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July 11, 2014 0

Amid the Crisis, Israel Carries On

By: David Waren, Direc­tor, Edu­ca­tion Divi­sion, ADL National

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I was in Jerusalem this week as the first mis­siles landed in the area – lec­tur­ing at an extra­or­di­nary con­fer­ence hosted by ADL’s part­ners at Yad Vashem.  In reflect­ing on my expe­ri­ences there, I’m reminded of Yossi Klein Halevi’s descrip­tion in his recent book, Like Dream­ers, of Israel in the sum­mer of 1967, imme­di­ately after the war.  He writes:

That sum­mer Israel was pos­sessed by mes­sianic dreams of whole­ness.  There were those who believed that peace had finally come, and with it the end of the Jews’ exile from human­ity (per­haps only Jews could con­ceive of a nor­mal national life in mes­sianic terms.)  There were those whose long­ing for whole­ness was soothed by reuni­fi­ca­tion of the divided land and the divided city, which some saw as pre­cur­sor of the immi­nence of the mes­sianic era, end­ing the frag­men­ta­tion of human­ity itself.

He then talks about his father, a Holo­caust sur­vivor, for whom “the dream of whole­ness was ful­filled by Jew­ish unity….when we were united, he reas­sured me, no enemy could destroy us.”

Halevi goes on to expli­cate the frag­men­ta­tion in Israeli soci­ety fol­low­ing the Six Day War.  It was and remains intense – so dis­tant from mes­sianic aspi­ra­tions of ele­va­tion, unity and peace.

And yet, pre­cisely in the midst of Hamas’ lat­est fero­cious vis­i­ta­tion of ter­ror­ism, there was a pal­pa­ble whole­ness amongst Israelis vir­tu­ally united in sup­port of Israel’s mil­i­tary response and in unbri­dled deter­mi­na­tion to carry on daily life with a degree of nor­malcy that would be deemed any­thing but nor­mal in any other coun­try.  Work­places remained open, roads, shops and cafés in Jerusalem were bustling.   That deter­mi­na­tion was infec­tious – man­i­fest even by the vig­or­ous par­tic­i­pa­tion of hun­dreds of edu­ca­tors and schol­ars from around the world at the Yad Yashem Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Holo­caust Edu­ca­tion.  Despite the threat of rock­ets, vir­tu­ally no one can­celed or left early.

Whole­ness was man­i­fest as well in com­pas­sion – step­ping aside to make sure oth­ers reached shel­ters first, open­ing homes and busi­nesses to any­one need­ing pro­tec­tion, hang­ing on to every word about the lat­est devel­op­ments – not nec­es­sar­ily because of poten­tial per­sonal impact, but because broth­ers might be in harm’s way.

Israelis, vir­tu­ally all, have expe­ri­enced a degree of trauma this past month that most of us won’t expe­ri­ence in a decade or even a life­time.  The kid­nap­ping of three yeshiva stu­dents united the coun­try in prayer and hope.  Their mur­der united Israelis in grief –as if it was their sons that were laid to rest.  The sub­se­quent mur­der of a Pales­tin­ian boy at the hands of Jews united Israel in revul­sion, con­dem­na­tion and introspection.

And now Israel is expe­ri­enc­ing unity in the face of unremit­ting ter­ror.  Dur­ing World War Two, Britain’s famous slo­gan was “Carry On.”  Well, Israelis are car­ry­ing on – in extra­or­di­nary fash­ion.  But, I believe it’s not just a cop­ing mech­a­nism.  Its goes to the very essence of Jew­ish peo­ple­hood and a belief, grounded in Jew­ish his­tory and artic­u­lated by Yossi Klein Halevi’s father, that as long as we are united, no enemy will destroy us.

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July 11, 2014 0

ISIS Weighs In On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Al-Battar Media tweet threat­ens: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.”

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion seek­ing to cre­ate an Islamic empire) gains con­fi­dence, ter­ri­tory and expands its exten­sive online pres­ence, the ter­ror­ist group (and its sup­port­ers) are increas­ingly mak­ing threats against Israel in response to the ongo­ing conflict.

One of ISIS’ sev­eral media wings, Al-Battar Media, tweeted a series of graph­ics threat­en­ing Israel. One graphic posted July 9 shows storm clouds over Jerusalem with a warn­ing: “Patience, Jews, our appoint­ment is at al-Quds [Jerusalem] tomor­row, for the one who waits is close.” Another image posted the same day shows the Dome of the Rock mosque super­im­posed in front of mil­i­tants and fea­tures the same language. 

ISIS’ Dawla Media Twit­ter feed, which reg­u­larly posts ISIS pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als, tweeted a quoteon July 8 pur­port­edly from a Hamas spokesman say­ing, “All our mil­i­tary oper­a­tions till now are just [a] mes­sage for Israel.”

Dawla Media has also tweeted a state­menton July 9 indi­cat­ing that ISIS must fight the sur­round­ing Arab states before it can attack Israel “because they are the pro­tec­tive fence sup­port­ing the Jews.”

Other state­ments have been tweeted from a feed asso­ci­ated with the pro-ISIS extrem­ist forum “Al-Platform Media,” which has been tweet­ing state­ments by forum users. For exam­ple, one tweet from July linked to a con­ver­sa­tion on the forum pro­claim­ing, “Allah’s curse upon those of you who have made filth on the holy places. Zion­ist dogs…I would cru­cify you.”

ISIS’s online sup­port­ers are also tweet­ing their own threats. One sup­porter wrote that the kid­nap­pings and deaths of the three Israeli teenagers Naf­tali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach would be the first of many such attacks. And at least one sup­porter posted the anti-Semitic “Khay­bar” slo­gan evok­ing the story of slay­ing thou­sands of Jews from the tribe of Khaiber in Ara­bia 1400 years ago. The slo­gan has been retweeted and favor­ited by many ISIS supporters.

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ISIS map that reads, “We fight in Lev­an­tine and our eyes are ded­i­cated towards beit al Maqdis [Jerusalem]”

ISIS pro­pa­ganda tar­get­ing Israel is not with­out prece­dent. Even before the cur­rent con­flict, maps dis­trib­uted online by ISIS demon­strat­ing its ter­ri­to­r­ial ambi­tions reg­u­larly included Israel as part of the Islamic State. A map released by ISIS in March claimed that the orga­ni­za­tion held ter­ri­tory 220km away from Israel and threat­ened rocket attacks, say­ing, “We fight in the Lev­an­tine and our eyes are toward Jerusalem.”

A video released by ISIS last month before the cur­rent con­flict included threats against Jews and Chris­tians to rally its mil­i­tants. The video includes explicit anti-Jewish state­ments, includ­ing “Wher­ever our war goes, Jew­ish rab­bis are humiliated.”

ISIS has a long his­tory of threat­en­ing Israel. As early as 2005, the organization’s pre­de­ces­sor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed at least 2 rocket attacks against Israel. In 2008, the organization’s leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi issued an audio state­ment call­ing for attacks on Israel and propos­ing to use Iraq as a “launch­ing pad” for mis­sile attacks against Israel.

ISIS has become well known for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media, where it dis­sem­i­nates pro­pa­ganda, threat­ens west­ern nations and enables sup­port­ers to take part in that process.

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July 10, 2014 3

Anti-Israel Protests Call For “Death to Israel” & “Resistance”

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A sign at a rally in New York on July 9, 2014

Sev­eral dozen protests and demon­stra­tions express­ing oppo­si­tion to Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tions against Hamas in Gaza are tak­ing place in cities across the United States this week.

While orga­niz­ers some­times pro­mote their protests as a demon­stra­tion against “Israel’s treat­ment of Pales­tini­ans” – as The New York Times even did yes­ter­day when it high­lighted a planned demon­stra­tion that took place in New York in its “New York Today” col­umn – more often than not, these protests devolve into out­right hate fests against Israel, rife with calls of sup­port for vio­lence, com­par­isons between Israel and Nazi Ger­many and claims that Israel wan­tonly mur­ders Pales­tin­ian children.

Fol­low­ing an esca­la­tion in rocket attacks from Gaza and Israel’s com­mence­ment of “Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge,” ini­ti­ated in order to reduce the threat of attacks against Israeli civil­ians, more than a dozen ral­lies have taken place in Amer­i­can cities. Below is a sam­pling of what occurred at some of these rallies:

July 9, 2014

New York, NY???????????????????????????????

More than 1,000 demon­stra­tors gath­ered out­side the Israeli Con­sulate bear­ing signs com­par­ing Israel to the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Ger­many, as well as signs legit­imiz­ing vio­lent resis­tance against Israel. At var­i­ous points dur­ing the rally, pro­test­ers in the crowd led chants of “Death to Israel” and “Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaysh Muham­mad sawfa ya’ud,” which trans­lates to “Oh Khaiber, Khaiber, oh you Jews, the army of Muham­mad shall return.” The anti-Semitic slo­gan evokes an Islamic story of an alleged bat­tle between the prophet Muham­mad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the sub­ju­ga­tion of the Jews of Arabia.

Sev­eral dozen mem­bers of Neturei Karta, a fringe ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist group, were also in atten­dance, hold­ing plac­ards that called for an end to the Jew­ish state and “Zion­ist ter­ror­ism.” The spokesper­son for the group, Yis­roel Dovid Weiss, addressed the crowd in an attempt to absolve Jews from Israel’s alleged crimes, argu­ing that until the advent of Zion­ism, Jews and Mus­lims lived peace­fully together. He also led chants of “Zion­ism No, The State of Israel Must Go.” Another speaker warned the crowd to avoid dia­logue with any­one who sup­ports Israel, say­ing “No for Nor­mal­iza­tion!” He fur­ther praised the fact that Gaza is “fight­ing back” and led the crowd in chants of “When Peo­ple are Occu­pied, Resis­tance is Justified.”

Chicago, IL

A rally drew sev­eral hun­dred pro­test­ers to the Israeli Con­sulate in Chicago after wChicago July 1hich pro­test­ers marched to the Fed­eral Plaza, chant­ing, “Hey Israel what do you say, how many kids have you killed today?” and “Long Live Intifada. Intifada, Intifada!” Included among the many signs were sev­eral that accused Israel of per­pe­trat­ing a Holo­caust: “End the Pales­tine Holo­caust,” “It was Wrong in Auschwitz, it is Wrong in Gaza!” and “Gaza Concentration/Starvation Camp, Designed, Man­u­fac­tured, Fre­quently Bombed and Man­aged By Israel.”

July 8, 2014

Los Ange­les, CA

Sev­eral hun­dred pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Israeli Con­sulate on Tues­day after­noon to call for an end to Israel’s alleged “col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment” of Pales­tini­ans. Some of the pro­test­ers helAnti-Israel protest LA July 8, 2014d graphic images of Moham­mad Abu Khdeir, the Pales­tin­ian teen who was recently killed by Jew­ish extrem­ists. Pro­test­ers con­demned the “Blood­thirsty Zion­ists” and one indi­vid­ual held a sign that depicted a large swastika painted over a Star of David that read, “I believe Yahoo ordered the mur­der of three Israelites.” Yahoo is a ref­er­ence to Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu and refers to the con­spir­acy the­ory that Israel orches­trated the mur­ders of three Israeli teenagers in order to launch attacks against Hamas. Another woman wore a t-shirt bear­ing an image of Anne Frank with a kef­fiyah wrapped around her neck, an offen­sive attempt to claim that one of the most famous vic­tims of the Holo­caust would have sup­ported the Pales­tin­ian agenda.

 July 7, 2014

San Fran­cisco, CA

A protest in San Fran­cisco, which took place a day before “Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge” for­mally began, fea­tured sev­eral hun­dred pro­test­ers who chanted “From the River to the Sea, Pales­tine will be Free,” “With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Pales­tine,” and “Intifada! Intifada! We sup­port the intifada!” One pro­tester was also recorded in a video of the demon­stra­tion shout­ing “There is no f***ing State of Israel.”

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