Anti-Defamation League Deeply Disturbed Over Additional Bomb Threats Directed at Jewish Community Centers … – eNews Park Forest

New York, NY(ENEWSPF)February 20, 2017 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply disturbed by additional bomb threats directed against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in multiple states across the United States today the fourth series of such threats since the start of the year.

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

We are confident that JCCs around the country are taking the necessary security protections, and that law enforcement officials are making their investigation of these threats a high priority, said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. 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.

In response to the threats, ADL issued a Security Advisory for all Jewish institutions nationwide with action steps including:

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the worlds leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


Hate Groups Increase for Second Consecutive Year as Trump Electrifies Radical Right

Read the original here:
Anti-Defamation League Deeply Disturbed Over Additional Bomb Threats Directed at Jewish Community Centers … – eNews Park Forest

Memoir helps map Palestine’s struggle – Green Left Weekly

Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir By Salman Abu Sitta American University in Cairo Press 2016

Given the centrality of memory and history to the modern Palestinian identity, it is fitting that the number of memoirs and diaries being published by Palestinians seems to be rising.

In recent years, two subgenres of Palestinian autobiography and memoir have emerged. First are accounts by diarists who witnessed World War I and British Mandate rule in Palestine, and experienced the Nakba the mass displacement of Palestinians during the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 as adults.

Second are memoirs of those who were children or young adults when the Nakba occurred. These are often written with a more explicit purpose memoirs of lives as exiles and refugees fighting for Palestinian rights, rather than diaries kept for personal use.

These common themes are also found in Mapping My Return, including the trauma of war and refugee life, lives of constant struggle (with Israel, but also often with Yasser Arafat) and fierce love for their homeland.

Abu Sittas autobiography, however, gives a unique insight not only into refugee life and Palestinian politics throughout the decades, but into how he, as a Bedouin Palestinian from the southern Naqab desert within the Israeli state, experienced the Nakba and its aftermath.

His life story is rooted in the vast, fertile plains of the south-western Naqab, and the bayt al-shaer (literally house of hair or tent) in which his mother lived. The familys fields were plowed by camel, and many of the men and women who came to work on the harvest were from Egypts Sinai peninsula.

Rather than flee north into Lebanon or east towards Jordan, his escape from the Zionist forces who destroyed his childhood home was to Khan Younis near the border between Gaza and Egypt, ultimately attending school and university in Cairo.

As the son of a paramount chief of the Tarabin Bedouin, whose influence stretched from Cairo to Bir al-Saba, Abu Sitta frankly admits that his tale is not one of the most tragic, painful or traumatic fates of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians made refugees.

His elite background and family connections cushioned him from the grinding poverty that hundreds of thousands of refugees in Gaza faced.

But the trauma of the night-time attack on his fathers home in the village of al-Main during the Nakba, the destruction and theft of its fields and the sight of Israeli massacres in Gaza started off his lifes mission to try to put a face to this invisible enemy.

Although Abu Sitta forged a career as an acclaimed engineer, he also became a historian of Palestine. He meticulously documented the villages, shrines, homesteads and traditions that Israeli laws, bulldozers and museums have sought to eradicate or appropriate.

Abu Sittas childhood reminiscences evoke a time when Palestine was undergoing rapid change. His grandfathers and uncles lived in constant tension with the Ottoman Empire, sometimes going into hiding in Jordan. Even so, they fought on the Ottoman side in World War I, against British forces invading Palestine from the south.

Abu Sittas father had to adapt to change under the British Mandate. He opened the areas first school in 1920 some of the students, already regarded as men at 16, arrived to class wearing swords and introduced new plant strains.

The contradictions in Palestinian life at this time are encapsulated in Abu Sittas observations on the education he received. He writes: The British Mandate saw fit to impose Roman history and Latin on the Arab students curricula at the expense of Arab and Palestinian history.

Despite this, Abu Sitta notes: But perhaps it was not so strange. After all, Palestine had more and longer-running cultural, political and commercial links with Rome (and Greece) than England.

The story of Abu Sittas community highlights Gazas historical connections to Egypt. Family members supported the 187982 Urabi rebellion, in which Egyptian officers tried to declare independence but were defeated by a British invasion.

Despite the value attached by Western culture to written tales, Abu Sitta asserts that they just made him more confident that, in the end, it is those storytellers at the shigg [a place where men met to drink coffee] who are the real source of our history.

As an adult, Abu Sitta became a successful engineer and urban planner, working and teaching around the world.

These later sections of his memoir highlight the diversity and often the anguish of refugee existence, and lift the message of the book beyond that of one mans story.

This is a highly readable book, much recommended to anyone with an interest in Palestinian history. More than that, it is a significant piece of documentation, recounting events and ways of life that have largely been forgotten or erased.

As the generations who directly experienced the Nakba are slowly lost, writings of this kind will only become more important.

[Abridged from Electronic Intifada. Sarah Irving is author of Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian liberation and co-editor of A Bird is not a Stone.]

Read more:
Memoir helps map Palestine’s struggle – Green Left Weekly

Holocaust survivor: ‘I lost my will to live’ – The Coloradoan

REMEMBERING THE HOLOCAUSTA day to honor 20 million who died and few still living | 0:49

January 27th marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day and honors the millions of people killed under the Nazi regime. Wochit

1 of 10

Jack Marcus volunteered at schools and colleges to tell his Holocaust story to thousands of students. The 93-year-old survivor died Tuesday. Wochit

2 of 10

Holocaust survivor Albert Garih has recounted his difficult experience during World War II countless times. But as the 76-year-old ages, he acknowledges he doesn’t have much longer to share his powerful story. Video provided by AFP AFP

3 of 10

Auschwitz survivor Elie Buzyn saw his brother killed in front of him and his parents led away to the gas chambers. Too traumatised to speak of his experiences for 50 years, he now believes it’s his duty to share his story. Duration: 02:48 Video prov Newslook

4 of 10

Henry Friedman, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor who never had the chance to get his high school diploma, will soon have one courtesy of a Seattle-area school district. VPC

5 of 10

A Holocaust survivor recounts the story behind how quick thinking made the difference between life and death for him. VPC

6 of 10

Jewish tombstones that were destroyed during the Holocaust and taken as building materials during Polands Communist era are retrieved and given back to Jewish cemeteries. Video provided by AFP Newslook

7 of 10

An 82-year-old Holocaust survivor is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah with his youngest grandson after years of putting it off. VPC

8 of 10

An Auschwitz survivor leads tours of the Holocaust museum 70 years after troops liberated the Nazi’s largest concentration camp. VPC

9 of 10

Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where more than 1 million people were killed, most of them Jews. (July 29) AP

10 of 10

A day to honor 20 million who died and few still living

93-year-old Holocaust survivor tells story to thousands before dying

Voices of holocaust survivors fading, 70 years on

Holocaust survivor Elie Buzyn speaks after 50 years of silence

Holocaust survivor to receive high school diploma

Holocaust survivor recalls the lie that saved his life

Jewish tombstones returned to final resting place

At 82, holocaust survivor celebrates Bar Mitzvah

Holocaust survivor relives experiences every week

Raw: Pope Francis visits Auschwitz-Birkenau

Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr will speak at CSU on Wednesday as part of CSU’s 20th annual Holocaust Awareness Week. Starr endured several Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz.(Photo: Valerie Mosley/The Coloradoan)Buy Photo

Fanny Starr lay in a field in Auschwitz more than 70 years ago, looking at the night sky and asking God how it was she ended up there.

White flakes fluttered through the darkened sky. It was not snow,but the ashes of bodies burned in ovens.

Her mother, two of her siblings and her extended family members were gassed and burned when they arrived at Auschwitz, Poland, and her father later starved himself in Dachau, she says. Her pain has not receded in the intervening decades.

“The pain will never go away,” said Starr, who is 95 and lives in Denver. “It’s hard. Never can you forget.”

Starr willshare her story Wednesday night at Colorado State University. The university’sStudents for Holocaust Awareness, Chabad Jewish Student Organization and Hillel organized for her to speak during the 20thAnnual Holocaust Awareness Week.

Starr was born and raised in Lodz, Poland, as one of five children. Her father ran a successful tannery, but the family was forced into the city’s ghetto in 1939 when she was a teenager.The Lodz ghetto became one of the largestin German-occupied Europe.

Nazis came to their home, forced them out, and put bullets in their St. Bernard’s head and through their aquarium.

During her time in the ghetto, Starr was forced to carefullycut apart clothes and retrieve gold, diamonds and other valuables that had been sewn in them. She tied the cloth pieces in bundles and sorted each retrieved item into barrels that would later be taken away. She did not know until she arrived at Auschwitz that the clothes she had been cutting apart belonged to murdered Jews.

CSU pledges 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030

When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Starr and her extended family members were forced into a train car. By her estimate, more than 60 of themcrowded into one car.

They arrived at Auschwitz, where they were shaved andundressed. Starr and her younger sister, Rena Alter, survived. So did a cousin and an uncle. She wouldn’t find out until 1964 that one of her brothers also survived. The rest of her family members died they were among 6 million Jews and more than 11 million total people who died during the Holocaust.

Starr and Alter were dressed in gray-striped outfits at Auschwitz, but they weren’t tattooed because there were too many people coming through the camp at the time. It was then that Starr said that she gave up.

“I didn’t want to live,” she said. “I lost my will to live.”

The camp was crawling with lice, she said, and many of the people on the bunk beds around her were dead. She pauses and cries when sharing these details, and folds and re-folds a tissue she holds in her hands.

Doctors repair stuffed animals at Teddy Bear Hospital

She credits her sister with keeping her alive. Alter grabbed Starr by her striped dress, stood her up and smacked her in the face.

“You have to put yourself together,” Starr recalls her sister saying. “We have to go forward.”

The pair filtered through other camps across Europe, includingRavensbruck, Mauthausen-Gusenand Bergen-Belsen.

In Mauthausen-Gusen, Starr helped buildV-2 missiles for the Germans. A man taught her how to do the job and hid half an apple to giveto her, an act she said proved he had a good heart.

She was liberated on April 15, 1945, in Bergen-Belsen, but she remained there because it served as a camp for displaced people and because they could not leave without a sponsor. She met her husband, Zesa Starr, there, and they were married at Bergen-Belsen. Their first child was born at the former camp.

Their second was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and their third in Denver. Helen Starr, their youngest, traveled to Fort Collins for her mother’s speech Wednesday. She’s also helped her mother to tell her story across the country, a story shesaid has incredible significance today.

Helen Starr notedthe recent threats and vandalism aimed at Jews, including destruction at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis and a spate of bomb threats aimed at Jewish community centers.

Investigation: Child abuse cases overburden system

Helen also noted that Fanny Starr is one of a small number of survivors alive and willing to talk about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

“There is only a handful of survivors that will speak,” she said. “You could sit down in a room with all of her friends, who are all survivors, they will not talk about anything. It is very painful. They’re humiliated and ashamed that they couldn’t stand up and fight.”

For more information about CSU’s20thAnnualHolocaust Awareness Week,

What: An evening with Holocaust survivorFanny Starr

When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 6:30-9 p.m.

Where: Lory Student Center Main Ballroom

Read or Share this story:

Read more from the original source:
Holocaust survivor: ‘I lost my will to live’ – The Coloradoan

Anti-Defamation League’s New York Headquarters Receives Bomb Threat – Huffington Post

The Anti-Defamation League received a bomb threat at its headquarters in New York City, the group announced Wednesday.

Today the ADLs national headquarters in New York received an anonymous bomb threat, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. While there is no information at this time to indicate that this is more than a threat, we are taking it very seriously.

Greenblatt said the civil rights group is working with law enforcement officials to determine if the threat is connected to a recent spate of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers around the nation.

At least 11 JCCs in 10 states received threatening phone callson Monday. It was the fourth series of such messages this year.About 70 threats have been aimed at almost 60 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province since Jan. 1.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes make up the largest portion of religiously motivated attacksin the United States.

The series of bomb threats against the JCCs is unprecedented, Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Huffington Post earlier this week.

Ive been working at SPLC since 1999. Ive never seen a string of attacks like this that are targeting the same kind of institution in the same kind of way, she said.This is new.

It remains unclear who is making the threats or if they are coming from a single person or a group.

The FBI and the Department of Justice have said they are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats.

Oren Segal, director of the ADLs Center on Extremism, told HuffPost that the organization has been in close communication with the FBI over the incidents and isconfident that they are conducting a serious investigation into these threats.

Last month, he said, the ADL partnered with the agency to organize a briefing for hundreds of representatives from the Jewish community regarding security matters.

This is not the first time that ADL has been targeted, Greenblatt said, and it will not deter us in our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate against people of all races and religions.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Read this article:
Anti-Defamation League’s New York Headquarters Receives Bomb Threat – Huffington Post

Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

A Revisionist Chronicle

Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

By Robert Faurisson

The following is the remark, not of a revisionist, but rather by an anti-revisionist: note 1

“Holocaust denier,” “revisionist,” “negationist”: everyone knows what such an accusation means. It effectively means exclusion from civilized humanity. Anyone who is suspected of this is finished. His public life is destroyed, his academic reputation ruined.

And he went on to add:

One day people will have to discuss the state of public affairs in a country where to brand a renowned scholar as a Holocaust denier (by hitting him with the ‘Auschwitz Lie’ club [die Keule der Auschwitz-Lge]) is enough to destroy him morally, in an instant.

Writings such as this essay cannot be sold openly in my country. They must be published and distributed privately.

In France, it is forbidden to question the Shoah — also called the “Holocaust.”

A law on the “freedom of the press” enacted on July 13, 1990, makes it a crime to question the Shoah, in its three hypostases: the alleged genocide of the Jews, the alleged Nazi gas chambers, and the alleged figure of six million Jewish victims of the Second World War. Violators are subject to a prison term ranging from one month to one year, a fine of 2,000 to 300,000 francs ($333 to $50,000), an order to pay considerable damages, and other sanctions. More precisely, this law makes it a crime to question (“contester”) the reality of any of the “crimes against humanity” as defined in 1945 and punished in 1946 by the judges of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, a court established exclusively by the victors exclusively to judge the vanquished.

Debates and controversies about the Shoah are, of course, still permitted, but only within the limits set by the official dogma. Controversies or debates that might lead to a challenging of the Shoah story as a whole, or of a part of it, or simply to raise doubt, are forbidden. To repeat: on this issue, even doubt is proscribed, and punished.

In France, the impetus for such a law (which is of Israeli inspiration), note 2 came in 1986 from several historians of Jewish origin, including Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Georges Wellers, and Franois Bdarida, together with Chief Rabbi Ren-Samuel Sirat. note 3 The law was enacted in 1990 on the initiative of former prime minister Laurent Fabius, then a member of the Socialist government, president of the National Assembly, and himself a Jewish militant of the Jewish cause. During this same period (May 1990), a desecration of graves in the Jewish cemetery of Carpentras, in Provence, had given rise to a media furor that nullified any inclination on the part of opposition lawmakers to mount any effective resistance to the bill. In Paris some 200,000 marchers, with a host of Israeli flags borne high, demonstrated against “the resurgence of the horrid beast.” Notre Dame’s great bell tolled as for a particularly tragic or significant event in the history of France. Once the law was on the statute books (promulgated in the Journal officiel on the 14th of July, the national holiday: the same issue, incidentally, that announced Vidal-Naquet’s nomination to the Order of the Lgion d’honneur), the Carpentras outrage was mentioned only, if at all, with a certain distance, as a mere reminder. Only the “Fabius-Gayssot” Act remained.

Under pressure from national and international Jewish organizations, and following the Israeli and French examples, other countries similarly adopted laws forbidding any questioning of the Shoah. Such has been the case for Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Lithuania. In practice, such specific laws are not absolutely necessary to combat and suppress historical revisionism. In France, as elsewhere, the practice has often been to prosecute questioners of the Shoah under other laws, according to the needs of a given case, on the basis of laws against racism or anti-Semitism, defaming living persons, insulting the memory of the dead, attempting to justify crimes, or spreading false news, and — a source of cash indemnities for the plaintiffs — using personal injury statutes.

In France the police and the judiciary rigorously ensure the protection thus accorded to an official version of Second World War history. According to this rabbinical version, the major event of the conflict was the Shoah, in other words the physical extermination of the Jews that the Germans are said to have carried out from 1941-1942 to 1944-1945. (Lacking any document with which to assign a precise time span to the event — and for good reason, as it is a matter of fiction — the official historians propose only dates that are as divergent as they are approximate.)

Since 1974 I have had to fight so many legal battles that I’ve been unable to find time to compose the systematic exposition that one is entitled to expect from a professor who, over so many years, has devoted his efforts to a single aspect of Second World War history: the “Holocaust” or the Shoah.

Year after year, an avalanche of trials, entailing the gravest consequences, has thwarted my plans to publish such a work. Apart from my own cases, I have had to devote considerable time and effort to the defense, before their respective courts, of other revisionists in France and abroad. Today, as I write these words, two cases are being brought against me, one in the Netherlands, the other in France, while I must also intervene, directly or indirectly, in proceedings pending against revisionists in Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. For lack of time, I have had to decline helping others, notably two Japanese revisionists.

Around the world, our adversaries’ tactic is the same: use courts to paralyze the work of the revisionists, if not to sentence them to prison terms or to order them to pay fines or damages. For those convicted, imprisonment means a halt to all revisionist activity, while those ordered to pay large sums are compelled to set off on a feverish pursuit of money, goaded by threats of bailiffs, “writs of seizure,” “notices to third parties,” and freezing of bank accounts. For this reason alone, my life over the past quarter of a century has been difficult. It still is and, in all probability, will remain so.

To make matters worse, my idea of research has never been that of the “paper” professor or historian. I consider it indispensable to see the terrain for myself: either the terrain of the forensic investigation, or the terrain where the adversary is deployed. I wouldn’t be entitled to talk about the camps of Dachau, Majdanek, Auschwitz or Treblinka without first having visiting them to examine for myself the buildings and the people there. I won’t talk about anti-revisionist activities, such as demonstrations, conferences, symposia, and trials, without having attended them, or at least delegating an instructed observer to the events — a practice that is not without risk, but which enables one to obtain information from a good source. I have friends and associates produce countless letters and statements. Whenever possible, I go myself to the ramparts. To cite but one example: the impressive international “Holocaust” conference organized in Oxford in 1988 by the late billionaire Robert Maxwell (also known as “Bob the Liar”). I believe I can justifiably say that it aborted so pitifully (as Maxwell himself admitted), note 4 thanks to an operation on the spot that I personally organized — with the help of a female French revisionist who lacked neither courage, nor daring, nor ingenuity: her activism alone was certainly worth several books.

To the hours and days thus spent preparing court cases or various sporadic actions should be added the hours and days lost in hospital, recovering from the effects of an exhausting struggle or from the consequences of physical attacks carried out by militant Jewish groups. (In France armed militias are strictly prohibited, except for the Jewish community.) note 5

Finally, I have had to encourage, direct, or coordinate, in France and abroad, numerous activities or works of a revisionist nature, shore up those whose strength has faltered, provide for the continuance of action, answer requests, warn against provocations, errors, digressions from the goal, and, above all combat ill-conceived accommodations given that, for some revisionists, there is a great temptation in such a struggle to seek compromise with the adversary and, sometimes, even to back down. Examples of war-weary revisionists who have sunk to public contrition are, sad to say, not lacking. I shall not cast a stone at them, though. I know from experience that discouragement is liable to befall each of us because the contest is so unequal: our resources are laughable, while those of our opponents are immense.

Revisionism is a matter of method and not an ideology.

It demands, in all research, a return to the starting point, an examination followed by re-examination, re-reading and rewriting, evaluation followed by revaluation, reorientation, revision, recasting. It is, in spirit, the contrary of ideology. It does not deny, but instead aims to affirm with greater exactitude. Revisionists are not “deniers” (or, to use the French expression, “negationists”). Rather, they endeavor to seek and to find things where, it seemed, there was nothing more to seek or find.

Revisionism can be carried out in a hundred activities of everyday life and in a hundred fields of historical, scientific, or literary research. It does not necessarily call established ideas into question, but often leads to qualifying them somewhat. It seeks to untangle the true from the false. History is, in essence, revisionist; ideology is its enemy. Because ideology is strongest during times of war or conflict, and because it then churns out falsehood in abundance for propaganda needs, the historian working in that area is well advised to redouble his vigilance. In probing deep into the “truths” of which he has been reminded so often, he will doubtless realize that, when a war has led to tens of millions of deaths, the very first victim is the ascertainable truth: a truth that must be sought out and re-established.

The official history of the Second World War comprises a bit of truth mixed with a great deal of falsehood.

It is accurate to say that National Socialist Germany built concentration camps; it did so after, and at the same time as, a good number of other countries, all of which were convinced that their camps would be more humane than prison. Hitler saw in them what Napolon III had thought he saw in the creation of penal colonies: progress for humanity. But it is false to hold that Germany ever established “extermination camps” (an expression invented by the Allies).

It is accurate to say that the Germans manufactured gas-powered vehicles (Gaswagen). But it is false to say that they ever built homicidal gas vans (if a single one of these had ever existed, it would be on display at an automobile museum, or at one of the various “Holocaust” museums, at least in the form of a drawing of scientific value).

It is accurate to say that the Germans employed Zyklon (made from a base of hydrocyanic acid and in use since 1922) to safeguard, by disinfestation, the health of large numbers of civilians, troops, prisoners, and internees. But they never used Zyklon to kill anyone, let alone to put to death throngs of human beings at once. In light of the draconian precautions for the use of hydrogen cyanide gas, the gassing of inmates as allegedly carried out at Auschwitz and at other camps would have been fundamentally impossible. note 6

It is accurate to say that the Germans envisaged a “final solution of the Jewish question” (Endlsung der Judenfrage). But this solution was a territorial one (eine territoriale Endlsung der Judenfrage), and not a murderous one. It was a project to induce or, if necessary, to force the Jews to leave Germany and its European sphere of influence, thereafter to establish, in accord with the Zionists, a Jewish national home, in Madagascar or elsewhere. With a view toward such a solution, many Zionists collaborated with National Socialist Germany. note 7

It is accurate to say that a gathering of German officials was held at a villa in Wannsee, on the outskirts of Berlin, on January 20, 1942, to discuss the Jewish question. But the subject of their discussions was the forced emigration or deportation of the Jews, as well as the future creation of a specific Jewish territorial entity, not a program of physical extermination.

It is accurate to say that some German concentration camps had crematories to incinerate corpses. But their purpose was to combat epidemics, not to incinerate, as some have dared assert, living human beings along with corpses. note 8

It is accurate to say that many Jews experienced the hardships of war, of internment, deportation, the detention camps, the concentration camps, the forced labor camps, the ghettos; that there were, for various reasons, summary executions of Jews, that they were the victims of reprisals and even massacres (for there are no wars without massacres). But it is equally true that all of these sufferings were also the lot of many other nations or communities during the war and, in particular, of the Germans and their allies (the hardships of the ghetto aside, for the ghetto is first and foremost a specific creation of the Jews themselves). note 9 It is above all most plausible, for anyone who is not afflicted with a hemiplegic memory, and who seeks to acquaint himself with both sides of Second World War history (that is, the side that is always shown, as well as the side almost always hidden), that the sufferings of the vanquished during the war and afterwards were, in number and in nature, greater than those of the Jews and the victors, especially as concerns deportations.

It is false that there ever existed, as some have long dared to assert, any order whatever, given by Hitler or any of his associates, to exterminate the Jews. During the war, German soldiers and officers were convicted by their own courts martial, and sometimes shot, for having killed Jews.

It is a good thing that the exterminationists (that is, those who believe in the extermination of the Jews) have grown weary to the point that they now acknowledge that no trace of any plan, instruction, or document relating to a policy of physical extermination of the Jews has ever been found and that, similarly, they have at last admitted that no trace of any budget for such an undertaking, or of a body responsible for running such a project, has been found.

It is a good thing that the exterminationists have at last conceded to the revisionists that the judges at the Nuremberg trial (1945-1946) accepted as true certain pure inventions, such as the stories of soap produced from Jewish fat, of lampshades made of human skin, of “shrunken heads,” and of homicidal gassings at Dachau.

It is an especially good thing that the exterminationists have finally recognized that the most spectacular, the most terrifying, the most significant part of that trial — that is, the session of April 15, 1946, in the course of which a former commandant of the Auschwitz camp, Rudolf Hss, testified openly that, in his camp, millions of Jews had been gassed — was merely the product of the tortures inflicted on him. His “confession,” presented for so many years and in so many historical works as the Number One “proof” of the genocide of the Jews, is now consigned to oblivion, at least as far as historians are concerned. note 10

It is fortunate that exterminationist historians have finally acknowledged that the famous testimony of SS officer Kurt Gerstein, an essential element of their case, is devoid of value. It is loathsome that the French University revoked the revisionist Henri Roques’ doctorate, earned for having demonstrated that fact in 1985. note 11

It is pitiful that Raul Hilberg, the “pope” of exterminationism, ventured to write, in the first, 1961 edition of his study, The Destruction of the European Jews, that there were two orders by Hitler to exterminate the Jews, and then later to declare, in 1983, that the extermination had come about on its own, without any order or plan, but rather through “an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus — mind reading by a far-flung [German] bureaucracy.” So it was that Hilberg replaced a gratuitous assertion with a magical explanation: telepathy. note 12

It is a good thing that the exterminationists have, in effect, finally (or very nearly) abandoned the charge, based on “testimonies,” according to which there were execution gas chambers at the camps of Ravensbrck, Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, Hartheim, Struthof-Natzweiler, Stutthof-Danzig, Bergen-Belsen … note 13

It is a good thing that the most-visited “gas chamber” in the world — that of Auschwitz I — has at last (in a January 1995 article) been recognized for what it is — a fabrication. It is fortunate that it has at last been admitted that “Everything in it is false.” I personally delight in knowing that an Establishment historian has written: “In the late 1970s, Robert Faurisson exploited these falsifications all the better as the [Auschwitz] museum administration balked at acknowledging them.” note 14 I delight all the more given that the French courts, in their iniquity, convicted me for basically saying just that.

It is a good thing that, in that same 1995 article, this same historian revealed that such a figure in the Jewish world as eminent as Tho Klein sees in that “gas chamber” only a “trick” (“artifice”).

It is also a good thing that, in that same article, this same historian revealed, first, that the Auschwitz Museum authorities are conscious of having deceived millions of visitors (500,000 yearly in the early 1990s), and second, that they will nevertheless continue to deceive their visitors, for, as the Museum’s assistant director put it: “[Telling the truth about this 'gas chamber'] is too complicated. We’ll see to it later on.” note 15

It is fortunate that in 1996 two historians of Jewish origin, the Canadian Robert Jan van Pelt and the American Debrah Dwork, finally denounced some of the enormous fakeries of the Auschwitz camp-museum, and the cynicism with which visitors were being duped there. note 16

It is, on the other hand, unconscionable that UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) should maintain its patronage (as it has done since 1979) of a site such as Auschwitz, whose center upholds, in its fake “gas chamber” (to say nothing of other enormous falsifications), an imposture now avowed as such. UNESCO (based in Paris and headed by Federico Mayor) has no right to use the dues of the member countries to sanction such a vast swindle, one so incompatible with the interests of “education,” “science,” and “culture.”

It is fortunate that Jean-Claude Pressac, after having been praised to the skies, has fallen into discredit. Promoted by the Klarsfeld couple, this French pharmacist thought it wise to stake out a half-way position between those who believed in the gas chambers and those who did not. For him, in a sense, the woman in question was neither pregnant nor unpregnant, but rather half-pregnant and even, with time, less and less pregnant. An author of writings that were supposed to be about the Nazi gas chambers, but in which not one comprehensive photograph or drawing of a single one of those chemical slaughterhouses was to be found, this pitiful scribbler would, in a Paris court on May 9, 1995, go on to give a demonstration of his total inability to reply to the presiding judge’s questions as to what, concretely, such a mass murder machine might actually have been. note 17

It is fortunate that, although in ruins, “the gas chamber” of Krematorium II in Birkenau (Auschwitz II), plainly shows that there never was a “Holocaust” in this camp. According both to a German defendant’s statements under interrogation, as well as 1944 aerial photographs “retouched” by the Allies, the roof of this gas chamber seems to have had four special openings (about ten inches square, it was specified), through which Zyklon was poured in. But as anyone at the site can observe for himself, none of those four openings ever existed. Given that Auschwitz is the capital of the “Holocaust,” and that this ruined crematory is at the core of the alleged extermination process of the Jews at Auschwitz, in 1994 I said (and this phrase seems since to have caught on): “No holes, no ‘Holocaust’.”

It is equally fortunate that a plethora of “testimonies” that supposedly confirm these homicidal gassings have thus been invalidated. By the same token, it is extremely deplorable that so many Germans were tried and convicted by their victorious adversaries for crimes they could not have committed, some even being put to death.

It is a good thing that, in the light of trials resembling so many judicial masquerades, the exterminationists themselves voice doubts as to the validity of numerous testimonies. The defective nature of these testimonies would have been much more obvious if one had taken the trouble to carry out a expert examination of the supposed weapon of the alleged crime. But in the course of hundreds of trials concerning Auschwitz or other camps, no court ordered any such inquiry. (The one exception, very little known, was carried out at Struthof-Natzweiler in Alsace, the results of which were kept hidden until I revealed them.) It was nonetheless known that a good number of testimonies or confessions needed to be verified and checked against the material facts and that, in the absence of those two conditions, they were worthless as evidence.

It is fortunate that official history has revised downwards — often quite drastically — the supposed number of victims. It was only after more than 40 years of revisionist pressure that Jewish authorities and those of the Auschwitz State Museum removed the 19 plaques that, in 19 different languages, announced that the number of victims there had been four million. It then took five years of internal bickering for agreement to be reached on the new figure of one and a half million, a figure that, in turn, was very quickly challenged by exterminationist authors. Jean-Claude Pressac, Serge Klarsfeld’s protg, has more recently proposed a figure of 600,000 to 800,000 Jewish and non-Jewish victims during the entire period of the Auschwitz complex’s existence. note 18 It is a pity that this quest for the true figure is not followed through to reach the likely figure of 150,000 persons — most of them victims of epidemics — in the nearly 40 camps of the Auschwitz complex. It is deplorable that the film “Nuit et Brouillard” (“Night and Fog”), in which the Auschwitz death toll is put at nine million, continues to be shown in French schools. This film perpetuates the myths of “soap made from the bodies,” or lampshades of human skin, and of scratches made by fingernails of dying victims on the concrete walls of the gas chambers. The film even proclaims that “nothing distinguished the gas chamber from an ordinary barracks”!

It was a good thing that Arno Mayer, a Princeton University professor of Jewish origin, wrote in 1988: “Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable.” note 19 But why was it affirmed for so many years that the sources were countless and trustworthy? And why was scorn poured on the revisionists who, since 1950, had written what Arno Mayer affirmed in 1988?

It was a particularly good thing that the French historian Jacques Baynac, who had made a speciality, in Le Monde and elsewhere, of labeling the revisionists as forgers, should finally acknowledge in 1996 that there was, after all, no evidence of the existence of homicidal gas chambers. It was, he made clear, “as painful to say as it is to hear.” note 20 Perhaps, for certain persons, and in certain circumstances, the truth is “as painful to say as it is to hear.” For revisionists, though, the truth is as pleasant to say as it is to hear.

Lastly, it is fortunate that the exterminationists have allowed themselves to undermine the third and last element of the Shoah trinity: the figure of six million Jewish deaths. note 21 It seems that this figure was first put forth by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel (1903-1956). Based in Slovakia, this rabbi was the main inventor of the Auschwitz lie based on the alleged testimonies of Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler. He organized intensive “information campaigns” aimed at the Allies, at Switzerland, and at the Vatican. In a letter of May 31, 1944 (that is, nearly a full year before the war’s end in Europe), he did not shrink from writing: “Till now six times a million Jews from Europe and Russia have been destroyed.” note 22

This six million figure was also published before the end of the war in the writings of the Soviet Jew Ilya Ehrenburg (1891-1967), perhaps the most hateful propagandist of the Second World War. note 23 In 1979 the six million figure was suddenly termed “symbolic” (that is, false) by the exterminationist Martin Broszat during the trial of a German revisionist. In 1961, Raul Hilberg, that most prestigious of conventional historians, estimated the number of Jewish wartime deaths to have been 5.1 million. In 1953, another of those historians, Gerald Reitlinger, put forth a figure of between 4.2 and 4.6 million. In fact, though, no historian of that school has offered any figures based on the results of an investigation. It has always been a matter of each one’s own more or less educated guess. The revisionist Paul Rassinier, for his part, proposed the figure of “about one million” Jewish deaths. As he pointed out, though, he did so on the basis of numbers furnished by the opposing side. His figure was thus also a product of guesswork.

The truth is that many European Jews perished, and many survived. With modern calculation methods it should be possible to determine what, in each case, is meant by “many.” However, the three sources from which the necessary information might be obtained are, in practice, either forbidden to independent researchers or are accessible only with great limitation:

Even 52 years after the end of the war, the State of Israel put the official number of “Holocaust” “survivors” around the world at some 900,000. (More precisely, it gave figures of between 834,000 and 960,000.) note 24 According to a computation made by the Swedish statistician Carl O. Nordling, to whom I submitted that Israeli government evaluation, it is possible, postulating the existence of 900,000 “survivors” in 1997, to conclude that there were, at the end of the war in Europe in 1945, slightly more than three million “survivors.” Even today, a diverse range of organizations or associations of “survivors” flourish around the world. These include associations of veteran Jewish “rsistants,” of former children of Auschwitz (that is, Jewish children born in that camp or interned there with their parents at a very early age), of former Jewish forced laborers, and, more simply, formerly clandestine Jews or Jewish fugitives. Millions of beneficiaries of “miracles” no longer constitute a “miracle,” but are rather the result of a natural phenomenon. The American press has reported fairly often on moving reunions of family members, “Holocaust” survivors all, each of whom, we are assured, was at one time convinced that his or her “entire family” had been lost.

To sum up, in spite of the dogma and the laws, the pursuit of the historical truth about the Second World War in general, and about the Shoah in particular, has made headway in recent years, but the general public is kept in the dark about this. It would be stunned to learn that, since the early 1980s, establishment historians have relegated many of the most firmly held popular beliefs to the rank of legend. From this point of view, one can say that there are two levels of “the Holocaust”: on the one hand, that of the public at large and, on the other, that of the conformist historians. The first seems to be unshakable, while the second (to judge by the number of hasty repairs being made to it), seems on the verge of collapse.

Year by year (and especially since 1979), the concessions made to the revisionists by the “orthodox” historians have been so numerous and of such quality that today the latter find themselves at a dead end. No longer having anything of substance to say about the “Holocaust,” they have handed the baton to the filmmakers, novelists, and theater people. Even the museum people are at a loss. At the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the “decision” has been made not to offer for public viewing “any physical representation of the gas chambers.” (This is according to a statement made to me, and in the presence of four witnesses in August 1994, by the Museum’s Research Director, Michael Berenbaum. He is the author of a guide book of more than 200 pages in which, in effect, no physical representation of gas chambers appears, not even one of the miserable and fallacious mock-up on display for Museum visitors.) note 25 The public is forbidden to take photographs there. Claude Lanzmann, maker of “Shoah,” a film remarkable for its utter lack of historical or scientific content, today no longer has any recourse but to pontificate in deploring the fact that “the revisionists occupy the whole terrain.” note 26 As for Elie Wiesel, he calls on everyone to show discretion. He requests that we no longer try to closely examine, or even to imagine what happened in the gas chambers: “Let the gas chambers remain closed to prying eyes, and to imagination.” note 27 The “Holocaust” historians have turned into theoreticians, philosophers, and “thinkers.” The squabbles among them, between “intentionalists” and “functionalists,” or between supporters and adversaries of a thesis such as Daniel Goldhagen’s on the near-innate propensity of Germans to descend into anti-Semitism and racist crime, ought not to conceal from view the poverty of their historical work.

In 1998, an appraisal of the revisionist enterprise could be briefly put as follows: a sparkling success on the historical and scholarly front (where our opponents capitulated in 1996), but a failure on the public relations front. (Our adversaries have closed off all access to the media except, for the time being, the Internet.)

In the 1980s and early 1990s, anti-revisionist authors attempted to cross swords with the revisionists on the field of historical scholarship. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Nadine Fresco, Georges Wellers, Adalbert Rckerl, Hermann Langbein, Eugen Kogon, Arno Mayer, and Serge Klarsfeld, each in turn tried to persuade the media that answers had been found to the revisionists’ material or documentary arguments. Even Michael Berenbaum, even the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in 1993 and in early 1994, wanted to pick up the gauntlet I had thrown down, and try to show just a single Nazi gas chamber, just a single proof — of their own choosing — that there had been a genocide of the Jews. But their failures were so stinging that thereafter they abandoned, ever more progressively, the fight on that turf. More recently, in 1998, appeared a thick book by Michael Berenbaum (together with Abraham J. Peck) entitled The Holocaust and History. note 28 But far from examining, on the level of historical scholarship, what the authors call the “Holocaust,” instead they unintentionally show that the “Holocaust” is one thing, and “History” quite another. The work, moreover, is quasi-immaterial, presenting neither photographs, nor drawings, nor the least attempt to represent physically any reality whatever. Only the dust jacket offers a view of a heap of shoes. Reputedly possessing a certain graphic eloquence, at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum they supposedly tell us: “We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.” This book is merely a compilation of 55 contributions written and published under the watchful eye of Rabbi Berenbaum: in it even Raul Hilberg, even Yehuda Bauer, even Franciszek Piper, abandon any real effort at scholarly research, while at the same time anathema is pronounced against Arno Mayer who, in his 1988 study, tried to put the “Holocaust” back into the realm of history. note 29 The irrational has prevailed against attempts at rationalization. Elie Wiesel, Claude Lanzmann, and Steven Spielberg (in his film, “Schindler’s List,” inspired by a novel), have in the end triumphed over those in their own camp who once tried to prove the “Holocaust.”

In future years it will be seen in hindsight that in September 1996 the death knell sounded for the hopes of those who wanted to combat revisionism on historical and scholarly grounds. The two long articles in a Swiss daily paper written by the anti-revisionist historian Jacques Baynac definitively closed the book on attempts at a rational response to revisionist arguments.

In the mid- and late 1970s, I offered my own contribution to the development of revisionism. I discovered and formulated what has since come to be known as the physical and chemical argument, that is, the physical and chemical reasons why the alleged Nazi gas chambers were quite simply inconceivable. At the time, I commended myself for having presented to the world a decisive argument that had never before been expounded either by a German chemist or an American engineer. (Germany is not short of chemists, and the United States has engineers who, given the forbidding complexities involved in making and operating an American penitentiary gas chamber, ought to have realized that, because of certain physical and chemical realities, the alleged Nazi gas chambers could not possibly have operated as claimed.)

If, during that period, amidst the fracas prompted by my discovery, a clairvoyant had predicted that, 20 years later, my adversaries, after many attempts to show that I was wrong, would (as Baynac did in 1996) resign themselves to acknowledging that, after all, there existed not the least evidence with which to prove the reality of a single Nazi gas chamber, I certainly would have rejoiced. I might have also concluded that the myth of the “Holocaust” could never survive such a direct hit, that the media would then quit propagating the Great Lie and that, quite naturally, the legal repression of revisionists would end by itself.

In so reckoning I would have committed an error both of diagnosis and of prognosis.

For the spirit of superstitious belief is different than that of science. It makes its own way in the world. The realm of religion, of ideology, of illusion, of the media, and of fictional cinema can develop at a certain remove from scientific realities. Even Voltaire never succeeded in “crushing the vile foe.” One may therefore say that, like Voltaire denouncing the absurdities of the Hebraic tales, the revisionists — in spite of the scholarly character of their work — are doomed never to carry the day against the wild imaginings of the Synagogue, while the Synagogue, for its part, will never succeed in stifling the voices of the revisionists. The “Holocaust” and “Shoah business” propaganda will continue to flourish. It still remains for revisionists to show how this belief, this myth was born, grew and flourished before, perhaps, one day disappearing to make way, not for reason but for other beliefs and other myths.

How are men deceived, and why do they deceive themselves so readily?

The masses are most easily fooled through manipulation of images. With the liberation of the German concentration camps in April 1945, British and American journalists rushed to photograph and film true horrors that were then, one may say, made into truer than life horrors. In the language dear to media people, the public was presented with a “put-up” job. note 30 On the one hand, we were shown real dead bodies as well as real crematories, and, on the other hand, thanks to some misleading comments and a cinematic staging, a deft artifice was effected. I describe this fraud with a phrase that may serve to help unmask all such impostures: We were led to take the dead for killed, and crematories for execution gas chambers.

Thus was born the confusion, still so widespread today, between, on the one hand, the crematories, which actually existed (but not at Bergen-Belsen) for the incineration of corpses and, on the other hand, the Nazi gas chambers allegedly used to kill whole crowds of men and women, but which, in reality, never existed nor could have existed.

The myth of the Nazi gas chambers and their association with the crematories originated, in its media form, in the press and newsreel photographs and media commentary from the Bergen-Belsen camp — which, orthodox historians now admit, possessed neither mass-execution gas chambers nor even simple crematories.

At a news conference in Stockholm in March 1992, I issued a challenge to the audience of newspaper and television reporters. That challenge was made in the nine words: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber.”

The next day, the journalists’ reports on the news conference indeed appeared, but they passed over in silence its essential object: precisely that challenge. They had looked for photographs and had found none.

Billions of people over this past half-century assume (or imagine) that they have seen images of Nazi gas chambers in books or in documentary films. Many are convinced that, at least once in their lives, they’ve come across a photograph of a Nazi gas chamber. Some have visited Auschwitz or another camp where guides told them that this or that structure was a gas chamber. Such visitors are told that before their eyes is (as the case may be) a gas chamber “in its original state” or “a reconstruction” of an original gas chamber. (This latter expression implies that the “reconstruction” is faithful, that it conforms to the “original.”) Sometimes visitors are shown remains of what they are told are “ruins of a gas chamber.” note 31 Yet, in all such cases, they have been deceived or, better, have deceived themselves. This phenomenon is easily explained.

Many people imagine that a homicidal gas chamber is merely a room with poison gas inside. This reveals confusion between an execution gassing, and a suicidal or accidental one. An execution gassing, such as those of individuals in some United States prisons, is unavoidably a very complicated undertaking. In such a case, care must be taken to kill only the condemned prisoner without causing an accident, and without putting one’s own life, or that of one’s associates, in danger, especially in the final phase, that is, when the chamber must be entered to remove the contaminated corpse. Most “Holocaust” museum visitors, readers, film-goers, and even most historians, are obviously unaware of any of this. Those in charge of “Holocaust” museums exploit this lack of awareness. For an effective Nazi gas chamber exhibit, they need only show the credulous public a gloomy space or room, a cold morgue room, a shower room (preferably located below ground), or an air raid shelter (with a peephole in its door), and the trick will work. The tricksters can manage with even less that this: it’s enough merely to show a door, a wall, or a roof of a purported “gas chamber.” The most clever ones will get by with just a bundle of hair, a pile of shoes, or a heap of eyeglasses, while claiming that these are the only traces or remains left of the “gassed” victims. Naturally, they will refrain from mentioning that, during the war and the blockade, in a Europe beset with general shortages and penury, vast “recovery” and “recycling” programs were organized to reclaim all recoverable materials, including hair, which was used, for example, in textile products.

A similar confusion reigns with respect to the witnesses. We are presented with bands of witnesses to the genocide of the Jews. Whether orally or in writing, these witnesses claim to assert that Germany carried out a plan for the overall extermination of the Jews of Europe. In reality, these witnesses can truthfully attest only to such facts as the Jews’ deportation, their internment in detention camps, concentration camps or forced labor camps, and even, in some cases, the functioning of crematories. The Jews were to so great a degree not doomed to extermination, or to end up in mass-execution gas chambers, that each one of these countless survivors or escapees, far from constituting, as some would have us believe, a “living proof of the genocide,” is, on the contrary, a living proof that there was no genocide. As has been seen above, at war’s end the number of Jewish “survivors” of the “Holocaust” probably exceeded three million.

For Auschwitz alone, a lengthy list may be made of former Jewish inmates who have borne witness — in public, orally or in writing, on television, in books, in the law courts — to “the extermination of the Jews” in the camp. note 32

I shall also mention the resounding case of a late arrival — the Swiss clarinettist Binjamin Wilkomirski. It is not clear why, but this false witness was publicly exposed after a three-year spell of glory during which he was honored with the US National Jewish Book Award, the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize in Britain, the Mmoire de la Shoah prize in France, and an impressive series of dithyrambic articles in the press worldwide. His purported autobiography, in which he relates being deported as a child to Majdanek and to Auschwitz (?), was originally published in Germany in 1995. It appeared in English under the title Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood. note 33 Jewish author Daniel Ganzfried concluded, on the basis of his investigation, that Binjamin Wilkomirski, alias Bruno Doessekker, born Bruno Grosjean, indeed had some experience of Auschwitz and Majdanek, but only after the war, as a tourist. note 34 In 1995 the Australian Donald Watt successfully deceived much of the English-language media with a memoir that told of his alleged life as a crematory “stoker” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. note 35 Between September and November 1998, a vast media operation was organized in Germany and France based on the sudden “revelations” of Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mnch, one-time SS physician at Auschwitz. The vein is decidedly bountiful.

Primo Levi is still generally treated as a reliable witness. While this reputation was perhaps deserved in 1947, with the publication of his book Se questo un uomo (published in the US under the title Survival in Auschwitz), Levi later conducted himself rather unworthily. Elie Wiesel remains the undisputed “star false witness” of the “Holocaust.” In his autobiographical account Night he does not mention “gas chambers.” For him, the Germans threw Jews into blazing pits. (As recently as June 2, 1987, he testified under oath at the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyon that he had “seen, in a little wood, somewhere in [Auschwitz] Birkenau, SS men throwing live children into the flames.” (The translator and editor of the German version of Night resuscitated the “gas chambers” in Wiesel’s account of Auschwitz. In France, Fred Sedel in 1990 similarly proceeded in re-editing a book that had appeared in 1963, putting “chambres gaz” ["gas chamber"] where, 27 years earlier, he had mentioned only “fours crmatoires” ["crematory ovens"].) note 36

In this same boat of “pious lies” one may also include the testimonies of some non-Jews, in particular that of General Andr Rogerie. In the original 1946 edition of his memoir, Vivre, c’est vaincre, he wrote only of having heard talk of “gas chambers.” But fortified by support from Georges Wellers, he presented himself in 1988 as a “Holocaust witness” who had “beheld the Shoah at Birkenau.” note 37 As he himself has related, his lot as a prisoner in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was a privileged one. He lodged in the barracks of the “bosses” and enjoyed a “royally cushy position” of which he “has fond remembrances.” He ate pancakes with jam and played bridge. Of course, he wrote, “not only merry events take place [in the camp].” Still, upon leaving Birkenau he had this thought: “Unlike many others, I have been better off here than anywhere else.” note 38

Samuel Gringauz got through the war in the ghetto of Kaunas, Lithuania. In 1950 — that is, at a time when it was still possible to speak somewhat freely on the subject — he gave an appraisal of the literature thus far produced by the survivors of the “great Jewish catastrophe.” Deploring the trespasses to which their “hyper-historical complex” was then giving rise, he wrote: note 39

The hyper-historical complex may be described as judeocentric, lococentric and egocentric. It concentrates historical relevance on Jewish problems of local events under the aspect of personal experience. This is the reason why most of the memoirs and reports are full of preposterous verbosity, graphomanic exaggeration, dramatic effects, overestimated self-inflation, dilletante [sic] philosophizing, would-be lyricism, unchecked rumors, bias, partisan attacks and apologies.

One can only assent to this judgment, which could perfectly well apply today to a Claude Lanzmann or an Elie Wiesel. For the latter’s “hyper-historical complex,” for the “judeocentric, lococentric and egocentric” character of his writings, one may refer to Wiesel’s two recent volumes of memoirs, published in the US under the titles All Rivers Run to the Sea, and, And the Sea is Never Full. In so doing, one may also realize that, far from having been exterminated, a great many of the members of the Jewish community of the little Romanian-Hungarian town of Sighet in all likelihood survived deportation, notably to Auschwitz in May and June of 1944, and internment. Himself a native of Sighet, Wiesel endured the fate of his fellow townspeople. In journeys to various places around the world after the war, he came upon an amazing number of relatives, friends, old acquaintances, and others from Sighet who, thanks to a succession of “miracles,” had survived Auschwitz or the “Holocaust.”

Just as perplexed as today’s generation, those of the future will ask themselves identical questions about a number of Second World War myths besides that of the Nazi gas chambers: in addition to the stories already mentioned of “Jewish soap,” tanned human skins, “shrunken heads,” and “gas vans,” one may also cite the stories of the insane medical experiments attributed to Dr. Mengele, Adolf Hitler’s orders to exterminate the Jews, Heinrich Himmler’s order to halt said extermination, and the mass killings of Jews by electricity, steam, quicklime, crematories, burning pits, and vacuum pumps. Let us also cite the purported exterminations of Gypsies and homosexuals, and the alleged gassings of the mentally ill. Future generations will also wonder about many other subjects: the massacres on the Eastern front as related in certain writings, and in writing only, at the Nuremberg trial by the professional false witness Hermann Grbe; such now-acknowledged impostures as the book supposedly by Hermann Rauschning, which in fact was written chiefly by the Hungarian Jew Imre Rvsz, alias Emery Reves, but used extensively at the Nuremberg trial as though it were authentic; note 40 the mass killing of Jews near Auschwitz with an experimental atomic bomb, a claim also brought up at the Nuremberg trial; note 41 the absurd “confessions” extorted from German prisoners; the reputed diary of Anne Frank; the young boy in the Warsaw ghetto shown as going to his death, whereas he most likely emigrated to New York after the war; note 42 along with various false memoirs, false stories, false testimonies, and false attributions, the true natures of which would, with a minimum of effort, have been easy to ascertain.

But those future generations will probably be astonished most of all by the myth that was instituted and hallowed by the Nuremberg trial (and, to a lesser degree, by the Tokyo trial): that of the intrinsic barbarity of the vanquished and the intrinsic virtue of the victors who, as becomes apparent upon a close look at the facts, themselves committed acts of horror that were far more striking, both in quantity and in quality, than those perpetrated by the vanquished.

At a time when one might be led to believe that only the Jews really suffered during the Second World War, and that only the Germans behaved like veritable criminals, an impartial examination into the true sufferings of all peoples and the real crimes of all belligerents seems overdue.

Whether “just” or “unjust,” every war is a butchery — indeed, notwithstanding the heroism of countless soldiers, a competition in butchery. At the end of it, the winner turns out to have been nothing more than a good butcher, and the loser a bad butcher. So when hostilities have ceased, the victor may perhaps be entitled to give the vanquished a lesson in butchery, but certainly not in Right and Justice. Yet that is just what happened in the great Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, when the four big winners, acting in their own names and in the name of the 19 victorious entities (not counting the World Jewish Congress, which enjoyed the status of amicus curiae or “friend of the court”), had the cynicism to inflict such a treatment on a beaten nation reduced to total impotence.

According to Nahum Goldmann, President of both the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization, the idea of such a trial was the brainchild of a few Jews. note 43 As for the role played by Jews in the actual proceedings at Nuremberg, it was considerable. The American delegation, which ran the entire business, was made up largely of “re-emigrants,” that is, of Jews who migrated in the 1930s from Germany to America, and then returned to Germany after the war. Gustave M. Gilbert, the famous psychologist and author of Nuremberg Diary (1947), was a Jew who, working behind the scenes with the American prosecutors, did not miss the chance to practice psychological torture on the German defendants. Airey Neave, a member of the British delegation, remarked, in a book prefaced by Lord Justice Birkett, one of the panel of judges, that many of the American examiners were German-born, and all were Jewish. note 44

For reasons I deal with in detail in my crits rvisionnistes collection, the Nuremberg trial can be regarded as this century’s crime of all crimes. Its consequences have proven tragic. It accorded the status of truth to an extravagant volume of lies, calumnies, and injustices that over the years have served to justify all kinds of wickedness: in particular Bolshevik and Zionist expansionism at the expense of nations in Europe and Asia, and of Palestine. Given, however, that the Nuremberg judges found Germany guilty, first and foremost, of having unilaterally plotted and instigated the Second World War, we must begin by first examining this point.

Because history is primarily a matter of geography, let us consider a desktop globe of the year 1939 on whose surface a single color would cover four immense aggregates: Great Britain and her empire of a fifth of the Earth, and upon which “the sun never set,” France and her own vast colonial empire, the United States and its vassals, and, finally, the impressive empire of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Then, another color would mark the modest Germany within her pre-war borders, the meager Italy and her little colonial empire, and finally Japan, whose armies at the time occupied territory in China. (We shall not consider here the countries that were later to join the ranks, at least provisionally, of one or the other of these two belligerent blocs.)

The contrast between the geographical areas covered by these two groups is striking, as is the contrast between their natural, industrial, and commercial resources. Of course, by the end of the 1930s, Germany and Japan were starting — as the postwar years further proved — to shake off their yokes, and to build an economy and an army capable of disquieting the bigger and stronger powers. And, of course, the Germans and the Japanese, during the first years of the war, deployed an uncommon measure of energy and succeeded in carving out their short-lived empires. But, all things considered, Germany, Italy, and Japan were mere dwarfs, so to speak, beside the four giants that were the British, French, American, and Soviet empires.

Who today can seriously believe — as was maintained at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials — that during the late 1930s these three dwarfs deliberately sought to provoke a new world war? Better still: who today can believe for an instant that, during the general slaughter that ensued, the first of these three dwarfs (Germany) was guilty of every imaginable crime, while the next (Japan) came a distant second, and the third (Italy), which changed sides in September 1943, committed no really reprehensible acts? Who today can accept the notion that the four giants did not, to use the Nuremberg terminology, commit any “crimes against peace,” any “war crimes,” or any “crimes against humanity” that, after 1945, would have warranted judgment by an international tribunal?

It is nevertheless easy to show, with solid proof, that the winners, in six years of war and in a few years afterwards, accumulated, in their massacres of prisoners of war and of civilians, in massive deportations, in systematic looting, and in summary or “judicial” executions, more horrors than the losers. Katyn forest, the Gulag, Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the expulsion, under horrible conditions, of 12 to 15 million Germans (from East Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia), the handing over of millions of Europeans to the Soviet moloch, the bloodiest purge ever to sweep the continent: was all of that really too small a matter for review by an international tribunal? During this past century, no military force has killed as many children — in Europe, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Central America — as the US air force. And yet no international authority has held it to account for these slaughters, which the “boys” have always been ready to carry out anywhere in the world, for such is their “job.” note 45

“Cursed be war!” reads the inscription on the war memorial in the small French town of Gentioux. In the town of Saint-Martin-d’Estraux, the inscription on the memorial is lengthier, but its “assessment” of the war sends forth the same cry. note 46 The lists, in churches and on monuments throughout France, of the dead from the 1914-1918 war are heart-rending. Today no one is really able to say for just what reason the youth of France (just as, on its side, the youth of Germany) were thus mown down.

On some of these same memorials in our towns and villages one can also find, though in markedly smaller numbers, the names of young Frenchmen killed or missing during the campaign of 1939-1940: about 87,000 altogether. Occasionally one also finds lists of civilian victims. During the war years, the British and Americans alone killed some 67,000 in their air attacks on France. Occasionally, to round out the list, one can sometimes find the names of a few Rsistance members who died in their beds well after the war. Almost never can one find the names of French victims of the “Great Purge” of 1944-1947 — probably 14,000, and not 30,000 or, as is sometimes claimed, 105,000 — in which Jews, Communists, and last-minute Gaullists played an essential role. With rare exceptions the names of the colonial troops who “died for France” are also missing, because they were not natives of the French towns.

For France, the two world wars constituted a disaster: the first, especially because of the sheer volume of human losses, and the second because of its character as a civil war that has persisted to this day.

When reflecting on these lists of First World War dead, including those “missing in action,” when remembering the whole battalions of men who survived with ruined faces, of those wounded, maimed, and crippled for life, when taking stock of the destructions of all sorts, when thinking of the families devastated by these losses, of the prisoners, of those “shot for desertion,” of the suicides provoked by so much suffering, when remembering as well the 25 million deaths in America and Europe in 1918 from the epidemic of a viral illness wrongly called “Spanish influenza” (brought into France, at least in part, by American troops), note 47 can one not understand the pre-1939-1945 pacifists and supporters of “Munich,” as well as the Ptainists of 1940? What right today has anyone to speak blithely of “cowardice,” either with regard to the Munich accords of September 29 and 30, 1938, or to the armistice signed at Rethondes in Picardy on June 22, 1940? Could the Frenchmen who, in the late 1930s, still bore the physical and emotional scars of the 1914-1918 holocaust (a veritable one), and its aftermath, consider it a moral obligation to hurl themselves straight into a new slaughter? And, after the signing of an armistice that, however harsh, was by no means shameful, where was the dishonor in seeking an understanding with the adversary, not in order to wage war but to make peace?

“Hitler [was] born at Versailles”: that sentence serves as the title of a work by the late Lon Degrelle. note 48 The 1919 Versailles Diktat — for it was not really a treaty — was so harsh and dishonorable for the defeated nation that the American Senate refused to recognize or adopt it (November 20, 1919). And in the years that followed, it was ever more discredited. It dismembered Germany, submitted it to a cruel military occupation, and starved it. In particular, it obliged the defeated nation to cede to the newly created state of Poland the regions of Posen, Upper Silesia, and part of West Prussia. The 440 articles of the “Treaty of Peace Between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany” (together with its annexes) signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, constituted, along with the related treaties (Trianon, Saint-Germain, Svres), a monumental iniquity which, if anything, only the fury of a recently ended war can explain. As one French writer has put it: “It is easy enough to find fault with the Germans for not having respected Versailles. Their duty of honor as Germans was, first, to get round it, and then to tear it up, just as that of the French was to maintain it.” note 49

Twenty years after that crushing humiliation, Hitler sought to recover some of the territory turned over to Poland, just as France, after its defeat in 1870, sought to recover Alsace and a part of Lorraine.

Unless he chooses to speak flippantly, no historian is in a position to state who in fact is mainly to blame for a worldwide conflict. It is thus wise not to ascribe to Hitler exclusive responsibility for the 1939-1945 war under the pretext that, on the 1st of September 1939, he went to war against Poland. On the other hand, the attempt to justify the entry into war of Britain and France, two days later, against Germany on the basis of a pledge to come to the aid of Poland seems rather unfounded given that, two weeks later (September 17, 1939), the USSR invaded Poland and occupied a good part of its territory, without prompting any military reaction on the part of Britain or France.

Worldwide conflicts resemble tremendous natural disasters in that they cannot accurately be predicted, even if one can sometimes feel them coming. Only after the fact can they be explained, laboriously and, too often, affected by reserves of bad faith in the form of mutual accusations of negligence, blindness, ill will, or irresponsibility. All the same one can note that in Germany during the late 1930s, the pro-war camp, that is, those who urged military action against the western powers was, to all intents and purposes, non-existent. The Germans envisaged only a “push to the East” (Drang nach Osten). On the other hand, in Britain, France and the United States, the anti-German hawks were powerful. The “war party” wanted a “democratic crusade,” and got it. Among these new crusaders figured, with a few noteworthy exceptions, the whole of American and European organized Jewry.

During the First World War, the British cynically exploited all the resources of propaganda based on wholly fictitious atrocity stories. note 50 During the Second World War they remained true to form.

Today people widely condemn Neville Chamberlain for his policy of “appeasement” in dealing with the Germans, whereas people hold, or pretend to hold, Winston Churchill in high esteem for his determination to carry on war against Germany. It is not yet certain that history, with time, will uphold this judgment. New discoveries concerning Churchill’s personality and wartime role raise questions about the dubious justifications for that determination, along with questions about the fruits of his policies. At least Chamberlain had foreseen that even a British victory would entail disaster for his country, her empire, and for other victors as well. Churchill did not see this, or did not know how to see it. He promised “blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” to be followed by victory. He did not anticipate the bitter morrow of victory: the hastened disappearance of the empire he held dear, and the handing over of nearly half of Europe to Communist imperialism.

During an address given several years ago, David Irving, Churchill’s biographer, showed the illusory nature of the justifications given by Churchill, first, to launch his countrymen into the war, and then to keep them in it. The business, if one may so term it, was carried out in four phases.

Continued here:
Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

Entering a Synagogue – My Jewish Learning

Tips for the novice shul-goer. By Sharon Strassfeld

In addition to the tips listed below, it is important also to remember that in Orthodox synagogues, men and women sit separatelyand often enter the sanctuary through separate entrancesso visitors need to find the appropriate sections and entrances for each gender. Reprinted with permission from The Second Jewish Catalog, edited by Sharon Strassfeld and Michael Strassfeld (Jewish Publication Society).

1. When you enter a traditional synagogue, put on a kippah [yarmulke] if you are a male (supplies are kept in almost every shul), and keep it oneven during the Kiddush and/or meal that follows the service. [In some liberal congregations, women cover their hair as well, while Orthodox women generally cover their hair if they are married. See #6 below for more information.]

2. In traditional synagogues it is forbidden, even after the service, to smoke on Shabbat (ask if youre not aware of synagogue policy).

3. On some occasions, following the Kiddush there will be a lunch to which guests of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah are invited. [Kiddush is the blessing of sanctification of Shabbat over a cup of wine, but in this context, it used more broadly to include also the snacks or light meal provided after the blessing is said.] Dont automatically assume that if youve been to services, you are invited to the lunch. However, you are usually invited for Kiddush.

4. It is bad form to take a Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift with you when you go to a traditional synagogue on Shabbat. Carrying is prohibited on Shabbat, and most traditional synagogues treat this prohibition seriously. Taking a monetary gift with you even in envelopes is especially offensive, since this not only ignores the prohibition against carrying, it also ignores the prohibition against handling money (and things representing money, such as checks, bonds, etc.) on Shabbat.

5. The no-carry principle in a traditional synagogue on Shabbat is also, by extension the dont-bring-a-pocketbook (handbag, suitcase briefcase, etc.) dictum.

Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Sharon M. Strassfeld is co-author of the Jewish Catalog series.

In addition to the tips listed below, it is important also to remember that in Orthodox synagogues, men and women sit separatelyand often enter the sanctuary through separate entrancesso visitors need to find the appropriate sections and entrances for each gender. Reprinted with permission from The Second Jewish Catalog, edited by Sharon Strassfeld and Michael Strassfeld (Jewish Publication Society).

1. When you enter a traditional synagogue, put on a kippah [yarmulke] if you are a male (supplies are kept in almost every shul), and keep it oneven during the Kiddush and/or meal that follows the service. [In some liberal congregations, women cover their hair as well, while Orthodox women generally cover their hair if they are married. See #6 below for more information.]

2. In traditional synagogues it is forbidden, even after the service, to smoke on Shabbat (ask if youre not aware of synagogue policy).

3. On some occasions, following the Kiddush there will be a lunch to which guests of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah are invited. [Kiddush is the blessing of sanctification of Shabbat over a cup of wine, but in this context, it used more broadly to include also the snacks or light meal provided after the blessing is said.] Dont automatically assume that if youve been to services, you are invited to the lunch. However, you are usually invited for Kiddush.

4. It is bad form to take a Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift with you when you go to a traditional synagogue on Shabbat. Carrying is prohibited on Shabbat, and most traditional synagogues treat this prohibition seriously. Taking a monetary gift with you even in envelopes is especially offensive, since this not only ignores the prohibition against carrying, it also ignores the prohibition against handling money (and things representing money, such as checks, bonds, etc.) on Shabbat.

5. The no-carry principle in a traditional synagogue on Shabbat is also, by extension the dont-bring-a-pocketbook (handbag, suitcase briefcase, etc.) dictum.

6. An extension of the no-money principle is the dont jangle the change in your pocket if youre bored rule.

7. In traditional synagogues, women commonly cover their hair during the service. Frequently, lace nets are provided for women who forget to wear a hat or scarf.

8. In traditional Judaism, writing is prohibited on Shabbat and holidays, so needless to say, dont go to synagogue with your Bic sticking out of your breast pocket (or with cigars sticking out eithersee no. 2 above).

9. While there is no problem in the Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Reform movements about riding to synagogue in a car on Shabbat, Orthodox synagogues do not condone driving. Accordingly, try to be sensitive to such feelings when confronted with the situation. There is no reason to park your car in the synagogue parking lot or right in front of the building when you could park a block away and offend no one.

10. In many synagoguesmen [and women] wear tallitot [prayer shawls] during the morning service (both Shabbat and weekdays). On weekdays, men [and in some communities, women also] wear tefillin for the Morning Service. If you own these articles bring them to the appropriate services. If you dont own a tallit, almost any synagogue will provide you with one; if you dont own tefillin, some synagogues will be able to provide and some wont. In any case, in some shuls it is not a social solecism to pray without tefillin. Women should use their own sensitivity and discretion to guide them in the matter of wearing tefillin and tallitot. [In Orthodox synagogues, most women do not wear them, though some individual women choose to do so. In liberal synagogues, women and men generally follow the same customs.]

11. For all occasions when you enter a synagogue you should dress appropriately. Perhaps it is not fitting to approach God when you are not carefully attired; certainly it shows no respect to a community to ignore its standards of dress. In traditional synagogues women should wear dresses with sleeves and men should wear clean, pressed slacks and shirts Most synagoguesprefer jacket and tie. Some synagogues are tolerant of women in slack suits; others are not. Check the local policy before sallying forth.

12. Except for nos. 1, 3, 7, 10, and 11 above, these rules do not apply during a normal weekday service

As you enter the synagogue/sanctuary/prayer room, you should have the following (women are not required [by traditional Jewish law] to don the first three; some synagogues may even frown on a woman wearing these articles [while other synagogues actively encourage it], so let your own sensitivities decide):

kippah (except in many Reform temples)

tallit (ditto)

tefillin (ditto; you need them only on weekdays)

siddur [prayer book]

Humash [Bible] (only on Shabbat, holidays, Monday and Thursday)

The last two items can usually be found in bookcases either right before you enter the room or right after. In some shuls the siddurim (plural of siddur) are placed on each seat, and the Bibles are given out by the usher just before the Torah service begins. In some traditional shuls you dont take a humash from the bookcase until the time for the Torah reading. In such shuls you simply amble over to the bookcase at that time (along with everyone else) and pick one up.

The tallit (and/or tefillin) can be put on either before entering the room or when you get to your seat (the latter is usually the case with tefillin).The kippah is put on before entering the room.

In most synagogues you can sit wherever you like. If you are there for a simhajoyous occasionsuch as a bar/bat mitzvah, an usher may show you to the area where the family and relations are sitting.

If it is an Orthodox synagogue, remember that men and women sit in separate areas.

In a few synagogues the regular members have customary seats. Sometimes there are seat plaques to indicate such seats; at other times you just have to step (sit) carefully. Often you will be told which areas are open territory The eastern wall (the wall with the ark) is a place of honor in old-style synagogues, and in general you shouldnt just wander over and sit down there.

More here:
Entering a Synagogue – My Jewish Learning

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.

More from Morning Mix:

After refusing to watch LGBT diversity video, Social Security judge sues to avoid being fired

Legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with fewer youth suicide attempts, new study finds

Michael Moore really wants to lead the Resistance

See the original post here:
After weekend of anti-Semitic acts, Clinton urges Trump to ‘speak out’ – Washington Post

White House denounces threats to Jewish centers – CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading here:
White House denounces threats to Jewish centers – CNN

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.

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

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.

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

Holocaust survivor speaks at Night to Honor Israel event in Tulsa – Tulsa World

Several thousand people turned out Sunday night to show support for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people at Tulsas annual Night to Honor Israel, held at Victory Christian Center.

It was an evening of music, in English and Hebrew, to a full choir and orchestra, dance, video and live appearances by American and Israeli leaders, prayer, and a talk by a Holocaust survivor.

Your current subscription does not provide access to this content. Please click the button below to manage your account.

Thank you for reading and relying on for your news and information. You have now viewed your allowance of free articles.

Before the service opened with the traditional blowing of the shofar, a pre-election video of President Donald Trump was played on Victorys big screens in which he said that on day one of his presidency, The days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end.

He repeated his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and said he will veto any action of the United Nations to impose its will on the nation of Israel.

The Rev. Sharon Daugherty, a pastor at Victory Christian Center and Oklahoma director of the sponsoring Christians United for Israel, said the organization puts on some 300 Nights to Honor Israel each year.

She said the organization was founded to help focus the love for Israel already found in churches.

The Rev. Calvin Battle, Destiny Church, Tulsa director of the organization, said those who attended the event were making a statement, … standing firm in solidarity with people of Israel in the time of her need.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a video praised the Christians United for Israel for their support of his nation, a nation, he said, that is a democracy that protects individual rights.

Why cant we reach an accord with the Palestinians? he said. Because their leaders refuse to recognize Israels right to exist.

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine said that every year dozens of pieces of legislation come up about Israel and Christians United for Israel makes sure that members of Congress understand where Christians stand on them.

He said in 2015 and 2016, 20 United Nations resolutions came up condemning Israel, just three or four condemning other nations of the world.

It would seem that there is a bit of confusion at the United Nations, he said.

He said he supported the Christians United for Israels effort to cutting funds to the United Nations.

And he said he would use the savings to fund missile defense for the nation of Israel.

He said he would never apologize for funding missile defense of Israel.

I believe there should be no daylight between the United States and nation of Israel, he said.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said in a video presentation that the United States is facing a new day in its relationship with Israel, with a new Trump Administration.

Its important for America to show that weve not forgotten Israel, and well always stand with them, she said.

The Rev. Paul Daugherty, senior pastor of Victory, read a letter from Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum saying he was with you in spirit.

William Wilson, Oral Roberts University president, said, We believe in Israels right to exist in the Holy Land, and we believe that Jerusalem is the capital, and in many ways, the capital of the world.

We honor our Jewish friends, and those who are entrusted with the roots of our faith, he said.

Native American Pastor Negiel Bigpond said he was once asked by an Israeli while he was visiting Israel how he could live in a nation that so mistreated the American Indians.

I said, Because I love that land. I was born there. I love every part of it. Just as you do here.

He sang a song he said his Euchee forefathers sang on the Trail of Tears.

Holocaust survivor Irving Roth, the keynote speaker, described the slow transition from a normal childhood in Czechoslovakia in the 1940s to growing persecution under the Nazis, including being banned from school and public parks.

In May, 1944, he was crowded onto a cattle car with 4,000 other Jews from his area and shipped to Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp.

A day after their arrival, 3,700 of the 4,000 people were dead, he said.

The world was transformed. Decent law-abiding, God-fearing human beings were transformed to murderers. I lived through that transformation.

{span style=text-decoration: underline;

Bill Sherman


Twitter: @bshermantulsa

The rest is here:
Holocaust survivor speaks at Night to Honor Israel event in Tulsa – Tulsa World

Our Book(s) Torah Wisdom and Instruction Jewish Theology, Pt II – Patheos (blog)

What is Torah?

As we continue our tour of Jewish theology we turn our attention to Torah. The word Torah can be translated a few ways, but instruction, as in,teaching seems most fitting.

Torah has several meanings it can refer to (1) the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures (pentateuch), (2) the entire Jewish bible, also called the Tanakh (Old Testament), or (3) all Jewish sacred writing, the Tanakh and its several hundred year commentary, the Talmud, or in the broadest sense, (4) the entirety of Jewish instruction, written and unwritten (oral) throughout Jewish history.

For the sake of this post, lets use Torah in the sense of Tanakh, but also with some reference to its broadest sense.

Jewish Reading Christian Reading

Jews and Christians dont read the Bible in the same way. (Shocking, I know.) Just as it would be arrogant and improper to speak for all Jews, the same applies to attempts to speak for all Christians. Yet some generalizations do contain useful information and aspects of the truth.

The predominant Jewish understanding of the nature of the scriptures usually leaves most Christians dissatisfied and often concerned. Most Christians have high regard for scripture, as do most Jews. But Christians, granted, not all, tend to invest a greater degree of supernatural significance in scripture than do most Jews.

This does not mean that Jews treat the scriptures without reverence or fail to consider their pivotal spiritual and religious significance. But it does mean that the texts dont always serve the same purposes. They certainly arent interpreted in the same way.

A Sense of Progressive Revelation

Most Jews have a minimal view of revelation. Our understanding of the relationship between our sacred texts and the divine is that of inspiration. Jews consider the scriptures to be the product of human effort inspired by our ancestors wrestling with how they understood God, the world, and the purpose of life.

While the Jewish community closed the canon of sacred writings that today forms the Tanakh around 200 BCE, this does not mean that Jews think revelation and inspiration the wrestling with God and meaning is over.

Torah is not merely a collection of writings; it is the ongoing process of engagement and the writings are the parameters of the Jewish conversation. To be a Jew is to be a part of this conversation and to find yourself in the narratives it offers.

Jews no longer add to the written canon. But each generation of Jews who engage Torah offer their own insights, interpretations, experiences, and meanings.

Torah contains revolutionary ideas and timeless truths the equality of all humanity, the equality of men and women, and the inherent dignity of all human life created in the image of God. It dictates love of strangers and calls for the care of the poor and the outcast. Its vision remains vital for any people who wish to be considered humane.

But doesnt Torah also promote violence, killing, the subjugation of women, killing gay people, and even genocide?


Jews believe its their responsibility to find ways of engaging iron-aged myths with what some might call postmodern thinking.What is required iscritical navet the ability to recognize myth for what it is, move beyond the literal concerns, and then, with updated knowledge, engage the myth allowing the text to newly inform, engage, and transform us.

Its up to Jews today to determine how Torah is read and applied, what narratives become foundational, and what values to embrace.The process of Torah is progressive, not static. We are not bound by our ancestors views, but we must at least first wrestle with them to be faithful to the conversation and their experiences.

Seeking wisdom is a continuous process, confined to no one group and to no one age. We are to apply the texts to our current realities with both the text and our current understanding of reality in dialog, neither trumping the other.

The texts are living and meant to speak to every generation. To do so, each generation must engage the texts in an ongoing conversation. Every Jew has a voice in this conversation and a role in Torahs ongoing reinterpretation.

Why Write Torah?

Torah was written to create a culture and a people. It was written to give a sacred narrative to a new, and ongoing community. It was written to convey a sacred history and story in which those who came after could connect with those who went before. It was written to convey wisdom to the generations to come.

The Jews were a collection of wandering tribes who came together to form a community centered in a sacred story and set of values and practices. Religion binds people together and Judaism emerged as these tribes of unrelated peoples came together to form something better.

Torah was written over a nearly 2,000 year period. As modern scripture scholarship demonstrates, it had multiple authors and most sections have been edited and added to, multiple times, by later, often disagreeing, generations. Some stories are told twice, with slight differences.

The Bible contains a mixture of writing styles and genres. It combines history remembered with history metaphorized, expressing sacred myths that are primarily sweeping spiritual statements, providing context for answers (but not necessarily the answers themselves) to lifes basic questions. Contrary to the assertions of some Orthodox Jews, Moses did not write Torah.

Jewish identity is significantly rooted in Torah. Torah contains our mythic narrative and a common history that unites us. The scriptures offer us a set of shared ancestors, formative events (Abraham leaving Ur, the exodus, exile and return) as well as our particular holidays and ways of marking time. There would be no Shabbat, no Passover, and no Rosh Hashanah, without Torah.

Torah offers insights into humane, Jewish values that have been embraced by most of the Western world and beyond. The dignity of each person, the inherent goodness of creation, the primacy of love and justice, the value of compassion, the importance of mercy, the directives to care for the needy and draw in the marginalized are all ongoing themes of Torah.

Love your neighbor as yourself, welcome the stranger, pursue justice, practice kindness would the human family not have realized these values without Torah? This moral vision is accessible by reason, so Torah may not be strictly necessary, but the writings offer powerful stories that stay with a person, become a permanent part of our spiritual imagination, and inform us as a people.

Torah is the mythical foundation, the sacred history, and the collective wisdom of the Jewish worldview.

How to Read Torah

From the liberal Jewish perspective (the perspective of over 75% of todays Jews and Jewish scholars) Torah is not inerrant, infallible, or even divinely authored it is a collection of inspired writings that recorded our ancestors understandings of the divine and their wrestling with the meaning of life.

The texts were not meant to serve primarily as historical or scientific documents (at least according to how we today, understand those disciplines), and their moral application must be subtly, culturally applied. Since Torah consists of many viewpoints, and sometimes contradictory ones, our reading is always selective.

Literal readings render the core myths irrelevant and distract from the narrative.

A large part of the way of reading Torah is what Jews call midrash.Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical text.

Midrash can involve new ways of applying old texts or giving old texts new meanings. It can also involve a re-telling of the original story, adding layers of depth and meaning not easily seen in the original. Midrash flows from a sense of progressive revelation.

Written by rabbis both steeped in Bible and absorbed by the Jewish questions of their time, works of midrash aggadah often occupy the meeting ground between reverence and love for the wording of the fixed text of the Torah, and theological creativity. Midrashic writings thus often yield religious insights that have made Torah directly applicable to later Jewish realities, especially the concerns of its authors. Some of what midrash aggadah yields is insight into the burning, sometimes time-bound questions of those who wrote it. Still, the interpretations produced often have more universal and timeless application to our, or any, generation.

The Bigger Picture

Historical context matters. The scriptures of the Roman world were the Iliad and the Aeneid mythic narratives that portrayed the salvation of the world found in Roman conquest and the path of peace residing in submission to Rome.

Understanding this ancient worldview and its scriptures helps us understand the remarkable, radical nature of the narrative that replaced them the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian writings.

The new narrative(s) accepted by the West told of salvation through love and mercy and peace through nonviolence. It portrayed the new order of divine love as superior to the Empire of Military Will to Power.

The Torah contains many ideas and moral notions that are rightly rejected genocide, patriarchy, sexism, divinely-sanctioned violence, holy war, misogyny, outdated views on sexuality and marriage, and remnants of an ancient worldview that lacked the benefit of todays scientific, psychological, and historical knowledge.

Despite this necessary filtering, the Biblical writings contain a core of insights that still ring true and animate contemporary Western culture and spiritual practice.

The Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Usage

If theres any truth to the notion of Jewish chosenness, its the call within Torah for Jews to be a light unto the nations. Jews have historically interpreted this call as involving our bringing the concepts of monotheism and a certain moral genius to the Western world, and beyond. We Jews dont always live up to our ideals, but we still must offer them.

The early Christian community, largely emerging from the broader Jewish community, took the Hebrew scriptures as their own, and adapted them, largely through midrash, to their own purposes. And most Jews feel this is a very good thing it helps us fulfill our unique call and role in history. (We dont mind you using them, really.)

Christians have midrashically read the Hebrew scriptures, finding ways to see Jesus in the texts, retelling old stories with new meaning, and adopting the texts to explain the nature of their covenant with God or their being enfolded into the broader Jewish covenant depending on your theological viewpoint.

In my opinion, many Christians would benefit from adapting some of the Jewish approach to the scriptures. Far too many Christians are stuck in forms of literalism and proof-texting that rob the texts of their vitality and power. The texts are for us we are not for the texts to paraphrase a particular Jewish reformer.

Allow me to recommend a superb book on how to make sense of Torah and the Jewish scriptures. How to Read the Jewish Bible by Marc Brettler is one of the best works out there.

Let me also suggest much of the work of Rabbi Rami Shapiro. These articles of his give you a flavor of his excellent work Our Story, and A Tribe of Story Tellers. Also, Turning Torah is another sample of his approach an approach well worth adopting.

Questions? Reactions? Disagreements? Bring them on happy to engage.

More here:
Our Book(s) Torah Wisdom and Instruction Jewish Theology, Pt II – Patheos (blog)

Israel And US-The Need For A Strategic Coordination – Huffington Post

PM Netanyahu is now in Singapore, being warmly accepted by one of Israels old Asian allies, a country whose success story owes also to years of close cooperation with Israel on many levels. His next stop will be Australia. A very friendly country, and altogether, the Israeli leader is doing these days what he has done for some years, solidifying and diversifying Israels foreign relations. It may not look like that, but regardless of the debacle in the UN Security Council, Israels international stature is on the rise. Even that fiasco was largely due to the Obama Administration settling scores with Israel, and the signal it gave to some other countries that they can do likewise. While cynics in Israel suggest, that the PM will fly even to the North Pole in order to evade some police questioning and Left-Wing media scrutiny, the fact is, that he can rightly boast, that his growing international reach bears fruits to the country. It helps put in perspective talks about boycott of Israel, BDS and otherwise. The last quarter of 2016 registered a GDP growth of 6.2% in Israel. Not bad at all, to say the very least.

With that in mind, it is the case, that Israel, while building new relationships in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Balkans in Europe, still needs to have its historic alliance with the US being restored after the damage caused by the eight years of Obama-Netanyahu feud. It is America, the no.1 super power of the world, even in the era of renewed isolationist talk, which matters the most, and surely when it comes to Israels regional situation. It is here, where Netanyahu faces his biggest challenge. How to tie better relationships with the US, to an overall strategic alliance which will encompass also other regional partners and will serve simultaneously the interests of the US, Israel and some important Arab countries. Under Obama , both focal points of Americas regional policy were against Israels interests. First, Obama was obsessed with the ambition to be the peacemaker between Israel and the Palestinians. He seemed to put the onus almost entirely on the former, while absolving the latter from any responsibility and accountability. The question of settlements was chosen to be the sticking point with Israel, and the tone has made the music, and it was bad to Israeli ears, as Israel was constantly targeted for criticism . Alongside the appeasement towards the Palestinians, the Obama Administration was engaged in a strategy of appeasement towards Iran, a policy which not only has greatly soured relations with Israel, but also undermined US relations with Saudi Arabia and other states, all fearing Iran much more than fearing Israel. With regard to Egypt, the Obama Administration engaged in appeasement towards the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, another bone of contention between the US and many regional actors. Here is the Trump Administration offering Israel a golden opportunity to reconstruct what was so meticulously demolished by Obama. The Palestinians are called to account, they will not have the UN as an automatic vote machine against Israel, and on top of all that, their problem can be discussed with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, because all these states want a solution to the Palestinian issue, but even more so, they want a much weakened Iran. The strategic priority here is Iran, while Mahmoud Abbas is downgraded to a second role. The carrot offered to the Palestinians is, that the Trump Administration still resists Israeli settlements expansion, and the stick is, that they can realistically aspire to get anything ONLY through the active participation of the US , and Arab countries in the negotiations. It will be less than anything they could get through binding UNSC resolutions. At the same time, US, Arab states and Israel should engage in a coherent strategy to curtail Irans Shiite regional aspirations. Syria-Lebanon is where it should start, and it means, a Syrian arrangement which is based on some form of a decentralized system, but with NO Iranian presence in the country, either direct or through Hizballah. Yes, Comrade Putin is around, he has interests and they should be addressed. He will likely be content with his achievements in Syria-Assad stays the nominal ruler in Damascus, and Russia maintains its bases in Tartus and Latakiyya, thus proving that it is loyal to its ally Assad, and that no arrangement can be done without her. Turkey, another important regional partner, can be happy without Iranian Shiite presence in Syria, and with semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Northeast Syria,but not one with virtual, though not formal independence. The Israeli angle of all that, is to create with Jordan and the Druze a security buffer in South Syria, and a free hand to handle Hizballah in Lebanon, if this terror group will be tempted to create an unbearable situation along the border with Israel.

Grand designs in the Middle East are easier planned and described on the drawing board than being implemented, and this is the lesson of decades. Trying is usually better than being passive, and now there is the time when such a try should be in place, and with a reasonable chance of success, as now there exists something which was missing until now- a genuine joint and simultaneous interest for the US, Arab states AND Israel. One which can still benefit the Palestinians and not work against Russia. Israel under Netanyahu seems to be a vital partner in that happening, and that in itself is a great achievement to Israel.

Read more here:
Israel And US-The Need For A Strategic Coordination – Huffington Post

‘The time has come to recognise Palestine’: Kevin Rudd reveals his ‘deepest fear’ – The Sydney Morning Herald

London: Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says the “time has come”for Australia to recognise Palestine, saying his deepest fear is the “drifting towards the disintegration and death of an independent Palestinian state,” which he warns wouldfuel new radicalisation in the Middle East.

And in a sharp rebuke to both Israel and US President Donald Trump, who appeared to up-end decades of US foreign policy by signalling that he would accept a one-state solution, Mr Rudd said it was critical that Australia, as a close friend to both Israel and the US, underlinethat abandoning the two-state solution would be”unacceptable.”

Play Video Don’t Play

Play Video Don’t Play

Previous slide Next slide

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday. Trump encouraged a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Play Video Don’t Play

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as Jane Roe in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling legalising abortion, died on Saturday at the age of 69, a journalist close to McCorvey said.

Play Video Don’t Play

25-year-old Rohingya woman Jamalida Begum feared for her life after telling journalists how she and other women had been raped by military personnel.

Play Video Don’t Play

Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made Pangolins one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

Play Video Don’t Play

US President Donald Trump appears to be treating the search for a new national security adviser like an episode of his reality TV show The Apprentice.

Play Video Don’t Play

The optical illusion at Horsetail Fall in California that’s a challenge to capture.

Play Video Don’t Play

Jay Y. Lee has been arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led South Korea’s parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

Play Video Don’t Play

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has issued a rallying cry for people to change their minds on the decision to leave the EU.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday. Trump encouraged a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, Mr Rudd,who is Munich attending a global security conference, said he also feared a third Intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Mr Rudd’s call comesahead ofBenjamin Netanyahu’shistoric visit to Australia the first ever by a serving Israeli prime ministerwhich begins onWednesday.

It also follows Israel’s move to build thousands of new houses in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.Israel in recent weeks has also passed a bill retrospectivelylegalising 4,000 homes on privately owned Palestinian land.

Alarmed by Mr Trump’s readiness to abandon decades of diplomatic efforts to secure a two-state solution to the conflict during Mr Netanyahu’s visit to Washington last week, Mr Rudd said the time for weasel words from Australia was over.

“My deepest fear is we are drifting towards the disintegration and death of an independent Palestinian state. This would be a tragedy for both the Palestinian and Israeli people,” he said.

The former foreign minister said he had spoken at length withMrNetanyahuand Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the years about resolving the conflict.

“For Israel, the isolation of Palestine and the removal of the prospect of both land and statehoodmay well lead to the re-radicalisation of the Palestinian people,” he said.

“I deeply fear the possibility of a third Intifada.And so, the time has come for Australia to join countries like Sweden and the Holy See in formally recognising the Palestinian state.

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

Mr Rudd is the second former Labor prime minister and third respected party elderto call for Palestine to be recognised, with Bob Hawke and former foreign minister Gareth Evans also issuing statements in recent days.

And so, the time has come for Australia to join countries like Sweden and the Holy See in formally recognising the Palestinian state.

The Labor party’s platform supports a two-state solution, but says if there is no progress on the issue by the time the party is next in office it “will discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognised Palestine and announcing the conditions and timelines for the Australian recognition of a Palestinian state.”

Support within the parliamentary caucus has been on the rise in recent years, and was most evident when in 2012, former foreign minister Bob Carr rolled the then prime minister Julia Gillard in Cabinet on her opposition to Palestine winning a seat at the United Nations.

Mr Rudd stressed that as prime minister and a former foreign minister, hehad been a friend to both Palestine and Israel, having increased aid to Palestine and supported Israel’s right to exist behind safe borders.

But he said there could be no abandonment of a two-state solution, as MrTrump said last week, when he signalled he would accept a one-state solution if both parties agreed on deal.

“I’m looking at two-state and at one-state and I like the one that both parties like,” Mr Trump said.

“I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly if [Mr Netanyahu] and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

Mr Trump’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haleysaid later the US still supported the two-state solution but added “we are thinking out of the box as well.”

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

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

Mr Rudd said the Israeli Knesset’s law legalising large scale settlements in occupied Palestinian territory “fundamentally undermines the prospect of a two-state solution” by downgrading the amount of territory a future independent Palestine could hope to own.

That move has sparked fierce opposition in Australia to Mr Netanyahu’s visit, with dozens of political, business, religious figures along with lawyers and academicscalling for the Israeli prime minister to stay at home.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia supports a two-state solution, but hisForeign Minister Julie Bishop has said Australia would have split with the United States and New Zealand to vote against a resolution the United Nations Security Counciresolutionpassed in the dying days of the Obama administrationcondemning illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian land. Australia was not forced to make this decision as it did not have a seat on the SecurityCouncilat the time.

Follow Latika Bourke on Facebook

See the article here:
‘The time has come to recognise Palestine’: Kevin Rudd reveals his ‘deepest fear’ – The Sydney Morning Herald

In reviewing ‘Hobby Lobby’ opinion, Jews see reasons to diverge over Neil Gorsuch – The Times of Israel

WASHINGTON (JTA) On June 27, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver, handed down a decision that would make history a year later when it was upheld by the Supreme Court: Closely held corporations have the same religious freedom rights as individuals.

The majority decision in the case then-called Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, 67 pages long, had attached to it several concurrences, including one of 18 pages by Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch was nominated last month by President Donald Trump to the vacant Supreme Court position. Now Jewish groups are closely reading his concurrence to understand how this noted conservative would treat church-state issues.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby (to become known as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby by the time it reached the Supreme Court in 2014) split a Jewish community that just 20 or so years earlier reached rare consensus supporting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Jewish groups welcomed and lobbied for RFRA, which was passed in 1993 because it allowed for consideration of religion when a law substantially burdens belief.

Prompted by a 1990 Supreme Court ruling that religious beliefs must always defer to the law of the land, the measure helped ease zoning laws that burdened the construction or expansion of synagogues, protected observant Jews who were not available to work on Saturday and enabled a Jewish inmate to successfully sue the Florida prison system for kosher meals.

Illustrative photo of a Hobby Lobby branch in Mansfield, Ohio. (photo credit: CC BY Fan of Retail/Flickr)

Hobby Lobby argued and the appellate and Supreme Court agreed that RFRA entitled it, a corporation, to a similar exemption that the Obama administration was extending to religious nonprofits. Under the exemptions, religious nonprofits could opt out of a government mandate that required companies providing their employees with health care to include contraceptive coverage.

Liberal Jewish groups backed the government in arguing that applying religious freedoms to a commercial enterprise mocked the principle that RFRA was meant to protect individuals from more powerful interests. Orthodox Jewish groups backed Hobby Lobby, saying that employers and employees deserved similar freedoms.

Gorsuchs concurrence, joined by two other judges on the appellate court, took the majoritys decision in two additional directions:

As the Greens explain their complaint, the ACAs mandate requires them to violate their religious faith by forcing them to lend an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong, Gorsuch wrote, referring to the Affordable Care Act. As they understand it, ordering their companies to provide insurance coverage for drugs or devices whose use is inconsistent with their faith itself violates their faith, representing a degree of complicity their religion disallows.

Thats the line he understood his faith to draw when it came to complicity in war-making, an activity itself forbidden by his faith, Gorsuch wrote.

The Supreme Court acknowledged this line surely wasnt the same many others would draw, and that it wasnt even necessarily the same line other adherents to the plaintiffs own faith might always draw. But the Court proceeded to hold that it was not, is not, the place of courts of law to question the correctness or the consistency of tenets of religious faith, only to protect the exercise of faith. No different result can reasonably follow here.

Demonstrators in Washington celebrate the US Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, June 30, 2014. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/via JTA)

JTA asked Jewish groups and individuals who closely watched Hobby Lobby to reread Gorsuchs concurrence and share what lessons they could draw about Trumps pick to fill the seat left open by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Here are some of their impressions:

Deborah Lauter, the senior vice president at the Anti-Defamation League, which joined amicus briefs against Hobby Lobby, noted that the ADL originally supported RFRA. The ADL agreed with Gorsuch when he wrote that [t]he Act doesnt just apply to protect popular religious beliefs: it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs.

ADL, however, has serious concerns with the remaining substance of the concurrence, she wrote in an email. It appears to exceed the US Supreme Courts overly broad interpretation of RFRA in the Hobby Lobby decision, which effectively transformed the statute into a sword for imposing religious beliefs to the detriment of others.

The concurrence would allow a plaintiff meet its evidentiary burden under RFRA by the mere subjective assertion that a federal law creates a substantial burden on religious exercise rather than requiring an objective judicial determination, a standard which other courts have applied. And once this RFRA requirement is established, plaintiffs usually prevail.

Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gather on the lawn of the Indiana State House for a rally Saturday, March 28, 2015. (photo credit: AP/Doug McSchooler)

The subjective assertion of a burden also concerned Rabbi David Saperstein, who at the time of the decision directed the Reform movements Religious Action Center, which also joined in an amicus brief against Hobby Lobby.

That kind of approach threatens to undercut the entire structure of civil rights laws and protections

Although it wasnt the main focus of his concurrence, the wording suggests that so long as a religious belief is sincerely held by a person, that answers the substantial burden requirement of RFRA, Saperstein said in an interview.

Saperstein, while cautioning it is difficult to infer sweeping conclusions about a judicial philosophy from a concurrence, said Gorsuchs views as expressed here would be of concern should Trump sign an executive order establishing sweeping religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. A draft of just such an order was obtained last month by The Investigative Fund and The Nation.

That kind of approach threatens to undercut the entire structure of civil rights laws and protections, said Saperstein, who until last month was the Obama administrations religious freedoms envoy.

Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union, which joined an amicus brief defending Hobby Lobby, said Gorsuchs reasoning should please those who belong to minority faiths.

US Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (R) meets with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticutt) (L) in Blumenthals office February 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)

Diament quoted the full passage excerpted by Lauter, in which Gorsuch argued that RFRAs most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs, vindicating this nations long-held aspiration to serve as a refuge of religious tolerance.

Protecting against such unfairness is no less compelling when dealing with employers

This is the kind of thinking and jurisprudence we should want to see from a Supreme Court justice, Diament said in an email.

Abba Cohen, the Washington director of the haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America, in an email also alluded to Gorsuchs argument strongly affirming that sincerity, not popularity, is the judicial yardstick. He also admired how Gorsuch extended RFRA not just to the corporation, but to the individuals who own it.

Advocates often talk about the evil of forcing upon employees the Hobsons choice between religion and livelihood, but Judge Gorsuch reminds us that protecting against such unfairness is no less compelling no less personal when dealing with employers, he said. Agudah filed a brief in defense of Hobby Lobby in the case.

Agudath Israel rabbinical leader Rabbi Yaakov Perlow speaking on May 27, 2014 in New York City. (photo credit: YouTube screen capture)

Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon, who have advocated for Trump and his nominees in Jewish publications including JTA, said in an email that by upholding of the rights of the Greens as individual employers not to assist employees in what they regard as sinful behavior, Gorsuchs concurrence comports with Jewish teachings as well as with precedent.

He opened with a sensitive reminder of a concept central to Jewish law and morality that modern society often forgets: For some, religion provides an essential source of guidance both about what constitutes wrongful conduct and the degree to which those who assist others in committing wrongful conduct themselves bear moral culpability, Abramson and Ballabon wrote in an email, quoting Gorsuch.

The Torah itself prohibits putting a stumbling block before a blind person (Leviticus 19:24), a metaphor for enabling someone elses violation. There are both Biblical and Rabbinic Jewish laws that forbid assisting someone who is committing a sin, they wrote.

There are both Biblical and Rabbinic Jewish laws that forbid assisting someone who is committing a sin

Ilana Flemming, the advocacy manager for Jewish Women International, which joined an amicus brief opposing Hobby Lobby, said that Gorsuchs ruling made employees vulnerable to sudden changes in their coverage should there be a change in ownership.

If the owners change, then the beliefs change, and the new owners could bring a claim, she said in an interview.

That coupled with the rights extended to corporations under the Supreme Courts interpretation of RFRA in its 2014 ruling disempowers employees, Flemming said.

It gives the company owners an enormous amount of leeway and power to object to presumably any health care service, drawing a broad exemption, where a company owner or the corporation itself can claim a religious objection that has a real impact on what health care an employee can access, she said.

That also was a concern for Jody Rabhan, the director of Washington operations for the National Council of Jewish Women, which also filed an amicus brief against Hobby Lobby. She said Gorsuchs thinking reflected a trend among conservative justices to favor businesses over employees.

Supporters of National Council of Jewish Women and other Jewish organizations come together on the National Mall for the Womens March on Washington, January 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs via JTA)

It is a dangerous trend and is a big reason NCJW came out in opposition to his nomination, Rabhan said in an interview. No one should get their bosss approval to do what she believes is right for herself, her body, her family.

Marc Stern, the American Jewish Committees general counsel, said rereading Gorsuch reminded him of the culture wars that troubled him at the time of the Supreme Court fight.

AJC had sought a middle ground, filing an amicus brief on the governments behalf, but avoiding the difficult arguments ADL and the other groups engaged in about the place of the government in the practice of religion. Instead, AJC said there was a compelling government interest in providing health coverage, including contraceptives.

The gap in moral perceptions is now so great that most people on either side of it dont understand the other side, Stern said. Its why people were talking by each other and there was really no way the Obama administration could make everybody happy.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at a news conference on Capitol Hill, February 1, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/via JTA)

View original post here:
In reviewing ‘Hobby Lobby’ opinion, Jews see reasons to diverge over Neil Gorsuch – The Times of Israel

Holocaust and Survival (or, Auschwitz vs. Babi Yar) – Patheos (blog)

About 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust. This figure is sometimes cited as between 5 and 6 million because of the differences between known deaths and the results of estimates and calculations (see Wikipedias discussion of totals). Virtually the whole of the Jewish population of Poland, the Baltics, and those parts of the Soviet Union occupied by the Nazis were swept away, utterly annihilated. For example, as youll recall frommy post the other day, less than3% of Polish Jews actually survived within Nazi-occupied territory; the remainder survived only due to Stalins deportations.

And yet the story of the Holocaust, as we in the West know it, is one of survival. We have Elie Wiesels narrative, Night. Schindlers List. My son recently had a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and, as is their practice where possible, it was led by a survivor (though with something of a different story her family had fled to Shanghai). It rather seems to me that even Anne Franks diary we think of as a survival narrative at least, I recall thinking of it in those terms: reading the postscript that she died only a few short weeks prior to liberation, and thinking she was so close to surviving.

In general, the survivor narrative is considered to be crucial to understanding the Holocaust, and teaching about the Holocaust, and every now and again you come across articles worrying about the future of Holocaust education now that the survivors are aging and dying.

And thats why I was stunned to read that there were two survivors of the death factory that was Belzec. (p. 474 in Final Solution by David Cesarani, which I still have checked out from the library). In the Babi Yar massacre, 29 survived the massacre. (This comes from Wikipedia, and the footnote is a bad link. Whether these 29 are all people who played dead and climbed out of the pits, or includes Jews in Kiev who didnt report as ordered, or escaped the line somewhere along the way, isnt clear.)

Theres a high school world history textbook online. What does it have to say? One page on the beginnings of persecution in Germany, and Kristallnacht. One page that the Jews sought refuge elsewhere, and that they were placed in ghettos. The third page, on the final solution says that killing squads killed, and other Jews were rounded up and taken to concentration camps/slave-labor prisons. Then selections began at Auschwitz, and women, young children, the old, and the sick were killed. (This sentence is poorly constructed; from what I understand, women were more likely to be judged unfit, but it was not a blanket statement as was the case with children and the elderly; whats more, this paragraph implies that all such death camps had selections as Auschwitz did.) Its pretty paltry knowledge adequate to check off a basic comprehension of the past but not sufficient to have this shape your understanding of the world.

Anyway, I was thinking about this again because of an articlethe other day about the forgotten Holocaust that is, the killings in the Soviet Union, where Of the estimated less than three million Soviet Jews who lived under Nazi occupation, only around 115,000 survived. This particular article featured a filmmakers project, and the link it gives to an article with more detailson the project, reports that in the time of the Soviet Union there was simply no research on the Holocaust something Id read elsewhere, that the idea that the Jews were in any way victimized more than the rest of the USSRs citizens wasnt permitted.

Separately, in looking for a statistic on google, I came across an extended essay from 2009 by Timothy Snyder, Holocaust: The Ignored Reality. Here are some key paragraphs from that piece:

The very reasons that we know something about Auschwitz warp our understanding of the Holocaust: we know about Auschwitz because there were survivors, and there were survivors because Auschwitz was a labor camp as well as a death factory. These survivors were largely West European Jews, because Auschwitz is where West European Jews were usually sent. After World War II, West European Jewish survivors were free to write and publish as they liked, whereas East European Jewish survivors, if caught behind the iron curtain, could not. In the West, memoirs of the Holocaust could (although very slowly) enter into historical writing and public consciousness.

This form of survivors history, of which the works of Primo Levi are the most famous example, only inadequately captures the reality of the mass killing. The Diary of Anne Frank concerns assimilated European Jewish communities, the Dutch and German, whose tragedy, though horrible, was a very small part of the Holocaust. By 1943 and 1944, when most of the killing of West European Jews took place, the Holocaust was in considerable measure complete. Two thirds of the Jews who would be killed during the war were already dead by the end of 1942. The main victims, the Polish and Soviet Jews, had been killed by bullets fired over death pits or by carbon monoxide from internal combustion engines pumped into gas chambers at Treblinka, Bezec, and Sobibr in occupied Poland.

I want to be careful not to build a strawman. If I were, it would be something like this:

Americans know about concentration camps, and gas chambers, but thats about it, but the emphasis on survivors, and survivor narratives gives them the impression that the Holocaust was indeed survivable if you were healthy enough, and young enough (but not too young), and clever enough, and had sufficient Will to Live.

Thats clearly going too far. But what Ive been reading lately makes me wonder, what are the consequences of the survivor-oriented nature of the way Americans speak about and learn about the Holocaust?

Of course, I suppose you could take a step back and ask,

What are the consequences, in general, of knowing about the Holocaust, whether a crappy high-school history version of Nazis killed Jews, then end or a more detailed understanding? How does it affect your perception of world affairs, of ethnic relations, your understanding of human nature? And how does this changed perception affect the way you live your life and the decisions you make?

And thats all Ive got for you. In a perfect world, Id find someone to hire me to read and write all day. In the real world, Ive got a load of laundry to switch out.

Image: memorial at Babi Yar.

The rest is here:
Holocaust and Survival (or, Auschwitz vs. Babi Yar) – Patheos (blog)

Features | Jewish identity in a pickle – The McGill Daily (blog)

Affirming non- and anti-Zionist Jewish people at McGill

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) McGill is a group of anti- and non-Zionist Jewish students on McGill campus.

In speaking about the origins of Zionism and contemporary anti-Semitism in this article, we have chosen to focus on the experiences and theories of European Jewry. We acknowledge the diversity of experiences, whether those are of violence or of thriving communal life, specifically in the contrasting experiences of Sephardic, Mizrachi, and other Jewish peoples. We also acknowledge the forms of violence and dispossession Zionism has imposed on these communities, like Operation Magic Carpet in Yemen, and general erasure from dominant conceptions and narratives of Judaism. For the purpose of discussing mainstream Zionism that evolved from European thinkers, as it is applied in Israel by its government, and how it manifests in North America, we are choosing to focus on Ashkenazi experiences and European political Zionism. However, we hope to acknowledge the failure of mainstream dialogue within and beyond the Jewish community to engage with non-Ashkenazi identities and histories. We hope to include these perspectives as we move forward with IJV McGills work.

A recent tweet by a student politician, which read punch a zionist today, has inflamed discussion over anti-Zionism, violence, and anti-Semitism at McGill. For many of us, this has been a difficult and turbulent time to be both a Jewish student, and an anti/non-Zionist student on campus. We would like to begin this article with the recognition that the tweet may incite violence against visibly Jewish people and Jewish communities in Montreal and beyond. We hear and support calls for the necessity of emotional, physical, and mental safety from anti-Semitic violence.

The conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism within and beyond the McGill community denies us, as young Jewish folks, the diversity of our Diasporic Jewish identities. We denounce anti-Semitism, and recognize the lived realities of the concerns expressed by the Jewish community. However, this conflation fails to recognize anti-Semitism an attack on members of the Jewish faith and peoplehood as separate from criticism of the actions of the Israeli state, in particular its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The ongoing oppression of other peoples is not a project with the right to invoke Jewish peoplehood or Diasporic Jewish claims in our names. In integrating Israel into the fabrics of our communities, the plurality of political convictions held by Jewish peoples are erased, silencing anti-Zionist voices.

The ongoing oppression of other peoples is not a project with the right to invoke Jewish peoplehood or Diasporic Jewish claims in our names.

It is vital to state that anti-Semitism was and continues to be a violent threat to Jewish people and communities worldwide and leftist anti-oppressive spaces are certainly not free from such anti-Semitism. However, it is also vital to note: modern day systemic oppression cannot be justified by historic discrimination experienced by others. In coming from histories of oppression, we are tied to social justice struggles; as Rabbi Jill Jacobs explains, the obligation to show ourselves as having experienced discrimination [] means continuously working to alleviate the suffering of others. We are a collective of young Jewish folk identifying as non- or anti-Zionists, who share principles that are grounded not only in political conviction, but also in ethical imperatives of our shared Judaism. In that sense, we define non/anti-Zionism as a spectrum of political, moral, and religious views that encompass an opposition to the Zionist project, whether it be through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state, actively fighting the notion that Israel is the Jewish homeland, or criticizing Israel for its injustices. While we each identify as non- or anti-Zionist Jews, we acknowledge that this article does not speak for all non- or anti-Zionist Jewish people.

In this piece, we aim to critically assess the Zionist theory from which todays North American Zionist communities and actions are grounded, and from which the principles embodied by the government of Israel originate. But beyond just discussing ideology, we aim to share our personal stories of how the conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has harmed us.

The obligation to show ourselves as having experienced discrimination [] means continuously working to alleviate the suffering of others.

Students identifying as Zionists have institutional resources and familial support systems at their disposal. As folk that face alienation from our greater Jewish communities and even our families for our solidarity activism, we are systematically and routinely denied these supports. We have expended tremendous emotional labour to publish our views and experiences, and ask that our Jewish identities be respected.

The Jewish State, a pamphlet published by the Jewish reporter Theodor Herzl in 1896, aimed to galvanize Jewish people to adopt a national identity and engage with the Zionist project. The text was written in the greater context of widespread anti-Semitism throughout Europe, and in the specific context of the anti-Semitic persecution of a French military captain in what is known as The Dreyfus Affair. The contemporary manifestation of anti-Semitism that Herzl responded to was new and radical; it departed from medieval myths of wicked Jewish crimes against Christian Europe, such as the alleged Jewish ritualistic murder of children, or the Blood Libels, and conspiracies against governments. As rising ethnocentric nationalism, the emergence of eugenics, and continentalism were embedded into European culture through academic acceptance and institutional normalization, so too were they embedded into anti-Semitism; the Jewish people became a singular, and more importantly, inferior ethnic group, irreconcilable with European ethnic and societal standards. Anti-Semitism pervaded all communities, from rural peasantry to the highest ranks of European intelligentsia. Violent persecution and nonviolent discrimination were widespread, and many Jewish people were denied their rights to bodily safety, economic security through employment and property, and freedom of movement. It is within this context that Herzl began his work on the Zionist project.

The Jewish people became a singular, and more importantly, inferior ethnic group, irreconcilable with European ethnic and societal standards.

At the time of its conception, Zionism and the intent to leave Europe and form a Jewish state was not a widely accepted political ideology amongst European Jewish communities. Parallel to many other settler-colonialist projects, Zionism was spearheaded by the elite in this case, the upper-class Jewish intelligentsia of Central and Western Europe. Poor, mainly Eastern European Jewish communities were largely excluded from the Zionist intellectual project, but were instead expected to perform the labour of settling the land wherever or whenever that was to be.

Diasporic Jewry were proud of their status in the European secular world whether that pride was grounded in their insular and rabbinical religious communities, their assimilation into the European intelligentsia, or their radical political work. Many of these Jewish folk did not hold an intrinsic yearning to return to Israel, as Zionists often assert. It is important to note that many disenfranchised and oppressed Eastern European Jewish folk tended to favour workers organisations like the Bund and advocated for Yiddish Socialism, a Jewish workers movement, rather than Zionism.

Poor, mainly Eastern European Jewish communities were largely excluded from the Zionist intellectual project, but were instead expected to perform the labour of settling the land wherever or whenever that was to be.

Many contemporary Jewish people have noticed, as we do, that much Zionist theory harnesses the same nationalistic, ethnocentric rhetoric utilized by the anti-Semitic European powers at the time such as the portrayal of Jewish peoples as genetically of one ethnicity or race. These similarities expanded through the political discourse of the early- and mid-1900s. However, as European powers became more threatening and violent leading into World War II, many Jews took comfort in the adoption of Jewish unity as a means for Jewish strength. However, through this process, Jewish oneness, a foundational and ancient element of Jewish religious thought: , became conflated with nationalism and Zionism. Echoing early political Zionists like Herzl, contemporary groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli government use this notion of a singular Jewish people to reinforce the myth of unanimous and unwavering Jewish support for the state. This narrative of oneness, rooted in the unification efforts of early Zionism, is a harmful tool of the Zionist project imposed to erase Jewish ethnic and lived diversity.

Contemporary Zionists draw upon the constructed concept of Jewish unity to suggest that all Jewish peoples are treated with equity within the state of Israel. However, from the initial entrance of these peoples into the land, they have been subjugated and segregated. For example, Mizrahi Jewish children were subject to unhealthy levels of radiation at the hands of Ashkenazi officials. Although the Israeli government long denied it, they recently admitted to forcefully sterilizing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women upon entering the country, and the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel experiences rates of police brutality six times higher than their communities proportion to the population in the country. From its establishment, oppression has been evident in the social fabric of Israel: day-to-day discrimination and threats of violence are a prominent component of the narratives of non-Ashkenazi Jewry who immigrate to or live in Israel.

Although the Israeli government long denied it, they recently admitted to forcefully sterilizing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women upon entering the country.

Similarly, the Zionist project responds to the Palestinian issue in a variety of ways: through the delegitimization of Palestinian people, nationhood, and citizenship, the depiction of the Palestinian people as primitive and a violent threat to the Jewish state, and the construction of a paternalistic fallacy that the State of Israel would better serve the Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves. In reality, Israeli Jewish citizens are placed in a position of institutional power and hold privilege over Palestinians; this imbalance of power manifests in a multitude of ways which systematically oppress Palestinians. Israel continues to hold Palestinian youths under administrative detention and deny youths access to education, Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes, and the Israeli government censors, arrests, and abuses Palestinian journalists and activists.

As Jewish folks with relative privilege in Israeli society, we cannot pretend to comprehend the experiences of Palestinians in occupied lands and do not wish to speak over their narratives. However, there is a discriminatory nature of Israel which we can speak to: particularly focusing on its privileging of white Ashkenazi (European) Jews and creating a class-structured society in which Soviet Jews, Sephardic Jews, Mizrachi Jews, North-African Jews, and African Jews are oppressed, marginalized and exploited. The Zionist project largely ignores the inequities of varying ethnic groups of Jewish folk in Israeli society and presents Israel as the protector of all Jews. The patriarchal saviour narrative of Israel as a safe haven for the Jewish people inspires steady Jewish Diasporic support for Zionism.

In order to further concretize Diasporic and domestic Jewish support of Zionism, the Zionist project infuses their political agenda into the architecture of Jewish religious life. However, political Zionism can be further distinguished from Judaism through some religious justifications for a Jewish Diaspora or Exile, known in the Torah as Geulah. We would like to preface these religious claims with an acknowledgement that the following is not the only true religious interpretation, but also that these views are far from fringe. Following the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, some Rabbis re-interpreted G-ds promise of the land of Israel and Judea to Abraham as a pact, and concluded that only the Messiah can rule a Jewish nation. Under this interpretation, until the Messiah is sent, humans cannot create or self-govern a Jewish state.

The patriarchal saviour narrative of Israel as a safe haven for the Jewish people inspires steady Jewish Diasporic support for Zionism.

Zionism has invaded religious practice, where those forms of prayer and practice that are centered around Israel are deemed superior. In contrast, non-Ashkenazi modes of prayer and practice are deemed impure. Zionism has, through time, modified all practices regardless of geographic or ethnic affiliation, damaging and erasing significant elements of them. Diasporic Jewish spaces and practices should not be invalidated by the Zionist project, nor should acceptance into these spaces be conditional on support of Zionist ideology.

Zionism is woven into the fabric of Jewish life and tradition, permeating familial, religious, secular, institutional, and emotional aspects of Jewish existence. Jewish day schools are the birthplace of many young Jewish folks strong Jewish identities; they are a place for teaching prayer, spreading culture, and providing a foundation for Jewish children to carry on the Jewish tradition. Unfortunately, these academic institutions use their position to perpetuate the Zionist agenda and encourage impressionable students to subscribe to Zionism. Like many other mainstream institutions, most Jewish day schools tend to erase the differences between a Zionist identity and a Jewish identity. Furthermore, Zionist conditioning occurs in the home, where Jewish families will preach their support and love for Israel as a distant homeland.

Hanna*, who grew up in a Russian Jewish family in the U.S., recounts her story of the pickle jar:

It was the second night of Passover: I had just sung the four questions, our plates were dotted with red wine, our bellies audibly growling. As the Seder came to a close, my mother left to carry steaming bowls of matzo ball soup in from the kitchen. She also brought a large pickle jar to the table. As my relatives began to slurp, the pickle jar was passed around, and it came to me. My eyes fell to its label: Made in Israel. My mother and I made eye contact as I passed the jar to my brother. Shocked, she said in her heavy Russian accent, Youre not eating pickles? I was ashamed, and angered. I thought to myself, there are so many varieties on the shelf, mama why choose Israeli imported pickles? How was I to explain my logic of abstaining, or my involvement in the boycott of Israeli products at the dinner table, in front of my grandparents? And who was I? A privileged girl, born to immigrant parents, who could choose what to eat, and choose to politically disengage from certain brined foods. Had I taken it too far? I myself, was in a pickle. The post-dinner kitchen clean up was icy, and my pickle-refusal has come up again, many times, as proof of me turning my back on our past. Yet again, Jewish culture was being placed inside an Israeli pickle jar.

Hadar*, a member of IJV McGill and a Jewish day school graduate, explains that her experience with Zionist indoctrination started in kindergarten:

With a Zionist Israeli father and a Zionist Canadian mother, I was enrolled in a Zionist institution by the ripe age of three. As a young girl, I recall looking up to Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers with pride and hoping to join them one day in defence of my country. Throughout elementary school, we performed plays about the state of Israel, wrote short stories about summers in Tel Aviv, and sang songs expressing our emotional connection to Zion. I distinctly recall an experience that I had in grade four: our Hebrew instructors decided to take a break from studying dik-duk, or grammar, to screen a film. We saw Kershners 1977 Raid on Entebbe; a film depicting the historical hijacking of an Air France aircraft by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. As an impressionable Jewish child, this film and our discussion of it thoroughly frightened me and taught me to fear Muslim-appearing peoples and erased the necessary context of Palestinian resistance to conditions of oppression. I have since worked to unlearn this early Islamophobia, but so much of my elementary schooling and domestic environment conditioned me to view Muslim Arabs as inherently bad and Israeli Zionists as ultimately heroic.

I recall looking up to Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers with pride and hoping to join them one day in defence of my country.’

Continuing on with my Zionist activism, I joined my day schools own AIPAC club, assumed a leadership role in it, and travelled to Washington D.C. to lobby for the pro-Israel super-PAC. I didnt buy into it unequivocally I questioned the Islamophobic speakers and presentations and was wary of evangelical Christians that preached their support for AIPAC but I felt proud, empowered, and part of a larger purpose. I admired the Columbia and Barnard students that led a workshop on combating anti-Zionism in which they implied that this work also combated anti-Semitism on college campuses. I struggled with my connection to Judaism in a religious sense, but I thought that I had finally found my place in the Jewish community; my Zionism was my Judaism.

In Beit Knesset (temple), school, summer camp, and extra-curriculars, I was conditioned to unequivocally support Israel. After reading about the atrocities of Operation Protective Edge, when over 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli airstrikes, I completely abandoned my Zionism by the start of grade 11. I knew that my morals and my values hadnt a shred in common with those of the Zionists, who could avert their eyes from or even justify the massacre. Through interaction with anti-oppressive Jewish communities that acted as alternatives to my Jewish school community, I realised my Judaism once more and reclaimed my Zionist-free identity. However, my immediate community was still Zionist. I sat through my mandatory Israel-Advocacy course as a senior in high school as a mishloach, or representative, from Israel came to inspire us to further support Israel. He asked: Is Israel a racist country? Expecting an overwhelming NO, I raised my hand and curtly answered, yes. My fellow students looked at me in awe, processed my answer, and raised their hands to agree with me. I turned to our mishloach; Id never seen a more shocked look on someones face.

He asked: Is Israel a racist country? Expecting an overwhelming NO, I raised my hand and curtly answered, yes.’

To this day, my views would be met with the same shocked look coupled with an accusation of being a self-hating Jew at any given Zionist institution. I beg these Zionist organisations to validate and acknowledge that yes, anti-Zionist Jews exist and we are proud of it. I hope for non-Zionist spaces in which Jews can practise. I hope for Jewish schools that do not condition their students to support Israel. However, spaces on college campuses like Independent Jewish Voices are a step in the right direction for the creation of Jewish communities free of Zionist ideology.

Reba*, an IJV McGill member, recounts her journey towards separating Zionism from her Jewish identity:

In pursuing an active Jewish identity in the Diaspora, I am repeatedly confronted by a frustrating message that Jewish fulfillment is only possible in Israel. It was only recently, in the past couple of years, that I felt able to call myself religious even though I have no intentions of associating my Jewish identity with Zionism. My whole life, I learned that I should feel the most Jewish and the most at home when in Israel, despite its distance and difference from anywhere Ive lived long-term. I grew up being taught that the true uniting force of Jews all around the world was a shared ground, a sovereign land. I now find this argument, that is extremely normalized in Jewish communities, offensive and invalidating to the work I do in the Jewish community in the Diaspora. When I spent nine months living in Israel at the age of 18, I was still confused about how Judaism could mean so many different things to different people, yet by living within certain borders, we were fulfilling the most important Jewish demand. It angers me that Zionist rhetoric conflates a religious, spiritual identity with nationalism. As I have personally stopped holding nationalist ideology and supporting borders, Zionism sits in contradiction with more and more of my personal values.

Ive always connected to Jewish texts, holidays, and practices, and felt satisfied as an active member of Jewish communities in Montreal and Vancouver. However, the conflation of Judaism with Zionism gives rise to a disappointing erasure of Jewish practice and culture that occurs in the Diaspora independently from Israel. Consequently, claims of anti-Semitism in the face of anti-Zionist efforts have struck me as reductive and misguided. In response to criticisms of Israel, Jewish communities will tend to defend the rights and safety of Jews. If we are trying to defend the rights and safety of Jews, why is there not a more inclusive, diverse Jewish community on campus? Why dont we recognize the role of Yiddish and Arabic in Jewish history? Why dont we promote celebrations of Jewish holidays outside of Ashkenazi, European practices?

If we are trying to defend the rights and safety of Jews, why is there not a more inclusive, diverse Jewish community on campus? Why dont we promote celebrations of Jewish holidays outside of Ashkenazi, European practices?

Furthermore, conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism allows for an acceptance and ignorance of Israels violations of human rights. Rising to protect the rights and safety of Jews in response to anti-Zionism ignores Israels settler-colonialist oppression and violence. These kinds of responses have often left me wondering what Israel Zionist groups even support, since the country they choose to defend is an idealized, peaceful land of milk and honey so very far from the brutal reality on the ground. Zionist structures will often pick and choose what parts of Israel they portray and validate; on Birthright trips, for example, Israeli tourism is glorified and violence is hidden. Continuing to live with such a narrow understanding of Israel will only continue the oppression of Palestinian people. Jews must be honest with themselves about Israel, for its violations of human rights does warrant a global response that is not inherently anti-Semitic.

Recently, the Algemeiner, a Jewish and Zionist paper, named McGill as one of the worst universities for Jewish students in North America. The article argues that the McGill student body largely supports BDS, and is therefore anti-Semitic and hostile toward Jews. Due to its refusal to publish Zionist articles, The McGill Daily has been accused of anti-Semitism by the Algemeiner, as well as in articles by Bnai Brith Canada, McGill Hillel, Honest Reporting, and other Zionist organisations. This criticism is rooted in the above conflation, as Zionist is assumed as Jewish, and thus criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. This continues to silence non/anti-Zionist Jewish voices many of which have appeared in the pages of The Daily. By clarifying the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, we would like to show that such accusations of anti-Semitism against The Daily are baseless, and that refusing to publish Zionist opinions is compatible with an anti-oppressive mandate.

This criticism is rooted in the above conflation, as Zionist is assumed as Jewish, and thus criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism.

Dominant narratives that conflate Zionism with Judaism result in the marginalization and negation of these non or anti-Zionist Jewish voices. At McGill, Jewish community groups either take an assumed Zionist stance or are apolitical which means upholding the status quo of conflating Zionist and Jewish identities. Apart from Independent Jewish Voices McGill, there is no other non/anti-Zionist Jewish group on campus organising around and speaking openly against Zionist abuses of power. Furthermore, there is not a single other Jewish institution on campus which has committed to a radical anti-oppressive mandate. Radical Jewish folks are left without the familial, communal, material, financial, and institutional support or resources with which to create radical Jewish spaces. Even when recognized, the non/anti-Zionist Jew identity continues to be a taboo on campus, which IJV McGill seeks to deconstruct and combat. The emergence of IJV McGill and non/anti-Zionist spaces for Jews echoes a growing transnational Jewish resistance movement, which includes organisations like Jewish Voice for Peace in the U.S. or Jewdas in the UK.

Independent Jewish Voices McGill is here to affirm that we will not be silenced. Opposing Zionism, an oppressive and violent execution of colonisation, is not an act of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, we aim to challenge the unquestioned harm inflicted on Jewish folks and communities by the Zionist project. We are proud Jewish folks who stand in solidarity with Palestine, the Daily, and criticisms of Israel and Zionism.

*names have been changed.

To contact the McGill Students Chapter of Independent Jewish Voices, email

Follow this link:
Features | Jewish identity in a pickle – The McGill Daily (blog)

ADL leaders condemn Trump’s reaction to anti-Semitic incidents … – Cleveland Jewish News

Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation Leagues center on extremism, told an audience of 140 people at the ADL Cleveland regions annual meeting at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood on Feb. 16 that by not condemning anti-Semitic and hateful incidents in the U.S., extremists feel emboldened by President Donald Trumps administration.

“They feel like they can spread their messages on campus, they are being interviewed in the media all the time, they feel like the president of the United States is talking to them and saying it’s ok, even if he’s not really saying that,” said Segal, who is based in New York City and visited Cleveland for the event. What the administration is signaling to us is they only care about one form of extremism, maybe that’s why they’re not answering questions about anti-Semites, I’m not sure.

The talk was hours after Trump, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., was asked by an Orthodox Jewish reporter how the government will act to stop the anti-Semitic incidences across the U.S., specifically the more than 60 bomb threats to Jewish community centers in recent weeks. According to The New York Times, the reporter said he was not accusing Trump of being anti-Semitic, however, Trump called the reporters question repulsive and very insulting and did not address the anti-Semitic incidences.

The focus of Segals talk was The Current Landscape of Hate and Extremism in the U.S, and was also on the same day the ADL released a report that 2016 was the second deadliest year since 1970 (the first year for which the ADL has data) in domestic extremism-related deaths. With 69 recorded deaths related to domestic extremism, 2016 was second only to 1995 the year of the Oklahoma City bombing. That result is largely due to Orlandos Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016.

“It is not good news that all these folks feel emboldened in this time and place right now. White supremacists feel like they have a champion in the highest office, Segal said. He added that although the Islamic State is losing territory, they feel emboldened because they have also in the highest office in this country, somebody who is creating propaganda toward them.”

Segal, while noting that all types of extremist groups are responsible for killings in the U.S., data shows white supremacists are statistically more violent in the long term.He discussed how the internet makes it easier for all hate groups to harass and harm people, citing white supremacists harassing Jewish journalists on Twitter and ISIS sympathizers becoming emboldened from afar and carrying out attacks in their own communities.

Discussing the alt-right movement, Segal said much of it is a repackaging of white supremacist hatred and discourse.

They want to normalize their message, he said. “Breitbart is as anti-immigrant, racist and anti-Muslim of an online publication as you can imagine. And when you are anti-Muslim, racist and anti-immigrant, guess what you are an anti-Semite whether it’s in there or not, said Segal, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel and added that, (Breitbart was) actually pretty good on Israel, whatever that means.”

Anita Gray, regional director of the ADL, also told the Cleveland Jewish News that the president not knowing about bomb threats to Jewish institutions is sad and a little scary.

Anita Gray, regional director of the ADL Cleveland, speaks at the groups annual meeting.

Is he an anti-Semite? I dont think so. But he puts in Steve Bannon, he doesn’t distance himself (from anti-Semitic supporters), he doesn’t mention anti-Semitism, he doesn’t mention Jews in the Holocaust (speech), and you wonder what’s going on.”

Earlier in the day, ADL also released a statement condemning Trumps response to the question about anti-Semitic incidents at the press conference, as did the American Jewish Committee.

Also during the event, Jon Wise, chair of ADL Cleveland, during the opening remarks, went off script and voiced his concerns about the immigration ban from seven Muslim majority countries and law enforcement arresting undocumented immigrants in recent days.

Jon Wise, chair of ADL Cleveland, speaks at the annual meeting Feb. 16.

The dreamers that are living here, this is their home, these are our brothers and sisters. They should not live in fear of law enforcement and police,” he said.

Wise continued that if there was a Muslim registry in the U.S., he would join it in solidarity as a proud Jew.

“As Jews, we know, we’ve been there and done that when it came to turning our backs on refugees whose lives were in danger.

Original post:
ADL leaders condemn Trump’s reaction to anti-Semitic incidents … – Cleveland Jewish News

Why I Applaud The NFL Players Who Spoke Out Against Israel – Huffington Post

Eleven NFL players were recently invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel. Although they all initially accepted the invitation, only five ultimately made the trip. The drop in attendance was sparked by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, both of whom decidedto boycott the trip and publicly express their dissent. As an activist and longtime supporter of Palestinian rights, I applauded the move.

Sponsored by the Israeli government, the trip is part of a larger multi-million dollar Brand Israel strategy meant to distract from the countrys ongoing 50-year military occupation of Palestinian lands and consistent violation of international law. Such trips often attempt to lure celebrities, U.S. politicians, Black and Brown Americans and even students in an effort to present a sanitized image of Israel.

In a powerful statement, Bennett announced he pulled out of the trip because he wouldnt be used in such a manner, and reiterated his commitment to standing in solidarity with oppressed communities. Bennetts and Stills decision to not only back out of the trip, but also to publicly denounce it, is an important and necessary act of solidarity.

After all, if the athletes had gone on the trip, they would have likely hung out on the beaches of Tel Aviv, visited the vibrant club scene, and dined at five star restaurants, all of which tell part of the story of Israel. But more important are the parts that they would have missed.

They wouldnt have spoken to a mother whose fourteen-year-old child was arrested in the middle of the night, or the daughter who watched her father get shot by Israeli police because he looked suspicious. They wouldnt have witnessed how Palestinians are prohibited from walking on the same side of the street as Israeli settlers in Hebron, or the wired nets that line the storefronts to prevent settlers from throwing trash on Palestinians as they walk past. They wouldnt have spoken to the children in the refugee camp who were evicted from their homes which they watched bulldozers destroy to make way for new Jewish-only settlements. They wouldnt have spoken to the farmers who stand in the back of trucks for hours waiting to pass through checkpoints, or the women who have been forced to give birth at checkpoints while trying to receive medical assistance. They wouldnt have spoken to the Eritrean and Sudanese refugees who have been held in Israeli detainment camps. And they wouldnt have spoken to the Afro Palestinians who have long standing roots in the region and deep cultural and emotional ties Black Americans. In short, they wouldnt have seen anything close to the whole truth.

Shortly before their announcements to pull out of the trip, an open letter was released asking the NFL players to consider withdrawing from the delegation. The letter included signatures from renowned musicians, artists and social justice advocates, including Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, and John Carlos, known for the iconic moment when he raised his fist in the air in a Black power salute during the 1968 Olympic medal ceremony. Urging players to consider the political ramifications of attending the trip, the letter drew on the undeniable connections between the struggles faced by Black and Brown communities in the U.S., and Palestinian, Afro Palestinian, Eritrean and Sudanese communities in Israel and Palestine.

When Bennett and Stills heard and heeded this call, they joined a long tradition of athletes, artists, musicians and everyday citizens who have used the time-honored tool of boycott to protest injustice everywhere from the segregated US South, to Apartheid South Africa, to the Trump White House.

People across the US today are refusing to normalize the abnormal, refusing to look the other way while the Trump administration tramples on the rights of people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and others. Musicians refused to perform at Trumps inauguration, grassroots campaigns forced companies like Nordstrom to drop Ivanka Trumps brand and Ubers CEO to leave Trumps advisory team. Along with Michael Bennetts brother, New England Patriot Martellus Bennett, at least five other Patriots team members are taking the stand to boycott the traditional White House visit made by Super Bowl winners. This is what resistance, and solidarity, looks like.

More than a decade ago, Palestinians called on allies around the world to support their struggle for freedom, justice and equality by using boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law. Many faith groups and churches in the U.S. have done just that, including the United Methodists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. So too have numerous academic, labor, and social justice groups, includingDream Defenders (which led a historic delegation to Palestine) and the Movement for Black Lives.

According to a recent poll, 60 percent of Democrats, and 46 percent of all Americans, would support sanctions or stronger action against Israel because of illegal settlement construction. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the extreme right in Israel emboldened by Trumps administration, BDS as a political tactic is more necessary than ever to hold Israel accountable for their ongoing human rights abuses and disregard for international law.

Since Trump was sworn in, 6,000 new Jewish settlement units have been approved by Israel. In addition, Netanyahu announced he will establish the first entirely new settlement in more than 20 years. Beyond that, Israels parliament recently passed a bill legalizing under Israeli law dozens of so-called outposts on privately-owned Palestinian land.

Meanwhile, President Trump is explicitly drawing on Israeli policies -from militarized policing and racial profiling to walls designed to prevent refugees from entering the country- as part of his crackdown on the rights of the vulnerable.

Increasingly, police departments across the U.S. are going on trainings to Israel, or receiving trainings from the Israeli military. In some cases theyre also receiving weapons from Israel. The results we see unravel in the streets, as Black and Brown bodies are routinely shot down and harassed with little to no accountability. While it would unreasonable to blame Israel for state violence in the United States, the economic and military connections between the two nations demonstrate the need for deeper analysis and organized action.

In this increasingly volatile political climate, where freedom to dissent is being cracked down on in new and scary ways, it is more important than ever that we stand in solidarity with communities fighting oppression. When people are lucky enough to be in positions of power and influence, such as Bennett and Stills, its imperative they use their platforms to speak out against social injustice.Now is the time. Justice cannot wait.

Marc Lamont Hill is Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies at Morehouse College. He is the author of Nobody: Americas War on the Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.

Read the original post:
Why I Applaud The NFL Players Who Spoke Out Against Israel – Huffington Post