Monday, March 12, 2018

Black teenagers in Philadelphia wonder: Why doesn't the world listen to them?

The world is listening to Parkland teens. Some Philly kids wonder: Why not us?

Milan Sullivan is horrified that 17 people died in a mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school. And she does not disagree with the teenage survivors who have stood up since the massacre, demanding action on gun violence. 
But she’s not leaving class next week for the National School Walkout, and she won’t board a bus for Washington for the March for Our Liveson March 24. Sullivan, a junior at Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker, is all for activism, but she is like a lot of her classmates: hesitating a little over this particular movement. 
For some students, it’s because they feel too removed from things that go on in suburban high schools in far-away places, or they feel numb to gun violence. Others wonder: Where was the attention during the protests over issues pressing our community, whether it be Black Lives Matter or the murder of a friend or relative? 
Politicians are going out of their way to help these kids,” Tatiana Amaya said of the Parkland activist students. “And there’s just a disconnect — when something happens in the white community, the black community is expected to support them, but people don’t stand up for the black community. The focus isn’t ‘What can we do to make black and brown kids feel safe in school?’ ” 
Amaya, Sullivan, and the other members of Raised Woke, a Mastery-Shoemaker club focused on social justice and youth engagement, wonder where the outrage is when people in predominantly black neighborhoods get shot.
They’re not alone. From Florida to Chicago, some people in marginalized communities have been asking the same question in the wake of the Parkland massacre.

“When something happens in the black community, we don’t get a lot of support,” Sullivan, 17, said. 
Or, as Kaiyah Taylor put it: “We have a lot of dying in our community, and no one is paying attention.” (Her brother’s friend was recently gunned down on her block, Taylor said, and there was no media coverage, no story about what the victim was like, no uprising to demand answers.) 
No one disputes that the mass slaughter in a matter of minutes by a teen toting an assault weapon rekindles what has been a bitterly fought and politically divisive national debate in the last two decades. But for this group of Mastery-Shoemaker students, a collection of dynamic, bright high school juniors, the issue is complicated, and a lot of it is about race. 
What would have happened if the mass shooting happened in Philadelphia, not suburban Parkland? the students asked during a recent wide-ranging conversation. Would the outrage have been as sharp? As national? They couldn’t imagine any celebrities coming to survivors’ aid with cash and acclaim
“We do care,” said Ahmad Abdullah, 17, “but we have to take care of ourselves.” 
Why do black shooters tend to be portrayed as thugs and white shooters quickly labeled as mentally ill? the teens wanted to know. 
And frankly, there’s also an element of desensitization, said Nathaniel Brown. “We’re numb when it comes to gun violence,” said Brown. “We see it every day. Honestly, you can only cry but so much.” 
Around the Mastery-Shoemaker conference room where the students gathered, everyone nodded. Then the talk turned to President Trump’s call to arm teachers as a way to ward off school shooters. Kyra Lewis is OK with arming “certain people — like security guards, or the deans.” 
But most students shared Perla Espinal’s view. “School is a safe place — we don’t want guns in school,” said Espinal, 16. “That’s promoting gun violence,” said Amaya. “It shouldn’t be that you have to have guns to feel safe.”

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Lebanon War and "Off Our Backs" in summer 1982

While engaging in the egotistical practice of looking myself up on Google, I found a link to a letter I wrote in 1982 to the radical feminist journal Off Our Backs, on the perennial subject of Israel and the Palestinians, written after the beginning of the Lebanon War in the summer of 1982. I am pleased to discover that my political opinions have not changed at all.

I wrote then, and still believe:

"To say it as shortly as possible, I believe that both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism are legitimate movements, and for either to think they can eliminate the other is unrealistic."

To the left of my letter is one written by Sarah Schulman, who is now a strong supporter of the BDS movement. This letter, written when she was 24 (I was 25 at the time) shows the roots of her anti-Zionism. She does, however, argues that we should not "fall into ahistorical rhetoric ranging from 'Zionism is racism'' to 'Anti-Zionism is Anti-semitism.'"

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Ben Faulding on Farrakhan and antisemitism in the Black community

Good article in the Forward by Ben Faulding, an African American Jew, about Louis Farrakhan:
Louis Farrakhan is more than just a bigot, a homophobe, a misogynist or an anti-Semite. Explaining who he is in these terms reduces the true nature of his evil. He is an exploiter. He exploits the economic depression, resentment and anger of blacks to leverage his own power and status. He uses the language of liberation and the language of demagoguery in tandem. He is a poverty pimp. No civilized discourse or progress can move forward with him, or anybody who associates with him.
Deepening the controversy was the unambiguous support or non-reaction from many Women’s March collaborators, including Linda Sarsour. She doubled down on her support of Mallory, completely dismissing the complaints of detractors. 
Even Jewish advocacy groups such as Jewish Voice For Peace and Jews For Racial And Economic Justice, who both recently collaborated with Sarsour on a forum on anti-Semitism, failed to respond. 
This failure reflects a more general blindness to anti-Semitism on the left. Indeed, a backlash to the backlash ensued, focused on Farrakhan’s lack of power (as opposed to say, the anti-Semites who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia). But Farrakhan’s bigotry is not powerless. Black anti-Semitism is a real thing, something the Jewish community in Crown Heights has been subjected to on a daily basis for decades.  
Even as a black Jew, I myself have not been immune to harassment on the streets. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m a man, and a large one at that. There have been muggings, stabbings, sexual assaults, break ins and murders. I know two people who have suffered permanent long lasting brain injuries as a result of these attacks.  
I cannot draw a direct connection between Farrakhan’s rhetoric and any of these incidents, but there has been a similar non-reaction from sectors who have taken upon themselves the mantle of fighting anti-Semitism. 
There were no marches of solidarity four years ago when a man walked into the basement of the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters and stabbed a rabbinical student in the head. Nobody changed their Facebook profile picture in response. We were on our own; as always. 
We can talk about the legacy of racism and how that affects anti-Semitism. But what that doesn’t change is that cynical goons like Farrakhan have exploited that legacy and increased the divisions for their own agenda — and we feel it. 
So, when I hear leftists talk about anti-Semitic incidents only in the context of white supremacy and Trump, I get a bit frustrated. 
JFREJ claims to be the fighters of anti-Semitism. But they only condemn anti-Semitism that fits into a narrow window that they have approved, no matter how much it comes in conflict with other people’s lived experiences. One has to wonder if JFREJ is fighting anti-Semitism, or just white supremacy? 
I don’t even think that Tamika D. Mallory is anti-Semitic. But I have seen person after person condemn the alt-right associations of prominent politicians and the Trump administration and remain silent about Farrakhan anti-Semitism or any other anti-Semitism emanating from the left. 
Their silence sends a message. It’s a message that reaffirms what many have suspected all along: The left doesn’t care about Jews and anti-Semitism. They care about their enemies and allyship is only important to them when it is convenient. Any leftists who fails to condemn Farrakhan and others who traffic in anti-Semitism is no comrade of mine. 

Tamika Mallory's Public Statement on Saviour's Day and the Nation of Islam

Tamika Mallory issued a public statement today:
Activist Tamika Mallory has faced backlash in recent weeks for attending Saviour’s Day, an annual gathering held by the Nation of Islam in Chicago last month. In an exclusive op-ed, the Women’s March co-chair addresses the criticism, her connection to the event and her commitment to building an “intersectional movement.” 
I proudly serve as a leader for one of the largest women’s advocacy organizations in the world. For that reason, my recent presence at the Nation of Islam’s Saviour’s Day convocation troubled some of the very people who I have fought for and worked alongside for most of my life.  
I have heard the pain and concerns of my LGBTQAI siblings, my Jewish friends and Black women (including those who do and those who don’t check off either of those other boxes.) I affirm the validity of those feelings, and as I continue to grow and learn as both an activist and as a woman, I will continue to grapple with the complicated nature of working across ideological lines and the question of how to do so without causing harm to vulnerable people.
I didn’t expect my presence at Saviour’s Day to lead anyone to question my beliefs, especially considering that I have been going to this event regularly for over 30 years. I first went with my parents when I was just a little girl, and would begin attending on my own after my son’s father was murdered nearly 17 years ago. In that most difficult period of my life, it was the women of the Nation of Islam who supported me and I have always held them close to my heart for that reason. 
I can see why, on a personal basis, you would have warm feelings for the Nation of Islam. You grew up in the movement, your parents were involved with it, and women in the movement supported you at a very difficult and tragic point in her life. If that was all you had to say about it, without trying in any way to evade the criticism of the NOI's antisemitism and homophobia, I would be much less likely to want to criticize you myself. People who are now strong supporters of women's rights, LGBT people, and Jews can come from intolerant communities whose significant flaws they now understand, and which they still maintain personal ties to.

But nonetheless, I'm surprised that you didn't expect anyone to question you for going to Saviour's Day. Weren't you aware, previous to this year, that Mr. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have been accused of antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia for many years? Did you not recognize on you own, after associating with people who fight racism, antisemitism, and homophobia, that the Nation has very significant problems? Are you being disingenuous here?
I am the same woman who helped to build an intersectional movement that fights for the rights of all people and stands against hatred and discrimination of all forms. I am the same person today that I was before Saviour’s Day, which begs the question – why are my beliefs being questioned now? 
Perhaps we're questioning you now because we have finally realized how close you are to the NOI, and that you have never dissociated yourself from Louis Farrakhan.
 I was raised in activism and believe that as historically oppressed people, Blacks, Jews, Muslims and all people must stand together to fight racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I believe that LGBTQAI people are not an abomination or a creation of man, but simply people, and that religion is not to be used as a tool to abuse, divide, harm, bully or intimidate. 
I believe you - but why can't you simply say that Mr. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam violate your current principles? Why can't you denounce them for supporting antisemitism and homophobia?
Where my people are is where I must also be. I go into difficult spaces. I attend meetings with police and legislators—the very folks so much of my protest has been directed towards. I’ve partnered and sat with countless groups, activists, religious leaders and institutions over the past 20 years. I’ve worked in prisons as well as with present and former gang members. 
Yes, you've protested the police or legislators. Even though you have worked with them, you have criticized their racist actions.
It is impossible for me to agree with every statement or share every viewpoint of the many people who I have worked with or will work with in the future. As I do not wish to be held responsible for the words of others when my own history shows that I stand in opposition to them, I also do not think it is fair to question anyone who works with me, who supports my work and who is a member of this movement because of the ways that I may have fallen short here or in any other instance. 
But you haven't haven't opposed Mr. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. You've stood in solidarity with them. You haven't called them out.
My fellow Women’s March leaders believe that we can be the bridge to connect different groups in the name of our shared liberation. We don’t just step into difficult spaces, we create new ones. I am guided by the loving principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., though I have fallen short of them at times. And it is with the belief that “non-violence seeks to win friendship and understanding” and “non-violence seeks to defeat injustice, not people” that we organized a march on January 21, 2017, that 5 million people participated in worldwide; and we have been guided by those values the whole way through. 
How can you now be the bridge for Jews or lesbians (I'm a lesbian) to work with other groups "in the name of our shared liberation"?
It is my intention to walk the tradition of Dr. Dorothy Height, successor to Mary McLeod Bethune as President of the National Council of Negro Women. In 1995, she faced criticism for participating in the Million Man March, which was organized by the Nation of Islam. Financial support was withheld from her organization, and there were attempts to bully and intimidate her. Nevertheless, she stood strong and proudly addressed the massive crowd of Black people who gathered on the National Mall. Her first words? “I am here because you are here.” 
I can't speak to Dr. Height's actions, because I don't know what her relationship was to Farrakhan or NOI.
I also take cues from my mentor, Hazel N. Dukes, President of the New York State Conference of the NAACP, who has brought together Muslims, Blacks and Jewish people and clergy from all denominations. Her office and her home are open to gang members, teen mothers and formerly incarcerated people as well. 
And how does Ms. Dukes think about Louis Farrakhan or the Nation of Islam? From what I know of the historical work of the NAACP, they do not in any way endorse antisemitism or hatred of LGBT people. 
Coalition work is not easy, and these women have operated from a place of authentic love for all people. My work requires an operational unity that is sometimes extremely painful and uncomfortable, even for me. But I push forward even when I am personally conflicted because our people are more important. 
– Tamika D. Mallory, Freedom Fighter
The problem is that your actions have led me to question whether you "operate from a place of authentic love for all people."  I'm not speaking to what's in your heart. We can never know what is really in another person's heart - but we can see how people speak and act. And your actions do not convince me that you have "love for all people." If you truly want to be a leader for all people, you need to pull away from Mr. Farrakhan and NOI, not by denying your history and personal connection to people in NOI, but by clearly stating your disagreement with the antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia of the movement.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Louis Farrakhan and leaders of the Women's March

Update - see the link to a couple of other good articles on the Third Narrative site:

Jake Tapper today sent a series of tweets on the annual "Saviours' Day" address of Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam. He spoke on February 25. It turns out that one of the co-chairs of the Women's March, Tamika Mallory, attended the speech and even received a shout-out from Farrakhan from the stage. Two other Women's March leaders, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, "have also praised and appeared at events with Farrakhan."

If we're going to call out the antisemitism of Donald Trump's alt-right fan club (which he gives a pass to), we should also call out the antisemitism that leaders of the Women's March are giving a pass to. I don't regret having gone to the Women's March last year (here in Ithaca), but after reading quite a bit about Linda Sarsour (especially her support for BDS) and now these two other Women's March leaders, I find it shocking that their relationship with Farrakhan has not been seriously questioned, much less criticized. I'm glad that Jake Tapper, who works for CNN, has brought this out in the open to a larger audience than the Jewish press (Tablet and the Forward).

Some of the lowlights of Farrakhan's speech:
In his opening remarks, he insisted that he is not an anti-Semite, but rather a truth teller, adding that the “powerful Jews are my enemy.” Apparently to illustrate that point, he remarked that when evangelist Billy Graham met with President Nixon, Graham warned Nixon about Jewish power, and told the President he was popular with Jewish voters only because he supported Israel.

In typical fashion, Farrakhan devoted a lot of time to talking about doing the work of Jesus by denouncing the Jews, saying that Jesus called the Jews children of the devil. He continued: “Jesus two thousand years ago never taught black people, he never taught in Egypt, he never taught in Africa, he only taught in Palestine. He was not sent to black people. He was sent to the Jews, the House of Israel to warn them of the end of their civilization.” 
Farrakhan views himself as the modern-day Jesus coming to warn “the good Jews,” telling the audience that “Satan is going down. Farrakhan has pulled the cover off the eyes of the Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through. You good Jews better separate because the satanic ones will take you to hell with them because that’s where they are headed.” 
Farrakhan also promoted the anti-Semitic conspiracy trope that Jews control the government and Hollywood. He told the crowd that the “white people running Mexico are Mexican-Jews,” and went on to say that Ukraine, France, Poland and Germany are controlled by Jews who “take on the culture, the money, the business” of those countries. 
He told the audience, “the Jews have control over those agencies of government,” particularly the FBI, and in life “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.” He claimed that Jewish people are the ones responsible for the “degenerate behavior in Hollywood turning men into women and women into men,” and that Jews are “the mother and father of apartheid.” He also promoted the “Pot Plot” conspiracy that the Jews and the US government are manipulating strains of marijuana to feminize black men. “God did not create man to lay with man. But you are being chemically programmed against your nature, you don’t know it.” 
He even mentioned the Women’s March, saying that while he thought the event was a good thing, women need to learn how to cook so their husbands don’t become obese. Tamika Mallory, one of the March organizers, was in the audience, and got a special shout-out from Farrakhan. Mallory posted two Instagram photos from the event, which Carmen Perez, another Women’s March organizer, commented on with “raise the roof” emojis.
More on the speech and Mallory's connection to Farrakhan (from CNN):
Women's March co-chair Tamika Mallory was in attendance, CNN's Jake Tapper pointed out on Twitter after she shared an image from the event on Instagram. 
Mallory has posted on social media about Farrakhan in the past -- on February 21, 2016, she posted an image of him from a stage at the Joe Louis Arena with the caption: "The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan just stepped to the mic for #SD16DET... I'm super ready for this message! #JUSTICEORELSE #ForTheLoveOfFlint."Mallory did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on Sunday's speech. 
The Nation of Islam is a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its "deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric," and its primary teaching promotes black racial superiority. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

COLD WAR II - everything old is new again!

Everything old is new again - but not any of the good old things. Just this week our president revived the old racist idea that only white immigrants should be allowed in this country, instead of people from "shitholes" like countries in Africa. Today we were reminded of the bad old days of the Cold War, which the same president is doing his best to revive.

I suppose that everyone has heard about this by now - at 8:00 am Hawaii time today, people in Hawaii were sent the following message:
It wasn't a drill - it was a mistake, but for over a half an hour people in Hawaii thought that they were about to be hit by a nuclear missile.

Thirty-eight minutes later, an official message was sent cancelling the first. 

Before then Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had sent out a message (about twenty minutes after the first emergency message) saying this was a false alarm.

How can this be happening??? I lived through the Cold War. I didn't know about most (or maybe all) of the false alarms that went off from 1956 (when I was born), to the fall of the Soviet Union. I don't even remember the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, although I do remember nuclear war alerts where we had to go sit in the hallway. We had a fallout shelter in the basement of our school.  I remember the nuclear tensions of the 1980s, and the unconscious fear I had that the world would blow up. (I didn't even know that I had that constant fear until the fall of the Soviet Union when I felt like I could finally relax).

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Update on Eliade and fascism

I've just posted an update to an old post on Mircea Eliade and fascism, with links to three interesting articles or books that deal with the question of Eliade's connection to Rumanian fascism.

Support progressive young Jews on campus!

Creating a Home for Next Gen Liberal Jews Through The Third Narrative

Joshua Schwartz
Northwestern University, class of 2015

Dear Rebecca,

As I know you’re interested in the work of The Third Narrative (TTN), I’d like to share my personal TTN story and the impact I know it can have on young progressive American students across the country.

Like many others in my generation, I experienced the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and Hamas as a traumatic watershed moment. Studying at Northwestern University, I remember my mother crying over the phone when we heard that Hamas had kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens – Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. I was further shocked when I learned that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager, had been burned alive by Israeli settlers. During those terrible days, each side unleashed sadness, pain and rage on the other. I asked myself, “Where do I fit into all of this? What should my generation do? What is our role?”

I was a college student who passionately loved Israel, and considered peace with the Palestinians to be the only way to justly resolve the conflict and ensure Israeli security. I knew I needed to find a political home that would enable me to live out my values, but I didn’t yet know that it would be Ameinu and its initiative The Third Narrative.

But before discovering Ameinu, I would face a major challenge on campus.

Students at Northwestern assembled a coalition – NUDivest – demanding that the university divest from companies profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. While clearly these companies helped sustain Israel’s military control, I rejected NUDivest and its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS, like the Israeli right and settler movement, refuses to distinguish between Israel and the Occupied Territories and sees the conflict as a simplistic choice between good and evil.

On campus, I advocated that pro-Israel and pro-Palestine activism are not mutually exclusive, and that the only way to fight BDS is to also fight the occupation and support justice for Palestinians. While I sought nuance and compassion, both sides rejected this approach. The Jewish coalition refused to include opposition to occupation in its written communications, and NUDivest pushed its resolution through the student government, giving BDS a victory.

When I graduated a few months later, I didn’t know where to turn.

It was then that I discovered Ameinu and The Third Narrative -- a home where I could strengthen the American Jewish community by ensuring peace, justice and the two-state solution remained a part of its advocacy agenda. At Ameinu and TTN, I was given a chance to organize a national network of academics focusing on Israel, Palestine and academic freedom; develop a curriculum for student-led learning on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and progressive Zionism; and engage students and Hillel professionals on numerous campuses to include the nuance that was missing from the BDS debate at Northwestern.

Through my experiences with Ameinu, I was inspired to go to Israel to study Arabic and spend a year working to promote shared society for Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem.

"Right, Left, and Center Seek a Political Agreement" - Women Wage Peace

Upon my return to the United States, Ameinu continued to nurture my progressive Zionist leadership, inviting me to join the Board of Directors. I am honored and excited to give back. While many young liberal American Jews reject all Jewish communal organizations as contrary to their progressive values, I believe we must find a place to re-engage with the institutions that provided our foundational connection to Judaism and Israel. For me, Ameinu is that place.

Through Ameinu, I am now working to activate my generation. I’m writing today to ask you to support Ameinu and help us launch The Third Narrative on Campus. This initiative will organize peer education programs on progressive Zionism, bring Israeli social justice and peace advocates to campus, and offer progressive volunteer programs with Israeli counterparts to build a cohort of well-informed young Jewish leaders who are passionately committed to American Jewish life and Israel.

We are seeking to raise $25,000 before the end of the year in order to pilot The Third Narrative on Campus at five schools starting in January 2018. This is just the beginning.

I know how Ameinu and The Third Narrative can change the life of a young progressive American Jew -- and the impact it can have on their involvement with Israel and the Jewish community. With your help, we can engage many more young progressive American Jews and make a profound difference in the next generation of Jewish leadership. Please join us today with a gift of $36, $50, $100, $500, or whatever you can afford.

Donations can be made online through TTN.

Thank you for your support of the next generation of Jewish leaders.

Joshua Schwartz
Northwestern University, Class of 2015
Ameinu Board of Directors

P.S. If you would like to support this initiative by check, please make it out to Ameinu, a 501c3 tax exempt organization, and send it to Ameinu, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. Note “TTN on Campus” on the memo line.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jerusalem and environs in photos in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif in 1877
Temple Mount - Muslims leaving for Nebi Musa festival, 1910

Damascus Gate in 1870
Outside Damascus Gate, 1860

German Colony (in Jerusalem), 1900. 

Germany Colony in Jerusalem, 1900

Hezekiah's Pool in Jerusalem, 1862.

Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, 1898

Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, 1898
Valley of Jehoshaphat with Absalom's Tomb (just to the east of the walled Old City), 1877

Main road from Shechem (Nablus) to Jerusalem, 1913

Rachel's Tomb, 1900

 Source of the photographs: First Photos of Eretz Yisrael.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Growing Antisemitism in Sweden

Anti-Semitism in Sweden now mostly comes from Muslim extremists and the left-wing, not from right-wing extremists.
STOCKHOLM — This past Saturday, a Hanukkah party at a synagogue in Goteborg, Sweden, was abruptly interrupted by Molotov cocktails. They were hurled by a gang of men in masks at the Jews, mostly teenagers, who had gathered to celebrate the holiday. 
Two days later, two fire bombs were discovered outside the Jewish burial chapel in the southern Swedish city of Malmo. 
Who knows what tomorrow may bring? 
For Sweden’s 18,000 Jews, sadly, none of this comes as a surprise. They are by now used to anti-Semitic threats and attacks — especially during periods of unrest in the Middle East, which provide cover to those whose actual goal has little to do with Israel and much to do with harming Jews. 
Both of these recent attacks followed days of incitement against Jews. Last Friday, 200 people protested in Malmo against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protesters called for an intifada and promised “we will shoot the Jews.” A day later, during a demonstration in Stockholm, a speaker called Jews “apes and pigs.” There were promises of martyrdom. 
Malmo’s sole Hasidic rabbi has reported being the victim of more than 100 incidents of hostility ranging from hate speech to physical assault. In response to such attacks, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 advising “extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden” because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo. 
Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden usually requires going through security checks, including airport-like questioning. At times of high alert, police officers with machine guns guard Jewish schools. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass. Not even funerals are safe from harassment. 
Jewish schoolteachers have reported hiding their identity. A teacher who wouldn’t even share the city where she teaches for fear of her safety told a Swedish news outlet: “I hear students shouting in the hallway about killing Jews.” Henryk Grynfeld, a teacher at a high school in a mostly immigrant neighborhood in Malmo, was told by a student: “We’re going to kill all Jews.” He said other students yell “yahoud,” the Arabic word for Jew, at him..... 
Historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden could mainly be attributed to right-wing extremists. While this problem persists, a study from 2013 showed that 51 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden were attributed to Muslim extremists. Only 5 percent were carried out by right-wing extremists; 25 percent were perpetrated by left-wing extremists. 
Swedish politicians have no problem condemning anti-Semitism carried out by right-wingers. When neo-Nazis planned a march that would go past the Goteborg synagogue on Yom Kippur this September, for example, it stirred up outrage across the political spectrum. A court ruled that the demonstrators had to change their route. 
There is, however, tremendous hesitation to speak out against hate crimes committed by members of another minority group in a country that prides itself on welcoming minorities and immigrants. In 2015, Sweden was second only to Germany in the number of Syrian refugees it welcomed. Yet the three men arrested in the Molotov cocktail attack were newly arrived immigrants, two Syrians and a Palestinian. 
The fear of being accused of intolerance has paralyzed Sweden’s leaders from properly addressing deep-seated intolerance. 
Some of the country’s leaders have even used Israel as a convenient boogeyman to explain violence. After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, explained radicalism among European Muslims with reference to Israel: “Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there isn’t a future. We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” 
In an interview in June, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was askedwhether Sweden had been na簿ve about the link between immigration and anti-Semitism. His response was typical of the way in which leading politicians have avoided giving straight answers about the threat against the country’s Jews: “We have a problem in Sweden with anti-Semitism, and it doesn’t matter who expresses it, it’s still as darn wrong.” 
But the problem has grown so dire that it finally forced Mr. Lofven to admit in an interview this month: “We will not ignore the fact that many people have come here from the Middle East, where anti-Semitism is a widespread idea, almost part of the ideology. We must become even clearer, dare to talk more about it.”.....

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why I signed the Jewish Studies scholars statement on Jerusalem

I signed this statement criticizing Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move the American embassy to Jerusalem. I signed not because I think that Jerusalem isn't the capital of Israel (the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and most government ministries are there - it's obviously the capital of Israel, no matter what other nations say), but because Trump's announcement does not acknowledge that Palestinians also have a legitimate claim to Jerusalem. I believe that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinians state. 

Jerusalem is one of the central issues to be decided in any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and predetermining its status forecloses upon the possibility that the city could be a capital of both states.

We write as Jewish Studies scholars to express our dismay at the Trump administration's decision to reverse decades of bipartisan U.S. policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and authorizing the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation and ensures respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to Jerusalem. 
Jerusalem is of immense religious and thus emotional significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. It is the focus of national aspirations for both Israelis and Palestinians. We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access to the city’s cultural and material resources. Today, unfortunately, that is not the case. 
As the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem* has documented, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem endure systematic inequalities, including an inequitable distribution of the city's budget and municipal services, routine denial of building permits that are granted to Jewish residents, home demolitions, and legal confiscation of property for Jewish settlement. In addition, Palestinians in the West Bank, unlike Jewish Israelis resident in that territory, require a special permit to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites.

In this context, a declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence. We therefore call on the U.S. government to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the President’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Kayla Moore - "One of our attorneys is a Jew"

At a campaign rally for Ray Moore tonight in Midland City, AL, Kayla Moore spoke about accusations of antisemitism against her husband.

I will face this problem next semester.

Kayla Moore said:
"Fake news will tell you that we don't care for Jews. I'm telling you all this because I've seen it and I just want to set the record straight while they're here. [waving to reporters] [cheering from the crowd]. One of our attorneys is a Jew. [cheering and clapping]."' 
Kayla Moore's expression when she said "is a Jew."
"We've had very close friends who are Jewish, and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them. [more cheers and whistles."
Jews! and rabbis!

And they "fellowship" with them. I didn't realize the word was a verb as well as a noun.

From an article, "Fellowship is a verb!" by Ray McDonald (a Methodist minister):
What do you think of when you hear the word fellowship? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, fellowship can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it might mean companionship or company. It might mean a community of interest, activity, feeling or experience, a company of equals or friends. As a verb, it seems to be exclusively used by churches as in; to join in fellowship especially with a church member. 
I like looking at fellowship as a verb. It is active! It is doing something – being together – enjoying each other’s company. We come together on Sunday mornings to praise and worship God together. In doing so – we are fellowshipping together. We are being involved with one another’s lives.
Does Kayla Moore mean that they meet together with their Jewish friends to pray and worship God together? (And if so, who do they all pray to?). Or just that they're involved with each others' lives, as friends? And who are these friends? Could we have a few names?

Somehow I don't find Kayla Moore's words particularly convincing. If she really had close Jewish friends, I doubt she'd be making speeches about them. And if she wants us to think that she and her husband are free of anti-Jewish animus, talking about their Jewish lawyer is hardly the way to go about it, since it's such a stereotype.

I hope that Roy Moore will lose the Senate race tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"We want 48" - Anti-Israel and anti-semitic demonstration in Times Square

Many of the protests around the world against Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli's capital and his decision that the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem have been marked by open antisemitism, including here in the United States.

rally in Times Square on Friday, December 8, loudly proclaimed that the goal was one state - Palestine, not two states beside each other, and demanded a third intifada and revolution. They want an end to Israel and its total replacement by Palestine.

These were some of the chants:
"We don't want no two-state, we want 48" (Israel was founded in 1948; the problem isn't just the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem).

"With spirit and blood we'll redeem Al Aqsa" (in Arabic)

"There is only one solution: Intifada Revolution."

"Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud Jaish Muhammad saya'ud" - "Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews: Muhammad's army will return." This refers to a battle in the early 600s, when a Jewish tribe in Khaybar, Arabia, was defeated by the troops of Muhammad.

"Intifada Intifada. Long live Intifada."
"From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free." 
"When people are occupied, resistance is justified." 
"Palestine is ours alone." 
The rally was organized by Palestinian American Community Center in New Jersey, New York City SJP, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, NY4Palestine, and Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, but the speakers also came from other organizations, including the International Action Center and the Palestinian Youth Movement in New York (the speaker from this organization referred to the "Zionist Entity" not to Israel).

If you watch the longer video, you'll see a Jewish man wearing a streimel - the token representative of Neturei Karta, I assume, who makes it possible for the demonstrators to claim that they are not antisemitic.

For a longer video of the rally:

Saturday, November 25, 2017

On not normalizing Nazis

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review of "Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left"

Jeffrey Herf. Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Illustrations. 493 pp. $29.99 (paper), ISBN 978-1-107-46162-8; $99.99 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-107-08986-0.

Reviewed by Philipp Lenhard (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit瓣t M羹nchen, Historisches Seminar J羹dische Geschichte und Kultur)

Published on H-Judaic (November, 2017)
When the German terrorists Wilfried B繹se and Brigitte Kuhlmann hijacked Air France Flight 139 on June 27, 1976, and separated Jewish and Israeli from non-Jewish hostages, the Nazi past seemed to resurge in a new, left-radical disguise. Since 1969, German leftists had maintained close contacts with Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Fatah, the two largest groups forming the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). As a result of this collaboration, a series of anti-Jewish attacks were carried out in West Germany throughout the 1970s in the name of a so-called resistance against US imperialism and Zionist racism. The hijacking of the Air France flight and the “selection” of the Jewish passengers represent the zenith of German left-wing anti-Zionism that declined in the 1980s and has been increasingly challenged by leftist supporters of Israel since the 1990s.[1] However, the fine line between criticism of Israeli politics, hatred against Israel, and antisemitism remains an urgent issue today.[2] 
Historical research takes on an important role in uncovering the history of anti-Zionism and antisemitism in their manifold forms. Scholars of Jewish history have long argued that both Jewish and non-Jewish anti-Zionism prior to the Holocaust cannot easily be equated with antisemitism because the rejection of Zionism often stemmed from a universalist critique of nationalism as it had evolved from the ideas of the European Enlightenment. [3] At the same time, late nineteenth-century antisemites already used anti-Zionist ideas to denounce Jews as being incapable of running a state.[4] After the extermination of European Jewry and the foundation of the state of Israel, anti-Zionism was directed not only against an ideology but also against the existing Jewish state of Holocaust survivors and their children and grandchildren. Thus, any attempt to critique Zionism before the mass murder has to at least face the accusation of historical blindness. Socialist and Communist movements and parties as well as the Communist regimes after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, including the German Democratic Republic (GDR), founded in 1949, only one year after the foundation of the Jewish state, had to face this conflicted heritage. In most cases, pre-Holocaust anti-Zionism was perpetuated or even radicalized under the influence of Joseph Stalin’s anti-cosmopolitan and anti-imperialist doctrines. 
[1]. Despite its overall pro-Palestinian agenda, the Far Left party Die Linke emphasizes that “Israel’s existence and the history of its foundation are irrevocable consequences of the Shoah and the extermination of European Jewry, a historical consequence of a centuries-old antisemitism that predates Nazi Fascism and that encompasses more than the European-Christian history of persecution. This world-historical emancipation is worth our unrestricted solidarity, and this possibility will be defended in all future” (translation mine). Die Linke, (accessed October 12, 2017). Compared to other European leftist parties, this statement shows a profound transformation of the German left wing’s diction over the course of the last decades. 
[2]. In a recent book about Operation Entebbe (Legenden um Entebbe: Ein Akt der Luftpiraterie und seine Dimensionen in der politischen Diskussion [M羹nster: Unrast, 2016]), edited by the Far Left activist Markus Mohr, antisemitism from the left is systematically downplayed, which has aroused a heated debate in the left-wing weekly Jungle World. 
[3]. See for the transition L矇on Poliakov, Vom Antizionismus zum Antisemitismus (Freiburg im Breisgau: a Ira, 1992).
[4]. See, for example, Eugen D羹hring, Die Judenfrage als Racen-, Sitten- und Culturfrage (Karlsruhe, Leipzig: H. Reuther, 1881), 110n. 
For the rest of the review: Herf.