Category: Magazine

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

Should French Jews Fear Their Identity?

Zvi Ammar, the leader of Marseille’s Jewish community, called on male Jews to stop wearing the Jewish skullcap or kippa “until better days”, noting prominent security threats and locals’ fears for their safety.

His warning came the day after a man who proclaimed to act in the name of the Islamic State terrorist group attacked a Jewish teacher who was wearing a kippa.

“Unfortunately for us, we are targeted. As soon as we are identified as Jewish we can be assaulted and even risk death. We have to hide ourselves a little bit,” Ammar said.

However, other Jewish leaders rejected the call along with France’s chief Rabbi Haim Korsia who was quoted as saying: “We should not give [the haters] an inch, we should continue wearing the kippa.”

“He [Ammar] knows as well as I do that wearing a kippa or not will not resolve the issue of terrorism,” added Joel Mergui, President of the Israelite Central Consistory of France. “If we have to give up wearing any distinctive sign of our identity, it clearly would raise the question of our future [as Jews] in France.”

Anti-Semitic acts have soared in France in recent years, increasing by 84 percent in the period between January 2015 and May 2015 compared to a year earlier, according to official statistics.

Written by: Inbal Zlotnik

Liberty, equality and tolerance! (Except for the Jews of course)

Exactly one year ago, a young French Muslim opened fire in Hypercacher kosher food superette”- a kosher supermarket in Paris, killing 4 Jewish people and holding few more hostages. This horrible terror attack is just one example of the concerning rising in antisemitic incidents in France over the last few years.

Recently, research on antisemitism in France has revealed that in 2014, there were 851 registered attacks carrying antisemetic nature. This number is almost double the incidents in 2013, in which 423 incidents were reported. Although xenophobia is a well-known problem in France, mainly because of the wide range of religious and cultural groups within the French people, antisemitism is “proudly” the number one xenophobic activity, with 51% of all racist incidents in 2014.

Some of these brutal attacks can be seen as an aggressive (and of course non-legitimate) criticism of Israel. One can draw this conclusion due to the fact, that there is a clear rise in complains against antisemitic attacks during times of “peaks” in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. For example, during the war in Gaza in the summer of 2014. However, make no mistakes- French Jews still experience “classic” antisemitism. For Example, the ideas that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to France, and that they exploit the Holocaust.

What do the French leaders have to say about all this? In April 2015, during a visit to Paris suburb, Creteil, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that his government will strengthen laws against racism and antisemitism. He also declared that France will invest 100 million euros in a program attempting to fight antisemitism.

 

Written by: Atar David

Iran – Exactly What You Thought

It’s no secret that Iran (or as it goes by its official name – The Islamic Republic of Iran) is not Israel’s best friend. The rivalry between the two countries is well known, stemming in the last few years mainly from the Iranian nuclear program and Israel’s objection to it. In addition the two countries see themselves as fighting for dominance in the region, and therefore the Anti-Semitic atmosphere in Iran should not come as a surprise, despite the rich Jewish history of Iran.

On one hand, the presence of Jews in Iran dates all the way back to biblical times. The books of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah contain references to the life and experiences of Jews in Persia.  Persian Jews have lived in Iranian territory for over 2,700 years. It seems that the Jewish communities in Iran lived peacefully. During the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, many Iranian Jews joined the revolutionaries in order to rid their Jewish identity and join the utopia that the revolution promised. For those who chose to keep their Jewish identity, the Iranian revolution completely eradicated anti-Semitism from its midst and attacks on Iranian Jews or their synagogues was very rare.

On the other hand, nowadays Jews in Iran are regarded with relative tolerance; however the exact opposite is presented towards Jews around the world. This anomaly is disturbing; Jews are treated fairly in Iran by the civilian population but are forbidden of associating themselves with the State of Israel. In addition the Iranian regime continues to slander Israel publicly. Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League‘s national director claims that “Fantastical anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have been a mainstay in the state-run Iranian media since the Islamic Revolution in 1979”. One of the latest examples can be seen in Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has recently claimed that Israel was behind the November terrorist attacks in Paris, while official state media falsely reported that Jews had advance knowledge of the attacks. Khamenei was also quoted as saying “I am telling you… God willing, there will be no Zionist regime in 25 years. Second, during this period, the spirit of fighting, heroism and jihad will [should] keep you worried every moment.”

Iran also provides stage for foreigner figures that represent harsh Anti-Semitic lines of thought. For example Mark Dankof, a former fringe Republican Candidate for Congress, is now a commentator in the State-run TV station in the Islamic Republic. Dankof consistently preaches Anti-Semitic propaganda to the masses. As part of his “liberal” preachings, Dankof claimed that “The key Jewish role played in the mainstreaming of abortion, LGBT, and pornography in the United States may be documented in Google search” and that “it should not be ignored that the victories for abortion on demand and LGBT rights are reflective of the disproportionate influence of Jewish power, money, and activism in the United States.”

Besides providing the stage for former radical fringe candidates, the Iranian authorities also plan to hold another Holocaust cartoon contest to take place in 2016. The contest is a tradition, which took place in 2006 and whose goal is to mock the crimes of Nazi Germany and cast doubt on Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. The new contest will highlight the “hypocrisy of the West”, where debate on the Holocaust is allegedly restricted despite traditions of free speech.

 

Written by: Atar David

Antisemitism in 2015

When most people hear the term “antisemitism”, they think about the Holocaust. Some think of the expulsion of 900,000 Jews from their native Arab countries in 1948, or the 250,000 Jews expelled from the Soviet Union during WWI. Although there have been many extreme cases of antisemitism throughout Jewish history, antisemitism is not something of the past. In 2015, there were many cases of extreme antisemitism all across the world.

2015 got off to a rough start. On January 9th, four Jews were murdered at a kosher deli in Paris by a terrorist affiliated with ISIS. Unfortunately, antisemitism is nothing new to the French. In fact, in 2015, there have been more antisemitic attacks against French Jews than any other nationality (excluding Israelis). Many people are beginning to wonder if after a thousand years of French Jewry, Judaism in France is coming to an end. Aliya from France is on the rise. In 2015 approximately 8,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, perhaps attempting to escape this antisemitism. (Ironically, they moved to the only country in the world with more antisemitic occurrences.)

Later in 2015, Jewish Reggae singer, Matisyahu, was scheduled to perform at Rototom Sunsplash Festival on August 22nd in Valencia, Spain. On August 16th, the festival issued a statement canceling his performance. This came as a result of the anti-Israel group BDS pressuring the festival into demanding that Matisyahu, who is not Israeli, publicly support the creation of a Palestinian state, which he refused to do. On August 19th, the festival reversed their decision, and apologized to Matisyahu.

Today's sad reality...

One of the most antisemitic incidents of 2015, was the EU’s decision to label Israeli products, produced in the Golan Heights and the West Bank. The EU claimed that this decision was made simply because the land is disputed. We’re all still waiting for them to label products from Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, Cyprus and many more.

Although European antisemitism is the most ancient, there is no place on Earth where it hasn’t reached. On February 4th, antisemitic posters were hung all over Brazil’s capitol, Brasilia. The posters called Jews “murderers, criminals and thugs”.

Two days before, on February 2nd, similar posters were hung in Buenos Aires. The posters read “A good Jew is a dead Jew”. Staying in Argentina, On October 18th in Conception Del Uruguay, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated with a swastika.

We like to think of the US as one of the most liberal and tolerant countries in the world, and for the most part it is. Across college campuses, people have become more accepting and tolerant than ever, accepting of all minorities except Jews. The number of antisemitism incidents in American college campuses is on the rise.

The phrase “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was found in a campus restroom at the University of California in February.

On March 18th a residence hall at Purchase College, SUNY was vandalized with swastikas and other hateful graffiti.

In May at Drexel, a student came back to his residence hall to find a swastika and the word “Jew” taped next to his Israeli flag.

These are just some examples showing why Jewish students across American colleges are feeling more inclined than ever to hide their Jewish identity.

We can only hope that 2016 will be a more peaceful year for Jews, and for people of all faiths across the world.

 

Written by: Ari Schwartz

Sources:  www.adl.org

 

 

Anti -Semitic Art, Past to present- the barrier between freedom of speech and hatred

Anti -Semitic Art

Between legitimate expression and hatred

From aboriginal cave paintings in Australia to multimillion dollar movies produced in Hollywood, humans have always found a way of expressing themselves beyond words. Colours, sounds, structures and symbols combine to tell a story. But the stories don’t always have a fairytale ending, not every piece of art is suitable for children to view, and some are actually works of hate and incitement.

Works of art are a diverse range of human activities, and the products of those activities, usually involving imaginative or technical skill. In their most general form, these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art. What happens when the line between expression and hatred is crossed?

Art influences our opinion

Art is generally understood as any activity or man-made product, with a communicative or aesthetic purpose—something that expresses an idea, an emotion or, more generally, a world view.

It is a component of culture, reflecting economic and social substrates in its design. It transmits ideas and values inherent in every culture across space and time. Its role changes through time, acquiring more of an aesthetic component here and a socio-educational function there.

Art is a metaphor for any expression, idea and belief. Art is away to sand massage with no words. When we come across one piece of art, we come across an entire world. Therefore, art is a direct way to influence opinion and ideological thought.

 

The use of art as an expression of ideology

Art can be a social agent for political ideologies and propaganda. Rayen & Kellner (1990) investigated the art of cinema in representation of ideologies and political manners in their book Film, Politics and Ideology. In this book, the researchers claim that the art of cienema is highly connected to global political processes in Western society. The art of film, or any art in that manner, is a medium for social thought on the human reality in subjects of religion, social economics, war, race, ideologies, sex and gender.

In this article I will discuss anti-semitism in the art of painting before World War II (from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and the 20th century), the propaganda of the third Reich and the modern use of anti-semitic art. At the end of the article, I will discuss the barrier between freedom of speech, and the use of art for ideologies of hate.

 

Anti-semitism in the art of painting before World War II

Professor Bernard (2015) claims that artists during the Renaissance stripped Jesus, his messengers and his family of their Jewish roots. Bernard claims that removing his Jewish identity is an anti-Semitic act, and a distortion of biblical history.

This claim by Bernard, is an example where we see the connection between religion, ideology and art. We see how one religion can use the medium of art to influence the minds, beliefs and emotions of its believers. The fact that Jesus was stripped of his Jewish identity in many paintings, shows us how important it was for the Christians in that era to be different than the Jewish community. What better way to differentiate Christians from Jews than the use of visual art?

Another example of anti-semitic ideology using art, can be seen in the Renaissance manifestation of the Jewish character, a manifestation that lingered until modern and post modern times of Western society.

When Bernard spoke about “the Jewish character”, he was referring to Jesus at first and afterwards to Jewish people in general. When we think about Jesus, we usually picture a Caucasian man with broad shoulders, light brown hair and beard. This representation of Jesus in our mind, is influenced by the Renaissance Christianity that had stripped Jesus from his Middle Eastern appearance. This, Bernard claimed, was an act of ancient anti-semitism.

Bernard claims that Christianity did not appear by itself. It was connected to the Jewish religion. A connection that had been seized by the Renaissance anti-semitic art. This distortion of biblical history created by art, continued for hundreds of years, contributing towards the separation of Jews and Christians, while spreading the ideology of Jewish hatred for decades to come.

One of the most common forms of Jewish hatred is the demonization of the Jewish character. This is still common in modern social media. To prove that the Renaissance separation of Jesus from his Jewish roots was an anti-semitic act, Bernard mentioned another apparent form of anti-semitism, the demonization of the Jewish character. As mentioned in “The Dark Mirror”, a book by Sara Lipton, who studied anti-Jewish iconography of Renaissance art.

Today, it is common to believe that there is no connection between art history and ideology. Both, Bernard and art historian, Sara Lipton oppose this belief. They each prove throughout their work, that Renaissance art was indeed anti-semetic.

Art historian, Lipton claims in her book – Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish – that the representation of the Jewish character in Christian art, from the Middle ages until the Renaissance was filled with anti-semitic ideology. This anti-semetic art, they claim, was responsible for Jewish hatred and persecution.

Lipton claims that in the thousand years that followed the crucifixion, there was no difference between Jewish characters from the Old Testament, and Christian characters in the New Testament. This Similarity between the characters in art changed in the Middle ages. Artists began to differentiate between Jews and Christians by using stereotypical symbols of Jewish people: Pointed hats, crocked noses and beards.

The reason there is a big difference between Christian and Jewish characters, according to Lipton, lies in the desire to break away from Judaism, and for Christianity to be an independent and superior religion. This desire for Christianity to transcend Judaism, was promoted by priests who spread the idea that the Jews were blind to the prophecies of their religion (the coming of the Messiah). They believed that the true Messiah came in the form of Jesus Christ. For this reason, according to Lipton, the art of Middle ages and Renaissance showed the blindness of the Jewish religion to the true faith of Christianity.

Anti-semitism in art, during the Middle ages, created a barrier between the Jewish and Christian communities in Europe. Pointy hats and beards were symbols of differentiation between Jews and Christians, even though historically, Jewish people did not look like this.

This hatred of Jews, Worsened in the 12 century across Europe, by demonizing the Jewish nation. The art of that era portrayed the Jewish people as Christianity’s worst enemy, and created a model of Jewish men, woman and children as monsters.

 

Anti-semitism in art, in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries

The strongest anti-semetic propaganda was during World War II, during the 20th century. The Nazi ideology wasn’t against Judaism as a religion, but against Jews as a race. (For more information on the Nazi ideology, please read the linked article Nazi ideology).

Even though Nazi propaganda wasn’t a direct work of art, but a mean of cheap publication (using mostly flyers, posters and newspaper cartoons), this was a modern example of demonization of the 20th century Jew. (For more information of the third Reich propaganda, please read the linked article Nazi propaganda).

Something that strongly influenced anti-semetic propaganda during the third Reich, was a documentary called “The eternal Jew” (1937). This film was used to spread the Nazi ideology against the Jewish people. The movie showed documentary footage of the Jewish population in Nazi occupied Poland. Similar to the Jewish demonization that Occurred during the 12th century across Europe (which used the art of painting to show the ugliness of the Jewish society), the movie accomplished this by using the art of cinema. (For more information on the movie and book, please read the linked article, the eternal Jew book, the eternal Jew movie.

 

Modern anti-semitism and art

When we think about anti-semitism, sometimes we think about it in the past tense, which would means that anti-semitism no longer exists. It would mean that Jewish hatred disappeared, and no longer exists. However, in the post modern era of the 21st century, there was an uprising of direct anti-semitism across the globe. The post-modern manifestation of the anti-Jewish ideology is the world-wide demonization of Jews. This demonization is similar to the demonization in the Middle ages. The only difference is that today’s hatred is spread much easier and faster, with the use of the internet and social media. (For further reading of modern anti-semitism, please read the linked article modern anti Semitism)

As mentioned before, one of the most efficient ways, used to spread anti-semitism in the Middle ages and renaissance was art. Today’s art, in forms of painting, sculptures, cartoons, movies and more, are contributing to anti-semitism. Furthermore, in modern art, Jewish artists are persecuted for their ethnicity. Their art is sometimes destroyed because of their Jewish identity. To conclude, I would like to address two cases of anti-semitism in modern art. One is the artwork of a Jewish artist, which was destroyed by anti-semitic graffiti. The other, is a Jewish sculpture who planted anti Semitic sentences in his art.

The British Indian sculpture Anish Kapoor who has Jewish roots, created a statue named “The Queen Vagina”. This sculpture is very famous, and was covered many times in the French media because of the statue’s location (The statue is placed in the gardens of King Louis XIV’s palace). This famous statue was vandalized by graffiti artists, who sprayed anti-semitic sentences across the statue. Kapoor, who didn’t succumb to the hatred, responded by covering the statue with golden leafs. He didn’t remove the sentences, in order to highlight intolerance in today’s society. (more details on the story)

Other example is in the story of artist Jaume Plensa. Plensa created a statue called “Spillover II”. The statue, which is located in a suburb of Milwaukee, is of a man sitting. The man is made out of many English letters. One day, while visiting in town, a New Jersey blogger came across the statue and noticed that some of the letters created anti-semitic sentences. The blogger, full of rage, wrote about his experience and created a mass internet response, which eventually caused the reliving of the statue.

What does this mean?

While doing research for his book, Professor Bernard interviewed an art history professor.  Bernard was shocked to hear his response, “There is no connection between ideology history and art, art is art”. This claim caused Bernard to research even deeper for anti-semitic ideology in renaissance art. This claim by the art history professor is why it’s so important not to accept art as art. With critical thinking, we can search for hidden ideologies, because art is definitely more than just art, and definitely more than freedom of speech. Museum exhibits and images of Facebook – all contain messages, not all are positive. Sometimes art is life itself, so we need to embrace the beauty of expression and accept the barrier between hatred ideology and freedom of speech. Never will we accept anti-semetic art.

 

Written by Ynon Mager

Six Reasons why Hanukkah is the best

Hanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays. It’s awesome and fun even if you’re not a Jew there are many ways that everyone can relate to this holiday. Here are 6 reasons to enjoy the celebration of lights.

1. Sufganiyot – (Donuts – in Hebrew)1

When else can you eat doughnuts for dinner? Never!
Hanukkah is the only holiday you can eat as many doughnuts as you want! (The calories don’t count!) You eat so many doughnuts a day and it doesn’t count…

They are so delicious and tempting! Typically the popular Sufganyiot are filled with jelly but recently Israeli bakeries have begun to experiment and go a bit wild trying different fillings and toppings.

2. Dreidels

2 If you don’t know how to spin a dreidel, Houston we’ve got a problem! The dreidel is the official game for kids during Hanukkah. People also sometimes gamble on chocolate coins (if the sufganyiot were not enough for you!) The Hanukkah dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters, each letter stands for a Hebrew phrase: Nes Gadol Hayah Po , A Great Miracle Happened Here, referring to the miracle of oil the Menorah’s oil (Candelabra in the temple) which lasted for 8 whole days.

3. Family

The best excuse to get together all your extended family fits in well with the Hanukkah tradition. Lighting the menorah and enjoying the fire of the candles has become a favorite pastime for many Jewish families.

Playing with dreidels and eating sufganiyot – you don’t get a lot of opportunities to do that with your family!

4. Latkes (Fried potato dish)

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Since we remember the miracle of oil – most traditional food is typically fried. Yes a lot of fried food in Hanukkah, this is the tradition!
Latkes are fried potato pancakes – a savory treat indeed! Very very sweet and yummy.

5. 8 Day Holiday

Hanukkah lasts for 8 days – this is probably the best part! Unlike other holidays which are over before you even realize they begun, Hanukkah lasts so long that by the end you can’t even bear to stomach another latke or sufganiya! you can no more see sufganiot or latkes.
So think about the eating celebration 8 times.

6. Gelt (Chocolate Coins)

Chanukah_gelt
It’s a Hanukkah tradition for children to receive chocolate coins or Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish for money) wrapped in gold tin foil. This is given to little kids as money and when you’re a kid this is treasure for you.
Being a kid this is just like an extra allowance!

Pogroms – Then and Now

A pogrom is a violent riot aimed at massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, particularly one aimed at Jews. In the past, it took form in the gathering of anti-Semites, who destroyed Jewish businesses, burnt down synagogues, lit up a pile of Jewish books, and tried to massacre as many Jews as they could.

Nowadays, it seems as if our society has become more educated and evolved, and this type of violence doesn’t exist anymore. This perception only gives legitimacy to the New Anti-Semites, who gather to perform the exact same actions, but disguise their anti-Semite nature behind words like “legitimate criticism” and “frustration.”