Monday, September 02, 2019

09/02 Links Pt2: One Holocaust descendant's fight for justice: 'They stole not just our land, but my family's history; Judo chief threatened to kick Iran out of Olympics if Israel snubbed — report

From Ian:

One Holocaust descendant's fight for justice: 'They stole not just our land, but my family's history'
Melbourne doctor Ann Drillich, the daughter of Polish Holocaust survivors, is a rare kind of Jew who owns a Catholic church. The brick structure, Our Lady of the Scapular, stands on Drillich’s ancestral property in the medieval town of Tarnów, near Kraków. Her late mother, Blanka Drillich née Goldman, inherited the land at the end of the second world war. Aged 18, Blanka was the sole living heir to the Goldman estate, all others perished in the town’s ghetto: she found her mother shot dead in her bed.

But Drillich has never been inside her church.

“I tried to enter it once,” she recalls. “It was locked.”

The reason: in 1987, with the help of a trusted friend of the Drillichs, the Catholic church in Poland effectively stole the land and built the house of worship on the site. The Drillichs didn’t know. Ann Drillich only learned of the theft in 2010 when, as heir, she ordered a public records search about her family’s estate.

“At first it took a while to settle in, the shock of the betrayal,” she says. “And the idea that behind the injustice is a church.

“My mother’s family was one of the most prominent in town. It was like they had stolen not just our land, but my family’s history.”

And so after the shock settled, she sued.

“How could I not?” she asks.

So began an expensive, traumatic and escalating battle that pitched this meticulous woman with a scientific sensibility against a powerful religious institution.

The church appealed. Stalled. Obstructed. Counter-sued. The Polish courts, meanwhile, delivered justice to Drillich, again and again. And yet again, in a final ruling in 2016 when three district court judges found the church had acted in “bad faith” when it acquired the “abandoned” land. (h/t Yerushalimey)

Rockland County GOP plotted 'anti-Semitic' ad months ago: sources
Numerous Rockland County Republican elected officials in February previewed the controversial video put out by the party that critics have branded as anti-Semitic for warning of a “takeover” by the Hasidic Jewish community, The Post has learned.

The early look at the digital attack ad — some six months before its public release — shows that the targeting of the ultra-orthodox community was a well-thought-out, deliberate strategy, sources said.

No one in the room objected to it, a GOP source who attended the February meeting told The Post.

“The video was introduced by Lawrence Garvey [the county GOP leader] and played in front of a room of 20-35 people. The entire video was played with Ed Day [the Rockland County executive] there,” the source said.

“We were told we are raising money for the county legislators’ races and unveiling a strategy and we saw the video then. I thought it was a bad strategy,” the source said.

But the source didn’t raise an objection at the time.
New York State Republicans Remove Video That Roils Local Jewish Community
In a tweet, the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote, “This video is absolutely despicable. It is pure anti-Semitism … . The Rockland County Republican Party is an embarrassment and has no place associating itself with our party.”

Dov Hikind, a former Democratic New York state assemblyman from Brooklyn, tweeted that the video is a “shocking & brazen display of antisemitism! [sic]The Republican Party of Rockland Cty [sic] has the audacity to put out this vile trash that amounts to ‘the Jews are taking over’ with ‘Jewish money and power’!”

Following the criticism, the video was removed from the Rockland County Republican Party’s Facebook page, although others have downloaded it, and it can still be found online.

Despite the backlash, Rockland County Republicans insist their message must be heard. Lawrence Garvey, the county’s Republican chairman, claimed the issue is not a religious one, but a matter of “right and wrong.”

“For those not living in Rockland, it is harder to see a real and unique problem that exists here. The people of Rockland have become desperate for attention to the problems facing our communities and many live every day with the threat of losing their homes and neighborhoods,” he wrote in a statement. “Anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand.”

Fellow Republican, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, said in a statement, “While the content of the video is factual, the tone and undercurrent is unacceptable. … I have a great deal of respect for our Jewish neighbors and want them to know that as their county executive, I will always stand up against hatred. That said, the concerns raised about overdevelopment are accurate, well-grounded and desperately need to be addressed, but must be done in a way free of rhetoric and rancor.”

Iran judo champ afraid to go home after forced to throw match against Israeli
An Iranian judo star said he is afraid to return home after exposing and criticizing his government’s pressure on him to deliberately lose in last week’s World Championships in Tokyo to avoid a potential bout against an Israeli opponent.

Saeid Mollaei, the defending heavyweight world champion, fled to Berlin after the championships, where he had been hoping to secure a place at the 2020 Olympic games.

“I could have been the world champion,” he said in an interview published by the International Judo Federation on Sunday. “I fought and won against an Olympic champion, an Olympics bronze-medalist and other opponents. I beat all of them. I even dreamed of the championship title… But that was not my fate: I could not compete because of the law in my country, and because I was scared of consequences for my family and myself.”

Mollaei said that he was coerced into losing his semifinal bout so as not to risk facing Israel’s Sagi Muki, the eventual winner, in the Tokyo final. The IJF said Mollaei had been pressured to lose by Iranian deputy sports minister Davar Zani. Mollaei was also reportedly pressured to bow out by Iranian Olympic Committee president Reza Salehi Amiri, who told him minutes before his semifinal match last Wednesday that Iranian security services were at his parents’ house in Tehran.

The IJF said an official from the Iranian embassy in Tokyo pretending to be a coach gained access to a restricted area to coerce the 27-year-old Tehran native to lose the match as he warmed up on the sidelines.

Mollaei, who was on track to face Muki in the finals of the men’s under-81 kilogram class, told the IJF that he bowed to the pressure and deliberately lost to Belgium’s Matthias Casse in the semifinals to avoid having to face the Israeli athlete, who ended up winning gold.
The True story of a Fight for Life
Saeid Mollaei (IRI) and Sagi Muki (ISR) were supposed to be the picture to mark history: Iran and Israel competing against each other and being present on the same podium at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo. For years, Iranian athletes have been prohibited from competing in any sport against Israel. From questionable injuries, to throwing matches, Iranian athletes across all sports have been ordered to crush their own dreams. (h/t vwVwwVwv)

Judo chief threatened to kick Iran out of Olympics if Israel snubbed — report
The head of the International Judo Federation reportedly threatened to bar Iran from participating in the Olympics — in any sport — if its judoka refused to face Israel’s Sagi Muki at the sport’s World Championship last week in Tokyo.

Shortly before Iranian competitor Saeid Mollaei allegedly threw his semifinal battle against Belgium’s Matthias Casse on Wednesday, the athlete received a phone call from Iran, Israel’s Army Radio reported Sunday.

It was his mother, the report said, who begged him not to win the round and risk facing an Israeli competitor in the final, when he would be forced under the sport’s rules to bow to his opponent, and face the risk of later standing next to Muki with Israel’s anthem “Hatikva” playing in the hall.

The call was reported to International Judo Federation chief Marius Vizer, reportedly by a staffer attached by Vizer to the Iranian delegation for the express purpose of keeping tabs on any attempts to pressure the Iranian competitor to throw a match.

In the past Iran has forbidden its athletes from competing against Israelis. In May, after Vizer wrote to the head of the Iranian Judo Federation to protest the practice, the international body said it had reached an agreement with Iran to end the boycott. Despite a May 9 letter from Iranian judo and Olympic officials to Vizer promising to “comply with the Olympic charter and principles of non-discrimination,” the head of Iran’s Olympic committee, apparently under pressure over the commitment, later denied it had been made.
David Collier: A Jewish family goes on a weekend holiday to Brighton
This weekend I went to Brighton. It was a quick getaway. I have been working flat out on a report into Amnesty International and having reached the end of a section, had a chance to get the kids away for a short break just before they return to school.

I used to like Brighton. It is an easy journey and the town is fun, but recently it has become a hub for antisemites. They’ve held several really nasty events and just a couple of weeks ago Chris Williamson was back in town. The Jew-haters have got a few events planned for when the Labour Party Conference comes back to Brighton in September.

Saturday in Brighton
On Saturday morning each of us went off to do ‘our own thing’ and we arranged to meet up for lunch by the Clock Tower. For those who don’t know Brighton, the Clock Tower is a grade 2 listed building situated right in the centre of town. It is next to the Churchill Square shopping centre, on the main road from the Station, near the beach and a good starting point for entry into the maze of narrow streets full of vintage stores and atmospheric cafes called the ‘Lanes’. If you were to choose a central meeting point in Brighton, you can’t go wrong with the Clock Tower.

I arrived at the Clock Tower sometime around 12:30 and sat to wait for my family. Brighton PSC were also in town. Each week they set up a stall at the Clock Tower and a bunch of ageing Marxists, ignorant fools and antisemites gather together to tell lies to anyone who will listen. After a while I saw them looking at me and talking. One had clearly ‘clocked’ me at the Clock Tower and had begun to tell everyone I was there.

They became visibly agitated and unsettled. I ignored them but began to notice cameras were raised to take photos of me. One, then another, then another. About six or seven took photos in total. One guy circled around pretending to take a ‘video’ of the surrounding area, he slowed as he passed me, turned the camera directly towards me, and filmed a few seconds of footage as he walked past. None of this fazes me. I have been doing this far too long and I know what the PSC are. Branches of the PSC are little more than pockets of antisemitism, detached from the mother ship to allow the main PSC organisation a little ‘deniability’.
Jonathan Tobin: What the Jewish Left Needs to Understand About Working People
Liberal economic orthodoxies do more to block the traditional path to better jobs and entry to the middle class that served past generations so well than to ease their way. For example, raising minimum wages is part of the left-wing catechism, though hiking hourly rates for workers always leads to fewer jobs as businesses fire people they can no longer afford to pay.

This leveling impulse is also having a deleterious impact on the other engine of social mobility: education.

In New York City, liberal elites led by Mayor Bill de Blasio are seeking to undermine, if not completely abolish, public schools that cater to gifted students. Such special schools offered the children of the Jewish poor a way to exploit their talents and ascend to the heights of every sector of American life. But while they have allowed so much of public education to become a dead-end for today’s children trapped in poverty, liberals now see schools for gifted kids as an obstacle to schemes that are more interested in racial quotas than advancement.

It is any wonder then that today’s average voter rejects liberal elites and helped elect Donald Trump president? They know that these top-down schemes are more likely to hurt than help them and rightly resent being told that their opposition makes them “deplorables.”

Concern for the poor is deeply embedded in Jewish faith, law, and tradition. Yet blue-collar Americans are far more likely to view liberal fixes as a threat to their jobs and their values. Those who seek to revive the spirit of the Jewish labor movement should recognize that what they are selling is exactly the sort of limousine liberalism that today’s American workers understand is out of touch with their needs.
The last word on the Ilhan/Tliab controversy
As Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib should be working to build and not destroy bridges between their people and the US. Their fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, unfortunately, have merely served to embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans. They should have been worried that the US Embassy was forced to cancel an event to help Palestinians because of threats and calls for a boycott. It would have been helpful had the Congresswomen made an effort to persuade Palestinian Authority officials to resume their relations with the US administration and explore ways of boosting the Palestinian economy and improving living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

If they really cared about the Palestinian Arabs, they would be campaigning against the PA and Hamas leaders engaged in a power struggle over money and power and they should be calling for reforms and democracy under the PA and Hamas. The least they could do is demand an end to human rights violations by the PA and Hamas or demand that they hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. They could also demand an end to the crackdown on freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas … but they have entirely different agendas.

For all these reasons, Israel was wise to deny entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. These are not good-faith actors earnestly seeking to visit the Holy Land to learn about its people, history and culture. The two Congresswomen have First Amendment rights - as do all American citizens - to express their beliefs. But Israel, as a sovereign nation like the United States, also has every right to decide who can and cannot enter its borders and for what purpose. No country on earth would allow its sworn enemies to use its territory as a base from which to continue an insidious campaign of de-legitimization.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs are free, can vote and can live in peace with equal rights. They also hold important position in Israeli industries, are members of Israel’s parliament, and Salim Joubran is an Israeli Arab and former judge on the Supreme Court of Israel who served as a Supreme Court justice from 2003 and became a permanent member in May 2004………but these facts do not form part of the hidden agenda of Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib to undermine and ultimately destroy Israel…….. and the Democrats’ deafening silence when it comes to these two is outrageous.
Bernie Sanders and the 10th commandment
No question about it—Bernie Sanders was born a Jew. So what? Why is it that being born Jewish makes a person identified as a lifetime Jew, while being born a Christian or any other religion, requires some continuous practices, belief and affirmations of the religion, in order to maintain a religious identity?

To a serious, practicing Jew, the fact that Bernie Sanders makes use of his Jewish birthright, is somewhat disturbing. Senator Sanders has done almost nothing Jewish throughout his entire life. His disdain for Israel, his recent support for Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, his hatred of Prime Minister Netanyahu, makes him much more of a “Sonay Yisrael—an Israel hater,” than a supporter of the Jewish state.

So why is it that a Jew, who has dropped virtually everything Jewish from his life, from keeping Kosher to observing the Sabbath to even marrying Jewish, is still regarded as a Jew - of course, halakhically, he may be, but why should the media care about that? Why does the mainstream media refer to the Senator as if he were a Torah scholar who prays 3 times a day facing Jerusalem? The truth is that Bernie Sanders refers to his religion of birth only to validate his socialist and progressive core beliefs, which are actually quite removed from Jewish teachings and values.

Bernie Sanders refuses to confront the reality that his children are not Jewish; nor does he wish to face up to the concept that 3500 years of Jewish lineage in the Sanders family has ended with him. Yet Sanders holds on to the Jewish label because it happens to be his only vehicle to any historical credibility. His beliefs are so far out of the mainstream of American values, that Judaism is his only identifier that comports in any way with the American Founding Fathers’ ideals.
Honest Reporting: BDS: Myths and Facts
What is BDS, the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement against Israel? BDS myths characterize the campaign as grass roots social justice fighting for human rights against apartheid. But the facts are entirely different: BDS is as racist and destructive as it is dishonest.

We break down the BDS myths and facts you need to know.
BDS Myth: It’s a grassroots protest movement.

Fact: BDS leadership includes designated terror organizations.

The BDS “National Committee” includes the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine. This council includes several groups designated by much of the world as terrorist organizations: including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
BDS Myth: Its goal is to end the Gaza blockade and West Bank occupation force Israel to go back to the 1967 boundaries.

Fact: According to the leaders of BDS its purpose is to put an end to Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. Here is what three leading BDS figures say in their own words:

1) Omar Barghouti, co-founder, BDS:
Definitely most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, a rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.

(Separately he clarifies that “Palestine” means all of Israel.)

BDS Proponents Push for Publicity as New School Year Looms
In later statements, Tlaib and Omar refused to address any of these issues and lied regarding the “opportunity missed” to meet with Israeli as well as Palestinian officials. They later went on to share a cartoon by the antisemitic French illustrator Latuff, previously a finalist in the Iranian “Holocaust Cartoon Contest,” showing them being “silenced” by Trump and Netanyahu.

In a press conference, Omar demanded that the US cut aid to Israel and give “full rights to Palestinians.” Some left-wing Democrats demanded a halt to Congressional travel to Israel, and a wider group of Democrats were reported to be considering retaliatory action against the Israeli ambassador to the US. Unsurprisingly, Tlaib quickly used the incident in fundraising appeals.

The Democratic presidential candidates were challenged on the issue of Tlaib and Omar’s association with antisemites, but none responded. Some critics from the left expressed astonishment that Tlaib and Omar’s association with an antisemitic organization and sharing of antisemitic materials were not being challenged by fellow Democrats. But an arguably stronger reaction came from Jewish BDS supporters such as Peter Beinart, who claimed that the entire incident was designed to “silence” Tlaib and Omar and “hide the occupation,” among other things.

In a sign that the consensus on the left is not absolute, gadfly late night host Bill Maher stated that the BDS movement was a “b***shit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.” In response, Tlaib called for a boycott of his show and compared Israel to apartheid South Africa. Maher then mocked Tlaib, saying, “Some people have one move only: boycott. Cancel. Make-go-away. … But here’s the thing, the house voted 318 to 17 to condemn the #BDS movement, including 93 percent of Dems. Does Tlaib want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?”
BDS And The Looming Threat Of A New Academic Year
As millions of students pack up and return to the dorms for the start of a new academic year, so too returns the scourge of the on-campus Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s ideology of anti-Zionism, Jew-hatred, and radical indoctrination.

Since 2005, over 130 BDS measures have been entertained by student council bodies at 68 of the nation’s most elite university campuses. At Barnard College, Brown University, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Wesleyan University, and dozens more, these resolutions have passed — an unfortunate truth that is indicative of the grip BDS maintains among many young people.

As graduates of these universities progress into positions as titans of industry, politicians, and all manner of movers and shakers, they risk carrying with them the skewed BDS stance on Israel’s right to self-determination and the propagation of anti-Semitic rhetoric that is synonymous with BDS activism. As such, they risk fundamentally endangering Jewish presence in society and institutions in the years ahead.

Whether or not oftentimes-gullible students recognize the movement for what it truly is, the BDS phenomenon rejects the value of liberal discourse by advocating for intolerance and promoting divisiveness and discrimination under the guise of a political position.

First and foremost, the BDS movement is inextricably linked to recognized anti-Semitic, racist terror organizations. Indeed, BDS quietly serves as the international mainstream propaganda arm of these groups. “More than 30 Hamas and [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)] operatives hold senior positions within BDS advocacy organizations. Known terrorists are invited to national conventions of BDS affiliates, radicalizing followers to view terror acts as legitimate resistance,” noted Haym Salomon Center senior fellow Ziva Dahl in American Spectator. PFLP has hijacked dozens of planes since 1968 and has organized countless bombings against Israeli and Jewish civilians. Hamas continues to rule the Gaza Strip with an iron fist, launching rockets and incendiary balloons on a seemingly daily basis as well as digging terror tunnels beneath the border between Gaza and Israel. Likewise, it ought to come as no surprise that the Iranian regime, responsible for some 150,000 rockets directed at Israel from Lebanon, promotes the BDS movement. By proxy, college students subscribing to BDS are thereby perpetuating a pro-terrorist, pro-violence ideology in the halls of the world’s most exclusive and prestigious academic institutions.

BDS National Committee says AnyVision 'complicit in Israeli occupation'
The Palestinian BDS National Committee called for the boycott of Israeli facial recognition technology firm AnyVision on Friday, labeling the company as "complicit in the Israeli occupation and repression of Palestinians."

"AnyVision plays a direct role in Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, which includes Israel’s illegal wall and military checkpoints," the committee wrote in a statement.

"AnyVision also maintains cameras for the Israeli military deep inside the West Bank to spy on Palestinians and enable the Israeli military’s illegal targeting of civilians."

According to the IDF, the company is part of a program to upgrade military checkpoints in the West Bank through adding technology for new "identification and inspection stations."

The facial recognition company has offices in Tel Aviv, New York, Mexico, London, Belfast and Singapore. It was founded in 2015 and has quickly gained investments, contracts and joint ventures with the Israeli military, governments and companies internationally.

In August, Human Rights Watch called on Microsoft to review its investments in AnyVision, given the “human rights risk associated with the investment in a company that’s providing [facial recognition] technology to an occupying power.”
Yasmin Khan on PBS Newshour Recipe For Falsehoods
Generously drizzle the interviewer’s credulousness over a heaping helping of anti-Israel propaganda, hold the professional journalistic standards of transparency, and what do you get? A caustic recipe for anti-Israel falsehoods and journalistic malfeasance. That toxic fare was on display Aug. 25, with Hari Sreenivasan’s PBS Newshour interview with Yasmin Khan, author of the new book “Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen.”

Host and guest alike depict Khan’s intention to “help foster cultural understanding,” as PBS’ Sreenivasan puts it. He invokes “the old idea of breaking bread with your neighbor or your enemy,” and later Khan quotes what she claims is “this old Jewish proverb”: “my enemy is just a person whose story I haven’t yet heard.” Khan presents herself as a human rights worker, trained in law, “really interested in sharing people’s stories,” who believes that “food can offer a vehicle that we can better understand each other.” Expounding on her purported mission to break down walls, Khan says her her passion is to “just share stories and try to break down this dehumanization that too often happens when we’re reporting on the Middle East, and build connection because I really believe that at the end of the day, humans, no matter where we are in the world, have got to do more to unite us than divide us.”

Khan is able to pull off this charade about a noble mission of building connection only thanks to PBS’ total failure to abide by the network’s lofty commitment to transparency. PBS Editorial Standards and Practice require: “Sources must be clearly identified.” And yet, despite the many statements depicting Khan as a builder of connections, including across enemy lines, PBS never discloses her past activity as a senior global justice campaigner of the anti-Israel NGO War on Want to promote an anti-Israel boycott, a bitter effort diametrically opposed to her sweet declarations about tearing down barriers. Indeed, as a BDS activist, Khan has a proven history of dividing people and dehumanizing the other.

Moreover, even under her current guise as a cookbook writer who says “food can be such a useful vehicle for exploring places of conflict,” Khan continues to actively peddle falsehoods. Khan erroneously asserts that Israel’s “blockade of Gaza that’s left over 80 percent of Gazans dependent on U.N. food aid to survive.” This is incorrect. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), “more than half the population depends on food aid from the international community.”
BBC News promotes a claim it previously amended in February
Following a complaint from BBC Watch in February of this year the BBC News website amended three reports promoting a similar statement in order to clarify that the unverified claim that most of the Lebanese casualties were civilians came from the Lebanese government.

As those three reports stated, 43 Israeli civilians were killed during that conflict which means that the BBC is now claiming that at least 957 Lebanese civilians also died.

Estimates of the total number of Lebanese casualties during that 2006 war range from 1,035 to 1,200. As has been pointed out here on several previous occasions, while the Lebanese authorities did not differentiate between civilians and combatants, Lebanese officials did report even before the conflict was over that some 500 of the dead were Hizballah personnel and UN officials gave similar figures while Israeli estimates stand at around 600 (of whom 450 were identified with certainty: see page 55 here). In August 2006 the BBC News website acknowledged that “there are no reliable figures” for the number of Hizballah combatants killed in the war that had just ended at the time.

In other words, despite having acknowledged seven months ago that the civilian casualty figures it quoted were based on statements made by a government held hostage by the Iranian terrorist proxy Hizballah, the BBC News website has resumed the practice of promoting inflated Lebanese civilian casualty figures that it has not independently verified.
How did BBC News report rare criticism of the PA from the UN?
Following a surge in violent attacks against Israelis in the autumn of 2015, the BBC began using this standard mantra:
“Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.”

As has been noted here repeatedly:
“…the BBC has consistently failed to provide its audiences with any serious reporting on the topic of incitement and glorification of terrorism by Palestinian officials. Readers are hence unable to judge for themselves whether or not what ‘Israel says’ is accurate.”

Neither – as we have also previously documented – have BBC audiences seen any comprehensive reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism found in Palestinian schoolbooks, official PA radio and TV children’s programmes and Hamas’ online children’s ‘magazine’.

Last week the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published a report following a reportedly stormy review earlier in the month.
Germany Asks for Forgiveness as Poland Marks 80th Anniversary of War
Germany’s president asked for forgiveness for his country on Sunday for the suffering of the Polish people during World War Two as Poland marked 80 years since the Nazi German invasion that unleashed the deadliest conflict in human history.

The ceremonies began at 4:30 am in the small town of Wielun, site of one of the first bombings of the war on Sept. 1, 1939, with speeches by Polish President Andrzej Duda and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Few places saw death and destruction on the scale of Poland. It lost about a fifth of its population, including the vast majority of its 3 million Jewish citizens.

After the war, its shattered capital of Warsaw had to rise again from ruins and Poland remained under Soviet domination until 1989.

“As a German guest I walk before you here barefoot. I look back in gratitude to the Polish people’s fight for freedom. I bow sorrowfully before the suffering of the victim,” Steinmeier said at event later in Warsaw.

“I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical guilt. I profess to our lasting responsibility.”
Polish president says Holocaust is 'part of our national memory'
Eighty years ago, Germany invaded Poland and the world changed forever. To mark the outbreak of World War II, high-level dignitaries from 40 countries arrived in Warsaw to participate in special memorial events on Sunday, including US Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is hosting the events, sat down with Israel Hayom for a lengthy interview to discuss how his nation was coping with the effects of the deadliest of all wars, during which the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, including 3 million Polish Jews.

Duda says the traumatic effects of the war are very much felt today in his country. He also insists that Poland never collaborated with Nazi Germany.

The following is a transcript of the interview, which was edited for clarity.

Q: Eighty years ago Germany attacked and invaded Poland, leading to World War II in Europe. Eighty years later, what does this day mean for Poland and for you personally?

"It is one of the saddest and most tragic dates in the whole world history. One has to remember that for 123 years there was no Poland. It was divided between its three neighbors – Russia, Prussia, and Austria – and it disappeared. The Poles tried to regain their independence in three bloody uprisings. After World War I, in 1918, Poland finally regained its independence, reappeared on the map of Europe and developed dynamically until September 1, 1939. You can only imagine what Poland would have become if this Nazi German invasion wouldn’t have taken place. This day started a conflict that claimed the lives of 6 million Polish citizens, in fighting but first and foremost murdered by the Nazis and the Soviets. Among those 6 million, and this has to be stressed, were 3 million Jews of Polish nationality who were the victims of the German-perpetrated Holocaust. For me personally, September 1 is the most tragic day in the history of the Polish nation as a whole. Remember that after the war, we became part of the Soviet sphere of influence, we were betrayed in Yalta, and for another 40 years, we were not a sovereign country. That was the Poland I was born in. I can say that up until this day we can witness the negative effects of World War II, both socially and economically."
Orthodox Jewish Man Assaulted With Belt in Brooklyn in Third Such Attack in a Week
In the third such attack within a week, an Orthodox Jewish man has been assaulted in Brooklyn.

New York’s local CBS affiliate reported that the attack took place in Midwood on Saturday just after the Sabbath.

According to local blog, the victim saw two men drinking in front of a synagogue before they began insulting him with anti-Jewish slurs. One of the men knocked the victim over and began hitting him in the face with his own belt.

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said of the attack, “A young Jewish man was called a f***ing Jew and then belted over the head with a metal belt buckle!”

Last Thursday, another Orthodox Jewish man suffered injuries to his eye when he was attacked in his vehicle.

On Tuesday, another man was severely beaten with a rock, knocking out two teeth and breaking his nose.

On Friday, the New York Police Department said they were stepping up patrols in response to the attacks.
NY beach club vandalized with antisemitic graffiti
The members of the Silver Gull Beach Club in Queens, New York were shocked when the club notified them that the playground would be closed. The New York Times reported that club management said the closure was “due to the recent and increasing incidence of vandalism from within the club.”

Members quickly heard that the playground was covered in antisemitic and racist graffiti including racial slurs against black people, a red swastika, the words "Heil Hitler," The Times reported. Additionally, The Times published a photo of a door with the words "gas chamber" smeared on it in red paint.

New York has seen an increase in hate crimes, and according to the NYPD, as of June 2, 2019, the number of reported antisemitic crimes rose from 58 in 2018 to 110 in 2019.

Some Silver Gull members spoke with The Times, including Harold Bretstein, who is the son of Holocaust survivors.

“You can gloss it over. You can talk about it being a prank, but it’s much more than a prank, especially in terms of the times we’re living in when you’re seeing a rise in antisemitism everywhere,” Bretstein told The Times.
Italian politician lists ‘antisemitic’ as his religious views on Facebook
A member of the city council of an Italian town listed “antisemitic” as his religious views on Facebook, Italian media reported on Sunday.

Stefano Altinier, 35, was elected in the city council of Gorizia, North East of the Italian peninsula, in 2017. He belongs to the right-wing party League, whose leader Matteo Salvini recently triggered a political crisis, pulling the plug from League’s coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Altinier deleted the entry on Friday after being alerted that someone had spotted his profile. However, screenshots of his Facebook page started to circulate online.

“The opposition is trying to discredit me in a boorish way. I have always thought that social media do not reflect reality. Some people claim to exercise a certain profession or to be married, and it happens not to be true. I have never been antisemitic, I have even attended a Hanukkah celebration once, and I’m fascinated by the history and tradition of this people,” Altinier said.

Altinier also claimed that he was “a teenager” when he compiled his Facebook profile identifying his religious views as antisemitic, “ten or fifteen years ago.”
Neo-Nazi site lists photographs, names of thousands of Yeshiva U. students
Pictures of Thousands of Yeshiva University (YU) students were found posted on the neo-Nazi forum Vanguard News Network (VNN) on Friday, according to the YU Observer.

The Observer was informed of the threads, which included photos and names of Jewish people attending or teaching at the university. One of those threads was created in early June 2018 and dissected the "physical defects" of a Jewish journalist's "Jewishness" as well as listing the YU students and faculty as additional examples of the Jewish "phenotype."

Different comments preceding the thread included criticism of Jewish people for being ugly because of the "money sucked up their big noses" and that call the photographs are "proof that [Jews] are creatures of Satan hell-bent on destroying the White race."

Most of the photos were found on the YU website and were taken at several of the university's official events. Thousands of pictures and names were posted altogether, according to the Observer, including those of YU high schools students.

YU is working on a case with the NYPD to send a cease and desist order to VNN for harassment. Although there are no explicit threats to a physical attack on the people whose pictures and names were posted, the posts nevertheless brought about great concern.
Mancunians block antisemite’s way telling him “I’m not having this in my city” as he harassed Jewish couple about “Gaza”
Passengers on a Metrolink tram in Manchester were forced on Thursday to defend a young orthodox charedi Jewish couple from a man who repeatedly harassed them about “Gaza”.

As the tram passed through the city centre on the Bury line at approximately 22:30 on Thursday evening, a young black man began accosting the Jewish couple, demanding that they answer questions about Gaza. The man approached the couple but they then moved away from him and other passengers moved to stand between them.

As the man claimed: “He doesn’t care about the situation, I know for a fact” another passenger retorted: “Tell me have you been smoking something? You’re full of it.” Another interjected: “He’s been drinking. I’d close that mouth, mate.”

The man continued to shout “Does he know about Gaza?” across the carriage, forcing other passengers to stand up to him, physically barring his way and at points restraining him as he tried to approach the couple. One man said: “I’m not having this in my city” and another challenged him: “What right have you to ask a question of anybody?” The man kept calling out to the Jewish couple, telling the husband: “Rabbi, come here, mate.” When asked whether he was from Manchester, the man said he was from “Palestine”.

Another Jewish passenger asked the man why he was not asking her about Gaza, enquiring whether it was because she was not recognisably Jewish from her attire. The man was momentarily speechless as other Mancunians unanimously said: “Exactly!”
Fitch Affirms Israel’s A+ Rating, Citing Strong Growth
On Thursday, Fitch Ratings affirmed Israel’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating of A+, with a stable outlook. In early August, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) did the same.

Fitch stated Israel’s macroeconomic performance has been strong, adding that its five-year average real GDP growth is “stronger than rating category peers and growth volatility has been lower.” The agency forecasts that Israel’s growth will remain strong in 2020-2021 despite fiscal tightening, close to three percent per year. Part of the tightening is expected to be alleviated by the start of gas output from the Leviathan offshore field in 2020. Fitch has also stated Israel’s external balance sheet remains strong, its international liquidity ratio has continued to improve, and its net external creditor position remains significantly stronger than the A median and stronger than the AA median.

However, Fitch stated Israel’s public finances remain weak relative to the A category, and that its central government budget deficit widened to 2.9 percent of GDP in 2018, though it was on target. The agency forecasts that the deficit will grow to 3.6 percent of GDP in 2019 — in line with the forecasts of the Israeli Ministry of Finance — meaning the government debt/GDP will continue to rise in the next two years. Furthermore, despite a downward trend seen since 2007, which ended in 2018, Israel’s debt/GDP for 2018, 61 percent, was still much higher than the A median of 49 percent.
Honduras president receives ‘Friends of Zion Award’
The Friends of Zion (FOZ) Museum in Jerusalem awarded the Friends of Zion Award to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his steadfast support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The ceremony was held on Sunday, following the opening of the new Honduran diplomatic office in Jerusalem.

The Friends of Zion Award is the FOZ Museum’s highest honor and is presented to world leaders who, the organization says, have gone “above and beyond” for the Jewish state. The award ceremony was held at the museum, with the presidential delegation of Honduras, including the first lady; Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales, who was also awarded during the ceremony with the “Friends of Zion Psalms 122 Tribute”; and Honduran Ambassador to Israel Mario Castillo.

After a tour of the FOZ Museum, Dr. Mike Evans, founder and international chairman of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center, said that “When people have the moral courage to stand up and do the right thing, they need to be rewarded.”

After the award ceremony honoring Honduran support for the State of Israel, Hernández thanked the FOZ Museum for all their great work strengthening Israel’s relations around the world. “We admire the people of Israel,” he said. “It has been a blessing for us even before we made this decision, in our hearts and in our minds.”

FOZ has honored a number of heads of state for their pro-Israel accomplishments and has encouraged them to further their relations with the State of Israel.
Yad Vashem marks 80th anniversary of start of WWII with online exhibit
Eighty years have passed since the start of the World War Two on September 1, 1939, an anniversary being marked by Yad Vashem with a new online exhibition, portraying the experiences of a dozen Jewish families in those first months, when they had no way of knowing the events that were going to unfold.

The exhibition, “1939: Jewish Families on the Brink of War,” describes the progression of the war using Holocaust-era documents, photographs and artifacts from Yad Vashem’s archives, many which were donated by Holocaust survivors and families.

One diary entry, written by Mira Zabludowski in September 1939, records her thoughts during the first months of the German occupation of Warsaw. She had already immigrated to pre-state Palestine and was visiting her parents in Warsaw at the time the war broke out.

“The time is 4:00 p.m. The sound of artillery fire has been going on nonstop for twenty hours. The noise of machine guns and the thunder of the planes overhead have been reverberating in the air and increase the terror. My ears and head ache. You can’t hear what’s being said. Just boom!

Zabludowski escaped Poland and made her way back to Israel. Her father died in July 1940 in Warsaw while her mother was deported along with other family members to Treblinka.

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