Behind the Aegis
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Member since: Sat Aug 7, 2004, 03:58 AM
Number of posts: 35,182
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The New York Met this week cancelled its planned global telecast of John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, the opera that portrays the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1985. While emphasising that the work itself is not antisemitic, the Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, said that he recognised concerns among Jews "at this time of rising antisemitism, particularly in Europe". Regardless of one's view of either the opera or the Met's decision, Gelb is unfortunately spot on about Europe.
A survey of global attitudes towards Jews conducted by the Anti-Defamation League recently found that 24% of people in western Europe (37% in France, 29% in Spain, 27% in Germany, 69% in Greece) and 34% in eastern Europe (41% in Hungary, 45% in Poland, 38% in Ukraine) harboured antisemitic views. By this it meant they agreed with six or more classical stereotypes about Jews from a list of 11 including "Jews have too much control over the US government", "Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars", and "People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave".
Such beliefs are translating to support at the ballot box. At last month's European elections, three countries – Greece, Hungary and Germany – elected neo-Nazi MEPs. Germany's NPD openly describes itself as national socialist. Antisemitism is also leading to violence against Jews. Four people were murdered at the Jewish Museum in Brussels just days before the European elections. Facing trial is Mehdi Nemmouche, a French Muslim radicalised in Syria with an expressly antisemitic agenda. In 2012, a rabbi and three children were murdered at a Jewish school in Toulouse by Mohammad Merah, another radicalised Muslim with similarly antisemitic views. There were 170 antisemitic acts reported to the Paris-based Jewish Community Protection Service and the French Ministry of the Interior in the first three months of 2014. Jews in Kiev, Bucharest and Stockholm have been attacked, the Jewish cemetery in Andrychów desecrated and the president of Rome's Jewish community was sent the head of a pig in a box.
When antisemitic attitudes are so widespread across Europe, these tragic and terrifying incidents are the real and disturbing consequences. No wonder Jews all over Europe are feeling increasingly worried. Over half of French Jews now think that "Jews have no future in France". As many as 75% of French Jews say they are considering emigrating. Many already have. One of my closest friends recently moved from France to Canada, because he felt "the situation there is no longer safe for my children".
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Jun 22, 2014, 03:55 AM (0 replies)
In Poland, they were known as the ungrateful Jews. These were Jews who survived the Holocaust because of the selfless acts of thousands of Polish rescuers who put their lives on the line for them but were never properly thanked. As soon as the war was over, these Jews headed out to greener pastures overseas, never again to establish contact with those who served as their guardian angels.
It’s one of the popular narratives that emerged in post-war Communist Poland, but according to Holocaust scholar Joanna Michlic, it’s a big myth.
“Yes, it’s true that many Jews broke off contact with their rescuers,” she says, “but that was done deliberately to protect them because anti-Semitism was so rampant at the time that had suspicions been raised that they had saved Jews, they would have been punished by their neighbors for being traitors. So while many Jews would have like to stay in contact with their rescuers after the war, they decided it was best to stay away.”
Michlic, a visiting Fulbright scholar this semester at the University of Haifa Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research, is currently working on a book about relations between Polish rescuers and the Jews they saved in the post-war period. Her findings are based on a large cache of letters she discovered at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. It includes more than 500 letters written by Jewish survivors to Jewish organizations on behalf of their rescuers, and by Jewish survivors to their rescuers in the first several years after the war.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 19, 2014, 01:45 AM (2 replies)
Jim Keegstra, who has died aged 80, was a Holocaust denying high school teacher, mechanic, and mayor of Eckville, Alta., whose prosecution for the wilful promotion of hatred went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the controversial law was upheld as a fair limit on free speech.
He died June 2, and his funeral was last Friday in Red Deer, where he worked for many years as the custodian of an apartment building. The cause was an enlarged heart after a prolonged illness, according to his son, Darren Keegstra.
Fixated on the anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, Mr. Keegstra denigrated Jews to his students in the 1980s.
“I got onto this through the scripture,” he told the journalist Robert Mason Lee in 1985. “Here was a people who denied everything about Christ, yet they were called the chosen people. That is a contradiction.”
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Jun 14, 2014, 03:04 AM (4 replies)
A seven-year-old boy in Beaumont, CA is employing a bit of “positive peer pressure” to help his classmates understand the damaging effects of adolescent bullying.
Cameron Thompson, a second-grader at Tournament Hills Elementary school, recently found himself in hot water after making fun of another boy for bringing a Barbie doll to school for show-and-tell. “I didn’t really mean to tease him so much that I made him cry,” Cameron told Today.
His punishment was to write an apology letter to his classmate, but according to his mother, Cameron’s guilt didn’t fade over the following weeks. “He came to me a couple of weeks later and he said, ‘I still feel really bad about what I did to him,’” Cameron’s mother Jessica Southard recalls. “He said, ‘How do I get that feeling to go away?’”
To help others learn from his mistakes, Cameron and his mother joined forces with the boy Cameron bullied to form an “anti-bully club,” which drew a whopping 76 kids in to its first meeting, far exceeding the school’s expectations. “Since I was sad, I thought I could make it up to him and he could feel better and I could feel better too,” Cameron said.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 5, 2014, 04:35 PM (4 replies)
There are plenty of things for American Jews to worry about, but anti-Semitism is not one of them.
Anti-Semitism is not a threat to the security and well-being of the Jews of America.
This is not to deny the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe or the explosion of Jew hatred—often disguised as anti-Zionism—in much of the Muslim world. The reappearance of these murderous lunacies in certain regions of the world is a solemn reminder that anti-Semitism never disappears from the human heart.
Nonetheless, a little perspective is in order. The just-released study by the Anti-Defamation League on global anti-Semitism, which suggests that one-quarter of the world’s population is anti-Semitic, argues that 21 million Americans can reasonably be classified anti-Semites. This has caused much dismay among some American Jews. Twenty-one million may be fewer than 10% of all Americans, but it is still a very large number.
Nonetheless, I am counted among those who see no cause for alarm. It is important to remember that the ADL survey is an attempt to measure anti-Semitic attitudes, which are notoriously difficult to gauge; and it does so using methodologies that are much in dispute. What it does not do is measure anti-Semitic behaviors, which are a reasonably objective matter and the means by which Jews traditionally determine their progress in gaining full acceptance in America.
I call "bullshit!" It may not be at the level of Europe, but to pretend, and that what this is, that we shouldn't be concerned is naïve at best and flat-out suicidally stupid at worst. There are no train carts on the rails, but to act as if there isn't a problem worth concern is myopic. I find it interesting the Rebbe doesn't mention the shooting at the Jewish Centers in Kansas. According to FBI stats, 'attacks' against Jews are higher than other groups, and a few years, higher than all other groups combined!
BULLSHIT! "Kill the Jew" in Chicago based on a video game (one day suspension for the students involved); The "Is the Holocaust a Hoax?" in California and Massachusetts; "Getting Jewed" as stated by an Oklahoma legislator and the list goes on and on. It starts at the ground-level, just like every other movement, not top down as the Rabbi seems to suggest.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:48 AM (4 replies)
His is a different war story, one of survival long before he got into World War II.
Henry Hirschmann was born a Jew in Grossauheim, Germany, in 1920, shortly after the end of World War I. Germany’s economy was in shambles and Hitler used his country’s vulnerabilities to rise to power in 1933.
“For the first few years, I didn’t feel the impact of his dictatorship,” said Hirschmann, now 93. “Then on Nov. 9 in 1938, I experienced one of the worst events of my life.”
It was called Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass – the night of Nazi violence that signaled the beginning of the Holocaust. The Nazis torched 200 synagogues, ransacked 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses and murdered scores of German and Austrian Jews. They rounded up 70,000 more Jews – mostly men – for the concentration camps.
They sent Hirschmann to Buchenwald, one of Germany’s first and largest concentration camps. But with sponsorship from an aunt and uncle in New York, they released him after six months.
He arrived in the Bronx in May 1939, four months before Hitler’s army invaded Poland, starting World War II. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, drawing America into the war, he ached to join the U.S. Army so he could return to Europe and fight the Germans. He got his chance in 1943, and a month after D-Day landed at Normandy, France, with an Army field artillery battalion loaded down with howitzers.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:13 AM (7 replies)
ANKARA – Raising concerns of followers of both faiths, the sweeping victory of far-right parties in the European parliament elections has led to an unlikely unity between European Muslims and Jews against anti-immigration, xenophobic parties.
“We must learn to work together effectively on the both grass roots and leadership levels," Imam Ahmed Miktar, president of the Association of the Imams of France and a member of the Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders, told Reuters on Tuesday, May 27.
"Muslims and Jews Our communities can no longer afford the luxury of standing apart."
After the vote, the Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders, an interfaith group affiliated with the American Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, vowed to “work closely together to fight Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia and prevent the far right parties from realizing their goal of passing a common legislative agenda in the European Parliament severely restricting the rights of religious minorities," FFEU founder Rabbi Marc Schneier explained.
“Just as European Muslim and Jewish leaders joined forces in recent months in successfully combating an effort by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to outlaw circumcision and to protest Denmark’s new law banning kosher and halal slaughtering, we will now stand together and speak with one voice against efforts by the extremist parties to implement their hateful agenda."
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed May 28, 2014, 02:51 AM (3 replies)
In the cradle of democracy, next week’s elections are not looking good — for Greeks, European unity or NATO..
In local elections held Sunday, 16% of Athenians voted for Ilias Kasidiaris, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn’s candidate for mayor of Athens. Kasidiaris, who sports swastika tattoos and once read from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on the floor of Parliament, did even better in the neighborhood where Plato founded his Academy, winning 1 in 5 votes there, three times what the party won in 2012.
“The message of the citizens will be even more fierce in the elections,” Kasidiaris said in an ominous “victory statement.”
While Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik party and other far-right parties are running strong across Europe, they can’t win a majority anywhere — yet. So it would be tempting to dismiss Golden Dawn’s popularity as a protest against the painful cutbacks imposed as a condition of Greece’s financial bailout. It would also be reassuring to view the party’s feisty pushback against government prosecution as a legal oddity that will naturally correct itself.
But that would underestimate the malevolence of Golden Dawn. Like other neo-fascist parties, it can make hateful vitriol against Jews, gays, Roma, socialists, migrants and even Brussels bureaucrats seem acceptable, if only by dint of making it commonplace. But Golden Dawn puts muscle behind its menace. Its leaders deny organizing a terror campaign against migrants, but there are hundreds of reports that migrants as well as Greeks of color have been beaten, tortured, mutilated and killed. Prosecutions have been rare, convictions even rarer.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri May 23, 2014, 01:39 AM (3 replies)
pro-government Turkish newspaper has been accused of publishing an anti-Semitic article with the lead headline "The boss's son-in-law is a Jew" in reference to the owner of the Soma mine in which 301 people were killed.
Yeni Akit, a controversial conservative paper that has been criticised for its hate speech and extremist agenda in the past, accused Soma Holding CEO Alp Gurkan of a sinister Jewish conspiracy involving Israel in Turkey's worst mine disaster.
"While the cartel media, which have Jewish partners, and the parallel media, which are in love with Jews, and the Western media guided by Jews are accusing the prime minister over the Soma disaster, it has been revealed that the son-in-law of Alp Gürkan, the owner of the mining company that is responsible for the disaster, is a Jew named 'Mario Asafrana,' and he changed his name to 'Mahir'," reads the article according to a translation by Today's Zaman.
Other columns related to the conspiracy read: "Did the 'Jewish son-in-law' play a role in the parallel media's attack on Erdoğan?" and "All info on Soma incident leads us to Israel".
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu May 22, 2014, 03:14 AM (1 replies)
A chronicle of Nazi persecution of gay people, a study of Jews and obscenity, and a haunting artistic collaboration are among the wide-ranging winners of this year’s Canadian Jewish Book Awards. After an announcement last week, the awards will be presented at a May 27 ceremony in Toronto.
With its other accolades for a Holocaust diary, a poetic history of Salonika’s Jews, and a novel about Jewish immigrants in South Africa, this year’s honor roll defies easy categorization. “It was an excellent year for Jewish books,” said Natalie Kertes, director of literary programs at Toronto’s Koffler Centre of the Arts, which runs the awards.
What the prize-winners don’t all share, however, is Jewishness. And Ken Setterington, author of “Branded by the Pink Triangle” (Second Story Press), said the award has even more meaning for him as a result.
“I was certainly surprised to receive the honor but, to be quite honest, delighted,” Setterington told the Forward. “My book tells the story of the men who were persecuted in the Holocaust because of their sexuality, not their religion. My challenge was not to compare the numbers or the suffering of the men in comparison to the Jews, or any other persecuted group, but rather to make readers aware that homosexuals were persecuted. It is for that reason that I was thrilled to receive a Jewish prize.”
Branded by the Pink Triangle
Before the rise of the Nazi party, Germany, especially Berlin, was one of the most tolerant places for homosexuals in the world. Activists such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein campaigned openly for the rights of gay men and women and tried to repeal the law against homosexuality. But that all changed when the Nazis came to power; existence for gay people became fear-filled. Raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews and any other groups the Nazis wanted to suppress.
The pink triangle sewn onto prison uniforms became the symbol of the persecution of homosexuals, a persecution that would continue for many years after the war. A mix of historical research, first-person accounts and individual stories brings this time to life for young readers. Stories of bravery in the face of inhuman cruelty, friendship found in the depths of despair in the camps and the perseverance of the human spirit will educate and inspire.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon May 19, 2014, 03:25 AM (2 replies)