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?

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 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:

And, from Hungarian Spectrum:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The veil of antisemitism

CNN tonight, Kayleigh McEnany and Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

Kayleigh McEnany: "For those wanting to give the president a fair chance, you would have heard him condemning antisemitism. I have his exact quote from the first time he was asked this question. He said, 'I want peace in this country, I want to stop crime and long-simmering racism.' That sounds like a condemnation to me. But some people on the left are using the veil of antisemitism and the charge of antisemitism to further their own political causes. It's dangerous. I agree with Alan Dershowitz fully that we should not be loosely throwing this term around. I've got to ask you straight on - so you think that the president does not like Jews and is prejudiced against Jews? You think that about the President of the United States?"

So we were supposed to divine from Trump's word salad that he was condemning antisemitism, when he didn't even use the word? "Peace." "Crime" "Long-simmering racism."

And here we see someone from the right making exactly the same argument as the anti-Israel left - that Jews (that's what she means by "some people on the left") use antisemitism for their own (impure) purposes. The BDS left accuses Jews of crying antisemitism in order to supposedly "stifle" criticism of Israel. In this case, she's accusing Jews of crying antisemitism in order to criticize Donald Trump. Both are cases of bad faith. They deny Jews the right to determine for ourselves what antisemitism is - a right generally given to those who are the targets of prejudice and discrimination. Instead, both arrogate to themselves the right to decide what is antisemitic and what is not - since it's too dangerous for Jews to possess that power themselves.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"A pathetic asterisk of condescension"

A lovely denunciation of Trump's weak statement about antisemitism today:
Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect 12 hrs ·

Statement of Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, on President Trump's acknowledgment of Antisemitism today: 
“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.”
And here's Sean Spicer's whiny response (from TPM):
Spicer said he had seen the statement.
“I think he has been very forceful with his denunciation of people who seek to attack people because of their hate, because — excuse me, because of their religion, because of their gender, because of the color of their skin," he said. "This is something that he is going to fight and make very, very clear that has no place in this administration.” 
“But I think it's ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this that it's never good enough,” Spicer continued. “Today I think was an unbelievably forceful comment by the President as far as his denunciation of the actions that are currently targeted towards Jewish community centers. But I think that he has been very clear previous to this that he wants to be someone that brings this country together and not divide people, especially in those areas.”
“So I saw that statement. I wish that they had praised the President for his leadership in this area. And I think that hopefully as time continues to go by they recognize his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans,” he said.
When has Trump ever denounced those who seek to attack people because of their religion, gender, or skin color? He himself has attacked Muslims and Mexicans, he apparently can't tell one Black person from another, and he has issued an executive order to target undocumented immigrants for deportation, as if they are the source of all evil in our country. This was not an "unbelievably forceful comment." It was perfunctory and off-hand. The president has shown no leadership whatsoever when it comes to condemning hate crimes and bigotry. He fosters bigotry rather than fighting against it.

Trump finally condemns antisemitism

Well, he finally bestirred himself to condemn antisemitism (After much prodding, Trump condemns anti-Semitism):
Under pressure to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of what has been called an uptick in incidents since he was elected, Trump told MSNBC on Tuesday morning, “Anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop, and it has to stop.”.... 
Asked by reporter Craig Melvin if his statement meant he was denouncing anti-Semitism “once and for all,” Trump replied: “Of course, and I do it whenever I get the chance to do it.” [This is a lie, by the way]..... 
Reading prepared remarks, Trump called the museum [of African American History] “a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and our Jewish community centers are horrible, are painful and they are a reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil. 
So what's he going to do to work against antisemitism? Will he denounce David Duke as an antisemite and racist?

Will he stop talking to Alex Jones of Infowars, which publishes antisemitic conspiracy theories? (According to the New York Times, Jones has been talking to Trump occasionally on the phone, and some of Trump's conspiracy theories were taken from Infowars).

Will he fire Richard Bannon, his chief strategic officer and former publisher of Breitbart?

If he runs again for president in 2020, will he refrain from making ads that blame rich Jews for globalism?

Will he tell his racist and antisemitic followers to stop targeting Jews, Muslims, African Americans, and LGBT people?

Will he order the FBI to get to the bottom of the wave of recent threatening calls to Jewish community centers?

I want to see actions, not words.

On Infowars, see these antisemitic stories. I found them within seconds when I searched the site. (story taken from RT) (covering up Richard Spencer's antisemitism) - article by Rev. Ted Pike, originally published in the American Free Press, a blatantly antisemitic website (E.g.,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Eleven JCCs threatened today. Jewish tombstones vandalized in Missouri.

Antisemitic incidents of the last few days:

Today, February 20: In University City, Missouri, over a hundred gravestones in the Jewish cemetery Chesed shel Emeth were knocked over.

Also today, eleven Jewish Community Centers received telephoned bomb threats, apparently from the same person or persons who has previously made these phone calls. This is the fourth time in five weeks that the threats have been phoned in. The JCCs affected were in Birmingham, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; Hyde Park JCC in Chicago; Sabes JCC in Minneapolis; Albuquerque, New Mexico; JCC of Greater Buffalo, New York; Mandel JCC of Cleveland; Jewish Federation of Tulsa, OK; Nashville, TN; Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston; and the JCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ivanka Trump actually Tweeted about it, although it would have been nice if she had actually used the word "Jewish."
This was the response from Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, after being asked about these incidents by Peter Alexander of NBC. He did not mention the fact that Jewish community centers were threatened, nor did he use the word antisemitic. Just note: if this had been the response of the Obama White House there would have been howls of protest from the establishment Jewish community and from right-wing Jews.

February 17: From Idan Cohen of the University of Minnesota: Daily Stormer antisemitic posters were posted in several places on campus. An example:

February 16: Swastikas and antisemitic notes were left at multiple homes and a Chabad center in Oak Park, California.
The search is on for several suspects caught on camera leaving cards with swastikas, anti-Semitic threats and derogatory messages at multiple homes and a Chabad in an Oak Park neighborhood. 
According to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to several calls of service regarding the notes on Feb. 11. 
The sheriff's office said it has created a special task force and is collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies to catch the culprits. 
The notes were placed on the front doors of seven homes, left on a car as well as the Chabad of Oak Park. Investigators said with the exception of the Chabad, the notes appeared to be randomly placed and did not specifically target Jewish residents. 
The suspects were caught on surveillance video. Based on the footage, authorities believe there are at least four male suspects involved. They were described to be teens who likely live in the area.

February 9: Also at UMinn: 
A dry-erase board inside the University of Minnesota dorm room of freshman Avi Shaver was marked with a swastika and depiction of a concentration camp. Shaver posted the photo to his Facebook when he returned to his room at around 1 a.m., Thursday. The drawing includes the slogan “Work Will Set You Free,” which, in German, is above the entrance to Auschwitz. (Photo below is from Avi Shaver's FB page).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

[Updated] Mihael Sebastian on Mircea Eliade

More on Mircea Eliade and Jews, from the Journal of Mihail Sebastian, from selections published in the New Yorker October 2, 2000:
September 25, 1936      He [Eliade] is able to work comfortably with the anti-Semitic Vremea [a newspaper], as if there were nothing untoward about it. Nevertheless I shall do everything possible to keep him. 
February 25, 1937     Yesterday evening, there was a little party at our place. Mircea, [his wife] Nina, Marietta, [her husband] Haig, Dinu [Noica]. 
I wonder if this won't be the last time I ask them round. I don't feel I can stand the duplicity that our friendship has required since they went over to the Iron Guard. Is friendship possible with people who have in common a whole set of alien ideas and feelings - so alien that I have only to walk in the door and they suddenly fall silent in shame and embarrassment? 
September 20, 1939    Titel Comarnescu tells me of a political conversation he had recently with Mircea, who is more pro-German than ever, more anti-French and anti-Semitic. 
"The Poles' resistance in Warsaw," says Mircea, "is a Jewish resistance. Only yids are capable of the blackmail of putting women and children in the front line, to take advantage of the Germans' sense of scruple. Rather than a Romania again invaded by kikes, it would be better to have a German protectorate." 
Now I understand perfectly why he is so reticent with me when it is a question of politics, and why he appears to take refuge in metaphysics to escape "the horrors of politics." 
Just look at what he thinks, your ex-friend Mircea Eliade.

I've just posted as a page the complete New Yorker article - accessible here - Friends and Fascists.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Signs of the Times II

At Trump's campaign rally today (yes, he continues having these even though he's already been elected president), there was a small group of Black people carrying signs supporting Trump.
One of the people holding up these signs is a man named Michael Symonette or Michael Woodside, who used to be part of a murderous anti-semitic Black separatist cult named Yahweh ben Yahweh. From the Miami New Times:
He's none other than Michael the Black Man, also known as Maurice Woodside or Michael Symonette, who has made waves in Miami in recent years with protests against the Democratic Party and rallies for the GOP.

He's also a former member of the murderous Yahweh ben Yahweh cult, which was led by the charismatic preacher Hulon Mitchell Jr., who was charged by the feds in 1990 with conspiracy in killings that included a gruesome beheading in the Everglades.

Michael, along with 15 other Yahweh followers, was charged for allegedly conspiring in two murders; his brother, who was also in the cult, told jurors that Michael had helped beat one man who was later killed and stuck a sharpened stick into another man's eyeball. But jurors found Michael (and six other Yahweh followers) innocent. They sent Mitchell away for 20 years in the federal pen.

In the years that followed, he changed his last name to Symonette, made a career as a musician, started a radio station in Miami and then re-invented himself as Michael the Black Man, an anti-gay, anti-liberal preacher with a golden instinct for getting on TV at GOP events. He's planned events with Rick Santorum and gotten cable news play for bashing Obama....

So why is he supporting Trump? Reached on his cell phone in Lakeland, he said he likes Trump's plan to lower taxes, but also offered a complicated answer tying Hillary Clinton to a range of racist activities.

"One reason is because Hillary's last name is Rodham, and their family members are Rothchilds, who enslaved 13,000 slaves as collateral," he says. "She's also on camera kissing the head of the Ku Klux Klan and saying, 'That's my mentor.' That's all on my website."

That website's address is also prominently displayed on those signs he waved behind Trump on TV today. The URL leads to a site full of grainy videos accusing Clinton of associating with various racist organizations.

Signs of the Times I

Milo Yiannopolous appears on pseudo-liberal Bill Maher's show: an online-only segment that ran after the HBO broadcast, Mr. Yiannopoulos said that transgender people were “vastly disproportionately involved in sex crime,” drawing jeers, boos and a shout of “liar” from Mr. Maher’s audience.
Who is Yiannopolous?

Here's Ben Shapiro, another right-winger, describing him:
There’s plenty to dislike about Milo Yiannopoulos’ poisonous brand -- he says Jews run the media; earlier this month he characterized a Jewish BuzzFeed writer as a “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig shit media Jew”; he justifies anti-Semitic memes as playful trollery and pats racist sites like American Renaissance on the head; he describes himself as a “chronicler of, and occasional fellow traveler with the alt-right” while simultaneously recognizing that their “dangerously bright” intellectuals believe that “culture is inseparable from race”; back in his days going under the name Milo Wagner, he reportedly posed with his hand atop a Hitler biography, posted a Hitler meme about killing 6 million Jews, and wore an Iron Cross; last week he berated a Muslim woman in the audience of one of his speeches for wearing a hijab in the United States; his alt-right followers routinely spammed my Twitter account with anti-Semitic propaganda he tut-tutted before his banning (the amount of anti-Semitism in my feed dropped by at least 70 percent after his ban, which I opposed); he personally Tweeted a picture of a black baby at me on the day of my son’s birth, because according to the alt-right I’m a “cuck” who wants to see the races mixed; he sees the Constitution as a hackneyed remnant of the past, to be replaced by a new right he leads; there's plenty more – but rioting against him only means more people buy into his schtick and allows him to shed his persona for a clean-cut conservative character on Tucker Carlson.
(I agree with Shapiro on the use of political violence, by the way - he's right that it only turns MY into a political martyr).

So why on earth is Bill Maher normalizing Yiannopolous by having a "chummy interview" with him?

More on Milo, from the National Review:
“Cuckservative” is a term that the “alt-Right” uses to describe a normal conservative (for lack of a better phrase). “Cuck” comes from “cuckold.” The idea is, white conservative men enjoy seeing their wives have sexual relations with dark-skinned men, for the purpose of making the country at large darker.  
Last year, the conservative journalist Ben Shapiro and his wife had a child. Ben sent out a tweet that said, “With infinite gratitude to God, we’re overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning.” Ben got the usual torrent of Nazi tweets, wishing his new baby and the rest of the family to the gas chambers. There were tweets showing the Shapiro family as lampshades. And so on.  
Yiannopoulos wrote a tweet of his own. It said, “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” Accompanying this tweet was a comical picture of a black baby.
And here's something he posted on his Facebook page in October, 2016:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The least antisemitic person that you have ever seen in your life"

Two days in a row, Trump refuses to answer a question about antisemitic acts in the US. At his press conference today, he thought that the reporter Jacob Turx, from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish magazine Ami was accusing him of being antisemitic (which he wasn't). Trump got all defensive and said he was "the least antisemitic person that you have ever seen in your life."

Transcript of Trump and Jacob Turx:

TURX: My name is Jake Turx from Ami Magazine, and despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven’t seen anyone in my community accuse either you yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand you have Jewish grandchildren, and you are their Zeyde (grandfather). However, what we are concerned about, and what we haven’t being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitic [unintelligible] and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks and there are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to –

TRUMP: See he’s said he’s going to ask a very simple and easy question, and it’s not. It’s not a simple question and not a fair question. OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question.

So here’s the story guys. Number One, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life. Number Two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well, relative to other people running as a Republican –

TURX – starts to talk, but

TRUMP – Quiet quiet quiet. See he lied about he was going to ask a very straight simple question. So welcome to the world of the media. So let me just tell you something that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive, I hate even the question, because people who know me, you heard the prime minister, you heard Betanyahu yesterday, you heard him, Bibi, he said, I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said – forget it. So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like…

TURX – gets up and starts to speak, but Trump calls on the next reporter.

Is anyone paying attention to antisemitic bomb threats?

This is what Jacob Turx asked Trump about today.
"Telephone terrorism" rattles 48 Jewish centers. Is anyone paying attention?

(CNN) Samantha Taylor was at Orlando's Jewish Community Center for a morning meeting when she heard reports of a bomb threat crackle from the director's walkie-talkie.
Her daughter attends preschool there; she ran to the classroom and evacuated with the students and teachers. 
While police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the building for several hours, the teachers kept the children calm and happy at a safe spot down the street, Taylor said. No explosives were found. 
On the same day, January 4, an Orlando Chabad center also received a threatening call, marking the first trickle in what would soon swell to waves of calls menacing Jewish institutions across the country. 
In all, 48 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, according to the JCCA, an association of JCCs. Most were made in rapid succession on three days: January 9, 18 and 31. A number of JCCs, including Orlando's, received multiple threats. 
In a statement, the FBI said the bureau and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are "investigating possible civil rights violations in connections with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country."

The JTA, a Jewish news agency, says it has obtained a recording of one of the calls. On it, the caller says a C-4 bomb has been placed in the JCC and that "a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered." 
Several JCC sources said the FBI has told them it is investigating the calls as hate crimes. Online, another term has circulated: "telephone terrorism." 
"I've been in the business for 20-plus years, and this is unprecedented," said Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish organizations on security. "It's more methodical than meets the eye."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Trump administration and antisemitism

Today, at Trump's press conference with Netanyahu, he was asked a very sharp question about the rise of antisemitism in the United States.
Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States.  And I wonder what you say to those among the Jewish community in the States, and in Israel, and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.
Trump didn't answer the question. The only thing he said about Jews was about his own family:
As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends; a daughter who happens to be here right now; a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren.
Netanyahu picked up the ball:
But I’ve known the President and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time, and there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump.  I think we should put that to rest.
This is supposed to make Jews in the United States feel safer? Our president utterly ignores a question about antisemitism, which has risen during and after the election. Some Jews always say at this point - "oh, but what about his Jewish daughter and son-in-law?" Well, what about them? Are they doing anything to make life safer for Jews in the United States? I see no evidence for that.

And as for Netanyahu - he's giving Trump a hechsher because he happens to have known him for a long time? He doesn't speak for the Jewish people. Netanyahu only speaks for himself and his political ambitions.


Yesterday, Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor and speechwriter for Trump, liked a tweet posted by David Duke. Miller follows Duke on Twitter. Miller is Jewish. Why on earth is he liking something posted by David Duke, notorious Neo-Nazi antisemite?

Miller follows Duke on Twitter, along with Wikileaks, and a lot of different Trump accounts:

Duke just tweeted this today:

What does Miller think about this? - Duke is putting down his boss. 


And for those who think this is much ado about nothing, a post from a friend on Facebook. A school in Boca Raton, Florida (where she lives) was defaced with swastikas and "Heil Hitler." Apparently the school administration there is doing its best to sweep the incident under the rug.

The Golden Rule by Norman Rockwell

I was looking at Norman Rockwell paintings earlier tonight and realized how much I like some of them. Many of them are too sentimental and kitschy for my taste, but some are really moving, including this one from 1961 - "The Golden Rule." There is also a large mosaic of the painting at the United Nations. This image is from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. I've never been there even though I've often driven by it when traveling between Ithaca and the Boston area.

What is President Trump's true relation to Russia?

From Josh Marshal -
Step back for a second and look at this. While certainties are hard to come by, it seems clear that Russia broke into computer networks and selectively released private emails to damage Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. When President Obama took a series of actions to punish the Russian government for this interference, President-Elect Trump's top foreign policy advisor made a series of calls to the Russian government's representative in the United States to ask him to have his government refrain from retaliation and suggested that the punishments could be lifted once the new government was sworn in. Then he lied about the calls both publicly and apparently within the White House. What has gotten lost in this discussion is that these questionable calls were aimed at blunting the punishment meted out for the election interference that helped Donald Trump become President. This is mind-boggling. 
Consider another point. 
Through the course of the campaign, transition and presidency, three top Trump advisors and staffers have had to resign because of issues tied to Russia. Paul Manafort, Carter Page and now Michael Flynn. Page might arguably be termed a secondary figure. Manafort ran Trump's campaign and Flynn was his top foreign policy advisor for a year. The one common denominator between all these events, all these men is one person: Donald Trump. 
As I said above, this has all been happening before our eyes, the train of inexplicable actions, the unaccountable ties and monetary connections, the willful, almost inexplicable need to make the case for Vladimir Putin even when the President knows the suspicion he's under. When I was writing my first post on this topic more than 6 months ago, I had the uncanny feeling of finding what I was writing impossible to believe as I wrote it. And yet, I would go through the list of unexplained occurrences and actions, clear business and political connections, sycophantic support and more and realize there was too much evidence to ignore. It was fantastical and yet in plain sight.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Be decent human beings: Subway Riders Scrub Anti-Semitic Graffiti

From the New York Times:
Returning home on Saturday night after a dinner in Manhattan with some longtime friends, Gregory Locke boarded a No. 1 subway train and was confronted with an ugly sight. 
The car’s windows and posters were covered in anti-Semitic graffiti, according to accounts from Mr. Locke and another passenger in the car, Jared Nied. Messages like “Jews belong in the oven” and “destroy Israel, Heil Hitler,” had been written over subway maps, as shown by photographs taken on the train. Swastikas were drawn in black marker on the doors and windows. 
From Gregory Locke's Facebook page.
Mr. Locke, 27, a New York lawyer, said in a phone interview that his first reaction was shock, “especially once I realized how many instances of graffiti were on the train car.”
“But the shock quickly subsides and turns into a sort of a realistic horror,” he said. “You realize it’s appalling but it’s also not surprising at the same time.” 
Neither man reported the graffiti to the police, and neither the New York Police Department nor the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had a record of any report. 
Mr. Nied, 36, was returning home from his work as a sous-chef around 7 p.m. and boarded the train at 42nd Street. He said in a phone interview that his reaction to the graffiti, which he noticed immediately, must have been written on his face, and he soon attracted the attention of another commuter. 
“There was a lady sitting across from me under the map, and she said, ‘Oh that’s absolutely horrible,’” he said. “‘Do you think there’s any way we can erase it?’” 
Mr. Nied had many times used a Sharpie when he had meant to use a dry-erase marker, and he knew from experience that alcohol would work to erase the graffiti. 
“A light bulb went on, and I just asked, ‘Does anyone have hand sanitizer?’” he said. 
Mr. Nied and several other commuters began to wipe away the graffiti, their actions captured in photographs taken by Mr. Locke, who wrote on Facebook about his experience. By late Sunday afternoon, more than 518,000 people had reacted to the post on Facebook, and the post had been shared more than 354,000 times.

“I’ve never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purell,” Mr. Locke wrote. “Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone.”....
On Saturday night, Mr. Nied sent a text to his wife, Jacquline, and to a friend with a photograph of the graffiti, but he did not consider the prospect that someone else might have taken photos. He said it had not even crossed his mind until more than an hour later, when his wife looked at her phone. 
“She said, ‘Dude, you’re going viral,’” he recalled. 
He added: “It was a very New York moment in that we all came together, we all teamed up, and then we settled back down. I don’t think any of those people really spoke, truth be told. Everyone kind of just did their jobs of being decent human beings.”

Friday, February 03, 2017

Do you still think Steven Bannon does not endorse antisemitism?

For those who doubt that Steven Bannon endorses antisemitism, see what he presented in an outline for a film on a supposed Muslim takeover of the US.
The outline shows how Bannon, years before he became a strategist for President Trump and helped draft last week’s order restricting travel from seven mostly Muslim countries, sought to issue a warning about the threat posed by radical Muslims as well as their “enablers among us.” Although driven by the “best intentions,” the outline says, institutions such as the media, the Jewish community and government agencies were appeasing jihadists aiming to create an Islamic republic.....
The outline offered an early glimpse of Bannon’s belief that the West and “supremacist” Islam are headed for a “fundamental clash of civilizations,” as the outline said. He later expressed this view publicly as chief of Breitbart News, a site that often features articles about radical Islamists and has provided a platform for the alt-right, a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state. 
“We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism,” he said at a 2014 talk via Skype to a group at the Vatican, according to a transcript first published by BuzzFeed. “And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.” 
“I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam,” he added, citing ancient battles between Christian and Islamic forces.....
The outline warns about “front groups and disingenuous Muslim Americans who preach reconciliation and dialogue in the open but, behind the scenes, advocate hatred and contempt for the West.” 
It names the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America as examples of such “cultural jihadists.” After The Post’s revelation of the 2007 script, CAIR officials on Friday urged Republicans to call for Bannon’s dismissal, saying he promoted “virulently anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.” 
The proposal also lists other “enablers,” including The Post, the New York Times, NPR, “Universities and the Left,” the “American Jewish Community,” the ACLU, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and the White House.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The White House’s soft-core Holocaust denialism

The White House’s soft-core Holocaust denialism
.....Another reading of the White House statement, which was a departure from those issued by both the Obama and Bush administrations, is more sinister. By stripping any reference to Jews from its brief statement, the Trump administration engaged in what Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University historian, calls “soft-core Holocaust denial.” 
.....Trump administration officials reject any such intent, while doubling down to defend their statement as a purposeful act of inclusion. “I mean, everyone’s suffering [in] the Holocaust including, obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and miserable genocide that occurs,” Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said.

To expand the Holocaust’s meaning to include “everyone” is to obliterate history. By refusing to name the Holocaust’s primary targets — by positing an infinite number of victims — the mass incineration of Europe’s Jews is minimized and diminished. Right-wing governments in present-day Europe have similarly fudged the historical record
The Nazis perpetrated a staggering number of unspeakable crimes — routine murders; human “medical” experimentation; mass rape — and Hitler’s victims were legion. In the former East Germany or Soviet Union, a visitor to a World War II museum could form the impression that communists were the Nazis’ main victims. 
Yet the Holocaust was a unique crime undertaken on a vast scale, impelled by a focused, sustained hatred, specifically of Jews. That hatred, and that crime, must not be conflated with all Nazi hatreds and all crimes, nor gauzily recalled as one of many such atrocities, nor reimagined as a worn-out grievance. In an extraordinary repudiation of the White House on Monday, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum felt compelled to restate the obvious: “Nazi ideology cast the world as a racial struggle, and the singular focus on the total destruction of every Jewish person was at its racist core. . . . As Elie Wiesel said, ‘Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims.’ ”