Dani Dayan: We're all obligated to remember the victims of the Holocaust
"Dear Berthe, this is already the fourth day. I am on the train car now. I hope, my child, that you will be able to live as a free person, even though, for now, you are without your parents. I'm traveling in the confidence that you will grow up to be a good, healthy, and smart girl. I hope to see you again soon, your father." These were the final words Aaron Livrente wrote to his daughter in March 1943, before throwing the letter from the train that had departed the Drancy internment camp in France for the Majdanek death camp in Poland, where he was murdered.Ruthie Blum: What do we mean when we say, 'never again'?
This year, the central focus of Holocaust Remembrance Day is the transport of Jews during the Holocaust. Within the framework of the "Final Solution," the Nazis and their collaborators uprooted millions of Jews from their homes and sent them to their deaths on trains destined for the death camps, ghettos, and concentration camps.
These deportations tore exiled Jews from the world of the humane, robbing them eternally of all they had known. This systematic operation was a historic event that destroyed Jewish communities – most of them entirely. The crowdedness and lack of basic conditions on the train cars were insufferable. Many found their deaths on these tortuous journeys. Some attempted to pass information to their loved ones in various ways, writing letters on pieces of paper they threw from the cars in the hopes they would somehow be found and delivered.
Others tried escaping by jumping from the trains. Few survived; many more died or were caught and turned in to the Germans by locals.
For many Jews, the deportations marked the beginning of the end. Every boy or girl, grandmother or grandfather, woman or man on those train cars – was a human being. A human being with names, desires, and aspirations.
For one thing, most Israelis are too concerned with their personal safety in the face of shootings, stabbings, car-rammings, and Molotov cocktails to worry about the purity of their souls and adherence to an unrealistic "rules of engagement" doctrine.What have we really learned from Yom Ha’Shoah?
For another, the very real possibility of a nuclear Islamic Republic is both looming and concrete, with Iranian forces and proxies stationed along Israel's borders.
Israelis are aware as well that Tehran is among those fanning the violent fervor of young Arabs desecrating their cherished Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by spreading the lie that Israeli forces are "storming" and "defiling" it.
Such pressing security threats, with no end in sight, help to explain the results of a poll released this week by the Pnima movement. According to the survey, conducted by Direct Polls, nearly half of the Israeli public, 47%, fears another Holocaust against the Jews.
To be sure, this level of existential anxiety may be misplaced or a function of general dread on the part of a certain slice of society. Still, given the steep rise in global Jew-hatred, coupled with the spike in terrorism against Israelis and the P5+1 countries' desperation to return to a deal that fills Iran's coffers and guarantees its ayatollah-led regime an arsenal of atomic bombs, it's not completely irrational. It's especially understandable when explicit calls for the extermination of the Jews have become so commonplace inside Israel and abroad.
Nevertheless, doomsday scenarios are not constructive. They certainly aren't conducive to a "never again" mindset or outcome, both of which require internal resolve and military might.
The same applies to those Israelis who opt to learn the wrong lessons from the Holocaust. Embracing the bogus comparison between Hitler's "final solution" and other conflicts is as ill-fated as believing that a repeat performance is inevitable. And even entertaining the idea that the Jewish state is on some kind of slippery slope to Nazism – when it's forced to defend itself against the terrorists in its midst and beyond its shores – is immoral.
These are the messages that should be going through our heads when we stand in silence on Thursday morning for the two-minute sirens that will sound everywhere in the country. Reminding ourselves of their value is the least we can do to honor the dead, pay tribute to the survivors, and mean it when we say "never again."
In my mind, Yom Ha’Shoah is not a day for crying… it’s a day for learning… which is permitted during the month of Nissan. Just 12 days before Yom Ha’Shoah – at the seder table – we sang “Ve’hee sheh’amda”. Did you pay attention to those words, especially the line that says; “In every generation they stand ready to destroy us…”??? Sadly, most Jews forget and think that all of the bad days are behind them. Nazis in Europe… who would have imagined? Hamas in Israel? Not possible. Skinheads in America? Not here. Pogroms in Paris? Maybe a long time ago. Therefore, Yom Ha’Shoah comes along to teach, to remind, to educate and to wake up a sleeping nation.
Even in Israel, a major wake-up call is needed. People tend to think that the bad guys are just in Gaza but the last month saw an unfortunate wave of terror from Arabs who lived in Jenin, Jerusalem and even Israeli-Arab citizens from cities near Hadera and Netanya. We had terror attacks from Bedouin Arabs (but I thought they just live in tents and take care of their sheep?) and also from religious Arabs celebrating their holy festival (no comment). There was terror in Hebron but also in Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv… and yes, during Pesach there were missiles fired from Gaza into Sderot.
Wake up, my brothers and sisters! Wake up NOW!!! Yom Ha’Shoah is not just the day to remember the past… it’s a day to focus on the present and the future. The enemy is alive and well and we must unite in our efforts to defeat it, sooner than later.
Therefore, on this 27th of Nissan – and the days after it as well – help strengthen the Jewish nation in any way you can. If your area of expertise is davening, then daven that Hashem pour His wrath upon those nations who oppress us (another line from the Haggadah…). If your specialty is learning then dedicate your Torah study to the IDF fighters on the front lines fighting Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and all of our enemies.
And finally, on this day, decide that enough is enough and you – and your family - are joining the fight yourselves. Make the commitment, if you are not here already, that your future is in Eretz Yisrael to build, settle and defend the Land of Israel as long as Hashem gives you strength. Trust me that, according to all opinions, that is a Yom Ha’Shoah worth commemorating, even in the month of Nissan.
Mossad releases testimony of two Holocaust survivors who served in key positions
Israel’s Mossad has revealed the testimonies of two Holocaust survivors who served as agents in the famed organization without their families knowing.Germany Wants Jews
The two survivors, Chaim Victor Tayar and Silvia (whose full identity cannot be shared), served in the operational core of the Mossad, and “out of respect and in salute to their work,” the Mossad published their testimonies.
“I look down with great humility at your personal courage, at the story of your lives,” said Mossad Head Dedi Barnea. "The lessons of the Holocaust and the security challenges teach us that we must build our strength, and rely only on ourselves"
On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Mossad held a "Memory in the Living Room" (known in Hebrew as Zikaron BaSalon) in 20 different centers belonging to the Mossad.
As part of the event, a special stage was given to Holocaust survivors who have worked over the years in the Mossad in core roles and led secret operations with courage, and without their fellow Mossad members knowing that they were Holocaust survivors.
For years they kept their secret, and for years dedicated themselves to making significant contributions to the security of the State of Israel.
Silvia, a former senior operations commander, was born in Bialystok in 1940. She is a mother of three children and grandmother of six grandchildren.
She served in a variety of significant operational roles and courageously led impressive missions before reaching senior command positions.
Unlike the Soviet Jews who emigrated with the intention of never going back, many of the current wartime evacuees left behind family, friends, jobs, homes, and entire lives in an instant, hoping they’ll have the chance to return as soon as it’s safe. Out of every Ukrainian Jewish refugee I spoke with in Berlin, not a single one came with the intention of staying permanently. But many have become hardened to reality, aware that there’s no guarantee of going home, or that home will still be there when they’re ready to go back. The sense of limbo expresses itself in acute financial uncertainty: Having lost their livelihoods in Ukraine, many have taken advantage of the social benefits provided by Germany; yet without any idea of how long they’ll stay, they remain extremely cautious about spending any money.German Minister of the Interior speaks out against antisemitism at annual Al Quds Day marches throughout the country
The most vulnerable Jewish refugees are women who left behind husbands, fathers, brothers, grandparents, uncles, and romantic partners. Alone responsible for their children’s welfare, they are enveloped in fear for those back home. A teacher from Dnipro told me that these particular Jewish refugees are the “risk group.” “If we don’t take care of these women, they might find other communities where they’re taken care of,” he said, referring to Christian missionary groups, like Jews for Jesus and Messianic Jewish emissaries, and others who have been assisting refugees at the Ukrainian border and in nearby countries. On my first day in Berlin, I’d already met volunteers from these groups at the train station, the first point of arrival for many refugees, pushing luggage carts and distributing food to new arrivals.
Leaders of Ukrainian Jewish institutions have similar concerns about assimilation. With the majority of their congregants now scattered not only throughout Ukraine but throughout Europe and Israel, they worry about how their communities will survive. The Odessa and Dnipro Chabad communities were some of the strongest and best-known hubs of Jewish life in Ukraine. Odessa boasts a proud Jewish history as a popular, cosmopolitan port city on the coast of the Black Sea, with a prewar Jewish population of 35,000. Dnipro, a city whose Jewish population was similar in size, is home to the largest Jewish community center in the world, which houses the headquarters of the Chabad Federation of Jewish Religious Communities. Two weeks after Ukrainian refugees arrived in Berlin, the primary issues of survival and physical safety are being slowly overtaken by other concerns, like the survival of Yiddishkeit and community life.
The Ukrainian Jews I spoke with in Berlin who harbor fears about assimilation spoke of the fracturing of everything that was painstakingly rebuilt in the 30 years after the collapse of the USSR: institutions, community structures, networks, rituals, and religious observance itself. While several among the younger generation seemed to nurse the hope of an eventual return to their home communities, the older generation was less optimistic. An elderly member of the Odessa congregation told me that Jewish life in a large part of the country has been physically destroyed by the war and the dispersion of Jews from Ukraine. “Jews from Mykolaiv, Kharkov, Kherson, and Mariupol will have nothing to return to; these smaller communities will eventually merge with the larger cities around them,” he estimated. He was also afraid that those who do eventually return will be preoccupied with rebuilding their lives in Ukraine, and won’t be able to prioritize Jewish observance. Those who don’t return, he worries, may lose their connection to Jewish life forever.
Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, has spoken out about the use of antisemitic slogans during anti-Israel demonstrations.Joel Pollak: Why Rhoda Kadalie Supported Israel
Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Berlin, Hanover and Dortmund for the annual Al-Quds Day march – an Iranian-backed anti-Israel parade held throughout the world – chanting antisemitic slogans and reportedly attacking journalists and the police.
Some of the chants, like “Free Palestine from the river to the sea”, are common features at these demonstrations. The chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state — and its replacement with a State of Palestine — and is thus an attempt to deny Jews, uniquely, the right to self-determination, which is a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Video footage posted to social media showed participants in these protests also shouting phrases like “Scheiße Jude!” (“S**tty Jew!”), “Drecksjude” (“dirty Jew”), and “Strike, oh Qassam, don’t let the Zionists sleep.” The latter is a reference to the kind of rocket fired by the genocidal antisemitic terrorist group Hamas at Israeli civilian targets, and Hamas’ military unit – the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – shares the name of the rocket.
Samuel Salzborn, Professor of Political Science at Justus Liebig University in Gießen and the Antisemitism Officer for the City of Berlin, said: “Antisemitic terror against Israel was backed up with anti-Israel slogans, while at the same time the hatred is directed against all Jews. The core of these assemblies is antisemitism – nothing else.”
Rhoda Kadalie’s support for Israel was among the more controversial stances taken by the late anti-apartheid activist, feminist, and columnist, who died last week at 68 after a battle with lung cancer.Gil Troy: A response to anti-Zionist Jews - opinion
Among many of Rhoda’s former comrades from South Africa’s “struggle,” her pro-Israel view was an even greater mystery than her support for Donald Trump.
Some blamed her Jewish, right-wing, Zionist son-in-law (i.e. this author), but in fact her stance long preceded that relationship.
When asked directly about the source of her support for Israel, Rhoda would often cite her Christian upbringing. But that alone was not the reason.
While Rhoda nurtured a deep commitment to her faith, she was not inclined to let it dictate her political views. She argued for abortion rights (though she later opposed late-term abortion); she pushed for women to be ordained as ministers; and she championed gay and lesbian rights within the church at a time when doing so was radical.
What might be said is that Rhoda’s deeply-rooted, positive view of Israel as the Holy Land probably made her less inclined to follow the rest of the left as it began to abandon its once sympathetic approach to Israel as a refuge for persecuted Jews, and instead to embrace the fallacy of Israel as a settler-colonialist state akin to apartheid South Africa itself.
Rhoda’s pro-Israel views first emerged as a reaction to antisemitism, and then in reaction to the post-apartheid government’s self-defeating obsessions.
Rhoda began to speak out publicly about the issue in the late 1990s, as a member of South Africa’s Human Rights Commission, when anti-Israel radicals began to make their presence felt in Cape Town and throughout the country.
Dear Tzedek Chicago,To the Antisemites Who Sit Next to Me at School
Thank you. You flattered us. Last summer, Natan Sharansky and I called out the “Un-Jews,” Diaspora Jews trying to un-do Judaism’s core post-Holocaust, post-1948, consensus – echoing Abraham and Sarah – linking Jews, Judaism, the land of Israel, and today, the Jewish democratic State of Israel.”
In one rant, attacking “public calls to categorize anti-Zionist Jews as Un-Jews” – you link to our article.
Bravo! I’m thrilled to be in your crosshairs. By calling yourselves anti-Zionist you identify with the world’s most murderous Jew-haters since Hitler. Anti-Zionists have killed over 23,928 Israeli soldiers. Anti-Zionist terrorists have destroyed more than 1,392 innocent lives since 2000. Anti-Zionists have wounded over 75,000 Israelis. And anti-Zionists delightedly distribute candy whenever Palestinians murder Israelis. That’s the company you choose to keep.
That’s why your name is in quotation marks. Tzedek means justice in Hebrew. Now that you’re out as anti-Zionist, embrace it! Change your name to reflect the bloodbath you champion, the terrorists you enable. Call yourselves Eee-Tzedek, Injustice-ville. And stop pretending your core values are “justice, equity and solidarity.”
To delegitimize only one country, trying to cancel us, is arrogant – which is the characteristic character flaw of the unjust (see Putin, Vladimir). And for you - from Chicagoland - to decide that after millennia of wandering, the Jews don’t deserve a home, don’t deserve collective justice, promotes injustice.
To my law school classmate who tweeted, “my love language is marg bar [death to] Israel”: thank you.Jonathan Tobin: Wokeness, free speech and the Jews
To the Students for Justice in Palestine, who explained: “Zionism is, by design, an ideology that promotes violence against, and hatred and delegitimization of Palestinians. Embedded in the Zionist supremacy narrative is the orientalist, Islamophobic idea that Azkenazi [sic] Jewish whiteness is fundamentally superior to Palestinian lives, culture, and identity”: thank you.
To the dozen NYU student groups that signed on to their statement defending terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians because “People living under occupation have a right to resist their violent occupation,” and bemoaned the “Zionist grip on the media”: thank you.
To the the Black Allied Law Students Association, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, National Lawyers Guild, Law Students for Economic Justice, Muslim Law Students Association, The Coalition on Law & Representation, and Disability Allied Law Students Association that affirmed: “Palestinians are not obligated to engage in racialized ‘nonviolence’ theory”: thank you.
To the first-year law student who said, “Quiet, you baby,” when a Jewish student pleaded for a bit of sympathy: thank you.
To the 3L who mocked her Jewish classmates when they begged for reassurance that their supposed friends would condemn firing an AR-15 at unarmed men, women, and children, quipping “you don’t condemn an earthquake or a lethal outbreak of flu”: thank you.
To my classmates who lecture their Jewish classmates that “Zionism is a racist, imperialist, white supremacist ideology, not a religious movement,” and those others who insist that Israelis’ sense of victimhood is “delusional” because Israel “colonized Palestinian land”: I thank you.
Let's understand that there is a clear difference between cancel culture and the public pushback against woke teaching that has led to calls for a ban on the use of CRT in public schools or calls for curbs on the imposition of other leftist ideology among small children. Opposition to indoctrination is not a suppression of free speech but a defense of it.Does Netflix Have a Problem With Israel?
Just as important are the consequences specifically for the Jewish community and Jewish students.
The most obvious is the way woke attacks on Jews as beneficiaries of "white privilege," as well as on Israel and Zionism as expressions of oppression, have marginalized many Jews in left-wing strongholds, especially college campuses. A new survey of Jewish millennials from the American Jewish Committee showed that a significant percentage – though still a minority – of those in the 26 to 41-year-old age group felt that the anti-Israel atmosphere on campuses and elsewhere had impacted their personal friendship, commitment to the Jewish state or even their willingness to hide their Jewish identity. It's easy to imagine that the same will be truer for the Gen Z generation now in college.
Intolerance and orthodoxy are always bad news for religious and ethnic minorities, especially those who don't currently qualify for preferred minority status, like Jews and Asians, in the eyes of the woke.
Yet rather than understand that this represents a fundamental challenge to Jewish security, much of the organized community, including those tasked with defending it against antisemitism, like the Anti-Defamation League, are on the wrong side of this debate. While paying lip service to the nation that Jew-hatred exists on both the left and the right, they are also supporting ideas like CRT that underpin the surge of antisemitism.
As another academic year ends with free speech under threat everywhere but especially on campuses, it's vital that the Jewish community stop pretending that it's possible to fight antisemitism without being just as prepared to combat wokeness and cancel culture and the ideas that reinforce this illiberal plague of intolerance.
Netflix and the ‘Palestinian Experience’
Gabriel’s social media comments call into question a crucial decision made by Netflix regarding its programming. In October of last year, Linda Sarsour tweeted about Palestinian films and documentaries arriving on Netflix. She urged her 325,000 followers to “learn about the Palestinian experience.”
Sounds innocuous enough, until one realizes that out of the seventeen films and documentaries advertised by Sarsour, the vast majority featured either a plot or subtext that was nakedly hostile to the existence of Israel.
And in contrast to many of the films and television series made in Israel that have very little to do with ‘the conflict’ or Palestinians, Netflix’s selection of Palestinian films was focused on perpetuating the victimhood narrative. In this alternate cinematic reality, Palestinians are depicted as living in refugee camps or prisons. The ‘Palestinian experience’ as defined by Sarsour is disconcertingly narrow, one that is largely comprised of living in the shadow of checkpoints and security barriers.
Similar to Hala Gabriel, Linda Sarsour has a history of echoing the age-old antisemitic trope that Jews believe they are a “superior” race. Sarsour has publicly declared that Israel was founded on the idea of “Jewish supremacy.”
Related Reading: How Media Reviews Enable Cinema to be Used as Vehicle for Palestinian Propaganda
Evidently, Netflix regards Palestinian cinema as a legitimate way to teach the public about the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Indeed, the streaming service believes that “…more people deserve to see their lives on screen, and are committed to creating opportunities in front of and behind the camera for people from all backgrounds and cultures.”
But by perpetuating mischaracterizations about Israelis, Palestinians, and the lives they live, the worldwide streaming platform is confusing real-life stories with agenda-driven fables.
Netflix not holding Hala Gabriel accountable for her inflammatory remarks about Israel is thus akin to acquiescence.
Update to the Biden admin controversy about Kamala Harris serving Israeli wine:— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) April 27, 2022
Sen. Ted Cruz: “What is the administration's policy with regards to the labeling and the import of goods from Israel and its territories?”
Gina Raimondo: “I'm gonna have to get back to you on that.” pic.twitter.com/Gqg0VTzyvL
Update: Tirana Hassan will serve as current Exec. Director of HRW; Hassan served as Roth's deputy.— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) April 26, 2022
In one of Hassan's tweets, we see her swap out 'target' for terrorists and accuse Israel, of all nations, of being "sloppy! pic.twitter.com/dEYJxmQP3v
Georgetown just required SJP to let in the Jewish students who were unable to register for the talk by El-Kurd after registration was closed because it was “full.” 20+ minutes after start time - doesn’t look too full to me. pic.twitter.com/FWoHecUzR9— Rachel Jessica Wolff (@RachelJessWolff) April 26, 2022
A lot of applause welcoming someone who calls Jews Nazis and claims they drink blood pic.twitter.com/2CYBQtZNBC— Rachel Jessica Wolff (@RachelJessWolff) April 26, 2022
Student petition to support 'khaybar khaybar' extremist - new NUS President Shaima Dallali got 419 signatures— David Collier (@mishtal) April 27, 2022
-biblical Jew hater Haman the Rasha
-Passover massacre terrorist Abdel-Baset Odeh
-Mikes place bomber Mohammed Hanif
Makes sensehttps://t.co/vcpyC2tf5y pic.twitter.com/qLqh40TpxD
The Anti-Israel Bias of the Middle East Studies Association
MESA North America called on American colleges and universities to “uphold academic freedom on their campuses.” But, Arab and leftist groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and BDS Movement activists, regularly and violently disrupt pro-Israel speakers on campuses throughout America with impunity. MESA has never issued a resolution boycotting or censuring these organizations that have made a mockery of academic freedom.Liverpool anti-racism festival omits antisemitism, prompting accusations of double standards
MESA hypocrisy notwithstanding, its decision to boycott Israel didn’t arouse attention in Israel or elsewhere. MESA, like the other associations who succumbed to the anti-Israel hatred, long ago stopped being a gateway for Israeli academics. Israeli researchers are currently welcome in most Arab countries to the chagrin of the Palestinians and their supporters. In the UAE in particular, Israeli scholars and researchers are sought-after guests. The wider world is open to Israel, Israelis, and prominent research institutes worldwide promoting close cooperation with Israeli institutions, recognizing Israel’s academic excellence.
The professional and academic associations, as well as some of the mainline Protestant denominations calling for boycotting Israel, are usually staffed and controlled by anti-Israel activists who take advantage of the passivity of the majority of the membership, who tend to be apathetic toward politicking. In the case of MESA especially, two-thirds of its association’s membership did not participate in the vote, a clear expression of their disinterest in mixing academic research with a political agenda and action. In fact, many members cancelled their membership in MESA as a result.
Professor Eyal Zisser, of Tel Aviv University, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies pointed out that, “Among the leading activists calling for the boycott of Israel are the fringes of the American Left, Arab-American researchers who have made hatred for Israel – not criticism – the lowest common denominator that unites them and gives them an identity. None of these people can agree on anything pertaining to the Arab world – the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, between secularism and Islam, between dictatorships and democracy – hence Israel is the hatchet they use in search of their lost identity. Essentially, when they attack Israel what they mean is the United States, which they view as the source of all ills afflicting the Arab world. But because the American taxpayer funds their salaries, it’s convenient for them to turn their arrows at Israel.”
MESA’s boycott of Israel has only hurt its membership and its image as a fair-minded association. Israel’s scientific and technological advances have benefited and enriched humanity. This has been recognized by numerous governments, especially the US, where most states have legislated anti-boycott laws. MESA’s boycott of Israeli institutions is at best like a ‘dog...all bark but no bite.’
A Liverpool-based anti-racism festival has come under fire after it failed to plan any events or discussions about antisemitism.
Liverpool Against Racism consists of a series of cross-city events. There will be performances by musicians Rebecca Ferguson, The Christians and The Farm. A conference tackling racism is also set to take place with keynote speakers including historian David Olusoga, the BBC’s interim Head of Creative Diversity, Joanna Abeyie, and journalist Kevin Powell. In addition, teenagers will be asked to discuss issues to do with racism, stars will share their stories and give advice about how to tackle racial inequality, and there will be workshop events, including one that aims to deal with Liverpool’s role in the Atlantic slave trade.
However, the festival makes no mention of anti-Jewish racism in its promotional material or itinerary.
The Jewish former MP in the city, Dame Louise Ellman, has spoken out over the omission, saying: “I hope it is not the case that, as David Baddiel would say, ‘Jews don’t count.’”
A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “The aim of the Liverpool Against Racism event was to focus on anti-black racism, created as it was in the aftermath of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. However, involvement from all of our diverse communities was actively encouraged. Last December we proactively called out for organisations and groups to contact us and get involved. We had an amazing response…which has seen organisations across the city stage events to complement the Liverpool Against Racism programme.
“Following the call-out, we were contacted by representatives from the Jewish community and they were asked if they would like to be part of a panel event at the main conference. This offer was unfortunately not taken up. Mayor Joanne is incredibly proud of the Liverpool Against Racism programme and the fact that the city isn’t shying away from shining a spotlight on discrimination. We hope this inaugural event will pave the way for similar initiatives in the future and that more organisations, including Jewish groups, will join with us.”
This is it, this is how I die pic.twitter.com/cDEYupDU4B— Bad “antizionist” takes (@antiantizionist) April 26, 2022
The Future of Antisemitism Under a Musk-Led Twitter
Given Elon Musk’s laissez-faire approach to freedom of speech, the Tesla CEO’s reported $44 billion purchase of Twitter has stoked fears that Twitter will relax its already-nominal efforts to moderate antisemitism. But although this may happen, the specter of regulation could loom larger in response — albeit outside the United States.What Elon Musk buying Twitter may mean for Jewish users and antisemitism
One indication of this is the European Union’s recent message to Musk that reminded him of his regulatory obligations. That reminder, from EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton, suggested that Musk is not above compliance with rules on the continent requiring moderation for hate speech and other content illegal in member states.
In the United States, however, almost all hate speech is legal unless it incites someone to violence. And Musk has said the only restraining factor on Twitter will be US laws.
The US Congress continues to scrutinize the legal protections enjoyed by social media websites, but unless it amends the First Amendment (something impossible by modern standards), it can’t force Musk to curb speech unless it breaks existing laws.
These developments may give impetus to bills circulating in Congress such as the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, championed by Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA). Aimed at social-media algorithms enabling and/or promoting extremism from terrorists, including white supremacists, the legislation may pick up speed in the wake of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter — though it’s not clear if these laws would withstand Supreme Court review.
Jewish groups are already clamoring to convey to Musk what they would like to see him change on the platform.Bloomberg Fails to Correct on Israeli Arabs, Army Service
The Council of European Rabbis issued a statement calling for Twitter to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism — which has drawn its own scrutiny — for use in its content moderation.
“A quick win and a clear break from the past would be the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, used by governments and police forces around the word,” the group said. “The adoption of the definition, alongside its rigorous enforcement, will go a long way to making Twitter all that it can be.”
Some of the definition’s examples of antisemitism include certain criticisms of Israel, including ones that call the Jewish state a racist endeavor. Critics say it shuts down parts of free speech.
Many Jewish users have also long wanted Twitter to permanently boot Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who regularly calls for the violent destruction of Israel, among other antisemitic things. Dorsey had deemed Khamenei’s tweets “saber-rattling” and never firmed a policy on controversial statements by international leaders.
“We believe it’s important for everyone to hear from global leaders, and we have policies around world leaders,” Dorsey said in 2020. “We want to make sure we are respecting their right to speak and to publish what they need.”
Some believe efforts to police Twitter and other social media users has already gone too far, and that Musk could revitalize what they see as an overly censored space. Yossi Klein Halevi, a prominent American-Israeli author who often writes about Jewish-Muslim coexistence, argued in a tweet after Musk’s purchase announcement that “pro-Israel voices are arbitrarily removed” from Twitter and called on Musk to “level the playing field and let us debate” on Israel. He did not elaborate on why he believes pro-Israel activists are silenced.
(Musk personally has not commented on Israeli politics or policy, even as he weighs in regularly on matters of public interest. His engagement with the country appears to be limited; he climbed Masada and visited then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his home during a 2018 visit that Musk said was largely personal in nature.)
Bloomberg News has failed to correct two straight-forward errors in its Israel coverage. In her April 12 business story (“Israelis Rush for Gun Licenses After A Series of Fatal Shootings“), Gwen Ackerman errs about Israeli-Arabs, wrongly reporting that the population “mostly identify as Palestinian.” In fact, polling data shows that the opposite is true. They mostly don’t identify as Palestinians. A 2019 Israel Democracy Institute report found that only 13 percent of surveyed identify as Palestinian (“Jews and Arabs: Conditional Partnership“).CBC Delegitimizes Israeli Sovereignty in Jerusalem
Other surveys have similar findings. For example, a 2017 study by Arik Rudnitzky and Itamar Radai found that only 8.9 percent of Israeli Arabs identify as “Palestinian in Israel/Palestinian citizen in Israel” and 15.4 percent identify as “Palestinian” (“Citizenship, Identity and Political Participation . . . ” p. 22).
A third study, conducted by Camille Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, found only 7 percent of non-Jewish people in Israel identify as Palestinian.
While CAMERA supplied this data to Bloomberg, the news outlet has yet to correct.
Second, Bloomberg incorrectly reports: “All Israelis are required to complete military service . . . .” In fact, not all Israelis are required to serve in the military. Israeli Arabs are exempt, though many do volunteer for service. Haredim are also largely exempt, with only a tiny minority drafting. Religious women are also exempt, and are eligible for National Service as opposed to military service.
It’s noteworthy that CBC ignored how the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and that Israel asserts its sovereignty there, though it may be disputed by the Palestinians. Importantly, when Jordan occupied the area from 1948-1967, Jews were denied access to the Old City, and Jewish holy sites and artifacts were desecrated and destroyed. For many years, the Islamic Waqf, which oversees the site, removed thousands of tonnes of rubble from the Temple Mount that included archeological remnants from the First and Second Temple periods. In so doing, Jewish artifacts were destroyed at Judaism’s holiest site in an attempt to erase every sign and memory of its Jewish past, including the destruction of archaeological evidence of the site’s very connection to Judaism.When the BBC has no qualms about adoption of ‘other people’s language as our own’
Yet, when Israel reunified the area, capturing it in a defensive battle in the Six-Day War, the area suddenly became “occupied” in the eyes of the international community and the media, but these lands weren’t regarded as “occupied” when Jordan held the land for 19 years. And when Israel captured the area, again in a war it didn’t initiate, but that it had preexisting claims to, Israel allowed Jordan, by way of the Islamic Waqf, to maintain control of the Temple Mount site. This included allowing only a small number of Jews to visit the Temple Mount, but denied them the right to pray at Judaism’s holiest site.
While Palestinian Authority leaders frequently repeat the lie that there was never a Jewish temple, something the CBC never reports on, this ploy did not succeed. Excavations and copious archeological evidence prove 3,000 years of Jewish indigeneity in Jerusalem.
Sadly, CBC cannot accept these facts and instead elects to delegitimize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Yet at the same time as the BBC ‘explains’ its refusal (in certain cases) to use the term ‘terrorist’ by invoking “political overtones”, “value judgements” and “a barrier…to understanding”, it actually has no problem with the adoption of “other people’s language as our own” in other situations.
Previously (see ‘related articles’ below) we have seen how the BBC has replaced the instructions relating to Temple Mount as they appear in its own style guide with the politically motivated language used by the PLO and other Palestinian factions. That practice now frequently compromises audience understanding of events.
We have also seen how the BBC has adopted the Palestinian practice of labelling all Israeli Jews “settlers” regardless of their place of residence: a practice which is clearly both “a barrier to understanding” and a “value judgement”.
Such examples of the BBC’s adoption of “other people’s language” were evident in the April 21st edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘OS’.
That nearly six-minute item (from 15:08 here) related to rioting – including attacks with fireworks and rocks – which took place on Temple Mount earlier in the day. Presenter James Reynolds introduced the item by describing that rioting as “fighting” and using the partial term “the Aqsa Mosque compound” contrary to BBC style guide instructions.
You mean like people who defend Farrakhan, goysplain antisemitism for Jews, praise Palestinian violence against Jews and then proceed to call Jews bigots for calling them out on it? https://t.co/xr8lEhEkJO— The Mossad: The Social Media Account (@TheMossadIL) April 26, 2022
EU condemns antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism
The European Union issued a statement in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. In contrast with previous statements that sought to avoid tying antisemitism to Israel hatred, the EU admitted the two issues were connected.Israel applies to head International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
In the statement, the EU delegation to Israel and the 26 EU member-state embassies in Israel said they "solemnly commemorate today the memory of six million Jewish men, women, and children who were brutally murdered on European soil by the Nazis, their allies, and local collaborators during humanity's darkest moments.
The statement was issued by EU Ambassador to Israel and the ambassadors of all EU member-states represented in Israel, i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
Calling the Holocaust "a dark, indelible stain on European history," the EU said that "while the horrors that were committed on our continent cannot be undone, we solemnly pledge to keep working tirelessly to preserve the memory of the Shoah and to fight all attempts to deny, mystify, or distort the historical facts. We must and we will remain ever-vigilant as the specter of antisemitism rears its ugly head again.
As for the recent increase in antisemitism, the EU officials noted that "tragically, antisemitism continues to fester within our societies. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how old antisemitic prejudices can resurge, inspire new conspiracy theories, and generate hatred online and offline. Comparisons of health-related measures with the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany are unacceptable."
Israel submitted its candidacy for the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2025, Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz announced on Wednesday.
A different country holds the presidency of IHRA each year and hosts meetings of the plenary, IHRA’s decision-making body, up to twice a year. Sweden is currently the presiding country.
The year 2025 will mark the 25th anniversary of IHRA’s establishment and 80 years to the end of World War II.
Ushpiz made the announcement during a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry ahead of Yom Hashoah honoring diplomats recognized as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews during the Holocaust.
“In the darkest hours of the Holocaust, the light of morality was lit in the form of the brave acts and altruistic courage of those who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews,” Ushpiz stated. “Among them were 38 diplomats…We, the people and the government of Israel, thank them with all our hearts.”
Nearly half of Israelis fear a second Holocaust is coming- poll
Despite the phrase "never again" long linked to Holocaust commemoration, almost half (47%) of the Israeli public are concerned that another Holocaust will strike the Jewish people, according to a new survey.New York governor pledges $2.6 million to aid state’s Holocaust survivors
The poll was conducted just days ahead of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, which starts Wednesday evening, April 27, by the Pnima movement and first published in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.
The survey found that women expressed more anxiety about another Holocaust compared to men (55% versus 42%) and that younger Israelis are especially fearful – 24% of Israelis under the age of 24 said that they were very worried about a second Holocaust, in contrast to just 12% of Israelis over the age of 45.
Notably, religiously observant Israelis are more worried about an ensuing Holocaust. Israelis who define themselves as haredim (ultra-Orthodox) responded that they were very concerned about the likelihood, as opposed to just 11% of Israelis who identify themselves as secular.
The ongoing threat from the Iranian regime, which has repeatedly declared its desire to wipe out the Jewish state, is a noted contributor to Israelis' distress over another Holocaust.
The survey also asked Israelis how they think Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely observed in Israel as a day to memorialize the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah, will be commemorated in the future. Currently, telling the stories of the victims and survivors is the priority on this day, but this is becoming increasingly challenging as survivors are now in their 80s and 90s, meaning that soon there will be no living firsthand accounts of the attempted genocide.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced $2.6 million in funding to support the state’s Holocaust survivors during a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday.NEVER AGAIN | From Defenseless to Defenders
The Holocaust Survivors Initiative will provide funds to 29 organizations for health care and other critical services for survivors, Hochul said.
“Survivors endured tragedy beyond anyone’s imagination — they deserve a lifetime of compassion and healing,” Hochul said.
New York is home to nearly 40,000 survivors, and around 40% are in poverty, said Hochul, who took over for resigned ex-governor Andrew Cuomo in August and is campaigning for New Yorkers to keep her in the post when they go to the polls this fall.
There are around 65,000 Holocaust survivors living in the US, and about one-third live below the poverty level, according to the Blue Card, a New York-based group that assists survivors.
Hochul announced the funding at a meeting with survivors and Jewish community representatives in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
She said she met with a group of survivors before the conference.
“There’s no one with as much heart, but as much strength, as these incredible women,” she said, thanking them for “the lessons you have taught us.”
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Shoah Foundation shares ‘lost’ testimony of Holocaust survivor killed in Ukraine
The 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova died near her home in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 4, while the city was under a devastating Russian attack. Her family believed that her survivor testimony died with her.IDF: Righteous Among the Nations: CPL Noah's Family Legacy
Obiedkova died, reportedly cold and emaciated, while sheltering in the basement of a store near her home; her daughter and son-in-law fled the city after burying her. The house they shared burned during the attacks, and the VHS tape containing the video testimony Obiedkova had recorded of her Holocaust experience for the USC Shoah Foundation in 1998 was destroyed along with the family’s other possessions, her family told Chabad.org.
But on Tuesday, the Shoah Foundation posted Obiedkova’s 94-minute testimony in full to its YouTube page, honoring her by preserving her story in the digital realm.
The testimony is entirely in Russian, and there are currently no subtitles. Obiedkova uses the interview to describe her childhood experiences navigating the war, commenting at one point, “We did not feel there would be a war. My mother had just taken a vacation.”
Chabad offers more details on her life as shared by her family: A lifelong Mariupol resident, Obiedkova was 10 years old when the Nazis entered the port city in 1941. She hid in a basement while her mother was taken away, and was moved into a hospital by her non-Jewish father to evade further detection, posing as a Greek girl until the city was liberated by Soviet forces in 1943.
She spent the rest of her life in Mariupol and was an active member of the city’s Jewish community, according to Mendel Cohen, the Chabad rabbi who serves the area.
During the Holocaust, Noah's family saved Jews from the Nazis. Today, Noah is a soldier in the IDF.
The family has a tree planted in their honor at Yad Vashem—the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel.
Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) April 27, 2022
This is Holocaust survivor Ervin and his twin granddaughters—both soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.
On Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day,
we remember their stories,
we listen to their voices
& we vow
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