When the tentacles of hate reach a university in Canada.

Correction

Dear Readers,

Yesterday jewishinfoNews published an open letter to Dr. Kurt Krueger, President of Concordia University Irving, California. In it we incorrectly implied that the university’s student union had hosted the content of a “repulsive poster”. This was not so. 

I have written to Dr. Krueger stating, in part, the following:

“I want to express my deepest and sincere apology to you, the Board of Regents, the university’s student union, the Concordia University Irving and its students for jewishinfoNews’ dreadful error in associating you and your fine institution with the content of the deplorable poster…” “The university and student’s union in question, Concordia University, reside in Montreal, Quebec. In addition, the logo of their student union is similar to your student’s union, and that is where the problem arose. Accordingly, I ask you in good faith to accept our apology.”

The original content was taken down immediately we knew of the error. Dr. Krueger was advised.

The Roman philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero, once said, “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”  JewishinfoNews has no wish to persist with their error. However, the problem with this despicable poster clearly remains. The student union of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec has undisputed ownership of it. Therefore, our original letter, inadvertently addressed to Dr. Krueger, has been adapted and follows below, together with the poster in question.

Alan Simons, Publisher jewishinfoNews.info

                                                                     *  *  *

An open letter to the President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. 

Professor Alan Shepard, kindly take a good look at the repulsive poster below, the content of which, I’m led to believe, was hosted two days ago by your university’s student union. 

by Alan Simons

StandWithUS, a respected international organisation, brought this poster to my attention and stated:

“We are disgusted by this horrific event being hosted by the Concordia Student Union. This cultural appropriation of the Jewish holiday of Passover is completely unacceptable, sac-religious, and extremely disrespectful.”

Professor Shepard, I beg to differ. Disgusted is not strong enough. My friends of the Muslim faith, would I’m sure agree that if this applied to one of their religious holy days, Muslims JIN April 14 2017 revwould react verbally, I repeat verbally, and with vigour.

The issue here is not one of arrogance, or to quote the new buzz words, “mentally unstable.” Your Student’s Union must take ownership for this abhorrent poster, for the message is directed at the very essence of my religion. I regard their action as one of the most vicious forms of incitement, of hate and of a form of terrorism that must be acted upon without delay by you. 

In Concordia’s Strategics Directions Game Plan 2016/2017, it states, “Concordia is an inclusive research-engaged university focused on transformative learning, collaborative thinking, and public impact, equipping students and society for a world of challenges and opportunities.”

What! “Equipping students and society for a world of challenges and opportunities?” Come on now Professor, it would seem your Student Union, by incongruously using a Jewish religious holy day in such a vile manner to usurp their political agenda, obviously goes against the very essence of your Game Plan. So, what do you intend to do about it?

I challenge you and your Board of Governors to take the strongest action possible against CSU in this matter.

Thank you!

(Photo Credit: Passover Against Apartheid- (StandWithUS)

Jews in Scotland prepare to batten down the hatches

Special Report

“The International Shalom Festival is an initiative of COFIS, the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland, together with its partner organization StandWithUs.
The inspiration comes from Shalom Festival held in Belgium every year http://shalomfestival.be/index.html which believes that Shalom, or Peace, can only be achieved if it is based on democracy and Judeo-Christian principles of respect for co-existence. The International Shalom Festival seeks to promote peaceful co-existence by fostering cultural ties between diverse elements of Israeli society and other countries.”

-Nigel Goodrich
Chief Executive

Background:

Shalom Festival Edinburgh rev“The inaugural International Shalom Festival will take place in the prestigious 1000 seater Central Hall Edinburgh on Wednesday August 17 2016. It is probably the most significant pro-Israel advocacy event of the year in the United Kingdom, and is an integral part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article by David Collier was originally published by Beyond the Great Divide and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on July 31, 2016.

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August is festival month in Edinburgh. A massive celebration, delivered through a collective of independent arts and cultural festivals. Just one of these, the ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe’, is the largest arts festival in the world.

At the ‘Fringe’ event this year, scheduled for August 17, is the ‘International Shalom Festival’. Described as a one-day celebration bringing together Jews, Arabs, Christians and other minorities, that all co-exist together peacefully in Israel. Yet once again, as Israeli artists perform inside Scotland, demonstrations are being arranged in protest.

Edinburgh protests

As far back as 1997, during the Oslo peace talks, antizionists attacked Israeli performers at the festival. In 2008 the Jerusalem Quartet concert was disrupted, in 2012 it was the turn of the Batsheva Dance Troupe. In 2014, anti-Israel activists called on the venue to cancel a show with Israeli performers, and local police forced the venue to incur additional security costs. In turn, the venue demanded additional funds from the performers.

So in 2015, Haaretz reported that for the first time in years, Israeli performances were not hosted at the festival at all.  This silencing of the Israeli voice is celebrated as a victory by the anti-Israel activists. The voice that seeks dialogue and accommodation is being silenced.

The festival is not the only place in Scotland such opposition is seen, less than two years ago a worker at an Israeli cosmetics stall in Glasgow had a ‘burning liquid’ thrown at her. The university space is also rabid, with events being called off due to protests, and Jewish students at universities are “denying or hiding” their identity because of discrimination. These events, including the protests at Edinburgh, are all connected.

Yet here is a simple fact. Israel is by far the most diverse nation in the Middle East. Despite the accusations of the protesters, there is not a single nation in the region that is as free, as democratic, as liberal or as diverse as Israel. Not one. What else sets it apart from all of its neighbours though, is another simple fact. It is the only nation in the world that is Jewish.

According to the 2011 census, there are just under 6000 Jews currently living in Scotland and this year marks 200 years since the first Jewish congregation was founded, ironically in Edinburgh. But in reality, how welcome are the Jews in Scotland? When I use the word ‘welcome’, I don’t refer to the lack of a Hitlerite doctrine, or wish to gauge whether gangs of antisemites seek out symbols that adorn Jewish houses to begin targeting the inhabitants. I simply ask how free are Jewish people to celebrate their Jewish identity publicly?

Zionism

Which brings me back to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The protesters suggest that Israeli money is funding the Shalom Festival and then embark on a sickening exercise to follow ‘Jewish money’, from the organisers back to the embassy of the only democratic nation in the Middle East.

So what is this protest, anti-Israel or anti-Jewish? Well primarily, it is clear that the protest is anti-peace. The essence of the Shalom Festival is co-operation, the diverse and inclusive nature of Israel. And support for dialogue, the underpinnings of the international position over a two state solution. What the protesters are standing against isn’t a settlement or Israeli army action, but rather a core element of Jewish belief – Zionism. The very existence of Israel.

There are two connected elements to Zionism, the religious and the political. Zionism is on almost every page of the Jewish bible, the land of Israel, the national home of the Jews. Carried with them throughout centuries of persecution, the religious aspect became political reality as Israel was founded as a state in 1948.  A fundamental shift in Jewish history.

93% of UK Jews believe that Israel plays a part in their Jewish identity, 90% believe in Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Let me put this into perspective. Proportionally more UK Jews identify Israel as being part of their Jewish identity than UK Christians go to church, UK Muslims eat Halal or UK Jews who eat kosher. As a statistic, it would be hard to find any element of any religion that is as prevailing as the Jewish/Israel connection.

Antisemitism

If a nation boycotted all Easter celebrations it would be considered religious persecution, so too banning or restricting the sale of Halal meat. Thus, although the theoretical opposition to the existence of a Jewish state may not cross the line, in actually boycotting the state of Israel and calling for its destruction, we are witnessing clear antisemitism in our midst. No surprise then, that the Jews become intimidated, frightened and unable to display their identity in public.

To counter this, the antizionists create a smokescreen around Zionism. Turning it from the realisation of national identity, into a description of some of Israel’s actions beyond the 1967 lines. They then use the small minority, the 7%, wherever they find them, to deflect all accusations they are being antisemitic. Illan Pappe, Ronnie Barkan, Max Blumenthal, can be no more legitimately used to strike against Israel, than you would find support for using a strange Christian sub group who deny the existence of Jesus. Their very use is an antisemitic act. Only with the Jews, only with Israel, do the 7% get given a microphone, a stage and finance.

To be an antizionist is to reject not just the religious and national elements of Zionism, but to reject international law, denounce democracy and side with the misogynistic, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, antisemitic neighbours that even today, seek to remove Israel from the map. Israel is the only nation in the region where all religions practice freely, the only one with a growing Christian population.

You can oppose Israeli political actions, you can support the Palestinian right to a state, and you can support Israel’s right to live in peace. This isn’t an either/or. Even terror groups such as the IRA in seeking an united Ireland, did not seek to destroy England. When it comes to pushing radical extremism, these protesters are off the map. They should not be allowed the unchallenged air of the mainstream. They have to be opposed.

Stand up and be counted


These people need support, this peace festival needs support. If we are ever to see real peace between Israel and all its neighbours, then we have to start supporting those movements that seek accommodation, negotiation, peace. The International Shalom festival is such an event.

We are a free society and we cannot stop a public protest in Edinburgh. What we can do is marginalise it, by highlighting the side that stands up for our values, those of peace, freedom, democracy. We need to stand by those who offer the promise of peace and reject those who beat the drums of perpetual war.

This Shalom Festival in Edinburgh needs your support. It promises to be an invigorating, fascinating insight into the life of Israelis and the vibrant diverse democracy that exists there. If you cannot make it, or will not be at the festival at all, it needs your vocal support, pass on the event details to your friends, bring it to the attention of others.

And if you are a politician, if you are the leader of the Scottish National Party, you need to choose what type of Scotland you wish to represent. So to Nicola Sturgeon I say this: You clearly want Scotland to be an independent Nation. So you need to stand up and publicly state that this festival, this inclusive celebration of diverse culture, is open to everyone. You need to give the International Shalom Festival your support. Don’t you think you need to show us just what type of independent Scotland the Jews can expect? Or are Scotland’s Jews only protected by Westminster?

So Nicola, are Jews welcome at the Edinburgh festival? Not shadows of Jews, scared to express their identity, looking over their shoulder, worried about what they can and cannot say for fear of persecution. But real Jews, proud, Zionist, Israeli flag waving Jews. Jews that are free to walk in the light. Are they welcome?

Do Jews in Scotland really have to hide every time they wish to celebrate the vibrant democracy that is Israel? Will you really accept the denial of such a fundamental part of their Jewish identity?

Your move.

(Text and Photo credits: StandWithUS; Just Giving; eurojewcong.com; Shalom Festival)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Kay Wilson. In her own words.

SPECIAL REPORT

In her own words

As we reach the final stages of a year of utter savagery including the wanton killing of children, hate, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia and ethnocentric violence, we have taken the unprecedented step of publishing a message from Kay Wilson, British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician and cartoonist. She is the survivor of a brutal terror attack that occurred while she was guiding in December 2010.

Since the attack, she is in a demand as a motivational speaker and also speaks to audiences on issues of human rights and justice for victims of terrorism. She is a lecturer for StandWithUs, OneFamily Together, MDA and is registered at the Israel Speakers’ Agency. Here’s what she has to say:

Kay Wilson“This is me and Mohammed Zoabi – the young Israeli, Arab, Muslim, Zionist who had to leave Israel. It was taken a few weeks ago. We are hugging each other goodbye in the USA before I headed back to home. I want to use this extraordinary photo and the story behind it in the hope that people will see what a remarkable yet fragmented nation Israel is.

Yip, it was me, me, a terror victim, stabbed 13 times by Palestinians, who hid this Arab teenager in my house for nearly a month while Arabs were threatening his life. In addition to hiding him, I was also able to find Mohammed a wonderful community of Jews and Christians in the USA; a community that financed his schooling, took him into their homes, helped him with his visa and treated him like a son.

I helped Mohammed despite my own long-life trauma caused by Arabs who tried to murder me. I helped Mohammed because I admired his courage and because like me, he is a human being. I helped him because I know from the machete scars on my own back, that death threats should always be taken seriously. It was not one way. Mohammed helped me too. There are many things I am unable to do due to being in constant pain as a result of being beaten and smashed to a pulp by Palestinian terrorists. Mohammed was a not a guest, he was a friend and a great asset.

I also helped Mohammed Zoabi because our democracy – the only one in the Middle East – is flawed to absurdity.

In the name of our democracy, Mohammed’s relative, MK Hanin Zoabi irresponsibly abused her free speech by stating that kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers does not amount to terrorism. Upholding the value of free-speech is the essence of a democracy, yet abuse of any kind, including the abuse of free-speech, always has ethical and social consequences. In Mohammed case, it was our democracy’s subsequent failure to provide a safe environment for him and his family following death threats on his life, born out of his courageous response to the perverse and obscene remarks made by his relative who squandered her moral position of authority.

As a survivor of Palestinian terrorism I hope that I would be forgiven for feeling incensed at MK Zoabi’s irresponsible comments. I hope that I would be forgiven for feeling enraged that it is my taxes, and those of Mohammed’s family, which pays her salary.

Ironically, while Mohammed was hiding in my former home, it was Israel’s democracy that afforded a free state-defence appeal to the Arab terrorist who stabbed me 13-times. It took place in Israel’s Supreme Court, THAT Court, where an Arab judge also presides. My democracy did not see it fit to even award me the $100 that the terrorists stole from me that day, money which my murdered friend had given me as a guiding fee.

During that time, I also had to attend my sixth, humiliating, costly and abusive Israel National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) medical committee. Four years out of work, thousands of shekels spent on lawyers and required second opinions, were once again summarised in a committee that took no longer than 8 minutes. This time they did not measure my stab wounds and award me a disability pension according to the length of the machete scars. I also had no need for another free TV licence, but until today they refuse to acknowledge that watching someone hacked to death like a cucumber on chopping board brings with it severe life-long Psychological disabilities. As a survivor of Palestinian terrorism I hope that I would be forgiven for feeling a sense of injustice that the terrorists who tried to murder me are being paid by Mahmoud Abbas (J Street’s partner for peace), an execution stipend of $3500 per month, twelve times that which my own democracy awards me as a victim of terrorism.

Yet despite the injustice, I am grateful that Israel – unlike the PA – has many legal channels where as a citizen, I can pursue justice. I will continue to do this for myself and for the thousands of other Israeli civilians who are both victims of Palestinian terrorism and victims of the abuse and corruption rampant in the Israel National Insurance.

Despite the frustrations I experience, I have no fear to criticise my government. Living in the only democracy in the Middle East even affords me the liberty to criticise them publicly on social media without repercussions. Unlike those living under the regime of Abbas – I do not face imprisonment or torture for my actions.

I hope that J Street will study this profound photograph. It speaks of love, friendship, coexistence and peace. It also speaks of pain, frustration and injustice – the result of Arab terrorism and my government’s failure to help victims of terrorism and deal with those who incite it.

Although painful and infuriating this failure is not surprising. In part, the government’s inability to act firmly concerning incitement to terrorism is probably due to the likes of J-Street. From the comfort and distance of their own homes they arrogantly and dangerously haul Israel up on the world stage in front of an already-hostile global audience, and seek to berate the only democracy in the Middle East. In doing so I believe that they shackle my government in impotence because of their fears of more international pressure, reprisals and isolation.

Am Israel Chai!”

* * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

“Not all Muslims become involved in acts of violence. Yet all might be held culpable. This is because that section of Muslim–in fact, the majority–who are not personally involved, neither disown those members of their community who are engaged in violence, nor even condemn them. In such a case, according to the Islamic Shariah itself, if the involved Muslims are directly responsible, the uninvolved Muslims are also indirectly responsible.”            -Islamic spiritual scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

 Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

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