Who Invented the Synagogue? – Synagogue

Question:

Ive heard it said that theres no mention of the synagogue in the Torah. So where and when did it originate? Its hard to imagine Judaism (at least as we know it today) without synagogues!

Answer:

Indeed, there is no mention of the Synagogue in the Written Torah (i.e., the Five Books of Moses). The institution of the synagogue is of later, Rabbinic origin.

The purpose of the synagogue is to provide a venue to facilitate and enhance the Biblical obligation of prayer by adding a communal element.

From Moses times until the restoration of the Second Temple, we fulfilled the obligation to pray daily by composing our own prayers, and praying privately.

We also made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to experience the public services that were conducted in the Holy Temple.

After the restoration of the Second Temple (352 BCE), the Great Assembly, led by Ezra, instituted the Kaddish, Kedushah, Barechu, and the rest of the standardized communal service (requiring the participation of a minyan or quorum of ten) as well as the obligation for individuals to participate in these services.

There arose both in Israel and the Diaspora places set aside to pray communally. Thus was born the Place of GatheringBeit Kenesset in Hebrew, and synagogos in Greek.

The primary public worship experience remained the journey to Jerusalem to participate in and be inspired by the Temple service.

When the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 69 CE, the only place for public worship remained the synagogue, which then acquired increased importance as the center of Jewish communal life.

The primary focus of Judaism, however, has always been the life of each individual and their home and family, lived in a strong and mutually responsible community. In fact, when a Jewish community starts from scratch, building a synagogue is not the first item on its to do list. As set by Jewish law, the priorities as far as setting up communal institutions should be:

1) A mikvah

2) Jewish schooling for children

3) A charity fund

4) A synagogue

Of course, people canand doget together anywhere to pray communally.

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Who Invented the Synagogue? – Synagogue

Satmar (Hasidic dynasty) – Wikipedia

Satmar (Hebrew: or ) is a Hasidic sect originating from the city of Satu Mare, Transylvania, where it was founded in 1905 by Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum. Following World War II it was re-established in New York, becoming one of the largest Hasidic movements in the world. After Joel’s death, he was succeeded by his nephew, Moshe Teitelbaum. Since the latter’s death in 2006, the dynasty is split between his two sons, Aaron Teitelbaum and Zalman Teitelbaum.

Satmar is estimated to be one of the largest Hasidic dynasties in the world:[citation needed] The estimated number of affiliated men, women, and children ranges between 50,000 and 120,000. It is characterized by extreme religious rigidity, rejection of modern culture, and fierce anti-Zionism. Satmar sponsors a comprehensive education and media system in Yiddish, and its members use Yiddish as a primary language. The sect also serves as the leading power within those ultra-Orthodox circles which oppose the State of Israel, heading the Central Rabbinical Congress and providing most donations for the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem.

Upon the death of Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, the Grand Rebbe of the Sighet Hasidic dynasty, in 1904, he was succeeded by his oldest son, Chaim Tzvi Teitelbaum. A small fraction of his hasidim regarded his second son, Joel Teitelbaum, as the appropriate heir. The younger brother left Sighet. On 8 September 1905, he settled in Szatmrnmeti (in Yiddish: Satmar), where he began to attract a small following in addition to his few old supporters. Hungarian journalist Dezs Schn, who researched the Teitelbaum rabbis in the 1930s, wrote that Joel started referring to himself as the “Rebbe of Satmar” at that time.[1][2]

Joel’s power base grew with the years. In 1911, he received his first rabbinical post, being appointed chief rabbi of Irshava. In 1921, the northeastern regions of Hungary, which were densely populated with Orthodox Jews, were ceded to Czechoslovakia and Romania under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon. Many Sighet hasidim, unable to regularly visit Chaim Tzvi’s court, turned to Joel instead.[3] In 1925, Joel was appointed chief Orthodox rabbi of Carei. On 21 January 1926, Chaim Tzvi died unexpectedly, leaving his fourteen-year-old son, Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum (II) to succeed him. Chaim Tzvi’s followers accepted Joel as their leader, and Joel became the dynasty’s head in all but name.[4] In 1928, Joel was elected as chief Orthodox rabbi of Satu Mare itself. The appointment resulted in bitter strife within the Jewish community, and Joel only accepted the post in 1934.[1]:320

Joel rose to become a prominent figure in Orthodox circles, leading an uncompromisingly conservative line against modernization. Among other issues, he was a fierce opponent of Zionism and Agudat Yisrael.

On 19 March 1944, the German Army entered Hungary. The Jewish population, which was spared wholesale destruction prior to that time, was concentrated in the Satu Mare ghetto, and deportations to the concentration camps ensued. Joel sought to reassure the frightened people who for the most part weren’t able to leave the country, saying that in the merit of their religiosity, they will be saved. However, when the Germans invaded, he was saved by his devoted followers who paid a huge ransom to have him included in the passenger list of the Kastner train. Joel reached Switzerland on the night of 78 December 1944, and soon immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. Many of Joel’s followers whom he left behind were killed by the Nazis.

Joel chose to move to the United States following his last daughter’s death in Jerusalem, after a year,[5] arriving in New York aboard the MS Vulcania on 26 September 1946.[6]

Joel settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a small group of followers, and set out to re-establish his sect, which was destroyed in the Holocaust. His arrival in America allowed him to fully implement his views: The separation of religion and state enabled the Satmars, as well as numerous other Jewish sects, to establish independent communities, unlike the state-regulated structures in Central Europe.[7]:30 In April 1948, his adherents founded “Congregation Yetev Lev”, which was registered as a religious corporation.[2]:47 Teitelbaum appointed Leopold Friedman (1904-1972), a former bank director, as the congregation’s president, while he was declared supreme spiritual authority. After his death, Friedman was replaced by Leopold Lefkowitz (19201998).[7] The Grand Rebbe’s policy was to maintain complete independence by refusing to affiliate or receive financial aid from any other Jewish group;[8] his hasidim established a network of businesses which provided an economic base for the community’s own social institutions.[7]:3234

The Satmar group grew rapidly, attracting many new followers. A 1961 survey established that its Williamsburg community included 4,500 people. From the 860 household heads, about 40 percent were neither Satmar nor Sighet Hasidim in the pre-war years.[2]:47, 262 In 1968, Satmar was New York’s largest Hasidic group, with 1,300 households in the city. In addition, there were many Satmars in other parts of the United States, and worldwide.[9] As part of his vision of complete isolation from the outside world, Joel encouraged his followers, many of whom were immigrants from former Greater Hungary who spoke primarily German or Hungarian, to use only Yiddish. The sect had its own Yiddish-oriented education system and several publishing houses which provided extensive reading material. His work in this matter made him, according to Bruce Mitchell, the “most influential figure” in the maintenance of the language in the post-war period.[10] The uniformity of Satmar in America enabled to tutor the young in it, unlike at Europe: George Kranzler noted already in 1961 that the children speak Yiddish much better than their parents.[11]

On 23 February 1968, Joel suffered a stroke, which left him barely functioning. His second wife, Alte Feiga, administered the sect for the remainder of Joel’s life with the assistance of several Satmar functionaries.[9]:85

In 1974, the sect began constructing the housing project Kiryas Joel in Monroe, New York for its members. It was accorded an independent municipal status in 1977.[9]:207 On 19 August 1979, the Grand Rebbe died of a heart attack.

Joel was not survived by any children – all his three daughters died in his lifetime. After prolonged vacillations by the community board, his nephew Moshe Teitelbaum, Chaim Tzvi’s second son, was appointed as successor, in spite of Feiga’s severe objections. Moshe was proclaimed Rebbe on 8 August 1980, the first anniversary of his uncle’s death by the Hebrew calendar.[9]:126128 The great majority of Hasidim accepted the new leader, though a small faction called Bnei Yoel, which was unofficially led by Feiga, opposed him. The tense relations between both led to several violent incidents in the 1980s.[11]:229 The new Rebbe appointed his firstborn son, Aaron Teitelbaum, to chief rabbi of Kiryas Joel in 1984. Both incurred opposition from elements within the sect. They were blamed for exercising a centralized leadership style and for lack of sufficient zealotry.[9]:209211

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the case of Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet that a school district whose boundaries had been drawn to include only Satmar children violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Until the late 1990s, Moshe’s heir apparent was his oldest son, Aaron Teitelbaum. In 1999, his third son, Zalman Teitelbaum, was recalled from his post as Satmar chief rabbi in Jerusalem and received the parallel post in the sect’s largest enclave, Williamsburg. He was later proclaimed successor, and an often violent struggle between both brothers ensued. Aaron resided in Kiryas Joel, New York, where he was considered as the local authority, while Zalman held sway in Williamsburg.[12]

Following Moshe’s death in 2006, both groups of followers announced their candidate was named successor in his will and declared them Rebbes. Since then, Zalman and Aaron have been engaged in prolonged judicial disputes. The sect has effectively been split into two independent ones.

At the time of Reb Moshe Teitelbaum’s death, sources within the sect estimated it had 119,000 members worldwide, making it the world’s largest Hasidic group.[13] A similar figure of 120,000 was cited by sociologist Samuel Heilman.[14][15] However, anthropologist Jacques Gutwirth estimated in 2004 that Satmar numbered about 50,000.[16] As of 2006, the dynasty controlled assets worth $1 billion in the United States.[13]

The two largest Satmar communities are in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Kiryas Joel, New York. There are also significant Satmar communities in Borough Park, Brooklyn, and Monsey, New York. Smaller communities can be found in other North American cities such as Los Angeles, Lakewood, New Jersey, Montreal, in some European cities such as Antwerp, London, and Manchester, in Argentina, Australia, and Israel.

In addition to the Grand Rabbis two main congregations, Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam, chief rabbi of the Satmar community in Monsey, New York, became its local leader. Unlike the two brothers, Halberstam does not lay claim to the entire sect, though he conducts himself in the manner of a Hasidic Rebbe, accepting Kvitel and holding tish. Another son, Reb Lipa Teitelbaum, established his own congregation and calls himself Zenter Rabbi, after the town Senta, Serbia, where his father served as Rabbi before World War II.

Both the demeanor and principles of Satmar reflect Joel Teitelbaum’s adherence to the Hungarian Ultra-Orthodox school of thought (not to be confused with ‘Ultra-Orthodox Judaism’).[17] This stream was founded by Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein and his son-in-law Akiva Yosef Schlesinger in the 1860s, on the eve of the Schism in Hungarian Jewry. Faced with rapid acculturation and a decline in religious observance, Lichtenstein preached utter rejection of modernity, widely applying the words of his teacher, Moses Sofer: “All New is Forbidden by the Torah.” Schlesinger accorded Yiddish and traditional Jewish garb a religious status, idealizing them as means to maintain separation from the outside world. To reinforce his opposition to secular studies and use of vernacular, Akiva turned outside of Jewish Law and based his rulings on the non-legalistic Aggadah. The Ultra-Orthodox believed the main threat were not the liberal Neologs, who advocated religious reform, but the moderate traditionalists; they directed their attacks chiefly against the modern Orthodox Azriel Hildesheimer. Their power base lay among the Unterlander Jews of northeastern Hungaryroughly present-day eastern Slovakia, Zakarpattia Oblast and Northern Transylvaniawhere progress made little headway, and the local Galician-descended Jews were poor, unacculturated and strongly influenced by Hasidism. Sighet, as well as most other Hungarian hasidic dynasties, originated from these regions.[18] Lichtenstein’s successors were no less rigid: the leading Ultra-Orthodox authority in the Interwar period, Chaim Elazar Spira of Mukaevo, regarded the Orthodox Agudath Israel as a demonic force as much as both religious and secular Zionism. He demanded complete political passivity, stating that any action to the contrary was akin to disbelief in divine providence. While the Aguda opposed Zionism for seeing it as anti-religious, Spira viewed their plan for establishing an independent state before the arrival of the Messiah a “forcing of the end”, trying to bring Redemption before God prescribed it. In addition, he was an avowed anti-modernist: he sharply denounced Avraham Mordechai Alter, Rebbe of Ger, for introducing secular studies and allowing girls to attend school, and criticized modern medicine, believing the treatments recorded in the Gemara to be superior.[19] Though personal relations between Spira and Joel Teitelbaum were tense, his ideological stance had a strong influence over the younger rabbi. Aviezer Ravitzky believed it remained unacknowledged in the latter’s writings due to the personal animosity between both.[20]

Already firmly anti-Agudist and anti-Zionist in the Interwar period, Teitelbaum had to contend with the issues which baffled world Jewry in the aftermath of World War II: the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1959, he laid down his theological response in the book And Moses Was Content (Hebrew: “Va-Yo’el Moshe”; the title is from Exodus 2:21). The book contained three segments; the first was devoted to Teitelbaum’s interpretation of an Aggadatic text from tractate Ketubot in the Talmud, the Midrash of the Three Oaths. It discusses the meaning of a phrase quoted thrice in the Song of Solomon (2:7, 3:5, 8:4): “I charge you… that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.” The passage explains it as a reference to three oaths forced by God; two on the Children of Israelthat they “shall not go up” (migrate en masse) to their land before redemption, and neither rebel against the gentile nations among which they are exiledand the third upon all nations, “that they shall not oppress Israel too much.” Teitelbaum argued that the first two are binding and eternal, and that their intent was to keep the people in divinely decreed exile until they would all fully repent their sins and earn a solely miraculous salvation, without human interference. He sought to demonstrate that Rabbinic sages of the past were all aware of this nature of the Oaths, and even those who did not mention it, like Maimonides, did so because it was self-evident. His thesis was also meant to refute contrary pro-Zionist religious arguments: that its Aggadatic source made it non-binding, or that the Oaths were no longer valid, especially after the Gentiles “oppressed Israel too much” in the Holocaust. Based on this, Teitelbaum stated Zionism was a severe heresy and a rebellion against God, and that its pursuit brought about the Holocaust as a divine punishment; the continued existence of Israel was a major sin in itself, and would unavoidably lead to further retribution, as well as to the delaying of redemption. And Moses Was Content crystallized the Rabbi’s uncompromisingly hostile stance toward the state. The Oaths were not utilized as a central argument beforehand, and his analysis of them is Teitelbaum’s most notable contribution to Rabbinic literature. The link between Zionism and the Holocaust became a hallmark of his religious worldview.[20]:6366[17]:168180[21]

Teitelbaum’s rabbinic authority and wealthy supporters in the United States made him the leader of the radical, anti-Zionist flank of the Orthodox Jewish world. He adopted a policy of utter non-recognition towards the State of Israel, banning his adherents residing there to vote in the elections or to affiliate in any way with the state’s institutions. When he visited the country in 1959, a separate train was organized for him, with no Israeli markings. The educational network of Satmar and Edah HaChareidis, the latter also led by the Grand Rebbe, were fully independent and received funding from abroad. Satmar and allied elements refuse to receive social benefits or any other monetary aid from the government, and attack those non-Zionist Orthodox who do. He and his successors routinely condemned the Agudah and its supporters for taking part in Israeli politics. As to Religious Zionism, the Satmar Rebbe described its chief theologian, Abraham Isaac Kook, as “wicked adversary and enemy of our Holy Faith.” In 1967, when the Western Wall and other holy places fell under Israel’s control after the Six Day War, he reinforced his views in the 1968 pamphlet Concerning Redeeming and Concerning Changing (“A’l ha-Ge’ulah v-A’l ha-Tmurah”; Ruth 4:7), arguing the war was no miracleas opposed to statements by Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Chabad and others, which he condemned severelyand forbade to pray in the Wall or in the other sites, as it will grant legitimacy to Israel’s rule over them.[9]:3640 While providing support for the otherwise unrelated Neturei Karta, Satmar has not always condoned its actions. Joel denounced them in 1967 when they cooperated with Arabs, and in 2006, the Rabbinic court of Zalman Leib’s groups placed an anathema upon those who visited the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust.[22]

A stringent code of modesty is enforced in the group: Women are required to wear long, conservative skirts, garments with long sleeves, fully covered necklines, and have full stockings. Upon marriage, they have to don a scarf or a wig, or both; some Satmar women wear a wig with a hat on top of it. While in this, they are not very different from other Hasidic dynasties, the Grand Rebbe also had his own demands: He insisted that the stockings of women and girls be fully opaque, a norm accepted by other Hungarian Hasidic groups which revered him.[7]:30 Teitelbaum also opposed education for girls, opening Satmar’s “Beis Ruchl” school network only due to fearing that otherwise, many parents would send their daughters to “Beis Yaakov”.[11]:57

In 2016, it was learned that the sect issued a decree warning that university education for women is dangerous. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns:[23]

It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so wed like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah.

We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school. Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls whove been to college or have a degree.

We have to keep our school safe and we cant allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built.[23]

The decree was issued from the sects base in New York and will apply to followers of the faith group around the world.[23]

The sect operates numerous community foundations. Bikur Cholim (“visiting the sick”), established in 1957 by the Grand Rebbe’s wife Alte Feiga, concerns itself with helping hospitalized Jews regardless of affiliation. Rav Tuv aids Jewish refugees, originally founded in the 1950s to help Jews in the Soviet Union. Today, the organization mostly helps Jews from Iran and Yemen. Keren Hatzolah is a charitable fund to support yeshivas and the poor in Israel, providing for those who shun government benefits.

Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum founded a network of large educational institutions, both yeshivas and girls’ schools. If its schools in New York were a public school system, it would be the fourth-largest system in the state, after those of New York City, Buffalo and Rochester.[24] In most places, the girls’ schools are called Beis Rochel and the yeshivas Torah VeYirah. In 1953, Rabbi Teitelbaum founded the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, which provides various services, including a kashrut supervision. Satmar also operates its own Rabbinical courts, which settle various issues within the community by the principles of Jewish Law.

The sect has a Yiddish newspaper called Der Yid, now privatized, and various other Yiddish publications. It is currently identified with Zalman’s group; Der Blatt, established in 2000, is owned and run by a follower of Aaron.

Excerpt from:
Satmar (Hasidic dynasty) – Wikipedia

The Hasidic Men Who Saved An Arab Woman On A Plane | Jew …

When Hasidic men on airplanes are in the news, its generally not for a good reason. But what about all the polite and positive interactions that go on everyday, unreported? Or the heroic ones, like what happened on a flight this week from Tel Aviv to JFK, when two Satmar Hasidic men saved the day? Reb Beirish Shonbrun and Reb Avraham Meir Miller of Kiryas Joel, New York, were on a trip to Ukraine to support a small yeshiva in Kuresteen, where dozens of Jews are beginning their journey to an observant Jewish life. For the past 15 years, they have visited the community nearly monthly to teach them Torah, sustain them, and to help them make simchas (Shonbrun is a mohel in addition to running two businesses). They were just there to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah in Kuresteen and a Torah dedication in Israel and were flying home on Turkish Airlines.

The flight was halfway through its 10 hour travel time, and the plane was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the passengers were asleep, but an Arab woman wasnt feeling well. She had gone to the planes rear galley to get help from a flight attendant, and as she approached the galley, she collapsed. An announcement was made asking that if anyone had medical training they should alert a flight attendant immediately. Not only is Shonbraun a Mohel and a business owner, he and his friend Miller are also longtime members of the Kiryas Joel Hatzolah (Shonbrun for 12 years and Miller for 20). Shonbrun immediately ran up the aisle towards the galley to help, while calling for Miller, who was asleep at the time, to wake up. Shonbrun recalls I had my kit and licenses with me. Even though there was a doctor on the plane, he didnt have his ID and so they had me help.

The woman was unresponsive and Shonbrun did what he could to wake her. When she became responsive again, she was began throwing up, and Shonbraun helped clean her up and take her vitals.By the time I got there, Miller says,Beirish was working hard to get a story out of her. We gave her water and ice and helped her sit up. Miller worked with a hijab-wearing translator to get a medical history since the patient spoke no English (or Yiddish). We stabilized her, Shonbrun says, The pilot asked if we needed to make an emergency landing, but by that time, she felt much better. We were able to avoid it. When the woman was safely back in her seat, Shonbrun and Miller told her where they were sitting so that she could follow up if need be. They went back to their seats. Miller recalls, The service was nice to begin with but from that moment on, everyone was just thrilled. Everyone couldnt thank us enough.

Back in New York now, Shonbrun is very humble about the whole experience. I became an EMT when I was young. In addition to my businesses in contracting and in roofing and sidingI grew up in Williamsburg and moved to Kiryas Joel when I got married 20 years ago. I try to help people all day. He is demure when asked about the lasting impact of the incident. It was a nice kiddush Hashem. A man came up to me and told me that he never saw anything like this. How did I do it? He asked me. He only ever sees Chasidim turn the plane upside down. But not this time.

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The Hasidic Men Who Saved An Arab Woman On A Plane | Jew …

Gay man blames brutal beating on Hasidic patrolmen linked …

A gay black man who was brutally beaten in 2013 by a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men blames the attack on the ongoing NYPD corruption scandal, a new lawsuit filed Monday says.

Taj Patterson accuses the city and police officials of being in bed with members of the Shomrim saying the Satmar watchdog patrol group has for years been given favorable and preferential treatment, the Brooklyn federal court complaint says.

Patterson, who is openly gay, was left permanently blind in the left eye from the beat-down in Williamsburg, allegedly by the group of Hasidic patrolmen.

Five were ultimately arrested but Patterson says in his suit that the investigation was bungled and prematurely closed after Shomrim members made calls to the 90th Precinct.

The now-25-year-old says the city is responsible for his serious injuries because its allowed the close-knit relationship between the two groups to continue for years.

Taj Pattersons brutal beating, and his lack of access to adequate justice, was the inevitable result of the citys refusal to address these issues, the suit says.

One of the attackers, Pinchas Braver, received special treatment and rewards from the NYPD, including getting a tour of the 19th Precinct which was then run by ex-Deputy Inspector James Grant.

Grant was recently arrested with other NYPD officials on charges they took bribes from Jewish businessmen.

At the time of Pattersons attack, the 90th Precinct was led by Commander Mark DiPaolo, who allegedly took a trip to Israel with former Chief of Department Phillip Banks that was paid for by politically connected Jewish businessmen, the lawsuit notes.

In May, Abraham Winkler and Braver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the attack in exchange for three years probation.

A third attacker, Mayer Herskovic, is headed to trial and charges against two others were dismissed.

A city Law Department spokesman said the complaint will be reviewed.

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Gay man blames brutal beating on Hasidic patrolmen linked …

Levin: Anti-Semitism Charges Against Bannon ‘Absolutely …

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Monday, on his radio show, Mark Levin argued that allegations of anti-Semitism against newly-appointed White House Chief Strategist & Senior Counselor Stephen K. Bannon are absolutely ridiculous.

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Levin said that while he strong disagreements with Bannons support of the nationalist/populist movement, charges of anti-Semitism against absolutely outrageous. Levin continued, Hes in partnership over there at Breitbart, the guy he has a partnership with, hes a Jew. Hes been all Trump, pretty much, even though they pretended for Cruz, but hes been all Trump, and Trumps son-in-laws an Orthodox Jew. Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism. Levinadded that Bannon had always been pro-Israel as long as hes known him.

He continued, Now, it is true that this alt-right crowd, which I find repulsive, repulsive, has white supremacist leanings and white supremacists in it. I am unaware that Bannon and the rest are part of that movement. Its not the same thing as the populist movement.

Levin added that he does see evidence of anti-Semitism from President Obama in his treatment of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Levin also pointed to the establishment of Breitbart Jerusalem, which is headed by Aaron Klein, during Bannons tenure at the site.

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Levin: Anti-Semitism Charges Against Bannon ‘Absolutely …

Myths & Facts: Archived Online Exclusive | Jewish Virtual …

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Egypt’s blockade of Gaza has provoked international criticism. George Mitchell threatened Israel. The U.S. is maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge. The Israelis and the Palestinians share equal blame in creating recent obstacles to peace. Israel is an apartheid state. Israels Inclusion of Rachels Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Jewish Heritage Sites is an attack on Palestinian sovereignty and Islam. The re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue is an affront to Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority promotes a culture of tolerance and peace. The flotilla bound for Gaza was on a humanitarian mission. The naval blockade of Gaza does not affect Hamas and only hurts innocent civilians. UNIFIL has kept the peace in southern Lebanon. Palestinian Authority leaders have a mandate from the people to pursue peace. Ending the moratorium on settlement construction is designed to torpedo peace negotiations. Renewed settlement construction in the West Bank proves Israel is uninterested in peace. Israel has instituted a racist loyalty oath requiring immigrants to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The Palestinians can pressure Israel into negotiating on their terms by unilaterally declaring statehood.” Israel cannot be both a democratic state and a Jewish state. The UN helps preserve Jewish holy sites in the Palestinian Territories. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate interested in compromise. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that feels threatened by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Saudi Arabia is an ally of the West in the war on terror.” The viability of a future Palestinian state is severely hampered by the continued construction of Israeli settlements.” Israel illegally demolished a Palestinian national landmark in East Jerusalem.” Israel is required by international law to supply goods and services to Gaza – its blockade is collective punishment.” Israel must accept the demand of Palestinian refugees to ‘return’ in order for there to be peace.” The Egyptian revolution has no impact on Israel’s security. Turmoil in Egypt is a result of the failure to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. America’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements undermined peace talks. American media coverage of Israel is proportional with coverage given to the rest of the Middle East. ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ promotes peace. Palestinian terrorism is a byproduct of the ‘cycle of violence’ perpetuated by Israel. Israel unnecessarily maintains checkpoints to control and humiliate the Palestinians. Rockets shot from Gaza at southern Israel do not cause enough damage to justify military retaliation . Justice Goldstone remains convinced that Israel committed war crimes documented in the Goldstone Report. The Iron Dome Missile Defense System negates the need for Israel to engage in military operations against Hamas in Gaza The targeted assassination of terrorist leaders is a counterproductive military strategy Hamas-Fatah reconciliation paves the way to peace negotiations with Israel. Israel unjustly responded with violence to the protests of Nakba day. Israel must withdraw to the June 4, 1967 boundaries. “Gaza does not receive necessary humaitarian supplies due to Israel’s blockade.&l’s blockade.” “Palestinian protestors staged non-violents demonstrations on the Israeli-Syrian border.” “The ‘Flotilla 2′ is intended solely to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” “The United Nations repudiated the claim that Israels naval blockade of Gaza is legal.” “A Unilateral Declaration of Independence is the Palestinians only avenue to advance the Peace Process.” “Palestinian leaders claim that the future Palestinian state will welcome Jews and Israelis.” “Mahmoud Abbas is working toward reaching peace with Israel.” “Due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s economy has been suffering.” – “Gaza does not receive necessary humaitarian supplies due to Israel’s blockade.” – “The ‘Flotilla 2′ is intended solely to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” – “The United Nations repudiated the claim that Israels naval blockade of Gaza is legal.” – “A Unilateral Declaration of Independence is the Palestinians only avenue to advance the Peace Process.” – “Palestinian leaders claim that the future Palestinian state will welcome Jews and Israelis.” – “Mahmoud Abbas is working toward reaching peace with Israel.” – “Time is not on Iran’s side vis-a-vis its acquiring the atomic bomb.” – “Due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s economy has been suffering.” – “Of the Palestinian prisoners released in the Shalit deal, most who have spoken out say they will renounce terror.” – “Israel’s proposed rebuilding of the Mugrabi Gate leading to the Temple Mount is an act of religious war.” – “The Palestinian leadership wants to normalize ties with Israel.” – “The Palestinians agreed to negotiate with Israel without preconditions.” – “Palestinians terrorism is no longer a threat to Israel.” – “Israel no longer faces any threats from Gaza.” – “The rights of Palestinian women are protected in the Palestinian Authority.” – “Palestinians are talking about peace with Israelis in Jordan.” – “Terrorism against Jews is limited to attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories.” – “Israeli democracy is threatened and Americans need to speak out to save it.” – “Iran is the only Muslim nation in the Middle East seeking to develop nuclear technology.” – “Women do not have equal rights in Israel.” – “Israel’s policy of targeted killings is immoral and counterproductive.” – “Israel does not support humanitarian development and sustainablity in the Palestinian territories.” – “Israel is whitewashing history to promote the judaization of Jerusalem.” – “The State Department knows the capital of Israel.” – “Israeli policy has caused an exodus of Christians from the West Bank.” – “The United States is committed to ensuring a complete halt to the Iranian nuclear program.” – “Israel’s new unity government reduces the prospect for continued peace negotiations with the Palestinians.” – “Palestinians no longer object to the creation of Israel.” – “Mahmoud Abbas has rooted out corruption from the Palestinian Authority.” – “The rise of Islamists in Egypt’s government does not pose a strategic threat to Israel.” – “The Palestinian Authority promotes a culture of tolerance and peace toward Israel.” – “Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation is at it weakest point in years.” – “Israel is culpable in the 2003 death of American activist Rachel Corrie.” – “Intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program may be as faulty as the information about Iraq’s.” – “We will know when Iran has a bomb and can take action at that time.” – “Iran should be allowed a nuclear weapon since Israel has one.” – “Anti-Semitism is on the decline around the world.” – “Iran does not believe it can win a nuclear war.” – “Iran wants to control its nuclear stockpile and would never give a bomb or nuclear material to terrorists.” – “We are seeing accurate media coverage from Gaza.” – “Israel is deliberately targeting the media.” – “Israel’s war in Gaza was immoral because more Palestinians died than Israelis.” – “The Israeli construction plan called the E1 project threatens the two-state solution and the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.” – “Israeli policies are obstructing peace.” – “If Iran has a bomb, it can be deterred the way the U.S. deterred the Soviet Union.” – “Israeli settlements are an obstacle to Mideast peace. – “The Palestinians are now ready to make peace with Israel. – “Attacking Iran will create more instability in the Middle East. – “If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was solved, the Middle East would be at peace. – “Israel has created separate bus lines to segregate Jews and Palestinians. – “The European Union has no reason to name Hezbollah a terrorist organization. – “Non-lethal Palestinian rocket attacks have no impact on Israel’s civilian population. – “Israelis overreact to harmless rock-throwing by Palestinians. – “The Palestinian Authority is committed to reforming Palestinian society. – “Now is a good time to revive the Arab peace initiative. – “Syrias chemical weapons pose no threat outside of Syria. – “Israel has refused to discuss a compromise on the future of Jerusalem. – “′Nakba Day’ has nothing to do with the peace process. – “An Israeli attack on Iran would endanger U.S. interests in the Middle East. – “The United States helped Israel defeat the Arabs in six days in June 1967. – “The election of Hassan Rouhani eliminates the Iranian nuclear threat. – “The U.S. must be involved in any successful peace process between Israel and her neighbors. – “Israel ‘occupies’ the West Bank. – “Palestinian leaders enter peace talks with Israel sharing a common desire for democacy. – “Israel must make concessions for the peace process to succeed. – “Christians are a protected minority in the Middle East. – “Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is disinterested in peace with the Palestinians. – “Palestinians support the boycott and divestment movement against Israel. – “Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a fatwa against producing nuclear weapons. – “Iran is isolated because of the international sanctions regime. – “Israel is responsible for expelling the Arabs of Palestine during the 1948 War of Independence. – “The Palestinians have made concessions to advance the peace process; Israel has remained uncompromising. – “A third intifada will erupt if Israel does not satisfy Palestinian demands. – “The negotiated compromise with Iran removes Tehran’s nuclear weapons threat. – “The Iranian government is committed to fulfilling the terms it agreed to in the Geneva nuclear deal“

MYTH

The Palestinian Authority held a free, democratic election in 2005. top

FACT

Elections are not synonymous with democracy. Several Arab countries hold elections, including Egypt and Syria, but they have only one candidate, and there is no doubt about the outcome. The dictators are always reelected with nearly 100 percent of the vote. In those nations, no one seriously claims the elections are democratic.

In the case of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections held in January 2005, the standards were higher. These were advertised as an example of democracy and, compared to other Arab states, the voting was a considerable advancement toward free elections.

Still, the election could hardly be called competitive as the outcome was never in doubt. Seven candidates ran for president, but the only question was the size of Mahmoud Abbas margin of victory. He won with 62.3 percent of the vote. His nearest challenger was Mustafa Barghouti with 19.8 percent.1

The election had a much lower turnout than expected (62 percent), and supporters of the Islamic terrorist organizations largely boycotted the vote, as did Arabs living in east Jerusalem. Thus, Abbas was conservatively estimated by al-Jazeera to have received the support of only about one-third of the eligible voters.2

The election process went smoothly and, despite Palestinian predictions of Israeli interference, international observers reported that Palestinians were not obstructed by Israel from participating in the election. In fact, Palestinian and Israeli officials were said to have worked well together to facilitate voting.3

Free elections can only take place in societies in which people are free to express their opinions without fear.

Natan Sharansky4

Immediately after the election, however, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned, confirming suspicions of voting irregularities and fraud. The Committee had come under pressure from Abbas staff to extend the vote by an additional two hours and to allow non-registered voters to cast ballots to guarantee a larger turnout and improve Abbas chance of a landslide victory.

The day of the election, gunmen stormed the Committee offices to demand that Palestinians who were not registered be allowed to vote. The deputy chairman of the Committee, Ammar Dwaik, said he was personally threatened and pressured and confirmed that some voters were able to remove from their thumbs the ink that was supposed to prevent double voting.5

While Abbas is now seen as a legitimately elected leader by most Palestinians and the international community, the PA has no history of democratic institutions, so it remains in doubt whether the various terrorist groups will also accept his leadership, and whether the security services will enforce the presidents will.

Natan Sharansky observed that It is important that these elections took place, because it important that the new leadership comes, or will come, not through violence. That can be the beginning of the process of democracy.6 To move closer to true democracy, Abbas will also have to remove his predecessors restrictions on the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. Then perhaps the next election will be truly free and democratic.

MYTH

Israel is building the security fence as part of a land grab to control the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. top

FACT

The purpose of the security fence is the prevention of terror. Its route has been carefully plotted to maximize the security it provides to the citizens of Israel and minimize the inconvenience and harm to Palestinians. The route of the fence must take into account topography, population density, and threat assessment of each area. To be effective in protecting the maximum number of Israelis, it also must incorporate the largest communities in the West Bank.

After the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the government had to more carefully balance security concerns and harm to the Palestinians, the route of the fence was adjusted to run closer to the Green Line. When completed, the fence will now incorporate just 7 percent of the West Bank less than 160 square miles on its Israeli side, while 2,100 square miles will be on the Palestinian side.

If and when the Palestinians decide to negotiate an end to the conflict, the fence may be torn down or moved. Even without any change, a Palestinian state could now theoretically be created in 93 percent of the West Bank (and the PA will control 100 percent of the Gaza Strip after the disengagement is complete). This is very close to the 97 percent Israel offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, which means that while other difficult issues remain to be resolved, the territorial aspect of the dispute will be reduced to a negotiation over roughly 90 square miles.

MYTH

The demographic threat to Israel posed by Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza is overrated and therefore Israel need not make territorial compromises. top

FACT

A study was recently published that suggested the assumption that Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza pose a demographic threat to Israel has been exaggerated because the actual population in the territories is significantly lower than what is reported by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials. According to a study by a team of independent researchers, the 2004 Palestinian-Arab population was closer to 2.4 million than to the 3.8 million cited by the PA.7

The independent study comes up with its figures largely by deconstructing PA statistics, but Israel’s leading demographer, Professor Sergio DellaPergola of Hebrew University, has challenged the result, saying his estimate of 3.4 million Palestinians is based on Israeli data (the CIA estimates the population for the West Bank and Gaza at 3.6 million). According to DellaPergola, 4.7 million Arabs now live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River out of a total of 10,263,000. The Jewish proportion of this total is 51 percent. DellaPergola argues that because of the higher rate of birth in the Arab community, they have the demographic momentum, and that by 2020, the proportion of Jews is likely to drop to 47 percent and could fall to 37 percent by 2050.8

Even if the new study is more accurate, it only has a minimal impact on the demographic reality. According to Israeli census figures, the population of Israel today is approximately 6.8 million. If we add the 2.4 million Arabs the new study says live in the territories, the total population from the river to the sea would be 9.2 million (including about 1.3 million Israeli Arabs). The Jewish population is roughly 5.2 million or 57 percent, slightly better than DellaPergolas estimate of 51 percent.

These overall statistics also distort the debate over the disengagement from Gaza where the demographic picture is crystal clear. According to the new study, the Arab population there is more than 1.07. The Jewish population, according to the State Department, prior to the evacuation was 7,500, which means the the percentage of Jews in Gaza was a fraction of 1 percent.

The independent study focuses solely on discrediting the PA statistics and does not address the crucial issue of future trends, which DellaPergola shows are clearly in the Arabs favor. The new report argues that the growth rates in Israel and the territories have been lower than previously forecast (though they use figures for only the last four years), but even the new figures show that the growth rate for the Arabs remains higher than that of the Jews, so the proportion of Jews should continue to decline.

Recent data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics suggests the situation may be even worse. The Bureau said that the proportion of Jews within the current borders of Israel is expected to decline from the present figure of 78 percent to 70 percent in 2025 because of the higher birth rate among Israeli Arabs. According to Industry and Trade Ministry data released in March 2007, Jewish women in Israel on average have 2.69 children each and give birth to the first at age 30. Muslim women have an average of four children and give birth to the first at age 27.9

Many proponents of territorial compromise argue that these demographic trends make it impossible for Israel to remain both a Jewish and democratic state if it holds onto the West Bank and Gaza. If a majority of the population of Israel, or even a significant minority, were non-Jews, then the Jewish character of the state would likely change. In fact, the new report states that As in 1967, Israel faces a very real issue on the status of a large minority population in the West Bank and Gaza (emphasis in the original). Extremists have suggested that non-Jews could be prohibited from voting, but this would make the state undemocratic. Since no Israeli leader even those labeled as right-wing fanatics who dream of Greater Israel have found a way to square this circle, Israel has never annexed the West Bank and Gaza. And now one of those hardliners, Ariel Sharon, was moved by the demographic reality to initiate the disengagement plan.

Many people argue that it is impossible to predict the future, and that most past projections were proven inaccurate. Earlier doomsday predictions were upset by large influxes of immigrants, and many Israelis still believe this will be their demographic salvation. After more than one million Jews from the former Soviet Union arrived in the 1990s, this view was temporarily vindicated, however, there only about 8 million Jews in the entire world outside Israel, and a large number would have to decide to move to Israel to offset the demographic trend. This is especially unlikely given that roughly 75 percent of the Jews outside Israel live in the United States from which very few emigrate.

The demographic issue is still only one variable in the Israeli political calculus related to territorial compromise. The other principal concerns are whether Israel can have greater peace and security without controlling some or all of the territories. That is a matter of great debate within Israel. For now, the majority of Israelis have come to the conclusion that withdrawal from Gaza and part of Samaria is in Israels best interest.

MYTH

Israel is killing Palestinians with radiation spy machines. top

FACT

Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the big lie tactic in which a lie, no matter how outrageous, is repeated often enough that it will eventually be accepted as truth. It is a propaganda tool the Palestinians have repeatedly tried to use to tar Israel. Past examples have included specious claims that Israel massacred 500 people at Jenin,10 infects Palestinians with the AIDS virus,11 and drops poison candy for children in Gaza from airplanes.12

The latest calumny from the Palestinians is the claim that Israel is using a radial spy machine at checkpoints, and that the device killed a 55-year-old Palestinian woman.13The charge is apparently related to the Palestinian Authoritys decision to close a checkpoint on their side of the border in Gaza to protest Israels use of advanced radio-wave machines for searching Palestinian travelers.14

The device is the SafeView Millimeter Wave Radar, an American-made portal system that uses millimeter a safe wave holographic technology to screen travelers from Egypt for weapons and explosives. Unlike metal detectors, this system is capable of detecting virtually any man-made object, regardless of the type of material, by transmitting ultra-high frequency, low-powered radio frequency waves as people pass through the portal. The waves penetrate clothing and reflect off of the persons skin and any items being carried. A sensor array captures the reflected waves and uses a desktop computer to analyze the information and produce a high-resolution, 3-D image from the signals.15

Since the allegation is coming from the official Palestinian media, it represents a violation of the Palestinian Authoritys commitment to end incitement against Israel.

MYTH

Unlike other Arab women, Palestinian women are not killed for dishonoring their families. top

FACT

Maher Shakirat learned that one of his sisters was thrown out of the house by her husband for an alleged affair. Shakirat strangled his sister, who was eight months pregnant, and forced two other sisters he accused of covering up the affair to drink bleach. One of those was badly injured but escaped, but the third sister was also strangled by her brother.

Palestinian women who bring dishonor to their families may be punished by male family members. The punishments may range from ostracism and abandonment to physical abuse to murder. Honor killings may be carried out for instances of rape, infidelity, flirting or any other action seen as disgracing the family. By killing the woman, the familys name in the community is restored.

Women are usually not allowed to defend themselves; they are considered minors under the authority of male relatives, and may be killed based on a family members suspicions. An allegation of misbehavior is sufficient to defile a mans or familys honor and justify the killing of the woman. Men who carry out these murders in the Palestinian Authority typically go unpunished or receive a maximum of six months in prison.16

Because these crimes often go unreported, it is difficult to determine the actual number of victims in honor killings, but the Palestinian Authoritys womens affairs ministry reported that 20 women were murdered in honor killings in 2005, 15 survived murder attempts, and approximately 50 committed suicide, often under coercion, for shaming the family.17

According to a June 2005 poll, 24% of Palestinians said that if a family discovered that one of its daughters was involved in a case of family disgrace (e.g., adultery), the family should kill the daughter to remove the disgrace.18

MYTH

Israel has moved the border so it will not withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip. top

FACT

Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian Authoritys Minister of Civil Affairs, has claimed that Israel moved the northern border of the Gaza Strip about 1.2 miles, and that Israel’s disengagement will not be complete unless it withdraws to the 1949 armistice lines.19 By suggesting that Israel is holding onto a piece of Gaza, the Palestinians are threatening to create a Shebaa Farms issue that could undercut the prospects for peace created by Israel’s courageous decision to evacuate all its citizens and soldiers from the area.

Substantively, Dahlans claim is inaccurate. The border of Gaza was originally determined during the 1949 Rhodes Armistice negotiations with Egypt. A year later, Israel agreed to move the border southeast, creating a bulge in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. In exchange, Egypt redrew the border in the north, moving it more than a mile southwest. According to Israel’s National Security Council chief, Giora Eiland, the border was reconfirmed in the Oslo accords.20 Today, Netiv Haasara, a community of 125 families, many of which were evacuated from settlements in the Sinai as part of the peace treaty with Egypt, is located in the area Dahlan wants included in Gaza.

In the case of Shebaa Farms, the Lebanese terrorist group, Hizballah, has speciously maintained that Israel did not fully withdraw from Lebanon, despite the UN’s verification that it has, and used Israels presence in the Shebaa Farms area as the pretext for continuing its terror campaign against Israel. If the Palestinians adopt a similar policy toward the sliver of land they claim to be part of Gaza to perpetuate their image as victims, and to try to win propaganda points by claiming to still be under occupation, they will once again demonstrate that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

If the Palestinians continue terrorist attacks against Israel, and make claims to additional territory, rather than focusing on state-building within Gaza and meeting their road map obligations, Israel will have little interest in pursuing negotiations regarding the West Bank.

MYTH

Hamas should be permitted to participate in Palestinian Authority elections. top

FACT

The second Oslo agreement (Oslo II) between Israel and the Palestinian Authority prohibits the nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions that commit or advocate racism or pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means (Annex II, Article II).21 Under this agreement, Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians alike, cannot legally participate in Palestinian national elections. The Covenant of Hamas says nothing about democracy or elections. It does say that when enemies (the Jews) usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that Israel will not cooperate with the Palestinian Authority during elections if candidates from Hamas are allowed to participate. An armed organization doesn’t become democratic once they participate in the election, Sharon said.22

Yossi Beilin, the leader of the Meretz-Yahad Party, and one of the architects of the Oslo accords, said that recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political entity is a gross violation of the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement, and that in the global struggle against terrorism, it would be surprising indeed if Israel, paradoxically, were to acquiesce in the legitimization of a terrorist organization under its very nose.23

The United States has left it up to the Palestinians to decide who can participate in the Palestinian Legislative Council; however, National Security Council spokesperson Frederick L. Jones II said the U.S. would never have diplomatic relations with candidates from a terrorist organization.We do not believe that a democratic state can be built when parties or candidates seek power not through the ballot box but through terrorist activity, Jones said.24

MYTH

Israel’s disengagement from Gaza was a victory for terror. top

FACT

Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank was applauded by the international community as an important and painful step toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the United Nations, which rarely has anything positive to say about Israel, praised the determination and political courage shown by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon25 in implementing the disengagement plan peacefully and successfully.

In an effort to bolster their standing with the Palestinian public, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim it was their terror campaign that forced Israel to withdraw.26 In fact, the terrorist groups did nothing but bring death and destruction to the people of Israel and their fellow Palestinians. Israel was not driven from the territories, it made a calculated decision to leave based on its own interests.

The 8,000 civilians who lived in Gaza were viewed by the terrorists as targets, and Israel had to devote a great deal of its human and material resources to protect these innocent people. In addition, Sharon agreed with those who concluded it would make no sense for Israel to hold on to an area with a Palestinian population exceeding one million. By withdrawing, Israel’s security has been enhanced, and the Palestinians have been given the opportunity to govern themselves and demonstrate whether they are able and willing to create a democratic society that can coexist with Israel.

At the time of the disengagement, Israel had dramatically reduced the level of terror, and the security fence around Gaza had a nearly perfect record of preventing the infiltration of suicide bombers. Israeli forces had severely damaged the terrorist infrastructure and killed or jailed most of the leaders of the major terror groups. The disengagement took place after Israel won the Palestinian War the Palestinian Authority had instigated in 2000, and the withdrawal took place from a position of strength, not weakness.

Palestinian extremists can claim whatever they want, but even they know the truth. As Zakariya Zubeidi, the leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorist group observed, Not only was the intifada a failure, but we are a total failure. We achieved nothing in 50 years of struggle; we’ve achieved only our survival.27

And the Palestinian people are not fooled by the rhetoric of the terrorists, as is evident by this comment by Mohammed Ahmed Moussa, a grocer in Jabaliya, who said, Let’s be frank. If Israel didn’t want to leave Gaza, no one could have forced them out. Those who claim the rockets and attacks made them leave are kidding themselves.28

MYTH

Israel is obstructing Palestinian elections. top

FACT

Israel is a democracy and believes in free elections as the best means of insuring representative government. Consequently, Israel has been supportive of the idea of democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority. In the 2005 presidential election, international observers reported that Israel made no effort to impede the vote. To the contrary, it took a number of measures to facilitate the election.

Similarly, Israel has no intention of interfering in the upcoming legislative elections in the PA. While there is some dispute about whether and how Palestinians living in Jerusalem may participate, a similar issue was resolved before the last election.

The Jerusalem issue, however, is being used as a smokescreen by the Palestinians to obscure their internal divisions. Palestinian officials have been talking for months about delaying the elections scheduled for January 25 because of chaos and disorder throughout the PA, and because of fears that they will lose power and that Hamas will take seats from the dominant Fatah party.

Many Palestinians also legitimately fear the election will not be fair. With just three weeks to go before the election, the Palestinian election commission resigned because the commissioners said Prime Minister Ahmed Korei was interfering with their work. After the last election, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned to protest voting irregularities and fraud.

The problem for the PA today is not any Israeli interference in their affairs, it is the Wild West climate that now dominates the Gaza Strip and much of the West Bank. So long as the PA is unable to insure the safety of its residents, it will be unable to hold a free democratic election.

MYTH

Academic freedom means any criticism of Israel is permissible in a university. top

FACT

The one place in America where anti-Semitism is still tolerated is in the university, where academic freedom is often used as a cover to sanction anti-Israel teachings and forums that are anti-Semitic.

In an address on the subject of academic freedom, Columbia President Lee Bollinger quoted from a report that described a professor as someone whom no fair-minded person would even suspect of speaking other than as shaped or restricted by the judgement . . . of professional scholars. He also spoke about the need for faculty to resist the allure of certitude, the temptation to use the podium as an ideological platform, to indoctrinate a captive audience, to play favorites with the like-minded, and silence the others.

Many faculty, however, do not resist temptation; rather, they embrace their position as an ideological platform. Those who abuse their rights, and insist they can say what they want, hypocritically denounce others who exercise their right to criticize them. To suggest that a professors views are inappropriate, or their scholarship is faulty, is to risk being tarred with the charge of McCarthyism.

Legality is not the issue in evaluating the anti-Israel, sometimes anti-Semitic speeches and teachings of faculty and speakers on campus. No one questions that freedom of speech allows individuals to express their views. The issue is whether this type of speech should be given the cover of academic freedom, and granted legitimacy by the university through funding, publicity or use of facilities.

For the last several years, for example, an anti-Semitic forum has been held at different universities by the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM). In 2004, the conference was held at Duke University. Organizers were asked to sign an innocuous statement before the event calling for a civil debate that would condemn the murder of innocent civilians, support a two-state solution and recognize the difference between disagreement and hate speech, but refused to do so. By hosting a group that could not bring itself to object to the murder of Jews, Duke gave their views legitimacy and tarnished the universitys academic reputation. The 2006 PSM conference is being held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

It is sometimes suggested critics seek to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel. There is a clear distinction, however, between criticism of Israeli policy, which you can read in any Israeli newspaper, and anti-Semitism, in which the attacks against Israel challenge its right to exist, or single Israel out among all other nations for special treatment, as in the case of the PSMs call for the end to Israeli occupation in all of Palestine and divestment from Israel.

A related question is whether the presentations are in any way academic or scholarly. Few people would claim that a conference in which anti-black, anti-gay, or anti-woman sentiments were expressed would be protected by academic freedom, and yet that is the shield used to permit attacks on the Jewish people.

Palestine means Palestine in its entirety – from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy’s [right] to a single inch.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar29

MYTH

The Palestinian Authority held a democratic election and Israel and the rest of the world must accept that Hamas was the victor. top

FACT

Winston Churchill said that Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. It was a step forward, then, for the authoritarian Palestinian Authority to hold elections that by all accounts were conducted fairly. Nevertheless, so long as the Palestinian people continue to be denied by their leaders the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly and the press, the election cannot be considered truly free and democratic.

While democratic outcomes are preferable to the alternatives, the rest of the world is not obligated to have a relationship with elected leaders whose policies and views are dangerous. Adolf Hitler was elected by the German people, but few people would suggest today that the rest of the world should have ignored his genocidal views and treated him as an equal just because he emerged from a democratic process. Similarly, the current Iranian president was elected and is still widely viewed as a pariah because of his threats to destroy Israel and to pursue nuclear weapons in defiance of the rest of the world.

The Palestinian people chose to elect members of an organization whose avowed purpose is the destruction of Israel by violent means. Hamas is recognized throughout the world as a terrorist organization. Since the election, Hamas leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the Hamas covenant calling for the liberation of all of Palestine and they have made clear it they have no intention of disarming.

Israel now has on its borders a quasi government run by people who oppose negotiations and compromise. Hamas can now take over all of the security services and weapons that have previously been given by Israel and others to the Palestinian Authority to keep the peace. The institutions that were bound by agreements to stop the violence, confiscate illegal weapons, end smuggling and cease incitement are now controlled by the very people most responsible for terror, gun running, and the use of the media and schools to demonize Israel and Jews.

Most of the world understands that Hamas is not a partner for peace and that it is a terrorist group that threatens the stability of the region. The United States and other countries rightly have said that it must recognize Israel and renounce terror before any diplomatic or economic support can be given to the PA. Of course, we went through a similar exercise in 1993 when similar demands were made of the PLO. Yasser Arafat made the necessary commitments in a letter to then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, but he never matched the words with deeds. The world will be wise not to make the same mistake with Hamas.

Originally posted here:
Myths & Facts: Archived Online Exclusive | Jewish Virtual …

UK adopts antisemitism definition to combat hate crime …

John Mann calls Ken Livingstone a Nazi apologist in front of TV cameras in April. Photograph: ITN

The government is to formally adopt a definition of what constitutes antisemitism, which includes over-sweeping condemnation of Israel, with Theresa May saying the measure will help efforts to combat hate crime against Jews.

Britain will become one of the first countries to use this definition of antisemitism, as agreed last May at a conference of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the prime minister will say in London.

A Downing Street statement said the intention of such a definition was to ensure that culprits will not be able to get away with being antisemitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it.

The IHRAs definition reads: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

More detailed guidance on this, released by the IHRA in May, said this could include criticisms which target Israel, if this was conceived as a Jewish collectivity. It added: However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

The guidance says it could be considered antisemitic to accuse Jews of being more loyal to Israel or their religion than to their own nations, or to say the existence of Israel is intrinsically racist.

There will be one definition of antisemitism and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it

Concerns about criticism of Israel as a state potentially crossing into overt antisemitism has had particular recent resonance in British politics over recent months, with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, commissioning a report into the issue in his party.

In October, the vice-chair of the Corbyn-supporting group Momentum, Jackie Walker, was removed from her post in the wake of remarks questioning the need for security at Jewish schools, and about Holocaust Memorial Day.

A series of Jewish MPs have also faced online abuse. In October, a man was jailed for sending antisemitic messages to the Labour MP Luciana Berger. In December, a man was convicted of harassing the same MP with antisemitic rants.

A spokeswoman for Corbyn said he and Labour agreed with the IHRAs definition. She said: Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party share the view that language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews is antisemitism, and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism.

According to excerpts of her speech released in advance, May will say: It is unacceptable that there is antisemitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a groundbreaking step.

It means there will be one definition of antisemitism in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.

Police forces already use a version of the IHRA definition to help officers decide what could be considered antisemitism.

In a speech last month, the home secretary, Amber Rudd, recommitted the government to providing extra security for Jewish schools, synagogues and other community buildings.

Referring to the threat both from Islamist militancy and from a renewed surge in rightwing extremism, she said: We take the security of the Jewish community seriously, and we will continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of this community and all other communities, too.

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UK adopts antisemitism definition to combat hate crime …

Why Don’t Jews Believe In Jesus | The difference between …

Jewish Beliefs About Jesus And Jews For Jesus For 2,000 years, Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah. Why?

It is important to understand why Jews dont believe in Jesus. The purpose is not to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position. The more data thats available, the better-informed choices people can make about their spiritual path.

Intro: (What exactly is the Messiah?)

MORE RESOURCES + JUDAISM & OTHER RELIGIONS (AT BOTTOM)

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The word Messiah is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means Anointed. It usually refers to a person initiated into Gods service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, I Kings 1:39, II Kings 9:3)

Since every King and High Priest was anointed with oil, each may be referred to as an anointed one (a Mashiach or a Messiah). For example: God forbid that I [David] should stretch out my hand against the Lords Messiah [Saul]… (I Samuel 26:11. Cf. II Samuel 23:1, Isaiah 45:1, Psalms 20:6)

Where does the Jewish concept of Messiah come from? One of the central themes of Biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)

Since every King is a Messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah. The above is the only description in the Bible of a Davidic descendant who is to come in the future. We will recognize the Messiah by seeing who the King of Israel is at the time of complete universal perfection.

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What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the worldon that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.

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Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During the time of Ezra (circa 300 BCE), when the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophetsHaggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended.

According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (1) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

The Messiah must be descended on his fathers side from King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no fatherand thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his fathers side from King David! (2) SEE THE CATHOLIC CHURCHS RESPONSE TO THIS QUESTION

The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot (commandments) remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. (see John 1:45 and 9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37) For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observe Shabbat!”

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Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew textwhich reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.

The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: “Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet.” The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word “gouged.” Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and feet.”

Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nation referred to with a singular pronoun.

Ironically, Isaiahs prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.

From where did these mistranslations stem? St. Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nazianzus, wrote: “A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire.” For further reading on the “suffering servant”: jewsforjudaism.org/ss

Of the 15,000 religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelationi.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense Hell tell everyone, not just one person.

Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is Gods true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, there is still no verification that he is a genuine prophet. Miracles do not prove anything. All they showassuming they are genuineis that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.

Judaism, unique among all of the worlds major religions, does not rely on “claims of miracles” as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of “miracles” to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).

Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):

The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyones belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.

What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others as it says, “Face to face, God spoke with you” The Torah also states: “God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with uswho are all here alive today.” (Deut. 5:3)

Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.

See “Did God Speak at Mount Sinai” for further reading.

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The following theological points apply primarily to the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination.

The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).

Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewish belief: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of Gods One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before a Jew dies.

In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatryone of the three cardinal sins that a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert.

Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Maimonides devotes most of the “Guide for the Perplexed” to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: “God is not a mortal” (Numbers 23:19).

Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of human parents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, an individual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into the role of the Messiah. (see Maimonides – Laws of Kings 11:3)

The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directed through an intermediaryi.e. confessing ones sins to a priest. Jesus himself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and God. As the Bible says: “God is near to all who call unto Him” (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: “You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME,” meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides – Laws of Idolatry ch. 1)

Catholic doctrine often treats the physical world as an evil to be avoided. Mary, the holiest woman, is portrayed as a virgin. Priests and nuns are celibate. And monasteries are in remote, secluded locations.

By contrast, Judaism believes that God created the physical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewish spirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way that uplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest acts we can perform.

The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity to taste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that in the World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst the bustle of commercial activity. Jews dont retreat from life, we elevate it.

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Judaism does not demand that everyone convert to the religion. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. King Solomon asked God to heed the prayers of non-Jews who come to the Holy Temple (Kings I 8:41-43). The prophet Isaiah refers to the Temple as a “House for all nations.”

The Temple service during Sukkot featured 70 bull offerings, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. The Talmud says that if the Romans would have realized how much benefit they were getting from the Temple, theyd never have destroyed it.

Jews have never actively sought converts to Judaism because the Torah prescribes a righteous path for gentiles to follow, known as the “Seven Laws of Noah.” Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes these basic moral laws earns a proper place in heaven.

For further study of the Seven Laws of Noah: The Seven Laws of Noah

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Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity (and Islam) is part of Gods plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughout the world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality and toward a greater understanding of God. All this is in preparation for the Messianic age.

Indeed, the world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. War and pollution threaten our planet; ego and confusion erode family life. To the extent we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions a Jew is asked on Judgment Day is: “Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?”

How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.

Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.

The Messiah can come at any moment, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: “Redemption will come todayif you hearken to His voice.”

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons Largely adapted from Aish.com

Moses Nachmanides and The Debate in Barcelona, Spain, 1263

The most famous of all Jewish-Christian disputations was between the apostate Jew Pablo Christiani and Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban).

Nachmanides argued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism was not the issue of Jesus messiahship, but whether or not Jesus was divine. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, for believing in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man. To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange “that the Creator of heaven and earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there for nine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and was betrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death and executed him, and that afterwards he came to life and returned to his original place. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannot tolerate this.” Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, “You have listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain and the marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled with you because of that accustomed habit.” Had King James heard these ideas propounded for the first time when he was already an adult, Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them.

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UK adopts international definition of anti-Semitism – CNN.com

It is the first country to embrace the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) explanation of the term, according to that organization. It aims to make it harder for culprits to get away with harassing and abusing Jews.

The wording can be adopted by the police, councils, universities and public bodies in order to “call out” anti-Semites, according to the British Prime Minister, Theresa May — although it is not legally binding.

In a speech on Monday, May said: “It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise.”

She explained the move means “there will be one definition of anti-Semitism — in essence, language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews — and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”

The definition was agreed by the IHRA, an intergovernmental body made up of 31 member countries, in May this year. It states:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Member countries are mainly in Europe, but also include the United States, Canada, Israel and Argentina. Laura Robertson, communications officer for the IHRA, told CNN: “As far as we know, the UK is the first to adopt the definition.”

“This is a positive step forward and we hope it will make an impact,” said Dave Rich, deputy director of communications at the Community Service Trust (CST), an organization that monitors the Jewish community in the UK.

“Having a generally agreed definition of anti-Semitism that can be used by a range of different bodies, whether that’s the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, student unions or social media companies — all of whom have to address understanding what anti-Semitism is — is useful.”

Almost a quarter (24%) of these related to hate expressed on social media and eight in ten of the total took place in the cities of London and Manchester.

May used her speech to criticize the opposition Labour party for failing clamp down on anti-Semitism in its ranks.

“It is disgusting that these twisted views are being found in British politics,” she said. “Of course, I am talking mainly about the Labour Party and their hard-left allies.”

May delivered her speech on the same day that British Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that the neo-Nazi group National Action group will be banned under anti-terror laws from Friday.

The move means that supporting or being a member of the organization will be a criminal offense, carrying a potential 10-year prison sentence.

“National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organization which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone,” said Rudd.

In a statement sent to CNN, a spokesperson for National Action denied any instigation of violence.

CNN’s Cristiana Moisescu also contributed to this report.

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UK adopts international definition of anti-Semitism – CNN.com

Antisemitic canard – Wikipedia

An antisemitic canard is an unfounded rumor or false allegation defamatory to Judaism as an ethnicity or religion, or to Jews as an ethnic or religious group. Antisemitic canards often form part of broader theories of Jewish conspiracies. According to defense attorney Kenneth Stern, “Historically, Jews have not fared well around conspiracy theories. Such ideas fuel anti-Semitism. The myths that Jews killed Christ, or poisoned wells, or killed Christian children to bake matzo, or ‘made up’ the Holocaust, or plot to control the world, do not succeed each other; rather, the list of anti-Semitic canards gets longer.”[1]

The blame for the death of Jesus has often been cast toward the Jews. The Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all contain the betrayal of Jesus by his disciple, Judas Iscariot, into the hands of the ruling religious Jews (see Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus). According to the New Testament accounts, the Jewish authorities in Judea charged Jesus with blasphemy and sought his execution. However, the Jewish authorities in this case seem to have lacked the authority to have Jesus put to death, according to John 18:31.[2] They brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Iudaea Province, who consented to Jesus’ execution.

Pilate is portrayed in the Gospel accounts as a reluctant accomplice to Jesus’ death. All four Gospels indicate that there may have been hesitation on the part of both Jewish and Roman authorities to act immediately or needlessly in the face of potential popular opposition (Matt 26:45; Mk 15:1215; Lk 22:12). The four Gospel accounts also all portray the Roman Governor Pilate as partly responsible for Jesus’ execution, and never claim he is without guilt (though his attempt at self-exoneration is mentioned).

According to the Epistle to the Romans, Jesus’ death was necessary to save humanity; the author of Hebrews calls out all backsliding Christians for “crucifying the Son of God all over again”.[3]Paul the Apostle, in 1 Thessalonians, noted that the same Jews who had Jesus crucified continued in their persecution of the church.[4] This passage was frequently used to assign guilt for Christ’s death specifically to Jewish people everywhere and throughout all generations.[5] As a part of Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI issued the document Nostra aetate, repudiating the idea of collective Jewish guilt for the Crucifixion.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was claimed that Jews stole consecrated Hosts, or communion wafers, and desecrated them to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus by stabbing or burning the host or otherwise misusing it. The accusations were often supported only by the testimony of the accuser.[6]

The first recorded accusation of host desecration by Jews was made in 1243 at Berlitz, near Berlin, and in consequence of it all the Jews of Berlitz were burned on the spot, subsequently called Judenberg.[7] Jeremy Cohen states that the first host desecration accusation occurred in 1290 in Paris[8] and continues:

“The story exerted its influence even in the absence of Jews… Edward I of England expelled the Jews from his kingdom in 1290, and they would not reappear in Britain until the late 1650s. Yet the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw the proliferation of the Host-desecration story in England: in collections of miracle stories, many of them dedicated to the miracles of the Virgin Mary; in the art of illuminated manuscripts used for Christian prayer and meditation; and on stage, as in popular Croxton Play of the Sacrament, which itself evoked memories of an alleged ritual murder committed by Jews in East Anglia in 1191.”[8]

In the following centuries, similar accusations circulated throughout Europe, usually accompanied by massacres. The accusation of host desecration gradually ceased after the Reformation when first Martin Luther in 1523 and then Sigismund August of Poland in 1558 were among those who repudiated the accusation.[9] However, sporadic instances of host desecration libel occurred even in the 18th and 19th century. In 1761 in Nancy, several Jews from Alsace were executed on a charge of host desecration. The last recorded accusation was brought up in Bislad, Romania, in 1836.[10]

“The blood libel accusation, another famous anti-Semitic canard, is also a twelfth-century creation.”[11] The first recorded ritual murder accusation against Jews was that of William of Norwich, reported by a monk Thomas of Monmouth.[12]

The descriptions of torture and human sacrifice in the antisemitic blood libels run contrary to many of the teachings of Judaism. The Ten Commandments forbid murder. The use of blood (human or otherwise) in cooking is prohibited by Kashrut and blood and other discharges from the human body are considered ritually unclean. (Lev 15) The Tanakh (Old Testament) and Jewish teaching portray human sacrifice as one of the evils that separated the pagans of Canaan from the Hebrews. (Deut 12:31, 2Kings 16:3) Jews were prohibited from engaging in these rituals and were punished for doing so (Ex 34:15, Lev 20:2, Deut 18:12, Jer 7:31). Ritual cleanliness for priests prohibited even being in the same room as a human corpse (Lev 21:11).

When “Church and secular leaders sharply denounced these defamations … people refused to abandon this myth … Popes, kings and emperors declared that Jews, if for no other reason than their strict dietary laws banning even the smallest drop of blood in meat or poultry, were incapable of the crime. The Christian populace was not impressed. In 1385, Geoffrey Chaucer published his Canterbury Tales which included an account of Jews murdering a deeply pious and innocent Christian boy. This blood libel become a part of English literary tradition.”[13]

Among those who refuted blood libel against Jews were Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1236: “… we pronounce the Jews of the aforementioned place [Fulda] and the rest of the Jews in Germany completely absolved of this imputed crime,”[14]Pope Gregory IX in Papal Bull dated 7 October 1272: “We decree… that Christians need not be obeyed against Jews in a case or situation of this type, and we order that Jews seized upon such a silly pretext be freed from imprisonment, and that they shall not be arrested henceforth on such a miserable pretext, unless which we do not believe they be caught in the commission of the crime,”[15]Pope Clement VI on 26 September 1348: “Jews are not responsible for the Plague.”[16]

Blood libel stories have appeared on many occasions in the state-sponsored media of a number of Arab and Muslim nations, their television shows and websites, and books alleging instances of the Jewish blood libel are not uncommon.[17]

Some Arab writers have condemned blood libel. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram published a series of articles by Osam Al-Baz, a senior advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He explained the origins of the anti-Jewish blood libel and said that Arabs and Muslims have never been anti-Semitic as a group and urged people not to succumb to “myths” such as the blood libel.[18]

Throughout the years, some antisemitism within the Christian community has focused on the claim that Jews dislike Christianity or are trying to destroy it. On the Jews and their Lies, written by Martin Luther, is an example of this claim. The claim has continued into the present day, with radio host James Edwards claiming that Jews “hate Christianity” and “the WASP establishment” and “are using pornography as a subversive tool against us”.[19]

The Anti-Defamation League has written this on the subject: “This is not to say that historically Jews have historically borne no animus (hostility) towards Jesus and the Apostles, or to Christianity as a whole. In the two-thousand year relationship between Judaism and Christianity, many of them marred by anti-Jewish polemic and Christian persecution of Jews, some rabbis have fulminated against the church, and in some places Jews developed a folk literature that demeaned Christianity. But contemporary anti-Semitic polemicists are not interested in learning or reporting about the historical development of Jewish-Christian relations. Their goal is to incite hatred against Judaism and Jews by portraying them as bigoted and hateful.”[20]

Jeremy Cohen writes:

Yet the very impulse that propelled the Christian imagination from the Jew as a deliberate killer of Christ to the Jew as perpetrator of the most heinous crimes against humanity also led to the portrayal of the Jew as inhuman, satanic, animal-like, and monstrous. … Popular traditions of the later Middle Ages, for example, characterize Jews as having a distinctive foul odor. … By all accounts, the bestiality of the Jew climaxed in the image of the Judensau…[21]

Judensau (German for “Jew-sow”), was a derogatory and dehumanizing image of Jews that appeared around the 13th century. Its popularity lasted for over 600 years and was revived by the Nazis. The Jews, typically portrayed in obscene contact with unclean animals such as pigs or owls or representing a devil, appeared on cathedral or church ceilings, pillars, utensils, etchings, etc.

Often, the images combined several antisemitic motifs and included derisive prose or poetry. Cohen continues:

“Dozens of Judensaus… intersect with the portrayal of the Jew as a Christ killer. Various illustrations of the murder of Simon of Trent blended images of Judensau, the devil, the murder of little Simon himself, and the Crucifixion. In the seventeenth-century engraving from Frankfurt[23] … a well-dressed, very contemporary-looking Jew has mounted the sow backward and holds her tail, while a second Jew sucks at her milk and a third eats her feces. The horned devil, himself wearing a Jewish badge, looks on and the butchered Simon, splayed as if on a cross, appears on a panel above.”[22]

More recently, “[t]he main recurrent motif in Arab cartoons concerning Israel is “the devilish Jew”[24] and “[t]he core anti-Semitic motif of the Jew as the paradigm of absolute evil has a set of submotifs. These, in turn, recur over the centuries but are differently cloaked according to the predominant narrative of the period.”[25]

During the Black Death (often identified as bubonic plague epidemic) throughout the late Middle Ages, crowded cities were especially hard hit by the disease, with death tolls as high as 50% of the population. In their distress, emotionally distraught survivors searched for something, or someone, to blame. The Jews proved to be a convenient scapegoat.

There were no mass attacks against “Jewish poisoners” after the period of the Black Death, but the accusation became part and parcel of antisemitic dogma and language. It appeared again in early 1953 in the form of the “doctors’ plot” in Stalin’s last days, when hundreds of Jewish physicians in the Soviet Union were arrested and some of them killed on the charge of having caused the death of prominent Communist leaders… Similar charges were made in the 1980s and 1990s in radical Arab nationalist and Muslim fundamentalist propaganda that accused the Jews of spreading AIDS and other infectious diseases.[26]

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is widely considered to be the beginning of contemporary conspiracy theory literature.[27]

Included in this canard are not only writings that seek to accuse Jews of trying to control the world, but also graphic imagery depicting Jews, or their supporters, as trying to control the world. Examples of this imagery include Nazi cartoons that depict Jews as octopuses, encircling the globe.[28] A more recent example is the 2001 re-printing of Henry Ford’s antisemitic text, The International Jew in Egypt, with the same octopus imagery on the front cover.[29]

Among the most notable early refutations of the Protocols as a forgery were a series of articles printed in The Times of London in 1921. This series revealed that much of the material in the Protocols was plagiarized from earlier political satire that did not have an antisemitic theme. Since 1903, when the Protocols appeared in print, its earliest publishers have offered vague and often contradictory testimony detailing how they obtained their copy of the rumored original manuscript.[30]

The text was popularized by supporters of the Tsarist regime, and was disseminated further after the revolution of 1905 in Russia, becoming known worldwide after the 1917 October Revolution. It was widely circulated in the West in 1920 and thereafter. The Great Depression and the rise of Nazism were important developments in the history of the Protocols, and the hoax continued to be published and circulated despite its debunking. Despite the fact that numerous independent investigations have repeatedly proven the Protocols to be a plagiarism and a literary forgery, the hoax is still frequently quoted and reprinted by antisemites, and is sometimes used as evidence of an alleged Jewish cabal, by antisemitic groups in the United States and in the Middle East.[31][32]

As many European localities and entire countries expelled their Jewish populations after robbing them, and others denied them entrance, the legend of the Wandering Jew, a condemned harbinger of calamity, gained popularity.

German politician Heinrich von Treitschke in the 19th century coined a phrase “Die Juden sind unser Unglck!” (“The Jews are our misfortune!”) adopted as a motto by Der Strmer several decades later.[33]

The term “Judeo-Bolshevism” was adopted and used in Nazi Germany to refer to Jews and communists together, implying that the communist movement served Jewish interests.[34]

The Franklin Prophecy was unknown before its appearance in 1934 in the pages of William Dudley Pelley’s pro-Nazi weekly magazine Liberation. According to the 2004 US Congress report, Anti-Semitism in Europe: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations:

“The Franklin “Prophecy” is a classic anti-Semitic canard that falsely claims that American statesman Benjamin Franklin made anti-Jewish statements during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. It has found widening acceptance in Muslim and Arab media, where it has been used to criticize Israel and Jews…”[35]

Some recent conspiracy theories hold that Jews or Israel played a key role in carrying out the September 11, 2001 attacks. According to the paper published by the Anti-Defamation League, “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have not been accepted in mainstream circles in the U.S.”, but “this is not the case in the Arab and Muslim world.”[36] A claim that 4,000 Jewish employees skipped work at the WTC on 11 September has been widely reported and widely debunked. The number of Jews who died in the attacks typically estimated at around 400[37][38][39] tracks closely with the proportion of Jews living in the New York area. Five Israelis died in the attack.[40]

On 16 October 2003, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed drew a standing ovation at the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference for his speech, in which he said: “…today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them… They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.”[41] He further urged Muslims to emulate Jews in this regard in order to achieve similar results.

Actor Mel Gibson caused controversy in 2006 after being arrested for drunken driving; during the arrest, he claimed that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”.[42]

In January 2005, a group of Russian State Duma deputies demanded that Judaism and Jewish organizations be banned from Russia. “Their seven-page letter… accused Jews of carrying out ritual killings, controlling Russian and international capital, inciting ethnic strife in Russia, and staging hate crimes against themselves. “The majority of antisemitic actions in the whole world are constantly carried out by Jews themselves with a goal of provocation”, the letter claimed.” After sharp protests by Russian Jewish leaders, human rights activists, and the Foreign Ministry, Duma members retracted their appeal.[43]

In the Middle Ages, Jews were ostracized from most professions by the Christian Church and the guilds and were pushed into marginal occupations considered socially inferior, such as tax and rent collecting and moneylending. At the same time, Church law and rulings prohibited Christians from charging interest. For instance, the Third Council of the Lateran of 1179 threatened excommunication for any Christian lending money at interest. People who wanted or needed to borrow money thus often turned to Jews. This was said to show Jews were insolent, greedy usurers. Natural tensions between creditors and debtors were added to social, political, religious, and economic strains.

… financial oppression of Jews tended to occur in areas where they were most disliked, and if Jews reacted by concentrating on moneylending to gentiles, the unpopularity and so, of course, the pressure would increase. Thus, the Jews became an element in a vicious circle. The Christians, on the basis of the Biblical rulings, condemned interest-taking absolutely, and from 1179 those who practised it were excommunicated. But the Christians also imposed the harshest financial burdens on the Jews. The Jews reacted by engaging in the one business where Christian laws actually discriminated in their favour, and so became identified with the hated trade of moneylending.[44]

Peasants who were forced to pay their taxes to Jews could personify them as the people taking their earnings while remaining loyal to the lords on whose behalf the Jews worked. Gentile debtors may have been quick to lay charges of usury against Jewish moneylenders charging even nominal interest or fees. Thus, historically attacks on usury have often been linked to antisemitism.

In England, the departing Crusaders were joined by crowds of debtors in the massacres of Jews at London and York in 11891190. In 1275, Edward I of England passed the Statute of Jewry which made usury illegal and linked it to blasphemy, in order to seize the assets of the violators. Scores of English Jews were arrested, 300 hanged and their property went to the Crown. In 1290, all Jews were expelled from England, allowed to take only what they could carry, the rest of their property became the Crown’s. The usury was cited as the official reason for the Edict of Expulsion. According to Walter Laqueur,

“The issue at stake was not really whether the Jews had entered it out of greed (as antisemites claimed) or because most other professions were barred to them… In countries where other professions were open to them, such as Al-Andalus and the Ottoman Empire, one finds more Jewish blacksmiths than Jewish money lenders. The high tide of Jewish usury was before the fifteenth century; as cities grew in power and affluence, the Jews were squeezed out from money lending with the development of banking.”[45]

The “Kosher tax” (or “Jewish tax”) canard claims that food producers are forced to pay an exorbitant amount to obtain the right to display a symbol on their products that indicates it is kosher, and that this cost is secretly passed on to consumers through higher prices which constitute a “kosher tax.”[46][47][48] It is mainly spread by antisemitic white supremacist and other extremist organizations.[49][46]

Refuters of this canard state that if it were not profitable to obtain such certification, then food producers would not engage in the certification process, and that the increased sales resulting from kosher certification actually lower the overall cost per item.[50][51] Obtaining certification that an item is kosher is a voluntary business decision made by companies desiring additional sales from consumers (both Jewish and non-Jewish) who look for kosher certification when shopping,[52] and is actually specifically sought by marketing organizations within food production companies.[50]

A canard found in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but dating to before that document, is that Jews are more loyal to world Jewry than to their own country. Since the establishment of the state of Israel, this canard has taken the form of accusations that Jewish citizens of countries such as the United States are more loyal to Israel than to their country of residence.[53]

As Jewish Emancipation progressed, new antisemitic accusations appeared. Often Jews were accused of insufficient patriotism. In the late 19th century France, a political scandal known as the Dreyfus affair involved the wrongful conviction for treason of a young Jewish French officer. The political and judicial scandal ended with his full rehabilitation.

During World WarI, the German Military High Command administered Judenzhlung (German for “Jewish Census”). It was designed to confirm allegations of the lack of patriotism among German Jews, but the results of the census disproved the accusations and were not made public.[54][55]

Another variation of this notion is an accusation that Jews are cowards who evade military service. With the rise of racist theories in the 19th century, “[a]nother old anti-Semitic canard served to underline the putative ‘femininity’ of the Jewish race. Like women, Jews lacked an ‘essence’”.[56] In Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations, Kurt Jonassohn and Karin S. Bjrnson wrote:

“Historically, Jews were not allowed to bear arms in the most of the countries of the diaspora. Therefore, when they were attacked, they were not able to defend themselves. In some situations, their protector would defend them. If not, they only had a choice between hiding and fleeing. This is the origin of the anti-Semitic canard that Jews are cowards.”[57]

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, the statewide campaign against “rootless cosmopolitans” a euphemism for Jews was set out on 28 January 1949 with an article in the newspaper Pravda:

“unbridled, evil-minded cosmopolitans, profiteers with no roots and no conscience… Grown on rotten yeast of bourgeois cosmopolitanism, decadence and formalism…non-indigenous nationals without a motherland, who poison with stench…our proletarian culture.”[58]

A number of books and websites run by neo-Nazis, White supremacy advocates, Christian Identity adherents, and radical Islamist groups offer what they claim are authoritative quotes from rabbinic literature, all attempting to prove that Judaism is racist, and that Jews hate non-Jews and perceive non-Jews as non-human.

According to Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik: “Even as the Jew is moved by his private Sinaitic Covenant with God to embody and preserve the teachings of the Torah, he is committed to the belief that all mankind, of whatever color or creed, is “in His image” and is possessed of an inherent human dignity and worthiness. Man’s singularity is derived from the breath “He [God] breathed into his nostrils at the moment of creation” (Genesis 2:7). Thus, we do share in the universal historical experience, and God’s providential concern does embrace all of humanity.”[59]

According to a 1984 hearing record before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations in the US Congress concerning the Soviet Jewry,

“This vicious anti-Semitic canard, frequently repeated by other Soviet writers and officials, is based upon the malicious notion that the “Chosen People” of the Torah and Talmud preaches “superiority over other peoples”, as well as exclusivity. This was, of course, the principal theme of the notorious Tsarist Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[60]

The word “Goy” literally means “nation” but has come to be the standard term for anyone who is not Jewish. There are claims by some groups that “Goy” translates to “Animal”. These claims are designed to make people believe Jews see them as inferior.[citation needed]

Holocaust denial consists of claims that the genocide of Jews during World War IIusually referred to as the Holocaust[61]did not occur at all, or that it did not happen in the manner or to the extent historically recognized. Key elements of these claims are the rejection of any of the following: that the German Nazi government had a policy of deliberately targeting Jews for extermination as a people; that more than five million Jews[61] were systematically killed by the Nazis and their allies; and that genocide was carried out at extermination camps using tools of mass murder, such as gas chambers.[62][63]

Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples.[64] For this reason, Holocaust denial is generally considered to be an antisemitic[65]conspiracy theory.[66] The methodologies of Holocaust deniers are criticized as based on a predetermined conclusion that ignores extensive historical evidence to the contrary.[67]

One well-known antisemitic clich is that “the Jews control the media”.[68][69] Historically, it has been traced to discredited early 20th-century publications such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903) and to Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent.

J. J. Goldberg, Editorial Director of the newspaper The Forward, in 1997 published a study of this myth regarding the United States,[70] concluding that, although Jews do hold many prominent positions in the U.S. media industry, they “do not make a high priority of Jewish concerns” and that Jewish Americans generally perceive the media as anti-Israel.[71] Variants on this theme have focused on Hollywood, the press,[72][73][74][75] and the music industry.[76][77][78][79][80]

The Anti Defamation League documented various antisemitic canards concerning Jews and banking,[81] including the myth that world banking is dominated by the Rothschild family,[82] that Jews control Wall Street,[82] and that Jews control the United States Federal Reserve.[83] The ADL notes that the canard can be traced back to the prevalence of Jews in the money-lending profession in Europe during the Middle Ages, due to a prohibition against Christians in that profession. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion repeated this canard.

In an article written by Jewish activist Tim Wise about such accusations of Jewish financial control, he wrote:

Of course, in keeping with the logic of anti-Jewish bigots, perhaps one should ask the following: If media or financial wrongdoing is Jewish inspired, since Jews are prominent in media and finance, should the depredations of white Christian-dominated industries (like the tobacco or automobile industries) be viewed as examples of white Christian malfeasance? After all, 400,000 people per year die because of smoking-related illnesses, and tobacco companies withheld information on the cancerous properties of their products. Likewise, should executives at Ford and Firestone be thought of as specifically white Christian criminals, due to recent disclosures that defective tires were installed on SUVs, resulting in the deaths of over 150 people worldwide? Is their race, religion or ethnic culture relevant to their misdeeds? If not, why is it suddenly relevant when the executives in question are Jewish?”[84]

Anti-Jewish propagandists have tried to exaggerate[85] the role of Jews in Atlantic slave trade. In the 1490s, the Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal, at the same time that trade with the New World was opening up, leading to their participation in Atlantic trading in general, and the Atlantic slave trade in particular. Jewish participation in the slave trade was significant in Brazil, Curaao, Suriname, and Rhode Island, but otherwise was modest or minimal, and Jews had virtually no role in the slave-trading of Britain or France. The Nation of Islam published The Secret Relation between Blacks and Jews in 1991, which asserted that Jews played a major role in the Atlantic slave trade. The book was widely criticized as anti-Semitic and led to additional scholarly research on the subject, including books such as Jews and the American Slave Trade by Saul S. Friedman, which concluded that Jewish involvement in the slave trade was “minimal” and comparable to other groups of slave-traders such as the English, and that the accusations were an Antisemitic canard.[86] In 1995 the American Historical Association (AHA) issued a statement condemning “any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic slave trade”.[87]

In August 2009, an article in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet alleged that Israeli troops harvested organs from Palestinians that died in their custody.[88][89][90][91][92] Henrik Bredberg wrote in the rival newspaper Sydsvenskan: “Donald Bostrm publicised a variant of an anti-Semitic classic, the Jew who abducts children and steals their blood.”[93] In a video[94] on their website, the Time Magazine quoted the 2009 Swedish Aftonbladets unbacked variant of the classic anti-Semitic blood libel accusation as fact and retracted[95][96] the allegations that Israeli soldiers had harvested and sold Palestinian organs in 2009 within hours on August 24, 2014 after a denouncing report from Honest Reporting came out.[94][97]

In December 2009, Israel’s Channel 2 published an interview with Yehuda Hiss, the former chief pathologist at L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine, where he said that workers at the forensic institute had informally and without permission taken skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from deceased Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers during the 1990s. Hiss was dismissed as head of Abu Kabir in 2004 after discovery of the use of organs.[98][99] Israeli officials acknowledged that incidents like that had taken place, but stated that the vast majority of cases involved Israeli citizens, that no such incidents had occurred for a long time, and that Hiss had been removed from his position.[99]

In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Israel sent 120 staff, doctors and troops of the Israel Defense Forces to Port-au-Prince.[100][101] The IDF set up a field hospital that performed 316 surgeries and delivered 16 babies.[102][103]

On 18 January, an American activist, known only as T. West, posted a video on YouTube in which he called for Haitians to be wary of “personalities who are out for money” and of the Israeli Defense Forces in particular.[104][105][106] To explain his allegations, West stated that “the IDF [had] participated in the past in stealing organ transplants of Palestinians and others”, thus echoing the Aftonbladet Israel controversy. West, who claimed to speak for a black-empowerment group called AfriSynergy Productions, stopped short of more explicit accusations against the IDF’s behaviour in Haiti but noted that there was “little monitoring” in the quake’s aftermath, insinuating that organ theft was at the very least a strong possibility. The Iranian state television Press TV reported on the allegations[105][107] and in a speech on 22 January, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said “There have been news reports that the Zionist regime, in the case of the catastrophe of Haiti, and under the pretext of providing relief to the people of Haiti, is stealing the organs of these wretched people.”,[108] again citing no evidence. On 27 January, a Syrian TV reporter described T. West’s video as “document[ing] this heinous crime and [...] show[ing] Israelis engaged in stealing organs from the earthquake victims” (despite the fact that the video quite evidently does no such thing).[109] The original accusations were also relayed by a number of organizations often criticized for their antisemitism or anti-Israel positions, such as the websites of Al-Manar and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.[105][107][110][111]

On 1 February 2010 the Gaza-based Palestine Telegraph, of which Baroness Jenny Tonge was a patron at that time, published the claim that the Israel Defense Forces in Haiti were secretly harvesting organs and selling them on the black market, based on the above-mentioned YouTube video by T. West, re-using video material from Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television broadcast with no cited evidence.[112][113][114][115] In the United Kingdom politician Jenny Tonge was sacked from her role as health spokeswoman of the House of Lords as a result of an interview in which she suggested that an independent inquiry should be established.[116]

Israeli media and Jewish groups immediately fought back against the claims.[106][117] In an interview with Ynetnews, West re-iterated his accusation about past incidents of organ theft by the IDF and cited Operation Bid Rig as further evidence of Jewish involvement in organ trafficking.[106] The Anti-Defamation League responded, labeling West’s allegations as antisemitic and as a “Big Lie”, while an author for the Jewish Ledger referred to the rumors as a “blood libel”.[117]

Antisemitism has been called “the longest hatred.”[118] A number of researchers noted contradictions and irrationality across antisemitic myths. Leon Pinsker noted as early as 1882:

Friend and foe alike have tried to explain or to justify this hatred of the Jews by bringing all sorts of charges against them. They are said to have crucified Jesus, to have drunk the blood of Christians, to have poisoned wells, to have taken usury, to have exploited the peasant, and so on. These and a thousand and one other charges against an entire people have been proved groundless. They showed their own weakness in that they had to be trumped up wholesale in order to quiet the evil conscience of the Jew-baiters, to justify the condemnation of an entire nation, to demonstrate the necessity of burning the Jew, or rather the Jewish ghost, at the stake. He who tries to prove too much proves nothing at all. Though the Jews may justly be charged with many shortcomings, those shortcomings are, at all events, not such great vices, not such capital crimes, as to justify the condemnation of the entire people.[119]

Jocelyn Hellig writes in her 2003 book The Holocaust and Antisemitism: A Short History:

Michael Curtis has pointed out that no other group of people in the world has been charged simultaneously with the following, among others:

Excerpt from:
Antisemitic canard – Wikipedia

American Jews – Wikipedia

American Jews Total population

5,425,0008,300,000[1]

American Jews, also known as Jewish Americans,[5] are Americans who are Jews, either by religion, ethnicity, or nationality.[6] The Jewish community in the United States is composed predominantly of Ashkenazi Jews and their US-born descendants, making up about 90% of the American Jewish population.[7][8] Minority Jewish ethnic divisions are also represented, including Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and a smaller percentage of converts to Judaism. The American Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of Jewish religious observance.

Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States is home to the largest or second largest (after Israel) Jewish community in the world. In 2012, the American Jewish population was estimated at between 5.5 and 8 million, depending on the definition of the term. This constitutes between 1.7% and 2.6% of the total U.S. population.[1]

Jews have been present in what is today the United States of America since the mid-17th century.[9][10] However, they were small in number, with at most 200 to 300 having arrived by 1700.[11] The majority were Sephardic Jewish immigrants of Spanish and Portuguese ancestry;[12] until after 1720 when Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe predominated.[11]

After passage of the Plantation Act of 1740, Jews were specifically permitted to become British citizens and immigrate to the colonies. Despite some being denied the ability to vote or hold office in local jurisdictions, Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving political equality in the five states where they were most numerous.[13] Until about 1830, Charleston, South Carolina had more Jews than anywhere else in North America. Large scale Jewish immigration, however, did not commence until the 19th century, when, by mid-century, many Ashkenazi Jews had arrived from Germany, migrating to the United States in large numbers due to antisemitic laws and restrictions in their countries of birth.[14] They primarily became merchants and shop-owners. There were approximately 250,000 Jews in the United States by 1880, many of them being the educated, and largely secular, German Jews, although a minority population of the older Sephardic Jewish families remained influential.

Jewish migration to the United States increased dramatically in the early 1880s, as a result of persecution and economic difficulties in parts of Eastern Europe. Most of these new immigrants were Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, though most came from the poor rural populations of the Russian Empire and the Pale of Settlement, located in modern-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. During the same period, great numbers of Ashkenazi Jews also arrived also from Galicia, at that time the most impoverished region of Austro-Hungarian empire with heavy Jewish urban population, driven out mainly by economic reasons. Many Jews also emigrated from Romania. Over 2,000,000 Jews landed between the late 19th century and 1924, when the Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration. Most settled in the New York metropolitan area, establishing the world’s major concentrations of Jewish population. In 1915 the circulation of the daily Yiddish newspapers was half a million in New York City alone, and 600,000 nationally. In addition thousands more subscribed to the numerous weekly papers and the many magazines.[15]

At the beginning of the 20th century, these newly arrived Jews built support networks consisting of many small synagogues and Ashkenazi Jewish Landsmannschaften (German for “Countryman Associations”) for Jews from the same town or village. American Jewish writers of the time urged assimilation and integration into the wider American culture, and Jews quickly became part of American life. 500,000 American Jews (or half of all Jewish males between 18 and 50) fought in World War II, and after the war younger families joined the new trend of suburbanization. There, Jews became increasingly assimilated and demonstrated rising intermarriage. The suburbs facilitated the formation of new centers, as Jewish school enrollment more than doubled between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, while synagogue affiliation jumped from 20% in 1930 to 60% in 1960; the fastest growth came in Reform and, especially, Conservative congregations.[16] More recent waves of Jewish emigration from Russia and other regions have largely joined the mainstream American Jewish community.

Americans of Jewish descent have been disproportionately successful in many fields and aspects over the years.[17][18] The Jewish community in America has gone from a lower class minority, with most studies putting upwards of 80% as manual factory laborers prior to World War I and with the majority of fields barred to them,[19] to the consistent richest or second richest ethnicity in America for the past 40 years in terms of average annual salary, with extremely high concentrations in academia and other fields, and today have the highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the United States, at around double the average income of non-Jewish Americans.[20][21][22]

Scholars debate whether the favorable historical experience for Jews in the United States has been such a unique experience as to validate American exceptionalism.[23]

Korelitz (1996) shows how American Jews during the late 19th and early 20th centuries abandoned a racial definition of Jewishness in favor of one that embraced ethnicity. The key to understanding this transition from a racial self-definition to a cultural or ethnic one can be found in the Menorah Journal between 1915 and 1925. During this time contributors to the Menorah promoted a cultural, rather than a racial, religious, or other view of Jewishness as a means to define Jews in a world that threatened to overwhelm and absorb Jewish uniqueness. The journal represented the ideals of the menorah movement established by Horace M. Kallen and others to promote a revival in Jewish cultural identity and combat the idea of race as a means to define or identify peoples.[24]

Siporin (1990) uses the family folklore of ethnic Jews to their collective history and its transformation into an historical art form. They tell us how Jews have survived being uprooted and transformed. Many immigrant narratives bear a theme of the arbitrary nature of fate and the reduced state of immigrants in a new culture. By contrast, ethnic family narratives tend to show the ethnic more in charge of his life, and perhaps in danger of losing his Jewishness altogether. Some stories show how a family member successfully negotiated the conflict between ethnic and American identities.[25]

After 1960, memories of the Holocaust, together with the Six Day War in 1967 had major impacts on fashioning Jewish ethnic identity. Some have argued that the Holocaust provided Jews with a rationale for their ethnic distinction at a time when other minorities were asserting their own.[26][27][28]

In New York City, while the German Jewish community was well established ‘uptown’, the more numerous Jews who migrated from Eastern Europe faced tension ‘downtown’ with Irish and German Catholic neighbors, especially the Irish Catholics who controlled Democratic Party Politics[30]at the time. Jews successfully established themselves in the garment trades and in the needle unions in New York. By the 1930s they were a major political factor in New York, with strong support for the most liberal programs of the New Deal. They continued as a major element of the New Deal Coalition, giving special support to the Civil Rights Movement. By the mid-1960s, however, the Black Power movement caused a growing separation between blacks and Jews, though both groups remained solidly in the Democratic camp.[31]

While earlier Jewish immigrants from Germany tended to be politically conservative, the wave of Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the early 1880s, were generally more liberal or left wing and became the political majority.[32] Many came to America with experience in the socialist, anarchist and communist movements as well as the Labor Bund, emanating from Eastern Europe. Many Jews rose to leadership positions in the early 20th century American labor movement and helped to found unions that played a major role in left wing politics and, after 1936, in Democratic Party politics.[32]

Although American Jews generally leaned Republican in the second half of the 19th century, the majority has voted Democratic since at least 1916, when they voted 55% for Woodrow Wilson.[29]

With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Jews voted more solidly Democratic. They voted 90% for Roosevelt in the elections of 1940, and 1944, representing the highest of support, only equaled once since. In the election of 1948, Jewish support for Democrat Harry S. Truman dropped to 75%, with 15% supporting the new Progressive Party.[29] As a result of lobbying, and hoping to better compete for the Jewish vote, both major party platforms had included a pro-Zionist plank since 1944,[33][34] and supported the creation of a Jewish state; it had little apparent effect however, with 90% still voting other-than Republican. In every election since, except for 1980, no Democratic presidential candidate has won with less than 67% of the Jewish vote. (In 1980, Carter won 45% of the Jewish vote. See below.)

During the 1952 and 1956 elections, they voted 60% or more for Democrat Adlai Stevenson, while General Eisenhower garnered 40% for his reelection; the best showing to date for the Republicans since Harding’s 43% in 1920.[29] In 1960, 83% voted for Democrat John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, and in 1964, 90% of American Jews voted for Lyndon Johnson, over his Republican opponent, arch-conservative Barry Goldwater. Hubert Humphrey garnered 81% of the Jewish vote in the 1968 elections, in his losing bid for president against Richard Nixon.[29]

During the Nixon re-election campaign of 1972, Jewish voters were apprehensive about George McGovern and only favored the Democrat by 65%, while Nixon more than doubled Republican Jewish support to 35%. In the election of 1976, Jewish voters supported Democrat Jimmy Carter by 71% over incumbent president Gerald Ford’s 27%, but during the Carter re-election campaign of 1980, Jewish voters greatly abandoned the Democrat, with only 45% support, while Republican winner, Ronald Reagan, garnered 39%, and 14% went to independent (former Republican) John Anderson.[29][35] Many American Jews disagreed with the Middle East policies of the Carter administration.[citation needed]

During the Reagan re-election campaign of 1984, the Republican retained 31% of the Jewish vote, while 67% voted for Democrat Walter Mondale. The 1988 election saw Jewish voters favor Democrat Michael Dukakis by 64%, while George H. W. Bush polled a respectable 35%, but during Bush’s re-election attempt in 1992, his Jewish support dropped to just 11%, with 80% voting for Bill Clinton and 9% going to independent Ross Perot. Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996 maintained high Jewish support at 78%, with 16% supporting Robert Dole and 3% for Perot.[29][35]

In the 2000 presidential election, Joe Lieberman was the first American Jew to run for national office on a major party ticket when he was chosen as Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s vice-presidential nominee. The elections of 2000 and 2004 saw continued Jewish support for Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, a Catholic, remain in the high- to mid-70% range, while Republican George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 saw Jewish support rise from 19% to 24%.[35][36]

In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected president.[37] Additionally, 83% of Jews voted for Obama compared to just 34% of white Protestants and 47% of white Catholics, though 67% of those identifying with another religion and 71% identifying with no religion also voted Obama.[38]

In the February 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders became the first Jewish candidate to win a state’s Presidential primary election.[39]

As American Jews have progressed economically over time, some commentators[citation needed] have wondered why Jews remain so firmly Democratic and have not shifted political allegiances to the center or right in the way other groups who have advanced economically, such as Hispanics and Arab-Americans, have.[40]

For congressional and senate races, since 1968, American Jews have voted about 7080% for Democrats;[41] this support increased to 87% for Democratic House candidates during the 2006 elections.[42]

The first American Jew to serve in the Senate was David Levy Yulee, who was Florida’s first Senator, serving 18451851 and again 18551861.

In the 114th Congress, there are 10 Jews[43] among 100 U.S. Senators: nine Democrats (Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Carl Levin, Charles Schumer, Ron Wyden), and Bernie Sanders, who became a Democrat to run for President but returned to the Senate as an Independent.[44]

In the 114th Congress, there are 19 Jewish U.S. Representatives.[43] There were 27 Jews among the 435 U.S. Representatives at the start of the 112th Congress;[45] 26 Democrats and one (Eric Cantor) Republican. While many of these Members represented coastal cities and suburbs with significant Jewish populations, others did not (for instance, Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, Arizona; John Yarmuth of Louisville, Kentucky; Jared Polis of Boulder, Colorado; and Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee). The total number of Jews serving in the House of Representatives declined from 31 in the 111th Congress.[46]John Adler of New Jersey, Steve Kagan of Wisconsin, Alan Grayson of Florida, and Ron Klein of Florida all lost their re-election bids, Rahm Emanuel resigned to become the President’s Chief of Staff; and Paul Hodes of New Hampshire did not run for re-election but instead (unsuccessfully) sought his state’s open Senate seat. David Cicilline of Rhode Island was the only Jewish American who was newly elected to the 112th Congress; he had been the Mayor of Providence. The number declined when Jane Harman, Anthony Weiner, and Gabrielle Giffords resigned during the 112th Congress.

As of January 2014[update], there are five openly gay men serving in Congress and two are Jewish: Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

In November 2008, Cantor was elected as the House Minority Whip, the first Jewish Republican to be selected for the position.[47] In 2011, he became the first Jewish House Majority Leader. He served as Majority Leader until 2014, when he resigned shortly after his loss in the Republican primary election for his House seat.

American Jews have historically been prominent participants in civil rights movements. In the mid-20th century, American Jews were among the most active participants in the Civil Rights Movement and feminist movements. American Jews have also since its founding been largely supportive of and active figures in the struggle for gay rights in America.

Seymour Siegel suggests that the historic struggle against prejudice faced by Jews led to a natural sympathy for any people confronting discrimination. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, stated the following when he spoke from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial during the famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963: “As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a twofold experienceone of the spirit and one of our history. … From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say: Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe. … It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is, above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions, a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.”[48][49]

During the World War II period, the American Jewish community was bitterly and deeply divided and was unable to form a common front. Most Jews from Eastern Europe favored Zionism, which saw a return to their historical homeland as the only solution; this had the effect of diverting attention from the persecution of Jews in Germany. German Jews were alarmed at the Nazis but were disdainful of Zionism. Proponents of a Jewish state and Jewish army agitated, but many leaders were so fearful of an antisemitic backlash inside the U.S. that they demanded that all Jews keep a low public profile. One important development was the sudden conversion of most (but not all) Jewish leaders to Zionism late in the war.[50]The Holocaust was largely ignored by American media as it was happening. Reporters and editors largely did not believe the atrocity stories coming out of Europe.[51]

The Holocaust had a profound impact on the community in the United States, especially after 1960, as Jews tried to comprehend what had happened, and especially to commemorate and grapple with it when looking to the future. Abraham Joshua Heschel summarized this dilemma when he attempted to understand Auschwitz: “To try to answer is to commit a supreme blasphemy. Israel enables us to bear the agony of Auschwitz without radical despair, to sense a ray [of] God’s radiance in the jungles of history.”[52]

Jews began taking a special interest in Jewish international affairs in the late 19th century; for example, poet Emma Lazarus wrote poems against the pogroms in Eastern and Central Europe in the 1870s. Jews focused on the pogroms in Imperial Russia and restrictions on immigration in the 1920s. Jews have also shown interest in affairs unrelated to Jewish causes throughout their time in the United States. Zionism became a well-organized movement in the U.S. with the involvement of leaders such as Louis Brandeis and the British promise of a homeland in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.[53] Jewish Americans organized large-scale boycotts of German merchandise during the 1930s to protest Nazi rule in Germany. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leftist domestic policies received strong Jewish support in the 1930s and 1940s, as did his anti-Nazi foreign policy and his promotion of the United Nations. Support for political Zionism in this period, although growing in influence, remained a distinctly minority opinion among German Jews until about 194445, when the early rumors and reports of the systematic mass murder of the Jews in German-occupied Europe became publicly known with the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. The founding of Israel in 1948 made the Middle East a center of attention; the recognition of Israel by the American government (following objections by American isolationists) was an indication of both its intrinsic support and influence.

This attention initially was based on a natural and religious affinity toward and support for Israel in the Jewish community. The attention is also because of the ensuing and unresolved conflicts regarding the founding of Israel and Zionism itself. A lively internal debate commenced, following the Six-Day War. The American Jewish community was divided over whether or not they agreed with the Israeli response; the great majority came to accept the war as necessary. A tension existed especially for some Jews on the left who saw Israel as too anti-Soviet and anti-Palestinian.[54] Similar tensions were aroused by the 1977 election of Menachem Begin and the rise of Revisionist policies, the 1982 Lebanon War and the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[55] Disagreement over Israel’s 1993 acceptance of the Oslo Accords caused a further split among American Jews;[56] this mirrored a similar split among Israelis and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby, and even ultimately to the United States for its “blind” support of Israel.[56] Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked through Americans for Peace Now (APN), Israel Policy Forum (IPF) and other groups friendly to the Labour government in Israel. They tried to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the administration to help the fledgling Palestinian Authority (PA), including promises of financial aid. In a battle for public opinion, IPF commissioned a number of polls showing widespread support for Oslo among the community.

In opposition to Oslo, an alliance of conservative groups, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) tried to counterbalance the power of the liberal Jews. On October 10, 1993, the opponents of the Palestinian-Israeli accord organized at the American Leadership Conference for a Safe Israel, where they warned that Israel was prostrating itself before “an armed thug”, and predicted and that the “thirteenth of September is a date that will live in infamy”. Some Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, his foreign minister and chief architect of the peace accord. With the community so strongly divided, AIPAC and the Presidents Conference, which was tasked with representing the national Jewish consensus, struggled to keep the increasingly antagonistic discourse civil. Reflecting these tensions, Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League was asked by the conference to apologize for bad mouthing ZOA’s Morton Klein. The conference, which under its organizational guidelines was in charge of moderating communal discourse, reluctantly censured some Orthodox spokespeople for attacking Colette Avital, the Labor-appointed Israeli Consul General in New York and an ardent supporter of that version of a peace process.[57]

The Jewish population of the United States is either the largest in the world, or second to that of Israel, depending on the sources and methods used to measure it.

Precise population figures vary depending on whether Jews are accounted for based on halakhic considerations, or secular, political and ancestral identification factors. There were about 4 million adherents of Judaism in the U.S. as of 2001, approximately 1.4% of the US population. According to the Jewish Agency, for the year 2007 Israel is home to 5.4 million Jews (40.9% of the world’s Jewish population), while the United States contained 5.3 million (40.2%).[58]

In 2012, demographers estimated the core American Jewish population (including religious and non-religious) to be 5,425,000 (or 1.73% of the US population in 2012), citing methodological failures in the previous higher estimates.[59] Other sources say the number is around 6.5 million.

The American Jewish Yearbook population survey had placed the number of American Jews at 6.4 million, or approximately 2.1% of the total population. This figure is significantly higher than the previous large scale survey estimate, conducted by the 20002001 National Jewish Population estimates, which estimated 5.2 million Jews. A 2007 study released by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University presents evidence to suggest that both of these figures may be underestimations with a potential 7.07.4 million Americans of Jewish descent.[60] Those higher estimates were however arrived at by including all non-Jewish family members and household members, rather than surveyed individuals.[59]

The population of Americans of Jewish descent is demographically characterized by an aging population composition and low fertility rates significantly below generational replacement.[59]

The Ashkenazi Jews, who are now the vast majority of American Jews, settled first in and around New York City; in recent decades many have moved to Miami, Los Angeles and other large metropolitan areas in the South and West. The metropolitan areas of New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami contain nearly one quarter of the world’s Jews.[61]

The National Jewish Population Survey of 1990 asked 4.5 million adult Jews to identify their denomination. The national total showed 38% were affiliated with the Reform tradition, 35% were Conservative, 6% were Orthodox, 1% were Reconstructionists, 10% linked themselves to some other tradition, and 10% said they are “just Jewish.”[62]

According to a study published by demographers and sociologists Ira Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, the distribution of the Jewish population in 2015 is as follows:[63]

Although the New York City metropolitan area is the second largest Jewish population center in the world (after the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in Israel),[61] the Miami metropolitan area has a slightly greater Jewish population on a per-capita basis (9.9% compared to metropolitan New York’s 9.3%). Several other major cities have large Jewish communities, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. In many metropolitan areas, the majority of Jewish families live in suburban areas. The Greater Phoenix area was home to about 83,000 Jews in 2002, and has been rapidly growing.[65] The greatest Jewish population on a per-capita basis for incorporated areas in the U.S. is Kiryas Joel Village, New York (greater than 93% based on language spoken in home),[66] City of Beverly Hills, California (61%),[67]Lakewood Township, New Jersey (59%),[68] two incorporated areas, Kiryas Joel and Lakewood, have a concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews and one incorporated area, Beverly Hills, having a concentration of non-Orthodox Jews.

The phenomenon of Israeli migration to the U.S. is often termed Yerida. The Israeli immigrant community in America is less widespread. The significant Israeli immigrant communities in the United States are in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Chicago.[69]

According to the 2001 undertaking of the National Jewish Population Survey, 4.3 million American Jews have some sort of strong connection to the Jewish community, whether religious or cultural.

According to the North American Jewish Data Bank[71] the 100 counties and independent cities as of 2011[update] with the largest Jewish communities, based by percentage of total population, were:

These parallel themes have facilitated the extraordinary economic, political, and social success of the American Jewish community, but also have contributed to widespread cultural assimilation.[72] More recently however, the propriety and degree of assimilation has also become a significant and controversial issue within the modern American Jewish community, with both political and religious skeptics.[73]

While not all Jews disapprove of intermarriage, many members of the Jewish community have become concerned that the high rate of interfaith marriage will result in the eventual disappearance of the American Jewish community. Intermarriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 and 25% in 1974,[74] to approximately 4050% in the year 2000.[75] By 2013, the intermarriage rate had risen to 71% for non-Orthodox Jews.[76] This, in combination with the comparatively low birthrate in the Jewish community, has led to a 5% decline in the Jewish population of the United States in the 1990s. In addition to this, when compared with the general American population, the American Jewish community is slightly older.

A third of intermarried couples provide their children with a Jewish upbringing, and doing so is more common among intermarried families raising their children in areas with high Jewish populations.[77] The Boston area, for example, is exceptional in that an estimated 60% percent of children of intermarriages are being raised Jewish, meaning that intermarriage would actually be contributing to a net increase in the number of Jews.[78] As well, some children raised through intermarriage rediscover and embrace their Jewish roots when they themselves marry and have children.

In contrast to the ongoing trends of assimilation, some communities within American Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly. The proportion of Jewish synagogue members who were Orthodox rose from 11% in 1971 to 21% in 2000, while the overall Jewish community declined in number.[79] In 2000, there were 360,000 so-called “ultra-orthodox” (Haredi) Jews in USA (7.2%).[80] The figure for 2006 is estimated at 468,000 (9.4%).[80] Data from the Pew Center shows that as of 2013, 27% of American Jews under the age of 18 live in Orthodox households, a dramatic increase from Jews aged 18 to 29, only 11% of whom are Orthodox. The UJA-Federation of New York reports that 60% of Jewish children in the New York City area live in Orthodox homes. In addition to economizing and sharing, Orthodox communities depend on government aid to support their high birth rate and large families. The Hasidic village of New Square, New York receives Section 8 housing subsidies at a higher rate than the rest of the region, and half of the population in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, New York receive food stamps, while a third receive Medicaid.[81]

About half of the American Jews are considered to be religious. Out of this 2,831,000 religious Jewish population, 92% are non-Hispanic white, 5% Hispanic (Most commonly from Argentina, Venezuela, or Cuba), 1% Asian (Mostly Bukharian and Persian Jews), 1% Black and 1% Other (mixed race etc.). Almost this many non-religious Jews exist in United States, the proportion of Whites being higher than that among the religious population.[82]

Many Jews identify as being of Middle Eastern descentor simply as “Jews”as supported by genetic research.[86] As with some other racial and ethnocultural minorities, Jews have a complex relationship to the concept of “whiteness”, and as a result, many Americans of Jewish descent do not self-identify as white.[24][87][88][89] Prominent activist and rabbi Michael Lerner argues, in a 1993 Village Voice article, that “in America, to be ‘white’ means to be the beneficiary of the past 500 years of European exploration and exploitation of the rest of the world” and that “Jews can only be deemed white if there is massive amnesia on the part of non-Jews about the monumental history of anti-Semitism”.[90]African-American activist Cornel West, in an interview with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has explained:

The American Jewish community includes African American Jews and other American Jews of African descent, a definition which may exclude North African Jewish Americans, who are considered Sephardi and thus sometimes classed as white. Estimates of the number of American Jews of African descent in the United States range from 20,000[92] to 200,000.[93] Jews of African descent belong to all of American Jewish denominations. Like their white Jewish counterparts, some black Jews are Jewish atheists or ethnic Jews.

Notable African-American Jews include Lisa Bonet, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rashida Jones, Yaphet Kotto, Jordan Farmar, Taylor Mays, and rabbis Capers Funnye and Alysa Stanton.

Relations between American Jews of African descent and other Jewish Americans are generally cordial.[citation needed] There are, however, disagreements with a specific minority of Black Hebrew Israelites community from among African-Americans who consider themselves, but not other Jews, to be the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrew Israelites are generally not considered to be members of the mainstream Jewish community, since they have not formally converted to Judaism, nor are they ethnically related to other Jews. One such group, the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, emigrated to Israel and was granted permanent residency status there.[citation needed]

Education plays a major role as a part of Jewish identity; as Jewish culture puts a special premium on it and stresses the importance of cultivation of intellectual pursuits, scholarship and learning, American Jews as a group tend to be better educated and earn more than Americans as a whole.[94][95][96][97][98] Forty-four percent (55% of Reform Jews) report family incomes of over $100,000 compared to 19% of all Americans, with the next highest group being Hindus at 43%.[99][100] And while 27% of Americans have had college or postgraduate education, fifty-nine percent (66% of Reform Jews) of American Jews have, the second highest of any religious group after American Hindus.[99][101][102] 31% of American Jews hold a graduate degree, this figure is compared with the general American population where 11% of Americans hold a graduate degree.[99] White collar professional jobs have been attractive to Jews and much of the community tend to take up professional white collar careers requiring tertiary education involving formal credentials where the respectability and reputability of professional jobs is highly prized within Jewish culture. While 46% of Americans work in professional and managerial jobs, 61% of American Jews work as professionals, many of whom are highly educated, salaried professionals whose work is largely self-directed in management, professional, and related occupations such as engineering, science, medicine, investment banking, finance, law, and academia.[103]

Much of the Jewish American community lead middle class lifestyles.[104] While the median household net worth of the typical American family is $99,500, among American Jews the figure is $443,000.[105][106] In addition, the median Jewish American income is estimated to be in the range of $97,000 to $98,000, nearly twice as high the American national median.[107] Either of these two statistics may be confounded by the fact that the Jewish population is on average older than other religious groups in the country, with 51% of polled adults over the age of 50 compared to 41% nationally.[101] Older people tend to both have higher income and be more highly educated.

While the median income of Jewish Americans is high, there are still small pockets of poverty. In the New York area, there are approximately 560,000 Jews living in poor or near-poor households, representing about 20% of the New York metropolitan Jewish community. Most affected are children, the elderly, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Orthodox families.[108]

According to analysis by Gallup, American Jews have the highest well-being of any ethnic or religious group in America.[109][110]

The great majority of school-age Jewish students attend public schools, although Jewish day schools and yeshivas are to be found throughout the country. Jewish cultural studies and Hebrew language instruction is also commonly offered at synagogues in the form of supplementary Hebrew schools or Sunday schools.

From the early 1900s until the 1950s, quota systems were imposed at elite colleges and universities particularly in the Northeast, as a response to the growing number of children of recent Jewish immigrants; these limited the number of Jewish students accepted, and greatly reduced their previous attendance. Jewish enrollment at Cornell’s School of Medicine fell from 40% to 4% between the world wars, and Harvard’s fell from 30% to 4%.[111] Before 1945, only a few Jewish professors were permitted as instructors at elite universities. In 1941, for example, antisemitism drove Milton Friedman from a non-tenured assistant professorship at the University of WisconsinMadison.[112]Harry Levin became the first Jewish full professor in the Harvard English department in 1943, but the Economics department decided not to hire Paul Samuelson in 1948. Harvard hired its first Jewish biochemists in 1954.[113]

Today, American Jews no longer face the discrimination in higher education that they did in the past, particularly in the Ivy League. For example, by 1986, a third of the presidents of the elite undergraduate final clubs at Harvard were Jewish.[112]Rick Levin has been president of Yale University since 1993, Judith Rodin was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2004 (and is currently president of the Rockefeller Foundation), Paul Samuelson’s nephew, Lawrence Summers, was president of Harvard University from 2001 until 2006, and Harold Shapiro was president of Princeton University from 1992 until 2000.

There are an estimated 4,000 Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley.[118]

Jewishness in the United States is considered an ethnic identity as well as a religious one. See Ethnoreligious group.

Jewish religious practice in America is quite varied. Among the 4.3 million American Jews described as “strongly connected” to Judaism, over 80% report some sort of active engagement with Judaism,[119] ranging from attendance at daily prayer services on one end of the spectrum to as little as attendance Passover Seders or lighting Hanukkah candles on the other.

A 2003 Harris Poll found that 16% of American Jews go to the synagogue at least once a month, 42% go less frequently but at least once a year, and 42% go less frequently than once a year.[120]

The survey found that of the 4.3 million strongly connected Jews, 46% belong to a synagogue. Among those households who belong to a synagogue, 38% are members of Reform synagogues, 33% Conservative, 22% Orthodox, 2% Reconstructionist, and 5% other types. Traditionally, Sephardic and Mizrahis do not have different branches (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc.) but usually remain observant and religious. The survey discovered that Jews in the Northeast and Midwest are generally more observant than Jews in the South or West. Reflecting a trend also observed among other religious groups, Jews in the Northwestern United States are typically the least observant.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of secular American Jews returning to a more observant, in most cases, Orthodox, lifestyle. Such Jews are called baalei teshuva (“returners”, see also Repentance in Judaism).[citation needed]

The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that around 3.4 million American Jews call themselves religious out of a general Jewish population of about 5.4 million. The number of Jews who identify themselves as only culturally Jewish has risen from 20% in 1990 to 37% in 2008, according to the study. In the same period, the number of all US adults who said they had no religion rose from 8% to 15%. Jews are more likely to be secular than Americans in general, the researchers said. About half of all US Jews including those who consider themselves religiously observant claim in the survey that they have a secular worldview and see no contradiction between that outlook and their faith, according to the study’s authors. Researchers attribute the trends among American Jews to the high rate of intermarriage and “disaffection from Judaism” in the United States.[121]

About one-sixth of American Jews maintain kosher dietary standards.[122]

American Jews are more likely to be atheist or agnostic than most Americans, especially so compared with Protestants or Catholics. A 2003 poll found that while 79% of Americans believe in God, only 48% of American Jews do, compared with 79% and 90% for Catholics and Protestants respectively. While 66% of Americans said they were “absolutely certain” of God’s existence, 24% of American Jews said the same. And though 9% of Americans believe there is no God (8% Catholic and 4% Protestant), 19% of American Jews believe God does not exist.[120]

A 2009 Harris Poll showed American Jews as the religious group most accepting of evolution, with 80% believing in evolution, compared to 51% for Catholics, 32% for Protestants, and 16% of Born-again Christians.[123] They were also less likely to believe in supernatural phenomena such as miracles, angels, or heaven.

Jews are overrepresented in American Buddhism specifically among those whose parents are not Buddhist, and without Buddhist heritage, with between one fifth[124] and 30% of all American Buddhists identifying as Jewish[125] though only 2% of Americans are Jewish. Nicknamed Jubus, an increasing number of American Jews have begun adopting Buddhist spiritual practice, while at the same time continuing to identify with and practice Judaism. Notable American Jewish Buddhists include: Robert Downey, Jr.[126]Allen Ginsberg,[127]Goldie Hawn[128] and daughter Kate Hudson, Steven Seagal, Adam Yauch of the rap group The Beastie Boys, and Garry Shandling. Film makers the Coen Brothers have been influenced by Buddhism as well for a time.[129] Founder of the New York City Marathon, Fred Lebow, dabbled in Buddhism for a brief period.

Today, American Jews are a distinctive and influential group in the nation’s politics. Jeffrey S. Helmreich writes that the ability of American Jews to effect this through political or financial clout is overestimated,[131] that the primary influence lies in the group’s voting patterns.[35]

“Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor,” writes Mitchell Bard, who adds that Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group (84% reported being registered to vote[132]).

Though the majority (6070%) of the country’s Jews identify as Democratic, Jews span the political spectrum, with those at higher levels of observance being far more likely to vote Republican than their less observant and secular counterparts.[133]

Owing to high Democratic identification in the 2008 United States Presidential Election, 78% of Jews voted for Democrat Barack Obama versus 21% for Republican John McCain, despite Republican attempts to connect Obama to Muslim and pro-Palestinian causes.[134] It has been suggested that running mate Sarah Palin’s conservative views on social issues may have nudged Jews away from the McCainPalin ticket.[35][134] In the 2012 United States presidential election, 69% of Jews voted for the Democratic incumbent President Obama.[135]

American Jews have displayed a very strong interest in foreign affairs, especially regarding Germany in the 1930s, and Israel since 1945.[136] Both major parties have made strong commitments in support of Israel. Dr. Eric Uslaner of the University of Maryland argues, with regard to the 2004 election: “Only 15% of Jews said that Israel was a key voting issue. Among those voters, 55% voted for Kerry (compared to 83% of Jewish voters not concerned with Israel).” Uslander goes on to point out that negative views of Evangelical Christians had a distinctly negative impact for Republicans among Jewish voters, while Orthodox Jews, traditionally more conservative in outlook as to social issues, favored the Republican Party.[137] A New York Times article suggests that the Jewish movement to the Republican party is focused heavily on faith-based issues, similar to the Catholic vote, which is credited for helping President Bush taking Florida in 2004.[138] However, Natan Guttman, The Forwards Washington bureau chief, dismisses this notion, writing in Moment that while “[i]t is true that Republicans are making small and steady strides into the Jewish communitya look at the past three decades of exit polls, which are more reliable than pre-election polls, and the numbers are clear: Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic,”[139] an assertion confirmed by the most recent presidential election results.

Though some critics charged that Jewish interests were partially responsible for the push to war with Iraq, Jewish Americans were actually more strongly opposed to the Iraq war from its onset than any other religious group, or even most Americans. The greater opposition to the war was not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions were more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who shared the same political leanings.[140][141]

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey suggests that American Jews’ views on domestic politics are intertwined with the community’s self-definition as a persecuted minority who benefited from the liberties and societal shifts in the United States and feel obligated to help other minorities enjoy the same benefits. American Jews across age and gender lines tend to vote for and support politicians and policies supported by the Democratic Party. On the other hand, Orthodox American Jews have domestic political views that are more similar to their religious Christian neighbors.[142]

American Jews are largely supportive of LGBT rights with 79% responding in a Pew poll that homosexuality should be “accepted by society”.[143] A split on homosexuality exists by level of observance. Reform rabbis in America perform same-sex marriages as a matter of routine, and there are fifteen LGBT Jewish congregations in North America.[144] Reform, Reconstructionist and, increasingly, Conservative, Jews are far more supportive on issues like gay marriage than Orthodox Jews are.[145] A 2007 survey of Conservative Jewish leaders and activists showed that an overwhelming majority supported gay rabbinical ordination and same-sex marriage.[146] Accordingly, 78% percent of Jewish voters rejected Proposition 8, the bill that banned gay marriage in California. No other ethnic or religious group voted as strongly against it.[147]

In considering the trade-off between the economy and environmental protection, American Jews were significantly more likely than other religious groups (excepting Buddhism) to favor stronger environmental protection.[148]

Jews in America also overwhelmingly oppose current United States marijuana policy. Eighty-six percent of Jewish Americans opposed arresting nonviolent marijuana smokers, compared to 61% for the population at large and 68% of all Democrats. Additionally, 85% of Jews in the United States opposed using federal law enforcement to close patient cooperatives for medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal, compared to 67% of the population at large and 73% of Democrats.[149]

Since the time of the last major wave of Jewish immigration to America (over 2,000,000 Jews from Eastern Europe who arrived between 1890 and 1924), Jewish secular culture in the United States has become integrated in almost every important way with the broader American culture. Many aspects of Jewish American culture have, in turn, become part of the wider culture of the United States.

Most American Jews today are native English speakers. A variety of other languages are still spoken within some American Jewish communities, communities that are representative of the various Jewish ethnic divisions from around the world that have come together to make up America’s Jewish population.

Many of America’s Hasidic Jews, being exclusively of Ashkenazi descent, are raised speaking Yiddish. Yiddish was once spoken as the primary language by most of the several million Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated to the United States. It was, in fact, the original language in which The Forward was published. Yiddish has had an influence on American English, and words borrowed from it include chutzpah (“effrontery”, “gall”), nosh (“snack”), schlep (“drag”), schmuck (“an obnoxious, contemptible person”, euphemism for “penis”), and, depending on ideolect, hundreds of other terms. (See also Yinglish.)

The Persian Jewish community in the United States, notably the large community in and around Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California, primarily speak Persian (see also Judeo-Persian) in the home and synagogue. They also support their own Persian language newspapers. Persian Jews also reside in eastern parts of New York such as Kew Gardens and Great Neck, Long Island.

Many recent Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union speak primarily Russian at home, and there are several notable communities where public life and business are carried out mainly in Russian, such as in Brighton Beach in New York City and Sunny Isles Beach in Florida. 2010 estimates of the number of Jewish Russian-speaking households in the New York city area are around 92,000, and the number of individuals are somewhere between 223,000350,000.[154] Another high population of Russian Jews can be found in the Richmond District of San Francisco where Russian markets stand alongside the numerous Asian businesses.

American Bukharan Jews speak Bukhori, a dialect of Persian, and Russian. They publish their own newspapers such as the Bukharian Times and a large portion live in Queens, New York. Forest Hills in the New York City borough of Queens is home to 108th Street, which is called by some “Bukharian Broadway”,[155] a reference to the many stores and restaurants found on and around the street that have Bukharian influences. Many Bukharians are also represented in parts of Arizona, Miami, Florida, and areas of Southern California such as San Diego.

Classical Hebrew is the language of most Jewish religious literature, such as the Tanakh (Bible) and Siddur (prayerbook). Modern Hebrew is also the primary official language of the modern State of Israel, which further encourages many to learn it as a second language. Some recent Israeli immigrants to America speak Hebrew as their primary language.

There are a diversity of Hispanic Jews living in America. The oldest community is that of the Sephardic Jews of New Netherland. Their ancestors had fled Spain or Portugal during the Inquisition for the Netherlands, and then came to New Netherland. Though there is dispute over whether they should be considered Hispanic. Some Hispanic Jews, particularly in Miami and Los Angeles, immigrated from Latin America. The largest groups are those that fled Cuba after the communist revolution (known as Jewbans), and Argentine Jews. Argentina is the Latin American country with the largest Jewish population. There are a large number of synagogues in the Miami area that give services in Spanish. The last Hispanic Jewish community would be those that recently came from Portugal or Spain, after Spain and Portugal granted citizenship to the descendants of Jews who fled during the Inquisition. All of the above listed Hispanic Jewish groups speak either Spanish or Ladino.

Although American Jews have contributed greatly to American arts overall, there remains a distinctly Jewish American literature. Jewish American literature often explores the experience of being a Jew in America, and the conflicting pulls of secular society and history.

Yiddish theater was very well attended, and provided a training ground for performers and producers who moved to Hollywood in the 1920s. Many of the early Hollywood moguls and pioneers were Jewish.[156][157]

Many individual Jews have made significant contributions to American popular culture. There have been many Jewish American actors and performers, ranging from early 1900s actors, to classic Hollywood film stars, and culminating in many currently known actors. The field of American comedy includes many Jews. The legacy also includes songwriters and authors, for example the author of the song “Viva Las Vegas” Doc Pomus, or Billy the Kid composer Aaron Copland. Many Jews have been at the forefront of women’s issues.

Since 1845, a total of 34 Jews have served in the Senate, including the 14 present-day senators noted above. Judah P. Benjamin was the first practicing Jewish Senator, and would later serve as Confederate Secretary of War and Secretary of State during the Civil War. Rahm Emanuel served as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. The number of Jews elected to the House rose to an all-time high of 30. Eight Jews have been appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

The Civil War marked a transition for American Jews. It killed off the antisemitic canard, widespread in Europe, to the effect that Jews are cowardly, preferring to run from war rather than serve alongside their fellow citizens in battle.[158][159]

At least twenty eight American Jews have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

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American Jews – Wikipedia

Congress rotten idea for fighting anti-Semitism | New York Post

Last week, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, aka S. 10, was introduced in the Senate, read three times, and approved by unanimous consent without debate or amendment all on one day. That sort of bipartisan consensus, which suggests a bill is so obviously unobjectionable that no discussion is necessary, usually means trouble, and this case is no exception.

In the name of protecting Jewish students from discrimination, S. 10, if approved by the House, will encourage universities to suppress dissenting political opinions and have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech.

S. 10, introduced by Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Robert Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), codifies a controversial State Department definition of anti-Semitism that includes one-sided criticism of Israel and opposition to Zionism.

Last year, the University of California declined to adopt that definition based on concerns that it would violate the First Amendment by deterring pro-Palestinian activism. S. 10 would have the same effect on a national scale, notwithstanding its assurance that nothing in this Act … shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is supposed to help the Education Department enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by educational institutions that receive federal money. Judaism is not a race, color or national origin, yet the Justice Department says discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and members of other groups violates Title VI when that discrimination is based on the groups actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

Furthermore, discrimination can include a hostile environment that interferes with a students education, and a hostile environment can be created by things other people say.

Given this legal context, the official definition of anti-Semitism has clear First Amendment ramifications. If on-campus speech is viewed as anti-Semitic, it may prompt an investigation by the Education Department, which could conclude that a university has violated Title VI by tolerating anti-Jewish harassment. Awareness of that possibility encourages administrators to regulate and punish speech, which makes students reluctant to express opinions that could be deemed anti-Semitic. The looser the definition of anti-Semitism, the greater the potential for censorship.

Even the clearest expression of anti-Semitism is protected by the First Amendment, provided it does not rise to the level of harassment or assault. It should be possible for a student to question the Holocaust or claim Jews control the media, two examples mentioned in the State Departments definition, without triggering a federal investigation.

The right response to bigoted misconceptions is refutation, not censorship, especially at an educational institution that values free inquiry and open debate.

S. 10 increases the tension between freedom of speech and anti-discrimination law by stretching the definition of anti-Semitism to cover opinions about Israel and its conflict with Palestinians.

The examples cited by the State Department include drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions, applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations, and denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination or denying Israel the right to exist.

These positions strike many Jews (including me) as grossly unfair, but they are not necessarily motivated by anti-Semitism, let alone synonymous with it. They raise important questions about the justice of Israeli policies, the sources of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, collective vs. individual rights and the legitimacy of nation-states.

A college campus is precisely the sort of place where issues like these should be hashed out. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would create a new obstacle to that debate by lending credibility to claims that pro-Palestinian activism creates a hostile environment for Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League, which worked with Sens. Scott and Casey on the bill, claims it addresses a core concern of Jewish and pro-Israel students and parents: When does the expression of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Zionist beliefs cross the line from First Amendment protected free expression to unlawful discriminatory conduct?

But the truth is that S. 10 provides no guidance whatsoever on where that line is, meaning it is bound to chill speech that even the ADL thinks should be tolerated.

Jacob Sullum is a Jerusalem-based editor at Reason magazine and a syndicated columnist.

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Congress rotten idea for fighting anti-Semitism | New York Post

Jerusalem Talmud – Wikipedia

The Jerusalem Talmud (Hebrew: , Talmud Yerushalmi, often Yerushalmi for short), also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael (Talmud of the Land of Israel), is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the second-century Jewish oral tradition known as the Mishnah. Naming this version of the Talmud after Palestine or Land of Israel rather than Jerusalem is considered more accurate by some because, while the work was certainly composed in “the West” (as seen from Babylonia), i.e. in the Holy Land, it mainly originates from the Galilee rather than from Jerusalem in Judea, as no Jews lived in Jerusalem at this time[1][2] The Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in the Land of Israel, then divided between the Byzantine provinces of Palaestina Prima and Palaestina Secunda, and was brought to an end sometime around 400.[citation needed] The Jerusalem Talmud predates its counterpart, the Babylonian Talmud (known in Hebrew as the Talmud Bavli), by about 200 years,[citation needed] and is written in both Hebrew and Jewish Palestinian Aramaic.

The word Talmud itself is often defined as “instruction”.[3] Both versions of the Talmud comprise two parts, the Mishnah (of which there is only one version), which was finalized by Judah the Prince around the year 200 CE, and either the Babylonian or the Palestinian Gemara. The Gemara is what differentiates the Jerusalem Talmud from its Babylonian counterpart.

The Jerusalem Gemara contains the written discussions of generations of rabbis in the Land of Israel (primarily in the academies of Tiberias and Caesarea), compiled c. 350-400 CE into a series of books.[citation needed]

The Babylonian Gemara, which is the second recension of the Mishnah, was compiled by the scholars of Babylonia (primarily in the Talmudic academies of Sura and Pumbedita), and was completed c. 500. The Babylonian Talmud is often seen as more authoritative and is studied much more than the Jerusalem Talmud. In general, the terms “Gemara” or “Talmud,” without further qualification, refer to the Babylonian recension.

Following the redaction of the Mishnah, many Jewish scholars living in Roman-controlled Syria Palaestina moved to the Sasanian Empire to escape the harsh decrees against Jews enacted by the emperor Hadrian after the Bar Kokhba revolt. The remaining scholars who lived in the Galilee area decided to continue their teaching activity in the learning centers that had existed since Mishnaic times.

The Jerusalem Talmud probably originated in Tiberias in the School of Johanan bar Nappaha. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea. It is written largely in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, a Western Aramaic variety that differs from its Babylonian counterpart.

This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah that was developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Talmudic Academies in Syria Palaestina (principally those of Tiberias and Caesarea). Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel. Traditionally, the redaction of this Talmud was thought to have been brought to an abrupt end around 425, when Theodosius II suppressed the Nasi and put an end to the practice of semikhah (formal scholarly ordination). It was thought that the compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended, and that this is the reason why the Gemara do not comment upon the whole Mishnah.[4]

In recent years scholars have come to doubt the causal link between the abolition of the Nasi and the seeming incompletion of the final redaction. However, as no evidence exists of Amoraim activity in Palestine after the 370s, it is still considered very likely that the final redaction of the Palestinian Talmud took place in the late fourth or early fifth century.[5]

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia,

Yerushalmi has not been preserved in its entirety; large portions of it were entirely lost at an early date, while other parts exist only in fragments. The editio princeps (ed. Bomberg, Venice, 1523 et seq.), based on the Leiden manuscript and on which all later editions are based, terminates with the following remark: “Thus far we have found what is contained in this Talmud; and we have endeavored in vain to obtain the missing portions.” Of the four manuscripts used for this first edition (comp. the note at the conclusion of Shab. xx. 17d and the passage just cited), only one is now in existence; it is preserved in the library of the University of Leyden (see below). Of the six orders of the Mishnah, the fifth, odashim, is missing entirely from the Palestinian Talmud, while the sixth, ohorot, contains only the first three chapters of the treatise Niddah (iv. 48d-51b).

The Leiden Jerusalem Talmud (Or. 4720) is today the only extant complete manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud. It was copied in 1289 by Rabbi Yechiel ben Yekutiel the Physician of Rome and shows elements of a later recension. The additions which are added in the biblical glosses of the Leiden manuscript do not appear in extant fragments of the same Talmudic tractates found in Yemen,[6] additions which are now incorporated in every printed edition of the Jerusalem Talmud.

The Leiden manuscript is important in that it preserves some earlier variants to textual readings, such as in Tractate Pesachim 10:3 (70a), which brings down the old Palestinian-Hebrew word for charoseth (the sweet relish eaten at Passover), viz. dkeh (Hebrew: ), instead of rbeh/rabah (Hebrew: ), saying with a play on words: The members of Isse’s household would say in the name of Isse: Why is it called dkeh? It is because she pounds [the spiced ingredients] with him. The Hebrew word for “pound” is dakh (), which rules out the spelling of rabah (), as found in the printed editions. Yemenite Jews still call it dkeh.[7]

There are significant differences between the two Talmud compilations. The language of the Jerusalem Talmud is Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, a Western Aramaic dialect which differs from that of the Babylonian. The Jerusalem Talmud is often fragmentary and difficult to read, even for experienced Talmudists. The redaction of the Babylonian Talmud, on the other hand, is more careful and precise. The traditional explanation for this difference was the idea that the redactors of the Jerusalem Talmud had to finish their work abruptly. A more probable explanation is the fact that the Babylonian Talmud wasn’t redacted for at least another 200 years, in which a broad discursive framework was created. The law as laid down in the two compilations is basically similar, except in emphasis and in minor details. Some scholars, for example David Weiss Halivni, describe the longer discursive passages in the Babylonian Talmud as the “Stammaitic” layer of redaction, and believe that it was added later than the rest: if one were to remove the “Stammaitic” passages, the remaining text would be quite similar in character to the Jerusalem Talmud.

Neither the Jerusalem nor the Babylonian Talmud covers the entire Mishnah: for example, a Babylonian Gemara exists only for 37 out of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah. In particular:

The Babylonian Talmud records the opinions of the rabbis of Israel as well as of those of Babylonia, while the Jerusalem Talmud seldom cites the Babylonian rabbis. The Babylonian version contains the opinions of more generations because of its later date of completion. For both these reasons it is regarded as a more comprehensive collection of the opinions available. On the other hand, because of the centuries of redaction between the composition of the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, the opinions of early amoraim might be closer to their original form in the Jerusalem Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Jerusalem Talmud. In the main, this is because the influence and prestige of the Jewish community of Israel steadily declined in contrast with the Babylonian community in the years after the redaction of the Talmud and continuing until the Gaonic era. Furthermore, the editing of the Babylonian Talmud was superior to that of the Jerusalem version, making it more accessible and readily usable. Hai Gaon, on the preeminence of the Babylonian Talmud, has written:

Anything that has been decided halachically in our Talmud (i.e. the Babylonian Talmud), we do not rely on [any contradictory view found in] the Jerusalem Talmud, seeing that many years have passed since instruction coming from there (i.e. the Land of Israel) had ceased on account of persecution, whereas here (i.e. in Babylonia) is where the final decisions were clarified.[9]

However, on the Jerusalem Talmuds continued importance for the understanding of arcane matters, Rabbi Hai Gaon has also written:

Whatever we find in the Jerusalem Talmud and there is nothing that contradicts it in our own Talmud (i.e. the Babylonian Talmud), or which gives a nice explanation for its matters of discourse, we can hold-on to it and rely upon it, for it is not to be viewed as inferior to the commentaries of the rishonim (i.e. the early exponents of the Torah).[10]

In addition, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land. It was also an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Chananel ben Chushiel and Nissim ben Jacob, with the result that opinions ultimately based on the Jerusalem Talmud found their way into both the Tosafot and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides.

The Babylonian Talmud has traditionally been studied more widely and has had greater influence on the halakhic tradition than the Jerusalem Talmud. However, some traditions associated with the Jerusalem Talmud are reflected in certain forms of the liturgy, particularly those of the Italian Jews and Romaniotes.

Following the formation of the modern state of Israel there was some interest in restoring the Palestinian Talmud’s traditions. For example, David Bar-Hayim of the Makhon Shilo institute has issued a siddur reflecting the practices found in the Jerusalem Talmud and other sources.

Compared to the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud has not received as much attention from commentators, and such traditional commentaries as exist are mostly concerned with proving that its teachings are identical to Bavli.

One of the first to make a commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud was Solomon Sirilio (14851554), whose commentaries cover only the Order known as Zeraim and the Sheqalim section of the Moed.[11] Sirilio’s commentary remained in manuscript form until 1875, when it was first printed in Mainz by Meir Lehmann. Today’s modern printed editions almost all carry the commentaries, Korban ha-Eida, by David ben Naphtali Frnkel (c. 17041762) of Berlin, and Pnei Moshe, by Moses Margolies (c.1710?1781) of Amsterdam.

A modern edition and commentary, known as Or Simchah, is currently being prepared in Beersheba; another edition in preparation, including paraphrases and explanatory notes in modern Hebrew, is Yedid Nefesh. The Jerusalem Talmud has also received some attention from Adin Steinsaltz, who plans a translation into modern Hebrew and accompanying explanation similar to his work on the Babylonian Talmud.[12] So far only Tractates Pe’ah and Shekalim have appeared.[13]

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Jerusalem Talmud – Wikipedia

Mandatory Palestine – Wikipedia

Mandatory Palestine[1] (Arabic: Filasn; Hebrew: (“) Pltn (EY), where “EY” indicates “Eretz Yisrael”, Land of Israel) was a geopolitical entity under British administration, carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria after World War I. British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. During its existence the territory was known simply as Palestine, but, in later years, a variety of other names and descriptors have been used, including Mandatory or Mandate Palestine, the British Mandate of Palestine and British Palestine.

During the First World War (191418), an Arab uprising and the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force under General Edmund Allenby drove the Turks out of the Levant during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.[2] The United Kingdom had agreed in the McMahonHussein Correspondence that it would honour Arab independence if they revolted against the Ottomans, but the two sides had different interpretations of this agreement, and in the end the UK and France divided up the area under the SykesPicot Agreementan act of betrayal in the eyes of the Arabs. Further confusing the issue was the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising British support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. At the war’s end the British and French set up a joint “Occupied Enemy Territory Administration” in what had been Ottoman Syria. The British achieved legitimacy for their continued control by obtaining a mandate from the League of Nations in June 1922. The formal objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, “until such time as they are able to stand alone.”[3] The civil Mandate administration was formalized with the League of Nations’ consent in 1923 under the British Mandate for Palestine, which covered two administrative areas. The land west of the Jordan River, known as Palestine, was under direct British administration until 1948. The land east of the Jordan, a semi-autonomous region known as Transjordan, under the rule of the Hashemite family from the Hijaz, gained independence in 1946.[4]

The divergent tendencies regarding the nature and purpose of the mandate are visible already in the discussions concerning the name for this new entity. According to the Minutes of the Ninth Session of the League of Nations’ Permanent Mandate Commission:

Colonel Symes explained that the country was described as “Palestine” by Europeans and as “Falestin” by the Arabs. The Hebrew name for the country was the designation “Land of Israel”, and the Government, to meet Jewish wishes, had agreed that the word “Palestine” in Hebrew characters should be followed in all official documents by the initials which stood for that designation. As a set-off to this, certain of the Arab politicians suggested that the country should be called “Southern Syria” in order to emphasise its close relation with another Arab State.[5]

During the British Mandate period the area experienced the ascent of two major nationalist movements, one among the Jews and the other among the Arabs. The competing national interests of the Arab and Jewish populations of Palestine against each other and against the governing British authorities matured into the Arab Revolt of 19361939 and the Jewish insurgency in Palestine before culminating in the Civil War of 19471948. The aftermath of the Civil War and the consequent 1948 ArabIsraeli War led to the establishment of the 1949 cease-fire agreement, with partition of the former Mandatory Palestine between the newborn state of Israel with a Jewish majority, the West Bank annexed by the Jordanian Kingdom and the Arab All-Palestine Government in the Gaza Strip under the military occupation of Egypt.

Following its occupation by British troops in 19171918, Palestine was governed by the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. In July 1920, the military administration was replaced by a civilian administration headed by a High Commissioner.[6] The first High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, a Zionist recent cabinet minister, arrived in Palestine on 20 June 1920, to take up his appointment from 1 July.

Following the arrival of the British, Muslim-Christian Associations were established in all the major towns.[citation needed] In 1919 they joined to hold the first Palestine Arab Congress in Jerusalem.[citation needed] Its main platforms were a call for representative government and opposition to the Balfour Declaration.[citation needed]

The Zionist Commission was formed in March 1918 and was active in promoting Zionist objectives in Palestine. On 19 April 1920, elections were held for the Assembly of Representatives of the Palestinian Jewish community.[7] The Zionist Commission received official recognition in 1922 as representative of the Palestinian Jewish community.[8]

One of the first actions of the newly installed civil administration in 1921 had been to grant Pinhas Rutenberga Jewish entrepreneurconcessions for the production and distribution of wired electricity. Rutenberg soon established an electric company whose shareholders were Zionist organizations, investors, and philanthropists. Palestinian-Arabs saw it as proof that the British intended to favor Zionism. The British administration claimed that electrification would enhance the economic development of the country as a whole, while at the same time securing their commitment to facilitate a Jewish National Home through economicrather than politicalmeans.[9]

Samuel tried to establish self-governing institutions in Palestine, as required by the mandate, but was frustrated by the refusal of the Arab leadership to co-operate with any institution which included Jewish participation.[10] When Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Kamil al-Husayni died in March 1921, High Commissioner Samuel appointed his half-brother Mohammad Amin al-Husseini to the position. Amin al-Husseini, a member of the al-Husayni clan of Jerusalem, was an Arab nationalist and Muslim leader. As Grand Mufti, as well as the other influential positions that he held during this period, al-Husseini played a key role in violent opposition to Zionism. In 1922, al-Husseini was elected President of the Supreme Muslim Council which had been created by Samuel in December 1921.[11][12] The Council controlled the Waqf funds, worth annually tens of thousands of pounds[13] and the orphan funds, worth annually about 50,000, as compared to the 600,000 in the Jewish Agency’s annual budget.[14] In addition, he controlled the Islamic courts in Palestine. Among other functions, these courts were entrusted with the power to appoint teachers and preachers.

The 1922 Palestine Order in Council[15] established a Legislative Council, which was to consist of 23 members: 12 elected, 10 appointed, and the High Commissioner.[16] Of the 12 elected members, eight were to be Muslim Arabs, two Christian Arabs and two Jews.[17] Arabs protested against the distribution of the seats, arguing that as they constituted 88% of the population, having only 43% of the seats was unfair.[17]Elections were held in February and March 1923, but due to an Arab boycott, the results were annulled and a 12-member Advisory Council was established.[16]

In October 1923, Britain provided the League of Nations with a report on the administration of Palestine for the period 19201922, which covered the period before the mandate.[18]

In 1930, Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam arrived in Palestine from Syria and organised and established the Black Hand, an anti-Zionist and anti-British militant organisation. He recruited and arranged military training for peasants and by 1935 he had enlisted between 200 and 800 men. The cells were equipped with bombs and firearms, which they used to kill Zionist settlers in the area, as well as engaging in a campaign of vandalism of the settlers-planted trees and British constructed rail-lines.[19] In November 1935, two of his men engaged in a firefight with a Palestine police patrol hunting fruit thieves and a policeman was killed. Following the incident, British police launched a manhunt and surrounded al-Qassam in a cave near Ya’bad. In the ensuing battle, al-Qassam was killed.[19]

The death of al-Qassam on 20 November 1935 generated widespread outrage in the Arab community. Huge crowds accompanied Qassam’s body to his grave in Haifa. A few months later, in April 1936, the Arab national general strike broke out. The strike lasted until October 1936, instigated by the Arab Higher Committee, headed by Amin al-Husseini. During the summer of that year, thousands of Jewish-farmed acres and orchards were destroyed, Jewish civilians were attacked and killed, and some Jewish communities, such as those in Beisan and Acre, fled to safer areas. (Gilbert 1998, p.80) The violence abated for about a year while the British sent the Peel Commission to investigate. (Khalidi 2006, pp.8790)

During the first stages of the Arab Revolt, due to rivalry between the clans of al-Husseini and Nashashibi among the Palestinian Arabs, Raghib Nashashibi was forced to flee to Egypt after several assassination attempts ordered by Amin al-Husseini.[20]

Following the Arab rejection of the Peel Commission recommendation, the revolt resumed in autumn of 1937. Over the next 18 months, the British lost control of Nablus and Hebron. British forces, supported by 6,000 armed Jewish auxiliary police,[21] suppressed the widespread riots with overwhelming force. The British officer Charles Orde Wingate (who supported a Zionist revival for religious reasons[22]) organised Special Night Squads composed of British soldiers and Jewish volunteers such as Yigal Alon, which scored significant successes against the Arab rebels in the lower Galilee and in the Jezreel valley(Black 1991, p.14) by conducting raids on Arab villages. (Shapira 1992, pp.247, 249, 350) The Jewish militia Irgun used violence also against Arab civilians as “retaliatory acts”,[23]attacking marketplaces and buses.

By the time the revolt concluded in March 1939, more than 5,000 Arabs, 400 Jews, and 200 British had been killed and at least 15,000 Arabs were wounded.[24] The Revolt resulted in the deaths of 5,000 Palestinian Arabs and the wounding of 10,000. In total, 10% of the adult Arab male population was killed, wounded, imprisoned, or exiled. (Khalidi 2001, p.26) From 1936 to 1945, while establishing collaborative security arrangements with the Jewish Agency, the British confiscated 13,200 firearms from Arabs and 521 weapons from Jews.[25]

The attacks on the Jewish population by Arabs had three lasting effects: First, they led to the formation and development of Jewish underground militias, primarily the Haganah, which were to prove decisive in 1948. Secondly, it became clear that the two communities could not be reconciled, and the idea of partition was born. Thirdly, the British responded to Arab opposition with the White Paper of 1939, which severely restricted Jewish land purchase and immigration. However, with the advent of World War II, even this reduced immigration quota was not reached. The White Paper policy also radicalised segments of the Jewish population, who after the war would no longer cooperate with the British.

The revolt had a negative effect on Palestinian Arab leadership, social cohesion, and military capabilities and contributed to the outcome of the 1948 War because “when the Palestinians faced their most fateful challenge in 194749, they were still suffering from the British repression of 193639, and were in effect without a unified leadership. Indeed, it might be argued that they were virtually without any leadership at all”.[26]

In 1937, the Peel Commission proposed a partition between a small Jewish state, whose Arab population would have to be transferred, and an Arab state to be attached to Jordan. The proposal was rejected outright by the Arabs. The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, had convinced the Zionist Congress to approve equivocally the Peel recommendations as a basis for more negotiation.[27][28][29][30][31] In a letter to his son in October 1937, Ben-Gurion explained that partition would be a first step to “possession of the land as a whole”.[32][33][34] The same sentiment was recorded by Ben-Gurion on other occasions, such as at a meeting of the Jewish Agency executive in June 1938,[35] as well as by Chaim Weizmann.[34][36]

Following the London Conference (1939) the British Government published a White Paper which proposed a limit to Jewish immigration from Europe, restrictions on Jewish land purchases, and a program for creating an independent state to replace the Mandate within ten years. This was seen by the Yishuv as betrayal of the mandatory terms, especially in light of the increasing persecution of Jews in Europe. In response, Zionists organised Aliyah Bet, a program of illegal immigration into Palestine. Lehi, a small group of extremist Zionists, staged armed attacks on British authorities in Palestine. However, the Jewish Agency, which represented the mainstream Zionist leadership, still hoped to persuade Britain to allow resumed Jewish immigration, and cooperated with Britain in World War II.

On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on the British Commonwealth and sided with Germany. Within a month, the Italians attacked Palestine from the air, bombing Tel Aviv and Haifa,[37] inflicting multiple casualties.

In 1942, there was a period of great concern for the Yishuv, when the forces of German General Erwin Rommel advanced east across North Africa towards the Suez Canal and there was fear that they would conquer Palestine. This period was referred to as the “200 days of dread”. This event was the direct cause for the founding, with British support, of the Palmach[38] a highly trained regular unit belonging to Haganah (a paramilitary group which was mostly made up of reserve troops).

As in most of the Arab world, there was no unanimity amongst the Palestinian Arabs as to their position regarding the belligerents in World War II. A number of leaders and public figures saw an Axis victory as the likely outcome and a way of securing Palestine back from the Zionists and the British. Even though Arabs were not highly regarded by Nazi racial theory, the Nazis encouraged Arab support as a counter to British hegemony.[39] SS-Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler was keen to exploit this, going so far as to enlist the aid of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, sending him the following telegram on 2 November 1943:

To the Grand Mufti: The National Socialist movement of Greater Germany has, since its inception, inscribed upon its flag the fight against the world Jewry. It has therefore followed with particular sympathy the struggle of freedom-loving Arabs, especially in Palestine, against Jewish interlopers. In the recognition of this enemy and of the common struggle against it lies the firm foundation of the natural alliance that exists between the National Socialist Greater Germany and the freedom-loving Muslims of the whole world. In this spirit I am sending you on the anniversary of the infamous Balfour declaration my hearty greetings and wishes for the successful pursuit of your struggle until the final victory Reichsfuehrer S.S. Heinrich Himmler

The Mufti al-Husseini would spend the rest of the war in Nazi Germany and the occupied areas in Europe.[citation needed]

On 3 July 1944, the British government consented to the establishment of a Jewish Brigade, with hand-picked Jewish and also non-Jewish senior officers. On 20 September 1944, an official communiqu by the War Office announced the formation of the Jewish Brigade Group of the British Army. The Jewish brigade then was stationed in Tarvisio, near the border triangle of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Austria, where it played a key role in the Berihah’s efforts to help Jews escape Europe for Palestine, a role many of its members would continue after the brigade was disbanded. Among its projects was the education and care of the Selvino children. Later, veterans of the Jewish Brigade became key participants of the new State of Israel’s Israel Defense Forces.

From Palestine Regiment, two platoons, one Jewish, under the command of Brigadier Ernest Benjamin, and another Arab were sent to join allied forces on the Italian Front, having taken part of final offensive there.

Besides Jews and Arabs from Palestine, in total by mid-1944 the British had assembled a multiethnic force consisting of volunteer European Jewish refugees (from German-occupied countries), Yemenite Jews and Abyssinian Jews.[40]

In 1939, as a consequence of the White Paper of 1939, the British reduced the number of immigrants allowed into Palestine. World War II and the Holocaust started shortly thereafter and once the 15,000 annual quota was exceeded, Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were interned in detention camps or deported to places such as Mauritius.[41]

Starting in 1939, a clandestine immigration effort called Aliya Bet was spearheaded by an organisation called Mossad LeAliyah Bet. Tens of thousands of European Jews escaped the Nazis in boats and small ships headed for Palestine. The Royal Navy intercepted many of the vessels; others were unseaworthy and were wrecked; a Haganah bomb sunk the SSPatria, killing 267 people; two more were sunk by Soviet submarines. The motor schooner Struma was torpedoed and sunk in the Black Sea by a Soviet submarine in February 1942 with the loss of nearly 800 lives.[42] The last refugee boats to try to reach Palestine during the war were the Bulbul, Mefkre and Morina in August 1944. A Soviet submarine sank the motor schooner Mefkre by torpedo and shellfire and machine-gunned survivors in the water,[43] killing between 300 and 400 refugees.[44] Illegal immigration resumed after World War II.

After the war 250,000 Jewish refugees were stranded in displaced persons (DP) camps in Europe. Despite the pressure of world opinion, in particular the repeated requests of US President Harry S. Truman and the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that 100,000 Jews be immediately granted entry to Palestine, the British maintained the ban on immigration.

The Jewish Lehi (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) and Irgun (National Military Organization) movements initiated violent uprisings against the British Mandate in 1940, in the former case, and in 1939, briefly, and 1944, for longer and on a larger scale, in the latter. On 6 November 1944, Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet Zuri (members of Lehi) assassinated Lord Moyne in Cairo. Moyne was the British Minister of State for the Middle East and the assassination is said by some to have turned British Prime Minister Winston Churchill against the Zionist cause. After the assassination of Lord Moyne, the Haganah kidnapped, interrogated, and turned over to the British many members of the Irgun (“The Hunting Season”), and the Jewish Agency Executive decided on a series of measures against “terrorist organizations” in Palestine.[45] Irgun ordered its members not to resist or retaliate with violence, so as to prevent a civil war. The three main Jewish underground forces later united to form the Jewish Resistance Movement and carry out several attacks and bombings against the British administration. In 1946, the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the headquarters of the British administration, killing 92 people. Following the bombing, the British Government began interning illegal Jewish immigrants in Cyprus. In 1948 the Lehi assassinated the UN mediator Count Bernadotte in Jerusalem. Yitzak Shamir, future prime minister of Israel was one of the conspirators.

The negative publicity resulting from the situation in Palestine caused the Mandate to become widely unpopular in Britain, and caused the United States Congress to delay granting the British vital loans for reconstruction. The British Labour party had promised before its election to allow mass Jewish migration into Palestine but reneged on this promise once in office. Anti-British Jewish militancy increased and the situation required the presence of over 100,000 British troops in the country. Following the Acre Prison Break and the retaliatory hanging of British Sergeants by the Irgun, the British announced their desire to terminate the mandate and withdraw by no later than the beginning of August 1948.[46]

The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946 was a joint attempt by Britain and the United States to agree on a policy regarding the admission of Jews to Palestine. In April, the Committee reported that its members had arrived at a unanimous decision. The Committee approved the American recommendation of the immediate acceptance of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine. It also recommended that there be no Arab, and no Jewish State. The Committee stated that “in order to dispose, once and for all, of the exclusive claims of Jews and Arabs to Palestine, we regard it as essential that a clear statement of principle should be made that Jew shall not dominate Arab and Arab shall not dominate Jew in Palestine.” U.S. President Harry S Truman angered the British Government by issuing a statement supporting the 100,000 refugees but refusing to acknowledge the rest of the committee’s findings. Britain had asked for U.S assistance in implementing the recommendations. The U.S. War Department had said earlier that to assist Britain in maintaining order against an Arab revolt, an open-ended U.S. commitment of 300,000 troops would be necessary. The immediate admission of 100,000 new Jewish immigrants would almost certainly have provoked an Arab uprising.[47]

These events were the decisive factors that forced Britain to announce their desire to terminate the Palestine Mandate and place the Question of Palestine before the United Nations, the successor to the League of Nations. The UN created UNSCOP (the UN Special Committee on Palestine) on 15 May 1947, with representatives from 11 countries. UNSCOP conducted hearings and made a general survey of the situation in Palestine, and issued its report on 31 August. Seven members (Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, and Uruguay) recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration. Three members (India, Iran, and Yugoslavia) supported the creation of a single federal state containing both Jewish and Arab constituent states. Australia abstained.

On 29 November, the UN General Assembly, voting 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions, adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union as Resolution 181 (II).,[48] while making some adjustments to the boundaries between the two states proposed by it. The division was to take effect on the date of British withdrawal. The partition plan required that the proposed states grant full civil rights to all people within their borders, regardless of race, religion or gender. It is important to note that the UN General Assembly is only granted the power to make recommendations, therefore, UNGAR 181 was not legally binding.[49] Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union supported the resolution. Haiti, Liberia, and the Philippines changed their votes at the last moment after concerted pressure from the U.S. and from Zionist organisations.[50][51][52] The five members of the Arab League, who were voting members at the time, voted against the Plan.

The Jewish Agency, which was the Jewish state-in-formation, accepted the plan, and nearly all the Jews in Palestine rejoiced at the news.

The partition plan was rejected out of hand by Palestinian Arab leadership and by most of the Arab population.[qt 1][qt 2] Meeting in Cairo on November and December 1947, the Arab League then adopted a series of resolutions endorsing a military solution to the conflict.

Britain announced that it would accept the partition plan, but refused to enforce it, arguing it was not accepted by the Arabs. Britain also refused to share the administration of Palestine with the UN Palestine Commission during the transitional period. In September 1947, the British government announced that the Mandate for Palestine would end at midnight on 14 May 1948.[53][54][55]

Some Jewish organisations also opposed the proposal. Irgun leader Menachem Begin announced, “The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature by institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for ever.”[56] These views were publicly rejected by the majority of the nascent Jewish state.[citation needed]

When the UK announced the independence of Transjordan in 1946, the final Assembly of the League of Nations and the General Assembly both adopted resolutions welcoming the news.[57] The Jewish Agency objected, claiming that Transjordan was an integral part of Palestine, and that according to Article 80 of the UN Charter, the Jewish people had a secured interest in its territory.[58]

During the General Assembly deliberations on Palestine, there were suggestions that it would be desirable to incorporate part of Transjordan’s territory into the proposed Jewish state. A few days before the adoption of Resolution 181 (II) on 29 November 1947, U.S. Secretary of State Marshall noted frequent references had been made by the Ad Hoc Committee regarding the desirability of the Jewish State having both the Negev and an “outlet to the Red Sea and the Port of Aqaba.”[59] According to John Snetsinger, Chaim Weizmann visited President Truman on 19 November 1947 and said it was imperative that the Negev and Port of Aqaba be under Jewish control and that they be included in the Jewish state.[60] Truman telephoned the US delegation to the UN and told them he supported Weizmann’s position.[61] However, the Trans-Jordan memorandum excluded territories of the Emirate of Transjordan from any Jewish settlement.[62]

Immediately after the UN resolution, the 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine broke out between the Arab and Jewish communities, and British authority began to break down. On December 16, 1947, the Palestine Police Force withdrew from the Tel Aviv area, home to more than half the Jewish population, and turned over responsibility for the maintenance of law and order to Jewish police.[63] As the civil war raged on, British military forces gradually withdrew from Palestine, although they occasionally intervened in favor of either side. As they withdrew, they handed over control to local authorities, and locally raised police forces were charged with maintaining law and order. The areas they withdrew from often quickly became war zones. The British maintained strong presences in Jerusalem and Haifa, even as Jerusalem came under siege by Arab forces and became the scene of fierce fighting, though the British occasionally intervened in the fighting, largely to secure their evacuation routes, including by proclaiming martial law and enforcing truces. The Palestine Police Force was largely inoperative, and government services such as social welfare, control of water supplies, and postal services were withdrawn. In April 1948, the British withdrew from most of Haifa, but retained an enclave in the port area to be used in the evacuation of British forces, and temporarily retained RAF Ramat David airbase to cover their retreat, leaving behind a volunteer police force to maintain order. The city was quickly captured by the Haganah in the Battle of Haifa. Following the victory, British forces in Jerusalem announced that they had no intention of assuming control of any local administrations, but would not permit any actions that would hamper the safe and orderly withdrawal of British forces from Palestine, and would set up military courts to try persons who interfered.[64][65][66] Although by this time British authority in most of Palestine had broken down, with most of the country in control of the Jews and Arabs, the British air and sea blockade of Palestine remained firmly in place.

The British had notified the U.N. of their intent to terminate the mandate not later than 1 August 1948.[67][68] However, early in 1948, the United Kingdom announced its firm intention to end its mandate in Palestine on 14 May. In response, President Harry S Truman made a statement on 25 March proposing UN trusteeship rather than partition, stating that “unfortunately, it has become clear that the partition plan cannot be carried out at this time by peaceful means… unless emergency action is taken, there will be no public authority in Palestine on that date capable of preserving law and order. Violence and bloodshed will descend upon the Holy Land. Large-scale fighting among the people of that country will be the inevitable result.”[69]

By 14 May 1948, the only British forces remaining in Palestine were in the Haifa area and in Jerusalem. On that same day, the British garrison in Jerusalem withdrew, and High Commissioner Alan Cunningham left the city for Haifa, where he was to leave the country by sea. The Jewish Leadership, led by future Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,[70] on the afternoon of 14 May 1948 (5 Iyar 5708 in the Hebrew calendar), to come into force at midnight of that day.[71][72][73] On the same day, the Provisional Government of Israel asked the US Government for recognition, on the frontiers specified in the UN Plan for Partition.[74] The United States immediately replied, recognizing “the provisional government as the de facto authority.”[75]

At the same time that the state of Israel was being declared the Haganah took over formerly British-controlled areas in Jerusalem. As the mandate era came to an end, radical Jewish forces, from whose actions the Haganah distanced themselves, began to clear Palestinian Arab communities in the area which would become Israel.[76]

On 15 May 1948, the Palestine Mandate ended and the State of Israel came into being. The Palestine Government formally ceased to exist, the status of British forces still in the process of withdrawal from Haifa changed to occupiers of foreign territory, the Palestine Police Force formally stood down and was disbanded, with the remaining personnel evacuated alongside British military forces, the British blockade of Palestine was lifted, and all Mandatory Palestine passports ceased to give British protection.[65][77]

Over the next few days, approximately 700 Lebanese, 1,876 Syrian, 4,000 Iraqi, 2,800 Egyptian troops crossed over the borders and into Palestine (see 1948 Arab-Israeli War).[78] Around 4,500 Transjordanian troops, commanded partly by 38 British officers who had resigned their commissions in the British army only weeks earlier, including overall commander, General John Bagot Glubb, entered the Corpus separatum region encompassing Jerusalem and its environs (in response to the Haganah’s Operation Kilshon[79]) and moved into areas designated as part of the Arab state by the UN partition plan.

1927 Mandatory Palestine postage stamp

1941 Mandatory Palestine coin

1927 Mandatory Palestine revenue stamp

1927 Mandatory Palestine coin

The name given to the Mandate’s territory was “Palestine”, in accordance with European traditions.[citation needed] The term Palestine was coined in the Western culture from the name of Palaestina province of the Roman (Syria-Palaestina) and later Byzantine Empire (Palaestina Prima and Palaestina Secunda).[citation needed] The Mandate charter stipulated that Mandatory Palestine would have three official languages, namely English, Arabic and Hebrew.

In 1926, the British authorities formally decided to use the traditional Arabic and Hebrew equivalents to the English name, i.e. filasn () and pltn () respectively. The Jewish leadership proposed that the proper Hebrew name should be rts Yirel ( =Land of Israel). The final compromise was to add the initials of the Hebrew proposed name, Alef-Yud, within parenthesis (), whenever the Mandate’s name was mentioned in Hebrew in official documents. The Arab leadership saw this compromise as a violation of the mandate terms. Some Arab politicians suggested that there should be a similar Arabic concession, such as “Southern Syria” ( ). The British authorities rejected this proposal.[80]

Passports from the British Mandate era.

The resolution of the San Remo Conference contained a safeguarding clause for the existing rights of the non-Jewish communities. The conference accepted the terms of the Mandate with reference to Palestine, on the understanding that there was inserted in the memorandum a legal undertaking by the Mandatory Power that it would not involve the surrender of the rights hitherto enjoyed by the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.[81] The draft mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, and all of the post-war peace treaties contained clauses for the protection of religious groups and minorities. The mandates invoked the compulsory jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of International Justice in the event of any disputes.[82]

Article 62 (LXII) of the Treaty of Berlin, 13 July 1878[83] dealt with religious freedom and civil and political rights in all parts of the Ottoman Empire.[84] The guarantees have frequently been referred to as “religious rights” or “minority rights”. However, the guarantees included a prohibition against discrimination in civil and political matters. Difference of religion could not be alleged against any person as a ground for exclusion or incapacity in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights, admission to public employments, functions, and honours, or the exercise of the various professions and industries, “in any locality whatsoever.”

A legal analysis performed by the International Court of Justice noted that the Covenant of the League of Nations had provisionally recognised the communities of Palestine as independent nations. The mandate simply marked a transitory period, with the aim and object of leading the mandated territory to become an independent self-governing State.[85] Judge Higgins explained that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State.”[86] The Court said that specific guarantees regarding freedom of movement and access to the Holy Sites contained in the Treaty of Berlin (1878) had been preserved under the terms of the Palestine Mandate and a chapter of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.[87]

According to historian Rashid Khalidi, the mandate ignored the political rights of the Arabs.[88] The Arab leadership repeatedly pressed the British to grant them national and political rights, such as representative government, over Jewish national and political rights in the remaining 23% of the Mandate of Palestine which the British had set aside for a Jewish homeland. The Arabs reminded the British of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points and British promises during the First World War. The British however made acceptance of the terms of the mandate a precondition for any change in the constitutional position of the Arabs. A legislative council was proposed in The Palestine Order in Council, of 1922 which implemented the terms of the mandate. It stated that: “No Ordinance shall be passed which shall be in any way repugnant to or inconsistent with the provisions of the Mandate.” For the Arabs, this was unacceptable, as they felt that this would be “self murder”.[89] As a result, the Arabs boycotted the elections to the Council held in 1923, which were subsequently annulled.[90] During the whole interwar period, the British, appealing to the terms of the mandate, which they had designed themselves, rejected the principle of majority rule or any other measure that would give an Arab majority control over the government of Palestine.[91]

The terms of the mandate required the establishment of self-governing institutions in both Palestine and Transjordan. In 1947, Foreign Secretary Bevin admitted that during the previous twenty-five years the British had done their best to further the legitimate aspirations of the Jewish communities without prejudicing the interests of the Arabs, but had failed to “secure the development of self-governing institutions” in accordance with the terms of the Mandate.[92]

Under the British Mandate, the office of “Mufti of Jerusalem”, traditionally limited in authority and geographical scope, was refashioned into that of “Grand Mufti of Palestine”. Furthermore, a Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) was established and given various duties, such as the administration of religious endowments and the appointment of religious judges and local muftis. In Ottoman times, these duties had been fulfilled by the bureaucracy in Istanbul.(Khalidi 2006, p.63) In dealings with the Palestinian Arabs, the British negotiated with the elite rather than the middle or lower classes.(Khalidi 2006, p.52) They chose Hajj Amin al-Husseini to become Grand Mufti, although he was young and had received the fewest votes from Jerusalem’s Islamic leaders.(Khalidi 2006, pp.5657) One of the mufti’s rivals, Raghib Bey al-Nashashibi, had already been appointed mayor of Jerusalem in 1920, replacing Musa Kazim, whom the British removed after the Nabi Musa riots of 1920,(Khalidi 2006, pp.63, 69)(Segev 2000, pp.127144) during which he exhorted the crowd to give their blood for Palestine.(Morris 2001, p.112) During the entire Mandate period, but especially during the latter half, the rivalry between the mufti and al-Nashashibi dominated Palestinian politics. Khalidi ascribes the failure of the Palestinian leaders to enroll mass support, because of their experiences during the Ottoman Empire period, as they were then part of the ruling elite and accustomed to their commands being obeyed. The idea of mobilising the masses was thoroughly alien to them.(Khalidi 2006, p.81)

There had already been rioting and attacks on and massacres of Jews in 1921 and 1929. During the 1930s, Palestinian Arab popular discontent with Jewish immigration grew. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, several factions of Palestinian society, especially from the younger generation, became impatient with the internecine divisions and ineffectiveness of the Palestinian elite and engaged in grass-roots anti-British and anti-Zionist activism, organised by groups such as the Young Men’s Muslim Association. There was also support for the radical nationalist Independence Party (Hizb al-Istiqlal), which called for a boycott of the British in the manner of the Indian Congress Party. Some took to the hills to fight the British and the Jews. Most of these initiatives were contained and defeated by notables in the pay of the Mandatory Administration, particularly the mufti and his cousin Jamal al-Husseini. A six-month general strike in 1936 marked the start of the great Arab Revolt.(Khalidi 2006, pp.8790)

The conquest of the Ottoman Syria by the British forces in 1917, found a mixed community in the region, with Palestine, the southern part of the Ottoman Syria, containing a mixed population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Druze. In this period, the Jewish community (Yishuv) in Palestine was composed of traditional Jewish communities in cities (the Old Yishuv), which had existed for centuries, and the newly established agricultural Zionist communities (the New Yishuv), established since the 1870s. With the establishment of the Mandate, the Jewish community in Palestine formed the Zionist Commission to represent its interests.

In 1929, the Jewish Agency for Palestine took over from the Zionist Commission its representative functions and administration of the Jewish community. During the Mandate period, the Jewish Agency was a quasi-governmental organisation that served the administrative needs of the Jewish community. Its leadership was elected by Jews from all over the world by proportional representation.[93] The Jewish Agency was charged with facilitating Jewish immigration to Palestine, land purchase and planning the general policies of the Zionist leadership. It ran schools and hospitals, and formed the Haganah. The British authorities offered to create a similar Arab Agency but this offer was rejected by Arab leaders.[94]

In response to numerous Arab attacks on Jewish communities, the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organisation, was formed on 15 June 1920 to defend Jewish residents. Tensions led to widespread violent disturbances on several occasions, notably in 1921 (see Jaffa riots), 1929 (primarily violent attacks by Arabs on Jewssee 1929 Hebron massacre) and 19361939. Beginning in 1936, Jewish groups such as Etzel (Irgun) and Lehi (Stern Gang) conducted campaigns of violence against British military and Arab targets.

During the Mandate, the Yishuv or Jewish community in Palestine, grew from one-sixth to almost one-third of the population. According to official records, 367,845 Jews and 33,304 non-Jews immigrated legally between 1920 and 1945.[95] It was estimated that another 5060,000 Jews and a marginal number of Arabs, the latter mostly on a seasonal basis, immigrated illegally during this period.[96] Immigration accounted for most of the increase of Jewish population, while the non-Jewish population increase was largely natural.[97]

Initially, Jewish immigration to Palestine met little opposition from the Palestinian Arabs. However, as anti-Semitism grew in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jewish immigration (mostly from Europe) to Palestine began to increase markedly. Combined with the growth of Arab nationalism in the region and increasing anti-Jewish sentiments the growth of Jewish population created much Arab resentment. The British government placed limitations on Jewish immigration to Palestine. These quotas were controversial, particularly in the latter years of British rule, and both Arabs and Jews disliked the policy, each for their own reasons.

Jewish immigrants were to be afforded Palestinian citizenship:

Article 7. The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.[98]

In 1919, the General Secretary (and future President) of the Zionist Organization, Nahum Sokolow, published History of Zionism (16001918). He also represented the Zionist Organization at the Paris Peace Conference.

One of the objectives of British administration was to give effect to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which was also set out in the preamble of the mandate, as follows:

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.[100]

The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine said the Jewish National Home, which derived from the formulation of Zionist aspirations in the 1897 Basle program has provoked many discussions concerning its meaning, scope and legal character, especially since it had no known legal connotation and there are no precedents in international law for its interpretation. It was used in the Balfour Declaration and in the Mandate, both of which promised the establishment of a “Jewish National Home” without, however, defining its meaning. A statement on “British Policy in Palestine,” issued on 3 June 1922 by the Colonial Office, placed a restrictive construction upon the Balfour Declaration. The statement included “the disappearance or subordination of the Arabic population, language or customs in Palestine” or “the imposition of Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole”, and made it clear that in the eyes of the mandatory Power, the Jewish National Home was to be founded in Palestine and not that Palestine as a whole was to be converted into a Jewish National Home. The Committee noted that the construction, which restricted considerably the scope of the National Home, was made prior to the confirmation of the Mandate by the Council of the League of Nations and was formally accepted at the time by the Executive of the Zionist Organization.[101]

In March 1930, Lord Passfield, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, had written a Cabinet Paper[102] which said:

In the Balfour Declaration there is no suggestion that the Jews should be accorded a special or favoured position in Palestine as compared with the Arab inhabitants of the country, or that the claims of Palestinians to enjoy self-government (subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory as foreshadowed in Article XXII of the Covenant) should be curtailed in order to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people.” … Zionist leaders have not concealed and do not conceal their opposition to the grant of any measure of self-government to the people of Palestine either now or for many years to come. Some of them even go so far as to claim that that provision of Article 2 of the Mandate constitutes a bar to compliance with the demand of the Arabs for any measure of self-government. In view of the provisions of Article XXII of the Covenant and of the promises made to the Arabs on several occasions that claim is inadmissible.

The League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission took the position that the Mandate contained a dual obligation. In 1932 the Mandates Commission questioned the representative of the Mandatory on the demands made by the Arab population regarding the establishment of self-governing institutions, in accordance with various articles of the mandate, and in particular Article 2. The Chairman noted that “under the terms of the same article, the mandatory Power had long since set up the Jewish National Home.”[103]

In 1937, the Peel Commission, a British Royal Commission headed by Earl Peel, proposed solving the ArabJewish conflict by partitioning Palestine into two states. The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, had convinced the Zionist Congress to approve equivocally the Peel recommendations as a basis for more negotiation.[27][28][29][104] The US Consul General at Jerusalem told the State Department that the Mufti had refused the principle of partition and declined to consider it. The Consul said that the Emir Abdullah urged acceptance on the ground that realities must be faced, but wanted modification of the proposed boundaries and Arab administrations in the neutral enclave. The Consul also noted that Nashashibi sidestepped the principle, but was willing to negotiate for favourable modifications.[105]

A collection of private correspondence published by David Ben Gurion contained a letter written in 1937 which explained that he was in favour of partition because he didn’t envision a partial Jewish state as the end of the process. Ben Gurion wrote “What we want is not that the country be united and whole, but that the united and whole country be Jewish.” He explained that a first-class Jewish army would permit Zionists to settle in the rest of the country with or without the consent of the Arabs.[106] Benny Morris said that both Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion saw partition as a stepping stone to further expansion and the eventual takeover of the whole of Palestine.[107] Former Israeli Foreign Minister and historian Schlomo Ben Ami writes that 1937 was the same year that the “Field Battalions” under Yitzhak Sadeh wrote the “Avner Plan”, which anticipated and laid the groundwork for what would become in 1948, Plan D. It envisioned going far beyond any boundaries contained in the existing partition proposals and planned the conquest of the Galilee, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.[108]

In 1942, the Biltmore Program was adopted as the platform of the World Zionist Organization. It demanded “that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth.” In 1946 an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, also known as the Grady-Morrison Committee, noted that the demand for a Jewish State went beyond the obligations of either the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate and had been expressly disowned by the Chairman of the Jewish Agency as recently as 1932.[109] The Jewish Agency subsequently refused to accept the Grady Morrison Plan as the basis for discussion. A spokesman for the agency, Eliahu Epstein, told the US State Department that the Agency could not attend the London conference if the Grady-Morrison proposal was on the agenda. He stated that the Agency was unwilling to be placed in a position where it might have to compromise between the Grady-Morrison proposals on the one hand and its own partition plan on the other. He stated that the Agency had accepted partition as the solution for Palestine which it favoured.[110]

After transition to the British rule, much of the agricultural land in Palestine (about one third of the whole territory) was still owned by the same landowners as under Ottoman rule, mostly powerful Arab clans and local Muslim sheikhs. Other lands had been held by foreign Christian organisations (most notably the Greek Orthodox Church), as well as Jewish private and Zionist organisations, and to lesser degree by small minorities of Bahai’s, Samaritans and Circassians.

As of 1931, the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine was 26,625,600 dunams (26,625.6km2), of which 8,252,900 dunams (8,252.9km2) or 33% were arable.[111] Official statistics show that Jews privately and collectively owned 1,393,531 dunams (1,393.53km2), or 5.23% of Palestine’s total in 1945.[112][113] The Jewish owned agricultural land was largely located in the Galilee and along the coastal plain. Estimates of the total volume of land that Jews had purchased by 15 May 1948 are complicated by illegal and unregistered land transfers, as well as by the lack of data on land concessions from the Palestine administration after 31 March 1936. According to Avneri, Jews held 1,850,000 dunams (1,850km2) of land in 1947, or 6.94% of the total.[114] Stein gives the estimate of 2,000,000 dunams (2,000km2) as of May 1948, or 7.51% of the total.[115] According to Fischbach, By 1948, Jews and Jewish companies owned 20% percent of all cultivable land in the country.[116]

Nevertheless, the amount of land owned by Jews is easier to calculate than that owned by Arabs. It is difficult to reckon the total amount of land owned by Arabs (Muslim, Christian and Druze) in Mandatory Palestine.[citation needed] The 1945 UN estimate shows that Arab ownership of arable land was on average 68% of a district, ranging from 15% ownership in the Beer-Sheba district to 99% ownership in the Ramallah district. These data cannot be fully understood without comparing them to those of neighbouring countries: in Iraq, for instance, still in 1951 only 0.3 per cent of registered land (or 50 per cent of the total amount) was categorised as private property.[117]

The following table shows the 1945 land ownership of mandatory Palestine by district:

The table below shows the land ownership of Palestine by large Jewish Corporations (in square kilometres) on 31 December 1945.

The land owned privately and collectively by Jews, Arabs and other non-Jews can be classified as urban, rural built-on, cultivable (farmed), and uncultivable. The following chart shows the ownership by Jews, Arabs and other non-Jews in each of the categories.

In 1920, the majority of the approximately 750,000 people in this multi-ethnic region were Arabic-speaking Muslims, including a Bedouin population (estimated at 103,331 at the time of the 1922 census[123] and concentrated in the Beersheba area and the region south and east of it), as well as Jews (who comprised some 11% of the total) and smaller groups of Druze, Syrians, Sudanese, Circassians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Hejazi Arabs.

A discrepancy between the two censuses and records of births, deaths and immigration, led the authors of the second census to postulate the illegal immigration of about 9,000 Jews and 4,000 Arabs during the intervening years.[124]

There were no further censuses but statistics were maintained by counting births, deaths and migration. By the end of 1936 the total population was approximately 1,300,000, the Jews being estimated at 384,000. The Arabs had also increased their numbers rapidly, mainly as a result of the cessation of the military conscription imposed on the country by the Ottoman Empire, the campaign against malaria and a general improvement in health services. In absolute figures their increase exceeded that of the Jewish population, but proportionally, the latter had risen from 13 per cent of the total population at the census of 1922 to nearly 30 per cent at the end of 1936.[125]

Some components such as illegal immigration could only be estimated approximately. The White Paper of 1939, which placed immigration restrictions on Jews, stated that the Jewish population “has risen to some 450,000″ and was “approaching a third of the entire population of the country”. In 1945, a demographic study showed that the population had grown to 1,764,520, comprising 1,061,270 Muslims, 553,600 Jews, 135,550 Christians and 14,100 people of other groups.

The following table gives the religious demography of each of the 16 districts of the Mandate in 1945.

The Mandate territory was divided into administrative regions known as districts and administer by the office of the British High Commissioner for Palestine.

Britain continued the millet system of the Ottoman Empire whereby all matters of a religious nature and personal status were within the jurisdiction of Muslim courts and the courts of other recognised religions, called confessional communities. The High Commissioner established the Orthodox Rabbinate and retained a modified millet system which only recognised eleven religious communities: Muslims, Jews and nine Christian denominations (none of which were Christian Protestant churches). All those who were not members of these recognised communities were excluded from the millet arrangement. As a result, there was no possibility, for example, of marriages between confessional communities, and there were no civil marriages. Personal contacts between communities were nominal.

Apart from the Religious Courts, the judicial system was modelled on the British one, having a High Court with appellate jurisdiction and the power of review over the Central Court and the Central Criminal Court. The five consecutive Chief Justices were:

Between 1922 and 1947, the annual growth rate of the Jewish sector of the economy was 13.2%, mainly due to immigration and foreign capital, while that of the Arab was 6.5%. Per capita, these figures were 4.8% and 3.6% respectively. By 1936, the Jewish sector earned 2.6 times as much as Arabs.[131] Compared to other Arab countries, the Palestinian Arab individuals earned slightly more.[132]

The Jaffa Electric Company was founded in 1923 by Pinhas Rutenberg, and was later absorbed into a newly created Palestine Electric Company. Palestine Airways was founded in 1934, Angel Bakeries in 1927, and the Tnuva dairy in 1926. Electric current mainly flowed to Jewish industry, following it to its nestled locations in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Although Tel Aviv had by far more workshops and factories, the demand for electric power for industry was roughly the same for both cities by the early 1930s.[133]

The country’s largest industrial zone was in Haifa, where many housing projects were built for employees.[134]

On the scale of the UN Human Development Index determined for around 1939, of 36 countries, Palestinian Jews were placed 15th, Palestinian Arabs 30th, Egypt 33rd and Turkey 35th.[135] The Jews in Palestine were mainly urban, 76.2% in 1942, while the Arabs were mainly rural, 68.3% in 1942.[136] Overall, Khalidi concludes that Palestinian Arab society, while overmatched by the Yishuv, was as advanced as any other Arab society in the region and considerably more than several.[137]

Under the British Mandate, the country developed economically and culturally. In 1919 the Jewish community founded a centralised Hebrew school system, and the following year established the Assembly of Representatives, the Jewish National Council and the Histadrut labour federation. The Technion university was founded in 1924, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925.[138]

Literacy rates in 1932 were 86% for the Jews compared to 22% for the Palestinian Arabs, but Arab literacy rates steadily increased thereafter. Palestinian Arabs compared favorably in this respect to residents of Egypt and Turkey, but unfavourably to the Lebanese.[139]

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Mandatory Palestine – Wikipedia

Synagogue – Wikipedia

A synagogue, also spelled synagog (pronounced from Greek , synagog, “assembly”, Hebrew: Bet Kenesset, “house of assembly” or Bet Tefila, “house of prayer”, shul, esnoga or kahal), is a Jewish house of prayer.

Synagogues have a large hall for prayer (the main sanctuary), and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the Beith Midrash (Sefaradi) “beis medrash (Ashkenazi) (“House of Study”).

Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Torah reading, study and assembly; however a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, Halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. The synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.

Israelis use the Hebrew term Beyt Knesset (house of assembly). Jews of Ashkenazi descent have traditionally used the Yiddish term shul (cognate with the German Schule, “school”) in everyday speech. Sephardi Jews and Romaniote Jews generally use the term kal (from the Hebrew ahal, meaning “community”). Spanish Jews call the synagogue a sinagoga and Portuguese Jews call it an esnoga. Persian Jews and some Karaite Jews also use the non-Hebrew term kenesa, which is derived from Aramaic, and some Arab Jews use kenis. Reform and some Conservative Jews use the word temple. The Greek word synagogue is used in English (and German and French), to cover the preceding possibilities.[1]

Although synagogues existed a long time before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, communal worship in the time while the Temple still stood centered around the korbanot (“sacrificial offerings”) brought by the kohanim (“priests”) in the Holy Temple. The all-day Yom Kippur service, in fact, was an event in which the congregation both observed the movements of the kohen gadol (“the high priest”) as he offered the day’s sacrifices and prayed for his success.

During the Babylonian captivity (586537BCE) the Men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers. Prior to that people prayed as they saw fit, with each individual praying in his or her own way, and there were no standard prayers that were recited. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, one of the leaders at the end of the Second Temple era, promulgated the idea of creating individual houses of worship in whatever locale Jews found themselves. This contributed to the continuity of the Jewish people by maintaining a unique identity and a portable way of worship despite the destruction of the Temple, according to many historians.

Synagogues in the sense of purpose-built spaces for worship, or rooms originally constructed for some other purpose but reserved for formal, communal prayer, however, existed long before the destruction of the Second Temple.[2] The earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of very early synagogues comes from Egypt, where stone synagogue dedication inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE prove that synagogues existed by that date.[3] A synagogue dating from between 75 and 50BCE has been uncovered at a Hasmonean-era winter palace near Jericho.[4][5] More than a dozen Second Temple era synagogues have been identified by archaeologists.[2]

Any Jew or group of Jews can build a synagogue. Synagogues have been constructed by ancient Jewish kings, by wealthy patrons, as part of a wide range of human institutions including secular educational institutions, governments, and hotels, by the entire community of Jews living in a particular place, or by sub-groups of Jews arrayed according to occupation, ethnicity (i.e. the Sephardic, Polish or Persian Jews of a town), style of religious observance (i.e., a Reform or an Orthodox synagogue), or by the followers of a particular rabbi.

There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. In fact, the influence from other local religious buildings can often be seen in synagogue arches, domes and towers.

Historically, synagogues were built in the prevailing architectural style of their time and place. Thus, the synagogue in Kaifeng, China looked very like Chinese temples of that region and era, with its outer wall and open garden in which several buildings were arranged. The styles of the earliest synagogues resembled the temples of other sects of the eastern Roman Empire. The surviving synagogues of medieval Spain are embellished with mudjar plasterwork. The surviving medieval synagogues in Budapest and Prague are typical Gothic structures.

The emancipation of Jews in European countries not only enabled Jews to enter fields of enterprise from which they were formerly barred, but gave them the right to build synagogues without needing special permissions, synagogue architecture blossomed. Large Jewish communities wished to show not only their wealth but also their newly acquired status as citizens by constructing magnificent synagogues. These were built across Europe and in the United States in all of the historicist or revival styles then in fashion. Thus there were Neoclassical, Neo-Byzantine, Romanesque Revival, Moorish Revival, Gothic Revival, and Greek Revival. There are Egyptian Revival synagogues and even one Mayan Revival synagogue. In the 19th century and early 20th century heyday of historicist architecture, however, most historicist synagogues, even the most magnificent ones, did not attempt a pure style, or even any particular style, and are best described as eclectic.

In the post-war era, synagogue architecture abandoned historicist styles for modernism.

All synagogues contain a bimah, a raised platform where the table of the rabbi is found.

The Torah Ark (Hebrew: Aron Kodesh ) (called the heikhal [temple] by Sephardim) is a cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are kept.

The ark in a synagogue is almost always positioned in such a way such that those who face it are facing towards Jerusalem. Thus, sanctuary seating plans in the Western world generally face east, while those east of Israel face west. Sanctuaries in Israel face towards Jerusalem. Occasionally synagogues face other directions for structural reasons; in such cases, some individuals might turn to face Jerusalem when standing for prayers, but the congregation as a whole does not.

The Ark is reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant which held the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. This is the holiest spot in a synagogue, equivalent to the Holy of Holies. The Ark is often closed with an ornate curtain, the parochet , which hangs outside or inside the ark doors.

A large, raised, reader’s platform called the bimah () by Ashkenazim and tebah by Sephardim, where the Torah scroll is placed to be read is a feature of all synagogues. In Sephardi synagogues it is also used as the prayer leader’s reading desk.

Other traditional features include a continually lit lamp or lantern, usually electric in contemporary synagogues, called the ner tamid ( ), the “Eternal Light”, used as a reminder of the western lamp of the menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem, which remained miraculously lit perpetually. Many have an elaborate chair named for the prophet Elijah which is only sat upon during the ceremony of Brit milah. Many synagogues have a large seven-branched candelabrum commemorating the full Menorah. Most contemporary synagogues also feature a lectern for the rabbi.

A synagogue may be decorated with artwork, but in the Rabbinic and Orthodox tradition, three-dimensional sculptures and depictions of the human body are not allowed as these are considered akin to idolatry.

Until the 19th century, in an Ashkenazi synagogue, all seats most often faced the Torah Ark. In a Sephardi synagogue, seats were usually arranged around the perimeter of the sanctuary, but when the worshipers stood up to pray, everyone faced the Ark. In Ashkenazi synagogues, the Torah was read on a reader’s table located in the center of the room, while the leader of the prayer service, the hazzan, stood at his own lectern or table, facing the Ark. In Sephardic synagogues, the table for reading the Torah was commonly placed at the opposite side of the room from the Torah Ark, leaving the center of the floor empty for the use of a ceremonial procession carrying the Torah between the Ark and the reading table.

Orthodox synagogues feature a partition (mechitzah) dividing the men’s and women’s seating areas, or a separate women’s section located on a balcony.

The German Reform movement which arose in the early 19th century made many changes to the traditional look of the synagogue, keeping with its desire to simultaneously stay Jewish yet be accepted by the host culture.

The first Reform synagogue, which opened in Hamburg in 1811, introduced changes that made the synagogue look more like a church. These included: the installation of an organ to accompany the prayers (even on Shabbat, when musical instruments are proscribed by halakha), a choir to accompany the hazzan, and vestments for the synagogue rabbi to wear.[6]

In following decades, the central reader’s table, the Bimah, was moved to the front of the Reform sanctuarypreviously unheard-of[citation needed] in Orthodox synagogues. The rabbi now delivered his sermon from the front, much as the Christian ministers delivered their sermons in a church. The synagogue was renamed a “temple”, to emphasize that the movement no longer looked forward to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.[citation needed]

Synagogues often take on a broader role in modern Jewish communities and may include additional facilities such as a catering hall, kosher kitchen, religious school, library, day care center and a smaller chapel for daily services.

Since Orthodox Jews prefer to collect a minyan (a quorum of ten) rather than pray alone, they commonly assemble at pre-arranged times in offices, living rooms, or other spaces when these are more convenient than formal synagogue buildings. A room or building that is used this way can become a dedicated small synagogue or prayer room. Among Ashkenazi Jews they are traditionally called shtiebel (, pl. shtiebelekh or shtiebels, Yiddish for “little house”), and are found in Orthodox communities worldwide.

Another type of communal prayer group, favored by some contemporary Jews, is the Chavurah (, pl. chavurot, ), or prayer fellowship. These groups meet at a regular place and time, usually in a private home. In antiquity, the Pharisees lived near each other in chavurot and dined together to ensure that none of the food was unfit for consumption.[7]

During the 19th and early 20th century, it was fairly common for Jewish communities, particularly in Europe, to construct very large, showpiece synagogues. These edifices were intended not simply to accommodate worshipers, but to serve as emblems of Jewish participation in modern society. For this purpose, they were built to be not merely large, but architecturally impressive. Even small cities had elaborate synagogues of this type, albeit smaller than the synagogues of Vienna and New York. They are often designated as The Great Synagogue of…, or, in Russia, The Choral Synagogue. These notable synagogues include:

The dome of the Hurva Synagogue dominated the skyline of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem for more than 80 years, from 1864 when it was built until 1948 when it was bombed.

The remains of the Hurva Synagogue as they appeared from 1977 to 2003. The synagogue has recently been reconstructed.

The interior of a Karaite synagogue.

Szkesfehrvr synagogue, Hungary (c. 1930s) The synagogue no longer exists, however, the memorial plaques were moved to a building at the city’s Jewish cemetery.

The Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, the National Synagogue, is a wondrous example of mid-century modern architecture employing expressionist overtones, located in Upper 16th Street, Washington, D.C.

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Synagogue – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population 2,200,000 up to 16% of world Jewish population Regions with significant populations Israel 1.4 million France 300,000400,000 United States 200,000300,000 Argentina 50,000 Spain 40,000 Canada 30,000 Turkey 26,000 Italy 24,930 Mexico 15,000 United Kingdom 8,000 Panama 8,000 Colombia 7,000 Morocco 6,000 Greece 6,000 Tunisia 2,000 Algeria 2,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2,000 Bulgaria 2,000 Cuba 1,500 Serbia 1,000 Netherlands 600 Languages Historical: Ladino, Arabic, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Berber, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Ladino, Arabic. Religion Judaism Related ethnic groups Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Samaritans, other Levantines, Assyrians, other Near Eastern Semitic people, Spaniards, Portuguese and Hispanics/Latinos

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddim, Tiberian: Spraddm; also Y’hudey Spharad, lit. “The Jews of Spain”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.

Historically, the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been:

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition.

The name Sephardi means “Spanish” or “Hispanic”, derived from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard, TiberianSpr ), a Biblical location.[1] The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad () still means “Spain” in modern Hebrew.

In other languages and scripts, “Sephardi” may be translated as plural Hebrew: , ModernSfaraddim, TiberianSpraddm; sefard or Spanish: Sefardes; Portuguese: Sefarditas; sefardita or Catalan: Sefardites; Aragonese: Safards; Basque: Sefardiak; French: Sfarades; Galician: Sefards; Italian: Sefarditi; Greek: Sephardites; Serbian: Sefardi; Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian: Sefardi; Bulgarian: Sefaradi; Turkish: Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish: Sefaradies/Sefaradim; and Arabic: Safrdiyyn.

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century, immediately prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, and the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

In Hebrew, the term “Sephardim Tehorim” ( , literally “Pure Sephardim”) is used to distinguish Sephardim proper “who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population” from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.[2] This distinction has also been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly[3]

The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that generally excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, “Sephardim” is most often used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews who are not ethnically Sephardi, but are in most instances of West Asian origin, but who nonetheless commonly use a Sephardic style of liturgy.

The term Sephardi in the broad sense, thus describes the nusach (Hebrew language, “liturgical tradition”) used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad. The term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim proper or even Sephardi in a broader sense, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim who are in fact Ashkenazi.

Additionally, Ethiopian Jews, whose branch of practiced Judaism is known as Haymanot, have recently come under the umbrella of Israel’s already broad Sephardic Chief Rabbinate.

The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today is largely a result of the consequences of the royal edicts. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish populations to choose from one of three options:

In Spain, the Jews were only given four months from the time the decree was issued before the expiry of the set deadline. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal “protection and security” for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except “gold or silver or minted money”. It has been argued by British scholar Henry Kamen, that “the real purpose of the 1492 edict likely was not expulsion, but compulsory conversion of all Spanish Jews. Yet in giving Jews a choice and three months to think about it, the plan backfired; many opted to leave the country rather than convert”,[4] which ultimately was to Spain’s detriment. Between a third to one half of Spain’s Jewish origin population opted for exile, many flooding into Portugal.

Foreseeing the economic aftermath of a similar Jewish flight from Portugal, King Manuel’s decree five years later was largely pro-forma to appease a precondition the Spanish monarchs had set for him if he wished to marry their daughter. While the stipulations were similar in the Portuguese decree, King Manuel then largely prevented Portugal’s Jews from leaving, by blocking Portugal’s ports of exit. This failure to leave Portugal was then reasoned by the king to signify a default acceptance of Catholicism by the Jews, and the king then proceeded to proclaim them New Christians. Actual physical forced conversions, however, were also experienced throughout Portugal.

Sephardi Jews, therefore, encompass Jews descended from those Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula as Jews by the expiration of the respective decreed deadlines. This group is further divided between those who fled south to North Africa, as opposed to those who fled eastwards to the Balkans, West Asia and beyond. Also included among Sephardi Jews are those who descend from “New Christian” conversos, but then returned to Judaism after leaving Iberia, largely after reaching Central and Northern Europe. From these regions, many would again migrate, this time to the non-Iberian territories of the Americas. Additional to all these Sephardic Jewish groups are the descendants of those New Christian conversos who either remained in Iberia, or moved from Iberia directly to the Iberian colonial possessions across what are today the various Latin American countries. The descendants of this group of conversos, for historical reasons and circumstances, were never able to formally return to the Jewish religion.

All these sub-groups are defined by a combination of geography, identity, religious evolution, language evolution, and the timeframe of their reversion (for those who had in the interim undergone a temporary nominal conversion to Catholicism) or non-reversion back to Judaism.

It should be noted that these Sephardic sub-groups are separate from any pre-existing local Jewish communities they encountered in their new areas of settlement. From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups appeared to have developed as separate branches, each with its own traditions.

In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the 20th century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum. The Jewish community of Livorno acted as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions among the first three sub-groups; it also developed as the chief publishing centre.[improper synthesis?].

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

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Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Jews – Wikipedia

This article is about the Jewish people. For their religion, see Judaism. Jews Hebrew: (Yehudim) Total population 14.717.3 million[1] Regions with significant populations Israel 6,481,182[2] United States 5,300,0006,800,000[3][4] France 467,500[3] Canada 386,000[3] United Kingdom 290,000[3] Russia 183,000[3] Argentina 181,000[3] Germany 117,500[3] Australia 112,800[3] Brazil 94,500[3] South Africa 69,800[3] Ukraine 60,000[3] Hungary 47,700[3] Mexico 40,000[3] Netherlands 29,900[3] Belgium 29,800[3] Italy 27,600[3] Switzerland 18,900[3] Chile 18,400[3] Rest of the world 218,100[3] Languages

The Jews (/duz/;[11]Hebrew: ISO 259-3 Yehudim, Israeli pronunciation [jehudim]), also known as the Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group[12] originating from the Israelites, or Hebrews, of the Ancient Near East.[13][14] Jewish ethnicity, nationhood and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation,[15][16][17] while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Jews originated as a national and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE,[10] in the part of the Levant known as the Land of Israel.[18] The Merneptah Stele appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel, associated with the god El,[19] somewhere in Canaan as far back as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age).[20][21] The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population,[22] consolidated their hold with the emergence of the Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Judah. Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as ‘Hebrews’.[23] Though few sources in the Bible mention the exilic periods in detail,[24] the experience of diaspora life, from the Ancient Egyptian rule over the Levant, to Assyrian Captivity and Exile, to Babylonian Captivity and Exile, to Seleucid Imperial rule, to the Roman occupation, and the historical relations between Israelites and their homeland, became a major feature of Jewish history, identity and memory.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

The worldwide Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7million prior to World War II,[35] but approximately 6million Jews were systematically murdered[36][37] during the Holocaust. Since then the population has slowly risen again, and as of 2015[update] was estimated at 14.3million by the Berman Jewish DataBank,[3] or less than 0.2% of the total world population (roughly one in every 514 people).[38] According to the report, about 43% of all Jews reside in Israel (6.2million), and 40% in the United States (5.7million), with most of the remainder living in Europe (1.4million) and Canada (0.4million).[3] These numbers include all those who self-identified as Jews in a socio-demographic study or were identified as such by a respondent in the same household.[39] The exact world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to issues with census methodology, disputes among proponents of halakhic, secular, political, and ancestral identification factors regarding who is a Jew may affect the figure considerably depending on the source.[40] Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population. The modern State of Israel was established as a Jewish state and defines itself as such in its Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws. Its Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to any Jew who requests it.[41]

Despite their small percentage of the world’s population, Jews have significantly influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, including philosophy,[42]ethics,[43]literature, business, fine arts and architecture, religion, music, theatre[44] and cinema, medicine,[45][46] as well as science and technology, both historically and in modern times.

The English word Jew continues Middle English Gyw, Iewe. These terms derive from Old French giu, earlier juieu, which had elided (dropped) the letter “d” from the Medieval Latin Iudaeus, which, like the New Testament Greek term Ioudaios, meant both Jews and Judeans / “of Judea”.[47]

The Greek term was originally a loan from Aramaic Y’hdi, corresponding to Hebrew: , Yehudi (sg.); , Yehudim (pl.), in origin the term for a member of the tribe of Judah or the people of the kingdom of Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, the name of both the tribe and kingdom derive from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.[48]

The Hebrew word for Jew, ISO 259-3 Yhudi, is pronounced [jehudi], with the stress on the final syllable, in Israeli Hebrew, in its basic form.[49] The Ladino name is , Djudio (sg.); , Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: Yid (sg.); , Yidn (pl.).

The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., yahd (sg.), al-yahd (pl.), and ban isrl in Arabic, “Jude” in German, “judeu” in Portuguese, “juif” in French, “jde” in Danish and Norwegian, “judo” in Spanish, “jood” in Dutch, “yd” in Polish etc., but derivations of the word “Hebrew” are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., in Italian (Ebreo), in Persian (“Ebri/Ebrani” (Persian: /)) and Russian (, Yevrey).[50] The German word “Jude” is pronounced [jud], the corresponding adjective “jdisch” [jyd] (Jewish) is the origin of the word “Yiddish”.[51] (See Jewish ethnonyms for a full overview.)

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000):

It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew lawyer or Jew ethics, is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.[52]

According to the Hebrew Bible narrative, Jewish ancestry is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Biblical matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, who lived in Canaan around the 18th century BCE. Jacob and his family migrated to Ancient Egypt after being invited to live with Jacob’s son Joseph by the Pharaoh himself. The patriarchs’ descendants were later enslaved until the Exodus led by Moses, traditionally dated to the 13th century BCE, after which the Israelites conquered Canaan.[citation needed]

Modern archaeology has largely discarded the historicity of the Patriarchs and of the Exodus story,[53] with it being reframed as constituting the Israelites’ inspiring national myth narrative. The Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatristic and later monotheistic religion centered on Yahweh,[54][55][56] one of the Ancient Canaanite deities. The growth of Yahweh-centric belief, along with a number of cultic practices, gradually gave rise to a distinct Israelite ethnic group, setting them apart from other Canaanites. The Canaanites themselves are archeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age,[57] while the Hebrew language is the last extant member of the Canaanite languages. In the Iron Age I period (12001000 BCE) Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature.[citation needed]

Although the Israelites were divided into Twelve Tribes, the Jews (being one offshoot of the Israelites, another being the Samaritans) are traditionally said to descend mostly from the Israelite tribes of Judah (from where the Jews derive their ethnonym) and Benjamin, and partially from the tribe of Levi, who had together formed the ancient Kingdom of Judah,[58] and the remnants of the northern Kingdom of Israel who migrated to the Kingdom of Judah and assimilated after the 720s BCE, when the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire.[59]

Israelites enjoyed political independence twice in ancient history, first during the periods of the Biblical judges followed by the United Monarchy.[disputed discuss] After the fall of the United Monarchy the land was divided into Israel and Judah. The term Jew originated from the Roman “Judean” and denoted someone from the southern kingdom of Judah.[60] The shift of ethnonym from “Israelites” to “Jews” (inhabitant of Judah), although not contained in the Torah, is made explicit in the Book of Esther (4th century BCE),[61] a book in the Ketuvim, the third section of the Jewish Tanakh. In 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar II, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple, and deported the most prominent citizens of Judah.[62] In 586 BC, Judah itself ceased to be an independent kingdom, and its remaining Jews were left stateless. The Babylonian exile ended in 539 BCE when the Achaemenid Empire conquered Babylon and Cyrus the Great allowed the exiled Jews to return to Yehud and rebuild their Temple. The Second Temple was completed in 515 BCE. Yehud province was a peaceful part of the Achaemenid Empire until the fall of the Empire in c. 333 BCE to Alexander the Great. Jews were also politically independent during the Hasmonean dynasty spanning from 140 to 37 BCE and to some degree under the Herodian dynasty from 37 BCE to 6 CE. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, most Jews have lived in diaspora.[63] As an ethnic minority in every country in which they live (except Israel), they have frequently experienced persecution throughout history, resulting in a population that has fluctuated both in numbers and distribution over the centuries.[citation needed]

Genetic studies on Jews show that most Jews worldwide bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the Middle East, and that they bear their strongest resemblance to the peoples of the Fertile Crescent.[64][65][66] The genetic composition of different Jewish groups shows that Jews share a common genetic pool dating back 4,000 years, as a marker of their common ancestral origin. Despite their long-term separation, Jewish communities maintained commonalities in culture, tradition, and language.[67]

The Jewish people and the religion of Judaism are strongly interrelated. Converts to Judaism typically have a status within the Jewish ethnos equal to those born into it.[68] However, several converts to Judaism, as well as ex-Jews, have claimed that converts are treated as second-class Jews by many of the born-Jews.[69] Conversion is not encouraged by mainstream Judaism, and is considered a difficult task. A significant portion of conversions are undertaken by children of mixed marriages, or by would-be or current spouses of Jews.[70]

The Hebrew Bible, a religious interpretation of the traditions and early national history of the Jews, established the first of the Abrahamic religions, which are now practiced by 54% of the world. Judaism guides its adherents in both practice and belief, and has been called not only a religion, but also a “way of life,”[71] which has made drawing a clear distinction between Judaism, Jewish culture, and Jewish identity rather difficult. Throughout history, in eras and places as diverse as the ancient Hellenic world,[72] in Europe before and after The Age of Enlightenment (see Haskalah),[73] in Islamic Spain and Portugal,[74] in North Africa and the Middle East,[74]India,[75]China,[76] or the contemporary United States[77] and Israel,[78] cultural phenomena have developed that are in some sense characteristically Jewish without being at all specifically religious. Some factors in this come from within Judaism, others from the interaction of Jews or specific communities of Jews with their surroundings, others from the inner social and cultural dynamics of the community, as opposed to from the religion itself. This phenomenon has led to considerably different Jewish cultures unique to their own communities.[79]

After the destruction of the Second Temple Judaism lost much of its sectarian nature. Nevertheless, a significant Hellenized Diaspora remained, centered in Alexandria, at the time the largest urban Jewish community in the world. Hellenism was a force not just in the Diaspora but also in the Land of Israel over a long period of time. Generally, scholars view Rabbinic Judaism as having been meaningfully influenced by Hellenism.[citation needed]

Without a Temple, Greek speaking Jews no longer looked to Jerusalem in the way they had before. Judaism separated into a linguistically Greek and a Hebrew / Aramaic sphere.[80]: 811 The theology and religious texts of each community were distinctively different.[80]: 1113 Hellenized Judaism never developed yeshivas to study the Oral Law. Rabbinic Judaism (centered in the Land of Israel and Babylon) almost entirely ignores the Hellenized Diaspora in its writings.[80]: 1314 Hellenized Judaism eventually disappeared as its practitioners assimilated into Greco-Roman culture, leaving a strong Rabbinic eastern Diaspora with large centers of learning in Babylon.[80]: 1416

By the first century, the Jewish community in Babylonia, to which Jews were exiled after the Babylonian conquest as well as after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, already held a speedily growing[81] population of an estimated one million Jews, which increased to an estimated two million[82] between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews from the Land of Israel, making up about one-sixth of the world Jewish population at that era.[82] The 13th-century author Bar Hebraeus gave a figure of 6,944,000 Jews in the Roman world Salo Wittmayer Baron considered the figure convincing.[83] The figure of seven million within and one million outside the Roman world in the mid-first century became widely accepted, including by Louis Feldman. However, contemporary scholars now accept that Bar Hebraeus based his figure on a census of total Roman citizens. The figure of 6,944,000 being recorded in Eusebius’ Chronicon.[84][85] Louis Feldman, previously an active supporter of the figure, now states that he and Baron were mistaken.[86]: 185 Feldman’s views on active Jewish missionizing have also changed. While viewing classical Judaism as being receptive to converts, especially from the second century BCE through the first century CE, he points to a lack of either missionizing tracts or records of the names of rabbis who sought converts, as evidence for the lack of active Jewish missionizing.[86]: 205206 Feldman maintains that conversion to Judaism was common and the Jewish population was large both within the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora.[86]: 183203, 206 Other historians believe that conversion during the Roman era was limited in number and did not account for much of the Jewish population growth, due to various factors such as the illegality of male conversion to Judaism in the Roman world from the mid-second century. Another factor that made conversion difficult in the Roman world was the halakhic requirement of circumcision, a requirement that proselytizing Christianity quickly dropped. The Fiscus Judaicus, a tax imposed on Jews in 70 CE and relaxed to exclude Christians in 96 CE, also limited Judaism’s appeal.[87]

Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity,[12] a religion, and a culture, making the definition of who is a Jew vary slightly depending on whether a religious or national approach to identity is used.[88][89] Generally, in modern secular usage Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage (sometimes including those who do not have strictly matrilineal descent), and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion.[90]

Historical definitions of Jewish identity have traditionally been based on halakhic definitions of matrilineal descent, and halakhic conversions. Historical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE. Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as Deuteronomy 7:15, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and Canaanites because “[the non-Jewish husband] will cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others.” Leviticus 24:10 says that the son in a marriage between a Hebrew woman and an Egyptian man is “of the community of Israel.” This is complemented by Ezra 10:23, where Israelites returning from Babylon vow to put aside their gentile wives and their children.[91][92] Since the anti-religious Haskalah movement of the late 18th and 19th centuries, halakhic interpretations of Jewish identity have been challenged.[93]

According to historian Shaye J. D. Cohen, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally in the Bible. He brings two likely explanations for the change in Mishnaic times: first, the Mishnah may have been applying the same logic to mixed marriages as it had applied to other mixtures (Kil’ayim). Thus, a mixed marriage is forbidden as is the union of a horse and a donkey, and in both unions the offspring are judged matrilineally.[94] Second, the Tannaim may have been influenced by Roman law, which dictated that when a parent could not contract a legal marriage, offspring would follow the mother.[94]

Within the world’s Jewish population there are distinct ethnic divisions, most of which are primarily the result of geographic branching from an originating Israelite population, and subsequent independent evolutions. An array of Jewish communities was established by Jewish settlers in various places around the Old World, often at great distances from one another, resulting in effective and often long-term isolation. During the millennia of the Jewish diaspora the communities would develop under the influence of their local environments: political, cultural, natural, and populational. Today, manifestations of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including Jewish linguistic diversity, culinary preferences, liturgical practices, religious interpretations, as well as degrees and sources of genetic admixture.[95]

Jews are often identified as belonging to one of two major groups: the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim. Ashkenazim, or “Germanics” (Ashkenaz meaning “Germany” in Hebrew), are so named denoting their German Jewish cultural and geographical origins, while Sephardim, or “Hispanics” (Sefarad meaning “Spain/Hispania” or “Iberia” in Hebrew), are so named denoting their Spanish/Portuguese Jewish cultural and geographic origins. The more common term in Israel for many of those broadly called Sephardim, is Mizrahim (lit. “Easterners”, Mizrach being “East” in Hebrew), that is, in reference to the diverse collection of Middle Eastern and North African Jews who are often, as a group, referred to collectively as Sephardim (together with Sephardim proper) for liturgical reasons, although Mizrahi Jewish groups and Sephardi Jews proper are ethnically distinct.[96]

Smaller groups include, but are not restricted to, Indian Jews such as the Bene Israel, Bnei Menashe, Cochin Jews, and Bene Ephraim; the Romaniotes of Greece; the Italian Jews (“Italkim” or “Ben Roma”); the Teimanim from Yemen; various African Jews, including most numerously the Beta Israel of Ethiopia; and Chinese Jews, most notably the Kaifeng Jews, as well as various other distinct but now almost extinct communities.[97]

The divisions between all these groups are approximate and their boundaries are not always clear. The Mizrahim for example, are a heterogeneous collection of North African, Central Asian, Caucasian, and Middle Eastern Jewish communities that are no closer related to each other than they are to any of the earlier mentioned Jewish groups. In modern usage, however, the Mizrahim are sometimes termed Sephardi due to similar styles of liturgy, despite independent development from Sephardim proper. Thus, among Mizrahim there are Egyptian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Lebanese Jews, Kurdish Jews, Libyan Jews, Syrian Jews, Bukharian Jews, Mountain Jews, Georgian Jews, Iranian Jews and various others. The Teimanim from Yemen are sometimes included, although their style of liturgy is unique and they differ in respect to the admixture found among them to that found in Mizrahim. In addition, there is a differentiation made between Sephardi migrants who established themselves in the Middle East and North Africa after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s and the pre-existing Jewish communities in those regions.[97]

Ashkenazi Jews represent the bulk of modern Jewry, with at least 70% of Jews worldwide (and up to 90% prior to World War II and the Holocaust). As a result of their emigration from Europe, Ashkenazim also represent the overwhelming majority of Jews in the New World continents, in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. In France, the immigration of Jews from Algeria (Sephardim) has led them to outnumber the Ashkenazim.[98] Only in Israel is the Jewish population representative of all groups, a melting pot independent of each group’s proportion within the overall world Jewish population.[99]

Hebrew is the liturgical language of Judaism (termed lashon ha-kodesh, “the holy tongue”), the language in which most of the Hebrew scriptures (Tanakh) were composed, and the daily speech of the Jewish people for centuries. By the 5th century BCE, Aramaic, a closely related tongue, joined Hebrew as the spoken language in Judea.[100] By the 3rd century BCE, some Jews of the diaspora were speaking Greek.[101] Others, such as in the Jewish communities of Babylonia, were speaking Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of the Babylonian Talmud. These languages were also used by the Jews of Israel at that time.[citation needed]

For centuries, Jews worldwide have spoken the local or dominant languages of the regions they migrated to, often developing distinctive dialectal forms or branches that became independent languages. Yiddish is the Judo-German language developed by Ashkenazi Jews who migrated to Central Europe. Ladino is the Judo-Spanish language developed by Sephardic Jews who migrated to the Iberian peninsula. Due to many factors, including the impact of the Holocaust on European Jewry, the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, and widespread emigration from other Jewish communities around the world, ancient and distinct Jewish languages of several communities, including Judo-Georgian, Judo-Arabic, Judo-Berber, Krymchak, Judo-Malayalam and many others, have largely fallen out of use.[5]

For over sixteen centuries Hebrew was used almost exclusively as a liturgical language, and as the language in which most books had been written on Judaism, with a few speaking only Hebrew on the Sabbath.[102] Hebrew was revived as a spoken language by Eliezer ben Yehuda, who arrived in Palestine in 1881. It had not been used as a mother tongue since Tannaic times.[100]Modern Hebrew is now one of the two official languages of the State of Israel along with Modern Standard Arabic.[103]

Despite efforts to revive Hebrew as the national language of the Jewish people, knowledge of the language is not commonly possessed by Jews worldwide and English has emerged as the lingua franca of the Jewish diaspora.[104][105][106][107][108] Although many Jews once had sufficient knowledge of Hebrew to study the classic literature, and Jewish languages like Yiddish and Ladino were commonly used as recently as the early 20th century, most Jews lack such knowledge today and English has by and large superseded most Jewish vernaculars. The three most commonly spoken languages among Jews today are Hebrew, English, and Russian. Some Romance languages, particularly French and Spanish, are also widely used.[5] Yiddish has been spoken by more Jews in history than any other language,[109] but it is far less used today following the Holocaust and the adoption of Modern Hebrew by the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. In some places, the mother language of the Jewish community differs from that of the general population or the dominant group. For example, in Quebec, the Ashkenazic majority has adopted English, while the Sephardic minority uses French as its primary language.[110][111][112][113] Similarly, South African Jews adopted English rather than Afrikaans.[114] Due to both Czarist and Soviet policies,[115][116] Russian has superseded Yiddish as the language of Russian Jews, but these policies have also affected neighboring communities.[117] Today, Russian is the first language for many Jewish communities in a number of Post-Soviet states, such as Ukraine[118][119][120][121] and Uzbekistan,[122] as well as for Ashkenazic Jews in Azerbaijan,[123] Georgia,[124] and Tajikistan.[125][126] Although communities in North Africa today are small and dwindling, Jews there had shifted from a multilingual group to a monolingual one (or nearly so), speaking French in Algeria,[127]Morocco,[123] and the city of Tunis,[128][129] while most North Africans continue to use Arabic as their mother tongue.[citation needed]

Y DNA studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths.[130] In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly Middle Eastern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe, Germany and the French Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East.[131][132] Conversely, the maternal lineages of Jewish populations, studied by looking at mitochondrial DNA, are generally more heterogeneous.[133] Scholars such as Harry Ostrer and Raphael Falk believe this indicates that many Jewish males found new mates from European and other communities in the places where they migrated in the diaspora after fleeing ancient Israel.[134] In contrast, Behar has found evidence that about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders, who were of Middle Eastern origin. The populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities “showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect.”[133] Subsequent studies carried out by Feder et al. confirmed the large portion of non-local maternal origin among Ashkenazi Jews. Reflecting on their findings related to the maternal origin of Ashkenazi Jews, the authors conclude “Clearly, the differences between Jews and non-Jews are far larger than those observed among the Jewish communities. Hence, differences between the Jewish communities can be overlooked when non-Jews are included in the comparisons.”[135][136][137]

Studies of autosomal DNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, have become increasingly important as the technology develops. They show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities, with most in a community sharing significant ancestry in common.[138] For Jewish populations of the diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry. According to Behar, the most parsimonious explanation for this shared Middle Eastern ancestry is that it is “consistent with the historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents of the Levant” and “the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World”.[139]North African, Italian and others of Iberian origin show variable frequencies of admixture with non-Jewish historical host populations among the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are closely related, the source of non-Jewish admixture is mainly southern European, while Mizrahi Jews show evidence of admixture with other Middle Eastern populations and Sub-Saharan Africans. Behar et al. have remarked on an especially close relationship of Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians.[139][140][141] Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to Arabs.[142]

The studies also show that the Sephardic Bnei Anusim (descendants of the “anusim” forced converts to Catholicism) of Iberia (estimated at about 19.8% of modern Iberia) and Ibero-America (estimated at least 10% of modern Ibero-America) have Sephardic Jewish origins within the last few centuries, while the Bene Israel and Cochin Jews of India, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and a portion of the Lemba people of Southern Africa, despite more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, also have some more remote ancient Jewish descent.[143][144][145][137]

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics there were 13,421,000 Jews worldwide in 2009, roughly 0.19% of the world’s population at the time.[146]

According to the 2007 estimates of The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, the world’s Jewish population is 13.2million.[147]Adherents.com cites figures ranging from 12 to 18million.[148] These statistics incorporate both practicing Jews affiliated with synagogues and the Jewish community, and approximately 4.5million unaffiliated and secular Jews.[citation needed]

According to Sergio DellaPergola, a demographer of the Jewish population, in 2015 there were about 6.3 million Jews in Israel, 5.7 million in the United States, and 2.3 million in the rest of the world.[149]

Israel, the Jewish nation-state, is the only country in which Jews make up a majority of the citizens.[150] Israel was established as an independent democratic and Jewish state on 14 May 1948.[151] Of the 120 members in its parliament, the Knesset,[152] as of 2016, 14 members of the Knesset are Arab citizens of Israel (not including the Druze), most representing Arab political parties. One of Israel’s Supreme Court judges is also an Arab citizen of Israel.[153]

Between 1948 and 1958, the Jewish population rose from 800,000 to two million.[154] Currently, Jews account for 75.4% of the Israeli population, or 6million people.[155][156] The early years of the State of Israel were marked by the mass immigration of Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of the Holocaust and Jews fleeing Arab lands.[157] Israel also has a large population of Ethiopian Jews, many of whom were airlifted to Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[158] Between 1974 and 1979 nearly 227,258 immigrants arrived in Israel, about half being from the Soviet Union.[159] This period also saw an increase in immigration to Israel from Western Europe, Latin America, and North America.[160]

A trickle of immigrants from other communities has also arrived, including Indian Jews and others, as well as some descendants of Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors who had settled in countries such as the United States, Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Some Jews have emigrated from Israel elsewhere, because of economic problems or disillusionment with political conditions and the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. Jewish Israeli emigrants are known as yordim.[161]

The waves of immigration to the United States and elsewhere at the turn of the 19th century, the founding of Zionism and later events, including pogroms in Russia, the massacre of European Jewry during the Holocaust, and the founding of the state of Israel, with the subsequent Jewish exodus from Arab lands, all resulted in substantial shifts in the population centers of world Jewry by the end of the 20th century.[162]

More than half of the Jews live in the Diaspora (see Population table). Currently, the largest Jewish community outside Israel, and either the largest or second-largest Jewish community in the world, is located in the United States, with 5.2million to 6.4million Jews by various estimates. Elsewhere in the Americas, there are also large Jewish populations in Canada (315,000), Argentina (180,000300,000), and Brazil (196,000600,000), and smaller populations in Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and several other countries (see History of the Jews in Latin America).[164] Demographers disagree on whether the United States has a larger Jewish population than Israel, with many maintaining that Israel surpassed the United States in Jewish population during the 2000s, while others maintain that the United States still has the largest Jewish population in the world. Currently, a major national Jewish population survey is planned to ascertain whether or not Israel has overtaken the United States in Jewish population.[165]

Western Europe’s largest Jewish community, and the third-largest Jewish community in the world, can be found in France, home to between 483,000 and 500,000 Jews, the majority of whom are immigrants or refugees from North African Arab countries such as Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia (or their descendants).[166] The United Kingdom has a Jewish community of 292,000. In Eastern Europe, there are anywhere from 350,000 to one million Jews living in the former Soviet Union, but exact figures are difficult to establish. In Germany, the 102,000 Jews registered with the Jewish community are a slowly declining population,[167] despite the immigration of tens of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union since the fall of the Berlin Wall.[168] Thousands of Israelis also live in Germany, either permanently or temporarily, for economic reasons.[169]

Prior to 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands which now make up the Arab world (excluding Israel). Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French-controlled Maghreb region, 1520% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey. Today, around 26,000 Jews live in Arab countries[170] and around 30,000 in Iran and Turkey. A small-scale exodus had begun in many countries in the early decades of the 20th century, although the only substantial aliyah came from Yemen and Syria.[171] The exodus from Arab and Muslim countries took place primarily from 1948. The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, with up to 90% of these communities leaving within a few years. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956. The exodus in the Maghreb countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of refugees from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. In the aftermath of the exodus wave from Arab states, an additional migration of Iranian Jews peaked in the 1980s when around 80% of Iranian Jews left the country.[citation needed]

Outside Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia, there are significant Jewish populations in Australia (112,500) and South Africa (70,000).[35] There is also a 7,500-strong community in New Zealand.[citation needed]

Since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks, a proportion of Jews have assimilated into the wider non-Jewish society around them, by either choice or force, ceasing to practice Judaism and losing their Jewish identity.[172] Assimilation took place in all areas, and during all time periods,[172] with some Jewish communities, for example the Kaifeng Jews of China, disappearing entirely.[173] The advent of the Jewish Enlightenment of the 18th century (see Haskalah) and the subsequent emancipation of the Jewish populations of Europe and America in the 19th century, accelerated the situation, encouraging Jews to increasingly participate in, and become part of, secular society. The result has been a growing trend of assimilation, as Jews marry non-Jewish spouses and stop participating in the Jewish community.[174]

Rates of interreligious marriage vary widely: In the United States, it is just under 50%,[175] in the United Kingdom, around 53%; in France; around 30%,[176] and in Australia and Mexico, as low as 10%.[177][178] In the United States, only about a third of children from intermarriages affiliate with Jewish religious practice.[179] The result is that most countries in the Diaspora have steady or slightly declining religiously Jewish populations as Jews continue to assimilate into the countries in which they live.[citation needed]

The Jewish people and Judaism have experienced various persecutions throughout Jewish history. During Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages the Roman Empire (in its later phases known as the Byzantine Empire) repeatedly repressed the Jewish population, first by ejecting them from their homelands during the pagan Roman era and later by officially establishing them as second-class citizens during the Christian Roman era.[180][181]

According to James Carroll, “Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13million.”[182]

Later in medieval Western Europe, further persecutions of Jews by Christians occurred, notably during the Crusadeswhen Jews all over Germany were massacredand a series of expulsions from the Kingdom of England, Germany, France, and, in the largest expulsion of all, Spain and Portugal after the Reconquista (the Catholic Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula), where both unbaptized Sephardic Jews and the ruling Muslim Moors were expelled.[183][184]

In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighborhoods called ghettos.[185]

Islam and Judaism have a complex relationship. Traditionally Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands, known as dhimmis, were allowed to practice their religions and administer their internal affairs, but they were subject to certain conditions.[186] They had to pay the jizya (a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males) to the Islamic state.[186] Dhimmis had an inferior status under Islamic rule. They had several social and legal disabilities such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims.[187] Many of the disabilities were highly symbolic. The one described by Bernard Lewis as “most degrading”[188] was the requirement of distinctive clothing, not found in the Quran or hadith but invented in early medieval Baghdad; its enforcement was highly erratic.[188] On the other hand, Jews rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of residence and profession.[189]

Notable exceptions include the massacre of Jews and forcible conversion of some Jews by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century,[190] as well as in Islamic Persia,[191] and the forced confinement of Moroccan Jews to walled quarters known as mellahs beginning from the 15th century and especially in the early 19th century.[192] In modern times, it has become commonplace for standard antisemitic themes to be conflated with anti-Zionist publications and pronouncements of Islamic movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of Turkish Refah Partisi.”[193]

Throughout history, many rulers, empires and nations have oppressed their Jewish populations or sought to eliminate them entirely. Methods employed ranged from expulsion to outright genocide; within nations, often the threat of these extreme methods was sufficient to silence dissent. The history of antisemitism includes the First Crusade which resulted in the massacre of Jews;[183] the Spanish Inquisition (led by Toms de Torquemada) and the Portuguese Inquisition, with their persecution and autos-da-f against the New Christians and Marrano Jews;[194] the Bohdan Chmielnicki Cossack massacres in Ukraine;[195] the Pogroms backed by the Russian Tsars;[196] as well as expulsions from Spain, Portugal, England, France, Germany, and other countries in which the Jews had settled.[184] According to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, 19.8% of the modern Iberian population has Sephardic Jewish ancestry,[197] indicating that the number of conversos may have been much higher than originally thought.[198][199]

The persecution reached a peak in Nazi Germany’s Final Solution, which led to the Holocaust and the slaughter of approximately 6million Jews.[200] Of the world’s 15million Jews in 1939, more than a third were killed in the Holocaust.[201][202] The Holocaustthe state-led systematic persecution and genocide of European Jews (and certain communities of North African Jews in European controlled North Africa) and other minority groups of Europe during World War II by Germany and its collaborators remains the most notable modern-day persecution of Jews.[203] The persecution and genocide were accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II.[204]Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease.[205] Where the Third Reich conquered new territory in Eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings.[206] Jews and Roma were crammed into ghettos before being transported hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were killed in gas chambers.[207] Virtually every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called “a genocidal nation.”[208]

Throughout Jewish history, Jews have repeatedly been directly or indirectly expelled from both their original homeland, the Land of Israel, and many of the areas in which they have settled. This experience as refugees has shaped Jewish identity and religious practice in many ways, and is thus a major element of Jewish history.[209] The incomplete list of major and other noteworthy migrations that follows includes numerous instances of expulsion or departure under duress:

Israel is the only country with a Jewish population that is consistently growing through natural population growth, although the Jewish populations of other countries, in Europe and North America, have recently increased through immigration. In the Diaspora, in almost every country the Jewish population in general is either declining or steady, but Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities, whose members often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced rapid population growth.[232]

Orthodox and Conservative Judaism discourage proselytism to non-Jews, but many Jewish groups have tried to reach out to the assimilated Jewish communities of the Diaspora in order for them to reconnect to their Jewish roots. Additionally, while in principle Reform Judaism favors seeking new members for the faith, this position has not translated into active proselytism, instead taking the form of an effort to reach out to non-Jewish spouses of intermarried couples.[233]

There is also a trend of Orthodox movements pursuing secular Jews in order to give them a stronger Jewish identity so there is less chance of intermarriage. As a result of the efforts by these and other Jewish groups over the past 25 years, there has been a trend (known as the Baal Teshuva movement) for secular Jews to become more religiously observant, though the demographic implications of the trend are unknown.[234] Additionally, there is also a growing rate of conversion to Jews by Choice of gentiles who make the decision to head in the direction of becoming Jews.[235]

There is no single governing body for the Jewish community, nor a single authority with responsibility for religious doctrine.[236] Instead, a variety of secular and religious institutions at the local, national, and international levels lead various parts of the Jewish community on a variety of issues.[237]

Jews have made a myriad of contributions to humanity in a broad and diverse range of fields, including the sciences, arts, politics, and business.[238] Although Jews comprise only 0.2% of the world’s population, over 20%[239][240][241][242][243][244] of Nobel Prize laureates have been Jewish, with multiple winners in each category.

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Jews – Wikipedia

Anti-Semitism on U.S. College Campuses Skyrockets

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The Amcha Initiative, a nonpartisan anti-Semitism watchdog group, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

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The alarming statistics make Jewish college students the largest group of university students coming under systematic attack, with an increasing number seeing their civil rights infringed upon, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Amcha director and co-founder, told theAlgemeiner on Tuesday.

The report said that the strategy and tactics employed by anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic groups are significantly more brazen today than in the past. It cited the egregious violation of basic civil rights, including suppressing Jewish students free speech, blocking their movements, or hindering their assembly, as occurring on12 different campuses.

Anti-Semitic activity was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS [the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign] was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters, the report said.

Divestment resolutions and campaigns go hand-in-hand in creating a very hostile environment for Jewish students that manifests in many acts of anti-Semitism, Rossman-Benjamin said.

Anti-Semitism in the report was defined on the basis of the State Departments definitionas incidents involving conduct that targeted Jewish students for particular harm based on their Jewishness or perceived association with Israel up 64% from 2015.

Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students, Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder who led the study, said.

Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students civil rights that are being trampled. To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.

AMCHAs report also included recommendations for university officials to swiftly, forcefully and publicly acknowledge and condemn all acts of antisemitism.

Whats happening on college campuses today is not students just being students. The activities of these anti-Israel groups have serious repercussions and cannot be excused. Jewish students are being seriously threatened, their civil rights suppressed and routinely violated across the country, Rossman-Benjamin told theAlgemeiner.

University administrations cannot say there is no problem, she said. The problem is there. It is national and it cannot be ignored.

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Anti-Semitism on U.S. College Campuses Skyrockets

Torah – ReligionFacts

Although the word “Torah” is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. In English, the names for the books of the Torah are derived from Greek and describe the general topic of the book:

– Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy (“Second Law”)

The Hebrew names of the books of the Torah reflect not the subject, but the first major word of each book:

– Bereisheet (“In the beginning”) – Sh’mot (“Names”) – Vayikra (“And he called”) – BaMidbar (“In the wilderness”) – D’varim (“Words”)

Among other things, the Torah contains important events in the history of Judaism, like the account of the creation of the world, God’s special call to Abraham, the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and the conquering of Canaan, the Promised Land. The Torah is by far the most important part of the Tanakh because, in addition to including these important stories, it also details the commandments (mitzvot) God gave the Jewish people through Moses.

Accordingly, the Torah scroll (Sefer Torah) is the most important object in a synagogue. The text is carefully handwritten in Hebrew calligraphy on a parchment made of animal skins, and the scroll is kept in an ark (short for aron kodesh, “holy cabinet”). The Torah has been read publically since the time of Ezra (c. 450 BCE). Today, a portion of the Torah (parashiyot) is read in the synagogue on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and holidays. (See The Synagogue.)

Notes

– Essential Judiasm: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals by George Robinson (Pocket Books, 2000). – “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Unfolding of a Tradition.” Judaism for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001). – Tracey R. Rich, “Torah.” Judaism 101 (1995-99).

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The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (), which means In the wilderness. It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is Numbers, which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israels trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generations triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

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Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion