Thursday, January 22, 2015

From Ian:

Tarek Fatah: In Failing to Confront Islamism, the Left Betrays Itself
As the world struggles to understand and cope with the rise of pan-Islamism and international jihadi terrorism within Western countries, one thing is becoming increasingly clear - the success of the Islamists is partly due to what I believe is a grand betrayal of civil society by the political left in Western democracies. Instead of leading the fight against the fanatics' religious obscurantism, they have embraced it.
The refusal of social democrats, liberals and leftists to stand up to Islamofascism in the democracies of Europe, North America, India and South Africa, has also had an unintended consequence. It has paved the way for an anti-immigrant backlash against all non-whites, in which the left are portrayed as apologists for religious fanaticism. An unnecessary rise of xenophobia that could have been avoided, had the left led the struggle against Islamofascism, is now entrenched.
Imagine if Labour in the UK, Democrats in the U.S., the Congress and CPM in India, socialists in France and the left in Canada had not catered to Islamists, but instead drawn a line in the sand on such issues as gender apartheid. Think how different things would be today. Instead we've had more than a decade of appeasement.
Last week I sat down with a few surviving friends on the left from the 1960s, who are fortunately in Canada now. "What is wrong with the left today?" we asked ourselves.
Israel omission from Asian Cup video embarrasses Asian Football Confederation
The Asian Football Confederation has been embarrassed by revelations its official video history of the Asian Cup omits any mention of Israel, a former host and winner of the tournament.
A three-minute video posted on the AFC’s official website stirringly recounts the history of the cup, beginning with South Korea’s 1956 victory, up to Japan’s 1-0 defeat of Australia in the 2011 final in Qatar.
Israel hosted and won the Asian Cup in 1964, the only piece of silverware in the country’s football cabinet, during a golden age in which it finished runner-up in the previous two tournaments and third in 1968 (albeit against much weaker competition than today – only six other countries entered in 1964).
Many Arab and Muslim countries refused to play the Jewish state, and in 1974 the confederation adopted a Kuwaiti motion to expel Israel from the AFC. It wandered in the footballing wilderness until it was accepted into the European confederation in 1994.
AFC officials told Guardian Australia they were baffled by the omission, and would be seeking answers. It is understood the video was produced by an external agency. Israel does appear in a table on the tournament’s website listing all past winners. (h/t Rabbi Burns)

Privileged Yet Unequal: An Essay on the Anglo-American Legal Principle of ‘Jews Lose’
Last week, the Community Security Trust—the institutional body primarily responsible for the safety of Jews in Britain—released its preliminary figures on the number of anti-Semitic incidents that had occurred over the course of 2014. The news was not good. Anti-Semitism had hit an all-time high, with a particular spike occurring in July during the course of renewed hostilities between Israel and Gaza. Another poll found that nearly half of all non-Jewish Britons held at least some anti-Semitic views, and for their part British Jews expressed unprecedented feelings of fear and vulnerability. More than half of the Jewish community stated that they feared for their future in Great Britain, and a quarter claimed to have considered leaving the country.
Because I am a lawyer and law professor (albeit not a British one), my natural instinct in these circumstances is to appeal to the law for protection. Anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation, violence, and discrimination are illegal, and a primary purpose of the courts is to provide a shield for vulnerable minorities. Unfortunately, when it comes to Jewish litigants coming to the English courts with allegations of discrimination, doctrine, precedent, and case law all fall away at the hands of one simple rule: Jews lose. They lose consistently, they lose badly, and they will often be humiliated in the process. In her magnificent 2011 book An Unfortunate Coincidence: Jews, Jewishness, and English Law, English law professor Didi Herman concludes that—since the passage of the Race Relations Act of 1976—a Jew has never won a reported discrimination case against a non-Jewish defendant.
British courts seem to bend over backward to avoid finding wrongdoing, even in the most obvious cases. To take one particularly egregious example, one case involved a job applicant who was told by the hiring agency that the company in question simply would not hire Jews. It then asked the candidate what his religion was; instead of answering, the applicant (who was indeed Jewish) stormed out. The court concluded that no discrimination occurred because the plaintiff voluntarily terminated the interview without revealing his Jewish identity.

Stop Telling Jews to ‘Check Their Privilege’
“On Martin Luther King Day, Jews must acknowledge their privilege,” wrote Maital Friedman on January 14 at the JTA.
Jews have become the latest group targeted in the “check your privilege” crusade aimed at encouraging “white” people to admit that their existence is a form of racialized privilege over African-Americans. “We have to be deeply aware of racial inequality and of the daily privileges we enjoy that others cannot,” Friedman writes. While understandably there is debate about racism and privilege in the U.S., that an author would ignorantly lump all Jewish people together is offensive and reveals ingrained stereotypes about “white Jews” that must be confronted.
Let’s start with the obvious. Why are black Jewish people harangued to “have a conversation about their privilege”? When people bash Jews for their “white privilege,” they make a racist assumption that all Jews are white. However, there are hundreds of thousands of black Jews and Jews of color in the U.S. and Israel.
When Martin Luther King was fighting for civil rights in the 1960s, Jews in Ethiopia were on the brink of starvation and suffering discrimination. In the 1980s, almost one third of the Ethiopian Jews who sought to get to Israel died along the way in refugee camps in Sudan. Let’s talk about their “privilege.”
NGO Monitor: Preliminary Critique of PHR-I´s "Independent Medical Fact-Finding Mission"
On January 21, 2015, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) published “Gaza, 2014: Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission,” alleging Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War. PHR-I also set up a unique website to accompany the report.
According to PHR-I, the report demonstrates “The failure of the warning mechanisms, the absence of escape routes, the collapse of the mechanism for evacuating the wounded, and the strikes against rescue teams increased the number of civilian casualties.”
However, to accurately draw such conclusions requires considerable expertise, as well as complete access to comprehensive data from both the Israeli army and from within Gaza, in particular during and after the fighting. The report does not meet these standards, nor does it address central issues such as the types of weapons and fighting methods used by both sides, the obstacles of asymmetric warfare, and the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas. (h/t Bob Knot)
NGO Monitor: Medicine in the service of anti-Zionism
As a scientific medical journal, The Lancet is in a unique position to play a constructive and positive role not only in improving the healthcare of Palestinians, but also contributing to the prospects of peace by building bridges between the Israeli and Palestinian medical communities. By taking such a highly politicized and one-sided course in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Lancet, under Richard Horton’s tutelage, has instead contributed to polarization and conflict.
The partnership being built by Horton and his Israeli colleagues may remedy this travesty, but only if the following steps are taken. First, reform the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance by de-politicizing its content and by disassociating The Lancet from Swee Ang’s Medical Aid for Palestinians. Second, Horton should apologize for, retract, and publicly remove the tainted “Open Letter for the People in Gaza” from The Lancet’s website, and personally apologize for and retract his own hostile comments against Israel.
These steps would signal a real change in Horton’s attitude and would signal a tangible change in attitude by The Lancet and its publisher, Reed Elsevier. Anything less would just be window dressing, covering an ethical stain that will long define The Lancet’s legacy and Reed Elsevier’s corporate image.
UN to Hold First-Ever Conference against Rising Anti-Semitism
The United Nations General Assembly is set to hold its first-ever meeting to discuss rising global anti-Semitism Thursday.
37 countries including Israel, The United States of America, Canada, Australia, and all members of the EU sent a letter to Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly to call for a special session to address the global outbreak of anti-Semitism.
The meeting was already planned prior to the recent deadly Islamist terror attacks in France, one of which saw four Jews murdered by an ISIS terrorist at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
That attack was only the latest in a steadily-growing list of murderous terrorist assaults against Jews in Europe - particularly in France, home to the continent's largest Jewish and Muslim populations.
It also brought to the fore growing fears in Europe over an alarming rise in anti-Semitism in general.
Last summer saw record levels of anti-Semitism recorded in most western European countries, as anti-Israel protests over Operation Protective Edge quickly became used as platforms for anti-Semites. Incidents recorded over the summer ranged from physical assaults and arson, to incitement, vandalism, and verbal and online abuse.
With All Due Cynicism: The UN and Anti-Semitism
In short, this is the same UN that has been the instigator, the venue, and the imprimatur for much of the world’s anti-Semitism. Let’s not forget that it was the UN that voted as recently as 1975 that the age-old devotion of Jews to their ancient homeland was “racism”! Although the resolution was later repealed, the organization’s institutional reputation has never recovered.
At the risk of being accused of undue cynicism, I have to wonder if it isn’t anti-Semitism that worries the UN, but only unofficial anti-Semitism—anti-Semitism that does not originate inside the august committees of the UN, that does not bear the UN stamp of approval. Only official anti-Semitism is permissible. When anti-Semitism is used by corrupt dictatorships to redirect the ire of their own people, it is OK. When it’s used to keep the poor of a country in poverty, it’s OK. But when it takes to the streets of Europe, then it is not OK. When it threatens to drive Europe’s Jews to leave, it’s not OK.
Why? Surely not because Europe loves its Jews! I think the events of 70 years ago have disabused us of that naive notion, if a thousand years of pogroms had not done so already. No, the problem is that there are only two places in the world for the Jews of Europe to seek safety, and one of those places is Israel. Could it be that what really worries the great moralists of the UN is not that a mass flight of Jews will impoverish Europe, but that they will enrich Israel? So it has been in the past: Jewish refugees from persecution invariably bring blessing upon the country that takes them in and gives them a home. This was already an established historical fact in 1492 when the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire welcomed the Jews who were expelled from Spain.
Undue cynicism, did I say? No. Sadly, where the UN is concerned, cynicism is entirely appropriate.
Invisible yarmulke is the latest look
Does he or doesn’t he?… Wear a kippa, that is. It’s almost impossible to tell if he happens to be wearing a Magic Kippa, a new kind of Jewish skullcap made from human hair.
Shalom Koresh, a hairdresser from Rehovot in Israel came up with the idea for a yarmulke that blends in seamlessly with a man’s own hair color and texture after watching news reports about anti-Semitism in Europe.
“I also heard from people who came in to my shop about how when they were traveling in Europe, their guides told them not to wear a kippa while walking around,” Koresh told The Times of Israel.
Hamas Permits Pro-ISIS, Anti-France Rally in Gaza
Hamas, which exerts strict control over the Gaza Strip, allowed a public demonstration in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to take place on the streets of Gaza Monday. The rally was to back the radical Islamist groups and to support the recent terror attacks in France. The Lebanese newspaper As-Safeer (Arabic link) reported:
The security forces of Hamas allowed a rare protest that was organized by Salafi jihadists in the Gaza Strip, in support of ISIS and the attacks by three Islamic militants in France.
One of the protesters, Abu Abdallah al-Makdisi, told Reuters:
Today, we are telling France and world countries that while Islam orders us to respect all religions, it also orders us to punish and kill those who assault and offend Islam’s Prophet Mohammad.
Reuters also reported that during the demonstration, Hamas police officers were deployed to keep watch on the protests as well as on the French cultural center, where the demonstrators burned French flags (video embedded below).
'EU Only Wakes Up When Non-Jews are Killed'
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the EJA, thanked the officials for attending but also lamented that EU leaders only "wake up when non-Jews are killed."
"Why now? Was the terror attack in Toulouse not enough? Was the terror attack in the Jewish Museum not enough?'' he asked the EU officials.
"Aren't hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks the past year enough for European leaders to gather together and take their responsibilities. What happened now?" he added.
"While the motivation of the two brothers to kill the journalists of Charlie Hebdo was officially because of a will for revenge, there are 3 million Jews in Europe today, there are thousands of synagogues, kindergartens, Jewish schools, kosher supermarkets, museums, community centers, that are all under threat on a daily basis for no reason, only because they are Jews.''
Why 10,000 French Jews Will Move to Israel This Year

American Arabs Visit Israel, Muslims Promise to Boycott Them
The Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) was launched in the summer of 2013 under the initiative of Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University and Yossi Klein Halevi of the Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. The program invites North American Muslims to "explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood." The participants are also encouraged to "experience how Palestinian [Arabs], both inside and outside Israel, identify themselves."
The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Ma'an news agency quoted three Arab academics and activists living in PA-areas who objected to the trip. Some of them see it as a violation of the BDS campaign to boycott
Israel internationally, while others say the participants allowed themselves to take part in an "Israeli propaganda tour."
But many Muslims in the U.S. did not suffice with mere criticism. Ma'an reported that over 43 pro-Palestinian or Muslim-American community organizations, and 200 independent activists, have already signed a letter promising not to invite participants to speak, and calling for a "complete boycott" of the group. Physical threats against them have not been heard.
"Coming here doesn't mean I agree with Zionism," Antepli told Ma'an in his own defense. "This is about learning. My religion says even if knowledge is all the way in China, go and learn it." He explained that the trip, which he said was his idea, was focused on Muslim-Jewish interfaith relationships in the U.S., and that not understanding religious Zionism hinders Muslim leaders' attempts to reach out to Jewish counterparts.
Critics in the PA called the trip a "brainwashing" tour, and that it could lead to unwanted "normalization" with the "Israeli occupation."
Dueling Billboard Battle on Israel in Los Angeles on Martin Luther King Day 2015
StandWithUs will counter an anti-Israel ad that has been placed on 30 billboards in Los Angeles. Beginning on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday weekend, StandWithUs (SWU) will place ads on trucks and billboards in the greater Los Angeles area. From January 17 through 19 (MLK Day), two trucks will circle Los Angeles with SWU posters on each side and on January 19 through February 13, fifty billboards (25 each of the two different messages) will be visible throughout the metropolitan area.
One SWU poster depicts Martin Luther King Jr.'s declaration that, "Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world." Israel is the only country outside the U.S. that also commemorates Martin Luther King Day. The second ad juxtaposes two Israeli coins minted with the same Menorah, a symbol of Judaism - one from antiquity and one modern - reminding viewers that: “Israel has been the home of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years.”
Billboard on I-85 Flashes Israel Facts
Three pro-Israel messages are rotating through mid-February on an electronic billboard along Interstate 85 at the Spaghetti Junction interchange with I-285.
The messages, sponsored by the pro-Israel educational group StandWithUs, counter a Christmastime anti-Israel ad that appeared on the same billboard from If Americans Knew.
The anti-Israel billboard depicted Joseph and Mary barred from Bethlehem by Israel's security barrier, sending the message that Israel keeps Christians out of the West Bank city.
But the barrier doesn't surround Bethlehem, and Christians can easily travel to the Palestinian-controlled city through checkpoints from Israel, as a Harmony International group of about 80 people from the Atlanta area did in the week between Christmas and New Year's.
Former Think Progress Writer Sits Down With Iran State-Media, Bashes US & Israel
Ben Norton, who has written and interned for the far left-wing Think Progress blog, sat down with Iran’s state-run Fars News to discuss how “Israel is the Master of Racism and Dehumanization.”
In the interview, Norton talks about how “The United States is complicit in the atrocities of Israel,” and how people should support the Nazi-like BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement against Israel. Norton explains in the interview how he believes that the Zionist movement is inherently anti-Semitic, and that the reason why anti-Semitism is a worldwide issue is because of Zionism. Norton ends his interview by encouraging people to continue to boycott Israel’s Jewish institutions. He concludes, “When Palestinians are oppressed, boycott, sanction, and divest!”
Norton held an extensive interview and espoused anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments with a state-run outlet that is controlled by a U.S.-designated State Sponsor of Terrorism. Iranian officials have publicly acknowledged that they are actively arming and supplying terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as the Assad regime in Syria. The Islamic Republic also maintains close relations with America’s adversaries in Latin America, such as Venezuela.
The Think Progress blog is owned by the Center for American Progress (CAP). The Center is a left-wing think-tank founded by former Clinton and Obama operative John Podesta. CAP is now run by Neera Tanden, who has also worked for both the Obama and Clinton administrations. Countless members of CAP’s staff have gone on to serve in the Obama Administration.
As deadline looms, Japan agonizes over how to free hostages
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan was trying all possible ways to reach those holding the hostages — 47-year-old freelance journalist Kenji Goto, and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security company.
Japan had not received any message from IS since the release of the video, he said.
The crisis is a test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s role in international affairs and raise the profile of its military. Tokyo lacks strong diplomatic connections in the Middle East, and Japanese diplomats left Syria as the civil war there escalated, adding to the difficulty of contacting the group holding the hostages.
So far, the only initiative made public was an offer by Ko Nakata, an expert on Islamic law and former professor at Kyoto’s Doshisha University.
Appearing at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Nakata, who is also a former Islamic specialist at the Japanese Embassy in Saudi Arabia, read a message in Japanese and Arabic.
“Seventy-two hours is just too short. Please wait just a bit longer, and do not try to take action immediately,” he said, addressing the Islamic State. “If there is room to talk, I’m ready to go and negotiate.”
Twitter users in Japan mock ISIS as hostage situation continues
Japanese Twitter users have created many internet memes mocking the terrorist group as the hostage situation involving two Japanese men continues.
According to Japan Times, Japanese users have begun using ISIS's own social media tactics against them.
Users are tweeting pictures with the hashtag #ISISクソコラグランプリ (meaning "ISIS Crappy Photoshop Grand Prix") putting Islamic State terrorists in odd positions or photoshopping the Japanese hostages out of pictures, replacing them with anime or popular fantasy characters.
The Japan Times notes that one Islamic State-linked account didn't find the images amusing.
"Japanese people, you are so optimistic. We have army everywhere," it tweeted.
In any case, this reaction is totally Japanese.
Islamic State executing ‘educated women,’ UN says
The jihadist group is showing a “monstrous disregard for human life” in the areas it controls in Iraq, the UN human rights office said.
The group, which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and in neighboring war-ravaged Syria, last week published pictures of the “crucifixions” of two men accused of being bandits, and of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.
Numerous other women have also reportedly been executed recently in IS-controlled areas, including Mosul, spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters.
She said “educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office, seem to be particularly at risk.”
“In just the first two weeks of this year, reports indicate that three female lawyers were executed,” Shamdasani said.
Congress Protests Russia’s Sale of Missile System to Iran
Members of Congress petitioned Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to oppose the recently announced sale by Russia of an advanced missile defense system to Iran, citing concerns that such a move would embolden Tehran’s “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” according to a copy of the letter exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Tehran this week for high-level talks with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about a new arms pact that would provide Iran with the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system and potentially new cruise missiles, submarines, and torpedoes, according to sources familiar with the talks.
Tehran and Moscow announced on Wednesday that they had inked an agreement to finalize delivery of the S-300 system, according to Iranian state-controlled media reports.
Democrat Senator: Administration Spews 'Talking Points From Tehran'
Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday, Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) said that the administration’s talking points on Iran sound more and more like they “come straight out of Tehran,” agreeing with the “Iranian narrative of victimization”:
Menendez: You know I have to be honest with you. The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin.
Menendez has repeatedly voiced his strong disapproval of the Obama administration's handling of Iran. He is leading the charge among Democrats against the president's threat of veto on potential sanctions, insisting that he can get enough Senate Democrats to override the president. In a Democrat strategy meeting on the issue last week, Menendez confronted Obama, leading to the president suggesting that outside special interests were influencing some senators, a remark Menendez said he was "personally offended" by.
In open defiance of the president's veto threat, House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that "Hell no!" Congress would not "stand idly by" and allow the administration to strike a "bad deal" with Iran. As part of his protest of the administration, Boehner has invited Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, a vocal critic of Obama's handling of Iran, to speak to a joint session of Congress in February.
Washington Post’s Editors Change Course, Endorse Increased Pressure on Iran
Citing “the manifest willingness of the Iranians to adopt their own pressure tactics,” the editors of The Washington Post today endorsed the proposed Senate bill authored by Senators Mark Kirk (R – Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D – N.J.), which would increase pressure on Iran if no nuclear deal is concluded by June 30, when the current agreement ends.
At the center of the Post’s argument is that Iran has engaged in its “pressure tactics” to get what it wants out of the nuclear negotiations, so it is disingenuous to assert that Iran should be exempt from increased pressure from the West.
We gave Mr. Obama’s argument the benefit of the doubt when Congress first considered the legislation more than a year ago. But the president’s logic has been undercut by the manifest willingness of the Iranians to adopt their own pressure tactics — including steps that are considerably more noxious than the threat of future sanctions. On the day before talks resumed between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last Wednesday, Tehran announced that construction has begun on two new nuclear reactors. The next day its news agency reported that the case of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been imprisoned since July 22, had been referred to the Revolutionary Court for “processing.”
Major Newspapers Blast President Obama’s Opposition to Bipartisan Iran Legislation
The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal editorial boards responded with skepticism over President Obama’s opposition to new conditional legislation that could impose economic pressure on Iran. Both pieces take aim at President Obama’s logic for threatening to veto legislation that would only take effect if nuclear negotiations fail while claiming that the bill itself would undercut the nuclear negotiations.
In its editorial piece on Sunday, the Post wrote, “The logic of that argument has always been a little hard to follow, since the measure the Senate is likely to take up… would mandate new sanctions only if Iran failed to accept an agreement by the June 30 deadline established in the ongoing talks.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote that “Passing the bill now could help persuade Iranian negotiators that they cannot string the West along indefinitely without paying a price. Would that cause Iran to walk away from negotiations? That’s a strange argument coming from an Administration that boasts that Iran agreed to the interim deal thanks to the bite of strong sanctions.”
Obama Finally Made Time To Meet With The Wife Of The Jailed Pastor In Iran
After two years of trying to schedule a meeting, the wife of a Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran finally met with President Obama on Wednesday.
Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned since 2012 for “crimes against the national security of Iran” — that is, for setting up a network of evangelical house churches. His wife Naghmeh, a native-born U.S. citizen, has appeared repeatedly before Congress demanding greater accountability for his release.
The White House confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that Obama will meet with Naghmeh Abedini while visiting Boise on Wednesday. Press representatives declined to provide further information, though in a Twitter Q&A, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote that “We don’t want cases of detained Americans linked to nuke negotiations – Iran should release them unconditionally.”
Anti-Semitic Israeli 'Ex-Jew' Has UK Performance Cancelled
Gilad Atzmon - whose virulently unabashed exhibitions of anti-Semitism have seen him appear alongside open anti-Semites to rail about the evils of "Jewish culture and identity" and "Jewish world domination" - was due to perform at a venue in Nottingham, northern England, as part of his band's nationwide tour.
But when the local council which runs the venue received a letter from 13 locals highlighting comments by Atzmon including "it is always Jewish bad be‎havior that brings disaster on the Jews," and "Nuremberg was a fake tribunal, Israel deserves a real one," the decision was made to cancel the show, according to the Nottingham Post.
"The council looked into the concerns raised by local residents and shared their view," Gedling Borough Council released in an official statement.
"Whilst recognizing and valuing the importance of free speech, the council has a legal responsibility to build and maintain good community relations, including between people of different races and religions.
"The council considered that allowing Gilad Atzmon’s performance to take place at a council venue would be inconsistent with this responsibility."
Anti-Semitic Facebook Page Still Up
An anti-Semitic Facebook page called Jewish Ritual Murder is still up and growing one year after Facebook drew intense criticism for claiming the page did not violate its community standards.
The page was originally flagged by CAMERA”s media analyst Dexter Van Zile, in February 2014. It depicts an assortment of conspiracy theories about Jews, including accusations that Jews use the blood of Christians for their religious rituals.
At the time, Van Zile lambasted Facebook for refusing to remove the page. However, he also expressed a small measure of optimism that the social media giant would come to its senses in a matter of time.
“Will the page eventually be removed? Probably. But why doesn’t Facebook delete this stuff when first apprised of its presence on their website?” Van Zile wrote last February. “Why should it take any more than one complaint for Facebook to do the right thing?”
German pol quits after Hitler selfie
The leader of Germany’s “anti-Islamization” movement PEGIDA stepped down Wednesday after a picture emerged of him sporting a Hitler-style haircut and mustache, along with racist slurs he posted on Facebook.
“Yes, I am stepping down from the board,” Lutz Bachmann, 41, was quoted as telling Bild daily in an online report.
Addressing his followers on Facebook, he said: “I sincerely apologize to all citizens who felt attacked by my posts.”
“They were thoughtless statements that I would not make today. I am sorry that I have damaged the interests of our movement with them and I am acting accordingly.” (h/t Bob Knot)
Jewish teen maced near Paris in anti-Semitic attack
A 13-year-old Jewish boy was maced near Paris in what a watchdog group said was an anti-Semitic assault by three unidentified minors.
The incident occurred Tuesday evening in Le Pre-Saint-Gervais, a northeastern suburb of Paris, according to a report published Wednesday on the website of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.
The attackers, who appeared to be of North African descent, identified the boy as Jewish because he wore a kipah and tzitzit, according to the BNVCA report, which was based on the testimony of an eyewitness.
One of the assailants sprayed the boy’s eye with mace, or possibly pepper spray, before fleeing with the other two.
'Leave Canada' Spray-Painted on Synagogue
Anti-Semitic graffiti along with the chilling order, "Leave Canada" were found spray-painted on a synagogue in West Edmonton, the capital of Alberta province in Canada.
The graffiti was located on the side wall of Temple Beth Israel in the Oleskiw neighborhood of West Edmonton, causing shock and anxiety to worshippers who noticed it as they walked into synagogue for early morning prayers on Saturday.
The incident, however, was not reported on until Wednesday.
“A number of the congregants were quite distraught, having seen the graffiti on their way into the synagogue. They alerted me to it and, of course, I was shocked and devastated as well,” Rabbi Daniel Friedman said.
"We know that this is not typical of our Canadian brothers and sisters, most of whom share our Canadian values of openness and tolerance.”
Ex-cop sues NYPD for anti-Semitic harassment
An Orthodox Jewish man is suing the New York Police Department for anti-Semitic harassment that he says compelled him to quit his job as a cop.
David Attali, who has dual US-Israeli citizenship, claims that fellow police officers vandalized his locker with anti-Semitic messages, called him a “dirty Jew,” and greeted him with Heil Hitler salutes and hostile text messages, according to the New York Daily News. He is suing the department, five police officers from his precinct and four supervisors, according to the report.
He requested to transfer out of his World Trade Center police command, but supervisors refused and failed to do anything about the harassment, according to the lawsuit.
Attali, 31 and a six-year veteran of the force, reported the problems to the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity last May. The office said that while it could confirm his locker was vandalized, it could not substantiate his allegations of verbal abuse and harassment via text message, the Daily News reported.
Sources: Amazon set to buy Israeli hardware firm for $350m
The parade of top tech companies planting their flag in Israel continued Thursday with the report that online retail giant Amazon was set to buy Israeli semiconductor development firm Annapurna Labs. Located in Yokne’am, the company has been operating in stealth mode since 2011, and has 90 employees.
Industry sources placed the deal at between $350 million and $400 million. Neither Amazon nor Annapurna have commented on the matter. According to Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israel Semiconductor Society, there are now some 300 multinational tech companies that have R&D centers in Israel.
Little is known about Annapurna. The company has no presence on social media, and its website says only that it is “changing the way platforms will be designed and we are having a great time doing it.” However, a highly-placed industry source with close ties to the company told The Times of Israel that the company was working on communications and processing systems for data centers.
UNESCO Holocaust exhibit nixed after Latvian protests
The exposition, titled “Stolen childhood: Holocaust victims Seen by Child Inmates of Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp,” was canceled following objections by Latvian officials to its scheduled opening on Sunday at the Paris seat of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a UNESCO spokesman told JTA on Wednesday.
The exposition’s curator, historian Alexander Dioukov, told RIA Novosti that Latvia’s chief delegate to UNESCO, Sanita Pavluta-Deslandes, said the exposition risked damaging her country’s image during its presidency of the European Union, which the Baltic country assumed on January 1 and will hold until July 1.
Dioukov, who heads the Historical Memory association, said the exposition was co-sponsored by the UNESCO missions of Russia and Belarus.
UNESCO policy gives member states veto powers over events organized by other member states, a UNESCO spokesman told JTA.
“It wasn’t UNESCO’s decision to cancel, it was simply protocol,” spokesman Roni Amelan said. “Latvia opposed an exhibition by the Russian Federation that included photos from a concentration camp in Latvia.”
German Ban on Holocaust Memorial to be Overturned?
Seventy years after surviving a Nazi death camp and losing several close family members to the gas chambers in German-occupied Poland, 82-year-old Ernst Grube of Munich argues relatives should be allowed to choose their own way of remembering Holocaust victims.
Munich leveled an official ban more than a decade ago on what has become the most personal and popular Holocaust memorial project in Europe today, known as Stolpersteine ("stumbling blocks").
For nearly 20 years, pedestrians have been stumbling across the names of Nazi-era victims on coaster-sized brass plaques embedded in the pavement in front of their last known addresses.
The 50,000th Stolperstein was laid this month, ahead of the 70th anniversary on Tuesday of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, and they can now be found in more than 1,000 cities and towns throughout Europe.
Sculptor Gunther Demnig started the project in 1996 to bring the unfathomable dimensions of the Holocaust down to a human scale. Each Stolperstein bears a stark text, with the name of the victim, birthdate, date of deportation and, if known, date and place of death.
However Munich, which was the historical home of the Nazi movement, is the only major German metropolis to outlaw the blocks in public places.
In first, Turkey to mark international Holocaust memorial day
Turkey will hold its first ever ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on January 27, according to a Thursday report.
To mark the day, representatives from the UN, the university and the Jewish Turkish community will speak and hold a candle-lighting ceremony, and the university will also host a photography exhibition titled “Holocaust Icons.”
According to the Jewish-Turkish weekly Salom newspaper, Cemil Çiçek, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, will attend the service at Bilkent University in Ankara.
In 2011, Turkey held its first state ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust at an Istanbul synagogue.
Ankara has rebuffed claims of anti-Semitism, even as anti-Israel rhetoric from official channels has reached a fever pitch in past years amid a nadir in ties.
'I have everything in my life because of him': Poignant moment Holocaust survivor salutes American soldier who liberated him from Nazi concentration camp hell in emotional reunion after 70 years
This is the poignant moment when a man rescued from the hell he endured at the hands of the Nazis met his saviour and gave him a salute almost 70 years later.
Joshua Kaufman first saluted his rescuer Daniel Gillespie. Then he kissed his hand and finally, he fell to his feet, exclaiming: 'I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much...'.
Kaufman, now 87, was a 'walking corpse' on April 29 1945 when U.S. Army soldier Gillespie, 89, marched in with his comrades to liberate the charnel house that was the Dachau concentration camp near Munich.
Gillespie, a machine gunner with the 42nd 'Rainbow Division,' moved to block 11 of the infamous complex which was the first camp built by the Nazis to house its enemies in 1933.
By the time it was liberated more than 35,000 people had been murdered there - in executions, in cruel medical experiments, starved, worked and beaten to death.
The first person he saw was Hungarian Jew Kaufman. He was hiding in the latrines with other prisoners, uncertain if the soldiers who arrived were liberators or a Nazi death squad sent to liquidate the camp.
Ambassador Prosor's speech on Preventing Genocide- 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz:

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