Holocaust survivor pities anti-Semites who ‘waste life’ hating
Facing a world where anti-Semitism is resurgent again, Holocaust survivor Edith Eger, who watched her mother be marched to the gas chamber, said she pities those who “waste” their life hating.
Seventy-five years after arriving at Auschwitz, where she was forced to dance for the notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, Eger told AFP that she of course felt sorry for the victims of rising hate speech and violence.
But the 91-year-old said she was especially distressed by those consumed by bigotry who really “do not acknowledge that [they] are one of a kind.”
You should “not really waste your life hating,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference on compassionate leadership at the IMD business school in Lausanne.
Eger certainly knows what hatred can lead to.
The practicing clinical psychologist, professor and author was just 16 when she and her Jewish family arrived at the Nazi death camp.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are often framed as equivalent phenomena and equal dangers. But these are two very different phenomena and should not be lumped together. A phobia is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses no real danger. Judeophobia is an irrational fear of Jews. Islamophobia is an irrational fear of the Islamic religion or Muslims generally. Anti-Semitism is a race-based ideology rooted in stereotypes – not based on fear, but ancient hatred.
Islamophobia became prominent in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which imposed a death penalty on Rushdie and also criminalized all the publishers and translators of the book. Since then, the Islamophobic label has been used increasingly to deter any scrutiny of any groups or individuals who happen to be Muslim, even when they are advancing radical or harmful ideas.
The sword of Islamophobia is wielded to deliberately chill discourse and narrow the public marketplace of ideas. Today, the unfortunate reality is that any time somebody is brave enough to critique a dangerous ideology, the government of a Muslim country or even a terrorist network, they’re silenced, shut down and stigmatized for engaging in Islamophobia.
In 1998, George W. Bush made his first trip to Israel. He had just been reelected governor of Texas – the first governor to win back-to-back terms in the Lone Star State – and he was already plotting his presidential bid.
During the visit – together with a few other Republican governors – Bush made the standard gubernatorial stops: a meeting with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a tour of the Knesset, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Western Wall. He then took a helicopter ride up to the Golan Heights. His guide for the flight was none other than Ariel Sharon, the fabled IDF general who was serving at the time as Israel’s foreign minister.
Little did the two know that in just three years they would meet again, although this time as president and prime minister. The helicopter ride sparked a mini-crisis between Israel, the US and the Palestinians. Sharon wanted to land the helicopter in the West Bank to show Bush the reality on the ground, but the Palestinians objected.
They feared that Israel would use the visit to try legitimizing the settlement enterprise, which Sharon had long championed. In the end, Israel compromised. The helicopter didn’t land but it flew low enough for Bush to see Jerusalem’s ancient rooftops, the ridges overlooking the Jordan Valley, the red-roofed stucco homes in the Israeli settlements and the densely populated Palestinian cities. Sharon and Bush wore headphones so they could communicate over the noise made by the Black Hawk helicopter’s rotors.
The former IDF general shared with the Texas governor his own personal story, pointing along the way at hills and valleys where he had waged battle in past Israeli-Arab wars. When Sharon told Bush that at its narrowest point Israel was just 10 miles wide, the future president joked that some driveways in Texas are longer.
Valerie Plame, the former CIA officer at the center of a George W. Bush-era leak scandal — but who has recently been in the news lately for all of the wrong reasons — has announced that she is running for Congress as a Democrat in New Mexico.
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The former CIA operative is running for the seat in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, which is being vacated by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D), who has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate.
“Over 10 years ago, I chose to make New Mexico my home and it has become my heart,” Plame said on her campaign website. “I have lived all over the world and have never felt more connected to a place and its special people than in the Land of Enchantment.”
Plame has made the news again over the past couple of years — but largely because of her overt anti-Semitism.
In September 2017, she tweeted out an article from the anti-Semitic conspiracy site Unz, which was titled, “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” The story was rife with overt Jew hatred.
“For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is “Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel,” author Philip Giraldi wrote.
After receiving fierce blowback, Plame apologized on Twitter, claiming that she somehow missed the anti-Semitism in the article. (h/t MtTB)
The BBC’s Emma Barnett took Shadow Justice Minister Richard Burgon to task over his rant against ‘Zionists’ that he tried to deny he delivered. Last month it was revealed that he lied about not saying it, and now he’s doubling down by trying to claim he didn’t lie. There was a time where this behaviour would provide a one way ticket out of the shadow cabinet, but apparently not under Jeremy Corbyn…
Popular American Imam Omar Suleiman, known for his Israel-bashing antics, gave the Ramadan invocation at the opening of Thursday’s House of Representatives session.
Suleiman is the founder and president of the Irving, Texas-based Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. He was invited to give Thursday’s invocation by US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), a Yaqeen Institute statement said.
The information was originally revealed and reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
“We pray for peace, not war,” he said. “Love not hate. Benevolence, not greed. Unity, not division. And we commit ourselves to not betraying our prayers with actions that contradict them. Let us be for truth, no matter who, or for is against it.”
Suleiman has made several vehemently anti-Israel comments and also seemed to side with Hamas in an August 2014 Facebook post.
As the 2014 Gaza War broke out, Suleiman said on social media: “How befitting that the 3rd Intifada starts on the 27th night of Ramadan as worshippers are denied prayer in Masjid Al Aqsa.” He ended his post with a prayer of sorts: “God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. ameen.”
During the war, Suleiman also denied that Hamas uses human shields in an attempt to stop the IDF from retaliating against rocket fire sent from Gaza into Israeli civilian communities.
The fact-checking site Snopes has once again put its considerable talents behind debunking a satirical story mocking a freshman House Democrat, in this case Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).
The Babylon Bee, a Christian conservative-leaning satire site, went after Omar’s repeated anti-Semitism controversies with a story on Monday headlined, “Ilhan Omar: ‘If Israel Is So Innocent, Then Why Do They Insist On Being Jews?'”
When Israel responded with airstrikes to over 600 rockets fired at them from Gaza, many defended this as a justified act of defense. Representative Ilhan Omar lashed out against this view, saying on Twitter about Israel, “If they’re so innocent, why are they Jews?”
Omar pointed out how many in Israel continue in the extremely hostile act of being Jewish, provoking all of the people around them. “They want people to feel sorry for them,” Omar said, “but they’re just out there, every day, being Jews. It’s almost like they’re taunting everyone.”
Using three tweets taking the story seriously as proof of it taking hold, Snopes wrote the quote was false and that she had “made no public statements resembling those” in the Babylon Bee‘s article:
Israel has launched a PR campaign to counter calls for a boycott of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv, using Google ads which refer to the boycott but lead to a glossy website extolling Israel.
The international boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement dismissed the tactic as “crude propaganda.”
BDS has called on artists, music fans and broadcasters to avoid the 2019 contest, arguing that it amounts to “whitewashing” Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel calls international boycotts discriminatory and antisemitic.
Internet advertisements on Google featuring the words “boycott” and “Eurovision” encourage searchers to click on a link that, in fact, leads them to a pro-Israel website which — in a play on the BDS initials — extols Israel as “Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational.”
The advertisement makes no obvious mention of the Israeli government. But Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy — which runs the government’s anti-BDS taskforce — confirmed to Reuters that it was behind the campaign “to promote the positive aspects” of Israel.
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) May 9, 2019
Two dozen Spanish city councils are facing legal action for promoting “antisemitic discrimination” by endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, a Madrid-based group behind the lawsuits said this week.
ACOM said the city councils in questions have approved measures describing themselves a “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid,” in support of BDS. The declarations amount to discrimination “for reasons of race, religion, beliefs or national origin,” in violation of the Spanish constitution, according to the group.
The legal actions, began in the first quarter of the year, were taken against city councils that are largely led by the far-left Podemos party and other “extreme left political parties that promote institutional incitement of hatred and the discrimination against Jews,” ACOM said.
They include, in part, the city councils of Barbate, Conil de la Frontera, Medina Sidonia, Cabezón de la Sal, Reinosa, and Torrelavega.
ACOM and others opposed to BDS have repeatedly responded with legal challenges to the campaign in Spain, where multiple municipal-level resolutions targeting Israel were passed in recent years. The group is behind a recently-admitted criminal complaint lodged against BDS leader Omar Barghouti and local councilors and supporters in Cadiz, a port town in southwestern Spain.
It’s no surprise to read about college students calling for the destruction of Israel. But there’s something particularly painful when they are students at a university named after one of the foremost advocates of the Jewish state.
Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts was established in 1948 because young American Jews were being excluded from many American universities. Hostility toward Jews was what brought Brandeis into existence. And now, hostility toward Jews has reared its ugly head at Brandeis itself.
Last week, Israel-haters twice attacked a pro-Israel art exhibit on the Brandeis campus called “Art Over Hate,” created by the group “Artists 4 Israel.”
In the first assault, they painted the words “FREE PALESTINE” in huge letters over one of the exhibit panels. Let’s be clear: “Free Palestine” means destroy Israel. Today, 100% of the Arabs in Gaza are ruled by Hamas and 98% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are ruled by the Palestinian Authority. The only thing left to “free” is Israel itself.
According to the definition of anti-Semitism used by the U.S. government and the European Union, “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” – that is, calling for the destruction of the Jewish state – is anti-Semitic.
The hosts of the “Art Over Hate” exhibit painted over the anti-Semitic “FREE PALESTINE” defacement. The anti-Semites quickly returned, pasting a similar sign over the artwork.
The Brandeis Hillel, which hosted the exhibit, has always bent over backward to provide a forum for every point of view. In the past year, speakers have included Palestinian activists and a Labor party MK.
In a stealth campaign to reach students directly, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has secretly distributed 1000 copies of a newspaper containing its new report on the rising tide of Jew Hatred and its links to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on select campuses named in the report.
Titled “An Epidemic of Jew Hatred on Campus: the Top Ten Neo-Nazi Incidents,” the Freedom Center’s report chronicles horrifying instances of anti-Semitism on prestigious American campuses including UCLA, Columbia University, the University of Nevada-Reno, Tufts University, UC-Santa Cruz, and the University of Minnesota.
Printed newspapers, individualized for each campus, were then placed in public locations such as student centers, dining halls, classroom buildings and elsewhere where students would encounter them. So far the Freedom Center has targeted UCLA, the University of Nevada-Reno, and the University of Minnesota with the campaign and has plans to distribute papers at additional schools. The campaign has already garnered press coverage in Nevada and we expect more to follow.
The report’s introduction stresses the role that the terrorist-funded BDS movement plays in promoting anti-Semitism on campus and draws parallels between BDS and the rhetoric and methods employed by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
The report explains that Jew Hatred—a prejudice often attributed by the media to conservatives— is rapidly becoming part of mainstream Leftist dogma. This is nowhere more true than on our nation’s college campuses, where neo-Nazi incidents have only grown in their violence and magnitude. (h/t Gnomercy)
According to a tip provided to The Daily Wire by a Ph.D. student at the U.K.’s prestigious University of Leeds, the student union at the educational institutional recently deemed it appropriate to post something on Facebook warning students that they may not be happy with Jewish students celebrating Israel Independence Day. The post even goes so far as to offer a help and support line for thin-skinned Jew-hating ignoramuses who are so grossly offended by the mere sight of Jewish university students celebrating the independence day — known in Hebrew as Yom Ha’atzmaut — of the world’s one and only Jewish state.
Here is the full post:
[Leeds University Union] has given permission for the Jewish Society to run an event on Thursday 9th May in Union Square (12pm-2pm) celebrating Israel Independence Day.
We understand that some of our members will be unhappy that this event is taking place, which is why we are letting students know in advance.
If any students are concerned by this event, as always we would encourage you to speak to our LUU Help & Support Team in the Union foyer, via email@example.com or by phone 0113 3801400.
Numerous Facebook users sarcastically commented on the post, noting its facial absurdity and malicious nature.
One commented: “Politicising an event devoid of politics. Any nation should be allowed to celebrate their culture away from politics. … Offence is taken, not given, but it seems some are beginning to pick and choose what to take offence to in terms of nation, nationhood and culture. Yom Haatsmaut [sic] celebrations should be able to go ahead tomorrow with no fear of a backlash. It isn’t politics. Its a cultural celebration[.]”
Another commented: “Mildly anti-semitic to feel the need to announce this particularly. Plenty of other controversial events are held and you don’t usually warn them not to be too insulted.”
The Union of Jewish Students in the United Kingdom expressed disappointment on Wednesday after a representative body for disabled students defined itself as “anti-Zionist” and endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Members of the Disabled Students’ Campaign (DSC), a politically independent part of the UK National Union of Students (NUS), met on Wednesday and Thursday at its annual conference, where they passed the motion, “Solidarity with Palestine.”
Submitted by NUS Black Students’ Officer Ilyas Nagdee, the resolution reiterated the DSC’s “long running support for BDS and solidarity with Palestine,” noting that a relevant motion lapsed in 2018.
“We are proudly antiracist, anti-colonial, anti-Zionist and thus support the Palestinian struggle for their liberation,” the measure read.
Zionism is a movement in support of the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination in the Levant.
The resolution further claimed that votes in support of BDS by the NUS National Executive Council in 2014 and 2018 “represented a breakthrough for an organisation with a long history of Israeli apologism.”
A New Jersey public library has postponed a talk by the author of “P is for Palestine” after local community members objected.
Golbarg Bashi, author of the children’s book promoting Palestinian nationalism, was scheduled to appear May 18 at the Highland Park Public Library. Following complaints by members of the Central Jersey town’s Jewish community that the book promotes violence, the library issued a statement saying the matter had been referred to the library’s board of trustees, which “will take it up at its next regularly scheduled meeting” on May 20.
“In the meantime, the program has been removed from the schedule, pending the Board’s final decision,” according to the statement, which was first reported by The Jewish Link.
In 2017, the alphabet book by Bashi, an Iranian-born instructor of Middle Eastern history at nearby Rutgers University, sparked controversy when it was offered for sale at a popular book store on New York’s Upper West Side. A nearby Reform synagogue objected especially to a two-page spread featuring the letter I, which states “I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup!”
Critics said the page glorified the violence that characterized the two separate Palestinian “uprisings” of the late 1980s and early 2000s. Bashi, however, said “intifada” encompasses a broader and largely nonviolent Palestinian cultural resistance.
Multiple graduates of the University of Cape Town in South Africa have urged their alma mater to reject an academic boycott of Israel — among them alumni who themselves live in Israel.
The calls come as the UCT Senate is set to debate the boycott on Friday, after the top decision-making body on campus, the Council, referred the proposal back to the Senate in late March, seeking further clarification. It was last endorsed in mid-March by the Senate with a vote of 62 in favor, 43 against, and 10 abstentions, despite strong objections from leading Jewish groups in South Africa.
If endorsed, the measure — advanced by the Palestine Solidarity Forum (PSF) since 2017, as part of its support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — would bar UCT from entering into formal relationships with counterparts “operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” or, more ambiguously, “enabling gross human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
In an open letter sent Thursday to Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice chancellor at UCT, alumnus Harris Green pledged to publicly renounce the degree he received from the university in 1968 if it instituted an academic boycott of Israel.
Honest Reporting: Five Must-Know Facts for Reporters in Israel
Being a journalist can often be a thankless task, and when reporting from a place as complex and fraught as the Middle East, it’s understandable how journalists can make simple errors. With tensions already running high, reporters in Israel need to be consistently responsible and accurate. Factual errors – whether willful, careless or innocent – can provoke real hatred, fuel distrust and inflame extremism.
Perhaps even more importantly, the media inform public opinion. The introduction and spread of inaccurate information leads to severe misconceptions, and end up with people drawing baseless conclusions.
In order to assist writers of all kinds, including journalists, bloggers and social media users, endeavoring to cover developments relating to Israel, here’s a useful list of five simple issues every writer should know about.
5. Don’t blindly accept ‘facts’ provided by the parties involved
The best journalists are fearless, independent voices, who refuse to act as the mouthpiece of any cause or interest. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to meet this noble principle when reporting from this war-torn corner of the world.
It’s beyond the scope of most reporters in Israel or Gaza to independently confirm whether those killed in a given incident really were the casualties of Israeli attacks, as Gazan sources might (initially) claim, as opposed to an instance of a Hamas or Islamic Jihad rocket which fell short and killed Gazans.
At the very least, however, reporters in Israel should make clear what each side is claiming, rather than blindly repeating the assertions statistics provided by one side alone. This also includes the statistics provided by the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health about the number of civilians and terrorists killed. It’s not enough for reporters in Israel or Gaza to “cite” Palestinian health sources, UN agencies, or NGOs as their sources — journalists must make clear to readers that the figures should be treated with a dose of skepticism.
With the Ministry run by Hamas officials, it is not an independent body in the same way that the health ministry of a democratic state is. Similarly, a source from one side alone is not enough. journalists should make sure to include Israeli estimates, especially if they are later confirmed by the Palestinians.
When 81 Jewish organizations wrote to The New York Times to complain about the newspaper’s recent publication of a cartoon that even the Times conceded was antisemitic, they addressed their letter to the newspaper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet.
When the Times publicly issued a letter to its own employees about the issue, the memo came from the newspaper’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger.
You’d have to read deep into the Times’ own news article about the matter to find the name of a third Times executive: “James Bennet, the editor who oversees all content on The Times’s editorial pages, declined to comment in detail.”
Don’t mistake Bennet’s low profile for a lack of power, either inside the newspaper, where he is seen as a possible successor to Baquet, or outside. When Sulzberger went to the White House in July 2018 to meet President Trump, the only Times man who accompanied the publisher to the off-the-record face-to-face meeting was Bennet. Bennet was also reportedly at Sulzberger’s side this week when the Times publisher met with a group of New York rabbis concerned about the cartoon and the newspaper’s coverage of Israel.
The cartoon scandal has escalated into the deepest crisis of Sulzberger’s less than 18-month tenure as publisher. President Trump and Vice President Pence both tweeted about it. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, denounced the newspaper as “a cesspool of hostility towards Israel.”
Nation of Islam leader and notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan raged against “satanic” Jews following his ban from Facebook, in a speech made at a Catholic church in Chicago on Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The social media platform banned the minister last week for violating its terms regarding spreading hate speech.
“I’m here to separate the good Jews from the Satanic Jews,” the 86-year-old said to a large audience gathered at the controversial St. Sabina Church in Chicago’s South Side. “I have not said one word of hate. I do not hate Jewish people. Not one that is with me has ever committed a crime against the Jewish people, black people, white people. As long as you don’t attack us, we won’t bother you.”
“I am dangerous,” Farrakhan said. “I’m not dangerous on my own. God named me dangerous to Satan and his vermin.”
Last week Facebook said Louis Farrakhan was dangerous and banned him from the platform.
Tonight a Farrakhan speech streamed live on Facebook and the stream (still online) has 26,000 views. https://t.co/k2gznAojzN
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) May 10, 2019
Police in Berlin were facing criticism over their handling of antisemitic hate crimes on Thursday, after a prominent local politician claimed that officers were assigning right-wing extremist motives to a large number of offenders without sufficient evidence.
Marcel Luthe — a member of Berlin’s state parliament for the liberal FDP Party — disclosed earlier this week that up to 60 percent of antisemitic offenses had been incorrectly blamed on the far right, thereby diminishing the role played by Muslim extremists and militant anti-Zionists in attacking Jewish targets.
Luthe said that government figures for 2018 showed there had been 324 antisemitic acts recorded in Berlin, of which 253 were classified as having come from the extreme right.
However, according to Luthe’s analysis, the motive was clear in only 133 of these attacks. The remaining 120 offenses were designated as “far right” by default, Luthe said, adding that he had observed a similar pattern in the approach of the police to antisemitic acts in 2017 as well.
Luthe argued that antisemitic acts influenced by what the police call “foreign ideology” — supporters of Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah — likely made up a larger portion of the attacks on Jews than was visible from the police statistics. According to the police data, only 49 of last year’s incidents were assigned to Islamists, with another seven incidents blamed on supporters of the extreme left.
“Those who want to fight antisemitism must act consistently and ban Hamas and Hezbollah across the EU,” Luthe told the German news outlet Welt on Thursday.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called antisemitism suicide for the European people, Italian Jewish newspaper Pagine Ebraiche reported on Thursday.
“Antisemitism in the past as well as today, is a suicide for the European man,” Conte said speaking at the Great Synagogue of Rome, where he was welcomed by the President of the Jewish Community Ruth Dureghello, and the Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni.
“When a European man despises or rejects the Jewish people, they despise and reject themselves and deny an essential part of their identity,” he added.
The prime minister delivered a speech in front of an audience of several hundred Jewish students and young professionals from the Former Soviet Union, who are on a trip to the Italian capital accompanied by the Italian born Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar.
The trip is part of the project Yachad, that every year sends a delegation of young Jews from the former Soviet Union to visit European cities and then Auschwitz.
A growing number of groups have called for disciplinary measures to be taken against a Tennessee judge who posted racist and anti-Semitic articles on his Facebook page, including one saying that Jews should “get the f**k over the Holocaust.”
A coalition of organizations, including Jewish ones, have called for a reprimand of Jim Lammey of the Shelby County Criminal Court.
Lammey posted a link to an article written by known Holocaust denier David Cole that referred to Muslim immigrants as “foreign mud” and made the Holocaust slur. He also shared anti-immigration articles, memes and conspiracy theories, according to a report in the Commercial Appeal daily.
The judge denied being racist or anti-Semitic and underscored his right to free speech in interviews with local media outlets. Lammey also claimed that nothing he has previously shared on social media would prevent him from judging all cases fairly.
A Jewish man was assaulted on the Netherlands’ national holiday of liberation from the Nazis by revelers who sang about gassing Jews.
The man, identified in the Dutch media only as Joram, 35, complained to police that he was pushed around and verbally assaulted with anti-Semitic hate speech by a group of about 50 men in the Hague on May 5, a national holiday known as Liberation Day.
Joram asked men celebrating in a park near parliament to stop singing the offensive song, whose lyrics are: “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews ’cause Jews burn the best.”
The chanters then began pushing Joram around as police stood idly by, he told the AD news site and the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI.
The men were wearing soccer shirts of the Feyenoord club of Rotterdam. The club’s arch-rival is Amsterdam’s Ajax team, which is widely associated with Jews.
This was antisemitic attack towards an Israeli owner of a restaurant in Germany Berlin pic.twitter.com/KtCH1N1uLH
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) May 10, 2019
Why Did this Ex-Neo-Nazi Convert to Judaism?
A Polish-born Holocaust survivor opened a book fair in Italy on Thursday to a standing ovation, after organizers agreed to ban a publisher linked to a neo-fascist group.
Halina Birenbaum, an 89-year-old poet who lives in Israel, was quoted by Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily as saying “this is more proof for me that evil will not win.”
Birenbaum and the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum had threatened to boycott the 2019 Turin International Book Fair if the Altaforte publishing house, whose director is linked to the neo-fascist CasaPound party, was included.
“We consider our presence incompatible with that of a neo-fascist publishing house that openly spreads a revisionist culture,” read a letter signed by Birenbaum and others including Piotr Cywinski, director of the state museum in Poland.
Holocaust survivor Halina Birenbaum (R) speaks at the opening of the Turin International Book Fair on May 5, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)
The head of the publishing house, Francesco Polacchi, has defined himself as a fascist. He has praised late Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and said “anti-fascism is the true evil in this country.”
Polacchi, who is also under investigation for promoting fascism, said he would sue. He called the ban an attack on the county’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini.
Netta Barzilai, the Israeli winner of last year’s Eurovision contest, released a new single on Friday just in time for the competition’s kickoff in Tel Aviv.
The song, titled “Nana Banana,” is a reggaeton-inspired pop song about Barzilai doing what she wants, written along with Natan Goshen and Stav Beger.
“They keep asking me to shine just like the sun now,” she sings. “Like the sun now/ But I don’t wanna/ Baby it’s so comfortable/ In my bubble I stay/ Always running away/ Cuz baby it’s so comfortable/ They keep calling my name/ I’m not hearing nothing/ Nana Banana/ I do what I wanna.”
The song is entirely English, without even the hint of Hebrew found in both Barzilai’s previous songs, “Toy” and “Bassa Sababa.”
On Friday, Barzilai only released a lyric video for the song, not a full music video. The singer has been dropping hints for weeks about the single being themed around pajamas and slumber parties, and indeed the lyrics for the song begin: “I was sitting all day long in my pajama/ Eating peanut butter jelly with my mama.”
Judea Pearl, father of the late journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Islamic terrorists in 2002 while on assignment in Pakistan, is receiving CAMERA’s inaugural Ometz Award for courage.
Pearl said that his life experience and the rise of “Zionophobic” racism in academia had made it “necessary” for him to take a stand.
The UCLA computer scientist is being rewarded for his public renunciation of his status as a “distinguished alumnus” of New York University. Pearl, took his former school to task in April when the school announced that it would give the President’s Service Award to the anti-Israel student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
“In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus,” Pearl tweeted, calling out the SJP. “The decision to confer an award on SJP renders other NYU awards empty of content and suspect of reckless selection process.”
“I bet my esteem colleagues at NYU do not know that their university is awarding a ‘president service award’ to SJP, a student organization that prides itself on crushing meetings of other student organizations,” he said.
Israel’s 71 Years of Terror and Hope
Israel began celebrations for its 71th Independence Day beginning Wednesday night with a variety of ceremonies and shows being held across the country.
Israel then and now 2019
A postcard written and signed by Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, just one day after officially declaring the State of Israel’s independence, was recently discovered. Dated on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar in the Jewish year 5748 (May 15, 1948), it was sent to the founding father of the kibbutz movement, Shlomo Lavi.
In a letter inscribed on the back of the postcard, Ben-Gurion wrote: “The people of Israel have attained the pinnacle of their existence—the State of Israel has been born.”
The postcard, which was discovered right before Israel’s Independence Day, will be put up for public auction next week at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.
In the letter, Ben-Gurion compared the contrasting realities on the ground between the time he immigrated and the day after the establishment of the State of Israel.
“When we arrived in this Land, you as Lefkowitz and I as Grün, waving the flag of Labor, we encountered the malaria of the swamps and the corruption of the Ottoman regime. Now, despite the fact that the roar of the cannons has not ceased and our sons are fighting on all fronts, my heart is joyous upon witnessing this great advancement.”
Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut really ought to always involve a nod to Col. John Henry Patterson, arguably one of the most important Zionists of all time, and the most important Christian Zionist ever: pic.twitter.com/j00scGKl3T
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) May 9, 2019
Throughout her lifetime, Maria Nahmias offered tenderness and support to 52 foster children on the margins of society, as well as eight children of her own. On Wednesday, a nation gasping for serenity got a small taste of the all-encompassing love she offered to those that needed it most over the years.
Lighting a torch at the 71st Independence Day celebrations on Mount Herzl, the “mamo” (“mother” in Tunisian-accented French) of Afula managed to bring together fractured, quarrelsome Israel in a way few others could. Her appearance appeared to spark a rare moment of national unity that has been praised for breaking through traditional divides in Israeli society.
The honor, one of the highest acts of recognition Israeli society can confer, was given to the 93-year-old great-great-grandmother for an almost unbelievable feat: quietly, and far from the public eye, taking into her home dozens of children no one else wanted — children abandoned by terrified parents in hospitals because they were born with physical deformities and diseases.
Almost 80 years ago Nahmias, 17 and going by the name Marie Sabah, fled Nazi thugs who hunted Jews in the streets of Tunisia during the German occupation from November 1942. (h/t Renato H M de Oliveira)
A Jewish school in Australia celebrated Israel’s Independence Day by creating the world’s largest human menorah.
A total of 1,048 students and staff from Bialik College in Melbourne gathered to form the shape of the emblem of the State of Israel on Thursday.
The seven-branched candelabra was 137.8 feet wide and 137.8 feet tall.
To meet the conditions set by Guinness World Records, two official counters with clickers recorded the number of people involved.
The previous record was set in 2017 by over 500 students from Ben Porat Yosef, a day school in Paramus, New Jersey.
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