Article By UN-Supported Palestinian Outlet Calls Jews “Evil”

— by Bnai Brith International

B’nai B’rith International condemns an outrageous anti-Semitic article written by Sawsan Najib Abd Al-Halim and posted on the Ma’an News Agency’s website, a Palestinian news outlet. In the article, the author calls the Jewish people “outcasts in every corner of the Earth,” “evil,” “scheming” and the “root of conflict in the world,” which Allah has “decreed humiliation and degradation upon them until Judgment Day.” The article was translated from Arabic and exposed by Palestinian Media Watch.

What makes this article even more alarming is the fact that Ma’an News Agency is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Ma’an also receives funding from the European Commission, the Danish and Dutch governments and UKaid, the development fund of the United Kingdom.

More after the jump.

Apart from the gross nature of these comments, we are most worried about the funding sources of this so-called news agency which publishes blatantly anti-Semitic content, B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. Agencies of the United Nations and governments of Europe, which denounce hate speech on their own continent, are acting hypocritically by funding Ma’an.

The article — titled “Israel is Trembling!” — has since been removed from the website for “hateful content” that does not “represent the opinion of Ma’an or its editorial policies,” according to a statement from the news agency’s administration.

This isn’t the first time Ma’an has published something outrageous and hateful directed toward the Jewish people, B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. The international community must immediately demand accountability from recipients of funding. The U.N. agencies and governments who fund this operation must cut off financial resources to those who traffic in hate. That’s the best way to get their attention and those others who would contemplate publishing anti-Semitic articles.

White House Condemns Morsi’s Anti-Semitic Statements

— by David Streeter

President Barack Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney forcefully condemned previous anti-Semitic comments made by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Politico reported:

“President Morsi should make clear he respects people of all faiths”, Carney said during a press briefing Tuesday. He said the administration has raised its concerns with the Egyptian government: “[…] We have raised our concerns over these remarks with the government of Egypt”.

“We strongly condemn these comments”, he said. “[…] This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt”.

Carney added that the remarks are an example of the type of discourse that has long fanned hatred in the region:

“We believe that language like that is too tolerated in the region”, he said. “[…] It is counter to peace”.

Talkback on “Slaying the Dragon”

— by Hannah Lee

Teshuvah (repentance) is a prominent Jewish value, but what happens when a high Ku Klux Klan high official renounces his life?  The world premiere of the opera, Slaying the Dragon, was heralded by a Q&A session with a panel consisting of: Ellen Frankel, the librettist and managing director of Center City Opera Theater; Kathryn Watterson, author of Not by the Sword: How a Cantor and His Family Transformed a Klansman on which the opera is based; and Bob Wolfson, Associate National Director of Regional Operations for the Anti-Defamation League and formerly the local ADL officer in charge of Lincoln, Nebraska where the events took place.  The panel discussion took place on Sunday, June 3 at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

More after the jump.

In her 1995 book, Watterson, a professor in the English Department of the University of Pennsylvania, chronicled the stranger-than-fiction narrative of Larry Trapp, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan’s Lincoln chapter who had a change of heart, renounced his life of hatred and violence, and embraced Judaism.  

A double amputee and blind from the complications of diabetes, Trapp — a black-sheep, distant relation of the von Trapp family singers of The Sound of Music fame —  was inspired by the love and kindness offered by Michael and Julie Weisser.  

A remarkable couple, Michael Weisser was then cantor and spiritual leader of the Reform Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, one of two synagogues in Lincoln, and Julie was herself a convert to Judaism.  Together they were raising five children, and they all welcomed Trapp into their home — with the teen sisters giving up their own room — and nursed him while he was dying from his illness.  When Trapp died at age 42, he was buried in the Jewish cemetery there.

There are still people in the Jewish community in Lincoln who doubt Trapp’s sincerity in his transformation.  Wolfson recounted the “surreal feeling” he had when Trapp, who’d previously threatened his family, rolled up to the ADL office in his wheelchair and asked to give Wolfson a hug.  This was the guy that he had to warn his children against, and the reason they had to monitor the in-coming mail to the house.  

Wolfson thinks it was because the Angel of Death was at his back that Trapp personally apologized to every person he’d hurt in his campaign of hate.  However, it took courage to leave the KKK, because it was a public betrayal — by a Grand Dragon, no less!  The opera deviates from reality in that Trapp is portrayed as vulnerable, being mocked by his fellow Klansmen for his physical disabilities.  In actuality, he was a strong leader and was admired by his Klan, despite his inability to physically carry out the acts of evil and spite that he advocated.

Michael Weisser, now a rabbi in Flushing, New York, was a strong believer in redemption — he’d had his own tragedy to overcome.  Neither he nor his wife were punitive people; their preferred motto was: “Educate, not punish.”  When two college boys were on trial in Lincoln for defacing his synagogue, Weisser offered to lead educational classes for them both in lieu of jail time.  Watterson pointed out that society has surely gained more by the time these misguided youth spent at Weisser’s side than in prison.

Watterson noted that white supremacists are under-developed emotionally.  So much energy is expended on projecting hate that there is no room for personal growth.  Wolfson said that people often prefer to think of these people as “nuts.”  “Some are, but not all are so.”  Larry Trapp was not intellectually impaired, he said, but it is harder to contemplate rational people who hate obsessively.

Could what had happened in Lincoln happen here?  Hatred can happen anywhere.  Wolfson said that Weisser was a radical, whose Reform temple had lost members.  The conservative Jewish community looked askance at him, whom he would describes as “to the left, politically, of Mao Zedong,” the late Communist dictator of China.  

The Jews of Lincoln were Zionist and middle-of-the-road politically and they couldn’t understand Weisser who believed in the prophet-to-the-nation philosophy of Reform Judaism, stressing tikkun olam (repairing the world) and protesting injustice.  However, Weisser built up his congregation and brought life to the synagogue.

Watterson said that she focused on Trapp’s life as a white supremacist, because it was so similar to that of Timothy McVeigh, the man who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people and injuring more than 800 people, the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Frankel, the librettist, said that the composer, Michael Ching, urged her to make Larry Trapp and Michael and Julie Weisser–  re-named Grand Dragon Jerry Krieg and Rabbi Nathan and Vera Goodman in the opera — less black-and-white evil and goodness incarnate.  He wanted her to bring the characters closer together and find the commonality in them.

Are we in a post-racial world?  Wolfson noted that the world has moved to the right in recent times, citing hate crimes in France, Greece, and the United States. Economic hardship and instability bring out the worst in human nature.  However, liberal-minded people tend not to regard this evidence of persistent racism as a motivation to keep the fight against bigotry at the top of their social action agenda, preferring to think that the issue has been resolved.

It’s most important, Watterson urged, “to get to know each other, beyond our comfort zone, and acknowledge each other’s humanity.”  She noted the spill-over of hate words into general society (e.g., “femini-Nazis”) and the public shaming and blaming tolerated in our communities.  We should foster more creativity, said she, not demonize “people of color.”

Herbert Levine, Frankel’s husband, asked from the audience about how the KKK was able to get away with its open acts of violence?  Where were the police, the FBI?  Wolfson said that in the case of the Asian immigrant community, the Laotian leadership told the police to let them handle acts of violence against their community in their own way.  Thus, after their community center was targeted by “Operation Gooks,” defaced and destroyed by Trapp’s minions, it was re-built by the Asian community anew, but this time behind barbed-wire fencing and patrolled by armed guards.

How strong is the KKK nowadays?  Watterson said they’re very organized — “the movement inspires action.”  One aborted example: Trapp himself had planned on assassinating Jesse Jackson, the black civil rights activist and Baptist minister, figuring that, in his weheelchair, he could get close to his targeted victim.  

Of the white supremacists groups, White Aryan Nation is more powerful, but there are local KKK groups in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Wolfson pointed out that the Internet allows these groups to organize more efficiently, not announcing a public rally until “12 minutes before” — with the leaders texting one another — to avoid police intervention.  The ADL (and the FBI) used to infiltrate these groups, but they can now avoid unwanted scrutiny more easily.  Wolfson noted that the biggest problem is the lone wolf, one who operates outside of group sanctions.  Frankel added that the Philly chapter of ADL has a full-time staffer who monitors the communication of hate groups and who maintains an ongoing dialogue with the FBI.

Evening performances of Slaying the Dragon will take place on June 14 and 16, with a 2 pm final show on June 17  at the Helen Corning Warden Theater at the Academy of Vocal Arts, on 1920 Spruce Street.   Limited  seating is available.  For tickets, visit www.OperaTheater.org.

 

Jewish Community Adopts Consensus Policies

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ 14 national member agencies and 125 Community Relations Councils debated and adopted five resolutions expressing the consensus view of the American Jewish community at the JCPA’s annual Plenum in Detroit. The resolutions deal with anti-Semitism on campuses, collective bargaining, education equity, gender segregation in Israel, and hydrofracking for natural gas and oil.

  • Countering Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Activity on Campus
    This resolution calls for education about and support for the “important remedy” that is now available under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and calls on campus leaders to do more to make students safe. It embraces a range of responses to hostile campus atmospheres including dialogue, education, and legal remedies.
  • Collective Bargaining
    This resolution continues longstanding support for collective bargaining for public employees and opposes efforts to narrow or eliminate it.
  • Equal Education Opportunity
    This resolution addresses inequity in educational opportunity in public schools. This resolution calls for research, education, and community attention directed to closing the achievement gap in our nation’s public schools and heightening awareness of this issue on the national Jewish agenda.  
  • Gender Segregation in Public Spaces in Israel
    This resolution was ultimately supported by the National Council of Jewish Women along with the Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, and Orthodox Jewish movements.   It states that enforced gender segregation in secular public spaces is inconsistent with Israel’s founding principles of equality and, at the same time, that there may be circumstances where accommodation of gender segregation may be appropriate such as the consideration of religious and cultural sensitivities in the delivery of municipal services
  • Hydrofracking
    This resolution addresses natural gas and oil extraction by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as hydrofracking.  The resolution calls for studies, disclosure, safeguards, and oversight.

Senator Stabenow Touts Food Aid in Bipartisan Farm Bill with Eye Towards Deficit Reduction

At a time of partisanship and gridlock, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, discussed her Committee’s bipartisan effort to reauthorize the Farm Bill and ensure aid goes to struggling families in Michigan and throughout the country without waste or abuse. The remarks were made to Jewish community relations leaders and professionals in Detroit for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ annual Plenum.

“This has been a moment of pride and bipartisanship,” said Stabenow of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 5-hour debate on the Farm Bill. On the nutrition assistance component of the bill, Stabenow said the “challenge is to address our greatest deficits in history while staying true to our values.” Regarding efforts to increase program accountability, Stabenow said “in this economy, every single dollar we spend must go to families in need.”

Ensuring robust funding for the nutrition title of the Farm Bill, which covers vital programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps), has been a legislative priority for the JCPA. The JCPA’s advocacy efforts include the community-based Hunger Seder Mobilization and national leadership in the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group.   The JCPA has been actively involved in preventing deep cuts to programs that have kept millions out of poverty and alleviated hunger.  

Methodists Reject Divestment, But Tolerate Anti-Semitic Rant


CAMERA reports:

For the past several days, the United Methodist Church has been meeting in Tampa, Florida for its General Convention that is held every four years. At this convention, the delegates approved a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli products made in the West Bank.

The assembly also rejected a resolution that would require the denomination’s Board of Pensions and Health Benefits to sell its stock in three companies that do business with Israel — Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola.

Yesterday’s video of processeds regarding these two resolutions:

The defeat of the divestment proposal was a bitter pill to swallow for many of the activists that descended on the UMC’s General Convention. Jewish Voice for Peace was out in force at the assembly, as were a number of anti-Israel activists from inside the denomination.

As is to be expected at the national assembly of any mainline church in the United States, the proceedings bespoke of a monomaniacal obsession on the alleged sins of the Jewish state and absolute silence about the misdeeds of other countries in the region.

Search the legislation before the assembly for resolutions regarding Coptic Christians in Egypt or Assyrians in Iraq and you will find nothing.

One of the more outrageous moments of the assembly took place after it became apparent that the proposal to demand that the UMC sell stock in the three companies mentioned above was not going to pass. A woman who introduced herself as Margaret Novak said the following to the gathered assembly:

I would just ask us all to imagine we were United Methodists in the 1930s and 40s [and] that our Board of Pensions held stock in the very successful manufacturing firms in Germany that bid and received the bids to manufacture the ovens for the concentration camps. At what point would we decide it was time to divest? How much evidence would we ask for before it was time to stop the wholesale destruction of people?

Source: Video of 2nd Session +0:05:47 to +0:06:37

The moderator did not call her out of order, but merely asked if her speech was for or against the non-divestment resolution then before the assembly. (She was against.)

Margaret Novak compared Israeli policies in the West Bank to the destruction of Jews in Europe. She made this statement in front of several hundred people and the moderator of the assembly let her statement pass unchallenged.

More after the jump.
Novak’s comparison between current Israeli policies and that of the Nazi regime falls under the working definition of antisemitism issued by the European Forum on Antisemitism. This definition warns against “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

Novak’s suggestion that the Israelis are perpetrating a genocide (“wholesale destruction of people”) is defamatory. The population of the Palestinians has grown fourfold in the decades since the 1948 War.

Will someone from the UMC’s leadership condemn Novak’s remarks before the General Convention comes to an end on Friday May 4, 2012 or will they pass unnoticed?

This is a reasonable question to ask. The UMC has been the source of some ugly rhetoric in the past. For more information about this problem go here and here.

James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), can make it right. He can issue an unequivocal apology for the ugly anti-Semitism that was allowed to pass unchallenged at the UMC’s General Assembly on May 2, 2012.

It is also reasonable to ask if Jewish Voice for Peace [no relation to the Philadelphia Jewish Voice!] is going to condemn Novak’s rant. As stated above, JVP was out in force at the assembly.

And will the Methodist activists, operating under the banner of UM Kairos Response condemn Novak’s statement?

Such rhetoric simply cannot pass unnoticed at the UMC General Convention.

Will Winkler act? Will Jewish Voice for Peace respond? Will UM Kairos Response?

European Rabbis Slam Dutch Ban on Jewish Slaughter

–by the Conference of European Rabbis

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has slammed a decision by the Dutch parliament to ban Jewish religious slaughter.

CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt called the ban an outrage in that it would prevent Jews from living a Jewish life in The Netherlands.

“We have passed the stage of arguing the nuances of intention of anti-Semiitsm. The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in The Netherlands. This has not happened for 70 years,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.

On Tuesday, the Dutch lower house passed a bill banning all meat which is not stunned before slaughter.

The effect of this legislation will see the banning of kosher and halal slaughter.
Rabbi Goldschmidt said that “on the basis of flawed and agenda-based science and merely to appease an ill-informed Animal Welfare Lobby, the Netherlands has thrown away centuries of liberalism, human rights, welcome and tolerance for Jews.”

“We will not rest until this discriminatory, intolerant and hateful bill is thrown out. We call upon the members of the Dutch Senate to use their constitutional powers to restore the dignity of their country,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.    

The Conference of European Rabbis federates Jewish religious leaders in over 40 European states and includes all the continent’s chief rabbis and senior rabbinical judges. The CER holds consultancy status as an NGO at the Council of Europe and within the institutions of the European Union.  

Holocaust Denier at Lincoln University


Professor Kaukab Siddique at Lincoln University has recently been writing and speaking about Israel, the Holocaust and the Jewish people in an extremely offensive way. Since Lincoln University is supported through our tax dollars as part of the Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth System of Higher Education, State Senator Daylin Leach has organized an effort to prevent students of history in our state from being taught a revisionist, anti-Semitic version of history.

Lincoln University is an outstanding institution of higher learning. Distinguished alumni include Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, writer Langston Hughes, as well as the founders of South Carolina State University, Livingstone University, Albany State University, Texas Southern University, Ibibio State College (Nigeria) and the Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Technology (Ghana). It is a shame for Prof. Siddique to sully the reputation of Lincoln University.

Sen. Daylin Leach and numerous other members of the State Assembly have sent the following letter to Lincoln University President Ivory Nelson. The letter quotes Prof. Siddique’s at length to make clear how unacceptable he is as a “teacher of history.”

If your State Senator and State Representative are not on this list, please contact them and encourage them to sign on. (Please post a comment below to indicate their response.)

President Ivory V. Nelson, Ph.D.
Lincoln University
1570 Baltimore Pike,
P.O. Box 179
Lincoln University, PA 19352

Dear President

        As members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly we, as I’m sure you know, not only support Lincoln University financially, we also have a high regard for the University’s excellent reputation and a large stake in its future success. Given this, we maintain a keen interest in what is happening at Lincoln, and how it affects the image of the school, and by extension, our image as a state.

        It has recently come to our attention that Lincoln employs a literature professor by the name of Kaukab Siddique. Mr. Siddique  has written an article and appeared in a video in which he denies that the Holocaust happened, calls for the destruction of Israel through the use of violence, and calls Jewish people a whole series of offensive names.

        With regards to the Holocaust, Mr. Siddique writes:

“Open up the DISCUSSION of the HOLOCAUST story. What did really happen in World War II? The Auschwitz “gas chambers” story has been meticulously analyzed, rebutted and destroyed by critics like Mark Weber, David Irving. Germar Rudolf and Wilhelm Staeglich. These are scholars following the highest levels of scholarship. Notice that the chain bookstores do not carry their books and the corporate media simply don’t mention them. Read even one of them and you’ll be rid of the holocaust myth forever. Don’t take the “holocaust” issue lightly. It is the main source of funds for international Jewry. It is Israel’s milk cow.”

       With regards to Israel, Mr. Siddique writes:

“Israel is an ILLEGITIMATE, TERRORIST entity…DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH JEWS unless they clearly say that Israel is illegitimate. If you are careless, you might find that you have a doctor or a lawyer who supports Israel. You can pick and choose lawyers and doctors. Rabbis are the worst of the lot.”

       Regarding Jews, Mr. Siddique refers to them as “the hydra-headed monster” and “the devil who resides in Tel Aviv”. Further, he asserts:

“The Jews are a small minority in America, yet they have taken over this country by devious and immoral means. They control the government, the media, education, the libraries, the book chains, the banks, Hollywood, Wall Street, Madison Avenue.”

      For reasons which I am sure are obvious, this sort of rhetoric raises concerns.  We support academic freedom and certainly a professor has the right to criticize Israel, or any other entity or policy he wishes. However, we are all familiar with the adage “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts”. I think this applies in this case. The Holocaust is not a theory or opinion, it is historically documented fact, denied only by those with a hateful anti-Semitic agenda.

     We are hoping that you can provide some clarification on a number of issues begged by Mr. Siddique’s conduct.

  1. What level of awareness did Lincoln’s administration have of Mr. Siddique’s propensity to engage in the sort of speech described above when he was hired and awarded tenure?
  2. Are Mr. Siddique’s anti-Semitic diatribes any part of his class-room presentation, or other presentations outside oft he classroom but on campus?
  3. What steps are being taken to ensure that Mr. Siddique is not teaching students at Lincoln University that the Holocaust is a myth, and is not perpetrating false and derogatory information regarding people of the Jewish faith?

    We appreciate your prompt response and very much look forward to hearing from you. You may reply to me and I will pass along your reply to my caucus.

Very Truly Yours,

  • State Senator Daylin Leach, District 17
  • State Senator Jane Orie, District 40
  • State Senator Vincent Hughes, District 7
  • State Senator Anthony Williams, District 8
  • State Representative Bryan Cutler, District 100
  • State RepresentativeGordon Denlinger, District 99
  • State Representative Eugene DePasquale, District 95
  • State Representative Russ Fairchild, District 85
  • State Representative Florindo Fabrizio, District 2
  • State Representative Dan Frankel, District 23
  • State Representative Mike Fleck, District 81
  • State Representative Robert Freeman, District 136
  • State Representative Pat Harkins, District 1
  • State Representative Phyllis Mundy, District 120
  • State Representative Harry Readshaw, District 36
  • State Representative Ken Smith, District 112
  • State Representative Dick Stevenson, District 8
  • State Representative Rose-Marie Swanger, District 102
  • State Representative Katie True, District 41

Jews & Blacks “Refudiate” Tea Party Racism

— David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) applauds the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for passing a resolution condemning the “racist language” used by elements in the Tea Party. NJDC has repeatedly condemned the anti-Semitic and abusive Holocaust rhetoric used by certain Tea Party activists and we hold the same position towards racist language. Racist language has no place in our political discourse and should be condemned by all, regardless of political orientation.

As NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris wrote following the incidents that occurred before the final health care reform vote:

… last weekend’s amped-up protests, egged-on by Republican members of Congress, just took things to a new level as racial epithets and homophobic slurs were hurled at House Democrats.

This is miserably bad for our society, and it’s bad politics for the GOP too as the public associates an unfortunate face with some of health care reform’s loudest detractors. It’s long past time for Republican and conservative leaders to step up to the plate and clearly denounce such comically over-the-line tactics …