May Your Chanukah be bright, and Good News Light the World.
Stay well, stay strong, Be Happy!
Morocco and Israel to Establish Diplomatic Relations!!!
The latest good news “Chanukah” announcement from the American and Israeli administrations is the forthcoming signing of another treaty or Abraham Accord, this one with Morocco. This means normalizing relations, expanding trade and cultural exchanges, starting direct flights. Lighting candles this year really means bringing light into the world, and hope, security, expanded friendships. Yay! Celebrate!
A Tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Across the world people of all faiths and no faith, of many ethnicities, ages, and walks of life, remembered Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks who passed away on November 4th. The Jewish community of Toronto created a special tribute service to mark the end of Shloshim. It was a beautiful service; noting that Rabbi Sacks brought light into the world. Rabbi Sacks left us a wonderful legacy and we need honour him by considering his teaching, his dedication and compassion, stalwart love of Jews, Judaism and Israel.
Paradox of Paradoxes
A paradox or antimony is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. This would seem to be a frequent habit of the European Union, which is notorious for criticizing Israel about most actions it takes-whether to defend itself from random knife or gun attacks, to punishing Arab perpetrators of terrorist acts, to restraining people or organizations that are interfering with proper governance of a safe civil society such as NGOs that are set on the destruction of Israel. So, the EU can speak volumes against racism, antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, but disappoints time and again because it allows, encourages and behaves like an antisemite when it comes to applying the 3D’s in relation to Israel—demonizing, double standards and deligitimization.
Members of the EU have funded illegal Arab settlements, even those in areas designated for Jewish settlement or in areas that include military training grounds. This has been well documented by organizations such as Regavim, which has pursued legal action to save and safeguard historic Biblical sites, prevent accidents on fields used by the military, and to protect Jewish communities from illegal encroachment by fake Arab communities.
With increasing antisemitism and acts of Jew hatred occurring throughout European countries, often not even acknowledged as such by these same countries, countries where such hatred thrived and spread and resulted in mass murders, it is a paradox that the EU now invites member states to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. We welcome this initiative!
This excellent news was reported by Cnaan Liphshiz in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on December 3rd, 2020.
“The Council of the European Union, which is a key driver of EU policy, “invited” all the bloc’s 27 members to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that includes anti-Israel vitriol.”
We can say "wonders never cease". Full story Here
Another view of the EU, from the European Coalition for Israel
Below is an excerpt from December’s Monthly Report from the EC4I which published a summary of its annual policy conference. Part I of the conference was held virtually on December 2nd , 2020. The report noted the changing view from the EU, which ignored the “Deal of the Century” proposed by the Trump administration but couldn’t completely ignore the Abraham Accords as a step towards greater peace and normalization of relations with Israel by Arab states.
“The EU’s financial contributions to the Palestinian Authority continue to be very generous, around half-a-billion euros per year, but the return on investment is minimal. Apart from their involvement with the Palestinian Authority, the EU has practically no presence in the region. In the webinar, both Israeli Ambassador to the EU, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, and MEP Lukas Mandl pointed out that the EU is nowhere to be seen in the region. This leaves the door open to other destabilizing forces. Leshno-Yaar called for a more active EU-role in the Middle East as the region is changing dramatically, whereas Lukas Mandl noted that more EU involvement in the region is not necessarily a good thing. “Where the EU has taken a common stand, it has often ended up on the wrong side of history”, he added. Mandl also mentioned the inability of the EU to recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and Leshno-Yaar expressed his concern over the close affiliation of the EU with the Iranian regime, despite the fact that the regime continues to suppress its own population, export terrorism to the region, and threaten Israel with annihilation.”
Israel’s Treaties with the UAE and Bahrain: When the abnormal becomes the norm
By Doğan D. Akman*
I am no diplomat. I have no any idea of what was actually said, of the verbal assurances and undertakings given and promises made prior to the execution of the treaties among Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo, and the King and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirate (UAE), nor with the former three King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Isma'il Alazhari of the Republic of Sudan signed only a preliminary agreement in light of the fierce protests against any signing by the largest political party. Therefore, the prospect of such an agreement becoming a treaty between Israel and Sudan is far from assured. In the meantime, the Sudanese refugee applicants in Israel say that Israel is making peace with a rotten regime and wonder why Israel would normalize ties with transitional leaders considered illegitimate by the pro-democracy Sudanese.
As a matter of fact, the preliminary agreement is far from being on sure footing as the U.S. seems to have some difficulty in delivering its side of the bargain. Two Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer and Bob Menendez are reluctant to get the appropriate legislative approvals to remove Sudan from the list of State sponsors of Terrorism and thereby restore its sovereign immunity.
More Good News
“The Premier League, a consortium comprising the United Kingdom’s top 20 soccer clubs, has endorsed the definition of anti-Semitism established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA.” This was reported in JTA by Cnaan Liphshiz on December 3rd, noting that this League is not part of the National Football Association and has no disciplinary committee, but it does have the UK’s top 20 soccer teams. So..maybe there will be a trickle up effect and the Football Association will come on board.
Antisemitism Needs to be Defined—It is Jew Hatred!
#EndJewHatred is a civil rights movement dedicated to ensuring Jewish liberation from centuries of persecution and achieving justice for the Jewish people through peaceful direct action. It is pernicious and can be lethal. It has many disguises, the most virulent in Western democracies is expressed in demonizing Israel, the symbol of the Jew.
Jew hatred is expressed in ways that damage Jews and Jewish life at the local, national and international levels, whether by slaughter of innocents at synagogues in the US, cancelling Jewish speakers who are pro-Israel, harassing faculty who speak in positive terms about Israel, removing Jewish students from campus activities or governing bodies, harassment on line, preaching lies at mosques or churches, publishing a Danish Bible that deletes references to “Israel” or “Jews”, and the list goes on.
In July, celebrity Nicholas Scott Cannon, an American comedian, rapper, and television host, made antisemitic remarks which led to his being fired from his long-running comedy improv show Wild 'N Out. It came after he made anti-Semitic comments on his podcast and YouTube show, Cannon's Class.
Why mention it now? Because the good news is that Nick Cannon responded positively to an invitation to learn more about Jew hatred, about the Holocaust and Hitler’s extermination plan. Cannon met with Rabbi Abraham Cooper at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and took a contrite position afterwards. His apology meant something when it came from a place of empathy and understanding. Below is an excerpt of what he more recently said, as reported by Lana Melman in the Algemeiner on December 7th, 2020.
“We have to educate people about the Holocaust,” says Cannon. “People have to know how it started and the severity — how horrific it was. And about what happened to Jews even before that, people have to know the history [of discrimination against Jews]. We have to give people the opportunity not to make the same mistakes. This isn’t being taught.”
Similarly rapper, O’Shea Jackson, known as Ice Cube, formerly a defender of rabid antisemite Louis Farrakhan, met personally with Mort Klein, President and CEO of the Zionist Organization of America and also resolved to fight antisemitism and stand up for Jewish-Black relations in a common fight against bigotry and discrimination.
Letters from CAEF Address Issues
CAEF has expressed disapproval in a letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the United Nations, in regards to Canada’s hostile vote against Israel on November 19th, 2020 at the UN’s Third Committee during its annual anti-Israel package of resolutions. There are mainly presented by Arab and Muslim countries but gather support from the majority of countries.
CAEF subsequently sent another letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the UN, in advance of further votes to be taken against Israel in this obnoxious annual charade that belies any sense of justice. CAEF is urging that Canada not support resolutions that demand the division of Jerusalem.
Ironically, even Israel’s new friends, Bahrain and the UAE, which have not predicated normalization with Israel on the status of the conflict with the recalcitrant Palestinian Authority, still voted against Israel at the UN. But Canada? Why should Canada support the negative stands against Israel at the UN General Assembly, a money sucking bureaucracy that favours tyrants and dictatorships over democracies?
CAEF expressed congratulations in a letter to the University of Toronto’s law and ethics Professor Arthur Ripstein on his being appointed chair of the new working group to combat antisemitism on campus which will examine antisemitism in policy and practice and bring forth recommendations. We view this announcement very positively as it provides hope for changes, such as eliminating antiZionist activity which always incorporates antisemitism and alienates Jewish students, spreads lies and discrimination, causing divisiveness and certainly not recognizing truths about Israel. CAEF indicated an interest in contributing to the project.
CAEF’s President, Anita Bromberg, congratulated Hon Irwin Cotler on his appointment as the new Special Envoy on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. We are pleased to share his response.
Thank you for the kind note, it is very much appreciated.
I regret the delay in responding as my mandate included being head of the Canadian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) who’s meetings began immediately upon the assumption of the mandate, and just concluded.
I look forward to our working together on common cause.
Chanukah Zoom-a-thon 2020
Enjoy the entertainment again. If you missed our party on December 8th, you can view it hear. Special thanks to the artists who donated artworks: Bee Rolbin, Syd Streicher, Marlee Mandel, the musicians and singers who contributed: Ted and Andrea Leyton of Euro Café Duo, Laor Rubin and Yonaton Kunda of Kunda ve’Laor, Ron Davis and his Symphronica Group, and Rabbi/Cantor Moshe Meirovich, and comedian Robert Cait.