Friday, August 20, 2021

From Ian:

Meir Y. Soloveichik: The Real Truth About the Temple Mount
Ultimately the problem with statements such as these is not their ignorance but that they give ammunition to enemies of Israel, who seek to lie about Jewish history. The hard truth is that in the past 54 years since the miraculous moment when Jews returned to ancient Jerusalem, the sacred city has itself been rebuilt—but the destruction of the remnants of the Temple has gotten worse. The waqf has destroyed much archeological evidence of the Temple that once was there, and many Palestinian leaders have denied that the Temple stood there in the first place. To say on television that the Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site is to provide propaganda to those who seek to negate the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

The episode is another reminder that the Jewish return to Jerusalem in 1967 marked one of the most miraculous moments in the history of the Jewish people, but it is also the anniversary of Israel’s greatest mistake. The victory in the Six-Day War could have been a moment to establish what Prime Minister Bennet rightly called “freedom of worship” on the Mount, a moment to enshrine the right for Jews to pray there as much as Muslims. But that moment was missed by Moshe Dayan, and the situation is very different today.

For those who care deeply about the Jewish connection to the Mount, and who desperately desire to pray there, it may well be that today it will be achieved first and foremost with finesse. A recent Israeli news report described how Israeli police are allowing visiting Jews on the Mount to pray—to do so quietly, unofficially, without the usual accoutrements such as prayer shawls and phylacteries, but to pray nonetheless. One of the unsung heroes of the surreptitious step forward seems to be Gilad Erdan, the outgoing Israeli ambassador to Washington, who will be staying on as Israel’s representative in the UN. Until recently the Israeli police atop the Mount would stop any Jewish act that came close to prayer, at times protesting even if a tour guide quoted the Bible. But the Jerusalem Post described how Erdan, while serving as Israel’s minister for public security, deliberately oversaw personnel changes to the police, ensuring that they “softened their attitude to Jewish visitors and did not remove those engaged in small, discreet Jewish prayer services from the site.”

Meanwhile, the government of Israel owes it to its citizens, and thousands of years of Jewish history, to state unequivocally that the Temple Mount, and not the Western Wall, is the locus of Jewish longing. It is not difficult to acknowledge, and it is important to do so for many reasons, but for one above all: It is true. And as long as lies and ignorance persist about the Jewish relationship with the Temple Mount, Jewish visits to what is undeniably Judaism’s most sacred site will become more important than ever.
The Tikvah Podcast: Allan Arkush on Ahad Ha’am and “The Jewish State and Jewish Problem”
In an 1897 essay called “The Jewish State and the Jewish Problem,” the Zionist writer A?ad Ha’am argued that “Judaism needs at present but little. It needs not an independent state, but only the creation in its native land of conditions favorable to its development: a good-sized settlement of Jews working without hindrance in every branch of culture, from agriculture and handicrafts to science and literature.” Ha’am believed that the most powerful arguments for Zionism were not economic but moral, and in his many essays he stressed the importance of forming a modern Jewish identity from authentically Jewish culture and ideas. Culture first, sovereignty later, in other words.

Ha’am was born in 1856 this week by the name Asher Ginsburg, and so we thought we’d mark the occasion by rebroadcasting a conversation about him between the Tikvah Fund’s executive director Eric Cohen and Allan Arkush, a professor of Judaic studies at Binghamton University and the senior contributing editor at the Jewish Review of Books. The two discuss Ha’am’s background, his ideas in this essay and elsewhere, and compare them to his more politically-minded Zionist rivals, namely Theodor Herzl.
Israel Was Not Created Because of Holocaust, Rather Ancient Jewish Roots & Modern Determination
Using the Holocaust to demonize Israel
The promotion of the mistaken theory that the Jewish state is but a byproduct of the WWII genocide has had a surreal boomerang effect, essentially opening the door to those with anti-Zionist agendas, as well as antisemites, to hijack Holocaust-related language and symbols in order to libel Israel by comparing its treatment of the Palestinians to that of the Jews by the Nazis.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly likened the Jewish state’s Gaza policy to the Nazi treatment of Jews. Erdogan has said that, “we view the Holocaust in the same way we view those besieging Gaza and carrying out massacres in it.”

Perhaps most well-known was when former Iranian president and vile antisemite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2007 accused Israel of using the Holocaust as a pretext for “genocide” against Palestinians.

Then there’s ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone. In 2018, The British Labour Party extended his suspension over a 2016 assertion that Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s. Livingston claimed he was merely “stating a historical fact.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Never Again For Anyone’ initiative is an especially egregious example as it demonizes Israel by advocating for the ‘Never Again’ mantra – created specifically in reference to the systematic murder of 6 million Jews – to be applied to the Palestinian people.

The big problem with cum hoc ergo propter hoc
The confluence of the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the Land of Israel, the Zionist movement’s monumental efforts to re-establish a Jewish state and a complex array of geopolitical factors are responsible for Israel’s creation. And this was likely to happen had the Holocaust never been perpetrated.

By failing to explain this reality, Associated Press, whose work is republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters across the globe, has, inadvertently or not, framed the near-miraculous actualization through perseverance and hard work of the Jewish people’s 2000-years-longing into a sort of “consolation prize”- gifted by a world that turned a blind eye to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Yisrael Medad: The US Charade of ‘Palestine’ in Jerusalem
In effect, the consulate acted as an instrument of policy that promoted the division of Jerusalem, the treating of Israelis in the area as second-class, while providing Arabs with exclusive preferential advantages and benefits, and overall keeping alive the idea of but one sole political solution—that of two states. Israel need not negotiate peace.

To be clear, the current Administration has every right to set its own foreign-affairs policy guidelines and objectives. It has the right to direct US State Department officials to act in tandem with those goals. On the other hand, I would hope that State Department career officers report back regularly to their superiors if that policy is working and succeeding (or not). That they would be informing them whether the results in the field are fair and promising. I would also hope that they would even be making suggestions as to how that current policy could be improved or even corrected.

It makes no practical sense to ignore the presence of almost 500,000 Jews living in the territory formerly illegally occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. At the very least, their input could enhance strategic thinking on behalf of those at the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in Washington.

Ignoring the Jewish residents is not only crass and inconsiderate, but it would appear to be following in step with Palestinian Authority assumptions. Those assumptions are that Jews have no legal rights in the territory international law viewed as the area of the reconstituted Jewish national home and certainly no rights of “close settlement” as guaranteed. Indeed, it would perhaps lend credence to a predetermined future of Arab apartheid practices against Jews, as well as another round of ethnic cleansing, and the re-division of Jerusalem. Foremost, based on the results of the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, Israel’s security would be negatively affected in the extreme by a territorial withdrawal.

If the State Department insists the consulate-disguised-as-a-unit is truly a necessity, as has been argued before, then why not establish it in Ramallah or Bethlehem? How many regular Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority can easily enter Jerusalem anyway? There are many more potential users of a consulate outside Jerusalem.

The United States should not be playing games in Jerusalem.

The Pro-Israel King of German Media Eyes Politico
Following in the footsteps of their journalistic colleagues across the United States, staffers at Politico are trying to form a union. And like other recent media unionization efforts, the push is animated not only (or even mainly) by actual labor concerns like working conditions, benefits, and compensation, but by editorial differences with management. According to a report from Axios, among the grievances expressed by Politico employees as justification for joining the News Guild is “the company’s handling of internal pushback against having Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro guest host [its] flagship newsletter product, Playbook, earlier this year.” Shapiro was one of a rotating cast of writers, including progressive MSNBC host Chris Hayes, a stint that lasted for a single day.

At the time, Politico editor-in-chief Matthew Kaminski stood firm by his decision to invite the conservative firebrand. “What sets Politico apart in this intense political and media moment,” read a January statement, “is that we rise above partisanship and ideological warfare—even as many seek to drag us into it.” And in light of recent news that Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate that launched a joint European venture with Politico in 2014, is in talks to purchase an ownership stake in the Washington-based company, attempts to steer the outlet toward ideological rigidity are likely to suffer an even greater setback.

To understand why, consider what happened two months ago, when Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner ordered the Israeli flag to be flown, alongside those of Germany and the European Union, outside the company’s Berlin headquarters. The order came after a spate of antisemitic attacks in Germany following the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in May. Döpfner’s expression of solidarity with the Jewish state (and with the European Jews who invariably become targets whenever violence erupts in the Middle East) upset some of his 15,000 employees, a small number of whom complained that Springer—which owns several Israeli websites, and whose jewels include the sober broadsheet Die Welt and the lively tabloid Bild, the bestselling paper in Europe—was taking sides in a contentious geopolitical conflict.

Were such a dispute to unfold at an elite institution in the United States, it’s not difficult to envisage what would follow. Seeking to mollify his staffers, students, or some other group ostensibly subordinate to him, Döpfner’s American counterpart would bend over backwards to rectify his grave offense. He would issue a groveling apology, replete with woke buzzwords and catchphrases, promising to “do the work” necessary to educate himself about the “literal violence” he had inflicted on “people of color.” He would confess his “white privilege.” He would ask his Muslim colleagues, so traumatized by his invidious endorsement of “Zionist imperialism” and “settler colonialism,” for forgiveness. And finally, when this litany of self-abnegation failed to appease the people he hired and had the ability to fire, he would resign.

Döpfner took a different tack. “I think, and I’m being very frank with you,” he said on a companywide conference call, “a person who has an issue with an Israeli flag being raised for one week here, after antisemitic demonstrations, should look for a new job.” And with that, the minor uprising at Axel Springer was kaput.
When I faced antisemitism, I was alone. Now, students have each other - opinion
In 1985, I stood in the corner of a crowded meeting room at the Wayne State University Student Center, stone-faced, while people I did not know lined up at a microphone to denounce me before the Student Newspaper Publications Board.

“I don’t think Howard Lovy should be editor of The South End because he is biased toward Israel,” said one, referring to the student newspaper, where I was up for the editor’s position.

The board would decide if I should take the top job. By virtue of my role at the paper, I was in a position to assume the top editor slot. “Howard is a Zionist,” said another critic, “so he should be disqualified from this important job as editor of The South End.”

Some of them said something about the racist rabbi, Rabbi Meir Kahane. Another said something about the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon three years previously by an Israel-allied militia group and with the knowledge of the Israeli army. Apparently, I was responsible for all these things and people. I should not have been surprised.

A few anti-Zionist students had targeted me months earlier, not only peppering the paper with letters to the editor about me but showing up at The South End office specifically to harass and threaten me.

But at this hearing, there were not dozens but hundreds of people I had never met telling the board about what a lousy journalist I was because I had written pieces on the opinion page in support of Israel. The Student Newspaper Publications Board, wary of controversy because of a previous editor’s anti-military activism, rejected me, and I did not get the job.
University caves in to pressure to display ‘ethnic cleansing’ text
The University of Manchester has reversed a decision to remove from an exhibition a statement describing Israel as engaging in ethnic cleansing, apartheid and environmental destruction.

The Whitworth Art Gallery — which is run by Manchester University — triggered outrage in the city’s Jewish community after it opened a show by the research group Forensic Architecture titled Cloud Studies that displayed the controversial statement at the exhibition’s entrance under the title ‘Forensic Architecture stands with Palestine’.

The show purports to detail the environmental effects of Israel’s military action in Gaza and the West Bank - as well as looking at “toxic clouds” in places such Indonesia, Argentina, Hong Kong, the UK, US, Mexico, Turkey, Lebanon.

It features films and displays that show how “tear gas, bomb clouds, chemical weapons... suffocate entire neighbourhoods and air pollution targets the marginalised”.

The university initially decided to remove the statement following complaints by UK Lawyers for Israel, Manchester Jewish Representative Council, North West Friends of Israel and the Manchester Zionist Central Council.

The lawyers group had written to Manchester University asking whether the statement complied with its public-sector equality duty to have due regard to fostering good relations between different communities.

Florida senator urges Commerce Department to investigate Ben & Jerry’s over Israel boycott
A U.S. senator from Florida is calling on the Department of Commerce to investigate Ben & Jerry’s for banning the sale of its products in parts of Israel.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Tuesday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) argued that an investigation is necessary to see if the ice-cream company’s boycott of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem violates the Export Administration Act of 1969, which states that the president is directed to “prohibit compliance with or support of any foreign boycott against a country which is friendly to the United States, with specified exceptions.”

“I am extremely concerned with Ben & Jerry’s anti-Semitic actions, and as the Office of Antiboycott Compliance is under your jurisdiction, I am calling on the Department of Commerce to initiate an investigation into whether or not Ben & Jerry’s recent decision violates the Export Administration Act of 1969,” Scott wrote.

The Florida senator insisted that the company be held “fully accountable” if the boycott is found to be against the law and added, “such boycotts of foreign countries are in violation of statute and horribly anti-Semitic.”
Ben and Jerry's Israeli Boycott Is Contrary to Human Rights and Decency
The Ben & Jerry's boycott of the West Bank is a dagger aimed at Israel. This boycott maligns the world's only Jewish state while denying the right of self-determination for Jews living in their ancestral homeland.

The "Occupied Territory" label, maliciously applied to the West Bank, ignores the Jewish people's historical connection to the land along with Israel's rights under international law to prosper there.

This region is the heart of the homeland of the Jewish people. In Hebron, thousands flock each week to the Cave of Machpelah. Purchased by Abraham nearly 4,000 years ago, it's the burial place of the Jewish patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and matriarchs (Sara, Rebecca and Leah).

In Jerusalem, King Solomon constructed the Holy Temple more than 3,000 years ago.

Israel also possess a legal right to thrive in this homeland, dating back to the League of Nations in 1922.

As Simon Maccabee said 2,160 years ago: "We [the Jews] have not taken strange lands, nor are we ruling over foreign territory. We have returned to our ancestral inheritance, from which we had been unjustly expelled by our enemies. And now that we have been blessed with the opportunity, we will hold onto our ancestral land."

BBC Two's inaccurate vaccination rates claims corrected four months on
Mr Stephen Franklin submitted a complaint to the BBC regarding the inaccuracy of Maitlis’ claims. Over a month after the broadcast – on May 24th – he received a response rejecting his complaint and stating that the BBC did not “consider this report to stray from accuracy”.

Mr Franklin submitted a second (Stage 1b) complaint to which he finally received a reply on August 16th. In that reply the BBC acknowledged that:
“You are right to say that we got our sums wrong – unfortunately we conflated the vaccination rate for Israeli Arabs (where there was, as you say, some reluctance to have the jab) and the very low rate for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza where Israel was not vaccinating the population. […] We also agree we should have been clear about the issue of vaccine hesitancy.”

The BBC has now published the following on its ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ webpage:

One may well wonder how effective that correction will be in ensuring that BBC Two viewers who were told that the vaccination rate among Israeli Arabs was only 0.5% will be relieved of the grossly inaccurate impression they were given almost four months ago.

Perhaps if the BBC discontinued its politically motivated practice of labelling Israeli Arabs as Palestinians despite the fact that most of them do not identify as such, that ‘conflation’ could have been avoided in the first place.

Police arrest 4 suspects in US yeshiva student’s slaying, rule out antisemitism
Four young men have been arrested for shooting and killing a Jewish student in Denver at the end of a violent crime spree Tuesday night. Police say there’s no indication the shooting was motivated by antisemitism.

The victim, Shmuel Silverberg, 18, was an Orthodox Jew who was killed outside Yeshiva Toras Chaim, the religious school where he was studying. But police say that after arresting and interviewing four of the young men suspected of murdering him, it doesn’t appear that he was killed because he was Jewish.

Matt Clark, a Denver police official, said that Silverberg’s death was likely the tragic end of a random string of crimes, allegedly committed one after another that night by the same group of people. None of the suspects, he said, has mentioned the fact that the person they are suspected of killing was a Jew.

Earlier in the night, the group allegedly shot another man while robbing him. They are also suspected of stealing a car and robbing a business. A fifth suspect is still at large.

“After examining the evidence, to include the series of offenses that were seemingly randomly committed, the random victimization that occurred, the close time frame of these events, I do not believe there is a bias motivation to these events,” said Clark, commander of the Denver Police Department’s major crimes division.

“At this point, no one has made mention of the victim’s religion or offered any information indicating they were targeting the school or the Jewish community,” he added. “While I cannot comprehend it, the best explanation we have at this point is that this group of offenders went out and randomly assaulted, robbed, stole from, shot and ultimately killed an individual that evening.”

Silverberg was shot outside the yeshiva, which is located in a quiet residential neighborhood of the city. According to police, he ran away from the attackers, who chased him just inside the school after shooting him. Fellow students tried to perform CPR on him before he was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
Rash of Antisemitic Vandalism in Toronto ‘Extremely Disturbing,’ Says Canadian Jewish Group After Synagogue Defaced
A major Canadian Jewish group called a recent spate of antisemitic acts of vandalism in the Toronto area “extremely disturbing” and urged action on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, a Toronto synagogue was defaced with a swastika, marking another in a series of antisemitic incidents over the course of 24 hours.

Previously, antisemitic graffiti was found on a local school, a sign denouncing antisemitism, and election posters for Jewish political candidates in Montreal.

In the second case, the sign calling for “#nohate against Jews” was defaced with “Free Palestine” and “Zionists aren’t Jews.”

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center President and CEO Michael Levitt said in a statement, “This rash of antisemitic incidents reaffirms what Toronto Police hate crime statistics had revealed, which is that antisemitic attacks are on the rise and the Jewish community continues to be the most victimized group.”

“It’s extremely disturbing to see such anti-Jewish hate be spread across the Greater Toronto Area,” he said. “It’s urgent for all Canadians to reject and call out antisemitism in all its forms and work to eradicate this type of hate from our society.”

“Hate against any one of us is hate against us all,” he asserted.

CAA applauds Labour Party councillors for apologising after ‘liking’ Facebook post comparing Tories to Hitler’s SS
Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds Labour Party councillors in Bassetlaw after they apologised for ‘liking’ a fellow councillor’s Facebook post which compared the Conservative Party to Adolf Hitler’s SS.

The SS, the abbreviation of Schutzstaffel, was the leading paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Ian Ampleford, a Momentum activist, shared a Facebook post explaining that he had been banned from a Facebook group because he “made an innocent post comparing the Tories to the SS”. He added sarcastically: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to anyone who voted for a German military organisation at the last general election.”

It is understood that Mr Ampleford’s original message, leading to his ban from the group, stated that his SS grandfather “would be proud of what the Tories have done to Britain”. This post was reportedly “liked” by Claire Plevin, a councillor for the ward of East Retford North.

Following this, East Retford West councillor, Jim Anderson, added to the inflammatory comparison with a post of his own, in which he stated that he was not surprised that Mr Ampleford had been “blackshirted”. He added: “Surely most self respecting SS thinkers would be appalled at being linked in such a way.” This post was then “liked” by Cllr Clarkson, the current Mayor of Retford.

Campaign Against Antisemitism called on the councillors to apologise. A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism told the Daily Express: “There is no reasonable basis for this offensive compariason. Such trivial equations of today’s politics with the darkest period in human history diminish the meaning and memory of the Holocaust. This is the opposite of the example politicians are supposed to be setting, both about Holocaust education and how to conduct public debate. Labour councillors must apologise.”
Israeli Researchers Use Cancer Patients’ Own Cells in 3D Printed Tumors to Test Treatments
Researchers have used brain cancer patients’ own cells in a form of 3D printing material to make a model of their tumor to test the efficacy of potential treatments before using them for real inside the body.

The scientists extract “a chunk” of the tumor from the brain of a patient with glioblastoma — an aggressive cancer with a very poor prognosis — and use it to print a model matching their MRI scans, said Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, who led the research at Tel Aviv University.

The patient’s blood is then pumped through the printed tumor, made with a compound that mimics the brain, followed by a drug or therapeutic treatment.

While previous research has used such “bioprinting” to simulate cancer environments, the Tel Aviv University researchers say they are the first to print a “viable” tumor.

“We have about two weeks (to) test all the different therapies that we would like to evaluate (on) that specific tumor, and get back with an answer — which treatment is predicted to be the best fit,” Satchi-Fainaro said.

A treatment is deemed promising if the printed tumor shrinks or if it lowers metabolic activity against control groups.

The research was published on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
Israel’s Addionics Charges Ahead With Next-Gen Batteries
Addionics registered another landmark in its mission to develop ‘chemistry-agnostic’ battery technology when it recently announced a partnership with the Centre of Process Innovation (CPI) and WMG, at the University of Warwick in England. The purpose of the partnership is to achieve improvements in lithium-ion battery cell performance and manufacturing processes using Addionics’ Smart 3D Electrodes and AI technology.

The project is known as Project STELLAR (Smart Three-dimensional ELectrode Lithium-ion batteries with Automated Robotics) and supported by Innovate UK, a government-funded body focused on driving productivity and economic growth.

“While everyone is trying to improve the chemistry of batteries, we’re improving the physics,” explained Addionics Co-Founder and CEO Moshiel Biton speaking to CTech. “So we are changing the internal architecture of it to improve battery performance, reduce charging time by 50 percent, we can improve the accessible capacity by double and also improve the lifecycle and safety.”

Addionics claims to help overcome some of the biggest challenges for manufacturers when combating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, such as driving range, charging time, safety, and cost of batteries made up of any chemistry. Despite batteries for EVs being a large part of its mission, the company also focuses on micromobility and consumer electronics, which he admits are a bit easier to generate early revenue. According to Biton, the company was inspired by the exploding phones saga in 2018.

“That was a big issue,” Biton remembered. “I remember during all the flights that I took, the flight attendant would announce that we should take the phone and put it in a solid box to prevent any potential explosions. At that time we were trying to mitigate the phenomenon, and there was a phenomenon.”
Jere Van Dyk: My Friend Ruth Pearl
In February 2002, I was at the CBS bureau in the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. I read a wire report that a journalist from the Wall Street Journal was missing in Karachi. I read another wire. I knew that something was wrong and volunteered to take a camera crew and go there; CBS agreed.

We soon learned that journalist’s name was Daniel Pearl, and that he was murdered by a group led by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a Pakistani-born British citizen. I sat in a courtroom in Karachi when the police brought Sheikh and two other men, with blankets over them and sat them on the wood floor behind us. My fixer told me there was video of his execution and asked if I wanted to see it. I said no. I called New York and officials took over and CBS acquired the video.

On February 16th, 2008, I crossed illegally in disguise from Afghanistan into the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, on a book contract from Times Books. I wanted to write about the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, off-limits to foreigners: what my editor called a blank space on the map. I wanted to find men I knew — particularly the Haqqanis, then our allies — when I spent time here as a fledgling correspondent for The New York Times, covering the Afghan-Soviet war.

I was hiking with my two bodyguards and fixer in the mountains of Mohmand Agency when I became the second American journalist kidnapped in Pakistan. After I was freed, I learned that Michael Semple, an Irish convert to Islam and a UN official, with ties to British intelligence, was responsible for my release. He came to Washington for a meeting and I met him there. “We did all we could,” he said, “to prevent a second Daniel Pearl.” I felt humbled. I was alive and Daniel Pearl was not.

In 2010, my book was published. I gave a talk one night at a journalists’ organization in New York, and I talked about this. Afterwards, as I was signing a book, a man stood before me and asked if I thought I would have survived if I was Jewish. I felt myself shudder. I thought back to some of the questions that my fixer, and later my main jailer asked me in captivity, one of which was, “did I eat pork?”
NYC exhibit of Nazi-looted art tells a tale of Jewish loss and recovery
In 1937, the Nazi Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda removed Marc Chagall’s “Purim” from the walls of the Museum of Folkwang in Essen, Germany. Depicting people exchanging food and sweets, the vibrant painting was deemed “degenerate” and summarily sold to a Berlin art collector and Nazi party member.

Now, 75 years after the end of World War II, the painting is one of 53 works of art and 80 ceremonial objects on display at New York’s Jewish Museum.

The exhibit, titled “Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art,” opens Friday and will run through January 2022. Recounting how these works withstood the violence of war, it details their often-complicated postwar rescue in a meditation on loss and recovery — both on an individual and collective scale.

“The exhibit is a sobering reminder of that history. We wanted to tell a concise and clear story of the looting but also to tell the story of recovery and ongoing restitution. It’s about coming to terms with what happened,” said Jewish Museum chief curator Darsie Alexander.

During the war, the Nazis systematically pillaged untold numbers of artworks and pieces of cultural property. They did it to enrich the Third Reich and to erase all traces of Jewish identity and culture. Although innumerable pieces remain missing, an estimated one million artworks and 2.5 million books have so far been recovered.

Of the pieces on display, it is perhaps the story of two Henri Matisse paintings, “The Girl in Yellow and Blue with Guitar” and “Daisies,” that truly epitomize the exhibit’s theme, said assistant curator Sam Sackeroff.

The Nazis stole both paintings from renowned French Jewish gallerist Paul Rosenberg, who had stored them in a bank vault in Bordeaux, France, before escaping to the United States, said Sackeroff.

The Nazis simultaneously broke into Rosenberg’s Paris gallery and turned it into an office space for the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question. From behind Rosenberg’s desk they organized “Le Juif en France,” one of history’s largest antisemitic exhibitions.


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