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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center’

Pope Pledges to Further Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Pope Francis reaffirmed his commitment to fighting discrimination and furthering Jewish-Catholic dialogue.

During an audience at the Vatican Thursday with a 60-member delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Francis said that he has “repeated many times, in recent weeks, the church’s condemnation of any form of anti-Semitism.”

Such condemnations were just part of the solution, he said, noting that Christians remain persecuted in some regions.

“I would like to underline that the problem of intolerance must be faced in its entirety,” he said, according to an official English text of his address released by the Vatican. “When any minority is persecuted and marginalized on account of its religious beliefs or ethnic origin, the good of society as a whole is placed in danger, and we must all consider ourselves affected.”

The church has raised particular alarm about discrimination and violence against Christians in some Arab countries.

“Let us unite our strengths to promote a culture of encounter, of mutual respect, understanding and forgiveness,” Francis said, stressing that education was key in transmitting experience, and not merely knowledge, to the younger generation.

“We must be able to transmit to them not only knowledge about Jewish-Catholic dialogue, about the difficulties overcome and the progress made in recent decades,” Francis said. “We must, above all, be able to transmit to them our passion for encounter and knowledge of the other, promoting the active and responsible involvement of young people.”

During the audience, Wiesenthal Center Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier called the pope “an ally in our struggles against anti-Semitism.”

“We want to reiterate to you that you have an ally in the Simon Wiesenthal Center in your struggle to secure the rights of religious minorities everywhere, especially endangered historic Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq and beyond,” Hier said.

Hier said the he hoped that Francis’s expected visit to Israel next year would “help all those committed to a lasting Middle East peace, to finally recognize the existence of a Jewish state alongside her twenty-three Arab neighbors.”

The pope has said he would like to visit the Holy Land next year but no date has yet been announced.

Toronto Transit Rejects Anti-Israel Ads

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

It happened in New York City and Washington, D.C.  It happened in Denver and in Los Angeles. Transit agencies accepted virulently anti-Israel and misleading ads for billboards and posters.  In a few places, and only after great expense and perseverance, some of those billboards were removed, or at least countered.

But in something that seems to happen with increasing frequency these days with respect to Israel, Canada has once again pulled ahead of its southern neighbor in exercising prudence, obviating the need for private individuals to duke it out with the Israel haters. At least that’s the case in Toronto.

Here’s what happened:

Last week the Toronto Transit Commission rejected what it determined were inaccurate and misleading anti-Israel ads.

The ads were placed by the group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.  CJPME looks to be very much a Jewish Voice for Peace clone – all anti-Israel, all the time.  In fact, the ads that were submitted to the various Canadian transit systems were the same as ads that were placed in several places in the U.S., including on transit signs in parts of outer New York City. Those ads were largely sponsored by a comrade-in-arms group of JVP, the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine.

The same “disappearing Palestine” theme also appeared in the fall of 2011 as part of the Starbucks Digital Network newsfeed through Starbucks Wi-Fi, which the Simon Wiesenthal Center protested at the time.

The general idea for the proposed Toronto ads tracked a series of ads that ran in a Vancouver, Canada transit station and on 15 Vancouver buses.  Those ads show 4 maps, allegedly revealing Israel as a voracious land grabber whose territory increases steadily over time, in direct proportion to a mythical state called Palestine.  The Palestine Awareness Coalition paid for the Vancouver ads.

According to the Canadian Jewish News, CJPME president Thomas Woodley told a Canadian Jewish magazine that his group raised $35,000 from private donors to run the ads in Toronto and other Canadian cities.

“We congratulate the TTC for making the right decision in rejecting the ads,” said Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “They carefully reviewed their own rules and put the ad into historical context to find that it was misleading and inaccurate and could lead to hatred or violence against supporters of Israel and the Jewish community in particular.”

“We applaud them for the thoughtfulness that they brought to this issue and their strong stance for a fair reading of their advertising policy. In properly interpreting the law on free speech to understand that it does not include the right to spread false information, the TTC has not allowed itself to fall prey to the false anti-Israel propaganda campaign.”

While Vancouver permitted the ads to run, the Toronto Transit Commission rejected those ads.  Here are the standards both entities were required to apply, Section 14 of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards:

Advertisements shall not:(a) condone any form of personal discrimination, including that based upon race, national origin, religion, sex or age;

(b) appear in a realistic manner to exploit, condone or incite violence; nor appear to condone, or directly encourage, bullying; nor directly encourage, or exhibit obvious indifference to, unlawful behaviour;

(c) demean, denigrate or disparage one or more identifiable persons, group of persons, firms, organizations, industrial or commercial activities, professions, entities, products or services, or attempt to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule

A Toronto Transit Commission policy states that if at least five people complain about an ad, the issue goes to a three person advertising review committee, made up of TTC commissioners. After a review of the ad, if two of the three members oppose the ad, it is rejected, according to a Toronto newspaper, The Star.

The TTC made its determination to reject the CJPME ad on Friday, Oct. 19.

Report: Belgian Government Website Compared Israel to Nazi Germany

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

A Belgian Education Ministry website compared Israel and Nazi Germany, a Jewish newspaper reported.

The comparisons were made on the KlasCement.be website, a major teaching resource offered by the Education Ministry of the Flemish Region, one of three entities that make up the federal Belgian state, the Jewish monthly Joods Actueel reported Monday.

The website featured a caricature of a Jewish man impaled on the fence of a concentration camp next to a man wearing Arab headress, their limbs arranged in the form of a Nazi swastika. The caption “Never Again” appears above the image of the Jew and the words “Over Again!” are written at the Arab’s right foot.

The caricature was drawn by the Brazilian artist Carlos Latuff, whom the Simon Wiesenthal Center has accused of antisemitism. Latuff rejects these claims.

The Flemish Education Ministry did not reply to requests for comment from JTA. But Guido Joris of Joods Actueel said the exercise was pulled off the site following the publication of the newspaper’s article.

Another item removed following Joods Actueel’s report was a role-playing game in which one of the characters is described as follows: “You sympathize with the radical group Hamas. You live in Gaza and work in Israel. You were shocked by the slaying of a Palestinian girl by Israeli soldiers at a school playground. Israel denies that it fired the shots but U.N. representatives in Gaza indicate it did.”

Wiesenthal Rebukes Argentinean Jewish Fans for Antibolivian Slurs

Monday, September 16th, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged an Argentinean soccer association to sanction a team associated with the Jewish community for making racist chants.

The center made its request in a letter late last week to the Argentine Football Association’s Disciplinary Court over chants by fans of the Atlanta Football Club in its Aug. 25 match against the Chacarita Juniors.

Atlanta fans called Chacarita “Bolivians who belong in shantytowns, go back home.”

“In the past we asked for sanctions for anti-Semitic chants that Atlanta fans received,” Sergio Widder, the Wiesenthal Center’s director, told JTA. “So now we cannot keep silent when they proffer racist chants against others.”

The Argentine National Institute Against Discrimination already has intervened.

Atlanta is a professional club founded in 1904 in the Jewish neighborhood of Villa Crespo that historically has received the support of Jewish fans. The team features several Jewish players and administrators.

In 1963, Atlanta became the first Argentinean team to visit Israel, to defeat its national squad.

In February 2000, fans of a rival team greeted Atlanta with Nazi flags and threw soap on the field while singing “with the Jews we make soap.” Their actions spurred the national soccer association to establish rules requiring the referee to end or suspend a match due to racist expressions.

In March 2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors over anti-Semitic chants from its fans.

Facebook Neglects ‘Community Standards’ for Anti-Semitic Page

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Facebook is the world’s largest social media website, one with hundreds of millions of users in well over a hundred countries. Despite its size, however, Facebook is not an entirely public forum on which “anything goes.” Rather, it is a worldwide gathering place where certain forms of speech and certain kinds of images are not allowed.

On its community standards page, the site lists a variety of types of speech that are not allowed, including threats of violence, pornography, and spam. Among those prohibited is “hate speech,” about which the policy is as follows:

“Hate Speech: Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.” [Emphasis added.]

This has nothing to do with censorship (which is a government activity, and cannot be engaged in by a private individual or organization), but with maintaining a civil space for the exchange of ideas. Granted, that isn’t always the case, but that’s why Facebook makes provision for hate speech to be reported. One can disagree with the policy, but it is clear what sorts of speech are being curtailed.

I was recently pointed in the direction of a Facebook page entitled The Untold History, run by a group out of Sweden that calls itself the European Knights Project, a partner of the Institute for Historical Review. On its masthead, it proclaims in all-caps that it is a “HISTORICAL SITE NON-POLITICAL,” but this is a sham. It is, in fact, a Holocaust denial site that not only presents bogus and falsified history, but also traffics in the vilest sort of anti-Semitism.

Presented primarily in the form of graphics with messages, Photoshopped pictures, and cartoons, the page offers all of the anti-Semitic greatest hits: Jews control America and want to control the world; the Holocaust never happened; Jews exploit the Holocaust myth for money; the Allies did far worse to the Germans, Japanese, and Japanese-Americans than the Nazis did to the Jews; Hitler was a great guy who was just standing up for Christian civilization; Communism is a Jewish tool; Israel is the source of all evil in the world; 9/11 was a Mossad job; etc. In one graphic, a “quote” fabricated by the American evangelist Texe Marrs is put in the mouth of Menachem Begin:

“Our race is the ‘Master Race.’ We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects…. other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”

Once I had examined “The Untold History” for myself, I reported it to Facebook, and expected it to be quickly removed. Instead, I received this response from administrators:

“Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our community standard on hate speech.”

Flabbergasted by this response, I began contacting my Facebook friends, and urging them to report “The Untold History” for violating site standards. Dozens have done so, and all have received the same response. For some reason that is impossible to fathom, the administrators of Facebook seem completely incapable of recognizing anti-Semitism when it is staring them in the face, or see how it constitutes a violation of terms of use that ban hate speech.

In an effort to put pressure on Facebook to act, I have set up a page called Protest “The Untold History” and Other Anti-Semitic Pages. Oddly enough, this page seems to have a problem with disappearing posts. But you can still “like” it to send a message. I have also contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Anti-Defamation League to look into Facebook’s non-disapproval of hate speech directed at Jews. As the word gets out, hopefully the company will do some serious self-examination, and ask itself why it has such a difficult time seeing what is obvious to all but the most bigoted observer.

This article was written for JNS by David Fischler, an Evangelical Presbyterian pastor and writer who blogs religious and moral issues.

Jewish Leaders: ‘US Should Say Attack on Israel is Attack on US’

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Outraged by Iranian officials threats that any western acts of war against Syria “will result in the imminent destruction of the Zionist regime of Israel,” on Thursday, August 29, the leadership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Obama Administration “to declare that an attack on Israel will be treated as an attack against the US, and to ratchet up Washington’s efforts to thwart Tehran’s headlong rush to nuclearization.”

Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the dean and associate dean of the SWC, confidently acknowledged that Israel is very capable of defending itself.  Nonetheless, they wanted the U.S. administration to make it clear that Israel, which is not involved in the ongoing civil war of destruction in Syria, must not be threatened by the world’s bullies without the U.S. reminding those bullies who stands with Israel.

“The specter of Israeli citizens lining up for gas masks on the eve of the Jewish New Year is proof enough that Jerusalem has to take all threats, including those from Damascus and its chief ally and partner in the brutal civil war, Iran, very seriously,” the Jewish leaders poignantly noted.

Horrified by the more than 1,300 deaths in the Syrian civil war, the SWC last week urged the U.S. administration to hew to its own stated ‘red line’ and “destroy or remove all WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles in Syria.”

The rabbis at the Wiesenthal Center were referring to the threat against Israel uttered by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari.

Italian Wine Label Features Hitler

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called for a global boycott of a company producing Italian wines whose labels sport Nazi slogans and images of Adolph Hitler.

A Norwegian couple recently discovered the wines, produced by Vini Lunardelli, in the coastal Italian town of Rimini. Last summer, American Jews Matthew and Cindy Hirsch noticed the wine labels in a supermarket in the town of Garda.

“It is very shocking to us,” Hirsch said, according to Russia Today. “It makes you wonder about the sympathies of the local people.” Hirsch’s father is a Holocaust survivor, and many of her family members died in concentration camps.

“Enough is enough,” said Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper in a statement. “We first protested the marketing of ‘Führerwein’ by an Italian-based company in 1995. Now an expanded line of wines that demean, diminish and mock Hitler’s victims are promoted on a slick website.”

Nazi Fugitive Alois Brunner May Be Alive in Syria

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, former senior aide to Adolf Eichmann, may still be alive and hiding in Syria, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has  launched a poster campaign in Germany to track him down.

“Late, but not too late,” the posters read.

He is the Number One of the 10 most wanted Nazi war criminal thought to be alive, among approximately 60 who have not been caught.

The Wiesenthal Centre admitted that there is only a “slim” chance that Brunner still is alive but added that he is suspected to be living in Damascus, possibly in a hotel.

He was second in command to Eichmann, the only person who Israel ever executed.

Brunner fled to Egypt after World War II and later moved to Damascus on suspicion of being a drug dealer. He was freed after he revealed having been a Nazi ini the war, when he deported more than 140,000 Jews to Nazi death camps.

The Jewish Virtual Library suggests that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) once employed  Brunner before moving to Syria.

French authorities convicted him to death in absentia in 1954.

The regime of Hafez Assad, father of Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, welcomed him and he returned the favor by bringing missile scientists form Germany and helping to set up Assad’s intelligence system.

He not only did not express regrets for his Nazi atrocities, but he also bragged about them. In a telephone interview with the Austrian news magazine Bunte, he said, “All of them deserved to die because they were the devil’s agents and human garbage. In a another interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, he stated, “ I have no regrets and would do it again.”

Israel tried to kill him with letter bombs, which succeeded only in burning for fingers.

Twice, there were rumors that he dies in the 1990s, but there has been no proof.

“The likelihood that he is already deceased increases with each passing year,” the Wiesenthal Center said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nazi-fugitive-alois-brunner-may-be-alive-in-syria/2013/07/28/

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