem and Washington, and what impact might it have on Jewish communities around the world?”

The conference will feature many high profile speakers, including:

ehud olmert

Ehud Olmert

  • Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
  • Gilad Erdan – Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection.
  • Gabi Ashkenazi – former Chief of Staff of the IDF
  • Danny Ayalon – Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister
  • Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz – Attorney, law professor and author
  • Ron Prosor – Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Ido Aharoni – Consul General of Israel in New York
  • Meir Dagan – former director of the Mossad
  • Elyezer Shkedy – Former Commander in Chief Of the IAF and President & CEO EL AL Israel Airlines
  • Efi Stenzler – World Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund
  • Russell F. Robinson – CEO JNFMalcolm Hoenlein – Executive vice chairman of the CPMAJO
  • Daniel Seaman – Deputy Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy

There will be three panel discussions covering the following topics: Israel’s place in the Middle East; Diaspora – Israel Ties; and The Media War against the Delegitimization of Israel.

I will be attending the conference. Tune in on Sunday for live tweets, and I hope to post the highlights when I return.

Non-Jews Speak out about Anti-semitism

Recently I received an email with a link to this interesting article about the Italian senate convening in support of Israel.

Former president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, expressed the Italian sentiment well when he stated that ”our Western democracies will not prevail unless we re-embrace our Judeo-Christian heritage.” He said that ”our support for Israel should not be based on guilt, but rather on pride in our common roots and values.”
–  “Defending Israel simply means defending our values and our way of life,” he concluded.

I was born after World War II and in studying history, I always wondered how were the Nazis able to pull off the destruction of over six million Jews and six million non-Jews (according to historical archives) in full sight of the whole world? This information was public and has become even more public though historical research of all kinds.

And I read the article: Rex Murphy:Ahmedinajad Gives the World a Lesson in Hatred. speaking about Ahmedinajad, of Iran who was given a platform for his Jew hatred and anti-zionism by the UN. He writes:

Ahmedinajad is just the latest vessel of the oldest hate. How strange it is that he was speaking to a forum of the United Nations, the one institution built to dam-up for all time the baneful furies released by World War II, of which murderous anti-Semitism was the principal. Irony is far too feeble a term for this ominous charade.”

There are many other non-Jews who have spoken out about these issues. Here is one of the most vocal and incisive, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal

And also Jews who have not spoken out or even worse sided with the enemy.

If you read any of these articles, all written by non-Jewish observers and analysts you will never be able to say, nobody warned you of what is transpiring right now re anti-semitic anti-zionist rants in the UN, at BDS conferences, at the infamous UN Durban III “Conference for Human Rights” and in the Middle East.

Below is a clip from Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish Them – “Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers” on El Jazeera television in Quatar.

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2005.htm

The moral challenge of the “new anti-semitism” is for all of us to aware of it, and to respond to it wherever it occurs. As was quoted so often: “it begins with the Jews but never ends with the Jews.”