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Stories this week cover topics from many people and places, from examining the “inconvenient truth” about Chanukah and its rededication of the Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, to our writing campaign to stop purveyors of hate from holding yet one more anti-Israel event under the University of Toronto banner.
Thanks to all our readers and supporters, particularly the dozens of people who took action against Students Against Israel Apartheid’s hosting an antisemitic virtual event December 18th. At the time of writing this event will have taken place, but the President, Meric Gertler and others in administration and faculty, know there was immense opposition to this and that the Jewish community demands a more pro-active and just approach to stopping Jew hatred.
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This Hanukkah, the Jews return to Judea and Samaria by Steve Postal
In Arutz Sheva, December 13, 2020
The Jews had sovereignty or partial-sovereignty over Judea and Samaria for over 1600 years and are thus the indigenous inhabitants. (Jews want to regain not gain sovereignty ed.)
Many liberals commoditize Hanukkah in what Depeche Mode might call “words [that] are meaningless and forgettable,” In a tweet posted by Doug Emhoff, husband of Senator (and soon to be Vice President) Kamala Harris (D-CA), Harris believes the holiday commemorates “tikkun olam, which is about fighting for justice and fighting for the dignity of all people.”
even mention Jews at all in their commemorative tweets; the former merely gives a shout out to “loved ones, neighbors, and friends across the country lighting their first candle tonight.”
But the inconvenient truth is that the real story of Hanukkah is the Jews’ re-gaining autonomy in their ancestral homeland of Judea and Samaria, this time from the Greek Seleucid Empire. The Hanukkah story represents nothing short of the religious and national emancipation of the Jewish people.
To put Hanukkah in context, the Jews had sovereignty or partial-sovereignty/autonomy over Judea and Samaria during:
The Kingdom of Israel (1020 to 930 BCE) and then a split into:
The northern Kingdom of Israel (930 BCE to 720 BCE)
The southern Kingdom of Judah (930 BCE to 586 BCE)
The Yehud under the Neo-Babylonian/Chaldean Empire (586 BCE-539 BCE);
The Yehud Medinata under the Persian Achaemenid Empire (539 BCE to 332 BCE);
The Hasmonean Dynasty under the Greek Seleucid Empire (the Seleucids) (164 BCE to 63 BCE)
The Hasmonean Dynasty under the Roman Empire (63 BCE to 40 BCE);
The Herodian Dynasty under the Roman Empire (37 BCE to 6 BCE);
The First Jewish-Roman War (66 CE to 73 CE);
The Palestinian Patriarchate under the Roman Empire (80 CE to 425 CE)
Full independence from the Roman Empire as a result of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion (132 CE to 135 CE); and
Jewish autonomy in Jerusalem under the Persian Sasanian Empire (614-617 CE). Jews retained a presence in the Holy Land after losing that autonomy.
Europe Can't Fight Antisemitism While Ignoring Threats To Israel
by David Harris, CEO, American Jewish Committee (AJC) from Politico Europe, December 14, 2020
Read an open letter from David Harris to the European Union as he laments their duplicity; always saying they will stop another Holocaust, always stating they have a commitment to stop antisemitism, and even going as far in some countries recently to adopt IHRA, but as Harris points out in the conclusion of his letter:
“But if the EU is serious about tackling antisemitism and preserving historical memory of the Holocaust, it cannot neglect, minimize or wish away threats to the existence of Israel, the world’s lone Jewish-majority country and home to nearly 7 million Jews.”
Does the Christian Civilisation Still Care About Christians?
Doğan D. Akman
When I was brought up, I was taught that one has the moral obligation to do one’s best to protect and save one’s own people’s lives and look after their well-being, those with whom one shares the same identity based on religion, race, ethnicity or nationality, or a combination thereof.
That did not relieve one of the responsibility to help any other group in serious distress or in fear for their lives. It simply meant that you saved your people and did your best for the others, in the belief that the latter will also be looked after by their own people.
Although I may be mistaken, I think this also used to be part of the general moral order of civilisations across the globe. Sadly enough this obligation does not seem to have survived the post-modern globalist view of the world, save for the Jews and a few other groups.
Hence, when some people suggested to the former U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama that he give precedence to saving the lives of an overseas Christian group under attack, I recall his reply was, “We are not that kind of a country”.
Now, looking at the manner in which the member countries of the European Union (E.U.) and the E.U. itself are addressing the issue of refugees, it looks like they espouse President Obama’s view in regards to rescuing Christians with whom they share the same religion.
UNRWA Drifting from its Mandate
Does anyone even remember why the UN created the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees? It has existed for over 70 years and not settled any refugees while tens of millions of people from other conflicts around the world have been settled, granted citizenship, taken up education and employment, and raised their children in new countries. Not all refugee settlement has been easy, nor complete, as there are still refugee camps in Kenya for those attacked and driven out of their land by Al Shabab in Somalia, as well as camps in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh (for the Rohingya driven out of Burma) and Pakistan (for Afghanis driven out by the Taliban) and millions of Syrians are still unsettled, but for Arabs who once lived in the Mandate for Palestine the label refugee is entirely misleading and a source of ongoing feuding, funding and infuriating rejectionism. It is time to revisit history and understand how UNRWA now exists to feed UNRWA, not to solve any refugee problem. (Ed.)
UNRWA's Moment of Truth
by Ron Schleifer and Yehudah Brochin for Middle East Quarterly
Seventy years after its founding with an 18-month mandate to provide emergency aid to the "Palestine refugees," the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has grown into a gargantuan $1.2 billion, 30,000-strong "phantom sovereignty" that has done more than any other international actor to perpetuate the "refugee problem" it was established to solve. With the Trump administration slashing its donation to the agency, and the Gulf states and the Europeans demanding greater transparency regarding its finances and operations, UNRWA may at long last be approaching its moment of truth.
The Original Mandate and Its Demise
The Lausanne Conference—convened by the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine, April 27-September 12, 1949—failed to produce an agreement on resettling the "Palestine refugees" in the host states as was the case with most global conflicts of the time. Consequently, the U.N. established the Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East "to examine economic conditions in the Near East and to make recommendations for action to meet the dislocation caused by the recent hostilities."
Letter Writing Challenge
CAEF alerted people to the scheduled virtual panel, under the auspices of Students Against Israeli Apartheid, a U of T sanctioned organization, on the topic, “Palestinian Prisoners & the Anti-Apartheid Student Resistance.” We called on our readers to write to the President of U of T and CEO of Zoom to cancel the event on the basis that its premise of apartheid in Israel is a lie and the speakers are members of a student organization, affiliated with a terrorist entity. The response was tremendous and dozens of letters were sent. Not surprisingly, the letter coming back from the office of President Meric Gertler is less than satisfying. It is included verbatim below.
(For more information about the event see this Op Ed in The National Post of December 17th by Daniel Koren, Executive Director of Hasbara Fellowships. We also acknowledge the contribution made by the Jewish Defense League in alerting our community to this event.)
It signifies that the university takes no responsibility for programs associated with its name, and presents the view that student organizations are autonomous though we know they have to comply with university codes of conduct and policies, so how does this one comply? We can be pretty confident that if the panel was hostile to blacks, Muslims, gays or other minorities, it would be a source of shame for the university and would be shut down, after being challenged by legions of social justice warriors, but when it comes to antisemitism, it is all quiet on the home front. This is not okay.
CAEF is looking into next steps to stop Students Against Israel Apartheid from spreading Jew hatred across the campus and infringing on the rights of Jews and pro-Zionists.
Dear Ms. Spindel,
Thank you for your email to the Office of the President and for sharing your concerns with our office.
The organizers of this event are autonomous student organizations that act independently from the University of Toronto. All such autonomous organizations are required by the University’s policies to operate in an open, accessible and democratic manner, including a commitment to equity and to allowing a diversity of perspectives to be heard. The University does not approve or endorse activities or groups sponsored by such organizations.
The University is strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of hate and racial violence. As an institution, we are dedicated to addressing anti-Semitism and working on important initiatives that reflect this commitment to making our three campuses welcoming and inclusive. This includes our announcement this month of the establishment of an Anti-Semitism Working Group with a mandate to review and recommend processes and practices concerning the ways in which the University of Toronto responds to anti-Semitism. In addition, a statement from the President and Provost on Anti-Semitism and Racism may be found here.
Rheema Farrell Administrative Assistant, Correspondence Unit Office of the President University of Toronto Room 206, 27 King’s College Circle Toronto, ON Canada M5S 1A1