Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu charged with corruption
Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been the Prime Minister of Israel for the last 10 years has been charged by the Israeli Justice Ministry with corruption. This marks the first time in Israel’s 70-year-history that a prime minister is under indictment.
This development threatens to end the 70-year-old prime minister’s career (which was already in a precarious position due to the failure of Netanyahu’s Likud party to create a coalition government in the Israeli parliament). The corruption charges were levelled against Netanyahu by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who told reporters that it was a “heavy-hearted decision” according to the Associated Press.
“Hey Siri, wtf?” That’s the question that started floating around the Twittersphere Saturday evening.
Numerous people discovered that if you asked your iPhone who the president of Israel is, it would respond with a highly problematic answer: Reuvin Rivlin is the “President of the Zionist occupation state.”
The New York Post‘s Karol Markowicz tried, and got the same answer:
Sky News’ Rita Panahi had the same result over in Australia:
TPM‘s own Yanky Pollak attempted the question and recorded the answer:
The Post Millennial asked anti-Semitism expert and former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind for comment and he said, “Apple has serious explaining to do. Not only do they have to remove and replace this nasty politicized result, they have to deal with how such a result was ever published. We want answers.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Apple but has not heard back by the time of publication.
People around the globe rallied and asked Apple to fix this. The anti-Semitic message remained unaltered for well over an hour. The source of the problem appears to be an anti-Semitic user who made an edit on Wikipedia.
While the anti-Semitic response has been scrubbed for now, a new issue has emerged: Why is Siri relying on Wikipedia to provide information to its users? Wikipedia has long been criticized to have a severe left-wing bias.
Multiple Canadian Jewish groups are outraged after Canada maintained its vote in favour of a North Korean sponsored resolution which has been broadly criticized by the Jewish community as “unfairly anti-Israel in nature.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs(CIJA) published a statement on Wednesday, noting that [they] “remain angry and deeply disappointed that Canada voted against Israel – Canada’s democratically.”
“CIJA has made vigorous representations to the Canadian government on this matter, including during a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. CIJA expects that Canada will adopt meaningful and tangible ways to reaffirm its unqualified support for, and friendship with, Israel.” Said Shimon Koffler Fogel the Chief Executive Officer of CIJA.
B’nai Brith Canada also published a statement noting that it was deeply outraged by the Trudeau government’s decision to maintain its vote for a resolution sponsored by North Korea, which regarded Palestinian self-determination.
B’nai Brith has in response to the vote, written both Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne voicing their expectation that “Canada will not permit Israel to be unfairly targeted at the UN.”
“This vote reflects poorly on Canada’s record as a defender of democracy and justice. It stains Canada’s reputation,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Just last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured the Jewish community that Canada would ‘always defend Israel’s right to live in security.’ Voting for this resolution is not in line with that commitment.”
In a recent talk to the Jewish Labor Committee, Hillary Clinton exhorted her audience to bring all their forces to bear to defeating Trump: “It’s gonna be a tough election and you need to bring your organizing skills, your shared sense of values, your feeling of empathy and compassion and caring, your deep conviction about justice, because we’re gonna need every single person in this fight,” she said. Fair enough.
Then, curiously, she added, “At heart, of it all is the concept of tikkun olam which says that repairing the world is the responsibility of each and every one of us, or as I learned growing up in the Methodist church, ‘Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.’”
I say “curiously” only because Clinton’s conflation of tikkun olam, Hebrew for “to repair the world” with the Methodist social gospel of spreading Christian love through do-goodery to all those who are in need is to err about the actual meaning of tikkun olam. I don’t blame Clinton for her mistake, of course. She’s only parroting the mantra she hears constantly from left-wing Jews. She knew that the very mention of tikkun olam to this particular group of lefties would be a winning trope, a political Cupid’s arrow to elevate the fervour she already excites in this crowd.
Tikkun olam is shorthand for the Judaization of political progressivism.
For liberal Jews have always experienced a deep yearning to melt into the left’s universalist, “brotherhood of man” vision. That yearning has made leftism a magnet for Ashkenazi Jews ever since the Enlightenment freed them from the ghettos of Europe. Diaspora Jews could for the first time choose between continued attachment to Jewish peoplehood as their primary cultural identity and attachment to complete secularism with a view to “disappearing” their Judaism altogether via a universalist ideology. The latter option—social acceptance, normalization, liberation from constrictive codes of behaviour, formerly closed career opportunities—was alluring after centuries of persecution and marginalization.
It is an indisputable fact that Jews were extremely disproportionately represented in the Communist movement and held high positions in the Soviet Union until that revolution began to eat its Jewish children with shocking perfidy. (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is doing a fine imitation of the syndrome, and the dazed British Jewish children being eaten find themselves bereft at their loss of a political home.)
To understand how and why it happened that Hillary Clinton, speaking to Jewish lefties, reached for the phrase like a homing pigeon finding its perch, I recommend English writer Jonathan Neumann’s 2018 book, To Heal the World: How the Jewish left corrupts Judaism and endangers Israel. In his introduction, Neumann writes, “The truth is that tikkun olam has no basis in Judaism. It was conceived by Jews who had rejected the faith of their fathers and midwifed by radicals who saw it as a pretext to appropriate Jewish texts and corrupt religious rituals … to further political ends.” In other words, it’s social justice matzo balls swimming in progressive political broth.
Neumann isn’t indicting ordinary Jews who believe that in embracing tikkun olam as a principle, they are “simply doing what feels in their hearts and seems in their eyes to be right.” His umbrage is mainly directed at those progressive activists who have weaponized tikkun olam to undermine all particularist Jewish aspirations, but especially to undermine Zionism.
Neumann writes, “The general rule appear to be that the stronger your commitment to tikkun olam, the weaker your Zionism and support for Israel. Among Jewish social justice organizations, they are either shades of hostility to Israel or they don’t mention Israel at all.
All the liberal branches of Judaism claim they “are fulfilling traditional Judaism” in promoting tikkun olam as social justice, and insisting that social justice was always core to Judaism—if only we interpreted the prophets and the Talmud properly, that is.
The whole 1960s counter-culture was dominated by secular Jews—Saul Alinsky, Jerry Rubin, Abby Hoffman, David Horowitz (who famously rejected his cradle leftism when he took candid stock of its human wreckage and became a conservative firebrand) – but radical movements always boast a high Jewish cohort. Neuman singles out Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, as singular for his “mediocrity.” He is fanatically anti-American and a Marxist who views the Torah as a Marxist tract that opposes private property. Socialism was once described as the new Torah. But “Tikkun olam is not about turning Jews into Marxists. It’s about rebranding Marxism as Judaism.”
Those groups who promote tikkun olam most assiduously as their mission spend the bulk of their time championing such causes as gender rights, healthcare, abortion rights and racism. None of these issues are based in Jewish sacred texts. As Neumann put it rather sardonically, “Isn’t it just a little bit incredible for the teachings of the ancient faith of Judaism to happen to comprise without exception the agenda of the liberal wing of today’s Democratic party?”
Passover is the go-to holiday for the social justice Jewish warriors (SJJW).
In 1969 Arthur Waskow, then a contributing editor of Ramparts Magazine (and considered by Newsweek to be one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America), published The Freedom Seder Haggadah, meant, he said for everyone, because “in our world, we all live under Pharoahs who could exterminate us at any moment and so enslave us all the time.” In Waskow’s treatment, Moses recognized the employment abuses of his “boss,” Pharoah, and decided to do something about it as a sort of trade unionist avant la lettre.
Emboldened by the success of the Freedom Seder Haggadah, in 1984 Waskow created The Rainbow Seder Haggadah, which focused on environmental concerns. A slew of other haggadahs by SJJWs followed, all with specific agendas like feminism, interfaith marriage, refugees, malnutrition, sexist violence and racism. Jewish Voice for Peace (which the Anti-Defamation League calls one of the most 10 most anti-Israel groups in the U.S.) created a haggadah in which modern Israel is portrayed as Egypt and the Arabs as the biblical Israelites. It condemns the ten “plagues” that Israel has wrought on the Arabs. Needless to say, discussion of the miracle of the State of Israel doesn’t come into it in these haggadahs. The Promised Land is entirely abstract—an ethical condition to be aspired to, not a homeland for the Jews.
Israel must remain abstract for the SJJWs, because they are caught in a Catch-22: for if the Promised Land is understood to belong to God’s Chosen People—a concept that makes them squirm—then it is a betrayal of social-justice universalism. The SJJWs are forced by their politics to regard Israel as a “colonialist” state, and it is therefore a sign of Jewish values for Israel to be open to everyone.
Thus the SJJWs have convinced themselves that the one-state solution, which would obliterate Jewish privilege in Israel and very likely obliterate Jews as well, is in fact the most “Jewish,” i.e. tikkun-olam-y of all propositions. Neumann observes, “It is simply not plausible that a major teaching of Judaism could be the belief in its own abnegation, yet this is precisely the implication of tikkun olam, which undermines Jewish Peoplehood and forecasts the redundancy of the Jews.”
The desire of progressive Jews to pound the square peg of universalism into the round hole of particularism would be funny if it were not so pathetic. The “singing rabbi” and spiritual leader Shlomo Carlebach used to visit a lot of college campuses. He would relate that when a student told him, “I’m a Catholic,” he knew the student was Catholic. When a student told him, “I’m a Protestant,” he knew the student was Protestant. But when a student told him, “I’m a human being,” he knew that student was a Jew. Funny and pathetic in one.
December 6 marked the two-year anniversary of a proclamation made by United States President Donald Trump, stating that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and instructed for the American embassy in Tel Aviv to be relocated to Jerusalem.
To the worldwide Jewish community, prayer is always pointed towards Jerusalem. The concept of Zionism comes from the yearning for a return for Zion, a hill in the city limits of Jerusalem, and the idea to ensure that there is a Jewish state that has the right to exist.
Historical and political evidence overwhelmingly proves that Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel.
Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism, it is the location of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The holiest site that Jews can pray at, the Western Wall, is in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem where the sacrificial binding of Isaac took place.
Jerusalem has always been the eternal capital of Israel for over 3000 years, well into the time of King David. There simply is a double standard set by the world at large that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
On May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Trump’s embassy promise was realized upon the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. An important proclamation was quickly delivered to Israel and to the Jewish people around the world.
Unfortunately, Canada has not followed the lead of the United States. It still does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, even though its parliament, supreme court and residences of both the President and Prime Minister are located in the city.
Instead, Canada houses its embassy in Tel Aviv, where the majority of the world also houses their embassies.
For the most part, in the past decade, Canada has had a very good record of supporting Israel (besides a very disappointing anti-Israel vote last month), has a vibrant pro-Israel community in the country and even hosted the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin this past spring.
The world knows that after the United States, it usually Canada that comes to mind of being the strongest ally to Israel. Furthermore, the important alliance that Canada and Israel share is well known and documented, from coast to coast to coast.
The Jewish community is united regarding this very issue and has frequently called on the federal government to finally follow on the lead President Trump has set, and move the embassy to Jerusalem.
At last year’s Conservative Party of Canada convention, the membership voted to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During the election, the Tories promoted that they would recognize Jerusalem.
Yet the federal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to recognize Jerusalem or move the embassy from Tel Aviv. Refusing to do this action will continue to leave a stain on Trudeau’s legacy in dealing with Israel and the Jewish community at large.
Trudeau continuously portrays the image of Canada and Israel being such strong allies, even though he and his government do not recognize the capital of their closest ally in one of the most hostile regions in the world.
The longer the Canadian embassy is in Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem is not recognized, the longer a continued strain grows. In a time when anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are on the rise, the federal government must realize that now is the time act on a foreign policy matter that is long overdue that would be celebrated around the world.
As the United States and Guatemala have done, Canada does not need to move the embassy into East Jerusalem, rather into West Jerusalem, an urban area within the city limits of Jerusalem.
At this point, a good start would be the opening of diplomatic offices in Jerusalem as many other countries, such as Brazil and Hungary have done. Opening a diplomatic office, such as a trade office would provide concrete evidence of the federal government taking an active role in further recognizing that Jerusalem is the de facto capital of Israel.
Canada is far behind the United States in real initiatives that have supported Israel. Moving the embassy is indeed a major initiative that needs to be carried out, and there are still other matters in which Canada lacks the United States with regards to support for Israel.
Canada has not frozen any funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organization that in part, funds terrorism and promotes anti-Semitism. The federal government has neither recognized the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory or stated that the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank) are legal.
Under Stephen Harper, Canada froze funds to UNRWA and after Trump’s lead, the recognition of Jerusalem would have been proclaimed and plans certainly would have been underway to move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
In an interview with Israel’s largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, Harper said that “now that the U.S. has done it, there is really every reason for the government of Canada to do it, and certainly my successor as leader of the Canadian parliament.”
Joe Clark, the short-lived Prime Minister of Canada from 1979-1980 had also promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, however, due to security risks, the plan did not go through.
Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people and of the world’s only Jewish state, Israel. Ensuring that this special city, which is also heavily documented capital of the Holy Land, must finally be recognized.
Trudeau and his Liberal government need to finally act on what is right and ultimately, recognize Jerusalem and commence plans to move the Canadian embassy to the eternal capital of Israel.
It may not be a decision that the international community may condemn, but to Jewish Canadians, and the worldwide Jewish community, this is a moment that is worth rejoicing over.
The time is now for Canada to rightfully proclaim that Jerusalem, the golden jewel of the Middle East, is the true capital of Canada’s closest friend in the region, Israel.