‘Ali G’ slams Facebook hate; Spielberg survived antisemitism; Netta big in China

October 21, 2019



 

CONTENTS

1. Chad issues stamps to celebrate Israeli Eurovision winner
2. 500 million people watch Netta on Chinese TV
3. Sacha Baron Cohen slams Mark Zuckerberg for allowing hate speech on Facebook
4. Spielberg: Antisemitic school bullying “made me feel ashamed of being Jewish”
5. Muslim diplomat “alarmed’ by growing antisemitism from Right and Left, Islamists
6. Life-size antisemitic effigy left outside main Kiev synagogue
7. Ukrainian PM attends pro-Nazi concert, while Hitler image painted by Rabbi Nachman’s grave
8. Antisemitic graffiti painted on project commemorating Jewish life in Lithuania
9. German grandmother fined for painting OVER Nazi graffiti
10. Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life will reopen as a “center for Jewish life in the United States’
11. South Florida Holocaust survivor marks 100th birthday
12. Canadian would-be PM: I would move Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem

 

CHAD ISSUES STAMPS TO CELEBRATE ISRAELI EUROVISION WINNER

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

The central African country of Chad has issued special postage stamps (photos above) to celebrate both the Swedish megaband Abba (who won Eurovision in 1974) and the Israeli 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai. Netta won with her hit-single “Toy,” described as “a defiant anthem of female empowerment.’

As I reported in these Middle East dispatches at the time, Israel and Chad renewed diplomatic relations at the start of 2019 during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Chad’s capital N’Djamena.

In a statement, the Chadian government said that the new stamps were intended to express the strengthening relations with Israel, and said that the design of the stamps had been approved in advance by Netanyahu’s office.

 

500 MILLION PEOPLE WATCH NETTA ON CHINESE TELEVISION

Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai has performed her song “Nana Banana” before an audience of 500 million people watching on Chinese television. Also performing was Naomi Wang, a singer who has been called “China’s Beyoncé.”

The singers paired up because their looks are said to defy conventional Chinese views of how pop stars should look. As the Jerusalem Post notes: “Wang flaunts her tanned, freckled skin, which challenges the Chinese stereotype of the porcelain-skinned demure pop princess, just as Netta’s fuller figure is at odds with the image of the skinny singers who usually top the charts.”

 

SACHA BARON COHEN SLAMS MARK ZUCKERBERG FOR ALLOWING HATE SPEECH ON FACEBOOK

In a talk last Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an impassioned defense of his company’s policy of allowing a wide spectrum of speech on Facebook (under the First Amendment). As a result, British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (star of “Borat,” “Ali G,” and other shows) strongly criticized Zuckerberg on twitter.

Cohen said that Zuckerberg’s allowing offensive speech to be posted on Facebook is like a restaurant welcoming anti-Semites who shout anti-Semitic insults.

Cohen wrote: “If he owned a fancy restaurant and 4 neo-Nazis came goose-stepping into the dining room and were talking loudly about wanting to kill ‘Jewish scum’, would he serve them an elegant eight course meal? Or would tell them to get the f**k out of his restaurant? He has every legal right, indeed a moral duty, to tell them to get the f**k out of his restaurant.”

 

SPIELBERG: ANTISEMITIC BULLYING AT SCHOOL “MADE ME FEEL ASHAMED OF BEING JEWISH”

Hollywood superstar director Steven Spielberg has revealed in an interview that he was the target of antisemitic bullying at elementary school. “They actually managed with enough chiding and bullying to make me feel ashamed of being Jewish,” he said. “Being raised in an area where there weren’t a lot of Jews made it harder.”

He added, “I felt pretty much like an outcast and when I got older, I realized bullying is a very pervasive tool to make other people feel like they are empowered. So I was on the receiving end of people’s power trips and that was my main experience with being hated, something that I had no control over [while] inside me, I have always been very proud of to be Jewish.”

Spielberg is the co-executive producer of a new six-part series called “Why We Hate,” which premiered on Sunday on the Discovery Channel in the U.S.

In an interview to mark the series Spielberg explained to CBS News: “This has been a subject that has been very close to me personally and a subject that seems to be even more relevant today compared to even 10 years ago.”

He added: “We overlook people who perpetuate evil, to not view them as monsters, until they are caught while they are in process of mass murder. It is the banality of people. It’s an industry, the genocides have been industrialized. Especially the Holocaust, so many lives can be taken so quickly in such a massive quantity. It was a business of death. It was run like you would run a steel factory, a mill of some kind. And it was perceived by the perpetrators as being normal.”

***

You may wish to read my father’s interesting article in The New York Review of Books on Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, which came out to mark the film’s release.

 

MUSLIM DIPLOMAT “ALARMED” BY GROWING ANTISEMITISM FROM RIGHT, LEFT AND ISLAMISTS

Ahmed Shaheed, a Maldivian diplomat and politician, told the UN in New York on Friday that he was “alarmed by the growing use of antisemitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups, in slogans, images, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories to incite and justify hostility, discrimination, and violence against Jews.”

“I am also concerned about the increasing expressions of antisemitism emanating from sources in the political left and about discriminatory state practices towards Jews.”

Shaheed cited the role of the Internet in promoting hate speech and incitement, and recommended educational programs throughout the world so that the young generation rejects antisemitism which he called the “canary in the coalmine of global hatred.”

“There is a growing recognition that this hatred undermines all societies, and a growing awareness that we need to act,” he added.

 





 

ANTISEMITIC EFFIGY LEFT OUTSIDE MAIN KIEV SYNAGOGUE

A life-size effigy with the face of a prominent Ukrainian Jewish leader, and daubed with red paint to represent blood (photo above), was left at the entry to the historic Brodetsky synagogue in the center of Kiev last week.

The Israeli ambassador to Ukraine said that “The Ukrainian state needs to do more, or else the violence will spread and people will get hurt.” The embassy noted that this is the latest in a long line of antisemitic incidents in Ukraine in recent months.

The effigy left at the entry to the Kiev synagogue was placed there on Ukraine’s “Day of the Cossack,” a reference to the militias who rebelled against the Czars but were also notorious for routinely carrying out murderous pogroms against Jews.

Thousands of far-right nationalists marched last week to celebrate “Cossack day” in Kiev and other cities.

 

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ATTENDS PRO-NAZI CONCERT

Separately, Ukrainian Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk attended a concert on October 13 by the ultranationalist band Sokyra Peruna, who are notorious for praising Nazi Germany. Goncharuk delivered a thank-you address to the audience of neo-Nazis.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine issued a statement saying that the prime minister’s presence at the concert was “unacceptable.”

***



HITLER IMAGE PAINTED BY RABBI NACHMAN’S GRAVE

Last week an image of Hitler (photo above) was painted on a wall next to the grave of one of Ukraine’s most famous rabbis, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the city of Uman in western Ukraine.

This follows the desecration last month of a monument in memory of the 54,000 Holocaust victims in the city of Bogdanovka in southern Ukraine.

 

ANTISEMITIC GRAFFITI PAINTED ON PROJECT COMMEMORATING JEWISH LIFE IN LITHUANIA

Antisemitic graffiti has been painted on a mural commemorating Jewish life in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The “Walls That Remember” are a series of murals on the walls of Vilnius’ former Jewish quarter that are based on photos of ordinary people who lived in the Jewish community prior to World War II. The vast majority of Lithuanian Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community denounced the graffiti as “the latest in a series of acts of anti-Semitic vandalism of Jewish sites and statues in Vilnius and Lithuania.”

Lithuania is a NATO and EU member state.

 

GERMAN GRANDMOTHER FINED FOR PAINTING OVER NAZI GRAFFITI

73-year-old retired teacher Irmela Mensah-Schramm, who has spent over 30 years painting over or scraping off far-right slogans and symbols in her hometown of Eisenach, was found guilty of “property damage” last Thursday by the Eisenach district court. She was ordered to pay legal costs and a fine of €1,050.

The guilty verdict and fine were met with dismay by anti-racist groups.

 

PITTSBURGH’S TREE OF LIFE WILL REOPEN AS “CENTER FOR JEWISH LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES”

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 worshippers were shot dead last October 27, will reopen as a “center for Jewish life in the United States,” according to a statement issued on Friday.

The plans reportedly include worship space for the congregations that want to return there, as well as space for the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

***

Among related dispatches please see:

The funeral of David and Cecil Rosenthal

In Pittsburgh, Jewish doctors treated Bowers for his injuries

 

SOUTH FLORIDA HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR MARKS 100TH BIRTHDAY

A Holocaust survivor now living in South Florida has marked his 100th birthday with an upbeat message.

Juilis Eisenstein survived four different Nazi concentration camps.

“I hope in the years after we’re gone that people are going to learn that you do not hate. That word ‘hate’ should not exist in the vocabulary,” he said.

Video here from CBS news.

 

CANADIAN WOULD-BE PM: I WOULD MOVE CANADA’S EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

Andrew Scheer the Conservative party challenger to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in today’s Canadian elections, has said that he would move Canada’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Scheer, 40, a devout Catholic and longtime supporter of Israel, would also likely align Canada with US President Donald Trump’s policies towards Iran.

 

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