Police arrest 34-year-old Portland man accused of vandalizing synagogues, setting fire to mosque

Public Safety

Updated: May. 07, 2022, 10:59 p.m. | Published: May. 07, 2022, 4:21 p.m.

More photos of suspect in Portland fire
Police arrested Michael Bivins, 34, of Portland on May 6, 2022. Bivins is suspected of intentionally setting a fire at a Muslim community center, as well as breaking windows at two Jewish congregations and leaving graffiti on one of them, was arrested early Saturday, Portland police said.

A 34-year-old Portland man suspected of intentionally setting a fire at a Muslim community center, as well as breaking windows at two Jewish congregations and leaving graffiti on one of them, was arrested Friday, Portland police said.

Michael Edgar Bivins was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center around 4 a.m. Saturday on five charges of arson and criminal mischief. Four of the charges are felonies.

Bivins was a freelance journalist who frequently covered protests in Portland over the past decade.

Bivins had written or co-written about 20 stories for Willamette Week between 2016 and 2019, according to the newspaper’s website. Willamette Week said on Saturday that it was conducting a review of his work.

A prolific live streamer of protests, Bivins occasionally shared his video with various news organizations, including The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Bivins had posted multiple hateful tweets in recent weeks, and tweeted April 17 that Twitter had locked his account for violating rules against abuse and harassment. Last month, Bivins tweeted that Oregon should do away with bias crime laws.

Beaverton police arrested Bivins after he went to the KPTV television news station around 2:30 p.m. Friday and demanded to speak to a reporter there. Portland police Sgt. Kevin Allen said Bivins had gone to the station’s Beaverton building on Wednesday as well.

Portland police said their investigation is ongoing and that they have contacted federal authorities regarding this case. More charges are possible, police said.

Bivins is suspected of spraying an antisemitic death threat in yellow paint on the outside of Congregation Beth Israel, the city’s reform synagogue in Northwest Portland. Synagogue staff also found scorch marks from recent fires set in front of the doors to the sanctuary. Portland police said Bivins is suspected of spraying graffiti on Monday and throwing a large rock through the synagogue’s library window on Wednesday, but did not say he was charged for lighting a fire there.

Bivins is also suspected of breaking a window at another Jewish community gathering place, the Congregation Shir Tikvah, on Northeast Sandy Boulevard on April 30, police said.

On Tuesday night, a surveillance camera caught a man dressed in a blue hooded sweatshirt pouring something on the back of the Muslim Community Center of Portland’s building on North Vancouver Avenue and then lighting it on fire at 6:48 p.m., police said in a statement.

Police said at the time they were investigating it as a possible bias crime. The fire at the Muslim Community Center came a day after the feast of Eid al-Fitr celebrated at the end of the monthlong Ramadan fast.

The charges against Bivins listed by police did not indicate bias crime charges, but prosecutors had not yet filed formal charging documents.

In a phone call Saturday, Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel said he was “very grateful” to law enforcement agencies that connected various incidents of vandalism across Portland to a single suspect.

“We hope that if this perpetrator is found guilty, that he’s kept from committing these kinds of crimes for other houses of worship,” Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel said Saturday. “Hate speech can quickly escalate to violence, so we’re very pleased that he was caught before anyone was hurt.”

The rabbi said the two instances of vandalism had left his congregation “shaken.” On April 27, several Holocaust survivors were invited to speak and be honored at the sanctuary for Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“It was very disconcerting to have Nazi-related graffiti spray painted on the walls of our building just a few days later,” Cahana said. “Any type of hate crime, or crime against religious institutions – even if it’s only property damage – needs to be quickly reported.”

Police ask anyone with information to contact Detective Meredith Hopper at (503) 823-3408 or Meredith.hopper@portlandoregon.gov. Tips can also be submitted anonymously on the Crime Stoppers website.

— Catalina Gaitán

Lod imam arrested for incitement against Jews, Israel — again

May 1, 2022

Lod imam arrested for incitement against Jews, Israel — again

Lod imam Sheikh Yousef al-Baz (YouTube/Channel 12/Screenshot)

Sheikh Yousef Albaz arrested just days after hosting Hamas-linked hate preacher, inciting on Facebook.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Arab Israeli imam with a long history of inflammatory comments towards the Jewish state was arrested once again on charges of incitement over the weekend.

Sheikh Yousuf Albaz, a prominent Islamic figure in Lod, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in central Israel, was taken into custody on suspicion of incitement on Saturday.

Hebrew-language media reported that Albaz had called for a violent response to Israeli police on the Temple Mount, both in a speech in his mosque and via Facebook posts.

Albaz’s arrest came two days after he hosted Sheikh Ra’ed Salah — the spiritual leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s now-outlawed Northern branch, who has been convicted of terror-related offenses — at Lod’s Great Mosque.

In a fiery screed on Facebook, Albaz described Jews who opposed the hate preacher’s visit to Lod as “pigs,” according to a translation of the Arabic-language post in a Haaretz report.

He added that any person objecting to Salah’s presence was “a vile and despicable character from the dregs of humanity.”

The post continued with Albaz praising Salah as a “leader and a source of inspiration to me.” Salah spoke “despite the opposition of the terrorists from the Garin Hatorani [Religious Zionist group living in Lod] who disseminate hatred everywhere,” Albaz said.

During Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, Albaz fanned the flames during widespread rioting in mixed Arab-Jewish cities, including Lod.

In Lod, a Jewish man was killed by a brick hurled at his vehicle while he was diving and a synagogue was torched. While the rioting was ongoing, Albaz posted clips on Facebook calling for the murder of police officers and directly threatened Lod’s deputy mayor.

The content triggered an arrest in June 2021. Albaz faced criminal charges of incitement to terror and hate speech.

In past social media posts, Albaz has referred to Israel as an enemy state, claiming that Muslims or Arabs attempting to maintain normal relations with the Jewish state are equivalent to traitors.

“Anyone who believes in coexistence must be banished from among us because they will be a dagger in our backs,” he wrote.

Imam Incitement Lod Yousef Albaz

In Other News – Israel Nabs Jordanian Infiltrator…!

Israel nabs Jordanian dressed as wife in failed border crossing

May 1, 2022

Israel nabs Jordanian dressed as wife in failed border crossing

A Palestinian-Jordanian man dressed as wife, with his passport (L) and her passport (R). (Courtesy: IAA)

Palestinian-Jordanian man dressed up as a woman, used wife’s passport in attempt to slip through Israeli border crossing undetected.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge crossing nabbed a Palestinian-Jordanian man on Friday attempting to slip past a border check while dressed in women’s clothes.

The man, whose name was not made public, was wearing traditional Islamic clothing for women, including a hijab, long dress, and overcoat. He also wore a face mask, which helped obscure his gender identity.

Despite the disguise, a source told Ynet that the man’s “masculine body movements” sparked suspicion.

“During the security check, concern arose that this was not a lady, this was a gentleman,” the Israel Airports Authority, which manages the Allenby Bridge crossing, said in a statement.

The IAA added that the man was found to be in possession of his wife’s passport.

According to Hebrew-language reports, the man intended to visit Palestinian Authority cities and did not plan to enter municipalities or areas under Israeli control.

The man reportedly told investigators that reason for his disguise was not because he planning a terror attack — rather, he did not want his trip via the Israeli crossing to be recorded.

His desire to avoid a paper trial regarding his trip could be due to tax or other business reasons or because of concerns about future travel in the Arab world.

After questioning by Israeli security investigators, he was returned to Jordan.

In November 2021, the wife of Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, a Hamas-affiliated terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, was detained at the crossing. An east Jerusalem resident, the woman had traveled to visit her mother in Jordan just days before her husband’s terror attack, but was later cleared of wrongdoing by Israeli authorities.

The Allenby Bridge is located about five kilometers east of the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho. It serves as the primary crossing point for Palestinians and Jordanian nationals to enter and exit both Israel and PA-controlled areas from Jordan.

Israeli citizens are prohibited from using the Allenby Bridge when entering or exiting the country.

Allenby Bridge Border security Jordan Palestinian infiltration

Working inside Iran, Mossad captures would-be assassin of Israeli official

May 1, 2022

Working inside Iran, Mossad captures would-be assassin of Israeli official

Captured IRGC Quds Force operative Mansour Rasouli (Twitter/Iran International English/Screenshot)

The captured man, working for the IRGC, spoke of three targets, including an official from the Israeli embassy in Istanbul.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence Agency, captured and interrogated a man in Iran in recent months who admitted that he had been organizing a series of assassinations, including that of an Israeli, leading to the arrest of the entire cell of conspirators.

Israeli officials released a partial audio recording of Mansour Rasouli’s interrogation Saturday. In it, the 52-year-old member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force can be heard saying that the organization spoke of three targets in all: one Israeli from the country’s embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, an American general in Germany, and a journalist in France.

“We would assassinate them for the Islamic Republic,” he said, speaking calmly. “They were determined that this would definitely be carried out.”

The unnamed Frenchman was seemingly in the most immediate danger, with Rasouli saying that the terrorist organization wanted him assassinated “now.”

“I made a mistake,” Rasouli said. “I won’t do anything more on this, I swear it on my mother’s life, on my daughter’s life, on the lives of my family. I will never make such a mistake again.”

The agents of the Mossad, Israel’s equivalent of the CIA, let Rasouli go and used the information he gave them to foil the plot. Operational units of Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, were also reportedly involved in the mission.

The Quds Force is the IRGC’s branch responsible for extraterritorial operations. It uses proxy terrorist groups as its long arm abroad as well as members of drug cartels whom they pay handsomely to carry out their bidding.

According to the London-based opposition Iranian group “Iran International,” which broke the news of the foiled plot Saturday, Rasouli belongs to the Quds Force’s Unit 840, which follows those who live abroad who oppose the Islamic regime as well as other Westerners.

The report said he received $150,000 to recruit local drug dealers to execute the hits. If successful, he would have reportedly received another million dollars.

Senior Israeli officials said that this was only the latest in a string of dozens of similar assassination plots that the Mossad has prevented over the last year in Cyprus, Colombia, Kenya, and Turkey by working in close cooperation with their fellow intelligence agencies in those countries.

This is the definition of “state-sponsored terrorism,” they said, with the orders and funds coming from Iran’s leaders. Their use of proxies abroad serves to give them room for denying responsibility for any of their malign activities. However, say the officials, all these planned attacks show that the IRGC is the mover and shaker behind the scenes.

It is a prime reason why the Israelis and their regional allies, including Egypt and the UAE, have pressed the Biden administration not to take the organization off the American government’s official list of foreign terror organizations.

The demand to delist the IRGC was tacked onto the Iranian conditions for returning to the nuclear deal after a framework agreement had reportedly been reached late last year. The president has balked at the condition, following pressure from the region and internal dissent in Congress from both parties. This has led to the prediction that a new nuclear deal will not be signed, since Iran shows no sign of giving up on this requirement.

Assassination Iran nuclear deal Iran proxies IRGC Mossad Quds Force

Time for Jordan To Live Up To Its Peace Treaty With Israel And Support Jewish Prayer On The Temple Mount

Posted on

Reposted from First One Through

In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty that saw Israel relinquish roughly 380 square kilometers to Jordan and set a framework for the two countries to live peacefully together side-by-side.

The treaty had a section that dealt with religious tolerance. Article 9.2 is often misquoted by Jordanian King Abdullah that he is a “custodian” of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, when it merely states that “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” Abdullah never talks about clause 9.3:

The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

Jordanian – Israeli peace treaty, article 9.3

Despite the treaty to promote religious tolerance, peace and freedom of worship, Jordan praised Palestinian Arab rioters on the Jewish Temple Mount in April 2022. Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh saidI salute every Palestinian, and all the employees of the Jordanian Islamic Waqf, who proudly stand like minarets, hurling their stones in a volley of clay at the Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.

This is appalling on its own – a senior government official promoting violence against civilians – and flies in the face of the tenet of the peace treaty signed between the parties. Article 4.3B states that each country will “refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party,” which is exactly what the Jordanian Foreign Minister did.

It gets worse.

It was reported that Jordan is now asking the United States to pressure Israel to give complete control of the Jewish Temple Mount Compound to the Jordanian Waqf, and to forcibly ban Jewish prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.

Jordan seemingly doesn’t believe there is any price to pay for instigating violence against Israeli Jews, and should actually be rewarded with a greater role in the land Jordan illegally seized in 1949 and then formally withdrew from in 1988.

Israel might want to keep its part of the peace treaty with Jordan in acknowledging the “special role” Jordan plays narrowly at the al-Aqsa Mosque, much the way a guardian takes care of a ward with “special needs.” Make them feel important. But everyone understands that the guardian is in control and will make all substantive decisions.

Israel could always offer actual custodianship of the revered mosque to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in exchange for another peace treaty.

An obscured view of the Jewish Temple Mount from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. al-Aqsa Mosque is the dark-domed building at right (photo: First One Through)

‘Die Jews’: Antisemites Vandalize Historic Portland Synagogue

Antisemitic graffiti that defaced Portland’s Congregation Beth Israel, May 2, 2022. (Congregation Beth Israel)

antisemitic graffiti

May 4, 2022

Related:

Death threat came just four days after the congregation marked Yom HaShoah.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Members of Portland’s Congregation Beth Israel discovered threatening antisemitic graffiti on an exterior wall and scorch marks on the front doors on Monday morning, according to local Oregon media.

Beth Israel Rabbi Michael Cahana told local Channel 3 News the graffiti said, “‘Die Juden’ which is essentially a Nazi slogan, ‘death to Jews.’”

He also told The Oregonian that the death threat came just four days after the congregation marked Yom HaShoah, commemorating the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

“It’s easy for us in Portland to think this doesn’t happen around here. That we’re free of antisemitism and hate speech, but the reality is it’s very much a part of our world. It’s very much of a part of the Pacific Northwest,” he said.

“How poignant it is to have this just a few days after having our community’s Holocaust survivors in our sanctuary, where we were honoring their eyewitness, their experience. It really recommits us to being vigilant against antisemitism.”

The synagogue staff filed reports with the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI’s hate crimes coordinator. Police are investigating and have not disclosed if they have leads on suspects.

Beth Israel has also been in contact with the Fusion Center which works with law enforcement authorities to produce threat assessments, and with the Security Community Network, which spearheads efforts to boost security for North American Jewish institutions.

Oregon’s U.S. Senator, Ron Wyden, who is a member of Beth Israel, denounced the vandalism.

“Hate speech and vandalism must never be allowed to terrorize Portland or any community. I stand with Rabbi Cahana and our entire synagogue by adding my voice to his when he says we all must be vigilant against these attacks,” he tweeted.

Local clergy also stood in solidarity with the synagogue. Local minister Rev. Chuck Currie tweeted, “Such hatred has no place in the City of Roses- or anywhere. I stand with my friend and colleague Rabbi @michaelcahana, & all my Jewish brothers & sisters.”

According to the local website Patch, the vandalism is part of a growing trend of hate crimes over the last three years.

“As of April 30, [the Oregon Department of Justice] had received reports of 270 separate hate crime incidents. In 2020, there were 271 reported incidents all year,” it reported.

Beth Israel, a Reform congregation, is Oregon’s oldest synagogue. The congregation was founded in 1858 and the synagogue was built a year later as Oregon achieved statehood.

Most of Oregon’s 40,000 Jews live in the Portland area. According to the Beth Israel’s website, the congregation counts 855 member families.

The incident also came two days after Hamas’s Gaza chief, Yahya Sinwar, threatened attacks on “thousands of synagogues” around the world over Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount following Palestinian riots at the holy site.

In March, Congress included $250 million in grants for synagogue security as part of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill.

****

***

Meanwhile, … it was reported that the pagan islamic center of Portland, Oregon was the victim of an attempted arson attack on 3 May 2022.

While CAIR’s Oregon Chapter Board Member Muz Afzal condemned the attack; as a co-conspirator with the IKWAN to incite an global intifada to overthrow Israel and the US and establish a world-wide al-qud’s Caliphate by committing genocide and imposing sharia … it is in no position to speak about bias or hate crimes – rather, the ummah must be prosecuted and deported …!

WATCH: Incitement Works, Terrorists Used Axe to Murder Jews

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, center. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Yahya Sinwar

May 6, 2022

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“Whoever does not have a gun should prepare his cleaver, axe or knife,” Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar declared. Terrorists apparently took the advice.

On Thursday evening, two axe-wielding terrorists murdered three Jewish men and wounded four more, two of them critically, in the central Israeli city of Elad.

Following the attack, Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, tweeted: “We urged Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to speak out. But their chiefs @KenRoth and @AgnesCallamard were too busy condemning Israel as racist.”

Indeed!

Terror on Israel’s Independence Day: 3 fathers murdered, 16 children orphaned

Terror victims, left to right: Boaz Gol, Yonatan Havakuk and Oren Ben Yiftah (Courtesy)

Elad terror victims

May 6, 2022

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The three murdered victims, all fathers in their 40s, were identified Friday morning as Yonatan Havakuk, Boaz Gol and Oren Ben Yiftach. Together, they leave behind 16 children.

By JNS.org and United with Israel Staff

Security forces continue Friday morning to search for the attackers who murdered three Israelis and injured at least four people, two critically, in the central Israeli city of Elad, not far from Petach Tikvah. The attack on Thursday night came as celebrations for Yom Ha’aztmaut, Israel Independence Day, were winding down.

The three murdered victims, all fathers in their 40s, were identified Friday morning as Yonatan Havakuk, Boaz Gol and Oren Ben Yiftach. Together, they leave behind 16 children.

Havakuk reportedly died while fighting one of the terrorists.

“My husband fought against them with great heroism and saved many lives. He fought with them for long minutes, which allowed many to flee the scene,” Havakuk’s widow posted in a Facebook group for residents of Elad.

A witness at the scene heard shouts of Allahu Akbar during the attack, according to Israeli media.

The suspects, who attacked people in the city’s central park by Ibn Gvirol Street, were believed to be armed with an ax and perhaps a firearm. With the aid of at least one helicopter, security forces are searching the area for the assailants. Elad Mayor Yisrael Porush told residents to stay inside while security forces were operating.

Jewish groups worldwide immediately responded to the news, offering prayers and support.

“When will the hatred and violence end?” said a tweet from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Canada. “We are sickened to learn of yet another suspected terror attack in Israel, which has taken the lives of three people and injured several others. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.”

Agudath Israel of America tweeted that it is “horrified by the news of a terror attack in Elad, Israel. We are praying for the victims and their families.” They followed up that tweet with the text of Psalm 130, which many recite in times of trouble.

Stand With Us tweeted: “At least three innocent people were murdered in tonight’s deadly terror attack in Elad, central Israel,  #Israel, and at least 3 more are left fighting for their lives, as Israelis were celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. May their memories forever be a blessing.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said: “No current peace partner in Holy Land. Palestinian leadership continues to praise and support terrorists, and reward them and their families for murdering and maiming Jews. It will stop when the world holds [Palestinian] leadership accountable for their incitement and support for terrorism.”

Biden Hires Anti-Semitic “Press Secretary”

Incoming Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (Screenshot)

Karine Jean-Pierre

Biden Taps Anti-Israel Activist, CNN Spouse as White House Press Secretary

May 6, 2022

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Karine Jean-Pierre has been open about her animosity towards the Jewish state.

By Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon

The White House announced on Thursday that Karine Jean-Pierre, a veteran anti-Israel activist who is married to CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, will replace outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki, raising potential ethical quandaries.

The announcement drew celebratory headlines in the mainstream press: Jean Pierre is the first black woman and openly gay person to serve in the role.

But her relationship with a CNN reporter raises ethical questions about her new role. The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether Jean Pierre would recuse herself in dealing with CNN. Malveaux’s colleagues include Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, CNN justice correspondent Laura Jarrett, and Israel ambassador Tom Nides’s wife, Virginia Moseley, who serves as CNN’s senior vice president of news gathering.

Jean-Pierre’s anti-Israel past—which includes a stint as senior adviser and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org, a far-left anti-Israel group that advocates for boycotts of the Jewish state—is raising red flags in the pro-Israel community. The selection of an Israel critic is also likely to further strain ties with the pro-Israel community and Israeli government, which already is strongly opposed to the Biden administration’s efforts to ink a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Jean-Pierre has been open about her animosity towards the Jewish state. She has accused Israel of committing “war crimes” and has backed efforts to boycott the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the United States’ most prominent pro-Israel lobbying shop, cheering Democrats in 2019 for boycotting the group’s annual gathering in Washington, D.C., for “boldly [chose] to prioritize diplomacy and human rights over the power of a lobbying organization.”

AIPAC, she claimed, helped the Trump administration “sabotage” the Iran nuclear deal and also “supported the group that’s credited with inspiring President Trump to enact the Muslim Ban and has been known to spread anti-Muslim racism.” She accused the group without evidence of trafficking in “severely racist, Islamophobic rhetoric.”

Ellie Cohanim, who served as the State Department’s deputy special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism during the Trump administration, told the Free Beacon that Jean-Pierre’s promotion sends the wrong signal during a time of rising anti-Semitism.

“Joe Biden’s promotion of Jean-Pierre signals to all would-be Israel haters that their efforts will be rewarded with White House appointments and promotions,” Cohanim said. “At a time of rising anti-Semitism in America, Biden’s promotion of Jean-Pierre is exactly the wrong signal to send.”

“Promoting Jean-Pierre further proves the point that the Democrat party has become a breeding ground of anti-Israel hostility that goes right up to the White House,” Cohanim added.

‘Americans Should be Deeply Concerned’

“As a child of Holocaust survivors and as an American Jew, I am both appalled and frightened that Biden has chosen as his principal deputy press secretary, Ms. Jean-Pierre, who has shown essentially antisemitic hostility toward Israel and is willing to lie about and vilify Israel and Jews to promote her ugly Israelophobic agenda,” Mort Klein, CEO of the Zionist Organization on America, said in a statement.

“Americans should be deeply concerned that this outrageous, incomprehensible anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and pro-Iran appointment indicates the dangerous direction the Biden administration is going to take against America’s greatest ally Israel and U.S.-Israel relations,” Klein said.

One veteran pro-Israel community leader expressed shock that the president decided to hire Jean-Pierre.

“Jewish Americans will get slapped in the face every time they turn on the television and see someone standing at the podium who has said such vile things about Israel,” said the source, who would only speak candidly on background. “Just days after the [Anti-Defamation League] boldly declared anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, the forces of radical left anti-Semitism got a boost from the President of the United States.”

MoveOn, the far-left group that Jean-Pierre worked for from April 2016 until August 2020, also pressed Democratic lawmakers to boycott AIPAC’s annual conference, as well as the organization itself. “[Democratic] candidates should be prepared for push back regarding their involvement with AIPAC,” a MoveOn spokeswoman told Politico in 2020.

MoveOn also has championed anti-Israel leaders in Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), who were the organization’s first endorsements in the 2020 election cycle.

The group also ran interference for Omar and Tlaib when they were accused of making anti-Semitic statements and stoking hatred of Jews. Democrats, the group said in 2019, “must stand strong in solidarity with Reps. Tlaib, Omar—stand up to Israel right-wing government for doing Trump’s racist, political dirty work.”

And when far-left activist Linda Sarsour was criticized for anti-Semitism, MoveOn came to her defense, tweeting that she “is a leader in the fight for justice for all of us.” MoveOn also defended Angela Davis, the notorious communist activist, as a “civil rights leader” after an award was revoked due to her anti-Semitic past.

‘ A Strong Voice Speaking for Me,’ Biden Says

Biden praised Jean-Pierre as a “talent” in a statement on the new hire.

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people,” the president said in a statement. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this administration.”

Can you imagine a world without Jews, Judaism, or Israel?

Israeli flag. Credit: Maxim Studio/Shutterstock.

Israeli flag. Credit: Maxim Studio/Shutterstock.

Featured Column

Yom Ha’atzmaut 2022

Jonathan S. Tobin

Islamists, Palestinians and leftist peddlers of intersectional ideology and critical race theory dream of destroying the Jewish state. These are not harmless fantasies.

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(May 4, 2022 / JNS)

It was in 1896 that Theodor Herzl published his groundbreaking book, The Jewish State, which launched the modern Zionist movement. Though his project was, as he noted in his book, “very old” and indeed rooted in the prayers of Jews for nearly 2,000 years, it would only be 52 years later that his vision was brought to life with the birth of modern-day Israel in May 1948.

That state turned 74 years old this week, and as Israelis observe Yom Ha’atzmaut—Israel Independence Day—they have much to celebrate. The country that came to life in 1948 had few assets and had to fight a bloody war of survival in which it lost 1% of its population fending off five invading Arab armies. Despite long odds and predictions of its doom—and never enjoying a day of peace in its history—the genius, and the blood, sweat, tears and toil, of the Jewish people allowed the state to prevail and ultimately thrive. Today, it is home to nearly half of the Jews in the world with a booming economy and a military that makes it a regional superpower. While, like any other country, it has plenty of problems, the journey from Herzl’s dream to the reality of contemporary Israel is one of the greatest human achievements of modern history.

Yet just as Jews once dreamed of a Jewish state, others dream of its disappearance.

These dreamers are an odd collection of Arab fanatics, Islamists, leftist ideologues and far-right crackpots. While the notion of erasing a powerful modern nation from the map is an absurd goal, they insist that their objective is no more unrealistic than Herzl’s. They’re right about that. In 1896, Herzl’s idea was seen by most sensible people as even more of a fantasy than the schemes of those who are currently plotting Israel’s demise.

During the remaining eight years of Herzl’s short life, Zionism was a project supported by only a tiny minority of Jews, who were themselves a tiny fraction of the world’s population. By contrast, anti-Zionism is now supported by most Muslims, many intersectional leftists around the world and every variety of anti-Semites, a category of persons that embraces a broad spectrum of political and religious beliefs.

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Advocates for Israel’s destruction don’t always openly speak of that objective the way the leaders of the Iranian government or Hamas terrorists routinely do. Some, like the editorial board of The Harvard Crimson, just talk about their desire for a “free Palestine” and their backing for the anti-Semitic BDS movement without mentioning that the goal of that effort is the end of the Jewish state. Others in the international community, like many so-called human-rights groups or the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has launched an open-ended Commission of Inquiry designed to back up the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state,” obfuscate their ultimate goal while doing everything they can to isolate Israel in the hope that it will collapse.

In the United States, the intersectional left embraces BDS discrimination against Israel and the Jews while pretending to be for coexistence even though their stands help to make peace impossible. This is rooted in an ideology that falsely compares the war against Israel to the struggle for civil rights in the United States, and claims that Jews and Israel are oppressors that benefit from, as critical race theory teaches, “white privilege.”

Some Jews join them. Groups like Jewish Voices for Peace and IfNotNow embrace measures that would doom Israel while backing blood libels against Jews that are no different than traditional tropes of right-wing anti-Semites. Others, like writer Peter Beinart, pretend that a binational state that would end Jewish sovereignty and self-defense is a more just solution to the problem of a conflict that one side—the Palestinians—doesn’t want to resolve.

Most Americans still back Israel and Zionism. But as support for intersectional myths grows within the left-wing of the Democratic Party and anti-Semitism becomes normalized, it’s clear that the battle to defend Zionism in American public forums has only just begun.

Yet on this 74th anniversary of Israel’s independence, it’s worth it to stop and imagine—for just a moment—what the world would look like if the dreams of the anti-Zionists came true and Israel disappeared.

Thankfully, any scenario by which this evil goal might be accomplished is highly unlikely, if not completely impossible to enact. Still, history is full of unlikely nightmares that few believed could happen.

Diving into this counterfactual world in which the Jews of Israel somehow lost the ability to defend their state, it’s not difficult to imagine what would ensure.

Contrary to those who predict that a binational state would bring peace and justice to the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Jews of Israel would be in the gravest possible danger without a Jewish government and an army to defend them. Some leftist Jews have made a fetish of powerlessness. But the lessons of 20 centuries of Jewish history prior to Israel’s founding tell us exactly what happens when Jews allow their safety to depend on the kindness of strangers.

Left at the mercy of Palestinian terror organizations, in addition to Islamist and nationalist Arab and Muslims who have never stopped preaching revenge for their past defeats at the hands of the Zionists, the Jews in the land of Israel (approximately 7 million souls today) would be decimated and subjected to pogroms and discrimination. The descendants of Jews who had survived the Holocaust in Europe or had been driven out of their homes in Arab and Muslim lands would again be forced to again flee for their lives.

As Dara Horn wrote in her recent book, the world loves dead Jews. A new generation of Jewish victims—as if the 6 million dead of the Holocaust and the many others who have been killed, wounded or otherwise traumatized by anti-Semitic attacks and terrorism since the end of the Nazi regime were not enough—might be viewed sympathetically by the world. But if the Jews lose the ability to defend themselves, it’s a stretch to think that even the friendliest of foreign powers would do it for them.

Nor would the suffering be confined to the Jews of Israel. If there is anything we should have learned from the last century of Jewish history, it is that the establishment of a Jewish state allowed every Jew in the world—whether or not they were Zionists, religious or in any way affiliated with the Jewish community—to stand up taller and be more respected by their neighbors. The collapse or destruction of Israel would have a devastating impact on the security of Jews elsewhere, leaving them more vulnerable than ever to a rising tide of anti-Semitic hate. Even those who are indifferent to or unaware of how much Israel has strengthened their position and pumped life into Jewish communities would soon understand that this would strip them of the pride and the security that a Jewish state had offered them. The end of Israel would set off a new dark age for world Jewry whose consequences are unimaginable to those who grew up in the last 74 years when Jews no longer thought of themselves primarily as victims or the objects of hate and scorn.

That is a nightmare scenario and one that will hopefully never come to pass. But we should keep it in mind whenever we encounter those who speak up for Israel’s elimination or for a BDS movement that seeks that end. Those who preach the end of Israel may think they are supporting human rights, but a proper understanding of their goal would force us to see that what they are doing is advocating for mass murder and the dispossession of the largest Jewish community in the world. A world without Israel would be one of Jewish suffering and victimhood and anyone who seeks that objective—be they on the left or the right, non-Jewish or Jewish—should be labeled as a would-be accomplice to genocide.

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