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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘antisemitism’

The UN And The Fight Against Anti-Semitism

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

My father, Chaim Hendrick Roet, a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands, addressed the United Nations General Assembly in January, during its annual Holocaust memorial ceremony with this poignant cri de coeur:

“Looking back 70 years,” he said, “it is heartbreaking that as a world, we did not learn enough from the Holocaust.”

Eight months later, speaking from the same UN podium, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani embodied all that my father had decried, demonstrating once again that Iran had failed to learn past lessons.

“Zionist pressure groups,” Rouhani claimed, have contaminated the U.S. Congress, “forcing the highest American judicial institution to violate peremptory norms of international law.”

The spectacle of an Iranian leader spewing centuries-old canards about Jewish control over foreign governments, financial institutions, and the media is hardly new. Anti-Semitism is, after all, the most durable and pliable of all conspiracy theories known to humankind.

What’s deeply disappointing and dangerous, however, is the utter passivity and lack of condemnation that followed this statement. A few years ago, dozens of UN delegations took a principled stand against blatant Iranian anti-Semitism and walked out in protest when former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the same forum to raise similar hateful accusations.

So where’s the outrage now?

While many in the UN laud the Iran nuclear agreement, lift sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, reward the mullahs with billions of dollars and lucrative trade deals, and welcome the new Iranian president as a so-called reformer, official Iranian anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denial continues unabated and unchallenged.

Meanwhile, the scourge of anti-Semitism, which not long ago many of us considered to be a thing of the past, has metastasized into a global social disease.

In too many places, Jews are again afraid to express their Judaism and be identified outside their homes and communities. Whether it’s in Brussels, where a man with a Kalashnikov opened fire and murdered four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium; over the Internet, where unimaginable hate is spread through cyberspace at nanosecond speed; or on university campuses or even in the halls of the UN, we must take a stand against what one UN secretary-general called “the oldest living hatred.”

Anti-Semitism does not need a reason, only an excuse.

In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were hated for their race. Now they are hated for their nation. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, writes that “The new anti-Semitism can always say it is not the old anti-Semitism.” Nevertheless, it remains, Sacks says, “essentially eliminationist.”

Whether in its old or new incarnation, anti-Semitism does not exist because of what Jews do, say, or believe, or because of what the state of Israel does.

We must adopt a zero-tolerance policy to any sign of anti-Semitism or to any effort to excuse or rationalize it. New haters have been using technology and social media to disseminate their contemptible ideology. To confront them, the international community should agree on a clear definition of anti-Semitism so that we can use advanced technology to stop online hate, while at the same time carefully preserve the important freedoms of speech and expression that we, as democracies, hold dear.

A few weeks before the Iranian president’s vile statements, the UN held a historic high-level forum on global anti-Semitism. Bringing the issue front and center at the UN is, regrettably, still fraught with roadblocks. Indeed, the year’s forum was a fruit of the joint efforts of the UN missions of Canada, the European Union, Israel and the United States, not the UN itself.

Unfortunately, there are those in the UN who fear that speaking out and working together to confront anti-Semitism is “too political” or risks antagonizing a certain group of countries, so they stay on the sidelines.

A recent study found that one quarter of the world’s population harbors anti-Semitic beliefs. If the UN is a mirror of the world, reflecting all that is good and bad, the rising plague of anti-Semitism requires a UN that leads the efforts to eradicate the resurgence of the world’s oldest hatred without excuses and fear.

UN leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism should not be done to appease Israel. As former secretary-general Kofi Annan declared, it should be done for the sake of all nations and all people: “A human rights agenda that fails to address anti-Semitism denies its own history…. The Secretariat must be vigilant…. The fight against anti-Semitism must be our fight.”

And as the current secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, rightly reminds us, “A United Nations that wants to be true to its founding aims and ideals has a duty to speak out against anti-Semitism.”

It’s imperative for the UN to fight anti-Semitism with the same urgency it places on combating the other ills of the world.



Ambassador David Roet

The Jewish Press Conspiracy to Protect Hillary Clinton and the Rigged Elections [audio]

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

The Observer wrote a fascinating article about the tape from an interview given by Hillary Clinton to The Jewish Press back in 2006.

What makes it so interesting or “relevant” to the public right now is that in the interview, Clinton explicitly talked about the mistake she felt the United States made by not rigging the Palestinian Authority elections to ensure that Hamas didn’t win – which it did, winning 74 seats to Fatah’s 45 seats on the Palestinian Legislative Council, and then eventually taking over Gaza by throwing Fatah officials off the roofs of Gazan buildings.

Clinton didn’t use the word “rig” but it is clear that this is what she meant.


The Observer found it odd that the story was no longer available on JewishPress.com, and we discovered that the antisemitic conspiracy theorists on the Internet are trying to create an entire backstory as to why The Jewish Press (and the Jews) censored, suppressed and hid an interview where Clinton discusses rigging an election, in light of Trump’s accusations against her in the current US elections.

Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, the answer is simply a technical one.

When we rebuilt the JewishPress.com website in 2011 and migrated it over to a new platform, that article was one of several that didn’t survive the migration process due to some odd character codes in the text.

But the article wasn’t lost.

Thanks to the technology of the WayBackMachine, the original article was preserved and archived on the Internet, untouched by human hands, odd � characters and all.

Last night, we republished the Hillary Clinton interview back onto the JewishPress.com website.

For those that believe The Jewish Press hid the entire story about Clinton wanting to rig the Palestinian Authority elections, they can now actually see for themselves that this was, in fact, her first answer that was posted in the original article.

The Jewish Press: Israel recently concluded its war against Hizbullah in what many consider to be a stalemated position. How do you see things right now?

Sen. Clinton: First, I don’t think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. If we were going to push for an election, we should have made sure we did something to determine who was going to win instead of signing off on an electoral system that advantaged Hamas.

Original copy of the interview with Hillary Clinton as preserved on the WayBackMachine.

Original copy of the interview with Hillary Clinton as preserved on the WayBackMachine.

Nothing was hidden. Back in 2006, Hillary Clinton did talk about desiring to rig an election of a foreign government, a government with no democratic traditions, but with a rather strong history of supporting terrorism, and we published it.

Without delving into the politics of it, some might even find the idea of ensuring that radical Islamic terrorists don’t take charge of an already moderate-terrorist laden government to be a commendable goal – unlike when the US State Department, under President Obama, funded OneVoice and V-15 in an attempt to manipulate democratic Israel’s recent elections.

Stephen Leavitt

Police Arrest Brothers Who Harassed Jewish Family in Connecticut Airport

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Police arrested two brothers, residents of Prospect, CT, late Thursday night for shouting anti-Semitic slurs at and threatening a Jewish family at Bradley International Airport, the Hartford Courant reported. According to reports, the head of the family was wearing a yarmulke. The two brothers, Nicholas and Anthony Diorio, 27 and 29 respectively, face charges of intimidation based on bigotry or bias, breach of peace and interfering with police. Both brothers had to post $10,000 bail and will be arraigned Nov. 9 at Superior Court in Enfield.

According to the Courant, airport State police were notified shortly after midnight Thursday about two men who were shouting slurs at and threatening the family, who kept away but took ample photos of the brothers, their car and their car license plate. State police later arrested the brothers in their Prospect home.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday strongly condemned the “verbal assault of a visibly identifiable Jewish traveler at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, CT,” and applauded the Connecticut State Police for their “swift and appropriate response.”

“We have seen a recent spike in anti-Semitism around the state and country, and this act apparently fueled by bias is an unfortunate reminder that we have significant work still to do to combat anti-Semitism,” said ADL Connecticut Regional Director Steve Ginsburg. “When a victim is chosen because of his or her religion, the impact resonates beyond just the person targeted it can leave the entire community feeling vulnerable. This lack of civility, respect and kindness ignore our country’s shared value of religious diversity. We applaud the Connecticut State Police for their swift action and investigation.”


Toynbee’s Anti-Semitism And Herzog’s Great Debate

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Educated at Oxford, Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) served as a professor of Greek language and history at the University of London and as director of studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. His writings and ideas have had great influence on modern attitudes toward not only history but also religion and international relations.

Much of his influence can be traced to his prodigious twelve-volume series A Study of History, a synthesis of world history considered one of the great accomplishments in modern scholarship. After comparing 26 different human civilizations, he concluded that all civilizations followed fixed, cyclic patterns of historical development; that all human histories were destined to tragic ends; and that the end of Western civilization was near.

A fierce opponent of a Jewish state, Toynbee was a spokesman for the Arab cause and often characterized Zionism as “demonic.” He called the “displacement” of the Arabs by Israel “an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis” and, in a Journal of Palestinian Studies interview in 1973, stated that the British had not appreciated the implications of the Balfour Declaration and that Balfour himself was “a wicked man.”

He wrote that “what is peculiar about the Palestine conflict is that the world has listened to the party that has committed the offense and turned a deaf ear to the victims” and that “the tragedy in Palestine is not just a local one; it is a tragedy for the world, because it is an injustice that is a menace to the world’s peace.”

Jacob Baal-Teshuva, a writer and an internationally recognized authority on the artist Marc Chagall, was selected to edit an anthology to mark the “bar mitzvah” of the state of Israel in 1961 and he solicited articles from numerous important personalities, among them Toynbee. Pictured with this column is the fascinating March 24, 1961 response to Baal-Teshuva, Toynbee underscores his passionate anti-Israel views:

Your kind letter, inviting me to contribute to “The Mission of Israel,” has been forwarded to me from London…. My feeling about what has happened in Palestine since the First World War is that it is a tragedy of which we have not yet seen the end…. I hope for an eventual solution of the Palestine problems by agreement, but I fear this is going to be slow and difficult.

As explained above, the central tenet of Toynbee’s historical gestalt was that civilizations, much as human beings, have life cycles that are marked by rises and falls that ultimately lead to the extinction of the civilization and its passing from the world scene. His theory is supported by the fact that through the entire course of world history, through every era and every culture, no conquered and exiled nation or people has ever returned to its land and re-established a national identity. Except one, that is.

Much as the mere continued existence of Judaism stands as a painful theological challenge to both Christianity and Islam, the return of the Jews to Eretz Yisrael after surviving 2,000 years of the bitterest of exiles negates Toynbee’s entire understanding of history.singer-102816-herzog

This may explain the motive, intentional or otherwise, for Toynbee’s antagonism toward the Jewish people, whom he persisted in criticizing as a historical “fossil” and an “extinct society” despite the rebirth of Israel. Indeed, historian Aviad Kleinberg, an expert on the history of Christianity, has characterized Toynbee’s approach as a crude reworking of the Christian theme of the Jewish Diaspora as divine punishment for the Jews’ rejection of Jesus, and he attributes Toynbee’s anger at the Jews and Israel to the fact that their mere existence is wholly inconsistent with his general historical philosophy.

When Toynbee published his accusations against the Jews and Israel at the beginning of the 1960s, he was challenged to a debate by Yaakov Herzog, the son of Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog and himself a respected religious scholar then serving as Israel’s ambassador to Canada. The debate went forward at the Hillel House of McGill University in Montreal notwithstanding the keen apprehension of many Israeli officials, who saw the debate as evocative of the “disputation dialogues” between Jews and Christians during the Middle Ages.

Exhibited with this column is an original newspaper photograph of Herzog and Toynbee at the January 31, 1961 debate. The caption under the photograph alleges that “Toynbee refused to back down,” but that is a striking falsification; in fact, Toynbee sustained a humiliating loss in what Shimon Peres called “one of the most dramatic debates in the history of our people.”

singer-102816-letterIn brilliant and spectacular fashion, Herzog forced Toynbee to back off his principal allegations against the Jews and Israel. First, Herzog challenged him to explain how defensive actions by the nascent Jewish state against multiple Arab armies determined to inflict another Holocaust on the Jews of Eretz Yisrael could somehow be compared to the Nazis’ systemic genocide.

He went through a list of other nations that, according to Toynbee himself, had committed atrocities, including the British in Ireland and the French in Syria. And, citing a litany of Arab massacres of Jewish civilians, he pointedly questioned how Toynbee somehow never got around to mentioning them and challenged him for singling out Israel and the Jews. He effectively painted Toynbee into a corner, forcing him to admit that, at the very least, Israel was no worse than any other nation.

As for Toynbee’s characterization of the Jewish people as a “fossil,” Herzog pushed the historian to concede that Israel could be “defossilized.” Although Toynbee persisted in arguing that, due to their persecution and isolation, Jews had had no discernable impact on the stage of world history, Herzog, citing fact after fact, forced him to acknowledge that contemporary Jews had not only become part of world history but had also played a meaningful part in it.

Finally, in a brilliant diplomatic move, Herzog closed the debate by issuing a warm invitation to Toynbee to come to Israel, where he could personally witness Israel’s “defossilization.”

It is fascinating to note Herzog’s successful adoption of a conspicuously different approach than the usual hasbarah (public relations information efforts) we often see coming out of Israel today. He pointedly did not present the traditional argument that Israel is “a light unto the nations” and, rather than insisting that Israel is a morally superior state, he argued merely that it is a typical one.

Saul Jay Singer

Ulysses S. Grant and the Jews: A Fascinating Study in Repentance, Resistance and Overcoming Anti-Semitism

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

An extremely Illuminating incident in US history concerning anti-Semitism occurred during the Civil War meriting examination by anyone interested in understanding the roots and productive response to anti-Semitism. This incident pivoted upon the relationship that General Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War General and also the 18 th US president established with the Jews. It involves a special order issued by Grant which has become designated General Orders No. ll which entailed an outrageous expulsion of Jews from their homes in certain southern areas. Subsequently, however, Grant paradoxically developed an incredibly positive relationship with Jews inviting the question as to how these may be reconciled.

This order was issued under Grant’s name in response to the black market in cotton during the Civil War and explicitly forbade Jews from engaging in any market of such cotton. During the Civil War the Union

permitted trade of cotton between North and South under certain licensed arrangements. In many instances Union officers were bribed by alleged unlicensed traders which Grant found a distraction affecting his military campaign. Jews were involved in these business transactions along with others, however, Grant issued General Orders No. ll which shockingly singled out Jews as a class. It required the eviction of all of Jews in the affected areas

Most central in response was the action taken by Cesar Kaskel, Jewish immigrant from

Prussia who was a resident of Paducah, Kentucky and a prominent Union supporting citizen. Kaskel lived within the area affected by the order and included with residents mandated to leave. Kaskel’s response was most revealing by appealing directly to president of the United States Abraham Lincoln rather than any intermediary. Lincoln’s response was to immediately nullify the order in strong language. In support of this appeal Jewish fraternal organizations such as B’nai Brith geared its lobbying activities against Grants order.

It is significant that Grant’s issuance of the order had its roots in a personal episode involving a business relationship of his father Jessie Grant. Prior to the issuance of General Orders Number ll Grant was visited by his father with two Jewish business partners Henry and Simon Mack. The latter sought to obtain a license to sell cotton for a 25% share in profits. It is reported that Grant who had a troubled relationship with his father became enraged and may have taken out his animosity on Jews. Upon examining Grant’s relationship with the Jews subsequently during his presidential administration we could not encounter a more stark contrast. His appointment of Jews to significant positions of the time and use of his influence in quelling anti-Semitic activities abroad are unprecedented. When Grant decided to run for the presidency it was expected that an anti-Grant voting preference of Jews regarding General would cost him the election because of its closeness. Grant, however, in responding to a letter from B’nai Brith concerning the General order encouraged their leader Adolph Moses to maintain that that he made reparation.

Grant’s General Order and the ultimate transformation of Grant raises two issues, namely, whether Grant was truly repentant and secondly determining what lessons the response to the General Order hold for us today . Regarding the latter we may firstly note that there was no hesitation by Jews in its response. Further Kaskel and others addressed Lincoln without tapping intermediaries since they knew they had a friend in him so they focused upon his attention. Further that friendship was something that was developed by certain Jews especially Abraham Jonas who was a critical influence in securing Lincoln’s nomination. This is something that Jews would do well to recall in today’s times namely

involvement in affairs of the society in which they live and friendships with those who are ethical while capable of exerting some influence.

The issue over whether Grant was truly repentant about General Orders will ultimately remain speculative but the weight of evidence would be in in its favor. He indeed was highly pragmatically oriented and the possibility his actions were a combination of such considerations and moral ones remains real, however, the impact of the latter appears predominant. His position on a number of other issues such as the impeachment of Johnson also confirms a moral dimension in his character. Grant’s overall vote returns translated into a victory and here Jewish support was also strengthened by then Republican values being more consistent with Jewish values. This included former slave rights, women’s rights and separation of church and state.

Following Grant’s election were a series of administrative appointments far exceeding any other of that time. The first appointment was that of Simon Wolf an impoverished immigrant who worked his way towards becoming an influential lawyer in governmental circles. Grant appointed him Recorder of Deeds immediately after he assumed the presidency. Most importantly within that position Grant provided him more personal access to his attention than anyone outside his cabinet. Moreover Grant’s first choice for the cabinet post of Secretary of the Treasury was Joseph Seligman a prominent Jewish banker who declined the position at the insistence of his brothers wanting him to remain within the family business. Grant amazingly appointed 50 Jews to various positions. Further his action with regard to Russian policies against Jews is another confirmation of his actions sympathetic to Jews when B’nai Brith at that time was protesting the action. In 1869 a Tsarist edict in the wake of the Crimean war Russia’s borders were greatly extended and required that tens of thousands of Jews be evicted. B’nai Brith then under the leadership of Simon Wolf drew up a document opposing this catastrophe. Grant responded despite the risk of upsetting favorable relations with Russia (arising of the Alaskan purchase) with the bold move of contacting Russia stating he would take “ pleasure in being the medium to revoke the ukase” These actions received wide publicity leading the Russians to finally revoke the expulsion order.

This resulted in a wide publicized acclaim and promoted an exceedingly positive image of Grant as a force in achieving equal rights for people around the world. Additionally this was reinforced even further by Grants reaction to mistreatment of Jews in Romania. News of atrocities committed against Jews in Romania reached the press in the late 1860’s. Grant responded by the appointment of a Jew Benjamin Franklin Peixotto to the consulship in Bucharest. Peixotto then approached Grant and implored him to support the rights of the Romanian Jews. Grant then in an introductory letter to Peixoto confirmed this mission in words that Peixotto himself could have spoken. This was given extensive press coverage and ultimately served as a precedent for America standing up for human rights violations throughout the world and persists to this very day.

Grant re-election in 1872 disclosed the extent to which he won over the Jews in the contest against Horace Greeley. In Greeley’s resounding defeat even southern democratic Jews supported Grant.

Significantly the character of Balaam within the Torah provides an illuminating comparison with Grant’s conduct. Balaam at one point turns towards a universal God and the righteous path of the Israelites in blessing them. However he ultimately backslided and travelled a path designed for their annihilation upon returning to his people. In contrast Grant acted from a perspective consistent with supporting Jewish survival. Moreover he remained in contact with the Jews immersing himself in the Jewish community.

When we look at repentance from a Jewish perspective we may see how Grant fits the pattern required. The notion of Teshuvah according to the rabbis contains several stages. The first is recognition and remorse of the sin. This is followed by action showing an inclination to reverse behavior. All of these stages are exhibited in Grant’s behavior described.

Grant ultimately demonstrated his close ties to the Jewish community through a journey he made to Jerusalem shortly before his death. He simultaneously reinforced his ties to the Jewish community while ` in opposition proving successful and known as the Chickering Hall meeting. When Grant died not long after the mourning response at his funeral by Jews was immense. He passed away on Sabbath Nahamu the Sabbath of Consolation.

The transformation from the Grant of General Order No. 11 to the Grant as protector of the Jews was staggering. But it was a transformation resulting from Grant’s own choosing. As Rabbi Nachman Breslow poignantly expressed it “If you are not going to be any better tomorrow than you are today, then what need have you for tomorrow?” Grant’s vision and actions of a better tomorrow fulfilled this need as well as offering one of inspiring measure to which humans are capable of spiritual growth.

Howard Zik

‘Anti-Semitism in Europe As Important As Climate Change’

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

On the eve of the Jewish new year, dozens of members of the European Parliament and heads of Jewish organizations gathered in the European Parliament to discuss the rise of anti-Semitism.

The delegates gathered for a conference focused on “The future of the Jewish communities in Europe,” attended by European Parliament President Martin Schulz and his deputy, Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT).

“The European Union sometimes has a reputation for talking a lot but delivering little,” observed “Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association (EJA).

“We are on the threshold of the Jewish new year, and unfortunately many of Europe’s Jews live in fear,” said Margolin. “Putting the army outside of our synagogues, radio stations, schools and shops is of course a welcome step to protect the lives of Jews – but this is just a temporary solution that does nothing to change the root cause of the problem.

“The crisis – and it is a crisis – affecting Jews across Europe – deserves the same attention as the EU institutions give to the economic crisis or climate change.

“That starts with a properly funded EU program, that teaches future generations about Jews, the Holocaust and the contributions that we, this small people, have made to the world.

Hana Levi Julian

Jay Shapiro Show – Academic Antisemitism [audio]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The spread of the BDS throughout the United State academic world is a danger for Israel-United States relations because the future US leadership is being brainwashed against the Jewish State.

Israel News Talk Radio

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/israel-news-talk-radio/jay-shapiro-show/jay-shapiro-show-academic-antisemitism-audio/2016/09/21/

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