Will the UN Demand a Halt to Arabs Moving to Jerusalem?

On December 21, 2020, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) spoke about Israel building houses for Israeli Jews in an area it calls “East Jerusalem,” an entity that had a shelf life of just eighteen years (1949-1967) in the city’s 4,000+ year history. The stale name recalls the period when Jews were evicted and barred from the eastern half of the city is both non-factual and insulting to Jews.

The insults and hypocrisy continued throughout the discussions.

Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process statedthat a two-State solution is not only necessary, but still possible. There is no other way to resolve the conflict in a way that is just for both peoples. Israel must preserve its nature as a Jewish State, while ‘the Palestinian people will not go anywhere, this is their home.‘” But he then went on to call for additional funds to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which is caring for 5.7 million Palestinian Arab “refugees” until they move into Israel. How Mladenov squares the circle of encouraging nearly 6 million Arabs to move into Israel while simultaneously wishing for Israel to “preserve its nature as a Jewish State” is beyond comprehension.

Several countries spoke about Israeli “settlement” activity and bemoaned Israel’s building homes for Israeli Jews, even in “East Jerusalem.” The inanity is despite the fact that the Arab population in Jerusalem was only 26% of the city in 1967 when Israel reunited the city and grew to 36% of the population by 2016. If the 1967 “status quo” is the most important dynamic for the UN, perhaps the UNSC should demand that no new Arab housing be permitted in the city until a peace agreement is signed by the two parties.

Mladenov and several countries also voiced concern that more settlements “undermine the prospect of a two-State solution.” It is a curious proposition. If the concern is about territory, the 1949 Armistice Lines/ The Green Line left Israel with a strip of land even more narrow than a new Palestinian state would have if Israel annexed an area called “E1” up to, and including Ma’ale Adumim. If the concern about “viability” is related to the number of Jews living in an Arab State, why do these same UNSC countries continue to fund UNRWA and encourage Arab “refugees” that they will move into Israel which already has 25% non-Jews living in the country? Why is viability of a Palestinian State surrounded by tens of millions of Arabs a greater concern than a small Jewish State?

Further, Mladenov finally began calling out the “indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli civilian population centres by Hamas [and] Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” but the speakers (with the exception of Niger) refused to speak about the attacks. Each country picked up the Mladenov themes about settlements, UNRWA and Gaza, but fell silent on the massive attacks against Israel.

The United Nations continues to show it has no concerns about the security and basic human rights of Israelis. Until it can clearly condemn HAMAS and discuss the rights of Jews to live and pray in Jerusalem, there is no reason for the Jewish State to heed an iota of criticism as the global body has shown it has no interest in the peace or security of Israel.

Sign for the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the UN, all of the Jews who live in the Jewish Quarter are illegal “settlers” who threaten the viability of peace in the region. (photo: First One Through)

Related First One Through articles:

Arabs in Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem and Joe Biden

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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The Veil of Hatred

The expression “the best defense is a good offense” is most often applied in the military and sporting competitions. It is now being used regarding anti-Semitism with greater frequency.

The World Conference Against Racism met from August 31 to September 7, 2001 in Durban, South Africa with a stated noble goal: to rid the world of racism and intolerance while promoting human rights. However, the forum was hijacked by several Muslim and Arab countries who pushed for particular attention on one country, Israel, even as the conference was conceived to address a global phenomenon without delving into any specific country.

Several western countries did their utmost to strip the Israel agenda item from the conference to no avail and were left with the choice of not attending an important event. The United States’ compromise was to send a mid-level representative rather than Secretary of State Colin Powell. Ultimately, the conference became so toxic with anti-Israel sentiment that many withdrew. Powell ultimately described the situation as  “a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism’” at the United Nations.

The Durban Conference became the playbook for many Muslim and Arab countries as well as far-left progressives to attack Israel under the veil of fighting racism. Each held conferences and promoted peace centers to establish co-existence bona fides while simultaneously trampling human rights in their own countries and promoting a fictitious anti-Israel narrative.

Recent conferences and center openings include:

  • Opening the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz (Saudi Arabia) International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in Vienna on November 26, 2012
  • Forum on the Role of Religious Leaders in Preventing Incitement that could Lead to Atrocity Crimes, held in Fez, Morocco, on April 23 and 24, 2015
  • the International Institute for Tolerance and the Muslim Council of Elders in the United Arab Emirates, in 2017
  • Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, held in Qatar February 20-21, 2018
  • the World Tolerance Summit, in Abu Dhabi on November 13-14, 2019

The notion of interreligious dialogue and peaceful coexistence sounds wonderful, but the hypocrisy of the situation doesn’t seem to enter the minds of the willing participants.

The KAICIID website states that “Our vision is a world where there is respect, understanding, and cooperation among people, justice, peace and reconciliation, and an end to the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence, and conflict.” Yet this statement comes from an organization founded and named for the leader of Saudi Arabia which denies women basic rights and kills people for converting from Islam.

Apostasy is subject to capital punishment in many of the countries which hosted recent interfaith conferences, and include: Afghanistan; Brunei; Mauritania; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. In 2013, the Supreme Council of Religious Scholars in Morocco issued a fatwa that Muslims who leave Islam should be sentenced to death.

Additionally, Qatar funds mosques around the world which host imams calling for people to kill Jews.

Yet these countries host conferences and centers promoting coexistence among faiths.

People would never attend a conference on the freedom of the press in Turkey as they comprehend the irrationality of discussing such topic in the country that jails the most journalists every year. They would similarly not attend a forum on Holocaust studies in Iran when its leaders actively deny the Holocaust.

But they show up for interfaith dialogue in countries that deny basic human rights.

When the Jewish Voice for Peace hosted a discussion in December 2020 to discuss anti-Semitism with panelists who want to destroy Israel, it employed that familiar twist of attempting to excuse the accused.

anti-Israel group hosted event about anti-Semitism to absolve people accused of anti-Semitism

Genuine reform to combat bigotry and anti-Semitism is most welcome and should be encouraged but many of today’s conferences are only granting absolution to haters and sanctifying them as champions of a just cause. Beware of the Durban Conference coming to a forum near you.

Related First One Through article:

Peter Beinart is an Apologist for Anti-Semites

Bitter Burnt Ends: Talking to a Farrakhan Fan

Rep. Ilhan Omar and The 2001 Durban Racism Conference

The Insidious Jihad in America

Omar and Tlaib’s Antisemitic B.D.S.

Jewish Voice for Peace Ignores Dead Jews

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

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Drive, Saudi Arabia (music by The Cars)

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The Zionists Brought a Bench!

A century ago in Jerusalem’s Old City
the Arabs revealed their conspiracy theory
about the nature of the emboldened Zionists
presenting themselves as irritating pests.

“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

The Arabs pushed the British for a Status Quo Agreement
their arguments ahistorical, with voices loud and vehement,
advancing for removal of the “appurtenance of Jewish worship”
which even included allowing elderly Jews to sit.

“Good Greif! Good Grief!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

During 1928 Yom Kippur services at the Wailing Wall,
Jews brought screens and siddurs with unmitigated gall.
The Arabs called the British police and expressed their views
to destroy the mechitza and attack the Jews.

“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

To extinguish the common holy site’s enflamed embers,
the British issued a White Paper that November.
In the hopes of avoiding another injurious atrocity,
the British declared the Wailing Wall exclusive Moslem property.

“Good Grief! Good Grief!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

Soon thereafter, the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin
erected a minaret next to the Kotel, complete with muzzein
to call for Islamic prayers when Jews would gather
disturbing Jewish prayers with loud incomprehensible blather.

“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

Minaret on left built to disturb Jewish prayers at the Wailing Wall

The Arabs made it clear to the whole world explaining,
that the Jews could only use the western wall for wailing.
Jewish prayers at the site was dangerous incitement
and the entire world should coalesce to present a formal indictment.

“Good Grief! Good Grief!
Those Jews brought a bench! The Jews brought a bench!”

In August 1929, Arabs spread a series of vicious rumors
which fed Islamic extremists like cancerous tumors
that Jews were killing Arabs and ascending the al Aqsa Compound
desecrating the holy site and burning the mosques to the ground.

“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
Kill the Jews! Kill the Jews!”

The violence spread in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed
The Arab riots and butchery left sixty-seven Jews dead.
The British concluded that Hebron should be purely Moslem
And removed all the Jews in hopes of ameliorating the problem.

“Good Grief! Good Grief!
Expel the Jews! Expel the Jews!”

The denial of Jew’s history and human rights is not new;
the last hundred years added an Islamist point of view,
particularly because the Balfour Declaration made the Arabs skittish
who demanded anti-Jewish edicts from the Palestine-ruling British.

Imagine a government outlawing a mench-on-a-bench!
The Jew-hatred involved had a terrible stench.
The Muslim quest for the Promised Land to have Islamic purity
Coopted the western world to consider anti-Semitic policies.

Allahu Akbar and Good Grief. The Jews brought a bench.

Related First One Through articles:

Will Israel Also Remove an Umbrella from the Western Wall Plaza?

I Understand Why the Caged Jew Sighs

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Squeezing Zionism

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Cultural Appropriation of the Jewish ‘Promised Land’

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

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Shtisel, The Poem Without an End, Continues

“Inside the brand-new museum
there’s an old synagogue.
Inside the synagogue
is me.
Inside me
my heart.
Inside my heart
a museum.
Inside the museum
a synagogue,
inside it
inside me
my heart,
inside my heart
a museum…”

Poem Without an End
Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000)

So ends Shtisel‘s season 2 in 2015. An Ultra Orthodox Jewish artist is seemingly caught between two worlds: a world which dominates his family and community, and the passions which drive him beyond the realms of that world.

It is a classic formula used by authors and poets for generations, the story of forbidden love. While typically written about two secular people pulled together against a repelling backdrop, Shtisel is written about a religious Jew pursuing a banned profession.

The protagonist, Akiva Shtisel, lives in a secluded world in which tradition calls for men to learn Jewish texts and to be married with children. But Akiva cannot fit neatly in that prescribed paradigm. He not only has difficulties in his relationships but is pulled by his talents to pursue his love of art. He gets encouraged by the secular world to pursue his artistic gifts, making his already awkward pursuit of a spouse yet more complicated.

In the season finale, we find Akiva walking in a modern museum past his own exhibition to find the comfort of an exhibit of a reconstructed old synagogue. He sits in the more familiar environment where he is surprised to be joined by a love interest. Akiva’s loves are now all contained within one another like nested Russian dolls but the viewer recognizes that the perfect setting does not obviate the conflict.

Unlike a family member who allowed tradition and established roots with a wife to pull him back into the Ultra Orthodox world and forgo his love for singing, Akiva is unmarried and involved with a woman who might entertain Akiva’s life in two worlds. That situation is not one of nested dolls but a life of dynamic movement with a troubling feedback loop like an M.C. Escher drawing.

The show was enormously popular, well beyond Israel where it was filmed. Jews and non-Jews in various countries admired the universal message of dueling loves in which passion and commitment are set against each other. The cast was featured in various events around the world over the past few years in which the actors considered why the show had such broad appeal. They negated the notion that viewers wanted a peak into the life of Hassidim and described the universally understood personal/family/community tensions that exist in all cultures.

Shtisel program held at Temple Emanu-El in New York City, June 11, 2019

Shtisel, the short-lived popular show with the perfect poetic ending was called back by its fans for a third season. The competing forces of attraction of the show’s actors demanded as much from its viewers.

Related First One Through articles:

The Last Sounds of “Son of Saul”

The Right Stuff, Then and Now

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The Last of the Mo’Kichels

The Shrapnel of Intent

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Progressive’s Coronavirus Contagion

Just today, Israel’s special coronavirus cabinet decided to place new restrictions on people coming from the United Kingdom, Denmark and South Africa. Non-Israelis are prohibited from entering Israel while Israelis will be forced to spend two weeks in quarantine.

Israel joined Italy, Netherlands and Belgium in banning entry of people from the UK after a new more contagious strain of COVID-19 was detected in Britain. Israel has thus far been the only country to also add Denmark and South Africa to the banned country list. The 501.V2 mutant variety has been detected in those other countries as well, which seems to be more severe in young adults than the prior strain.

To date, Belgium and Italy have been the worst hit countries, with 1,597 and 1,139 deaths per million people, respectively. The UK and United States are both near the 1,000 deaths per million milestone, while Denmark and Israel are much lower at 178 and 335, respectively.

Israel’s “Anglo ban” has not yet produced the vocal outrage from progressives that happened when President Donald Trump placed a ban on China early in the coronavirus pandemic or in the early days of his administration when he blocked entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries which did not have appropriate safety protocols to monitor terrorists, or in “building a wall” along the southern border to curtail the flow of illegal immigration. Maybe it is because these three countries are perceived to be “White.” Whatever the reason, a country that is often in the crosshairs of global condemnation will welcome the pause in criticism as it battles a severe spike in positive infection rates.

Progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continue to advocate for “open borders” and to “abolish ICE” in their desire to welcome millions of immigrants into the country to add to the physical working class and hopeful union members. Meanwhile, the reality of the need to be able to secure borders for the protection of citizenry has never been more apparent.

Related First One Through articles:

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“Coastal Liberal Latte-sipping Politically-correct Out-of-touch Folks.”

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Going Green With Embassies in Jerusalem

The Trump Administration moved the United States embassy to Israel to Jerusalem in 2018 in compliance with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. Since that time, the U.S. has encouraged other countries to move their embassies, and Guatemala moved theirs shortly thereafter. Honduras announced plans to have their embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2020, and Serbia and Malawi announced their intentions to do move their embassies in the near future.

New U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. (Picture: Daniel Estrin/NPR)

A country establishes an embassy in a foreign country to facilitate in person meetings with that government’s people. Typically the vast majority are located in that country’s capital where most government buildings and offices are located. However, there is no obligation to set up an embassy in the capital city. For example, several countries (like Oman) have opted to not place their foreign dignitaries in Canberra, Australia’s capital, because it is a relatively small city in a pretty remote part of the world. There are also several countries (including Andorra, Comoros and Maldives) that locate their embassies to the U.S. in New York City rather than Washington, D.C.

A new Biden administration should continue to push all countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem for very practical and environmental reasons: it would take hundreds of cars off the road every day.

Currently, most countries have their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv, about 42 miles from Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is is a great city on the Mediterranean Sea with fantastic restaurants and night life (often ranked with Barcelona among the greatest cities in the world) and is close to Israel’s major international airport. However, the hour drive to Jerusalem is often snarled in terrible traffic as is the route back. By relocating embassies to Jerusalem, not only will thousands of miles of unnecessary travel and wasted time be saved, but the burning of fossil fuel and amount of pollution will be dramatically reduced.

As there is no obligation to keep an embassy in a capital city, a relocation to Jerusalem is not a formal acknowledgement of the city as Israel’s capital, an action which may or may not accompany such relocation. What is without question, is that moving embassies to Jerusalem will improve the quality of life on the planet.

Related First One Through articles:

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

The Hypocrisy Between An Embassy for Israel in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, OPT

Western Jerusalem’s U.S. Consulate and Embassy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Battle for Jerusalem

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

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The Anthem of Israel is Jerusalem

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Featured Idiot: NYT’s Friedman on Harris as Rural Broadband Czar

On December 16, 2020, The New York Times editorial board elected to give its entire opinion page to long-time journalist Thomas Friedman to discuss a topic he knows nothing about: rural America.

The one-time foreign affairs correspondent presented his bold idea that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris should become the czar of rural America and bring broadband to bridge the “connectivity gap.” He wanted this accomplished not so much for the benefit of rural America but to put on a show that Democrats care about these lagging Americans, so those red states might loose a touch of their rosy glow and prevent Democrats from getting trounced in the next election cycle.

What Friedman failed to understand and convey in the editorial was that the Trump administration committed billions of dollars to bring broadband to rural America.

It was just TEN DAYS AGO that the FCC announced the results of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction 904 which awarded $9.2 billion of federal grants to telecom companies to subsidize the buildout of broadband networks in remote parts of the country. This came two years after the Connect America Fund II Auction 903 which granted $1.5 billion to operators to construct broadband networks for rural America.

But don’t let facts get in the way.

Friedman further noted that Harris “is a natural bridge builder to a more inclusive America.” Maybe Freidman is not aware that non-partisan GovTracks observed that Harris was the least bi-partisan U.S. senator. She also scored as the most extreme leftist in her voting record, even more than proud Democratic-Socialist Bernie Sanders and closeted Democratic-Socialist Elizabeth Warren.

But don’t let history get in the way.

The Times will have its urban readers believe that rural Americans are waiting for Democrats to save them, but all Friedman’s editorial really showed was his ignorance and contemptible view that non-urban Americans are just pawns for progressive politics.

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Progressives Judge Past American Actions and Ignore Today’s Foreign Culture

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Brooklyn Chanukah Donut Crawl 2020

With the pandemic in its second full swing, the annual pilgrimage to try the great donuts and sufganiyot (filled donuts) in Brooklyn was not without controversy. Some people refused to join the outing due to fear so we decided to take a different approach:

  • only two people would make the trek- a parent and a teenager;
  • we would go in the early morning before the crowds;
  • only the teenager would enter the store in full hazmat attire;
  • all donuts would be brought back to base for consumption and ratings

The approach allowed for a wide sampling of bakeries, principally focused on Borough Park and Flatbush. The bakeries are listed in order of our route in case people want to replicate the tour:

  • Taam Eden Bakery, 4603 13th Ave
  • Weiss Kosher Bakery, 5011 13th Ave
  • Sesame – Boro Park, 5024 13th Ave
  • Gobo’s Cafe, 5421 New Utrecht Ave
  • Shloimy’s Bake Shoppe, 4712 16th Ave
  • Brooklyn Artisan Bakehouse, 1371 Coney Island Ave
  • Isaac’s Bake Shop, 1419 Avenue J
  • Ostrovitsky Bakery, 1124 Avenue J
  • Presser’s Kosher Bagels and Bakery, 1720 Ave. M
  • Patis Bakery, 1716 Ave. M
  • Schreiber’s Homestyle Bakery, 3008 Ave. M

Yes, that’s eleven bakeries. We’re that committed (in a bad mental health way).

We didn’t actually buy sufganiyot at the eleven stores. Gobo’s, the number one bakery of 2019, was closed both times we drove by, as was Brooklyn Artisan Bakehouse. Patis Bakery still had not received their shipment from New Jersey when we arrived around 10:00am. That still left eight bakeries to review for Chanukah. If one includes the free donut we got from Rachel Berger, the Kosher Dinner Lady (top score on presentation for the cookies and cream), we more than hit our calorie quota.

Taam Eden

In 2019, we got to Taam Eden last and the scores suffered due to our being well-sated and more than a tad over-sugared. We decided to start with that bakery in 2020 and hoped for a fresh assortment of interesting flavors. While they did have many unique flavors like Pina Colada, they weren’t always that good and the sugared toppings fell right off at first bite. Overall, they were also pretty flat and not puffy.

Taam Eden donuts. Blue flags denote dairy

Weiss Kosher Bakery

Weiss is an all around favorite bakery in our family. Yoely was nice enough to give us a free donut too. Unfortunately, the shelves were pretty bare when we arrived at 8:40am, so we missed out on their amazing chocolate horns. The chocolate sufganiyot were good but a bit too sweet. The custard was nice, especially for a pareve one.

Thanks Yoely!


Sesame redoes the entire bakery just for Chanukah, and for good reason. The donuts are amazing. Full of rich flavor which is not too sweet with dough which has nice texture and flavor. I cannot believe how good the pistachio ones are. BTW, no masks in sight.

Shloimy’s Bake Shop

My teenage son was impressed by what he saw in Shloimy’s and came back with lots of choices. The taste varied. The salted caramel was simply not good while the cheese was very tasty and went perfectly with the texture and flavor of the dough.

A hazmat boy in a heimeshe bakery

Isaac’s Bake Shop

Isaac’s had the benefit of being the only bakery we visited where everything was fresh. We gobbled two onion bagels without any spread as we left the store – delicious. The sufganiyot we ate at home were non-complicated and tasty.

Ostrovitsky Bakery

If you want something a bit more ornate and shall I say… Hungarian? – try Ostrovitsky. The chocolate rosemarie are tops in the pareve category with great flavor. The chocolate mousse is very light – perhaps a bit too much relative to the texture of the dough. The Napolean flavor was also quite good.


Presser’s has a lot more appetizing in the store than donuts. We picked up a couple anyway which were pretty good.

Schreiber’s Homestyle

We always visit Schreiber’s to bring home a box of excellent lace cookies; hauling donuts is a plus. Skip the sufganiyot in the boxes in the front of the store and go to the back to select your own. This year we decided to try the dairy donuts – which run about $5 – quite a bit more than the pareve ones at around $2. There’s a reason. The dairy cheese and strawberry are remarkable. A must have.

Overall, none of the sufganiyot (other than Isaac’s) were fresh when we arrived. It felt like we were getting 6am baking at 9am. Sufganiyot don’t age well so we decided to try the other Sesame Bakery location in Flatbush to see if we could try one straight out of the oven. Unfortunately, it was packed at 11am and none of the baked goods were oven-fresh. We grabbed two and hit the road back home.

Below is a rating of the various spots. I would again put Sesame in the top category along with Schreiber’s dairy sufganiyot. Ostrovitsky’s got mixed reviews but I liked them.

We actually have a GoPro video of each store location. Subscribe to the blog and send a note and we’ll let you experience the shopping!

Related First One Through articles:

Chanukah Donuts: Brooklyn 2019

Brooklyn’s Holiday Donuts

The Last of the Mo’Kichels

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Shadow-Banned Over The Election

Both the political right and left are coming after the large social media platforms due to their powerful influence over society. The right has complained about the censorship executed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for silencing conservative voices while the left has voiced concern about these perceived monopolies destroying competition. The left has mostly been dismissive about the idea that the corporations have a left-leaning disposition, and if they do, they are nonplussed. If corporations are allowed to contribute to election campaigns (see Citizens United v. FEC which the left abhorred), they should similarly be free to share or block content.

As to the question of whether shadow-banning is real, consider this blog of FirstOneThrough which has a right-of-center orientation to American and Israeli politics.

On a typical week, Facebook would account for over 10 times the number of referrals to an article as search engines. That pattern was relatively consistent whether there were few or several posts.

But the pattern broke during the election cycle.

Weeks EndingFB AverageSearch AverageRatio
Dec 136725813x
Nov 8181563
Sep 208236013
Aug 25384811
Jun 149267114
Impact of Facebook Shadow Banning on views of First One Through blog

During the seven week cycle before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the blog remarkably went from getting roughly 13 times as many views from Facebook than search engines to only 3 times as much. The change was completely the result of a sharp decline in Facebook readership, as the volume produced from search engines remained constant.

That meant that fewer people had a chance to read the analysis of a vocal Libertarian and Zionist leading up to an important election. Once the election passed, Facebook permitted viewership patterns to return to normal (as of the following five weeks).

How and why did this happen?

Did a liberal reader flag the October 1 article “Vote Harvesting,” a completely true first-hand account of watching how a local election official can influence who gets to vote? Did Facebook decide on its own that posts from a writer who penned on September 25 “NY Times Tries Hard to Paint Obama/Biden as Pacifists and Trump as Mercenary” is an opinion to be silenced? Did an anti-Israel agitator do their utmost to flag a blogger who wrote on September 27 about the vile anti-Semitic Hamas Charter and how former Democratic U.S. President Jimmy Carter backed the Hamas terrorist group?

Whatever the origin of shadow ban, it clearly happened.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Facebook and Twitter’s actions around the closely contested election on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Washington. | Bill Clark/Pool via AP

If Facebook wants to present itself as a biased platform like MSNBC or Fox News, that’s fine. A private platform can take whatever form it chooses. While it may be annoying when a media company like The New York Times pretends to be unbiased and not left-leaning, the tilt is well known and consistent. Only people living in a liberal bubble believe it to be a neutral and factual publication.

However, what kind of platform swings alt-left for just moments in time like during an election season? If the analysis presented by a blogger is offensive, then make it clear for that person to take their business and opinions elsewhere. Always.

What was done by social media in this instance was clear election-meddling, and on the grandest of scales due to the enormous power of social media. (\According to Pew research, 43% of Americans got their news from social media in 2018, a number that surely went up by 2020. That growing figure is despite a majority of people (57%) being skeptical of what they read.

In 2008, Barack Obama and his supporters were very effective in using social media, especially relative to John McCain supporters according to Pew Research. Obama voters surpassed McCain voters in posting content online (26% vs. 15%) and engaged politically on social media (25% vs. 16%) to yield a very successful outcome. But now, the social media companies themselves are keeping the gap in favor of Democrats by blocking the distribution of conservative posts.

Shadow banning in social media is very real and can easily tip presidential elections that are decided by less than one percent of voters in a couple of states. It is frightening and appalling that we no longer have to only fear the actions of foreign actors in the conduct of our democracy but the large social media platforms themselves.

Related First One Through articles:

Facebook’s Censorship is a Problem

Opinions on Facebook

Hateful and Violent Platforms: Comparing Facebook and the Golan Heights

The Press Are Not Guardians of the Galaxy

The Noose and the Nipple

Social Media’s “Fake News” and Mainstream Media’s Half-Truths

The Wide Scope of Foreign Interference

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NY Times Will Not Write About Arab Pogroms

It is a sad state of affairs when the media ignores the slaughter of innocents and brands such events in the nomenclature of the killers.

Consider the “Second Intifada” which Palestinian Arabs started in September 2000 when they refused to accept 98% of their desires in a peace deal with Israel. Palestinians went on multi-year rampages blowing up buses and pizza parlors full of kids and women. Over 1,000 Israelis were killed until Israel constructed a security barrier to stem the tide of murderers. Rather than call the event a “war” or a “pogrom,” the media calls it by the term Palestinians chose, “Intifada,” which means “uprising.” It’s shameful. It should be called the “2 Percent War.”

On December 11, 2020, The New York Times didn’t just adopt an Arab name to mask Arab sensibilities, it adopted an entire Arab narrative in rewriting history.

In an article about Morocco normalizing relations with Israel, the paper wrote the following:

Today, Morocco has a Jewish population of about 4,000, said to Samuel L. Kaplan, the U.S. Ambassador to Rabat from 2009 to 2013. That is down from more than 200,000 Jews who lived in Morocco when Israel was established in 1948 but who then began responding to calls to immigrate to Israel.”

There were certainly some Jews who felt the Zionist urge to move to Israel but the vast majority fled their homes due to rampant anti-Semitism that overcame the Muslim world when Jews took control of what they deemed to be Muslim land.

After Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948, two pogroms broke out in Morocco, in the towns of Oujda and Djerrada. The attacks killed 47 people, wounded hundreds and lefts hundreds homeless. Not surprisingly, 10% of the country’s Jews quickly fled the country.

After Morocco declared independence in 1956, an Arabization of the country commenced, cutting Jews off from parts of society. At the same time, the government prohibited emigration to Israel, which lasted until 1963. In 1961, roughly 90,000 Moroccan Jews had to be ransomed in Operation Yakhnin, bringing Jews to Israel. In the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, another 40,000 Jews fled to Israel.

Headline in NY Times in 1956, seemingly forgotten by the paper today

The number of Jews that fled persecution from homes they lived in for centuries in Muslim-majority countries was between 850,000 and 1 million people.

  • Algeria 140,000
  • Egypt 75,000
  • Iraq 135,000
  • Lebanon 5,000
  • Libya 38,000
  • Morocco 265,000
  • Syria 30,000
  • Tunisia 105,000
  • Yemen 55,000

This total of 850,000 Jews does not include the Jews who fled Iran and Afghanistan. It far surpasses the Palestinian Arabs who left Israel in 1948 when they waited for their Arab neighbors to destroy the nascent Jewish State.

The New York Times rewriting history that Arab Muslims are never anti-Semites coincides with its depiction that White Americans are always racist. It is no wonder that White Jews are dropping the paper.

Related First One Through articles:

The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

Jim Wolfensohn’s Invisible Generosity

New York Times Recharacterizes Hamas as a Right-Wing Terrorist Group

For The New York Times, “From the River to the Sea” Is The Chant of Jewish and Christian Zealots

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The New York Times Excuses Palestinian “Localized Expressions of Impatience.” I Mean Rockets.

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