Saturday, December 23, 2017

Update on Eliade and fascism

I've just posted an update to an old post on Mircea Eliade and fascism, with links to three interesting articles or books that deal with the question of Eliade's connection to Rumanian fascism.

Support progressive young Jews on campus!

Creating a Home for Next Gen Liberal Jews Through The Third Narrative

Joshua Schwartz
Northwestern University, class of 2015

Dear Rebecca,

As I know you’re interested in the work of The Third Narrative (TTN), I’d like to share my personal TTN story and the impact I know it can have on young progressive American students across the country.

Like many others in my generation, I experienced the 2014 Gaza war between Israel and Hamas as a traumatic watershed moment. Studying at Northwestern University, I remember my mother crying over the phone when we heard that Hamas had kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens – Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. I was further shocked when I learned that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager, had been burned alive by Israeli settlers. During those terrible days, each side unleashed sadness, pain and rage on the other. I asked myself, “Where do I fit into all of this? What should my generation do? What is our role?”

I was a college student who passionately loved Israel, and considered peace with the Palestinians to be the only way to justly resolve the conflict and ensure Israeli security. I knew I needed to find a political home that would enable me to live out my values, but I didn’t yet know that it would be Ameinu and its initiative The Third Narrative.

But before discovering Ameinu, I would face a major challenge on campus.

Students at Northwestern assembled a coalition – NUDivest – demanding that the university divest from companies profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. While clearly these companies helped sustain Israel’s military control, I rejected NUDivest and its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS, like the Israeli right and settler movement, refuses to distinguish between Israel and the Occupied Territories and sees the conflict as a simplistic choice between good and evil.

On campus, I advocated that pro-Israel and pro-Palestine activism are not mutually exclusive, and that the only way to fight BDS is to also fight the occupation and support justice for Palestinians. While I sought nuance and compassion, both sides rejected this approach. The Jewish coalition refused to include opposition to occupation in its written communications, and NUDivest pushed its resolution through the student government, giving BDS a victory.

When I graduated a few months later, I didn’t know where to turn.

It was then that I discovered Ameinu and The Third Narrative -- a home where I could strengthen the American Jewish community by ensuring peace, justice and the two-state solution remained a part of its advocacy agenda. At Ameinu and TTN, I was given a chance to organize a national network of academics focusing on Israel, Palestine and academic freedom; develop a curriculum for student-led learning on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and progressive Zionism; and engage students and Hillel professionals on numerous campuses to include the nuance that was missing from the BDS debate at Northwestern.

Through my experiences with Ameinu, I was inspired to go to Israel to study Arabic and spend a year working to promote shared society for Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem.

"Right, Left, and Center Seek a Political Agreement" - Women Wage Peace

Upon my return to the United States, Ameinu continued to nurture my progressive Zionist leadership, inviting me to join the Board of Directors. I am honored and excited to give back. While many young liberal American Jews reject all Jewish communal organizations as contrary to their progressive values, I believe we must find a place to re-engage with the institutions that provided our foundational connection to Judaism and Israel. For me, Ameinu is that place.

Through Ameinu, I am now working to activate my generation. I’m writing today to ask you to support Ameinu and help us launch The Third Narrative on Campus. This initiative will organize peer education programs on progressive Zionism, bring Israeli social justice and peace advocates to campus, and offer progressive volunteer programs with Israeli counterparts to build a cohort of well-informed young Jewish leaders who are passionately committed to American Jewish life and Israel.

We are seeking to raise $25,000 before the end of the year in order to pilot The Third Narrative on Campus at five schools starting in January 2018. This is just the beginning.

I know how Ameinu and The Third Narrative can change the life of a young progressive American Jew -- and the impact it can have on their involvement with Israel and the Jewish community. With your help, we can engage many more young progressive American Jews and make a profound difference in the next generation of Jewish leadership. Please join us today with a gift of $36, $50, $100, $500, or whatever you can afford.

Donations can be made online through TTN.

Thank you for your support of the next generation of Jewish leaders.

Joshua Schwartz
Northwestern University, Class of 2015
Ameinu Board of Directors

P.S. If you would like to support this initiative by check, please make it out to Ameinu, a 501c3 tax exempt organization, and send it to Ameinu, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. Note “TTN on Campus” on the memo line.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jerusalem and environs in photos in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif in 1877
Temple Mount - Muslims leaving for Nebi Musa festival, 1910

Damascus Gate in 1870
Outside Damascus Gate, 1860

German Colony (in Jerusalem), 1900. 

Germany Colony in Jerusalem, 1900

Hezekiah's Pool in Jerusalem, 1862.

Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, 1898

Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, 1898
Valley of Jehoshaphat with Absalom's Tomb (just to the east of the walled Old City), 1877

Main road from Shechem (Nablus) to Jerusalem, 1913

Rachel's Tomb, 1900

 Source of the photographs: First Photos of Eretz Yisrael.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Growing Antisemitism in Sweden

Anti-Semitism in Sweden now mostly comes from Muslim extremists and the left-wing, not from right-wing extremists.
STOCKHOLM — This past Saturday, a Hanukkah party at a synagogue in Goteborg, Sweden, was abruptly interrupted by Molotov cocktails. They were hurled by a gang of men in masks at the Jews, mostly teenagers, who had gathered to celebrate the holiday. 
Two days later, two fire bombs were discovered outside the Jewish burial chapel in the southern Swedish city of Malmo. 
Who knows what tomorrow may bring? 
For Sweden’s 18,000 Jews, sadly, none of this comes as a surprise. They are by now used to anti-Semitic threats and attacks — especially during periods of unrest in the Middle East, which provide cover to those whose actual goal has little to do with Israel and much to do with harming Jews. 
Both of these recent attacks followed days of incitement against Jews. Last Friday, 200 people protested in Malmo against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protesters called for an intifada and promised “we will shoot the Jews.” A day later, during a demonstration in Stockholm, a speaker called Jews “apes and pigs.” There were promises of martyrdom. 
Malmo’s sole Hasidic rabbi has reported being the victim of more than 100 incidents of hostility ranging from hate speech to physical assault. In response to such attacks, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 advising “extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden” because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo. 
Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden usually requires going through security checks, including airport-like questioning. At times of high alert, police officers with machine guns guard Jewish schools. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass. Not even funerals are safe from harassment. 
Jewish schoolteachers have reported hiding their identity. A teacher who wouldn’t even share the city where she teaches for fear of her safety told a Swedish news outlet: “I hear students shouting in the hallway about killing Jews.” Henryk Grynfeld, a teacher at a high school in a mostly immigrant neighborhood in Malmo, was told by a student: “We’re going to kill all Jews.” He said other students yell “yahoud,” the Arabic word for Jew, at him..... 
Historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden could mainly be attributed to right-wing extremists. While this problem persists, a study from 2013 showed that 51 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden were attributed to Muslim extremists. Only 5 percent were carried out by right-wing extremists; 25 percent were perpetrated by left-wing extremists. 
Swedish politicians have no problem condemning anti-Semitism carried out by right-wingers. When neo-Nazis planned a march that would go past the Goteborg synagogue on Yom Kippur this September, for example, it stirred up outrage across the political spectrum. A court ruled that the demonstrators had to change their route. 
There is, however, tremendous hesitation to speak out against hate crimes committed by members of another minority group in a country that prides itself on welcoming minorities and immigrants. In 2015, Sweden was second only to Germany in the number of Syrian refugees it welcomed. Yet the three men arrested in the Molotov cocktail attack were newly arrived immigrants, two Syrians and a Palestinian. 
The fear of being accused of intolerance has paralyzed Sweden’s leaders from properly addressing deep-seated intolerance. 
Some of the country’s leaders have even used Israel as a convenient boogeyman to explain violence. After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, explained radicalism among European Muslims with reference to Israel: “Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there isn’t a future. We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” 
In an interview in June, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was askedwhether Sweden had been na├»ve about the link between immigration and anti-Semitism. His response was typical of the way in which leading politicians have avoided giving straight answers about the threat against the country’s Jews: “We have a problem in Sweden with anti-Semitism, and it doesn’t matter who expresses it, it’s still as darn wrong.” 
But the problem has grown so dire that it finally forced Mr. Lofven to admit in an interview this month: “We will not ignore the fact that many people have come here from the Middle East, where anti-Semitism is a widespread idea, almost part of the ideology. We must become even clearer, dare to talk more about it.”.....

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why I signed the Jewish Studies scholars statement on Jerusalem

I signed this statement criticizing Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move the American embassy to Jerusalem. I signed not because I think that Jerusalem isn't the capital of Israel (the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and most government ministries are there - it's obviously the capital of Israel, no matter what other nations say), but because Trump's announcement does not acknowledge that Palestinians also have a legitimate claim to Jerusalem. I believe that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinians state. 

Jerusalem is one of the central issues to be decided in any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and predetermining its status forecloses upon the possibility that the city could be a capital of both states.

We write as Jewish Studies scholars to express our dismay at the Trump administration's decision to reverse decades of bipartisan U.S. policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and authorizing the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation and ensures respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to Jerusalem. 
Jerusalem is of immense religious and thus emotional significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. It is the focus of national aspirations for both Israelis and Palestinians. We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access to the city’s cultural and material resources. Today, unfortunately, that is not the case. 
As the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem* has documented, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem endure systematic inequalities, including an inequitable distribution of the city's budget and municipal services, routine denial of building permits that are granted to Jewish residents, home demolitions, and legal confiscation of property for Jewish settlement. In addition, Palestinians in the West Bank, unlike Jewish Israelis resident in that territory, require a special permit to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites.

In this context, a declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence. We therefore call on the U.S. government to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the President’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Kayla Moore - "One of our attorneys is a Jew"

At a campaign rally for Ray Moore tonight in Midland City, AL, Kayla Moore spoke about accusations of antisemitism against her husband.

I will face this problem next semester.

Kayla Moore said:
"Fake news will tell you that we don't care for Jews. I'm telling you all this because I've seen it and I just want to set the record straight while they're here. [waving to reporters] [cheering from the crowd]. One of our attorneys is a Jew. [cheering and clapping]."' 
Kayla Moore's expression when she said "is a Jew."
"We've had very close friends who are Jewish, and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them. [more cheers and whistles."
Jews! and rabbis!

And they "fellowship" with them. I didn't realize the word was a verb as well as a noun.

From an article, "Fellowship is a verb!" by Ray McDonald (a Methodist minister):
What do you think of when you hear the word fellowship? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, fellowship can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it might mean companionship or company. It might mean a community of interest, activity, feeling or experience, a company of equals or friends. As a verb, it seems to be exclusively used by churches as in; to join in fellowship especially with a church member. 
I like looking at fellowship as a verb. It is active! It is doing something – being together – enjoying each other’s company. We come together on Sunday mornings to praise and worship God together. In doing so – we are fellowshipping together. We are being involved with one another’s lives.
Does Kayla Moore mean that they meet together with their Jewish friends to pray and worship God together? (And if so, who do they all pray to?). Or just that they're involved with each others' lives, as friends? And who are these friends? Could we have a few names?

Somehow I don't find Kayla Moore's words particularly convincing. If she really had close Jewish friends, I doubt she'd be making speeches about them. And if she wants us to think that she and her husband are free of anti-Jewish animus, talking about their Jewish lawyer is hardly the way to go about it, since it's such a stereotype.

I hope that Roy Moore will lose the Senate race tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"We want 48" - Anti-Israel and anti-semitic demonstration in Times Square

Many of the protests around the world against Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli's capital and his decision that the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem have been marked by open antisemitism, including here in the United States.

rally in Times Square on Friday, December 8, loudly proclaimed that the goal was one state - Palestine, not two states beside each other, and demanded a third intifada and revolution. They want an end to Israel and its total replacement by Palestine.

These were some of the chants:
"We don't want no two-state, we want 48" (Israel was founded in 1948; the problem isn't just the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem).

"With spirit and blood we'll redeem Al Aqsa" (in Arabic)

"There is only one solution: Intifada Revolution."

"Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud Jaish Muhammad saya'ud" - "Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews: Muhammad's army will return." This refers to a battle in the early 600s, when a Jewish tribe in Khaybar, Arabia, was defeated by the troops of Muhammad.

"Intifada Intifada. Long live Intifada."
"From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free." 
"When people are occupied, resistance is justified." 
"Palestine is ours alone." 
The rally was organized by Palestinian American Community Center in New Jersey, New York City SJP, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, NY4Palestine, and Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, but the speakers also came from other organizations, including the International Action Center and the Palestinian Youth Movement in New York (the speaker from this organization referred to the "Zionist Entity" not to Israel).

If you watch the longer video, you'll see a Jewish man wearing a streimel - the token representative of Neturei Karta, I assume, who makes it possible for the demonstrators to claim that they are not antisemitic.

For a longer video of the rally: