On Passover, We Can’t Forget Mireille Knoll, Newly Murdered Holocaust Survivor, Victim of Anti-Semitism: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News, Mar. 30, 2018 — Much of our conversations during Passover should be focused on Israel’s upcoming 70th birthday – a remarkable (some say miraculous) milestone for the age-old “startup nation.” But we should not forget Mireille Knoll.
Why Did I Protest Against Corbyn? Look at His Long List of Evasions: Hadley Freeman, Guardian, Mar. 27, 2018— It was a politely furious protest.
When Human Rights Organizations Indulge in Antisemitism: Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2018— The widespread increase in antisemitism around the world is closely linked to the demonization of Israel…
Accusing Putin of Antisemitism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2018— A very significant portion of my life has been devoted to personally combating Russian antisemitism.
On Topic Links
MLK’s Passover Lesson: William Hamilton, Times of Israel, Apr. 5, 2018
Widespread Muslim Anti-Semitism in France: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 27, 2018
Jeremy Corbyn, Accidental Anti-Semite: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Mar. 29, 2018
Ambassador Friedman to Jerusalem Antisemitism Conference: The ‘New’ Antisemitism Worries Me More Than the Old: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Mar. 19, 2018
ON PASSOVER, WE CAN’T FORGET MIREILLE KNOLL,
NEWLY MURDERED HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, VICTIM OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Fox News, Mar. 30, 2018
…Much of our conversations during Passover should be focused on Israel’s upcoming 70th birthday – a remarkable (some say miraculous) milestone for the age-old “startup nation.” But we should not forget Mireille Knoll. In 1942, just six years before Israel gained its independence, Knoll miraculously escaped the roundup and deportation of 13,000 French Jews – among them 4,000 other Jewish children from Vichy France – to the Auschwitz concentration camp in what is now Poland. Only 100 of those children survived.
After WWII, Knoll resumed her life in France and became a wife, mother and grandmother. But just last week, the 85-year-old widow was brutally stabbed 11 times and her body burned in her modest Paris apartment. Police are investigating two men in their 20s on formal charges of murder with an anti-Semitic motive. One of them was a neighbor who had known Knoll since he was a child.
The New York Times reported: “An official close to the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said that the friend had told investigators that he had heard Ms. Knoll’s neighbor say ‘God is great’ in Arabic during the killing.” French authorities were quick to admit that religious-fueled (read Islamist) hatred of Jews was the likely motivation behind Knoll’s murder. French President Emmanuel Macron, who attended Knoll’s funeral Wednesday, said her killer “assassinated an innocent and vulnerable woman because she was Jewish.”
This terrible anti-Semitic murder caps off a horrific 12-year cycle of shame in the City of Lights. It started in January 2006 when Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old telephone salesman – French-born of Moroccan-Jewish ancestry – was found naked, tortured and burned south of Paris after being kidnapped and held for three weeks. Halimi died of his injuries shortly afterwards. French police arrested a dozen members of the self-proclaimed “Gang of Barbarians” Believing that all Jews were rich, the gang made repeated extortion attempts aimed at Halimi’s modest family. In 2014, a young couple in suburban Paris – targeted because they were Jews – were assaulted, beaten and robbed in their apartment. The 19-year-old Jewish woman was gang raped. At the 2017 trial however, the judge refused to treat the crime as anti-Semitic.
And amidst the attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris in 2015, along with threats against synagogues and seemingly unending hate crimes against individual Jews, came the August 2017 brutal murder in Paris of a 66-year-old retired doctor and Orthodox Jew. She was beaten to death and thrown out the window by a Muslim neighbor who was screaming “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) in Arabic. Despite witnesses’ testimonies and the protests of French Jewish leaders, authorities dismissed the murder as a mere “isolated incident” and wouldn’t acknowledge the anti-Semitic nature of the crime until President Macron recently promised to establish “clarity on the death” of another Jewish victim.
The failure of France to deal forthrightly, quickly and justly against anti-Semitic hate has enraged and scared French Jews as much as these unspeakable crimes have. It also explains why thousands see no future in their native land and have left for Israel and beyond. A few weeks ago, along with my Simon Wiesenthal Center Paris-based colleague Dr. Shimon Samuels, I spent two fruitless days of meetings at both the French Justice Ministry and Ministry of Interior, trying to learn who ordered the sudden release of an accused terrorist implicated in the deadly bombing of Paris’ Rue Copernic Synagogue and allowed him to fly to Canada. Officials were polite enough, but clearly uncomfortable with the issue at hand. They had no answers as to failure of police and intelligence agencies to take more aggressive measures against extremist imams inciting violent anti-Semitic acts, nor could they explain why French judges basically refuse to throw the book at anti-Semitic thugs when arrests are made.
At Mireille Knoll’s funeral, President Macron was joined by thousands of people – including many interfaith leaders, and even far-right and far-left figures – who marched silently against anti-Semitism.
But silence won’t stop anti-Semitism in France. Only action and accountability will. Unless and until French Jews have equal protection under the law from the police, politicians and judges in the country once known as the cradle of democracy, 21st century anti-Semites could ultimately succeed where Hitler failed and eventually make France “Jew-free.” During the Passover Seder, as we recite the story of how the Jewish people were freed from persecution and bondage in ancient times, it’s important to remember that anti-Semitism and other equally poisonous forms of religious hatred and prejudice live on in our own time. We must all dedicate ourselves to eliminating such hatred.
WHY DID I PROTEST AGAINST CORBYN?
LOOK AT HIS LONG LIST OF EVASIONS
Guardian, Mar. 27, 2018
It was a politely furious protest. I’ll talk about the politeness first. I arrived a few minutes late to Parliament Square for the demonstration against … well, let’s say the somewhat cavalier attitude towards antisemitism displayed by various members of the Labour party, and specifically the most senior member of the Labour party. The square was jam-packed, and despite all the people on my social media feed who had been urgently telling me for days that Jews were hysterically conniving to bring down Jeremy Corbyn, there was a notably peaceful air to the proceedings. While speakers such as Luciana Berger tried in vain to make themselves heard, the crowd made self-mocking jokes: surely there must be a buffet at a Jewish protest? I wished I’d made some signs: “Not antisemitic? Jew must be joking!” It was that kind of protest.
But there was also palpable fury beneath the politeness. I can’t speak for why all the other people at the protest felt furious – we didn’t establish a party line on this at our last general meeting because we were too busy discussing how to control the weather, as a US politician alleged last week. But I was furious after a weekend of news stories about how Corbyn had, once again, endorsed antisemitic behaviour and failed to take responsibility for it until public opinion forced him to do so. Deja vu? Groundhog Day, more like.
Let’s run through the greatest hits: there was the time Corbyn took tea with the hate preacher Raed Salah, and called him “a very honoured citizen”, even though he’d been charged in Israel with inciting anti-Jewish racism and violence; the time he hosted representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah, even though Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of the Jews; the times he accepted a total of £20,000 for appearing on Iran’s Press TV, a channel that regularly hosts Holocaust deniers; the time he defended the Rev Stephen Sizer, who was later banned by church authorities from social media for sharing antisemitic material blaming Israel for 9/11; that he was an active member of three Facebook groups on which deeply antisemitic posts regularly appeared; and that now he has commented on Facebook in support of an absurdly antisemitic mural.
Corbyn is frequently praised by his supporters for sticking to his guns, never wavering in his opinions, and yet when you bring up any of the above instances they wave them away as being “ages ago” and say he’s apologised since. Corbyn has always cried innocent, insisting that of course he abhors antisemitism (and-all-other-forms-of-racism). How could anyone accuse him of being soft on it? Don’t they know his mother was at the Battle of Cable Street? Yeah, well, my mother worked with Jim Henson – it doesn’t make me Big Bird.
Truly, I have never known a man to find himself alongside antisemites so often and not realise until it is publicly pointed out to him. Someone ought to make a sitcom about his misadventures with the antisemites. It could be called Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!, but with a more tutting tone than the usual triumphant one. A descending horn noise could sound whenever someone has to say it: “Have you just joined another antisemitic social media group? Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!”
I was furious after a weekend of watching his supporters – members of the public, journalists I once respected, various MPs – insist that this was all nonsense, a smear, a Zionist conspiracy designed to bring down infallible Jeremy. Quite how Jews have the wherewithal to conspire against Corbyn by cunningly making him endorse antisemites without his knowledge is never explained. So let’s get something straight: if someone has actually done something, reporting that action is not “a smear”, it’s “reporting”. And suggesting Jews always have an ulterior motive, even when reacting to antisemitism, is really not the best way to prove that you’re not antisemitic.
I’m furious with people who respond to these points by huffing that criticism of Israel, by Corbyn or anyone on the left, does not make one antisemitic, even though Israel had nothing to do with any of Corbyn’s antisemitic encounters; and I’m furious with people who imply a little antisemitism is a price worth paying to achieve Corbyn’s socialist society. I’m furious with people who spent all of last week reading Russian runes into an image of Corbyn’s hat on Newsnight, and this week insist they can’t see anything antisemitic about a blatantly antisemitic mural. Most of all, I am furious with people for insisting there is nothing to see here, when we all know that if a Tory or Ukip politician had done half of the things Corbyn has done, these same people would be insisting they be put in the stocks. The hypocrisy takes the breath away.
Finally, I’m furious with people making Corbyn seem like a passive participant in all this. Sure, we can talk about how antisemitism is “baked into” the far left, and Corbyn himself has started to push this narrative with his latest apology (his third, or possibly his fourth since Friday – I’ve lost count). He says “antisemitism has resurfaced within the Labour party”, as though it were nothing to do with him, and others refer to antisemitism as a sickness that they will now root out.
But you cannot help getting sick – you can, however, help turning a blind eye to antisemitism. Corbyn made his own choices about what he clicked online and who he had tea with. What Jewish people need is for him to take some responsibility, show some backbone and honesty, explain why he was willing to ignore antisemitism for so long, and apologise. Not for “feelings hurt”, but for endorsing racists. But I’ll be honest, I’m not holding my breath. So in the meantime, going to the protest was a balm. It was a relief to be with people who weren’t gaslighting Jews by insisting that what they were seeing in front of their eyes wasn’t true, and it was nice to see the MPs who showed up – Harriet Harman, Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy, Chuka Umunna – and know that at least some Labour politicians weren’t laughing this off as a distraction.
By the time Labour MP Wes Streeting took the stand to talk about how this ongoing scandal was “a stain” on the Labour party, and that Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 report into antisemitism in the Labour party was a laughable “whitewash”, emotions were running high. No yarmulkes fell off any scalps, but you could see the backs of necks pinking. It was a civil protest, but a passionate one, and a deeply serious and heartfelt one. And as I left I felt myself smiling a little. But I’ll be honest – I was still furious.
WHEN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS INDULGE IN ANTISEMITISM
Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2018
The widespread increase in antisemitism around the world is closely linked to the demonization of Israel, including long-running campaigns falsely accusing the Jewish state of “war crimes,” “apartheid,” and “ethnic cleansing.” The groups leading these efforts, including some that use the facade of human rights, often draw an odious parallel between Israeli responses to terrorism and the behavior of the Nazis in the Holocaust. Many antisemitic attacks and acts of vandalism, particularly in Europe, are inspired by these noxious campaigns.
In an effort to counter this virus, the countries and governments that make up the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted a “working definition of antisemitism” in May 2016. This document, like previous European and US State Department working definitions, lists a number of criteria generally associated with what is referred to as the “new antisemitism.” These include using double standards to single out Israel, “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” or comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. In addition, the IHRA working definition notes the use of symbols “associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.”
Among a growing number of states, these criteria have been adopted and endorsed, including by the European Parliament in an advisory (non-binding) resolution. But much of the self-styled human rights community has studiously ignored the IHRA framework. Groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Paris- based FIDH (the International Federation of Human Rights) and dozens of others that frequently stray into antisemitic territory remain outside this process. Given the power and influence of these groups, the challenge of expanding the radius of the IHRA process to include NGOs is imperative.
This is neither an easy nor a trivial task. NGOs that are closely linked to politicized church groups have been among the worst offenders, going back decades. The World Council of Churches runs a pseudo-human rights organization known as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which brings international activists to the West Bank through the abuse of Israeli tourist visas. These activists get an intense propaganda dose, spend three months immersed in the Palestinian narrative, and then return home to spread the same contents in their local communities and churches.
For instance, while speaking in London in 2016, one EAPPI activist blamed the perceived lack of American Evangelical support for Palestinians on the “Jewish lobby.” The WCC’s own general secretary, Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, stated at a June 2017 event that “I heard about the occupation of my country during the five years of World War II as the story of my parents. Now I see and hear the stories of 50 years of occupation….” If the WCC, EAPPI and other such groups adopted the IHRA definition, such statements would be marked as antisemitic and considered out of bounds.
The problem is not confined to Europe. A number of Amnesty International’s advocates from its various national branches were members of a virulently antisemitic Facebook group, known as “Palestine Live.” Participants who posted articles “questioning” the Holocaust were told they “should be allowed to discuss this rather than being silenced,” even if not in this particular group. Unsurprisingly, in 2015, Amnesty-UK refused to take action to oppose rising antisemitism in the UK…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
ACCUSING PUTIN OF ANTISEMITISM
Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2018
A very significant portion of my life has been devoted to personally combating Russian antisemitism. I experienced firsthand the extent of hatred against Jews which was basically ingrained in most Soviet leaders and bureaucrats. I will never forget the day a leading KGB officer proudly told me that seeing Jews being strung up from the lampposts in leading Moscow streets would be the happiest day of his life. Russian antisemitism dates back centuries. It was encouraged by the Russian Orthodox Church and the tsars orchestrated pogroms to divert attention from other social issues. While the Communists initially condemned antisemitism, in practice they maintained it as a state policy.
Having witnessed and battled against these trends as a cornerstone of the campaign to free Soviet Jewry, it would be somewhat bizarre for anyone to accuse me of being soft on Russian antisemitism. But I believe the hysterical attacks on Russian President Vladimir Putin following his recent misplaced comments about interference in the US elections are outrageous and can lead to dire consequences. In a rambling interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, who was pressing him to respond to allegations of Russian interference in the US elections, Putin facetiously referred to the possibility of Russian Jews being involved. This was catapulted to front-page headlines, many of which accused Putin of outright antisemitism and even resurrecting Judeophobia, including the notorious tsarist Protocols of the Elders of Zion. These hysterical denunciations were echoed by the Anti-Defamation League, which called on US President Donald Trump to condemn Putin as an antisemite. Even the normally restrained American Jewish Committee joined in the fray. All these condemnations were based on taking Putin’s comments out of context and totally distorting them.
What was actually said? In the course of an interview insinuating that he had interfered in the US elections, Putin in exasperation turned on the interviewer and in Russian snapped: “Maybe they are not even Russians. Maybe they were Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they had dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.” Anyone with a semblance of intelligence would appreciate that this gibberish was simply a tactic to end the interview. The fact that Jews were mentioned in passing as a Russian nationality was purely coincidental. Had he mentioned Jews alone and sought to blame them that would be another matter. But that was not the case. There is an element of madness in the air. I am not entering into the issue of whether Putin did or did not interfere in the US elections. But he certainly did not engage in antisemitism.
The indoctrination of Jew-hatred among Russians over the past centuries cannot disappear overnight, and plenty of antisemitic paranoia remains in Russia. Which is why, even if one opposes Putin’s autocratic behavior and foreign policy, this former KGB agent must be recognized as one of the most positive forces combating Jew hatred and supporting the local Jewish community. There are various explanations for Putin’s apparent philo-Semitism. Some say he was influenced as a youngster in St. Petersburg, where he was looked after by a Jewish couple and deeply affected by a German Jewish teacher, Mina Yuditkaya, who later immigrated to Israel. (He met her on a visit in 2005 and purchased an apartment for her in Tel Aviv, in which she lived until she recently passed away.)
Putin has encouraged the Jewish renaissance in Russia, developed a warm relationship with Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazare and has many Jewish friends. He has made a distinct effort to attend Jewish functions such as the opening of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, to which he contributed $50 million of state funds and even personally donated a month’s salary. He attends Hanukka celebrations and conveys goodwill on the advent of the Jewish New Year – something utterly unprecedented from a nationalist Russian leader.
Despite his strategic involvement with the Syrians, Putin has determinedly kept the channels to Israel open. He has visited Israel on several occasions, in fact making it his first foreign visit after his election in 2012. He speaks warmly of the Jewish state, expressing pride that it contains the largest diaspora of Russian Jews. At the Western Wall, he donned a kippa – undoubtedly making his Bolshevik predecessors turn in their graves and enraging his Arab allies. Putin holds regular meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and other Jewish leaders who all testify to his deep respect for Israel, especially its military and intelligence capabilities…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
MLK’s Passover Lesson: William Hamilton, Times of Israel, Apr. 5, 2018—The Kennedy administration anxiously prepared to contain the violence they expected at the 1963 march on Washington.
Widespread Muslim Anti-Semitism in France: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 27, 2018 —In most European countries no quantitative data is available on Muslim anti-Semitism.
Jeremy Corbyn, Accidental Anti-Semite: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Mar. 29, 2018 —If you take Jeremy Corbyn at his word, then the leader of Britain’s Labour Party is no anti-Semite. It’s just that, like the Wild West preacher who keeps accidentally wandering into Fannie Porter’s house of ill repute, Corbyn has an odd knack for stumbling into the arms of the Hebraically disinclined.
Ambassador Friedman to Jerusalem Antisemitism Conference: The ‘New’ Antisemitism Worries Me More Than the Old: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Mar. 19, 2018—US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a packed house at the opening of the 6th Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism that a “new” antisemitism, characterized by “the irrational, deceitful, and insidious vilification of Israel and its supporters under the guise of political commentary” worries him far more than the “old” antisemitism.