Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Antisemitism and self-exculpation at the University of Illinois at Chicago

A denunciation of the antisemitic posters found at the University of Illinois at Chicago has just been posted to Mondoweiss, of all places: "Regarding the anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim posters on UIC’s campus."

If this was intended to reassure Jewish students and faculty at UIC it's hard to imagine that placing this statement at Mondoweiss would have that effect. I haven't found it placed in any other online media. Hence, I don't think that Jews are actually the audience (except for far left anti-Zionist Jews).

In my opinion, this statement is mostly intended to prove how pure the authors of the statement are of antisemitism - even though there is antisemitism in the pro-Palestinian movement, which its leaders hardly ever acknowledge (and sometimes spread themselves), and both the pro-Palestinian movement and some parts of the Black Lives Matter movement make statements calling for the dismantling of the state of Israel, which I regard as antisemitic. It's also intended to portray themselves as equal victims of these posters - even the headline to the article grabs the attention away from the explicitly anti-Jewish nature of the posters.

It's also remarkable that the statement says nothing about supporting Jewish students or faculty at UIC, or Jews in the city of Chicago. This also says to me that the main interest is to distance themselves from the flyers, rather than stand in actual solidarity with Jews.

[On March 15, 2017, the top leaders of the university, including the Chancellor and Provost, denounced the first poster, which appeared several days before the next four, with these words: "Today, anti-Semitic posters were found on campus that defame, insult and negatively portray Jewish members of our campus community. Such actions do not reflect the values we hold as a community. Acts that invoke hatred or violence toward members of our community will not be tolerated on our campus." See also an article on the Algemeiner website, which expresses the views of some Jewish students - End Jewish Privilege Fliers Distributed at Illinois University Have Students Up in Arms].

That said, I believe them. I don't think people in the pro-Palestinian movement or Black Lives Matter are responsible for these posters. As the BLM statement that I published yesterday says, "We’ve noticed a disturbing new trend where people have been using language from social justice circles to hide their racist agenda." (I found the BLM statement more to the point and less involved in self-exculpation). I find it far more likely that NeoNazis are cloaking their antisemitism in pseudo pro-Palestinian language.

This is the statement:
JOINT STATEMENT
On March 16, a series of flyers were posted on University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) campus that exploit social justice issues to spread anti-Semitic views. First and foremost, as units on campus that work at the forefront of UIC’s commitment to diversity and social justice, we condemn all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness or any forms of hatred, phobia, or dehumanization. 
Secondly, the damaging and hurtful nature of these posters is that they seek to malign and divide some of the very groups that are fighting injustice and xenophobia in the first place. They erroneously depict the groups “Black Lives Matter” and “We are Muslims” as authors of the anti-Semitic hateful flyers. No specific group takes credit but hashtags are added to suggest authorship of the incendiary flyers by Black and Muslim/Arab organizations. If real groups authored these flyers, why not take credit? If they did not want to be associated, why incriminate their movements? It makes no sense. Moreover, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag is not even the # most commonly used by either the national or Chicago chapter, neither of which know anything about the origin of these flyers. 
Many of us either work with or have students involved with Chicago’s Black Lives Matter, Palestine solidarity and Muslim organizations on campus and in the city. These groups would never circulate anti-semitic or hateful literature like this. It is antithetical to their mission and work. These fake posters are consistent with a long history whereby hate groups have cited marginalized communities as authors of hate speech to smear them and incite mistrust between them. They serve the goals of both provoking anti-Semitic hatred and justifying the targeting of Palestine solidarity and Black Lives Matter movements, wrongly indicting them as purveyors of hate. 
We stand united against hatred and discrimination against all communities. 
We condemn these anti-Semitic assaults as well as the divisive suggestion that Black and Muslim students are the source of this racism. 
We disavow any attempt to use the painful realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or the Holocaust as fodder for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Blackness. 
We will not allow this or any incident to pit one of our communities against the other.
 The signers of the statement are:

Chair of the Department of Philosophy
Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans (CCSAA)
Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks
Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos
Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of LGBTQ People and Allies
Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education, College of Education
Disability Resource Center
Gender and Sexuality Center
Gender and Women’s Studies Program
Germanic Studies Department
Global Asian Studies Program
Great Cities Institute
Hispanic and Italian Studies Department
Head of the Department of English
Honors College
Institute for the Humanities
Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE)
Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy
International Studies Program
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Jewish Studies Program
Latin American and Latino Studies Program
Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES) Program
Middle East and Muslim Societies Cluster
Moving Image Arts Minor
Museum and Exhibition Studies Program
Native American Support Program
Office of the Dean of Students
Office of Undergraduate Research
Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center
Religious Studies Program
School of Art & Art History
School of Literatures, Cultural Studies & Linguistics
School of Theatre and Music
Social Foundations of Education Program
Social Justice Initiative
UIC United Faculty (UICUF)
Women’s Leadership and Resource Center

[Update - I just read an article in the online Forward about this denunciation - http://forward.com/fast-forward/366585/university-of-illinois-campus-community-condemns-jewish-privilege-fliers/ - but there's nothing about how the reporter received the statement or where he found it].

Further update - other places where the statement has appeared:

http://reviews.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/26243/joint-statement-regarding-the-anti-semitic-anti-bl
https://latinocultural.uic.edu/joint-statement-in-rebuke-of/
https://diversity.uic.edu/
https://www.facebook.com/UICGSC/posts/1308171409274841

Monday, March 20, 2017

Black Lives Matter in Chicago denounces antisemitic posters at University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicagoist reports that Black Lives Matter in Chicago has denounced the antisemitic posters and stated that they have nothing to do with them (even though some of them have the hashtag "Black Lives Matter" on them). I'm appreciative of this, and it confirms that the posters don't come from a left-wing source.
Kofi Ademola, an activist with Black Lives Matter Chicago, denounced the flyers as racist and said they misrepresent the BLM movement. "We’ve noticed a disturbing new trend where people have been using language from social justice circles to hide their racist agenda," Ademola said in part in a statement to sent to Chicagoist. "These posters placed all over UIC’s campus are just another example of such an occurrence... What their saying and how they’re framing their assertions are divisive, inflammatory and based in falsehoods."


The statement from Black Lives Matter reads in full:
"We’ve noticed a disturbing new trend where people have been using language from social justice circles to hide their racist agenda. These posters placed all over UIC’s campus are just another example of such an occurrence. These anonymous racist tactics are manipulative, and they’ve used logical fallacies in attempts to fool people into believing their rhetoric is valid. When we closely examine what they’re saying and implying, it’s easier to discern the flaws in their arguments. What their saying and how they’re framing their assertions are divisive, inflammatory and based in falsehoods. For example, by creating a false category and calling it “Jewish privilege” then comparing it to the familiar term “White privilege” they hope that this false association legitimizes their bigoted beliefs.
They’re also trying to use BLM to make their claims seem true. It is widely known that BLM supports Palestinians in their struggle for liberation. We often compare our similar situations dealing with police violence and State sanctioned oppression. However, being pro Palestine doesn’t make you anti-Semitic and we don’t condone or endorse any anti-Jewish ideology. We demand accountability to the specific governments, systems of oppression, and organizations that carry out injustices and human rights violations. We do not use broad sweeping generalizations to attack groups of people. After the election of Trump, America has seen a rise in hate crimes perpetrated against marginalized communities ranging from ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion and immigration status. What we’ve also seen develop is stronger alliances of intersectionality between these same marginalized communities. We stand in solidarity with folx who fight for justice and work towards freeing all people from the social constructs of oppression, including but not limited to anti-Blackness, heteronormative patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, colonialism, sexism, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism."
I would have also appreciated if they had included antisemitism/anti-Jewish ideology in their list of different kinds of oppression, but I guess they thought they had it covered earlier in the paragraph.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Antisemitic posters at the University of Illinois at Chicago

In the last week, five different types of antisemitic posters have been put up around the University of Illinois at Chicago. Antisemitic, white supremacist, and racist posters have appeared at many colleges and universities around the country since September 2016, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League. They have counted 104 incidents since September, with 63 occurring since January 2017.

Images of the posters from the Facebook page of Eva Zeltser; updated article from the Jerusalem Post: Posters comparing Gaza to Auschwitz spread on Illinois campus.

So who created and put up the posters at UIC this week?

Number 1 -


This one was posted last week, and is obsessed with so-called "Jewish privilege."

Number 2 -


This continues the theme of "Jewish privilege" and applies it to admissions at elite universities. The fact that the percentage of Jews at many elite universities is higher than the Jewish percentage of the general population (about 2%) really bothers right-wing Neo-Nazis or racist types like David Duke and Ron Unz. This article from two years ago by David Duke, White Privilege or Jewish Privilege: The Ultimate Racism in America gives an exhaustive argument about how this proves that there's some kind of Jewish conspiracy to admit a ton of unqualified Jewish applicants to Harvard (here's the same article on Duke's website). (Ignoring the indisputable fact that there was an actual Jewish quota at Harvard to limit the number of Jews beginning in the 1920s and lasting several decades - at least Unz recognizes that fact). 

Number 3 -


This poster argues that Steve Salaita was "unhired" from UIC because a rich Jewish donor pressured the school to get rid of him. This accusation was certainly thrown around by left-wing supporters at the time that Salaita was offered, and then unoffered the job.

Number 4 -


This is straight up Holocaust denial, making the annoying and untrue argument that people are forbidden to question whether the Holocaust occurred. This enables Holocaust deniers to put themselves forward as martyrs for free speech. This argument is very characteristic of the Neo-Nazi right.

Number 5 -


And here we have an antisemitic and anti-Zionist poster all rolled up in one. It makes use of usually far left-wing claims that Gaza is a concentration camp and that the Zionists are just as bad as the Nazis. For an article claiming that Gaza is a huge concentration camp, see this one from Mondoweiss in 2014. This particular article clearly states, however, that the author is not comparing Gaza to a death camp. This article from 2007, by Khalid Ameyreh, does however compare Gaza to Auschwitz.

Notice that there is an ideological contradiction between posters #4 and #5. Number #4 complains that Holocaust deniers aren't allowed to "ask their questions" about the Holocaust (implying that it didn't occur), while Number #5 admits that the Holocaust (or at least the killings at Auschwitz) happened. 

So who created these posters? People from the far left (#3 and #5) or from the far right (#1, #2, and #4)? My guess is the posters were created by a person or people on the far right who used left-wing themes in two of the posters in an attempt to co-opt left-wing pro-Palestinian supporters whom they think would also be open to antisemitic ideas.

P.S. I wonder if it's possible that these posters were created by people at the Daily Stormer? See this article by "Weev" Auernheimer, boasting about how he managed to send an antisemitic poster to thousands of printers across the country. I wrote about this last year - http://mystical-politics.blogspot.com/2016/03/when-jews-arent-white.html. You can see the poster both at the Weev article and my post.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More evidence of Stephen Bannon's fascist tendencies

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump's chief strategist, recently spoke approvingly of the ideas of an anti-Semitic French intellectual who was sentenced to life in prison for cooperating with the Nazis during World War II. In an article on Bannon's interactions with European right-wing nationalists who want to break apart the European Union,Politico reported last week that Bannon has "expressed admiration for the reactionary French philosopher Charles Maurras, according to French media reports confirmed by Politico.".....
But Maurras was more than a nationalist. He was an infamous anti-Semite, whose anti-Jewish views were central to his outlook. From 1908 to 1944, Maurras edited the anti-Semitic paper L'Action Francaise, the organ of an eponymous movement that was anti-democratic and pro-monarchy.... Maurras spent years writing anti-Semitic articles. He referred to the French government, known as the Third Republic, as "the Jew State, the Masonic State, the immigrant State."...
At the end of the war, Maurras was sentenced to life in prison for complicity with the Nazis. He reportedly called his conviction "Dreyfus' revenge." Due to his failing health, he was released from prison shortly before his death in 1952.
According to Politico, Bannon approvingly cited Maurras' distinction between what the French philosopher called the "real country" of the people and the "legal country" led by government officials. Maurras put Jews in the latter category, according to Brown, and referred to all Jews as foreigners.
Bannon is one of Trump's most influential advisers, and political observers see his hand behind some of the administration's most controversial moves, including Trump's ban on immigration from a handful of Muslim-majority countries and the White House's inexplicable decision to not mention Jewish victims in a statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day. Maurras tried to bring down democracy and international institutions; today European leaders fear Bannon is aiming for the same.

Friday, March 17, 2017

George Soros on "When Hate Surges"

George Soros has just published an excellent essay in the New York Times, When Hate Surges, fiercely attacking Trump's assault on immigrants. He writes, "I am an immigrant and an American citizen, and, as a philanthropist, have supported migrants all over the world for more than 30 years."
[T]argeting immigrants and minorities with false and prejudicial rhetoric, as Mr. Trump has done during the campaign and in the early weeks of his presidency, has spurred a surge in hate acts against them. The Southern Poverty Law Center found that hate incidents reported in the first few weeks following Mr. Trump’s victory were at levels normally seen over a six-month period. No community appears safe from this rash of hate — with reports like school bullying against Muslim children, stories of Latinos being harassed on the street and told to “go back to your country,” attacks on blacks and gays, and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. This is a country that prides itself on neighbors looking out for one another. In Donald Trump’s America, we are increasingly at one another’s throats.
Soros has provided $10 million to "provide legal and social services to victims of hate crimes, to encourage local organizations across the country to do the same and to propose improvements and new ideas." 

The essay ends with these words:
Having survived the Nazi persecution of Jews in Hungary, I escaped from Soviet occupation at age 17 and made my way first to Britain and then to America. This is not the America that attracted me. I have seen the damage done when societies succumb to the fear of the 'other.' And I will do all I can to help preserve the openness, inclusiveness and diversity that represent our greatest strength.

Norman Manea on Mircea Eliade in his essay "Happy Guilt"

Norman Manea published an important article about Mircea Eliade, "Happy Guilt," in the August 5, 1991 edition of the New Republic. Unfortunately, the article is no longer available in the journal's online archive. I just read it in his collection of essays, The Fifth Impossibility: Essays on Exile and Language (Yale University Press, 2012). Norman Manea is a Romanian writer, now living in the United States, and teaching at Bard College. He was born in the Romanian province of Bukovina in 1936, and when he was five years old, he and his family were deported to a concentration camp in Transnistria, a part of Ukraine that the Nazis handed over to Romania during the Second World War. He survived and returned to Romania after the war and he lived there under the Communist regime until 1986, when he left first for Germany and then for the United States, in 1988.  

Charles Simic, in a review of Manea's memoir, The Hooligan's Return, in the New York Review of Books (October 23, 2003) describes what happened to the Jews of Bukovina:
In October 1941 the entire Jewish population of the province was deported to labor camps in Transnistria, a place that previously did not exist on any map or in any geography book. It was a newly carved region in Ukraine, north of the Black Sea and Odessa that extended as far as the rivers Dniester and Bug. The Romanian army of Marshal Ion Antonescu, which participated in the Nazi attack on Russia, was given the land as spoils of that campaign, and Antonescu soon after set aside the region to be the graveyard for Romanian Jews. The order for expulsion in 1941 required the Jews to hand in immediately to the National Bank all the gold, currency, shares, diamonds, and precious stones they owned and to report on the same day to the train station with their hand luggage. Everything else was to be left behind and was promptly pillaged. 
Manea was five years old when he, his parents, and grandparents made the journey in sealed freight train cars. Back in Romania, Premier Antonescu declared:
Our nation has not known a more favorable moment in its history…. I am in favor of forced migration. I do not care whether we shall go down in history as barbarians. The Roman Empire committed many barbaric acts and yet it was the greatest political establishment the world has ever seen.
Out of 200,000 Romanian Jews who were sent to Transnistria half perished, Manea’s grandparents among them. There were no gas chambers and crematoria; people were either shot, hanged, slaughtered, burned, starved to death, or died as the consequence of infectious diseases and the weakening of the body. Nazis were not involved since Romania was not an occupied country. This was an operation carried out by the local Romanian police and gendarmerie. Antonescu was an ally of the Iron Guard, the extreme rightwing nationalist movement of the 1930s, whose ideological father was Nae Ionescu, a professor of philosophy at the University of Bucharest much admired by Eliade.
Manea was, therefore, a child when Eliade was working in the Romanian embassies in London and Lisbon.

"Happy Guilt" is described by David Mikics in his review of The Fifth Impossibility for for the New Republic in 2012:
The troubled heart of Manea’s book is his well-known essay “Happy Guilt” (first published in The New Republic in 1991), an examination of the pro-fascist sympathies of the great religious scholar, fiction-writer and memoirist Mircea Eliade. Although Eliade disdained Hitler’s anti-Semitism in 1934, by 1937 he had changed his tune, asking, “Can the Romanian nation end its life … ravaged by poverty and syphilis, overrun by Jews and torn apart by foreigners?” In 1939 he wrote that “The Poles’ resistance in Warsaw is Jewish resistance. Only yids are capable of blackmail by putting women and children in the front line”; and he concluded that “rather than a Romania again invaded by kikes, it would be better to have a German protectorate.” Eliade went from village to village campaigning for the Iron Guard; during the war he spent much of his time in Portugal, where he became an admirer of the right-wing dictator Salazar. After 1945, Eliade was clear in his disapproval of both Marxism and Fascism, but he avoided the details of his own past complicity (as did Cioran, who once wrote that if he had been a Jew he would have committed suicide). 
Manea rightly points out the shocking contrast between Eliade’s violent fascist prejudices and “the free play and dreamy compassion of his writing.” The genial, open-minded professor of the history of religion at the University of Chicago, where Eliade taught from the 1960s on, was hard to reconcile with the champion of the Iron Guard. But there were also reasons why Eliade, given his mystical bent, might have been attracted to fascism’s promise of “sudden and magical history” (in the words of Robert Ellwood, Eliade’s student). Eliade was attuned to the appearance of the sacred within the profane, seemingly secular modern world; fascism, he seems to have thought, was a potential source of sacredness. Mihail Sebastian loved and admired Eliade in the 1930s (along with Eliade’s teacher, the die-hard anti-Semite Nae Ionesco—no relation to the playwright). But Sebastian was bewildered by the gulf between himself and Eliade: the fearful Jew faced with an anti-Semitic tidal wave and the exultant advocate of a new, Christian-fascist Romania. Manea writes that Eliade’s attraction to men in uniform, to “the compensations of vitality, mystification, martyrdom, and all manner of excess,” baffled Sebastian.

When Manea’s essay about Eliade’s fascism was published in Romania in 1992, it sparked a campaign of hatred against Manea. Eliade, whose rehabilitation began during the latter half of the Ceauşescu era, had become a hero to Romanians, an intellectual saint. Interviewed on Romanian television programs, Manea was asked about the “Jewish cultural mafia”; he was called a fundamentalist, a witch-hunter. The grotesque nationalism and anti-Semitism that has sometimes sprouted in post-Communist Romania, visible in the Eliade affair, the official honoring of Antonescu, and elsewhere, is a grab for identity in the confusion and the loneliness of the newly chaotic, newly capitalist era.
Manea's article is not just about Eliade's affiliation with the Iron Guard and Romanian fascism more broadly conceived, but about how Eliade never publicly acknowledged or recanted his actions during the fascist era. He contrasts Eliade with Andrei Sakharov, who in his youth admired Stalin and admitted that in his memoirs.
When he is called a Nazi or an anti-Semite, when he meets the stony weight of accusations that simplify the story of his life, Eliade’s tendency to withdraw is even more marked. To be sure, there is dignity in silence, and there is delicacy, not just cunning, in evasion: but in silence and in evasion there is also much that is reprehensible. To retract one’s former beliefs, to denounce the horrors, to disclose the mechanisms of mystification, to assume the burden of guilt—probably few are sufficiently clear-eyed and courageous for this. But it is precisely those few who do have the courage for such a confrontation with the past who justify the stature of the intellectual. 
 In order to be truly separated from the errors of the past, one must acknowledge them. Is not honesty, in the end, the mortal enemy of totalitarianism? And is not conscience the proof of one’s distance from the forces of corruption, from totalitarian ideology? In his Memoirs, Andrei Sakharov confessed without embarrassment his youthful admiration for Stalin. The honesty of that admission was precisely the honesty that enabled that great scientist and humanist to achieve a profound understanding of the nature of the communist system, and to become its unyielding critic.
The whole essay is worth reading, both for the information it gives on Eliade's beliefs and actions in the 1930s and 1940s, and for its analysis of the consequences of Eliade's lack of honesty about his past.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide

I'm glad to see this.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide
A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a political blow to the White House and signaling that proponents of the ban face a long and risky legal battle ahead.

The ruling was the second frustrating defeat for Mr. Trump’s travel ban, after a federal court in Seattle halted an earlier version of the executive order last month. Mr. Trump responded to that setback with fury, lashing out at the judiciary before ultimately abandoning the order.

He issued a new and narrower travel ban on March 6, with the aim of pre-empting new lawsuits by abandoning some of the most contentious elements of the first version.

But Mr. Trump evidently failed in that goal: Democratic states and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced into court to attack the updated order, alleging that it was a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact last year, as a presidential candidate.
Continue reading the main story

Administration lawyers argued in multiple courts on Wednesday that the president was merely exercising his national security powers and that no element of the executive order, as written, could be construed as a religious test for travelers.

But in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, Judge Derrick K. Watson appeared skeptical of the government’s claim that past comments by Mr. Trump and his allies had no bearing on the case.

“Are you saying we close our eyes to the sequence of statements before this?” Judge Watson asked in a hearing Wednesday before he ruled against the administration.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Don't post antisemitic or Holocaust-denying comments

A reminder for commenters - I don't publish antisemitic or Holocaust denying comments. Someone just tried to post two comments to a post from 2012 - British prisoners of war were imprisoned at Auschwitz and were visited by the Red Cross. They went went through the Holocaust denial litany. I also don't debate Holocaust deniers, or reply to their false evidence and lack of ability to reason. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

[Update] White nationalism in the House of Representatives

Update:

Josh Marshall at TPM also has some sharp words about Steve King:
King frequently speaks in the language of white nationalists and neo-Nazis who speak of "white genocide" and America being overrun by non-whites. 
Consider this tweet from just last September.
"Cultural suicide by demographic transformation"—This is literally the kind of talk you can read from Richard Spencer and Stormfront any day of the week. Note also that King is there with Wilders, the rightist, racist Dutch member of parliament and Frauke Petry, the rightist, nationalist leader of Germany's Alternative for Germany party. These are the parties Trump's top advisor Steve Bannon wants to help loft to power and ally with in a rightist, north Atlantic political movement. 
This isn't just one "controversial" member of Congress. King is part of American white nationalist, far-right political movement. That's not a softer way to say "racist." He's also a racist. But there are plenty of racists who have more conventional politics. He's part of a movement. So is Bannon. So is Trump
Beginning of original post: 
This is the tweet that King retweeted:
The Voice of Europe Twitter follows Steve King, and he in turn follows Voice of Europe.



Another quote from Geert Wilders on the "Voice of Europe" Facebook page:


And a quote from Marine Le Pen:


Not coincidentally, Steve King follows Le Pen on Twitter:


Another quote from Marine Le Pen on the Voice of Europe Facebook page:


And who does that remind us of?

Donald Trump on October 13, 2016.

He spoke about the "global special interests," the "global power structure," and Hillary Clinton's connection to them:
We've seen this first hand in the WikiLeaks documents, in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.
Global special interests:
This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New threatening phone calls to Jewish centers today

From CNN:

(CNN) At least five North American Jewish centers reported bomb threats Sunday as Jews observed the religious holiday of Purim. None of the threats proved real in the latest wave of intimidating acts targeting the Jewish community.

For some centers, though, it was not their first ordeal. The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center in Rochester, New York, was evacuated Sunday morning for the second time in less than a week. The center was hosting a "warming center" for people whose homes had lost power when the bomb threat came, Executive Director Arnie Sohinki said.

It reopened without incident a few hours later after receiving an all-clear from law enforcement, Sohinki said. he would not provide further details, citing the police investigation. "We are open. We will remain open. Whoever is doing this doesn't realize this only makes us #stronger, " the center said in a Facebook post. "All are welcome to join us at the JCC."

Threats in the US and Canada

The Rochester JCC was one of several Jewish institutions to receive a bomb threat on Sunday. The threats coincided with the Jewish holiday of Purim, a festive commemoration of the defeat of a plot to exterminate Jews in ancient Persia.

Other locations reporting similar threats included Indianapolis Jewish Community Center in Indiana; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada; and The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All reopened a few hours later without incident.

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston also received a bomb threat -- its second in three weeks, Executive Vice President Joel Dinkin said. The center, which received the threat via email, was not evacuated.
Jewish center bomb threats: What the callers said

Jewish center bomb threats: What the callers said
The threats were the latest acts in a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. Museums, houses of worship, advocacy groups and cemeteries have been targets of bomb threats and vandalism as federal officials work with state and local authorities to find those responsible.
One person has been arrested in connection with a small portion of the calls. The head of police intelligence for New York City said he believes one person is responsible for most of the nationwide calls and the rest are the work of copycats. CNN was unable to confirm or corroborate his theory. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials have said they believe many of the threatening calls originated overseas.

Sunday's incidents bring the number of threats since January in the United States and Canada to 154, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism....

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Is antisemitism a problem in the United States today?

New Quinnipiac poll reveals increased concern about antisemitism.

Very serious problem: 35%             Democrats: 51%
Somewhat serious: 35%                  Republicans: 18%


A month ago the numbers were smaller:
Very serious problem: 13%   Somewhat serious: 36%   Not so serious/not at all: 47%



Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Who belongs at the International Women's Strike tomorrow?

Does Feminism Have Room for Zionists? By EMILY SHIRE
.... For my part, I am troubled by the portion of the International Women’s Strike platform that calls for a “decolonization of Palestine” as part of “the beating heart of this new feminist movement.” The platform also states: “We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.” 
Implying that mass incarceration is analogous to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is analogous to Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall along the Mexican border is simplistic at best. 
But my prime concern is not that people hold this view of Israel. Rather, I find it troubling that embracing such a view is considered an essential part of an event that is supposed to unite feminists. I am happy to debate Middle East politics or listen to critiques of Israeli policies. But why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017? 
One of the organizers behind the March 8 strikes should also be concerning to Zionist feminists. 
The strike was announced in an op-ed at The Guardian, with eight signatories, including Rasmea Yousef Odeh. Today, Ms. Odeh is considered an immigrants’ and women’s rights activist, but before taking on these roles, she was convicted for her involvement in a 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two Hebrew University students and an attempted bombing of the British consulate. 
While the fairness of Ms. Odeh’s conviction is debated, the fact that she was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was categorized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, is not. The Anti-Defamation League referred to Ms. Odeh as a terrorist and raised concern that in recent years, “activism has been a tool for the legitimization of Rasmea Odeh, despite her criminal record in Israel.”

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

To my Gentile (non-Jewish) friends

You may not be aware of this, although I hope you are.
Today was the sixth wave of bomb threats to Jewish community centers, schools, and synagogues in the United States and Canada since early January. These centers are receiving explicitly antisemitic threats - these are not random calls.
Since then, I have heard from about ten friends from all over the United States and Canada who have personally experienced these bomb threats. One non-Jewish friend posted because she had been swimming at her local JCC - she had to get out of the pool and evacuate the building along with everyone else. Today, a Jewish friend wrote about how the school her child goes to was evacuated because of a bomb threat - she is one of several friends whose children had to be evacuated. A former student of mine from Vassar, who is now a rabbi, wrote today that his synagogue had received one of these bomb threats. A friend of mine in Massachusetts, also a rabbi, wrote earlier this month that her local JCC had received a bomb threat.
These bomb threats touch many Jews (and non-Jews, because JCCs accept members of any religion), like myself, who don't even belong to a JCC or send a child to a Jewish school, because we know people who experienced this.
Try to imagine how you would feel if the school your children went to had received targeted bomb threats, because of the kind of school they went to. Try to imagine how it would feel if the YMCA you regularly went to was targeted by bomb threats because it was, specifically, a YMCA. Try to imagine if your church (if you go to church) was specifically targeted because it was a place of worship for Christians.
Please reach out to your Jewish friends or relatives, and let them know that you have heard about these threats, and that you care about them and want them to be safe. Let them know that you too oppose antisemitism. They will appreciate it.

More bomb threats today against JCCs & ADL office

At least nine Jewish community centers across North America and a number of Anti-Defamation League offices have received threats of lethal attack, the sixth such wave since the beginning of the year. As of 9:30 A.M. Tuesday, Secure Community Network, the security arm of the Jewish Federations of North America, had reported bomb threats called into community centers in Milwaukee; Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Rochester, New York; Davie, Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; Toronto; and London, Ontario.
In addition, the JCC in Syracuse, New York, was on lockdown after a threat was called in, SCN said. Paul Goldenberg, the SCN director, said the Syracuse threat was different in nature from the other threats.
Meanwhile, the ADL confirmed that several of its regional offices had been threatened. “We just received multiple #bombthreats at ADL offices,” ADL said on Twitter. “Law enforcement personnel are responding. More details to come.” 

In Rochester, the evacuation of members and staff on Tuesday was ordered shortly before 6 A.M., the local ABC affiliate 13WHAM reported. About 75 people were evacuated from the building. Parents whose children attend the JCC day care were notified and asked to make alternate child care arrangements for the day, according to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. Local and state police officers and FBI agents reportedly were on the scene to sweep the building. 
Also evacuated according to a Facebook posting was the JCC in Milwaukee, which also includes a day care center. It’s not clear if there were evacuations in Portland and in Rockville. 
Paul Goldenberg, the SCN director, said that in every instance protocols were observed and went smoothly. “The protocols and processes that these institutions have in place have gone smoothly,” he said. “Our constituents and members have remained safe.” 
More than 100 Jewish institutions, mostly JCCs, have received bomb threats since the beginning of the year. The last two weeks saw vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Rochester, New York, as well as two more waves of bomb threats called into JCCs, schools and institutions across the country, representing the fourth and fifth waves of such harassment this year. No explosive device was found after any of the calls.

Congressional support for Jews against antisemitic attacks

Haaretz stories:

WASHINGTON - In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, more than 95 Senators have joined forces to call on the Trump administration to offer support and assistance to the U.S. Jewish community in light of recent anti-Semitic attacks and incidents across the country.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress prepared a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump urging him not to cancel or weaken a position within the State Department devoted to combating anti-Semitism. The letter has been circulating on Capitol Hill for more than a week and could be sent out as early as Tuesday.

The letter was initiated by members of the House of Representatives’ bipartisan task force against anti-Semitism following reports in the media that the Trump administration was considering not to appoint a State Department "Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism." Such a post has existed in the State Department since 2004, but according to the reports, could be effectively dropped under the new administration, which is looking at deep cuts in the State Department budget.


Saturday, March 04, 2017

More proof of Steve Bannon's racist worldview

More proof of Steve Bannon's profoundly racist worldview, from Huffington Post.

Another writer from Breitbart, Julie Hahn, who now also works in the White House, wrote an article in 2015 saying that, "All around the world, events seem to be lining up with the predictions of the book."

This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World
Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history. 
“It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,” he said in October 2015. “The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,” he said in January 2016. “It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints.” “It’s not a migration,” he said later that January. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.” “When we first started talking about this a year ago,” he said in April 2016, “we called it the Camp of the Saints. ... I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?”

Bannon has agitated for a host of anti-immigrant measures. In his previous role as executive chairman of the right-wing news site Breitbart — which he called a “platform for the alt-right,” the online movement of white nationalists — he made anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim news a focus.

But the top Trump aide’s repeated references to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 novel by French author Jean Raspail, reveal even more about how he understands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist.

“[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,” said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. “It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.” The book, she said, “reframes everything as the fight to death between races.”

Upon the novel’s release in the United States in 1975, the influential book review magazine Kirkus Reviews pulled no punches: “The publishers are presenting The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it probably is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”

Linda Chavez, a Republican commentator who has worked for GOP presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush but opposed Trump’s election, also reviewed the book back then. Forty years later, she hasn’t forgotten it. “It is really shockingly racist,” Chavez told The Huffington Post, “and to have the counselor to the president see this as one of his touchstones, I think, says volumes about his attitude.”
 
The cover of this English translation of The Camp of the Saints calls it “a chilling novel about the end of the white world.”

The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization. Chinese people pour into Russia; the queen of England is forced to marry her son to a Pakistani woman; the mayor of New York must house an African-American family at Gracie Mansion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defenders of white Christian supremacy, attempt to defend their civilization with guns blazing but are killed in the process.

Calgues, the obvious Raspail stand-in, is one of those taking up arms against the migrants and their culturally “cuckolded” white supporters. Just before killing a radical hippie, Calgues compares his own actions to past heroic, sometimes mythical defenses of European Christendom. He harkens back to famous battles that fit the clash-of-civilizations narrative — the defense of Rhodes against the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople to the same — and glorifies colonial wars of conquest and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only white Europeans like Calgues are portrayed as truly human in The Camp of the Saints.....

The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority. As he talks to the hippie he will soon kill, Calgues explains how the youth went so wrong: “That scorn of a people for other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these youngsters’ addled brains.”

The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9 — is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. “The Fall of Constantinople,” Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, “is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.”...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Twenty-eight Jewish institutions received bomb threats today

Today's targets of bomb threats (list from Haaretz):

8 day schools:
  • N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, Birmingham
  • Posnack Jewish Day School, Davie, Florida
  • Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, Maryland
  • The Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Charlotte Jewish Day School, North Carolina
  • Perelman Jewish Day School, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
  • Gesher Jewish Day School, Fairfax, Virginia
  • (Another day school was targeted according to the JCC Association, it is unclear where)
20 JCCs:
  • Seigel JCC, Wilmington, Delaware
  • JCC Indianapolis, Indiana
  • JCCs of Greater Baltimore, Pikesville, Maryland
  • Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Tenafly, New Jersey
  • Betty and Milton Katz JCC, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • Shames JCC on the Hudson, Tarrytown, New York
  • JCC of Mid-Westchester, Scarsdale, New York
  • Mid-Island Y, Plainview, New York
  • JCC of Staten Island, New York
  • Asheville JCC, North Carolina
  • York JCC, Pennsylvania
  • Dwares JCC, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto, California
  • Merage JCC, Orange County, California
  • Lawrence Family JCC, San Diego, California
  • Stroum JCC, Mercer Island, Washington 
  • Tucson JCC, Arizona
  • Scottsdale JCC, Phoenix, Arizona
  • (A JCC in Long Beach, California was also targeted according to the CSN, but it is unclear which one)
  • (Another JCC was also targeted according to the JCC Association, but it is unclear where)
1 ADL office:
  • Anti-Defamation League Regional Office, San Francisco, California

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dozens of headstones overturned at Philadelphia Jewish cemetery

Is this related to the damages of headstones last week at the Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri? Is it a copycat crime? How frequently do these incidents occur without being nationally publicized? 

The American Jewish community is currently very sensitized to antisemitic vandalism. Is what we're seeing an increase in antisemitic actions, or a greater awareness of what has been already going on for many years?

DOZENS OF HEADSTONES DAMAGED AT PHILADELPHIA JEWISH CEMETERY

http://6abc.com/news/headstones-damaged-at-philadelphia-jewish-cemetery-/1774127/
By Bob Brooks
Updated 13 mins ago 
WISSINOMING (WPVI) --Dozens of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia have been broken and overturned. 
The Philadelphia police say this was an act of vandalism at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery on the corner of Frankford and Cheltenham avenues. 
Aaron Mallin of North Jersey made the disturbing discovery Sunday when he came to visit his father's grave. 
"It's just very disheartening that such a thing would take place," Mallin said. 
He says he knows this doesn't look good, but is hoping that somehow this wasn't an anti-Semitic attack. 
"I'm hoping it was maybe just some drunk kids. But the fact that there's so many, it leads one to think it could have been targeted," Mallin said. 
The damage is widespread all across the cemetery with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of headstones affected. 
Mallin just doesn't understand how someone could do this. 
"It's just very heartbreaking," Mallin said. 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia tells Action News they will be opening a mailbox at jewishphilly.org later Sunday to begin raising money to help speed up the repairs of the cemetery.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Traveling while Muslim

I'm feeling so sad about today's news.

Traveling while Muslim


Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of Muhammad Ali, was detained at the Ft. Lauderdale airport for two hours on February 7, because he has an Arabic-sounding name and is a Muslim.
Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini. 
Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn't as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"
When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.
Syrian cinematographer whose film has been nominated for an Oscar was barred by Homeland Security from entering the United States.
U.S. immigration authorities have decided to bar entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer whose harrowing film about his nation's civil war, "The White Helmets," has been nominated for an Academy Award. 
According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khatib from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars.
Killed for being thought "Middle Eastern" 
A Kansas man is accused of shooting and killing an Indian immigrant engineer he thought was Middle Eastern and wounding two others after shouting "get out of my country" and opening fire....

The slain victim was identified by authorities as Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an aviation engineer at technology company Garmin, originally Hyderabad, India. 
Kuchibhotla's co-worker Alok Madasani, a 32-year-old whose LinkedIn page shows he also attended school in India before moving to the Kansas City area in the mid 2000s, was wounded in the shooting and remains at the hospital.... 
Witnesses told the Kansas City Star that Purinton been drinking hard, and continually exclaimed racial slurs. When a bar regular told him to stop, the man yelled "get out of my country" before he started shooting.... 
Purinton allegedly told a bartender at the second bar, in Missouri, that he had killed two men who he called "Middle Eastern."

Sebastian Gorka

Sebastian Gorka is an advisor to President Trump. Read the whole article for information about his ties with a controversial Hungarian order of knights, along with the fact that his mother worked for David Irving (the Holocaust denier) translating texts from Hungarian when he was writing his book on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
by Eva S. Balogh 
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant of President Donald Trump and member of a new White House team, the Strategic Initiatives Group, has been receiving an increasing amount of attention in the last few weeks. Julianne Smith, a former national security adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, worries about both the existence of this new group and Sebastian Gorka’s presence in it. Counterterrorism experts are particularly concerned about Gorka’s ideas that Islam as a religion cannot be separated from the ideology of terror. Knowledgeable people in the field consider his ideas on Islam dangerous and a radical departure from U.S. policy over the last 17 years. 
Several U.S. journalists who have dug into Sebastian Gorka’s past have been puzzled by his proud embrace of his Hungarian roots. Why did he appear at the inaugural ball in a strange braided outfit with an equally strange medallion and decoration? Eli Clifton of LobeLog identified the medallion as one bestowed by the Order of Knights (Vitézi Rend), a group established by Miklós Horthy, governor of Hungary between 1920 and 1944. A day later Allegra Kirkland of Talking Points Memo quoted a Hungarian historian who was less certain about its provenance. 
By now we can state with confidence that the medallion is indeed the identifying object of the Order, as Sebastian Gorka himself admitted in a short Breitbart video appearance. He explained that on special occasions he wears the medallion and decoration, which his father received in appreciation of his suffering as a political prisoner between 1950 and 1956. But there is a more complete version of the story that needs telling. Read here for the complete story:
Spotlight on Gorka’s Controversial Medal.
The Forward has also just published another article about Gorka's ties with the Hungarian right, including Jobbik, the far right party, and also about his involvement in founding another Hungarian right-wing party: Gorka and the Hungarian right-wing.

What is really strange to me about Gorka is that he has been politically involved in three countries. He was born in Britain, the son of Hungarian refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He served in military intelligence there. After the end of Communism, he moved to Hungary, worked for the Ministry of Defense, and became involved with the far right.
As a young man, he was a member of the United Kingdom’s Territorial Army reserves, where he served in the Intelligence Corps. Then, following the fall of Communism in Hungary, he was employed in 1992 by the country’s Ministry of Defense. He worked there for five years, apparently on issues related to Hungary’s accession to NATO....It was during his time in Hungary that Gorka developed ties to the country’s anti-Semitic and ultranationalist far right....
After the failure of his new party in 2007, Gorka moved to the United States and over the past 10 years has worked for the Department of Justice, Marine Corps University, National Defense University, and Joint Special Operations University.
In Hungary, Gorka failed to get a security clearance because of his intelligence work for the British military. Why does he have an American security clearance? (I'm assuming he does because of his current position as a high White House advisor). Other people working in Trump's administration were not able to get security clearances and lost their jobs. Wouldn't Gorka's past employment with the Hungarian Ministry of Defense and his involvement in right-wing Hungarian politics present an obstacle to getting an American security clearance? He appears to have British, Hungarian, and American citizenship. Which country is he really loyal to?

For an example from another country, Israel: When Michael Oren, who was born in the US and then made aliyah to Israel, was going to be appointed Israeli ambassador to the United States, he had to renounce his American citizenship.

For more on Gorka:

See also: http://lobelog.com/why-is-trump-adviser-wearing-medal-of-nazi-collaborators/

And, from Hungarian Spectrum:

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2017/02/13/donald-trumps-influential-advisers-sebastian-and-katharine-gorka/

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2017/01/31/sebastian-gorkas-road-from-budapest-to-the-white-house/

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2017/02/02/sebastian-l-von-gorkas-encounter-with-the-hungarian-national-security-office/