Institutionalizing AntiSemitism in UK’s Labour Party

By: Melanie Phillips; Jerusalem Post – jpost.com

The real task, therefore, is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie.

BRITISH LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to vote in local government elections in London on
BRITISH LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to vote in local government elections in London on May 3. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Britain’s Labour Party has a major problem with rampant antisemitism. It knows it has to deal with it.

So what has it done? Dug itself so much further into this particular hole that some in the party fear it has now dug its political grave.

On Tuesday, the party’s governing National Executive Committee (NEC) redefined antisemitism in such a way that it has legitimized it within its own ranks.

In its new code of conduct on antisemitism, it adopted a definition which significantly differed from the one created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The IHRA definition has been recognized around the world and adopted by the British government and numerous British official bodies. Yet in its new code, Labour twisted it by excising its application to attacks on Israel.

Labour’s code says: “In general terms, the expression of even contentious views in this area will not be treated as antisemitism unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content (such as the use of antisemitic tropes) or by other evidence of antisemitic intent.”
So Labour members can continue with impunity to call Israel a “Nazi” or “apartheid” state, smear its defense forces as “child-killers” or accuse British Jews supporting Israel of dual loyalty unless there is evidence of “antisemitic intent” – very difficult to prove – or “specific antisemitic content.”

This is a circular argument of Orwellian proportions. For the code defines antisemitism solely as bigotry against Jewish people or institutions. It does not define it as bigotry against the State of Israel.

But most antisemitism on the Left takes the form of obsessive and paranoid falsehoods, distortion and double standards directed at Israel’s behavior, with much of this onslaught echoing the tropes of medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred. This targeting of Israel as the collective Jew is the new antisemitism.

As such, the extraordinary fact is that in order to tackle antisemitism in its ranks Labour has now become a party of institutionalized antisemitism.

So bad is this situation it has even managed to bring together in unprecedented unity 68 rabbis, some of whom habitually refuse to share a platform with certain other rabbis, as signatories on the same letter of protest.

The issue now threatens to tear Labour apart. On Monday evening, the parliamentary Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to endorse the full IHRA definition – only for the NEC to overturn this the following day.

This provoked the veteran Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust, to call Labour’s far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn “an antisemite” to his face when she confronted him in the House of Commons.

The Israel-Palestine conflict, she said, had been “allowed to infect the party’s approach to growing antisemitism.” In adopting its new code, the NEC had chosen “to make the party a hostile environment for Jews.”

Astoundingly, the leadership has reacted by threatening to discipline Hodge for “bringing the party into disrepute.” So get this – a party that has institutionalized antisemitism is now accusing a Jewish protester that she has brought it into disrepute! You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

YET THERE’S something odd about this crisis. It’s all just about a form of words. Does anyone really believe that if the Labour leadership were to cave in and adopt the full IHRA definition, antisemitism in the party would then be properly addressed and go away?

After all, the fact that the full definition has been widely accepted has not prevented the usual calumnies and distortions in the way the British media have been misreporting the violence from Gaza.

It has not prevented the media failing to report the hundreds of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and weeks of incendiary airborne devices setting fire to acres of Israeli farmland, while misrepresenting Israeli air strikes in response as aggression. It did not prevent an interviewer on BBC Radio’s Today program the other day berating an Israeli spokesman for killing children in Gaza.
The key point is the refusal to acknowledge that the campaign of irrational, mendacious and obsessive incitement against Israel is the new form of antisemitism.

Yet although Israel has been attacked in this way for years, virtually no one has called this out. The Anglo-Jewish community leadership ran a mile from it.

On TV in 2002, I was accused to my face of dual loyalty. At another time during that decade, I attended a debate at which one panelist said, with virtually no push-back, that British Jews now needed to choose between supporting Israel and remaining loyal British citizens. This antisemitic trope has now been commonplace for years.

The Jewish leadership has always been nervous about linking Israel with antisemitism, believing that Israel merely “complicated” the issue. But today, it is the issue.

Now British Jews find themselves caught up in an internal Labour Party war over it. The real agony for them is that the climate in Britain has deteriorated to such a point that Labour feels licensed to treat British Jews – as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said – with unprecedented contempt.

They plan a continuing campaign to get Labour to adopt the full IHRA definition. But that is to continue avoid confronting the elephant in the room.

This is the fact that so many on the progressive side of politics have swallowed the Big Lies about Israel. And that includes a dismaying number of British Jews themselves, who do things like recite kaddish for Hamas terrorists killed by Israel to prevent them murdering Israelis.

These Jews for Injustice against Jews who demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel provide cover for Labour’s new antisemitism. This stretches far beyond the Corbynite hard Left; it is in fact the default position for most of liberal and left-wing society.

The real task, therefore, is not to adopt the IHRA wording. It is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie; that anyone who supports Palestinianism is endorsing the most profound and demonic kind of antisemitism; and that Israel stands unambiguously for law, justice, truth and human rights, and that those who vilify it are themselves repudiating all these things.

Will British Jews finally step up to the plate and start saying all this? Unlikely. Why? It’s not just their timidity. They first need to start believing it themselves.

 

As German Neo-Nazi Trial Ends, Families Demand More Answers

By: Frank Jordans; apnews.com

MUNICH (AP) — Families of the people killed by a neo-Nazi group that sought to terrorize migrants in Germany called Tuesday for an investigation to continue even as the trial of group’s only known surviving member and four supporters draws to a close this week.

Campaigners and lawyers for the relatives claim there is compelling evidence the National Socialist Underground — suspected of 10 killings and at least two bomb attacks — had a wider network of supporters than authorities have acknowledged, including paid informants for German security services.

The NSU operated in secret for almost 14 years before two of its three core members died in an apparent murder-suicide in 2011.

The crimes that authorities would attribute to them sent shockwaves through German society at a time when many believed the country was slowly accepting its migrant population. The case has gained additional significance with the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in recent years.

The party has taken a strong anti-immigration line, railing against refugees and questioning whether even second- and third-generation immigrants truly belong in German society.

After the deaths of the three National Socialist Underground members, a claim of responsibility subsequently mailed to media by Beate Zschaepe, now on trial in Munich, exposed myriad mistakes by investigators.

They long had ruled out a far-right motive for the slayings and instead suspected the victims of being involved in organized crime, prompting accusations of institutional racism from human rights groups .

Of the 10 people killed by the NSU between 2000 and 2007, eight were men of Turkish origin, one man was Greek and the tenth was a German policewoman.

Barbara John, the government’s ombudswoman for the victims and their families, said the trial was an attempt by authorities to atone for their “blindness.”

“The terrible acts could have been avoided,” John told The Associated Press, “if the relevant authorities had assessed the crimes better and with less prejudice.”

“This is true also for the shameful suspicion that the families were somehow involved in the crimes,” she said.

Gamze Kubasik, whose father, Mehmet Kubasik, was shot dead in his convenience stall in the western city of Dortmund on April 4, 2006, said the initial police accusations leveled at the victims remained painful.

“The NSU killed my father. The investigators took his honor,” she said.

Kubasik told reporters that relatives of NSU victims had hoped for “100 percent clarity” when the trial began five years ago.

“Now there’s a big hole inside of me,” she said.

Among the key questions families had hoped the trial would reveal was why their relatives were targeted, said Abdulkerim Simsek, son of Enver Simsek, who died two days after being shot at his flower stall in Nuremberg on Sept. 9, 2000.

“Why did the killers choose my father,” Simsek said. “I can’t and won’t believe that it was chance.”

Lawyers representing the families as plaintiffs in court, as allowed under German law, say the wide geographical distribution of the victims suggests the NSU received information from local contacts in the cities where the killings were carried out.

Zschaepe refused to answer any questions from the families’ lawyers during the trial.

After the NSU was exposed, a string of mistakes by Germany’s many federal and state-level security agencies also came to light, including the fact that paid informants with codenames such as “Primus,” ″Piatto” and “Corelli” were close to the group for years.

In one case, an employee of the country’s domestic intelligence agency was inside an internet cafe when the owner was gunned down, but claimed not to have seen or heard anything problematic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly apologized to the victims and their families in 2012, pledging that authorities would “do everything to investigate the murders, uncover those who helped and back them, and ensure the perpetrators get their just punishment.”

“Some people clearly didn’t heed Merkel’s words,” said Winfried Ridder, who led the German domestic intelligence agency’s work on the far-left Red Army Faction for over a decade.

Ridder, who is now retired, told the AP that the practice of paying informants who are themselves neo-Nazis meant German security services had done more to protect their sources than to track down the NSU.

“The intelligence agencies should be on trial, too,” he said.

Sebastian Scharmer, a lawyer for the Kubasik family, accused federal prosecutors of dragging their feet in the investigation, thereby allowing “crude conspiracy theories” to flourish.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutors Office, Frauke Koehler, said nine suspects remain under investigation, but it’s unclear whether any of them will be charged.

Scharmer said he feared a group like the NSU could strike again, despite the life sentence Zschaepe could receive Wednesday and the deaths of her two alleged accomplices, Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos.

“It could happen again at any moment, if it’s not already happening,” he said.

Major BDS Groups Have Ties to Palestinian Terrorist Organizations, Ministry Says

By: Ariel Kahana – Israel Hayom; israelhayom.com

Strategic Affairs Ministry names 42 anti-Israel groups affiliated with ‎Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, says they ‎receive their orders from Palestinian Authority ‎• Minister: Terrorist groups, BDS movement have never been ‎closer.

 

The BDS movement comprises over 300 organizations worldwide, report says | Illustration: Reuters

The Strategic Affairs Ministry on Tuesday named 42 major anti-‎Israel organizations as having clear ties to Palestinian terrorist ‎groups.‎

According to the ministry’s data, these groups – part of a network ‎of 300 boycott, divestment and sanctions organizations operating ‎worldwide – have traceable ties to Hamas and the Popular Front ‎for the Liberation of Palestine, and receive their orders directly from the ‎Palestinian Authority.

This network is directed by the BDS National Committee, which is headed ‎by the co-founder of the global BDS movement Omar Barghouti, who holds ‎permanent Israeli residency status and lives in the northern city of ‎Acre.‎

The Strategic Affairs Ministry, tasked by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet ‎with heading ‎Israel’s efforts to counter the BDS movement and its efforts to ‎delegitimize Israel, has spent the past two years mapping what it ‎calls the “network of hatred.” ‎

The ministry’s data shows that not only do Hamas and the PLFP ‎support BDS activists in theory, their operatives take an active part ‎in BDS initiatives. ‎

The report names, for example, the Al-Haq human rights ‎organization, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Al-‎Dameer Association for Human Rights as being headed by former ‎PFLP operatives. ‎

Al-Haq is chaired by Shawan Jabarin, of Ramallah, who served 13 ‎years in an Israeli prison for being a member of the PLFP’s military ‎wing. ‎Jabarin is a leading figure in the BDS movement’s lawfare campaign ‎against Israel, especially its attempts to pursue legal action against ‎Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. ‎

Other examples include groups such as the Palestinian Return ‎Center, which the ministry says promotes Hamas interests in ‎Europe; and members of the U.K.-based Palestine Solidarity ‎Campaign and Friends of Al-Aqsa group, which the ministry says have neem with Hamas ‎leader Ismail Haniyeh, participated in the 2010 Navi Marmara ‎flotilla that sought to breach the maritime blockade on the Gaza ‎Strip, and have recently held a demonstration outside the British ‎Prime Minister’s Office in support of Hamas so-called “March of ‎Return” or Gaza border riot campaign.‎

Speaking at the biennial GC4I conference in Jerusalem Wednesday, ‎attended by the directors of over 150 pro-Israeli groups, as well as ‎Jewish community heads and activists from around the world ‎dedicated to fighting the BDS movement, Strategic Affairs Minister ‎Gilad Erdan said much of the anti-Israel group’s momentum is ‎fuel by the Palestinian Authority.‎

Ramallah is a longtime proponent of anti-Israel boycotts and the ‎National Palestinian Council has officially endorsed the BDS ‎movement during its annual meeting in May.‎

‎”We have seen the attempts led by senior Palestinian Authority ‎officials to suspend Israel from FIFA and to promote various ‎‎’blacklists‘ at the U.N. Human Rights Council. These campaigns ‎have all been widely promoted by the network of hatred exposed ‎by the Strategic Affairs Ministry,” he said. ‎

Erdan noted that leading world powers such as the United States, ‎Britain, Germany, France, Canada and others, were turning their ‎backs on the BDS movement, adding that in recent years, 25 states ‎in the U.S. have passed laws foiling BDS activities after their anti-‎Semitic and discriminatory nature was exposed. ‎

Erdan further said that the ministry has identified a new BDS trend – calling for trade embargos against the Jewish state, especially ‎with respect to its military industries, saying that BDS activists were ‎lobbying among parliamentarians worldwide to boycott Israeli ‎defense contractors. ‎

‎”Terrorist organizations and the BDS movement have never been ‎closer, ideologically and operationally. I will continue to lead a ‎counterattack against the perpetrators of the anti-Semitic hate ‎campaign emanating from Gaza and Ramallah.”‎

 

Jeremy Corbyn Says a UK Labour-Led Government Would Quickly Recognize a Palestinian State

Jewish Telegraphic Agency; jta.org

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London, Dec. 14, 2017. (Daniel Leavl-Olivas/Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) — British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is under fire for having anti-Israel views allegedly born out of anti-Semitism, said in a tweet that a Labour-led government would recognize Palestine as a state.

Corbyn made his remarks Saturday on Twitter during a tour of camps in Jordan for Syrian and Palestinian refugees as part of his first international trip outside of Europe since becoming Labour leader in 2015.

“Today I’ll visit the Al-Baqa’a refugee camp which was first created in 1968, where 100,000 Palestinians live,” he tweeted. “The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

On Friday during a tour of Zaatari, Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Corbyn criticized the administration of President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called moving the U.S. Embassy there a “catastrophic mistake.”

He also said: “I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations.” A Palestinian state would be recognized “very early on” under a Labour government, he said.

Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a hard-left politician, of tolerating and at times encouraging expressions of anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism or anti-capitalism by thousands of supporters who joined the party under him.

The party has kicked out some members caught engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric. But under Corbyn, who in 2009 called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” whom he said he was “honored” to host in Parliament, Labour has also readmitted or refrained from punishing others who made statements perceived as anti-Semitic.

 

US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to End Palestinians Teaching Hate in Schools

Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org

CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.

In September 2011, a teacher leads one of the first classes of the new academic year at a Gaza-based school supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Credit: U.N. Photo/Shareef Sarhan.
In September 2011, a teacher leads one of the first classes of the new academic year at a Gaza-based school supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Credit: U.N. Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

 U.S. lawmakers introduced new legislation last week aimed at holding the Palestinians accountable incitement in their school curriculum by increasing transparency on foreign aid.

The Palestinian Authority Educational Curriculum Transparency Act, which was introduced by Reps. David Young (R-Iowa), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on June 7, requires the U.S. Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the educational material used in schools in the West Bank and Gaza run by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the United Nation’s Palestinian-refugee agency.

The legislation seeks to determine whether U.S. foreign assistance is being used, directly or indirectly, to fund dissemination of such material by the P.A. and UNWRA.

The Jerusalem-based IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes educational materials that participated in crafting the bill, hopes the legislation will lead to a more peaceful future for Palestinians.

“Congressman Young’s vision in initiating and introducing this bill is timely, remarkable and potentially extremely significant in offering young Palestinians a peaceful vision for the future,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, said in a statement.

IMPACT-se, which has worked with European lawmakers to pass similar legislation to prevent aid from the European Union to the P.A. from being used to teach hate, also previously worked with Sen. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) office to challenge UNRWA’s use of P.A. textbooks that radicalize Palestinian children.

Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.

“Ultimately, these textbooks are a major impediment to the possibility of peace,” said Sheff. “They deny young Palestinians the chance of a violence-free and peaceful future, and perpetuate eternal war. We look forward to the swift passage of the bill through the U.S. Congress.”

 

Cape Town Moves Day Zero of Water Shutdown from July 9 to April 12

As Cape Town officials struggle to deal with their extreme water shortage, they might want to reconsider their anti-Semitic rejection of Israel’s help. Israelis met their own desert conditions head-on and made the desert bloom — literally! Read about the offer and rejection in April’s Levitt Letter, page 29.

By Gabriele Steinhauser / The Wall Street Journal

Photo: Samantha Reinders for The Wall Street Journal

CAPE TOWN, South Africa—Officials who huddled recently to discuss a debilitating drought delivered an unexpectedly apocalyptic conclusion: Unless Cape Town’s four million residents slash consumption, the seaside city under Table Mountain must take the rare step of shutting its taps to avoid running out of water.

The shock announcement in late January triggered a race to prevent what officials and residents have dubbed Day Zero—the moment when municipal water supply would be cut for most households and businesses.

Since Feb. 1, Capetonians have lived with some of the most stringent municipal water restrictions on earth—13.2 gallons per person a day, enough on average for a 2-minute shower and three toilet flushes. Officials punish water guzzlers by installing consumption-control devices that slow water flows to a trickle after the daily limit is reached.

Cape Town last week pushed up Day Zero to July 9 from April 12. Officials say a cutoff can still be avoided with cooperation from residents, adequate rainfall and successful efforts to desalinize water and pump it from aquifers. But in any case, the city’s depleted reservoirs need three to four years of regular rainfall and low water use to recover, experts say.

Politicians are encouraging conservation by flaunting unwashed, oily hair and bucket showers. Police are confiscating hoses from people caught using public water to wash cars or sprinkle lawns. The government has set a plan to call in the army to secure 200 central collections points, where residents would have to line up. Officials also worry about typhoid and cholera spreading from unsafe drinking water.

“There [is] an unreal kind of feeling about trying to fathom the massive impact that Day Zero could actually result in and how we could manage that,” said Xanthea Limberg, the city councilor in charge of Cape Town’s water and sanitation.

Like many others, Ms. Limberg has changed her lifestyle due to the crisis. She chopped about 10 inches of her curly hair to preserve water while showering; uses water left over from washing to flush the toilet or sprinkle the garden; serves meals on paper plates to avoid having to wash dishes; covered her pool to limit evaporation and provide emergency storage.

Cape Town, known to South Africans as the Mother City, is the latest example of how climate change, and the resulting extreme weather patterns, are forcing cities around the world rethink how they function.

Storm surges in New Orleans, Houston, and New York in recent years threatened entire neighborhoods. From Los Angeles to Rome—where the pope in July turned off the Vatican fountains to raise awareness of a drought—officials are rethinking urban water systems created to flush toilets and bathe with potable water.

Drought-induced water scarcity forces governments and individuals to make tough choices. Is it more important to preserve next season’s harvest and industrial production or ensure residents can have their daily shower? Switch off water for part of the day or rely on residents to respect their rations? Shower or do a load of laundry?

In 2017, Cape Town, whose rainy season usually runs from May to August, got less than half of its median rainfall, making it the driest year on record. Combined with 2015 and 2016, the city has never experienced as little precipitation as in the past three years. And while it is impossible to attribute specific weather events to climate change, most scientists believe that southern Africa, like many other regions in the world, will become progressively drier, making droughts more frequent and severe.

“Cape Town is a really good example of what might happen in the future in many other places,” said Piotr Wolski, a hydrologist and climatologist at the University of Cape Town. “I hope that other cities will learn a lesson from us.”

Critics say Cape Town should have set stricter water limits sooner and better emphasized the threat. Once that reality sank in, the prospect of Day Zero prompted a scramble for water. Consumption soared as people started stockpiling municipal water. Storage tanks to collect rain and containers for 6.6 gallons—the amount residents would be allowed to collect from new communal taps—quickly sold out.

Some shops set limits for the amount of bottled water customers could buy. Businesses, such as the local Coca-Cola bottling plant, are shipping in water after being told to reduce consumption by 45%. Demand for companies drilling boreholes to reach aquifers developed months-long waiting lists. Restaurants and malls discouraged toilet flushes with signs reading, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”

Still, Capetonians are using more water than they should. Last week, the city used around 138 million gallons of water a day. That is less than half its consumption a year ago but above its target of 119 million gallons. By comparison, California reduced its municipal water consumption by around 25% during the 2012-16 drought.

In Cape Town’s sprawling shantytowns, where about 15% of the city’s residents live, lining up for water is nothing new. Few of their corrugated-iron -and-plywood shacks have running water and residents already share communal taps and toilets. The water restrictions are instead endangering livelihoods.

On a recent day, police swept part of the Khayelitsha township, where roadway car washers cleaned minibus taxis with tap water—a now banned practice. The men, who make between $12 and $25 a day, were slapped with $250 fines and ordered to stop.

“They’ll have to take me to prison because I don’t have the money,” said Mthokozisi Diwu, who was back on the job the next day. Mr. Diwu said he had few alternatives to feed his family besides washing cars. “I will start robbing people,” he said.

In the wealthier suburbs, high users are rebelling against the water-control devices. “They chase us away like dogs,” said Witness Mutisi, a water-meter installer who has been threatened with guns and baseball bats.

Ms. Limberg, the city councilor, said such devices will become standard across Cape Town. “Cities are going to have to look at things … under a new kind of light,” he said. “We have to plan for this new normal.”

Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged 57 Percent in 2017, Report Finds

By: Maggie Astor; nytimes.com

Workers repositioned headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., after as many as 200 were toppled last February. Credit Nick Schnelle for The New York Times

The number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged 57 percent in 2017, according to an annual report by the Anti-Defamation League.

The organization’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, released Tuesday, found 1,986 such incidents in 2017, compared with 1,267 in 2016. That increase was the largest in a single year since the A.D.L. began tracking in 1979.

Only once since 1979 has the Anti-Defamation League recorded more incidents: 2,066 in 1994. Since then, the numbers had mostly declined. There were small increases in 2014 and 2015. Then, in 2016, the count began to shoot up.

“It had been trending in the right direction for a long time,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the A.D.L., said in an interview. “And then something changed.”

Anti-Semitic incidents, long trending downward, increased 35 percent in 2016 and 57 percent in 2017. Credit Anti-Defamation League

That “something” is hard to identify definitively, but Mr. Greenblatt pointed to three likely factors: the increasingly divisive state of American politics, the emboldening of extremists, and the effects of social media. Some of the increase may also be attributable to better reporting of incidents.

The invigoration of the far right, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, has been on display at events like a rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August that turned deadly when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters. A separate Anti-Defamation League report released last month found a more than 250 percent increase in white supremacist activity on college campuses in the current academic year. (The count released Tuesday does not include white supremacist incidents unless they had a specific anti-Semitic element.)

“The diminishment of civility in society creates an environment in which intolerance really can flourish,” Mr. Greenblatt said. And the platforms of social media, he added, have “allowed the kind of poison of prejudice to grow at a velocity and to expand in ways that really are unprecedented.”

The count by the A.D.L., an international organization that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice, includes three categories: harassment (1,015 incidents in 2017, up 41 percent from 2016), vandalism (952 incidents, up 86 percent) and assault (19 incidents, down 47 percent). The decrease in assaults was “the one piece of good news in this report,” Mr. Greenblatt said.

For the first time in at least a decade, incidents were reported in all 50 states. And, unusually, K-12 schools had more reports than any other location. (Typically, public areas have the most.) Incidents at those schools nearly doubled, to 457 from 235; those on college campuses increased 89 percent, to 204 from 108.

Many of the incidents involved swastikas etched on school property or drawn on Jewish students’ belongings.

The increase in expressions of anti-Semitism among students is “astounding” in its size, Mr. Greenblatt said, but also not entirely surprising.

“Kids repeat what they hear,” he said. “And so in an environment in which prejudice isn’t called out by public figures, figures of authority, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see young people repeat these same kind of tropes.”

The count is based on reports from victims, law enforcement and the news media. The Anti-Defamation League’s 26 field offices in the United States often receive reports directly from victims or their loved ones. Other times, employees will see a post on social media and follow up with the poster.

In each case, the group confirms the information independently and assesses its credibility. Reports deemed not credible are not included in the tally.

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz Made Anti-Semitic, Racists Comments in Private Chat Group

Jewish Telegraphic Agency; jta.org

Nikolas Cruz after being arrested in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Broward’s Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz made anti-Semitic and other racist comments in a private Instagram group chat.

He wrote in the group chat that he joined around August 2017 specifically that he hated: “jews, ni**ers, immigrants,” and showed that he had an obsession with violence and guns, CNN first reported on Saturday.

Cruz, 19, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon and began shooting with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle. A former student at the school, he was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for “disciplinary reasons.” He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The chat group, named by Cruz, is “Murica (American flag emoji) (eagle emoji) great,” CNN reported. CNN, investigating comments the shooter may have left on a now-deleted YouTube channel, was added to the private Instagram group by one of the active members in it, the news channel reported.

In one post about his biological mother, Cruz said: “My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her,” according to CNN. He also said that he hated Jews because he believed they wanted to destroy the world.

There were no signs in the chat group that Cruz or other members belonged to any white nationalist groups, according to CNN.

Cruz purchased his rifle a year ago and also owned at least 4 more weapons, purchased legally, according to CNN. He also purchased body armor, which he modeled in a photo posted in the group chat.

He asked the group whether it was legal to wear body armor to school. When asked why he replied, according to CNN:  “School shooters. I think I am going to kill people.”

 

The IRS Campaign Against Israel—and Us

It took seven years for Z Street to learn the truth about why our tax-exempt status was delayed.

By: Lori Lowenthal Marcus; Wall Street Journal – wsj.com

ILLUSTRATION: BARBARA KELLEY

The first IRS viewpoint discrimination case to be filed, Z Street v. IRS,has been settled, with disturbing revelations about how the Internal Revenue Service treated pro-Israel organizations applying for tax-exempt status.

I founded Z Street in 2009 to educate Americans about the Middle East and Israel’s defense against terror. We applied for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code in December 2009—a process that usually takes three to six months.

Instead, the application languished. In late July 2010, an IRS agent truthfully responded to our lawyer’s query about why processing was taking so long: Z Street’s application was getting special scrutiny, the agent said, because it was related to Israel. Some applications for tax-exempt status were being sent to a special office in Washington for review of whether the applicants’ policy positions conflicted with those of the Obama administration.

So in August 2010 we sued the IRS for violating Z Street’s constitutional rights, including the First Amendment right to be free from viewpoint discrimination—government treatment that differs depending on one’s political position.

Now we know the truth, and it’s exactly as bad as we thought. IRS documents—those they didn’t “lose” or otherwise fail to produce—reveal the following:

• Our application was flagged because Z Street’s mission related to Israel, a country with terrorism. Therefore, an IRS manager in our case said in sworn testimony, the IRS needed to investigate whether Z Street was funding terror.

• Some applications for tax-exempt status were indeed being sent to IRS headquarters in Washington for more intense scrutiny. They were selected because of the applicants’ viewpoint.

• In August 2010, three other Jewish organizations applying for tax-exempt status were asked by the IRS to “explain their religious beliefs about the Land of Israel.”

Our own investigation disclosed that between 2009 and 2016, while Z Street’s application was stalled, the IRS needed no special scrutiny to grant numerous applications for tax-exempt status that explicitly proclaimed donations would be spent in Gaza—a territory formally under the jurisdiction of Hamas, which the U.S. State Department designates as a terror organization.

While claiming to be investigating Z Street’s funding of terror, the IRS never asked how or where Z Street spent its money. The IRS ultimately granted Z Street’s application, in October 2016, without asking anything about terror, or money, or anything else it hadn’t known in 2010.

As the IRS knew within six weeks of our case being filed, Z Street was sent for special scrutiny by an IRS employee using an outdated list of countries affected by terror. The new list didn’t include Israel. The IRS didn’t resume processing our application after it discovered this error, and it didn’t disclose the error for six years. Because we sued, the IRS froze Z Street’s application. It stayed on ice until August 2016, when a court held the IRS couldn’t get our case thrown out until it processed our application. Two months later we got our exemption.

The “terror” error turns out to have been a pretext. Within weeks of President Obama’s inauguration, IRS and State Department officials began considering whether they could deny or revoke tax-exempt status for organizations that provided material support to Jews living across the Green Line—the nonborder that delineates pre-1967 Israel from the territories Israel acquired in the Six Day War. The theory was that a Jewish presence in those areas is inconsistent with U.S. policy. The IRS drew up lists of such organizations based on information from anti-Israel websites such as Electronic Intifada and MondoWeiss.

The New York Times and the Washington Post ran articles that advanced the policy espoused by the Obama administration and its nonprofit ally, J Street. Unnamed “senior State Department officials” were quoted as saying that Jewish activity over the Green Line isn’t “helpful” to peace efforts.

While no formal policy was released barring U.S. tax-exempt entities from supporting Jewish activity over the Green Line, Obama IRS officials tried three times between 2009 and 2012 to create such a policy, and IRS employees made sure the effort wasn’t documented. One emailed her supervisor saying that she would answer his questions about IRS policy relating to Israeli settlements only orally. “Not doing email on this,” she explained.

Even if the IRS could legitimately institute such a policy, it should not have applied to Z Street. We believe Jews should be allowed to live beyond the Green Line, but we have never spent a penny outside the U.S.

To learn the truth, we fought in the courts for seven lonely years—defeating IRS arguments that it didn’t have to obey the First Amendment, that it was immune from the suit, and that it wasn’t obliged to produce in discovery any documents revealing why its employees did what they did. During the seven years Z Street’s application was frozen, it couldn’t raise funds. If my husband and I weren’t lawyers, able to pursue justice without getting paid, there’s no way we could have succeeded.

When Z Street’s creation was announced, thousands sought to join. Then the IRS attempted to kill us. No lawsuit can remedy that assault, as the IRS knew. The settlement gives us the truth, but we can’t get back our seven years.

 

Majority of Knesset Backs Bill Accusing Poland of Holocaust Denial

By: Lahav Harkov; jpost.com

“The historic truth of the Jewish People is not for sale,” MK Shmuly says; Nazi hunter Zuroff: Post-communist countries have a Holocaust distortion problem.

The Knesset in session: The legislature is going to be working overtime.. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

New legislation cosponsored by 61 members of Knesset would make a Polish bill to outlaw talk of Poles’ complicity in the Nazis’ crimes a form of illegal Holocaust denial.

The bill, formulated by MKs from the coalition and the opposition – Itzik Shmuly (Zionist Union), Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Nurit Koren (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) – seeks to amend the Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial to state that denying or minimizing the involvement of the Nazi’s helpers and collaborators will also be a crime.

In addition, the amended law would provide legal aid to any Holocaust survivors and educators taking students to death camps who face foreign lawsuits because they recounted what happened in the Holocaust.

The 1986 Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial states that anyone who publishes denial and minimization of the Holocaust or other crimes against the Jewish people can get five years of jail time.

The Polish Senate was expected Wednesday to approve a bill that would make using the phrase “Polish death camps” or saying the Polish people were in any way culpable for the Nazis’ crimes against humanity an offense that carries a three-year prison sentence. The vote was set to take place even though the Polish and Israeli governments plan to negotiate a version of the bill that would be agreeable to both sides.

Shmuly said: “The Poles, and others who may want to copy them, should know that the historical truth of the Jewish people is not for sale.”

“Many Poles, and many others, heard, knew about and helped the Nazi extermination machine,” Shmuly added. “The Polish attempt to rewrite history and to shut Holocaust survivors’ mouths is audacious, shocking and despicable. We will not allow the collaborators to hide behind the Nazis and deny their historic responsibility.”

Lapid said the Polish attempt to avoid responsibility “only emphasizes the need to take action against these voices. We must use all the means we have, including the Knesset, against Holocaust denial.

“We won’t let anyone forget the Nazis or those who cooperated with them. That is our responsibility to the memory of the millions killed.

The world must know the Jews are not afraid and are not willing to be silent anymore, and are not afraid anymore,” Lapid said.

Ilatov said that the number of living Holocaust survivors is dwindling, and therefore, “Israel has the moral responsibility to commemorate their bravery and promise that no one will try to hide, whitewash or cover up those who tell the stories of the horrible crimes and the shocking testimony about the crimes committed against the Jewish people. We won’t let anyone rewrite history.”

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Nazi-hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, said that “Holocaust distortion” has been a problem for over 25 years, and until now Israel has done little to combat it.

Eastern European countries, Zuroff said, “have invested in trying to convince the world the Holocaust was only the work of Germany and maybe a few degenerates.

“Since the Soviet Union crumbled, people have been trying to say communism is the same as Nazism… They want communism to be considered genocide and [some countries] criminalized denying it. And then, if communism is genocide, and there were Jewish communists, then Jews committed genocide. This is their way of undermining the Shoah and their participation in it,” Zuroff explained.

The issue of Holocaust distortion exists “in practically every country in post-communist Eastern Europe,” he said. “Their new heroes are people who fought communists, some of whom killed Jews in the Shoah.

They name streets and schools after them.”

Still, Zuroff said he did not think that legislation is the right way for Israel to deal with the problem. Rather, Israel should use its influence in post-Soviet countries, many of which have defense ties with Israel, to convince the governments that “their behavior is unacceptable.”

“They love Israel, but hate the Jews,” Zuroff said.