Tag Archives: terror

PBS Stands by “Dying to Be a Martyr” Curriculum (Part 2)

The Lesson Plan’s Written Materials

The written materials present an extremely one-sided view of the conflict. The discussion of the UN’s proposed partition plan, for example, highlights the mass of land allocated to Jews and Arabs, but omits the fact that approximately 60 percentof the land allotted to the Jews was desert. The answer key also inaccurately states that the area for the proposed Arab state was “isolated from other Arab nations,” when in fact the proposed state would have shared borders with Lebanon, Egypt, and Transjordan. Thus, the lesson prompts students to incorrectly conclude that the UN’s proposed partition was unfair to Arabs.

Moreover, the student materials ask students to imagine the reactions to the partition plan by a “Palestinian Muslim,” and an “Israeli Jew … for example, a student may draw a happy face for an Israeli Jew and an angry face for a Palestinian Muslim.” Of course, prior to 1948, the populations were referred to as “Palestinian Arabs,” and “Palestinian Jews.” The material informs students that Palestinians Arabs were justifiably unhappy with the proposed partition plan, and revisionist language is used to connect only the Palestinian Arabs with the land, when in fact it is Jews, and not Palestinian Arabs, that are indigenous to the region. This further encourages the students to sympathize with the Arab side.

In combination with the videos, the effect is that terrorism is portrayed as an understandable, if not justified, response to a legitimate land grievance.

In addition, the lesson plan is out of date. Michael Getler reports that it is ten years old. It includes two links, purportedly to find further material, that are no longer functioning. It was written prior to the 2008 negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, during which Olmert offered to evacuate almost all of the West Bank – an offer that Abbas rejected. The lesson plan also does not include the pivotal 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, though it appears to have been prepared after that withdrawal took place. Nor does it include the fact that Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 and has used it as a terror base ever since, launching attacks, rockets and missiles against Israeli civilians.

PBS Ombudsman Weighs In

PBS’s now-former Ombudsman, Michael Getler (who retired in the spring) addressed this lesson plan on his blog. Although he speculated as to some critics’ possible ulterior motives, he still found that they “raise what I consider to be some legitimate questions about the content, or more precisely as I read it, a lack of more contextual content, within this lesson plan.”

He raised the following criticisms with PBS’ corporate communications:

1) that the project ‘seems to encourage students to learn to sympathize with radical Islamic terrorists,’2) that there is no instructions or denunciation of the immorality of suicide bombing, and also radical Islam, and 3) that there is no lesson plan describing the conflict and the tactics from an Israeli point of view.

The corporate communications office responded that, “in no way does [PBS] condone the heinous actions of individuals who would target innocent civilians. PBS would strongly condemn any assertion that terrorism is ever appropriate.” Yet, this condemnation is not present in the lesson plan itself. PBS instead relies on teachers to spontaneously provide this interpretation of the materials – something they may or may not do. The lesson may not explicitly condone suicide bombers, but without an explicit condemnation, it could certainly be interpreted that way by impressionable teens.

PBS corporate communications further asserted that the material “helps high school students grapple with the complexity of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” This is plainly not the case, because the material is simplified to highlight the point of view of only one side. To the extent that the Israeli side is presented at all, in the written materials, such written materials are clearly not as powerful a medium as the videos in which students learn the terrorists’ point of view.

PBS corporate continues, “the instructional activities that are part of the lesson plan(e.g., the culminating activity for students to ‘create an objective newspaper article from the perspective of a reporter who has just witnessed a suicide bombing. The article will include background on the conflict, motivations of the bombers, impact of the bombing on Israelis, and a conclusion’)and the accompanying resources all provide a multi-faceted view of the issue.” It’s not clear, however, how students can include information on the “impact of the bombing on Israelis” when they have not been provided with any material on that subject, or how they can discuss motivations of the bombers when they have not been provided with all of the information about factors that may influence them.

Getler wrote that, “it is, in my view, important to hear such views [i.e., those presented in the lesson plans] and understand what motivates them.” Perhaps. But such views should be balanced with views of those who have survived terror attacks, or family members of those who did not survive. A discussion of the PA’s role in funding terror attacks, and the incitement in school textbooks would also have provided much-needed context.

The PBS lesson plan is a textbook case of bias, presenting predominantly one side, doing so in a more compelling way than the other, and failing to include important facts and context. What makes it particularly insidious is the fact that this is not a simple PBS news segment or documentary, it is a lesson plan meant to influence young minds.

This is part two of “PBS Stands by “Dying to Be a Martyr” Curriculum”. To read part one, click here.

This article was originally published by CAMERA’s Karen Bekker at camera.org.

Healing Ink Screened at California Polytechnic State University SLO

CAMERA-supported group Mustangs United for Israel hosted a film screening of ‘Healing Ink’ at California Polytechnic State University.

‘Healing Ink’ is a film about wounded Israeli soldiers, or victims of terror, healing through getting tattoo art. Artists 4 Israel completed this project in Summer of 2016, where a group of international artists traveled to Jerusalem to give free tattoos to veterans or survivors of terror attacks.

Artists 4 Israel brings art, healing and protection to communities and people ravished by war. They cover scars on bodies, uplifting all people to overcome the struggles of living in crises with permanent and direct quality of life changes through arts and culture based humanitarian aid and social service projects.

Photo from the Healing Ink screening by Mustangs United for Israel

Along with the screening of the film, CAMERA-supported Mustangs United for Israel also invited Craig Dershowitz, the Executive Director of A4I, and Sgula Dershowitz, his wife, to the event. After the 40 minute screen filming, the two engaged the audience in a very interactive question and answer session about the film itself, the events that happened there, and any general questions about Israel.

Craig and Sgula were able to share very intimate moments from the trip and amazing stories which they couldn’t share in the film. Overall, it was a very successful event and many people felt a very strong connection to the film and the idea behind it.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern



“I treated the injured soldier, while in the background they were still searching for more terrorists!”

Paramedic Muhammed Abd Elrhaman arrived at the scene of the terror attack by Damascus Gate and immediately ran to treat the injured soldier, Sergeant Hadas Malka, while reports in the background spoke of more attackers. Muhammed furiously fought to save her life and even stayed by her hospital bed during her final moment. Today he shared his feelings with us. 

The Friday peace was shattered by the voice of the Dispatch Officer in Magen David Adom’s (MDA) 101 Dispatch Center relaying a call about a stabbing by Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Seconds earlier, three terrorists attacked a Border Police force that was on patrol in the area. One of the terrorists, only 18 years old, stabbed Hadas Malka and critically injured her, however the soldier didn’t give up and fought back for some time. Other members of her unit saw what was happening, shot and neutralized the terrorist, and then immediately called MDA.

Hadas Malka (23), Israeli Border Policewoman murdered in Damascus Gate terror attack (Courtesy)

Muhammed Abd Elrhaman, an experienced Paramedic from MDA’s Jerusalem station who has already witnessed many terror attacks during his years of service, immediately understood that this was a serious incident. Abd Elrhaman explained “I was on a MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) shift in Pisgat Zeev and when we reached Begin Junction, only a minute away from the attack, we received a report over the radio from MDA Jerusalem that the Israel Police were requesting an ambulance after they saw on security cameras that someone had stabbed a soldier and that they are now lying on the floor. At first we didn’t realize that it was a female soldier. Noa Tiram, the Dispatch Officer, immediately sent an ambulance to assess the scene. No more than 20 seconds later it became evident that this was a terror attack, potentially still ongoing, and I called up and volunteered for the call as we were very nearby.

We headed straight to the scene and heard over the radio that it was a developing incident but we were still uncertain as to its nature. At first the suspicion was of a criminal act rather than a terror one. However, seconds later, there was a report that it was terrorism that we had to take special precautions and don protective gear, to team up with the Police, and instruct the youth volunteers to remain on the ambulances. I realized that we would be first on scene and reported so to the Dispatch Center, knowing that there were another five ambulances behind me.”

Hadas was bleeding and unconscious

Treating Hadas reminded Muhammed of previous terror attacks at Damascus Gate, when other critically injured were brought to him. Muhammed said “When I arrived at the scene a regular ambulance reported that he was already transferring a seriously injured patient towards Hadassa Har Hatzofim Hospital. I decided that we would meet him at Damascus Gate by the scene of the attack so that we could treat the patient with drugs and advanced life saving capabilities. When we opened the ambulance door we saw the 23-year-old victim, a female Border Police soldier in combat gear and stab vest. She was unconscious. 

During the primary assessment I noticed stab wounds to her upper body and massive bleeding. I realized that I was fighting the clock and began some intensive treatment.”

MDA arrive on the scene of the terror attack at Damascus Gate (Times of Israel)

During your treatment at the scene, there were reports of other terrorists. Were you scared?

“When I’m dealing with such a critically injured patient, I concentrate only on her – not on the radio. I didn’t hear the warning about further terrorists, and it wouldn’t have made any difference to me because I had to treat her. At the time I was just with her. I undertook a surgical procedure in the field to release air from her chest cavity and treated her other wounds to try to prevent further blood loss.

I told my crew to begin resuscitation attempts, physically performing chest compressions. One volunteer leaned on the wound in her neck to try to stem the bleeding, a second volunteer performed the compressions and I intubated her and started an IV line in her neck to try to stabilize her situation.

Within only 7 minutes we provided most of the treatment at the scene using advanced surgical techniques, ventilated her, gave her drugs and transported her to hospital.”

Muhammed Abd Elrhaman (MDA)

We hoped so much that she would pull through

The crew arrived at hospital with Hadas and immediately went into the trauma room. Muhammed’s crew joined the doctors who fought for her life and he treated her up until her last moments. Abd Elrhaman said “There were a few optimistic moments when we arrived at the hospital and took her to the trauma room, but the optimism was short-lived as her situation worsened and she was classified in a critical condition.

We carried on doing chest compressions, she was given more blood and more drugs, but eventually, about an hour after she reached hospital, she was pronounced dead. We fought for her life – all of us. MDA crews and hospital teams. The moment her death was pronounced was a very difficult one for us all.”

Muhammed’s crew was kept at hospital until after Hadas’s family was informed that she had died. Muhammed said “We sat there and waited. Only after it was all over and we’d been allowed to leave the hospital did I hear on the news that there were actually two scenes and three terrorists who went on a shooting and stabbing spree. That’s when we really understood the magnitude of the situation.”

Today, three days after the event, Muhammed explained “We enter active scenes and treat victims while in danger on so many occasions. We act during those times through a feeling that we have a mission to complete, and with only one thought on our minds – to save the victims. We don’t think about what might happen later or what might happen to us. Each time that we see the scene of a terror attack we run in, when logic dictates to run away to survive. But this is who we are, this is what we know, and this is what we must do.”

Contributed by Magen David Adom

Israel Border Policewoman Hadas Malka Murdered in Damascus Gate Terror Attack

Security has been increased at the Damascus Gate, one of the entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City, following the Palestinian terror attack where 23-year-old Israeli Border Policewoman Hadas Malka was murdered on Friday night.

Malka was murdered and four others were injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire on policemen near the Damascus Gate. Simultaneously, a third Palestinian attacker stabbed Malka several times critically wounding her. She was rushed to hospital but died of her wounds.

Hadas Malka (23), Israeli Border Policewoman murdered in Damascus Gate terror attack (Courtesy)

All three terrorists were shot and killed by police. Following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility. However, Hamas has disputed this claim saying they were responsible, denying the link to ISIS. The attack was praised by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since called on the Palestinian Authority to condemn the attack and has demanded it stop paying money to the murderers’ families during a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Israel has issued numerous responses since the terror attack aimed at thwarting any future attacks in Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu revoked the entry permits into Israel of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians issued during Ramadan.

Knife used in attack (Israel Police)

Netanyahu has also discussed with police and defense officials about turning Damascus Gate into a ‘sterile area’, meaning the area is closed to civilians. However the plan is still in the very early stages and details have not been disclosed.

Damascus Gate has been the site of dozens of terror attacks since the beginning of the terror wave which started in 2015, composing of 177 stabbing attacks, 117 attempted stabbings, 144 shootings, 58 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicular (bus) bombing. The wave of terror has claimed the lives of 42 Israelis and numerous foreign nationals, including two Americans and a British student.

Weapon used by Palestinian terrorists in attack at Damascus Gate (Channel 2)

Hadas Malka was buried at a military cemetery in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, with hundreds of people turning up to pay their respects. After the funeral, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited Malka’s family to express their condolences.

PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara visits family of Hadas Malka (GPO)

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern

Israel Remembers the Fallen and Victims of Terror on Yom HaZikaron

This evening Yom HaZikaron begins, Israel’s national day of remembrance. The country comes to a halt to remember those who have been killed in Israel’s wars, and in terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately over the past year, Israel saw more Israelis killed in terrorist attacks. Last June, Hallel Yaffe Ariel z”l, a thirteen year old girl, was murdered in her sleep by a Palestinian terrorist, killing her in her own bedroom. As soon as her parents had finished the seven day “Shiva” mourning period, they went themselves to visit another group of mourners – ten orphans, whose father Rabbi Miki Mark z”l had been murdered by a Palestinian terrorist, in a drive-by shooting.

Friends of Hallel at her funeral

As well as the victims of terrorist attacks, we remember the soldiers who have died in Israel’s many wars. One of the most famous of Israel’s soldiers is Michael Levin z”l, a lone soldier from Philadelphia, whose story captured the hearts of Jews around the world. He was killed on August 1st 2006. He was 22 when he was killed in combat.


There are a number of ceremonies that take place around the country to mark the day. In the evening, the President and Chief of Staff of the IDF attend a central ceremony at the Western Wall. At 8pm, the siren sounds, and the country pauses for a minute’s silence, and then the ceremony begins. Then, in the day, the siren sounds once again at 11am, and the country once again pauses. There is then a ceremony at Har Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery in Jerusalem, at which the Prime Minister speaks.

Over 23,000 Israelis have been killed in wars and terror attacks. As we pay tribute to them each year, the wish we have is the same, and it is simple – that next year, we should not have to add any names to the list, and that the families of those who have died should find some comfort, as the Jewish people unites to remember their loved ones.

May their memories be a blessing.

The Boundless Anti-Israel Hatred of AJ+

Aron White, CAMERA intern

The fact that AJ+, the social media wing of Al Jazeera, is vehemently anti-Israel, is not really surprising. But even by their standards, AJ+ managed to stoop to a new low this week, by using the murders of four Israelis in a terrorist attack, to demonize the Jewish state even further.

On Sunday, a Palestinian man killed four soldiers and injured seventeen more, in a truck ramming attack reminiscent of those that have taken place in Nice and Berlin. The soldiers, all in their twenties, all leave behind mourning families, grappling with the loss of their children in the prime of their lives. Illustrating the volume of Israeli lives lost to terror, Shira, one of the soldiers killed, was the three-hundredth graduate of her school to have been killed in the conflict.

Yael Yekutiel, Shira Tzur, Shir Hajaj and Erez Orbach – the four Israelis killed in Sunday’s attack.

But when cities around Europe joined in marking Israel’s suffering, AJ+ responded in anger, upset at the fact that Israel was being shown sympathy. Paris, Berlin and Rotterdam all flew the Israeli flag on public buildings, to show unity with the people of Israel, in a moral gesture of sympathy, but AJ+ described it as a “controversial tribute to Israel.” This is the title of a video that they produced, which turned Israeli suffering into an opportunity to blacken Israel’s image, through a series of lies and distortions.

The Israeli flag illuminated on Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

AJ+ ask in their post, “Where was the Palestinian flag when Israel attacked the West Bank and Gaza?” This is a total distortion – Israel has gone to war three times in Gaza in the past few years, every time acting in self defense, to stop the rockets fired by the Hamas terrorist group at Israeli civilians.

But for Israel’s haters, every act of Israeli defense is one of aggression, and defending the country from thousands of rockets is an attack on Gaza. This theme is also true about a tweet shown in the video, which says that if the Brandenburg Gate lit up every time Israel killed a Palestinian, it would be permanent. This is deceiving – Israel does not indiscriminately kill Palestinians. Rather, the IDF acts in self defense, and indeed has killed many Palestinians who were in the midst of engaging in terrorist attacks. And to say that Israel is “permanently” killing Palestinians is totally unfounded – one that no serious media agency should be repeating.

There is no other country in the world about whom such ridiculous exaggerations are tolerated – no one would ever say that the Americans, the British or the French are constantly killing people in the wars they fight, but somehow Al Jazeera considers such absurd exaggerations legitimate when they are made about Israel.

A screenshot of the video shows distortions, exaggerations and hatred, all in one tweet

There is also reference made to children killed in Gaza in 2014. AJ+ employs the worn out and inaccurate accusation that Israel indiscriminately kills Palestinians, when nothing could be further from the truth. Israel fought a defensive war in 2014 to stop hundreds of Hamas rockets, and took incredible efforts to limit human casualties.

By contrast, Hamas uses its children as human shields, deliberately using civilian areas as the strongholds for its fighters. It is also worth noting that whereas Israel does not want or encourage the death of Palestinian civilians, the Fatah and Hamas leadership does reward and support the killing of Israeli civilians. Hamas praises terrorist attacks, and Fatah gives stipends to people who kill Israeli citizens. Even in the case of this recent terrorist attack, Hamas called a rally to celebrate, and the murderer’s sister praised the attack. But AJ+ is interested in twisting Israel`s self defense to make them look wicked, whilst ignoring the incitement and hatred which underlies Palestinian terrorism.

But beyond being insensitive, malicious and misleading in their video, AJ+ fundamentally harms  prospects for peace by following their narrative. If you tell Israelis that their acts of self defense are murder, you are telling them they have fewer rights than other countries. If you tell the world that Israel doesn’t deserve any sympathy when four of their young adults are mowed down in the street, then you tell the world Israeli lives do not matter. Peace requires an understanding of the genuine concerns and feelings of each side. AJ+ considers Israel to be so low, that it doesn’t even deserve the dignity of sympathy in its time of mourning. Once again, AJ+ continues to churn up hate in the world, rather than pursuing any chance of peace.

Contributed by CAMERA intern Aron White.

Munich Massacre Commemorated As Anti-Semitism at Olympics Continues

44 years ago on September 5th, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostage and murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team. 

If the German government and their rescue team had worked succinctly and responsibly, the captured Israelis could have been saved, rather than murdered.

In what came to be known as the Munich Massacre, Ankie Spitzer lost her husband, Israel’s fencing coach Andre Spitzer, as well as her faith in the integrity of the Olympics.

“If this is what happened to that peace-loving man, my husband, who wanted nothing more than to take part in the Olympics, then I will never shut up, never stop talking about the travesty to the Olympic ideals,” she swears.

And indeed she has not. Since 1972, Ankie Spitzer has been responding to the events of the Munich Massacre and working to memorialize the victims.

Israeli Olympic Team members being held captive by Black September before their eventual deaths during the Munich Massacre in 1972. Source: oldpicz.com

Israeli Olympic Team members being held captive by Black September before their eventual murders during the Munich Massacre of 1972. Source: oldpicz.com

In 2003, Ankie Spitzer took the German government to court. While no amount of money can compensate for the tragic loss of her husband and the ten other victims, justice was served when the German government had to finally claim responsibility for its criminal negligence during the attack.

Aside from holding guilty parties responsible, Ankie Spitzer also strives to ensure that the victims are properly remembered and that the tragic events of 1972 are duly commemorated.

From the time of the attack up until this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, only private memorials had been held for the victims. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), recognized the 1972 victims of terrorism and representatives of the IOC attended memorial events. But the IOC had not officially memorialized the Munich Massacre at any Olympic Games.

During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, for example, a memorial was held in Guildhall, separate from the games. Jacques Rogge, the IOC President at the time, rejected the idea of holding a minute of silence for the Munich Massacre victims. He tried to silence the idea, stating that, “The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions,” suggesting this was sufficient. However, the death of athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was recognized as were the 9/11 terrorist attacks during the Olympic games.

Memorial for luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia is placed under the Olympic Rings in the Whistler Village during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Source: ottawacitizen.com

Memorial for luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia is placed under the Olympic Rings in the Whistler Village during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Source: ottawacitizen.com

Until this August, the IOC did not want to fully memorialize the Munich Massacre. Ankie Spitzer discovered that they were worried about such a memorial causing trouble for the Olympic games. Before the 2012 London Games, Ankie Spitzer persisted with IOC President Rogge, asking why the IOC really could not memorialize the murder of the 11 Israeli Olympians. Rogge eventually explained that there were 46 Arab and Muslim countries that would threaten to boycott the Games if the IOC agreed to include such a memorial.

Every time Ankie Spitzer received a response like this, she took it personally, not for herself but for her husband. IOC officials worried about boycotts, while Ankie’s husband and 10 other Israelis had been victimized and killed by terrorism. Rather than respecting the dead and standing up against terrorism, the IOC was pathetically allowing the threats and bullying of anti-Semitic countries to control them.

Finally, during this past Summer Olympic Games in Rio, the IOC hosted an official memorial for the 11 Israelis who were killed 44 years ago.

After reading the names of the 11 victims at a ceremony in the Rio Olympic village, IOC Chief Thomas Bach spoke on the importance of the memorial event:

“We commemorate them because this was an attack not only on our fellow Olympians, but also an assault on the values that the Olympic Village stands for. It was an attack on the universal power of sport to unite all of humanity in peace and solidarity.

“The Olympic Games are always an affirmation of life so let our commemoration today also be an affirmation of their lives. Through this act of remembrance, the spirit of those who have departed continues to live on.”

Ilana Rimano (left) and Ankie Spitzer – widows of two of the murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics – at memorial event in Rio. Source: Reuters, via JPost

Ilana Rimano (left) and Ankie Spitzer – widows of two of the murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics – at memorial event in Rio. Source: Reuters, via JPost

Following the ceremony, Ankie Spitzer expressed that the first memorial at the Olympic Games was a historic step, with the IOC taking the responsibility to organize the event inside the Olympic Village. She – and the Israeli people as a whole – finally felt a sense of closure after over 40 years.

This summer, Israeli Olympic athletes also commemorated the 1972 Munich Massacre victims in their own ways. The Israeli athletes came to the Rio Olympics to win, and in doing so, they were also able to pay their respects to the 1972 Israeli Team victims of terror by dedicating their success to the victims or simply by standing strong in the face of anti-Semitism at Olympic Games.

Following her win, Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi exclaimed that winning a bronze medal at the recent Rio Olympic Games is nothing short of “a dream come true.” But she also recognized the honor of earning this medal with two widows of the Munich Massacre victims, Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, by her side during the games. After her win, Gerbi decided to specifically dedicate her success to the victims of the Munich Massacre.

Israeli Judoka Olympic medal winner, Yarden Gerbi. Source: fromthegrapevine.com

Israeli Judoka Olympic medal winner, Yarden Gerbi. Source: fromthegrapevine.com

Anti-Semitic Palestinian terrorists murdered the 1972 Israeli Olympic Team members. Fast forward to 2016, and many members of the 2016 Summer Olympics Israeli team also experienced discrimination in Rio. The Israelis stood strong in the face of all the hatred, only responding with success and pride in competing for Israel at the Olympic Games. For example, Or Sasson did not let the refusal of Egyptian Islam el-Shahabi to shake his hand affect his joy and pride in winning two medals for Israel. Thankfully, anti-Semitic incidents at this year’s Games were followed through by the IOC with public reprimands, providing a glimmer of hope that shaming discriminatory athletes will prompt them into behaving appropriately at future professional sporting events.

Or Sasson, Israeli Judoka, two-time medal winner Olympian. Source: Haaretz

Or Sasson, Israeli Judoka, two-time medal winner Olympian. Source: Haaretz

Just as Israelis are known to not let terrorism keep them from celebrating happy occasions, the team was not discouraged by anti-Semitism at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. The Israeli team came to win and stayed focused on their goal regardless of the bigotry thrown at them by other teams.

While the Israeli team stood proud of their success for Israel, the anti-Semitism did put a damper on the Rio Olympic Games in general. “Committed to building a better world through sport,” the IOC strives for good sportsmanship. Unfortunately, some countries chose to abuse the esteemed Olympic sense of sportsmanship. They used the games as a catalyst for political statements and expressions of anti-Semitism.

There were many highs and lows for Israel at the recent Rio Olympic Games. While nothing can make up for the tragic loss of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, at least their memory has now been fully respected by the IOC community. And similarly, while the anti-Semitism at the recent Rio games is uncanny and absolutely unacceptable just as it was at the 1972 Munich games, the Israeli Olympic Team at least was able to compete and represent Israel on an international level.

Though long overdue, following the IOC’s public ceremony for the Munich Massacre victims and its public punishments of racist athletes, there is hope for the future. While some countries bully Israeli Olympic athletes, they turn around and smile with pride after giving it their all in every competition and succeeding in the face of hate.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

SJP Glorifies Terrorist Leila Khaled

The word resistance is defined as the ‘refusal to accept or comply with something.’

legal definition of the word is “the opposition of force to force,” which can either be “lawful or unlawful.” Resistance can be associated with defiance, independence, and strength in times of struggle. However, resistance also indicates rebellion, and is frequently used by those who sympathize with Palestinian terrorists to sugarcoat attacks against innocent civilians.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)’s hashtag #ExistenceisResistance could be a fine concept. Through solidarity with Palestinians, through protests, through dialogue and advocacy—through the mere existence and reassurance provided by a pro-Palestinian group—pro-Palestinian activists could strengthen the Palestinian resistance to any sense of being downtrodden and could reinforce Palestinian defiance to hardships.

With SJP, any sentiment of non-violence with the use of their hashtag “#ExistenceisResistance” is hard to come by.

Image captured from Facebook by Legal Insurrection.

Image captured from Facebook page of Students for Justice in Palestine at Vassar College.

SJP’s decision to write “#ExistenceisRestistance” in a post alongside a t-shirt with an image of Leila Khaled suggests they are defining resistance for themselves in a very unlawful sense of the word, despite the t-shirt’s wording that “resistance is not terrorism.”

In order to fully understand SJP’s horrific act of printing Leila Khaled’s face on their t-shirts and glorifying her, you must know who she is:

Leila Khaled was born in Haifa, Israel to Palestinian parents in 1944. At the age of 15, she became part of the Arab Nationalist Movement, which would later develop into the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP).

With time, Leila Khaled grew more dedicated to her people and more passionate about implementing terrorism as a means of Palestinian ‘resistance.’

On this very day in 1969, on August 29th, Khaled took part in the plane hijacking of TWA Flight 840. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, known for his arduous efforts to make peace with the Arabs, was said to be on this particular flight. Khaled and a few other terrorists took over the plane and to their dismay, Rabin never showed up. This PLFP hijacking mission to attack Rabin failed, but they still did damage, blowing up a section of the plane.

TWA Flight 840 being partially blown up as part of the hijacking. Source: adst.org

TWA Flight 840 being partially blown up as part of the hijacking. Source: adst.org

A picture of terrorist Leila Khaled wearing a kaffiyeh and holding a gun, was publicized following the hijacking.

Leila Khaled after the airplane hijacking. Source: alchetron.com

Leila Khaled after the airplane hijacking. Source: alchetron.com

Following this failed attack, Khaled went through many plastic surgeries so that she would not be identified in the future as the TWA Flight 840 hijacker and could continue her terrorism work, in peace. With an unidentifiable face, Khaled went on to participate in other hijackings.

While Khaled tried to strategically distance herself from this photo, SJP decided to print this photo on their own t-shirts, juxtaposing this photo of the kaffiyeh-adorned hijacker with their disturbing hashtag, “#ExistenceisResistance.”

With the definition of resistance in mind, it is clear that Leila Khaled does not represent “the refusal to accept or comply with something” in any lawful sense of the word. The resistance represented by Leila Khaled is only a refusal to partake in dialogue, to pursue justice, to follow laws, or to strive for peace. Her resistance is not an indication of strength or defiance but rather, radicalism and violence in the form of terror.

What exact message is SJP trying to convey with this t-shirt? That unlawful “resistance” and terrorism are key to Palestinian existence?

The t-shirt shows us that the kind of “justice in Palestine” that Students for Justice in Palestine aspires to is indeed violence.

Justice, as a legal term, is not said to have any association with terrorism. Justice is “the proper administration of the law; the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals under the law.”

Terrorism, on the other hand, is defined as “the unlawful use or force of violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate.”

By definition terrorism and justice do not go hand in hand and are quite the opposite of one another. That said, it seems that SJP needs to either remove “justice” from their name, or they ought to discontinue their associations with terrorists such as Leila Khaled.

Regarding their concept of “resistance,” Students for Justice in Palestine needs to fully acknowledge the events of this day in history. The TWA Flight 840 hijacking is an example of “resistance” fighters taking “justice” into her own hands by terrorizing innocent people.

SJP's T-shirt print. Source: legalinsurrection.com

SJP’s T-shirt print. Source: legalinsurrection.com

Any claim that “resistance is not terrorism” with relation to Leila Khaled or the August 29th hijacking is factually incorrect. While SJP can be a “resistance” group if they like, Leila Khaled is not an example of non-violent resistance.

SJP needs to reconsider how figures like Leila Khaled represent their values. While SJP is not recognized as a terrorist group, it is already a “resistance” group in the negative sense. Rather than partaking in dialogue, they focus on demonizing Israel, and their interactions with Zionist students are very antagonistic and unproductive.

While ceasing to glorify terrorist Leila Khaled is a great start, perhaps SJP should also reconsider how to be a more actively positive “resistance” group in the future. For example, SJP can stop  “resistance” work against Israel, a place where Palestinians who chose to have Israeli citizenship are employed, live freely, and vote.

In short, SJP should take note of the fact that many Palestinians prefer to live in an Israeli country rather than a Palestinian-run country. The BDS movement against Israel, for example, only serves to hurt the Palestinian standard of living.

Instead of focusing on resistance to Israel, SJP could focus on critical issues, such as terrorist groups which steal aid funds from Gazans or the ongoing crisis in Syria. If sticking to the idea that “resistance is not terrorism,” Students for Justice in Palestine must refocus its efforts to truly implement the concept. In turn, Palestinians might actually be helped by this fiery student movement.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Tisha B’Av: Remembering Tragedy

According to Jewish tradition, the Jewish people’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem was twice destroyed on the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av.  Yesterday (July 24th), observant Jews fasted to mark the beginning of a three week mourning period which concludes on August 14th with the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.

This concept of fasting and mourning the destruction of the temple is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. The late Elie Wiesel’s thoughts on remembrance can help explain why such a solemn commemoration day for such an ancient day of tragedy is so important to many Jews. The following is an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s 2003 Day of Holocaust Remembrance address:

But is remembrance enough? What does one do with the memory of agony and suffering? Memory has its own language, its own texture, its own secret melody, its own archeology and its own limitations: it too can be wounded, stolen and shamed; but it is up to us to rescue it and save it from becoming cheap, banal, and sterile.

To remember means to lend an ethical dimension to all endeavors and aspirations.

So too does Jewish tradition hold the belief that remembrance and taking a day to consciously remember tragedy is important. According to tradition, the destruction of the Temple symbolized the disintegration and disunity of the Jews as a people. Before its destruction, the Temple was the embodiment of serving God but also of overall unity of the Jews as a peaceful nation in the world.

To remember the Temple’s existence as well as its destruction on Tisha B’Av is a way for Jews to reflect on their faults as well as their endeavors and aspirations as a people.

According to Elie Wiesel’s explanation on the importance of remembrance, it seems the world could use such a day or moment as well to reflect on all current global destruction.

Source: newantisemitism.com

Source: newantisemitism.com

Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, Elie Wiesel spoke about the importance of remembering before tragedy is repeated and terror is multiplied:

Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered…the rejection of memory becomes a divine curse, one that would doom us to repeat past disasters, past wars.

If we wish to stop terror, to take actions to better society against the evils of the world, Elie Wiesel’s words suggest that humans must first remember and fully understand past tragedies and disasters. People may think terrorism, hunger, or racism will disappear from the world but history proves they horrifically continue without us even noticing before its too late.

In the same Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Elie Wiesel said the following:

If someone had told us in 1945 that in our lifetime religious wars would rage on virtually every continent, that thousands of children would once again be dying of starvation, we would not have believed it. Or that racism and fanaticism would flourish once again, we would not have believed it…How to explain this defeat of memory?
How to explain any of it…the outrage of terrorism: of the hostages in Iran, the coldblooded massacre in the synagogue in Istanbul, the senseless deaths in the streets of Paris. Terrorism must be outlawed by all civilized nations – not explained or rationalized, but fought and eradicated. Nothing can, nothing will justify the murder of innocent people and helpless children.

It is scary how relevant his words are still today. Between racism still being fought against by the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, between innocent people still being killed by terrorism on the streets of Paris, and between a massacre in the Istanbul airport, history is terrifyingly repeating itself as Elie Wiesel testified in 1986.

Incredibly discouraging, modern-day global troubles are not to be overlooked. As Elie Wiesel explained, remembrance is of upmost importance. Before confronting and hopefully improving the state of the current world, history is there to remind us what we are fighting against and striving to prevent in the world we live in.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

Anti-Israel or Anti-Semitic?

Israel is facing a tide of hatred all around the world. From the United States to Europe, to the Middle East, many try to delegitimize the state of Israel. People can surely be just critical of Israeli policies. However, many people are anti-Israel due to their hate for the Jewish people. With or without intent, anti-Israel movements cause anti-Semitism.

Antisemitism in Europe. (Photo: AP)

Antisemitism in Europe. (Photo: AP)

According to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, demonizing, delegitimizing, and applying double standards to Israel is anti-Semitic. When one criticizes Israel and invokes an anti-Jewish sentiment, it is anti-Semitism. When you compare Israel and the IDF to Hitler and Nazi Germany, it’s anti-Semitic. When one calls for the demise of Israel, this is also a call for the end of the Jewish people. That’s anti-Semitic.

All over the world, there are mass movements to delegitimize Israel. Across US College Campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) delegitimizes Israel through the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Meanwhile in Europe, there are anti-Israel movements spreading across campuses and anti-Semitism flourishing throughout the continent.

The BDS movement uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cover for the boycott. The movement does not criticize the terrorist organization, Hamas, in Gaza, or the very corrupt Palestinian Authority, in the West Bank. The BDS movement supports both leaderships, even though both severely mistreat the Palestinian people. For example, in Gaza, Hamas uses civilians as human shields during times of war, and in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) suppresses LGBT rights. There are countless instances of abuses by Hamas and the P.A.

ISIS, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and many other human rights violators do not face this much criticism or have a boycott against them. The only state that is targeted is Israel, the only Jewish state in the world and the only democratic nation in the Middle East. This is because of anti-Semitism.

Multiple instances have occurred recently in the United Kingdom that are prime examples of how anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. There have been two well-known incidents recently where anti-Israel sentiment equated with anti-Semitism.

Jeremy Corbyn leading a July 2014 demonstration against the Israeli war on Gaza. Source: The Electronic Intifada

Jeremy Corbyn leading a July 2014 demonstration against the Israeli war on Gaza. Source: The Electronic Intifada

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour party, recently came under fire. He and his party are known for their strong anti-Israel sentiments and have been accused of anti-Semitism many times. At least 50 members were suspended in late April for anti-Semitic behavior. Members of the organization have called for deportation of Israeli-Jews in Britain, they’ve called Hitler a Zionist, relocation of Israel to America, and so on. All these remarks made by members of the Labour party are blatantly anti-Semitic. They are targeting the Jewish people for deportation and no one else. They are equating Adolf Hitler with Israelis, which is anti-Semitic. They want the one Jewish state in the world thrown off the map. They want the six million Jews in Israel to be removed from their homes and forced to relocate.  Jeremy Corbyn does not see these heinous incidents for what they are – a huge anti-Semitism problem within the party.

National Union of Students (NUS) President Malia Bouttia.

National Union of Students (NUS) President Malia Bouttia.

Another case is Malia Bouattia, who was elected president of the National Union of Students this past April. Bouattia is known for her anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views. She has called the University of Birmingham a ‘Zionist Outpost’ where the school’s leadership is controlled by a bunch of Zionists. University of Birmingham has the largest Jewish population in the country. She invokes anti-Semitic tropes within her rhetoric and it is very threatening to Jewish students. Both Labour Party and Bouattia’s anti-Israel rhetoric cross the line to anti-Semitism.

I’ve seen anti-Semitism on my college campus. I saw posters in October of 2015 equated Gaza during Operation Protective Edge to the Holocaust. Whether or not the person’s intentions were anti-Semitic, their words were.

Israel is a nation of 68 years that has contributed so much to this world. From all the technology and start-ups it has created, to the humanitarian aid it gives to nations in need, Israel has a lasting impact on individuals and nations. It is the only democratic nation in the Middle East where women, the LGBTQ community, and minorities are given equal rights. Yet, Israel is being lambasted and targeted.

Those who are anti-Israel want the destruction of the Jewish state through terrorist acts committed against innocent civilians or by making the Jewish people, all over the world, feel uncomfortable and unsafe through their anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at SUNY Buffalo Andrew Meyer.