February 27, 2020

Spain Carnival Features People Dressed As Nazi Camp Guards, Jewish Prisoners

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Feb. 24 carnival in Spain featured people dressed as Nazi concentration camp guards and Jewish camp prisoners in a parade.

Pictures from the carnival showed women dressed as Jewish concentration camp prisoners while holding Israeli flags, as well as a float featuring a menorah in between two gas chamber chimneys.

According to the UK Guardian, the parade was part of an annual carnival in the Spanish city of Campo de Criptana and was intended to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

The Auschwitz Museum condemned the parade in a tweet.

“Hard to describe: memory upside-down, far beyond vulgar kitsch, without any relevance, without reflection & respect,” the museum wrote.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt similarly tweeted, “The participants’ purported good intentions are completely lost with this wildly inappropriate display. Evoking Holocaust imagery like this is disrespectful at best and dehumanizing at worst to the victims of the Shoah. An apology should be forthcoming.”

StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson also tweeted that the parade was “a disgusting display regaling in anti-Semitism with the intent to cause maximum hurt.”

New York Times opinion editor and columnist Bari Weiss tweeted, “Totally normal event underway in Spain.”

The Spain carnival display comes on the heels of a Feb. 23 carnival in Aalst, Belgium, that featured people depicting Jews as insects and people dressed in Nazi uniforms. The Jerusalem Post wrote in a Feb. 24 editorial that the Aalst carnival was “an absolutely deliberate anti-Semitic assault,” later adding: “Welcome to Europe 2020.”

Belgian Carnival Depicts Jews as Insects

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Aalst Carnival in Belgium on Feb. 23 depicted Jews as insects as well as featured participants dressed in Nazi uniforms.

Times of Israel reporter Raphael Aren tweeted photos and video from the carnival, which included a mock Western Wall featuring drawings of Jews with large noses. According to The Jerusalem Post, one of the slogans written on the wall read, “You would also complain if they cut your penis.”

Others in the parade dressed in costumes of fur hats and long noses to depict Jews, according to the BBC.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes condemned the parade.

“The use of stereotypes stigmatizing communities and groups based on their origins leads to divisions and endangers our togetherness,” Wilmes said.

Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuval Rotem tweeted, “The infamous event features despicable antisemitic exhibitions. One can’t help but wonder whether lessons from the terrible fate of Belgian Jewry’s history from merely 75 years ago have been learnt at all.”

Jewish groups also condemned the parade.

“It is truly appalling to see such #antiSemitic tropes once again, carried out in the Aalst carnival,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “At a time when #antiSemitism is on the rise, there should be no tolerance for these types of shameful and hateful displays.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center similarly tweeted, “No Jew should have anything to do with a city that so fundamentally disrespects Jews and Judaism. We lost our sense of humor and irony when 25,000 Belgian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. Would be nice to hear from [European Union] leadership sitting in Brussels.”

American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute Director Daniel Schwammenthal called on the EU to condemn and investigate the parade.

“With very few exceptions, Belgian political leaders have been inexplicably silent in the face of this shameful parade,” Schwammenthal said in a statement. “With rising violent anti-Semitism in Europe, public displays of anti-Jewish hatred should have long been tossed on the ash heap of history. In the city of Aalst, apparently, peddling stereotypes of Jews as vermin even deserved increased police protection. This parade was nothing short of an outrage and an offense to any civilized country.”

A spokesperson for Aalst Mayor Christopher D’Haese defended the depictions of Jews as satire and free speech to the BBC, saying: “It’s our parade, our humor, people can do whatever they want. It’s a weekend of freedom of speech.”

The Jerusalem Post argued in a Feb. 24 editorial that the parade was “an absolutely deliberate anti-Semitic assault. There is no way that these tropes and themes were accidentally or unintentionally insulting due to ignorance or a misunderstanding. It takes a very twisted mind to justify such blatant Jew-hatred as legitimate freedom of expression.”

They later added: “Welcome to Europe 2020.”

UNC Offers New Course on Anti-Semitism

Photo from Good Free Photos.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill is offering a new class on combating anti-Semitism for students to take during the current semester.

The student-run Daily Tar Heel reported that student Sam Zahn came up with the idea for the class “Topics in Jewish Studies: Confronting Anti-Semitism” during the previous semester when he noticed that UNC didn’t have any classes that centered on anti-Semitism. He and instructor Max Lazar then developed the course over the next few weeks.

According to UNC’s Carolina Center for Jewish Studies website, the class, which lasts for an hour each week, features guest speakers each week as well as students studying media outlets that promulgate anti-Semitic rhetoric. Students will learn about the history of anti-Semitism, how it relates to current forms of racism and other forms of bigotry and how to combat anti-Semitism on campus and in the community at large.

“We are really looking at how anti-Jewish sentiments come up at different times throughout history, and the common themes we can see in different areas around the world,” Lazar told the Daily Tar Heel.

There are currently 50 students enrolled in the class, which was more than what Zahn and Lazar were expecting.

“The students really responded to this opportunity and are eager to look at this topic from a scholarly point of view,” Lazar told the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies’ website.

He hopes that students will emerge from the class as “allies against hate speech, showing leadership both on campus and long after their time at Carolina,” according to the website.

Zahn told the Daily Tar Heel that he is among the 50 students currently taking the class and appreciates that it takes aspects from myriad departments in the school since anti-Semitism has varying manifestations.

In March, UNC hosted a conference about the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar performed a song that featured the lyrics, “I’m in love with a Jew.” UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in an April statement that he was “heartbroken and deeply offended that this performance happened.” The Department of Education investigated a complaint into the conference; in November, the department and UNC reached a resolution agreement involving UNC investigating allegations of anti-Semitic harassment at the conference and have staff training on anti-Semitic harassment.

Additionally, flyers stating there’s a “silent covert Jewish attempt to enslave and kill good Americans” were found in UNC’s library in April.

MLB Drops Roger Waters Ads From Its Platforms

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Roger Waters attends the "Roger Waters Us + Them" Photocall during the 76th Venice Film Festival at on September 06, 2019 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball (MLB) has ceased running advertisements for musician Roger Waters’ upcoming tour.

B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin announced in a Feb. 7 statement that MLB told them “that ads promoting Waters have run their course and there are no plans to schedule any more ads on the MLB platforms. MLB also noted that it had no anti-Semitic intentions by running these ads.”

MLB confirmed to the Associated Press that this is the case.

“There are no plans to schedule any more ads on the MLB platforms,” it said.

A spokesperson for Waters declined to comment to Rolling Stone magazine.

Kaufman and Mariaschin had written a letter to MLB on Jan. 29 urging them to end their promotion of Waters’ ads, calling him an anti-Semite for supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, putting a Star of David on a floating pig and demonizing Israel.

“[Waters] has blamed ‘the Jewish Lobby’ for intimidating anti-Israel critics like him,” they wrote. “And he has falsely labeled the Jewish state a ‘racist apartheid regime’ and claimed Israel is guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ ”

Pro-Israel activists praised MLB’s move.

“Bravo @MLB!” Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted. “There should be no room for the hate and racism of @rogerwaters!”

StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein tweeted that it was a “good update.”

Nazi Flag Seen Hanging in Maryland High School

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Nazi flag was seen hanging in a Maryland high school window on Feb. 8.

A photo of the flag went viral on social media; images reveal the flag could be seen from the entrance of Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., as people were heading to a basketball game that evening.

Last night at one of the biggest games in FCPS, Thomas Johnson High School had this hateful flag prominently displayed…

Posted by Serenity Bush Moore on Saturday, February 8, 2020

Daniel Lippy, the school’s principal, wrote in an email to students’ parents on Feb. 10 that the flag was being used for a World War II history class and was left hanging. He added that it was taken down as soon as school officials became aware of it.

“We have taken steps to ensure that this never occurs again,” Libby wrote.

School Superintendent Theresa Alban said in a statement to Fox 5 D.C. that the school has issued an apology to the community over the matter, stating that the flag’s values are abhorrent and antithetical to the school’s values.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and care deeply for our community’s immediate recovery and belief in [Frederick County Public Schools] as a school system, which celebrates diversity,” she said.

Alban added that the school will be responding with “appropriate action.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Washington, D.C. Education Director Seth Gordon-Lipkin said in a statement, “While we acknowledge that hate symbols, like the Nazi flag displayed at this school, can be effectively used for educational purposes, it is imperative that educators consider the harmful impact that this sort of offensive imagery can have on students with marginalized identities. Even if a hate symbol is used with educational intent, the context in which it is presented matters to students’ feelings of safety and acceptance in their schools.”

He added: “ADL has reached out to Governor Thomas Johnson High School to offer its resources and best practices in handling this difficult subject matter in order to ensure that this incident is used as a teachable moment and to foster a safe, inclusive climate for all students.”

Fired Professor Who Accused Israel of Being Behind 9/11 Settles With Oberlin

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A woman who was fired from her position as an assistant professor at Oberlin College after making a series of social media posts that included her accusing Israel of being behind the 9/11 terror attacks reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with the Ohio college.

In February 2016, the pro-Israel website The Tower compiled a series of Facebook and blog posts from Joilynn Karega-Mason, who was then an assistant professor at Oberlin. The posts included a cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removing an ISIS mask off his own head, posts about the Rothschild family having too much global influence and sharing a Louis Farrakhan video stating that “there were many Israeli and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attack.” Karega-Mason wrote that the Farrakhan video was “truth-telling.”

Other posts accused Israel of being behind the downing of the Malaysian airliner in 2014 and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris.

Karega-Mason was placed on leave in August 2016 after the social media posts came to light and was fired the following November. She had been an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition since December 2013. Karega-Mason filed a lawsuit against Oberlin in November 2018, alleging that the college filed false charges, attempted to procure student complaints against her and tried to keep blacks out of a position of power in the university. She also accused the college of ignoring acts of racism from faculty and staff members who are white.

According to MSN, the docket on Karega-Mason’s case shows that a settlement was reached on the case on Feb. 3; the terms have not been publicly disclosed. Karega-Mason demanded $885,000 from the university when she filed the lawsuit.

Oberlin College spokesman Scott Wargo declined to comment to The Chronicle website on the matter. Karega-Mason’s attorney, Gary Benjamin, told Cleveland.com that “he and his client were happy the lawsuit was resolved.”

The StopAntisemitism.org watchdog tweeted, “Jew hatred sure does pay!”

N.J. Governor Praises Facebook for Removing ‘Anti-Semitic’ Page

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY - MAY 13: Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy speaks onstage during the Liberty Science Center Genius Gala 8 at Liberty Science Center on May 13, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Liberty Science Center )

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a joint statement with Attorney General Gurbir Grewal praising Facebook for removing an “anti-Semitic, racist group page.”

The page, Rise Up Ocean County, was established as a public forum to criticize rapid housing growth in Ocean County, N.J. However, the page was plagued with comments blaming Orthodox Jews for the increased housing. For example, one commenter wrote, “I can’t stand what those Hassidics get away with. I would trust a rat before a Hassidic.” A different commenter wrote, “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did.”

Facebook spokesman Daniel Roberts told NBC News, “We have determined this page violates our community standards for hate speech and have removed it from the platform.”

Murphy and Grewal said in a joint statement, “We appreciate that Facebook has now decided that this kind of hateful rhetoric has no place on its platform.”

They added, “The Murphy administration will continue to call out hate whenever and wherever we see it, we will persist in demanding meaningful reforms to address the proliferation of hate online, and we will continue working to make New Jersey safe and inclusive for all of our residents.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York/New Jersey Northeast Division Vice President Evan Bernstein similarly said in a statement, “ADL has repeatedly expressed serious concern regarding the anti-Semitic and racist content on this page, which has caused fear and distress among members of the Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey. We commend the efforts by Attorney General Grewal and Governor Murphy to expose and advocate for the removal of this hateful rhetoric from Facebook.”

The Rise Up Ocean County website posted a statement from its anonymous administrators stating they will appeal Facebook’s decision, arguing the page is public and they remove hateful posts.

“As recent as one month ago, Facebook did remove two posts, both somewhat dated, that moved our page quality from green to red,” the statement read. “Since that time, we have received no further violations of community standards and as such, the decision to unpublish the page is arbitrary and capricious.”

IfNotNow Organizer Disrupts Trump Jr. Press Conference, Accuses Crowd of ‘Killing Jews’

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 01: Donald Trump, Jr. attends the DC premiere of the film, "Death of a Nation," at E Street Cinema on August 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

IfNotNow organizer Elon Glickman was escorted out of a Feb. 3 press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, after he disrupted Donald Trump Jr.’s speech.

Shortly after Trump Jr. took the stage, Glickman stood up and said, “I am an American Jew, and ever since your father was elected president, more and more Jews are being gunned down every year.”

At that point, security swarmed toward Glickman and began to escort him out of the press conference.

“I don’t think anyone’s done more for Israel and for American Jews than Donald Trump, so you can go,” Trump Jr. replied as the crowd started chanting, “USA! USA!”

As Glickman was being escorted out of the room, he accused Trump Jr. of tweeting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and then he shouted: “You are killing Jews! All of you! All of you in here are killing Jews! All of you!”

Glickman later tweeted, “They can drag me out but I’ll never stop fighting for Jewish people. @donaldjtrumpJr spreads anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that are killing American Jews. He & @GOP can’t hide their anti-Semitism behind support for Israel.”

Jewish Insider Managing Editor Melissa Weiss pointed out in a tweet that Glickman “was one of eight Birthright participants to walk off the program mid-trip in 2018.”

The press conference, titled the Keep Iowa Great Press Conference, featured several surrogates for President Donald Trump’s re-election, including Eric Trump and Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale.

Swastika Found on GWU Jewish Student’s Door

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A swastika was found on a Jewish student’s dorm door at George Washington University on Jan. 31.

The student, Zev Siegfeld, announced in a Feb. 1 Facebook post that the pictures of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that were taped on the outside of his residence hall door were defaced with a swastika on Trump and an Adolf Hitler mustache on Pence.

“As a proud and vocal Jew, I know this was not a coincidence,” Siegfeld said. “This was another attempt to stop me from expressing my views publicly, and another attempt to intimidate me into being quiet.”

A university blog identified Siegfeld as a freshman representative for GW College Republicans. He also wrote that his door has been vandalized all year and that he has received a verbal death threat.

“Many of you probably disagree with my views, the politicians I like, or the decorations I have up,” Siegfeld wrote. “Some of you may believe I should just take the decorations down. But, that lets them win. The goal of these vandals is to intimidate me into being quiet.”

My full statement/thoughts on the Swastika drawn on my door:I’ve always believed, above all else, that as much as I…

Posted by Zev Siegfeld on Saturday, February 1, 2020

The university’s Student Association (SA) Task Force on Fighting Anti-Semitism condemned the vandalism in a Feb. 2 statement.

“This display of hate and ignorance is blatantly anti-Semitic and has deeply affected our Jewish community,” the statement read. “By desecrating a student’s personal property within a GW residence hall, the attacker(s) continue a pattern of anti-Semitism on our campus, which instills fear and pain in Jewish students.”

The task force urged the university to take immediate action on the matter.

“The Student Association stands in solidarity with the GW Jewish community at this time and always,” the statement read.

A university spokesperson wrote in an email to the Journal, “GW is aware of the report of vandalism to a student’s door using anti-Semitic imagery. Our police department is fully investigating the incident.”

The task force was formed after a Snapchat video of a student at the university saying, “We’re going to f—ing bomb Israel, bro” went viral in November. University President Thomas LeBlanc said at the time that the student’s remarks were “disturbing and hateful, and they are antithetical to our university’s core values of diversity and respect. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism or any form of bigotry on our campuses.”

Later in the month, the university’s SA Senate passed a resolution establishing the task force and adopting parts of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. However, Jewish groups criticized the SA Senate for removing clauses from the resolution stating that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state that calling Israel racist is anti-Semitic.

GW for Israel Vice President Noah Shufutinsky wrote in a Facebook post at the time that the removed language “specifically addresses how we as students face anti-Semitism on campus through anti-Zionism. [The SA] made it clear tonight that appeasing racists and anti-Semites for a sense of belonging is more important than listening to your constituents.”

UPDATE: Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Washington, D.C. Senior Associate Regional Director Meredith Weisel said in a statement to the Journal, “ADL is disturbed by reports of a swastika and other Nazi imagery found on the door of a Jewish student’s dorm room at the George Washington University. We have seen these symbols of hate used to intimidate members of the Jewish community all over the world.  They serve to marginalize and threaten Jews, whether they are found on houses of worship, public forums or college campuses. We commend the GW Student Association for speaking out forcefully and unequivocally against this vandalism and the use of this imagery, and call upon the University to conduct a thorough investigation to identify the culprit and discipline them in accordance with the University’s code of conduct.”

B’nai Brith Urges MLB to End Advertising for Roger Waters

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Roger Waters walks the red carpet ahead of the "Roger Waters Us + Them" screening during the 76th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 06, 2019 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

B’nai Brith International President Charles O. Kaufman and Executive Vice President and CEO Daniel S. Maraschin urged Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred to stop advertising for Roger Waters’ upcoming North American tour.

Kaufman and Maraschin wrote in a letter Jan. 29 that Waters, the former bassist for Pink Floyd, is openly anti-Semitic, pointing to his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and arguing that Waters frequently demonizes Israel.

“[Waters] has blamed ‘the Jewish Lobby’ for intimidating anti-Israel critics like him,” they wrote. “And he has falsely labeled the Jewish state a ‘racist apartheid regime’ and claimed Israel is guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing.’”

Kaufman and Maraschin stated that such statements fall under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. They also pointed to concerts where Waters has displayed the Star of David on a floating pig as an example of his anti-Semitism.

“Major League Baseball has figured prominently in the advancement of civil rights and the struggle against hatred, most notably with the integration of the sport in 1947,” Kaufman and Maraschin wrote. “B’nai Brith is saddened and outraged that baseball – the sport of Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente – would use its online resources to publicize an individual with an alarming history of anti-Semitic hatred.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center echoed B’nai Brith’s letter in a tweet.

“.@rogerwaters is a major league #antiSemite – @MLB should shut him out,” they wrote.

MLB told the Associated Press that they would send a private response to B’nai Brith.

Musicians like David Draiman, the lead singer of the heavy metal band Disturbed, have been critical of Waters and the BDS movement in the past.

“The very notion that Waters and the rest of his Nazi comrades decide that this is the way to go ahead and foster change is absolute lunacy and idiocy,” Draiman said in a May 30 interview with a Disturbed Facebook fan page. “It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s only based on hatred of a culture and of a people in a society that has been demonized unjustifiably since the beginning of time.”

Waters’ This Is Not a Drill tour starts on July 8 in Pittsburgh, Penn. and ends on Oct. 3 in Dallas, Tex.

Swastika Graffiti Found Outside NYC Resident’s Apartment

Photo from Needpix.com.

Graffiti featuring a swastika and anti-Semitic slurs were discovered outside a Manhattan resident’s apartment on Jan. 27.

The resident, Brandi Goldstein, told NBC New York that the words “F— Jews” were written twice in addition to the words “F— you” and a deformed swastika in the stairwell right outside of her apartment. Most of the residents in the building are Jewish.

“I am horrified,” said Goldstein, who lost members of her family during the Holocaust. “I’m scared not only for me having it right outside my door, but for the children that live here. This should not be swept under any floor or any rugs. Everybody needs to see this.”

The New York City Police Department tweeted that it is investigating the matter.

Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey tweeted, “Sickening display of anti-Semitic graffiti, [especially] so close to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of #Auschwitz. We continue to honor the memory of those we lost & the lives of the survivors by speaking up against #antisemitism every day.”

Attorney General Bill Barr met with New York City Jewish community leaders on Jan. 28 in Boro Park, where he announced that the Department of Justice will increase prosecutions of local anti-Semitic hate crimes as part of a “zero tolerance” policy.

“We will move aggressively when we see this type of activity,” Barr said.

ADL Poll: 61% of Americans Believe an Anti-Semitic Stereotype

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08: A general view of the atmosphere at the Anti-Defamation League's Centennial Entertainment Industry Award Dinner at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a poll on Jan. 29 on anti-Semitic attitudes, which found that 61% of Americans believe at least one anti-Semitic stereotype.

The poll, conducted from Oct. 12-16, 2019 among 800 American 18 and older, asked respondents if they agreed with 11 statements containing anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as “Jews are more loyal to Israel than America” and “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Sixty-one percent said they agreed with at least one of the 11 statements; 39% said they agreed with at least two statements and 11% agreed with six or more.

The highest ranked stereotype was “Jews stick together more than most Americans” (44%), followed by, “Jews like to be at the head of things” (25%) and “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America” (24%).

The statements have been used as benchmarks for the ADL’s survey since 1964. At that time, 29% believed in six or more of the 11 statements. In 2015, that number was 14.

“While the decline [in anti-Semitic beliefs] over the past 55 years should be celebrated, the current share still translates to more than 28 million Americans,” the ADL wrote in its analysis. “In recent years there has been a surge of anti-Semitic incidents, including violent crimes, even as overall anti-Semitic attitudes remain low. It is a stark reminder that it only takes a small number committing violence to create an epidemic.”

Outside of the 11 statements, the ADL also found that 27% of American adults believe that Jews killed Jesus Christ, 19% believe that Jews discuss the Holocaust too much and 17% believe that Jews mainly control Hollywood.

“Anti-Semitism as a problem in society tends to be a precursor to bigger societal decline, so it’s something to constantly be aware of and monitoring.”  — Amanda Susskind

ADL Los Angeles Regional Director Amanda Susskind told the Journal that the 19% of respondents who Jews discuss the Holocaust too much is an issue because “as time passes from the Holocaust, more and more people are disconnected with the lessons from the Holocaust.”

The ADL also asked if respondents believed in criticisms of Israel that fall into the category under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

The ADL stated, “We found that roughly one-in-six polled (16%) agreed with the statement that Israel’s record on human rights ‘is worse than most other countries’ and around one-in-seven (14%) agreed with the statement that the Israeli government ‘sometimes behaves as badly as the Nazis.’ Seven percent of Americans said that American Jews are responsible for Israel’s actions, and 8% expressed support for boycotting Israeli products and companies.”

On the matter of violence, 57% of Americans said they were either somewhat or very concerned about violence leveled against Jews.

“We’ve been horrified by an uptick in anti-Semitic violence,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “Our research finds that this uptick is being caused not by a change in attitudes among most Americans. Rather, more of the millions of Americans holding these views are feeling emboldened to act on their hate.”

Susskind said the ADL’s yearly audits have shown increases in anti-Semitic assaults, and that one factor was anti-Semitic hate circulating on the internet. She pointed to white nationalists live-streaming shootings as a means of inspiring copycats as an example.“We didn’t see that three years ago or six years ago,” she said.

Susskind also argued that the current divisive political discourse and politicization of anti-Semitism has exacerbated anti-Semitic violence. “The few that are infected with this hate are feeling there will be fewer consequences to acting out on it,” she said.

The ADL recommended a series of policy prescriptions for Congress to crack down on anti-Semitic violence, including the Never Again Education Act that provides funding to schools for Holocaust education (which passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 27) and to allocate funding toward security for religious institutions and nonprofits.

“Anti-Semitism as a problem in society tends to be a precursor to bigger societal decline, so it’s something to constantly be aware of and monitoring,” Susskind said.

Second Swastika Incident on Massachusetts College Campus Within a Month

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

On January 28, a swastika was discovered on Worcester State University’s campus. This is the second instance of a swastika on campus since December 2019.

The Telegram & Gazette reported a swastika drawn in a classroom on the third floor of the Learning Resource Center. University and state police are investigating.

“It is reprehensible that this happened on a day that Worcester State conducted programming on anti-Semitism related to bias incidents that occurred last semester, and a day after the 75th anniversary to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz,” Worcester State University President Barry Maloney said in a statement. “This behavior will not be tolerated on this campus nor by any member of the Worcester State community, as we will continue to educate our community on what is appropriate, respectful conduct for all people.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New England Associate Regional Director Melissa Kraus said in a statement to the Journal, “I am disturbed and disheartened to learn of another swastika incident at Worcester State University on the very day I was welcomed to campus to speak about confronting recent anti-Semitic incidents.  I commend the university’s quick action in condemning this hateful act and its ongoing commitment to making Worcester State an inclusive campus for all.”

On December 6, multiple swastikas were found in the men’s bathroom on the third floor of the Learning Resource Center. ADL New England Senior Associate Regional Director Peggy Shukur told the Journal at the time, “The swastika incident at Worcester State is not an isolated incident, nor is it unique to the university. It is a part of a bigger trend we are witnessing where swastikas regularly deface schools and college campuses across the region and the country.”

Another Massachusetts campus that had a recent swastika incident was Emerson College, where four swastikas were found drawn on a stairwell in a student dormitory.

According to The Boston Globe, a bill mandating Holocaust education in Massachusetts currently is being considered by state legislature. However, supporters of the bill told the Globe that Education Committee Chair Rep. Alice Peisch is holding up the bill because she “is not in favor of mandates and doesn’t believe teaching about genocide will reduce hateful acts.”

Psychiatrist Says Monsey Stabbing Suspect Is Mentally Unfit for Trial

MONSEY, NY - DECEMBER 29: Ramapo police guard the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on December 29, 2019 in Monsey, New York. Five people were injured in a knife attack during a Hanukkah party and a suspect, identified as Grafton E. Thomas, as was later arrested in Harlem. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

A psychiatrist concluded that Grafton Thomas, who is accused of stabbing five people at a Hanukkah party on Dec. 28 in Monsey, N.Y., is mentally ill and therefore not able to stand trial.

Michael Sussman, Thomas’ attorney, made the announcement on Jan. 27. Federal prosecutors have two weeks to respond.

Sussman has asserted since Thomas’ arrest the day after the stabbings, that his client has a history of mental illness. As an example, Sussman pointed to Thomas being arrested in September when his mother — with whom he lived at the time — called 911 in response to Thomas slicing a chicken with a knife. Thomas was arrested when an officer ordered him to put down the knife but he refused to do so. He was subsequently diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was subsequently released, according to Patch.com.

Additionally, Sussman also has stated that Thomas told him that he has heard voices in his head.

Thomas’ family has similarly claimed in a statement to CNN that he is mentally ill and never has expressed any anti-Semitic beliefs.

“We believe the actions of which he is accused, if committed by him, tragically reflect profound mental illness for which … [for] Grafton has received episodic treatment before being released,” they said.

Federal prosecutors said on Dec. 30 that they discovered journals written by Thomas containing a swastika and references to Adolf Hitler and he searched for “Zionist temples” near him on his phone. Sussman has said that he found evidence supporting his client’s case in a vacant cabin that Thomas once inhabited. Prosecutors are demanding that Sussman hand over the evidence.

Thomas faces federal hate crime charges as well as charges of attempted murder. He pled not guilty to all charges.

One of the victims, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, currently is in a coma.

Second Swastika Found in Syracuse in Less Than a Week

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A second swastika was found on the Syracuse University campus in the span of less than a week.

The Daily Orange student newspaper reported that the swastika was discovered on Jan. 24 in a men’s bathroom stall in the Marshall Student Union. The student union is where various classrooms, stores and restaurants are located on campus, according to The Daily Orange.

On Jan. 21, a swastika was found drawn on a table in the campus library. The perpetrator in that instance was discovered and referred to the university’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey tweeted that it was disturbed about the second swastika but thankful that a perpetrator was found in the Jan. 21 incident. “#Swastikas are deeply offensive and hurtful to #Jews and other minorities,” they wrote. “We expect appropriate action [to be] taken.”

There have been 22 instances of anti-Semitic and racist incidents at Syracuse since the beginning of November, according to The Daily Orange. One of the instances was a swastika drawn in the snow across the street from an apartment building where myriad students reside.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, criticized the Syracuse administration’s handling of such matters in November.

“They have not been handled in a manner that reflects this state’s aggressive opposition to such odious, reckless, reprehensible behavior,” Cuomo said. “That these actions should happen on the campus of a leading New York university makes this situation even worse.”

Trump, Johnson Pledge to Fight Anti-Semitism in Holocaust Remembrance Day Statements

HERTFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson onstage during the annual NATO heads of government summit on December 4, 2019 in Watford, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson each issued statements on Jan. 27 commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day with vows to combat rising anti-Semitism worldwide.

In his message on the White House website, Trump paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

“As we solemnly mourn those who were abused, tortured, or killed at Auschwitz and other concentration and extermination camps, we acknowledge the heroes who risked their own lives — many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice — to help liberate the camps,” Trump said. “Their sacrifices helped the forces of freedom prevail to ensure that these atrocious crimes will never be repeated.”

Trump then touted the executive order he signed in December to address anti-Semitism on college campuses.

“Anti-Semitism will never be tolerated, and this action bolsters my Administration’s efforts to create a culture of respect that deeply values the dignity in every human life,” the president said.

He concluded his statement with a call for prayer for Holocaust survivors and the families of those who perished during the Shoah.

“We ask that the world reflect on this day and seek to ensure that we stand united against intolerance and oppression of people of every race, religion, or ethnicity,” Trump said. “And, in order to ensure that these horrific crimes against God and humanity never happen again, we must resolve to combat evil and oppressive regimes with democracy, justice, and the compassionate spirit that is found in the hearts of all Americans.”

Johnson similarly wrote in an op-ed for the Jewish News that he admired Holocaust survivors for informing the world about their experiences in public forums even in their old age. He added that is important for the world to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

“Even though the Shoah was a crime so unprecedented it required the creation of a new word — genocide — simply to describe it, its perpetrators wished for it to be left unnoticed by the history books,” Johnson wrote. “As the Red Army’s 322nd rifle division closed in on Auschwitz, retreating Nazis destroyed the gas chambers and crematoria in a desperate attempt to cover up their crimes. Despite their enthusiastic participation in the slaughter, they didn’t want the world to know what they had done.”

He warned that anti-Semites today are attempting to whitewash the Holocaust, and that it is imperative that they do not succeed.

“Speak to anyone who survived the Holocaust and they will tell you that it did not begin with the gas chambers or the pogroms,” Johnson wrote. “It began when anti-Semitic slogans were daubed on a Jewish shop window. When a Jewish child was abused on a bus. And when ordinary, law-abiding people chose to turn away and do nothing.”

Johnson concluded his op-ed with a pledge to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in order to prevent such horrors from occurring in the future.

“The government I lead will stand with you and fight alongside you so that the darkest of nights is never again allowed to fall upon the Jews of the world,” he wrote. “We owe those incredible survivors nothing less.”

‘Kill the Jews’ Graffiti Found in Marshall University Restroom

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Graffiti featuring the words “Kill the Jews” was found on a toilet seat in a restroom at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., on Jan.23.

The Parthenon, Marshall’s student newspaper, reported that graffiti stating “MAGA,” the acronym for Make America Great Again, was also found on a wall in the same restroom.

The graffiti has since been removed.

Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert condemned the graffiti in a statement.

“This hate speech is against everything we stand for,” he said. “We will do everything we can to identify the perpetrators.”

Marshall student Ralph May told WSAZ-TV, “I’ve always had Marshall being a very safe place for me. It’s disappointing to see that attitude being represented on campus.”

In December, swastikas were found on two Department of History posters inside one of Marshall’s buildings. Gilbert said at the time, “I am appalled and dismayed that someone on Marshall University’s campus would write an expression of such hatred, anti-Semitism and violence. This act is contrary to the very essence of the Marshall University Creed and who we are as a community.”

News Outlet Calling Trump Impeachment a ‘Jew Coup’ Given White House Press Credentials at Swiss Forum

Screenshot from YouTube.

The TruNews YouTube channel, whose founder said on the air that the impeachment of President Donald Trump is part of a “Jew coup,” was reportedly given White House press credentials on Jan. 21.

Right Wing Watch caught a clip of TruNews broadcasting from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We just want to thank President Trump and the White House for extending the invitation to be here,” TruNews founder and Florida Pastor Rick Wiles said. “Your TruNews team was sitting in the audience, very close to the stage. We got to see the president up close, hear the entire speech, and we’re again just honored that we are here. The White House has treated all of the media with a lot of respect and professionalism and courtesy.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted that he was able to confirm that TruNews received a White House press credential.

Jewish groups condemned the reported credentialing of TruNews.

“Unacceptable is an understatement,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted.

The American Jewish Committee similarly tweeted, “There are many things TruNews should receive⁠ — top amongst them being derision and scorn. One thing that it should not receive is credentials from the White House. This needs to be rectified immediately.”

Former New York Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is also the founder of the Americans Against Antisemitism watchdog, tweeted, “This is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate credentialing fake journalists who shamelessly push virulent anti-Semitic agendas. I’m sure President @realDonaldTrump will do the right thing when this comes to his attention.”

In a Nov. 21 video, Wiles called Jews “deceivers. They plot. They lie.” He went onto say, “This impeach Trump movement is part of a Jew coup, and the American people better wake up to it fast.”

LA City Councilmember David Ryu Issues Resolution, Letter Against Anti-Semitism

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Councilmember David Ryu speaks onstage during the Stories From The Front Line charity program at the Ebell of Los Angeles on February 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu introduced a resolution on Jan. 22 calling for action against anti-Semitism. The resolution also called for the FBI to create an anti-Semitism task force.

The resolution states that Los Angeles has the second-highest Jewish population in the country and the fifth largest in the world, and that “the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) most recent Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States recorded 1,879 acts in 2018, with a dramatic increase in physical assaults, including the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a wave of anti-Semitic robocalls targeting Jewish schools, JCCs [Jewish Community Centers] and synagogues, and a significant number of incidents at K-12 schools and college campuses.”

The resolution also notes that there was a 21% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in California from 2017 to 2018 and that the ADL “has linked the growth of anti-Semitism to a global white supremacist ideology that has fueled the rise in hate crimes in both the United States and countries across Europe.”

The resolution echoes the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s call for the FBI to establish a task force, “to address the unprecedented surge in anti-Semitic assaults and violent acts against the Jewish community.”

Ryu also released an open letter addressing anti-Semitism with signatures from 20 organizations in the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including the Korean American Coalition, Organization of Chinese Americans – Greater Los Angeles, and the Asian Pacific and Policy Council.

“An increasing number of anti-Semitic hate crimes in our city and our country calls on all of us to respond,” the letter states. “As leaders in the AAPI community, we recognize that the times are dangerous, and demand that we stand together and do more to fight against these hateful acts.”

The letter echoes the resolution’s call for the FBI to establish a task force and for increased resources for synagogues and Jewish organizations.

“This coalition stands to let perpetrators know that the over a million and a half AAPI Angelenos will help combat the attacks of our Jewish neighbors,” the letter states. “In addition, we aim to work even harder across our City to teach awareness and understanding in order to stop fueling the hate that leads to these heinous crimes.”

Ryu also said in his letter, “The AAPI community is no stranger to hate and discrimination. I think we feel a shared call to root out hate in all its forms, to protect our diverse cultural fabric, and to stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors facing unprecedented attacks. An attack against one of us is an attack against us all.”

Jewish groups praised Ryu’s actions.

“We thank Councilmember Ryu and the AAPI communities’ support for the Jewish community in this difficult time,” ADL Los Angeles Senior Associate Regional Director Natan Pakman said in a statement. “We join this call for additional resources to protect organizations and houses of worship, greater communication and information sharing on security threats, and solidarity across the city against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper similarly said in a statement, “We are very grateful to Councilmember Ryu and the leadership of the AAPI community who are expressing solidarity with the Jewish Community at a time when it is experiencing unprecedented levels of violent anti-Semitic hate crimes and rhetoric. We especially appreciate that Councilmember Ryu is adding his voice and leadership to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s call for the FBI to create a special task force on anti-Semitism, to try to take direct action against this rising menace.”

‘Jew Park’ Sign Found Outside Massachusetts Bagel Shop

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The owner of a bagel shop in Dartmouth, Mass., found a sign outside his shop that read “A Jew Park” on the morning of Jan. 15.

The Standard-Times reported that the sign was originally a parking sign for the nearby A & A Jewelers store but was cut in half so it reads as “A Jew Park.” The sign was taped to a lamppost in front of New York Bagel.

The owner, Steven Ginsberg, told WLNE-TV, “The way the sign was done, it almost looked like someone cut it with an X-acto knife. It wasn’t like the wind broke it. The wind couldn’t have pushed it over to my parking lot, stood it up on the light post and taped it to the light post.”

Ginsberg, who is Jewish, shared a photo of the sign on his Facebook page and wrote, “I have lived in this area for over 30 years and am saddened and disgusted that this type of anti-Semitic behavior is still part of our everyday life. Please join me in expunging all the hate people have for different races, religions, and other ethnic cultural groups.”

To all my friends out there and all my loyal customers of New York Bagel, I am saddened to report an incident that…

Posted by Steven Ginsberg on Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The police are investigating the matter as a possible hate crime.

Anti-Defamation League New England Associate Regional Director Melissa Kraus said in a statement to the Journal, “We are disturbed to learn of a reported incident in Dartmouth, MA, which appears to be an anti-Semitic message targeting a Jewish-owned business. We are grateful to law enforcement for treating this incident with the seriousness it deserves. We want the community to know that ADL New England stands with them and is available as a resource.”

StandWithUs Conference Teaches Students How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Photo courtesy of StandWithUs.

Under the banner “Israel in Focus,” this year’s StandWithUs (SWU) International Conference focused on educating students about anti-Semitism and how to fight it.

The pro-Israel educational organization’s conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport hotel over the Jan. 17-19 weekend, and was sponsored by the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation.

Addressing the 550 college and high school students and community members in attendance, Adam Milstein said anti-Semitism had been dormant since the end of Holocaust but has been making a comeback over the last 15 years.

“The reason why it’s so popular in the United States is because it started on the campus and it was permitted on the campus,” Milstein said, noting that organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and far-left professors on college campuses have perpetuated anti-Semitism under the guise of criticism of Israel, and anti-Semites are following suit.

“Everyone uses the language of the [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement,” Milstein said. “We allowed the BDS movement to make anti-Semitism legal and promote violence on campus.”

He warned that if Jews don’t fight back, “We won’t have too many Jews here in the United States of America.”

“The only way to fight anti-Semitism is by waging an affirmative battle for who we are.” —   Bari Weiss

At a panel titled New Trends in BDS on Campus, Rabbi Evan Goodman, executive director of Santa Barbara Hillel, said while he thinks that the BDS movement is shrinking, it still wields enough influence to affect political leadership on college campuses and instill “cancel culture” in pro-Israel groups like Hillel. Goodman said this was because BDS activists “no longer [want] to dignify other people’s perspectives.”

SWU Executive Director of Research and Strategy Max Samarov similarly said that the BDS movement has shifted its focus from getting companies to divest from Israel toward severing ties between people, citing the effort in 2019 to get Pitzer College to end its study abroad program with the University of Haifa, and McGill University’s student government’s attempt in December to pressure one of its members to cancel her trip to Israel at end of the month.

Academic Engagement Network Deputy Director Michael Atkins highlighted a trend among faculty members of hosting pro-BDS lectures and panels. “They are often presented as arguments,” Atkins said, “but they’re really sort of assertions without much opportunity for discussion and dialogue.”

Other panels and speakers discussed how anti-Semitism has become an issue in high schools. SWU Executive Director of High School Affairs Miri Kornfeld said there has been a “a rise in the number of swastikas and anti-Israel slurs and slogans” on high school campuses. It is imperative, she said, that students are educated on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

SWU Southwest High School Coordinator Kate Chavez said during the Anti-Semitism in High Schools panel at its training program for StandWithUs high school interns in August, 90% of the interns raised their hands when asked if they had ever experienced anti-Semitism on campus.

“It was a definitely a surprise for us,” Chavez said.

College and high school students on the Standing Up to Hate on Campus panel talked about their experiences. Sammy Gabbai, a student at Winter Park High School in Florida, said, “I’ve had coins thrown at me, calling me a Jew, been pushed around in the hallways by older classmen told ‘Get out of here Jew!’” She also said that a friend once drew four swastikas on her arm.

Throughout the conference, students shared how they have been fighting against anti-Semitism. Gabbai and Charlotte Latin High School student Abby Adams, who met through the SWU high school internship program, told the Journal they started an Instagram campaign called “Why I Wear My Star” two days after the Chabad of Poway shooting.

Adams said, “We were talking about it saying, ‘I wish there was a way where we could find positivity when things like this happen’ because we see so many people posting things online showing, ‘I’m sorry this happened.’ So we said, why don’t we start something like this ourselves?”

The “Why I Wear My Star” Instagram account currently has 82 posts and more than 2,000 followers. Non-Jews have also contributed to the campaign. Adams and Gabbai are now working to use the campaign as a platform for specific programs to fight anti-Semitism.

“We can’t wait to see where it goes,” Gabbai said. “Hopefully it gets bigger.”

Michigan State student Maddy Gun told conference attendees that a student vandalized her mezuzah in September 2019. Gun decided to do something about it since her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, had always told her to never be a bystander. “I felt like as his granddaughter I had to carry this on,” she said.

Gun set up a meeting with the student as well as the campus Chabad and Hillel directors, where she told the student, “What you did is not OK and not acceptable.” The student agreed to take a guided tour at a local Holocaust museum. “Hopefully he got educated,” Gun said.

SWU Executive Director of Campus Affairs Rena Nasar First encouraged student attendees to contact SWU if they experience discrimination to discuss potential legal action.

“You, as a student, you as a community member, you have rights,” Nasar First said. “You should know what those rights are.”

New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, the keynote speaker for the conference, told attendees, “The only way to fight anti-Semitism is by waging an affirmative battle for who we are.”

Swastika Made Out of Flyers Found on NYC Subway Stop

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: A man walks past a subway stop in Manhattan two days after a man was pushed to his death in front of a train on December 5, 2012 in New York City. The incident was caught by a photographer and has since raised questions as to why someone didn't help the man before the train struck him. The New York City subway system, with 468 stations in operation, is the most extensive public transportation system in the world. It is also one of the world's oldest public transit systems, with the first underground line of the subway opening on October 27, 1904. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A swastika fashioned out of various flyers was posted on a wall near an elevator at a New York City subway stop on Dec. 31.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) released a video on Jan. 14 of a man taping the swastika onto the wall at the 96th Street station in Manhattan. The flyers used in the swastika were Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) service advisory flyers, The Hill reported.

The MTA said in a statement to NBC New York, “Anti-Semitism in all its forms is repugnant and seeing the use of vandalized Transit property to incite hatred is appalling.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, condemned the swastika in a statement.

“I’m disgusted by the report of an individual posting a swastika made out of flyers in a subway station in Manhattan recently,” Cuomo said. “Anti-Semitism is a scourge afflicting this nation, and it must be stamped out.”

Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey Northeast Division Vice President Evan Bernstein said in a statement to the Journal, “Very disturbing to see yet another reported swastika incident in New York City. Especially in such a public location as a busy subway station. We cannot allow this normalization of hate.”

NYPD data released in November found that complaints of anti-Semitic hate crimes on the New York City subway rose 162% from 2018 to 2019.

Rabbis Warn of ‘Anti-Israel Craze’ Leading to ‘Hatred of Jews’ in NYT Op-ed

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

In a Jan. 16 New York Times op-ed, two New York rabbis warned that anti-Israel rhetoric in high schools could lead to anti-Semitism.

Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Joshua Davidson and Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Ammiel Hirsch wrote that they recently had spoken at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx about the rise of anti-Semitism in New York City.

“We emphasized in our remarks that for centuries, anti-Semitism emerged from both the right and the left of the political spectrum,” they wrote. “We described what far-right anti-Semitism looks like, but, since we are liberal rabbis, we spent most of our time discussing anti-Semitism among the left. It’s especially important for us to speak against hate in our own camp.”

Davidson and Hirsch acknowledged that although criticism of the Israeli government isn’t anti-Semitic, they argued that it is anti-Semitic to compare Israel with the Nazis and equate Zionism with racism.

“Why is Israel the only country in the world whose right to exist is not just questioned but actively campaigned against?” the rabbis asked. “Israel’s enemies protest that they are simply anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic, yet their view of justice requires eliminating the one and only Jewish state. And they attack it with such venom. Their hatred of Israel is a primal loathing.”

They highlighted two recent events at Fieldston: Columbia Law School lecturer Kayum Ahmed reportedly comparing Israel with the Nazis in November, and Fieldston firing history teacher JB Brager on Jan. 9 after she expressed anger that Davidson and Hirsch were speaking at the school because they had criticized “anti-Zionist intersectionality.” She had also tweeted shortly after Ahmed’s reported comments, “I refuse to ‘reaffirm the value’ of ethno-nationalist settler colonialism.” Davidson and Hirsch wrote that they had heard from students saying that during their speech, Brager “flipped a middle finger at one of us.”

These two events highlight how hatred of Israel has metastasized from college campuses into high schools and elementary schools, they argued.

“In Newton, Mass., a high school taught that Israel was ‘murdering and torturing Palestinian women,’ ” the rabbis wrote. “In 2016, a Palestinian activist visiting an elementary school classroom in Ithaca, N.Y., inveighed against Israel and called on students to ‘be the freedom fighter’ for the Palestinians.”

Eventually, such anti-Israel rhetoric descends into anti-Semitism, Davidson and Hirsch argued.

“Anti-Israel activity on some college campuses has led to verbal and even physical assaults on Jewish students,” the rabbis wrote. “And we must be honest with ourselves. It is happening in our space — in the heart of intellectual liberalism.”

They added: “When teachers and professors turn the classroom into an arena for anti-Israel animosity, students become unwitting pawns instead of safeguarded learners. They should feel they can ask questions without fear of scorn, explore their own ideas and draw their own conclusions.”

Davidson and Hirsch concluded their op-ed by urging communities to pressure schools into ensuring that both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are taught in class in addition to tolerance.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that the op-ed is a “thoughtful and important piece.”

In Jan. 15 congressional testimony, Greenblatt discussed how anti-Zionist rhetoric can alienate Jews, especially those on college campuses.

“Rejection of Zionism and the Jewish state is imposed as a litmus test to determine whether individual Jews — or Jewish groups — exhibit sufficient progressive bona fides to warrant inclusion in progressive circles or initiatives,” Greenblatt said. “This singles out Jews and can exclude and discriminate against them in ways to which no other religious group faces. Although the rhetoric that moves from criticism of Israeli policies to wholesale rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state and those who support its right to exist is hard to quantify, its impact on some parts of the Jewish American community cannot be overstated.”

In Congressional Testimony, ADL CEO Urges Social Media Companies to Address Anti-Semitism

Photo courtesy of Jen Liseo/Anti-Defamation League.

In Jan. 15 congressional testimony, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called on social media platforms to remove anti-Semitism from their respective platforms.

Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee, Greenblatt said that the internet has enabled anti-Semitic rhetoric because it festers in online forums and eventually spreads through larger platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“Online forums allow isolated anti-Semites to become more active and involved in virtual campaigns of ideological recruitment and radicalization,” Greenblatt said. “Individuals can easily find sanction, support, and reinforcement online for their extreme beliefs or actions, and the internet offers a reading and viewing library of tens of thousands of anti-Semitic pieces of content. White supremacists, for example, can easily access sites and content that serve the role of a 24/7 neo-Nazi rally.”

Greenblatt highlighted an ADL report from 2017 noting that there were 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets that year and an August 2019 ADL study, concluding that there are “a significant number of channels on YouTube’s platform that continued to disseminate anti-Semitic and white supremacist content.” Five anti-Semitic channels that the ADL monitored had more than 81 million views in July, according to Greenblatt.

Anti-Semitism online needs to be addressed because it metastasizes into the real world, Greenblatt argued. He pointed to a 2019 ADL study on anti-Semitism in the video gaming world as an example.

“ADL’s Center on Technology and Society found that 19% of Jewish respondents experienced hate and harassment based on their identity as a Jew,” Greenblatt said. “More worrisome is that between 8(%) and 23% of respondents across the spectrum of identities confessed to adjusting how they socialize, considering self-harm, or taking precautions to ensure physical safety because of their experience with online hate and harassment. Alarmingly, nearly 23% of online gamers were exposed to white supremacist ideology through in-game social interactions.”

The ADL CEO also warned of white supremacists publishing lists that dox various Jews.

“Lists of Jews in any form on white supremacist platforms are alarming, especially given the ongoing threats of anti-Semitic violence and the targeting of synagogues and Jewish organizations,” Greenblatt said. “While some trolling tactics do not explicitly call for violence against Jews, it is impossible to know who might interpret the lists and photographs as a call to action.”

He recommended social media companies to enforce their terms of service in order to combat anti-Semitism on their respective platforms.

“Every social media and online game platform must have clear terms of service that address hateful content and harassing behavior, and clearly define consequences for violations,” Greenblatt said. “These policies should state that the platform will not tolerate hateful content or behavior based on protected characteristics. They should prohibit abusive tactics such as harassment, doxing and swatting.”

Greenblatt also suggested that social media platforms bring on a third-party to conduct regular audits regarding “the extent of hate and harassment on a given platform.” The results of the audits should then be released to the public, he asserted.

“Companies need to conduct a thoughtful design process that puts their users first, and incorporates risk and radicalization factors before, and not after, tragedy strikes,” Greenblatt said.

Earlier in his testimony, Greenblatt discussed anti-Semitism that takes the guise of anti-Zionism.

“Many Jews, including those who are critical of Israeli government policies, consider Zionism to be a positive movement of Jewish self-determination, borne out of millennia of diaspora and of persecution in nearly every land in which they settled,” Greenblatt said. “Increasingly, rejection of Zionism and the Jewish state is imposed as a litmus test to determine whether individual Jews — or Jewish groups — exhibit sufficient progressive bona fides to warrant inclusion in progressive circles or initiatives. This singles out Jews and can exclude and discriminate against them in ways to which no other religious group faces.”

Greenblatt urged universities to take action when Jewish students face such discrimination and harassment on campus. If they don’t, then action can be taken under President Donald Trump’s December executive order, he argued.

“It does not, and should not, give universities a license to silence voices on campus, including those that criticize the policies of the Israeli government,” Greenblatt said. “But by referencing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, it does provide important guidance to help universities determine when advocacy crosses the line to targeted, discriminatory, unlawful anti-Semitic conduct, and it gives the Department of Education further recourse to protect Jewish American students and ensure a harassment-free education environment.”

Greenblatt’s full testimony can be read here.

Alleged Neo-Nazi Arrested in ‘Swatting’ Scheme

Photo from Pixabay.

A suspected neo-Nazi was arrested on Jan. 10 for allegedly taking part in an effort to target various people through what’s known as “swatting.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, which worked with law enforcement on the matter, defines swatting as “a harassment tactic in which a prank call is placed to emergency services (911), sending law enforcement officers (often a SWAT team) to a particular, targeted address.” The Washington Post reported that the suspect, 19-year-old John William Kirby Kelley, allegedly swatted Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. — which is where he went to school until January 2019 — as well as the African American Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., in Nov. 2018.

Kelley is also alleged to have swatted an unknown individual in January 2019 under Secret Service protection and journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. in June, according to The Hill. The Department of Justice charged Kelley with conspiracy to make threats; if convicted, Kelley could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

According to the ADL, Kelley’s alleged swatting was coordinated in an internet chat room with an unnamed group that expressed support for the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division (AWD).

“Perpetrators chose hundreds of high-profile targets for hundreds of swatting calls, including government officials, executives and journalists,” the ADL’s report on the matter states. “Other targets were chosen based on the perpetrators’ racist and anti-Semitic views.”

The ADL report also states that it has found anti-Semitic social media posts from Kelley, including tweeting in January 2019 under the alias “Carl”: .@ChickfilA I did shrooms with your sandwich and it was very good, thank you for helping me realize the real enemy: the jews [sic].”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “I am incredibly proud of @ADL’s Center on Extremism for its role in the arrest of a Virginia man linked to neo-Nazis. With #hate motivated violence on the rise, the COE’s work is more important than ever.”

Swastika Found Inside NYC Car

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: NYPD officers stand guard at Times Square on January 3, 2020 in New York City. The NYPD will take actions to protect the city and residents against any possible retaliation after the deadly US airstrike in Iraq, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on Friday. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

A swastika and several swear words were found inside a vehicle in a Queens neighborhood in New York City.

New York State Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Queens) tweeted photos of the graffiti on Jan. 13, showing the swastika scrawled on the back of the driver’s seat with the words “F— you!” written next to it. The same words were also found in a couple of other spots inside the car.

“Yet another anti-Semitic attack,” Rosenthal tweeted. “This time in our own backyard. We must be able to feel safe in our neighborhoods. We must do more. This trajectory is unsustainable and unacceptable.”

New York City Police Department (NYPD) Detective Annette Shelton told the Journal in an email that the vandalism occurred on the evening of Jan. 12. The following morning, the driver of the vehicle, a 49-year-old male, “discovered the driver’s side door opened and multiple punctures and graffiti written inside.  There are no arrests at this time and NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified and the investigation continues.”

Ricky Malone, Rosenthal’s communications director, told the Journal in an email that nothing was stolen from the vehicle, a 2019 Infinity.

Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey tweeted, “Aware of this alleged anti-Semitic incident in Queens. Reaching out to law enforcement to find out more.”

Swastika Found on Brooklyn Restaurant

Photo from Pixabay.

New York City Police Department (NYPD) officials announced on Jan. 8 that they are searching for two men who drew a swastika on a restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 22.

According to the New York Daily News, the suspects wrote “F— this place” and “F— this city” in addition to the swastika on Acapulco Deli and Restaurant. The local news site Gothamist describes Acapulco as “authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices compared to other places in the neighborhood.”

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force released a video of the suspects:

NYPD data released on Jan. 2 stated that anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City increased from 185 in 2018 to 229 in 2019, an increase of 24%.

Anti-Defamation League New York and New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein said in a statement to the Journal, “Many people think that Swastika graffiti is not a big deal. Imagine if your place of business, your school, your home or your house of worship was targeted. These acts impact individuals and create fear. We must not let anti-Semitic graffiti continue to be normalized.”

Department of Education to Investigate StandWithUs Complaint Against UCLA

Photo from Public Domain Pictures.

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced on Jan. 3 that it is investigating a StandWithUs complaint that UCLA improperly handled allegations of anti-Semitism.

The StandWithUs complaint, which was filed in October on behalf of student Shayna Lavi, focuses on a May incident when San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi was quoted by witnesses as saying during a guest lecture in an anthropology class that supporters of Israel are white supremacists. Lavi told Abdulhadi she was offended by the assertion, prompting Abdulhadi allegedly to respond, “That’s your opinion but you’re wrong. I stand with Jews who do not support Israel and I hope that Jews will disalign themselves with white supremacy.”

The complaint states that Lavi brought the incident to UCLA’s Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO), which caused the class’ professor, Kyeyoung Park, to repeatedly mention during class that Lavi was victimizing her. Park also allegedly rebuffed Lavi’s request to bring in a pro-Israel speaker to the class.

“In short, Dr. Park used her position of authority not only repeatedly to harass, embarrass and intimidate Ms. Lavi, but also to retaliate against her for exercising her right to seek relief from the hostile environment to which she was being subjected,” the complaint states.

UCLA’s Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) concluded in August that Abdulhadi’s comments and Park’s subsequent actions did not amount to discrimination or harassment. The StandWithUs complaint argued otherwise, stating that UCLA is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, gender or national origin, for not taking sufficient action in the matter. They urged UCLA to undertake a series of measures to address anti-Semitism on campus, including adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, issuing a statement acknowledging that Zionism is a key component to a Jewish student’s identity and establishing a task force of students and administrators to deal with anti-Semitism.

OCR’s Sarah Berman wrote in a letter to StandWithUs that was obtained by the Journal, “We have determined that your complaint is appropriate for investigation under the laws enforced by OCR and OCR is now opening your complaint for investigation. OCR is now beginning the complaint resolution process.”

StandWithUS CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement, “Students should never be subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation by their professors after standing up for themselves, their identity, and their community. For Shayna, as for many Jews, Zionism is an integral part of her Jewish identity, and university administrators should be in the business of protecting students against conduct that marginalizes and demonizes them, not giving such hate a free pass.”

Lavi told the Journal in a text message, “I appreciate that OCR has taken my complaint seriously and is looking into it.”

UCLA Associate Director of Media Relations Ricardo Vazquez said in a statement to the Journal, “After viewing a recording of the class and interviewing participants, DPO, while not endorsing the guest speaker’s ideas or the manner in which the class was handled, concluded that the comments made during the lecture were not the type of severe, pervasive and persistent unwelcome conduct that constitutes harassment or discrimination. Some background information that we can share publicly is available here.”

He added that “discussions of issues of deep personal concern may be profoundly uncomfortable, but as a university our goal is to help students critically analyze even unpleasant ideas and engage across lines of difference with respect.”

Elan Carr: Iran Is the ‘World’s Chief Trafficker in Anti-Semitism’

Elan Carr, newly appointed special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism in Poland. Credit: Erin Ben-Moche

During the Jan. 8 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) Global Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism hearing, United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr called Iran a leading exporter of anti-Semitism worldwide.

USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer pointed out during the hearing that Iran uses government resources to get its citizens to chant, “Death to Jews” and “Death to Israel.” He added that “anti-Semitism seems to be one of the core reasons [the Iranian regime] exists.”

Carr replied, “Iran is not only the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, it is the world’s chief trafficker in anti-Semitism. The Islamic Republic of Iran has pushed anti-Semitic dogma throughout the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world beyond the Middle East.”

He pointed to radical Islamists perpetuating anti-Semitic violence throughout Europe as an example of Iran’s anti-Semitic propaganda metastasizing outside the Middle East.

“What happens in the Middle East directly affects the European street and in many cases, the U.S. college campus,” Carr said.

Carr called on world leaders to confront the Iranian regime on its anti-Semitism, and specifically urged European government to designate Hezbollah as a terror group.

“If you’re not willing to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, then protecting Jews seems to be a goal that is not being achieved,” Carr said.

Carr also said during the hearing that the internet has been utilized as a key purveyor of anti-Semitic rhetoric, citing various online chat rooms.

“Those of us who are parents would never dream of allowing our kids to wander unescorted, or even escorted, in neighborhoods of crime and drugs and violence and danger,” Carr said. “Yet everyday, kids are being sucked into this venomous vortex of internet chat rooms and sites that spout hatred … and they feed off of this for years and then they become radicalized and turn toward violence.”

He urged internet platforms to enforce their terms of service as a means to expunge anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“Anti-Semitic speech very often violates the terms of use of these sites and platforms, so we should be encouraging … these platforms to enforce these terms of use,” Carr said.

Others who testified during the hearing included Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Anti-Defamation League Senior Vice President of International Affairs Sharon Nazarian.

The full hearing can be seen below:

NYC Councilman Says Media, Politicians Are ‘Festering Hate Against My Community’

Councilman Kalman Yeger

New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger blamed the media and politicians for emboldening the rise of anti-Semitism in the city in a Jan. 8 speech before the city council.

Yeger said that the media and politicians are perpetuating “an ‘us vs. them’ message against Orthodox Jews. You did this. When you deliberately paint a portrait of Orthodox Jews as backward members of society, who don’t vote how you like, don’t do what you want, don’t educate our children how you wish, you did this.”

He added that some attended the Jan. 5 “No Hate, No Fear” march “spend the other 364 days of the year festering hate against my community.”

Yeger went onto criticize the notion that the problem at hand was tolerance.

“The notion that a ‘lack of tolerance’ is at issue, as if Orthodox Jews are so heinous that our presence in society is something to be tolerated, is grotesque,” Yeger said. “We have the right to live in our city like anyone else. We have the right to go about our day without being assaulted. We’re not doing this to anyone. You’re doing this to us.”

The city councilman asked those attending the city council meeting if they had ever witnessed a Jewish student assault someone on a street in New York City. “Why is that never discussed, how we raise our children to be honorable, intellectual, decent members of society, how we are kind to one another?” Yeger said.

Yeger didn’t name any specific names, but he urged those who have promulgated divisive rhetoric against Jews to show solidarity with the Jewish community for 365 days a year, not just one day at a march.

“Leave us alone and let us be part of this city,” Yeger concluded.

Yeger, who as served on the city council since 2017, was removed from the City Council’s Immigration Committee on April 1 after tweeting, “Palestine does not exist” on March 27.

According to New York City Police Department data released on Jan. 2, anti-Semitic hate crimes increased 24% from 2018 to 2019 in New York City.

Quotes courtesy Hamodia transcript.