1. Stanford “stooping to new lows”
2. British Muslims force Holocaust Memorial Day cancellation
3. Spanish town attempts to hold “Palestinian Genocide Day”
4. Thank you, BBC
5. David Irving: Auschwitz was “a tourist attraction”
6. Holocaust memorial in Berlin used as a public lavatory by tourists
7. 5,000 Euro Holocaust fine for French politician
8. Anti-Semitic attacks up in Argentina
9. Russia sentences anti-Semitic editor
10. “Holocaust denial comes to Stanford” (Stanford Daily, Jan. 25, 2007)
11. “Bolton bans Holocaust Day” (Jewish Telegraph, Jan. 26, 2007)
12. “Marked rise in attacks on Jews in Europe over the past year” (Ha’aretz, Jan. 29, 2007)
13. “Murdered Frenchman Halimi to be buried in Jerusalem next month” (EJP, Jan. 21, 2007)
14. “Irving denies gas chambers existed at Auschwitz” (AP, Jan. 25, 2007)
15. “Holocaust memorials defiled by neo-Nazis” (Times of London, Jan. 30, 2007)
This dispatch deals with contemporary anti-Semitism. This phenomena forms an important backdrop to attitudes on Israel in the Muslim and wider world, which is why I occasionally include articles on this subject.
STANFORD “STOOPING TO NEW LOWS”
In the first piece below, Stanford law school fellow Amichai Magen writes of “a relentless campaign to demonize the Jewish People and delegitimize Israel” on the campus of Stanford, one of the world’s leading universities.
“The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (CJME) and its splinter group, ‘Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel (SCAI)’… are stooping to new lows and aligning themselves with the most radical elements in the Middle East by hosting Norman Finkelstein on this campus.”
Finkelstein, who is of Jewish origin, voices opinions which are regarded by many as anti-Semitic. He does not, says Magen, claim (like David Irving) that the Holocaust did not happen but that “the Jews, in a fiendish conspiracy, have fabricated a ‘Holocaust Industry’ in order to portray themselves as victims, cynically exploit their suffering and consolidate Israel as a power set on regional domination. If the Holocaust had never happened, the Jews would have invented it themselves, since the Holocaust served their diabolical quest for money and global imperialism.”
Finkelstein also has a track record of exaggerating the numbers of Roma and homosexuals killed by the Nazis in order to downplay Jewish suffering.
* For more on Finkelstein, see the last note in the dispatch, Jews against Israel: King, Kaufman, & Judt, Europe’s so-called “good Jews” (Dec. 1, 2005).
* For Roma and the Holocaust, see this article by myself in The Wall Street Journal.
BRITISH MUSLIMS FORCE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY CANCELLATION
The council for the northern British town of Bolton scrapped its Holocaust Memorial Day event last Saturday.
It is to replaced with a Genocide Memorial Day in June. This is in line with the policy of the Muslim Council of Britain who continue to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day in favor of a Genocide Day which also includes “the ongoing genocide and human rights abuses of Palestinians” by Israelis. There is, of course, no genocide of the Palestinians, and those that suggest there is, usually do so out of anti-Semitic motives.
The Bolton council decision was made in consultation with the town’s Interfaith Council. But Rabbi Joseph Lever of United Synagogue who has participated in the Bolton event for the last three years was not consulted on the decision.
In September 2005, British prime minister Tony Blair was urged to ditch Holocaust Day in favor of Genocide Day. For more see Blair urged to ditch Holocaust Day; UK government advisor says Holocaust “a myth” (Sept. 12, 2005).
SPANISH TOWN ATTEMPTS TO HOLD “PALESTINIAN GENOCIDE DAY”
Also last weekend, the Spanish town of Ciempozuelos near Madrid decided to cancel the UN-established International Holocaust Remembrance Day in lieu of “The Day Commemorating the Genocide of the Palestinian People”. Last minute action by the Israeli Embassy in Madrid and by Spanish officials resulted in the town canceling both. The Anti-Defamation League slammed the decision to cancel the Holocaust memorial day as “shameful.”
The affair was covered extensively by the Spanish press. El Mundo, the country’s largest daily newspaper, ran an editorial on the Ciempozeulos affair under the title – “An insult to Israel”.
THANK YOU, BBC
The “Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism” has said that “2006 was characterized by escalation in the number and violent nature of attacks on Jews, proliferation of Holocaust denial and increased comparison of Israel to the Nazi regime.”
Last year saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in particular in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. Jewish Agency official Amos Hermon linked the rise in anti-Semitic incidents to “the recent Lebanon war and the Qana incident [which] led to the most severe incidents in the past decade.” (Qana was badly misreported, in a way which, unsurprisingly, stirred up hatred of Jews in general. See my article “The Media Works for Hizbullah”.)
One of the worst anti-Semitic incidents in the past year was the murder of Ilan Halimi. The penultimate article below reports that his body will be buried in Jerusalem on February 9. For more on Ilan Halimi, see my article “The barbarians of Europe”.
DAVID IRVING: AUSCHWITZ WAS “A TOURIST ATTRACTION”
David Irving, a British “historian,” who was jailed by Austria for three years in February 2006 for repeatedly questioning the Holocaust, but was released last month on appeal, has again claimed that the Auschwitz death camp was a tourist attraction, and added that there was no proof that there were ever gas chambers there.
Irving made his repulsive comments during an interview with Italy’s Sky TG24 News. He said “At Auschwitz they did not have gas chambers, or at least there is no proof that I am satisfied with.”
For more on Irving, see: David Irving says from prison: “The Jews will see a second Holocaust in 20 to 30 years” (Feb. 27, 2006).
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN BERLIN USED AS A PUBLIC LAVATORY BY TOURISTS
The final article below, a report in yesterday’s Times of London, reveals that the main Holocaust memorial in Berlin is being used as a public lavatory by tourists and by neo-Nazi sympathizers. The defacing of Jewish memorial areas in Germany by followers of the far Right has become a widespread problem, says The Times. On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day last weekend, a group of youths set fire to a restored Holocaust era railway carriage in Lower Saxony. Among other similar incidents, in Frankfurt an der Oder, on the Polish border, three youths urinated on a Jewish memorial.
5,000 EURO HOLOCAUST FINE FOR FRENCH POLITICIAN
Bruno Gollnisch, the No. 2 in the far-right National Front party in France, last week received a three-month suspended jail sentence and was fined 5,000 Euros ($6,500) for questioning the Holocaust.
ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS UP IN ARGENTINA
Anti-Semitic attacks increased sharply during the past year in Argentina, according to a new study released by the DAIA Jewish political umbrella group. They said there were 540 reported cases of serious anti-Semitic attacks in 2006. That’s 32 percent higher than in 2005, when 376 attacks were reported.
RUSSIA SENTENCES ANTI-SEMITIC EDITOR
The editor of a fringe anti-Semitic newspaper in northwestern Russia was sentenced last week to more than two years in prison for inciting ethnic hatred. Russian news agencies reported that a court in Novgorod ruled that Pavel Ivanov, editor of Russkoe Veche, was also guilty of inciting extremist activity through his newspaper. It was unclear whether Ivanov, 57, who has beaten similar charges several times in the past, will appeal the sentence.
I attach six articles below.
-- Tom Gross
“SHOULD THIS ACADEMIC FRAUDSTER BE ENTERTAINED AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY?”
Holocaust denial comes to Stanford
By Amichai Magen
The Stanford Daily
January 25, 2007
The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (CJME) and its splinter group, Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel (SCAI), are at it again; pulling no punches in their relentless campaign to demonize the Jewish People and delegitimize Israel. Tonight, the two student groups are stooping to new lows and aligning themselves with the most radical elements in the Middle East by hosting Norman Finkelstein on this campus.
Finkelstein is an academic joke, and a bad one at that. The 54-year-old Assistant Professor at DePaul University, Illinois, has been hired and let go by several middling schools, before gaining his current (untenured) position in 2003. The New York Times Book Review has described his work as “juvenile,” “arrogant” and “stupid.”
He is an American-born son of two Holocaust survivors who began his career as an anti-Israel political agitator – circumstances which on their own make his claims to objective historical scholarship on the Holocaust highly suspect. Finkelstein can neither read nor write German. Being unable to access many of the sources that are the foundation of sound research in this highly complex and sensitive field has not prevented Finkelstein from passing sweeping, tendentious and twisted judgments on one of the saddest, and most important, episodes in human history.
In essence, Finkelstein’s argument is as follows: The Jews, in a fiendish conspiracy, have fabricated a “Holocaust Industry” in order to portray themselves as victims, cynically exploit their suffering and consolidate Israel as a power set on regional domination. If the Holocaust had never happened, the Jews would have invented it themselves, since the Holocaust served their diabolical quest for money and global imperialism.
This thesis is a hodge-podge of pathological paranoia, ignorance, malice and brutal disrespect to the memory of the millions of human beings systematically murdered by the Nazis (Christians, Jews and Muslims). If we applied Finkelstein’s warped logic, we would conclude that Blacks “exploit” the history of slavery to obtain civil rights gains or that in the 20th-century, women have created a “Feminism Industry” in a cruel attempt to gain power and subjugate men. How many Einsteins, how many Kafkas, how many Menuhins, how many lives (born and yet to be born) were lost forever in the furnaces of Auschwitz? The world will never know. But to suggest that the Jewish People, or anyone else on this planet, has “profited” from the extinguishing of so many souls – each of infinite value in its own right – is monstrous beyond belief.
Finkelstein’s brand of Holocaust denial is all the more pernicious for its relative subtlety. Unlike David Irving – who claims the gas chambers never existed and that Hitler was the Jews’ greatest friend – Finkelstein (who calls Irving “a good historian”) admits that it did happen, and then proceeds to turn the Holocaust into a tool with which to attack its primary victim. In the Finkelstenian mind, the Jews, and the Jews alone, are prohibited from collective mourning. Jewish insistence that the Holocaust be remembered becomes an act of unforgivable Jewish aggression, for which Israel must be “censured,” to use one of his favorite expressions of attack. This Holocaust erosion is at once more subversive and more dangerous than the outright factual denial practiced by the likes of Irving or Iran’s President, Ahmedinejad. It insidiously assaults our moral imperative to remember the Holocaust and eats away at its chief lesson to humanity: Never again!
Not surprisingly, Finkelstein has become the house favorite of neo-fascists in America, Europe and the Middle East; the dream-Jew of the post-Holocaust anti-Semites. David Duke – the white supremacist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klax Klan – endorses him warmly on his Web site (www.davidduke.com). German neo-Nazi queen, Ingrid Rimland, has intimated that Finkelstein’s writing makes her feel “like a kid in a candy store.” And Finkelstein’s own enthusiasm for Osama bin Laden and Hezbollah have made him a welcome guest on the radical Shiite militia’s official satellite TV station, Al-Manar.
Finkelstein is an American citizen and thus at liberty to express his odious views. But free speech is not at issue here. The real question is should this academic fraudster be entertained at Stanford University? Does Finkelstein’s message of hate enhance or diminish our academic standards and community? And is it legitimate for CJME, a Stanford funded student organization, to offer its uncritical, enthusiastic endorsement to a man who defames an entire people and its six million murdered innocents purely for the purpose of making Israel look bad?
BRIT MUSLIMS PREVENT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
Bolton bans Holocaust Day
The Jewish Telegraph
January 26, 2007
In a move widely seen to be bowing to Muslim pressure, Bolton Council has scrapped its Holocaust Memorial Day event.
The council is to replace it with a Genocide Memorial Day in June. This is in line with the policy of the Muslim Council of Britain, which continues to boycott HMD and is asking for a Genocide Day, which will also mark “the ongoing genocide and human rights abuses of Palestinians” by Israelis.
The council decision was made in consultation with the town’s Interfaith Council.
But Rabbi Joseph Lever of United Synagogue who has participated in the Bolton event for around three years was not consulted on the decision. He said: “I mourn the fact that the Holocaust Memorial Day event will not take place in Bolton this year.”
Louis Rapaport, president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, was equally disappointed that the Jewish community was not consulted.
He said: “Bolton, alone of all the local authorities in our area, is not having an HMD event which is a government recommendation.” He added: “There may not be many Jews in Bolton but the day is supposed to have an educational message to the whole community.
“I can’t help feeling the decision was influenced by Bolton’s large Muslim community.”
Holocaust educator David Arnold said: “It is more than unfortunate that Bolton has seen fit to trivialise the remembrance of the Shoah.”
Mr Arnold regretted the intrusion of “politics” into the issue. He said: “It is entirely inappropriate and stems from a failure to understand the issues.”
SUBSTANTIAL RISE IN ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN EUROPE IN 2006
Marked rise in attacks on Jews in Europe over the past year
By Amiram Barkat
January 29, 2007
Last year saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries, according to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
In an annual press conference, the forum explained that 2006 was characterized by escalation in the number and violent nature of attacks on Jews, proliferation of Holocaust denial and increased comparison of Israel to the Nazi regime.
The Global Forum – a joint effort of the Jewish Agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office – counted 360 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2006, compared to 300 in 2005. In the United Kingdom, the report listed a yearly decrease from 321 incidents in 2005 to 312 incidents in 2006. Russia recorded 300 incidents in 2006 compared to 250 the preceding year, and Austria saw a jump from 50 incidents to 83 last year. The Scandinavian countries saw 53 incidents in 2006, substantially more than the previous year’s 35. The report cited a 60-percent rise in incidents in the Berlin area, although it did not include figures for all of Germany.
Spokesmen for the forum emphasized on Sunday the many difficulties in classifying and reporting anti-Semitic incidents that affect the accuracy of the figures, which are primarily valuable as indicators of trends in the countries examined.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that national leaders abroad must understand that anti-Semitism is first and foremost their own problem.
Jewish Agency chair Zeev Bielski commented that, “Anti-Semitic phenomena in Europe are very grave and countries like France and England are struggling to handle them.”
January 2006 brought the shocking murder of French Jew Ilan Halimi. Bielski said Halimi’s mother has recently decided to bring her son’s remains to Israel for interment on the first anniversary of his death, next Friday in Jerusalem.
“There is no doubt the recent Lebanon war and the Qana incident led to the most severe incidents in the past decade,” said Jewish Agency official Amos Hermon.
The gravest incident related to the war was the shooting at the Jewish Federation Building in Seattle, Washington last July, when staffer Pamela Waechter was killed and three other people were critically wounded.
The war engendered a wave of criticism in which Israel’s deeds were compared to those of Nazi Germany. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claimed last August that Israeli aggression in Lebanon was “reminiscent of Hitler’s fascist manner.”
Montreal Mayor Stefane Gendron said in August that “Israelis are modern-day Nazis.”
An editorial cartoon in a Norwegian newspaper showed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the sadistic SS officer depicted in the movie “Schindler’s List.” Hermon noted that Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder included elements of historical Christian anti-Semitism in his book “God’s Chosen People,” including statements such as, “Don’t worry, Israel will go to exile again,” and, “We laugh at the idea that God chose one people ... gave them stupid stone tablets and a license to kill.”
Other serious incidents in 2006 included the stabbing of synagogue-goers at the Chabad Center in Moscow in January. In a September shooting attack on an Oslo synagogue, no one was injured. The attackers were Islamic extremists who were aided by the extreme right; they had also planned to kidnap the Israeli ambassador, Miriam Shomrat.
Various reports were published in European nations during the year revealing the scope and severity of anti-Semitism. A British parliamentary commission determined that Islamists and the radical left were responsible for increased anti-Semitism in the country. Research published in Germany indicated widespread use of anti-Semitic expressions in schools, primarily by Muslim students. Research in the Ukraine found that about a third of the country’s citizens had negative opinions of Jews.
ILAN HALIMI TO BE BURIED IN JERUSALEM
Murdered Frenchman Halimi to be buried in Jerusalem next month
By Sandra Calme
European Jewish Press
January 21, 2007
Ilan Halimi, the 23-year-old Jewish man whose atrocious murder a year ago shocked France, will be buried in Jerusalem on 9 February.
In what police are now admitting was an anti-Semitic attack, Halimi was kidnapped in January last year and then tortured for three weeks before being left to die.
His body will leave France for Israel on an El Al plane on 8 February.
Meanwhile, the French Jewish community will offer a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) in memory of Halimi during a ceremony Sunday 28 January in the Rue St-Lazare Paris synagogue in the presence of politicians, leaders of the community and his family.
The Sefer Torah will be sent to the Western Wall in Jerusalem two days after his burial.
In another memorial, a forest will be planted in his name in Israel.
Halimi, a cellular phone salesman, went missing on 21 January 2006 after apparently having been lured into a sex-trap by a young woman who came to the shop where he worked in centre of Paris.
He was held and tortured for three weeks in an apartment estate in Bagneux, a poor multi-ethnic suburb, by a gang that sent ransom demands to Ilan’s family.
The kidnappers sent a photo of Ilan via the internet with death threats but failed to arrive at several meetings to collect the ransom from the young man’s relatives.
Halimi died shortly after being found critically wounded, naked and hand-cuffed along a railway track in the suburb of Sainte-Genevieve des Bois, 30 kilometres south of Paris. He was tortured and left with burn marks over four-fifths of his body.
A group who called themselves the “gang of the Barbarous” claimed responsibility for the murder.
The gang’s head, Youssouf Fofana, a 25-year-old French petty criminal of Ivorian origin, was arrested in early March 2006 in the Ivory Coast and extradited to France.
Fofana’s gang apparently used young women as bait to lure their victims, and were suspected of being behind two other extortion rackets that involved threatening doctors, businessmen and minor celebrities.
During police questioning the man who was called the “brain of the barbarians” is reported to have said the gang had targeted Halimi because they presumed Jews were wealthy.
Still today he reportedly expresses no feeling of remorse for Halimi’s heinous kidnapping and murder which was carried out “for money”.
Halimi’s horrific death traumatised the country with its brutality and unsettled the Jewish community, which staged a massive march against racism and anti-Semitism.
After initial reluctance, French authorities have said they believe anti-Semitism was part of the gang’s motives.
In spite of her pain, Ruth Halimi, Ilan’s mother, spoke to the media this week one year after the tragedy.
She called on the French government to take measures to get young people, whatever their religion, be taught essentials values, particularly within the family environment.
IRVING: AT AUSCHWITZ THEY DID NOT HAVE GAS CHAMBERS
Irving denies gas chambers existed at Auschwitz
Holocaust denier says Auschwitz was a tourist attraction, there was no proof it ever had gas chambers
The Associated Press
January 25, 2007
British historian David Irving, who was jailed for questioning the Holocaust in a book published in Austria, said Friday that the Auschwitz death camp was a tourist attraction, and added that there was no proof that it ever had gas chambers.
Irving, whose comments during an interview with Italy’s Sky TG24 News were immediately picked up by Italian news agencies, said there was no doubt the Nazis killed millions of Jews, but said the killings did not take place at Auschwitz.
“At Auschwitz they did not have gas chambers, or at least there is no proof that I am satisfied with,” Irving told the news channel’s program, “controcorrente.” Irving spoke in English, but his comments were translated by a voiceover.
Irving was sentenced in February 2006 to three years under a 1992 Austrian law that applies to “whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse” the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity in a print publication, broadcast or other media.
He was released last month after Vienna’s highest court granted his appeal and converted two-thirds of his three-year sentence into probation. He has been indefinitely banned from Austria. The Italian government will propose legislation this week making it a crime to deny the Holocaust.
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN BERLIN USED AS A PUBLIC LAVATORY BY TOURISTS
Holocaust memorials defiled by neo-Nazis
By Roger Boyes
The Times (of London)
January 30, 2007
The German authorities were preparing for criticism from the Jewish community after it was revealed that a Holocaust memorial in Berlin was being used as a public lavatory by tourists and by neo-Nazi sympathisers.
The disclosure, in a Berlin newspaper, will trigger a new debate about how the Holocaust should be remembered in Germany.
One argument against building the monument – that consists of 2,700 concrete slabs resembling Jewish gravestones – was that it would become a target of anti-Semitic vandals. The managers of the memorial, which attracts 3.5 million visitors a year, have tried to play down the scandal.
“This just belongs to the teething problems of any new monument,” Uwe Neumaerker, of the Memorial Foundation, said. The German Government has been aware of the problem since the monument was completed in May 2005 but has tried to maintain a silence for fear of encouraging more vandalism.
The defacing of Jewish memorial areas in Germany by followers of the far Right has become a widespread problem that is acknowledged rarely.
On the eve of Holocaust Day at the weekend a group of youths set fire to a restored railway carriage – symbolising the deportation of the Jews – in Lower Saxony. In the eastern German port of Stralsund, concrete was poured over a memorial for a Jewish family, the Keibel-Cohns.
A court in Frankfurt an der Oder, on the Polish border, sentenced three youths to between nine and 14 months jail this month for urinating on a Jewish memorial.