January 26, 2021

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07/10 Links Pt2: Dershowitz: Is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Platform Antisemitic?; Melanie Phillips: Conversation the eclipse of liberalism and the failure of conservatism


From Ian:

Candidates must adopt IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, an organization that takes no position on BDS, told The Jewish Week in late 2018 that BDS is not about free speech. “Lawmakers from both parties are working together to erode the First Amendment in a joint effort to create a new political free speech exception for Israel,” she wrote. “The potential ramifications of this effort are far-reaching and should provoke deep bipartisan alarm.”

Jonathan Tobin, editor-in-chief of JNS, has also written quite often of the erroneous conflation of BDS with free speech. “Political speech is broadly defined in American law, and the courts have chosen to include activity like flag-burning or paying for political advertisements under that rubric. But it has never been defined as granting impunity to those who wish to discriminate against religious or racial groups in the course of conducting business,” he wrote in a Dec. 18, 2018 column titled “Discrimination against the Jewish state isn’t free speech.”

The other concerning statement in Kreibich’s position is: “Advocate for the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank through settlements.” While the word “occupation” should have signaled concern to Kreibich’s Jewish neighbors, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This statement shows that the candidate does not believe that Israel has the right to self-determination.

The territories to which Kreibich apparently refers are certainly disputed, but they have been part of Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. It must then be assumed that she means the disputed territories must all be returned to the pre-1967 lines, regardless of Israel’s self-determination through armed conflict. That is a position supported by Sanders and was a position supported by former President Barack Obama in the final months of his term, though not by current Democratic leadership and not even by the current leading Democratic candidate for president, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The IHRA definition includes as anti-Semitic “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

Saying that she will “advocate for the end of Israeli occupation” means that to Kreibich, Jews do not have the right to self-determination. According to the IHRA, this is inherently anti-Semitic and provides ammunition to those who would demonize Israel and its right to exist.

In this day and age, editors and reporters at The Jewish Link have learned that it is no longer enough to go to Washington once or twice a year with NORPAC or AIPAC to advocate as a group for America to support Israel. Israel must be accepted as the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s loyal ally since 1948, the establishment of the modern-day nation. Americans should know that Israel has a right to defend its borders and live in peace like any other country. In an era of rising anti-Semitism, xenophobia and violence, the need for American Jews to have a safe haven in the world is more important than ever.

It is incumbent upon every community member who cares about Israel and the survival of the Jewish people to read statements made by would-be elected leaders. This is not a time for complacency or quiet. If Jewish constituents care about the topic, then they must ask for representation from their elected leaders as well as explain, with specificity, why they cannot be supported with views like these.

The IHRA definition is a great place to start.

Pro-Israel activist Richard Millett wins first stage of High Court libel case against Jeremy Corbyn

A High Court judge has ruled that statements made by Jeremy Corbyn on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show in September 2018 could be held to be defamatory of the pro-Israel activist Richard Millett.

In a judgement delivered on Friday Mr Justice Saini rejected the claim by lawyers representing the former Labour leader that he was not referring to Mr Millett when he appeared on the programme and was asked to defend earlier remarks made about “Zionists” who, he believed, “do not understand English irony”.

Handing down his judgement, Justice Saini concluded: “To summarise my rulings on the preliminary issues, I find that the words complained of referred to Mr Millett; that they bore a meaning defamatory of Mr Millett as identified above; and I find that the allegations were factual.”

A June 23rd hearing at the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court took place to enable Mr Justice Saini to determine whether the meaning of Mr Corbyn’s remarks on the show justified a libel action.

The libel case revolves around an appearance by Mr Corbyn on the BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show in September 2018.

Mr. Millett launched a libel action alleging that the words spoken by Mr Corbyn in the programme were defamatory of him and their publication caused and is likely to cause serious harm to his reputation.

Mark Lewis, of Patron Law, who is representing Mr Millett told the JC: “The judge rejected the argument that Mr Corbyn was not referring to Richard Millett when he appeared on the Marr Show defending his ‘irony statement’.

“The Court accepted that these were factual allegations that have a defamatory meaning.”

A Polish govt institute honors Poles who saved Jews. Scholars say it’s whitewash

In February 1943, Stanisława and Henryk Budziszewski decided to help a family of Jewish escapees at their farm in the Polish village of Żebry-Laskowiec where they lived with their three sons, Wacław, Stanisław, and Konstanty. The Jewish family consisted of a husband and wife — shopkeepers from the nearby village of Nur — along with their three children. Their surname remains unknown.

Everyone in the local villages knew that hiding Jews was illegal and, if discovered, the crime brought a sure death penalty.

The Jews were successfully hidden for just two weeks before they were discovered by German gendarmes and the Gestapo in the Budziszewskis’ farm, covered in hay in one of the barns. The adults in the Polish family were separated and interrogated; Waclaw, aged just 18, lied to the Germans and claimed that he had been helping the Jews without his parents’ knowledge.

The Jews were deported and murdered at an unknown location. Wacław was sent to the Stutthof concentration camp, where he died on April 1, 1943. The rest of the Budziszewski family was sent to perform forced labor for the Third Reich.

Recently, the Budziszewskis are among 17 cases identified and honored by Poland’s Pilecki Institute as part of a project launched in March 2019 entitled Called by Name.

According to the Pilecki Institute website, the project is “devoted to persons of Polish nationality who were murdered for providing help to Jews during the German occupation.” Once identified, the rescuers are honored with a ceremony in which a memorial stone is unveiled in their name.

While the honor sounds admirable enough, numerous scholars claim that the initiative launched by the Pilecki Institute — an entity founded in 2017 with government funds — is part of an organized campaign to whitewash Poland’s wartime narrative and portray ordinary Poles as rescuers of Jews while ignoring their many acts of betrayal and anti-Semitism.

Melanie Phillips: Conversation the eclipse of liberalism and the failure of conservatism

I was pleased to have a long video conversation (in two parts) with John O’Sullivan, former senior policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and now president of the Danube Institute, a think-tank based in Hungary.

Our conversation started by talking about my early years at The Guardian newspaper and my experiences while working there which led me to break with the left. We discussed my play, Traitors (yes, I did write one and it was actually performed at a fringe theatre in London in 1986), my experience of antisemitism which led me to write that play and then, some 15 years later, my shattering conclusion that British Jews had been living in a 50-year fools’ paradise.

We also discussed why English patriotism has become so controversial, the demoralisation of the west and the failure of conservatism to resist the destruction of liberalism by the virus of cultural totalitarianism. Which brought us to our present day’s revolutionary moment with the Black Lives Matter riots and disturbances.

Details on Israel’s Entebbe Rescue Revealed

On July 4, 1976, Israeli commandos rescued hostages from an Air France flight that was hijacked by a group of Arab and German terrorists and diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. Mossad agent Avner Avraham and special forces officer Rami Sherman recently spoke about what they experienced.

En route to Entebbe, British-Israeli nurse Patricia Martel deliberately cut herself and, bleeding profusely, claimed she was having a miscarriage. The hijackers let her off when the plane stopped in Benghazi in Libya to refuel. Sherman said, “She flew back to London from Benghazi and was immediately met by agents of MI6 and Mossad. They gave her thousands of photographs. She identified the terrorists, told how many there were and what kind of weapons they had.”

Avner Abraham recalled that Uganda’s brutal ruler, Idi Amin, had received Israeli military training when he was a soldier. One of his former trainers got on the line and “spoke with him on the telephone five times” to glean what was on his mind. An Israeli engineer showed up with blueprints of the airport terminal where the hostages were being held. His company had won the tender to construct the building. Another enterprising Israeli, using a small Cessna propeller plane, flew repeatedly over the airport taking photographs and flew back home to deliver them.

During the raid on Entebbe, another Israeli commando detachment raided a nearby Ugandan airbase and destroyed 11 MiG fighters parked there to assure they would not be scrambled in pursuit.

Preserving Records of Ottoman Jewish Cemeteries, Thanks to Bernard Lewis

The idea of the database started in a conversation in the mid-1980s between Bernard Lewis and a Turkish friend, Nuri Arlasiz, collector of Ottoman art who wanted to save the Jewish cemeteries of Istanbul from being plundered or destroyed by natural causes. Jews lived in many towns in Asia Minor and each had its own cemetery. Arlasiz asked Lewis for help to save them. Around the same time, a number of Jews in Istanbul organized events commemorating the 500th anniversary of Spanish Jewish settlement in Istanbul, ancestors who had been expelled from Spain in 1492, and left for the Ottoman Empire. The events were headed by an industrialist named Jak Kamhi, born into a Jewish family in Istanbul, who was involved in public diplomacy and for a time advisor to the prime minister. Lewis agreed with the idea but had a different point of view, proposing that the Jewish cemeteries should be documented since they would have little chance of surviving without a live Jewish community.

Lewis consulted with Professor Minna Rozan, then head of the diaspora research center at Tel Aviv university, and later professor in the history department at Haifa University, who had written on the history of the Jewish community in Istanbul, and the transformation of the Greek speaking Jewish community of Byzantine Constantinople into an ethnically diverse Ottoman Jewish community. The Romaniote Greek speaking Jews, in the eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Anatolia, were distinct from the Sephardic Jews.

As a result Minna Rozan went to Istanbul in 1987 to examine whether Lewis’s idea was feasible, and a plan was worked out by an agreement among a Turkish group, the Quincentennial Foundation, and the Annenberg Institute in Philadelphia, then directed by Lewis. Rozan, taking a sabbatical from her position at Tel Aviv University, spent two years 1988-1990 documenting the Jewish cemeteries in Turkey with a research team who sorted through over 100,000 photos of 61,022 tombstones to establish the database. Emphasis was put on the most ancient tombstones and those threatened by neglect or urban expansion. Some cemeteries have been destroyed, wholly or partially, by construction of the ring road around Istanbul.

When the resources available at Annenberg Institute ended, Lewis himself through Tel Aviv supported the project with a very generous gift which enabled the digitizing of the photos.

The research covers 28 different cemeteries, including a Karaite one in Istanbul and the Italian one in Istanbul, as well as those from communities in Western and Eastern Anatolia which ceased to exist after 20th century wars and immigration. The digitized database involves contents of the gravestones, the materials used, and ornamental elements. It claims to be the largest tombstone database in the world, coveting 400 years of Turkish-Jewish life. Any user can peruse the database to find a specific gravestone.

How gratifying that the Jewish heritage is not being erased.

Alan Dershowitz: Is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Platform Antisemitic?

In 2016 I wrote an op-ed demanding that Black Lives Matter rescind the portion of its platform that describes Israel as an “apartheid state” involved in “genocide … against the Palestinian people.” I pointed out that the platform refers to no other country but Israel, despite the egregious records of many foreign countries with regard to police brutality. It is now four years later and these provisions of the platform remain intact. Defenders of Black Lives Matter argue that the inclusion of this critique against Israel in not antisemitic; it is merely anti-Zionist.

As a law professor for 50 years I frequently used “hypothetical cases” — the students called them “hypos” — to deepen the analysis of a problem. So please consider the following hypo: Imagine a world in which there was only one Black African nation — a nation built largely by previously enslaved Black men and women. Imagine further that this singular Black nation had a good record on the environment, on gay rights, on gender equality, on human rights, and on defending itself against attack from predominantly white nations. But as with all nations, the Black Nation was far from perfect. It had its flaws and imperfections.

Now imagine further that do-gooder organizations in America and around the world were to single out the Black nation for unique condemnation. For example, imagine that an environmental group or a gay rights group were to publish a platform in which it criticized the environmental and gay rights policies of its own nation, but then went out of its way to single out only the Black nation from among all the other polluters and homophobic countries of the world?

Would anyone hesitate to describe the singling out of the world’s only Black nation for unique condemnation as an act of bigotry, motivated by anti-Black racism? If that is the case, how is it different when Black Lives Matter singles out the only nation state of the Jewish people for unique and undeserved condemnation? Is not the application of a double standard based on religion as bad as a double standard based on race?

Criticizing Israel for its imperfections is not only fair, it is desirable. But only when it is based on a single standard of comparison with other nations of the world. Condemning the nation state of the Jewish people alone, in a world with far greater offenders, cannot be justified by any moral principle. It is antisemitic, pure and simple. And the Black Lives Matter platform is guilty of the serious sin and crime of antisemitism.

Message to ESNP: Anti-Semitism Isn’t ‘Controversial’; It’s Jew-Hatred

‘Farrakhan Is My Teacher’: Fox Sports’s Shannon Sharpe And Showtime’s Stephen Jackson Have Ties To Nation Of Islam Leader

Former NFL player and current Fox Sports analyst Shannon Sharpe and former NBA player and Showtime podcast host Stephen Jackson both have ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite.

Farrakhan has described Jews as “satanic,” railed against interracial marriage — which he claimed “mongrelized” the black race — and has said “Hitler was a very great man.” Sharpe and Stephen Jackson have both faced criticism for their responses to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s promotion of Farrakhan and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories online.

Among the material that DeSean Jackson spread to his 1.1 million followers on Instagram was a fake quote attributed to Adolf Hitler claiming that Jews are deceiving America from finding out that black people are “the real Children of Israel.”

Stephen Jackson said Wednesday that DeSean Jackson had told “the truth” by spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: “He’s speaking the truth. You know he don’t hate nobody, but he’s speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others.”

The former NBA player has repeatedly promoted Farrakhan to his nearly 900,000 Instagram followers.

Jackson promoted Farrakhan’s Independence Day speech where the Nation of Islam leader accused Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates of trying to “depopulate the Earth” through the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

“I will be there front and center. Nobody loves black people more and nobody has more knowledge about the things we need to be liberated. [Farrakhan] is educating me on how to be a great leader and how to develop the community,” Jackson wrote in a July 3 Instagram post.

Evangelical Lutheran Church Blames George Floyd’s Murder on Israel

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) 26 other churches, sent to the US Congress in opposition to Israel accepting sovereignty in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

The letter was a response supporting the position of Bishop Sani Ibrahim Azar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land as expressed in his letter titled “Liberation, Not Annexation.” In his letter, Bishop Azar accused Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Trump of taking “ advantage of the current global health crisis to move forward with plans to annex West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.”

The Bishop inaccurately states, “This unilateral action—taken without negotiations and consultation with Palestinian leaders—ignores long-standing peace accords agreed upon under international sponsorship and guarantees. Annexation violates international law and is certain to have severe consequences for Israeli and Palestinian people.”

Trump’s peace plan, officially called “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People”, was presented to the Palestinian Authority, which rejected it outright and cut off all ties with Israel and the US. The plan does not violate any international laws and is in compliance with UN Resolution242 establishing the ground rules for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and how it relates to Judea and Samaria.

In her response, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton took the Bishop’s anti-Israel stance quite a bit further. Eaton joined 26 other U.S. Christian leaders in a letter to Congress asking it “to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel until the “occupation” ended.

In the letter, The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, said that there was a connection between the Israeli government’s “repressive tactics against Palestinians” and racism in the US.

Fierce Backlash After New York City Tweet Features Palestinian Flag, Omits Israeli One

A tweet on Wednesday by the New York City government encouraging participation in the 2020 US Census prompted a fierce backlash over the fact it included an emoji of a Palestinian flag while omitting an Israeli one.

“No matter where you’re from, if you live here, you’re a New Yorker. We all count in the census,” the tweet said, featuring 15 flags.

Many Twitter users were quick to respond with emojis and images of Israeli flags.

“NYC is one of the most Jewish cities in the world,” one commenter wrote. “But City Hall doesn’t include an Israeli flag in this tweet. We all know exactly what’s going on here.”

A subsequent tweet included an Israeli flag, among others that were left out of the first one.

Editor’s note: This story was updated after publication to include the second tweet.

Daphne Anson: “Palestinians in Australia are Positioned as Settlers of Colour”

That’s just one of the glaring canards contained in a recent statement (drafted by poet Sara M. Saleh along with academics Dr Micaela Sahhar and Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah) signed by innumerable Australian academics, artists and activists, well-known and obscure, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, Muslim and non-Muslim, that appears in the radical left Australian literary journal Overland, created in 1954.

Signatories include academics Linda Briskman, Bassam Dally, John Docker and his son Ned Curthoys, Ann E. Fink, Gary Foley, Ghassan Hage, Jake Lynch, Peter Manning, Stuart Rees, Nick Riemer, Peter Slezak, and Marcelo Svirsky; broadcaster and writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied; feminist Sara Dowse; playwright Samah Sabawi, journalist Maher Mughrabi (features editor, The Age newspaper), and poet Sunniya Wajahat.

Bizarrely, one high profile signatory, ABC and BBC media favourite Ms Abdel-Magied, who should need no introduction to most readers (see here if you need to), is a participant in this forthcoming “Festival of Jewish Arts and Music” forum!

But I digress.

Most of the signatories’ names will be instantly recognisable to watchers of anti-Israel initiatives in Australia. If not, googling should pay dividends. It certainly did for me in the case of Susan Stryker, an American gender studies professor in the United States who, it turns out, is not currently based here but was a visiting professor on an Australia campus in 2004.

The statement, inter alia (emphasis added):
From Minneapolis to Jerusalem to Gadigal land, all sites of recent state-sanctioned violence, we affirm the critical ongoing and historic solidarities between different movements against systemic and institutionalised state violence, systemic oppression, and brutality. Palestinians in Australia are positioned as settlers of colour and have proudly sought and affirmed solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our indivisible anti-colonial struggles….’

Jewish group slams Polish public TV for ‘hateful’ role in election race

A leading Jewish group criticized Poland’s public broadcaster on Friday for its “hateful” role in a tight presidential election race that pits the conservative incumbent against the liberal mayor of Warsaw.
AJC Central Europe, an advocacy group, pointed to a report on public broadcaster TVP’s flagship news show on Thursday that asked if opposition candidate Rafal Trzaskowski would “comply with Jewish demands,” touching on the sensitive issue of Jewish property restitution.

Home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities before World War Two, Poland is the only European Union country that has not legislated on restoring property to pre-war Jewish owners or their descendants, despite U.S. pressure.

“What’s wrong with Polish public TV?… Yesterday it again warned against ‘satisfying Jewish demands’. Is that b/c you assume this hateful campaign would speak to many Poles? Think abt what message that sends,” the AJC tweeted.

In a statement to Reuters, the AJC said it had been shocked by Polish public television’s use of “antisemitic tropes.”

“It’s one thing when such messages are spread by fringe far-right groups. It’s something quite different when this is done by state TV funded with taxpayers’ money,” it said.

The Sun and Scottish Sun correct omission on Egypt’s blockade of Gaza

An article published in The Sun, and it’s Scottish brand, “Holy city Bethlehem is shut down for 48 hours as surge in coronavirus infections hits Palestine’s West Bank”, June 27th, included the following sentence:
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave blockaded by Israel, 72 people have tested positive for coronavirus, with one death.

As we pointed out to editors, the sentence omits the fact that Gaza is also blockaded by Egypt – a blockade that is actually far more restrictive than Israel’s. Further, we noted, previous articles at these publications have correctly informed readers that both Israel and Egypt enforce a blockade.

Our complaint was upheld, and the sentences were amended in both articles – which now read:
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave blockaded by Israel and Egypt, 72 people have tested positive for coronavirus, with one death.

Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben dead at 76

THE death of Adelaide man Fredrick Toben, who was jailed in Australia for violating court orders over his Holocaust denial, has triggered memories for communal leader Jeremy Jones who was involved in a major legal victory against him.

Toben, 76, who had immigrated to Australia from Germany in 1954, died on June 29 after a long illness.

Jones, who is now the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s director of international and of community affairs, represented the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) in a landmark Australian court case which outlawed articles denying the Holocaust on Toben’s website.

The 2002 Federal Court ruling enforced a finding two years earlier by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission that Toben had contravened Section 18C of the federal Racial Discrimination Act in publishing material on his Adelaide Institute website that racially vilified Jews. In a separate matter, Toben’s Tasmanian associate Olga Scully was found to have disseminated antisemitic material in breach of 18C.

Toben was ordered to remove the contents from his website and apologise. Although he issued an apology five years later, his website continued to publish the offensive material, and in 2009 Jones, representing ECAJ, brought a contempt of court action against him. Toben was found guilty of 24 charges of contempt of court and sentenced to three months’ jail, which he served after losing an appeal.

Munich’s Chief Rabbi attacked by Muslims

The Chief Rabbi of Munich, Rabbi Shmuel Aharon Brodman, was attacked on Thursday evening by four Muslims who shouted derogatory remarks toward him.

Rabbi Brodman, a member of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the police who launched a manhunt for the attackers.

Yaakov Hagoel, Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, responded to the anti-Semitic attack, “Anti-Semitic incidents have become routine and part of the daily routine that Jews around the world are going through.”

“Unfortunately, as I have said, once we can roam the streets again after the coronavirus passes, anti-Semitic incidents will rise and become even more physical and violent, and here we are witnessing an anti-Semitic attack. I urge the authorities to deal with the perpetrators. Jewish blood is not cheap,” added Hagoel.

Last year, a rabbi and his two sons were spit on and verbally attacked as they left a synagogue in Munich.

In 2019, Germany recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic crimes nationwide since 2001. Police registered 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes, including two killings, up 13% from 2018.

‘They yelled ‘Heil Hitler’ at me’

THE Victorian Department of Education has launched a full investigation following allegations of “horrific” antisemitic bullying levelled against students and teachers at a state secondary school.

The incidents are said to have occurred over the past five years at Brighton Secondary College experienced by two Jewish brothers, who only now feel able to voice their alleged ordeal since recently leaving the school.

The bullying claims include daily verbal abuse; physical harassment when the older Jewish brother was constantly victimised for wearing a kippah, which was forcibly removed from his head and desecrated; teachers who would not acknowledge the children’s Israeli identity, instead labelling the boys “Palestinian”; cyberbullying and threats of stalking.

The boys and their mother claim they made countless reports to teachers, coordinators and the principal over the years, but they say no serious action has ever been taken. The mother also says she reported one incident to the Department of Education, but she did not receive a response.

The alleged incidents began when the older brother entered year 7. He was promptly given the nicknames “Jewboy” and “the Jew”. The names stayed with him throughout his time at the school. Classmates would also throw coins on the ground, and say, “Look, the Jew will pick it up.”

In year 8, while walking home one afternoon, a fellow student approached him and told him to, “Get in my oven.” Another threatened to stalk him. A few weeks later, the Jewish student received a Hitler propaganda video sent to his school email address from an anonymous sender, captioned with the words, “Heil Hitler, Sieg Heil”.

Audible removes antisemitic books from offer after CAA draws them to attention of advertisers on the website

Audible, the online audio book store, has removed antisemitic books from offer after CAA draws them to attention of advertisers on the website.

Booktrust, the nation’s largest children’s reading charity, was being advertised on the website alongside audio book titles such as “Jewish-Zionist Warmongering”.

After Campaign Against Antisemitism drew Booktrust’s attention to this use of its brand, the titles were removed.

Online retailer Shein sells swastika necklace, backlash causes take-down

Online clothing retailer Shein sold a swastika necklace on its site, but quickly took it down after it received backlash on Twitter.
The necklace, titled “Swastika,” was priced $2.50. With many users expressing their disbelief at the fact that such an item could be sold by any company.

“In case u needed another reason to boycott Shein: they are selling SWASTIKA NECKLACES,” One user tweeted. “This is ACTIVELY THREATENING to the Jewish community. I’ve seen you all posting about other issues but being silent on antisemitism – do NOT let Shein get away with this.”
A Shein spokesperson sent a response to the New York Post, in which they tried to explain the reasoning behind the controversial item.

“For the record, Shein was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years,” the spokesperson told the New York Post. “The Nazi swastika has a different design, it is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site.”

The term for a counter-clockwise swastika is a sauvastika. The swastika was used as a symbol of the Nazi Party in Germany. Today, it represents the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust at the hand of the Nazis.

Memorial Dedicated to Albanians Who Rescued Jews During Holocaust: ‘An Inspiring Story of Humanity, Courage and Honor’

A memorial to Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, established jointly by the US and Albania, was dedicated on Thursday, with the US ambassador to Albania calling the country’s legacy of rescuing Jews “an inspiring story of humanity, courage, and honor.”

The memorial in the Grand Park of Tirana was established by the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad and the Municipality of Tirana, and marks Albania’s almost unique place in the history of the Holocaust.

According to Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum Yad Vashem, some 600-1,800 Jews fled to Albania during the Holocaust. After the Germans conquered the country in 1943, Albanians refused to hand over lists of Jews, provided Jews with documents allowing them to hide within the general population and took other measures that led to the survival of almost the entire Jewish community, with more Jews remaining in Albania after the war than before.

Many attribute this accomplishment to the concept of besa, a code of honor in Albanian society that demands ethical action and respect for life, especially on behalf of guests and those in need.

US Ambassador Yuri Kim said at the dedication of the memorial, “After Hitler’s rise to power, Albanian families sheltered hundreds of Jewish people from around Europe, saving them from Nazi forces. People from all walks of life, Muslims, Christians, elites, peasants, teachers, government officials, and clergy — an entire nation — worked to rescue Jews. It is an inspiring story of humanity, courage, and honor.”

World’s 1st necklace? Prehistoric painted shells, once on twine, found in Israel

Sometime around 160,000 to 120,000 years ago, early man began to string together painted shells and display them, according to a new international, interdisciplinary study published in the open-sourced PLOS One journal this week.

The authors, a team of scientists led by Tel Aviv University’s Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer and University of Haifa’s Iris Groman-Yaroslavski, performed “use-wear” experiments on bittersweet clam (Glycymeris) shell collections excavated in two northern Israel caves. They discovered that the naturally occurring holes in the bi-valve shells showed proof of having been strung on flax twine, apparently to form early humans’ first necklaces.

Until now, the earliest potential example of string use was in the form of fibers found on an eagle talon recently found in Krapina, Croatia, dating to 130,000 years ago.

Early humans migrated out of Africa — potentially during a Levantine Ice Age — circa 200,000 years ago. With their arrival to the Israeli caves, also came their shell collections. In the new study, the authors suggest that the clam shells — which were abundantly found on the beaches not far from the Carmel Mountain caves — were chosen precisely because of their easily strung holes.

“Our data suggest that sometime within the time range of 160 and 120 ka BP the technology for making strings emerged, and that this technology boosted the collection of naturally perforated shells for display, a practice common to this day,” write the authors in the article, “On holes and strings: Earliest displays of human adornment in the Middle Palaeolithic.”

The authors describe a progression in shell choice: The shells found in the Misliya Cave, which date to 240,000–160,000 years ago, are intact and presumably not used for decorative purposes. In the Qafzeh Cave collection, circa 120,000 years ago, the vast majority of shells were perforated.

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