Uncovered, Polish Jews’ pre-Holocaust plea to Chamberlain: Let us into Palestine
The sordid history of the May 1939 British White Paper, the notorious document with which the British all but slammed shut the doors of Palestine to European Jewry, has been documented many times. Less-remembered is how the (Jewish-owned) New York Times took British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s side the day after the White Paper was issued, incurring the wrath of Chaim Weizmann and the Zionist leadership. Virtually unknown, however, is that the Polish Jewish community had sent a desperate plea two months earlier to Chamberlain — a telegram begging him to keep the gates of Palestine open.
This is the story of that plea.
Although the dispatch of the telegram was reported at the time, this article apparently marks the first time the document itself is being published.
The missive was discovered after 82 years in a British Colonial Office file; there is no evidence that Chamberlain or anyone in his office discussed it or, indeed, ever even saw it.
By late 1938, the Jewish position in Europe, already precarious in Germany and countries under the threat of German invasion, had worsened dramatically. On September 30 of that year Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Hitler to annex the Sudeten areas of Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain naively believed appeasement would bring “peace in our time,” but in actuality, the opposite occurred — Chamberlain’s weakness emboldened Hitler to launch World War II just 11 months later. By June 1940, Hitler was bombing the civilian population of London.
The Munich Agreement also paved the way for the Holocaust, which began less than six weeks later with the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9, 1938. Thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues were destroyed throughout Nazi Germany. Hundreds of German Jews lost their lives in the overnight orgy of violence, a precursor to the fate awaiting six million other Jews throughout Europe. After Kristallnacht, no one could claim ignorance of Hitler’s intentions toward the Jews.
David Collier: Catching the antisemites – playing a whack a mole game
Whack a mole is a popular game based on a repetitive and futile task. You are faced with numerous holes in the ground and you can never be sure out of which one the mole will appear. Your role is to ‘whack them’ wherever the pesky animals surface. The task is endless.
Most of those who are seriously fighting antisemitism understand this concept perfectly. It is what most of us do. In the real world however, we are not waiting for a mole, but an antisemite. Our ‘holes’ are newspapers, institutions and educational environments such as the BBC, the Labour Party, national unions and on the university campus.
There are dozens if not 100s of skilful, dedicated fighters against antisemitism who have their eyes firmly fixed on the ‘holes’ – waiting for the antisemites to appear. They always do appear – we catch whichever ones we can and the task is endless.
The mole, the hole and the task at hand
This is one of the reasons I rarely publish news of success stories. The research behind this blog has been at the forefront of the battle against antisemitism for years. I have been responsible for countless headlines in every major media outlet in the UK and many abroad. On Saturday it was the Telegraph and yesterday I even made the Bookseller. Many exclusives give credit to my research – some do not. Publicity is never sought for publicity’s sake. The problem is inherent in the game we play – ‘catching an antisemite’ or ‘whacking the mole’ is of limited value if we do not follow through and ensure the hole itself is filled.
Is Pearson a victory?
I can use Pearson Education as the first example. Over the last few days I have received dozens of congratulatory messages over the withdrawal of the Pearson Education book. On the face of it, the story is a success. The Zionist Federation and UKLFI turned to me to with concerns about the bias in a school textbook. They asked me to do a proper analysis, which I did. I was left in no doubt – the textbook carried major historical distortions and many of the usual anti-Zionist messages. It wasn’t just a slight bias – but a rewrite of the historical pillars upon which the conflict was built. I published the report – Pearson went off to conduct a review – and recently announced that the book has indeed been withdrawn. Success claimed – the book is no longer available. Mole duly ‘whacked’.
But look closely at Pearson’s announcement. They claim they found ‘no overall evidence of anti-Israel bias’. This is a lie. I know it is a lie – and I am pretty certain that they know it is a lie. In their own response they claim they need to ‘rebalance’ sources. How can there be no bias if the sources are unbalanced? Might I suggest they invest in lessons in verbal reasoning or logic solving. They can order helpful textbooks from their own warehouse.
None of this matters. Pearson has shareholders and a duty to look after its own credibility. We do not need a public admission that their processes are flawed.
Less than half of the French public, Jews and non-Jews alike, have confidence that the country’s leaders can tackle what is seen as a widespread problem of anti-Semitism in the country, a survey released Monday found.
Nearly three-quarters of the public said that racism against Jews is plaguing all areas of French society, according to the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch.
“But alignment on the antisemitism threat to French society, and the government’s weak responsiveness, does not mitigate the fears of Jews about their safety and future in France,” the group said in a statement.
Only 47 percent of Jews and 48% of the general public have confidence in French President Emmanuel Macron tackling anti-Semitism, the survey found. The government had the confidence of just 46% of Jews and 41% of the public in dealing with the issue, while local elected official fared better, with 58% of Jews and 56% of the public expressing confidence in their abilities.
Overall, 73% of the French public and 72% of Jews said that anti-Semitism is a problem that affects all of French society.
However, there were significant differences between how Jewish and non-Jewish people felt about the severity of anti-Semitism in the country.
The level of anti-Semitism is high according to 67% of Jewish respondents, while only 47% of the general public agreed. Just 27% of Jews felt the level is low, compared to 22% of the general public.
On January 22, 2020, an unprecedented conference will begin in Jerusalem – one in which world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and French President Emmanuel Macron will confer on how to defeat the scourge of anti-Semitism. This conference, “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism,” seems obvious and even logical: uniting diverse people will be the memory of the Shoah, along with the indignant amazement of those witnessing 70 years later a surge of hatred against Jews, which includes attacks against Jewish people, their dead, Jewish symbols, places of worship, and even their legitimacy to exist.
Or will it unite these world leaders?
Securing agreement on how to fight this battle is a very serious problem. Every war requires analyses and a comprehensive strategy, but today we find many of these requirements are often irreconcilable.
First and foremost, there is a utopian dimension, what is called “wishful thinking”: it sees anti-Semitism coming from the Right of the political spectrum, the traditional wellspring from where it has historically been found in the last century and the source of the Shoah. Nazi-Fascism was undoubtedly its creator and responsible for the greatest genocide in human history in which more than six million innocent Jewish people were killed, including one and a half million children. Perhaps still today, those responsible for the Shoah have not sufficiently made amends; some actually continue to adhere to that ideological framework, which is appalling and deserving of every punishment. Certainly, contemporary, white anti-Semitic supremacist groups are relatives to Nazism in their racist claims that preach the subjugation – or worse – of those who do not belong to the white Aryan family.
Simultaneously, another ghastly offshoot of anti-Semitism developed under Communism, which led to the widespread persecution of Jews during Joseph Stalin’s leadership of the Soviet Union. The late Communist leader reacted to grand anti-Jewish conspiracy theories that accused the Jewish people of complicity in the crimes of capitalism and imperialism. Even today, these kinds of accusations are still widely propagated and launched against Israel. The soon-to-be-former Leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who rallied many fellow travelers, has been the latest politician to propound anti-Israel hatred based on such accusations.
Ahead of a historic gathering of nearly 50 world leaders from across the globe to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, President Reuven Rivlin issued a carefully worded rebuke of countries distorting the memory of the Holocaust, and a warning against rehabilitating anti-Semitism.
In an exclusive interview with The Times of Israel, Rivlin, 80, appeared to chastise Eastern and Central European governments that glorify Nazi collaborators as national heroes and downplay their citizens’ complicity in anti-Jewish atrocities. At the same time, he slammed populist right-wing politicians in Europe who campaign on xenophobic and anti-Semitic platforms, in an apparent reference to parties such as Austria’s Freedom Party and German’s AfD.
Asked how he planned to deal with the sensitivities involved in hosting some of the very leaders whose handling of these issues critics find troubling, Rivlin replied: “History — good and bad — must never be forgotten. Anti-Semitism — as it was then and as it is today — must not be rehabilitated or glorified.
“Nothing will ever justify indifference or hesitance in the face of anti-Semitism. Its supporters, including politicians who hold anti-Semitic, racist or neo-Nazi views, will never be welcome partners in the family of nations,” he added.
The president is holding a state dinner Wednesday for the dozens of leaders coming to Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum, which takes place under the motto “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism.”
The guest list includes US Vice President Mike Pence, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Britain’s Prince Charles, and many more leaders from Romania, Italy, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Bosnia, Iceland, Armenia, Australia, Canada and other nations.
Praising them for their participation, Rivlin said, “This is a strong, brave statement that resonates deeply and cannot be open to misinterpretation. Leaders from around the world are coming to stand against anti-Semitism. It is an incredible event, where the whole world sends a warning to anti-Semites.”
Israel to Host Over 40 World Leaders for Auschwitz Liberation Anniversary
World leaders are to travel to Israel this week to mark 75 years since the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the extermination camp where the Nazis killed over a million Jews. It is set to be one of the most important events ever organized by Israel, with more than 40 leaders planning to land in Tel Aviv before attending Thursday’s somber commemoration at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem.
Thousands of police officers and other security forces will deploy from Tuesday, ahead of the arrival of dignitaries including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Vice President Mike Pence.
Macron is due to meet both the Israeli premier and Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz.
Middle East geopolitics will firmly on the agenda, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to hold numerous bilateral meetings with key leaders.
The official events of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum are set to begin on Wednesday night, with a dinner at the President’s Residence.
I welcome the leaders from around the world who are coming here, to Jerusalem, to mark with us 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp.
It is important that they remember where we came from, and it is important that they see what we have achieved. pic.twitter.com/8kX9ubTejO
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 21, 2020
High-level delegations from 49 countries are expected to take part in the main event at Yad Vashem on Thursday afternoon, to remember the Holocaust and commit to fighting antisemitism, while 40 will attend a dinner the night before hosted by President Reuven Rivlin.
Leaders began arriving in the early hours of Tuesday, with the presidents of 10 different countries landing in Ben-Gurion Airport, among other leaders. Many more are expected to arrive on Wednesday, including two kings, a Grand Duke and two crown princes.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video message as dignitaries began to arrive in Israel, saying: “I welcome the leaders from around the world who are coming here, to Jerusalem, to mark with us 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp.
“It is important that they remember where we came from, and it is important that they see what we have achieved,” Netanyahu stated.
Netanyahu has meetings planned with US Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. Most of the visiting leaders asked to meet with Netanyahu, and his office is trying to find time for as many as possible.
There is a danger that world leaders will come away with confirmation of the idea that antisemitism was a purely European phenomenon. Israel is ‘Europe’s penance’ for killing six million European Jews.
The world’s leaders will visit Ramallah with little inkling of the depth of pro-Nazi feeling among Arabs during WWII.
The Palestinian leadership will take care not to mention that one of the foremost Arab leaders, the wartime Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was complicit with the Nazis. After the Palestinian Mufti incited the 1941 Farhud massacre of Iraq’s Jews, he spent the rest of the war in Berlin as Hitler’s guest. While pumping out vicious anti-Jewish radio propaganda to the Arab world, he sought Hitler’s permission to manage the extermination of the Jews across the Middle East and North Africa – not just in Palestine -should the Nazis win the war.
When the war ended, the Allies did not put Haj Amin al-Husseini on trial at Nuremberg. As a result, the Arab world was never ‘de-Nazified’. Its legacy of antisemitic, Nazi-inspired Islamofascism/ Islamist terrorism – represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Hamas – also fuels jihadist antisemitism in the West today.
More than half the Jewish population are in Israel because of the Arabs, not the Nazis. Will anyone at Yad Vashem make the point that 850,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab lands because Arab League states implemented anti-Jewish laws eerily reminiscent of Nuremberg laws against their Jewish citizens, stripping them of their rights and dispossessing them of their property?
As more than 40 world leaders ascend to Jerusalem this week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Israel should be careful not to assume that those who attend this largely ceremonial event are working to combat antisemitism, or even desire to be the country’s ally.
In May 2016, the west Asian country erected a monument in its capital of Yerevan honoring Garegin Nzhdeh (1886-1955), a Nazi collaborator and commander of the Wehrmacht’s Armenian Legion. The unit fought in Crimea, the Caucasus and southern France as the Nazis rounded up Jews and resistance fighters and marched them to death camps. In 1945, Nzhdeh was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Soviet court for his war crimes and collaboration with the Nazis.
Moreover, he was the founder of the racist Tseghakronism movement, designed to represent those who embody the “spiritual and biological essence of the classical Armenian,” whose obligation it is to rule the country. Its ideology is reminiscent of the Aryan supremacy espoused by Nzhdeh’s Nazi comrades.
Nzhdeh is considered a national hero in Armenia. A square and a subway station in Yerevan are named after him, and his legacy is taught to children in Armenian public schools. When the statue was erected in 2016, opposition fell on deaf ears. Holocaust scholar Efraim Zuroff called the move “outrageous… an unfortunate mistake, and an insult to the victims of the Nazis and all those who fought against the Nazis.”
The monument was never taken down.
Israel is poised to unveil a photo exhibition at United Nations headquarters in New York on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day that features Holocaust survivors from Israel and around the world.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon will inaugurate the exhibition, put together by the “Lonka Project” led by Rina Castelnuovo and Jim Hollander, and will be open from January 27 – February 7.
The exhibit’s photos were snapped by volunteer photographers who met with Holocaust survivors in more than twenty different countries – including Jerusalem, London, Johannesburg, Paris, and New York – throughout 2019.
The photo exhibition is named after Lonka (Dr. Elonora Nass), who, as a young teenager, survived five Nazi death camps, then built her life in Israel. She passed away in 2018.
“The stories of these Holocaust survivors’ heroism are an example to the nations of the world,” Danon said. “Through their experiences, we must remind the world of two things: that the Holocaust was the most evil crime in history and its lesson must never be forgotten.”
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) January 21, 2020
This week, dozens of heads of state from around the world will convene at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to mark the Fifth World Holocaust Forum as part of the commemorations surrounding International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Getting support from the UN General Assembly in 2005 to approve the annual commemoration was far from a sure thing. In order for the resolution to pass we needed the support of 96 countries – just over half of all member states.
To this end, we requested that representatives of the EU convene a joint meeting with the U.S., Russia, Canada, and Australia. Taking action together would allow us to overcome the inevitable resistance and obtain the majority we needed. At the offices of the European delegation, our host stated that, to his regret, as the Arab bloc was opposed to the initiative, the Europeans would not lend their support.
At the time, I was serving as political advisor at the Israeli Permanent Mission to the UN. At the meeting, I turned to the European diplomat hosting us, and to the German diplomat sitting beside me, and said: “Look me in the eyes, me, a representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and tell me that you’re not willing to support the special session because of the Arabs. You owe my people a moral debt. The worst tragedy in the history of humankind occurred on your soil. The Arabs and the Palestinians have enough resolutions against us in the General Assembly, and it’s time that the Jewish and Israeli narrative is given expression.”
After securing support from the Russian delegation, the U.S., Canada, and Australia, I then returned to the Europeans, explaining that it was up to them to decide which side of history and morality they wanted to be on. The European diplomat finally concluded: “The European Union will join the initiative, despite the objections of Arab countries.”
Some 10,000 police officers will be deployed throughout Jerusalem and the highways leading to it later this week, as 47 delegations of kings, presidents, and other world leaders visit Israel to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, police said Sunday.
According to the head of police operations, Commander Yishai Shalem, the coming week’s 5th World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum is expected to be one of the largest and most complex security operations ever for the Israel Police.
The event is similar in scope to only three other events in the country’s history, in which several world leaders or high-ranking dignitaries came to Israel: the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres and the annual Presidential Conference, which Peres envisioned as a “Jewish Davos,” and which ran from 2009 to 2013.
“Things will need to run like a Swiss watch,” Shalem said.
The security effort — dubbed “Operation Future” — will be led by the police, with assistance from the Shin Bet security service’s Unit 730, which is responsible for protecting high-status officials. The Israel Defense Forces will also offer protection for world leaders visiting the West Bank, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and the UK’s Prince Charles, who are both slated to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Over 100 ministers and MPs from all over Europe were slated to convene in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday to discuss practical ways to tackle the recent surge in anti-Semitism in Europe.
The conference, organized by the European Jewish Association, seeks to explore, among other things, ways to integrate Holocaust studies into Europe’s educational systems, and to formulating legislation that would prohibit the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes such as the one notoriously used in the Aalst Carnival in Belgium.
The festival’s 2019 edition was widely criticized by anti-discrimination groups for including a float depicting Jews with side curls and oversized noses atop piles of money.
Subsequently, UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific, and cultural agency, removed the famous carnival from its Cultural Heritage list, citing repeated displays of anti-Semitism.
The lawmakers are also seeking to enact legislation that would prevent the sale and auctioning of Nazi memorabilia.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has given an impassioned condemnation of antisemitism in comments to Parliament.
Responding to a question in the House of Commons about marking Holocaust Memorial Day with action rather than mere signatures in books, Mr Johnson expressed his desire to do “absolutely everything we can to stamp out the resurgence of antisemitism.”
The Prime Minister proceeded to observe that, “as someone who is now 55 years old, I find it absolutely incredible that in the 21st century we have antisemitism rising again in this country. It is a disgrace and we must stamp it out.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that 42% of British Jews have considered leaving the UK, of which 85% cited antisemitism in politics, and close to two thirds of British Jews believe that the authorities, in general, are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crime than any other faith group.
MP Andrew Percy asks the PM during #PMQs of the government’s commitment to stamp out antisemitism:
“I am now 55 years old and I find it absolutely incredible that in the 21st century we have antisemitism rising again in this country and we must stamp it out”-@BorisJohnson pic.twitter.com/faSjLi1p0z
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) January 15, 2020
Jonathan S. Tobin: Why the bombing Auschwitz argument still matters
In his 1989 book From Beirut to Jerusalem, columnist Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, wrote, “Israel is becoming Yad Vashem with an Air Force.” That line represents the kind of smart-alecky analysis that helped build Friedman’s brand as a faux foreign-policy wise guy that still sustains him in his perch on the Times’ op-ed page, even though his columns have been stale and devoid of any real insight for years. But his quip at the expense of the Jewish state – and the link between its determination to survive and the memory of the Holocaust – has not been forgotten. That’s because it represents the impatience of many in the chattering classes with Israel’s embrace of its role as the ultimate guarantor of the safety of the Jewish people.
In the more than 30 years since Friedman’s book became a best-seller, more lip service than ever is paid to the memory of the Shoah, while some of the same people who beat their breasts about the Six Million fail to speak out against the lie that Israel behaves like the Nazis. Yet in spite of that anti-Semitic smear, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is an apt moment to remind us why the memory of what did and didn’t happen there is still central to the rationale for modern Zionism.
There is no evading the fact that the at the moment in history when Jews were being slaughtered in the Nazi death factory at Auschwitz by the hundreds of thousands, their fate was a minor issue even to those in the civilized world who were waging war on Germany. That’s why the ongoing debate over the failure of the Allies to bomb Auschwitz continues to inspire anger and controversy to this day.
The question of whether Auschwitz should have been bombed is the subject of an episode of the PBS’ documentary series “Secrets of the Dead,” which will premiere the week of the Auschwitz liberation anniversary. Despite some clear limitations (including the lamentable practice of incorporating dramatic re-enactments of historical events by actors), “Bombing Auschwitz” is an interesting introduction to a complex and tragic subject.
Wrapped up against the bitter cold, some bearing their few remaining possessions on their shoulders, men, women and children queue up in neat rows of five and wait… to find out whether they are going to live or die.
Behind them, mothers and their children — each wearing a yellow star to denote their religious status — continue to pour out of the train, often leaving their suitcases behind them, as they are herded into lines.
Those immediately selected for death will be guided towards the gas chambers. The rest are deemed suitable for work and will have their heads shaved before being marched off to the labour camp where they will endure the harshest conditions.
Taken in 1944 by a German photographer billeted to Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern occupied Poland, these extraordinary images are the only known record of scores of Jewish families who arrived at the Nazis’ most notorious extermination camp where 1.1 million people died or were killed between 1940 and 1945.
And now — ahead of the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Auschwitz Untold, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp — some 37 of the photographs have been recast in colour for the first time, bringing alive the horror of Holocaust for a new generation.
In the documentary, Holocaust survivor Judith Altmann, 95, who was arrested in 1944 and transported from her home in Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz, says: ‘I’ve seen it and I cannot erase it from my mind. We were wearing colours. We were not all in grey.’
That we are able to witness these photographs — let alone in full colour — is as remarkable as the harrowing stories they depict.
In November of 2011, I decided to go to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. I had never been there before. I did not particularly want to go. But I knew I had to. So, I invited several friends, including a pastor from the U.S. and his wife, and a pastor from Germany and his wife.
The trip had a profound effect on me. It’s difficult to describe the emotions of standing in an actual gas chamber where people were murdered, seeing the ovens where bodies were burned, walking through the cell blocks, seeing the guard towers and barbed wire and train tracks. It was haunting to realize that more than one million people were systematically murdered there, the vast majority of them Jews.
While at their bookstore, I purchased a thin volume, London Has Been Informed, that briefly noted there were some 800 escape attempts from Auschwitz, but only a handful of successful escapes. Escapes? I was stunned. My colleagues and I had hired a VIP guide to take us through the camp. He never mentioned anything about escapes.
As soon as I got home, I started tracking down every resource I could. Who were these men who had escaped? How had they succeeded? What was their plan? What did they do after they got out?
What I learned astounded me.
It turns out that April 7, 1944, the greatest escape in human history took place. That was the day that two Slovak Jews – Rudolf Vrba, only 19 at the time, and Fred Wetzler, barely 25 – managed to break free from the worst of the Nazi death camps.
A yellow flag, reminiscent of the badges Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust, is being flown in Serbia as a “badge of honor” to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the country’s president has said, adding regarding the attempted destruction of the Jews by the Nazis: “never again.”
The flag, featuring a Star of David and the word “Jude,” is being flown alongside the country’s national flag, above the north entrance to the Novi Dvor, or ‘New Palace’ in Belgrade, the official seat of the President of Serbia. Its design evokes the yellow badges Jews across Europe were forced to wear under threat of death, when much of the continent fell under Nazi occupation between 1939 and 1945.
President Aleksandar Vucic tweeted a photo of the flag on Tuesday morning, along with the message in both English and Serbian: “This badge was a symbol of the attempted destruction of the Jews by the Nazis. Now it is a symbol of honor. 75 years after. Never again.”
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) January 20, 2020
— Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman (@WarpedMirrorPMB) January 20, 2020
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) January 21, 2020
Against the backdrop of rising antisemitism in America, I was surprised this week when Dr. Richard Roberts, a major GOP donor who gave over $1million to the Trump campaign, sent me a letter he sent to the Mayor of Jackson, New Jersey (which includes Lakewood) where he accused the town of antisemitism.
Roberts served as Vice Chair of the Israel Advisory Committee for the Trump campaign and has donated to the political campaigns for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker and former Congressman Allen West.
Roberts produced documents via Freedom of Information act requests, where local New Jersey police conducted “surveillance of Orthodox Jews gathering for a minyan.” As Roberts told me, “Township employees looked into home windows to see if Orthodox Jews were praying, walked into the backyards of residential properties to see if Orthodox Jews were praying in a swimming pool hut or garage, checked license plates, and followed Orthodox Jews who were carrying ‘bibles’.”
“The actions of Jackson Township have been atrocious. We don’t need to pray in a synagogue. We can pray in a parking lot, office, home, airport, or wherever else we are. The idea that Jackson Township officials were performing organized surveillance on Orthodox Jews, to stop us from praying in homes, is obnoxious. Jackson Township emails reveal that Jackson Township officials, and other employees knew Jewish praying times and staked out multiple blocks to count Orthodox Jews going into homes to pray at those times.”
Chilling. Wow. This is America?
Earlier this month, Facebook removed a page which was harshly antisemitic called “Rise Up Ocean County,” where media reports indicate disturbing language to criticize the largely Hasidic community, including “I would trust a rat before a Hassidic [sic],” one commenter wrote. “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did.” This removal came after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called on Facebook to take action against the group.
For a Martin Luther King Day event, Yale University tapped a keynote presenter who is an outspoken supporter of the Israel boycott movement and has faced accusations of anti-Semitism.
Yale selected prominent black power movement leader Angela Davis to speak at its MLK Day commemoration event on Thursday. Davis is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel. Davis also has faced accusations of anti-Semitism for her support of the Soviet Union’s suppression of Jewish dissidents.
Davis was selected to keynote the event by assistant dean of Yale College and director of the Afro-American Cultural Center Risë Nelson, according to the Yale Daily News. The decision was supported by the MLK2020 planning committee.
Davis’s participation in the event is just the latest instance of an American university promoting a BDS leader. The promotion of BDS at U.S. colleges has long been a focal point in the pro-Israel community’s efforts to combat growing anti-Semitism on campus, an issue that has received renewed scrutiny in the wake of several violent attacks on Jews across the country.
A conference in Munich next month has been canceled after accusations of antisemitism erupted over the rejection of a pro-Israel speaker.
The International Munich Peace Conference, which describes itself as an alternative to the annual Munich Security Conference and draws world leaders to the Bavarian capital, rejected the scheduled appearance of city councilman Marian Offman, who had been appointed by the city of Munich to give a salutation from Mayor Dieter Reiter.
Offman, who is Jewish, holds pro-Israel views and opposes the BDS movement.
Event organizer and board member Thomas Rödl ruled out Offman because of those very positions, even though the city of Munich deems the BDS movement antisemitic and anti-Israel. As such, no city funds or venues may be utilized for pro-BDS events.
Ludwig Spaenle, Bavaria’s commissioner on antisemitism, labeled Rödl’s rejection of Offman as antisemitic, while Israel’s consul general in Munich, Sandra Simovich, said it exemplified Israel-related antisemitism.
In an open letter to the mayor published on Thursday, Rödl and board member Gudrun Haas said they canceled the February conference because they “did not have the capacity to plan the peace conference while resolving this dispute in a mutually satisfactory manner.”
Germany’s publicly funded news outlet Deutsche Welle is facing allegations that it permits a widespread work culture of antisemitism, racism, sexual harassment and bullying.
The British Guardian paper reported last week that staff employees accused a presenter at the giant news organization DW of being antisemitic. “From what I witnessed, it seemed to build up over time as he targeted certain colleagues,” one employee said, adding, “He would just use the term as shorthand. ‘Oh, yeah, that f**king Jew over there.’”
Some staff members said the “presenter would target colleagues he believed to be Jewish arbitrarily, using antisemitic insults in the open office.”
The Jerusalem Post has reported over the years in series of reports about Israel-related antisemitism at DW.
“DW is a swamp,” one staff member told The Guardian, adding “The irregularities are systemic: journalistic, political, ethical. There is no way to clean this system from within. The financier of DW, which is the German parliament, must take responsibility and investigate what’s happening.”
The Guardian cited a list of alleged employee abuse examples.
The son of a North Carolina Court of Appeals judge pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for threatening a local synagogue.
William Warden, 21, son of Judge Lucy Inman, did not attend the hearing on Wednesday, since he is in 24-hour mental health treatment in Florida, the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper reported. As part of his plea deal, he will remain in treatment another 12 months, for a total of two years in treatment.
“As deeply concerned parents, we apologize profusely to the Jewish community and to all who have been impacted. And we are treating this situation with utmost seriousness,” read a statement from Inman and her husband Billy Warden after their son’s arrest in June 2018. They said that their son has struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia his whole life and that he was vulnerable to being exploited by white supremacists online.
William Warden rang the doorbell of the Messianic Congregation Sha’arei Shalom in Cary, North Carolina. When a synagogue official remotely answered the bell, Warden made a “number of disparaging statements against the Jewish religion and people of the Jewish faith,” police told the newspaper, and threatened to damage the synagogue. He reportedly said, in part, “Get out of the government, that’s how you can help me. … Get out of Cary. … And get out of our country.”
A London teenager who set a Jewish man’s hair on fire and threatened to beat him up has been sentenced to a four-month youth rehabilitation order, and was told to write the victim a letter of apology and pay him £100 in compensation.
The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 14 when he boarded the top deck of a bus in Muswell Hill, London with a friend on the evening of March 26, 2018, Highbury Youth Court heard, according to local news outlet Ham & High.
Prosecutor Beata Murphy told the court: “The defendant said: ‘Are you a Paki or a Jew?’ The defendant then sat behind the complainant and the other male opposite him. The complainant then heard a crackling sound and realized that it was his hair (on fire).”
When the man turned to confront the boy, the boy retorted: “Are you Jewish? You can’t be Jewish because you don’t have horns. Do Jews keep money under their caps?,” the court heard.
Lord Mann, the Government’s independent advisor on antisemitism, has told football clubs to enhance their efforts to tackle antisemitism and racism in stadiums, warning that “I have a voice and it will get more brutal if they don’t.”
He made the remarks at the unveiling of a mural at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge honouring three footballers imprisoned by the Nazis. The mural was designed by a British-Israeli artist as part of Chelsea’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign.
Lord Mann told attendees: “If I thought doing this was a PR stunt I wouldn’t be here. It could have huge ramifications in the fight against hate. I want other premier league clubs to follow Chelsea’s lead and speak out. I have a voice and it will get more brutal if they don’t.”
Bruce Buck, the club’s chairman, said the club’s commitment to fighting anti-Jewish racism was “never ending” and had “no time frame”, adding: “Maybe if antisemitism stops we’ll stop – but that’s not likely in our lifetime. It’s a very important project for Roman [Abramovich, the club’s owner].”
Tel Aviv is the world’s 20th most expensive city in terms of cost of living, and the priciest in the Middle East, according to a report released this week.
The White City ranks just below Oakland, California, and above Copenhagen, Denmark, according to figures published by Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database of consumer prices that compares the cost of living in various countries.
Haifa placed at 31st, one slot above Chicago, and Jerusalem at 34th, below Osaka, Japan, and above Sarasota, Florida.
The next city in the region was Doha, Qatar, in 179th place.
Tel Aviv has been climbing the site’s semiannual Cost of Living index. In its mid-2019 index, Tel Aviv stood at 27th place, and a year ago was 36th.
The 2020 index included data on 440 cities. The top five most expensive cities were all located in Switzerland, headed by Basel. New York was in 11th place, San Francisco in 12th and Washington, DC, in 17th.
Overall, Israel ranks on the site as the 8th most expensive country.
Israel is ranked sixth among the world’s most innovative economies, according to an Innovation Index published by the Bloomberg business news outlet, slipping one spot since last year, when it came in fifth place.
Germany was ranked first in the 2020 index, taking the top spot from South Korea, which moved to second place after six years on top.
Also ahead of Israel were Singapore in third, Switzerland in fourth, and Sweden in fifth place. The US fell one spot to ninth place and China moved up one to 15th.
The annual index, in its eighth year, ranks countries based on seven criteria measuring research and productivity.
Israel placed first in R&D intensity, which measures research and development expenditure as a percent of the country’s GDP, and second in researcher concentration, which measures the percent of professionals taking part in R&D in the general population. Israel lagged behind in measures of manufacturing, productivity and efficiency, however.
The marketing analytics startup AppsFlyer said Tuesday that it had secured $210 million in a series D funding round.
The funding was led by New York-based equity firm General Atlantic.
AppsFlyer, now based in San Francisco, California, was founded in 2011 by Israelis Oren Kaniel and Reshef Mann and previously headquartered in Herzliya.
The company provides measurement tools to companies for data on mobile advertising, which help gauge the success of marketing campaigns.
AppsFlyer currently has development offices in Israel in Herzliya and Haifa.
The firm has secured a total of $294 million in funding and employs 850 people in 18 global offices. It has over 12,000 customers, including eBay, HBO, Nike and NBC, and its tools are integrated in over 5,000 tech partners, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Salesforce and Apple Search Ads.
AppsFlyer last year saw over $150 million in annual recurring revenue, it said.
The City of #Beersheva has a special place in the history of #Israel – #Australia relations, which is why it was all the more meaningful and so deeply heartwarming, that the city is flying the 🇦🇺 in solidarity with the Australian people following the devastating #bushfires! pic.twitter.com/cvNHYSFJcO
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) January 21, 2020
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