Trump calls rising violence aimed at Jews ‘horrible and painful’ – Washington Post

President Trump urged Americans to “fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” including antisemitic threats targeted at Jewish community centers, speaking on Feb. 21 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (The Washington Post)

President Trump, under pressure to speak out against rising anti-Semitic vandalism in the country, said Tuesday that such acts are horrible and painful.

Trump used a morning visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to offer his condemnation, saying his tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms.

The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are 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, Trump said.

[Jewish cemetery vandalized. Jewish centers threatened. ADL calls on Trump to step forward.]

During an earlier interview with NBC News at the site, Trump said: Anti-Semitism is horrible and its going to stop, and it has to stop.

I certainly hope they catch the people, he added.

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish Community Centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats this year. More than 170 Jewish gravestones were toppled at a cemetery in Missouri over the weekend.

Growing outcry against a recent spate of anti-Semitic acts and threats pushed President Trump to denunciate the rising violence, calling it “a sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Calls for Trump to condemn the violence had been growing. On Twitter on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, added her voice to those calling on Trump to speak out.

Jewish Community Center threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS, Clinton said.

Trump was offered an opportunity to condemn the rising violence at a new conference Thursday. In response to an invitation by a reporter to do so, Trump called the question insulting and instead defended his personal beliefs, saying: I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life.

Earlier in the week, appearing at another news conference alongsideIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump was asked about rising anti-Semitic violence across the country and started his answer by talking about the size of his electoral college victory in the fall. Trump said he wants to heal a divided nation, but did not explicitly condemn the spate of violence.

[Trump was asked a question about anti-Semitism. His answer was about the electoral college.]

Trumps daughter Ivanka Trump, who joined him on the museum tour Tuesday, took to Twitter on Monday night to address the issue, saying: We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers.

President Trumps words Tuesday were welcomed by some and criticized by others as too late.

The Presidents sudden acknowledgment is a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration, said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting ant-semitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record.

Goldstein was critical in particular of the White Houses decision not to mention Jews in a statement last month marking the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, called Trumps statement as welcome as it is overdue.

President Trump has been inexcusably silent as this trend of anti-Semitism has continued and arguably accelerated, Pesner said. The president of the United States must always be a voice against hate and for the values of religious freedom and inclusion that are the nations highest ideals.

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Trump calls rising violence aimed at Jews ‘horrible and painful’ – Washington Post

After weekend of anti-Semitic acts, Clinton urges Trump to ‘speak out’ – Washington Post

Growing outcry against a recent spate of anti-Semitic acts and threats pushed President Trump to denunciate the rising violence, calling it “a sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

President Trump called anti-Semitic violence horrible and vowed Tuesday to take steps to counter extremism in comments that followed criticism that the White House had not clearly denounced vandalism and threats targeting Jewish institutions.

Hours before Trumps remarks, Hillary Clinton called on her former presidential rival to speak out against anti-Semitic acts aftermore than 170 Jewish graves were found toppled at a cemetery in Missouri.

The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are 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, Trump said following a visit to the Smithsonians National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Trump called the tour a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. Earlier, he told NBC News that anti-Semitism is horrible, and its going to stop.

The remarks by Trump also appear aimed at easing pressure on his administration, which faces claims from opponents that it has failed to distance itself from extremist ideology and has emboldened right-wing groups through its populist, America-first themes.

The tweet from Clinton did not specifically mention the gravesite disturbances inUniversity City, Mo., but noted increasing reports of troubling threats against Jewish community centers, cemetery desecrations and online intimidation.

Clintons message to Trump came as the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, also urged U.S. officials to recognize that anti-Semitism is alive and kicking.

American Jews are worried, Lauder said in a statement. It is shocking to see that Jewish sites are once again being targeted by criminals.

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats since the beginning of the year, it said.The development elicited comments from a White House spokesman and Ivanka Trump, neither of which used the phrase anti-Semitism or mentioned Jews.

Glad to see this, the ADLs chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt,tweeted of Ivanka Trumps comment. All Jews need to urge the president to step forward & share a plan. His words carry weight. His actions will speak even louder.

The exchanges were particularly noteworthy in part because of Trumps unusual response at a news conferenceWednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a question about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the country. Rather than condemning them, Trump responded by talking about his electoral college victory.

Trump has been criticized forrefusing to describe the threats toward Jews as anti-Semitism. An op-ed at the Forward, the New York-based newspaper written for a Jewish audience, described Trumps silence about anti-Semitism as deeply disturbing.

When asked again about the rise in anti-Semitic threats, during another news conference on Thursday, the president responded as ifhe were beingpersonally accused. Trumpsaidthat thequestion was very insulting and that he was the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life.

The weekends events, coming in the wake of last weeks public exchanges with Trump, served to heat up a long-simmering tension between some leaders of the nations Jewish community and the Trump White House.

The perpetrators of the cemetery vandalism and their motives arenot yet established. Police in University City, an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis, have launched an investigation. They are reviewing video surveillance at the cemetery, which is operated on a not-for-profit basis by the Chesed Shel Emeth Society,and calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Because of the Sabbath, the cemetery does not operate on Saturday, the director of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, Anita Feigenbaum, told The Washington Post in a phone interview.

A groundskeeper arrived Monday morning to find gravestones overturned across a wide section of the cemetery, the oldest section, bearing the remains of Jews who died between the late 1800s and the mid-20th century.

She called it a horrific act of cowardice, beyond anything the cemetery had experienced in the past.

The cemetery was founded in 1888 by the Russian Jewish community in St. Louis to aid all Jews who needed burial whether they had the money or not. They started with the burial society and then extended to hospitals and houses that help the poor and the sick. To this day thats what we do. We are not for profit. We help in this horrible time in a persons life.

Feigenbaum had walked through the cemetery during the day and had not yet completed counting the number of damaged stones, most of them pushed over, off their bases. So far she said she had found more than 170. Feigenbaum said she was starting to hear from families of people buried there. We will reach out to the families that are affected, she said.

The cemetery holds the remains of more than 20,000, she estimated.

She said she was getting an outpouring of support from across the United States with people volunteering to help with repairs.

Separately on Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats since the beginning of the year, it said.

While ADL does not have any information at this time to indicate the presence of any actual bombs at the institutions threatened, the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive and must always be taken seriously.

Bomb threats were called in at Jewish community centers in 11cities across the United States: Albuquerque, Amherst, Birmingham, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, St. Paul, Tampa and Whitefish Bay, Wis.Since January, there have been 69 bomb threatcalls targeting 54 centers in 27 different states, according to the Jewish Community Center Association.

In Amherst and Buffalo, the community centers werebriefly closedafter a threat was phoned to the Amherst center. Disruption was the goal, saidRichard A. Zakalik, the local New York JCC executive director, to the Buffalo Newson Monday. They accomplished what they wanted, Zakalik said to the Buffalo News.The whole point was to scare and disrupt.

No devices or bombs were found in connection with thethreats; the Jewish Community Center Association described all of Mondays incidents ashoaxes. The FBI and the civil rights division of the Justice Department will probe the series of calls for federal violations, according tothe Star Tribune.

Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network, the security affiliate of Jewish Federations of North America, told theJewish Telegraphic Agency that the bomb threats appeared to originate from the same serial caller. Noting that not every building that received a call decided to evacuate, he said that the community centers were very well-equipped to handle this. The centers also increased their security measures after the threats, the JCCA noted.

The weekend spate of anti-Semitic threats was not limited to the United States. In Canada, a 70-year-old Toronto woman named Helen Chaiton said that her mezuza, the case containing Hebrew verse traditionally affixed to a doorpost, had been vandalized twice over the weekend. Chaiton and her neighbors also found that the vandals had left behind sticky notes with swastikas, the CBC reported.

[Anti-Semitic jokes cause YouTube, Disney to distance themselves from PewDiePie]

Responding to an inquiry from NBC Newsabout the threats, the White House tweeted back: Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

The tweet from Ivanka Trump, a convert to Judaism, appeared to be unsolicited and drew generally favorable reaction, but also questions about why her father, the president, seemed reluctant to speak out.

The ADLissued a statementon Feb. 16,characterizingTrumps news conference reaction as mind-boggling.

On two separate occasions over the past two days, President Trump has refused to say what he is going to do about rising anti-Semitism or to even condemn it, the ADL said in the statement. This is not a partisan issue. Its a potentially lethal problem and its growing.

And after the new rash of phoned-in threats Monday, theorganizations chief executivedrew a connection between the incidents and the presidential silence. A lack of attention to this from the president creates an environment in which the bigots feel empowered, Greenblatt, of the ADL, told Haaretz. They feel like their intolerance is being tolerated.

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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After weekend of anti-Semitic acts, Clinton urges Trump to ‘speak out’ – Washington Post

White House denounces threats to Jewish centers – CNN

The reaction is notable coming after weeks of criticism that the Trump administration has not been forceful enough to denounce acts of anti-Semitism that have occurred nationwide since his election.

“Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable,” said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law are both Orthodox Jews, as are his grandchildren, something he mentions frequently. On Monday evening, Ivanka Trump tweeted, “America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC”

Eleven bomb threats were reported by various centers on Monday alone, according to the JCC Association of North America.

David Posner, the director of strategic performance of the JCC Association of North America, said community centers across the US and Canada have received 69 threats at 54 centers since January. The organization is working with law enforcement and the FBI to investigate the threats.

“While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life,” Posner said in a statement. “Local JCCs serve not just the Jewish community, but the entire community. Participants from all different backgrounds come to their local JCCs for activities, Jewish cultural and religious programming, and opportunities to come together as a community.”

The Anti-Defamation League also spoke out against the threats Monday, saying in a statement it was “deeply disturbed” by them.

“While ADL does not have any information at this time to indicate the presence of any actual bombs at any of the institutions threatened, the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive, and must always been taken seriously,” the statement said.

During a press conference last week, Trump himself was less clear about his position on the matter. When asked directly by a reporter for a Jewish publication about the rise in anti-Semitic threats, the President told the reporter to sit down, called the question insulting and responded by defending himself in hyperbolic terms.

“So here’s the story folks: No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”

The White House also faced criticism on International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month when it omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in a statement marking the day.

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks explained to CNN the statement omitted references to Jews because “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.”

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White House denounces threats to Jewish centers – CNN

Vandals damage 100 headstones at Jewish cemetery, police say – CNN

Vandals toppled and damaged about 100 headstones at the St. Louis area’s Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in the past week, police said Monday. University City police didn’t release further details about when the vandalism happened, but they said officers first responded to a report about the damage at about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens tweeted Monday night that he was “disgusted to hear about the senseless act of desecration at the cemetery in University City.”

“We must fight acts of intolerance and hate,” the tweet reads.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Greitens called the damage a “cowardly” and “despicable act of what appears to be anti-Semitic vandalism.”

Regardless of the motive for the vandalism, the cemetery is sacred ground, said Karen Aroesty of the Anti-Defamation League of St. Louis.

“The level of tension in the Jewish community is pretty high,” she told the TV station.

The land where the cemetery is located was purchased in 1893 by a group of Jewish immigrants from Russia.

The investigation into the cemetery break-in comes as 11 phoned-in bomb threats were reported by various Jewish centers across the country Monday morning, according to the JCC Association of North America.

From the start of the year through Monday, 69 bomb threats have made to 54 Jewish centers in the United States and Canada, said David Posner, the association’s director of strategic performance.

No bombs were found, and no one was injured in connection with the threats, according to the organization, which is working with law enforcement and the FBI to investigate the calls.

Before the White House denounced the bomb threats Monday, the Trump administration faced criticism that it had not sufficiently rebuked acts of anti-Semitism that have occurred nationwide since the election.

“So here’s the story folks: No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.”

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks explained to CNN the statement omitted references to Jews because “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.”

CNN’s Dani Stewart, Artemis Moshtaghian and Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.

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Vandals damage 100 headstones at Jewish cemetery, police say – CNN

Vatican, Rome’s Jews to Hold Unprecedented Joint Art Exhibit – Voice of America

The Vatican and Rome’s Jewish Museum have announced an unprecedented event a joint exhibit focusing on the menorah, the candelabra that is the ancient symbol of Judaism.

The exhibit will open May 15 and run through July 23, and will be simultaneously held in St. Peter’s Square and in the museum in Rome’s main synagogue.

The displays will include pieces of artwork and other exhibits from around the world, centering on the importance of the menorah in both Jewish and Christian history and culture.

Officials say the highlight will be tracing the fate of the solid-gold menorah taken by the emperor Titus when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.

Although paintings show the emperor carrying the menorah, it is still unknown exactly what happened to it, and there are numerous accounts of its fate.

But many historians believe it was stolen when the Vandals raided and sacked Rome in 455.

A newly found stone from the Galilee synagogue dating to the first century A.D. will be another highlight of the exhibit.

Ties between the Roman Catholic Church and world Judaism have improved immensely since 1965 when the Vatican repudiated Jewish guilt for the death of Christ.

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Vatican, Rome’s Jews to Hold Unprecedented Joint Art Exhibit – Voice of America

The Jews and the Chinese: A connection between ‘the world’s most ancient people’ – Ynetnews

When Israeli footballer Eran Zahavi received a proposal to play in the Chinese league, he wasnt very keen on moving there, despite the large sums of money he was offered. He deliberated for a long time, looked into other options, and even an astronomic salary was unable to make him rush into signing the contract.

The Exodus from China, 1947: The country’s Jews leaving after the war

While the connection today is basically a business relationship, a review of history reveals that there were quite a few Jewish communities that found their place in China throughout the years. In recent years, the Chinese government has actually been trying to shed light on Chinas Jewish past, and it even sponsored a unique exhibition at Bar-Ilan University featuring the Jewish communities that used to live in China in the past.

The Japanese supervisor of the ghetto in China issuing passage certificates to Jewish refugees

Amos Lin, Dr. Danielle Gurevitch and Xiu Gao

There are 20 students from China studying at Bar-Ilan University, and some of them are even researching the Jewish-Chinese connection in different directions. One of them, Xiu Gao, has been there for four years and is studying the way the image of the Jew was reflected in Shakespearean texts that were translated into Chinese. She believes this will illuminate to the perception of Jews in the eyes of the Chinese during different periods.

Another student, Amos Lin from Singapore, is researching Jewish history in Southeast Asia, including the image and influence of the Iraqi merchants on China and Singapore. According to Lin, these studies could influence Asia in the future, as they have historical value and contain proof of the establishment of strong ties and influence between the Jews and the Chinese.

Dr. Gurevitch, who translated the book The Jews in Modern China, says there are three distinguishable waves of Jewish immigration to China in modern times. The first was in 1840, when Jews of Sephardic descent arrived in China from the Middle East and from other areas in Asia. These Jews, who came from areas under British control, had a British citizenship; this allowed them to engage in trade, particularly in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The merchants, mainly from Baghdad, were highly successful and turned into a very active consortium in China. The Jewish merchants lost their hold in China in 1937, after the Japanese occupation.

A Jewish Beit Midrash (study hall) in China during the war

A first Jewish conference in East Asia in 1919

The Chinese talk about the third wave of Jewsish immigrants with a lot of satisfaction, as it helped save the lives of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. More than 30,000 Jews arrived in Shanghai from 1933 to 1941 after escaping from Europe. In fact, Shanghai alone took in more Jewish refugees than Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand combined.

A funeral at a Jewish cemetery in the city of Tianjin

Although China was under the occupation of Japanan ally of GermanyJapan refused to carry out the final solution on Shanghais Jews, although a sort of ghetto was built in the city, to which all of the countrys Jews were sent. The Jews suffered from difficult conditions in the ghetto but eventually survived, and thanks to help from the US Jewry, they managed to get through the war. Following the war, the Jews left China, some immigrating to Israel and others heading to the United States.

The story of Chinas Jews includes their surprising involvement in local society and their success in establishing a vibrant Jewish community with social, religious and communal activity. They established many synagogues, hospitals, schools, newspapers and cultural institutions.

The Jewish ghetto in China, under Japanese occupation. Refused to apply the final solution

The grave of Ehud Olmert’s grandfather in the city of Harbin

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The Jews and the Chinese: A connection between ‘the world’s most ancient people’ – Ynetnews

‘Why does US consulate in Jerusalem refuse to hire Jews?’ – Arutz Sheva

Dear Senators Graham, Corker, Cotton, Paul, and Rubio,

I am a US citizen living in Israel. Over the past decades I have had numerous occasions to utilize the services of the US Consulate in Jerusalem. In all those years, I have observed that I have never seen a Jewish Israeli at any of the various service points where consular staff interact with the public.

All such staff are either from the US or local Arab staffers. Not only is this consistently the case at all consular services inside the consulate, but also it can be seen, shockingly, that even the security staff are often Arabs. I can assure you that there is no shortage of qualified Jewish Israelis who could fill such consular positions – and so the question is begged: is the US State Department systematically choosing, over the course of decades, to not hire Jewish Israelis, while singularly preferring all local staffers to be selected from the Arab population?

The second matter is different but definitely potentially connected to my first query. A perusal of consular activities as reflected on the official website shows that all programming efforts are geared towards and in concert with local Arab populations in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

There is not a single mention of any cultural, political, educational, business, or any other consular activities or programming on behalf of or in cooperation with the Jewish residents of these areas. Further to this observation, State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grants in this area appear to be given only to either Arab grantees or to organizations that work to promote Arab civic, business, cultural, and other agendas in the region.

Again, these observations beg the question: Is the US State Department systematically and systemically singling out one local population for preferential treatment to the complete exclusion of another population?

I sent these queries (twice) to the Jerusalem Consulate, and have received no reply after several weeks.

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‘Why does US consulate in Jerusalem refuse to hire Jews?’ – Arutz Sheva

Personal collection of Holocaust historian Yaffa Eliach dedicated at … – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Yaffa Eliach is probably best known for creating the Tower of Faces, apermanent display of approximately 1,000 reproductions of prewar photographs of Jewish life in the southeastern Lithuanian village of Eishishok at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) The personal collection of Holocaust documentation of survivor and historian Yaffa Eliach was dedicated at the Yad Vashem memorial and museum in Jerusalem.

The Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection was unveiled Monday.

Eliach dedicated her life to documenting the events and victims of the Holocaust, particularly the pre-World War II life in her birthplace, the Lithuanian town of Eishishok. Eliach died in November at 79.

The collection spans a half-century of recorded testimonies, transcripts, diaries, authentic memoirs and original documents in English, Hebrew, Polish, German, Russian and Yiddish; individual photographs and photo albums; and articles Eliach composed regarding the history of Eastern European Jews in general and in Eishishok.

It is being cataloged as an independent archival division, available to both researchers and the greater public, according to Yad Vashem.

Eliach published several books about the Holocaust, but is widely renowned for The Tower of Faces, an exhibit featured at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., featuring 1,500 photographs of the approximately 3,500 Jews murdered in her hometown.

The collection is described on the Yad Vashem website: The arrival of the comprehensive collection fulfills Prof. Eliachs desire for her lifetimes work to be preserved in a safe haven at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and her archives will take an honored place among Yad Vashems other archival collections conserved for future generations.

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Personal collection of Holocaust historian Yaffa Eliach dedicated at … – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

In 2012 Speech, Incoming National Security Adviser HR McMaster Emphasized Importance of Remembering the … – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “In 2012 Speech, Incoming National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Emphasized Importance of Remembering the Holocaust” to a friend

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Photo: US Army Public Affairs via Wikimedia Commons.

US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has been chosen to serve as his next national security adviser, replacing Michael Flynn, who resigned last week less than a month into the job.

McMaster, 54, is a 1984 West Point graduate who served overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of a decorated three-decade military career.

He is a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience, Trump said on Monday of McMaster. I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everybody in the military, and were very honored to have him.

February 21, 2017 9:47 am

On August 26, 2012, McMaster spoke at the dedication of a new Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Georgia. The transcript of his remarks in which he talked about theimportance of remembering the Holocaust was unearthed by The Algemeineron Monday and can be read below:

Good afternoon.

It an honor to represent the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning at this opening of the National Infantry Museum exhibit dedicated to victims of the Holocaust and in memory of Colonel Aaron Cohn, soldier, fellow Brave Rifles cavalry trooper, public servant, example for all of us.

Members of the Cohn family, community leaders, leaders of the National Infantry Foundation and the National Infantry Museum, fellow soldiers, Fort Benning civilians and family members, distinguished guests:

In the Germany of the 1920s and 30s, humanity was eroded by xenophobia in general and anti-Semitism in particular and then in the 1940s, gave way completely. The scale of the human toll, the suffering during the holocaust, is really unimaginable six million Jews, five million others systematically murdered.

On a recent trip to Israel, I made my third visit to the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. One enters the memorial and is immediately gripped by a sense of foreboding. It is Europe in the early 1930s. Grey granite walls narrow toward the ceiling and squeeze out the light as one walks downward, descending as humanity descended during a period when good men did nothing.

By the time one reaches the lowest point in the memorial, knees are weak. The mass murder of Jews, prisoners of war, homosexuals, people with certain disabilities, had already begun. But Germanys colossal genocidal project grew in scale in the beginning of 1942 when the SS took the lead. The criminals who led the SS quickly determined that mass shooting, although it would remain a significant element in their process did not work with the speed and efficiency they desired. They began to use gas vans which they first tried out on Russian prisoners. They then decided to reverse the approach they adopted in the summer of 1941; instead of bringing the murderers to the victims, they would bring the victims to the murderers. Large shipments of German Jews began on October 15, 1941. At the Wannsee conference in December of that year, leaders and bureaucrats of government agencies deliberately planned the implementation of the program to kill all the Jews of Europe. Their plans included not only all Jews in German-controlled and influenced areas, but those like the ones in England, Spain, Sweden, and Portugal which it was assumed would soon also be under Nazi domination.

It was around this time that The United States entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. America mobilized. The war involved all of America. The U.S. Army grew from an army of 190,000 to an army of almost 8.5 million a 44 fold increase. A total of 16 million Americans served in uniform in WWII; virtually every family had someone in harms way, virtually every American had an emotional investment in our Army. That WWII army of 8.5 million existed in a country of about 130 million; by comparison, today we have an army of roughly 500,000 in a country of 307 million.

It is when that American Army, alongside British forces crossed the English Channel in June 1944 that the floor at the Yad Vashem memorial begins to slope upward toward sunlight streaming in through the window at the far end of the memorial.

Hitlers and Nazi Germanys genocidal campaign would continue until soldiers liberated the concentration camps and Hitlers murderous regime was defeated.

Mass murderers had to be stopped physically. Their inhuman, fascist ideology of hatred and violence and murder also had to be defeated. And, ultimately, it would fall of the shoulders of American soldiers to stop these mass murders and defeat their ideology soldiers like Colonel Aaron Cohn of the 3rd United States Cavalry who led his troopers into the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria on 9 May 1945. What he and his troopers found was deplorable. The 25 Ebensee barracks had been designed to hold 100 prisoners each; each of them held over 700 emaciated men. In the weeks prior to liberation, the crematorium was of course unable to keep pace with those who were murdered or starved to death; the death rate had reached about 350 per day. Naked bodies lay stacked up outside the blocks and the crematorium itself. American soldiers found a ditch outside the camp where bodies were flung into quicklime.

We should celebrate the end of this horror it was a real victory for our nation and for all of humankind. A victory won by men like Judge Cohn. But this memorial and this museum also reminds us that victory in war is only possible through sacrifice. In World War II, the U.S. military sustained almost 300,000 battle deaths and about 100,000 deaths from other causes. The war lasted 2,174 days and claimed an average of 27,600 lives every day, or 1,150 an hour, or 19 a minute, or one death every three seconds.

The human toll of World War II and the Holocaust is hard to imagine. But we must not be numbed by statistics and remember the singularity of every death.

At the end of Yad Vashems historical narrative is the Hall of Names a repository for the Pages of Testimony of millions of Holocaust victims. A memorial that helps bring home the singularity of those who perished. As our fellow citizens enter this wonderful museum and come to this spot, I hope that they realize that the vast host memorialized here, the victims of the Holocaust died one by one. And I hope that they also realize that the American soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines who gave their lives to defeat Nazi Germany and end the Holocaust gave their lives one by one and that they died for all of us and all of humanity. We must, as author Rick Atkinson has said so well, remember that every death was as unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint.

As President Obama observed in Oslo on 10 December 2009, To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason. He observed that a non-violent movement could not have stopped Hitlers armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaedas leaders to lay down their arms. America, he observed, has used its military power because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.

Our Army is a living historical community. That is why this memorial and this museum are important to us. The American soldiers memorialized in this great Infantry Museum and those serving today are both warriors and humanitarians. Colonel Judge Aaron Cohn was a warrior and humanitarian.

Proverbs 22:1 says that a good name is to be valued more than riches. We come together to commemorate the human tragedy of the holocaust. And we also come together at this memorial and in this great Infantry Museum to celebrate two good names Colonel Aaron Cohn and the American soldier.

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In 2012 Speech, Incoming National Security Adviser HR McMaster Emphasized Importance of Remembering the … – Algemeiner

New Holocaust Museum exhibit details notorious Nazi’s capture and trial – Chicago Tribune

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s new exhibition, “Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann,” takes visitors chronologically through the operation that led to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann’s capture, trial and execution.

The exhibition opened Sunday but the museum held a news media preview event three days before that.

“Operation Finale” is scheduled to run through June 18 with a series of related programming slated at various times, museum officials said.

“It was essential for (Israeli Prime Minister David) Ben-Gurion that the youth of Israel heard the story of the Holocaust, and it was through this trial that they learned about the Holocaust,” Arielle Weininger, the museum’s chief curator of collections and exhibitions, said at the Feb. 16 media preview.

The exhibit showcases how Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, apprehended Eichmann and then smuggled the war criminal out of Argentina and to Jerusalem where he would come before the court.

The filmed trial of the infamous Nazi Eichmann showed him protected in a bullet-proof glass booth as witnesses testified to the barbarous crimes for which he was found guilty.

The lead-up to his capture in Argentina is the stuff of riveting espionage and spy stories, museum officials said, but there is a much greater significance to it too.

“Much of the world learned about the Holocaust this way,” said museum CEO Susan Abrams. “It was brought into their living room through radio and television.”

“Operation Finale” grew out of the discovery of some of the original pre-digital artifacts used in the covert operation, said former Mossad agent Avner Avraham, exhibit curator. Among them are hand-forged documents, printed case files, a surveillance camera and photos to verify Eichmann’s identity and goggles Eichmann was forced to wear so he never knew his destination.

The exhibition takes visitors through the nuances of the operation and the team that targeted Eichmann.

Exhibit artifacts, films and panels tell of how Eichmann remained hidden in captivity in Argentina longer than the Mossad agents had intended.

A chilling highlight of “Operation Finale” is the recreation of the trial in Jerusalem using archival footage projected on three screens.

Eichmann’s response to the trial is seen straight ahead through the actual glass booth where he sat in court more than 55 years ago. On the right screen are prosecutors making their case against him, on the left the often anguished response of those witnessing the trial.

“Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann” is a co-production of the Mossad-Israeli Secret Intelligence Service; Beit Hatfutsot The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv; and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio, museum officials announced.

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New Holocaust Museum exhibit details notorious Nazi’s capture and trial – Chicago Tribune

Why Lebanon students received a Holocaust grant – Lebanon Daily News

File Photo(Photo: Getty Images/Creatas RF)

The Lebanon school board on Monday night accepted a $500 grant from the Central Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Fund of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

The grant will be used to offset transportation costs for abouttwo dozen Lebanon High School students who will be traveling to Europe in June to visitthe Auschwitz concentration camp in Polandand other historic sites,said Superintendent Marianne Bartley. The 10-day trip is being paid for by theparticipating students and other grants.

The Central Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Fund provides money for school trips to the U.S.Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and other educational opportunities that instruct high school students on the significance of the Holocaust in Jewish and world history, accordingto the organization’s website.

Lebanon High School is on track for a new running surface.

AlsoMonday night the school board awarded a contract to ATT Sports of Berlin N.J. to install a new synthetic running surface on the Lebanon High School track.

A new surface is needed because the current track installed in 2010 has outlived its five-year recommended life span, said Brian Hartman, the districts director of buildings and grounds.

Five athletic-surface companies recently submitted bidson the project, withATT Sports’ being the lowest at $178,316.The epoxy-chip track is an upgrade from the current surface. It has a recommended life span of 10 to 12 years, but could last as long as 15 years, Hartman said.

ATT Sports of Berlin, N.J. has been awarded the contract to install a new surface on Lebanon High School’s track this summer.(Photo: John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News)

The bids were written with the help of consultant Brian Bingeman of Turf, Track and Court who did a good job in estimating the cost,Hartman said.

There was about a $40,000 spread between the low and high bidders, so that means our specs were written well, he said at last Monday’s workshop meeting. It shows that Brian Bingeman did his job well and we did our homework ahead of time.

The installation, which will also include resurfacing the shot put area at an additional cost of $9,325, will be done over the summer and be readyin time for next year’s track season, Hartman said.

Computer Science for All grant gaining STEAM

The board approved applying for a $50,000 Computer Science for All grant from the National Science Foundation.

Should the district receive the grant, it would use the funds to create a STEAM Science, Technology, Engineer, Art and Math summer camp that would likely be targeted to one elementary grade, saidBartley. Based on summer school costs, $50,000 would be enough to pay for several weeks of the program for 250 to 300 students.

Computer Science for All isa federalinitiative started a year agothat provided $4 billion in funding for computer science education.

Foster children focus of memorandum

To comply with the federalEvery Student Succeeds Act, the schoolboard approved a memorandum of understanding with Lebanon County Children and Youth Services to ensure the educational stability of foster care youth. The memorandum stipulates that when foster students moveinto or out of Lebanon School District but remainin their current school for an established period,their transportation will be providedand the cost shared equallyby both districts.

Old technology traded for new

The board approved the sale of up to 1,250 iPads and other outdated computersto Diamond Assets for a recovery of $60,000 to $82,000. The recovered money will be reinvested into technology for the elementary level,said Chief Information Officer Shawn Canady.

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Why Lebanon students received a Holocaust grant – Lebanon Daily News

Jewish History is Under Siege in the Middle East and These Volunteers Are Risking Their Lives to Protect It – Newsweek

On a sunny morning in February 2016, Sami Solmaz, a Kurdish filmmaker from Turkey, took a ride with Kurdish forces from the Iraqi town of Sinjar to the front lines. He spent the day filming gun battles between Kurdish fighters and the Islamic State militant group for a documentary he was making on ISIS attacks against religious minorities. That afternoon, as he was heading back to town, he heard a soldiers voice crackle over his drivers radio: Be careful! ISIS is firing chlorine bombs into Sinjar.

The militant group had been launching homemade rockets filled with chemicals toward Sinjar since Kurdish forces pushed them out of the town in late 2015. Earlier in February, a chemical attack in Sinjar had left Kurdish fighters sick, and Solmaz knew it was best to stay away. The only problem: His drivers car was in town, and so they decided to hurry back and retrieve it. We were only there 10 minutes, but you could smell [the gas], he tells Newsweek.

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On his way out of Sinjar, Solmazs face began to swell and his throat started to burn as he drove toward the Iraqi city of Duhok, where he fell into a deep sleep at his sisters apartment and awoke more than 20 hours later. When he was feeling better, he emailed Jason Guberman, the director of Digital Heritage Mapping, a nonprofit hed been helping in New York, to apologize for slipping out of touch.

Guberman was relying on Solmaz, an atheist from a Muslim family, to document Jewish heritage sitesfrom synagogues and cemeteries to ruins of schools, houses and community centers Jews once used in the Middle East and North Africa. For years, his staff and a rotating cast of about a dozen interns and volunteers have been racing to create digital records of Jewish sites. The projects name is Diarna, which means our home in Judeo-Arabic. As wars in the region destroy these sites, Gubermans team is running out of time.

In his office near Manhattans Union Square, Guberman has created a situation room that has been stripped of cubicles and lined with marked-up maps of Yemen, Iraq, and the Syrian cities ofAleppo and Damascus. This enables the team to prioritize the most at-risk areas and dispatch researchers, like Solmaz, into the field when moments of peace create opportunities. To create realistic renderings of the sites, Diarna has recruited a network of volunteer photographers and paid researchers through social media and word of mouth in countries like Yemen, Syria and Iran. Most live and work in the region and can access dangerous areas more easily than Americans or non-Muslims.

Read more:How the new monument men are outsmarting ISIS

Back in New York, his staff uses SketchUp, a 3-D modeling tool, to transform photographs from the field into digital models of the ancient buildings and plot them, according to their coordinates, on Google Earth. They also look for people familiar with the siteslike former congregants of synagogues, or the architects who renovated themwho can recall details about their appearance. Their recollections about anythingfrom whether the flooring was made of tile, wood or carpet to whether the buildings were lit with stained glass, skylights or chandeliershelp Diarna researchers create more accurate 3-D images and descriptions of the sites. Diarna often shares the witnesses raw recorded testimonies to bring online exhibits to life. Unlike other organizations doing similar kinds of work, Diarna makes its 3-D models publicly accessible.

When Diarna launched, Guberman estimated his team would identify between 500 and 1,000 sites to plot on Google Earth; the number has now surpassed 1,600.

Solmaz, who was in Iraq to collect footage for his film about ISIS, offered to visit abandoned Jewish villages for Guberman. The two had met in the summer of 2014 at the Center for Jewish History in New YorkSolmaz was there to inquire about using the buildings archives to research a documentary about Kurdish Jews, which he would be filming in Syria and Iraq. He wound up in Diarnas office, where he and Guberman chatted about his interest in Jewish culture. Solmaz had grown up in Turkeys southeast, and his grandparents had told him stories about the minorities who no longer lived thereJews, Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. By the time Solmaz was born in 1963, Ottoman and Turkish authorities had massacred or deported most of them in campaigns to Turkify the nation in its violent early days, a part of his countrys history that he thought about often in his work as a war correspondent and independent filmmaker.

An Israeli youth lies on an Israeli flag during the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira in the southern Israeli town of Netivot in January 2015. Thousands of Jews mostly of Moroccan origin came to pray over the respected Kabbalist rabbi. Oded Balilty/AP

As Guberman listened, he realized he might be able to recruit Solmaz to help Diarna. But doing so would be dangerous. Syrias civil war was in its third year, and ISIS was taking over major cities and towns in Iraq. Guberman worried that Solmaz could be captured, kidnapped or killed, especially if ISISor the Syrian regimediscovered his links to an American nonprofit with a Jewish cause. We actually tried to discourage him, says Guberman, but he wanted to go. The two men agreed to stay in touch.

What had started as a chance meeting in a quiet museum would soon become a vital partnershipspanning oceans and war zonesto preserve ancient history before it vanishes.

A month after their first meeting, Solmaz returned to Gubermans office with a file of photographs. The images showed the ruins of a Jewish village in the mountains separating Iraq from Turkey, near the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers Party; the insurgent group is at war with Turkey and the target of frequent Turkish bombing campaigns. Guberman hadnt told him to go there because hed assumed it was too dangerous. Jason was shocked, Solmaz recalled. He said, How were you able to get this?

Over the next two and a half years, Solmaz planned multiple trips to Iraq, northern Syria, Turkey, Israel and Greece, always allaying Gubermans concerns about safety. Jason, I can go there, I am Kurdish, hed tell him. Or Im a war correspondent, dont worry.

The arrangement has been mutually beneficial. Solmaz hikes mountains, cajoles locals and travels to war zones to find the endangered sites Diarna wants to preserve on the internet. In return, Diarna pays him for photographs, videos and reports, which Solmaz often finds useful for his projects.

A Diarna expedition photo shows the exterior of the Tomb of Nahum in Alqosh, Iraq. Diarna

When Diarna launched in 2008, most Jewish synagogues, schools and cemeteries in the Middle East and North Africa had been out of use for decades, and many had fallen into disrepair. Most of the estimated 1 million Jews who lived between Morocco and the Arabian Sea abandoned their homelands to escape anti-Semitic violence in the 1950s and 60s. Now wars in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, along with the emergence of ISIS, which has been attacking ancient sites with pickaxes and dynamite, pose a real threat to preserving the Middle Easts ancient history.

As destroying sacred sites has become increasingly common in the Middle East, analysts, countries and even some militants have come to see the costs of destroying them. In September, an Islamist militant became the first person convicted of a war crime for destroying cultural and religious sites in Mali. At his trial at the Hague in the Netherlands, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who was sentenced to nine years in prison, urged other combatants to refrain from destroying cultural sites, saying such acts are not going to lead to any good for humanity.

Experts on ancient cultures say there is universal value in preserving sacred heritage sights of any religion. All cultures and societies have sacred sites, and these sacred sites are related to concepts of who we are, where we came from and where we are going, says Richard Leventhal, the director of the Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvanias Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. ISISs methodical destruction of holy sites serves a very important purpose for the group. ISIS is not just trying to wipe people off the face of the earth by killing them, says Leventhal, they are also destroying their history.

Under pressure from multiple enemies on multiple fronts, ISIS has been losing territory in Syria and Iraq. Their retreat is slowly revealing the extent of their destruction. The group has targeted religious sites from all faiths within the land it occupied. During the organizations 2014 and 2015 rampage against symbols of idolatry, according to its corruptedversion of Islam, the militants blew up the Mosque of the Prophet Jonah in Mosul. The mosque was one of several sites said to house Jonahs tomb, an important monument for Muslims, Christians and Jews. It seemingly should have been protected because it was inside a Sunni mosque, but they blew it up anyway, Guberman says. So at that point we knew that no site is safe.

But Jews have an unusually deep level of experience with violent enemies doing all they can to wipe out their history. Guberman did not want what happened in World War II in Europethe Nazis destroying hundreds of synagogues to happen in the Middle East. Without physical evidence of Jewish culture, the worlds understanding of Jewish communities in the Arab world will disappear with the death of the last generation who can remember them.

Guberman sees a special significance in his work for the worlds Jews whose heritage begins in Iraq. I mean, this is where all Jewish history comes from, he says. According to Jewish tradition, all Jews trace their lineage to Abraham, the father of monotheism who was born in the Babylonian city of Ur, now in present-day Iraq. Religious scholars say that Abraham and his descendants began to disperse across the Middle East in the 19th century B.C. Population estimates show that the majority of the worlds Jews remained in the region through the Middle Ages. As recently as the early 1900s, nearly 1 million of the worlds estimated 15 million Jews were still living across the Middle East and North Africa, some in Jewish communities with roots in antiquity.

But Israels founding in 1948 led to violence from Muslim mobs and discriminatory policies implemented by local governments aimed at Jews in the Arab world, prompting almost all of them to leave. Most initially went to Israel, which spearheaded their mass emigration through a series of famous missions like the 1949 Magic Carpet airlift that spirited 50,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel, and a subsequent operation that nearly emptied Iraq of its Jewish population. The Jews left; their ancient synagogues remained.

In 2008, when Guberman was finishing his degree in political science at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and wondering what to do next, only about 5,000 Jews remained in North Africa and the Middle East, outside of Israel. Without a Jewish community left to care for them, hundreds of sacred sites were converted into mosques, housing and other structures, or ignored as their roofs caved in and engravings faded.

A Diarna expedition photo shows a child’s grave in a Jewish cemetery in Tangier, Morocco, in 2011. Joshua Shamsi for Diarna Geo-Museum

Guberman considered applying to law school, but he changed his mind after speaking to a friend who had recently returned from a trip to Morocco. His wife is part Moroccan-Jewishand they had just had a daughter. He was very concerned about how his daughter was going to connect with her Moroccan-Jewish heritage when she grew upbecause so much history had already disappeared, Guberman says.

His friends concern piqued his interest. Guberman had always been drawn to Mizrahi (or Eastern) Jewish history and he was surprised by how little attention it received compared with that of Jews in Europejust a paragraph, he recalls, in a college textbook. Guberman and a small group of friends decided to devote themselves to its preservation.

Gubermans Bubbie offered free food and internet to her grandson and his colleagues in Connecticut when they started. The group soon secured enough funding from Karin Douglas, a philanthropist and fellow Sacred Heart graduate, to move out of Bubbies house and launch Digital Heritage Mapping, which would fuel the Diarna project. By late 2008, Gubermans small team was beginning to make renderings of sites in the precarious physical world to preserve forever on the internet. Guberman and his small team of researchers used Google Earth to map the ruins of Jewish villages that had dotted northern Iraq from antiquity through the early 20th century; an 800-year-old cemetery outside of Marrakesh, Morocco, nearly lost to a development project became a virtual exhibit online; Diarnas website published photographs of the tomb of Judeo-Moroccan mystic Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzera in the Nile Delta, before Egypts government banned an annual pilgrimage to the site in 2014 over tensions between locals and Jewish visitors.

Jason Guberman gives a lecture showing a 3-D rendering from the Diarna Geo Museum. Tracy Deer-Mirek/Diarna

Many places were still off limits when Diarna started its project, some three years before the Arab Spring uprisings toppled dictators in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Many of those autocrats clung to anti-Semitic policies. Libya under Muammar el-Qadda was particularly difficult to access for researchers working for a Jewish nonprofit. Qaddafi was notoriously anti-Semiticcanceling all debts owed to Jews, among other thingsand Diarnas efforts to recruit local researchers failed. Libyans were too nervous to be associated with a Jewish organization, Guberman explained.

But when the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in 2010, Diarna saw a unique opening.

When fighting erupted in Libya, for example, reporters descended on the country, including one familiar with Diarnas work. She contacted Guberman, offering to help him. Her only condition was anonymity.

In May 2011, Guberman sent her a map of the Hara Kabira, the old Jewish quarter in Tripoli, to help her locate the Dar Bishi synagogue, the most beautiful in the city when it opened in 1928. After Qaddafi took power in the late 1960s, the government seized and shuttered all Jewish property in Libya. Guberman hoped the reporter could find a way to survey it without raising the suspicion of the government, which was keeping an eye on foreign journalists in the city. Somehow, she slipped out of her hotel and made it there. She entered the crumbling structure through a hole in the back wall and took pictures of its gutted, columned interior, strewn with trash and vandalized by graffiti. She sent the photos to Guberman when she was safely out of the country.

The interior of the abandoned Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli, Libya on September 28, 2011. Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty

Guberman was cautiously optimistic that the rebels who ousted Qaddafi in 2011 might make it easier to access Jewish sites. A Libyan Jew named David Gerbi tested those expectations a few months later by returning to Tripoli from exile in Italy to restore the Dar Bishi synagogue. From New York, Guberman closely followed the news of Gerbis dramatic entrance to the holy site as the Libyan used a sledgehammer.

Guberman wondered how locals would react. He soon found out. A group of protesters opposed to the synagogues restoration gathered in central Tripoli with signs denouncing Zionism and some declaring there is no place for Jews in Libya. Fearing for his safety, Gerbi abandoned his project and returned to Italy, signaling to Guberman that the obstacles he faced researching Jewish sites under Qaddafi would likely remain. As he puts it: We realized that probably nothing good is going to come of doing work in Libya.

Gubermans team published a 3-D model of the once-stately structure on Google Earth, using photographs and coordinates the female reporter had taken. They also used her photographs to make a video tour of the model.

The latter may turn out to be among the only proof the site ever existed.

As governments collapsed across the region, threats to buildings multiplied. One of the higher-profile Jewish heritage sites lost to the fighting in Syria was the centuries-old Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in a suburb of Damascus. The synagogue is named for the prophet Elijah, whose appearance, Jews believe, will herald the coming of the Messiah. According to local tradition, Elijah anointed his successor on the site where the synagogue was built. Still well maintained when the war in Syria began, it appeared in photos published by The Daily Beast in 2014 as piles of rubbleits fine carpets, chandeliers and library of religious texts apparently gone.

Eddie Ashkenazie, a Diarna researcher from Brooklyn with roots in Syria, has been closely following the destruction. He felt a new determination in his work after watching aerial footage shot in the ancient Syrian city of Homs in 2015 that showed block after block of bombed-out buildings.

Ashkenazie has been scouting out Brooklyn synagogues with Syrian congregants whose memories of Jewish sites might still be fresh. I tell them what I do, and they’re like, Oh, bring us your pictures tomorrow, bring us your maps, he says. Just yesterday, after prayer services a group of men helped me [locate] synagogues in Damascus. After the meeting, he returned to his office and added the synagogues to Diarnas expanding database of sites.

A small number of Jews still live in Damascus, Syrias capital, some of whom have helped Diarna document sites. But the material hasnt yet been published due to concerns of drawing unwanted attention to the shrinking community and their lesser-known sacred sites. Wherever there is a community, Guberman says, their lives take precedence over our documentary mission.

Over the past few years, the last Jews in Syriaand much of the wider regionhave left. In 2015, in a controversial operation, Israeli-American businessman Moti Kahana smuggled Aleppos remaining Jewish residents to Israel through Turkey. In 2016, the Jewish Agency for Israel airlifted a family that made up 19 of Yemens roughly 85 Jews to Israel. Tunisian Jews have migrated recently too, as attacks have made the country less safe. When the last people leave, Guberman said, it is just a matter of time before the sites will be repurposed or destroyed.

On a recent stopover in his native Turkey, Solmaz clicked through images on his computer, each one illustrating the precariousness of Jewish heritage in Iraq. In a stone synagogue in Gondik, a small village in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, hay covered the floors to feed the livestock who now occupy it. In another picture, taken in Kirkuk, fresh bullet holes marked the walls of a Muslim familys home whose central feature revealed its Jewish pastan elaborate niche built into the wall for a Torah.

Solmaz plans to return to Iraq once Kurdish and Iraqi forces push ISIS out of Mosul, another city that was once home to thousands of Jews. More recently Mosul was home to tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities who fled their homes ahead of ISISs advance. For his own work, Solmaz will document the damage the jihadis have caused to the citys non-Muslims and the architecture they left behind. For Diarna, he will look much further back in time, for evidence of a small Jewish community that endured for centuries in Mosul before fleeing persecution in the early 20th century.

To understand the present, Solmaz says, you have to know your past.

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Jewish History is Under Siege in the Middle East and These Volunteers Are Risking Their Lives to Protect It – Newsweek

Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

U.S. President Donald Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Tuesday, calling it a beautiful tribute to so many American heroes.

The new president read the names of several prominent black figures from American history, saying, I’m deeply proud that we now have a museum that honors the millions of African American men and women who built our national heritage, especially when it comes to faith, culture and the unbreakable American spirit.”

He pledged to do everything I can to continue that promise of freedom for African Americans and for every American. So important, nothing more important. His visit came as the U.S. celebrates its annual Black History Month during February.

Trump said the fight for racial equality in the United States depicted at the museum is a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. He condemned recent threats against Jewish centers in the U.S., calling them horrible and painful.

But he promised, as he has numerous occasions, Were going to bring this country together, maybe bring some of the world together.

WATCH: Trump visits museum

Popular tourist attraction

The museum, on the National Mall not far from the White House, opened last year and has drawn large crowds and wide critical acclaim. It has nearly 37,000 objects in its collection tracing the history of blacks in America, from their arrival on slave ships from Africa, to the mid-19th century Civil War fought over slavery, to the advances toward racial equality at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

There are exhibits about black communities, their families, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and legalized racial segregation that existed in the United States as recently as 50 years ago.

In his upset presidential election victory last November, Trump won just 8 percent of the black vote compared to 88 percent for his Democratic rival, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump was accompanied on his museum visit by the only African-American in his Cabinet, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is awaiting confirmation as the presidents housing chief. The president promised to work closely with Carson to do great things in our African-American communities together.

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Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

Amid growing calls for action, Trump addresses JCC threats, anti-Semitism – CBS News

Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 10:23 AM EST

Under growing pressure to address threats against the Jewish community following another wave of bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers around the country Monday, President Trump broke his silence on the issue Tuesday morning.

After previously deflecting a number of questions about the apparent rise in anti-Semitic incidents, Mr. Trump chose to address the issue at the end of his visit Tuesday to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms, the president said. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are 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.

His remarks followed days of increasing attention to the problem and weeks of anxiety within the Jewish community.

2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted Tuesday morning that the president should speak out against these incidents himself.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also called on the administration to address these threats. The group issued a statement saying that the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive and must always be taken seriously, despite the fact that all of the threats so far have turned out to be hoaxes.

Later in the day, the presidents daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted about the bomb threats.

On Monday, a White House official put out this statement: Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

The head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, suggested on Twitter that Mr. Trump should speak out against the threats himself.

The situation Monday marked the fourth time in which bomb threats were called into JCCs across the country, bringing the total to 69 threats at 54 JCCs across the country in 27 states. They have all been hoaxes.

Mr. Trump dodged questions about a rise in anti-Semitismlast week at two White House press conferences. On Thursday, for example, a Jewish reporter asked the president how the administration plans to address the issue and instead of answering it, Mr. Trump told the reporter to sit down and said it was not a fair question, then declared I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life.

CBS News Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Amid growing calls for action, Trump addresses JCC threats, anti-Semitism – CBS News

University of Edinburgh to Be First Scottish Campus to Receive, House Torah Scroll – Algemeiner

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University of Edinburgh. Photo: Wikipedia

ATorah scroll will soon come to a Scottishcampus, marking the first time ever a university in the countrywill have one on site, therabbi leadingthe effort toldThe Algemeiner.

It is very exciting for all the students at the University of Edinburgh,saidRabbi Pinny Weinman, co-director of the schools Chabad center, which will house the Torah.

More than 100students and community members are expected to attend thescroll dedication ceremonynext month, whichwill take place at a venue on campus and include an LED show from DeLighters, a physical performance troupe.

February 20, 2017 1:09 pm

Particularly given these challenging times in Europe, this is anopportunity to celebrate Jewish pride publicly in Scotlands capital city, Weinman said, alluding to the rise of antisemitism that has hit the UK, with attacks on Jewish students and faculty doubling last year.

Weinman added that though faculty and administration have been supportive of the Jewish students, life in Edinburgh can betough, with minimal kosher facilities available and basic religious needs difficult to come by not least of which, he said, was a Torah scroll.

Chabad of Edinburgh will receive its Torah courtesy of theBeis YisroelTorah Gemach(BYTG), a free Torah-loan program that finds scrolls sittingunused in synagogues, thenfixes and redeploys them to Chabad centers and some non-Chabad institutions around the world.

Bentzion Chanowitz, who founded BYTG, toldThe AlgemeinertheEdinburgh Torah was made possible through the work of a donor who got involved with the loan program a few years ago.

The donorsawhow widespread the problem is of shluchim (Chabad emissaries) being able to accommodate a minyan, but unableto obtain aTorah. He said, I cant believe there are so many places missing the essential book,’ Chanowitz said.

Through Chanowitzs vetting process, the Edinburgh center was made a top priority with many other locations stilllooking for similar assistance.

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University of Edinburgh to Be First Scottish Campus to Receive, House Torah Scroll – Algemeiner

Trump at African-American History Museum Denounces Anti-Semitism and Racism: ‘It Has to Stop’ – NBCNews.com

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced the recent rise in bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the country, saying the anti-Semitism and racism that continue to afflict America must be addressed.

“Anti-Semitism is horrible, and it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” Trump told NBC News in an exclusive interview, after touring the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Federal authorities have been investigating a wave of phoned-in bomb threats to at least 10 Jewish community centers, including in Alabama, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and New York. No one was injured, and the threats appeared to be hoaxes, the Jewish Community Center Association of North America told NBC News on Monday.

The new spate of threats has brought the total number to almost 70 since the beginning of the year, according to the association.

In a separate count of hate crime incidents, the Southern Poverty Law Center found nearly 2,000 in the 34 days after the November election expressing anti-Semitic and other bias-related harassment.

“I think it’s terrible,” Trump said of the anti-Semetic threats. “I think it’s horrible. Whether it’s anti-Semitism or racism or any anything you wanna think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is, likewise, it’s just terrible.”

He added, “You don’t know where it’s coming from, but I hope they catch the people.”

Related: Muslims and Jews Band Together Against Hate

When asked about his immigration executive orders that have caused a measure of chaos at airports and have now been partially blocked by federal courts pending new orders which could come out as early as Tuesday Trump said he was focused on safety, and love.

“We have to have a safe country,” he said. “We have to let people come in that are going to love the country. This is about love. This building is about love. And we have to have people come in that are going to love the country, not people that are gonna harm the country.”

The president’s comments come after he sidestepped a question at a press conference last week about personally rebuking anti-Semitism, instead choosing to brand himself as “the least anti-Semitic” person in America.

Trump’s remarks Tuesday were met with stinging criticism from Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, as a Band-Aid and a “pathetic asterisk of condescension.”

“Make no mistake: The Anti-Semitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration,” Goldstein said in a statement, adding, “When President Trump responds to Anti-Semitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.”

President Donald Trump views an exhibit on slavery during the American revolution while visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Feb. 21, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

During his tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Trump was shown an exhibit on slavery during the American Revolution. He was joined by eldest daughter Ivanka and two black members of his team: Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee Ben Carson and administration official Omarosa Manigault.

The museum includes an exhibit about Carson’s humble beginnings in Detroit to his rise as a neurosurgeon and eventual Republican presidential candidate.

Trump later told reporters that he plans to visit the Holocaust Museum and going is “very important to me.”

To kick off Black History Month, Trump held a round-table meeting with African-American leaders at the White House in early February. At the time, he lauded the African-American history museum, which opened on the National Mall last fall, as a place where people can learn about prominent civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass.

As a candidate in October, Trump pledged a “new deal for black America,” which included putting more police on the streets and targeting “blighted communities” with “disaster designation” in order to spur the transformation of urban cities.

Related:

Trump

During his first month in office, Trump’s administration has been

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Trump at African-American History Museum Denounces Anti-Semitism and Racism: ‘It Has to Stop’ – NBCNews.com

Trump says antisemitism is ‘horrible’ and has to stop – Jerusalem Post Israel News

US President Donald Trump denounced antisemitism in the United States in an interview on Tuesday after he was asked about a spate of threats to Jewish community centers around the country.

“I will tell you that antisemitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop,” Trump said in an interview with NBC.

“JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped,” she wrote on Twitter. “Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS.”

On Monday, vandals damaged and knocked-over more than 100 headstones at a St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery.

Also on Monday, 11 Jewish community centers across the United States were targeted with false bomb threats, the fourth such wave of harassing phone calls in five weeks.

The White House responded to a reporters query about the latest string of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers by saying these actions are unacceptable.

Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom, read a statement, attributed to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that was shared Monday afternoon by NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

The statement did not specify that the threats targeted Jewish institutions, although it came in reply to a query about threats to JCCs.

Alexander posted Spicers response on Twitter, adding, @PressSec responds to my request for comment about wave of threats to Jewish community centers.

Separately, Trumps daughter, Ivanka, who is Jewish, condemned the threats in a Tweet that pointed to the fact that the targets were Jewish.

America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance, she said. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. She ended the tweet with the hashtagged acronym for Jewish community center, #JCC.

Last week, President Donald Trump was asked during a news conference about the prior JCC bomb threats and what the governments response would be to an uptick in antisemitism. Although the reporter did not suggest Trump was anti-Semitic, the president answered by denying he is an anti-Semite and called the question insulting.

Shortly afterward, various Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, urged the White House to issue an unequivocal denunciation of the bomb threats and other antisemitic acts.

JTA contributed to this report.

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Trump says antisemitism is ‘horrible’ and has to stop – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Amidst rising anti-Semitism, Trump’s lackluster response has Jewish groups concerned – Vox

On Monday, eleven Jewish Community Centers across the country were targeted with bomb threats. Outside St. Louis, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated: over 100 tombstones were overturned and damaged.

Enough already, Karen Aroesty, an anti-Defamation League local leader told a Fox news affiliate. This is where your loved ones come to be safe in perpetuity, and the level of tension in the Jewish community is pretty high.

NBC News asked the White House for a statement on the uptick in anti-Semitic activities and the terrorizing of JCCs nationally, as the newest round of threatening calls brings the total number of bomb scares to 67 since the beginning of January. The White House press office issued a statement:

Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

Separately, first daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted:

America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC

Both comments were among the most specific statements the White House, or its surrogates, have made to address the rise in anti-Semitic acts, statements, and sentiment that has percolated since the middle of the election.

The silence was so profound, ADLs CEO Jonathan Greenblatt put out a statement, earlier Monday, underscoring the notable absence of leadership. We look to our political leaders at all levels to speak out against such threats directed against Jewish institutions, to make it clear that such actions are unacceptable, and to pledge that they will work with law enforcement officials to ensure that those responsible will be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law, he said.

The Press Office comment may miss that test, even now, in failing to use the words Jewish, Jewish Community Center, or anti-Semitism.

Indeed, President Donald Trump has been minimally vocal about his positions on the matter. Just last week had had the chance to use his bully pulpit to reassure Jews who are fearful of rising anti-Semitism in America. He took two chances for targeted messaging to talk, instead, about himself.

At two press conferences last week, reporters raised sober questions about Jewish safety in America and the rise of anti-Semitism over the course of the election and beyond. Both were opportunities for a statement of firm condemnation against acts of violence and a moment of empathy: a presidential reassuring hand and an outstretched arm. Both times the questions were deflected, and rerouted, leaving the Jewish community reeling.

Last Wednesday morning, at a press conference held with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli journalist Moav Vardi stood up and asked, Since your election campaign, and even since your victory, we have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States and I wonder what you have say to the Jewish community of the United States and Israel, and maybe around the world, and … to those who feel your administration is maybe playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?

Trumps response was surreal. First, he crowed about his electoral victory Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory we had 316 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? (It was so incongruous that a New York Times editorial noted: It was as if his brain had short-circuited or someone had hit some internal replay button in his brain.)

He continued:

I will say that we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on. There’s a lot of bad things that have been taking place over a long period of time. …

As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends; a daughter who happens to be here right now; a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening.

And you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love.

He did not say, On behalf of my Jewish grandchildren, this White House will stand against anti-Semitism. He did not say, even more simply, No children should live in fear. He merely noted the existence of his Jewish relatives, as though their very presence spoke sufficiently to both of those points.

The following day, Trump had a second chance to address the issue.

During a 77-minute meandering press conference on Thursday, Jake Turx, a journalist from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish publication Ami Magazine, stood up and asked a question. After first promising that he wasnt accusing Trump himself of being anti-Semitic (knowing he was a zayde, a grandfather, to Jewish kids) he then asked:

What we are concerned about and what we havent really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. Theres been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to

But Turx never got to finish his question. Trump cut him off, and told him to sit down. See, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and it’s not,” the president said, brusquely.

Not a simple question. Not a fair question. Okay, sit down. I understand the rest of your question. … So here’s the story, folks. number one: I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

The reporter immediately tried to elaborate. The president stopped him again saying:

Quiet, quiet, quiet. See he lied about he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media.

Turxs actual worries remained unaddressed.

This is startling. Instead of taking an easy opportunity to reassure concerned American Jews that their president has their back, Trump roughly pushed back at an Orthodox Jewish reporter whose questions werent about what the administration, or the president, was doing negatively, but what it might be doing proactively to address those who are attacking the community.

For many Jews, the moment brought home a concern that has rankled for many months. By halfway through 2016, there was a persistent, palpable, even terrifying, sense within the community that we had suddenly entered into a new era of popular anti-Semitic permissiveness, one where what was once fringe thought and speech had been mainstreamed and magnified by social media.

There were tweets that brought in anti-Semitic imagery during the campaign (a six-pointed Jewish star, superimposed upon a pile of money that was later sworn to be a sheriffs star; surrogates who tweeted images of Pepe the frog, a favorite of the self-described alt-right).

There was, as well, worrisome messaging from the campaign itself, including a final advertisement that used anti-Semitic dog whistles about money, power, and global special interests. And there was deep concern about the stories published by Breitbart news, former news home of Steve Bannon, a leading campaign adviser turned White House right-hand man, which didnt shy away from speaking negatively about Jews.

Midway through the campaign, those who disliked journalists work on Trump and his campaign began to target Jewish journalists on Twitter. Direct requests to the Republican candidate to condemn the demonization of Jewish journalists yielded nothing.

Once in office, it was hardly reassuring that the presidents message on Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to mention Jewish victims. To many, it felt premeditated.

Added together with an uptick in physical threats to Jewish institutions around the country, these two press conference moments were a chance to let Jewish citizens know support from the White House would be robust, and that hate would not be tolerated.

The choice to ignore that moment, or miss it, sent a different message entirely.

What will it take for Donald Trump to condemn Anti-Semitism, began an op-ed in the Jewish daily Forward by Kenneth Stern, executive director of the Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation, an organization that fights anti-Semitism and hate crimes. He called the president a serial enabler of anti-Semitism and white supremacists, and noted the incredible lack of empathy conveyed over the past 48 hours.

If the President cant empathize with, or even imagine, what it feels like to be a Jewish child rushing out of a [Jewish community center] in fear of a bomb, or the Jewish child from Montana whose picture neo-Nazis posted online, maybe he should think about the increasingly hostile environment confronting his beautiful Jewish grandchildren, wrote Stern. History teaches that hatred of all types perhaps anti-Semitism especially grows in a culture where it is tolerated, and not reflexively condemned, by leaders.

In a statement posted to Twitter, American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris plaintively said, Mr. President, anti-Semitism around the world is on the rise. … We need the help of the government to combat this cancer. Thats why questions are being asked at press conferences. … But if every such question elicits either no substantive response or, mistakenly, is taken personally, then what are people of good will supposed to conclude?

Writing for the Jewish parenting site Kveller, Jordana Horn noted all the president needed to say was, I deplore and condemn anti-Semitism in all forms. Perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. She then offered several reasons for why the statements he did make were woefully inadequate and why their inadequacy should profoundly trouble Americans Jewish and otherwise.

The presence of Jews in ones administration does not give one carte blanche to ignore anti-Semitism, she said. The rest of her statement is worth reading in full:

We are here, President Trump. We are Jewish Americans. We are not going anywhere. Some of us agree with your policies, others do not. But surely all of us, regardless of our politics, agree that our children should not be targeted for violence because they are Jewish. That our synagogues should not be vandalized with swastikas and broken windows. That Jewish homeowners should not receive threatening letters. That people who say, Jews should burn in ovens, are disgusting and should be loudly acknowledged as such. That bomb threats to JCCs are crimes and should be investigated and prosecuted, with the perpetrators brought to justice.

Do you agree, Mr. President? If you do, you need to explicitly say so. You feel free to express your opinions on Twitter about everything from Saturday Night Live to Nordstrom to Meryl Streep. So why, sir, do you stubbornly refuse to say anything condemning anti-Semitic attacks in our country? Because if you say nothing, I would argue that your silence speaks volumes.

In a private Facebook message to me (reprinted with permission), Horn wrote, I couldnt not write. I am the Jewish-American mother of six children: I have an investment in our future as well as our present.

Statements ranging from bewildered to angry came as well from Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, of the rabbinical association Truah, and Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc.

Presidents are supposed to show empathy for their anxious constituents. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, the only person Trump shows empathy for is himself, wrote columnist Peter Beinart at the Atlantic.

In conversation with me, Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said, simply, Words have consequences.

Even a simple statement would speak volumes to calm the anxiety. This has become a test, Greenblatt said. Its not political … to say prejudice should be stamped out of public square. It is not left and right, only right and wrong.

The reason so many Jews are asking questions about anti-Semitism is that, following the increasingly worrisome rhetoric, associations, and bedfellows of the campaign, there has been a rise in terrifying anti-Semitic incidents since the year began.

In January, 60 bomb threats were called in to some 48 Jewish community centers (JCCs) across North America. “I’ve been in the business for 20-plus years, and this is unprecedented,” Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, told CNN. “It’s more methodical than meets the eye.”

JCCs, it should be noted, are not simply places of gathering or gyms for Zumba classes though, of course, none of those should be targeted either. They are also often preschools during the day. That means children under 5 are the ones being evacuated each time a bomb threat is called in.

And the bomb threats are only one piece of the problem.

An entire community in Montana has been threatened by actual neo-Nazis, terrifying the Jewish population and putting its rabbi under a microscope. A neo-Nazi march was originally planned for the town of Whitefish, Montana, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, home to a handful of Jews and to the leader of the so-called alt-right Richard Spencer. It was later scuttled.

And during the presidential election, there was a dramatic rise in online harassment of Jewish journalists and Jewish public figures. Says Greenblatt of the ADL, You had a white supremacist trope winding itself into public dialogue that the campaign did not tamp down when it could have. He notes that the ADL was dismissed as being political for complaining. But what he was seeing was a tsunami of slander on social media photoshopped images and grotesque threats all these things were metastasizing.

Indeed, the problem grew so large that the ADL issued a report on the matter in October. At least 800 journalists received anti-Semitic tweets with an estimated reach of 45 million impressions, the report explained. There was a significant uptick in anti-Semitic tweets in the second half (January-July 2016) of [the reports] study period. This correlates to intensifying coverage of the presidential campaign, the candidates and their positions on a range of issues.

Vandalism, too, has increased, both on public property, and private, Greenblatt notes. And this week a man in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was arrested for trying to buy a gun. According to the FBI, he had hoped to carry out a Dylann Roof style attack on a synagogue to kill Jews. Roof murdered nine worshipers at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2016.

I think, empirically not opinion, not anecdote, not politics something is going on, says Greenblatt. There is an uptick in incidents. That is why people are concerned.

Trump, though, seems far more concerned with bragging about his electoral victory.

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Amidst rising anti-Semitism, Trump’s lackluster response has Jewish groups concerned – Vox