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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

California School District Cancels Lesson on Holocaust Denial

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Students at a school in California who were given an assignment to compare propaganda with actual evidence on the Holocaust have instead been told to abandon the project.

The order came following a firestorm of criticism and at least one death threat aimed at Southern California’s Rialto Unified School District, which assigned the homework.

According to a report published in The Daily Bulletin newspaper, the project was assigned in April to 2,000 13-and-14 year old eighth grade students, as follows:

Shen tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.  Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

It had first been reviewed by a committee of eighth grade teachers, and sent to middle school sites in February for comment prior to distribution to the students. No objections were raised at the time, according to the spokesperson.

But the district found itself under siege on Monday, with the switchboard lines ringing off the hook.

At least one person called police repeatedly threatening death to a district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri and the interim school superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam. The incident is under investigation.

But also among the critics was Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, who slammed the assignment as inappropriate.

Rabbi Cooper told FoxNews.com on Monday, “Whatever the motivation, it ends up elevating hate and history to the same level… We should train our kids to have critical thinking, but the problem here is the teacher confused teaching critical thinking with common sense, because common sense dictates you don’t comingle propaganda with common truth.”

The rabbi advised the district to instead assign students to research the issue of Holocaust denial and meet with local survivors of the Nazis.

The school district responded in a statement saying the interim superintendent will speak with its educational services department to “assure that any reference to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken from any current or future argumentative research assignments. The Holocaust is and should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” the statement continues. “We believe in the words of George Santayana, ‘Those who cannot learn from history are bound to repeat it.”

The Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League said it was satisfied with the district’s actions by Monday. “It is ADL’s general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial,” Associate Regional Director Matthew Friedman was quoted as saying, after having spoken with the interim superintendent on Friday.

“ADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda,” a blog post quoting Friedman continues. “Rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”

In a number of European countries today — including Germany — Holocaust denial is a criminal offense for which one can be sentenced to prison. The Nazis exterminated six million Jews out of a total of some 11 million victims murdered between 1933 and 1945, in the Holocaust that took place prior to and during World War II. Some two-thirds of European Jewry was wiped out in the slaughter, which ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany by the U.S., UK and their Allies.

Ateret Cohanim Opens Pre-Army Yeshiva Across from Old City

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Just outside the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, a new yeshiva sponsored by the Ateret Cohanim organization is set to open by the end of the month.

It will be the first all-mechina pre-army Torah Learning Center to be established in Jerusalem.

Otzmat Yerushalayim,’ the first such venture on Sultan Suleiman Street, is housed in the Israel Post Office and Bezeq building. In the same building one can also find offices for the Border Police and the national Israel Police.

The building is located at the main intersection near the Flowers Gate of the Old City, also known as Herod’s Gate, according to the yeshiva’s website.

The yeshiva will be open to some 300 pre-army Jewish students in an area that leftist Jerusalem municipality representative Meir Margalit fears is “a sure recipe for violence. This is a very strategic site and there’s a potential her to cause serious disruptions in civic life in this city,” he told Reuters.

Boys from the pre-army Academy of Otzem in Cholot Chalutza (also known as the Mechina from Atzmona in Gush Katif) are the first group to learn in the yeshiva.

The Otzem Academy will send groups of 30 students each to the yeshiva to learn for 7 to 14-day periods over the coming months, according to the statement posted on the yeshiva website.

Students enrolled in pre-army academies throughout the country will send their students to do the same, sponsored by donors locally and abroad.

Facilities include a Beit Midrash, dining room, kitchen and dormitory which can hold up to 30 students at a time. Attendees will participate in educational tours around the Old City in addition to their studies.

A formal “Chanukat HaBayit” – open house” ceremony – is expected to take place around the date of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), the holiday celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.

This year will mark the 47th year since Israeli soldiers took back Jerusalem from its Jordanian occupiers (in the 1967 Six Day War) and the barbed wire cutting the city apart was finally erased from the landscape.  Israel’s restoration and formal annexation of the remainder of the capital has not been recognized by the United States and by the international community.

At present, some 215,000 Jews live in the eastern part of the capital, which is also home to approximately 280,000 Arabs, most of whom hold Israeli identity cards and enjoy state social benefits, including comprehensive health care.

ADL Warns Missionary Group is Using Holocaust – Again – to Lure Jews

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is warning that the Jews for Jesus missionary group is using Holocaust imagery to lure Jews away from their faith.

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement Thursday condemning a new video posted to YouTube by the missionaries as a “cynical abuse of the Holocause for proselytizing.”

The video shows an image of Jesus carrying a cross among the Jews, and being selected for the gas chambers by a Nazi officer at the gates of the Auschwitz death camp. The tag line of the video is, “That Jew died for you.”

Mr. Foxman, who called the video an “outrage,” said, “It is deeply offensive not only to Jews who lost family members in the Holocaust but also to Christians who would not want to see images of Jesus used for propaganda or shock value.

“Jews for Jesus has taken their abuse of Holocaust imagery to a new low… [it is] an outrageous cheapening of the tragedy of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust for the purpose of gaining attention to the Jews for Jesus missionary cause, which is to convert Jews to the belief that Jesus is their messiah.”

There is a direct contradiction between the two.

In Judaism, the messiah has not yet arrived. Jesus is perceived in the Jewish faith as having lived as a human being who did not meet the qualifications to be the messiah, either in his time or in future years. Jews do not believe that Jesus bears any divine attributes whatsoever.

In Christianity, of course, the exact opposite is true. Jesus is perceived as having lived as a man with divine attributes, and as being the messiah who lived and was “resurrected to live again.”

Tunisia Leader Facing Flack Over Jewish Pilgrimage to El Ghriba

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Just one day after Tunisia’s leader urged officials not to make a fuss over normalization of ties with Israel, the country’s parliament voted to “interview” its tourism minister for deciding to allow Israelis to participate in the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba.

The elected National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has announced it will question Tourism Minister Amel Karboul over the decision to allow Israelis to enter Tunisia.  Also to be “interviewed” will be Security Minister Sefar Ridha, according to international media reports.

“Our problem is not with our Jewish brothers who come for the pilgrimage but with the Zionist entity that occupies Palestinian territories,” said leftist Democratic Alliance head Mohammed Hamdi.

Since the country’s Jasmine Revolution in January 2011, Tunisia has struggled with a massive economic crisis.  Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa warned the parliament Tuesday it was in Tunisia’s best interest to “make the tourist season a success, because tourism is one of the activities that brings immediate cash to the country.”

Of those activities, Jomaa noted, tourism professionals have determined “the pilgrimage to Ghriba must be successful for the tourist season to be successful.” He added, “This is a tradition known to us – the pilgrimage has been taking place for years.”

The tourism industry in Tunisia employs some 400,000 people and accounts for seven percent of the GDP.  Jomaa’s decision to create a policy of tourism “transparency” means that Israelis can for the first time use their official passports to enter the country for the pilgrimage, rather than a specific Tunisian embassy-issued document.

Tunisia had “offices of interest” in Tel Aviv in 1996, and Israel had one in Tunis as well. Those ties were established just two years after the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters which had existed in Tunisia for the twelve years prior.  But the fragile ties established between Tunisia and Israel were torn apart in October 2000 when the PLO succeeded in launching the second intifada in Israel – prompting Tunis to freeze ties in a protest against Israel’s efforts to quell the violence.

For years Jews have gone to Tunisia for the pilgrimage, with or without formal Israeli-Tunisian diplomatic ties. But an Al Qaeda terror attack on the synagogue in 2002 left 21 people dead, and killed the tourist event for the next decade. The Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring did the rest.

Missouri’s Jew-Hating Mayor Quits (Video)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The mayor of the Missouri hometown of the Passover Eve murdered has resigned after saying he agreed with some views of the suspected killer of three people at Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City, Kan.

Marionville, Mo. Mayor Dan Clevenger offered his resignation at a special Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday night after the aldermen had voted 4-1 to start impeachment proceedings against the mayor.

Residents who attended the meeting overwhelmingly called for his resignation or impeachment following his outrageous anti-Semitic comments made in response to the arrest of Frazier Glenn Miller, charged with the murders.

Clevenger, who was elected earlier this month, said he “kind of agreed with him on some things, but I don’t like to express that too much.”

Several years earlier he had offered a more robust endorsement of Miller in a letter sent to a local newspaper. He told the Springfield News-Ledger on Monday that he regrets writing the letter to the Aurora Advertiser about ten years ago, “I am a friend of Frazier Miller helping to spread his warnings. The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United State’s workforce.”

Clevenger also spoke of the “Jew-run government backed banking industry turned the United States into the world’s largest debtor nation,” KSPR News reported.

Miller, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Cross, has been charged in the fatal April 13 shootings of a man and his 14-year-old grandson outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan., and a woman outside the nearby Village Shalom retirement community.

Marionville resident Debbie Sallee told television station KOLR, “No matter what his personal beliefs are, he portrayed those on his interview as the Mayor of Marionville. And we are getting feedback from the community and the nation that if we elect a man like that to be our mayor of our city, that we must be like that, too, and that is very important people know that is not our city.”

Clevenger insisted that he is not a white supremacist and that he has “no doubt” he could fairly represent a Jewish resident.

The town’s local website  notes that that are churches for Catholics, Mormons, Baptists and Methodists, among other Christian groups. It is not known if there is a single Jew living in the town, but census records show there are no blacks there.

President Barack Obama need not apply as a neighbor. The town voted 72 percent for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

Not surprisingly, Missouri bills the town as “the home of the white squirrels.”

JTA contributed to this report.

Jews Ordered to ‘Register’ in Donetsk, Ukraine

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  For some Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on this Passover holiday of “freedom,” concern and even fear is lurking in their thoughts, making them wonder about the lessons of the past.

On the first day of Passover this week, three armed men in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk distributed flyers warning Jews to “register” themselves and their assets with the new pro-Russian government, according to the novosti.dn.ua website.

The flyers were handed out next to a synagogue as people were leaving following holiday prayers. They read as follows:

“Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,

Due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported (Stepan) Bendery Junta, and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, [the interim government] has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent age 16 and older, residing within the territory of the republic, are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register by May 3.

(Ed. Note: Stepan Bander was a Ukrainian nationalist leader in Kiev who fought with Nazi Germany in the 1940s against Soviet troops before switching sides and taking up arms against the German occupation.)

“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles. Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revocation and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property. A registration fee of $50 is required.”

Pro-Russian separatists are occupying the building where the Jews were told the register.

The flyer was written in the Russian language and bore the symbol of Mother Russia at the top of the page and that of the Donetsk People’s Republic at the bottom. It was allegedly signed by Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Donetsk interim government but no ink signature is seen on the paper.

Donetsk was recently declared an independent “people’s republic” by pro-Russian activists. In response to a query by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin confirmed the flyers were indeed distributed by his organization. However, he was quoted by the tvrain.ru news site on Wednesday as denying any connection to the content, and called the flyers a ‘provocation.’

Nevertheless, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky told Voice of Israel government radio on Wednesday that aliyah from the Ukraine is likely to double by the end of 2014.

The flyer – authentic or not – constitutes the 17th anti-Semitic incident to have taken place in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. Most were violent attacks. Several were aimed at Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and a few were life-threatening. Five took place in Kiev alone, according to statistics gleaned from the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA) website.

A reader on the Israel Matzav blog warned in a number of posts that the situation in Ukraine is becoming extremely dangerous for Jews.

Wisely, a Jewish resident of Donetsk told Ynet that she does not intend to register, although she said that she had never encountered any form of anti-Semitism until she saw the flyer. “Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity,” she said.

Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Hours before the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Festival of Freedom, a local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The victim, Morris Bachiri, is a resident of El Hara El Kabiri. He was allegedly attacked with a sharp object by 38-year-old Lasaad Tounis, according to the Tunisian Interior Ministry, which reported the incident in a terse statement on its Facebook page. News of the report was carried in a post on Tuesday by the French-language website African Manager.

The attack was described as a “simple assault, nothing more and nothing less,” and Bachiri’s Jewish identity was not mentioned in the report.

The ministry added that Bachiri was released from a hospital shortly following the attack, which took place barely a month after a group of Israelis were stopped from disembarking  with other tourists at a Tunisian port.

Last month the government allocated $6,300 for renovation of the synagogue in what critics called an attempt at damage control in the wake of the Israeli tourist debacle. The Norwegian Cruise Line on which the Israelis were traveling has since scrapped Tunisia from its list of destinations to protest the country’s refusal to allow Israelis to disembark at port.

The annual Jewish pilgrimage for the Hilula of Ghriba, which involves a festive procession to the ancient Synagogue of El Ghriba on the island of Djerba, is meanwhile expected to take place next month – on the holiday of Lag B’Omer.

For decades thousands Jews from around the world used to gather in Djerba to participate in the procession to El Ghriba, considered the oldest existing synagogue in Africa. But the numbers have dwindled to barely 500 attending the event last year. In 2002 the Al Qaeda terrorist organization bombed the synagogue during the pilgrimage, killing 21 and wounding many more.

More than a year ago, Israeli officials expressed serious concern for the safety of the Jewish community in Tunisia, warning that any political instability in the country could negatively affect Tunisian Jews.

Since that time, the Islamist Ennahda government ended its tenure in January with the approval of a new constitution by the country’s national assembly.  A caretaker cabinet was also appointed to rule until new elections are held later this year. The arrangement was made in order to end a crisis between Ennahda and its secular opposition – but it is unclear how the current arrangement has affected the political status of the country’s Jewish community.

Ennahda was the more moderate of the Islamist parties.  Salafi Muslim extremists have for years been expressing their strong support for the Hamas terrorist organization; in January 2012 they welcomed Gaza-based de facto Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to their shores with open arms.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tunisian-jew-stabbed-in-djerba/2014/04/16/

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