Page 11234..1020..»

Nazi War Criminals On the run –

Posted By on April 3, 2020

The Capture and Trial of Adolph Eichmann

Part 2:

Un momentito, Senor.

Sixty years ago, three Spanish words uttered by an Israeli Mossad agent set the stage for Israels dramatic abduction of senior Nazi officer Adolph Eichmann from a street in Buenos Aires, and his trial in Israel for war crimes against the Jewish people.

Eichmann had wielded tremendous power during the Holocaust. As head of the Jewish Affairs section of the Nazi SS, he held operational responsibility for the extermination of European Jewry. Through crucial years of World War II, he had organized the ghettoizing, plunder and deportation of millions to the killing centers in Poland.

Following Germanys defeat, Eichmann had escaped from an Allied prison camp and, aided by Catholic bishop Alois Hudal of Rome, had made his way down the ratline to Argentina, where he lived under an assumed name for 15 years. The pro-Nazi government of then President Juan Peron welcomed fugitive Nazis and shielded them from extradition.

The post-war West German government had created a special agency, the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, to apprehend prominent Nazis who, like Eichmann, had escaped judgment at the Nuremberg War Trials. One of the members of this Nazi-tracking group was a German-Jew Fritz Bauer, who had received a tip about Eichmanns whereabouts and had passed it on to his superiors.

It didnt take long for Bauer to realize that his superiors were making no serious effort to go after Eichmann, and he secretly alerted Israeli officials who initiated a plan for his capture. Because Argentina had a history of denying extradition requests, the decision was made by Israeli officials to kidnap Eichmann and smuggle him to Israel.

In May 1960, Argentina was celebrating the 150th anniversary of its revolution against Spain, and many tourists were arriving from abroad to attend the festivities. The Mossad used the opportunity to smuggle multiple agents into the country.

On the evening of May 11, Mossad operatives descended on Garibaldi Street in San Fernando and snatched Eichmann away as he was walking from the bus to his home. Unaware hed been abducted, his worried family called local hospitals but were afraid to notify the police.

The ex-Nazi kingpin was kept at a safe house until plans for smuggling him to Israel were put into effect. On May 20, a drugged Eichmann was flown out of Argentina disguised as an Israeli airline worker who had suffered head trauma in an accident.

Media Firestorm

When news of his kidnapping hit the media, Israel received an international thrashing. Historian Refael Medoff in Lessons From the Eichmann Trial cites the rash of articles in leading news organs that vented pious indignation.

The New York Times rejected Israeli claims that Eichmanns role in the Nazi genocide justified Israels violating Argentinas sovereignty, protesting that no immoral or illegal act justifies another.

An editorial in the Times of London agreed that while the trial might be fair, it was tainted because it springs from an admittedly illegal actthe abduction of Eichmann from Argentina.

Some U.S. church publications took particularly harsh aim at Israel for its prosecution of Eichmann. An article in The Unitarian Register compared the Jew-pursuing Nazi and the Nazi-pursuing Jew.

And a Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, conjured up anti-Semitic tropes by linking Israelis at the Eichmann trial to Shylock of old (a fictional Jewish villain in a Shakespearean novel) demanding their pound of flesh.

In the face of this brouhaha, the Eichmann trial preceded, riveting world attention as it played out over nine months. In Israel, its impact was transformative. The trial pierced a macho culture in which Holocaust survivors had been discouraged from talking about what they had suffered, and were made to feel ashamed of being victims.

As a result, in the sixteen years that had passed since the wars end, information about how and why six million Jews had been annihilated was shrouded in incomprehension.

A Human Face on The Horror

Now, for the first time, the unspeakable atrocities of the death camps, the systematic mass murders of entire populations, and the ferocious might of a regime that made physical resistance all but impossible, were driven home to the public.

Over a hundred survivors representing every corner of Nazi-occupied Europe were called to the witness stand. Their combined testimony put a human face on the Holocaust and spawned a new understanding of the magnitude of Jewish suffering and loss, and the depths of Nazi moral depravity.

I felt I was beginning to comprehend the incomprehensible, however wide the gulf separating me from those who were there for even a single day, Israeli Haim Gouri wrote. He described feeling humbled as he followed the proceedings: We who were outside that circle of death have to ask forgiveness from the numberless dead whom we have judged in our hearts without asking ourselves what right we have.

He Looked Like an Ordinary Person

Spectators who came to observe the trial expected to confront a monstera wild-eyed Jew-hater in the mold of Hitler and his top henchmen. But what they saw and heard bore no resemblance to that image.

People were amazed because he looked much more like a bureaucrat, like a pencil pusher, with thick black glasses, an ill-fitting suit, a man who laid out all his papers and his pens and kept polishing his glasses with a nervous tick, noted historian Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial and several books about Holocaust denial.

Lipstadt said people asked themselves, could this really be the person responsible for the destruction of millions?

The man in the bulletproof glass booth looked and sounded like an ordinary person. He presented himself as a self-effacing servant of the German state, dutifully following orders from a higher command, no more than a cog in the wheel of a vast machine that he did not control.

He maintained that he was not at first aware of where the deported multitudes were being sent, and that he had no personal animosity to the Jewish people. He testified that he had come to realize that the Holocaust was one of the greatest crimes in history.

Lipstadt noted that Eichmanns stuck to his defense in the face of weighty evidence that he had carried out his work of mass murder with a fanatic zeal that persisted even when the war was lost and he was ordered by Himmler to halt the deportations. Undeterred, Eichmann used his authority to ensure that the trains continued shipping Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.

Lipstadt, who was given access by the Israeli government to a memoir Eichmann had written while in Israeli prison awaiting trial, said the document was rife with anti-Semitism and Nazi ideology that fully supported Hitlers goals.

Yet some were taken in by his court performance, and in contemporary films and documentaries, the image of Eichmann as a petty bureaucrat who personified the banality of evil, continues to hold sway.

Banality of evil was a phrase coined by author Hannah Arendt who observed a small portion of the trial and was duped by Eichmanns performance, writing that he was merely a robotic functionary, passively heeding the commands of his superiors.

By buying into Eichmanns cog-in-the wheel presentation, Arendt equated the evil he committed with the evil of which all human beings are potentially capable under severe duress.

Limited by her absence from key moments in the trial and hampered by her contempt for her own Jewish roots, Arendt tried to universalize Eichmann, refusing to see his personal, focused war against the Jews.

Eichmann was in no way a banal bureaucrat, the evidence shows. He just reinvented himself as one while on trial for his life.

Exposed by wartime documents bearing his own signature, Eichmann stood revealed as a vicious Jew-hater and Jew-hunter who, when it came to his chosen work of murdering Jews, would make no compromises and no exceptions.

The Wannsee Conference

Eichmanns evolution as a pivotal player in the genocide against European Jews was launched even before the infamous January 1942 Wannsee Conference, a top-secret meeting of 15 high-ranking Nazi leaders on the outskirts of Berlin.

Eichmann, working under SS and Gestapo chief Reinhard Heydrich, who took his orders directly from Hitler and Himmler, convened the conference and recorded the minutes.

The conferences goal was to enlist all major government agencies in the implementation of the Endoslung, the Final solution of the Jewish Question. This was the code name for the Nazi program of annihilating European Jews that had been formalized into Reich policy six months earlier. At the time of the Wannsee Conference, it was already well under way.

In autumn 1941, as German armies advanced into Soviet territory, tens of thousands of Jews were massacred at sites such as Babi Yar (outside Kiev), Rumbula Forest (outside Riga), and Ponary (outside Vilna).

In December 1941, experiments with exhaust-fume poisoning started in mobile trucks in Chelmno in occupied Poland; the first annihilation camp opened there the same month.

In Nazi-occupied lands, hundreds of thousands of Jews had been systematically killed by Einsatzgruppen, or forced from their homes and deported to concentration camps in Mauthausen, Austria, and to Auschwitz and Majdanek in Poland.

But the process of genocide through mass shootings was moving too slowly for Hitler, and consumed too much manpower. He and his top aides sought ways to accelerate the process. Heydrich conceived of the Wannsee Conference to enlist all major government agencies in implementing evacuation of all European Jews to killing centers in the East.

All of Germanys security and secret police forces at this point had been consolidated into the Reich Security Central Office under Reinhard Heydrich. Eichmann was assigned to its section on Jewish affairs and it was in this role that he convened the Wannsee Conference.

The protocol of the Wannsee Conference, penned in Eichmanns handwriting and found by Allied forces after the war, was used as evidence in the Nuremberg war crimes trials. It contained a typewritten list of all Jewish populations in Europeincluding in lands not yet under Nazi occupation such as England, Ireland, Italy and Spainthat would be annihilated in multiple extermination camps soon to be constructed.

Eichmann calculated the murder of 11 million people, noting which regions were already Judenfrei.

Lying Millions of People to Their Death

Heeding instructions from Heydrich, Eichmann wrote up and distributed the top-secret Wannsee protocol to participating members of the conference, clarifying the measures needed to bring about the Vernichtung (annihilation) of Europes Jews, although the protocol carefully avoided such direct language.

Instead, it used phrases such as evacuation or resettlement to the east; death by natural reduction; and special treatment (gassing and other means of execution) to euphemize the destruction of millions of lives. The conferences participants were urged to use the powers of their various agencies to achieve the final solution.

A vast logistical network was developed and maintained, in large measure under Eichmanns direction, to ensure that the flow of Jews from western, southern and northern Europe to killing centers in the East would continue throughout the war.

Through his representatives Alois Brunner, Theodor Dannecker, Rolf Guenther, and Dieter Wisliceny and other subordinates, Eichmann made deportation plans down to the last detail.

Working with other German agencies, he determined how the property of deported Jews would be seized and made certain that his office would benefit from the confiscated assets.

By hiding from the victims the plan for their impending mass murder, the Nazis manipulated millions into complying with deportation orders in the desperate hope of surviving.

Eichmann lied millions of people to their death, notes German historian Bettina Stangneth in a new book, Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer.

His trial in Jerusalem saw the arch murderer fall back on the favored Nazi tactic of using lies and deceit to manipulate results. It had worked so well with countless Jewish victims who were too sane and civilized to suspect the monstrous truth.

At his trial, Eichmann spun his web of lies in an all-out gamble to avoid the gallows. Pretending to be a simple-minded, low-level bureaucrat whose sole job was managing train schedules, he put on the performance of his life.

He was taken aback when the judges saw through his faade, found him guilty on all counts and sentenced him to death.

I didnt expect them to not believe me at all, he muttered to his lawyer, Robert Servatious.

Hitlers eager executioner died on the gallows on June 1, 1962. His body was cremated and its ashes dumped into the Mediterranean.

Begrudging the Life of Every Jew

Prof. Gavriel Bach who served as deputy prosecutor in the Eichmann trial recalled in a 2011 interview that the hard evidence against him was overwhelming. Aside from eyewitness testimony, there were hundreds of documents turned over to us by West Germany with Eichmanns own signature, describing exactly what happened in particular incidents.

We had proof that Eichmann even circumvented Hitlers orders when those orders might lead to saving a few thousand Jews, Bach said.

He described how Hitler made a deal with the Hungarian government in 1944 to release 8,700 Hungarian Jewish families from the country, in exchange for the governments pledge to remain loyal to the Axis.

Eichmann usually sat in Berlin and pulled the strings, sending assistants throughout Europe, except with Hungary, Bach said. Eichmann was upset about Hitler cutting this deal. Upset that all those Hungarian Jews would get out [alive] and might even come to Palestine some day and threaten the security of Europe.

Bach presented the letters at the trial showing that after being informed about the deal, Eichmann gave an order to speed up deportations so that by the time the visas were ready for these 8,700 families, there would no longer be 8,700 families left.

The image he sought to build of himself as a simple-minded government servant loyally heeding orders crumbled in the face of the evidence, the former prosecutor said.

Eyewitness to the Gas Chamber

Holocaust survivor testimony at the trial did not always directly implicate Eichmann, noted Prof. Bach. But it authenticated specific stages of the final solution that Eichmanns organizational expertise kept running like clockwork.

He cited the rare eyewitness testimony of a man in his late twenties who as a young boy had been thrust inside a gas chamber to die. His testimony, the prosecutor said, remains ingrained in my mind forever.

The man described being led with a group of 250 children into the gas chamber where it was completely dark and the doors were immediately locked on them. According to his testimony, the children began to sing to give themselves courage. When nothing happened, we started to scream and cry.

Suddenly, the door opened and an SS guard pulled some children out of the chamber, the man recounted to the court. He himself was one of those removed. They soon understood why. A train had arrived with potatoes and there were not enough men to unload them. An SS guard had suggested taking some of the doomed children out of the gas chamber to help unload the train, and kill them afterward.

So they took thirty children out and they unloaded the potatoes while the other children were gassed to death, the survivor continued. All of the thirty children were supposed to be shot after the potatoes were unloaded because they had seen what happened to the group left in the gas chamber. No one was ever supposed to see that.

Twenty-nine of them were killed, but one boy had supposedly done some damage to the truck.

As Prof. Bach related the horrifying story told to the court so many years ago, his voice grew ragged. The SS commander ordered his subordinate to take the boy who did the damage and give him a whipping before he was killed. He was taken to a higher floor by an SS man to be whipped. But incredibly, the SS man decided not to carry out the commanders order.

He took a liking to me for some reason, the witness told the court. He kept me alive.

And that is how the court had the benefit of rare eyewitness testimony, Bach mused, from a prisoner who had actually been inside the gas chamber and lived to describe it.

Exposed by The Argentina Papers

A new book by German historian Bettina Stangneth, Eichmann Before Jerusalem, based on the authors examination of the Argentina Papers, reveals Eichmann as an ideological warrior unrepentant about the past and eager to continue the racial war against the Jews.

The Argentina Papers were composed by a group of Nazis based in Argentina after the war who sought a resurgence of National Socialism. Eichmann was a part of this group, consulted because of his firsthand knowledge of the Jewish question.

Among the papers is the so-called Sassen Interview, the minutes of meetings conducted by this group of Nazis and their sympathizers recorded by former SS journalist Willem Sassen. Eichmann planned to publish his own book along with Sassens writes Stangneth.

Throughout his Argentine exile, Eichmann remained a passionate and open Nazi. He proudly signed photos with the flourish, Adolf Eichmann SS Obersturmbannfuhrer (retired), and even boasted among his friends that the deportation of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews was his masterpiece, asserts the historian.

Here was a man who said towards the end of the war that if Germany lost, he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million enemies of the Reich on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.

In Argentina, Eichmann the fanatical National Socialist was still on active duty, she adds. He wanted to be visible in Argentina and he wanted to be viewed as he once had been: as the symbol of a new age.

In an interview with Canadian Jewish News, Stangneth said she listened to taped recordings of talks Eichmann had with Sassen and other Nazis. In one conversation, Eichmann can be heard saying that his only regret about his actions during the war was not killing more Jews.

If we had killed 10.3 million, I would be satisfied, and would say, Good, we have destroyed an enemy. We would have fulfilled our duty to our blood and our people If only we had exterminated the most cunning intellect of all the human intellects alive today.


We Were Not Impressed by The Lies

In that courtroom in Jerusalem, there could be no doubt as to Eichmanns guilt, nor the immensity of his guilt, observed journalist Martha Gellhorn, covering the 1961 Eichmann trial for Atlantic Monthly.

He was not unnerved by the testimony of witnesses, of survivors who dealt with him in his years of power, or saw him on his concentration camp visits. Nor by the avalanche of documents showing that he commanded the fate of the Jews as no general was able to command a whole theater of war.

He wriggled, he talked a great deal; he returned again and again to the same lies. He was only a minor bureaucrat.

We were not impressed by the lies.

Gellhorn dismissed Eichmanns assertions that he was little more than a railway clerk, ensuring the (death) trains ran on time. The Atlantic Monthly article references the many instances disclosed during the trial when foreign governments, allies of Germany, tried to negotiate the rescue of individual Jews, only to meet with Eichmanns rigid refusals.

Again and again, Eichmann replied icily that these Jews could not be found; his local representatives were instructed to discourage on principle such time-wasting demands for mercy, the author recounted.

If the named Jew or Jews were not already dead, Eichmann ordered immediate deportation to the gas chambers, thus closing the file against future intrusion on his work.

Gellhorn cited an instance when the Vichy collaborationist government of Pierre Laval tried to save one Jewa man whose gallantry in the French Army could not be forgotten. Eichmann answered officially that the whereabouts of this hero was unknown, but arranged for his instant, secret removal to Auschwitz and Zyklon B.

A third example cited at the trial of when a foreign government tried to rescue Jews but was thwarted by Eichmann was when Admiral Horthy, the fascist dictator of Hungary, directed his police to stop a death train of 1200 Jews and return the Jews to their camp near Budapest.

That night Eichmann sent buses to collect these reprieved people and drive them to rejoin the death train far from the capital. In a dispute with the Hungarian head of state, the low-ranking Eichmann prevailed.

Read the original here:

Nazi War Criminals On the run -

Coronavirus in New Jersey: What concerts, festivals and shows have been rescheduled, canceled. (4/2/20) –

Posted By on April 3, 2020

ADL: How to prevent ‘Zoombombing’ – Forward

Posted By on April 2, 2020

The Anti-Defamation League has released a list of tips to prevent Zoombombing, a tactic white supremacists and internet trolls are using to hack video conferences and project pornographic, racist and anti-Semitic imagery.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, people are relying more heavily on online video conferencing software like Zoom, which has created new opportunities for those who wish to spread hateful messages.

The guidelines were drafted by experts in the ADL Center for Technology & Society in Silicon Valley. Before the meeting, the experts suggest, participants should take such measures as disabling features like autosaving chats, file transfer, screen sharing for non-hosts and the Join Before Host option. During the meeting, at least two co-hosts should be assigned, and the meeting should be locked once all attendees are present.

As a public service during this pandemic, the Forward is providing free, unlimited access to all coronavirus articles. If youd like to support our independent Jewish journalism, click here.

The ADL has received several reports of Zoombombing, including incidents targeting classrooms at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California, one during a childrens storytelling session in New Jersey, one during a virtual Torah lesson and another during a Board of Education Meeting.

According to the ADL, there has been limited online chatter among extremists about the specific strategy of abusing video conferencing technology, so it appears as though most Zoombombers are acting alone.

But one of the perpetrators who allegedly infiltrated the meeting of a Jewish student group in Massachusetts is the known white supremacist hacker Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, who calls himself weev. Auernheimer has a long history of publicly expressing his antisemitic and racist views and exploiting technology in order to gain attention, the ADL wrote.

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon

Originally posted here:
ADL: How to prevent 'Zoombombing' - Forward

Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Surface | Sheldon Kirshner – The Times of Israel

Posted By on April 2, 2020

Conspiracy theories, which are always grounded in malicious lies and overblown fantasies, are the bread and butter of antisemites. Usually, their half-baked, slimy suppositions rear their ugly heads during a crisis.

Jews were blamed for the Black Death, which decimated one-third of Europes population. And in the infamous blood libel canard, Jews were accused of murdering Christian children. No less a person than Syrias former defence minister, Mustafa Tlass, lent it credibility. After Germanys defeat in World War I, Jews were accused of treasonous behavior, an allegation that hastened Adolf Hitlers ascent to power.

During the final years of Joseph Stalins reign, a group of Jewish doctors were charged with plotting to kill members of the Soviet ruling class. When Arab terrorists crashed hijacked commercial airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, the Mossad and Jews were held responsible.

And now, with the coronavirus pandemic killing thousands of people a day, antisemitesclaim that Jews diabolically created it to profit financially, a toxic message which can be found on popular platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Reddit.

Rick Wiles, a racist pastor from Florida who described the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump as a Jew coup,recently claimed in one of his nauseating TruNews broadcasts that the spread of the coronavirus in synagogues is retribution for Jewish opposition to Jesus.

The people who are going in to the synagogue are coming out of the synagogue with the virus, said Wiles, whose website specializes in antisemitic, Islamophobic and homophobic rants. Its spreading in Israel through the synagogues. God is spreading it in your synagogues! You are under judgment because you oppose his son, Jesus Christ. That is why you have a plague in your synagogues. Repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and the plague will stop.

Not surprisingly, Wiles also claimed that the outbreak in the United States originated at a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. last month. The truth is that the virus was first detected at a seniors facility in Washington state.

In keeping with its mandate to monitor the activities of antisemites, the Anti-Defamation League has been keeping track of attempts to scapegoat Jews for the coronavirus.

In Iran, Israels arch enemy, Press TV a semi-official government station blamed Zionist elements for the virus. And in the city of Qom, where it initially appeared in Iran, a hardline cleric urged his followers to ignore the directives of the World Health Organization because it is run by a bunch of infidels and Jews.

Fatih Erbakan, the son of a former Turkish prime minister and the leader of the Islamist Yeniden Rafah Party, speculated that Zionism could be behind the coronavirus, though he admitted he lacked any hard evidence.

Ivo Sasek, a Holocaust denier in Switzerland, posted an article on his website,, accusing the American Jewish financier and philanthropist George Soros of spreading the virus.

And in Spain, a far-left-wing Basque political party, Harritar Batasuna, published an article on its website claiming that the virus was launched by hegemonic imperialism spearheaded by the Anglo-Saxon-Zionist bloc.

In France, meantime, Alain Mondino, a far-right politician, posted a video linking Jews to the virus.Introduced with a sequence revealing the Jew World Order, the video advanced the theory that the coronavirus was developed by the Jews.

Taken together, these vile accusations can easily be dismissed as the unhinged rantings of know-nothings. But we should not be complacent. History has taught us that ignoramuses, naifs and ideologically-motivated haters, the riff-raff of society, will latch on to these filthy calumnies and try to milk them dry for their own nefarious ends.

See original here:
Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Surface | Sheldon Kirshner - The Times of Israel

How to spot and respond to white supremacist propaganda – Temple News

Posted By on April 2, 2020


I was walking one day last semester on the corner of Cecil B. Moore Avenue and 12th Street when I saw a sticker on a telephone pole, high out of my reach.

The smile I had just seconds before slid off my face when I recognized the symbol. I immediately felt unsafe, looking around to see if anyone else had seen it. I stared at it for a while, trying to think of a way I could reach it to tear it down or scribble over it, and found none. I was powerless.

It was a bright green Kekistani flag the flag of an imaginary country created by the users of a 4chan politics board, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The flag is based on a lesser-known Nazi flag and has made appearances alongside the Confederate flag at alt-right and white supremacist gatherings, including the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017, according to the SPLC.

White supremacist incidents, including the spreading of propaganda, doubled in 2019, reaching an all-time high for the nation, increasing by 85 percent in Pennsylvania and 250 percent in New Jersey, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

White supremacist rhetoric is spreading, and we need to learn how to better identify white supremacist symbols to protect those who are targeted by that rhetoric.

This administration has given more of a pass to the views of nativists and the views of racists and antisemites and has sort of made it a little bit more acceptable for those viewpoints to kind of come out, said Lila Corwin Berman, a professor of history and Jewish studies and director of Temples Feinstein Center for Jewish American History. And then I think combined with that is a lot of alienation and disaffection that people especially people who feel like theyre kind of left behind by our economy feel and they have a desire for someone to blame.

NuRodney Prad, director of student engagement at the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership, said the internet provides a platform for this hateful messaging.

I would attribute it more so to the internet and technology that has given people free reign, Prad said. Their true feelings they will say online as opposed to what they will say to someones face.

White supremacist groups often use online platforms, like Discord, which allows for private group messaging, to organize around hateful topics and spread racist propaganda confidentially, Slate reported. Imageboards like 4chan allow users to share crude, offensive and blatantly racist content online without needing a username, granting users full anonymity, according to the ADL.

The internet is an amazing tool for political organizers, but white supremacists use it, too, and they use it well. So well, in fact, its often hard to recognize their talking points.

Online white supremacist groups often take innocuous things like cartoon characters, in the case of Pepe the Frog and attempt to rile up the left into decrying them, only to point out the seeming ridiculousness of the call-out, according to the ADL.

White supremacy is deeply rooted in this countrys institutions, and it hasnt really gone away, said Diamante Ortiz, a senior political science major, and a diversity peer at IDEAL.

I believe that institutions have been made in order to uphold those standards of whiteness, and capital really kind of reformed them and kind of restructured them, and from that we can see a lot of bigotry that has come from that, Ortiz said.

In American politics, white supremacy has retreated to the shadows in some cases, operating in dog whistles that twists typical political discourse into hate, Vox reported.

White supremacist groups online employ similar tactics, using online posts to promote anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric, according to Media Matters for America, a non profit that monitors, analyzes and corrects misinformation in media.

Interacting with or trying to rebut a white supremacist online can sometimes lead to conflict and greater exposure to their views, which is why I dont recommend trying to engage in debates with white supremacists.

White nationalist groups often use the internet to recruit young white men to share racist messaging through memes and videos, the New York Times reported.

In Aug. 2019, a young white male shared an anti-immigrant manifesto on 8chan less than an hour before opening fire on a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring 26 more, in a racially motivated attack, Slate reported. The author of the manifesto claimed to be inspired by a similar essay written by a young, white male who opened fire on a mosque in New Zealand.

The internet is being used to indoctrinate young men with white supremacist ideologies, and the repurcussions expand far beyond the digital sphere.

White supremacist activity has also surged on college campuses in recent years. Cases of white supremacist literature distribution more than doubled from 2018 to 2019, with cases in Pennsylvania increasing from 40 to 74 incidents in that same time period, according to the ADL.

Finding that Kekistani flag on campus was terrifying, but it wasnt the first case of white supremacist behavior at Temple University within recent years.

In May 2017, flyers with slogans from a white nationalist group were found in bathrooms at Anderson and Gladfelter halls, The Temple News reported. It was the second instance of a white supremacist group advertising on campus in a month in a half.

At 13th and Montgomery streets, a group of demonstrators led by street preacher Aden Rusfeldt frequently protest against members of non-Christian religions and other marginalized groups, The Temple News further reported.

So, what can a student do if confronted with a white supremacist incident on campus?

If a student witnesses or is victim to an incident of racial violence, they should report the case to Campus Safety Services. If youre not comfortable going to campus safety, IDEAL can work in partnership with the Title IX office and the Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance to advocate for you, Prad said.

If you find racist imagery, propaganda or rhetoric on campus or online by a member of the Temple community, you can either report the incident to Campus Safety Services or IDEAL, and the two groups will work together to address the situation from there, Prad said.

Despite the universitys closure, IDEAL has staff working remotely to help you, Prad said. IDEAL also offers a variety of virtual resources available during this time.

Next, check in on your friends and classmates. White supremacist incidents often make people of color feel isolated and unsafe, especially when it happens on their own campus, the Atlantic reported. Incidents of racist behavior or institutionalized white supremacy on college campuses can negatively affect the mental health of Black students, causing racial trauma, according to a 2019 report by the Center for American Progress.

I think we essentially need solidarity, Berman said.

Listen to minority students, support them and make sure you yourself feel safe in the process. Racism isnt going to disappear, but we have the ability and the responsibility to call it out and report when we see it.

Here is the original post:
How to spot and respond to white supremacist propaganda - Temple News

How To And How Not to Fight Anti-Semitic Violence In The US – Rantt Media

Posted By on April 2, 2020

An analysis of the effective methods to combat anti-Semitism as well as ineffective methods.

White nationalists preparing to enter Emancipation Park holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden Dont Tread on Me flags 12 August 2017 (Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally)

Professor Leonard Weinberg is a Senior Fellow at CARR, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, and recipient of both Fulbright and Guggenheim research awards.

In recent years, there has been a surge in anti-Semitic violence in the United States. The most attention was focused on the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, on October 27, 2018, in which 11 worshippers were killed, the shooting several months later at Chabad House in a suburb of San Diego, which left one person dead and many others traumatized. In December 2019, there was what amounted to a wave of attacks in the New York Metropolitan area. The most serious of these events was the murder of several shoppers at a Kosher grocery store in Jersey City, and an attack on Hasidim in Monsey (a New York suburb) by a machete-wielding African-American man while a Chanukah party was underway.

What is even more astonishing, however, is that these episodes were simply the most egregious examples of (less reported) assaults in the New York area, which were occurring at the pace of one per-week by the end of 2019. Then, of course, there was the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville just over two and half years ago; an event in which close to 1,000 neo-Nazis and alt-Rightists chanted The Jews will not replace us! as they marched down the street.

What is, then, going on? And what, if anything, can be done about it?

Physical attacks on American Jews are hardly a new phenomenon. The FBIs annual hate crime statistics suggest that year-in-and-year-out Jews are the most frequent targets of religiously-based hate crimes. The watchdog organizations, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), usually confirm these findings. Is the violence symptomatic of a rising tide of anti-Semitism among Americans in general?

The answer is no. When the ADL researchers began polling Americans on their attitudes towards Jews in 1964, they found about 29% of those they questioned met their standards as anti-Semites. In 2019, using the same survey questions, the figure was down to 11%. Overall then the level of anti-Semitism in the country continues to decline. On balance, Americans tend to like Jews, they are more Philo-Semitic than anti-Semitic. In Europe, right-wing extremists often refer to the U.S. as judenland because of the prominent role Jews play in American life.

But what about the violence? Doesnt it suggest something wider and more dangerous? The perpetrators would like us to believe it is something truly menacing (in this regard they share an outlook with the watchdog organizations though for quite different reasons). The answer is emphatically no. The perpetrators of attacks on Jews in the United States may grab the headlines but they really are freak attractions. How, then, can they be stopped?

Over the years, Jewish organizations in the United States have stressed Holocaust education as a way of teaching the public about the dangers of anti-Semitism, if left unchecked. Throughout the country, there are Holocaust museums (including one in the nations capital which was itself the target of a shooting attack some years ago), memorials, commemorations, and Holocaust education programs, all of which are intended to call attention to the murder of European Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

Now the Holocaust was the worst crime in the history of Western Civilization. Studying it is a worthwhile project in and of itself. And calling attention to it may have contributed to the long-term decline of anti-Semitic attitudes among Americans, but it doesnt appear to be a deterrent to anti-Semitic violence. If anything, the relationship is positive. The more focus on the Holocaust, the more anti-Semitic violence. This seems to be true because the individuals who carry out or encourage attacks on American Jews, e.g. the late William Pierce ( author of the still widely sold The Turner Diaries), Andrew Anglin and his Daily Stormer website, Minister Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam followers, regard the Holocaust more as an inspiration than a warning. If the Nazis could do it, maybe we can do it also?

What can, then, be done to deter attacks on American Jews under these circumstances? A few possibilities come to mind, hardly all original.

The Internet has become the principal means by which those who attack Jews are becoming radicalized. This is also true for those who assault other American minorities. So that Dylann Roof, the 19-year-old who killed 9 worshippers at an African Methodist church in Charleston South Carolina, Patrick Crusius, who murdered 22 Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso Texas, and more than a decade ago Mathew and Tyler Williams who killed a gay couple in Redding California, and Robert Bauers, the Pittsburgh resident who murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, all developed their views via the new (or even newer) social media.

The two obvious ways of dealing with this Internet-driven calls to anti-Jewish violence is first to deny access to those who promote it. This may violate First Amendment protections if done by government agencies, but it doesnt prevent private individuals and organizations from hacking and disrupting hate speech from employing this way of tackling the problem. Second, and this is certainly already underway, the FBI and the watchdog organizations can monitor the various Internet sites widely used by the violence-supportive anti-Semites. When advocacy, or as most would characterize as being hate speech, turns to conspiracy and planning law enforcement agencies will be prepared to act.

A third option involves a focus on the perpetrators. With the exception of Louis Farrakhan and his followers and the Black Israelites (responsible for the Jersey City attack), the individual perpetrators mentioned above were single white men either living alone or, as adults, with their mothers. Robert Bauers, 43 years-old at the time of his attack, fits this description to a T. The problem is one of social isolation. Is there anything to be done about this? Perhaps. Local authorities in Sweden are experimenting with housing techniques for better integrating lonely individuals into society by promoting their involvement with neighborhood groups. This type of alternative seems worth exploring. Also worth pursuing, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles has developed a pilot program aimed at assisting individual neo-Nazis in abandoning their cause and resuming more normal careers.

Of course, not all violent attacks on Jews are the work of lone-wolves. Many of these assaults have been perpetrated by groups. Here, it is worth making a distinction between organized groups of young men, such as the Atomwaffen and the Base, and more fluid groups brought together for what one analyst labels transgressive fun, e.g. taunting orthodox Jews on their way to or from the synagogue; in effect, a depressing form of violence with a smile. As we have seen, however, from recent attacks, such behavior can have devastating consequences.

Space doesnt permit much commentary here and therefore pointing to the Israeli experience will have to suffice. For the first 20 years of its existence, Israel was surrounded by implacable enemies, Arab states whose leaders threatened to exterminate the Jewish state and whose street often called for blood. Despite all the hostile rhetoric accompanied by some cross-border violence, Israels enemies were not able to make good on their threats. Why not?

The answer is deterrence. Notwithstanding the bombast, Arab leaders became aware that attacks on Israeli targets almost always resulted in a response by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The cost of attacks against Israel exceeded the benefits to be gained, rhetorical or otherwise. There may be a lesson to be learned from this experience.

This article is brought to you by the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right(CARR). Through their research, CARR intends to lead discussions on the development of radical right extremism around the world.

Read more:
How To And How Not to Fight Anti-Semitic Violence In The US - Rantt Media

Anti-Semitism on the rise, Jews blamed for coronavirus – Ynetnews

Posted By on April 2, 2020

An internal Foreign Ministry report warns of a sharp rise in anti-Semitic posts around the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a document prepared by the ministry, malicious conspiracy theories, some contradictory, are being spread blaming Israel and Jews for the spread of the virus in order to thin out the world population and profit from a vaccination.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews

(Photo: AFP)

These posts are most common in the U.S., France, and Germany where anti-Semitism has been on the rise, but are seen in the Arab and Muslim world as well.

The ministry is monitoring these posts and has instructed embassies to urge their host government to act in order to remove them from social media and bloc the disseminators of such content.

Ran Yaakoby, who heads the Department for Combating Antisemitism said social platforms are being asked to act. Some have promised to investigate and bloc these posts but some have politely declined, claiming they are swamped by coronavirus content and do not have the manpower to deal with this problem.

Anti-Semitic post

(Photo: Twitter)

A 23-year-old man was arrested on Sunday in New Jersey after he announced on underground sites favored by White Supremacists, his intent to target Jews he blamed for spreading coronavirus.

Some of the conspiracy theories claim there is a Jewish Zionist plot to thin out the world's population. In the Arab world, Israel is blamed for the spread of disease.

Cartoons disseminated on Twitter and Telegram showed planes marked with an Israeli flag spreading coronavirus over people on the ground. Similar theories were spread in Turkey and Iran where the annual Holocaust denial cartoon competition was recently announced.

Some cartoons show the Israeli flag with the coronavirus replacing the star of David.

Other conspiracy theories claim Israel is already in possession of a vaccine and will make a fortune from its sale at the expense of human lives.

Anti-Semitic cartoon

(Photo: Twitter)

Foreign Ministry officials say they have found links between Holocaust deniers and these conspiracy theorists linking the number of deaths in China and the number of bodies burnet, to the claim that the number of Holocaust victims cannot be true because China was unable to burn as many bodies.

Other posts of this kind quote from the anti-Semitic manifesto of the Elders of Zion as proof of Jewish attempts at world domination through the spread of coronavirus.

"We have identified these posts and are warning against their dissemination. We would like legislators to be more vigilant and take action against them," he said.

"We are aware of certain people mapping companies owned by Jews in the United States so that they could later be accused of profiteering from the pandemic if they survive," Yaakoby said.

See the rest here:

Anti-Semitism on the rise, Jews blamed for coronavirus - Ynetnews

A Victim of the Holocaust Lived Here – Sojourners

Posted By on April 2, 2020

I AM TERRIFIED of tripping. Thanks to a couple memorable tumbles over the yearsthe most recent of which involved a face-plant while on a runI always double-knot my shoelaces and look down at my feet when I walk. Remaining steady and stable is always in the back of my mind.

But on a trip to Berlin in 2017, I found myself repeatedly tripping over something in the ground. The source of my stumbling, I soon learned, were Stolpersteine, which translates literally to stumbling stones, or more metaphorically, stumbling blocks. Stolpersteine are cobblestone-sized bronze plaques embedded in streets and sidewalks throughout Europe, each slightly raised above ground level and engraved with the name and life dates of a Holocaust victim, including murdered Jews, members of the LGBTQ+ community, Sinti and Roma people, people with physical or intellectual disabilities, and other ethnic and political minorities.

These commemorative stones are part of an ongoing art project, installed at the last place each person lived or worked before falling victim to Nazi crimes. Above each engraved name are the words hier wohnte, or here lived, serving as a reminder that this person did not build their life just anywhere, but right here. Each day they walked on this ground.

THE IDEA FORStolpersteine began in 1991, when artist Gunter Demnig painted a white line through the streets of Cologne to trace the deportation of 1,000 Sinti and Roma who were forced out of the city just 50 years prior. An old lady stopped by and scolded my work, insisting there had never been any Gypsies in Cologne, said Demnig. Her denial prompted Demnig to find a way to more permanently preserve the memory of those killed in the Holocaust.

Here is the original post:

A Victim of the Holocaust Lived Here - Sojourners

‘It’s a place where they try to destroy you’: why concentration camps are still with us – The Guardian

Posted By on April 2, 2020

At the start of the 21st century, the following things did not exist. In the US, a large network of purpose-built immigration prisons, some of which are run for profit. In western China, political education camps designed to hold hundreds of thousands of people, supported by a high-tech surveillance system. In Syria, a prison complex dedicated to the torture and mass execution of civilians. In north-east India, a detention centre capable of holding 3,000 people who may have lived in the country for decades but are unable to prove they are citizens. In Myanmar, rural encampments where thousands of people are being forced to live on the basis of their ethnicity. On small islands and in deserts at the edges of wealthy regions Greeces Aegean islands, the Negev Desert in Israel, the Pacific Ocean near Australia, the southern Mediterranean coastline various types of large holding centres for would-be migrants.

The scale and purpose of these places vary considerably, as do the political regimes that have created them, but they share certain things in common. Most were established as temporary or emergency measures, but have outgrown their original stated purpose and become seemingly permanent. Most exist thanks to a mix of legal ambiguity detention centres operating outside the regular prison system, for instance and physical isolation. And most, if not all, have at times been described by their critics as concentration camps.

We tend to associate the idea of concentration camps with their most extreme instances the Nazi Holocaust, and the Soviet Gulag system; genocide in Cambodia and Bosnia. But the disturbing truth is that concentration camps have been widespread throughout recent history, used to intern civilians that a state considers hostile, to control the movement of people in transit and to extract forced labour. The author Andrea Pitzer, in One Long Night, her recent history of concentration camps, estimates that at least one such camp has existed somewhere on Earth throughout the past 100 years.

The definition of a concentration camp is sometimes fuzzy, but at root, such camps represent a combination of physical and legal power. They are a way for modern states to segregate groups of civilians by placing them in a closed or isolated location via special rules that are distinct from a countrys main system of rights and punishments. Many have been set up under military jurisdiction by the British during the Boer war, for instance while others, such as the Soviet gulags, have been used in peacetime to deal with social undesirables.

Cruelty and the abuse of power have existed throughout human history, but concentration camps have not. They are little more than a century old. The earliest began as wartime measures, but on numerous occasions since then they have become lasting features. They are a product of technologically advanced societies with sophisticated legal and political systems and have been made possible by a range of modern inventions. Military technologies such as automatic weapons or barbed wire made it easier for small groups of officials to hold much larger groups of people captive. Advanced bureaucracy and surveillance techniques enabled states to watch, count and categorise civilians in ways they couldnt have done in earlier eras. As Pitzer writes, such camps belong in the company of the atomic bomb as one of the few advanced innovations in violence.

This innovation haunts the political imagination of liberal democracies. The concentration camp is a symbol of everything such societies are supposed to stand against: the arbitrary use of power and the stripping of peoples rights, the systematic removal of liberty; dehumanisation, abuse, torture, murder and genocide. When it is used to refer to contemporary places, the term concentration camp is often reserved for the locations of the most serious human rights abuses, as when Amnesty International used it in a 2017 report estimating that 13,000 people had been murdered by Syrias Assad regime in the Saydnaya military prison outside Damascus. But politicians, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among them, have also used the term to describe camps such as the ones the Trump administration has been running on the US border with Mexico.

To some, these comparisons minimise the use of concentration camps by Nazi Germany in its effort to exterminate Jews. For others, the comparisons are a necessary warning, not least because one kind of camp can easily transform into another. Pitzer gives the example of a refugee camp: if people are not allowed to leave, and are systematically denied their rights, then it starts to resemble more sinister creations. As authoritarians and rightwing populists reach positions of power in various parts of the world, liberals are voicing fears that history is repeating itself.

Surveying what he called a century of camps in the mid-90s, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman warned that the temptation for governments to use them would always be strong when certain humans are declared redundant or forced into a superfluous condition. There is no shortage of threats in the current century from environmental catastrophe to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic that are creating such conditions. The question is how to ensure that the concentration camp is not the states inevitable response.

It is tempting to regard the concentration camp as an anomaly, but for some observers, such camps are a grim reflection of the way modern states work. After the second world war, as knowledge of the Holocaust became widespread, leading theorists sought to offer explanations for the genocide that had taken place, and the methods used to carry it out. Writing in 1950, the Martiniquan poet and politician Aim Csaire argued that the Holocaust applied to Europe colonialist procedures that until then had been reserved exclusively for people of colour.

Concentration camps were indeed colonial in origin. Their earliest uses came at the turn of the 20th century by the Spanish in 1896 to put down a rebellion in Cuba, by the US in 1899 to do similar in the Philippines, and by the British empire in southern Africa during the Boer war of 1899-1902. The first use of concentration camps for a deliberate policy of extermination was not in Europe but in German South West Africa modern-day Namibia between 1904 and 1907. (Germany only recently officially acknowledged its treatment of the Herero and Nama tribes as genocide.)

For Csaire, the appearance of camps in Europe itself was a direct result of the way in which Europeans had attempted to dehumanise their colonial subjects in order to exploit them, but ended up dehumanising themselves. Colonisation, he wrote, works to decivilise the coloniser, to brutalise him in the true sense of the word, to degrade him, to awaken him to buried instincts, to covetousness, violence, race hatred and moral relativism.

The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt also turned her attention to camps after the war. Like Csaire, Arendt drew links between the behaviour of European powers in their colonies and their conduct at home, but she also highlighted how some of the tools wielded by authoritarians had been put in place by democracies before the rise of fascism. In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt pointed out that when France was occupied by Nazi Germany, for instance, the Gestapo was able to make use of draconian police powers already in existence to round up and detain civilians. These existed because France, like many other states in Europe, had been unable to deal with the mass displacement of people in the aftermath of the first world war and had instituted harsh measures to deal with unwanted migrants.

In 1940, Arendt had her own direct experience of this relatively novel form of containment. After fleeing Germany for France, she was placed in an internment camp at Gurs, near the Pyrenees. The camp had been established a few years earlier to detain republican refugees from the Spanish civil war; it was repurposed in 1939 for enemy aliens a practice instigated by the British in the first world war and subsequently copied by many countries. The inmates had to endure overcrowding, disease and insufficient food rations, and were made to live together regardless of the fact that some were Nazi party members and others, like Arendt, were Jewish refugees. It was partly the memory of this that led Arendt to place internment on a continuum with the Soviet gulags and the Nazi death camps as she saw it, the Hades, Purgatory and Hell of state violence.

That the British, Americans, Spanish, French and Germans, among other nations, had all used concentration camps led some thinkers to ask whether such camps were inevitable features of the modern state. Perhaps the most provocative answer comes from the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, whose ideas have grown in prominence in the past two decades. For Agamben, the existence of the concentration camp reveals something fundamental about power who holds it, and what gives them the authority to wield it. His work is dense, ranging across ancient Greek and Roman law, Biblical texts and Renaissance literature, but it has been influential on a generation of scholars and activists in the past two decades particularly among those who wanted to understand the camp established by the US at Guantnamo Bay, under an emergency policy after 9/11, or the growing phenomenon of immigration detention at the borders of the rich world.

Sovereignty, as Agamben sees it, is founded on absolute power over human life, and has been since ancient times. The sovereign has the power not only to kill, but to strip people of rights through forms of banishment, reducing them to a state of what he calls bare life. In the past, sovereignty would have been concentrated in the figure of the monarch; modern states are supposed to have improved upon monarchy by restraining the arbitrary use of power through democratic checks and balances. But, according to Agamben, the tendency to banish and dehumanise keeps on coming back in the form of the concentration camp: a space where people are outside the law, yet more subject to its power than anywhere else.

For Agamben, this reveals the basis on which power is exercised by modern states. In his words, the concentration camp is the nomos or fundamental principle of modern societies, the hidden matrix of politics in our age. While they may only sometimes use it, governments retain the power to declare emergency measures a state of exception in Agambens words to strip us of rights, and confine us to spaces in which we live a kind of exile. The camps logic, he implies, pervades seemingly free societies through modern state techniques of surveillance, bureaucracy, violence and other forms of coercion.

Grand theories such as those of Csaire, Arendt and Agamben are valuable, but risky. By seeking to identify common patterns across specific societies, at different moments in history, they warn that all modern states have the potential to set up concentration camps. Misconstrued, however, they can end up obscuring crucial differences such as the distinction between camps used in a deliberate policy of extermination, and those where people die through neglect. Holocaust deniers, for instance, or people who seek to downplay the severity of colonial massacres, often try to muddy these distinctions.

When theory becomes dogma, it can also limit our understanding of the present. Agambens own recent trajectory offers a cautionary tale: in late February 2020, he published a short essay in the leftwing Italian newspaper Il Manifesto criticising his governments draconian restrictions on public freedoms aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. The piece referred to the invention of an epidemic, and went further than merely questioning the long-term impact of these restrictions; it condemned them as frenetic, irrational, and entirely unfounded, arguing the virus was not too different from the normal flu. The piece has been widely criticised, and provoked a retort from the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy that had he listened to Agambens advice not to have a heart operation 30 years ago, he would now be dead.

Agamben is hardly the only person to have underestimated the threat posed by the coronavirus in recent months. As more governments pass emergency laws to deal with the pandemic, in some cases including draconian surveillance measures and the establishment of segregated quarantine camps, it is right to ask where these might lead, and whether states will be willing to give up their new powers once the immediate danger to public health has passed. But that shouldnt obscure the fact that some emergencies are real: in these situations, the most important question is whether societies can respond to them without permanently destroying peoples rights.

Concentration camps are uniquely dangerous spaces. Their effects may vary considerably, from the horror of Auschwitz to the more mundane misery that Arendt experienced in Gurs, but the people caught up in them almost always end up being treated as less than human. And if the political and technological innovations of the late 19th century made them possible, does the 21st century make them any more likely?

In 2014, the Chinese government launched an initiative it called the Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism, focused on the province of Xinjiang, in the countrys far west. In the English-speaking world, details of the programme remained scarce until 2017, when reports started to filter through that thousands of people from Xinjiangs ethnic Uighur population, most of whom are Muslims, were being detained. The following year, researchers who trawled through Chinese government procurement documents and satellite imagery pointed to the existence of a vast, newly constructed complex of internment camps, which they estimated had the capacity to hold anywhere between several hundred thousand and 1.5 million people. Former inmates have given testimony to journalists and researchers that they were forced into education programmes, made to eat pork and drink alcohol, and given compulsory sterilisation and abortions.

This is just one example of how globalisation and technology have added a new dimension to an old problem. China has a long history of running camps the political re-education programme launched by Mao in the 50s was one of the worlds most extensive gulag networks. But the latest crackdown has new features. First, the Xinjiang camps are backed up by state-of-the-art digital surveillance methods provided by leaders in the global tech industry: a computerised CCTV network developed by a state-run defence manufacturer, designed to apply the ideas of military cybersystems to civilian public security, which tracks individuals and analyses their behaviour to anticipate potential crime; a tracking app that visitors to Xinjiang are obliged to install on their smartphones; DNA analysis equipment partly supplied by US biotech firms. Second, China has justified its crackdown to the rest of the world by adopting the same rhetoric that the US and its allies used after 9/11. In 2014, the Communist party launched its so-called peoples war on terror in Xinjiang. Chinas methods may be extreme, but it is by no means the first country to have introduced policies that subject Muslims to collective suspicion and punishment, in response to violent Islamic fundamentalist groups.

What else could tempt states to open camps? In her 2014 book Expulsions, the sociologist Saskia Sassen argues that the particular form of globalisation the world has experienced in recent decades driven by a new form of laissez-faire economics has unleashed a dangerous new dynamic that excludes large numbers of people from economic and social life. The global shift to privatisations, deregulation and open borders for some has brutally punished the vulnerable and accelerated environmental destruction.

In richer countries, Sassen argues, this leads to low-income workers being forced out of established welfare and healthcare programmes into more punitive systems (such as the UKs universal credit scheme), the impoverishment of sections of the middle class through austerity policies, and more and more people being locked up in prison. In poorer parts of the world, this means mass displacement and the warehousing of migrants as they try to move elsewhere.

One result of these global pressures has been the rise of political movements that promise to shore up national, religious or ethnic identities. But identities are ambiguous, and when governments start using the tools of state power to reinforce the line between insider and outsider, there are always large numbers of people who get caught in between. In India, the government of Narendra Modi has been trying to reshape the country along Hindu nationalist lines, undermining the secular and pluralist principles that have held sway since independence. The emerging camps in Assam, a north-eastern state on the border with Bangladesh, are a result: they target thousands of mainly Muslim residents who may have lived in India for decades, but because they originally came from across the border in Bangladesh a legacy of partition have never been registered as citizens.

The understandable response when confronted with injustice is to look for someone to blame. Its easier to do so when oppression is perpetrated by villainous leaders, or in other peoples societies. But particularly in liberal democracies, the chains of responsibility can be complex. Who, for instance, is responsible for the arbitrary imprisonment, torture and slave-labour conditions that migrants and refugees in Libya are subjected to? The immediate answer seems fairly simple: the state officials and local militias, some linked to trafficking networks, who run the detention centres. Thousands of people, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, are imprisoned in a network of these centres where they are regularly subjected to starvation, disease, torture, rape, and forced labour.

But the reason those detention centres exist is because a range of European governments have been trying to get Libya to act as a block on unwanted migration across the Mediterranean for almost 20 years. The system was built with European support, both from national governments and at EU level first through agreements with the government of Muammar Gaddafi, then, as the country collapsed after he was overthrown by a Nato-backed uprising, a patchwork of arrangements with state officials and local militias.

There is no shortage of information about what happens in Libyan detention centres and European governments frequently profess their horror at the atrocities committed there. Yet the system persists, because those governments broadly agree that the goal of limiting migration is more important than dismantling Libyas detention system. The political consensus in most European countries, including the UK, is that limiting unwanted migration is a reasonable and desirable aim, and large numbers of their citizens have voted in support of it.

When Zygmunt Bauman turned his attention to camps in the 90s, he argued that what characterises violence in our age is distance not just the physical or geographical distance that technology allows, but the social and psychological distance produced by complex systems in which it seems everybody and nobody is complicit. This, for Bauman, works on three levels. First, actions are carried out by a long chain of performers, in which people are both givers and takers of orders. Second, everybody involved has a specific, focused job to perform. And third, the people affected hardly ever appear fully human to those within the system. Modernity did not make people more cruel, Bauman wrote, it only invented a way in which cruel things could be done by non-cruel people.

When something today is described as a concentration camp, it almost always provokes an angry dispute. If camps arent being used to exterminate people, as they have been in their worst instances, then the comparison is frequently condemned as inappropriate. But condemnation can be a way for governments to shield themselves from criticism of their decisions, and from criticism of the legitimacy of state power itself.

In 2018, Donald Trumps government responded to a rise in the number of undocumented migrants many of whom were asylum-seekers fleeing violence in Central America crossing the US-Mexico border by drastically increasing the use of long-term immigration detention. Reports of overcrowding, filthy conditions and the denial of due process for asylum claims soon followed, accompanied by measures that seemed intended to make a symbolic display of cruelty, such as the separation of young children from their parents. In June 2019, amid the outcry from opponents of this policy, congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez recorded a video for her Instagram followers: The US is running concentration camps on our southern border, she stated, and that is exactly what they are I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that never again means something.

This was a political intervention intended to shock people into challenging the Trump governments immigration policy and in the row that ensued, some commentators objected that Ocasio-Cortezs reference to concentration camps and her use of the phrase never again was an inappropriate Holocaust analogy. As the historian Deborah Lipstadt commented, something can be horrible and not be like the Holocaust.

But much of the response from Ocasio-Cortezs Republican opponents was to downplay the extent of abuses happening as a result of Trumps policies, or to portray what was happening as normal and routine. Some pointed out, for instance, that Trump was only making modifications to a system built by his predecessors: deportations of undocumented immigrants, for instance, reached their peak under Barack Obama. These sorts of equivocations have accompanied the use of camps from their inception, and they always try to give the same impression: that whats being done is normal and legitimate, that criticisms are overblown, marginal and extreme; and that states have the right to behave this way.

The story of Britains concentration camps during the Boer war illustrates how a society that thinks of itself as liberal can make excuses for a mass crime. In 1899, when the British empire went to war against two breakaway Afrikaner republics in South Africa, it set up a network of camps that quickly expanded to detain several hundred thousand people. At first the camps were justified as protection for Boer civilians who had signed an oath of loyalty; later, they were used to imprison Boer undesirables who had not signed the oath, as well as black South Africans who the British forced off their land to make them act as lookouts for troops. Due to poor sanitation, meagre food rations and overcrowding, diseases such as typhoid and measles frequently ripped through the camps; at least 28,000 white people and 20,000 black people were killed by this system in just a few years.

The two most prominent critics of Britains camps the feminist campaigners Emily Hobhouse and Millicent Fawcett both had to struggle against political and public opinion that initially saw the camps as a wartime necessity, and both fought hard to alleviate suffering. But the grounds on which they did so were radically different, as the author Vron Ware has recently argued. Fawcett, who visited South Africa with the governments approval to produce a report on the camps, saw her concern for the welfare of vulnerable civilians as compatible with the wider aims of the camps. Saving the children, for her, was as true a service to the country as that which men were rendering by going into the armies to serve in the field. But for Hobhouse, who was the first prominent activist to visit South Africa and expose conditions in the camps, British military values and the nationalism that underpinned them were the fundamental problem. She was challenging the legitimacy of state power itself.

Hobhouse, who in her day was derided in sexist terms as a mad old lady, is now largely forgotten, while it is safe to say that Britains concentration camps are not well remembered: last year the Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg defended their use on an episode of Question Time, erroneously claiming that their mortality rate was only the same as that of Glasgows at the time. But without Hobhouses radical critique, it would have been harder to oppose the harm done by Britains camps a century ago, and would be harder to understand why camps still appear in the world today.

The point of historical comparisons should not be to find identical situations no two events in history are identical but to alert us to potential dangers in the way states exercise power. Not everyone, for instance, reacted with outrage to Ocasio-Cortezs comments last year. While she drew criticism from some Jewish organisations, including a rebuke from the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, the row also energised a US protest movement against Trumps immigration policy led by leftwing Jewish activists. The movement calls itself Never Again Action, explicitly drawing on a collective memory of persecution.

In his final book, The Drowned and the Saved, the Auschwitz survivor and author Primo Levi reflected on the conditions that had made the Nazi camps possible, and wondered what lessons, if any, could be applied to a world that had moved on. The unique combination of factors that had unleashed the horror of Nazism was unlikely to return, he thought, but that should not obscure the danger of violence in our own time, or the politicians who seek to wield it. Violence, he wrote, is there before our eyes it only awaits its new buffoon (there is no dearth of candidates) to organise it, legalise it, declare it necessary and mandatory and so contaminate the world.

If the state as we know it is here to stay, then what can people do when governments start building camps? The history of the concentration camp has also been a history of peoples resistance to camps, from both inside and out. Even in the most seemingly hopeless situations there are stories of people who have fought back against their treatment. The uprisings in the Nazi death camps of Sobibor and Treblinka are among the most famous; and the Soviet Gulag system was beset by strikes and revolts. On their own, these may not have been enough, but camps work by enforcing a rigid distinction between people on opposite sides of the barbed-wire fence. Those inside are kept silent and invisible, while those outside are encouraged to ignore or accept what is happening. Successful resistance aims at breaking down this distinction: governments know this, and even states that operate relatively mild forms of mass detention make significant efforts to obscure the conditions inside, and to deter their own citizens from prying too closely.

One evening in February this year, I watched the Kurdish author Behrouz Boochani give a talk by video link to an audience at Birkbeck, University of London. Boochani, who currently lives in New Zealand, spent four years in Australias regional offshore processing centre for asylum-seekers on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Australia has pioneered a type of long-term detention for unwanted migrants that is now becoming more common elsewhere in the world. Boochani and his fellow detainees were not merely being held for processing, but in harsh conditions intended to act as a deterrent to future travellers. The Australian government forbade journalists to report on the full extent of these conditions, which included the beating and abuse of detainees, and introduced a law threatening doctors and social workers with up to two years in prison if they spoke in public about what they had witnessed.

Boochani, however, smuggled out accounts of life in detention, via text messages sent to his translator by WhatsApp, that were turned into articles for the Guardian and other outlets as well as a memoir, No Friend But the Mountains. Boochani explained to us how he saw his detention as part of Australias and Britains longer history of treating non-white people as disposable. Its worse than a prison, he said of the Manus camp. Its a place where they take your identity and freedom from you, and try to destroy you. Detainees were given numbers, he said, which the guards used instead of their names; his was MEG45.

The camp on Manus Island was eventually shut down by the Australian government, after widespread public criticism, although its broader asylum policies remain largely the same. For Boochani, writing was not simply a way to expose his conditions and link up with campaigners against detention on the outside, but to challenge the very basis on which the treatment of people like him was justified. I never use the language and the words that the [Australian] government use, he said. I say systematic torture, I say political prisoner. One of the things that gave him hope in confinement, he said, was the fact that animals could wander in and out of the spaces where human freedom was limited a reminder that the structure which held him was built by people, and could therefore also be dismantled. Nature, he said, always tried to reimpose itself on the prison.

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Read more:

'It's a place where they try to destroy you': why concentration camps are still with us - The Guardian

Divrei Chizzuk During the Time of Corona – Touro College News

Posted By on April 2, 2020

Divrei Chizzuk During the Time of CoronaInspiration from Members of the Touro Family

April 01, 2020

As all Americans face the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish community has the added stress of the upcoming Pesach holiday, a time normally shared with family and friends that many of us must now celebrate quietly and alone. In this series of videos, noted lecturers and rabbis from across the Touro family provide inspiration, chizuk and Pesach resources to better help you and your family remember hope during this bewildering time.

Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Psychologist and Lucille Weidman Chair of the Graduate Program in Jewish General and Special Education at the Touro College Graduate School of Education.

How do we make the most of our seder? Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman offers advice on ensuring that your seder is a positive and meaningful experience. The seder is quintessentially about the children, explains Dr. Lichtman. This is the time for us to transmit to them the pride in our heritage and the history of our people. Dr. Lichtman encourages you to tailor the seder to your child. Less is occasionally more. Relate the seder to your children in ways they can understand and rememberthat they have limited attention spans. But Pesach allows you to set the springboardfor learning for the entire year.

Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at Lander College for Womenthe Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School.

In this video, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser notes that as we deal with the coronavirus weentered the Jewish month of Nissan, which is a time for renewal in the Jewish calendar. If theres something the entire world needs right now, its renewal, says Rabbi Goldwasser. Nissan symbolizes new enthusiasm and new powers; the month means that we are ready to meet the challenges of the future. Rabbi Goldwasser describes the blessings that are made typically during the month of Nissan on blossoming fruit trees and how the blessings function as a larger acknowledgement of the good and beauty in the worldand how we should appreciate those qualities even during difficult times.

See the article here:

Divrei Chizzuk During the Time of Corona - Touro College News

Page 11234..1020..»