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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Semitism’

Writing on the Wall, Anyone? British Soccer Fans Again Face Antisemitic Slurs

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Fans of a popular British soccer club spewed anti-Semitic taunts and chants at fans of a second British club whose fans are sometimes referred to as the “Yid Army.”

West Ham United fans on Sunday sang anti-Semitic songs about Adolf Hitler to supporters of the home team, the Tottenham Hotspurs, and referred to the stabbing last week in Italy of a Spurs fan by a West Ham fan.

“Can we stab you every week?” and “Adolf Hitler’s coming to get you,” the West Ham Fans chanted during the game.

The Spurs traditionally have had a large Jewish support base in London.

The Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s watchdog group on anti-Semitism and hate crimes, and its security agency called on the Football Association, the governing body of soccer in England, to take action in the wake of the anti-Semitic chanting.

The Community Security Trust sits on the Football Association’s working group tackling Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Football. The Trust plans to introduce a discussion on how campaigns against racism in soccer can be fully extended to include anti-Semitism.

“The days of English football crowds making mass monkey noises are thankfully gone, but massed anti-Semitic chanting about Hitler and gassing was clearly heard yesterday from a loud section of West Ham fans,” said Community Security Trust spokesman Mark Gardner. “We have heard such abuse against Spurs before and it risks seriously compromising the work against racism at all levels of the game.”

Several people at the match and others who heard about the chants via the media lodged complaints with the Trust.

Why Bill Cosby is a Great Man

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Comedian Bill Cosby has had a monumental career in show business. From the very first time I heard his “Noah” routine, I never stopped laughing at his humor. What is so great about this man is that he knows the truth when he sees it and is not afraid to tell it like it is. He has in fact been criticized by some leaders of the black community for unfairly (according to them) speaking some of that truth.

But that isn’t the only reason he is great. About a year or two before he had his mega hit TV series in the 80s – the board of directors of Arie Crown Hebrew Day School had asked him to do a show for us as one of our fundraisers. He accepted. His fee was reasonable (and affordable for us) but he tacked on a condition that he could get out of his contract with us if something better came along. We agreed.

Shortly thereafter he received an offer to headline a show in Las Vegas that made it impossible for him to do a show for us in Chicago. He took it. But being the Mentch that he is, he promised us a show for next year at the same price.

Sure enough, one year later he gave us one of the funniest comedy performances I have ever attended. I don’t recall an audience laughing so many times or so hard. Arie Crown principal at the time, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, was doubled over with laughter. I don’t think I have ever seen him laugh so hard – before or since.

What was great about that show is that it did not contain any off color humor. Not even scatological humor. It was G rated and as funny as could be. Cosby is known for that. One might think that his standards are not our standards and that what he considered perfectly clean humor would be off color by our standards. Unfortunately Arie Crown had trusted other comedians’ promises to keep things clean. But to our dismay what was clean to them was off color to an Orthodox Jewish crowd.

Bill Cosby’s jokes were funny and clean by even our standards. The year after that comedy show, he went on to his mega successful series on NBC.

But that too is not all. I had never seen the video clip that is currently running on Aish. This was first broadcast on NBC way back in 1971 in an earlier TV series. It shows he truly understands anti-Semitism. And that he was not afraid to demonstrate what he saw as the cause of it on his own show. Thanks to Aish for finding this rare TV Clip and featuring it on their website.

Courtesy of Aish.com

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the US at a 20-Year Low

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined by 13% in 2011, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The annual ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported a total of 1,080 incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment, compared to 1,239 incidents reported in 2010.

It is the lowest number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded by ADL in the past two decades.

“It is encouraging that over the past five or six years we have seen a consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and that the numbers are now at a historic low,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “To the extent that these incidents serve as a barometer, the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Semitism and pushing it to the far fringes, making expressions of anti-Jewish hatred unacceptable. These declining numbers, while promising, must nevertheless be viewed in the context of other factors, including online expressions of anti-Semitism that are impossible to quantify and often go unchecked.”

Among the more disturbing trends noted in the 2011 ADL Audit is the prevalence of reports across the country of incidents of school bullying, where Jewish students reported being harassed and intimidated by their peers using offensive anti-Semitic stereotypes or comments evoking the Nazis or the Holocaust.

“ADL continues to receive a distressing number of complaints about children, adolescents and teenagers engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, both on and off school grounds,” said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. “These have included physical assaults, treats of violence, and verbal and written taunts promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes or evoking disturbing Holocaust themes. We believe that these types of incidents show there is an ongoing need for comprehensive programming promoting diversity and tolerance and combating bullying of all kinds as well as a continued emphasis on Holocaust education in the schools, so that the next generation of students can fully understand the history of that period and the consequences of unchecked hatred, prejudice and bigotry.”

Read the full report.

French Imams in Jerusalem For Anti-Anti-Jewish Campaign

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

A campaign by a group of 12 French imams to portray themselves as friendly to Jews is set to take place on Sunday when they arrive in Israel for a five-day visit.

Imam Hassan Shaljoumi told Maariv newspaper that the imams spreading anti-Semitism in the name of Islam are a minority, and that there are Muslims who want to live in peace with Jews.

Shaljoumi told Maariv that his interfaith work has subjected him to threats, and that he kept the trip a secret until the end to prevent enemies to his cause from thwarting the project.

The imams will meet with President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and other Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders, and visit Muslim sites throughout Jerusalem.

Group members issued a statement saying “our image in the world has been sullied and we must remedy it in the name of tolerance – we are the true face of French Muslims.”

B’nai Brith Canada: ‘Silence Is Not An Option’

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Some of you are looking at the title of my column and wondering two things – why I am writing about B’nai Brith Canada – arguably Canada’s version of the Anti-Defamation League and why would it be of interest to anyone who does not live in that country – as most of you don’t.

It’s because I think you will sleep slightly better at night – as I do – knowing there is an additional organization in North America whose mandate is to fight anti-Semitism – – one that is quite loud and insistent.

B’nai Brith Canada was created in 1875, making it the oldest Jewish organization in Canada. From inception, its agenda has been the promotion of human rights and battling anti-Semitism and racism. Now more than ever, their staff, who for the most part are observant Jews, takes very seriously the Biblical injunction to “watch over your soul.”

B’nai Brith Canada has repeatedly exposed the biases and prejudices of the powerful United Church of Canada. This summer the Church voted to boycott products exported from Israeli businesses in the West Bank and expressed remorse for previously asking Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.

B’nai Brith Canada has not hesitated to take legal action against the Church for its anti-Semitic rhetoric – which resulted in an apology from the Church.

The organization is meticulous in keeping an eye on Jew-hatred in all it’s manifestations, and is very vocal when it comes to supporting the State of Israel – in particular Yesha. Its Parliament Hill office connects regularly with politicians, civil servants and ambassadors, providing a strong voice on issues of concern to the community.

A decade ago, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, was the only human rights organization given intervener status by the court in the hate crime trial of David Ahenakew, a national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. In an interview he gave in December 2002, Ahenakew stated that Jews were a “disease” and that Hitler was justifiably trying to “clean up the world” when he “fried six million of those guys.” (Unlike in the US where “freedom of speech ” can to some extent, legally allow the spewing of racist remarks, Canada has made hate speech a criminal offence).

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw B’nai Brith Canada as a ferocious, tenacious dog, determinedly biting down on the ankle of a surprised and panicked thug.

Very recently, B’nai Brith was alerted that a costume store in Montreal was selling what looked like a concentration camp uniform bearing a Star of David made of yellow and red triangles. The store apparently rents costumes to theatrical groups but makes them available to the public for Halloween.

Due to the organization’s intervention, the offensive costume was removed.

There are those in the community who feel that B’nai Brith is made up of a bunch of “fear-mongers.” They insist that Jews are safe in North America; that America and Canada have a track record of being a goldeneh midina – a golden land for the Jews with incredible freedoms and rights. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that there were signs on hotels saying, “No Jews or dogs allowed.”

And there is the infamous statement allegedly made by an immigration official after WWII who insisted, in regards to Jews coming to Canada, “none are too many.”

In 1939, both countries denied entry to over 900 Jewish refugees on board the MS St Louis, who were desperately trying escape genocide in Europe. The ship was forced to return to Europe. While some countries took in handfuls of Jews, most returned to their countries, where several hundred ultimately perished in the death camps.

(B’nai Brith Canada recently published a student resource book on Canadian immigration policies of the past, present and future titled, Welcome to Canada? to educate a new generation of youngsters, many of whom are first generation Canadians, whose parents come from the four corners of the world. The story of the St. Louis is included).

Those who are confident that there will never be a return to the days when Jews were persona non grata are in extreme denial.

No one wants to dwell on unpleasant realities. It’s easier not to think about loss or death – or anti-Semitism and the potential ominous threat to you and your loved ones. Maybe you do for a few minutes during a Shoah commemoration, but allowing it to infiltrate your daily life is too hard, too stomach churning, too depressing.

UK Columnist Admits: ‘Anti-Semitism Plays a Some Role in Hostility Towards Israel’

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

There are two things Glenn Greenwald and I have in common – which is two more than I realized only an hour ago.

He has the flu, according to his latest ‘Comment is Free’ post, and I have flu-like symptoms due to a recent ill-advised flu shot.

The other more substantive commonality pertains to one acknowledgement in his post – one of seven miscellaneous observations by the Guardian’s new U.S. blogger.

In the context of complaining about the alleged recent smearing of Matt Stoller (former Democratic staffer and MSNBC producer) as a racist, Greenwald pivoted to make a broader point:

“There are few things more reckless and disgusting than publicly smearing someone as a racist – easily one of the worst things you can say about someone in America, for very good reason – purely for partisan gain. That’s especially true when you are well aware that you have no basis for the accusation.

For years, neocons did the same thing with “anti-Semitism” charges. They seized on a real and serious problem – anti-Semitism – and converted it into an exploitative, opportunistic weapon to punish those who deviated from their political views, particularly on Israel. The worst part of that behavior – aside from ruining people’s reputations by casting them as bigots without any cause – is that it dilutes the power of that term and makes it no longer effective to use when it actually appears.

That is precisely what spouting knowingly baseless accusations of racism achieves. Obviously, racism plays a substantial role in motivating some of the hostility toward the first African-American president, just as anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel. That’s precisely why it’s so vital to avoid casually exploiting those terms for gross partisan opportunism: because people will stop taking the terms seriously when they genuinely arise.

Few things are lowlier than tossing around those accusations purely to discredit someone for partisan gain. It happens often, but this case is particularly egregious given the accuser’s admissions in the comment section combined with the total lack of retraction or correction by that blog.

While I was shocked to read Greenwald acknowledge that “anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel”, I gather from his additional complaint about those who “exploit” the term “anti-Semitism” to “discredit” people that he may have been stung by criticism about his own record of advancing Judeophobic narratives concerning ‘dual loyalty’ and the danger of ‘Jewish power’.

I’ll leave you with a brief selection of quotes by Greenwald and you can judge for yourself if he has been unfairly smeared as a commentator who subscribes to anti-Semitic calumnies. (These quotes were documented in a report I wrote about antisemitism on progressive blogs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in 2010.)

* “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
* “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
* “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
* “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
* “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
* “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
* “It is simply true that large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
* “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
* “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”

Glenn, the floor is yours.

Visit Cifwatch.com.

Emory University Apologizes for 2 Decades of Anti-Semitism at Dental School

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Emory University issued a formal apology to Jewish dental students who attended the school between 1948 and 1961 and faced anti-Semitism.

University President James Wagner delivered the apology at a special event Wednesday night that included 32 former students, now in their 70s and 80s, of the Atlanta school. The students had received failing grades, were thrown out of school or were forced to repeat classes only because they were Jewish.

“I hereby express in the deepest, strongest terms, Emory’s regret for the anti-Semitic practices of the dental school during those years,” Wagner said. “We at Emory also regret that it has taken this long for those events to be properly acknowledged. I am sorry; we are sorry.”

Among the 450 people present was Perry Brickman, a retired oral surgeon from Atlanta who was kicked out of Emory in 1952 along with his three Jewish classmates and whose subsequent research about anti-Semitism at Emory was an impetus for the apology. Brickman spent many years interviewing fellow Emory students who faced discrimination, and his work was featured in the documentary film “From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory’s Dental School History.”

The documentary was shown last year to Emory’s board of trustees, who decided there needed to be a public apology, Emory University Vice President Gary Hauk told JTA.

“When we saw Brickman’s documentary, it was evident he had a story about discrimination — one that needed to be confronted and needed an apology,” Hauk said. “It’s a regrettable part of the institution’s history, and it’s shameful that it did happen. But there’s a renewed agreement to make sure discrimination like this doesn’t happen at our school again.”

The documentary film also was shown at Wednesday’s event.

“I was a good student, I did my work and got good grades, but I still got a letter that I was kicked out,” Brickman told JTA in an interview. “The whole thing was so embarrassing. But there was nothing we could do about it, so we just moved on and didn’t speak to each other. Nobody in the community wanted to do anything. We were dealing with immigration issues and hate speech from the KKK, so we didn’t want to make waves.”

The anti-Semitic policies at the dental school have been attributed to its then-dean, John Buhler. In 1962, the Anti-Defamation League presented the university with data showing that 65 percent of Emory’s Jewish students faced trouble – a sign, the organization said, of obvious discrimination. The university at the time denied being anti-Semitic, but shortly after Buhler resigned as the school dean.

“We are grateful to President Wagner for his forthright leadership in acknowledging and apologizing for a policy that has haunted many of the Jewish students throughout their long lives,” Bill Nigut of the ADL said in a statement this week. “We are now hearing powerful, painful stories of how they came to doubt their own abilities, were viewed as failures by parents and friends, and had to rethink careers — all because the dental school dean at the time was an anti-Semite, and other administrators and faculty either ignored or abetted his prejudice.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/emory-university-apologizes-for-2-decades-of-anti-semitism-at-dental-school/2012/10/12/

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