Saturday, January 14, 2023

From Ian:

Israel must prepare for collapse of Palestinian Authority
After months of tension and violence between Israel and the Palestinians, a new political reality is threatening to push the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the brink of collapse.

Both sides have been warning of an impending collapse for some time now. While these warnings are not new, circumstances have changed and may pose a significant threat to the stability of the already fragile Palestinian entity.

“Such threats have been heard for years, but have yet to materialize,” said Dr. Nimrod Goren, president of Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies and senior fellow for Israeli Affairs at the Middle East Institute. “Therefore, people might not believe them anymore and become indifferent toward dramatic events that may be looming.”

The PA was established in 1994 and is controlled by the Fatah Party after a split from Hamas in 2007. Led by President Mahmoud Abbas, the PA has full control of West Bank territory referred to as Area A and partial civil control over areas B and C, in which Israel maintains most of the control. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

Over time, Abbas’ power has eroded. A policy led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently weakened the PA while strengthening Hamas in Gaza. Abbas’ legitimacy among the Palestinian people gradually decreased. His continuous postponement of elections in the PA has significantly damaged his standing.

Hence, the threats to the PA are numerous and its collapse could come as a result of several different scenarios. An escalation in violence with Israel or a decision by Abbas to announce the dissolution of the PA as he has so often threatened, could both signal the end. Meanwhile, internal chaos due to a power struggle following Abbas’ departure could topple the PA. This could happen before or after the death of the 87-year-old leader.

“As long as Abbas is alive, the PA will survive. Once he is no longer in power, the PA will be on the brink of collapse,” according to Mkhaimar Abusada, an associate professor and chairman of the department of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. “We could see Palestinian infighting and Israeli intervention. This is the scary point, where concern for the future of the PA would be very real.”

It is not only Israeli actions, but also the internal Palestinian rift between Fatah and Hamas that have chewed away at the power and legitimacy of the PA.

In addition, after a lengthy period of violence between the sides, a new right-wing Israeli government is threatening stability in the area. Last week’s decision by the new government to sanction the PA over its referral to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Israel’s presence in the West Bank could further weaken the PA.

All the while, security coordination between Israel and the PA has been largely unhindered. For Abbas, it helps to maintain his power and, for Israel, it allows access to the territories and the terror infrastructure. These mutual interests have thus far provided a solid guarantee of their continuation, as well as a critical lifeline for the PA.

Yet after a deadly year of violence in the West Bank, the outlook is grim.

“At some point, when the number of incidents will amass, the security coordination will no longer be effective and then the gradual collapse we are seeing now could lead to a full collapse,” Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism at Reichman University, told The Media Line.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Does Netanyahu want a weakening, or a total collapse, of the PA?
IT’S HARD to assess the extent of the damage the Israeli sanctions will cause the PA. In the past, withholding tax revenues did not result in the collapse of the PA. Nor did the former Donald Trump administration’s decision to cut off financial aid to the Palestinians bring about the downfall of the PA or force it to change its policies.

Admittedly, the Israeli and US measures aggravated the financial crisis for the Palestinians, but the PA managed to weather the storm, thanks primarily to the Biden administration’s decision to resume financial aid to the Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership also benefited from the relatively moderate approach of the Israeli security and political establishment under the previous government headed by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

Abbas and his entourage are now beginning to realize that the honeymoon with Israel has ended. Nevertheless, they are still pinning hope on the Biden administration and other international parties to exert pressure on Israel to prevent it from crossing the redlines.

The feeling in Ramallah is that the presence of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich in the government will actually facilitate the Palestinians’ mission to alienate Israel in the media and increase the pressure from the international community on the Netanyahu government.

The Israeli decision to seize and withhold Palestinian funds appears, for now, to be the most painful of the current punishments for Ramallah. The Palestinians, naturally, are significantly less worried about the confiscation of VIP cards from a number of officials or even the decision to freeze construction in Area C, where they are anyway not waiting for Israeli permission to build homes.

A number of Palestinian officials who spoke to The Jerusalem Post in the past few days confided that they are still trying to ascertain the Israeli government’s ultimate goal.

They admitted that they are uncertain whether the government is seeking to undermine the PA or to bring about its total collapse.

But the officials were all in agreement that the actions and rhetoric of the Netanyahu government will exacerbate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, and most likely lead to an outburst of large-scale violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They also agreed that the Palestinians’ diplomatic and legal campaign against Israel has a greater chance of success given the nature of the right-wing coalition in Israel.

“The actions of the extremist government in Israel are a clear indication that we are headed toward an explosion,” said a senior official with the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Of course, the sanctions will hurt us, but on the other hand they will increase our chances of winning worldwide support and sympathy.”

The Israelis, the official added, “need to understand that weakening the Palestinian Authority is the biggest gift to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran. They need to understand that getting rid of the Palestinian Authority means that Israel will have to return to the Palestinian cities and towns and run the schools and hospitals and collect the garbage there. They also need to understand that halting the security coordination would be bad for both the Palestinian Authority and Israel.”
'Unacceptable': Biden Administration Opposes Jewish Prayer at Jerusalem Holy Site
The Biden administration says it would be "unacceptable" for Israel to end the restriction on Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount and it would oppose any effort to disrupt the "historic status quo" that only allows Muslims to pray at the site. The stance is a blow to diplomatic relations between the United States and the newly installed Israeli government and signals the Biden administration intends to call out the Jewish state on issues other administrations might address behind closed doors.

When asked by the Washington Free Beacon this week if the Biden administration would back changes proposed by conservative Israeli leaders that would allow Jews to pray at the holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews, a State Department spokesman said it is "unacceptable" for Israel to depart from longstanding policies.

"The United States stands firmly for preservation of the historic status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem," the spokesman said. "Any unilateral actions that depart from the historic status quo is unacceptable."

The Biden administration’s tough diplomatic stance is leading to concerns about a growing rift between the United States and Israel. President Joe Biden sparked criticism last year when he did not immediately phone Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election win, which observers saw as a sign of chilly relations between the world leaders. The Biden administration also launched an FBI investigation into the death of a Palestinian-American journalist, despite Israel and the State Department determining the killing was accidental. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also dispatched in early December to headline a conference organized by J Street, a leading anti-Israel group working to oppose Netanyahu’s government.

The Biden administration’s willingness to join the international chorus of Israel bashers has sparked outrage among pro-Israel lawmakers in Congress and former U.S. officials who see the United States as distancing itself from the Jewish state.

"Should it really be this difficult for the U.S. government to publicly affirm that Jews have a right to visit the holiest site in their religion?" said Richard Goldberg, a former White House National Security Council official who serves as a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. "Is the policy of the State Department: Freedom of religion for all except Jews?"

Pro-Palestinian UMichigan students call for intifada during Kamala Harris visit
Student protestors from the University of Michigan chanted antisemitic and anti-Zionist slogans at US Vice President Kamala Harris, going as far as accusing her of genocide due to her support of Israel, during a planned speech on Thursday in Ann Arbor.

Harris visited the University of Michigan on Thursday for a talk in the university's auditorium on the state of climate policy, student activism and environmental justice across the United States.

"Kamala, Kamala, you can’t hide, you’re committing genocide," the students, flying Palestinian flags, charged at Harris outside the auditorium, in footage taken by independent journalist Brendan Gutenschwager.

Other pro-Palestinian chants hurled at the vice president included "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes."

Protestors attack Kamala Harris on American aid to Israel
The protestors, who reportedly were part of the pro-Palestinian campus group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, took the opportunity of Harris' visit to attack the Biden administration for providing $3.8 billion in military aid to the "Israeli apartheid regime," as one protester claimed through a megaphone, "unconditional support to the Zionist entity to continue its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in occupied territories.

"The Biden-Harris administration, much like its complicit in the erasure of the Palestinian people and their homeland," she said as per footage shared on Twitter by Gutenschwager.

Prior to Harris' arrival to Ann Arbor, one pro-Palestinian protester criticized the vice president, arguing that time and time again, Kamala Harris has proven herself a detriment to the marginalized communities she claims to represent."

NYSGOP Chair Candidate tied to Antisemitic video
Last week, Rockland County Republican County Chair Lawrence Garvey publicly threw his hat in the ring for the state’s Republican Chairman position,which was vacated by Nick Langworthy, after he won a Congressional seat this past November.

Langworthy is expected to resign from the position soon. This will be followed by a meeting where members of the GOP Committee nominate a candidate. Many little known statewide Republican county chairs and committee members have expressed interest in the position.

Lawrence Garvey is one of those candidates hoping to win that title. Garvey was born and raised in Rockland County where he’s been GOP Chairman for the past 9 years. He said he’s accomplished major success in Rockland which he’d also like to see throughout the state.

His area includes the Jewish religious communities of Monsey, Suffern, New Square and Kaiser.

Rockland County is designated as a Preserve America Community, and nearly a third of the county's area is parkland. The county has the largest Jewish population percentage of any U.S. county, at 31.4%, or 90,000 residents.

The Jewish community has a major and significant presence in business, cultural, political, religious, and communal life. Jews have been living in the area since the 1890s and after the Tappan Zee Bridge was built in the 1950s, Jews from all religious affiliations left the urban boroughs to settle in the community.

Antisemitism in The Rockland County GOP
In August 2019, the Rockland County Republican Committee aired a video which was critical of the influence of a Hasidic community in the Hudson Valley.

The 2-minute video warned of a "takeover" of the county by the Hasidic Jewish community that threatens "our way of life" as more Jewish people move into the area.

The video at one point references the political potency of the Kiryas Joel community, which has been an issue in local elections, amid concerns about zoning and influence in local school districts in the Hudson Valley, largely in Orange County.

After pressure, including public statements from then Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Attorney General Letitia James, Garvey removed the video with an accompanying statement with questionable intent:
Top US Lawmaker Objects to Potential F-16 Sale to Turkey
The Biden administration has told Congress it is preparing the potential $20 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, sparking an immediate objection from a senior US lawmaker who has long opposed the deal.

The State Department sent the informal notice to Congress on Thursday, three sources said, informing committees overseeing arms sales in the Senate and House of Representatives of its intention to proceed with the proposed deal.

NATO member Turkey requested in October 2021 to buy 40 Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes. Technical talks between the two sides recently concluded.

The Biden administration has said it supports the sale and has been in touch for months with Congress on an informal basis to win its approval. However, it has failed so far to secure a green light.

“As I have repeatedly made clear, I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s proposed sale of new F-16 aircraft to Turkey,” Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

While the sale is still in the informal review process, Congress is also unlikely to approve the sale as long as Turkey refuses to proceed with the ratification of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.
The Israel Guys: New Israeli POLITICIANS Take DRASTIC ACTIONS to Increase Democracy
Once again, the world is up in arms about Israel’s new government. Their claims are that new policies and legislation that the new government is working on will bring about the end of democracy in Israel. On today’s program, we take a look at some of these new policies to find out for ourselves if this will really spell the end of Israel’s democracy.

Two Terrorists Killed by Israeli Forces after Drive-By Shooting Near Jenin
Two terrorists were killed on Friday night after shooting at Israeli forces from a passing vehicle near Jenin in the West Bank, according to Hebrew media reports.

The Islamic Jihad terrorists opened fire at Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who were conducting counterterrorism activities adjacent to the village of Jaba’. Soldiers responded with gunfire, according to an IDF statement.

According to Palestinian medical sources, Izz ad-Din Hammara, 24, and Amjad Khaliliya, 23, were active in the Jaba’ Battalion of the Islamic Jihad’s armed wing in Jenin.

Soldiers found an M-16 rifle during the search of the vehicle, which was confiscated.

No casualties to Israeli forces were reported.

As part of the ongoing “Operation Break the Wave,” IDF forces have conducted nightly raids on terrorist targets in Palestinian towns and villages across the West Bank, sometimes facing violent opposition to their presence.

Settlers filmed attacking Palestinians, foreign tourists during West Bank hike
A number of Israeli settlers assaulted a group of Palestinians and foreign tourists near the West Bank city of Jericho on Friday, according to videos from the incident and a woman who was present.

In the clips, a young Jewish man can be seen swinging a club at the hikers, who back away and scream as he attacks them.

An unnamed security source told the Haaretz daily that the settlers also attacked the group with pepper spray.

The source also said soldiers who arrived at the scene escorted the hikers back to their bus following the assault, which occurred near the village of Badu al-Mu’arrajat in the Jordan Valley.

Neither the military nor police commented on the incident and no arrests have been made.

US, France condemn Iran's execution of alleged spy, UK issues sanctions
British foreign minister James Cleverly said on Saturday Britain would temporarily withdraw its ambassador from Iran following the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and was considering what further action to take against Tehran.

"It is important to recognize that our response are not necessarily limited to the actions that I've announced today," he told broadcasters.

"I will decide obviously in consultation with my colleagues in government what further actions we may choose to take but I'm not going to speculate about those today."

Earlier the same day, Cleverly sanctioned the Iranian chief prosecutor, drawing immediate response from Iran officials.

"Sanctioning him today underlines our disgust at Alireza Akbari's execution," Cleverly said on Twitter. "The prosecutor general is at the heart of Iran's use of the death penalty. We're holding the regime to account for its appalling human rights violations."

Minutes later, Iranian officials summoned the British ambassador to the Islamic Republic over "meddling."

The Iranian foreign ministry announced on Saturday it had summoned the ambassador over what it called London's "meddling in Iran's national security realm." Earlier on Saturday, Britain had described the execution by Iran of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari as barbaric and said it would not go unpunished.
Six British mosques mourn death of Iran regime terrorist Soleimani
At least six mosques in Britain sympathetic to Iran’s regime mourned the death of the EU and US-sanctioned terrorist Qasem Soleimani, Tehran’s most powerful military commander, when he was assassinated in a targeted killing by a US drone in 2020.

Soleimani oversaw terrorist operations against Israel. He was responsible for the killing of over 600 American military personnel, according to former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The London Jewish Chronicle’s investigative reporter David Rose on Thursday first broke the story about the UK-based mosques mourning Solemani’s death.

He wrote that “School children were given special classes in praise of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani at British mosques."

Rose added that the “mosques in London, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester, which have charitable status and benefit from UK tax breaks, organized the events including at least two where children were encouraged to learn about Soleimani’s life.”

According to the Jewish Chronicle report, “UK-registered charity, Majlis e Ulama e Europe, a network of Shia mosques and scholars closely linked to Iran, also issued a statement condemning the attack that killed him.”

Soleimani was in charge of the elite Quds Force, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The US has sanctioned the IRGC and the American State Department has classified Iran as the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism. The United Kingdom is reportedly preparing to sanction the IRGC. According to the Telegraph newspaper, the IRGC was behind 10 plots to kidnap and murder people in Britain in 2022.

Kasra Aarabi, director of the Iran Programme at the Tony Blair Institute, told the Jewish Chronicle that Soleimani” was a major terrorist leader, dedicated to the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel. It’s deeply concerning that children should be taught he was some kind of martyr.”
George Washington University is allowing vile anti-Semitism (again)
Reports show Sheehi also retaliated against the students who spoke out against her by disparaging them to faculty members and giving them unwarranted disciplinary proceedings after they reported her aberrant behavior to university administrators.

Unsurprisingly, GW’s feckless administrators refused to support the students. Instead, the university allowed the professor’s despicable retaliatory proceedings to continue.

“Anti-Semitism has become a normal and accepted feature of these universities, as far-Left faculty and student leaders peddle anti-Semitic lies. It is the only acceptable form of “academic freedom” universities allow now,” Zachary Faria wrote Friday in the Washington Examiner. “Anti-Semitism runs deep in universities' rotten culture...this will bleed into the rest of society as well unless people who actually oppose discrimination and hate stand up and address it.”

GW has been rife lately with anti-Semitism and their insouciance to this disease is beyond hypocritical. Their reputation is now one of failing to stand up for its students by allowing racist left-wing faculty members to discriminate against one ethno-religious group. Their school’s namesake — perhaps the most indispensable American in history — would be ashamed.

The legendary historian Paul Johnson, who died last week at age 92, once opined that “hatred of Jews is not only irrational, it is self-destructive.”

Will Jewish parents continue to spend over a quarter-million dollars in tuition alone for four years of brainwashing at the GW cesspool?

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace Broadcasts Antisemitic Dual Loyalty Trope
On the same day the Anti-Defamation League reported that disturbingly high levels of Americans believe in anti-Jewish tropes, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace brazenly broadcasted one such trope on Deadline: White House.

On January 12, 2023, during a discussion about Republican calls for an investigation into President Biden’s son, Hunter, Nicolle Wallace said, in reference to former president Donald Trump’s son-in-law and former White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, who is Jewish:
Jared was believed to have been working more fervently on Israel’s foreign policy than America’s, and that’s not on the agenda for the Republican Congress to investigate.

These comments by Wallace are, without question, antisemitic. They invoke the age-old dual loyalty (or disloyalty) trope, accusing Kushner of being more loyal to Israel (“working more fervently on Israel’s foreign policy than America’s”) than to the country for which he actually served. Wallace even seems to be implying that Kushner’s “dual loyalty” warrants an investigation.

As recent studies have repeatedly shown, there is a disturbing rise in antisemitism. Indeed, an ADL study published the same day found that the rate of Americans believing in anti-Jewish tropes has reached levels unseen in decades. One of the most pernicious and widespread anti-Jewish tropes is that of “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America,” with 39% of Americans reportedly believing that statement to be true.
Anne Frank, After The Annex: Haunting book reveals what became of 15-year-old diarist after her family were dragged off by the Nazis
HER remarkable, compelling and haunting diary is one of the most significant books of the 20th century. But little has been known of what happened to Anne Frank after she was dragged out of her hiding place by the Gestapo in 1944 – until now.

A brilliant new book, After The Annex: Anne Frank, Auschwitz and Beyond – an exclusive extract of which is available on The Mail+ today – pieces together the chilling final months of the Jewish teenager and her family.

Drawing on testimony scattered in various archives and obscure publications, writer Bas von Benda-Beckmann has produced the most comprehensive and detailed account of the 15-year-old's last days ever published.

He reveals harrowing stories about a friend’s attempts to throw food parcels over a barbed-wire fence to a starving and freezing Anne, as well as the punishing work she was given splitting open old batteries with a chisel and hammer – and her father’s attempts to get her a job cleaning toilets instead.

Amid the horror, one friend recounts that Anne would spend a lot of time with Peter van Pels, a teenager whose family hid with the Franks in their Amsterdam annex. ‘They were always together and I often said to my husband: “Just look at those two beautiful young people”,’ she said. ‘At first, she was very pale, but her gentle and expressive face was so attractive. Perhaps I shouldn’t really say that Anne’s eyes shone. But they did shine, you know. She was happy …’

Anne, who would be 93 if she was alive today, and her family hid from Nazi persecution in the annex behind a bookcase in their Amsterdam home for two years before being caught.

After The Annex: Anne Frank, Auschwitz and Beyond is a fascinating and horrifying insight into period between the Gestapo raid on the Franks’ bolthole and Anne’s death in 1945.
The ‘safe haven’ of India has a dark and grisly Jewish secret
Jewish history in Europe and the Middle East is a story of massacres, forced conversions, pogroms, blood libel accusations and so on. But when Jews lived India, their polytheistic Hindu neighbours were widely seen as being more tolerant.

This is more myth than reality, however, because it ignores one of the worst massacres in Jewish history.

The Cochin Jews in the Indian state of Kerala claim to be oldest Jewish community outside the Middle East. Oral legend holds that they landed in the subcontinent after the first temple was destroyed (586 BCE) and are descended from the tribes of Benjamin and Yehuda.

Many Jews were merchants and Kerala was a trading hub. Jews lived alongside Christian and Muslim minorities while Hindus were the majority.

By the 12th century they were a well-established religious group in Kodungallur (also known by other names such as Muziris, Cranganore and Shingly).

The Jews spoke in Judeo-Malayalam, a religious dialect of the local language, Malayalam. This was a feudal era as the Chera dynasty was gradually declining and petty kings and chiefs vied for supremacy.

Legend has it that around 1165 AD there was a wealthy Jewish widow named Kadavath Achi (Kadambath Achi in other accounts) who came from the Middle East with a group of 800 Jews. She had a daughter who caught the local Hindu king’s attention when he saw her bathing in the river. The king, believed to be of the Chera clan, ordered his soldiers to seize her as he intended to make her his concubine.

When they arrived at Kadavath Achi’s residence to carry out their task, the Jews killed his soldiers. That Shabbat, the king then attacked the Jewish community with his army and mercenaries and set fire to Jewish dwellings and over a dozen synagogues.

The flames were seen 10 kilometres away in Chennamangalam - where they initially took refuge. Kadavath Achi and her daughter committed suicide in the aftermath of the tragedy.

It is believed that around 40,000 Jews were killed, with just 1000 survivors, including Yosef Rabban and his family. Rabban is believed to have been the leader of the community. In comparison there are only around 7000 Cochin Jews today.
French Jews slam ‘apology’ by Dieudonné, convicted antisemite and Holocaust denier
Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, often regarded as France’s most prominent antisemitic performer and popularizer of Holocaust denialism and quasi-Nazi salutes, offered an apology to the Jewish community this week.

In a letter published Tuesday in the small-circulation, right-wing French Jewish paper “Israel Magazine,” Dieudonné writes that he seeks forgiveness from those he offended, including his “compatriots in the Jewish community,” as a result of the “artistic gestures” he made that went “too far.”

Dieudonné claims in the letter that he intended “to make everyone laugh, and the Jewish community is part of my world,” but would not be making excuses: there would be “no extenuating circumstances because no one has one when he can see that he has harmed his neighbor.”

The letter was read and discussed on one of the most popular TV shows in France, TPMP, where the show’s host invited Dieudonné’s lawyer to debate the issue: “Can he be forgiven?”

Dieudonné has a storied history of antisemitic speech, gestures and associations. In an early episode, he appeared live on French TV in 2003 wearing camouflage uniform and a Jewish skullcap, made a Nazi salute and shouted out “IsraHeil.”

Dieudonné’s antisemitic speech, misuse of the Holocaust and his coziness with Holocaust deniers, has been a constant theme of his career, as well as the cause of several criminal convictions and the banning of his shows across France.

The surprise apology has been met with skepticism, if not hostility, from France’s Jewish community, which has repeatedly condemned the artist’s antisemitic and racist remarks.
Meet the former mobster who helped hunt Nazis
Few people in history can say they have seen as much as Myron Sugerman. Born into the dramatic underworld of the Jewish mob, his life has seen him become the king of the illegal slot machines, spend time in prison, do business around the world and secretly raise funds for the world’s most preeminent Nazi hunter.

The 84-year-old’s life story has recently been immortalized in the documentary The Last Man Standing: The Chronicles of Myron Sugerman, made by British-Israeli entrepreneur Jonny Caplan and is available on Amazon Prime and is set to roll out on other platforms later this year.

Despite being born into the underworld amid the golden age of United States organized crime, Sugerman never lost his Jewish pride. That, in fact, was actually the point behind the Jewish mafia as a whole.

A different time for Jews
Sugerman was born at a different time. Jews in the US were first or second-generation immigrants and they lived in impoverished ghettos, like Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Like the Italian and Irish immigrants, many Jews formed gangs. It was the kind of thing that, as Sugerman explained in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, couldn’t happen today, even as antisemitism continues to rise worldwide. Back then when Jews were living in poverty, unlike today, it was possible to form these gangs, with such notorious gangsters as Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Dutch Schultz and Doc Stacher becoming household names on the same level as Lucky Luciano and Al Capone. Sugerman’s father was one such gangster, Barney “Sugie” Sugerman, and so the world of crime became his birthright.
The True Meaning of Superman
The recent drama surrounding the selection of the speaker of the House of Representatives occupied so much media attention—almost an entire week of the news cycle—that it was unlikely many would notice another unusual event connected to the installation of the new Congress. It was one with far less national significance, but in a sense, even more unprecedented: A photograph showing the various books waiting to be used for the swearing in of new members of Congress included a rare comic book, Superman, No. 1, from 1939, awaiting California Democrat Robert Garcia’s hand as he took the oath of office with the Man of Steel underneath.

As a rabbi, the thought of replacing the usual Bible with a comic book seems sacrilegious in the extreme, and I do feel the need to strongly lament that particular symbolism. And yet, also as a rabbi, there’s something about Rep. Garcia’s act that intrigues me. To understand why, consider the story of Superman.

The being born as Kal-El on the planet Krypton is, as we all know by now, “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” He can soar deep into space, or start fires with a glance, or see through walls, or crush stones into diamonds, or, on occasion, even turn back time. His abilities are seemingly without limit, and have caused countless youths to wish that, like him, they could fly above the Earth.

But Congressman Garcia didn’t focus on these superior abilities. To his credit, he said he’d chosen Superman as part of his swearing-in text because of the Man of Steel’s values: “justice ... honesty ... doing the right thing, standing up for people that need support.” To further underscore these values, Garcia bundled the comic book with both a copy of the Constitution (his main text) and a picture of his late parents and his own certificate of U.S. citizenship.

Still, the actual legacy of Superman goes even deeper than those hallowed ideals, and, in fact, necessarily precedes them and explains them. Because, read carefully, the Superman story—the one that has kept the legend enduring for more than 80 years—is all about the incredible impact of chinuch.

Chinuch is a Hebrew word we in the yeshiva world use to mean education. It is broader than mere classroom instruction, connoting also preparation and dedication. It evokes a truly awesome power, not to fly or to lift unfathomable weights but to mold the soul of another through the focused love of a committed parent or the impassioned care of a devoted teacher. It is both the ability and the responsibility to impart, through teaching and modeling, a system of beliefs and morals so effectively that another person will adopt it as their own, do their utmost to honor it with their lives, and seek to pass it on to others.
Vienna’s Jewish community takes in hundreds of Ukraine refugees
Ukraine’s Jewish refugees fleeing the Russian invasion have scattered around the world, including the U.S., Israel, Poland, Germany and Spain.

Perhaps no community, though, was as well-suited to integrate them as Vienna, Austria, which was already home to a substantial number of Russian-speaking Jews before the invasion of Ukraine last February.

Five years ago, Dnipro-born Rabbi Moshe Kolomoitsev moved to Vienna and partnered with Maxim Sluzki, a longstanding community member and Kiev native. Together with Kolomoitsev’s wife, Dina, they formed Chabad’s Jewish Russian-Speaking Community of Vienna (JRCV), building a 300-square meter community center and developing programs, including Shabbat meals. Kolomoitsev estimated that 600-700 Russian-speaking Jews participated in some facet of the JRCV community, though thousands more called Vienna their home.

“It’s been a real mission to create here in Vienna a Russian-speaking community, and step by step we started to build this,” Kolomoitsev told JNS. “But since the 24th of February (the date of the Russian invasion), everything has changed. A lot of people already knew that we have this community and called us for help.”

It started with Sluzki locating 10-15 apartments for incoming refugees before he turned to Kolomoitsev and said “We need to do something. It’s our mission. We need to help people when they call on us.”

A week later, Sluzki received a call from the head of Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, Vienna’s Jewish community. Its president, Oskar Deutch, put his community’s substantial resources in play, and the city’s Bukharian community secured hotels. Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, principal of Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy, a Jewish day school in New York City, has played a critical role, along with New York-based high-tech entrepreneur Alexander Tsigutkin, whose children attend Krauss’ school.

In addition to transporting refugees from the Polish and Moldovan borders to Vienna, JRCV is able to provide 220 furnished apartments, housing 1,200 refugees, together with food allotments, holiday meals and youth activities to accommodate these refugees from across the religious, and non-religious, Jewish spectrum. A staff of six volunteers works on apartment maintenance, social work, psychological assistance, food supervision and halacha (Jewish law).

JRCV has facilitated the teaching of German to refugee children in its Russian-speaking schools, which are staffed in part by Ukrainian teachers who fled the invasion. It has also raised significant funds to supplement the modest allowances provided to host families, who have opened the doors of their own homes, to accommodate refugees’ basic needs.

The issue is all too personal for Tsigutkin, who, at the age of 17, left Mariupol in the Soviet Union with his family. Traveling through Bratislava and other points, Tsigutkin said his first stop in the free world was in Vienna, in 1979.

“I knew that I was Jewish from the stories of my mother’s father, but I didn’t know much about it. So, I learned a little bit about Judaism in Vienna, but not much. There were very few resources at that time available,” he said.
New exhibit on DP camps showcases ‘extraordinary energy’ of the Jewish people
Stateless survivors of genocide with nothing left to their names, many of Europe’s remaining Jews began to rebuild their lives in displaced persons camps scattered around the continent.

A new exhibit at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, planned in conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, tells the story of how, in the aftermath of catastrophic loss, Jews found the desire to live again.

“After the End of the World: Displaced Persons and Displaced Persons Camps” examines the responses of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), the first multinational response of its kind, and of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the immediate post-war years. It includes photographs, posters and even dolls crafted by children in the camps.

“What it all testifies to is the extraordinary energy that the Jewish people—who had suffered so much, who had gone through such unimaginable hell, who had lost their homes, children, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, their homeland—had,” Jonathan Brent, YIVO CEO and executive director, told JNS. “You see this extraordinary power of their will to live, to create a future for their children and themselves that is connected to their heritage to their traditions.”

Dolls made by stateless Jewish children residing in a DP camp near Florence, Italy, known as “Kibbutz HaOved”, with help from funds provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The dolls are attired in local costumes based on the districts of the Tuscan city of Sienna. Credit: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Among YIVO’s contributions are posters created by camp residents reflective of their daily life, along with newspapers and announcements of cultural, sporting and political events. A toy teddy bear, dolls and a frog, all crafted by the camps’ children, are also included in the exhibition. Two members of YIVO’s board of directors lived in displaced persons camps following the Holocaust.

“Coming through the hell of the Shoah, of the Soviet labor camps, of all of that psychological, emotional, social, economic trauma, and to retain that desire to live is a tremendous testament to the vitality and to the essential wellspring of the life force of the Jewish people,” said Brent.

Tracey Petersen, manager of the Holocaust and United Nations Education Outreach Programme, told JNS that the exhibition places at its heart the stories of Holocaust survivor, drawing on documents and photographs of the United Nations Archives and Records Management Section and the YIVO archives “to illuminate the relationship between the survivors and the UNRRA administrators.”

Correspondence from survivors and family members trying desperately to track down one another are drawn from the United Nations Archives.

What stood out for Petersen was “the compassion and dedication of administrators evident in their reports that they submitted to the Head Office” in what was the first multilateral and multinational coordinated response to a humanitarian crisis brought on by war. “I found particularly moving the letters and correspondence between the family of survivors, DP camp personnel and administrators from the Central Tracing Bureau in trying to locate and reunite families torn asunder by the Holocaust.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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