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Thai laborers, the ‘working hands’ of Israeli farming, pay with blood

At Kibbutz Alumim close to the Gaza border, nine workers from Thailand were massacred, one was badly injured, and four were abducted by Hamas terrorists

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Antisemitism in America: Teachers Introduce BDS-like Materials for Pre-Schoolers

A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

As the Israel-Hamas war rages on, some educators in America haven’t stood idly by.

But instead of teaching young children about the dangers of antisemitism, they have attempted to normalize anti-Israeli views in school curricula.

The Oakland Education Association (OEA), a teachers union in California, used the jargon of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign last month, when it voted to “become involved in the growing anti-apartheid movement demanding freedom for Palestine…” and resolved to distribute “educational materials and resources” to teachers:

In early November, the @OaklandEA voted to “become involved in the growing anti-apartheid movement demanding freedom for Palestine…” and resolved to distribute “educational materials and resources” to teachers.

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 1, 2023

In accordance with that decision, the OEA issued the following statement — without any mention of Hamas’ genocidal October 7 rampage across southern Israel:

We, the Oakland Education Association, mourn the tragic loss of both Palestinian and Israeli lives these past weeks. We unequivocally condemn the 75 year long illegal military occupation of Palestine. The Israeli government created an apartheid state and the Israeli government leaders have espoused genocidal rhetoric and policies against the people of Palestine. As educators of a diverse community here in Oakland, including those with family and friends directly impacted, our conscience demands that we say clearly that OEA calls for a ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine.

After facing criticism, the OEA updated its statement, adding that “our union unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We call for the release of hostages held by Hamas.”

And it planned to hold “a teach-in on the Palestinian struggle”:

While smearing the official materials distributed by the Oakland County School District on the Israel-Hamas war as Zionist propaganda, the OEA introduced alternative resources, which espouse nothing less than hatred against the world’s only Jewish state.

For example, the OEA’s pedagogical offer to pre-K through 3rd graders includes “Handala’s Return: A Children’s Story and Workbook” presenting the plight of a young Palestinian child, Handala, whose political cartoon character has become the iconic symbol of Palestinian “resistance” and has been widely adopted by the BDS movement:

The Oakland County school district provided materials for teachers to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, but @OaklandEA smeared those as being biased tools of the “Zionist lobby.”

So what did the teacher’s union send out as “educational resources?” Things like this:

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 1, 2023

The claim that “Zionist bullies” scare and torment non-Jewish children, and steal their homes, is blatantly false. Moreover, it draws on centuries of antisemitic blood libels portraying Jews as evil predators who prey on non-Jewish children.

Handala’s story continues:

And this.
Yafa (Jaffa) is undisputed Israeli sovereign territory. Al Quds (Jerusalem) is the capital of Israel. Including them as part of a “Free Palestine” is calling for the destruction of Israel.

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 1, 2023

What the workbook creators don’t reveal in this example is that “Yafa” is Jaffa, located in undisputed Israeli sovereign territory; and that “Al Quds” is Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Including them as part of “Free Palestine” is the equivalent of calling for the destruction of Israel.

According to OEA’s database, the source for “Handala’s Return” story is “The Palestinian Feminist Collective.” A quick search reveals that this organization glorified Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel as “a Palestinian triumph”:


And here is an exercise sheet for 3rd-5th graders giving the impression that Israel is an apartheid state created just because Jews were “killed and mistreated” during World War II (and not because of their historical ties to the land):


And a resource called “Art and Action in Palestine” for pre-K through 2nd grade, presents an interactive map titled “Palestine Shrinking, Expanding Israel” with the following talking points:

75 years ago, a lot of decision makers around the world decided to take away Palestinian land to make a country called Israel. Israel would be a country where rules were mostly fair for Jewish people with white skin.

And, this from a workshop for 4 to 7 year olds:

“75 years ago, a lot of decision makers around the world decided to take away Palestinian land to make a country called Israel. Israel would be a country where rules were mostly fair for Jewish people with White skin.”

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 1, 2023

All of the examples above, which are only a few “highlights” from the OEA’s educational resources, implicitly violate the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

The OEA says that they don’t want to indoctrinate, but rather “introduce our students to a range of perspectives.”

But the only perspective presented in their curriculum is one that generates decades-old hatred towards the Jewish people.

Despite some local media coverage and a story in Newsweek, this dangerous initiative passed largely under the radar.

But when educators use their position to impose BDS-like content on young American minds and rely on sources that praise terrorism, it should raise national and global alarm bells.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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Israeli War Cabinet Minister Lays Son to Rest Who Was Killed in Gaza

Israeli cabinet minister and former military chief Gadi Eizenkot is consoled by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as he attends the funeral of his son Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, an Israeli solider, who was killed in northern Gaza during the ongoing ground operation by Israel’s military in the Gaza Strip, in Herzliya, Israel, Dec. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Israeli War Cabinet Minister Gadi Eisenkot eulogized his son on Friday morning, after he was killed in battle the prior day while fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

First Sergeant Gal Eisenkot, 25, a medic and infantry fighter in Battalion 699 in the 551st Reserve Brigade, fell in combat in northern Gaza.

The elder Eisenkot, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, spoke of his son’s love for his country and his ultimate sacrifice.

“I am sure that the State of Israel will be strong, developed, and just — as you always used to criticize things that you did not like about what is happening here,” he said. “Gal, beloved of our hearts, I promise you that we will continue to be a close-knit and happy family so that your sacrifice and that of the fallen was not in vain.”

Eisenkot choked up as he spoke to the crowd of thousands, which included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, and other prominent members of the Israeli military and government.

“We love you forever — father, mother, and the whole family,” he said. “I salute you and pledge to you that we will do everything so that we will be deserving to contribute to the right decisions for those who sacrificed for your comrades in arms and for the entire Israeli people who embrace us in this difficult time.”

The former IDF chief of staff noted that his late son, the youngest of five children, was ready to act in defense of Israel immediately after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israeli communities.

“On Oct. 7, we all woke up to a shocking event. You immediately began to organize equipment,” he said. “In a conversation about the war in Gaza, you told me that you and your comrades in the company feel that this is a just war. That we must return all the hostages and defeat Hamas after the barbaric and cruel event they committed. You also told me this in other conversations.”

The younger Eisenkot’s unit representative, Lt. Col. Eran Barkat, told the crowd that Gal “performed a significant service … We will continue to do everything in our power to restore peace and security to the State of Israel with the light of a wave accompanying our path.”

Benny Gantz — another member of Israel’s war cabinet, the leader of Eisenkot’s party, and a close friend of his — added, “What makes a young, talented guy, the joker of the family, leave everything and go into battle? The home. Your home, our home, the State of Israel, which is perhaps in its most difficult hour. The home from which they grew and grew, which teaches them to love it, to shout after it, and to follow it.”

He continued: “Gadi, when we approved [battle] plans we knew their meaning. We knew that the arrows on the maps could become arrows in the hearts of such good and dear families. You, my brother in arms, my partner, you, and your family are the embodiment of personal giving, of placing the national interest above all personal consideration. You understood the meaning very well. In the last few weeks, your big heart did not let you rest. In front of every family of a kidnapped or abducted [Israel], in front of every whole family, they were all your sons, they were all your daughters.”

Since the war’s outbreak on Oct. 7, about 400 Israeli soldiers have been killed fighting the Hamas terror group.

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At US Colleges, Antisemites Are More Equal Than Others

Harvard University President Dr. Claudine Gay delivers remarks on Dec. 5, 2023, during the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on the recent rise in antisemitism on college campuses. Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

The 1945 satirical novella Animal Farm by George Orwell depicts a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where animals can be equal, free, and happy. But their idealistic aspirations are eventually crushed under the dictatorship of a pig fittingly named Napoleon, who is supported by a group of snobby pigs and a herd of adulating sheep.

Initially, one of the Seven Commandments established by the animals to govern their new society is “All animals are equal.” But towards the end of the book, this slogan is altered by the pigs to “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The changed mantra reflects the rise of a new elite class among the animals, specifically the pigs, who start to resemble the oppressive human rulers they initially overthrew. The altered commandment symbolizes a betrayal of the revolution’s original ideals, and the establishment of a new tyranny under Napoleon and the pigs.

Orwell’s “Some animals are more equal than others” is a piercing critique of political hypocrisy. It reflects the reality seen in governing entities around the world that loudly champion the ideals of equality and justice for all, yet subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, create an elevated class among those under their jurisdiction.

This paradox of proudly proclaimed egalitarianism contrasted with the reality of selective privilege forms a cornerstone of Orwell’s sharply observed narrative, and it remains as accurate today as when it was first published.

This past Tuesday, we were presented with a shocking live-action version of Orwell’s perceptive observation during the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing about antisemitism on college campuses.

The gathering heard from three presidents of Ivy League universities, Claudine Gay of Harvard University, Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, and Sally Kornbluth of MIT. All three universities have witnessed a dramatic spike in overt and even violent antisemitism over the past few weeks, since the Hamas-perpetrated October 7th massacre against Jews in southern Israel.

It was a perfect opportunity for these senior representatives of three bastions of academic excellence to publicly distance themselves from the radical elements that have overtaken student activism on their campuses, and turned their institutions into cesspools of ugly prejudice and hatred against Jews. Instead, they obfuscated and used every rhetorical trick in the book to evade admitting the truth, which is this: on their college campuses, Jews are not treated equal to other minorities, which means that Jewish students can be targeted in ways that other minority groups can never be targeted, and those who target them will not face formal consequences.

Consider this astounding exchange: “Yes or no, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] rules of bullying and harassment?” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) repeatedly asked this question to the witnesses. Kornbluth initially answered, “If targeted at individuals not making public statements,” and then added, “I have not heard calling for the genocide for Jews on our campus.”

Stefanik pointed out that MIT students had publicly called for “Intifada” — which is a euphemism for violence and terrorism against Jews. “I’ve heard chants which can be antisemitic depending on the context,” Kornbluth responded. In what context is calling for an Intifada not antisemitic, one wonders.

The answer is simple and tragic: in a world where Jewish rights are not equal to the rights of others, calling for an Intifada is not considered antisemitic. Although, imagine calling for an Intifada against Black, or Asian, or transgender people; would anyone hesitate to consider the context?

Magill was equally slippery: “If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment.” Stefanik kept going: “I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?”

Magill responded, “If it is directed, severe, pervasive — it is harassment … it is a context dependent decision, Congresswoman.”

Stefanik appeared stunned. “It’s a context-dependent decision? That’s your testimony today? Calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context — that is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer!”

The pantomime continued with Magill’s next answer: “If the speech becomes conduct, it can be harassment.” This time Stefanik was even more shocked. “Conduct, meaning committing the act of genocide? The speech is not harassment? This is unacceptable! Ms. Magill, I’m going to give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s Code of Conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment, yes or no?”

But Magill still refused to be drawn. “It can be harassment,” she responded after a pause and then a smirk.

At this point, Stefanik moved on to Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay. “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment, yes or no?” It was almost as if the three presidents had colluded and rehearsed their lines in advance. Perhaps they had.

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded.

By this time Stefanik was incredulous. “What’s the context?” she asked.

Gay shot back, “Targeted at an individual.”

Stefanik’s jaw dropped. “It’s targeted at Jewish students, Jewish individuals. Do you understand your testimony is dehumanizing them? Do you understand that dehumanization is part of antisemitism?”

Gay didn’t need to answer. We all know the answer. The three pigs had made their views very clear. Dehumanizing Jews doesn’t matter. Or, it only matters when the powers-that-be decide it matters; Jewish victims of dehumanizing antisemitism have no say in whether it matters or not. Because “some animals are more equal than others.”

“This is why you should resign,” Stefanik told the Kornbluth, Magill, and Gay, as she finished her round of questions. “These are unacceptable answers across the board.” Although of course they won’t resign, because on their Animal Farms, they are Napoleon, and they are fully supported by similarly snobby pigs and herds of adulating sheep.

In Parshat Vayeishev, we read the story of Joseph and his brothers. The brothers had a grudge against Joseph and unjustly targeted him. Motivated by jealousy and blinded by hatred, they accused him of crimes he had never committed, and eventually sold him off into slavery to Egypt. There he encounters even more injustice — he is thrown into prison after being falsely accused of attempting to rape his master’s wife.

The Talmudic sages note that Jacob’s brothers were convinced their treatment of Joseph was equitable and just; they were seemingly unable to put themselves in Joseph’s shoes and see things from his perspective. In fact, as far as they were concerned his perspective didn’t count — only their perspective mattered. Crucially, they had the power to be judge and jury, despite their inherent biases — and their refusal to be objective resulted in family turmoil that took decades to come right.

Joseph’s resilience and eventual rise to power in Egypt, despite his brothers’ treachery, offers us some hope from the dawn of Jewish history. It reminds us that even in the face of overwhelming injustice and prejudice, integrity and truth do eventually prevail.

This parallel is a poignant reminder that despite the current dominance of unfair and biased attitudes against Jews, and the lack of equity in the treatment of Jews as the current crisis in the Middle East continues to rage, the potential for a just outcome still remains. Let us pray it is not too long in coming.

The author is a rabbi in Beverly Hills, California.

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