As an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, Ofir Dayan served in hostile territory in Gaza and Lebanon. But, the undergrad told The Post, nothing prepared her for life at Columbia University.
Ofir, the 24-year-old daughter of Israel Consul General in New York Dani Dayan, said she is harassed and threatened over her background by the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and that the school is failing to protect her.
“SJP is violent,” she said. “I’m worried about my personal safety.”
The political science major had her initial run-in about a month into the fall 2017 semester, when she was in the lobby of Knox Hall — home to the Middle East Institute — having a phone conversation in Hebrew.
“A girl heard me and started screaming, ‘Stop killing Muslim babies! . . . You’re a murderer!’ ” Ofir said. “Then she screamed, ‘Zionist, get out!’ A nearby public-safety administrator did nothing.”
In October 2017, Ofir said, she and four members of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) — she is the vice-president of the Columbia chapter — were leaving an on-campus event for Israeli beauty queen Titi Aynaw. “The moment [members of SJP] saw us, they started screaming their slogans with a microphone to intimidate us. There were at least 50 SJP members blocking the walkway.
“They were really angry and it was scary,” said Ofir, a vocal supporter of the Jewish state. “I believed it would escalate to physical violence.”
Ofir and SSI filed a complaint about the incident to the Student Governing Board (SGB) in January. It described, in part, “horrified and terrified Jewish students huddled together while surrounded by a raging mob . . . [exhibiting] physically threatening behavior.” She also submitted cellphone video that she had recorded of the protesters being “hostile.” (Dalia Zahger, chapter president of SSI, agreed that the incident was “really scary.”)
Ofir added that things intensified after February 2018, when her father delivered a speech on campus. She said that a few dozen SJP protesters set up mock checkpoints to intimidate attendees. When Ofir was handed a flier about the “war criminal” consul general, she revealed that Dani was her dad.
In March, Ofir said, SJP members screamed “terrorist” at her and others handing out literature during Hebrew Liberation Week.
The head of SGB told SSI that the complaint should instead be filed with the school’s newly formed adjudication board, a student-run group whose purpose is to meet with both parties in a complaint to settle differences.
About a month later, the SSI student president sat down with a university administrator who is an adviser to the adjudication board. That official told the student that the complaint was not eligible for adjudication because it was from a previous semester and it was too complicated for the student-run board to handle. She then dismissed the complaint in late March. SSI tried to appeal at a subsequent meeting.
Ofir is frustrated that the adjudication process never happened. “They were blowing us off,” she said.
At a meeting over the summer, an administrator told SSI that the school cannot do anything absent proof of anti-Semitism.
“I thought the university would protect me, but they didn’t do anything when [protesters] called me a terrorist,” Ofir said. “The school stands by as I’m harassed.”
Professor Suzanne Goldberg, executive vice president for university life, said in a statement: “The safety and well-being of all of our students is fundamentally important . . . we will always work with students who have concerns about their physical safety, allow debate on contentious questions where our students hold strong views, and provide essential personal and group support.”
Last year at the University of California, Irvine, an SJP chapter was issued a two-year probation for disrupting an on-campus pro-Israel event. The same group had been sanctioned in 2016 for “threatening chants,” according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
In May, the UCLA chapter of SJP was accused by a rabbi attending a campus SSI event of “emotional and physical attacks”; a university spokesperson told the Jewish Journal at the time that “officials [were] carefully reviewing the incident.” Despite watchdog groups urging UCLA to take action, the school has since said it is permitting SJP to hold a November summit. “UCLA is bound by the First Amendment,” a school representative said. (The UCLA chapter of SJP did not reply to a request for comment.)
Ofir said she supports freedom of speech and the right to protest, but added, “There’s no difference between being anti-Israel and anti- Semitic [at Columbia].”
A representative for the Columbia chapter of SJP told The Post: “SJP firmly stands against discrimination in all forms, including anti-Semitism.” He did not address Ofir’s specific complaints.
Last week, Ofir met with Goldberg. The student requested protection from SJP and pleaded for disciplinary action to be taken against the group. Ofir said Goldberg refused and recommended that she put the school’s public-safety number on speed dial. (A school representative declined to comment on this.)
“[She] said that unless SJP gets violent, they can’t do anything,” said Ofir, who lives with her father in his official Upper East Side residence. “We have to wait until we’re beaten to call you? [The school] can protect me, but they choose not to.”
She stressed however, that this won’t drive her into seclusion: “You can’t make a difference if you hide who you are.”
The Palestinian exception involves giving the Palestinians and their supporters a pass for actions that would otherwise be illegal, simply because they are Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists.
When Rosh Hashanah ended on Tuesday evening, Jews discovered that over the holiday, the Trump administration had enacted two policies – one foreign and one domestic – that on their face, don’t appear to be connected. But actually, they stem from the same rationale. And both together and separately, these two policies give Jews much to be thankful for.
First, the administration announced it is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, DC. US National Security Advisor John Bolton explained Monday that the administration decided to close the PLO office due to the PLO’s refusal to carry out substantive negotiations towards the achievement of a peace agreement with Israel. Then too, by working to prosecute Israeli nationals at the International Criminal Court, the PLO is violating the conditions Congress set as law for the continued operation of its Washington office.
Second, Kenneth Marcus, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights determined that from now on, the US Department of Education will use the State Department’s definition of antisemitism in adjudicating all complaints regarding alleged acts of antisemitism in US educational institutions.
The State Department’s definition of antisemitism is based on the definition drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism explicitly states that anti-Israel activities which among other things reject Israel’s right to exist and the Jewish people’s right to self-determination; compare contemporary policies of the State of Israel to policies of Nazi Germany; and apply a standard for judging Israel’s policies and actions that is not applied to other nations and states, are all acts of antisemitism. As such, they are prohibited under the civil rights statutes that protect Americans against discrimination based on their group identity.
The common phenomenon both policies address can be referred to as “the Palestinian exception.”
The Palestinian exception was born with the Oslo process, whose 25th anniversary was marked on September 13. Ironically, the more the process failed, the more entrenched the Palestinian exception became.
The Palestinian exception involves giving the Palestinians and their supporters a pass for actions that would otherwise be illegal, simply because they are Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists.
For instance, the Palestinian exception has afforded the PLO and its Palestinian Authority the right to enjoy US political and financial support even as they undercut the US interest of achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israel. The Palestinians have been given a pass for rejecting Israeli peace proposals. They have been given a pass for waging an unrelenting war against Israel by cultivating, encouraging and carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel; prosecuting a political war against Israel whose goal is to delegitimize its right to exist; and disseminating and cultivating hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.
Since the dawn of the peace process, every secretary of state has at one point or another said that the PLO and PA must stop abetting terrorism and supporting terrorism.
Likewise, every secretary of state has at some point paid lip service to the notion that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority must cease indoctrinating Palestinians to hate Jews and seek Israel’s destruction.
But until President Donald Trump took office, no administration took substantive action against the PA or the PLO for their destructive, racist behavior. On the contrary, until Trump’s inauguration, three successive administrations responded to aggressive behavior by the Palestinians by expanding US financial and political support for the PLO, the PA and UNRWA. The Obama administration upgraded the diplomatic status of the PLO’s office in Washington.
As for the Palestinians’ supporters in the US, successive administrations have failed to call them to task for their ever-escalating efforts to discriminate against Israel’s supporters on campuses. This repeated failure has empowered hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association, Jewish Voice for Peace and hundreds of aligned groups on college campuses to escalate their anti-Jewish activities.
Trump explained the basic rationale of his decision to defund UNRWA and slash funding to the PA and other Palestinian institutions in a conference call with Jewish leaders last week ahead of Rosh Hashanah. This rationale also holds for Trump’s decision to close the PLO’s Washington office, which Bolton announced four days after the call.
Trump explained: “I stopped massive amounts of money that we were paying to the Palestinians and the Palestinian leaders… I’d say, ‘You’ll get the money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying.”
Trump said that he discussed conditioning US aid to the Palestinians on Palestinian actions on behalf of peace in conversations with former US peace negotiators.
“I said to some of the past negotiators, ‘Did you ever do that before? Did you ever use the money angle?’ “They said, ‘No, sir. We thought it would be disrespectful.’
“I said, ‘I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all. I think it’s disrespectful when people don’t come to the table.’” In other words, Trump’s policy is not to extend exceptional treatment to the Palestinians. Just as he expects allied states that the US supports to support the US, so he expects the Palestinians to act in conformance with the US interest of forging peace between them and Israel.
In this vein, it is important to note that US financial support for the Palestinians, like the US decision to allow the PLO to operate a representative office in Washington, were both initiated in 1994 on the basis of the PLO’s formal commitment to work toward peace with Israel. Over the years, as Palestinian bad faith toward Israel became inarguable, Congress passed laws conditioning continued US assistance of the Palestinians on their behavior.
Yet the three previous administrations opted to ignore the law and operate instead in conformance with the Palestinian exception that gives the PA and the PLO a pass for everything – including breaking American laws.
As for the Palestinians’ supporters on US campuses, the Palestinian exception enabled them to wage a war against American Jews on campuses the likes of which the US has arguably never seen.
Over the years, as antisemitic assaults on Jewish students expanded under the headline of pro-Palestinian activism, Jewish students and groups repeatedly sought redress and corrective action from university authorities. In the many cases where those authorities refused to intervene to protect Jewish students, the students and Jewish advocacy groups turned to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for protection, but to little or no avail.
In one notable instance, in 2011 the Zionist Organization of America filed a complaint against Rutgers University for failing to protect the civil rights of Jewish students, and the Department of Education rejected their complaint by arguing that it couldn’t prove the assault in question was antisemitic.
That year, a student group named BAKA, (Belief Awareness Kindness Action) organized a campus event that was to be “free and open to the public.” It was titled, “Never Again for Anyone.”
The title of the event made clear that its intent was to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. That is, it was on its face designed to be an antisemitic event.
As the ZOA noted in a statement this week, “When the event organizers saw how many ‘Zionists’ (aka Jews) showed up at the event, they… selectively enforced an admission fee against students who were, or were perceived to be Jewish. Jewish students reported this outrageous and painful and hurtful antisemitic discrimination to the University, which failed to address it.”
Despite the strong evidence that BAKA held an antisemitic event and then deliberately targeted Jewish students for discriminatory treatment, the OCR closed the case claiming that it lacked evidence of discrimination. The ZOA’s appeal languished unaddressed for nearly four years.
The Obama administration’s decision to turn a blind eye to anti-Jewish discrimination undertaken in the name of the Palestinians was part of a general policy of applying the Palestinian exception to pro-Palestinian activists.
This policy was made official in 2013. As Politico reported on Tuesday, in response to pressure from Kenneth Marcus, who then served as head of the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights and other civil rights groups, the Obama Education Department’s OCR outlined what it believed constituted actionable discrimination against Jewish students.
The OCR drew a distinction between antisemitism and political views about Israel. It released a statement stipulating that distinction. “OCR is careful to differentiate between harassment based on an individual’s real or perceived national origin, which is prohibited… as compared to offensive conduct based on an individual’s support for or opposition to the policies of a particular nation, which is not,” the OCR explained.
In other words, in the Obama administration’s view, while it is illegal to say that Jews are murderers and carrying out genocide, it is permissible to hold an event accusing Israel of carrying out genocide against the Palestinians and then discriminating against Jewish students who try to defend Israel from slander.
Needless to say, this position enabled antisemitic assaults against Jewish students to massively expand in recent years. “Israeli Apartheid Weeks” and BDS drives spread throughout the country – even though the basic conflation of Israel with apartheid South Africa and attempts to boycott Israel are both defined as forms of antisemitism under the IHRA definition adopted by the State Department.
Now serving as head of OCR as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, Marcus is ending the Palestinian exception in the US education system. Marcus announced that the OCR will use the State Department’s definition of antisemitism when considering allegations of antisemitic acts on campuses in a letter to the ZOA.
The actual purpose of Marcus’s letter was to inform the organization that the OCR is considering the ZOA’s four-year-old appeal of the OCR’s decision not to take action against Rutgers for its refusal to protect Jewish students from discrimination. Trump’s opponents insist that ending the Palestinian exception in relation to the PLO diminishes the already miniscule hope of reaching an accord between Israel and the PLO. Former peace negotiator Aaron David Miller excoriated the Trump administration’s policy in a column in USA Today on Wednesday.
Anti-Israel and far left groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that Marcus’s policy harms the free speech rights of pro-Palestinian groups.
These criticisms are disingenuous.
The only way that peace will ever be achieved is if the Palestinians stop their efforts to destroy Israel and embrace the cause of peace – either with the PLO or without it.
Discrimination and bigotry are not free speech issues. Allowing pro-Palestinian groups to intimidate Jewish students into silence is not about guaranteeing free speech, it is about blocking free speech and trampling the civil rights of Jews.
The Palestinian exception has made peace less likely and it has made antisemitism the only form of bigotry permitted – indeed supported – by US universities today.
The Trump administration should be thanked, not attacked, for finally discarding it.
A call to vote follows the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education report that analyzed new Palestinian textbooks, proving that they “encourage Palestinian children to sacrifice their lives in the name of religion,” and “glorified martyrdom and violent resistance.”
The European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee will vote on whether to freeze more than 15 million euros ($17 million) in aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it removes incitement to violence against Israel in its school textbooks.
The Budgetary Committee’s bill is an amendment to the European Union’s draft budget, which will go to a plenary vote in late October. If the budget passes, the E.U. will withhold the money from the Palestinian Authority until it commits to reforming its textbooks.
“The funds will be released when the Palestinian Authority has committed to reform its school curriculum and textbooks to bring them in line with UNESCO standards for peace and tolerance in school education,” writes the resolution voted by the European parliament committee.
“The textbooks published by the P.A. in 2017, which are financed by the E.U. … contain, across all subjects, numerous examples of violent depictions, hate speech—in particular against Israel—and glorifications of jihad and martyrdom,” the resolution adds.
The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, or IMPACT-se, which has analyzed the new Palestinian textbooks, presented a report to the European Parliament which says that they “encourage Palestinian children to sacrifice their lives in the name of religion” and “glorified martyrdom and violent resistance.”
“There was only a vision of one state from the river to the sea, which is not E.U. policy,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.
The committee text is expected to go for a vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament later this month. If the resolution is adopted, the E.U. will withhold more than 15 million euros until the Palestinian Authority changes its textbooks.
The E.U. is the largest financial donor of the Palestinian Authority.
The radicalization of the Palestinian school curriculum has already led to an international review by donor countries. Last month Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated that “as long Palestinian schools are named to glorify terrorism, Belgium can no longer cooperate with the Palestinian Education Ministry and will not contribute to budgets for the construction of schools.”
Advocacy group European Coalition for Israel (ECI) welcomed the EP Budgetary Committee vote. In a statement on Monday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said he thinks the vote may be a “too little too late.”
“As the members of the European Parliament prepare for new elections in less than eight months, they can be assured that the on-going mismanagement of E.U. funds will become a major theme in the election campaigns. If the European Parliament is to regain its moral authority with the E.U. electorate, it will have to show a genuine will to reform throughout the next five-year term and not only in the closing months of the five-year electoral cycle,” said Sandell.
“Very little has been done to reform E.U. aid to the Palestinian Authority over the last four years,” he added.
According to ECI, the European External Action Service (EEAS)—the E.U. institution responsible for the distribution and oversight of funds to the Palestinian Authority—“has kept a low profile.”
The official EEAS position is that the glorification of violence and martyrdom in Palestinian school textbooks and payments to convicted terrorists do not amount to institutionalized incitement or radicalization.
“This position was reaffirmed when ECI last met with EEAS despite the presentation of numerous pieces of evidence and sample copies of schoolbooks at the meeting,” the pro-Israel group said. “Now the pressure for reform is mounting on EEAS both from the European Parliament and from E.U. member state governments.”
A recent poll that found nearly 40 percent of British Jews would leave the country if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn came to power “sickens me,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
“I do not underestimate the threat posed by those who promote anti-Semitism, or hatred in any form. Nor the pernicious nature of what those people say and what they stand for,” May said Monday at a United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner in central London.
“But I do not believe those voices speak for the vast, overwhelming majority of people in our country. … And most importantly, I do not believe that those voices will ever win. We will not let them win,” she told the audience of 800.
The poll appeared earlier this month in the London-based Jewish Chronicle.
“If we are to stand up for the values that we share, then one of the things we need to do is give young Jewish people the confidence to be proud of their identity – as British, Jewish and Zionist, too,” May said.
She offered her support to the British Jewish community and to Israel.
“I have come here tonight as prime minister of our country to say that I stand with you,” May said. “I stand with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. And I stand with the entire Jewish community in Britain.”
May alluded to the fact that the Labour Party adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism after delaying the vote, but only after adding a free-speech clause on Israel.
She stressed her government’s adoption of the full IHRA definition.
“Criticizing the actions of Israel is never – and can never be – an excuse for questioning Israel’s right to exist, any more than criticizing Britain’s actions could be an excuse for questioning our right to exist,” the prime minister said.
“And criticizing the government of Israel is never – and can never be – an excuse for hatred against the Jewish people, any more than criticizing the British government would be an excuse for hatred against the British people.”
In yet another showing of blatant antisemitism, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, declared last Friday that the Gaza Palestinians, who have been violently attempting to infiltrate the Israeli border to “kill the Jews” and “burn the Jews,” are the victims and in need of armed security.
This mind-boggling defense of terrorists is of no surprise to those of us who follow UN politics. Earlier this summer when the US walked out on the UN Human Rights Council, Nikki Haily issued a statementon the decision, calling the Council a protector of “the world’s worst human rights abusers” with a “chronic bias against Israel.”
The UN has maintained a consistent position of hatredof Israel since 1967. Why? Because the existence of a Jewish State is an affront to the 47 Muslim-majoritycountries at the UN who do not believe that Jews should have a country, let alone live side-by-side with them. It is an anti-Jewish, hateful position that is inconsistent with the word unity that crowns the title of this deceptive organization.
In 2017, Asaf Romirowsky, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a guest lecturer for a group of students in Geneva, took the group to the United Nations on a field trip. He experienced the “chronic bias against Israel” first-hand. It was the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and every country made a statement about the war to the students. What did they say? Every single country discussed the “atrocities that the Israelis committed.” Every. Single. One. “Israeli atrocities.”
Recall that the Six Day War was necessary for Israel to stop the constant bombardment by Syria of Israeli towns, the Egyptian attacks on Israeli forces, the Egyptian militarization at the Israeli border, and the Jordanian joinder with Egypt. Israel was being threatened by every neighboring country. Not to mention the other Arab states which came to join the neighbors: Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, all of whom sent troops to join the Arab coalition against Israel. Within 6 days, Israel, a tiny country filled with Holocaust survivors, miraculously overcame the Arab Goliath coalition. Israelis did not commit “atrocities.” No. Instead, they defended the tiny bit of land that they had with all of their might, the land that they hoped will keep them safe from antisemitic assaults that they had experienced throughout the 2,000 years of diaspora. The Israelis were able to capture the small adjoining territories that were being used by the bordering countries to attack Israel. For this, the UN and liberals everywhere, have never forgiven Israel.
Every UN country blames Israel for defending itself, and every UN country believes that the core of Middle East problems resides with Israel. “The UN is just a mouthpiece for dictatorship regimes,” Romirowsky explains.
For this reason, instead of calling out the Gaza Palestinians for their violence, terrorism, and hate, leftists and the UN placate them.
The Palestinians also have growing support from leftist politicians and leftist newsorganizations. But why? Is the Palestinian movement overall sympathetic?
No. The Palestinian movement is a type of Islamist Jihad that is opposed to freedom— “a movement to liquidate a free society through conventional war, subversion, shootings, bombings, suicide attacks, rockets,” explains Elan Journo in his book What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The underlying goal is to overthrow Israel, he writes. The Palestinian movement has shown us time and time again that Palestinians do not want to live in peace with the Israelis. Instead, they want to destroy Israel and its free society and replace it with a totalitarian Islamic state.
But the Palestinians remain impoverished. And that is all that leftists need to know. They do not care that the Palestinians have spent BILLIONS of dollars in aid that they have received over the past two decades on terrorism instead of on infrastructure, education, and health (over $5 billion alone in US aid – that’s money taken from you and me). Leftists do not care that it is not Israel’s fault that the independent choices made by the Palestinians, like their continuous dedication to terrorism, are the sole causes of their continued struggle. Leftists simply blame Israel because Israel looks wealthy next to the Palestinians, who look impoverished. And that easy visual juxtaposition is more than sufficient for them.
“Everyone at the UN believes that the Palestinians are the victims. The UN doesn’t question that,” Asaf Romirowsky affirmed.
Moreover, the Israeli use of moderate force, which barely fights back against terrorism, appears treacherous to the left, who believe that Israel is wealthier and stronger and should just take it.
Israel is simply the recipient of anti-Jewish and anti-commerce hatred that is a collective result of Islamic and liberal ideology.
In his statement to the UN, Antonio Guterres appeared to try and separate the Gaza “civilians” from the Gaza terrorists, although he failed to mention terrorism or Hamas. But Gaza is 100% controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization, explains Romirowsky. “Hamas is a religious Islamist group. The Hamas Charter clearly states that the destruction of the Jews is their goal. They have always been consistent: they want to kill Jews. Hamas rhetoric is in the Palestinian school system and their mosques. Hamas rhetoric fuels everything in their region. Their society is a culture of incitement and indoctrination. The word Hamas itself means acting in a violent, religious, zealous way. Their name in itself has a militant, violent connotation in Arabic, it impassions violence.”
Palestinians are encouraged to commit terroristic acts from all of their leaders, not just Hamas. Even the Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to be less violent, funds and rewards Palestinians who commit acts of terrorism against Israelis. In 2017 alone, the Palestinian Authority paid over $350 million to terrorist families, declaring them Islamic martyrs for their feats of killing Jews. Which is why the response by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, that the Palestinian people actually need protection from their own leadership, is right on point. Otherwise, as it stands, the Palestinians and their terrorist government are indistinguishable, jointly engaged in terrorism for purposes of takeover, Jihad, and profit.
That terrorism reward cash, by the way, comes from American taxes.
The real task, therefore, is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie.
Britain’s Labour Party has a major problem with rampant antisemitism. It knows it has to deal with it.
So what has it done? Dug itself so much further into this particular hole that some in the party fear it has now dug its political grave.
On Tuesday, the party’s governing National Executive Committee (NEC) redefined antisemitism in such a way that it has legitimized it within its own ranks.
In its new code of conduct on antisemitism, it adopted a definition which significantly differed from the one created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The IHRA definition has been recognized around the world and adopted by the British government and numerous British official bodies. Yet in its new code, Labour twisted it by excising its application to attacks on Israel.
Labour’s code says: “In general terms, the expression of even contentious views in this area will not be treated as antisemitism unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content (such as the use of antisemitic tropes) or by other evidence of antisemitic intent.”
So Labour members can continue with impunity to call Israel a “Nazi” or “apartheid” state, smear its defense forces as “child-killers” or accuse British Jews supporting Israel of dual loyalty unless there is evidence of “antisemitic intent” – very difficult to prove – or “specific antisemitic content.”
This is a circular argument of Orwellian proportions. For the code defines antisemitism solely as bigotry against Jewish people or institutions. It does not define it as bigotry against the State of Israel.
But most antisemitism on the Left takes the form of obsessive and paranoid falsehoods, distortion and double standards directed at Israel’s behavior, with much of this onslaught echoing the tropes of medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred. This targeting of Israel as the collective Jew is the new antisemitism.
As such, the extraordinary fact is that in order to tackle antisemitism in its ranks Labour has now become a party of institutionalized antisemitism.
So bad is this situation it has even managed to bring together in unprecedented unity 68 rabbis, some of whom habitually refuse to share a platform with certain other rabbis, as signatories on the same letter of protest.
The issue now threatens to tear Labour apart. On Monday evening, the parliamentary Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to endorse the full IHRA definition – only for the NEC to overturn this the following day.
This provoked the veteran Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust, to call Labour’s far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn “an antisemite” to his face when she confronted him in the House of Commons.
The Israel-Palestine conflict, she said, had been “allowed to infect the party’s approach to growing antisemitism.” In adopting its new code, the NEC had chosen “to make the party a hostile environment for Jews.”
Astoundingly, the leadership has reacted by threatening to discipline Hodge for “bringing the party into disrepute.” So get this – a party that has institutionalized antisemitism is now accusing a Jewish protester that she has brought it into disrepute! You really couldn’t make this stuff up.
YET THERE’S something odd about this crisis. It’s all just about a form of words. Does anyone really believe that if the Labour leadership were to cave in and adopt the full IHRA definition, antisemitism in the party would then be properly addressed and go away?
After all, the fact that the full definition has been widely accepted has not prevented the usual calumnies and distortions in the way the British media have been misreporting the violence from Gaza.
It has not prevented the media failing to report the hundreds of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and weeks of incendiary airborne devices setting fire to acres of Israeli farmland, while misrepresenting Israeli air strikes in response as aggression. It did not prevent an interviewer on BBC Radio’s Today program the other day berating an Israeli spokesman for killing children in Gaza.
The key point is the refusal to acknowledge that the campaign of irrational, mendacious and obsessive incitement against Israel is the new form of antisemitism.
Yet although Israel has been attacked in this way for years, virtually no one has called this out. The Anglo-Jewish community leadership ran a mile from it.
On TV in 2002, I was accused to my face of dual loyalty. At another time during that decade, I attended a debate at which one panelist said, with virtually no push-back, that British Jews now needed to choose between supporting Israel and remaining loyal British citizens. This antisemitic trope has now been commonplace for years.
The Jewish leadership has always been nervous about linking Israel with antisemitism, believing that Israel merely “complicated” the issue. But today, it is the issue.
Now British Jews find themselves caught up in an internal Labour Party war over it. The real agony for them is that the climate in Britain has deteriorated to such a point that Labour feels licensed to treat British Jews – as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said – with unprecedented contempt.
They plan a continuing campaign to get Labour to adopt the full IHRA definition. But that is to continue avoid confronting the elephant in the room.
This is the fact that so many on the progressive side of politics have swallowed the Big Lies about Israel. And that includes a dismaying number of British Jews themselves, who do things like recite kaddish for Hamas terrorists killed by Israel to prevent them murdering Israelis.
These Jews for Injustice against Jews who demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel provide cover for Labour’s new antisemitism. This stretches far beyond the Corbynite hard Left; it is in fact the default position for most of liberal and left-wing society.
The real task, therefore, is not to adopt the IHRA wording. It is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie; that anyone who supports Palestinianism is endorsing the most profound and demonic kind of antisemitism; and that Israel stands unambiguously for law, justice, truth and human rights, and that those who vilify it are themselves repudiating all these things.
Will British Jews finally step up to the plate and start saying all this? Unlikely. Why? It’s not just their timidity. They first need to start believing it themselves.
MUNICH (AP) — Families of the people killed by a neo-Nazi group that sought to terrorize migrants in Germany called Tuesday for an investigation to continue even as the trial of group’s only known surviving member and four supporters draws to a close this week.
Campaigners and lawyers for the relatives claim there is compelling evidence the National Socialist Underground — suspected of 10 killings and at least two bomb attacks — had a wider network of supporters than authorities have acknowledged, including paid informants for German security services.
The crimes that authorities would attribute to them sent shockwaves through German society at a time when many believed the country was slowly accepting its migrant population. The case has gained additional significance with the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in recent years.
The party has taken a strong anti-immigration line, railing against refugees and questioning whether even second- and third-generation immigrants truly belong in German society.
After the deaths of the three National Socialist Underground members, a claim of responsibility subsequently mailed to media by Beate Zschaepe, now on trial in Munich, exposed myriad mistakes by investigators.
Of the 10 people killed by the NSU between 2000 and 2007, eight were men of Turkish origin, one man was Greek and the tenth was a German policewoman.
Barbara John, the government’s ombudswoman for the victims and their families, said the trial was an attempt by authorities to atone for their “blindness.”
“The terrible acts could have been avoided,” John told The Associated Press, “if the relevant authorities had assessed the crimes better and with less prejudice.”
“This is true also for the shameful suspicion that the families were somehow involved in the crimes,” she said.
Gamze Kubasik, whose father, Mehmet Kubasik, was shot dead in his convenience stall in the western city of Dortmund on April 4, 2006, said the initial police accusations leveled at the victims remained painful.
“The NSU killed my father. The investigators took his honor,” she said.
Kubasik told reporters that relatives of NSU victims had hoped for “100 percent clarity” when the trial began five years ago.
“Now there’s a big hole inside of me,” she said.
Among the key questions families had hoped the trial would reveal was why their relatives were targeted, said Abdulkerim Simsek, son of Enver Simsek, who died two days after being shot at his flower stall in Nuremberg on Sept. 9, 2000.
“Why did the killers choose my father,” Simsek said. “I can’t and won’t believe that it was chance.”
Lawyers representing the families as plaintiffs in court, as allowed under German law, say the wide geographical distribution of the victims suggests the NSU received information from local contacts in the cities where the killings were carried out.
Zschaepe refused to answer any questions from the families’ lawyers during the trial.
After the NSU was exposed, a string of mistakes by Germany’s many federal and state-level security agencies also came to light, including the fact that paid informants with codenames such as “Primus,” ″Piatto” and “Corelli” were close to the group for years.
In one case, an employee of the country’s domestic intelligence agency was inside an internet cafe when the owner was gunned down, but claimed not to have seen or heard anything problematic.
Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly apologized to the victims and their families in 2012, pledging that authorities would “do everything to investigate the murders, uncover those who helped and back them, and ensure the perpetrators get their just punishment.”
“Some people clearly didn’t heed Merkel’s words,” said Winfried Ridder, who led the German domestic intelligence agency’s work on the far-left Red Army Faction for over a decade.
Ridder, who is now retired, told the AP that the practice of paying informants who are themselves neo-Nazis meant German security services had done more to protect their sources than to track down the NSU.
“The intelligence agencies should be on trial, too,” he said.
Sebastian Scharmer, a lawyer for the Kubasik family, accused federal prosecutors of dragging their feet in the investigation, thereby allowing “crude conspiracy theories” to flourish.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutors Office, Frauke Koehler, said nine suspects remain under investigation, but it’s unclear whether any of them will be charged.
Scharmer said he feared a group like the NSU could strike again, despite the life sentence Zschaepe could receive Wednesday and the deaths of her two alleged accomplices, Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos.
“It could happen again at any moment, if it’s not already happening,” he said.
Strategic Affairs Ministry names 42 anti-Israel groups affiliated with Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, says they receive their orders from Palestinian Authority • Minister: Terrorist groups, BDS movement have never been closer.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry on Tuesday named 42 major anti-Israel organizations as having clear ties to Palestinian terrorist groups.
According to the ministry’s data, these groups – part of a network of 300 boycott, divestment and sanctions organizations operating worldwide – have traceable ties to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and receive their orders directly from the Palestinian Authority.
This network is directed by the BDS National Committee, which is headed by the co-founder of the global BDS movement Omar Barghouti, who holds permanent Israeli residency status and lives in the northern city of Acre.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry, tasked by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet with heading Israel’s efforts to counter the BDS movement and its efforts to delegitimize Israel, has spent the past two years mapping what it calls the “network of hatred.”
The ministry’s data shows that not only do Hamas and the PLFP support BDS activists in theory, their operatives take an active part in BDS initiatives.
The report names, for example, the Al-Haq human rights organization, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights as being headed by former PFLP operatives.
Al-Haq is chaired by Shawan Jabarin, of Ramallah, who served 13 years in an Israeli prison for being a member of the PLFP’s military wing. Jabarin is a leading figure in the BDS movement’s lawfare campaign against Israel, especially its attempts to pursue legal action against Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Other examples include groups such as the Palestinian Return Center, which the ministry says promotes Hamas interests in Europe; and members of the U.K.-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Al-Aqsa group, which the ministry says have neem with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, participated in the 2010 Navi Marmara flotilla that sought to breach the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip, and have recently held a demonstration outside the British Prime Minister’s Office in support of Hamas so-called “March of Return” or Gaza border riot campaign.
Speaking at the biennial GC4I conference in Jerusalem Wednesday, attended by the directors of over 150 pro-Israeli groups, as well as Jewish community heads and activists from around the world dedicated to fighting the BDS movement, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said much of the anti-Israel group’s momentum is fuel by the Palestinian Authority.
Ramallah is a longtime proponent of anti-Israel boycotts and the National Palestinian Council has officially endorsed the BDS movement during its annual meeting in May.
”We have seen the attempts led by senior Palestinian Authority officials to suspend Israel from FIFA and to promote various ’blacklists‘ at the U.N. Human Rights Council. These campaigns have all been widely promoted by the network of hatred exposed by the Strategic Affairs Ministry,” he said.
Erdan noted that leading world powers such as the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Canada and others, were turning their backs on the BDS movement, adding that in recent years, 25 states in the U.S. have passed laws foiling BDS activities after their anti-Semitic and discriminatory nature was exposed.
Erdan further said that the ministry has identified a new BDS trend – calling for trade embargos against the Jewish state, especially with respect to its military industries, saying that BDS activists were lobbying among parliamentarians worldwide to boycott Israeli defense contractors.
”Terrorist organizations and the BDS movement have never been closer, ideologically and operationally. I will continue to lead a counterattack against the perpetrators of the anti-Semitic hate campaign emanating from Gaza and Ramallah.”
(JTA) — British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is under fire for having anti-Israel views allegedly born out of anti-Semitism, said in a tweet that a Labour-led government would recognize Palestine as a state.
Corbyn made his remarks Saturday on Twitter during a tour of camps in Jordan for Syrian and Palestinian refugees as part of his first international trip outside of Europe since becoming Labour leader in 2015.
“Today I’ll visit the Al-Baqa’a refugee camp which was first created in 1968, where 100,000 Palestinians live,” he tweeted. “The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
On Friday during a tour of Zaatari, Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Corbyn criticized the administration of President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called moving the U.S. Embassy there a “catastrophic mistake.”
He also said: “I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations.” A Palestinian state would be recognized “very early on” under a Labour government, he said.
Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a hard-left politician, of tolerating and at times encouraging expressions of anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism or anti-capitalism by thousands of supporters who joined the party under him.
The party has kicked out some members caught engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric. But under Corbyn, who in 2009 called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” whom he said he was “honored” to host in Parliament, Labour has also readmitted or refrained from punishing others who made statements perceived as anti-Semitic.
CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.
(June 12, 2018 / JNS) U.S. lawmakers introduced new legislation last week aimed at holding the Palestinians accountable incitement in their school curriculum by increasing transparency on foreign aid.
The Palestinian Authority Educational Curriculum Transparency Act, which was introduced by Reps. David Young (R-Iowa), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on June 7, requires the U.S. Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the educational material used in schools in the West Bank and Gaza run by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the United Nation’s Palestinian-refugee agency.
The legislation seeks to determine whether U.S. foreign assistance is being used, directly or indirectly, to fund dissemination of such material by the P.A. and UNWRA.
The Jerusalem-based IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes educational materials that participated in crafting the bill, hopes the legislation will lead to a more peaceful future for Palestinians.
“Congressman Young’s vision in initiating and introducing this bill is timely, remarkable and potentially extremely significant in offering young Palestinians a peaceful vision for the future,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, said in a statement.
IMPACT-se, which has worked with European lawmakers to pass similar legislation to prevent aid from the European Union to the P.A. from being used to teach hate, also previously worked with Sen. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) office to challenge UNRWA’s use of P.A. textbooks that radicalize Palestinian children.
Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.
“Ultimately, these textbooks are a major impediment to the possibility of peace,” said Sheff. “They deny young Palestinians the chance of a violence-free and peaceful future, and perpetuate eternal war. We look forward to the swift passage of the bill through the U.S. Congress.”