A Holocaust historian from Yale says post-truth is the beginning of fascism – The indy100

Picture: KEVIN DIETSCH-POOL / GETTY IMAGES

We live in post-truth times. Fake news is everywhere; if were not reading it, we’reseeing Trump accusingreputable news outletsof it.

Instead of laughing about the ridiculousness though, a prominent historian thinks we should be very worried indeed.

Timothy Snyder, a professor of European history at Yale, wrote a very long Facebook post after Donald Trump won the US election last November.

He warned Americans that they need to learn the lessons of Europeans whove lived through Nazism, fascism and communism.

And now, Snyder is bringing out a book, On tyranny, with the same message.

He told Vox:

The Europeans who saw their regimes change were not necessarily less wise than we are. I’d be tempted to say they’re wiser, in fact.

I think we have a lot of good attributes in our society, in our political system, but also we’ve been lucky a lot of the time.

It’s important to be humble and to realise that past success is no guarantee of future returns.

We think that because we’re America, everything will work itself out.

But the most disturbing thing he has to say?

Post-truth is pre-fascism. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

So what happens next is going to depend on us.

More: Republicans are now openly calling Donald Trump a fascist

More: This list of 14 early warning signs of fascism is going viral for good reason

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A Holocaust historian from Yale says post-truth is the beginning of fascism – The indy100

In The Land Where Jews Are Welcome, Anti-Semitism Is On The Rise – Townhall

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Posted: Mar 13, 2017 12:01 AM

THIS WEEKEND, Jews the world over celebrate the festival of Purim, a highlight of which is the public reading of the biblical book of Esther. In 10 fast-moving chapters, it recounts the first recorded attempt at a Jewish genocide. The Persian emperor Ahasuerus (known to historians as Xerxes I) allows himself to be persuaded by Haman, a powerful courtier, that the Jews are a disloyal and disobedient minority who ought to be eradicated. The emperor signs an edict authorizing Haman and his followers “to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day.” But the plot is foiled thanks to court intrigues involving Mordechai, the leader of the Jewish community in the imperial city of Shushan, and the courage and faith of Esther, the young Jewish heroine who becomes Ahasuerus’s queen.

On the Jewish calendar, Purim is a joyful day. Families distribute gifts of food, alms are lavished on the poor, children (and even adults!) wear costumes and at every mention of Haman’s name during the reading of Esther, the congregation breaks out in a raucous din of boos and noisemakers.

It’s easy to celebrate Purim with hilarity when Jews feel safe and welcome, and in modern times there is nowhere on Earth they have felt safer and more welcome than the United States.

Last month, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey showing Jews to be the most warmly regarded religious group in America. It was Pew’s second such survey in three years, and both times the finding was the same. “We love our country, and America loves us right back,” wrote David Suissa, the publisher of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, after the Pew numbers came out. Jews, who know only too well what it means to be a hunted minority, have been blessed to find in America a degree of benevolence, respect, and freedom unparalleled in their long and precarious history.

But Purim arrives this year amid an alarming surge in anti-Semitic menace.

Since January, Jewish community centers and organizations nationwide have been targeted with anonymous bomb threats at least 140 such threats to date. At Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Rochester, N.Y., hundreds of gravestones have been toppled or smashed. In Evansville, Ind., a gun was fired through the window of synagogue classroom.

During the recent election cycle, Internet trolls from the so-called alt-right unleashed repugnant attacks on Jewish journalists who questioned or criticized the rise of Donald Trump, often suggesting that they prepare to die in a new Holocaust. Equally horrific anti-Semitic eruptions have come from the left, especially on college campuses, where virulent hostility toward Israel often boils over into undisguised hatred of Jews.

Thus the paradox: In the nation where Jews are more welcomed than ever, animosity toward Jews is more palpable than ever.

To many on the left, the upwelling of anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric is plainly connected with Republican politics. Trump’s strong appeal to white nationalists, the anti-Semitic memes and tropes that showed up in his ads and social media, and his seeming unwillingness until quite recently to explicitly condemn anti-Semitism while Trump may harbor no personal ill will toward Jews, he has too often enabled, and pandered to, those who do.

To many conservatives, meanwhile, it goes without saying that contemporary anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly a product of the hard left, which seethes with bitterness toward the Jewish state. The anti-Zionist boycott campaign, the Israel “apartheid” slander, the ominous atmosphere in academia all of it has had the effect of moving bigotry from the fever swamps on the fringe ever closer to the mainstream.

Both camps make a legitimate point. Jew-bashers can be found on the left and the right; often it is the only thing they have in common. In our hyperpolarized political atmosphere, it isn’t surprising that anti-Semitism has become one more excuse for partisans to point fingers at each other. But history’s oldest hatred has never been limited to one party or ideology or worldview.

Anti-Semitism is an intellectual sickness, a societal toxin that is endlessly adaptable. Jews have been tortured and tormented for not being Christian and for not being Muslim. They have been brutally persecuted for being capitalists, and just as brutally persecuted for being Communists. They have been hated for being weak and easily scapegoated and hated for being strong and influential. Jews have been killed for their faith, for their lifestyle, for their national identity, for their “race.”

A key teaching of the Book of Esther is that once the plague of Jew-hatred gets in the air, almost any environment can nourish it. Another is that Jew-hatred does not subside on its own. It must be confronted, denounced, and defeated.

“We love our country, and America loves us right back.” That has been manifestly, wonderfully true for decades, but will it continue to be? Elsewhere, the post-Holocaust taboo on overt Jew-hatred has long since shattered. Can that now be happening in the United States? Pray this Purim that the answer is No. For if America succumbs to the anti-Semitic derangement, it isn’t only Jews who will suffer.

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In The Land Where Jews Are Welcome, Anti-Semitism Is On The Rise – Townhall

Israel bars entry to British activist because of boycott support – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

(JTA) Israel denied entry to a British pro-Palestinian activist a week after the Knesset passed a law banning entry to foreigners who support boycotting the Jewish state.

Hugh Lanning, a former chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was denied entry into Israel on Sunday, according to joint statements issued by two government agencies cited by the Times of Israel.

The statements, from the Interior Ministrys Population and Immigration Authority and the Ministry of Public Security, cited Lannings groups connections to other British groups critical of Israel and the presence of some of its members on ships that aimed to break Israels blockade of Gaza in 2010. The statement said Lanning had personally met with top Hamas officialIsmail Haniyeh in Gaza in 2012.

Those who act against Israel must understand that the reality has changed, said Gilad Erdan, the head of the Ministry of Public Security. No sane country would grant entry to central, pro-BDS figures who want to harm it and isolate it.

The law, adopted Monday by the Knesset, bans entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements. It has drawn mounting criticism from major American Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, as well as the Reform and Reconstructionist movements.

On Friday, the Zionist Organization of America endorsed the law.

The rest is here:
Israel bars entry to British activist because of boycott support – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Michael Eisenberg – Tablet Magazine

The recent appointment of Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman as President of Yeshiva University (YU) serves as an opportunity to reflect on the state of Modern or Centrist Orthodoxy in America. Personally, I think he is an excellent choice for the role. (Full disclosure: Rabbi Berman is a friend; we studied together in the same shiur at YU and in classes at the Gruss Kollel in Jerusalem.) However, I think his appointment belies a much deeper malaise in American Orthodoxy that requires exploration.

At least publicly, YU seemed to be considering two types of candidates: An academic or Jewish thinker, rabbi or visionary, or, alternatively, a very capable fundraiser or businessman. The Universitys financial issues after the Madoff fraud, the financial crisis, and other reported financial mismanagement seemed to initially steer people to the fundraiser candidate. Thankfully, the board moved to Berman, who is a thoughtful and thought-provoking rabbi with an academic degree. Appointing a fundraiser would have missed, perhaps, the fundamental issue afflicting both American Orthodoxy and YU: First you run out of ideas, then you run out of money.

I view the recent debate around the OU position paper on women in the same light. Without commenting on the actual position taken by the seven-member rabbinic panel (some of whom were my esteemed rabbis and teachers at YU), I think it is reasonable to conclude that this has come too late. The changes in womens prominence in Torah and halakhic issues, engendered primarily by ground-breaking programs in Nishmat, Matan, and Midreshet Lindenbaum in Israel, has evolved over the last 20 years. The debate on womens roles and the community roles they have occupied and continue to serve in, has been proceeding in the United States for over a decade. It would appear that the papers focus on clergy was a response to Rabbi Avi Weiss, who successfully provoked that issue from the outside and effectively laid the framework for the response. Unfortunately, only now, when it simmered past the boiling point in America, was it taken up in a serious manner.

Here, too, a central issue affecting the future of American orthodoxy was not led by the ideas and ideals of American Orthodoxy. It was, to use a political term, led from behind, or reacted to. Of course, when we think back to Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchiks groundbreaking positions on womens Torah learningTorah in general, our approach to modern society, and other ideas and ideals critical to American Orthodoxyone can only longingly marvel at the Ravs leadership, ideas, ideals, and wisdom.

I think these two issues are related. American orthodoxy is suffering from a lack of ideas and ideals that are the direct result of a lack of leadership. The question is: What happened to those leaders? I think the answer is inherent in the appointment of Rabbi Dr. Berman. Like Rabbi Berman, they, the future leaders, moved to Israel. Moreover, I would argue, the ideas and ideals that animate American Orthodoxy and will, necessarily, impel it forward in the 21st century, have also moved to Israel. I think we can spot the watershed moment when the future leadership departed.

From 1991-92, I was the news editor of The Commentator, the student newspaper of Yeshiva University. While happily minding my business at a bar mitzvah, I overheard two YU board members discussing the potential decision to close down the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. A short time later, I broke the story in The Commentator, leading to a wave of protests, intrigue, and showdowns between the YU Administration and its students. I can still hear the drum beats in President Lamms office, and the chants of protestors outside of Furst Hall. The words of The Day the Revel died sung to the tune of American Pie still linger in my head. These memories were recently brought to the fore.

Protests outside Furst Hall, circa 1992. CAPTION AND CREDIT HERE

I was the reporter of those events but many of its protagonists were my friends. Importantly, many are still my friends today. One of the leaders of the protests recently sent me an email with a photo of one of the demonstrations with the caption, We used to learn about history, now we are a relic of history. Actually, I told him, In fact you are a part of the future.

This photo of those Revel protests is hanging in a new lounge for the Revel School in Washington Heights. Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, who sent me the picture, described his strange feeling at walking into the lounge to give a talk and seeing himself on the wall. When he sent it to me, I kept staring at it. I could not tear myself away from looking at all of the people and placards. Part of it was nostalgia. Part of it was reliving the excitement of those times, where westudents, professors, board members and reporterscan now say that we saved the Revel graduate school. It is certainly good to feel young again, the memories of the adrenaline rushing through my system as we hurried out newspaper after newspaper to keep up with the events.

However, as I looked more closely at the picture, my adrenaline and nostalgia were overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding. This picture did not tell the story of the Revel Graduate School and its salvation. It told the story of a watershed moment in American Jewish History, particularly Modern Orthodox Jewish history in America. It was the moment the future leadership, ideas, and ideals made Aliyah.

I look closely at the pictures Michael Segal, whose drumbeats in Dr. Lamms office still give me a headache, is now Professor Michael Segal and head of the Mandel Institute of Bible Studies at Hebrew University (where he also serves as editor of the University Bible Project). Rabbi Saks is now running ATID with Rabbi Chaim Brovender, an institute which trains Orthodox educators from around the world. Rabbi Hillel Novetsky is embarking on one of the most ambitious online Torah projects ever. Called AlHatorah.org, Rabbi Novetsky is using modern web technology to enable Torah and Bible study at a high level. Rabbi Yitzchak Blau teaches at many seminaries in the Jerusalem area.

Of the original seven members of CPR (The Committee for the Preservation of Revel), five are living in Israel: Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, Saks, Segal, Novetsky, and Beth Zuckerman Prebor. Two of them, Rabbis Robert Klapper and Yaakov Blau, have remained in the U.S. Many, many others who were involved at the time are living in Israel and are well-regarded educators and intellectuals. I know because I see them and reminisce with them often. The people who cared deeply about Judaism, Jewish thought, and the future of Jewish educationenough to risk their reputations and careersmoved to Israel, where they teach many of the Centrist-Orthodox American kids in Yeshivot and Universities in Israel.

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What happened in that time is that the future intellectual and Jewish leadership of Modern Orthodoxy and perhaps Orthodoxy as a whole decided to make Aliyah. Like Nehemia, 2,500 years ago they decided to leave Shushan behind and move to Israel to build the future of the Jewish people. Some of those involved in the Revel protests stayed and have gone on to do wonderful things in America. However, the critical mass of young potential leaders moved on and with it the animated vision for the future. Perhaps, this is but the expansion of a trend that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein started 40-plus years ago when he moved his family to Israel and to where he said was the Major Leagues of Torah. However, over the last two decades, beginning with the Revel leaders, the trend has gained steam and it is now decisive.

Those who were focused on the future of the Jewish people understood that it was happening in Zion. Despite being immigrants and having accents, they have integrated and influenced Israeli society and the future of World Judaism because the future is not in America nor England. Jewish tradition, innovation and renaissance in Tanach, ritual, Torah, and life is happening in Israel. It is where the vibrant discussion is taking place and where the intellectual leadership resides. The core debates on our future are happening in Israel. To wit, the same discussion on womens roles is happening in Israel but it is causing far less of a schism. There is more of a rainbow in the national and religious spectrum that accommodates it so the discussion is, in fact, more nuanced and civilized. As I referenced earlier, it is in Israel that most of the Yoatzot (female, Halakhic advisers) are trained and where the idea was birthed. Nishmats Rabbanit Henkin pioneered this vision almost two decades ago and Malka Bina at Matan took womens learning to new heights. Like Rav Lichtenstein, both were American and they too made aliyah with these indispensable ideas and ideals.

That same sense is what I think explains the choice to bring Rabbi Ari Berman back to Yeshiva University as its president. Think about it. The leading institution of Orthodoxy in America could not find anyone in America to lead it. It had to go to Israel, where, apparently they too realized that both the center of Torah and the vision for Judaism and Jewish identity has moved. American Orthodoxy has long promoted Zionism, however, the numbers of olim coming from its communities has been sparse and remains a slowish drip. Rarely, if ever, does a leading pulpit rabbi in Teaneck, Woodmere, or Los Angeles stand up and suggest that one should follow his Zionist ideals and Jewish depth to Israel. The last one may have been Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who left behind Lincoln Square Synagogue at his and its height to settle a hilltop in Efrat and who has influenced Judaism globally from Israel. And so the dissonance continues. The potential idealist leaders, creative innovators and new ideas have already moved to Zion over the last two decades and assumed meaningful positions in Israel.

I guess, on some level, American Orthodoxy succeeded in exporting its future but not its masses.

What are those ideas and ideals that can inspire American Orthodoxy for the future? Actually, here too I think looking at Israel is instructive and perhaps, even more worrisome for American Orthodoxy. It is not only at the level of Jewish ideas that Israel is now leading, it is also where the future economy and economic moorings of the Jewish people is moving. As the innovation economy continues to gather steam, influence and wealth is increasingly coming from technology centers and entrepreneurship. For the last almost 100 years, the center of Jewish philanthropy and wealth has been New York City. This is quickly changing. It is simultaneously moving to San Francisco and Tel Aviv and for the same reason: technological innovation. These are transitions that take decades but they are well underway and it has profound implications.

This foundational economic change is a challenge for Yeshiva University and American (Orthodox) Jewry as a whole. It is a multi-faceted challenge. The first one is occupational. More and more jobs are moving to the technology sector. Moreover, many of the well-paying traditional professional jobs that Orthodox Jews occupy are also under threat of disruption from automation, Artificial Intelligence and technology, emanating from San Francisco, Tel Aviv and New York itself. Jewish educational institutions in America are woefully behind in the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. This is true for most elementary schools and all the way through to my alma mater YU. Catching up is going to be very expensive and very difficult in a system that is already financially strained.

Many American Jews who want their children to raise families, to send their kids to Jewish day schools are in a conundrum. Families likely cannot send their children to Jewish Day School without a scholarship unless they have a steady and/or very high income. Most innovation sector jobs pay less initially (although that is changing) and are higher risk from the perspective of career stability. In the innovation economy you will switch jobs, willy-nilly, every 3-5 years. Due to the aforementioned technology disruption and the changing nature of employment, it is very likely that over the coming decades, you are not going to be a lifetime employee at Morgan Stanley or Simpson Thatcher. The economy and world is changing and is ever more entrepreneurial and unstable. We are passing through the professional job era of my son is a Jewish doctor or my son is a Jewish lawyer that the community has grown accustomed to.

Which brings me to the fundamental challenge of the coming decades. If the leading minds of American Orthodoxy are moving to Israel and if the leading Torah and Jewish institutions are in Israel, and the innovation-centric wealth will grow in Tel Aviv and San Francisco, what will be left of the intellectual vision for American Jewry, particularly Orthodox Jewry whose epicenter is New York and the East Coast. Who, in the academic, rabbinic, and lay leadership will articulate a vision beyond Torah UMadda at Yeshiva University and the broader community? If the future leadership continues to make Aliyah, who will paint a path forward for a communal and community ethos? Who will confront growing assimilation? Birthright long ago outsourced its Jewish identity needs to Israel by sending kids there for 10 days. A one-year gap program in Israel is now de rigueur for most Orthodox Jewish kids and many Jewish youth of other denominations wishing to grow in Torah studies and Jewish identity. To this day, the U.S. Jewish community has been unable to provide this deep identity need. That search and crystallization of identity for most Jewish kids has moved to Israel.

So now what? A priori, there are two choices. The first is to attempt to rebuild and seriously address the future. With one eye toward ever-encroaching assimilation, American (Orthodox) Jewry must rediscover both its leadership and its ethos. American Orthodoxy must effectively confront these many issues, from technology (in both the Jewish and professional sense) to womens leadership and other critical issues of our time. That will require new ideas, ideals, and a cadre of leaders. Since we are all trained to think linearly, that is the natural choice. However, I would argue that it is a choice wrought with cognitive dissonance between the ideals you are taught and the surroundings you live in. It is a bet that the future of your economic situation looks much like the last 5-6 decades and that your institutions can shift their foci and educational training from a standing start.

The second is to acknowledge the disruption. The future is, in fact, highly non-linear and definitely unpredictable. The politics and economic gyrations of the last decade should make that plain and obvious at this point. Like Nehemia and the Revel Rebels, you can be a part of the non-linear disruption to lead the future of Jewry where the future is happening. YU under Rabbi Berman can lead that Nehemiah-like non-linear future. It can start thinking and acting toward building the Orthodox footbridge to Israel in a serious way. It can join the trend of Jewish leaders following their ideals to Israel and dramatically increase the momentum of that trend. That future includes technology education at the highest levels in the world, a risk-taking ethos in the new 21st century economy, and an affordable Jewish education rooted in a Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays. It is an approach that will be consistent with your ideals, ideas, hopes and prayers. It is not necessarily the most comfortable, or linear, option but it is likely the most effective. It is where the future of your Judaism and Jewishness lies. Perhaps, most importantly, the Jewish State, is also the greatest bulwark against assimilation, the multi-generational assault on Jewish peoplehood, that with the passage of time is overwhelming all denominations of American Jewry.

Michael Eisenberg is a partner at Aleph, a venture capital fund based in Tel Aviv. Recently, he published The Vanishing Jew, A Wake Up Call From The Book of Esther and Ben Baruch, an analysis of Tractate Brachot in the Jerusalem Talmud. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 8 children.

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Michael Eisenberg – Tablet Magazine

Purim Parody: New ambassadors confused by alphabet soup of Jewish organizations – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Israel US flags. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Global Jewish Association, the Jewish Council of Federative Conferences, the Israel Association of Jewish Jerusalem Rabbis, the Association for Jewish Activism, the Jewish Leadership United Council, the United Council for Jewish Leadership, the Universal Jewish Israeli Experience, and those are just a few of them, says a newly appointed ambassador from a south Asian state. He wasnt the only one confused by a recent spate of conferences and meetings held in Jerusalem.

I cant keep them all straight, a European diplomat from central Europe confided.

We had the Presidents Conference, the General Assembly, theres a conference at the IDC and another security conference and then we had something else, I cant even recall them all, and thats just in January. Why are there so many organizations? An emissary from the Vatican complained that he had recently received requests for meetings from 45 different organizations all claiming to represent American Jews.

I know there are six million Jews in America and we deeply respect the Jewish people, but why are there so many organizations that seem to overlap and represent them? One of them comes and says the Vatican should do more to recognize the Holocaust and then another one comes and congratulates for what weve done and gives us an award, one of them says a certain historical pope is an antisemite and another says he deserves accolades. We dont understand.

Ive been to seven conferences in the last week and heard the same former army generals speak at all of them, says a new ambassador from a Scandinavian country.

How many former generals are there? he wonders.

How many times can they give the same speech about Gaza and Iran and Syria? I mean we get it, right. Hezbollah, Hamas, bad.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi are all part of the Israeli anti-Iran alliance.

Okay. So why do we have to keep going to the same meetings on the same topics, where nothing gets done?

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Purim Parody: New ambassadors confused by alphabet soup of Jewish organizations – Jerusalem Post Israel News

The great anti-Semitism panic of 2017: A response to Rob Eshman – Washington Post

Writing in the Jewish Journal, editor-in-chief Rob Eshman accuses me of being an apologist for anti-Semitismbecause of the piece I wrote about Jewish panic over Trump. Lets go through his critique, shall we?

First, Eshman claims that American Jews arent panicking because they havent closed Jewish schools, turned Jewish institutions into armed camps or turned in their kippahs. True, but there are levels of panic. Many Jews have withdrawn their children from Jewish Community Center preschools, so much so that some JCCs are undertaking emergency fundraising campaignsto make up for the lost revenue. More generally and you can see several examples in the comments to my original piece its commonplace for Jewish liberals to analogize the current situation to 1933. Thats completely paranoid and insane, and a sign of panic.

Eshman continues, True, some Jewish leaders assertedthatanti-Semitic acts are at a level not seen in America since the 1930s, which is highly debatable. Thats not highly debatable, its obviously false and absurd, and the fact that Eshman considers it highly debatable is itself a sign of panic.

Next, Eshman contends that I attacka fakeJewish response in order to defend thereal Donald Trump. As regular readers know, I have long been a never-Trumper. My views on Trump havent changed. That doesnt mean I have lost my ability to spot a panic.

In my article, I pointed out that routine claims that Stephen K. Bannons Breitbart News is a white supremacist anti-Semitic site is belied by the articles Breitbart actually publishes about Jews, anti-Semitism and Israel. Eshman retorts that his own concerns about Breitbart had nothing to do with individual articles. Indeed, some of Breitbart.coms best friends and editors are Jewish. Rather, his concern is that Breitbart has fomented and reaffirmed through its coverage and commentsa deep antagonism toward Jews. No, it hasnt done so through its coverage; Eshman just acknowledged that Breitbarts articles are not anti-Jewish, and the articles more generally reflect mainstream conservative views.

The comments section, by contrast, is an unmoderated sewer that does contain a great deal of anti-Semitism. Is that a matter of concern? Sure. I more generally find Bannons ethno-nationalism and no enemies on the right mentality troubling, and not just because of how it might legitimize anti-Semitism. But none of that makes Bannon himself, or Breitbart News, anti-Semitic. Eshman invokes the authority of Ben Shapiro, so allow me to quote Mr. Shapiro:

Ive been as critical of Steve Bannon as anybody in the media. I was the first critic of Bannon because when I left Breitbart in March, I specifically named Bannon as a nefarious influence at Breitbart, by name. And yet, I was forced last week to defend Steve Bannon. I think that hes a terrible person. But because the left cant just say, This is a guy who made way for the alt-right, which is quite terrible, and hes doing a real disservice to the nature of the country by doing so. The left had to accuse him personally of racism and anti-Semitism, and they had to overstep. This is the big mistake.

You want to empower the alt-right? Keep overstepping. Again, its the overstepping by the left thats driving people into this almost white tribalism. Its really negative. I hate tribalism on all sidesI hate it on the left and I hate it on the rightand what Im seeing is that increase across the board.

Eshman acknowledges, as I noted, that there is no available data suggesting that Trumps supporters are more anti-Semitic than the voting public as a whole. His response? Data would be great, we all love data. In the meantime, the lack of numbers doesnt negate well-documented racist and anti-semitic acts perpetrated as Donald Trump ascended to nominee and then president. Yeah, but without data we have no idea how many of those acts were perpetrated by Trump supporters, or whether they represent a meaningful if any increase from the thousands of anti-Semitic acts perpetrated in the Unite States while Barack Obama was president.

Eshman next quotesa left-wing hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, for the proposition that Trump unleashed a wave of hatred against a wide variety of groups, including Jews. I dont take anything the SPLC says seriously, but in any event none of the specific acts listed have anything to do with Jews. Eshman asks, Is all this anti-Semitism? He answers: Not always. Actually, not at all. And I agree with Eshman, as I stated right at the beginning of my piece, that Jews are understandably concerned when ethno-nationalism rears its ugly head in general. But understandably concerned is a far cry from believing its 1933 all over again.

Eshman also rejects my criticism of Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt, challenging me to provide an example of when Greenblatt has been unduly partisan. My actual criticism of Greenblatt is that he has stirred panic about right-wing anti-Semitism through exaggerated rhetoric, such as the aforementioned claim that the level of anti-Semitic discourse in the United States today is the greatest since the 1930s. But since Eshman asked, one could write a whole paper about Greenblatts partisanship,starting with his announcement last March that the ADL was redirecting the money Donald Trump had donated over the years to the organization to specifically into anti-bias education programs that address exactly the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating he has injected into this political season.

Finally, Eshman claims that no one is the Jewish organizational world is concerned over the relatively minute amounts of Arab immigrants coming to America. (Bernstein uses Arab to mean Muslim, though of course not all Arabs are Muslims).

First, no, I meant Arab, and I linked to data about anti-Semitism in Arab countries. I dont know of any data that suggests that Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian Christians are any less anti-Semitic than are their Muslim compatriots. Muslim extremism is a separate, though intertwined, topic.

Second, of course people in the Jewish organizational world are (privately) concerned about this. They would have to be fools not to be, given (a) that Arab migrants and their descendants in Western Europe are responsible for an overwhelming percentage of anti-Semitic violence there, including murders at Jewish schools and stores, and attacks on Jews on the street; (b) that many violent incidents against Jews in the United States have been undertaken by Arab immigrants, including the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, the murder of a Hasidic boy on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994, a shooting at the El Al terminal at LAX in 2002, and a plot to attack New York synagogues in 2011; and (c) the role that Students for Justice in Palestine, dominated by Arab students, has played in fomenting anti-Semitism on American college campuses. And the phrase changing demographics is used to refer to the threat of Arab (and Muslim) anti-Semitism, including by ADL director Abe Foxman here, and in a report by the American Jewish Congress in 2008, in which it notes that opponents of anti-Semitism in the United Stateswill have to deal with demographic changes, includingthe shrinkage of the American Jewish population and the growth of other groups (including Muslims and Arabs).

Eshman adds that various Jewish organizations are reaching out to Muslim organizations to cooperate on issues of mutual interest and create mutual goodwill. Thats great, I support such efforts and hope they are successful. I have nothing against either Arabs or Muslims and would like nothing better than for the Jewish American and Arab American communities to coexist in harmony. But its ridiculous to pretend that if one is concerned about anti-Semitism in the United States, one shouldnt beconcernedabout large-scale immigration to the United States from places where virulent anti-Semitism is nearly universal. Maybe that means that its Eshman who is the actual anti-Semitism apologist?

UPDATE: In a lovely irony, it turns out that Eshmans own Jewish Journal ran a piece just ten days ago with the headline Concern, Not Panic. The author wrote, Obviously, simply the fact that Jewish cemeteries and centers are the targets of threats and vandalism is, in itself, troubling. What is not clear is whether they reflect an increase in anti-Semitic sentiment in the body politic or isolated acts of some of societys losers. Bad acts and occasional reversals can and will happen, even if the flow of history is favorable. The thugs and vandals are not todays most serious problem. I guess that by Eshmans own lights his own Jewish Journal is an organ of apology for anti-Semitism.

Go here to read the rest:
The great anti-Semitism panic of 2017: A response to Rob Eshman – Washington Post

The Resurgence of Antisemitism and Hate – The Gateway

A sign outside the entrance to the David Posnack Jewish Community Center after people were evacuated because of a bomb threat, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Davie, Fla. Photo Courtesy of salon.com

James Hill CONTRIBUTOR

Animosity toward Jewish people and immigrants have skyrocketed as of late.

In the last two months, there has been 100 bomb threats sent to Jewish community centers and schools. Around 100 gravestones were vandalized in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia in the same week. Two Indian men, who were mistaken to be Iranian, were attacked in Kansas City by an assailant who reportedly shouted, Get out of my country!

Parents are beginning to pull their children from schools due to the frequency of these threats. 50 students that attend a Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Orlando, Florida have withdrawn and 12 families removed their children from a center in Albany, New York.

These events are stirring up memories from those who have already suffered far more than any human should.

My fathers a Holocaust survivor, and I just called him up, and hes crying on the phone, Dr. Jamie Husyman said to CNN affiliate WSVN. Huysman also has a child in a JCC that received a bomb threat.

President Trump addressed these hate-fueled acts during his address to Congress on Feb. 28.

Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last weeks shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms, Trump said.

Trump condemning these acts is meaningless considering he only added fuel to the embers of hate during his campaign.

He generalized Mexican immigrants as murders and rapists. Trumps immigration ban originally was for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. On CNN, Trump said he thinks the entirety of Islam hates us and not just radical Muslims, who hate everyone including other Muslims.

Trump might not have said anything ill toward the Jewish community, but he did not need to. His biggest fans, the alt-right, have that covered.

The alt-right is a movement centered on white nationalism. This group has been accused of whitewashing clear racism, white supremacism and neo-Nazism. The man who coined this phrase, Richard Spencer, is a white supremacist. Spencer repeatedly quotes Nazi propaganda and has openly been critical of Jews.

One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem, Spencer said about Jewish people in a speech in Washington.

During the same speech, he said that America belongs to the whites. A major idea among alt-righters is an all-white country would be a utopia.

America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity, Spencer said. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us.

President Trump, whose daughter practices Orthodox Judaism, can never fully separate himself from the alt-right and their backwards beliefs since he hired Steve Bannon, who was the head of the alt-right Breitbart News, as chief White House strategist.

Bannon says that he is not racist or anti-Semitic but he is happy to pander to those people and make common cause with them in order to transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism.

Bannon had some disturbing remarks to criticisms from the media toward him.

Darkness is good: Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. Thats power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When theyre blind to who we are and what were doing, Bannon said.

In an interview with The New York Times, Trump said he would not even considered hiring Bannon if he thought Bannon was a racist.

President Trump may have thought he was tapping into the silent, rural communities that are angry over the lack of blue collar jobs, being unable to speak without offending someone, being called homophobic just because they are Christian and just wanting the government to leave them alone. Trump may have believed that speaking negatively toward Mexicans, Muslims and saying how it is would be just the thing these people wanted to hear. In doing so, Trump unknowingly made it socially acceptable to hate again.

The only redeeming factor of the alt-right is hating political correctness. As liberal from a tiny, rural Iowa community filled by deep red conservatives, the only way to win a discussion about social issues or politics is to speak your mind without a filter. When you speak honestly without worrying about upsetting someone, it makes you seem genuine.

So, if you are a firm believer in the alt-right and all of their crazy ideas about how American society should be, your way of thinking is obsolete. If you believe Jews, blacks and Muslims are lesser than you, I do not consider you American. You are not welcome here.

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The Resurgence of Antisemitism and Hate – The Gateway

Vandalized Capitol Hill synagogue calls for pushback against toxic expression – The Seattle Times

The Seattle synagogue Temple De Hirsch Sinai was vandalized with graffiti saying The Holocaust is fake history. Its rabbi responded: Were not going to allow those who terrorize us to define us.

A synagogue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood was vandalized overnight Thursday with anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying graffiti, said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

A Seattle police officer discovered the spray-painted message Friday morning on the old sanctuarys facade.

It says, The Holocaust is fake history, Weiner said. The s characters in the graffiti are dollar signs, Weiner said.

It really is a toxic mix of Holocaust denial, the stereotypical charge that Jews are obsessed with money, and the notion coming from the (President Trump) administration that all facts are fungible fake facts, fake history, Weiner said.

Police also investigated a box deemed suspicious because it was found outside a door at the synagogue where deliveries are not made, said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen OToole, who went to the scene. The box contained books that someone had donated to the synagogue, police said.

Shortly after the discovery of the graffiti, a neighbor hung a bedsheet saying Love Wins over the markings, Weiner said.

It was a very sweet gesture and touching, but we took it down I think its extremely important that people see this.

Weiner said the Seattle police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. He said hed been hearing all morning from people who worship at the temple.

People are incredibly hurt and upset. But most of the calls Ive gotten, all of the calls have been supportive, but most have been defiant, he said.

We are going to do our due diligence in terms of security, Weiner said. At the same time, were not going to allow those who terrorize us to define us.

Federal officials have been investigating more than 120 threats since Jan. 9 against Jewish organizations in three dozen states and a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.

On Feb. 27, a bomb threat forced evacuation of the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island.

Seattle Police Department spokesman Patrick Michaud said officers will be patrolling the area around the temple when they have extra time between 911 calls.

Michaud said police did not have a suspect.

Bias incidents have been rising in Seattle since at least 2012, according to Seattle Police Department statistics. Last year, 255 such incidents were reported to police.

Top police officials had met with temple leaders as recently as Wednesday to discuss concerns over hate crimes.

With all thats happening nationally we want people in all of our communities to feel safe, OToole said. Weve been meeting with people of this temple. Weve been meeting with people in mosques around the city we take these cases very seriously.

Weiner said he has been at Temple De Hirsch Sinai for 16 years. He said the synagogue has experienced minor vandalism before and received a threatening phone call after the election.

But, in my time, theres been nothing like this, Weiner said.

Since the election, Weiner said he believes people who were previously marginalized or silenced now feel newly empowered to express hateful sentiments.

The majority of us need to push back against that and convey that America is still America theres no place for hate or tolerance of toxic expression.

Other communities are also being threatened, Weiner said. This is a considerable and conspicuous upsurge in attacks on all vulnerable minority populations, he said.

Weiner said he and other faith leaders had already been scheduled to meet with U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell on Friday afternoon to discuss the rise in hate crimes and possible solutions.

Its a little more imminent and urgent than I had hoped it would be, he said.

Weiner never made it to the meeting. It was announced that he was on his way, but he got news of the suspicious package and had to turn back.

Read more from the original source:
Vandalized Capitol Hill synagogue calls for pushback against toxic expression – The Seattle Times

Some Jews support BDS ‘from a place of love’ for Israel, says AJC official – Mondoweiss

On Wednesday night in Brooklyn, Congregation Mount Sinai had a panel on the new anti-Semitism, featuring speakers from the American Jewish Committee, the Anti Defamation League and the New York Times.The speakers from the two Jewish organizations generally equated the BDS movement against Israel with anti-Semitism. The reporter for the New York Times was careful not to say a word about Israel.

Here are several interesting statements from the panel. The last one is the one in my headline.

Seffi Kogen, an official of the American Jewish Committee, said that college campuses have been hijacked by the alt left.

I wrote an op-ed forHaaretzabout five or six months ago. The title they slapped on it was, The Alt-right Promotes Hatred of Jews. The Alt-left: Hatred of Israel. I think we have seen that problem become increasingly prevalent on college campuses. Whereas the alt right has been finding political avatars, they would say in the form of Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, and others in Europe and elsewhere, the alt left does not have those same political avatars. But they do have academic avatars. There are professors on campuses around the country whole departments in fact, sociology, anthropology, womens studies that will be hijacked by this alt left, in a way that wed never allow the alt right to hijack an academic discipline.

And of course theres very little we can do about it within the bounds of academic freedom. But where we can address it is insure that the students that those people could teach, and who they could implicate into this deeply-problematic hatred of Israel we can reach those students. So thats what I primarily focus on.

Here are two efforts Kogen has undertaken to counter criticism of Israel:

Over winter break in December, I led a group of 17non-Jewish student leaders from Brown University to Israel. All of them came in with the basic paradigm with regard to the Israel Palestinian conflict, that Israel is the villain, Palestinians are the victim. After a week they all realized, that thats simply not true, there is far more nuance and far more complexity to the conflict than that and now were working with them to spread that knowledge around Brown Universitys campus

Just this last weekend, I was in Coral Gables, at the University of Miami, with a group of 30 students, Jewish students and Latino students, from 10 different campuses around the country. And we were there because we wanted to create a space where the students could learn one anothers stories and learn how to support one anothers advocacy. So when they return to campus the Jewish students are better equipped to stand up and speak out against immigration bans, against the Mexican wall, whatever they might be moved to align themselves with. And the Latino students are better equipped to speak out against anti-semitism and hatred of Israel.

Joseph Goldstein, reporter for the New York Times, on the alt-rights view of Jews:

In terms of understanding how the alt right thinks about Jews, or why they think about Jews I was at the notorious Richard Spencer conference last November. And some of the speakers were citing the Frankfurt school in their speeches. It was probably the first mention I had heard of the Frankfurt school since college. The alt right is quite literate and they have sort of, I mean you can call it a conspiracy theory or an alternative view of history, but they have sort of spun a narrative of how America got to this present moment in time, in which Jews play an outsized role.

And the alt right is obsessed with the notion that at some point in the not too distant future, America will not be a majority white country. I think there was a census estimate that it would happen 40 years from now. Thats a figure that gets cited an awful lot. And immigration is without question the number one issue for the alt right.

And understanding why we have open borders in the view of the alt right, and understanding American immigration history, they sort of look at the Ellis Island myth as they put it of America as a welcoming country as something that Jewish policies and Jewish influence have brought about. That if you take a look back, that the only ethnic group that has been seeking open borders and seeking a liberal immigration policy for a century now are the Jews.

I was somewhat stunned by just listening to various alt right speakers. They trace the rise of multiculturalism and the rise of and just the population shifts in America, as the result of a Jewish conspiracy to make America less white and Anglo-Saxon. And so that is one reason why the Jews do play a large role in sort of the alt rights world view, is they sort of need the Jews and the antisemitism in order to make sense of what America looks like today.

Interestingly, Goldstein did not get the opportunity to express these ideas in his article at the time.

Evan Bernstein, New York regional director of the Anti Defamation League, says anti-Semitism is the oldest form of hatred known to man, but the U.S. today is the best place ever for Jews:

I spoke at a press conference on the arrest of Juan Thompson, and I said,Anti-semitism is the oldest form of hatred really known to man. There hasnt been any kind of cure for it. Its been in every single major society really since societies have been around. Jews have started in these communities and then thrived and been driven out, as quickly as they have thrived.

We have always, for whatever reasonwere here in a synagogue if you want to make it biblical, if you want to make it sociological, whatever it is Jews are always the lightning rod for some form of hate in whatever society weve been able to be in

Europe is a much less rosy picture. But in America, Im very clear to say, this is still the best place ever to be a Jew in history. When I sat next to Governor Cuomo my grandparents were first generation off-the-boat Russians. If they ever thought in two generations their grandson would be sitting next to the governor of New York talking about how the governor would be protecting the Jewish people and investing a lot of money

Despite everything we see right now, this is a time where Jews are able to thrive financially, they are able to get educated at the best universities two generations ago that was not the case. Maybe country clubs are still the one area where we are not the best in getting into.. But in general there is a freedom of movement and a freedom of religion that two generations ago we could only dream about.

We have to be very cognizant of that, but keep our eyes open to what is taking place and the trends in front of us.

Seffi Kogen says that some Jews he knows support BDS out of love for Israel:

We often fall into this trap of assuming that students who support BDS, the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the state of Israel in an effort supposedly to end Israels occupation they never of course say whether theyre referring to an occupation after the Six Day War, that is the West Bank and Gaza, or whether theyre referring to Israels very existence we fall into this trap where we think that Jewish students who support BDS do so out of ignorance. I think that some do. I think that some simply dont know that there is a case for Israel.

I also think that there are some, in fact, I know that there are some, anecdotally, who do soand I think they are misguided but who do so from a place of love. They were my classmates in day school, and my bunkmates at Jewish camp. They were on the year-program that I spent in between high school and college in Israel. These are people who dont hate Israel. You would be hard pressed to pin a charge of antisemitism on them that would actually stick. And so when we create this kind of caricature of them, I think it prevents us from accurately dealing with the problem that actually exists on campus.

Yesterday I tweeted Kogen a sincere question. Dont some of your former bunkmates who support BDS object to the very issue in Israel that Joseph Goldstein finds justly objectionable in the alt-right: endless rhetoric of losing a racial majority. Kogen did not answer my question.

See the article here:
Some Jews support BDS ‘from a place of love’ for Israel, says AJC official – Mondoweiss

Surprise! Jews are good at baseball – JNS.org

The Sandy Koufax precedent

On a completely different note, why is this team so good? Arent Jews in the Diaspora supposed to be studious scholars who pore over books all day? So first, a clarification: The fact that a team of American Jews has been winning at an international baseball tournament is surprising because the team doesnt include the most successful Jewish players in Major League Baseballlike Alex Bregman, Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler. Actually, this Israeli team is just a footnote in the glorious Jewish history of Americas pastime.

At the inaugural Jewish American Heritage Month celebration in May 2010, President Barack Obama remarked, Weve got senators and representatives, weve got Supreme Court justices and successful entrepreneurs, rabbinical scholars, Olympic athletesand Sandy Koufax.

Koufax is widely considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Jewish or not. He earned his place in Jewish history, though, thanks to his decision to sit out game one of the 1965 World Series game because it coincided with Yom Kippur. He later won that years World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was named series MVP.

David Trager, a Brooklyn judge who also taught at Tel Aviv University, succinctly explained the meaning of Koufaxs Yom Kippur act. He said, Our parents generation was religious, but they still worked on the Sabbath.In the workshops and even at respectable companies, if you didnt work on Yom Kippur you were fired. Koufax didnt justify his decision with big words about religious faith. He was a completely secular man. He simply said, The Dodgers know I dont work on Yom Kippur. He set the precedent that, like any American, Jews can tell their employers that there are days when they dont work.

But Koufax wasnt the first. Thirty years before him, Detroit Tigers slugger Hank Greenberg also sat out a crucial game on Yom Kippur, at a time when Michigan faced a wave of anti-Semitism that was fanned by industrialist Henry Ford.

Israels sports landscape

American Jews are far better at sports than Israeli Jews. Jewish-American athletes have racked up more than 100 Olympic gold medalsto Israels one gold medal. It isnt about the quality of Jewish life in America. Even the Jews of Hungary won 50 gold medals under terrible anti-Semitism. Rather, an athlete performs well when the athletes in the surrounding environment are highly skilled. No Chinese child plays soccer as well as Argentine children. Similarly, Israel wont produce American-caliber baseball stars.

Yet theres no need to bash the Israeli sports landscape, and no need to slam Israels national soccer or basketball teams for not being as prolific as this newly renowned baseball team. The players that comprise the baseball team hail from a baseball superpower, America, even if they represent a different country at the WBC, Israel, that isnt an athletic superpower of any kind.

The Israeli baseball teams American players, meanwhile, arent likely to become heroes in Israel anytime soon. But due to their achievements on the international stage, the world finally knows that Jews are good at baseball.

This op-ed first appeared in Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is distributed in the U.S. exclusively by JNS.org.

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Surprise! Jews are good at baseball – JNS.org

ZOA endorses Israel’s anti-BDS law – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WASHINGTON (JTA) The Zionist Organization of America endorsed a new Israel law that would ban entry to supporters of boycotting Israel or its settlements, setting it apart from an array of Jewish groups who oppose the law.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is unjustified, discriminatory, harmful economic terrorism, powered by virulent Jew hatred, the ZOA said Friday in a statement.

Israel thus has every right to protect herself with this law, which bans entry of persons who are not Israeli citizens or permanent residents if they, or the organization in which they are active, knowingly issued a public call to boycott Israel or pledged to boycott Israel or areas controlled by Israel, the group said.

The law, adopted Monday by the Knesset, bans entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements. It has drawn mounting criticism from American Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, as well as the Reform and Reconstructionist movements. First to condemn the law were an array of left-wing Jewish groups, including J Street and the New Israel Fund.

On Friday, the Association for Israel Studies condemned the law, saying it would turn Israel into an isolated entity open only to those who ascribe to official policy.

The Trump administration has said that border crossings are a sovereign matter, but added that it favors free expression.

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ZOA endorses Israel’s anti-BDS law – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

This Sephardi Jew sees preserving Ladino as ‘act of resistance’ against Trump – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Devin Naar says Ladino connects Jews with Latinos and Muslims, two communities he considers marginalized in Trumps America. (Meryl Schenker Photography/The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at Washington University)

(JTA) One-year-old Vidal doesnt know the significance behind the lullaby his father sings him at bedtime. He knows it helps him fall asleep, but notthat the Ladino song is part of an effort to teach himwhat served asthe lingua franca of Sephardi Jews of the Ottoman Empire for over 500 years.

And he doesnt know that whenhe says his first words, he will join a shrinking cadre of Ladino speakers, most of them elderly, who hold the keys to a culture that is on the brink of extinction.

To lose a language is to lose a world, and were on the cusp of that,his father, Devin Naar, told JTA.

Naar, a professor of Sephardic studies at the University of Washington, is deeply passionate about preserving Ladino which is also known as Judeo-Spanish, Judezmo or Judio the language his grandfathers family spoke in their native Greece. By teaching Vidal Ladino, Naar hopes to fulfill a longtime dream of transmitting itslegacyto his son.

In recent months, theres something else at stake too. The 33-year-old Seattle resident sees the linguistic roots of Ladino, which include Hebrew, Spanish, Turkish and Arabic, as providing a way to connect Jews with Latinos and Muslims.Preserving Ladino is a specific political act of resistance in Trumps America, Naar said.

Its a language of linguistic fusion that is based in Spanish but really brings together a lot of other linguistic elements that I think give it a special resonance, especially in todays world, because it serves as bridge language between different cultures between Jewish culture, between Spanish culture and between the Muslim world, Naar said.

President Donald Trump has signed executive orders to builda wall between the U.S. and Mexico and to banimmigrants from some Muslim majority countries.

If Trump is interested in building a wall, Judezmo serves as a bridge, and I think that we need bridges such as this in our time, Naarsaid.

Naars grandfather came to the United States with most of his familyin 1924 from Salonica, Greece, in the midst of discriminatory measures being passed against Jews there. Family members left behind later perished inthe Holocaust, along with 95 percent of the citys Jews.

In the U.S., there were other difficulties. Naars grandfather heard anti-Semitic slurs and other insults from bigots who mistook him forSouth American or Middle Eastern.

Speaking Ladino serves as a method of reclaiming that heritage and activating that heritage not only for personal and family reasons but for political reasons, Naar said.

Devin Naars grandfather, far right, in Salonica, Greece, in the early 1920s, before they moved to the U.S. (Courtesy of Naar)

Ladino emerged following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, when the communitydispersed throughout the Ottoman Empire and came in contact with local languages as well as different Iberian dialects. At its height in the beginning of the 20th century, the languagehad abouthalf a million speakers, Naar estimated.

Estimates of current Ladino speakers vary widely, from between 160,000-300,000 people with some familiarity withthe language to around 50,000-100,000 speakers. Most of the population today is elderly, but there is renewedinterest in the language in some universities in the U.S. and Israel as well asamong Sephardi Jews.

Teaching VidalLadino has its challenges there is no complete English-Ladino dictionary and most speakers are older.Naarwas recently reading Vidal a childrens book about a dinosaur with slippery flippers and found himselfat a loss for how to translate that expression into Ladino. He consulted a scholar in Israel and a local Ladino speaker to get it right.

Its a learning process for me, both speaking to him and recognizing the limits of my vocabulary and trying to expand my vocabulary, Naarsaid.

But he isnt alone. Naar enlisted the help of a Seattle-basedgroup of elderly Ladino speakers, who translated Little Red Riding Hood into the language as a gift to Vidal. And his wife, Andrea, speaks to their sonin a mix of English, Spanish and Ladino.

Rachel Amado Bortnick, the founder of an online community for Ladino speakers, told JTA thatshe had only heard of one other casein the last decade of a child being taught to speak Ladino.

Theres no community that uses it daily its very challenging, to put it mildly, to actually pass on the language in the way that a person like me grew up in, said Bortnick, who learned Ladino as a child in her native Turkey.

Naars interest in the language goes back to his family history. He grew up hearing his grandfather and older relatives speak the language.

But by the time he started college in 2001, he had only learned a few words: greetings, curses, food-related words and liturgical passages. Questions from classmates about his last name, which did not sound like the Ashkenazi Jewish names they were familiar with, motivated him to dig deeper into his heritage.

He started studying Sephardi history and asked his grandfather to teach him Ladino.

A year later, Naar was able to read letters detailing the fate of family members who had perished in Auschwitz. The letters, written in Ladino by a family friend after World War II, had been tucked away in a closet, and some of Naars family members had been unaware of their existence and the details they provided ofthe deaths of family members.

The older generation, they couldnt believe it. They hadnt heard somebody speak like that in years, so that was very powerful for me, Naar said.

Now hes doing his part to pass the language on to the next generation and with it, a set of values.

One of my goals in trying to teach Vidal Ladino would be so that he has a sense of connection and awareness, not only of where he comes from, but also how the culture that he is connected to is connected to many other people, so that if he sees that immigrants in general or Spanish-speaking immigrants or Muslims in America are being maligned, I hope that he would be inspired to stand up.

Devin Naar is reading his son, Vidal, childrens books in Ladino as well as translating books from English into the language. (Courtesy of Naar)

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This Sephardi Jew sees preserving Ladino as ‘act of resistance’ against Trump – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

ADL: Juan Thompson’s arrest alone won’t stop ‘unprecedented’ wave of anti-Semitism – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s New York Regional director.

NEW YORK (JTA)-Thanking the FBI and police for the arrest of Juan Thompson, who allegedly made eight bomb threats to Jewish institutions, the Anti-Defamation League calledthe current wave of anti-Semitic acts “unprecedented.”

“Law enforcement at all levels is a close friend to the Jewish people in America,” Evan Bernstein, ADL’s New York regional director, said at a news conference Friday. “Just because there’s been an arrest today around our bomb threats does notmean that the threats have disappeared or will stop.”

Earlier in the day, sources told the media that Thompson was a “copycat” and that the investigation continued into finding the hoaxers behind the dozens of other bomb threats reported since January.

The news conference was convened after law enforcement announced Friday that Thompson had been charged in connection with the deluge of bomb threats received this year by Jewish institutions. Thompson, 31, of St. Louis, allegedly made bomb threats to JCCs, Jewish schools and an ADL office as part of his cyberstalking of a former romantic partner.

The ADL and several other Jewish groups had met Friday with FBI Director James Comey. According to a statement from the groups in attendance, which were not listed but included the ADL, the Jewish Federations of North America and the JCCAssociation of North America, the meeting concerned recent anti-Semitic acts and collaboration between Jewish institutions and law enforcement.

“All the organizations in attendance expressed the deep gratitude of the entire community for the extraordinary effort that the FBI is applying to the ongoing investigation,” the statement said. “The representatives of the Jewish community left with the highest confidence that the FBI is taking every possible measure to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”

According to statistics compiled by the New York Police Department, anti-Semitic acts have nearly doubled in early 2017 as compared to one year earlier. The ADL said that due to the reach of the Internet and the quantity of recent bomb threats, white supremacists are more emboldened than ever.

“We’re in unprecedented times,” said Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. “We’ve never seen, ever, the volume of bomb threats that we’ve seen.White supremacists in this country feel more emboldened than they ever have before because of the public discourse and divisive rhetoric.”

In total, more than 100 Jewish institutions, mostly JCCs, have received bomb threats since the beginning of the year. The last two weeks saw vandalism at Jewish cemeteries inPhiladelphia,St. Louisand Rochester, New York, as well as twomore wavesofbomb threatscalled into JCCs, schools and institutions across the country, representing the fourth and fifth waves of such harassmentthis year.No explosive device was found after any of the calls.

The ADL called on President Donald Trump to take action against anti-Semitism, including by directing the Department of Justice to launch a civil rights investigation into the threats, and by creating a federal interagency task force on combating hate crimes chaired by the attorney general.

“We need action to stop these threats,” Bernstein said. “History shows that when anti-Semitism gains the upper hand, courageous leaders need to speak out and take action before it’s too late.”

Segal said the ADL has been tracking Thompson, a disgraced former journalist, since he fabricated the identity of a cousin of Dylann Roof, the gunman who killed nine at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

On its Twitter feed Friday, the ADL posted information gleaned from the U.S. Attorney’s complaint and media portraying Thompson as a former journalist-he was fired from his job at the online news site The Intercept for inventing quotes and sources-who had recently “became more hostile to whites in general.”

According to the ADL, he has posted inflammatorytweets about white police officers and the “white New York liberal media.”

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ADL: Juan Thompson’s arrest alone won’t stop ‘unprecedented’ wave of anti-Semitism – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Hate crimes in America: either a trap or an opportunity for Palestine advocates – Mondoweiss

Fox News tweet of St. Louis cemetery with gravestones overturned, February 20, 2017

A collusion exists between the anti-Semitic, White supremacist forces that have ascended to the White House and Zionists. While the former advocate for global apartheid and a race battle between Europeans/Whites/Western values and an imaginary construct of dark-skinned barbaric hordes, the latter promote a Jewish-only settler-colonialist villa in the jungle as an anti-Muslim, Western stronghold and a means to salvation in the form of the second coming (Christian Zionists) or the construction of the third temple (Jewish Zionists).

This relationship contains a glaring paradox: anti-Semitism is a central tenant of White supremacy, neo-Nazism and the alt-right just as much, if not more than, anti-Muslim sentiment.

There is a long history of collaboration between anti-Semitic forces and Zionists. Anti-Semites aim to get rid of Jews and all other races, while Zionists have worked to entice Jews, by any means necessary, to Israels shores, i.e. Judaizing Israel as a means to fight the demographic threat posed by native Palestinians.

This collaboration has recently culminated in a grotesque display of brotherly love between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of the United States Donald Trump.

Immediately following Trumps surprising victory, Netanyahu, the self-anointed representative of world Jewry, praised Trump for his friendship and support of the state of Israel, as exemplified by his campaign rhetoric.

In their first joint press conference, which included reciprocal ego-stroking, Netanyahu clearly defined the currently convenient mutual interest that binds modern day Israel and Zionists with Trump and his anti-Semitic enablers: radical Islamic terrorism.

However, since the American elections there have been a series of anti-Semitic bomb threats and desecrations of Jewish cemeteries that are unrelated to Islamic terrorism. In fact, these add to a growing number of racist expressions against immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQI and other members of minority communities, apparently fueled by the emboldening of racist groups and individuals inspired by Trumps ascendency.

In response to these incidents , Trump ignored his obvious culpability in this spike of violence and regressed to anti-Semitic rhetoric, claiming that the desecrations and attacks could be false flags perpetuated by Jews themselves. Furthermore, when directly asked by a reporter about the spike in anti-Semitism, Trump referenced Netanyahus support as a sort of vindication.

In this context, Netanyahu and his ilk are directly aiding and abetting anti-Semites. It is painfully ironic to recall the words of the newly-confirmed Israeli ambassador David Friedman, who accused members of the liberal Zionist group J Street of being far worse than kapos. Friedman has been serving Trumps agenda in one capacity or another for years.

Trumps particular claim underlines a nexus where anti-Zionists and anti-Semites sometimes converge and is a dangerous trap for Palestine advocates. Claims that dismiss an anti-Semitic and racist reality, such as those vocalized by Trump and supposedly backed by anecdotes of Jews involved in hate crimes, serve to validate notions of a Zionist conspiracy that foments anti-Semitism for the purpose of Jewish immigration (Aliyah) to Israel. Whereas fear has undoubtedly been used by Zionist propaganda (Hasbara) to promote Aliyah, it is erroneous to associate all, or even most expressions of anti-Semitism with this phenomenon. In fact, it is extremely counterproductive for Palestinian advocates to promote such claims as it serves to excuse the real culprits who are frequently White supremacists and anti-Muslim, and associates the Palestinian cause with right-wing anti-Semites.

Instead of falling into this trap, Palestinian advocates and members of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement would do well to continue to focus on forming allegiances with progressive and radical groups who represent other victimized minority communities with goals of equality and justice, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and others. The recent wave of Trump-inspired violence and bigotry inflicted on both Jewish and Muslim American communities has presented opportunities for building bridges of interfaith solidarity that have proved highly successful (see here and here).

Collaboration between repressed communities may be the best and only hope of fighting the divisiveness and ongoing cycle of violence and inequality, which plagues societies in America and Israel/Palestine.

Read the original here:
Hate crimes in America: either a trap or an opportunity for Palestine advocates – Mondoweiss

Trump supporters call for ‘liberal genocide’ and deportation of Jews at Arizona Rally – Raw Story

13-year-old tells Jewish woman to “go back to her own country” (Photo: screen capture)

Maricopa County burnished its reputation as theTrumpiest in Americalast weekend as hundreds of locals, including heavily armed militiamen, white nationalists and even a few electedofficials, gathered to support the 45th president. The ensuing March for Trump was as horrifying as it sounds.

I heard lock her up, lock her up, and we still need to pursue that, announced Arizona Congressman Anthony Kern; a nod to a prominent Trump campaign promise to imprison then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

If you dont like it here, go to Syria, go to someplace else, one attendee shouted.

I dont want em, as a veteran I dont want em, let em go back home, another seconded. If theyve got a problem, let Saudi Arabia take care of em.

Some even dared to tell Dan Cohen of the The Real News Network how theyd make America great again now that Trump was in office. And Muslims werent the only religious minority unwelcomed.

If she is Jewish, she should go back to her country, a 13-year-old Trump supporter said of a protester.

This is America, wedont want Sharia Law, one attendee explained. Christian country, he added.

One man insisted that Senator John McCain was a secret communist.

I think theres a lot there, he said of Pizzagate, a deranged right-wing conspiracy theory that Clintons campaign chairman John Podesta was running a child prostitution ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. Definitely enough to warrant an investigation.

The days proceedings would grow uglier still.

I just want to let them know that I cant wait for the liberal genocide to begin, an Oath Keeper shouted at a small group of protesters.

Thats the way to make America great again, he later toldCohen. Liberals are destroying the country.

Watch:

More here:
Trump supporters call for ‘liberal genocide’ and deportation of Jews at Arizona Rally – Raw Story

Cocido: a Spanish Dish with Jewish Roots – My Jewish Learning

Chef Jim Solomon, owner of the Boston restaurant, The Fireplace,likes to stir the pot. The award winning Jewish chefs recipe for Spanish Inquisition Remembered is a boldly named new twist on a centuries-old Spanish chickpea-based stew known as cocido, that will spice up the Purim menu and the conversation around the Purim dinner table.

Rich in flavor, the cocido is perfect for Purim, a holiday that is filled with masked meaning, charade, and customs and cuisine that reveal more than they appear on the surface.Solomon developed this recipe for Beyond Bubbes Kitchen, a Jewish food event that was produced by the Jewish Arts Collaborative, a Boston-based Jewish arts and cultural organization.

The cocido, a common Spanish chickpea-based stew dates back to the fifteenth century, he found. Its a simple stew and varied across regions and was also prepared with meat. Solomon was delighted to discover that the dish, often prepared in the winter, was commonly eaten by Jews for Purim.

Non-Jewish Spaniards added pork to the stew. In the time of the Spanish Inquisition, Jews who were hiding their identity were known to have eaten pork to mask their faith, Solomon found.

Jewish cooking authority Joan Nathan elaborated on the origins of the Sephardic version of the cocido and its relation to Purim. The long-simmering stew, often cooked overnight in ovens, was a variation of the a cholent known as adafina. It may have included lamb or goat, sometimes barley or bulgur, said Nathan. Christian Spaniards added sausage. Jews like to think it was Jewish, but everyone ate it, said Nathan.

Chickpeas are known as a Purim dish, Nathan observed. Many believe that in the story retold in The Book of Esther, read on Purim, that Queen Esther ate a vegetarian diet while living in the palace of King Ahasverus in order to follow the rules of kashruth. This led to the custom of eating beans and peas at Purim, she has found.

Solomons Spanish Inquisition Remembered dish is a garlicky cocido with garbanzo and spinach served over couscous with parsley. The flavorful stew is spiced with smoked and Hungarian paprika, cumin and cayenne. He improvised a paste of toasted Marcona almonds and sour dough bread cubes that adds a robust depth to the flavor-rich stew.

But Solomon had more in mind than creating a mouth-watering contemporary version of the Sephardic stew. The whole idea for drawing inspiration for a dish from the time of the Inquisition was to be provocative, he acknowledged. One parallel with Purim was the evil plan of Haman to kill the Jews of ancient Persia, he said. But he also wanted to bring together Purims themes of religious persecution, the Inquisition, hidden identities, the Sephardic cocido and todays political climate.

I wanted to highlight the similarities to [President] Trumps intention to ban and expel vast numbers of Muslims and other immigrants, he explained. While my dish is a simple, traditional Spanish cocido, it has the hidden meaning of being a political statement about is happening in America today.

Its an invitation to a thought-provoking, delicious meal.

10 oz Baby Spinach cup Vegetable Oil1/3 cup Garlic18 oz Chickpeas, drained18 oz Tomato Filets or Canned Crushed Tomatoes1/2 cup Marcona Almonds2 slices Sourdough bread, without Crusts, cut into 1 cubes1 tsp Ground Hungarian Paprika1 tsp Heirloom Tomato Powder1 tsp Cumin tsp Cayenne1 tsp Smoked Spanish PaprikaKosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Couscous 2 cups Israeli Couscous2 cups Water or Vegetable Stock lb Butter, Unsalted1 Tbsp Garlic Powder2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped2 Tbsp Kosher SaltSalt to taste

Heat 10 skillet over medium to medium high heat.

Add oil and allow to heat for a minute or until the oil gets hot, just before it begins to smoke.

Add garlic and spinach. Cook spinach and garlic until just wilted. Take spinach out of the pan and set aside. Add a bit more vegetable oil and add in sour dough bread cubes and Marcona Almonds. Cook until toasted golden brown. Take out bread and almonds and grind into a paste in a blender or food processor.

Add tomatoes to the same skillet, then the bread almond paste. Cook down for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic mixture and then the chickpeas, Hungarian paprika, tomato powder, cumin, cayenne, Spanish paprika, and salt & pepper. Cook until thick, about 25 minutes.

Next, make couscous. Heat 2 cups water and butter along with 2 Tbsp kosher salt over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add in couscous and stir. Reduce heat to medium low to a simmer. Cook couscous for 6 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When water has evaporated, turn off heat and mix in kosher salt, garlic powder and chopped parsley.

If serving on the same day:remove the sauce and couscous from the heat and enjoy!

If serving the following day: when the spinach chickpea tomato stew is removed from the refrigerator, heat the mixture in a saucepan or skillet. Heat on Medium high heat until desired temperature about 20 minutes. Re-season the stew as needed. Do not put parsley in couscous if reheating the next day. Heat couscous in a saucepan with cup water and cup butter and re-season with salt & garlic powder as needed. Before serving, mix in parsley.

Plating:Spoon couscous onto the center of the plate or bowl.Ladle some of the spinach chickpea tomato stew over the top. Sprinkle a little paprika and fresh chives or parsley on top.

Chef Jim Solomon, owner of the Boston restaurant, The Fireplace,likes to stir the pot. The award winning Jewish chefs recipe for Spanish Inquisition Remembered is a boldly named new twist on a centuries-old Spanish chickpea-based stew known as cocido, that will spice up the Purim menu and the conversation around the Purim dinner table.

Rich in flavor, the cocido is perfect for Purim, a holiday that is filled with masked meaning, charade, and customs and cuisine that reveal more than they appear on the surface.Solomon developed this recipe for Beyond Bubbes Kitchen, a Jewish food event that was produced by the Jewish Arts Collaborative, a Boston-based Jewish arts and cultural organization.

The cocido, a common Spanish chickpea-based stew dates back to the fifteenth century, he found. Its a simple stew and varied across regions and was also prepared with meat. Solomon was delighted to discover that the dish, often prepared in the winter, was commonly eaten by Jews for Purim.

Non-Jewish Spaniards added pork to the stew. In the time of the Spanish Inquisition, Jews who were hiding their identity were known to have eaten pork to mask their faith, Solomon found.

Jewish cooking authority Joan Nathan elaborated on the origins of the Sephardic version of the cocido and its relation to Purim. The long-simmering stew, often cooked overnight in ovens, was a variation of the a cholent known as adafina. It may have included lamb or goat, sometimes barley or bulgur, said Nathan. Christian Spaniards added sausage. Jews like to think it was Jewish, but everyone ate it, said Nathan.

Chickpeas are known as a Purim dish, Nathan observed. Many believe that in the story retold in The Book of Esther, read on Purim, that Queen Esther ate a vegetarian diet while living in the palace of King Ahasverus in order to follow the rules of kashruth. This led to the custom of eating beans and peas at Purim, she has found.

Solomons Spanish Inquisition Remembered dish is a garlicky cocido with garbanzo and spinach served over couscous with parsley. The flavorful stew is spiced with smoked and Hungarian paprika, cumin and cayenne. He improvised a paste of toasted Marcona almonds and sour dough bread cubes that adds a robust depth to the flavor-rich stew.

But Solomon had more in mind than creating a mouth-watering contemporary version of the Sephardic stew. The whole idea for drawing inspiration for a dish from the time of the Inquisition was to be provocative, he acknowledged. One parallel with Purim was the evil plan of Haman to kill the Jews of ancient Persia, he said. But he also wanted to bring together Purims themes of religious persecution, the Inquisition, hidden identities, the Sephardic cocido and todays political climate.

I wanted to highlight the similarities to [President] Trumps intention to ban and expel vast numbers of Muslims and other immigrants, he explained. While my dish is a simple, traditional Spanish cocido, it has the hidden meaning of being a political statement about is happening in America today.

Its an invitation to a thought-provoking, delicious meal.

10 oz Baby Spinach cup Vegetable Oil1/3 cup Garlic18 oz Chickpeas, drained18 oz Tomato Filets or Canned Crushed Tomatoes1/2 cup Marcona Almonds2 slices Sourdough bread, without Crusts, cut into 1 cubes1 tsp Ground Hungarian Paprika1 tsp Heirloom Tomato Powder1 tsp Cumin tsp Cayenne1 tsp Smoked Spanish PaprikaKosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Couscous 2 cups Israeli Couscous2 cups Water or Vegetable Stock lb Butter, Unsalted1 Tbsp Garlic Powder2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped2 Tbsp Kosher SaltSalt to taste

Heat 10 skillet over medium to medium high heat.

Add oil and allow to heat for a minute or until the oil gets hot, just before it begins to smoke.

Add garlic and spinach. Cook spinach and garlic until just wilted. Take spinach out of the pan and set aside. Add a bit more vegetable oil and add in sour dough bread cubes and Marcona Almonds. Cook until toasted golden brown. Take out bread and almonds and grind into a paste in a blender or food processor.

Add tomatoes to the same skillet, then the bread almond paste. Cook down for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic mixture and then the chickpeas, Hungarian paprika, tomato powder, cumin, cayenne, Spanish paprika, and salt & pepper. Cook until thick, about 25 minutes.

Next, make couscous. Heat 2 cups water and butter along with 2 Tbsp kosher salt over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add in couscous and stir. Reduce heat to medium low to a simmer. Cook couscous for 6 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When water has evaporated, turn off heat and mix in kosher salt, garlic powder and chopped parsley.

If serving on the same day:remove the sauce and couscous from the heat and enjoy!

If serving the following day: when the spinach chickpea tomato stew is removed from the refrigerator, heat the mixture in a saucepan or skillet. Heat on Medium high heat until desired temperature about 20 minutes. Re-season the stew as needed. Do not put parsley in couscous if reheating the next day. Heat couscous in a saucepan with cup water and cup butter and re-season with salt & garlic powder as needed. Before serving, mix in parsley.

Plating:Spoon couscous onto the center of the plate or bowl.Ladle some of the spinach chickpea tomato stew over the top. Sprinkle a little paprika and fresh chives or parsley on top.

Read the original:
Cocido: a Spanish Dish with Jewish Roots – My Jewish Learning

ISIS Hunter: Time to Wake Up to the White Nationalist Terror Threat – Daily Beast

Rita Katz has been tracking jihadist radicals for nearly two decades. She says an equally grave threat is being largely ignored: the rise of white nationalist extremism.

I was born and raised Jewish, and have witnessed anti-Semitism firsthand. My father was executed in a public hanging in Baghdad by Saddam Hussein. His crime: being a Jew. My grandmother, at 52 years old, was murdered by the same thugs, for the same reason.

Later in my life, still a child, I lived in Israel, where the Holocaust was a cornerstone of our education. We grew up in an atmosphere of normalized war as the Arab-Israeli War and others clashes unfolded before us. We saw our very lives and existence as a nation in peril.

My husband and I moved to the United States, after we had three boys, largely so they could be free of such threats and feelings. But over my past 20 years here, I am still hatedeven personallybecause of my heritage.

On white nationalist forums, members threaten Jews and exclaim that they must protect themselves from Filthy Jew Rita Katz, now that I am tracking what they say online. Such rhetoric seems fitting to a recent wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes across the country, including messages on subway windows, the desecration of hundreds of graves in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia, defacements to buildings, bomb threats to Jewish centers, and a plot to shoot a synagogue in the spirit of Dylann Roof.

While we dont yet know who has committed some of these recent crimes, they give more than enough reason for a long-outstanding discussion about this countrys white nationalist movement. Having monitored jihadist and far-right threats for years, Ive always been troubled by how little attention the latter receives from both authorities and the media.

As a result, Americans often hear about hate crimes by white nationalists but miss a full view of the larger community itself. That can no longer stand. With anti-Semitic and white nationalist rhetoric hitting a fever pitch, its time to take such extremism seriously.

White nationalists are not a collection of isolated individuals. They comprise an organized community which recruits, incites, and propagates its message like any other extremist movement. Their hate, just like jihadists hate, is reinforced by structured ideologies and communicational spaces. Websites like Stormfront, an online white nationalist forum with more than 240,000 members (most of whom are Americans), and Vanguard News Network (VNN), a neo-Nazi forum, are hubs for extremist activity. Users often make incitements, distribute literature and articles from white nationalist news outlets, and praise the actions of people like Adolf Hitler and Dylann Roof.

And much like jihadi forums, these sites are also hotbeds for incitement of violent sentimentssome of which manifest into real-life attacks.

Frazier Glenn Miller, a prominent white supremacist leader, was active on VNN for years, expressing disgust for Jews and calling for genocide against them. He was dangerous offline, too. In the 1980s, he was indicted for allegedly plotting the assassination of Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) founder Morris Dees, and was arrested again for running a paramilitary training camp in violation of a signed agreement with Dees.

Despite his high profile, Miller continued posting violent rhetoric on VNN uninterrupted. Such messages included praise of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Miller wrote that he had read some of [Breiviks] manifesto, and suggested to apply the same style of attack on Jewish kids in the United States:

I mean, if some enterprising American fellow, went to a youth camp in the Catskills, Camp David, or Marthas Vineyard, and sprayed some younguns belonging to our immigrant-loving JOG [Jew-owned government]I just might sleep even better than my norm, possibly with a wide grin on my face.

On April 13, 2014, Miller opened fire on a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement community in Kansas. Three were murdered.

Miller was not the only one on these forums to commit violence. Wade Michael Page was a high-profile member of the Hammerskins skinhead organization and larger white nationalist movement. He was also active in the white power music scene with his band, End Apathy. Pages rhetoric on Stormfront, where he was active since at least as early as 2008, and the Hammerskins Crew 88 forum urged action by other white nationalists regardless of the outcome, and proclaimed, Passive submission is indirect support to the oppressors. Stand up for yourself and live the 14 words (14 words referring to the slogan We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children).

On Aug. 5, 2012, Page opened fire on a Wisconsin Sikh temple. Six people were murdered.

Incitements against Jews persist on these forums to this day. Commenting on the Jewish cemetery defacement in Philadelphia, a prominent Stormfront member posted: Jewish cemeteries are a waste of valuable land Jews should be cremated so they dont take up space. A senior American forum members reply brought back chilling memories of my education on the Holocaust, reading: LIVE Jews should be cremated so they dont take up space.

Of course, conversations on Stormfront have also taken aim at me, my extremist-monitoring organization SITE, and other Jewish and Jewish-led observers of extremism, condemning our reporting as anti-white for opposing White advocacy, White solidarity, and White unity.

The white nationalist movement is poised to spread its message on social media through any medium available: songs, videos, memes, you name it. This month, Stormfront users celebrated a parody rap video featuring Moon Man, a white nationalist meme-character taken from old McDonalds advertising. The music video, titled, Right Wing Death Squads, declares fascisms back and both visually and lyrically depicts violence against Jews, Latinos, African Americans, and other minorities. One part shows Moon Man shooting an offensively characterized Jewish man in a YouTube Think tank room. Another part makes a picture of political cartoonist Ben Garrison rap:

Moon Mans dad, back for round two, got a life sentence when I shot a Jew Name the Jew, BLAME the Jew, and when youre online then blame the Jew.

Thank You!

You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason

Though some users on the Stormfront forum wrote the video off, others praised it for finding new angles to promote their message. One user stated:

Moonman is hilarious, but he also has said numerous truths and exposes the lies, propaganda and antiWhite agenda. He is verbally brutal. Good. No time to be a pussy.

Its strange that at a time in which every headline reveals a new hate crime, we somehow fail to bring attention to anti-Semitic statements and videos such as these. And its just as strange that the video, with more than 111,000 views, still hasnt been taken down from YouTube since it was posted on Dec. 14, in clear violation of its policies. When compared to ISIS videos, which are typically taken down by YouTube within hours (sometimes minutes) of being uploaded, this reaction proves pitiful and dangerously permissive.

President Trump did indeed speak about the recent wave of hate crimes in his address to Congress last week with a long-overdue condemnation, stating that we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

The presidents statement was imperative but ultimately useless by any practical measurement, particularly when considering that his administration plans to refocus the governments Countering Violent Extremism program, which has encompassed white nationalist activity, exclusively on jihadi terrorism.

Whether youre assessing recent hate crimes, analyzing the alt-right movement on social media, tallying casualties from deadly domestic attacks, or observing the emboldened rhetorical emanating from white nationalist circles, its clear that jihadism is not the only extremist threat to the U.S. As someone who has received death threats from various extremist communities, I am far more scared of Americas white nationalists than I am of its jihadists. Like any domestic lone wolf jihadist, white nationalist extremists live among us, and recruit and attack on American soil. Some are even so bold as to try running for public office.

The media and investigators seem to prefer masked savages overseas, declaring America as an enemy, over those purporting to fight for the nation. Weve witnessed this double standard at SITE for years. When we report on jihadists calls for attacks, we get emails and phone calls from journalists and government officials asking us for more information. But when we report on the same types of messages from white nationalistsspanning calls for lone wolves to target government officials, statements that Dylann Roof should have shot up a synagogue, or fantasies of anti-whites hanging from every light postwe hear nothing but crickets.

If Trump and other leaders are as concerned with national security as they say, they should counter white nationalism with the same vigor as radical Islamic terrorism. Doing so wont require any violations of constitutional rights or civil liberties, only a look into whats already out in the open. If approached with half the energy as is shown for a teenager praising ISIS on Twitter, attacks like Millers, Pages, and others can very well be prevented.

My family and I came to the U.S. to get away from the threats that had chased us for generations. I want my children to always feel safe and protected. My country, the United States of America, holds dearly freedom and the right to pursue happiness. To enable this pursuit, the U.S. must protect all people under its wing from those who prove a true threat. My family, and numerous other families around our country, depend on it.

Read more from the original source:
ISIS Hunter: Time to Wake Up to the White Nationalist Terror Threat – Daily Beast

Under pressure, Amazon stops selling Holocaust-denial books – The … – Jewish Chronicle

The online retailer Amazon has stopped selling three Holocaust-denial books after Jewish groups voiced growing frustration that the website was giving a platform to antisemites.

Amazon has been criticised for years over the revisionist titles for sale on its website, but the recent upsurge in antisemitism across America promoted Robert Rozett, a senior official at Yad Vashem, to write to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last month calling for immediate action.

On Wednesday morning, the three titles that Mr Rozett had complained about were unavailable for purchase. Two were not showing up in searches, and one was listed but with a note saying that it was under review and could not be bought. This was the case for both US and UK stores.

Mr Rozett said the company had taken a positive first step which showed that they were listening to him and other Jewish groups that echoed his demand, such as the World Jewish Congress.

Amazons actions this week indicate that they are taking this seriously, he added.

The titles in question were: Holocaust: The Greatest Lie Ever Told, by Eleanor Wittakers; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, by Arthur R Butz andDid Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood.

Amazon did not answer a request to comment for this article, and did not inform Mr Rozett that the books were being taken down.

Mr Rozett said the real test will be whether it takes related steps to stop feeding antisemitism.

Its a complex problem because Amazon is selling books, carrying reader reviews which defend them, and then Amazon recommends related titles to people, he said.

Mr Rozett wants to know that Amazon will ensure that no Holocaust denial titles are sold, that no review sections on its site are used to propagate denial, and that people who bought denial books in the past are not being recommended books that are likely to strengthen antisemitic beliefs based on their purchase history.

Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl said that she was very glad these books would no longer be sold by Amazon. At a time of record levels of antisemitism, it is very welcome that Amazon has listened and removed the offending titles from their website. These are not works of historical integrity, they are an antisemitic attempt to exonerate the Nazis of their crimes and to stoke the fires of hatred.

Should any member of the public find further offending works, please get in contact with us and we will report them using the appropriate channels.

Continue reading here:
Under pressure, Amazon stops selling Holocaust-denial books – The … – Jewish Chronicle

More than a feeling: Jews and whiteness in Trump’s America – Mondoweiss

Delancey Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, circa 1908. (Photo: Department of Records)

A few weeks after the election, I had dinner at my grandparents house. I typically associate my visits to their home with raucous family gatherings of a cross-section of our grandparents six children and twenty-odd grandkids. But this was an unusually intimate settingjust my sibling and me across from them at their dining room table.

The relative silence refracted objects and half-memories in the way that only an old home can. The Magen David brooch around my grandmothers neck; the overflowing pile of kippot in the foyer, amassed from decades of Bnai Mitzvot; the ice bucket that has chilled four generations worth of cocktails. This is the desk where my father chipped a tooth, climbing to reach a misfired toy dart in his childhood bedroom. Here is the piano bench where his uncle, the World War II veteran turned wedding singer, taught him to play by ear. These are the wedding albums, full of awkward bar mitzvah photos, the elegant portraits of black-and-white elders wearing garb of the Old Country that perhaps is now gathering dust in my grandmothers attic.

My grandparents are of a generation that believes in security. They were teenagers during World War IIyoung enough that my grandfather avoided the draft, but old enough to acutely understand the terrors of the Holocaust. They married in 1948, the same year that the State of Israel was officially founded. They reference this fact not as a mere coincidence but as a statement of purpose. They have lived biblicallybeen fruitful and multipliedperhaps in deference to the 6 million European Jews who were taken from the face of the earth during their lifetime. They have an elaborate home alarm system, and let the radio stay on whenever they leave the house to deter possible house robbers. In my mind, these fragments all fit together to tell a single story.

Our conversation is dominated by politics. Over a pre-dinner nosh, my grandmother tells us that she knows Trump has the same heartbeat as Hitler. When I replay that scene in my mind, she clutches her brooch as she says it. Later, over plates of spaghetti and chicken cutlets, they tell us how they came to buy the house theyve inhabited for sixty-four years. Its a story that starts with my great-grandmothers birth in a Lower East Side tenement and ends with my grandparents choosing this Tudor-style house, after they learned a neighboring Long Island suburb wouldnt sell to Jews. Without saying so, I know this story is of the same thought as our conversation about Trump and the anti-Semitism of decades long past. I come to realize that this house, with its Brady Bunch doorbell and white Cadillac in the garage, is a symbol. The end point in a journey from tenements to vodka tonics. This is where my Jewish family truly became American. This is where they became white.

***

In recent years, my grandmother has voiced her concern that my generation doesnt understand what anti-Semitism is. But with Trumps administration reinvigorating the worst segments of the American political spectrum, I think thats one less thing she has to worry about. With this weeks vandalization of a St. Louis Jewish cemetery, a targeted campaign from neo-Nazi website Stormfront attempting to terrorize a Montana Jewish community, and 69bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers over the past two months alone, American anti-Semitism is becoming visible in ways I have never seen in my lifetime. Coupled with the Trump administrations toxic combination of known anti-Semites and right-wing Jews, resurgent anti-Semitism is challenging the existing political and analytical frameworks of our movements.

The contentious times have rekindled an old question: are Jews white? Unsurprisingly, the conversation has centered white Ashkenazi Jews, continuing to erase the experiences and raised stakes for Jewish people of color living under both anti-Semitism and white supremacy. A partial consequence of that erasure is that the question is typically framed less as, Are Jews white? but more as, Do white Jews still feel white? But white, as people of color know, denotes more than merely a feeling of safety, of security, of belonging. It is more than an invisible knapsack; whiteness is a legal and political construct, one created and perpetuated to serve the institution of white supremacy.

The conversation thus far has given primacy to a particular brand of white nationalism: the type of neo-Nazi ideology in which the most violent anti-Semitism tends to be found. From Richard Spencers alt-right movement to the American eugenics movement of the 1920s, its clear that white Jews have no place in neo-Nazis imagined white America. But grounding our understanding of whiteness in neo-Nazi ideology belies the fact that white nationalism isnt just the domain of the alt-right fringe; it is the guiding logic of our nations narrative. And it is in the context of this American political project that European Jews like my grandparents have been invited to share in the institution of whiteness.

In his brilliant essay On Being White and Other Lies, James Baldwin writes that no one was white before they came to America. So how, and when, did America make European Jews white? Most theorizing around Jews and whiteness, as in Karen Brodkins excellent How Jews Became White Folks And What That Says About Race in America, locates the post-WWII erawhen my grandparents moved from the Bronx to the Tudor houseas the moment of European Jews acceptance into whiteness. While it is true that era represents a turning point in the social status of European Jews, in order to understand the broader history of American race-making, we need to look at the original institution that necessitated whiteness as a legal category: slavery.

The legal distinctions between white-skinned masters and black-skinned slaves was central in converting European immigrants into white people. And where European Jews were concerned, there was no question as to which camp they fell into. The 1705 Virginia Slave Codes was one of the first laws to distinguish white indentured servants from black slaves on the basis of race, granting white servants the right to testify in court and own slaves and property. The law had religious dimensions, too: Jewish and Muslim infidels were allowed to own Native and African-descended slaves, but they were prohibited from having white Christian servants. The intermingling of racial and religious discrimination is noteworthy: the central function of the Slave Codes was to create a Black and Native underclass whom European Jews were granted access to exploit.

Beyond the right to slave-ownership, access to citizenship has historically been another privilege contingent on being seen as white in the eyes of the law. The 1790 Naturalization Act restricted the right of naturalization to free white persons, a right that was extended to persons of African descent in 1870. But while East and South Asian migrants were legally deemed aliens ineligible for citizenship, European Jews were never barred from naturalizing as free white persons. Even when Japanese and Indian plaintiffs brought their arguments to the Supreme Court (Ozawa v. United States, 1922 and Thind v. United States, 1923), the court doubled down on its definition of white, ruling that the words white person were meant to indicate only a person of what is popularly known as the Caucasian race.

Even in the 1920s, during the height of the eugenics movement that pseudo-scientifically broke down the Caucasian race into Aryan, Mediterranean, and Alpine subtypes (as in Madison Grants influential Passing of the Great Racenot coincidentally a book that Adolf Hitler would later refer to as my bible), European Jews were positioned firmly within the Caucasian category. While strict anti-miscegenation laws such as Virginias 1924 Racial Integrity Act solidified the one-drop rule, mandating that white only apply to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood but Caucasian, and forbade individuals classified as white from marrying any non-white person, there is no mention of forbidding intermarriage of European Jews and other Caucasians. Even as explicitly anti-Semitic immigration laws were implemented to curtail the flow of Jews from Eastern Europe, the pseudo-scientific and legal definitions of white continued to include European Jews like the black-and-white forebears on my grandparents mantle.

My point is not to deny the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in past and present America, nor to erase the specific mechanisms of anti-Semitism in Europe, but to urge an analysis of anti-Semitism as complementary, but not foundational, to American white supremacy. Only when we recognize the founding American logics of slavery, genocide, and Orientalism can we make sense of the ways that anti-Semitism has been used to absorb critiques of capitalism, to make the face of capitalist exploitation the Jewish banker rather than the predominantly white, Christian, male politicians who cut deals with Wall Street over Main Street. Only when we recognize the hurdles that both anti-Semitism and white supremacy play towards achieving a true economic populism can we defang the fearsome, genocidal ideologies that move those in the European Jewish diaspora to pledge never again.

***

To draw from Baldwin once again, being white is a moral choice (for thereare no white people). And European Jews, he writes, have paid the highest price for becoming white.

In the short time since Trumps election, too many leaders of the institutional Jewish community have made the immoral choice: to align with the new administration, to sacrifice whatever Jewish values were still intact in exchange for a supposed seat at the table. We have watched the Jewish Federations of North America, representing over 300 Jewish organizations,refuse to denounce Trumps appointment of Steve Bannon, under whose leadership Breitbart flourished as the news source of choice for racists, Islamophobes, and anti-Semites. We have seen the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations host their annual Chanukah party at a Trump Hotel, despite protests from some of their member organizations. And we have seen a political push for a federal anti-Semitism bill designed not to fight the rise of neo-Nazism, but to curtail critique of Israel.

These leaders have made the moral choice to sell their souls to whiteness rather than stand alongside other communities facing the hatred and vitriol of the incoming administration and its allies. Their choices, to put right-wing Zionism over the moral calls of justice, will not make American Jewish communities safer. Only deep solidarity with communities of color, including those within our Jewish communities, can build the political movement necessary to defeat white supremacy. In aligning with the Trump administration that 76% of Jewish voters voted to condemn, they risk losing their legitimacy as self-appointed representatives of our communities. That is a wedge we will continue to push.

Lets not ask if European Jews are white. The more urgent question is: what price have they paid in colluding with whiteness? The price of heritage, of language, and of culture? Or the price of dignity, of accountability, of moral authority? Far from giving white Jews a free pass on confronting their own white privilege, I hope that answering this question might just lead more of our Jewish communities towards truly joining the multiracial, multi-faith fight against white supremacy.

* * *

The entryway to my grandparents house is adorned with family ephemera: Mothers day cards and birthday messages; a matzo man cutout I made in Hebrew elementary school; unflattering portraits scrawled by kindergarten grandchildren. But recently, there has been a new addition: a photograph of me, their grandson, being placed under arrest in a Jewish Black Lives Matter protest, part of a civil disobedience led by seven Jewish people of color, myself included. In the background of the photo, a protester blows a shofar, the rams horna call for renewal, repentance, for justice.

I didnt expect them to put up the photo when I emailed them about the protest last summer. But there it was, taped conspicuously to the front door, when I arrived for Rosh Hashanah 5777. Fittingly, its a year the Jewish left is calling the year of Jewish Resistance.

Baldwin is right. There are no white people, only those who choose to collude with whiteness. I take heart in the fact that the moral choiceto acknowledge white privilege while working to dismantle the system that confers itremains open.

This article was originally published on Unruly, a racial justice blog by the Jews of Color Caucus organized in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace.

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More than a feeling: Jews and whiteness in Trump’s America – Mondoweiss

All 100 senators press Trump administration to help communities fight anti-Semitism – USA TODAY

Vandals damaged headstones at Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., on March 3, 2017.(Photo: Gretchen Stumme, AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON Capitol Hill lawmakers are pressing the Trump administration to help local communities battleanti-Semitism following a rash of threats to Jewish institutions and vandalism at historic cemeteries.

In a rare showof unity, all 100 senators sent a letter Tuesday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessionsand FBI Director James Comey urging them to assist local law enforcement agencies in protectingHebrew schools, Jewish community centers and synagogues as well as helping prosecute those who threaten or vandalize those institutions.

“It has become clear that threats of violence against individual JCCs are not isolated incidents,” the letter reads. “These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states.”

The letter was spearheaded by four senators: Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Read more:

Jewish community centers, schools close amid new wave of bomb threats

‘Hate’ groups explode on social media

Trump too late in denouncing anti-Semitic acts, critics say

Through the first week of March, more than 100 incidents of anti-Jewish activity have been reported in 33 states, according to the Jewish Federations of North America.

They include:

Trump, who had been criticized by some human rights groups for not denouncing the antisemitic acts sooner, raised the issue during his address to a joint session of Congress last week.

“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries … remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” he said.

The threats and attacks mirror a rise in the numberof hate groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Fueled by a rise in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment, hate groupsoperating in 2016 rose to 917 up from 892 in 2015, according to the SPLC.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt applauded the lawmakers.

Today the Senate demonstrated a unified moral front against hatred and sent a strong message that in our America a threat against one of us is an attack on all of us, he said.

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All 100 senators press Trump administration to help communities fight anti-Semitism – USA TODAY