Suddenly, Human Rights Watch Discovers Anti-Semitism

Decades ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW)—and its predecessor, Helsinki Watch—concerned itself with the fate of Jewish dissidents being terrorized by the Soviet government. But those days are long gone, and the organization now fixates on finding imaginary sins for which to condemn Israel, while ignoring anti-Semitism—unless, of course, it can be traced to the far right. Ben Cohen writes:

When it has come to such matters as boycotting Israel or left-wing agitation against Jews in the guise of “Zionists,” or the persistence of crudely anti-Semitic beliefs among Europe’s Muslim communities, [HRW] has invariably dismissed Jewish concerns about anti-Semitism by holding up the banner of “free speech” or by suggesting—as its director Ken Roth did in 2014—that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is the reason why Jews on the continent keep getting insulted, spat at, beaten up, and even kidnapped and murdered.

But when members of the German extreme right gathered to protest coronavirus-related restrictions, wearing yellow stars and carrying banners with anti-Semitic slogans, an HRW representative jumped at the chance to lament this “sad reminder” of the persistent hatred of the Jews. As Cohen notes,

there have been plenty of “sad reminders” of the stubbornness of anti-Semitism before the coronavirus came along. The problem for HRW, perhaps, is that those earlier episodes did not emanate from the right. Take France, where eleven Jews have been murdered by anti-Semitic terror or brutal violence since 2006—not a single one of them at the hands of far-right thugs. Because the killers in all these instances came from immigrant backgrounds, HRW has always felt uneasy addressing this particular form of anti-Semitic violence, and simultaneously reassured in the mistaken belief that once the Israeli “occupation” ends, then Muslim anti-Semitism will disappear as well.

[W]hile HRW understands that anti-Semitism is a core element of the extreme right’s worldview, it sees its appearance in other contexts as a marginal aberration.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, French Jewry, Germany, Human Rights Watch

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism