John Cusack retweets anti-Semitic meme with neo-Nazi quote
American actor John Cusack on Tuesday retweeted an anti-Semitic meme captioned with a neo-Nazi quote, then apologized and deleted his retweet following backlash from his social media followers.
The meme retweeted by Cusack depicted a giant hand emblazoned with a blue Star of David crushing a group of people beneath it, accompanied by the quote: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
The meme incorrectly attributed the quote to French thinker Voltaire, but it’s actually an excerpt from a 1993 essay by American neo-Nazi Kevin Strom.
Cusack added his own caption to his since-deleted tweet, telling followers to “follow the money.”
The post immediately elicited backlash from online users, who accused Cusack of promoting anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and power.
Cusack initially defended the post, saying that Israel was “committing atrocities against Palestinians” and told outraged followers that he simply retweeted the image, and did not create it.
Several hours later, Cusack deleted the post, and blamed his retweet on a bot.
3. John Cusack repeatedly defended his tweet before deleting it.
His “bot” excuse is absurd. pic.twitter.com/Jm2NArFVEO
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 18, 2019
Douglas Murray: Mahathir Mohamad and the hypocrisy of Cambridge University
The critiques of this write themselves. Would any guest of the Cambridge Union have been so indulged if the above had been said about people of any other ethnic group? Or of any other minority? I would have thought not.
But that isn’t what is interesting. The interesting thing is that this happened (as with LSE in 2010) in the heart of an institution that is positively bursting with what used to be called ‘political correctness’ and has now become ‘wokeness’.
Indeed as I recently wrote in the Telegraph, Cambridge University is becoming a veritable epicentre of the wokeness epidemic. This is an institution which, under its lamentable new Vice-Chancellor (one Stephen Toope) has launched an inquiry into Cambridge University’s involvement in the slave trade, has repeatedly shown that it believes academic freedom should be adjudicated by mobs, and recently removed a bell from public display in one of the colleges because there was a chance that said bell might once have been rung on a plantation.
So last night’s events provide an almost beautiful demonstration of human idiocy. For while the students and authorities at Cambridge University are running around town trying to confiscate bells that might once have been rung in the wrong place, the hall of the university’s own union was ringing out with laughter at an ugly old anti-Semite being anti-Semitic. It’s almost as though all these attempts to pass judgement on the distant past and endlessly signal our outstanding virtue in the present do not in fact make us brave or decent people. Who could have guessed?
Campaign Against Antisemitism is making a complaint to the Charity Commission after Cambridge Union, a registered charity, permitted proud antisemite, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to spew antisemitic comments at an event on Sunday evening without challenging him.
In a video recording of the event posted on YouTube, Dr Mohamad was questioned by the moderator, an elected official at the Union, about his past comments about Jews. He replied: “I have some Jewish friends, very good friends. They are not like the other Jews. That’s why they are my friends.” The audience laughed loudly.
When questioned on his views of the Holocaust, he said: “The Israelis should know from the sufferings they went through in the war not to treat others like that.” Although he denied saying that only 4 million died in the Holocaust, something that he has previously stated on the record. Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
On antisemitism, he said: “Of course if you say anything against the Jews, you are labelled antisemitic. No other race in the world labels people like that, why is it forbidden to criticise the Jews when other people criticise us?” He added that: “The Jews do a lot of wrong things, which force us to pass comment.”
In response to a question about previous comments that he made calling Jews “hooked nosed”, Dr Mohamad stated: “People do generalise, in describing certain people we take some general characteristics that they have, why is it that it’s the Jews who resent this when other people don’t resent being accused of some general characteristic that they have? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that pretty much every group of people objects to being casually racially stereotyped.” He followed this up by using an example that: “The British Jews used to say the Malays are lazy.”
It is disgraceful and unforgivable that Cambridge Union, a club affiliated to the University of Cambridge, one of Britain’s most prestigious educational institutions, rolled out the red carpet for this self-confessed and unrepentant antisemite, and presented him with a platform from which to share his dangerous views with students, unchallenged.
Wresting Labour back from the grip of the hard left may now be impossible or, at least, a task that will take years to accomplish. The Democrats, however, still have an opportunity to learn from it.
First, ignoring or appeasing the views of those who appear to be fringe figures is a dangerous risk. In uncertain political times, and with the opportunities provided by the “alternative” media, marginal individuals can—if they go unchallenged—take their ideas mainstream with far-reaching consequences.
Second, disregarding the hard, unglamorous and largely thankless task of political organizing comes at a huge cost, as Labour moderates have discovered. The hard left’s relentless focus on connecting and mobilizing their supporters appeared as eccentric as their views during the Blair years. And yet, within five years of Labour’s losing office, that focus played a critical part in Corbyn’s election. At the same time, organization alone is not enough. The lack, among Labour moderates, of an appealing message, their overly technocratic language, and their perceived caution and dearth of ambition and passion helped turn a sexagenarian leftist with an agenda rooted in the 1970s into the hero of young idealists.
Third, any critique of the far left or objections to it should be rooted in values and principles and should not be focused solely on electability. Such a critique can, as happened to Corbyn’s critics after 2017, fall apart all too quickly.
Labour has lost, and seems not to care that it has, most of its traditional Jewish supporters. In the 2017 election, 69 percent of Britain’s Jews voted for the Conservative Party—a stunning number, considering that Labour was the same kind of home for Jews that the Democratic Party has been in the United States. The open anti-Semitism of so many Corbynites—paralleled this year by the noxious words of superstar freshman Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—have compelled many left-wing Jews (and non-Jews) to abandon their long-time political home. And they have led many others to fear the consequences of it coming to power. The Democrats may be far from that stage, but they stand at a crossroads if they do not act to end the onward march of American Corbynization.
Sen. Ted Cruz called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to pass a resolution condemning all forms of antisemitism, after the Senate adopted a unanimous, bipartisan resolution against antisemitism last week.
“In the United States, Jews have suffered from systematic discrimination in the form of exclusion from home ownership in certain neighborhoods, prohibition from staying in certain hotels, restrictions upon membership in private clubs and other associations, limitations upon admission to certain educational institutions and other barriers to equal justice under the law,” the two wrote in their resolution.
“Jews have faced, and continue to face, false accusations of divided loyalty between the United States and Israel, false claims that they purchase political power with money, and false accusations about control of the financial system, along with other negative stereotypes. Jews are the targets of the majority of hate crimes committed in the United States against any religious group, including attacks on houses of worship and Jewish community centers.”
Cruz urged Pelosi on Monday to follow suit and pass a similar resolution through the House of Representatives.
“Last week, the Senate came together and in one voice condemned antisemitism as a unique prejudice with a unique history, which has resulted in unique horrors throughout history,” Cruz wrote to Pelosi. “The House has thus far been unable to pass a similar resolution, and the last effort ended with them throwing everything they could think of into a resolution.
Two insights in particular make the resolution, and Senator Cruz’s speech introducing it, stand out. The first is the innate understanding that anti-Semitism is a unique form of bigotry that must be condemned uniquely, and not one more rung in the infinite ladder of grievances, real of imagined, that makes up the core of contemporary progressive ideology. Jew hatred is a historically specific affliction, complete with particular traditions and sensibilities; it is nothing like other forms of hatred, and deserves to be treated as such. From this follows a second insight, equally as profound: Even within the specific historical account of anti-Semitism, the American Jewish encounter with this ancient form of bigotry has been unique as well, paving its own forms of discrimination, some subtle and others less so.
To make sure this point gets across, Senator Cruz chose to end his speech by citing one of his resolution’s most forceful passages. “This resolution,” he said, “outlines how ancient forms of anti-Semitism continue to live on. I’d like to read one clause in particular in the resolution: ‘In the United States, Jews have suffered from systematic discrimination in the form of exclusion from home ownership in certain neighborhoods, prohibition from staying in certain hotels, restrictions upon membership in private clubs and other associations, limitations upon admission to certain educational institutions, and other barriers to equal justice under the law.’”
For this hatred, still very much prevalent today, to end, we need clear and strong leadership. On Thursday, Senators Cruz and Kaine gave us just that. (h/t IsaacStorm)
#NEW #Texas Senator @tedcruz calls on @SpeakerPelosi to pass clean resolution condemning anti-Semitism in the House after Senate passes his & @timkaine bipartisan resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism unanimously. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/BQYGwz8uXu
— Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) June 17, 2019
Shmuley Boteach: Americans didn’t die on D-Day for France to become antisemitic
I am and have been a Francophile. I love Paris, I love the French Alps, and I love the French countryside. I love French art and its incredible museums.
Most of all, I love the history of the United States in France and have twice visited the beaches of Normandy in just the past four weeks alone to commemorate the American heroism of D-Day, 75 years ago this month.
On Facebook and Instagram, hundreds of thousands of people followed my trips to the great battlefields of the Second World War in France, and it was my privilege to bring stories of the indescribable heroism of America’s soldiers to the masses.
To President Emmanuel Macron’s credit, at the D-Day 75 commemorations at the American military cemetery at Omaha Beach, he acknowledged the French debt: “We know what we owe to you veterans: our freedom. On behalf of my nation I just want to say: thank you.”
That is the best of France. But then there is a darker side, a shameful history of antisemitism, especially during the Second World War when the French sent 80,000 Jews to their deaths at Auschwitz. The collaborationist Vichy regime was headed by Marshal Pétain, a war hero turned national disgrace who became Hitler’s enthusiastic stooge and regularly wrote him groveling letters, even as he did his bidding to slaughter the Jews.
“Jews will not replace us.” When 300 neo-Nazis marched with flaming torches through the central quad of the University of Virginia on a late Friday evening in August 2017, their message was clear. The college’s response, in contrast, was a study in confusion. As a public institution, wrote then-President Teresa Sullivan, the university “must abide by state and federal law” regarding the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. Short of barring the “torch-bearing protesters” as an imminent threat to safety, university officials’ hands were tied. National Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee concurred, denouncing the shocking display of hatred but urging the public to let the “protesters” voice their “protected speech.”
Yet after the violent weekend that led to one death and multiple casualties, UVA lawyers unearthed a decades-old state law still on the books that banned the burning of objects on private or public property “with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons.” It turned out that the Virginia General Assembly had dealt with this very problem back in the early 1950s, when the Ku Klux Klan tried to launch a new campaign in the state. The legal means to prevent this racist and anti-Semitic menace without violating the First Amendment had existed. No one had remembered to look for it.
An overlooked law written for a danger assumed to be long past. A domestic extremist movement masquerading as a political cause. An unswerving fealty to the First Amendment blinding lawyers to the violent danger staring them in the face. This lonely epilogue to Charlottesville is a fitting symbol for the current crisis facing the American civil-rights movement. White supremacists have twisted the law itself into a weapon with which to launch a frontal attack on American liberalism.
That this brazen attack took place on a campus where I teach Jewish history, including the long Jewish struggle on behalf of human rights, only underscored another historical irony. Anti-Semitism has returned with a vengeance, yet American Jews have forgotten how to fight it.
Last month, one of Germany’s most notorious neofascists, Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, made what he said would be his final public appearances, to discuss, “Judaism on German Soil Since Roman Times to the Enlightenment,” “The Anti-Jewish Jews” and/or “The Political Meaning of Islam.” Hoffmann is often portrayed in feature stories as something of a retired eccentric, residing with his wife, Franziska Birkmann, in Bavaria’s Ermreuth Castle, where he holds court and offers his perspective on a variety of issues, including social media, the abolition of churches and unions, and the “complete transformation of the economy.”
Rarely discussed outside German media is the neofascist group that Hoffman founded—the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (Hoffmann Sports Group). While the group’s possible connection to the Oktoberfest bombing of 1980 is common knowledge in German political circles, recent publications rarely reference Hoffmann’s more notorious activities, including his alleged facilitation of a working relationship with a group of Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon—part of a network that terrorized Western Europe throughout the 1970s and ’80s. A review of Hoffmann’s activities and associates reveals a tangled web in which violent neo-Nazi organizations on the far right made common cause with Palestinian liberation groups who were heroes of the far left.
Little of what is known about Karl Heinz-Hoffmann’s early years suggested that he would become a leading neofascist. He was born in Nuremberg in 1937, but later relocated with his family when Allied bombing raids targeted his city. In his early adult years, he trained as a porcelain painter, and attended school to become a graphic artist. Later, in the 1950s, he became involved in the German art scene. He then traveled extensively, and took an interest in cultural studies of Eastern countries.
The first indication that Hoffmann held radical views occurred in the 1960s, when Hoffmann began speaking publicly about history and politics and reportedly expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler. Later, he was refused entry into Austria for advocating the reunification with Germany (which had last taken place during the notorious Anschluss in 1938) and for supporting the ideas of National Socialism.
The Education Department has informed Congress that it is launching an investigation into how $235,000 in federal grants were used to fund a series of anti-Israel events that featured speakers and events tied to Palestinian terror groups organized by Duke University and the University of North Carolina.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos informed Rep. George Holding (R., Ga.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, that she has directed her agency to investigate how these funds were used and whether they violated grant conditions, according to a letter sent to Holding, who had initially requested an investigation into the anti-Israel conference in April.
“I am troubled by the concerns outlined in your letter,” DeVos wrote to Holding, according to a copy of that letter obtained by the Free Beacon. “In order for the Department to learn more about this matter, I have directed the Office of Postsecondary Education to examine the use of funds under this program to determine if the Consortium violated the terms and conditions of its grant, Department regulates, or the HEA. It is critical that recipients of grants use funds in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements, as well as for purposes of the program for which they are funded.”
The joint UNC-Duke conference spawned concern in the pro-Israel community due to what observers described as extreme anti-Israel bias. Lawmakers such as Holding, as well as pro-Israel campus advocates, maintained that the conference fostered an unsafe environment for Jewish students and was part of a larger effort by anti-Israel activists on campus to drive support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
No country has taken a stronger stand and action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement than the United States, both in Congress and in the 50 states – 27 states, from Rhode Island to California, have already passed regulations using their own finances to block BDS activists from accomplishing their goals.
The battle against BDS is being led by the pro-Israel community in the US, and it is important to note that it remains a bipartisan issue bringing together Republicans and Democrats. Two of its most powerful warriors are Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas who ran for president in 2016, and Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida in the House of Representatives.
In exclusive interviews, Cruz and Deutch were clear that they both consider the BDS movement not just anti-Israel, but antisemitic too.
“Boycotts and other attacks on the livelihood of Jews have been part of antisemitism for centuries, and BDS is one of the latest manifestations,” Cruz said. “It is an antisemitic movement that seeks to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state, and deserves to be condemned. The United States and our allies, meanwhile, should stand with Israel and ensure that it has what it needs to defend itself diplomatically and militarily.”
A Spanish court has ruled that the City Council of Valencia violated the law when it voted to affiliate itself with an anti-Israel BDS group.
On May 31, 2018, the Council voted in favor of affiliating with the group ELAI, or “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid.” The resolution further stipulated that the council, its institutions and civil servants must refrain from any contact or cooperation with Israel.
The motion was supported by far-left and socialist parties on the Council, while the minority conservative and liberal parties opposed it.
After lawsuits filed by the Spanish pro-Israel group ACOM, which fights BDS and antisemitism in the country, Valencia’s Court Number 9 ruled on June 5 that the Council’s decision violated Article 14 of the constitution by subjecting potential contractors to ideological criteria.
“It is obvious that its aim was precisely to exclude from hiring persons and organizations in any way linked with or rooted in the State of Israel,” the court stated.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) compared the crisis at the southern border to the Holocaust, blasting the Trump administration for “running concentration camps” and calling the administration a “fascist presidency.”
“They are concentration campus,” she said during an Instagram live feed.
“I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something, and the fact that concentration are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing,” she continued.
The phrase “never again” invokes the connection to the Nazi genocide of Jewish people and other ethnic minorities in Europe. However, the phrase has been co-opted in the recent past to serve as a universal reference to tragedy.
Can someone PLEASE get @AOC a history book, so she can learn what the concentration camps were like? Comparing our border’s centers to camps where millions were GASSED TO DEATH is reckless and utterly false pic.twitter.com/g3I9BkLdWq
— Jessica Fletcher (@heckyessica) June 18, 2019
Jewish groups have agreed to meet Labour’s Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes after she wrote to them apologising for the “hurt” caused by the revelation she had approved of antisemitic posts on Facebook.
Ms Forbes wrote to the Board of Deputies after her victory in the June 6 poll to say she had “caused hurt in your community, to you and to those you represent”.
In the last days of the campaign, which Ms Forbes won by 683 votes, she was revealed to have liked antisemitic Facebook posts, including one that claimed Theresa May had a “Zionist slave master’s agenda” and that Mossad created ISIS. She had also signed a letter opposing the IHRA definition of antisemitism that called Israel an “apartheid state”.
The Jewish Labour Movement urged the party to suspend her within hours of her election.
On Monday, the Board of Deputies said it had arranged for her to meet with its representatives along with the Jewish Leadership Council, Community Security Trust and the Antisemitism Policy Trust on a date to be determined.
The Guardian also fails to inform readers that, last year, following a complaint by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), credit card companies blocked Interpal’s donations due to their affiliation with terror groups. And, in March of 2019, Facebook took similar action, blocking Interpal’s donations buttons from its platform – also due to a complaint by UKLFI. Interpal’s MyDonate crowdfunding account was frozen as well.
Reports have revealed that Interpal has long been providing funds to a number of charities run by senior Hamas members, and a report in the American Spectator last year noted that Interpal leaders, such as Ibrahim Hewitt, don’t even try to hide their relationship with Hamas.
Interpal is not merely suspected of ties to Hamas; it openly works with Hamas. Interpal directors Essam Yusuf and Ibrahim Hewitt have regularly visited Gaza, where they have been honored at rallies led by Hamas leaders, prayed at the tombs of Hamas terrorists, and visited Hamas terrorists’ homes. In 2013, Yusuf even stood next to Hamas leaders in a videoed singalong praising the “martyrs” of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s suicide bombing wing.
Further, as a superb post at Harry’s Place demonstrated, Interpal – who, quite tellingly, funded Jeremy Corbyn’s 2013 trip to Gaza – has long been a “key node of the Hamas support network in the UK”, providing “both material and political backing to the terrorist group”.
Once again, the Guardian has done what it does best: deceive readers by whitewashing the extremism and terror ties of pro-Palestinian “activists” in omitting widely available open-source information that definitively contradicts their desired narrative.
Though The Times (Times of London) is one of the fairer British news sites in their treatment of Israel, a recent article (“Squeeze on Christians in the Holy Land”, June 15th) by contributor Michael Binyon was extraordinarily misleading on the issue of the country’s Christian community, and included one outright factual error.
The article, about a row over a Supreme Court ruling upholding a controversial land sale between the Greek Orthodox Church and a pro-Jewish settlement organisation, falsely suggested that the rights of Christians in the holy land were being eroded by Israel’s government – a libel we’ve refuted repeatedly.
The factual error in the piece involved a sentence which repeated the church’s claim, as if it were an established fact, that the land sale in question was fraudulent in part because the properties were sold for a sum “less than half the market value”. As we pointed out to editors, this allegation was specifically refuted by the court ruling, which noted that this particular claim “was not upheld by surveyors”.
Editors upheld our complaint, and added additional words to the relevant sentence:
The 99-year leases were negotiated in secret by a junior 29-year-old official of the patriarchate for a sum said by the church to be less than half the market value, although this claim was not upheld by the court.
A leading UK Jewish group on Monday praised the Anglican Church in Wales for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
The Bishops of the Church in Wales said in a statement following the adoption of the definition, “We regard antisemitism as abhorrent and recognize that the Christian Church has need of repentance for the ways in which it has contributed in the past to anti-Jewish sentiment.”
Pointing out the definition’s inclusion of antisemitism directed against Israel, the bishops said, “We note that the IHRA definition itself does not preclude criticism of the State of Israel, and that legitimately holding the Israeli government to account is not antisemitic.”
“In making the decision we recognise the excellent relationships between faith communities in Wales,” the statement concluded.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl praised the Church, saying, “We are pleased to see that the international antisemitism definition is gathering pace in the faith communities.”
Several dozen top officials from around the world involved in combating antisemitism kicked off a first-of-its-kind conference in the Romanian capital of Bucharest on Monday.
The two-day event was organized by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Romanian government. The purpose of the gathering, the WJC said, was to bring together “global Jewish leaders and global counter-antisemitism coordinators to discuss the key issues facing Jewish communities today and deliberate best practices going forward.”
Addressing the conference on Monday, European Commission Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein, said, “There is a need in all EU member states to step up efforts [against antisemitism], see where the gaps are, and make sure they are being filled and implemented. The big challenge will be to push back against antisemitism — not just contain it.”
Prominent figures set to speak at the conference included Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, US Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr and Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism Felix Klein, among others.
The sole gunman in a Southern California synagogue shooting in which a woman was killed told an investigator that he adopted his hatred of Judaism 18 months before the fatal attack, according to a federal search warrant.
John T. Earnest, 19, also told a San Diego Sheriff’s detective that he was inspired by Adolf Hitler and the suspected gunman in the New Zealand mosque shooting last March.
The search warrant, which was unsealed in a hate crimes case against Earnest, offered a few new details about the attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, including when Earnest became drawn to anti-Semitism and hatred of Islam.
San Diego police found a helmet-mounted video camera in Earnest’s car, when he was arrested almost immediately after the April 27 shooting, which killed 60-year-old Lori Kaye and injured three others.
He had an AR-15 rifle in the vehicle. It was previously known that Earnest said on the 8chan website that he planned to stream the attack live on Facebook. He did not do so.
“At that time, Earnest did not appear to be under the influence of a controlled substance but did appear to have a ‘flat affect’ as though he was detached or unaffected by his actions,” the warrant states in recounting an interview that he gave to a San Diego police detective immediately after he was detained.
Earnest, an accomplished student and pianist, has pleaded not guilty to a 113-count federal indictment and faces charges of murder and attempted murder in state court, both of which may make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted. He also pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges of trying to burn a mosque in the nearby city of Escondido.
California police have arrested a man suspected of making online threats to shoot up a Jewish temple, saying he had a fascination with Adolf Hitler and planned to emulate a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a similar one near San Diego.
Police said on Monday that Ross Farca, 23, of Concord, Ca., was freed on a bond of $125,000 over the weekend, after being charged with making criminal threats, possession of an illegal assault rifle and manufacturing an assault rife, all felonies.
Police have been tight-lipped about the case, announcing on Friday that Farca was arrested on June 10 and held in the Contra Costa County Jail.
Farca pleaded not guilty to all charges at an arraignment last week, according to the East Bay Times.
The newspaper and other media said Farca had posted online that he wanted to mimic the gunman in the San Diego incident, “except with a Nazi uniform on,” and aimed for a body count of “at least 30,” using antisemitic slurs throughout.
A Ukrainian city is going ahead with plans to construct residential buildings on top of a site where thousands of Jews were murdered and buried during the Holocaust, drawing the ire of the Israeli ambassador, Hebrew-language media reported.
In September 1941, shortly after Nazi German forces reached the city of Poltava in eastern Ukraine, some 5,000 local Jews were shot dead at the site, known as the “artillery depots,” along with many non-Jews, the Israel Hayom daily said in a Saturday report.
Israeli envoy Joel Lion was said to have written a letter to Acting Poltava Mayor Oleksandr Shamota, urging him to cancel the plan.
“As a representative of the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, and as a son of Holocaust survivors, I speak on behalf of those who cannot speak anymore and appeal to your conscience and to the members of your city council to stop this historical injustice,” Lion wrote.
“I expect immediate action. You can choose between justice and injustice,” he added in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Culture Minister Yevhen Nyshchuk, and Jewish community leaders.
In 2010, at the age of 19, Zenan Sumlut fled her native village of Gara Yang in Kachin State, northern Myanmar. With a return to civil war following a 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar military, the village was no longer safe.
Five years later, as sporadic fighting continued, Sumlut found herself studying agriculture at the Paran cooperative community in the Central Arava region of Israel. Her family was still living in a camp for internally displaced persons in Kachin’s state capital, Myitkyina.
As a participant in a yearlong applied agriculture and entrepreneurship program organized through a partnership between the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and the Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT), Sumlut harvested and packed peppers five days a week while taking weekly classes.
Sumlut’s participation was motivated by a desire to learn and experience life abroad, as well as to visit places of religious significance. Like most Kachin, Sumlut is Christian, and the program includes three trips to religious sites. Some Kachin also identify with Israelis as a group with a shared a history of persecution.
Bringing Israeli Agriculture to Developing Countries
International students are learning how to grow food in harsh climates Israel’s Arava desert. Our Alec Pollard has the story.
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