Saturday, November 26, 2022

From Ian:

Second person dies of injuries days after Jerusalem bombing attack
A victim of this week’s terror bombing in Jerusalem succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, raising the death toll from the attack to two.

Tadese Tashume Ben Ma’ada was critically injured in an explosion Wednesday morning at a bus stop at the main entrance to Jerusalem, one of two bombings that rattled the capital.

A statement from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem said trauma and ICU teams “fought for his life but unfortunately his injuries were too serious.”

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family,” the hospital added.

Ben Ma’ada’s family said they were thankful for the support they’d received since the attack but asked the public and the media to respect their privacy.

Ben Ma’ada, 50, immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia 21 years ago. He leaves behind a wife and six children.

Responding to the reports of Ben Ma’ada’s death, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the family and praised medical teams who had treated him.

“Last week, I visited his dedicated family, who wrapped him with love, and the doctors who bravely fought for his life. I embrace the family at this difficult hour. May he rest in peace,” Netanyahu said on Twitter.

Outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid said he was “heartbroken” to hear of Ben Ma’ada’s death.

The double attack in Jerusalem initially left one person dead and 22 others injured. The first victim was named as 16-year-old Aryeh Schupak, a yeshiva student from Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, and a dual Israeli-Canadian national.

How do human rights orgs operate in the West Bank?
All the material that journalist Zvi Yehezkeli gathered for the documentary series Double Agent(Shtula in Hebrew), which just began airing on Channel 13, sat in his desk drawer for three years, until it was approved for broadcast.

“I’d gathered 3,000 hours of footage and recorded numerous interviews for which we needed legal approval in order to use them,” Yehezkeli explains. “This type of content involves a great number of individuals, and so the risk of being saddled with international lawsuits is huge. The whole process was absolutely insane. I’d never worked on such a long series before,” he says.

The series Yehezkeli created is being broadcast on TV as the security situation in the West Bank is worsening, just after the controversial gas agreement with Lebanon was signed and while protests over the wearing of the hijab in Iran are escalating.

“If you’ve spent any time with regular people who live in Iran, you’ll see that the story is different from what you hear about the Middle East,” says Yehezkeli, the Arab Affairs correspondent at Channel 13.

“They want to be like us – they admire us. They don’t care at all about Khamenei and all the complicated politics. This is a generation that grew up after the Islamic Revolution, and they want freedom. They want to be able to make money.

“The intensity of this wave of protests has shown us how stressed out Iranians feel, and that Iran is like a powder keg that is going to explode at any moment.”

The Double Agent series follows a pro-Palestinian Swedish woman who arrives in Israel as a tourist to study architecture. One day she meets a man from the settlement town Eli, who explains the Israeli angle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to her.

“Slowly, she integrates herself into a human rights organization in the West Bank and becomes an intelligence agent for the Israelis,” Yehezkeli explains.

“After a year, she goes to a meeting with senior Hamas leaders, who reveal details to her about their fundraising apparatus, and the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas headquarters in Europe and the human rights organizations. In other words, the human rights organizations, including BDS, are operated by Hamas personnel.

“This agent ends up uncovering a wealth of intel, including secrets that Hamas operatives told her, some of which are documented in written correspondence.

“So, we started creating a documentary series. It’s extremely complicated, since we used a lot of hidden cameras, and we also need to make sure that our agent remains safe.”
Why German intellectuals link Nakba and Holocaust
It’s not just a shocking exception. This summer, the German Documenta, one of the world’s most important art shows – also publicly funded – was run by an Indonesian curators’ collective that included BDS supporters and presented at least one blatantly antisemitic artwork. Despite ongoing attempts to help them make it right, its organizers proved incapable of issuing a clear apology, taking responsibility, and engaging in a productive debate about what had transpired.

The state-funded House of World Cultures in Berlin is now run by a director who wrote this Facebook post: “They will pay a million fold for every drop of blood in GAZA! Palestine shall be free!” and a Palestinian activist, speaking to an applauding audience at a House of World Cultures event this past June, referred to debates about the Holocaust as “Jewish psychodrama.” Again, these are institutions funded by the German state.

Frequently, such events are framed in terms of postcolonial perspectives on the assumption that Israel is a colonial project that has violated an indigenous people’s rights without even questioning whether that assumption applies (it doesn’t, but it’s obviously a topic that needs to be discussed). Yet that still doesn’t really explain the strange urge to mix in Palestinian narratives when the topic is the Holocaust or Holocaust remembrance. What does the German culture of remembrance, or “Erinnerungskultur” – a broad term that refers to the nation’s historical consciousness or, simply put, to those parts of its history that German society deems worthy of remembering and that is widely used to refer to the Third Reich – have to do with the Nakba, one may ask?

Many Germans think that the State of Israel defines itself as the answer to the Holocaust – that the Shoah is basically its raison d’etre. This incorrect and specifically German take on Israel courses daily through the media, statements by public figures, and cultural events. And that very deeply-rooted German view of Israel comes with an underlying sense of guilt and responsibility towards the Palestinians as victimized by Israel’s status as a reparation for Germany’s crimes. The title of the indefinitely postponed Goethe-Institut event suggests this, too, because it includes the Nakba in the German culture of remembrance.

It would be productive and enlightening to launch a discussion about whether the German culture of remembrance has anything to do with the Nakba at all – to start at the root, so to speak, and to shed some light on the assumptions guiding those who think it does. Why do decision-makers in German cultural institutions think it makes sense to discuss the Nakba together with the Holocaust rather than, say, within the obvious historical context of the war that Arab states waged on the Jewish state after it became independent – also a source of pain from an Israeli perspective? Has the German culture of remembrance taken on the tragedy of the Palestinians to relieve its very own heavy load? Hopefully, after all the scandals of these past months and years, these are some of the questions that will be debated at cultural institutions in Germany in the future.

Kanye West's antisemitism inspired by Louis Farrakhan
Observers of antisemitism quickly grasped that West’s antisemitism closely mirrors that of Farrakhan, the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI) – an antisemitic group that advocates for innate black superiority over whites. For decades, Farrakhan has spewed hateful venom at Jews, alleging that the Jewish people were responsible for the slave trade and that they conspire to control the government, the media and Hollywood, as well as various black individuals and organizations.

He frequently denies the legitimacy of Judaism – or the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel – arguing that “Judaism is nothing more than a ‘deceptive lie’ and a ‘theological error’ promoted by Jews to further their ‘control’ over America’s government and economy.”

Unbeknownst to many, West and Farrakhan have been publicly connected for years. In July 2005, West accepted the “Million Man March Image Award” at the NOI headquarters in Chicago. In 2013, when West first drew attention for antisemitism when he lamented that “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people,” Farrakhan defended him and told him not to “bow to pressure to apologize.” Two years later, West took his family to meet Farrakhan, and his song All Day, released that same year, boasted: “Just talked to Farrakhan, that’s sensei.”

What is vital to note is that Farrakhan has an immense following and “may be the most popular antisemite in America” and his “speeches still draw hundreds of thousands of viewers online and his influence reaches millions through regular mentions in news media, popular culture, social media, and more.”

What is so alarming is that Farrakhan’s antisemitic message has appeal across the political spectrum, from the far-left to the far-right, and among radical Muslims. According to Professor Jack Fischel, “Beyond NOI, a web of white supremacists and black nationalists are linked together by online social networks that propagate antisemitic imagery, wild conspiracy theories about the effort of Jews to control America, and other forms of propaganda designed to foster hatred of Jews.”

India, Israel's 'Indo-Abrahamic Alliance' continues to gather pace
This week marks 14 years since the Mumbai terror attacks. Between November 26 and 29, 2008, operatives of the Islamist Lashkar a-Taiba organization struck at 12 sites across the city of Mumbai. Among the locations targeted was the Nariman House, host to a Chabad center. Rabbi Gabriel Holzberg and his wife Rivka, who was six months pregnant at the time of the attack, were murdered along with four other hostages.

The attackers were later neutralized after an Indian special police squad stormed the building. Famously, Sandra Samuel, a local caregiver employed at the Chabad House, rescued the Holzbergs’ two-year-old son, Moshe, and carried him to safety from the building.

The events at Mumbai in 2008 have become emblematic of the growing bond between Israel and India, which may now be described as a strategic alliance. In July 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel, the first visit by an Indian head of government. During the visit, Modi met with Moshe Holzberg. In January 2019, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by Holzberg and Samuel on a visit to Mumbai.

The commonality that was expressed in the harshest terms by Lashkar a-Taiba’s choice of targets in November 2008 has flourished in the intervening years. In the area of defense and security, India is now the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment, with exports to India constituting 46% of Israel’s total arms exports. Israel is the second largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia, New Delhi’s traditional armorer.

India-Israel ties expand into agriculture, tech
The burgeoning relations are not limited to the defense sphere. In the area of agriculture and water management, Indian authorities have partnered with Mashav, Israel’s international development organization, to develop methods to cope with an emergent water crisis.

Investments in the tech field are of growing significance, with Teva Pharmaceuticals among the most notable players. The acquisition by the Adani group of Haifa port is perhaps the most significant recent development in the commercial field.

And so on. The evidence for the deepening connections between Jerusalem and New Delhi in a myriad variety of fields is inescapable. An interesting question concerns the foundations of this edifice.

Tunisia fans raise massive 'Free Palestine' banner at Qatar World Cup
Tunisian fans unveiled a massive "Free Palestine" banner, in the FIFA World Cup match between Tunisia and Australia on Saturday afternoon.

Tunisian fans have been waiving Palestinian flags in previous matches in the international soccer tournament, including in their match against Denmark on November 22.

FIFA has made it clear that it does not wish for politics to be involved in the World Cup, barring European national teams from using pride colors Capitan armbands with the captions "One Love".

Security not afraid to confiscate "controversial" items
During Iran's game versus Wales on Friday, several Iranian fans said Qatari security had prevented them from bringing symbols of support for the Iranian protesters for women's rights into the stadium.

US journalist Grant Wahl said he was briefly detained when trying to enter the USA national team's match against Wales on Monday while wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community. The security staff at the stadium had made him remove his shirt in order to enter the stadium. Wahl refused to take off his shirt, and was eventually allowed in with his shirt.

Wales fans who wanted to enter their national team's match against the USA had their rainbow hats taken by the stadium's security staff, according to a BBC report.

Laura McAllister, a former national team player for Wales's women's team, and professor at Cardiff University has written on her Twitter account: "So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event @Cymru rainbow Bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included. I had a conversation about this with stewards - we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 just gets better but we will continue to stand up for our values"

The Israel Guys: Is Iran Looking to Take Over the West Bank?
This week in Israel, there was a new kind of terrorism - one where Arab terrorists kidnapped and killed a member of the Israeli Druze community. It was only after the Druze community showed their strength that the terrorists finally acquiesced and returned the boy’s body to his family.

Due to the nature of recent terror attacks in Israel, it is clear that Iran is showing their presence in Judea and Samaria, and terrorist factions are getting bolder by the day. With Mahmoud Abbas’ time in power slowly but surely coming to an end, new factions are popping up and fighting for power, Iran among them, with hopes of being the next leaders of the Palestinian Authority.

There’s good news with Israel’s new government! Itamar Ben Gvir’s party, Otzma Yehudit, has finally signed an agreement with Bibi Netanyahu, and a final coalition agreement with the rest of the parties will potentially be signed soon. A strong, right-wing government may be right around the corner for Israel.

Reviewing initial BBC radio reporting on Jerusalem terror attacks
Once again Bateman avoided providing any explanation of the factors behind the rise in the number of terror attacks which have to date resulted in the deaths of twenty-eight Israelis and foreign nationals this year. He refrained from clarifying that what he chose to describe as “waves of military raids” (thereby promoting false equivalence between that and what he seconds earlier described as a “wave of attacks”) are in fact counter-terrorism operations in response to attacks and planned attacks.

Bateman failed to inform listeners that the “more than 130” Palestinians killed includes a high proportion of terrorists and/or people engaged in violent rioting against Israeli forces at the time whereas twenty-four of the Israelis and foreign nationals killed since March were civilians.

Bateman’s reference to “the use of explosives in Jerusalem” fails to clarify to BBC audiences that the ISA recorded 113 attacks using explosives during September and October alone in Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’.

Copnall: “Yeah but if you go back 15, 20 years, bus bombings were relatively common were they not?”

Bateman: “Well during the years of the second Palestinian intifada – or Palestinian uprising – from 2000 to [connection lost] it was a frequent occurrence, a frequent tactic used by…ehm…err…Palestinian attackers back then. You know, that kind of thing had subsided in terms of its frequency since those days. So I think, you know, it’s the method of attack that will be of very great concern to Israeli security officials. There are unconfirmed reports that this was a device that was left at the scene. Now that’s Israeli media reports. It hasn’t been confirmed yet by officials.”

Bateman’s efforts to frame the attack as “the most significant attack of its kind in years” due to its location erase incidents such as a similar fatal attack at a Jerusalem bus stop in 2011 and a bus bombing in 2016. They also exclude a 2013 incident involving explosives on a bus in Bat Yam as well as the fact that explosives – described by the BBC at the time as a “homemade bomb” – have been used to carry out fatal attacks elsewhere in more recent years.

As long-time readers will be aware, the BBC’s record of reporting on terrorism against Israelis is patchy to say the least. Not only does that editorial policy hinder audience understanding of the topic but it also compromises the standard of reporting by BBC staff when they do get round to covering Palestinian terrorism.
Pipe bomb found near Jerusalem's Bridge of Strings a false alarm, police say
Israel Police backtracked on Saturday on an earlier report claiming bomb disposal units located and defused a small pipe bomb found near the Bridge of Strings in Jerusalem on Saturday morning.

The suspicious device, which was found on a road near the entrance to the Israeli capital, was discovered during proactive searches conducted by Jerusalem District Police officers following the Jerusalem twin bombings on Wednesday which killed one Israeli and wounded 19 others.

Shortly after its discovery, police officers at the scene closed the city's entrance and exit roads in the area as bomb disposal units worked to defuse the device.

Later on Saturday, police updated that the device found in Jerusalem was not an explosive device.

Jerusalem police district head Doron Turgeman praised the bomb disposal units' "vigilance and professionalism" in identifying the suspicious device located in a public area, a police statement read.

Lebanese table tennis player refuses to play Israel, receives praise from Hamas
Hamas praised a Lebanese 11-year-old contestant at a table tennis tournament in Portugal on Saturday for refusing to play against the Israeli contestant and pulling out of the tournament so that she wouldn't have to.

Contestants worldwide traveled to Portugal late in November, some of which were coming for the teen division of the tournament. Contestants in the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender Vila Nova de Gaia 2022 were set to play in the semi-final round, when 11-year-old Bissan Chiri of Lebanon refused to play her opponent, an Israeli contestant.

Chiri would have played 15-year-old Elinor Davidov, who was representing Israel in the tournament. Instead, Chiri decided to withdraw from the competition entirely. Though her official reason for withdrawing from the competition was not officially shared, her choice to depart the tournament rather than play Israeli athletes received widespread praise throughout the Arab world.

On November 26th, Hamas issued a press release praising the young girl. Hamas, while based in Gaza, has recently been cooperating in conjunction with Hezbollah. However, operating in Lebanon has landed Hamas in hot water with Hezbollah, whose turf was invaded in the process.

Hamas complimented just one of many instances of competitors refusing to play Israeli competitors. A spokesperson called Chiri's actions representative of an "honorable Arab position that reflects the Lebanese people's genuine sense of belonging for the Palestinian cause.”

Is the Biden Administration Colluding with Russia to Allow Iran to Go Nuclear?
The mullahs are freely expanding their nuclear weapons program, now enriching uranium to nearly weapons-grade level. Iran is also seeking assistance from its ally, Russia, to bolster its nuclear program, according to the US intelligence officials.

Iran has been providing attack drones to Russia that are being used in Ukraine and is preparing also to deliver ballistic missiles. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that the Islamic Republic is going to seek something in return from Russia for these weapons deliveries.

The regime continues to keep the IAEA's cameras at Iran's nuclear facilities turned off. By doing so, it is effectively preventing the IAEA from monitoring its nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment.

Iran's regime also refuses to answer the IAEA's questions about uranium particles found at three of its undeclared nuclear sites.

To what lengths will the Biden administration go to protect Iran's mullahs, allow them to crush anti-regime protestors, and collude with Russia to help Iran acquire nuclear weapons capability?
Seth Frantzman: Iran and Turkey share common interests in their targeting of Kurds
Turkey’s decision to launch a new invasion of Syria may be related to elections next year. But it is also related to a long-term Ankara goal of taking over more of the border region of Syria to move Syrian refugees from Turkey into this area and remove Kurds from the border. This old-style ethnic cleansing, similar to the 20th-century policies of the Soviet Union or fascist countries, is designed to create a “loyal” buffer zone of communities along the border that Ankara can use as proxies.

Therefore the Ankara and Tehran policies are different in this respect. Tehran wants to send a message to the KRG and Iraq to crack down on Kurdish opposition groups. It wants to neutralize PDKI, PAK and Komala using missiles to stop them from supporting the protests.

Turkey’s goal is more wide-ranging as it wants to displace hundreds of thousands of people to recreate the entirety of northern Syria, erasing a thousand or more years of human history and diversity in that region that stretches from Afrin to Qamishli. This erasure targets not only Kurds but also Yazidis, Christians and other groups. This is the same reason Turkey continues to bomb the Yazidi area of Sinjar, an area targeted for genocide by ISIS.

Ankara’s wider goal goes back to the foundation of modern Turkey. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, modern Turkey emerged amidst the persecution of Armenians, Greeks, Kurds and other groups such as Assyrians and other Christians. Ankara later invaded Cyprus and displaced Greeks in the north.

The invasion of Afrin and threats to invade Kobani are thus part of a much longer cycle designed to reduce the presence of minorities. Iran’s policy is more complex. Tehran knows that the majority of Iranians are members of minority groups. It needs them as part of Iran, so its goal is to stop opposition groups from growing, not displace whole groups of people.

Iran and Turkey have common interests. They want the US's role in the Middle East to be reduced. Both of them back Hamas and other extremist groups. The Kurds are scapegoated by both regimes and whenever the regimes want to use their military to attack someone they tend to attack Kurds because they know that the Kurdish minority doesn’t have strong backing.

Ankara and Tehran were displeased to see the strength of the autonomous regions of the KRG in Iraq and eastern Syria flourish. However, both countries have interests in these regions. Iran and the Syrian regime generally didn’t have a problem with the YPG, whereas Ankara has backed the KRG. That means it is not a simple anti-Kurdish policy that unites Iran and Turkey.

The real policy is designed to get rid of the US, and the other policy is Turkey’s desire to change the demographics of the border and Iran’s goal of weakening opposition groups. Coordination in this respect is operationalized via the Astana process in Syria, and work with Russia. Both Iran and Turkey work closely with Russia.

Turkey wants to be an energy hub partnering with Moscow, and Iran is selling Moscow drones. Economics ties Turkey and Iran to Moscow. In this respect, they have a common policy, but not necessarily a policy that is solely anti-Kurdish. The end result is that Kurds are victims and pay the price for the Ankara-Tehran partnership.
‘Puzzled and pissed off’: Australia urged to do more to punish Iran
Iranian-born Naz Almasi, who came to Australia as an asylum seeker in 2013, said: “The Iranian community is very disappointed, we’re puzzled and pissed off. We don’t understand why the government is not taking any action.

“We’re definitely far behind other countries.”

Almasi and other campaigners are calling on the government to:
Impose targeted sanctions on Iranian officials, including freezing financial assets and issuing visa bans to stop them entering Australia;
Push for Iran’s removal from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women;
Designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation; and
Expel the Iranian ambassador from Canberra.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union have implemented targeted sanctions on Iranian individuals responsible for the recent violence against protesters, but the Australian government has not.

Academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was imprisoned in Iran from 2018 to 2020 on espionage charges, said Australia was “an outlier among the Western democracies in taking no firm action on Iran whatsoever”.

“This is both inexplicable and embarrassing to Australia’s stature on the world stage as a country which professes to care about human rights,” she said in a submission to the inquiry.

Moore-Gilbert said she suspected officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) opposed targeted sanctions because they want to negotiate the release of innocent Australian citizens detained in Iranian prisons.

“We simply cannot allow the consular cases of a handful of wrongfully detained Australians to dictate Australia’s response to Iran’s violations of human rights on a mass scale,” Moore-Gilbert said, describing this as a form of “diplomatic blackmail”.
Iran’s Khamenei Praises Basij Forces for Confronting ‘Rioters’
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Basij militia forces have sacrificed their lives in what he called riots, the wave of protests sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in September.

The protests that began after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16 have turned into one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Challenging the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy, protesters from all walks of life have burned pictures of Khamenei and called for the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

The Basij forces, affiliated with the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards, have been at the forefront of the state crackdown on the unrest in the past weeks.

“They have sacrificed their lives to protect people from rioters… the presence of Basij shows that the Islamic Revolution is alive,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.

Iran’s clerical establishment has blamed the country’s foreign enemies, particularly the United States, and their agents for the unrest.

The activist news agency HRANA said that as of Friday 448 protesters have been killed, including 63 children. It said 57 members of the security forces have also been killed, and an estimated 18,170 people arrested.

Authorities have not provided a death toll for protesters, but a senior official on Thursday said 50 police had been killed in the unrest.
Iran’s Fars news agency is hit by cyberattacks, blames Israel
Hackers have disrupted the work of Iran’s Fars news agency, one of the main sources of news disseminated by the state during protests over Mahsa Amini’s death, the agency said and appeared to blame Israel.

Iran has been rocked by protests since Amini’s death in custody on September 16, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women.

Fars said its website had been disrupted late Friday by a “complex hacking and cyberattack operation.”

“Removing possible bugs… may cause problems for some agency services for a few days,” it said in a statement posted Saturday on its Telegram channel.

“Cyberattacks against Fars news agency are carried out almost daily from different countries, including the occupied territories (Israel),” it added, without elaborating.

On October 21, a group called Black Reward said it had obtained documents related to Iran’s nuclear program, and demanded the release of all political prisoners and people arrested during the protests.

Man yells antisemitic statements, does Nazi salute at Seattle airport
A man at a Seattle airport began yelling Nazi slurs at passengers who were about to board the plane on Sunday, videos on social media showed.

The incident occurred while passengers were boarding a flight between Seattle, Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The man's name is Nicholas Edward Letney, according to the nonprofit organization StopAntisemitism.

"You go to the gas chamber!" and "Race war!" were among the numerous antisemitic statements he made as people were boarding the plane, all while doing a Nazi salute.

"The Jews got what they deserved," Letney said while pointing to another person off-screen. "You're a f***ing alien. An alien and a reptilian." How the video took off

The video went viral after being shared by StopAntisemitism, which can be watched below:

"You ever heard of the First Amendment?" the individual yelled at officers as they were arresting him. "You violated that 'cause I'm a Nazi," Letney continued to say.

Letney also reportedly tried to start his own political party called the Christian Workers, which is supposed to engage with Christian socialists.
German High School Students Demonstrate Against Antisemitism Outside Old Synagogue in Essen
A group of high school students demonstrated against antisemitism on Thursday in the city of Essen, where a building that formerly housed a synagogue was shot at last week.

Nearly 600 students from the Frida Levy School in Essen gathered outside the Old Synagogue carrying banners that declared “Against Antisemitism.” The demonstration came ahead of a resolution condemning the attack which is expected to be passed at a meeting of the Essen city council on Wednesday.

Local media outlets reported that the demonstration had been initiated by the students themselves, assisted by their teachers. “The Old Synagogue would like to thank the aware and committed students for this supportive initiative,” Uri Kaufmann, head of the Old Synagogue, told broadcaster WAZ.

The school attended by the students is named in honor of one of Essen’s most prominent Jews who was murdered during the Nazi Holocaust. During the early part of the Twentieth Century, Frida Levy was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights who ran a popular artists salon. She was deported to her death by the Nazis in 1942.

Four shots were fired at the Old Synagogue last Thursday night according to police investigators. A Byzantine structure that was first consecrated in 1913, the Old Synagogue survived the ravages of Nazi rule and now houses a museum and memorial center. The shots were fired at the neighboring rabbi’s house, which is now the site of the Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Dozens of Ukrainian Jewish Holocaust survivors find safe haven in Germany
Borys Shyfrin fled as a young child, along with other members of his Jewish family, from the Nazis.

More than eight decades on, the Ukrainian Holocaust survivor has been forced from his home once more — but this time he’s found a safe haven in Germany.

Shyfrin is among a number of Ukrainian Jews who lived through the Nazi terror and have now fled to the country from which Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich launched its drive try to wipe Jews out.

He never wanted to leave Mariupol, where he had lived for decades. But Russia’s brutal assault on the Ukrainian port city made it impossible to stay.

“There was no gas, no electricity, no water whatsoever,” the 81-year-old told AFP from a care home in Frankfurt, recalling the relentless bombardment by Moscow’s forces.

“We were waiting for the authorities to come… We waited for a day, two days a week.”

Bodies of people killed by bombs and gunfire littered the streets, recalled Shyfrin, a widower who had lost contact with his only son.

“There were so many of them… no one picked them up. People got used to it — no one paid attention.”

People scraped by finding what food they could, with water supplied by a fire engine that made regular visits to his neighborhood.

Shyfrin’s apartment was damaged during the fighting in Mariupol — defended so fiercely that it became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance — and he spent much time sheltering in the cellar of his building.
Herzog says important to mark Holodomor, but stops short of calling it ‘genocide’
President Isaac Herzog said it is important to commemorate the Holodomor as Ukrainians on Saturday mark the 1932-1933 famine that killed millions blamed on Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

In a letter sent Friday to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, first reported by the Walla news site, Herzog said the world must learn its lesson as Ukraine once again faces food scarcity in its war with Russia.

“It is important to commemorate the memory of the victims of the Holodomor, and I recall how moved I was to lay a wreath during my visit one year ago at the memorial site in honor of those who perished,” Herzog wrote.

“This memorial serves as a stark reminder of the vital importance of fighting hunger and standing united to ensure food security, as we must never forget that it is the innocent who will suffer the harshest consequences when food becomes scarce,” he said.

Ukraine’s memorial day for the Holodomor, as the famine is known, falls on the last Saturday in November each year.

The Holodomor — Ukrainian for “death by starvation” — is regarded by Kyiv as a deliberate act of genocide by Stalin’s regime with the intention of wiping out the peasantry and trying to crush independence hopes.

Russia has rejected designating the disaster a genocide, arguing there is no proof the famine was directed at Ukrainians.

Herzog’s remarks, however, did not go as far as several other countries, and the Pope, which declared the Holodomor a Genocide.

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