Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yad Vashem - Untold Stories of the Murder Sites in the Occupied USSR

I just came across a New York Times article published last year about new research being done at Yad Vashem on lesser-known killing fields in the Holocaust: "New Looks at the Fields of Death for Jews" (April 19, 2009). One report about Liepaja is from a German sailor who filmed the killings at Skede.
One little-known case comes from a German sailor who filmed killings in Liepaja, Latvia. The film has been on view for some years at the Yad Vashem museum. But the new Web site has a forgotten video of a 1981 interview with the sailor, Reinhard Wiener, who said he had been a bystander with a movie camera.
According to part of his account, “After the civilian guards with the yellow armbands shouted once again, I was able to identify them as Latvian home guardsmen. The Jews, whom I was able to recognize by now, were forced to jump over the sides of the truck onto the ground. Among them were crippled and weak people, who were caught by the others.

“At first, they had to line up in a row, before they were chased toward the trench. This was done by SS and Latvian home guardsmen. Then the Jews were forced to jump into the trench and to run along inside it until the end. They had to stand with their back to the firing squad. At that time, the moment they saw the trench, they probably knew what would happen to them. They must have felt it, because underneath there was already a layer of corpses, over which was spread a thin layer of sand.
Yad Vashem has created a website devoted to this topic - the Untold Stories. There are several pages devoted to what happened in Liepaja.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fascists Still Want to Kill Jews - Al Qaeda bomb plot

As Shiraz Socialist says, Fascists still want to kill Jews. The Al Qaeda plot to bomb two synagogues in Chicago is unnerving - although fortunately only that, since the bombs were found on cargo planes a long way away from Chicago.

One of the targeted synagogues is a GLBT synagogue, Congregation Or Chadash. It's certainly not the biggest or most prominent synagogue in Chicago, so I wonder how or why it was picked. Did someone in Al Qaeda in Yemen used to live in Chicago? (Anwar al-Awlaki, who is one of the leaders of Al Qaeda in Yemen, is an American and used to live in the Washington area; his side-kick is Samir Khan who is also an American).

Some bizarre articles have come out about this in the Jewish press online already. Lee Smith published an odd one in Tablet whose point I really cannot figure out (it seems to be blaming President Obama for doing something bad - but since all the president has done is to work as hard as possible against this threat, I don't understand what he's done wrong). And the Yeshiva World website headlined their story "Bomb was addressed to Chicago 'Toeiva Synagogue.'" This is an ultra-Orthodox website that apparently cannot bring itself to utter the word "gay." (The word "toeiva" means "abomination"). Disgusting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jerusalem 1918

For those who haven't seen it - a Youtube video of Jerusalem in 1918, just at the beginning of the British mandate.

It's from the Youtube channel of Yakov Gross, who says that it's from a Jewish family in Amsterdam.

Hat tip to Miriam Shaviv at Bloghead. It's nice to discover her blog again - I used to read her, but she seemed to have left the blogging world for a while.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More Google Earth images of Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif

I discovered a few days ago that someone has created a wonderful overlay on the Temple Mount of the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque, and many of the smaller buildings on the mount, as well as the trees. It's also possible to go inside the Dome of the Rock and see the building from that perspective as well.

It Gets Better

Ithaca College participated in the "It Gets Better" campaign initiated by Dan Savage, and I was one of the people who volunteered to appear in the Youtube video. The Trevor Project works against the epidemic of suicides by young LGBT people, which is much higher than among heterosexual youth. I participated in the project because of a series of recent suicides, some of them provoked by anti-gay bullying, and also because of the horrible gay-bashing hate crime that just occurred in New York City, where a gang called the "Latin King Goonies" set upon and tortured three gay men.

Hillary Clinton and President Obama have also just made videos for the "It Gets Better" campaign: ClintonObama - It Gets Better.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carl Paladino: our homophobic gubernatorial candidate

Carl Paladino, the rich nutcase who is running on the Republican ticket for governor in New York, just blasted forth some more hate speech - this time about gay people. He was addressing an Orthodox Jewish audience at Congregation Shaarei Chaim in Brooklyn (source: Paladino Attacks Gays in Brooklyn Speech).
“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address.
And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech.
One of the rabbis accompanying Paladino is named Yechezkel Roth, who is quoted on the "Jews Against Zionism" site with virulently anti-Zionist remarks (in Hebrew) on this page: Jews Against Zionism. Rabbi Roth also participated in a demonstration this summer in New York against the building of a new emergency room for the hospital in Ashkelon (on the pretext that it was being built on a Jewish graveyard from late antiquity, which it isn't - the archaeological remains clearly show it was a non-Jewish cemetery because a pagan temple was also found there). See VosIzNeias for a photo of him at the demonstration: Anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidim Protest.

Is this a man that Carl Paladino really wants to be associated with? It certainly won't endear him to the New York Jewish community, which is mostly quite Zionist.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another gay teenager commits suicide

When is the hatred going to end?

Pam's House Blend: Oklahoma: 19-year-old commits suicide after week of 'toxic' comments

We have a long way to go

BBC News - Serb anti-gay protesters attack political party offices
The BBC's Mark Lowen: "It has got very nasty"
Serbian police have clashed with protesters trying to disrupt a Gay Pride parade in the capital, Belgrade.Police used tear gas against the rioters, who threw petrol bombs and stones at armed officers and tried to break through a security cordon. A garage attached to the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party was briefly set on fire, and at least one shot was fired at the building. At least 50 people were injured, most reported to be police officers. A number of people were arrested.
This was the first Gay Pride parade in Serbia since a march in 2001 was broken up in violent clashes provoked by far-right extremists. While the Gay Pride parade was moving though the city, several hundred protesters began chanting at those taking part as they tried to get close to the march.
"The hunt has begun," the AFP news agency reported them as saying. "Death to homosexuals." Reports told of gangs of skinheads roaming the streets, throwing petrol bombs and setting off firecrackers as police battled to hold them back.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

When does anti-Zionism become anti-semitism?

Excellent article on "when anti-Zionism becomes anti-semitism" in Shiraz Socialist.
“Absolute anti-Zionism” can be summed up as as a one-sided hostility to Zionism (ie: Jewish nationalism) that willfully refuses to place it in its proper historical context (the pogroms, persecution and genocide of the last century), that whitewashes bourgeoise Arab nationalism and reactionary, fascistic Islamism, applies double-standards to Israel and ultimately winds up denying Israel’s right to exist, even behind pre-1967 borders.... 
What needs to be spelled out plainly is that this sort of stuff is anti-semitism, pure and simple. The fact that the people putting it about regard themselves as “left wing” is neither here nor there. [Dan] Glazebook (book reviewer for the Morning Star, the British newspaper of the Communist Party of Britain], significantly, also writes in what is probably the world’s leading “left” anti-semitic publication, the US magazine Counterpunch. In fact, the roots of this type of “left wing” anti-semitism are in Stalinism and the Stalinist bureaucracy’s campaigns against “Zionism” from the 1930′s through the 1952-3 “Doctors’ Plot” in the USSR and the ”anti-Zionist” campaign in Poland in 1967-68
In fact, given their political tradition’s foul history of promoting the “Socialism of fools“, Mr Haylett and his Stalinist colleagues really aught to be more careful about their pandering to ‘absolute anti-Zionism’: or, as it is more properly called: “left wing” anti-semitism.
Good comment also:
We could call it the anti-zionism of fools, but that sounds too mild, too much like the criticism of a few blameless ignorants. They aren’t blameless and they aren’t ignorant. They are racist scoundrels. And they have infected the left with a disease that should have died in 1945, certainly by March 5, 1953.