Saturday, October 07, 2017

More from Charlottesville

Nazis in Charlottesville again tonight!

Breaking: Nazis Are Marching With Torches Again in Charlottesville Tonight

Richard Spencer and his band of Nazi idiots are marching again with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, tonight.

They're chanting "You will not replace us" and "The South will rise again."

A link:

Marching to protest the racists, also in C'ville - Black Lives Matter chanting "All Black lives matter."

Harvest Moon over Empire State Building

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ken Livingstone and Ken Loach - antisemites

Just in case you thought that Ken Livingstone and Ken Loach were awesome socialist fighters for humanity, this is what they both said today:

Ken Livingstone:
Accusations of anti-Semitism came back to haunt the Labour Party after a fringe meeting appeared to compare the government in Israel to Nazi Germany.

Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, who is currently suspended for comments made about Adolf Hitler last year, says the issue is being "distorted." [This is what he said: "Hitler was "supporting Zionism before he went mad and killed six million Jews'"].

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer these people aren't inherently anti-semitic: "The simple fact is these issues are being raised by people like Wes Streeting and I think are completely distorting the scale of it.

"Some people have made offensive comments, it doesn’t mean they’re inherently anti-Semitic and hate Jews. They just go over the top when they criticise Israel.

"The people criticising Israeli government policy aren’t criticising people who are Jewish in Britain.

"They’re criticising a government like Jeremy Corbyn criticises Saudi Arabia for its abuse of many of its peoples."
So then what does make someone an antisemite? Death threats? Physical violence? Or could he justify those too?

And here's the interview with Ken Loach:
COBURN: There was a fringe meeting yesterday that we talked about at the beginning of the show where there was a discussion about the Holocaust, did it happen or didn’t it… would you say that was unacceptable?

LOACH: I think history is for us all to discuss, wouldn’t you?

COBURN: Say that again, sorry, I missed that.

LOACH: History is for all of us to discuss. All history is our common heritage to discuss and analyze. The founding of the state of Israel, for example, based on ethnic cleansing is there for us all to discuss. The role of Israel now is there for us to discuss. So don’t try to subvert that by false stories of anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

When fascism comes to America, it comes flying the Nazi and Confederate flags

We were wrong to say that when fascism came to America, it would come wrapped in the American flag. The fascists in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past Friday night and Saturday, came carrying Nazi flags and Confederate flags, chanting antisemitic and racist slogans, including slogans taken from the German Nazi Party. President Trump tries to wrap himself in the American flag, but it keeps slipping, and we see the swastika and the stars and bars.

And about these men (they were mostly men), our president said:
"Not all of those people were neo-Nazis.... Not all of those people were white supremacists." 
"They didn't put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides." 
"You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly." 
"There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones."
In the torchlit procession on Friday night, bands of (mostly) men belonging to racist and antisemitic organizations chanted "Jews will not replace us," "Blood and soil," "White Lives Matter." They attacked the small group of student counter protestors standing at the statue of Thomas Jefferson - they were certainly not "protesting very quietly." And on Saturday afternoon, one of the neo-Nazis rammed his car into people protesting the Nazis and killed a woman, Heather Heyer. Nineteen other people were injured. Our president didn't say anything about her today, and when he mentioned her yesterday, he didn't give her name or saying anything about her.

The Nazis threatened the members of the local Reform synagogue, who were not given any protection by the police (see below for an account by the president of the synagogue).

Neo-Nazis and racists were euphoric with joy at what Trump said:
“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth,” David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, wrote in a Twitter post shortly after Mr. Trump spoke. 
Richard Spencer, a white nationalist leader who participated in the weekend’s demonstrations and vowed to flood Charlottesville with similar protests in the coming weeks, was equally encouraged. “Trump’s statement was fair and down to earth,” Mr. Spencer tweeted.....
The Reform synagogue in Charlottesville was repeatedly harassed on Saturday morning by bands of Neo-Nazis walking by. Alan Zimmerman, the president of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, wrote:
On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. (Even the police department’s limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept — and note, we did not ask for protection of our property, only our people as they worshipped). 
Forty congregants were inside. Here’s what I witnessed during that time. 
For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I’m paranoid. I don’t know. 
Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There's the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil” and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols. 
A guy in a white polo shirt walked by the synagogue a few times, arousing suspicion. Was he casing the building, or trying to build up courage to commit a crime? We didn’t know. Later, I noticed that the man accused in the automobile terror attack wore the same polo shirt as the man who kept walking by our synagogue; apparently it’s the uniform of a white supremacist group. Even now, that gives me a chill. 
When services ended, my heart broke as I advised congregants that it would be safer to leave the temple through the back entrance rather than through the front, and to please go in groups. 
This is 2017 in the United States of America. 
Later that day, I arrived on the scene shortly after the car plowed into peaceful protesters. It was a horrific and bloody scene. 
Soon, we learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue. I sat with one of our rabbis and wondered whether we should go back to the temple to protect the building. What could I do if I were there? Fortunately, it was just talk – but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises. 
Again: This is in America in 2017. 
At the end of the day, we felt we had no choice but to cancel a Havdalah service at a congregant’s home. It had been announced on a public Facebook page, and we were fearful that Nazi elements might be aware of the event. Again, we sought police protection – not a battalion of police, just a single officer – but we were told simply to cancel the event. 
Local police faced an unprecedented problem that day, but make no mistake, Jews are a specific target of these groups, and despite nods of understanding from officials about our concerns – and despite the fact that the mayor himself is Jewish – we were left to our own devices. The fact that a calamity did not befall the Jewish community of Charlottesville on Saturday was not thanks to our politicians, our police, or even our own efforts, but to the grace of God.
Fortunately, there were other people who stood up for the Jewish community and against racism and antisemitism:
And yet, in the midst of all that, other moments stand out for me, as well. 
John Aguilar, a 30-year Navy veteran, took it upon himself to stand watch over the synagogue through services Friday evening and Saturday, along with our armed guard. He just felt he should. 
We experienced wonderful turnout for services both Friday night and Saturday morning to observe Shabbat, including several non-Jews who said they came to show solidarity (though a number of congregants, particularly elderly ones, told me they were afraid to come to synagogue). 
A frail, elderly woman approached me Saturday morning as I stood on the steps in front of our sanctuary, crying, to tell me that while she was Roman Catholic, she wanted to stay and watch over the synagogue with us. At one point, she asked, “Why do they hate you?” I had no answer to the question we’ve been asking ourselves for thousands of years. 
At least a dozen complete strangers stopped by as we stood in front the synagogue Saturday to ask if we wanted them to stand with us. 
And our wonderful rabbis stood on the front lines with other Charlottesville clergy, opposing hate.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chicago Dyke March and Chicago SlutWalk are anti-Semitic

The Chicago Dyke March and Chicago SlutWalk aren’t anti-Zionist. They’re anti-Semitic, by Mark Joseph Stern (Slate).
Are you a Jew in Chicago who’d like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? You’ll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalkFirst, you must not carry any “Zionist displays.” What are Zionist displays? That’s for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if it’s on a rainbow flag, it probably isn’t because “its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral.” 
Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, you’ll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled.

Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in leaguewith the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise.

One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job.

Listed all at once, these guidelines may sound too blatantly anti-Semitic to be stated openly—yet they are, at present, the operating principles of two widely celebrated progressive movements in Chicago. Both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk allege that these rules are compelled by intersectionality, the theory that all forms of social oppression are linked. In reality, both groups are using intersectionality as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, creating a litmus test that Jews must pass to be part of these movements. American progressives should reject this perversion of social justice. No coherent vision of equality can command the maltreatment of Jews.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mosaics in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Haaretz has an article today about the restoration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The church used to be covered inside by mosaics, some of which have survived to the present day, but have been obscured for many years by soot and dirt.
The Church of the Nativity was established in what is now the West Bank town of Bethlehem in the year 333 C.E. by Emperor Constantine, but that structure was destroyed in the Samaritan revolt in the 6th century and rebuilt in 560. From the period of the Crusades until 1492, the church underwent comprehensive renovation a number of times.

Since then, however, there have been only a few minor repairs. The Ottoman Turkish authorities constructed large support structures for the church after an earthquake threatened to bring down one of its exterior walls, and the British added wooden beams to support the walls. But in recent centuries, the church hasn’t undergone a thorough renovation.....
The cost of the renovations at the Church of the Nativity was about 18 million euros ($20.5 million), which was funded by the Palestinian Authority, the Vatican and other governments, along with a large number of contributors from the Palestinian business sector.

The renovations are being carried out by a family-owned Italian restoration firm called Piacenti with the assistance of Palestinian workers. Haaretz was given a tour of the site by the engineer in charge of the project, Ibrahim Abed Rabbo of Bethlehem; Marcello Piacenti, who heads the company that bears his name; and Franciscan Father David Grenier, the general secretary of the local Custody of the Holy Land, with oversight of holy places.

The greatest preservation challenge was restoring the huge mosaics that in the past covered the church’s walls. The restorers have estimated that only about 7 percent of the original mosaics remain – a million and a half tiles covering 125 square meters of space, compared to the more than 2,000 square meters in the past.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

New York Times interview with New Ithaca College President, Shirley Collado

New York Times publishes good article about our (Ithaca College) incoming president: At Ithaca College, a President Focused on Diversity.
Students at Ithaca College who sign up for intergroup dialogues in the coming semesters may have some interesting classmates: their professors. 
The discussion groups, where students, and now faculty and staff, come together to talk through challenging issues are among the many changes, big and small, that Shirley M. Collado, the incoming president of Ithaca College, has in mind as she sets out to usher in a new era at the institution. 
“Imagine an entire first-year class participating in an intergroup dialogue right as they come into town,” she said. “They’re living in the same residence hall, and they’re going to the first-year seminar, and they’re talking about religion and politics not just intellectually, but also in terms of their own lived experience, with people across roles.”
I like this idea. I teach a first year seminar, and last year, as a way for students to get to know each other better at the beginning of the semester, we did just this by exploring what "home" meant to all of the students. Home not just in the sense of the comfortable place they had all just come from to college, but also the conflicts between groups in their towns/cities and their high schools.
But as much as she leans on her studies to help her draft a new course for Ithaca College, the heart of Ms. Collado’s relationship with diversity lies in her life experience.
She is a first-generation college student, from Dominican parents, and grew up in a decidedly working-class home in Brooklyn. Her dad drove a yellow cab, her mom worked in a factory. College was never the assumed next step in life, like it is for so many who attend Ithaca College, but she was able to chart a path that began at Vanderbilt University as part of the inaugural class of the Posse Foundation. 
The pilot program grouped five students from mixed backgrounds in New York City together into a “posse,” offering them scholarships and introducing them even before their orientation, to help forge a sense of community from the start. Ms. Collado attributes a lot of her success to that experience, and she said it is a key element in how she personally looks at addressing diversity. 
Central to her diversity plan is just that: making diversity a core principle of how the college operates at every level, not just set apart into task forces and studies.
I also like this idea, and I'm very tired of task forces and studies on the topic. In two of my courses I have foregrounded "diversity" (I'm not so happy with the word - I'd rather say that I've foregrounded critical ways of thinking about race [as a constructed reality], religion, and political conflict].
A college cannot truly diversify until it has fully embraced all the aspects of diversity into its bloodstream, she said. Simply trying to recruit a diverse student body without centralizing the issue would just lead to the same diminishing returns many colleges have faced as they look for a more diverse student body. The faculty, staff and curriculum need to represent a diverse institution in order to bring about a truly diverse class. 
“You can’t change who’s coming in if you’re not willing to shift who you are,” Ms. Collado said.
I think she's right, and this was one of our problems - the college worked hard on diversifying the student body without thinking and doing very much about recruiting more diverse faculty and staff (although there were some initiatives in this direction).
She also sees a vast resource in partnerships with local community colleges to help usher in students with a wider array of life experiences. And right in downtown Ithaca is a branch of Tompkins Cortland Community College. “Community college students add a really interesting intergenerational component because they live different lives than the first-year students,” she said.
I've only had a few older students in my classes, and they have always added to the classroom experience. I hope that we will recruit more graduates of TC3 as well as other older students. I know that some college have special programs to bring in veterans - I think we should initiate a veterans' program at Ithaca College too. Perhaps it might also be a good idea to have IC becoming involved in the Posse program that our incoming president took part in. Another form of diversity that we have also really ignored is economic diversity - we need to recruit more working class and lower middle class students, and give them the opportunity to study at a great college. We shouldn't just be a college for 18-21 year olds from largely upper middle class families.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Jewish Voice for Peace Disrupt LGBT marchers in the New York Israel Parade

LGBT contingent at the New York Israel parade June 4

LGBT contingent at the New York Israel parade June 4

This year, Jewish Voice for Peace disrupted the Israel Parade in New York City. One of the groups they infiltrated and prevented from marching (temporarily) was Jewish Queer Youth - "a New York organization devoted to the health and well-being of at-risk LGBTQ Jewish youth. JQY runs a weekly Drop-in Center for LGBTQ teens from predominantly Orthodox and rejecting families. As our focus is the emotional and physical welfare of all LGBTQ young people in the Jewish community, we believe it is important that no one feels excluded from care because of their political, ideological, or denominational stance. Our membership reflects the full spectrum of Jewish feelings about Israel, and we support our youth on all sides of this important debate."

JVP disrupting the march.

JVP trying to block the LGBT banner.
This is a statement from JQY about the parade:
“Jewish Voice For Peace” infiltrators sabotage at-risk LGBTQ Jewish youth at the Celebrate Israel Parade 
What really happened this year in the LGBTQ Jewish marching group: 
This past Sunday, over 80 people courageously marched in the LGBTQ cluster of the New York Celebrate Israel Parade. JQY believes it is an incredible act of bravery for LGBTQ youth to proudly and openly march through an audience of over 40,000 predominantly religious Jews. Marchers included teens who were kicked out of their homes, schools, and synagogues just for being who they are. These are teens who often struggle with self-harm, suicidal ideation, and internalized shame. Yet almost miraculously, they muster up the courage to face the communities that rejected them. Their message to the Jewish community is very simple: "We all belong." As far as JQY is concerned, these youth are heroes.

However, in their moment of courage and pride, this most vulnerable cohort of the Celebrate Israel Parade was targeted for sabotage, bullying, and harassment by an organization called Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Seven JVP "disrupters" secretly infiltrated the LGBTQ marching cluster. They pretended to be part of our group, marching side by side with our teens. As our contingent approached 72nd Street, one of the JVP disrupters lunged toward our speaker system, pulling out as many wires as she could until our music went silent. At that moment, five other disrupters removed their shirts to reveal red shirts brandished with the words “DEADLY EXCHANGE” in black. In the absence of our music, they began yelling to cause a disturbance. They proceeded to block our marching banners with their own anti-Israel signs. The disrupters had formed a human chain, aimed at preventing our group from moving forward. Efforts to move forward were met with physical resistance, intimidation, and screaming. Finally, police and security swarmed into our group creating more disarray and fear. People were pushed, trampled, and shoved. Our marchers were terrified and shocked. In this confusion, some in our cluster thought it was a terror attempt and immediately fled the parade route. Ultimately, five JVP members were arrested. Despite this sabotage attempt, our group managed to turn the music back on and completed the march with our heads held high.
Such a brave group of people, JVP, picking on at-risk LGBT Jewish youth. The infiltrators wore t-shirts reading "Deadly Exchange" and held signs reading "Queer Jews for Palestine." How they thought that pushing and shoving fellow queer Jews would help the Palestinians is beyond me.

The Tablet article on the disruption reported on the words of Rebecca Vilkomerson:
Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said the LGBT marching contingent was “a carefully chosen target.” She explained that the protest was organized by “a group of queer Jews who feel strongly about gay rights not being used to pinkwash the occupation.” ....
“[The protest] was a hate crime,” said Mordechai Levovitz, the founding director of JQY. “The reason this happened is because we were lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender and queer. They targeted us. They didn’t target another high school; they targeted us, the queer kids.” 
When asked whether or not it would have made a difference if the organization knew the number of minors that were in the group, and the extent of the vulnerability of the population, JVP’s Vilkomerson said, “No, we were just targeting the LGBT contingent [in general].”

Monday, June 05, 2017

More on Deir Yassin Remembered in Ann Arbor

The Michigan Daily, a student newspaper, also reported on the SPLC designation for DYR.
Deir Yassin Remembered, a local group famous for its weekly protests outside Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, has been placed on a list of hate groups compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center under the subcategory of Holocaust denial. According to the Washtenaw Jewish News, Deir Yassin Remembered is "the only sustained action targeting a Jewish house of worship anywhere in the United States.” 
Mark Potok, editor-in-chief of the SPLC's quarterly journal, explained the addition in a recent interview on Michigan Radio, stating the group defended Nazism. "We list them because over the years they have come to more and more explicitly embrace real-life Holocaust denial," he said. "The kind of Holocaust denial that these people practice is essentially a defense of Germany and National Socialism.”....
Henry Herskovitz, a member of the board of directors for Deir Yassin Remembered and later, a self-described “former Jew,” stirred controversy in 2014 when he campaigned for the release of Ernst Zundel from prison, who was sentenced by a German court to five years in prison for inciting racial hatred through literature he published....
A member of the Beth Israel congregation, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of harassment by Deir Yassin Remembered, said the group's apparent concern with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli apartheid were superficial. 
“That is the nominal organization to which they are affiliated, but that is ancillary to their primary motivation,” the member said. “Their primary motivation is a deep anti-Semitism, in the same way as the Ku Klux Klan claims to be defending white rights.”
This is part of the article from the Washtenaw Jewish News (also published in the Michigan Review):
So far as is known, the picket of Beth Israel by Deir Yassin Remembered is the only sustained action targeting a Jewish house of worship anywhere in the United States. The picket has been condemned by members of the Palestinian-American community, by a great number of local clergymen of all faiths, by the mayor of Ann Arbor, the city council, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and The Ann Arbor News. On learning of Deir Yassin’s anti-Semitic views, The Ann Arbor Observer and several billboard companies have refused to accept ads from the group. 

Deir Yassin Remembered in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Victor Lieberman, the Raul Wallenberg Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, has just published an article about the activities of DYR in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One of the leaders of DYR, Henry Herskovitz, lives in Ann Arbor, and has picketed a synagogue there for the last thirteen years, together with a small group of other like-minded haters of Israel and of Jews.

Professor Lieberman reports:
In person outside the synagogue and on their website, DYR activists promote an array of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: Jews built gas ovens in the death camps after World War Two to frame the Germans. Jews created and now control ISIS. Jews destroyed the Twin Trade Towers in New York City on 9/11. 
Jews have organized all the chief terrorist attacks in Europe and America. According to a report in the Washtenaw Jewish News, while standing outside Beth Israel in 2012 a leader of the weekly picket summarized his views in these exact words: "I hate Jews. Whatever happened to them in World War II, they brought on themselves. They deserved everything they got."
He reports about another DYR leader, Paul Eisen, whom I have written about before, "DYR Director Paul Eisen appeared on the radio show of David Duke, the Louisiana anti-Semite, white supremacist, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."

And he also documents DYR's support of Ernst Zundel, a well-known Holocaust denier, who has been jailed in Germany (his native land) for "inciting racial hatred."
DYR leaders campaigned for the release from prison and the rehabilitation of Ernst Zundel, an ani-Semite jailed in his native Germany for "inciting racial hatred." 
During his trial, Zundel's lawyer signed court motions with the words "Heil Hitler." Zundel co-authored a book "The Hitler We Loved and Why," published by White Power Publications, which explained "It was never Hitler's Germany. It shall always be Germany's Hitler....Today, [Hitler's] spirit soars beyond the shores of the White Man's home in Europe. Wherever we are, he is with us. WE LOVE YOU, ADOLF HITLER." 
To express their admiration for Zundel, Henry Herskovitz, who is a member of the Board of Advisors and Directors of DYR, together with Daniel McGowan, Executive Director of DYR, visited Zundel in Mannheim Prison in Germany. In 2014, Herskovitz also posted a picture of himself greeting Holocaust survivors at a memorial ceremony organized for their murdered families with a sign reading "Free Ernst Zundel."

Sunday, June 04, 2017

SPLC lists Deir Yassin Remembered as a hate group (Holocaust Denial)

I just saw news about Daniel A. McGowan and Deir Yassin Remembered that appeared a couple of months ago. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which keeps track of hate groups in the United States, has just listed DYR as a hate group (in the most recent issue of its Intelligence Report, published in February of this year). It's in the category of Holocaust denial groups, where it certainly belongs (although that's not the only problem with the group, by any means). 

The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, in Rochester, New York, reported on the new listing for DYR:
A third area group, new to the list, is Deir Yassin Remembered. That Geneva-based group was created to memorialize a bloody attack by Jewish forces on a Palestinian Arab village in April 1948, shortly before the foundation of the modern state of Israel. More than 100 villagers were killed. Though some Jewish historians view the incident as a two-sided battle, many Palestinians consider it a massacre. 
More broadly, Deir Yassin Remembered is a Palestinian human-rights organization, said McGowan, a retired economics professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. McGowan said his group, whose board is by design half-Jewish, is far from anti-Semitic.

But some members of the group’s board, and McGowan himself, have spoken or written about the Holocaust — the mass slaughter of Jews and others by the Nazis in World War II. They do not deny the horror of the Holocaust but at times have questioned elements of the commonly accepted account, such as the number of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. McGowan said that constitutes Holocaust revisionism, not denial. 
But the law center defines "Holocaust denial" more broadly to include outright denial or efforts to minimize the extent of the Nazis' genocide. They consider revisionists to be deniers, according to the center's website. [RL: I couldn't find the link on the website, and the term "Holocaust revisionist" is equivalent to Holocaust denial. McGowan is engaged in sophistry].
More significantly, they [DYR] question what they see as the use of the Holocaust by Israel to justify its actions. “The Holocaust is used to keep people from advocating for Palestinians, because people who question its use are immediately accused of being anti-Semitic,” McGowan said. “The minute you express any skepticism of the Holocaust … then you are labeled not a skeptic but a denier, and you are held up for condemnation.” 
The group has been around for years though it apparently made its first appearance on the SPLC map only this year — a circumstance McGowan attributes to controversy that erupted in Detroit last year and again this year when the group erected a billboard reading "America First / Not Israel." Public complaints forced the removal of the billboards, he said. 
McGowan also said the inclusion of groups like Deir Yassir Remembered on the law center’s hate map is a marketing ploy. “They gain more money by saying ‘There’s a den of Holocaust haters in Geneva, New York and you’d better send us more money.’ It’s total nonsense,” he said.
What McGowan does is not historical revisionism in the sense that credible historians use the term. McGowan engages in Holocaust denial. "Skepticism" about the Holocaust means questioning whether it occurred, which is nonsensical, since there is ample evidence for the events of the Holocaust in the historical record. Of course when he expresses "skepticism" about the Holocaust he is labeled as a denier, because that is what he is.

Keeping an eye on a tornado

From the Times Colonist (Canadian Press photo, by Cecilia Wessels)

Man who mowed lawn with tornado behind him says he 'was keeping an eye on it.'

I could not resist the photo (nor could many people on Twitter, which is where I found it).
THREE HILLS, Alta. — A photo of a man in Alberta mowing a lawn with a tornado swirling behind him has been causing a storm on social media.  Cecilia Wessels snapped the picture of her husband, Theunis, on Friday evening as the twister passed near their home in Three Hills. 
She said cutting the grass was on her husband's to-do list, and as he started the task, she went for a nap. 
Wessels said she was woken by her nine-year-old daughter who was upset that there was something like a tornado in the sky, but her father wouldn't come inside.  Theunis Wessels said the tornado was actually much further away than it appears in the photo, and that it was moving away from them. 
There have been no reports of injuries from the tornado, although some other photos show downed trees and a barn with its roof ripped off... 
Theunis Wessels said he was keeping watch of his surroundings and saw the twister form as the swirling connected from the sky and the ground to form the funnel.... "It looks much closer if you look in the photo, but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us," he said. "I was keeping an eye on it.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Education, Free Speech, and Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College

On the unbelievable events this week at Evergreen State College: When the Left Turns on Its Own (New York Times).
Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus. 
This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation. 
A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.” 
Mr. Weinstein thought this was wrong. The biology professor said as much in a letter to Rashida Love, the school’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles,” he wrote, “and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” The first instance, he argued, “is a forceful call to consciousness.” The second “is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” In other words, what purported to be a request for white students and professors to leave campus was something more than that. It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist....
For expressing his view, Mr. Weinstein was confronted outside his classroom last week by a group of some 50 students insisting he was a racist. The video of that exchange [now removed from Youtube] — “You’re supporting white supremacy” is one of the more milquetoast quotes — must be seen to be believed. It will make anyone who believes in the liberalizing promise of higher education quickly lose heart. When a calm Mr. Weinstein tries to explain that his only agenda is “the truth,” the students chortle.
The letter that Professor Weinstein sent to Rashida Love (via email):

A video of the exchange with the students can be found here:

Professor Weinstein tries to have a rational discussion with the students, who curse him and refuse to listen to him. They demand that he resign. "Hey hey, ho ho, Bret Weinstein has got to go!"

Interview with Professor Weinstein on the Tucker Carlson show (Fox News):

A much longer interview with him on the Rubin Report (May 30, 2017):

Professor Weinstein's twitter account:

More information and a somewhat different point of view can be found in an article by Jonathan Haidt at Heterodox Academy: "The blasphemy case Against Bret Weinstein, and its four lessons for professors."

Professor Weinstein's account of what happened can be found in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next.

Evergreen State College Continues Descent Into Madness (June 2, 2017): "The student takeover at Evergreen State College has gotten so out of control that lawmakers in Washington State are now talking about defunding the school."

The article from Campus Reform linked by Legal Insurrection:
State lawmakers in Washington are fed up with the antics of Evergreen State College, and plan to introduce legislation Thursday to privatize the left-leaning institution. 
As Campus Reform initially reported, hundreds of students marched through campus last week demanding the resignation of Professor Bret Weinstein, who had questioned the school’s decision to ask white people to leave campus for a day of diversity programming in an all-staff email. 
In previous years, non-white students and faculty members voluntarily left campus to attend diversity workshops while their white counterparts conducted their own programming on-campus, but this year the format was flipped in response to complaints that non-white students feel unwelcome on campus in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. 
Despite the protesters’ profanity-laced denunciations of him, school President George Bridges praised their “passion and courage” while capitulating to demands that they be excused from homework assignments for the duration of their demonstration. 
The bill, spearheaded by Republican State Representative Matt Manweller, will be introduced alongside a letter to the state Human Rights Commission requesting an investigation into potential civil rights violations on campus surrounding the incident. 
Manweller and his colleagues are also discussing the possibility of revoking $24,000,000 in annual funding to Evergreen State College, but pledge that all students on campus will remain eligible for full financial aid from the state, should the bill become law. 
"These students and their administration are trying to undo the Civil Rights Movement. They are trying to re-institute a Jim Crow approach to education that Americans rejected over 50 years ago,” Manweller said in an exclusive interview with Campus Reform. “We must never go back to a segregated society—whether it be drinking fountains, buses, or school buildings." 
Manweller made clear that he places the blame for Evergreen’s current situation squarely on the shoulders of administrators, arguing that they created the conditions for controversy through their unquestioning embrace of social justice and failure to condemn the excesses of student protesters. 
“It is incredibly frightening that the administration at Evergreen would tacitly support Brown-shirt tactics we have not seen since 1930s Germany. That they would allow students to threaten professors and other students based on their race is simply horrifying,” Manweller continued. “The administration bears direct responsibility for this situation. They hired the professors who have elevated the pseudo-science of ‘social justice’ to a religious movement. Now all dissent is crushed by threats of violence or actual violence." 
Manweller told Campus Reform that he is optimistic about the bill’s prospects, asserting that the internal contradictions of the leftist movement on campus will be its eventual undoing.

“Like all radical movements in history, this movement is also starting to turn on itself and eat its own,” he said. “Professor Weinstein is a liberal professor who teaches liberal values. Now those students have turned on him like they have on so many other professors around the country.”

Friday, May 26, 2017

"Inevitable Consequences!"

ISIS/Daesh: "Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You."

Tomorrow, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party, is going to make a speech in which he will blame UK foreign policy for the terrorist attack on Manchester (in addition to other attacks on the UK):
Jeremy Corbyn is to take the hugely controversial step of blaming Britain’s foreign wars for terror attacks such as the Manchester suicide bombing. The Labour leader will claim a link between 'wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home', as he relaunches his party’s election campaign on Friday after the three-day pause.
Does Daesh, in fact, commit terrorist attacks in western countries because of their foreign policy?

While reading comments on an article at Harry's Place about leftist responses to the terrorist bombing in Manchester earlier this week, someone quoted excerpts from an article in the ISIS/Daesh magazine, Dabiq, about why Daesh attacks people in the West. In the latest issue, #15 (published in July, 2016), there is an article titled "Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You." Although the article was published almost a year ago, it's relevant when trying to understand the terrorist attack on Manchester, as well as other ISIS directed or inspired acts, like the attack on San Bernardino, California, on December 2, 2015, and the massacre at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.

To summarize their reasons: ISIS hates us because we are "disbelievers" who "reject the oneness of Allah" by "making partners for him in worship." This seems primarily to target Christians, who believe that Jesus is the son of God (although ISIS of course also hates Jews). This "disbelief is the primary reason" they fight us, "as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam." Second, they do in fact "hate us for our freedom" as George W. Bush and many people on the right have contended: "We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted." These things include: gay rights, drinking alcohol, fornication, gambling, and usury. Third, they hate the "atheist fringe" because atheists don't believe in God. Fourth, they hate us because of our "crimes against Islam," which include mocking Islam, insulting the prophets, burning the Qur'an, and vilifying shariah laws. Fifth, they hate us because our "drones and fighter jets bomb, kill, and maim our people around the world." Sixth, ISIS hates us because we've invaded Muslim lands and they fight to drive us out of those lands.

It's interesting that only the last two reasons have anything to do with the foreign policy of Western countries like the US and the UK, for our invasions of Muslim countries and continued war in those countries. The first three are purely religious reasons - because westerners (or "Crusaders" as they call us) don't accept Islam, live sexually permissive lives of debauchery, and because some westerners don't even believe in God. The fourth reason has to do with hostility by westerners to Islam (the religion), and burning the Qur'an.

The attack by Omar Mateen on the Pulse nightclub falls into reason #2 - hatred of gay rights and gay people. In a list of "operations" published in the same issue of Dabiq, the massacre is described this way:
America – On the 7th of Ramadan, our brother Omar Mateen, one of the soldiers of the Caliphate in America, carried out an attack on a nightclub for sodomites in the city of Orlando, Florida. He succeeded in massacring the filthy Crusaders, killing and injuring more than 100 of them before he was killed. The operation was reported as being the most deadly attack in America since the Manhattan raid 15 years ago.
While many people on the left contend that the last two reasons are truly why ISIS hates us and fights against us (and therefore find it easy to blame ISIS terrorism on American and British foreign policy), the Dabiq article refutes this contention:
"What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam."
They fight us primarily, therefore, for a religious reason. As the article continues:
"We fight you in order to bring you out from the darkness of disbelief and into the light of Islam, and to liberate you from the constraints of living for the sake of the worldly life alone so that you may enjoy both the blessings of the worldly life and the bliss of the Hereafter."
Thus, according to ISIS, the only way we can escape war with ISIS is by converting to Islam. Even if the US entirely stopped warring against Daesh, al-Shabaab, and similar groups, this would not be sufficient.
To see the entire issue of Dabiq, click here: If you click on this link, it DOES NOT bring you to the Dabiq website. Warning: the magazine is full of bloodcurdling arguments in favor of genocide, torture, and slavery, accompanied by graphically violent photographs.

For more excerpts from the article, see below the jump.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Rally today in Ithaca to protest ICE arrest

An undocumented immigrant was arrested by ICE yesterday at the corner of Cascadilla and Fourth Street, not far from my house in Ithaca, and an emergency rally was held this afternoon to protest his arrest. Ithaca declared itself a sanctuary city in February. 
The Ithaca Common Council in February passed an ordinance to amend Chapter 215 of the City of Ithaca Municipal Code titled “Human Rights” to add Article VI, titled “Sanctuary City.” The ordinance means Ithaca police officers and other officials will not ask a person’s immigration status unless the crime is directly linked to the person’s status.
This was apparently the first time in years that ICE had conducted an immigration raid in the city.

Among the speakers at the rally were Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, alderperson Ducson Nguyen and Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, D-Ithaca.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rasmea Odeh, convicted terrorist, pleads guilty to immigration fraud

In the recent annual conference of Jewish Voice for Peace, Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist, was one of the featured speakers in the closing plenary session. She pleased guilty today of immigration fraud and she will be stripped of her American citizenship and deported. As many others have noted, JVP disgraced itself by having Odeh speak, thereby giving support to a person who murdered two young Israeli men in 1969.

As Legal Insurrection reports, Rasmea Odeh acknowledged in her guilty plea that she lied on her visa application and her application for naturalization, asserting that she had never been charged or convicted of any crime, when in fact she had been arrested and convicted in Israel of taking part in a bomb attack on the Supersol supermarket on Agron St. in Jerusalem, which killed two young men. The attack occurred in 1969 and she was convicted in 1970. The two young men, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, were students at the Hebrew University at the time.
At the time of the bombing and conviction in Israel, Rasmea was a military member of the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Rasmea was so important to the group that Leila Khalid, the first female airplane hijacker, formed to Rasmea Odeh Brigade to try to free her. Rasmea also was on the list of prisoners whose release was demanded by the Black September terrorists who took Israeli hostages at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Yet Rasmea’s supporters would have you believe she was just an innocent political activist. 
Rasmea didn’t serve her life sentences in Israel, however. In 1979 she was released in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. She made her way to Lebanon, then Jordan, then to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, when she lied on her visa application by denying any prior convictions or imprisonment, or being a member of a terrorist group. 
Rasmea again lied on her naturalization papers, denying that she “EVER” (caps and bold on application) was convicted or imprisoned. She also falsely stated that she never was a member of a terrorist group or was involved in terrorism....
After an initial conviction in November 2014 for obtaining naturalization unlawfully, Rasmea was given a new trial so a psychologist could testify on her behalf that Rasmea falsely answered the immigration questions because she was suffering from PTSD as a result of alleged Israeli torture. That claim was ludicrous on its face, but it was enough to earn her a new trial. That new trial was supposed to take place in May 2017.

Instead of taking the case to trial again, and obviously fearing a lengthy prison sentence, Rasmea accepted a plea deal. While Rasmea’s supporters claim the deal was a victory because it would keep her out of jail, in fact is almost identical to the plea deal Rasmea was offered and rejected in 2014.
The following is an excerpt from the plea agreement, as posted by Legal Insurrection on Scribd (
Defendant Admits That the Following Facts Are True:

In 1969, Defendant Rasmieh Odeh was arrested and charged by an Israeli Military Court for participation in placing two bombs. One bomb had been placed in a supermarket. The other had been placed at the British Consulate. In 1970, Defendant Odeh was convicted of the charges and sentenced to life imprisonment, although she was released in 1979 after having served approximately ten years. 
In December 1994, Defendant Rasmieh Odeh submitted an application for United States Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Department of State form 230. Question 21 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration required Odeh to list all places she had "lived for six months or longer since reaching the age of 16." Defendant Odeh's full response falsely stated that she had lived in Amman, Jordan, from 1948 onward, thereby intentionally omitting the fact that following her release from prison she had lived in Lebanon for approximately three years. 
Question 33 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration asked whether Defendant Odeh ever had been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, or of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentences were five years or more imprisonment. Defendant Odeh falsely checked the box marked "No." 
Question 31 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration asked if Defendant Odeh had ever been "arrested, convicted, or ever been in a prison[.]" 
Defendant Odeh falsely checked the box marked ''No." 
On June 4, 2004, defendant Odeh filed an application for naturalization (Form N-400) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to afford her the status of a United States citizen. On November 3, 2004, an immigration officer interviewed Defendant Odeh regarding her naturalization application at the USCIS office in Detroit, Michigan. In defendant's naturalization application defendant made the following material false statements, which she reiterated and reaffirmed during her naturalization interview: 
1. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been arrested, cited or detained by any law enforcement officer or military officer. 
2. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been charged with committing any crime or offense. 
3. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been convicted of a crime or offense. 
4. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been in jail or prison. 
5. Defendant falsely stated that she had never given false or misleading information to any U.S. government official while applying for any immigration benefit or to prevent deportation, exclusion or removal. 
At the time she made the false statements, Defendant knew the statements were false. Defendant also admits that all of these false statements were material, in that they had a natural tendency to affect the decision of the State Department and USCIS. She made the false statements intentionally and not as a result of any mistake, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other psychological issue or condition or for any innocent reason, and notwithstanding any other statement or testimony Defendant Odeh may have made at any other time regarding those answers. At the time she made the false statements, Defendant knew that it was unlawful for her to provide false information to the United States Department of State and to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in connection with her application for immigration Visa and her application for naturalization.  
On December 9, 2004, defendant was sworn in as a United States citizen in an oath ceremony conducted by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. 
Defendant procured her citizenship by virtue of the false statements, because she would not have been granted citizenship had she revealed the truth.

Elisha Wiesel: My father was a witness, and now I will be a witness

A moving statement by Elisha Wiesel, the son of Elie Wiesel, when he went on the March of the Living this year: My father was a witness, and now I will be a witness.
My father never forgot. The things he saw stayed with him all the days of his life. He lived to speak of them to me, and to my children. My father was a witness.

He was a witness to the worst atrocity that man has ever unleashed on fellow man. And he was a witness who believed that to acknowledge the suffering of another—and to have them feel less alone—was an imperative for every human being. He spoke for victims around the world: Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur. The thought that genocides could occur in the wake of the Holocaust haunted him.

But my father was a witness to more than the Holocaust, he was a witness to the Jewish lives in Eastern Europe which it had claimed. He was a witness to his parents’ beliefs and their traditions and their values, some of which continued even in this place, even in that time: the father and son saving crusts of bread for each other, the Rabbis condemning God at trial and then praying the evening prayer....

I will be a witness. I am here today with my first cousins Steve and Sydney and we are witnesses that we are standing in the place where my father and mother’s families were sent to die simply because they were Jews, packed like animals for the slaughter onto the train while their neighbors watched.

And I am a witness to my children who brought so much joy to their grandfather, to my son in whom my father’s gentle soul lives on, and to my daughter, exactly nine years old today, whose soul throws off the brilliance of a thousand suns. Her name Tziporah bears witness to a little girl of the same age, my father’s sister, who was sent to the flames here 73 years ago.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Holocaust in the New York Times, 1942-43

From the Elder of Ziyon blog: The Holocaust in the New York Times, 1942-43.

This is part of an article from August 27, 1943, p. 7:

What shocks me the most is how much was already known in summer of 1943.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beware of false information from the "Real Farmacy" website & Facebook page

I've noticed an increasing number of my Facebook friends posting stories from I advise you to be skeptical of anything published on this site.

Simply from looking at the first few stories, it's clear it's an anti-vaccine site that is spreading the lie that vaccines cause autism (they don't). It frequently posts from an FB page called March Against Monsanto which spreads anti-vaccine stories claiming the link between vaccines and autism. (See this one for example -

This site also posts fake cancer cures, including one that claims that apricot seeds cure cancer ( Don't try this at home - apricot kernels cause cyanide poisoning (see

According to an article on the website of the European Food Safety Authority (,
"Eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Toddlers consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe level. 
"A naturally-occurring compound called amygdalin is present in apricot kernels and converts to cyanide after eating. Cyanide poisoning can cause nausea, fever, headaches, insomnia, thirst, lethargy, nervousness, joint and muscle various aches and pains, and falling blood pressure. In extreme cases it is fatal."
This is not a reliable website.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Tulsi Gabbard

If you haven't been following the news about Tulsi Gabbard, you should.

The Selective Peace Movement in Ithaca, New York

For the last six years of the Syrian civil war, there has never been an antiwar demonstration in Ithaca about the war. No one has protested Assad's barrel bombs, the destruction of east Aleppo, the Russian support for the Assad regime in destroying Syria - nothing. No demonstrations against the attempt of ISIS in Iraq to exterminate the Yezidis, the sexual enslavement of Yezidi women and girls, the destruction of historic antiquities. No one has gone out into the streets of Ithaca and protested the inaction of the United States in the face of the mass murder of half a million Syrians, and the forced homelessness of half the Syrian population.

In the past year there has developed an array of groups to welcome Syrian and other refugees to Ithaca, which is highly commendable, and friends of mine have been very active in the local refugee assistance groups.

But now, finally, I have just received a notice of an antiwar demonstration planned for Tuesday night at Cornell University, calling for "Hands off Syria!"

And is this demonstration calling for the Russian army and air force to leave Syria? Is it calling for Assad to go into exile and stop massacring his own people with ruthless air assaults, including the use of poison gas, both Sarin and chlorine? Is it calling for ISIS to withdraw from the towns and cities it has occupied?

No, this demonstration has been called ONLY against the US bombing yesterday of the Shayrat air base, the place from which the Syrian bombers left to drop Sarin on a village in the Idlib governate.

I really cannot express how angry I am about this. If the people who organized this demonstration really cared about the people of Syria and the array of murderers and oppressors they have been trying to survive since 2011 when their peaceful uprising began, they would have been in the streets long ago. Their silence until now speaks for itself.

HANDS OFF Syria! Emergency Mobilization Against War With Syria
Hosted by Cornell Welcomes Refugees and Amnesty International at Cornell University  
Tuesday, April 11 at 7 PM - 8 PM  
Ho Plaza, Cornell University Donald Trump’s recent missile attack on Assad regime targets is an act of war. The US government now intends to form an “international coalition” to achieve regime change, a course of events frighteningly similar to those that kicked off the illegal invasion of Iraq. Further military intervention will only fuel the Trump/Pence regime’s larger “America First” project of refugee bans, indiscriminate drone strikes, and domestic state terror. Gather with us on Ho Plaza to say: HANDS OFF SYRIA!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

More medieval cats (Dr. Karl Shuker)

Courtesy of an article on snail-cats in medieval manuscripts by Dr. Karl Shuker, here are three examples.

This first is from Horae ad Usum Parisiensemf 187r (15th century, in Latin). The left-hand image is of the entire page, and on the right below are two enlargements of the creature.

The next image is "a close-up of the snail-cat in f 70v of the Bibliothèque Mazarine's MS 62, NT Épîtres de Saint Paul. "

On this manuscript (by Dr. Shuker):
(originally the personal library of Cardinal Mazarin, the celebrated Italian cardinal and diplomat who served as Chief Minister to the French monarchy from 1642 until his death in 1661, the Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in France). As its title suggests, this manuscript contains the Epistles of St Paul from the New Testament, written in the Vulgate Latin translation. It consists of 149 folios, dates from the final quarter of the 14th Century, and was originally owned by the Convent of the Minimes in the village of Nigeon, located on the hill of Chaillot, near Paris.

The image below is from
"Maastricht Hours as MS [Manuscript] Stowe 17. Written in Latin (using Gothic script), but with a calendar and final prayers in French, it was produced during the first quarter of the 14th Century in Liège, the Netherlands, probably for a noblewoman, who may be "represented as a kneeling female figure in several places throughout the manuscript" (Dr. Shuker)

Redux: Cats at the Seder

Re-upping this post from two years ago:

The Jewish Studies Library at Oxford has posted a charming article about depictions of cats at Pesach seders in medieval manuscripts. Here are some of these delightful images.

Forli Siddur, Italy, 1383 (London, British Library, MS Add. 26968, fol. 119v). 

Second Nuremberg Haggadah, Ashkenaz, 1460s
(Jerusalem, Schocken Library, MS 24087, fol. 3v)

From the Oxford Jewish Studies Library:
In some medieval miniatures of the Seder feast, feline creatures appear under the table at the feet of the celebrating family. 
What do these animals do at such an occasion? 
The Pesahim tractate of the Babylonian Talmud discusses at length what to do if a mouse runs into the searched house with a bread crumb in its mouth (bPes 10b). The question is if the house has to be searched again or not. 
In the Second Nuremberg Haggadah, the cat itself comments on its task: “Behold, I bite the mouse, lest he eat the grain” (הנני נושך בעכבר פן יאכל את הבר). Another image on the same folio depicts a man pouring the content of a bowl into a big vessel. The caption says: “One hides the leaven and the grain, lest the mouse drag it away.” Thus it seems that cats are “invited” to catch mice which might bring in some leavened bread crumbs to the searched and already ritually clean house.
Prayer book, Italian rite, 15th century (London, British Library, MS Or. 11924, fol. 153v)

Sister Haggadah, Catalonia (Barcelona), 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 14th century 
(London, British Library, MS Or. 2884, fol. 18r)