Category: News

U.S. Bill Calls for Increased Reporting on Antisemitic Incidents in Europe

A bill encouraging locals to report antisemitism in Europe was passed unanimously last Wednesday by the House of Representatives in Washington D.C.

The bill acknowledges the ongoing growth in antisemitism is increasing throughout Europe, and requires the State Department to report to Congress directly concerning security challenges to European Jewish communities local law enforcement officials.

The bill also called for increased efforts in Europe to educate against antisemitism and asked European nations to adopt a uniform definition of antisemitism. The fact that a definition is lacking makes it more difficult for countries to confront and deal with this problem.

“This bill would require the U.S. government and encourage our global partners to continue to take a hard look at antisemitism in Europe, provide a thorough assessment of trends, and outline what the United States and our partners are doing to meet this challenge,” said a statement from the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.

Source: The Forward

Image: Google

by: Efrat Baron

British MP Suspended For Justifying The Holocaust

Paddy Singh, a candidate for the nationalist party UKIP in the United Kingdom was suspended for writing numerous antisemitic tweets since 2014, including one that justified the Holocaust, as reported by The Campaign against Antisemitism, a British watchdog.

Though he apologized for publishing the tweets, Singh showed no remorse or an explanation for why he made the offensive comments regularly over the past years. One message read: “At times I ask myself were the Nazis right in herding the Jews into concentration camps?”

The party withdrew its endorsement of Singh after being suspended, yet Singh will continue to be listed as a UKIP candidate on the ballot paper for North Wiltshire in the upcoming June 8 election.

While the Israeli defensive campaign against Hamas terrorsists in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, Singh tweeted the following: “The Israelis are basically Nazis in mentality. The survivors of the tragic Holocaust learnt from their captors.” A third read: “No hope of a ceasefire with the Nazi Jews [who act] like wild dogs on the rampage.”

Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign against Antisemitism said: “It…[is unbelievable] that someone with such repulsive views has been selected to stand for Parliament. UKIP must expel Captain Singh from the Party immediately, and explain how he became a candidate in the first place.”

Source: The Forward

Image: Antisemitism UK

By: Efrat Baron

 

South Carolina Takes Stand Against Antisemitism

Many Americans are disturbed by the increase in antisemitism across the U.S. Recently, U.S. Representative Alan Clemmons (R., S.C.) sponsored a bill to combat the hate, by taking legislative action.

Clemmons sponsored a bill, which specifically targets recurring anti-Jewish hate crimes in the state of South Carolina specifically across college campuses. It lends the state tools in recognizing hate crimes against Jewish students as antisemitic crimes, and ensure that they will be accused of fully violating the law. Furthermore, the bill calls on universities to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism in assisting college authorities to combat offensive acts on campuses.

Clemmons added “We must take a strong stand against antisemitism, and we are proud that South Carolina is taking a leading role in this effort.”

According to a recent report, antisemitism has risen by 45% on college campuses this year alone. The bill was passed through the Senate unanimously, however it did not reach the House due to the Easter recess, but plans to be reintroduced during the coming months.

Source: The State, Facebook (Alan Clemmons)

Image: The American Legislative Exchange Council

By: Yafit Ovadia

Tennessee School Allows Kids To Wear Nazi Costumes

Parents and public in a Middle school in Germantown, Tennessee, were outraged to see that the school published a picture of two students wearing Nazi costumes in its year book. The students were photographed wearing hats with swastikas and one even had a fake Hitler-type mustache.

The photo drew public criticism after being posted on social media.

The school district said in a statement: “We understand the concern and are reviewing the incidents with students and staff who were involved. The school will issue an explanation of the context of the photo and apologize to the students and parents of Houston Middle School later this morning.

“The Germantown Municipal School District does not condone the placement of photos of this nature in any school publication and apologizes to anyone who was offended by the insensitive image.”

“We will do everything in our power to rectify this situation and keep events like this from happening in the future. As a district that has a proud history of championing diversity and dignity for others, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone who may have been offended by the yearbook entry.”

Houston Middle School principal, Liz Dias also issued a statement which said: “The goal was to examine the racism and prejudice that occurred in Germany before and after Hitler became dictator.

“Students analyzed primary source documents and drew conclusions about racism and prejudices under the Nazi regime. Through role-playing, the students were asked to draw conclusions about unjust laws in Nazi Germany. This activity led to students reflecting on discrimination today and how to confront unjust laws in our society.”

Dias also apologized for any offence that was caused and said Houston Middle School “celebrates diversity” of all races.

Source: Fox News

Image: Fox News

By: Hadassah Schwarz

Erasing the Hate Movement One at a Time

Corey Fleischer, a 36 year old from Montreal, Canada erases hate graffiti off public places both as a hobby and as an occupation. He is driven by self-advocacy, which urges him to act against hate crimes in various populations.

It all started on December 5th, 2014. Fleischer was driving in his truck, which contained high-pressure washing tools and chemicals and saw two swastikas and a KKK sign on a fruit delivery van. He stopped and asked the driver if he could take off the offensive symbols himself. The driver said he would do it later, and after a few more questions, Corey discovered the van was headed to a Jewish neighborhood later that day. Right on the spot, Fleischer offered to remove the offensive signs, free of charge. He did promptly posting to social media afterwards.

Corey comes across all kinds of hate messages targeted towards homosexuals, Afro-Americans, women, Muslims and more. However, he estimates that about 90% are towards Jews. Fleischer is Jewish himself, but this is not a driving factor. His developed sense of justice firmly believes that no one should be slandered based on their gender, faith, skin color or sexual orientation. He also rebukes those who remain indifferent to racist and hateful messages.

After this stint, Fleischer and his work went viral. Now he cooperates law enforcement officials. According to state law,  hate graffiti on public places should be erased within 24 hours of notice. Even so, private locations do not often comply. Fleischer helps the police deal with the phenomenon and helps collect data for Jewish organizations, who track antisemitic hate crimes.

Fleischer received community service awards for his voluntary work, and has been praised by the Assistant Director of Government Relations in Quebec with the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs. All in all, Fleischer does not strive for publication but for a real change, for the day when he won’t have any more jobs to fill and people will accept each other the way they are.

Source: The Star

Image: Instagram

By: Roni Zedek

U.K. National Union of Students Staff Post Several Antisemitic Tweets

The National Union of Students in the U.K. (NUSUK) has been involved in a controversy, since discovering that three candidates holding or running for position on its executive committee have written heavily offensive tweets. Some of which include, sharing videos mocking Jews as having big noses and being stingy, andhave expressed a desire to destroy Israel and posted comments with the Nazi slogan, ‘Heil Hitler’.

This is not the first time the NUS has made headlines mocking Jews. Prior Malia Bouattia, the current NUS president hosted a play called the “Seven Jewish Children” that has been widely criticized as antisemitic, while a student in the University of Birmingham. Later Bouattia was accused of “outright racism” by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee over comments she made related to Israel. She claimed the University of Birmingham was a “Zionist outpost” and criticized “Zionist-led media outlets.”

Ali Milani, a member of the Union’s National Executive Board and is running for vice president also posted several offensive tweets during 2012 claiming that Israel had “no right to exist” and is a “land built on ethnic cleansing and colonialism.”

These actions are proof of the increasing antisemitism taking place on university campuses. As reported by NUS, a quarter of Jewish students in the U.K. live in fear of an antisemitic attack, while two thirds said they were targeted because of their faith.

Source: Independent

Image: Twitter

By: Efrat Baron

UN Secretary-General: Denial Of Israel’s Right To Exist Is A ‘Modern Form Of Antisemitism’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took an impressive stand calling to classify the denial of Israel’s right to exist as a modern form of antisemitism, while Speaking Sunday night at the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly in New York.

Guterres said although he cannot ban all kinds of biased expressions against Israel at the United Nations, Israel should be treated and has the right to be treated as any other U.N member.

“A modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist,” Guterres said. “As secretary-general of the United Nations, I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules.”

It should be noticed that in regards to condemnation in the U.N Security Council, Israel’s actions were condemned 20 time in 2016, with 6 condemnations for the rest of the world, as said by the U.N. Watch, a pro-Israel group that monitors the international body. Therefore, the United Nations have been accused multiple times by Israel and U.S officials of continous condemnation against Israel.

Guterres emphasized that treating Israel fairly “does not mean I will always be in agreement with all the decisions made by any government position taken by any government that sits in Israel,” adding that he supports “the absolutely undeniable right of Israel to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors.” He also advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Speaking ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the secretary-general said “You can be absolutely sure, as secretary-general of the United Nations, I will be in the front line of the struggle against antisemitism, and to make sure the United Nations is able to take all possible actions for antisemitism to be condemned, and if possible, eradicated from the face of the earth.”

Source: JTA

Image: JTA

By: Efrat Baron

Jewish Cemetery Vandalized in Romania

Three youth aged 13 to 16, vandalized several headstones in a Jewish cemetery located in Bucharest, Romania as reported by the local police last Tuesday. As of this point, the three teens were identified by the local police, however no arrests have been made so far which are pending a criminal investigation.

The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania reported that 10 headstones were damaged. The antisemitic act occurred last Sunday and revolted the Jewish community in Romania, taking place as Israel simultaneously marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Romania was an ally of Nazi Germany during World War II until 1994. Acoording to a report made by an international commission 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews perished in in the Holocaust.

Source: Israel Hayom

Image: RT- Mihai Barbu/Reuters

By: Efrat Baron

Lithuania Plans to Build Convention Center on Jewish Cemetery

Prior to the Holocaust, Vilna was one of the largest Jewish centers in Europe, later known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania”. Dating back to the year 1400, Vilna became the home for numerous Jews. In the 1920’s, Jews made up 40% of the population. The community throve, the Jews were very successful in Talmudic research and built many cultural and religious institutions. The Gaon of Vilna, a Jewish spiritual leader, and the Socialist Bund, the head of the secular Jewish labor movement lived in Vilna.

Today, the Jews comprise less than 1% of the total population with the Jewish cemetery being one of the strongest pieces of evidence left of the city’s rich history. Many scholars, authors, and famous rabbis were buried at the cemetery. After the war, communists ruled Vilna and built a sporst arena on a quarter of the cemetery’s land. They did not consult with Jews or receive permission to build the arena, even though the land is owned by Jews. [According to the Jewish law, Jews can only be buried in a cemetery if the land is owned by Jews.]

Jewish graves were destroyed, and the remaining three quarters of the cemetery was left untouched. A few years later the arena was abandoned. In the 1990’s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became an independent country. The cemetery became property of the state. In 2006, the arena was declared as a heritage site and could not be dismantled by law. In 2015, Lithuania’s government revealed its intentions to build a new site on the cemetrey land, and did not restore the cemetery to the Jewish community.

The Lithuanian government announced its plans to build a $25 million convention center on Vilna’s Jewish cemetery land, which is to be funded by the European Union. Local Jews and scholars petitioned to stop the construction. They suggested to relocate the center away from the sacred land. Only a few weeks after it was published, the petition was signed by 40,000 supporters Jews and Christians alike, with the word still spreading.

Ruta Bloshtein, a Vilna resident who initiated the petition noted that this decision mocks the memory of Vilna’s historic Jewish community, saying: “Because of the Holocaust and the murder of around 99% of Vilna’s Jewry, the buried people, whose families paid honestly over centuries for their perpetual place of rest, have no local descendants to take up their cause”.

Dr. Shnayer Leiman is a veteran of Oxford, Harvard and Yale Universities, and directed a Jewish studies program that documents the Jewish history and heritage of Vilna’s Jewish cemetery. Leiman noted that the decision to construct the center not only erases the Jewish last testimony to the land, claiming that the larger issue is the international effect of accepting such a decision. If the government decides to destroy the remains of the Jewish cemetery, it will serve as evidence for the justification of erasing other Jewish cemeteries everywhere: “What’s at stake is really the future of all Jewish cemeteries in Europe in particular, or anywhere where the Jewish population dwindles and the government feels it can just walk on in and do whatever it wants.”

The petition can be signed here.

Source: Tablet

Image: Visit Lithuania

By: Yael Soffer

Australian Shop Declares ‘No Israelis Served Here’

A retailer in the Northern Queensland city of Cairns in Australia declared it does not serve Israelis.

Israeli tourist Mohr Wenger and a friend came across the sign which read: “No Israelis served here”.

Wenger and her friend entered the piercing shop to have their noses pierced, yet they were promptly informed by the owner that he would not serve them since they were from Israel.

The two women added: “he doesn’t serve Israelis out of principal. He said he doesn’t agree with what our government does and therefore we are not welcomed in his shop. He even pointed out the sign to us, Wenger posted later on Facebook.

“A sign that means ‘I don’t want to listen, I don’t care who you are but if you are from Israel go away.’ That’s sugarcoating antisemitism. That’s sugarcoating racism,” Wenger wrote.

Source: Arutz 7

Image: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

By: Hadassah Schwarz