Wednesday, January 27, 2021

From Ian:

Benjamin Netanyahu: Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘Never Again’ Is More Than a Slogan
Some thought that after the horrors of Auschwitz and Treblinka, humanity would learn its lesson once and for all, disavow antisemitism, and throw the destructive hatred onto the ash heap of history where it belonged. However, they were sorely mistaken. The gangrene of antisemitism continues to spread in the 21st century. We see expressions of it at respected universities in North America, in Islamic madrasas in south Asia, and among the European elite.

Antisemitism is present in the developed Western world as well as the developing East. It is the official policy of Iran, which day after day declares arrogantly: Our goal is to kill another six million Jews and destroy Israel. Indeed, no vaccine has been found for the virus of antisemitism. Some would say that it will never go away, because things don’t change.

But I can tell you what has changed: we, the Jewish people, have changed. During the Holocaust we had no home, no state, and no salvation, and were forced to beg others to defend us; but that is no longer the case.

Today we are free, established in our homeland, and the superior power in our independent country. As prime minister of the proud, strong State of Israel, a state that was reborn after the Holocaust, a state that was built on the ashes of destruction, a state that gave survivors a home, a state in which the Jewish people is living the fulfilment of a dream, I swear that we will never forget the tragic past, and will never again be helpless against those who seek to kill us.

“Never again” is not merely a slogan. It is our policy, our mission, and our task. We will execute it, and with God’s help ensure that the Jewish people live forever.


Jpost Editorial: Holocaust Remembrance Day: We remember
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday that because the pandemic had led to rising antisemitism, “The world must remain vigilant against this persistent form of racism and religious persecution.”

Speaking at an online event, Guterres said although antisemitism found its most horrific expression in the Holocaust, it did not end there and continues to blight the world today.

“It is sad, but not surprising, that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered yet another eruption of this poisonous ideology. We can never let down our guard,” he said. “In Europe, the United States and elsewhere, white supremacists are organizing and recruiting across borders, flaunting the symbols and tropes of the Nazis and their murderous ambitions.”

The rise in hatred and antisemitism, Guterres said, must be seen in the context of a global attack on truth, and as the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes every year. Guterres concluded, “We must make ever greater efforts to elevate the truth and ensure that it lives on.” We applaud the secretary-general for his remarks, and support his call for coordinated global action to counter the growth and spread of neo-Nazism, white supremacy and antisemitism, and to fight propaganda and disinformation.

“History shows that those who undermine truth ultimately undermine themselves,” the UN chief noted. “The only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic is through science and fact-based analysis. The production of vaccines in record time is testimony to the effectiveness of this approach. There is no vaccine for antisemitism and xenophobia, but our best weapon remains the truth.”

The truth is that six million Jews – about two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population – perished during the Holocaust, 1.1 million of them at Auschwitz. Today, an estimated 400,000 survivors are still living, almost half of them in Israel. As we stand alone but together today, let us declare in unison, “We remember!”
The Courage of William Cooper
In the early 2000s, Abe Schwarz was working and living in Echuca, a small town 115 miles north of Melbourne, Australia, where he was tasked with organizing a conference to discuss the prevention of youth suicide in the area. After this conference, an Aboriginal elder from the Yorta Yorta clan approached Schwarz to ask if he was “from the Hebrew mob.” When Schwarz confirmed that he was Jewish, the elder told him that he had “always wanted to meet someone of the mob that my mob tried to save.”

The elder then described the details of an incident that was well known among members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal clan, but mostly unknown to members of the Australian Jewish community.

On Dec. 6, 1938—one month after Kristallnacht—a 77-year-old Yorta Yorta Aboriginal man named William Cooper had led a delegation, along with members of the Australian Aborigines League, to the German Consulate in Melbourne to deliver a letter protesting the violence against Jewish people in Germany. The letter was refused, and Cooper and his delegation were turned away from the consulate.

This protest on behalf of European Jews was extraordinary—not just because Cooper was protesting an injustice that many countries had failed to properly address, but because Cooper himself was an oppressed Australian Aboriginal man trying to fight for his own rights, yet nonetheless felt compelled to take the time to call out the injustice against European Jews thousands of miles away.

Schwarz was intrigued. As he told Tablet recently: “The next day I called the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne and asked them for more information.”

“It took the centre some time to pull together the facts,” he said, “but they were able to verify the story through newspaper clippings in their archives which had been published on Dec. 7, 1938, the day after Cooper’s delegation was turned away from the consulate, and some prior research undertaken by members of the Jewish and Aboriginal communities.”


It was the new phenomenon of Israel-focused antisemitism that required the new definition. David Hirsh responds to a recent ‘call to reject’ the IHRA
The 40 writers of the ‘call to reject’ the IHRA definition of antisemitism parade and mobilise their Israeli identities in an effort to give their position greater moral weight. Their message is aimed at licensing and encouraging their non-Jewish and non-Israeli colleagues to support a controversial position on antisemitism which the overwhelming majority of Jews and Israelis oppose.

They write not only ‘asaJew’ but also as Israelis. And not only as Jews and Israelis, but as antiracist Jews and Israelis, as though this is a special and rare subcategory. The truth is that the ‘call to reject’ position on antisemitism is opposed by the overwhelming majority of antiracist Jews and Israelis. And most Jews and Israelis, just like anybody else, are against racism. And the ‘call to reject’ position is opposed by Jews who are against racism because they’re against racism, not in spite of it. To campaign specifically against the racism that targets you yourself is not disgraceful and nor does it signify a softness on racism that targets other people.

Generally, with identity politics, people say that their ‘lived experience’ as members of a targeted group gives them some special insight, partially hidden from those outside, to the nature of the racism that they suffer.

Nancy Hartsock argued that a standpoint ‘carries with it the contention that there are some perspectives on society from which, however well-intentioned one may be, the real relations of humans with each other and with the natural world are not visible.’[1]

But the ‘call to reject’ inverts identity politics. Its claim is that membership of the targeted group gives them not a privileged view, based on experience, of the racism that Jews suffer, but rather… special inside knowledge of the self-serving and dishonest claims made by the majority of Jews! They write as though their standpoint requires them to bear witness against the majority of Jews and Jewish institutions and to warn non-Jews about Jewish cunning, dishonesty and selfishness.

Most Jews on campus say that they experience antisemitism and they would like it if their fellow scholars and students were better at recognising and opposing it.[2] But the ‘call to reject’ by the 40 is keen to inform colleagues that the claims of mainstream Jews that they experience antisemitism are fake and that their IHRA definition is cooked up by Zionists, racists and Tories in a bad faith effort to silence criticism of Israel and to smear the left.
Major German Companies, Including Daimler, VW and Deutsche Bank, Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
Five leading companies in Germany adopted the leading definition of antisemitism Tuesday, in a joint declaration announced on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The companies — Deutsche Bank, the automotive firms Daimler AG and Volkswagen, the state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn, and the sports club Borussia Dortmund — include those with admitted historical ties to the Nazi regime during World War Two.

Alongside the group Germany’s Friends of Yad Vashem, the corporations made the decision to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by Germany and 23 other European countries.

“We are acutely aware of our historical responsibility and are resolutely committed to a society and a future without hate and extremism,” said Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz in a statement. “With this joint declaration we express our solidarity with those confronted with antisemitism and we clearly commit to a Germany that is open to the world, tolerant and diverse, free of antisemitism and racism.”

Leading Jewish groups applauded the decision to endorse the Working Definition, with the American Jewish Committee calling it a “clear signal.”

“They are telling their employees worldwide, as well as their customers, that antisemitism has no place in their organizations,” said Dr. Remko Leemhuis, Director of AJC Berlin. “We look to many more companies and organizations taking similar action.”
AJC praises German corporate giants for adopting IRHA definition of anti-Semitism
American Jewish Committee (AJC) Berlin welcomes the joint declaration of five major German corporations to combat antisemitism. Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen, and Borussia Dortmund published a statement today endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

Germany's Friends of Yad Vashem joined in the statement, issued on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"By adopting the IHRA Working Definition, these five well-known German companies are sending a clear signal. They are telling their employees worldwide, as well as their customers, that anti-Semitism has no place in their organizations," said AJC Berlin Director Dr. Remko Leemhuis.

"We look to many more companies and organizations taking similar action," Leemhuis said.


Holocaust memorial to be built in Canberra
A museum and education centre will soon be built in Canberra to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.

The federal government will commit $750,000 towards the new facility.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who lost family members in the Holocaust, described it as one of the darkest chapters in world history.

"It doesn't matter if you're Jewish or non-Jewish, understanding the Holocaust and learning lessons of the past is critical to a better future for all of us," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

More than six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, including 1.5 million children, while other minority groups were also victims of the Nazi killing machine.

Mr Frydenberg said the genocide was not just a crime against the Jewish people, but a crime against humanity.

"If we were to observe a minute's silence for every victim, that silence would go for 11 years," he said.

"And now, survivors are passing by, and with time memories fade, events are forgotten.

"There is historic revisionism in some parts of the world, in some countries, and that's why reminding everyone of that tragic chapter in world history is so important."

Wednesday marks the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.


Why a year after the Holocaust, my parents are happy in DP camp photos
After my parents passed away, I began to look through a pile of photos showing them when they were refugees in Germany after the Holocaust. The photos are puzzling: My parents’ families have been murdered in Poland by the Germans, dark clouds hang over the future, and yet they look like they are on vacation. They are smiling, lounging in bathing suits, and drinking beer in cafes.

Together with other descendants of survivors, I have been trying to figure out what was going on during this period our parents seldom mentioned.

Between 1946 and 1949 about 250,000 survivors took refuge in American-occupied Germany. Fleeing anti-Semitism and Communism, they hoped the Displaced Persons (DP) camps set up by the American Army would serve as a gateway to the emerging Jewish state or to the West.

As the British blocked their entry to the nascent Jewish homeland and the United States, Canada and other countries refused to let them in, a long waiting period ensued. Bolstered by food and clothing from American Jewish relief organizations, the DPs soon launched a huge baby boom.

Seven decades later, these “babies” are connecting with one another through Facebook groups and reunions — even though most of them last saw each other while lying in a baby carriage.

One thing many of us have in common, oddly enough, is an inheritance of large numbers photos from the DP era, left behind by our parents, whose stories about the Holocaust tended to overshadow reminiscences of the period that followed.
German Jewish Women Resist the Nazis
From the time Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, numbers of German Jews resisted his regime. Jewish women played a significant part in this opposition. Until recently, their role has been overlooked. German Jewish women who defied the Nazi regime took great risks in doing so. They faced sexual assault, sadistic torture, and being gruesomely executed, oftentimes by beheading. Despite these dangers, a number of them continued to defy Hitler’s government. Their acts of daring in the face of the Nazi plan to annihilate all Jews has received little scholarly or public attention.

These women deviated from the opinion that the role of women should only be “children, kitchen, church,” and they persisted in defying the Nazis. Against all odds, these women stayed true to their convictions. Without them, the Jewish resistance groups in Germany would have collapsed. Generally, the women were members of mixed groups of men and women. The only known Jewish group consisting entirely of women was active in and around Berlin, which contained 160,000 Jews, out of a total German Jewish population of 505,000.

Marion A. Kaplan, in her book Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (1998), offers an incisive portrait of Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime. She explains that hiding from the Nazis was frequently an isolated move by Jewish individuals, or by Jews from the same family. In all cases, they tried to support one another. Those Jews who were fugitives in Berlin tried to relieve their isolation by meeting in cafés and by setting up a Jewish grapevine. They used the grapevine to warn each other of the locations of persons who wanted to catch them. And they traded information about where to get false identity cards and about border runners who were willing and able to smuggle Jews out of Germany. Some of the women formed groups that augmented those of Jews already in hiding, and who had shelters and false documents prepared for other Jews. Berlin was an ideal place for this kind of activity, since Jews there were able to connect with one another fairly easily. Jews who had to shift from village to village or hide in small towns had few other Jews with whom to communicate.

The Chug Chaluzi (Pioneer Circle) was one such German Jewish resistance group. Edith Wolff, a young woman who had been brought up as a Protestant, but turned to Judaism and Zionism in protest against the National Socialists, organized the group in her home together with her boyfriend, Jizchak Schwersenz, a teacher, Zionist, and youth leader, on Feb. 27, 1943. This was the same day that all Jewish forced laborers were arrested and most of them deported. The group originally had 11 members, all of whom had been members of Zionist youth groups. Between 1943 and 1945, the group supported an estimated 50 Jews in hiding. Most of them lived illegally in Berlin. Group members helped each other obtain food, false ID cards, and places to stay. At the end of the war, Chug Chaluzi had approximately 40 members.
Auschwitz survivor, 92, takes over @Israel for Holocaust Remembrance Day
The 663,700 followers of Israel’s official Twitter page were offered content that is markedly different than the account’s usual fare Wednesday.

The profile picture featured a 92-year-old man, with the numbers tattooed on his left arm as the background image. The name of the page is now “Itzik Yaakobi – Prisoner B.11057.”


Yaakobi, who survived Auschwitz and a death march, was the only member of his family to make it through the Holocaust.

The one-day initiative, called #HowItzikSurvived, was the work of the Foreign Ministry’s digital diplomacy section, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yaakobi (with some technical help) tweeted out his memories from the Holocaust and answered tweeted questions from the public.

Yaakobi was born in Debrecen, Hungary in 1929 to an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic family, and studied at a yeshiva. He was 13 when the Jews were moved to ghettos.

“The Nazis purposely fed us pork,” Yaakobi recalled in a tweet. “My mother made me eat it because we were starving. I vomited it up.”

He was transported to Auschwitz at the age of 14. He stood by his grandfather Ze’ev’s side for one of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s notorious “selections.”

“I heard a voice call out ‘Ervinke’ (that was my Hungarian name) go to the right! It was my cousin Poli. My grandfather told me to listen to him. Poli saved my life. My grandfather was sent to the left. That was the last time I saw him.”

Yaakobi became close friends Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in the “Kinder Lager” camp for children. The two studied the Talmud tractate Bava Kama together, which Yaakobi still knows by heart.
Pro-Abraham Accords NGO reveals five-point plan implementing Holocaust education in Arab world
Sharaka, an NGO comprised of young Israeli and Gulf leaders, unveiled a five-point plan to introduce comprehensive Holocaust education in the Arab world during a unique webinar honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Arsen Ostrovsky, Pro-Israel advocate and Sharaka board member, shared the organization’s plan to eliminate Holocaust denial and anti-Israel deligitimization in the Arab world, saying the plan will consist of advancing Holocaust awareness in the Middle East; facilitating interfaith dialouge between Jews and Muslims; promoting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism; combating Jew hatred and rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

"We, the members of Sharaka, from across the Middle East and North Africa, take the words ‘Never Again’ as sacrosanct, and strive to never remain silent or indifferent in the face of hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism,” Sharaka board members said in a statement. “We must, and we shall, continue to learn and share the lessons of the Holocaust, in order to create a better future for all, free of prejudice, intolerance and extremism."

The webinar, which featured remarks by President Reuven Rivlin and Holocaust survivor Vera Kriegel left many of the some hundred attendees in tears after hearing her harrowing story of survival.

“This pandemic has closed borders and distanced us but it has also reminded us of our shared humanity and the need to work together,” Rivlin said of the event which gathered attendees from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and even Pakistan. “Unfortunately, Coronavirus has given rise to more anti-semitic conspiracy theories and we have continued to see attacks against synagogues and Jewish institutions.”

The president said he was very “moved” to see Jews, Muslims, Christians and Jews coming together in the joint mission to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten.

Kriegel, too, was equally emotional by the outpouring of support she received after recounting being held captive in Auschwitz and used as part of Dr. Joseph Menegele’s diabolical experiments.


Jonathan S. Tobin: What's the matter with Holocaust education?
There seems to be a consensus from right to left that anti-Semitism is on the rise both in the United States and around the globe. That will be the theme of many remarks by politicians, rabbis and Jewish organization leaders during International Holocaust Remembrance Day this week. Part of the exhortations we will hear will involve a dedication to promoting education about the Holocaust, which is something that seemingly all decent people now agree is a necessary antidote to anti-Semitism and other examples of prejudice. Those involved in promoting Holocaust-education programs, which now includes the federal and many state governments, will call for more funding for these efforts.

But what if the emphasis on teaching about the Shoah is a mistake with respect to the Jewish community's priorities, in addition to the assumption that it will combat anti-Semitism?

It hasn't even occurred to most Jewish leaders to pose those questions, let alone to answer them in the negative. Yet that is what Professor Ruth Wisse did recently in an important essay in National Affairs magazine that should be mandatory reading for those who care about the appropriate response to the Holocaust by both Jews and non-Jews. In discussing what she termed, "The Dark Side of Holocaust Education," Wisse has presented a challenge to conventional wisdom about the subject, as well as to many of the misguided pieties about the uses of history that all too many Jews have foolishly embraced.

The problem is not just the usual glaring contrast between the sympathy that is expressed for the victims of the Holocaust and the indifference, if not hostility, often directed towards the struggle of the living, breathing Jews of Israel to defend themselves against a variety of threats. In the court of international public opinion, dead Jews always seem more popular than live ones.

The troubling aspect of Holocaust education is that not only does it not do what its well-intended Jewish and non-Jewish boosters want it to, but creates other problems as well.

At issue here is not the obligation to remember the Shoah and its victims. That's a sacred duty – and one that has become integrated into the calendar of the Jewish people in a variety of ways and in important institutions like Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. As Wisse notes, Jews have never forgotten the victims of the Roman destruction of Jewish life 2,000 years ago. The murder of one out of every three Jews who were alive prior to World War II only 80 years ago is a singular crime that will remain forever burned into Jewish memory.

But Holocaust education as it evolved over the years, as a subject attracting more secular interest, isn't really about the Jewish victims or teaching about anti-Semitism. It's about making the Holocaust a symbol of all terrible crimes against humanity.
World Jewish Congress president tackles the antisemitism of today
Today, education is more vital than ever, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough. Today, I think there must be a more forceful and universal response to antisemitism.

I have called on Germany to lead all nations in not just condemning antisemitism and all forms of hatred, but passing strict laws that would make life very difficult for anyone broadcasting this hatred. Every country on every continent should step up and not just pledge to do it, they should actually do it. This has to be one topic that we can all agree on. And when countries go out of their way to promote this hatred, as Iran has done with its antisemitism Holocaust conferences, they should be shunned by all nations.

Perhaps now, the UN could stop its fixation on the only Jewish nation on earth (another stark form of antisemitism in my opinion), and strongly condemn this upsurge of hate.

The world has to be reminded, apparently, again and again, that while Germany went after Jews as soon as the Nazis took power in 1933, just 12 years later, cities across Europe were left in ruins and over 60 million human beings were killed. As the late Rabbi Sachs of Great Britain has said, the hatred that begins with Jews, never ends with Jews.

So on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wish I could offer some upbeat, good news on this topic. I cannot. I am struck that the world’s attitudes towards Jews has not grown better. They have become worse, which suggests that we must redouble our efforts in fighting this hatred. We must encourage all people, everywhere, to have zero tolerance for hatred – against Jews and anyone else.

Yes, we must educate a younger generation about what antisemitism is and where it leads, but that process must be expanded to reach all people of all ages. Just as the world is making huge efforts to vaccinate everyone against the COVID virus, people need to be constantly inoculated against the other, much older virus, that never seems to go away.

I am always reminded of my first trip to Auschwitz with a former inmate, Elie Wiesel. As we were standing near his barracks, he said in thoughtful voice, “You know, people think the opposite of love is hate. It’s not. It’s indifference.”

Elie was so right. It is not just active hatred that we must continue to fight. It’s indifference and that’s a lot harder to eradicate.
Steve Apfel: How people deny the Holocaust without denying it
Which of the two is more dangerous: the clever denier or the foolish? We are about to see. America and Europe swim in progressives. They are academics and the mob, celebrities and champions of change (Linda Sarsour), groups with a grudge (Me Too, Women against Trump, LGBT, Antifa, BLM).

In the US Congress itself ‘Nazi’ is scattered like confetti. Trump and supporters are Nazis for not wanting waves of ‘asylum seekers’ to crash the border, or for insurrection by invading the Capitol.

Perhaps worst of all is when Israelis sling ‘Nazi’ at Israelis. Of course not for commiting genocide. The Israeli Holocaust down-grader is not such a fool. Haaretz columnist, Adira Haas is a good model. No one, she says, has the right to rank and rate suffering. Whether the death camps or Gaza border clashes, suffering is suffering. Hail Holocaust denial with a twist of moral theory.

Whatever the method used people who deny the Holocaust without denying it have been effective. The progressive media, CNN and the NYT no less, have bought into Holocaust denial.

Observe here something beyond sly. Jews are not the direct object of hatred. Israelis treat the Palestinians badly. This back door invites us to enter. We are tempted, because Israelis give Israel-haters good reason.

If they hated Israel viscerally they would not be enlightened and only a few suckers would be attracted. But when haters attack Israel in a round-about way, via sympathy for Palestinian victims, sympathy is aroused and people are drawn. When hatred is clothed to look enlightened, disgust for Israel has a glow.

Those who deny the Holocaust without denying it have thought it all out. By claiming that Israelis are the Nazis of our time they polish up Hitler’s record while tarnishing Israel’s. Comes a point where the two meet, where like is like, and deniers can say that Jew = Nazi.

What seemed all light nonsense before seems all dark purpose now.
Anti-Semitism Makes a Comeback in Germany
The Federal Republic of Germany, which arose out of the ashes and carnage of the Third Reich that perpetrated the Holocaust, has become an ardent proponent of tolerance and justice and a determined opponent of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry. At the same time, the ghosts of Germany’s chilling past have never disappeared entirely, as is evidenced by the resurgence of far-right extremism, neo-Nazi activities, and the targeting of Jews in schools and elsewhere.

Since the end of World War II, German political and moral leaders have for the most part unambiguously repudiated the hate-filled Hitlerian ideology that led to the genocide of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. They instead have steered their country toward democracy and reconciliation, including paying more than $80 billion in reparations to Jews for the unimaginable crimes committed against them by Nazi Germany. Germany has also emerged as a steadfast friend and ally of the State of Israel. Although much work still needs to be done to foster tolerance, these central facts must lie at the core of any assessment of the alarming rise in anti-Semitism on German soil.

In a recent report, “2020 Top Ten Worst Global Anti-Semitic Incidents,” however, the Simon Wiesenthal Center fails to recognize Germany’s progress in condemning and illegalizing anti-Semitism, and erroneously emphasizes the effort by a so-called “German Elite” to “re-legitimize” the virulently anti-Israel BDS movement. The elite in question is a consortium of German intellectual institutions and groups that deems a German parliamentary resolution condemning BDS to be antithetical to the right of free speech. The report singles out a senior German Foreign Ministry official and three left-wing members of parliament for their outspoken pro-BDS stance.

Yet BDS is hardly mainstream politics in Germany, even on the left. In May of 2019, the German parliament adopted a resolution, supported by all of Germany’s main political parties, that explicitly defined the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and called on German government bodies to refrain from funding or supporting any groups that question Israel’s right to exist.
Despite Lockdown, No Let-Up in Violent Antisemitic Assaults on French Jews During 2020: Report
The number of violent antisemitic assaults on Jews in France remained consistent during 2020 despite the restrictions on movement imposed COVID-19 lockdowns, a new report from the Jewish community’s security service disclosed on Wednesday.

“In 2020, it should be noted that the number of violent attacks recorded — 44 — remained almost identical to the year 2019 — 45 — despite the three and a half months of confinement and the decrease in community activities,” the SPCJ security service stated in a press release.

However, the overall number of antisemitic acts recorded in 2020 was down by more than half, the SPCJ noted.

A total of 339 antisemitic incidents were recorded, compared with 687 in 2019 and 541 in 2018.

The SPCJ said that 2020 had been “marked by a new emboldening of antisemitic speech on the Internet,” pointing to the profusion of antisemitic conspiracy theories around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This hateful and stigmatizing speech against Jews on the Internet is not only virtual,” the SPCJ said. “It reflects the reality of antisemitic discourse in the public space, as revealed by several opinion surveys.”
Holocaust Remembrance Day: Luxembourg signs major restitution pledge
Luxembourg has signed an agreement on Wednesday with the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) regarding the restitution of property taken from Jews during the Holocaust.

The agreement, which was signed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, addresses numerous issues relating to the ongoing dispute over property restitution, such as looted art, insurance and dormant bank accounts.

However, it also provided monetary and practical steps that the Grand Duchy will take to restitute Holocaust survivors and contribute to historic research and memorialization of the Holocaust.

A total of a million euros will be donated to the WJRO in a symbolic acknowledgement of Jewish Luxembourgian Holocaust survivors, though these funds will be distributed through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

A further 120,000 euros will be donated every year for 30 years to the Luxembourg Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, which seeks to promote Holocaust remembrance. An increased budget will also be given to Le Comité pour la mémoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale – The Committee for the Remembrance of the Second World War.

The landlocked Western European country also committed to funding independent research and further work on its national archives for information relating to the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg, and to further collaborate on making a national antisemitism strategy.
Music Producer Floods Twitter With Comments Vilifying ‘Terrorist Gestapo State’ of Israel, While Inciting Violence
A Palestinian-American music producer and artist is facing criticism for repeatedly demonizing Israel and Zionism on social media, and calling for violence against the Jewish state.

Farid Karam Nassar — known professionally as FredWreck — has worked closely with music mogul Dr. Dre and produced records for artists such as Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and others. Born in Michigan and now based in Los Angeles, the Grammy award-winning producer was the disc jockey on “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” on VH1, which is owned by ViacomCBS. The show aired for two seasons and its third season was renamed “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge.” It’s last episode aired in February 2020.

In the month of January alone, FredWreck took to Twitter and expressed support for the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement; called Israel an “apartheid” and “terrorist gestapo state”; claimed Israeli settlers are “the true definition of [a] terrorist”; and said that “The zionists [sic] don’t want peace, they want pieces. #freePalestine.”

He previously called Israel “a nation of terror” and also slammed countries for normalizing relations with Israel, including the United Arab Emirates. After it was announced that Israel and Morocco would normalize ties, he said Morocco’s leader King Mohammed VI “just signed his death certificate” and called him “Another Arab Traitor.”

When then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited an Israeli winery in November 2020, the music producer called him a “Treacherous Fck” in a Twitter post and accused him of “legitimizing the illegal occupying thieves that pull your puppet strings.” A day later he called Zionism “a racist dogma” and claimed that “5 million Palestinians live under apartheid occupation by zionists since 1948.”
Israeli scientists unveil ‘powerful tool’ advancing personalized cancer medicine
Israeli scientists are claiming a breakthrough that could help doctors make more personalized decisions when choosing cancer drugs for their patients.

It is well known that many, but not all, cancer cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes — a phenomenon called aneuploidy.

Dr. Uri Ben-David of Tel Aviv University and his international collaborators have completed a massive study of 1,000 cancer cells, to uncover correlations between their aneuploidy levels and how much impact different drugs have on the cells.

They say that while aneuploidy has long been observed, it hasn’t helped doctors to advance treatment. He believes that the lab research, conducted jointly with academics in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, points to the potential of aneuploidy levels guiding drug decisions.

The data was published Wednesday in the influential peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“We systematically characterized aneuploidy levels in these 1,000 cancer cells, and have uncovered a set of ‘vulnerabilities’ that the cells have to different drugs based on indexing their aneuploidy levels,” Ben-David told The Times of Israel.
Sanofi’s $125 million Israeli drug buy could be a three-pronged cancer buster
The anti-cancer drug developed by Biond Biologics, which the Israeli startup will now try on humans in clinical trials with France-based multinational Sanofi, takes a multipronged approach to fighting tumors, activating three kind of cells in the immune system at the same time.

Paris-based multinational pharma firm Sanofi signed a licensing agreement earlier this month for Biond’s flagship anti-tumor drug BND-22, a cancer immunotherapy medication.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biond will receive an upfront payment of $125 million in cash and up to $1 billion in potential development, regulatory and sales milestones, as well as tiered double-digit royalty payments, the Israeli firm said in a statement. Biond will lead the first-in-human Phase 1a clinical trial of the drug, evaluating its safety and tolerability. Afterwards, Sanofi will take on development responsibilities and commercialization of the drug, Biond said.

“Immune oncology is about activating the immune system to fight cancer — and usually it is one drug that activates one kind of cell, either T-cells, or other cells,” said Tehila Ben-Moshe, the CEO and co-founder of the firm, in a phone interview.

The drug developed by Biond, however, is special in that it “activates three different kinds of immune cells at the same time — macrophages, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells,” which have been shown to play a key role in fighting cancer.

“Because the drug activates three different pathways, we hope it will give a strong and sustained anti-tumor response and show significant benefit,” she said.
Israeli pianist to play at UN Holocaust memorial day tribute
Israeli composer Amit Weiner has been playing the music of Jewish composers who perished in the Holocaust for nine years now.

It started in 2012 when he created a musical project called Music in Times of Tragedy that commemorates the lives and music of Jewish composers, such as Gideon Klein, Mordechai Gebirtig, Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, and Ilse Weber.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, his concert will be held online and streamed live as part of an event organized by the UN and the Israeli embassy in Geneva.

"I created this project in collaboration with Yad Vashem and the Jerusalem Academy of Music [and Dance] in 2012," Winter told Israel Hayom.

"It began with several concerts followed by explanations of the composers, in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. In 2016 I began working with the Foreign Ministry and embassies worldwide. I help them organize concerts and travel to play in different countries with the local musicians. This year, because of the coronavirus, the event is virtual, so we prepared three videos with an Israeli singer and a violinist, and me playing the piano."

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN Meirav Eilon Shahar are also scheduled to speak at the ceremony.

Weiner has held concerts in Singapore, China, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Vietnam. During his concerts, the audience learns about Jewish culture in Europe during the Holocaust and the efforts of Jews in concentration camps and ghettos to preserve cultural life against all odds.


Italian Photographer Honors Remaining Holocaust Survivors






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