inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Families Plead for Help to Release Israeli Hostages Held by Hamas

Families of the Israeli hostages who were kidnapped during the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack continue to advocate for their loved ones’ release. Recently, two of them spoke to about 50 people at Main Line Reform Temple, asking the audience to pressure their elected officials for help.

Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 people, raped women, and abducted 251 people, including five Americans, according to Israeli officials. More than 100 were released during a temporary ceasefire and prisoner swap in December. The Israeli military rescued four hostages last month, but a senior Hamas official told CNN that no one knows how many hostages remain alive.

Moshe Lavi showed a video of his 3-year-old niece, Roni, kissing a picture of her father, Omri Miran. Hamas terrorists kidnapped Miran from kibbutz Nahal Oz. Roni asks her mother, “’Why do you keep traveling, and you don’t bring my father back?’ The younger one, Alma, now 1, one of her first words was ‘Daddy.’”

Lavi, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said, “I was in a nightclub in Brooklyn, listening to music. I started getting notifications of rocket launches. Because I grew up in Sderot, I didn’t deem it important enough. It was normal for us…About 20 minutes after, it was clear it was different. Videos were emerging from my town, Sderot, of people in pick-up trucks shooting civilians.”

“My family texted me,” he said. He asked his family to keep him in the loop. But his sister, Lishay Lavi, stopped reporting in, and he assumed her cell phone battery died.

The terrorists invaded kibbutz Nahal Oz, “choosing who to kill, choosing who to skip, choosing who to hold captive for hours in their homes and eventually kidnap. There was no rationale for who was chosen. To be honest, if the terrorists were more efficient, they would have killed hundreds more.”

The “terrorists came to (his sister’s) home, using a teenage boy from the kibbutz to get them to open their door for them by asking for help,” he said. The terrorists later executed the boy.

“They were held captive. It was livestreamed on Facebook.  And yet there are people who deny all this happened,” said Lavi.  When the terrorists took his brother-in-law, Roni tried to run to her dad, but her mother prevented her.

“My sister told him she loved him, that she would take care of the girls and not be a hero. That was the last time she saw him,” said Lavi.

Hamas released a propaganda video of Miran in April.

“He doesn’t look well, but it gives us hope we can bring him home alive,” said

A Bala Cynwyd resident,  Senderowitsch and her family are initially from Argentina, where they met Iair Horn. He was 16, and she was 8. Her parents worked with troubled kids, she said.

“He made Aliyah shortly after we went back to Israel.He would come to our house on break, for holidays. We were his family,” she said.

Senderowitsch was about to have her bat mitzvah in the kibbutz where her family lived in the Golan Heights, but she was sad that Horn would not be able to come. But her parents sent her to the bus station on the day of the ceremony.

“He was going through a rough time,” she said. “He’s usually a happy jokester. I didn’t know what depression was. I just wanted my big brother to be there.”

“I see Iair getting off the bus,” she said. “He came off the bus with a gigantic stuffed animal. He showed up there. He didn’t look good. I remember being concerned. But I was so happy. He was at the lowest of the low, and he took that time to make a 12-year-old girl happy.”

Eitan Horn, Iair’s brother, also made Aliyah and was a youth counselor.

“On Oct. 7, the missiles were raining down at kibbutz Mir Oz.  Eitan (was visiting) Iair for the holidays…They go into their safe room. It’s insane. Everybody (there) has one.”

“We didn’t even know if they had been kidnapped for a long time,” she said. “When the second round of hostages was released in November, we found out they were in the tunnels…Everybody was being held in brutal conditions. We haven’t heard anything else.”

Lavi is often at the United Nations to plead for the hostages’ freedom.

“We’ve been advocating everywhere we can. In Israel. In the U.S. I know the Capitol here too well. We’re doing all we can,” he said. “We’re speaking to whoever is willing to listen.”

Senderwitsch and Lavi implored Americans to lobby for a peace deal.

“A deal is the only way to bring home the hostages,” said Lavi. “We need that pressure from the American Jewish diaspora on our politicians, as well.”

“I don’t need your sympathy. I’m sick of hugs. I need you to keep supporting communities and the families who were destroyed. You wake up in the morning, and instead of going to Starbucks and pay, for some reason, $7 for your coffee, just donate it.  That’s a piece of clothing for my niece. That’s a meal for someone else.”

“We give speeches. We try to advocate everywhere we can,” he said. “Use your voices as citizens in a democratic country. You can call your elected officials every day…up to the White House…Tell your friends, tell your colleagues.”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

 

 

About 100 Attend Doylestown Rally for Israel

Around 100 people rallied for Israel outside the courthouse in Doylestown Sunday, many waving Israeli and American flags.

Ellen Cox, with the Doylestown Republican Club, was one of the organizers and spoke to the crowd.

“There are thousands of children in Israel who lost their mothers and countless mothers who’re waiting for their children to come home,” said Cox, acknowledging that it was Mother’s Day. “This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we will not be silenced.” Both Jews and Christians are “under attack,” she said.  Just under the surface, there is “horrific antisemitism.”

“The latest trend is in college campuses all over the United States,” she said. “Jewish kids are afraid to attend classes.” Those who are protesting for Palestinians “are cowards who are hitting soft targets of colleges and graduations. They’re so brave. I think we should send them to fight in Gaza. Guess what? No green pup tents. No organic and vegan food and no Wi-fi. They are cowards.”

“It’s now here in CBSD [Central Bucks School District],” she said. “We condemn it. It is not OK.” Jewish people “are our friends, our coworkers.”

 

“We need to stand with them or we—you—will be next. We don’t want our Jewish family and friends and neighbors to feel scared and alone,” said Cox.

She read from a 1790 letter George Washington sent to the Jewish congregation in Newport, R.I., telling its members they were welcome in the newly-founded nation.

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants,” Washington wrote. “While everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree.”

Rabbi Mendel Prus, director of Chabad of Doylestown, thanked the group for coming to support Israel. Israel contributes technology “to make the world a better place,” he said. “And a more peaceful place.” It’s contributed military advances to the U.S. and intelligence to “make the world a safer place.”

He then spoke of the Biblical history of the Jews in Israel from the time of Abraham.

Richard Tems said, “I am a Jew. I am an American. I am an Army veteran. I am the son of Holocaust survivors. We will not bend. We will not surrender. We will not comply.”

He noted that all the Jews left Gaza nearly two decades ago and billions [of dollars] poured in to help the inhabitants make “an idyllic homeland.” The residents voted in Hamas to lead them and Hamas spent the money on miles of underground tunnels and “thousands of rockets to fire into Israel” and mansions in Qatar for Hamas leaders.

On Oct. 7, Hamas invaded Israel and attacked farming communes and a music festival near the border. They raped, tortured, mutilated and incinerated  thousands defenseless men, women, children and small infants.”

Tems said, “[President] Biden, on the day he delivered a speech to remember the Holocaust, cut off military supplies to Israel. He told Israel he forbade them to secure the final Hamas stronghold in Rafah.”

Cox introduced Steve Mekanik, who is running for state representaive in District 29.

“It’s not about me today. It’s about Israel. We’re here for the support of Israel,” Mekanik told DVJournal.

Huntingdon Valley resident Monique Hofkin attended the rally because she is concerned about antisemitism at colleges and also in schools.  She noted the U.S. Department of Education is investigating Central Bucks for antisemitism. And there was also a teacher at Baldi Middle School in northeast Philadelphia, who crossed Israel off a list of countries and substituted Palestine.  There’s “systemic antisemitism [in the schools] and we aren’t going to allow it to continue,” she said.

Mara Witsen was wearing a sweatshirt with the images of the hostages Hamas is holding.  The five American hostages are Keith Sieel, Omer Neutra, Sagui Dekel-Chen, Dan Alexander, and Hersh Goldberg-Polin.

Jack Potok of Warrington noted that while the pro-Israel group carried both American and Israeli flags, “where on campus have you seen an American flag, except being burned on the ground? They’re not just anti-Israel, they’re anti-West.”

The Israeli army is the only army in the world that tells civilians to leave before it attacks, warning civilians with flyers, phone calls, and knock-knock (warnings) on their roofs,” he said.

Philadelphia resident Malcolm Ratson added that historically, armies kill 30 civilians to one soldier. The IDF has a 1 to 1 ratio in Gaza. “That’s how stringent the Israelis are,” he said.

A small group of pro-Palestinian counter-protesters came as the pro-Israel rally was winding down, and stood in a traffic island across from the pro-Israel rally and began chanting slogans: “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

People at the pro-Israel rally began singing “Am Israel Chai,” dancing and  chanting “Free Palestine from Hamas,” and “Islamist terror will not be a threat to our democracy.”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Police Take Down Pro-Palestinian Encampment at Penn

In the early morning on Friday, police in riot gear showed up on the University of Pennsylvania campus, gave pro-Palestinian protesters two minutes to leave their tent encampment, then began making arrests.

University officials had asked protesters to leave for days as pressure from students, alums, professors, and others in the Penn community grew. Last week, more than 3,000 people signed a petition asking Penn officials to remove the protesters.

On Thursday, Gov. Josh Shapiro, who had served as state attorney general before running for governor, spoke out strongly against the protest.

He called the encampment “unstable” and “untenable.”

“It is past time for the university to act to address this, to disband the encampment,” said Shapiro. “And to restore order and safety on campus. Universities need to work with their own police departments or within the framework of their local police departments in order to make sure students are safe on campus.”

Shapiro’s remarks apparently gave Penn officials the impetus they needed after more than two weeks to move in and break up the encampment.

The protestors demanded information on the university’s investments and that it divest from any companies doing business with Israel.

For about two weeks, Bala Cynwyd resident Beth Samberg and friends have been going to the encampment at 4 a.m. with air horns to wake up the protesters.  There is an encampment at her son’s university, but it is too far away for her to try to intervene, so she’s been going to Penn.

Samberg, who is “proudly Jewish,” said her son, 19, feels threatened by the pro-Palestinian protesters. “We brought him home a week early because of the encampment,” she said. “The [university] administration would not guarantee the safety of the Jewish kids.”

“I am not there to engage or escalate,” said Samberg about her early morning visits to the former Penn encampment. “I am only there to irritate.”

Now that the encampment is cleared, Samberg fears the protesters will return to Penn since she doesn’t have any confidence that progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will charge them. But if they do, she will continue to wake them up at 4 a.m.

“And at the encampment itself, there were more non-Penn affiliated individuals than Penn students, she added.

A spokesperson for Krasner said his office is not involved.

“They were given Civil Violation Notices (CVNs) by Philly police and released,” said Krasner spokesman Dustin Slaughter.

Penn’s interim president, J. Larry Jameson, issued this statement, which says in part, “This decision is viewpoint neutral and affirmed by our policies. There are times when our abiding commitment to open expression requires balancing free speech with our responsibility to safety, security, and continuing the operations of the University. This is one of those times and why we have acted. Open expression and peaceful protest are welcome on our campus, but vandalism, trespassing, disruption, and threatening language and actions are not.”

The Jewish Federation of Philadelphia issued a statement saying it “commends the University of Pennsylvania for taking decisive action to disband the pro-Palestinian encampment on University of Pennsylvania’s campus this morning. While free speech and critical thinking are essential tenets both on and off college campuses, it had become increasingly clear over the past two weeks that the encampment fostered an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment, particularly towards Jews on campus.

“At a time when antisemitism is at an all-time high, institutions of higher education have a responsibility to ensure that the safety and well-being of Jewish students and faculty is protected. We thank Governor Shapiro, Mayor Parker, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the University of Pennsylvania Police Department for their help in resolving this issue so campus safety and inclusion can be prioritized.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) told Fox News anti-Israel activists should protest Hamas instead.

“It’s actually working against peace in Gaza, and Hamas is convinced that they’ve won the PR war and they keep seeing all these kinds of protests across the nation on these campuses. And it’s not helpful, but it’s actually — it works against peace, I think,” Fetterman said.

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

Casey’s Republican opponent Dave McCormick, who told DVJournal that he opposed the university encampments, posted to social media Friday, “Good. The encampment should have been disbanded weeks ago.”

The Philadelphia Antidefamation League posted to X, “Now is the time for policy breakers to be held accountable. As we’ve said, we support and defend free speech; but free speech is not a free license to violate time, place and manner restrictions, harass peers, interfere with the education rights of other students on campus.”

Manuel Bonder, a spokesman for Shapiro, told DVJournal, “As Gov. Shapiro has made clear multiple times, all Pennsylvanians have a right to peacefully protest and make their voices heard. The governor has also made clear that universities have a legal responsibility to keep their students safe and free from discrimination.

“Unfortunately, the situation at Penn reached an untenable point – and as the university stated publicly, the encampment was in violation of university policy, campus was being disrupted, and threatening, discriminatory speech and behavior were increasing. After Penn’s weeks-long efforts to engage protestors were met with further escalation, today, the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership made the right decision to dismantle the encampment.

“We thank the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, and University of Pennsylvania Police Department for their professional work to resolve the situation quickly and peacefully,” Bonder added.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Point: Protesters Are Adamant — Eliminate Israel

(For a different point of view see: Counterpoint: Students’ Struggle for Justice in Gaza Must be Protected at All Costs)

The protesters taking over college campuses are not antisemitic, so we’re told, they want to destroy the only Jewish state. They just want all of the Jews to go  … somewhere else. They chant for the creation of Palestine from the river to the sea, an explicit call for the end of Israel.

Would Jews be welcome in the Palestinian state? Consider the only Jews in Gaza are Israeli soldiers trying to free Israeli captives.

They’re not antisemitic; they just have an affinity for all the organizations that have spent decades explicitly calling for the murder of Jews and carrying out those crimes whenever possible. They proudly wear headbands of Hamas and fly Hezbollah flags, and, yet we still pretend not to know who they are and what they want. They are terrorist wannabes at best, and they want what all Islamic extremists want: dead Jews.

For the Daily Wire last week, Kassy Akiva reported, “One of the most vocal student activists leading the anti-Israel Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University, Khymani James, openly stated in a livestream of an official university inquiry in January that ‘Zionists don’t deserve to live.’” Only because of the following uproar did Columbia take action, booting James from the university.

And yet, the day after Akiva’s report was published, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the encampment during a visit, gushing, “The leadership you have is just so fantastic.”

Ocasio-Cortez, a founding member of the Squad, a group of legislators with a long problematic history of antisemitism themselves, isn’t the only one wholeheartedly supporting the protests. Rep. Ilhan Omar joined the protests after her daughter was suspended for her involvement and called some Jewish students “pro-genocide,” drawing a deserved rebuke from the Anti-Defimation League.

The protests aren’t just in response to how Israel has handled its operations in Gaza. Their love of terror was immediately evident before Israel launched its response to the attacks of October 7. It’s not about what Israel has done or what they have alleged it has done. It’s that the Jewish state dares to exist. The Jerusalem Post reported in October, before any Gaza operation began:

“A tenured professor at New York’s Columbia University authored an article praising Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians last Saturday, less than a day after the attacks took place. What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world?” asked Joseph Massad, who has taught Modern Arab Politics at Columbia since 1999, in his article for the website Electronic Intifada. “Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance.”

The protests taking over America’s college campuses can’t be more explicit. And their love for terror organizations is reciprocated. Sami Al-Arian, convicted financier of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, tweeted his support of his wife, Nahla, who had set up camp at Columbia’s encampment. She knows who her friends are.

In an email recently, Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, told the campus community that the pro-Hamas camp and the environment on campus have become intolerable to Jewish students and others. Many Jewish students, at the behest of their rabbi who sent a WhatsApp message to observant students on campus, have already fled. Shafik went on to explain that antisemitic language and actions, not to mention calls for violence, have no place on campus.

This had to be said because this is the environment that these protests have created. They are antisemitic at their core, and they need to be dismantled immediately.

These protests and encampments have shown that there is a large and growing fifth column of terrorist sympathizers in our most elite institutions from coast to coast.

Counterpoint: Students’ Struggle for Justice in Gaza Must be Protected at All Costs

(For an alternative viewpoint see: Point: Protesters Are Adamant–Eliminate Israel)

University campuses nationwide have long been the focus of political debates and battles in the form of protests and demonstrations. In recent weeks, students galvanized by their consciences have been leading an anti-war movement that our nation hasn’t seen the likes of in decades, and it is spreading like wildfire. At last count, at least 100 Gaza solidarity encampments have been launched at colleges and universities.

These students are setting up tents, staging sit-ins, and raising their voices in solidarity with the people of Gaza. But their courageous actions are about more than protesting the war. They’re about demanding justice, challenging authority, and reshaping and normalizing the conversation around one of the most pressing issues of our time — freedom and liberation for Palestine.

The urgency of this moment is spurred by the reality that for more than 200 days, they, along with the rest of the world, have witnessed the Israeli government’s brutal massacring of at least 34,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including more than 14,000 children.

On April 30, Haaretz reported that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is a member of the security cabinet, called for the “total annihilation” of Rafah and other areas of Gaza. He said: “There are no half measures. (The Gazan cities of) Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat — total annihilation. ‘You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

This genocide is being waged with American students’ tax and tuition dollars. A growing number of them recognize they have a moral obligation to mobilize swiftly against the Israeli government’s violent, catastrophic rampage bolstered by the Biden administration and Congress.

These students feel compelled to act, knowing it’s wrong for their colleges and universities to invest their tuition funds into weapons manufacturing companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, enabling these institutions to profit off Israel’s military campaigns against Palestinians.

They’ve done their homework, and they know that many universities, such as Yale, aren’t obligated to disclose most of their investable assets in SEC filings, and their investment portfolios are often not publicly accessible. This lack of transparency means there’s no way of knowing the actual dollar amount their institutions are investing in these companies.

That’s why two of the critical demands of many student protesters launching encampments, such as at Johns Hopkins University, is that their universities disclose financials and divest from weapons manufacturing companies.

Student activists courageously leading the charge to demand justice, transparency and accountability are risking their safety, freedom, education, future, and even lives. They deserve our gratitude, attention and support. Instead, as one student put it, “We’re often met with tear gas, threats and intimidation.”

According to sources, more than 1,200 people have been arrested in college protests. That number has risen as New York officers stormed Columbia University and arrested dozens more people Tuesday.

To understand the significance of what’s happening on campuses today, we must first look back at history. In 1970, during the Vietnam War, the world was shaken by the events at Kent State University. Students protesting the war were met with violence, and four students were tragically killed by the National Guard. The Kent State shootings became a symbol of the struggle for justice and a rallying cry for those who refused to accept the status quo.

Today, the parallels between Kent State and the Gaza solidarity encampments are impossible to ignore. Just as the students at Kent State were protesting the violence of war, today’s students are protesting Israel’s decades-long violence and oppression of the Gazan people. They are demanding an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, lifting the siege on Gaza, and an end to violations of Palestinian human rights. Like the students at Kent State, they are too often facing criticism, pushback and violence for daring to speak out.

Despite their challenges, these students are determined to make their voices heard. As one student organizer said, “The violence I’m risking here can’t compare to the violence Hind Rajab experienced there.”

They acknowledge that they’re protesting on their campuses while there are no universities remaining in Gaza. They recognize that silence in the face of oppression and genocide is not an option. They believe in the power of collective action and the importance of standing up for what is right. And they’re willing to do what many others lack the courage or conviction or willpower to do: risk sacrificing to fight for a better world.

The significance of the current campus activism represents an unequivocal rejection of the politics of fear and division. It’s a reminder of what’s possible when people unite and organize.

Perhaps most important, it’s a testament to the power of young people, proving they can shape the course of history and to create real change. They are a reminder that the future belongs to those who are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

These students are on the right side of history. They inspire hope. They deserve our advocacy and solidarity. Please support their efforts, amplify their voices, and join them in the fight for a better world.

Are Soros-Funded Campus Protest Groups Colluding with Progressive Prosecutors?

(This article first appeared in Broad + Liberty.)

Many locations where organizations linked to George Soros have funded a national wave of anti-Israel protests on college campuses which directly correlate to prosecutors whose elections were also funded by Soros. This week, Philadelphia joined this unfortunate group with encampments appearing at the University of Pennsylvania.

Soros-funded prosecutors have dropped or refused charges against protesters who have been arrested for a myriad of offenses related to the antisemitic occupations on American college campuses. The correlation in funding between groups committing intimidation, harassment, and assaults toward Jews and the elected law enforcement officials refusing to prosecute them raises uncomfortable questions of conflict and corruption.

As noted in a new report from New York Post, the National Students for Justice for Palestine organization is funded by a number of nonprofits that themselves are funded by Soros and others. At three colleges, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), a Soros-funded group, pays “fellows” who start protests on campus. The Post reports that the USCPR pays up to $7,800 to community-based fellows and between $2,880 and $3,660 for campus-based “fellows” who are expected to spend eight hours per week organizing “campaigns led by Palestinian organizations,” and are trained to “rise up, to revolution.”

Since 2017, the USCPR has received at least $300,000 from Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The group has also received $355,000 in funds from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund since 2019.

 

Picture courtesy @LELDF on X

 

Coincidentally, the United States has 70 prosecutors in office whose elections were funded by Soros-established nonprofit groups, down from 82 after twelve left office in 2022. A map from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund shows the prosecutors scattered across the country. This includes Travis County Attorney Delia Garza, who dismissed all 57 cases resulting from arrests at unlawful Anti-Israel protests at the University of Texas at Austin last week. In a Texas Tribune report, Garza said that “law enforcement lacked probable cause in the 57 cases she dismissed.”

“Legal concerns were raised by defense counsel,” Diana Melendez, a spokesperson for the Travis County Attorney’s Office, said in a Thursday statement. “The Court affirmed and ordered the release of those individuals.”

Garza, Austin’s Soros-funded prosecutor’s contention that the 57 arrests brought to her office by Texas State Troopers, Austin, and UT Police officers directly contradicts the evidence broadcasted in multiple videos broadcasted in social and news media outlets. The arrests occurred during a chaotic demonstration at UT-Austin, where more than 500 students walked out of class to demand that the university divest from manufacturers supplying Israel weapons on its strikes on Gaza.

In a statement to KXAN, a UT spokesperson said that 26 of the arrestees were unaffiliated with the university, which would automatically result in trespassing charges once the protesters refused to leave when ordered by UT police.

Former President of the University of Texas Students for Justice in Palestine, Nidaa Lafi, a fellow for the USCPR was spotted at an anti-Israel encampment Wednesday at the University of Texas at Dallas giving a speech and demanding Israel end its war in Gaza. Lafi was detained in January for blocking the road where President Biden’s motorcade was set to travel for the funeral of the late Democratic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, whom she used to work for.

Arrests were also made on the campuses of USC and UCLA in Los Angeles, where Soros-funded George Gascon serves as the District Attorney.

The center of these unlawful protests is at Columbia University, in Manhattan where Soros-funded Alvin Bragg serves as District Attorney. Over 100 arrests have been made by the NYPD resulting from the Columbia protests, but all have since been released. The Columbia encampment was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Within Our Lifetime. According to an analysis by the Post, all three of the organizations received money from groups Soros is linked to.

Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the same group responsible for setting up and funding Political Action Committees to fund progressive prosecutors, has given in total over $20 million to the progressive nonprofit the Tides Foundation, which has given money to groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace. As Campus Reform has reported, the Open Society Foundation has given $650,000 to Jewish Voice for Peace, which cited “Israeli apartheid and occupation” as “the source of all this violence.”

A spokesperson for the Open Society Foundation told the New York Post: “Open Society has funded a broad spectrum of US groups that have advocated for the rights of Palestinians and Israelis and for peaceful resolution to the conflict in Israel and the OPT,” the spokesperson said. “This funding is a matter of public record, disclosed on our website, fully compliant with US laws, and is part of our commitment to continuing open debate that is ultimately the only hope for peace in the region.”

If criminal groups and the prosecutors responsible for charging them share funding sources, does that constitute corruption or a clear conflict of interest?

Furthermore, questions can be raised about a two-tiered criminal justice system, especially in light of the Special CounselArizona, and Georgia election interference cases against President Donald Trump and his associates, where tenuous racketeering and conspiracy charges are levied even many years after  the alleged crimes were committed.

“The conflict issue requires an analysis of the closeness of the relationship,” said former federal prosecutor and Chester County DA Thomas Hogan. “I never recused myself from prosecuting an official from my own political party, having prosecuted the close friend of my own campaign finance director. Of course, since I was prosecuting, not declining to prosecute, the dynamics were different.”

Opining on the apparent absence of an investigation or prosecution at a federal level, Hogan continued, “You might think of it as trying to figure out if the DA should recuse themselves [for example], if the child of a major donor is charged with a crime.”

Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine Protesters Face Off at UPenn Sunday

One side chanted, “Rape is not resistance.” The other side responded, “Intifada, the revolution.”

And with that, the debate over U.S. support for Israel and the Jewish nation’s right to exist was laid out on the University of Pennsylvania campus Sunday.

The anti-Israel protests there began Thursday, complete with tents similar to those used by pro-Palestine activists from Cambridge, Mass., to the University of Southern California. In the Delaware Valley, protest encampments have reportedly sprouted at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges.

On Friday, UPenn’s interim university President Larry Jameson, told protesters to pack up their tents and leave. The administration also told organizations planning a provocative Passover seder as part of their anti-Israel protest not to hold the event.

But on Sunday, the tents were still up, and the seder went on as planned as the Palestinian activists continued to ignore the administration and disrupt the campus.

In his statement Friday, Jameson took a tough line, declaring that while the university supports peaceful protest, “the encampment itself violates the university’s facilities policies. The harassing and intimidating comments and actions by some of the protesters, which were reported and documented by many in our community, violate Penn’s open expression guidelines and state and federal law, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. All members of our community deserve to access our facilities without fear of harassment or being subjected to discriminatory comments or threats.”

“We will not allow any actions that harass, threaten, or intimidate others,” Jameson added. “We have also said that the safety of our community is paramount, and we will live up to our commitment.”

That commitment remained unfulfilled late Sunday night as the protest continued.

Sunday afternoon, a group of 200 or so supporters of Israel, led by medical school professor Benjamin Abella, gathered in front of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

(CREDIT: Professor Benjamin Abella via Twitter)

“We hereby implore the university to take action,” Abella said. “Words are not enough.” Among the signs they waved were “No Hamas, No KKK.”

A group of pro-Israel supporters marched toward the pro-Palestine encampment as campus cops looked on. That was when they exchanged chants.

Eyal Yakoby, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who testified before Congress about the recent wave of antisemitism, believes the university is ignoring the protesters’ threats of violence.

“While people dismiss the violent nature of these protests, chanting globalize the intifada literally is a call to violence. A university’s core mission is to educate students. When protests are blasting air horns in the middle of the school day, how are students supposed to focus? Penn, along with other universities, needs to decide whether their mission is to educate or to be ground-zero for violent protests.”

Andrew Goretsky, the Philadelphia Regional Director of the Antidefamation League, said, “What we are seeing at Penn and on campuses across the country are not peaceful protests. They are efforts to harass, intimidate, and interfere with the operation of the university — depriving students of their education. The Penn administration needs to make it abundantly clear that anyone interfering with classes or harassing or threatening students will be subject to campus discipline or, where appropriate, face legal consequences.”

Police had arrested nearly 900 pro-Palestinian protesters at campuses across the U.S. as of Sunday evening. The disorder has become so problematic that the University of Southern California (USC) has canceled its graduation ceremony.

Jamie Walker, a Jewish parent from Bucks County, said, “It’s absolutely terrifying that these protests are happening at these universities. As a Jewish parent, I am scared to send my kids to college. It’s blatant antisemitism taking place. All of these young adults are actively supporting terrorist organizations. They are overwhelmingly uninformed about the groups they are supporting.”

“It’s scary to think that universities in Pennsylvania are allowing this to occur,” said Walker. “What’s even scarier is these young adults are the future leaders of America. Colleges need to rethink their curriculum. They are failing society.”

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate and Republican Dave McCormick decried the campus protests at a campaign event Thursday.

“How can it be that our children on the best campuses at the best colleges in our country don’t understand the difference between right and wrong? Can’t see the difference between good and evil? How can that be? And then you watch those three college presidents testify? And you say, ‘Oh, that’s how it happened.’ The lack of leadership. The lack of moral clarity.”

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) did not reply when asked to comment.

However, some Philadelphia Democrats are defending the protesters.

State Reps. Tarik Khan, Rick Krajewski, and Chris Rabb joined Philadelphia state Sen. Nikil Saval and city councilors Kendra Brooks, Nicolas O’Rourke, Jamie Gauthier and other activists issued a statement  saying they support the “peaceful protest.”

“We are grateful for the students’ leadership and urge our universities and our city to hear their call,” they said.

Critics of the campus protests and their antisemitic and anti-American messaging say the issue is bigger than the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Noting that a communist newspaper was distributed at the Penn protest and protesters carried a hammer and sickle communist flag, Yakoby tweeted, “This is what was distributed at the UPenn demonstration today. This is not just a Jewish problem. It is an American problem, a freedom problem.”

 

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

 

 

DelVal’s Dean Signs Letter Urging Biden to Cut Off Military Aid to Israel

Montgomery County Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean joined some of the loudest anti-Israel voices in Congress in a public letter urging President Joe Biden to cut off U.S. military support to Israel in the midst of a war with the terror group Hamas.

The April 5 letter was signed by 40 Democrats, including prominent pro-Palestine progressives like Reps. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

The letter, also signed by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), mentions the accidental Israeli strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers.

“If this strike is found to have violated U.S. or international law, we urge you to continue withholding these transfers until those responsible are held accountable. We also urge you to withhold these transfers if Israel fails to sufficiently mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza, including aid workers, and if it fails to facilitate – or arbitrarily denies or restricts – the transport and delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the letter states.

It’s not the first controversial Democratic letter targeting Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) drew heat in November when she signed a controversial letter calling for a ceasefire and condemning Israel’s military and accusing it of “grave violations against children.” The letter was penned by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), among other Democrats, and did not call for the release of Israeli hostages, who include women, children, the elderly, and Americans. After hearing from constituents with a hostage family member, Scanlon then condemned Hamas and called for the hostages’ release.

Calling for an end of military aid to Israel, one of America’s closest allies is the latest sign that the Democratic Party is abandoning its longtime history of supporting the Jewish nation.

The day before the letter was signed, Biden announced Israel must submit “without delay” to an “immediate ceasefire” with Hamas, even as the terror group holds more than 100 hostages and continues to attack Israel. And, Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, Israel is at risk of becoming indistinguishable from Hamas if it continues to fight in Gaza.

It’s language American presidential administrations of the past would never have used. But many Democrats agree, including here in Pennsylvania.

While Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) did not sign the April 5 letter, she’s called for a ceasefire in the war between Hamas terrorists and Israel, changing her initial support for the Jewish nation.

“I’ve long been calling for a negotiated, mutual ceasefire. But the urgency of getting the remaining hostages home, and getting aid to Palestinian civilians, makes it essential that a halt to this war happen now,” Wild posted on X.

Another Delaware Valley Democrat, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, issued a press release saying she supports “Israel’s right to protect its citizens and sovereignty against the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.” However, since the airstrike that killed the aid workers, she said she was “outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of more than 30,000 people in Israel and Gaza since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 and was shocked to read about the Israeli airstrike in Gaza that claimed the lives of seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen. My heart is with the families and loved ones of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence; indeed, my heart remains with each and every family and loved one who has been affected since Oct. 7.” She demanded that Israel “can and must do better.” But one Pennsylvania Democrat who continues to call out Hamas’ terrorism and defend Israel is Sen. John Fetterman (D).

“In this war against Hamas—no conditions for Israel,” Fetterman posted on X. And instead of blaming Israel for civilian deaths, Fetterman pointed out it is Hamas that launched the war and used innocents as human shields.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking… it’s a war, and it’s absolutely terrible,” Fetterman said. “What is going on? Hamas is hiding behind civilians. Israel has the right to defend themselves and destroy Hamas.”

 

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Outpouring of Support for Main Line Synagogue Hit By Antisemitic Vandalism

What began as two acts of antisemitic vandalism led to a supportive community gathering at Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El in Wynnewood Monday evening.

About 1,000 people, some carrying Israeli flags or “United against Antisemitism” signs, packed the sanctuary and overflowed into a nearby room.

“We are not worried that bad things are going to happen,” said Rabbi Ethan Witkovsky. “Our biggest concern is that bad things are going to happen and that no one else will care. As we look around at this room, we know that is not the case.”

Christian and Muslim clergy came to support the Jewish congregation, as well as elected officials.

“We truly live our motto of ‘Our house, your home,’” said TBHBE President Josh Kohn. Since he got a phone call telling him about the swastika painted on their sign, he’s had dozens of phone calls. “We’ve all experienced a wide range of emotions. Many of us are angry. Many of us are sad. Many are confused and frustrated at the kind of world we live in…Many of us are scared, as well, worried that minor physical damage could lead to much more.”

On a recent visit to Israel, he discovered that the Israelis he talked to were optimistic. One survivor of the brutal Hamas Oct. 7 attack told him, “We will dance again.”

The synagogue hosted the Overbrook Presbyterian Church in the wake of a fire and the pastor, the Rev. Adam Hearlson, spoke.

“We are here as neighbors, as people bound by the common commandment to love your neighbor…We stand with you in this time,” he said.  “We have a common cause of peace and love and joy, to sing together, to live together.”

Witkovsky said the swastika was meant to “make us afraid.”

“The swastika may have been painted on our property, but it hurts the entire community. It hurts to see the symbol, which, for many of us, has existed only on old photos from a horrible time…We worry, maybe those times are upon us again,” said Witkovsky.  There is a feeling “in the pit of our stomachs” that “something is happening to the Jewish people in our country.”

“Antisemitic acts have been increasing across our country for years. We worry we’re no longer welcome in this land,” he said. But after two generations “of the most peace and prosperity our people have known anywhere, we worry that this swastika, sprayed on a banner, means we’re doomed to go back to a world of swastikas again.”

“We can’t allow the terrible thing this stands for back into our world,” said Witkovsky. But the world is now different from that of “those grainy photographs.” Jews no longer fear the government, and “non-Jews around us have reached out,” he said.

He urged the audience to “fight hatred in all of its forms wherever it’s found.”

“Know you have an ally in us, and we’re thankful to have an ally in you,” he said.

“To the Jews who are here in the room, what is different from past eras of antisemitism? Today, ultimately, each person here, by dint of being alive in this time and this place, each of you has more power and agency in your lives than the rabbis of the past ever imagined was possible,” said Witkovsky. “Each of us has a phenomenal ability to stand up for ourselves, thank God. And we bear the responsibility of that power, to stand up when someone says something, when someone paints something, when someone does something.”

“There is antisemitism around us, to be sure, and it seems to be getting worse or bolder,” he said. “But it is up to us to use the resources we have to stand up for ourselves and each other.”

Ranita Thomas, a TBHBE vice president, told DVJournal she believes there has always been antisemitism, but Oct. 7 and the ensuing war against Hamas have allowed “people to be overt.”

“People are using Oct. 7 as permission to be more antisemitic,” she said. “A lot  of people who have jumped on the Free Palestine bandwagon are truly antisemitic. They feel it’s justified to say what they’re saying now.”

Vandalized sign at Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El.

Adam Ehrlich, also a TBHBE vice president, told DVJournal, “I think it feels more visceral. It feels like large parts of the world are against us. If something like this (terror attack) happened anywhere else, the world would be rallying around a lot more.”

Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia President Michael Balaban attended the gathering at TBHBE.

The federation “strongly condemns the disturbing antisemitic vandalism that occurred at Temple Beth Hillel – Beth El (Sunday). As antisemitism continues to rise nationally and locally, we must work together as a community to make it clear that hate has no place here. We stand with Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El as they address this vandalism while continuing their critical work to unify the Wynnewood Jewish community through prayer, inclusion, and love.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro on X: This is the second message I’ve written like this in as many days. It’s two too many. Antisemitism and the vandalism of a house of worship of any kind have no place in this Commonwealth. I’ve spoken to Rabbi Witkovsky and told him we stand with his wonderful congregation and against hate. PSP is coordinating with our law enforcement partners to apprehend the person(s) responsible. These acts of hate will never change the fact that no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you do and don’t pray to, you belong here in Pennsylvania.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) said on X: “Sickened to see this hateful desecration of a synagogue — and on Easter no less. Antisemitism has no place in Montco or this country. No one should be using nazi symbols in 2024. We must find the people responsible and hold them accountable for this dangerous display of hate.”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Haverford College Students Host ‘Israel Apartheid Month’ Events

Imagine you’re a Jewish student at a small, exclusive college on the Main Line, where other students are hosting a seminar blaming Israel for allegedly using COVID “as a tool for settler colonialism in Palestine.”

That’s what’s happening at Haverford College this week, part of the school’s “Israel Apartheid Month.”

The Jewish Federation is among those decrying the meeting, which is espousing antisemitic tropes that harken back to Medieval times when “blood libel” was a common antisemitic myth and used to justify pogroms (attacks) against Jews.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia called on Haverford College officials to condemn the student-organized campus event entitled “COVID in Times of Genocide: How Israel uses COVID as a Tool for Settler Colonialism in Palestine.”

“The event’s title dangerously and inaccurately implies that Israel spread coronavirus to advance its global control, repackaging a centuries-old antisemitic trope that Jews take advantage of global crises as a means for their own gain and advancement. In this case, the event’s narrative takes on a new form of the antisemitic blood libel trope, accusing Jews of committing ritual murder and perpetuating the harmful stereotype of Jews as evil and conniving,” the federation said.

“Higher education institutions have a responsibility to establish college campuses as a space for free speech and critical thinking. However, it must be rooted in academic integrity rather than disinformation.

“Haverford College and institutions of all sizes have a responsibility first and foremost to protect the safety of their students. This event and the tension on campus that has led to Jewish students and faculty being vulnerable and victimized constitutes a failure of leadership.

“There should be no tolerance for student events that permit dangerous antisemitic tropes and threaten the safety of Jewish students and faculty, particularly when antisemitism is at an all-time high on college campuses following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel,” the nonprofit said.

“We urge Haverford College to take immediate action to show its Jewish students and community members that there is zero tolerance for the spread of misinformation and hate on its campus.”

College officials justified allowing students to hold their event.

“At a time of wide-ranging responses to current global matters, our campus is navigating the complexities of learning in community, articulating political and social points of view, and strengthening the relational bonds that allow learning and expression to happen in a safe environment,” said Chris Mills, a Haverford spokesman.

“Haverford supports its community members’ rights to expressive freedom, including around political matters. The ability to challenge ideas and understand conflicting views is foundational to our academic mission. We also expect that even the most well-intentioned individuals will make mistakes in these arenas, and even–and especially–in those moments, we aim to provide learning opportunities that will lead to greater empathy, mutual understanding, and constructive citizenship in a world that is struggling to reach peaceful solutions to conflict,” said Mills.

Jason Holtzman, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, told DVJournal, “At a semi-prestigious university you would think that students would be smarter than this. But going into conspiratorial, libelous rhetoric is very dangerous and disturbing.”

The students “should have more critical thinking skills than to buy into conspiratorial claims like this. It’s really dangerous.”

Rav Shai Cherry, senior rabbi at Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, said, “Can’t we expect more from our elite college students than to traffic in a regurgitated blood libel? Is there no commitment to honesty or accuracy in political protests in the age of TikTok?”

“It’s pure insanity,” Holtzman added. “I can’t believe the college would allow this event to go on when antisemitism is at an all-time high on college campuses.”

Haverford is not the only area campus where some students apparently are embracing antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel. The president of the University of Pennsylvania resigned after trying to defend that institution’s policies before Congress.

Haverford College, founded in 1833 by Quakers, has about 1,400 undergraduate students.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal