UN Secretary General confirms AntiSemitismWatch correct

On 25th January AntiSemitismWatch published a Special Report entitled ‘The Absurdity that is the United Nations’. We explained that at this time of rising anxiety and concern amongst Jewish communities across the world, driven by violent and non-violent anti-Semitism, the UN through its actions and words has demonstrated that it is no longer the beacon of hope it was created to be.

Now the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has confirmed our report as correct. In a move that can only be described as seeking to justify terrorism, Ban equated its Jewish victims with those murderers killed while trying to stab, shoot and run them over.

In remarks last week to the Security Council, Ban suggested, “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process… It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

Ban Ki-moon, does he understand the impact of his words?
Ban Ki-moon, does he understand the impact of his words?

“Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn – and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives,” Ban also said.

Could this be a slip of the secretary-general’s tongue: He condemns “targeting Israeli civilians,” but not soldiers? Is he therefore suggesting that the many attacks on soldiers are justifiable, since they are agents of an occupying army? If this differentiation is not part of a new UN policy, Ban could simply have said “targeting Israelis” and condemned the violence against all.

Benjamin Netanyahu was blunt in his response: “They want to murder Jews for being Jews and they say this openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.”

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder highlighted the danger inherent in the secretary-general’s words. “Mr. Ban’s statement will only encourage Palestinians to carry out more of the barbaric attacks we have seen in recent weeks. Crimes that are understood to be unacceptable in Paris and in Brussels – the random murder of people in the street or in their homes – cannot be somehow explained away when it comes to Israel.”

AntiSemitismWatch suggests that Ban takes time to reflect upon his words and the impact it has on those Jews subject to or concerned about anti-Semitism in all its extremes and those enemies who will only take heart from them.

Jewish cemetery has been attacked for last 15 years

Hartford, Connecticut – The president of Congregation Ados Israel continues to find evidence of vandalism inside the cemetery plot he cares for at Zion Hill.

On Friday, Leonard Holtz found a top adornment on his own family’s headstone had been lopped off.

“I’m holding one of the most personal pieces of the vandalism –in front of my grandparents’ grave,” said Holtz, visibly upset.

On Thursday, after hearing about destruction at a different Jewish plot within Zion Hill, Holtz checked on his section.

“Basically I froze,” he said describing his discovery and pointing to a large gravestone from 1913. “It is both knocked over. It is damaged. It is broken. Chips of the polished granite have been broken away.”

Hartford police estimate about 35 historical headstones suffered a similar fate in what are just two incidents of Jewish cemetery vandalism as of late.

“It’s concerning to us. We’ve been following this case, personally, I have for 15 years, and it’s been going on a lot longer than that,” said Dep. Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department.

He did not hesitate to label the case a “hate crime.”

“In that specific section, strings of headstones knocked over, you can’t tell me that’s not targeted,” said Foley.

Rabbi David Small of Emanuel Synagogue said desecrating a grave is extremely hurtful to those of the Jewish faith.

“There’s something called “k’vod hameit” which means honoring the dead,” said Small, explaining that Jews do that in graveyards by writing a loved one’s name in stone.

“So when that marker which affirms that your life is worth something is knocked over, it’s a negation of the worth of that person’s life,” he said. “The dead are vulnerable, they can’t defend themselves.”

Holtz is trying. The lock and chain he put on the gate after a round of vandalism a few years ago were missing on Thursday.

“Obviously someone has a chain cutter and is gaining access to this cemetery intentionally for purposes that have resulted in vandalism,” he said.

Adding security cameras is an option, Holtz said. Foley said police are working on “creative ways” to solve this case, too.

“It is a difficult thought to imagine that the loved ones here are not resting peacefully,” said Holtz.

Foley said the Hartford Police Italian Officers Association was so moved by this incident that members donated $500 towards headstone repairs.

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AntiSemitismWatch commentary: Words are no longer enough

coollogo_com-23172872It is a time of unprecedented dialogue, commentary and discussion in the modern era. The rise of Anti-Semitism in its violent and non-violent forms has rightly attracted the attention of many of the world’s leaders, their governments, community representatives and the media. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of their respective responses has been supportive of the community and condemning of the hate mungerers and terrorists. The question AntiSemitismWatch.com asks is whether fine words are any longer sufficient?

1280px-Barack_Obama_speaks_in_Cairo,_Egypt_06-04-09Just this morning we reported on President Obama’s ‘Je Suis Juives’ or ‘we are all Jewish’ speech at yesterday’s Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Washington. These are very powerful words indeed, worthy of praise. They display a strong sense of support, unity and understanding. However, this is the same President who has just agreed a nuclear deal with Iran removing all sanctions against the regime.

In almost the same breath, Iran launched its state sponsored anti-Semitic Holocaust denial cartoon competition. The organisers of the 11th Tehran International Cartoon Biennial, scheduled for this June, have offered a stomach churning first-place prize money of $50,000, more than quadruple last year’s $12,000.

“Anybody can see that Iran’s anti-Semitic cartoon contest is meant to incite hatred, which is often the motivator of violence and terrorism. The world should condemn this appalling contest as vehemently as we do,” said Consul Daniel Agranov of the Houston-based Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest United States.

Even Ira Forman, the US State Department’s special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, said it’s critical that the US speak out against any type of government-sponsored anti-Semitism.

“We’re really concerned this contest is used as a platform for Holocaust denial…and anti-Semitic speech,” Forman said.

Ken Jacobson, the Anti-Defamation League’s deputy national director, told JNS.org that Iran’s Holocaust denial is “not per se about the Holocaust. It’s about vicious anti-Semitism [going on] in the world. It’s an attack on the Jewish people, and it’s a threat.”

“What’s different this year — and most alarming — is that policy makers in the US and Europe view the Iranian regime as a stabilizing force in the imploding Middle East. This is a horrific mistake,” Charles A. Small, executive director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy told JNS.org. “Western governments, led by the US, are legitimizing a genocidal anti-Semitic regime, and this is dangerous and can only lead to problems for all of us, not just for Jews.”

Ayaollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, also marked Holocaust Memorial Day by publishing a Holocaust denying video on his official website.

While nations around the world remembered the millions of people who were killed in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, the hardline leader questioned whether the Holocaust “is a reality or not”.

Khamenei’s website promotes the video with a banner across its homepage, featuring a montage of images, including one of Adolf Hitler.

Simultaneously, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani tours Italy and France attempting to drum up trade and diplomatic links after the signing of the billions of dollars worth sanction lifting nuclear deal.

At the same time, Italian Ambassador to Israel, Francesco Maria Talo, said in commemoration of HMD 2016 that as a Nazi ally Italy “was in the middle of the war [and] has a special responsibility” to commemorate the genocide of the Jews.”

“We have to work every day” to remember, he asserted, adding that while some Italians worked to save Jews, others did not, and “it is especially important to remember what was done to participate in the persecution…. We have more responsibility and we need to do more.”

His fine rhetoric was shared by Pope Francis who just recently visited the main synagogue in Rome.

“The violence of man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of this name, in particular the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam),” he said in what appeared to be a reference to attacks by Islamist militants.

“The Shoah teaches us that we need the maximum vigilance in order to intervene quickly in defence of human dignity and peace,” Pope Francis said, using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

While in France after the recent terrorist attacks aimed at Jews we had the sight of non-Jewish politicians lining up to wear kippot. This after a French Jewish community leader suggested that to safeguard themselves Jewish men should not wear them in public.

Michael Oren MK, a former ambassador to the US, asked: “How can Europe respect the memory of the Holocaust, while on the same exact day it hosts the leader of the Iranian regime, which denies that the Holocaust even happened? “Israel welcomes Europe’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism,” he added, “but its recent actions, such as labeling products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights….. raise doubts about this commitment.”

3ForumVVKMeanwhile, Moshe Kantor, the newly elected President of the European Jewish Congress warned European leaders, “We need more that just ceremony and commemoration. When anti-Semitism is on the rise, when Jews are once again fleeing Europe.

‘When a murderous Islamic extremist ideology is threatening our existence, we need action as well as words.

‘It is time for our leaders to commit to a robust, unified and coordinated approach to tackling anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism.

‘We must all stand against hate refuse to allow history to repeat itself, making ‘never again’ a reality.’

Fine words Mr Kantor, fine words.

AntiSemitismWatch.coms suggest to all these speakers of fine words that if you really want to see action that makes a difference, go visit your local Shomrim!

President gives a Je Suis Charlie speech on HMD

On Holocaust Memorial Day, US President Barack Obama spoke at a ceremony held by the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Faced with the scourge of rising anti-Semitism, he called for individuals of every faith and creed to challenge it out of solidarity with the Jewish people.

220px-Je_suis_Charlie.svg“We are all Jews, because anti-Semitism is a distillation, an expression of an evil that runs through so much of human history, and if we do not answer that, we do not answer any other form of evil,” Obama said.

The event, devoted to posthumously honoring non-Jewish Holocaust heroes, the so-called “Righteous Gentiles”, represented the first time a sitting American president has spoken at the Israeli Embassy.

It was organized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust remembrance and educational organization.

The leader was introduced by Steven Spielberg, the Academy Award-winning director of the Holocaust-themed film Schindler’s List, as well as the founder of a Holocaust history foundation.

“Too often, especially in times of change, especially in times of anxiety and uncertainty, we are too willing to give in to a base desire to find someone else, someone different, to blame for our struggles,” Obama further stated. “So here tonight we must confront the reality that around the world anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it.”

Je Suis Charlie Mr President.

Je Suis Juives Mr President.

AntiSemitismWatch commends Italian Newspaper on HMD

coollogo_com-23172872AntiSemitismWatch.com commends an Italian Newspaper for distributing white yarmulkes with its daily edition as a show of solidarity with Jewish communities in Europe on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“We intended it as a gesture of closeness and solidarity with the Jewish people, now that antisemitism is getting stronger in Europe and that many Jews are abandoning our cities,” said Giulio Meotti, a writer for Il Foglio, according to The Jewish Voice.

Meotti noted that many Jews in Europe have stopped donning the traditional Jewish skullcap out of fear of antisemitism. In Marseilles earlier this month, following an attack against a Jewish schoolteacher outside his Hebrew school, the local community head called on locals to refrain from putting on the kippah, a suggestion that drew condemnations from others in the French and international Jewish communities.

“Hatred of Israel has returned to dominate the media and politics,” said Meotti, according to the Voice. “Anti-Semitism does not shock anymore. But we must pay attention. Because they start by hitting the Jews but they do not stop there: we are all in danger.”

The initiative by Il Foglio Editor-in-Chief Claudio Cerasa, followed French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia’s call on Jews to wear kippot in order to show a “united front” against antisemitism, especially in the wake of recent attacks. Simultaneously, an online campaign was launched under the hashtag  , also calling for individuals to wear kippot as a sign of solidarity. In addition, Strasbourg Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samama handed out 100 kippot to passersby in the city’s center around the same time.

“Solidarity is the only weapon we have. That little kippah is the symbol of our greatest and most precious freedoms. And of Israel, the outpost that Europe should defend and love,” said Meotti.

Contemporary Holocaust denial and its role in anti-Semitism

On Holocaust Memorial Day AntiSemitismWatch.com reflects on how Holocaust denial, though not a new phenomenon, remains a matter familiar to many in the modern world. However, in the contemporary social media age it has taken on a new vigor and potentially a wider meaning.

William Allington, a PhD Candidate in Jewish Civilisation at the University of Sydney, has studied the nature of Holocaust denial and particularly its modern online forms.

“It’s self-serving to whomever is denying it – it relegitimises national socialism, it’s used to discredit the state of Israel, and rekindle Anti-Semitism,” he said.

“In fact, Holocaust denial is a modern form of Anti-Semitism.”

n_holocaust_wiesel_130127

In a conclusion that will surprise some, Mr Allington explained that Holocaust denial is not simply a trait of Middle East radicalism.

“A lot [of it comes from] the Middle East, yes, but most of it comes from the West – UK, Australia, America, Germany,” he said.

The rise of social media has certainly facilitated this worldwide spread. Holocaust deniers, “Carve out little areas where they broach discussions.”

634988The online Holocaust movement sees its foundations in written and published literature, Mr Allington said, which is then used as reference material for online debates.

“[Holocaust deniers] published and wrote pseudo-intellectual books, articles, and journals,” he said.

“As a result, to the trained eye it was nonsense, but it created the reference material to get any untrained eye to believe it.”

social_media_strategyAs an example, Mr Allington points to the American historical figure Willis Carto, the founder of the Liberty Lobby (a Holocaust denial group) which was affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and used Holocaust denial as an extending form of propaganda against Jewish people.

“That’s continued as a strain within online American communities,” Mr Allington said.

Online Holocaust deniers gain traction through by posting tangential comments on vaguely related, and “fairly benign” topics, Mr Allington said.

“Usually with posts on historical areas someone will post something tangential, like ‘Did Hitler actively kill the Jews’, to instigate a reaction,” he said.

Mr Allington likened these commenters to “trolls”, commenters who aim to ignite controversy online.

However these Holocaust deniers have greater ambitions than simply stirring the pot – they want to recharge Anti-Semitism and destabilise the Jewish community, according to Mr Allington.

But given the amount of studies and details we have concerning the Holocaust and its existence, it seems at odds for such a large community of online users to be denying it, he said.

Have you encountered this form of Anti-Semitism online? If so do let us know at AntiSemitismWatch.com.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is the day when we remember all those affected by the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. All across the UK hundreds of thousands of people are marking HMD 2016 in schools, museums, councils, workplaces and many other settings. 

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Whether you take part in HMD 2016 online, watch the UK Commemorative Ceremony on BBC TWO or attend one of the thousands of local events, make sure you give yourself time to reflect so that together we can create a safer, better future.  

The anti-Semitic state of Britain

On the back of learning that anti-Semitic attacks in London have increased by 61 per cent over the course of the last year, according to figures from the Metropolitan Police, AntiSemitismWatch.com brings you the latest news from around the UK.

Between November 2014 and November 2015, a total of 483 such crimes were committed, up from 299 during the same period of the previous year.

Just days ago a group of Neo-Nazis staged a rally in Newcastle, England, featuring a banner with the words “Refugees Not Welcome, Hitler was Right,” accompanied by a picture of Adolf Hitler’s face. The rally was staged by members of the radical right-wing “National Action” group as a flash mob, a tactic used by other extremist groups to gain attention.

Assembling in front of a WWII monument in the Newcastle center, the Neo-Nazis made trademark Hitler salutes while shouting racist slogans, to the shock and amazement of passerby.

Understandably, many Jewish groups have been deeply disturbed by the openly anti-Semitic display.

Just yesterday police announced they were  investigating after two swastikas were daubed on a wall in North London.

The symbols were plastered onto a residential building on Highgate Road in Kentish Town.

Attending officers found offensive graffiti drawn onto a wall of the building and informed the local authority who removed it. No arrests have been made.

Conservative councillor for Housing and Community Safety, Oliver Cooper, reported the graffiti to the police. Speaking to Jewish News he said: “This appalling incident is only the latest in a sad escalation of hate crimes and hate speech: whether it’s graffiti swastikas, or hatred on social media.  It’s important that everyone tackles this head-on.  I will be asking Camden Council what’s being done to reverse this rising tide of hate locally, and make sure we keep the community safe.”

 

Sponsor threatens to pull University funding over violence inciting anti-Semitic mural

According to Canada’s CityNews, a mural hanging in country’s York University student centre, seen by some as anti-Semitic, has prompted media mogul Paul Bronfman to pull his support from the university. Bronfman heads William F. White a media equipment company.

“The upshot is that if that poster is not going by the end of day today then William F. White is out of York,” Bronfman had said. “York is going to lose thousands of dollars of television production equipment used for emerging student filmmakers, access to technical people who do education and student training and student seminars, workshops and open houses at William F. White Center that help them develop the hard skills needed to fill industry infrastructure positions like gaffer or grip: they will no longer be invited. York University will be persona non grata at William F. White International until they take that poster down.”

The mural depicts a man with rocks in his hands looking at a bulldozer near a building. On his back is a Palestinian flag and a map of Israel without borders. Below that are the words Justice and Peace.

Danielle Shachar, a Jewish student at the University said, “If a mural condoning violence against any other nation was hung on campus, it would rightfully be condemned. Only when it pertains to Jews do we see this disturbing double standard.”

There have been been a number of anti-Israel protests and hateful graffiti appearing on campus. Shachar describes the campus as “a breeding ground for violence, hate and discrimination against Israel and its student supporters.”

In a statement from York University, Joanne Rider said the artwork displayed in the Student Centre is overseen by a separate Board of Directors and is a separate legal entity from the University.

“We consulted widely with experts who told us that we are not in a legal position to compel the Student Centre leadership to remove the artwork,” she said, adding that the school encourages freedom of expression.

“Freedom of expression is one of York’s guiding principles. Members of the York community have the right to express their views and to test and challenge ideas, provided they do so within the law and in a peaceful and non-threatening manner. We are an inclusive university and we care about how our students feel.”

She also said she is disappointed with Bronfman’s decision to pull his company’s support.

“We deeply regret Mr. Bronfman’s decision and would like to thank him for his support,” she says in the release. “Our Arts, Media, Performance and Design students have benefited from the experiential learning activities made possible by his generosity.”

Boris Johnson signs up to Mayors campaign against anti-Semitism

London Mayor Boris Johnson has signed on to Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism, an AJC (American Jewish Committee) initiative calling on local leaders across Europe to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising anti-Semitism.

“However it manifests itself, anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified,” said Mayor Johnson. “In London we have a large and visible Jewish population, which makes a massive contribution to our city’s success, and as mayor I take this issue very seriously.

“We are working closely with the Jewish community and the police to tackle the problem and it is important for mayors to stand shoulder to shoulder to condemn and challenge anti-Semitism, which, like all forms of religious or racial discrimination, has no place in our cities.”

Boris-johnsonJohnson is the first mayor in the United Kingdom to join the campaign of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization. Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism was launched in the United States in July, and expanded to Europe in the fall. To date, more than 30 European mayors and 309 mayors and municipal leaders from 47 states across the U.S. have signed the statement.

“Mayor Johnson’s leadership in unequivocally confronting the anti-Semitism scourge is admirable, and reinforces Britain’s democratic values,” said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris. “Anti-Semitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe, a portent that Mayor Johnson so clearly recognizes.”

To date, mayors in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania have signed on to the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement.

The statement calls upon “mayors, municipal leaders and other officials in Europe to join us in affirming that anti-Semitism is not compatible with fundamental democratic values.” It emphasizes that “in a world of global communications where anti-Semitic ideas can and do spread quickly, the impact of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe does not stop at Europe’s borders.”

The Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement affirms a core set of principles, including the condemnation of anti-Jewish hatred in all forms; rejection of the notion that anti-Semitic acts may ever be justified by one’s view on the actions or existence of the State of Israel; a declaration that anti-Semitism and any prejudices due to religious differences are inconsistent with core democratic values; and the belief that the promotion of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens is essential to good governance and democratic life.

The statement pledges a commitment to working within and across European and American communities to advance the values of respectful coexistence, and to affirm that anti-Semitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values.

Follow the link to the original article here.