HOW ARE WE?

A good question for both Jews and Arabs in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Feldstein

In case you missed it, just over a week ago Israel suffered back- to-back terror attacks during Shabbat (the Sabbath) leaving seven dead and several more injured, some seriously. I was grateful for the many friends reaching out from all over the world, anxiously enquiring how we were. This has happened before, so my response was to write a series of updates of “How We Are”.

Taken by Terrorism. Only 14 years of age, Asher Natan, one of the victims of the terror massacre in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood. (Courtesy)

Palestinian Arab terror in Israel is not unique, and in the past year it’s been on the increase. However, there was something particularly disturbing about these recent attacks. Part of the reason that terror attacks like these can take place is that Jerusalem is a mixed Jewish/Arab city, roughly two thirds and one third respectively.  Jews and Arabs interact widely with virtually no impediments. It’s the norm to see Jews and Arabs shopping together, working together, on public transit, in the hospitals as patients and medical personnel, and much more.  So an Arab in a Jewish neighborhood is not new, and rarely suspicious. 

Of course, all this debunks the lie of Israel practicing Apartheid against Arabs, but that matters little to Israel bashers when it’s Jews being attacked and killed!

For a few days at least, the attacks were an explosive topic of conversation. Terror attacks don’t take place every day.  The norm is the intermingling of Arabs and Jews more than a terror attack, though the threat of an attack exists all the time. Nevertheless, these shook up many Israeli Jews maybe because:

–   they took place on Shabbat, the day of rest or

–   of the relatively high number of casualties or

–  the bigger attack took place outside a synagogue  or

–  one of the Arab terrorists was just 13!

No Kidding! Out to kill, this was the gun used by a 13-year-old Palestinian in a shooting attack near Jerusalem’s Old City on January 28, 2023. (Israel Police)

And then again, maybe because for months now, there’s been a steady wave of terror attacks leaving dozens of Israelis dead and wounded, and each one takes its toll and tension is compounded. 

In addition to being in the news in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the attacks were the inescapable subject of many individual conversations.

Of course, there is the grief for an among the families of the victims, that played out on national media in ways that were very personal and heart wrenching. And then there immediately followed the inevitable exchanges of conversations, discussions and questioning between friends and colleagues. In speaking with one friend who works in a setting where many Arab and Jews work together, there was a sense of tremendous stress. My friend didn’t know whether her Arab colleagues were celebrating the deaths, or whether any of them might be the next terrorist to attack, either at her place of work or somewhere else. A colleague who noted that her demeanor was not her normal friendly engaging self, asked if she was okay. She opened up candidly. They discussed their mutual stress and concerns. What is noteworthy is that my friend is an Israeli Jew, and her colleague who expressed concern is a Palestinian Arab.

Another friend expressed tremendous tension in her academic setting which also has a demographic mix of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. On any average day, it was not uncommon for her to engage in intense conversations with her Arab colleagues; sometimes leading to understanding, while other times to prickly friction. But this was no ordinary day!

Driven to Kill. 21-year-old Alqam Khayri, the suspected gunman in a Jerusalem terror shooting on January 27, 2023, that killed seven people, is seen in an undated photo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Social media)

On the day immediately following the terrorist attacks, my friend reported that there was very little interaction between the Arabs and Jews.  The Arabs largely kept to themselves speaking in Arabic rather than engaging their Jewish peers. The same was true with the Jews who were fearful and even angry that terrorist attacks take place at all, much less are celebrated with candy and cake being distributed in Arab communities.

Probably thousands of conversations like this took place with the undertone from an Israeli side that incidents like these make us feel unsafe even around Arab colleagues and peers with whom we interact regularly. In the news the same week, an Israeli Jewish woman reportedly protested being put in a maternity ward room with an Israeli Arab woman. Tension is thick.

Two days after the attack, I was pulling into a gas station to fill up my car. Ahead of me was a brand-new Mercedes E200 convertible.  Stunning.  It also had green and white Palestinian Authority license plates. At the pump, I commented to its owner, whose name I leant was Mohammed that he had a beautiful car.  He smiled proudly.  I asked him how much it cost. Also with pride he responded:

300,000 shekels.” 

That’s about $90,000.

I posted this interaction with a picture of the car on my social media, noting that despite the myth used to blame Israel for an array of suffering of Palestinian Arabs, not all Palestinian Arabs are poor refugees. This attracted a range of comments from calling Mohammed a terrorist (after all, where else would he get the money), and calling me out for playing on anti-Arab stereotypes.  I pushed back, sorry that anyone would read that into my comments, but that in this case, I tried to poke a hole in some of the misperceptions that people have about Israelis and their relations Palestinian Arabs.

Often, when people have biases, they cannot consider anyone else’s position.  That’s too bad. I also noted that it was too bad that my critics missed the human moment of me engaging Mohammed and his proud response. It’s easy to overlook and disregard the part about the Orthodox Jewish Israeli “settler” initiating a civil human conversation with a Palestinian Arab over his prized motor vehicle. 

Conversing over a Convertible. Despite the tension and suspicions following terror attack, this brand-new Mercedes E200 convertible caught the attention of the writer to engage with Mohammed its proud owner at a gas station.
 

My conversation also debunks the misperception that there’s apartheid here; that Jews and Arabs don’t and can’t get along and that we dehumanize them. Someone unaware, or unwilling to be honest, would be surprised at the frequency of civil interaction and basic human respect and decency that really is the rule even where I live in the Judean mountains.

Despite the very real tension that people were naturally feeling in the wake of the Shabbat terror attacks that left Jews dead and injured, the personal engagement as I encountered, continues. How are we? It’s complicated.



About the writer:

Jonathan Feldstein ­­­­- President of the US based non-profit Genesis123 Foundation whose mission is to build bridges between Jews and Christians – is a freelance writer whose articles appear in The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Townhall, NorthJersey.com, Algemeiner Jornal, The Jewish Press, major Christian websites and more.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

IHRA’s SUCCESS AND DIFFICULT DILEMMA

By Dr. Efraim Zuroff

(First appeared in The Times of Israel)

This week we observe International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp as mandated by the United Nations in 2005. If there was initial skepticism regarding this initiative, especially in countries which already had designated their own memorial days linked to the dates of important local events in the history of the Shoah, like Israel for example, I think that by now there is general approval for the need for an international memorial day observed all over the world on the same date. Thus one day can be devoted primarily to mourning, while the other day can be reserved for dealing the very important political issues which relate to the causes which led to the Shoah, and particularly anti-Semitism.

Tackling Antisemitism. An international leader today in Holocaust education, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) was established in May 1998 in Stockholm by then Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.

One organization which has accurately recognized the connection between the Shoah and its anti-Semitic roots, and is trying to uproot the latter, is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has become one of the most important groups promoting Holocaust education throughout Europe, North and South America, and Israel. IHRA was founded in May 1998 by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, who was shocked by a survey which showed that many Swedish schoolchildren lacked knowledge of the Holocaust, as well as his visit to the site of the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany. Originally named the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, Germany and Israel joined the initiative the same year as its first members.

Today, 35 countries are full members of IHRA, and 10 additional countries have Observer status. IHRA is playing a major role in a variety of areas connected to Holocaust commemoration, Research and education, as well as in combatting anti-Semitism. And in fact, its most outstanding contribution has most probably been its adoption in 2016 of its Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, which according to the Combat antisemitism Movement has been endorsed/adopted until the end of 2022, by a total of 1,116 entities, among them:

– 39 countries

– 464 non-federal government entities

– 339 educational institutions, and

– 274 NGO’s and organizations.

The definition, unlike various other descriptions of anti-Semitism, covers all the existing variations from right and left, including those focused on Zionism, and which unfairly single out Israel for criticism, which are often overlooked or ignored.

Truth be Seen. While Croatia’s parliament in 2018, passed legislation barring public access to archive materials on individuals aged 100 and over, in effect serving to silence research into Croatia’s wartime government’s collaboration with the Nazis, the photos speak for themselves. Seen here are Ustasa (Croatian fascist) soldiers about to kill a Jew with a dagger and bayonet in Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1944.
 

There are, however, various problems which plague IHRA’s activities. The first and foremost is that resolutions must be approved unanimously by all the member countries, but there are no consequences for those countries which do not implement them. The most disturbing example has to do with the issue of Holocaust distortion, which is rampantly prevalent in the post-Communist “new democracies” in Eastern Europe. In those countries, they do not deny the Holocaust, but they hide or minimize the highly significant role played by their nationals in the mass murder of the Jews, and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes thereby deflecting attention from their crimes and focusing attention on their suffering.

Thus in 2020, IHRA issued a Ministerial Declaration which addressed the issue in unequivocal terms as follows:

“We accept our responsibility as governments to continue working together to counter Holocaust denial and distortion…We will continue to work closely with experts, civil society and our international partners to further these goals.”

Croatian Cruelty. The bodies of Jasenovac prisoners floating in the Sava River between August 1941 and April 1945 – the Victims of Ustasa (Croatian fascist).

Another declaration under the heading of: “Leading global efforts to counter Holocaust and distortion,” specifically mentions:

 “a shocking increase in efforts to minimize the impact of the Holocaust and downplay the crimes of the Nazi regime and its collaborators. This trend, in which Holocaust distortion inches toward the mainstream, erodes our understanding of the historical truth of the Holocaust and fuels antisemitism.”

IHRA has even created a tool kit against distortion, and the German Presidency launched a global task force against Holocaust distortion which was given an extra-budgetary contribution. In addition, a global campaign to raise awareness about Holocaust distortion was launched, using slogans such as:

#Protect the Facts”  and  “#Say No To Distortion

Past preferred to Bury. Ustasa (Croatian fascist) camp guards at Yugoslavia’s Jasenovac concentration camp, order a Jewish man to remove his ring before being shot.

The problem is, however, that the same countries which are the worst offenders when it comes to distortion, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania cannot be punished, or expelled from IHRA. They remain members in good standing, and continue to deny the highly-significant role of their local collaborators in the murders. Thus, ironically, Croatia, a country which suffers from a significant proportion of Ustasha (Croatian fascists) supporters will ascend to the Presidency of IHRA, despite serious problems of Holocaust distortion ever since they became independent from Yugoslavia.



About the writer:

Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center’s Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs.






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

SOUTH AFRICA DARING TO DISCRIMINATE

As president of the BRICs bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in 2023, should the ANC government  not exercise moral responsibility and apply foreign policy consistently?

By Rowan Polovin National Chairman, South African Zionist Federation 

(First published in Business Day)


Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, is fundamentally concerned with one international issue over all others, what she calls “the ongoing flagrant abuse of the human rights of Palestinians” which, in her view places “a moral responsibility on South Africa to act.”

It is remarkable that Pandor is able to command such exclusive action from the ANC government over a territory smaller than our beloved Kruger National Park, whilst remaining deafeningly silent to the cries of Ukrainians last year and numerous other serious human rights issues in Africa and around the world. Moreover, she blames Israel for the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and absolves all responsibility and agency from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. 

Dressed to Discriminate. While consistently failing to condemn Russia’s barbaric war of aggression against the Ukrainian people costing the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor – feeling most at home in a Palestinian headscarf – will always rush to virulently denounce the Jewish state following any clashes between Israel and Palestinians.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and the South African public, should hold Minister Pandor accountable for her statement. Indeed our government certainly does have a moral responsibility to act decisively to assist global communities when it comes to the protection of human rights. Especially when they are being abused at a rate that only South Africans could begin to comprehend. 

The United Nations has confirmed that 170 deaths were recorded as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2022. While the loss of innocent lives on any side of a conflict is tragic, the vast majority of those casualties were Palestinian militants. By contrast, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, over 6 900 people were killed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. It is estimated that 408 of these fatalities were children.

 
This is utterly devastating, and we are no strangers to this level of violence in South Africa, where over 7000 citizens were murdered in just the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year. Tragically, over 550 of those deaths were children, according to the national crime statistics report as released by Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, last year.  

But, of course, it is easier for the government to deflect attention someplace else. 

Rampant Crime, Misguided Ministers. Nonthando Booi holds a picture of her murdered niece, Siphokazi Booi. While more than 7,000 people were murdered over three months (July-September) in 2022 in South Africa, the government prefers to deflect public attention elsewhere, like on the Middle East.  (Photo Kaylynn Palm / Action Society)

South Africa’s foreign policy appears to be singularly limited to Israel-bashing. This position prevents our country from playing any meaningful role in finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The ANC government’s obsession with Israel also precludes us from benefiting from the changing landscape of the Middle East and Africa. The Abraham Accords, where peace and normalisation has been achieved between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Morocco and Sudan here in Africa, has effectively ended the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

More countries in the Middle East and Africa could follow suit in 2023. The Negev Forum working group recently concluded groundbreaking meetings between these countries, focusing on food security, water technology, clean energy, tourism, health care, education, coexistence and regional security. Does South Africa want to be left out in the cold, and lose out on the advantages of these strategic partnerships?

The Outsider. While initiatives like the Negev Forum Working Groups hosted by the UAE on January 9-10, 2023 in Abu Dhabi with senior officials from the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE, and the US discussed opportunities to advance initiatives that “encourage regional integration, cooperation, and development, for the benefit of their populations and the wider region that include initiatives to strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people,” South Africa opts to be left out in the cold and lose out on the advantages of strategic partnerships.

Back home, our foreign policy decisions are irrational. Last week, ANC International Relations Committee Chair, Lindiwe Zulu, confirmed that the ANC had resolved to simply not take sides in the Russia-Ukraine war. She added that it would also be supporting China in its dispute with Taiwan. But the ANC went further. Its January 8th anniversary statement of this year calls on Western governments to end sanctions on global human rights abusers such as Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. The ANC has a remarkable willingness to be on the wrong side of history just so long as it retains its Cold War friends.

The ANC could be positioned to act as mediators between warring factions, people and states, given its own experience of great pain and suffering at the hands of a political authority that abused South African human rights in ways we are only beginning to come to terms with today. The collective trauma suffered by millions of South Africans should have left us at war with one another for decades – and yet, under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela, the ANC was able to do something fundamentally extraordinary. It shifted people’s perceptions of one another, in a way that enabled us to see beyond any illusion, that we are all South Africans and that this territory is home to everyone residing within its borders. Different religions, traditions and languages were not barriers to our social cohesion – but rather a celebration of our diverse, yet collectively shared humanity.  

South Africa’s political leadership changed the trajectory of the conflict present in our country. And as such, our country is in a strong position to assist other states with doing the same. But when Minister Pandor turns a blind eye to almost all international human rights violations to discriminate over Israel, one cannot help but wonder what has happened to the ANC and its international credibility. 

If the abuse of human rights is the starting point for Pretoria’s commitment to assist foreign states with local causes, where is the South African initiative on Ukraine or many other conflicts closer to home? Will we stand by idly while Russia continues to put hundreds of Ukrainian children in early graves? Why have we not seized the opportunity to become world leaders in changing perceptions and illusions that alienate human beings from one another? 

Blind Sided. While photos like this of death and destruction in Ukraine that will likely lay the groundwork for future charges of war crimes against Russia, South Africa’s ANC government prefers to look the other way, advocating instead “to not take sides” in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Our country should seek to apply its foreign policies with uniformity, and show a degree of courage and leadership at the same time. South Africa holds the Presidency of BRICS in 2023 – will we use this position of leadership to hold Russia and others to account? Or will the ANC government continue to pick and choose its moral responsibilities based on its nostalgic political relevance of yesteryear?




About the writer:

Rowan Polovin National Chairman, South African Zionist Federation 







While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

UN’SAVOURY

UN representatives downplaying terror when perpetrators are Palestinian and victims are Jews

By David E. Kaplan

Words, words, words,” was Hamlet’s reply to Polonius’ question,

What do you read, my lord?”.

By repeating the word three times, Hamlet suggests that what he is reading is meaningless.

Jews can never afford that luxury of dismissing ‘words’ as “meaningless”!

Take the relatively innocuous word “scuffle”. It seems such an insignificant word; hardly worthy of any analysis or concern.  Generally speaking, if reported that there had been somewhere a “scuffle”, one might just as likely ignore the news item.

Yet its usage earlier this month was anything but insignificant and harmless. On the contrary, it exposed blatant antisemitism at high echelons of the United Nations that warranted a summons to Israel’s Foreign Office.

The individual so summoned was the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process- Tor Wennesland.

Blind to the Truth. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace ProcessTor Wennesland, described a Palestinian terrorist attack as a “scuffle” and criticised the Israeli policeman who thwarted the attack.

After Palestinian Ammar Hadi Mufleh and two male accomplices failed in their attempt to carjack an Israeli couple on the 2 December 2022, they then tried to grab an Israeli police officer’s rifle, stabbing him before the officer responded by shooting Mufleh dead. The stabbing and shooting can be seen clearly on security camera video footage.

Terrifying Truth. Seeing it as a “scuffle”, UN ignores footage showing Ammar Mufleh trying to grab the police officer’s weapon during the struggle.

While this was a clear premeditated terrorist attack only thwarted by the  quick action of the Israeli police officer, this was not the way the UN’s Wennesland saw it.  Soon after the failed terrorist attack,

Wennesland, who not only should have known better but in fact did know better –  tweeted that he was :

horrified by today’s killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mufleh , during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier near Huwara in the occupied West Bank. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family. Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated and those responsible held accountable.”

On a Knife-Edge. The knife used by Amar Mufleh in his “scuffle” with Israeli border police on December 2, 2022.

A ”scuffle”?

Displaying no concern for the victims – only “heartfelt condolences”to the attempted killer’s family – how about the UN’s “horrified” Wennesland being “investigated” and held “accountable”?

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanual Nachshon had it right when he tweeted that Wenneland’s remarks are:

a total distortion of reality” explaining that:

“This incident is a major terror attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in his face and the life of another police officer was threatened and consequently he shot his assailant. This is NOT a ‘scuffle’ – this is a terror attack!”

This devious twisting of facts exposing bias, prejudice and antisemitism is systemic within the United Nations. Not to be outdone by Wennesland, another UN official joined the fray expressing support for terrorist attacks on Israel. Addressing a Hamas conference in Gaza following the terrorist attack, Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories said:

You have a right to resist occupation….Israel says, ‘resistance equals terrorism’, but an occupation requires violence and generates violence.”

Fran’kly Speaking. A strong critic of Israel’s right to exist or defend itself from missile attacks, Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories who compares Israelis to Nazis, addresses the UN, October 2022. (Photo: Screenshot)

Is this not the UN legitimizing and giving green light to violence against Jews?

If the UN has a nefarious track record when it comes to the Jewish state,  Israel also knows how to respond.

When on the 10 November 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution equating Zionism with racism,Chaim Herzog, Israel’s current State President’s father  – then Israeli Ambassador to the UN – responded concluding with these words:

For us, the Jewish people, this resolution based on hatred, falsehood and arrogance, is devoid of any moral or legal value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper and we shall treat it as such.”

Standing Tall. A resolute Chaim Herzog, Israel’s then Ambassador to the United Nations, addressing the General Assembly in 1975 following the iniquitous resolution equating Zionism with racism. (Photo/Michos Tzovaras)

With that Herzog – before the eyes of the world –  tore the resolution in half.

In further response to that iniquitous UN resolution, the street names of “UN Avenue” in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were switched to “Zionism Avenue“.

Whether thwarting terrorism or antisemitism, Israelis today are STREETSMART!



Chaim Herzog’s Speech in Opposition to U.N. Resolution Equating Zionism With Racism






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

YE-DOLF UNHINGED

Kanye West or Ye as he now prefers to be called has engaged in a diatribe against Jews that even has white supremacists aghast

By Rolene Marks

Have you ever watched or listened to something in the media and asked yourself, is this real? Am I imagining this? Surely this cannot be happening? Those were the sentiments expressed in my home last week when reluctantly (and without the benefit of imbibing something alcoholic) my husband and I ventured near Kanye West’s latest diatribe against the Jews – this time on Info Wars, hosted by poster-child for the far-right, Alex Jones. Infowars is reportedly banned from most platforms; but clever sleuthing by my husband and The Jerusalem Post, it was found.

Devil’s Debate. Kanye West, Alex Jones, and Nick Fuentes during an Infowars livestream on December 1, 2022. (Infowars/Banned Video/Global News)

It has taken me a few days to be able to put down in writing what I heard because what Kanye West, who calls himself Ye, spewed was so abominable, so offensive that I was momentarily stunned into silence.

Why did we watch, you ask. Morbid curiosity? Gluttons for punishment? Content for my radio slot the next day? All of the above.

Ye, wearing a full face mask to show his support for shamed fashion house, Balenciaga but really just looking like an extra from an ISIS kidnap video, appeared along with white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who made headlines when he accompanied him to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Trump last week. Balenciaga is shamed for adverts that feature children and looking dangerously close to promoting paedophilia.

A veritable triumvirate of antisemites.

Heading Hate. The new high-profile faces of antisemitism in the USA –  Kanye West or Ye (l) and Alex Jones (Photos by Paras Griffin/Getty Images and Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

Ye had everyone in his sites – from Benyamin Netanyahu to commentator, Ben Shapiro and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) as well as any Jewish businessman who had told this overgrown tantrum-riddled toddler, no.

But it was this comment that really went beyond the extreme. The artist formerly known as relevant, began to praise Hitler.

You’re not Hitler, you’re not a Nazi, you don’t deserve to be called that and demonized,” Jones told Ye.

Ye, who I shall now rename, Ye-dolf responded:

Well, I see good things about Hitler also. I love everyone,” Ye said in response, “And Jewish people are not going to tell me you can love us, and you can love what we’re doing to you with the contracts, and and you can love what we’re pushing with the pornography” while also condemning Hitler, he added, saying “you can’t say out loud that this person ever did anything good, and I’m done with that.”

Sign of the Times.  An image integrating the Swastika with the Star of David posted by Kanye West to Twitter before his suspension, December 2022 (screenshot)

Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye continued. “Also Hitler was born Christian.”

As the show headed to a commercial break, Jones told Ye he had a “Hitler fetish,” to which Ye responded, “I like Hitler.”

Ye also said he does “not like the word evil next to Nazis” after Jones pushed back on some of his comments, saying, “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis. We gotta stop dissing Nazis,” he said.

Jones laughed in response, saying, “Well, I have to disagree with that.”

When a shill for the far-right feels uncomfortable with these types of comments, well, you may have a problem.

Still wearing his mask, Ye then spoke about his political aspirations. No, I am not making this up!

He spoke about approaching former President Trump about being his running mate in the 2024 elections and said this about being rebuffed:

They want to separate and confuse the Christians and make us afraid to stand next to each other, because Jesus can save everyone, but if the Zionists can get us so afraid that they’re going to do what they’ve been doing to me. … You put on the whole armour of god, and they will not be able to break your spirit.”

Hatemongers. Nick Fuentes (l) at a rally with right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones (r), made numerous antisemitic remarks on Jones’ InfoWars show including, “I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.” (Zach Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty)

As Jones was visibly uncomfortable and Fuentes watched with a grin, Ye pulled out a bottle of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink and a small net he indicated represented Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, mimicking him in a high-pitched voice saying, “We have to control the history books. We have to control the banks. And we have to go and kill people.”

He didn’t stop there. He accused Rahm Emmanuel of “controlling Barack Obama”.

It went from worse, to well, worse.

Rapper gone Rouge. Appearing on the Alex Jones “InfoWars” show with Nick Fuentes, Ye (formerly Kanye West), said “I like Hitler” and also asserted that Hiller had “redeeming qualities” and “didn’t kill 6 million Jews.”( Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

The artist formerly known as popular was condemned by most. I was following journalists tweeting as he spoke and many of them expressed the same sentiment – this level of hatred was so bad, that they were visibly uncomfortable and horrified.

Good. They must be. For years Jews have been sounding the alarm about rising antisemitism and it has fallen on uninterested ears. Twitter mogul Elon Musk has suspended Ye’s account for posting offensive imagery:

Antisemitism is now at a tipping point. We have said it before and will say it again – this is not the tirade of a man in the throes of a breakdown. Ye has a history spanning several years of antisemitic comments, deftly buried by his influence. Oh the irony! And they say we Jews don’t understand irony…….

Where do we go from here? One thing is for sure, we cannot be complacent or silent anymore. Commentator, Jordan Peterson, weighed in on Ye’s comments, saying that Jews are the canary in the coal mine and this is a sign of the “hell” to come.

Friendly & Frightening. Wildly welcomed at a ‘Make America Great Again’ rally, Nick Fuentes has “jokingly” on livestream denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps “to cookies in an oven”

Like him or not, Peterson is correct. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. Are we prepared? The alarm bells are no longer ringing – they are clanging. Ye said he was going “DEATHCON 3 on the Jews”. Well, he has gone full nuclear.

He may be unhinged with hate – but we have to be very aware of his influence on many who still sadly, support him. We cannot afford not to be.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

OCCUPIER BARBIE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF IHRA

Antisemitism needs to be defined in order to effectively combat this irrational hatred

By Rolene Marks

I was promoted recently. Not content to just call me “Zio racist”, “beneficiary of Apartheid in South Africa because you are white and beneficiary of Apartheid in Israel because you are Jewish”, social media keyboard haters, the Media Review Network (MRN) conferred a promotion on my Zionist self. According to them, I am now “Chief Hasbara Agent”. It is a great pity that my new title doesn’t come with a salary commensurate with such an illustrious promotion but c’est la vie.

You may be asking yourself while reading this, what I am trying to say.

It is no great secret that antisemitism is at alarming levels and that social media platforms are fomenting this ugly, ancient hatred. Social media has given keyboard warriors ample opportunity to spew their venom. As it has in generations before, antisemitism has taken on a new iteration – this time in the guise of anti-Zionism.

Let’s be frank – deciding that out of all the nations in the world, only the Jewish people have no right to a national liberation movement called Zionism that speaks of our return to our ancient and ancestral homeland, IS racist. As demonstrated in the tweet above, denying Jews the centrality of Zion and Israel to our Jewish identity is also antisemitic.

Flaming Hatred. Anti-Israel animus transitions into antisemitism that includes drawing analogies to the Nazis, declaring Israel a racist – and thus illegitimate – endeavor, holding it to standards expected of no other democratic state, and holding Jews collectively responsible for its actions. 

I was once called “Occupier Barbie” as an attempt to diminish my gender and my Zionist identity. While I do have to recognise the originality in coming up with nickname like this, it also speaks to the kind of abuse and insult doled out to Jews on a daily basis. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – and not nearly as vile as some of the more bilious comments we receive. In recent weeks, it appears as if a tsunami of hatred has been unleashed on Jews around the world in every possible iteration.

Why Did Nobody Tell Me That Barbie Is Jewish?!

We thought that we had raised the alarm effectively enough in previous decades to warrant a definition of antisemitism. It was soon recognized that in order to effectively combat this ancient and irrational hatred, it would have to be defined within clear parameters.

The result was – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This is the accepted, international gold standard by which antisemitism is defined and has been adopted by nearly 40 countries and countless cities, civil society organisations, NGO’s, universities, institutions, business and more – including English Premier League Football/soccer.

IHRA makes it clear exactly what is – and isn’t antisemitic.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The above definition does not state that criticism of Israeli policy is antisemitic. Criticising policy is democratic – it is also the national sport of Israelis – but it does clearly define anti-Zionism as antisemitism.

It would appear that there are many who are triggered by IHRA. In recent days, Hollywood actor, Mark Ruffalo and others including the UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, have railed against the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Is it because it holds a mirror to their anti-Zionism and their attempts to sneak in their antisemitism in through more nefarious ways?

Would they have the temerity to try to redefine any other form of racism or discrimination or is this honour reserved only for Jews?

No Laughing Matter. Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo who previously declared that Israel was an apartheid state guilty of genocide, urged the UN in a tweet not to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

For those triggered by the internationally accepted gold standard definition of antisemitism – IHRA – there is the alternative “Jerusalem Declaration” which very clearly states what some believe antisemitism is while greenlighting their anti-Zionism.

Below are excerpts taken verbatim from the Jerusalem Declaration:

Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is not antisemitic to support arrangements that accord full equality to all inhabitants “between the river and the sea,” whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in whatever form.

Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. This includes its institutions and founding principles. It also includes its policies and practices, domestic and abroad, such as the conduct of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, the role Israel plays in the region, or any other way in which, as a state, it influences events in the world. It is not antisemitic to point out systematic racial discrimination. In general, the same norms of debate that apply to other states and to other conflicts over national self-determination apply in the case of Israel and Palestine. Thus, even if contentious, it is not antisemitic, in and of itself, to compare Israel with other historical cases, including settler-colonialism or apartheid.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.

Political speech does not have to be measured, proportional, tempered, or reasonable to be protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a “double standard,” is not, in and of itself, antisemitic. In general, the line between antisemitic and non-antisemitic speech is different from the line between unreasonable and reasonable speech.

No attempts to rewrite our history and call into question our ancient ties to our homeland which is now our thriving nation state is going to dilute their antisemitism.

I only need refer to the opening tweet in this article and the slur, “Occupier Barbie”.  They say sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me. In this case it is the twisting of words and definitions that do cause irreparable harm. We see it every single day, on multiple platforms and across cities around the world.

Antisemitism in America. Seen here at this anti-Israel rally in Washington, DC, March 2010, the common practice of substituting a swastika for a blood-stained Star of David on the Israeli flag.

If there are going to be attempts to deny us peoplehood and a state wrapped up in clever language to try and bypass accepted, working definitions of antisemitism, then Occupier Barbie is a name I will wear like armour.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

KANYE’S ANTISEMITISM MATTERS

Rapper’s ramblings are serious and dangerous

By Jonathan Feldstein

One doesn’t just wake up and make a string of antisemitic remarks without some deep seeded hatred of Jewish people. The latest example came from none other than the famous American rapper and fashion designer, Kanye West, recently self-rebranded as Ye.

His mental health issues are not an excuse.

Kanye’s hateful rants demonstrate a great paradox of antisemites throughout history: using a platform of “fame” to make vile statements about Jews, at the same time disproving the antisemitic screed that Jews control Hollywood where he’s famous. Surely if that were the case, he’d never have been able to make such statements to begin with.

But that’s not the only contradiction in Kanye’s antisemitism.

One can be forgiven for making an ignorant hurtful mistake. Yet unfortunately, when called out about it, Kanye became more offensive rather than being humble, contrite, or even apologetic.  That is just as bad as his offensive series of statements because he had the opportunity to do right, but he chose to continue to double-down on the oldest hatred in the world.

One of Kanye’s most egregious statements with potential to incite assaults against Jews was his vow to “go death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE,” meaning “DEFCON,” the term referring to a high state of alert of the US military. I don’t necessarily believe that he’s advocating for widespread violence against Jews, another Holocaust, or anything of the sort. But maybe he is. We don’t know because he didn’t clarify, or apologize.  And he’s simply too ignorant and arrogant to care.

Take Him at Face Value. A menacing Kanye West said he would go “death con 3 On Jewish people”.

His followers saw no problem to hang banners over a major LA highway, supporting Kanye’s antisemitic remarks; punctuated with a Nazi “heil Hitler” salute.

Kanye’s antisemitic rants were not limited to threatening violence. He also invoked a variety of demeaning antisemitic tropes and stereotypes.  Speaking on the Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, somehow discussion about the Abraham Accords came up, the 2020 agreements between Israel and four Arab countries brokered by the Trump administration. Kanye couldn’t resist the opportunity to headline his antisemitism. He said that he “thought” the agreement was motivated by (Trump’s Jewish son-in-law’s) Jared Kushner’s greed. “I just think it was to make money.”

In Ye’s Crosshairs. Kanye West says Jared Kushner only brokered Abraham Accords “to make money”.

After Kanye’s “Death con 3” comment was deleted by Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram), Kanye invoked the antisemitic trope of Jews controlling the media, flipping to Twitter to call out Facebook’s Jewish founder Mark Zuckerberg, “Who do you think created cancel culture?” I’m sure that Kanye was not referring to the Jamaican bobsled team.

Before Twitter deleted Kanyes’s antisemitic tweets, he was able to get off a volley of offensive statements, underscoring the idea of Jewish control of the media. “You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

In case anyone doubted what Kanye meant, a few days later he used another platform to rant:

  • Jewish people have owned the Black voice. Whether it’s through us wearing the Ralph Lauren shirt, or it’s all of us being signed to a record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.”
  • You get used to paparazzi taking a picture of you, and you don’t get money off it. You just get used to being screwed by the Jewish media. The Jewish media blocked me out.”

If all this weren’t bad enough, Kanye took a low road down a path of nonsensical and offensive historical revisionism. He wrote:

 “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jew also.”

Caught in his crosshairs are not just the undermining of all Jews with an absurd derivative of replacement theology, but also actual black Jews who he mocks and delegitimizes.

He obviously sees no contradiction in blaming the Jews for controlling the media, canceling him, and owning the black voice, and in another “thought” says that the Jews aren’t really Jews, and its blacks that are Jews. For antisemites like Kanye, actual history and facts don’t matter.

In a head spinning comment that initially seemed unrelated, Kanye criticized Planned Parenthood as created “to control the Jew population.” While Planned Parenthood has roots in eugenics promoting abortion among African Americans, Kanye used this to confuse and create more antisemitic hate. Explaining what he meant, he ‘clarified’ with:

When I say Jew, I mean the 12 lost tribes of Judah, the blood of Christ, who the people known as the race Black really are.”

Kanye on Planned Parenthood

So, if all black people are actually the real Jews, how can the Jews be controlling the media and silencing him?  If he were really Jewish, he might know that Judah is one of the TEN lost tribes.  But let’s not let facts get in the way of Kanye’s Jew-hatred.

Part of the danger of Kanye’s comments is that he has more Twitter followers than there are actual Jews in the world at a ratio of about 2:1. The negative influence of his antisemitic ignorance is real and borderlines shouting “Jews control the media” in a crowded theater of ignorant people. It can certainly be used to incite violence.

It’s true that black slaves in America derived inspiration from the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt, believing that the God who delivered the Jews from the original slavery would deliver them. It’s even true that a fringe group of former slaves began a movement adopting themselves as Jews, as a badge of honor. 

To me, as a Jew, that’s inspiring. God has used the Jewish people throughout history to show His faithfulness. But that doesn’t make people inspired by God’s faithfulness to actual Jews, Jews themselves. No more than if Kanye inspired me does it make me black.

As much as facts don’t matter, I suspect that science doesn’t matter either. But let’s be generous with Kanye.  Who would like to join me in getting him a DNA test for Christmas to find out if he’s really a Jew? Then he can blame the man in the mirror for controlling the media and silencing himself?

Because of his global following, Kanye’s antisemitic rants have the ability to spill over and adversely impact black-Jewish relations. One positive outcome is the statement of the Black Jewish Entertainment Alliance:

 “Ye’s (Kanye) recent statements about the Jewish community are hurtful, offensive and wrong. They perpetuate stereotypes that have been the basis for discrimination and violence against Jews for thousands of years. Words like this tear at the fabric of the black-Jewish relationship.”

Kanye on Kwanzaa and Hanukkah

Adidas and others have severed their relationship with Kanye, realizing that he’s crossed a line and is no longer the brand with which they want to associate. You can join the Inspiration from Zion podcast for a detailed conversation about this.

As much as I appreciate various social media sites taking down Kanye’s hateful and even dangerous posts, and companies having the moral backbone to disassociate from a person who is so rabidly antisemitic, there’s a tremendous paradox that so many others from Islamic Iranian jihadists to radical Palestinian Arab terrorists are allowed freedom to use all the social media platforms not just to incite hate but to organize their hate into actual deadly violence.  If the social media is going to “go death con 3” on Kanye’s antisemitism, maybe they should also have a peek at what’s being posted and tweeted in Persian and Arabic.



About the writer:

Jonathan Feldstein ­­­­- President of the US based non-profit Genesis123 Foundation whose mission is to build bridges between Jews and Christians – is a freelance writer whose articles appear in The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Townhall, NorthJersey.com, Algemeiner Jornal, The Jewish Press, major Christian websites and more.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

JEWISH PRIDE DEFIES THIS ANCIENT HATRED

By Alex Ryvchin

(*First published in The Australian)

For the most part, my childhood in Australia was free of anti-Semitism. This led me to believe we had left that hatred behind in the Soviet Union, when we emigrated in 1987.

In Australia, my family moved house every couple of years as new migrants finding their way tend to do, and in my early teenage years we came to live in a modest, low-rise apartment block in middle-class Randwick in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Soon we realised how deluded we had been.

Randwick is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia

Directly above us lived a couple from Austria. The man was ageing but tall and vigorous, with a deep, resonant voice and a farmer’s build. When he met my father, who spoke with a strong Russian accent and whose pale blue eyes and fair complexion hardly betray his ethnicity, the neighbour was genial to a fault. Then he saw my mother, and everything changed.

Upon learning that the new occupants were Jews, our neighbour would stand on his balcony and bellow at us, night after night, alternating between a thunderous guttural roar and a sneering tone full of menace, “Hitler didn’t finish the job, I will finish it for him”. An evening serenade that continued for weeks. It was terrifying to hear. It became difficult to sleep beneath such a man, and it pained me to see the fear that returned full bore to my parents’ eyes.

Why did he hate us so? What did he think we had done? What did he think we intended to do beyond living simple, honest lives as hopeful migrants in a new land?

He surely would have had no coherent answer to these questions. He probably didn’t ponder on them a great deal. But he knew with perfect certainty that the Jew, represented in that moment by my parents and their two boys, was something so loathsome, so repugnant, so unhuman, that he was justified in threatening repeatedly to kill a young family.

My youngest daughter will someday reflect on her first brush with antisemitism. It occurred on October 13, 2022 in Sydney’s eastern suburbs when a large swastika was scrawled on the perimeter of her childcare centre. The owners are Jewish, as are most of the families there. Of course, the symbol meant nothing to my two-year-old daughter. But she may have detected things were different that day. The comings and goings. The tension of the owners. The anxiety of the parents wondering whether this was the act of another bellicose neighbour or of an idiot kid inspired by an idiot rapper. But perhaps it was a portent, the latest in an accumulation of incidents, street abuse, white supremacist flyers in mailboxes, suspicious characters lurking outside synagogues, that pointed to people in our communities who wished to do us harm. People afflicted by that ancient, consumptive hatred we know as antisemitism.

Antisemitism is an extraordinary condition, a pronounced defect in human reasoning turned outward. Unique among hatreds in very many ways, it has a tenacity and durability that sees it latch on to whatever the Jews hold dear and however they choose to identify themselves. For one antisemite, it is our original monotheistic faith that is so abhorrent. For another, it is our designation as a people, community, even a race. For others still, our nation-state is the embodiment of evil, the impediment to a better world. Every target is attacked with equal ferocity because in every case the target is the Jew. Yet it is not the flesh-and-blood Jew that is so hated. Rather the mythical Jew, the beast the antisemite conjures just to have something to slay. The scheming Jew, the conspiring Jew, the all-powerful Jew, the vengeful Jew, the bloodthirsty Jew, the superior Jew, the inferior Jew, the capitalist Jew, the communist Jew, the moneyed Jew, the filthy Jew.

Even our identity, our right to be called a “Jew”, is attacked. Kanye West calls us imposters who stole the identities of the “real” Jews, African-Americans, in a mangled libel invented by half-deranged street preachers in New York and globalised by the man who brings Stronger and No Church in the Wild to my workout playlist.

When Jews speak out against the hatred directed at us, we are accusing of “crying” antisemitism or “inventing” it. When we seek to define it so others may understand a hatred that has brought unspeakable ruin to humanity, we are accused of acting with sinister motives, scheming to muzzle criticism of Israel rather than trying to protect our families. The National Tertiary Education Union just allowed a handful of pro-Palestinian fanatics to pass a resolution to reject the scholarly definition of antisemitism endorsed by the Jewish world and, more to the point, send a collective “f..k you” to our community.

My daughter’s experiences with antisemitism have commenced a little earlier than I would have expected. As she comes of age, she will sense its lurking presence, she will learn of its savagery that caused her forebears all manner of unnatural death. But she will learn too that we are not victims, we don’t seek or need pity, we don’t plead with our oppressors, we outlive them; and we have learned through our agonies and our survival how to stand proud as a Jew and to strike back against those who do us harm.






About the writer:

Alex Ryvchin is the co-chief executive officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. His new book on anti-Semitism, The 7 Deadly Myths, is due for publication in early 2023.







While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

OY VEY, YE!

Rapper Kanye West creates a social media storm with antisemitic outbursts

By Rolene Marks

Kanye West or rather “Ye” as he prefers to be called nowadays is one of those rappers/fashion designers/celebrities/wannabe politicians/former Kardashian paramours that is best known for generating headlines in the tabloids. If you are hooked on pop culture like I am, you are familiar with West’s eccentric exploits. Nobody could have predicted Ye targeting Jews around the world with some of the most vile (and badly phrased) threats and antisemitism seen in the public domain like he did over the past two weeks.

It has been a steady build-up of comments that would not have been out of place in Germany circa 1938. 

West’s tweet:

West’s rantings cannot and must not be dismissed as the rantings of a narcissistic celebrity desperate for relevance, or someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  His comments also cannot be dismissed as the musings of a misunderstood genius. West/Ye/Whatever he calls himself, has a newly discovered history of antisemitic comments.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear – bipolar disorder or any other mental health issue does not cause racism or antisemitism. West’s antisemitism also should not be excused because he is a celebrity.

West poses an added danger – his Twitter following is a staggering 31.4 million. That is more than double the amount of Jews in the world – and excludes his other social media platforms.

This is not the first offence from West. Podcaster Van Lathan, an ex-TMZ (entertainment news site) worker, has recently claimed that the rapper confessed his love for Adolf Hitler during an interview with him in 2018. Lathan made the shocking revelation about the rapper during the recent episode of his ‘Higher Learning’ podcast, where he revealed that he made controversial comments during an interview for TMZ, but it was edited out and was not back then made public.

Lathan told his co-host, Rachel Lindsay:

I’ve already heard him say that stuff before. I mean, I was taken aback because that type of antisemitic talk is disgusting. But as far as him, I knew that that was in him because when he came to TMZ, he said that stuff and they took it out of the interview, ” he alleged, as per Page Six.

Lathan continues, “If you look at what I said at TMZ, it goes from me saying, ‘Hey Kanye, there’s real-life, real-world implications to everything that you just said there.’ “What I say after that — if I can remember, it’s been a long time — was, ’12 million people actually died because of Nazism and Hitler and all of that stuff,’ and then I move on to talk about what he said about slavery,” Lathan alleged.

The reason they took it out is because it wouldn’t have made sense unless they kept in Kanye saying he loved Hitler and the Nazis, which he said when he was at TMZ. He said something like, “I love Hitler, and I love Nazis.” Something to that effect. “

Rapper’s Revelation. A resurfaced 2018 Kanye West interview reveals the rapper’s adoration for Adolf Hitler.

Some of West’s other bizarre antisemitic comments from the recent controversial Tucker Carlson Fox News interview also made their way to the cutting room floor but included doozies like this:

I’d prefer my kids knew Chanukah than Kwanzaa, at least it would come with some financial engineering,” said West. Clearly while many of us are scratching our heads wondering if we missed something when it comes to the way we celebrate Chanukah, an ugly comment like this hearkens back to those revolting antisemitic tropes that Jews control the world’s financial systems.

West also appeared on the Drink Champs podcast to last week adding:

Jewish people have owned the black voice, whether it’s through us wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt, or as all of us being assigned to a record label, or having a Jewish manager or being assigned to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney, and we understand this.”

I want Jewish children to look at their daddy and say, ‘why is Ye mad at us?’” he ranted.

He also blamed “Zionist Jews” for prompting his ex-wife Kim Kardashian‘s confession that she had sex in front of a fireplace with former lover, Pete Davidson. Okay, then. Apparently we “Zionist Jews” are SO powerful we can influence people’s sexual activity! No, I am not making this up!

Oy vey Ye, maybe you should just shut up?

Many have roundly condemned West’s vile behaviour including political leaders, black personalities and leaders; and entertainment celebrities like Friends star, David Schwimmer:

Sadly, others like late night talk show host, Trevor Noah (who also has a dubious history of antisemitic comments) managed to turn it into comedy shtick for his TV show, making light of the meaning and pronunciation of “Deathcon 3”. Trevor should sit this one out. The internet keeps receipts of people’s activities and Noah should take a long, hard accounting of his:

Adding fuel to the fire is Candace Owens, a conservative commentator. Owens tweeted out that West was dumped by JP Morgan, the private bank because of his antisemitic rants. The truth is West and JP Morgan bank cut ties several weeks ago.

West has supported Owen’s documentary “BLM: The greatest lie ever sold” about the Black Lives Matter movement that has fomented racial divisions and taken in an extraordinary amount of money to fill their coffers.

In a strange twist of events, West announced he is buying Parler, the conservative social media platform. The CEO is Candace Owens’s husband. Is it just me, or do you also smell a stinking publicity rat?

West has doubled down on his vile comments saying that he is glad that he crossed the line and that his comments did “not come out of nowhere”.

Jews have been sounding the alarm over rising antisemitism, especially on social media platforms for years now. While platforms like Twitter and Instagram may deplatform some for their comments (the Ayatollah al Khameini is still able to post egregious antisemitic comments in less than 280 characters) it is clearly not enough. Don’t even get me started on the comments from people in the spaces under articles or online in response to coverage of West/ye/Whatever’s antisemitism. It is a clear indication of the groundswell of danger out there.

The Holocaust started with words. Some of you reading this may think that I am overreacting or being too dramatic. I am don’t think that I am. We have witnessed throughout our history what the consequences of unchecked hate speech are.

We cannot dismiss the damage caused as the ravings of a man with mental health issues or downplay it because comments like this bring clicks and likes to big tech and effectively more money for them. This kind of hate speech poses a clear and present danger.

Where to from here? I am a firm believer that the only way to fight this is with a sense of pride and identity. This involves calling it out wherever you see it – and using the apparatus that is available to us. Our own social media, legal channels if necessary, reporting structures and most important, educating and empowering the next generation so that they too are equipped to better deal with what they face every day on their social media.

Throughout our history there have been attempts to silence Jewish and Zionist voices. The time has come to make them heard as loud and as proud as possible. It is the only way to drown out the noise of hate speech.


Kanye West exclusive: Rapper tells Tucker Carlson story behind White Lives Matter shirt

ALL IS NOT WELL AT WELLESLEY

An ‘Open Letter” to Wellesley College President Dr. Paula A. Johnson

By alumnus Gina Raphael

Wellesley’s motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare, means giving back, being a good citizen of the world, and deciding ways in which the knowledge that you have and the work that you do can affect a community that needs support. My years at Wellesley translated the motto into a call for leadership and making a difference in the world. 

Non Ministrari sed Ministrare is the philosophy and guiding light that sets the tone of a Wellesley education, ranking Wellesley as the leading college for women in the United States. Wellesley has been educating leaders since 1875 including such notable alumnae as Hilary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Diane Sawyer, Nora Ephron, Katherine Lee Bates and Pamela Melroy.

While the President of Wellesley College, Paula Johnson, should be commended for taking a courageous path of calling out The Wellesley News  (the student run newspaper) for supporting The Mapping Project (which targets individuals and organizations that support Jewish life)  for promoting antisemitism, she does not go far enough to address the  antisemitism laden in the Wellesley News article, the history of antisemitism at Wellesley, nor does she lead the way to set a brighter future and a resurgence of Jewish life on campus.

The President of Wellesley College, Paula Johnson

Consistent with elite east coast Colleges of the time, Wellesley had an official or unofficial quota of about 10% of Jewish students in the 1930s and 1940s. For decades following, Wellesley prohibited Jewish professors from teaching courses on the New Testament. It took until 1981 for a Jewish professor to receive tenure in the Religion department, only after engaging a lawyer who went about documenting the history of discrimination against Jews at the college.

In the 1990s, Africana studies professor Tony Martin assigned his students a Nation of Islam tract that inaccurately depicted Jews as the foremost figures in the African slave trade. When challenged by historians and others, he lashed out with an antisemitic book of his own, “The Jewish Onslaught”. Then Wellesley president, Diana Chapman Walsh, denounced Martin’s book as divisive and offensive but like this incident mentioned, the Wellesley News of September 2022, President Johnson did not call out the paper for antisemitic behavior.

Diana Chapman Walsh former President of Wellesley College (1993 to 2007)

The article calls “for the Liberation of Palestine” and for the boycott, divestment & sanction (BDS) of the State of Israel. BDS is used to isolate the State of Israel and is included in the definition of antisemitism by IHRA, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The article takes biased positions about the conflict in the Middle East and does not address terrorism and corruption associated with the Palestinian Authority. In avoiding these substantive parts of the article, President Johnson fails to adhere to Wellesley’s motto of Non Ministrari sed Ministrare.

Non Ministrari sed Ministrare on campus should include the following:

Participation in Faculty Fellowships, a Jewish National Fund USA program that brings academicians from the USA to Israel. Now in its 15th year of operation, the fully subsidized program has brought over six hundred faculty across 130 institutions to Israel. Opening Israel to academics from all disciplines, inspires a more open-minded dialogue on campus.

Participate in Caravan for Democracy, a Jewish National Fund program for a decade, bringing more than five hundred non-Jewish American college student leaders from student government, ethnic, and minority groups, LGBT groups and women’s groups to experience Israel first hand. This effort creates constructive dialogue about Israel and the Middle East on college campuses across America.

Welcoming Progressive Voices – bringing speakers such as author, actress and Israeli antisemitism envoy Noa Tishby, author of “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth” to speak on Campus to share how Israel is portrayed incorrectly on the world stage; inviting writer, feminist and activist Eve Barlow and other speakers on why she stands strong as a Zionist and against antisemitism.

Building partnerships and exchanges from campus to Israel and across the region with Jews, Arabs, Christians, Druze and Bedouins, leading the way for Wellesley women to empower women to build alliances and learn new perspectives of collaboration and understanding to campus and the world.

When I had the honor to serve years ago as the Chair of the Wellesley Jewish Alumnae Association, President Johnson and the administration refused to engage in these topics of conversation. My calls to President Johnson to create a stronger Jewish Alumnae presence went unanswered after our first conversation.

The writer on graduation day in 1986 at Wellesley College

While Wellesley has fallen in the trap set by the BDS movement spreading across the country, it does have a history of moments of strong Jewish life and acceptance which existed shortly before I started at at the college. In 1976, Wellesley College granted Golda Meir, the fourth female leader of a country in the world and Israel’s first and only female Prime Minister, an honorary degree. I was privileged to serve as head of the Wellesley Jewish Students Association during my years at Wellesley. While not a significant group on campus, opportunities to pray, celebrate and flourish were widely available and accepted on campus. Wellesley went out of its way to create a small Hebrew class to encourage learning of the language. As a Political Science major, Wellesley arranged an expert at MIT in an exchange program to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With one amazing middle school daughter remaining, I hope that Wellesley leadership strives to create a vibrant place of learning that embraces Jewish life and acceptance on campus that befits her motto that has served her well and all her alumnae for 150 years.



About the writer:

Gina Raphael and husband Jeffrey Gross at Mickey Fine, a pharmacy with a soda fountain (JNF Impact – May 2016)

A mother of three daughters adopted from China, Gina Raphael is a businesswoman who owns & leads Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill, the leading independent pharmacy chain in Los Angeles. With WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) being the largest social services provider in Israel outside of the government helping women & children, Gina is enormously proud to Chair the WIZO branch in California. A 1986 graduate of Wellesley College, Gina has prioritized throughout her career the mentorship, empowerment, and advancement of women.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).