The Scourge of Anti-Semitic Jews: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 13, 2016— A poster from the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, made the rounds on U.S. campuses recently.
Anti-Zionism Is The New Anti-Semitism, Says Britain's Ex-Chief Rabbi: Jonathan Sacks, Newsweek, Apr. 3, 2016— On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses.
Anglo Jewry Confronts Labour Anti-Semitic Surge: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2016—Ten years ago, I was accused of pandering to hysteria when I praised Melanie Phillips’ groundbreaking book, Londonistan, detailing the alarming growth of anti-Semitism in the UK and predicting further deterioration unless the British government drastically altered its approach.
Reciting Kaddish After my Father's Death, I Found my Place in the Universe: Terry Friedman Wine, Globe & Mail, Apr. 6, 2016— I am a mourner. A stranger in a strange land, with a blurry map and a tattered phrase book.
Does My Family Own a Painting Looted by Nazis?: Eve M. Khan, New York Times, Apr. 5, 2015
The BDS Movement: On The Inside: Lee Kaplan, Israel Behind the News, Apr. 14, 2016
Bernie Sanders, a Strong Promoter of Extreme Anti-Semites: Manfred Gerstanfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 15, 2016
The Politicization of the English Language: Victor Davis Hanson, Jewish World Review, Apr. 7, 2016
National Post, Apr. 13, 2016
A poster from the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, made the rounds on U.S. campuses recently. It reads: “White man: are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy at the Daily Stormer.” If I had seen that poster in my youth, it would have felt like a punch to the gut. Objectively, I should still be sickened. But the world has changed a lot since I was young and naively swaddled in the belief that anti-Semitism had finally been vanquished.
It’s back and it’s back with a vengeance. Hitler only wanted to rid Europe of its Jews. When he died, his dream died, too. The new genocidal dreams are global and today’s would-be Hitlers are plentiful. When one dies, 100 more are recruited. This time around, a sizable number of our Jewish intelligentsia think the way that hate is framed in modern times — as Israel cleansing, rather than racial cleansing — is kind of cool. And it is my youthful naiveté that has been vanquished.
So my reaction to the poster had a surprising 2016 vibe to it: nostalgia. I liked the poster’s quaint transparency. Wow, a guy who hates Jews blows right past all the Israel “apartheid” and “colonization” nonsense and just cuts to the chase like in the old days. It’s refreshing in a way.
Mostly I appreciate that he’s not a Jewish intellectual pitching his hatred of other Jews as moral superiority. I appreciate that he doesn’t consider himself the reincarnation of the prophet Amos calling for justice to roll down like a mighty stream — for Palestinians, that is, not for his own people. That white supremacist holds terrible views, but at least he’s not disguising his anti-Semitism as righteous indignation on behalf of “the wretched of the Earth.” Like, for example, Michael Neumann.
Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., who claims that Jews bear a special responsibility to speak out against Israel. In a 2003 blog post, he wrote: “(My aim is to) help the Palestinians (and) I am not interested in the truth, or justice, or understanding, or anything else, except so far as it serves that purpose.… If an effective strategy means that some truths about the Jews don’t come to light, I don’t care. If an effective strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism, or reasonable hostility to Jews, I also don’t care. If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the state of Israel, I still don’t care.”
Or like Nitzan Tal. Tal’s Hebrew University sociology department MA thesis was entitled Controlled Occupation: The Lack of Military Rape in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. The abstract of the paper states that “the absence of directed military rape constitutes an alternative way of realizing the same political goals (usually achieved by directed military rape).” In other words, Israel’s military not raping Palestinian women is an act of racism. As the young people say on Twitter: I.Can’t.Even…
Malevolent Jews like Neuman and Tal form a disproportionate wedge of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) pie. They certainly do not represent the traditional strain of vigorous debate that used to characterize Jewish life. No, the vitriol, the irrationality, the delirium of anti-Zionist loathing spewing from this bloc of Jewish progressive academics seems to me to be something — well, not exactly new, but more ferocious, more structured and better funded than at any other time in Jewish history. Most importantly, these single-minded activists have unprecedented access as authority figures to masses of vulnerable minds in an environment virtually cleansed of pro-Israel voices at the tenured level.
One can be critical of Israel without being an enemy to Israel, that goes without saying. I myself have written a number of critical columns on the Haredim situation in Israel. But anti-Zionist Jews who actively support the BDS movement are, ipso facto, enemies of the Jewish people. Aimed at Israeli universities, BDS is itself a form of scholarly apartheid. Since attachment to the Jewish homeland is the linchpin of Jewish identity, the only logical explanation for the tenacity of the BDS movement’s attempts to wrest the land in which Jews are the indigenous people from their own people’s grasp, is that they believe that Jews are inherently evil and, unlike every other ethnically indigenous people, undeserving of a homeland.
In the 12th century, the great Jewish scholar Maimonides defined a Jewish apostate, in part, as: “One who separates himself from the community … shows himself indifferent when (his people) are in distress … and goes his own way, as if he were one of the gentiles and did not belong to the Jewish people.” If only Jews against Jews did in fact go their own way — attacking Israel as unhyphenated Canadians — I would respect their choice. Where the canker gnaws is their appropriation of Jewish tropes of human rights to ingratiate themselves with our enemies, bellowing “not in my name” and lending a bogus Jewish “kashrut” stamp to Palestinian activists.
From my perspective, Jews who align themselves as Jews with Islamists in general, and Palestinian Islamists in particular, have succumbed to a cultural disorder. I call this disorder “pathological altruism,” the extreme end of liberalism where Robert Frost’s definition of a liberal as “someone too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel” turns into a sickness. And this sickness is not just prevalent at the margins. We recently saw pathological altruist and viciously anti-Zionist Max Blumenthal honoured with a podium by PEN Canada. I interviewed the group’s program director, who believes that Blumenthal is mainstream. It is a mistake to accord these pathological altruists dignity as social-justice warriors, or even over-enthusiastic progressives, because when we do that, when we treat them only, say, as Jews promoting a message with which we disagree, we are conferring normalcy and legitimacy on cultural fifth columns. Sorry, but that’s not tolerance; that’s cultural suicide…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Newsweek, Apr. 3, 2016
On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses. There are, he said, “worrying echoes” of Germany in the 1930s. Two days later, in The Times, Chris Bryant, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and a senior member of the British Labour party, warned that the political left was increasingly questioning the right of the state of Israel to exist, a view he called a “not too subtle form of anti-Semitism.” Across Europe, Jews are leaving. A survey in 2013 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe’s Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism, with numbers as high as 46 percent in France and 48 percent in Hungary.
Nor is this a problem in Europe alone. A 2015 survey of North American Jewish college students by Brandeis University found that three-quarters of respondents had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric. One third had reported incidents of harassment because they were Jewish. Much of the intimidation on campus is stirred by “Israel Apartheid” weeks and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. These have become what Easter was in the Middle Ages, a time for attacks against Jews. Something is clearly happening, but what? Many on the left argue that they are being wrongly accused. They are not against Jews, they say, only opposed to the policies of the state of Israel. Here one must state the obvious. Criticism of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. Nor is the BDS movement inherently anti-Semitic. Many of its supporters have a genuine concern for human rights. It is, though, a front for the new anti-Semitism, an unholy alliance of radical Islamism and the political left.
What then is anti-Semitism? It is not a coherent set of beliefs but a set of contradictions. Before the Holocaust, Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung tenaciously to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing. Anti-semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.
The legitimization has also changed. Throughout history, when people have sought to justify anti-Semitism, they have done so by recourse to the highest source of authority available within the culture. In the Middle Ages, it was religion. In post-Enlightenment Europe it was science. Today it is human rights. It is why Israel—the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East with a free press and independent judiciary—is regularly accused of the five crimes against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide. This is the blood libel of our time.
Anti-Semitism is a classic example of what anthropologist René Girard sees as the primal form of human violence: scapegoating. When bad things happen to a group, its members can ask two different questions: “What did we do wrong?” or “Who did this to us?” The entire fate of the group will depend on which it chooses. If it asks, “What did we do wrong?” it has begun the self-criticism essential to a free society. If it asks, “Who did this to us?” it has defined itself as a victim. It will then seek a scapegoat to blame for all its problems. Classically this has been the Jews.
Today the argument goes like this. After the Holocaust, every right-thinking human being must be opposed to Nazism. Palestinians are the new Jews. The Jews are the new Nazis. Israel is the new crime against humanity. Therefore every right thinking person must be opposed to the state of Israel, and since every Jew is a Zionist, we must oppose the Jews. This argument is wholly wrong. It was Jews not Israelis who were murdered in terrorist attacks in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen. Anti-Semitism is a form of cognitive failure. It reduces complex problems to simplicities. It divides the world into black and white, seeing all the fault on one side and all the victimhood on the other. It singles out one group among a hundred offenders for the blame. It silences dissent and never engages in self-criticism. The argument is always the same. We are innocent; they are guilty. It follows that if we—Christians, members of the Aryan race or Muslims—are to be free, they, the Jews, or the state of Israel must be destroyed. That is how the great crimes begin.
Jews have been hated because they were different. They were the most conspicuous non-Christian minority in pre-World War Christian Europe. Today they are the most conspicuous non-Muslim presence in an Islamic Middle East. Anti-Semitism has always been about the inability of a group to make space for difference. No group that adopts it will ever create a free society. The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. In a world awash with hate across religious divides, people of all faiths and none must stand together, not just to defeat anti-Semitism but to ensure the rights of religious minorities are defended everywhere. History will judge us by how we deal with this challenge. We must not fail.
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2016
Ten years ago, I was accused of pandering to hysteria when I praised Melanie Phillips’ groundbreaking book, Londonistan, detailing the alarming growth of anti-Semitism in the UK and predicting further deterioration unless the British government drastically altered its approach. Many British Jews, especially those living in Jewish enclaves, were in denial, simply unwilling to face reality. Their attitude is brilliantly portrayed in Howard Jacobson’s 2010 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Finkler Question, which satirically portrays a British Jew desperately seeking to become socially acceptable.
The Anglo Jewish establishment has frequently been referred to as “trembling Israelites.” They were “shtadlanim” (court Jews) who, to quote a former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, crafted a policy based on “Why must one shout when a whisper can be heard?” Their overriding concern was to avoid rocking the boat by minimizing public protest wherever possible. Those who assailed Phillips as an extremist 10 years ago today would concede that her analysis has been absolutely vindicated, and alas, her predictions of intensifying anti-Semitism were understated.
Who then would have dreamed that the alternate government in the UK – the Labour Party – would not only be riddled with anti-Semites, but would elect a leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who praises Hamas; maintains that Hamas and Hezbollah are committed to peace; calls for a boycott of Israel; accepts Islamic demonization of Israel; and associates with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, whom he defends as “far from a dangerous man”; and endorses Raed Salah, who employed the medieval blood libel to justify Palestinian terrorism? It should therefore not be surprising that Corbyn refuses to purge the increasingly vocal anti-Semites from his party, despite widespread media exposure and repeated pleas from distraught members.
Jews are also shocked with the extension of this hatred which has penetrated leading universities, including Oxford. The depiction by Alex Chalmers, former head of the Oxford University Labour Club, of the anti-Semitism he encountered and the support of Hamas that obliged him to resign, is chilling. The Sunday Times disclosed that during the TV coverage of funerals for those murdered in the Paris kosher supermarket, the members mocked the Jewish victims, sang songs about rockets over Tel Aviv and related to Auschwitz as a “cash cow” for Jews. Not surprisingly, many Jewish students feel intimidated. To retain their social standing, a number choose to endorse the anti-Zionist chic. Others recuse themselves. Some argue that Jewish student bodies should not even engage in Israel advocacy and should restrict themselves to religious, cultural and social activities. Although Jews living in predominately Jewish areas are less affected, there has been an exponential growth of public anti-Semitic incidents, including acts of violence. Today in Britain there is open chatter that the creation of Israel was a mistake and there are intensifying calls to end the “apartheid Jewish state.”
These events have shattered the myth that anti-Semitism in the UK is restricted to Muslims and fringe indigenous elements. The BBC is not controlled by Islamists but its extreme bias and double standards have molded public opinion toward the demonization of Israel. Much of the anti-Israelism that initially emanated from Trotskyite elements has now become intrinsic to the DNA of many left-wingers. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is primarily promoted by indigenous leftist activists. Indeed, in some respects the situation is worse than the 1930s, when at least liberal and left-wing groups defended the Jews. Admittedly, the current prime minister, David Cameron, is a friend of Israel and the Jewish people, but opinion polls indicate that half the population considers Israel a rogue state. In a democracy, such trends ultimately impact on policy.
The current communal leadership is responding courageously, in contrast to its predecessors. Last year, the Board of Deputies elected as its 47th president Jonathan Arkush, a traditional Jew and a passionate Zionist, who dismissed the “court Jew” policy of relying almost exclusively on “silent diplomacy.” He was, from the outset, respectfully outspoken in his condemnation of Labour Party leader Corbyn’s failure to confront anti-Jewish bigotry in his party. Indeed, Arkush could well serve as a role model for many American Jewish leaders who in the past made a point of ridiculing British leaders for their timidity, but have been singularly silent in relation to President Barack Obama’s outbursts against Israel. Arkush stated: “If Labour is to be credible in exorcising its anti-Semitic demons, its leader must first clearly demonstrate that these relationships are problematic.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Terry Friedman Wine
Globe & Mail, Apr. 6, 2016
I am a mourner. A stranger in a strange land, with a blurry map and a tattered phrase book. When my father passed away, early on a quiet, sunny June day, I suddenly became a Mourner. A new persona, a darkened mirror image of The Daughter. Judaism has been here before, of course. In the past few months, I have learned more about the rules, regulations and customs than I ever knew, or wanted to. And yet there is safety in having a guidebook, annotated over hundreds of years by wise and learned observers.
These ancient rules and regulations serve as boundaries to surround me – and I have come to realize that these structures are there to support, not oppress me. When I falter, I have them to lean on. When I stumble, I notice that someone before me has left crumbs and clues, though I can’t always decipher or even recognize them at first. My father, a Holocaust survivor, insisted that his children have a Jewish education in this New World so far removed from the shtetl. I am so grateful to my parents for this gift of identity and to the teachers who imparted to me the million details. Their commitment has continued to provide me with signposts at the beautiful lookout points and discreet illumination through the dark places.
My father was blessed in those final hours to wind down like a grandfather clock, his rhythm slowing into peace. In those first moments and hours, our family went through all those practical motions one must go through, the prescribed physical steps giving us handles with which to carry the overwhelming grief. Devastated, on automatic pilot, we put one foot in front of the other by stepping on the footmarks set out for us, watching for the next one, not raising our eyes. It was hearing myself recite the Mourners’ Kaddish at the cemetery that broke my days-long trance. Suddenly I became aware of, and understood, my place in the universe. The Daughter. The Mourner. The Keeper of My Father’s Presence.
The shiva period of focused support acknowledged my incapability of living in the world I had been part of until yesterday and sheltered me from it. For seven days, prayer services came to us; kind friends and capable family members ensured that meals showed up and were set out, served and cleared. People dropped in, hugged, shared stories. My mother, brother and I existed in a survival-mode cocoon, separately, together. And after a symbolic walk out of the house, into the community, we officially began to ease back into life.
I vowed to continue reciting Kaddish for the year I am officially in mourning. It wasn’t really a decision, but rather an instinct. It’s one of those clear points on that blurry map and I clung to it for dear life. Every single day I have found a minyan, a quorum – a symbolic and de facto community that supports me in my declaration that this year, this is who I am, and this is where I belong. Every day, my world pauses for half an hour while I duck into services. I have recited Kaddish in synagogues of differing denominations, in other cities, in our local park with the synagogue baseball team. Saying Kaddish is not traditionally an obligation for women and while there is no prohibition from doing so, it is not customary. I have been met with curiosity, vague dismay, encouragement, admiration.
Most surprising to me is my own determination. Inherently shy, I have found my backbone, or perhaps that unbreakable bond to my beloved father. In order to say Kaddish, one needs a quorum of 10, and there have been days where this was in peril. One regular at my usual synagogue once spoke of being in a restaurant, and noticing a man peer in and scan the crowd. “He’s looking for a minyan,” my friend understood, and got up to participate. “How did you know?” his son asked when he returned. “There’s a look,” he said. “You just know.” I have shown up to a synagogue, late for daily service but just as a (stranger’s) wedding was about to take place; to a local ballpark; to a Sabbath afternoon in New Jersey; to a jiu-jitsu class in the shul basement. “Please,” I’ve asked. “We need a 10th.” I’ve never been disappointed. I have that look.
This year, as per Jewish law, I do not attend parties. Well-meaning friends and relatives have tried to make exceptions for me, thinking that they are being helpful when they suggest loopholes through which I could participate. A common one is “your Dad wouldn’t want you to be left out. He’d want you to be happy.” Of course he would, more than anything in the world. But this is not about being happy. It’s about being protected. My joy in your happiness is sincere, but not all-encompassing. There is a dark hollow within me, and I don’t want to neglect it, ignore it or bring it to your celebration. I want to give it the respect it deserves. I don’t want to share it. Yes, I will miss out on some fine times, but I will never again have this unique opportunity to contemplate all I have lost, to discern what I will always have, where that leaves me, who I am and where do I go from here. When I stand up, every day, and recite those timeless words “Yitgadal v’yitkadash,” I am not only asserting my place in the community. I’m holding Dad’s.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Does My Family Own a Painting Looted by Nazis?: Eve M. Khan, New York Times, Apr. 5, 2015—For decades, it hung near the dining room inside a family home: a genre painting by a Dutch old master depicting an old man and his wife weighing and counting their gold coins. Judged a genuine work by Jan Steen and dated to the 1660s, it was once valued at $400,000.
The BDS Movement: On The Inside: Lee Kaplan, Israel Behind the News, Apr. 14, 2016—The term BDS refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conducted against the state of Israel, and also a way to attack the Jewish people both in Israel and worldwide. Partially funded by the PLO, the BDS movement grew out of the Arab League boycott of Israel begun in 1950 after Israel’s War of Independence.
Bernie Sanders, a Strong Promoter of Extreme Anti-Semites: Manfred Gerstanfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 15, 2016—In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League undertook a study of anti-Semitism in a hundred states and entities. The leading ten, each with at least 80% of the population holding anti-Semitic views, all come from the Arab and Muslim world. The 'West Bank' and Gaza, headed the list with 93%.
The Politicization of the English Language: Victor Davis Hanson, Jewish World Review, Apr. 7, 2016— Last week, French President Francois Hollande met President Obama in Washington to discuss joint strategies for stopping the sort of radical Islamic terrorists who have killed dozens of innocents in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino in recent months.