News Digest — 9/25/19

‘Unprecedented’ UN Report Links BDS To Anti-Semitism

A recent report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council has revealed an excessive amount of anti-Semitic tropes from all sides of the political spectrum and has called for action to be taken. 

Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.  In his report, Shaheed said that he is “alarmed by the growing use of anti-Semitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, and members of radical Islamist groups in slogans, images, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories meant to incite and justify hostility, discrimination, and violence against Jews.”

Shaheed also addressed the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement, by saying that legitimate forms of political expression are legal but must be condemned if they are based on anti-Semitic tropes.

He said, “Expression which draws upon anti-Semitic tropes or stereotypes, to reject the right of Israel to exist, or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned.”

He also warned that anti-Semitism, if left unchecked by governments, “poses risks not only to Jews but also to members of other minority communities.  Anti-Semitism is toxic to democracy and the mutual respect of citizens and threatens all societies in which it goes unchallenged,” he asserted.

Shaheed called on the UN to take action against this rising threat by calling for investments in education and training to enhance literacy about the different ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself.

In addition he called on the UN to appoint someone who will monitor worldwide anti-Semitism and will take action to counter anti-Jewish behavior.

“The UN-system has a vital role to play in engaging with Jewish communities to combat anti-Semitism,” said Shaheed.



Erdogan Viciously Attacks Israel At UN

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan twisted it on Tuesday (24th) into the sincerest form of attack.  Borrowing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s technique of holding up placards during his UN speeches to help make his point, Erdogan did the same, but this time to lash out at Israel.

“Israel, which was almost non-existent in 1947, has continued until this day to seize Palestinian land with the aim of eliminating the state,” Erdogan said to the UN General Assembly, while holding a placard showing various stages of Israel allegedly gobbling up parts of “Filastin,” or “Palestine.”

Erdogan, who marked the first stage of the map (labeled 1947), as “Filastin,” ignored the fact that there was no country called Filastin or Palestine in that year.

Although the name referred to a geographic area, it was divided into a number of administrative units under the Ottoman Empire, which ruled it for four centuries until it was conquered by Great Britain.

Britain was then given a mandate by the League of Nations to establish a Jewish State.

“Look at this map, where was Israel in 1947 and where is Israel now, especially between the years 1949 and 1967?” Erdogan asked.

In 1947, “Palestinian land started shrinking and Israel started expanding,” he said.

“How can the Golan Heights and the West Bank settlements be seized just like other occupied Palestinian territories before the eyes of the world?” Erdogan asked.

The Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria ( the “West Bank”) were conquered by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War when Israel was threatened with annihilation by neighboring Arab states.

President Donald Trump recently recognized sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981.

Erdogan demanded more action from the UN against Israel, saying “Under this roof, we are producing resolutions without any effect, so when do you think – or where do you think – justice can prevail?”

Before his UN speech, Erdogan met with Turkish expatriates in New York where he compared the Holocaust to a supposed “genocide” committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu said of Erdogan’s remarks on Tuesday (24th), “He who does not stop lying about Israel, who slaughters the Kurds in his country, and who denies the awful massacre of the Armenian people – should not preach to Israel.”



IDF Discovers Bomb Intended For Jewish Worshipers At Joseph’s Tomb

Overnight Monday (23rd-24th), IDF forces securing the entry of Israelis into the city of Shechem (Nablus) to pray at Joseph’s Tomb found a bomb that was apparently meant to target Jewish worshipers.

The forces defused the bomb without injuries or damages.

About 1,200 worshipers attended a special prayer session held ahead of  Rosh Hashanah which will be celebrated next week. The event was held without incident.  Worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb have previously been attacked by rioters.

The entry into Shechem, which was coordinated with the IDF, occurs several times a year.  The prayers take place only during the night, and under heavy security provided by the Israeli forces.

Allowing Jews to pray at Joseph’s Tomb was arranged between Israel and the Palestinians as part of the accords granting self-rule in Nablus to the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s.

Israel’s Education Minister, Rafi Peretz, who attended the prayers, emphasized the importance of Jewish unity and called for the strengthening of the Israeli presence in Samaria.  

“The thriving construction in Samaria must continue.  As many Jews as possible should be brought here. This land of ours is a God-given gift, and we will merit deepening our roots here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IDF said it detained 19 terrorists overnight Monday (23rd-24th) in Judea and Samaria.  The military said the suspects were involved in violent activity against Israeli civilians and security forces.



Ireland Ignores Palestinian Textbooks That Encourage Hatred Of Israelis – Ruth Dudley Edwards

I was surprised and genuinely shocked to learn that the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has turned a blind eye to the toxic indoctrination of Palestinian children who are being fed a hate-filled version of their history.  In 2010 a new initiative was launched between the Palestinian Authority and five European states to support the education sector. Ireland was to focus on curriculum development and basic education as the lead nation on textbook development.  The result is that the bad old PA curriculum is now much worse.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) monitors school textbooks to see how they measure up to UNESCO and UN standards for peace and tolerance.  What emerged from the Palestinian Ministry of Education was filled with violent wording and is openly anti-Semitic: Jews control the world and are corrupt, there is no possibility of peace with Israel, martyrdom and jihad are the most important things in life, and “dying is better than living.”  Killers classified by the UN as terrorists are glorified as role models and heroes to be emulated.

Marcus Sheff, chief executive officer of IMPACT-SE, has been astounded by the silence of Ireland.  

“The Irish government is involved in these textbooks to a greater extent than any other donor government,” he noted.



Prayer-Notes Removed From Western Wall

On Wednesday (25th), employees of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation cleared out the notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall in recent months by worshipers and visitors.

The tradition is carried out twice a year to make room for more notes, ahead of major Jewish holidays.

The notes were removed using wooden tools rather than iron tools – as was customary in the past.  At the end of the procedure, the notes were collected and transferred for burial on the Mount of Olives along with holy books no longer in use.

The prayer notes were embedded in the stones of the Western Wall by worshipers from Israel and abroad, Jews and non-Jews, as well as by employees of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation who received tens of thousands of notes through the Western Wall’s website and Fax.  

Last year, more than 32,000 notes were sent via the website.

The prayer-notes came from 24 countries, including the US, Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, Germany, England, Colombia, Argentina, Ukraine, Canada, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Liberia, Poland, Australia, Ecuador, Switzerland, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Morocco, and Hong Kong.

To preserve the privacy and dignity of the notes’ authors, the note-removal area was fenced off until collection of the notes was completed – then, all the notes were placed in sealed bags. 

Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Shmuel Rabinowitz, accompanied the removal and burial process and prayed that the heartfelt wishes of all the note-writers would be accepted.