Monday, November 28, 2022

From Ian:

IHRA Definition of Antisemitism Is Only "Polarizing" to Israel's Detractors
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) "working definition" of antisemitism is not polarizing to anyone other than Israel's detractors and antisemites.

The IHRA definition has been adopted by three dozen nations, at least six Canadian provinces and numerous states in the U.S.

The IHRA's detractors refuse to acknowledge that modern antisemitism is often tied to the Jewish State (e.g., Jewish soldiers being called Nazis).

They accuse those of us who defend the definition of being "right-wing" and of "weaponizing antisemitism" in order to defend Israel.

This is meant to undermine our efforts to protect ourselves against hate.

In the case of the IHRA definition, it's often the same people who call for universal rights and freedoms who oppose those very same rights for the Jewish people, particularly as they define their relationship with the State of Israel.

The IHRA definition is not "polarizing" to anyone other than those who either lack an historical understanding or are with an agenda to exacerbate the problem of hate and defame the Jewish state.
Anti-Israel activists and human sacrifice
In the anti-Israel context, there is the more recent case of Rachel Corrie. A college senior, Corrie became a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a terror-connected NGO that exploits foreign activists in service of the Palestinian cause. It is likely that she had already been indoctrinated in anti-Israel ideology, but the ISM almost certainly compounded it by orders of magnitude via a cult-like environment of hate.

Corrie lived for some time in Gaza, where she became infatuated with the people and decided that Israel was committing genocide against them, in which, as an American, she was complicit. In 2003, she knelt in front of an Israeli bulldozer, ostensibly in protest of a house demolition. The driver could not see her, and she was crushed to death.

She has, of course, become a martyr, and her letters and emails have been transformed into books and plays. Yet what they reveal is a deeply insecure and troubled young woman, possessed by existential guilt and desperate to redeem herself. Corrie’s death, in other words, was less a tragic accident than a kind of seppuku—a ritual suicide that she hoped, perhaps unconsciously, would be a moral expiation. She did not come to this conclusion on her own. She was the victim of unscrupulous people who wanted, or at least knew they were likely to acquire, a martyr.

One should not look away from what this means: Emotional blackmail kills. It is a kind of murder. Murder at third hand, perhaps, but murder nonetheless.

It is also part of a very ancient tradition. What the blackmailers are after, in the end, is the most primal of all forms of absolution: the human sacrifice. It is sometimes an emotional sacrifice, but far too often it is also physical.

From their origins in prehistory, such sacrifices were, almost invariably, expiatory acts. They were attempts to redeem a person or a community from their sins, to appease the gods and turn them away from stern judgment. And above all, such sacrifices made the victim a sacred object.

There are many among us, often young and vulnerable, who wish to become sacred objects and are told that if they sacrifice themselves, whether in life or in death, they will become so. It is tragic that many choose to believe this, but that does nothing to redeem those who lead them to the altar.

Judaism has always seen human sacrifice as an abomination, which indeed it is. We should not forget this admonition. No one, however righteous they consider themselves to be, has the right to demand such things from anyone. Like the priests of Moloch, those who use emotional blackmail of vulnerable individuals to achieve such an end stand accused.
Ye x Milo x Fuentes
Stop me if you've ever heard this one before:

Fueled by his hatred of Jews, one of the most recognizable black man of his era decided to forge an alliance with one of its most high-profile white nationalist, or, at the very least, the one whose juvenile stunts attract the most attention. One of the men behind the scenes who worked on arranging the meeting is himself Jewish, though he has long repudiated his heritage, is known to have engaged in antisemitism, as well as for being a grifter, and is distrusted by many in the movement. On the other hand, he has shown an uncanny ability to ingratiate himself with its leaders and keep the spotlight on himself. All of this revolving around grand political ambitions on both sides.

Obviously, I'm referring to the infamous 1961 entente of George Lincoln Rockwell, Malcolm X, and Daniel Burros which culminated in years of friendly relationships between the American Nazi Party and the Nation of Islam.

On June 25th, 1961, ten members of the American Nazi Party quietly arrived at the Nation of Islam rally in Washington, DC. In the Uline arena, they were surrounded by more than 8000 members of the Nation of Islam. They were not there to disrupt, attack the attendants, to protest the speech; instead, they were front-row guests. That night, Elijah Muhammad had called in sick, so Malcolm X took the stage to give the keynote speech in his stead. Rockwell contributed $20 to the cause and, while having his picture snapped by Jewish photographer Eve Arnold, he barked at her, 'I'll make a bar of soap out of you.' (She answered, "As long as it isn't a lampshade”).

At first glance, it would seem highly bizarre that members of the American Nazi Party, in full regalia and occasionally Sieg Heiling, would be tolerated amongst the Black Nationalist movement. Still, it more than made sense once you realized that they shared the same antisemitism and views on racial separatism. There was also a historical precedent; the units described as the most vicious, brutal, and antisemitic of the SS were the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar, composed almost entirely of Muslims.

Eight months after their first public meeting, George Lincoln Rockwell addressed more than 12,000 black audience members at the Chicago International Amphitheatre, urging them to ally with Nazis to be truly uplifted. "You know we call you niggers," he addressed the crowd. "But wouldn't you rather be confronted by honest white men who tell you to your face what the others all say behind your back?". He later praised the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad as the 'Adolf Hitler of the black man.'
The Decline of Islamism, and the Rise of the Muslim-American Far Left and Far Right
Born in St. Louis, Umar Lee (né Brett Darren Lee) converted to Islam at the age of seventeen, and was quickly drawn to its stringent Salafist form, and to Islamist political radicalism. He subsequently broke with extremism, although he remains a committed Muslim. In conversation with Dexter Van Zile, Lee discusses his own experiences—including a recent visit to Israel—and his observations about Islam in the U.S.
Islamism is no longer popular. Back in the day, it was very popular. . . . I attribute that to reality—the failure of the Arab Spring, the disaster of what happened in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Islamist politics has become so unpopular in the Muslim world that historians in 100 years are going to write that there was a 40-year period—from the mid-to-late seventies until the late 2010s—of Islamist political revival that faded away after the Arab Spring. In the U.S. we don’t see people talk about Islamist politics.

Conversion had some negative consequences [for me]—a period of extremism and Islamist politics—but it also kept me out of trouble and away from a criminal lifestyle. You have to remember that a very high percentage of guys who grew up where I did ended up addicted to drugs, or alcoholics. Many didn’t live to see forty and quite a few didn’t make it to twenty-one. For all of the problematic aspects of the Muslim experience in America, there is a track record of conversion keeping some men off the streets and clean.

On the subject of how American Muslims fit into contemporary political divides, Lee comments:
What you’re increasingly seeing in the Muslim community in America is a gender divide. You’re seeing that progressive politics [are] very popular, especially with women, especially young women. We know after 9/11 there was [a] leftward shift in the American Muslim community. . . . But you’re [now] seeing an insurgency led by men, particularly younger men, that are rejecting this progressive shift. They’re rejecting it in very harsh terms and going very far to the right. What you’re seeing in the Muslim community is—especially the young people—the left, and now this segment of the far right, are really taking up all the oxygen and moderate politics is very unpopular.

Unfortunately, there is more uniformity when it comes to attitudes toward the Jewish state:
By far, the least popular thing you can do [in the Muslim community] is support Israel. I could get on video and drink liquor [or] smoke weed and people would say, “Hey everybody, no one’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.” I could be in a [pornographic film] and people would say, “Hey, well, . . . ” But support Israel? That is the worst thing that you can do.

When it comes to Israel, everyone is still unhinged. It doesn’t matter what segment of the communities they’re in. There are very few rational people. And even the rational people I talk to, [who] agree with me in private, won’t say anything in public.

Jonathan Tobin: Trump’s Jewish supporters must condemn and disavow him
If pro-Israel Republicans think former President Donald Trump will apologize or make amends in any way for choosing to have a public dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort home with two notorious antisemites, they haven’t been paying attention to how he has conducted his public career. And if they think they can weather this controversy by trying to divert attention from what he’s done by pointing to the way their Democrat opponents tolerate and even support antisemitism on the left, they’re equally delusional.

Trump’s dinner date with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes constitutes a turning point for his Jewish supporters and Republicans in general. Or at least it ought to.

Up until now, almost all of the attempts by Democrats to accuse him of antisemitism or of encouraging Jew-hatred have been highly partisan charges that didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

After all, Trump didn’t actually say the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 were “very fine people” or anything like that. Nor are his complaints about Jewish voters not rewarding him for his historic support for Israel antisemitic, as those who twist his entirely factual comments into a charge of dual loyalty have tried to assert. He not only consistently condemned antisemitism but did far more to combat it on American college campuses than any other president.

Combine all that with his close family ties to Jews, the case for damning Trump as an antisemite or an ally of antisemites simply didn’t hold water. And no one who wasn’t already convinced that he was the spawn of the devil believed a word of it.

But after the Mar-a-Lago dinner, it’s no longer possible to ignore the issue. And it’s incumbent on those who have staunchly defended him until now to do the hard thing and concede that he has now done something they wouldn’t forgive or forget if it had been a Democratic president or former one who did it.

To their credit, the Zionist Organization of America, which gave Trump its highest award at its New York City dinner earlier this month, did “deplore” his remarks. His former lawyer, David Friedman, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2017-2021, also tweeted his dismay, and called for his former boss to disavow West and Fuentes.

But the problem here is not just that Trump has granted an unwarranted legitimacy to both West and the even more vile Fuentes. It’s that we all know that Trump will never walk this back or make the sort of apology that could help to ameliorate the harm he’s done.
Donald Trump may be unfit for office, but is not an antisemite
Trump, then, is not unfit to be president because he is an antisemite. He is not an antisemite. He is unfit to be president because he puts his ego and self-interest ahead of everything else, including the truth and what is in the best interests of America. He simply does not have the judgment, temperament or perspective to be president.

Egoism and self-interest are not the qualities of a patriot but the qualities of a narcissist. If history has taught us anything about narcissists, it is that, for them, it is only a short step from being a democratically-elected head of state to being a tyrant. In their minds, allegiance to the state requires allegiance to them and vice-versa. As Louis XIV said, “L’etat, c’est moi”—“I am the state.” That is how Donald Trump sees his relationship with America. In Trump’s mind, an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic is the same as an oath to protect and defend Trump in all things. It is remarkably similar to how Vladimir Putin sees his relationship with Russia.

Consistent with that worldview, it is reasonable to expect that a newly (re)elected President Trump would make his cabinet and judicial appointments not based on their qualifications for any given position, but on the extent to which they are loyal to Trump—the same criterion Vladimir Putin uses when appointing his generals. Those generals’ allegiance is not to Mother Russia, but to Father Putin. Loyalty to Putin is more important than a knowledge of military tactics and strategy or the ability to inspire the troops. This goes a long way towards explaining Russia’s shockingly poor performance in Ukraine.

Just as putting loyalty over competence has not served Russia well, appointing obsequious sycophants to cabinet positions would pose a grave danger to our republic. One can only imagine the damage that Rudy Giuliani as attorney-general or Roger Stone as chief of staff could do in positions of such power. Think of the “legal advice” John Eastman—the “mastermind” behind the idea that Vice-President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election—might give if he were White House counsel. What role would Steve Bannon play in a new Trump White House? These people all possess the single most important quality Trump will demand should he ever return to the Oval Office: blind loyalty.

Donald Trump indeed poses a threat to America, but not because he hates Jews. It is because he loves himself more than he loves the United States.
Trump’s ex-antisemitism envoy latest to bash Fuentes meeting
Former US president Donald Trump’s antisemitism envoy and the Orthodox Union condemned the former American leader on Monday for meeting Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Trump acknowledged having dinner with West on Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago and said he brought along friends, one of whom was Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite, and racist.

Trump claimed he did not know Fuentes.

Elan Carr, who was the Trump administration’s special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, slammed his old boss for the meeting.

“No responsible American, and certainly no former president, should be cavorting with the likes of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West,” Carr tweeted.

“To placate antisemitism is to promote antisemitism. President Trump must condemn these dangerous men and their disgusting and un-American views,” he said.

Also speaking out was the Orthodox Union, an umbrella Orthodox Jewish group, which said that Trump’s meeting with “some of the most vicious antisemitic figures in this country is deeply worrisome.”

“We call on former president Trump to condemn these individuals and cut ties with them and their associates. As a major public figure, Donald Trump has a responsibility to denounce hate in all of its forms and lead by example for his many followers. Anything less gives a stamp of approval to the world’s oldest hatred,” the group said.
Avi Abelow: Ex Entertainment Exec On Jews, Hollywood, and Kanye West
The Jewish & African-American communities should be allies. We should be focusing on building bridges to overcome the misunderstanding, misinformation and, unfortunately, growing divide.

I reached out to my friend, Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Ben Avraham, an African American, an ex-Entertainment executive from Hollywood and now a Jewish Rabbi in Israel, to hear his thoughts. He introduced a totally new perspective of looking and dealing with Kanye West, Kyrie Irving and the growth of Jew-hating antisemitism as a result of their comments.

This is the message the Jewish and African-American communities should be hearing! POWERFUL.

He said, Ye said: Ben Shapiro, Kanye West clash over Trump dinner with Holocaust denier
Conservative American commentator Ben Shapiro on Sunday tacitly condemned U.S. President Donald Trump for hosting a dinner last week attended by Ye and Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, sparking a Twitter war-of-words with the artist formerly known as Kanye West.

“A good way not to accidentally dine with a vile racist and anti-Semite you don’t know is not to dine with a vile racist and anti-Semite you do know,” tweeted Shapiro. He was referring to Trump’s claim that he had not known anything about Fuentes, whom Ye had invited to Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign released a statement, published by Breitbart, saying, “Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest (Fuentes) whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

The 24-year-old Fuentes has emerged as one of the leading figures of the far-right movement for his incendiary views on women, Jews and other minorities. He openly praises Hitler, believes that the Holocaust was a hoax and is opposed to women’s suffrage. He was also present for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, and spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

In response to Shapiro’s tweet, Ye, who has been embroiled in an antisemitism scandal, wrote: “Shapiro starvingly accepts $100,000 from one of my opponents then tries to trash me.” He was referring to reports that a superpac associated with Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is expected to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, had paid fundraising expenses and list rental costs to Shapiro’s Daily Wire news outlet. In response, Shapiro tweeted on Monday: “Sadly, you’ve trashed yourself. You didn’t need my help. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the Jews. It was just you.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Racist Apartheid Regime Racistly Being Not Racist (satire)
Observers noted again today that Israel’s discrimination against Arabs extends, in its depravity, to granting Arab citizens of Israel privileges over non-citizen Arabs such as Palestinians, including all the individual rights and privileges that Jewish citizens of Israel enjoy. The observer note that this marks but one item in the long litany of moral offenses that Israel perpetrates, including a genocide that increased the target population, deprivation that increased obesity and every health and economic indicator among the target population, and the development of defensive systems that, in typical racist Israeli fashion, protect Arab citizens from Palestinian terrorist attacks as much as those systems protect Jews.

The observers documented numerous cases of Israeli security forces at checkpoints in the disputed territories racistly treating Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel the same – preventing, where possible, Israeli citizens of whichever ethnicity from entering areas under full control of the Palestinian Authority under agreements from 1993 onwards, while subjecting non-citizens, regardless of race, to restrictions on entry into the State of Israel proper, like a bunch of racists who decide how to treat people based on citizenship rather than race.

Further, they noted, Israel makes available all official documentation and forms in the Arabic language, the native language of approximately a fifth of the country’s citizens. Such racism galls human rights organizations, who have dubbed Israel’s treatment of citizens based on citizenship rather than ethnicity “Apartheid” and called for international sanctions to get Israel to favor Arabs over Jews instead, which would clearly be a fairer system, similar to the one in place or more than a thousand years under Arab and Muslim rule that relegated Jews to “protected” status, protecting them from full civil rights, from equal status in court with Muslims, from owning weapons, from riding horses, from self-defense of any sort, from avoiding forced conversion to Islam, and from being not an economic and social underclass wherever Islamic law governed the political and social order.
As Israel Forms Right-Wing Coalition, LA Times Corrects on Threats to Gays, Non-Orthodox Jews
CAMERA’s Israel office prompted Los Angeles Times corrections after an article about incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalescing coalition incorrectly reported the threats facing non-Orthodox Jews and homosexuals posed by far-right partners.

Tracy Wilkinson’s Nov. 25 article, “A new foreign policy headache for Biden as Israel forms its most right-wing government ever,” had erroneously claimed that Netanyahu’s far-right allies
have threatened to criminalize homosexuality and to ban non-Orthodox Jews from Israeli citizenship. Many U.S.-born Jews are members of more progressive branches of the faith, such as Reform or Conservative Judaism, and might not be able to obtain Israeli citizenship under the proposed laws.

Noam, the extreme anti-LGBTQ party allied with Netanyahu, has not threatened to “criminalize homosexuality.” Its threats against the LGBTQ community include banning the Gay Pride and legalizing “conversion therapy.” Haaretz has reported (“Netanyahu: We Won’t End pride Parades or Change the Status-quo on LGBTQ rights“):
A senior Likud source told Haaretz on Wednesday that his party will look into reversing several protections advanced by the Bennett-Lapid government, including some decisions made by outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, which safeguard LGBTQ rights.

No decision has been made on which decisions could be walked back, but a reversal of the health ministry’s order banning “conversion” therapy, removing insurance coverage for gender-affirming healthcare, and reimposing a ban preventing gay men from donating blood are all under consideration.

Thorough searches turned up no threats to “criminalize homosexuality.”

Redundant framing in BBC radio reporting on Jerusalem terror
Previously we have reviewed coverage of the November 23rd terror attacks in Jerusalem on the BBC News website and in early reports on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service radio:

As the day went on, listeners to those two radio stations heard additional reporting from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell which included some notable similarities in the language used as well as themes also seen in the previous reports.

Those themes include the failure to explain the factors behind the rise in the number of terror attacks such as the lack of Palestinian Authority control in certain areas, the promotion of false equivalence between terror attacks and counter-terrorism operations and the absence of any clarification of the fact that the “more than 130” Palestinians killed to date includes a high proportion of terrorists and/or people engaged in violent rioting against Israeli forces at the time, whereas the overwhelming majority of the Israelis and foreign nationals killed since March were civilians.

An additional theme found in the BBC News website report was the promotion of redundant linkage between the terror attacks and the unrelated topic of post-election coalition talks.
AFL draft star Harry Sheezel targeted by anti-Semitic abuse
A young AFL player who’s set to star in this year’s draft has been targeted in a stream of vile anti-Semitic abuse.

Harry Sheezel will be the first Jewish player to enter the league in more than two decades and is likely to be taken within the first five picks on Monday night.

But the 18-year-old has been on the receiving end of a series of slurs after an article about him hit social media on Sunday night.

The comments focused on Jewish stereotypes and made light of the Holocaust.

“His teammates should not expect him to shout end of season drinks,” one quip read.

Other messages are too vile to republish.

Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said the backlash was the “reality of being a Jewish person in Victoria”.

“Australians have to accept the fact that the genie of anti-Semitism is out of the bottle and that the lid has been taken off the sewer as people who might be our neighbours are pouring their anti-Semitic venom and poison on a young man who is simply seeking to play the game he loves,” Mr Abramovich said.

“They paint a very troubling picture and anti-Jewish bigotry takes a firm hold in our daily life and the climate for Australian Jews becomes very dangerous.”

Mr Abramovich said the commentary’s public, online nature was worrying.

“Some of the ugly, hurtful expressions that I have seen shared about Mr Sheezel are not only stoking the flames of intolerance but are recycling age-old blood libels and stereotypes of Jews that would make neo-Nazis very proud,” he said.

“One wonders whether these individuals spewing such virtual abuse and harassment take their online activity to the real world when they encounter Jewish people on the street or at work and what they are teaching their children about acceptance and respect.”

Sheezel, who has played in the NAB League for premiership team the Sandringham Dragons, kicked 36 goals across the season.

He will be the first Jewish player to enter the AFL since Ezra Poyas was drafted by Richmond in 1999.

The teen is expected to be picked up by North Melbourne where Todd Goldstein, who has a Jewish father, is already a player.

‘You Filthy People:’ German Jewish Soccer Team Subjected to Nazi Salutes Following Victory Over Local Rivals
A German soccer club has been fined and two of its players subjected to lengthy suspensions following a shocking antisemitic outburst at a youth team match in Berlin.

Players from CFC Hertha 06 assailed their visiting opponents from the German-Jewish club TuS Makkabi Berlin after the match referee blew the final whistle in the Nov. 13 contest between the two sides — which Makkabi won 7-4.

In extraordinary scenes that were documented in a special report by the referee, Ender Apaydin, the Makkabi players were threatened with “cremation” — a reference to the Nazi gas chambers — while Apaydin himself was told that he had been “bought by the Jews,” the Berliner Zeitung news outlet reported on Monday.

According to Apaydin, trouble began when the Makkabi players, who are drawn from many nationalities and ethnicities in the league’s 17-19 age group, attempted take a team photo while standing on the Hertha pitch in front of an Israeli flag. A furious Hertha player approached the group, screaming, “I’ll f*** your country and your flag, you sons of b*****. Take down the flag or I’ll cremate you and your dirty flag, you b******, like the Germans did to you.”

Apaydin said he approached the offending player and showed him a red card dismissing him from the field of play. Under the rules of soccer, red cards can be given after a game for disruptive, unsporting behavior.

The player responding by regaling the referee with insults, accusing him of having been “bought by the Jews.”

Shortly after this altercation, Apaydin’s attention was called to a second incident involving a player who made a Nazi salute in the direction of the Makkabi players and supporters. As Apaydin attempted to follow the player to also show him a red card, he was accosted by several Hertha supporters who attempted to block his path. One woman was heard shouting at the Makkabi players, “Just piss off, you filthy people. There is always stress with you. You always provoke.” Meanwhile, the Makkabi players were hurried out of the stadium to safety.
Hitler’s Maestro and the Cellist of Auschwitz While the celebrated German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler long considered himself “apolitical,” and for a time even stood up to the demands of the Nazis, he eventually made what the music critic Norman Lebrecht calls a “Faustian” bargain with Joseph Goebbels. Furtwängler was able to ply his trade, and became a favorite of the Führer, while many former members of his orchestra were sent to their deaths. This documentary by the German broadcaster DW intertwines his story with that of the Jewish cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who was a young woman when Adolf Hitler took control of Germany. Upon arriving in Auschwitz, she became the cellist of the death camp’s women’s orchestra, and survived to tell her tale. (Video, 86 minutes.)

Asian faiths try to save sacred swastika, a symbol of peace corrupted by Hitler
Sheetal Deo was shocked when she got a letter from her Queens apartment building’s co-op board calling her Diwali decoration “offensive” and demanding she take it down.

“My decoration said ‘Happy Diwali’ and had a swastika on it,” said Deo, a physician, who was celebrating the Hindu festival of lights.

The equilateral cross with its legs bent at right angles is a millennia-old sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that represents peace and good fortune. Indigenous people worldwide used it similarly.

But in the West, this symbol is often equated to Adolf Hitler’s hakenkreuz or the hooked cross – a symbol of hate that evokes the trauma of the Holocaust and the horrors of Nazi Germany. White supremacists, neo-Nazi groups and vandals have continued to use Hitler’s symbol to stoke fear and hate.

Over the past decade, as the Asian diaspora grew in North America, calls to reclaim the swastika as a sacred symbol became louder. These minority faith communities are being joined by Native Americans whose ancestors used it in healing rituals.

Deo believes she and people of other faiths shouldn’t have to sacrifice or apologize for a sacred symbol simply because it is often conflated with its tainted version.

“To me, that’s intolerable,” she said.

Yet to others, redeeming the swastika is unthinkable.
Shafiq Ades: the trial of the ‘Iraqi Dreyfus’ was a turning point
Seven years after the Farhud riots that claimed the lives of around 180 victims, the Jewish community in Iraq was hit with another shock: one of its greatest sons was convicted of treason and sentenced to death in a show trial. Writing in Israel Hayom, Adi Schwartz publishes the opening chapter of his new book on Shafiq Ades, the ‘Iraqi-Jewish Dreyfus’: ( with thanks: Sami)

“The day will come when the Iraqi people will defeat Ades, like the French people defeated Dreyfus”

A dark-haired woman in the early fifth decade of her life, all agitated, hurriedly makes her way from the southern city of Basra to the king’s palace in Baghdad. Her name is Aliza (Alice) Ades, the wife of Shafiq Ades, one of the richest people in Iraq and one of the most respected Jews in the country. She wants to beg for the life of her husband, who a short time before was sentenced to death for the crime of treason. Waiting for her inside the palace is Emir Abd al-Ila – the Hashemite prince and head of the Iraqi royal house, who serves as the regent of the royal house until the heir to the throne, Faisal, reaches the appropriate age. According to the Iraqi constitution, he is the only one who can commute Shafiq’s sentence. She kneels before him, falls to the ground desperately and kisses his feet. When they had already exhausted all hope, and the hangman’s noose seemed closer than ever to her husband’s neck, she tried the last option. Without her being aware of it at the time, not only her husband’s life is at stake, but the fate of the entire Jewish community.

The time is September 1948. Aliza gave birth to Shafiq ‘s three sons (Zaki, Victor and Sabah) and three daughters (Dolly, Vicky and Stella). Of the couple, she was the local one, the daughter of a wealthy family that traded in tea and sugar. Her mother Farha, who was a very pious woman, immigrated to Israel in 1946. Her father, Ezra, continued to manage the family business. Aliza was a woman with broad and strong features, whose posture showed that she was a woman of action. Even though she was born and raised in Iraq, she spoke Arabic perfectly, but did not know how to write it at all. English and French, however, she knew.

Shafiq himself was born in Aleppo, Syria, a member of the illustrious Ades family, whose various branches also settled in Cairo and Jerusalem where the Ades Synagogue is still located today in the Nachalot neighborhood. He left his homeland to follow his elder brother Avraham, and came to Iraq to find his fortune in business after the First World War, when Baghdad and Basra fell into the hands of the empire where the sun had never set. The British occupation opened up a wealth of new business opportunities in Iraq, and the Ades brothers wanted a share of the pie. Within about two decades, they reached the summit of the Iraqi economy, and were considered one of the richest Jewish families in the country.

Outside the palace a great storm broke. The Iraqi army, public opinion and a large part of the press bayed for the head of Ades, who was found guilty in a military court of treason and aiding the “Zionist enemy”. Almost everyone who followed the lightning trial, which lasted three days without the defense being given the opportunity to call witnesses, knew that it was a show trial designed to terrorize the Jewish community. Ades was accused of selling to Israel old military equipment, which was no longer used by the British army in World War II. Among his other branch businesses, Ades was the exclusive importer of “Ford” engines in Iraq. He purchased scrap iron from the British and transferred it, according to the prosecution, through Italy and Cyprus to the Israel Defense Forces. The Iraqi army invaded Israel the day after its establishment, on May 15, 1948, and this is how the Iraqi public cooked up the perfect plot: the “treacherous” Jew Ades transferred weapons to Israel to kill Iraqi soldiers.

Emir Abd al-Ila knew Shafiq Ades well, who even hosted him in his home when the Emir visited the city of Basra. In fact, everyone in the young Iraqi state knew Shafiq. He had close ties with the most important politician in Iraq in those years, Nouri Said; He named his son Sabah after Said’s son. Ministers and businessmen, senior officials and members of parliament met Ades, and some of them were even connected to him through trade and work. Despite this, when Ades was put on trial, none of his Muslim partners sat beside him on the dock. By some miracle, only Ades the Jew was prosecuted.

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