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British Actors Union Under Fire After Releasing Anti-Israel Statement About Gaza War

Israeli soldiers inspect the entrance to what they say is a tunnel used by Hamas terrorists during a ground operation in a location given as Gaza, in this handout image released Nov. 9, 2023. Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

Members of the entertainment industry have accused the British union for performing artists called Equity of releasing a biased and “offensive” statement that included “antisemitic dogwhistles” while condemning Israel’s military campaign against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement published on Nov. 15, the union, which represents 47,000 performers and creative workers in the United Kingdom, accused Israel of “bombing, occupation, and apartheid,” and demanded the British government “stand up against genocide.” The union additionally called for an “immediate” ceasefire in Gaza and for the return of the roughly 240 hostages kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during the terror group’s onslaught across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The union said artists are “frightened of censorship for expressing opinions on the conflict which are rooted in peace, justice, and dignity.” The statement added: “The actions of the Israeli state or Hamas cannot be used to stoke fires of hate, silence peaceful dissent, or divide communities anywhere in our country.”

More than a dozen people in the UK entertainment industry, including current and former members of Equity, told Variety that they are disappointed in the union’s comments. One Israeli member of Equity, who preferred to stay anonymous, told the magazine that the union’s “clear, one-sided statement and total dismissal of ‘my side’s’ pain and rights” has made them fear for their well-being. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people took liberty to act on [their] prejudices, thinking they have the organization’s blessing to discriminate,” the union member added.

There has been a global spike in antisemitism since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, including in Europe, where several countries have experienced a record number of antisemitic incidents.

“This body [Equity] who purports to passionately espouse tenets of inclusivity and diversity, claiming to heal the world through artistic endeavor, made the very conscious decision to include unequivocal antisemitic dogwhistles in their statement,” said Leo Pearlman, co-founder of transatlantic production company Fulwell 73

A Jewish actor who left Equity years ago told Variety that the union has become “utterly redundant and useless and something to battle against as a Jewish actor.” She added that Equity “has this huge responsibility and power and it’s so misused and so upsetting as a minority within this industry.” Another former Equity member who is related to Holocaust survivors said: “I personally found [the statement] offensive because words like ‘genocide’ are so misappropriated. It’s really triggering.”

“Maybe they should try and live up to their name and do their job before straying into areas [in which] they’re even less qualified to cause damage,” said another unnamed former Equity member who is also a Hollywood actor.

The declaration was Equity’s second statement about the Israel-Hamas war. In the union’s first, published on Oct. 17, it also accused Israel of apartheid, as well as an “occupation [that] deprives Palestinians of their human rights, driving continued violence” and the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people for the crimes of Hamas.”

“We condemn those politicians in the UK who seek to characterize Palestinian solidarity as extremist, and recognize that there can be no apologist for antisemitism or Islamophobia,” the union added.

Jewish actress Maureen Lipman said that she left Equity years ago “because of their slanted bias during the [former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy] Corbyn era on the BDS [anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement] and on their obsessive focus on the Middle East to the exclusion of every other conflict in the world.” She said regarding the union’s latest statement about the Israel-Hamas war: “An actors union with no empathy. The irony.”

In both statements, Equity argued it needed to comment on the Israel-Hamas war, saying that since 1930, it has “undertaken international solidarity work to advance the cause of the trade union movement, and in the interests of artists facing oppression.”

“Our longstanding involvement in the Middle East dates back almost 40 years, and the events of this month have demanded that we engage in as practical a way as possible to the threats faced by artists and working people in Israel and Palestine,” the union said.

In 2021, the union supported a rally where a number of attendees held antisemitic signs, including one that showed a picture of Jesus carrying a cross and the text: “Do not let them do the same thing today again.”

The post British Actors Union Under Fire After Releasing Anti-Israel Statement About Gaza War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Police are investigating an incident involving a man with a nail gun at an anti-Israel protest in Thornhill

York Regional Police arrested a man at a demonstration outside a synagogue Sunday, alleging he had brought a nail gun. The incident was still under investigation and no charges were laid, police said on Sunday afternoon. No injuries were reported at the protest The demonstration occurred outside the Aish Thornhill Community Shul, on Clark Ave. […]

The post Police are investigating an incident involving a man with a nail gun at an anti-Israel protest in Thornhill appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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An Ideology of Violence

Illustrative: Supporters of Hamas gather for a rally in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Reuters/Joel Carrett

JNS.orgWhen all is said and done, antisemitism is fundamentally an ideology of violence. Behind every missive and every barb—whether delivered online, at pro-Hamas rallies or graffitied on the walls of a Jewish communal building—is a message of dehumanization that licenses physical attacks on Jews and their property.

In the nearly five months that have passed since Hamas terrorists orchestrated the horrendous pogrom of Oct. 7 in Israel, antisemitic violence has exploded around the world. There are something like 16 million Jews around the globe, mainly concentrated in Israel and the United States, but with a presence in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Oceania as well. From what I can tell, there isn’t a single Jewish community that hasn’t been scarred by this latest wave of hostility.

Additionally, in the two decades that I’ve been writing about antisemitic violence, there hasn’t been a single episode in which the perpetrator was a public figure or someone with a media profile. I’m not referring here to the antisemitic rhetoric we’ve heard from influencers like the rapper Kanye West, or any number of the prominent elected officials flinging words like “genocide” in Israel’s direction, or asserting that Diaspora Jews who join the Israeli Defense Forces should be locked up on charges of treason and war crimes. I’m talking about the people who have crossed the line into assaults and even murder, which target Jews simply because they are Jews. The names of individuals we would otherwise have never heard of—like Kobili Traoré, who brutally murdered a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, in her Paris apartment in 2017; or Stephan Balliet, the German neo-Nazi who attempted to shoot up a synagogue in the city of Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur in 2019—are seared into our consciousness solely as a result of their bestial actions.

But that’s changing. Last week, police in the Australian city of Melbourne arrested a known pro-Hamas influencer, a woman who has the ear of some of that country’s elected representatives and whose past activities have earned her media coverage, on the charge of having masterminded the kidnapping and torture of a young man whose only offense was that he works for a Jewish employer.

The 28-year-old Lebanese-Australian woman, Laura Allam, is the CEO of the Al Jannah Foundation, which bills itself as an Islamic humanitarian organization. While Allam’s social-media profiles specify that she is still running Al Jannah, an entry on the Australian Register of Companies notes that the foundation ceased operations in July 2023, less than three years after it was formally incorporated. But while her humanitarian organization may be little more than a husk, Allam has made sure to keep her own voice alive within Australia’s internal debate on the war in Gaza—a debate which, like elsewhere, has been stained by antisemitic invective, conspiracy theories and bloodthirsty celebrations of Israeli deaths.

On Feb. 16, Allam’s pro-Hamas activities took an altogether more sinister turn. Along with an accomplice—identified by the blog Israellycool as Muhammad Sharab, a pro-Hamas fanatic whose social-media posts attacking Israel are decorated with images of samurai swords and ninjas—Allam is alleged to have seized her unnamed 31-year-old victim late at night in the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans at gunpoint. Because of the draconian restrictions imposed on reporting the case by the Australian authorities, who have banned the publication of Allam’s name and photograph by local media outlets, the full details of the assault have not been released. What we do know, though, is that the victim was so badly beaten that he required extensive hospital treatment.

Since the incident, Allam has remained silent, save for one final post on her Instagram account before it was shut down. With sickening self-regard, Allam depicted herself as a victim, ignored by unnamed “community leaders” who “turn around and say such abhorrent words like ‘this is not our fight’ while a woman in your community has now endured a lifetime of pain, suffering and trauma.” Such leaders, she went on, had nothing to fear from her, at least for the time being. “I pride myself in my selflessness (sic) and the idea of remaining quiet—for now,” she wrote. “Why? Well, I’d like to hope that you so-called ‘selfless individuals’ realize that if I decide to speak up on what has occurred, it will have the most detrimental effect on our community and every single effort we have put into our movement.”

Allam, it would seem, recognizes that her turn to antisemitic violence would be a setback for the community she claims to represent. Yet there is no apology on her part, merely a tactical decision to “remain quiet.” Quite the pledge from a woman with her record.

Before the news of the attack in Melbourne, Allam had already attracted national attention for her furious messages on social media. “Good riddance,” she declared on learning of the deaths of four IDF soldiers in Gaza. One day after the Oct. 7 pogrom, she announced that she had “woken up to some great news from our beloved Palestine.”

Allam’s rejoicing in the mass killing, rapes and mutilation that defined Oct. 7 were an obvious signal to Australian politicians to avoid any contact with her—but they didn’t. At a pro-Hamas demonstration outside the Australian parliament in Canberra at the beginning of February, Allam stood alongside senators from the left-wing Green Party, drawing a rebuke from TV host Andrew Bolt. “The Greens may not have known of Allam’s past, but this is who they find next to them in their gutter,” he stated, in a reference to the news in December that Allam was using the Al Jannah Foundation to resettle Palestinians from Gaza in Australia, which led opposition politicians to question whether supporters of Hamas were being imported into Australia under the guise of humanitarianism.

By orchestrating an assault on someone whose “offense” was to work for a Jewish employer, Allam ceased being a cheerleader for Hamas and became, in effect, a vehicle to spread its vengeance outside the Middle East. Cheering “resistance” is no longer enough for the pro-Hamas movement cluttering our schools, colleges and streets with their genocidal slogans; they are now duplicating those same “resistance” tactics to intimidate defenseless Jewish communities in their midst.

Allam may be a shocking example of this trend, but sadly, she is not the only one. Last week, Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley were forced to evacuate a building where they were due to hold a meeting after pro-Hamas agitators gathered outside, banging on the windows and screaming “intifada, intifada.” Two Jewish students ended up being assaulted. If you study the video of that episode, you’ll be struck most of all by the demeanor of the mob, their faces a veritable picture of virtue signaling as they bellow “shame on you” at Jewish kids who were just trying to hold a get-together, but who were, in that moment, the embodiment of the hated Zionist state.

Our elected leaders—in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere—have failed us. Every outburst of antisemitic hatred in history has been directed by a mob, and the present situation is no different. Don’t fool yourselves; the mob is back, and this time it wears a keffiyeh rather than a swastika armband. If the authorities won’t expel these people from our campuses and imprison them when they engage in attacks on Jews, and if we are unwilling or unable to defend ourselves, we will find, sooner rather than later, that the only option we have is to head for the exits.

The post An Ideology of Violence first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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The Pro-Hamas Fifth Column Intends to Kill People

Sigmund Freud, circa 1921. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

JNS.orgSigmund Freud always took a somewhat jaundiced view of the human psyche, but in the wake of the horrors of World War I, it turned even darker. Confronted with mankind’s capacity to destroy itself, Freud concluded that within every living thing, there is a drive towards senescence and homeostasis—a state in which things do not change. The ultimate form of such a state, of course, is death. Thus, Freud believed, all life contains within it the seed of its own destruction and dissolution—a death drive.

But Freud understood that this was not simply a desire for stasis. In 1932, he wrote to Albert Einstein, “According to our hypothesis human instincts are of only two kinds: those which seek to preserve and unite… and those which seek to destroy and kill and which we group together as the aggressive or destructive instinct.”

These instincts are not always opposed, however. Freud asserted that “an instinct of the one sort can scarcely ever operate in isolation; it is always accompanied—or, as we say, alloyed—with a certain quota from the other side, which modifies its aim or is, in some cases, what enables it to achieve that aim.”

In the unity of sex and death, Freud implied, there comes a point at which the death drive becomes a desire for the orgasmic destruction of oneself and others. Sex enables death and vice-versa.

All of this came to mind when I read that a man named Aaron Bushnell had committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington while shrieking, “Free Palestine.”

I was neither shocked nor surprised by the news. It was inevitable from the moment the pro-Hamas fifth column in the United States began its pro-terror campaign. The instant the genocidists took to the streets, it was obvious that behind all the screaming and slogans was nothing more than an inchoate murderous rage. This rage has reached such a peak of intensity that it has ceased to be mere antisemitism. It is nothing but itself. It is the death drive. These people want to die and they want others to die. Worse still, they take pleasure in that desire and its consummation.

In Hamas’s case, the death drive took the form of mass murder. In Bushnell’s case, it took the form of suicide. One could say that this is a point in Bushnell’s favor. At least he didn’t try to take anyone else down with him. But his self-immolation has prompted statements from his ideological kin that point to something far more sinister.

Reporter Andy Ngo recently tweeted about a post on the anarchist website “CrimethInc.” featuring an email Bushnell apparently sent to the site stating his intentions. CrimethInc. seems to be dedicated to promoting illegal activities to further the anarchist cause. As such, its comments on Bushnell’s missive are disturbing, to say the least.

At first glance, it appears that the site simply wants to dissuade others from immolating themselves, saying, “Let’s not glamorize the decision to end one’s life, nor celebrate anything with such permanent repercussions. Rather than exalting Aaron as a martyr and encouraging others to emulate him, we honor his memory, but we exhort you to take a different path.”

The site never explicitly states what that “different path” might be. However, it does say, quite falsely, “All available evidence indicates that the Israeli military will continue killing Palestinians by the thousand until they are forced to stop.”

Given the necessity of forcing Israel to “stop,” the site muses, “If protests are going to exert leverage towards stopping the genocide, it is up to people in the United States to figure out how to accomplish that. But what will it take? Thousands across the country have engaged in brave acts of protest without yet succeeding in putting a halt to Israel’s assault.”

“If your heart is broken by the horrors in Gaza and you are prepared to bear significant consequences to try to stop them, we urge you to do everything in your power to find comrades and make plans collectively,” the site exhorts. “Lay the foundations for a full life of resistance to colonialism and all forms of oppression. Prepare to take risks as your conscience demands, but don’t hurry towards self-destruction. We desperately need you alive, at our side, for all that is to come.”

“All that is to come,” once again, goes unnamed, but the site reemphasizes, “Let’s admit that the kind of protest activity that has taken place thus far in the United States has not served to compel the U.S. government to compel a halt to the genocide in Gaza. It is an open question of what could accomplish that. Aaron’s action challenges us to answer this question—and to answer it differently than he did.”

The site is careful about its rhetoric to the point of esoteric writing, but there is a small indication of what it means by “differently.” It states, “If nothing else, Aaron’s action shows that genocide cannot take place overseas without collateral damage on this side of the ocean.”

It is quite clear what “collateral damage” means in this context: dead people. Such dead people will be produced, the site forthrightly states, “differently.” That is, they will not be produced by suicide. People will be murdered.

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the implications of this are fairly obvious: The pro-Hamas fifth column in the U.S. intends to kill people. Given the atrocities of the current moment, it is impossible to imagine that most if not all of those people will be Jews. It seems that however careful they may be about saying so, the death cultists in the U.S. intend to imitate their fellow death cultists in Gaza. The death drive will seek to sate itself on American Jews as it did on Israeli Jews. The pleasures inherent are too much for the cultists to resist.

Major Jewish organizations, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and all relevant agencies should take note: Bushnell’s death was not just a suicide, it was also an exhortation to murder—and people are listening.

The post The Pro-Hamas Fifth Column Intends to Kill People first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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