middle east – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ Sun, 23 Jan 2022 10:25:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.jewsformorality.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-09T151402.937-150x150.png middle east – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ 32 32 Turks flock to cryptocurrencies in search of stability http://www.jewsformorality.org/turks-flock-to-cryptocurrencies-in-search-of-stability/ Sun, 23 Jan 2022 05:00:43 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/turks-flock-to-cryptocurrencies-in-search-of-stability/ Despite a master’s degree and a steady job, a middle-class lifestyle has become increasingly inaccessible in recent years for Orhan, a 39-year-old web security expert from Turkey. Frustrated with his rapidly eroding purchasing power, Orhan last year joined the millions of Turks who flocked to cryptocurrencies amid soaring inflation and a falling Turkish lira. “The […]]]>

Despite a master’s degree and a steady job, a middle-class lifestyle has become increasingly inaccessible in recent years for Orhan, a 39-year-old web security expert from Turkey.

Frustrated with his rapidly eroding purchasing power, Orhan last year joined the millions of Turks who flocked to cryptocurrencies amid soaring inflation and a falling Turkish lira.

“The lira is as volatile as a shitcoin,” he said, referring to the catch-all term among crypto enthusiasts for failing digital currencies. The lira plunged around 45% against the dollar in 2021. “When there are so many economic problems [in our country], people are looking for other ways to make money,” said Orhan, who did not want his second name published.

Orhan made a profit of $4,000 on his initial investment of $1,500 and cashed in his winnings to buy himself a new computer.

The resurgence of interest in cryptocurrency – and a scandal last year that saw the sudden shutdown of a Turkish crypto exchange that left hundreds of thousands of customers unable to access their funds – alarmed the country’s authorities who now want to regulate the sector.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that a cryptocurrency law will soon be presented to parliament. He said his government was engaged in a “war” on cryptocurrency.

The governor of Turkey’s central bank, speaking to foreign investors last month, said he was “uncomfortable” with the amount of money flowing into crypto-assets.

These concerns are shared by global regulators, who view cryptocurrencies as volatile and speculative. Many are concerned about illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing facilitated by digital assets.

The increased use of digital assets can soften the impact of monetary policy decisions and reduce official control of national currencies. China banned both bitcoin and its creation, or mining, in part because it feared losing control of the money circulating in cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin’s popularity has skyrocketed in countries where currencies are volatile and inflation is high. Turkey has the highest crypto transaction volumes in the Middle East, where volumes grew by 1,500% last year compared to 2020, according to a report on global adoption trends from specialist data provider Chainalysis .

“Research suggests that many people in the Middle East have turned to cryptocurrency to safeguard their savings against currency devaluation, a trend we see in other emerging markets like Africa and America. Latin America,” the report says, adding that the research suggests “a very significant relationship between the devaluation of the lira and [the amount of] exchange of liras on cryptocurrency exchanges”.

While Turks have long opted to hedge against the pound’s volatility by keeping their savings in dollars or euros, data suggests some of them are turning to ‘stablecoins’, which are pegged to currencies strong or other assets and act as a bridge between digital coins and national currencies.

Data from cryptocurrency specialist Elliptic showed that Turkish lira trading volumes jumped 360% in the last six months of 2021 against the most traded stablecoin, tether. CryptoCompare, a data company, calculated that nearly TL 211 billion ($15.8 billion) worth of bitcoins were traded last year, compared to just TL 20 billion in 2020.

“Looking forward, we expect crypto adoption to increase in Turkey as uncertainty surrounds lira inflation,” said Alissa Ostrove, Chief of Staff at CryptoCompare.

Graph showing the volume of Turkish lira traded on crypto exchanges in the tether market

Last year, Turkey’s central bank announced a ban on using digital assets to make payments. More recently, the country’s banking regulator asked lenders to prevent customers from taking lira-denominated personal loans in order to invest in foreign currency or crypto-assets. Although few details have been confirmed about the upcoming bill, experts said it should focus on regulating crypto exchanges.

“From what I understand, they are looking at a law that protects cryptocurrency users,” said Elcin Karatay, managing partner at law firm Solak & Partners, who participated in consultations with parliamentarians. on regulations. “I don’t think they want to ban cryptocurrency.”

The regulation would be positive for the industry if it “supports the sector, protects investors, contributes to the economy and ensures compliance with international markets,” said Onur Altan Tan, CEO of Bitci, the Turkish crypto platform. -cash.

Some users fear that the government is seeking to prevent them from withdrawing the proceeds of their investments from the Turkish banking system – although this would be difficult to enforce.

So far, the prospect of regulation has done little to dampen interest in Turkey. TV news channels feature bitcoin and ethereum prices alongside dollar and euro exchange rates. Halftime TV commercials at football games extol the virtues of crypto exchanges.

“When I talk about crypto, everyone — my hairdresser, my taxi driver, my waiters — asks me, ‘What are you investing in?'” said Sima Baktas, co-founder of CryptoWomen Turkey, which promotes crypto. involvement of women in the world of cryptocurrency. . “Everyone is interested.”

About a third of the nearly 2,000 people who have attended training courses run by her group are housewives, Baktas said. “They say, ‘my husband is making less money and I want to invest in crypto,'” she said.

Authorities have sought to lure people into investing in Turkish liras with a new program that promises to protect savers from exchange rate losses. Such measures are unlikely to work, analysts say, as long as Erdogan remains determined to keep interest rates well below inflation, which stood at an official rate of 36% in December and is expected to further increase in the coming months.

Orhan, the crypto trader, says that rather than seeking to regulate digital assets, the government should look at the root causes of its appeal. “They should ask themselves: why are people interested in cryptocurrency? Why are they taking this risk? he said. “When there is no stability, people look for alternatives. “

Video: Where Will Crypto ‘Anarchy’ Stop | Lex Megatrends

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Middle Eastern Tourist Arrivals To Georgia Soar 511% YoY | Salaam Gateway http://www.jewsformorality.org/middle-eastern-tourist-arrivals-to-georgia-soar-511-yoy-salaam-gateway/ Tue, 11 Jan 2022 08:23:05 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/middle-eastern-tourist-arrivals-to-georgia-soar-511-yoy-salaam-gateway/ Georgia has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for vacationers and the Middle East thanks to its scenic landscapes, affordable hotels and proximity to the region, along with the increasing availability of halal food and Arabic speaking guides. In November 2021, tourist arrivals from the Middle East to Georgia soared 511% year-on-year to […]]]>

Georgia has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for vacationers and the Middle East thanks to its scenic landscapes, affordable hotels and proximity to the region, along with the increasing availability of halal food and Arabic speaking guides.

In November 2021, tourist arrivals from the Middle East to Georgia soared 511% year-on-year to 103,500, reaching figures close to pre-pandemic levels, according to statistics from the National Tourism Administration of Georgia (GNTA).

The former Soviet state welcomed more than 150,000 travelers from the Middle East in 2019.

“Georgia is a low budget tourist destination. You can stay in a fully furnished hostel, hotel, or apartment for $ 30 a day, which is pretty cheap. The food is good and cheap, the transportation is cheap and the services are great, ”Islam Shalaby, founder and CEO of Yalla Georgia Travel & Tourism, told Salaam Gateway.

Tourists to the region, especially from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, now come back several times and spend entire months on the Black Sea, in villages around the green Caucasus mountains or in the capital Tbilisi, which is home to the bustling Arab Quarter.

“The GCC countries are one of our key strategic target markets. Once (having) traveled to Georgia, travelers from these countries tend to have longer stays, repeat visits as well as higher spending,” GNTA Acting Director Medea Janiashvili said in a statement. declaration.

GNTA recently partnered with Wego, an online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa, to promote the recovery of the tourism industry in Georgia.

According to Wego, approximately 100,000 searches for Georgia were performed on the platform as of November 2021. Solo travelers accounted for 63% of searches, couples 22%, and families 15%.

Suitable for Muslims tourism

A mountainous country located between Europe and Central Asia, Georgia is predominantly Christian, but has a large Muslim community of over 400,000, representing around 10% of the population.

A few mosques serve this community, and they are mostly found in large cities. Halal food, on the other hand, is widely available in Iranian and Turkish restaurants as well as local restaurants.

“In Tbilisi, halal food is everywhere. Even Georgian-run restaurants serve Halal food, and the locals are Arab-friendly and very peaceful. We have a mosque, in the center of Tbilisi, and it has a Friday prayer every week, ”Taha said.

The Jumah Mosque is one of Tbilisi’s most famous landmarks and possibly the only one in the world where Sunni and Shia Muslims pray side by side, according to Shalaby.

Batumi, the second largest city, has a few halal restaurants serving mainly Turkish cuisine and a mosque. The city is the capital of Ajara, a region located on the Black Sea coast in northern Turkey, where nearly 40% of the population practices Islam.

“Most Georgian food is halal. When you visit a supermarket, you will find halal food and some even have the Georgian language halal label, ”Taha said.

Halal food is also available in cities with large Muslim communities, such as Rustavi and Marneuli, near Azerbaijan, and Pankisi, south of the border with Chechnya.

“In areas along the borders with Muslim countries, you will find large Muslim cities,” said Shalaby, who is also creative director at Swef Land, an Egyptian real estate developer based in Tbilisi.

Outside of these towns, in Georgian villages, halal food is hard to find, but only because tourism is still new to the country, he said.

A home away from home

Georgia’s religious diversity and tolerance, as evidenced by the peaceful coexistence of Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, as well as its liberal visa regime, encourage visitors to the Middle East to return to seek a home away from home. and to create businesses.

“When I first came here in 2017 as a student, there were very few Arabs. But now there are a lot of Arabs studying and running businesses, including expatriates from Gulf countries, ”Mohammad Taha, co-founder of International Business Group (IBG), a law firm, told Salaam Gateway. Tbilisi-based education consultancy serving Arab students. “The number of students we enroll is doubling every year.

Georgian universities have easier admission requirements compared to their European counterparts, which are more difficult to access and where Muslim students may encounter Islamophobia, according to Taha.

“People started to notice Georgia because the prices are low, entry is easy, and the country is peaceful. Women feel safe going out at all hours of the day or night, ”he said.

Although there have been a few Islamophobic incidents in recent years, such as the 2017 rally in Tbilisi and the 2021 attack on Muslims against a new prayer space in western Georgia, they are rare and the government usually intervenes.

For example, in a rare case in 2019, when a hotel rejected a Muslim guest, the owner was sentenced to jail, according to Shalaby.

“When your country is wide open to everyone, you get all kinds of people,” he said, referring to illegal immigrants.

“Georgians felt overwhelmed at the start. Arabic was suddenly everywhere in the streets and on the signs of shops next to Georgian. It might be a personal problem among a few, but it certainly doesn’t exist at the societal or political level, ”Shalaby said.

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All rights reserved

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Experts on the role of the anti-Semitism envoy – the Forward http://www.jewsformorality.org/experts-on-the-role-of-the-anti-semitism-envoy-the-forward/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 20:15:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/experts-on-the-role-of-the-anti-semitism-envoy-the-forward/ As Senate Democrats seek ways to confirm Deborah E. Lipstadt’s appointment as the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, amid Republican objections, experts wonder if the Raising the post to the rank of Ambassador was worth it. “The important thing about this position is that there is an official representative of the […]]]>


As Senate Democrats seek ways to confirm Deborah E. Lipstadt’s appointment as the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, amid Republican objections, experts wonder if the Raising the post to the rank of Ambassador was worth it.

“The important thing about this position is that there is an official representative of the US government who speaks out against anti-Semitism,” said Hannah Rosenthal, who was the envoy during President Obama’s first term. “And, unfortunately, by changing it last year, it became political football.”

The position, which was first established by Congress in 2004 to monitor global anti-Semitism, has been elevated to the rank of ambassador in 2021, which requires confirmation from the Senate. Lipstadt, a prominent Holocaust historian, was appointed by President Joe Biden in August, but her confirmation hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also divided has been locked by Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, on a tweet in which Lipstadt accused the senator of white supremacy for a comment he made after the January 6 riot. The White House resubmitted his appointment last week at the start of a new legislative session.

“In normal historical terms, that wouldn’t be that problem,” a former administration official said of the drawbacks of the current law. “Minority parties do not block nominations at ambassadorial level, except for extraordinary things. But we live in very dysfunctional times.

Rosenthal, a Wisconsin resident who was the first Democrat to hold the post preceded by Republican Gregg Rickman, called the heist “painful.”

“This is all a game for them,” she said, “and anti-Semitism is not a game.”

Johnson’s office has not responded to repeated requests as to why Republicans would rather have no one in this important post than Lipstadt.

The New York Timesreported Sunday that Republicans consider asking Lipstadt to publicly apologize to Johnson. Another option would be to take his nomination to the Senate for a vote, where Democrats have a majority.

The role of the envoy on anti-Semitism

The Office of the Special Envoy, part of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, was established in 2006 after the bipartisan passage of the 2004 Review of Global Antisemitism Act.

the legislation was led by Congressman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, following an increase in deadly anti-Semitic attacks and threats made against Jews all over the world.

While the office is supposed to monitor anti-Semitism in cooperation with overseas embassy staff, the role of the envoy is largely undetermined and has no clear manual, other than traveling the world to meet with officials. foreign governments, attend international conferences and report to the Secretary of State. In addition, the envoys provided input and contributed to the ministry’s annual report on human rights practices and international religious freedom.

The previous four envoys each had their own approach and priority list.

Gregg Rickman, a former GOP congressman who held the post during the administration of George W. Bush, assisted Yemeni Jews seeking refuge in the United States.

Rosenthal, who served from 2009 to 2012, came to work with the experience of being a community relations professional and made headlines for implementing a training program for diplomats to identify and to combat anti-Semitism and to instill anti-Semitism on Saudi officials in their textbooks. She was also criticized for criticizing a statement by former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

“At no time did I think I was going to stamp out anti-Semitism,” Rosenthal said. “I was hoping that during my tenure as Special Envoy, I would move the needle – and in some cases, I thought I did.”

Ira Forman, who held the post from 2013 to early 2017, used his office to lobby European governments against measures to ban ritual circumcision. He also frequently met with leaders of Jewish communities in countries closely watched by his office and maintained bilateral relations with government officials.

Elan Carr, who was not appointed until 2019 – after initial attempts by the Trump administration to shut down the office – redefined work with a more partisan approach and a focus on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities on college campuses.

The Trump administration has also appointed a deputy envoy to expand the office’s work in the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America regions. Ellie Cohanim, who was born in Iran, said she follows Iranian Jewish community closely, has partnered with Gulf countries to fight anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Islamophobia, and has been committed to get more Latin countries to adopt the working definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“The policy of the Trump administration was that ‘anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism’ stalled,” Cohanim said in an interview.

Madam Ambassador

If confirmed, Lipstadt would be the first emissary for anti-Semitism to represent the US government with a more prestigious title.

Former President Donald Trump signed the bill to elevate the post to ambassador a week before stepping down. The measure requires the envoy to be the US government’s principal adviser on issues related to global anti-Semitism.

“The combination of the elevation of the post and the person nominated to be the envoy should give the post more weight than it ever had,” said Ethan Katz, associate professor of history and Jewish studies at the University of California.

Rosenthal argued that the title does not change the weight of the envoy other than turning the process into a political debate in a divided Congress. “The word ‘high’ doesn’t mean anything in this situation,” she said. “People called me ‘ambassador’ all the time when I was there.”

She recalled a conversation she had with Congressman Smith about her elevating position bill in which she told him that “nobody in Germany, nobody in Brazil or Chile cares. title of this person or whether the Senate has confirmed them ‘but for the people in the ring road. “Don’t do anything that can politicize it and make it partisan,” she told the senior Republican official.

Nonetheless, Lipstadt would step into the role with more notoriety and credibility than his predecessors. Lipstadt, who teaches at Emory University in Atlanta, was the protagonist of the 2016 film “Denial,” about her successful defeat in a libel lawsuit brought by a denialist she had criticized. She is the author of numerous books, including “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory”, “The Eichmann Trial” and “Antisemitism: Here and Now”, which won a National Jewish Book Award in 2019. Recently . years, she has sharply criticized Trump for his dogged whistles at white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups, as well as for anti-Semitism on the left. She recently testified in the trial of alternative right-wing organizers of the murderous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Katz noted that Lipstadt and his deputy, Aaron Keyak, are “respected across the broad spectrum of the American Jewish establishment at a time when the American Jewish community is deeply fragmented politically.”

Not the contact on anti-Semitism in the United States

In recent years, the spotlight has been on the steady increase in anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric in America: the Charlottesville rally, the deadly terrorist attack in Pittsburgh, the TCG bomb threats and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries. , as well as a spike in violent attacks against Jews in major American cities, has drawn the attention of community and government officials.

But all of the experts interviewed for this article argued that it is in no way for the State Department’s envoy for anti-Semitism to play a leading role in this matter at the national level.

Jewish leaders have pressured the Biden administration to appoint a liaison with the Jewish community focused on domestic terrorism within the homeland security or justice departments.

“The special envoy charged with monitoring and combating anti-Semitism at the State Department has a lot of work to do,” Rosenthal said. “He shouldn’t be focusing on the United States”

But as long as there is no point of contact on the subject, the emissary for anti-Semitism will not be able to stay away from the problem, Katz suggested. “I think the tension between the national role and the overseas role will continue to be an act of tension as long as there is no one who has a specific portfolio of dealing with national incentives and because it is has become such a visible issue in political debates, “he said.

Cohanim urged the administration to maintain the Trump administration’s focus on anti-Israel activity on college campuses and “continue to confront the Iranian regime over its state-sponsored anti-Semitism.”



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Iran allegedly smuggled weapons into Yemen (report) http://www.jewsformorality.org/iran-allegedly-smuggled-weapons-into-yemen-report/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 06:05:05 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/iran-allegedly-smuggled-weapons-into-yemen-report/ DUBAI: Tehran’s proxies have stepped up their activities on the battlefields of the Middle East in recent weeks. In Iraq, Syria and Yemen, forces loyal to the Iranian regime have been busy stepping up attacks against US and Saudi targets. One of the sparks of this escalation could be the second anniversary of the assassination […]]]>


DUBAI: Tehran’s proxies have stepped up their activities on the battlefields of the Middle East in recent weeks. In Iraq, Syria and Yemen, forces loyal to the Iranian regime have been busy stepping up attacks against US and Saudi targets.

One of the sparks of this escalation could be the second anniversary of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general that sparked much of the chaos that still ravages the region. But some analysts believe the main reason is the Iran-US nuclear talks that have resumed in Vienna.

As the talks progress, albeit laboriously, Iranian officials are increasingly optimistic, believing they are on the verge of salvaging a deal that would ease crippling US sanctions against its financial institutions and political bodies. .

A knowledgeable source told Arab News that the nuts and bolts of a new deal between Washington and Tehran are now mostly in place.

One remaining obstacle is Iran’s demand that the next US president not withdraw from any new deal. It is not yet clear whether the United States could honor such a commitment. In 2018, US President Donald Trump scorned and abandoned the “one-sided deal”. Iran has responded by ceasing cooperation with international inspectors who monitor its nuclear infrastructure and stepping up its enrichment efforts.

Current President Joe Biden has spent much of his first foreign policy term on restoring the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. It has earned stigma from regional allies as its officials persist in talks with Iranian hardliners.

Entifadh Qanbar, a former Iraqi spokesman, said: “The Iranians like to bend the guns in negotiations. Robert Malley appears to be bent on appeasing the Iranians and, sadly, has the upper hand in the Biden administration when it comes to negotiations. The Biden administration is faring weak, especially in light of the chaos in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal. “

Dr Ras Zimmt, expert on Iran at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, said: “Looking at the recent attacks on Syria and Iraq, one of the main reasons for this happened, I think, is the second anniversary of the murder. scored by Qassem Soleimani. He said this suspended negotiations on the Iranian side.

Washington’s response to attacks on US forces falls far short of Trump’s reaction as Iranian-backed rioters approached the US embassy in Baghdad two years ago when he sanctioned the assassination by Soleimani.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (right), accompanied by head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami, addresses the media during a visit to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, southeast of Tehran. (Photo by the Iranian presidency / AFP)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke on the anniversary of Soleimani’s death during a ceremony in a large prayer hall in Tehran. The president has vowed revenge on Donald Trump, calling him the main “aggressor and murderer”.

The Iranian general and his ally Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed in the drone strike in January 2020, were masters of the art of wielding powerful proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and also to bomb the United States in concessions with rocket fire of low intensity – but with high political impact.

General Hossein Salami (center), head of the Iranian Quds force, attended military exercises dubbed Payambar-e-Azadm held in three provinces last December. (Photo SEPAH NEWS via AFP)

On Wednesday, a pro-Iranian armed militia called Gassem Al-Jabarayn claimed responsibility for the drone and rocket attacks in Iraq, which left no casualties. The group posted online that it pledged to maintain its attacks until there was a full US withdrawal from Iraq. The group is said to be a cover for one of Iran’s main proxies, whose influence in Iraq remains extensive as the central government continues to struggle to assert control.

Analysts in the region say the frequency of attacks in Iraq and Syria tends to increase each time an important political decision draws near. Few such decisions have had more consequences than re-engaging with Iran – an actor that the GCC and the rest of the Middle East are wary of.

Doing so could be the biggest bet of Biden’s presidency, potentially destabilizing core security agreements with key US allies, who remain opposed to such a move without strict restrictions to prevent even covert nuclear weapons-building efforts. .

However, other commentators have played down the impact of the attacks on the Vienna talks.

Mohanad Hage Ali, director of communications and member of the Carnegie Middle East Center, said: “These attacks are directed to serve an internal (Iranian) objective and have little military significance given the absence of serious casualties. They are more useful in justifying the absence of retaliation for major attacks against Iranian forces and their militias.

“I see them as ineffective in pushing for a change in Vienna in relation to the real progress of Iran’s nuclear program. “

Rasha Al-Aqeedi, an Iraqi activist and ideology researcher, said: “The recent attacks are unlikely to result in any concessions given their marginal impact on US personnel and facilities.

Iraqi troops inspect an unfired Katyusha rocket in a rocket attack on a military base housing US forces near Baghdad International Airport on January 5, 2022. (Iraqi Media Security Cell / Document via REUTERS)

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby blamed the combined attacks on hostility to Washington’s continued presence in Iraq and the anniversary of Soleimani’s death.

Whether rocket fire improves Iran’s hand is open to contention. However, even the perception that Iran aims to create of being able to bombard itself in a better negotiating position acts as a boost to the country’s negotiators, who have long touted the virtues of “strategic patience” in the face of crisis. vagaries of US policy.

As the latest round of talks resumed, the United States’ special envoy to Iran was in Saudi Arabia this week for talks with senior officials. The Gulf countries remain skeptical about Iran, although they embarked on a series of regional intelligence talks last year.

At the heart of Saudi concerns, Iran has refused to use the Vienna talks to discuss its ballistic missile program or its interventions in a region still reeling from decades of war and insurgency – largely led by Iran.

“If the United States does not maintain a firm hand, the region will sink further,” said a senior Iraqi official, “Now is not the time for the weak of heart. “


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Does Tel Aviv University Christmas Market Trample on Jewish Values? http://www.jewsformorality.org/does-tel-aviv-university-christmas-market-trample-on-jewish-values/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 16:44:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/does-tel-aviv-university-christmas-market-trample-on-jewish-values/ It was recently reported that Jewish students at Tel Aviv University are protesting against a “Christmas Market” event held on December 15 on the university campus. The Christmas market is part of an ongoing series of multicultural events that Tel Aviv University plans to host throughout the academic year, many in cooperation with embassies from […]]]>


It was recently reported that Jewish students at Tel Aviv University are protesting against a “Christmas Market” event held on December 15 on the university campus.

The Christmas market is part of an ongoing series of multicultural events that Tel Aviv University plans to host throughout the academic year, many in cooperation with embassies from countries around the world.

5 בגלריה

The famous Christmas tree in the main square of Nazareth in northern Israel

The famous Christmas tree in the main square of Nazareth in northern Israel

(Photo: The media line)

In a statement, Tel Aviv University said that “the university is proud that hundreds of Israeli and international students who celebrate Christmas study in its setting.”

Student protesters called the Christmas market “Christian reunification.” A student representative added: “After years in which the education system and academia trampled on Jewish values, we are now seeing the next step: the promotion of Christian content.

Reading the reports of this controversy, I couldn’t help but remember a similar turmoil that was stirred up five years ago at another prestigious Israeli university.

In December 2016, at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – in Haifa, a Christmas tree was displayed in the student center in tribute to the many Christian students of this school.

Campus Rabbi Rabbi Elad Dukov issued a ruling declaring that Jewish students are prohibited from blessing their food or eating in the student center due to the tree’s presence, noting that he saw “no room for leniency in this matter.

Following the move, a number of prominent Zionist religious rabbis took to social media to congratulate Rabbi Dukov for taking a stand against public expressions of Christian faith and culture.

These rabbis, like the students now protesting the Tel Aviv University Christmas market, see public recognition of the Christian faith as dangerous to the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. While concern for the Jewish identity of Israeli society is legitimate, their outrage at these Christian symbols is misplaced.

The Christian community today constitutes about 2% of the population of Israel. Interestingly, it’s also roughly the percentage of Jews in the populations of the United States and Canada, the two countries where I lived before I moved permanently to Israel.

Throughout my years there, I remember seeing Hanukkiah in malls and public spaces on my college campus next to Christmas exhibits, as a sign of gratitude and respect to the Jewish community. It is safe to say that the Christian population did not feel threatened or offended by these Jewish symbols.

This brings us to a larger point. The religious Zionist Jewish community in Israel takes great pride in the rebirth of the Jewish people as an autonomous nation in our ancestral homeland. As a long-standing member of the Zionist religious community, I share this pride. Religious Zionists will often speak with pride of shedding the “diaspora mentality”, the Jewish mentality of exile, in which Jews see themselves as submissive and must constantly defend themselves against threats of assimilation within the dominant culture.

Christmas market at Tel Aviv University threatens the Jewish character of the State of Israel? Oh good? Letting local Christians – citizens of Israel – know that they are recognized and accepted is so scary? The State of Israel has always included and always will include minorities from other nations and faiths. Even the idealized image of the nation of Israel depicted in the Torah does not exclude members of other nations who are not Jews as part of society.

And this is where the irony lies behind the outrage. The fear of assimilation that underlies opposition to these Christian symbols is in fact the pinnacle of the “diaspora mentality”. Are we so insecure about the Jewish identity of Israeli society that public displays respecting minority populations are a threat? I repeat, there is undoubtedly a lot of work to be done to strengthen the Jewishness of Israeli society, but is Christianity really at the heart of this problem?

As of this writing, Christians are being persecuted and attacked in virtually every country in the Middle East except Israel. A growing percentage of the wider Christian world is aware of and grateful to the State of Israel, and rightly so.

Among the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, we know that the Christian population has demonstrated a historic will to live in peace with us on this land as friends and neighbors.

Devout Christians around the world are also known as staunch defenders of our people and our state. If we are to strengthen our presence on this earth and fortify our chances for peace within and with the world around us, there is no better place to start than to treat Christians in Israel with inclusion and respect. .

Rabbi Pesach Wolicki is the Executive Director of the Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC)


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Jewish Democratic Socialist Danny Tenenbaum is a rare breed in Montana government http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-democratic-socialist-danny-tenenbaum-is-a-rare-breed-in-montana-government/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 00:47:59 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-democratic-socialist-danny-tenenbaum-is-a-rare-breed-in-montana-government/ JTA – As Danny Tenenbaum prepares to open debates in the Montana Legislature on March 29, he said to himself: better keep it short. So he sang the Shema prayer. He had other ideas for the invocation, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, but he “stuck to what I know best.” The Shema is the […]]]>


JTA – As Danny Tenenbaum prepares to open debates in the Montana Legislature on March 29, he said to himself: better keep it short. So he sang the Shema prayer.

He had other ideas for the invocation, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, but he “stuck to what I know best.” The Shema is the Jewish prayer invoking the unity of God.

“I wanted to do the hatzi kahddish, but my Aramaic needs work, ”he said, referring to the prayer exalting the name of God which is used as a transition between parts of a service.

It was a bold move by Tenenbaum, 35, a Jew and Socialist Democrat in a state where both identifications are rare. Tenenbaum, elected in 2020 to a two-year term in the lower house, says his status as a small minority motivates him to educate and work with people of all faiths and political backgrounds.

“My philosophy is not to hide who I am and to be proud of who I am,” he said. “And often that means being the first Jewish person someone meets here. And for me, it’s pretty exciting to have this opportunity to kind of be an ambassador for my religion or ethnicity, whatever you want to call it.

Tenenbaum volunteered to give the invocation, he said, because he saw how important it was for fellow lawmakers to say Christian – and sometimes Native American – prayers.

“I’m not the most religious person on the surface, but I thought it would be fun to volunteer and sing an important prayer,” he said.

Montana’s legislature is made up of roughly two-thirds Republicans and one-third Democrats, which Tenenbaum called “frustrating.”

“To get things done, you have to speak with Republicans,” he said.

Surprisingly, he finds his affiliation with the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, to be a plus in these talks.

Danny Tenenbaum (center) campaigning in Missoula for the Montana House of Representatives, October 6, 2019 (Twitter / via JTA)

“It kind of made it easier for me to work with the Republicans, because for them they saw that I was not just someone who is a ‘team player for the Democratic Party’, but someone one who thinks independently on every problem and isn’t that much of a partisan thinker, ”he said.

One area where he has had success is housing, which has become his favorite issue. Republicans were opposed to subsidies for affordable housing, but he was able to garner bipartisan support on other aspects of the issue, such as tackling zoning ordinances that prevent new housing from entering the market.

“The younger ones in the legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, saw the issue the same way,” he said. “We needed to increase supply and we needed to increase construction because it’s a problem that’s now being felt across the state with a housing shortage.”

He has had similar successes in building coalitions to strengthen protections for people with dementia and in tackling the foster care system and children who are taken from their parents.

When it came to debating access to abortion, Tenenbaum found himself explaining Judaism’s approach to the issue, which values ​​the mother’s life above all else and is much less strict than the conservative Christian denominations.

“People were quoting Christian scriptures, and that inevitably led people to ask me what the Jewish point of view is on abortion, which is not what I think people expect,” he said. he declared. “It’s complex, but a lot of evangelical Christians like to see themselves, or to see their religion as an extension of Judaism, and they use terms like Judeo-Christian, and so they kind of assumed that the Jewish faith considers the abortion in the same way that the Christian faith does. And that’s just not the case.

Rabbi Ed Stafman poses with his family in an undated campaign photo in Bozeman, MT in 2020 (Ed Stafman Campaign / via JTA)

A Jewish Democratic colleague in the legislature, Rabbi Ed Stafman, also found himself explaining Jewish theology of abortion to his fellow Republicans.

“The result was not good,” Tenenbaum said: Democrats lost the debate and the the legislature has passed laws restricting access to abortion. “But even though I don’t agree with them on this specific issue, the conversation and discussion I have had with people who support these bills, in the legislature but also in the halls, has been a revealing experience for me. “

After Republicans introduced a bill this session that would divest from entities that boycott Israel – legislation popular with many pro-Israel groups – Tenenbaum also found himself explaining to fellow Republicans why he supported the movement. boycott, divestment and sanctions. He recalled his studies at the Hebrew school in suburban Maryland and said he found BDS “peaceful”.

“We have been told over and over again that we need a peaceful partner and that we need Palestinians who fight for their cause in a peaceful manner,” he said. “And to me, that’s exactly what BDS is, and that’s exactly what we were asking for. “

He said that conversations with Palestinians during his tour of the Middle East and then to law school “definitely opened my eyes to their experience, their history and how they approach this issue, which for them, is an existential question. It is literally about their existence.

Representative Jamaal Bowman (second from right) met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (center) during his recent trip to Israel with a delegation. (Haim Zach / GPO)

Tenenbaum was shocked to learn that the DSA – which supports the BDS movement – has considered deporting member Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, for visiting Israel and the West Bank with J Street, a liberal political group in the Middle East which defines itself as pro-Israel.

“I wouldn’t support that at all,” Tenenbaum said of the proposed eviction, in part because of his own experiences touring the area. Tenenbaum was excited when J Street was formed in 2008 and joined.

Tenenbaum grew up in the Maryland suburb of Washington, DC, and attended the University of Wisconsin. He traveled across the Middle East as a refugee officer for the Department of Homeland Security and attended New York University Law School.

As he neared graduation and considered starting a family with his wife Bracha, they decided they didn’t want to stay in New York City. Tenenbaum thought back to his college days and a summer trip on a cross-country bike.

“I stopped in Missoula, and it was a beautiful summer day. I think it was July 4th. And it was amazing. It was wonderful and I kept that in mind, ”he said.

He also knew he wanted to be a public defender – in a place “where you didn’t have to wear a tie,” in his words.

“Missoula was that place,” he said.

Today, he is the stay-at-home father of two young children, who have fortunately become natives. In October, he posted a photo of himself and his three-year-old son wearing matching plaid shirts attending a football game at the University of Montana.

Nor does he shy away from being Jewish in a state where the community has perhaps 1,500 people. In a tweet in September, Tenenbaum noted the various Rosh Hashanah greetings by federal lawmakers in the state published in a Chabad calendar.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester got the highest score: “Real Vacation Awareness. Hebrew! ”(The tester included“ L’Shana Tova! ”In his greeting.) Republican Senator Steve Daines lost points for“ too many fonts ”and Matt Rosendale, the Republican who is the only lawmaker in the Montana in the US House of Representatives scored worse.

“Names himself but not his spouse,” Tenenbaum wrote, followed by a vomit emoji.

In August, after lawmaker says Jews fell victim to “critical race theory” during the Holocaust, Tenenbaum offered Republicans “free ‘sensitivity training’ on Judaism, the Holocaust, and other topics.

It is imbued with the Jewish history of the state and its role in its continuum; in January, shortly after his election, he visited the Jewish cemetery in Helena, the state capital, to “hang out with my people,” as he put it on Twitter. He posted photos of the graves of prominent Montana Jews.

Tenenbaum now celebrates life events and Shabbat nights with a small coterie of Jewish friends in Missoula. He said it felt more natural than the Hebrew school he attended.

“We have like five families with whom we are very close. And it’s kind of our congregation, ”he said. “I know it’s seen as a kind of withdrawal and observance of a formal synagogue. I feel more Jewish now and I feel more religious and more practicing now than I did growing up. “



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Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid leader who identified with Jews and criticized Israeli treatment of Palestinians, dies at 90 http://www.jewsformorality.org/desmond-tutu-anti-apartheid-leader-who-identified-with-jews-and-criticized-israeli-treatment-of-palestinians-dies-at-90/ Sun, 26 Dec 2021 14:17:06 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/desmond-tutu-anti-apartheid-leader-who-identified-with-jews-and-criticized-israeli-treatment-of-palestinians-dies-at-90/ (JTA) – Desmond Tutu, the archbishop who closely identified with the historic suffering of the Jewish people in his strong advocacy against apartheid in South Africa, died Sunday at the age of 90. Tutu, Cape Town’s first black archbishop, used his role as church leader to bring religion into the fight against apartheid, South Africa’s […]]]>


(JTA) – Desmond Tutu, the archbishop who closely identified with the historic suffering of the Jewish people in his strong advocacy against apartheid in South Africa, died Sunday at the age of 90.

Tutu, Cape Town’s first black archbishop, used his role as church leader to bring religion into the fight against apartheid, South Africa’s repressive system of racial segregation. Advocating for non-violence and, later, restorative justice, Tutu gained fame far beyond South Africa, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

In the years leading up to and during negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, Tutu often praised the many South African Jews who opposed the apartheid system and worked alongside the Black South Africans to move to a fair governance system. He has often invoked the Holocaust, comparing the struggles of Jews under Nazism to the struggles of black South Africans under apartheid.

Addressing a gathering of British Jews in 1987, he spoke of this shared experience of exclusion and persecution.

“Your people know what we are talking about, having suffered because you belonged to a particular racial group. You had to wear armbands. We don’t wear armbands… they just have to look at us, ”Tutu said, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatch from the event.

Desmond Tutu during a visit to Jerusalem in December 1989 (Esaias Baitel / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

But Tutu’s identification with the Jewish people did not spare them from his criticism. While constantly defending Israel’s right to exist and calling on Arab nations to recognize Israel, including when addressing a Palestinian audience, Tutu frequently criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and wondered how people who had survived the Holocaust could carry out the occupation of another people.

“Arabs should recognize Israel, but a lot of things also need to change. I myself am sad that Israel, with the kind of history and traditions that its people have known, makes refugees of others. It’s totally incompatible with who she is as a people, ”he said in a 1984 speech at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary.

Tutu also criticized Israel for continuing to work with South Africa on military issues despite apartheid.

“The integrity and existence of Israel must be guaranteed. But I can’t understand how a people with your history would have a state that would collaborate in military affairs with South Africa and conduct policies that are a mirror image of some of the things your people have suffered from, ”he said. he said in his 1987 address to British Jews.

These comparisons, along with remarks that some Jewish leaders characterized as anti-Semitic, have earned the Tutus criticism from some Jewish leaders. In his 1984 JTS speech, he responded to some of these criticisms while further fanning its flames with references to a “Jewish lobby.”

“I was immediately accused of being anti-Semitic,” Tutu said in his speech, referring to the reaction to an earlier speech. “I’m sad because I think it’s a sensitivity in this case that comes from arrogance – the arrogance of power because the Jews are a powerful lobby in this country and all kinds of people are looking for their support.”

During a visit to Israel and the West Bank in 1989, Tutu made the controversial suggestion during a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, that the Nazis should be forgiven for their crimes against the people. Jewish. The suggestion reflected Tutu’s role as chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which aimed to bring the country into a new era by allowing those who participated in apartheid to atone for their sins. and let the victims of the system voice their grievances and, in some cases, receive reparations.

“We pray for those who have done it, forgive them and help each other forgive them, and help each other that we do not, in turn, make others suffer,” he said, according to a dispatch from the JTA at the time.

Jewish leaders criticized Tutu for his comments. “For anyone in Jerusalem, in Yad Vashem, to speak of forgiveness would be, in my opinion, a disturbing lack of sensitivity towards the Jewish victims and their survivors. I hope that was not Bishop Tutu’s intention, ”Elie Wiesel said at the time.

(Earlier that year, Tutu had suggested that he and Wiesel could work together to mediate peace in the Middle East.)

Despite his comments, Tutu was frequently honored by Jewish organizations. In 1989, he was honored for his work against racial discrimination by the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York. In 2003, the Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University awarded him an award for promoting world peace.

In 2009, the same year then President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Tutu was turned away from speaking at a university in Minnesota because of the remarks he had made. on the Jews and Israel.

Abraham Foxman, then national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urged the university not to cancel the invitation.

“Tutu was certainly an outspoken, at times very harsh critic of Israel and Israeli politics, and at times also used examples that may overstep the line,” Foxman told JTA at the time. But Tutu “is certainly not an anti-Semite and should not be so characterized and therefore refused a platform.”

In 2015, Tutu addressed an event organized by Israeli organizations Fighters for Peace and Parents’ Circle on the occasion of Israel’s Memorial Day for Israeli and Palestinian parents who have lost children to the conflict in a short speech video.

“If change seems impossible, think about our experience in South Africa,” he said. “You can do it in Palestine and Israel as well. “


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May the Virgin Mary bring Christians and Muslims together for Christmas http://www.jewsformorality.org/may-the-virgin-mary-bring-christians-and-muslims-together-for-christmas/ Fri, 24 Dec 2021 13:53:22 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/may-the-virgin-mary-bring-christians-and-muslims-together-for-christmas/ (RNS) – Relations between Muslims and Christians are strained around the world, in the United States and even in Congress. But at Christmas, the two faith communities whose combined size represents more than half of humanity can turn to their shared love for one figure to inspire them to love each other: Mary, the mother […]]]>


(RNS) – Relations between Muslims and Christians are strained around the world, in the United States and even in Congress. But at Christmas, the two faith communities whose combined size represents more than half of humanity can turn to their shared love for one figure to inspire them to love each other: Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary is more than the only woman named in the Koran; she has an entire chapter bearing her name. It is mentioned more times in the Muslim scriptures, in fact, than in the New Testament. She is praised by God in the Koran as “chosen from among all the women of the world”, “a sign for humanity” and as “a model” of piety, purity and patience.

Over the centuries, from ancient works of art from the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East to contemporary Iranian film “Saint Mary”, Muslims lovingly captured the mother of Jesus. We reflect on how we can be inspired by her – as a devotee of the Lord, as a woman, as a single mother, and as a role model for all Muslims, men and women.

Christians and Muslims have revered and continue to revere Mother Mary, standing side by side as pilgrims and worshipers, in sites around the world, from Syria and Lebanon to Israel and the Philippines.


RELATED: Mary, mother of Jesus, returns as an icon for pop stars and social justice warriors


Over the past few months, I have heard how the Blessed Mother has inspired spiritual awakening among Catholic professionals, brought peace to struggling single Muslim mothers, inspired dialogue between Jews and Christians living in a vacuum, offered comfort to agnostics in search of meaning and help A Muslim convert to Christianity explains to his concerned priest that loving both Islam and Christianity is what Jesus would do.

Hearing about Muslims’ love for Mary, Islamophobes and Islamophiles discover that they are bound by respect for the mother of Jesus and grateful to her for bringing them together.

The healing power of Mother Mary is the beacon of hope and light that we need at this time.

Anti-Muslim sentiments are maintained at an alarming rate by Christians. Two decades after September 11, 75% white evangelical Protestants and 58% of white American Catholics believe that Islamic values ​​are at odds with American values, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

Half of Americans further believe that violence, rather than peace, is encouraged by Islam, a faith practiced by 1 in 4 people worldwide. (In the months following September 11, only one trimester of Americans believed this myth.)

Yet for two decades Muslims in America have been the victims of hatred and violence, not their perpetrators. Since 2010, FBI hate crime data shows Muslims the second most common group target of religious hatred in America (after the Jews).

Over the past few weeks and months, Islamophobic rhetoric has translated into prejudice or violence against Muslims across the country, as well as the emergence of allies and calls for redress (for example, in Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, California, New Mexico, Washington). Children are not spared. the Muslim American Survey 2020 reveals that 55% of students in public schools in Kindergarten to Grade 12 experience religious bullying – 30% of the time by teachers or school officials.

Muslims on campus don’t fare much better. A recent report the review of Islamophobia in California universities and colleges found that almost 40% of Muslim students report racial discrimination or harassment, including from faculty (34%), peers (54%) and student services (23%). More than one in five Muslim students have been refuse housing.

The shelter is also not at work. the Reports of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission that Muslims made up 20-28% of religious discrimination workplace complaints each year between 2002 and 2017, despite making up only 1% of the US population.

Research shows a promising way out of this situation. A national longitudinal to study Gen Z students in the United States found that young people developed mutual understanding by breaking bread together, visiting each other’s places of worship, attending vigils and other informal gatherings together and volunteering side by side for common causes such as eradicating homelessness and poverty.

Mary, mother of Jesus the Messiah, who is supported in the Bible and the Koran as a humble servant of God righteous to be imitated, can be our guide to find shared values ​​such as compassion, generosity and care for the poor and to the weak.


RELATED: What to give to your Jewish neighbors for Christmas


Two millennia after giving birth to Jesus, Mother Mary has the power to unite Muslims and Christians who distrust each other. Lady Maryam (as she is called in the Quran) is a symbol that can help us replace hardened hearts and burdened souls with peace, love and understanding.

Nothing about interfaith harmony detracts from our commitment to our respective beliefs. Going beyond the difference lines, we take a page of the Global Evangelical Alliance, The Vatican, the Ismaili Imamate, the Muslim World League and the World Jewish Congress, each of which has supported interreligious dialogue to promote peace and respect in the world.

At Christmas, and throughout the year, may each of us find fellowship by listening deeply and connecting spiritually. May each of us replace fear with hope and recognize that “the Other” is not a bogeyman to be feared, but a blessing to be learned and cherished. Let Mother Mary guide us in this process.

(Zahra N. Jamal is associate director of Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University and CEO and Founder of The Inclusion Expert, a culture and diversity consultancy. The opinions expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)


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From the morning hunt to the beloved gazelle http://www.jewsformorality.org/from-the-morning-hunt-to-the-beloved-gazelle/ Mon, 13 Dec 2021 19:34:10 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/from-the-morning-hunt-to-the-beloved-gazelle/ Wed Dec 15 2021 09:00 – Fri 17 Dec 2021 17:30 Greenwich Mean Time (UTC ± 0) Register here. Literary and visual representations of animals from Central Asia to the Maghreb About this event All times are in GMT Wednesday 15 December 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.: Welcome and opening speech “The human and non-human […]]]>


Wed Dec 15 2021 09:00 – Fri 17 Dec 2021 17:30 Greenwich Mean Time (UTC ± 0)

Register here.

Literary and visual representations of animals from Central Asia to the Maghreb

About this event

All times are in GMT

Wednesday 15 December

9 a.m. – 10 a.m.: Welcome and opening speech

“The human and non-human animal in classical Arabic literature”

James Montgomery, University of Cambridge

10:00 am – 11:30 am: Animals and Politics in the Premodern Era

“Slaughter foxes in the vineyard?” An omnipresent topos and its staging in the ancient and classical Arab historiography of the first Islamic conquests’

Georg Leube, Universities of Bayreuth and Hamburg

“Ibn Sharaf al-QayrawānÄ«’s ode to a giraffe: an episode of Fatimid – Zirid diplomatic relations”

Russell Hopley, independent researcher

11:30 am – 11:45 am: Break

11:45 – 13:15: Animals and political margins in 20th century literature

“The savages of Yemen and their beasts: Jews, Muslim outcasts and animals on the fringes of Yemeni society”

Mark S. Wagner, Louisiana State University

“Storytelling through animals: the non-human as an ethical agent in contemporary Central Asian literature”

Jeanine DaÄŸyeli, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

“Animal representations and beyond: their absence, their presence and their manifestations in the literature of Kurdish writers imprisoned for life”

Dilek HattatoÄŸlu and Ahu Karasulu, independent researchers

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m .: Lunch

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m .: Animals, illness and mourning

“Patient animal: science and care in medieval Arabic literature”

Anna Ayse Akasoy, University of the City of New York

“Desert animals: mourning and the camel in Bedouin poetry”

Moneera al-Ghadeer, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Culture, Riyadh

“Attachment and Loss: Animal Rithās in Arab Poetry”

Iman Darwich, Harvard University

3.30pm-3.45pm: Break

3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m .: Desert animals

“” A specifically Libyan mask “: exploring the metamorphosis in the Libyan novel”

Charis Olszok, University of Cambridge

“Beyond the noble savage: Munif, Koni and the grace of the animal world”

Suja Sawafta, University of Miami

“Unity and Waddān: blurring the boundaries between man and animal in Ibrahim al-KÅ«nÄ« Nazif al-Ḥajar (Bleeding from the Stone, 2002) ‘

Kholoud Hussein, Cornell University

Thursday, December 16

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Animals in the Arts of Armenia

‘Mediators between worlds and cultures: sirens in medieval Armenian and Islamic art of the 10th-14th centuries’

Lilit Mikayelyan, Yerevan State University

“Master of the garden”: the image of the bear in medieval art from Armenia and neighboring countries’

Zaruhi Hakobyan, Yerevan State University

‘The representation of animals and the royal hunt in Cilician miniature painting (Gospel n ° 9422 of Matenadaran)’

Satenik Chookaszian, Yerevan State University

10:30 am-10:45am: Break

10:45 am-12:15pm: Animals, cinema and popular culture

“The puppet animal as a social and political narrative body in the performing arts in Iran”

Yassaman Khajehi, Clermont Auvergne, France

“Dealing with Stray Animals: Film and Cartoon Portraits of Homeless Dogs and Human-Dog Interactions in the Modern Middle East”

Gwyneth Talley, American University of Cairo

‘At the zoo in Palestine’

Hannah Boast, University College, Dublin

12:15 – 1:00 p.m .: Lunch

13h00 – 14h45: Horses and hybrid horses

‘Marked on the ass of the asb: the symbol and symbolism of the marks of horses in the Persian arts circa 1500-1850’

Jaimee K. Comstock-Skipp, University of Leiden

“Banāt al-rīḥ: hybrids of mythical horses in ancient Islamic literature”

Hylke Hettema, University of Leiden

“The monstrous body of Jewish converts in the Spanish al-Buraq”

Ana L. Méndez-Oliver, Syracuse University

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m .: Break

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m .: Animals in modern Persian literature

“The representation of animals and animal rights in” The benefits of vegetarianism “by Sadegh Hedayat”

Gabrielle van den Berg, University of Leiden

‘Sâdeq Chubak: Through an inverted gaze’

Julie Duvigneau, INALCO, Paris

“A literary encounter through time: two Persian stories, two animals and two contrasting worldviews”

Kamran Talattof, University of Arizona

4.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m .: Keynote

“The debates on modern hadiths and the other non-human”

Sarra Tlili, University of Florida

Friday 17th December

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m .: Celestial Birds and Stray Dogs: Animal Symbols and Beyond

“From the sacred animal to the symbol of adultery: dogs in the Armenian tradition”

David Zakarian, University of Oxford

‘The wild, the domestic and the wandering: dogs in the Arab literary imagination’

Wen-chin Ouyang, SOAS, University of London

“Neyshabur Bird Society: Animal Myth, Allegory and Symbol in Persian Literature”

Nasrollah Zirak, Azad Islamic University, Iran

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m .: Lunch break

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m .: Animals and war in the 20th century

‘Creaturely Wars: HumAnimals in Lebanon wartime fiction’

Yasmine Khayyat, Rutgers University

“Taming the Dogs of War: Animals and the Iran-Iraq War in Arab and Persian Fiction”

Amir Moosavi, Rutgers University

‘Flying Above Partition: Literary Representations of Doves (and Other Birds) in Modern Cypriot Poetry’

Daniele Nunziata, University of Oxford

4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m .: Animals between India and the Middle East

“The hunt for love and justice”

Ebba Koch, University of Vienna

“Extreme ethics: animal-human generosity in Indian qissahs”

Pasha M. Khan, McGill University

“Topographic Wonders: The Elephantine Jinns and Al-Jazari Elephant Clock Translated in Early Modern India”

Vivek Gupta, University of Cambridge

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m .: Closing remarks


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“Moral blindness” around Israel; No sympathy for Chesa – J. http://www.jewsformorality.org/moral-blindness-around-israel-no-sympathy-for-chesa-j/ Mon, 13 Dec 2021 18:37:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/moral-blindness-around-israel-no-sympathy-for-chesa-j/ “Moral blindness” The opinion piece by rabbis Nancy H. Wiener and Lester Bronstein (“Banning the boycott of Ben & Jerry is a distraction that makes anti-Semitism harder to fight,” December 7) reveals its true colors when it refers to “Ben & Jerry’s attempt to hold Israel to the same human rights obligations as other countries.” […]]]>



“Moral blindness”

The opinion piece by rabbis Nancy H. Wiener and Lester Bronstein (“Banning the boycott of Ben & Jerry is a distraction that makes anti-Semitism harder to fight,” December 7) reveals its true colors when it refers to “Ben & Jerry’s attempt to hold Israel to the same human rights obligations as other countries.” Which “other countries” are these that practice a higher standard than Israel? Are these countries whose right to exist has been repeatedly threatened and has been attacked militarily half a dozen times (at least) over the past decades? (Let’s not even go into the many countries with appalling human rights files that the rabbis don’t seem to address.)

The rabbis practice moral blindness when they care more about the aggressors – the Palestinian people who support efforts to destroy Israel – than the victims – the Israelis who live with terrorist attacks year after year, as well as rockets the only one of which goal is to kill Israelis. Such moral blindness encourages anti-Semitism, rather than combating it, by giving credence to the idea that Israel is an evil colonial power.

Dan Fendel
Piedmont


No more half-truths from T’ruah

Thus, Rabbi Jill Jacobs and his organization T’ruah have a burning desire to “take responsibility for the future” of Israel (“Love Israel or oppose the occupation? That’s a false dichotomy” , November 18). To that I would like to say: “AzochunwayWhich means, in a rough translation from Yiddish, “God forbid,” though the Jews have come to rely on T’ruah-type advice to save Israel. Fortunately, Israel has been doing very well since its recovery 73 years ago without T’ruah’s help.

The entire Rabbi Jacobs and T’ruah crusade looks like a Jewish revival in which the fate of the Palestinians is blamed squarely on Israel, and the “victims” are totally relieved of any responsibility for the state of their affairs. Ask the rabbi and his followers to describe to rabbinical students, American cantorals, and Palestinian listeners that the Arab side rejected the UN partition plan in November 1947 and that five Arab countries attacked the nascent Jewish state in May 1948; whereas more than 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in the first years of Israel’s existence; that the West Bank and Gaza came under Israeli control following the defeat of Arab aggression in the 1967 Six Day War, and that the lost territories are very often the punishment of the aggressors; that the Palestinian leadership has rejected Israel’s multiple peace offers?

Rabbi Jacobs and his cohorts would do much better to bolster the “ardent Zionism” of rabbinical and cantoral students and encourage the Palestinian side to take meaningful steps towards peaceful coexistence with Israel, instead of presenting a half-truth about it. history of the Israeli. – Palestinian conflict and therefore animosity and rage towards the Jewish state. The full truth would have served everyone well: Diaspora Jews, Israeli Jews, and Palestinians.

Vladimir kaplan
San Mateo


Great news on circumcision

While I enjoyed the cover of Gary Shteyngart’s new book (“On Book Tour, novelist Gary Shteyngart is happy to be out of the house,” November 12), the real news was buried near the end. of the article.

In October, Shteyngart published an essay in the New Yorker on his own horribly botched circumcision. I was amazed to read in J. that after the publication of this article, Shteyngart was contacted by rabbis from progressive Judaism movements to offer their sympathies. Incredibly, many of these rabbis “pledged to present male circumcision to Jewish parents as a choice rather than a religious obligation.” Some rabbis apparently told Shteyngart, “We’re not going to dwell on this anymore. We’re going to say, it’s up to you.

American Jewish writer Gary Shteyngart signs copies of his new novel “Our Country Friends” at the BookShop West Portal in San Francisco on November 11, 2021. (Photo / Andrew Esensten)

Even though only a few rabbis are currently making such statements, this is great news. And this is really great news for those Jewish families who, after weighing the pros and cons of circumcision, decide not to do it. It is high time that the choice not to circumcise became normative in Jewish life – one of the goals of the new Jewish nonprofit Bruchim.

Lisa Braver Moss
Piedmont


No sympathy for Chesa

I read your article on David Gilbert, father of Chesa Boudin (“The father of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin will be released from prison after 40 years”, October 28) and I cringed at the favorable portrait of the hardened criminal .

Your article indicates that Mr. Gilbert served only as an unarmed driver in the ambush and murder of an armored truck against three people. The only reference provided of his minor involvement was “multiple media reports”. I’m sure you could have gotten real court transcripts that provided factual evidence instead of relying on anonymous “media reports”. You need to provide credible sources so that the casual reader can trust your story.

A New York jury found Mr. Gilbert guilty of this heinous crime and he was sentenced to 75 years in prison, one of the harshest in the penal code apart from the death penalty, which in my opinion no is not allowed in New York.

Second, Gilbert received a pardon from Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 23, 2021, reducing his minimum term from 75 years to 40 years. There was no further evidence that exonerated him. The gift of mercy granted him freedom, but did not absolve him of the crime.

Chesa Boudin with her father, David Gilbert, in an undated photo.  (Photo / San Francisco District Attorney's Office)
Chesa Boudin with her father, David Gilbert, in an undated photo. (Photo / San Francisco District Attorney’s Office)

Third, your article deals with Mr. Gilbert’s son, Chesa Boudin, who was affected by his father’s incarceration. That’s right, I’m sure every child of an incarcerated parent misses the everyday parental love that is priceless. But what did the incarcerated parent think when he got involved in a criminal gang and surrendered to the aforementioned armed robbery? Did he think about his children who would remain fatherless (and motherless) if they were caught? If his own father didn’t feel sorry for potentially leaving his children destitute and fatherless, why should we, the readers?

While Chesa has reunited with her father after mercy release, it will never be the same for Michael paige, the son of the murdered victim. He is the one we should feel sorry for, not the man who made the conscious choice to be a criminal.

I believe you have to share both sides of the story and let the reader make their own judgment as to who is the criminal and who is the victim here.

Samuel Nakhimovsky
Host city


Trump never said …

Joe Gurkoff’s recent letter condemning President Trump (“GOP Jews and Trump”, November 22) made false factual statements that must be corrected. First, President Trump has never described the neo-Nazis and white supremacists of Charlottesville, Virginia as “good people.” The text of the president’s August 14, 2017 remarks included: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and ‘other hate groups that shy away from all that is dear to us as Americans “(cited by CNN). The following day’s statement of “very good people, on both sides” unambiguously referred to those who “were also there … to protest the dismantling of a statue, Robert E. Lee” (quoted by the Washington Post). There was never the slightest hint of sympathy for neo-Nazis or white supremacists. As a pro-Union Civil War lover and published author on Lincoln, I find this understanding of the different perspectives quite compelling.

The claim that President Trump and his administration failed to respond to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018 is also false. Mr. Trump, accompanied by his family, visited the Tree of Life shortly after the shooting to show his support for the congregation.

As for saying nothing about the rise of anti-Semitism in 2019, it was President Trump who signed an executive order ordering the Department of Education to focus on anti-Semitism on college campuses, a serious simmering issue. for decades.

There are many legitimate arguments for and against President Trump. George Orwell’s “Two Minutes of Hate” is not one of them. Such expressions only add to the hyperpartisan and dangerous (yes dangerous) polarization in the country. Let’s all try to look at those with whom we disagree with a sense of fairness and respect. The alternative is not good, not good at all.

Steve astrachan
Pleasant Hill


“And the Führer was a wonderful dancer”

The letter from Mr. Steve Astrachan in the November 9 edition (“Trump had the right idea”) lamenting the fact that Trump is not receiving his due from the Jews in his efforts for peace in the Middle East or his executive order leading the The Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office to Respond to Anti-Jewish Discrimination reminded me of the line from “The Producers,” in which the playwright told Max Bialystok and Leo Bloom that “few people knew that, but the Fuhrer was a formidable dancer. . “

Hitler may have been a great dancer, and Trump may have done some good things along the way (he ignored his greatest achievement, Operation Warp Speed, which drove the development of Covid vaccines in a record, but he didn’t praise it because he didn’t want to alienate the wacky anti-vax among his base of support), but when it comes to anti-Semitism, his record is atrocious:

During the 2016 campaign, he retweeted a right-wing meme in which the Star of David hovered above bags of money.

He not only refused to condemn the hateful and murderous mob in Charlottesville, who chanted “The Jews will not replace us,” he said there were “some great people on both sides.”

On January 6, he told his supporters, some of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six Million Was Not Enough”, erected scaffolding and raised the Confederate flag, to “return home in peace”.

Among the pro-Trump crowd at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, a sign read: "PELOSI IS SATAN." (Photo / Lloyd Wolf)
Among the pro-Trump crowd at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, a sign read: “PELOSI IS SATAN. (Photo / Lloyd Wolf)

Speaking of the followers of QAnon, the modern version of the old bloody slander that Jews kill non-Jewish children, he said “they love me very much, which I appreciate”.

Trump has never condemned the anti-Semitism and racism so prevalent among his supporters; in fact, he started his 2016 campaign with racist and hateful speech and never stopped using hatred to appeal to the darker currents of the American right. Mr. Astrachan seems to believe the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I would turn that around and say no, the friends of my enemies are my enemies.

In the same issue, writer Mark Snyder clarifies that the so-called Messianic synagogues are in fact churches. I guess the anti-Semites who vandalized the building in Sacramento didn’t receive this memo. It’s always a heinous act, isn’t it, Mr. Snyder?

Danny yanow
San Francisco


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