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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

Our Anti-Semitism Ambassador’s Curious Silence Over Attacks On Jewish Holy Sites

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

When Jewish holy sites in Europe or South America are desecrated, the U.S. government’s special envoy for combating Anti-Semitism issues angry denunciations, calls urgent meetings, and sometimes even flies to the country in question to meet with the authorities.

But for some reason, he does not seem to exhibit the same sense of urgency in his response to Palestinian desecrations of Jewish holy sites.

The envoy is Ira N. Forman, formerly executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and Jewish Outreach Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

I admire Ambassador Forman’s energy in challenging attacks on Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Hungary and Argentina. I just wish he would show the same level of interest when Palestinians are involved.

Last week, arsonists – police suspect Palestinian terrorists – set fire to the Tomb of Avshalom and the Tomb of Yehoshafat. They are located at the Mount of Olives, in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The attack caused extensive damage. I have not heard any response from Forman to these latest outrages.

Throughout this past year there have been numerous Palestinian attacks on Jewish holy sites.

They have thrown bombs at the Tomb of Rachel, near PA-controlled Bethlehem.

They have assaulted Jews who were on their way to recite prayers at the tombs of Itamar and Elazar, in the PA town of Awarta.

They have tore down the mezuzah from the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron.

They have thrown rocks and firebombs at Jews trying to pray at the Tomb of Joseph, in PA-controlled Nablus (Shechem).

They have thrown rocks from the Temple Mount at Jews visiting the Western Wall below.

Does anybody remember the elderly Jewish woman who was struck in the head by one of those rocks, on June 28? Or has she already been forgotten?

David Weinberg, writing in the Jerusalem Post in 2011, reported that the PA “has allowed villagers to encroach upon the important synagogue remains in Eshtemoa in the southern Mount Hebron area” and is permitting Palestinian real estate developers “to build practically atop” the ancient Naaran synagogue, in PA-controlled Tulul Abu el Alayiq.

That evokes painful memories of the Jordanians bulldozing hundreds of ancient Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives between 1949 and 1967 and building roads on top of them.

Ambassador Forman’s report on anti-Semitism around the world each year is included in the State Department’s annual country-by-country report on “International Religious Freedom.” The most recent report contains some scattered references to Palestinian attacks on Jewish worshippers or religious sites. But they tend to be couched in ambiguous or rationalizing language.

For example, the Palestinian attackers are characterized as “protesters” and “Muslim worshippers,” and their assaults are described as “clashes.” When Forman writes about Palestinians attacking Jews at the Tomb of Joseph, he says they “reportedly” threw rocks, seemingly going out of his way to inject an element of doubt.

Forman’s report also includes this incredible passage: “Palestinian youths reportedly committed arson and vandalism against the Mount of Olives cemetery, the Pitchei Olam Synagogue, and Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank. Because religion and ethnicity are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely based on religious identity.”

What differences does it make if the Palestinian attacks are motivated partly by “ethnicity” and partly by “religious identity”? Does Forman really think the attackers sit around, discussing the fine points of such distinctions? Why won’t the ambassador simply acknowledge that Palestinians who attack Jewish worshippers and Jewish religious sites hate Jews?

Equally troubling is Forman’s failure to acknowledge the connection between these attacks and the Palestinian Authority’s constant incitement to hatred and violence against Jews. It’s as if the Palestinians who burn down Jewish holy sites or stone Jewish worshippers are operating in some kind of a vacuum, insulated from the rest of Palestinian society. But they’re not. They’re surrounded, every day, by the incitement to anti-Semitism that saturates the official PA newspapers, television, radio, and schools.

I don’t want to speculate as to the motives behind Forman’s reluctance to confront Palestinian anti-Semitism. I simply want to plead with him: in your final few months in office, Mr. Ambassador, you will compile one last report on anti-Semitism around the world (covering the year 2016). Please: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Palestinian anti-Semitism.

Stephen M. Flatow

French Jewish Leaders Condemn Presidential Candidate’s Anti-Semitic Comment

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

French Jewish leaders have criticized Francois Fillon, who will likely win Sunday’s second round of a Conservative party presidential primary, for his comment to Europe 1 radio that “in the past Jews did not respect all the rules of the French Republic,” EJP reported.

Fillon, a former Prime Minister under then President Nicolas Sarkozy, made the faux pas while describing the need to fight radical Islam.

“We must fight that fundamentalism, in the same way that in the past … we fought some forms of Catholic fundamentalism and we fought the drive by Jews to live in a community that did not respect all the rules of the French Republic,” Fillon said.

France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia discussed the comment with Fillon, noting that Jews in the past were forced to live in isolation from society, but that was “in no way Jewish citizens’ choice, but the consequence of French society not accepting their peers at the time.”

Sacha Ghozlan, leader of the French Jewish students’ union UEJF, stateded that “those surprising comments raise questions about how Francois Fillon defines fundamentalism.”

“The UEJF wonders what period Francois Fillon is referring to when he says Jews refused to abide by the rules of the French republic, if he might not mean the time of Vichy (the war-time government that collaborated with the Nazi occupation) when Jews were forced to hide and wear a yellow star,” Ghozlan said in a statement.

Fillon, who faces former Foreign Minister Alain Sunday to become the candidate of the right and center for next year’s presidential election, eventually posted on his Facebook page that his comments had been misunderstood.

“I never meant to call into question the Jewish community’s attachment to our common values and to the respect of the rules of the Republic,” he promised.

David Israel

Early Jewish New York: Poets, Anarchists, And Unspeakable Crowding: An Interview with Historian Tyler Anbinder

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The Germans, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese, the Puerto Ricans – wave after wave of immigrants over the centuries have come to New York City seeking opportunity in the land of the free. A new book, “City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), documents some of their stories. The author, Tyler Anbinder, is a professor of history at George Washington University and the descendant of Jewish immigrants from southwest Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia.

The Jewish Press: The front cover of City of Dreams features a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Interestingly, though, you write that the statue was not originally associated with immigration, or even the friendship between France and the United States. What did the French who gifted it have in mind, then?

Anbinder: The Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a monument celebrating the emancipation of the slaves at the end of the Civil War. But by the time the Frenchmen got around to building it, Americans were no longer interested in commemorating the slaves’ emancipation since racial issues had begun to divide the country again. So people in the United States who were trying to raise money to build the pedestal for the statue began to portray it as a symbol of Franco-American friendship instead.

And it was within that effort to build this ten-story pedestal that Emma Lazarus, in 1883, wrote her poem in which she commemorated the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The idea was that she would write a poem which would be part of a scrap book of artistic works that would be auctioned off, and the proceeds from the auction would help pay for the pedestal.

It was only in 1903, though, 16 years after Lazarus died, that her poem, “The New Colossus,” was affixed to the base of the statue.

That’s correct. In fact, when Emma Lazarus died in 1887 at age 38, none of her obituaries even mentioned “The New Colossus.” And when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, none of the speeches by President Grover Cleveland or any of the other dignitaries in attendance mentioned immigrants or immigration. It was only later that the Statue of Liberty became a symbol of immigration.

            Many Jews believe the names of their ancestors were changed at Ellis Island when they entered this country. You argue that this is a “myth.” Please explain.

There was no time for the immigration officials at Ellis Island to change anybody’s name. They only had one minute per family; it was a very fast process, and name changing was not one of the things done. There was no official document you left Ellis Island with that stated your new name. In fact, you didn’t leave Ellis Island with any official document whatsoever.

So where did this myth come from?

It’s not clear exactly. There are a couple of possibilities. One is that the immigrants were confused when they went through Ellis Island. Sometimes the shipping companies put a piece of paper on the immigrants’ coats with their name on it as it was written on the ship manifest, and sometimes that ship manifest would spell their name incorrectly as it was often transliterated from Yiddish. So it’s possible the immigrants thought that was an official document telling them their new name when in fact it wasn’t. It’s also possible that they supposed the mispronunciation of their name by the workers at Ellis Island was something official when it wasn’t.

But I think the theory that is most likely is that immigrants changed their names themselves to try to assimilate – especially if they had a business where having a more American-sounding name would help them – and I think a lot of these immigrants were embarrassed later to tell their children or grandchildren that they had changed the family name, so they came up with this story that somebody else had done it for them.

            You write that the Lower East Side – home to many Jewish immigrants – was the most congested area in the world before World War I. Was it really that crowded?

It’s unimaginable today. The closest you can get to it is maybe Mumbai, Dakha, or Nairobi. I think one good way to think about it is that the Lower East Side’s 1.4 square miles had more inhabitants than the 440,000 square miles of Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona combined.

Why was it so crowded?

Because Jewish immigrants wanted to live on the Lower East Side and the landlords didn’t want to build new buildings – in part, because if they did they would have to meet the requirements of housing codes that tried to make buildings safer but also made them more expensive to build. So the landlords kept the buildings the same while the number of immigrants living in them expanded exponentially.

Some Jews in the early 20th century were active in the rising socialist movement. Emma Goldman is perhaps the most famous among them. Can you talk a little bit about her?

I think Emma Goldman is a fascinating story. She was a Jewish immigrant who left Russia because her father had wanted her to get married and she didn’t want to get married so young. So in 1885, at age 16, she came to America with her half-sister and moved to Rochester where she was pushed by her relatives into a marriage she didn’t want. So after a couple of years, she left her husband and moved to New York to join the anarchist movement.

The anarchists were kind of the radical end of the socialist movement, known in particular for advocating violence to achieve socialist goals. So Emma Goldman came to New York and very quickly became one of the leading socialist public speakers at rallies and assemblies and soon became nationally famous for advocating for the anarchist cause. She plotted to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, who was one of the leading American industrialists at the time, and helped plot bombings across the United States later on as well. She spent a lot of time in jail and eventually was deported back to Russia during World War I.

Some twenty million people immigrated to the United Stated from 1881 to 1914, including two million Jews. Yet, shortly after World War I, Congress imposed severe immigration restrictions, which of course had dire consequences for Jews 20 years later trying to escape the Holocaust. Why were these restrictions imposed?

A couple of reasons. Part of it was a fear that with so much of Europe devastated because of the war, too many European refugees would come to the United States and the Roaring Twenties would grind to a halt. Another reason is that many native-born Americans associated Jewish immigrants and Italian immigrants, in particular, with radical movements like the anarchists.

Back then, when Americans thought of terrorists, they thought of Italians and Eastern European Jews – people like Emma Goldman and some of the Italian socialists who carried out bombings. The biggest terrorist attack in the United States before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was an anarchist bombing of Wall Street by Italian anarchists in 1920, in which dozens of people were killed. So a lot of Americans associated Eastern European Jews and Italians with violent anarchism. And the immigration restrictions especially targeted these two groups.

            You argue at the end of the book that all immigrant groups to America are, in essence, the same. How so?

Immigrants come to America mostly for the same reason – to improve their lives and those of their children. When they first get here, immigrants struggle to fit in and they feel very lost. They take the lowest jobs because they usually can’t get any others. They eventually – with the help of friends and family members who are already here – start to learn the ropes and feel more at home. Yet at the same time they worry that their American-born children will become too American and lose too much of their heritage.

Was there anything you were surprised to learn when doing research for the book?

One thing I found surprising was how similar the debates about immigration 100 years ago are to the debates today. Pretty much all the things people say today about Muslim immigrants were said 100 years ago about Italians and Eastern European Jews – that they took Americans’ jobs, that they posed a national security threat, and that they would change the very nature of what it meant to be an American. And whereas today people might argue against Muslim immigrants on the grounds that they don’t fit into America’s Judeo-Christian tradition, 100 years ago they said Jews didn’t fit within America’s Christian tradition.

To be fair, though: Just because an argument may have been wrong in one context doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong in another.

Certainly not, but I think the argument was wrong both times. And I think the fact that each generation of immigrants is eventually seen as perfectly American and perfectly acceptable shows that, very likely, the anti-immigrant sentiment today against Muslim immigrants is going to fade and a generation from now people will look back and say how funny it was that we thought Muslims couldn’t be good Americans.

Elliot Resnick

Keith Ellison: The Latest Step In the Democratic Party’s Abandonment of Israel & Its Jewish Supporters

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s blogsite, The Lid}

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is a leading contender to become the new Chairman of the Democratic Party. He’s garnered endorsements from party leaders such as NY Senator Chuck Schumer , Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren , Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as President Obama.

A supporter of Lewis Farrakhan with a track record of being both anti-Israel and Antisemitism, should Ellison garner the spot it would be another signal of the Democratic Party moving to become the anti-Israel party, something recommended by the Center for American Progress back in 2011

As Caroline Glick recently wrote,

“Ellison’s association with the Nation of Islam dated back at least since 1989 and stretched at least until 1998. During that period, he not only knew about the Nation of Islam’s Jew hatred, he engaged in it himself.”

During Ellison’s run for congress in 2006, the The Washington Post reported that Ellison had defended Farrakhan against accusations of Antisemitism in 1989 and in 1990 as well as calling affirmative action a “sneaky” form of compensation for slavery, calling instead for reparations.

Also during Ellison’s initial congressional campaign, Scott Johnson of the must-read site Power Line , exposed Ellison’s Antisemitism and work with Louis Farrakhan in a Weekly Standard piece.  One incident he described, occurred in February 1997 when Ellison was a practicing attorney:

Ellison appeared as a local spokesman for the Nation of Islam with the last name “Muhammad.” He spoke at a public hearing in connection with a controversy involving Joanne Jackson of the Minnesota Initiative Against Racism (MIAR). Jackson was alleged to have said, “Jews are among the most racist white people I know.” Jackson denied making the statement or insisted that it had been taken out of context. Ellison appeared before the MIAR on behalf of the Nation of Islam in defense of Jackson’s alleged statement. According to the Star Tribune and the full text of the statement published in the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder, Ellison said:

 

Speaking for the Nation of Islam, Ellison appeared before the MIAR in defense of the truth of Jackson’s alleged statement. According to the Star Tribune and the full text of the statement published in the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder, Ellison said, ‘We stand by the truth contained in the remarks attributed to [Ms. Jackson], and by her right to express her views without sanction.’ He finished his comments with, “Also, it is absolutely true that merchants in Black areas generally treat Black customers badly.”

The last sentence alluded to another of Jackson’s alleged statements, providing a personal basis for characterizing Jews as “the most racist white people” she knew. Ellison’s May 28 letter acknowledges only that others supported Jackson’s alleged statement in that controversy while falsely denying that he himself did so.

Since entering congress Ellison has used every opportunity possible slam Israel.

For example, in 2010, Ellison convinced 53 other Democratic members of congress to sign the infamous “Gaza 54” letter to President Obama, which falsely accused Israel of humiliating and wreaking “collective punishment” on Gaza residents and demanded that President Obama should pressure Israel to lift the Gaza blockade

In 2014, Ellison was one of only 8 members of Congress voting against a bi-partisan bill to provide $225 million to Israel’s “Iron dome” missile defense system (vs. 395 who voted for it).   Think about that one for a moment, how many times in recent years have 395 members of Congress agreed on anything?

Ellison is a featured keynote speaker at many BDS organization events including the American Friends Service Committee which runs a BDS boot camp, Progressives for Palestine, and is a favorite of the anti-Israel group ironically called Jewish Voice for Peace. In a rare occurrence of disagreeing with progressives, The Jewish Voice for Peace was named by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the 10 most anti-Israel organizations in America (I am sure their mothers are proud).

There are many more examples of Ellison’s, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic actions, plus his connection to Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas associated groups such as MAS, CAIR, and ISNA. (MAS even paid for his Haj to Saudi Arabia). But in the interests of keeping this post a readable size will be reserved for future posts.

Interestingly, while the Anti-Defamation League has made very public claims of Antisemitism against Trump adviser Steven Bannon based on one unsubstantiated charge by his ex-wife, the ADL has been silent about the possible election of Ellison as DNC chair despite his track record of defending Farrakhan’s Antisemitism, making anti-Jewish comments of his own, and his anti-Israel actions in the congress.  But then again it is not surprising as in 2011 the ADL asked Jews to pledge not to criticize Barack Obama’s anti-Israel policies.  Their treatment of Bannon vs. Ellison reinforces the ADL’s image as caring more about protecting progressive politics than protecting the Jewish people.

Ellison was on the 2016 Democratic Party platform committee and tried to insert language criticizing Israel for her “occupation” of Palestinian lands. Ellison’s attempt was defeated by Clinton supporters, possibly because they feared the language would cause Jewish donors and voters to recognize the former secretary of state’s history of opposing Israel.

After his defeat in the platform committee, Ellison went on complain in this interview with NPR’s Amy Goodman. During the interview he mourned his loss over the occupation plank, and threw in some lies about the Jewish State and Gaza for good measure:

Rep. Keith Ellison: Well, I can—I can lay out in sum, summary. One is that we—that there were six members of the Democratic drafting committee from the Hillary Clinton campaign, five from Bernie Sanders, four from the DNC. We took the base document, and we made several amendments at the drafting committee. We heard testimony over the course of two days. A lot of it was really, really startling and important.

I think we have the best statement on Native American rights we’ve ever had. We have strong language that does critique the TPP, although it falls a little short of openly opposing it, which we tried to do but were not able to achieve. It takes a position in favor of $15 and a union for a federal minimum wage. It takes a position on a whole range of things, including the environment, that are progressive steps forward.

What did we not achieve? A complete opposition to fracking, we don’t have that. What is else not achieved? There are some things on some foreign policy fronts that I think would and could be better, some saber-rattling with regard to Iran that I don’t think is helpful and good to be in our platform. I think that it would be—I think that we could have had a clearer statement on two-state solution and the U.S.’s aspiration to have peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. I think we were a little bit weak on that.

Amy Goodman:  Can you explain what you would like to see there, Congressmember Ellison?

Rep. Keith Ellison: Well, I think that it is important that, you know, the United States state that we don’t think that the occupation of the—what will be the Palestinian state should continue. I don’t think there’s any fear of using the O-word, if you will. I mean, Ariel Sharon used it. You know, the U.N. uses it. I mean, it’s a commonly used phrase to describe what’s going on. I think we could have also made some stronger statements about the—

Amy Goodman:  What is that word?

Rep. Keith Ellison: Occupation.

Amy Goodman: That they’re not using the word “occupation”?

Rep. Keith Ellison: Right. I think that there is a humanitarian crisis going on in Gaza. In fact, you know, the—because of the electricity power plant has been destroyed, the sewage is not being processed, and raw sewage is going up into the Mediterranean. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s flowing up into north, and the Israeli desalinization plant is not able to use its—that plant, because of the sewage that is in the Mediterranean coming from Gaza, because Gaza cannot process their own sewage at this point, because of the horrible situation that is going on there. So, there are some more—so, things like that, I think, really could have been identified much more clearly.

What the Ellison forces did accomplish was to keep the pro-Israel planks removed in 2012 from being reinserted in 2012. Four pro-Israel planks were removed in 2012, but the Jerusalem is Israel’s capital provision initially removed in 2012, and added back during the convention over the objections of the delegates was left in the 2016 platform.

The pro-Israel planks eliminated in 2012, remaining out in 2016 include

  • The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
  • The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.
  • All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.

In 2011, Politico reported that the Center For American Progress (CAP) which was at the time run by Hillary Clinton’s future campaign manager John Podesta was fighting with the more mainstream Democrats about Israel.  They want to change the party to the Anti-Israel party.

When one considers the “walk-backs” to the 2012 platform which were maintained in 2016,  and the support for the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Keith Ellison for the chairman of the Democratic Party, it seems as if the Center For American Progress is getting its way. The only remaining question is, will American Jewry which overwhelmingly (and sometimes blindly) supports the Democratic Party finally wake up and smell the truth.

 

Jeff Dunetz

Keith Ellison Supported the BDS Movement and Admired Louis Farrakhan. So Why Are Jewish Democrats Supporting Him for Chairman of the DNC?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

{Appeared originally in Tablet Magazine}

In late 1993 and early 1994, Keith Ellison and I were both deeply involved in politics and policy, he as a civil rights lawyer and radio talk-show host in Minnesota, and I as legal counsel to a United States senator. During that time, Louis Farrakhan’s national adviser, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, gave a speech at Kean College in New Jersey in which he attacked Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, and others in the most shocking and violent way.

Here’s a sample of what Muhammad had to say in that speech, which he delivered Nov. 29, 1993, about the Holocaust:

You see, everybody always talk about Hitler exterminating 6 million Jews. … But don’t nobody ever asked what did they do to Hitler? What did they do to them folks? They went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped, they turned around, and a German, in his own country, would almost have to go to a Jew to get money. They had undermined the very fabric of the society.

And there was worse. I returned from a vacation to read a copy of the speech the ADL had left in my Senate inbox together with its New York Times full-page ad denouncing it. It so shocked and disgusted me that I stalked across the hall to my boss, Sen. John Danforth of Missouri, and asked what he thought of calling for a “special order” on the Senate floor; a block of time for members to make statements reacting to Muhammad’s speech. Known to his colleagues as “St. Jack,” Danforth was not only a senator, he was an active Episcopal priest, the author of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the legislator responsible for creating a permanent Holocaust Memorial Commission, leading to both America’s annual “Days of Remembrance” and the Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Mall in Washington.

I waited silently while Sen. Danforth read the speech. Finally, he looked up. “I don’t want a special order,” he said grimly. “I want an up-or-down vote. I want it now.” I rushed back to my desk and called the Senate cloak room to tell them what was coming.

I also called Rep. Kweisi Mfume’s office leaving an urgent message. Mfume chaired the Congressional Black Caucus, and I didn’t want to blindside the members. A few months earlier, in September 1993, the CBC had entered into what it called a “Sacred Covenant” with Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam for which it had been roundly criticized. Muhammad’s speech was so grotesquely beyond the pale that some members of the CBC had already distanced themselves from it. I thought the caucus deserved a chance to distance itself officially before the pressure that was likely to follow. Then I started drafting.

Moments later, the usually easygoing senator appeared at my desk to see what I had come up with. After all, this was alien territory—Sen. Danforth had also been Missouri’s attorney general, and this was a vote to condemn what we both knew to be constitutionally-protected speech. “Just give me what you have now,” Danforth said. I printed out my rough first draft, typos and all. He looked at it and said, “This works. Let’s go.” Then he strode out of the room to the Senate floor. I lingered just a moment to ask my colleagues to keep trying Mfume’s office, then I ran out after the senator.

As soon as we arrived at the Senate floor, I headed for the cloakroom. A number of messages were already waiting from offices that wanted to join with us. Suddenly I got a frantic message from my office—I was receiving personal threats from CBC staffers. I called one, trying to explain that this was not an attack on them; that had I been trying to hurt them, I would have just ambushed them. The response was a stream of invective-laden threats, and then the line went dead.

Sen. Danforth, along with four other Republicans and five Democrats as co-sponsors, offered the resolution: “To express the sense of the Senate that the speech made by Mr. Khalid Abdul Mohammed [sic] at Kean College on November 29, 1993 was false, anti-Semitic, racist, divisive, repugnant and a disservice to all Americans and is therefore condemned.”

It passed the Senate 97-0. Three weeks later, a more detailed and explicit bipartisan companion resolution was offered in the House by Holocaust survivor Rep. Tom Lantos. It passed 361-34.

Keith Ellison and I were then both 31 years old. He was on record as defending Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism since at least 1989, under the alias of Keith Hakim. But unlike the CBC, which immediately suspended its ties with the Nation of Islam after the vote, Ellison apparently saw no reason to rethink his position. In fact, he continued to identify with Farrakhan and work actively for the Nation of Islam for years after Muhammad’s speech.

In 1995, Ellison himself organized a rally featuring Muhammad—still an outspoken racist and anti-Semite—at the University of Minnesota. Muhammad apparently brought his A-game to the rally, promising that “if words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced.”

In 1997, Ellison defended a member of the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism who said that Jews are “the most racist white people.” In his remarks, Ellison also defended America’s most notorious anti-Semite. “She is correct about Minister Farrakhan,” Ellison insisted. “He is not a racist. He is also not an anti-Semite. Minister Farrakhan is a tireless public servant of Black people…”

In fact, Ellison continued to publicly defend Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam through at least the year 2000, by which time he was serving as a Minnesota state representative. But in 2006, while running for Congress, Ellison evidently had second thoughts about the usefulness of the main public affiliation he had maintained from his early 20s into at least his late 30s, when, responding to concerns voiced by the Jewish Community Relations Council, he claimed that his only involvement with NOI was during an 18-month period supporting Farrakhan’s October 1995 “Million Man March”; that he was unaware of NOI’s anti-Semitism; and that he himself never held nor espoused anti-Semitic views. Most of that is demonstrably false, the remainder begs skepticism.

Today, Ellison still traffics in libels and lies, but about the Jewish State—a form of anti-Semitic propaganda that, unlike calling Jews “bloodsuckers” or blaming them for the Holocaust, is now socially and politically acceptable on the left. There are rules to this game, of course. Thus, on a trip to Israel in June 2016, Ellison tweeted a photo of a sign, hung on a residential window in Hebron, that labeled Israel being guilty of “apartheid.” Ellison’s comment reinforced the libel.

In July 2016, at the Democratic National Convention, Ellison participated as a featured speaker in an event held by the anti-Israel group U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—part of an alliance of anti-Israel groups, such as American Friends Service Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voices for Peace, who all promote the BDS hate campaign against Israel. Ellison also emerged as a key player in trying to make the Democrats’ official platform more antagonistic to Israel. [Update, Nov. 22, 4:00 p.m.: In response to publication of this piece, Rep. Ellison issued the following statement: “I have long supported a two-state solution and a democratic and secure state for the Jewish people, with a democratic and viable Palestinian state side-by-side in peace and dignity. I don’t believe boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning Israel helps us achieve that goal. I supported the Democratic Platform, which embraces this position.”]

It is clear that Ellison trafficked with incredibly virulent, open anti-Semites and supported and defended them until it became politically inconvenient. Then he lied about it—and once in office, he decided to target the Jewish state. Ironically, one of Ellison’s Democratic defenders, Steve Rabinowitz, acknowledges Ellison’s poor record on Israel—in addition to agitating against Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, Ellison was one of the very few members of Congress who opposed aid to repair Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in a 395-8 vote. Rabinowitz gamely if patronizingly explains Ellison’s role on the Democrats’ platform fight thusly: “He fell in with a bad crowd.” So, is Keith Ellison an anti-Semite? I don’t know. But collaborating with the enemies of Jews and Israel does seem to be a lifelong habit.

Perhaps Ellison was running with the same delinquent crowd in 2012, when halfway across the country from his own district in Minneapolis, he worked to unseat pro-Israel New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman—a fellow Democrat—in a nasty primary fight that pitted the district’s Arabs and Muslims against its Jews, and where Rothman’s support for Israel was explicitly the issue. The candidate supported by Ellison, who came to the district to campaign at a high-profile event at a mosque, was also supported by a local Hamas sympathizer and other Israel-haters. What could have motivated Ellison to go to such great lengths to try and defeat a sitting member of his own party?

Personally, I don’t care if Ellison ever did or still does hate Jews. He’s entitled to love and hate whomever he wants. What worries me is that a leading member of the extreme anti-Israel wing of the Democratic Party is poised to become the party’s chairman. What disturbs me is that the mainstreaming and elevating of this man—who, at the very least, is clearly more enthusiastic about Louis Farrakhan than he is about the State of Israel—is being done with the support of Sen. Chuck Schumer, and of organizations that claim to represent the interests of American Jewry.

It is also hard to miss the fact that these same politicians and groups are now diverting attention away from actual threats to a campaign of politically-motivated fictions and calumnies directed against Donald Trump, a man who has spent decades supporting an impressive array of Jewish causes and of the State of Israel—and whose daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are Orthodox Jews. Trump’s daughter Ivanka chose to join the Jewish people, and she did so by all accounts with the approval and full support of her father. Perhaps Keith Ellison, despite his associations and activities, is secretly a great friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and Donald Trump, despite his friends and family, is secretly the raving anti-Semite his detractors allege. But even the most extreme partisan would have to admit that the evidence for either proposition is quite thin. In fact, the ADL and friends have also had to withdraw their accusations of anti-Semitism against Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon and Breitbart news, which briefly flourished after Trump’s win, since they could not point to any actual evidence that either charge was true: In fact, Bannon and Breitbart have demonstrably been among the most dedicated supporters of the State of Israel and most vociferous opponents of BDS and campus hate in the America media.

Why is such a stance necessary? During the Obama years, real anti-Semitism—grotesque libels and actual violence—grew dramatically around the world. In Europe and the Middle East victims of Islamic terror were deemed “innocent victims”—unless they were Jews, in which case they were somehow combatants in a righteous struggle. Here in America, for the first time in our lives, as Obama and Kerry’s “Israel is our misfortune” rumblings grew, we heard rabbis and Jewish leaders—including ADL’s previous chief executive—discuss in agonized tones how the world was beginning to resemble the 1930s. Under Obama, for the first time, we witnessed older Jews huddle after synagogue for hushed debates about whether there was anywhere left for Jews to run now that America was growing inhospitable and Israel was being put under the existential threat of nuclear annihilation. Younger Jews became hesitant to wear yarmulkes on campuses and on the streets.

Donald Trump didn’t pave the way for Iran—a country that quite literally and repeatedly promises to commit genocide against Jews—to acquire a nuclear bomb. Nor did Trump and his close aides seek to demonize his opponents as “wealthy donors” and “warmongers” with loyalties to a foreign power. Nor did Trump ally the United States with Iran in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. President Barack Obama did all these things, and he did them openly, with hardly a peep from the same people who now pretend to fear for their lives under Donald Trump.

Who knows? Maybe reasonable people can differ about these things. But here’s another thing to consider: The people who vouched for Obama to the American Jewish community are now vouching for Rep. Ellison, while condemning Donald Trump and his advisers for the sins of stoking hatred and anti-Semitism that Obama demonstrably committed, and the Democratic Party is now hoping to induce our community to forget.

Jeff Ballabon

Hamburg Naming Streets after 17th Century Jewish Businesswoman, 21st Century Prostitute

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The Hamburg municipality is planning to honor 17th-century Jewish businesswoman and diarist Glückel von Hameln (1646 – 1724), whose account of life provides scholars with an intimate picture of German Jewish communal life in the late 17th and early 18th century Jewish ghetto. Written in Yiddish, her diaries were originally intended for her descendants. The first part is actually a living will urging them to live ethical lives. It was only much later that historians discovered the diaries and began to appreciate her account of life at that time.

And speaking of an ethical life, the same Hamburg municipality will also honor with a street named after her a woman named Domenica Niehoff, who died in 2009, a prostitute who became famous in the 1980s by campaigning for sex workers’ rights. She also worked to help women struggling with drug addiction.

Altogether, Hamburg will name 10 streets in its Altona district after famous women, including German comic actress Helga Feddersen (1930 – 1990).

David Israel

Reports: Trump Family Donated Bigly to Jewish, Israeli Causes

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Israeli media have reported several important donations made in years past by both the late Fred Trump and his son, now President Elect Donald Trump.

Some 50 years ago, real estate developer Fredrick Trump donated the land for the Talmud Torah of the Beach Haven Jewish Center at 723 Ave. Z in Flatbush, NY, as can be seen from a promotional image released by that institution. The center is open and active to this day, offering programs for youth and the elderly, as well as an active synagogue.

And Fred’s son Donald, as reported by Yediot Ahronot, donated heavily on both occasions when Israelis who had been expelled from their homes by their own government needed assistance to resettle.

Donald Trump donated in the 1980s, to help build new infrastructure for the Israelis removed from the northern Sinai by the Begin government, which returned the peninsula to Egypt as part of the peace agreement. Then, in 2005, Trump gave again, to help resettle the Jews of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, exiled by the Ariel Sharon government.

Effie Stenzler, former chairman of the Jewish National Fund, told Yediot that JNF approached Trump, among other wealthy supporters of Israel, for funds to build an infrastructure in new communities established for the exiled, and the real estate magnate gave generously.

Donald Trump’s name even appears on a plaque in Moshav Dekel, in the Eshkol region, where his money went to build greenhouses, homes and roads for the evacuees.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/reports-trumps-donated-bigly-to-jewish-causes/2016/11/21/

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