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US left’s outrage over Kabul bombing smacks of hypocrisy

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As the deadline for the evacuation of those desperate to flee the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan approaches, ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) detonated two deadly suicide explosions in the airport precinct of Kabul, killing more than 60 civilians together with 13 United States (US) military personnel.

This tragedy as the events in Afghanistan unfold bought home the reality of having to contend with these types of contemptable and despicable atrocities that aren’t foreign to the Middle East – not to forget where suicide bombing originated more than 20 years ago.

The untimely deaths of the 13 US servicemen has had a profound effect on the psyche of the American public, whose outrage is expressed in most prominent press reports, and is a stark reminder of the dangers of foreign assistance to unstable areas around the world.

Why should American boys die while defending freedom and democracy, is a question on everybody’s lips.

Most Americans, from Democratic liberals to the Republicans, are outraged and incensed – about the only time that the two agree on anything. Even those high-profile celebrities, with the likes of “The Squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. Not to forget Trevor Noah and the Hadid girls, and of course, the left Jewish college students, who all had much to say in their condemnation of the only country in the region able to stand up to terrorism of this kind.

Just a short while back, these good folk were singing the praises of another organisation, the actual founders and inventors of suicide attacks, in fact showing no remorse whatsoever that such attacks are perpetrated against other democracies. In those cases, the perpetrators are the heroes, and the victims condemned by this coterie. Would this set be accused of hypocrisy? Surely not, given the outrage demonstrated today in the US.

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Tribute to a man who embodies Judaism at its best

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As the Torah observant manager of a busy food establishment and as a member of the Jewish community, I wish to give thanks and recognition to a pillar of righteousness.

Rabbi Yossi Baumgarten joined the United Orthodox Synagogues (UOS) kashrut department more than 40 years ago, and gave the prime of his life to serve the community.

No factory was too far. No mashgiach question was turned away, even if called at 01:00.

Baumgarten addressed kashrut matters with integrity and honesty, and with a zest and energy that motivated and inspired all those who had the privilege and honour to work with him.

I once had the privilege of going on a trip with Baumgarten. The man is utter Judaism. From the way he treats others, to the way he ties his shoes and walks. His greatness is in his kindness, humility, and truthfulness.

The UOS kashrut department has been internationally recognised for decades as a result of the sterling input of Baumgarten, and this is evident by the many calls and messages he would field throughout the day from people all over the world. Whether it be a call from the Orthodox Union or the OK or Star K certification agencies, or a mashgiach or local housewife, the Jewish local community and the kosher world at large owe Baumgarten a debt of gratitude.

On behalf of the Mashgiach Association, we wish Baumgarten much strength and success in all his future endeavours.

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Deafening silence about Afghanistan, hue and cry about Israel

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Tali Feinberg’s excellent piece in the SA Jewish Report (2 September) titled Africa4Palestine Compares Israel to Nazi Germany, offers sufficient expert academic opinion to totally discredit this narrative that is the backbone of the organisation’s campaign. That crusade together with the continuous use of the apartheid canard has one goal only: the total destruction and delegitimisation of Israel. Both apartheid and Nazi myths carry powerful emotive connotations.

While these falsehoods are somewhat over-played and over-used, Israel’s defensive operations are what elevates the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions organisation’s attack to a crescendo. Just months ago, the world erupted in a show of anger, with hordes filling the streets of capital cities, admonishing only Israel during a conflict with the Hamas terror group.

Contrast that to the recent get together in which Hamas and Islamic Jihad poured congratulations on the Taliban for the takeover of Afghanistan and broke bread together. These Sunni terror groups, including Al-Qaeda, share an ideology of gender violence and misogyny, and support each other in multiple ways. Of course, the Taliban’s unmentionable barbaric treatment of women has been well documented and condemned by most of the world.

Those throngs of protesters voicing thunderous support for Hamas, the blood brothers of the Taliban, now manifest a deafening silence. Where is “the squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib? Not forgetting Jewish college students on the left, who all had much to say in their condemnation of the only country in the region able to stand up to terrorism of this kind.

Are those protesters oblivious to the plight of Afghan girls and women?

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Why hosting Durban IV is shameful

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After experiencing an unprecedented paroxysm of violence, looting, and ethnic warfare, Durban is about to become the epicentre of another shameful event, the Durban IV World Conference against Racism, scheduled for 22 September.

This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of the notorious 2001 Durban Conference, which will go down in history as possibly the most openly antisemitic hate fest since World War II. Contrary to its intended purpose, the Durban Conference actively promoted antisemitism, racism, intolerance, and Holocaust denial, and blamed only Israel out of all the nations on earth for giving birth to a “new type of apartheid”, thereby denying its right to exist.

It’s unsurprising that South Africa is host to such an abhorrent event. Its policies, in which it singles out the Jewish state for all the ills that have befallen the Palestinians, give succour to the strident voices seeking scapegoats.

Since 2012, when the department of international relations and co-operation’s Ebrahim discouraged any official contact with Israel, effectively closing the door to any exposure to the Israeli narrative, intolerance and ignorance about Israel have reigned supreme.

By the company that the African National Congress keeps – dictators from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Hamas – it has made known where it stands, namely anti-Western and anti-Zionist. It goes further, however, when the only country it excludes from even talking to happens to be the only Jewish state. Then, South Africa complies with the definition of being antisemitic.

Durban IV’s official theme will be “Reparations, racial justice, and equality for people of African descent”. It will be interesting to see whether Israel receives credit for being the only country in the world to come to the rescue of “black Africans” in Ethiopia and Yemen.

To the credit of at least 11 democratic countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, France, and the Czech Republic, they have already announced that they won’t be attending the upcoming conference.

South Africa recently disgraced itself when it came out against the progress made under the Abraham Accords, and condemned Israel’s observer status in the African Union. Even with low expectations for Durban IV, South Africa is unlikely to cover itself in glory. The only question is how low it will stoop to ingratiate itself with the real bigots, racists, and antisemites.

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