Baseless Israel Bashing Permeates Science, Medicine, and Education Unions By Phyllis Chesler and Israel’s New Government Is Among the Most Diverse in the History of Democracies By Alan M. Dershowitz and What's My Line? - Roy Rogers & Dale Evans; Red Skelton (Sep 26, 1954 ) and Israel ‘underreacting’ to COVID? Or justified optimism? Hospital chiefs split and Watch: Isaac Herzog sworn in as president of Israel
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Israel's New Government Is Among the Most Diverse in the History of Democracies By Alan M. Dershowitz
I challenge anyone to name a parliamentary democracy that has had a more diverse coalition government — racially, religiously, ethnically, ideologically, politically, national origin — than the current Israeli government. It includes people of nearly every color from Black Ethiopians to brown Muslims to swarthy Sephardim to pale Russians. It includes a modern Orthodox Jew as Prime Minister, along with fundamentalist Muslims and atheist and agnostics Jews. It has a gay cabinet member, a deaf member of the Knesset and people who trace their roots to Asia, Africa, Europe and America.
A record number of nine women will be serving in the new Israeli cabinet. The current Prime Minister is a right-winger. The Prime Minister designate who is currently Minster of Foreign Affairs, is a left-winger. Every shade of political opinion — and there are many in Israel — is represented in this government. The old expression "two Jews, three opinions" can now be changed to "20 Israeli cabinet members, 30 opinions" — because each cabinet member represents multiple opinions within their parties.
All the same, bigots, particularly on the hard left in the United States and Europe, insist on characterizing Israel as an apartheid state. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel has real diversity, not the kind of phony diversity that characterizes many American institutions. American diversity is simply a euphemism for more Blacks, and especially more Blacks who hold the same views about political and racial matters. It has little to do with diversity of attitudes, experiences, views.
The best evidence of this truism came from Google's appointment of a chief diversity officer who had expressed anti-gay and anti-Jewish views. It is inconceivable that Google with its vast resources and ability to check everything, did not know of his bigoted views. He is Black and that is all that diversity means at Google and many other American institutions. It is different in Israel, because Israel is such an inherently diverse nation that takes its diversity seriously.
Does this mean that perfect equality has been achieved in the nation state of the Jewish people? Of course not. Like every democracy struggling with racial and ethnic issues. Israel is far from perfect. Its laws mandate equality, but discriminatory practices persist against certain groups of Jews and Muslims. Israel's courts consistently render decisions moving the country toward complete equality, but courts alone can never achieve that result.
Moreover, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and as such can give equal civil, legal, religious, linguistic and political rights to its non-Jewish citizens, but it cannot give them equal national rights. The state was created to be Jewish in character and to never discriminate against Jews in immigration or religious rights. It is the only Jewish state in a world which discriminated against Jews for thousands of years and which stood by as six million of them were murdered.
Many other nation, states and provinces around the world, with far less historical justification, have even greater national and religious characteristics. Every Muslim-majority nation is officially a Muslim state that bestows considerable benefits on members of that faith. England is an Anglican Christian state with an established religion. Catholicism is the official religion of several European countries. Many national flags and emblems have crosses, crescents or other distinctly religious symbols. Several particular national anthems refer to religion.
Many countries have laws of return that favor certain ethnic and religious groups. Several Arab countries have religious restrictions and citizenship and land ownership. And on and on. But Israel is the only nation that is routinely condemned for its law of return, its observance of Jewish holidays, its flag and its exemption from military service for most Arabs (and Jews learning full-time in religious seminaries).
Even with these limited and historically justified exceptions, Israel stands among the countries of the world most committed to achieving real equality for all its citizens.
The good news is that Israel has finally achieved a government, and that the government is among the most diverse in the history of democracy. The bad news is that its very diversity — particularly its political and ideological differences — also make the government one of the most unstable in the history of democracy. It prevailed in the Knesset by a vote with 60 votes out of 120, with one abstention. So stay tuned to see how the now government manages to survive the challenges of diversity. In the meantime, however, stop singling out Israel for demonization by mislabeling it as apartheid or undemocratic.
Until recently, the hard sciences proved impregnable to political propaganda and to Soviet-style boycotts and censorship. Not anymore.
From college campuses to medical and mental health professionals, people whose careers are rooted in inquiry and fact are falling over each other to condemn Israel for last month's defensive war against Hamas – and in dreadfully uniform language.
I don't know how to stop the lies about Israeli "massacres" when that lie has now been amplified by professors at so many universities, by the media, by students, as well as in medical and scientific journals.
Physicians, both clinicians and scientific researchers, have also become politicized. According to a surgeon-friend:
"I had to quit my women physician Facebook group because of rabid antisemitism in the guise of pro-Palestinian humanism. We formed a separate group called 'physicians against antisemitism that quickly got 1,500 members."'
According to Michael Vanyukov, a geneticist and a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, psychiatry, and human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh:
"I left the totalitarian anti-Semitic Soviet Union 30 years ago…little did I know that the scientific society I would soon join in the United States—Behavior Genetics Association (BGA)…would bring back memories of my old unlamented country. I recently learned that the company's executive committee expressed support for BLM. I was shocked. Not only does BGA have no business getting engaged in partisan politics but the BLM attacks on Jewish institutions were not random…unsurprisingly, the BLM leaders also describe themselves as 'trained Marxists.' Endorsing BLM – a racist Jew-hating group – returns genetics to its ugly history page of ignorance."
To his enormous credit, Vanyukov resigned.
Medical journal's increasing bias
Makes perfect sense. We are undergoing the most profound degradation of both experts and of expertise.
These researchers failed to disclose that their study was funded by the Palestinian National Authority and their data was collected by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Further, they establish no baseline comparison with domestic violence in Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, countries which are not occupied by Israel or the West.
And amid the latest conflict, it published a letter May 19 from Issam Awadallah, of the "Shifa Medical Complex, in Gaza, Palestine." He claims that "this open-air enclave has been under siege for the past 14 years which has left the health system jeopardized by limited resources, failing equipment, and many essential drugs in dangerously low supply."
While this may be accurate, blaming Israel for this state of affairs is unbalanced and untrue. Every failing in Gaza's infrastructure is due to the Hamas leadership, which has spent 14 years prioritizing its desire to kill Israeli civilians above the basic needs of Palestinian people.
Awadallah repeats Hamas propaganda, including early, inaccurate, and out-of-context Palestinian casualty counts, including children.
What's newsworthy is that, despite pointed rebuttals by the president of the Israel Medical Association and other leadingscientists – the Lancet's bias has persisted. Its allegedly "medical" and "scientific" articles routinely cite false information and in a way that conforms to the Hamas-created "lethal narrative" that's been adopted by the Western media.
Even when Lancet's authors are dealing with strictly medical issues in Gaza, they still refer, at least once, to the "oPt," aka, "occupied Palestinian territory" – and this remained true even after Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. After publishing an article that condemns Israel-only for suffering in Gaza, The Lancet then goes on to publish an equal number of letters which support and oppose said article. The pro-fact articles have often been published after a struggle and a delay.
What can we say about the once reliable Scientific American, which has now published an article which focuses solely on the "raging mental health crisis," but only in Gaza – not in Israel?
The article, written by psychiatrist Yasser Abu Jamei, the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health program, is accompanied by a photo of people amidst rubble, together with civil defense workers, in the "aftermath of an Israeli bombing raid." Abu Jamei refers to post traumatic stress symptomatology among Palestinian children as a result of Israel's "11-day offensive on the people of the Gaza Strip."
Abu Jamei does not mention the number of casualties and trauma created when hundreds of Hamas rockets fell short and landed on top of Palestinians. He has not a word for the mental health issues in Israel due to Hamas's shelling (approximately 20,000 rockets since 2004) of Israeli cities, especially in southern Israel. Abu Jamei cites Gazan "children with poor concentration," "bed-wetting," "irritability," and "night terrors." (We know this is true for the children of southern Israel.)
Amazingly, Abu Jamei cites similarly inaccurate figures just as The Lancet did: "At least 242 people were killed in Gaza including 66 children, 38 women (four pregnant), and 17 elderly people." Not a single terrorist-combatant among them! Further, Abu Jamei saw "six hospitals and 11 clinics (that were) damaged." Not a word about whether Hamas had offices or stored weapons there. Not a word about Hamas's refusal to protect its civilians or its penchant for using them as human shields merely for propaganda purposes. In fact, Hamas is not mentioned at all.
But Hamas chief Yahya al-Sinwar admitted that his terrorist organization embedded its command centers and rocket launchers within civilian structures. It, he acknowledged, is "problematic." And as the names of the dead emerge, we find out a significant proportion of them were Hamas fighters. Hamas said it lost 80 fighters. Israel estimates the number as more than 100. The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in a striking moment of candor, said Israel's bombings in Gaza were "precise."
For acknowledging this reality, Matthias Schmale had to apologize and was removed from his assignment.
On campus, meanwhile, a wing of the union representing "25,000 faculty and staff at City University of New York" voted last week to "condemn the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state" and demand the school "divest from all companies that aid in Israeli colonization, occupation, and war crimes." At Princeton University, dozens of students, faculty, staff and alumni signed onto an "Open Letter in Support for Palestine."
The poisoned propaganda trickles down to public grade and high school teachers. For example, the Los Angeles Teachers Union hopes to vote on a resolution in September that would "urge the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel. As public school educators in the United States have a special responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people… because of the $3.8 billion annually that the U.S. government gives to Israel, thus directly using our tax dollars to fund apartheid and war crimes."
Quite ironically, the Los Angeles Board of Education has just made a $30 million deal with Apple to distribute iPads to its students. Yet, a major supplier is using "forced labor from thousands of Uighur (Muslim) workers to make parts for Apple products." Those Uighurs also are subject to torture and held in internment camps where they are "indoctrinated to disavow Islam" by the Chinese government, a new Amnesty International report finds.
No boycott of China is proposed by the union.
The San Francisco teachers union has already called for "essentially the same actions" targeting Israel.
More than 20 years ago, a handful of us saw the tsunami of anti-Israel propaganda coming our way.
We were not heard. Actually, we were heard, and therefore, we were defamed, mocked, censored, and forced to publish in ever-smaller venues, knocked out of the mainstream media. Some of us were fired from our academic jobs.
And now the tsunami is upon us. The incoming president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility of the American Psychological Association is LaraSheehi. She specializes in "decolonization" and, although she is not an expert in Middle East history, geography, or religion, describes herself as strongly pro-Palestine.
As usual, the propaganda has swiftly unleashed mini-pogroms and major pogroms against Jews around the world. In the diaspora, civilian Jews have no IDF to defend them. Kathryn Wolf published an article in Tablet in which she eloquently described her "screams" about antisemitism in Durham, N.C. falling "on deaf ears." She concludes, correctly: "If I have learned anything, it is this: The cavalry is not coming. We are the cavalry."
Watch: Isaac Herzog sworn in as president of Israel
Ceremony held for inauguration of 11th President of Israel, Isaac Herzog.
Isaac Herzog on Wednesday afternoon was sworn in as the eleventh president of Israel.
Following the inauguration ceremony, Herzog spoke of the central task he sets for himself during his tenure.
"From here I will go to the residence of the presidents of Israel, and from there to a journey between the lines of the rift and the fracture of Israeli society.
"A journey that aims to find what unifies within the differences, what brings together among the rifts, a journey designed to rediscover us. I will go this way to meet the pain, to face it, tilt ear and heart - to the difficulty and apprehension, even on the most explosive points.
"In this journey, as I have done throughout my years in the Israeli public, I will refuse to see only the identity of the person in front of me. As always, I will choose to see the inner aspect of the person in front of me. Human beings, their essence, the story of each and every one, the complexity and uniqueness, the small and big successes, the difficulties and pains piled up along the way."
What's My Line? - Roy Rogers & Dale Evans; Red Skelton (Sep 26, 1954
Fred Allen's first show as a regular panelist (though at first, he alternates weeks with Robert Q. Lewis) MYSTERY GUESTS: Roy Rogers & Dale Evans; Red Skelton PANEL: Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf
Israel 'underreacting' to COVID? Or justified optimism? Hospital chiefs split
With Muslim festival and Israeli wedding season approaching and COVID cases rising, some are filled with foreboding while others relax, saying vaccines doing their job
A medical worker tests an Israeli youth for coronavirus at a basketball court turned into a coronavirus testing center in Binyamina, Israel, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
With their premises quiet despite the spike in COVID diagnoses, Israel's hospital directors are split on whether it's time to breathe easy or to plan for the worst.
At the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Prof. Masad Barhoum thinks that the very slow rise in the number of hospitalized patients is temporary, and there could soon be many more. The government, he argues, is "underreacting" to the increase in coronavirus cases, especially since Eid al-Adha, a Muslim festival marked with large gatherings, starts in two weeks.
By contrast, at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Prof. Jonathan Halevy is against the very measures that Barhoum wants to see, like reviving the Green Pass, which limited entry to some venues to only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from the coronavirus.
"I'm not very concerned and I'm certainly not concerned hospitals will be overwhelmed," Halevy, the hospital's president, told The Times of Israel. "This is certainly not a fourth wave."
Barhoum, one of the country's most prominent Arab doctors, told The Times of Israel that he was particularly concerned by the timing of the current spike, which has raised the total number of active cases in Israel to 2,600.
Israel is grappling with new daily caseloads of around 300 and facing warnings from experts that this could more than triple soon. "It's better to have restrictions now rather than when we have 600 or 1,000 patients a day," Barhoum said, adding that while he doesn't fear anything on the scale of the first three waves, he is concerned about the coming weeks.
A medic at a COVID-19 ward at the Galilee Medical Center during the height of Israel's coronavirus crisis. (Shlomi Tova)
The government is considering some new restrictions, but Barhoum thinks that social distancing and hand sanitization should be brought back, as should the Green Pass. "We are currently underreacting," he said.
Barhoum and Halevy's analysis converges only on the issue of Israel's airport, which both recognize as the entry point for more new variants, and they therefore favor more control. But beyond this, Barhoum wants to see caution, while Halevy, who focuses less on the numbers of people diagnosed and more on hospital stats, feels confident.
As of Monday, there are 68 people in the hospital, 16 of them on ventilators, reflecting minimal extra strain on hospitals since the spike in new cases began. Masad Barhoum, director-general of the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya (courtesy of the Galilee Medical Center)
Health Ministry data suggests that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine largely prevents hospitalization and serious cases, and Halevy said this is reflected on the ground, with vaccinated patients experiencing the virus very lightly. He added that even those who are hospitalized are faring well. "We just had a vaccinated patient who was brought in after testing positive. He was admitted because his oxygen saturation level was below 92 percent and he needed oxygenation, but he was released after 24 hours. This is the kind of thing we are seeing across Israel."
Barhoum said a large part of his concern focuses on the Arab sector and the ultra-Orthodox community — two drivers of infection in previous waves, and the very populations where vaccination rates are low and where large gatherings are likely to be especially common over coming weeks. If significant numbers from these sectors are infected, he said, it will cause disproportionate levels of hospitalization, he predicted.
Eid in the Muslim calendar, and the Ninth of Av fast day in the Jewish calendar, which falls around the same time, normally signal the start of a busy wedding season in Israel. Barhoum noted that this disproportionately involves members of the Arab community and the ultra-Orthodox sector, with their low vaccination rates.
Eid will be marked by large family gatherings, some of which will involve Palestinian relatives from the largely unvaccinated West Bank.
"We are coming to Eid al-Adha, plus there are weddings and we also have people traveling abroad, so we'll have problems," he warned.