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Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism? Macron fuels debate on how …

Posted By on February 21, 2019

Addressing a rise in hate crimes against the Jewish diaspora in France, President Emanuel Macron has supported the expansion of the definition of anti-Semitism to outlaw anti-Zionism as well, fueling public debate over the terms.

Anti-Semitism is hiding itself behind anti-Zionism, Macron said Wednesday, speaking at the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (Crif) and announcing that France seeks to define anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of anti-Semitism.

The rise of hate crime incidents in France, including the verbal abuse of philosopher Alain Finkielkraut at a Yellow Vest rally last weekend and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg, has prompted the French government to seek new means to fight growing animosity towards their Jewish population, the largest in Europe.

While Macron believes the new definition falls in line with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) interpretation, the organization's own terminology does not contain any reference to Zionism at all.

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews...[and which] might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity, the IHRA said, making clear that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

Just a day earlier the French leader had said he opposes criminalizing criticism of the state of Israel, after French lawmakers proposed a bill on Monday that would make anti-Zionism a punishable offense. Yet it seems Macron somewhat changed his mind a day after thousands of demonstrators gathered across France to condemn the rise of anti-Semitic attacks, a 74 percent increase last year, with 541 reported cases.

While the Office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to endorse the new proposed definition, it fueled the long raging debate challenging the assertion that being anti-Zionist automatically equates to being an anti-Semite.

Historically, different forms of anti-Semitism have existed across the world for centuries. Anti-Zionism, however, is a relatively new phenomenon which was born in the late 19th century to oppose the Zionist political movement that was founded by Theodore Herzl and advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, at that time ruled by the British.

It is crucial to say that what is forbidden is to deny the existence of Israel. That has to be made a criminal offense, Sylvain Maillard, an MP with Macrons political party The Republic on the Move (LREM), told RFI. However, you obviously have the right to say you do not agree with the policy of the Israeli government. That is normal in a democracy.

If we consider opposition to Theodore Herzl's theory as anti-Semitic, then were saying that the millions of Jews who do not wish to live in Palestine and the occupied territories are anti-Semites, French journalist Dominique Vidal,toldFRANCE 24. It's historical illiteracy, or worse, stupidity.

The concepts of Zionism and anti-Zionism completely changed since the founding of Israel in 1948. Now anti-Zionism is largely associated with public anger towards the policies of the state of Israel, and not necessarily against Jewish ethnicity. It is most clearly defined in the worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) which the French president vowed to tackle on Wednesday, and criminalizing anti-Zionism could in theory allow him to do just that.

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Nobody knows what Zionism means anymore. Two historians help …

Posted By on February 21, 2019

Hate Crimes FBI

Posted By on February 18, 2019

As part of its responsibility to uphold the civil rights of the American people, the FBI takes a number of steps to combat the problem of hate crimes.

Investigative Activities: The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. The Bureau works closely with its local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners around the country in many of these cases.

Law Enforcement Support: The FBI works closely with state/local/tribal authorities on investigations, even when federal charges are not brought. FBI resources, forensic expertise, and experience in identification and proof of hate-based motivations often provide an invaluable complement to local law enforcement. Many cases are also prosecuted under state statutes such as murder, arson, or more recent local ethnic intimidation laws. Once the state prosecution begins, the Department of Justice follows the proceedings to ensure that the federal interest is vindicated and the law is applied equally among the 95 U.S. Judicial Districts.

Prosecutive Decision: The FBI forwards results of completed investigations to local U.S. Attorneys Offices and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, which decide whether a federal prosecution is warranted. Prosecution of these crimes may move forward, for example, if local authorities are unwilling or unable to prosecute a crime of bias.

Public Outreach: Outreach is a critical component of the FBIs civil rights program. The FBI engages with various local and national organizations to identify violations of federal law designed to protect the civil rights of individuals in the United States. ManyFBIs field offices participate in working groups with state and local law enforcement partners, as well as community groups within their area of responsibility. These working groups combine community and law enforcement resources to develop strategies to address local hate crime problems.

Training: The FBI conducts hundreds of operational seminars, workshops, and training sessions annually for local law enforcement, minority and religious organizations, and community groups to promote cooperation and reduce civil rights abuses. Each year, the FBI also provides hate crimes training for new agents, hundreds of current agents, and thousands of police officers worldwide.

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Hate Crimes FBI

Tzadik – Wikipedia

Posted By on February 18, 2019

Tzadik ((Hebrew: [tsadik], "righteous [one]", also zadik, addq or sadiq; pl. tzadikim [tsadikim] adiqim) is a title in Judaism given to people considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word adiq, is -d-q ( tsedek), which means "justice" or "righteousness". When applied to a righteous woman, the term is conjugated as tzadeikes/tzaddeket.

Tzadik is also the root of the word tzedakah ('charity', literally 'righteousness'). The term tzadik "righteous", and its associated meanings, developed in Rabbinic thought from its Talmudic contrast with hasid ("pious" honorific), to its exploration in ethical literature, and its esoteric spiritualisation in Kabbalah.

Since the late 17th century, in Hasidic Judaism, the institution of the mystical tzadik as a divine channel assumed central importance, combining popularization of (hands-on) Jewish mysticism with social movement for the first time.[1] Adapting former Kabbalistic theosophical terminology, Hasidic philosophy internalised mystical experience, emphasising devekut attachment to its Rebbe leadership, who embody and channel the Divine flow of blessing to the world.[2]

edeq in ancient Canaanite religion may have been an epithet of a god of the Jebusites.[3] The Hebrew word appears in the biblical names Melchizedek, Adonizedek, and Zadok, the high priest of David.

In classic Jewish thought, there are various definitions of a tzadik. According to Maimonides (based on Tractate Yevamot of the Babylonian Talmud 49b-50a): "One whose merit surpasses his iniquity is a tzadik".[4]

According to the Hasidic Tanya (based on passages in the Tanakh and the Talmud, and the tradition in Kabbalah), the true title of tzadik denotes a spiritual description of the soul. Its true meaning can only be applied to one who has completely sublimated their natural "animal" or "vital" soul inclinations into holiness, so that they experience only love and awe of God, without material temptations. Hence, a tzadik serves as a "vehicle" or "merkavah" [][5] to God and has no ego or self-consciousness. Note that a person cannot attain such a level, rather it is granted from on High (or born with, etc.).[6] This select level elevates the "Intermediate" person (beinoni) into one who never sins in thought, speech or action. Unlike the Tzadik, they only experience divine devekut (communion) during devoted moments of worship or study, while in mundane life they can be tempted by natural inclinations, but always choose to stay connected to holiness. In the Tanya[7] the difference between the former Talmudic-Maimonidean and latter Kabbalistic-Hasidic conceptions is raised. Since the "Torah has 70 facets" of interpretation, perhaps both conceptions are metaphysically true:

As for what is written in the Zohar III, p.231: He whose sins are few is classed as a "righteous man who suffers", this is the query of Rav Hamnuna to Elijah. But according to Elijah's answer, ibid., the explanation of a "righteous man who suffers" is as stated in Raaya Mehemna on Mishpatim, which is given above. (Distinguishing 2 levels of Tzadik: The "righteous who prospers"-literally "good to him" is interpreted to mean that the natural soul in him has become "his own-transformed to good". The "righteous who suffers"-literally "bad to him" is interpreted to mean that his natural soul still exists in his unconscious, but is nullified to his Divine soul, "the bad-is under him") And the Torah has seventy facets. (So the reason for the question)

The Talmud[8] says that at least 36 Tzadikim Nistarim (anonymous tzadikim) are living among us in all times; they are anonymous, and it is for their sake alone that the world is not destroyed. The Talmud and the Kabbalah offer various ideas about the nature and role of these 36 tzadikim. In Jewish folklore they are called "lamedvovniks", from the gematria numerical value for 36. In Hasidism, with its social institution of the Tzadik in the central role of the community, the 36 may not necessarily be unknown, therefore. However, a Hasidic aphorism describes a known Rebbe Tzadik as being among the 36, as their true greatness could be concealed beyond the perception of their devoted followers.

Hasidim adhere to the belief that there is a person born each generation with the potential to become Messiah, if the Jewish people warrant his coming. This candidate is known as the Tzadik Ha-Dor, meaning Tzaddik of the Generation.

While the tzadik status, according to its above definitions, is not necessarily related to the ability to perform or call upon miracles, the term tzadik is often used loosely by the Talmud to indicate those who have achieved especially outstanding piety and holiness. In this context, the tzadik's prayers are considered especially potent, as the Talmud states: "A tzadik decrees and the Holy One (blessed be He) fulfills." This is line with the Talmudic dictum: Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Judah haNasi used to say: "Make His Will your own will, that He make your will as His Will."[9]

In some contexts, people refer specifically to the pious miracle worker as a tzadik. According to the Baal Shem Tov, it is said, this ability is attainable for every Jew. It is told that he stated that every Jew has the power to cross a river atop a handkerchief, through connecting with their soul (which is divine in essence).[citation needed] In Hasidism, the doctrine of "Practical Tzadikism", developed by Elimelech of Lizhensk, involved the Tzadik performing miracles to channel the Ayin-Yesh Divine blessing. In its most extreme version, Hasidic "wonder-workers", predominant in 19th century Poland, emphasised this conception, sometimes criticised by other Hasidic leaders as superficial. To Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, and his reaction against Popular Tzadikism, the greatest miracle was to examine oneself without self-delusion.

According to the first definition above, that a tzadik is "one whose merit surpasses [their] iniquity." According to the definition of the Tanya that a tzadik has no evil inclination, only a select few predestined to attain this level can attain it.

Based on the teachings of Isaac Luria, the Baal Shem Tov and the Chaim ibn Attar, Shneur Zalman of Liadi taught in the name of the Zohar that "He who breathed life into man, breathed from Himself." Therefore, one's soul comes from the essence of God.

According to kabbalah, a tzadiki, because they have completely nullified themselves and their desires to what God wants, their Godly soul (which like every Godly soul is part of God) is revealed within them more than other people who have not completely nullified themselves to God.This concept is based upon many Jewish sources. Here are some:

"..For all that is in Heaven and on Earth.."[19]"-For all (Yesod) joins the Heaven and the Earth"[20]

"The Tzadik is the foundation (Yesod) of the World"[21]

In the system of 10 Sephirot Divine emanations in Kabbalah, each of the 7 emotional expressions is related to an archetypal figure in the Hebrew Bible. The first emanated realm to emerge from God's potential Will in Creation is Atziluth, the World of "Emanation". As it is still nullified to Divinity, so not yet considered a self-aware existence, it is the realm where the 10 Sephirot attributes of God are revealed in their essence. In lower spiritual worlds the sephirot also shine, but only in successively lower degrees, concealed through successive contractions and veilings of the Divine vitality. Seven Biblical tzadikim, righteous figures are considered as embodiments of the emotional sephirot of Atzilut: Abraham-Kindness, Isaac-Restraint, Jacob-Mercy, Moses-Endurance, Aaron-Glory, Joseph-Foundation, David-Kingship. While all seven figures are considered supreme Tzadikim, in particular contexts, either Joseph as Yesod, and Moses as inclusive soul of the community, are identified especially as archetypes for the Tzadik in general.

In the sephirot, Chesed-Abraham, Gevurah-Isaac and Tiferet-Jacob are higher spiritual powers than Yesod-Joseph, which channels the higher powers to their fulfilment in Malchut action. However, traditionally in Judaism, Joseph is referred to with the quality of "Tzadik-Righteous". While the Patriarchs lived righteously as shepherds, Joseph remained holy in Egypt, surrounded by impurity, tested by Potiphar's wife, captive in prison, and then active as viceroy to Pharaoh. As the Heavenly sephirah of Yesod-"Foundation" channels spirituality to our physical realm, so in Kabbalah and the further development in Hasidic thought, its function also parallels the human role of the Tzadik in this world:

"..To love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him.."[23]"Cleaving to a Torah scholar is as cleaving to the Divine Shechinah"[24]

The leaders of Israel over the masses stem from the intellect of Adam's soul[25]"In every generation there is a leader like Moses"

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Tzadik - Wikipedia

The Trump Administration’s Flirtation With Holocaust Denial

Posted By on February 17, 2019

Had the Germans won, they probably would have eliminated millions of other peoples, including the Roma, homosexuals, dissidents of any kind, and other useless eaters. But it was only the Jews whose destruction could not wait until after the war. Only in the case of the Jews could war priorities be overridden. Germany was fighting two wars in tandem, a conventional war and a war against the Jews. It lost the first and, for all intents and purposes, nearly won the second.

The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial. Hardcore denial is the kind of thing I encountered in the courtroom. In an outright and forceful fashion, Irving denied the facts of the Holocaust. In his decision, Judge Charles Grey called Irving a liar and a manipulator of history. He did so, the judge ruled, deliberately and not as the result of mistakes.

Softcore denial uses different tactics but has the same end-goal. (I use hardcore and softcore deliberately because I see denial as a form of historiographic pornography.) It does not deny the facts, but it minimizes them, arguing that Jews use the Holocaust to draw attention away from criticism of Israel. Softcore denial also makes all sorts of false comparisons to the Holocaust. In certain Eastern European countries today, those who fought the Nazis may be lauded, but if they did so with a communist resistance group they may be prosecuted. Softcore denial also includes Holocaust minimization, as when someone suggests it was not so bad. Why are we hearing about that again?

What we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial. The Holocaust was de-Judaized. It is possible that it all began with a mistake. Someone simply did not realize what they were doing. It is also possible that someone did this deliberately. The White Houses chief strategist, Steve Bannon, boasted that while at Breitbart he created a platform for alt-right. Richard Spencer, the self-proclaimed leader of the alt-right, has invited overt Holocaust deniers to alt-right conferences, and his followers have engaged in outright denial. During the campaign, he was reportedly responsible for speeches and ads that many observers concluded trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes.

After Hickss defense of the statement, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus doubled down, insisting that they made no mistake. On Meet the Press Chuck Todd gave Priebus repeated chances to retract or rephrase the statement. Priebus refused and dug in deeper, declaring everyones suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously, all of the Jewish people [was] extraordinarily sad.

In the penultimate sentence of the presidents statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the White House promised to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. But the statement was issued on the same day as the order banning refugees. It is hard not to conclude that this is precisely what happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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The Trump Administration's Flirtation With Holocaust Denial

BBC Radio 4s statistics programme on Holocaust denial in …

Posted By on February 17, 2019

The lead item (from 00:28 here) in the February 3rd edition of the BBC Radio 4 statistics programme More or Less related to the results of a survey published a few days earlier by Britains Holocaust Memorial Day Trust that was previously covered on the BBC News website.

Is it true that one in 20 adults in Britain dont believe the Holocaust took place? Those are the findings of a survey commissioned by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. But Professor Peter Lynn of Essex University explains why the survey is unlikely to be accurate.

Presenter Tim Harford introduced the item:

Harford: Last Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day; a day of solemn remembrance. But it was also a day of appalled surprise because a poll was published claiming that [recording] as many as one in 20 adults in Britain dont believe the Holocaust took place and 1 in 12 believe its scale had been exaggerated.

One in 20 Britons: that would be about three million people not believing that the Holocaust happened. The survey said that many others were confused about the details.

So to clear up any uncertainty, at least here, the Holocaust is a name given to the genocidal murder of around 6 million Jews led by the German State under Adolf Hitlers Nazi government and part of an even bigger policy of systematic murder of a variety of targets including the Roma, disabled people, political prisoners and many others.

Weve always known that a few people love to claim that this never happened or happened on a dramatically smaller scale but as many as one in twenty?

Programme producer Ruth Alexander subsequently brought in Peter Lynn, Professor of Survey Methodology at the University of Essex.

Alexander: Now when Professor Lynn heard about the results of this survey, he raised an eyebrow.

Lynn: Yes, I was immediately sceptical that this sounded a bitehmunlikely.

Alexander: The number sounds too big?

Lynn: Yes.

With no identification of the additional experts cited, listeners were told that survey participants may have unintentionally stated that the Holocaust did not happen:

Alexander: In fact, Ive spoken to three other survey design experts they all agree, there are some serious flaws with this study. Now its true that 5% of people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that the Holocaust never really happened. However, Professor Lynn thinks they may not all have done so deliberately.

Lynn: I guess the first thing that struck me was that the wording of the question about believing that the Holocaust happened seems to me to have some serious shortcomings and I think that may have caused some people to appear to agree that the Holocaust had never really happened when that wasnt what they intended.

Harford:So the issue here is that people taking part in an online survey like this; theyre ticking boxes, maybe theyre not looking too closely; maybe theyre in a hurry, theyre distracted by whats on TV; theyre thinking more about the shopping vouchers theymight receive for doing the survey than what theyre actually agreeing or disagreeing with and some of them might make outrageous claims just for the fun of it.

Later on listeners were told that the result may have come about by accident.

Lynn:There is always a significant minority of respondents who take short cuts and I think that that could be the case here because the respondents here are presented with a series of statements. Now the first two items in this scale are firstly: It is important to know about the Holocaust in todays world and secondly: More needs to be done to educate people about what happened during the Holocaust. So, at that point you might be beginning to think, ah I can see a battery of statements about the Holocaust, seems like Im the kind of person who tends to agree with them; Ill just agree to the next few and assume that that represents my position.

But the item were talking about here, the third item the Holocaust never really happened is worded the other way round its what we call a reversed item where if you believe that theHolocaust happened, you should now bedisagreeingwith the item. So you could easily fall into the trap of just assuming you agreed with all these items and, therefore, not giving a response to this third item that actually represents your true view.

With the programme makers views of the intelligence of the British public abundantly clear, Harford continued:

Harford: It seems like there is a lot of ignorance out there and clearly Holocaust denial is a real thing and it would be worth trying to measure how prevalent it is. So do we know of any other, perhaps more reliable, research that can give us a better sense of the true numbers?

Alexander went on to cite a study conducted twenty-five years ago in the United States (which obviously has no bearing on the issue of Holocaust denial in Britain) and to quote yet more anonymous experts on Holocaust denial in an equally unrelated location.

Alexander: it turned out that the correct number of Holocaust Deniers in the US was more like 2% of the population. And experts have told me that studies in Europe have tended to give lower numbers still.

Apparently the More or Less team would have the BBCs domestic listeners conclude that a study conducted a quarter of a century ago in a country with a different culture, education system and population make up is more likely to reflect the percentage of people in their own country who do not believe that the Holocaust happened than a survey recently conducted in the UK.

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02/13 Links Pt2: Antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Performing …

Posted By on February 15, 2019

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty

Posted By on February 14, 2019

Pittsburgh -- A truck driver accused of killing 11 people during an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue has pleaded not guilty. Robert Bowers, 46, was in federal court Monday and pleaded not guilty to a new indictment that added 19 additional counts.

The hearing lasted less than 15 minutes, reports CBS Pittsburgh. Bowers arrived in a red jumpsuit with his ankles and wrists shackled.

His attorney, Judy Clarke, says the defense is hoping the case can be resolved without going to trial. Clarke is a noted death penalty lawyer whose past clients have included one of the Boston Marathon bombers, a 9/11 conspirator and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

A grand jury on Jan. 29 added 19 counts to the 44 Bowers was already facing. The additional charges include hate crimes violations, obstruction of religious belief and the use of a firearm during crimes of violence. The charges in the new, 63-count superseding indictment include:

Eleven counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death; Eleven counts of hate crimes resulting in death; Two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury; Two counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill; Eight counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to public safety officers; Four counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to public safety officers; Twenty-five counts of discharge of a firearm during these crimes of violence.

Bowers, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, is accused of targeting worshippers from three Jewish congregations when he attacked Saturday, Oct. 27, while Sabbath services were being held. Authorities say Bowers raged against Jews during and after the attack.

Eleven were killed and seven people were wounded, including five police officers.

Investigators say Bowers posted criticism of a Jewish charity on social media before the attack, claiming the immigrant aid society "likes to bring invaders that kill our people." Authorities said he told investigators that "all these Jews need to die."

Bowers has been jailed in the Butler County Prison, about 35 miles north of the shooting scene. If convicted of the most serious offenses, he could be sentenced to life without parole.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said a decision about whether to pursue the death penalty against Bowers remains under review.

Two members from the Dor Hadash congregation, which is part of the Tree of Life Synagogue, attended the hearing, CBS Pittsburgh reports.

"We have to be present, and strong, and not afraid, and make ourselves be known as human beings, all of us in this process, that's all I know," said Donna Coufal, one of the Dor Hadash congregants.

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty

Combating Holocaust Denial: Origins of Holocaust Denial …

Posted By on February 14, 2019

Nazi policy did a great deal to facilitate denial of the Holocaust even as the killing operation unfolded across German-occupied Europe during World War II.

The Holocaust was a state secret in Nazi Germany. The Germans wrote down as little as possible. Most of the killing orders were verbal, particularly at the highest levels. Hitler's order to kill Jews was issued only on a need-to-know basis. The Nazi leaders generally avoided detailed planning of killing operations, preferring to proceed in a systematic but often improvised manner. The Germans destroyed most documentation that did exist before the end of the war. The documents that survived and related directly to the killing program were virtually all classified and stamped Geheime Reichssache (Top Secret), requiring special handling and destruction to prevent capture by the enemy. Heinrich Himmler, Reich Leader of the SS and Chief of the German Police, said in a secret speech to SS generals in Posen in 1943 that the mass murder of the European Jews was a secret, never to be recorded.

In order to hide the killing operation as much as possible from the uninitiated, Hitler ordered that the killings not be spoken of directly in German documentation or in public statements. Instead, the Germans used codenames and neutral-sounding terms for the killing process. In Nazi parlance, for example, action (Aktion) referred to a violent operation against Jewish (or other) civilians by German security forces; resettlement to the East (Umsiedlung nach dem Osten) referred to the forced deportation of Jewish civilians to killing centers in German-occupied Poland; and special treatment (Sonderbehandlung) meant killing.

Both at the time and later, such euphemisms impeded a clear understanding of what the Nazis were doing. This was partly to facilitate the killing process by keeping the victims in the dark about their fate as long as possible. Widespread Jewish resistance was only possible once Jews understood that Nazi policy was to kill all of them. Furthermore, Hitler could not just assume that almost no one would protest the killing of Jews. Even within his own party there were those who agreed with the campaign of persecution against Jews but who occasionally balked at systematic murder. For example, Wilhelm Kube, the German civilian administrator of occupied Belarus, fully supported the murder of the Belarusian Jews, but protested when the SS deported German Jews to Minsk and shot them there.

Hitler had reason to fear possible unfavorable reaction should all the details of the Holocaust become public. Euphemistic language aided secrecy since only those who knew the real meaning of the words would understand the deeper meaning of public statements or accurately interpret the documentary record.

In addition to the use of coded language, Heinrich Himmler sought to destroy the physical remains of the victims of killing operations to hide the killing process from advancing Allied armies. He assigned SS officer Paul Blobel to command Operation (Aktion) 1005, the code name for German plans to destroy the forensic evidence at mass murder sites. The SS forced prisoners to reopen mass graves at both the killing centers in German-occupied Poland and at the open air killing sites in the former Soviet territory and to cremate the bodies, thereby removing evidence of mass murder. For example, at Babi Yar in Kiev in the summer of 1943, at Belzec in late 1942, and at Sobibor and Treblinka in the fall of 1943, the mass graves were reopened and the bodies burned to ashes. In this way, the Germans and their collaborators destroyed muchbut by no means allof the forensic evidence of mass murder before advancing Soviet armies overran the scenes of these crimes.

Late in the war, after word of the Holocaust had reached Britain and the United States, the Nazi leadership sought to counter Allied condemnation of Nazi policies toward Jews with a coordinated campaign of disinformation. On June 23, 1944, the Nazis permitted an International Red Cross commission visit to the Theresienstadt ghetto in occupied Bohemia in what is today the Czech Republic. They hoped to mask Nazi killing operations in the occupied eastern territories by showcasing good conditions for Jews in Theresienstadt. The Red Cross commission consisted of two Danish officials and one Swiss representative and the visit lasted only six hours. It was an elaborate hoax. The SS authorities intensified deportations of Jews from the ghetto to alleviate overcrowding and spruced up the ghetto by planting gardens, painting houses, opening cafes and theaters and the like in preparation for the visit. They even instructed the prisoners how to behave during the inspection and to give positive reports about conditions in the ghetto. Once the visit ended, however, the SS authorities resumed deportations of Jews, overwhelmingly to the Auschwitz killing center in German-occupied Poland. The visit had served its purpose: to confuse international public opinion about the true nature of Nazi policies towards Jews.

Despite Nazi efforts to keep secret the unfolding Holocaust, information did leak out. The perpetrators themselves talked about what they were doing. Occasionally, survivors of mass killing operations bore witness to the killing program. Both Jewish and Polish underground organizations made great efforts to let the outside world know what the Germans were doing in eastern Europe. The information was sometimes incomplete, contradictory, and inaccurate in some of the specific details, but the general policy and pattern of events were clear by the second half of 1942.

Yet the psychological barriers to accepting the existence of the Nazi killing program were considerable. The Holocaust was unprecedented and irrational. It was inconceivable that an advanced industrial nation would mobilize its resources to kill millions of peaceful civilians, including women and children, the elderly, and the very young. In doing so, the Nazis often acted contrary to German economic and military interests. For example, they intensified the killing operation, killing skilled Jewish laborers even while labor shortages threatened to undermine the German war effort.

All too many people responded to reports about German killings of Jewish civilians by comparing these reports to news stories about German atrocities in occupied Belgium and northern France during World War I. The British media in World War I charged that the German occupation was monstrous, that German soldiers committed many outrages against defenseless civilians in German-occupied Belgium. They charged that German soldiers bayoneted babies, disfigured women, and killed civilians with military-issued poison gas. It turned out after the war that the Allies had invented many of those stories in order to maximize popular support for the war effort. As a result of that experience, many people were skeptical of reports of mass murder operations during World War II. In this case, however, the reports turned out to be generally accurate.

While some people today are misled as a result of the Nazi policies described above into doubting the reality of the Holocaust, others deny the Holocaust for more overtly racist, political, or strategic reasons. These deniers begin with the premise that the Holocaust did not happen. This premise suits their broader purposes. They deny the Holocaust as an article of faith and no amount of rational argumentation can dissuade them. This denial is irrational, largely unrelated either to the facts of the history or to the enormity of the event. Some people deny the Holocaust because of innate antisemitism, irrational hated of Jews.

In fact, Holocaust denial has been called by some scholars the new antisemitism for it recycles many of the elements of pre-1945 antisemitism in a post-World War II context. Holocaust deniers argue that reports of the Holocaust are really part of a vast shadowy plot to make the white, western world feel guilty and to advance the interest of Jews. Even at the time of the Holocaust, some people in the United States thought reports of German massacres of Jewish civilians were actually propaganda reports designed to force the government to grant Jews special treatment and consideration.

Many people who deny the Holocaust argue that the supposed hoax served above all the interests of the State of Israel. Holocaust denial is, for these people, also an attack on the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Finally, others deny the Holocaust because they want to see a resurgence of Nazi racism. They insist that Nazism was a good political philosophy and that only negative press resulting from reports of the genocide the Nazis perpetrated prevent a revival of the Nazi movement today. They deny the Holocaust so that they can attract followers to a new Nazi movement.

Holocaust denial, then, unites a broad range of radical right-wing hate groups in the United States and elsewhere, ranging from Ku Klux Klan segregationists to skinheads seeking to revive Nazism to radical Muslim activists seeking to destroy Israel.

Holocaust deniers want to debate the very existence of the Holocaust as a historical event. They want above all to be seen as legitimate scholars arguing a historical point. They crave attention, a public platform to air what they refer to as the other side of the issue. Because legitimate scholars do not doubt that the Holocaust happened, such assertions play no role in historical debates. Although deniers insist that the idea of the Holocaust as myth is a reasonable topic of debate, it is clear, in light of the overwhelming weight of evidence that the Holocaust happened, that the debate the deniers put forward is more about antisemitism and hate politics than it is about history.

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Combating Holocaust Denial: Origins of Holocaust Denial ...

Ashkenazi | Definition & Facts | Britannica.com

Posted By on February 13, 2019

Ashkenazi, plural Ashkenazim, from Hebrew Ashkenaz (Germany), member of the Jews who lived in the Rhineland valley and in neighbouring France before their migration eastward to Slavic lands (e.g., Poland, Lithuania, Russia) after the Crusades (11th13th century) and their descendants. After the 17th-century persecutions in eastern Europe, large numbers of these Jews resettled in western Europe, where they assimilated, as they had done in eastern Europe, with other Jewish communities. In time, all Jews who had adopted the German rite synagogue ritual were referred to as Ashkenazim to distinguish them from Sephardic (Spanish rite) Jews. Ashkenazim differ from Sephardim in their pronunciation of Hebrew, in cultural traditions, in synagogue cantillation (chanting), in their widespread use of Yiddish (until the 20th century), and especially in synagogue liturgy.

Today Ashkenazim constitute more than 80 percent of all the Jews in the world, vastly outnumbering Sephardic Jews. In the early 21st century, Ashkenazic Jews numbered about 11 million. In Israel the numbers of Ashkenazim and Sephardim are roughly equal, and the chief rabbinate has both an Ashkenazic and a Sephardic chief rabbi on equal footing. All Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations belong to the Ashkenazic tradition.

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Ashkenazi | Definition & Facts | Britannica.com


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