Online Talmud the next great technological innovation –

When the history of Jewish texts comes to be written, Feb. 7, 2017, will likely be regarded as an important turning point.

Why? Heres what happened.

For the first time, the extraordinary Steinsaltz English translation and its interpretation of the Talmud was made available to all. Online. Free. In print, it costs hundreds to buy the Steinsaltz volumes. The Steinsaltz English translation is an up-to-date (some volumes are still to be released) and easily understood aid to Talmud study for English speakers.

But wait, theres more: Multiple commentaries are now just a click or a touch away and the ability to see where biblical texts appear in the Talmud has been added, and so much more. Effectively, the linked, interconnected nature of Jewish texts has now been brought to life online with a dynamism and an immediacy that will change the frame of Jewish learning. The implications for Jewish life going forward will likely be substantial.

To understand the significance of the moment, a little history is in order. Human communications technology began with the invention of pictorial writing, 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. It was the genesis of civilization.

Later, the creation of alphabets around 4,000 years ago gave rise to the potential for literacy, knowledge and citizenship. Hebrew was one of the earliest alphabets, and Jews were the first to insist that the education that alphabets made possible had to permeate every household in society. Over time, the written word became so central to Jews that even our oral transmissions were enshrined on clay or parchment. Texts became our hallmark. What other people insists that a piece of learned writing must be attached to every significant doorpost?

But writing had its limits: Scribal work was laborious and time-consuming. Scrolls were expensive treasures. Hand-written texts were hard to produce, hard to obtain, hard to replicate with precision and hard to preserve.

Only in the middle of the 15th century, with the arrival of the printing press, did texts and books and newspapers truly become available to all. It was a revolution that changed the world. Indeed, the printing press led directly to what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks describes as the collapse of strictly hierarchical societies in which only a few were literate and had access to texts.

The printing press, in short, changed the human landscape not only externally but internally, he wrote. More than any other invention it paved the way for the transition from the medieval to the modern age.

For Jews, the printing press made prayer books and commentaries widely available. It also gave rise to the arrangement of the classic Talmudic page, a unique compilation of texts spanning two millennia that has come to be the core focal point of Jewish learning.

Given this history, it is remarkable to realize that we are now living through the rise of the fourth great transformation in communication technology. The advent of the Internet represents a transition that will have even more profound implications than those initiated by the printing press.

Already in the 1990s, Jewish texts quickly migrated online and static versions of many sources were to be found on multiple websites. But that just mimicked the printed page in a virtual environment.

The game-changer came with the launch of the Sefaria website (and app) in 2013. Sefaria (from the Hebrew root sefer, book) began to collect all the significant Jewish texts in a common format in one searchable location. They started to link the texts, and they opened the site for Jewish educators to create and share instructional worksheets.

As the founders of Sefaria explained it, Judaisms core texts grew out of millennia-long conversations and arguments across generations. More than a collection of books on a shelf, the Jewish canon is a giant corpus of interconnected texts that speak to each other. Sefaria is making it easier than ever to explore the conversations of the past, while also creating a space for ancient conversations to continue in new ways, with new participants, new questions and new layers of dialogue.

This month, Sefaria became richer and deeper and more significant than ever before. It took Jewish texts to the next level the moment when they began to utilize fully the features of the online environment. Our texts have always operated in a cross-referenced fashion. Now, the hyperlinked technology allows that reality to become apparent and useful in an unprecedented way. Now, textual sharing, collaboration, mobility and availability are becoming universal.

Our scribes and scrolls will always be precious to us. But making the Talmud and the great Jewish sources accessible and translated everywhere at all time, with a facility for instantly searching across sources, is an invaluable leap. There can be little doubt that this is an important turning point indeed.

All Jews should have the Sefaria app on their phone or tablet. Even if consulted infrequently, it should be part of a learned Jewish identity to have all the core Jewish sources at ones fingertips. And together, we can now hold all the centuries of Jewish learning literally in our collective hands.

Rabbi Danny Schiff is the Jewish Community Foundation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

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Online Talmud the next great technological innovation –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Netanyahu lauds Trump for taking ‘strong stand against antisemitism’ – Jerusalem Post Israel News

PM Netanyahu and President Trump. (photo credit:AVI OHAYON – GPO)

SYDNEY — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday commended US President Donald Trump for taking “a strong stand against antisemitism.”

Netanyahu, who started a five day-visit to Australia on Wednesday, made the remarks to loud applause in a packed synagogue in Sydney regarding comments Trump made the day before about a resurgence of antisemitism in the US.

“The antisemitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said.

Netanyahu, during his speech that extolled the tremendous relations between Israel and Australia, received equally fervent applause when he said that the Golan will never go back to Syria, it will always remain a part of Israel.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Australia rolled out a warm, red-carpet, 21-gun-salute welcome Netanyahu, the first ever sitting prime minister to visit this country whose friendship toward Israel and the Zionist cause dates back a century.

Using words like miracle and envy of the world to describe Israel, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull greeted Netanyahu and his wife Sara on the lush lawns of Admiralty House in Sydney, the residence of Australia’s Governor-General.

With the beautiful backdrop of the harbor and the iconic Sydney Opera House in sight, an honor guard greeted Netanyahu and Turnbull and played the Israeli anthem Hatikva twice.

The warmth of Turnbull’s reception was not relegated to the ceremonious welcome, as the Australian prime minister also penned an op-ed in Wednesdays edition of The Australian under the headline, Israeli PM visit cements a warm, old friendship.

An excerpt from the strongly pro-Israel piece appeared as well on the papers front page, titled Turnbull blasts UN over vote on Israel.

My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticizing Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish state, he wrote.

Turnbull echoed these sentiments during the two public appearances he had with Netanyahu in the first eight hours of his arrival — at a press conference following an initial 90-minute meeting, and at a large event with some 400 Israeli and Australian business people.

At the press conference Turnbull reiterated Australia’s long-standing support for a two-state solution, but said that it must come as a result of direct negotiations. At the same time, the prime minister said Israel cannot be expected to put its security at risk, and that the first duty of any prime minister — both himself and Netanyahu included — is the security of his people.

Speaking about a possible resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Netanyahu said that Israel wants the Palestinians to have all the power to govern themselves, but not the military of physical power to threaten it. The question of a Palestinian state, he said, repeating his statement from last week’s visit to Washington, was not over labels, but rather over substance.

The premier added that a Palestinian state must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and that Israel must retain final security control over the territory west of the Jordan River.

Both Netanyahu and Turnbull were each asked what could have been perceived as embarrassing questions: Netanyahu was asked about his relationship with Australian billionaire Packer whose name has been tied to one of the affairs for which he is under investigation, and Turnbull was asked about the now famously difficult first telephone conversation he had with Trump.

Netanyahu said that he was not at all concerned about the investigation into his relationship with Packer, and he repeated in English the Hebrew mantra he has been using since the affairs first broke: I think nothing will come of it because there is nothing there, except friendship, which is a good thing.

Regarding the phone call with Trump, Turnbull chuckled when asked whether Netanyahu might help repair the relationship between the US and Australia after that call.

You really shouldnt believe everything you read in the newspapers, he said of the infamous call, about which it was reported that Trump allegedly hung up on Turnbull.

That is absolutely not true, he said, adding that the call was courteous, frank and forthright, and ended with Turnbull thanking Trump for his commitment to the arrangements [regarding taking in refugees} that had been entered into by his predecessor.”

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Erdan under fire as reports say incident in Umm al-Hiran was not a terror attack

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Netanyahu lauds Trump for taking ‘strong stand against antisemitism’ – Jerusalem Post Israel News

ISIS releases ‘proof’ it fired rockets on Israel – Jerusalem Post Israel News

AN ISIS member rides on a rocket launcher in Raqqa in Syria two months ago. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Islamic State group on Wednesday morning released images of Katyusha rockets purporting to provide evidence to its claim that it was indeed responsible for the rocket fire that targeted southern Israel on Tuesday.

The images show a militant linked to the ISIS affiliate in Egypt, known as the Sinai Province, as he prepares two rockets prior to launching them from the restive Sinai Peninsula.

The rockets, which landed in an open territory in the Eshkol Regional Council on Monday morning, caused no damage or injuries.

Speaking to Army Radio he described the group as a bunch of random [amateurs] who have decided to build themselves an army, adding that if you are talking about Hamas and Hezbollah then [ISs Sinai force] is not even a terror group.

We need to see everything in proportion, he added.

Monday’s rocket attack came the day after Islamic State-linked media claimed that an unmanned Israeli drone had bombed and killed five members of ISIS in Egypt in the northern Sinai region.

According to the Islamic State linked Amaq agency, the five fell as martyrs to the Jewish enemy in a strike which targeted a car carrying the militants in the village of Shibana. The village is located south of the town Rafah in northern Sinai, near the Egypt-Israel border.

The IDF has not commented on the claim, but the Israel is reported to have carried out drone strikes with Egypts knowledge and blessing against militants in the restive peninsula.

Israel,which has a 240-kilometer border with the Sinai, has not officially retaliated against the rockets. Jerusalem and Cairo have been closely cooperating in the Sinai Peninsula in the fight against ISIS militants since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s rise to power.

Liberman seemingly confirmed the strike against the car, telling Army Radio that like always, the special forces of Lichtenstein probably took out a few terrorists from Daesh in Sinai,the Arabic name for the Islamic State.

We do not let anything go without a response, he added.

Earlier this month the group claimed responsibility for a rocket barrage fired from the Sinai towards Israel’s Red Sea resort of city of Eilat. The Iron Dome missile system intercepted three projectiles while a fourth landed in open territory. There were no casualties but at least four people were treated for anxiety.

The group said the attack was launched “in order to teach the Jews and the crusaders a proxy war will not avail them of anything, and threatened future calamitous attacks. No photos of those rockets were released.

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

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

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

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

The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil, Trump said.

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

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

I certainly hope they catch the people, he added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Muslims and Jews Band Together Against Hate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Netanyahu visits Singapore synagogue – Arutz Sheva

Binyamin Netanyahu with Lee Hsien Loong

Haim Tzach/ La’am

Speaking on Monday at a synagogue in Singapore during his first official visit to the country, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized the close relationship between the two nations and his hopes for a better world in the future.

“I feel that Singapore and Israel are kindred nations, and I find it’s a special privilege – and an honor – to be the first Israeli Prime Minister to make an official visit to Singapore,” Netanyahu said. “I think there is something special about our two nations.

“These are two small countries, two small nations, that defied the laws of political gravity, defied their small size, and achieved global predominance. This is what is happening. It happened because of leadership, vision, the talent and passion of the people.

“It’s not accidental that our two nations formed this bond between us. Because we are both inspired to do things…we’re both entrepreneurial sectors, we have innate talent and we have a great drive to succeed.

“What happened in the founding of Singapore is that Israel and Singapore bonded – we bonded for Singapore’s defense, but we’ve expanded that to include many, many areas since… I believe that great powers around the world look at Israel and Singapore today and see tremendous economic opportunities…one reason that is the case is that we have an unrivaled spirit.

“The Jewish people have passed learning from one generation to the other, a desire to learn and an inquisitive mindset, and the ability to produce new things… You’ve been here for almost two centuries, and you had that entrepreneurial quest for many many decades. I think you serve as a human bridge between Singapore and Israel.

“We are committed to a better world, a world of diversity, a world that follows the values that we as a people have held for so many years, for so many decades, in fact – for millennia.

“It is therefore, for me, a tremendous pleasure to be here. I look forward to greeting you in Jerusalem.”

After Netanyahu finished speaking, Singapore Rabbi Mordechai Abergel community recited the Prayer for Israel in both Hebrew and English, followed by the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva.”

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Netanyahu visits Singapore synagogue – Arutz Sheva

Taking protests to the frontline in the US and Israel-Palestine – +972 Magazine

As injustices continue to mount up in the U.S. and Israel-Palestine, young activists are taking the fight to politicians and powerbrokers.

By Yaser Abu Areesha

David Friedman, President Donald Trumps pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, sat through questioning in a Senate confirmation hearing this week, as part of the process any nominee has to go through before their appointment is approved. He wasnt expecting the surprise that Palestinian and Jewish political activists all U.S. citizens had prepared for him.

Friedmans responses were cut short throughout the hearing by young people who hurled accusations at him regarding his views on a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and over his support for the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. Friedman, who favors moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, discovered that the road to the Temple Mount is not decked with roses. His frozen expression and fixed gaze every time an activist interrupted him and was removed from the hearing gave him away.

These young people expressed their opinions to Trumps appointee freely and directly. They could have staged a more regime-friendly demonstration outside the hall, but chose what is becoming a more and more prominent tool for protesting in front ofdecision-makers: the in-your-face protest.

A similar protest took place in Israel on Thursday evening. In a small, quiet room stood Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police CommissionerRoni Alsheikh, present for a ceremony to mark the opening of a police station in Jaffa. The pair were joined by dozens participants, among them the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, respected members of the Jaffa community, police officers, members of the public and several social and political activists who had prepared a surprise similar to that received by Friedman.

The activists Inbal Sinai, Yigal Rambam and Khaled Jabarin cut off Erdan as he was speaking. Rambam accused Erdan of incitement and racism against Palestinians and Ethiopians. Jabarin asked him who he thought had shot Yaqub Abu Al-Qian to death in Umm el-Hiran last month, prior to a series of violent home demolitions.

Protesters demonstrate against Trumps Muslim ban, Boston, January 29, 2017. (Tess Scheflan/Activestills)

Sinai demanded that Erdan apologize for his incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel during the wave of arson that wasnt and for the ISIS ramming attack in Umm el-Hiran. The three protesters were hauled out of the room, detained and released under restricted conditions, including being banned from protesting for the next month.

These direct protests against decision-makers prove that they reverberate and raise awareness, even if they dont involve huge numbers of people. They were targeted demonstrations which made noise and delivered a clear, distinct message.

The age of post-truth and alternative facts is also a new era for protest movements and activists around the world. Governments will stop at nothing to disseminate their lies and to stupefy the people theyre supposed to serve. Societal divisions have made it harder to fight a predatory regime, as have disagreements over sources of information and rifts in how reality is perceived splits that governments can control and cultivate.

Nonetheless, individual protests and direct actions are turning the tables. The element of surprise, the disruptions, and the messages delivered point-blank, are undermining powerbrokers sense of stability and security.

This is a new age for protest, in which someone can stand directly opposite a government official and tell that person exactly what they, and many others, think. In these troubled times, people are coming to understand that being a decision-maker is not just a title. On the contrary, its flesh and blood with a name and address. A decision-maker is responsible for every step they take, and if they betray their primary role impartial service to the public they are liable to be faced with an especially fierce protest.

Yaser Abu Areesha is a student at Tel Aviv University. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here. Translated by Natasha Roth.

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week’s events. Sign up here.

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SEE THIS: Official Rockland County GOP Facebook Page Slams …

The following was published on Sunday evening on the official Facebook page of the Rockland County Republican Party. It was not edited in anyway by YWN, and appears in full:

Im all in favor of others right to speak their mind and peacefully demonstrate their views. Conversely, I understand that my right to swing my arms in protest ends when my fist hits someone elses nose and my right to free speech ends when I falsely yell fire in a crowded theater. What I cant stomach is hypocrisy!

The Rockland County Democratic Committee has been posting all weekend in support of the marches in all of the liberal cities of our country. Yet, right here in Rockland County, right in their own backyard, is the most egregious example of womens oppression in our entire country. The ultra orthodox Hasidic communitys abusive treatment of women is epic. In that community, women must separate themselves from men, must dress as they are told, are forced into arranged marriages, can not divorce without the approval of their husbands and community leaders, they are not properly educated, cant attend college, and can not use birth control, yet, the Rockland County Democratic Committee says nothing: absolute silence. Why? Because the people in that community vote in a block and the leaders of the Rockland Democratic Party want their votes. Please!!!!! Total hypocrisy!!!!

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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Palestine Opens Embassy at the Vatican | – National Catholic Register

Vatican | Feb. 16, 2017

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Pope Francis his people are very grateful for the Churchs efforts to assist peace in the Holy Land.

JERUSALEM In mid-January, the Palestinians fulfilled a dream: opening an embassy at the Holy See.

The Vatican has informally recognized Palestine as a state since November 2012, following a United Nations vote that recognized it as a non-member observer state. Furthermore, Pope Francis referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the president of Palestine during the Holy Fathers 2014 Holy Land pilgrimage.

But it was not until June 2015 that the Vatican signed a treaty, known as the Global Agreement, that acknowledged the State of Palestine as an official entity.

Diplomacy is one thing, but for Palestinians living in the Holy Land, statehood isnt even close to being a reality. Israel, which captured Gaza and the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Day War, continues to control the borders of these territories, even though Israel uprooted its settlers and army from Gaza a decade ago. The wall it built around the West Bank severely limits Palestinians mobility, while Israels partial blockade of Gaza (Egypt maintains an even tighter blockade) strictly limits who and what can enter or leave the territory.

Given this reality, Palestinian officials say the Holy Sees recognition of Palestinian statehood is more vital than ever. After a meeting with Pope Francis prior to the embassys mid-January inauguration, Abbas said Palestinians are very grateful about the role that the Holy See has played for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, and for having opened an embassy of Palestine in the Vatican for the first time. We are proud to be the birthplace of Christianity and about having one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

Issa Kassissieh, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See, called the move a significant achievement for the Palestinian people. He said Pope Francis took a moral, legal and political stand through recognizing the state of Palestine along the pre-1967 borders.

Natural Consequence

In response to questions posed by the Register, the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem and Palestine the Holy Sees diplomatic representative here called the opening of the Palestinian embassy a natural consequence of the Global Agreement signed in 2015 and of the spirit that motivated the negotiations and the contents of that agreement, which deal with matters of mutual interest.

That agreement has benefited both the Church and the Palestinian people, the apostolic delegation said in a statement.

It is an effective juridical instrument that assures legal recognition and guarantees to the Catholic Church, its institutions and its communities in Palestine. The opening of the embassy further enhances this juridical guarantee by the state and establishes for Palestine a formal and direct channel of communication with the Holy See through which mutual cooperation can be activated and developed, the apostolic delegation said.

The Holy See views recognizing the state of Palestine as an effective way to support and promote the two-state solution, seen by many as the only realistic way for the composition of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the apostolic delegation said.

During the 2012 United Nations vote affording Palestinian non-member observer state status, 138 states voted in favor of that resolution, and a very large number of them have since opened a diplomatic mission in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the West Bank, the apostolic delegation noted.

Bernard Sabella, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, emphasized that the Holy See has always been open to dialogue with leaders of various religions and that communicating with Muslim leaders in predominantly Muslim countries with Christian minorities benefits everyone.

Sabella, who is Catholic, said that beyond the practical issues the Palestinian embassy will tackle, it is a symbol, an acknowledgement of the need for a Palestinian state and that Palestinians should have a place among the nations of the world. How much weight does it carry in practice? I wouldnt downplay it.

Invitation to Dialogue

The Palestinian legislator said the diplomatic relations are also an invitation to other Muslim countries to enter into dialogue with the Catholic Church.

The Vaticans style is always to meet on practical matters through religious dialogue, even though on religious theological matters we do not agree, he said.

Sabella said diplomatic ties between the Holy See and Palestine help safeguard the Churchs rights in the West Bank, where less than 2% of the population is Christian.

The 2015 agreement accords the Catholic Church many rights, and by extension accords rights to Christian institutions, such as churches and convents and church-owned land, Sabella said. It recognizes the Palestinian Authority as the authority in control of this territory.

Hamas, which governs Gaza with an iron fist, has no diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

Michael Sansur, executive vice president of Bethlehem University in the West Bank, said the new embassy is important for us as Palestinians because in Palestine we are physically isolated by barriers and walls. The peace process is not progressing. Were still under occupation, still besieged. We have no state, no entity except for the Palestinian Authority. We feel were not progressing. We have very few supporters on the international governmental level. Palestine is the birthplace of Christianity. To have representation at the Vatican lifts our morale and assures us that somebody is looking out for us.

Sansur, who is Catholic, said the diplomatic ties have special meaning for Palestinian Christians because we are a tiny minority. There are very few of us left.

Sansur said that the formal relationship between the Palestinian government and the Holy See serves to regulate and safeguard the holy sites, even though the Palestinian Authority already respects these sites.

Sansur thinks the fact that the Holy See has recognized Palestine as a state, despite the belief by Israel that Palestinian statehood cannot be achieved until the Palestinians halt terror and recognize Israel as a Jewish state, has significantly raised the status of Palestinian Christians.

Said Sansur, It puts Palestinian Christians in a good light when a state as important as the Vatican recognizes Palestine. Its not to be belittled.

Michele Chabin is the Registers Middle East correspondent.

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Palestine Opens Embassy at the Vatican | – National Catholic Register

Ivanka is not alone: Everyone wants to be Jewish – Ynetnews

Believers are calling it the days of the Messiah, while others are trying to sociologically analyze the unique phenomenon of millions of people who are knocking on the doors of Judaism, seeking to join the Jewish peoplealthough not necessarily in a halachic way, making things quite complicated for the State of Israels religious courts and authorities.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (R), Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky. Fifty years ago, no one would have imagined that the US presidents daughter would convert and marry a Jewish guy (Photos: Getty Images, AP)

So when did the dramatic change begin? Fisher points to the 1980s onwards, and the figures he presents are amazing: Israel has 300,000 residents who made aliyah under the Law of Return and are not considered Jewish according to the Halacha. Only 25,000 of them converted, and another 250,000 are part of the Jewish family.

The hard core may be disappearing, but the Jewish periphery is growing (Photo: Getty Images)

The reason for this phenomenon, according to Fisher and Parfitt, is the Internet revolution and the spiritual revolution that have changed the world simultaneously. The general world has changed, Fisher stresses, but so has the Jewish world. A person can sit in Cuba and communicate with other Jews anywhere in the world.

Nevertheless, the researchers also present many negative aspects to the new following Judaism is receiving. Questions arise such as, how sincere is this affiliation? How committed are the new members to Judaism and to Israel? And most importantly, does this interest in Judaism stem from a financial interest to immigrate to a developed country?

Prof. Tudor Parfitt and Dr. Netanel Fishers book, Becoming Jewish

Dr. Netanel Fisher. I am a religious person, but if the Orthodoxy and the Rabbinate dont come to their senses, well find ourselves alone

Wont such a mass change the character of our people?

I dont have answers to all the questions and difficulties, Fisher admits. I do know that these are questions we will have to deal with in the 21st century. We cant simply ignore them. There are many question marks, and few exclamation marks. But the main point is that we are already there. We cant take it backwards.

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Ivanka is not alone: Everyone wants to be Jewish – Ynetnews

Holocaust survivor advises Washington U crowd: Engage in politics, educate yourself –

Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss provided an audience at Washington University insight on national politics in light of the history and crimes against humanity she experienced and overcame.

Noting Adolf Hitlers ability to harness power using peoples fear of communism, Schloss advised the group of a couple hundred people that to prevent future atrocities they must engage in politics, educate themselves about policies and people and never forget history.

Help people when they are in trouble and become good citizens in your own country and as well in the world. And learn from the past, because we can only learn from the mistakes that have been made by previous generations, she said during her visit Thursday night.

The words harmonized with encouragement from Chabad center co-director Rabbi Hershey Novack, who reminded audience members of their role as the bearers of an important history.

You here tonight are at the strange crossroads of a memory. Youre the last generation of people, young people, who have the privilege to meet (Holocaust) survivors. And you are the very first generation who will need to remember the Holocaust without the privilege of having survivors present, Novack said, noting the honor of learning from the strength of people who had the ability to peer beyond the abyss of pure evil and yet rebuild their lives.

Schloss, 87, detailed her life starting at her childhood in Austria and later as a refugee fleeing German forces in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Amsterdam she formed a friendship with famed diarist Anne Frank, who she described as gifted and self-assured.

The government there gradually began placing restrictions on Jewish people. Once conditions worsened, Schloss and her family were forced into hiding for two years. Later, her family and hundreds of others in Amsterdam were imprisoned and deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, she said.

The only thing to sustain you to the next day was hope, Schloss said, remembering horrific moments in the camp of separation, starvation, sickness and death.

She said luck, miracles and hope were the three parts of survival.

After the war, she and her mother returned to the Netherlands, but her father and brother, a skilled musician and artist, did not survive. Her mother later married Otto Frank, Anne Franks father. Schloss now lives in London .

Chesterfield resident Michelle Segal, originally of England, was in the audience. She said she had ever heard Schloss speak about her life, though her family and Schloss were close when she was a child.

Segal was childhood friends with Schloss children in the 1970s, she said, remembering playing outside with them and visiting each others homes. But she was largely unaware of Schloss past.

I remember asking as a child why she had numbers on her arm, Segal said, but her parents shied away from talking about what the numbers meant. It was taboo.

After decades of withholding her story, Schloss began to share her tale through speaking engagements and books that helped her to let go of the burden of her memories, she said. Among her books is Evas Story: A Survivors Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank.

Schloss believes the deaths of millions could have been prevented had Jewish people been allowed easier access to visas and the opportunity to legally emigrate to safety in Europe and the United States. Acknowledging some similarities with the plight of Syrian refugees now, she said countries should accept refugees so they can start a new life.

While Schloss has been directly critical of Donald Trump in the past, her comments were more measured Thursday concerning the U.S. president and other global movements.

Trump has been elected. In England, we have Brexit. In France the right wing government, she said. People are dissatisfied. People want change. They want change for the better. You know, the people are speaking. And things will change because we as people, we are powerful. More powerful than the government.

As long as we stick together as a people, wanting things to be better, we will get it, she added later.

Highlighting revolutions through history, Schloss said when the government goes too far, the people will revolt against it by speaking up.

People are afraid that this change is worse, but it might not be, she said. Lets have a look. Lets wait.

Shake off your afternoon slump with the offbeat or overlooked news of the day.

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Holocaust survivor advises Washington U crowd: Engage in politics, educate yourself –

Donald Trump Should Buy a Suit From This Holocaust Survivor – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “Donald Trump Should Buy a Suit From This Holocaust Survivor” to a friend

Martin Greenfield. Photo: Levi Welton.

Although it seems trivial to critique the clothing of a politician,GQ,Stephen Colbertand even atailor from Londonall recentlycommentedon President Donald Trumps fashion acumen. Thus, in the spirit of the great American legend Mark Twain, who once said clothes make the man,let me explainwhy President Trump should buy a suit from Americas greatest living tailor aHolocaust survivornamedMartin Greenfield.

America First

Althoughless than 3%of clothing sold in the US is actually made here,Greenfield Clothiers has thrived for decades in the heart of Brooklyn; it isthe last unionized mens clothing factory in all ofNew York City.

February 17, 2017 2:24 am

When I asked Martin Greenfield why he wouldnt move his manufacturing operation to China, where production would be a fraction of the cost, he responded,I would never even consider [it],because of all the American jobs weve created here.

His son, Tod, the co-owner of Greenfield Clothiers, echoed that sentiment.We operate on an ethical level, thinking about whats good for our customers, employees and the local neighborhood.

This emphasis on home-made, top-notch quality must work, as their client list boasts many celebrities and politicians from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson, Al Pacino to Johnny Depp, Shaquille ONeal to Jimmy Fallon, and past presidents such asBill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and Barack Obama. As Martin likes to say, I dress both sides of the aisle.

And theGreenfields give back to the community in other ways. Tod shared with me how his father worked with St. Nicks Alliance in the 1980s to create Evergreen, a membership organization that champions economic development in North Brooklyn, and works with 10,000 local businesses there. Their website,, states, These businesses, which employ over 15,000 residents, depend on Evergreen for free, quick and reliable assistance with tax credits, incentives, financing, real estate and relocation assistance, energy and green issues, workforce needs, and advocacy.

When I asked Martin what motivated him to work so arduously on behalf of keeping jobs in America, he responded emphatically,Whenever I speak to young people about working in America, I tell them that here, you only need to set your mind to something [and you will succeed]. I started out as a floor-boy, working at this factory and when I bought it a few years later, my father-in-law told me I would fail due to President Carters interest rates. I told him, I will succeed. I picked six people and started from scratch, and Im where I am today for one reason only: we worked hard to be the best.

A president for all Americans

In his inaugural speech, President Trump stated,We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

Yet this past election was one of the most divisive that I can remember, with many friendships being threatened and even families torn apart. I am continuously engaging in healthy debate with my friends and family members over the policies of the new administration, but I believe thatour conversations, social media posts and attitudes mustshowrespect for one another.

This ideal is so perfectly expressed and embodied by Martin Greenfield, who was a victim of persecution and discrimination, yet never forgot what it meant to treat a fellow human being with dignity and respect.

As a teenager in Nazi Germany, the wife of the mayor of Weimar caught Martineating rotten, left-over food from arabbit cage, and reported him to theNazis, who almost beat him to death.

Vowing revenge, he returned with a machine gun after the war, and caught the womanstanding outside her home, holding her baby. Upon seeing the baby, Martin broke down crying and ran away. As hewrites in his memoir,That was the moment I became human again. All the old teachings came rushing back. I had been raised to believe that life was a precious gift from God.

When I asked Tod what he learned from his father, he remarked,I remember Dad used to call the union when he needed new employees, and he would ask if they could send veterans over. He felt such gratitude for the American soldiers who liberated him from the concentration camp and wanted to give back to them. One time, they sent an African-American veteran to his office. The company had never had an African-American work there before, and it caused a local outcry.

Tods brother, Jay, another co-owner at Greenfield Clothiers, added,Remember this was in the 1940s, around the same time Jackie Robinson was breaking the baseball color line. It was unheard of. Martinrefused to buckle under the pressure, and kept the African-American veteran gainfully employed.

If President Trump were to wear a suit crafted by a man who treats everyone with such dignity and equality, Trumpwouldsend a message that he is a president for all Americans and that he will show that same respect for others.

Trumps Jewish family

For the first time in history, Jewish grandchildren will be running around the White House, and having the Kushner familyin the White House should be a mark of pride for Jewish immigrants and their descendants across the county.

Martin Greenfield represents exactly what our people can and have achieved in America. As Martin told me,Im the proudest American youll ever meet. Theres no place like it, and when I speak to young people, I tell them that I am an immigrant [from Czechoslovakia] and I love it here.

As Jay Greenfield told me, There is no greater honor as an American suit-maker than to dress the president of the United States!

In conclusion, permit me to disclose that I am unashamedly biased, and proudly wear a Martin Greenfield suit.

Every time I feel the fabric, I picture Martins constant smile. I think of how his incredible life story has taught me to never forget the ability of the human race to sink to the darkest recesses of evil, but also to rise again and to thrive. I think of how we are all created in the image of God (Genesis1:27) and are truly one Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

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Donald Trump Should Buy a Suit From This Holocaust Survivor – Algemeiner

Bored? Need something to do? We got you – Pensacola News Journal

From staff reports , Published 4:26 a.m. CT Feb. 19, 2017 | Updated 1 hour ago

Penny & Sparrow returns to Vinyl Music Hall on Sunday.(Photo: Jamie Clayton/Special to the News Journal)

Pensacon 2017

Sunday. The fourth Pensaconwill take place at the Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St.;Pensacola Grand Hotel, 200 E. Gregory St.;Rex Theatre, 18 N. Palafox St.;Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place; and Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.World-class celebrities will be on hand all weekend long to interact with fans, sign autographs and take photos, including Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Arrested Development’), David Bradley (“Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter”), Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Goonies”), John Wesley Shipp (“The Flash”) and multiple cast members from “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “The X-Files,” among more than 100 guests.

Pensacon: Five things you don’t want to miss


University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway, Building 82. 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Fridayand Saturday.This multiple Tony Award-winning musical drama is based on the true story of Eva Peron, who leaves her small hometown as a teenager to seek fame and fortune in Buenos Aires. There she becomes a celebrated actress and, eventually, the second wife of Juan Peron, helping him become elected president of Argentina. Ultimately, she becomes a true voice for the people of Argentina before her death. The show features popular hits Dont Cry for Me, Argentina, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and You Must Love Me. Tickets: $16; $12 for senior citizens and active military; $10 for non-UWF students and UWF faculty and staff; $5 for high school students; free for UWF students with valid Nautilus cards. 857-6285,

Penny & Sparrow in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Sunday. “Let aLover Drown You,” the new album from Penny & Sparrow, is set for a March 11 release on Single Lock Records/Thirty Tigers. Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke began making music together in 2010 while roommates at the University of Texas in Austin. The duo built a reputation for creating strikingly honest, bare-boned acoustic music that resonated deeply with those who heard their songs and saw their performances.Tickets: $12 for general admission standing; $20 for general admission seated at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at or All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21.

Bruce Katz Band in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 3 p.m. Sunday.Bruce Katz is a four-time nominee for the Blues Music Award for “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year,”selected by the Blues Foundation of Memphis.Besides leading the Bruce Katz Band, Katz performs regularly with the Delbert McClinton Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, John Hammondand other artists, and was a member of the Gregg Allman Band from 2007-13. He had also been touring with legendary Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks and the Freight Train (until Trucks’ recent sudden death), as well Allman Brothersspinoff band, Les

Movie listings for Feb. 17-24, 2017

Save Ferris in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Monday. Returning to the stage and the studio after a long absence, Orange County ska-punk band Save Ferris is best known for its hit cover of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen” and their song The World is New, which was featured in the film The Big Hit. Touring behind its first new music in 14 years, the band will perform at Vinyl Music Hall with support fromBaby Baby andOperation Hennessey. Tickets: $20 at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at or All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian.

Divas Galore at Super Jazz Gumbo Fundraiser

Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 5:30 p.m. doors; 6:30 to 9 p.m. event, Monday. Show your love for jazz at Jazz Pensacolas fundraiser. The Big Band of Misfits presents Divas Galore talented female vocalists Saundra Daggs, Angie Powers Bartlett, Sharon Carroll, Joanna Hayes, Holly Shelton, Cynthia Domulot, Crystal Joy Albert and Kathy Lyon. The evening of big band music serves as a fundraiser for the free Pensacola JazzFest, scheduled for April 1-2 in historic downtown Seville Square. Tickets: $20. Admission includes a cup of seafood gumbo, and you can order from the menu and cash bar. Hold onto your admission tickets for door prize drawings. Attendees can also purchase 50/50 tickets for a cash drawing. 433-8382.

Agent Orange, Guttermouth andThe Queers in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. Enjoy a triple bill of classic punk rock as Agent Orange, Guttermouth and the Queers share the Vinyl Music Hall stage. Scars & Stripes will open the show. Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at or All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian.

Get set for ‘St. Practice Day’

Selwyn Birchwood in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 6 p.m. Tuesday.Florida’s rising young blues star Selwyn Birchwood received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critics’ Award for Best Debut Album of 2014 for his Alligator Records debut, “Don’t Call No Ambulance.” Birchwood is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy who delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma. Free. 916-5087,

‘The Arch of Titus Menorah Panel: Adding Color to the Jewish War’

University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Join Dr. Steven Fine, professor of Talmudic history at Yeshiva University in New York, on an exploration of his recent research into the relief sculptures of the Arch of Titus, in cooperation with the Institute for the Visualization of History. Standing uniquely at the matrix of Roman, Jewish and Christian literary and visual sources, the menorah panel of the Arch of Titus (circa81 CE) is a unique artifact of Roman imperial propaganda. This presentation builds upon the discovery of the original yellow ochre pigment of the Arch menorah relief by the Arch of Titus Project and the implications of this discovery for the experience of Roman art and for our understanding of the Jewish War (66-74 CE). Free. 474-2658.

WSRE Public Square Speakers Series presents Ellen Prager

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. event, Thursday.The WSRE Public Square Speakers Series will present Ellen Prager for a free evening lecture based on her book, Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime.With her ability to make science fun and understandable for people of all ages, Prager has built a national reputation as a spokesperson on earth and ocean science issues. She has appeared on “The Today Show,”"Good Morning America,” CNN, CBS, NPR, The Discovery Channel and more. She has participated in research expeditions to locations such as the Galapagos Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and throughout the Caribbean. Formerly the chief scientist at the worlds only undersea research station in the Florida Keys, she now acts as the science adviser to the Celebrity Cruise ship Xpedition in the Galapagos. Free, but registration is requested

Black History Month celebration with Clint Smith

University of West Florida Commons Auditorium, 11000 University Parkway, Building 22. 6 p.m. Thursday.The UWF Office of Equity and Diversity will welcome renowned poet Clint Smith as the keynote speaker for Black History Month. Smith is a writer, acclaimed spoken word poet, award-winning teacher and doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, have been viewed more than fourmillion times. In 2014, he earned the spotlight as the National Poetry Slam champion and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. A book signing will follow Smith’s speech. Free.

Kountry Wayne and Friends

Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place. Up and coming comedian Wayne Colley, known online as King Kountry Wayne, has a following on social media of more than 3.5 million fans who support his comedic ventures.Tickets: $40, $35 and $28 at the Saenger Theatre box office, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Additional fees may apply. 595-3880;

2017 Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Celebratethe Krewe of Lafittes 62nd year at the Illuminated Night Parade.The Grand Marshall for the parade will be Buck Lee, formerly of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. Line the parade route along Garden and Palafox streets to catch beads and throws from the lighted Krewe of Lafitte floats and their band of pirates, who will be leading the way for more than 70 parade entrants, including floats from many of the local krewes, marching bands, local celebrities and areadance

African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship Banquet

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. Friday.Pensacola State College is celebrating black history and heritage with an annual scholarship event.Nine students will receive scholarships at the African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship (AAMES) Banquet and Dr. Garrett T. Wiggins Live Your Dream Scholarship program.The public is invited to join scholarship recipients and community leaders for this evening of entertainment, inspiration, student recognition and dinner. The guest speaker is Verdell Hawkins, executive director, Gulf Power Foundation/ Community Relations Manager. Tickets: $12; must be purchased by Feb. 17. 484-1759.

Eric Lindell in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 8 p.m. Friday.Eric Lindell is accomplished on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and bass, and has performed with many of New Orleans’ top musicians since bursting on the scene in 2005, when he first appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.His live shows draw as much attention as his material, and his combination of sweet, blue-eyed soul with foot-stomping R&B, swamp pop, funk and blues has won him critical and popular acclaim across the country. Vintage Pistol will open the show.Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at or All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21.

PensacolaGrand Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 10 a.m. line-up; 2 p.m. parade, Saturday. Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc. presents the PensacolaGrand Mardi Gras Parade. In the past, more than 225 parade entries and 6,000 people have participated in the parade.

Arsonwave CD Release Party

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Saturday.Popular metalcore band and Pensacola natives Arsonwave will release their debut self-titled album, “Embrace Reality,” at Vinyl Music Hall. The first 200 people in line will receive a free copy of the CD. Limbs, Brave New World and Rise Up Lights will open the show. Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at or All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian.

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Bored? Need something to do? We got you – Pensacola News Journal

Public Schools, Bibi, and Sports: Letters to the Editor Tablet … – Tablet Magazine

In response to Talmud to Betsy DeVos: Yes, We Need Public Schools by Adam Kirsch:

I am a big fan of Adam Kirschs Talmud column, and usually enjoy readings views on this monumental and highly complex work that has kept our people preoccupied for over a 1,000 years. Even if his views are cursory, they are fresh and I think positive. This week, however, was exceptional.

The Talmuds says clearly that, as Kirsch quotes, if not for Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla, Torah would have been forgotten from the Jewish people. In short, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamlas work had nothing at all to do with public schools because he was interested in only one thing: ensuring a Torah education. Without his institution, too many children in that era would have been lost to our heritage and we would not be here to talk about the Talmud today. When Agudath Israel and other Orthodox organization take a strong stance pro vouchers, they are fully following in the footsteps of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla. They are fighting the battle to ensure that it is not difficult for any parent to make the choice to send their child for a Torah education. Just as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla knew that expecting parents to send children away from home for education would make the burden of education too great, these organizations know that school choice and vouchers will lighten the burden of a Torah education and ensure that many parents will now be freer to make such a choice.

Does Adam Kirsch honestly believe that the Talmud or Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla, with their single minded and heroic efforts to ensure Jewish continuity through Torah learning and Torah education, would approve of Jews fighting again Jewish groups trying to get whatever help they can for Torah education, in the name of helping public schools? If anything the Rabbis would bemoan that a man as intelligent and capable as Kirsch, without a complete Jewish education, can only read his peoples most sacred works in a foreign and often shallow translation, without the life, complexity and deep analysis that a nine year old yeshiva kid who delves in the sea that is the Talmud.

As an aside to the debate, I weigh in by opining that the Jewish people are suffering an onslaught of assimilation and loosing the vast majority of unaffiliated Jews and even reform Jewish youth due to their complete lack of Jewish education. As noble as the ideals of caring about society is, and as free as any Jew is to take that stand, the Talmud certainly cannot be brought as weighing in on the side of restricting tax money that Jewish day school parents pay from going to their own schools. Too many Jews take the concerns of every group around them to their hearts. This is commendable, but let us not forget that if we Jews are not their for our own brother, our own education, our own continuity, no one will be and we will disappear from history. Let us not forget that before Hillel says, If I am for myself, what am I? he states clearly, If I am not for myself, who will be?

R. Adler

In response to Whats Mine is Mine by Alana Newhouse:

Well said!

Al Averbach, San Francisco

In response toAn Open Letter to Robert Kraft by Matthew Fishbane:

Many thanks for your excellent letter to Mr. Kraft. We hope that it goes from your pen to Mr. Krafts ears and to his heart and mind! Todah rabah!

Phyllis and Archie Nahman

In response to The Arab-ization of American Politics byLee Smith:

In my opinion, the Womens March comes out of this tradition and cannot be relegated as Mr. Smith alludes, to as 60s nostalgia. Jews have often held rallies for their politically/culturally-specific causes like the rallies during the 1930s (and protest theatre once again as in Ben Hechts pageants in New York, Chicago and Boston and performative events) that were against Hitlers rise in Germany, along with the Free Soviet Jewry rallies in the 60s and 70s, and the rally that drew I believe (needs research) about 250,000 to D.C. in the 80s when Reagan brought Gorbachev to meet and Elie Wiesel made it a cause to support (as he had done earlier in his career).

Also, in a way that may not be intendedfrom the title to the content I think the article as it is written is a form of demonization. I have read articles by Mr. Smith before and though I often dont often agree with him, but I have respect for his broad knowledge that he brings to his chosen subjects. But demonizing Arabs, unintended or not, is both unseemly and even racist. In todays toxic environment around identity and politics it is a volatile mix. I have found myself more towards Mr. Smith in his most recent articles on Trump and I think he is a valuable voice providing other viewpoints than mine and providing some balance.

I respect Tablet and all you do and your inclusive approach to this intercultural world that we live in.

David Y. Chack, Chicago, IL

In response toTheo Epsteins Cubs Recognized as Champions at the White House by Jonathan Zalman

This article begins with a thinly-veild swipe at outgoing President Barack Obama. While the observances at end of Obamas tenure may be seemingly endless to the writer, that is not the case for many. As this snide comment is not particularly relevant to the otherwise interesting article, I question the authors motivation.

If it was meant humorously, Im sorry that I dont find it funny enough to merit its inclusion. Was Mr. Zalman so bored by these last few weeks and so eager to vent his anger about it that he simply could not remain civil? Is it possible that he was oblivious to his insult? I would very much like to understand.

I wanted to shared this piece on various social media outlets, as I often do with Tablet articles. Unfortunately, this rude comment did not meet my standards for what I can endorse. And I dont think my standards are all that high or anything to brag about! If someone with my admittedly low expectations found this objectionable, who else is also annoyed? Or was the intent to make the slap so oblique that few would notice?


Daniel Kasnitz, Vermont

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Public Schools, Bibi, and Sports: Letters to the Editor Tablet … – Tablet Magazine

Kevin Rudd calls for Australia to formally recognise Palestinian state – ABC Online

Posted February 17, 2017 18:51:11

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has called for a major shift in foreign policy, arguing that Australia should formally recognise the Palestinian state.

“The time has come for Australia to join countries like Sweden and the Holy See in formally recognising the Palestinian state,” he said in a statement to ABC Radio’s PM program.

“It is time for Australia to draw a line in the sand on this matter. As 137 states already have.”

Mr Rudd said he was concerned about the building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank, saying it fundamentally undermines the prospect of a two-state solution.

He is also concerned about Donald Trump’s ambiguous statement about a two-state solution this week, where the US President appeared to step away from the United States’ long-held position.

“I’m looking at two-state [solution] and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” Mr Trump said at a press conference earlier this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I can live with either one.”

Mr Rudd said he is proud to have been a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel and its right to exist behind secure boundaries.

But he said he deeply fears the possibility of a third Intifada, and that “we are drifting towards the disintegration and death of an independent Palestinian state”.

“It is now critical for Israel’s closest friends and allies to send a clarion clear message to both Tel Aviv and Washington that the abandonment of a two-state solution is unacceptable,” he said.

“Australia is one such close friend and ally. It is not acceptable, therefore, for Australia to use weasel words.”

His comments come ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s visit to Australia next week, and follow similar calls from another former prime minister Bob Hawke and former foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr.

While there are 137 countries that recognise a Palestinian state, major developed countries such as the UK, the US, France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand do not.

Currently there is a bi-partisan policy by both Labor and the Coalition to support the two-state solution.

However, the Labor Party’s official position is that if the next round of peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis fail then the party should consider whether it should recognise a Palestinian state.

Federal Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, who is the co-convenor of the Parliamentary friends of Palestine, said the statement by Mr Rudd is significant and adds to the weight of opinion within the party that Labor should recognise Palestine.

“This intervention follows on from statements by another former prime minister Bob Hawke who is himself a very strong friend of Israel throughout his career, and two former foreign ministers Bob Carr and Gareth Evans,” she said.

“All those people, I think if anyone understands the complexity of geopolitics it is these former Labor prime ministers and foreign ministers.

“A line must be drawn in the sand, I agree with Kevin, and I’m sure a large number of the Australian community do also.”

She said the comments from Mr Rudd may encourage other people in Labor Party to push for Palestine recognition.

“It means that we’re looking at a possible new paradigm in the way that we advocate on this issue, and I think it will embolden and will assist perhaps others in the Labor movement to begin making similar calls,” she said.

But Dr Colin Rubenstein, the executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, said the comments from Mr Rudd were ill-timed and unhelpful, especially ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s visit.

“I think it’s typically Kevin Rudd,” he said.

“It’s very bad timing, poor judgement, unwise and out of touch with the changing reality. I think it’s true that he’s been a supporter of Israel and supports a two-state outcome as we all do, but his argument and facts he produces for this recognition are totally illogical and counter-productive to the objective of fostering a resumption of negotiations towards a two-state outcome.”

Dr Rubenstein said the comments, and those by Mr Hawke, Mr Evans and Mr Carr, would not impact the upcoming state visit.

“These are figures from yesterday,” he said.

“I think they’re out of touch with the current Labor leadership which on these matters essentially have a bi-partisan approach with the Turnbull Government of support for the resumption of these direct bilateral negations.”

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, foreign-affairs, world-politics, rudd-kevin, israel, palestinian-territory-occupied

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Kevin Rudd calls for Australia to formally recognise Palestinian state – ABC Online

Stephen Kessler: Jewish liberals and the perennial problem of Israel – Santa Cruz Sentinel

About 35 years ago, in the fall of 1982, I wrote a column for the Santa Cruz Express expressing my shame and dismay as a Jewish American at the Israel Defense Forces brutal invasion of Lebanon. That column, and another not long after, provoked a storm of hate mail (Kessler is a self-hating Jew, etc.) and one threat of bodily injury (Well make you feel the pain youve caused us) from local Zionists who couldnt tell the difference between political and moral criticism and anti-Semitism.

On this page, still and often, critics of Israeli government policies like the nonstop construction of settlements in the West Bank and zealous defenders of the Jewish state duke it out verbally in the safety of Santa Cruz over whos to blame for the ongoing conflict between Jews and Arabs on land that is holy to both.

Such arguments are to be expected, especially among Jews, as the intellectual foundation of Judaism is debate over meaning(s) in the Talmud. The secular manifestation of this Jewish trait, the fervent search for truth and justice, is the multitude of Jewish thinkers and writers and scientists and lawyers and scholars who have applied the rigors and pleasures of Talmudic interpretation to less-religious matters like medicine and literature and business and physics and politics.

Jews, a tiny minority, are all over the place in civic and cultural and intellectual life, and so inspire among some people notions of sinister Jewish conspiracies to run the world. Such racist caricatures are shared and cultivated by Kluxers and neo-Nazis and other white supremacists of the right. They seem to trickle down in subtler form to some intellectuals and critics on the left, many of them Jewish, who demonize Israel with particular vehemence while ignoring the atrocities of other states.

Other people appear to think that Israel can do no wrong. They tend to be, to put it kindly, reductionist in their dehumanization of Palestinians. Worse yet are those Jewish zealots who invoke the Holocaust, or the Old Testament, to justify anything Israel does to create facts on the ground that are antithetical to peace with their displaced neighbors. They then blame Palestinians for their own plight because some of their leaders dont recognize Israel and encourage terrorism, thereby disqualifying them as partners in any peace agreement.

Not unlike the United States, Israel was founded on land questionably taken from its native inhabitants. The descendants of some of those inhabitants explode from time to time in murderous rage against their occupiers. There is not much moral high ground on either extreme of this perpetual conflict, and the crimes and self-righteous rhetoric of both sides have never ceased to discourage compromise by Jews and Arabs of goodwill caught in the middle.

My mother, an ardent Zionist and a liberal Democrat all her life, was in the 1950s president of her local chapter of the Jewish aid organization Hadassah, so I was taught from childhood about the moral and geopolitical importance of a Jewish state. I came of age in the 60s when my questioning of authority included questions about why Jews should claim to be chosen, or morally superior for having been victims of genocide. Like many progressive Jews, I am appalled at aggressive Israeli policies, not least because they tend to provoke anti-Jewish sentiment on the left.


I consider myself both pro-Israel (the country not the government) and pro-Palestinian (though anti-terrorism). Like others, I see little promise of a political solution to the perennial conundrum of peaceful and equal coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, nor to the perennial complaints of attackers and defenders of Israel about the villainy of the other side.

Only in acts and works of culture literature, music, film, art, theater, food, sport, fashion, interethnic love are we likely to find common humanity and common ground in this otherwise vexing existential drama. For starters, I recommend the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Yehuda Amichai.

Stephen Kessler, a poet and literary translator, writes regularly for the Sentinels opinion pages.

Excerpt from:
Stephen Kessler: Jewish liberals and the perennial problem of Israel – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Stop Belittling The Holocaust With Your Stupid Nazi Analogies – The Federalist

When the Associated Press dropped a breathless piece contending that the Trump administration was considering and weighing using 100,000 National Guard troops to help round up illegal immigrants, all the usual hysterics erupted. Soon, the White House denied it had ever considered the memo (and so far there is no reason to believe they are lying).Then we learned the memo itself doesnt even say anything about 100,000 National Guardsmen rounding up illegal immigrants. Now, we can theorize about who leaked the story, but it looks to be the epitome of Donald Trumps Yogi Berraism about a real story being fake news.

Anyway, none of this stopped the shameful Hitler and Nazi analogies from immediately clogging up social media. Comparing everything to 1932 is now a big part of our national discourse. People who should know better habitually make correlations.

Thisisnt Springtime for Hitler. These gross equivalences belittle the memory of millions who died in unimaginably horrifying ways. Moreover, exaggeration and historical illiteracy undermines the very cause these people claim to care about, unless that cause is desensitizing people to the terror of the Holocaust.

Jamil Smith, a writer for Rolling Stone, was just one of the high-profile journalists to use this intellectually lazy analogy. First, they came for the undocumented, he tweeted. (In the next tweet about the memo draft, he contends, Whether or not its true doesnt matter, which is emblematic of much punditry today.)He is, of course referring to Martin Niemllers famous poem:

First they came for the Socialists [sometimes written as communists], and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak for me.

People love to use the poem as a cudgel against anyone who fails to match their own hyperbole on pet political issues. Implied, of course, is that those who do not share their outrage are ignoring an event that is in some ways akin to the Holocaust. Its a convenient formulation, because, after all, youd be hard-pressed to disprove events that havent yet transpired. And if, for some reason, Trumps term doesnt actually turn into a Hitlerian nightmare, then theyll tell you it was because they took Niemllers warning to heart and stopped the impending evil.

So, win-win.

First of all, even if the authorities even if the National Guard (which I think would be an incredibly horrible idea) were to start deporting illegal immigrants, not one of those unfortunate people would ever be sent to anything resembling the ovens of Treblinka and Auschwitz. Not their children. Not anyone else in this country. Most often, in fact, deported illegal immigrants are going back to Mexico, where they can apply for legal entry into the United States. Every year, more than a million people become American citizens. So we are hardly in the early staging plans of total measures. In fact, we function under immigration laws that were written by representatives of the electorate, and the constitutionality of those laws are determined by the judicial system.

If your argument is that all deportations are, in and of themselves, the actions of a proto-Nazi regime, then I would ask: why arent you comparing Barack Obama, who deported 2.4 million people in 2014 alone, to Himmler? Or I would say stop appropriating the horrors of history for short-term political gain and come up with a better analogy.

Read this article:
Stop Belittling The Holocaust With Your Stupid Nazi Analogies – The Federalist

A Holocaust Historian Explains Why People Believe Trump’s Lies –

The media plays a role.

It’s very easy to talk about “the media,” and we’ve done a lot of that lately, too glibly so. I do think that at times there are portions of the media that play upon these ideas. During the presidential election, during the early months, the president of CBS said Trump was “great for ratings.” Trump may not be telling the truth, but he’s the best thing that’s happened to ratings. Ultimately the media is a business, so it’s gotta sell tickets, get viewers, things like that… I wouldn’t look for culpability, but I would say the media, though not singularly, has a special responsibility for pointing to the absurdity of certain claims, and the mainstream media has begun to do that in recent months by saying if a claim was made without evidence or if it’s clearly a lie. That’s very important and very significant. But I think it’s incumbent on all of us. There’s a plethora of information now available to us, and it’s great, but I think we have to be particularly vigilant. We’ve been given this gift of an “information superhighway,” but with every gift come responsibility. I think now more than ever.

When people began denying the Holocaust in the late-’80s and early-’90s many people said to me, “Well, look, I certainly believe the Holocaust, but Irving is a reputable person. Maybe there’s something to be said about gas chambers, maybe there’s certain questions about this, that, or the other.” It ends up with people doubting established facts. I’m not saying there is orthodoxy in every systemvery few people agreed with Galileobut things have to be checked, you need to validate your sources. The upshot though is that when you claim, say, the voting system is rigged, without any evidence, without any proof, you’re suggesting to people that the democratic system is corrupted and that their votes don’t count, and that is very dangerous.

You come out with a preconceived notion that it’s all rigged. Once you believe everything is rigged, then the truth doesn’t matter.

“When you claim, say, the voting system is rigged, you’re suggesting to people that the democratic system is corrupted and that their votes don’t count.”

It’s very difficult, but I’m hoping, with the exception of his die-hard supporters, if he does enough of this, people will begin to be skeptical about the things he says. But it’s a terrible thing when you’re skeptical about the things the president of the United States says. I am not an alarmist, but we are facing a very difficult situation, a potentially harmful situation.

People look for someone to blame. When they are frightened and feel that the system is against them it is comforting when someone comes up with a unified answer, especially one that says: It’s not your fault; it is the “system” that is out there to screw you.

Deborah Lipstadt after winning the libel case brought against her by David Irving.


Think about the American Firsters of the 1930s. Had their anger about being drawn into overseas entanglements taken hold, Germany would have won the war.

Double check things before you circulate them. Doesn’t matter if it is pro- or anti- the cause you believe in. Just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t make it true. Be suspicious.

President Trump’s ‘Anti-Semitism’ Meltdown

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A Holocaust Historian Explains Why People Believe Trump’s Lies –