Saturday, November 24, 2018

Opposition grows against Airbnb's corporate anti-Semitism

Opposition continues to grow regarding Airbnb's decision to delist Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria from their home-sharing app.

On Wednesday, the Berkeley Hills City Council passed a resolution condemning what they described as a "reckless" and  "despicable action".

From the Jerusalem Post

“We find the actions of Airbnb deplorable,” said Mayor Julian Gold. “On behalf of our residents, this unanimous resolution reflects the City Council’s ongoing commitment to Israel and to exposing hatred anywhere it exists.”

“Airbnb is not welcome in Beverly Hills as long as its policies are based on anti-Jewish double standards,” added Vice Mayor John Mirisch. “Jew hatred is a disease. We can try to inoculate others against this malady but we also must protect ourselves against its effects.”

Class action lawsuits  directed against Airbnb are also planned by both Israeli and American hosts and guests. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Israel Aid (IsraAid) arrives in fire ravaged Butte County

Just like a good neighbor....

Teams from Israel have arrived in Northern California's Butte County, scene of one of the most ferocious fires in modern memory.  

After a request from local communities, IsraAID will work with local partners to conduct a needs assessment of the population in affected areas, promote community resilience and recovery, and distribute relief items to families after the Camp Fire ravaged their community.

From Israel 21C:

Yotam Polizer, the co-CEO of IsraAID, told ISRAEL21c that a team of four Israelis have already flown out to California, and plan to set up operations in Chico, where many evacuees are now living in tent cities, shelters and even sleeping in their cars.

“We’ve seen a lot of disaster zones over the years, but this is a whole different level of devastation. Everything has been burned to the ground, and there are so many people still missing,” said Polizer, who has just returned from California.

“The search and rescue teams aren’t looking for survivors, they are looking for remains. From a psychological perspective it’s on a whole different scale.

“When we talk to local people we see they are getting support, but there’s very little psycho-social support there. That’s where we are planning to focus our efforts.”

IsraAID’s team will include Israeli and US-based mental health specialists, who will work with partner organizations on-the-ground to support affected communities as they recover and promote community resilience.

Read it all here:
Israeli NGO sends aid to California in wake of unprecedented wildfires

As of 2018, IsraAID has responded to humanitarian crises and natural disasters in 47 countries

Airbnb's Corporate Anti-Semitism

After 2 years of intensive lobbying by anti-Israel groups, Airbnb capitulated to the bullies last week, and announced that it would be removing listing of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, writing "We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. " Only homes hosted by Jews are affected. There are dozens of land disputes and conflict zones in the world, yet Airbnb has only taken action on this one.

The backlash was swift.

From the Airbnb Community Center Discussion Room
This is the sheerest form of corporate anti-Semitism in recent memory. Not only did AirBNB specifically target “Israeli settlements,” according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason Law, they’ve announced that they will only disallow listings in Israeli settlements when those listings are owned by Jews. In other words, if a Jew owns an apartment in East Jerusalem, that won’t be allowed for listing; if an Arab owns an apartment in the same neighborhood, it’s fine for listing.

In the popular media:

From The Spectator:
.Airbnb’s ban on Israeli settlements is shameful

Airbnb has taken the extraordinary decision to stop advertising homes for rent in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It is extraordinary because Airbnb still advertises places to stay in Tibet, a place many Tibetans consider to be unjustly dominated by China. And in Crimea, recently annexed by Russia. And in Northern Cyprus, a Turkish-ruled statelet since the mid-1970s, which only Turkey recognises as a legitimate state, and to which Turkey has sent huge numbers of settlers in recent decades. Why are Turkish settlers less offensive to the Western conscience than Jewish ones? Why is it OK to rent a holiday apartment in Turkish-settled Northern Cyprus but not in Israeli-settled parts of the West Bank? Anyone?

From the N.Y. Post:
Airbnb says: No Jews allowed. The apartment-sharing service has sided against Israel by banning and delisting the apartments of peaceful Jewish civilians living in Judea and Samaria. And that’s not even the worst part.
Nor is the worst part that Airbnb is helping propel the destructive myth that Jews would abandon their claim to the disputed West Bank if only there were enough international pressure.
No, the worst part is that Airbnb has singled out Jews, and only Jews, as the one group in the world that is worthy of such censure. That’s what makes its boycott a naked act of corporate anti-Semitism.

In social media, people posted screen-shots of deleting the airbnb app on Twitter and facebook

Airbnb’s website claims “Discrimination has no place on our platform.”  But, discrimination now plainly has a major place on Airbnb’s platform, if one happens to be a Jew living or renting a home in the Jewish people’s indigenous, historical and religious homeland, in Judea and Samaria.
Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the USA, characterized it best when he tweeted: “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria— not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea.  Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism.  No one should use its services.
How can you help correct this egregious wrong?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Triumph of Light Over Darkness

Its a small miracle in a devastating week - a reminder of the ultimate triumph of light over darkness.

As of now, the Woolsey fire in Southern California is 90% contained, and has burnt over 1,130 structures. 96,000 acres have been consumed. At least 3 have perished.

Photo from the Huffington Post

Camp Hess Kramer, associated with Los Angeles's Wilshire Blvd Temple was badly damaged in the Woolsey fire. The camp's iconic menorah is still standing tall and proud on the charred hillside, a much needed reminder of the triumph of light over darkness.

David Mandel of Jewish Voice for Peace is kinda sorta maybe against anti-Semitism

This is not the support or solidarity that Jewish people want or need.  Thank Jewish Voice for Peace's David Mandel for this  "All Lives Matter" statement  with the violence directed at the Jewish people a mere afterthought :

The National Lawyers Guild notes with alarm the re-emergence of virulent and violent antisemitism, a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacy in the United States and around the world. Adherents of this phenomenon have aimed their toxic attacks at a wide variety of scapegoats – Muslims, refugees, Latinx, indigenous people, immigrants, Blacks, Arabs, LGBTQ-identified people and women, among others, and the left in general – all in an effort to install and bolster regimes that promote nationalism, racism and sexism to suppress democracy, worker rights and movements to save our planet. Moreover, the current U.S. regime and its growing coterie of look-alikes worldwide are fast establishing a pattern of tolerating and giving succor to the various phenomena that spring from white supremacist ideology.

The Guild further notes that in the wake of the hate-inspired killing of worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, there has been an increase in the volume of Trumpian, Charlottesville-style “both sides-ism,” citing “antisemitism of the right and the left”—the latter involving a false conflation of support for Palestine with anti-Jewish hatred. The Guild vehemently condemns this effort, which has fueled ongoing legislative and other initiatives to redefine antisemitism as including criticism of Israeli policies and unconstitutional attempts to suppress and even criminalize boycotts aimed at demanding Palestinian rights. At the same time, Israel’s government and some of its backers have welcomed support for Netanyahu from ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia.
Antisemitism and all forms of racism must be confronted and defeated whatever their source, and with full understanding of their sordid histories, but it is crucial to recognize that these phenomena today are overwhelmingly a function of dangerous fascist and white supremacist movements.

The Guild claim that antisemitism is a function of  "overwhelmingly  fascist and white supremacist movements" is wrong.  Anti-Semitism is the sordid middle ground where the far left and the far right find common cause. Denying that does not make it go away.

There was some good news from the California Democratic Paty's  2018 Fall Executive Board Meeting held this week in Long Beach.  Mandel's attempt to introduce a similar resolution was shot down by the party leadership.
David Mandel's recolution at CADEM  fails

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Journalist notices Israel's restraint in Gaza

It was a rare moment of journalistic integrity.

On Twitter, Raf Sanchez, Middle East correspondent for the Telegraph, wrote:

"We got a sense of how careful Israel was to avoid civilian casualties during the airstrikes in Gaza. The Israeli army called one guy we met and spent 45 mins on the phone with him, getting him to evacuate his neighbours, before they blew up a Hamas media building next to his."

 Israel's painstaking efforts to avoid civilian casualties have been well documented

In the 2014 report  2014 Gaza War Assessment: The New Face of Conflict, Israel's IDF was praised for its restraint and its effort to limit civilian casualties:

The IDF executed a number of extraordinary and innovative methods to mitigate civilian risk. These measures included: maximizing the use of precision-guided munitions; selecting the lowest acceptable yield explosives; warning civilians with leaflets, text messages, telephone calls and radio transmissions to leave a defined area of operations or to seek shelter; assisting with the evacuation of civilians; firing smoke and illumination rounds prior to the use of explosive munitions in order to encourage civilian evacuation; and most notably, dropping a small, non-lethal explosive at an unoccupied corner of a structure to provide a “knock on the roof” warning of an impending strike. The IDF implemented unprecedented precautionary measures with full knowledge that they often would degrade the efficacy of an attack by allowing evacuation of military personnel, equipment or munitions. 

In an event organized by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York, after the 2014 Gaza war,   General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest ranking military officer in the United States confirmed this, stating “ ... Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties."

In this asymetrical war, where Hamas considers every Israeli man, woman and child a legitimate target,  Israel's restraint in Gaza is nothing short of remarkable.

Palestinian killed by Gaza Rockets

The only person killed by the recent terrorist barrage of over 450 rockets from Gaza was a Palestinian, Mahmoud Abu Asabeh.  Abu Asabeh was a contractor with a permit to work in Israel  
and was ultimately killed by his own people, when a rocket from Gaza demolished his Ashkelon apartment.   No senior Fatah or PA officials attended his burial service.

Palestinian casualty of Gaza rockets

Israel's Jewish Agency will pay survivers benefits to Abu Asabeh's family, from its Fund for the Victims of Terror.

We value life.  They exault in death.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hate Crimes against Jews rise by 37% in 2017

According to the latest FBI hate crime statistics,  the overall number of hate incidents reported to the FBI increased about 17 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year.  

Jews were subject to nearly 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2017 in spite of being only 2% of U.S. Population.  There were a total of 938 hate crimes committed against Jews in 2017, up 37 % from 2016.

Of the 1,749 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:

  • 58.1 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
  • 18.6 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
  • 4.3 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
  • 3.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
  • 2.3 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
  • 1.8 percent were victims of anti-Other Christian bias.
  • 1.5 percent were victims of anti-Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Other) bias.
  • 1.5 percent were victims of anti-Sikh bias.
  • 0.9 percent (15 individuals) were victims of anti-Hindu bias.
  • 0.9 percent (15 individuals) were victims of anti-Mormon bias.
  • 0.7 percent (13 individuals) were victims of anti-Jehovah’s Witness bias.
  • 0.7 percent (12 individuals) were victims of anti-Buddhist bias.
  • 0.5 percent (8 individuals) were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
  • 4.9 percent were victims of bias against other religions (anti-other religion).

The toxic climate coming from both the fringe left and the fringe right  is adding fuel to the fire of the worlds oldest hatred.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Berkeley's mayor Jesse Arreguin opposed to appointment of Hatem Bazian to Local Commission

Berkeley's mayor Jesse Arreguin has publicly expressed his opposition to the appointment of Hatem Bazian to the city's Peace and Justice Commission, and has expressed his frustration about his inability to prevent it.

From the J Weekly, the Jewish News of Northern California:
Berkeley mayor objects to appointment of Bazian to city commission

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is not pleased with the appointment of controversial UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian to the city’s Peace and Justice Commission, saying Bazian is not qualified to serve as a public official because of his “anti-Semitic statements and actions.”

Bazian, a lecturer at UC Berkeley and the co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine  has called for an intifada in America, and has spread anti-semitic images and messaging through social media

Mayor Arreguin, speaking to the J Weekly: 

“There’s documentation showing things he has said that are very offensive and inappropriate and anti-Semitic.  And on that basis, I think it’s a very serious issue about whether this person should be in public office.”

Cheryl Davila, the Berkeley City Council representative from District 2 had also appointed Bazian as an emergency stand-in, in a move that prompted 3 Berkeley Rabbis to write to mayor Arreguin, expressing their deep concerns.   Davila's continued promotion of Bazian, a financial contributor to her campaign, shows her  abject disdain for the local Jewish community

Cheryl Davila is a regular at local and national anti-Israel events, and received financial support for her campaign from anti-Israel activists nationwide.
Berkeley City Council member Cheryl Davila  wearing T shirt in support of convicted Jew-killer Rasmeah Odeh
Hatem Bazian has circled the wagons and is attempting to orchestrate a response.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tourism to Israel at Record Levels

Hows that boycott working out for you?

In 2001 at the notorious Durban Conference in South Africa,  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions emerged as a tactic against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

A full 17 years after this cynically orchestrated attempt to isolate the worlds only Jewish state, tourism is at record levels.

I'm calling BDS fail.

From Globes:  

485,500 tourists visited Israel in October, 14% more than in October 2017. The Ministry of Tourism estimates that they contributed over NIS 2.5 billion to the Israeli economy. 3.4 million tourists visited Israel in January-October 2018, 15% more than in the corresponding period last year, and the Ministry of Tourism is aiming to increase this number to four million a year. The increase in tourism and the prosperity of hoteliers and the tourist industry also depends on the relative tranquility in the regional security situation. According to Ministry of Tourism figures, tourists stay in Israel for an average of eight days.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Stronger than Hate: Honoring the Pittsburgh Victims.

There have been many small and meaningful gestures in the wake of the horrific violence at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger is wearing custom cleats today to honor the synagogue shooting victims.

Cecil and David Rosenthal, victims of the shooting were brothers of Michele Rosenthal, who worked in the Steelers' community relations department and assisted in Roethlisberger's foundation.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have added a Star of David, and the words "Stronger than Hate" to their Jerseys

Limited editions of this patch are available for sale, with proceeds going to the families of the victims.

Throughout the country, Jewish Day schools and synagogues have reported tender messages of solidarity, comfort and compassion from their neighbors.

After the attack, the worse ever on US soil, parents from San Raphael's Venetia Valley Elementary School  meet their neighbors at Marin Brandeis with a sign  "You are not Alone".

Synagogues across the country reported flowers, cards and condolence notes left at their doorsteps.

Memorial to the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting  left in front on Berkeley's Congregation Beth Israel
These gestures are the beacons of light in what has been a dark time in our land, and are a reminder again, of the words of Dr. King:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Friday, November 2, 2018

Today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette

An astonishing gesture of solidarity with the Jewish community, from the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

In the wake of Pittsburgh, 2 California Synagogues are vandalized

On the heels of the slaughter at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a community already on edge and in mourning is facing a different kind of threat, as two California synagogues were vandalized this week.

Congregation Beth Jacob in Irvine was defaced with antisemitic graffiti.

Irvine California Synagogue vandalized
Temple Beth Israel  in Fresno was also vandalized.

Fresno Synagogue Vandalized
Police are treating both incidents as hate crimes.