The chief rabbi of Lyon, Richard Wertenschlag, has received a letter threatening to “punish a Jew for every complaint the Jews make on TV.”
The threat came in a two-page letter delivered to Wertenschlag on Aug. 10. It contained two photos of a concentration camp, according to Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, CRIF.
Wertenschlag, who reported the letter to the authorities, opened the letter on Aug. 12, according to CRIF.
The authors of the “small, dense handwritten text” signed with the words “the righteous network.”
They added, “Every time you go on television to complain, a Jew – man, woman, child or family – will be punished.” Further down, the authors wrote: “See you soon at a synagogue, which has already been chosen.”
Wertenschlag called the letter “the expression of anti-Semitic rage and unimaginable hate.”
He said he had received an earlier hate letter in April, which was both “anti-Semitic and anti-Arab,” but decided not to go to police at the time.
Last month French police arrested two youths in Lyon for allegedly attacking a 17-year-old Jewish boy.
The boy is a student at Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse where, on March 19, a Muslim extremist murdered three children and a rabbi.
It’s Not Easy Being “Fishy”
Former Phoenix principal sues over gas chamber exhibit
A black Jewish woman is suing the Phoenix school where she formerly served as principal for failing to respond to complaints about a fake gas chamber set up outside her office and then firing her.
Millicent McNeil, who was fired from the Mission Charter School last May 13, filed a $2 million lawsuit in Maricopa County Court claiming that she was underpaid because of her race and religion, and that the school ignored her complaints about the gas chamber, which was part of a Holocaust exhibit, Courthouse News reported.
She alleges that teachers at the K-8 school, saying they were setting up a Holocaust exhibit, made her hallway and office door into an entrance to a faux gas chamber. McNeil says they painted a swastika on the wall outside her door, painted her door black and placed a photo next to the door of a lever that would activate a gas chamber.
McNeil also claims that the teachers wrote “Majdanek Bad Und Desinfektion,” or “Majdanek Bath And Disinfection,” above the door—imitating the sign for gas chambers at the Majdanek concentration camp—and the German word for “women” directly over the door.
Contacted by JTA, a school official had no comment on the case.
How would most American Jews react to the following historical assessment by a noted Yiddish scholar, professor Gennady Estraikh of New York University?
“It is hardly an overstatement to define Yiddish literature of the 1920s as the most pro-Soviet literature in the world.”
I assume that most would shrug it off as no big deal.
But is it no big deal? If a historian at New York University had written, “It is hardly an overstatement to define Catholic literature of the 1930s as the most pro-Nazi literature in the world,” how would Jews react?
We all know the answer. Jews and others would trumpet this as another example of the inherent bigotry and anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church.
But the fact that Jews were producing the most pro-Soviet literature in the world at the time that Lenin was creating the greatest totalitarian state, the least free country, indeed the largest prison in human history means nothing to most Jews.
The most pro-Soviet press in America and in Europe was Jewish. So was the leading Marxist/socialist in Germany during Germany’s short-lived Weimar democracy, Rosa Luxemburg; the Stalinist dictator of Hungary, known for his brutality, Matyas Rakosi; two of the three leaders of the Polish Communist Party at the end of World War II, Hilary Minc and Jakub Berman; the Communist dictator of Romania Ana Pauker; three of the five possible Bolshevik successors to Lenin: Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev; Howard Zinn, the radical historian who believed the world was worse because the United States existed; Noam Chomsky, who has devoted his life to undermining America and Israel; and so many more.
Leftism, not liberalism, has been the Jews’ golden calf — except that the calf never led to all the evil that leftism has. From Karl Marx, the grandson of two Orthodox rabbis, to the many Jewish professors who teach Western young people about American and Israeli perfidy, leftist Jews have a lot to atone for.
Leftism has so poisoned many Jews’ minds that it has otherwise decent Jews believing and saying terrible things.
Take, for example, the best-known American commentator on foreign affairs, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. He recently wrote that the reason members of Congress gave standing ovations to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was that the ovation “was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
The charge that the support of all the congressmen and senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, can be bought and paid for by the Israel lobby is a classic anti-Semitic libel. Friedman’s left-wing defenders have written that Friedman never wrote “Jewish lobby,” but for nearly every person reading the term — not to mention all anti-Semites — “Israel lobby” means “Jewish lobby.”
The point here is that Friedman is an identifying Jew who has no interest in harming Israel. The only reason he would write something so profoundly helpful to anti-Semites and Israel-haters is that he is on the left.
It was leftism that that led another Jewish New York Times columnist, Frank Rich (now with New York Magazine), to belittle Kristallnacht, when he wrote that American Tea Partiers engaged in a “small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.”
Kristallnacht, the “Night of the Broken Glass” of November 1938, is considered the opening act of the Holocaust. Why would a Jewish writer trivialize the Holocaust and cheapen Jewish suffering by likening Kristallnacht to Tea Party rallies? Because of his leftism.
A few years ago at UCLA, I debated a UCLA professor on the question: “Is there a moral difference between Israel and the Palestinians?” The professor argued that the two parties were morally equivalent; I argued that there was a huge moral gulf separating them. Who was this man? He was the head of the department of Jewish Studies. Another example of leftism perverting a Jew’s conscience.
And the former head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, in a speech to the Islamic Society of North America, said, “Why should anyone criticize the voluntary act of a woman who chooses to wear a headscarf or a veil? Surely the choice these women make deserves our respect, not to mention the full protection of the law.” The rabbi’s commitment to left-wing multiculturalism was so strong, it led him to defend —even “respect” — the Muslim practice of covering women’s faces with a veil, one of the most dehumanizing behaviors to women practiced in the world today.
If we Jews are ever to be the “light unto the nations” we are called to be, we will first have to abandon the golden calf of leftism. Among other reasons, it makes otherwise good people do and say bad things.
Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio talk show is heard in Los Angeles on KRLA (AM 870) 9 a.m. to noon. His latest project is the Internet-based Prager University (prageru.com).
Laughing at Synagogue
European anti-Semitism spurs controversial comparison
Across Western Europe, thousands cheer neo-Nazi rockers calling for the killing of Jews, synagogues are defaced, Holocaust memorials and cemeteries are desecrated, Jewish schoolchildren are attacked and their parents are afraid to wear yarmulkes or religious jewelry on the streets of major cities.
In “Ever Again,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center, having documented the Holocaust and its aftermath in earlier films, presents a frightening picture of a rising wave of European anti-Semitism, fueled by Islamic fanatics and neo-Nazis.
During 74 minutes of graphic footage and wide-ranging interviews with both victims and perpetrators of abuse and violence, “Ever Again” tracks the new anti-Semitism in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Britain.
The film by the Moriah Films division of the Wiesenthal Center and narrated by actor Kevin Costner opens Dec. 8 at the Landmark’s Westside Pavilion Cinemas.
Some of the most disheartening interviews are with moderate Muslims who are afraid to speak out against extremists, and with public school teachers who won’t mention the Holocaust in class in the face of threats by their Muslim students.
Coming from the opposite ideological end, but aiming at the same target, is a revived neo-Nazi movement, especially among disaffected young people.
Director Richard Trank and Rabbi Marvin Hier, producer and founding dean of the Wiesenthal Center, are Academy Award recipients for previous Moriah Films documentaries.”I doubt that many Americans realize the amount of fear the Jewish communities of Western Europe are living under, due to physical violence and terrifying threats from neo-Nazis and Islamic fanatics,” said Trank. “Tragically, young Jews told us that the situation has become so bad that they no longer see a safe future for themselves and their families in their own countries.”
Hier warned that “many American Jews who have recently visited Europe have come to feel it is no longer safe for them there. The world in which a Jew can safely raise his or her children has become greatly diminished in recent years.”
However, noted Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum said he objected to the film’s title, with its clear allusion to the Holocaust-era battle cry, “Never Again.”
“There is no doubt that the situation in Europe must be taken seriously, but it’s a mistake to link it to the Holocaust,” he said.
Berenbaum, a University of Judaism professor, is currently editing the soon to be published book, “Anti-Semitism: Then and Now,” with contributions by 20 American, European and Israeli experts.
“Today’s anti-Semitism is a different and more complex phenomenon than it was 65 years ago,” he observed. “To a large extent, what we see now is the revolt of an underclass, spurred by anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and anti-globalization.
“A major difference from the 1930s and ’40s is that anti-Semitism is not supported by governments. A country like Poland is Israel’s best friend in Europe, and Germany has the fastest-growing Jewish population anywhere.”
The Landmark’s Westside Pavilion Cinemas are located at Pico Boulevard and Overland Avenue. Call (310) 281-8223 for screening times. For more information about the film, go to www.wiesenthal.com.
Cute, menschy boy bands make traditional tunes cool
Face it, the previews for Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” look pretty darn cool.
And there was nary a Jew in sight in Mexico before Cortez & Co. arrived., so I don’t think we have to worry about
Of course, that could change if the movie sentimentalizes human sacrifice — and Jews take the politically incorrect tack of criticizing the right of indigenous peoples to rip-out still-beating hearts from the chests of virgins.
But there’s a bigger issue: Do we want to give our money to Mel? Remember how his “Passion” stirred our passions? How this past summer, he ranted about us “f—- — Jews,” that we “started all the wars in the world”? Sure, he apologized – belatedly, but the reaction of Barbara Walters, that icon of Jewish morality and daytime talk show host, was typical: “I don’t think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies.”
Mel then begged, “There will be many in that [Jewish] community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.”
Relax, Mel and Babs. The door is never closed — except maybe on a hit movie’s opening weekend. This revelation came to me a couple of years ago, when I watched “The Passion” — after buying a ticket to a different movie.
At the time, I wished I could say my strategy was heaven-sent to me in a dream — just like the dreams of those 17th- and 18th-century nuns Mel relied on for his “facts” about Jesus’ life, e.g., dark demons always hover around Jewish children. But my “skipping-in” (teen slang for the practice) to see “The Passion” was just the result of a last minute impulse to avoid funding anti-Semitism. The moral issues gnawed at me, though. I had paid to see “Miracle,” an inspiring movie about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, but I watched “The Passion,” a religious splatter film. It seemed wrong. And I couldn’t look to history for answers, because this issue was possible only with the invention of the Cineplex.
But this past summer, I saw Mel’s drunken tirade as a definite sign that my skipping impulse was indeed a godsend — although Mel would probably think the devil made me do it.
In addition to the cosmic justice evaluation, being a lawyer I also felt compelled to analyze it from a legal perspective. Although I haven’t read any fine print on the back of the movie ticket, I think I might have breached my theater ticket contract. But whom did I damage? Mel got stiffed, but my ticket contract was only with the theater, so he has no claim against me.
The film crew and actors still received payment, and that’s good. Further, because the theater received the full ticket price, it has no damages, so it can’t sue me either.
Conclusion: If Mel has a complaint, he needs to take it up with the theater chain.
So God and the law are on my side. Is that cool — or what?
Of course I realize this type of astute legal analysis is what gives lawyers and Jews a bad name. And that’s the last thing I want to do. So, if Mel sues me, I will waive these defenses, confess judgment and pay him his cut of my $11 ticket. I may even tip the process server.
But with “Apocalypto” opening Friday, only a few months after his anti-Semitic tirade, what’s a Jew to do? Should Mel’s apologies get him a free pass? Maybe I’m just stiff-necked, but I don’t think he’s really sorry; I think he just wanted us to see “Apocalypto.” So we can see the movie, but we should send him the message that we’re still feeling hurt by using my proven Mel Movie Strategy.
If the Mel Movie Strategy succeeds for me, he will be out another $5 or so. If 1,000 people do it, he’ll be out a few grand. If hundreds of thousands succeed with it, he’ll be out about half-a-mil. But if 6 million Jews skip-in to see “Apocalypto,” Mel’s father will deny it ever happened, and Mel probably won’t believe it either.
On the other hand, if cineplex personnel catch you in the act, just explode in a fit of profanity. Slur and drool and scream at the usher, “You a Goy? F—in’ Goyim, they launched the Crusades and Inquisition, and hey, Santa Claus never brings me presents, that fat anti-Semitic slob….”
A few days later, apologize — in a press release.
Of course, if Mel wants to avoid this entire skipping problem, he should send Babs, me and every Member of the Tribe he can find complimentary tickets to see “Apocalypto.” ‘Tis the season, and it would be a real sign of goodwill. But if he wants nothing to do with us, that would be understandable.
We will find consolation in the fact that that door is almost never closed.