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New Jewish group in Labour Party backs right to BDS – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Posted By on August 18, 2017

Asa Winstanley Activism and BDS Beat 17 August 2017

Jewish members of the Labour Party have founded a new group. Jewish Voice for Labour will launch at the UK main opposition partys conference in Brighton next month.

The new initiative presents a challenge to an existing Israel lobby group that positions itself as the representative of Jewish members of Labour.

Our mission is to contribute to making the Labour Party an open, democratic and inclusive party, encouraging all ethnic groups and cultures to join and participate freely, the new group said.

Jewish Voice for Labours founding document upholds the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS.

It adds that it opposes attempts to widen the definition of anti-Semitism beyond its meaning of hostility towards or discrimination against Jews as Jews.

This has been a key goal of the Jewish Labour Movement, an existing Israel lobby group within the Labour Party, that has sought to advance Israels agenda of delegitimizing BDS activism by equating criticism of Israel and its Zionist state ideology with anti-Semitism.

Jewish Voice for Labour criticizes the Jewish Labour Movement for its promotion of Israel. Unlike the JLM, Jewish Voice for Labour says it does not make promoting the centrality of Israel to Jewish life a condition of membership.

Jewish Voice for Labours chair is Jenny Manson, a former Labour councillor and parliamentary candidate. A retired tax inspector, she is a long-standing member of the Labour Party in Finchley and Golders Green, an area of North London with a large Jewish population.

It is also the constituency where Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark stood as a candidate for parliament in Junes general election. He failed to win the seat back from the ruling Conservative Party.

Manson said the new group Jewish Voice for Labour would provide a much-needed forum for Jews who want to celebrate and debate the long and proud history of Jewish involvement in socialist and trade-union activism.

She said they invite everyone of Jewish heritage in the Labour Party to join us in continuing these great traditions.

The existing Jewish Labour Movement is a group run by an Israel lobbyist, which works closely with the Israeli embassy in London. It was at the forefront of the campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last year, claiming the party under him was a cesspit of anti-Semitism.

The Jewish Labour Movement is affiliated to the UK Labour Party and says it supports the Israeli Labor Party. It is also a part of the World Zionist Organization one of four key national institutions in Israel which aim to foster Jewish settlement on Palestinian land.

Although an older organization, the Jewish Labour Movement was moribund until the beginning of 2016. It was then taken over by longstanding Israel lobbyist Jeremy Newmark, who became its chair in February 2016.

Former Israeli embassy officer Ella Rose was then hired as its first director in August of that year.

A former president of the Israeli-government-funded Union of Jewish Students, Rose was later investigated by the Labour Party after being caught on camera wishing her enemies would die in a hole.

The footage was part of an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into the Israel lobbys influence on UK political parties.

It also showed Newmark working closely with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev during a closed door meeting at the Labour Party conference.

Newmark has a history of making false accusations of anti-Jewish bigotry as part of his efforts to silence and discredit the UK Palestine solidarity movement.

Newmarks Jewish Labour Movement says that it supports the World Zionist Organizations Jerusalem Program, which states as one of its goals: Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism. The program defines the country as Eretz Yisrael a term Zionists use to designate the whole of historic Palestine, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The use of this phrase, as well as a small map icon showing an outline of the whole of historic Palestine plus Syrias Golan Heights on the Jerusalem Program web page, makes it clear that Newmarks group implicitly endorses Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

All Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights are illegal under international law.

These institutional commitments undermine public claims by Newmark to oppose the occupation in line with Labour Party policy.

Earlier this year, Newmark was also reportedly responsible for the watering down of Labours general election manifesto on the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Last September, Newmark claimed to The Electronic Intifada that his group participates in the World Zionist Organization to oppose settlements and to speak out against the occupation.

The World Zionist Organization receives tens of millions of dollars from the Israeli government to found and develop Israeli settlements, including in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

At last! LFI have had a free run for far too long.

Let’s hope this new group can make positive changes to Labour, esp. break the stranglehold of JLM, which is nothing more than an ultra-conservative Zionist organisation dressed up as Labour “progressives”. It is time Zionism as a racist mindset in that part of Labour is stamped out, for good.

There is light at the end of the tunnel ! Good news for the Labor Party in the UK .I have always said that the change must come from within . Oppression is what it is , oppression, and has nothing to do with antisemitism .

I predict that this new formation will rapidly outstrip in membership the rancid Labour Friends of Israel. This is exactly the sort of announcement that prompts the question, “Why did it take so long?” Anti-Zionist and progressive Jews will now have a strong voice within the party, one that can’t be silenced. Hats off to the founders.

Brilliant – it’s this kind of thing that keeps me in the Labour Party. The support of Labours right wing for Israel is an immoral disgrace.

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New Jewish group in Labour Party backs right to BDS – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Organizer of Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally described as onetime wannabe liberal activist – Richmond.com

Posted By on August 18, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE After using his blog and Wes Bellamys Twitter history to make a name for himself last fall, those platforms are now being used against Jason Kessler, the pro-white activist who organized the Unite the Right rally that turned deadly on Saturday.

Articles and conspiracy theories about Kesslers past as a supporter of President Barack Obama and wannabe liberal activist who participated in the Occupy movement abound now as President Donald Trump continues facing backlash for his response to the rally that resulted in one woman, as well as two state police officers in a separate incident, dying.

On Monday, Kessler uploaded a video hoping to dispel rumors that he intentionally organized a violent rally that would reflect poorly on the so-called alt-right movement of white nationalists. He accused the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as less extreme nationalists, of spreading misinformation about him.

Earlier this summer, the SPLC labeled Kessler a white nationalist, and wrote a profile about him that included assertions that some people on white nationalist forums have been questioning his ideological pedigree.

I grew up in Charlottesville. Anybody whos seen the way Charlottesville was this weekend understands that its an incredibly left-wing, commie town, Kessler, 33, said in a video he posted online Monday.

Kessler said that he used to align himself with the citys politically left-leaning residents, but went on to say he was red-pilled about three years ago.

The term is a reference to the film The Matrix, and has been used by alt-right followers as a way to describe someone who has taken to white identitarian issues and now rejects ideas such as multiculturalism, feminism and political correctness. Critics argue that attachment to white identitarianism is nothing more than a veil for white supremacist beliefs.

But old tweets, a neighbor, a liberal activist and some of Kesslers old friends attest that he held strong liberal convictions just a few years ago.

In a series of tweets in November, Kessler said many alt-right followers are former liberals, and that he previously voted for Democrats. He said he voted for Trump in the primary and the general election.

I like Trump more than I did Obama, he wrote on Nov. 6. My Trump enthusiasm is through the roof. I like people who push the edge.

In an interview last month, one of Kesslers childhood friends, David Caron, said Kessler previously had identified as a Democrat, but became disillusioned when he started thinking that there was no place for him in a party that has focused its efforts on embracing diversity and minority issues. He said the two of them had started supporting Trump last summer and attended one of his rallies in Richmond.

He was a Democrat until last year. The main thing is, he said he felt like the party didnt want him, Caron said.

Laura Kleiner, a Democratic activist who lives in Staunton, said she dated Kessler for several months in 2013. She said Kessler was very dedicated to his liberal principles, and that he was a strict vegetarian, abstained from alcohol and drugs, embraced friends of different ethnicities and was an atheist.

He broke up with me, and a lot of it was because I was not liberal enough, she said. I am a very progressive Democrat but he didnt like that I ate fish and that Im a Christian.

Kleiner said Kessler was well aware that she was of Jewish heritage, and that he showed no signs of being anti-Semitic. She also said he had a roommate for several years who was an African immigrant.

In an interview earlier this week, one of Kesslers neighbors, Zoe Wheeler, said she knew of two different African roommates who lived with him, and never thought Kessler was a racist, even after he started to make waves in the local news late last year.

I met him 12 years ago, before he got really obsessed with white identity issues, Wheeler said. I think he went off the deep end There was no stopping it, and then he was fueled by being an enemy and having something to stand for.

If you spend too much time on the web and youre alone, youve got a lot of guys plying you with all kinds of ideas, she said. You want to grab hold of something. He wants to stand for something I get that. But I feel like hes all over the place.

I celebrate a diversity of cultures, and that was something that seemed to have been a part of his life, too, Kleiner said. I was really surprised to hear the stories that hes changed and is now far-right. Its really shocking and disappointing.

Hes an extremist in whatever he decides to do. Thats all I can really say.

Kesslers ties to Emancipation Park and the statue of Robert E. Lee go beyond the past year, when he decided to target Charlottesville City Councilor Bellamy for his effort to remove the statue of the Confederate general. The rally Saturday was ostensibly intended to be a protest of the councils decision to remove the statue.

According to a woman (who wished to remain anonymous) who was part of the Occupy movement camp in what was then called Lee Park, Kessler was present there for several weeks in late 2011. She said Kessler ultimately removed himself from the camp after activists there started to make it known that his presence was not welcomed.

He was just so disagreeable that hed start fights between other people. He was very manipulative and very aggressive, the woman said.

He wanted people to be more violent and aggressive. He wanted to be the leader of things. … Even if his politics had been good, I dont think people would have liked him, she said.

The former occupier said Kessler also tried to attach himself to other leftist groups around that time, such as Food Not Bombs and an atheist social club. She said Kessler had attempted to insert himself in those groups and radicalize them.

I dont think he knew what they really did. They just feed people thats it, she said. Its like he got the idea that he could make it into some more militant group.

I dont think he actually has any central beliefs at all not that that makes what hes doing any less dangerous.

Kessler did not reply to messages seeking comment for this story. But essays he published on his blog through late 2015 seemed to demonstrate a shift in thinking. (The blog, Jason Kessler, American Author, recently was taken down. It remains unclear why.)

Last fall, The Daily Progress reported that Kessler published a blog post in February 2016 in which he reflected on the potential of war between different racial groups in the future. He argued that white people would need to fight to avoid becoming a minority in America a phenomenon hes described in recent months as white genocide.

Cultures, tribes and civilizations are meant to clash just as we always have in the past, just like it is with nearly every other beast in the animal kingdom, Kessler wrote last year.

Kessler used his blog to excoriate Bellamy in November. After uncovering a trove of offensive and inappropriate tweets Bellamy had written between 2009 and 2014, before he was elected to office, Kessler used his blog to expose the city councilor and call for his removal.

In his other blog posts that have been archived and shared with The Daily Progress, Kessler seemed to foreshadow his future role in the community and the events that took place at the Unite the Right rally.

I cant think of any occupation that I admire more than the professional provocateur, who has the courage and self-determination to court controversy despite all slings and arrows of the world, he wrote in December 2015 as part of a blog post he updated a few times over a span of about two months his running thoughts.

Also that December, he published his historical perspective on mass violence.

We get so caught up in the emotion of the violence that we dont consider the long-term, historical consequences, he said.

Perhaps wed be happier if we made peace with the fact that rabid animals are going to dwindle the herd from time to time (as they have in much greater volume throughout history) and thats not really a bad thing in the long run.

Regarding large-scale attacks, he said, I dont think the zeitgeist should have an aneurysm every time one occurs either. I think wed be served to draw some historical perspective on how difficult the human condition has always been and how that is something of a blessing in disguise.

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Organizer of Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally described as onetime wannabe liberal activist – Richmond.com

From Rhode Island To South Carolina, 11 Synagogues Whose Architecture Can Wow – Jewish Week

Posted By on August 18, 2017

Like a lot of Reagan-era children, I was schlepped to a succession of suburban postwar temples. They all had magnificent cantors, lively services and prosaic 1960s and 70s architecture, which to my youthful eyes paled in grandeur next to my friends grand churches.

Years later, exploring the temples of New York and the landmarks of Jewish Europe, I discovered how misguided my juvenile impressions were. Just as suburban postwar churches can be aesthetically lackluster, Americas urban synagogues are frequently jewels in our midst stunning vestiges not only of the golden age of temple architecture, but also, frequently, of a golden age for urban Jewry.

Whether youre a connoisseur of historic shuls or simply curious, here are 11 standouts to visit along the East Coast of the U.S.

Early Americana in Rhode Island: King George was still in charge when the Jeshuat Israel congregants of Newport, R.I., dedicated their Palladian white temple in 1763, and worshipped facing east toward Jerusalem another continent away from their forbearers Iberian roots.

Gilded Age manses sprung up around Newport during the centuries that followed, and the Orthodox congregation carried on. By the 1940s, Touro Synagogue with its columned white-and-gold interior and Colonial-style benches was designated a National Historic Site as one of the oldest American synagogues in continuous use. In summer, there are daily public tours of the temple and of Jewish Newport; winter synagogue tours take place on weekends.

A view inside the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. (Wikimedia Commons)

Right here in New York:

At the corner of Fifth Avenue and 65th Street, Temple Emanu-El is a landmark for both New York Judaism and the Upper East Side. But its roots are elsewhere in the German origins of its 1845 founders, and the humbler buildings of the Lower East Side and Midtown, where congregants worshipped before erecting this European-style, neo-Moorish edifice in 1929.

You can stream Emanu-Els services from anywhere, but you have to visit for the truly beautiful ritual objects at the temples Bernard Museum of Judaica. They include an 1850s ketubah, filigreed Torah ornaments from 19th-century Frankfurt, glittering Sabbath candelabras an

An event in the sanctuary of Temple Emanu-El in NYC. Courtesy of John Halpern

d more from two centuries of Jewish history.

The deep European roots of New York Jewry are embodied in the neoclassical edifice of Congregation Shearith Israel, across the park at Central Park West and 70th Street. The 1897 buildings columns and arches have more in common with New Yorks great public buildings than with synagogues of the era, when Moorish and Romanesque flourishes were more in fashion; Louis Comfort Tiffany designed the interior (and, naturally, the windows).

Congregation Shearith Israel in NYC. Wikimedia Commons

But tradition has long trumped fashion at a congregation that proudly calls itself Americas oldest Jewish congregation. Shearith Israel was founded by Sephardic refugees from Portuguese-controlled Brazil in 1654; for nearly 200 years, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, as it has been known, was the only shul in New York. On the second Wednesday of every month, a docent leads visitors through four centuries of New York Jewish history.

Across the river in Newark The observant eye pun intended will discern the outlines of a synagogue at 30 Prince St., where the Moorish-style red-brick building now houses the Greater Newark Conservancy. Nearby, Ahavas Sholom endures as Newarks longest operating synagogue, with a sanctuary notable for its gorgeous carved-wood interior, including a Torah ark that once graced New Yorks Rodeph Sholom.

But New Jerseys quirkiest synagogue might be another red brick structure: rural Woodbines former Brotherhood Synagogue, reincarnated as the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage.

Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine (N.J.) Heritage. Wikimedia Commons

Late in the 1800s, a German philanthropist dreamed of resettling pogrom-plagued Russian Jews from their shtetls to an agricultural community in South Jersey. The utopia never panned out but the vintage shul, on the National Register of Historic Places, offers an authentic setting for exhibits showcasing Jerseys Jewish history.

An 75-90-minute Amtrak ride away in Philadelphia are several of the best-preserved synagogues in the New World. Philadelphians are proud of Jewish roots dating to the era of state namesake William Penn, whose crusade for religious liberty made the nations first capital attractive to European Jewish migrs.

A stones throw from the Liberty Bell, Independence Mall and the Constitution Center, Congregation Mikveh Israel sits at the center of historic Philadelphia a role it has occupied, metaphorically at least, since its 1740 founding as the citys first synagogue.

The sanctuary of Mickve Israel Synagogue in Savannah, GA. Courtesy of Richard Nowitz

While the current building is younger than I am, proud docents tell visitors about three centuries of East Coast Jewry in the nations first capital. Nearby, on a pretty block of Society Hill, you can trace this heritage through hundreds of years of tombstones at the intact Mikveh Israel cemetery.

Youll leave the heart of Center City to visit Congregation Rodeph Shalom but its worth the detour to a fairly nondescript stretch of North Broad Street, not only for the lavish, Byzantine-Moorish-style building, but also for the Judaica within.

Built in 1928, the Reform Rodeph Shalom is the Florentine-inspired temple of my childhood fantasies. The gilded interior is a cross between Gustav Klimts daydreams and the Egyptian wing at the Met: shimmering gold and turquoise hand-stenciled walls, a huge skylight shaped like a flower in brilliant blue and white, elegant arches that recall the grandeur of ancient Rome.

While youre there, check out contemporary exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, along with the Obermayer Collection of Jewish Ritual Art, more than 500 antique ceremonial pieces from Italy, Hungary, Germany and beyond.

Just outside Philadelphia in the Main Line suburb of Elkins Park is Frank Lloyd Wrights only synagogue building. Wright fans will be fascinated at how his Midwestern aesthetic translates into temple architecture at Beth Sholom, where the soaring, pyramidal structure aims to evoke Mt. Sinai.

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Beth Shalom in Elkins Park, Pa., above and top.

The temples geometric angles and absence of fuss are a contrast to the more ornate synagogues that dominate this list plain planes, you might say. Wright, who was intimately involved with the project, died before the 1959 dedication, but his tribute to American Jewry endures.

Down in Charm City Jewish heritage is among the many discoveries surrounding Baltimores revitalized Inner Harbor. Headquartered near the waterfront, the Jewish Museum of Maryland maintains two landmark synagogues within a block of each other.

Next door to the museum is the Lloyd Street Synagogue, built in 1845 as the states first shul, with a restored original mikveh. Steps away, the 1876 Bnai Israel Synagogue is still home to a thriving congregation, but museum-worthy for the period Moorish style inside and out, including a glorious white-and-gold sanctuary.

Join the literary scene at Washingtons new old shul In a city full of buzz, Washington, D.C.s coolest address today might be the former home of Congregation Adas Israel, a 1908 Moorish masterpiece that escaped the wrecking ball and was resuscitated along with its once-dodgy neighborhood into a new synagogue concept.

The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington DC. Wikimedia Commons/David Monack

Sixth & I is a nondenominational, nonmembership temple for Jewish practice as well as a cultural gathering place. Under the stained-glass ceiling and ornate arches, crowds flock to author talks, performances by singer-songwriters, trivia nights and more.

Classical Charm in Charleston Another of the nations early Jewish communities coalesced in Charleston, S.C., where Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim was one of the earliest American synagogues to embrace Reform Judaism. The congregation is a century older than its 1840 building, itself a showpiece of Greek Revival architecture not so common in the synagogue world. A historical museum and fine Judaica store combine to make this a destination.

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From Rhode Island To South Carolina, 11 Synagogues Whose Architecture Can Wow – Jewish Week

Former Hasidic School Officials Indicted in Meal-Fraud Scheme, Feds Say – DNAinfo

Posted By on August 18, 2017

FBI agents previously raided the UTA Central Yeshiva at 76 Rutledge St. in March 2016. View Full Caption

DNAinfo/Ellen Moynihan

WILLIAMSBURG Two former administrators for a Hasidic school system conned a federal food program out of more than $3 million over a two-year stretch by seeking reimbursements for meals they never served, prosecutors said.

Elozer Porges, 43, and Joel Lowy, 29, who worked at the Central United Talmudic Academy (CUTA), were indicted on wire and mail fraud charges in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday.

Porges, the executive director, and Lowy, the assistant director, submitted paperwork to the state Department of Health inflating the numbers of meals served at CUTA schools to get bigger reimbursement checks from the federal government, prosecutors said.

The scheme took place over a roughly two-year stretch beginning in October 2013, according to court papers.

Porges and Lowy indicated that dinner would be served five days a week when, in fact, it wasnt, the documentscharge.

They both pleaded not guilty at their arraignments. Porges was released on $500,000 bond, while Lowy was released on $200,000 bond, court records show.

They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Their school network’s South Williamsburg locationshave long been eyed by investigators, and with two of its Yeshiva sites raided in March 2016 as part of a corruption probe.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney called Porges’and Lowy’sconduct inexcusable.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program strives to provide for at-risk children, and as school officials, Porges and Lowy should have strived to do the same, Sweeney said in a statement.

To defraud programs designed to help those in need is simply inexcusable, and we will work relentlessly with our law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate these frauds.

Lowy’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said his client was just following orders.

“Mr. Lowy is a low-level administrative assistant in the school who followed direction which he believed to be correct,” Agnifilowrote in an email. “He is loved in his community and will fight this case.”

Porges’ lawyerdid not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Former Hasidic School Officials Indicted in Meal-Fraud Scheme, Feds Say – DNAinfo

Why do white supremacists hate Jews? Because we can fight them. – Chicago Tribune

Posted By on August 18, 2017

Anti-Semitism is again back in the news.

Some of the posters at the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist demonstrations this past weekend featured a man taking a hammer to a Star of David the biggest threat, the thing that needs to be destroyed. Marchers chanted, Jews will not replace us and Blood and soil! a direct translation of the Nazi slogan blut und boden, which plays on the notion of Jews as powerful, dangerous interlopers.

This comes toward the end of a summer that included the Chicago Dyke March ejecting participants with a Star of David on a gay pride flag on the misguided-at-best grounds that it went against the marchs anti-racist core values and heated debates about whether Gal Gadot, an Ashkenazi Israeli, is a person of color. Particularly in recent years, there has rightfully been increased talk about the ways in which many Ashkenazi Jews in America do have white privilege.

So are we oppressed? Or what? The reasons that question may feel complicated go back around a thousand years. Since the dawn of modern anti-Semitism, hatred toward Jews has been deeply intertwined with the idea of Jews having unique sorts of advantages.

In the Middle Ages, Jews were barred from many trades and professions, and it was sometimes illegal for Jews to own land. It was convenient for local authorities to permit Jews to work in trades that were repugnant to Christians most notably money-lending, which was associated in the Christian world with depravity and sin.

From a Jewish perspective, money-lending was a useful line of work for two reasons. First, it was somewhat portable, and when times were lucky it enabled our ancestors to have liquid assets both of which were practical during an era when expulsions of Jews from villages and even whole countries were not uncommon. It was also profitable. Most late medieval and early modern European polities taxed Jews at jaw-droppingly high rates, so loaning out money was essential for communities survival. A very small subset of Jews began handling money because it was a viable option and a practical necessity. And then they were resented for it and identified with the work in a way that Christian bankers never were. Even as early as 1233, anti-Semitic drawings depicted the usurious Jew, using many of the same themes one might find in a quick Google search.

Most Jews throughout history lived a fairly precarious existence, economically and otherwise. Many times in history we have been tolerated, and even embraced, by the rulers and locals of our host country. But we have also been subject to expulsions, pogroms, inquisitions and genocide many times over often, indeed, fueled by the trope of the greedy, crooked Jew serving as the scapegoat for other stresses and complexities in society. Often, the shift from living in peace to the bottom dropping out happened very quickly.

So here’s the paradox: Anti-Semitism and Jewish privilege are, and have long been, two sides of the same coin. Even now, I feel it keenly.

On the one hand, Jews as a category are thus far shielded from the state violence that a lot of other groups are experiencing. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not seeking us out as a group; we are not being barred from the military or being singled out in a travel ban. Although of course there are Jews of all levels of economic security in this country, American Jews as a collective do have a lot more social and cultural capital than many other groups, and we are not as vulnerable as other communities under attack. The reasons are various; a big one, though, is that many American Jews’ families have been established here for a century or more and, over that time, Ashkenazi Jews were able to assimilate into the broader culture and become white.

Yet at the same time, anti-Semitism is functioning as it has for centuries. President Donald Trumps attacks on Soros globalists, White House adviser Stephen Millers claim that a reporter had cosmopolitan bias (a phrase that has longtime anti-Semitic connotations despite Miller’s own Jewish origins), the Star of David superimposed on money in the infamous Trump tweet last year, the dog whistles in the Trump’s final campaign ad and the posters and chants in Charlottesville all depend on a centuries-old, manufactured narrative of Jews as wealthy, powerful and in control. As this rhetoric gets louder, were seeing more targeted hate: Jewish graveyards have been vandalized at least five times this year, and the Holocaust Memorial in Boston was smashed for the second time this summer on Monday.

That shift from relative peace to something else can happen so quickly in the blink of an eye. Some members of the Jewish community are feeling our centuries-deep intergenerational trauma keenly, experiencing this era as nothing short of terrifying, with memories of pogrom torches and swastika flags looming large.

But this isnt the time to hunker down. Its the time to stand up. I, for one, have advantages that my ancestors in Europe never dreamed of, and this includes the social capital to fight bigotry with full force and power. We as a community have an obligation to stand up for those who are more vulnerable to both institutional and random attacks, as well as the powerful image of an 89-year-old woman photographed on Sunday in New York holding a sign that said: I escaped the Nazis once. You will not defeat me now.

The Washington Post

Danya Ruttenberg, of Evanston, is rabbi-in-residence at Avodah, a Jewish service corps, and author of Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting.

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Why do white supremacists hate Jews? Because we can fight them. – Chicago Tribune

Exhibitions | American Jewish Historical Society

Posted By on August 18, 2017

October 7, 1944

In Cooperation with Yeshiva University Museum. This exhibition is the American attempt to respond to four women, and the revolt in Auschwitz that they helped make possible.

On view: October 7, 2014 to April 12, 2015 Location: Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY

Led by Jonah Bokaers artistic vision and interpretation, and supported by research in the primary-source archives of the American Jewish Historical Society and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, we aim to reintroduce the visitor to a largely unknown or forgotten historical eventan event that could not have transpired without Roza, Estera, Regina and Ala. These women were not remarkable in any way that is known to us. They were young women who believed what they were doing was right. Through a non-traditional format that marries music, movement, choreography, archival material and film, we attempt to honor their bravery, and make their names known to you.

Rachel Lithgow, Curator, Executive Director American Jewish Historical Society

Born to Tunisian and American parents in Ithaca, NY, Jonah Bokaer is an international choreographer, media artist, and art space developer. His work, which integrates choreography with digital media, is often the result of his cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists and architects.

Creating choreography for museum spaces since 2002, Bokaer has performed at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, P.S.1 MoMA, The New Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, as well as in The Asia Society | Texas, Le Carr dArt Nmes, IVAM Valencia, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, and MUDAM Luxembourg, among others. A full list of museum projects is listed below.

The creator of 33 dances, ten videos, three motion capture works, three interactive installations, two mobile applications, and one film, Bokaers work has been produced throughout theaters in Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Recent performances include two seasons at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival (2011-2012), the 2012 Festival dAvignon in France, Thtre de la Cit Internationale in Paris, and the BAM Next Wave Festival 2012, for which he was commissioned for the inauguration of BAM Fisher, with artist Anthony McCall.

In 2008-2009 Bokaer became the first dance artist to be appointed a Young Leader of the French American Foundation, in acknowledgment of his efforts to develop Chez Bushwick, and CPR – Center for Performance Research, two independent arts centers which nurture young artists in New York City and internationally. Bokaer has collaborated with artists including Daniel Arsham (2007-present), Anne Carson, Merce Cunningham, Robert Gober, Anthony McCall, Tino Sehgal, and Robert Wilson (2007-present).

As choreographer for Robert Wilson, he has completed many operas including Faust (Polish National Opera), Ada (Teatro dellOpera di Roma), KOOL (Japan/USA Guggenheim Works & Process), Fronteras (IVAM Valenica), and On The Beach (Baryshnikov Arts Center).

Bokaer was recently named one of ten American artists to receive a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant award for the development of his third mobile application, in partnership with Georgia Tech.

jonahbokaer.net

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Exhibitions | American Jewish Historical Society

Hidden blueprint leads diggers to ancient ritual baths of Vilnius synagogue – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on August 18, 2017

(JTA) A newly discovered blueprint of the destroyed great synagogue in Vilnius led ateam of archaeologists to unearth the remains of two ritual baths that were used by congregants of one of Europes largest and most prominent Jewish communities before its annihilation.

The synagogue, which was at the heart of the large Jewish community in Vilnius for hundreds of years, was destroyed in the Holocaust. But the baths, or mikvahs, and underground spaces discovered in a study carried out last year led to the excavation of the site by Israeli, Lithuanian and American archaeologists and the exposure of the ritual baths, the Heritage Daily reportedThursday.

The excavation has followed an architectural plan from the end of the 19th century that was discovered in the municipal archive of Vilnius for the restoration of the ancient bathhouse by the community. According to the plan, the bathhouse consisted of two main floors, many rooms and a large service wing. The document allowed the diggers to identify the two mikvahs last month.

The Great Synagogue of Vilna, built in the 17th century in the Baroque-Renaissance style, was a large community center and a center of Torah study. It was at the heart of Lithuanian Jewry and included 12 synagogues and batei midrash, or study halls, ritual baths, the community council building and kosher meat stalls.

But the complex is best known for its serving as the base of operations for the Gaon of Vilna, an 18th-century rabbinical luminary whose name was Elijah ben Solomon Zalman.

After hundreds of years of existence, with the destruction of nearly the entire Jewish community of Vilna during the Holocaust, the most holy place of the Jews of Lithuania was looted and burned by the Germans, and the remains were destroyed by Soviet authorities, who built a modern school in its place in 1957.

Before the discovery, We had found little information about the bathhouse and mikvah building of the Jewish community, a community that comprised almost half of the citys population, said Jon Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who led the research team.

These discoveries add a new dimension to the understanding of the daily lives of the Jews of Vilna, and will certainly provide a new focus for understanding the lost cultural heritage of the Jewish community of Vilna, the Jerusalem of Lithuania,’ the researchers wrote in a statement announcing the find.

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Hidden blueprint leads diggers to ancient ritual baths of Vilnius synagogue – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Defiant, Trump Laments Assault on Culture and Revives a Bogus Pershing Story – New York Times

Posted By on August 18, 2017

Mr. Corker, a sober voice on foreign policy and a frequent ally of the Trump administration, bluntly questioned the presidents ability to perform the duties of his office.

The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful, Mr. Corker told reporters. He said Mr. Trump had not appropriately spoken to the nation about Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Scott, of South Carolina, insisted that he would not defend the indefensible when it came to the presidents comments about both sides in Charlottesville being responsible for the violence last Saturday.

What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority, Mr. Scott said in an interview with Vice. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens theres no question about that, he said, noting the presidents angry remarks to reporters this week in Manhattan, where Mr. Trump criticized the alt-left while abandoning earlier condemnations of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump made clear that he has no intention of stepping back from his assertions about the Charlottesville rally that have drawn widespread condemnation. In three tweets, Mr. Trump defended Civil War-era statues, using language very similar to that of white supremacists to argue the statues should remain in place.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump called it foolish to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and mused that monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be next. Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments, the president wrote.

And as he faced a new round of bipartisan denunciations, Mr. Trump also lashed out at two senior Republican senators who have been unsparing in their criticism during the past week.

The president accused Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, of publicity seeking and said that Mr. Graham had uttered a disgusting lie when he said accurately that the president had equated the white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville with the counterprotesters who were there to oppose them.

He just cant forget his election trouncing, the president said of Mr. Graham, who waged a losing bid against Mr. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. The people of South Carolina will remember!

Mr. Trump also called Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, toxic and WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in the Senate. He praised Mr. Flakes Republican primary race opponent.

There was new evidence on Thursday that the political crisis created by the presidents Charlottesville remarks was having an effect on Mr. Trumps business. The Cleveland Clinic announced it was pulling out of a 2018 fund-raiser at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., and the head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce urged businesses not to host events there.

The American Cancer Society, which had planned to hold its 2018 gala at Mar-a-Lago, announced it, too, would change the venue, citing its values and commitment to diversity.

It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations, the group said in a statement.

The White House announced that Mr. Trump had decided to cancel plans to assemble a Presidents Advisory Council on Infrastructure. The decision to abandon the business group came a day after a revolt among industry leaders on two other advisory panels forced the president to disband them.

And Carmen de Lavallade, a dancer and choreographer who will be honored by the Kennedy Center in December, announced on Thursday that she will forgo the related reception at the White House.

In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House, Ms. de Lavallade, 86, said in a statement.

Even so, White House officials said Mr. Trump was in good spirits on Thursday as he continued a working vacation at his estate in Bedminster, N.J. He dined with Richard LeFrak, a longtime friend, at the presidents golf course, according to a person briefed on the dinner.

Mr. Trump also held meetings with Gov. Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, and Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration. But both events were closed to the news media, depriving the president of any further ability to engage in another back-and-forth with reporters.

Within his administration, his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, was said to be deeply frustrated and unsure how to contain his boss. And pressure mounted on Gary D. Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, who is Jewish and had privately expressed dismay about the presidents remarks.

Unconfirmed reports that Mr. Cohn was about to resign prompted a statement from a White House official: Nothing has changed. Gary is focused on his responsibilities as N.E.C. director and any reports to the contrary are 100 percent false.

For the president, Thursday was a return to themes that were last on display in the weeks and months after he won the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, 2016.

During that period, he praised dictators like Saddam Hussein as effective counterforces on terrorism and declared his support for enhanced interrogation techniques that have been outlawed as a form of torture. Torture works, Mr. Trump said in South Carolina that month.

That was the same month that Mr. Trump first alluded to a legend thoroughly debunked by numerous historians about Pershing, then governor of the Moro Province in the Philippines, and his use of pigs blood.

Mr. Trumps remarks about the Civil War statues were also an echo of his campaign, and are not unlike sentiments in the South that the monuments and Confederate history reflect heritage not hate a phrase commonly used by groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

To those 70 million of us whose ancestors fought for the South, it is a symbol of family members who fought for what they thought was right in their time, and whose valor became legendary in military history, Ben Jones, a former Democratic congressman from Georgia, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times in 2015.

Critics say the presidents remarks reflect a dangerously sanitized view of a war to uphold slavery and destroy the union. And they say the comparison with the Founding Fathers is entirely off base: Unlike the Southerners who helped found the country, the issue with Civil War monuments is that they honor people who took up arms against the United States, at least in part, to maintain slavery, critics say.

Mr. Trump saw it otherwise. The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced! he tweeted.

Michael D. Shear reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from Bridgewater, N.J. Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting from Washington.

Get politics and Washington news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the Morning Briefing newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on August 18, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Volume Rising In Nativist Talk From President.

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Defiant, Trump Laments Assault on Culture and Revives a Bogus Pershing Story – New York Times

James Murdoch donates $1 million to Anti-Defamation League

Posted By on August 18, 2017

James Murdoch, the CEO of Twenty-FirstCentury Fox (FOXA), circulated an email which saidthat in the wake of the recentevents in Charlottesville, Va., he would be making a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.

[W]hat we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people, Murdoch said in a note seen by Yahoo Finance.

On August 11 and 12, protestors including white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The event turned violent, leading to the 19 injuries and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

James Murdoch. (REUTERS/David Moir)

President Donald Trump continues to be publicly criticized by business leaders, policymakers and many others for his ambiguous comments in which he does not clearly condemn the hate groups that attended the rally. He maintains that both sides were to blame.

I cant even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists, Murdoch said in his note. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.

In his note, he said that he and his wife Kathryn do not often talk about their charitable activities.

[B]ut in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too, he said. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already now is a great time to give more.

Murdoch is the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the former Chairman and CEO of News Corporation and current Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News.

Sam Ro is managing editor at Yahoo Finance. Read more:

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James Murdoch donates $1 million to Anti-Defamation League

James Murdoch, Rebuking Trump, Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League – New York Times

Posted By on August 18, 2017

Photo James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, in April in New York. Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of a frequent ally of President Trumps, condemned the presidents performance after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., and pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.

In an email on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times and confirmed as authentic by a spokesman for Mr. Murdochs company, the Fox scion gave an extraordinarily candid statement against the white supremacist sentiment that swept through Virginia last weekend. It was also the most outspoken that a member of the Murdoch family has been in response to the weeks events.

Mr. Murdochs father, Rupert Murdoch, is a conservative media mogul who has become an informal adviser to Mr. Trump, recently dining with the president in the White House residence. The younger Mr. Murdoch has been less outspoken about his political views, making the email even more surprising.

With a subject line reading, Subject: Personal note from James Murdoch re: ADL, Mr. Murdoch addressed the note to friends.

Im writing to you in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father. It has not been my habit to widely offer running commentary on current affairs, nor to presume to weigh in on the events of a given day save those that might be of particular or specific concern to 21CF and my colleagues, he wrote. But what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.

He added: These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob. I cant even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.

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James Murdoch, Rebuking Trump, Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League – New York Times


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