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"Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary" Gives the Groundbreaking Feminist Her Due – Ms. Magazine

Posted By on February 9, 2021

From sex work and rape, to being a lesbian loving a feminist man, to being disabled and a motherless orphan, Andrea Dworkin smashed through the barriers before her as only the most radical revolutionary feminist would, and Martin Duberman has given this to her: her due. (@JohnStoltenberg / Twitter)

Of all the luminaries that graced second-wave feminisms, Andrea Dworkin was certainly one of the most verbally abused and perhaps the most misunderstood. In some ways, she was also most bravedespite Robin Morgans sweet pet name for her as cream puff and her personal horror of bugs.

From childhood to deathbed, Martin Dubermans new biography of Andrea Dworkin gives her justice: Her lifes work, her lived experience, and the feminists and foes who attacked her are carefully stitched together in historical context and granular detail through letters, publications and the sympathetic voice of Duberman. Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary is an admiral treatise on Dworkins life and work, including unusually rare glimpses of intimate moments.

Dworkins two main targeted causes were fighting violence against women and violent pornography that subjugated women for profit, although she also worked to understand the Jewish heritage: from the Holocaust to the Kibbutz to the militarization of Israel, particularly as acted out against Israeli and Palestinian women within the broader fight between the two peoples.

In twelve chapters, Dworkins work and life unfolds in her own words: letters where she kept both the letter she received, the copy of the letter she wrote, and her own writing. Her understanding of the Holocaust began in Hebrew school in Camden, N.J., and was further cemented into her thoughts when she witnessed an aunt, in a private moment, revealing the anguish she had suffered in the Holocaust.

Bennington College honed Dworkins political sensibilities for female equality and a pacifist social order, and strengthened her writing abilities. Her acute sense of fairness and empathy guided her through the political spectrum via her own experiences, despite her horrified response to those experiences. She wrote, I was equally afraid of everything, so that nothing held a special terror and no action that interested me was too dangerous (p. 16).

When she returned to the states from Europe where she had lived in abject terror as a battered wife and prostitute, it was the mid-seventiesthe womens movement had taken off. Dworkins accrued understanding of the sex industry and the anger her personal experience had stirred propelled her into the sex wars where she went up against notable feminists. Dworkin and attorney Catherine MacKinnon championed a policy that would allow women, children, and trans men abused by the sex industry to sue for damages.

Duberman explains, The basic concept was that pornography was a sex discriminatory practice that violated womens civil rights through coercion, trafficking, and other sex-based violations (p. 173). Dworkins fight against pornography continued off and on for at least a decade from the early 80s to the late 90s.

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Condemned by many including the male left, Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine (whom Dworkin sued) and prominent feminists, including Adrienne Rich and Dorothy Allison, Dworkin continued writing, promoting her books, and her political commitment to the anti-pornography movement. She was often marching and yelling through the bullhorn: Hey, hey, ho, ho, pornography has got to go! (p. 202).

Even as she vigorously rejected the contempt hurled at her during this time period, events and insults took their toll. Duberman sums up this time in her life eloquently:

Her anger alone propelled her from place to place. At age 42, with five substantial books behind her, Andrea had become increasingly well-known, thanks to a trail of brutal, demeaning reviews, more as a figure of derision than esteem.

On one level, she had faith in the originality and acuity of her work and was able to ascribe some of the belligerent derision which had greeted it to its innovative nature. But no one is that immune to persistent mockery; besides, despite all her public bravado, shed carried with her from childhood the constant and torturous aspersions cast on her character by a distraught and ill mother. As she acknowledged to herself early in the year, I have never felt so little confidence in myself or in my chosen way of life. Its gotten to me.

Ahead of her time in the gender questionalthough words and conception then were different than todaysDworkin was thankful for a loving relationship and eventual marriage with a gay feminist man, John Stoltenberg, also a political writer. Stoltenberg is, as Duberman and Dworkin discussed early on in 1974 at the feminist/gay alliance, a Revolutionary Effeminist, a term for men more female than male.

Duberman notes,Back then shed also been way ahead of the cultural curve in insisting that there were not two genders but rather many, predicting that we will discover cross-sexed phenomena in proportion to our ability to see them (p. 161).Their sexual relationship included Stoltenberg continuing to have sex with men, as long as no one was brought home, Dworkin noted. They would later count themselves lucky to have dodged the bullet of the AIDS pandemic with sighs of relief.

In the early 2000s, during the first real vacation Dworkin allowed herselfa trip to Paris, a date rape drug was slipped into a cordial she was having in the hotel courtyard, and she was violently raped. Among the questions people had at the time, the worst response was the scurrilous one: Who would rape her? The faulty notion that no one would rape a fat harridan (as she had been described) was finally put to rest by the #MeToo Movement during the past few years. The #MeToo chorus dignified and lifted up Dworkins powerful writing about womens bodies being violated like conquered territory.

Andrea Dworkin died an early death in her fifties. Dubermans poignant words best tell the story:

On April 8, 2005, Andrea, retiring for the night, complained of feeling unwell. The next morning, when John went into her bedroom to check on her, she didnt seem to be breathing but was still warm. He tried to rouse her, but she was unresponsive. At some point during the night, an autopsy would later reveal, Andrea had died of acute myocarditisheart inflammation. The shock was all the more profound because of late all signs had been pointing upward. John was desolate, unable for months to put his feelings down on paper.

Of the many writings Dworkin left behind, most revolutionary were the writings of her life story itself. Having lived and fought for the things she believed in, she has left a legacy of work about people who live on the margins, herself included. From sex-work and rape, to being a lesbian loving a feminist man, to being disabled and a motherless orphan, Dworkin smashed through the barriers before her as only the most radical revolutionary feminist would, and Duberman has given this to her: her due.

Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary by Martin Duberman is available now.

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"Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary" Gives the Groundbreaking Feminist Her Due - Ms. Magazine

The bad faith behind Zionist activists latest try to win the left – Forward

Posted By on February 7, 2021

On Monday, Rudy Rochman, a bombastic, keffiyeh-wearing Zionist activist, will debate famed academic Noam Chomsky.

Its a mismatched and bizarre pairing: a world-renowned linguist whose ideas on Zionism and the state of Israel have shaped leftist discourse for decades versus a glorified college activist whose works include the YouTube videos Avatar Jewish Connection and Breaking Down Seth Rogens Internalized Anti-Semitism.

The fact that this event is happening at all demonstrates the unfortunate success of Rochmans approach to activism, which stands in contrast to traditional Zionist advocacy. Organizations like the Jewish National Fund, AIPAC and the Zionist Organization of America have historically adhered to a limited ideology that has gone largely unchanged for seven decades, one that sells Israel as a post-Holocaust bastion of security for the Jewish people and a perpetual underdog. They see the role of American Jews as being to uncritically support Israel, both financially and politically.

And many of them still wrongly identify support of Israel as a shared issue with those on the left.

There was substantial support for Zionism on the American left around the time of Israels founding. But after the 1967 Six Day War, which saw Israel occupy the Golan, West Bank, Gaza and Sinai, Israel increasingly ran afoul of growing anti-colonial sentiment among those on the left. But to more traditional American Zionists, it was not Israel that changed, but the left itself. Unwilling to adjust their ideas about Israel as it gained power, their arguments for unfettered support of the country increasingly failed to resonate with new generations growing up in a world where Israel was an occupier, not a victim.

Rochman represents a new approach: He is part of a growing wave of Zionist activists that aim to appeal to a younger audience by mimicking forms of activism that are already popular in leftist circles. By blending historically leftist language about indigeneity and solidarity with the hasbara of clickbait Zionism, Rochman and his ilk have created a form of activism engineered to appeal to the liberal tendencies of a younger Jewish audience.

But Rochmans ideology centers on the notion that Jews deserve a voice in discourse about indigenous rights, and that denying them that is antisemitic. He claims that the Jewish people are indigenous to Judea, the Biblical name for part of what is today part of the state of Israel. He has stated that Zionism is the most successful indigenous liberation movement that has ever existed.

That position is a canny twisting of true Indigenous rights movements, which exist everywhere from Australia to the United States and seek to gain recognition for the suffering of native groups. As in many places, the Palestinian cause centers around the issue of dispossession at the hands of Europen colonial powers in their case, Britains decision to carve out part of Mandatory Palestine as a Jewish state. Zionism, on the other hand, echoed those European colonial movements.

This new face of American Zionism is deeply connected to the peculiar position of younger American Jews. American Jews aged 18-29 are substantially more progressive than their parents, particularly when it comes to Israel.

We witnessed the development of Rochmans ideology and influence as his classmates at Columbia University. As leaders in left-leaning groups like J Street and IfNotNow, we watched as Rochman founded Students Supporting Israel, a group notorious for its almost comical pro-Israel antics, which included flying a plane over campus during Apartheid Week with a banner that read HEBREW LIBERATION WEEK. One of Rochmans earliest experiments with indigeneity discourse was his highly memeable Indigenous Peoples Unite event, for which he brought together speakers from a variety of indigenous groups with the purpose of validating his belief that Israelis, or Israelites, as he referred to them, were indigenous to the Land of Israel.

Rochman, who began a quasi-career as an internet celebrity after leaving Columbia in 2018, is not alone in making this argument. Hen Mazzig, a frequent speaker on the college campus circuit and Israeli Zionist activist, uses similar tactics. In Oct. 2020, he authored an op-ed in Newsweek entitled, Are Jews Indigenous? Heres what a Native American Jew Thinks. He quoted Mahrinah von Schlegel, his interviewee, as saying that Jews are not only indigenous to Israel we are indigenous peoples.

Part of whats surprising and paradoxical about Rochman and Mazzigs brand of activism is that it simultaneously attempts to appeal to young American Jews and to distance Israel from the U.S. Rochman has said that he doesnt support the U.S.s involvement in Israels politics and places blame for the conflict at the hands of the imperial powers. Last fall, Mazzig shared an Instagram post referring to English as an imperial language in Israel. Both these examples run counter to the arguments of establishment voices like AIPAC and the ZOA, whose very existence is predicated on the need for a close relationship militarily and financially between America and Israel.

Adopting the lefts language is simply a way to fool progressives into thinking that up is down and supporting the Israeli government is supporting human rights, said Morriah Kaplan, national spokesperson for IfNotNow. Aside from being a false equivalence, the appropriation of indigenous identity and experience is deeply offensive and disrespectful to indigenous communities around the world. Rochman takes it a step further, presenting himself as the newest Great Communicator, able to reach across a seemingly intractable political divide and unite Israelis and Palestinians. In one video, Rochman tells a Palestinian man that youd be surprised as to how much we actually agree.

At a time when many Ashkenazi Jews are examining how race factors into their identity, normalizing the notion that Jews are indigenous to the land on which Israel was founded in the same way as other indigenous peoples is deeply irresponsible. The Chomsky debate will likely be more of the same, but will also dangerously legitimize this ideology.

Jonah Goldman Kay is a writer based in New Orleans whose work has appeared in The New Republic, Politico and The Paris Review.

Sylvie Rosen is an outdoor educator based in California.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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The bad faith behind Zionist activists latest try to win the left - Forward

Bayit Yehudi is over – Does their public need a party anymore? – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on February 7, 2021

Last Thursday night at midnight, a key political entity in the State of Israel that has in one form or another played a role in every Knesset since 1956 was eliminated from the national political map.The Bayit Yehudi Party, the successor to the National Religious Party, failed to unite with another political faction and, due to disastrous polling numbers, decided not to run in the upcoming elections.The political heir of the NRP whose leaders, such as Haim-Moshe Shapira, Yosef Burg and Zvulun Hammer, made lasting contributions to the Jewish state and which has represented the religious-Zionist community for decades will now not be represented in the next Knesset.How did this venerable and fixture of Israeli politics fall so low?In truth, developments leading to this outcome have been long in the making.The old National Religious Party always faithfully served its constituents by focusing on religious issues; preserving the status quo on religion and state, including personal-status issues; and guaranteeing the viability of the religious-Zionist school system and yeshivas.In the last two decades it also focused heavily on advancing the cause of the settlements, which religious Zionists pioneered. But its sphere of influence and the aspirations of its leaders remained focused on these narrow sectarian issues.

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Bayit Yehudi is over - Does their public need a party anymore? - The Jerusalem Post

Will the America-Israel Alliance Survive the Biden Administration? –

Posted By on February 7, 2021

JerusalemAmericans have long recognized a fundamental brotherhood that exists between the State of Israel and the United States. The view that Israel has a right to exist in its historic homeland, and should be supported by American power as it faces calls for its destruction, is shared by most American voters. And yet, for the last 12 years, instead of being a unifying force among Americas political class, support for Israel has caused immense contention.

For the last four years, President Donald Trump led the most pro-Israel administration in American history. Before him, President Barack Obama led the most destructive. Now, with Joe Biden taking office, there is every indication that the pendulum will swing once more.

According to Israeli commentator Caroline Glick, the Biden administration is shaping up the be the most hostile U.S. administration ever. Glick made these comments last week after the Biden administration announced that Maher Bitar was appointed to serve as the senior director for Intelligence at the National Security Council.

When there are no fruits to show so early in an administration, it is political appointments that reveal where the government policy is heading. For Israel, several of Bidens picks show that a potentially cold, dark four years are just beginning.

Bitar is a Palestinian American whose history of activism against the State of Israel is well known. As Glick related, Bitar was a former leader of the anti-Semitic, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Students for Justice in Palestine. In that role, he organized campaigns to delegitimize Israel and once chaired a conference where participants discussed how to indoctrinate Christians to believe that Israel has no right to exist.

Crucially, Bitar made his splash into politics when he formed a role inside the Obama administration as the Israel-Palestinian officer on the National Security Council. He was also a deputy to Samantha Power, Obamas United Nations ambassador who presided over Obamas parting shot at the State of Israel, refusing to veto a powerful anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council a month before Obama left office.

And now Bitar will be holding one of the most powerful positions in the American intelligence community, despite his complete lack of history in the intelligence field. He will ostensibly decide which intelligence is shared with the president. And as Bidens gatekeeper, he will also determine priorities for intelligence operations and collections. As a former National Security Council member told Glick, Bitar will control the information everyone sees. And by controlling the information, he controls the conversation.

Normally, this role is reserved for intelligence officials with a history of dealing with highly sensitive information. Now it is going to a political activist whose main claim to fame is delegitimatizing Israel.

But Bitar is not the only worrying choice for Israel.

Several others from President Obamas Israel-hostile staff have joined Bidens team, particularly those who were involved in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal. John Kerry, Jake Sullivan, Wendy Sherman, William Burns are just a small sampling of Obamas nuclear deal team who have made it over to the Biden administration. These people who empowered Iran once are no doubt calling for Iran to be empowered again.

While the details of the nuclear deal are often lost on Americans, not one American ally in the region thought the nuclear deal was a good idea when it was implemented in 2016. Five years later, that consensus hasnt changed.

In fact, there is even relative agreement among many in the Washington think-tank class who are against rushing into a new deal with Iran. Former Obama official Dennis Ross recently admitted that the Trump administrations maximum pressure campaign has certainly created leverage that should not be discounted, advising that Biden should consider seriously the elements of his predecessors approach worth keeping.

Nevertheless, Bidens picks show that he wants a deal with Iran.

Nothing highlights just how desperate he is to empower the fanatical regime in Tehran like the appointment of Robert Malley as his special envoy to Iran.

Naturally, Malley is another Obama veteran. In 2008, he was called in as candidate Barack Obamas foreign policy adviser. However, when it was made public that Malley had met with leaders of the Hamas terrorist group, he was dropped from the team so as to not be a hindrance to Obamas election hopes. True to form, Malley returned to Obamas team after the 2012 election when his ties to terrorists wouldnt hurt at the ballot box. In 2014, he became Obamas senior director of the National Security Council (the position now held by Bitar). In 2015, he became Obamas lead negotiator for the nuclear deal.

His return is a sure sign that Iran can expect another favorable deal. As Jonathan Tobin wrote last month, Malley is Irans ideal candidate for the position for American envoy. Republican Senator Tom Cotton also deplored the choice of Malley, tweeting, Malley has a long track record of sympathy for the Iranian regime & animus towards Israel. The ayatollahs wouldnt believe their luck if he is selected.

Lucky for Iran, Malley was selected.

But not lucky for Israel. His appointment proves that Israel can expect another American deal with Iran. But not a better deal. Iran has said that it expects the U.S. to undo President Trumps financial sanctions and reimburse Iran billions of dollars in lost revenueand that is just the beginning. With Obamas man leading Bidens Iran negotiations, its easy to see Iran getting exactly what it wants.

That the Biden administration would so quickly head back into a deal with Iran is unsurprising considering how critical the deal was to President Obama. As Watch Jerusalem editor Gerald Flurry showed in his article The Barack Obama Mystery, the Iran nuclear deal was not a mistake by the Obama administration where it was fooled by Tehrans negotiators into accepting a bad deal. Instead, the deal was a deliberate attempt to empower Israels chief enemy. It was motivated by President Obamas deep hatred for the Jewish state. In fact, as Mr. Flurry proved, Obamas successful efforts to remove President Trumps national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, revolved around Obamas desire to continue empowering Israels enemy through preserving the nuclear deal.

Michael Flynn aside, President Trump was still able to pause those wicked purposes by exiting the nuclear deal and inflicting suffocating sanctions on the Iranian regime. He also rectified Obamas horrific treatment of Israel by a series of decisions that promoted Israels strength and security. In a sense, President Trumps administration saved the state of Israel from Barack Obamas destructive designs.

Following President Trump, many Israelis hope that a Biden administration would stabilize the alliance. No one expects him to show the same favor toward Israel as President Trump. In fact, many Israelis would be happy with a little less attention on the world scene right now. Israel would be satisfied with a normal American president like George Bush or Bill Clinton.

But that is not going to happen.

Bidens personnel choices show that his policy toward the Jewish state will be the same as Barack Obamas.

This should be a worrying proposition for the State of Israel, but not one that is without hope. As Mr. Flurry wrote in his recent feature, Why I Still Believe Donald Trump Is Coming Back, there will be a return of Mr. Trumps leadership. As Mr. Flurry noted in that article, God has used the unusual presidency of Donald Trump to temporarily save the United States. By extension, God has preserved the brotherhood with the State of Israel.

The bond between America and Israel is founded in biblical history, both nations being modern descendants of the ancient Israelites. Because of that shared biblical history, Israel now finds itself in the cross hairs of Americans own culture wars. One side wants to fundamentally change America and with it crush its connection to Israel; the other side wants to preserve Americas heritage and guard that brotherhood.

Based on biblical prophecy, we know that America and Israel will be saved from the destructive forces. But this saving is only temporary. It is a brief window of time that God is giving so that our nations can wake up to the shared biblical historyand return to the shared God of Israel.

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Will the America-Israel Alliance Survive the Biden Administration? -

Israel and the Temple Mount’s five Muslim rivals –

Posted By on February 7, 2021

(February 7, 2021 / JNS) Everyone knows about the Jewish-Muslim tussle over claims to rule Jerusalem, with its Palestinian lie that Jerusalem has no role in Judaism, and also the pro-Israel rebuttal that the Koran does not mention Jerusalem.

But theres another heated, if less public, battle over Jerusalem (Arabic: al-Quds): not about the right to rule the city, but regarding authority over the Temple Mount (Arabic: al-Haram ash-Sharif), the holy esplanade containing two antique and holy edifices, the Dome of the Rock (built in 691 C.E.) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (705 C.E.).

Palestinian Authority: Controlling the Temple Mount is absolutely central to the P.A.s mission. It may lack the economic and military resources of a state, but it wields two unique powers: day-to-day management (thanks to Israeli deference) and wide international support for its claim to rule eastern Jerusalem.

The P.A. zealously sustains these powers by intimidating Israel with its calls for Muslim outrage and leftist anti-Zionism. As the effective ruler atop the Temple Mount, it is the status quo power resisting any change.

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Jordan: Amman enjoys many formal privileges but has minuscule sway on the ground. The 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty states that Israel respects the present special role of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem and grants high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.

One scholar mistakenly translates this into a supposed custodianship, with its attendant duties of maintaining, protecting, and regulating access to the shrines. Indeed, Israel colludes with relatively friendly Jordanian kings to hide their impotence because that pretend special role is, in the words of Nadav Shragai, The central anchor that bolsters their monarchical rule, granting it legitimacy in the face of Islamic extremist elements in Jordan. A weakened presence on the mount, Jordan fears, will necessarily also undermine stability in the kingdom to the point of presenting an existential threat.

Saudi Arabia: The Saudis lack influence but acutely aspire to some power to enhance their international standing. John Jenkins, a former U.K. ambassador to Riyadh, explains why: Iran has always challenged them on the legitimacy of their custodianship of Mecca and Medina. If they were to add a third shrine to their list, it could enhance their claims to be the absolute [religious] leaders of the Islamic world. The Israelis could hand Riyadh such power, simultaneously sweetening a peace treaty and lessening Palestinian control.

Turkey: The Ottoman Empire ruled Jerusalem for four centuries (1516-1917), after which Turkish authorities abruptly lost interest in the city. President Recep Tayyip Erdoan recently renewed claims to its holy places, culminating in an October 2020 statement that this city that we had to leave in tears during the First World War is our city, a city from us.

Ankara has backed those words with tens of millions of dollars to promote Jerusalems Turkish heritage, win support for Turkeys claims over the Temple Mount, and challenge Israeli rule. Allied with Hamas, the Turks do not cooperate with the Jewish state, which in turn wants to limit its role.

Morocco: Chairing the Organization of Islamic Cooperations Al-Quds Committee and hosting its headquarters since the committees founding in 1975 gives Moroccan kings a certain influence over the Temple Mountdespite a distance of 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles).

The committee also has a subsidiary, Bayt Mal Al Quds Agency, which funds Islamic interests in Jerusalem by donating prayer rugs, building houses, helping with renovations, etc. Symbolically, Morrocan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita prayed at Al-Aqsa in March 2018 to send a strong message of support for the Palestinian cause.

Generally, Moroccan kings ally on Temple Mount issues with Saudi kings to diminish Jordanian kings. Winning its goodwill presumably had a role in Rabats December 2020 decision to normalize relations with Israel.

Israel: Israel faces two hostile actors on the Temple Mountthe P.A., and Turkey/Hamasand three actors quasi-willing to work with itJordan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Until now, Israeli leaders have lacked the imagination to exploit this rivalry, with its great potential psychological impact. One idea: encourage Emirati rulers to join the other three kings to undermine P.A. legitimacy. Another: revive Ehud Olmerts initiative to sponsor a committee overseeing Jerusalems Islamic sanctities.

The ball is in Israels court.

Daniel Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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Israel and the Temple Mount's five Muslim rivals -

‘The Vigil’: An ex-Hasidic man’s harrowing night with the dead J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on February 7, 2021

A young man has to stay up one night guarding the corpse of a stranger, having agreed to wait for the mortician. It is a dark and dreary house, and an old woman warns him not to stay.

Scary, right?

But wait! Thats the job of a shomer, who, in accordance with Jewish law, agrees to be a watchman over the body of the deceased until it is buried. And thats what this man is, even though he recently left his insular Orthodox community in Brooklyn.

How can this setup for a Jewish horror film have been overlooked until now?

The film is called The Vigil, and it is being offered up for a special online screening from Feb. 4 through 11 courtesy of the S.F.-based Jewish Film Institute. Its an unexpected treat, as the films official release date isnt until Feb. 26 (although it did premiere on the festival circuit in 2019).

Keith Thomas, the director, saw the potential for such a movie when he was a student at Hebrew University College in New York City some years ago. While working on a masters in religious education, he was visiting an Orthodox shul when he overheard two older men discussing a shomer who had left his post out of fear.

That stayed with me, he recounts in the press materials for the films release. The stories I gravitate towards, the stories I like to tell, are rooted in tangible human experience.

While The Vigil is described as a supernatural horror film by its producers and the trailer shows apt mastery of the genre the film also is steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology. Set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyns Borough Park, it tells the tale of Yakov Ronen (Dave Davies), a young Jew who left his Hasidic community a short while ago. Low on funds, he reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi to serve as an overnight shomer. Things go downhill as soon as he arrives at the recently departeds dilapidated house to sit the vigil.

The 88-minute movie is the feature film debut for Thomas, who is a published novelist and former medical researcher. It also stars New York actor Malky Goldman (Sheindi in Unorthodox) as Sarah, and veteran New York theater actor Lynn Cohen as Mrs. Litvak, the requisite scary crone.

Margherita Ghetti, JFIs Next Wave programmer, says that although the film explores Jewish traditions, it is also incredibly relatable to millennials and Gen-Z film lovers.

Im not a fan of horror myself, but I have to say I loved this one, Ghetti said in an email.

She added that the film very consciously plays with genre, interweaving deeper questions and themes about religion, faith, intergenerational trauma, relationships with the suspense and playfulness of supernatural horror.

The horror genre has allowed Thomas to inject the film with many of his own spiritual questions, as he asserts in his directors statement: For me, personally, the subtlest scares work the best. All of them come from my own experience a combination of nightmares and bad memories.

If youre watching the movie for the thrill, I hope you enjoy it and it troubles your sleep, he says. If youve come to it for a glimpse into a cloistered world few secular people know, Ill assure you that it is authentic. Regardless of the reason youre watching The Vigil, I hope you find something in our little story that haunts you, that burrows like a splinter in your consciousness and leaves you thinking. Even if its just for a few heartbeats.

The Vigil is part of JFI Next Wave, a genre aimed at young adult film lovers that often showcases emerging filmmakers taking on contemporary topics through a Jewish lens. It is available for streaming as of Feb. 4, and once you start watching, youll have 48 hours to finish. You can buy your $12 ticket at any time, but the last day you can begin watching is Feb. 11.

The film, presented in partnership with IFC Films, is geoblocked to California only. Your screening will include a Q&A with Thomas and cast members. For details, visit

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'The Vigil': An ex-Hasidic man's harrowing night with the dead J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

Abraham Twerski, Who Merged 12 Steps and the Torah, Dies at 90 – The New York Times

Posted By on February 7, 2021

What distinguished Rabbi Twerski from many other Orthodox therapists was his willingness to look outside his community. In one of his works, The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the Jewish Community (1996), he called attention to a problem that many Hasidic leaders argued should be handled discreetly within the insular community, without informing the police or outside authorities.

Abraham Joshua Heschel Twerski was born on Oct. 6, 1930, in Milwaukee, where his parents had immigrated in 1927 after leaving Russia. His father, Jacob, the sixth-generation descendant of the grand rabbi of Chernobyl, was the rabbi of Beth Jehudah Synagogue in Milwaukee. His mother, Devorah Leah (Halberstam) Twerski, was the daughter of a grand rabbi of Bobov, one of the largest Hasidic sects.

Abraham was the third of five brothers, each of whom became a rabbi but was given an advanced secular education as well, earning college and graduate degrees, something very few Hasidim strive for. He attended public schools in Milwaukee, and in second grade acted in a Christmas play. When his mother visited the school, the principal thought she was there to complain; instead, she told the principal that if her sons Jewish upbringing was not strong enough to weather a second-grade play, it was his family that had failed him.

He received his rabbinical ordination in 1951 through the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (now in Skokie, Ill.). While working with his fathers synagogue as an assistant rabbi, he relished counseling others but realized that the members of the congregation would always turn to his father for advice about their most intimate personal problems. He decided, he explained in a 1988 interview with the National Council of Jewish Women, that by studying psychiatry he might enhance his own talent.

So I went to medical school to become a psychiatrist to do what I wanted to do as a rabbi, he said.

He received his medical degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee, a Jesuit institution. When the actor Danny Thomas, a practicing Catholic who had been raised in the Midwest, learned during a lunch with Marquette officials that a student who was an Orthodox rabbi needed up to $4,000 to complete his medical studies, he told the officials, Hes got it, and made good on his pledge.

Rabbi Twerski trained as a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh. He was supposed to take up a teaching position at the university, but after Sister Adele at St. Francis Hospital let him know of the hospitals needs for a stronger mental health program, he became its director of psychiatry. He stayed there for 20 years.


Abraham Twerski, Who Merged 12 Steps and the Torah, Dies at 90 - The New York Times

In Orthodox communities where pregnancy is prized, vaccines and variants leave women confused and afraid – JTA News – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on February 7, 2021

(JTA) For much of the last year, the young mothers of Lakewood, New Jersey, have experienced the pandemic as much as a nuisance as a matter of life and death.

Thats not to say the community hasnt experienced its share of outbreaks; it has. Or that families havent lost loved ones; they have. But to hear the young mothers of the large Orthodox community tell it, the crisis part of the pandemic had passed. Most people recovered from the virus, they thought, and only the elderly and high-risk needed to continue staying home. And to watch the Instagram videos of the frequent indoor weddings held in the town, where few if any guests wear masks, the dark days of last March have nearly been forgotten.

To many, a lockdown that kept the towns thousands of yeshiva students home from the local Beis Medrash Gevoha, the largest yeshiva outside of Israel, for months on end was not a price they were willing to pay. With children and young people at relatively low risk of death or serious illness from COVID, keeping kids home from school seemed to many to be more harmful than the virus itself.

That has changed in recent weeks, as news of the death of a 37-year-old woman understood to be previously healthy swept through WhatsApp groups at the same time that misinformation took hold about the new coronavirus vaccines potentially threatening fertility. In a community where childbearing and mothering are marks of status among women, the two developments brought the pandemics seriousness home for many of the towns young mothers.

Now, as physicians there and across the Orthodox world mount a campaign to convince women to get vaccinated when theyre eligible and to be more careful if theyre not, some mothers in Lakewood are reconsidering their families approach to COVID safety.

These stories are not making us any less concerned to say the least, said one 30-year-old Lakewood resident who is pregnant. She had been looking forward to getting the coronavirus vaccine until her own COVID-19 test came back positive last week, making her ineligible for the time being.

Lakewood, with a haredi Orthodox community that makes up more than half the towns population of over 100,000, is by far New Jerseys most fertile town. In 2015, it recorded 45 live births per 1,000 residents a rate more than four times the states average, and among the highest in the world. So when rumors started circulating about the effect of the soon-to-arrive COVID-19 vaccines on fertility, locals were alarmed.

The rumors began right around the time New Jersey began offering vaccines, and they took root on Instagram and WhatsApp, the social network and messaging platform that are popular among Orthodox women.

In one WhatsApp group organized by Orthodox Jews to discuss COVID, a woman said she had been thinking of moving to Israel but was reconsidering after the mayor of the Israeli city of Lod said he would require parents to be vaccinated before their children could come to school.

In another group, women compared Israels recommendation that pregnant women get the vaccine to Nazi doctors torture of Jews. Disgusting!! They are really making experimentation on Jews!! one woman wrote.

Several people shared information about a drug cocktail created by a Hasidic doctor, Vladimir Zelenko, that Donald Trump touted but was later found to be ineffective and even harmful in some cases. Someone else shared a video of Zelenko in which he said that young, healthy people do not need to take the vaccine. He suggested taking zinc to inhibit viral replication and said in my medical opinion, no one needs the vaccine.

In early January, Michal Weinstein, an Orthodox Instagram influencer who lives on Long Island and has over 21,000 followers, posted an Instagram livestream of Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a pediatrician and well-known anti-vaxxer who spoke at a 2019 symposium of anti-vaccine activists that was attended by hundreds of haredi Orthodox Jews in Monsey, New York. In the video, Palevsky suggested that the vaccines were a profit move by drug companies and that they could contribute to infertility.

Women walk through Williamsburg, home to a large Orthodox Jewish community, on April 10, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tova Herskovitz, a 30-year-old mother of four living in Toms River, New Jersey, a large Orthodox community neighboring Lakewood, said many of her friends are confused about the vaccine and dont know who to trust.

Its scary to know that there are women who are saying whatever they want about this vaccine, she said, noting that Instagram influencers popular in the Orthodox community have spread misinformation about the vaccines. A lot of my friends follow these people.

Dr. Mark Kirschenbaum, a pediatrician with a practice in Borough Park and Williamsburg, both Hasidic communities where weddings and other social events resumed their pre-pandemic pace months ago, said that he thinks about 20% of his patient families are vaccine skeptical. Most vaccinate their children for other diseases because of school requirements, he said, but the COVID-19 vaccines are currently optional if you can get one at all. The speed of their development and their newness means he expects even more skepticism.

People have more of a fear of the vaccine than the virus, Kirschenbaum said.

To combat that fear, the Orthodox health care professionals who spent last year exhorting their communities to take pandemic guidelines seriously are now turning their attention to building confidence in the new vaccines.

The Jewish Orthodox Womens Medical Association, an organization for Orthodox women doctors and medical students, has been debunking misinformation in a fact sheet and podcast that it produces. And a group of Orthodox Jewish nurses are hosting a weekly call to discuss the vaccines, to take place on hotlines that are accessible to women who do not use the internet for religious reasons and at a time, 9 p.m. on Thursdays, when most kids are in bed and women are often cooking for Shabbat.

Even if youre not on the internet, theres a barrage of information and disinformation to try and dissuade people from being vaccinated against COVID-19, said Tobi Ash, a nurse in Miami and one of the founders of EMES, an organization promoting science-based medical information in the Orthodox community, which is organizing the call. Its very difficult to sift out information thats accurate.

Orthodox doctors said theyve been getting dozens of phone calls about the safety of vaccines over the past two months, many with questions about whether the vaccines are safe for young women or for women who are already pregnant.

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, the chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island and an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere, a large Orthodox synagogue in Long Islands Nassau County, said hed gotten questions from parents of young women who are starting to date and who will want to conceive soon after getting married, asking whether the vaccine could be a problem.

If somebody asks me, I absolutely recommend that they take it, Glatt said. Youre dealing with a real risk of dying or having serious complications from COVID versus a theoretical risk when theres no real theoretical reason why it should be dangerous.

He added: There is zero evidence to suggest theres any risk with infertility.

In Lakewood, a health clinic called CHEMED raised the alarm on COVID cases among younger women and said some of the cases were resulting in miscarriages.

Unlike at the beginning of the pandemic, when mostly the elderly and males were at risk, we are now seeing several hospitalizations of women in the 35-45 year old range, they wrote in a message published by The Lakewood Scoop. They advised pregnant women to speak to their doctors about whether they should get the vaccine, regardless of whether or not you have previously had Covid.

Some in the communities cite changing guidance from health authorities as a cause of confusion.

The new coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer and Modern have not been tested on pregnant women, leading the World Health Organization to originally advise that only pregnant women who are at high risk for complications from COVID get vaccinated. But over time a consensus has emerged that pregnancy itself represents a risk factor, and the WHO has changed its advice,though it still does not advise the vaccine for all pregnant women and recommends women speak to their doctors. New Jersey includes pregnancy in a list of conditions entitling people to early vaccines; New York just added it as well.

The education campaigns may get a boost from multiple unfortunate stories, in Israel and at home in Lakewood. In Israel, six pregnant women who were hospitalized in serious condition were found to be infected with the newer British COVID variant, prompting the Israeli government to prioritize pregnant women for vaccination.

And in Lakewood, locals were stunned to learn last month of the death of Basha Rand, a 37-year-old mother of three who lived in neighboring Toms River.A death notice in a local publication did not specify the cause of death, but a post in that publication sharing a fundraiser for Rands family and apparently written by Rands sister said she died of COVID, though a family member could not be reached to confirm.

Rand was not pregnant, but she was an archetype of an Orthodox mother, having moved from Nevada to New Jersey not long before her death so her children could attend yeshiva and her eldest could attend an Orthodox high school.

Bashie was my daughters speech therapist for the past few months, one person commented on a local news sites post about a fundraiser for Rands family, which has raised over $450,000. I never met someone as kind and caring and devoted as her.

Local volunteers with the Covid Plasma Initiative, which connects people who have tested positive for COVID to hospitals and outpatient clinics administering monoclonal antibody treatment, have been encouraging pregnant women to consider the treatment if they become ill. But even some volunteers with the project, like Chedva Thuman, say they arent sure about whether the vaccine makes sense for everybody.

Thuman, a high school teacher, and her husband, who is high-risk for complications, got the vaccine last week. If I thought it was something really unsafe, I would not have gotten it myself, she said.

But she isnt sure she would make the same calculation for her daughter, who is 20 years old and living in Israel where she works from home and her husband has already had COVID. (Israel is now vaccinating anyone over the age of 16.) Thuman had heard rumors about the vaccine causing fertility issues and wasnt sure what to believe, especially because the vaccine is so new.

Ive definitely heard from doctors that one should not get pregnant immediately after getting the vaccine, she said. You dont say that about a flu shot. (The Center for Disease Control has said that women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.)

On the other hand, she said, when it comes to her community in Lakewood, Thuman said she had heard about two or three more pregnant Orthodox women who became seriously ill with COVID in the last week alone. She hopes women will be more cautious.

I had a 22-year-old last week with double pneumonia, she said. Theres been a lot more of that going around so were trying to get the word out to be extra careful.

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In Orthodox communities where pregnancy is prized, vaccines and variants leave women confused and afraid - JTA News - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Taking Action to Repair Our World – IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

Posted By on February 7, 2021

By Ramu Damodaran

The writer is Chief, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) hosted in the Department of Global Communications. This OpEd first appeared in the #WhyWeCare, @ImpactUN on February 5.

NEW YORK (IDN | UNAI) Nostalgia for the present is a phrase I once heard (or think I have), and it came to mind when reading a response received to last weeks (January 29) column and its looking back on CTAUNs quarter-century of affirmation and affection. The question asked was straightforward; had CTAUN (Committee on Teaching) been able to convene over the past year? The answer, which I missed noting in my nostalgia for the past, is yesthree times actually.

The first, physically at the United Nations, in its annual conference with the theme War No More, on February 28, a web conference choreographed by Elisabeth Shuman on media literacy on December 8 and then one curated by Mary Metzger, on the United Nations and Indigenous People on January 24, International Day of Education.

Among the galaxy of participants, Mary brought to the event was Wilton Littlechild, the Cree lawyer and humanist who served in Canada as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, as member of Parliament, and on the countrys Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In that last context, he has spoken about looking at reconciliation from two different places. One is from a cultural perspective. In my language, in Cree, when you say reconciliation its called Miyowahkotowin. It means having good relations. Thats what reconciliation is in my view, and I have a cultural support for that in our ceremonies, where we have protocol:Waypinasun, which can mean letting go when it is offered in that spirit. Whether its letting go of a bad experience to find a place where you can forgive, or, once youve let go, regaining your own self, your strength as an individual so you can start to get back to the balance that you were first blessed with.

That regaining of self and identity is central to the individuality upon which the United Nations Charter is based (its reference to the dignity and worth of the human person and not of human people in particular.)

As this column recalled some months ago, it was as recently as 2007 that the United Nations adopted its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, implicitly central to which was what an academic paper by the International Labour Organization two years earlier described as the right to be different.

That was a right whose horrific extinction was manifest in the Holocaust, whose remembrance and commemoration we observed last week. As Professor Xu Xin, Professor and Director of the Centre of Jewish Studies, Nanjing University (Peoples Republic of China) has written what Hitler did is considered as a crime against humanity. It raises a number of questions concerning mankind.

For instance, how could a group of human beings (the Nazis) do such evil things to another group (the Jews)? Why did the rest of the world stand by in silence while the Holocaust took place? What is human nature? What happened to the sense of human rights during the Second World War?

Dr. Xus observations are included in his contribution to the first in a discussion papers journal series published by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, established by the General Assembly in 2005, which its founding Chief, Kimberly Mann, developed into one of remembrance and beyond, one which Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi at New Yorks Park East Synagogue, and the Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, in an article in the UN Chronicle, described as having awakened people across the globe to humankinds ability to do evil - but also to our capacity to take action to repair our worlda permanent and potent program of education (going) beyond memorializing; it would serve as an antidote to Holocaust denial, a vaccine to prevent the virus of anti-Semitism and racism from ravaging future victims.

Those attributes are in many a sense the founding stones of the United Nations; as Antnio Guterres has written in his foreword to the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, we have a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds through wide-ranging action to defend human rights and advance the rule of law. Indeed, the very identity and establishment of the Organization are rooted in the nightmare that ensues when virulent hatred is left unopposed for too long.

Reading the Secretary-General, my mind went back to an essay on Fascism by the late Professor David Ingersoll, Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware (where US President Joe Biden was among his students) where he argues perhaps most fundamentally - especially from the perspective of liberal modernity - fascism does not believe that the human being is expressing its most valued, living potential when it uses its capacity to reason for the purposes of individual and collective human enlightenment. Fascism is hostile to reason and intellectual reflection. This is one of the main reasons fascism is associated with action and not ideas.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has sought to build upon the power of ideas, which fascism suppressed and which the United Nations and Holocaust education have sought to animate, to create the power of action. Speaking at an event at the United Nations five years ago as part of the programme, Professor Zehavit Gross, Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Education for Human Values, Tolerance and Peace, School of Education, Bar- Ilan University, noted we were honoured to live in one of the most splendid periods in human history. We live in a world of advanced technology, knowledge, and material richness and the question is what are we doing with it? Have we learnt to live in peace with each other? Have we learnt to respect difference and the human rights of others? If we look around the world today, we can see huge challenges. With all our technology we have not learnt to overcome evil. Yet, it is our responsibility to work for a better world. And the Holocaust must, through education, become a powerful tool against racism, helping to educate towards a better, more just, cosmopolitan future for the benefit of all humanity.

The span of 2020 was bookended by two events manifesting remembrance and beyond in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A year ago, the city was host to an exhibition created in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Some were neighbours: choice, human behaviour and the Holocaust, which reflected on what people did or didnt do during the Second World War, in ways that helped the victims or did not, by contributing to the rise of antisemitism and Nazism.

And on December 14 Rio inaugurated a Holocaust memorial, pictured above, that includes a 72-foot-tall tower and overlooks Sugarloaf Mountain, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, whose name has indigenous origins in the Tupi language, goan-par, from gwa "bay" with n "similar to" and ba'ra "sea", allowing its ready translation to "the bosom of sea".

That image brought to mind the call by Secretary-General Guterres on February 3, in his message for the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, for knowledge - an ocean science revolutionrestoring the ocean's ability to nurture humanity.

The ocean, in that tidal phrase, could well be a metaphor for education, the revolution seen within it by innovation and exploration, like that relating to the Holocaust, and education as a means to nurture humanity within its bosom, a bosom as nurturing and secure as that of the sea, an education which respects the lesson, no, the warning, of history, as Antnio Guterres phrased it in his address to the German Bundestag in December, that politics driven by anger, distortion and scapegoating is always - always - a recipe for disaster.

A reflection of what the legendary scholar Professor Yehuda Bauer Academic Adviser to Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority (Israel) wrote in the very first discussion papers journal, that politics that are not based on moral basis are, at the end of the day, not practical politics at all.

Dr. Bauer had himself addressed the Bundestag twenty years ago, where he said: I come from a people that gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Let us agree that we need three more commandments, and they are these: thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.

Those words echoed in mind as I read Rabbi Schneiers article in the Chronicle cited earlier, and his reference to borrow from an old show tune, Youve got to be taught. And what we must teach are respect, civility, the foundational values of justice and freedom - in short, to love your neighbour as yourself.

Reading those stirring lines, and wishing circumstances allowed us to hear them in Rabbi Schneiers own voice of gentleness and steel, I thought of another tune and song of hope triumphing memory, of learning, that can be, like regret, lifelong.

Teach your children well

Their father's hell did slowly go byAnd feed them on your dreamsThe one they pick's the one you'll know by

And you of tender years

Can't know the fears

That your elders grew by

And so, please help

Them with your youth

They seek the truth

Before they can die

[IDN-InDepthNews 07 February 2021]

Photo: Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust, Rio de Janeiro. Credit: UN Academic Impact

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. You are free to share, remix, tweak and build upon it non-commercially. Please give due credit.

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Taking Action to Repair Our World - IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

Opinion: QAnon, conspiracy theories are no joke – DW (English)

Posted By on February 7, 2021

If, just a few years ago, someone had stated in public that a global elite was kidnapping children and torturing them to harvest their blood to make an elixir of youth, they would have been directed to the nearest psychiatric ward. Yet according to a British poll, some 10% of US citizens saythey believe in at least some elements of this absurd theory known asQAnon.

The conspiracy theory has also been doing the rounds in Germany and, according to the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which sets out to combat far-right ideologies and racism, it has already attracted some 150,000 supporters. This makes the German QAnon community the largest outside of the English-speaking realm.

A Konrad Adenauer Foundation study conducted from October 2019 to February 2020 found that around a third of Germans were open to conspiracy theories. Not counting children under 14, that's 24 million people. Other polls support this figure,and have found many links between QAnon supporters, COVID-19 deniers and right-wing extremists.

How can such blatant nonsense resonate in an enlightened world? After all, this is the 21st century, not the Middle Ages. The answer is: It's just all a mouse click away.Social networks are the perfect breeding ground for fake news and conspiracy theories.

A study conducted in Germany by Correctiv, which describes itself as a nonprofit investigativenewsroom, concluded that Facebook and YouTube were the platforms on which the most false information was spread, with messaging services such as Telegram and WhatsApp not far behind. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologyfound that it took six times longer to reach 1,500 people with real news than with fake news.

Social media platforms are in a predicament. On the one hand, they have tended to defend a very broad concept of free speech and tolerate content that amounts to fake news, profanity and insults. It was only in October 2020 that Facebook agreed to take down "content that denies or distorts the Holocaust." Holocaust denial has long been considered a crime in many countries.

On the other hand, these platformsare beginning to admit that the rapid spread of fake news and hatred facilitated by their platforms poses a danger as shown by the storming of the US Capitol last month.

In response to this wake-up call, some platforms are beginning to hold users to account and have blocked the accounts of prominent and less prominent people. Some also now flag fake news with a warning.

But this isn't enough. Facebook and the rest must also be made liable for content such as fake news and hate speech posted on their platforms. The European Commission has tried to address this with its Digital Services Act but faces the difficulty of navigating the thin line between curbing the spread of fake news and censorship.

Martin Muno

Not only that media competence must also be taught more in schools.Young people are more likely to gain their information from social media than traditional news outlets, which need to develop formats better suited to reaching the "YouTube generation."

These are urgent, crucial changes.Conspiracy theories must be resisted because they harbor the potential to destroy democracies, as witnessed not so long ago in Washington.

Last week, in her speech to the German Bundestag on International Holocaust Day, the activist and politician Marina Weisband made it clear: "Being Jewish in Germany means understanding that [the Holocaust] did happen, and that it could happen again. It means that anti-Semitism doesn't start when somebody shoots at a synagogue. That the Shoah did not begin with the gas chambers. It starts with conspiracy narratives."

This article has been adapted from German

Who was really behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York? Was it the US government, meaning the Twin Towers were subject to a controlled explosion? Was it a Jewish conspiracy, with some claiming that Jews did not go to work in the World Trade Center that day? An exhibition titled "Conspiracy theories then and now" at the Dalheim Monastery shows how such beliefs emerge and are maintained.

In the so-called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," 12 Jewish leaders allegedly layed out their plans to conquer the world in writing. In reality, the 1903 document (pictured here in the exhibition at the Dalheim Monastery) is a work of fiction by Sergej Nilus, an anti-Semitic Russian writer and publisher. The protocols are a central part of modern day anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

The idea of a Jewish conspiracy was also a central part of Nazi ideology. The Nazis spread alleged revelations gleaned from the fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion for their own purposes, reprinting them in their weekly "Der Strmer" (The Attacker) propaganda newspaper.

People who believe in the barcode conspiracy probably have a special pen in their pockets when they approach a checkout counter to neutralize what they believe is negative energy radiating from the barcode. The barcode information supposedly aims to reduce the world population. Some companies even go so far as to print a line through the barcode to keep their customers happy.

Those seeking to explain major political events and revolutions have often invoked grand conspiracies. In the wake of the 1789 French Revolution, secret societies such as the Freemasons and Illuminati were seen as the all-powerful rabble-rousers. Pictured is an Illuminati Minerval class medal currently on show at the "Conspiracy Theory - Past and Present" exhibit that runs through March 22, 2030.

Author: Torsten Landsberg (db)

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Opinion: QAnon, conspiracy theories are no joke - DW (English)

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