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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Semitism’

The Atrocity of Ignorance and Fanaticism

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

First let me state the obvious. I am not a Christian. I do not believe in Christian theology. I am a Torah-observant Jew with a Torah-observant theology. So the idea of a Trinity is anathema to me and I certainly do not believe in the divinity of Jesus.

That said, I am absolutely appalled at what has happened to a church in Israel recently. The expression of hatred towards Christian beliefs and institutions rivals that of pre-Holocuast Germany of the mid 30s. Anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a church and the recent public tearing up of the Christian bible by a Knesset member [MK Michal Ben-Ari -Ed.] are acts reminiscent of the anti-Semitic graffiti seen on the walls synagogues and Jewish owned businesses in Germany.

Unfortunately, I can all too well understand why this is happening. It is a culture of hatred of the goy (non-Jew) that permeates certain circles. And a history of anti-Semitism perpetrated against our parents, grandparents and great grandparents going back for centuries in Europe – pre-dating the Reformation.

The Church had always had it in for the Jews back then. Persecutions were often sourced in what the Church saw as heresy on our part for denying the divinity of Jesus. They either wanted to convert us or destroy us. That finally came to a head during the Holocaust where Christian Germany with centuries of hatred imbedded in their souls – ingrained in them by previous generations underpinned the Nazi determination to annihilate us. Even though the expressed hatred was entirely racial, not religious.

So it is not a surprise that certain Jews react reflexively to non-Jews by hating them. Nor is it surprising why that hatred produced this kind of activity. When hatred is ingrained in this historical way we cannot expect tolerance. I am reminded of a tape I once heard by a Chasidic Rav saying that even though we must have good relations with gentiles, we must hate them!

That is incorrect. There is no mitzvah to hate non-Jews. There is a mitzvah to treat all of humankind with the dignity they deserve as God’s creations, created in His image! There is instead a mitzvah to enlighten the nations with the morality, values, and ethics of the Torah. In fact according to one source I saw, the reason for our lengthy exile is precisely for that purpose – to get the rest of the world to believe in God and to appreciate the truth of the Torah.

Why doesn’t the segment that fosters the kind of hatred displayed in the above mentioned acts abide by any of this? In certain cases historical experiences combined with an insular lifestyle and lack of education prevents them from seeing reality.

In other cases, it is simple fanaticism as seems to be the case here. Some of the graffiti indicates that this was done by fanatic settlers of Ramat Migron and Maoz Esther as a ‘price tag’ operation for the police closing down two structures in Migron.

This is an outrage! No matter how justified these illegal settlers feel they are in building illegal settlements, and no matter how angry they are at the Israeli government for doing it, they have no right to retaliate. Certainly not against innocent Christians!

They probably think this is a Mitzvah. But they are wrong. This is a completely immoral act that is inexcusable!

The Christian world of today does not hate us. Many of them, such as the Evangelical community embrace us. And since Vatican Two, Catholics no longer believe in the doctrine that blames us for the crucifixion. We are now considered their ‘older brother’ religion. These new attitudes are clearly and constantly expressed in tangible ways. Relations have never been better. While there still may be pockets of Christian anti Semitism – they are relatively few in number and in any case non violent. (With the obvious exceptions of fringe groups like the neo-Nazis and the KKK.)

But the people who do this kind of thing either don’t know any of that, or don’t care. They will say that all this ‘love’ is false. Or that is it just a ruse to convert us. Most of them will not however be stupid enough to act on it – especially as an act of revenge against the government! But you only need a few who do. And that is what seems to have happened here.

J’Accuse: Shame on Germany for Circumcision Ban

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Why do countries with long histories of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry seem to care more about the so-called rights of young children not to be circumcised than do other countries in the world with far better histories of concern for human rights?

The same rhetorical question can be asked of countries, such as Norway, that care so much about the rights of animals not to be slaughtered according to Jewish ritual. These questions are entirely rhetorical because every thinking person knows the answer. It’s not because Germans or Norwegians are better people and care more about children and animals than do Americans. It is because they care less about Jews. Or more precisely they care a lot about Jews. They just don’t like them very much and don’t care if they are forced to leave the country because they cannot practice their religion there.

So let no one praise a nation that murdered a million Jewish babies and children for shedding crocodile tears over the plight of the poor little baby boy who, following a many thousand year old tradition, is circumcised 8 days after birth. Every good person should condemn Germany for what really lies at the heart of efforts to ban circumcision—old-fashioned anti-Semitism, a term coined by Germans for Germans and against Jews.

History is not irrelevant in assessing current policies. The history of Germany (and Norway) in prohibiting Jews from practicing their traditional rituals goes back to a time when overt anti-Semitism was not only acceptable, it was de rigeur. Today, new words replace discredited old ones. Anti-Zionism instead of anti-Semitism. The welfare of children instead of the banning of religious rituals. But it’s all the same. Anyone who falls for the new pseudo-scientific nonsense about the evils of circumcision or ritual slaughter is as naïve or bigoted as those who fell for the old pseudo-scientific racial claims of Nazism.

Indeed, there is an ugly whiff of “racial superiority” in the implicit assumption underlying these bigoted laws: Namely, that Germans and Norwegians are somehow morally (if not racially) superior to other countries that permit such “barbaric” practices.

So let’s call a spade a spade and let’s call anti-Semitism by its true name.

How then should reasonable people respond to these unreasonable efforts to make it difficult to practice traditional Judaism? Some have called for a legal response. Perhaps. But fighting these bigoted practices in court plays into the hands of those who are proposing it. In Nazi Germany, respected jurists were able to use the law to justify the most primitive forms of racism. Indeed Nazism operated through the Nuremberg laws and other such anti-Semitic legal enactments, which were declared entirely lawful by the German courts. Efforts to use the law against these manifestations of racism backfired, by legitimating the Nazis’ legalistic undertakings. So let those who seek to challenge these laws do so but not without understanding the downside of such action.

Some may suggest that the alleged science purporting to support these bans be challenged on the basis of scientific truth. Perhaps. But that too may play into the hands of those who would argue that even acknowledging a possible scientific basis for these bigoted proposals lends some legitimacy to them. “Science” too was used to support Nazi racial studies. Should German scientists now conduct “twin studies” on circumcised and uncircumcised siblings? Why is Germany not willing to accept the conclusion reached by the American Academy of Pediatrics following a five year review of the best research, that “the health benefits” of circumcision – including reduction of HIV and papillomavirus transmission – “outweigh the risks?”

The best response is to shame the Germans into rejecting this new form of left-wing anti-Semitism, by showing them how similar it is to the Nazism they now claim to abhor. This approach will not work in Norway, because Norwegians have forgotten their history and still believe they were victims of Nazism rather than collaborators. Norway’s anti-Semitic laws preventing kosher slaughter of animals date back to the pre-Nazi period and have remained in force since that time. Norway seems to have no shame nor is it capable of being shamed. Many Germans, on the other hand, seem willing to remember the past—at least up to a point. They must confront that past and look into the historical mirror before they once again go down the road of treating their Jewish citizens as second class or worse.

EU launches Online Anti-Semitism Survey

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The European Union launched an online survey into how Jews experience anti-Semitism in nine member states.

Results will be published in an EU report next year, Henry Nickels of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency said Tuesday at a European Jewish Parliament conference in Brussels.

Nickels’ Vienna-based intergovernmental body and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, an independent organization from London, commissioned the British market research company Ipsos MORI to conduct the survey.

The study “investigates firsthand examples of anti-Semitic harassment and violence as well as the extent to which Jews feel safe in Europe,” a statement by the institute said.

To participate, respondents must be older than 16 and residing in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden or the United Kingdom.

“This type of robust evidence will assist EU institutions in taking measures that will ensure that the rights of the Jewish people are fully protected,” Ioannis Dimitrakopoulus of the Fundamental Rights Agency said.

Joel Rubinfeld, the European Jewish Parliament’s co-chair, told JTA that the situation in Hungary is particularly worrisome “because we are seeing signs that official institutions there are condoning anti-Semitism.”

Laszlo Banay, chief adviser for the Budapest municipality and an EJP member, said at the conference that the right-wing Hungarian political party Jobbik has two Internet home pages: “One official page, and another unofficial and openly anti-Semitic one which operates from the U.S.”

Hungarian authorities are not prosecuting the website’s operators for hate speech, he said, even thought their identities are known.

Disturbing Trends At Fox News

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

“Fair and Balanced” is fast becoming more slogan than operating system at Fox News, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the way Israel is increasingly being treated and the extent to which anti-Semitism is tolerated as part of the cable channel’s conversation.

Here are a few examples:

● For some time, Fox has been using Michael Scheuer as a commentator. Bill O’Reilly is most responsible for this, but Judge Anthony Napolitano also made Scheuer a regular. This pompous “head of the Bin Laden Desk” at the CIA foams at the mouth whenever he can steer the conversation to Israel.

In his book Marching Toward Hell, Scheuer gives us that nasty bit of anti-Semitic trope that “the war in Iraq…was instigated by U.S. citizen Israel-firsters and their evangelical Christian allies.”

His subliminal theme is that Israel exerts undue influence on U.S. foreign policy through a network of powerful lobbies, organizations and large political donors. Scheuer is ever ready to blame Israel and by extension its American supporters for all that is wrong in the Middle East – and Fox gives him platform to do that.

● Before Scheuer, O’Reilly’s “stand up guy” was Al Sharpton, who in 1991 referred to Jews in Crown Heights as “diamond merchants” and in 1995 helped provoke an anti-Jewish riot in Harlem that resulted in several deaths at a Jewish-owned store Sharpton tagged as being run by “interlopers.”

● O’Reilly also harbors Marc Lamont Hill, an offbeat academic who defends the likes of the execrable Ward Churchill, fired from the University of Colorado because of his characterization of the victims of 9/11 as “little Eichmanns.” In defending Churchill, Hill gives hint to where his own feelings are. O’Reilly continues to keep him on.

● Another negative trendsetter is Sean Hannity, who has given new life to Pat Buchanan, a man with a long history of making remarks widely considered anti-Semitic; a man characterized by columnist Charles Krauthammer as “fanning hatred for Jews with his sly and not so sly allusions to Jewish power, Jewish influence, Jewish disloyalty” and by Alan A. Ryan, Jr., a former Justice Department prosecutor, as “the spokesman for Nazi war criminals in America.”

This is the same Buchanan who said “Capitol Hill is Israeli-occupied territory”; who first coined the term “amen corner” in reference to American Jews who support Israel; and who claimed that U.S. entry into conflict with Iraq was driven by Jewish neoconservatives solely for the benefit of Israel.

It’s the same Buchanan who wrote, “If you want to know ethnicity and power in the United States Senate, thirteen members of the Senate are Jewish folks who are from two percent of the population. That is where real power is at.”

The same Buchanan who said, “If [Elena] Kagan [President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court] is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than two percent of the U.S. population, will have thirty-three percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this Democrats’ idea of diversity?”

His presence on Fox besmirches the network.

● Then there is the constant ignorance of Geraldo Rivera. One only has to spend a few seconds listening to his reporting from the “occupied territories,” as he calls them, to gauge the depth of his ignorance of the facts on the ground. Most recently he had a tete a tete with his “old and dear friend” Hanan Ashwari, the dependable propagandist for the Palestinian narrative. Geraldo regularly parrots that Palestinian narrative.

● Most recently, Bob Beckel, on “The Five,” appeared to be channeling Sharpton when he referred to a group of Israelis meeting with Mitt Romney as “diamond merchants.” Bob and Fox must know that the term used in that way is redolent with stereotype and prejudice.

None of this is casual stuff. Anti-Semitism creeps into media environments like Fox News in innocuous doses, but soon becomes ever-present and accepted.

In the early 1990s the courageous William F. Buckley would not allow the anti-Semitism of a senior editor named Joseph Sobran to contaminate National Review, the magazine Buckley had founded in 1955. Buckley also publicly castigated the aforementioned Buchanan for his statements on Jews and Israel. There seems to be no such compunction at Fox.

What Bill Buckley did was exhibit a moral courage that most of the media lack and that Fox is now losing. It takes courage to do the right thing and Fox doesn’t seem to have it as it starts its descent into that cauldron of opinion in the so-called middle where right and wrong are always relative and never absolute.

Jury Said Hotel Owner Is Anti-Semitic, But She Insists: ‘Some of My Best Friends Are Jewish’

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

The Santa Monica hotel owner recently found liable by a jury for dozens of counts of anti-Semitic discrimination has issued a press release in which she claims she deplores anti-Semitism.  Not only that, but, to replay one of her losing defenses at trial, some of her best friends are Jews. And, she claims, she never did or said the things the jury determined she did.

On August 15, the jury in a discrimination lawsuit returned a verdict against Tehmina Adaya, owner of the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica, finding that she had repeatedly violated the California Civil Rights Act and committed various other acts of discrimination against a group of 18 plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs had attended a July, 2010 Friends of the IDF charity fundraiser for a program that sends to summer camp the children of Israeli soldiers who were killed while serving.  That charity event was held at the pool area of the Shangri-La Hotel.

According to sworn testimony presented at trial, when the hotel owner saw the FIDF banner and literature, she shouted, “get those [expletive] Jews out of my pool,” at which point her staff forced everyone in the pool with a blue FIDF wristband to get out, took down the FIDF banners and literature, and attempted to remove from the premises all of those attending the pro-Israel charity event.

The Western Region ZOA office planned a public protest to take place on August 26th, in front of the Shangri-La Hotel.  The protest was planned, according to Orit Arfa, executive director of that ZOA office, as part of the ZOA’s mandate – “to take stands against anti-Zionism.”

In response to publicity about the protest, a representative for Shangri-La spoke with ZOA leadership.  When Adaya agreed to issue a public statement condemning anti-Semitism, announcing donations to two Israeli charities, and hosting a future ZOA pro-Israel event at her hotel, the protest was called off.

“I care deeply about the hurt, anger and misunderstanding that has resulted and I want the Jewish and pro-Israel community to know I condemn anti-Semitism,” Adaya wrote in her press release.  She continued, “I pride myself on having close Jewish friends and senior staff, employees representing 12 countries, and we welcome guests from around the world. While I regret I didn’t publicly address this sooner given my belief in my innocence, I support Israel and seek to enhance relationships with people of all backgrounds.”

In addition to sharing what she described as her “sensitivity to Jewish groups and Israel,” Adaya, a jet-setting, multi-millionaire, announced she was donating $3600 each to two Israeli charities, the Koby Mandell Foundation, which supports victims of terrorism, and the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization.

James Turken, the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the discrimination lawsuit, was not moved by Adaya’s efforts.  Although Adaya spent much of her release extolling her sensitivities and trumpeting her donations, she also claimed she had not said and done what the jury determined was the case.  What’s more, she mischaracterized what the jury said and found in a way that, at least for legal experts, goes beyond mere spin.

According to her statement, Adaya “never made any disparaging comments to anyone who attended an event here.”  That’s true, but no one claimed she had.  In fact, on the day the Jews were rounded up and removed from her pool, and throughout the hours-long effort to salvage the event, Adaya refused to talk to or meet with the plaintiffs and only dealt with them through her intermediaries.

But of greater concern to Turken was Adaya’s public relations claim that “While the jury found that the hotel did not have proper business protocols in place, they did not claim or believe she made discriminatory comments to any of the plaintiffs.”

Turken told The Jewish Press: “This is an effort at spin control that ignores reality.  The entire proceeding is a public record, as are the verdicts.  The jury found multiple violations of the Unruh Act – that is a civil rights act which can only be violated by acts of discrimination.  Further, the jury awarded treble damages which are only triggered when there is a finding that a defendant’s actions were “particularly reprehensible.”  In addition, Turken explained, “the award of punitive damages was only legally permissible because the jury found Adaya had acted with malice, oppression and fraud.”

Polish Diplomats Won’t Promote Book on Poles’ Conduct During WW2

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Several Polish diplomatic missions have yet to fulfill a request by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote a book on their websites about Poles and their relationships with Jews during the Holocaust.

The ministry in July asked the missions to put a link to “Inferno of Choices: Poles and the Holocaust” (Rytm) on their websites, but several of the missions have not complied, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported Tuesday. Some Polish historians have criticized the book, accusing the authors of drawing false conclusions.

The book includes historical documents, letters and testimony that show real living conditions in Nazi-occupied Poland. The book explores Polish anti-Semitism and Poles who stole Jewish property during and after World War II.

“There are articles by outstanding Polish historians, as well as records and documents of the Polish Underground State showing historical context of extermination of Jews in Polish areas occupied by Germany,” said Marcin Bosacki, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The ministry says the book has a positive opinion of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, which has awarded the Righteous Gentile designation to more Poles than any other foreign nationals.

The book, in English, was edited by Sebastian Rejak and Elzbieta Frister.

YouTube Removes Hundreds of Videos in Response to New Report on Online Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) on Wednesday released a report documenting extensive anti-Semitism and racial hatred on YouTube, prompting the popular video-sharing website to close the account of the most egregious culprit.

The report, which seeks to address the lacunae in online regulation of hate speech, highlights how one one user uploaded 1,710 videos in a single day – the vast majority (87%) of which consisted of blatant hate speech. A substantial number of the videos concerned Holocaust denial and defense of Holocaust deniers. Some videos accused Jews and Israel of masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks. YouTube closed the user’s account within 24 hours of receiving an advanced copy of OHPI’s report.

Although encouraged that YouTube took the necessary corrective measures, OHPI expressed concern that it took the impending release of the report to prompt YouTube to close the account. OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler: “YouTube must be commended for its speedy response to OHPI’s report, but it is concerning that such hateful content, and in such volume in a single account, was able to remain on the YouTube site for over a month without triggering internal warnings.”

More specifically, the report reveals that one video was flagged multiple times within a few days of being uploaded, and that YouTube was notified by e-mail of both this video and the account more generally by a Jewish community organization – the Executive Council of Australian Jewry – within the first week of the video’s upload.

The report recommends “greater sanctions both by the state and by the platform provider” when such grave violations occur, suggesting that “a comparison can be drawn to copyright law, where commercial scale can tip the matter from a civil action into a criminal offence.”

“When the sanction for copyright infringement is greater, and more rigorously enforced, than the sanction for promoting genocide, we need to stop and question our priorities” Dr Oboler concluded.

OHPI was established in January 2012 in Victoria, Australia for the purpose of combating online hate and facilitating a change in online culture

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/youtube-removes-hundreds-of-videos-in-response-to-new-report-on-online-anti-semitism/2012/08/01/

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