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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Semitism’

French Ozar Hatorah Student Attacked Violently

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

A 17 year-old student from the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where gunman Mohammed Merah murdered three children and an administrator last March, was attacked violently on a train Wednesday night in Lyon, according to the French Interior Ministry.

AFP reported that the victim, who wore “identifiable religious symbols,” was first subjected to verbal insults on the train, according to the official announcement, and “was then attacked in the platform toilets by two individuals who beat him up.”

The attack was interrupted by a passenger and a train controller.

The student immediately registered a complaint with the Lyon authorities and “identities of both perpetrators are now known thanks to the actions of the railroad police,” according to the Interior Ministry’s statement, that also promised to continue “fighting the resurgence of the evil  of anti-Semitism,” which signifies “a slight to the history and values of the French Republic.”.

A source close to the investigation in Lyon told AFP that neither of the accused had been summoned for questioning on Thursday morning, after having been caught by the train’s controller.

After filing the complaint, the Jewish youth went on to his family’s home in Lyon.

With the initial stage of the investigation completed, it appears that the victim was beaten up after the two suspects noticed a religious chain around his neck, according to details released by the Interior Ministry, which added that “such acts of extreme violence are unacceptable.”

CRIF, the umbrella representative group of French Jewry, released a statement saying that the latest attack on a young Jewish student “is another development in the worrying trend of anti-Semitism in our country.”

“The number of incidents is continuing to increase, the violence of the acts likewise, as if the murders committed by Mohamed Merad had released the impulse to act,” CRIF said.

It added that it is especially incendiary to speak of “intercommunal conflicts” when discussing these incidents.

“It is always identifiable Jews who are the victims of these attacks. To combat anti-Semitism in France, you have to call it by its proper name and acknowledge the factors that increase it. And we have to make its eradication a national political cause.”

The CRIF hopes that the perpetrators will be subjected to appropriate punishment.

Report: Online Anti-Semitism in Spain Doubled in 2011

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Online anti-Semitism in Spain doubled in volume last year, according to a Spanish Jewish community monitor.

In a report on anti-Semitism in Spain in 2011, the Observatory on Anti-Semitism in Spain counted more than 1,000 anti-Semitic sites and web pages that the observatory says were created in Spain. In 2010 the observatory counted only 400 such sites. The observatory includes Spanish Facebook pages and groups in its reports.

The document on 2011 is the observatory’s third annual monitor report. The observatory was co-founded by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain.

The observatory received a total of 57 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011. Of those, it deemed 42 to be anti-Semitic. In 2010, the center received half this number of reports.

“There is growing public awareness of the [observatory] initiative,” a Jewish federation spokesperson said.

A few of the incidents reported involved heckling of Jews in public. On Sept. 17, a group of youths confronted members of a Jewish cultural group at a mall in Saragossa. The youths allegedly told the group that Jews were “fascists, racist murderers” and that “there should be no Jews in the world.”

Spain, a nation of some 47 million people, has approximately 50,000 Jews.

The similarly-sized Dutch Jewish community registered 123 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011 throughout the Netherlands, with a population of 17 million people. During 2011, “there has been notable progress in the legal field, as well as increased efforts in the fight against anti-Semitism,” the report said.

The observatory nonetheless called on the political establishment to address “ambiguous wording” in the penal code. This, according to the observatory, leads to “contradictions” in the fight against hate crimes.

Only in America

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Once again this great nation of ours lives up to its credo.

To some it may be of small consequence that 14 year-old Edon Pinchot won the hearts of Americans last Monday night as he sang a rendition of David Guetta’s “Titanium” on the television show, “America’s Got Talent” (See Edon’s performance below). But I would disagree. It demonstrates something about America.

He not only got a standing ovation from the audience, he was showered with praise by the 3 judges who are not reticent to ridicule bad performances. Of the 12 contestants competing in these quarter-finals, only four are selected to go to the next level. The 3 judges predicted Edon to be one of those four. And they were right. Edon has moved on to the next level of competition.

What is unusual about Edon is that he is an Orthodox Jew. He is a recent graduate of Chicago’s Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School located in Skokie. I know his grandparents. His grandfather and I served together on the board of directors at HTC. They are a wonderful and committed Torah family.

What is even more unusual is that Edon wore a rather nice sized Kipa on his head. It took courage for this young boy to perform in front of a live audience knowing that millions of viewers were watching him on TV. But it took serious commitment to his Judaism to keep a Kipa on his head in a business known for vanity and conformity to the whims of popular culture. Had he removed his Kipa for this performance, it would have been understandable. But he chose to wear it proudly in public. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

Credit goes to the American people too for taking him into their hearts. Americans didn’t see a Kipa – even though it was very obviously upon his head. They saw a talented young boy singing his heart out. And they loved it.

I often say that anti Semitism in this country is practically nonexistent. Except for isolated pockets of extremism like the Neo Nazis, the KKK… or Palestinian-influenced anti-Zionism that occasionally morphs into the anti Semitism popping up in some universities – one would be hard pressed to see it on any real scale.

Among examples of our acceptance that I have pointed to are: Evangelical Christians, the Gore/Lieberman candidacy, and various news stories about how average Americans see their fellow Jewish citizens as equals and have defend them agains anti Semitic attacks. And now once again we have yet another cross-section of Americans that have done the same.

This – despite all the bad behavior some of us are guilty of. I think John McCain was right. When asked by a reporter a few years ago about whether Jack Abramoff’s behavior would negatively color the views Americans had of the Jewish people, he answered that the American people are smart enough to know that one person does not represent the whole. I think that’s right. Makes me proud to be an American.

Happy Birthday America!

All that You Do

Friday, June 29th, 2012

The following was the winning entry in the Jewish Heritage Contest sponsored by Torah Atlanta

 

Dear Hashem,

I am writing to you because I am very confused. I am going through a hard time in my life right now. Over the last few years, there have been many times that I’ve felt my world was crashing down. I’ve felt a lot of pain and distress lately. Therefore, I am asking You why have You done this? What did I do to deserve some of the things that occur in my life? I was a good child. I never told lies and loved to help others. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do? No matter how much I cry, weep, beg, and plead, You still don’t answer me. I’ve been told everything happens for a good reason, and it’s all part of a greater plan, yet I still can’t seem to understand. Why me?

Every time I hear the news, it’s nothing but sadness, mostly about the Jews. There are wars and anti-Semitism galore. Bombs, murder, and much more add to the list of tragedies that happen daily. Yes, they happen to everyone; however, due to the humongous amount of anti-Semitism today, a lot of the tragedies happen to the Jews. I ask myself what we are doing wrong and yes, everyone has their flaws, but why are we punished so severely? Some people compare our relationship with You to one of a parent and child. However, this doesn’t make sense to me because parents comfort their children and help them when they are down. Do you do that for me? Well…actually You do.

Therefore, as I think of my problems and feel sorry for myself, I decide to think of something else. I think of all that You give to us each and every day. You comfort us when we have feelings of dismay. You give us blessings without our imploring. You help us, and sometimes You do answer us with yes – it’s just hard to realize it when I’m caught up in my big hot mess. So, as I start to see the light, my situation doesn’t seem so bad. I don’t feel as mad, angry, and upset, but instead, I feel gratitude towards the One who knows best.

I’m sorry Hashem for being angry at You. I really appreciate the things that You do. You give me blessings upon blessings, and I’m forever grateful; I’ve now decided I’ll continue to stay faithful. I know I do not understand Your reasoning for things, but I am starting to learn to have patience because I know, after all, it could be worse.

Although I may not be a very religious Jew, I definitely still believe in You. I believe in Your miracles, Your power to save us, Your reasoning that is always for the best. I trust that You love us and are protecting us. You give us the opportunity to talk to you at any time each day and welcome us with warm open arms. You never turn us away. Thus, sometimes life is hard, I have figured that out, but somehow it becomes much easier when I turn to You. Thank you Hashem for all that You do.

Love,
Sarah

Survey: Israelis Split over U.S. Role in Reaching Peace

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

According to the 2012 B’nai B’rith World Center Survey on Contemporary Israeli Attitudes Toward Diaspora Jewry, 34 percent of respondents said the U.S. has impeded the peace process over the past few years, 33 percent said it has promoted progress, and 33 percent said they did not know whether the U.S. had impeded or promoted progress.

In addition to questions about the U.S. role in the peace process, the respondents — 507 Israeli Jews aged 18 or older — were asked about other issues, including relations between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, global anti-Semitism, and recent calls American Jews should support a boycott of Israeli settlements.

An overwhelming 80 percent of respondents support using taxes to fund Diaspora Jewish youth visiting Israel, with fifteen percent opposing.

Some 56 percent support creating a “Jewish Parliament” that would represent Diaspora Jews. 40 percent favor the body having only voluntary consultative status. 25 percent would give it mandatory consultative status, while eighteen percent would give the body the right to propose legislation to the Knesset.

But Israelis are guarded about granting direct political access to those living beyond its borders: 51 percent strongly oppose allowing citizens residing outside of Israel to elect Knesset member, while 29 percent support it. An even greater number (63 percent) oppose allowing Diaspora Jews to elect “a few” Knesset members to represent their interests, although 21 percent support the idea.

Turning to global anti-Semitism, 51 percent of respondents said that “Encouraging Aliya” is the best government response to anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of Israelis (76 percent), disagree with calls on American Jews to “boycott the settlements,” while thirteen percent supported such a boycott.

B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider emphasized that the survey showed a connection between Israelis and Diaspora Jews.

“This survey has demonstrated the enduring connection between Israelis and Diaspora Jews,” Schneider said in a statement. “Clearly, Israelis are committed to finding a vehicle for including and expanding the opinions and participation of Diaspora Jews in Israel.”

The survey was conducted by KEEVOON Research on June 20; it has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

JTA Contributed to this report.

Hungarian Jews Feeling ‘Increasing Danger,’ Jewish Leader Reports

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Hungarian Jews “feel increasing danger” in a country with a government that condones anti-Semitism, the president of Hungary’s Jewish community said.

Peter Feldmajer, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, made the remarks Tuesday at a conference on anti-Semitism in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Though Hungarian government officials say they want to combat anti-Semitism, “behind the curtain we face a dark image,” said Feldmajer, who described the government’s policy as “two-faced.”

The extreme-right Jobbik party constantly libels Jews while the state celebrates anti-Semites in school curriculums, he said. And he noted that  several Hungarian municipalities have erected statues honoring Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Quisling. Under his rule, 450,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their death in the Holocaust.

“Streets and squares are named after Horthy, who stands as a hero for the people. The Hungarian Jewish people feel increasing danger,” Feldmajer said.

Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a watchdog on hate crimes, has quoted surveys showing that 80 percent of the Greek and Hungarian populations favored deporting foreigners.

“It’s no coincidence these are the only countries with neo-Nazi parties in parliament,” Dimitras said.

The conference in the Belgian capital was co-organized by B’nai B’rith Europe and CEJI-a Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, along with the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. Some 40 people attended, including several lawmakers.

Reinold Simon, the honorary president of B’nai B’rith Europe, said constant contact with EU institutions was the key to fighting anti-Semitism. In 2005 he founded the Foreign Affairs Network, which is represented at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among other institutions.

Ron Rafaeli of SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish communities, recalled “a previous and similar meeting on anti-Semitism in 2002, when Mohammed Merah was a boy.” Merah, a French-Algerian radical Islamist, killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March.

“Only education will ensure no new Mohammed Merahs,” Rafaeli said.

John Mann, a British lawmaker and chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism at the European Parliament, told JTA that part of his job was to “get the European Union to promote more programs that educate to tolerance, like that of CEJI and of Yad Vashem.”

Behind The Left’s Betrayal Of Israel

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The main title of my new book, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel, may raise a few eyebrows. To what “betrayal” am I referring? Surely neither anti-Semitism nor hostility to Israel can be seen as prerogatives of leftism; and if they do exist in some quarters of the Left, is that not an example of “legitimate criticism” of Israel, a country regularly pilloried in international forums as one of the last remaining bastions of Western colonialism?

I have been hearing such arguments for over forty years, ever since (as a young radical) I myself participated in the student revolts of 1968, in both America and France. True, for most of my contemporaries (born like me after the end of World War II) the “Jewish Question” still seemed marginal at that time.

However, in my case it was something more than mere background noise – perhaps because I had been born in the Muslim Republic of Kazakhstan, in Stalin’s Soviet Union at the height of the Great Dictator’s prestige following the victory over Hitler’s hordes; perhaps because my father’s experience as a wartime prisoner of the NKVD (secret police) meant that from the outset there was great ambivalence in my own mind concerning the “fatherland of socialism.”

I grew up in 1950s England, seemingly far removed from these totalitarian nightmares. Nevertheless, during my adolescence I was becoming radicalized at grammar school, at the very time Great Britain was beginning to definitively shed its colonial Empire. In 1961 I first visited Israel, spending a month on a far left kibbutz – fascinated but also slightly repelled by its intense collectivist ethos. It was also the time of the Eichmann trial which made me even more intensely aware (at the age of 15) of the Holocaust, in which so many of my own relatives had been killed.

I would return to Israel in 1969 after two years of study and radical protest (mainly in Stanford, California) against the “capitalist alienation,” racism, and militarism of the West. The intellectual baggage I came with did not predispose me to any special sympathy with a country that struck me then as being dangerously intoxicated with its stunning military victory of June 1967. The result had been to greatly expand Israel’s borders from the frighteningly narrow dimensions of the cease-fire lines after the 1948 war, to something that seemingly offered secure and defensible boundaries.

The other side of that coin was a certain degree of hubris which seemed to me frankly alarming. As the literary editor of the peace-oriented left-wing magazine New Outlook (in Tel Aviv) I found myself at the age of twenty-four suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into the internal political debates of the Israeli Left. I did not get on with the principal editor of the journal, Simha Flapan, who came from the left wing of the Mapam movement – a Marxist-Zionist party whose power base was in the kibbutzim. Though no Communist fellow traveler, his view of the Cold War and the Soviet Union struck me as naïve. Even at the height of my own anti-American feelings in the late 1960s as a result of the Vietnam War, I had never seen the United States as being morally equivalent to the USSR.

* * * * *

By the time I left the Middle East during the month of “Black September” 1970 (when King Hussein summarily crushed the PLO challenge to his rule) I had begun to crystallize the theme of my future doctoral research on socialism and the “Jewish Question” in Central Europe. The idea had arisen in conversations I had in Jerusalem, earlier in 1970, with Israeli historian Jacob Talmon and Professor George Mosse (then a visiting professor from Wisconsin at the Hebrew University) whose courses I had been taking. They both felt it would be better for me to do my dissertation at University College, London, where I would enjoy easier access to the relevant sources, especially those in France, Germany, and East-Central Europe.

During the next three years I traveled widely, learned a number of new languages, and focused on my research. I also became aware of the Soviet Jewish self-awakening – the first real crack in the Iron Curtain. At that time, the cause of Soviet Jewry, including the demand for “repatriation” to Israel, even enjoyed some support on the non-Communist Left, which condemned the growing manifestations of Soviet anti-Semitism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/behind-the-lefts-betrayal-of-israel/2012/06/20/

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