Palestine UN-Habitat

Governments at the 19th Session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council in 2003 adopted by consensus resolution 19/18 calling on UN-Habitat to establish a Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People (SHSPPP). The long-term development objective of the programme is to improve the human settlements conditions of the Palestinian people and in so doing contribute in a modest way to reaching peace, security and stability in the region. During the 23rd Governing Council in 2011, a new resolution 23/2 was adopted, requesting UN-Habitat to further focus its operations on planning, land and housing issues in view of improving the housing and human settlement conditions of Palestinians, addressing the urbanization challenges, supporting the building of a Palestinian state, humanitarian action and peace-building, in the areas where there are acute humanitarian and development needs.

Broadly speaking effective urbanisation is a choice, a human choice that is not achieved by chance but by design and political will. The positive outcomes of urbanisation depend largely on the quality of that design. And so there is the potential for urbanization to be a driver for sustainable development in the State of Palestine. But at the same time, there are well known challenges to doing so. It is hard to see how urbanization can foster development in Palestine where over 60% of the West Bank, known as Area C, is under a restrictive planning process that is discriminatory and not in conformity with international humanitarian and human rights law. Or in Gaza, where recurrent conflict has killed thousands of people, devastated the urban space, destroyed and damaged thousands of homes, and where reconstruction is proceeding too slowly. Or Jerusalem, where one city is divided by multiple growing inequalities.

Urbanization, as a positive force for development in Palestine, is a phenomenon significantly interrupted by the occupation. Yet, there is no development without urbanization, a fact we have to acknowledge against the long process of final political settlement leading to two States living side by side in peace and security. To be clear, the UN seeks a just resolution to issues including the demarcation of borders, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, water and natural resources, the Gaza blockade, and Palestinian refugees, together with affirmative actions to cease the destruction of Palestinian property.

UN-Habitat as articulated through its recent analysis on East Jerusalem, Area C, and Gaza, and as echoed in the One UN Position Paper on Spatial Planning in Area C believes there are practical measures that can be taken to foster sustainable urbanization for the State of Palestine, which in turn can improve the conditions for peace.

Central to UN Habitats perspective on urbanization is that spatial and urban planning must be used as a means for delivering human rights, not denying them. Hence, UN-Habitat considers the approval of the Master Plans that have been submitted by Palestinian communities for Area C to be an imperative step for implementation of an inclusive planning and zoning regime that will enable Palestinians residential and community development needs to be met across the entirety of the State of Palestine. For Gaza specifically, Israel must end the blockade to allow the cities to build back better through innovative and participatory urban planning approaches.

UN-Habitat is now playing a more substantive role in Palestine leading debate on urbanization issues, supporting NGOs, government and private sector firms on planning, and informing advocacy efforts by the international community on planning and building rights for Palestinian communities in Area C and East Jerusalem. Its engagement in the occupied Palestinian territories is in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal 11, Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and it is mobilizing the territories towards the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) which will take place 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.

Key Partners

UN-Habitats main counterparts are the Ministry of Local Government, the National Spatial Plan Office at the Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development, (recently merged with the Ministry of Finance), the Ministry of Public Works and Housing as well as municipalities and local communities. UN-Habitat works closely with other UN Agencies in Palestine as well as local and international NGOs. Key donors are the Saudi Committee for the Palestinian People Relief, the Campaign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the Relief of the Palestinian People in Gaza, the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Government of France, the Government of Belgium, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

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Palestine UN-Habitat

Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app


March 12, 2017 12:55

The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate of four individuals using multimedia tools.

ROMANIAN JEWS visit an exhibition about the Holocaust in Romania at the Elie Wiesel Institute for Holocaust Studies during the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day in Bucharest in 2006.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

BERLIN A new app to teach youth about the Holocaust will be a centerpiece of Switzerlands chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Switzerland took over the rotating chairmanship of the 31-member inter-governmental group on March 7 from Romania.

The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate of four individuals using multimedia tools.

Educators must take on the challenge of virtual reality so youth will grasp that we are speaking about people, not merely about numbers, Benno Bttig, secretary-general of Switzerlands Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said in a ceremony at the Swiss embassy in Berlin.

Founded in 1998, the alliance aims to unite political and social leaders behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

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Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Smugglers of rare Torah scroll caught in Tunisia – The Times of Israel

Tunisian authorities announced over the weekend that they thwarted an attempt to smuggle a rare Torah scroll dated to the 15th century out of the country, the Hebrew language Ynet news site reported.

Members of the smuggling network were reportedly apprehended after the authorities received information that the group was trying to transfer the rare Torah school to an unnamed European country.

The Torah scroll, which is said to be made of ox skin, was revealed to the public during a press conference by a spokesman from the Tunisian National Guard, Khalifa al-Shibani, who described it as a one of a kind historical artifact, according to the Ynet report on Saturday.

Al-Shibana told reporters that experts at Tunisias National Heritage Institute confirmed that the [Torah] scroll is a rare artistic and historic artifact from the 15th century.

The spokesman said that Hebrew-language experts who examined the manuscript said that it contains all five books of the Torah, with the text pre-dating the version of the Torah in use today.

Al-Shibana gave no details on where the scroll had been taken from or or what authorities planed to do with it now.

A tourist visits El Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, on the Island of Djerba, southern Tunisia, October 29, 2015. (AP/Mosaab Elshamy)

Around 1,500 Jews live in Tunisia as of 2016, down sharply from an estimated 100,000 before the country won independence from France in 1956.

Most of the Jews still living in Tunisia live on the island of Djerba, whose Ghriba synagogue has become a popular pilgrimage site for tourists during the Jewish festival of Lag BOmer.

AFP contributed to this report.

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Smugglers of rare Torah scroll caught in Tunisia – The Times of Israel

Tunisian authorities foil smuggling of 15th-century Torah scroll – Ynetnews

Tunisian authorities announced that they prevented a 15th-century Torah scroll from being smuggled out of the country. The scroll was written on bovine skin.

According to Tunisian authorities, a group of suspects were arrested following a tip that the Torah scroll was being transferred to a European country as part of an antiquities smuggling operation.

During a press conference, Tunisian National Guard spokesman Khalifa al-Shibani presented the rare Torah scroll, which measures 37m long and 47cm wide.

According to al-Shibani, unidentified foreign elements attempted to buy the scroll, which he described as “a unique historical item for the world.”

Tunisian press conference of ancient Torah

Later in the press conference, al-Shibani said, “Experts at the National Heritage Institute have confirmed that the Torah scroll is an extremely rare, historical and invaluable item that is from the 15th century.”

The scroll seems to contain all parts of the Torah, yet Hebrew language experts argue that this scroll was written before the various books of the Torah were organized into their present order.

Tunisia’s Jewish community has shrunk dramatically since the establishment of the State of Israel, yet there is still a Jewish presence on the island of Djerba, which attracts Jewish tourists every year for the holiday of Lag BaOmer.

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Tunisian authorities foil smuggling of 15th-century Torah scroll – Ynetnews

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


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

Israel Ceramics – Wikipedia

Israel Ceramics are ceramics designed either in Palestine or the State of Israel from the beginning of the 20th century. In additional to traditional pottery, in Israel there are artists whose works were created in an industrial environment. Until the late 1970s there existed in Israel a local tradition that emphasized the local values of nature as an expression of Zionist identity. From the 1980s artistic expressions that sought to undercut this tradition began to appear in the works of Israeli artists, who combined ceramics with other artistic media and with personal, critical agendas.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Palestinian tradition of designing pottery from local materials dominated in Israel.[1] The pottery was primary functional, intended primarily for the use of the local population in the Land of Israel. Other vessels were imported from neighboring areas. Pots were thrown on potters wheels mostly in urban areas or in pottery villages. It was a craft traditionally worked by men. In the census carried out on Palestine in 1928, during the British Mandate, 77 pottery workshops (of individuals or groups) were listed, while in the 1931 census, 211 different potters were listed.[2]

Many of the pottery villages were centralized, based on geographical proximity of the potters families. Examples of this can be found in the pottery workshops held in the pottery villages in Rashia al Fakhar (Tel Faher) at the foot of Mount Hermon.[3] Or in Hebron, at the various workshops of the Alfahori family. These pots were fired at a low temperature in traditional kilns that burned wood, charcoal, or animal droppings. Different workshops were held in Gaza as well, where they produced unique black pottery ( ), produced by adding organic materials, such as barley husks, to the kiln or by reduction firing. The smoke from the process of the burning of these materials within the kiln lent the pottery its characteristic black color.[4]

In addition, a tradition existed of producing pots made of clay mixed with straw or gravel for cooking and other utilitarian uses by the local population. This work was

carried out by hand by women, and the pots were fired in improvised kilns, in kitchen ovens, or sometimes not fired at all. Pottery of this type, which was produced in the Samaria area and in Ramallah, for example, was typically decorated with color made from rusted iron that originated in the Jordan Valley.[5]

As the century progressed, this tradition began dying out as a result of industrialization, and in addition, from the 1980s competing pottery from other countries began to be imported.[6] Until 1989, for example, 11 different workshops were active in Hebron. However by 2007 there remained only 8 potters there.[7] In 1983 the The Eretz Israel Museum mounted an exhibition displaying the pottery of the Lebanese village of Rashia al Fakhar.[8]

In 1919 the British Mandate government invited a group of Armenian potters, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, to repair the tiles of the Dome of the Rock. This experiment indicated the British interest in traditional art of the Arts and Crafts movement. Armenian ceramic art can be traced back to the 15th century, to the Turkish cities of znik and Ktahya, but the combination of the ancient art of the Land of Israel and Christian motifs created a unique artistic synthesis.

The outstanding artist of the early years was Davit Ohannessian, who specialized in the design of ceramic decorative art in buildings and monuments, many of which were commissioned by the British Mandate government. The workshop that he founded Tiles of the Dome of the Rock produced not only monumental works, but also utilitarian or decorative pots. Among the most important works Ohannessian produced in Jerusalem were tiles for the American Colony Hotel (1923), the fountain house in St. Johns Hospital, the fountain house in the Rockefeller Museum, etc. Among the motifs that appear in his decorations are the cypress trees, tulips, and grapevines typical of traditional Ottoman decorative art.[9]

The workshop that Ohannessian founded separated the process of design, which was done by Ohannessian, and the production of the vessels for which he produced the designs. For this purpose, he hired artists and apprentices mostly women who were experienced at painting. Nonetheless, some of the works, especially those intended for the public, were signed by the chief artist. The workshop used a wood-burning stone kiln. The model implemented in this workshop was used for other Armenian workshops founded subsequently in Jerusalem.

The artists Megardish Karakashian and Nishan Balian, who left Ohannessians workshop in 1922, founded a workshop together called Palestine Pottery, where they developed a line of design with figurative images that were alien to traditional Turkish ceramic art. For example, the two of them combined designs from ancient mosaics discovered in the Land of Israel, such as the Birds Mosaic (Jerusalem) or the mosaic from Hishams Palace in Jericho. Often these images were imbued with Christian theological interpretations.[10] The joint workshop functioned continually until 1964, when Stefan Karakashian and Marie Balian, heirs of the founders, founded two separate workshops that made use of images from the past as well as new images that they created.

Within the framework of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, a ceramics studio was founded in 1924, with Jacob Eisenberg at its head.[11] By 1917 Boris Schatz was considering opening a department for the design of cast decorative items, as well as a department of painting on porcelain. This craft was already being taught at Bezalel using ready-made porcelain brought in from outside Palestine for use at Bezalel.[12] Schatz saw in the activity of the factory for bricks and roofing tiles that operated on the grounds of the Schneller Orphanage in Jerusalem from approximately 1895, proof of the practicality of such a local industry, which would make use of local materials brought from Motza.

Eisenberg, who was a student at Bezalel from 1913 to 1919, after his graduation went to study in Vienna, at the School for Arts and Crafts, where he took a continuing education course in ceramic design and production.[13] The department separated the design of the ceramics, mostly taught by Bezalel instructors and particularly by Ze’ev Raban, from the practical production of the pieces. Of the objects produced in this department, the best known are the wall tiles and decorations from the 1920s and 1930s. These works include the tiles on the walls of the Ahad HaAm School, the Bialik House, and the Lederberg House in Tel Aviv, and in the synagogue of Moshav Zekanim.

The style of tile design was influenced by Art Nouveau and by the Jugendstil style. This style is expressed in the flatness of the area described and in the richly decorated borders. With regard to ideas, Bezalel tiles expressed a tendency toward transcendentalism, seen in their borders cast with images taken from Jewish tradition and Zionist content.[14]

In her article Techno Tools: The Logical Ones (2011)[15], Shlomit Bauman maintained that contemporary Israeli ceramics is characterized by a disconnect from the Palestinian tradition and by a lack of a local ceramics industry that would permit a dialog of understanding between local ceramic artists.[16]

At the same time as the Armenians and the Arabs living in the Palestine worked within independent traditions, Jewish artists had to create a synthesis between European art and art in the Land of Israel under the conditions that existed there in the early 20th century. This can be seen both in the design of the models and in the work techniques, which tended to be mechanized. In addition, while local pottery depended on family-led workshops and on cooperative activity by the artists, the Jewish potter saw himself both as an artist and as an expression of the language of art.[17]

Chava Samuel, who Immigrated to the Palestine in 1932, founded Hayozer” [The Creator], the first ceramics workshop in the Jewish community in Jerusalem. “Kad VeSefel” [Jug and Cup], the ceramics workshop founded in 1934 in Rishon LeZion with Paula Ahronson, produced a variety of utilitarian pots and decorative pottery, using a combination of potters wheel and ceramic casting. The style of the pots was, for the most part functional, influenced both by the spirit of modernism and the European Bauhaus style. Mira Libes, a pupil in the workshop of Samuel and Ahronson, described the pottery produced in the workshop as the direct result of create pottery that is simple, functional, and beautiful, a philosophy intended also to improve public taste, which was deemed at that time indescribably bad. The pottery produced was generally influenced by the Bauhaus style, which Paula had studied, and the simple and beautiful decorative-colorful style of Eva.[18]

The motifs of the decorations on Samuels pottery were also influenced by the archeology of the Land of Israel, as well as by Oriental art, under whose influence she produced Eastern images and images from the Jewish world. As opposed to the figures from the Jewish world created by the artists of the Bezalel school, Samuels imaged lacked the religious dimension. The images that remained, for the most part looked like images from folklore. The decorative style of Samuels pottery focused on individual images, drawn primarily freehand and glazed.[19]

In contrast to the pottery of Samuel and Ahronson, the works of Hedwig Grossman displayed an attempt to formulate a Land of Israel localness in their ceramic design. Grossman made Aliyah to the Land of Israel in 1933 after studying pottery in Germany. During her first years in Palestine, Grossman already began to carry out soil surveys to determine how local materials were used in pottery production. In addition, Grossman researched how pottery was made in the Land of Israel in ancient times and what where the work methods of Arab and Armenian potters throughout the Land. In her work Grossman emphasized the use of materials from the Land of Israel. Some of her work was even influenced by local archaeological findings. Her techniques for working the material included basic geometric decoration, using local non-glaze slips (engobes) in assorted colors.

An echo of Grossmans views can be seen in the 1940s, when Jacob Lev, who served from 1939 as the head of the Sculpture Department in the New Bezalel, began to offer classes in pottery in the department. Most of the pots that were made in this institution were not fired in a kiln and so did not survive, but in his article The Pretty Pot[20] (1941), he emphasizes the modernist approach to design of the pot and the relationship between its parts in the Bauhaus spirit. However photographs of the pots show the influence of the architecture of the Land of Israel in the choice of the types of pots, as well as in the avoidance of decoration in the rough texture of their design.[21]

The works of Hedwig Harag Zunz, who arrived in the Land of Israel at the beginning of the 1940s, also represent an attempt at creating pottery with a Land of Israel localness. In Zunzs works this was expressed primarily in her choice of local materials. Most of her work was produced using a potters wheel, but she also created pottery with an architectural bent. In spite of her consistent use of local materials, Zunzs works differ from the archaeological direction of Hedwig Grossmans works or the oriental decoration of Eva Samuels. The shape of her pottery was influenced by European Modernism in its lack of decoration and in its organic tendency toward the use of the glossy surface slips of Terra sigillata or ceramic glazes.[22] In addition to her independent works, Harag Zunz also produced technical academic research and participated in various industrial projects.

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Israel Ceramics – Wikipedia

After Brexit, Israel senses a chance to boost trade with UK – The Guardian

Grape harvesting at a kibbutz near Jerusalem. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

From a hilltop in Masaada on the Israeli side of the Syrian border in the Golan Heights, Faried al-Said Ahmed surveys his cherry and apple trees 80 feet below. Barbed wire surrounds the steep hillside, preventing people entering a minefield planted when the Six-Day War ended 50 years ago.

Currently, the trees are bare. Cherry-picking season is May and June, while 45,000 tons of apples will leave this co-operative farm after they ripen in September and October.

Although Syrians are fighting less than three miles away and theres the danger of being blown up underfoot, Ahmed has a more pressing concern: the European Union.

The co-operative sells fruit across Israel, but Ahmed claims the EUs protection of its member states farms makes exports to Europe all but impossible. If it were possible to sell in England then, my God, yes, we would, he says.

The 52-year-old might soon get his wish. When article 50 is triggered in the coming days, the UK will be only two years away from negotiating its own trade deals. The focus has been on an agreement with the US, but given the probable complications of negotiating with self-proclaimed master dealmaker Donald Trump, Israel might be first to sign on the dotted line.

After talks in No 10 last month, Theresa May and Israels prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced a joint working group charged with preparing the ground for a trade deal.

The trade relationship between Israel and Britain is already worth 4.9bn, and on Wednesday foreign secretary Boris Johnson told press in Jerusalem as he stood beside Netanyahu: We are … building a global identity as a Britain thats coming out of the EU and we want to build on our trading partnership with you. We are the biggest European trading partner with Israel We have the largest, fastest-growing Aston Martin dealership anywhere in the world here in Israel.

At his official residence on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, the British ambassador, David Quarrey, points to a growing economic relationship between the countries in the past 18 months. This included the biggest UK-Israel trade deal in history: Rolls-Royce landed a 1bn contract to service and maintain its Trent 1000 engines for airline El Al and, in the other direction, Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems is in a consortium that provides the Ministry of Defence with training aircraft and simulators.

Quarrey says: Were seeing trading bilateral relationships between the UK and Israel, in science and trade for example, doing better than ever. But theres the potential to do even better, particularly in the context of Brexit. I was with Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu in London and it was clear there was the determination for this.

Most businesspeople in Israel look at the UK as a great place to do business, because of its culture, language, and the predictability of the regulatory and taxsystems.

Britain, in effect, outsourced trade negotiations to European bureaucrats in the 1970s, so the way the newly formed Department for International Trade (DIT) thrashes out the Israel deal could provide a template for other business agreements.

It is understood the first meeting of the working group will take place by the end of this month. Two to four people will represent each side, including officials from the DIT and Israels Ministry of Economy.

They will set the parameters for future discussions, expected to take place two or three times a year. Regulatory and industry experts will be brought in on an ad hoc basis thereafter.

At present, UK-Israel trade is covered by the latters association agreement with the EU. James Sorene, the chief executive at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, says the first priority will be to establish what preferential trade terms the UK is prepared to offer.

Israelis are required to have work permits in the UK, though many are dual EU citizens and work freely in Britain. Given that this right would end on Brexit, Sorene points out: If the UKs exit arrangements with the EU involve restricted movement for EU nationals this could indirectly cut the flow of Israeli tech workers to the UK, unless the UK designs a special arrangement for Israel.

Technology is booming in Israel: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft all have research centres there, and there are 300,000 hi-tech workers in a country of only 8.5 million people. The tech sector is likely to be prioritised during negotiations, alongside defence and pharmaceuticals not least because one in seven NHS drugs come from Israel.

Ron Atzmon, managing director of ID authentication tech company Au10tix, wants the UK-Israel relationship to replicate aspects of the EU, with harmonisation of VAT rates and intellectual property regulations.

Coupled with more relaxed immigration rules, Atzmon says this would ensure Israeli tech firms will come to a UK where tech knowledge is not overflowing outside of London. Israels phenomenal expertise in cybersecurity will particularly interest British negotiators, given the National Crime Agency confirmed last year that cybercrime is costing the UK economy billions of pounds per annum.

Sharren Haskel, a member of the Israeli parliament from the ruling Likud party, says: One of the main areas we can co-operate is cybersecurity, where Israel is receiving 20% of worldwide investments huge for such a small country.

In turn, the UKs growing expertise in major infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail, could benefit an Israel that is struggling to keep up with population growth because of a shortage of 10,000 engineers.

Back on the ground, the Kibbutz Nirim is overflowing with sweet potatoes and radishes. It is also covered with bomb shelters, because this green paradise in southern Israel is only two kilometres from the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.

Should the Israel-Hamas conflict of 2014 have a sequel, as many Israelis fear will happen, an automated voice repeating the words tzeva adom colour red will be played if mortars are fired on the kibbutz. This will give the 400 residents a seven-second warning to reach those shelters.

But the eyes of Nirims general secretary, Anat Heffetz, light up at the prospect of exporting all those vegetables to the UK. Yes, of course, we would love to sell to Britain, she says. We have excellent avocadoes because my husband grows them!

Canada, Australia and New Zealand are top of the list of countries Brexit ministers believe will be willing and able to sign a trade deal soon after the UK quits the EU.

Canada sealed a deal with the EU last year that covers goods and services from agriculture to banking. The UK will be excluded, but could quickly demolish trade barriers by simply adopting the deal itself, should premier Justin Trudeau believe it worth his while.

The Brexit ministry is known to be scouting former Canadian negotiators to help get talks started. And more negotiators are crucial after 40 years without any, other than a handful of UK officials at the European commission. If cloning were an option, former trade minister Peter Mandelson might find himself duplicated several times, if only to fill meetings with more experienced heads than the UK has at the moment.Brexit ministers are keen to approach Donald Trumps administration to negotiate a trade deal, but will find it is more productive talking to Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have said they are interested in talks; they share the same legal system and much the same approach to trade.

Australia is attempting to resurrect Barack Obamas Trans Pacific Partnership free trade deal without the US now that Donald Trump has killed it off, but should still be keen to open its market to the UK. Phillip Inman

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After Brexit, Israel senses a chance to boost trade with UK – The Guardian

‘Violins of Hope’ concert teaches about the Holocaust – Cleveland Jewish News

More than 3,000 local students and community members listened to music, learned about the Holocaust and were taught how music can invoke hope even in the most challenging times during The Cleveland Orchestras Violins of Hope concerts encore presentations March 8 to 10 at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland.

The hour-long show consisted of music played by the orchestra, interspersed with eight actors telling the audience about what Jews endured in the Holocaust and how music helped them survive.

The performance was conducted by The Cleveland Orchestras associate conductor Brett Mitchell and featured first associate concertmaster Peter Otto and assistant principal cellist Charles Bernard.

They didnt really realize how successful it was going to be, so immediately when we started it last time everybody I think had this collective feeling that there was something very special and so it would be a shame to just do it one time, Otto told the Cleveland Jewish News. I think even though its not particularly gruesome in its descriptions of what happened, it still gets the major points across and I think even for young kids the message is very uplifting because its ultimately about hope.

The Cleveland Orchestra and the Case Western Reserve University / Cleveland Play House Master of Fine Arts Program in Acting put on the program. It included Simchas Torah(Rejoicing) fromBaal Shem, by Ernest Bloch; Kol Nidrei, Opus 47 by Max Bruch; Overture on Hebrew Themes, Opus 34 by Sergei Prokofiev; and John Williamss music from the film Schindler’s List. The actors played Jewish, European characters, dressed in 1930s and 40s attire, who between songs described the role of music in Jewish life before, after and during the Holocaust.

Music was central to Jewish life, said one of the eight characters, who described when the Nazis came to power and began forcing restrictions on Jews.

The instruments are the voices of the victims, a character said, adding that some Jews survived the concentration camps because they were given jobs playing music. As long as they wanted music, they couldnt put us in the gas chamber.

The first presentation of the program was in December 2015 was attended by more than 10,000 students. For that production, The Cleveland Orchestra played instruments preserved from the Holocaust, which were collected by Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein. Although for the 2017 program those instruments were not available, Otto said that the program retains the always-relevant message.

I think its a great educational tool for children and I think ultimately a lot of them dont know anything about it, said Otto, who in the original show played a violin saved from Auschwitz. And in an environment with anti-Semitism on the rise again, I think its never too early to start educating people.

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‘Violins of Hope’ concert teaches about the Holocaust – Cleveland Jewish News

The Imperative of Integrated Israeli Power – War on the Rocks

Any defense doctrine must start with one basic question: what is the objective?

On this there was rare agreement between two of Zionisms founding fathers, David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinsky. Ben-Gurion based the defense strategy document that he submitted to the government in 1953 on Jabotinskys well-known Iron Wall essay from 1923. They both stated the basic principle that remains the cornerstone of Israeli strategy: Israel must be so strong that its enemies know in advance that they will lose any war against it.

Israels strength must be disproportionate to the challenges it faces, and its enemies need to understand this so that they are sufficiently deterred. Any other situation will encourage our enemies whether state actors or terrorist organizations to test Israels strength. If foes try to test that strength, Israel must be strong enough to win any war or military operation, within a reasonable timeframe, while demonstrating complete superiority.

And if Israel hopes for comity and cooperation with its neighbors, that too requires superior strength. Israels military superiority must be even more pronounced if it aspires for a lasting agreement with its neighbors. Even if someone believes that an agreement with the Palestinians is the solution to all of Israels security problems, it is worth remembering the sober warning of the former head of Israels National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror from July 2015 when he wrote for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies:

No agreement Israel reaches and signs will have any practical significance for the world being established in the Middle East unless Israel has in its hands the power to defend and enforce it.

Only such strength decisive, intimidating strength, along with the will to use it will bring us to the point where Israel will not have to use it, in other words, to the point where my country can secure its future without having to fight.

In order to sustain this strength, we must understand its components. A strong Israel is not just a military concept. Military power is part of Israels strength, but it is not enough to achieve the objective. As Ben-Gurion stated, Our security is not dependent only on the army non-military factors will be decisive, no less than military factors. A strong Israel is one that thrives economically, enjoys social cohesion and a shared ethos, is bolstered by undisputed strategic alliances and international backing, and boasts a decisive qualitative and technological edge. These are the basic conditions. Without them Israel will not be able to be strong enough to prevent wars, win them if they break out, or secure peace.

As such, the Israeli prime minister should connect three forces: Israels military strength, its socio-economic strength, and its political strength. Indeed, creating this integrated power is the central role of the prime minister of Israel. The same goes for any national leader that is, like Israel, democratic and Western. The pressures of being a modern island in the heart of a faltering, turbulent Middle East make this task only more urgent.

Developing integrated power is not a simple task. The need to control the different forces driving the state requires judicious composure, a deep sense of responsibility, a broad view of the current geopolitical map, and effective governance that is able to devise and promote policy.

The Elements of Integrated Power

In order to clarify the importance of integrated power in managing the country and in strengthening security, a micro to macro perspective is in order, from one specific defense procurement to its consequences for Israels overall strength. Consider the following:

In June 2016, the unveiling ceremony for the Israeli Air Forces first Adir aircraft was held at Lockheed Martins factory in Texas. The Adir known to most others as the F-35 is a multirole stealth plane that can reach any location in the Middle East from Israel. Aside from its stealth capabilities, its human-machine interface is the first and only of its kind. The Adir represents a technological leap forward. Even though the aircraft is American, the F-35 is also a source of Israeli pride, as some of its parts were developed and built in Israel. For example, the smart helmet used by the pilots was developed by the Israeli company Elbit. Israel Aerospace Industries produces the wings for some of the planes.

This plane, and especially the way it came to be in Israels hands, sums up not only Israels military and technological capabilities, but also the three-pronged model of integrated power.

First, behind the acquisition stands the strong, consistent doctrine dating back to the modern origins of Israel and Israels first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion on developing disproportionate strategic power and making clear to its enemies that it will not tolerate existential threats. The corollary to this doctrine is that because Israel is geographically small, it needs to maintain the ability to take the campaign far beyond its borders. This doctrine has dictated the development of the Israeli Air Force and in recent years has also dictated the upgrading of Israels naval power. This doctrine has led Israels air and naval forces to become the strongest in the region.

Second, Israels economic strength enabled it to purchase 33 F-35 aircraft, at a cost of $5.25 billion, as part of a comprehensive deal in which Israel will eventually acquire 50 planes. In order for Israel to continue to sustain its qualitative edge, it must maintain a strong export-oriented economy, based on technology. This requires investments in education and infrastructure, and responsible management of the Israeli economy.

In this context, Israeli civil society must believe that the government has the right motivations and makes decisions in a thorough, judicious manner. Otherwise, such enormous expenses would be hard to justify to citizens who would ask if there are more important investments to make in education and healthcare. The fact that the acquisition of the planes is such a high national priority signifies a sacrifice on the part of the public. Israeli society is willing to make this sacrifice because it trusts that the government understands the ramifications. The trust in government and the existence of a shared ethos are the foundation of civil strength. A divided, conflicted society that lacks agreement on rules and values will not be able to meet the challenges of national security.

Third, Israels international standing and the fact that it is considered a responsible and legitimate country enables the purchase of the planes. Israel and Turkey are the only countries in the region that were allowed to purchase the F-35. Despite significant pressure from the American defense industry, the United States refused to sell the aircraft to other countries in the Middle East. The United States trusts that Israel will be a responsible owner and operator of these advanced weapons. This includes avoiding unnecessary military adventures, advance notification of major operations, respect for international law, and adherence to Western norms in military affairs.

Legitimacy and Political Strength

As with military strength and economic strength, Israels political strength comprises several elements: political, intelligence, and diplomatic ties; standing in international institutions (the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, NATO, and others); stature in international legal institutions; its image in the media, in social media, in academia, and in public opinion; and personal connections between leaders.

Of all of the arenas tied to Israels political standing, the United States is the most important. It is therefore crucial that Israel prevents and avoids fissures in this alliance and maintains its bipartisan standing in Congress. The change of administration in the United States should not make Israelis complacent. Israels standing in Washington has suffered in recent years, and this trend must not continue.

This is also the reason that Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot saw fit to define the securing and preservation of Israels legitimacy as one of the defense establishments top strategic objectives. He understands that Israels legitimacy is inextricably linked to its security

Legitimacy is the defense establishments main means of persuasion when it, as discussed, seeks to acquire the F-35s (or to convince the United States not to sell them to certain other countries in the region).

Comprehensive Integration

In order to develop and maintain the strength we need, military, socio-economic, and political power must operate together, based on an integrated outlook. This is the difference between a security doctrine (which is the role of the military) and a true national security policy, which is currently lacking. A senior Knesset Member from Yesh Atid, the party I lead, Ofer Shelah wrote in his book, The Courage to Win:

From the political leadership to the IDFs [Israel Defense Forces] top brass, Israel has difficulty formulating comprehensive definitions, and has even more difficulty acting on them therefore it prefers not to formulate them at all.

This phenomenon was especially prominent in the summer of 2014, when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge without defining the result it wanted to achieve, the exit strategy, or the timeframe. The decision-makers knew that Hamas was embracing what Gabi Siboni called the victim doctrine against Israel, meaning that it was interested in drawing out the operation as much as possible in order to place international pressure on Israel and harm its political and economic standing. Nonetheless, those managing the operation, led by the prime minister did not think that they needed to provide the army with a timeframe or a required objective. In their outdated view, while the cannons roar there is no room for economic or political considerations. During the operation, on August 2, the prime minister publicly declared:

Operation Protective Edgeis continuing.The IDFis continuing to operate with full strength in order to complete the goals of the operation: The restoration of quiet and the restoration of security for a lengthy period for the citizens of Israel while inflicting significant damage on the terrorist infrastructures.

This decision to let the campaign continue without a set timeframe was not based on professional deliberation. Rather, the working assumption was that a security event can be isolated from its economic and political consequences. This is a mistake. There is no such separation.

Harming Israels economy and political standing harms Israels security. At the same time, the converse is also true: a strong economy is a basis for security. A technologically advanced defense system cannot exist over time in a country that lags technologically. Without an advanced economy and society, Israel will not have an advanced army.

Is the prime minister the only person who can set in motion the kind of strategic processes that I have described here? The answer is no, but the systems of government cannot operate without leadership that has direction. What does the prime minister need to fulfill Israels national missions and overarching objectives and to defend Israeli security from various threats? First of all, the prime minister must have a large staff of talented, committed, and opinionated people who will provide him with the information, analysis, and meticulous staff work that will enable Israel to advance, prosper, and be secure.

The establishment around him must be built in such a way that the set of considerations brought before him is as broad as possible. The key body is the National Security Council. The role of this body is to coordinate the information, input, and staff work for the prime minister and for the cabinet.

Even under optimal conditions, properly analyzing and determining policy in the Middle East is an incomparably complex task. The political and military environment has changed decisively in recent years. We are living in a completely different reality from any of the first six decades of Israels existence: Israels enemies are no longer hostile states or conventional armies. Instead, we are faced with an age of civil wars and coups, terrorist organizations that are growing more sophisticated while gaining political recognition, cyber warfare and nuclear ambitions of more than one country. Alongside that there is an international campaign to delegitimize Israel through hostile media outlets and radical human rights organizations. In todays world, there is no longer a clear separation between times of peace and times of war.

Second, the prime minister needs to create a work environment in which the various arms of Israeli defense, security, foreign policy, and the security cabinet are synchronized and complement one another, with economic and social professionals serving crucial roles. For example, the ongoing struggle against sources of funding for Hizballah and Hamas involves the international banking system and agents who specialize in financial crime. The banking systems series of successes in identifying sources of funding for terrorism and international partnerships, have enabled the filing of lawsuits against terrorist organizations and companies that fund them, through U.S. law. This created significant difficulties for terrorist organizations and forced them to look for complicated sources of funding that do not use banks, which expose them to being tracked. This struggle is far from being over, but this is additional proof that the economy, foreign policy, and law are not separate worlds from the world of security. It is a single complex reality.

Over the course of almost 70 years, Israels leaders spoke in terms of an existential threat. The great fear was of an army or armies racing toward its borders in order to conquer Israel. No one in the professional echelons uses this terminology today. In the past year alone, those who served most recently as head of the Mossad, IDF chief of staff, and minister of defense strongly emphasized that today Israel does not face an existential threat. Instead, there are increasingly large sets of threats from terrorism, the collapsed states in the region, and an escalating delegitimization campaign against Israel. National decision-making has not succeeded in adapting itself to this change. For example, if $10 million a year were invested wisely in Israeli public relations, this could potentially have a major impact among ordinary Egyptians who are hostile toward Israel even after 40 years of peace. $10 million is about 0.0001 percent of Israels budget, but in a country like Egypt, it could make a decisive difference.


If the preservation and strengthening of integrated power is the Israeli prime ministers top priority, he or she must ensure that other interests less important but more urgent do not harm Israels security. The test of leadership is not just the willingness to provide citizens with what they want, but also the ability to demand responsibility from them. In order for leadership to be able to demand this, it must itself demonstrate responsibility.

The security of Israel five years from now will depend on an entire range of elements uniting as a single force. These factors economic, social, diplomatic can interfere with and contradict one another or become force multipliers that enhance our national strength and resilience. The role of the prime minister is to prevent the contradictions and to create the force multipliers. In order to be able to do this and to place Israel in a better situation, integrated power should be at the center of Israels national security policy.

Using the integrated power model, we can harness the power of the IDF, the Mossad, and the Shin Bet, along with Israels economic and political strength and the energy and vision of its citizens, so that Israel can fulfill the overarching goal that has served it since its establishment: to be so strong that its enemies know in advance that they will lose any war against it.

MK Yair Lapid, a member of the Israeli security cabinet during 2013-2014, is a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services.

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The Imperative of Integrated Israeli Power – War on the Rocks

Anti-Islam provocateur Geert Wilders’ party 3rd largest among Dutch Jews – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch PVV political party, speaking at a conference of European right-wing parties in Koblenz, Germany, Jan. 21, 2017. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

(JTA) The party of Geert Wilders, a Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker whocritics say is a racist, is the third-most popular among local Jews, according to a pre-elections poll of community members.

With 814 respondents, the poll, whose results the Nieuw Israelietisch Weekblad Jewish weekly published Thursday ahead of the March 15 general elections, surveyednearly 2 percent of the Jewish population of the Netherlands. It is one of the most comprehensive polls conducted in recent years among the Dutch Jewish community.

Wildersright-wing populist Party for Freedom, however, has the vote of 10 percent of Dutch Jews, according to the poll. The party enjoys a 15-percent approval rate in the general population, according to other polls, and is in a tightrace for the lead with the ruling, center-right Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy.

Among Dutch Jews polled, the ruling party was the most popular, with 17 percent, followed by the center-left Labor Party, which received 11 percent.

The deeply conservative Reformed Political Party and the more liberal conservative Christian Union received together another 17 percent of the Jewish vote a vastly higher proportion than their support in the general population. That support likely owes to theirstridently pro-Israel and pro-Jewish policies.

The Socialist Party, which is distrusted by many Dutch Jews for its support ofPalestinian causes, received 1.2 percent of the vote.

Overall, right-wing and center-right parties garnered 55 percent of the vote in the poll.

NIW conducted the survey with help from the Crescas Jewish cultural group and other organizations.

Approximately 75 percent of the Jews polled said they viewed Muslim values as a threat to Europe. The same proportion said Muslim culture is more violent than others. Approximately 40 percent of respondents also said Islam belongs in Europe, whereas another 40 percent said it does not.

Wilders was convicted of inciting discrimination in December for promising supporters to make sure the Netherlands has fewer Moroccans.

Despite the support of someDutch Jews, the Party for Freedom has angered many of them with its support of a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter and for teaming up with other far-right groups, including Frances National Front.

Wilders was acquitted in 2011 ofhate-incitement charges in connection with a short video in which he inveighed against Islam, a religion he has called evil and fascist.

Wilders, who in his youth lived for two years on an Israeli moshav in the Jordan Valley, has called Israel a place where I feel home and said it was close to his heart. He has also called Israel a canary in the coal mine and the Wests first line of defense against Islam. He has repeatedly said he isarguing for Judeo-Christian values, which he saysare threatened by Islam in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

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Anti-Islam provocateur Geert Wilders’ party 3rd largest among Dutch Jews – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Antisemitism and Aliyah – Algemeiner

The French Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket chain was targeted in January 2015 by an Islamic terrorist, who killed four people. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Many people argue that antisemitism in Europe and other parts of the world should notmakeJews instinctively flee to Israel.

Butit is high time for Diaspora Jews to shake off their denial and confront the reality. They must acknowledge that all indicators predict that their situation is only going to worsen, and that in some cases a call for aliyah in the face of rising antisemitism is warranted.

Although the feverish increase in antisemitism is a global phenomenon, Jew-hatred in the United States, Canada and Australia is a far cry from what is happening in Europe and South Africa.

March 10, 2017 8:34 am

In the United States, amid bomb threats and cemetery desecrations, the principal menace comesfrom the combined far-Left and Muslim antisemites, along with some right-wing radicals. This activity is located primarily on university campuses, where Jewish students are increasingly intimidated.

Liberal AmericanJews, who failed to react to Barack Obamas vicious anti-Israel diplomatic onslaughts and played down the venom on campus, are now promoting a partisan political agenda by blaming President Donald Trump for the recent threats and desecrations.

But despite these tensions, aliyah from the United States in response to antisemitism is nonsensical. Thats because on the wholeAmericans are the least antisemitic people in the world.

But Europe is entirely different. Here, antisemitism directly impacts Jews, and is destroying their quality of life.

This does not suggest that Jews in Europe are facing imminent extermination. Israel is a safe haven, and will ensure that a second Holocaust does notoccur.

But the quality of Jewish life in Europe today does justify a call for mass emigration.

What sort of a life is it for a Jew when he is fearful to be seen in public with a kippah or any other outward manifestation of his Judaism?Or when schools, synagogues and otherlocations where Jews meet require military protection? Who could have dreamed of such a situation a mere 10 years ago?

Who would have envisaged that the finest universities in the UK and Europe would be transformed into platforms for anti-Israel and antisemitic activity, where Jewish students are harassed and denied freedom of expression?

Violent Islamic terrorism, including a home-grown variety, is also nowa daily threat to Europeans. The influx of refugees, many of whom are deeply embedded with antisemitism, has only accentuated this problem. Andwherever possible, European Islamic terrorists primarily target Jews.

While most governments pay lip service to the fight against antisemitism, popular hatred of Jews is growing and Israel is still being blamed as the source of Islamic extremism.

And while antisemitism is rife in the media and political arena,even the slightest criticism of Islamic extremism leads to accusations of Islamophobia and indictments of racism.

The situation is somewhat different in each country. Ironically, Eastern European countries are less hostile than their Western counterparts.Antisemitism is worst in France. In the UK,Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition party, can only be described as the left-wing equivalent of the late British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. Corbyns friends and allies include Islamic terrorist supporters and outright antisemites.

Those who no longer care about their Jewishness assume a low profile and seek to discard their Jewish identity. In most cases, their children will no longer consider themselves Jews.

It is the remaining, committed Jews who face a quandary. Many of them live among fellow Jews and rarely face antisemitism directly. They live in denial and philosophically dismiss the hostility and the discrimination that their children endure.

But Jews should not be willing to live under such circumstances. There is no guarantee in any society that children will maintain the traditions of their parents. But in todays Europe, it is almost impossible to have any confidence about nurturing Jewish grandchildren who will retain and take pride in their heritage. For many, the odds of shedding their Jewish identity are very high.

The time has come to speak out clearly. Conditions for Jews in Europe will almost certainly worsen, even in countries like the UK. Jews who value their heritage and wish to see their children and grandchildren remain proud and committed Jews should make every effort to leave.

To emigrate is no easy challenge. Even allowing for the fact that Israel today has one of the most successful economies in the world, many middle-aged families may find it difficult to find meaningful employment. Most of them will therefore remain in Europe.

But they should at least encourage their children to settle in Israel. Thenext generation can and should be saved.

A version of this article was originallypublished byIsraelHayom and the Jerusalem Post.

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Antisemitism and Aliyah – Algemeiner

Why Does Amazon Sell Holocaust-Denying Authors Next To Real Historians? – Huffington Post

In a few hours of surfing Amazons Books category, I noticed that this American giant of online sales is infested with Holocaust deniers. These are books that either deny the crime the genocide of the Jews or the weapon of the crime the gas chambers. Their writers imply that the Holocaust is nothing but a rumour propagated by (Jewish) historians, survivors, Allies and Israel or an exaggeration of the numbers of Jews killed. They also suggest that, as the Holocaust never existed, the gas chambers that are still in existence today were nothing more sinister than a method to disinfect the deportees in the concentration camps.

On a search of more than 20 international Holocaust-denying authors, deceased or living, there are more than 100 books and other Holocaust denial publications sold on This virtual shop is a showcase for them, which allows them to convey their ideologies where anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are mixed. The American company defends itself, explaining that the European law forbids them to sell deniers books. Holocaust deniers writers, however, find themselves in large numbers on the Amazon sites of all the countries of the Union.

If, for example, we look for the name of Carlo Mattogno, a notorious Italian holocaust denier, we will find many books and articles listed on This is also the case on the Italian site,, despite the fact that Holocaust denial is illegal in Italy, as in most European countries.

Calls for a boycott of the site have already been heard. Is this really the solution? Should we deny the Holocaust deniers on While European law is clear, and should be respected, the First Amendment in the United States does not prohibit them from publishing, but leaves Amazon with the final decision whether to sell them or not. This was also the case with the American Holocaust denier Bradley Smith, who, in the 1990s wanted to publish in American campus newspapers. Some campuses accepted on the basis of the First Amendment, even though they could just as well have refused.

The CEO and executive vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Robert R. Singer raised the issue last week: this is not a 1st Amendment problem. Amazon cannot be legally prohibited from selling Holocaust-denying material, but it can and should choose not to. Bookstores have long refused to carry certain items, with pornography being a prime example. Holocaust denial is no different, legally speaking, from hardcore pornography. (Cf.)

Contrary to Singers assertion, pornographic works are indeed on, but marked with the words Adults Only. That, perhaps, could be a first step: to notify which books are Holocaust deniers. Access to the works could be facilitated, but this would remove any ambiguity.

Last week, Robert Rozett, director of the Yad Vashem Libraries, sent an email to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, requesting that he immediately remove the books from the sites. Yad Vashems battle to ban Holocaust-denying books should be welcomed. A list of these books was sent to Amazon a few days ago. This has resulted in books from some authors, known to be notorious Holocaust deniers, whose titles in the books leave no doubt as to their intentions, being withdrawn from sale. For example, The myth of the 6 million David L. Hoggan, an American denier and historian, is no longer on Amazon.

But there are also newer, little-known works, the titles of which do not allow the authors to be identified as deniers, but which instill doubt about the reality of history. This is the case of Debating the Holocaust: a New Look at Both Sides, a so-called academic, Thomas Dalton (Doctor). By an ambiguous title, the publishing house seeks to hide the fact that it is headed by Germar Rudolf, a German neo-Nazi Holocaust denier. The emphasis on authors qualifications (a doctor, a judge, a former witness of the camps, etc.) on the cover of books is also a common practice among them, in order to provide additional credit for their works and to legitimize themselves. Amazon customers are likely to get caught up in this dangerous game. Thankfully, by March 8th, had removed the book (Cf.).

Another example of an unknown denier author who is no longer found since March 8th on Amazon: Nicholas Kollerstrom, PhD, Breaking the Spell, The Holocaust Myth and Reality (Cf.).

They were found in greater numbers (about a hundred) in the section Holocaust Handbooks, but since March 8, there are no more denial writers in this section. This is a decision from Amazon that we can only rejoice in.

However, other Holocaust deniers still appear on the site, categorized with the Holocaust literature (Cf.). They are still listed under the category History, World or Literature, Fiction. And this, without any distinction with the books of history on the Shoah despite the fact that it would be easy to separate these books from genuine historically accurate works concerning the Holocaust. The same can be said of the French site, where the works of the famous French denier Robert Faurisson are categorized under the heading Books, History, Great Periods of History, whereas Holocaust denial is illegal in France.

And thats not all. Holocaust deniers use the site for even more pernicious purposes: to create a commentary page for all books dealing with the Holocaust,Holocaust History channel. Thus, they can write reviews on books, praising Holocaust deniers and denigrating those of historians (Cf.).

One last observation: those who believe in conspiracies are often not very far away when Holocaust denial is present. Clients who bought Holocaust denial books also bought conspiracy books about the September 11 attacks and the origins of ISIS, which was set up by Israel and the United States.

The Holocaust deniers on Amazon are only the visible part of the iceberg. There are other sites, such as iBookstore, and other outlets, such as the large U.S. bookstore Barnes & Noble, where you can buy some Holocaust deniers.

Not to mention sites like, used by Holocaust deniers to broadcast books and videos. Or, the American academic libraries. For example, in the library of the Department of History at Columbia University, the deniers authors are placed on the same shelves as the works of historians, whereas a simple classification difference would allow them to be separated geographically, and warn the reader of the intentions of the work.

This categorization problem is also found in the Library of Congress. Within the worlds largest library, some Holocaust deniers are not qualified as such. The work of the German denier, Thies Christophersen, is listed in American libraries not by the term holocaust denial, but by the key words personal narratives, German, Holocaust, Jews (1939-1945) because the author was an SS technician assigned to rubber work at the Auschwitz camp from January to December 1944, while he was also a neo-Nazi activist after the war. This is an appalling error, which would require all our attention.

This is an ongoing battle and it will never be possible to banish all works created by Holocaust deniers from American public spaces and from being sold on the internet but the fact that Amazon has withdrawn some books is a positive sign. In the name of freedom of expression, we have given too much publicity to Holocaust deniers, allowing an extremist danger and calling into question the accuracy of history in the minds of younger generations.

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Why Does Amazon Sell Holocaust-Denying Authors Next To Real Historians? – Huffington Post

Swiss parliament lower house votes to halt funds to groups promoting anti-Semitism – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

BERLIN (JTA) Switzerlands lower house of parliament voted to halt public funding fororganizationsthat promote anti-Semitism and hatred.

Submitted by Christian Imark of the right-wing populist Swiss PeoplesParty, the bill passed Wednesday by a vote of 111 to 78, with all center-rightmainstream parties in support. Voting against the measure were the SocialDemocratic, Green and Green-Liberal parties.

According to a report on the parliaments website, the motion aims to change Swiss law to ensure that public funds dont flow to NGOs that act in ways deemed provocative by other groups or states.

The matter now goes to the Council of States, Switzerlands upper house of parliament, which reportedly will consider the bill in May.

According to the Swiss Basler Zeitung newspaper, Imark, whose party isknown for its anti-Muslim stance, introducedthe bill out of concern formillions of dollars in Swiss funds that ended up in the hands ofPalestinian organizations that call for violence, expulsion of Jewsand destruction of the State of Israel. The payments came from Switzerlands Federal Department of Foreign Affairs,led by DidierBurkhalter of the liberal FDP party.

NGO Monitor, the Israel-based non-governmental organization thatlobbied for the bill, said Switzerland donated $2.38 millionbetween 2013 and 2016 to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, a Palestinian human rights group, which then handed out funds to NGOs inIsrael and the Palestinian Authority. NGO Monitor reported that the Popular Front forthe Liberation of Palestine, considered a terrorist organization bythe European Union, the United States and others, received some of the money.

Speaking before the vote, Imark said he did not want to get involved inthe Mideast conflict, but he insisted that Switzerland check carefullywhere its money was going. Imarksaid the Swiss foreign ministry was aiding organizations that back the anti-Israel BDS movement, call for Israels destruction and conduct anti-Zionist and racist campaigns. Some of the organizations have direct ties to terrorist groups, he said.

If our country carries out a one-sided foreign policy, we will neverbuild peace. On the contrary, we will fan the flames of the conflict, until our own hands are covered in blood, Imark said.

The Swiss branch of the BDS movement reportedly condemned the vote.

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Swiss parliament lower house votes to halt funds to groups promoting anti-Semitism – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Estonian FM in Israel: ‘We’re concerned by Russia’s collusion with Iran in Syria’ – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Estonian FM Sven Mikser. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Estonia stands with Israel on security issues, including opposing Russias role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad and Irans military presence there, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser told The Jerusalem Post in an interview.

The role that the Russians play [in Syria] by way of trying to keep Assad in power and by the apparent collusion with the Iranians, yes, that is a shared concern, he said Wednesday.

Mikser arrived in Israel on Tuesday night for a two-day visit and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. On Thursday, Netanyahu flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the importance of halting Iranian activities in Syria.

Estonia is small former Soviet republic with a population of only about 1.3 million people and a long history of resisting expansionist drives by Russia, which it borders.

We have seen the expansionist ambitions of the leadership in the Kremlin, said Mikser, including what he called Russias recent illegally annexing Crimea. We can say with some confidence that they [Russia] will not shy away from using military force to achieve political aims, he said.

Russia is doing that in Syria, where it is working to keep Assad in power and operating in some sort of symbiosis with the Iranians, Mikser said, adding that this is a legitimate concern for Israel.

Putin is not an irrational player. He is a cool and calculating player who sees the world very much in zero sum terms, he said. He is in constant competition and standoff with the West in general and with the Americans in particular. Whenever he sees the lack of unity and resolve on behalf of the adversaries, [he knows] that is a weakness [that can] be exploited.

It is important to present [Putin] with a resolute and unified front and by doing that, he can be deterred. So it is important that we speak with a very unambiguous and unified voice. The bigger the coalition or the community of democratic states that can speak with a unified voice, the better, Mikser added.

Addressing the struggles shared by Israel and Estonia, he said, Israel has its own security interests and concerns, but there are things [concerns] we share, the way the Russians have dragged or facilitated the Iranian entry into the Syrian situation.

I can imagine that is very threatening to the Israeli security interests.

It is in Israel and Estonias joint interest to put pressure on Russia to make them return to the internationally accepted behavior by way of not unduly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, he concluded.

Estonia is a member-state of the European Union and in July will assume the presidency of the EU Council, which is assigned on a rotating six-month basis.

The country is a strong supporter of Israel in the EU and the United Nations, but when it comes to the Palestinian conflict, it has a no-tolerance policy toward settlement activity.

We are definitely looking for ways to get to the two-state solution in such a way that does not compromise Israeli security on one hand, but would also allow the Palestinians to realize their national aspirations, Mikser said.

Speaking on behalf of Estonia and the EU, he said, We do not think that the settlement activity should continue at all. In that sense it is impossible for me to say that [this] much is acceptable and not more.

Similarly, he said Estonia opposes unilateral Palestinian steps to achieve statehood and that such recognition should come only as part of a final status agreement for a two-state solution.

Stressing the importance of remaining proactive in the attempts to bring about a resolution to the conflict, Mikser concluded by saying that History has proven that if there are unresolved conflicts, even far away, they will eventually come to our doorstep.

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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

Trumpism and Antisemitism – Algemeiner

President Donald Trump. Photo: White House.

The United States is witnessing a disturbing rise in antisemitic acts. In St. Louis, more than 100tombstones were tipped over; similar hate crimes have taken place in Philadelphia and New York. Suchattacks are alsotaking place in small towns. In Scottsburg, Indiana (a community with less than 10,000residents), the gravestones of a Jewish couple were defaced with spray paint. To date, there have been reports of bomb threats against Jewish institutions in 33states.

There has been arise in hate crimes of all types since Donald Trumps election. Four days after his electoral victory, an Episcopal Church in a small town in southern Indiana was vandalized with Heil Trump. Last weekend, in Orchard Parka suburb of Buffalo, New Yorkresidents and local police officersdiscovered spray-painted swastikas and vulgar graffiti on overpasses, a dozen vehicles and an elementary school playground. Ten Jewish community centers have recently been targeted with bomb threats. And the list goes on.

These latest acts constitute the escalation of the overt antisemitism thatreappeared during the presidential campaign. What began with tweeting and Internet trolling is now manifesting itself in more brazen and threatening ways. Unless the underlying conditions areaddressed, there is every reason to expect that these attacks will persist and become more violent.

March 7, 2017 11:07 am

The growing antisemitism in the United States has been fed by a social-political atmosphere that is conducive to it. White nationalist groups have been encouraged by the current administrations willingness to lend an ear and more to those on the far Right.

President Trumpdoes not have to be explicitly, or even implicitly, antisemitic in either words or deeds to create conditions in which antisemitic groups feel emboldened. By being ever ready to entertain conspiracy theories, by showing little regard for facts when they are not to his liking, by remembering the Holocaust without any mention of the destruction of European Jewry, by empowering figures such as Steve Bannon, and by lending credence to the agenda of the alt-right, the president has helped to make these waves of antisemitism and bigotry possible.

Over the past year, our public discourse has deteriorated; what was once political spin has been replaced by palpable and shameless lying. It is clear that Trumpism with its contempt for inconvenient truths and glorification of authoritarian strongmen is in part responsible for what is taking place. Racist ideology feeds off of illusionsbeliefsthatare held because they satisfy deep-seated wishes, without regard for evidence, justification or warrant. Trumpism has provided the soil in which such illusions are free to grow unhampered by a sense of moral responsibility.

The current rise of antisemitism was able to take root more easily when common manners and basic decency were shoved aside during an increasingly ugly election. Courtesy and manners are essential to ethical life (in the Hegelian sense). The loss of the simple decency that we generally take for granted has wide ramifications, and ultimately it creates a social environment where inhibitions against overtly racist acts are weakened, and hate crimes are more likely to occur.

Trump has shown himself ready to make brazen accusations without citing any evidentiary support; he has shown contempt for the rule of law and the freedom of the press. Trumpism insists that we cannot be held morally responsible for the claims we make, and the statements we endorse.

To stem the rise of antisemitism, we mustrestore the integrity of our public discourse and our commitment to intellectual honesty and self-scrutiny. Antisemitism has been allowed to grow because we, as a country, have created an environment that is conducive to race-minded reactionaries. Our country has grown meaner and more cynical. In the span of only a decade, comments that would have been inconceivable to say in public are now becoming increasingly commonplace.

We cannot underestimate the importance of trust. As the philosopher Jay Bernstein observed, [T]rust relations provide the ethical substance of everyday living. Trust relations are relations of mutual recognition in which we acknowledge our mutual standing and vulnerability with respect to one another. Trust is the invisible substance of our moral lives we only notice it when it has been shattered.

Therecentantisemitic and racist acts are attacks precisely on that trust.

Restoring social trust is a long and difficult process. In this case, it will involve, among other things, undoing the moral and epistemic harm caused by Trumpism. And Trump himself must begin this undertaking.

Read the original here:
Trumpism and Antisemitism – Algemeiner

YIVO | Hasidism: Music

Joy and its expression through song and dance have been important values of the Hasidic movement since its beginnings in the second half of the eighteenth century. The idealization of music reflected an innovation in Jewish culture, in contrast to the general attitude of the Ashkenazic rabbinical establishment. Hasidic spiritual leaders since that time devoted increasing attention to music and dance in their writings.

The central place of music in Hasidic thought and life is anchored in ideologyand ideological differences among the various streams of Hasidism, along with philosophical changes throughout the generations, were reflected in evolving attitudes toward music. The movement of religious thought and activity from the theosophical to the psychological sphere, for examplefrom a focus on the divine to an emphasis on the human soulhad important implications with respect to music. In early Hasidic writings, magical and theurgical conceptions rooted in theosophical kabbalistic doctrine prevailed. These conceptions hold that human deeds, including musical activity, have the power to affect the godheadand, as a result, the entire world. Later generations abandoned the view that every Jew can influence the divine world with music and restricted this ability only to the tsadik.

A parallel development occurred under the leadership of Dov Ber, the Magid of Mezritsh (d. 1772), and especially in the teachings of some of his disciples. According to this approach, instead of music being directed outward, in order to affect the godhead and the material world, it is turned inward, with the goal of affecting ones inner life. Music is seen as a form of contemplation into the soul that seeks to reveal its divine source and to enable devekut (mystical communion with God) to be achieved.


Stoliner nigun. Words and music: Traditional. Performed by Stoliner Hasidim. Private recording by Benedict Stambler, Brooklyn, 1958. (YIVO)

During the same period, there is a movement from dependence of music on text, especially prayer text, toward the belief that music can act in its own right, whether connected to a text or not. In consequence, Hasidic nigunim (sg., nigun; Yid., nign; spiritual melodies; in Hasidic terminology nigun can refer broadly to music as well as to a tune or composition) are typically sung without words, though some are adapted to texts from the prayers or piyutim (liturgical poems). Some nigunim remained attached to a fixed text, such as the recitative nigunim for the Sabbathzemirot (table hymns), including Kol mekadesh and Barukh Adonai yom yom, and the dance songs of Lag ba-Omer. In addition, a movement took place from the performance of music in the individual, meditative sphere toward a predominantly collective expression of the entire congregation. Today only the Lubavitch and Bratslav movements engage in both individual and collective performance of nigunim.

As an expression of innermost emotions that cannot be expressed through words (even through words of prayer), a nigun helps the tsadik to plumb the depths of a persons soul, whether that person is evil or pious, and to achieve the desired devekut. A nigun can help simple people, who have not achieved the level of a tsadik, to attain spiritual elevation, whether they engage in music actively or passively, by singing or by listening. Listening to a tsadik singing a nigun provides the ordinary person with a foothold at the edge of the world of the sacred, enabling the tsadik to refine that persons soul and raise it to a higher level of existence.

Adapting tunes from surrounding non-Jewish cultures is a hallmark of Hasidic music. The leading sages offered differentunderstandings of this phenomenon of musical acculturation, even giving itthe force of a religious duty. For example, Naman of Bratslav (17721810) approved of singing gentile music as a way to attract Gods increased attention to Jewish peoples sufferings at the hands of non-Jews and to induce redemption.

A more typical view holds that sacred melodies in gentile music have been, as it were, taken captive by evil forces in the constant struggle between divine forces and the forces of evil. These captive tunesor, rather, the holy sparks hidden within themawait redemption. Tsadikim and their emissaries, wherever they lived, constantly sought out melodies with a sacred flavor, in order to redeem the sparks and restore them to their heavenly source. Thus, gentile folk tunes and popular melodies (in Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Rumanian, Hungarian, Turkish, and even Arabic) left a strong stamp on Hasidic music. This plurality of melodic sources has given rise to the opinion that Hasidic music cannot be regarded as an individual ethnomusical unit. But such an attitude disregards the obvious processes of transformation and re-creation that occurred in these tunes as they were absorbed into Hasidic music.

On occasion, Hasidim borrowed gentile folk songs along with their original texts, but endowed the texts with new, allegorical meanings in the spirit of Hasidism. Other borrowed songs or melodies were preserved together with the stories (apocryphal or real) of how they came to be lifted up from the sphere of impurity and by whomsuch as the nigunim attributed to Yitsak Isaak Taub of Kallo (Nagykll, Hungary; d. 1821).

Although Hasidic thought also considered instrumental music legitimate, particularly in the context of weddings, Hasidic music developed primarily as a vocal genre even when it picked up motifs and melodies from the instrumental music of East European peoples. Another characteristic of Hasidic music is its singing by the entire community. Even so, solo singing also plays a role in specific circumstances, such as when the rebbe sings in the presence of his Hasidim at his tish (a gathering typically featuring a discourse by the rebbe and community singing), when the badkhn (jester) sings at weddings, and when individual Lubavitch Hasidim sing while at prayer.

Some dynasties have a repertoire of their own; others partly share a common repertoire; while a few mainly use nigunim from the general pan-Hasidic inventory, which are known in Yiddish as velts-nigunim (lit., world nigunim).

Hasidim with a musical ear insist that they can identify the dynastic origin of atune at first hearing and claim that thenigunim of certain dynasties have a unique musical flavor. There are indeed a few characteristic features that can be associated with the music of specific dynasties. For example, the brief dance nigunim of Bratslav and Karlin Hasidim have a simple structure and narrow range. Hasidic marches are found for the most part in the repertoires of Ger (also Gur or Gura), Vizhnits, and Modzits Hasidim; and longer compositions, made up of sections of differing characters and musical meters, figure in the repertoires of these communities and also of Bobov Hasidim. Some nigunim of the Vizhnits and Belz Hasidim resemble cantorial compositions and are sung by the kapelye (choral group) in a variety of polyphonic textures, such as parallel thirds, canons, and other imitative techniques, sometimes over an ostinato. In many Hasidic communities, one element of community singing is a gradual but continuous rise in pitch, sometimes to impressive proportions (as among the Hasidim of Boyan, Lubavitch, and Slonim).

The development of different styles among Hasidic dynasties also seems to be related to the nature of the musical leadership provided by the rebbe. Many Hasidic leaders were highly musical, and some also earned fame as gifted baale tefilah (prayer leaders) or composers. Such leaders enlarged their communitys musical repertoire and encouraged original creativity on the part of their Hasidim; they sometimes drew gifted composer-azanim, together with their kapelyes, to their courts. Among the most famous were Yosef Volynetz (Yosl Tolner, 18381902) in Talnoye and Rakhmistrivke (Rotmistrovka); Yankev Shmuel Morogowski (Zeydl Rovner, 18561943) in Makarov, Rovno (Rivne), and elsewhere; and Pinas Spector (Pinye khazn, 18721951) in Boyanalong with the menagnim (musicians) Yankl Telekhaner in Koidanov, Stolin, and Lakhovits and probably in Slonim, and Yaakov Dov (Yankl) Talmud (18861963) in Ger.


“Ovinu malkeynu” (Avinu malkenu). Words: Rabbi Akiba, Rabbi Amram Gaon. Music: Shneur Zalman of Liady. Performed by the Lubavitcher Chorus. Unissued take from recording sessions for Chabad Melodies: Songs of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, Collectors Guild lp CGL 615, New York, 1960. (YIVO)

The musical leadership of the rebbe is also expressed during the tish. At this occasion, some rebbes sing all the nigunim on their own, while their Hasidim join in at specified points. Other rebbes conduct the musical part of the tish through subtlecues: they signal to the Hasidim, or to the kapelye, with a hand gesture or even aglance. The late Vizhnits rebbe used to actually conduct the singing of his Hasidim; he was also in the habit of correcting them when a nigun was sung inaccurately.Among the Vizhnits, the excitement reaches its peak when the rebbe stands up; among the Boyan, this happens when the rebbe claps his hands. This gesture, among others, is also used to alter the tempoand as a result, among the Boyan, a nigun may be rendered with unusual changes of tempo.

Still another type of musical leadership emerged after the Holocaust, stemming from the perceived danger that with the annihilation of entire communities, musical traditions would disappear as well. The rebbe of Vizhnits, ayim Meir Hager (18881972), who reestablished his community in Israel, felt this danger and took several steps to revive his communitys musical tradition, while at the same time also encouraging the preservation of nigunim from other Hasidic sources so that they would not be lost. He also established a kapelye that would sing in polyphonic style and would perform works by azanim from the past.

Among the Belz Hasidim, who were regarded as not musical, a veritable revolution took place when the Vizhnits rebbes son-in-law became the rebbe of Belz in the mid-1960s. His encouragement of original musical creations, together with the establishment of a kapelye modeled after that of Vizhnits, brought about a new and unique repertoire beyond the traditional nigunim. The current Karliner rebbe, Barukh Meir Yaakov ha-Levi Shoet (1954 ), zealous with respect to his communitys musical tradition, has directed the gathering of Karlin traditional nigunim from all possible sources, even from the National Library in Jerusalem, in order to revive them. The guarding of the tradition had included prohibiting taking the nigunim out of the community, whether through publication or recording or even through handing over the scores to individuals from outside the community.

Lubavitch Hasidism has evolved a terminology and theoretical framwork, with which it tries to explain mystic aspects of nigunim and Hasidic musical activity and to distinguish between different genres. Hasidic musicians of other dynasties use different terms to classify nigunim, and as a result some genres are referred to with more than one term.

1. Tish nigunim make up the core of theHasidic repertoire and constitute the major part of melodies sung at the rebbes table. Most have stylistic similarities to the Lubavitch genre of devekut (cleaving) nigunimsometimes called hitvaadut (gathering) tunes by the Lubavitch; elsewhere known as hisoyrerus (awakening), makhshove (meditation), moralishe (moral), hartsig (heartfelt), or bet (begging) nigunim. In Lubavitch, devekut nigunim are subdivided into gaaguim (yearning or longing) and common volekh tunes (the term volekh is derived from the geographical name Walachia, although they did notnecessarily originate there). All are characterized by slow tempi, expressing serious, meditational, and even sad feelings, and by either metrical or free rhythmsometimes in combinations of metrical and free sections and with variable or erratic tempo, rubato, and so onand are thought to enableunion or communion with God. One of the most widespread subgenresof the tish nigunim resembles aslowed-down mazurka. Nigunim in free rhythm are related to the cantorial recitative; in some dynasties they show the influence of East European folk forms such as the Romanian doina.

2. Tants (dance) nigunim are mostly used for dancing and are also called tentsl, or freylekhs nigunim. Other terms used by Polish Hasidim are hopke, dreidl, and redele. Many dance nigunim have the following characteristics: duple meter; fast tempi; a periodic or symmetric structure in multiples of four bars; relatively few sections (from one to five); a small range (sometimes only a fifth or a sixth); and a small number of motives. (Some tunes consist of only one or two motives and their developments). Dance tunes are performed mainly at weddings and joyful festivals such as Simat Torah and Lag ba-Omer, but they also sometimes have an imported role at the Hasidic tish and during synagogue prayers. About a third of these nigunim have fixed texts, mostly short, taken from biblical verses or from the liturgy. A related category included tunes of rejoicing (nigune simah), which possess all the above characteristics but are sung at a slower tempo and usually without dancing.

3. Marches and waltzes are joyful tunes adapted from, or influenced by, non-Jewish cultures from Central Europe (mostly Polish and Austro-Hungarian). They are used neither for marching nor for dancing and are generally sung more slowly than their non-Jewish counterparts. Most nigunim of these types are sung without texts; some are incorporated into Sabbath and holiday prayers and sung to poetical texts such as Lekhah dodi andElAdon (for the Sabbath) and Kianu amekha, Ki hineh ka-omer, andHa-Yom teamtsenu (for the High Holidays). The Vizhnits repertoire includesmarch nigunim with the characteristic triple meter of the waltz style; they are thus called marsh-vals (march waltzes).

4. Beside the main genres, one finds peripheral ones, such as badkhones (jesters tunes, sung with Yiddish rhymed verses), bilingual songs, and nigunim of instrumental origin, borrowed either from the gentile repertoire or from Jewish klezmorim.

As information about music in the Ashkenazic communities of Eastern Europe before the rise of Hasidism is sparse, the main way to determine whether music inHasidic society primarily adhered to tradition or mapped out new paths is to consider music in non-Hasidic communities in and after the eighteenth century. Of the dominant musical elements in Hasidic prayer, the modality (Yid., shtayger) and most of the recitative-like melodies (including those known as mi-Sinai tunesrenditions from Sinaion account of their antiquity) are common to the Hasidic and non-Hasidic communities of Eastern Europe; these elements thus represent continuity. Hence the extensive use among Hasidim of the term velts nusa (world style) for the liturgical recitative common to both Hasidim and Misnagdim (opponents of Hasidism).

The repertoire of some Hasidic communities (such as Boyan and Vizhnits) presents another case wherein Hasidic music shows a similarity to non-Hasidic music. These communities have adopted polyphonic choral music written by cantors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries asnigunim sung to the texts of prayers, owing to their leaders penchant for such music. The specific character of prayer among Karlin Hasidim, on the other hand, as well as certain characteristic elements in the so-called Volhynia nusa (which has survived among offshoots ofRuzhin HasidismBoyan, Sadagora, Tshortkev, and othersand in the nusa of such communities as Vizhnits, Zhidachov, and Zhidachovs offshoots (Spinka, Kosoni, Tass) may be attributed to the preservation of old local traditions.

The most salient Hasidic innovation in synagogue music was the introduction into Sabbath and festival prayer services of nigunim sung by the entire congregation, generally without text. That the Hasidic nigun is usually independent of any text explains why the pre-Hasidic distinction between music for prayer and for the home (like zemirot at the Sabbath table) became blurredand, as well, how nigunim wandered from the Hasidic tish to the prayer service and back.

This autonomous role of Hasidic melody, along with the openness to borrowing non-Jewish melodies and the lack ofdifferentiation between religious and secular music, also accounts for the absorption of instrumental melodies (such as waltzes and marches) from the repertoires of non-Jewish musicians and klezmorim. These borrowed melodies, along with newly composed nigunim, made up arepertoire of melodies to be sung in prayer, at the rebbes tish, and at every possible opportunity: at Sabbath meals in Hasidic homes, at wedding feasts, and at various social and religious gatherings.

The first steps of collecting and transcribing Hasidic music (as a part of Jewish music) were made in Russia at the end ofthe nineteenth century by Yoel Engel. Sussmann Kisselgof was another significant collector early in the twentieth century, and very important work was done (by Engel, Kisselgof, and others) by the Jewish Ethnological Expedition under the auspices of the Jewish Historical Ethnographic Society in Saint Petersburg between 1912 and 1914. Of note also is the work of Moisei Beregovskii, who devoted a special volume to tunes without words.

Ethnographic collection with the goal of classifying Hasidic melodies, analyzing them, and trying to understand them in the context of Hasidic social life and religious thought has been a major focus of documentation and research work at the Jewish Music Research Centre in Jerusalem since its inception in 1964. Recorded material is kept at the National Sound Archives (NSA) of the Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem, which also initiated its own recordings. Additional recordings have been transferred to the NSA from other collections, mostly private.

Moisei Beregovskii, Evreiskie napevy bez slov (Moscow, 1999); Meir Shimon Geshuri, Neginah ve-asidut be-vet Kuzmir u-venoteha (Jerusalem, 1952); Meir Shimon Geshuri, Ha-Nigun veha-rikud ba-asidut, 3 vols. (Tel Aviv, 1954/551958/59); Andr Hajdu and Yaakov Mazor, Hassidic Tunes of Dancing and Rejoicing,1 CD (1978; rpt., [Washington, D.C.], [2001?]), includes notes in Hebrew and English; Andr Hajdu and Yaakov Mazor, Otsar ha-asidut: 101 nigune rikud asidiyim, 3rd ed.,rev. and enl. by Yaakov Mazor (Jerusalem, 2000), printed music with Hebrew words (romanized and unromanized); text in Hebrew and English; English title: Hassidic Treasury: 101 Hassidic Dance Tunes; Abraham Zebi Idelsohn, Jewish Music in Its Historical Development (New York, 1929); Abraham Zebi Idelsohn, comp., Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies, vol. 10, Songs of the Chassidim (Leipzig, 1932); Yaakov Mazor, Merkaziyuto shel ha-admor be-hitadshut ha-ayim ha-musikaliyim be-atsar Viznits bi-Bene-Berak, 19491972, Dukhan 12 (1989): 130158; Yaakov Mazor, Koo shel ha-nigun ba-hagut ha-asidit ve-tafkidav ba-havai ha-dati veha-evrati, Yuval 7 (2002): 2353; Yaakov Mazor, Ha-Nigun ha-asidi be-fi ha-asidim, 2 CDs (Jerusalem, 2004), includes booklet in English and Yiddish and English title: The Hasidic Niggun as Sung by the Hasidim; Yaakov Mazor and Edwin Seroussi, Towards a Hasidic Lexicon of Music, Orbis musicae 10 (19901991): 118143; Yaakov Mazor and Moshe Taube, A Hassidic Ritual Dance: The Mitsve Tants inJerusalemite Weddings, in Yuval, vol. 6, Jewish Oral Traditions: An Interdisciplinary Approach, ed. Israel Adler, pp.164224 (Jerusalem, 1994); Chemjo Vinaver, comp., Anthology of Hassidic Music, ed. Eliyahu Schleifer (Jerusalem, 1985), unacc. melodies and choruses, romanized words in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Yiddish, words also printed as text with English trans., intro. and notes in English and Hebrew; Shemuel Zalmanov, ed., Sefer ha-nigunim, 2 vols., 3rd ed. (Kefar Chabad, Isr., 1985).

YIVO | Hasidism: Music

Names of the Holocaust – Wikipedia

Names of the Holocaust vary based on context. “The Holocaust” is the name commonly applied since the mid-1940s to the systematic extermination of six million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. The term is also used more broadly to include the Nazis’ systematic murder of millions of people in other groups, including ethnic Poles, the Romani, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, gay men, and political and religious opponents,[1] which would bring the total number of Holocaust victims to between 11 million and 17 million people.[2] In Judaism, Shoah (), meaning “calamity” in Hebrew, became the standard term for the 20th century Holocaust[2] (see Yom HaShoah). This is because ‘Holocaust’ connotes a sacrifice, and Jewish leaders argue there was no sacrifice.

The word “holocaust” originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning “a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering,” or “a burnt sacrifice offered to a god.” In Greek and Roman pagan rites, gods of the earth and underworld received dark animals, which were offered by night and burnt in full. The word “holocaust” was later adopted in Greek translations of the Torah to refer to the olah,[3] standard communal and individual sacrificial burnt offerings that Jews were required[4] to make in the times of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple in Jerusalem). In its Latin form, holocaustum, the term was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jews by the chroniclers Roger of Howden[5] and Richard of Devizes in England in the 1190s.[6]

The earliest use of the word holocaust to denote a massacre recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1833 when the journalist Leitch Ritchie, describing the wars of the medieval French monarch Louis VII, wrote that he “once made a holocaust of thirteen hundred persons in a church”, a massacre by fire of the inhabitants of Vitry-le-Franois in 1142. As this occurred in a church, it could be seen as a religious offering. The English poet John Milton had used the word to denote a conflagration in his 1671 poem Samson Agonistes, in which the massacre was clearly divinely dedicated.[7] The word gradually developed to mean a massacre thereon, taking on a secular connotation.[8][9]

In the early twentieth century, Winston Churchill and other contemporaneous writers used it before World War II to describe the Armenian Genocide of World War I.[10] The Armenian Genocide is referenced in the title of a 1922 poem “The Holocaust” (published as a booklet) and the 1923 book “The Smyrna Holocaust” deals with arson and massacre of Armenians.[11] Before the Second World War, the possibility of another war was referred to as “another holocaust” (that is, a repeat of the First World War). With reference to the events of the war, writers in English from 1945 used the term in relation to events such as the fire-bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima, or the effects of a nuclear war, although from the 1950s onwards, it was increasingly used in English to refer to the Nazi genocide of the European Jews (or Judeocide).

By the late 1950s, documents translated from Hebrew sometimes used the word “Holocaust” to translate “Shoah”, as the Judeocide. This use can be found as early as May 23, 1943, in The New York Times, on page E6, in an article by Julian Meltzer, referring to feelings in Palestine about Jewish immigration of refugees from “the Nazi holocaust.”

One significant early use was in a 1958 recollection by Leslie Hardman, the first Jewish British Army Chaplain to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, where he ministered to survivors and supervised the burial of about 20,000 victims,

“Towards me came what seemed to be the remnants of a holocaust a staggering mass of blackened skin and bones, held together somehow with filthy rags. ‘My God, the dead walk’, I cried aloud, but I did not recognise my voice… [peering] at the double star, the emblem of Jewry on my tunic – one poor creature touched and then stroked the badge of my faith, and finding that it was real murmured, ‘Rabbiner, Rabbiner’.”[12]

By the late 1960s, the term was starting to be used in this sense without qualification. Nora Levin’s 1968 book The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945 explains the meaning in its subtitle, but uses the unmoderated phrase “The Holocaust”. An article called “Moral Trauma and the Holocaust” was published in the New York Times on February 12, 1968.[13] However, it was not until the late 1970s that the Nazi genocide became the generally accepted conventional meaning of the word, when used unqualified and with a capital letter, a usage that also spread to other languages for the same period.[14] The 1978 television miniseries titled “Holocaust” and starring Meryl Streep is often cited as the principal contributor to establishing the current usage in the wider culture.[15] “Holocaust” was selected as the Association for the German Language’s Word of the Year in 1979, reflecting increased public consciousness of the term.

The Hebrew word Shoah is preferred by some people due to the supposed theologically and historically unacceptable nature of the word “holocaust”.[16] The American historian Walter Laqueur (whose parents died in the Shoah) has argued that the term Holocaust is a “singularly inappropriate” term for the genocide of the Jews as it implies a “burnt offering” to God.[17] Laqueur wrote, “It was not the intention of the Nazis to make a sacrifice of this kind and the position of the Jews was not that of a ritual victim”.[17] The British historian Geoff Eley wrote in a 1982 essay entitled “Holocaust History” that he thought the term Holocaust implies “a certain mystification, an insistence on the uniquely Jewish character of the experience”.[17]

The term became increasingly widespread as a synonym for “genocide” in the last decades of the 20th century to refer to mass murders in the form “X holocaust” (e.g. “Rwandan holocaust”). Examples are Rwanda, the Ukraine under Stalin, and the actions of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

In order to suggest comparison with Nazi murders other historical events have also been labeled “Holocausts”, for example the oppression of lower caste groups in India (“Sudra Holocaust”) or the slave trade (“African Holocaust”). Such usages are often heavily disputed.[who?] Even more contested is the use of the word in the older sense of “immolation” to refer to Allied World War II bombings, since this is sometimes adopted to imply equivalence between the Allied and the Nazi war record.[18]

While the terms Shoah and Final Solution always refer to the fate of the Jews during the Nazi rule, the term Holocaust is sometimes used in a wider sense to describe other genocides of the Nazi and other regimes.

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines “Holocaust” as “name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany”.[19] The Compact Oxford English Dictionary[20] and Microsoft Encarta[21] give similar definitions. The Encyclopdia Britannica defines “Holocaust” as “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women and children, and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II”,[22] although the article goes on to say, “The Nazis also singled out the Roma (Gypsies). They were the only other group that the Nazis systematically killed in gas chambers alongside the Jews.”[22]

Scholars are divided on whether the term Holocaust should be applied to all victims of Nazi mass murder, with some using it synonymously with Shoah or “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”, and others including the killing of Romani peoples, Poles, the deaths of Soviet prisoners of war, Slavs, homosexual men, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, and political opponents.[23]

CzechoslovakIsraeli historian Yehuda Bauer contends that the Holocaust should include only Jews because it was the intent of the Nazis to exterminate all Jews, while the other groups were not to be totally annihilated.[24] Inclusion of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis in the Holocaust is objected to by many persons including Jewish Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and by organizations such as Yad Vashem, an Israeli state institution in Jerusalem established in 1953 to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.[25] They say that the word was originally meant to describe the extermination of the Jews, and that the Jewish Holocaust was a crime on such a scale, and of such totality and specificity, as the culmination of the long history of European antisemitism, that it should not be subsumed into a general category with the other crimes of the Nazis.[25]

British historian Michael Burleigh and German historian Wolfgang Wippermann maintain that although all Jews were victims, the Holocaust transcended the confines of the Jewish community other people shared the tragic fate of victimhood.[26] Hungarian former Minister for Roma Affairs Lszl Teleki applies the term Holocaust to both the murder of Jews and Romani peoples by the Nazis.[27] In The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust, American historians Donald Niewyk and Francis Nicosia use the term to include Jews, Gypsies and the disabled.[28] American historian Dennis Reinhartz has claimed that Gypsies were the main victims of genocide in Croatia and Serbia during the Second World War, and has called this “the Balkan Holocaust 1941-1945″.[29]

The “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (German: Endlsung der Judenfrage) was the Nazis’ own term, coined by Adolf Eichmann as a euphemism[citation needed]. Before the word “Holocaust” became normative this phrase was also used by writers in English. For example, in William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, the genocide is described as “The Final Solution” (in quotation marks; the word “Holocaust” is not mentioned).[30] In both English and German, “Final Solution” has been widely used as an alternative to “Holocaust”.[31] Whereas the term “Holocaust” is now often used to include all casualties of the Nazi death camps and murder squads, the “Final Solution” refers exclusively to the genocide of Jews. For a time after World War II, German historians also used the term Vlkermord (“genocide”), or in full, der Vlkermord an den Juden (“the genocide of the Jewish people”), while the prevalent term in Germany today is either Holocaust or increasingly Shoah.

The biblical word Shoah (), also spelled Shoa and Sho’ah, meaning “calamity” in Hebrew (and also used to refer to “destruction” since the Middle Ages), became the standard Hebrew term for the 20th century Holocaust as early as the early 1940s.[3] In recent literature it is specifically prefixed with Ha (“The” in Hebrew) when referring to Nazi mass-murders, for the same reason that “holocaust” becomes “The Holocaust”. It may be spelled Ha-Shoah or HaShoah, as in Yom HaShoah, the annual Jewish “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”.

Shoah had earlier been used in the context of the Nazis as a translation of “catastrophe”. For example, in 1934, when Chaim Weizmann told the Zionist Action Committee that Hitler’s rise to power was an “unvorhergesehene Katastrophe, etwa ein neuer Weltkrieg” (“an unforeseen catastrophe, comparable to another world war”), the Hebrew press translated Katastrophe as Shoah.[32] In the spring of 1942, the Jerusalem historian BenZion Dinur (Dinaburg) used Shoah in a book published by the United Aid Committee for the Jews in Poland to describe the extermination of Europe’s Jews, calling it a “catastrophe” that symbolized the unique situation of the Jewish people.[33][34] The word Shoah was chosen in Israel to describe the Holocaust, the term institutionalized by the Knesset on April 12, 1951, when it established Yom Ha-Shoah Ve Mered Ha-Getaot, the national day of remembrance. In the 1950s, Yad Vashem, the Israel “Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority” was routinely translating this into English as “the Disaster”. At that time, holocaust was often used to mean the conflagration of much of humanity in a nuclear war.[35] Since then, Yad Vashem has changed its practice; the word “Holocaust”, usually now capitalized, has come to refer principally to the genocide of the European Jews.[32][36] The Israeli historian Saul Friedlnder wrote in 1987 of “the growing centrality of the Shoah for Jewish communities in the Diaspora” and that “The Shoah is almost becoming a symbol of identification, for better or for worse, whether because of the weakening of the bond of religion or because of the lesser salience of Zionism and Israel as an identification element”.[17] The British historian Richard J. Evans wrote in 1989 that the term Holocaust was unsuitable, and should not be used.[17]

Churban Europa, a term for the Holocaust (from the Greek hlos, “whole” and kausts, “burnt”), meaning “European Destruction” in Hebrew. The term uses the Yiddish word Churbn for Korban (Hebrew: qorbn, “sacrificial burnt-offering”), which is also used for the destruction of the Second Temple by fire. The Yiddish term is khurbn eyrope ( ). Max Kaufmann’s early (1947) history of the genocide in Latvia was called Churbn Lettland, that is, The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia.[37] Published later, Raul Hilberg’s most important work was The Destruction of the European Jews.[38]

The Porajmos (also Porrajmos) literally “Devouring”, or Samudaripen (“Mass killing”) is a term adopted by the Romani historian Ian Hancock to describe attempts by the Nazis to exterminate most of the Romani peoples of Europe. The phenomenon has been little studied.

See the rest here:
Names of the Holocaust – Wikipedia

Racial antisemitism – Wikipedia

Racial antisemitism is antisemitism — generally considered as prejudice against Jews,[1] however, the adjective “semitic” refers to all people who speak a semitic language or are of a semitic heritage. The largest semitic group today is in fact Arabs. Nonetheless, the term anti-semitism has, historically in Europe and the US and through present day globally been used to indicate racism against Jewish people. The first definition of anti-semitism is based on the premise that Jews constitute a distinctive race or ethnic group, whose traits or characteristics are in some way abhorrent or inherently inferior or otherwise different to that of the rest of society. The abhorrence may be expressed in the form of stereotypes or caricatures. Racial antisemitism may present Jews, as a group, as being a threat in some way to the values or safety of society. Racial antisemitism could be seen as worse than religious antisemitism because for religious antisemites conversion was an option and once converted the ‘Jew’ was gone. With racial antisemitism a Jew could not get rid of their Jewishness.[2]

According to William Nichols, religious antisemitism may be distinguished from modern antisemitism based on racial or ethnic grounds. “The dividing line was the possibility of effective conversion . . . a Jew ceased to be a Jew upon baptism.” However, with racial antisemitism, “Now the assimilated Jew was still a Jew, even after baptism … . From the Enlightenment onward, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines of distinction between religious and racial forms of hostility towards Jews… Once Jews have been emancipated and secular thinking makes its appearance, without leaving behind the old Christian hostility towards Jews, the new term antisemitism becomes almost unavoidable, even before explicitly racist doctrines appear.”[3]

In the context of the Industrial Revolution, following the emancipation of the Jews and the Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment), Jews rapidly urbanized and experienced a period of greater social mobility. With the decreasing role of religion in public life tempering religious antisemitism, a combination of growing nationalism, the rise of eugenics, and resentment at the socio-economic success of the Jews, and the influx of ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, soon led to the newer, and often more virulent, racist antisemitism.[4][citation needed]

Scientific racism, the ideology that biology played a role in group behavior and characteristics, was highly respected and accepted as fact between the years of 1870 and 1940. It was not only antisemites that believed in race science but highly educated Jews, among others, as well. This acceptance of race science made it possible for antisemites to clothe their hatred of Jews in scientific theory.[5]

The logic of racial antisemitism was extended in Nazi Germany, where racial antisemitic ideas were turned into law, which looked at the “blood” or ethnicity of a person, and not their current religious affiliations, and their fate would be determined purely on that basis. When added to its views on the Jewish racial traits which the Nazi pseudoscience devised, led to the Holocaust as a way of eradicating conjured up “Jewish traits” from the world.

A first appearance of racial antisemitism can be found in the Middle Ages alongside religious antisemitism. Though the limpieza de sangre (“purity of blood”) laws of medieval Spain and New Spain affected all non-Christians in society, it had particular impact on Jewish converts to Catholicism who continued to bear some of the disabilities to which they had previously been subject, and even grandchildren of a convert (who may even not know of the heritage) could be stigmatized for their “inferior” blood. The laws tainted Jewish converts to Catholicism, who were denied equal rights and status as Christians, This inferior status continued to apply to the convert’s descendants, whose sincerity to their new faith was always in question before the Inquisition, and always had to be able to prove their blood line.

Racial antisemitism has existed alongside religious antisemitism since the Middle Ages, if not earlier. In Spain even before the Edict of Expulsion of 1492, Spanish Jews who converted to Catholicism (conversos in Spanish), and their descendants, were called New Christians. They were frequently accused of lapsing to their former religious practices (“Crypto-Jews”). To isolate conversos, the Spanish nobility developed an ideology of “cleanliness of blood”. The conversos were called “New Christians” to indicate their inferior status in society. That ideology was a form of racism, as in the past there were no grades of Christianity and a convert had equal standing. Cleanliness of blood was an issue of ancestry, not of personal religion. The first statute of purity of blood appeared in Toledo in 1449,[6] where an anti-converso riot lead to conversos being banned from most official positions. Initially these statutes were condemned by the monarchy and the Church. However, the New Christians came to be hounded and persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition after 1478, the Portuguese Inquisition after 1536, the Peruvian Inquisition after 1570 and the Mexican Inquisition after 1571, as well as the Inquisition in Colombia after 1610.

In Portugal, the legal distinction between “New” and “Old” Christians continued until the issue of a legal decree by the Marquis of Pombal in 1772.

Racial antisemitism was preceded, especially in Germany, by antisemitism arising from Romantic nationalism. As racial theories developed, especially from the mid nineteenth-century onwards, these nationalist ideas were subsumed within them. But their origins were quite distinct from racialism. On the one hand they derived from an exclusivist interpretation of the ‘Volk’ ideas of Johann Gottfried Herder. This led to antisemitic writing and journalism in the second quarter of the 19th century of which Richard Wagner’s Das Judentum in der Musik (Jewry in Music) is perhaps the most notorious example. On the other hand, radical socialists such as Karl Marx (himself of Jewish descent) identified Jews as being both victims and enforced perpetrators of the Capitalist system e.g. in his article On the Jewish Question. From sources such as these, and encouraged by the broad acceptance of racial theories as the century continued, antisemitism entered the vocabularies and policies of both the right and the left in political thought.

Germany experienced strong industrial growth following its unification in 1871. Romantic nostalgia coalesced with the rising industrial middle class to form the Vlkisch movement. Proponents became concerned with race: pre-Christian German pagan traditions and customs. Terms such as “teutonic” and “aryan” entered the vocabulary. Industrialist Theodor Fritsch financed publication of texts such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and reprints of Henry Ford’s “The International Jew.” The Germanenorden of 1912 was one such party to emerge from this movement.

In Medieval Europe, all Asian peoples were thought of as descendants of Shem. By the 19th century, the term Semitic was confined to the ethnic groups who have historically spoken Semitic languages or had origins in the Fertile Crescent, as the Jews in Europe did. These peoples were often considered to be a distinct race. However, some antisemitic racial theorists of the time argued that the Semitic peoples arose from the blurring of distinctions between previously separate races. This supposed process was referred to as semiticization by the race-theorist Arthur de Gobineau.

Gobineau himself did not consider the Semites (decedents of Shem) to be of a lesser race. He broke people up into three races: white, black, and yellow. The Semites, like the Aryans (and Hamites) came from Asia and were white. Over time each of the groups had mixed with black blood. The Aryans had stayed pure longer and it was not until more recent times that they had mixed. It was this mixing of races that would lead to man’s downfall.[7] This idea of racial “confusion” was taken up by the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.[8][citation needed]It was used by the Nazi’s to perpetuate the idea that the Jews were going to destroy Germany.[7][citation needed] The term semiticization was first used by Gobineau to label the blurring of racial distinctions that, in his view, had occurred in the Middle East. Gobineau had an essentialist model of race based on the three distinct racial groups,though he had no clear account of how this division arose. When these races mixed this caused “degeneration”. Since the point at which these three supposed races met was in the Middle East, Gobineau argued that the process of mixing and diluting races occurred there, and that Semitic peoples embodied this “confused” racial identity.

This concept suited the interests of antisemites, since it provided a theoretical model to rationalise racialised antisemitism. Variations of the theory are to be found in the writings of many antisemites in the late 19th century. The Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg developed a variant of the theory in his writings, arguing that Jewish people were not a “real” race. According to Rosenberg, their evolution came about from the mixing of pre-existing races rather than from natural selection. The theory of semiticization was typically associated with other longstanding racist fears about the dilution of racial difference through miscegenation, manifested in negative images of mulattos and other mixed groups.

Modern European antisemitism has its origins in 19th century theoriesnow mostly considered as pseudo-scientific, but then accepted as crediblethat said that the Semitic peoples, including the Jews, are entirely different from the Aryan, or Indo-European, populations, and that they would not be able to assimilate. In this view, Jews are not opposed on account of their religion, but on account of their supposed hereditary or genetic racial characteristics: greed, a special aptitude for money-making, aversion to hard work, clannishness and obtrusiveness, lack of social tact, low cunning, and especially lack of patriotism. Later, Nazi propaganda also dwelt on supposed physical differences, such as the shape of the “Jewish nose”.[9][10][11][12]

While enlightened European intellectual society of that period viewed prejudice against people on account of their religion to be declass and a sign of ignorance, because of this supposed ‘scientific’ connection to genetics they felt fully justified in prejudice based on nationality or ‘race’. In order to differentiate between the two practices, the term antisemitism was developed to refer to this ‘acceptable’ bias against Jews as a nationality, as distinct from the ‘undesirable’ prejudice against Judaism as a religion. Concurrently with this usage, some authors[who?] in Germany began to use the term ‘Palestinians’ when referring to Jews as a people, rather than as a religious group. Similar custom is still displayed in the use in academic circles of the term “Hebrew” in preference to the term “Jewish”.

Actually, it is questionable whether Jews looked significantly different from the general population in which they lived. This was especially true in places like Germany, France and Austria where the Jewish population tended to be more secular (or at least less Orthodox) than that of Eastern Europe, and did not wear clothing (such as a yarmulke) that would particularly distinguish their appearance from the non-Jewish population. Many anthropologists of the time such as Franz Boas tried to use complex physical measurements like the cephalic index and visual surveys of hair/eye color and skin tone of Jewish vs. non-Jewish European populations to prove that the notion of separate “Jewish” and “Aryan” races was a myth. The 19th and early 20th century view of race should be distinguished from the efforts of modern population genetics to trace the ancestry of various Jewish groups, see Y-chromosomal Aaron.

The advent of racial antisemitism was also linked to the growing sense of nationalism in many countries. The nationalist context viewed Jews as a separate and often “alien” nation within the countries in which Jews resided, a prejudice exploited by the elites of many governments.[citation needed]

In Nazi Germany, the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 prohibited sexual relations and marriage between any Aryan and Jew (such relations under Nazi ideology was a crime punishable under the race laws as Rassenschande or “racial pollution”), and made it that all Jews, even quarter- and half-Jews, were no longer citizens of their own country (their official title became “subject of the state”). This meant that they had no basic citizens’ rights, e.g., to vote. In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them having any influence in education, politics, higher education and industry. On 15 November 1938, Jewish children were banned from going to normal schools. By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been persuaded to sell out to the Nazi government. This further reduced their rights as human beings; they were in many ways officially separated from the German populace. Similar laws existed in Bulgaria- The Law for protection of the nation, Hungary, Romania, and Austria.

Racial antisemitism – Wikipedia