How the Left Turned Against Israel
In 1948, the then-aborning state of Israel enjoyed political support from almost the entire global left—including, crucially, the Kremlin. Even when, soon thereafter, Moscow reverted to its traditional anti-Zionist position, bringing along with it those in its Communist orbit, the rest of the non- and anti-Communist left continued to see the Jewish state in a friendly light.
Over the decades, however, that warmth faded as well. A series of landmark events—Israel’s overwhelming victory in the 1967 Six-Day War; the emergence in its aftermath of the “revolutionary” PLO; the rightward shift of Israeli politics with the ascension of the Likud in the late 1970s; Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the first and second Palestinian intifadas; recurrent clashes between Israel and Hamas once Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005—each seemed to peel away another layer of sympathy for Israel on the left and to accrete another layer of hostility.
Today, the transition is almost complete. Most of the left, including the liberal left, joins in shrill criticism of Israel or even outright opposition to its existence.
Now comes Susie Linfield, a professor in the journalism department at New York University and a writer deeply embedded in the left, with her book The Lions’ Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky. A beautifully written and penetrating exploration of the evolution I’ve just sketched, replete with devastating aperçus, it begins with this anecdote:
I am at a dinner party with my partner and his friends, who are mostly left-wing intellectuals . . . . [T]he name of a well-known journalist . . . comes up. “Oh, he’s a Zionist!” one person says disparagingly, and the others dutifully shake their heads in condescension and dismay. . . . I debate the pros and cons of disturbing this amicable gathering, and then I say, with a slight gulp, “Well, so am I.” A frozen, stunned silence ensues . . . . ; no one addresses or looks at me, though they shoot pitying glances at my partner.
In her book, Linfield attempts no chronological account of the turn away from Israel. Rather, she offers portraits of eight influential intellectuals—Hannah Arendt, Arthur Koestler, Maxime Rodinson, Isaac Deutscher, Albert Memmi, Fred Halliday, I.F. Stone, and Noam Chomsky—together with close readings of their writings about Zionism, the Jews, and the Jewish state.
The terminology used by the United Nations that Israel is “illegally occupying Palestinian Land” has angered Israelis for a long time. The Israelis do not believe that the land is “Palestinian,” that they are “occupying it” or that living in and controlling such land is “illegal.”
The Trump Administration agrees with this approach.
The 2016 Republican platform discussed Israel in several sections, including the B.D.S. (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement which it labeled antisemitic, in prioritizing the security needs of allies like Israel over foes, and in moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. It also clearly mentioned Israel’s control over disputed land:
“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier”
The logic behind such attitude has been voiced by Israel and Israeli advocates for a long time, although it gets no air in the left-wing media. In short:
– International law in 1920 and 1922 specifically called for Jews to reestablish their homeland throughout Palestine, covering all of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River;
– The “Green Line” or “1967 border,” is no border at all, but simply the armistice lines of 1949 which were deliberately and specifically not called borders but temporary lines too be negotiated for final settlement;
– Jordan illegally evicted all the Jews from the area between the Green Line and the Jordan River (an area which later became known as the “West Bank”) and annexed the land in a move which was not recognized by almost the entire world;
– Jordan broke the Jordanian-Israeli Armistice Agreement by attacking Israel in June 1967;
– Israel took the “West Bank” in a defensive war, which makes the situation completely distinct from laws regarding taking land in an offensive war, especially when such land was not part of a sovereign nation, and was designated to be part of the acquiring country in any event
In summary, Israel took the “West Bank” back from a country which had illegally evicted all Jews, illegally annexed the land and illegally attacked it (the “Three Illegal Actions”).
A look at developments in the Middle East over the past decades gives the clear impression that the region is becoming “cleansed” of minorities, especially the Christians who have inhabited it for millennia. The process is reminiscent of what happened to the Jews of the Arab countries, who had to flee their homes amid pogroms and persecutions they suffered throughout the 20th century, especially after the establishment of the State of Israel and its victories over its Arab enemies.
It was in Morocco, where several thousand Jews have remained, that the first massacre of Jews in the 20th century occurred — in Fez, on April 17, 1912, after Sultan Mulai Abd al-Hafid signed a treaty that turned Morocco into a French protectorate. For the people of the country, this handing of the reins of authority to a Christian ruler was an act of betrayal. Unable to attack French people, the Arab mob opted to attack Jews and their properties. Fifty-one Jews were murdered, and many homes were looted.
On August 3, 1934, a Jewish tailor in the Algerian town of Constantine cursed Muslims and insulted Islam while drunk. The result: pogroms against the local Jews that killed 25 and wounded 38.
In June 1941, the Farhoud broke out in Baghdad. About 200 Jews were murdered and thousands wounded by their Arab neighbors. Jewish property was looted and many homes were set ablaze.
Four years later, on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, large numbers of Arabs took out their frustration with Nazi Germany’s defeat by perpetrating pogroms in several Arab countries. In Egypt, 10 Jews were killed and about 350 were wounded during Muslim Brotherhood riots. Synagogues, the Jewish hospital, and old-age homes were burned and more than 100 Jewish shops were ransacked. In Libya, some 140 Jews were murdered, synagogues were burned, and homes were looted.
Last week, hundreds of religious leaders and activists descended on Washington for the Trump administration’s second annual ministerial gathering on international religious freedom. Yazidis, Shi’ite Muslims, evangelical Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Persian Jews — the parade of humanity was simply stunning, and the conference touched on almost every aspect of religious discrimination, persecution and genocide.
As rich as these sessions were, however, they left one critical issue unaddressed: the right to pilgrimage, particularly for Christians residing in Muslim-majority countries.
Pilgrimage is an essential, if overlooked, dimension of international religious freedom — and it isn’t unique to followers of Jesus. More than 2 million Muslims visited Mecca in 2017, and more than 20 million Shi’ites visited Karbala, Iraq, for the Arba’een pilgrimage that same year. This free movement of peoples ought to be commended, and defended, at a time of heightened sectarian tension around the region.
But adherents of all faiths should be disturbed that most Mideast Christians are still deprived of the right to pray at the place where Jesus Christ was buried and rose again, according to their belief, due to political factors beyond their control.
The problem is Israel — or rather, that most Arab and Muslim countries consider Israel to be an illegitimate enemy state. Citizens who have even the slightest contact with it or its people are frequently punished under any number of formal bans and boycotts.
US Jews know more about religion in general than their non-Jewish neighbors, a new survey shows.
Americans who are not Jewish, meanwhile, don’t know a lot about Judaism. But they like Jews more than any other religious group. And they think there are more Jews in the country than there actually are. The more non-Jews know about Jews, the more they like them.
The data comes out of a new survey on what Americans know about religion published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The survey asked a group of diverse Americans a set of 32 questions about religion, ranging from knowledge of the Bible and Christianity to knowledge of Judaism and other religions.
Ten of the questions related to Judaism in some way: four asked directly about Jewish history, practice and texts; five were about the Hebrew Bible; and one was about the size of America’s Jewish population.
The survey was conducted February 4-19 and included a total of nearly 11,000 respondents. The margin of error for the whole group was 1.5 percent. The margin of error for the Jewish sample was 8.6%.
Here are three takeaways from the survey. (h/t IsaacStorm)
David Friedman attacked both Rhodes and Omar, calling their accusations fake news.
“Fake News: Obama Deputy NSA Ben Rhodes tweets that Palestinian homes destroyed this week by Israel solely for racist motivations.” Friedman wrote on his own Twitter. “Faker News: Rhodes’ lie immediately endorsed by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.”
Friedman pointed to the lengthy legal proceedings and the selective razing applied only to structures that were built after the edict to disavow the racism claims.
“Real News: Demolition authorized as to some but not all illegal structures on national security grounds by the highly regarded Israeli High Court of Justice after seven years of legal proceedings. Yet another phony charge of racism,” Friedman said.
Real News: Demolition authorized as to some but not all illegal structures on national security grounds by the highly regarded Israeli High Court of Justice after seven years of legal proceedings. Yet another phony charge of racism.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) July 23, 2019
The High Court of Justice had ruled that the structures could be demolished because they “constitute a security danger to the area of the security fence,” the Civil Administration said on Monday. “Enforcement procedures were carried out in accordance with authority and procedures and subject to operational considerations.”
In June, the High Court of Justice rejected an appeal by residents to halt the demolitions. The court is now in the midst of hearing a second appeal, but rejected a request for an injunction against the demolitions on Sunday, until such time as all the legal proceedings were completed.
The Civil Administration said the structures were demolished because they were too close to the security barrier. The buildings were “in an area that falls under an injunction prohibiting building signed by the GOC Central Command on the outskirts of Sur Bahir in close proximity to the security fence,” the Civil Administration said.
In a statement to JNS, Lewis refuted the notion that Omar’s recent bill supports the BDS movement.
“We must be very careful in these times of gross exaggeration and whipped up hostility to verify allegations and accusations that are being reported,” he told JNS. “Jewish and African-American communities know all too well how sensationalism and misrepresentation of the facts can be used by the worst forces in our world community to tear down democracy in favor of the knee-jerk reaction.”
“We must also reject politics that demonize personalities and continue to defend the ideals of true democracy when it is most urgent,” he continued. “It is very important that we all remain vigilant and protect ourselves from these negative influences that seem to be dangerously multiplying in our society at this time.”
‘The right to protest’
Although the pro-boycott resolution introduced by Omar does not explicitly mention Israel, the freshman congresswoman told Al-Monitor last week shortly before filing it, “We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting. And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
However, Lewis contested this, saying, “I guarantee that if members of the community actually read the text of H. Res. 496, a Judiciary Committee resolution introduced by Rep. Omar, they will discover it makes no mention of Israel. The resolution merely advocates for the right to protest as a central principle of democratic freedom.”
“Freedom of protest has been important to the advancement of both the African-American and Jewish American community, and there are efforts to stamp it out as a tool of activism in our society,” he added.
The resolution also compares BDS to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Tlaib said Americans had a proud history of boycotting foreign governments in the name of human rights.
“Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment, and genocide of Jewish people,” she said. “In the 1980s, many of us in this very body boycotted South African goods in the fight against apartheid. Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution. It sets a dangerous precedent because it attempts to delegitimize a certain people’s political speech and to send a message that our government can and will take action against speech it doesn’t like.”
Tlaib said in May she got a “calming feeling” when she thought of how her ancestors gave up their land to “provide a safe haven for Jews in our world.” Although this was historically inaccurate, Tlaib criticized “racist idiots” who took her to task for the comments.
BDS has been condemned as anti-Semitic by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and has links to Palestinian terrorist groups. The Anti-Defamation League describes BDS as a deceitful effort to undermine the Jewish state’s existence. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Evangelical leader Laurie Cardoza-Moore has called upon the Israeli government to consider offering a alternative point of entry to US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib after media reports indicated that they would be allowed entry into the Jewish State.
Cardoza-Moore suggested: “Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib seek the absolute destruction of the State of Israel. They have proven in word and action that they hold deep-rooted hate for Jews and Israel. Allowing them entry into the Jewish State will only embolden them to further their hate-filled agenda and incite terror attacks against Jews and Christians in Israel and abroad. They have both raised money for American front groups of the Muslim Brotherhood like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief USA. These women are effectively Hamas representatives in Congress that endanger Israel and America. If Ilhan Omar wants to visit her Hamas friends in Gaza, she can use the terror tunnels from Egypt. She can then witness first hand the impact of her fundraising efforts and report back to her constituents about her successful campaign. No need to come through Tel Aviv.”
Cardoza-Moore concluded: “Omar and Tlaib simply seek Israel’s demise and should be barred from the country especially after initiating a congressional bill that equates Israel with Nazi Germany. Tens of thousands of Americans have signed our PJTN petition to oust these despicable anti-Semites from Congress. They don’t belong in Congress and they certainly don’t belong in Israel. If this wasn’t one-hundred-percent clear, it should be after they proposed a bill to allow boycotts against the world’s only Jewish State, equating it to Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.”
Academics are circulating a letter expressing opposition to a resolution supporting the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign at a major academic association’s annual meeting next month, The Algemeiner has learned.
The letter, which was initiated by Chad Alan Goldberg, is being circulated by former Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) officers, editors and award-winners. The letter objects to a resolution that is to be submitted for approval in August, stating, “We oppose all academic boycotts, including the proposal for an SSSP-imposed boycott against Israeli academic institutions.”
Goldberg — a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — won the SSSP’s Outstanding Book Award in 2010 for his Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Workfare.
The letter says further that adoption of the resolution would mean that the association would be “sponsoring an inequitable and discriminatory policy” that violates SSSP’s by-laws.
It also asserts that “a blacklist of Israeli academic institutions harms all SSSP members by restricting their academic freedom to work with scholars from other institutions around the world.”
The boycott would restrict the freedom that is “essential” to association members, without which they “cannot fulfill their professional responsibilities,” it adds.
The student parliament for the University of Münster in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia passed a resolution on Tuesday against the BDS campaign targeting Israel.
“We clearly position ourselves against any form of antisemitism and reject the boycott efforts against Israel,” read a Facebook post of the Green party group (CampusGrün Münster) at the university. “In particular, we are positioning ourselves against the BDS movement and oppose any cooperation with this.”
Leon Focks, president of the student parliament, confirmed in an email to The Jerusalem Post that the student body passed the anti-BDS resolution, saying the vote result would be posted shortly. The University of Münster has an enrollment of over 43,000.
“With this motion, we follow the example of the ‘resolution – against BDS and every [form of] antisemitism’ – that was signed by the Jewish Student Union Germany, Youth Forum of the German-Israeli Friendship Society and the umbrella organization for student groups in Germany (FZS),” the Green student group wrote.
In June, university student groups affiliated with major German political parties passed an anti-BDS resolution at the first German-Israel student conference held in Frankfurt.
The #BDS movement claims to stand for peace and against racism and bigotry.
— Im Tirtzu (@IMTIzionism) July 22, 2019
For the second time this year, CAMERA’s Israel office prompts correction of an Associated Press article which wrongly used the term “Palestine.” Yesterday’s article, about a Hamas delegation’s visit to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, originally carried the following headline: “Iran’s supreme leader vows not to give up on Palestine.” Likewise, the first paragraph uses the “Palestine” terminology in violation of AP’s style:
Iran’s supreme leader was quoted Monday as saying during a meeting with a delegation from the Palestinian militant group Hamas that his country won’t give up its stand on Palestine.
As CAMERA has noted in the past, references to the West Bank or to Palestinian-controlled territories as “Palestine” is not consistent with AP usage, and is misleading. In the context of yesterday’s article – the pledge of Iran’s leader who refuses to recognize Israel and who calls for the state’s elimination – the term “Palestine” apparently refers not just to the West Bank but also to Israel in any borders. This usage, too, is obviously not consistent with AP standards.
In response to communication from CAMERA, AP editors commendably amended both the headline and the article. The amended headline now reads: “Iran’s supreme leader vows not to give up on Palestinians.”
The New York Times has “stealth edited” its obituary of longtime district attorney of New York County Robert Morgenthau after The Algemeiner pointed out the article’s egregious omission of his Jewish identity.
The version of the obituary published in Monday’s print Times and online Monday morning entirely omitted Morgenthau’s role in founding New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage.
After the Algemeiner article was published, the Times revised the obituary, which was published again in Tuesday’s print edition in the Times.
The sentence that on Monday read, “Robert Morris Morgenthau was born in Manhattan on July 31, 1919” was revised for Tuesday’s paper to read, “Robert Morris Morgenthau was born in Manhattan on July 31, 1919 into a family originally of German-Jewish stock whose roots in America reached back to the 1860s.” I’m not sure why the word “originally” is needed there, but at least the word “Jewish” has been added.
For Tuesday’s paper, the Times also added an entirely new paragraph to the article: “He had earlier played a major role in founding the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan and was its chairman into his 90s.” The phrase “in Lower Manhattan” in that sentence is inartfully placed, making it sound, because of the string of capital letters, like there was a Holocaust in Lower Manhattan. But at least the museum is mentioned.
A grossly antisemitic cartoon recently broadcast on Norway’s public NRK channel was still available online on Monday, despite dozens of complaints from viewers.
The cartoon — uploaded to NRK‘s ‘Humor” channel on YouTube on July 16, where it has received more than 50,000 views — showed an elderly orthodox Jewish man and a younger man sitting in a park while playing the word game “Scrabble.”
The young man’s seven letters make the word “Jodesvin” — Norwegian for “Jewish swine,” an antisemitic insult — but he is reluctant to play it. Unable to find a different word, the young man is then taunted by the Jewish man for his lack of playing skill.
Many of the complaints directed at NRK expressed regret that the channel continued to be a publicly-funded broadcaster.
“This is antisemitism and not funny at all,” one comment reported by the Aftenposten news outlet read. “That we are required to pay for NRK in 2020 is cruel.”
Another commenter declared: “This is racism against Jews! It isn’t satire and it isn’t funny!”
An erosion of the post-war consensus on antisemitism in the Federal Republic of Germany is well underway, and Der Spiegel, the leading weekly German news magazine, is not helping.
On July 12, Der Spiegel published an article with the headline “Lobbying in the Bundestag: How two organizations control Germany’s Middle East policy,” in both the print edition and SPIEGEL ONLINE. Although the title was subsequently changed, it perfectly reflected the spirit of the article and intent of the six reporters who wrote it, asserting that two small NGOs that combat antisemitism and promote German-Israeli relations control German Middle East policy.
The antisemitic canard that politicians are puppets of secret behind-the-scenes powers is abhorrent and timeless. The allegations of Jewish-Zionist influence in Der Spiegel followed the Bundestag’s clear condemnation of the antisemitic BDS campaign, which seeks the destruction of the Jewish state. The reporters who wrote the article claimed that the rejection of BDS across the political spectrum was due to the sinister influence of the two NGOs, and not because German politicians believe in combating antisemitism in all its forms, including BDS. Der Spiegel‘s message is clear: The Jews buy votes in the Bundestag.
This was not the magazine’s first attack on Jewish and pro-Zionist organizations. In June, in connection with a trip by Green Party Chairwoman Annalena Baerbock to the Middle East, SPIEGEL ONLINE reported, “Baerbock traveled to the Middle East for the first time, not counting a short stay in Israel with the American Jewish Committee, a lobby organization not exactly known for its differentiated views.” The reporter who wrote that piece has not yet responded to our question via Twitter about the basis of this judgement.
The Israeli operation to remove a number of unauthorized Palestinian buildings in the village of Sur Baher on the edge of eastern Jerusalem next to Israel security barrier has already presented the Palestinians with a public relations coup.
The demolitions took place only after a protracted Supreme Court case, which eventually ruled in favor of Israeli authorities who wished, for security reasons, to remove the structures which were too close to the security barrier.
Cue protests from the Palestinians, European Union, non-governmental organizations and a media circus to cover the demolitions, which were carried out using bulldozers and munitions.
Some of the captions accompanying Reuters photos from the scene made the context appear far more dramatic. For example:
Unfortunately, the Irish Independent’s version of this Reuters dispatch totally cut out Israel’s side. Readers would think Israel tore down the buildings for no reason whatsoever. A comparison of the original report and what the Irish Independent published shows the key omissions:
- The original headline indicates the homes’ proximity to Israel’s defense infrastructure, but the Irish Independent piece removed that key context the story.
- The second paragraph of the original Reuters story mentioning Israel’s rationale was deleted by the Irish Independent. It reads thus: “Israel said the 10 apartment buildings, most of them still under construction, had been built illegally and posed a security risk to Israeli armed forces operating along the barrier that runs through the occupied West Bank.”
- The third paragraph of the original Reuters story refers to the UN and makes clear that under 20 people were affected by the demolition. The single-sentence paragraph, reading, “U.N. officials, who had called on Israel to halt the demolition plans, said 17 Palestinians faced displacement”, was removed from the Independent’s piece.
- The original article fairly describes the concerns of both sides, saying: “Palestinians fear that the razing of buildings near what Israel describes as a security barrier against Palestinian attacks will set a precedent for other towns along its route, which snakes through the West Bank for hundreds of kilometers.” The Irish Independent then removed the words, “what Israel describes as a security barrier against Palestinian attacks,” and published the concerns of the Palestinians alone.
These violate three different categories of media bias: imbalanced reporting, lack of context, and selective omission.
HonestReporting has contacted the Irish Independent, urging the editor to revise the article.
The BBC did not bother to inform readers that that is the case because – as documented by the political NGO ‘Terrestrial Jerusalem’ the residents of Sur Baher petitioned against the original route of the anti-terrorist fence which excluded those Area A and Area B designated areas.
“In 2004, when the separation barrier was under construction, the route of the barrier was to leave the area of Wadi Hummus on the West Bank side of the separation barrier. After the residents despaired of stopping the construction of the barrier altogether, they appealed to the IDF to change the route of the barrier so as to include Wadi Hummus on the Jerusalem side of the fence. They had two major considerations: they sought to maintain the geographical integrity of the neighborhood, and to preserve access to one of the few areas of the neighborhood where additional construction could be carried out.”
As we see the BBC’s original reporting of this story seriously downplayed the security issues which are its context. While additional information – most of which was available at the time of the original publication – was subsequently added, the fact remains that the BBC was apparently quite content to promote an incomplete story for four hours, knowing full well that people who read the article during that time would be unlikely to return to it later in the day.
Busted! @Independent_IE changes text of @Reuters article about the demolition of Palestinian buildings adjacent to the security barrier to leave out Israel’s side of the story. @ali_sawafta, how do you feel at your balanced, professional story being butchered like this? pic.twitter.com/9204nJvu4p
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) July 23, 2019
This article in the Daily Beast by Robert Silverman is truly remarkable in how much it tries – and fails – to tar the greatest relief pitcher of all time as a bigoted, far-right racist.
Over the past three years, [Rivera’s] served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of an apartheid government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons. None of this will be inscribed on his Hall of Fame plaque. It should, even if much of the sports world would very much like to pretend none of it exists.
The article then goes into detail about these accusations, and ends up with nothing more than guilt by association with people whose views the author finds odious, again without proof.
The illustration of Rivera on a yarmulka/pitcher’s mound with the Israeli flag is actually perfect for this article – nothing but insinuation, zero facts, and showing how biased the author is.
Let’s start off with Silverman’s “proof” that Israel is an apartheid state. He links to an article about a document released by a UN commission made up exclusively of 18 Arab states, because whatever Arabs say about Israel must be true. He doesn’t mention that the document was not accepted by the UN and the person who wrote it was forced out of her job for making that accusation without clearing it with her UN bosses.
I’m not going into whether Trump is racist (I don’t believe he is although he is too willing to use racist dog whistles to help his political aims) but to imply that everyone who does anything for Trump is a racist is something that any decent editor would throw back in the face of the writer.
Why hasn’t it already been banned ???? Peace TV: Islamic TV station that called gay people worse than pigs faces ban | News | The Times #antisemitism @LGBTAgainstBDS https://t.co/3EBuZ1ajwH
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) July 23, 2019
Antisemitism destroys every society that embraces it, according to Elan Carr, US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.
He said that fighting “antisemitism isn’t only about protecting the Jewish community, [it’s] about guaranteeing the health of the society and of the country itself. The history of antisemitism is that it destroys every society that embraces it. That’s why U.S. President Donald Trump always calls it a ‘vile poison.’”
Carr, who was recently interviewed by journalist Orit Arfa for the Jewish syndication service JNS, said that “hatred of Israel is the hatred of the Jewish people” and that he believes that antisemitism is often “weaponized for political purposes.”
“Movements that seek to suffocate the one Jewish country out of existence through economic boycotts—that is anti-Semitism in its unvarnished manifestation,” he told Arfa.
Carr also noted that he believes that moves to have Jews hide their identity is not a solution to the rise of antisemitism around the world. His counterpart in Germany, for example, recommended that Jews not walk around with their kippahs showing.
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz warned this week that there is an “alarming rise” in anti-Semitism around the world.
Speaking at the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference in Washington, DC, Katz said, “Anti-Semites will always find a reason to hate the Jewish people. The world is also facing the threat of radical Islamist extremism such as Daesh [the Islamic State group] and al-Qaida and the radicalism of Iran and its proxies. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I am only too aware that when anti-Semitism and religious extremism rise, the whole world becomes a darker and more dangerous place.
“Religion should unify us – not divide us,” Katz added. “It is my hope that this will be the true role of religion in our region and the worlds.”
He further noted that “in Israel, and in our capital Jerusalem, Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of every other faith are free to practice their religion. For the first time in 2,000 years, the holy places are protected. Our nearly 2 million Muslim citizens and our growing Christian population can celebrate their faith as they wish.”
According to The Algemeiner, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke at the same event, said, “Religious freedom isn’t just a Christian concern, a Jewish concern, a Muslim concern, a Buddhist concern, a Hindu concern, or a humanist concern. It’s all of our concern; it is everyone’s concern.”
A senior Ukrainian official widely reviled by Jewish groups for his rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators is set to enter parliament, marking a potentially significant shift in the former Soviet republic’s approach to Holocaust memory.
Historian Volodymyr Viatrovych, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, ran as part of former president Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party and, if exit polls are correct, will soon embark on a new career as one of 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral legislature.
Viatrovych is the director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, a state-funded body which has spent the past several years overseeing the implementation of the country’s Decommunization program, a wide-ranging set of reforms aimed at creating a new national historiography centered around Ukrainian nationalists’ fight for independence.
Best known for his efforts to rehabilitate historical figures such as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, Nazi collaborators whose men killed thousands of Jews during World War II, Viatrovych has displayed public antipathy toward Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s newly elected Jewish comedian turned president.
After Zelensky’s surprise win earlier this year, Viatrovych tweeted that the “majority is not a proof of righteousness” alongside a picture of Germans performing a fascist salute.
One month after the Jewish cemetery in Tarnow, Poland was rededicated, its wall has been vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.
In a statement, Jewish Heritage Europe posted a photograph of the graffiti, which read: “Jews eat children, Jadowniki eats Jews.”
Jadowniki is a village located close to Tarnow in southern Poland.
The Committee for the Protection of Jewish Heritage in Tarnow called on residents to join a clean-up of the antisemitic graffiti, which organized for Monday morning, “in order to paint over the slogans.”
The committee said that it believes “that the majority of Tarnów residents, like us,… oppose all forms of hooliganism, boorishness, antisemitism, or any discrimination and humiliation of other people, their origin, appearance, sex, age, etc.
“Let us show that in our city, there is no place for this type of acts of hooliganism,” it added.
Hebrew inscriptions from 200 years ago were discovered during an excavation project of the Great Synagogue of Vilna, which was burned down in the Holocaust and destroyed by the Soviets.
According to the researchers, Dr. Jon Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Justinas Račas of the Lithuanian Excavation Company, “The large and significant inscription, dated to 1796, was part of a stone Torah reading table that stood on the magnificent bimah of the synagogue in Vilnius.”
The table was donated – according to the text – by two brothers, Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Shmuel, in memory of their mother, Sarah, and their father, Rabbi Chaim, who had emigrated from Lithuania and settled in Tiberias. It was from this table that the Torah was read to the congregants for about 200 years, until the burning of the synagogue and its final destruction by the Soviets 70 years ago.
The inscription, which was studied together with Dr. Vladimir Levin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reads: “In the year… : [This Torah reading table] was donated by Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Shmuel, the sons of Rabbi Chaim who lived in Tiberias, be it rebuilt and reestablished soon in our days.
“Our mother, the daughter of Rabbi Shabbtai, [died] on the 4th of Adar, … and our father Rabbi Chaim… died there on the 7th of Nissan, .”
Kazimierz Albin, the last survivor of the first convoy of prisoners sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz death camp has died at the age of 96, the camp museum said on Tuesday.
“With great sorrow we received information about the death of Kazimierz Albin, the last living survivor of the first transport of Poles to the German Auschwitz camp (No. 118),” the Auschwitz Memorial said on its official Twitter site.
Born in 1922 the southern Polish city of Krakow, Albin was arrested by the Nazis in January 1940 in Slovakia where he had fled after Germany occupied Poland in 1939.
Albin had been on his way to join the Polish Army then forming in France to fight the Nazis.
On June 14, 1940, he was deported to Auschwitz with the first convoy of Polish prisoners.
Their forearms were tattooed with the camp’s notorious identification numbers ranging from 31 to 758. Albin was tattooed with the number 118.
He was one of the 140,000 to 150,000 non-Jewish Polish prisoners in Auschwitz, half of whom died there, according to Auschwitz museum estimates.
Fifteen months. That’s all it took for the Nazis to murder some 870,000 Jews at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.
Seventy-seven years ago, on July 23, 1942, Treblinka, which was located in a forest north-east of Warsaw began its operations as a death camp and continued operating until October 1943.
According to Yad Vashem, “the first Jewish transports reached Treblinka on July 23 and this included Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto.”
It was one of three death camps specifically established by the Nazis in Poland as part of Operation Reinhard – the codename for the Nazis’ secret mass murder plan of Polish Jewry – along with Sobibor and Belzec. The other three death camps that were not part of Operation Reinhard were Chełmno, Majdanek and Auschwitz.
Treblinka was the second-largest and one of the fastest killing machines the Nazis developed to gas Jews. Whereas 1.1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945, it took just over a year to murder close to a million Jews at Treblinka, along with several thousand Romanis.
“In all, approximately 738,000 Jews from the Generalgouvernement [Nazi-occupied Poland] perished at Treblinka, as well as 107,000 Jews from the Bialystok district,” Yad Vashem explained. “Thousands of Jews from outside Poland were also brought to Treblinka; these included Jews from Slovakia, Greece, Macedonia, Thrace, and some who had previously been interned at Theresienstadt. Altogether 29,000 Jews from outside Poland were murdered at Treblinka.”
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