Friday, August 26, 2022

From Ian:

The Afterlife
Alexander Pechersky Led a Successful Prisoner Revolt at the Sobibor Death Camp. His Extraordinary Story is Also That of Millions of Soviet Jews.

In November of 2018, at the National Arts Club in New York City, I attended a screening for the film Sobibor, which was described in the program as “First Russian Oscar Contender About Holocaust” (sic). The screening was part of a promotional campaign to secure a nomination in the best foreign film category, and was presented by the film’s producers, along with the Alexander Pechersky Foundation and the Russian American Foundation. Annexed to the auditorium where the screening was to happen was a small exhibition about Alexander “Sasha” Pechersky and the uprising he led at the Sobibor concentration camp, which was the subject of the film.

Konstantin Khabensky, the film’s star and director, had come to the screening from Russia. A panel of historians and experts was convened. The audience consisted of members of the local Jewish community and the Jewish press, not a few of them Russian-speaking. A group of elderly Russian Jewish war veterans, some in uniform, all decorated with their medals, were seated near the front of the room. Among them was a woman who wore a yellow star button on her blouse to identify her as a Holocaust survivor.

In opening remarks, a scholar of Soviet Holocaust cinema commended the producers for making a Russian film about the Holocaust, a suppressed subject for most of the Soviet period. In fact, any acknowledgment of the unique nature of the tragedy experienced by Soviet Jews in painting, sculpture, poetry, fiction, history, public monuments and other forms of remembrance was practically forbidden. In a nation that suffered so profoundly, with as many as 27 million citizens perishing during the war, the official position was that it was wrong to divide the victims. At sites of mass killings, if there was any commemoration at all, it memorialized “peaceful Soviet citizens” who had died at the hands of “the German occupiers.” Sobibor might therefore be regarded as the Russian equivalent to Schindler’s List.

Films are subjective things and it’s not my intention to engage in criticism of a film released two years ago. Also, the quality of the film is of negligible importance to the larger story of Alexander Pechersky’s life and legacy. But there were many people in the auditorium who were moved to tears by the film, gasped at acts of brutality or laughed at an incident of comeuppance against the Nazis, just like they were watching a regular movie. Unless they’d read the literature about Sobibor and Pechersky, none could have detected the places where the film departed from historical fact, though a partial list would include: Leon Feldhendler (spelled “Felhendler” in recently-discovered archival documents), one of the leaders of the camp underground, wasn’t killed during the revolt; Pechersky didn’t carry the corpse of a young woman named Luka out of the camp in his arms; a Nazi named Frenzel wasn’t shot by Pechersky; there was no crematorium smokestack in Sobibor; and Shlomo Szmajzner, a young Polish prisoner, didn’t, as the end titles assert, hunt down and kill Gustav Wagner, perhaps the camp’s most notoriously brutal SS officer, and 17 other Nazis in Brazil.

At the conclusion of the film, one audience member did inquire about historical accuracy, in response to which the gathered historians offered a general defense of the artist’s right to bend documentary truth for the sake of the emotional one. The Holocaust survivor, a small but pugnacious woman in the Russian Jewish mold, rose to praise the film, which she had now watched for the second time, though it caused her pain in every cell in her body. “Never again!” she proclaimed. One of the veterans took the floor and affirmed that the film showed what had happened in his generation and hoped it would serve as a lesson for the future. He proceeded to make some observations about Arab aggression and, after meeting with a mixed response, resumed his seat.

Nobody in the audience subjected the film to the kind of scrutiny it met in the more exacting corners of the Russian Internet. A widely circulated op-ed written by a commentator on Garry Kasparov’s website accused the filmmakers, and by extension the Russian state, of evading the truth about Sobibor and the heroes it pretended to celebrate: Where was the reference to the Soviet citizens who filled the ranks of the camp guards? What of the local population’s complicity with the Nazis? How about the Soviet Union’s merciless attitude toward its own POWs? And might they have spared a word about the tribulations Pechersky experienced after the war on account of both his captivity and his ethnicity?
Attack on Rushdie mirrors 1925 killing of writer who satirized Vienna antisemitism
Hadi Matar, the man charged with the attempted murder of the distinguished novelist Salman Rushdie, admitted that he had only “read like two pages” of “The Satanic Verses,” Rushdie’s 1988 novel that angered fundamentalist Muslims around the world. Iran’s former Supreme Leader, Ayatalloh Ruhollah Khomeini, who announced a fatwa calling on all Muslims to murder Rushdie in 1989, hadn’t read it at all.

“The Satanic Verses” wasn’t the first – and won’t be the last – novel to provoke the rage of a fanatic who has no grasp of literature’s nuances.

In 1922, an Austrian writer named Hugo Bettauer published a novel set in Vienna called “The City Without Jews.” It sold a quarter of a million copies and became known internationally, with an English translation issued in London and New York. A silent movie adaptation, which has recently been recovered and restored, appeared in the summer of 1924. The following spring, a young Nazi burst into Bettauer’s office and shot him multiple times. The author died of his wounds two weeks later.

A novel published in a polarized city
As in the US today, there was a major gap between rich and poor in early 20th-century Vienna.

The impressive architecture of the inner city sheltered immense wealth, while there was desperate poverty in the working-class districts beyond. The opulence of the banks and department stores, the culture of the theaters and opera house – especially in the predominantly Jewish district of Leopoldstadt – inevitably stirred deep resentment.

In the years immediately preceding World War I, populist mayor Karl Lueger saw his opportunity: He could win votes by blaming every problem on the Jews. Many a Jewish refugee would later say that the antisemitism in Vienna was worse than Berlin’s. An impoverished painter living in a public dormitory in a poor district to the north of Leopoldstadt was inspired to build a new ideology following Lueger’s blueprint. His name was Adolf Hitler.
Gil Troy: The Jewish and intellectual origins of this famously non-Jewish Jew
Editor’s note: Excerpted from the new three-volume set, “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings,” the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People edited by Gil Troy, to be published this August marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. This is the second article in a series. The first in the series is available here.

Theodor Herzl was born on May 2, 1860, in Pest, Hungary, across the River Danube from Buda. The second child and only son of a successful businessman, Jakob, he was raised to fit in to the elegant, sophisticated society his family and a fraction of his people had fought so hard to enter. But it is too easy to caricature his upbringing as fully emancipated and assimilated.

His paternal grandfather, Simon Loeb Herzl, came from Semlin, today’s Zemun, now incorporated into Belgrade. There, Simon befriended Rabbi Judah ben Solomon Chai Alkalai. This prominent Sephardic leader was an early Zionist, scarred by the crude anti-Semitism of the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840, inspired by the old-new Greek War of Independence in the 1820s—and energized by the spiritual and agricultural possibilities of returning the Jews to their natural habitat, their homeland in the Land of Israel. It is plausible that the grandfather conveyed some of those ideas, some of that excitement, to his grandson.

Still, the move from Semlin to Budapest, from poverty to wealth, from intense Jewish living in the ghetto to emancipated European ways in the city, placed the Herzl family at the intersection of many of his era’s defining currents.

The 1800s were years of change—and of isms. Creative ideas erupted amid the disruptions of industrialization, urbanization and capitalism. Three defining ideologies were rationalism, liberalism and nationalism—with each one shaping the next. The Age of Reason, the Enlightenment—science itself—rose thanks to rationalism. Life was no longer organized around believing in God and serving your king, but following logic, facts, objective truth. The logic of reason flowed naturally to liberalism, an expansive political ideology rooted in recognizing every individual’s inherent rights. Finally, as polities became less God-and-king-centered, nationalism filled in the God-sized hole in many people’s hearts. Individuals bonded based on their common heritage, language, ethnicity, or regional pride—and needs.

Ideas are not static. In an ideological age rippling with such dramatic changes, the different isms kept colliding and fusing, like atoms becoming molecular compounds. Some combinations proved more stable—and constructive—than others.

Liberalism combined with nationalism created Americanism, the democratic model wherein individual rights flourished in a collective context yielding the liberal-democratic nation-state. An offshoot of liberalism emphasizing equality more than rights fused with rationalism and created Marxism, although Karl Marx admitted his theories could only be enacted with irrational terror. Marxism with that violent streak, drained of liberalism, became communism, while a hyper-nationalism, rooted in blood-and-soil loyalty, and the kind of Marxist rationalism and totalitarianism also drained of any liberalism, created Nazism.

PodCast: The Forgotten Exodus: Libya
Throughout most of her life, Giulietta Boukhobza rarely talked about the life she left behind in Libya when she was 16. However, today, with antisemitism on the rise and Israel under constant threat, she shares her family’s story of their harrowing escape from Libya as part of an effort to raise awareness for future generations.

Joining Boukhobza is filmmaker Vivienne Roumani-Denn, the creator of “The Last Jews of Libya,” a documentary about how her family and others were forced out of their North African homeland, who provides the historical backdrop for Boukhobza’s story, illustrating how life was never easy for Jews in Libya, but it was still home.

Boukhobza’s story is also one of triumph. Together with her husband David Harris, the longtime CEO of American Jewish Committee, they demonstrate that speaking up and fighting for what you believe is the only option.
MEMRI: Egyptian Politician: The Holocaust Was 'One Of The Greatest Crimes Of Mass Extermination In Human History,' Which 'Shocks The Human Conscience Throughout The Generations'
On August 24, 2022 Egyptian journalist and politician Osama Al-Ghazali Harb published, in his column in the Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram, an unusual short piece titled "The Holocaust," in which he stressed that the Holocaust was "one of the greatest crimes of mass extermination in human history." Describing the Nazis' organized extermination of the Jews using gas chambers and crematoria, he also emphasized that the estimated number of Holocaust victims is six million, and added that this historical event "no doubt shocks the human conscience throughout the generations."

The column was apparently published against the backdrop of the recent statements of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas, who claimed, during a state visit to Germany, that Israel has perpetrated "50 massacres" and "50 holocausts" against the Palestinians since 1947.[1] Al-Ghazali Harb's piece is especially striking because, following 'Abbas' remarks, the Palestinian and Arab press published many articles supporting his claims.[2] Such articles were also published in the Egyptian press, including by senior journalists Gallal 'Aref, head of Egypt's Press Council, and 'Abd Al-Mohsen Salama, Al-Ahram's editor in chief, who both claimed that 'Abbas was not wrong when he accused Israel of perpetrating a holocaust against the Palestinians.[3]

The following are translated excerpts from Osama Al-Ghazali Al-Harb's article:[4]
"'Holocaust' is a German word 'meaning 'collective burning.' In the context of World War II, it has come to refer to the mass extermination perpetrated by the German leader Adolf Hitler against the Jews of Europe in 1941–1945, which was one of the greatest crimes of mass extermination in human history. Nazi ideology contended that the Germans are a pure race entitled to rule the world and to eliminate or expunge mixed races like the Poles, Gypsies, Jews, Slavs and Africans. According to this ideology, certain groups in society are also subhuman, even if they are Aryans, such as homosexuals, criminals, the physically or mentally disabled, communists, liberals, Jehova's Witnesses and anyone who rejects the Nazi ideology. All of these groups were subjected to horrific extermination. In addition, over 400,000 mentally disabled persons were surgically [sterilized] to keep them from having children, and thousands of disabled, mentally ill and chronically ill people were 'euthanized' by various methods.

"But the gravest crime perpetrated by the Nazis was against the Jews. Shortly after they came to power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis announced a boycott of businesses and institutions owned by Jews in the country. Marking the doors and windows of Jewish businesses and homes became an increasingly common phenomenon, along with slogans that called to boycott the Jews, who were perceived as a disaster that had befallen Germany. The organized extermination of the Jews began in 1941, at the height of World War II, when the Nazis began building facilities for mass extermination using gas. Six such camps were built, all of them in Poland. They all had gas chambers or crematoria, each of which could contain 2,500 people. The prisoners were taken to the camps in trains, after which they were led to the gas chambers [and killed] with cyanide or some other poisonous gas. After they died their bodies were burned in crematoria within the same buildings.

"How many Jews were exterminated? According to assessments, the number was about six million!! That, in a nutshell, is the story of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews, which no doubt shocks the human conscience throughout the generations!"
Mike Fegelman: Ottawa's approach to anti-racism like asking Big Tobacco to cure cancer
While CMAC was promoting itself as a valuable resource for combatting racism in Canadian broadcasting, Marouf made little attempt to hide its true goal, of demonizing Israel and the Jewish people.

Marouf’s peddling of antisemitism online was not limited to social media. In 2016, Marouf spoke at a conference at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, and was overt in explaining CMAC’s vision. After a long diatribe against Israel, and extolling the virtues of “disruption and subversion” against the Jewish state, Marouf explained that his mantra was to help “make sure that your oppressor does not even have one space that they can feel comfortable in.”

Clearly, Marouf’s history of posting, and otherwise spreading antisemitic and anti-Israel comments stretched back a number of years, and in some cases, in our view, may reasonably be construed as not just merely hateful words, but could be interpreted as incitement to violence against Jews. Don’t just take my word for that, Marouf has acknowledged that Twitter suspended his account as the social media platform determined that he engaged in “hateful conduct” and “promote(d) violence” against “people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation.” Marouf even wrote a missive claiming: “Twitter Suspended My Account to Appease the Zionist Lobby; Help Me Get It Back!”

Following outcry over Marouf’s comments by Canadians of all stripes and strong advocacy by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), a number of members of Parliament condemned the hateful remarks, including Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen, who worked with Canadian Heritage on the project, slammed “the reprehensible and vile comments,” and said they “go against everything our government, and our country, stand for.”

Hussen later suspended Marouf’s project and cut funding to the organization he works for. While Hussen and the federal government are right to condemn Marouf’s comments now, it is unclear why they were ignorant of his litany of antisemitic remarks when they paid Canadian taxpayer funds to the CMAC to sensitize Canadian broadcasters about anti-racism.

As pointed out by the National Post’s Rex Murphy, it is inconceivable that Jonathan Kay, with few resources available to him, was able to take note of Marouf’s social media history, but the federal government seemingly was not.

As Murphy observed, how did the Ministry of Diversity and Inclusion, “with its overwhelming commitment to anti-racism managed to find and fund a sewer-source of what exactly (the) department was set up to fight.”

Indeed, asking Marouf to run an anti-racism program was like paying Big Tobacco to cure cancer.

Moving forward, Canadians should demand and expect proactive action from the federal government to ensure that both current and future recipients of taxpayer dollars, aimed at fighting hatred in society, are not themselves prominent advocates of it.
The Line Between Anti-Racism and Racism Keeps Getting Fainter
Since this story broke last week, I’ve heard a lot of Trudeau’s critics suggest that the Marouf saga proves that Canada’s Liberal government harbours an antisemitic agenda. But I reject that accusation. The more likely (if also more banal) explanation is that the Liberals—like the progressive, wealthy, white-collar class from which the party recruits its senior cadres—has devoted so much time and bandwidth to anti-racism, intersectionality, decolonization, and other academic group-based theories, that they’ve simply lost sight of the basic need to evaluate ideas and human beings on their own merits.

After all, Trudeau now explicitly instructs his ministers to implement policies that are “informed and developed through an intersectional lens.” And of course, an “intersectional” approach toward someone such as Marouf would require that one consider the various “positionalities” and “privileges” at play. For a white person, this would include granting a silent and uncritical audience for his complaints about Jews, without demonstrating “fragility” or “centering” the interlocutor’s objections. It’s a theme that Marouf himself hit explicitly on Twitter, with his insistence that Jews may take part in the Palestinian struggle only if they agree to a “complete abandonment of personal opinion & only parroting Palestinian voices”—an eerily exact formulation of the faddish concept known as white “allyship.”

Substitute “Indigenous” for “Palestinian,” and “Settler” for “Jew,” and you’ll find that Canadian media has been absolutely littered with hectoring allyship-themed advice of exactly this type in recent years. Likewise, while Marouf’s claims about Canada being an Apartheid state built on a foundation of genocide and racism may seem extreme, they directly echo many of the talking points that one can now find embedded in everyday anti-racist training sessions taught by corporate diversity consultants.

For all I know, in fact, a truly expert Liberal intersectionalist applying a maximalist formulation of anti-racism might even be able to entirely rationalize Marouf’s hatred of Jews—at least the white ones—on the basis that his animus is rooted in an emotionally legitimate reaction to the historic oppression of his Arab ancestors. One of Marouf’s more inspired masterstrokes in this regard was to ensure that the words “white” and “Jewish” tend to appear side-by-side in his harangues, which, by the most generous interpretation, can be taken to suggest that all he is guilty of is calling out white supremacy.

Remember that there’s a strong faction within ultra-progressive subculture that insists Jews are just another group of privileged white settlers, fair game for the same sort of scathing rhetorical attacks meted out to white people more generally within anti-racist discourse. Indeed, this helps explain why so many otherwise hyper-progressive political subcultures often betray alarming streaks of antisemitism. As John-Paul Pagano noted in Tablet six years ago, “antisemitism doesn’t work like most forms of racism, which denigrate their victims as inferior. Antisemitism is special in that it often perceives its target—Jews—as having too much privilege and assails them for it.”

The facts of Marouf’s case are so bizarre that some Canadian politicians and pundits may be tempted to dismiss it as a one-off farce. But that would be a mistake, because the scandal surrounding this one man provides an opportunity for the country’s policymakers to seriously scrutinize the value proposition offered by the whole cottage industry of anti-racist experts, consultants, and profiteers who’ve put their palms out to government in recent years. For all the denunciations now properly being heaped on Laith Marouf, he could, in this way, deliver to Canadians a profound (if completely unintentional) act of public service.

Anti-Israel candidate loses in New York primary; Nadler moves on to 16th term, defeating Maloney
Jewish Democrats in New York managed to avoid adding another progressive candidate whose position on Israel and BDS had elicited concerns over the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s primaries.

Levi Strauss heir and former federal prosecutor Dan Goldman—also of the Goldman Sachs family—won the open race for New York’s 10th Congressional District, beating his nearest rival, New York state assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, by only 1,306 votes, with 25.8% to Niou’s 23.7%.

Goldman’s victory came in part because of his consolidation of Orthodox Jewish voters, while Niou faced a litany of questions over her positions on Israel.

During a primary debate late last week, Niou said that she would oppose a resolution in Congress against the BDS movement, according to the New York Post, saying she “would not vote for anything opposing the BDS movement’s right to exist.”

Earlier this month, Niou also upset pro-Israel voters when it was reported by The Forward that she planned to host an Aug. 18 fundraiser featuring a Palestinian comedian who has called Israel “a terrorist state.”

The race drew 13 candidates to compete for the seat with four candidates breaking into double digits for the percentage of votes they received. One of the candidates was current Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who entered the district after the state’s redistricting was approved. Jones finished with 18.2% of the vote and New York City Council member Carlina Rivera finished fourth with 17%.

The district covers lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, including Borough Park, and incorporates a large Jewish population.

Law Students at UC Berkeley Declare ‘Victory’ for BDS
A group of anti-Israel law students at the University of California, Berkeley, are celebrating what they are calling a “victory” on campus after convincing a number of other student groups to support the BDS movement from those “complicit” in the “occupation of Palestine.”

“Victory!” announced the social media post from the Law Students for Justice in Palestine at Berkeley Law just days before the start of the school year this week. “LSJP is so excited to announce that multiple student affinity groups and clubs at Berkeley Law have adopted a pro-Palestine bylaw divesting all funds from institutions and companies complicit in the occupation of Palestine and banning future use of funds towards such companies!”

They continued, saying: “LSJP is calling ALL student organizations at Berkeley Law to take an anti-racist and anti-settler colonial stand and adopt the bylaw into their constitutions ASAP!”

According to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, “this is part of the anti-normalization element of BDS, which seeks to exclude, marginalize and demonize Jewish and Zionist identity on campus, and is one of the reasons that BDS inspires the targeting of Jewish students for harm.”

AMCHA reported that among the Berkeley Law student groups pledging to support the BDS movement are Berkeley Law Muslim Student Association; Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association; Womxn of Color Collective (WOCC); Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; Queer Caucus; Community Defense Project; Women of Berkeley Law; and Law Students of African Descent.

“Can a Jewish student feel comfortable now in the Queer Caucus or Women of Berkeley Law, two of the groups that reportedly added this organizational bylaw, now that these groups have agreed to not ‘hold views or host/sponsor/promote events in support of Zionism [and] the apartheid State of Israel?’” asked Rossman-Benjamin. “The university needs to carefully examine the legality of marginalizing other students from inclusion in student groups on campus, and at a bare minimum, issue a statement denouncing the targeting of Jewish students for their identity.”

This, she affirmed, “is clear antisemitism.”
In ridiculous claim, left-wing Jewish group calls AIPAC ‘antisemitic’
Democrat primary victories and bitterness
United Democracy Project spent $26 million during the recent Democratic primaries. According to a Wednesday press statement, it also supported New York district 10 candidate Dan Goldman his primary victory against Yuh-Line Niou.

Niou was described by the United Democracy Project as "an anti-Israel candidate who endorses the BDS campaign against Israel." Niou had made a statement in support of BDS on July 11, leading to a withdrawn endorsement from Congressman Brian Cunningham and a denunciation by Former NYC mayor Bill De Blasio.

The support of Goldman against Niou infuriated INN and other progressive Jewish organizations.

"AIPAC hid their spending in NY-10 until after polls closed — because 395k in GOP billionaire [dollars] is a shameful assault on progressive voters," INN said late Wednesday. "AIPAC spending should be taboo in the entire Dem party."

IfNotNow's campaign against AIPAC
INN has been engaging in a campaign against AIPAC called #DropAIPAC. The campaign encourages signatories to pledge to cease any interaction with AIPAC representatives, such as meeting with lobbyists or donating to the group.

"AIPAC endorsed 109 insurrectionist Republicans and spent $25 million to defeat candidates supporting Palestinian rights and progressive causes," says the #DropAIPAC campaign, which has 500 signatories.

"Their actions this year aid the right-wing movement threatening our planet and democracy, and should have no place in our community or our politics. AIPAC claims to speak on behalf of the Jewish community but embraces right-wing antisemites, Islamophobes, and white nationalists such as Donald Trump, Christian Zionist John Hagee, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Muslim Ban lawyer Frank Gaffney."

The pledge ends with: "The majority of American Jews disagree with AIPAC's anti-Palestinian racism and recognize that Jewish and Palestinian safety is intertwined. We stand committed to fighting for equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Jews, Israelis, and Palestinians."

Jason Greenblatt: For ‘CNN’ and anti-Semitism, not perfect but a good start
When I was approached by CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash to participate in a new documentary “Rising Hate: Antisemitism in America,” I was at first ambivalent. Not because I believe all of CNN’s anchors, hosts and pundits are biased, though some are. I have no doubt that bias, manipulation, misleading information and other flaws exist in CNN’s coverage. To be fair, I would say that about some other mainstream media outlets as well. I am also well aware of CNN’s predisposition to portray former President Donald Trump in a negative light, perhaps more than many other networks.

Despite my misgivings, I decided to participate. If CNN was airing a special episode about anti-Semitism, that was itself noteworthy. I cannot just speak to or write for audiences who think as I do or believe as I believe. I want to share my thoughts with those who do not think as I do, or believe as I believe, in order for those audiences to make decisions based on a wider spectrum of information. I also wanted to argue against the notion that the former president is anti-Semitic, and fosters or condones anti-Semitism. My experience throughout over two decades of working for him proved otherwise. He was a boss who supported and encouraged my religious observance. I publicly defended Trump against these accusations in The Washington Post, The Forward and other outlets. I also describe his approach to me being an observant Jew in my new book In the Path of Abraham.

I was not disappointed with my decision to participate. Though I may disagree with how Bash (at times) and CNN (often) cover Trump, I found her to be thoroughly professional and interested in hearing my thoughts. She asked tough but fair questions. She probed but didn’t attack or try to manipulate. I could tell from the roughly one-hour interview that we had that she was sincere in trying to understand and share my perspective. She and senior producer Melissa Dunst Lipman also lined up a roster of important guests, including Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to combat and monitor anti-Semitism, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League (as far as I know we are not related). I do not share the same views as he does on certain issues (including about Trump), and I have some issues with the approach of the ADL to some of its work. But he certainly is an important player in terms of his thoughts and work to fight anti-Semitism.

I also appreciate that as a result of my interview, CNN aired a clip of the infamous episode from Charlottesville, Va., that is rarely shown, which depicts Trump clearly saying that neo-Nazis and the white nationalists “should be condemned totally.” CNN finally debunked the myth that he did not condemn the anti-Semites who were present there. It should also have aired other examples of Trump’s many condemnations of anti-Semitism. One example is when, after the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018, Trump said that “[t]his evil, anti-Semitic attack is an assault on … humanity,” how we must work “together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world” and that “those seeking [the Jews’] destruction, we will seek their destruction.” A clearer condemnation, especially from a president of the United States, would be difficult to find.
Conservative groups: ‘CNN’ downplays anti-Semitic hate and violence towards Orthodox Jews
Orthodox and politically conservative Jewish groups are criticizing CNN’s special report on anti-Semitism that aired on Sunday night, alleging that it whitewashed anti-Semitism directed at Orthodox Jews coming from the political left.

The hour-long “Rising Hate: Antisemitism in America,” hosted by the network’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash, focused on rising incidents of violence and hatred against Jews.

Agudath Israel of America, a group that represents the haredi community, said that they appreciated that CNN chose to focus attention on anti-Semitism through the creation of the report but was disappointed that attacks on Orthodox Jews—who represent the most likely victims of the attacks due to their visible attire—was addressed only tangentially.

“While the show mentioned anti-Semitism on the far right and the political left, Ms. Bash’s comments on social media seem to minimize the violence on the left by simply calling it ‘troubling discourse emerging,’ ” Agudath Israel said in a statement to JNS. “We are hopeful that this is just the beginning of a wider discussion on the topic that will transcend party-line politics in order to effectively combat anti-Semitism.”

Another Orthodox group, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents more than 2,000 traditional rabbis, called the special report a “deliberate whitewash,” claiming that the opinions the report shows did not represent traditional communities.

“Though the program acknowledged that hatred can come from both the left and right, it also seemed to suggest that 90% of anti-Semitism can be tied to white supremacy: [attacks in] Poway [Calif.], Charlottesville [Va.] and former President Donald Trump not condemning David Duke ‘enough’ for their liking,” said CJV vice president Rabbi Dov Fischer.

“There was no mention of [Democratic] Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, [Nation of Islam leader] Louis Farrakhan, or the perpetrators of the clear majority of shootings, stabbings and other random attacks that have become sadly common in places like Brooklyn, N.Y.; Monsey, N.Y.: and Jersey City, N.J. This was a deliberate whitewash—one that enables left-wing anti-Semitism to fester unchecked.”
Israeli UFC Fighter Encourages All Jews to Learn Self-Defense Against Antisemitic Attacks
Natan Levy, the world’s only Israeli fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), explained in a new podcast interview on Thursday about the need to support Holocaust survivors and why it’s necessary for all Jews to learn self-defense.

After Levy won his first UFC match on April 30 taking down Mike Breeden in a lightweight fight in Las Vegas days after Israel’s annual Holocaust commemoration day (Yom HaShoah), the Israeli athlete announced his plans to auction off his fight gear and donate the proceeds to Holocaust survivors.

In the latest episode of “Podcast Against Antisemitism,” Levy talked about the decision to donate his gear from the fight in April.

“At one point I was so nervous for my fight, it was the biggest fight of my life, and on the other hand, it’s Holocaust Memorial Day and I said to myself, ‘Why am I stressed out? Look at what these people went through, the atrocities,'” he said.

He explained that thinking about what Holocaust survivors had to endure during World War II put things in perspective for him and before stepping into the cage, he told himself, “fight as if you had an opportunity to fight for them.”

When news spread about Levy’s decision to auction his gear to support Holocaust survivors, the athlete was targeted with antisemitic and “Free Palestine” comments online. Levy said he was “not surprised” by the remarks and unbothered by the comments made by what he called “sad trolls” online. He said in the podcast episode, “I’d rather they comment and everyone can see how disgusting they are.”
Video_ How to respond to antisemitism in social situations
On a recent edition of the ‘Never Again Is Now’ podcast , co-hosted by Evelyn Markus, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, the guest was Jonah Cohen, CAMERA’s Communications Director, who offers practical advice on how best to respond to antisemitic comments in social situations.

‘I’m thirsty for Jew blood’ -Las Vegas man arrested for terrorist threats
Las Vegas Police arrested local man Andrew Gorrelick, 48, last week after police discovered his Twitter account – and the over 40 tweets that specifically mentioned killing Jews, local media reports.

Police said that the suspect tweeted threats that he was going to kill Jewish people 44 times and also threatened the assassination of several prominent US Government officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

“Rounding them up and killing them all now I will never rest until they are all dead” and “Kill all Jews now” were among Gorrelick’s threats, according to the report.

8News Now Las Vegas also reported that Las Vegas Police informed Twitter about the violent antisemitic threats immediately upon his arrest, adding that Twitter had not suspended the account immediately.

8News Now added that Twitter eventually suspended the account after they reached out to company representatives regarding Gorrelick’s then-active Twitter account.

“The account referenced was permanently suspended for multiple violations of our hateful conduct policy,” A spokesperson for Twitter said.
Abdullah Qureshi Traveled 180 Miles to Attack Jews in Stamford Hill
Abdullah Qureshi, 29, was accused at Thames Magistrates Court on Thursday of antisemitic attacks against three Orthodox Jews. The hate crime charges followed a protest campaign that challenged the prosecution’s decision to drop religiously aggravated crime from the charges against him.

Qureshi, who represented himself, admitted to carrying out a string of assaults in Stamford Hill in north London but denied that he picked his victims based on their religion.

The prosecution initially accepted his version, but later admitted their mistake, after London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the “appalling” attacks. The revised charge accuses Qureshi of deliberately choosing to attack Jews.

Qureshi hails from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and had to travel 180 miles from his home to north London. One of his victims reported speaking on the phone when Qureshi hit him over the head with a bottle. Qureshi then slapped a Jewish boy, 16, who was on his way to School, and then punched a man named Jacob Lipschitz into a wall and beat him up. Lipschitz, who was on his way to Synagogue, was dressed in a Haredi attire, like Qureshi’s earlier two victims.

In court, Qureshi expressed doubt regarding the severity of his victims’ injuries. He also denied slapping the boy.

The prosecutor, David Matthew, told the court on Thursday: “The prosecution’s case is that on August 18, 2021, Mr. Qureshi traveled all the way from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire and purposely went to Stamford Hill because it is especially associated with the Jewish community. He went there deliberately and targeted members of the Jewish community––and carried out deliberate, unprovoked, religiously aggravated assaults on the three victims, who were wearing traditional clothing. He planned to be in that area and directed his aggression on those who were noticeable members of the Jewish community. Other people who were not wearing such clothing were not targeted.”
International Junior Track Cycling Championships in Israel for First Time
The 47th Junior Track Cycling World Championships has begun at the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome in Tel Aviv, marking the first time that the competition is being held in Israel.

The competition started on Tuesday and features roughly 300 under-18 cyclists from 40 countries and five continents. Those in attendance at the opening ceremony included Olympic Committee chair Yael Arad, philanthropist Sylvan Adams, Israeli Cycling Union chair Dafna Ling, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai and Knesset member Simon Davidson.

Team Israel is being led by Uri Besh-Duvinsky from the Tel Aviv Cycling Club, who won a medal in July at the European Youth Championships in Serbia, and Oron Argoc, the Israel youth champion from the Masters Haifa team. Other athletes on the Israeli team include Noa Schweki, Hilli Biderman, Uri Bahri and Ron Ben-Efraim.

The competition is being held in Tel Aviv as part of efforts by Adams and the Israeli Cycling Federation to make Israel a leading contender in track cycling.

“The Junior Track Cycling World Championships here at the new Sylvan Adams Velodrome in Israel is an important event in the development of track cycling in Israel,” said Arad. “The exposure to professional levels and inspiration for our sportspeople, and the incredible professional work that is being done in track cycling, will lead to achievements in the future.”
Soccer Legend Messi Heading to Israel as Maccabi Haifa Face Off Against Top European Sides in UEFA Champions League
Israel’s national soccer champions face a tough contest in the UEFA Champions League group stage announced on Thursday, drawing teams that include some of the sport’s leading lights, including Lionel Messi, Nicolas Otamendi and Adrien Rabiot.

Maccabi Haifa qualified for the group stage of Europe’s most prestigious competition following a thrilling qualifying tie against Red Star Belgrade that ended in a 5-4 aggregate victory for the Israeli side. The team will now face off against the likes of Paris Saint-German, Juventus and Benfica.

This year marks the third time in Maccabi Haifa’s history that the team has qualified for the Champions League. On the last occasion, during the 2009-10 season, the side set a record that it will be keen to overcome on this outing, losing all six games, scoring no goals and conceding eight. In that group, they also faced Juventus as well as Bordeaux and Bayern Munich.

Drawn from around the world, Maccabi Haifa’s squad includes Haitian forward Frantzdy Pierrot, who previously played in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US, American goalkeeper Josh Cohen and Nigerian midfielder Ali Mohamed. The team’s roster also includes some of Israel’s leading soccer stars, including captain Neta Lavi and veteran striker Ben Sahar.

The Israelis will face an uphill struggle when it comes to qualifying for the knockout stage of the competition. Opponents Paris Saint-German can call on players of the quality of Messi — currently eyeing a Champions League all-time goalscoring record — as well as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, while Italian powerhouse Juventus can field midfielders like Rabiot and Juan Cuadrado. Portugal’s Benfica meanwhile trounced opposition teams on their way to this year’s competition, including a 5-0 aggregate victory over Ukraine’s Dinamo Kyiv.
“A Moral Obligation”
“I tell people the first 60 years are the hardest,” jokes Charles Berlin ’58, Ph.D. ’63. He would know: Berlin has headed Harvard Library’s Judaica Division since September 1962, when he was a 26-year-old graduate student finishing a dissertation in Jewish studies, and the division, which documents Jewish life and culture—in every language, place, historical period, and format—was just getting started. “Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun,” Berlin, the Friedman bibliographer in Judaica in the Harvard College Library, remembers blithely thinking when he was first offered the job, which had just been created. “I had spent basically my whole student life in the library.”

His whole professional life too, now. This September marks Berlin’s 60th anniversary with the Judaica Division, which is also turning 60. The largest collection of its kind outside of the National Library of Israel, the division’s holdings (which amount to 5 percent of Harvard Library’s total) include books, periodicals, maps, musical scores, posters, photographs, audio and visual recordings, and all kinds of ephemera. For instance: the assemblage that decorates the metal filing cabinets in Berlin’s office—dozens of refrigerator magnets, from cities around the world, listing local Shabbat candle-lighting times. “Most people will get this from their synagogue once a year,” says Judaica collection specialist Vardit Samuels, “and afterward they’ll throw it away.” It’s the kind of artifact that’s rarely preserved, except in places like this.

More than 100 languages are represented in the Judaica collection, and the number of titles exceeds 900,000; on top of that, a massive digital archive includes 6.3 million images. Among the division’s holdings are particularly rich collections related to Israeli politics and elections, theater, Jewish music, and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world. “Our mission is to collect comprehensively,” Berlin says. “We don’t make value judgments; we collect. And we try to collect everything, because we cannot be censors of what scholars will do.…You never know what a scholar will find interest in discovering. And if it’s not there, they can’t discover it.”

Although the Judaica Division was established formally in 1962, Harvard’s collection of Judaic artifacts dates back to the Puritans. Among the books that John Harvard left to the College in 1638 were a number of Hebrew grammars, and Hebrew was a part of the curriculum from the beginning (the first president, Henry Dunster, was a Hebrew scholar). The College Library’s catalog from 1723 lists Hebrew rabbinic texts printed in Italy and the Netherlands, along with Latin translations of Hebrew texts (all, however, destroyed in the fire that consumed Harvard Hall in 1764). More items arrived during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: 2,000 Yiddish publications donated in 1898, plus smaller and more specialized Judaica collections in the law and medicine libraries.

In 1925, Lucius N. Littauer, A.B. 1878, a New York philanthropist and congressman, endowed a professorship in Jewish history and philosophy, making Jewish studies a recognized scholarly discipline at the University and cementing a need for a collection that would sustain its research. Five years later, Littauer purchased for Harvard the book collection of Ephraim Deinard, a New Orleans Hebrew bibliographer and bookseller; those 12,000 volumes—many of them rare—would become the cornerstone of the Judaica holdings. During the next couple of decades, the library’s acquisition of books and materials intensified, and the establishment of Israel in 1948 added a new source of Hebrew publications (today, Israel provides about 80 percent of the division’s yearly intake). Then in 1957, Boston attorney Lee M. Friedman, A.B. 1893, died, leaving Harvard his collection of books, pamphlets, and ephemera printed over five centuries. At that time, it was the largest assemblage of Western-language Judaica in private hands in North America. His bequest also provided an endowment large enough to justify the appointment of a curator for the Judaica collection.

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