Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) at a rally on Staten Island with workers from the JFK8 Amazon fulfillment center who formed the first Amazon Union, April 2022. Credit: John Nacion/Shutterstock.
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AOC and progressives can’t hide their role in stoking antisemitism
The liberal Jewish establishment applauded her condemnation of extreme haters. But the roots of the current surge run deep in leftist ideology.

If you were wondering whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was just a publicity-hungry leftist provocateur or a serious politician determined to do everything to advance her career on the national stage, you now have your answer. In an act of political triangulation worthy of former President Bill Clinton, the founding member of the leftist congressional “Squad” popularly known as AOC managed to take a stand against antisemitism and earn the applause of the liberal Jewish establishment while being bashed by even more extreme Jew-haters.

That AOC did this after repeatedly employing rhetoric about Israel’s war against Hamas, including falsely accusing the Jewish state of genocide that has helped fuel the current surge in antisemitism throughout the United States, illustrates not just her hypocrisy and chutzpah but also that she is a savvy political player. For years, she’s been an avid supporter of the stands of “Squad” colleagues Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as their open antisemitism became a national disgrace, as well as an indication of how she and fellow “progressives” were taking over the Democratic Party.

Her ability to flip the narrative about her anti-Israel incitement and demonization of the Jewish state is a testament both to her political acumen and the willingness of some of the people whose job it is to fight antisemitism to stay in sync with their allies on the Democratic left wing. But it’s also a sign of her ability to take advantage of an opportunity to position herself closer to the mainstream, thanks to the intolerance of left-wing extremists.

Pushing Biden to betray Israel

Since the Oct. 7 massacres in southern Israel, AOC has been a reliable Israel-basher and a key part of the left-wing coalition that has been pushing President Joe Biden and his administration to betray the Jewish state and let Hamas win the war. But for some on the far left, that wasn’t good enough. Videos of the congresswoman being harassed by extremists for supposedly not being sufficiently anti-Israel went viral and wound up getting more publicity than her positions and statements making it clear that she was firmly in the anti-Zionist camp, along with her pals Omar and Tlaib.

Such attacks were annoying, but they also served her purpose as she eyes a future in national politics. That might mean an attempt to challenge Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, also of New York, when he runs for re-election in 2028 or even a longshot run for the presidency that year or in the future.

Having staked out ground as a fierce opponent of Israel and an inveterate basher of the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby in terms that are indistinguishable from traditional antisemitic tropes, AOC ought to be radioactive to mainstream Jewish groups. But even after the events of the last eight months as the anti-Israel progressives did all they could to help Hamas and to undermine support for the Jewish state’s right to self-defense, some of the people tasked with defending the Jews are still eager to help their erstwhile allies.

Providing cover for an extremist

A prime example of this is Amy Spitalnick, head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella of Jewish community-relations groups across the nation. As I predicted when she was chosen for her job last year, Spitalnick is, even after Oct. 7, still more interested in fighting for the progressive political agenda and partisan Democratic goals than defending Israel and the Jews. So, it was unsurprising that she joined AOC, along with Stacy Burdett, a former ADL official, on a livestream webinar broadcast on X titled “Antisemitism and the Fight for Democracy.”

The title was the tip-off that the purpose of the program was to promote the Democratic Party’s main 2024 talking point rather than doing something about Jew-hatred. The point being that liberal groups like the JCPA agree that the only way to defend democracy is to keep the Democrats in power and regard the fact that it is the political left that is the main source of contemporary antisemitism as an inconvenient fact that may be an obstacle to achieving that objective.

So, Spitalnick and Burdett were happy to provide cover for AOC to try and wiggle the progressives out of their current dilemma where there is no longer any doubt about their being primarily responsible for an unprecedented surge in antisemitism. In order to do that, AOC had to be willing to do something that the leader of her party—the supposedly moderate pro-Israel President Joe Biden—has not been willing to do: Denounce the antisemites in his own party. As I noted earlier this year, Biden has been unwilling to have a “Sister Souljah moment” with the antisemitic wing of his party and has instead been kowtowing to the Democrats’ far-left and Arab-American elements as he sought to shore up support for his re-election effort among his party’s base.

Sensing an opportunity to position herself closer to the political mainstream without actually having to moderate her positions, AOC pounced. During the course of the webinar, she made a statement that made her appear as if she is an opponent of antisemitism while not budging an inch in her anti-Zionism and willingness to smear Israel as a monstrous country guilty of “genocide” against innocent Palestinians.

“Antisemitism, hate and violence against Jews because of their identity is real, and it is dangerous,” said Ocasio-Cortez, earning herself praise not just from her accomplices Spitalnick and Burdett, but even from a pro-Israel stalwart like Abe Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League in the days when it prioritized the fight against antisemitism rather than the cause of the Democratic Party, as is the case with his successor, CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt.

Indeed, Foxman wasn’t the only one duped by AOC into lauding her stand because of the belief that even the most minimal acknowledgment that antisemitism exists on the left seemed a breakthrough.

However, her point was that antisemitism undermined the progressive agenda. “Antisemitism is an assault on our values as Americans and especially as progressives,” she said. “Antisemitism is also a threat to a community that is a vital partner in our struggles against injustice. So, when the Jewish community is threatened, the progressive movement is undermined. That is why we reject it as fiercely as we reject and look for misogyny, Islamophobia or any form of bigotry or discrimination in any space that we occupy. Right now, antisemitism is on the rise in America and across the world. Acknowledging that fact does not take away from fights for liberation, it actually advances them.”

Still opposing Zionism

The congresswoman made clear that she was merely distancing herself from the more vulgar forms of Jew-hatred, like the rampage of “pro-Palestinian” demonstrators outside the White House, anti-Israel mobs protesting in front of a Wall Street exhibit about the Oct. 7 murders at the Nova music festival, the targeting of Jews during a “day of rage” on the New York City subway and the red-paint vandalization of the homes of officials associated with the Brooklyn Museum.

In essence, what she was trying to do was to separate herself from the thugs on the streets while still opposing the existence of the one Jewish state on the planet. She also essentially backs efforts to ensure that the genocidal and fascist terrorists of Hamas are allowed to escape accountability for atrocities on Oct. 7, and go back to governing Gaza and working towards their goal of destroying Israel.

“It is also important to say here in this moment and during that conversation that criticism of the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic and criticism of Zionism is not automatically antisemitic,” AOC added.

Of course, criticism of any Israeli government is not antisemitic. But “criticism of Zionism” is indistinguishable from an effort to deny Jews rights that no one would think of denying to anyone else. This statement gave her—and by implication, other “progressives”—a pass for engaging in the worst kind of libels against Israel and demonizing its efforts to defend itself against those who see Oct. 7 as just a trailer for what they wish to do to the rest of Israel.

No responsible Jewish leader should be providing cover for a member of Congress who has done so much to advance the anti-Israel cause. But more important is the need for those who pretend to lead the Jewish community to understand that the ideological basis for the open antisemitism in the streets of America’s cities and on college campuses is to be found in the beliefs about critical race theory and intersectionality that an avowed Marxist like AOC calls “fights for liberation.” A condemnation of antisemitism that doesn’t acknowledge that the extremism and violence against Jews so ubiquitous right now can be directly linked to the promotion of these ideas is useless.

As has been abundantly clear for years but can no longer be ignored since Oct. 7, the mindset that sees the world divided into two groups of “white” oppressors and “people of color” who are their victims, locked in a perpetual race war, inevitably falsely labels Israel and Jews as the former. The fact that the JCPA and ADL have refused to renounce their endorsement of these toxic woke progressive agenda items, even as they acknowledged the spike in antisemitism from their former allies on the left, shows just how morally bankrupt these organizations and leaders like Spitalnick and Greenblatt have become.

The future of the Democrats?

There should be no pass given to politicians, academics or anyone who pretends to oppose antisemitism while still opposing Israel’s existence and right to exist. And none for those, like AOC, whose main goal since Oct. 7 has been to prevent the elimination of Hamas. Those progressives who don’t want to dirty their hands in the way the masked thugs do aren’t opposing antisemitism. The mobs in the streets may have gone farther than the congresswoman and other progressives are comfortable with in expressing their hatred for Israel and the Jews. Still, their end goals are no different from hers and anyone else who is working for victory for Hamas. Her advocacy advances their cause, whether or not she or they are willing to admit it.

Those who see AOC as the future of the Democratic Party probably aren’t wrong. Most Democrats aren’t in agreement with her extreme positions on foreign policy, or even the environment and “green new deal” measures that would impoverish the nation and harm middle- and working-class Americans while elites like AOC remain untouched. But the progressives dominate the younger generation of Democratic activists and the party base.

That she is disassociating herself from the worst excesses of her allies while still engaging in antisemitic tropes about AIPAC and Zionism is no reason for Jews who purport to speak for American Jewry to back her deception. Indeed, it says more about the collapse of Jewish leadership at a time when it’s needed most. Either way, AOC’s determination to act in a matter that will allow her to advance her toxic causes and personal ambitions is a warning for those who care about not just Israel and the Jews, but the future of America. The more influential a Marxist extremist like her grows, the more dangerous a place this country will be not just for Jews but for the cause of liberty itself.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Follow him @jonathans_tobin.

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Eight years ago, Elor Azaria, an Israel Defense Forces medic, arrived at the scene of a terrorist attack in the biblical Jewish city of Hebron. Two Islamic terrorists had been shot after attacking IDF soldiers. One of the terrorists, wearing a heavy coat in springtime weather, was still alive, and Elor suspected that he had a suicide-bomb vest hidden underneath the coat.

The soldiers on the scene were uncertain as to what to do, and Elor took the shot to save their lives.

The Islamic terrorist attack had been timed for the Jewish holiday of Purim, but the party was just getting started. An Arab-Muslim activist filmed the shooting and provided video footage of it to the anti-Israel leftist group B’Tselem, which is backed by George Soros and the Ford Foundation.

Even though evidence by a leading pathologist showed that the terrorist was already dead when Elor fired his shot, the young soldier was dragged through a trial that traumatized his parents and divided the country. Polls showed that 63% of Israelis opposed his conviction.

“The commanders didn’t know what to do,” Elor’s platoon sergeant testified, stating that “as long as the terrorist is moving, he is a threat.”

Despite clear evidence that Elor had acted legitimately and hadn’t even killed the terrorist, the combination of international pressure and a leftist Israeli judiciary led to his unfortunate conviction. The young soldier was sentenced to 18 months in prison. And that seemed to be the end of it.

In the summer of 2018, he was released from prison and opened a bakery. The "Victory" bakery, run by Elor and his brother, sells chocolate donuts, cakes, challahs and croissants.

Now, eight years later, the Biden administration has sanctioned Elor and his entire family.

Instead of using watch lists to keep Islamic terrorists out of America, U.S. President Joe Biden is putting those who kill Islamic terrorists on watch lists.

The U.S. State Department issued a press release accusing the baker of “gross violations of human rights."

According to the Biden administration, “Azaria, as a former IDF sergeant, qualifies as a foreign government official."

Describing a baker who last served in the Israeli military eight years ago as a “foreign government official” is quite a stretch—as is the claim that the move aims to promote stability in the West Bank. Elor lives in Ramle, which is not at all in the West Bank.

But the same administration that not only funds actual Islamic terrorists in Israel, but has allowed them to flood America through its open border, has announced that Elor “and any immediate family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States.”

There’s no actual basis for believing that Elor, who has a bakery in Israel, was trying to come to America.

Still, now Elor and his dad, Charlie, a retired police officer, his mother, Oshera, his brother and sister, a doctor, and his five-year-old nephew are barred from entering America. Meanwhile Islamic terrorists, cartel bosses and gang members are welcome to cross the southern border.

The Biden administration denounced Trump’s “Muslim ban” and instead replaced it with an “Israeli ban.” To quality for the Israeli ban, all you need to do is stand up to Islamic terrorists.

We recently learned that more than 400 illegal alien invaders were smuggled in by an ISIS-linked network, and that more than 370 persons on the terror watchlist were caught crossing the border. Open borders have been a golden era for Islamic terrorists from around the world.

And the Biden administration is keeping the border open while warning a Jewish baker who shot an already dead Islamic terrorist years ago, not to mention his five-year-old nephew, not to even think about visiting. Unlike the Jordanian who tried to infiltrate a military base, the Chechen shot by a colonel and the Somali illegal in Minnesota who was a member of the al-Shabaab terror group.

Like Kyle Rittenhouse and Daniel Perry, Elor Azaria had his life turned upside down for doing the right thing, because the left saw him as a useful example for intimidating patriots.

“Serving in the Israeli military was a dream of mine from a young age,” he told a reporter. “I had planned out everything. To be a medic, to be an outstanding soldier and to make it into the IDF. Everything was going well until the event, and from there everything changed. But fine, in the face of a big dream that has been canceled, there is another big dream.”

After leaving prison, he worked in a pizza shop and then tried to gain experience in the catering business, but his record kept him from being able to find work. Still, he persevered and gained experience doing unpaid work until he was finally ready to open his own bakery.

And he was working on publishing a book about his experiences, From Darkness to Light, a pun on his first name, "Elor," which means: “God is my light.”

Elor spent years working to get this far, and Biden warning him not to come to a country that he wasn’t even planning on visiting is not likely to make him give up on his dreams.

“My faith has always been strong, but it has become even stronger in the last two years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration wants to bring Arab Muslims from the terror territory of Gaza to America. And after his disastrous retreat from Afghanistan, Biden flooded America with invaders from Afghanistan, who have no right to be here, but whom he keeps trying to legalize.

The pro-terrorist administration has also announced another $100 million in "aid" to the Islamic-terrorist population occupying parts of Israel’s West Bank and Gaza. That’s part of the $774 million sent to these terrorist areas by Biden since the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7.

The Biden administration welcomes terror migration but is terrified of anti-terrorists, even if they’re making donuts, because they are a living reminder of everything wrong with its policies.

“I have no regrets, nothing. My answer will not change even if I live to be 100 years old. If I were to go back to those seconds at the event in Hebron, I would do exactly the same thing,” Elor told a reporter. “Because I acted properly.”

What does the Biden administration really fear? Those who do the right thing.

Originally published by Front Page Magazine.

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On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden called in live to a Kamala Harris campaign event, screened on video, and said, “We’ve got to keep working for an end to the war in Gaza. I’ll be working very closely with the Israelis and with the Palestinians to try to work out how we can get the Gaza war to end and Middle East peace. And get all those hostages home. I think we’re on the verge of being able to do that."

Harris, currently the nation's vice president, is running for president this November against Republican challenger Donald Trump, after Biden dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed her. Harris has yet to secure the Democratic nomination, as the party convention only takes place next month in Chicago.

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will be absent from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Though it is customary for vice presidents who additionally serve as presidents of the Senate to attend speeches by foreign leaders, she has declined to preside over the session in question.

An aide to Harris told The New York Times on Monday that her absence will be due to a scheduling conflict and does not reflect a change in her position vis-a-vis Israel.

Two people familiar with the plans for the speech told the Times that Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee and is a Jewish pro-Israel Democrat, will sit beside House Speaker Mike Johnson and behind Netanyahu during the address.

Harris is, however, scheduled to meet with Netanyahu during his visit to Washington this week.

President Joe Biden endorsed Harris to lead the Democratic ticket this November against Republican challenger Donald Trump for the White House after dropping out of the race on Sunday.

Biden is also scheduled to meet with Netanyahu at the White House, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken likely in attendance.

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How should freedom of speech and expression on the internet be handled? The stakes are enormous; there is no forum for speech and expression as public and globalized as the internet. Governmental efforts to regulate speech online have inevitably run into the same set of domestic and international barriers, from simple inability to control online content produced abroad to constitutional limitations.

Which brings us to Meta’s Oversight Board, an initiative by the social media giant that some have likened to a content moderation “supreme court.” The Oversight Board is an independent trust funded by Meta to render binding decisions on appeals against content removal on Meta’s platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram), as well as to make recommendations on broader policy questions. It has been billed as an alternative solution in the absence of governmental regulation on how to handle hate speech, incitement, disinformation and other challenges that arise with online speech.

But the Oversight Board’s handling of a recent policy question, on how to moderate the term “shaheed,” helps illustrate why it is not the answer.

In effect, the Board aims to take questions of great public importance and put them in the hands of just a few individuals, largely from ideologically similar backgrounds, in a manner that lacks real transparency and standards. That some members of the board have themselves glorified terrorists only raises further doubts about the board’s moderation recommendations in relation to glorification, legitimization and incitement to terrorism.

For context, in February 2023 Meta referred to the Oversight Board the question of how to moderate the term “shaheed,” Arabic for “martyr,” given its frequent use as a term of praise for terrorists. Meta presented three possible policy options and asked the Oversight Board to share its views on them. For present purposes, there is no need to get into the substance of the debate, except to note that the Board’s answer was that even the most lenient option—which went so far as to allow for the term to be used in reference to designated terrorists—wasn’t lenient enough.

Shortly after the referral, the Oversight Board invited the public to make written submissions on the question. Over 100 submissions were sent, including one from CAMERA and another from CAMERA Arabic. This process was laudable, although it suffered from some constraints. Strict length limits meant participants were forced to reduce a complex issue to just a couple of pages. It also meant participants were not given an opportunity to engage with each other’s arguments and pull out their respective strengths and weaknesses. But as long as all those participating were subject to the same limitations it would be hard to criticize the process as unfair.

Unfortunately, there was more.

Unannounced to the public, and unbeknownst to at least some of those who had made written submissions, the Oversight Board also held a series of “stakeholder engagement roundtables,” interactive discussions where participants could more dynamically engage over the pros and cons of the policy options. The existence of these secretive roundtables was only announced publicly after the Board had already made its final decision.

Shortly after the decision was announced, the Board held a private briefing (held under Chatham House Rules) with those who made public comments. During this briefing, CAMERA inquired as to how the Board decided who to invite to these secretive roundtables and who would be kept in the dark. After all, the roundtable format would enable those stakeholders invited to more robustly and comprehensively engage with the policy questions. Was there a fair process to ensure diverse points of view were included?

The answer, it turns out, was that there was no process. Nameless staff, operating behind the scenes, decided who to invite, and no real explanation was ever given as to how they made their decisions.

This is concerning for several major reasons.

For one, certain voices are being given an advantage. Worse, we have no reason to believe that those voices were selected for any legitimate reason other than favoritism.

For another, there’s a lack of transparency regarding an important part of the process whereby the Oversight Board arrives at its decisions. The Board boasts that it has “opened a space for transparent dialogue with the company [Meta] that did not previously exist,” and yet has not shown transparency in its own deliberations and dialogue with stakeholders.

True, transparency is not always realistic. Concerns over a lack of transparency can be alleviated, however, when an organization has established credibility. The public must have a reason to trust in the fairness and professionalism of the process.

Unfortunately, that is missing here, too, in no small part due to the ideological conformity of many of the Board and staff members.

To be clear, many of the Board members and staff are well-intentioned and competent individuals. But what is clear from their backgrounds is that there is an ideological skew, and while there are a handful of ideologically diverse individuals, they appear as a façade of intellectual diversity against a background of ideological homogeneity. No matter how unimpeachable the integrity and intellect of individuals, echo chambers will negatively affect the quality and perception of their work. This is especially so when that work is to steer how speech is moderated online, affecting an enormously diverse range of voices and perspectives.

To give some perspective on the bias, one report, by Real Clear Investigations, discovered that 18 of the 20 members of the Oversight Board “collaborated with or are tied to groups that have received funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.” While there is a fair amount of overwrought conspiracy theorizing about Soros’s foundation, it should go without saying that Open Society Foundations is a nakedly partisan foundation that funds projects it believes will advance its ideological goals. That 90% of the Board have some connection to this funding alone suggests a concerning ideological skew.

An open-source review of the backgrounds of members and staff of the Oversight Board further evidences this homogeneity. A handful of activist organizations come up again and again on their LinkedIn profiles, such as the United Nations, the Open Society FoundationsSave the ChildrenAmnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch (which has been waging a campaign accusing Meta of “silencing” Palestinian voices via its moderation policies surrounding terrorism), and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

These are organizations which, despite their names and whatever good intentions they may have, are “deeply infected by antiliberal forces,” to borrow the words of one industry veteran. As has been well-documented by CAMERA and other organizations, they are also nakedly partisan and prone to making numerous and often significant errors in the same partisan direction. They are notorious for purveying a highly politicized form of human rights discourse that is often divorced from both common sense and actual international law. In short, the board is full of individuals who hail from a particular “human rights” institutionalist perspective which comes with a host of controversial and ideological baggage.

Given the secrecy and the partisan bent of the Board, it’s a reasonable assumption that these roundtables were similarly skewed and thus failed to provide the Board with a truly representative, intellectually rigorous debate. What little we know of their nature and format only reinforces this assumption.

In total, five roundtables were held: three “regional roundtables” and two “thematic roundtables.” The three regional roundtables “prioritize[ed] geographies where ‘shaheed’ ... [is] commonly used,” resulting in roundtables for the “Southwest Asia and North Africa,” the “Sub-Saharan Africa,” and the “South/Southeast Asia” regions. That is, the Board sought out regions with large Muslim populations, notwithstanding that these regions collectively accounted for just 19% of the written submissions. This is despite Islamist terrorism being a global phenomenon, affecting people far beyond those regions.

There’s also reason to doubt that diverse viewpoints were sought out even within those selective regions. CAMERA Arabic—one of the few Israel-based Zionist organizations with expertise in the Arabic language which had made a submission—was never informed of this roundtable, despite being from Southwest Asia.

Then there were the “thematic roundtables,” one of which perhaps best illustrates the failure: the “Counterterrorism and Human Rights” roundtable. According to the Board itself, they invited a single, unnamed “international civil society organization” to attend. Few topics are as controversial, including in professional and academic circles, as terrorism and human rights. Yet the Oversight Board sought out only a single organizational perspective, meaning the Board deprived itself of the benefit of the many legitimate alternative perspectives and counterarguments to analyze the issues with various policy options.

Unfortunately, the problems go even further than biases and a lack of transparency and fairness. There are also concerns over what look like potential conflicts of interest and compliance with the organization’s own bylaws.

Nighat Dad, a board member, is also the executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation, which made a submission in line with the Board’s ultimate recommendation. So too did the organization Access Now, which Oversight Board member Ronaldo Lemos had previously served as a board member. In September 2023, board member Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei and Deputy Vice President for Content Review and Policy Abigail Bridgman spoke alongside the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) at a conference on “internet freedom.” EFF also made a submission similar in substance to the Board’s ultimate decision.

Whether the Board considered these potential conflicts of interest and took steps to mitigate them is unclear and left unexplained in its public documentation relating to the policy recommendation.

But perhaps the most alarming evidence of a problem among the board is that some members—who are making recommendations on how to handle content moderation relating to incitement, terrorism and hate speech—have themselves glorified terrorism.

Nighat Dad, for example, has glorified both the notorious antisemite Refaat Alareer and the terrorist Hamza al-Dahdouh (see also here). Another board member, Khaled Mansour, has claimed that Hezbollah has fought Israel “heroically” (with a half-hearted hedge “and sometimes ... terroristically”) and writes of Palestinian terrorism (“armed resistance,” as he calls it) as mere “details and tactics” that one should “not get bogged down in.”

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, another board member, served as the CEO of Save the Children during a period in which the organization was caught collaborating with kindergartens that held graduation ceremonies that included “mock killing and kidnapping of Israelis by children dressed as combatants.” According to NGO Monitor, they were also collaborating during that period with at least one other organization connected to an internationally designated terrorist organization.

All of this is also on top of the noticeable biases, and lack of credibility, relating more specifically to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which—by the board’s own admission—played a central role in their deliberations over the “shaheed” case.

Board members Endy Bayuni and Tawakkol Karman have openly lobbed the objectively absurd accusation of “genocide” against Israel. Karman further claims Israel is engaged in an “unjust aggressive war” in Gaza—notwithstanding it was Hamas who attacked Israel—and celebrates the idea of Israel being a “mere pariah state,” which she accuses of being composed of a “terrorist government” and a “criminal army.” Julie Owono enthusiastically endorses the idea that Wikipedia—a notoriously biased resource which just banned the Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League, from being used as a source of information—is a reliable source of information about the war between Israel and Hamas.

Board member Alan Rusbridger, a former editor at the notorious left-wing and anti-Israel outlet The Guardian, has justified Hamas’s brutal atrocities on Oct. 7 by claiming it “most certainly did not happen in a vacuum.”

Similar biases can also be found among staff as well, with connections to anti-Israel organizations like those listed above, as well as Islamic Relief WorldwideMiddle East EyeJ Street and the International Commission of Jurists.

Which brings us back to the questions of trust, standards and transparency. If the Oversight Board wants the trust of the public, and social media companies, to handle difficult questions of content moderation, then it must give us reasons to trust its professionalism, expertise and fairness. The Board has repeatedly criticized Meta for an alleged lack of transparency in its policies around terrorist organizations, and yet the Board itself falls well short of transparency in how it handles its own decision making and dialogue with stakeholders.

Whether the Board came to the right decision in the “shaheed” case is ultimately a matter of some reasonable debate. But the Board’s questionable handling of the public engagement process does not inspire confidence that the issues are being fairly or fully considered. With upcoming Board recommendations on moderating the phrase “from the river to the sea” and how to handle the use of the term “Zionists” when compared to criminality, it is clear that the Board seeks to have an enormous influence on online expression relating to Israel and antisemitism. As antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism surge, this should be concerning to all.

If the Board wishes to build the credibility it desires, it will need to reconsider its process. Trust is earned, not given. In this context, that trust will require a credible and transparent process.

Originally published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.

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  • Publication Date:
    July 23, 2024

Talks between Google and Israeli cybersecurity startup Wiz over a possible $23 billion acquisition have fallen apart, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

If a deal had been reached, it would have represented Google parent company Alphabet's biggest-ever acquisition (scorching the previous record of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in 2012).

In an email to employees on Monday, Wiz Chief Executive Assaf Rappaport said the company is now planning an initial public offering.

“Wizards, I know the last week has been intense, with the buzz about a potential acquisition,” he wrote. “While we are flattered by offers we have received, we have chosen to continue on our path to building Wiz.”

Rappaport said Wiz intends to reach $1 billion in annual recurring revenue ahead of the IPO.

Its current annual recurring revenue is half that, the Journal reported.

Still, the company hopes to reach the $1 billion mark within the next year and an IPO in the next few years, a source told the Journal.

The paper noted the companies could return to talks as deals of such scale are unpredictable.

Wiz would have helped Google bolster its cloud computing offerings, a field where it trails the competition, and Microsoft.

Google has shown interest in the Israeli market, in 2013 purchasing Waze for $1.1 billion, creating the Jewish state’s first domestic unicorn (a startup reaching $1 billion in valuation without being listed on the stock market).

While Wiz is headquartered in New York City with nearly a thousand employees scattered across North America and Europe, most of its engineering team is based in Tel Aviv, where the 40-year-old Israeli co-founder and CEO Assaf Rappaport was born.

Since its founding in Israel in 2020, the economic worth of the firm, which offers cybersecurity software for cloud computing, has skyrocketed. The company in May announced a funding round of $1 billion at a staggering $12 billion valuation.

According to Wiz, the company hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue after 18 months and in February of this year reached $350 million in annual recurring revenue, with a 40% market share of Fortune 100 customers.

Wiz already partners with Google and other leading cloud companies, including Amazon and Microsoft.

It plans to hire 400 more people in 2024.

In February 2023, Wiz announced it was transferring its funds out of Israel due to concerns over judicial reform. The funds would be transferred to bank accounts around the world, the company said.

It joined Papaya Global and Disruptive Technologies Venture Capital, which all withdrew holdings from Israel.

Wiz claimed Israeli tech would be harmed if the reforms were implemented Israel’s standing as a tech hub could be harmed.

Judical reform was derailed by the social unrest orchestrated by anti-government groups, which organized protests and acts of civil disobedience.

The outbreak of war following the Hamas invasion of Oct. 7 put an end to the government's effort to overhaul Israel's judicial system.

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  • Words count:
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  • Type of content:
    Update Desk
  • Publication Date:
    July 23, 2024

The Palestinians on Monday reiterated their call to ban Israeli athletes from competing in the Paris Olympics over the Jewish state’s war against Hamas in Gaza, sparked by the terror group’s massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The Palestine Olympic Committee (POC) said on Monday that it had sent a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach, asking him to bar Israel from the international tournament.

According to the POC, the Israelis are in violation of the Olympic Truce due to the war in Gaza.

The letter stated, “Palestinian athletes, particularly those in Gaza, are denied safe passage and have suffered significantly due to ongoing conflict.”

It also claimed that “approximately 400 Palestinian athletes have been killed, and the destruction of sports facilities exacerbates the plight of athletes who are already under severe restrictions.”

The letter additionally cited last week’s International Court of Justice non-binding opinion declaring Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria to be “unlawful.”

Israeli delegation arrives in Paris

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations arrived at the French capital on Monday to prepare for the event.

Before departing for France, Israel Olympic Committee President Yael Arad said at Ben-Gurion International Airport that it was a “victory” for the 88-strong delegation to be heading to the illustrious sports event.

Members of Israel's women's Judo athletes and training team participating in the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games pose for a group picture ahead of departure at the Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, July 22, 2024. Photo by Jorge Novominsky/AFP via Getty Images.

“Our first victory is that we are here and going and that we didn’t give up and have been competing in hundreds of competitions since Oct. 7,” Arad told reporters.

Arad also discussed the increased security for Israeli athletes in Paris.

“It’s no secret that these Olympic Games are a little more difficult for all of us. But we have full confidence in the organization of security,” Arad added.

“We feel like emissaries of the State of Israel,” she said. “Our athletes are here to accomplish their dreams, but there is an additional dimension, that of a national mission.”

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    422 words
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  • Publication Date:
    July 23, 2024
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An exhibit marking the one-year anniversary of the Hamas massacre will be open to the public on Oct. 7.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Israel Military Intelligence Directorate, will display never-before-seen evidence from the day on which the terrorist group ruling Gaza committed the worst atrocities against Jews since the Holocaust.

The evidence includes weapons used by the terrorists, such as: Bangalore torpedoes for breaching fences and walls; rocket-propelled grenades; AK-47 gas-operated assault rifles; bayonets; thermobaric bombs; hand grenades; and Improvised Explosive Devices.

Also on display are various types of headbands worn by terrorists affiliated with different groups; two of the 350 motorcycles used by the terrorists during their rampage, after they infiltrated southern Israel at 30 different points along the border; and “hostage-taking kits”—replete with zip ties, drug-filled syringes and tasers—found in terrorists’ backpacks.

In addition, there are reams of documents. These include a note found on one of the terrorists in Sderot, which reads, “Commander’s message: Know that this enemy of yours is an incurable disease, except for head decapitation and uprooting hearts and livers," as well as transliterated Hebrew phrases in Arabic letters, such as, "women here," "children here," "take off your pants" and "take off your clothes."

Other documents include a detailed layout of a training area designed to look like a kibbutz, plans for where to kidnap civilians and a map of Kibbutz Be’eri with neighborhoods and homes clearly marked.

The map, which the terrorist on whom it was found attempted to tear up before it was discovered, shows different entry points into the kibbutz—garnered by Gazan laborers with permits who did work on the kibbutz. The purposely targeted area on Be’eri was on the southern side of the kibbutz, where families with young children lived.

Then there is material gathered from inside Gaza. This includes copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Arabic and proof of terrorists’ employment at UNRWA.

 “What happened on Oct. 7 was a very well-planned massacre, and we captured evidence found in Israeli territory and inside Gaza,” Major “T” told JNS during a preview for journalists. “There are vehicles, weapons, pictures and, of course, video clips filmed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Terrorists.”

The purpose of opening the exhibit to the general public, he said, “is hasbara (public diplomacy) for our allies. It’s important for people to witness what happened, because there’s so much denial surrounding it.”

The exhibit will open on Oct. 7, 2024 at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center (IICC) in Ramat Hasharon.

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  • Words count:
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    Update Desk
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  • Publication Date:
    July 23, 2024
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Jewish American Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport is preparing for his first full-length stand-up performances in Israel.

The shows are scheduled for October 13 at the Jerusalem Theater and October 14, at Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv.

Since Oct. 7, Rapaport has become one of Hollywood's most outspoken advocates for Israel.

He joined hundreds of industry colleagues in signing an open letter to President Joe Biden urging the immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Rapaport's solidarity visit to Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre included meetings with hostages' families, social media campaigns and international interviews to promote the captives' release. His itinerary also featured a tour of Kibbutz Be'eri, one of the communities in hardest hit on Oct. 7, and an appearance on popular Israeli satire show "Eretz Nehederet," where he participated in a sketch portraying an Oscars host delivering a monologue critical of Hollywood figures.

Rapaport's collaborations with "Eretz Nehederet" have amassed tens of millions of views globally. He recorded several episodes of his podcast "I Am Rapaport" in Tel Aviv, and his vigorous social media presence has reached audiences worldwide.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Words count:
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When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, hopes that the wartime premier will “really speak to the bipartisan consensus around Israel—that he will be able to bring together both sides around the existential struggle Israel is facing right now.”

Hauer told JNS that he hopes that Netanyahu will present a counter-narrative to the one that “has been peddled around and which is gaining far too much traction,” that Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians the oppressed. 

Netanayhu should “tell patiently, convincingly, the story of the values which are being brought to bear by the Jewish people in response to this horrible, sustained attack on our very existence,” he said.

Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told reporters in Milwaukee last week that he also hopes that Netanyahu will “help shift public opinion back to the horrors suffered by Israel.”

“This is not a war that Israel wanted,” he said. “This is not a war that Israel started.”

Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), one of two Jewish House Republicans, told JNS last week that he thinks Netanyahu will address two points. 

“One is that Israel recognizes that the United States is Israel’s greatest ally, and he knows how the majority of the American people feel about Israel, and also feel about the Jewish people,” said Kustoff. 

The Tennessee Republican also thinks that Netanyahu “is going to continue to make the case that Israel and the United States must defeat terrorism down to its roots.”


Netanyahu need not come across as “mushy” or a “teddy bear” as he seeks to bridge Washington’s partisan divide with respect to the Jewish state, according to  Hauer. But the Orthodox Union leader is looking for “warmth” from the premier, he told JNS.

“He is completely capable of being very articulate and clear about the strength which America has led Israel to over time, and about the strength of their moral voice, and what a difference it has made to us,” said Hauer.

He cited the military assets that Washington provided Israel and the way that it backed the Jewish state in international fora in the opening days of the conflict.

“Yes, we wish some of the things that we asked from you would come faster and more completely, but there’s a pipeline for goodness' sake, and you have been providing for us, and we’re deeply appreciative of that,” Hauer said, channeling the tone he wants to hear from Netanyahu. 

Fruitful relationship

Speaking to reporters in Milwaukee last week, Brooks said that past Trump ire about his political rivals receiving credit—including Netanyahu’s routine congratulations to Biden after the latter won the 2020 election—was water under the bridge.

“I can assure you that he and the prime minister will have a very positive and productive working relationship,” Brooks told reporters of Trump. The RJC leader said that he has had conversations with both Trump and Netanyahu.

Brooks didn’t share details of conversations with Trump but claimed he could say with “absolute certainty” that the relationship, should Trump be re-elected, “will be productive, fruitful and pick up right where it left off.” 

Hauer asserted that the issue of concern over Trump’s reaction to praise for Biden in a speech could not simply be “cast aside.”

“This is a political season, and anything which he says is going to be used and reflected upon by candidates on both sides,” said Hauer. “I don't think it would be wise for anybody to put something like this aside for the day. To say that those considerations have to throttle him and has to stop them from being able to say clearly what ought to be said about America, about both sides of the aisle, I don't think it should get in the way.”


Hauer told JNS that he hopes Netanyahu will devote more than just a “throwaway line” to surging Jew-hatred worldwide since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack.

“It’s just a fundamental issue that we are dealing with right now. This is an issue which has to be elevated in the eyes of Congress,” said Hauer. “When such a prominent leader within the Jewish people comes before them, for him not to focus on it would minimize the issue—one of the core issues that Congress has to be dealing with around the Jewish people.” 

Brooks hopes one takeaway from the address will be that the United States and its close ally share a common foe.

“Israel is fighting against Hamas, and it is the same fight that affects America and the west. This is not an Israel-only issue,” he said. “Israel’s fight is America’s fight. America’s fight is Israel’s fight.”

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