TheFridayReport: The Durban Sham 2.0!
Shooting Attack In Israel Today by Palestinian Gunmen Headed to Jerusalem to Attack
05/07/21: Dear Friend, happy Friday and Shabbat Shalom. Welcome to the latest edition of TheFridayReport - bringing you everything you need to know about the Jewish world and Israel.
As the week comes to a close, events in Israel and around the world seem to spiral in and out of control. Let's work on getting our community around the world informed and engaged. Please share this brief widely.
This week, the Government of Canada listened and decided to join the U.S. and Australia in boycotting the 20th anniversary of the infamous Durban Conference. In my column in the National Post today, I write about the sham of a conference that has been and a tragedy for human rights:
"If the word “chutzpah” had another name", I wrote, "it would be the now infamous UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. A laughable name for a sham of a conference that was first held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, ostensibly to set policy against global hatred. Instead, it became a watershed moment that launched a new wave of radical anti-Semitism and terrorism around the globe. Even though the conference was weaponized against Israel and the Jewish people, the United Nations shockingly plans on celebrating its 20th anniversary on Sept. 22".
To those of us in the Jewish community who have been on the front lines for nearly three decades, the Durban sham is part and parcel of the extreme anti-Israel bias that has taken hold once again. Even while President Biden has remained a steadfast supporter of Israel both militarily and against the maligning of Israel in international forums, since the start of his presidency organizations like the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and even NGOs like Human Rights Watch have been much more liberal in their condemnation of Israel.
It does not seem to matter that this morning three Palestinian terrorists with automatic weapons attempted to infiltrate an Israeli military base (they were neutralized by the IDF). Nor did it matter that yesterday, Israel wept once again as a 19 year old religious Jewish student was buried, having been shot days before by a Palestinian terrorist while at a bus stop along with his friends.
These atrocities are hardly ever reported anymore by the media. G-d forbid the media should shed truth about the real barrier to peace in the Middle East: the Palestinian Authority. For all the money that the west has poured into the West Bank and Gaza, peace is still elusive - especially as the PA recently cancelled its presidential election all while Hamas restarted shooting rockets at Israeli civilians.
And while the U.S. and its JCPOA partners continue negotiating with Iran, the regime continued to incite hatred against Israel. In today's Tehran Times, the headlines were: "Leader Ushers in decline of Israel; Palestine, most crucial issue of Islamic world; Quds Issue Priority of Muslim Ummah and Iran Calls for Referendum in Palestine". The anti-Israel text for each article is even more shocking and provocative.
And as if thats not enough, the Iranian regime also ran its annual Holocaust-denying cartoon contest, announcing its winners on May 7th because as it says its, "International Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan every year". In a lengthy article in Tehran Times justifying the contest, the contest's director was quoted justifying the contest by saying, "the slightest doubt raised about the Holocaust is subject to penalties".
All of this hostile propaganda is there to incite and motivate Iran's followers this weekend in preparation for a radical antisemitic event known as Al-Quds Day. Around the world, the group will gather once again to propagate anti-Israel rhetoric and incite hatred. In Toronto this weekend, I have written to Mayor John Tory asking him to intervene.
With Iran's antisemitic behaviour in mind, why would anyone in their right mind negotiate or have any dealing with this regime? Isn't it time for the world to take the moral high ground? Wishful thinking, I know.
Also this week, Europe saw a rise in right wing expressions as a Dutch far-right party equated Covid measures to Nazism on Holocaust Remembrance Day; a Neo-Nazi march took place in Kiev and it was announced in Germany that far-right hate is increasing at an alarming rate. Still, the Austrian government held a special session commemorating the liberation of Mauthausen while Lithuania's Foreign Minister visited the future museum for Lithuanian Jewry.
Meanwhile in Israel, while masks are off and Israeli life is virtually back to normal, Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government. President Reuven Rivlin tapped the runner up, Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid Party - to try and form a government. Along with Naftali Bennett from the right, Lapid is working to form a unity government. Failing that, Israel will go into a fifth election.
While we wish Israel well in unifying the country, in the diaspora, we remain concerned about the ongoing flareups and terrorism. This evening, riots took hold of Jerusalem as Palestinian's began rioting after evening prayers. We pray for the safety and security of the Israeli Defense Forces and police who are working diligently to maintain peace, security and order.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
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Avi Abraham Benlolo, BA MA, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa)
Order of Vaughan, Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Race Relations Award
ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.
As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.