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July 8, 2015 / 21 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nazi’

When is a Swastika not a Swastika?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Walgreens announced Monday that is removing all rolls of wrapping paper from its shelves nationwide after a woman from the Northridge community of Los Angeles complained Sunday about the swastikas in the design.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had no idea what to do,” Cheryl Shapiro, the distressed shopper told L.A.’s NBC News affiliate. “I came home and spoke to my rabbi. He couldn’t believe it.”

Shapiro’s experience brings up a larger issue: How close to a swastika should something look to be considered offensive?

The wrapping paper is only the latest in a series of swastika products spotted on the market in recent years. In October, Sears apologized profusely for selling a ring with a swastika on it in its “men’s punk rock style” jewelry collection. In 2013, a clothing line called “Spiritual Punx” began putting colorful swastikas, which might also be seen as donuts, on clothing, stickers and accessories.

In 2007, Zara was caught selling a handbag that featured four green swastikas next to an array of flowers.

The swastika dates back thousands of years, well before Hitler’s rise to power. Before the late 19th century, the symbol was primarily associated with the cultures of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, in which it represented good luck or well-being. By the start of the 20th century, the swastika could be seen throughout Europe, not just in Germany. Today it is still seen on temples in places like India and Indonesia.

In any modern Western context, the swastika is inextricably associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

However, is the geometry of the Walgreens wrapping paper in the same category as the Sears “punk rock” ring? After all, the hooked cross, while iconic, is a simple enough design to accidentally replicate if one is drawing enough lines and right angles.

Presumably, Walgreen’s now will be extra careful in scrutinizing its products to assure they do not offend.

Fashion and Perfume Tycoon Chanel Exposed as Having Been Nazi Spy

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

A French television documentary has dug up World War II documents proving that fashion icon Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel spied on behalf of the Nazi regime’s Germany’s secret military intelligence organization, the Abwehr.

The documents from France’s Defense Ministry archives show that Chanel was known by the Germans as agent F-7124 and was given the code name of Westminster, a reference to the Duke of Westminster with whom she had a romantic affair in the 1920s, only one of her escapades.

“Chanel’s love affairs with high-ranking Nazis, including senior Gestapo officer of Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, have been widely known for years. But this is the first time a French state broadcaster has admitted that she went so far as to spy for the occupiers,” France 24 reported.

During the Nazi occupation of France, Chanel moved into the hotel that the Luftwaffe used as its headquarters.

She also tried to use her influence to gain access to the perfume business that had been owned by Jews, who she did not know had sold it to non-Jews in an anticipation of Nazi laws forbidding Jews from owning businesses.

The Nazis Are Coming, The Nazis Are Coming

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Published on Jewish Business News

Would I be shocked if some day an investigating committee discovered it was a secret agent of the internal security service who posted those pictures of Israeli politicians in Nazi uniforms? Honestly, I wouldn’t be. It’s what Israel’s internal security does—cast blame on the right.

Back in 1996, the Shamgar committee investigating the Rabin murder ruled “without any doubt” that it was Avishai Raviv, an agent provocateur of the Jewish Department of the internal security police, who created and disseminated a poster of Rabin in Nazi uniform. Agent Raviv did a lot of bad things, according to the committee, including inventing the idea that the prime minister had the status of “rodef,” one who is about to commit murder and so must be killed first.

And he created the Nazi Rabin poster, with government funds, to cast false blame on the right.

Lest I be misunderstood, I join all the voices in Israel who, over the past week or so, have expressed various levels of disagreement, even shock, at the images of several key Israeli politicians dressed in Nazi uniforms, courtesy of Photoshop and Facebook.

I happen to believe that the first party to mention the Holocaust in a debate loses. Comparing any post-Holocaust event, including some holocausts, to the Holocaust belies a deep misunderstanding of the scope and monstrosity of the European Holocaust. Certainly comparing the quality of service at some roadside motel to Auschwitz would betray a deep ignorance of the suffering of Humanity in general and the Jewish people in particular.

In Israel, the images of leading politicians, such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Judiciary Minister Tzipi Livni in Nazi uniforms have created a stormy news cycle complete with police investigation, the closing down of the Facebook page that featured those images, and a vehement condemnation by the outgoing Chief Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court, the final arbiter of democratic values.

To an American who enjoys the luxuries of a well honed First Amendment to the Constitution, this must seem very strange. Why would a fairly amateurish artistic effort to dress up some politicians in Nazi uniforms be perceived as a danger to the rule of law and democracy? Isn’t democracy a place where one can express oneself offensively as long as they like, provided they don’t yell fire in a crowded theater?

But the Israeli media response to the Nazi posters is a masterpiece of propaganda, borrowing heavily from the father of modern communications, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who wrote: “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

In Israel, anyone would tell you that the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a main square in Tel Aviv began with posters that depicted Rabin in a Nazi uniform. Surely, goes the argument, if the public is drenched once again with these offensive images, we’ll end up with yet another political murder.

You see, the average Israeli is remarkably stupid and thick-headed when it comes to the sanctity of freedom of speech. They simply don’t remember it was their government which paid for and delivered the Rabin Nazi poster, they only remember the poster, with horror, because after the poster some nut job killed Rabin.

And so, with zero regard to the value of free speech in a democracy, Israeli police is pursuing the new Nazi poster offenders indefatigably.

But even if the anonymous person calling himself or herself Natan Zuabi (an inside joke at the expense of an Arab MK and an Israeli radio broadcaster) is not a police agent—the pursuit of those images constitutes the suppression of free speech. And a supreme court justice who can’t recall it was the government who invented those Nazi posters is asleep at the wheel of democracy.

Alas, the only democracy in the Middle East just got a little less democratic. And it could get worse.

Nazi Montage on Facebook

Jewish Watchdog Group Sues Romanian Mayor for Hitler Hairdo in 2009

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Hitler hairdo of a Romanian mayor, who in 2009 was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform, prompted a Jewish watchdog group to sue him for allegedly inciting hatred.

The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, or MCA Romania, filed a criminal complaint last week against Radu Mazare, the mayor of the seaside resort town of Constanta, after he spoke to the media about his haircut, which resembles that of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

MCA Romania’s complaint to the prosecutor’s office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, accused Mazare of inspiring pro-Nazi sentiment by celebrating the haircut. The complaint qualifies the mayor’s actions as an “outrageous, provocative and defiant” show of Nazi sympathies.

Mazare in 2009 attended a fashion show with his son while wearing a fake Nazi uniform, which he said he had bought because he liked how it looked. He said he did not see the swastikas on the uniform but critics disputed this as he climbed the stage with his son while marching in a military style typical of German soldiers.

In an interview published earlier this month in the Adevarul daily newspaper, Mazare said he was surprised to learn of the criminal complaint filed against him and claimed his new haircut — which he adopted shortly before the first round of Romania’s presidential elections — owed to his desire to keep up with current trends.

“I got the haircut to fit in to the hairstyles I see people wearing on the street,” he said.

 

Gurlitt Museum Admits Picasso Painting Was Stolen from Jews

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Swiss museum that was given Nazi-era art has already admitted that at least one of is expensive pieces of art was stolen from Jews.

As reported here last week, Cornelius Gurlitt, whose father dealt with art in the Nazi era, left his collection of art to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland, which agreed with Germany and the state of Bavaria last week that it would take possession of the works in the Gurlitt collection, except for those that are suspected of having been looted.

The museum published the list of its “Salzburg collection” on Thursday and later admitted that the “Paris Kathedrale” probably is the Picasso work of art from 1902 and which was stolen from Jews by the Nazis.

“We ourselves recognized that this is looted art,” museum director Matthias Frehner said on Friday. He promised that “we will do our utmost to arrange for a swift restitution.”

Some 1,400 works were confiscated from Gurlitt’s Munich home in 2012 in the course of an investigation for tax evasion. Other works were subsequently found in Gurlitt’s second home in Salzburg, Austria.

Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told The New York Times, ” Just a little bit of hunting and pecking, and things immediately surfaced. This underscores the necessity for the research, and it shows us why the transparency is so important.”

Who Gave $1 Million for Museum That May Deal with Nazi-Looted Art?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

An anonymous donor has given more than $1 million to help a Swiss museum take care of a bequest of hundreds of artworks, which may include Nazi-looted art.

The donation will help the Kunstmuseum Bern, or Bern Museum of Fine Arts, to house the collection of the late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt of about 1,000 artworks, the French news agency AFP reported Thursday. The donor asked to remain anonymous.

The museum on Monday formally agreed to accept the collection but said that it would work with German officials to ensure that all looted art in the collection is returned to its owners or their heirs. Gurlitt named the museum his sole heir before his death in May.

The collection reportedly is worth about $1.26 billion. The museum said it had no prior relationship with Gurlitt.

A German task force will continue to investigate the provenance of the artworks to determine which pieces were looted and to discover their rightful owners. Pieces for which no owners can be identified will be displayed in Germany in order to try to find the owners or heirs, according to the museum.

Some 1,400 works were confiscated from Gurlitt’s Munich home in 2012 in the course of an investigation for tax evasion. Other works were subsequently found in Gurlitt’s second home in Salzburg, Austria.

Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer on assignment to the Nazis. When Hildebrand Gurlitt died in 1956, his son inherited the collection, which includes works by Picasso, Durer, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Beckmann and Matisse.

In April, Gurlitt signed an agreement with the state of Bavaria and the German federal government in which the provenance of all works would be researched, paving the way for the return of the paintings to the heirs of the rightful owners.

The work of the task force in searching for possible rightful owners continued after Gurlitt’s death.

The museum is set to publish this week a list of all the artworks in the collection, the first time such a comprehensive list will be available, according to AFP.

Feiglin Bans Arab MK from Podium for Calling Him ‘Fascist’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Knesset guards forcibly removed an Arab Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka from the podium Monday evening on orders from Acting Speaker Moshe Feiglin for calling him a “fascist.”

For good measure, Zahalka added that considering he was talking about Feiglin, the word fascist was a “compliment.”

The guards removed him from the chamber, but Feiglin, remaining the parliamentarian, told them he only ordered that Zahalka be taken away from the podium. As he returned to the chamber, pandemonium broke out in the circus, and everyone had a good time shouting at each other.

Other Arab MKs and Labor MK Shelley Yechomovich rushed towards the podium to protest Feiglin’s action, which he said he carried out according to the Knesset code.

Prior to Zahalka’s “fascist” comments, Feiglin had evicted Hadash party Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh from the Knesset for telling Feiglin he should “be choked.”

The mayhem revolved around the  daily circus’ event of the day, a no-confidence motion over the “Jewish State Bill” that would define Israel as a Jewish state.

Zahalka managed to get in a few words against the idea, quoting Jewish philosopher Hanna Arendt, who fled the Nazis and lived in the United States and railed against the idea or re-establishing the State of Israel because it would make Arabs second-class citizens.

Zahalka said Arendt used the term “Palestinians,” prompting Feiglin to interrupt and ask him if that was the actual word she used.

Zahalka replied that she indeed said “Palestinians” and then began to lecture Feiglin that he should read the source and perhaps “learn something.” He said Arendt was anti-fascist, but he turned to Feiglin and called him a fascist.

The acting speaker, in his usual calm manner, said that Zahalka could not continue speaking, but he ignored or didn’t even hear Feiglin. Within seconds, the guards came to remove him, and he went into a rage, grabbing the podium to resist his ouster.

Can a Knesset Member called another MK a “fascist”? Can he call him a “Nazi”?

Or how about “dirty Jew?”

Or “dirty Arab?”

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog sharply criticized Feiglin for removing Zahalka from the podium, accusing him of violating “freedom of thought and democracy.”

What would he had said if Feiglin had called an Arab MK a “terrorist?

The video of the Knesset show is in Hebrew but that shouldn’t keep anyone from understanding what happened.

The action starts at two minutes in the video.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/feiglin-bans-arab-mk-from-podium-for-calling-him-fascist/2014/11/25/

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