Posts on the topic of "Anti-Semitism"
I wrote here how the media reported that the controversial film, "Innocence of Muslims," was made "with Jewish money, by a Jewish filmmaker" – an Israeli, in fact, trying to "help his native land."
We now know that the filmmaker is really an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Yet Associated Press and others failed in this most basic obligation to fact-check.
Not surprisingly, the Muslim world has continued this theme, blaming the Jews for producing the inflammatory anti-Islam film.
This cartoon appeared in the newspapers Ar-Raya (Qatar) and Ash-Shuruq (Algeria).
The caption reads: "The Killing of the US Ambassador in Libya." Note the stars of David on the filmmaker's shirtsleeves.
Tragically, these lies are more than just factual inaccuracies or a PR issue. These myths remain firmly engraved in Arab lore, fomenting an atmosphere of mistrust that will linger for decades, and that ultimately undermine the possibility of peaceful coexistence.
HT: Tom Gross
Visitor Comments: 2
The story of Hungarian Jewry during World War Two is one of the most tragic elements of the Holocaust.
The community of approximately 850,000 Hungarian Jews avoided deportation during much of the war, but in May 1944 sweeping transports were begun to Auschwitz. On a typical day, 12,000 Hungarian Jews were being unloaded from cattle cars and directed straight to the gas chambers.
Over 70% of Hungarian Jewry was wiped out in a span of months – what Winston Churchill would later call "the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world."
And now Hungarian Nazis are back in the news.
Laszlo Csatary, the world's most-wanted Nazi war criminal who was a Hungarian police commander, has now been arrested in Hungary. The 97-year-old Csatary was in charge of the Jewish ghetto in Kassa, Hungary, where in April 1944 he supervised the loading of 16,000 Jews onto trains headed for the crematoria at Auschwitz.
Csatary was convicted in absentia for war crimes and sentenced to death by a court in Czechoslovakia in 1948. He escaped to Canada where he lived under a fake identity for nearly 50 years. He escaped again, before being tracked down in Budapest.
Another "Hungarian Nazi" was in the news this week when it was revealed that Hungarian politician Csanad Szegedi, a member of European Parliament, discovered that his maternal grandmother was Jewish and had been imprisoned in Auschwitz.
The irony is that Szegedi is a member of Jobbik, a radical neo-Nazi party which has proclaimed it the "duty" of all Hungarians to "prepare for armed battle against the Jews."
Szegedi, who now says he is proud of his Jewish heritage, recently met with the Chief Rabbi of Hungary. In response, the Jobbik party is pressuring him to resign his seat in European Parliament.
Nearly 70 years after the war, remnants of Nazism are alive and well in Hungary.
Visitor Comments: 1
Not long ago I picked up a hitchhiker in Israel. I don't usually do so randomly, but this guy had a sincere look about him. He got in and I started the conversation.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"I was born in Yemen," he answered.
I thought that all the Yemenite Jews had come to Israel on Operation Magic Carpet in 1950. He looked about 18 years old, and my brain quickly calculated that something didn't jive here.
"If you were born in Yemen, when did you come to Israel?" I asked.
"Two weeks ago," he said.
I was shocked. He then told me all about life in Yemen, and about his transition to a far more Western culture. (He was wielding a smartphone and seemed to fit right in.)
It turns out there are about 130 Jews still living in Yemen today. The hitchhiker told me that his family had stayed so long because of business reasons; they left because Yemen has seen a rise in radical Islamic fervor (think USS Cole) and threats against Jews. In 2008, a 30-year-old rabbi was killed when a Yemenite air force pilot told him, "Jew, accept Islam's message" and then shot him five times.
Just this month Aharon Zindani, a 49-year-old Yemenite man, was tragically stabbed to death in what is being described as an anti-Semitic incident. He was buried in Israel on Thursday.
Jews have lived in Yemen uninterrupted for nearly 3,000 years. It's incredible to think that may soon come to an end.
Today marks the 45th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem. Israel designated Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, yet most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv due to ongoing political debate with the Palestinians. This has given rise to an unprecedented situation whereby a sovereign state – Israel – is denied the diplomatic right to choose the location of its capital city.
The U.S. Congress sought to reverse this travesty with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, passed by overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate. The act states that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999."
Since then, a parade of U.S. presidents have promised to uphold this pledge. But since the congressional act allows the President to implement a waiver at six-month intervals, that's exactly what has happened every six months since 1995.
This has created a situation whereby politicians, the media, and the world at large routinely ignore the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Last month, the Washington Post printed this ditty:
Similarly, the Wall Street Journal has referred to Israel's capital as Tel Aviv, noting the "strains between Washington and Tel Aviv" ("U.S., Israel Spar in Public, But Defense Ties are Strong," May 4, 2010), while CNN referred to "an explosion in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv" ("Blast in Israeli Capital," January 22, 2006).
This one really takes the prize: The London Guardian correctly referred to Jerusalem as Israel's capital - but then printed this retraction/correction:
I'm not sure what can be done about all this, but one young man has taken the fight to court, and just last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that American citizens born in Jerusalem can list their birthplace as "Israel."
Even Republican candidate Ron Paul, long known as a critic of Israel, made this recent statement:
In the meantime, with or without "international approval," the city that King David designated as the capital of Israel and the Jewish people is 45 years unified, 3,000-plus years Jewish, and still going strong. Check out this cool panorama view of modern Jerusalem.
Visitor Comments: 7
Iconic hair-dresser Vidal Sassoon died this week at age 84. What many don't know is that Sassoon, a Sephardic Jew who grew up in London, had a long history of fighting anti-Semitism.
At age 18 he joined the "43 Group," a Jewish defense organization working against post-World War II anti-Semitism. Sassoon and compatriots scoured the streets of east London breaking up fascist gatherings -- a legacy that later earned him the title of "anti-fascist warrior-hairdresser."
Of those early years in London, Sassoon recalled:
In 1948, at age 20, Sassoon jumped at the chance to stand up as a proud Jew and volunteered to fight in Israel's War of Independence. He later described that experience as "the best year of my life":
Sassoon described how he
Sassoon continued his fight for Jewish causes throughout his lifetime. In 1982, he founded the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Robert S. Wistrich, director of Center, writes:
Visitor Comments: 1
Just when you think you've seen the height of insensitivity, there's this:
The "hipster" clothing company Urban Outfitters is now selling a t-shirt bearing a six-pointed Star of David patch that ― along with the bright yellow shirt fabric ― is clearly suggestive of the infamous "yellow star" worn by European Jews under Nazi persecution.
This is not the first time that Urban Outfitters has offended Jewish sensibilities. In 2004 they marketed a shirt bearing the words "Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl" surrounded by dollar signs and shopping bags.
During the second Intifada, the chain sold Palestinian kaffiyehs which they referred to as "antiwar scarves." Another shirt showed a Palestinian youth carrying an AK-47 assault rifle over the word "Victimized."
And now, marketing Nazi concentration camp symbols to impressionable youth? There's no excuse.
Update: Wood Wood, the Danish producers of the shirt, is apparently marketing it under the rubric of "Mescaline Mathematics" - fashion featuring interconnected geometrical shapes. So is the Nazi connotation genuine, or just another Rorschach test for those attuned to the Holocaust?
Update #2: Now it's getting more interesting. Wood Wood has issued a statement acknowledging that "when we received the prototype of this particular style we did recognize the resemblance" to the Star of David. The statement is signed by Wood Wood co-founder, Brian SS Jensen (no kidding - "SS").
Visitor Comments: 6
When Venezuelans head to the polls for a presidential election this October, a new rising star will be opposing Hugo Chavez, the socialist firebrand who has held power for the past 13 years.
The opponent is 39-year-old Henrique Capriles Radonski, whose Jewish descent has become a hallmark of his political career. His maternal grandparents were Jewish refugees from Russia and Poland who fled during World War II, arriving in Venezuela with nothing but “a suitcase full of clothes.” His grandmother's parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto and murdered by the Nazis in Treblinka.
Though Capriles describes himself as a "fervent Catholic," he is proud of his Jewish ancestry and doesn’t shy away from it. “Because of my mother and grandmother, for Jews I’m Jewish…” he said. Indeed, the Venezuelan media won’t let Capriles forget those roots: A popular magazine recently depicted a Star of David superimposed on his photo.
Additionally, Capriles’ enemies have used anti-Semitic rhetoric against him and accused him of being part of a Jewish conspiracy. In 2009 pro-Chavez activists ransacked his office, spraying swastikas on the wall and (ironically) calling him a “Nazi.”
Anti-Israel fervor has risen sharply during the Chavez presidency. In December 2007, after Chavez pushed through a constitutional referendum to abolish term limits, masked and armed police raided the Jewish Center in Caracas. A year later, a dozen assailants broke into the Grand Synagogue of Caracas, where they bound and gagged security guards, tore open the Holy Ark, scattered its contents irreverently across the floor, destroyed administrative files, and spray-painted the walls with horned devils and “Death Now.”
Chavez himself has accused Israel of committing "genocide" and a "new Holocaust" against the Palestinians. He claimed that "Israeli Mossad terrorists" have tried to kill him, and in 2009 broke all diplomatic ties with Israel.
In recent years, life has been become increasingly difficult for the Jewish community of Venezuela. Many Jews have emigrated due to a rise in violent crime, an anti-Israel atmosphere, and economic hardship. (Chavez has nationalized the cement, steel, banking and lucrative oil industries, stripping many upper-class Jews of their wealth.) The Jewish population of Venezuela, which once numbered in the tens of thousands, has dropped to less than 10,000.
In the meantime, Chavez has become chummy with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, commiserating about having atomic bombs at their disposal. Chavez hosted Ahmadinejad (as well as Syrian dictator Bashar Assad) on a recent trip to Venezuela and has declared an "axis of unity" against the United States.
Come October, world attention will be focused on Venezuela, with the hope that Capriles can defeat Chavez and usher in a new era of moderation and normalcy.
Mel Gibson, the Hollywood star whose repeated anti-Semitic tirades have offended people of conscience, is at it again.
Joe Eszterhas, who wrote a screenplay for Gibson about the Chanukah hero Judah Maccabee, claims that Gibson
- frequently spews "looney, rancid" derogatory epithets against Jews
- falsely claims that the Torah refers to sacrificing Christian babies
- engages in various forms of Holocaust denial, and
- refers to Jews as "oven-dodgers," a vile allusion to the millions of Jews incinerated in Nazi crematoria.
That’s some rap sheet. But that’s not all – for years Gibson has incensed Jewish groups, who protested anti-Semitic elements in his controversial film, The Passion of the Christ.
In 2006, when Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, his real feelings slipped out and he ranted to the police officer – who happened to be Jewish – that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."
Mel’s father, Hutton Gibson, raised his son on a steady diet of conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic dogma, which consigned all Jews to hell (as well as anyone else who doesn’t buy into his specific brand of radical Catholicism). For rejecting Jesus, Gibson reportedly described Jews as “either Satanic or the dupes of Satan.”
At this point, it looks like the end of the line for Gibson’s involvement in the Judah Maccabee film. That is surely a relief to all those who honor the memory of this great Jewish hero. And especially given that Gibson, according to Eszterhas, had planned to use the Judah Maccabee movie as a way to “convert Jews to Christianity.”
Visitor Comments: 19
The world is recoiling from the horrific slaughter at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France that killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, and a young girl.
Rabbi Sandler, age 30, was sent from Israel to strengthen the Jewish community in France. He was teaching at the same Ozar HaTorah School that he attended as a child.
We now know this was an anti-Semitic act. Which means this is a wake-up call for Jews worldwide.
Some mistakenly think that only the Jews of Israel are in danger ― from Hezbollah in the north, Hamas in the south, and Iran in the nuclear skies above.
Yet while Israel does indeed bear the brunt of anti-Semitism, the fact is that Ahmadinejad and his cohorts view all Jews as equally valid targets. As Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah so bluntly put it: "If the Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." (Lebanon Daily Star, October 23, 2002)
One chilling detail being reported is that 3-year-old Gabriel Sandler, gunned down at point blank range in Toulouse, was named after Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the Chabad emissary who was murdered by terrorists in Mumbai, India, in 2008.
Here in Israel, we are living under tremendous pressure as the threat of nuclear annihilation looms. Yet sometimes I get the feeling that Jews abroad still perceive the threat as "somewhere out there."
In truth, it is right in your backyard.
Rafah, the Iranian news site affiliated with Ahmadinejad, has threatened to "take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region." Last month, Islamists hit Jewish targets in Georgia and India, plus two Iranian-perpetrated blasts in Bangkok, Thailand.
So what's the solution? Can we expect much in the way of international protection (an element which was sorely lacking during the Holocaust)? No, not if the United Nations is any indication. It is the U.N. Human Rights Council that originally scheduled a speech ― today, the very day of the Toulouse slaughter ― by Ismail al-Ashqar, the same senior Hamas official who described the killing of Osama Bin Laden as "state terrorism that America carries out against Muslims."
And in a speech just hours after the murders, Catherine Ashton, one of the highest-ranking European Union officials, juxtaposed "what happened in Toulouse" with "what is happening in Gaza..."
The world is descending into a new round of moral confusion and chaos. The sooner we realize one inalienable truth, the better off we will all be:
Every Jew, no matter where s/he is, cannot separate himself from Israel. We are all one, intrinsically bound for eternity.
Today, let us join together to mourn the murder of Rabbi Sandler and three young children.
And let us feel the pain of the bereaved widow who moved to France with the purest of intentions, and now returns to Israel to bury her husband and two sons.
And let us pledge to take the plight of every Jew fully to heart.