Scorpion swarms kill 3, injure hundreds in Egyptian city and Supporting Critical Race Theory Undermines Battling Antisemitism By Jonathan S. Tobin and The Most Alarming Threat of All to the Jewish PeopleBy Melanie Phillips
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.
Supporting Critical Race Theory Undermines Battling Antisemitism By Jonathan S. Tobin
In the last few months, Anti-Defamation League national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has had something of an epiphany. In articles published in Newsweek in July and then another in The Washington Post in October, he belatedly acknowledged the dangerous rise of anti-Semitism on the political left. In the latter, he attempted to cushion the blow he was delivering to liberals who still cling to the myth that Jew-hatred is only a problem on the right. He foolishly compared right-wing anti-Semitism, which for all of its violence lacks any political influence, to a Category 5 hurricane while analogizing the left-wing variant, which has open exponents in the U.S. Congress, to the more subtle and incremental threat from climate change.
Nevertheless, he also made clear that those who seek to single out Israel for attacks in which it is falsely accused of apartheid and genocide, and to oppose the right of the Jewish state to exist are engaging in anti-Semitism. As such, he drew an important line in the sand. That he is doing so in large measure in an effort to rescue his organization's credibility after having squandered it in recent years doesn't make it any less vital for the ADL to take such a stand.
But as much as making these statements is exactly what one would expect from the head of the agency tasked with the job of speaking up against anti-Semitism, that doesn't mean that the ADL is actually doing its job on the subject. To the contrary, by failing to counter the ideas that are driving the growth of left-wing anti-Semitism, the ADL has actually undermined the effort to halt the very trend that it has finally chosen to highlight after spending the previous four years largely ignoring it, and instead focusing on partisan talking points vainly trying to connect former President Donald Trump with animus against the Jews.
The role that the ADL continues to play in propping up critical race theory (CRT) indoctrination and demonizing its critics strengthens the very forces Greenblatt is now pushing back against.
As with other mainstream liberal Jewish groups, like the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL jumped at the opportunity to back the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police. Eager to resurrect the old alliance between Jewish and African-American groups that have largely lapsed in the decades since the heyday of the civil rights movement, they saw it as an opportunity to take a stand against racial prejudice. But even when faced with the problematic aspects of the BLM movement, which is rooted in support for an intersectional ideology that views the war against Israel's existence as morally equivalent to the struggle for racial justice in the United States, these Jewish institutions still felt there was an advantage in being part of a broad coalition of liberal and leftist groups embracing the cause of anti-racism.
Few did such yeoman service for BLM as the ADL.
In the summer of 2020, its chapters distributed recommended reading lists about racial issues to the Jewish community filled with some of the most extreme BLM and CRT propaganda, including the work of the race-baiting Ibram Kendi, who insists that anti-Zionists are not anti-Semitic; White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo; The New York Timesfallacious "1619 Project"; and other works that obsess about white privilege—a label that is slapped on Jews and the State of Israel in order to delegitimize them.
In the fall of 2020, the group condemned the Trump administration for prohibiting CRT indoctrination sessions from being imposed on government employees. It also consistently defended the teaching of CRT by branding its critics as "white extremists." More recently, it has accused groups of parents and state legislators that were alarmed about the spread of CRT in books children were being told to read as know-nothings trying to "ban children's literature."
It needs to be understood that CRT teachings about "white privilege" lend credibility to the anti-Semitic invective that Greenblatt now decries. Indeed, without it, incidents like the environmentalist Sunrise Movement's call for the banning of Zionist and Jewish groups from demonstrations about voting rights that ADL spoke out against wouldn't have happened.
In the wake of last week's election in Virginia, which largely turned on the electorate's rejection of radical dogma infiltrating the schools, many on the left have denounced the results as evidence of racism. Even more absurdly, they have engaged in widespread gaslighting about the subject in which they claimed that CRT is itself an invention of right-wing media and "not a real thing."
That claim is false. Virginia school systems have paid for critical race theory coaching for their teachers that seeks to involve its ideas in all subjects. The same is true elsewhere as school personnel are increasingly forced to undergo training about CRT catechism items like "equity," as opposed to equality, and other ideas that seek to spread the notion that the United States is an irredeemably racist nation. What it should really do is speak frankly about America's troubled history, as well as the enormous advances towards greater equality and freedom that make up the reality of the United States in 2021.
We already know how these toxic notions are poisoning discourse about Jews and Israel; still, the ADL has neither retracted its defenses of CRT nor ceased its attacks on its opponents.
The reason for that is a familiar one for observers of the ADL. The issue is one in which many Democrats have foolishly doubled down on their support of CRT to the point where the Biden Department of Justice issued a directive seeking to investigate parents protesting about the issue to local school boards as if they were "domestic terrorists." So, as it has throughout Greenblatt's time leading the group, the ADL seems to view honesty about the subject as somehow unhelpful to the Democratic Party. Rather than opposing Attorney General Merrick Garland's outrageous decision, the ADL—once one of the nation's strongest defenders of civil liberties—was silent.
Indeed, when Vice President Kamala Harris was deservedly criticized for praising a student's "truth" when she claimed Israel was the result of "ethnic genocide," not only was the ADL slow to comment on it, it helped her find a way to talk her way out of it by providing her with the keynote speaker's spot in their recent "No Place for Hate" conference. Harris did reverse herself, and in her speech spoke out against the way those who demonize Israel engage in anti-Semitism. But it goes without saying that had she been a Republican and behaved in such an outrageous manner, the ADL would have roasted her as anti-Semite and not just downplayed the incident, giving her a chance to take it back.
The problem of left-wing anti-Semitism isn't simply the question of what some politicians are or aren't saying. It's a woke worldview about white privilege that endangers Jews, which has spread from college campuses to the public square and, astonishingly, become the new orthodoxy for many liberals.
It is precisely the myths about history and the insidious ideas about privilege that are the foundation of the left-wing anti-Semitic hate that Greenblatt has rightly decried. But unless and until the ADL speaks out directly against critical race theory and intersectionality, rather than defending them and attacking those who have sought to curb their influence, it cannot honestly claim to be actually doing a thing about it.
Scorpions inundated a city in southern Egypt on Saturday, killing three people and injuring 453.
Heavy storms, including rain, hail and thunder, flooded the city of Aswan and the nearby Nile River in recent days.
An expert told local media that heavy rains wash scorpions and snakes out of their resting places, causing them to seek shelter in homes, particularly on high ground.
Doctors in the area were redirected from a COVID vaccination campaign to treat stings. Health officials said extra doses of anti-venom were sent to clinics. People were encouraged to avoid mountainous and wooded areas.
A sting from Egypt's fat-tail scorpion can kill a human in under an hour.
The Most Alarming Threat of All to the Jewish People
The violent scenes surrounding this week's appearance by Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, at the London School of Economics shocked decent people in Britain.
After her talk and subsequent discussion took place uninterrupted, Hotovely had to be bundled out of the building under heavy security against an aggressive mob outside. Police held back protesters as they tried to rush the ambassador's car, yelling "aren't you ashamed" and calling Israel a "terrorist state." Frightened Jewish students concealed their kipahs as they walked past the protesters.
The protests were organized by Palestinian and Islamic societies across London universities. Groups on campus had shared calls for violence while accusing the LSE students' union of "platforming racism."
An Instagram group called LSE Class War called on social media for the ambassador's window to be smashed. "Let's f****** frighten her," it ranted. "Let's make her shake."
British politicians called this LSE thuggery "deeply disturbing" and "unacceptable." Needless to say, this treatment would be meted out to no other ambassador from any other country in the world.
Hotovely, a former deputy foreign minister under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was ostensibly being targeted because of her uncompromising views on the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, her opposition to the "two-state solution" and her religious opposition to intermarriage.
The LSE Student Union's Palestinian Society said Hotovely had "a track record of anti-Palestinian racism, Islamophobia and war crimes as well as actively facilitating apartheid and settler-colonial occupation."
Hotovely is demonized in this way simply because she articulates certain unambiguous truths: the legal and historical right of the Jews to the entire land of Israel; the exterminatory, anti-Jewish animus behind the Palestinian cause; and the unparalleled record of Israel and its military in adhering to human rights.
Anyone who speaks these truths is vilified by those who inhabit an alternative universe in which the unique legal and historical right of the Jews to the land of Israel is "occupation," the return of the Jews to their unique ancestral homeland is "colonialism," and genocidal Palestinian anti-Semitism is "resistance."
At the LSE, Hotovely told the students that the Israel Defense Forces never target civilians—only civilian places where rockets are being launched from "because according to international law, you're allowed to target places that are the infrastructure of a terror organization."
Reportedly, this made the students gasp. That's because they have been indoctrinated to believe the blood libel that Israelis are wanton child-killers.
For the notion that the LSE protests were caused by Hotovely's personal views is disingenuous. Anti-Jew and anti-Israel hatred, with its egregious lies, demonization and double standards, has been running rampant in Britain and on the Western left for decades.
Over the years, Israeli speakers in British campuses have been treated to a similar onslaught. Demonstrators on British streets have repeatedly chanted, as they did at the LSE, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"—the call for Israel to be exterminated.
Protesters have run Israeli businesses out of their premises and disrupted performances by Israeli artists, while university lecturers, the BBC and much of the mainstream media continuously pump out inflammatory Palestinian lies and incitement.
Whenever Israel takes military action to stop the murderous attacks against its citizens, there follows a spike in anti-Semitism in the West. Yet despite all this evidence of rising anti-Jewish madness, Diaspora Jews always seem taken by surprise.
A study of anti-Semitism in the United States during Israel's "Operation Guardian of the Walls" in May—published this week by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv—found that Jewish communal leaders were surprised by violence against Jews that took place during the conflict.
One of the authors, Shahar Eilam, expressed his puzzlement that the U.S. Jewish establishment hadn't anticipated this given that similar rises in anti-Semitism in relation to Israel had happened before.
Unfortunately, Diaspora Jews are all too prone to this kind of self-delusion. Desperate to believe that anti-Semitism is a problem marginal to their own lives, they persistently fail to grasp that the best they can hope for is to be tolerated under a thin veneer of civility.
In fact, anti-Semitism in the Diaspora inescapably goes with the territory (or lack of it). It is always to be expected.
What really should be worrying Jews sick is the part being played in the demonization of Israel by Jews themselves. Jews on the left—some of whom reportedly took part in the LSE demonstration—routinely deploy the same lies and distortions about Israel as do its other existential foes by accusing it of apartheid, racism or human-rights violations.
Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, damns Israeli policies and actions, along with supporters of Israel, as being motivated by deeply rooted Jewish racial chauvinism and religious supremacism.
Na'amod, which describes itself as "British Jews Against Occupation," has campaigned against any Jewish organization inviting Hotovely to speak.
Its petition to ban her says: "Our uncritical platforms have helped Hotovely deflect criticism of her far-right racist views." In October, its members disrupted a talk by Hotovely at a synagogue on the outskirts of London with posters condemning her for "nakba denial" (her rejection of the Palestinians' claim that the foundation of the State of Israel was a "catastrophe").
Its website declares: "Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is a system of violence and discrimination that infringes Palestinians' freedom, dignity and human rights."
These are the kind of Jews who said Kaddish in the summer for those Arabs killed when they tried to storm the Gaza border under direction from Hamas.
Other Jewish Israel-bashing groups are more canny, restricting their rhetoric to condemning the "occupation" and supporting boycotts or labeling of products coming from the Israeli "settlements."
By misrepresenting Israel as behaving illegally in the "occupation" and thereby furthering the lie that it is intent on stealing legally non-existent "Palestinian land," such groups also fuel the campaign intent upon Israel's destruction—often while claiming grotesquely that these lies represent "Jewish values."
Diaspora Jews should not only be saying out loud the kind of things that Hotovely is saying about Israel in order to counter the lies and educate a generally ignorant public. They should also be publicly calling to account those Jewish groups that demonize Israel. This is vital not just to puncture their lies but to destroy the Jew-haters' alibi that Jews themselves are saying these things.
Defenders of the Jewish people should be pointing out that the Jewish identity of these Israel-bashers is irrelevant. Their activities in demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and singling it out alone for such treatment are not just anti-Israel, but anti-Judaism and anti-Jew.
Jewish leaders in Britain and America should be saying of these anti-Israel Jewish groups: "Not in our name." Unfortunately, though, too many of these leaders have either themselves signed up to these falsehoods or else provide these groups with the space to promulgate them without any comeback under the community leadership umbrella.
Such Jewish leaders may not themselves know enough about Israel and Judaism to counter these lies. Most are palpably frightened of provoking divisions in the community and giving the impression that it is split.
Above all, many are terrified that speaking the truth about Israel will cause them to lose their access to the political and intellectual circles they prize so highly, and in which they pretend to themselves they are accepted as equals just like anyone else.
Anti-Semitism must be fought, whether it emerges in a violent campus mob or in the mouths of Democratic Party ultras. But the more urgent and lethal threat to Diaspora Jewish communities comes from within.