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During the 20th Maccabiah Games next month, about 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries will descend upon the Holy Land to join 2,500 Israeli athletes in the Olympic-style competition. Held every four years, the Jewish multi-sport competition is the world’s third-largest sporting event. From July 4-18, the Maccabiah Games will have the added significance of coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of this year’s host city, Jerusalem. “The Maccabiah is the one place that Jews from all over the world can come together and bond, and there’s no better place to do so than Jerusalem,” Maccabiah Chairman Amir Peled told JNS.org.
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t win the British election. Yet Labour remains a force in U.K. politics, and British Jews can play a role in ensuring the party isn’t entirely hijacked by the far left, which regards BDS as an article of faith and dismisses any charge of anti-Semitism as a Mossad-directed smear campaign. Jews certainly have Labour allies—both established ones like parliamentarian John Mann and new ones like London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Friends can be found where you least expect them, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Following Saturday night’s terror attack that killed seven people in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to crack down on the “new trend” in the U.K., which has seen three major Islamist terror attacks in recent months. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the London attack by saying, “These terrorists worship death. They murder indiscriminately, but they will not frighten us....They will only harden our resolve to defeat them. Here in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, everywhere—together, we will defeat them faster.”
For all their differences, Argentina’s Alberto Nisman and France’s Sarah Halimi had three things in common. They were proud Jews. They died because they were Jews. And in both of their cases, that latter fact has yet to be recognized, let alone acted upon, by the investigating authorities. Both cases demonstrate once again that violent anti-Semitism is integral to Islamist ideology, to the point where its victims are dehumanized in the very moment of death, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Why aren’t Muslim countries leading givers to the Palestinian cause? The question has renewed relevance upon a United Nations agency’s recent release of its list of donors. Western countries and Japan are the most significant contributors to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), while the only major Muslim givers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ronen Yizhak, head of the Middle East Studies department at Israel’s Western Galilee College, told JNS.org that among Arab and Muslim nations, “there is a lot of talking, but little actual deeds” on financial aid to the Palestinians.
For those who’d never given any thought to Ariana Grande before the terrorist atrocity at her concert in Manchester, it took a few minutes to make sense of suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s target selection. Eventually, it dawned. In the name of a global Islamic caliphate, Abedi set out to slaughter teenage girls, Grande’s primary audience. The ideological roots of Abedi’s attack are given exquisite expression in the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Sayyid Qutb, who in 1949 studied in Greeley, Colorado. Qutb’s writing from his time in Greeley shows how desire, when fused with hatred of relaxed sexuality and expressions of femininity, can be devastating once it is incorporated into an ideology of conquest, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Amid recent tensions between Germany and Israel, it is time to recognize the Jewish state’s place as part of the solution—not the obstacle—to creating a stable, prosperous Middle East. A reset of German assumptions about relations with Israel is urgently overdue, writes Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office.
Jewish ritual observance has come under attack in Belgium and Norway. While there is nothing suggesting the moves against ritual slaughter in Belgium and ritual circumcision in Norway were coordinated, both speak to a tendency in Europe to dismiss these core requirements for Jews as no more and no less than cruelty of a particularly Jewish sort. American Jews are fortunate to live with a constitution clearly demarcating religion and state, but European Jews don’t enjoy the same protection, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
An open letter to FIFA by 174 Palestinian sports clubs called on world soccer’s governing body to “immediately suspend” the Israel Football Association’s membership “over its inclusion of seven football teams based in illegal Israeli settlements.” Some might downplay this development, saying it’s “only sports.” But the context of this anti-Israel campaign shows why it matters. What’s surprising and significant is not the Palestinian sports clubs’ request itself, but that they posted their open letter on the official website of the BDS movement, which has the façade of a human rights movement, writes columnist Jack Saltzberg.
Should Israel be surprised Sweden was the only European Union country to vote for a UNESCO resolution denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem? Svante Cornell, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, said it was “somewhat surprising, since it has not been Swedish diplomatic tradition to break the EU consensus.” But Magnus Norell, a Swedish scholar with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, explained the rationale behind Sweden’s longtime support for the Palestinian cause. “Sweden always saw herself as being a ‘moral superpower,’ taking the side of the oppressed,” he said. “And Israel, being supported by the U.S., was seen as being on the side of the oppressor, lording it over the Palestinians.”
Following UNESCO’s vote to deny Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, the Jewish state has taken immediate steps to counter the latest anti-Israel move at the United Nations by censuring Sweden’s ambassador to Israel and announcing a cut in funding to the world body. “Hard to believe Sweden is the only European country which voted against Israel at UNESCO today! Nothing short of shameful,” tweeted Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
As Israel celebrated its Independence Day, the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO voted May 2 to deny the Jewish state’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Yet the measure also reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” language Israeli officials view as an improvement from two UNESCO resolutions passed in October 2016 that ignore all Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites and refer to the Temple Mount exclusively by its Islamic name.
A bitter debate has raged over the character of Sebastian Gorka, the deputy adviser to President Donald Trump who reportedly will be moved to a new role within the administration. There is very little evidence justifying the accusation that Gorka is anti-Semitic. Yet when it comes to Gorka’s involvement with Vitezi Rend, an ultranationalist organization founded by Miklos Horthy, the Trump adviser’s defenders should not downplay the former Hungarian dictator’s murderous and anti-Semitic record, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
An Israeli-German spat has provided a prominent platform for research that documents the European Union’s funding of BDS and terrorism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an April 25 meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, due to the latter’s insistence on meeting with nonprofit organizations that campaign against the IDF and alleged Israeli human rights violations. The Israeli-German disagreement comes after the April 20 publication of a report detailing European governments’ funding of Palestinian civic organizations with ties to terrorism. “In his actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking to put this irresponsible NGO funding by Europe on the agenda, and to trigger long-overdue changes,” said NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg.
Throughout the seven decades since it declared independence, Israel has waged a struggle for legitimacy, navigating the global arena to find its place among the nations. While many factors went into Israeli independence, the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 and subsequent Resolution 181 laid the foundation. For Israel’s 69th Independence Day, JNS.org looks at how four countries actively involved in the historic 1947 vote not only shaped Israeli history, but have robust current relationships with the Jewish state and might play key roles in the country’s future.
Jewish leaders inside and outside France expressed alarm after far-right populist Marine Le Pen’s strong showing in the first round of France’s presidential election Sunday. Le Pen, leader of the National Front party, has previously called on French Jews to give up wearing yarmulkes as part of her initiative to ban religious symbols in public and fight radical Islam in France. She has also stated that if elected, she would bar dual citizenship with non-European Union countries, distressing many French Jews who hold Israeli citizenship.
For Holocaust survivors’ grandchildren like Beckah Restivo, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum works to anchor family stories in a historical context. Much of the museum’s resources come from the International Tracing Service, an archive of Holocaust records established by the Allies after the war. The archive boasts millions of pages of documentation. “Everything I know about my family history, besides my grandfather’s and great-uncle’s actual firsthand accounts, has been driven by the resources at the museum, and I’m so grateful,” says Restivo.
As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assumed near-dictatorial powers following his dubious victory in a constitutional referendum April 16, Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina, was marking his sixth month in a Turkish prison over an unsubstantiated charge. What makes Brunson’s case particularly outrageous, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen, is that his imprisonment comes in Turkey—traditionally an ally of the U.S., a member of NATO and widely regarded in the years prior to Erdoğan’s rise as the ideal model for a secular state with a Muslim majority.