Friday, January 27, 2017

From Ian:

Mordechai Kedar: Putting Jerusalem First
We are at fault
The truth has to be said: Israel did not do enough to establish the fact that Jerusalem is its capital, to entrench that fact in world consciousness. There are several proofs of this: important government offices, among them the Defense Ministry, work out of Tel Aviv. As a result, just two weeks ago, we heard Trump's intended secretary of defense say at his congressional hearing that Israel's capital is Tel Aviv. After all, his meetings with the defense establishment of Israel take place in Tel Aviv. Israel spent billions on building the Defense Department complex in Tel Aviv, hardly an unimportant ministry.
Most visitors to Israel come by air. The main international airport is called Ben Gurion and on world flight maps, that airport is placed in Tel Aviv. The top of the terminal building should have "Welcome to JSM" on it in different languages, because Jerusalem is serviced by this airport. Instead, its symbol is TLV.This may seem inconsequential, simply technical, but it has significance, especially among decision makers who tend to do a great deal of flying.
And if we are already on the subject of Ben Gurion airport, may I point out a most embarrassing fact to Israel's decision makers: everyone who arrives at the airport walks along the terminal to passport control, passing through a long circular hall whose walls are covered with gigantic advertisements for beer. In Hebrew the word "bira" means an alcoholic beverage known as beer, but when pronounced emphasizing the second syllable, "bira" means capital city. How shameful!! Is this the way Israel should welcome visitors? Is this the message Israel wants them to get with their first steps in the holy land? Beer? That's what counts? Why not photos of the bira, Jerusalem? Or Israel's beautiful landscapes? Its people, cities, streets? Is there a shortage of things to be proud of? Just beer? That's the highest rung of the ladder? It was the Prophet Isaiah who said: "Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards..."
There are other things Israel could do to establish the motif of Jerusalem as its historic capital in the minds of its own citizens and those of the world. For example, one could hold an annual commemoration of the First Temple's dedication on the Sukkot holiday during King Solomon's reign (Kings I, 8), letting the world know that Israel was not established in 1948 but when King David moved the capital of the Jewish monarchy from Hevron to Jerusalem (Samuel I, 5), making the Jewish state and its capital over 3000 years old.
Another very important step is to change the Arabic name for Jerusalem on Israel's road signs. They now say "Al Quds," a relatively recent appellation. The classic name for Jerusalem, appearing countless times in the Muslim Hadith (Oral Law), is "Beit al Maqdes," and anyone who looks at the name realizes that it is taken from the words Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple. Israel has every right to use that name as it is the one that appears in the earliest Islamic sources. And Israel could simply transliterate the word "Jerusalem" into Arabic letters. After all, that is the city's name. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
On Holocaust remembrance day, warnings of rising xenophobia
Dozens of Auschwitz survivors began a day of commemorations by placing wreaths and flowers at the infamous execution wall on the 72nd anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet soldiers. The United Nations recognized January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005, and many commemorative events were taking place across the world on Friday.
“Tragically, and contrary to our resolve, anti-Semitism continues to thrive,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in statement made in New York Thursday, and which was read out at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Friday. “We are also seeing a deeply troubling rise in extremism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim hatred. Irrationality and intolerance are back.”
Guterres vowed to “be in the front line of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred.”
In Germany, outgoing Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his nation sticks by its obligation to take responsibility for the crimes committed by the Nazi regime of Adolf Hiltler.
Noting the political instability in the world today, Steinmeier said, “History should be a lesson, warning and incentive all at the same time. There can and should be no end to remembrance.”
German Muslim students protest Holocaust remembrance, attack Israel
Muslim students with Arab and Turkish origins protested participation in an International Holocaust remembrance event for the liberation of the German extermination camp Auschwitz on January, 27­ while the school management showed understanding for their criticism of Israel.
“Some Muslims students said they would not participate in the action,” said Florian Beer, a teacher at the school in the city of Gelsenkirchen in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, reported the paper Der Westen on Thursday.
The Holocaust Remembrance event is part of a global commemoration action to take selfie photographs with a sign saying “I Remember“ or “We Remember.“ A remembrance plaque at the school was desecrated with the sentence: “F*** Israel, free Palestine.” The school was not able to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday, “First, Muslims students are greatest in need of Holocaust education, so it would be unfortunate if they were excused from those activities.”
Zuroff, who is the Wiesenthal’s chief Nazi-hunter, added “Given that Holocaust consciousness is a central idea of civic identity in the Federal Republic, it [Holocaust remembrance] is doubly important for families that come from countries with deep antisemitic traditions and no knowledge of the Holocaust and the destruction of European Jewry.”

For the ‘lost children’ of the Holocaust, a lifelong quest to be found
Josef Lichtenstajn was one of the earliest of the children and teenagers to arrive at Kloster Indersdorf, a former convent near Dachau that then served as a UN-sponsored refugee center in the American zone.
Born in Romania in 1929, Lichtenstajn had been in Auschwitz, Birkenau and finally Buchenwald. When the US forces closed in he was sent to Flossenbürg.
“For days and days we marched, without food, without anything… I don’t know how I stayed alive,” he recounted.
A few days later, Lichtenstajn was on another death march before his ultimate liberation. By the time he reached the refugee center, Lichtenstajn was a shadow of the boy he’d once been, but within a few weeks he started to regain his health.
Lichtenstajn was just one of hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish children and teenagers who had survived concentration camps, forced labor, life in hiding, and the devastating loss of family members before finally arriving at Kloster Indersdorf.
Swimming champion who survived Auschwitz
A Toulouse public swimming pool bears the name of Alfred Nacache, but how many of its users are aware of the extraordinary story of this man?
Several venues in France are about to pay tribute to this Algerian Jew who overcame his fear of water to become a champion swimmer. Deported to Auschwitz, he lost his wife and daughter but returned to France to run a gym which he used to store weapons for the new state of Israel. Here's a taster in English of a biographical article by Veronique Chemla.
A new book by Denis Baud tells the extraordinary story of the swimmer from Auschwitz
Alfred Nakache was born in 1915 into a large Jewish family in Constantine (Kabylia, Algeria). The Nakache family arrived from Iraq in the nineteenth century to settle in this exceptional site overlooking a river, the Rhummel.
Around the age of ten, he manages to overcome his fear of water. Indeed he takes to water like a duck. Spotted for his physical stamina, Nacache is trained in the Olympic pool by two Frenchmen doing their military service in Constantine. After they leave Alfred Nakache continues training himself, hence his unorthodox approach. (He is disqualifed in one race for straying out of his lane.)
He takes part in local galas, and moving to Paris to attend the prestigious Lycee Janson de Sailly, in 1935 becomes 100 m French champion.
He is one of 1, 000 Jewish athletes to take part in the 2nd Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv in 1935, winning the silver medal in the 100 m freestyle crawl.
The Forgotten Holocaust: The Films of Boris Maftsir
In a series of spellbinding documentaries, Boris Maftsir, an Israeli filmmaker, has been racing to prevent the last traces of the Holocaust in the USSR from vanishing for good. He went deep into the forests of Belarus to film the remnants of Tuvie Bielski’s partisans’ camp and document instances of Jewish resistance that have not been widely known until now. While it is hard to imagine anything remains to be said about the Shoah, that, says Maftsir, is because we keep retelling half the story—the story of the destruction of the Western European Jewry, from ghettos to gas chambers and everything those stand for: the merciless, mechanized, industrial-scale killing machine that organized the murder of millions into a precise, assembly-line-like operation.
While half of all the Shoah victims died in the Soviet Union, they died very different deaths. Here, people died in mass executions in ravines, forests, and village streets, at the hands of Germans or local collaborators. They perished right where they lived, in front of people who had been their neighbors.
Because the Nazis put Soviet Jews, whom they called Judeo-Bolsheviks, in a separate category and viewed them as particularly dangerous (and because they expected a quick victory here) with a few notable exceptions, they almost never bothered with organizing the Jews into long-term ghettos or transporting them to faraway places. Jews began dying the moment Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.
Global initiatives virtually commemorate the Holocaust — in a very real way
It is remarkable to feel a connection with someone you’ve only met online. Even more so when he has been dead for the past 75 years. And yet, a random matching program on Yad Vashem’s IRemember Wall connects between a Facebook user and victim of the Holocaust in a deeply personal way.
For this writer, the name Chaim Gindel was drawn from the museum’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. He was born to David and Leja in Ołyka, Poland, in 1928. He was a 14-year-old student when he was murdered in the Shoah. His cause of death is unknown.
The too-short story is recounted on a Page of Testimony that was submitted in 1997 by a surviving cousin in Woodmere, New York. If interested, that handwritten page can be viewed, as well as the names of his siblings who also perished in the Holocaust.
Somehow, after pairing with this once anonymous stranger, the concept of the “6 million” is less about a quantifiable number and more a short hand for a collective of individual humans.
Candlelit Star of David illuminates York Minster on Holocaust Memorial Day
Leading figures from the worlds of politics and culture, including Prime Minister Theresa May, paid their respects to the victims of genocide and pledged to learn from the past ahead of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).
Some 600 candles in the shape of the Star of David were lit for a commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day at York Minster.
Before leaving for Washington, the Prime Minister signed the Book of Commitment, writing that remembering the Holocaust ‘is about more than words, It is about action’. She added:: “Our commitment to remember the Holocaust is about more than words. It is about action.”
At a commemorative event in Westminster on Friday, survivors of the Shoah will stand shoulder to shoulder with survivors of the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, with the Chief Rabbi and Archbishop of Canterbury in attendance. Similar events will take place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In first, Polish airline LOT marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
Poland’s national airline, LOT, commemorated the Jewish genocide for the first time aboard a plane bound from Israel to Warsaw on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The chief attendant of the flight, which took off Friday — the 72nd anniversary of the liberation by the Red Army of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz in Poland — made a short announcement honoring the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
“This morning’s flight from Tel Aviv to Warsaw will connect Israel and Poland in a special way,” said flight attendant Teresa Wodzinska during an onboard announcement.
Each passenger received a copy of a book recounting the story of non-Jewish Poles who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews, which Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute donated to LOT and the From The Depths Holocaust commemoration group for the occasion.
Women’s March Figure Linda Sarsour’s Radical Background, Ties
By all accounts, last Saturday’s Women’s March protests generated huge crowds in Washington, DC and throughout the country.
It also has triggered a heated debate, playing out largely on social media, about one of the march’s principal organizers: activist Linda Sarsour. But Sarsour and her defenders are casting this solely as an attack from right-wing elements, ignoring inconvenient criticism from liberal and secular voices who say that she is misrepresenting the American Muslim community and pushing a conservative religious message.
One article in the Huffington Post dismissed any criticism of Sarsour out of hand, choosing not to look at Sarsour’s own illiberal statements over the years. As we have reported, she has said, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.” She refused to stand with the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack — and even condemned them as bigots and racists (she claimed that they vilified Islam by publishing cartoons). And she heatedly rejected any cooperation or dialogue with anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim alike, who supports Israel’s existence.
Other critical reports focused on her comments minimizing Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women, and her alleged family ties to Hamas.
As opposed to her criticisms of Israel, Sarsour has been less outspoken about Saudi human rights abuses, including against Raif Badawi, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience sentenced to 10-years in prison and 1,000 lashes. His crime? “Insulting Islam through electronic channels” by creating a website called ‘Free Saudi Liberals’ and writing critically about religion and Saudi institutions.
In October, Sarsour acknowledged that “Saudi has bigger problems, yes; I’m not naïve.” She just hasn’t chosen to call attention to them.
Muslim Women's March Organizer Attacks Female Genital Mutilation Survivor Hirsi Ali: I Would Take Her 'Vagina Away'
Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York who was co-chair of the Women’s March protesting against Donald Trump, calls herself a “racial justice & civil rights activist.”
Sarsour is the same woman who tweeted one of the most vile attacks on a woman in the history of Twitter in 2011, when she targeted the heroic and outspoken champion of Islamic women seeking freedom, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Hirsi Ali was forced to suffer female genital mutilation when she was five years old in Somalia.

Daphne Anson: I Thought I Saw A Pussy Hat
Well, actually, I know I did, at the end of the brief footage here:
Donning hijabs in Washington. Proclaiming a certain well-known Islamic supremacist phrase in Berlin. (As we saw here).
Staying shtum on Islamic crimes against girls and women, including the ongoing torment of the Yazidi females captured as sex slaves (good article on that theme here).
That's Soros's Sorority and its fellow travellers for you.
What a lot of crazy mixed up kids these radical anti-Trump feminists are.

NYC ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ Joins Global Campaign to Free Terrorist Imprisoned for Killing Jews; Refuses Comment to ‘Zionist Publication’
A notoriously anti-Israel student group, which told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that it does not “talk to Zionist publications,” has endorsed a global campaign demanding the release from prison of a former leader of a terrorist organization responsible for the killing of Jews.
In a Facebook post earlier this month, the New York City chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) praised participants of its Winter School session for supporting the push to “#Free Ahmad Saadat,” the former general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Saadat was sentenced by Israel in 2006 to 30 years in prison for heading an “illegal terrorist organization,” but the NYC SJP described him as “a Palestianian [sic] political prisoner and leader of the resistance,” making no mention of his terrorist affiliations.
The judges presiding over Saadat’s case said in their ruling that “there is no doubt that the accused controls the PFLP…a murderous terrorist organization…The offenses the accused has been convicted of indicate that he initiated and participated in military activity with the aim of killing innocent people.”
Covert Campus Watchdog Discovers University of Houston Students Praising Hitler, Expressing Desire to Hurt Jews on Social Media
A group of students from the University of Houston (UH) have been routinely expressing the desire to hurt or harass Jews in posts on social media, a covert campus watchdog group revealed on Thursday.
Canary Mission — which anonymously monitors anti-American, anti-Israel and antisemitic activities on college campuses — told The Algemeiner that it has uncovered a “disturbing degree of hatred” among 12 current and recently graduated UH students who have posted dozens of violent, racist messages directed at Jews and Israel. A number of these students, the group said, are affiliated with UH’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Muslim Student Association (MSA) chapters, as well as with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
According to a Canary Mission representative, the group found a number of “antisemitic and threatening catch phrases repeated over and over again in various forms, such as ‘Jews are dogs’ and ‘Jews should be cursed,’ as well as regular praise for Adolf Hitler.”
UH sophomore Noor Radwan was named by the watchdog group as one of the more extreme message-posters, regularly praising Hitler and expressing contempt for Jews. In March 2014, for example, Radwan tweeted “Hitler mah n**ga,” and later that year in June, “Hitler said he left some Jews alive so the world would know why he killed em.”
Hacked printers at 3 US colleges produce anti-Semitic fliers
Printers on the campuses of three universities — Stanford, Vanderbilt and California, Berkeley — produced anti-Semitic fliers in a suspected hacking attempt.
At Stanford, anti-Semitic fliers were sent to printers in offices around campus, The Stanford Daily reported Thursday. The FBI has joined the investigation there.
Last week, fliers with swastikas appeared on printers at the University of California, Berkeley, according to NBC. The fliers seemed to reference Jan. 20, the date of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and read “Samiz.dat … It’s almost here, we take power on the 20th.” Samizdat was a dissident activity in the Soviet bloc in which people would reproduce and distribute censored publications.
Printers at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, started spewing anti-Semitic fliers last week, according to The Tennessean.
Why are taxpayer dollars helping American terrorists meet with Palestinian radicals?
Should taxpayer dollars be used to fund meetings between American terrorists and Palestinian radicals? San Francisco State University, a public university notorious for sympathy to violent radicals, apparently thinks so. Last year, it sent Americans who served time in prison for crimes ranging from bombing the United States Senate to conspiracy to murder to meet with fellow former "political prisoners" at An-Najah University in the West Bank.
Described by Hamas as a "greenhouse for martyrs," and by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a hub for the "terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students," An-Najah entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with SFSU in December 2014. The "Freedom Behind Bars Workshop," organized by Memorandum of Understanding architect and SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, is the first known event facilitated by the memorandum.
Participants in the "Prisoner, Labor, and Academic Delegation" to An-Najah that culminated in the workshop included four self-described American "political prisoners" who met with self-described Palestinian "political prisoners" for the purpose of sharing "presentations about the marginalized histories of colonial repression, racism, and resistance in Palestine and the U.S."
To describe these four as "political prisoners," akin to former Soviet Union refusenik Natan Sharansky or protesters imprisoned in Iran's "Green Revolution," is both inaccurate and insulting. They are common criminals or radicals who employed violence and terrorism to effect political change in the U.S. rather than engaging in the democratic process. That they would make common cause with Palestinian radicals who prefer terrorism to negotiation makes perfect sense.
Head of Ireland's Only Campus Israel Society at University With No Jews Aims to 'Spread Truth That Doesn't Make It in the News'
The founder of Ireland’s only campus Israel Society – at a school with virtually no Jewish students — told The Algemeiner that he decided to establish the group to “spread the truth” about the Middle East state that “doesn’t make it in the news.”
Alan Lyne, who created the organization at Maynooth University, located in County Kildaire, said he was spurred to do so after visiting Israel and being “blown away by how peacefully everyone got along.”
His trip was a prize he received for winning an essay-writing competition on “What Israel Means to Me,” sponsored by advocacy organization Irish4Israel. Lyne said that when he returned, he felt the need to introduce his peers to the version of Israel they rarely hear about. He launched the endeavor on September 28, 2016, the day of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres’s death.
Today, the group holds cultural events, surrounding film or food, and even offers Hebrew lessons. Lyne said he will be inviting guest speakers from Israel, to talk about education, technology and other aspects of life in the Jewish state, and hopes eventually to organize trips and exchange programs for students in both countries.
Freedom of speech and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act on college campuses
Incidents of anti-Semitism have risen alarmingly over the past two years. According to FBI statistics, there were more hate crimes against Jews in 2015 than against any other religious group. Anti-Jewish assaults rose by more than 50 percent from 2014. Anti-Semitic harassment seems to be acutely problematic on U.S. college campuses, with over half of all Jewish students polled indicating that they’d witnessed or directly experienced acts of anti-Semitism at their colleges or universities. A 2016 study showed a 45 percent increase in campus anti-Semitism. One common tactic is to use criticism of Israel as a tool to target and marginalize Jewish students.
While incidents of anti-Semitic harassment and assault are surging, the problem is, sadly, not new. In 2004, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) committed to investigate claims of anti-Semitism under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Shockingly, despite well-documented incidents in the twelve years since this commitment was made, the OCR has failed to find a single violation of Title VI. One critical problem is that OCR lacks a workable definition of anti-Semitism. Absent such a definition, OCR staff fail, time and again, to recognize anti-Semitism when they see it. As a result, university campuses across the United States are becoming increasingly hostile places for Jewish students.
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (“AAA”) of 2016 is a bi-partisan solution to this definitional problem. Passed by unanimous consent of the Senate on Dec. 1, 2016, the AAA directs the OCR to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints under Title VI. The State Department provides a clear definition of anti-Semitism, including helpful examples that will make OCR evaluation of complex complaints easier.
German schoolbook publisher apologizes for anti-Semitic illustration
A schoolbook publisher in the German capital has apologized for using an anti-Semitic illustration in a text about the euro crisis and said it will send a substitute page to schools.
On Thursday, Berlin-based Klett-Verlag also said it was halting all further deliveries of the book, calling the error “serious.”
The substitute page can be pasted in, and the book will not be removed from German schools’ bookshelves.
Klett-Verlag told Vice magazine blogger Philipp Frohn that the “regrettable mistake” would be corrected in a future edition, which will not come out for several years.
At issue is an image in the firm’s textbook about politics, called “Impulses 2.” It depicts the euro as a Pacman-like chomping mouth about to devour Europe superimposed over a symbol with the words “Rothschild Bank.”
Rogers TV Drops Arabic-Language Show Following Complaint Of Antisemitism
Rogers TV, which runs community programming throughout Canada, has pulled the plug on an Arabic-language show called AskMirna after B’nai Brith Canada drew its attention to antisemitic messages promoted in the program.
AskMirna, which describes itself as “presenting an accurate, positive, inspiring and entertaining image of the Arab-Canadian community,” dedicated an entire episode to “Nakba Day,” in which Palestinians annually mourn the establishment of the State of Israel and call for its destruction. This included an interview with Nazih Khatatba, who described Jewish suffering as “fairy tales” and engaged in Holocaust denial.
Khatatba, a leader of Palestine House in Mississauga, Ont. has a history of inciting violence against Jews. In December, 2014, he lauded the terrorists behind the Har Nof synagogue massacre in Jerusalem that left six dead in his al-Meshwar newspaper. The incident was later investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
In other episodes of AskMirna, Palestinian-Canadian children are shown dancing to songs that praise terrorism against Israel, which is labelled “the rapist entity.”
Rogers TV cancels Arabic-language show AskMirna after complaint of antisemitism

Russian lawmaker: Jews still seeking to destroy our churches
The deputy speaker of the Russian parliament intimated that Jews are using their positions in the media and government to continue the work of ancestors who “pulled down our churches.”
Peter Tolstoy at a news conference Tuesday on plans to move a cathedral in St. Petersburg appeared to blame Jews for anti-religious persecution under communism. He referred to the descendants of people who in 1917 “jumped out of the Pale of Settlement” in the church's statement.
The Pale of Settlement was an area of western Imperial Russia beyond which most Jews were not allowed to settle. This changed after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, in which Russia became a communist country until 1991.
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, one of the largest Jewish groups in the country, deemed Tolstoy's statements anti-Semitic.
FBI sees bomb threats to JCCs as hate crime, not terrorism
The FBI is investigating a rash of bomb threats to Jewish community centers as a hate crime and not a terrorist threat.
Agents briefed Jewish community leaders across the country through a call Thursday organized by the Anti-Defamation League.
The agents said the calls targeted over 30 JCCs in 20 states this month and in no case was a bomb found. The FBI does not view the calls as a terrorist threat, the agents said, and they are being investigated by the bureau and the Justice Department as a hate crime.
Classifying the investigation as a hate crime facilitates federal involvement in tracking the offender or offenders through additional funding and technical assistance provided to state and local authorities. The agents did not say which if any federal criminal statutes would apply. There are federal penalties of up to five years for bomb hoaxes, and 20 years if serious injury results because of the hoax.
The agents said the calls came on four separate dates; JTA has reported calls occurring on Jan. 9, Jan. 11 and Jan. 18. In many cases there were evacuations, including of small children attending preschools.
Vandals deface new Milan ‘stumbling stone’ Holocaust memorial
Vandals defaced one of the “stumbling stone” Holocaust memorials unveiled last week in Milan, covering it with black paint.
The vandalism was discovered Saturday by Ornella Coen, the daughter of Dante Coen, the person commemorated by the plaque, who was deported to Auschwitz and then killed at Buchenwald on April 4, 1945.
“Stumbling stones,” or “stolpersteine,” are individual commemorative cobblestones placed in front of the houses of people who were deported during the Holocaust. Placing them is an ongoing memorial and art project by the German artist Gunter Deming, who installs each one — nearly 60,000 in various countries since the mid-1990s.
The defaced stone was one of the first six stumbling stones to be installed in Milan, during a ceremony on Jan. 19. It is believed to have been defaced the next day.
Company says Auschwitz game meant to raise Holocaust awareness
An entertainment company in the Czech Republic defended its Auschwitz-themed game from critics who said it was disrespectful to Holocaust victims.
The Dostaň Se Ven agency in Prague, whose name means “Escape,” said its sale of tickets to a game whose objective is to exit a room resembling a gas chamber disguised as a shower at Auschwitz, was to “raise awareness to the Holocaust,” the firm said Monday on its Facebook page.
“We would like to say that we regard this subject with tremendous respect and consideration,” read the statement, which followed a wave of negative reactions online. “We are definitely not doing this just as a joke — quite the opposite! We want to highlight the seriousness of the situation, and we want to make people more aware of history.”
Tickets to the game are on sale for $15 until Jan. 27, the company wrote earlier this month in advertising the game. Jan. 27 is International Holocaust Memorial Day.
Other marketing slogans for the game, in which players use clues to escape from the make-believe gas chamber, include “You are waiting for your last shower! But you can stay alive if you get out.”
Indonesian 'Nazi café' closes down, citing lack of interest
A controversial Nazi-themed café with swastika-bearing walls in Indonesia has closed over a lack of customers, a lawyer said Thursday, according to AFP.
The SoldatenKaffee ("The Soldiers' Cafe"), which also sports a painting of Adolf Hitler, sparked global outrage when reports about the unusual venue in the city of Bandung surfaced several years ago.
The owner Henry Mulyana voluntarily shut the café in 2013 after receiving death threats, but it was reopened a year later, with the Hitler image still in place and three huge iron eagles with swastikas on display.
According to Mulyana's lawyer, Rohman Hidayat, the latest closure was not because of the controversy over the theme of the café, but rather a lack of interest.
Hidayat confirmed on Thursday that the SoldatenKaffee had shut as there were not enough customers to support it, but said he did not believe people had been put off by the theme.
Israel moves to decriminalize cannabis use
Israel's policy on cannabis will undergo a process of "responsible decriminalization," Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) announced Thursday. The new policy entails a shift from criminal prosecution to administrative fines for possessing more than 15 grams of marijuana.
The new policy was based on conclusions from a special fact-finding panel, headed by Public Security Ministry Director General Rotem Peleg, and will include four types of offenses pertaining to cannabis smokers.
Under the panel's proposal, possessing and using marijuana at home would not be punishable, but smoking in public could result in a series of punitive measures.
The new policy still requires the cabinet's approval, as it must be coordinated with other government ministries, Erdan said.
Take a tour of Israel’s charming old clock towers
Before there were wristwatches, and certainly before there were cellphones, centrally located clock towers helped citizens keep track of time. A big bell in the tower (like Big Ben in London) chimed the hour, and a large clock face provided a visual aid.
Nowadays, people don’t depend on clock towers to tell time, of course. But the structures are a beautiful testament to the history of timekeeping and to architectural styles of bygone days.
The Turkish Ottomans constructed more than 100 clock towers throughout the empire in honor of the 25th anniversary of the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1901. Six of them were built in what was then Palestine — in Jaffa, Acre (Akko), Jerusalem, Haifa, Safed (Tzfat) and Nablus (Shechem).
Israel Post issued postage stamps in 2004 depicting Zina and Zvika Roitman’s illustrations of five Israeli clock towers. These structures are picturesque backgrounds for a selfie, but don’t set your watch to the clocks because they are no longer reliable timekeepers.
Global ratings agency Moody's lauds Israel's economic policy
A new report by international credit ratings agency Moody's on Thursday praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for the solid economic policies they have been leading.
Moody's affirmed Israel's A1 credit ratings in September, favoring the country's economic outlook as stable.
Thursday's report was the first time Moody's economists looked at new data released last week by Kahlon and outgoing Finance Ministry Accountant General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu, on the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio.
The ratio reached an all-time low of 62.1% in 2016, an accumulated 9 percentage point drop from the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2009, amounting to around 100 billion shekels (over $26 billion).
In New Economist Index, Israel Ranked Among World’s Top 30 Most Democratic Nations
Israel was ranked 29th out of 167 nations included on The Economist’s newly released 2016 “Democracy Index.”
With an overall score of 7.85, the Jewish state finished near the top of the “flawed democracy” category, which was led by Japan, the United States, Italy, Cape Verde and France.
The index’s “full democracy” category was headlined by Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark.
The five most “authoritarian” nations in the world, according to the index, were North Korea, Syria, Chad, the Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.
Iran was toward the end in the “authoritarian” category, ranking 154th. Palestine — covering the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — was ranked 110th, placing it close to the bottom of the “hybrid regime” category.
Israel has slowly moved on the index over the past decade. This year, it received scores of 9.17 for “Electoral process and pluralism,” 7.50 for “Functioning of government,” 8.89 for “Political participation,” 7.50 for “Political culture” and 6.18 for “Civil liberties.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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