Anti-Jewish/pro-Israel: Trump supports extremists in Israel while fueling the rise of anti-Semitism

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A ship full of refugees fleeing the Nazis once begged the U.S. for entry. They were turned back

Amy B Wang writes:

Nine hundred thirty-seven.

That was the number of passengers aboard the SS St. Louis, a German ocean liner that set off from Hamburg on May 13, 1939. Almost all of those sailing were Jewish people, desperate to escape the Third Reich. The destination was Havana, more than two weeks away by ship.

So begins a haunting tale, one that would end tragically for hundreds of those on board — so much so that, decades later, it would be the basis for the movie “Voyage of the Damned.”

Before the St. Louis even left Hamburg, there were indications the passengers might have problems disembarking in Cuba. The ship’s owners knew many travelers were likely holding invalidated landing certificates, according to research by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Thousands of miles away, anti-Semitic protests and editorials were cropping up all over Cuba.

“Many Cubans resented the relatively large number of refugees (including 2,500 Jews), whom the government had already admitted into the country, because they appeared to be competitors for scarce jobs,” the museum noted. “Hostility toward immigrants fueled both antisemitism and xenophobia. Both agents of Nazi Germany and indigenous right-wing movements hyped the immigrant issue in their publications and demonstrations, claiming that incoming Jews were Communists.”

Still, the inhospitable circumstances awaiting them paled in comparison to what the passengers wanted to flee in Europe, and so the ship set sail. When the St. Louis arrived in Havana two weeks later, only 29 passengers were allowed into the country. The other 907 were ordered to remain on the ship. (One person had died en route of natural causes.)

As futile negotiations with the Cuban government ensued, the would-be asylum-seekers redirected their pleas to the American government. They would be in vain.

“Sailing so close to Florida that they could see the lights of Miami, some passengers on the St. Louis cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for refuge,” the Holocaust museum noted. “Roosevelt never responded.”

A State Department telegram stated, simply, that passengers must “await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States.” [Continue reading…]

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The Jews begging to join the alt-right

James Kirchick writes: “I refuse to join any club that will have me as a member,” Groucho Marx famously said.

“We insist on joining the club that refuses to have us as members” might as well be the mantra of some aspiring Jewish adherents of the racist “alt-right.”

A nebulous collective of internet trolls, neoreactionaries, and outright white supremacists, the alt-right has drawn widespread fascination in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, which it helped propel. Contemptuous of mainstream conservativism and explicitly embracing white identity politics, alt-righters are in many ways the mirror image of the racial minority and “woke” liberal activists they gleefully antagonize. This likeness is implicitly acknowledged by the alt-right’s use of the term “identitarian,” a designation that seeks to politicize whiteness.

Needless to say, these guys aren’t exactly fans of the Jews. One of alt-right’s leading voices, Kevin MacDonald, has written entire books positing that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy” aimed at undermining white, Christian civilization.

But none of this seems to faze denizens of “The Jewish Alternative,” a newly launched website and podcast purporting to represent “The Voice of Dissident Jewry.” The alt-right, they say, is the only force willing to protect western civilization — and, by implication, Jews — from the hordes of Muslims, Black Lives Matter activists, and campus totalitarians trying to destroy it. [Continue reading…]

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Prince Charles: Rising intolerance risks repeat of horrors of past

The Guardian reports: The Prince of Wales has warned that the rise of populist extremism and intolerance towards other faiths risks repeating the “horrors” of the Holocaust.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s religious Thought for the Day slot, the prince delivered an outspoken attack against religious hatred and pleaded for a welcoming attitude to those fleeing persecution.

He said: “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s.

“My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.”

The prince did not mention any politicians by name, but his address will be seen by some as a veiled reference to the election of Donald Trump in the US, the rise of the far right in Europe, and increasingly hostile attitudes to refugees in the UK.

“That nearly 70 years later we should still be seeing such evil persecution is to me beyond all belief,” he said. “We owe it to those who suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.” [Continue reading…]

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Swedish Nazi group hails Trump in largest demo yet

The Local reports: Sweden’s neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) mounted the biggest march in its history on Saturday, with its leadership saying the election of Donald Trump in the US marked the start of a world revolution.

Five people were arrested and two were injured in Stockholm on Saturday as an estimated 600 far-right demonstrators marched from the central Kungsträdgården park to Mynttorget, the square where Sweden’s parliament is based in historic Gamla Stan.

“A number of people have been held. They were aggressive at one of our barriers,” Kjell Lindgren, a press spokesman for the Stockholm police said. He said that police had registered two cases of violent rioting, which carries a maximum four-year sentence. At least twenty others were detained for the duration of the march.

The NMR, set up in 1997, promotes an openly racist and anti-Semitic doctrine, and press commentators had questioned the wisdom of authorising Saturday’s rally, given the likelihood of violence. [Continue reading…]

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Denounce the hate, Mr. Trump

In an editorial, the New York Times says: In his victory speech early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump pledged that he “will be president for all Americans,” and he asked those who did not support him “for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”

Here’s some guidance right off the bat, Mr. President-elect: Those sentiments will have more force if you immediately and unequivocally repudiate the outpouring of racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic insults, threats and attacks being associated with your name. Do this in a personal plea to people who supported your candidacy. Tell them this is not what you stand for, nor is it what your new administration will tolerate.

Explicit expressions of bigotry and hatred by Trump supporters were common throughout the campaign, and they have become even more intense since his election. On a department-store window in Philadelphia, vandals spray-painted “Sieg Heil 2016” and Mr. Trump’s name written with a swastika. In a Minnesota high-school bathroom, vandals scrawled the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and next to it, “Go back to Africa.” There are many more reports pouring in of verbal and physical harassment of Muslims, Latinos and other members of minorities. Though not all are verifiable, the atmosphere of intimidation and fear is unquestionably real and will keep growing. Mr. Trump may not be able to stop it by himself, but he must do everything he can.

The problem, of course, is that Mr. Trump’s campaign was based on appeals — some explicit, some coded — to racial and ethnic resentment and division. His followers heard it starting with his speech declaring his candidacy, warning of Mexican immigrant “rapists,” continuing to a rally last weekend where he promised to bar all Syrian refugees because they “will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities.” These statements emboldened and even encouraged those who have been looking for a license to lash out against immigrants, refugees, minorities and anyone else they find threatening. They take his victory as vindication of their feelings.

David Duke, the former Louisiana lawmaker and former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted that Mr. Trump’s victory was “one of the most exciting nights of my life,” and also, “Our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!” In another tweet, he wrote, “Anyone telling you this was a vote for ‘unity’ is a liar and they know it!”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump could get away with ignoring racist and sexist abuse by his supporters. But as the president-elect, he has the moral duty to reject it in the most aggressive terms. There should be no space in American political discourse for violent or abusive behavior. And that includes, of course, acts of vandalism and other violence by anti-Trump demonstrators.

In a little more than two months, Donald Trump will take charge of a country of more than 320 million people of all races, ethnicities and religions. Every one of them deserves to live in safety, with dignity. [Continue reading…]

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Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody

It's commonplace to see Nazi swastika's used to vilify public figures, but the image above was created by neo-Nazis themselves, adding the caption "May a 1,000-year Trumpenreich be inaugurated!"

It’s commonplace to see Nazi swastika’s used to vilify public figures, but the image above was created by neo-Nazis themselves, adding the caption “May a 1,000-year Trumpenreich be inaugurated!”

Dana Milbank writes: In the final hours, the mask came off.

Donald Trump and his surrogates have been playing footsie with American neo-Nazis for months: tweeting their memes, retweeting their messages, appearing on their radio shows. After an Oct. 13 speech in which Trump warned that Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and that “a global power structure” is conspiring against ordinary Americans, the Anti-Defamation League urged Trump to “avoid rhetoric and tropes that historically have been used against Jews.”

Well, Trump just gave his reply. On Friday, he released a closing ad for his campaign repeating offending lines from that speech, this time illustrated with images of prominent Jews: financier George Soros (accompanying the words “those who control the levers of power”), Fed Chair Janet Yellen (with the words “global special interests”) and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (following the “global power structure” quote). The ad shows Hillary Clinton and says she partners “with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”

Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody.

For more than a year, I have condemned Trump in the harshest terms I could conjure as he went after Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, African Americans, women and the disabled. This is both because it was wrong in its own right and because, from my culture’s history, I know that when a demagogue begins to identify scapegoats, the Jews are never far behind. [Continue reading…]

MediaMatters reports: The Daily Stormer is a virulently anti-Semitic website that worships Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump. Site founder Andrew Anglin wrote in a November 7 piece headlined “Glorious Leader’s Closing Argument Blasts the Jew” that the ad is “absolutely fantastic” because Trump portrays Jews as “what they are: a virus eating away at the flesh of this once-great nation.” He continued that the “kikes at the Anti-Defamation League once again violated their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and attacked Trump over the ad.”

In a November 7 Daily Stormer piece headlined “Radical Jew Attacks New Nazi Trump Ad,” “Zeiger” attacked Josh Marshall for criticizing the ad and said it has imagery that “could be right at home on a William Pierce video.” Pierce was “America’s most important neo-Nazi for some three decades until his death in 2002” and the “leader of the National Alliance, a group whose members included terrorists, bank robbers and would-be bombers,” as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) noted.

Zeiger added that the video “felt pretty great. I don’t know who he has making these ads, but they obviously know what they’re doing. And Trump obviously approved them, so he’s in the loop as well.” An image accompanying the post portrayed Trump next to a swastika: [Continue reading…]

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The alt-right’s fight against ‘the systematic browbeating of the white male’

Sanjiv Bhattacharya reports: It’s not every day that a brown journalist gets to sit in on a white-nationalist strategy meeting. But these are strange times. Racism is trending. Like Brexit, Trump has normalised views that were once beyond the pale, and groups like the AFP have grown bold. Their man’s stubby orange fingers are within reach of actual power, so maybe it’s time to emerge from the shadows at last.

I first met [William] Johnson [the chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party (AFP)] in May after he signed up as a Trump delegate before being swiftly struck off by the campaign when the press found out. He’s a surprising figure. An avid environmentalist, fluent in Japanese and, in person, not the bitter old racist I’d expected but rather a jolly Mormon grandfather, bright eyed and chuckling, a Wind in the Willows character. Eric is even more unexpected. Tall and impassioned, he came to racism via hypnotherapy, of all things. He sells solar panels for a living and practises yoga. Together with his friends Matt and Nathan, who are also here at lunch, he runs an alt-right fraternity in Manhattan Beach – “a beer and barbecues thing”. They’re called the Beach Goys. “We’re starting a parody band,” he beams. “We’ve found a drummer!”

Between them they represent two poles of a racist spectrum, young and old. And judging from this lunch, it’s the millennials who are the more extreme. Johnson wants white nationalists to appear less mean and he finds the “JQ”, the Jewish Question, archaic. But Eric loves the meanness of the alt right. “We’re the troll army!” he says. “We’re here to win. We’re savage!” And antisemitism is non-negotiable. In fact, he’d like to clear up a misnomer about the alt right, propagated by the Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos, who is often described, mistakenly, as the movement’s leader. Milo casts the alt right as principally a trolling enterprise, dedicated to attacking liberal shibboleths for the “lulz”– there’s precious little actual bigotry. But Eric insists otherwise. Yes, they like to joke, they have memes, they’re just as funny as liberals – have I heard of their satirical news podcasts, the Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation? But make no mistake, the racism is real. Eric especially enjoys The Daily Stormer, a leading alt-right news site, which is unashamedly pro-Hitler. [Continue reading…]

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Labour’s Luciana Berger receives death threats telling her to ‘watch her back’

The Guardian reports: Death threats have been made to Labour’s Luciana Berger, with one message allegedly telling her she is going to “get it like Jo Cox did”.

She has reportedly received a number of emails that are understood to have included an image of a kitchen knife, as well as warnings telling her: “You better watch your back Jewish scum.”

The MP for Liverpool Wavertree is believed to have contacted police after receiving the messages on Friday. In a statement Berger, who stood down as Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet minister for mental health, extended her gratitude to the police for their “swift action” in dealing with the abuse. “Behaviour like this seeks to threaten our democracy. Intimidation of any kind should never be tolerated,” she said. [Continue reading…]

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Reporter calls out Donald Trump’s son-in-law over anti-Semitism

The New York Times reports: On Tuesday morning, Dana Schwartz, a culture reporter for The New York Observer, sent a pitch to the paper’s editor in chief.

After posting a message on Twitter criticizing Donald J. Trump for using an image of Hillary Clinton with a shape resembling the Star of David and a pile of cash, Ms. Schwartz spent the Fourth of July weekend getting trolled by anti-Semitic Trump supporters.

Now she wanted to write about the experience.

“I feel an obligation to use whatever platform is available to me to bring that hatred out of the shadows, acknowledging it and discussing it,” Ms. Schwartz wrote to the editor, Ken Kurson.

Mr. Kurson responded swiftly, she said, with a single word: “Go.”

He didn’t see the piece until it was published online. It may not have been what Mr. Kurson was expecting.

It did not simply criticize Mr. Trump’s anti-Semitic supporters. It called out Mr. Trump’s Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and de facto campaign manager, Jared Kushner — the owner of The Observer. [Continue reading…]

Kushner released a statement in response to Schwartz’s letter, saying:

My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. I know that Donald does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-semitic thinking. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know.

Unable to face such a courageous expression of dissent from an employee, Kushner (or his loyal underlings) removed Schwartz’s letter from the Observer — but it can still be read here.

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Quiet fixer in Donald Trump’s campaign: His son-in-law, Jared Kushner

The New York Times reports: International diplomacy is a world of careful rituals, hierarchy and credentials. But when the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, wanted to communicate with Donald J. Trump, he ended up on two occasions in the Manhattan office of a young man with no government experience, no political background and no official title in the Trump campaign: Jared Kushner.

Mr. Kushner held court at length with Mr. Dermer, doing his best to engage in the same sort of high-level conversation that the ambassador conducted with career diplomats and policy experts from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

A 35-year-old real estate developer, investor and newspaper publisher, Mr. Kushner derives his authority in the campaign not from a traditional résumé but from a marital vow. He is Mr. Trump’s son-in-law.

Yet in a gradual but unmistakable fashion, Mr. Kushner has become involved in virtually every facet of the Trump presidential operation, so much so that many inside and out of it increasingly see him as a de facto campaign manager. Mr. Kushner, who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, helped recruit a sorely needed director of communications, oversaw the creation of an online fund-raising system and has had a hand in drafting Mr. Trump’s few policy speeches. And now that Mr. Trump has secured the Republican nomination, Mr. Kushner is counseling his father-in-law on the selection of a running mate.

It is a new and unlikely role for Mr. Kushner, a conspicuously polite Harvard graduate whose prominent New Jersey family bankrolled Democrats for decades and whose father’s reputation was destroyed, in a highly public and humiliating manner, by his involvement in electoral politics.

Now, in a Shakespearean turn, Mr. Kushner is working side by side with the former federal prosecutor who put his father, Charles Kushner, in prison just over 10 years ago: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, whom Mr. Trump named as a top adviser. Mr. Kushner originally voiced objections to Mr. Trump about the appointment, but Mr. Kushner and Mr. Christie have since become wary allies in seeking to impose greater discipline on Mr. Trump’s unconventional campaign.

Much about the Trump candidacy seems at odds with Mr. Kushner’s personality and biography: An Orthodox Jew and grandson of Holocaust survivors, Mr. Kushner is now at the center of a campaign that has been embraced by white nationalists and anti-Semites. [Continue reading…]

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Donald Trump: The pied piper of American bigotry takes a shot at ‘Jewish money’

 

Apologists for the Trump campaign, such as former campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski, are trying deflect criticism of the campaign’s use of blatantly anti-Semitic imagery by claiming that the star used in the now infamous “history made” tweet is the same as the star used by American law enforcement.

Let’s see if I understand. When Trump uses imagery that’s meant to reinforce his message that Hillary Clinton is deeply corrupt, he wants to imply she’s as corrupt as what he views as that other widely recognized symbol of corruption… the American sheriff?

That’s strange. I thought Trump was a big fan of the police.

Lewandowski says the reaction to the tweet is ‘political correctness run amok.’

If so, why did the Trump campaign kowtow to their critics by altering the tweet to remove an innocent “sheriff’s star”?

And how come the first place this image is known to have been used before it was co-opted by Trump was a neo-Nazi message board?

What’s really going on inside the campaign?

Does Trump actually feel like he needs to strengthen and expand the coalition of support he already has among neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites and every other stripe of bigotry woven into the tapestry of American politics?

Although I think it’s dangerous to underestimate how large a place bigotry holds in American culture, I don’t actually believe that a realistic presidential campaign — even one led by a quintessentially ugly racist American — can conceivably win by appealing to this diseased fragment of the American psyche.

And given that Twitter has had such an important role in Trump’s media strategy, it’s highly implausible that the latest “unforced error” was really that.

Firstly, it seems much more likely that, in part, this is the latest example of what Trump has been doing all along: baiting the media in order to get free publicity.

A campaign that’s already financially stretched is likely to become increasingly desperate in its use of stunts designed to grab headlines.

But wait a minute, some people may be thinking: Why would Trump risk alienating some extremely wealthy Jewish donors — especially Sheldon Adelson — just for a couple of days free but politically costly media attention?

Back in May, Adelson was reported to be “poised” to donate $100 million or more to the Trump campaign at a time that Trump estimated he might need to raise $1 billion.

The money never came through.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Many [inside the Trump campaign] were hoping casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who spent nearly $100 million in the 2012 presidential race, would save the day by starting his own pro-Trump super PAC to provide a trusted safe haven for donors.

But after Trump’s polling numbers tanked with his race-based criticism of a federal judge and response to the Orlando shooting, Adelson has put his plans on hold. The Las Vegas billionaire is “not actually starting a PAC despite what has been reported,” his spokesman said.

So, perhaps Trump’s anti-Semitic tweet might be better understood not as dog whistle to bigots whose loyalty he’s already won, but instead as a counterpunch aimed at Jewish donors like Adelson who now find it impossible to deny Trump’s inherent toxicity.

Trump’s biggest lie was that he would never need anyone else’s money, so nothing now eats his heart out more with bitterness and envy than the sight of his competitor sitting on piles of cash while he has close to none.

As much as Trump may have appeared to possess an extraordinary capacity to avoid being penalized for his irrepressible racism, the reality seems to be that it is driving his campaign to bankruptcy.

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Trump’s big tent for bigotry

Jonathan Weisman writes: A Jewish 17-year-old, inflamed by the Black Lives Matter movement and the cause of L.G.B.T. rights, told me recently there is no anti-Semitism, certainly nothing compared with the prejudices that afflict other minorities. I surprised myself when I recoiled from her words and argued passionately that Jews must never think anti-Semitism has been eradicated. I sounded like my mother.

Just weeks later, I found myself staring down a social-media timeline filled with the raw hate and anti-Semitic tropes that for centuries fueled expulsion, persecution, pogroms and finally genocide.

“I found the Menorah you were looking for,” one correspondent offered with a Trump-triumphant backdrop on his Twitter profile; it was a candelabrum made of the number six million. Old Grand Dad cheerfully offered up a patriotic image of Donald Trump in colonial garb holding up the Liberty Bell and fighting “against the foreign hordes,” with caricatures of the Jew, the American Indian, the Mexican, the Chinese and the Irish cowering at his feet.

I am not the first Jewish journalist to experience the onslaught. Julia Ioffe was served up on social media in concentration camp garb and worse after Trump supporters took umbrage with her profile of Melania Trump in GQ magazine. The would-be first lady later told an interviewer that Ms. Ioffe had provoked it. The anti-Semitic hate hurled at the conservative commentator Bethany Mandel prompted her to buy a gun.

Beyond journalism, stories of Muslims assaulted by Trump supporters are piling up. Hispanic immigrants are lining up for citizenship, eager to vote. Groups that have been maligned over centuries at different times in different regions now share a common tormentor, the alt-right, a militant agglomeration of white nationalists, racists, anti-Semites and America Firsters that have been waging war on the Republican establishment for some time. Their goals: Close the borders, deport illegal immigrants, pull out of international entanglements and pull up the drawbridge. [Continue reading…]

The middle way here requires neither minimizing anti-Semitism nor granting it special status among the array of bigotries that are being fomented by Trump.

The struggle now is between the politics of inclusion and those of exclusion.

There’s never been a time of greater need for a show of solidarity between Jews, Muslims, blacks, immigrants and all Americans who recognize that shared human values matter more than the identities we use to set ourselves apart.

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Zionism threatens to bring anti-Semitism full-circle

Jonathan Ofir writes: Zionism is very much a mirror image of anti-Semitism. It was founded and based on an assumption that assimilation is bound to fail, and that the Jews must resort to other measures in order to protect their existence – as persons, but perhaps even more significantly – as a supposed nation. David Ben-Gurion’s words to the Mapai committee in 1938 reveal how the national aspect could supersede the humanitarian concern to actual people: ”If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.” In that same year he spoke to the Jewish Agency in regards to the Évian conference which sought to facilitate the plight of Jewish refugees, saying, “[I do] not know if the conference will open the gates of other countries. . . . But I am afraid [ it ] might cause tremendous harm to Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. . . . and the more we emphasize the terrible distress of the Jewish masses in Germany, Poland and Rumania, the more damage we shall cause” — to Zionism and Eretz Israel by promoting emigration to western countries. [Both quotes at this link.]

That is to say, that the priority of nationalism (as opposed to personal security) was extremely high in Zionism from the outset. Zionism sought to forge a sense of ‘nationhood’ for a people that were of a vast spectrum of ethnicity, language, even religion (from ultra-orthodox to atheist) and claim that they were one. The British (and notably Jewish) Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu, in his critique of Her Majesty’s Government’s intentions to endorse a ‘Jewish national home” in Palestine in 1917, said: “I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race”. [Continue reading…]

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Across Europe, anti-Jewish violence is at its lowest level in a decade

Leonid Bershidsky writes: The record influx of Muslim refugees last year coincided with a sharp decline in the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents in major European countries, many of which bore the brunt of the refugee crisis.

The wave of so-called new anti-Semitism of recent years largely stemmed from anti-Israeli rather than racist beliefs, and had often been linked to the persistence of such attitudes among the growing Muslim population. Yet data from the 2015 report on global anti-Semitism, published on Wednesday by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, clearly show that as the refugees started coming in by the tens of thousands per day starting about a year ago, Europe became a safer place to be Jewish.

According to data collected by the Israeli demographer Sergio DellaPergola, France, the U.K. and Germany are the European countries with the biggest core Jewish population, defined as people who describe themselves as Jews. In France, the number of major violent anti-Semitic attacks dropped to 72 last year from 164 in 2014. The U.K. saw a similarly steep decrease, to 62 from 141. In Germany, there were 37 attacks, down from 76. Throughout Europe, anti-Jewish violence is at the lowest level in a decade. [Continue reading…]

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Why a British fight over Israel and anti-Semitism matters to the rest of us

Robert Mackey writes: At first glance, the heated argument two members of the British Labour Party conducted in front of reporters’ iPhones on Thursday, sparked by accusations that one of their colleagues posted anti-Semitic comments on Facebook, seems like a story of interest mainly to political junkies in London.


When the debate is unpacked, however, it becomes clear that what’s at stake is something much broader: whether critics of Israel, who question its government’s policies or its right to exist as a Jewish state, are engaged in a form of coded anti-Semitism. That matters because attempts to disqualify all critics of Israel as racists are widespread across the globe.

In the United States, for instance, supporters of a movement to boycott Israel until it grants Palestinians full civil rights have recently been condemned as anti-Semites by Hillary Clinton; last month, the University of California adopted a policy on discrimination that implies anti-Semitism is behind opposition to Zionism, the political ideology asserting that the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in historic Palestine.

But how did this issue come to dominate the political debate in Britain, a week before important local elections? [Continue reading…]

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The American Jewish scholar behind Labour’s ‘antisemitism’ scandal breaks his silence

Jamie Stern-Weiner writes: Norman Finkelstein is no stranger to controversy. The American Jewish scholar is one of the world’s leading experts on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the political legacy of the Nazi holocaust. Apart from his parents, every member of Finkelstein’s family, on both sides, was exterminated in the Nazi holocaust. His 2000 book The Holocaust Industry, which was serialised in the Guardian, became an international best-seller and touched off a firestorm of debate. But Finkelstein’s most recent political intervention came about by accident.

Last month, Naz Shah MP became one of the most high-profile cases to date in the ‘antisemitism’ scandal still shaking the Labour leadership. Shah was suspended from the Labour party for, among other things, reposting an image on Facebook that was alleged to be antisemitic. The image depicted a map of the United States with Israel superimposed, and suggested resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict by relocating Israel into the United States. It has been reported that Shah got the image from Finkelstein’s website. I spoke with Finkelstein about why he posted the image, and what he thinks of allegations that the Labour party has a ‘Jewish problem’.

Did you create the controversial image that Naz Shah reposted?

I’m not adept enough with computers to compose any image. But I did post the map on my website in 2014. An email correspondent must have sent it. It was, and still is, funny. Were it not for the current political context, nobody would have noticed Shah’s reposting of it either. Otherwise, you’d have to be humourless. These sorts of jokes are a commonplace in the U.S. So, we have this joke: Why doesn’t Israel become the 51st state? Answer: Because then, it would only have two senators. As crazy as the discourse on Israel is in America, at least we still have a sense of humour. It’s inconceivable that any politician in the U.S. would be crucified for posting such a map.

Shah’s posting of that image has been presented as an endorsement by her of a ‘chilling “transportation” policy’, while John Mann MP has compared her to Eichmann.

Frankly, I find that obscene. It’s doubtful these Holocaust-mongers have a clue what the deportations were, or of the horrors that attended them. I remember my late mother describing her deportation. She was in the Warsaw Ghetto. The survivors of the Ghetto Uprising, about 30,000 Jews, were deported to Maijdanek concentration camp. They were herded into railroad cars. My mother was sitting in the railroad car next to a woman who had her child. And the woman – I know it will shock you – the woman suffocated her infant child to death in front of my mother. She suffocated her child, rather than take her to where they were going. That’s what it meant to be deported. To compare that to someone posting a light-hearted, innocuous cartoon making a little joke about how Israel is in thrall to the U.S., or vice versa…it’s sick. What are they doing? Don’t they have any respect for the dead? All these desiccated Labour apparatchiks, dragging the Nazi holocaust through the mud for the sake of their petty jostling for power and position. Have they no shame? [Continue reading…]

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