Women banned from driving, after Saudi Arabia, London


This September 2011 video from the USA is about women in Saudi Arabia.

Do I really have to point out to those ultra-orthodox rabbis in London, that, just like the ban on women driving cars is not in the Quran (not even in the Saudi royal family‘s copies of the Quran … well, it is not Saudi law either … but still, Saudi women get flogged and jailed for driving), it is not in the Torah, or in the Talmud, either …

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Leaders of Jewish Hasidic sect in Stamford Hill ‘ban’ women from driving

Letter signed by Belz rabbis also reportedly said children driven to school by women would be banned from classes

Heather Saul

Thursday 28 May 2015

The leaders of an Orthodox Jewish sect in north London have reportedly declared that women should not be allowed to drive in a letter sent out to the community.

Rabbis from the Belz Hasidic sect in Stamford Hill have said women driving cars contravenes “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp” and goes against the conventions of hasidic institutions, according to a report by the Jewish Chronicle (JC)

The letter, which was signed by Belz educational leaders, also said women would be banned from their schools if their mothers drove them there from August.

It cited increasing numbers of “mothers of pupils who have started to drive” which it said had led to “great resentment among parents of pupils of our institutions”.

Stamford Hill’s residents are predominately Hasidic Jewish and only New York is believed to have a larger community of Hasidic Jews outside of Israel.

Dina Brawer, UK Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, confirmed she had seen a copy of the letter to The Independent.

“The instinct behind such a draconian ban is one of power and control, of men over women,” she told JC. “In this sense it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia. That it masquerades as a halachic imperative is shameful and disturbing.”

Jews, Muslims together against violence


This 25 March 2014 video is about Jews and Muslims demonstrating together against Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic PVV party in Amsterdam.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Jews and Muslims marching together against aggression

Today, 15:50

About 200 people this afternoon are walking from the synagogue on the Jonas Daniel Meijer Square in Amsterdam to the Weesperzijde mosque. The organizers of the solidarity walk oppose aggression against places of worship and are against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Other religious and non-religious parties also have rallied behind the initiative.

In the rally Jews, Muslims and other Amsterdam people participate. Both at the mosque and at the synagogue speeches will be held and flowers will be laid.

Hundreds of Norwegian Muslims form human shield to protect Jewish Synagogue in Oslo: here.

United States rabbi on Michael Brown’s death


This video from the USA says about itself:

New York Jewish Community Sings and Protests for Eric Garner

5 December 2014

A coalition of the Upper West Side Jewish community blocked traffic at the intersection of 96 and Broadway and sang Oseh Shalom in support of Eric Garner as NYPD and SWAT arrived.

From the Jewish Journal in the USA:

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis: Why Ferguson matters to Jews, and what makes a rabbi’s life well-lived

by Janice Kaminer-Reznik

8 hours ago

Rabbi Schulweis was not just our rabbi and teacher and not just a social philosopher and idea generator; and, he was not just the man who called on our community to start an organization to fight genocide. For Jewish World Watch he has been so much more. He has been was an active leader in realizing the organization’s vision, day-in day-out for the past decade. …

He loved speaking with the priests, headmasters and students in Catholic and Christian schools; he forged our relationship with the Armenian community, making sure that JWW would become the first Jewish organization to support long overdue legislation (which sadly, still has not been enacted), recognizing the Armenian genocide. …

Of all of the visits and conversations I have had with Rabbi Schulweis, it is our very last conversation less than two weeks ago that was perhaps the most profound. It will stay with me forever. Already in quite a weakened state, Rabbi Schulweis was notably agitated about the events that lead to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, and the chokehold that killed Eric Garner in New York. He said that these police practices are intolerable and racially biased. He asked why he was not hearing a louder voice of protest from the American Jewish community.

Rabbi Schulweis was a man who simply could not tolerate injustice…even as his heart was fading — even as he knew his end was near…he would not give up his pursuit of and for justice. And his expectation of us was clear as well— to continue this sacred work:

“The fringes of the tallit placed on my body are torn, for the dead cannot praise You, O Lord.
The dead have no mitzvot.
But your tallit is whole and you are alive and alive you are called to mitzvot.
You can choose, you can act, you can transform the world.”

Eric Garner & Michael Brown News: More than 200 Children Stage Die-In in Busy Philadelphia Street to Protest Legal Injustices: here.

A MASS of demonstrators chanting: “Black lives matter” converged in the Mall of America rotunda in Minnesota on Saturday as part of the continuing nationwide protest against police brutality: here.

ACLU sues Kansas City Public Schools for punishing the Ferguson-related silent protest at Lincoln Prep: here.

How women are leading the #BlackLivesMatter movement: here.

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the Ferguson County in the U.S state of Missouri four months ago and ensuing widespread protests drew mixed, particularly critical, reactions from the international community: here.

British Islamophobe’s hatred of lesbian rabbi


This video, with Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah from England, is called Women in Judaism seminar – Part 1/2.

This video is the sequel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

What did this lesbian rabbi do to make Julie Burchill mad?

A lesbian Jewish leader says she has endured years of vitriol from the writer renowned for her strident style

Emily Dugan

Friday 26 September 2014

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah had been warned that welcoming one of Britain’s most controversial writers into her synagogue might have its pitfalls.

But when Julie Burchill, who lists “spite” among her hobbies, showed an interest in the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue in spring 2009, the rabbi was keen to give her a chance. “I thought she was a very good writer and I knew she was interested in Jews,” Rabbi Sarah recalls. “I also knew that she was a bit of a loose cannon but… we don’t try to label people.”

Things began well. Burchill attended the Saturday shul regularly and was talking about converting. After a few weeks Rabbi Sarah and her civil partner, Jess Woods, even had the journalist and a friend over for a Shabbat dinner at their home.

But a couple of months later the rabbi got a sharp insight into her new congregant’s views. An email had gone round asking whether people would help with the synagogue’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Burchill replied: “No, because your rabbi respects PIG ISLAM”.

“I could have done a big public exposure,” Rabbi Sarah told The Independent this week. “But what I did was email her and said: ‘Julie, firstly this is deeply, deeply offensive. Both Jews and Muslims don’t eat pig. I don’t know what you’re doing but this is really unacceptable and offensive. I was incredibly polite.”

When this newspaper asked Burchill about the email, she replied: “PIGS AND APES are what some Muslims call Christians and Jews, by the way. Even in school textbooks! Google it.”

Burchill is not Jewish but describes herself as a Philo-Semite,

‘Philo-Semites’ of the Burchill type are basically anti-Semites turned inside out. They want to use Jews as battering ram cannon fodder in their Islamophobic violent crusade fantasies. If Jews don’t want to play along with these delusions, then these Jews become objects of hatred by these ‘Philo-Semites’.

Let us imagine that Islamophobic racists like Burchill succeed in their aim of cleansing all Muslims, supposedly the cause of all problems in Britain, ethnically from the United Kingdom. Then, people would find out there would still be problems. And who would people like Burchill blame for that, now that the Muslims were gone? Wouldn’t they blame ‘the Jews?’

and has become a vociferous defender of Israel. In a book out next month, The Unchosen, she charts her love affair with Judaism – but ends with an acerbic 23-page rant against Rabbi Sarah, whom she dubs “Call-Me-Elli” for her informal style.

In one of many withering put-downs, Burchill writes: “When not boasting about being gay and cool, she was – via the scenic route – boasting about how tolerant she was by ceaselessly ramming the merits of Islam down the collective throats of her captive audience.”

Looking at a copy of the book for the first time, in the home she shares with her partner overlooking the South Downs, Rabbi Sarah is appalled by Burchill’s words. “What do you do about somebody who has such vile attitudes which really stoke Islamophobia?” she asks.

She reads aloud a phrase about her partner Ms Wood, where she is described as “the partner-in-petting during that fateful Shabbat dinner” – and yelps. Burchill makes many more overblown references to the couple’s “canoodling” at the Shabbat dinner and whether it would “turn into a full-on Sapphic free-for-all”.

Rabbi Sarah is mortified. “It’s outrageous. In good faith I invited her into my home. My partner and I – anybody will tell you we’re not like that at all. On Shabbat what you do is greet everyone. Everybody is kissed and she will have been too. If you met my partner – I mean, how were we in our home? We are so not outrageous. We’re so ordinary and boring and middle aged. Do me a favour.”

Burchill’s deconstruction of the meal extends to the drinks the hosts did (and did not) serve, after Burchill brought bottles of champagne. “Surely I started to dislike Call-Me-Elli at the moment she substituted her homebrew for my Veuve Clicquot,” she writes.

For Rabbi Sarah, the critique epitomises the writer’s betrayal of their hospitality. “It’s such an invasion… We served the elderflower [wine] that my partner had actually made,” she says. Burchill is unrepentant, telling The Independent: “I don’t call giving someone home-brewed elderflower filth when they’ve brought two bottles of Bolly ‘hospitality’.”

Rabbi Sarah had tasted public criticism from Burchill before the book came out. In a Jewish Chronicle column in December 2009 the polemicist complained about the rabbi’s sermons, but did not name her. Ms Wood, Rabbi Sarah’s partner, who has an MBE for her charitable work with young LGBT people in Brighton, even took Burchill to the Press Complaints Commission over claims that Christians are persecuted all across the Muslim world. She lost the case because the article was judged to be fair comment.

As one of the first two lesbians to become Rabbis in Britain, 25 years ago, and as a Jewish supporter of a two state solution, Rabbi Sarah is used to being pilloried. But few have made their attacks so personal – or so concerted. Her chief crime, in Burchill’s eyes, was “nagging about the Palestinians” and using “her pulpit to hammer home the joys of Islam”.

The rabbi believes Burchill’s religious views are dangerously simplistic. “The problem is she doesn’t have any in-depth knowledge. I can imagine her endlessly watching the film Exodus with Paul Newman. She’s got a kind of Hollywood view of Jews. You know, ‘Jews are so clever, we’ve survived…’,” she says.

After five years of abuse in print from Burchill, Rabbi Sarah has come to the conclusion that the author is fixated on her. “One has to question Julie Burchill’s psychological motivation,” she says. “Here’s someone who claims she loves Jews who’s actually persecuting an individual Jew. She’s being a persecutor.”

God save us from the philosemitism of Burchill, Amis and Mensch. Being the object of adoration and envy is yet another burden we Jews have to bear: here.

Anti-Semitic violence in Belfast condemned


This video is called Belfast Synagogue.

From the Sinn Fein site in Ireland:

Kelly condemns synagogue attacks

21 July, 2014 – by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has condemned outright an attack on a synagogue in north Belfast.

Speaking after windows at the synagogue on Somerton Road were smashed at the weekend, the North Belfast MLA said:

“I condemn outright this attack on the synagogue on Somerton Road.

“There can be no place for attacks on any place of worship, regardless of the religion or denomination.

“The local Jewish community makes a valuable contribution to our society and there is no justification for hate crimes.

“If anyone has any information on these attacks then they should contact the PSNI.”

Dutch Zionists against ‘pro-Israel’ Wilders’ collaboration with anti-Semites


Dutch poster against Geert Wilders' collaboration with the Austrian FPÖ

This is a poster from the Netherlands about the cooperation in the present European election campaign between Dutch xenophobic politician Geert Wilders and his extreme Right Austrian colleague Christian Strache, leader of the FPÖ party.

On the left in the poster, Strache is quoted: “Homosexuality is a disease!“.

On the right of the poster, Geert Wilders says: “What a really impressive man!“.

The caption at the bottom of the poster says: “Today, Wilders is in bed with all kinds of extreme Right parties which are full of racists, holocaust deniers and LGBTQ haters“.

Finally, the poster refers to the site WildersBFF.nl, about who Wilders’ ‘Best Friends Forever‘ are.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The Jewish interests’ organisation CIDI

CIDI is an acronym for Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. One should call it a ‘pro-Israel’ organisation rather than a ‘Jewish’ organisation, there being both Jews and non-Jews in it.

criticizes PVV leader Geert Wilders. In daily De Telegraaf, the organization says that Wilders ‘betrays his principles’ by working with extreme right-wing parties in Europe such as the French Front National [National Front].

CIDI director Esther Voet calls it disturbing that Wilders reversed himself ‘like a leaf on a tree’. ‘He always said he would not join forces with the extreme right, but now that happens anyway. It’s a sliding scale.’

Wilders has a reputation of someone caring for the interests of the Jewish community. He has good contacts with Jewish lobby groups in the United States and has traveled dozens of times to Israel.

Former PVV MPs Wim Kortenoeven and Louis Bontes confirm to the newspaper that Wilders has changed his position. Previously, PVV MPs were not even allowed to be on the same photo as members of the National Front, said Bontes. “That was said to bring the PVV into disrepute.”

Wilders told De Telegraaf that he is “not afraid” of being perceived to be similar to the extreme right.

Already in November CIDI said it is concerned about the cooperation between the PVV and the National Front. According to Ms Voet that has major implications for Jews in the Netherlands. “The risk is that there will be a larger group in the European Parliament, for example, rejecting ritual [kosher] slaughter. And also against circumcision, attacking the core of Judaism.”

See also here.

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