Rouhani: We’ll continue to support ‘Palestine’ – Arutz Sheva

Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly

Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday promised to continue to support Palestinian Arabs, calling on other Muslim nations to do so as well.

“The Iranian nation has paid a heavy price for supporting the Palestinian nation and opposition to the Zionist regime’s actions but it will continue its support with resolve and determination,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) politician Salim al-Zanoun in Tehran on Wednesday, according to the Fars news agency.

“We believe that the Muslim world should resist to restore the rights of the Palestinian nation and it should pay the needed price,” added Rouhani, who expressed confidence that the PA would succeed in fighting to defend its rights.

The meeting between the two came on the sidelines of an annual Iranian conference in support of the Palestinian Intifada.

The Hamas terrorist group has sent a delegation to participate in the conference. According to Iranian, delegations from over 80 countries are in attendance as well.

Rouhanis comments come as Iranian officials have upped their anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Irans spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for the complete liberation of Palestine and slammed the Jewish state as a cancerous tumor.

“This cancerous tumor, since its start, has grown incrementally and its treatment must be incremental too,” he said, while praising violent attacks against Israelis and arguing that they have brought Israels enemies closer to their goal of destroying the Jewish state.

“Multiple intifadas and continuous resistance have succeeded in achieving very important incremental goals, said Khamenei.

A senior Iranian official recently threatened his country would immediately strike Israel if the United States “makes a mistake”, noting that “only 7 minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv.”

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Rouhani: We’ll continue to support ‘Palestine’ – Arutz Sheva

Trump Is Right On Palestine: A Two-State Solution Is No Longer Viable – Huffington Post

Just because Trump said it doesnt mean it has to be wrong.

During Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus recent visit to Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump publicly stated that he could support a divergence from a two-state solution in Palestine. He is the first United States president in recent memory to question that sacred article of U.S.-Middle East policy. But while the announcement came as a shock to many, indeed, a serious rethink is long overdue in recognizing the defunct two-state scheme.

Many honorable people have dedicated the bulk of their professional lives to the tedious minutiae and sad diplomatic history of the Palestinian-Israeli morass. Sadly, none of those efforts have brought any resolution whatsoever to a gangrenous issue in many respects one of the major roots of so many of the Middle Easts contemporary ills.

The trouble is that, apart from a few dedicated diplomats and scholars who had hopes of one day truly accomplishing something, the two-state solution in practice is essentially a fraud. Yes, a few wiser Israeli leadersin the past just possibly might have believed in that ideal, but for decades now the two-state scheme has simply been cynically exploited by newer Israeli leaders, especially by Bibi Netanyahu one of the longer-serving and most right-wing prime ministers in Israels history.

Netanyahu has been backed by a formidable and wealthy pro-Zionist cheering section in the U.S. The goal is to conceal their true agenda the ultimate Israeli annexation of all of Palestine. They themselves as hard-line Zionistshave been subtly but systematically torpedoing the two-state solutionbehind the scenes to that end.

None of my observations here on the hoax of the two-state solution are new or original. Many liberal Israeli observers I met while working in the region have been stating the self-evident for years now. But those voices never get heard in the U.S. where it constitutes an unmentionable. But there should be no doubt: the concept of a two-state solution a Palestinian and an Israeli state sharing historical Palestine and living side by side in sovereignty and dignity is dead. It is almost inconceivable that it can now ever be resuscitated: nearly all the operative forces within Israel are systematically working to prevent it from ever coming about.

The harsh reality is that Israel, through a relentless process of creating facts on the ground, is now decades deep into the process of taking over illegally, step-by-step, the totality of Palestine. Israel has scant regard for any international law in this respect, and never has had any. Washington, apart from a few periodic pathetic bleats, has ended up functionally supporting this cynical scheme all the way, perhaps unwilling to confront the painful reality of what is really taking place, along with its dangerous political repercussions at home.

Baz Ratner / Reuters

Israel is extending day by day its control indeed ownership of Palestinian lands through expansion of illegal Jewish settlements and the dispossession of the rightful owners of these Palestinian lands. Put simply, there is little left of Palestinian land out of which ever to fashion a two-state solution.

That leaves us with only one alternative: the one-state solution. Indeed, Israels actions have already created the preconditions that make the one-state solution an unacknowledged but virtual fait accompli.

Honest observers know full well that the mantra of preserving the peace process for the two-state solution is now little more than a cover by hard-line Zionists for full Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. The sooner we all acknowledge this ugly reality, the better. That will then require Israel, the Palestinians and the world to get on with dealing with the complex challenge of crafting the binational state the one-state solution.

The calculations of some hard-line Zionists who are now largely in control of Israeli state mechanisms are often unyielding.After years on the ground, Ive found that the rationale is more evident with each passing year. It goes something like this:

1) Israel should functionally take over all of Palestinian territory and permit full Jewish settlement therein.

2) Israel should still play the two-state solution game with visiting foreign diplomats to reduce pressure on Israel, to play for time while it quietly establishes the irreversible facts on the ground that shut out any possible viable Palestinian state.

3) Make life harsh enough for Palestinians that, bit by bit, they will grow bitter and weary, give up and go elsewhere, leaving all the land for Zionist settlers.

4) If Palestinians stubbornly resist, predictable periodic military and security crises in Palestine over the longer run will enable Israel to rid Palestine of all Palestinians a gradual process of ethnic cleansing (or restoration of the situation that God wills as they would refer to it) that returns all the land promised by God to the Jews.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Some liberal Israelis actually do accept the idea of a one-state solution in their own liberal vision of a future Israel one in which Israelis and Palestinians live as equal citizens in a secular, democratic, binational, multicultural state enjoying equal rights, rather than the increasingly religiously dominated state that it is. And the liberal ideal makes sense: the country is already well on the way to becoming bilingual and Hebrew and Arabic are closely-related languages. Both are Semitic peoples with ancient ties to the same land.

The problem is, ardent Zionists dont want a binational Palestinian-Jewish state. They want a Jewish state and demand that the world accept that term. Yet, in todays world isnt the term Jewish state strikingly discordant? Who speaks of an English or French state? The world would freak out if tomorrow Berlin started calling itself the German State. Or Spain a Christian state.So what do we make of a state that is dedicated solely to Jews and Judaism? Such concepts are remnants of 19th century movements that promoted the creation of ethnically and/or religiously pure states. Modern states no longer define themselves on either an ethnic or religious basis.Indeed it was precisely that kind of ugly religious and ethnic nationalism that caused Jews to flee from Eastern Europe in the first place to find their own homeland.

The true historical task of Israel, with the support of the world, is now to begin the challenging work of introducing the range of major reforms that will transform Israel into just such a multi-ethnic and bilingual state of equal citizens enjoying equal rights under secular law. It is not a question of allowing Palestinians into Israel, they are already there and have been for millennia, initially in far greater numbers than Jews. Palestinians now seek full legal equality of treatment under secular law in Israel.

So lets acknowledge the useful truth that Trump has blundered onto. Lets abandon the naive and cynical rhetoric about the two-state solution that will never come about in any just and acceptable form. Half of Israel never believed in it in the first place. It has served only as a facade for building an apartheid Jewish state a term used frequently by some liberal Israeli commentators I have encountered.

Netanyahu and the right-wing Zionists clearly want all of Palestine. But theyre not ready yet to admit it. They want all the land, but without any of its people. But despite Zionist hopes, the Palestinians arent going to abandon their lands. And so the logical outcome of Israels takeover of all of Palestine leads by definition to an ultimate single, binational state.

The challenge to Israelis and Palestinians is huge. It entails a deep Palestinian rethink of their options and their future destiny in a new order, and the need to fight for those democratic rights in a binational state. It involves Israeli evolution away from God-given rights in a state solely for Jews and Judaism that can only be forever oppressive and undemocratic as it now stands. The process will be a slow and difficult one. But it also represents an evolution consonant with emerging contemporary global values.

We expect a democratic multicultural state from Germany and France, or from Britain, Canada and the United States why not from Israel?

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official and author of numerous books on the Muslim world. His latest book is Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an Americans crisis of conscience in Pakistan.A version of this piece first appeared on GrahameFuller.com

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Trump Is Right On Palestine: A Two-State Solution Is No Longer Viable – Huffington Post

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.

Source: http://adl.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel’s Netanyahu praises Trump’s condemnation of anti-Semitic acts – Reuters

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Donald Trump on Wednesday for publicly condemning anti-Semitic acts after bomb threats to U.S. Jewish centers and vandalism in a Jewish cemetery.

Trump’s comments on Tuesday were his first explicit condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents amid a wave of threats against Jews and their community centers. Instead, he spoke more generally about his hopes of making the nation less “divided.”

“Anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” he told journalists.

“It’s very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism and it’s important that we all continue to do so in the years ahead,” Netanyahu, on an official visit to Australia, said in Sydney’s Central Synagogue.

A video of Netanyahu’s speech in the synagogue was posted on YouTube by Israel’s Government Press Office.

In Israel, some media commentators had pressed Netanyahu to speak out more strongly against anti-Semitism, in light of what they said had been Trump’s reluctance to do so.

A White House statement on International Holocaust Day last month without any clear reference to Jews or anti-Semitism was mentioned as an example of this perceived reluctance.

Netanyahu rushed to Trump’s defense at a joint news conference in Washington last week after the president appeared to sidestep an Israeli reporter’s question about anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.

“I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time, and there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest,” Netanyahu said.

Several Jewish community centers in the United States were evacuated briefly on Monday after receiving bomb threats, the JCC Association of North America said. Another center was evacuated on Tuesday in San Diego, California, police said.

Vandals toppled about 170 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri over the weekend.

In Sydney, Netanyahu called for an international effort to combat “resurgent anti-Semitism” around the world.

“It is something that we need to fight together. I think this is important in Europe. It’s important in America,” he said.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Ori Lewis and Tom Heneghan)

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police on Wednesday named a North Korean diplomat along with a state airline official who are wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader.

BEIRUT The Syrian army and its allies took a small district on the outskirts of Aleppo from rebels on Wednesday, a war monitor and a military media unit run by Damascus ally Hezbollah said.

PARIS An influential French centrist politician on Wednesday dropped out of the presidency race to form an alliance with independent candidate Emmanuel Macron – a potential game-changer in France’s tightly contested election.

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Israel’s Netanyahu praises Trump’s condemnation of anti-Semitic acts – Reuters

Watch: Israel’s Iron Dome defense system gets an upgrade – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Israel took a step a closer to defending itself against missile onslaughts from the Gaza Strip with a series of complex but successful experiments for the Iron Dome missile defense system on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Missile Defense Organization which is responsible for the development of Israels multi-layered defense system, in conjunction with Rafael, the main contractor of the Iron Dome system, carried out a number of experiments as part of the on-going development process of the system.

The experiments focused on the use of the “Tamir” interceptor, which is made of parts produced in both the United States and Israel, as part of an agreement signed in 2014 between the two counties.

In the agreement, the manufacturing of the Iron Dome was moved to the United States, who helped to fund the interceptors production.

Rayethon, the American company producing the parts, alongside the Ministry of Defense and the US Missie Defense Agency (MDA), were all apart of producing the improved Iron Dome.

Israel continuously improves the technology behind the countrys anti-missile systems, and the last upgrade to the Iron Dome was in 2015 in order “to expand and improve the performance capabilities of the system in the face of an unprecedented range of threats,”

During the second Lebanese war in 2006, large Israeli cities were struck by missiles for the first time. In response, Former Minister of Defense Amir Peretz decided to develop the Iron Dome, despite opposition from army brass. After a lengthy development process, and with the financial help of the United States, Iron Dome went into service in April 2011, its first battery placed near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. It made its first interception, of a grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip just days later.

The Iron Dome has been used during two military operations against Hamas, and is able to calculate when rockets will land in open areas, choosing not to intercept them, or towards civilian centers. Since its first deployment, it has intercepted roughly 85 percent of projectiles fired towards Israeli civilian centers.

The Rafael-built system carries 24 pounds of explosives and can intercept an incoming projectile from four to 70 kilometers away, changing the face of battle between Israel and her enemies. The system is able to calculate when rockets will land in open areas, and does not intercept them.

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. which produces the radar system for the Iron Dome system through its ELTA division, has reported sales of it to various armies around the world.

Presently, Israel is working on two more missile defense systems – Davids sling and Arrow 3.

In January, the Israel Air Force officially took delivery of the first Arrow-3 interceptor. Produced by IAI, the Arrow 3 will form the uppermost layer of Israels multilayered defense system along with the Arrow 2, Davids Sling and Iron Dome system. Later in January, Israels Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a series of intercept tests of the Davids Sling Weapon System, also developed by Rafael.

Together the systems will provide Israel will a protective umbrella able to counter threats posed by both short and mid-range missiles used by terror groups in Gaza and Hezbollah as well as the threat posed by more sophisticated long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

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Watch: Israel’s Iron Dome defense system gets an upgrade – Jerusalem Post Israel News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I certainly hope they catch the people, he added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

U.S. President Donald Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Tuesday, calling it a beautiful tribute to so many American heroes.

The new president read the names of several prominent black figures from American history, saying, I’m deeply proud that we now have a museum that honors the millions of African American men and women who built our national heritage, especially when it comes to faith, culture and the unbreakable American spirit.”

He pledged to do everything I can to continue that promise of freedom for African Americans and for every American. So important, nothing more important. His visit came as the U.S. celebrates its annual Black History Month during February.

Trump said the fight for racial equality in the United States depicted at the museum is a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. He condemned recent threats against Jewish centers in the U.S., calling them horrible and painful.

But he promised, as he has numerous occasions, Were going to bring this country together, maybe bring some of the world together.

WATCH: Trump visits museum

Popular tourist attraction

The museum, on the National Mall not far from the White House, opened last year and has drawn large crowds and wide critical acclaim. It has nearly 37,000 objects in its collection tracing the history of blacks in America, from their arrival on slave ships from Africa, to the mid-19th century Civil War fought over slavery, to the advances toward racial equality at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

There are exhibits about black communities, their families, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and legalized racial segregation that existed in the United States as recently as 50 years ago.

In his upset presidential election victory last November, Trump won just 8 percent of the black vote compared to 88 percent for his Democratic rival, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump was accompanied on his museum visit by the only African-American in his Cabinet, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is awaiting confirmation as the presidents housing chief. The president promised to work closely with Carson to do great things in our African-American communities together.

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Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JTA contributed to this report.

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

The Pressure Is On For Trump Administration To Denounce Anti-Semitism – Huffington Post

Anti-Semitic hate crimes comprise the largest portion of religiously motivated attacks in the United States. In New York City alone, such attacks have more than doubledalready in 2017.But President Donald Trump has yet to address the issue.

In press conferences last week, the president had two opportunities to address concerns over rising anti-Semitism. And in both instances, he downplayed or altogether denied the issue.

During a joint press conference with Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, Israeli journalist Moav Vardi asked what the U.S. president would say to those in the Jewish community who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.

Trump responded not by addressing anti-Semitism and xenophobia, but rather by bragging about his election victory.Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had: 306 Electoral College votes, Trump said.

He went on to say that we are going to have peace in this country, vowing to stop crime and long-simmering racism and every other thing thats going on. He added that he has lots of Jewish friends, including his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner.

The following day, Jewish journalist Jake Turx asked Trump about the 48 bomb threatshave been made against Jewish centers around the country in recent weeks and what the administration was doing to combat anti-Semitism.

Before Turx could finish his question, though, Trump cut him off and told him to sit down. See, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and its not, the president said.

Trump went on to tell the Jewish reporter: I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life. The president seemed to interpret Turxs question as a personal jab, saying, I hate the charge. I find it repulsive.

Pressed later on the issue by another journalist, Trump implied that reports of anti-Semitism were being manufactured by his political opponents.

While the president weighs the validity of reported anti-Semitic attacks, at least five more Jewish communities around the country received by bomb threatson Monday.

Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein, speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, indicated that the U.S. Jewish community was holding Trump accountable to finally address the issue. I think that the president helps set the tone for a country,Hoenlein said. Im hopeful that what he said about … addressing hate and racism of all kinds in American society will be translated into clear action.

That same day in what may be the clearest action on anti-Semitism thus far Vice President Mike Pence paid a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, Germany.Pence tweeted about the moving and emotional tour afterward, saying: We can never forget atrocities against Jews and others in the Holocaust.

Trumps failure to adequately address anti-Semitism compounded by his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which unlike Pences tweet made no mention of Jewish victims has worried some Jewish leaders.

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said in a Feb. 16 statement that with anti-Semitism on the rise in the U.S. and around the world, the government needs to respond.

Thats why the questions are being asked at press conferences, Harris said. But if every such question elicits either no substantive response or, mistakenly, is taken personally, then what are people of good will supposed to conclude?

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The Pressure Is On For Trump Administration To Denounce Anti-Semitism – Huffington Post

Investors bet on Israel tech stock windfall under Trump – Reuters

TEL AVIV Investors are betting heavily that Israeli defense and cyber-security firms will reap a windfall from President Donald Trump’s big U.S. spending plans, although likely benefits for the wider economy remain like the man himself – hard to predict.

Israeli technology companies are likewise well placed to pick up contracts on other planned presidential projects, such as a hugely expensive wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Economists, however, have yet to factor any positive “Trump effect” into their Israeli growth forecasts and analysts say some of his ideas, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, could backfire with negative security and economic consequences.

After a month in office, some of Trump’s Twitter commentary has caused bewilderment in a number of foreign capitals. But in Israel, hopes are high for stronger commercial and strategic ties with the United States, and that warmer political relations will encourage foreign investors.

Companies tipped to gain include defense contractor Elbit Systems, Magal Security Systems and Check Point Software Technologies. All have seen their share prices soar since Trump’s election victory on Nov. 8.

Those, and many other Israeli companies, either have U.S. subsidiaries or are incorporated in the United States – a useful hedge should Trump stick to his “America first” promise of giving priority to domestic industry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Trump in Washington last week, building on expectations of a friendlier relationship with the Republican president after a fractious eight years dealing with Democrat Barack Obama.

“In the world of investing and economics, perceptions matter and I believe investors will notice,” said Steven Schoenfeld, founder of BlueStar Indexes, which develops indexes and exchange traded-funds that track Israeli stocks.

BlueStar’s Israeli technology ETF has gained 13 percent on the U.S. Nasdaq market since the election. So far, the effect on the wider market has been less remarkable. While Tel Aviv’s broad index is up 6.1 percent, it has underperformed the MSCI World index for developed countries, which has risen about 8 percent in the same period.

The United States is Israel’s largest trading partner by country, with bilateral commerce valued at $25.7 billion last year. Of this, more than two-thirds were Israeli exports, giving the country a large surplus.

One stock that has already seen a big surge is Magal, whose sensors and command and control systems help to secure airports, borders, power plants, seaports and prisons.

Investors expect it to provide technology for the Mexican border wall, a contract that could reap vast rewards given that the project is expected to cost around $20 billion.

With Magal’s shares up nearly 60 percent since the election, Chief Executive Saar Koursh is optimistic of winning work on the wall. “Our chances are more than good,” he told Reuters, noting that the company, through its U.S. unit Senstar, was in touch with U.S. government officials. “This definitely would be a large scale project for us.”

DEFENSE AND CYBER

Trump has also promised to boost defense spending and add military personnel. If he follows through, this could benefit Elbit, one of the biggest suppliers of drones and helmet based systems. Elbit shares are up 20 percent since November.

Before he took office, Trump questioned the high cost of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter, saying he had asked Boeing Co to offer a price for a “comparable F-18 Super Hornet”.

Such commentary caused ructions in the United States, but the Israeli company is ready to equip the pilots whatever. “Whether Trump sticks with the F-35 jet or goes with the F-18, either plane will have Elbit smart helmets,” Schoenfeld said.

Israel’s defense industry, led by Elbit, Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Military Industries and Rafael, accounts for about 14 percent of the country’s exports.

The Trump administration is expected within weeks to send Congress a request for a supplemental bill to increase defense spending this year.

Ilanit Sherf, an analyst at the Psagot brokerage, said Elbit could expand its annual revenue by 5-6 percent, instead of the current 2-4 percent, if the U.S. defense budget increases following government spending cuts under Obama.

Cyber-security firms like Check Point may also see higher U.S. orders. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s cyber adviser, visited Israel last month and met Netanyahu to discuss closer cyber cooperation.

Israel has over 450 cyber-security firms. In 2016, 78 start-ups raised more than $660 million from investors, according to the Israel Venture Capital Research Centre.

“Trump seems to be putting an emphasis on cyber-security so Israel and the U.S. will be even closer on the cyber-security front,” said Jon Medved, CEO of crowdfunding firm OurCrowd.

Companies such as Nice Systems and Verint, whose voice and data analysis technology is critical to security, may also see a boost.

Much rests on whether Trump’s spending plans go ahead and their wider effect in the United States.

“If the U.S. economy will grow, then Israel will benefit and vice versa,” said Ilan Artzi, chief investment officer at the Halman-Aldubi investment house.

That view is shared by the head of Israel’s central bank, Karnit Flug. “As a small, open economy we are very dependent on our major trading partners and the United States is a major trading partner,” she said in December.

But given Trump’s unpredictability, economists have so far held back on including any boost in their forecasts. The International Monetary Fund sees Israeli growth steady at around 3 percent a year for the medium term.

Medved warned that if Israel is seen as too supportive of Trump, it could backfire in the tech community, which is unhappy with some of his policies, particularly on curbing immigration.

“The key issue is you want to keep tech and business out of politics,” he said. “The great bulwark of our relationship with the U.S. is that we have been bipartisan and it’s potentially harmful for Israeli support to be associated with one party or another.”

Should the United States become more protectionist, Israeli exports, which comprise 30 percent of economic activity, might suffer. This could be especially so were Trump to try to use the exchange rate to favor U.S. firms over foreign competitors.

“If Trump weakens the dollar it will have an impact,” said Uriel Lynn, head of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. “We export 2.5 times more than we import from the United States.”

Risks could also lie in any attempt by Trump to side too closely with Israel. He had pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s self-proclaimed capital and a holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem – which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally – for the capital of a state they seek in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

If Trump made good on his pledge, this would inflame Arab opinion, leading to possible Palestinian and regional unrest.

“Then you would have a drop in tourism and private consumption, which could impact the economy,” Leader Capital Markets economist Jonathan Katz said.

(Editing by Luke Baker and David Stamp)

NEW YORK Money transfer company TransferWise has launched a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc’s chat application, as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies.

Package delivery company United Parcel Service Inc said on Tuesday it will consider raising prices across the board in coming years to offset pressure on margins, particularly from the rising costs of delivering packages to e-commerce customers.

TOKYO Japan’s Toshiba Corp wants to raise at least 1 trillion yen ($8.8 billion) by selling most of its flash memory chip business, seeking to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

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Investors bet on Israel tech stock windfall under Trump – Reuters

Documentary about local Holocaust survivor to be screened at George Street Playhouse – MyCentralJersey.com

Donna Stolzer, Raritan Valley Community College 12:02 p.m. ET Feb. 20, 2017

Sol Lurie, a Holocaust survivor who endured no less than 6 concentration camps, shares his story.

The 25-minute film focuses on Feldman, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, as she creates a life for herself after experiencing the traumas of the Holocaust.(Photo: ~Courtesy of Raritan Valley Community College)

The public is invited to attend a free screening of the documentary, Margit: Not A23029, which focuses on the life of Holocaust survivor Margit Feldman of Somerset, February 28, at 7 p.m., at George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick.

The event is being presented by George Street Playhouse in conjunction with the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg. Margit: Not A23029 was created and directed by filmmaker Harry Hillard of Bridgewater, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Film at RVCC. The films producer is Peppy Margolis of Clinton, RVCC Director of Community Programs.

The 25-minute film focuses on Feldman, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, as she creates a life for herself after experiencing the traumas of the Holocaust. Filmmaker Hillard captures the challenges for Margit as immigrates to the US by herself after the war. In the years that follow, Feldman shows that she not only a survivor of the Holocaust, but also but a wife, mother, grandmother, cousin, friend and public speaker. She dedicates her life to telling the story of her survival in the hope that future generations better understand the consequences of prejudice, violation of human rights and genocides that continue today.

A Charter Member of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education since its inception in 1971, Feldman was one of the founders of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at RVCC 36 years ago.

READ:Film chronicles the life of a woman who dared to speak the truth about Holocaust

READ:Monroe rabbi’s daughter honors family who saved great-grandmother

READ:Monmouth Beach boxer champions for Holocaust survivors

The film is narrated by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, one of countrys leading historians and scholars about the Holocaust. Berenbaum was the first director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Margit-Not A23029 is a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest competition in the Short Documentary category. The film was funded by RVCC; the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties; and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. Historical footage was provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The event will include a question-and-answer session with Margit Feldman and Harry Hillard. A dessert reception will follow the program. Those interested in attending are asked to register online at https://tickets.georgestplayhouse.org/. For additional information, call 732-246-7717 or email boxoffice@georgestplayhouse.org.

To learn more about the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at RVCC and its other video and film projects, visit http://www.raritanval.edu/community/holocaust/index.html.

Raritan Valley Community Colleges main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the communitys businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit http://www.raritanval.edu.

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Documentary about local Holocaust survivor to be screened at George Street Playhouse – MyCentralJersey.com

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.

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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.

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

Pence visits Dachau concentration camp amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in US – Deutsche Welle

US Vice President Mike Pence visited the Dachau concentration camp memorial site on Sunday, just days after his boss took flack for a bizarre response to a Jewish reporter’s question about anti-Semitism in the United States.

Pence was in Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference, as part of a campaign to assuage allies worried about US President Donald Trump’s attitude towards defense cooperation.

“Moving and emotional tour of Dachau today,” he wrote on Twitter. “We can never forget atrocities against Jews and others in the Holocaust.”

The vice president visited the memorial alongside his wife, Karen, and daughter Charlotte. They placed a wreath in the center of the camp and attended an on-site church service in honor of the 40,000 people who were killed and 200,000 imprisoned at the camp near Munich. They also met with survivor Abba Naor, who described the horrors of life in the camp to the Pence family.

Trump accosts Hasidic reporter

Pence’s visit had added urgency, however, as it came amidst concerns of increasing anti-Semitism in the United States. Some 58 Jewish community centers have received at least 60 bomb threats in the past two months, and leaders have voiced concerns that Trump’s nationalistic campaign rhetoric has emboldened white supremacists. Reports of other anti-Semitic incidents like swastika graffiti in schools and bullying have also been widespread.

When asked about the incidents during his first solo press conference at president this past week, Trump first avoided the question and then became angry at Jake Turx, a Hasidic Jewish reporter working for Brooklyn-based Jewish magazine Ami.

Turx prefaced his question by saying, “I have not seen anyone in my community accuse either yourself or anyone of your staff of being anti-Semitic.” He then asked how the administration planned to address concerns the Jewish community had about violence and hate speech.

Before Turx has finished speaking, Trump interrupted him and told him to sit down, saying his question was “very insulting.”

“Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” Trump then said. “Number two, racism. The least racist person.” He also called the reporter a liar during the tense exchange.

Later on Twitter, Turx wrote: “President Trump clearly misunderstood my question. This is highly regretful and I’m going to seek clarification.”

The Trump administration was also criticized for issuing a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention the murder of 6 million Jews.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)

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Pence visits Dachau concentration camp amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in US – Deutsche Welle

Trump UN envoy: Why is the UN so obsessed with Israel? – Arutz Sheva

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blasted the UN for its obsession with Israel during an address to the Security Council.

I just put out to the members of the Security Council to help me understand: When we have so much going on in the world, why is it that every single month were going to sit down and have a hearing where all they do is obsess over Israel? Haley asked in a statement which has circulated around the web.

She criticized the Security Council for focusing on Israel during its monthly meeting on the Middle East, to the complete exclusion of other issues, such as Hezbollah, ISIS, and the Syrian civil war. She also criticized the UN Department of Political Affairs for having “an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs.”

“There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the worlds number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran,” she observed.

“The double standards are breathtaking. Just a few days ago, the United States sought unsuccessfully to have the Security Council condemn a terrorist attack to Israel, where the terrorist opened fire on people waiting for a bus and then stabbed others. The Security Council would not hesitate to condemn an attack like that in any other country. But not for Israel. The statement was blocked. And thats downright shameful.

Haley pledged to work to end the UN’s biased treatment of Israel. “Im here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. Im here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UNs anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.”

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Trump UN envoy: Why is the UN so obsessed with Israel? – Arutz Sheva

As Jews, we must take sides – The Jewish Standard

On January 21 I took my ritual prayer shawl my tallit and my sign, reading Orthodox Rabbi Against Trump with Hate outlined in the background, and left my home.

With hundreds of thousands of fellow New Yorkers around me, the street became my synagogue. I thought of the blessing recited upon seeing such a large mass of people, where tradition blesses God as the knower of secrets. What brought each of us here? Were we marching for an ideal or against a leader? The answers were varied, the secrets unknown.

The glory of the King is magnified by the multitude of people, say the sages of the Talmud. This felt appropriate as I saw countless people of varying ethnicities and backgrounds, with posters and chants just as diverse. Still, there was a unity, not conformity, in this conglomeration.

As the week went on and the president announced his executive orders on immigration, I was thrust backward in time, looking through my grandparents photo albums and reading their stories. As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors and refugees, I often think about the worlds silence and Americas delayed intervention during World War II. While FDR and the Allies knew of the heinous war crimes being perpetuated against the Jews of Eastern Europe, the press failed to report these atrocities though the Yiddish newspapers kept their readership informed. I remember as a teenager wondering what if while reading While Six Million Died by Arthur Morse, and feeling full of shame. I have felt that same stomach-churning uneasiness over the past years of the Syrian genocide, but the latest announcement delivered a new blow.

I imagined: how might I resist, if I were an innocent Syrian fleeing persecution? As a native Yiddish speaker, I never accepted the claim of the weak shtetl Yid, the idea that Jews went like sheep to the slaughter, that they should have done more to protect themselves. I knew my grandparents friends were smugglers, couriers, and fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and that they were partisans and poets. I was deeply knowledgeable about the rich cultural life that thrived amid such persecution. I was raised to believe in peoples inherent spiritual strengths, as opposed to thinking I understood why they deserved whatever suffering that had befallen them.

Where were we then? We, who by chance and luck, found ourselves in positions of power and places of privilege in our country, which sings Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free? Where are we now? As a rabbi, I think of the rabbis and community leaders before me, who pleaded with the president and powers that were, who organized and took to the streets to protest and demand action. There must have been voices, like there are today, that implored rabbis to stay away from politics, not to ruffle feathers, not to overly politicize. But there also were rabbis who accepted their mantle, who knew that they were part of a prophetic tradition that valued the sanctity of human life and were unafraid to rise up for the vulnerable.

I see my family and community today my Jewish community so protective of the memory of the Holocaust, of Hitler, of the exceptionalism about the barbarism of Nazism that allows them blinders stopping them from bearing witness to the suffering of today. I see my community as so confident in its own mythologized sense of its own uniqueness that it forgets the charge of serving as a light unto the nations and fails to show up on behalf of those suffering besides themselves.

I see my people spiritually stuck in a place of fear that does not allow them to fulfill the sacred commandment of loving the stranger, the foreigner.

Over the last weeks I have looked inward and at my religion, practicing my tradition, imploring my God, studying my history and staring at my people as I ask: How did we arrive here?

I am not a policy expert, political pundit, or lawmaker. But as a Zionist and religious Jew, I am compelled to push my Orthodox community and Jewish Trump supporters: How do we account for the president failing to mention Jewish deaths in the Holocaust? How do we come to terms with House Republicans who avoid voting on a resolution stating that the Holocaust targeted Jews? How do we justify banning an entire religion from entering the United States who come from countries that have not produced a terrorist on U.S. soil in decades? What do we make of Trumps countless tweets that do not include even one announcement of the dozens of bomb threats against Jewish institutions? How do we rationalize the presidents obsession with his own persona? The Talmud teaches that one who is arrogant is like an idol worshipper. What then do we say of the man who builds towers to the sky with his name emblazoned on them?

As Jewish parents, what do we say to our children, especially our daughters, when they discover we have elected a man accused dozens of times of sexual misconduct, who has said the most misogynistic and vile things about women, who rates women on their physical appearance alone? Is this the Torah value of walking humbly with our God, of treating each human being with dignity and respect, and acting as if we believe that each person carried the image of God in them? How do we explain the twittering bully-in-chiefs childlike behavior?

And what do we say to the prime minister of the State of Israel, who strives and claims to represent Jewish people all over the world, when he enthusiastically congratulates and aligns himself with a man who has emboldened a new generation of anti-Semitism?

I carry my family and people within me wherever I go. I accept that there is a time for war and a time for peace. I hold the dissonances that shaped my identity and believe them integral to my spiritual DNA. I pray for the welfare of this United States government and all its elected officials. That is why I cannot accept the presidents rhetoric, behavior, language, or executive orders as being aligned with normative religious values or stay silent.

This is a deeper divide than Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative it is about moral decency. In Hebrew, its derech eretz.

For all the creative and provocative signs on Saturday, January 21, and at the rallies since then, God hasnt made it onto very many cardboard posters. But I felt God with me then as I do now, emboldened by the outpouring of love for the most vulnerable in our society, touched by the community that forms itself within hours, even moments, after learning of a new damning decree. I feel God as I encounter a Trump supporter and demand to understand why the newest form of blatant racism feels acceptable to him. I feel God in these moments of dissonance and despair, and I believe wholeheartedly that light will prevail amid this invasive darkness.

We must wake up, as the prophets demanded, rise up, and speak out. As Elie Wiesel once said, Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. So, Jews: Which side are we on?

Rabbi Avram Mlotek grew up in Teaneck, where his parents still live. He is the grandchild of Holocaust refugees and a founder of Base Hillel, a new model for Jewish engagement..

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As Jews, we must take sides – The Jewish Standard

Yad Vashem event to honor Holocaust survivor and author – Arutz Sheva

Yaffa Eliach was one of the leading pioneers in Holocaust research and education in the United States, as well as a forerunner in collating and researching oral testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

The Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection is carefully organized and spans a half-century of recorded testimonies, transcripts, diaries, authentic memoirs, and original documents in English, Hebrew, Polish, German, Russian, and Yiddish, individual photographs and photo albums, and articles she composed regarding the history of Eastern European Jews in general and in Eishishok, her native town in Lithuania, in particular.

She also published several books about the Holocaust, but is most famously known for her work The Tower of Faces, an exhibit featured at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., which features 1,500 photographs of approximately 3,500 Jews murdered in her hometown.

The event will feature Prof. Eliach’s husband, Rabbi Dr. David Eliach, Rabbanit Esther Farbstein, and Judith Cohen, Chief Acquisitions Curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“The Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection is one of the largest private Holocaust-related collections of its kind,” says Yad Vashem’s Archives Director Dr. Haim Gertner. “It is therefore appropriate for it to be included in the Yad Vashem Archives, which houses the largest collection of Holocaust-related documentation.

“The Eliach Collection was one of the first micro-history projects on the Holocaust. The more than 6,000 photographs in the collection provide a visual testimony to the existence of the town of Eishishok where over 90% of one town’s population was murdered during the Holocaust.”

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Yad Vashem event to honor Holocaust survivor and author – Arutz Sheva

Is anti-Semitism on the rise? Does anyone care? – Chicago Tribune

Its been a bad 2017 for Jews. During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Mont., to intimidate the towns small Jewish population.

It was thus unsurprising that two reporters were moved to ask President Donald Trump at Thursdays news conference about a rise in anti-Semitism and that many of us were aghast at Trumps rude dismissal of the first reporter, an Orthodox Jew, and Trumps unwillingness to take the question seriously.

But heres the thing: As bad as 2017 has been for anti-Semitic incidents, 2016 wasnt great, either. Nor was 2015, when the Anti-Defamation League reported 90 anti-Semitic incidents on campuses, twice as many as the year before a slow drip that has continued into this school year.

A journalist could stay very busy writing about anti-Semitic graffiti in higher ed and not at right-wing Christian schools, but at ostensibly liberal ones. Last August, students at Swarthmore College, the progressive Quaker college outside Philadelphia, found two swastikas painted on a stall in a bathroom of the main library. A week later, they found another swastika on a tree in the schools woods. There have been reports of anti-Semitic incidents at Oberlin College, the University of California at Los Angeles, Brown University and Northwestern University.

You may not have heard about any of this or, for that matter, about the multiple cases of anti-Muslim vandalism on campuses last year. Indeed, given how frequently students come across hateful graffiti, to merit widespread media attention the provocations have to be particularly crass, or committed by fraternities or soccer teams.

Some assume that since Nov. 9, the Trump administration has ushered in a new, shocking rise in anti-Semitism. Its an assumption that shows up not just at presidential news conferences but in numerous articles in the mainstream media. They rely on reports from the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and numerous liberal commentators, Jewish and not. Similar narratives have taken hold about anti-Muslim violence, anti-immigrant violence and misogyny. In each case, there are real anecdotes to back up these concerns as I know too well, because one of the Jewish community centers that received a bomb threat was the one where my daughters go to summer camp.

But it is not clear that we can accuse the president of ushering in a new era of heightened anti-Semitism. While there is real anti-Semitism, we have no government data available to show theres been a rise in anti-Semitism since Trumps election. And while its easy for some to blame Trump for all acts of bigotry, we should discern whats new from what were simply noticing for the first time. For those who believe that Trump poses a threat to Jews, all other minorities and all Americans its important that we get our facts right. If danger is on the rise, we have to be looking in the right direction.

Anti-Semitism is a complicated phenomenon, and it cant be reduced to some high-profile incidents. Those 48 phone calls could have been the product of one thrill-seeking sicko, or one plus a couple copycats. Its noteworthy, of course, that there were no actual attacks. And that march in Montana, which was supposed to terrify Jews throughout the land, never actually happened. What did happen was the nearby town of Great Falls, Mont., issued a moving declaration of support for the Jews of Whitefish, a resolution denouncing hate, bigotry, and intolerance, which today masquerade under euphemisms such as white nationalism and the alt-right.

In any case, there is no good statistical evidence (yet, anyway) that Americans have grown more anti-Semitic in recent months. There is, however, good evidence about the affection that most Americans feel toward Jews.

Recently, the Pew Research Center released a survey designed to gauge Americans feeling thermometer toward various religions. Pew asked more than 4,000 adults to say which religious groups they felt warm toward. The poll showed that Jews elicit the warmest feelings of any religious group. The finding was fairly consistent across all groups Catholics like Jews; mainline Protestants like Jews; atheists like Jews; and members of all age groups within those religions like Jews (although among those touchy-feely millennials, Buddhists garnered warmer feelings than Jews did).

Poll results that ask about warm feelings are, in their way, as inadequate a gauge of a peoples safety as a few dozen empty bomb threats in a country of more than 300 million people. And Jews sense of well-being ultimately doesnt come down to cold numbers, anyway. In Europe, whats chilling about the position of Jews is not so much the recent murders of Jews and attacks on synagogues and Jewish businesses but the widespread public indifference. Here in the United States, anti-Semitism is very much with us, and always has been: According to FBI statistics for 2014, of religiously motivated hate crimes, Jews were targeted 57 percent of the time. Muslims were the victims 16 percent of the time, followed by Catholics, Protestants and atheists/agnostics.

And Jews have to keep an eye out in all directions. On campuses, the perpetrators are often left-wing students whose hatred of Israel has led them into, or in some cases was always inextricable from, a hatred of Jews. Away from campuses, the anti-Semites are a motley mix of nativists, conspiracy theorists, twisted populists and the paranoid and delusional.

In the White House, the threat comes from those like Stephen K. Bannon who admire nativist strongmen. The blood-and-soil nationalism of men like Russian President Vladimir Putin, or women like Frances Marine Le Pen, is never good for Jews; even when they dont specifically target Jews, they attract strong support from more vigorous anti-Semites. On social media, we see anti-Semitism from anonymous trolls, and while we cant say anything about the sincerity or strength of their intentions, they are terrifying (to Jewish reporters, among others).

Overall, however, we wont know for many more months, when the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League have better data to work with, if Nov. 9, 2016, was the start of something new or just a continuation of a regrettable but enduring legacy. My best guess is that we are facing a continued march of the low-level, but ineradicable, Jew hatred that we always live with.

But for now, we Jews should worry less about whether attacks against us are on the rise, because its not clear whether they are. Thats not the most important question, because to any student of history its no comfort if anti-Semitic attacks arent on the rise. In many times and places, Jews have been the canary in the coal mine; when racist authoritarianism arrives, we Jews are among the first to sniff it in the air. But thats not true in this time and place. This isnt Germany in 1933. In the United States in 2017, the first to be targeted are Muslims or Mexicans after which they will probably come for Jews, gays, blacks and all the other apparent undesirables who irk Trumps angriest followers. The real question a reporter who cares about Jewish safety should ask Trump is about the health and safety of other minority groups.

Consider the right-wing parties in Poland, Hungary, Russia, France and elsewhere in Europe: None of them takes anti-Semitism as its central organizing principle. They all have other boogeymen, in many cases Muslims. But Hungarys Jobbik, the third-largest party in the country, is clearly anti-Semitic, and Polands nationalist government, with its revisionist World War II history, is worrisome. All of them attract the support of anti-Semites, and all of them could be expected, like Francisco Franco during World War II, to comfortably make common cause with anti-Semites.

Right-wing and nativist violence does not always begin with Jews. But by fixating on attacks against Jews, we are forgetting the cardinal rule of Jewish self-survival: It may not start with us, but it always ends with us.

Washington Post

Mark Oppenheimer hosts the podcast Unorthodox, Tablet Magazines weekly talk show and roundup of the news of the Jews.

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Is anti-Semitism on the rise? Does anyone care? – Chicago Tribune

Israel hits highest annual rise in foreign direct investment in Mexico – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) Israel invested over $ 2 billion in Mexico in 2016, representing the greatest dynamism among all other countries in economic relationships with Mexico compared to 2015,reported the countrysEl Economista newspaper.

In a context of economic uncertainty in the United States, its neighbor and by far biggest investor, the Latin American nation saw a rise of $26.73 billion in Foreign Direct Investment, or FDI, last year, including the outstanding increase from $900 million to $2.01 billion from the Jewish state.

Mexico and Israel held recent talks to expand FDI and lower tariffs, a Center for Economic and Budgetary Research analyst told the newspaper, stressing that Mexico is one of the countries with the most free trade agreements in the world.

Mexicos cheaper labor force and its situation as a springboard to the U.S. attracts FDI, including from Israel. Also, Israels investment is mainly in services, a Tecnologico de Monterrey Center for Research in Economics and Business coordinator told El Economista.

Mexico and Israel have been facing a diplomatic uproar in the aftermath of a tweet in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seen as supporting U.S. President Donald Trumps plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants. After the incident, Netanyahusaidhis nation and Mexico will continue to have good relations.

The United States maintained the lead in investment in Mexico in 2016 with $ 10.41 billion (38.9 percent of the total investment), followed by Spain (10.7 percent), Germany (9.0 percent), Israel (7.5 percent), Canada (6.3 percent) and Japan (5.7 percent), according to data from the Mexican Ministry of Economy.

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Israel hits highest annual rise in foreign direct investment in Mexico – Jewish Telegraphic Agency