Tuesday, January 28, 2020

From Ian:

Saying ‘Never Again’ Means Nothing If It’s Not Backed Up With Actions
The German ambassador to Israel deserves credit for acknowledging that she “feel[s] deep shame given the unspeakable crimes committed by Germans.” The German president also spoke movingly on Thursday about German responsibility for the Holocaust’s unspeakable crimes and the power of reconciliation, as well as acknowledging that antisemitism remains a German problem.

However, the government both German officials represent often fails to stand with Israel at the United Nations, refuses “to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.” Worst of all, Angela Merkel’s Germany has been loath to stop trading with Iran, which has never been coy about why they wish to become a nuclear power.

Times may change, but human nature doesn’t. Speaking up is hard, especially when it means standing alone. There’s a reason we typically revere the heroes of history who found the courage to chart their own course, including protecting those who were weaker or politically powerless.

In the case of the Holocaust and its obvious evil, it’s easy for anyone living today to insist they would’ve fought on the side of justice. But how many people flatter themselves?

Antisemitism has been resurgent in Europe since the turn of the century. It is also rising in the United States, where it has already turned deadly. The cost of condemning Jew hatred is lower now than it would have been in 1930s or 1940s Europe. Yet, even with those lower stakes, many people prefer to stay silent, abandoning their supposed friends and allies when their help — and their courage — is most needed.

If the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation is to be truly meaningful, we must show that we’ve all learned the lessons of the Holocaust. That includes a widespread willingness to condemn, quarantine, and fight antisemitism wherever we see it, whether right or left, at home or abroad. “Never again” cannot come with caveats.
Mourning the Holocaust, But Celebrating Israel
Notably, while Germany, the instigator of the Holocaust, was represented at the event, no predominantly Arab countries attended. The Holocaust is apparently a calamity they do not mourn.

Forum ceremonies took place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, a city at the center of so much controversy in 2017 when the United States belatedly recognized it as Israel’s capital. This memorial event went a long way toward cementing Jerusalem’s centrality to Jewish and Israeli life in the world’s consciousness, despite the fact that Palestinians and some UN agencies continue to deny any Jewish connection to the city whatsoever.

Above all, the attendance of so many dignitaries at this event underscores Israel’s huge and growing importance on the world stage. Israel represents not only the largest ingathering of a dispersed people in human history, but can boast of unparalleled social, cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military achievements in the past 70 years. Finally, it bespeaks the extraordinary resilience of the Jewish people in the face of one of the world’s greatest, most destructive tragedies.

As Jews, as supporters of Israel, as humans, we should surely make reflective observances to remember our millions of brethren murdered by a hateful fanatic — the worst antisemite in history. But we should also celebrate the accomplishment that is Israel.

When God promised the Jewish people the land of Israel, we could never have dared dream of the magnitude of the threats we would face as we traversed history. But we also could never have imagined the powerful, inspiring refuge — and light unto the nations — that Israel would become.

This miraculous achievement makes Israel worth praising, celebrating, and defending, with all our power and determination.

The founding of Israel was not a result of the Holocaust, nor was it “compensation” for the murder of six million Jews. Rather, Israel is the embodied statement of the Jewish people — and people of goodwill everywhere — that the hate that caused the Holocaust will never succeed again.
Boris Johnson: The darkest of nights must never again fall
Today, a growing number of antisemites seek to continue that dismal work.

They downplay the scale of the killing, draw false equivalence with the contemporary world, even outright deny that what happened, happened.

We cannot let them gain a foothold. Because if we allow the likes of Buchenwald, Belsen and Babi Yar to become simply obscure names on a map, we not only betray the memory of those who died there.

We will, in airbrushing the Holocaust from history, succeed where the Nazis failed and offer succour to the thugs and bigots who are the modern-day bearers of that twisted ideology. So we must remember. But we must also act.

After all, speak to anyone who survived the Holocaust and they will tell you that it did not begin with the gas chambers or the pogroms. It began when antisemitic slogans were daubed on a Jewish shop window.

When a Jewish child was abused on a bus. And when ordinary, law-abiding people chose to turn away and do nothing.

So as we look ahead to Holocaust Memorial Day and to the 75th anniversary of liberation, let me make this promise to Jews right across Britain.

As long as I am prime minister, I will never allow this country to forget what happened 75 years ago. I will do all I can to see that we continue to learn the lessons of the past.

And the government I lead will stand with you and fight alongside you so that the darkest of nights is never again allowed to fall upon the Jews of the world.

We owe those incredible survivors nothing less.



At the UN, a hidden child survivor cries victory over Hitler
Not yet two when the Nazis invaded her native Poland, Holocaust survivor Irene Shashar experiences her years spent as a child hidden in the sewers of Warsaw in sensory flashes. Her father was slaughtered in the family’s cramped shared ghetto hovel when she was five. Shashar clearly remembers seeing his mangled corpse on the floor, the feeling of her elbow dipped into his spreading, iron-scented blood, oozing from a gash on his neck.

“I have images, flashes of memory of terrible, terrible things,” Shashar told The Times of Israel last week from her sheltered living community in the central Israeli city of Modi’in.

As we spoke, she was packing for a trip to New York to deliver a speech at the United Nation’s 2020 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Along with Bergen-Belsen survivor Shraga Milstein, 87, Shashar was invited to share her story at the UN’s central ceremony on January 27.

As we spoke, the January 23 high-profile World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem was playing on Shashar’s television in the background. She marveled that, whereas heads of state were speaking on that day, she — “Little me! Tiny one meter 46 centimeters tall me!” — would address some of these same people a few days hence.

“It’s wonderful that I’ll be carrying Israel with me to the UN,” she said in anticipation.

A now retired 40-year lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Spanish and Latin American studies, Shashar is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. And while she has shared her story of survival around the globe, upon receiving the UN’s invitation she said she was initially taken aback.
Rivlin, Steinmeier visit Berlin Jewish school used for WWII Nazi deportations
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday visited a Jewish high school in Berlin that was used by the Nazis as a deportation center for Jews during the Holocaust.

Rivlin was in Berlin as part of a three-day trip to Germany after he and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier both attended a Monday commemoration at Auschwitz, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp.

Rivlin and Steinmeier met with students at the Jüdisches Gymnasium Moses Mendelssohn high school. Founded in 1778, the school currently has 414 students, about 60 percent of whom are Jewish.

Sitting alongside Steinmeier and surrounded by a semicircle of students at the high school in the historic heart of Berlin, Rivlin said that “connections between people all over (the world) is the most important thing.”

“Unfortunately politicians in our day (are) using hatred in order to gain political power,” he added, without elaborating.
Holocaust Survivor to Deliver US House Prayer Noting 75th Year of Auschwitz Liberation
A 90-year-old rabbi who survived the Holocaust will deliver the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, announced Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) on Monday.

“As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’m honored to welcome Holocaust survivor and Staten Island resident Rabbi Romi Cohn to offer the opening prayer before the House of Representatives this Wednesday,” said Rose in a statement.

“Rabbi Cohn’s life story is a stark and vivid reminder that not only must we never forget the Holocaust, but we must also learn the lessons from this horrific and evil period to ensure such persecution never happens again,” he continued. “Rabbi Cohn is truly a role model and inspiration to so many, including myself.”

Cohn was born in 1929 in Pressburg in what was then Czechoslovakia.

In 1942, when the Nazis invaded, Cohn’s parents managed to smuggle him over the border to Hungary. Cohn attended the Pupa Yeshiva, the elite Torah university at the time.

After the Nazis invaded Hungary two years later, Cohn returned to Czechoslovakia to join the underground. He was just 16 and became instrumental in saving 56 families during the Holocaust. He was later awarded the Silver Star Medal of Honor in recognition of his valor.

Cohn has written a book about his experiences, titled The Youngest Partisan.
House lawmakers urge adoption of UN report's recommendations on battling anti-Semitism
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is calling on the United Nations to implement recommendations to combat anti-Semitism that were laid out in a report by the organization last year.

In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday led by Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and signed by 104 House members, the lawmakers argued that the U.N. should implement the report's call for the appointment of a senior-level point within the secretary general's office that would be responsible for engaging with Jewish communities around the world.

"Under the report’s recommendation for the United Nations System, it suggests that the Secretary General should consider appointing 'a senior-level focal point in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General with responsibility for engaging with the Jewish communities worldwide, as well as for monitoring antisemitism and the response of the United Nations thereto,'" the letter said.

"We strongly urge you to implement this recommendation, as we believe the appointment of a senior-level leader – similar to roles that have been created in the United States, European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – would enable the United Nations to take significant steps in the fight against hatred of the Jewish people," the letter continued.

The letter also noted a string of anti-Semitic attacks in the United States that have drawn attention to growing anti-Semitic violence.

Five people were stabbed in an attack on a Hanukkah party in New York state in December. Earlier that month, a man opened fire on a Jersey City, N.J., kosher supermarket.
US House passes Never Again Education Act on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed on Monday the Never Again Education Act, a bill that seeks to expand Holocaust education in the United States.

The final tally was 393-5, with four Republicans and one Independent, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voting against the bill.

If enacted, it would expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming to teachers nationwide, requiring the museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.

The bill heads to the U.S. Senate, whose version slightly differs from the one in the House.

"We have learned over time that it’s not enough to simply condemn these attacks and disgusting actions," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who co-introduced the bill with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) last year, at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Monday ahead of the House vote.

"We also need to get to the root causes of the hatred, denial, intolerance that drives these acts," she continued. "Studies have shown that education is one of the best ways to knock down the lies and the denials, and foster mutual understanding and respect."

Under the House bill, which had 299 co-sponsors—204 Democrats and 95 Republicans—$2 million would be allocated annually for this year and each of over the next four years to the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund, administered by the USHMM’s governing body, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Private donations for the fund would be permitted.

"It’s a start, but it’s an important start," Maloney told JNS at the press conference when asked how the bill would keep up with the demand in terms of funding for Holocaust education.
Trump signs additional funding for synagogues, houses of worship at risk
US President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that provides $375 million for synagogues and other houses of worship and nonprofits at risk as part of the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The program allows houses of worship and other nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $100,000 for each institute. The money can be used for security measures such as fencing, cameras, stronger doors and hiring of security personnel.

Last Friday, Trump signed the Securing Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations from Terrorism Act of 2019. According to the Orthodox Union, the new law authorizes $75m. annually for each of the next five years to fund the NSGP.

Congress already approved raising the grants by 50% at the end of 2019, from $60m. a year to $90m. Now, with the additional $75m. a year, the available amount would be $165m.
Duke of Cambridge’s pledge to remember at national Holocaust ceremony
The Duke of Cambridge has promised to “do our best” to keep the memory of the Shoah alive for future generations as he and the Duchess attended the national commemoration marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis were among more than 1800 political, religious and civic leaders also at Methodist Central Hall for the service, organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

On arrival, the royal couple made their pledge to survivor and former Olympian Sir Ben Helfgott before taking their seats alongside him. Addressing the audience, the Duke read a letter from a friend of his great-grandmother Princess Alice detailing her efforts to save a Jewish family, the Cohens, in 1943.

He said: “The princess put a small two-room apartment at the disposal of Mrs Cohen and her daughter. The members of the Cohen family left the residence three weeks after liberation, aware that by virtue of the princess’s generosity and bravery had spared them from the Nazis.”

He was joined by his wife to light two of six candles in memory of the victims of the Shoah and subsequent genocides, as survivors of Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia took to the stage with Archbishop Justin Welby and Imam Qari Isim.

Johnson said he was “lost in admiration” at the courage of survivor Mala Tribich, who had had met when signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment.

He expressed “shame” at the resurgence of antisemitism in Britain and reiterated his commitment to the creation of a national memorial and learning centre by Parliament.
Duchess of Cambridge: Why these pictures are so important to me
The harrowing atrocities of the Holocaust, which were caused by the most unthinkable evil, will forever lay heavy in our hearts. Yet it is so often through the most unimaginable adversity that the most remarkable people flourish.

Despite unbelievable trauma at the start of their lives, Yvonne Bernstein and Steven Frank are two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet.

They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through.

Their stories will stay with me forever.

While I have been lucky enough to meet two of the now very few survivors, I recognise not everyone in the future will be able to hear these stories first hand.

It is vital that their memories are preserved and passed on to future generations, so that what they went through will never be forgotten.

I recall reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl. Her sensitive and intimate interpretation of the horrors of the time was one of the underlying inspirations behind the images.

I wanted to make the portraits deeply personal to Yvonne and Steven – a celebration of family and the life that they have built since they both arrived in Britain in the 1940s.
The story behind Kate’s survivor portraits for Jewish News
The Duchess of Cambridge’s poignant photographs of Holocaust survivors and their families will help bring this crucial initiative to the attention of millions worldwide – puncturing holes in the narrative of denial that still finds a place in dark corners of the internet.

But it requires further context to fully understand the significance of the future Queen’s involvement, alongside more than 10 professional photographers.

Of course Kensington Palace don’t routinely provide behind-the scenes detail on the machinations that go into such projects but to me, as the grandson of a refugee from the Nazis, it’s important people know this was far from a ‘point and click’ job. I hope that I won’t be sent to the Tower but this time I’ll take the risk.

Having approached the Palace six months ago with the seeds of an idea for a photography project involving the Duchess to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, I was delighted (not to mention surprised given the weight of requests the Royals receive) to receive a call asking for more details. Further calls followed and it wasn’t long before Palace aides suggested bringing in the Royal Photographic Society, where she is a patron, to help make my vision of 75 images a reality, and involving the families of survivors to highlight their fortitude in building full lives after the horrors.

But I didn’t dare believe this project would happen until I learnt how much time and thought the Duchess was personally putting into it. The fine art graduate spent several days researching what she could bring to the table in order to best capture these individuals for the future. She was at pains to ensure the survivors were comfortable with the vision and that the spotlight was on the heroes to be pictured and not the Duchess herself. The idea of an exhibition bringing together all 75 images – most of which will be taken over the coming months by fellows of the RPS – followed .
New study: 'Farhud victims should be treated like Shoah survivors'
A new study completed recently is now trying to provide another legal perspective in order for its authors to suggest that the court allegedly erred in its ruling denying compensation to Farhud victims on the same terms as Holocaust survivors. Israel Hayom reports:

The study was carried out by Dr. Nissan Sharifi, a lawyer and son of Iraqi immigrants, and Prof. Gideon Greif, a historian engaged in the study of the Holocaust. The study examines the case through legal eyes while analyzing the relevant laws alongside the chain of historical events in Iraq during the relevant period.

On June 1 and 2, 1941, a serious pogrom was carried out on the Jews of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. 179 Jews were massacred, thousands injured, hundreds of women raped and tens of thousands of homes looted and vandalized. This pogrom was later known as "Parhud" (terror against the controlled) and was the culmination of a campaign of incitement and Nazi propaganda in Iraq, which began with Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Iraq had known many coups during those years, but most of its leaders at that time were pro-Nazis. King Ghazi, who ruled Iraq intermittently from 1933 to 1939, was Hitler's friend and ally and even received a magnificent gift from him.

Nazi propaganda in Iraq was spread among other things, through Berlin's Arabic radio and the newspaper Al-Al-Arab. The newspaper was bought by the embassy in the early 1930s, and published, among other things, chapters from Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" which were translated into Arabic.

The person behind Hitler's translation of German into Arabic was Iraq's propaganda, economic and security minister Al Bassawi, who served under Prime Minister El Kilani, who was also a pro-Nazi.
Germany's Selective Fight against Anti-Semitism
"[T]here is no reason to give the all-clear. The threat situation in Germany remains tense; it has stabilized on a high level...Germany continues to be a target of jihadist organizations such as ISIL or al-Qaeda. Consequently, Germany as well as German interests in various regions in the world are facing a constantly serious threat, which may any time manifest itself in terrorist attacks motivated by jihadism." — 2018 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution, Germany.

The new governmental initiative, however, appears to be directed only against anti-Semitism committed by right-wing extremists.

The question, then, is why jihadi anti-Semitism does not appear to have been included in the German government's package of initiatives to combat anti-Semitism?

Given the official threat scenario, the German government owes all its citizens an explanation as to why it is so "selective" in its response to anti-Semitism.




My Grandfather Survived The Holocaust and This is His Story.
"To all those who query Israel's right to exist...I say to you in a clear, strong voice: We are here."


The story of Arie, a Holocaust survivor.
This is the story of Arie, who against all odds, survived the Holocaust and built a family in Israel. Last year, at the age of 90, Arie was one of the few survivors who participated in the “March of the Living”.

The memory of the Holocaust is fading. Soon there will be no more survivors to tell the story. Now it's our duty to share and make sure the memory is not forgotten. #VoicesofLight #CombatAntisemitism


BBC airs ‘Windermere children’: How Holocaust survivors went from hell to heaven
Tucked into the far north-west corner of the country, the Lake District is one of the most picturesque and secluded parts of England. An idyll of deep glacial lakes, rugged fell mountains and picturesque valleys and villages, it is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular holiday destinations.

In the summer of 1945, however, it was to provide a place of sanctuary, recuperation and rest for children and young people who, just weeks earlier, had experienced and witnessed scenes of unimaginable horror and suffering in the Nazi death camps of Europe.

The story of the 300 Holocaust survivors flown from Prague to the UK in August 1945 is the subject of a BBC dramatization, The Windermere Children, which will be shown this month to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The program, which is also due to air on Germany’s ZDF, draws on the first-person testimony of some of the real-life survivors.

One of their number, Jack Aizenberg, a teenager who had survived Buchenwald and a 200-mile death march, described their journey as “like going from hell to paradise” in a 2010 BBC documentary.


Meet the Palestinian professor who took his students to Auschwitz
i24NEWS Middle East correspondent Emily Rose takes us to East Jerusalem where one Palestinian, Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, is trying to change the way Holocaust education is viewed in the Arab world




Ilhan Omar, Corbyn slammed by Jews for remarks on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Democratic representative Ilhan Omar and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have both been slammed by Jews after they tweeted in support of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we mourn the lives of 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered," Omar tweeted Monday morning, adding "Today and every day, we must redouble our efforts to confront anti-Semitism and all forms of religious discrimination and say #NeverAgain."

Monday marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazis. Nonetheless, the tweet was not welcomed by Jewish people.

"How dare you defame memory of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust!" tweeted Arsen Ostrovsky, international human rights attorney and executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, who was tweeting in a personal capacity.

"Your Antisemitism, however you cloak it, knows no bounds. Barely one year ago, you tried to pass boycott law comparing Israel to Nazi Germany & now you seek destruction of Jewish state! Have you no shame?," he added.
At Holocaust Memorial Day event, Emily Thornberry praises Corbyn for standing up to racism (not satire)
Labour's Emily Thornberry has used a speech at a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration to praise Jeremy Corbyn for "always calling out those people who play the race card".

Speaking during an emotional event at Islington Assembly Hall, the shadow foreign secretary praised presentations by local school children on the lessons that needed to be learned 75 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

With Mr Corbyn also present, Ms Thornberry said it was not just the pupils who needed to carry on learning the lessons of history but "adults, especially the politicians amongst us".

Insisting that Islington had remained largely unified "with a bit of tension here and there," she added "Jeremy will always call out" those who play the "race card".

Ms Thornberry - who is an outside contender to replace Mr Corbyn as Labour leader in April - continued: "And I will too."

In his own speech, the Labour leader spoke of the need to recognise how "the Nazi Party rose to power and how the murdered six million Jewish people along with all the travellers and gypsies they could, along with lesbian and gay people."
Bethany Mandel: Rashida Tlaib irresponsibly spreads anti-Semitic blood libel
The Democratic Party failed to condemn anti-Semitism, and that failure sent a message which Omar and Tlaib heard quite clearly. They were given a free pass to traffic in and promote anti-Semitism.

They’re not afraid to cash it in. Tlaib’s amplification of a blood libel over the weekend and her refusal to apologize for it shows that the congresswoman and her "Squad" of far-Left colleagues are determined to keep testing the boundaries of how far they'll be allowed to go, how plainly they will be able to display their anti-Semitism.

Outside of the Jewish press and conservative media, Tlaib’s latest Twitter behavior has been met with silence. Much of the liberal media and most of Tlaib’s Democratic colleagues haven’t even bothered to highlight the event, let alone condemn it. (However, it’s of note that the CEO of the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League has condemned Tlaib’s blood libel.)

But many others on the broader Left have not condemned Tlaib. They have accepted that an American lawmaker is not only an anti-Semite, but not shy about it, either.

The Rubicon has been crossed. One of the two major political parties in this country is openly accepting of anti-Semites in its midst. We have not even begun to understand what the ramifications of this new reality are.


Rashida Tlaib Condemns Israel for Killing Mr. Peanut (satire)
A day after retweeting and later deleting a post falsely accusing Israelis of kidnapping and killing an eight-year-old Palestinian boy, US Rep. Rashida Tlaib has now blamed Israel for the death of popular Planters mascot Mr. Peanut.

“Sad to see Mr. Peanut thrown off a cliff by a herd of violent Israeli settlers,” Tlaib tweeted, citing a tweet by anonymous twitter used @MelGibsonFan69. “First Jesus, then Arafat, and now Mr. Peanut – when will it end?”

Mr. Peanut had in fact been killed off as part of an ad campaign set to run during the Super Bowl. While the spot did show the beloved character fall off a cliff, Israel was not involved in his death.

Tlaib later deleted the tweet, after @MelGibsonFan69 posted a follow-up message acknowledging that his previous post was incorrect.
J Street’s political action committee to raise $1 million to oust Trump
For the first time, J Street’s affiliated political action committee will raise money for a presidential candidate, arguing that any of the Democrats running is preferable to President Donald Trump.

Ben Shnider, J Street’s vice president for political affairs, said the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group’s affiliated PAC would raise $1 million for whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee. In addition, the PAC also plans to raise $5 million this election cycle for 2020 congressional candidates that J Street endorses, matching its total from the 2018 races.

“We feel an incredible sense of urgency about doing everything we can to remove Trump from office and replace him with somebody who shares our values and who is ready to lead on the international stage,” Shnider told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week in an interview that was embargoed until Monday.

Shnider specifically cited the “unsustainability of the status quo” in the Middle East. J Street sees the Trump administration as advancing policies that would kill the two-state solution, particularly in reports that the president plans to give Israel the green light to annex portions of the West Bank.
Biden Praises ‘Profound’ Question Comparing Trump’s Border Policies to Holocaust
Former vice president Joe Biden on Monday praised a woman at his Iowa campaign event for her "profound" question comparing President Donald Trump's immigration policies to the Holocaust.

The questioner, who identified herself as Kathy, used the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz to ask how Biden plans to deal with the ways "we are living in the 1930s again."

"What can we do, given what Donald Trump is doing at the border with those children who are incarcerated, so that they don't go out and experience the kind of stigmatization that so many Jewish people and gypsies and Romas did in Europe?" the woman asked. "It's so important, particularly when anti-Semitism in the United States is on the rise again and it's frightening. We are living in the 1930s again in so many ways."

Biden did not push back against the comparison, instead calling it "profound." He went on to address the recent rash of anti-Semitic violence by blaming it on Trump.

"There's a phrase in the Jewish community, which is ‘Never again.' Never again, meaning we'll never allow this to ever happen again, but it is happening in other parts of the world, but it's not just in this case—it's not just Jews now," Biden said. "In America, they are being victimized. There have been more attacks on synagogues and on Jewish houses of worship than any time in American history since this man's become president of the United States."

The Democratic Party has faced increased scrutiny over the last year for anti-Semitic scandals, prompting the House of Representatives to pass a resolution last March condemning anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric, understood as a response to Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) comment that supporters of Israel were being paid off.


New Koch Group Dogged by Charges of Anti-Semitism
Yet the Quincy Institute’s hires include a string of figures who have courted controversy due to their views of Israel and American Jews.

Lawrence Wilkerson, a nonresident fellow at the institute, said in a 2007 documentary that "the Jewish lobby in America" and "AIPAC in particular" played an outsize influence in the run-up to the war — and, in fact, had more of an impact than the administration's belief that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction or the president's belief in spreading democracy. He singled out Jewish officials like Bush national security aide Elliott Abrams, former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, former undersecretary of defense Doug Feith, and former Defense Policy Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle.

He came under fire again in 2013 for arguing that Syrian chemical weapons use "could’ve been an Israeli false-flag operation." There is no evidence to support such a claim and investigations by the United Nations and the United States intelligence community concluded that Bashar al-Assad had ordered the deadly attack on civilians.

"I think there is this view, going back to the 1930s, and maybe it’s shared by some today, that those who would get us into foreign conflicts were part of some elite, and maybe they saw in that elite Jewish influences," the veteran diplomat Dennis Ross told the Free Beacon.

The Quincy Institute is also home to several experts who have accused American Jews of being loyal primarily to Israel, a charge that has often been used to slur Jews.

Paul Pillar, a veteran CIA officer and now a Quincy Institute expert on intelligence and terrorism, has argued that the Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson’s first loyalty is to Israel, writing in 2014, "The Republican party isn’t even his first love among political parties. That would be the Likud party." He continued, "Nor is the United States Adelson’s first love among countries."
Second Report Emerges Confirming Feds Reviewing Claims That Ilhan Omar Married Brother
A second report emerged on Sunday alleging that federal law enforcement officials are reviewing allegations of criminal activity by far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over claims that she married her brother.

The story, first reported by The Blaze, was confirmed on Sunday by The New York Post, which reported that investigators from the FBI were reviewing the claims against Omar.

“Two FBI agents held an hours-long meeting in Minnesota in mid-October with a concerned party who handed over a trove of documents regarding Omar’s 2009 marriage to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a source with knowledge of the event said,” The Post reported, adding, “the agents discussed concerns the Somali-born Democrat married Elmi, a British citizen rumored to be her brother, so he could obtain a green card and study in America, the source said.”

“The two agents said they would share the information with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Department of Education, but did not commit to opening an investigation into the firebrand lawmaker, the source said,” The Post added. “If Omar did marry her brother, she could be found guilty of committing marriage fraud — a felony offense punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”
Honest Reporting: Antisemitism at York University
Horrible displays of antisemitism at York University.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the York University student union hosted it's annual multicultural parade. Only this year, the opening ceremony was led by a student wearing a shirt which read "Anti-Zionist vibes only".

It's an example of the bigotry Jewish students face on North American campuses.






Lawyer says man charged in Hanukkah machete attack incompetent for trial
A psychiatrist has found Grafton Thomas incompetent to stand trial on federal hate crime charges stemming from a machete attack at a Hanukkah party that wounded five Hasidic Jews, Thomas’s attorney said Monday.

Defense attorney Michael Sussman said in a statement that he has asked a federal judge to hold a competency evaluation for Thomas, who was arrested hours after a stabbing attack on Dec. 28 in Monsey, an Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City.

The federal court has given the US Attorney’s Office two weeks to respond to the application for a competency evaluation, Sussman said. The US Attorney’s Office declined to comment to the media on Monday.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in Rockland County. He pleaded not guilty to 10 hate-crime charges in federal court on Jan. 13. Thomas is being held without bail in federal custody.

Investigators found anti-Semitic writings in Thomas’s journals and articles on Jews and Nazis on his cell phone, according to a complaint filed by the US Attorney’s Office.
French President Macron Rebuked by Top Judicial Officials After Urging Trial for Antisemitic Murder of Sarah Halimi
French President Emmanuel Macron was locked in a dispute with senior representatives of his country’s judiciary on Monday, after earlier expressing support for putting the alleged antisemitic murderer of a Jewish woman on trial.

In a speech to French Jews in Jerusalem last Thursday, Macron addressed the widely-condemned Dec. 2019 decision by prosecutors in Paris to excuse the accused killer, 29-year-old Kobili Traore, from a criminal trial.

The prosecutors deemed that Traore’s intake of cannabis on the night that he tortured and murdered Sarah Halimi — his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor — had rendered him delusional and therefore criminally not responsible for his actions.

In his remarks in Israel, Macron appeared to disagree with that ruling.

“Even if, in the end, the judge had to decide that criminal responsibility is not there, the need for a trial is there,” the French president said.

That assertion resulted in stern reminder for Macron of the independent status of the French system of justice from two of its leading representatives.
Possible photo of 'Ivan the Terrible' at Sobibor released
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released a series of photos entitled “The Sobibor Perpetrator Collection” on Tuesday, one of which may show John Demjanjuk (1920-2012).

Demjanjuk was initially sentenced to death in Israel for being the so-called “Ivan the Terrible” camp guard at Treblinka in Poland. The guilty verdict was overturned on appeal by the Supreme Court in 1993 after new evidence emerged pointing to a case of mistaken identity.

This may be the first time that Demjanjuk has been identified in photos of the Sobibor death camp, where he served as a guard at the time the photo was taken. The Holocaust Memorial Museum wrote it is “possibly” him among the guards and officials.

Demjanjuk was extradited from Israel to Germany from his home in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2009 to stand trial. He attended the 18-month court proceedings in Munich – the birthplace of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi movement – in a wheelchair and sometimes lying down. He denied the charges against him but otherwise did not speak at his trial.

Once at the top of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazi war criminals, the Berdychiv, Ukraine-born Demjanjuk said he was drafted into the Red Army in 1941 and then taken prisoner by the Germans the following year.
Woman accused of attacking 3 Jewish people in Brooklyn charged with federal hate crimes
A New York City woman accused of slapping three Orthodox Jewish women on the street in December will be charged with federal hate crimes, Attorney General William Barr announced in a press conference Tuesday.

Speaking to a group of Jewish community leaders in Brooklyn, AG Barr said his office filed three charges against Tiffany Harris, who confessed to police she targeted the women in late 2019 because they were Jewish.

“These are the kinds of cases that maybe in the past would have been treated locally but I think it’s important for the federal government to plant its flag and show zero tolerance,” Barr said. “And this will not be an isolated case. We will move aggressively when we see this kind of activity.”

Harris was arrested after slapping three Jewish women who were walking down the street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, which has a large Orthodox population. The women were wearing clothes that made them "identifiable as Jewish," according to the criminal complaint. Harris told police she remembered slapping the women and saying “Fuck you Jews."

Her case drew attention in New York City when she was released without bail and arrested a short time later for a different assault. The day after Harris slapped the three women, a man wielding a large knife injured at least five people at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York during a Hanukkah party. The man accused of the stabbings is also facing federal hate crime charges.

At the Tuesday meeting, Barr discussed the recent uptick in anti-Semitic violence in New York and beyond.

“I’m extremely distressed by the upsurge in violence — hate crimes — committed against the Jewish community,” Barr said, noting the entire country is seeing a “marked increase of this violence." (h/t Zvi)
Woman charged with hate crime for throwing pork chops at NY synagogue
An upstate New York woman has been charged with a hate crime for throwing pieces of pork at a local synagogue.

Tara Rios, 47, of Hudson, was arraigned in Livingston Town Court on Saturday and charged with first-degree harassment as a hate crime, according to local reports.

Rios went to Congregation Anshe Emeth in Greenport on January 19 and threw a package of pork chops on its front steps, CBS 6 Albany reported. She returned to the synagogue at 3 a.m. to photograph her actions, police said.

She was released on her own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court on Monday.


Armenia’s antisemitism? The truth is different
Armenia’s small Jewish community never suffered antisemitism in their adopted homeland. Most of them left in the early 1990s, after the severe earthquake in the north of the country in 1988 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time, during the Karabakh war, Armenia suffered from a harsh economic crisis and shortage in basic necessities. Many people left the country seeking better life abroad. Not only Jews left, but the Jews had an easy way out – moving to Israel. They did not leave because they faced any antisemitism; they left because they sought better life.

Jaffe-Hoffman refers to what she calls the “brutal invasion” of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia. She “forgets” to mention that this region has been inhabited since antiquity mainly by Armenians. They were still the majority there even after 70 years of Soviet Azeri sovereignty and Azeris striving to change that demographic situation.

She also ignores the fact that Karabakh’s Armenians demanded liberation after a long history of pogroms by Azeris in Baku, Shushi, Sumgait and other places, starting in the early 1900s, then around 1920, and again in 1988. History is a wonderful Hollywood-style movie with clear distinction between good guys and bad guys when you ignore facts that do not support your thesis.

I will conclude with drawing the attention to three facts. The first is that for many years now there is a monument standing in the heart of Yerevan with inscriptions in Hebrew and Armenian, commemorating both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. Unfortunately, there is no parallel such monument in Israel.

Second, Armenia sent its highest-ranking citizen to the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, H.E. Armen Sarkissian, the president of Armenia.

The third is that Armenia has decided to open an embassy in Israel soon, regardless of whether Israel opens one in Yerevan. There could be no clearer statements that Armenia opposes antisemitism.
Microsoft Israel the force behind virtual health ‘assistant’
A virtual medical assistant launched by Microsoft last year and used by healthcare providers and labs in the US was developed by the tech giant’s team in Israel.

The Microsoft Healthcare bot, powered by artificial intelligence, aims to provide healthcare organizations with virtual health assistants to offer better service and enable patients to go to the doctor — if needed — armed with more information about their condition and where to seek help.

The chatbot is an “intelligent, virtual health assistant,” said Hadas Bitran, who heads the 20-person Microsoft Healthcare team in Israel and was the force behind getting the project off the ground.

The bot “does not aim to replace the doctor,” or nurses, she said. “It aims to allow patients to get more information about what they should be doing, what is the next step. I have this symptom, what should I do, how urgent is it?”
The Microsoft healthcare bot was developed by its Israel’s R&D team. (Courtesy)

Better informed patients reduce the burden on doctors and nurses who can then spend more time dealing with more critical cases, she explained.
Daytrip to the land of Jerusalem’s unicorns
I’ll be taking a daytrip on February 13 to the land of unicorns – right here in Jerusalem.

For the third year in succession, I’ve been invited to be the main stage host for the largest business event in Israel’s history, the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit.

Among the 20,000 investors, entrepreneurs, nobel prizewinners and business leaders registered to attend the largest investor event in the Middle East, I’ll be trying to spot Israel’s next unicorns – private companies valued at $1 billion or more.

Israel now has at least 20 unicorns – more than France, Germany and Australia combined. In world rankings, only the US, China and UK have more. Because tech companies have a tendency to be acquired or go public before they hit the billion-dollar mark, the addition of nine new unicorns to Israel’s portfolio in 2019 suggests the local market is maturing, providing more jobs and more benefits for the local economy.

The OurCrowd Summit is Israel’s premier occasion for spotting these rare and wonderful creatures, adding to the magic of the event. The Summit features drones and phones, VCs and PCs, blockchain, the supply chain, and the latest technology in health, stealth, sight, sound, voice and vision. Ticket-holders can attend sessions on medtech, mobility and media, health, hacking and happiness, AI, VR and E-commerce, food tech, agtech and fintech. Last year, they could stroll through a Korean Pavilion, wander around Impact Alley, saunter through an Italian Innovation Plaza, surf down to Aussie Tech Beach, wonder at the India Pavilion and – for medical and research purposes only – cruise down to the Cannabis Greenhouse.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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