An Impeachment Conspiracy Theory, Jersey City Shooting, International Criminal Court
Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. AJC The Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people aren't Cogan and I'm on your bre share pacman German so money. Who did you talk with this week? I had the religious speaking with two fellow journalists from the Times of of Israel. Jacob Maggot and Eric Cordola. Jacob explained the latest developments in the international criminal courts examination of the tension between Israelis and Palestinians. And whether are there any war crimes have been committed by either party. Or both and Eric explained why anti-semites see the impeachment of president trump as Jewish conspiracy. Seffi tell us nurse who you spoke with. I spoke with Rabbi David Levy Director of AJC's New Jersey Office about the ongoing efforts to fight antisemitism in that state in the wake of the shootings as last week in Jersey City. Let's show this week. The House of Representatives resentatives voted for only the third time in history to impeach the president of the United States after eleven hours of debate on the House floor between Democrats and Republicans over trump's conduct with Ukraine lawmakers voted almost entirely along party lines to impeach him on charges that he abused his office and obstructed Congress but nowhere in that eleven hours did anyone mention or condemn the term juku which is making the rounds in antisemitic circles as a way to describe the plot to impeach the president. This troubling term combined with the rise of antisemitic incidents across the United States and other troubling signs has American Jews concerned here to discuss some of those signs is Eric Quarter Lesser who covers American politics politics for the Times of Israel Eric. Welcome thanks for having me so depending on who you ask. Some people believe Wednesday's impeachment vote was nothing but a pre-election political employ believe it was a victory for the constitution and the rule of law but regardless of party affiliation. What does it mean for American Jews? Well well American. Jews are deeply involved in that process at a range of levels for one. They are some of the leading members of Congress who have been behind mind the impeachment inquiry and leading up to the vote that includes people like House Intelligence Committee Chair. Adam Schiff that includes how judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler and one of the things that you've seen as the impeachment process has ramped up is that anti-semites on the fringes have really begun to adopt and amplify an antisemitic conspiracy theory that it is and a ball. Jews who were behind an effort to oust the duly elected president of the United States and this is concerning a lot of Jewish leaders because we're already amidst period ran antisemitic incidents are on the arise and specifically anti-semitic acts of violence. So I think the concern is what's going to happen as the impeachment process was forward now. We're getting eating into the process where we're trying to negotiate a Senate trial What's going to happen with these conspiracy? Theories are they going to be amplified. Are they going to be given a megaphone. The phone and you know the worst possible scenario of course and they don't want to sound overheated is that it could inspire someone to do something crazy to act violent and you know this is not unprecedented. Given reason history Robert Bowers the man who shot up the tree of life. Synagogue and Pittsburgh said that he was motivated because he believed that Jews were responsible for bringing migrants into the countries who caravans so This is something that sort of happening on the fringes but the concern is that it's going to start making its way into the mainstream depending on how people highest levels of leadership respond to these ideas. Yeah so now take us through you just talked about some of the high profile positions held by Jews take us through the cast of characters in this impeachment process. Sure so you know in Congress you know. Some of the leaders in the house side are include people. Like as I said Adam Schiff Jerry Naylor. There's also Elliott Angle Point Fares Committee One of the a real sort of cheerleaders for the impeachment process who's been sort of an intellectual leader on the impeachment front has been congressman. Jamie Raskin From Maryland whose Jewish so those are some of the main players in the House of Representatives. it's also true that some of the warriors who the judiciary very committee called to testify several weeks ago to you know. Give the sort of the historical and constitutional view of what constitutes Trent weather. The president's Vince abuses that are alleged abuses of power and obstruction of Congress. Merit and impeachment. itself you know all three of the poem pitch owners were Jewish That was has no effect. Michael Gerhardt and Pamela Carlin And there are other players involved including Ukrainian president a lot of your Sliwinski. Some of the other People in worked in trump's administration who were called to testify are Jewish like his ambassador to the European Union Gordon signed lend and other officials as well like Alexander van and so there really are quite a few Jews who are involved in the impeachment really from a bunch of different angles though. I have to wonder that in a lot of white supremacist circles. Jews are seen as the puppeteers the people behind the curtains so even if there weren't Jewish characters in this drama I have to wonder if these conspiracy see theories would still be alive. They absolutely would be an exact they are. I mean one of the sort of really troubling events that happened in recent weeks was going back. Who's got a highly watched show on his channel called the blaze ran an entire segment calling? George Soros a wealthy Jewish financiers at the center of a lot of antisemitic conspiracy theories you know generally about things. He has nothing to do with He made dealing entire segment about how he was quote unquote the puppet master in Ukraine. So some of the sort of you know usual suspects as they were are appearing on these sort of antisemitic channels and on social media You know regardless of whether Jews are not are involved in impeachment MHM so I mentioned the term Juku earlier tell us where that comes from and what other troubling terms and signs are emerging on networks. That works like Glenn Beck or others. Yeah I mean the term Juku Hard to know exactly where it originated from but it got its original sort of amplification advocation when the founder of true news sort of fundamentalist Christian platform that has a best history publishing anti-semitic homophobic racist content. He published a video in which he blamed the Juku that was responsible for the impeachment of trump. came out back in November as the process is really ramping up. But he said it was essentially a Jewish. I I And from there you've seen sort of Warren more figures of part of the far right movement. Pick up that term is a popular antisemitic. Platform called owns owns review dot com. And you know that's a frequent sort of theme that is often sort of expressed on those pages. So you no. The JUKU is essentially a conspiracy theory. That is being promulgated from far-right anti-semitic extremists. Who believe that? What is really early driving? This whole thing is a bunch of powerful Jews who WANNA get rid of this president to advance their own interests. In fact there was a piece on owns owns that criticized president trump for his policies. vis-a-vis Israel saying that he you know rewarded Israel and in exchange got betrayed by Americans marriage series that are sort of taking hold these corners of the Internet. Okay so now has any of trump's rhetoric encouraged this I mean. I know that we were out on the streets a few weeks ago. Testing people's knowledge on Anti Semitic terms and one of the gentlemen that we stopped asked us a question about shifty shift. He said I've heard that's an anti Semitic term. Can you explain why. And you know that came out of trump's mouth so I'm just curious if anything he has said has encouraged this. Yeah well a number of people I spoke to for peace. We just published in The Times of Israel made that exact argument that trump's language and rhetoric has not only in this impression. And you know I almost round impeachment. You would say his call Adam Schiff shifty shift. That's sort of the most overt example during these proceedings but a lot of rhetoric that he is used comments. He's May way before this or something that a lot of people who sort of track extremism anti-semitism say has sort of given the so. You know impression to a lot of these people that this kind of thinking is legitimate so that goes back to some even campaign rhetoric hugh member his final advertisement leading up to the days before the campaign talked about. You know globalist power figures who were out to you know dominate the economy and should should pictures of prominent Jews like George Soros. Janet Yellen This has to do with his comrades in Charlottesville saying that they were very fine people who marched alongside a neo Nazis and not immediately condemning them in the harshest terms possible. It's other rhetoric more recently to use the address Jewish Americans if Israel American Council Florida Jews would vote for him and not for his is one of his potential democratic opponents in a general election was born because they wanted to protect their wealth also accused American. Jews of dual loyalties by saying that they didn't love Israel often these are antisemitic tropes that have deep sea that place and you know extremist rhetoric and extremist thinking and when the president himself is promulgating. Damn it sends a message that hey this is tolerated indeed. Maybe even welcome and I think that's the concern for a lot of people. Is that as these ideas are getting more. Traction you're not going to have the kind of scolding of them to compete denouncing them that you would need from people who hold hold the highest positions of authority and that not just comes from president trump itself but also from Republican leadership as well so why not. Why aren't we hearing condemnations on the House floor on the Senate floor of this kind of language? Well somewhere I'm not sure how aware many legislators are of this pattern of rhetoric that's been emerging so that's one thing As far as whether you're hearing from President trump or Mitch McConnell I mean you know one thing obviously trump doesn't like to bash people. Oh who like him So you know he's shown that that's that's a very clear pattern so you know. He is look the other way on a whole range of sort of contemptible behavior when it's coming from people who are in his core that's one thing And I think the other thing is that you know. Republican leadership has been pretty subservient to the president in recent weeks and recent years. They have not wanted to Kim and I would imagine that that is one of their reservations which may not be but I imagine that it is one of the reservations. Okay Well I. It'll be interesting to see how this develops whether indeed he faces a trial and the Senate and What the debates are like there And also what the conversations on the fringes are as well. Eric thank you so much for explaining all of this to US thank you. Yeah Hi my name is Bellio Ellie and I'm chief of staff if to AJC CEO and director of J. C. Global Forum during these troubled times rest assured that AJC is on the job working to ensure a safer and more secure future feature for all people together. We can combat antisemitism defend Israel and safeguard Jewish communities across the globe join. AJC In this fight. Don't miss the chance to have your gift and impact doubled donate before December thirty first at AJC dot org slash donate and now a word from the Times of Israel. Hey Everyone I'm Sarah Tuttle singer the new media editor at times of Israel. And I'm so excited to tell you about our times of Israel community that we've recently launched. This is a tremendous opportunity for behind the scenes insight. A place where we can get to know each other better. We'll have live. Discussions with some of our leading. Journalists analysts that our founding editor David Horovitz the types of Israel's community is like having a backstage pass to your favorite show. I hope you'll sign up. You'll join us and be part of our community unity in in order to do so all you have to do is read an article on times of Israel and they're at the bottom. We have a link so that you can be part of this really exciting initiative breath. Thank you so much. Rabbi David Levy is the director of. AJC's New Jersey office over the past week. He has been at the center of much of the response to the Anti Semitic shooting in Jersey City. He joined us in in studio this week to help fill us in on the situation there. David thank you so much for joining us. I'm glad to be here. Thank You Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Who is Jewish himself was right at the center of the response to this attack? What have we seen from other New Jersey? Elected officials like Governor Phil Murphy. Are we satisfied with the way that New Jersey Asia has responded. I think we've been really happy with the response that we've gotten from our leaders in New Jersey Governor Murphy has been out front. He's He's been in Jersey City himself Many times throughout the past week. He's met with interfaith leaders. He's met met with the families of the victims. He met with members of the community He took part in an inter-faith study session right right before the weekend to really connect with the religious leaders of the community. We were with him at his at. The governor's governor's mansion For a Hannukah celebration that had been previously scheduled and both he and the first lady Tammy I spent a good amount of time talking about what had happened to the Jewish community their support for the Jewish community Attorney General Gruber Gray while has been an amazing partner and friend during this past week. I think he's brought a sense of calm and thoughtfulness and I really have to give a a special recognition to The Director of the Office of Homeland Security in New Jersey Jared maples. Who has he in? His staff have really worked hard to be in touch with all of the Jewish leadership throughout New Jersey. To make sure that we were keyed in on what was happening with breath the investigation. I met with him yesterday. Along with our director of Global Communications. Avi Mayor and one of the things. Jared stressed to US was that they've been one of the key. Parts of their investigation has been determining. Winning is there any continuing threat and he was very clear that based on their investigation and on federal investigation. There are no continuing timbering threats tied to this particular incident. I can just say in my role kind of as host here at somewhat impartial observer. I can say that there's You know new organization that has done more to survey the field when it comes to antisemitism in America than AJC. Here I think in our show notes. We should link to do the antisemitism in America study that. AJC put out recently and listeners All of you can check that out for yourself to understand the state of play. When it comes to antisemitism in America I would say in fact when we met with the Office of Homeland Security it was to introduce them to that survey which they found to be very he useful to them in their work? Supporting the Jewish community in fighting this threat of anti-semitism They gave us a lot of Kudos for the work. We've been doing doing and how useful they're finding it. Let me ask you something of a complex question now. David which is I think many of us notice that this shooting it didn't receive maybe the media attention that we would have expected it to receive an. I can think of two possible reasons why that might be. One is as some people said twenty years ago during the Crown Heights. Riots where similar to Jersey City ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews were the were the victims quote. They're not what our kind of Jews. And so because they don't look like Jerry Seinfeld you know people muster less sympathy when hurried are the are the victims. The other there is Quite frankly that the perpetrators were not the kind of people who prefer to see killing Jews right. Obviously we don't want to see people killing Jews but I think American Jews News in general have a liberal mindset and expect that when Jews are victims white supremacists will be the perpetrators that was not the case here so because of those two complicating locating factors. Perhaps there was a lackluster response. Perhaps lackluster attention. Paid to this incident. Do you think that that's right. Well I think. Certainly there's a piece of this that involves the fact that the ultra-orthodox community can be seen as somewhat insular and so people don't feel as naturally early connected I think that that may be a place. Certainly the fact that we've come to expect violent antisemitism to to come from white supremacists made this incident. Not Fit may be the story that most people have in their heads. I would add another piece from some of the things. Yes I've heard. Many people are wondering if maybe we're becoming a little inured to this following going back to the shootings in Pittsburgh and the fact fact that in Pittsburgh it was eleven people killed in a synagogue during worship following that we had powei which certainly again was in a sanctuary and again felt shattering we had Christ church which hit the Muslim community and some are wondering if maybe we are getting a little the two used to hate crimes and violent hate crimes that involve killings I hope not and I think one of the things that we've we've tried to do since especially through some of the statements we've put out is to make it clear that even one life lost to hate is one life if too many. It's scary to think that this might be the new normal and it's up to us to make sure that no one really feels that way in the aftermath of the shooting and elected member of the Jersey City the School Board Joan Terrell posted on facebook calling Jews living in Jersey City quote brutes spreading the wild conspiracy theory that quote six six. Rabbis were accused of selling body parts and asking. If quote we are brave enough to explore the message that the shooters were trying to send both earful up and governor Murphy have called on her to resign but this raises the larger question. What kind of conclusions should we draw about the state of black Jewish relations in New Jersey? Well first of all let me say that we also condemned her statements and I think her statements drew roof from that well of toxic language that only clauses anti Semitism to thrive She deleted the post but then later double double down by saying she. She meant it so I I would double down by saying she truly does need to resign. There's no place on a board of education especially Saly for someone who would speak that way in terms of the relationship between the black and Jewish community in New Jersey. In general I have to go to my own experience which is very close relationships with leaders from the African American church world from the Muslim world world the variety of relationships that we have both personally and professionally Don't point to an overarching issue. But I do think we have to pay attention to the fact that there are certainly tensions in various of our communities between black and Jewish Members of those communities and in Jersey City. They're certainly from everything I've learned. I don't live there but from everything I've learned There are some underlying tensions between the black and the Jewish community in that area of Jersey. City they're not worthy of the language that was is used. They certainly have no connection from anything. I've heard or anything. I know no connection at all to this incident but perhaps they've opened our eyes to the fact that we do need to redouble our efforts to bring together our communities to work on those issues shoes that are often economic issues that caused deep despair within their community to work on those issues together and to see how our communities can can work together to rebuild our relationships and strengthen them to the mutual benefit of both our peoples. Well that brings me to my last question which is kind. Where do we go from here? You know I saw this morning. That support totaling one point. Five million dollars has been sent to Jews in Jersey City. I assume that they don't need any more money. So what does the community need. How can we at J. C.? Help how can our listeners. Help support the Jewish Community Jersey City. I've been heartened by how much money seems to have been a raised for all of the families of the victims They certainly need and deserve our support. it was wonderful that with the support of the community that Mr Rodriguez who his family's wishes were to bring him back to Ecuador to be buried in his home country that that was able to happen. And this is the Latino man who was killed he worked in the store exactly I was heartened. That are Medical Examiner worked very quickly and expediently to make sure that the Jewish victims could be buried according to Jewish tradition and that there would be no delay in their Barium so a lot of those initial good things have happened. I think the work that needs to happen going forward is is a lot of the relational work that Aj sees been very involved in that other members of the Jewish community. That have been involved in. I have to give a bit of credit to my colleague. Rabbi Leeann Morritt. Who is the rabbi of Beth El Congregation in Jersey City who immediately brought together people for for healing service? Who brought together people for that? Interfaith study session that I that I spoke of and I've been in touch with Liana about how can AJC a c help her in the next steps in the next steps I really think Speak to what we were speaking about before. Certainly healing rifts. May that this may have been brought out in Jersey City community and certainly are as JC doubling down on our efforts to combat anti. He's Semitism in our society making sure that we didn't just do a survey but now we're using the results of that survey which we are to inform federal authorities which was shared with the FBI recently in a briefing to share it with state authorities like we did with Homeland and security to share it with our congressmen and senators. So that as they encourage the use for instance of our definition definition of antisemitism the I.. HR A Definition of Anti Semitism not as a legal tool but as a eh tool so that they can Recognize Anti Semitism and combat and in all its forms. I think we need to be as a community. Very focused on those kinds of efforts right when you get right down to it. There's no one else who's GonNa come in and with a magic wand wad and make antisemitism go no one else is coming to fix this problem at the end of the day. It's up to us. David thank you so much for all of your hard work for JC and for the Jewish people in New Jersey. And thank you for joining us today on people at the pot. Thank you January. Two Thousand Fifteen International Criminal Court announced it would open a preliminary investigation into the situation in Palestine. Five years later that investigation is still ongoing here to explain. Why is Jacob magazine? The Times of Israel settlements correspondent who has been covering this issue for the past ear Jacob. Welcome to people the POD. Hi thanks for having me so the ICC announced it would be examining the Palestinian situation. Those are their words. What is this so-called Palestine situation? Can you define it for us. So they were purposely broad but they asked to look into three specific issues and then left an area open for various other issues. That may come about in the reaction to those issues so the three issues that they said they'd look into broadly. Were the twenty fourteen Gaza the war and then because of looking into the Gaza war. What's they've come to a second subject they now look into as well or these protests that are known as the march of return protests That have started after the trump announcement to move embassy to Jerusalem the half started last March and and the third topic that they look into our Israeli really settlements beyond the Green Line so they include in that East Jerusalem and then obviously in the West Bank as well and those are the three main subjects that are considered to be part of the situation -Tuation in Palestine so now how was this announcement received five years ago both spy Palestinians by Israel so amongst Palestinians. I think be responsible relative. Excitement particularly among supporters of the Palestinian Authority which obviously is kind of shrunk in recent years because is this was seen as the new routes for them to take to kind of get some sort of degree of international legitimacy? The idea of justice is a very important part of the Palestinian narrative. And this part was they believed that through this. They could get some sort of justice for what they consider the knock bonding general establishment of Israel and with peace talks kind of that had fallen apart earlier that in two thousand fourteen under the with the Kerry taxes they were known by Secretary of State. John Kerry This was the new the Palestinians we're taking and the fact that the ICS agreed to open up this investigation. Kinda give Palestinians at least leadership amongst the certain degree of hope In Israel is obviously met with a great degree of trepidation and But also angst and anger amongst the members of the government that spoke out against it but I think if you spoke to foreign ministry officials at the time I think there was still some sort of Wait and see approach to it. Because belief entirely that based on their dealings with the icy and I think some of the members of the might have been reaching out to or Israel been in contact with kind of saying that this is not just going to be an investigation of Israel only but it's also investigation of all what's happening in this situation in Palestine and and that includes Hamas rocket attacks at Israel during the Gaza war and includes various other instances terror attacks instances violence that happened in the situation in Palestine Al Stein and meaning. The Palestinians are opening themselves up to the same types of scrutiny. That Israel is an investigation. And it's not gonna be necessarily one-sided decided so I think there's this kind of process and I think with the update that was given this past week that might paid off this Willingness to wait and see what will happen even so did it seem that the Palestinians thought this was going to be a surefire indictment of Israel. Did they not realize that it was going to be more balanced examination. Yeah I think that you hope at the time was definitely this is going to be something that could work in their favor. The international community in general has been very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and therefore there there was little reason for them to believe I or at least they're understanding at the time was that the I see what act differently. Okay so what did develop most recently. Yeah sure so. A couple of weeks ago there was a an up every year they do. They had prosecutor writes an update on where the status of various preliminary investigations Gatien's that she is looking into complex around the world Obviously some twenty four. Fifteen is the situation in Palestine and she says basically basically that responding to a lot of frustration for tickets amongst Palestinians. Kinda wondering. What's going on with taking so long saying we are wrapping it up which is similar language? What they used before but now it's even a little bit more firm really wrapping up or coming to an end and she talks about the? We are also expressing concern over a number of new issues. That hadn't I've been mentioned before in previous reports. One of the some of them have to do obviously with just developments on the ground And the main thing specifically regarding Israel that was mentioned as this new concerns guarding the possibility of West Bank annexation based on Prime Minister Netanyahu's pre-election or pre election in April pre-election September remember announcements that he plans to annex to them Or specifically now the Jordan Valley So the ICC head prosecutor expresses concern about that and says that they'll be watching watching carefully And then regarding the Palestinians she mentioned concern regarding three issues. Sorry two issues one is the in. PA Allegations by prisoners of the Palestinian Authority of torture by the Palestinian Authority security forces and the other is the payment that the Palestinian Authority makes to security eighty prisoners in Israeli jails that are suspects of terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Okay so those two issues that have not come up before and these reports are now how all of a sudden four years into after starting a reporter all of a sudden A part of it I think this definitely concerned Palestinian Tinian officials in Ramallah. So now. You've been covering this for a year and it was a year ago when the prosecutor said she seemed ready to present her findings as you said. They've said they were wrapping it up before. Is that why you were tapped to focus on this at the end of last year because you thought it was coming to an end I mean there was definitely a feeling that this is wrapping up. I I think they stunned the conversations. I've had it was kind of. They still wanted to interview and more officials is. There's actually been relatively cooperative. In the beginning there was pressure from Israeli uh-huh ministers not to cooperate with the C.. But the Foreign Ministry is actually has been cooperating and various security officials are giving testimony and the idea is to with degree cooperators So I think that the explanation that has been received is that there's been some sort of the really dotting their is probably talking to anyone and everyone relevant and and then before they wanna make some sort of decision I mean if you ask analysts I think some would probably say that. They're a little nervous about the pushback. They might get from both sides to any any sort of report so. I think that they're kind of getting ready for that as well. And wanting to make sure everything's In order before they put a their final the report. What about the hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza fired by both Hamas as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad does that factor into this? It does get in. That is totally in the report that has also been in previous updates that have explained where the the status of the preliminary investigation is over the past four years that has has always been included on my own lunch to new or three if you include the West Bank annexation side in addition to the to Concerns against the PA thought thought were new but the specifically rocket attacks against Israeli civilians are absolutely part of the report. Whether it's to the degree that Israel prefers. It's unclear at this point. Yeah I mean it just seems like the idea of wrapping this up pending no new developments. Seems Bit Ludicrous. Because they're always seemed to be new development could go on forever. Well let me ask you this. The United Nations. We talk a lot about Their bias against Israel twenty-seven resolutions questioning Israel's conduct versus one each questioning the conduct of just several other nations does the ICC have a similar reputation for biased or they kind of expected to conduct a more balanced inquiry as a judicial. Oh Body I would say I think in Israel there's kind of Morphing and the two together. I don't think I think international community I see you. You went kind of all kind of seen as being relatively hostile towards Jewish state and for good reason but I think that there's been a little bit more willingness from Israel to work with the ICC then maybe other UN bodies particularly obviously when you're which is trying to get funded The Palestinian refugees a Agency and I also think that has to do with this slightly more willingness to tour possesses. He might have to do with the experience that the prosecutors have with the Israeli officials they feel like they're somewhat less bias. This also has to do with the fact that I think Netanyahu has kind of been known to be concerned about not very much in terms of international pressure but I think the idea the Idea of soldiers being tried for war crimes to see something that he very much concerned about and I think is worried about which is also why I think that recently. There's there's been pressure or there've been members of the Justice Ministry and the Attorney General's office that have kind of worn tim about the possibility of annexing. The Jordan Valley possibly landing Israel in the ICY So I think those are warnings that I do think you take seriously because it's just it's kind of different playing field than a typical. UN resolution. Yeah so is there an estimated time for win verdict will be rendered if that's the correct term for an ACC decision so no No one in the ICU. We'll give a specific day to their say they're wrapping up then again they said that last year The fact that there's been I think a greater amount of pressure from the Palestinians to wrap it up from what I've heard from Both Israeli and Palestinian officials. They do believe it's in the coming six months but again even if a decision is made to open up an investigation because this is just a preliminary investigation right so then a decision be made. Whether it's they're going to open up a formal investigation. Formal education takes years if not more So it's a very long ahead but officials. I've spoken to believe that this time they think Mexican months could could be wrapping up I do hope. There's a resolution in sight Don't we all Jacob. Thank you so much for breaking this down for us thank you. Thanks for having me now. It's time for our closing segment about table talk and joining us this week at our table. Is Jacob Maggot. The settlements correspondent for the Times of Israel Jacob. When you're talking with your family million friends at your table this weekend what are you gonna be talking about so I was at a funeral area this week unfortunately and what was new for me being at a civilian funeral for the first time was to see how these types of ceremonies are run through the rabbit? And I've noticed this And weddings but this is the first time I've noticed it in a funeral and there are lots of things where I think American Jews can learn from Israel and a lot of my time is growing up in America Ju- where we took things from into various parts of Israeli culture became part of our culture and in America And I kind of leaving the experience of being in a funeral in Israel With something I felt that Israelis Israeli's could gain from American Jews in that. This was a ceremony that was run by a Haredi. Rabbi that had no connection to the family that was being buried married or that was burying their loved one and the ceremony felt very dry but not very personal on because the requirement of that it'd be done by the rabbit and because the family is very secular. They had no personal rabbi that they could turn to carry out the ceremony and I felt a lot of meeting was kind of taken out of it because of that So that was something I I was. I've been telling you about this week and I look forward to sharing it at my about table. Jacob is their freedom to you here in America. There's such a variety of burial rituals and Dan Memorials. I've been to so many different kinds of celebrations of life. Is that same. Freedom exists in Israel Well if you are ordained or to have approval from the rabbit and that is a great deal of orthodox rabbis then then they are given the opportunity to lead the ceremony But from my understanding that this is not not the case if you are possibly practicing conservative and you want some sort of more conservative style or just non Orthodox style burial service that is not necessarily and option that the state can provide Jacob. That sounds like it will be a very thoughtful conversation that you're Chabad table and my condolences. You Seffi what are you going to talk about the number one reason why. Russia is persistently in the news. Here in America is probably due to the ongoing fallout from their meddling in the two thousand sixteen presidential election in support of Donald Trump. Now I haven't done a full scale assessment to prove this but I guess that the number one reason why Russia is persistently in the news in Israel. Real is a very different one and her name is now my Sahar. Now Miami twenty-six-year-old Israeli American who spent many of her formative years living in Fairlawn Fair Lawn New Jersey. which just happens to be the town? I grew up in as well. And we're my parents still live when I go home on Sunday night to celebrate the first night of Conaco go with my family. I'll be thinking of Amar who won't be doing the same because she is locked in a Russian prison cell. In April Amal was finishing Russian up a backpacking trip in India and transiting through Russia on her way back to Israel instead of catching her connecting flight. She was arrested at the airport and forced to sign a confession in Russian language which she does not speak admitting that she was smuggling nine grams of marijuana. China now says that she had no idea how the drugs got in her bag but even so the idea of smuggling nine grams of weed is laughable bowl that is a miniscule amount for this crime now. Amal was sentenced to seven years in prison now behind the scenes. All of this was apparently apparently going down because Israel was preparing to extradite to the US a Russian credit card hacker it had arrested named Alexi Berkow who apparently apparently stole millions of dollars from American citizens Russia wanted to use the Amah as leverage to repatriate the hacker and ensure they a he evaded justice in recent days. Russia has also briefly detained dozens of other Israelis maybe even over one hundred Israelis heading home from Russia as this odd diplomatic spat threatens to spiral out of control as we record this Thursday morning Russian officials shows have just rejected not mas appeal and have determined that she will need to serve the entirety of her term. Hopefully a thought chimerical miracle will come about and she will be able to be safely back home in Israel very shortly. Thank you Seffei. That is definitely a scary situation in Russia and Hopefully if it's not a Hanukkah miracle it'll be a Christmas miracle because seventy and Jacob every conversation in our house. These days revolves around around Christmas and our Shabat Table will be no different. What we're getting so-and-so which decoration project we're going to tackle next which song the kids are singing at the winter concert which I mentioned last week now I can tell from the look in Cepheids I right now what you're thinking Steffi Manja you're Jewish and you work for the American and Jewish Committee that what I did not fully disclosed last week is that I was raised loving Christmas In fact my orthodox Jewish grandfather loved. I love Christmas while he did. More than raise. An eyebrow at the Non Jews married into our family much more than raise an eyebrow even those who did become Jewish. They didn't let go. Oh of Christmas traditions. And my grandfather didn't seem to mind that one bit Christmas was the time of year when everyone no matter what faith they practiced or didn't practice. They traveled doubled from all around to come together. Cook eat exchange presence. Cook eat listening to Carols Cook Eight. Yeah see it was a pretty Jewish affair. My my father who converted to Judaism also loved Christmas and this will be our first without him. He passed away in March and my family will be coming here to celebrate. Which is why I'll be off next week? So the pressure to preserve the Christmas celebration weighs heavily but the pressure to preserve and protect our Jewish traditions without oversee assimilating. That also weighs heavily a specially. Now so I welcome pointers on how to do that. And I loved learning. Recently that many of our favorite carols were written by Jews Rudolph the red nosed reindeer he was a Jew let it snow. Ju- chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Of course a Jew would sing about a delicious delicacy at Christmas. Cue The music please. Outside is frightful. The police do do those. So when Hanukkah's starts Sunday night we will like the MINORA's and exchange presence and guilt I have already placed an order. A dozen donuts SUF- Gannett from one of the more heralded Kosher Bakeries in North New Jersey. It's in your hometown. Steffi of course and and we will sing carols composed by Jews with maybe a few rounds of drill drill mixed in for good measure. We'll do that every night including on Christmas Eve when we remember my father entering the room. I'm in a white beard and a red suit bellowing Jojo and all of the other many traditions. We've enjoyed over the years to celebrate our family so saffy Jacob listeners. Happy Hannukah Annika. Merry Christmas festivus. Whatever you celebrate and Chabad Shalom shoe? Bochum run about China you. 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