Could Jewish and Zionist Leaders Have Done More to Rescue the Jews of Poland?
In the view of Philip Roth’s narrator in The Plot Against America—a fictional account of how fascism might have come to the United States in 1940—history as schoolchildren study it is the story “turned wrong way around”: a tale told after the fact, with “everything . . . chronicled on the page as inevitable.” By contrast, the narrator asserts, history experienced in real time is a story of the “relentless unforeseen.”
Historians have a term—“hindsight history”—for accounts that ignore the daunting uncertainties and moral dilemmas presented by history as it actually unfolds. That is precisely what Jehuda Reinharz and Yaacov Shavit set themselves against in their important and provocative book The Road to September 1939: Polish Jews, Zionists, and the Yishuv on the Eve of World War II (2018). Bringing us right up to the edge of the destruction of European and particularly of Polish Jewry, they seek to recover the story of the “relentless unforeseen.” As they put it in the book’s preface:
We do not intend to describe the events by reading history backward. We have tried not to read the story from its endpoint, but rather to tell it as much as possible in the “present.” Before August 1939, as well as during that month, no one really knew what was in store. It is only a retrospective reading that determines that the events moved inexorably toward an unequaled calamity and that it was impossible to halt their course.
The authors are themselves distinguished historians. Reinharz has to his credit a magisterial two-volume biography of the great Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, a major figure in the events narrated here, and Shavit is a longtime scholar of another major figure of the time, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, and of Jabotinsky’s Poland-centered Revisionist Zionist movement. With an important exception to be discussed below, the two authors succeed admirably at their task. Theirs is an extraordinary account of a horrific time, told mostly through the letters, diaries, and recorded thoughts of those who lived through it.
Moreover, in telling this tale of uncertainty, the authors shed light on a key question that has troubled—and still troubles—countless minds: could Jewish and Zionist leaders have done more than they did to rescue the Jews of Poland?
Jabarin denies his PFLP connections while he continues to assail Israel through his NGO, which has called for a European boycott on Jewish goods from the West Bank and a French financial boycott of Israel. Jabarin submitted several reports to the International Criminal Court as part of an anti-Israel lawfare campaign, and he was instrumental in the recent push in Ireland to criminalize business transactions with Jewish businesses in the West Bank.
Jabarin is not al-Haq’s only contribution to HRW. A former legal researcher with al-Haq, Anan AbuShanab, is currently HRW’s West Bank researcher. There is also Charles Shamas, a co-founder of al-Haq, who has been an HRW adviser since at least 2002. Shamas also founded the MATTIN Group, which lobbied Europe to exclude Israeli products from free trade agreements.
HRW has since joined several other controversial BDS campaigns. This includes the malicious 2015 effort to lobby the U.N. to blacklist Israel as an abuser of children in armed conflict. In 2016, the group unsuccessfully petitioned the world soccer federation FIFA to block matches in Israeli settlements.
In January 2016, HRW published “ Occupation, Inc.,” a report claiming Israeli businesses in the West Bank contribute to Palestinian human rights violations. The U.N. Human Rights Council, the group former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley blasted as a “cesspool of political bias,” soon called for a blacklist of companies operating in Israeli settlements, in line with HRW’s vision. HRW brass cheered the move and even recommended three companies to blacklist for good measure.
In October 2016, HRW hired BDS advocate Omar Shakir as its new Israel-Palestine director. In 2017 and 2018, HRW began pressuring banks to cease operations in Israeli settlements. It was also around this time that HRW began lobbying Airbnb and Booking.com to delist Jewish properties in the West Bank. When Airbnb relented in November, Arvind Ganesan, business and human Rights director at HRW, crowed, “Airbnb has taken a stand against discrimination, displacement, and land theft.”
While HRW may do serious work on other issues, it is now an activist group aligned with a vitriolic movement. The connection to al-Haq may explain some of this. But it’s unclear why HRW’s leadership, beginning with Executive Director Kenneth Roth, allowed an otherwise mainstream group to become a ringleader for BDS.
This is why it is so troubling that WCC and EAPPI officials have not responded to queries posted on Twitter regarding the party. The question is a pretty simple one: Did EAPPI activists attend a propagandistic birthday party promoted by Palestinian Human Rights Defenders, an anti-normalization organization that seeks to drive Jews from their homes in Hebron?
If the answer is no, great!
If the answer is yes, well, then the WCC owes Israel and its citizens an apology for allowing its peace activists to affiliate with people who promote hatred and hostility toward Jews in the Holy Land in clear contradiction of the organization’s stated opposition to antisemitism and violence.
This would not be the first time EAPPI activists have associated with promoters of hatred in the West Bank. They made regular visits to Hasan Breijieh, coordinator for the Committee Against the Wall and spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in the 1990s.
Watch this video here to see Breijieh being accompanied by two EAPPI activists as he harasses Jews outside their homes — on shabbat no less — in the West Bank. He’s also written a poem that looks forward to the murder of Jews living in the West Bank.
The Maitles case study discussed above has parallels in Australia and elsewhere (Mendes 2018). A common theme seems to be pro-BDS editors of scholarly magazines using their discretion to excuse anti-Zionist authors from conforming to core academic standards. I would add that if any conservative Greater Israel academics are replicating these actions there is similarly no excuse.
In this case, I would note the following: Maitles could and should have reviewed key contemporary academic texts on relations between Jews and the Left in Britain and other Western countries, he could and should have reviewed leading scholarly texts on the historical context of Jewish-Left relations, he could and should have reviewed major academic publications on the controversies around Jewish anti-Zionism today, and in commenting on Israel-Palestinian relations, he could and should have reviewed a range of historical viewpoints on the causes of the 1948 Palestinian refugee tragedy.
A particularly malevolent by-product of this privileging of anti-Zionist voices is that moderate voices, favouring recognition of the national rights of both Israeli and Palestinians peoples via a two-state solution, are increasingly excluded from progressive publications and debates. This silencing is happening at a time when, arguably more than ever, outsiders need to encourage sober dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians leading ideally to mutual compromise, rather than further polarisation and hatred.
In 2016, Ambassadors Against BDS brought together two ambassadors to the United Nations, America’s Nikki Haley and Israel’s Danny Danon, and many major Jewish groups for the first anti-BDS summit at the UN. It was an impressive accomplishment that used an anti-Israel forum for a pro-Israel event.
But behind the scenes a confrontation unfolded that would pit those organizations against each other.
Jonathan Greenblatt (pictured above), the ADL’s new left-wing CEO, was there and followed the lead of the pro-Israel speakers with a sharp denunciation of BDS. “Let me be clear: at its core BDS is an anti-Semitic movement,” he declared. Like so many speakers who begin their sentences with, “let me be clear”, the former Obama official was actually disguising a hedge. Earlier that month, Greenblatt had written an essay arguing that the “vast majority of BDS supporters” were actually frustrated by the lack of peace.
At its core, he was suggesting, BDS might be anti-Semitic, but most of its supporters were good people.
Greenblatt’s ambiguity, condemning BDS while defending the “vast majority of BDS supporters”, was typical of the organization’s erratic course under his leadership. BDS supporters had appeared at ADL events and the formerly pro-Israel group had endorsed pro-BDS movements such as Black Lives Matter. The ADL had lobbied against anti-BDS legislation and condemned Jewish groups, like the Zionist Organization of America and Canary Mission, that fought unapologetically against BDS supporters.
The ADL’s double game had infuriated many in the Jewish community. And Greenblatt, a former Obama official with no experience running a Jewish organization, was equally angry. His vision of the ADL as an all-purpose social justice organization, that would act as a bridge, harnessing funds from Jewish donors for social justice causes while communicating Jewish concerns to the intersectional left, had failed.
Greenblatt couldn’t lash out at the leftist groups that had snubbed the ADL, so he directed his fury at the pro-Israel groups who saw his pandering to anti-Semites as a betrayal of the Jewish community.
And that fury allegedly reached its climax behind the scenes at the United Nations. What followed was a confrontation that has divided Jewish organizations and a scandal that took two years to reach its climax while exposing malfeasance in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization.
Yisrael Medad: Brainwashed and Lied To
You are asked to believe this:
“Tourists coming here are brainwashed, they are lied to, they do not know this is our land”, said a Palestinian farmer living next to Shiloh settlement, where the Israeli government is funding a large visitor centre to draw tourists to an archaeological site.
There are no lies at Shiloh.
We do know whose land this is.
We know what the Arabs did to the site before Jews returned.
We know exactly what Arab period remains are at the site.
Come and judge for yourself.
Since 2001, the share of Republicans sympathizing more with Israel than the Palestinians has increased 29 percentage points, from 50% to 79%. Over the same period, the share of Democrats saying this has declined 11 points, from 38% to 27%.
Since only 27% of Democrats side with Israelis, while Republicans overwhelmingly support Israel, the shift in public sentiment among liberals has resulted in Democrats appeasing anti-Israel and sometimes antisemitic viewpoints. Ultimately, it comes down to votes.
Democrats need the votes of people who hate Israel; sad but true. In doing so, politicians such as Nancy Pelosi within the Democratic establishment look the other way when certain viewpoints correlate to antisemitism.
The Democratic Party caters to these sentiments because liberal voters are far more critical of Israel than conservatives. This criticism almost always morphs into hyperbole and vitriol, blaming Israel for human rights violations while overtly ignoring the crimes of Hamas. Even the latest Women’s March faced accusations of antisemitism, proving such views could be present within all elements of liberal politics.
Antisemitic flyers were spread recently on the UC Berkeley campus, blaming Jewish students for sexual assaults. Today’s antiwar movements on college campuses involve focusing all attention on Israel for the Middle East crisis, while seeing the Palestinians only as an innocent and oppressed people with every right to launch rockets. Progressive Democrats, the most idealistic base of a political party that cheated Bernie Sanders in 2016, view Israel as a Goliath and the Palestinians as a David, and America’s Left often sides with the perceived underdog. As I explained in my previous op-ed, even the murder of Jews in a synagogue is weaponized by Democrats to blame President Donald Trump.
Ultimately, Democrats need the votes of anti-Israel voters and will overlook antisemitic sentiments, even by their own politicians. Unfortunately, this is a reality of American politics that Jews around the world must recognize. The days of liberals supporting Israel, or condemning statements that used to be seen as overly antisemitic, are likely over.
She knows who Corbyn is, what he is, and the anguish he has caused the Jewish community
One of the benefits of centrism collapsing is that left-leaning politicians no longer sound like human resources
consultants. The downside is they now talk like people who write a lot of Justice League fanfic in their spare time. The buzzwords change but get no less shallow. Notice two things about Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, though. 1) She is a fan of the Oxford comma, grounds enough to make her the nominee in 2020. 2) She identifies the three building blocks of contemporary progressivism: ‘Class, race, and identity’. Whatever this new leftism becomes, and whatever comes of it, we at least have a title for the HBO miniseries.
Although the age gap is much larger than that which separated Reagan and Thatcher, Corbyn and Ocasio-Cortez otherwise have much in common. Both consider themselves socialists and both consider socialism to be a melange of populist economic policies and undergraduate hostility to American power. Both inspire a special kind of crazy in their devotees, slightly more political iterations of schoolgirls who stab each other with compasses over which one Jungkook would marry. (If right-wingers think they’re immune to blind political fandom, I’ve got a Mexican-funded border wall to sell them.)
Both hinge their appeal on being different from the moderate managerialism that went before and Corbyn is very different in an important, troubling way. The leader of the Labour Party is — there’s no way around it — an anti-Semite. Yes, he’s extremely pro-Palestinian, viscerally anti-Israel, and is a harsh critic of settlements and checkpoints. None of that, though, is anti-Semitic. Corbyn, bluntly, has a problem with Jews. He boasts of his ‘friends’ in anti-Semitic terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. He has defended a London street mural depicting Jews, complete with prominent noses, counting money as they play Monopoly on the backs of naked blacks under an Illuminati symbol.
He attended a wreath-laying ceremony for one of the terrorists behind the Munich massacre that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. He has invited to the House of Commons one Islamist who claims Jews murder children for blood to bake in their Passover bread and another who urges Arabs to spray-paint walls with images of ‘hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg’s approval stamp’. As recently as 2013, Corbyn was still attending events run by Paul Eisen’s Deir Yassin Remembered; Eisen is the author of tracts including My Life as a Holocaust Denier (2008) and How I Became a Holocaust Denier (2012).
One New York Democrat, unlike the rest of the Democratic Party, is not afraid to confront neophyte New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over her flirtation with anti-Semites.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind minced no words on Monday blistering Ocasio-Cortez for saying it was an “honor” to speak with openly anti-Semitic British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Hikind not only targeted Ocasio-Cortez, but other Democrats who are embracing anti-Semtitsm, tweeting, “This is nauseating. Is @AOC ignorant and unaware of what @jeremycorbyn stands for, or worse, does she hold the same views? @TheDemocrats are embracing some terrible antisemitic figures that will haunt every single 2020 Dem candidate.”
This is nauseating. Is @AOC ignorant and unaware of what @jeremycorbyn stands for, or worse, does she hold the same views? @TheDemocrats are embracing some terrible antisemitic figures that will haunt every single 2020 Dem candidate. https://t.co/Q1NJmVyWaf
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) February 4, 2019
This response doesn’t make @AOC look better but worse. She praises @jeremycorbyn to heavens and then suddenly she’ll seriously think about his antisemitism? Have her team reach out? Deep fellowship? What a load of nonsense! We know the two see eye-to-eye on most matters. https://t.co/n260xaVhqC
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) February 4, 2019
A trio of far-left Democrats are normalizing blatant anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party as leaders in the party idly stand by and refuse to condemn their actions and statements.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — all new members of Congress — have all defended anti-Semites or espoused anti-Semitic positions over the last several months.
The disturbing trend comes as the U.S. experienced the worst anti-Semitic attack in the nation’s history in October 2018 after a man walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 people, later telling law enforcement that he wanted all Jews to die.
Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib belong to Justice Democrats, a federal political action committee, which far-left Vox describes as “a left-wing group whose mission is to drag the Democratic Party left by making life miserable for incumbents … threatening them with progressive primary challengers.”
While Omar and Tlaib have stolen most of the national headlines on their anti-Semitism, Ocasio-Cortez’s ties to anti-Semitism are just as strong.
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar once described acts of terrorism as a reaction to “our involvement in other people’s affairs,” in the wake of the brutal al-Shabab attack on a Kenyan shopping mall in 2013.
Omar made the comments during an obscure local television appearance just weeks after four armed al-Shabab jihadists stormed the Westgate mall in Nairobi in 2013, killing nearly 70 people and wounding 200.
“When are we gonna decide or realize that terrorism is a reaction? It’s an ideology, it’s a means of things, it’s not an entity, it’s not a place, people. It’s a reaction to a situation,” host Ahmed Tharwat asked then-activist Omar, on the show “Belahdan” on Twin Cities PBS during a discussion about the experience of the Somali community in the U.S. following the attack in Kenya.
“Yes,” she agreed. “What you’re insinuating is what nobody wants to face. Nobody wants to face how the actions of the other people that are involved in the world have contributed to the rise of the radicalization and the rise of terrorist acts.”
She continued: “Usually most people want to not look internal and see what their actions that makes another react. For us, it’s always ‘I must have not done anything. Why is it happening to me?’ Nobody wants to take accountability of how these are byproducts of the actions of our involvement in other people’s affairs.”
Tharwat, who has given a platform before to radical activists — including a political cartoonist who won second place in the 2006 Iranian International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, an anti-Semitic contest featuring Holocaust denial — went on to compare the violence perpetrated by terror groups around the world to the actions of western governments.
“Most of the people who commit these kind of heinous violence are done by people unelected that are just fringe of the societies … but the violence done [by] the West is done by the people that are elected,” he said, prompting Omar to agree that violence committed by the West is “legitimized.”
Omar is now a freshman member of the House, holding a seat on the influential Foreign Affairs Committee overseeing legislation and investigations related to American foreign policy.
This evening, Labour MPs have unanimously adopted a motion demanding simple answers from their Party’s leadership as to what action is being taken again antisemitism.
Jennie Formby, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, has reportedly responded to Labour MPs by telling them that she does not answer to them and expects antisemitism to persist.
When Labour MPs unanimously vote to condemn their own Party’s handling of its antisemitism crisis, one would expect responsible, anti-racist leaders to take note, but Labour’s leadership is neither responsible nor anti-racist, seeing its own MPs who stand up to antisemitism as threats, not allies.
Ms Formby’s appalling rebuff to her own MPs shows once again that Labour’s leadership has no intention of tackling antisemitism. She is telling her MPs that antisemitism in the Party is there to stay, showing that those who do not wish to remain part of an antisemitic institution have but one option: to leave.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has referred the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is deliberating as to whether to open a statutory investigation into antisemitic discrimination and victimisation in the Party.
Lawmakers of Britain’s Labour Party unanimously passed a motion Monday demanding that party leaders provide detailed data in writing on the handling of complaints about anti-Semitism, with some MPs accusing top officials in the party of covering up the number of complaints.
The internal party motion passed at Labour’s weekly parliamentary meeting in the lower house, escalating internal rifts over the issue. The motion called “on the party leadership to adequately tackle cases of anti-Semitism, as a failure to do so seriously risks anti-Semitism in the party appearing normalized and the party seeming to be institutionally anti-Semitic.”
It “asks some entirely reasonable questions of the leadership,” Luciana Berger, a Jewish senior member of Labour, wrote in a Monday op-ed in The Times of London.
The questions include: “What is the true number of cases of antisemitism that have been dealt with? What is the backlog of cases at every stage of the disciplinary process, and when will it be cleared? How many staff are working on such cases? Which Jewish organizations have been consulted?”
The motion also asked party leaders to commit to a timeline for the publication of a long-awaited code of conduct on anti-Semitism.
Why are Jews surprised that they have “a reputation for being sleazy thieves,” asks Israeli-American author Miko Peled, who also believes debating whether the Holocaust actually happened is a legitimate form of free speech and has equated Zionism, the Jewish people’s right to live in their ancient homeland, with racism. These are the enlightened perspectives Mr. Peled will be sharing at a public event on Thursday evening at Bucknell University.
News of Mr. Peled’s appearance at the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania college surfaced in a December 5, 2018 email sent by Bucknell English professor Michael Drexler. In the email, Drexler promotes Peled’s two books and describes Peled as an “Israeli peace and Palestinian rights activist, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement [BDS] and a passionate advocate for a one-state solution in Israel/Palestine.”
In response to an inquiry from the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center, Drexler addressed accusations that Peled “is an anti-Semite and that his appearance is not about free speech but hate speech.” He wrote:
Miko Peled is not an anti-Semite. He is not addressing the issue of free speech nor was he invited to push the boundaries of acceptable speech. He is offering his perspective as an Israeli citizen who is committed to ending the Occupation and supporting Palestinian rights.
Prof. Drexler, a member of the Academic Advisory Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, is responsible for inviting Peled to speak at Bucknell. The Anti-Defamation League describes JVP as “a radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a complete economic, cultural and academic boycott of the state of Israel and disseminates the view that Israel and its U.S. supporters are fundamentally racist oppressors of non-Jews, … perpetuating the classic anti-Jewish stereotype of Jews as self-centered elitists, disdainful of non-Jews, who are focused on their own interests, sometimes at others’ expense.”
Obeying the Irish law would likely mean violating existing US Federal law that prohibits American firms from participating in foreign boycotts not endorsed by Washington. More than two dozen state laws also penalize firms that engage in such boycotts. In 2017, the United States accounted for two-thirds of all foreign direct investment in Ireland. So, in the end, this law could have more impact on Ireland’s economy than on anything happening in the Middle East.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said the legislation also may run counter to European Union trade regulations. And Ireland’s attorney general has called the bill “legally unsound.”
Based on such considerations, the executive branch of the Irish government may find a way to shelve the legislation — again, based on what it will cost Ireland, not because it’s perceived as unfair and discriminatory, or apt to fuel more and bloodier conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis.
Final point: There are disputed territories around the world that Irish parliamentarians have had little to say about — Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara, or China’s stranglehold on Tibet.
In only one Middle Eastern country do Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and others hold citizenship, vote on a regular basis, and enjoy freedoms. Only one country in the world has given up land for peace and is willing to do so again. Irish politicians now want to single out that country for punishment. It’s their special way of commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day.
— Ozraeli Dave (@Israellycool) February 5, 2019
On Sunday, former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters took to Twitter to slam the Trump administration for its actions regarding Venezuela as Waters accused the administration of “trying to destroy” Venezuela’s democracy “so the 1% can plunder their oil.”
The Trump administration has taken a hard line on Venezuela; as Military Times reported, on Sunday President Trump stated that a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela is still under consideration, as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has refused to cede his position to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly, who declared himself interim president of the country and was recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by the U.S.
Maduro has retained support from much of the military, but there are beginning to be defections
The only 1% here is the 1% of intelligence you have. Stop your speech and see it yourself, go to Venezuela and see what’s happening there. It is easy to be a communist lover with the pockets full of money.
— Albi De Abreu (@AlbiDeAbreu) February 4, 2019
Here’s ‘As a Jew’ #RonitLentin The @IrishTimes trots her out as if she has any credence within the Irish Jewish community. Here she is ‘explaining’. She’s the person who excused Islamic jihadi terrorism on grounds that the targets were Israeli cadets #shame pic.twitter.com/XgCZOPHT2a
— Irish Jewish Voice (@Irishchutzpah) February 4, 2019
It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon with hundreds of people excitedly lining up on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street in New York City – but they were welcomed with threats meant to elicit fear by a group of Anti-Israel protestors with slogans that reminded some of the 30’s in Berlin.
Loud screams and marching band music were spewing hate as people stood on line trying to pick up their tickets and enter Carnegie Hall to hear the Israel Philharmonics Orchestra and internationally acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman.
Only the melodious tones of the violin could calm the nerves and distress the audience had to endure to enter the world’s most prestigious concert hall. NYPD carefully watched the crowd and separated the protestors from the line, however they allowed them to be on the same side of the street, allowed them to get in “punching range” with each other. Some of the yells at those on line were so intense that it was surprising that no one lost his temper.
The fine line between freedom of speech and freedom to marginalize Jews is blurred by our laws and law enforcement. No permission should be granted by our municipal government to threaten peaceful music lovers, to have protestors standing on the same corners, allowing them to be yelled at as if they are representatives of an African Apartheid State murdering innocents.
Why would we never see Nazis on our Avenues but allow fundamental Islamists to join forces with the most unlikely and illogical group on the left making a mockery of human rights and anti-discrimination activism? Is the PR of terrorism so much better than the PR of Western Democracy?
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) February 4, 2019
— Ozraeli Dave (@Israellycool) February 4, 2019
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mossad Weather Chief Won’t Let Kids Touch Thermostat At Home (satire)
Children of the man who oversees Israel’s clandestine projects to control temperature, winds, precipitation, and other meteorological phenomena around the world complained today that he forbids them to so much as adjust the heat or cooling in the house.
The Mossad official in charge of the organization’s global climate and weather control systems, known only by the initial Y, has stated on numerous occasions that his children are not to touch the thermostat at home, because he is not made of money, the four offspring told journalists on Sunday. They further complained that their father’s policy demonstrates hypocrisy, in that he manipulates temperature and other atmospheric factors all the time while barring them from the same activity.
“It’s like telling us we can’t eat junk food and then chowing down on a bowl of Doritos,” insisted the oldest, 12. “Or when he and Mom decreed we couldn’t watch TV on school nights but then they stay up and binge on Netflix series. It’s not fair.”
Rapper 21 Savage, who has long said he is from the US state of Georgia, was detained on Sunday by US immigration officers who say he is actually British and overstayed his visa.
The news sent shockwaves through social media, as the Grammy-nominated 26-year-old rapper — whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham Joseph — says he is a local act from Atlanta, the capital of hip-hop.
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” the rapper’s lawyer, Dina LaPolt, said in a statement to AFP.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox told the local Atlanta Journal-Constitution outlet that 21 Savage is an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who entered the United States in 2005 on a visa that expired one year later.
The US agency also told the paper he had been arrested and later convicted for felony drug charges in 2014 — but at the time, ICE was unaware that he was in fact British.
According to the paper, 21 Savage was arrested in a “targeted operation.”
Brooklyn’s Jewish community is on edge and initiating action following two antisemitic attacks in Crown Heights, which reportedly occurred last Wednesday morning within minutes of each other.
“I posted online and in our Whatsapp group that we need to start setting up watch groups ourselves in the streets,” Zaki Tamir, chairman of the board of the community council, told The Jerusalem Post.
Tamir divided the area into 14 sectors and said that beginning Tuesday, February 5, residents will patrol from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. He said the team has already recruited 30 volunteers. The volunteers do not have any form of self-defense training, so are being told by Tamir to just “observe and report.”
Last week, three assailants knocked over a Hassidic Jewish man before punching and kicking him. The victim, 51, required hospitalization for his injuries. The incident was caught on a surveillance camera.
A 22-year-old yeshiva student from Australia identified only as Mendel was the second victim.
“They didn’t say anything at all,” Mendel told the Post. “Next thing I know, I was on the floor — my yarmulke and glasses in the gutter somewhere.”
Neither of the victims were robbed.
A kosher Italian restaurant in Canada was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti for the second time in several weeks.
The word “Jew” was spray-painted on the windows and in the parking lot of the BerMax Caffe and Bistro in Winnipeg, in the central part of the country. The Orthodox Jewish owners of the restaurant, which serves both Italian and Middle Eastern dishes, reported the vandalism to police on Friday morning, according to the Canadian Broadcast Corp.
Antisemitic graffiti was spray-painted on the restaurant building a few weeks ago, and there have been a several acts of vandalism since the restaurant opened in 2014, including egging, breaking and entering, and a smashed window, according to the CBC.
The new vandalism is being investigated by police as a hate crime, according to the report.
“Our family came to Canada to be part of the unique Canadian society, where we can practice our Jewish tradition as we did for thousands of years, and bring our share to the general community as well as bring our contribution to Canadian society,” Maxim Berent, owner of the café, wrote in an email to the CBC.
A top US-based Jewish civil rights organization is urging a Michigan municipal leader to reconsider a decision to bar distribution of an issue of a local historical journal focused on the antisemitism of late industrialist Henry Ford.
Explaining the move on Friday, Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. said, according to a New York Times report, “It was thought that by presenting information from 100 years ago that included hateful messages — without a compelling reason directly linked to events in Dearborn today — this edition of The Historian could become a distraction from our continuing messages of inclusion and respect.”
In a statement on Monday, Carolyn Normandin — the ADL’s Michigan regional director — took issue with that approach, saying there was “no disputing” Ford’s “bitter and prolific antisemitism” and “no reason to hide this sordid moral flaw in his character.”
“Particularly in light of the fact that antisemitism has risen dramatically in the past few years, it is more important than ever that the public understand the roots of this most virulent form of hate and the historical underpinnings of its recurrent resilience in America,” she added.
Ford’s antisemitic worldview was apparent on the pages of his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and his book, The International Jew — a four-volume text that influenced Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Born in 1904 into a well-to-do German Jewish family, Felix Nussbaum began his professional art career in the 1920s and occasionally painted Jewish themes. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Nussbaum was attending the Berlin Academy of the Arts in Rome, which soon expelled him. He spent the remainder of the decade wandering around Europe, unable to return to his native country. Ro Oranim writes:
The Nazi regime [had] an immediate impact on Nussbaum’s art as he began painting what he saw as the fall of civilization. His painting Destruction reflects his feeling of impending doom, showing a couple standing among the architectural ruins and destroyed artworks. . . .
In 1940, German troops marched on Belgium. Nussbaum, [who was living in Brussels at the time], was arrested, along with 7,000 others, and sent . . . to the internment camp at St. Cyprian. He managed to escape and returned to Brussels where he went into hiding with the help of a friend, an art dealer. Nussbaum . . . drew the horrors of life in the internment camp. His painting Self-portrait in the Camp reflects the inhumane and humiliating conditions he experienced while in St. Cyprian.
Throughout his time in hiding, while living in constant fear for his life, he continued to express himself through his art, persistently chronicling the ever-worsening conditions and his perpetual dread that his hiding spot would be discovered by the authorities. . . . He painted his people, the poor and damned. . . . His final major work, The Skeletons Playing for the Dance, reflected the hopelessness of the situation from his perspective. Skeletons play musical instruments from the ruins of modern society—a cultured society of science, technology, art, and music. Among the skeletons, behind the organ, sits one figure who, while gaunt and malnourished, appears to be alive, suggesting that Nussbaum held out some hope that he would count himself among the survivors—a hope that would never be realized.
The Nazis located Nussbaum in 1944 and put him on the very last transport to Auschwitz, where he died soon after his arrival.
Taking its title from Psalm 91, new film “The Bird Catcher” focuses on a teenage Jewish girl named Esther and the choices she must make after her peaceful life in the northern port city of Trondheim is upended with the Nazi persecutions of late 1942.
“The Bird Catcher” is inspired by actual events and tells the story of Jews in Nazi-occupied Norway during World War II. But from collaboration to resistance, the general population’s reaction to the Nazi conquerors was not always clear-cut.
The film made its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 1.
“After each screening we were approached by individuals with tears streaming down their faces, sharing their family Holocaust stories and saying how moved they were by our film; from the beauty of the cinematography to the performances of our cast, direction, score and most importantly the story of [a] piece of WWII history about the Norwegian occupation,” producer Lisa Black wrote in an email.
After losing her parents, Esther forges a new identity as a non-Jewish boy, Ola, and leads a new life on a remote farm with the dysfunctional Dalgaard family — husband and wife Johann and Anna, their son Aksel, and Johann’s brother Fred. Only Aksel knows her secret when she enters the household — a secret that is threatened with the looming presence of the Nazis, personified by their commander Herman.
“The Bird Catcher” was shot in the haunting natural beauty of northern Norway, with cast members even getting a snowmobile ride. It is only the second English-language feature film made through the National Tax Incentive of the Norwegian Film Institute.
Nearly 100 Ethiopian Jews landed in Israel on Monday in the first wave of new immigration since the government said last year that it would let some of the 8,000 remaining community members join relatives in Israel.
Local Ethiopian-Israelis welcomed the newcomers after years of delays. The newcomers are members of the Falash Mura community – the descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity under pressure from missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. While the Israeli government recognizes their Jewish roots, it does not consider them fully Jewish, so they require special approval to immigrate that has not always been forthcoming.
Atersau Baiye, 61, said he had been waiting for over 12 years to come to Israel and be reunited with his daughter, who lives in Tel Aviv.
“I am very happy to be here and excited to see my daughter, but it’s a mixed feeling,” he said. Baiye said that because he immigrated with his wife and six children, he was forced to leave behind in Ethiopia two adult children who were not immediately eligible to immigrate. “I don’t know if we will see them again.”
Alisa Bodner, spokeswoman for an Ethiopian Jewish activist group, said she was “far from satisfied” by the slow trickle of Ethiopian immigration, long-stalled despite government promises to bring all remaining members of the community to Israel.
“This is a continuation of the discriminatory practices against Ethiopian-Israelis emanating from this current government,” she said.
The activists renewed their calls for Israel to make good on its 2015 promise to bring all remaining members of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. The government never approved a budget for the move and the slow trickle of immigration ground to a halt over a year ago. Last fall, the government announced it would absorb 1,000 of the remaining 8,000 Jews in Ethiopia, frustrating community members.
They stood hugging, a rabbi and an AME minister, two men of God united by the bloodshed of earthly hatreds.
Beneath their feet, in the fellowship hall of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, nine black worshipers died in June 2015 when a gunman opened fire during their Bible study, killing them because they were black.
About 700 miles north, in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, an antisemitic gunman killed 11 worshipers less than three months ago during their Shabbat morning services, simply because they were Jewish.
Rabbi Jonathan Perlman leads New Light Congregation, one of three synagogues that met at Tree of Life. He survived the massacre and journeyed to Charleston this weekend with 10 members of his congregation and an ecumenical group that studies Proverbs together back home.
On Friday, he stood at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a local Reform congregation, with Emanuel shooting survivor Polly Sheppard.
On Sunday, he stood in a mass of sorrow at Emanuel’s altar rail hugging its senior pastor, the Rev. Eric S.C. Manning. Church members came forward from their pews to wrap him and his group in a sea of hugs, tears and shared understanding.(h/t Zvi)
A Holocaust survivor who narrowly avoided the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue will be one of several Western Pennsylvanians on hand Tuesday night when President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to Congress.
Judah Samet, a resident of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood who turns 81 on Tuesday, was invited by the White House through the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.
“Of course, I am very honored,” Samet told the Tribune-Review in a phone interview from Washington. “(Trump) invited me, I was told, because I represented two of the biggest tragedies for the Jewish people in the last hundred years.”
The White House also invited Pittsburgh police Officer Timothy Matson, 41, who was shot more than a half-dozen times inside the synagogue during the Oct. 27 massacre that left 11 people dead and seven injured.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, invited Pittsburgh International Airport-based TSA agent Monica Hughes, 44, of Penn Hills to be his guest after seeing a Facebook post she wrote during the recent federal government shutdown.
The Hungarian-born Samet, a former Israeli Army paratrooper who survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a child, was four minutes late to Saturday services at Tree of Life on Oct. 27. By the time he pulled into a handicapped parking space at the synagogue, Samet could hear shooting and was urged by another man to leave the area. (h/t Zvi)
Tree of Life hero officer Timothy Matson who suffered multiple gunshot wounds and saved countless lives in that horrid anti-Semitic attack at the Synagogue here in Pittsburgh will be one of two beautiful yinzers @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS will have as their #SOTU guests 1/ pic.twitter.com/2Sfhb9luld
— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) February 5, 2019
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