Category: News

Secretary of State Called to Nominate a Special Envoy on Antisemitism

Since President Donald Trump was elected to the presidency last January, the position for the Special Envoy aimed to monitor and combat Antisemitism was not yet filled.

Dozens of lawmakers and religious leaders in the U.S. urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to nominate an envoy, after reports indicated the position would be left empty in July and might be eliminated in the future.

The Special Envoy is aimed to monitor antisemitic incidents, document the cases in State departments abroad and represents and advises international organizations. The envoy combats Antisemitism and incitement.  The Special Envoy helped to define the State Department’s working definition of Antisemitism. The position was firstly created under the Global antisemitic Review act of 2004.

The position is very important especially “in the fight against this terrible hate that is on the rise in the world” said Chris Smith, a U.S. representative, who helped in the position. “It is vital that one senior law enforcement official has the mandate to lead effort across the government to anticipate, prevent and respond to threats and attacks – especially violent ones – against the American Jewish community,” Smith said.

Hannah Rosenthal was the Special Envoy from 2009 to 2012, she said that the envoy’s role helped American diplomats to fight offensive acts and speech, especially with the working definition of Antisemitism.

The elimination of the position was originally part of the Trump administration’s plan to cut federal spendings. According to Bloomberg, the Special Envoy dedicated to fighting Antisemitism is not the only position that is questioned, also positions dedicated to climate change and Muslim communities.

As reported, Tillerson questioned the need for a Special Envoy. To his words, the State Department wants to make sure whether the Special Envoy weakened the attention to Antisemitism. He argued that all diplomats should feel responsible for combating Antisemitism, and when one is tasked for the position, it removes the responsibility from others, leading to the fact that diplomats avoid dealing with the issue.

The ADL contradicted his arguments and cited “concerns about Antisemitism do not always make it on to the agenda of diplomatic meeting, especially when many other legitimate and pressing issues require attention. By contrast, when the Special Envoy meets with foreign officials, Antisemitism is the agenda.”

Source: JTA, Ynet News.

Image: Reuters

By: Yael Soffer

Former Neo-Nazi from Berlin Converted to Judaism

Yonatan Langer is the new Jewish name of Luts Lang, a 33 year-old from Berlin, Germany. Until recently, Lang identified with Neo-Nazi clubs in his hometown, cited “Mein Kampf” and celebrated Hitler’s birthday, while admiring the SS and the Third Reich’s leaders. Mental distress led him to meet with a therapist, who suggested that he meet up with “Exit” – an organization that helps alt-right activist to find their way out of ‘hate life’. Now Lang understands his former lifestyle was destructive for himself as well as the environment.

Aside from the meetings with “Exit” leaders, what shook his point of view was a personal experience. Yonatan experienced a dream, in which he was standing on a warm cave, and suddenly the word “Kabbalah” appeared on the wall. Immediately upon awakening, he searched the word online and started to learn more about Judaism, what he used to preach against. Kabbalah is known as the highest section in Jewish resources, which embodies the deepest secrets of Jewish heritage.

After completing the process of conversion in New York, he now works at the Kabbalah studies center in Berlin and learns Hebrew. Lang holds that taking people off the hate track can be achieved by letting them be part of ordinary life again. “Now, for the first time in my life, I live conscious.”

Source: Ynet, Suddeutsche Zeitung

Image: Lene Muench/Agentur Focus

By: Roni Zedek

 

Margaret Thatcher’s Family Sheltered a Jews During The Holocaust

In 1938, after Germany crossing the border into Austria, the situation for Jews worsened sonsiderably. Mobs attacked Jews around the country, looted shops, and arrested 8,000 Jews , while 5,000 were sent to the concentration camp, Dacau.

The Mühlbauer family lived in Vienna. Edith Mühlbauer was 17 at the time, and as the plight of Jews in Austria became more hazardouss, she wrote to her English pen pal, Muriel Roberts, asking if she could come and stay. Muriel’s family didn’t have the money to host Edith, but wanted to help, so her father asked members of his Rotary club for money to bring his daughter to England.

Edith arrived at the Roberts home in Grantham, England in April 1939. She brought two gifts, one for Muriel, who was the same age as Mühlbauer, and the other for her 13-year-old sister, Margaret, the future Prime Minister of England.

Mühlbauer found it difficult to settle into the Roberts’ home. The house the family shared above their shop on North Parade was, Margaret remembered, “very small… [with] no mod cons” (modern conveniences). “We didn’t have a proper bathroom in those days,” the former prime minister wrote of Mühlbauer’s stay in her memoirs. “She was used to better things.”

Muriel said Mühlbauer was “a nice girl” with a “wonderful wardrobe” who didn’t want to go on family strolls in the countryside because Edith said, “It’ll ruin my shoes.”

Thatcher was shocked to hear Edith talk about “what it was like to live as a Jew under an antisemitic regime…. One thing stuck in my mind: The Jews, she said, were being made to scrub the streets.”

A reporter tracked Edith down in Brazil after Thatcher had left Downing Street. Edith acknowledged, “If Muriel had said, ‘I am sorry, my father says no,’ I would have stayed in Vienna and they would have killed me.”

When people ask, “What can one person do?” Thatcher responded, “That is the question that people so often ask. Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life.”

Philpott observes, “As Prime Minister, Thatcher did not always see eye to eye with Begin or Yitzhak Shamir, but her commitment to Israel — an oasis of democracy, in her eyes — was never in doubt. It was symbolized by her visit to the Jewish state in 1986 — the first ever by a sitting prime minister.”

Source: The Times of Israel

Image: AP Photo/Gerald Penny

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Holocaust Memorial Vandalized in Boston

On June 28, 2017 police arrested a young African American for vandalizing the city’s Holocaust Memorial during the night before.

The memorial components house six glass towers at a height of 54 feet each. The number six has a few meanings concerning the Holocaust memory, such as the six million Jews who died during the six years of “the final solution” level (1939-1945) in six death camps. Each glass piece is etched with rows of numbers, signifying the numbers tattooed on the arms of Auschwitz concentration camp victims. Since the establishment of the monument in 1995, the planners duplicated each panel as a reserve for such cases.

The suspect, 21 years old James Isaac was seen throwing a large stone at the glass, after getting into an argument with a group of people around 2 a.m., according to the Assistant District Attorney Anthony Rizzo. Prosecutors say he lost his temper after a man refused to tell him the time.

Defense Attorney Anthony Rizzo argued that the defendant is homeless and lives under difficult life circumstances, such as the death of his father at a young age. He struggles with mental host, claims the Attorney.

The mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, reacted rapidly. “This morning’s vandalism of the Holocaust memorial site will not be tolerated in Boston. Together with the Boston Police, we will make sure anyone involved in this act will be held responsible.”

Izzy Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor who attended the place, still has a hard time to believe there was no antisemitic intention hidden in the act: “why did they choose this place?” he asks. The police as well had not ruled out the option of a hate crime.

Source: CBS Boston

Image: Ben Parker/WBZ NewsRadio 1030

By: Roni Zedek

Women Carrying Jewish Pride Flag Expelled from Dyke March in Chicago

On the June 24, 2017, at a rally organized to express women’s intersectional identities in Chicago, Illinois three women were expelled due to carrying a pride flag with a white Star of David, also known as the Jewish pride flag. The Dyke March takes place in various capital cities in the world, embracing women from the LGBTQ+ community.

The three women are active members of the gay and Jewish community and regular participants at the march. One of them, Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson said on an interview to the NY Times: “I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities. The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional. I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I feel that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

Another woman alienated from the march is Laurel Grauer, a manager at a Wider Bridge, an organization built to assist the LGBTQ community in Israel in a personal, not political way.
“During the picnic in the park, organizers in their official t-shirts began whispering and pointing at me and soon, a delegation came over, announcing they’d been sent by the organizers. They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.”

Laurel, shocked, tried to explain herself. First, she tried to untie the association between the state of Israel and the symbol of Judaism, saying it’s an “ubiquitous symbol of Judaism”. Laurel insisted she just wanted to be Jewish in public, and then explained in the communities jargon: “this is my intersection. I’m supposed to be able to celebrate it here,” but in vain. The Dyke community charged Laurel for using the acceptance Israel shows towards LGBTs in Israel to “pink wash” Israel’s image.

Yet apparently, the expulsion is not more than the tip of an iceberg. As an official comment, the Dyke March Chicago posted on their Facebook page they made clear that their problem is against Zionism, not Judaism. As a progressive left group they stress that all oppressions are linked, therefore one who fights for women’s rights can’t support the oppression of other human beings. They see zionism as the ultimate oppressor in the middle east, not concerning the facts.

The group published a Facebook update:

“Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke March Collective members.(…) We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March and were involved in conversations with the individuals who were asked to leave. We are planning to make a longer statement in the future.”

A look at their Facebook page shows the organization is clearly political, demolishes Israel and Zionism and calls for boycott, and has gone very far from only standing for LGBT equality. The page gathers tens of support calls from NYC Queers against Israeli Apartheid, Black and Brown Punk Show Collective, Jewish Voice for Peace and hashtags like #Dykes4Palestine #NoPrideInPinkwashing #NoPrideInZionism.

Source: out, NY Times, Facebook

Image: For The People Artists’ Collective

By: Roni Zedek

Star Of David and Swastika Smeared in Feces in London

A Star of David and a swastika were found smeared with feces near the entrance of a television station in Stamford.

Workers of a nearby theater called the police to report the incident. By the time police arrived, the slur had been cleaned up.

Jewish community leaders called for heavier security in the city. Lauren Steinberg, director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien’s Jewish Community Relations Council said instances of antisemitism occur more often than one might expect.

“Unfortunately antisemitism remains a pervasive element in our communities that we see increasingly more incidents of,” Steinberg said. “This is a reminder to the Jewish community that we need to ensure our security and safety.  To the Stamford community as a whole, it is important for us to stand together as neighbors against antisemitism, racism and bigotry of all forms.”

Investigators are working to obtain security footage of the incident, which happened this past week. Employees gave police pictures of the glass panel near the entrance, where the slurs were written.

Source: Stamford Advocate

Image: Stamford Advocate

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Nazi Artifacts Found Stashed in Argentina

In the back of a hidden room in a house near Argentina’s capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history. Some include a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses in swastika covered boxes, and medical devices.  Toys were also found, which were used to indoctrinate children, one was described as a statue of the Nazi Eagle with a swastika.
The collection was presumably brought into the country by a high ranking Nazi official. Police are trying to understand how the artifacts entered Argentina, and were stashed in a hidden library behind the main house. The raid was carried out a few weeks ago.
“Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,” Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said in an interview on Monday, and added that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. “This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer [Hitler]. There are photos of him with the objects.”

Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the DAIA, a political umbrella for Argentina’s Jewish institutes, called the find unheard of in Argentina. “Finding 75 original pieces is historic and could offer irrefutable proof of the presence of top leaders who escaped from Nazi Germany.” Cohen said.

 

Source: Israel Hayom

Image: CBS News

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Montana Lawyer Defends Neo-Nazi Website Trolling, Citing First Amendment

Andrew Anglin, publisher of a leading neo-Nazi website is being sued over orchestrating an online antisemitic trolling campaign against an American family, living in Whitefish, Montana.

Marc Rondazza, a Las Vegas based lawyer, who is representing Anglin said recently: “Everybody deserves to have their constitutional rights defended, nobody needs the First Amendment to protect Mr. Rogers. That’s not what it’s there for.”

Anglin is being sued by Tanya Gersh , in a law suit which was filed in April. Gersh’s suit claims the publisher launched an internet trolling campaign against her family, including publishing her 12-year- old son’s Twitter account and profile photo. Gersh accused Anglin of causing “emotional distress”, invading her privacy and violating state law.

Anglin defended his claim and called out Jewish residents of Whitefish, who he beleives are engaging in in an “extortion racket” against a family member of white supremist, Richard Spencer.

Anglin’s lawyer, Randazza claims the allegations in the suit “leaves room for disagreement” over whether Anglin did anything wrong.

Source: Ynet

Image: Ynet

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Swastikas Found in School Bathrooms Across U.S.

Over the past few weeks, swastikas were found in several school bathrooms across the United States.

In a New Jersey, a swastika was found in a high school bathroom. The New Jersey district superintendent said he was “saddened and outraged” at this antisemitic message.

A second incident happened in the Sparta district. School officials are investigating the vandalism, in which an unknown individual drew a swastika on a toilet stall at the Sparta Middle School. The school did not immediately report the event matter to the police.

Another swastika found scrawled in a middle school bathroom in Chappaqua, New York. According to officials, the graffiti was painted by “some young, stupid kid who doesn’t realize what the symbol stands for.”

In yet a fourth incident, police are investigating a swastika found on the wall of a men’s bathroom at a high school in Massachusetts.

 

Source: The Algemiener, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe

Image: Google Images

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Polish School Honors Jewish Girls Expelled By Nazis

A polish school in Krakow revealed a panel containing the names of 87 Jewish girls, who were expelled during the Second World War in 1939 during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

The Polish city of Krakow is part of a growing interest and willingness to commemorate the Jews, who lived there prior to the Holocaust.

The event took place at Adam Mickiewicz Junior Secondary School, and commemorated the 125th anniversary of the founding of the school. Before the Nazi occupation, the school housed many Jewish students, and was an all-girls school.

Lital Beer, director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel found that 87 Jewish girls were expelled. She discovered that 21 were killed in the Holocaust, 24 survived; the fate of the other 42 unknown.  The difficulty trying to trace names, was especially trying since many changed their names more than once, often to Hebrew if they settled in Israel, or changed their last names through marriage.

The research project lasted two years, and began with a request from the school’s principle, Gabriela Olszowska to locate the whereabouts and fate of the former students. Beer added that Yad Vashem gets many requests to conduct private research for individuals, but is usually unable to carry out many of them. However, special attention was given to this case.

“I was very moved by the principal’s initiative to research the [fate of the] girls and commemorate them,” Beer said. “We want to embrace those initiatives as much as we can.”

Source: Israel Hayom

Image: Ynet

by: Efrat Baron