Category: Blog

UNRWA Staff Engage in Antisemitic Activity on Social Media

A shocking revelation was made by the NGO UN Watch, which discovered that UNRWA employees are posting inciting and antisemitic material on social media.

UNRWA are not only aware of this phenomenon, but also teach their staff how to hide these posts from organizations such as UN Watch.

[An excerpt from the UNRWA manual]:

– Practical Tip #1: “Personnel are encouraged to take advantage of privacy and other settings in order to limit their online exposure.”
– Practical Tip #2: “Facebook Privacy Settings and Audience Selector allow you to limit who can see your content.”

Among the inciting and posts supporting terror some were written by Mahannad Najem, an UNRWA teacher in Syria, who posted an image of a dog urinating on the flag of Israel. Subi al-Zaber, an UNRWA teacher based in Amman, Jordan, has an image erasing Israel from the map, as his current profile picture on Facebook, next to the words “get out of our land…get out of everything.”

Mohamed Soliman, an English teacher at UNRWA in Syria, glorified the October 2015 terrorist knife attacks against Israeli civilians using an image turning all of Israel into a Palestinian knife, with the words “Your knife is Freedom.” His profile also contains an image and quote from Hitler.

These UNRWA posts are shocking in and should be immediately removed. The fact that UNRWA employees which are racist and support terror are the ones to educate impressionable Palestinian children is wrong on many levels.

Moreover, UNRWA’s own International Staff Regulations expressly incorporate this UN “neutrality rule” for its staff, stating in Regulation 1.4 that staff must “avoid any action and in particular any kind of public pronouncement which may adversely reflect on their status or integrity, independence or impartiality which are required by that status.” In other places neutrality is defined as not taking sides in hostilities or engaging in “controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.”

It seems like this isn’t the case here, as UNRWA staff are actively engaging in supporting terror and as well as antisemitism.

Source: UN Watch

Image: Facebook/screenshot

By: Hadassah Schwarz

 

Israeli Knesset Holds Panel on Rise of Antisemitism in the U.S.

A hearing took place this week in the Israeli Knesset to discuss the troubling rise in antisemitism in the United States during the past few months. Member of Knesset, Avraham Neguise along with several other members and representatives from various Israel advocacy related organizations were present.

Some of the organizations included the Jewish Agency, Hillel, the Reform Movement, the World Zionist Organization, the Anti-Defamation League, Israeli government ministries of Foreign, Strategic and Diaspora Affairs as well as researchers from [Israel’s Holocaust Museum] Yad Vashem, students and our very own program, Israeli Students Combatting Antisemitism (ISCA).

The panel discussed the increase of antisemitic attacks against the, briefly mentioning the vandalized gravestones in Jewish cemeteries in Pennsylvania, New York, and Missouri. Experts and representatives debated the proper course of action in order to combat this phenomenon. Several assured that Israeli and Jewish organizations are working alongside U.S. authorities’ to put a halt to these attacks, strengthen the Jewish communities, and prevent future threats to centers, such as the recent bomb scare in over 32 states.

The startling number of antisemitic content on the web was also discussed. In the month of February 2017 alone, there were 33,388 antisemitic tweets, 27,797 antisemitic users, 80,512 “new” antisemitic or anti-Israel tweets, and 52,853 antisemitic users.

The panel discussed effective plans of action and asked whether the State of Israel, [which is seen as a homeland for Jews and feels responsible for the welfare of Jews worldwide] could offer assistance in combatting this phenomenon. Many ideas were suggested, including addressing social media sites directly, and furthering government policies to fight growing antisemitism.

“We are aware of plans to combat antisemitism in the U.S. although we are not allowed to discuss these sources. The President as well as Vice President Pence, as you previously witnessed joined in to help restore [those sites], the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo also visited Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and both expressed zero tolerance to rising antisemitism.” Rabbi of the Reform Movement, Rick Jacobs added: “It feels great to know that as Jews we stand together around the world.”

Ido Daniel said: “[One must remember that] Antisemitism is not against Semitic peoples, it refers specifically to Jews. Our program combats antisemitism online and is [largely] responsible for removing antisemitic tweets. Unfortunately, we have seen a strong increase in antisemitic content on social media sites in the past few months. We are working to remove the incitement.”

The Knesset plans to hold an additional session to address the rising antisemitism in Russia and the surrounding Slavic countries in the future. As Member of Knesset Michael Malkieli put it: “If the state immediately responds to these antisemitic acts, the result will be completely different [than it has been now].”

Image: David Vaknin, NRG

By: Yafit Ovadia

Hate Crimes In NYC Targeting Jews Rise in 2017

A recent release by the New York Police Department last week showed an increase in hate crimes across New York, particularly those targeting Jews.

There were a total of 56 hate crimes reported in 2017 compared to last year, which only had 31 incidents in the same time period. Most of the crimes were antisemitic in nature, doubling from 13 incidents in 2016 to this year’s tally of 28.

New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) feels that the Trump campaign rhetoric is a large reason for this increase. He made previous statements condemning some of President Donald Trump’s campaign methods. “You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans negatively and not have ramifications for that,” stated de Blasio, blaming the Trump campaign’s often controversial statements.

It’s not surprising that hate crimes against Jewish people have spiraled. Although President Trump has condoned antisemitism, his support from Neo-Nazi groups, such as the “alt-right” has led to increased hate speech towards Jews.

Troubling data shows that 50% of all hate crimes committed in the U.S. today are antisemitic in nature. It is worrying that these attacks single out Jews. People must show awareness towards this growing phenomenon in order to rid the dangerous negativity, which has been directed towards Jews as of late.

Source: Politico, Times of Israel

Image: Google Images

by: Ohad Barazani

How Can Life Go On?

One might think, that being a Jew in England these days is safe and easy. Jews can carry out traditions of their faith in public, they are an integral part of the society in England. The ugly specter of anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. Antisemitism is a dark part of history, a part in which Jews were prosecuted solely for being Jews.

Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking in the UK. Holocaust denial is a real thing. Jews are targeted and victimized all over the country. University campuses, which were supposedly hububs of free speech and acceptance are in fact not that accepting. Messy scenes of vandalism and desecration of Jewish sites aren’t uncommon. Most of all, criticism of Israel seems to be a mere cover for criticism of Jews in general.

Recently, the Labour Party has had to suspend many of its members due to racist displays. Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn has secured support from the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving who called him “impressive” and “a fine man”. Irving has claimed only a few Jews were killed by the Nazis and that the concentration camps were simply a hoax. He once compared the Auschwitz death camp to Disneyland.

Why is it that anti-Semitic incidents aren’t so rare in one of the most western countries, such as the U.K.? Why is it, that that a prominent Holocaust denier such as David Irving enjoys continuous and lately even growing support? Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial seem to be the fad on both the left and right.

This year National Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, 2017 holds the theme: “How can life go on?” How can life go on with the trauma and coming to terms with the loss? How can life go on with the displacement of the survivors and the refugees? How can life go on with remembering the travesties? But most of all, how can life go on with facing the hate, the denial and trivialization?

Historically Raphael Lemkin, a Jew whose family perished in the Holocaust was the first to coin the word genocide, the collective murder of an ethnic group sparked by hatred.Denial is the final stage of genocide. By denying the existence of a genocide which took place against the Jews in the 1940s, or even minimizing the atrocities, one agrees with and actually “participates” in a modern day genocide.

Holocaust deniers are not really concerned with the Holocaust, and not concerned with the truth either. Their sole focus is on Jews, and with their existence today.

 

Image: GPO, Haim Zach

By: Hadassah Schwartz

Holocaust Denial in Chinese Media

While most people closely keep track of anti-Semitic events which take place in Europe and in the U.S, seldom troubling reports are heard from other parts of the world. It was due to the awareness of a single university student in China that the story came to light about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic posts on the Chinese media Channel, Baidu.

Baidu, a corporation which is the Chinese parallel to Google is a well-known company. Over 60% of china’s net search passes through baidu.com, and is ranked the fourth-largest search engine in the world. Baidu also has a virtual encyclopedia, similar to the popularly used site, Wikipedia, however it is more selective about its content.

A student reported that of late there have been various troubling articles on the site. One of them points out that “the Jews had great responsibility” when mentioning the Holocaust and blames them for taking advantage of the economic crisis as “greedy business masters”. Moreover, the text describes the Jews as selfish people who care only about money and blames Jews’ behavior and justifies Hitler’s rationale.

The second alarming article questions the high number of Jewish victims during the Holocaust and suggests alternative numbers, mentions “only tens of thousands” persecuted. The writer of the article relies on the estimations made by Iranian scholar, Muhammad Tachipur, and other scholars whose names are not disclosed.

The text reads:
“All the scholars [who] question the Holocaust were suspicious of the specific number of Jews [who were] killed by the Hitler fascist regime. These scholars believe that the catastrophe is not entirely as described by the Zionists. The exaggerated figures [of which] Zionists claim are not realistic, considering the fact that killing 6 million people by gas is costly, and the Nazis [were] not able to afford that.”

Citing Dr. Robert E. Freidson, a former Professor at the University of Lyon, France, the author claims that gas chambers did not exist and served simply as disinfection rooms, designed to cope with contagious diseases. The author excludes the high figures and atrocities mentioned by numerous reliable sources and claims they are a “Zionist plot”.

Baidu and other media platforms hold great responsibility for the content they supply to the masses and the consequences they inspire. Nevertheless, it is the public’s role to make the truth heard and report outrageous falsehoods.

Source: CFCA

Image: CFCA

By: Roni Zedek

 

Jewish Community Centers Targeted Second Time in Week

Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. were targeted again on Wednesday with another incident occurring at a JCC in Staten Island, New York. Graffiti was reported  around nine am and consisted of two swastikas drawn next to the word ‘bomb’. This most recent occurrence follows a string of bomb threats made the previous week on sixteen Jewish Community Centers across six states and in the U.K.

Paul Goldenberg, Director of Secure Community Network said, “The calls were prerecorded in some cases and live in others, with the caller using voice disguising technology, and likely came from a single source.” All the threats were false, however Goldenberg suggested the intention of the threats were to produce disorder and distress.

Targeting Jewish Community Centers is unacceptable and inappropriate. These are not just small crimes; rather the threats are very severe. The danger of a bomb is frightening and can  cause a lot of damage, both to property and even worse to life. It is disappointing that Jews are discriminated against because of their religion especially in a place like the United States, which is known for accepting all types of people, regardless of their race or religious beliefs.

To quote Evan R. Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s New York Regional Director, “No community center should ever be subjected to bomb threats or hate symbols. Although the threat was deemed to be not credible, these incidents create anxiety and fear and have zero place in our society.” One can only hope that one day we will live in a world where Jews do not have to feel afraid because of who they are.

 

Source: Breitbart News

Image: JCC of Staten Island Website (Fine Art Photos)

by: Ohad Barazani

Germany Brings “Mein Kampf” Back to Life

The book which overwhelmed Germans during the 19th century is  being brought back to print. Mein Kampf was first printed in 1925 and now it is being republished by the director of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich (IFZ), Andreas Wirsching. About 85,000 German copies of the anti-Semitic Nazi manifesto have been sold so far. The IFZ will launch the sixth print edition in January.

The new Mein Kampf edition contains notes by scholars and has a plain white cover sans Hitler.

The original Mein Kampf laid out racist ideas, which condoned anti-Semitism and called to oppress Jews and the slaves. It was Hitler’s manifesto for world conquest and his goal of spreading intolerance and hate, which were directly aimed at Jews. These ideas were forcefully enacted during the Second World War, where 6 million Jews were executed. Therefore the decision to republish the inflammatory book was criticized by several Jewish groups.

Wirsching claimed it would be irresponsible to publish the text arbitrarily, hence the IFZ obtained legal advice before republishing the book on a limited scale. The scholarly edition’s publication was geared partly at discouraging any editions put out by Nazi sympathizers.

Source: BBC

Image: Readthebooklist

By: Efrat Baron

Hanukkah

Today is the last day of Hanukkah, which is one of the most popular holidays among Jews around the world. This might be due to its warm atmosphere during the long winter nights, the unity of family and community, or its familiar customs (menorah, dreidels, potato pancakes (latkes)). However, we have to remember what this holiday actually means.

Hanukkah is the last holiday added to the Jewish calendar. At the year 164 BC, after three years of war against the Greeks, the holiday was set by the Maccabees to perpetuate the oil jug miracle. The oil jug miracle happened after the Greeks entered the Holy Jewish Temple intentionally violating it, by placing unholy animals (such as a pig) and idol sculptures in the holiest of sections, and by defiling the sealed oil jugs.

This brutal violation was the climax of a very long process, in which the Greeks did everything in their might to destroy the Jewish heritage from it’s core. While they did not attempt to destroy  the Jewish people, their decrees preached against the Jewish religion as a lifestyle, concerning bible study and other Jewish family purity laws, and banning circumcision.

Over time we can differentiate between two kinds of anti-Semitism. One aimed to fight against Jewish identity, as we can see through the story of Hanukkah or during the crusade era. The Greeks demanded a change of identity and lauded assimilation.

The second kind was reflected through the story of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which determined that the “Jewish flaw” is incurable, and called for complete eradication of the Jewish people. much like the Holocaust.

All in all, the Jewish people throughout history have known not to bend to the temporary circumstances, succeeding heroically to preserve the Jewish customs over the generations. The answer was, and will always be: to add more light to the world and to look at the bright side.

Source: Wikipedia

Image: Google images

By: Roni Zedek

 

Antisemitism in Chile – The New Venezuela?

Could antisemitism in Chile make it the new Venezuela?

In a letter to President Michelle Bachelet, the Simon Wiesenthal Center highlighted growing hostility in Chile against the Jewish state and to Jews across Latin America.

A recent publication of a viciously anti-Semitic cartoon on the official Twitter account of the Palestinian Federation of Chile is reminiscent of the 1930’s Nazi German tabloid Der Sturmer and bears a strong resemblance to Chilean Nazi sympathizers of that period.

“It is especially outrageous that the official website of the Chile Palestinian Federation serves as a tribune for Nazi hate” the Center stated and urged the President to suspend the Federation’s activities, pending an investigation into its incitement towards violence against Jews.

The incitement provided merely a backdrop towards the next incident, in which the University of Chile Law School’s Student Union voted for a boycott resolution aimed to penalize individuals and institutions that have ties with Israel or its supporters.

The resolution was eventually discarded.

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center’s Director for International Relations and Dr. Ariel Gelblung, the Latin American Representative claimed, “Adding oil to the fire is the upcoming visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister to Chile, billed by the semi-official Persian news agency Fars [which is] aiming to foil the Iranophobic plots promoted by Israel in the region.”

The letter urged President Bachelet to, “Take appropriate action to restore Chile’s values of coexistence and integration and to protest hate speech marking a state visit from a country that funds terrorist organizations, and whose officials are implicated by INTERPOL in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that left 85 dead and over 300 wounded,” wrote Dr. Gelblung.

“Under President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela – in tandem with its Iranian ally [has] become the greatest mouthpiece for anti-Jewish hate in the Americas, spreading its poison through its ALBA bloc allies: Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua…the very countries on the Tehran Foreign Minister’s itinerary. ALBA + Chile,” lamented Samuels, recalling the late Simon Wiesenthal’s maxim, “What starts with the Jews never ends with them.”

For further reading:

http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441467&ct=14921379#.V7wEJ_l96Ht

by: Chirelle Chekroune

Munich Mass Shooting: Islamophobia or Deranged Teenager?

Ali David Sonboly (18), a son of Iranian immigrants, who was born and raised in Germany, committed a mass shooting in Olympia mall in Munich. The teenager was diagnosed with depression and violent outbursts. He was also outcast by his classmates because of his Iranian background and having social problems. Sonboly had a rage towards the German society that didn’t accept him, letting him feel neglected by his country, so he decided to revenge by murder.

Sonboly created a fake Facebook profile of a girl with a Muslim background, inviting people from his high school to McDonald’s at Olympia mall for a free meal that she was buying. When the students arrived at the mall, Sonboly went on a shooting spree, leading to murder of nine, seven of whom were teenagers. Another 27 people were wounded.

The shooting spree was well planned by Sonboly. He read books and guides on mass shootings, researched high school shooting cases and bought a gun and 300 bullets.

Munich police forces came to Olympia mall in pursuit of Sonboly where a shootout began. The shooter ran from the mall to an empty apartment building where he hid. One of the residents mistook him for being Turkish, yelling at him for betraying Germany. In a surreal conversation, Sonboly defended himself, saying he is German. At the end of the conversation, Sonboly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

The Munich massacre originated from one person’s feeling of foreignness. Even in his last moments, Sonboly wanted people to know that he belongs to Germany. Sonboly was abused by his classmates because he was the son of Muslim immigrants. His cultural background was a reason for shame and despair for him. This type of social relationship between social groups is a reason for political tension in Europe now days. Sonboly was not abused because he was socially awkward or shy. He was abused because he was Iranian. All the media has written about the Munich Gun man, was fixated on Sonboly’s psychological and social pathology, not mentioning one of the biggest reasons for the murder- the racism and Islam phobia of the German society.

In this article, I will examine the Munich gunman case together with describing the relationship between immigrants and European society contributing to the murder.

 

The name given to Sonboly by the German press was “Munich gunman”, the gunman was a depressed young man who was obsessed with youth mass shooting events, especially the one of the Norwegian right extremist “Andres Breivik”.

In 2011 a mass shooting was committed by the right extremist Andres Breivik, Breivik murdered Swedish teenagers at an Oslo summer camp using explosives. For Sonboly, Breivik was a role model. Sonboly changed his Facebook profile picture to one of Breivik.

Breivik killed 8 people using a bomb, after he shot 69 teenagers to death. He was an extreme right idealist apposing Islam, claiming that religion weakened European culture. What is interesting to me is that even though Breivik is a racist and Islam phoebe, Sonboly looked up to him and saw him as a role model, even planning his mass shooting on the same date.

I guess that hatred and violence is stronger than racism. Breivik may have been the only one who spoke Sonboly language- anger, hatred and revenge.  So why did a lonely angry teenage boy admire a person who publicly hated people of his religion?

The answer is by the troubled mind of lonely angry people. Psychologically speaking, people planning mass murders are searching for other murderers that have done mass shootings. They search for other people like themselves, to learn how to kill and not to be lonely. The Munich murder was well planned by Sonboly. He studied Breivik’s mass shooting and others. Criminal experts found Sonboly as a ticking bomb, waiting to explode.

People who lived next to Sonboly, told the German press that he was a normal teenage boy, shy and lonely. He lived in an immigrant suburb in Munich. His parents were Iranian refugees who came to Germany in the late 90’s. The reason for his despair was his Iranian background. This background was the reason his class mates abused him for seven years. How come a teenager diagnosed with depression, who was abused for seven years didn’t get any help? Where were his teachers, school counselor and parents?

To answer these questions, I have to look at the political relationship between Western Europe and immigrants. This kind of relationship, is the key to understand why Sonboly become the Munich gunman.

 

 

Modern European society today is diverse. This society is defined from locals and immigrants. The immigrants are people who moved their lives from their native countries to Western Europe, people from many parts of the world. But the most diverse and discussed is the Muslim minority. This minority is about seven million people living today in Europe.

Important historical events like the first war world caused massive immigration to Europe, reflected in full integration of the local society during the 20th century. The reason for the immigration was economic. People wanted job opportunity. Western Europe, which is Germany, England, France, Spain and much more. All these countries needed the immigrants for cheap human resources repairing the damages of the wars.

As long as work was needed, the immigrants were needed. During this time, Europe increased the amount of immigration because more working hands were needed. But all this changed during the 1970 economic breakdown because of the increase of oils prices leading to high unemployment, which lead to the end of job recruitment. The great economic breakdown of the 70’s worsened in the 80’s, leading to the return of the immigrants to their home lands. But most of the immigrants had no place to go back to. The second problem was demographic growth. The immigrants had families with no job to provide health care and basic needs. The Europeans needed something to do with the second generation. It was a great social problem at that time.

The increase in the demographic rates and decrease in employment, led to social tension between the local community and the immigrants. The locals accused the immigrants for the economic breakdown. Racism spread against immigrants after 9/11 towards the Muslim immigrants. The global wave of Islamic terror, caused Islam phobia in Western Europe. The spread of Islamic terror, caused the legitimacy of right wing political parties. These parties gave legitimacy to the “pure” European, i.e. not immigrants, especially not Muslim. Racism against Muslims in Europe got tangible and worse than ever before. This racism against Muslims, in my opinion, is the reason that Sonboly became a murderer. Because only through his classmates, did he learned that being Iranian means that he is not a “real” German.

 

The human mind is a very interesting subject to explore, especially when it comes to the affect of the society towards social difference. It is common in media and journalism that when tragedy occurs by someone that was victimized before the incident, the focus is on the attacker instead of the reason for the attack i.e. the society that victimized him.

Regarding the Munich gunman, as mentioned in the paragraphs above, there is tension between Western European countries and their immigrants. After the 9/11 tragedy, being a Muslim in a western country became a problem. This complex relationship is the reason for Sonboly’s discrimination and abuse. He was victimized not because he had social problems. His social problems occurred because he was Iranian. This boy is a victim of racism. He suffered from a boycott that lasted seven years. He threatened in several social networks that he is going to kill everyone. The Munich shooting could have been avoided if the school that he attended, knew how to deal with racism towards immigrants. The shooting could have been prevented if someone took his threats seriously.

Despite that, even though Sonboly was a victim of racism he chose to become a murderer. He planned the shooting carefully. He could have told his parents about the boycott. He could have moved to different school. There is always a solution better than violence and I hope that this shooting was a wakeup call for the wrong doings of the modern racism in Western Europe.

 

 

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