www.jta.org

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Rabbi Kanievsky and several unnamed Haredi rabbis, officials and individuals #fundie jta.org

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel (JTA) — “Do you want trouble?” the Hasidic man asked, leaning toward me intimidatingly.

“Are you threatening me?” I asked, turning to look at the lean man in a flat black hat and long caftan.

“No. But if you stay here, everyone will come and there will be a mess,” he replied, gesturing across the street.

We were standing as we faced Torah V’Yirah, a haredi boys school in the insular religious enclave of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, just west of Jerusalem, where hundreds of young Hasidic boys were studying on Wednesday despite Israel’s increasingly severe limitations on public gatherings.

Several minutes earlier, walking into the school affiliated with the Satmar Hasidic sect, I had seen dozens of children crammed into classrooms, many of them lacking supervision. None of the adults I encountered in the building would admit to working there in any official capacity.

When I asked one of the men to direct me to the school administrator, he began to follow me, alternating between demanding that I leave and making phone calls.

I left the building, only to find myself surrounded by a small crowd of Hasidim demanding to know if I was a government inspector. I again identified myself as a journalist, and they accused me of making trouble and attempted to physically prevent me from taking a picture of the school building.

As I walked away, I noticed posters on the side of the building blaming the coronavirus pandemic on Orthodox women wearing wigs made from non-Jewish hair.

Last week, Israel ordered a nationwide closure of schools and universities in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, trying to prevent the country’s health care system from being overloaded. While most secular and national-religious educational institutions have shuttered, some in the haredi sector have stayed open.

[...]

This week, evidence has come to light that the virus spreads quickly through haredi neighborhoods and communities. In the haredi Jerusalem suburb of Telzstone, for example, nearly one in four residents has been ordered into isolation. And in New York, at least 100 people in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn have tested positive.

Despite this, appeals made by law enforcement representatives directly to Kanievsky and other influential rabbis earlier this week failed to change their minds.

“Rabbi Kanievsky says canceling Torah study is more dangerous than corona,” Shmulik Woolf, a member of the rabbi’s inner circle, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday.

But Woolf added that aside from the issue of yeshiva closures, in all other matters it is important to listen to the directives of the Ministry of Health.

Back in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, after beating a hasty retreat from Torah V’Yirah, I walked down the street to another synagogue and struck up a conversation with an 18-year-old yeshiva student who identified himself only as Natan.

“The Torah protects us and saves us. We’re not scared,” he told me, echoing a widely held belief in his community. “I’m young. People in the yeshivas aren’t afraid because we won’t get sick and anyone with a fever is sent home. We learn Torah, so it won’t happen.”

[...]

At the Be’er Mordechai yeshiva only a few blocks away from Gerzi’s synagogue, dozens of students were crammed into the small study hall. When I entered the yeshiva and asked a rabbi about the government regulations, I was mobbed by students demanding to know if I was a government inspector and insisting that there was no cause for concern.

“Whoever learns is protected, the rabbis said so,” one called out.

“God loves us, he won’t bring us corona,” another chimed in.

“The Torah protects us,” a third said. “We don’t need to do anything.”

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Janusz Korwin-Mikke #racist #conspiracy #dunning-kruger jta.org

(JTA) — A far-right lawmaker in Poland said that natural selection in pogroms have made Jews powerful, and that “there are theories” that rabbis provoked violence to achieve this.

Janusz Korwin-Mikke made the comment in an interview for the Polsat channel last week about the coronavirus, the Do Rzeczy newspaper reported Wednesday.

“Jews are now powerful because they had pogroms,” he said. “As a result of pogroms, the strongest and the most gifted survived. This is a warning to anti-Semites: That is why Jews are powerful, because they had pogroms. There are even theories that rabbis deliberately provoke pogroms precisely so that Jews survive and then there is natural selection.”

Korwin-Mikke, a former lawmaker in the European Parliament and a leader of the Confederation Liberty and Independence party, has a history of making anti-Semitic statements and stunts.

Last year, he slipped a kippah on the head of a state secretary while she was speaking at a televised debate that Korwin-Mikke also attended.

Also in 2019, he aired a conspiracy theory about Jews while commenting on reports in the Israeli media on a custom in which residents of the town of Pruchnik beat with sticks an effigy of an Orthodox Jew representing Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.

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"Fred van Oilsjt" and other Aalst carnival participants and spectators #racist #conspiracy jta.org

Caricatures of Jews, including ones depicting them as ants, were prominently displayed at this city’s annual parade.

The displays came a year after the Jewish Telegraphic Agency exposed anti-Semitic displays in last year’s parade in Aalst, located about 10 miles west of Brussels. Participants said the new displays were designed to reject the criticism of the town and carnival that followed JTA’s report.

“This is us saying we’re not going to stop making fun of everyone,” a man who identified himself as Fred van Oilsjt, 26, told JTA on Sunday while wearing a costume that exaggerates the suits favored by haredi Orthodox Jewish men. (Oilsjt is Aalst in the local dialect.)

He and 11 other members of his group also wore an ant’s abdomen and legs attached to their backs and a sticker that read “obey” on their lapels. Anti-Semitic imagery has often associated Jews with vermin, but he said the display was meant to be a pun referencing how the Dutch-language word for the Western Wall sounds like “complaining ant.”

Another group wore fake hooked noses and haredi Jew costumes as protest. Their float had a sign labelled “regulations for the Jewish party committee,” and it included: “Do not mock Jews” and “Certainly do not tell the truth about the Jew.”

Among the thousands of revelers who watched the parade from the sidelines, dozens of people wore fake haredi Jew costumes, including one person who also wore large troll feet.

Rudi Roth, a journalist for the Antwerp-based Joods Actueel Jewish paper, said the expressions of anti-Semitism in Aalst this year were more numerous and prominent than last year. He called it a “backlash effect.”

[...]

The report brought scrutiny to the city. In December, UNESCO pulled its endorsement of the carnival as a world heritage event, and Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Thursday called for what he labeled a “hateful” event to be banned. Meanwhile, celebrities have backed out of appearances with Aalst’s mayor, who has defended the parade displays.

The mayor, Christophe D’Haese of the right-wing New Flemish Alliance, said on Sunday that in the “context of the carnival, these displays are not anti-Semitic.” Any illegal hate speech, he added, would be dealt with by law enforcement.

“This is not an anti-Semitic event,” he told journalists at a news conference.

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Campo de Criptana carnival participants #racist jta.org

At a carnival procession in Spain, participants dressed like Nazis and Jewish concentration camp prisoners while dancing next to a float evoking crematoria.

The Israeli Embassy in Madrid on Tuesday protested the display this weekend at the annual carnival procession in Campo de Criptana, a town situated about 80 miles southeast of the capital.

“We condemn the vile and repugnant representation that disrespects the victims of the Holocaust,” the embassy wrote on Twitter, “making fun of the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis. European nations must collectively fight anti-Semitism.”

A video of the procession shows the participants marching in their fake Nazi uniforms. Behind them, dancers wearing striped outfits evoking concentration camp uniforms followed while waving flags of Israel. They were followed by the float shaped like a train locomotive with two large chimneys.

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Twelve unnamed Saint Mary School students #wingnut jta.org

A group of 11 senior students from a Brazilian high school made the Nazi salute in support of a classmate running to become their speaker.

The students aged between 16 and 17 stood with one of their arms outstretched facing their colleague, displaying the gesture used by Nazis who supported Adolf Hitler.

The scene took place at Saint Mary School, a private school in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife. A picture was posted on Instagram on Wednesday along with a message full of Nazi-related terms, reported the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and other Brazilian media on Thursday.

“He promises to be the new Fuhrer of the grade on this journey towards building a new and innovative Reich,” the post said.

“A people person with good rhetoric,” it continued, followed by hashtags with the words “Aryan” and “fourth Reich.” It also included unrelated lewd comments.

On Thursday, the school principal met with the students, who were suspended for one week, and their parents. The account on which the picture was posted was removed from the internet.

“We apologize to all those who were offended,” read a school note. “Our school does not support any behavior that goes against Christian and ethical values and in relation to valuing life and respecting all races, peoples and beliefs.”

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Eduardo Salim Sad #conspiracy #racist jta.org

A journalist from Argentina’s state-run public television used a Jewish conspiracy theory to explain the death of NBA basketball great Kobe Bryant in a helicopter accident.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other passengers, including two other teens, died Sunday when the helicopter they were riding in crashed into the side of a hillside in foggy conditions outside of Los Angeles.

“Sikorsky S76 helicopter, of Jewish surname, kills Kobe Bryant,” Eduardo Salim Sad tweeted Monday.

His account has been removed from Twitter, though it is not clear if it was by Sad or Twitter.

The tweet, which was viewed thousands of times, triggered criticism from the Jewish community and was condemned by Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella, DAIA.

Sad later asserted that someone hacked his account and tweeted the statement “to harm me. I’m furious and dismayed.”

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Kim Kamal, Isabel Pereira and Sami Jakobsson #racist jta.org

(JTA) — Two contestants were kicked off a Swedish reality show after having a conversation in which one said she hates Jews, while a third who remains has previously expressed support for neo-Nazi ideas on social media.

The comments, made during a live airing of the popular show “Big Brother,” drew a swift response from the network airing the show, as well as wide media coverage in Sweden.

Jewish community leaders also responded with concern, noting a rise in anti-Semitism across the Scandinavian country.

“We have unfortunately recently seen increased anti-Semitism in Sweden, with a fair number of serious incidents just in the last few years,” the president of the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities told the Jewish news site Expressen. “I think that when a person on such a big show as ‘Big Brother,’ which many young people are watching, says something like this, it legitimizes anti-Semitism.”

The comments came during the fourth day of taping for this season of the show, in which participants are brought together to live under constant surveillance, with their conversations streamed to viewers.

On Thursday, Kim Kamal, 21, could be heard complaining to fellow contestant Isabel Pereira, 24, about his former boss. Then he said, “She was a Jew, so I get it.”

“I hate Jews,” Pereira responded with a laugh.

Pereira was asked to leave the show shortly after she made the comments, while Kamal was told to do so the following day. Pereira later apologized for the comments in an Instagram post.

Meanwhile, the Swedish news site Nyheter 24 reported that Sami Jakobsson, 25, had expressed support for neo-Nazi ideas on social media, including posting photos of tattoos with Nazi imagery and promoting white supremacist musical bands. Jacobsson, who rose to fame after being on a different Swedish reality show, said following the report that he had previously held far-right views but that he no longer did so.

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Joseph Sytnik #racist #conspiracy jta.org

A senior economist in Ukraine said the country’s leaders secretly are serving Israel.

Local Jews said Joseph Sytnik, a department head at the Lviv Polytechnic University, was espousing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Sytnik penned the text on Tuesday and posted the essay on Facebook alongside photographs of Israel visits by Ukraine’s current president, Vlodymyr Zelensky, and previous prime minister, Vldymyr Groysman, who are Jewish, and former president Petro Proshenko, who is not. Each of the men was shown wearing a kippah.

Back home, Sytnik wrote, Ukrainian politicians are “sinners, advancing slavery and self-destruction.”

But “at the Western Wall in Jerusalem they take off their Ukrainian masks for a moment, refuse their roles, which they perform spectacular in Ukraine and become real. For in that place they have a drop of conscience, faith, sense of duty and responsibility for their roots, there they feel fear for their sins, there they are truly afraid of their God and the law.

“Their dominance in Ukraine is a problem created mainly by Ukrainians themselves.”

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Cheryl Lawdron #racist jta.org

An Australian woman has taken down the Nazi flag she was flying from her home following a joint effort by neighbors and local police, as well as a Jewish member of Parliament.

Cheryl Lawdron told reporters that she had German ancestry and had the right to fly the flag featuring a large swastika and other Nazi symbols on her property in the country town of Beulah.

Victorian state lawmaker David Southwick of the Liberal Party contacted the municipal council, local police and residents to assist in coordinating efforts to have the flag removed.

The incident drew condemnation from the local community. The flag was removed late on Tuesday evening.

“Once again, this incident demonstrates the rising wave of anti-Semitism and racial hatred in Victoria and highlights the need for greater State Government action to crack down on incidents such as these in the future,” Southwick, who is Jewish, said in a statement.

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Unnamed Newberries Primary School teacher #wingnut #racist jta.org

A British elementary school teacher was fired after telling Jewish students that she would “ship them off to the gas chambers” if they didn’t finish their schoolwork.

The Daily Mail reported Wednesday that the teacher at Newberries Primary School near London allegedly had told her students that she was “joking” and urged them not to tell anyone. But word had spread on the messaging app WhatsApp and the teacher was fired Friday.

According to the paper, 11 students in the class of 28 were Jewish. The teacher, who has not been named, reportedly was an agency worker and had no permanent employment contract at the school.

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Richard Holzer #racist #psycho jta.org

A white supremacist has been arrested for plotting to blow up a synagogue in Colorado.

Richard Holzer, 27, was charged for planning to attack Temple Emanuel, a congregation in Pueblo of 35 families whose building dates to 1900.

According to an affidavit describing the charges, Holzer is a self-described “skinhead” and former Ku Klux Klan member who has used Facebook to “promote white supremacy ideology and acts of violence.”

The affidavit describes weeks of undercover work by the FBI leading to Holzer’s arrest on Friday, beginning with an undercover agent making first contact with Holzer online in September. Holzer told the agent he was preparing for a “RAHOWA,” or racial holy war.

In mid-October, Holzer met for the first time with FBI agents posing as white supremacists and discussed his plan to blow up the synagogue. He also gave them white supremacist paraphernalia, including a flag, patches and a mask.

Holzer also claimed to have enlisted a Mexican ally in a scheme last year to poison the synagogue’s water supply with arsenic — he said it led to the synagogue being shut down. But Helena Atlas-Acuna, the synagogue’s board secretary, said the water supply was not, in fact, poisoned.

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Vasyl Marushchynets #racist #wingnut #psycho jta.org

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Ukrainian court ruling called for the reinstatement of a diplomat who was fired for making anti-Semitic remarks.

Israel has expressed its consternation over the ruling, saying it was “confused.”

Vasyl Marushchynets, then the Ukrainian consul in Hamburg, Germany, was dismissed last year after his social media posts came to light. Writing on Facebook, he blamed Jews for World War II and called for “death to the anti-fascists.” He also posed for photographs with a cake baked in the shape of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf.”

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and other senior Ukraine officials had condemned the comments.

However, the Kyiv court ruled Tuesday that the termination was illegal and ordered Maruschchynets’ reinstatement. Maruschynets also will receive thousands of dollars in missed wages.

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Lev Tahor #fundie jta.org

Lev Tahor, a fringe haredi Orthodox sect, requested political asylum from the Iranian government.

In its request, the group “declared their loyalty and submission to the Supreme Leader and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” It asks for “asylum, protection and religious freedom of the families of its loyal members,” and also calls for “cooperation and help to counter Zionist dominance in order to peacefully liberate the Holy Land and the Jewish nation.”

The request was part of a batch of documents filed in U.S. Federal Court last week ahead of trials against five Lev Tahor members on charges of kidnapping, child abuse and identity theft.

The Yeshiva World News first reported the documents containing the request.

Lev Tahor, which has about 230 members, relocated to Guatemala from Canada in 2014 following allegations of mistreatment of its children including abuse and child marriages.

Arranged marriages between teenagers and older cult members are reported to be common. The group shuns technology and its female members wear black robes from head to toe, leaving only their faces exposed.

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Rafi Peretz #racist jta.org

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The rate of intermarriage among U.S. Jews is “like a second Holocaust,” Israel’s new minister of education said.

Rafi Peretz made the statement at a Cabinet meeting on July 1, Axios’ Barak Ravid reported Tuesday, citing three people who were in the room.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, is head of the Jewish Home party and leader of a united bloc of right-wing parties, accused of having extremists among its ranks.

Peretz said the assimilation of Jews around the world and mostly in the U.S. was “like a second Holocaust,” and also said that due to intermarriages in the last 70 years the Jewish people “lost 6 million people,” according to the report, which added that Peretz’s spokesman confirmed the account.

The July 1 Cabinet meeting included a briefing by Dennis Ross, chairman of the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute, on trends in Jewish communities around the world, especially in North America. The topic of intermarriage came up during the briefing.

Axios reported that Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz pushed back on Peretz’s remarks and said assimilation is not a critical problem. “First we need to stop disregarding and looking down on Jews in America that see themselves as Jews not only religiously but even more culturally and historically,” he reportedly said.

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Unnamed Pruchnik Easter celebrants #racist #fundie jta.org

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A town in southern Poland reenacted the custom of casting judgement on Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, using a life-size effigy of a stereotypical Jew with a hooked nose and sidelocks.

The event in the town of Pruchnik, called “Judgment over Judas,” took place on Friday afternoon. On a pole on Pope John Paul II Street, the residents hung the large effigy of the Jew which bore the label “Judas 2019, traitor!”

The crowd cut the effigy down from the post, dragged it on a rope through the town, stopping at the square in front of the church and at a street crossing to beat it 30 times. After reaching the local river, the head of the effigy was cut off and the rest was burned.

The rite attracted a crowd of onlookers. Children were encouraged to beat the figure. There were some anti-Semitic cries, such as “Five more hits for wanting compensation from Poland.”

The custom of the judgment over Judas has occurred at least since the eighteenth century and takes place in the days preceding Easter. In the past, it was accompanied by acts of direct violence against Jewish residents. In the years of the Polish People’s Republic, the tradition gradually disappeared.

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Unnamed Melbourne school bullies #racist jta.org

Two reports of anti-Semitic bullying at schools in Australia are receiving widespread media coverage.

A photo that allegedly shows a 12-year-old Jewish student being forced to kneel to kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate was circulated on social media. The incident occurred at the Cheltenham Secondary College in the town of Cheltenham, a Melbourne suburb, according to The Age, a Melbourne-based newspaper.

The report did not make it clear if the Muslim boy’s religion had anything to do with the incident.

A second incident took place at the Hawthorn West Primary School in Melbourne, where a 5-year-old Jewish student was called a number of anti-Semitic insults, including a “Jewish cockroach,” according to The Age.

Both Jewish boys have left their schools.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation Commission, said the incidents are part of a broader trend of anti-Semitic bullying.

[...]

The mother of the boy in the photo said she was disappointed by the school’s lack of response. She told The Age that the school said it was not responsible for the incident since it did not take place on its campus. But the mother said she talked to the parents of the Muslim student, who disapproved of their son’s actions.

Another boy involved in the incident was later suspended for punching the Jewish boy, The Age reported.

Meanwhile, the boy at Hawthorn West Primary School was repeatedly subjected to anti-Semitic insults and teased because he was circumcised, his mother told The Age. The school sent the parents an apology letter last month, the mother said.

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Unnamed Bourdon inhabitant #racist #psycho jta.org

(JTA) — A man in northern France said he stabbed his neighbor because he “wanted to kill a Jew.”

The attack, first reported on April 8, occurred in Bourdon, a commune in the Somme department in northern France, on April 5, the French-language 20 Minutes news website reported.

The victim, a 58-year-old man, was stabbed 15 times in his stomach and face. He was injured in the liver and gallbladder and underwent surgery, according to the report.

He was saved by a friend, who was with him at the time of the assault, who came between the victim and the attacker.

The attacker, 18, told witnesses that he “wanted to kill a Jew.” According to the report, the victim is not Jewish.

He was indicted for attempted murder due to race or ethnicity.

The attacker reportedly also attacked two policemen while attempting to escape from a hospital where he was scheduled to undergo hand surgery. He also was scheduled to undergo psychiatric evaluation, to determine whether he is criminally responsible, the report said. This could take several months, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.

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Jos Collignon #racist #conspiracy jta.org

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A major Dutch daily ran a caricature whose critics say reinforces anti-Semitic tropes and suggests that Israel’s prime minister is attacking Britain’s Labour Party over anti-Semitism to distract from corruption charges against him.

In the caricature Thursday in De Volkskrant, Benjamin Netanyahu is depicted holding a stone labeled “anti-Semitism charges” in one hand and reading an indictment for corruption in the other.

Opposite the Israeli leader is Jeremy Corbyn, who heads Labour Party, which is under an investigation by the British government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission over complaints that Corbyn’s anti-Israel agenda and far-left politics have made it institutionally anti-Semitic.

Corbyn says: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” an utterance attributed to Jesus in the New Testament.

Netanyahu has rarely referenced Corbyn publicly and has not spoken out about anti-Semitism in Labour. Netanyahu condemned Corbyn’s 2014 laying of a wreath on the graves of Palestinian terrorists in 2018.

[...]

Volkskrant caricaturist Jos Collignon defended the work, linking the watchdog group’s criticism to Dutch Jewry’s trauma from the Holocaust — the center did not mention the genocide — and labeling it an attempt to prevent supporters of Palestinian rights from speaking out.

“When allegations of anti-Semitism occur, the Israel lobby is never far behind,” Collignon said. “I think you’ll never understand this is the behavior of victims. There is no point linking modern-day opponents to atrocities from the past. We’re all being labeled as Nazi sympathizers.”

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Mohammed Elshamy #racist jta.org

A CNN photo editor resigned after some anti-Semitic tweets he made in 2011 were discovered.

Mohammed Elshamy, a 25-year-old former photojournalist with the Anadolu news agency, quit Thursday night after an employee of Israel’s Government Press Office flagged on Twitter some of the anti-Semitic statements by Elshamy, who recently graduated from Cairo University. He began working at CNN in January.

“More than 4 jewish pigs killed in #Jerusalem today by the Palestinian bomb explode. #Israel #Gaza,” read one of his tweets, following a terrorist attack.

The bombing killed a Christian woman who was studying in Israel and severely injured a 14-year-old Israeli girl who died of her injuries six years later.

“Despite everything happening now in Egypt, I’m proud of the army generation that liberated us from the zionist pigs @ 6 october 1973 #israel,” Elshamy, who worked at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, wrote in another tweet from 2011, referencing the last war between Egypt and Israel.

Elshamy, who was 16 at the time, on Friday “unequivocally” apologized on Twitter for the statements, “to everyone, especially those in the Jewish community.”

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Lawrence Garvey and the Rockland County Republican Party #racist jta.org

A Facebook campaign ad from an upstate New York county’s Republican Party has been slammed as anti-Semitic and “deeply disturbing.”

Titled “A storm is brewing in Rockland,” the video takes aim at the large and growing Hasidic Jewish community in the county, the specter of “overdevelopment” and a proposed yeshiva campus.

The video, which appeared to have been removed on Thursday morning, features menacing music, the slogan “If They Win, We Lose” and a warning that “they” will “change our way of life.”

“Aron Wieder and his Ramapo bloc are plotting a takeover,” the video intones, referring to a Hasidic legislator representing a Rockland County town with a large Orthodox population. The ad warns that “chaotic development” and redistricting threaten “our” home, schools, families — and water.

“This video is deeply disturbing and should be removed and condemned immediately by the Rockland County Republican Party,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “To clearly state that members of the Jewish community are a threat to families and our safety and that they must be stopped is despicable and completely unacceptable. Attacking those who are different than we are only breeds hate and makes us weaker. We must all stand together to denounce this hateful video.”

The Republican Party chairman in Rockland County, Lawrence Garvey, defended the video in a Facebook post on the party’s page.

“Regardless of your thoughts of the video, there are facts that cannot be ignored. This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong,” he wrote. “For those not living in Rockland, it is harder to see a real and unique problem that exists here. The people of Rockland have become desperate for attention to the problems facing our communities and many live every day with the threat of losing their homes and neighborhoods.

“Anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption, or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand.”

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Garrett Kelsey #racist jta.org

(JTA) — An Iowa man was arrested for allegedly threatening a New York-based Jewish organization by phone and email.

Garrett Kelsey, 31, of Cedar Rapids, was charged Tuesday in an Iowa courtroom with one count of transmitting threats to injure a person across state lines, which carries a maximum five-year sentence.

Kelsey, whose Facebook page also included anti-Semitic messages, was upset with the Jewish organization, which is not named in the complaint, for a video it posted about Nordic neo-Nazi groups.

The World Jewish Congress posted a video on YouTube on May 3 titled “7 Facts About the Neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement.”

In late May, Kelsey called the unidentified organization and spoke briefly with one of its employees, according to a Justice Department statement citing the complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court. He then called back that employee’s number and left a voicemail that said “My people have fucking slaughtered your fucking people before and we will do it again. And right now, you are giving us incentive to do that … Filthy fucking Jews.”

Kelsey also sent the organization an email demanding it remove the video within three days and apologize to the Asatru community “or we will be taking action against your organization full of degenerates.”

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Rabbi Hillel Handler, Dr. Daniel Neides, Del Bigtree and the United Jewish Community Council #quack #conspiracy jta.org

The weirdest part of an Orthodox anti-vaccine conference here was probably when the emcee, a rabbi wearing a black hat and white beard, quoted the Gospel of Luke.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” he cried, reciting the Gospels nearly verbatim.

Rabbi Hillel Handler wasn’t referring to the 200 people gathered in the basement of a haredi Orthodox wedding hall in Brooklyn to hear about the alleged dangers of vaccines. Rather, he was talking about the doctors, rabbis and politicians who he says are all hoodwinked by a massive conspiracy orchestrated by drug companies and the Centers for Disease Control to make money off of vaccines.

While the scientific consensus supports vaccination and regards it as a historic boon to public health, the crowd, like the emcee, do not put much stock in that science. Handler and the other speakers charged the CDC and its purported stooges with hiding the dangers of vaccines and destroying evidence that they are harmful. They cited no credible evidence.

“This is all being orchestrated by the drug companies, which are very close to the CDC,” Handler told the crowd in a gender-segregated room at a catering hall in the Midwood neighborhood. “The doctors all march in lockstep with the CDC. The doctors don’t think they’re marching in lockstep. They don’t understand that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, is a totally corrupt swamp. … They are criminals.”

[...]

The city required immunization in heavily Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhoods earlier this year. Large Orthodox organizations have encouraged their communities to vaccinate.

“[C]ountless rabbinical figures and leaders, including leading rabbis in the Agudath Israel movement and doctors serving these communities, have repeatedly encouraged vaccination in the strongest possible terms,” reads an April statement by Agudath Israel of America, a leading haredi group. “Indeed, the overwhelming majority of children enrolled in Jewish schools are vaccinated.”

But there are some vocal holdouts.

At the rally held late Tuesday night, organized by an anti-vaccine group calling itself the United Jewish Community Council, speakers cast doubt on established medical opinion and the CDC. The crowd, which appeared to be mostly but not entirely haredi, was receptive to the message and applauded.

One attendee told another that large pharmaceutical companies like Bayer and Merck, which now produce vaccines, had collaborated with Nazi Germany. (Bayer was a division of a larger company that did collaborate with the Nazis, though now it is under different ownership. Merck, originally connected to a German company of the same name, split off into an independent American firm in 1917, before the Nazis came to power.)

“If you had bought a mutual fund in the ’30s, back in Nazi Germany, you would have done phenomenally,” the attendee remarked.

After Handler, speakers included Dr. Daniel Neides, a former vice chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute who resigned last year after writing a column questioning vaccines. (He later apologized, saying he “fully supports vaccination” and was trying to open a conversation about their safety, not question their use.)

But the bulk of the program was led by Del Bigtree, a Hollywood producer without medical qualifications who styles himself as an expert on vaccines. He directed the documentary “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe.” Last month Bigtree spoke to a similar rally in Monsey, New York, also the home of a large haredi community.

Bigtree led the audience through a text-heavy PowerPoint presentation claiming that vaccines have led to a rise in autism among children — claims that have been rejected by every mainstream medical or public health group. He compared those promoting vaccines to a cult and cited Andrew Wakefield, a British physician who lost his license after promoting the debunked link between vaccines and autism.

In dramatic fashion, the coiffed Bigtree talked about the “exploding cases of diabetes” (linked, in his mind, to vaccines), drawing out the word “explooooding” and shaking his body as if he were reverberating from a bomb blast.

[...]

Over the course of about 12 minutes, Bigtree linked vaccines to the Holocaust and then to child sacrifice. He compared them to Nazi experimentation on unwilling Jewish medical subjects, then to the intentional ritual murder of children, in an effort to debunk the scientific consensus that a critical mass of vaccinated people, or herd immunity, means that even those who cannot be vaccinated for genuine medical reasons will have some protection from getting sick.

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Judge Jim Lammey #racist #conspiracy jta.org

(JTA) — A Tennessee judge posted racist and anti-Semitic articles on his Facebook page, including one saying that Jews should “get the f**k over the Holocaust.”

A coalition of organizations, including Jewish ones, have called for a reprimand of Jim Lammey of the Shelby County Criminal Court.

Lammey posted a link to an article written by known Holocaust denier David Cole that referred to Muslim immigrants as “foreign mud” and made the Holocaust slur. He also shared anti-immigration articles, memes and conspiracy theories, The Commercial Appeal reported.

The judge has denied being racist or anti-Semitic and says he has the right to free speech, according to the report. He also says that nothing that he has shared on Facebook would prevent him from judging all cases fairly.

“I certainly don’t agree with that, being a Holocaust denier. My best friend — who’s deceased now — was Jewish and I wouldn’t do that,” he told The Commercial Appeal.

Lammey said that he accidentally allowed his Facebook posts to be public earlier this year. They are now no longer visible to the public.

He was elected to office in 2006 and re-elected to serve an eight-year term in 2014.

Among the Jewish groups that have called for Lammey’s censure are the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville & Middle Tennessee, Jewish Community Partners and the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. Others include the NAACP Memphis Branch, Memphis Islamic Center, American Muslim Advisory Council, Bridges, Facing History and Ourselves, Memphis Islamic Center and the National Civil Rights Museum.

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Unnamed Yellow Vests #racist jta.org

(JTA) — French philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut was came under a verbal anti-Semitic attack by Yellow Vest protesters in central Paris.

The incident on Saturday was captured on camera, with protesters yelling “Dirty Jew,” “you’re a hater, you’re going to die, you’re going to hell,” “Dirty Zionist,” “France is ours,” and “return to Tel Aviv.” Police intervened to protect Finkielkraut.

French President Emmanuel Marcon condemned the attack in a series of tweets. “The anti-Semitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of what we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it,” Macron tweeted.

“The son of Polish immigrants who became a French academician, Alain Finkielkraut is not only a prominent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic allows everyone,” he also tweeted.

The Paris prosecutor’s office on Sunday said an investigation has been launched into the “public insult based on origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

Finkielkraut, 69, has expressed support in the past for the social movement. His philosophical writing mostly discusses identity-based violence, including antisemitism.

The Yellow Vests began in the fall as a series of protests against a hike on fuel prices but has been mired since in countless instances of violence against police and a substantial amount of anti-Semitic hate speech.

The incident comes a week after a series of anti-Semitic incidents throughout Paris.

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Jean de Dieu Momo #racist jta.org

(JTA) — A Cameroon government minister said that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves because they wielded all the economic power.

The African nation’s government disavowed the comments made by Jean de Dieu Momo, the deputy justice minister, in a primetime interview on public television. Momo warned the opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, that he was leading the native Bamileke people to a fate similar to that of the Jews during the Holocaust, the French news service AFP reported.

“In Germany, there was a very rich community who wielded all economic power,” he said. “They [the Jews] were so arrogant that the German people were frustrated. Then one day, a certain Hitler came to power and put them in the gas chambers.”

The government of Cameroon distanced itself from Momo’s comments.

“The Government of the Republic of Cameroon wishes to point out that [Jean De Dieu Momo] was speaking on a strictly personally basis,” Communications Minister Réné Sadi said in a statement, the English-language Journal du Cameroon reported. “The government of Cameroon strongly deplores the irrelevant comments of [Momo] and completely dissociates itself.”

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Unnamed Brugge soccer club fans #racist jta.org

(JTA) — Soccer fans in Belgium chanted about burning Jews during a match in the city of Bruges, Belgian media reported.

La Derniere Heure published footage from the Aug. 26 match on Wednesday. It shows dozens of fans celebrating their local team’s victory over Brussels’ Anderlecht team that day by singing in Flemish: “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews ’cause Jews burn the best.”

The chant, whose use was first reported by the media in 2015, has proliferated in the Netherlands and Belgium in recent years. In some cases, fans chant it to taunt counterparts from rival teams that are seen as historically Jewish. Some fans say Anderlecht is such a team, although that soccer club is not famously associated with Jews.

[...]

The soccer club of Brugge, a city located 40 miles west of Brussels, said in a statement: “We strongly condemn this behavior,” the HLN news website reported. The club said several fans have been identified and slapped with a ban on entering the team’s Jan Breydel Stadium.

[Bolding mine]

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Valerie Plame #racist jta.org

(JTA) — Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson resigned from the board of an anti-war foundation after retweeting an article accusing American Jews of pushing the U.S. into a war with Iran.

Wilson, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, made the announcement on Sunday about leaving the the Ploughshares Fund in a series of tweets.

“Actions have consequences, and while I have been honored to serve on the board of the Ploughshares Fund … to avoid detracting from their mission, I have resigned,” Wilson said in consecutive tweets.

“I take full responsibility for my thoughtless and hurtful actions, and there are no excuses for what I did.”

She also tweeted that she was “horrified and ashamed” for retweeting articles from the Unz Review website “without closely examining content and authors.”

“The white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda espoused by this website is disgusting and I strongly condemn it,” she also tweeted.

Wilson, a former operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, had her identity leaked to the press by an official in President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 and left the agency in 2005. A 2010 film about the affair, “Fair Game,” portrayed the popular theory that her cover was blown as political retribution for an article by her husband charging that the White House manipulated intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq.

The article she retweeted, titled “Americas Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” included several anti-Semitic tropes, including that American Jews are guilty of dual loyalty to Israel, and that Jews control the media, the entertainment industry and politics.

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Unnamed armed burglars in Livry Gargan #racist jta.org

(JTA) — A French Jewish leader and his family were assaulted in their home near Paris in what representatives of French Jewry said was an anti-Semitic attack.

In the attack Thursday night, three men, two of whom were wearing masks, broke into the home of Roger Pinto, the president of Siona, a group that represents Sephardic Jews. The attackers beat Pinto’s son and wife in the home in the northeastern suburb of Livry Gargan, the Dreuz news website reported Sunday.

One of the attackers said: “You Jews have money,” according to the family members.

The family members told police that the attackers, who they said were black men in their 20s or 30s, took their credit cards and jewelry, interrogated them for hours about additional items them could steal and threatened to kill them. The men ran away after Roger Pinto managed to discretely call rescue services on a mobile phone.

The Pintos were taken to hospital for treatment. They suffered some minor injuries and were deeply traumatized, the report said.

The incident, one of several cases in France in recent years in which criminals apparently singled out Jews based on the belief that they have money, provoked passionate condemnations from the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities and the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism. Both groups said the incident was an anti-Semitic attack.

[...]

In 2014, three men broke into the home of a Jewish family in Creteil near Paris. One of them raped a young woman there while another guarded her boyfriend, whom they took prisoner. A third took the couple’s credit card to extract cash from an ATM machine. They too allegedly said they targeted the couple because they are Jewish.

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Blood and Soil #racist jta.org

(JTA) — A banner with an anti-Semitic slur hung over a synagogue’s Holocaust memorial and fliers left on cars in a New Jersey township are related to the arrest of several area haredi Orthodox couples for welfare fraud, police said.

The incidents occurred over the weekend in Lakewood, where at least seven haredi Orthodox couples were arrested last week for underreporting their incomes to receive government benefits, including a rabbi and his wife as well as his brother and his wife.

Brazen anti-Semitic hate on full display as #Holocaust memorial in #Lakewood is defaced pic.twitter.com/7CMCh2ivkl

— ADL New Jersey (@ADL_NJ) July 2, 2017

The banner hung at Congregation Sons of Israel reads “(((Heebs))) will not divide us,” using the anti-Semitic echo symbol popularized by the “alt-right” to highlight Jewish names. Heebs stands for Hebrews and is used as an ethnic slur against Jews. The banner also lists a website for a white supremacist group.

Anti-Semitic fliers referencing the arrests were placed on cars throughout the township as well, the Asbury Park Press reported.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino in a tweet posted Sunday called the incidents “sickening.” He also reminded the public of the $10,000 reward from the state for information that leads to a bias crime conviction.

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diégo de la véga, Memoires2legendes? and unnamed other Twitter users #racist jta.org

(JTA) — A satirical article suggesting that the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy plans to emigrate if a far-left politician is elected president triggered a slew of anti-Semitic comments on Twitter.

In the fake interview published last week on the satirical website NordPresse, Levy, one of the country’s best-known celebrities, is quoted as saying, “If Melenchon is elected, I’m leaving France.”

Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is the presidential candidate of the French Communist Party and several other far-left groups, has made considerable gains in polls ahead of the first round of the presidential elections on April 23.

Using the hashtag #BHL — the Jewish philosopher’s initials — hundreds of Melenchon supporters circulated the fake interview on Twitter, adding anti-Semitic comments about it.

“Shove off to Israel or the States, you son of a bitch,” one Twitter user wrote in an apparent reference to the fact that Levy, who is a citizen neither of Israel nor of the United States, is Jewish. Another wrote, “If Melenchon wins BHL knows where he can return.” The latter added a banner advertising Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to tourists.

The L’Expresse daily accused the satirical website of encouraging anti-Semitic discourse by inventing a quote by Levy.

“I cannot agree to a 90-percent taxation of my revenues” in explaining his opposition to Melenchon. “The Jews, as we all know, are rich,” L’Expresse wrote sarcastically.

Levy has criticized Melenchon, whose policies he has called “dangerous.” This week, Levy wrote on Twitter: “A reminder on the deplorable remarks by Melenchon following 2014 rallies featuring chanting about death to Jews.”

The post included a link to an article about Melenchon that was published on the Levy-owned opinion website Le Regle du Jeu recalling Melenchon’s statement on Aug. 24 that protesters against Israel in Paris “remained dignified and embodied better than anyone the founding values of the French republic.”More than nine synagogues were attacked in July that year in the French capital by pro-Palestinian protesters, some using firebombs. In a July 2014 incident at one synagogue, a gang of 150 assailants besieged dozens of worshipers.

[...]

Melenchon has climbed to third place in an Ifop survey from April 14 with 19 percent of the vote — matching the Republican candidate Francois Fillon — moving up from fifth in February and 9 percent. Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, topped the April poll with 23 percent, followed by Le Pen of the National Front party with 22 percent.

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Amira Jumaa #racist jta.org

[Bolding mine]

Amira Jumaa is the first student to be expelled from the institution since it was founded in 1872, according to Haaretz. She reportedly was expelled in December in a decision by the university’s disciplinary committee, which is made up of students and professors, Haaretz reported, citing a report in the French weekly Nouvel Observateur.

[...]

The Facebook posts came to light in October while Jumaa worked as an intern at the French Consulate in New York as part of a school program. She was fired immediately by the consulate and suspended from the university pending an investigation.

The posts were exposed by a website called the Inglourious Basterds, whose stated goal is to expose anti-Semitism in social media.

“Friends, there is a big catch. She’s young, she’s rich, she’s jet set, she enjoys horseback riding, and she hates the Jews,” the site said in introducing Jumaa. According to the site, Jumaa liked a Facebook page called “I hate Israel.”

[...]

She wrote in one: “Yes you Jews deserve to learn these lessons. What did you expect, taking over people’s lands and killing them? Hugs?

Jumaa also wrote: “You don’t belong anywhere in this world — that’s why you guys are scums and rats and discriminated against wherever you are. Do not blame it on the poor Palestinians.

In response to being accused of racism, Jumaa wrote: “First of all you dispersed rat, i am not an immigrant from France. I am from Kuwait so my country can buy you and your parents and put you in ovens.

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Jean-Frédéric Poisson #fundie jta.org

(JTA) — French Jews demanded the country’s Republican Party take disciplinary action against a primary candidate who said Hillary Clinton endangers Europe because she is controlled by Zionists.

The president of CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, made the demand in a statement Thursday about Jean Fréderic Poisson, a National Assembly lawmaker whose Christian Democratic Party is a right-wing outlier of the Republicans’ center-right coalition in the 2017 presidential election.

In an article published Wednesday by the Nice Matin newspaper, Poisson was quoted as saying about Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate in the United States, that her “closeness to the super funders of Wall Street and her submission to Zionist lobbies are dangerous for Europe and for France.”

CRIF President Francis Kalifat wrote in his statement that “beyond its insidiously anti-Semitic character, this remark reanimates conspiracy theories that we know to be the basic currency of extremists of the most violent kind.”

Poisson, whose party opposes gay marriage and euthanasia, is one of seven candidates competing in the open primaries of the Republicans, the new name of what used to be the UMP party of former presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.

In addition to Sarkozy, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, the list of primary candidates includes former Prime Minister Alain Juppe and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a former Cabinet minister whose ancestors were Polish Jews but who is not Jewish herself.

“With his revolting remarks, Jean Frédéric Poisson has placed himself beyond the margins of the primary of the right and center bloc,” Kalifat said of the Christian Democratic candidate.

Some commentators believe Poisson will endorse the far-right National Front party of Marine Le Pen if he fails to win the Republican nomination.

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Ahmed Chekhab #racist jta.org

(JTA) — A local Socialist politician from France’s Lyon region was booted from the party for making statements deemed anti-Semitic.

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Chekhab was heard telling the president of a local sports club: “Would you rather get fucked by Zittoun, by a Jew, then get the help of someone like yourself?”

Chekhab was commenting on Philippe Zittoun, his Jewish predecessor as deputy mayor. He was angry at the sports club president over the cancellation of a sports event for 800 children.