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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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Concern over anti-Jewish pamphlets in Ukraine

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Much has been buzzing around the pamphlets distributed in Ukraine after the prayers of Passover by three men in ski masks holding the flag of the Russian Federation. Now, religious leaders from the country say they were fake, just to scare the Jews and stir up trouble.

 

The flyer ordered that Jews in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, must register with pro-Russian forces or face deportation and lose their rights to property. According to the pamphlets, it was stipulated that 'citizens of Jewish nationality' over the age of 16 should pay $50 to register and be issued special passports 'marking the confession of faith'.

 

According to The Guardian newspaper, the city's chief rabbi, Pinchas Vishedski, said: 'I think it's someone trying to use the Jewish community in Donetsk as an instrument in this conflict.'

 

Right after the pamphlets came to light, Denis Pushilin, who is the leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, and who allegedly signed the order in the pamphlets, denied any involvement in the anti-Semitic flyer, and as quoted by the DailyMail he said: "I strongly deny that this document on registering Jewish people is genuine.

‘I have never written and signed anything like this, nor orders on food coupons, nor taxes for businessmen nor registration for foreign students, all of which have been reported.

‘Those documents are aimed to discredit our people's republic. They are fake.’

 

Fake or not, this is an example that the anti-Semitism never fade in Europe, and it is growing back strong. Just like in 1939, as Europe hit a bad economic situation, this pamphlets are a reminder of how anti-Semitism spread across Europe in the past, culminating in the Holocaust.

Ban auction of Nazi items !! Respect victims !

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The largest Jewish organization in France has called for the cancellation of a planned auction of personal items belonged to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering. The auction was a "form of moral indecency" and disrespectful to the "victims of Nazi barbarism," said the umbrella organization CRIF. The organization called on the French Ministry of Culture, to prevent the auction.

 

The Paris-based auction house Vermot de Pas plans on April 26 to auction books, passports and other items that come from Hitler's Bavarian Alps residence Berghof at Obersalzberg and the neighboring house of Goering. Among the approximately 40 pieces are identity papers of Goering, a deed of gift by the Spanish dictator Franco to Goering and a decorative ceiling with swastikas and the imperial eagle.

 

The Observatory on Anti-Semitism BNVCA called the proposed sale "obscene". The auction violated the memory of the victims of National Socialism, a spokesman told Sunday to the French radio."We have asked the Interior Ministry and the police to ban the auction."

 

An expert from the auction house said the sale was perfectly legal. The items were taken by French soldiers in 1945 from the residences of Hitler and Göring on the Obersalzberg.

Monthly anti-Semitics incidents report

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In the last month there have been many anti-Semitics incidents some have been reported already here, but ItonGadol (a Spanish news website) has summarized the main ones.

 

- In Agen, France: Several buildings from the city center were painted with neo-Nazi messages and swastikas. Some of them said: "SS. Death to the Jews and the Arabs."

 

- Moscow, Russia: On Avtozavodskaya subway station the following phrase was written: "Bravo! We took Crimea! Remains only to send gays to prison camps and the Jews to Israel ...And we will live how we should!".

 

- Jönköping, Sweden: A youth center was "decorated" by anti-Semitic phrases, some of them said "Jewish pigs", "they are going to burn in hell”, alongside swastikas with stars of David.

 

- Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States: A swastika was carved on the door of a bedroom at New Mexico University.

 

- Nogent sur Marne, France: Stickers with the words "dirty Jew" were put on electoral posters of Nicolas Leblanc, candidate of the Socialist Party.

 

- Toulouse, France: Phrase praising Muhammad Merah - who murdered students and a professor at the " Otsar Ha Torah " Jewish school was painted at one wall of the Bagatelle district

 

- Antwerp, Belgium: Anti-Semitic graffiti (swastikas and Hitler's name) appeared on the walls of a Jewish school that belongs to the Hasidic community Vischnitz.

 

- Kempen, Germany: Anti-Semitic phrase, interpreted as a message of the extreme right, was painted in an old cafe, located in what was once a refugee camp in World War II.

 

- Wichita, Kansas, United States: "Kill all the Jews" phrase was painted on two walls of a business.

 

- Paris, France: The electoral propaganda of several Jews candidates in the past elections were vandalized - painted with swastikas and anti- Jewish phrases. And Edwin Legris , one of the candidates was attacked in his home along with his wife and children by thugs with baseball bats, which caused them serious injuries.

 

- Toruń, Poland: a plate in tribute to the murdered Jews and the synagogue on the street of Malgoska during World War II were smashed.

 

- Offenbach, Germany: Supporters of Kickers Offenbach football club, returning by train to the city after a dispute with Eintracht Frankfurt fans, began to sing and shouting anti-Semitic slogans.

 

- Boca Raton, Florida, United States: The glass door of a Chabad synagogue was shattered.

 

- Paris, France: A Jew with a yarmulke reported that he was attacked by three men in their 20s who, after shouting "Death to the Jews , dirty Jew , dirty bastard'' and other expressions he did not understand in Arabic, beat him and drew a swastika on his chest.

 

35% of French are "racist"

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35% of the French say they are "somewhat" or "a little" racist, according to the annual report on the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia released last Tuesday by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH, acronym in French).

 

As explained by Christine Lazerges, President of the CNCDH, racist speech has become common last year and it penetrates all layers of society.

 

In this context, more French assume being racist, according to a BVA poll for CNCDH with a representative sample of 1,026 adults: 9% said they are "quite racist" say (+2 points compared 2012) and 26% said they are "a little racist" (+4 points). This racism is mainly targeting Muslims.

 

Most of the French however unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and "indicates acceptance" of the Jews, which remains far higher than all other groups. 85% of respondents believe that the Jews are like other French (against 65% for Muslims). Clichés, like the theory of a particular ratio of Jews to money, however, are very persistent and common, according to the study.

 

According to figures released by the Ministry of Interior, anti-Semitic acts and threats fell 31 points between 2012 and 2013, while anti-Muslim acts rose 11 points. But these figures only reveal the "scum" of phenomena, says the president of the CNCDH.

 

New York City: Number of violent anti-Semitic attacks up

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The number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in New York City more than tripled last year, but on the other hand the total number of anti-Semitic incidents declined by 19% throughout the United States , said last week the Anti -Defamation League (ADL ) .

 

According to its report, even though the total number of anti-Semitic incidents dropped, there was a significant increase in violent anti-Semitic assaults. The ADL Audit categorizes anti-Jewish incidents into three categories: assault, vandalism or harassment. In 2013, the numbers broke down as follows:

- Assaults: 31 incidents reported in 2013, compared with 17 in 2012;

- Vandalism: 315 incidents in 2013, compared with 440 in 2012;

- Harassment, threats and events: 405 incidents in 2013, compared with 470 in 2012.

 

“We must remember that there are people behind every one of these numbers, and every incident represents one person or an entire community affected by the trauma of anti-Semitism,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair in the press release. “Every swastika scrawled on a school or rally held by a racist group demands a response -- by law enforcement, by the community, and by public officials -- to ensure that we reinforce the message that anti-Semitism is unacceptable in society.”

 

Anti-Semitism moves French Jews to Israel

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Amid the rising trend of anti-Semitism in Europe, French Jews are more interested than ever to study and move to Israel. This desire is reflected in the rise of immigration from France to Israel.

 

Thousands of Jews in France attended a special aliyah fair held in the heart of Paris on Sunday. This was sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the World Zionist Organization. Dozens of representatives of Israeli housing projects, companies and corporations, government agencies and schools were present to answer questions about immigration to Israel, and to discuss programs, benefits and options for immigrants.

 

Since January, according to the Jewish Agency, 854 immigrants from France arrived in Israel, compared with only 274 who had arrived in the same period of 2013. It attributed the dramatic increase of 312 percent immigrants to the work it has been doing in the country: the education of French Jews on the options available. Authorities said their efforts were aided by a deterioration of the French economy, and especially by the dramatic increase in anti-Semitism in the country, in which many Jews have been harassed and attacked by thugs and local bands in recent months.

 

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption and the Jewish Agency unveiled a new governmental plan to encourage immigration from France. The plan includes increasing the number of emissaries of the Jewish Agency in France, increased marketing efforts, the development of new immigrant absorption programs and the establishment of a special commission headed by the Director General of the Prime Minister to remove obstacles to the arrival of the French people. The plan also sets clear parameters to increase the number of olim, looking to double its number in the coming years.

 

Metal stamps to be presented at Auschwitz

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The museum of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz - Birkenau got hold of five rare original metal plates that were used to tattoo the prisoners, announced on Thursday (13/3) the spokesman for the museum, Bartosz Bartyzel .

 

A donor who requested to remain anonym offered the relics to the museum. Today, a popular visitation site, the Auschwitz - Birkenau is a symbol of the Holocaust and was installed during World War II by Nazi Germany in the Polish town of Oswiecim .

 

According to Bartyze, the museum received the plates a few weeks ago and confirmed its authenticity. On each metal plate there is a number formed by needles, one zero, two three and two six, or nine, which formed numbers to identify the prisoners, said the spokesman.

 

The first prisoners were tattooed on the chest, and then on the left forearm. The concentration camp at Auschwitz was the only one to have this kind of identification, Bartyzel said.

 

According to him, the metal plates – which were discovered in the evacuation of tens of thousands of prisoners from Auschwitz at the time of advancing Soviet troops in January 1945 - will be filed in the archives of the museum before being exposed to the public in the coming years.

 

Those are very rare objects. There is just another set of this type of plate for tattoos, which is on display at the Military Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

From 1940 to 1945, one million Jews were executed in Auschwitz - Birkenau, as well as 70,000 to 75,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Hungarian Gypsies, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and between 10 000 to 15 000 other prisoners, according data from the museum.

Putin encourages anti-Semitism?

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In an open letter to Vladimir Putin, Jewish figures from Ukraine accused the Russian president to threaten nationalism and anti-Semitism in order to justify his intervention in Ukraine.

 

"Historically, Jews of Ukraine are mostly Russian speakers. Also our opinion on what is happening now weighs as much as that of your advisors." So begins the open letter signed by several Jewish leaders of Ukraine which was addressed, Friday, March 7, to Vladimir Putin to urge him to withdraw Russian military forces from Crimea.

 

From academia, scientific, artistic or business fields, the co-signers of the letter aim firstly to dismantle the idea put forward by Moscow, that the movement that led to the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych would be guided by "Fascists", one of whose evil schemes would be "organizing pogroms." "The certainty that you have expressed in a press conference the rise of anti-Semitism in Ukraine are not based on facts," indicates the letter. "Maybe you confused the Ukraine with Russia, where several Jewish organizations have seen an increase in anti-Semitism. "

 

Being aware that nationalist and xenophobic groups took part in the uprising at the Maidan square, the signatories stress that the new authorities in Kiev, as well as civil society, strive to remain vigilant with extremist movements, "unlike Russia where neo-Nazis are supported by your security services." And to clarify: "We share mutual understanding with the new government and operate in the sense of partnership as some minorities are represented in the management team. Minister of Internal Affairs is Armenian, the Deputy Prime Minister is Jewish and two Ministers are Russian. "

 

More direct, the authors of the letter then accuse the Kremlin strongman of causing instability in Ukraine today. "This is your policy that promotes separatism and the pressure you exert on Ukraine threatening its Jewish community and its people as a whole, including the South East and the Crimea," the text continues. Before concluding: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, we appreciate the importance you place on the rights of minorities in Ukraine but do not want your 'defense' on Ukraine or the annexation of a part of our territory. Also, we ask you to stop interfering in our affairs, recall your troops and stop inciting separatism. "

 

Growing fear among Jews in Crimea peninsula

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Amid tensions with Russian troops, the Jewish residents of the Crimea peninsula in Ukraine have another reason to fear for their safety: unknown painted swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were written in a synagogue in the city of Simferopol, according to the Daily Forum, a news website in Russian.

 

Anatoly Gandin director of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Crimea, said that last week the door of the Reform synagogue "Ner Tamid" and its facade were covered in anti-Semitic graffiti. The members who came to the site in the morning to pray discovered the inscriptions. According Gandin, the perpetrators must have climbed a two meters wall around the site to access the building.

 

Since the outbreak of the current political crisis in Ukraine, prices in the country rose by around 30 percent and people are not getting their pensions. According to Gandin, as always, the Jews are accused of being guilty for this deterioration.

 

Earlier this week, Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Orthodox synagogue of Chabad movement in Zaporiyia, southeast of Kiev. There were neither injuries nor property damage.

Special to Fight Hatred: Anti-Semitism in Brazil

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Reports: Clarice Cudischevitch

 

While in Europe anti-Semitism is increasing at alarming rate, in other regions it passes almost unnoticed, although it still exists. It is the case of Brazil, where discrimination against Jews has been manifested mainly in politics and is masqueraded as anti -Zionism.

 

This is the opinion of the Brazilian historian Michel Gherman, Master in Anthropology and Sociology and Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Center for Jewish Studies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (NIEJ-UFRJ). He claims that the Brazilian society always had low levels of anti-Semitism, at least compared to the common acts in Europe - attacks on Jews in the streets, on synagogues, anti-Semitic graffiti on walls etc.  However, in recent years the strengthening of anti-Semitism was observed in parties of the far- Left. "This is not historic, it's contemporary, and it is quite disturbing."

 

According to Gherman, this phenomenon has been happening because of the influence that certain interpretations of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict gives to the Jewish question. "These parties talk about the conflict, but use clear anti-Semitic elements and present Zionism and the State of Israel as the dominant world capital. It is a position of radical Islam that the Brazilian Left just incorporated, and long ago it stopped being just an Israel-Palestine issue."

 

Some of these parties also incorporate in their discourse the concept of conspiracionism, very strong in what is called the new anti-Semitism, and that also had a very important role in the more traditional anti-Semitism . "It is a concept which states that, in addition to the objective and subjective forces of history, there are specific groups who have secret designs for the world", Gherman says. Perhaps the earliest implementation of this model of conspiracionism was the book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", emerged in Russia shortly before 1900, which affirms there was a Jewish plan to control the world, along with the Masons.

 

These elements were recovered in the 21st century, by radical Islam, which puts Jews and Zionists as leaders who dominate the world and have the power to control. "Therefore I say that this position is not limited to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It's about a logic of domination. And as the Left parties have a very anti -capitalist profile, they follow the radical Islamic tradition that thinks society has to go back - it is reactionary, not revolutionary.

 

Among the parties that adopt this stance in Brazil, one of the most popular is the Unified Socialist Party of Workers (PSTU) , with Trotskyist trend. On their website, there are many texts that expose a radical Islamic stance. "Another party that increasingly incorporates these aspects in its speech is the Brazilian Communist Party ( PCB ), which is scary", Gherman says. “It is a more serious case because it is a party that has always had a lot of Jewish presence and now has clear anti-Semitic elements in the analysis made about the Arab-Israeli conflict ."

 

In 2010 , PCB has reproduced an article by Argentine journalist Manuel Freytas, entitled “The owners of the system - The hidden power: Where the impunity of Israel is born” (link in Portuguese: http://www.pcb.org.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1724:os-donos-do-sistema&catid=43:imperialismo. Link in English [pg.15] http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/international-affairs/2010-English-antisemitism_venezuela_gazaflotilla.pdf). The party was prosecuted by Israeli Confederation of Brazil (Conib), which alleged practice of anti-Semitism. The text makes clear references to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." It states, for example, that “the Jewish state, beyond its impact as a nation, is the most representative symbol of a world power controlled in its decisive spaces by Jewish minority groups and formed by a structure of strategists and technocrats who run the  transnational capitalism's industrial, technological, military, financial and media networks, spread to the four cardinal points of the planet”. "This document does not leave any doubt", says Gherman.

Recently, the Brazilian soap opera "Love for Life", which ended over a month ago, portrayed a love story between a Jewish and a Palestinian, which generated outrage in many institutions, parties and movements in the country. A letter which had as signatories various pro-Palestinian movements and organizations such as the The Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the World March of Women, besides Left parties, condemned the way the Palestinian character was presented. An excerpt of the letter says that "every time a reference is made to Palestine, it talks about war, which presupposes two equal sides vying for territory. In fact, it is a distortion of reality: it has an oppressor and occupier (Israel) and an oppressed (Palestinians). In any time, the novel refers to the apartheid wall, the innumerable checkpoints that Palestinians are subjected, as well as the racist laws that are enforced to them and the ethnic cleansing and ongoing attacks against them." (link in Portuguese: http://atarde.uol.com.br/cultura/televisao/materias/1561742-personagens-de-amor-a-vida-irritam-movimentos-pro-palestina)

 

Nevertheless, Michel Gherman alerts to the fact that, if everything is understood as anti-Semitism, the focus is distorted. "I am against this kind of attitude that says if it is against Israel, it is anti-Semitic. It is not the Palestinian flag that will transform movements in anti-Semitic. It is the way they deal with the theme and put Zionism as the ruler of the world."

 

The historian adds that there are also cases of violence against Jews in Brazil, but they are few and peripherals. "There are neo-Nazi groups in São Paulo and in the South, for example, but that is not related to politics. They are very specific cases of aggression." Gherman said that although the Jews are ideologically a target for neo-Nazis, they are not the main victim of this movement in Brazil - as they are in the case of the extreme Left. The neo-Nazi often attacks the Northeast people, blacks and homosexuals (Brazil is the first country worldwide in terms of homophobic murders, according to the Report of Assassination LGBT 2012).

 

In addition, there have been cases of anti-Semitic incidents among supporters of football teams such as Juventude, from Rio Grande do Sul, in which organized crowd carried Nazi flags. But also in these cases, there is no systematization. Gherman recognizes that anti-Semitism in Brazil is a subject of debate and there are different positions among historians. "There is a historiography that attempts to increase the social influence of anti-Semitic ideas. My point of view is that there is an exaggeration, because there was never an actual Jewish persecution in the country."

 

The subject is controversial. Historian Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro, for example, author of " Anti-Semitism in the Vargas Era", argues that the Brazilian government in the period called the New State, initiated by President Getúlio Vargas between 1937 and 1945, aligned to the Nazi regime and prevented the immigration of Jewish refugees and survivors of concentration camps. Gherman opines that, although there were some key figures in the Vargas government that were anti-Semitic, there wasn’t indeed a persecution of Jews in the country. "No Jewish organization was effectively closed, unless it was communist, that was the real focus of combat. There was also a chase of languages that hit Polish, German and Italian communities. It was a radical nationalist era, which had anti-Semitic influences, but not overflowed in society , it was restricted to the government ."

 

Brazilians know little about the Holocaust

Historian Bruno Leal, also a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Jewish Studies, adds that anti-Semitism in the Brazilian far-left is something new and unexpected. That's because it did not cease to grow in the far-right, where it traditionally rises, because it has always been associated with religious and conservative movements. In the case of the far-left, it is related to the mistaken idea that the entire State of Israel is right, their parties are right. "You just have to visit Israel and see that it is not like that, it is a complex country with various movements. It would be a trap to fall into this simplification."

 

Leal underscores the fact that, in Brazil, it is common to treat subjects with an essentialist identity: if a person did something that is anti-Semitic , then he is anti-Semitic . However, people have contradictions - in the morning , they say one thing and later they say another. "A person can say something negative about Jews, but have a Jewish neighbor that he likes a lot. We see this today, for example, in graffiti and manifestations that sometimes do not have anything related to Israel, but it protests against imperialism and ends up including Israel."

 

The space that propagates most of these manifestations has been the internet. There are forums and videos talking about "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and promoting a series of anti-Semitic ideas that have already been dismantled, but continue serving as a base. "On the Internet, this discourse is more associated with the right, and the people who reproduce are anything but naive, they know exactly what they are talking about and they have a well-defined ideological position. It is different from someone who was in a manifestation of a left-wing party in Brazil and suddenly joined a group that burned an Israeli flag. The profiles are different ."

 

The historian says it is hard to define whether these discourses on the internet are growing or are just more evident - which is troubling, because it increases the power of these groups to conquer an audience. "They disclose theories involving large Jewish families, talk about how the Jews are present in the medi, the economy , they associate the crisis in Brazil to the Jews. Old theories are being implemented in these new media spaces."

 

It is also important to mention that, in Brazil, little is known about the Holocaust, which contributes to the absorption of stereotypes. The research " The knowledge and memory of the Holocaust in Brazil", performed for the American Jewish Comittee in 2001, revealed that 77 % of respondents could not tell the meaning of the term "Holocaust". In addition, 37 % said they "prefer to not have" Jews as neighbors, a significant portion.

 

"The space devoted to the Holocaust in schools is very small, usually confined to a box in the chapters on World War II in the history books", Leal says. "It is therefore important Jewish organizations to approach and talk about Jewish culture, convey more knowledge on these spaces and break stereotypes. It is necessary to teach Judaism in schools in the vicinity, not only in Jewish schools." 

Ukraine: Jews urged to leave

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The Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman has called the Jews of the capital, Kiev, to leave the city, and if they can the country, as soon as possible.

 

Azman fears that attacks will occur against Jews as part of the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Azman reportedly said that there are constant warnings concerning intentions of attacks on Jewish institutions.

 

Azman decided to close the Jewish schools, although the daily prayers services are still being held in synagogues. In addition, the Israeli Embassy in Kiev has advised its citizens to stay off the streets during the manifestations. According to Edward Dolinsky, spokesman of an Ukrainian Jews organization, they have asked for help from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

 

In January, these organizations reported that there had been attacks on Jewish people. Specifically, there was an attack against a teacher in a yeshiva in Kiev and a student of the same institution. The teacher was hit and the student was stabbed by people who were covered with scarves.

Denmark: Shchita ban not anti-Semitism

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The Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Copenhagen, Denmark, said that "the prohibition of Shchita [Jewish slaughter], is not anti-Semitism”. Speaking to the Israeli Army Radio Galei Tzahal , he was referring to the law banning "kosher" slaughter for food. He stressed that it is the decision of a single minister.

 

Rabbi Yair Malchior , Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Copenhagen , said that he was not surprised by the ban on the Jewish Shechita, but by how in which it was made .

 

Rabbi Malchior said the ban was imposed by only one minister, who has the authority to do so. According to the Rabbi, he is a relatively new minister who has the power to revoke the right of the Jewish communities to perform the rite of Shechita, and he alone decided this without meeting before, although a formal request was made by the Jewish community and was denied.

 

The Jews of Denmark proposed to address the country’s prime minister. One of their arguments is that such a decision may not be taken by one official especially where there is an apparent conflict between values. They now request another meeting with this minister and they intend also to try to communicate with the prime minister.

Hungarian Jews to boycott

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After a vote, the main Hungarian Jewish organization, the Mazsihiz (Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary) decided to boycott the official ceremonies on the Holocaust in Budapest this year, unless the role of Hungarians in the Nazi deportation and murder of Jews is more pronounced.

 

The body also disputes the installation of a monument in the city center and also the appointment of the director of the Institute of History for allegedly minimizing the Hungarian role in the Holocaust. The group claims that the statue, which is a German eagle attacking an angel, puts Hungary as the only victim.

 

“Neither my mother or my father were placed in carriages by the Germans, but by Hungarians, who passed them to the Germans. Of course it is not just about accountability, but about acknowledging the truth of what happened, "says Gusztav Zoltai , director of Mazsihisz in an interview to Euronews.

 

It is estimated that in June 1944, some 437,000 Jews were sent from Hungary to Nazi death camps.

 

The new monument which should stand beside the U.S. Embassy and the statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is causing major discomfort to the government, especially now, two months before the elections , and as so, the issue has become a matter of election campaign.

The government of Prime Minister Vitkor Orban promised a response by next week.

 

 

Elie Wiesel: Anti-Semitism will never end

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The Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, talked in interview published by ItonGadol about the endless struggle against anti-Semitism and acknowledged that probably it will never be defeated.

 

Professor Elie Wiesel was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the new exhibition at the Jewish Pavilion at Auschwitz, where he was enslaved and lost his loved ones, but for personal reasons could not attend the event.

 

Wiesel, was the one who made the eternal expression "Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims," considered carefully whether the Holocaust was engraved in the minds of people and if there is a danger that the events of 1939 -1945 recurrence.

 

"The Holocaust is a unique event, but has a universal meaning that must be memorized," he said and expressed concern about the temptation of Iran's nuclear capacity and civil war in Syria, which has already claimed 150 thousand deaths. And the world is silent, just like 70 years ago.

 

"Unfortunately, anti-Semitism still exists," Wiesel said. "It has been alive for over 2000 years, and is likely to continue living. I thought that the memory of the Holocaust could embarrass the people that boast of anti-Semitic views. I was wrong. It still exists in different countries and it seems that people no longer ashamed of being anti-Semitic."

 

Wiesel believes that the Holocaust is the only chance to save the world from a new disaster. He defines the modern anti-Semitism, first, as the anti-Israel, and explains: "It's very difficult to separate them."

 

"There are anti-Semites who are only anti-Israel," he said. "I once thought that anti-Semitism was over, it is now clear that it probably will never end. It could weaken, but will continue to exist, because in different countries there is no shame in being an anti-Semite. We need to remember that anti-Semitism led to Auschwitz. Without anti-Semitism there would have been no Auschwitz."

 

Anti-semitic bodies find it easier to attack Israel

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In an interview given to European Jewish Press (EJP), the Ambassador and director of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism at Israel’s foreign ministry, Gideon Behar, says the anti-Semitism is forcing Jews leave their countries, but the majority of them goes to other destinations, not to Israel. He also explains that stimulating aliyah is a policy that is not related to the fight against anti-Semitism. “Israeli government encourages aliyah because we are a Jewish State (...). But we don’t seek to use anti-Semitism to encourage people to come to Israel. (...) It is a goal by itself.”

 

Also, Behar recognizes the importance of not saying that every critic of Israel is anti-Semitic, but adds that “many people who are afraid to be called anti-Semitic feel it easier to attack Israel and Zionism”. This happens in a context of an European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) study among Jews in 9 EU countries.

 

It showed that 76% of them considered that anti-Semitism had worsened over the past five years in their respective countries, and that a third of Jews interviwed were considering emigration because of anti-Semitism’s growth, especially in France, Belgium and Hungary.

 

Moreover, anti-Semitism no longer comes only from the far right, but also from the left - especially from Islamists who hate Jews by ideology.

 

Read the complete interview:

 

EJP : Does anti-Semitism in Europe like described by the FRA encourage aliyah to Israel ?

Gideon Behar : ‘’Historically we know that when Jews fled because of anti-Semitism, usually they went to other places. We have the examples of the pogroms in the beginning of the 20th century and the end of 19th century when most of the Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia went to the United States.

Also after the WWII, most of the refugees and survivors of the Holocaust didn’t come to Israel but went to other places. But in a certain way, anti-Semitism also sends some people to Israel but this is the small fraction. The majority leaves to other places.

 

EJP Whats Israel position towards anti-Semitism in Europe. Is Israel encouraging aliyah of European Jews ?

 

Gideon Behar: ‘’Well, the Israeli government sees the fight against anti-Semitism as an objective by itself. We think that anti-Semitism is negative, is bad for the Jewish people, is bad for Europe and for Israel. Actually, a viable Jewish comunity in Europe, in the US and elsewhere in the world also strengthens the position of Israel in the world. So there is also an interest in Israel that the Jewish community in Europe and elsewhere will continue to survive and to be safe.

On the other hand the Israeli government has also a policy of encouraging aliyah and this is because we are a Jewish State and we are the home of the Jewish people. But we don’t seek to use anti-Semitism to encourage people to come to Israel. On the contrary, we say that the fight against anti-Semitism has no connection to aliyah or to immigration to Israel. It is a goal by itself. It is enough important to fight against anti-Semitism because it is bad for the Jews and today we see how anti-Semitism is on the rise everywhere in many countries in Europe. We have heard it from the representative of Fundamental Rights Agency who gave us statistical data about anti-Semitism in Europe. Today we have a statistivcal instrument that can be measured.

 

EJP : It is not only anti-Semitism from the original no-Nazi or extreme-right but today it is mainly from the extreme-left, anti-Israel and anti-Zionists ?

Gideon Behar :Yes, there is a saying that Israel has become ‘the Jew among the Nations’. Many people who are afraid to be called anti-Semites feel it easier to attack Israel and Zionism. The Prime Minister of Canada (Stephen Harper) said it very clearly during his recent visit in Israel. We know that this exists but we are very cautious and careful not to say that every critic of Israel is anti-Semitism. If it is legitimate criticism, like criticism which comes to any other government, it‘s ok. But if it’s like the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) movevement which has a strategic goal to destroy Israel because this is a Jewish State, then this is clearly anti-Semitism.

 

EJP : Do you mean that criticism of settlement building is legitimate ?

Gideon Behar :What I am saying is that if you say Israel constructs settlements in the eyes of some countries this is not ok because this and that… this is legal criticism but if you come and say : ‘We want to destroy the State of Israel or Israel has no right to exist as many of these leftists and those who work hand and hand with Islamist fundamentalists , like th BDS movement, this is clearly anti-Semitism….

 

Why historian returns award received in Hungary?

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One day before the International Holocaust Memorial Day, marked on January 27th, the American historian Randolph Braham decided to return an award he received from the Hungarian government because of its effort to erase the country’s role in Holocaust. In a public letter, the recognized historian, borned in Romaina and moved to the United States after the Second World War, he affirms he was stunned with the past few years campaign to “withewash” history.

 

He decided to return the Medium Cross of the Order of the Republic of Hungary, received in 2011 for his work, which includes the Hungarian Holocaust. The country was responsible for the death of more than a half million of Jews, and the persecution started there before the German occupation in 1944. The fascist leader Miklós Horthy established anti-Jewish groups, mass killings and deportations of thousand of Jews to labour camps.

 

“I reached this decision with a heavy heart, having following the recent developments in Hungary with great concern”, Braham wrote. “The history-cleansing campaign of the past few years calculated to whitewash the historical record of the Horthy era, including the changes in the constitution that legalized the sinister measures that were subsequently taken to absolve Hungary from the active role it had played in the destruction of close to 600,000 of its Hewish citizens, have left me, and I assume many others, stunned.”

 

Jewish groups have also criticized the Hungarian government for not fighting anti-Semitism in the proper way. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he would do everything to end the growth of the hate against Jews in the country. Despite of that, the far-right party Jobbik has an anti-Semitic agenda and, in November 2013, it unveiled a statue of Horthy, who was ally of Hitler.

 

After Randolph Braham’s declaration, the president of Hungary, Janos Ader, said openly that “Hungarians collaborated with Nazis in sending nearly half a million of Jews to their deaths”. He also affirmed that “if the war had gone according to the plans of Hitler and his Hungarian allies, Jews would have been exterminated completely from Hungary”.

 

"Auschwitz may be hundreds of kilometers from Hungary but it is part of the Hungarian history. This death camp was the scene of the inhumane suffering, humiliation and death of nearly half a million of our compatriots."

 

116 years for "J'accuse"

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116 years ago "J'accuse" was published by Emile Zola. Zola was a French writer and intellectual who published his famous " J'Accuse " on January 13, 1898 in defense of officer Alfred Dreyfus , a victim of an anti-Semitic plot. He defended him against the president of France at the time, which cost him exile.

 

Émile Zola was born April 2, 1840 in Paris . "I Accuse" (French for " J'Accuse " ) , a plea of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, in an open letter to French President Felix Faure was published in the the front of the L' Aurore newspaper. This article cost Zola exile.

 

Émile Zola went to work on the Seller Hachette in 1862. He wrote his first text and collaborated in the literary columns of several newspapers. From 1866, he cultivated the friendship of people like Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro and the Goncourt brothers. His work consisted of twenty novels and started with “The fortunes of the Rougon” in 1871: a social portrait that has high doses of violence and drama. He married in 1870 to Alexandrine Melay .

 

From 1897, Zola was involved in the Dreyfus case, where a French Jewish military officer had been falsely blamed for spying. Due to the strong anti-Semitic campaign, the writer supported the cause of French Jews, until finally in 1898 he published three hundred thousand copies of "J'accuse".

 

In his famous text he wrote:

“I accuse Lt. Col. du Paty de Clam of being the diabolical creator of this miscarriage of justice-- unknowingly, I am willing to believe-- and of defending this sorry deed, over the last three years, by all manner of bizarre and evil machinations.

 

“I accuse General Mercier of complicity, at least by mental weakness, in one of the greatest inequities of the century.

 

I accuse General Billot of having held in his hands absolute proof of Dreyfus’s innocence and concealing it, thereby making himself guilty of crimes against mankind and justice, as a political expedient and a way for the compromised General Staff to save face.

 

“I accuse General de Boisdeffre and General Gonse of complicity in the same crime, the former, no doubt, out of religious prejudice, the latter perhaps out of that esprit de corps that has transformed the War Office into an unassailable holy ark.

 

“I accuse General de Pellieux and Major Ravary of conducting a fraudulent inquiry, by which I mean a monstrously biased one, as attested by the latter in a report that is an imperishable monument to naïve insolence.

 

“I accuse the three handwriting experts, Messrs. Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, of having submitted reports that were deceitful and fraudulent, unless a medical examination finds them to be suffering from a disease that impairs their eyesight and judgment.

 

“I accuse the offices of the War Office of having used the press, particularly L’Eclair and L’Echo de Paris, to conduct an abominable campaign to mislead public opinion and cover up their own wrongdoing

 

“Finally, I accuse the first court martial of violating the law by convicting the accused on the basis of evidence that was kept secret, and I accuse the second court martial of covering up this illegality, on orders, by committing the judicial crime of acquitting a guilty man with full knowledge of his guilt.”

 

The government's reaction was immediate and he was sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of 7,500 francs. Zola was exiled to London, where he lived in secret. Just in June 1899 he was able to return home. But Alfred Dreyfus was also convicted. Despite the many problems that brought by his accusations, Zola never regretted supporting the innocent.

 

Dreyfus’s family never accepted the conditions under which he was tried. Mathieu Dreyfus, his brother, and Lucie Dreyfus, his wife decided to investigate the case thoroughly by their own means. Meanwhile, Georges Picquart, the new head of secret services, said during the summer of 1896 that the author of the spying letter had not been Alfred Dreyfus but Walsin Ferdinand Esterhazy, an infantry commander. Convinced of his remarks, Lt. Col. Picquart alerted his superiors. But the French authorities refused to publicly acknowledge the error.

Art items looted by Nazis found in Bundestag

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An art historian found two works stolen by the Nazis in Bundestag- German parliament. One of two parts of a broader set looted by the Nazis, which that was found in a Munich apartment. The art historian found the two works, shortly after the huge amount of stolen art came to light last month.

 

The Bundestag, in a statement issued after the Bild newspaper reported the finding, said that an art historian reviewed two "suspected cases" but the spokesman would not confirm the finding.

 

The historian's research in the art collection of the German parliament began in 2012 and is still on going, said Bundestag spokesman. He stressed that it is still unclear whether there will a concrete outcome of these investigations at the end of the process.

 

Last month, German authorities revealed that a trove of artworks stolen by the Nazis, worth one billion euros, had been found in an apartment in the city of Munich.

 

This collection belonged for decades to Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of an art dealer who was ordered by Hitler to sell and raise funds for the Nazis.

 

The Bild newspaper said that one of the two art works found in the collection of the Bundestag had also originally belonged to Gurlitt family. The two works are an oil painting of Georg Waltenberger dated 1905 and a chalk lithograph by Lovis Corinth .

 

Growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands

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There has been a rise of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands. A paper published in the Netherlands shows an increase in the number of anti-Semitism incidents in the country. According to the report, in 2012 a total of 2,077 cases of discrimination occurred, representing a 25% increase compared to 2011.

 

The data revealed that most of the incidents occurred in the context of sports. According to local media reports, there is no other way to explain the rise but the long time for the police to deal with the matter.

 

Another point to keep in mind that came to light through the study is the high figures showing the constant use of the word "Jew" during incidents and clashes between different sports teams.

 

The director of the Anne Frank House, Ronald Leopold, referred to the report and said that they "are concerned about the events. We want to continue education about the prejudices, which are the basis of anti-Semitism and discrimination. "

 

"At the same time," he said, "I seek solutions to new problems and anti-Semitism in schools.”

 

According to him, they have been in contact with a lot of people in order to understand the situation in the school system, the Jewish community, the government and football clubs in order to develop new educational resources to deal with the increase of anti-Semitism.

Debate over Mein Kampf publication in Germany

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The Institute of Contemporary History ( IfZ ) in Munich, plans to publish Adolf Hitler's book " Mein Kampf" with comments, after the expiration of its copyrights in 2015.

Presently, the rights to this book belong to the Bavarian authorities, who seek the ban on its publication in Germany, and even threatened with prosecuting the Institute. For their part, the Bavarian government declared that if the book is published; it will present a criminal complaint in terms of popular incitement.

 

The position of the Bavarian government also had the backing of former President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch: “Hitler's pamphlet is permeated with hatred and human contempt, and, according to experts , it is a crime of popular inciting."

However, the teaching center of Munich has spent nearly half a million of euros of public funds on the project. Representatives of the Institute state that they wish "demystify" the text of the book, accompanying it with comments.

 

 

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