Wednesday, October 06, 2021

From Ian:

Auschwitz-Birkenau Site Vandalized With Antisemitic, Holocaust Denial Graffiti
Wooden barracks at the Auschwitz II -Birkenau death camp memorial site in Poland were vandalized with antisemitic phrases as well as Holocaust denial slogans, staff operating the memorial grounds disclosed on Tuesday.

Signs of the act were discovered on Tuesday on nine wooden barracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum site, the institution said in a statement. They included spray-painted inscriptions in English and German, some of them “antisemitic in nature.” There were “two references to the Old Testament, often used by antisemites, and denial slogans,” the statement read.

“Such incident is, above all, an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp,” the museum stated.

The museum said that the handwriting of the slogans would be analyzed, and that police have opened an investigation into the vandalism, with available video material now being examined.

“We hope that the person or persons who committed this outrageous act will be found and punished,” the museum said.

Staff at the museum called on anyone who may have been in the vicinity of the death camp site on Tuesday morning and witnessed the incident to come forward, particularly anyone with photos taken around the Gate of Death, at the entrance to Birkenau, and the wooden barracks.
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan Reacts to the Antisemitic Attack at Auschwitz
Today, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan reacted to the news about the antisemitic graffiti recently discovered at the site of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"We are very saddened by the attack on Auschwitz, the authentic location where over a million Jews were murdered, and strongly condemn the willful vandalism of the barracks there with antisemitic and Holocaust denial inscriptions. This incident, at such a major and significant site of the atrocities of the Holocaust, constitutes an attack not only on the memory of the victims, but also on the survivors and any person with a conscience. It is also yet another painful reminder that more must be done to raise awareness about the Holocaust and to educate the public and the younger generation regarding the dangers of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion."

Dara Horn: What Happens When the Last Jew Leaves Afghanistan
Places around the world now largely devoid of Jews have come to think fondly of the dead Jews who once shared their streets, and an entire industry has emerged to encourage tourism to these now historical sites. The locals in such places rarely minded when living Jews were either massacred or driven out.

But now they pine for the dead Jews, lovingly restoring their synagogues and cemeteries — sometimes while also pining for live Jewish tourists and their magic Jewish money. Egypt’s huge Jewish community predated Islam by at least six centuries; now that only a handful of Jews remain, the government has poured funding into restoring synagogues for tourists.

I have visited, and written about, many such “heritage sites” over the years, in countries ranging from Spain to China. Some are maintained by sincere and learned people, with deep research and profound courage. I wish that were the norm. More often, they are like Epcot pavilions, selling bagels and bobbleheads, sometimes hardly even mentioning why this synagogue is now a museum or a concert hall. Many Jewish travelers to such sites feel a discomfort they can barely name.

I’ve felt it too, every time. I’ve walked through places where Jews lived for hundreds or even thousands of years, people who share so many of the foundations of my own life — the language and books I cherish, the ideas that nourish me, the rhythms of my weeks and years — and I have felt the silence close in.

I don’t mean the dead Jews’ silence, but my own. I know how I am supposed to feel: solemn, calmly contemplative, and perhaps also grateful to whoever so kindly restored this synagogue or renamed this street. I stifle my disquiet, telling myself it is merely sorrow, burying it so deep that I no longer recognize what it really is: rage.

Dealing with the Lobby is not the toughest gig
When I read the extract in The Age last Saturday from the booklet by John Lyons, Dateline Jerusalem: Journalism’s Toughest Assignment, I assumed this title was meant to be satirical or ironic in some way.

Surely, the title was not to be taken literally, that reporting from Jerusalem where most foreign correspondents in my experience live comfortable lives, are well paid, their children go to good schools, and the restaurants are not too bad in most places if not quite as good as in Tel Aviv, was journalism’s toughest gig?

Then I read the whole booklet. It turns out that the title is no joke. And the title sums up what’s so strange about this booklet, because what Lyons means is that Jerusalem was so damn tough because of a bunch of Jews in Australia, most of them middle-aged or elderly, that he calls the Lobby. That’s coming from a former editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, the former Middle East correspondent of The Australian and currently a senior journalist at the ABC.

Really, you might ask? Really, I must answer.

Turns out that this booklet is not an examination in any real way of the challenges of reporting the Middle East. It is not about the fact that most correspondents, Lyons included I presume, do not speak Arabic or Hebrew, that history, contested history, is a living breathing constant presence in Israel and in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. It is not about the obstacles the Israeli military and civilian officials put in the way of foreign journalists, the way Hamas in Gaza controls what foreign journalists can see, who they can talk to, where they can go and never unaccompanied.

Even had this been the subject of this booklet, describing the Jerusalem gig as the toughest assignment would have been a stretch. To put it mildly. Tougher than reporting the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan? Tougher than reporting the Syrian civil war? The Iraq war? Or the reporting of the ISIS caliphate during which journalists were beheaded? Seriously?

But no, this booklet is not about the challenges of reporting the Middle East. What Lyons is on about is how the so-called Lobby made his life miserable – mostly it’s about that – and how the Lobby has managed to reduce editors and executive producers and even journalists to mountains of jelly, threatening them on the one hand – with what is not clear, though surely not physical harm –and on the other, seducing them with junkets to Israel and lunches at the best restaurants in Jerusalem and the best wine from the Golan Heights even and accommodation during the junkets at the best hotels. Lyons knows this because he has taken one of these junkets, which he now regrets, of course.
The media's dangerous embrace of Mohammed el-Kurd
There are three issues with the mainstreaming of el-Kurd and his bigoted rhetoric. First, presenting his rhetoric as representative of Palestinian voices is anti-Palestinian in and of itself. Normalizing and elevating a Palestinian voice that has, on multiple occasions, advocated for ethnic cleansing and terrorism while ignoring or downplaying those who denounce rejectionism and urge reconciliation with Israel, stigmatizes Palestinians, painting them as barbarians hungry for blood, not peace and prosperity. When outlets lend their platforms to el-Kurd, they are simply giving increased attention to those who seek to perpetuate violence and suffering.

Second, el-Kurd’s rhetoric dehumanizes Israelis and Palestinians alike. Following his celebration of the Second Intifada’s “martyrs,” it should be clear that el-Kurd views his own people as pawns who should willingly sacrifice their lives and those of their loved ones to “decolonize,” a euphemism used by those trying to disguise their antisemitism and advocacy for ethnic cleansing as social justice. Both peoples deserve better.

Third, the seemingly widespread respect for el-Kurd in popular culture bolsters antisemitism around the world. The Nation may insist that his addition to its staff “lifts up marginalized voices” and champions “the Palestinian resistance,” but in reality, it legitimizes hatred that — even if not prolific within Palestinian society today — has existed in the Holy Land for nearly a century. The toxic idea that Jewish civilians are legitimate targets in the fight against Zionism found adherents as early as April 1920 . As the words and deeds of Hamas (the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip) lay bare, such an outlook engenders devastation even today.

That prominent media outlets would lionize el-Kurd’s “activism” indicates a pathological undercurrent of antisemitism in the wider culture. Today, this age-old hatred frequently manifests as hatred of the Jewish state. During the recent war between Israel and Hamas, antisemitism surged ; analyses showed similar trends during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Racism upside down
Many of these Democrats encourage Omar to keep on pursuing her outrageous scandalous activities, her anti-patriotic attacks on America, her antisemitic attacks on Jews, by painting her as a victim. They let her use her Muslim, black female status as a shield; They told her that she could go on spreading venom with impunity since any condemnation, any criticism, would be pushed back by framing her accusers as those who practice racism against her race, religion and gender.

This is a classic example of how racism has been employed by an anti-Semite as a shield. She can do and say anything as outrageous as she likes, including lies, unfiltered venom, racist remarks against whites, Jews, and others. She is shielded by her minority status, and don’t you dare criticize her.

You can’t hide. The “progressives” will find you… If you do dare criticize this racist, black Muslim woman, you are the racist; she is the victim. By definition.

OJ Simpson was found “Not Guilty” but not because he was not guilty of murdering two people. It was because his attorney was able to convince the naïve jury that the defendant had been framed by a racist system. The evidence against OJ was overwhelming. Any person with an IQ above room temperature (in Fahrenheit ~ about 70 degrees) could come to a doubtless conclusion about his guilt. Yet, the race card provided a perfect shield, even in that case. And don’t you dare challenge the verdict! OJ was clearly the victim in this case. Yeah! Of course…

Enough! I am tired of this crazy inverted definition, where the real racists are shielded by feigned victimhood, and those who expose them are the racists. Enough! Unacceptable! The truth should no longer be behind bars and blinds. Not in this house.
Kamala's non-denial 'denial' on Israel and genocide
Days passed. The criticism of the vice president continued. So, on Friday – three days after the initial incident, Harris's spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, emailed a statement to the JTA saying the vice president "strongly disagrees" with the Israel-bashing student.

Here is how Ms. Sanders put it: "While visiting George Mason University to discuss voting rights, a student voiced a personal opinion during a political science class. The vice president strongly disagrees with the student's characterization of Israel."

It was the classic non-denial denial. Notice how Sanders didn't acknowledge what the student said – thereby drastically diluting the power of Harris's response. Next, Sanders said the vice president "strongly disagrees" with the student's non-quoted words. Not "condemns." Just "disagrees." As if accusing Israel of "ethnic genocide" is a perfectly reasonable, legitimate charge, one that intelligent people can debate. You know, like whether or not there was a Holocaust, or whether the earth is round or flat.

Harris got the headline she wanted – the one she hopes will diffuse the controversy. The Jewish community will read that she "strongly disagrees" with the genocide slur. But the truth is that the vice president has taken a bad situation and made it worse.

She should have rebuked the student on the spot. Failing that, she herself should be speaking about it now, not her spokeswoman. And she should be speaking about it in public, not "privately reaching out" to a few Jewish supporters.

And, most of all, the vice president should be saying these simple words, whether the radical wing of her party likes it or not: "Israel is not guilty of genocide. The Arab war against Israel, by contrast, is, very much an attempted genocide – an ongoing attempted genocide which the United States, and all civilized countries, should be doing their best to prevent."

Because that's the truth.

Piers Corbyn says antisemitism allegations against him and his brother are a “pack of lies”
A video has emerged of Piers Corbyn claiming that allegations of antisemitism against him and his brother Jeremy Corbyn, the antisemitic former Labour Party Leader, are a “pack of lies”.

Speaking outside of the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Corbyn was asked if anyone at the conference had raised concerns of antisemitism to him, to which the controversial lockdown-sceptic replied that “nobody has said anything about that at all”, before adding: “It’s all a pack of lies and people know that.”

When asked what he meant by the phrase “pack of lies”, Mr Corbyn said: “The idea that me and my brother are antisemitic…he’s not antisemitic and neither am I.”

In August, Mr Corbyn suggested that “troublemakers” in Jewish areas posted leaflets created and distributed by Mr Corbyn, which compared the COVID-19 vaccines to the Auschwitz death camp, through their own doors in a “plot” to portray him as antisemitic.

When asked “Why was it leafleted in Jewish areas?”, Mr Corbyn replied: “It wasn’t specifically leafleted in any particular areas. That is a lie made up by the media. Or, some troublemakers leafleted it through their own doors, I suspect, and then came forward.”

“To try and portray you as antisemitic?”, Mr Riach asked, to which Mr Corbyn responded “Yes, yes.” When Mr Riach asked whether it was a conspiracy or not, Mr Corbyn replied: “Well, certainly a plot.”

NGO Monitor: EU opens official investigation into allegations of funding to terror-linked NGOs
As Israeli government frameworks reveal more information on the connections between European funded Palestinian NGOs and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, European government bodies have launched investigations into this funding.

The latest Israeli revelations and European investigation began with a May 2021 Israel Security Agency announcement that it had uncovered a network of NGOs that diverted humanitarian assistance from European governments to the PFLP. 1

Since then, Israeli authorities have taken steps against four Palestinian NGOs with reported ties to the PFLP – Health Work Committees (HWC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UWAC), Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), and Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan) – including searches at NGO offices, closure orders, and arrest of NGO officials. All four have been implementing partners on European-funded projects, including €29 million from the European Commission in 2011-2021.2

In Europe, in August 2021, Belgian media reported3 that the Anti-Fraud Service (OLAF) had opened a preliminary terror financing investigation into European Commission support for PFLP-linked Palestinian organizations. (In November 2020, NGO Monitor filed a complaint with OLAF regarding EU funding to terror-linked NGOs.)

The EU’s lengthy and non-transparent investigation
In December 2019, the ISA revealed the arrest of members in a 50-person PFLP West Bank terror network, allegedly responsible for an August 2019 bombing that murdered an Israeli teenager, Rina Shnerb. Among those arrested were several senior employees of European government-funded NGOs, including financial officers.

Following an questions raised by MEPs in the wake of the murder, at a May 19, 2020 session of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi stated that he had instructed the heads of the EU delegations to Israel and the West Bank/ Gaza to “look deep[ly]” into allegations that some EU funds go to terror-linked or terror-supporting NGOs, declaring that such funding “will not be tolerated.” As of October 2021, no information about this internal review has been made public.
Four appear in court over alleged antisemitism shouted from convoy
Four men have appeared in court charged with shouting antisemitic abuse from a convoy of cars in north London earlier this year.

Mohammed Iftikhar Hanif, 27; Jawaad Hussain, 24; Asif Ali, 25; and Adil Mota, 26, were seen covering their faces as they arrived and left Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

They are charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour with intent likely to stir up racial hatred.

All four men from Blackburn entered not guilty pleas, with Mr Mota’s lawyer telling the court that his client was travelling as part of the convoy but wasn’t involved in the incident.

They stand accused of shouting “F**k the Jews, rape their daughters” while travelling as part of a convoy of cars draped in Palestinian flags in Finchley Road on May 16.

The court heard that the offence is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Islamic Jihad Gunman or Kid Off to School Reuters Places Finger on the Scale
The logo on the top right of this image is associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a designated terror group. The Israeli military spokespersons’ unit wrote to CAMERA UK on Sept. 29: “The 16-year-old in question was shooting towards Israeli forces.” Thus, while multiple Palestinian sources were consistent with the IDF account that he was a combatant, apparently only one unnamed uncle maintains that the boy was an entirely innocent child on his way to school. Unbelievably, instead of citing any of the multiple Palestinian sources which were in agreement with the military’s account, Reuters noted only the lone Palestinian source which contradicted the Israeli information. Reuters’ Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub wrote:
An uncle of one of the Palestinians killed said he was a 16-year-old walking to school when he was shot.

A military spokesperson said, “as far as we are concerned, all those killed were armed Hamas operatives, taking part in firefights”, but added he was checking the relative’s information.

While the DCI-P, PCHR, Telegram and army information detailed above was not necessarily available at the time of Reuters’ report, Reuters frequently updates reports as more information becomes available. A visit to the WayBackMachine Internet Archive demonstrates that significant updates were introduced after the story’s initial publication.

When presented with this information, however, Reuters declined to add information from the multiple Palestinian sources which agree that Yousef Sobh was not a child simply on his way to school.
Jerusalem Post Silences Critics of Video Game Glorifying Palestinian Violence
Reich did not point out that the frequent proclamations in the game calling “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” indicate that, contrary to Nijm’s protestations, the message is opposition to Israel’s existence under any conditions and within any borders, and not simply against the Israeli military occupation. Nor does he point out that the game’s missions include the destruction of the Iron Dome, which constitutes a death knell for thousands of “Israeli civilians, women, children, elderly,” to borrow Nijm’s language.

Following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, The Jerusalem Post amended certain elements of the article to better highlight the anti-Israel and violent nature of the game. Yet, the somewhat improved article still does not include comment from the game’s critics. Nor does it acknowledge that the game rejects Israel in any borders and that its missions include sabotage of the defensive Iron Dome, an act that means certain death for thousands of Israeli civilians, women, children and the elderly.

Changes in response to CAMERA’s concerns include the headline and subheadline, which originally stated: “New video game lets players ‘free Palestine’ and fight Israel: Titled Fursan al-Aqsa: The Knights of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the game is developed by Nidal Nijm and is slated for release in December.” The improved headlines states: “Anti-Israel video game has players ‘free Palestine’, fight IDF; A video game titled Fursan al-Aqsa: The Knights of the Al-Aqsa Mosque lets users play as a ‘Palestinian freedom fighter’ who shoots IDF soldiers.”

The article’s first sentence had originally stated: “A new video game headed for Steam will see players take part in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – from the Palestinian perspective.” The amended version states: “A new video game headed for Steam has gone viral for being centered around Palestinian shooters who attack and kill IDF soldiers.”

Editors added the much-needed quotation marks around Reich’s reference to so-called “freedom fighters.”
Haaretz Corrects Former US Consulate Not in East Jerusalem
In addition, a note was appended to the bottom of the article indicating: “This article was amended on 4/10/2021.” Nevertheless, editors failed to fully correct the following self-contradictory paragraph:
It remains unclear, according to the officials, whether the consulate would operate out of the Agron Road compound in West Jerusalem – which until early 2019, with the inauguration of the Jerusalem embassy, housed the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem – or a building on Nablus Road, deeper into East Jerusalem, which had been the location of the U.S. Consulate before it was shuttered.

This confused paragraph can’t decide if Agron Road is “in West Jerusalem” (it is), or if it is in East Jerusalem (per the phrasing about a Nablus Road building, “deeper into East Jerusalem.”) It also can’t decide whether the Agron building “housed the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem” until 2019, or whether the Nablus Road building “had been the location of the U.S. Consulate before it was shuttered.” The Agron building in western Jerusalem housed the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and its Palestinian Affairs Unit, whereas the Nablus Road building housed America House Jerusalem, a center for cultural, tech and educational programs.

The amended text does not include the “deeper into East Jerusalem” reference. However, it still contains the contradictory historical account:
It remains unclear, according to the officials, whether the consulate would operate out of the Agron Road compound in West Jerusalem – which until early 2019, with the inauguration of the Jerusalem embassy, housed the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem – or a building on Nablus Road, in East Jerusalem, which had been the location of the U.S. Consulate before it was shuttered.
New York Times Tightens Ties With Foundation Known for Anti-Israel Grants
Behold the coverage that the New York Times has lavished on the president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker.

An April 2020 column by Thomas Friedman proposed Walker as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in a Biden “national unity cabinet.”

A September 2020 “corner office” interview gushed that he “has the ear of the business world’s elite … a magnetic personality … even with such success, Mr. Walker says he has not lost sight of his mission.”

A July 2019 profile, headlined, “The Man With the $13 Billion Checkbook,” described Walker as “one of the best-connected people in New York, a city that runs on connections … a serious man and demanding chief executive who can whip up blender drinks and gumbo for 50…. He was intersectional before his time.”

In November 2018, Times critic Michael Kimmelman wrote a glowing New York Times review of the Ford Foundation’s headquarters as newly renovated by Walker at a cost of $205 million.

“By opening up the building,” the review said, “Ford’s renovation serves the foundation’s social justice mandate. It also recognizes the architecture’s original public-spirited, civilizing mission. A half-century old, the new Ford remains a singular gift to the city.”
Foreign Policy Magazine Ignores Middle East Facts in Favor of Narratives
“Decline,” the late writer Charles Krauthammer famously observed in 2009, “is a choice.” Krauthammer’s observation was aimed at the United States and geopolitics. But it applies to journalism, as well. Many major U.S. news outlets are failing to provide readers and viewers with fact-based coverage of international affairs—including, but by no means limited to, the Middle East.

Take, for example, Foreign Policy magazine.

In February 2020, FP reporter Keith Johnson claimed that “one of the many reasons that Palestinian leadership dismissed” the latest U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal “out of hand” was “that it included a demand for Palestinians to cede the water-rich West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley to Israel.” Water rights, Johnson asserted, played a key role in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) decision to reject peace entreaties. But there was one small problem: PA leadership never said that.

In his numerous comments about the proposal, PA President Mahmoud Abbas never cited water as his reason for opposing the plan. Nor was water cited as a chief reason by Palestinian leadership when they rejected more than half a dozen other peace proposals dating back to the 1930s—an important fact that Johnson omitted.

Contravening standard journalistic practice, the Foreign Policy article itself failed to specify which Palestinian leader blamed water disputes, nor did it provide a link or citation showing that “water rights” was a reason for Palestinian leaders rejecting the proposal. And when CAMERA contacted Johnson asking which Palestinian leader cited water as a reason for rejecting the plan, he declined to respond.

Foreign Policy has provided dozens of “reports” on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a body that is ostensibly tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees. Yet, as CAMERA has documented, Foreign Policy reports are often more like press releases and advocacy journalism for the UN Agency. The magazine frequently omits UNRWA’s documented problems, including hiring members of U.S.-designated terrorist groups and employees advocating violence and making antisemitic statements.

Further, Foreign Policy has “stacked the deck” with quotations and citations from UNRWA defenders and anti-Israel advocates—while simultaneously omitting detailed criticisms from UNRWA critics, including the organization’s former legal counsel, James Lindsay.
‘Pack Up Your Star’: German Jewish Musician Told to Hide Star of David to Check in to Leipzig Hotel
German Jewish singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim alleged that he was turned away from a hotel in the city of Leipzig because he was visibly wearing a Star of David pendant on a chain around his neck, drawing outrage from the Jewish community.

In a moving Instagram video posted on Monday night, sitting on the stairs leading to the Westin Leipzig Hotel, Ofarim shared details of his experience, which he said left him “speechless.”

Ofarim recounted that he was waiting in a long line at the hotel because computers at the check-in counter were down.

“I was standing in the queue wearing my necklace which is my right and which I have worn all my life,” he said, holding up his Star of David pendant.

Ofarim, 39, observed that guests in the same line were moved up in front of him to check-in and he didn’t understand why. After nearly an hour, he finally got to the counter and asked the reception clerk why he was left waiting while other guests were repeatedly brought forward.

The clerk answered “to straighten the queue,” Ofarim said.

“I was also standing in line,” the musician countered.

“Then out of a corner someone says ‘pack up your star’ [referencing the Star of David pendant]. Next, the reception clerk says ‘pack up your star and then you can check-in,’” Ofarim recalled. The Munich-born singer is the son of Israeli pop star Abi Ofarim, who had several hit singles in the 1960s with his first wife Esther.

Over 600 people protest outside German hotel where employee reportedly told Jewish singer to hide Star of David necklace
Last night, over 600 people gathered to protest outside a hotel in Leipzig where an employee reportedly told a Jewish singer to hide his Star of David necklace.

In an Instagram video, musician Gil Ofarim looked shaken as he spoke of how other guests were being prioritised over him during the long line in the hotel. When he asked as to why, an employee of the Westin Leipzig hotel reportedly said that it was to “straighten the line” before allegedly adding that Mr Ofarim needed to “pack the star” if he wanted to register as a guest.

A spokesperson for the hotel said that they were very concerned about the report and that they were taking the matter very seriously.

After news of the alleged incident spread online, a protest was quickly planned. During this time, it was reported that a Westin hotel manager said that two employees had been put on leave. It was also reported that whilst some people appeared happy at this result, others demanded the termination of the employees’ contacts. The Westin Leipzig also uploaded a photo to their Instagram of what appears to be hotel staff members holding a banner featuring Israeli flags and Islamic crescent moons outside of the hotel.

Last night’s spontaneous protest lasted approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, and it was reported that at least 600 people turned up to demonstrate and listen to speeches.
UEFA probes antisemitism at Maccabi Haifa game in Germany
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced on Tuesday it will open an investigation into the antisemitic abuse hurled at Maccabi Haifa fans during a match against Union Berlin on Thursday.

During the UEFA Conference League match, in which Haifa lost 3-0, Union Berlin supporters made antisemitic gestures and slurs towards fans and even attempted to set fire to the Israeli flag.

In addition, Berlin Police are also investigating one Union Berlin supporter who shouted "sieg heil" several times during the match, according to Firstpost.

UEFA said on Tuesday a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into the antisemitic incident in the Olympiastadion, which was constructed for the 1936 Berlin Olympics during the era of Nazi Germany.

In a statement released through the club's official website on Friday, Union Berlin president Dirk Zigler issued an apology to Israeli fans. "This behavior is shameful and we won't tolerate it," said Zingler. "Antisemitism is unfortunately still present in our society, which is why it also shows itself in the stadium. However, we will never tolerate discrimination in our ranks," Zingler added.
6,500 Holocaust survivors to receive pension from Germany for first time
Some 6,500 Holocaust survivors from various conflict zones in Europe will receive pensions from Germany for the first time, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) announced Tuesday.

Included in the new pension scheme are people who survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad, were in hiding in France or suffered persecution in Romania. Until now, they have not received pensions from the German government as other survivors have.

Of the 6,500 survivors to receive the pensions, about 4,500 survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad from 1941-1944 in which hundreds of thousands of civilians perished in air and artillery bombardment and from starvation due to the German blockade of the city.

About 800 survivors who hid from the Nazis and their collaborators in France are included in the new pension allocations, as well as some 1,200 who survived persecution in Romania during the Holocaust.

Of the recipients, 2,000 live in Russia, 1,600 in Israel and the remainder in the US, Germany, France and other countries.

“Every year these negotiations become more and more critical,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. “As this last generation of survivors age, their needs increase. Even 75 years after the Holocaust, these symbolic payments provide recognition and restore a piece of the dignity taken from survivors in their youth.”
Belgian Holocaust Survivor Acts Out His Story on Stage to Mark 90th Birthday
In a rundown old factory in Belgium, Holocaust survivor Simon Gronowski celebrated his upcoming 90th birthday on Sunday by starring in an opera inspired by his life — a history of love, faith and forgiveness overcoming the darkest tragedy.

Gronowski was 11 years old and living Brussels when in 1943 Nazis put him, his mother and sister on a train bound for Auschwitz, the infamous death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The train was briefly stopped by three Belgian resistance fighters in Boortmeerbeek, 19 miles northeast of Brussels. In the ensuing chaos, Gronowski jumped off. He went on to survive World War Two in hiding. His family perished at Auschwitz, where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed.

“I am here because of a miracle. I jumped out of a death convoy,” said Gronowski. “I was very unhappy when I was 14, 15, 20 years old. I cried a lot. But I never had hate. For me, hate is an illness. That I never had.”

Having been a much-loved child gave Gronowski the strength to overcome his tragedy, he said. In honor of his cherished sister, who was good at classical music and loved jazz, he became a jazz pianist, on top of his career as a lawyer.

After keeping quiet for decades about his past, Gronowski decided in the 2000s to write a memoir. That led to a meeting in 2012 with Koenraad Tinel, the son of Flemish Nazis whose brother had served as the prison guard of Gronowski’s family.
Names, testimonies of Nazis in Babi Yar massacre released 80 years on
On the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre in Ukraine, researchers on Wednesday revealed for the first time the names of dozens of perpetrators, and some of their testimonies.

Between September 29 and 30, 1941, Nazis and their collaborators murdered tens of thousands of Jews at the Babi Yar ravine just outside of Kyiv. Despite it being one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust, the site and the event went largely ignored for decades and were overshadowed by the atrocities in the concentration camps, which were often better documented. Throughout the remaining years of World War II, more than 100,000 people were ultimately killed at the ravine.

The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center set out to identify those who participated in the massacre, and estimated that hundreds of German soldiers, policemen, and SS personnel were complicit in the massacre.

The findings released on Wednesday listed the names of 159 Nazis who participated in the killings. They had testified at trial but were found not guilty, and the majority returned to lead normal lives after the war, the memorial center said.

“It is possible that on this day I shot between around 150 and 250 Jews. The whole shooting went off without incident. The Jews were resigned to their fate like lambs,” Czech-born Viktor Trill testified.

“After we got out, first we were issued with alcohol. It was grog or rum. I then saw a gigantic ditch [ravine] that looked like a dried out river bed. In it were lying several layers of corpses. The execution began first by a few members of our Kommando going down into the ravine. At the same time about 20 Jews were brought along from a connecting path. The Jews had to lay down on the corpses and were then shot in the back of the neck. More Jews were continually brought to be shot,” the testimony continued.
Ukrainians uncover sewers where Jews hid from Nazis
Under cobblestone streets in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, diggers have uncovered new hiding spots in underground sewers where some Jews managed to flee from Nazi occupying forces during World War II.

More than 100,000 Jews, or around one third of the city's population at the time, were killed by the Nazis, according to the local historian Hanna Tychka.

A few managed to survive, including father and daughter Ignacy and Krystyna Chiger, who escaped from the Jewish ghetto by digging a tunnel to the city's sewage system, and later wrote books recounting their experiences.

Tychka and local diggers said they recently uncovered the exact area where Chiger's family lived in 1943-1944, using the books as a guide.

Chiger dug a seven-meter-long (seven-yard) tunnel to the sewer from his ghetto barrack, breaking the sewer's concrete wall, which was 90 cm. (35 inches) thick, Tychka said.

"They had to work quietly so that Nazis would not find out that digging activity was happening in the barrack basement. The Jews used a hammer wrapped in a duster," Tychka told Reuters near the site of the discovery.
2 years after the synagogue attack in Halle, Germany, young Jews gather to turn mourning into activism
Last year, as Rabbi Rebecca Blady approached the first anniversary of the Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, she knew she wanted to commemorate it on her own terms.

Blady runs Base Hillel Deutschland, an organization for young Jews in Berlin, and was praying in the Halle synagogue on Yom Kippur in 2019 when a gunman attempted to break down the door. The gunman then went on to kill two people nearby, and is now serving a life sentence in prison.

Rather than suffice with the state-organized memorial on the attack’s secular anniversary of Oct. 9, Blady decided to place Judaism at the center of her commemoration — and to build bridges with other communities impacted by extremism. Together with other local organizations, Base Hillel put on a “Festival of Resilience,” a series of events celebrating how her community and others have persisted in the face of hate.

“We wanted it to be about our community, to find a way also to empower ourselves from within a comfortable community space,” Blady said. “We want to build coalitions. We want to share stories.”

Now in its second year, the Festival of Resilience feels more like a celebration of Jewish life than the memorial of a somber occasion. Blady intentionally structured it around Sukkot, the weeklong Jewish holiday that follows Yom Kippur, during which Jews traditionally eat and spend time in a sukkah, or temporary hut.

This year, the festival began on Sept. 19 with a sukkah-building program, and also included TischreiFest, a party named after the current month in the Hebrew calendar. It closes on Oct. 6 following a workshop titled “Jewish and Intersectional.”
City of London rejects tower which ‘threatened future’ of UK’s oldest synagogue
A 48-storey tower which the UK’s oldest synagogue feared could spell the end of its services has been rejected, after more than a thousand objections.

Bevis Marks, a historic synagogue in the City of London, had raised the alarm that a 48-floor office block at 31 Bury Street was one of two developments which would leave the building overshadowed in darkness.

The synagogue is lit by up to 240 candles, and its lighting is constrained because it is a Grade 1-listed building.

Councillors at the City of London today refused to approve the towering development, after objections being raised across the community, including the Chief Rabbi and historian Sir Simon Schama.

The meeting heard objections from Sarah Sackman, and the synagogue’s Rabbi Shalom Morris, who raised concerns the tower would block out sunlight and make worship difficult.

“Bevis Marks is where I got married. I speak alongside thousands of British Jews who are concerned about this application,” said Ms Sackman, a planning lawyer speaking in a personal capacity.

“The true extent of the harm to Bevis Marks is being missed. Considered both individually and cumulatively, the impact of this scheme is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Rabbi Morris said: “The only reason I’m speaking to you today is because the Jewish community believes the very future of Bevis Marks, our cathedral synagogue, is at risk if you approve this scheme.
Archaeologists find 2,700-year-old toilet in luxurious palace in Jerusalem
Who lived in the superb palace and enjoyed its spectacular view over the Temple Mount of Jerusalem some 2,700 years ago? Perhaps it was one of the biblical kings of Judah, possibly Hezekiah or Josiah, or other members of the royal families. Or maybe it was just a wealthy individual, a member of the elite.

Whoever the residents of the beautiful structures uncovered by the archaeologists in the neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv were, they enjoyed a unique privilege: a luxurious private toilet.

The facility was recently discovered in an excavation by the Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the City of David, which opened prior to the construction of a new tourist complex on the promenade, the IAA revealed on Tuesday.

“At the time, a private toilet in a house was extremely rare,” said archaeologist Yaakov Billig, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA. “Most people were just forced to find someplace private to relieve themselves. Around 1,000 years later, a group of rabbis in the Talmud discuss who is to be considered rich. Different rabbis suggest different answers, and one of them, Rabbi Yossi, says, ‘One who has a toilet next to his table’.”

According to Billig, only a handful of toilet remains from the First Temple Period have been found in Israel.
Israel declassifies archives to mark 48 years since outbreak of Yom Kippur War
Israel State Archives release stenograms of government and cabinet meetings and other materials on anniversary

The Israel State Archives on Wednesday announced the publication of special materials from the Yom Kippur War on the 48th anniversary of the outbreak of the armed conflict between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.

The newly declassified documents include 14 stenograms from government meetings during the 1973 Arab–Israeli War that was fought from October 6 until October 25.

The conflict started with a surprise attack on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar when Egypt invaded the Sinai Peninsula and Syrian forces crossed into the Golan Heights.

Also made available to the public are 21 stenograms of sensitive political and security consultations and 26 stenograms collected at the Prime Minister's Office from the diary of Eli Mizrahi.

The materials, which include 61 different documents spread over 1,292 pages, can be found on the State Archives website as an archival file.

Israeli leaders participated in an official ceremony last month marking the 48th anniversary, attended by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.

“Many of the challenges that the Yom Kippur War posed us are still with us today, and they must serve as a warning light for us,” Herzog said at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl.

This Was the Impossible Journey of the Members of the ’Window 3’ Crew
It took me at least five days and three historians to believe the story of 'Window 3'. The education NCO, the adjutancy NCO and the ammo bunker NCO who hitchhiked to the Golan Heights boarded a tank with a reserve officer and found themselves at the center of a critical battle on Yom Kippur.

“I looked through the driver's periscope and saw hundreds of Syrian tanks. Some were firing, some were burned—I heard shells whistling. The realization that you are a lone tank is paralyzing; without a battalion, without a company and without a platoon," Amnon paused, and it seemed that in his imagination, he returned to that moment—the third morning of the Yom Kippur War. "When the second shell hit the turret, I was sure that was it. This is the end of the story of 'Window 3'."

When the emergency siren sounded that Saturday, October 6th, 1973, Sgt. Amnon Kafkafi jumped off the couch in his home and told his mother not to worry. By that evening, he arrived at his home base—the Natan camp near Be'er Sheva.

At this time, Shalom Burstein (the battalion’s adjutancy head clerk) and Yosef Schatz (in charge of the ammunition bunker) also headed out. The three former tank commanders in the 82nd Battalion of the 7th Brigade were given non-combat positions months before the end of their three-year compulsory service. At the gate of the base, they discovered that the entire battalion was air-lifted to the northern front the night before and already went into combat, while they were left almost alone with the adjutant officer.

On the first day of the fighting, they were still loading emergency supplies from the storage depots on base when reports began to come in from the front: "We heard about what was happening and the high number of casualties, and we knew we were not going to be left behind." The adjutant, however, refused their request to leave the base on the grounds that there were enough forces on the northern front. The former tank commanders began looking for other ways to join their comrades in the Golan Heights.

Amnon decided to conduct another check and entered the empty Battalion Commander's office. He called the Armored Corps Headquarters on the phone and asked if they were really not needed at the front. The answer was, “Anyone who can go should go."

As evening fell, the three of them asked the adjutant to go out for a refreshment break at the "Montana Ice Cream Parlor" near the base. "No problem, and do not forget to bring some for me when you return," he replied. They immediately crossed the road and began to catch rides to the north.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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