Category: Magazine

Anti-Semitic Comedy?

You are probably asking yourself right now how those two words, anti-Semitism and comedy go together.

Yvan Attal, a French-Jewish film director, helps us to see the connection between the two.

“The Jews” is a new movie by Attal, following the 2012 attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France in which students and a teacher were murdered by Muslim terrorists. The movie’s mocking stance has garnered considerable press well before its release. “They Are Everywhere,” said Attal in reference to how some anti-Semites feel about Jews and vice versa.

The film stars Attal, an Israel-born actor-director who grew up in Paris, and his partner, actor-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. The mere fact of the film’s existence has been the subject of dozens of news articles by major French publications in recent weeks, including Le Figaro, Paris Match and the Agence France-Presse.

In the movie Attal attempts to debunk major anti-Semitic myths, such as “Jews killed Jesus,” “Jews have money” and “Jews play up the Holocaust.” Each stereotype provides a theme for a short cinematic tale. The seemingly disparate stories are connected via narration by Attal, who portrays himself as a person in therapy lamenting his obsession with Jews and anti-Semites.

The security was strict outside the rented cinema for the screening on May 17. Such security has become commonplace at Jewish events, and is now a standard precaution following the jihadist attacks on Jewish targets in France and Belgium since 2012, which killed 12 people. Hundreds of nonfatal violent hate crimes against Jews have been recorded in Paris since2012, when an Islamist killed three children and a rabbi at a school in Toulouse.

The exchange inspired Attal to make a film for non-Jews that he said would draw attention to the “anti-Semitic myths that serve to legitimize attacks on Jews on one hand and desensitize some observers to the true horror of these attacks on the other hand.”

The comments on the film remain divided between what some supporters say demonstrate Attal’s ‘”courage” to make the film, to other critics who claim he needs to broaden his scope and include other types of racism and state that Attal “avoided the most difficult problem right now: Muslim anti-Semitism.”

by: Inbal Zlotnik

Neo Nazism in Latin America

This year during Independence Day celebrations in Israel, which marked 68 years since the founding of the Jewish State, Israeli Embassy workers took an initiative to travel down the streets in Bogota, Columbia with a food vending truck, offering passerby traditional Israeli shakshuka (egg-tomato sauce dish). The idea was to give people the chance to taste Israeli cuisine and showing another face of the State of Israel, which was not related to the war.

While the “Shakshuka Truck” rolled through the streets of Bogota in a bar, not far away a group of young people dressed in black from head to toe, with their typical shaved and tattooed heads, drank local beer and sang lyrics of anti-communist rock of the band R.A.C:

“From non-European origin, I proceed from the desert, a man without a nation.
I am a banker, the king of this world game master and lord.
Pride. What pride? Honor, what honor?
My motto is to betray. Six-pointed star.
In occult lodges. Domain. Exploitation.
Eating out of my hand, employers and unions …”
“We will not forgive to any traitor,
We will not give the nation to the children of Zion.
We do not want violence from left or right.
We do not want to surrender our great nation “(Black Army)

These songs were chanted by the members of the Third Force of the Black Army, a Neo-Nazi group. , Although its members were born in Bogota, they shouted anti-Semitic and anti-gay slogans. They believe that the swastika should not be tattooed on the body, but figuratively “into the heart” and that the Holocaust is a Jewish myth. They admire Hitler, who they believe is no less than a god and celebrate his birthday every year in the typical style of Neo-Nazis.

It is hard to believe that in Bogota, a pluralistic city, radical extremist groups and violent tendencies still exist. The Third Force’s members are between the ages of 18 to 35, and on a “normal” day work or study at universities with nothing which can bear site to their Neo-Nazi ideology.

They dress and behave like the standard Bogota citizen, however in local bars where they usually meet, they dress in black and their thinking is radical. They speak about the purity of races; about eliminating the Jews, chanting death to homosexuals, and for the liberation of Europe. Third Army members begin their meeting with the German anthem, which they stand to and follow with the Nazi salute.
It is hard to imagine what Hitler would say if he saw the Neo-Nazi salute, the swastika and slogans of racial purity, which are practiced in Bogota by young people born and raised thousands of kilometers from Europe.

In late August Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a new plan to combat all forms of discrimination and anti-Semitism. Santos’ signature is still awaiting approval. The punishment against such anti-Semitic crimes would be one to three years in prison to anyone who practices any act of intolerance and violence against a specific race. Until then these extremist groups will continue proclaiming their love for Hitler and chanting these anti-Semite songs.

by: Orian Bar

Symbolic way to defeat Neo Nazism- Dead Snow

A group of Norwegian students went for a weekend vacation in the mountains and stayed in a deserted cabin. Little did they know, they crashed in a WWII Nazi war zone between the Germans and Norwegians. Doing what most kids would do, these students had a lot of fun traveling, snowboarding, and drinking alcohol. One day they found a metal box with golden Nazi coins. The students were extremely excited, they thought they were going to be rich and famous for their discovery. But they weren’t as lucky as they originally thought. The moment the box was opened, dead Nazi Storm troopers resurrected from the snow. This movie scene was beautiful: Norwegian Iceland in its frizzing beauty. The scenery is pure white all around and there is a peaceful bliss, a transcendent moment of calmness. But then the dead Nazi troopers raised from the snow to search for the box that was defilement by the students.

Dead Snow is a horror, comedy film that tells the story of the resurrection of Nazism in post-modern Europe and the fight against it. I chose to write about this movie because in my opinion, this movie is a media mirror of Europe’s fight against Neo Nazism, and the importance of this fight. In this article I will explain how and why this movie is important and unique. I shall draw my ideas on cinema theories, explain the psychoanalytic meaning of horror films. I will conclude by explaining why it is important to fight racism and hatred through the channel of movies.

The sociopolitical meaning of movies

 

One of the ways Western society transfers social and political messages to its people is through films. Films present and reflect the social values of Western society.

Featured content, feature films contribute greatly to the popular culture of Western society. Society and values ​​are presented in movies. The reasons why norms and values are shown in the plot of the film lies in the economic necessity of filmmakers to attract viewers. The film should reflect what is considered attractive, popular and appealing in the current society. Films can also be used as political tools. Ryan and Kellner (1991) wrote that Hollywood films from the 60’s to the 90’s are closely related to global political processes taking place in Western society.

 

Neo Nazism

 

Neo-Nazism is a social or political movement that wants to revive the Nazi and fascist attitudes that support racism. These movements maintain open hatred against ethnic groups that are not white European. The guide lines of these groups are: Racism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism military and Holocaust denial.

European neo-Nazi groups assembled of thousands of activists protest against immigration. In the United States, neo-Nazi groups are part of a large volume of hate groups, encouraging anti-Semitic and white supremacy. These groups operate in many areas across the United States and even in prisons across the country.

Because the numbers of these groups are growing every day, it is important to stop the spreading and put an end to this hatred and. In my opinion, movies like Dead Snow are a unique way to fight against racism through cinema, because the message is very clear, racism and hatred are monstrous. Therefore, we need to terminate them just like the main character terminated the monster in the movie.

 

Psychoanalytical meaning of horror movies

 

Horror genre began as Victorian literature in the 19th century. This literature was called “Gothic fiction” and presented an alternative reality that deals with everyday life. Novels were written about mythical characters such as vampires and monsters (Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker’s Dracula). These figures symbolized social fear and promiscuity (vampires) and the afterlife (Frankenstein’s monster).

With the development of cinema in the 20th century, this genre made it to the cinema. Horror genre is divided into three categories: Supernatural (surreal), psychological (realistic) and murder (realistic). Similar to the literary genre, the horror film genre displays mythical figures (monsters, vampires and werewolves). Symbolically, these monsters threaten the social order by introducing different elements of sexuality, violence and aggression.

Human reality is full of frightening situations. People are faced with fear all the time, so when a person goes to watch a horror movie he is facing his daily fears and nightmares. Through horror movies, we are exposed to complex social situations and their solutions (epidemics, wars and mass murder).

Furthermore, tales of horror movies do not include moral complexity. They are usually black and white. Good and evil are very clear and cannot be confused. Horror films are an agent of morality and social ethics.

Society requires the citizen to regulate his or her emotions and express only the feelings that benefit society. In addition, society asks the citizen to suppress those who are harmful. Through horror movies, the viewer experiences an outlet for negative feelings and does not harm him and the surroundings (sublimation).

 Conclusion- Psychoanalytic, horror and dead snow

 

Dead Snow is a supernatural movie that shows how sometimes nothing ever dies. The movie tells us how the Nazi troopers stayed frozen but weren’t really dead. Instead, they waited for the right moment to come back to life. By relying on the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, horror movies reflect society’s fears. Therefore, a Nazi zombie is a metaphorical cinema expression of western society post trauma and fear of Nazism. A fear that this hatred and racism didn’t really end with WWII. Thus horror movies reflect simple moral situations. It is very simple to understand that there is nothing positive in Nazism and neo Nazism. Hatred and racism are as monstrous as zombies and should stay dead. Our responsibility as a society is to never allow Nazism to resurrect and exterminate neo Nazism. That is the moral thing to do.

In conclusion, in my opinion, the best way to persuade people for or against social matters is through horror movies. In Dead Snow, the students did not run away from the fight against frozen dead Nazis. As viewers, we should learn from them and fight neo Nazism, never allowing resurrection. Nazism should stay dead.

 

 

Written by: Ynon Mager

How Have Universities Become a Lodestone for Anti-Semitic Activity?

When picturing universities we usually think of green lawns, a rich intellectual environment and the sweet-sour smell of a few dozen students with hangovers gathered together in a classroom. The open minded attitude of the high education system contributed to some of the most remarkable inventions and ideas ever from Penicillin to philosophy. From mapping the skies to digging into the deep secrets of the earth (and to the minds of many unfortunate students), universities are considered an open-box of creativity and free-thought. However, this open-minded attitude has negative sides. When ideas however horrible or awful they may be are not condemned in the name of Academic freedom, disaster may result.In recent years Anti-Semitism is just one of those ideas, and it seems that with time it only becomes more popular and acceptable around the academic world.

Much is heard of Anti-Semitic incidents taken place in universities. How much exactly? A survey published in February 2015 by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law found that 54% of the participants had been subject to or witnessed Anti-Semitism on their campus in the United States. This problem is not apparent in the U.S. alone and has shown common in other places like Australia, France and Great Britain, where proof of Anti-Semitic activity in campuses is accumulating. In Great Britain for example, there have been over 30 acts of intimidation reported against Jewish students in the past 5 years alone.

It seems that the main reason for Anti-Semitism today is a twisted variation of Anti-Israel criticism. This kind of criticism is often directed towards Israeli Foreign Policy and most specifically IDF soldiers stationed in the West Bank, and other accusations which concern the occupation of the Palestinians and a supposedly apartheid policy towards them. The BDS movement is probably the most familiar one among these organizations, and it publicly calls to boycott Israeli products and Israeli personas. However the BDS movement is also contributing to the rise of hatred towards Jews. Surveys show that Anti-Israel activity contributes directly to incidents of Anti-Semitism on college campuses.

This kind of atmosphere has a permanent effect on Jewish students who choose to enter in the system of higher education. In Canada a former Israeli student named Shelley Yachaev eitnessed the anti-Israel propaganda at York University evolve over the four years she had been there. Yachaeve said “I don’t walk  anywhere in York (anymore) where I trust the fact I can speak freely”. One man’s academic freedom has proven another’s nightmare.

Even in this poisoned environment, positive acts can be found. In York University, Jewish students along with non-Jewish students have pledged to tackle anti-Semitism together.

“[We wish to] reassure students who are concerned about anti-Semitism, raising awareness about the points of contact, [and showing how] students can use tools to raise specific concerns and ensure that Jewish staff and students of all nationalities feel welcome at York University,” a York University personnel was quoted as saying.

Jerusalem to Host First International Conference on Online Antisemitism

On Tuesday, 19 April, the first-ever International Conference on Online Antisemitism will take place in Jerusalem, bringing together dozens of experts from multiple countries, including Israeli legislators and Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein,  the recently appointed European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism.

Co-organized by the National Union of Israeli Studends’ ISCA program and the International Network Against CyberHate, and hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the packed schedule features a number of panels highlighting the importance and diversity of the issue at hand.

One session, for instance, will address “The relevance and influence of right-wing antisemitism and Holocaust denial on the digital landscape,” discussing the lasting influences of the Nazi movement, in a conversation moderated by a senior Yad Vashem historian. In contrast, the following panel will debate “How the left was lost,” as experts discuss “Durban, online Left-wing anti-Zionism, the BDS movement and the perversion of Human Rights,” highlighting the new and troubling trends of mixing and confusing criticism of Israel with a denial of the Jewish people’s right to a nation state.

But, at least according to the schedule, the conference will try and end on a more optimistic note, as participants hear – and propose – strategies moving forward, in an attempt to fight online hate speech.

Antisemitism in the Race for the White House

In just over a year from now, a first ever Jewish president could enter the White House and become the world’s strongest man. Bernie Sanders is a Democratic candidate for President of the United States. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate after 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives. According to the last Democratic Presidential Primary taken in New Hampshire, Sanders is no longer an esoteric candidate, as he beat Hilary Clinton, who until then was thought to be the sure winner, by over 14%.

Today, a Jewish president wouldn’t be something so unusual. For the past 8 years, President Obama, a black man, who just 50 years earlier couldn’t sit in the front of a bus, ruled the free world. This was definitely a turning point in American history. However, things weren’t always like that. On January 28, 1916, 100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson nominated to be the first Jew on the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the most hotly debated nomination in American history up to that time. The controversy involved Brandeis’ progressive political views as well as his religion.

Brandeis’ opponents included anti-Semites and those who disliked Brandeis’ progressive views on labor and civil liberties. Anti-Semitism was widespread in America during that period. Jews were banned from many jobs and clubs. Many colleges had quotas limiting the number of Jewish students. Movies, plays and vaudeville were rife with negative stereotypes about Jews. The Ku Klux Klan was on the rise, whipping up hysteria against Jews, Catholics and African Americans. The Supreme Court had rejected, by a 7-2 vote, an appeal by Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman from Atlanta, to overturn his murder conviction despite overwhelming evidence that his trial had been unfair, biased by the climate of anti-Semitism.

After becoming president in 1912, Wilson hoped to appoint Brandeis as his secretary of commerce, but when the news leaked to the press and sparked intense opposition, he picked someone else .Four years later, however, Wilson felt the time was right to put Brandeis on the Supreme Court. Despite the unprecedented campaign waged against his nomination, Brandeis prevailed and served on the court for 23 years, until 1939.

Even today, the Jewish theme is present in the political discourse in the United States. Although recent poll studying American prejudices in presidential campaigns found that an overwhelming majority would be willing to vote for a Jew (91 percent), Sanders is forced to handle claims concerning his Judaism. Diane Rehm, NPR host, confronted Sanders with the charge that he was a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, a conspiracy theory rooted in a baseless online rumor and has its roots in the old anti-Semitic canard that Jewish politicians can’t be loyal to non-Jewish countries. In addition, the National Review insisted on criticizing Sanders’s economic policies under the designation “national socialist”, the extended title for “Nazi”, openly acknowledging that it was partially doing this because Sanders is “the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and whose family was murdered in the Holocaust.”

 

Written by: Atar David

Horned princess-misogyny and antisemitism

When we think about the word woman, we often think of the human female. That is the biological term for the word woman. However, the concept of “woman” is much more than the term “female”, because woman can be so many things at once. A women can be our mother, best friend, sister, commander, teacher and so much more. When we think about the word “Jew” or “Jewish”, we usually think of someone belonging to the Jewish religion. However, the term is so much more than just the religion. Judaism is culture, politics, traditions, economics and more.

When we connect the words “Jewish” and “woman” there are so many interchanging possibilities. A Jewish woman can be the caring and loving grandmother who gives us chocolate and candies when our parents are out. Jewish woman is the strong, independent and intellectual leader, who rights the wrongs in our society. Jewish woman is the shy poet who taught us to explore and express the beauty of emotions with words and colors.

Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Judith and Esther were all biblical women who were queens, prophets and leaders that had tremendous attributions to the Jewish culture and religion.

Nevertheless, not all descriptions are positive. Jewish woman can also refer to a smothering, fat mother who controls her adult children and doesn’t let them be independent. A Jewish woman can also be the beautiful horned princes who can get everything money can buy. Jewish woman can also be the woman with the ugly, crooked nose and frizzy hair. Or the opinionated woman who doesn’t have a sense of humor,  annoying everyone with her feminist beliefs.

All of these descriptions are misogyny, antisemitic modern stereotypes which Jewish women have to bare all the time. These stereotypes came to life because the antisemitic language representation of women is different than a man’s representation. A man’s antisemitic representation is less about his appearance or sexuality, and more about his personality and economic status. There is no reference to the man’s gender.

Unlike Jewish men, Jewish women bare two types of oppression: antisemitic and misogyny.  There is hateful reference to the woman’s personality, appearance, culture, gender norms and sexuality.

This article will discuss the duel representation of the Jewish women, provide theoretical background for the misogynic antisemitism and suggest some ideas for dealing with the Jewish woman’s representation.

Antisemitism as social construction-the imagined Jew

Before we discuss the representation of the Jewish woman we need to understand the social background of antisemitism in modern times from a sociological perspective.

Even though the holocaust is a fading memory and we live in an era of (mostly) liberal democracy and multicultural reality, antisemitism still exists all over the world. Much of this hate is the constant demonization of  the Jewish character.

The demonized myths are being told in Islamic countries, Europe and Asia, enabling these anti-Jewish messages to go viral on social media. Norman smiths (1997) argues that the origin of modern antisemitism is caused by social construction of a racist modern society.

This hatred is spread for various reasons. For example, in Europe there is a common belief that the Jewish people murdered Jesus Christ, and therefore the punishment for his murder was the holocaust. Familiar myths are told all around the world. These myths are far from reality, even though large groups of people believe they are true. This is the modern antisemitic problem.

Also ancient economic myths are still thriving. Many people still believe Jewish people have a conspiracy to take over the world. They believe the Jewish people have many influences, and that the world is ruled by an economy ruled and controlled by Jews.

All of these myths originated, as Norman Smith claims, by social construction. Furthermore, he says, there is an antisemitic belief in the social science that the Jewish people should change their “Jewish way of acting” if they wish to abolish antisemitism. In other words Jews are to blame for their hatred. The only problem with this theory is that Jewish identity is not a way of behaving. It’s more than religion, culture and language. Being Jewish is an existence and cannot be changed, so even if the Jewish people changed the way they acted, there would still be antisemitism. For example, in WWII Judaism was defined as a race and not a religion or a culture – German speaking men and women of Jewish origin, who lived as Christians in Berlin and Hamburg, were treated the same way as pious, Yidish speaking and sidelock yielding Jews from the shtetl.

There is another sociological explanation told by Norman Smyth explaining antisemitism. According to this narrative, Jewish people choose to be non-conformists and are always different. This non conformism brought the hatred upon them. This theory is purely antisemitic and victim blaming, placing all the responsibility and racism solely on the victim.

Some of the justifications for these theories relate to what’s perceived as “a Jewish attitude”: egoism, vulgar, highly sexual and loud. According to this, Jewish character contributes to Jewish hatred, so when Jews stop “behaving” like Jews there won’t be any justification for antisemitism, simple as that. The Jewish people need stop acting like Jewish people and intervene in non-Jewish societies. This is the rational thing to do if we wish to stop antisemitism.

However, as claimed by Norman Smiths, this sociological rationalization contributes towards antisemitism instead of fighting it. Sociology need to discuss antisemitism from a different perspective. It should attributed as Jude-phobia and not blame the “the Jewish way of acting”. Antisemitism is demonization and originates in social construction.

In Conclusion, the constructional sociology tells us that the imaginary Jew is the symbolized enemy of western racist society, and never disappears from society’s mind. We need to fight antisemitism and never accept it as rational thought.

In understanding the social enemy construction theory, I would like to ask the gender question. If the imaginary Jew is the constructed enemy of racist ideology, what is the role of Jewish women in this social construction? Is the imaginary woman different than the imaginary man? I will answer this question in the next few paragraphs.

Racist Jewish stereotypes

As discussed, the Jewish people – historically speaking – were always a traveling nation, scattered and never having a country of their own.  They were always the minority in European society. In addition to being a minority, Jews were considered different in religion and in culture. This variance created mystery around the Jewish people which often lead to suspicion, and eventually the creation of the many antisemitic stereotypes.

Antisemitic male stereotypes are usually about the connection between personality and economics. There is no reference to gendered rules, sexuality or appearance. For instance, “The collector” represents the greedy man who can’t be trusted. He’s a two-faced back stabber; a disloyal, material capitalist, looking only to consume his pleasure.

 

Antisemitic female stereotypes are combined with racism, sexism and misogyny. There is a reference to the Jewish women role in the general society, the Jewish culture, gendered rules, sexuality and appearance.

Here are some examples:

The Jewish mother – Old and fat, annoying, over bearing, over feeding, overprotective and tidy. Women who sacrifice their autonomy in alter of motherhood, not letting her grown up children be independent.

Jewish American Princess (JAP) – Young woman, late teens or early twenties, beautiful, thin, usually blonde, fair skinned, rich, spoiled, whiney, daddy’s girl, self-centered, neurotic and frigid.

Good Jewish girl- The opposite of the “JAP”. a nice girl, classy, believes in womanly ideologies, family wife, proud to be Jewish, curvy, brunette, frizzed hair, crooked nose, regular looking. Nasal talking. Educated but not intellectual.

As mentioned above, there is a big difference between the representation of the male Jew and female Jew. The Jewish women has to deal with dual and sometimes triple realities: The reality of Judaism, antisemitism and sexism. In the next part of the article I will discuss the phenomenology of the Jewish women created from these realities.

Jewish women phenomenology

Phenomenology is a philosophical term for the study of one’s consciousness as experienced from his point of view. Relying on the feminist theory, claiming the reality of women is experienced differently than man’s.  As told by one of the most famous feminist theoreticians, the philosopher and writer Simone de behavior claims in her book, “the second sex” that the existence reality of women is different from the reality of men. Men are free from their bodies and gender and can create projects without the disruption of society. Women are imprisoned in their bodies and genders (modest feminine values, sexual inhibitions) society rules of womanhood, turning the women subjectivity to famine reality. Women are the significant other for the male. Therefore the experienced reality of women is different men’s reality. Women’s reality defined by body and gender (pregnancy, motherhood, sexual identity and more) and men’s reality is defined by rational thought and actions.

Based on feminist theory created by de Beauvoir, the cultural religion phenomenology of Jewish women is different from non-Jewish women and Jewish men. Jewish woman are Jewish and female, creating duel reality. Reality influenced by antisemitism, as Evelyn Torton claims in her article “the politics of Jewish invisibility”, (published in 1988) that anti-Semitism implemented in the Jewish woman’s body. The Jewish women turned to be the object of hatred.

The Jewish women phenomenology, as Torton claims, is defined by double misogyny, outward (anti-Semitism) and inward (sexism). Women who experience themselves as a “JAP” will become a JAP and proud to be one. The stereotype turned to be her identity. In addition to that, Jewish women feel uncomfortable in their Jewish identity hiding their Jewish selfhood (discrimination by men and culture).

Conclusion

The Jewish woman has always been the subject of the antisemitic discussion. Discussion on her body, her beauty, her personality and her sexuality. She was always blamed for the act of Jewish men, in her motherhood, in her opinion and her desire or lack of it. The Jewish women is an object of racist ideology.

The Jewish mother is blamed for her smothering motherhood. The JAP is blamed for her indulgence and sexuality. The good Jewish girl is blamed for her ugliness and dullness. There is no escape from the judgment no matter what she does. Something has to be done with the cultural construction of misogyny antisemitism.

The only solution is to educate for gender and cultural solidarity, to break the imaginary Jewish women and create a realistic version of her, not connected to the male gendered selfhood.  She has to stop being his significant other and an object of racist hatred. Woman should be as De Beauvorian says, free of her body and her gender, being free subject to create her own projects, not as a Jew and not as a woman, but rather as a human being.

 

Written by: Mager Ynon

 

2015: Hilter very much alive online

Hitler left behind a great ideology which is still represented by the media and found online, according to the 2015 annual report of a student group combating antisemitism. Published by the Israeli Students Combating Antisemitism Intiative (ISCA),the document – which was presented to the Knesset earlier this week – details how even in this day and age Hitler’s legacy lives on.

Though he died over 70 years ago, thanks to his vast admirers Hitler’s ideology still receives recognition on the Internet. By using different social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter this messages are spread across the globe. And, antisemitism still flourishes online via blog posts, videos, comments and articles. Glorifying Hitler has become a widespread trend on the Internet. On some websites, as Youtube and Instagram, people can be found painting Hitler as a visionary who failed to complete his task of exterminating the Jews.

Every day prominent social networks such as Facebook and Twitter receive many reports regarding racist pages and profiles, or users promoting hatred. Even though the users report those profiles, the racist posts are not always deleted and still can be found via online searches.

A day before the world commemorates International Holocaust Memorial day, and in order to fight the increasing anti-Semitism online, the Knesset Committee for Immigration discussed this burning issue. The discussion was attended by Israeli Parliament members and leading figures, who were surprised from the worrying data.

According to Ido Daniel, Head of ISCA program: “The rising antisemitism in Europe throughout the past year [noted] there were 29,385 complaints which were filed regarding antisemitic incidents online, but only 26% of these posts were removed.” In “[For] every disaster that takes place in the world – Jews are blamed for it on the Internet,” he said, adding that even the dismissal of Basketball Cleveland Cavaliers Coach David Blatt drew numerous anti-Semitic comments online.

The impact on the younger generation is the greatest and in order to fight the incitement against Israel online, Israel’s constant delegitimization and the rising anti-Semitism in Europe, the government must be more aware and involved Daniel claimed.

”This is a burning issue. Some 40% of Europe`s residents are antisemitic. The government ministries must lead the struggle, as one body,” committee chairman Naguisa said.  Israeli MK Yoel Razvozov added: “This is about the security of the country and the security of Jews worldwide. We need one office that will be in charge. At the moment, every ministry transfers the responsibility to another ministry. Instead of 40% of the people in Europe being anti-Semitic, we will [soon] reach 80% and 90%.”

Much more must be done on the subject. The different parties must unify to solidify a common course of action by using both creative tools and effective policies in order to combat anti-Semitism online, while preserving the freedom of speech.

Jew #50909: A Seal In My Heart

Over 70 years have passed since the Nazis invaded Europe with the purpose of erasing all Jewish history.

Year after year Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated in Israel and around the world. However as time passes it becomes more difficult to find living testimonies of those who suffered the terror of the Nazis. For many of the survivors, time has stopped since then and their life – which only began at that time – has passed with great difficulties of bitter memories and of families they had to form again from scratch. Other survivors created a shell, where they managed to hide their difficulties of life, remained steadfast and began to form a newfound appreciation for life.

I had the experience of visiting the concentration camps in Poland, like many traditional Israeli high schools do. I saw firsthand what was left from the horror, the gas chambers and the remaining burnt belongings. But what remained in my memory most was not what I had seen, but rather the horrifying smell of thousands of shoes gathered in a big pile in one corner. Shoes which belonged to people, real people. Terrified eyes in pictures; the freezing bone-penetrating cold.  All I could think of at the time was whether someone who actually escaped from this nightmare could really continue with life, if at all? Shortly after my return from Poland I found the answer closer to home than I expected.

My mother met Frania while waiting at the hair salon. My mother sat waiting for her appointment when she observed an older woman admiring herself in the mirror, apparently satisfied with her hair style. The older woman didn’t have to explain to the hairdresser what kind of style she wanted, since he was familiar with her signature impeccable style. After a long talk my mom discovered a joyful, loving, 92 years old woman, who seemed nothing like you might expect from someone who survived the horror of the Holocaust.

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Looking at Frania it would never cross your mind that long ago she wore that infamous striped uniform, saw the death of her husband – whose body was hung outside her window,  – gave up on her brother in order to save her father’s life, and lived side by side with his death as a daily reminder of guilt which, with the years, she no longer paid attention to.

Each episode in Frania’s life made her stronger, more optimistic, and more confident that when she dies it will not be in the concentration camps. Not because she was so certain about it, but rather because she learned not to worry about the future or the past, only to concentrate about taking one day at a time, reminding herself that she should do everything to win another chance at life.

For many years she avoided the stories of the concentration camps, but after the birth of her children and grandchildren she knew it was time to recount they story to them. She did it for the simple reason of passing on the strength of any difficulties which may come their way, but not to make people feel sorry for her about the past; to move forward without looking back while we are still alive.

A few days after first meeting her, Frania gave us her book. She explained that this book was not for sale and her only goal was to give it as a gift to schools and libraries in Israel. My mother promised her to translate it into Spanish as a symbol of gratitude for her sacrifice and perseverance.

As she recounts in her book:

“50909. This is the new name that was given to me when I was 21 years old. From that moment I had no other name than this. On my left forearm next to the number they added a small triangle (Jewish Identification symbol) symbol, I didn’t understand for years what it meant. This number is tattooed on my skin until today. Even after I returned to be Frania Pozmantir it never occurred to me to erase it. This number has become part of me. I am not ashamed of this number and sometimes I use it as a secret key.”

Frania survived the days of the war locked inside a small room with her father and brother. She offered to work as a tailor without knowing even how to sew a button. She joined other Jews who formed the sewing center “Rossner” and acquired identification documents from workers. Thanks to this document she was saved several times from mistreatment and even spared from appearing on the selection list to the death camps. She was forced to live in fear and know that every time she was faced with a new challenge it could result in death. It seemed too horrific, almost like a bad movie where all the most abominable things happened all around her.

She stopped thinking about her husband’s death in order to concentrate on surviving each one of those days of terror. Her father was sent to the death camps, but was saved thanks to the documents she held, however shortly after he returned to the family he passed away.


“…The days returned to their routine. Whoever disappeared was forgotten. All the rumors about the horrors received a name: Auschwitz. I covered my ears. I knew they killed people there, burned women and children, but not me. The Rossner worker card saved my life and my father’s life…the journey between Bendzin and Auschwitz is not very long, but for hundreds of Jews squeezed into wagons, which were originally made to transport meat it seemed like an eternity. In a minute we were [transformed] from humans to [mere] pieces of meat. Somehow I was pushed to the corner of the wagon and I got carried away protecting my face with my elbows. Defending with all the forces I had left everyone who tried to step on me, fighting desperately for air heavy, sour and sweaty air. [The] sweat of fear. The thirst burned my throat like fire. I tried to imagine [a] cold thing that refreshed my dry lips [which were] already cracked. “Water” I whispered again and again. “God give me just a drop of water.” The sound of the wheels stopping was hypnotic to me. Little by little I [felt] frizzed by the heat. My brain was emptied from all thoughts except one: live, live. It was my first lesson of survival, because in Auschwitz I should know, you don’t progress with your feet, but with your elbows.”

My mother visits Frania frequently and is progressing in her Spanish translation of the book “Seal In My Heart” so Frania’s story can be shared with Spanish readers. For me the commemoration of the world’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel’s own memorial days are not what they used to be. The Holocaust now has a face, a voice and a lesson: Life is not what is happening to us on the outside. Life is what is inside each and every one of us. It is the things we are made of that makes us strong against anything.

“Telling everything is so difficult. I did not forget it. These things are never forgotten, but it’s better not to keep thinking about it over and over in our heads if we want to live under this sky, and not in the shadow of those times. Many years I rejected the memories, but I try to live moment to moment, hour after hour and continue forward, forward and forward and I [finally] achieved it.”

Written by: Orian Bar

A Surprising Renaissance Russia’s Jewish Community?

During a meeting which took place on January 19th in the Kremlin, with European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor and delegates from European states, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for European Jews to consider immigrating to Russia. Putin said this was due to the rise in Anti-Semitic incidents in Europe over the last few years. Throughout the meeting, president Putin referred to the problems Jews have experienced when Russia was still part of the Soviet Union, saying, “In the Soviet Union they used to go away, now let them come back.”

“Used to go away” is probably the nicest way to describe the difficulties Jews had to face in the times of the great Soviet Bear. As a part of the Communist ideology which was fundamentally secular, the Jewish religion was outlawed. During the time of Stalin (mainly in the years before the second world war) the communist party was purified from all those who were considered “not communist enough”. Many members of the party (including a vast number of Jews) were transferred to labor camps or murdered by agents of the regime. During the war many of the Jews living in the territories concurred by the Nazis were executed in death pits or extermination camps.

With the declaration of independence and the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, the relationship between the new born state and the Soviet giant had its ups and downs. A slight hope for change appeared in 1953, with the death of Stalin, which was an opportunity for Israeli leaders to strengthen ties with the Soviets. That opportunity was untapped mainly because of the Soviet support for Arab states in their wars against Israel. The Arab defeat in the Six Day war was on the one hand another brick in the wall between Israel and the Soviets, and on the other hand, it was a wake-up call for Soviet Jews.

The glorious victory of the small state and the continued antisemitism and humiliations from the Soviet regime, convinced many of the Jews living in the USSR it is best for them to make Aliya (immigrate to Israel). Approximately 170,000 Jews moved to Israel during the 60’s and the 70’s. It is worth mentioning that, during that time, violence and anitsemitism towards Jews in the Soviet Union was a common thing. After the collapse of the USSR in the late 80’s, another wave of immigrants flushed to Israel. More than a million Jews completed their Aliya in the following years.

According to the last population survey taken in 2010, only 156,000 registered Jews live in Russia, though it is estimated to be closer to 350,000. Among them nearly 40,000 live in the large Jewish community in Saint Petersburg. To those Jews still living in Russia, Putin’s declarations are probably not surprising. Unlike his Soviet ancestors, it seems Putin is allowing Jews a great amount of freedom, and showing he is eager to protect them from antisemitism.

It appears Putin’s approach is paying off with the local community. In April 2015, for instance, the head of Russian Federation of Jewish Communities, Aleksandr Boroda was quoted saying: “In Russia, there is virtually unlimited freedom of religion and the Jewish community must ensure this situation continues,” showing his support for the seemingly collapsing regime of Putin. According to the Jewish community in Russia, Putin’s regime supported the renovation of dozens of synagogues and funded the establishment of a large Jewish museum in Moscow.

Written by: Atar David