Saturday, January 18, 2020

From Ian:

Simon Schama: Auschwitz and the new anti-Semitism
The greater point, though, is connectedness. The reason why the likes of Émile Zola sprang to the defence of Dreyfus and into combat with the anti-Semite Edouard Drumont – whose acolytes and devotees, at one especially odious moment in 1899, proposed a wide variety of “solutions” to deal with the Jews of France, including turning them into dog food, subjects for medical school vivisection and target practice for artillery – was that Zola saw the integrity of republican democracy itself as contingent on treating the Jews as full, patriotically loyal citizens.

So too, now, any campaign against anti-Semitism is necessarily a campaign for the basic decencies of liberal democracy; a consistency of principle which makes Jews not just the kin of other people who have suffered genocide – Armenians, Bosniaks and Tutsis, for instance – but of those currently suffering the theft of civil rights on account of their race or religion: the Uighurs, Rohingya, the defenceless children of Latino fugitives from terror and dispossession in their homes; and, indeed, Palestinians living under the daily hardships and injustices of occupation.

What, then, is the purpose of acts of remembrance of the kind that will take place at Auschwitz and Jerusalem; who are they for? To begin with, in the age of disinformation when Holocaust denial has become commonplace and more are taken in by the demonising forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion through online access to the libel; at a time when the power of evidence has to contend with the intoxication of malignant belief; at a moment when those who went through the tormenting fires themselves are leaving us, it is essential that the cautionary history be imprinted in the minds of the future.

But this should be not done just to vindicate the survivors and the millions whose bodies were turned to smoke, or whose bones still lie in the mass pits of eastern Europe. It should also be done, especially in this wretched time of tribal shrieking, for the sake of our common humanity. If the story represents the very worst that humans can do, and must not do again, the act of telling is also a reassertion through horrified decency of the mutual care and kindness of which humanity must yet be capable.
Phyllis Chesler: Western Feminists AWOL in Supporting Abused and Dissident Muslim Women
Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents have been risking torture and death in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Far East by refusing to wear the hijab and by adopting other Western ways.

Bizarrely, Western feminists and accomplished and powerful women, including diplomats and politicians, are donning the hijab as a gesture of cultural “sensitivity” and as a symbol of resistance to alleged racism.

For example, the American female lawyers defending the jihadists in Guantanamo Bay, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are wearing hijabs and abayas so they will not “offend” their clients, and as a way of gaining their trust.

“Women on Mr. Mohammed’s team mostly wear long skirts and other loose-fitting clothes topped by a variety of colorful scarves, shawls, head coverings and, in at least one instance, a one-piece, pull-on hijab,” The New York Times reported on December 27.

Something is radically wrong with this picture, and I’ve been writing about it for more than 20 years. My strongest allies are brave Muslim and ex-Muslim women and men, as well as other tribal feminist activists (Sikhs, Hindus). With exceptions — like Eleanor Smeal’s campaign against the Afghan burqa in the 1990s — most liberals, leftists, and feminists support Sharia-compliant customs of all kinds. Westerners support barbaric behaviors due to the influence of multi-cultural relativism, a commitment to tolerating even the intolerant, and as a statement against Western racism. In doing so, they betray their own feminist and humanitarian principles.

The hijab is a symbol of female subordination. When Western feminists fetishize it, they also cover for the extreme and barbaric abuse of women that often is hidden beneath the Islamic veil.

LBC: Maajid Nawaz takes down caller who said Hamas are not terrorists
When this caller claimed Hamas were "resistance fighters" against the terrorist state of Israel, Maajid Nawaz gave him a few facts.
Khalid from Swindon insisted that Hamas were simply trying to protect and free the Palestinians.
But when he claimed that they were peaceful and only "throw rockets here and there", Maajid decided to teach him a few things. Maajid told him: "Sheikh Qaradawi is an Egyptian Muslim brotherhood cleric, based in Qatar. That extremist gave a fatwa to Hamas, saying it's ok to kill Israeli civilians.
"The reason I'm explaining all this to you is because you said Israel does that.
"I asked you to point to the specific law where Israel does that and you said you can't. I then pointed to the specific fatwa - because for Hamas, a fatwa is law.
"So Hamas admits to killing Israeli citizens. Israel doesn't have a law that justifies killing Palestinian civilians.
"So therefore, Hamas is a terrorist group. Israel may be many things, but isn't targeting Palestinian civilians."

The 'both sides are to blame' fallacy
Did the Republican Party hesitate to confront this “anti-Semitism of the brownshirt type”? Hardly. The Republican National Committee announced: “We condemn this candidate and his hateful rhetoric in the strongest possible terms.” So did local Republicans, helping to ensure that Jones would lose by 47 points.

Recently Jones managed to get the required 600 signatures to again compete for the Republican congressional nomination in that district. So the Illinois State GOP announced that will undertake “an awareness campaign” that will feature “digital advertising, Facebook ads and mailers” exposing Jones’s anti-Semitism.

Contrast the Republicans’ response to an anti-Semite in their party to the Democrats’ response to the antisemites and Israel-bashers in their party.

- Bernie Sanders welcomed an endorsement by Ilhan (“It’s all about the Benjamins baby”)
- Omar and named Linda (“Jews are supremacists”) Sarsour as a surrogate for his presidential campaign.
- Al Sharpton (accused inciter of the infamous and deadly 1991 Crown Heights pogrom) was given his own talk show on MSNBC.
- Rashida (“they forgot what country they represent”) Tlaib is treated like near royalty by the Democratic Party leadership.

The reason we hear relatively little about Republicans condemning Republican anti-Semitism is not because they condemn it less—it’s because there is so little of it from any Republicans of real consequence in recent times.

Of course there are fringe elements in both camps. And there probably always will be.

The problem is when people on the fringe are allowed to move towards the center—when anti-Semitism is expressed by individuals in positions of leadership. Those are the people who set the tone for their camp and shape what is considered acceptable in American political discourse and society.
Democrat backing for antisemitism is killing Jews
Democrats have used racial hatred for two centuries to appeal to a fractured electorate convinced of its own superiority and the unfairness of the system. That the electorate shifted races is a minor detail. The truly important thing to understand is that since 1828, the Democrats have gained and held on to power by convincing narrow groups that the deck is stacked against them and that only they can save them.

This poison killed numberless black and white people across two centuries. It also brought countless wealth into the pockets of the politically connected. From slavery and segregation, to the fire at Freddy’s and the shooting in Jersey City, countless acts of racial violence were perpetrated so that Democrats could keep their hands on the pork and graft that really makes government, local, state and federal, run.

Radical politics added an ideological motive. But all politics, whether radical or moderate, from the Dixiecrat to the Communist, is ultimately about the acquisition of money and power. Racism, white or black, is just a means of tribalizing the struggle for money and power by playing on racial fear and hate.

The victims of identity politics, killed and wounded in random lynchings, are the collateral damage of progressive racism. A few dead people, in this case Jews, are a small price to pay for power.

The rise in anti-Semitism is not mysterious. It is what happens when political factions back fringe groups convinced of the fundamental unfairness of society and the need to bring it down, whether it’s black or white supremacists, or Islamists, as weapons in a political war for control of the country.

People are dying in racial violence across the country so that the Democrats can win elections
Twitter mistakenly suspends and later reinstates Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan
Twitter mistakenly suspended and later reinstated the account of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, Farrakhan's Twitter timeline disappeared and was replaced with a message saying his account had been suspended for violating the Twitter rules.

However, Twitter later reinstated Farrakhan's account in the afternoon. A Twitter representative confirmed to the Washington Examiner the initial suspension was an error, saying that "the account was caught by our spam filter in error and has been reinstated." After being reinstated, Farrakhan's account did not immediately display his correct follower account. The representative said an account's followers take time to replenish after being reinstated.

In May 2019, Facebook banned Farrakhan for anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric. "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," a Facebook representative then told CNN Business. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive."

On several occasions, Farrakhan has faced widespread criticism for using racist and homophobic rhetoric. In 1990, Farrakhan said, "The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters … The Jews got a stranglehold on the Congress,” during a speech. In 2018, he tweeted, "I'm not an anti-Semite. I'm anti-Termite."

Farrakhan was once praised by former co-chairwoman of the Women's March Tamika Mallory, a black gun-control and feminist activist. She, along with Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist, stepped down from the organization after Mallory was accused herself of anti-Semitism.

Jewish Girl Verbally Attacked on Subway Because “You Vote Trump”
Yelling obscenities and anti-Semitic remarks, three youths confronted a Jewish girl riding on the subway in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon and threatened to harm her.

To the victim’s shock, transit police refused to file anything more than a harassment report, despite the repeated references to “you Jews” in the attackers’ ten-minute-long tirade.

“It made me feel very uncomfortable,” her father told “I didn’t go down there to Manhattan to just file a harassment report.”

The 19-year-old female was going home from her teaching job in Manhattan, and was on the F train between Delancey and Carroll streets when the verbal assault began.

Three black teenagers, who appeared to be leaving their high school, approached the girl, with one of the turning on a recording device to videotape the encounter. The trio repeatedly screamed expletives and anti-Semitic remarks at the victim, who lives in Midwood.

“You Jews vote for Trump,” one of them said.

The three threatened to hurt her but did not do anything, apparently in fright of police.
“I would do something to you,” one of the assailants said, according to the father, “but I know that you Jews go to the NYPD right away.”

The assault went on for at least ten minutes, until the train pulled into the next station and she got off.
Israeli moderately injured in stabbing attack near Hebron; suspect arrested
One person was moderately injured in a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, close to the city of Hebron, on Saturday afternoon.

The victim, a 22-year-old man, received medical treatment on the scene for a stab injury to his shoulder and was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, the Magen David Adom emergency services said in a statement. The hospital later said the injured man was in stable condition.

The suspect, said to be a Palestinian youth, was arrested as he tried to flee and taken for questioning, the Israeli military said in a statement.

A civilian at the scene helped IDF soldiers apprehend the attacker, the military added.
IDF forces on the scene of a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on January 18, 2020. (IDF Spokesperson’s Office)

The incident in Kiryat Arba came just hours after a woman was arrested after she threatened Border Police officers with a knife at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Putin to decide Naama Issachar's fate during Israel visit - report
Russia President Vladimir Putin may announce his intention to release Israeli-American Naama Issachar when he arrives in Israel for a visit later this week, according to a report on Channel 12.

She was arrested in April while on a stopover in Moscow as she was en-route from India to Ben-Gurion Airport. Russian authorities stopped her at the gate prior to boarding after claiming to have found 9.5 grams of cannabis in her checked luggage. Naama has rejected the charge.

The young woman is widely believed to have been jailed and sentenced last year as part of a failed diplomatic maneuver to prevent Israel from extraditing Russian computer hacker Alexei Burkov to the United States.

As such, there is wide sympathy in Israel for her case, due to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under public pressure to release her.
On Thursday, Netanyahu and Putin discussed Issachar’s case. On Friday, Netanyahu released a statement and a video in which he said he was “optimistic” about the situation.

“I spoke to President Putin once again yesterday about Naama’s situation. I felt from him a true willingness to find a solution,” Netanyahu said.

“I am more optimistic,” said Netanyahu, adding, "but I can’t elaborate.”
Trump Admin Sanctions Top Iranian General for Slaughtering Anti-Regime Protesters
The Trump administration issued new sanctions on Friday against a top Iranian general who oversaw the killing of nearly 150 Iranian anti-regime protesters, according to U.S. officials.

The State Department applied new economic sanctions on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) brigadier general Hassan Shahvarpour for overseeing a recent assault on Iranian demonstrators who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the regime's downing of a Ukrainian civilian airliner.

The sanctions on Shahvarpour were issued as a result of the State Department's Iran tip line, which has empowered Iranian citizens to document the regime's human rights abuses and send on-the-ground testimonials directly to the Trump administration via a secure channel. More than 88,000 videos, pictures, and testimonials have been sent to the State Department since it established the network late last year.

"General Shahvarpour committed gross violations of human rights against protesters in Mahshahr," Trump administration Iran envoy Brian Hook announced to reporters. "He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region last November."

"Shahvarpour was in command of units responsible for the violent crackdown and lethal repression around Mahshahr," Hook disclosed. "This is the first designation on an Iranian regime official being taken under" new State Department sanctions authorities.

The Iran tip line played an instrumental role in exposing Shahvarpour's crimes, Hook said.
Iran to send black boxes of downed passenger plane to Ukraine
An Iranian official indicated that Tehran will hand over the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by the military after taking off from the Iranian capital on January 8.

Iran will be sending the boxes to Ukraine and is prepared to allow international experts to inspect the data, Reuters reported on Saturday citing a report from the Tasnim news agency which quoted Hassan Rezaifar, a director in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization.

All 176 people aboard the Ukrainian International Airlines flight from Tehran en route to Kyiv when the plane was brought down by ballistic missiles shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Iran has maintained it was an accident.

“With the use of the expertise of the countries of France, Canada and America we will try to read the [flight data recorder] in Kyiv,” Rezaifar was quoted as saying. “If this effort is unsuccessful then the black box will be sent to France,” he added.

Rezaifar further indicated that Iran will not read the data, according to the Tasnim report.
Ukrainian plane crash in Iran: How journalists 'solved' it using tech tools, social media and a little math
How far away was the launch site?
Christo Grozev, the winner of the 2019 European Press Prize for Investigative Journalism, explains the math he used to determine the location where the missile was fired from. He has used the known speed of the TOR-M missile and its visually perceived speed to calculate the angle relative to the trajectory of the missile. From this he had deduced that the missile could’ve been launched from a distance of 6.5km.

Follow the thread for an interesting discussion on the IRSG Secret Missile Base

Elliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat identified a new video from the tweet of Iranian Patriot, apparently taken from a moving vehicle and commented it looks like a new video of the #PS752 crash, 30 seconds before it hit the ground.

Elliot has also posted some Tor Anti-aircraft missile debris, purportedly from near the crash site, on January 9, though he admits it is near impossible to geolocate the image with any certainly.

Christo Grozev posted another video and speculated this could be showing the ascent and impact of two missiles hitting the doomed aircraft

He also observes that the flight signal was lost before it was hit.

How the video surfaced
It all started from a footage shared on a public telegram channel by someone who received the footage from a source. He has asked help in verifying the footage as he couldn’t do it himself.

The New York Times found the man who shot the video and managed to collect a high resolution video and confirmed its authenticity.

Watch the anotated version of the video of the 'apparent shoot-down' posted on YouTube by Jake Godin of Newsy and Bellingcat

Bellingcat says it has geolocated the above video to a residential area in Parand (coordinates 35.489414, 50.906917), a suburb to the west of Imam Khomeini International Airport, from which Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) departed to Kyiv.

Iranian authorites continue to insist it was a technical snag that downed the plane.

Meanwhile, the crash site has been cleaned using bulldozers, many have reported on social media. A CBS crew that visited the site west of Teheran on Friday found the site not cordoned off, with no security in place. However, virtually all the pieces of the plane were removed on Thursday itself. They found scavengers picking the site clean.
Inside the factory that makes flags for Iranians to BURN: Business enjoys a booming trade creating US, UK and Death to Israel banners to be set alight by protesters
These fascinating photos show inside the largest flag factory in Iran where US, UK and Death to Israel flags are made for burning in protest at Western sanctions.

As tensions with Iran have intensified in recent weeks, the factory is doing a roaring trade in flags for destruction.

Photographer Farhad Babaei was allowed to see the production line which produces hundreds of thousands of flags a year.

In the West we have grown used to images of Iranians burning national flags in rallies against the UK, US and Israel.

In Khomeini City, the birthplace of Ayatollah Khomeini, a four hour drive south of Tehran, a building houses a production line.

One flag, a customisation of the national flag of Israel is particularly popular. It features the Star of David with the words 'Death to Israel' in Persian alongside it.
Shaun Micallef - American Flag Maker

Iran banned from hosting international soccer matches
On Friday, the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) received an official letter from the Asian Football confederation (AFC) in which it says that Iranian soccer teams will henceforth be banned from hosting Asian Soccer League Championship matches, adding that future matches will be played in "neutral countries," most likely the neighboring United Arab Emirates.

"The Islamic Republic Football Federation has received an official letter from the AFC that said it had decided to hold the future Asian Soccer League Championship hosted by Iran in 'neutral' countries," the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-run Tasnim news agency reported on Friday, January 17.

Amirmahdi Alavi, a spokesman for the IFF, rejected the ban, telling local news outlets that "Iran is fully ready to host various teams as it has repeatedly proven during the past several years."

He pointed to 2018’s ACL final held in Tehran and said, “The sports minister has given the AFC the needed security assurances regarding hosting” teams.

The IFF has not yet specified why it received the ban from the AFC, or whether the decision has any relation to the recent accidental downing of a Ukraine Airlines passenger plane by Iranian forces that killed all 176 passengers on board over the capital city, Tehran.

Managers of the four clubs representing Iran in the ACL tournament (Esteqlal, Perspolis, Sepahan, and Shahr Khodro) will be consulted on Saturday, according to the report, saying, “The final position of Iranian clubs and the federation will be announced in the following days.”

Rescuing academics from the Nazis – well, sort of
With Nazis in control of the German government, Daniel O’Brien, a Rockefeller Foundation official based in Europe, wrote in his diary, “The Jews are being put out everywhere and without justice.” In April 1933, the government dismissed all Jews from civil service positions, including universities and research institutes, even if they or their grandparents had converted to Christianity. At the University of Berlin, students insisted that the rector post “12 theses,” including “Our most dangerous enemy is the Jew,” on all buildings. “The general situation is bad for science,” O’Brien noted. “It may get worse.”

It got much worse. In Well Worth Saving, Laurel Leff – an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University and the author of Buried By The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper – tells the story of the efforts to rescue displaced academics, made by college professors and administrators, the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars (changed to “Foreign Scholars” as Nazi control spread throughout Europe) and the University in Exile of the New School for Social Research.

Historians, Leff notes, have tended to focus on successes – and the contributions made by Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse and other world-class intellectuals in exile. Her compelling and poignant account “deepens and darkens their ebullient depiction” by shifting the focus to the much larger number of Jewish academics who tried – and failed – to emigrate to the United States; the difficult choices professors, administrators and rescue advocates faced; and the pervasive failure of Americans to rise to the challenges.

Leff documents the daunting challenges faced by refugee scholars. Constrained by the lingering impact of the Great Depression, college and university presidents were often unwilling to appoint more faculty and, if a vacancy appeared, to fill it with a foreigner instead of an American citizen. The relatively small number who agreed to make an exception (or two), had to choose between advancing knowledge by hiring the best scholars and providing emergency relief to individuals whose lives were in imminent danger.
After Outcry, NowThis Removes Video of Student Claiming Anne Frank ‘Didn’t Die in a Concentration Camp’
The progressive news outlet NowThis removed on Thursday a segment of a video it had posted online earlier this week in which a George Washington University student claimed Anne Frank “didn’t die in a concentration camp.”

The comment was made by senior Becca Lewis, who identified herself as Jewish, during a group discussion about US President Donald Trump’s recently-issued executive order on combating antisemitism on college campuses.

She said, “What’s going to happen if there’s another Holocaust? Well, we’re seeing what’s happening. We’re seeing people die at the border for lack of medical care. That’s how Anne Frank died. She didn’t die in a concentration camp, she died from typhus.”

Lewis faced withering criticism on social media for the remark, including a Holocaust denial accusation.

On Thursday, NowThis tweeted, “CORRECTION: We have removed a segment of this video in which the speaker misspoke regarding Anne Frank’s death.”

“These Jewish and Palestinian students are speaking out against Trump for equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism in his Judaism executive order,” it added.
Reviewing BBC reporting on the BDS campaign in 2019
Regular readers will be aware of BBC Watch’s long-standing documentation of the BBC’s problematic portrayal of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS). For years the corporation has reported related stories without adequately clarifying to audiences in its own words that what that campaign ultimately seeks to achieve is the end of Israel as the Jewish state. Moreover, in August 2015, we learned that the BBC considers the provision of such crucial background information “not our role“.

In 2019 we saw that even when covering stories directly related to individual supporters of the BDS campaign, the BBC continued to avoid the obviously central issue of what the campaign they promote is actually about.

Such was the case for example in the generous BBC amplification of the story of Omar Shakir of ‘Human Rights Watch’. Descriptions of the BDS campaign were qualified using the phrase “Israel says” and suggested reading twice included a link to a previous BBC report promoting the falsehood that the BDS campaign solely relates to a “cultural boycott” of Israel.
Tony Burman Revives Outrageous Conspiracy Theory that Israel Controlled Canada’s Mideast Policy
Tony Burman is deserving of contempt for reviving his outrageous conspiracy theory in his January 11 Toronto Star column claiming that Israel controlled Canada’s Mideast policy. (In 2012, Burman first made this claim which was widely rebuked at the time.)

Burman wrote the following in his recent polemic about the conflagration between the United States and Iran:
In 2012, then-prime minister Stephen Harper effectively outsourced Canada’s Mideast policy to Israel and did its bidding by cutting off relations with Iran.”

You’d expect to see a hateful claim like this in Der Stürmer and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

While Mr. Burman is entitled to his own opinions, he’s not entitled to his own facts. There’s no evidence to support his claim that the Harper government broke off relations with Iran at Israel’s urging.

In fact, then-foreign affairs minister John Baird proclaimed that Canada’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, brand it a state-sponsor of terror, and to close its embassy in Tehran was a “made-in-Ottawa decision” saying that Canada acted alone. Baird listed many reasons to explain what prompted Canada’s move against Iran: The safety of Canadian diplomats, its military assistance to Syria, hateful antisemitic rhetoric, support for terror, deplorable human rights record, and its destructive pursuit of nuclear weapons.
European Union Labels Jesus an Illegal Jewish Settlement Product (satire)
The European Union (EU) has decided to label Jesus an “illegal Jewish settlement product from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.” The dramatic decision comes after the European Court of Justice ruled earlier that EU countries must label all Jewish settlements goods.

EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell spoke to The Mideast Beast from his Brussels office. “As the world’s leading human rights power, the European Union has a moral duty to oppose illegal Jewish settlement products from the Israeli-occupied West Bank. As a consequence of this policy, the EU has decided to label Jesus an illegal Jewish settlement product. We have a responsibility to provide product provenance so that consumers can make informed choices whenever they purchase or donate.”

The BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, welcomed the European Union’s decision and added Jesus to its growing anti-Jewish products boycott list, which currently includes Facebook, Google, the Disk-on-Key, instant messaging, Waze, Viber, the mobile phone, Albert Einstein and Wonder Woman.

Borrell, who recently signed a new business deal in Tehran, stressed the EU’s importance in global politics. “In a world dominated by President Trump’s provocative military adventures, the European Union’s soft power policy supports peaceful financial pressure on all rogue regimes, except Iran.”
BBC News ignores rocket fire at school children
On the afternoon of January 15th residents of three communities close to the border with the Gaza Strip were forced to run for cover as warning sirens sounded.

“Four rockets were fired in total and the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two of the projectiles, the army said. […]

The sirens sounded in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Kibbutz Sa’ad and Kfar Aza, which are all within a short distance of the Gaza border.

The strikes took place as local children were disembarking from buses at the end of the school day.

“They ran to the bomb shelters, and acted perfectly,” local residents said.”

The IDF later responded with strikes on Hamas infrastructure.

BBC News did not find that attack newsworthy and the re-emergence of attacks using incendiary balloons over the past few days has likewise been ignored.
ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won’t
The head of the Anti-Defamation League told House lawmakers Wednesday to craft legislation that would force social media giants to take neo-Nazis and others spewing anti-Semitic hatred off the platforms if the companies won’t do so on their own.

In testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Jonathan Greenblatt said that the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was due, in part, to bigoted voices being amplified on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.

“It’s long overdue for the social media companies to step up and shut down the neo-Nazis on their platforms,” Greenblatt told the legislators. “Companies like Twitter and Facebook need to apply the same energy to protecting vulnerable users that they apply to protecting their corporate profits.

“If they won’t answer the problem,” he added, “you probably need to.”

Greenblatt encouraged passage of the Online Safety Modernization Act, which would ramp up enforcement of and toughen the penalties for online harassment and cyber crimes.

He acknowledged that Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have recently implemented more regulations, but said they hadn’t gone far enough to stamp out anti-Semitic vitriol on their platforms.
Florida AAA Employee Promotes Nazi Ideology on Facebook, LinkedIn; 'The Worst Thing About Going Insane With Thoughts Is That You Have To Try And Act Normal'
A 39- year old self-described Nazi from Florida promotes his ideology on Facebook and on LinkedIn. According to his Facebook profile, he is an engineering technician at the automotive services organization American Automobile Association (AAA). He appears to be separated from the mother of his young daughter. It should be noted that there is no evidence on Facebook that she shares her ex's extremist beliefs. He has two Facebook profiles which have similar content.

The following report will examine his social media activity on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The man describes himself on one of his profiles as a "father And National Socialist."

On January 9, 2020, he posted a link to the Facebook page for Accume Partners, a financial consulting group based in New York City. He marked himself as "feeling angry at [redacted]" adding the text: "Beware fellow Nationalist.. [sic] This page im posting is a [rat emoji] [Jewish star emoji] beware."

In another racist post on January 4, 2020, he shared an image of overweight orangutan with the text "Remember BLACK LIVES MATTER..." He tagged his location in the post as the African Apostolic Mission Church, Nigeria.

In a Facebook story from December 27, 2019, he posted a video showing the Nazi flag, which he appeared to be saluting.
LA-area man ordered to remove swastika, threatening material from balcony
The Jewish mayor of a Los Angeles suburb has ordered a local condo owner to remove material posted on his balcony that includes swastikas and threats against the president.

“This type of material and language has no place in our community and we are working tirelessly to get the material taken down,” Mayor Alicia Weintraub of Calabasas said in a statement Wednesday on social media.

The statement said that the city notified the homeowner that he has 24 hours “to remove the offensive material posted on his property since it violates city code covering inflammatory language and threats to others.”

Complaints about the display first came in to the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In addition to the swastikas posted alongside American flags, the signs on the second floor condo threaten Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. They also appear to attack Christians and say “Death to America.” In one sign, the homeowner identifies himself as Jewish.
Italian police arrest suspected synagogue vandal caught on video
Police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste analyzed security videos to identify and arrest a man suspected of vandalizing the city’s synagogue twice in the past few months.

The suspect was accused of breaking two windows “for the purposes of ethnic-religious hatred,” police said.

A statement issued this week said careful analysis of the video enabled police to identify the suspect, an unemployed Italian man around 30 years old who was already “known to the police.”

They said he punched out exterior windows at the synagogue on October 24, 2019, and January 3, 2020. Trieste Police posted security videos on its Facebook page showing the man walking back and forth in front of the synagogue and jumping up on its wall. He also turns to the camera, makes the sign of the cross and mimics shooting a pistol.

The police announcement said the man, whose name was not released, confessed to the vandalism, saying it had a “mystical-religious meaning.” Local media reported that when police detained the man, he shouted anti-Semitic invective at them, including “I would kill all Jews — If you were Jews and we were at war, I would kill you both.”
Brazil minister fired after speech parroting Nazi propagandist Goebbels
Brazilian culture secretary Roberto Alvim was fired on Friday after using phrases similar to some used by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Alvim made the comments while discussing a new art prize in Latin America’s largest democracy. Alvim had held the post since November. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro made the decision after a backlash from Jewish organizations, key lawmakers, political parties, artists and the country’s bar association.

Alvim drew criticism after he launched an arts initiative focused on nationalism and religion, while using language he later acknowledged was similar to that used Goebbels.

Though cash-strapped, the Bolsonaro government will spend $4.9 million to encourage the production of literature, theater, opera, music and other arts. It was announced by Bolsonaro, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub and Alvim from a library of the official presidential residence in a live Facebook video.

Alvim, the driving force behind the initiative, is a born-again Christian who found renewed faith while recovering from cancer. He delivered a separate message about the initiative using a phrase that local paper O Globo and some other commentators identified as resembling language in a speech by Goebbels. Alvim, who has disavowed Nazism, acknowledged the similarity but said it was merely a “rhetorical coincidence.”
Calls for school governor to be removed over “inflammatory” poem
There are calls for the chair of the governors of a school in Canning Town to be fired over an “inflammatory” poem.

Dante Micheaux became chair of the governors of the Eastlea Community School, which is run by Newham Council, in 2016.

One of his poems, titled “Siding with the Israelis” and published in 2010, has caused controversy.

Among the concerning lines are “I will become a conqueror of refugees exiled in their own home, an exploder of babies in bassinets, a barbed-wire fence dissecting families, so we can lie in the dust & watch snails race up Golgotha,” which appears to contest the right of Jews to self-determination and justifies terrorist violence against Jews. In another line, the narrator pledges to “piss on the pilgrims that have come to pray [in Jerusalem] – show you what a Zionist can be.”

Newham Council is reportedly investigating the matter.
‘Amazing’ photographer of 50s-60s Israel emerges with posthumous exhibit
It’s several steps back in time when viewing the black-and-white photos from Sarah Ayal’s camera, now on exhibit at the Beit Avi Chai cultural center in Jerusalem.

The exhibit, “Emerging from the Shadows,” which opened on December 19 and closes in June 2020, reflects the careful eye of Ayal, who took the photos as part of her job as a photographer for Israel’s security service.

Alongside her professional work, she captured imagery of Israel and Israelis during the 1950s and 1960s, finding the iconic moments of both regular weekdays and holidays, of well-known and anonymous faces in their everyday life.

It was her granddaughter who made this posthumous exhibit happen at Beit Avi Chai, after family members discovered the collection of 4,000 negatives buried in a basement.

“There were amazing treasures to be found in this collection,” said Amihai Hasson, the exhibit’s curator who spent months sifting through the photos, choosing 60 for the exhibit and another 100 for the catalog.

‘Only Eyes’: Auschwitz Liberator Recalls Death Camp Inmates 75 Years On
His jacket sparkling with war medals, 96-year old David Dushman holds back the tears as he remembers the eyes of emaciated prisoners at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz which he helped liberate 75 years ago this month.

A Russian Jew, Dushman is one of the last surviving soldiers to have taken part in the liberation of the camp in January 1945 and he still struggles to explain how such a catastrophe could happen.

Dushman, who later became an Olympic fencer, joined the Red Army in 1941 after Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

“When we arrived we saw the fence and these unfortunate people, we broke through the fence with our tanks. We gave food to the prisoners and continued,” Dushman told Reuters.

“They were standing there, all of them in (prisoner) uniforms, only eyes, only eyes, very narrow — that was very terrible, very terrible,” Dushman recalled.

“We had not known that Auschwitz existed,” said Dushman, speaking in his flat in Munich, southern Germany, where he has lived since 1996.

More than 1.1 million men, women, and children lost their lives at Auschwitz, built by the Nazis in occupied Poland as the largest of their concentration camps and extermination centers.

Some six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Asked why Auschwitz happened, Dushman is flummoxed.

“I’m not a politician, it’s hard for me to say. Of course it’s completely incomprehensible,” he said, adding he hoped nothing like it would ever happen again.
Book Review: Aharon Appelfeld’s ‘To The Edge of Sorrow’ Asks the Right Questions
The Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld died in 2018. His novel To the Edge of Sorrow, published in Israel in 2012, is out this week in English from Schocken Books, translated by Stuart Schoffman.

The book is set during the Holocaust. Amid recent news reports of violent antisemitism in America, a story about partisan fighters weathering a bleak Eastern European winter while trying unsuccessfully to prevent genocide stuck me as a potential downer. All the more so because, notwithstanding its title, the tale at times goes far beyond the “edge” of sorrow and ends up deep in the depths of it: “One of the fighters once sank into a depression so deep it seemed he was finished. … His face grew grayer by the hour, and he was on the edge of collapse.”

Don’t be scared away by the topic or the title, though: It’s actually a tale with inspiring, even uplifting themes, told in a suspenseful way that makes you feel like you are right there in the woods during World War II. The leader of the band of partisans, Kamil, is described as saying, “If we will learn to conquer despair, to stay fixed on our goal, and to understand that being a Jew is no small matter, we will live to see the downfall of the enemy.” Or, in other words, “Kamil wants to instill in us the feeling that it is impossible to fight a determined enemy without love of the tribe, its God, and its beliefs.” Kamil quotes the Talmud: “He who comes to kill you, kill him first.”

The narrator, Edmund, had before the war dated a non-Jewish woman. She asked him, “Why do people hate the Jews?” This is a question still on people’s minds in contemporary reality.
The only novel written at Auschwitz is finally to be published in English
Seventy-five years after Eddy de Wind wrote a novel at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the late psychiatrist’s book will be translated into English and a dozen other languages.

Set for release on January 20, “Last Stop Auschwitz: My Story of Survival From Within the Camp,” was written during the days immediately after the Nazi death camp’s liberation. Hiding in a pile of old clothes underneath a barracks, de Wind used a foraged notebook and pencils to craft his account.

Not knowing whether he would fall into Russian, German, or other hands, the Dutch-Jewish de Wind used the pen name Hans van Dam. The book is a montage of the camp’s brutalities set against de Wind’s love for Friedel, his wife who was imprisoned a few yards away from him in the notorious “Block 10.”

In his book, de Wind wrote about the smell of “searing flesh” emanating from the Auschwitz I crematorium chimney, and how it affected his mindset.

“You are tired sick and disgusted with yourself, because you are a human being and because an SS-man is also a ‘human being,’” wrote de Wind.

Although “Last Stop Auschwitz” was first published in Dutch in 1946, it did not find a large audience outside of survivors. Since de Wind’s death in 1987, family members have worked to publish the book on a larger scale in many languages.

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