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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Anti Semitic’

Man Threatened to Tattoo Swastika on Women’s Forehead

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Police have charged a man with assault and threatening to tattoo a swastika on the forehead of a woman, the Doylestown, Pennsylvania Intelligencer reported.

The woman was crying in her hotel room when police arrived after having been alerted of a disturbance. She said that 33-year-old Clinten Lawrence McClain assaulted her, threatened to kill her and forced her head into a position so that a tattoo machine could be paced on her forehead, where he threatened to place a swastika.

Kanye West Wants to Take Back ‘Ignorant Compliment’ about Jews

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Rapper Kanye West told a Chicago radio station that he wants to take back the “ignorant compliment” he made about Jews  last month during an interview on the New York City radio station WWPR-FM. West said, “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”

In an interview last week with the Chicago radio station B96, West said, “I thought that I was giving a compliment, but it came off more ignorant. When I said this comment about Jews having money and blacks not having money, I think it was, like, a ‘ignorant compliment.’ ”

He added, “I don’t know how being told that you have money is, like, an insult.”

The original comments had raised the ire of the Anti-Defamation League, while Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan defended West and said he should not apologize.

Nothing Legitimate about Antisemitic Slur

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw is pleading innocent. Called out for comments made during a Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum held at the House of Commons last week, Straw insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about raising points that he says are merely matters of genuine concern.

As the Times of Israel reported, former Labor Party Knesset member Einat Wilf, who took part in the debate, described Straw’s presentation in the following manner:

Wilf participated in the debate and posted some of what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page, saying she nearly fell off her chair when she heard them: “Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem. I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”

The British politician is right when he says criticizing Israel’s policies is not anti-Semitic. But, like many others who want to bash Israel without being branded as Jew-haters, he crossed a very important line when he injected traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish money and insidious attempts to control the policy discussion into the question of how best to advance the cause of peace.

That’s why someone like Wilf, who opposes the Netanyahu government, was so outraged. In doing so, he not only demonstrated ignorance of how American politics works as well as insensitivity to Israel’s position, but also showed the way disagreements with the Jewish state quickly morph into conspiracy theories that are thinly veiled new versions of traditional myths about Jews.

While Straw is neither the first nor the last member of Parliament or prominent Briton to play this game, the fact that someone who was a former foreign minister would not only feel free to vent this nasty stuff, but also think there’s nothing wrong with it, tells you all you need to know about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.

As for Straw’s charges, they are easily dismissed. Contrary to the Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” conspiracy theory thesis, the vast, wall-to-wall bipartisan coalition that supports the Jewish state is a function of American public opinion, not Jewish money.

As frustrating as it may be for Israel’s critics, support for Zionism is baked into the DNA of American politics and is primarily the function of religious attitudes as well as the shared values of democracy that unite the U.S. and Israel.

Other lobbies (oil interests, pharmaceuticals, et al) have far more money. Hard as it is for some people to accept, the reason why American politicians back Israel’s democratically elected government is because opposing them is bad politics as well as bad policy.

Making such accusations is offensive rather than just wrong because, as Straw knows very well, talking about Jewish money buying government policy is straight out of the anti-Semitic playbook of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The purpose of such claims is not to argue that Israel’s supporters are misguided so much as that they are illegitimate.

That Straw is similarly frustrated with German refusals to try and hammer the Israelis is equally appalling. Germany’s government has, contrary to Straw’s comment, often been highly critical of Israel, but if officials in Berlin have some sensitivity to Israel’s position as a small, besieged nation it is because they understand that the underlying factor that drives hostility to Zionism is the same anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust.

But the main point to be gleaned from this story is the way Straw has illustrated just how mainstream anti-Semitic attitudes have become in contemporary Britain. It is entirely possible that Straw thinks himself free from prejudice. But that is only possible because in the intellectual and political circles in which he and other members of the European elite move, these ideas have gone mainstream rather than being kept on the margins as they are in the United States.

The ease with which Western European politicians invoke these tired clichés about Jewish power and money is a reflection of the way attitudes have changed in the last generation as the memory of the Holocaust fades and people feel empowered to revive old hate. Chalk it up to the prejudices of intellectuals, especially on the left, as well as to the growing influence of Muslim immigrants who have brought the Jew-hatred of their home countries with them.

Straw may not be alone in not liking the Netanyahu government, but he can’t get out off the hook for the anti-Semitic rationale for his views that he put forward. The pity is, he’s speaking for all too many Europeans when he speaks in this manner.

Kosher Slaughter Ban Shows Poland Has a Jewish Problem

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, has a Jewish problem.

In a painful affront to the Jewish community, it recently defeated a government initiative to reinstate the legality of kosher slaughter of animals. This prompted Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, to threaten resignation and triggered sharp criticism of the Sejm from Jewish communities in Poland and around the world.

What happens in Poland regarding Jews has special significance because of the Holocaust. More than 90 percent of the country’s three and a half million Jews were killed during the Nazi occupation. Poland began legislating against kosher slaughter in 1936, and once the Germans occupied the country three years later, the practice was banned entirely.

Since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, however, Jewish life in Poland has undergone a remarkable, and previously unimaginable, renaissance. Full recognition of the rights of Jews to practice their faith – including kosher slaughter – was enshrined in an agreement the government signed with the Jewish community in 2004.

Indeed, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, addressing an overflow crowd at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Washington several weeks ago, declared it was his country’s responsibility to ensure “that today’s Jewish community in Poland is safe, welcome and respected.”

He honored Poland’s Jewish community “not just for how it died, but for how it lives, and how it is coming back to life.”

When legislation was adopted a few years ago mandating the use of electronic stunning equipment before an animal is killed – a practice prohibited under Jewish law –the Jewish community was granted an administrative exemption. In January, however, a court ruled the exemption unconstitutional. Alleged violations of animal rights trumped age-old Jewish religious practice.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government framed legislation to override the court decision. What should have been a fairly easy corrective measure was instead defeated on July 12 by a vote of 222 to 178, leaving in place the judicial ban.

Thirty-eight Sejm members representing Tusk’s ruling Civic Platform party joined with the opposition in voting to outlaw ritual slaughter. In Poland, this was viewed as a major victory for animal rights advocates, as their views prevailed against the nation’s farmers and meatpackers, who had developed a lively business exporting kosher and halal meat to Israel and Muslim countries.

Jews, however, see matters quite differently. From their perspective, the Sejm’s action stigmatizing kosher slaughter as inhumane blatantly contradicts Foreign Minister Sikorski’s pledge to make Jews “safe, welcome and respected.” They point out that kosher slaughter, whereby the animal is rendered immediately unconscious by severing the carotid artery, is humane, and that the continued legality of hunting in Poland, which results in far greater and more indiscriminate pain to animals, suggests there may in fact be another, unstated reason for outlawing kosher slaughter: anti-Semitism.

In the wake of the Sejm vote, pejorative comments about Jews in some of the Polish media and online give some credence to these fears.

Unfortunately, it is not an isolated incident. The situation for European Jews looks even grimmer in a broader context. Just a few months ago, a similar scenario unfolded in Germany when a court banned ritual circumcision, another fundamental element of the Jewish religion, on the grounds that it mutilated children without their consent. There, too, anti-Semitic motivation was not hard to discern in certain quarters amid the talk about physiological and psychological harm.

Fortunately, Chancellor Angela Merkel navigated a bill through the German parliament overruling the court and reestablishing the religious freedom of Jews to continue an age-old tradition of their faith. Whether Poland will successfully follow her example and push through a law guaranteeing the right to kosher slaughter remains to be seen.

Such attacks on Jewish religious practice, in fact, constitute just one front in a wider struggle over the future of Jewish life in Europe. Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise, increasing by 30 percent between 2011 and 2012. In France, there was an astounding 58 percent jump over that same period, including the targeted murder last year of four Jews, three of them small children, in Toulouse.

Vocally anti-Semitic political parties are represented in the Greek and Hungarian parliaments and are gaining power on the local and regional levels in other countries. Public opinion polls show alarmingly high levels of anti-Semitic attitudes. Demonization of Israel in the media and among some intelligentsia is often indistinguishable from Jew-baiting. No wonder that opinion surveys point to a striking number of European Jews contemplating emigration.

Subway Chaos over Arrest of Teen Harassing Jewish Rider (Video)

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Explosive Subway chaos broke out and was was caught on camera on Monday, April 15, as NY police were arresting a Muslim teen for threatening and abusing a Jewish rider. The main theme in the teen’s taunting was, reportedly, the line: “They should have killed all of you.”

When two police officers arrived to arrest Stephan Stowe, 17, in a Brooklyn subway station, they had some trouble cuffing him and the platform quickly filled up with an angry mob, mostly African American, who were screaming at the policemen and filming the lengthy arrest on their cellphones.

Police then wrestled to the ground 22-year-old Sheniqua Joseph, after she threw herself into the proceedings and kicked an officer in the stomach, and charged her with disorderly conduct. Stowe is charged on eight counts, including aggravated harassment as a hate crime.

According to the New York Daily News, the incident began around 3 PM, when Stowe and a group of friends approached a rider wearing a yarmulke on the 3 train in Brooklyn.

Court documents state that Stowe said “A Salamu Alaikum,” an Islamic phrase that means Shalom Aleichem, or Peace be with you, to the Jewish man.

But when he received no reply, the young man said “You think you’re better than me? We are cousins.”

The Jewish rider reportedly disagreed regarding the cousins thing, and told Stowe to leave him alone. The teenager then started in with the slurs.

Police say the Jewish rider took out his cellphone and snapped a shot of Stowe, who promptly grabbed the phone and deleted the image.

Stowe then said “I’m going to kill you right now,” and added: “They should have killed all of you.”

That may have been the fastest switch from Peace upon you to Auschwitz in the annals of Subway mayhem.

The Jewish man got his phone back and alerted the train conductor, who called police, and the two cops were already waiting to arrest Stowe at the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum station.

That’s when a whole lot more trouble ensued, as police tried their academy-trained best to cuff Stowe inside the empty subway car, in front of a growing, progressively angry mob.

The policemen radioed for back-up, since Stowe continued to resist arrest, and the group of passengers continued to yell and shoot the whole thing on their phones.

For future reference, the proper response to a menacing black teenager who says “A Salam Aleikum” to you on a crowded subway car is: “Aleikum Salam.”



‘Kill the Jews’ Spray Painted in Monmouth Heights, NJ

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Yesterday, September 6, residents of a neighborhood in East-Central New Jersey awoke to find swastikas and hate-filled slogans spray-painted on cars, sidewalks, fences, mailboxes and houses.

The words “kill the Jews” and swastikas defaced the Monmouth Heights neighborhood of Monmouth County, which is located in East-Central New Jersey.  Approximately 75,000 Jews live in Monmouth County, with several tens of thousands of Jews located in the Monmouth Heights neighborhood.

Keith Krivitzky is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County.  He told The Jewish Press that while there are certainly Jewish families in the Monmouth Heights neighborhood, he didn’t think there was a higher concentration there than in the rest of Western Monmouth County.  “In fact,” Krivitizky said, “there isn’t even a single synagogue in that neighborhood,” although there are many elsewhere in the county.

While the choice of location may have been puzzling, the timing was less so.

In what some could call an act of prescience, the Monmouth County Federation had provided a “security preparedness workshop” to synagogue representatives and Jewish organizational leadership just hours before the attack occurred.  Krivitzky explained that there are “ongoing security awareness events and discussions throughout the year, but the workshop held on the evening of September 5 was set in advance of the Jewish high holidays,”  a time when Jews are more visible and, perhaps, more vulnerable.

It’s a tricky balance to ensure that the Jewish community is able to present a “warm and welcoming face, but at the same time we have the need to remain security conscious,” said Krivitzky.  He also said that while “the hate-graffiti was shocking, we have a great, longstanding relationship with the Manalapan Township Police Department and we have complete confidence that they will devote all the necessary attention to resolving this incident.”

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders issued a press release condemning the hate wave.

Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said “Religious persecution in any form is contrary to the founding principals of America.  While we’d like to think the treatment of the Jews during World War II taught us right from wrong, the sad fact is the lesson was lost on some people. I personally find this kind of vandalism despicable.”

The Manalapan Township Bias Crimes Unit is working on the investigation which has been labelled a hate crime.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni assured The Jewish Press that although he could not provide details on the record because the investigation is ongoing, the Prosecutor’s Office, working in coordination with the Manalapan Township Police Department, is fully engaged.

Krivitzky said that the Manalapan Township Public Works Department were brought in and “all traces of the offensive attacks are gone.”

The Real Purpose of Boycotts

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Is the purpose of the calls for boycotts against Israel and its citizens a concern for the human rights or welfare of Palestinians, or actually a call ultimately to eliminate the state of Israel? If there were a real concern for the human rights of Palestinians, why are there not calls for a free Palestinian press, or for the release of journalists from Palestinian prisons, or for an end to the corruption in the Palestinian leadership?

Instead, these calls for boycott look suspiciously like a racist response to the existence of a Jewish state — as if most of its citizens were wearing a yellow Star-of-David in Nazi-like fashion, and deserved to be punished or eliminated. Even Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, well-known critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists, have characterized the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel as “hypocritical,” and run by individuals who falsely claim to represent the Palestinian people.

Whether the calls for boycott are the product of leftist anti-nationalist posturing, antisemitism, or simple ignorance, is a matter of judgment. In their disingenuous nature they are simplistic responses to complex, unresolved problems that ignore the distinctions between diverse kinds of activities and issues, such as the different territories and populations, or how “appropriately” to defend oneself in the face of continued aggression. If the advocates for boycott do wish for peace, what they are proposing is actually counterproductive: they create an atmosphere in which calls for boycott have been, and are, an obstacle to the start of negotiations between the parties, and in which adversarial positions only become hardened even further as threats are seen to increase. There seems to be a cognitive dissonance, an inability among the boycotters, to distinguish between facts and the spun perception of them; or perhaps there is an indifference to facts, or perhaps there is a reluctance to place any facts at all in the context of the real, ongoing relationship between the disputing parties.

Boycotts of Jews and Jewish interests by Arab groups go back almost a hundred years, and have become more prominent with the declaration in December, 1945, of the newly formed Arab League Council of 23 countries. The declaration stated that, “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” Hypocrisy was present from the start. The Arab states were less interested in helping Palestinian Arabs than in preventing Jewish products from entering their own countries and competing with them.

This boycott, administered by the Central Boycott Office in Damascus, attempted to isolate Israel economically as well as diplomatically, and did administer some temporary harm to the economy of Israel after the state was established in 1948. In addition to the Arab states, some non-Arab businesses, among them Pepsi, McDonald’s and most Japanese car companies, abided by the boycott, but it was more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Since the 1980s a number of Arab states, starting with Egypt, and with the exception of Syria, have abandoned the boycott, wholly or in part, unable to ignore the new world of globalization, international trade, and binding international trade agreements, particularly that of the World Trade Organization. As a result, Arab countries, both through legal channels and clandestinely through third parties, have been trading with Israeli companies in a considerable fashion, including in irrigation, security systems, and high-tech components, and have accepted Israeli investment.

The boycott is still technically in force by Arab countries, though often bypassed, ineffective and negligible. Its intended impact is now less in economic affairs than in becoming a major polemical weapon in the hands of those non-Arabs who are critical of, or want to condemn, Israel — purportedly because of their opposition of Israeli settlements and their unwillingness to believe that, to the adversaries of Israel, it is regarded as one big settlement.

People can understand the politically motivated logic of Arabs, inside Israel as well as outside, calling for a ban on products made in Israeli settlements, including Ahava Dead Sea health products, Beigel and Beigel pretzels, Super Drink soft drinks, Oppenheimer chocolates, fruits, vegetables, computers, and many other products. It is an illustration of democracy in Israel — and revealing about those who do not wish Israel well — that a major advocate of the boycott is Ahmad Tibi, the Arab-Israeli deputy speaker of the Knesset.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-real-purpose-of-boycotts/2012/06/06/

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