Ronald Lauder: Coronavirus Fight Should Bring Us All Together, Not Divide Us by Promoting Hatred
In frightening and uncertain times – like those we are facing now with the coronavirus – some people all too often and dangerously look for and unjustly blame scapegoats. Holding Asian-Americans responsible for the coronavirus merely because it originated in China is deeply offensive and a genuine threat to them. Such scapegoating is terrifyingly familiar to my community, the Jewish people. And we are also being targeted now.
When the bubonic plague swept through 14th century Europe, Jews were held responsible. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were viciously slaughtered, and entire Jewish communities were wiped out. Needless to say, all that Jewish blood did nothing to stop the plague. Now, messages and images implying that Jews are exploiting positions of power in politics, finance and health care to spread the virus have emerged.
It is vital that the Jewish people and all Americans take an unyielding stand against any and all efforts to vilify any individual, community, people or nation for the crisis unfolding around us. This is a moment for coming together in a globally shared experience as we recognize what we have in common. We are all in this together. We will not allow COVID-19 to rob us of our civility, our pride in our nation’s diversity, and our ability to build a more perfect union across the many communities that call America home.
Last Saturday, Yidel Perlstein, chairman of Community Board 12 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, started to feel sick. By Tuesday, he tested positive for coronavirus.
“I’m like a little supermarket. Everything hurts, and every day I get out of bed in the morning, I go to the bathroom, and I think I’m doing better,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “Then I start getting dizzy and weak. I go back to bed, just wait for it to be calm at night and go to sleep. And this has been going on like that every single day.”
“They told me I’m better off staying home as long as I can instead of going to the hospital, which is overcrowded,” he said. “It is better to stay away for as long as possible. So far, I don’t feel any better than last week. It is probably worse.”
“My message is straightforward,” Perlstein said. “If you would have gotten [the coronavirus] and you would know how painful it is, you would have rather stayed home for six weeks than going out and getting it, even with the light case.
“People have no idea. People cannot relate to how painful it is and how you could just lay in bed like you’re almost dead for days and days – and there’s nothing to do.”
New York State has some 60,000 cases and nearly 1,000 people who have died from coronavirus, the largest number in the US by far. Most of the patients, some 33,000, live in the New York City metropolitan area. The new situation affects the sizable Jewish population there, forcing synagogues, schools and yeshivas to close.
Some “99.9%” of the synagogues are closed, as well as schools and most of the stores, Perlstein told the Post.
WATCH AND SHARE: I’m calling on my fellow Jews to adhere strictly to government & rabbinic guidelines that forbid ALL gatherings!
Don’t wait for the virus to claim the life of your own family to take it seriously!
Stay home; stay safe!
Call 311 to report illegal gatherings. pic.twitter.com/YEi9pH6J9M
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) March 29, 2020
Netanyahu says there are “particular groups” in the country not adhering to emergency directives — “deliberately breaching and even showing contempt” for the rules– and that he therefore ordered security forces to step up enforcement in areas with a high number of violations.
He stresses that most Israelis, including those in the ultra-Orthodox community, are acting responsibly. The “extremist groups” who are flouting the rules, he says, endanger themselves and everybody else, and are trampling on the principle of “love thy neighbor.”
“There won’t be gatherings of over two people who are not from the same nuclear family,” he announces.
Additionally, he says no kind of prayer will be allowed even in open areas — “pray only on your own” — and that religious events should be restricted as much as possible.
Even weddings must be restricted only to immediately family, he says. Funerals remain limited to 20 people, and circumcisions to 10 — all while maintaining two-meter social distancing.
Netanyahu also calls on Israelis not to visit family during the Passover holiday.
This year’s Passover Seder will be “the lockdown seder” — with only the nuclear family attending. “Don’t visit relatives on the eve of the festival either,” he stresses.
“These same restrictions apply as relevant to all faiths,” he notes.
When the coronavirus disappears, it will leave behind a different world. The first, and most surprising, lesson is that the coronavirus reinforces the notion of national sovereignty.
The virus does not recognize national boundaries, but the struggle against it reflects a distinct national state of mind. One by one, nation-states are putting their citizens first.
Countries around the world decided to close their borders, physically separating their citizens from those of other states. National sentiments prevailed, proving, once again, that in times of crisis, fellow nationals come together. Others – in this case, those residing outside our borders – turn into a threat.
In each of the countries facing the crisis, a common ritual ensued, with the leader addressing his or her citizens, appearing against the backdrop of the national flag. The battered Italians wrapped themselves in their tricolor flag while they stood on their balconies, singing the national anthem and Italian folk songs.
The coronavirus has placed a civil-territorial kind of nationalism at the center of the political stage, reminding us that national identity is deeply rooted in our political cultures.
A class action lawsuit filed on March 19 accuses the Spanish government — highly ideological by any standard, as the Communist coalition partner, Podemos, was founded with seed money from the Venezuelan government — of knowingly endangering public safety by encouraging the public to participate in more than 75 feminist marches, held across Spain on March 8, to mark International Women’s Day.
The Spanish government’s main point man for the coronavirus, Fernando Simón, claimed in a nationwide press conference that there was no risk of attending the rallies on March 8. “If my son asks me if he can go, I will tell him to do whatever he wants,” he said.
“Honestly, it seems to me a joke that the government has waited until today, clearly for political reasons, to make this announcement. The Socialist-Communist government has once again put its political interests above the common good. This gross negligence should lead to resignations. — Elentir, Contando Estrelas, March 9, 2020.
How many lies can you count in this video? Let’s start with…Jesus a Palestinian? Name wasn’t used for another 100 years. Jesus was a Jew from Judaea. That’s religious appropriation.
Guess what? There are millions of us and we aren’t going anywhere too. https://t.co/8KsSekNsk1
— AZ (@americanzionism) March 30, 2020
Jay Elec is far too smart to just outright say what—rather than who—it was he bagged in England, or to spell out what he thinks it means for a proud follower of the NOI to sleep with and then homewreck the prototypical rich Jew. Here on “Soulja Slim,” that psychosexual fascination with the Jews is slyly glanced at without being named. “The Synagogue of Satan wants to hang me by my collar,” Jay raps in the very next line after the Rothschild name check. Only the very obtuse could miss the reference in that one: In a 2018 speech, Farrakhan asked his followers, “I wonder, will you recognize Satan? I wonder if you will see the satanic Jew and the synagogue of Satan?”
Elsewhere on the album, Jay raps about driving through the desert listening to Farrakhan lectures along with “Serge Gainsbourg or Madonna or a podcast on piranhas,” just one of the album’s many effortlessly dexterous internal rhymes. “Du’a’s up for the honorable Louis Farrakhan/Who pulled me out the grave and pointed me towards the Sunnah,” he raps on “Flux Capacitor.” “Satan struck Palestine with yet another mortar,” Jay frets on “Fruits of the Spirit.” By now, Jay hasn’t earned the assumption that he’s only talking about his objections to specific Israeli policies here.
What makes the record a mainstream hip-hop event isn’t the skill of Jay Electronica or the constant invocation of Farrakhan, who has long been selling himself as a “peacemaker” in the rap world. Rather, it’s the tacit blessing being bestowed on both men by Jay-Z, the titan whose Roc Nation label released A Written Testimony and whose Tidal streaming service has extensively promoted the album.
Jay-Z, one of the dominant figures in hip-hop, and therefore in American life, appears on eight of the 10 tracks on A Written Testimony, and Jay Elec can hardly believe his luck. Having Jay-Z as a sidekick on his full-length debut, he raps, is like winning the lottery—and he’s right. His weird tapestry of Farrakhan acclamation is legitimated and popularized through Jay-Z’s presence. More than that, A Written Testimony has some of the best rapping of Jay-Z’s entire, nearly three-decade career. Thanks to Jay Elec, Jay-Z, now 50 years old and an elder statesman of whom little is now expected in the way of actual art, is possessed of a new sense of poetry and purpose.
A Jewish fan—or at least this Jewish fan, who has been listening to Jay-Z since he was 11 years old—can’t help but wonder whether this breakthrough was really worth it, though, and wonder at what Jay really believes in his heart. Does he buy into NOI’s rhetoric on some level, a possibility for which there is at least some evidence, or is he simply supporting a friend and artistic collaborator whose work he wants to boost? Put another way: Is Jay-Z guilty of worse sins than moral deafness? Given the depth of his participation in Testimony, the answer might not even matter much.
As cities go on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, jihadists are increasingly finding themselves out of human targets, and therefore out of jobs.
The Mideast Beast spoke to Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth about the financial distress that Covid-19 is causing terrorists from ISIS to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah: “Human Rights Watch is concerned by the shutting down of entire cities, and indeed countries, causing militant Islamists a devastating loss of livelihood. Terrorism as a profession is met with severe discrimination on the job market and militant Islamists therefore find themselves unable to apply for unemployment benefits alongside millions of others who have lost their jobs because of Covid-19. Just as corona does not discriminate, governments should not discriminate. Human Rights Watch strongly recommends that terrorists be allowed to apply for unemployment benefits”, Kenneth Roth said.
“More than anything, however”, Roth continued, “ the emotional distress and cumulative psychological harm that militant Islamists experience from being unable to target Westerners who have become inaccessible due to self-isolation at home, is probably incalculable. Terrorists experience greater levels of depression and anxiety than many other victims of unemployment, because they see their profession as a calling from God. They feel deprived of self-respect and dignity, and as a result struggle with common tasks of socialization. The impact can be seen as a form of PTSD and therefore requires a long recovery period, if recovery is even possible. Human Rights Watch therefore recommends that psychological counseling be made immediately available to alleviate the consequences, which could even result in increased radicalization”.
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) March 29, 2020
Last I checked Gaza’s density wouldn’t have cracked the top *fifty* in just the United States alone. It’s still behind swaths of north Jersey. https://t.co/kQIUJlgSr8
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 30, 2020
Neither have BBC audiences seen any mention of an incident which took place on the evening of March 27th.
“Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket toward Israeli territory, triggering warning sirens in the southern town of Sderot and the surrounding area on Friday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
A regional spokesman said the projectile apparently fell in an open area and there were no injuries or damage.
The IDF retaliated later Friday night.”
By contrast, consumers of BBC content on both domestic and international platforms have repeatedly – but erroneously – been informed since mid-March that the reason that the Gaza Strip is badly placed to cope with the Covid 19 outbreak is “crippling” Israeli measures taken against terror organisations which the corporation cannot even bring itself to name as such.
Although the BBC consistently fails to provide its audiences with a representative portrayal of rocket attacks perpetrated against Israeli civilians by terror factions in the Gaza Strip, one would have thought that a story about civilians in lock-down and quarantine having to dash to air-raid shelters during a pandemic – and the subsequent issue of guidelines on how to respond to such a situation – would have sparked at least a bit of interest on the part of BBC journalists in Jerusalem.
A New Jersey man is behind bars after allegedly making violent threats on Facebook against a local Jewish community over the coronavirus pandemic.
42-year-old Anthony Lodespoto of Howell, New Jersey, was arrested on Friday afternoon and taken to Ocean County Jail.
The previous night, Lodespoto posted his antisemitic threat using Facebook Messenger — asserting that the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, New Jersey, was not observing social distancing protocols, and warning that he planned to travel to the township “with the purpose of assaulting members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat,” the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
Lodespoto also sent a similar direct message to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Facebook account on Friday, New Jersey state police confirmed in a separate statement.
New Jersey police spokesperson Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith explained in a statement that Lodespoto had “made specific threats to cause harm to members of the Jewish community for not complying with the orders set forth” regarding distancing.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said that his office was determined to combat acts of hatred sparked by conspiracy theories about the coronavirus.
Manolis Glezos, a prominent Greek whose act of defiance against Nazi occupation during World War Two was a rallying cry for the country’s resistance movement, died on Monday, authorities said. He was 97.
Revered across Greece’s political spectrum, Glezos was most famous for scaling the steep walls of the Acropolis with a friend in 1941 to take down the swastika and replace it with the Greek flag.
It was the first visible act of resistance against the Nazis, who occupied Greece between 1941 and 1944. He was sentenced to death in absentia.
Glezos died of heart failure at a central Athens hospital, where he was admitted on March 18.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis led tributes to Glezos, calling him a “lionheart” and “the sweetest man.”
“The death of Manolis Glezos leaves Greeks poorer, but the legacy of his life leaves Greece richer,” he said in a statement.
“His example, that of a true patriot and fighter, is a guiding light for us all. And it gives us the strength to unite to overcome difficulties, like those we are experiencing today,” Mitsotakis said, referring to the coronavirus crisis.
Former left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: “He will live on through eternity as the symbol of a fighter who knew how to sacrifice himself for his fellow man.”
Our dear friend and inspiration Dario Gabbai passed away peacefully Wednesday 25 March 2020. A gentle soul and figure of resilience, Dario was born in Thessaloniki, Greece on September 2, 1922 and grew up in a close-knit Jewish Italian neighborhood with a full house, including his younger brother Samuel, older brother Jacob, parents and maternal grandparents. Dario was an athlete and clarinetist, and was preparing to study medicine at university in 1938 when such education opportunities were stripped away from all Jews in fascist Italy.
Dario and most of his family were swept up in the destruction of the Holocaust, and he ended up becoming a prisoner at Auschwitz II-Birkenau with his two cousins, Morris and Shlomo Venezia. All three were among the Greek and Italian prisoners selected by the Nazis to be Sonderkommandos – Jews who were forced to usher people into gas chambers, and then haul out the bodies, take them to the crematorium, and clean up the room for the next group of victims. Most Sonderkommando were murdered by the Nazis; Dario and his two cousins were among the very few to survive the Holocaust.
Dario never wanted revenge on the perpetrators of the Holocaust. He believed it is more impactful to have respectful dialogue to prevent discrimination and genocide, and to promote understanding among humanity. Dario told his story many times in hopes of reaching people, including two testimonies for USC Shoah Foundation and several documentary films. Dario shared that he struggled throughout his lifetime with the terrible truths of his life experiences, but Dario bravely shared his story to educate young people. Dario joined the USC Shoah Foundation delegation during the 70th anniversary commemoration at Auschwitz to shine a light on his experience: he placed a candle on the memorial at the end of the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, just steps from Crematorium II where he was forced to work during the Holocaust. He had a love of life including swimming daily up until very recent years, restaurants, his sidewalk cafe coffee group, being with friends, bringing friends gifts of chocolate. He loved the younger generation and had great appreciation and hope for the future. View Dario’s 2015 USC Shoah Foundation testimony here. May his memory be a blessing and an inspiration.
In August 1942, as the Nazis’ net grew ever tighter around the Jews of Vichy France, a Dutch diplomat walked into Lyon’s Palais de Justice and successfully demanded the release of 118 prisoners being held there.
The following day, the same Dutchman, Sally Noach, appeared at the Stade des Iris on the outskirts of the city. He had received a tip off from a police source pointing it out as the place where all the remaining Jews from Vichy’s holding centers were being detained.
Most spoke Polish and Yiddish, and he spoke neither. However, using mime and sign language, he managed to make himself understood.
“I gave people made-up names and fake personal details. I went on writing until I ran out of papers,” Noach later recalled.
In all, 432 people were issued false papers registering them as Dutch and thus securing their freedom and escape from near-certain death.
But Noach was no ordinary Dutch diplomat and, although perhaps the most daring and audacious of his efforts, this was not the first time he had used a combination of extraordinary bluff and bravery to rescue imperiled Jews.
In fact, Noach was himself a Jewish refugee and former traveling textile salesman. In the summer of 1940, Noach had volunteered his services as a translator at the Dutch consulate in Lyon and, over the course of two years, used his position to undertake what he termed “freedom missions.”
Noach — who died 40 years ago this month — rarely spoke about his wartime exploits. It is only through the relentless digging and detective work of his children, Lady Irene Hatter, a British philanthropist married to the former industrialist Sir Maurice Hatter, and Jacques Noach, that the full story of his activities in Lyon has now come to be told.
In 1947, teenagers were tending their sheep near the ancient ruins of Qumran in Israel. One of the shepherds tossed a rock into the opening of a cave and heard a shattering sound. Curious as to what he hit, he and his friends entered the cave and found a collection of clay jars housing scrolls made of leather and papyrus. Word quickly spread, and archaeologists excavated this and ten other caves at Qumran, unearthing thousands of other scroll fragments containing texts as old as 2,000 years. Fragments from every book of the whole Hebrew Bible (except Esther) are part of what has come to be known as the Dead Sea Scroll Discovery, and over 100,000 genuine fragments are currently housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Starting in 2002, 70 more Dead Sea Scroll fragments appeared on the market. Dead Sea Scrolls experts endorsed them as authentic. Between 2009 and 2014, Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and collector of biblical manuscripts and artifacts, purchased a total of 16 fragments with plans to display them in the soon-to-be-built Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. When they were published in 2016, scholars had already started to doubt the fragments’ authenticity. While five of the fragments underwent scientific testing in Germany in 2017, the museum opened with the fragments on display, with signs informing visitors of their uncertain status. In October 2018, the German lab concluded that the five fragments were “inconsistent with ancient origins.” This prompted the museum to investigate its entire collection of 16 fragments more comprehensively, and they sought my help to do so.
I am the founder and director of Art Fraud Insights, a consultancy dedicated to art-fraud-related lectures and training and to specialized investigation of artworks. I have led an anti-fraud initiative for a major online auction house, trained federal agents in forgery investigations, curated museum exhibitions, and lectured at universities and museums throughout the world. My message has consistently been the same: Fakes and forgeries permeate every sector of the art and culture market. The risk of fraud is substantial, and no collector or institution, no matter how affluent or sophisticated, is immune to it.
When the Museum of the Bible retained my firm, it gave me the green light to recruit and manage an independent advisory team — of scientists, conservators, and technicians — to design and conduct a rigorous scientific protocol for the imaging and materials analysis of the questioned fragments. Both the museum and the research team agreed that the approach needed to be designed to ensure objectivity, transparency, and reproducibility. That meant that the only role the museum had in our research was to provide access to the collection. It was mutually agreed upon that the museum would not influence the team’s research direction or findings and that our report would be final and released, unedited, to the public.
From May through October 2019, comprehensive imaging and scientific research and analysis were conducted on the fragments, with National Geographic photographers capturing several phases of the state-of-the-art process. Museum of the Bible wanted to fully document the process, regardless of the results, to facilitate transparent communication with the scholarly community and the general public. From the beginning, plans were in place for a conference to announce the completion of the scientific research effort and to disclose its conclusions.
After an exhaustive review of all the evidence — physical, elemental, and molecular — the advisory team came to the unanimous conclusion that none of the museum’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments are authentic. “Each exhibits characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries created in the twentieth century with the intent to mimic authentic Dead Sea Scrolls fragments,” we noted in our final report.
The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organizers said on Monday, after the coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.
“The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5,” Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference.
Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 this year and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first peacetime postponement of the Games.
The IOC and Japan had for weeks insisted the show could go on but the rapid spread of COVID-19 prompted growing disquiet among athletes and sporting federations.
The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus, which has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sports.
There was some speculation that Japanese organizers could take advantage of the blank canvas to shift the Games to spring, avoiding the heat of the Tokyo summer that had been their main concern before coronavirus struck.
Before the Olympics were postponed, Japan looked like it had coronavirus infections contained, even as they spread in neighboring countries. Now that the games have been pushed to next year, Tokyo’s cases are spiking, and the city’s governor is requesting that people stay home, even hinting at a possible lockdown.
The sudden rise in the number of virus cases in Tokyo and the government’s strong actions immediately after the Olympic postponement have raised questions in parliament and among citizens about whether Japan understated the extent of the outbreak and delayed enforcement of social distancing measures while clinging to hopes that the games would start on July 24 as scheduled.
With the Olympics now off, many are voicing suspicion that the numbers are rising because Japan suddenly has no reason to hide them.
“In order to make an impression that the city was taking control of the coronavirus, Tokyo avoided making strict requests and made the number of patients look smaller,” former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a tweet. “The coronavirus has spread while they waited. (For Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike) it was Olympics first, not Tokyo’s residents.”
Experts have found a rise of untraceable cases mushrooming in Tokyo, Osaka and other urban areas — signs of an explosive increase in infections.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that Japan is now on the brink of a huge jump in cases as it becomes increasingly difficult to trace and keep clusters under control.
“Once infections overshoot, our strategy … will instantly fall apart,” Abe warned. “Under the current situation, we are just barely holding up.” He said a state of emergency is not needed just yet, but that Japan could at any time face a situation as bad as in the United States or Europe.
Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs convened a meeting of 40 public opinion leaders and influencers via Zoom video conference about the Coronavirus and pro-Israel advocacy in its wake. Leaders from 11 countries including South Africa, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, Sweden, the United States, Argentina, and others participated in the conference. Participants shared their experiences of isolation, as well as uncertainty about the health situation and the economy. Some of the attendees noted that their country is not taking sufficient steps to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, in contrast to what Israel is doing.
The discussion focused on the fact that the Corona epidemic has become fertile ground for the spreading of false and anti-semitic propaganda against the State of Israel and the Jewish people. In light of the new restrictions and realities, it is clear to all that Israel must use creative and relevant ways of stating its case and make a full transition to the digital world.
As part of the discussion, Uriel Goldberg, Director of International Relations of Magen David Adom, discussed the organization’s challenges in the fight against the Coronavirus in Israel.
At the meeting’s conclusion, participants raised a toast to the DigiTell network on the beginning of its third year of activity, and determined that this meeting would be the first of a series of meetings that will address Israel’s challenges in the wake of the global Corona crisis and determine new paths to take.
It’s great that the story of a Muslim and Jewish paramedic in Israel praying together is making the rounds.
Understand this is not an exception. It’s a daily occurrence in a country where people of different faiths work freely side by side.https://t.co/nYI5U41ujs
— Julie Lenarz (@MsJulieLenarz) March 29, 2020
ZoomBa – IDF Zumba Training over Zoom
Since I first posted about launching the https://t.co/LtiYosT7Tv site a few hours ago, I’ve had in the neighborhood of $7k in donations. And not one request on the form for healthcare workers. PLEASE SEND THE SITE TO YOUR BROTHER AT CORNELL OR YOUR SISTER AT LIJ!
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) March 30, 2020
Jerusalem Orchestra East & West Performs Virtual Concert Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
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