New Orleans JCC bomb threat follows wave of anti-Semitism in US – bestofneworleans.com

“The reported bomb threat at JCC deemed non-credible, is clear. FBI is investigating,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu wrote on Twitter. “Be clear, anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in NOLA.”

While the bombs themselves are “hoaxes,” the threats and waves of anti-Semitism across the U.S., as theJewish Community Center Association of North America has said, are very real. In a letter toDepartment of Homeland Security Director John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey. Florida U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and New York U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley along withdozens of members of Congress and Jewish-led groups demanded swift federal action.

“Federal law enforcement agencies must do everything within their power to punish those responsible for the threats that have already taken place, to prevent future threats from occurring, and to ensure these threats are never converted into action,” Murphy said.”These phone calls have a severe economic, as well as emotional, impact.” According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in 2016, there was”one anti-Semitic assault reported in this country every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day.” The ADL’s Task Force on Harassment and Journalism counted from August 2015 to July 2016 nearly 3 million anti-Semitic tweets.

Over the last month, 53 centers in 26 states and one center in Canada received 68 calls, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The center counted 11 bomb threats on Feb. 20.

The administration of President Donald Trump delayed responding to the attacks and sidestepped questions about it during a Feb. 16 press conference. Trump cut off a question from Jake Turx, a reporter for Ami Magazine and the first Hasidic Jewish member of the White House press corps, who asked Trump how he plans to address the”uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government plans to take care of it.” Trump responded to the question as a personal attack.

“Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen in your entire life,” Trump responded. “Number two: racism. I am the least racist person … I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question.”

Another reporter later asked the same question; Trump suggested his opponents were responsible.

Finally, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, Trump called the threats “horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”By then there had already been dozens of threats delivered to JCCs around the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom.

Jewish Voice for Peace New Orleans (JVP), which helped organize a week of actions and presented a list of demands to city and state officials in the wake of Trump’s immigration order, said the administration is “flirting with anti-Semitism at the highest levels” in failing to name targets of the Nazi Holocaust and for defecting questions about anti-semitism in the U.S. by echoing Trump’s support for Israel.

“The Trump administration is proving, yet again, that it is quite possible to be anti-Semitic and support the Israeli government,” JVP’s statement reads. “It bears repeating, once again, that not all Jews support the Israeli government, and that Israel does not represent all Jews. …It is also of note the executive order targeting Muslims and refugees was signed on International Holocaust Memorial day. In doing so, the administration reminds us that fights against anti-semitism, racism and Islamophobia must go hand in hand.”

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New Orleans JCC bomb threat follows wave of anti-Semitism in US – bestofneworleans.com

St. Louis Responds to a Rise in Anti-Semitism – The New Yorker

More than a hundred and fifty gravestones were recently vandalized at Chesed Shel Emeth, a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.CreditPHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT COHEN / ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH VIA AP

On Monday, more than a hundred and fifty gravestones were found damaged or toppled at a historic Jewish cemetery near St. Louis. As soon as she heard the news, Karen Aroesty drove to the cemetery. Many people she knew are buried there. Though she has seen numerous instances of vandalism in her seventeen years at the Missouri/Southern Illinois office of the Anti-Defamation League, which she now directs, this one was especially painful. I was surprised at how I felt, Aroesty told me on Tuesday. Ive been doing this for a long time. The sadness that I felt was startling. Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, built more than a century ago, in the St. Louis suburb of University City, had always given her a feeling of calm.

The desecration came just days after President Trump, at a bizarre and at times counterfactual press conference in Washington, dodged a question about recent instances of anti-Semitism. It was asked by Jake Turx, a journalist for an Orthodox Jewish magazine. Im the least anti-Semitic person you ever met, the President declared. In the past month, dozens of Jewish Community Center locations have been evacuated due to anonymous bomb threats. On Wednesday morning, the Anti-Defamation League also received a bomb threat at its New York headquarters.

The bomb threats have a rhythm all their own, Aroesty told me. On January 18th, more than twenty J.C.C.s in the U.S. received bomb threats, including the branch in Creve Coeur, closest to Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery. (Since then, many more have received threats, most recently on Monday.) Local police responded to the Creve Coeur threat by clearing the area and bringing in K-9 units to investigate. But even after police officers deem a location safe, Aroesty said, it leaves the community feeling that tension and instability for a while. I asked Benjamin Granda, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police Department, if he had ever heard of a bomb threat in the area before this month. This is the first one that I can recall, he said.

Granda did not suggest a link between the threatening call to the local J.C.C. and the cemetery desecration last weekend. Anybody from anywhere can place a phone call, he said, noting that online phone services can make callers difficult to trace. Whoever made the threats on Monday used voice-masking software during the calls. I dont think its connected specifically, Aroesty said of the cemetery desecration. But, she added, many members of the Jewish community now perceive a wider threat to their security. It feels like theres a piling-on.

In my own family, the news from St. Louis brought back old memories. My father grew up in Creve Coeur, and attended college a few miles from the vandalized cemetery. In the seventies, he learned to swim at the Creve Coeur J.C.C.; a few decades later, while visiting my grandparents during school vacations, so did I. I lived a mile from the Jewish Community Center, and I never heard of anybody doing any bad stuff there, he told me. He now lives in California, and was surprised to learn about the recent anti-Semitic acts. Ive always felt that acts of violence, terrorism, whatevertheyre always the tip of an iceberg of discontent, he said. Because for every person thats willing to go and turn over tombstones in a Jewish cemetery, theres probably thousands of people that dont like Jews. At the same time, he didnt want to read too much into these incidents. Most people are not calling in bomb threats against Jews, he said. Most people dont hate Jews. So lets be wary, lets try to apprehend those who are responsible. But lets not let them divide us as a country, as a people, any more than we are already divided.

On Tuesday, President Trump, after receiving criticism from many Jewish leaders for failing to aggressively condemn anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S.,spoketo the NBC News reporter Craig Melvin. I think its horrible, the President said. Whether its anti-Semitism or racism or anyanything you want to think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is, likewise, its just terrible. Some Jewish organizations have reacted positively. The President took an important first step today, Jonathan Greenblatt, the C.E.O. of the Anti-Defamation League, said inan interview on PBS. But most reactions were skeptical. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect called Trumps remarks a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his Administration. In all honesty, Id like to see more, Aroesty told me.

The Chesed Shel Emeth Society, which oversees the cemetery, spent Tuesday recording the names on each damaged headstone; University City police launched an investigation and are trying to identify the culprits using security-camera footage. While the investigation proceeds, Aroesty said that she cant describe the damage at the cemetery as an act of hate. Perhaps the culprit did not know it was a Jewish site, or did not target it for that specific reason, she explained. There are a lot of folks in this community who, frankly, are challenging me to say, Yes, it is, in fact, a hate crime, she said. Which I cannot do, under Missouri law, until I know what the motivating factors were. Jewish leaders have, in the meantime, emphasized the wider problem of anti-Jewish sentiment, and the resilience of Jewish communities. Were trying to be a voice of reason and calm, Rabbi Jim Bennett, who oversees the St. Louis Rabbinical Association, which represents a range of Jewish denominations, said.

Bennett leads Congregation Shaare Emeth, in Creve Coeur, and he said that, in the days since the cemetery was vandalized, he has been moved by offers of support from local politicians and Muslim leaders, among many others. On Tuesday, CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, offered a five-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for J.C.C. bomb threats. Meanwhile, a crowd-funding campaign organized by Muslim nonprofits has raised more than seventy-five thousand dollars for cemetery repairs.

Bennett believes that it is possible to emphasize the specific nature of anti-Jewish acts while also framing such acts as part of a wider threat to religious freedom and minority rights. When he checked his e-mail on Tuesday, his inbox was filled with messages of sympathy. The first one he saw was from Reverend Joseph A. Weber, who presides over St. Monica Catholic Church, situated one mile from the Shaare Emeth synagogue, on the same street as the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery.

Two months ago, Weber told me, an arsonistset fireto his churchs Nativity scene; the blaze destroyed the altar and pulpit, leaving the sanctuary unusable. Weber remembers not wanting to cancel services, and thinking, I want people to know that we are still open for business. The day after the fire, Weber received a letter from Rabbi Bennett, on behalf of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association. We stand ready to assist you in any way that we can, the letter said. As fellow clergy, we offer our sincere sympathies. Bennett invited the Catholic congregation to meet at his synagogue, if necessary. Weber ultimately held services in the church gymnasium; local police did not classify the fire as a hate crime.

In his e-mail to Rabbi Bennett on Tuesday, Reverend Weber expressed his dismay at the horrible desecration of the Jewish cemetery. This morning at Mass, he added, I mentioned how understanding and helpful the Jewish community was after the fire. Weber asked his congregation to pray for the respect of all people. Rabbi Bennett took heart from the note. When we watch people suffer and feel pain, he told me, the greatest sign of love and unity is when we feel that pain ourselves.

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St. Louis Responds to a Rise in Anti-Semitism – The New Yorker

Israel does not cause antisemitism – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Lord Arthur James Balfour and the text of the Balfour Declaration. (photo credit:WIKIMEDIA)

In a recent letter to The New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israels fault that there is growing antisemitism around the world.

Balfour, who is a descendant of Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago, wrote the following: The increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing antisemitism around the world.

He argued further that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu owes it to the millions of Jews around the world who suffer antisemitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end antisemitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing antisemitism.

Roderick Balfours views are simply wrong both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews around the world because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext.

Modern-day antisemites, unlike their forbearers, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse du jour.

To prove the point, let us consider other countries: Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of Chinas occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkeys unwillingness to end the conflict in Cypress? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russias invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no.

If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the antisemites rather than on the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Moreover, Benjamin Netanyahus responsibility is to the safety and security of Israelis. Even if it were true that antisemitism is increasing as the result of Israeli policies, no Israeli policy should ever be decided based on the reaction of bigots around the world.

Antisemitism, the oldest of bigotries, will persist as long as it is seen to be justified by apologists like Roderick Balfour. Thought Balfour does not explicitly justify antisemitism, the entire thrust of his letter is that Jew-hatred is at least understandable in light of Israels policies.

Balfour doesnt say a word about the unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to accept Israels repeated offers of statehood to the Palestinians. From 1938 through 2008, the Palestinians have been offered and repeatedly rejected agreements that would have given them statehood. Even today, the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Netanyahus offer to sit down and negotiate a final-status agreement without any preconditions.

Nor does Balfour mention Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists groups that constantly threaten Israel, along with Irans publicly declared determination to destroy the state that Lord Balfour helped to create. Its all Israels fault, according to Balfour, and the resulting increase in antisemitism is Israels fault as well.

Roderick Balfour ends his letter by essentially joining the boycott movement against Israel. He has declared his unwillingness to participate in the Centenary Celebration of the Balfour Declaration, until and unless Israel takes unilateral action to end the conflict. So be it.

I am confident that the author of the Balfour Declaration would have willing participated in this celebration, recognizing that no country in history has ever contributed more to the world in terms of medical, technological, environmental and other innovations in so short a period of time (69 years) than has Israel. Nor has any country, faced with comparable threats, ever been more generous in its offers of peace, more committed to the Rule of Law, or more protective of civilians who are used as human shields by those who attack its civilians.

So let the Celebration of the Balfour Declaration go forward without the participation of Roderick Balfour. Let Israel continue to offer a peaceful resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians.

And let the Palestinians finally come to the bargaining table, and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in the way that the Balfour Declaration intended.

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Israel does not cause antisemitism – Jerusalem Post Israel News

NY Governor unveils new plan to fight antisemitism and hate crimes – Jerusalem Post Israel News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. (photo credit:REUTERS)

NEW YORK- Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Thursday a new plan of action in order to combat antisemitism and hate crimes across the state of New York, including a $25 Million grant for schools to improve security, $5,000 rewards for any Information leading to arrest and conviction for a hate crime, and a new hate crimes text line to report incidents.

The governor made the announcement during a press conference held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan, just after holding a roundtable discussion with representatives of the Jewish community and leaders of other faiths.

“New York must always be the beacon of tolerance and hope for all, and with the recent explosion of antisemitism and hate crimes, it is more important than ever before that we do everything in our power to ensure the safety and equal treatment of all New Yorkers,” he said.

“Any acts of bias or discrimination will be met with the full force of the law. New York is and always has been a place that celebrates diversity and religious tolerance, and we say to all New Yorkers who feel unsafe we will always protect you.”

The $25 million grant program for schools, which is part of the new measures taken, is intended to boost safety and security at New Yorks schools and daycare centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.

The grant program will provide funding for security upgrades such as additional security training, cameras, technology, door-hardening, improved lighting and others.

At the Governors direction, the state will also expand its toll-free hotline to include text message capability to report incidents of bias and discrimination. The hotline had been launched in November and has received over 3,175 calls to date.

Lastly, the $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime, the governor explained, aims to make sure the public is engaged in the cause.

We encourage [New Yorkers] to step up if they see it, be part of the solution, Cuomo said. We are offering the reward to encourage that but its not going to require much encouragement because I know that 99.9 percent of the people in this state are sickened by what they are seeing.

In recent months, many organizations fighting discrimination such as the Anti-Defamation League, have warned against a rise in hate crimes across the country. According to Cuomos office, in New York State, there was a 31 percent increase in reported hate crimes targeting Muslims in 2016 compared to 2015 and an 18 percent increase in reported hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals.

As far as the Jewish community is concerned, in addition to hate crimes, bomb threats have also recently surfaced. Dozens of Jewish Community Centers across the US as well as the ADLs headquarters have received such threats multiple times over the last month.

According to Governor Cuomo, these are not isolated incidents and the hate crimes are part of a clear pattern. The governor also noted that the rise in hate crimes begun in November, which correlates to the date of the election of US President Donald Trump, but maintained he wants to keep this out of politics.

I think its undeniable that the political tone from last year has created extreme views on both sides of the political spectrum and I think thats one of the factors, he said. But whatever caused it, our focus is on ending it.

Thursdays announcement adds to Governor Cuomos recent actions to combat bias and discrimination. In November, he directed the State Police to create a new Hate Crimes Unit to offer assistance to other law enforcement agencies investigating potential hate crimes.

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NY Governor unveils new plan to fight antisemitism and hate crimes – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Local Response to Anti-Semitism – CIproud.com

From desecration of cemeteries, to bomb threats, Jewish communities nationwide are concerned with the growing anti-semitism.

This past Monday, more than 150 gravestones were destroyed in a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis.

In response to this event, the Islamic Foundation of Peoria (IFP) and the Islamic Center of Peoria (ICP) wrote a letter showing support to the Jewish community.

There is a lot of hateful actions which are taking place and this was our way of reaching out to our Jewish friends and neighbors in the community in whom we have very good relations, said Imam Mufti, IFP religious director.

In a letter to Central Illinois Jewish community, Mufti calls recent anti-semitic acts, alarming and unacceptable.

It does nothing, said Mufti. I mean, this type of hate leads to nowhere. It proves no point. It is totally ineffectual. It serves no purpose.

Susan Katz is the executive director at the Jewish Federation of Peoria (JFP).

Kats says she is happy to see this support coming from the community.

Weve had people in the community reach out to use, said Katz. It feels good. Its nice to know that we have friends in the community. We knew that we did, but we really know we do now.

Anti-semitic acts have been on the rise in the U.S. in recent months.

The statistics that I have seen showed an uptick after the Republican convention, and then showed another considerable increase right after the election, said Katz.

Thursday morning, Katz received an email about a bomb threat directed toward a Jewish Community Center (J.C.C.) in Louisiana.

Im deeply concerned about the rising anti-semitism in this country because its real, said Katz. Were not imagining this. Its a problem, we need to address it.

But the uptick in threats isnt keeping religious groups from supporting one another

The cemetery that was vandalized in St. Louis, a Muslim group got together, their target was $20,000 and I think they raised $60,000 or $80,000. Thats phenomenal!

And by coming together, they hope to spread a message of peace and hope.

Theres a lot of darkness and anti-semitism out there, said Katz. But now Im seeing other minority groups step and say were going to support you and we support them.

Along with the letter, both ICP and IFP will donate a gift to the Peoria Holocaust Memorial.

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Local Response to Anti-Semitism – CIproud.com

DNC Chair Candidate Stumbles When Pressed On Anti-Semitism [VIDEO] – Daily Caller

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At CNNs Wednesday evening Democratic Leadership Debate, Minnesota Representative and DNC Chair hopeful Keith Ellison was asked to account for allegations of past anti-Semitism.

The Sunni Muslim Democratic congressman has long been dogged about hisassociation with groups like the Nation of Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He has also come under fire for statements and writings regarding the State of Israel and American support for the Jewish state, going so far as to publish a paper as a law student titled Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?

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Congressman Ellison, on Tuesday, you criticized President Trump on Twitter for not speaking out sooner on anti-Semitism. You have critics in your own party who say that is the right message but you may not be the right messenger because youre dogged by your own questions about potential anti-Semitism, debate moderator Chris Cuomo pressed.

Ellison denied the validity of the issue. Well, these are false allegations, he said, going on to cite examples of supporter in the Jewish community. These are smears and were fighting back every day.

Ellison was quick to turn the attention back to current events. Right now you have Jewish cemeteries defaced and desecrated. Right now you have Jewish institutions getting bomb threats. We have to stand with the Jewish community right here, right now, four square. And thats what the Democratic party is all about, he said.

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DNC Chair Candidate Stumbles When Pressed On Anti-Semitism [VIDEO] – Daily Caller

Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022 – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (third from left) and his guests at the launch of the National Policy Agenda in Ramallah. WAFA photo by Maan Khalifa.

RAMALLAH, February 22, 2017 (WAFA) The Palestinian government launched Wednesday the Palestine National Policy Agenda (NPA) for 2017 2022, which Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said puts the Palestinian citizen first.

Speaking at the launch event held in Ramallah in the presence of Palestinian and international guests, including United Nations Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov and European Union representative in Jerusalem Ralph Tarraf, Hamdallah said the NPAs Putting Citizens First, is a program to develop the people and achieve freedom and progress.

The purpose of the NPA is to provide basic quality services to all our people, regardless of where they live, and to strengthen their steadfastness, particularly in Area C (of the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the capital of the independent State of Palestine, and in the Gaza Strip, he said.

The agenda is based on three tracks: The road to independence, reforms and improving quality of services, and sustainable development, said Hamdallah.

The prime minister said that even though international donor aid has dropped by 70 per cent, his government was nevertheless able to overcome this hurdle, as witnessed in reports by international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said if Israel allows the Palestinian to benefit from Area C, which makes 60 per cent of the area of the West Bank and is under Israeli military control, investment in this area would bring in $3.5 billion a year to the Palestinians, as confirmed by World Bank reports.

He urged the international community to help the Palestinians get rid of Israeli control over Area C.

Speaking at the same event, UN Special Coordinator Mladenov congratulated the Palestinian government for finalizing an ambitious policy agenda for Palestine that articulates a strong, clear vision for the Palestinian people.

He said the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2018-2022, currently being developed, will be aligned with the NPA and support the strategic priorities of statehood, governance reform, as well as economic and social development.

I applaud the Government of Palestine for aligning the NPA with global imperatives including the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda and for ‘putting citizens first. This is smart governance, he said.

The NPA is expected to strengthen institutions, improve governance and develop a sustainable economy.

This is a step in the right direction that tangibly demonstrates the Palestinian commitment to advancing the two-state solution, said the UN official.

M.K.

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Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022 – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told – RT

British universities have been advised to manage Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply with the UK governments Prevent counter-extremism strategy.

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Vocal support for Palestine, Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza, and Criticism of wars in the Middle East are included in a list of contentious topics on the Safe Campus Communities website.

The website includes a training section set up by Universities UK and the governments now defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help staff fulfil their Prevent obligations.

Since 2015, Prevent has required public sector workers to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

The website says the material is intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure topics that may be seen as controversial may be debated in a safe environment.

It advises institutions to take steps to manage events in which extremist views are likely to be expressed and ensure such views are challenged by inviting additional speakers with opposing views.

Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed, it says.

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Critics fear the guidance could stifle free speech and political expression, according to Middle East Eye.

On Tuesday, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) canceled an Israel Apartheid Week event organized for next week by Friends of Palestine because of concerns it would not be balanced, Middle East Eye reports.

UCLan said it was concerned that the event, called Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement], would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the UK government.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews, including denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

UCLan said: We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.

In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist.

Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.

There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression, he said.

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Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told – RT

Memoir helps map Palestine’s struggle – Green Left Weekly

Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir By Salman Abu Sitta American University in Cairo Press 2016

Given the centrality of memory and history to the modern Palestinian identity, it is fitting that the number of memoirs and diaries being published by Palestinians seems to be rising.

In recent years, two subgenres of Palestinian autobiography and memoir have emerged. First are accounts by diarists who witnessed World War I and British Mandate rule in Palestine, and experienced the Nakba the mass displacement of Palestinians during the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 as adults.

Second are memoirs of those who were children or young adults when the Nakba occurred. These are often written with a more explicit purpose memoirs of lives as exiles and refugees fighting for Palestinian rights, rather than diaries kept for personal use.

These common themes are also found in Mapping My Return, including the trauma of war and refugee life, lives of constant struggle (with Israel, but also often with Yasser Arafat) and fierce love for their homeland.

Abu Sittas autobiography, however, gives a unique insight not only into refugee life and Palestinian politics throughout the decades, but into how he, as a Bedouin Palestinian from the southern Naqab desert within the Israeli state, experienced the Nakba and its aftermath.

His life story is rooted in the vast, fertile plains of the south-western Naqab, and the bayt al-shaer (literally house of hair or tent) in which his mother lived. The familys fields were plowed by camel, and many of the men and women who came to work on the harvest were from Egypts Sinai peninsula.

Rather than flee north into Lebanon or east towards Jordan, his escape from the Zionist forces who destroyed his childhood home was to Khan Younis near the border between Gaza and Egypt, ultimately attending school and university in Cairo.

As the son of a paramount chief of the Tarabin Bedouin, whose influence stretched from Cairo to Bir al-Saba, Abu Sitta frankly admits that his tale is not one of the most tragic, painful or traumatic fates of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians made refugees.

His elite background and family connections cushioned him from the grinding poverty that hundreds of thousands of refugees in Gaza faced.

But the trauma of the night-time attack on his fathers home in the village of al-Main during the Nakba, the destruction and theft of its fields and the sight of Israeli massacres in Gaza started off his lifes mission to try to put a face to this invisible enemy.

Although Abu Sitta forged a career as an acclaimed engineer, he also became a historian of Palestine. He meticulously documented the villages, shrines, homesteads and traditions that Israeli laws, bulldozers and museums have sought to eradicate or appropriate.

Abu Sittas childhood reminiscences evoke a time when Palestine was undergoing rapid change. His grandfathers and uncles lived in constant tension with the Ottoman Empire, sometimes going into hiding in Jordan. Even so, they fought on the Ottoman side in World War I, against British forces invading Palestine from the south.

Abu Sittas father had to adapt to change under the British Mandate. He opened the areas first school in 1920 some of the students, already regarded as men at 16, arrived to class wearing swords and introduced new plant strains.

The contradictions in Palestinian life at this time are encapsulated in Abu Sittas observations on the education he received. He writes: The British Mandate saw fit to impose Roman history and Latin on the Arab students curricula at the expense of Arab and Palestinian history.

Despite this, Abu Sitta notes: But perhaps it was not so strange. After all, Palestine had more and longer-running cultural, political and commercial links with Rome (and Greece) than England.

The story of Abu Sittas community highlights Gazas historical connections to Egypt. Family members supported the 187982 Urabi rebellion, in which Egyptian officers tried to declare independence but were defeated by a British invasion.

Despite the value attached by Western culture to written tales, Abu Sitta asserts that they just made him more confident that, in the end, it is those storytellers at the shigg [a place where men met to drink coffee] who are the real source of our history.

As an adult, Abu Sitta became a successful engineer and urban planner, working and teaching around the world.

These later sections of his memoir highlight the diversity and often the anguish of refugee existence, and lift the message of the book beyond that of one mans story.

This is a highly readable book, much recommended to anyone with an interest in Palestinian history. More than that, it is a significant piece of documentation, recounting events and ways of life that have largely been forgotten or erased.

As the generations who directly experienced the Nakba are slowly lost, writings of this kind will only become more important.

[Abridged from Electronic Intifada. Sarah Irving is author of Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian liberation and co-editor of A Bird is not a Stone.]

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Memoir helps map Palestine’s struggle – Green Left Weekly

Miller, Green surge Wellsville past East Palestine – WKBN.com

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WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN ) Wellsville bounced back from its painful OVAC defeat on Saturday in a big way, cruising to a 96-65 win over East Palestine Tuesday night.

The game was tight for the first few minutes of play. Brandon Kemp made two three-pointers early for the Bulldogs. Kemp finished with a team-high 20 points.

Wellsville hung on to a narrow lead of 7-6. Jake Green lunged for a steal off a Bulldogs turnover and soared for his first dunk of his career to help the Tigers go up by three with 4:45 left in the first quarter. Green explained that his first dunk felt amazing and that he hopes to dunk again in the tournament.

Green finished with 20 points and three rebounds.

Jeremy Reynolds hit a three point shot after Greens dunk to tie the game.

After this shot, the Tigers were unstoppable defensively. Wellsville went on a 20-0 run to end the first quarter.

The beneficiary of this defensive stand was Michael Shope, who gathered eight rebounds in the first half. Shope finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

We really played well as a unit tonight, Shope said. We just have to remember to box out and not come out slow.

The Bulldogs fought valiantly facing adversity by continually hustling to get to loose balls. East Palestine outscored Wellsville in the second quarter 18-15.

Clayton Murray kept offensive opportunities alive from crashing the glass. Murray finished the night with four points and five boards.

Wellsville went into halftime with a 44-27 lead.

Justin Miller of Wellsville and Dominic Posey of East Palestine dueled back and forth in the second half. Posey had a trio of three-pointers in the quarter. The sophomore finished the contest with 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Justin Miller finished with a double-double of 26 points, 10 assists, and five boards. Miller scored seven straight points for the Tigers midway through the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

Branzen Grodhaus and Garrett Scott got involved in the final quarter. Both of them tallied eight points in the final eight minutes of play. Scott finished with 17 points and four rebounds while Grodhaus had 12 points and six boards on the night.

Wellsville head coach David Bug Thompson expressed his thoughts on the win.

We wanted to rebound and run. On defense, we tried to pack it in the post so that they couldnt pass to the open shooters. The seniors went out with a bang. Jakes dunk was nice. I liked it.

East Palestine head coach, L.J. Sutton, reflected on the learning experience that a team like Wellsville provides for them.

We didnt match up with Wellsvilles intensity in the first period. Im proud of my guys because they worked hard and never gave up. We play really well in spurts when we move the ball. I was offered the job late in the summer so we got right into this and the guys had to learn the system. Im excited about our underclassmen coming back next year, even though our seniors contributed in many ways. We will be better because weve been through these tough games this year and we will continue to grow together.

Wellsville improves to 19-3 while East Palestine falls to 7-15. Both teams begin OHSAA tournament play next Tuesday. Wellsville will host East Canton while East Palestine travels to South Range.

The Tigers also won the Jayvee game 53-19.

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Miller, Green surge Wellsville past East Palestine – WKBN.com

Palestinian activists raise Palestine flag in Tel Rumeida to show rejection of Israel’s settlement – Palestine News Network

Hebron/PNN/Munjed jadou

A Group ofPalestinianactivists from Youth Against Settlements and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee raised Palestineflag in Flagpole up to ten meters in the Tel Rumeida area in hebron city south of west bank which facing Israeli settlement campaign.

TheactivistsRaised the flag near the Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida, where settlers put up the Israeli flag to assure thatTel Rumeida area in Hebron is Palestinian area.

The activists raised the flagpole firstand then put ladders, climbed one carrying a Palestinian flag according Palestine News Net Work PNNreporter.

Head ofyouth against settlement movement and coordinator of Open Shuhada Street campaign, told PNN reporter that raising Palestineflag inTel Rumeida is message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett,who support the establishment of settlements with support from PresidentDonald Trump and US administration that hebron that Hebron is a Palestinian city and settlement will not make it Israeli one .

Amro said that the Palestinian people are ready to resist the Israeli occupation and those who stand behind it, adding that ifdiplomacy and international law did not bring us as Palestinians to establish an independent state, our people will continue their struggle by all possible means in order to achieve legitimate national goals.

Amro explainedthat this event today comes within the framework of the international campaign to open Shuhada Street for the eighth year, noting that the campaign will include four hundred activates in many cities around the world to express rejection Israeli occupation to Hebron, and West Bank cities in general .

To his part, Munther Amira Chairman of the Higher Coordinating Committee against the Wall and settlements in the West Banksaid that Attending to Hebron andparticipate in raising Palestine flag is a message to support our brothers , calling on all parties to support open Shuhada Streetcampaign.

Amira added thatraising Palestinian flag in the heart of the city of Hebron, specifically in Tel Rumeida neighborhood and off the Israeli settlement represents also a message to challenge and steadfastness of Palestinian in the city of Hebron, praising the efforts of Open Shuhada Street campaign.

He also added that theactivities is carrying messages tostrengthen the steadfastness of our people and assur Palestinianidentity of Hebron city.

Amira called all human rights organizations to defend humanity in Tel Rumeida area and theold city of Hwbron and shuhada street adding that the Israelioccupation plans expansion is growing, which needs to unite the various efforts.

Amira said the Palestine flag is a symbol of national symbols and thousands sacrificed their lives waving this flag and they will continue until liberation of Palestine, establishment of a Palestinian state after expulsion of the Israeli occupation and its settlers.

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Palestinian activists raise Palestine flag in Tel Rumeida to show rejection of Israel’s settlement – Palestine News Network

Central Bucks’ Holocaust Awareness Junior League stands up to intolerance – Bucks County Courier Times

I cannot tell you the last time I made it through an entire school day without hearing some type of ethnic or racial slur being shouted down the hallway, or the last time I made it an entire day without witnessing or hearing about a cruel comment made about an event that should not be joked about.

I do not know when it suddenly became cool to use a certain racial slur about African Americans, or make jokes about the Holocaust, but apparently some teenagers find those topics more entertaining than funny cat videos.

I mean, they call you the aforementioned racial slur like its your name. These comments usually come from those who are either uneducated about the topic, or they simply do not care about the effects their words/actions have.

Although there is plethora of teenagers not only in our district but around the country who say these harmful words and joke around about these horrible events, there is one group in particular located right in Central Bucks who makes it their main mission to stop these acts.

This is a group of public school students from the Central Bucks area called the Holocaust Awareness Junior League. They made it their goal to bring about positive change and spread their message, explained in this mission statement they sent me:

The recent acts of intolerance toward various groups within the Central Bucks community point to a lack of education among the general population. We are public school students who are members of a non-denominational group called the Holocaust Awareness Junior League. Our mission is to promote Holocaust education to the general public through advocacy and the facilitation of survivor programs in schools.

“It is no longer enough to read about the Holocaust from a textbook. The numbers elicit no empathy. In this day and age, there is no room for bystanders. By educating youth, we can create a new generation of people open to differences and unafraid to have thoughtful conversations. Together, students and educators need to help spread the word of genocide and intolerance to make sure the stories of those who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived never disappear and wont be denied.

“Change starts with education. The importance of spreading knowledge of the Holocaust should not be diminished. We owe it to the millions of victims to continue sharing their stories so that they are never forgotten. We are the last generation with survivors, and it’s up to all of us to prevent the intolerance that comes with the lack of education. We cant accept the fact that people are being discriminated against in our community.

“If you are aware of any recent acts of intolerance within our community, and would like to discuss an appropriate response, please contact us at hajrleague@gmail.com. If you are interested in inviting a Holocaust survivor to speak at your school or to your organization, or want to learn more about local survivors, please visit the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center at http://www.hamec.org. HAJL

I do not, and I never will, understand why people think it is OK to joke around about events like the Holocaust, or use ethnic slurs, especially when they know it is not appropriate.

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Central Bucks’ Holocaust Awareness Junior League stands up to intolerance – Bucks County Courier Times

Holocaust survivor: ‘I lost my will to live’ – The Coloradoan

REMEMBERING THE HOLOCAUSTA day to honor 20 million who died and few still living | 0:49

January 27th marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day and honors the millions of people killed under the Nazi regime. Wochit

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Jack Marcus volunteered at schools and colleges to tell his Holocaust story to thousands of students. The 93-year-old survivor died Tuesday. Wochit

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Holocaust survivor Albert Garih has recounted his difficult experience during World War II countless times. But as the 76-year-old ages, he acknowledges he doesn’t have much longer to share his powerful story. Video provided by AFP AFP

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Auschwitz survivor Elie Buzyn saw his brother killed in front of him and his parents led away to the gas chambers. Too traumatised to speak of his experiences for 50 years, he now believes it’s his duty to share his story. Duration: 02:48 Video prov Newslook

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Henry Friedman, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor who never had the chance to get his high school diploma, will soon have one courtesy of a Seattle-area school district. VPC

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A Holocaust survivor recounts the story behind how quick thinking made the difference between life and death for him. VPC

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Jewish tombstones that were destroyed during the Holocaust and taken as building materials during Polands Communist era are retrieved and given back to Jewish cemeteries. Video provided by AFP Newslook

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An 82-year-old Holocaust survivor is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah with his youngest grandson after years of putting it off. VPC

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An Auschwitz survivor leads tours of the Holocaust museum 70 years after troops liberated the Nazi’s largest concentration camp. VPC

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Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where more than 1 million people were killed, most of them Jews. (July 29) AP

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A day to honor 20 million who died and few still living

93-year-old Holocaust survivor tells story to thousands before dying

Voices of holocaust survivors fading, 70 years on

Holocaust survivor Elie Buzyn speaks after 50 years of silence

Holocaust survivor to receive high school diploma

Holocaust survivor recalls the lie that saved his life

Jewish tombstones returned to final resting place

At 82, holocaust survivor celebrates Bar Mitzvah

Holocaust survivor relives experiences every week

Raw: Pope Francis visits Auschwitz-Birkenau

Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr will speak at CSU on Wednesday as part of CSU’s 20th annual Holocaust Awareness Week. Starr endured several Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz.(Photo: Valerie Mosley/The Coloradoan)Buy Photo

Fanny Starr lay in a field in Auschwitz more than 70 years ago, looking at the night sky and asking God how it was she ended up there.

White flakes fluttered through the darkened sky. It was not snow,but the ashes of bodies burned in ovens.

Her mother, two of her siblings and her extended family members were gassed and burned when they arrived at Auschwitz, Poland, and her father later starved himself in Dachau, she says. Her pain has not receded in the intervening decades.

“The pain will never go away,” said Starr, who is 95 and lives in Denver. “It’s hard. Never can you forget.”

Starr willshare her story Wednesday night at Colorado State University. The university’sStudents for Holocaust Awareness, Chabad Jewish Student Organization and Hillel organized for her to speak during the 20thAnnual Holocaust Awareness Week.

Starr was born and raised in Lodz, Poland, as one of five children. Her father ran a successful tannery, but the family was forced into the city’s ghetto in 1939 when she was a teenager.The Lodz ghetto became one of the largestin German-occupied Europe.

Nazis came to their home, forced them out, and put bullets in their St. Bernard’s head and through their aquarium.

During her time in the ghetto, Starr was forced to carefullycut apart clothes and retrieve gold, diamonds and other valuables that had been sewn in them. She tied the cloth pieces in bundles and sorted each retrieved item into barrels that would later be taken away. She did not know until she arrived at Auschwitz that the clothes she had been cutting apart belonged to murdered Jews.

CSU pledges 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030

When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Starr and her extended family members were forced into a train car. By her estimate, more than 60 of themcrowded into one car.

They arrived at Auschwitz, where they were shaved andundressed. Starr and her younger sister, Rena Alter, survived. So did a cousin and an uncle. She wouldn’t find out until 1964 that one of her brothers also survived. The rest of her family members died they were among 6 million Jews and more than 11 million total people who died during the Holocaust.

Starr and Alter were dressed in gray-striped outfits at Auschwitz, but they weren’t tattooed because there were too many people coming through the camp at the time. It was then that Starr said that she gave up.

“I didn’t want to live,” she said. “I lost my will to live.”

The camp was crawling with lice, she said, and many of the people on the bunk beds around her were dead. She pauses and cries when sharing these details, and folds and re-folds a tissue she holds in her hands.

Doctors repair stuffed animals at Teddy Bear Hospital

She credits her sister with keeping her alive. Alter grabbed Starr by her striped dress, stood her up and smacked her in the face.

“You have to put yourself together,” Starr recalls her sister saying. “We have to go forward.”

The pair filtered through other camps across Europe, includingRavensbruck, Mauthausen-Gusenand Bergen-Belsen.

In Mauthausen-Gusen, Starr helped buildV-2 missiles for the Germans. A man taught her how to do the job and hid half an apple to giveto her, an act she said proved he had a good heart.

She was liberated on April 15, 1945, in Bergen-Belsen, but she remained there because it served as a camp for displaced people and because they could not leave without a sponsor. She met her husband, Zesa Starr, there, and they were married at Bergen-Belsen. Their first child was born at the former camp.

Their second was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and their third in Denver. Helen Starr, their youngest, traveled to Fort Collins for her mother’s speech Wednesday. She’s also helped her mother to tell her story across the country, a story shesaid has incredible significance today.

Helen Starr notedthe recent threats and vandalism aimed at Jews, including destruction at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis and a spate of bomb threats aimed at Jewish community centers.

Investigation: Child abuse cases overburden system

Helen also noted that Fanny Starr is one of a small number of survivors alive and willing to talk about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

“There is only a handful of survivors that will speak,” she said. “You could sit down in a room with all of her friends, who are all survivors, they will not talk about anything. It is very painful. They’re humiliated and ashamed that they couldn’t stand up and fight.”

For more information about CSU’s20thAnnualHolocaust Awareness Week, visitholocaust.colostate.edu.

What: An evening with Holocaust survivorFanny Starr

When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 6:30-9 p.m.

Where: Lory Student Center Main Ballroom

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Holocaust survivor: ‘I lost my will to live’ – The Coloradoan

Holocaust survivor, 91, beats cancer – Fox5NY

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) – A Brooklyn man who survived of the Holocaust has beaten the odds once again. This time he survived a health crisis.

“A lot of people did the same thing that I did and they didn’t survive, maybe I had a little luck,” Ludwig Charatan said.

It was a lot more than luck that led Charatan, 91, to survive the Nazis and most recently, cancer. Perseverance and a strong will to live are why this Brooklyn remains a living legacy, according to his doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“It’s a wonderful story of someone who throughout his life has met so many different aspects of almost unbelievable adversity yet comes out of it with the best attitude,” said Dr. Daniel Labow, chief of surgical oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

As a teenager, Charatan miraculously survived Janowska concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and witnessed the slaughtering of family and friends. In the 1970s, he was called to Germany to testify in court against the camp’s commander, Fritz Gebauer. Charatan later wrote a memoir called “Eye to Eye.”

“Well sometimes I get a little depressed and sometimes you’re happy that you’re still alive and can see your family,” Charatan said. “And to live to this kind of age like I live, it’s a really nice age to live. I never expected to live to this kind of age.”

Charatan built a life in Brooklyn with his wife, Dora, two children and later grandchildren. But just when he thought he survived it all, a few months ago doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his gallbladder. He was ready to fight again, with two hero physicians by his side.

“This man seems to have moved in and out of shadows of absolutely catastrophic problems through the course of his entire life and by the means of something enchanted always comes out and makes the best of it and survives,” said Dr. Michael Marin, chairman of surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospitals.

Now cancer-free, Charatan is ready to take on the world once more. He lives by the motto “Never sweat small stuff.”

“You have to try your best,” Charatan said. “You don’t make from small things a big issue because a Holocaust survivor went through so much.”

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Holocaust survivor, 91, beats cancer – Fox5NY

JFS to screen Holocaust docudrama – Sun Sentinel

Goodman Jewish Family Service of Broward County will be screening the Holocaust docudrama “Nicky’s Family” at their annual “Screening With a Meaning” event on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Savor Theater, 503 NE Sixth St. in Fort Lauderdale.

The screening is a benefit for the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program at GJFS.

The docudrama tells the true story of how Sir Nicholas Winton of England organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children in 1939, just prior to the outbreak of World War II, with his own personal kindertransport (translated as “children’s transport).

Winton arranged for the youngsters to be placed in the homes of British families until the end of World War II.

The evidence of Winton’s story was hidden by Winton until 1988, when his wife found a suitcase filled with documents about his plans to rescue the children, in their attic.

Winton’s story was revealed in a 1989 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television show that reunited Winton with 100 of the children.

For his heroic act, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Winton in 2003. Winton has been dubbed as the “British Oskar Schindler” by the British press.

“Nicky’s Family” was filmed in 2011 as a docudrama that has interviews with many of the rescued children along with Winton, who died at age 106 in 2015. The film also has dramatic reenactments of Winton with the rescued children in 1939.

“This is a wonderful true story of heroism that is inspiring,” wrote film critic Anita Gates of the New York Times in 2013.

Local Holocaust survivor Rena Finder of Delray Beach will introduce the film at the event and share her testimony of survival.

Finder’s story is about how Nazi industrialist Oskar Schindler, (whom she describes as “an angel”), personally saved her from being murdered by the Nazis.

“Schindler was wonderful. He was tall, handsome and had a twinkle in his eye. He was our hero and our god. How can you say thank you for someone who saved your life,” said Finder.

Born in Krakow, Poland, Finder was a 10-year-old child when World War II began. The Nazis killed her father and forced young Rena and her mother into slave labor at Schindler’s factory.

Finder’s testimony is one of many stories of Schindler’s legacy that is well known by the mass popularity of Stephen Spielberg’s 1993 film “Schindler’s List,” which won seven Academy Awards and was lauded by film critics as one of the best films ever made about the Holocaust.

For tickets and more information on the film screening, contact Goodman Jewish Family Service at 954-370-2140 or go to http://www.jfsbroward.org

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JFS to screen Holocaust docudrama – Sun Sentinel

Stolen ‘Arbeit macht frei’ gate returned to Holocaust memorial in Dachau – Deutsche Welle

The original wrought-iron gate carrying the infamous Nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“work sets you free”) was returned to Dachau from Norway on Wednesday.

It willbe restored and publicly unveiled this April onthe 72nd anniversaryof the camp’s liberation. The gate will not be returned to its original location, but rather be displayed in the museum on the grounds of the former concentration camp near Munich inBavaria that now serves as a memorial.

A replica of the stolen gate was installed in April 2015 for the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation

The replica that replaced the stolen gate in 2015 will remain on site.

“This is a meaningful day for the memorial,” said Ludwig Spaenle, the Bavarian minister of cultural affairs. He called the theft of the gate an attack on a place of remembrance and said that the integrity of the memorial could now be “somewhat healed.”

Karl Freller, who heads thefoundation responsible for the Dachau memorial, said he was “happy and grateful,”stating “now that we have the gate back we will not let it out of our sight.”

The gate, measuring roughly two meters by one meter (7 by 3feet) and weighing around 100 kilograms (220 pounds), was stolen in November 2014, sparking outrage at home and abroad. Two years later, the gate wasfound in a parking lot near Bergen, Norwayafter an anonymous tipster contacted the police. Forensic tests did not reveal any fingerprints or DNA.Investigators have not yet been able to identify any suspects and the motive for the crime remains unclear.

The Dachau theft is not the first case where a relic bearing the Nazi slogan was stolen from a former concentration camp. In 2009, a sign was stolen in Auschwitz. The Swedish neo-Nazi and five Poles responsible for the theft were quickly found and sentenced to up to two and a half years in prison.

A cynical propaganda slogan

The sign “Arbeit macht frei” was displayed in several large extermination camps. The phrase is considered one of the most cynical examples of Nazi propaganda language. Many of the people forced into extermination campswere forced to work without any compensation, literally working themselves to death in countlesscases. The iron gate itself was a productofforced laborat the Dachau: communist prisoner Karl Rder was forced by Nazi officials to forge the “Arbeit macht frei” slogan.

US Vice President Pence passed through a replica of the gate during his visit last Sunday

Set up in 1933, the Dachau concentration camp was first such camp established by theNazis and became a prototype for similar detention facilities interritories controlled by the Germansduring World War II. The camp just north of Munich was initially set up to incarcerate political prisoners, but was later turned into a death camp for Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, Christian activists and other dissidents. More than40,000 inmates died at Dachau.

Today, the former camp serves as a memorial, offering tours to teach about the horrors of the Holocaust. Dachau attracts more than800,000 visitors a year, including prominent international state officials, such as US Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the memorial last weekend.

As Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, the virulently anti-Semitic Goebbels was responsible for making sure a single, iron-clad Nazi message reached every citizen of the Third Reich. He strangled freedom of the press, controlled all media, arts, and information, and pushed Hitler to declare “Total War.” He and his wife committed suicide in 1945, after poisoning their six children.

The leader of the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Nazi) developed his anti-Semitic, anti-communist and racist ideology well before coming to power as Chancellor in 1933. He undermined political institutions to transform Germany into a totalitarian state. From 1939 to 1945, he led Germany in World War II while overseeing the Holocaust. He committed suicide in April 1945.

As leader of the Nazi paramilitary SS (“Schutzstaffel”), Himmler was one of the Nazi party members most directly responsible for the Holocaust. He also served as Chief of Police and Minister of the Interior, thereby controlling all of the Third Reich’s security forces. He oversaw the construction and operations of all extermination camps, in which more than 6 million Jews were murdered.

Hess joined the Nazi party in 1920 and took part in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to gain power. While in prison, he helped Hitler write “Mein Kampf.” Hess flew to Scotland in 1941 to attempt a peace negotiation, where he was arrested and held until the war’s end. In 1946, he stood trial in Nuremberg and was sentenced to life in prison, where he died.

Alongside Himmler, Eichmann was one of the chief organizers of the Holocaust. As an SS Lieutenant colonel, he managed the mass deportations of Jews to Nazi extermination camps in Eastern Europe. After Germany’s defeat, Eichmann fled to Austria and then to Argentina, where he was captured by the Israeli Mossad in 1960. Tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity, he was executed in 1962.

A participant in the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Gring became the second-most powerful man in Germany once the Nazis took power. He founded the Gestapo, the Secret State Police, and served as Luftwaffe commander until just before the war’s end, though he increasingly lost favor with Hitler. Gring was sentenced to death at Nuremberg but committed suicide the night before it was enacted.

Author: Cristina Burack

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Stolen ‘Arbeit macht frei’ gate returned to Holocaust memorial in Dachau – Deutsche Welle

Holocaust survivor reflects on traumatizing experience – Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Holocaust Survivor Dr. William Samelson talks about the Holocaust and its consequences on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at Corpus Christi Jewish Community Center in Corpus Christi.(Photo: Gabe Hernandez/Caller-Times)Buy Photo

It’s hard to tell William Samelson had experienced one of the largest atrocitiesin history.

Throughout his talk Tuesday evening at the Corpus Christi Jewish Community Center, he laughed often, and even took a phone call from his daughter in the midst of speaking.

“I’m glad I didn’t silence my phone,” he joked to the crowd after the brief conversation with his youngest daughter.

But life hasn’t always been that pleasant for him. Samelsonsurvived the Holocaust.

Samelson wrote about his life experiences titled “The Holocaust and Its Consequences.” Writing, he said, was his form of therapy.

Samelson was only 11 when Nazis rounded up all the Jews in his Polish village to take them to concentration camps. He carried a violin under his arm and recalls an officer asking him to play it.

“I thought for a moment my musical talent might save some people here,” he told the audience.

The officer immediately shattered Samelson’s comforting thought.

“He ripped the violin from under my chin and destroyed it on my head,” he said.

Samelson was fortunate to go through concentration camps with his brother by his side, but they were separated from their mother and younger sister.

“It was almost 80 years ago that I heard the anguishing cry of my mother,” he said slowly, as he stopped to wipe his tears. “The last time we saw her, she was climbing into the freight train and we lost sight of her.”

In his book Samelson included a chapter about how he imagined the kind of life his sister would have had. In the chapter, he said his sister finds love and gets married.

“Fantasy is a precious thing,” he said.

Samelson also took a moment to recognize the Nazis he encountered whoshowed empathy to Jews. He credited his survival to them.

“If it were not for the ones that were kind, no one would have survived,” he said.

After his camp was liberated by the U.S. Army in 1945, Samelson caught up on his education. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and has taught in universities around the country.

Despite the hardships, Samelson has been able to make up for the time he lost in concentration camps, and has enjoyedlife along the way.

“I try to laugh often,” he said. “Life is not a tragedy. It’s a comedy.”

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Holocaust survivor reflects on traumatizing experience – Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Educators learn new ways to teach Holocaust studies – Sun Sentinel

A record number of 120 participants recently took part in the annual advanced Holocaust Symposium at the University of Miami.

During this recent symposium, teacher graduates of the UM Holocaust Teacher Institute, which takes place each summer, learned news ways to incorporate Holocaust education into their classrooms. This symposium was hosted by UM School of Law together with WLRN, the School of Education & Human Development and The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies.

Miriam Klein Kassenoff, director for the Holocaust Teacher Institute, said “The participants’ dedication and enthusiasm was amazing. Imagine coming on a rainy Sunday and staying all day and always asking great questions.”

The symposium included presentations by Jeremy Nesoff, associate program director for the Leadership Academy of the Boston-based organization Facing History and Ourselves, and renowned Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum. Haim Shaked, founding director of UM’s Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, also participated in a discussion with Berenbaum. The symposium also honored Joanne Harvest Koren, Lecturer in Law and director of UM School of Law’s Academic Achievement Program, for her dedication and unwavering support for it.

Nesoff said, “For me to be at a symposium with scholars like Dr. Berenbaum and Dr. Kassenoff who are really focused on how to bring this history to the students is so valuable and so important that it’s just an honor to be a part of it.”

“I really hope the teachers teaching our adolescents can leave with really concrete ideas about how they can teach this subject to our students and also think about the purpose, and the purpose should really be about civil engagement,” he added.

Kassenoff praised the guest presenters.

“Dr. Berenbaum is always brilliant,” She said. “His lectures elevate and thus the teachers feel elevated in that they have been treated to such excellent scholarship. It makes them feel energized to teach what they learn from him.”

Kassenoff continued, “Jeremy Nesoff is a top well known Holocaust educator and he inspires the teachers to show connections in teaching the Holocaust using art, poetry and literature a wonderful new lesson for my teachers.”

Mary A. Milan, a social studies teacher at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School in Miami who volunteered at the symposium, said it’s “basically teaching teachers how to teach the Holocaust.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for teachers,” Milan noted. “Every time I come here I learn something new. Even if Miriam brings Dr. Berenbaum on a regular basis as her guest lecturer, he brings new information every time. She also brings different people in every time and it’s great stuff for my education and for me to pass on to my students as I’m surprised how much this generation is interested in the Holocaust.”

Gary Sheckman, a teacher at Gulliver Preparatory School in Pinecrest and a volunteer for the seminar, which he calls a “unique program,” said, “I’ve seen Michael Berenbaum many times here. He’s a really fascinating person. It’s amazing how much he knows and that he has all the dates and people down.”

When asked to discuss the importance of this seminar due to the recent rash of violence in the world today, the number of survivors dwindling due to age and the Holocaust deniers out there, Kassenoff responded, “I think with what is going on in the world today, it is important for people who attend seminars such as our Holocaust seminars to learn how to study history through facts real facts, not alternative facts and that the educators continue to give students a moral compass of how to live and how to lead and how important it is for them to be engaged in our country’s civic lessons and be active in how they want America to be governed for their future.”

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Educators learn new ways to teach Holocaust studies – Sun Sentinel

How Marie Antoinette and Sean Spicer Are Making Babka Famous – Forward

Bomb threats against JCCs throughout the U.S. are bringing many reactions, but none tastier than this tweet from The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in response to Presidential spokesman Sean Spicers bizarre insistence that Donald Trump has spoken out against anti-Semitism many times:

Thats a nice Jewish twist on let them eat cake, which is a frequently used translation of a sentence in Jean-Jacques Rousseaus autobiography, Confessions. But wait thats just the beginning of the story.

In French, the sentence actually reads: Quils mangent de la brioche and it is often mis-attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, who was nine years old in 1765, when Rousseau wrote those words in his multi-volume opus. (He finally published it in 1782.)

In the interest of facts, an endangered concept these days, in the previous sentence, Rousseau merely refers to a grande princesse, and he doesnt name names. Theres no record of Marie Antoinette saying anything about brioche.

What the let them eat cake saga does show is that fake news has a long history; the misattributed utterance was taken as a symbol of total disregard for the struggles of poor peasants; brioche was a luxury, and certainly not within the means of the poor.

Back to babka and the contemporary struggle for actual reality. Yes, the Anne Frank Center was suggesting that the current administration literally, at least should eat some yeast cake that in Jewish tradition usually includes lots of chocolate or cinnamon. Figuratively, of course, the Anne Frank Center was displaying its disdain for Spicers claim.

But language nerds had another pressing concern. Come to think of it, what does the word babka mean?

The Oxford English Dictionary says babka is the diminutive form of baba, which, via French from Polish, literally married peasant woman. (The shadow of Marie Antoinette and the peasants lives on.) The OED also points out that baba in Indian culture means father or respected older man, but thats not relevant to the European cake that has become a staple of Jewish-American cooking as well as Israeli bake shops.

If babka immediately makes you think grandmother, or the Yiddish word for grandmother, bubbe, its because, well, thats also what babka means.

Savta. Bubbe. Grandma.

The Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian baba mean grandmother or little grandmother. And while this may sound a bit creepy, The Oxford Companion to Food points out that the babkas bottom part looks like the pleats of a skirt in other words, the kind of thing grandma might wear.

No matter what grandma is wearing, many of us would love it if a brigade of feisty Jewish grandmothers were responding to Spicer and Trump right now, perhaps while slinging babka.

So how did a word for grandmother become a pastry? According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, babka as a pastry name came to English from Polish, via French. But dont worry too much about grandmas disappearance from use: The Canadian Oxford assures us that babka is still sometimes used in its original meaning (grandmother), especially among those of Central and Eastern European descent. And of course, the word babushka can be heard in neighborhoods with Russian-Jewish grandmothers in abundance. Babushka means grandmother, and is the diminutive of baba, or older woman, according to Merriam-Webster.

If all this etymology just makes you want to snack, youre in luck. You can certainly make babka at home, no matter what your heritage, and a bonus is that making babka can keep you busy long enough to miss a news cycle and the accompanying rise in blood pressure.

Baking a chocolate babka is no casual undertaking, writes Melissa Clark of The New York Times in her introduction to her babka recipe.

The Eastern European yeast-risen coffee cake has 14 steps and takes all day to make, Clark writes. But the results are worth every sugarcoated second with a moist, deeply flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a dark fudge filling, then topped with cocoa streusel crumbs.

Here is her recipe:

If fourteen steps seems too simple, and you want to stay busy and distracted from the Presidency for even longer, Bon Appetit offers a babka recipe featuring a double helix twist. Think of it as supporting science, another endangered entity right now.

Maybe babka will get a Trump bump, just like Nordstroms, Teen Vogue, and other unexpected members of the resistance. But for those who follow pastry, grandmothers favorite snack, babka, was getting kind of hot before the Anne Frank Center made it even hotter.

Bon Appetit magazine declared last month that babka is the new bagel, meaning it is finely making its way to the masses. We can only rejoice, Vered Guttman of Haaretz wrote about a year ago, when it seemed a bit easier to rejoice.

Not to be outdone, Haaretz offers a classic poppyseed babka recipe, an ideal treat to master with Purim only weeks away. Last but certainly not least, Haaretz even offers a ten-photo, step-by-step babka-making primer which makes babka-making seem totally doable, and even soothing.

Far less damaging to the heart rate than watching Sean Spicer, and a reminder that if our grandmothers survived what they survived and still managed to roll dough, spread chocolate, and enjoy the ensuing babka, perhaps we can best get through this with a little piece of elaborate yeast cake too.

Aviya Kushner is The Forwards language columnist and the author of The Grammar of God (Spiegel & Grau). Follow her on Twitter at @AviyaKushner

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How Marie Antoinette and Sean Spicer Are Making Babka Famous – Forward

Baptist Leaders ‘Strengthen Connection to Israel’ on Bridge-Building Mission – Breaking Israel News

Fourteen U.S. Baptist leaders returned from Israel this week after learning about the Jewish state beyond the headlines and building Christian-Jewish bridges, in a mission, Feb. 13-20, organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship).

The Baptist leaders toured Christian and Jewish holy sites including the Western (Wailing) Wall and Old City of Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Masada, Caesarea, Muhraka (Horn of Carmel) and Meggido. The group also made a special visit to Israels Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.

Visiting the Holy Land of Israel is a great privilege. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn about the Jewish homeland and our Christian heritage and to strengthen our connection to the Israeli people and most importantly, to G-d, said Rev. Samuel Tolbert, a trip leader and president of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA).

The Baptist leaders were the most recent major Christian group to visit Israel with The Fellowship. In the summer of 2015, The Fellowship hosted 21 top ministers of the Detroit-based Pentecostal group the Church of God In Christ, while in in Jan. 2016, it brought 22 top clergy of the Washington, D.C.-based Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), the movement of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to Israel. In May of last year, 26 leaders of the NBCA the second-largest African-American Baptist group also visited Israel with The Fellowship, and last Sept. The Fellowship brought 22 leaders from the Bahamas-based Global United Fellowship (GUF) to Israel.

We were honored to host these outstanding Baptist leaders in Israel, said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. By experiencing the spiritual power of the Holy Land, they deepened their own faith while strengthening the profound historic bonds between the Christian and Jewish people.

The Fellowship was formed in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today The Fellowship is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel and Jewish needs around the world.

Participants in this months mission included Tolbert, Rev. Derick Brennan of Philadelphia; Rev. Dr. Jason Coker of Jackson, Mich.; Rev. Earlene Coleman of McKeesport, Pa.; Rev. Gary Dollar of Glen Carbon, Ill.; Dr. Brian Ford of Columbia, Mo.; Dr. Jim Hill of Kirkwood, Mo.; Rev. Forestal Lawton, of Kansas City, Mo.; Rev. Steven T. Mack, of Camden, N.J.; Dr. Harry Rowland of Decatur, Ga.; Rev. Doyle Sager of Jefferson City, Mo.; Rev. Napoleon Smith of Albuquerque, N.M.; Rev. Julian K. Woods of Lake Charles, La.; and Rev. James E. Victor, of Arlington, Va.

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Baptist Leaders ‘Strengthen Connection to Israel’ on Bridge-Building Mission – Breaking Israel News