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Monday, May 21, 2018 - 10:40am

Early this year, the Pew Research Center published a survey quantifying what many within the Jewish Community already knew.

A growing numbers of Democratic leaders are split over Israel.

To make matters worse, many Democratic leaders seem willing to cede Israel as an issue to Republicans leaders.

This past week was the perfect microcosm of this spilt.

The US Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem and Hamas orchestrated violent riots at the Gaza border.

We saw Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the leading voice amongst the Democratic Party, praise the move of the Embassy.

 

 

While Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) failed to mention the terrorist group Hamas a single time while they condemned Israel’s right to defend its border against terrorist throwing Molotov cocktails.

 

 

To make matters worse for Democrats, Republicans like Ambassador Nikki Haley were defending Israel and it’s right to defend itself at the UN.

An even more troubling trend is that it seems like many Democrats leaders are willing to cede Israel as an issue to the Republicans leaders. Some are even willing to back candidates who support anti-semitic movements like the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, for example, Mr. Scott Wallace.

I hope that Democratic leaders like Senator Schumer are heard, that politicians like Senator Feinstein change their ways and that candidates like Scott Wallace are shown the door.

 
Sunday, February 25, 2018 - 5:48pm

Opinion I Take Poland's Holocaust Revisionism Personally: Poles Hid My Grandfather and Uncle, Then Burnt Them to Death

This Polish government, schooled with a deeply sanitized version of their WWII history, also defended one of the largest far-right displays in Europe in the last decade. Now they're joining the league of Holocaust deniers like Iran and the U.S. alt-right

 

Auschwitz II-Birkenau in a thick evening fog, during the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp. Oswiecim, Poland. January 27, 2018\ KACPER PEMPEL/ REUTERS

As Edmund Burke once wrote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." While there were undoubtedly many instances of righteous Poles helping Jews during the WWII Nazi occupation of Poland, the current government cannot seek to promote recognition of their deeds by rewriting history.

In doing so, it risks stalling Poland’s path to democracy and relations with key international allies.

The fallout from Poland’s Holocaust legislation cannot be underestimated. Both my parents were born in Poland and my grandfather and uncles were killed during the Holocaust when the Polish family hiding them set their hiding place on fire, burning them alive.

The law itself is ideologically problematic. Its historical example is pre-Holocaust era law which set a maximum prison sentence of three years for insulting the Polish nation, the same sentence governed by its modern-day version.

For a generation of Poles - educated under Soviet rule, raised with a deeply sanitized version of their nation’s WWII-era history - to introduce legislation forbidding accusations of Polish collusion with the Nazis and penalizing research into Polish complicity is akin to historical revisionism at best.

Passing a law which prevents the Polish nation from acknowledging their own complicity in the Holocaust cannot be seem as a legitimate way to redress misconceptions of Poland’s war record.

The purpose of any such legislation is to deny the truth about the genocide of six million Jews, half of whom were Polish, and in doing so, it puts Poland in the same league as Iran, Islamist terrorists, the alt-right in the U.S. and proven Holocaust deniers.

 

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visits the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Who Saved Jews during WWII in Markowa, Poland. February 2, 2018\ AGENCJA GAZETA/ REUTERS

More worrying still is the ripple effect this move has already produced and which continues to reverberate.

Since the government announced the legislation, threats to the Jewish community have risen. Senate leader Stanislaw Karczewski last week asked Poles living abroad to inform the authorities of "anti-Polish comments and opinions" they saw or heard that could harm the state. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sought to defend the legislation from attacks at a security conference in Munich earlier this week by claiming that Jews were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust, as complicit in the Nazis’ crimes as the Poles who facilitated them.

In seeking to revise the true story of the Holocaust in Poland, the government has turned a blind eye to escalating anti-Semitism and given its tacit consent for the new emerging anti-Jewish rhetoric that equates the victims with the perpetrators.

Let us not forget that this Polish nationalist government defended the rights of far-right groups to march through Warsaw last November to mark Poland’s independence day. That rally, which drew 60,000 participants, was one of the largest far-right displays in Europe in the last decade.

 

Aerial view showing the layout of the largest concentration camp and death camp run by Nazi Germany during World War II at Auschwitz near the Polish town of Oswiecim, Poland, Aug. 25, 1944AP

I have recently returned from a trip to Israel as part of the 32nd International Mayors Conference. Our delegation included 33 municipal leaders from across Europe, the US, South America and Africa, as well as the Mayor of Poznan, Poland Jacek Jaskowiak.

I showed Mayor Jaskowiak around Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial. He told me what he'd learned about WWII at school had skimmed over the loss of those millions of lives lost in Nazi death camps, and omitted completely mentioning that 90% of those were Jewish. Those were facts he only learned later, once Poland had become an independent state again.

Yad Vashem pays tribute to the 6,700 righteous Poles who risked their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust. It also makes clear that without the complicity, whether direct or indirect, of ordinary Poles, the Nazi extermination of three million Polish Jews would not have been possible. The term "Polish death camps" may not be technically correct, but the vast majority of Nazi death camps in Europe were built on Polish soil.

However unpalatable the true picture of Polish involvement in the atrocities of the Holocaust, Mayor Jaskowiak informed me, those facts that only emerged in the public consciousness in the 1990s at least went some way to addressing the issue and to facing Poland’s murky past under Nazi occupation.

 

Auschwitz death camp survivor Jacek Nadolny, 77, tattooed with camp number 192685, holds up a wartime photo of his family, as he poses for a portrait in Warsaw. January 7, 2015\ REUTERS

While contentious laws such as these may not succeed in their aim of erasing or rewriting the narrative of the Holocaust, we need society to collectively acknowledge the realities of European’s darkest chapter and ensure that never again is a commitment, and not just a slogan.

Facts are facts and must not be denied. It's a historical fact that some Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. I for one do not differentiate between the direct perpetrators of the Holocaust and those who were complicit with it.

While the Polish Justice Ministry has announced it is suspending the implementation of the law, following intense pressure from Israel and the Jewish world, it has made similar noises previously, and to no avail. I hope this time the Polish government can be prevailed on to listen to legitimate concerns and step back from this action.

Whitewashing history is a betrayal to the memory of Holocaust victims and the survivors who remained to tell their stories. Rather than denigrating their memory, it is our duty to cherish and protect it. History and all of our futures demand it.

Jack Rosen is President of the American Jewish Congress. Twitter: @JackRosenNYC
Friday, January 26, 2018 - 6:02pm

 

 

1) A Jewish Community in WhiteFish, Montana was cyber attacked by Neo-Nazis. 

A Neo-Nazi publication, The Daily Storm, came out with aggressive and false statements claiming Jews were driving the white out and attempting to take over this small town after a dispute between the town’s White nationalist, Richard Spencer, and local Jewish realtor, Tonya Gersh. Andrew Anglin, founder, and publisher of the Daily Stormer called for support of Spencer along with an armed Neo-Nazi march in Whitefish.

 

This is not free speech this is an assault that leads to torment, violence, and insecurity. 

 

2. Anti-Semitic Outbreaks in Poland

A group of 10 individuals celebrated Hitler's birthday with a cake shaped like a swastika and a burning of a swastika made of wood. President of the union of Jewish Communities, Lesla Liszewski asked the government to take action when the anti-Semitic events became more frequent. The Attorney General finally vowed to take action against these groups who have been displaying illegal Nazi paraphernalia. 

 

3. Paul Nehlen runs on anti-Semitic campaign 

Paul Nehlen, a political candidate who lost the Wisconsin Republican primary in 2016, is known for his extreme views against the Jewish community. He has repeatedly run on a platform of hate and racism. He has consistently used his twitter for inappropriate slurs and attacks against Jewish politicians and reporters, often professes his “pro-white” ideals and the need to separate the thoughts of Christian and Jewish people. He believes Jews control the media and have gone to great lengths to rewrite history. Possibly the most alarming aspect of Nehlen’s anti-semitic campaign is the fact that he has gained serious traction in the media. Nehlen has been mentioned by many major publishers and Twitter following has reached close to 100,000 followers. He has gained a following of Neo-Nazis, bigots, and thousands of people who just want to follow the spectacle. Nehlen represents the faults of new political trends and the undying push of anti-Semitism in this country. 

 

4. Abbas calls Israel a ‘Colonial Project’ unrelated to Judaism 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the Palestinian Central Council earlier this month with multiple claims that the goal of the Jewish people to obtain Israel was not due to religion but of hatred toward the Arab countries. He said he believes Israel is a “colonial project” to gain power in the middle east and the term “promised land” is just a farce. He claims the European Jews would rather face the murder and slaughter of the Holocaust than emigrate to Palestine. Abbas went as far to say that Israeli goal has always been to wipe out the Palestinians. Abbas is blinded by ignorance and pride and has failed to take history and facts into account. 

 

5. Alison Chabloz

Alison Chabloz is a self-proclaimed “Holocaust Revisionist” or simply put a Holocaust denier. Chabloz faces 5 charges related to three offensive songs about Jews and the Holocaust. Chabloz has been creating songs that mock accounts of the Holocaust and Jewish people as a whole. She claims that Anne Frank’s father faked his daughter’s diary and accuses famous survivors of taken advantage of their situation to get rich. She uses her songs to blatantly communicate her white supremacy ideals with her growing fan base. 

 

6. Puerto Rico Anti Semitic Column 

El Nuevo Dia newspaper released a column entitled “What does ‘the Jew’ want with the colony?” This is response to the the economic crisis and the belief that the Jews control congress and run the economics of Puerto Rico. The writer Wilda Rodriguez believes that the Jews are trying to gain power and wealth of Puerto Rico. The newspaper quickly rescinded their article and apologized for offending the Jewish community. Rodriguez claims she was unaware her column could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. 

 

6. Tunisia: Jewish Population determined to stay despite anti-Semitic violence

Although Tunisia has been declared a multi-faith state, the Jewish people still face persecution. There have been several attacks against Jews that includes harassment, social media threats to the Djerba synagogue and promises that Jews will soon finally be driven out of Tunisia. The people behind  these anti-Semitic acts are thought to be extremists as the Arab and Jewish citizens have developed a good relationship in the past years. Despite the persecution, the Jewish community has banded together in an effort to remain in their homeland and fight the discrimination. Although Tunisian government is currently weakened, it stands in support of both Jews and Muslim and believe that a unified culture is good for their country. It has taken some measures to protect Jewish institution by placing police guards around them while the extremist issue is dealt with. 

 

7. Racist, Anti Semitic Fliers Dropped in Virginia Neighborhood Before MLK Day

Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monument

The Ku Klux Klan delivered racist and anti- Semitic fliers in a Virgina neighborhood on the eve before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These flyers crude illustrations of Jews based on stereotypes and mentioned how the jews control the media. Another flyer included racist and vulgar statements about MLK. The KKK also delivered messages over Halloween villainizing the Jewish and African American community. 

 
Friday, January 26, 2018 - 5:36pm

 

1. Concentration Facilites 

42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps were documented throughout Europe between Hitler's reign from 1933-1945. A number so high that many scholars were shocked to see the data. These camps were used for the most barbaric actions ever taken against mankind. Some were war supply factories where prisoners were forced to manufacture the very weapons that would be used against them, some were brothels, and other facilities were particularly horrible camps would include “care” centers where pregnant prisoners were forced to abort their babies and were killed upon birth.

 

2. The Third Reich

The Third Reich established about 110 camps at the start of their reign in the year 1933. These 110 camps imprisoned about 10,000 enemies of the Hitler. By the end of the war, there were 42,500 camps that had imprisoned somewhere about 15 million to 20 million people. That is a 38,536% increases in the number of camps along with a 150,000% increase in the number of prisoners in a 12 year period.
 

3. Jewish Death Totals

9.5 million Jews lived in Europe before the war began. This was about 60% of the Jewish world population. These 9.5 million Jews comprised of 1.7% of the total European population. There were 6 million Jews murdered over the 12 year period of the holocaust. Of those 6 million,  1.1 million were Jewish children. Europe went from a vibrant and culturally Jewish rich part of the world, a population of only 3.8 million Jews in 1945. This was only 35% of the world's Jewish population.

 

4. April 1, 1933

April 1, 1933, marked the day of the Nazi party’s first act in dehumanizing the Jewish people. This began with boycotting all Jewish-run businesses in Germany. Two years later the Nuremberg laws were issued. These laws stripped the Jewish people of their German citizenship and prohibited extramarital sex between Jews and the German people as Jews were viewed as inferior. Jews were later banned from public parks, public schools, fired from civil service jobs, forced to register their property, and were not allowed to leave certain areas of Germany. In November of 1938, as the restrictions and persecution of Jews continued to rise, Kristallnacht began to take place. That night, the burning of synagogues, destruction of Jewish owned business and homes, and physical attacks on the Jewish people took place. The Jewish people were stripped of their livelihood, religion, and quality of life in this short five-year span.

 

5. Family Separation

Separation in families was an ongoing and heartbreaking time for jews during the holocaust. Starting at Kristallnacht, 30,000 Jewish men were imprisoned and thousands of families remained fatherless, most of whom never saw their father or husband again. Upon Kristallnacht, many Jewish mothers knew that the best chance for their children's survival was to find a way for them to escape and knowing very well that the likelihood they would see their children again would be very small. Thousands of children were sent all over the world without their family to protection and comfort of their families. Six thousand children were sent to Palestine and 10,000 children were later sent to Britain. Many of these children were captured and many had a complete loss of identity. This was a crippling time for Jewish families as the day of reunification would never come.

6. Jewish Ghettoes

Ghettoes were used to segregate Jews from everyday life. Ghettos were set in small spaces with extreme overpopulation. The living conditions were miserable and under constant surveillance by the Nazis. Hitler established at least 1,000 ghetto’s in German-occupied space. Warsaw alone held over 400,000 jews in a dense 1.3-mile area. Jews were forced to wear a yellow star of David to make it known they were Jewish or “inferior”. Ghettoes were an integral part of Hitler's “Final Solution”. The “Final Solution” was a plan beginning in 1941 to murder all European Jews left. The Germans would destroy the ghetto’s and take the jews to killing centers or camps where they would work until they died.

 

 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 2:30pm

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 2:20pm

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 1:50pm

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 1:07pm

By American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen

Featured in Newsweek

As Iranians take to the streets and the international community looks on nervously, President Trump is facing a crucial turning point on Iran.

As Iranians take to the streets and the international community looks on nervously, President Trump is facing a crucial turning point on Iran.

Last October, he took a decisive step back from the nuclear agreement, which he has famously branded the “worst deal ever.”

This week, for the first time since then, the President must decide whether to continue both certifying the deal and waiving sanctions against Tehran.

The time has come for Trump to hold Iran to account. However, the task is complex. The process extends far beyond the end of this week. It will require Trump to create a unity of purpose both at home and abroad that has so far been lacking. But it can and must be done.

The first challenge for the President is to turn the existing nuclear agreement from a decade-long arrangement into a permanent deal, removing the so-called “sunset clause.”

The second is to see the deal curb Iran’s ballistic missile development, which also poses a serious threat to regional stability. Such changes will give real purpose to a deal which currently guarantees nothing.

The Obama administration hoped that by signing a deeply flawed agreement and waiving crippling economic sanctions, it could bring Iran in from the cold, and strengthen the regime’s moderates on the way to bringing stability to the wider region.

This plan has clearly and demonstrably failed. Since Washington and five fellow Western powers signed the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran has increasingly sown chaos in the region.

Tehran’s fingerprints are all over the Middle East’s bloodiest conflicts from Syria to Yemen and beyond. Unencumbered by sanctions, Tehran continues to spread terror across the region.

Meanwhile, the Iranian people have once again taken to the streets in wide scale protest against the Islamic Republic’s authoritarian rulers, who have not hesitated to brutally suppress their voice.

The crux of these public demonstrations is a disillusionment over continued price rises and economic hardship at home, while vital resources are funnelled towards bankrolling President Assad, Hezbollah, Houthi rebels and others to fight wars abroad.

The demonstrations have been a reminder that large swathes of the Iranian public are increasingly frustrated by a regime that seeks to isolate them from the international community and damaging economic progress, thereby depriving the people of a future.

Some have argued that forgoing the nuclear deal at this juncture, would risk playing into the hands of Iranian rulers only too eager to portray America as the enemy and the very catalyst of civil unrest.

Decertifying the agreement now and a renewal of sanctions would make it easy for the ayatollahs to further condemn popular protest as the work of the “Great Satan.” It could prove a setback for those in Iran who so desperately want engagement with the West.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration could present an alternative way of forgoing the nuclear deal in its current form while supporting the Iranian people’s struggle for a more progressive future for Iran. Such an outcome will require a long term plan.

The Senate resolution 368 tabled by Senator Ed Royce and scheduled for vote next week not only expresses solidarity with the legitimate protests of the Iranian people and seeks international consensus on condemning the Iranian regime’s human rights violations, but it calls on the US to introduce targeting sanctions to hold the regime to account.

The collaboration of the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker and Senator Ben Cardin, the most senior Democrat on the Committee, on the Corker-Cardin proposal is another such example. Both of these initiatives illustrate the important role Congress can play in helping the administration to create a bipartisan consensus at home, which is essential if the US is to persuade her allies to amend a deal which they continue to champion.

Support from both sides of the aisle to alter meaningfully the nuclear agreement would be a persuasive statement to the international community. The united voice of Republicans and Democrats would give confidence that President Trump’s opposition to the deal is rooted in very real, grave concerns, rather than political interest.

And there are two clear and important alterations to the agreement, which a Corker-Cardin compromise can secure.

Having said that, Iran has already shown itself to be a bad actor in the process and if they won’t commit to renegotiating the agreement, then the US position must be to resort to stronger action to hold the regime to account.

Holding Iran to account and halting its nuclear program has long been a priority for the West. Washington must continue to take a leading role in this process.

There is now a real opportunity to collaborate with parties from both sides of the political spectrum, in order to make this reality and garner support from the international community. As President Trump approaches the first anniversary of taking office, he has the chance to build a lasting legacy of stability in the Middle East.

But it will take patience and determination far beyond this week’s deliberations.

Jack Rosen is President of the American Jewish Congress.