Ten finalist teams named for UK National Holocaust Memorial competition – The Architect’s Newspaper

The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation has announced its shortlist of ten teams to design the new National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Center in Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent the Palace of Westminster and in the heart of London. Whittled down from almost one hundred international entries, the finalists proposals are currently traveling on display throughout the U.K. while the foundation proceeds with the interview phase.

The competition, announced in September of 2016, seeks a team to create a sensitively-designed Memorial and Learning Centre that is emotionally powerful while offering visitors an opportunity to deepen their understanding of humanitys darkest hour. The brief calls for a distinct memorial adjacent to the River Thames with a subterranean education center.

The buildings construction is estimated to cost 40 million with the British government allocating 50 million in public funds to see the project through to completion (the 50 million figure also includes the creation and operation of the Centre, as well as other related education efforts). The education facility is said to not be a conventional exhibition or teaching [center] and will extend 2,650 square meters under the parks lawn. The chosen architect will have to contend with a complex program that must balance with the historic nature of the site. Furthermore, one memberof the House of Commons hascited concerns that constructionin Londons public parkland might set a dangerous precedent for future development of the citys open space, among other potential issues.

Rendering of submission by artist Anish Kapoor and Zaha Hadid Architects. (Courtesy of Anish Kapoor and Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid Architects with artist Anish KapoorA bronze monolith sculpted by Anish Kapoor and a Zaha Hadid Architectsdesigned structure would extend from a sunken courtyard and designate the National Holocaust Memorial as striking new landmark in London.

Rendering of submission by John McAslan + Partners with MASS Design Group. (Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners and MASS Design Group)

John McAslan + Partners with MASS Design GroupDrawing from Jewish traditions, this team has developed a sensitive design approach for the engagement of visitors to the site.

Rendering of submission by Studio Libeskind with Haptic Architects. (Courtesy of Studio Libeskind and Haptic Architects)

Studio Libeskind with Haptic ArchitectsStudio Libeskind is familiar with crafting sites to memorialize the Holocaust, having designed several such buildings across Europe. This effort recalls the similar abstraction of form and space characteristic of those earlier works.

Rendering of submission byheneghan peng architects with Bruce Mau Design. (Courtesy of heneghan peng)

heneghan peng architects with design agency Bruce Mau DesignProposing a structure that obscures the senses at some junctures and heightens them at others, this design focuses on the phenomenological experiences of its visitors.

Rendering of submission by Foster + Partners with artist Michal Rovner. (Courtesy of Foster + Partners and Michal Rovner)

Foster + Partners with artist Michal RovnerThis proposal is arranged as a long axial path for contemplation and sensory stimulation; visitors would descend a ramp underground beforereemerging up a long flight of stairsinto the park.

Rendering of submission by Diamond Schmitt Architects with landscape architect Martha Schwartz Partners. (Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects)

Diamond Schmitt Architects with landscape architect Martha Schwartz PartnersUsing a simple ovular shape, this design integrates both the memorial and learning center into one sweeping gesture.

Rendering of submission by Allied Works with artist Robert Montgomery. (Courtesy of Allied Works)

Allied Works with artist Robert MontgomeryFocusing acutely on building a powerful narrative for the site, this heterogenous team led by Allied Works includes sculptor and poet Robert Montgomery, who adds his incisive urban art-form to the proposal.

Rendering of submission by Caruso St John with artist Rachel Whiteread. (Courtesy of Caruso St John Architects, Marcus Taylor and Rachel Whiteread)

Caruso St John with artist Rachel WhitereadThis design focuses on the contextual elements of the site and the dramatic unfolding of space through sculptural cast glass and filtered light.

Rendering of submission by Lahdelma & Mahlamki Architects with David Morley Architects. (Courtesy of Lahdelma & Mahlamki Architects and David Morley Architects)

Lahdelma & Mahlamki Architects with David Morley ArchitectsLocated in a highly stylized landscape, the team lead by Finnish firm Lahdelma & Mahlamki Architects has designed a distinct procession for visitors to experience.

Rendering of submission by Adjaye Associates with Ron Arad Architects. (Courtesy of Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects)

Adjaye Associates with Ron Arad ArchitectsUsing repeating geometric shapes to draw the visitor to the entrance of the center, the designers aim to emphasizethe many layers of the British experience of the Holocaust.

The jury is composed of many experts in Jewish Studies, architecture, public land use, and public works, and will select a winner later this summer to develop a final design.

Jury:

Sir Peter Bazalgette (Jury Chair) Chair United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation and Chair, ITV Board

The Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE JournalistAlice M. Greenwald President and CEO of National September 11 Memorial and MuseumLoyd Grossman CBE Chair, Royal ParksBen Helfgott MBE Holocaust Survivor, Honorary President, 45 Aid Society and President, Holocaust Memorial Day TrustRt Hon Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local GovernmentNatasha Kaplinsky BroadcasterRt Hon Sadiq Khan Mayor of LondonChief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Chief Rabbi of the United KingdomSally Osman Director of Royal CommunicationsDame Julia Peyton-Jones DBE Former Director of the Serpentine GalleriesPaul Williams OBE Director, Stanton Williams ArchitectsMalcolm Reading Competition Director and Advisor to the Jury

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Ten finalist teams named for UK National Holocaust Memorial competition – The Architect’s Newspaper

Anti-Defamation League Receives Bomb Threat at National …

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The Anti-Defamation League’s national headquarters in New York received a bomb threat Wednesday, and the group says it is working with authorities to determine if it is connected to the rash of threats targeting Jewish community centers across the country in recent months.

The bomb threat to the Third Avenue office was anonymous, according to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Greenblatt said while there is nothing to indicate the threat is anything more than that, the group is taking it “very seriously.”

The specific nature of the threat wasn’t immediately clear. Police say they got a call about it shortly before noon. An investigation found it not credible.

“It’s a frightening moment and it reminds us that the haters and the bigots, they hide in the shadows like cowards and they seek to terrorize us because of our faith,” Greenblatt said on MSNBC Wednesday. “We will not be deterred and we will not be daunted.”

The threat comes two days after 10 Jewish community centers across the country were evacuated in response to bomb threats.In January, another round of bomb threats targeted 53 Jewish community centers across 26 U.S. states and one Canadian province over a period of three days.

The FBI is involved in the investigation, and the ADL has called on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a coordinated multi-agency probe.

In the wake of the threat to the ADL, Gov. Cuomo called the pattern a “national crisis” and directed the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement in the investigation.

“We are treating these incidents for what they are — as crimes — and we will not allow them to go unpunished,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Make no mistake, we will find these perpetrators and hold them fully accountable.”

President Donald Trump addressed the series of JCC bomb threats for the first time Tuesday, calling them “horrible and painful.” The remarks came amid mounting criticism about his silence.Earlier Tuesday, Hillary Clinton called the series of threats and attacks against Jews and Jewish groups “so troubling” in a tweet that urged Trump to speak out against them.

Trump added that the threats were a”very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Published at 12:27 PM EST on Feb 22, 2017 | Updated at 7:00 PM EST on Feb 22, 2017

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Anti-Defamation League Receives Bomb Threat at National …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebron/PNN/Munjed jadou

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A cynical propaganda slogan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Cristina Burack

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

Trump, the Jews and the political weaponization of antisemitism – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Was that so hard?

At some point in the past week, it looked like President Donald Trump was never going to use antisemitism in a sentence. It took a fourth series of hoax bomb threats at JCCs around the country and imprecations from Jewish groups across the ideological spectrum for the president to at last use the A word.

Antisemitism is horrible and its going to stop, and it has to stop, Trump said Tuesday morning. The antisemitic threats targeting our Jewish community and our Jewish community centers are horrible, are painful and they are a reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

That it took so long for Trump to condemn antisemitism after twice being asked about it last week, and coming on the heels of a White House International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that somehow omitted any mention of the Jews, was mind-boggling to many groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said so in a tweet.

It had reached a point that I already started imagining a White House Passover greeting that didnt mention the Jews.

Starting at sundown, the world will come together to remember certain events in Egypt, it would begin, and end with, Ive made it clear that all plagues are horrible.

What made Trumps demurrals stranger is that denunciations of antisemitism are to presidential declarations what kosher symbols are to supermarket goods: It doesnt hurt to have one, and only Jews usually notice.

So why did it take the administration five tries to get it right? I am counting the two news conferences, in which Trump basically punted on the question from two Jewish reporters; a statement from the White House on Monday that denounced hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind without mentioning Jews or antisemitism, and daughter Ivankas tweet saying We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC. The JCC hashtag was a nice touch, but not exactly a Queen Esther-style declaration of co-religious solidarity.

Pundits spent the past week trying to explain Trumps hesitation. Peter Beinart blamed narcissism, using the theory that when Trump hears antisemitism, he cant help but take it as a personal attack that he must fend off. I wondered if it was simple belligerence that the more you ask this president for something, the more he is likely to say you cant make me.

Or maybe he was just annoyed at the ADL, the group most identified with combating antisemitism, for repeatedly calling him and his campaign out for either ignoring or encouraging intolerance. Maybe Trump saw CEO Jonathan Greenblatts Feb. 17 column in The Washington Post recalling how the Trump campaign repeatedly tweeted and shared antisemitic imagery and language, thus allowing this poison to move from the margins into the mainstream of the public conversation.

The most ominous explanation, offered by Bradley Burston from the left-wing Haaretz newspaper and a surprisingly outspoken Chuck Todd of NBC News, was that Trump was throwing a bone to or at least trying not to alienate the alt-right trolls who formed a small but vocal part of his winning coalition.

Mr. President, we believe you and many other Jews believe you, so please make it clear that not only are you not an antisemite but that you reject people who are even if they did vote for you, Todd said last week.

If Trump had been struggling with a political calculation, it was reminiscent of one that played out in the 2008 campaign, when then-candidate Barack Obama was being pressed to disavow an endorsement from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. When he was asked about Farrakhan during a debate with fellow Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, you could almost see the thought bubble over Obamas head as he weighed rejecting Farrakhan without alienating supporters who considered him a hero.

Obama answered by reiterating his denunciation of Farrakhans antisemitism, leading to a semantic debate with Clinton over the distinction between denouncing and rejecting. Eventually the ADLs then national director, Abe Foxman, declared that Obama had cleared the Farrakhan hurdle.

If Trumps allergy to the A word is a political calculation, what would it be? He knows that three out of every four Jews didnt vote for him, and perhaps someone is whispering to him, a la James Baker, that he gains no advantage by caving to a special interest as liberal as the Jews.

Trumps critics pin the issue on his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, who came to the Trump campaign after steering Breitbart News, which he himself called a platform for the alt-right, among other right-wing movements. In turn, Bannons defenders note that Breitbart is enthusiastically pro-Israel and often keeps tabs on antisemitism.

But search antisemitism at Breitbart and a pattern emerges one that could explain the week that was. The site seems most exercised about Jew hatred when it is committed by Muslims, members of the left wing in Europe, and far left and anti-Israel activists on American college campuses. When it does report on hate crimes in the United States, its coverage is almost always skeptical, highlighting hate-crime hoaxes or quoting those who deny that there has been a surge in hate crimes here or in Britain since the US elections or Brexit.

This week, when much of the press corps was focusing on how and whether Trump would denounce antisemitism, Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, was accusing the media of hyping fears of antisemitism. Pollak blames an ongoing pattern of false hate crimes and the medias reluctance to report on left-wing antisemitism. But mostly he blames general anti-Trump hysteria.

Trumps critics seem to want to believe false accusations of antisemitism, which justify their hatred of him and maintain a sense of outrage and unity among activists, writes Pollak.

For Pollak and other Breitbart contributors, the reporting and denunciation of antisemitism is a partisan weapon wielded by the left to discredit the right. (Just as Trump asserted that its a charge wielded by a dishonest media to discredit him.) Of course, Breitbart also politicizes antisemitism, using it as a scarlet A to be worn, almost exclusively, by Muslims, campus radicals, self-hating Jews and European leftists. In fact, it has become an increasingly familiar trope both on the left and the right that the other is more antisemitic.

At least both sides agree that antisemitism is bad, even if they hesitate to take responsibility for the version that metastasizes among their ideological allies. They want to target the Jew haters but are wary about friendly fire.

Maybe the mistake of Jewish groups in seeking a strong response from Trump is that they are living in a simpler past, when both sides could agree that antisemitism was an evil, no matter the perpetrators or their politics.

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Trump, the Jews and the political weaponization of antisemitism – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Evidence of rising anti-Semitism, but data mostly elusive – Minnesota Public Radio News

Has anti-Semitism accompanied Donald Trump’s rise to power? Some organizations that monitor hate groups and hate crimes believe so, noting a rash of recent incidents. But data is elusive, and the president’s supporters note his family connection a Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren and his comments this week condemning hate and prejudice.

Here’s a look at recent incidents targeting Jewish sites and anti-Semitism in the U.S.:

Human rights activists and organizations are convinced that Trump’s popularity and electoral victory created an acceptance into the mainstream of the “alt-right,” an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism, and along with it, anti-Semitism.

There have been reports nationwide in recent months of anti-Semitic incidents, including people yelling pro-Hitler comments at a rabbi on the street in Providence, R.I., swastikas drawn in subway cars in New York City, and bomb threats at Jewish buildings in several cities.

But determining whether such incidents have increased is difficult.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that monitors hate groups and extremists, reported last week that the number of hate groups operating in the U.S. rose from 892 in 2015 to 917 in last year. But that’s still short of the all-time high of 1,018 hate groups in 2011.

The organization also counted 1,094 bias-related incidents in the month following Trump’s November election victory, including 33 against Jews, 108 involving swastikas and 47 white nationalist fliers.

New York City police keep a running tab of hate crimes. As of Sunday, 31 hate crimes have been reported against Jewish people this year more than double compared to the same period of 2016.

Official nationwide government data for the last year isn’t available. The FBI tracks hate crimes, but the most recent available data is from 2015.

Among the most recent events were bomb threats phoned in to 11 Jewish community centers across the country on Monday, including in St. Paul, Chicago, Cleveland and Houston.

No bombs were found and no arrests have been made, but the threats along with similar threats over recent months at other centers created fear and uncertainty among Jewish people.

Also on Monday, roughly 200 headstones were found knocked over or broken at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis. No arrests have been made for the damage at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo. Investigators have not yet determined if it was a hate crime. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is Jewish, posted a statement on Facebook calling the vandalism “despicable” and “cowardly.”

Until Tuesday, it was what Trump hadn’t said that raised eyebrows. Jewish groups and others were upset in January when a White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to mention Jews. Aides to the president defended the statement as “inclusive” of all who were killed by the Nazis.

Last week, when a reporter from the Orthodox Ami Magazine tried to ask Trump during a news conference about increased reports of anti-Jewish harassment and hate crimes, Trump interrupted, saying, “not a fair question.” When reporter Jake Turx tried to continue, the president said: “Quiet, quiet, quiet … I find it repulsive. I hate even the question.”

Trump went on to call himself “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your life,” and the “least racist person.”

But on Tuesday, Trump denounced threats against Jewish community centers as “horrible” and “painful,” saying more needed to be done “to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Speaking after a tour of the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, Trump said: “This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms.”

The president is a Presbyterian, but his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to the president.

Ivanka and Jared Kushner’s children the president’s grandchildren are Jewish.

On Monday, Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter, “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers,” and used the hashtag #JCC, which stands for Jewish community center.

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Evidence of rising anti-Semitism, but data mostly elusive – Minnesota Public Radio News

After delay and amid pressure, Trump denounces racism and anti-Semitism – Washington Post

President Trump on Tuesday denounced racism and anti-Semitic violence after weeks of struggling to offer clear statements of solidarity and support for racial and religious minorities.

During a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Trump read carefully from prepared remarks decrying bigotry and specifically condemning a wave of recent threats against Jewish centers across the country.

This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms, Trump said. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

Scanning the piece of paper with his finger as he read, Trump praised the museum on the Mall for its popularity and said the exhibitions had left their mark on his wife, Melania, who had visited the museum a week earlier.

For a president who prides himself on a freewheeling approach to leadership, Trumps demeanor on Monday was notably somber and disciplined. The appearance stood in stark contrast to the flashes of irritation he showed at a news conference last week at the White House, when he dismissed questions from reporters about his outreach to African American political leaders in Washington and his lack of response to a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the country.

The differing responses come as calls have been growing for Trump to respond to a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states on Monday, the fourth in a series of such threats this year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. More than 170 Jewish gravestones were found toppled at a cemetery in suburban St. Louis, over the weekend.

[Trump decries anti-Semitic acts as horrible after threats and vandalism]

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.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed the idea that Trump has been slow to address anti-Semitism and racism.

I think its ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, that its never good enough, Spicer said.

While presidents are often asked to set the tone for the country on sensitive issues of race and religion, Trump has rarely seized the moment. In the past week, Trump seemed to bat aside opportunities to address anti-Semitism. And when asked by a reporter whether he would meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Trump asked the reporter, who is African American, whether she would arrange the meeting with the lawmakers, implying that they were her friends.

After a campaign in which Trump was criticized for appealing primarily to white Christians while strongly criticizing Mexican immigrants, Muslims and urban African American communities, the president has said little to assuage concerns that he would govern in a similar fashion, his critics say.

I think it was a good symbolic gesture, but we need something of substance, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said of Trumps museum visit, naming issues such as voting rights, unemployment and urban renewal. Theres been no communication on things that matter to us.

[Trump administration seeks to prevent panic as it outlines broader deportation policies]

Trump has pursued policies broadening the scope of enforcement actions against people illegally in the country and sought to bar entry to the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries who the administration said pose a significant danger to U.S. national security. Both actions have raised tensions with the countrys Hispanic and Muslim communities.

Some of Trump efforts Tuesday seemed aimed at smoothing over past rifts with minority communities. Spicer pointed out that during his visit to the African American history museum, Trump had viewed an exhibition featuring the speeches of civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), with whom Trump feuded last month over Lewiss refusal to attend his inauguration.

Still, the moves are seen as insufficient to critics who want Trump to directly address what they consider to be his missteps.

I get that Trump never expected to be president, but now that he is president, he has to act like hes president for all of us, said Benjamin Jealous, a former president of the NAACP. If he wants to be seen as a healer, hes going to have to atone for his own sins, starting with his race-baiting on President Obama.

Trump has been particularly sensitive to any suggestion that his administration is anti-Jewish. During the presidential campaign, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon was accused of having used the conservative news site Breitbart, when he ran it, as a platform for the alternative right. The alt-right, as it is commonly called, is a far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state and whose adherents are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view.

Asked during a news conference last Wednesday to respond to a wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the country, Trump first launched into a defense of his electoral college victory instead of addressing the issue. The next day, Trump was given a second opportunity to address the problem at another news conference but seemed to take the question as a personal affront, declaring that the journalist who posed the question who worked for a Jewish publication was not being fair to him.

This is frustrating to Trump. He thinks hes being treated unfairly, said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, who called Trump the most pro-Israel president ever.

Trump has already been caught up in a number of controversies involving the Jewish community since taking office a month ago. The White House released a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention the Jewish people or anti-Semitism. Instead of acknowledging any error, the White House defended the wording, prompting criticism from several Republican-leaning Jewish groups and the ADL.

[Facing criticism, Trump administration has no regrets about leaving out Jews in Holocaust statement]

Klein was among the Jewish leaders who criticized the administrations omission, but he said it was a minor slip for an overwhelmingly pro-Jewish president.

I look for the policies much more than the words, Klein said. Small mistakes here and there theyre just not consequential.

Yet Trumps critics point to a larger pattern, including his hesitation at denouncing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who has repeatedly pledged his support to Trump since Trump began his campaign in June 2015. Trumps comments Tuesday on anti-Semitism also came only after his daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted a broad condemnation of the recent attacks and threats Monday evening.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in November, tweeted early Tuesday in reference to the anti-Semitic incidents: Everyone must speak out, starting with @POTUS.

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, said that when President Trump responds to anti-Semitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, thats when well be able to say this president has turned a corner. This is not that moment.

Trumps supporters say that as a political outsider, the presidents response to racial and religious divisions may not be typical for politicians because he is focused more on actions and less on talk.

Tone matters, but tone is just empty talk if theres no movement in the right direction of those indicators of quality of life, said Ken Blackwell, a former secretary of state of Ohio and a former domestic policy adviser for the Trump presidential transition. Blackwell, who is African American, said he expects the administration to roll out new policies aimed at addressing the specific concerns of the black community in the coming weeks.

Just as youve had stops and starts on the immigration executive order, he will get his footing to address this as well, Blackwell said. Hes going to speak to these issues. But he is also uniquely Donald Trump, and he speaks in his own voice and in his own way.

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After delay and amid pressure, Trump denounces racism and anti-Semitism – Washington Post

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

Hezbollah secretary general praises Iran for holding Palestinian Intifada conference – Press TV

A screenshot from footage broadcasted by the IRIB on February 21, 2017 showing the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movements Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an interview.

The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movementsSecretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallahhas praised Irans support for Palestine at a time that other countries are siding with Israel.

During an interview with IRIB on Monday, Nasrallah stressed that Iran was sending a strong message of solidarity to the people of Palestine by hosting a conference in support of the Palestinian Intifada (uprising).

Tehran is set to host a two-day internationalconference on Palestine on Tuesday with 80 delegations from around the world expected to be in attendance.

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The most important result and message of this action for the Palestinian nation is that you have not been left alone and that an important and powerful country in the region supports you, he said.

He stressed that the timing of the conference is significant as it coincides with the recent policy changes in the US towards a so-called two-state solution.

During a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington earlier this week, US President Donald Trump ditched Washingtons decades-long policy of supporting a so-called two-state solution to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Nasrallah noted that the USs move was significant as it ended Israels game of lies with the Palestinians and that he personally thought that it was a positive move as it showed everybody what the Tel Aviv regimes true intent was.

US troops on Syrian soil

A US military official recently suggested thatthe White Housemayauthorize sending combat troops to Syria. During his presidential campaign, Trump had openly supported deploying a large contingent of US troops to Syria.

Nasrallah stressed that such a move would without a doubt increase tensions and clashes within the war-torn country and further complicate an already complicated situation.

The US has already sent several hundred of its special operations forces to Syria. However, their operations have been limited to what the Pentagon describes as training and assisting Kurdish fighters in their battle against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

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Hezbollah secretary general praises Iran for holding Palestinian Intifada conference – Press TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I certainly hope they catch the people, he added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 21, 2017 9:47 am

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

Good afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 10:23 AM EST

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

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

This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms, the president said. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CBS News Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JTA contributed to this report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Separately, first daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He continued:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turxs actual worries remained unaddressed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump: Of course I condemn anti-Semitism – Hot Air

posted at 10:01 am on February 21, 2017 by Ed Morrissey

We have to have a safe country, Donald Trump told MSNBCs Craig Melvin at the National Museum of African American History while answering the third question in a week about hate crimes aimed at Jews in America. Its age-old, Trump says, theres just something going on that doesnt allow it to fully heal. More broadly on bigotry and racism, Trump praised the museum for its work, and most of all its success:

Politico has more of Trumps direct response:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday decried anti-Semitism, calling it horrible and pledging to put an end to it.

I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and its gonna stop and it has to stop, Trump told MSNBCs Craig Melvin during a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Asked directly if he was denouncing anti-Semitism once and for all, Trump responded in the affirmative.

Oh, of course, he said. And I do it wherever I get a chance, I do it.

Trump also managed to fit it a supporting statement for his upcoming revised executive order on visa and refugee entry. This building is about love, Trump tells Melvin, and we have to have people come inthat are going to love the country.

Lets call this an example of the third time being the charm. The first two public occasions where the media asked questions about anti-Semitic attacks rising around the country, Trump took the questions personally as a criticism of his supporters. This time he took the question on a straightforward basis and offered a simple response that condemns those attacks. Interestingly, it was the explicitly progressive channel MSNBC that got the best response, perhaps a reflection of the venue in which it was asked. Undoubtedly the White House prepared for that question in this venue, and Trumps answer demonstrates that preparation can pay off.

Note: This post has been expanded as a breaking news item.

Update: Better clip from MSNBC added to the main post, and Ivanka Trump also sent out a message last night about the need to oppose anti-Semitism:

That was received by the Left about as well as youd expect.

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Trump: Of course I condemn anti-Semitism – Hot Air