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July 31, 2016 / 25 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘antisemitism’

Coming to Jerusalem: Louis C.K. and his Jewish Root

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

The paternal grandfather of Louis Székely (pronounced se-kei), a.k.a. Louis C.K., Dr. Géza Székely Schweiger, was a Hungarian Jewish surgeon who immigrated with his family to Mexico, where he met C.K.’s paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales. Morales was Catholic, and Schweiger agreed to raise their children Catholic, but, according to C.K., his grandfather remained “quietly Jewish.” C.K. is Catholic on his Irish American mother’s side. On August 18 C.K., possibly the most influential American standup comedian living today, will give two back-to-back concerts in Jerusalem’s Payis Arena. According to the show’s promoters, demand has been so great, they added more seats to the arena, with tickets going for as much as $180.

The gifted comic, whose capacity for self-deprecation and intimate exposure is extraordinary, is not focused on Jews and Jewish issues, but he has included enough comments over the years about Jews and things Jewish to reveal an intriguing understanding of both being and observing the most tense minority group in America.

In his 2010 special, “Hilarious,” Louis C.K. noted that the word “Jew” is “the only word that is the polite thing to call a group of people and the slur for the same group. … It’s the same word, just with a little stank on it, and it becomes a terrible thing to call a person.”

One of C.K.’s funniest Jewish-related jokes has him watching Schindler’s List on TV, at the point where the Warsaw Ghetto Jews are marched through the streets, and a little girl yells out at them: “Good bye, Jews!” C.K. is convinced the vignette was real, someone had probably told director Steven Spielberg about it and he decided he wanted it in the movie. And so, knowing how films are made, C.K. is convinced there’s an auditions tape out there, of fifty adorable little girls yelling “Good bye, Jews” at the camera.

At the 2011 Louis C.K. concert Live at the Beacon Theater, the comic opened with a lengthy request that the audience not use their flash cameras during the show, and as he is making these pre-show requests, he adds, “What else… No Jews, I think they said that earlier, but they told me I have to say it. Jews aren’t allowed. If you’re Jewish, this is a good time to leave, If you see someone Jewey looking, please tell an usher and they will…” at which point he turns to a member of the audience, saying, “Sir, come on, let’s go…”

Like all comedy, context here is everything: while the very same lines from French Black anti-Semitic comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala could land him in jail, no one suspects Louis C.K. of anti-Semitism, despite the obvious edginess of his material. Because C.K. does not single out Jews for his poking, his references to things Jewish are part of a rich tapestry of social and personal references. In fact, one has to dig far and wide to come up with actual Louis C.K. Jewish jokes.

Last Friday night, at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY, C.K. talked about being revolted by his uncircumcised non-Jewish father. Also that night, according to the NY Daily News, C.K. did minority accents which were pretty insulting, about which he commented: “Stereotypes are harmful, but the voices are funny.” And it’s that quality of being an equal opportunity ethnic insulter that permits C.K. to include Jews in his circle of often dark humor.

JNi.Media

Study: German Extreme Left also Extremely Anti-Semitic

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

An online survey of 36,000 people conducted by the Free University Berlin (FU) suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes among the German far-left are more widespread than has been generally believed, Die Welt reported.

34% of individuals identified by the study as belonging to the “extreme left” agreed with the statement that Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

Among the “radical left,” — which, unlike the “extreme left,” supports democracy and the German constitution, 16% agreed with the statement.

Altogether, 10% of Germans surveyed agreed Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

The Freie Universität Berlin, often abbreviated as FU Berlin or just FU, is one of the most prominent universities in Germany.

Individuals identified by the survey as being on the extreme left and radical left made up 17 percent of respondents.

A high proportion of the far left agreed with the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are “greedy.” 34% of the extreme left, and 13% of the left agreed with the statement, while across the entire political spectrum only 8% did.

The researchers, Monika Deutz-Schroeder and Klaus Schroeder, also examined the use of violence by the far left, concluding that while the far left does not represent an immediate threat to German democracy, its propensity to violence is probably going to increase.

14% of respondents on the extreme left consider politically motivated violence to be justified, compared with only 7% across German society.

Schroeder complained to Die Welt that the extreme left’s connections to many politically motivated acts of violence are not reported. For example, according to the official report, 600 violent crimes each year are carried out by leftists who are not identified as “extremists.” But Schroeder argued that, by definition, “anyone who tries to create political change through violence is an extremist. Period.”

David Israel

Global Forum on Anti-Semitism This Year in Buenos Aires

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

For the first time, the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism (GFCA) traditionally held biennally in Jerusalem is taking place this weekend (July 16-18) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference this year is organized by the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional chapter of the World Jewish Congress.

Anti-Semitism is rising around the world, and this year’s conference is focused on creating an action plan to respond to the attacks on an international level.

On Monday forum participants are slated to attend a ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. The attack was suspected to have been perpetrated by Iran via its Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah. In that attack 85 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.

“The first GFCA in Latin America presents a unique opportunity to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Latin America and develop an action plan that would complement the one drafted at the last GFCA in Jerusalem in June 2015,” the HILC said in a statement.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent experts to the conference to participate in a panel discussion on best practices in tackling cyberhate – the spread of anti-Semitism online.

ADL resources which have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese are being presented during a session on identifying and opposing cyberhate and community safety online.

“With the advent of various social media platforms, and the volume of pernicious content, no continent is immune to the growing phenomenon of online hate,” warned Jonathan Vick, ADL Assistant Director for Cyberhate Response.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Counter-Anti-Semitism Czar: Our Goal to Allow Jews Fear-Free Life in Europe

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The EU’s coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, this week told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs about the European Union’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. “The goal of all this activity is that Jews will be able to live in Europe without fear,” she said. “The fact that we have reached a situation whereby Jews send their children to schools behind barbed wire fences or send them to public schools without knowing whether they will be exposed to incitement there – this situation is unacceptable. The fact that we see security guards outside synagogues – and we have grown used to this – this is also unacceptable. But it doesn’t end there. There are security guards outside government buildings. The security situation is no longer limited to Jewish communities. We are convinced that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to combat anti-Semitism.”

Von Schnurbein said the general increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and the “atmosphere of hatred,” particularly online, are very worrying. She said that since her appointment in December, the EU’s activity against anti-Semitism has included dialogue with the major Internet companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — which brought about the formation of the Code of Conduct. Under the code, the online giants pledged to fund organizations that would help them monitor the situation and train people who will report any inciting content online.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) thanked von Schnurbein for the Code of Conduct legislation, which he said would allow social media companies to “remove hate speech inciting to violence within 24 hours,” which is “a correct and important step, the fruits of which I hope we will see immediately.”

Neguise told the meeting, which was also attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, of a survey conducted ahead of the meeting among rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Europe. The survey, commissioned by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, indicates that anti-Semitism is intensifying in Western European countries, but pointed out that the involvement of Muslim refugees in anti-Semitic incidents is marginal. The same survey showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe is decreasing.

“We are currently monitoring the process to see if there really is a change. We want to see a real change on the ground,” von Schnurbein said. “Today, only 13 of the 28 member states properly apply the [Code of Conduct] law . . . We are pressuring them to implement it.”

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said, “You cannot on the one hand constantly try to undermine the foundations of Judaism – be it brit milah (male circumcision ritual) or kosher shechitah (slaughtering of animals for food in accordance with Jewish law) – and on the other hand talk all the time about wanting to eradicate anti-Semitism.”

Yogev Karasenty, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry’s Director for Combating Anti-Semitism, said “It is not at all certain that the legislation trickles down to the ground level. There are Internet companies which declare a policy [of removing inciting content] but do not implement it.”

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, mentioned an EU survey conducted a few years ago which revealed that 74% of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks do not report them to the authorities. This indicates, he said, that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is significantly higher than what the official figures show.

Addressing von Schnurbein and Faaborg-Andersen, Haguel said, “These Jews are your citizens, they are European citizens, proud citizens who want to live in Europe, who want to raise their children in Europe, who pay taxes. Before legislation and enforcement and education – what kind of atmosphere is being created for your citizens there? For us, the Jewish people, it is very concerning, but you, who represent the sovereign governments of each country, are responsible for the Jewish citizens, just as you are responsible for all the other citizens.”

NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg spoke of the “new anti-Semitism” and said the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions “is directly linked to the incitement we hear about every day in Europe and the world. It is obvious that phrases such as ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘violation of international law,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ — which are said repeatedly in reference to Israel — feed this anti-Semitism.”

Ido Daniel, Program Director at Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, mentioned that in 2014 the organization filed some 14,000 complaints with new media companies regarding anti-Semitic content online, and in 2015 the number of complaints to Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram rose to about 29,000. The trend is continuing in 2016, and the organization expects to file over 30,000 complaints by the end of the year, he told the committee.

“The social networks allow many people to disseminate inciting messages which are then translated into physical acts against Jews,” said Daniel, who noted that Jewish students from Brussels told him that they conceal their real last names on Facebook to avoid receiving hateful and insulting messages.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said, “History has already shown us what happens when displays of hatred and violence are not dealt with. There is terror all over the world now, and the social networks serve as a [broad platform] for this activity. This is not only Israel’s — it is the problem of entire world. Terror strikes in Brussels, Paris, Turkey and the United States. It’s a global problem.”

Rut Zach of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Antisemitism said that since von Schnurbein’s appointment “we can see concrete action against anti-Semitism in Europe,” adding that the left in Europe must take the lead on this issue. “The left is supposed to protect human rights,” she said.

Carol Nuriel, Acting Director of ADL’s Israel office, presented the findings of a poll showing that one in every three Europeans holds anti-Semitic opinions. Another survey conducted by ADL after the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket Hypercacher and the Jewish Museum in Brussels indicated a 10-20% decrease in anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Belgium.

“The awareness of the danger of violence against Jews created a sort of solidarity with the Jewish communities, and it is very important to preserve this solidarity,” Nuriel stressed. “Another conclusion is that when elected officials act – and we all remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s historic speech – there are results on the ground.”

Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen said, “We are all in agreement about the urgency of the battle against anti-Semitism, which is a despicable phenomenon. The EU is committed 100 percent to this fight.”

Chairman Neguise concluded the meeting by saying that the committee calls on the EU to act against anti-Semitism through legislation and education. He also urged the organizations combating the phenomenon to work together.

JNi.Media

Graduation Gift: York Jewish Student Awarded £1,000 for Suffering from Anti-Semitism

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zachary Confino, 21, a Jewish third year Law student and president of the Union of Jewish Students at York University in the UK, received an apology and payment of £1,000 from the University of York Students’ Union after two years of battling anti-Semitism from students while studying at the university, The Telegraph reported.

Although the nature of the anti-Semitic abuse is not specified in the apology, the report says that “It is understood that Mr Confino, who narrowly missed out on a first class degree and had suffered with stress, had been racially abused and bullied.”

A spokesperson for the University of York said in a statement, “The University of York acted as mediator to resolve a long-running complaint brought by a student against the University of York Students’ Union. This involved an apology by the Students’ Union to the student and a token payment of £1,000.”

Joint statements had been signed with both the Jewish Society and the Islamic Society on campus.

Confino’s experience caught the attention of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who called on government to intervene to stop the rise of “poisonous hate” on campuses. In a letter to Confino, Lord Williams said he had written to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, because of the “muted” official response so far to rising anti-Semitic behavior. Williams described anti-Semitic incidents in a growing number of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and York.

Williams added: “Anyone concerned (as I am) about Islamophobia here and elsewhere needs to be scrupulously alert to the risk of scapegoating and demonizing other religious communities, especially Jews; and anyone with even the least bit of historical sense ought to hear the echoes of past bigotry and violence towards Jewish people in Europe.”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury also said he was “dispirited” by the failure of Christian chaplains at York to support Mr Confino. “You’d expect a more simply empathetic engagement,” he wrote.

Zachary reported that one York student posting on Facebook compared Israelis to Nazis, but when he raised this with the Students Union, he was told that there was nothing the Union could do. Zachary says he has received hateful anonymous messages online, as have other Jewish students. One message said, “Hitler was onto something.” He has been called a “Stupid Israeli [expletive]” and a “Jewish [expletive].”

Zachary told The Tab that the attacks on him escalated about five months ago, after he had launched a campaign against a play put on by the Palestinian Solidarity Society. According to Zachary, his communications with the Students Union bordered on the absurd: “We entered into a debate on what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism with people who clearly don’t understand what Jewish hate is,” he said. “It’s adding insult to injury. I’m experiencing anti-Semitism and then getting told it isn’t anti-Semitism.”

JNi.Media

Why Robert Wistrich Is Required Reading on Past, Present and Future Antisemitism

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

A year ago, the world of Jewish academia suffered an irreplaceable loss with the passing of Prof. Robert Wistrich, the head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Wistrich died in Rome on May 19, 2015, shortly after arriving in the Italian capital to deliver a lecture on anti-Semitism.

Many of his friends, colleagues, and admirers — myself included — took this tragedy as a sign of Wistrich’s dedication to his mission to examine, expose, and combat the world’s “longest hatred,” one that he pursued until his last breath. After all, as his wife Danielle reminded the audience at a recent memorial event in Germany organized by the Berlin International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, “In academia, some subjects are taboo, and Robert had the courage to bring them to light.”

Few subjects these days have the aura of a taboo as does anti-Semitism. That’s not to say it isn’t researched and studied in academe — there are fine institutions doing just that at American universities like Yale and Indiana, as well as at Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University in Israel. If anything, serious academic study of anti-Semitism, in significant part because of the efforts of Robert Wistrich himself, is a growing and welcome trend. It is a fascinating subject because deciphering its ugliness involves so many disciplines, among them history, sociology, philosophy and psychology, and so many globally critical historical episodes, such as the Dreyfus trial and the ethnic cleansing of the Jews of the Arab world—both subjects close to Wistrich’s heart.

The problem emerges, however, when it comes to contemporary anti-Semitism. There are plenty of academics and activists out there who view the entire subject through the prism of “solidarity” with the Palestinians, and who therefore dismiss any identification of a person or a statement as anti-Semitic as an attempt to prevent — as former London mayor Ken Livingstone has repeatedly charged — “criticism of Israel.”

There lies the rub: While the definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism is, in the hands of Zionism’s adversaries, continually squeezed so that only a zombified white guy in a Nazi uniform can be deemed a Jew-hater, their parameters for what constitutes “criticism of Israel” are far more generous. Is expressing the fabricated claim that “Hitler was a Zionist” merely criticism of Israel? According to Livingstone, who has repeatedly stated this falsehood, it is. To those who continue to protest that the claim is, in fact, a virulent example of anti-Semitism, Livingstone’s response is to talk about unnamed “Jews in the street” who have apparently approached him offering encouragement. (Which doesn’t sound, shall we say, hugely plausible.)

There were few people more qualified than Wistrich to comment on events like the latest Livingstone scandal, because of the weight of historical knowledge that he brought to bear. Thanks to Wistrich and the scholars with whom he worked, we have a comprehensive historical account of the Soviet campaign against Zionism and Judaism, as well as the New Left’s adoption of anti-Semitic tropes as part of its support for the violent Palestinian struggle against Israel. Both these milieus influenced Livingstone and his cohorts and explain why he, and they, continue to trade in abject falsehoods. The lie that Israel is an apartheid state, the lie that a Jewish sense of “Chosenness” underlies Zionism, the lie that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust — all of these were being actively circulated in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, whether by the Soviet diplomatic mission at the United Nations, or by Trotskyists on provincial university campuses in the United Kingdom.

I have many friends and colleagues who have told me, wistfully, that Wistrich’s loss has deprived us of the most cogent analyst of anti-Semitism then and now. And I agree with them — as I said earlier, Wistrich is irreplaceable. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of his prolific writings when it comes to informing our response to both antisemitism and the denial of antisemitism.

Look, for example, at the next two years. In June 2017, Israel will mark the 50th anniversary of its triumph in the Six-Day War. In November 2017, the centenary of the Balfour Declaration will fall. In May 2018, Israel will mark the 70th anniversary of its creation as a sovereign state.

All these occasions will be cause for celebration, but it also doesn’t take a mystic to foresee that Israel’s foes will use each of them as a platform to level their standard accusations — and perhaps some new ones? — and call for a boycott. All of us can counter that offensive by educating ourselves.

That’s why I want to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Wistrich’s passing with a plea to my own readers to read his books. If you want to understand the relationship between the Jews and the left, read “From Ambivalence to Betrayal.” If you want understand the epic historical sweep of antisemitism, get a copy of “A Lethal Obsession” — if its size is daunting, you can read individual chapters rewardingly. And if you just want to learn why Wistrich was such a good historian, read “Fate of a Revolutionary,” his study of the Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky.

I issue that plea not from a feeling of anxiety, but from one of confidence. After all, more and more good scholarship on antisemitism is coming to the fore, at the same time as important political and moral victories over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign are being won. In that sense, the Jewish community owes an important debt to Wistrich in getting us to where we are now.

And if that doesn’t inspire you, let me end by explaining how Wistrich’s center at Hebrew University came to be named after Vidal Sassoon. The celebrity who daringly transformed women’s hairstyles and created a line of beauty products came from humble beginnings, a Jewish boy growing up in a one-parent home in London. In his teenage years after the Second World War, Sassoon regularly battled with the fascists who had returned to the streets, recounting how he would turn up for work with bruises and a black eye. That experience led him to fight for Israel during its War of Independence. Sassoon’s abiding belief that anti-Semitism had to be studied properly if it was ever to be expunged brought him together with Wistrich.

The importance of that connection, and its legacy to our generation, can’t be overstated.

Ben Cohen

Jay Shapiro Show – The Antisemites Have Outdone Themselves [audio]

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Last week, Jay spoke about intersectionality as the newest form of antisemitism. This week, they came up with an even newer one – “anti-pinkwashing.” This deserves detailed analysis.

Jay Shapiro Show 31May – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/israel-news-talk-radio/jay-shapiro-show/jay-shapiro-show-the-antisemites-have-outdone-themselves-audio/2016/06/01/

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