When “Mein Kampf” fell into the public domain on January 1 this year, enabling it to be freely printed, often those that choose to do so justified it as the publication of a historical document. The merits of that argument were undoubtedly dubious although the German edition, published for the first time since World War II, included critical annotations by historians.
However, on Saturday, a right-wing Italian newspaper was giving away free copies of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto in a move which, unsurprisingly, has sparked both shock and condemnation.
“Know it in order to reject it” was the weak justification given by conservative tabloid Il Giornale. Known for its right-wing position, notably over the question of immigration, Il Giornale has a circulation of around 200,000.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi quickly denounced the initiative on Twitter, writing: “I find it sordid that an Italian daily is giving away Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. I embrace the Jewish community with affection. #neveragain”
It was also denounced by Italy’s 30,000-strong Jewish community, “It is a vile act, light years away from any in-depth learning or study about the Holocaust,” said Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, describing the initiative as “indecent.”
The paper said the text was being freely distributed alongside the first of a series of eight history books on the Nazi Third Reich.
For 70 years, the German state of Bavaria which was handed copyright of the book in 1945, refused to allow it to be republished out of respect for the victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.
Police say they are treating a Belfast arson attack on a memorial recognising the contribution of Jewish soldiers in the World Wars as a hate crime.
The memorial relates the history of Colonel John Henry Patterson, from Co Westmeath, who had a distinguished war record and notably led the Zion Mule Corps, dubbed “the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia” who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War.
It also incorporates a panel highlighting Patterson’s links to the Jewish state and a quotation from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing him as “the godfather of the Israeli Army”.
Speaking to UTV, Pastor Paul Burns, from the Adullam Christian Fellowship, Belfast, said he was saddened by the attack, which he believed was anti-Semitic.
Pastor Burns, who has Jewish heritage, said it was particularly upsetting, coinciding with a deadly attack in a Tel Aviv market, that left four Israelis dead.
He said Belfast’s small Jewish community had been “deeply hurt, deeply alarmed” by the incident.
William Humphrey, a DUP MLA for the area said the attack was “clearly designed to raise tensions,” coming as it did, on the back of several instances of vandalism of a war memorial in Woodvale Park.
He said the memorial was “welcomed in the community, in Shankill, but also by the Jewish community as it showed the historic links between Belfast and Israel”.
Mr Humphrey called for calm and said those behind the attacks “need to take a long look at themselves,” as “those whom the memorial commemorates have done a great service to freedom and democracy”.
The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, gave a speech at Tel Aviv University on Sunday during which he exploded the open secret that underpins the BDS movement.
Valls said: “This invitation is…the most sincere response to those who talk of nothing but boycott. Behind this boycott we well know what there is: not only an opposition, but also a loathing of the State of Israel, the loathing of a Jewish home, and therefore of Jews as a whole.”
Valls was addressing an audience during a ceremony in which the George Wise Medal was conferred on him. The medal commemorates Tel Aviv University’s founding President and is awarded to long-standing Israel advocates.
The Prime Minister, who is on a three-day visit to Israel, said that it was France’s ‘role and duty’ to never give way before those that want to ‘hinder a democracy;’ that it was the ‘fight of a lifetime’ against anti-Semitism, ‘a battle of civilisation.’
To applause, Valls said, “When one attacks Jews, one of course attacks France and attacks civilisation.”
Israel on Monday issued a “severe” warning to its citizens to avoid visiting Tunisia where hundreds of Jewish pilgrims will be celebrating the religious Lag BaOmer festival later this month.
There is a severe travel warning for Tunisia (high concrete threat),” the Counter-Terrorism Bureau said in a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Terrorist elements, especially those affiliated with Global Jihad, continue to operate in Tunisia and commit attacks; therefore, there is a high threat level against Jewish targets,” said the statement.
“It is recommended that visits to Tunisia be avoided,” it added.
Last year, Tunisia was hit by a string of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group that killed dozens of holidaymakers in the North African country.
But the 2014 edition of Lag BaOmer in the Tunisian holiday island of Djerba took place without incident, despite a similar warning from Israel.
This year the festival — during which pilgrims visit the tombs of revered Rabbis as well as the famed El Ghriba synagogue — will take place May 25-26.
Djerba is home to one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world.
But the number of pilgrims visiting El Ghriba have fallen sharply since a 2002 suicide bombing claimed by Al-Qaeda that killed 21 people.
Prior to the attack, the celebrations in Djerba would attract almost 8,000 people each year, including from France, Israel, Italy and Britain.
The global reach of anti-Semitism is, tragically, quite remarkable. In a country not renowned for its Jewish population or influence the use of anti-Semitic rhetoric has reached into the highest political circles.
In Pakistan there is a nasty feud going on between the various political elite following the disclosure from the Panama leaks that the children of the country’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, own offshore companies.
Imran Khan, the famous retired cricketer, now chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), accused Prime Minister Sharif of downplaying the issue by touring the country and doing “useless speeches” instead of replying to the allegations in parliament and presenting himself for accountability.
“Mian saaab (Mr Prime Minister), you’re touring the country to avoid our questions. You cannot run,” Khan said while addressing a massive gathering of supporters in Peshawar.
He said that as Pakistan’s second largest political party, it was their duty to ask the prime minister how his children acquired so much money.
The PTI chairman also took issue with JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his support of the Prime Minister over the Panama papers controversy.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman often labels Khan a ‘Jewish agent’, but, Khan suggested, “Jews do not need agents when people like Fazlur Rehman are there to damage the country”.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman says that I am an agent of Jews. G-d forbid, if a Jew becomes Prime Minister of Pakistan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman will issue a religious fatwa in his support,” Khan said according to Samaa TV.
They may have elected Volodymyr B. Groysman as their first Jewish Prime Minister but that doesn’t immune Ukraine from the evil of anti-Semitism.
The mayor of Kiev has now tasked authorities to identify a group of people who were filmed burning an Israeli flag at the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial.
Babi Yar is a ravine near Kiev where between 100,000 and 150,000 of Jews were massacred by the Nazis throughout the Holocaust.
The flag-burning incident is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents targeting the memorial and took place on the occasion of Israel’s national remembrance day for the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah.
“It is intolerable to brutalize the memory of the victims. Especially at the place that which is globally known as one of the symbols of a terrible crime of fascism, at Babi Yar, where tens of thousands of people of different nationalities, the majority of them Jewish, were killed,” Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement.
In the simplest terms, the political left-wing forms the ‘natural home’ of the ideology that views with hatred everything associated with and related to Israel. In essence, it is anti-Zionist sentiment that is driving the current wave, insurgency if you will, of anti-Semitism.
These views that have come so much to the fore within Labour were sparked by left-winger Corbyn’s party leadership victory, which brought with it an influx of new members with these ‘out-dated and prejudiced’ views.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is the living embodiment of this problem. There is now overwhelming evidence that BDS is home to vile anti-Semitic rhetoric, debate and policy. BDS, and its acolytes such as Israeli Apartheid Week, drives this, in part, through its lack of respect for the dignity of the individual and for the rights of others to hold and express different intellectual positions.
The article prophetically concluded that BDS movement is systemically anti-Semitic and that the political left was in danger of becoming similarly so, and so was the Labour Party!
The first point has, indeed, seen some action follow with various party members, officials and MPs, including Livingstone and Naz Shah, suspended. However, it is this very same evidence that leads AntiSemitismWatch to conclude that this response is doomed to failure.
With each new accusation there have been issues of indecision, prevarication or lack of leadership shown.
Gerry Downing, accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ and being ‘obsessed with Jews’, kicked out, readmitted on appeal and then kicked out again.
Vicki Kirby, probed by the party in 2014 after a series of posts on Twitter in which she apparently suggested Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist God” and Jews had “big noses”, subsequently reinstated with a warning, appointed vice-chairman of Labour’s Woking branch, and then suspended again.
Naz Shah, who following the Facebook revelations was not suspended for 32 hours until Corbyn succumbed to the pressure exerted by the media, the Prime Minister, Jewish commentators and some within his own party.
Even the suspension of Ken Livingstone was weakly handled by Corbyn. Virtually all party communication on the subject was dealt with by Labour ‘spokespeople’. We also had the spectacle of John Mann being seen be many as the hero of the hour in his facing down and castigation of Livingstone. While not perhaps expecting precisely the same from the leader of the official government opposition something of the spirit displayed by Mann has been entirely lacking in Corbyn.
There are other Labour members in addition to John Mann worthy of mention for their mettle shown in fighting anti-Semitism in the party, including Wes Streeting and Luciana Berger who has herself been subjected to vicious anti-Semitic abuse.
Yet, these example are not set to be the sum total of what Labour will have to contend with. It is inevitable that the injurious damage will continue through further revelations. As such, they will persist in making mockery of the claim of a party with zero tolerance against anti-Semitism.
That brings us to the announcement of an independent inquiry to be led by Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of the rights group Liberty, who will be tasked with opening a dialogue with the Jewish community and will report back to Labour headquarters within two months on how the party can best tackle antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.
It is entirely inconceivable that this inquiry will deliver the necessary radical and truthful thinking and proposed action to deliver the step-change necessary for the Labour Party to emerge from this crisis with a realistic prospect of regaining its credibility.
Instead, it will likely focus on tightening party processes for dealing with potential transgressors of Labour rules on racism and anti-Semitism etc. It will also undoubtedly conclude that there exists a real desire within the party leadership to tackle the issues but, AntiSemitismWatch predicts, it will entirely fail to offer up the necessary action plan to tackle the causes.
So AntiSemitismWatch offers up to Corbyn, Labour and Chakrabarti our own radical five point plan:
As with any plan for recovery, first admit there is a problem. Labour’s Chuka Umunna has alluded to it, but still shied away from admitting the full extent, when he said: “I think there is a problem with anti-Semitism on the fringes of the left, there is no doubt about that; it would be completely disingenuous to deny that.”
The message must come from Corbyn himself. No longer is it viable or acceptable for him to stand behind others speaking on his behalf.
The admission must acknowledge that, like all parts of the political spectrum, Labour will contain individuals who hold plain, old-fashioned anti-Semitic attitudes. Labour is not immune to this just because of their long association with human rights but neither is it unique to them.
The more radical aspect to the admission is to accept that while criticism of any foreign state, including Israel, is legitimate, the rhetoric on this one lone country has, all too often, been used as a disguise for attacking the Jewish people more widely.
The issue of anti-Zionism would also need to be addressed as part of the admission, acknowledging that the right of self-determination is an unalienable right. That anything that calls for the destruction, removal, transportation or dismantlement of a democratic state and its people is in itself anti-Semitic. This provides for Corbyn and Labour to reassert a commitment to achieving a peaceful two-state solution.
Only such explicit clarity offered by our five point plan will take Labour towards a path out of the mire. It provides the only clarity necessary for Labour to then be able to hold true on its zero tolerance pledge.
Danny Cohen, the former head of the BBC, recently suggested of Labour, ‘If you are Jewish how can you vote for them?“. The relationship between Corbyn’s party and the Jewish community hangs by a thread. There remains limited time and opportunity for repair, our five point plan is an offer that should not be rejected.
The dragging on of the internal investigation into the conduct of an Orberlin College assistant professor accused of posting anti-Semitic material on social media has tested the patience of her colleagues into action.
Now the majority of the faculty of the college have signed a statement condemning the anti-Semitic conduct of Joy Karega.
“Bigotry has no place on the Oberlin campus (or anywhere),” reads the statement, with 174 signatories across the arts and sciences. “It sullies the values of equality and mutual support that are embedded in our institutional DNA as the first coeducational college and the first to admit students of all races as a matter of policy.”
When the posts came to light, reads the statement, “many of us on the Oberlin faculty initially thought it prudent to wait for our administration to come forward with a response grounded in careful deliberation and due process. It has now become clear that these complex discussions are going to take a while longer.”
In light of the timeline, “as well as the profound, ongoing questions and concerns of our students, their families, our alums, prospective students, their families and the many people around the country who look to Oberlin, the time has finally come for us to go on record, and especially to reassure our students.”
This latest development follows on from a strongly worded statement released by the trustees of the college in early March and reported on by AntiSemitismWatch. The trustees said, “These postings are anti-Semitic and abhorrent. We deplore anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin.
These grave issues must be considered expeditiously. In consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the Board has asked the administration and faculty to challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings and to report back to the Board.”
In late February, news broke on the posts Karega had left on Facebook in 2014-15. For example, Karega shared an image of an ISIS fighter taking off a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Another posted image recalled Nazi-era anti-Jewish propaganda, showing Jacob Rothschild, a member of a well-known Jewish banking family, staring down the words, “We own your news, the media, your oil, and your government.”
On Friday, the deans of Oberlin’s College of Arts and Sciences and conservatory said in a statement that “conversations have begun within the governing bodies and are moving as expeditiously as possible. As this is a confidential personnel matter, we cannot provide further specifics.”
THE deputy chairman of the Bradford Conservative Association has been suspended by his party amid allegations of anti-Semitism, discrimination, misogyny, and clan politics.
Abdul Zaman is accused of making inappropriate comments during a speech to start Tory candidate Sajid Akhtar’s campaign for election to Bradford Council in the Heaton ward.
Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah has written to Prime Minister David Cameron complaining about Mr Zaman’s speech which he made using Mirpuri dialect.
Barry Whitaker, chairman of the Bradford Conservative Association, in a contrary statement insisted Mr Zaman had said nothing wrong but confirmed that the party had suspended him while an investigation was carried out.
In her letter to Mr Cameron, Ms Shah said she has “grave concerns” regarding Mr Zaman’s speech, and states: “Mr Zaman was speaking very passionately about clan politics, women, Jews and Christians and defying equality values whilst endorsing misogyny and anti-Semitism.”
Mr Whitaker said he was at the campaign event and heard Mr Zaman’s speech, although he presumably cannot himself understand Mirpuri as he said it was translated for him at the time.
Mr Whitaker said he had notified Conservative Central Office of what was going on, and added: “Because I do take these allegations seriously, I have suspended Abdul Zaman pending an inquiry into what he said and what he meant by what he said.
Continuing along the contrary path he added: “I am standing by him in spite of having suspended him. I am conducting a thorough investigation.”
Councillor Simon Cooke, leader of the Conservative group on Bradford Council, said: “We take allegations of this sort very seriously. I can confirm that Mr Zaman has been suspended from the party, subject to an investigation into the matter.”
Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, has this week blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for behaving “obsessively” against Israel. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement calling the body an “anti-Israel circus,” adding the council “attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”
In our ongoing campaign to expose the anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic hypocrisy of the United Nations we can report that the UNHRC adopted a measure calling for the establishment of a database of businesses “involved in activities” in the occupied West Bank.
The Geneva-based council, a 47-member state forum, adopted the motion with 32 votes in favour, none against and 15, mostly European nations and the US, abstaining.
The council asked for the list of enterprises to be updated annually and to be appraised of the “human rights and international law violations involved in the production of settlement goods.”
Danon said the council’s decision reminded of “a dark period in Europe when Jewish businesses were singled out. Whoever supported today’s decision, should be ashamed.”
Indeed, AntiSemitismWatch today publishes a copy of a flyer distributed by British Fascists in the 1960s. It contextualizes the true nature of how the UNHRCs latest action should be considered and that of the BDS movement in general. The content of the flyer is reminiscent of contemporary language of BDS supporters and apologists.
The council also named Canadian Michael Lynk as its new ‘Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories’. His role to investigate on the situation of human rights in the region.
The appointment of the Western University law professor is controversial because of what some describe as his long-held and public bias against the Jewish state.