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Zionism – adl.org

Posted By on May 14, 2018

Zionism is the Jewish national movement of self-determination in the land of Israel the historical birthplace and biblical homeland of the Jewish people.

While there was a continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel over the millennia, the yearning to return to Zion, the biblical term for both the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, has been the cornerstone of Jewish religious life since the Jewish exile from the land two thousand years ago, and is embedded in Jewish prayer, ritual, literature and culture.

Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in response to the violent persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe and widespread societal anti-Semitism in Western Europe. Modern Zionism fused the ancient Jewish biblical and historical ties to the ancestral homeland with the modern concept of nationalism into a vision of establishing a modern Jewish state in the land of Israel.

The father of modern Zionism, Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl, consolidated various strands of Zionist thought into an organized political movement, advocating for international recognition of a Jewish state and encouraging Jewish immigration to build the land.

Today, decades after the actual founding of the Jewish state, Zionism continues to be the guiding nationalist movement of the majority of Jews around the world who believe in, support and identify with the State of Israel. While some have sought to politicize Zionism, at its core Zionism is not affiliated with a particular political perspective or with particular Israeli policies. Zionists, those who support Zionism, are represented on the right, left and center, hold disparate political views, but are unified in their fundamental support for a Jewish national state.

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Zionism – adl.org

Fundamentalism | religious movement | Britannica.com

Posted By on May 13, 2018

Fundamentalism, type of militantly conservative religious movement characterized by the advocacy of strict conformity to sacred texts. Once used exclusively to refer to American Protestants who insisted on the inerrancy of the Bible, the term fundamentalism was applied more broadly beginning in the late 20th century to a wide variety of religious movements. Indeed, in the broad sense of the term, many of the major religions of the world may be said to have fundamentalist movements. For a discussion of fundamentalism in American Protestantism, see fundamentalism, Christian.

In the late 20th century the most influentialand the most controversialstudy of fundamentalism was The Fundamentalism Project (199195), a series of five volumes edited by the American scholars Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby. Marty and Appleby viewed fundamentalism primarily as the militant rejection of secular modernity. They argued that fundamentalism is not just traditional religiosity but an inherently political phenomenon, though this dimension may sometimes be dormant. Marty and Appleby also contended that fundamentalism is inherently totalitarian, insofar as it seeks to remake all aspects of society and government on religious principles.

Despite its unprecedented breadth, The Fundamentalism Project has been criticized on a number of grounds. One objection is that many of the movements that Marty and Appleby categorize as fundamentalist seem to be motivated less by the rejection of modernity than by social, ethnic, and nationalistic grievances. Indeed, in many cases the people who join such movements have not suffered more than others from the stress and dislocation typically associated with modernization, nor are such stresses and dislocations prominently reflected in the rhetoric or the actions of these movements. The term modernity itself, moreover, is inherently vague; Marty and Appleby, like many other scholars, use it freely but do little to explain what it means.

Another criticism of Marty and Applebys approach is that it is inappropriate to use the term fundamentalism, which originally referred to a movement in American Protestantism, to describe movements in other religions, particularly non-Western ones. This practice has been denounced as a kind of Eurocentric conceptual imperialisman especially sensitive charge in the Islamic world, where those designated fundamentalists are outraged by Western political, economic, and cultural domination.

A third objection is that the significant negative connotations of the term fundamentalismusually including bigotry, zealotry, militancy, extremism, and fanaticismmake it unsuitable as a category of scholarly analysis. On the other hand, some scholars have argued that the negative connotations of the term aptly characterize the nature of fundamentalist movements, many of which seek the violent overthrow of national governments and the imposition of particular forms of worship and religious codes of conduct in violation of widely recognized human rights to political self-determination and freedom of worship.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Christian fundamentalists vigorously opposed theological modernism, which, as the higher criticism of the Bible, involved the attempt to reconcile traditional Christian beliefs with modern science and historiography. (For a discussion of modernism in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, see Modernism.) The term fundamentalist was coined in 1920 to describe conservative Evangelical Protestants who supported the principles expounded in The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth (191015), a series of 12 pamphlets that attacked modernist theories of biblical criticism and reasserted the authority of the Bible. The central theme of The Fundamentals was that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Associated with this idea was the view that the Bible should be read literally whenever possible and that believers should lead their lives according to the moral precepts it contains, especially the Ten Commandments.

Fundamentalists opposed the teaching of the theory of biological evolution in the public schools and supported the temperance movement against the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor. Nevertheless, for much of the 20th century, Christian fundamentalism in the United States was not primarily a political movement. Indeed, from the late 1920s until the late 1970s, most Christian fundamentalists avoided the political arena, which they viewed as a sinful domain controlled by non-Christians. (Christian fundamentalists, like Evangelicals in general, reserve the term Christian for those who have been born again by accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour.) A basic theme of Christian fundamentalism, especially in its early years, was the doctrine of separation: real Christians must remain separate from the impure and corrupt world of those who have not been born again.

The apolitical attitude of many Christian fundamentalists was linked to their premillennial eschatology, including the belief that Jesus Christ will return to initiate the millennium, a thousand-year period of perfect peace (see millennialism). There is no point in trying to reform the world, according to the premillennialists, because it is doomed until Jesus returns and defeats the Antichrist. This attitude is reflected in the fundamentalist expression Why polish the brass on a sinking ship? In contrast, postmillennialists believed that spiritual and moral reform would lead to the millennium, after which Christ would return. Thus, whereas premillennialism implied political passivity, postmillennialism implied political activism.

Belief and practice, however, do not always coincide. Starting in the late 1970s, many premillennialist fundamentalists embraced the political activism traditionally associated with postmillennialism, which resulted in a distinct tension between their political acts and their eschatological beliefs. This tension was often pointed out by more-traditional fundamentalists, who continued to shun political activism.

Despite the prominence of the Christian Right in American politics in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, millions of Christian fundamentalists continued to focus their attention on the religious and personal domains. They were not overtly political, and they certainly did not attempt to remake state and society according to biblical precepts. Even those who were politically active tended to be concerned with moral issuessuch as abortion, school prayer, and homosexualityrather than with the goal of transforming the United States into a Christian theocracy. Thus, they were not fundamentalists in the sense in which Marty and Appleby and most scholars of fundamentalism used that term. (Some Christian fundamentalists in the United States, the Christian Reconstructionists, advocated the creation of a state and society based on strict conformity to biblical law. But they constituted only a small minority of the activists in the Christian Right.)

The negative connotations of the term fundamentalism led some politically active Christian fundamentalists to search for other names for their movement. Thus, some preferred to call themselves Christian conservatives. Many members of the Christian Coalition, the most influential organization of the Christian Right in the 1990sincluding its one-time president Pat Robertsonidentified themselves as charismatic Evangelicals (see Evangelical church). Although charismatics also believed in the inerrancy of the Bible, they stressed the ecstatic experience of the Holy Spirit as manifested by speaking in tongues and faith healing. The charismatics were opposed by more-traditional fundamentalists, such as the televangelist Jerry Falwell, who proudly retained the older designation and condemned the charismatics ecstatic practices. Traditional fundamentalists viewed the charismatic emphasis on speaking in tongues and healing as unscriptural. The tension between these two distinct trends in American Christian fundamentalism is one reason relatively few fundamentalists supported Robertsons presidential candidacy in 1988.

The Christian Right that emerged with the formation of Falwells Moral Majority in 1979 was a response to transformations in American society and culture that took place in the 1960s and 70s. Fundamentalists were alarmed by a number of developments that, in their view, threatened to undermine the countrys traditional moral values. These included the civil rights movement, the womens movement (see also feminism), and the gay rights movement; the relatively permissive sexual morality prevalent among young people; the teaching of evolution; and rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that banned institutionally initiated group prayer and reading of the Bible in public schools and that affirmed the legal right to abortion (see also Roe v. Wade). The federal governments attempts to revoke the tax-exempt status of many Christian schools founded to circumvent the federally mandated racial integration of public schools further galvanized many Christian fundamentalists in the South.

The fundamentalists were subsequently joined in their political activism by conservative Roman Catholics and Mormons as well as a small number of Orthodox Jews. The term Catholic fundamentalism is sometimes used to describe conservative Catholicism, but most scholars would reject this term because Christian fundamentalism traditionally involved strict conformity to the inerrant text of the Bible. This is not a distinctive feature of Catholic conservatism. Catholic conservatives have, for example, put much less emphasis on the issue of evolution than have Protestant fundamentalists. Moreover, Christian fundamentalists have generally viewed both Roman Catholicism and Mormonism as non-Christian cults. Conservative Catholics, Mormons, and Orthodox Jews, however, tend to agree with Protestant fundamentalists on issues like abortion, gay rights, and traditional moral values in general.

Christian Evangelicals, who represented roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population at the start of the 21st century, do not uniformly share all the views of fundamentalists or the Christian Right. (Although all Christian fundamentalists are Evangelicals, many Evangelicals are not fundamentalists.) All Evangelicals believe that the Bible is in some sense the inerrant word of God and that one has to accept Jesus Christ as ones Lord and Saviour in order to be saved. But many Evangelicals, like former president Jimmy Carter, are religious liberals who take relatively less-traditional positions on some of the issues that have enraged fundamentalists. Unlike fundamentalists, for example, many Evangelicals accept the idea of women ministers.

Christian fundamentalism has not been as politically significant elsewhere in the world as it has been in the United States. Although it has been associated with Protestant loyalism in Northern Ireland, the fundamentalist impulse in that conflict is clearly subordinate to its ethnic and nationalist dimensions, with Protestantism and Roman Catholicism serving primarily as badges of group identity.

Three main trends in Israeli Judaism have been characterized as fundamentalist: militant religious Zionism, the ultra-Orthodoxy of the Ashkenazim (Jews of eastern European origin), and the ultra-Orthodoxy of the Sephardim (Jews of Middle Eastern origin) as represented by the Shas party. All three groups stress the need for strict conformity to the religious laws and moral precepts contained in the sacred Jewish texts, the Torah and the Talmud.

The fundamentalist impulse in Israel is rooted in events that took place well before the countrys founding in 1948. Since the destruction of Jerusalems Second Temple by the Romans in 70 ce (see Jerusalem, Temple of), most Jews had lived in the Diasporathat is, dispersed far from the land of Israel promised by God to the Jewish people according to the Hebrew Bible. During their prolonged exile (Hebrew: galut), Jews all over the world prayed daily for the coming of the messiah, who would lead them back to Israel and deliver them from their Gentile oppressors. In the late 19th century, some Jews, primarily secular intellectuals such as Theodor Herzl (18601904), a Viennese journalist and playwright, concluded that the ancient problem of anti-Semitism could be solved only by the creation of a Jewish state. Zionism, the movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, thus represented a secularization of the traditional messianic theme. Instead of waiting for God and the messiah to lead the Jews back to the land of Israel, Zionists argued, Jews should take it upon themselves to return there. For Herzl and his closest associates, the messianic aspect of this ingathering of the exiles was irrelevant: the crucial point was to create a state where Jews would no longer be at the mercy of non-Jews.

Most Orthodox Jewsand Orthodox rabbis in particularwere opposed to Zionism, primarily because, in their view, it called upon humans to do what only God and the messiah could do. In traditional Judaism, the return to the land of Israel was inseparable from the messianic redemption of the people of Israel. Thus, returning to the land and creating a state would amount to defying Gods will and would only postpone the real redemption and the real ingathering of exiles. Orthodox Jews also objected to the fact that Herzl and most other early Zionist leaders did not advocate a state based on strict conformity to Jewish religious law. Hostility toward Zionism prevailed among Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox rabbis through the early 20th century. However, it virtually disappeared among the former with the coming of the Holocaust, which appeared to confirm the Zionist argument that Jews could be safe only in their own state.

Modern Orthodox Jews strictly observe Jewish religious law but have nevertheless devised ways to participate in modern society, both in the Diaspora and in Israel. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast, insist on separating themselves from Gentile society, as well as from Jews who do not follow the religious law as strictly as they do.

Despite the hostility of most Orthodox rabbis, Zionism aroused considerable enthusiasm among many Orthodox Jews who saw in it the promise of the long-awaited messianic redemption. Some Orthodox rabbis, therefore, sought to legitimate Orthodox participation in the Zionist movement. Rabbi Yitzaq Yaaqov Reines (18391915), founder of the Mizrai religious Zionist movement in 1902, argued that the Zionist settlement of the land of Israel had nothing to do with the future messianic redemption of the Jews and thus did not constitute a heretical defiance of Gods will. Zionisms manifestly messianic implications, however, limited the appeal of this idea, which was soon displaced by a radically different view: that Zionism itself was part of the gradual messianic redemption of the Jewish people. The secular Zionists, though they did not know it, were doing the work of God and the messiah. This argument was made by Rabbi Abraham Kook (18651935), and it has remained a basic theme of religious Zionism.

Religious Zionists are usually referred to as the datim leumim (Hebrew: national religious). This term captures the fusion of Orthodoxy and nationalism that has always characterized the movement. Unlike the ultra-Orthodox, the religious Zionists have always been willing to cooperate with the far more numerous secular Zionists who were primarily responsible for creating the State of Israel in 1948. Indeed, from 1948 to 1992, religious-Zionist parties participated in every Israeli government. Until 1977 there was a close relationship between these parties and the Israel Labour Party, which dominated Israeli politics during this period. In 1956 Mizrai and ha-Poel ha-Mizrai (the Mizrai Worker Party) joined to form the National Religious Party (NRP), or Mafdal. Traditionally, the NRP and its predecessors concerned themselves with domestic religious issues, such as observance of Shabbat (the Sabbath) and the question of who is a Jew, and left foreign affairs to the Labour Party.

The Six-Day War of 1967 (see Arab-Israeli wars) awakened the dormant messianic dimension of religious Zionism. East Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and Judaeathe very heart of ancient Israelwere once again in Jewish hands. To return any of this land to the Arabs would be to defy Gods plan for the redemption of the Jewish people. The religious Zionists who felt this way (not all did) began to settle in the territories occupiedor, as they saw it, liberatedin the Six-Day War.

The militant religious Zionists in the vanguard of the settlement effort formed a movement called Gush Emunim (Hebrew: Bloc of the Faithful), which clashed with the more traditional religious Zionists who still led the NRP in the 1960s and 70s. The latter continued to believe that God had given the land of Israel to the Jews, but they felt that making peaceand thus saving Jewish liveswas more important than retaining territory. For the militants, settling the land and preventing the government from withdrawing from it took precedence over anything else. In 2005 settlers staged widespread protests in a vain attempt to halt Israels withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Their prediction that such a withdrawal would provoke civil war was wrong. Some Israelis hope that the experience in Gaza will facilitate future Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria).

Militant religious Zionism thus illustrates the diverse character of fundamentalism. Its practitioners conform strictly in their daily lives to what they believe are the laws of God, and they advocate the creation of a society based on those laws, but their political activities have been directed toward settling and retaining the land won in 1967. Militant religious Zionists share with other religious and secular Zionists a nationalist sentiment and the conviction that anti-Semitism can be effectively opposed only with force. Indeed, religious Zionism draws upon some basic themes of mainstream Zionism, notably the idea that the goal of Zionism is to create a new Jew who will never submit to oppression.

The ultra-Orthodox are often referred to in Hebrew as Haredim, or those who tremble in the presence of God (because they are God-fearing). Unlike the Orthodox, the ultra-Orthodox continue to reject Zionismat least in principleas blasphemous. In practice, the rejection of Zionism has led to the emergence of a wide variety of groups, ranging from the Neturei Karta (Aramaic: Guardians of the City), which does not recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel, to the political parties of the Haredim, which occasionally determine which of Israels major parties is able to form a government. It is important to distinguish between the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox and the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox. The term Ashkenazi (plural Ashkenazim) originally referred to Jews from Germany, and Sephardi (plural Sephardim) originally referred to Jews from Spain and Portugal. But in Israel the terms are often used to designate Jews of northern European origin on the one hand and Jews of Middle Eastern origin on the other.

The Ashkenazi Haredi political parties have concentrated primarily on obtaining funding for their communities and on enforcing strict conformity to their interpretation of Jewish religious law concerning issues such as observance of Shabbat, conversion, kosher dietary laws, and, in their view, the desecration of the dead by archaeologists. Since the Six-Day War, however, most Ashkenazi Haredim have tended to support the position of the militant religious Zionists against land for peace, despite their continued theoretical opposition to Zionism and the state it produced.

The third major form of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel is represented by the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox and their political party, ShasShas being a Hebrew acronym for Sephardi Torah Guardians. The Sephardim, in the broad sense of Jews of Middle Eastern origin, are, by and large, less well-educated and less prosperous than the Ashkenazim, and many of them feel that they are discriminated against. Indeed, the Sephardim who vote for Shas tend to be motivated less by belief in the partys program of strict conformity to Jewish religious law than by frustration and resentment caused by their perceived second-class status in Israeli society. Shas is thus an excellent illustration of the fact that fundamentalist movements often owe their success to political and social grievances rather than to strictly religious ones. In addition to its religious and cultural platform, Shas provides schools and other social services for poor Sephardim; in this respect it is similar to some Islamic fundamentalist movements.

Because the term fundamentalism is Christian in origin, because it carries negative connotations, and because its use in an Islamic context emphasizes the religious roots of the phenomenon while neglecting the nationalistic and social grievances that underlie it, many scholars prefer to call Islamic fundamentalists Islamists and to speak of Islamist movements instead of Islamic fundamentalism. (The members of these movements refer to themselves simply as Muslims.) Nevertheless, the term Islamic fundamentalism has been current in both popular and scholarly literature since the late 20th century. This article, therefore, will occasionally follow this common usage.

The subject of Islamic fundamentalism attracted a great deal of attention in the West after the Iranian Revolution of 197879which deposed Irans ruler, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (191980), and established an Islamic republicand especially after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001 by al-Qaeda, an international Islamist terrorist network. The spectacular nature of these events may have lent plausibility to the common but mistaken belief in the West that Islam and Islamic fundamentalism are closely connected, if not identical. In fact, however, not all Muslims believe that the Qurn is the literal and inerrant word of God, nor do all of them believe that Islam requires strict conformity to all the religious and moral precepts in the Qurn. More important, unlike genuine Islamic fundamentalists, most Muslims are not ideologically committed to the idea of a state and society based on Islamic religious law.

The character of Islamist movements varies greatly throughout the world. Some Islamists resort to terrorism, and some do not. Some espouse leftist political and economic programs, borrowing ideas from Marxism and other varieties of socialism, while others are more conservative. Most Islamists, however, insist on conformity to a code of conduct based on a literal interpretation of sacred scripture. They also insist that religion encompasses all aspects of life and hence that religion and politics cannot be separated. Like most fundamentalists, they generally have a Manichaean (dualistic) worldview: they believe that they are engaged in a holy war, or jihad, against their evil enemies, whom they often portray as pawns of Jewish and Masonic conspiracies in terms taken directly from the anti-Semitic literature of 20th-century Europe. Messianism, which plays an important role in Christian, Jewish, and Shite Islamic fundamentalism, is less important in the fundamentalism of the Sunni branch of Islam.

Islamist movements have been politically significant in most Muslim countries primarily because they articulate political and social grievances better than do the established secular parties, some of which (the leftist parties) were discredited following the collapse of communism in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 199091. Although the governments of Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf region have represented themselves as conforming strictly to Islamic law, they continue to face internal opposition from Islamist movements for their pro-Western political and economic policies, the extreme concentration of their countries wealth in the hands of the ruling families, and, in the Islamists view, the rulers immoral lifestyles.

To some extent, the Islamists hostility toward the West is symptomatic of the rejection of modernity attributed to all fundamentalist movements, since much of what is modern is derived from the West. (It should be noted, however, that Islamists do not reject modern technology.) But it would be a mistake to reduce all such hostility to a reactionary rejection of all that is new; it would also be a mistake to attribute it entirely to xenophobia, though this is certainly an influence. Another important factor is the Islamists resentment of Western political and economic domination of the Middle East. This is well illustrated by the writings of Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda, which repeatedly condemn the United States for enabling the dispossession of the Palestinians, for orchestrating international sanctions on Iraq that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens in the 1990s, and for maintaining a military occupation of Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War (199091). Bin Laden has also condemned the Saudi regime and most other governments of the Middle East for serving the interests of the United States rather than those of the Islamic world. Thus, the fundamentalist dimension of bin Ladens worldview is interwoven with resentment of Western domination.

Puritanical revivalist movements calling for a return to the pristine Islam of the Prophet Muhammad have occurred periodically throughout Islamic history. During the period of European colonial rule in the 19th and 20th centuries, however, these movements began to take on a polemical, apologetic character. Muslim reformists such as Muammad Abduh (18491905) and Jaml al-Dn al-Afghn (183897) stressed that a return to the rationalist Islam of Muhammadwhich was not incompatible, in their view, with science and democracywas essential if Muslims were to free themselves from European domination. This argument was subsequently adopted by some Islamic fundamentalists, though many others condemned democracy on the grounds that only Gods laws are legitimate. Some Jewish and Christian fundamentalists have rejected democracy for the same reason.

Among the Islamist movements that have attracted the most attention in the West is the Palestinian movement ams, which was founded in 1987. Its name, which means zeal in Arabic, is an acronym of the name arakat al-Muqwamah al-Islmiyyah (Islamic Resistance Movement). ams was created primarily to resist what most Palestinians viewed as the occupation of their land by Israel. There is thus a clearly nationalist dimension to this movement, though it is also committed to the creation of a strictly Islamic state. ams opposed the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and insisted on fighting a jihad to expel the Israelis from all of Palestinefrom the Jordan River to the Mediterranean and from Lebanon to Egypt. It justified its terrorist attacks on Israelis as legitimate acts of war against an occupying power. Like some other Islamist movements in the Middle East, ams provides basic social servicesincluding schools, clinics, and food for the unemployedthat are not provided, or are inadequately provided, by local authorities. These charitable activities are an important source of its appeal among the Palestinian population.

In January 2006 ams was the victor by a wide margin in elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, and it was asked to form a government. This development led to much speculation among political observers about whether ams could evolve into a moderate nonviolent political party, as many other terrorist groups have done (e.g., Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang in Israel and the Irish Republican Army in Ireland).

Sikh fundamentalism first attracted attention in the West in 1978, when the fiery preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale reportedly led a march to break up a gathering of the Sikh Nirankari movement (from Punjabi nirankar, formless, reflecting the movements belief in the nature of God), which orthodox Sikhs considered heretical. Bhindranwale, like other fundamentalists, stressed the need for conformity to a sacred text (the Adi Granth) and for the creation of a Sikh state governed according to sacred law. But, as in the case of the Protestants of Northern Ireland, such fundamentalist concerns were subordinated to nationalistic ones. Sikh fundamentalists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries sought to create an independent Sikh state in the Indian province of Punjab. Although images of holy war pervaded their rhetoric, their primary enemy was the Hindu state of India rather than secularism per se. Sikh fundamentalism was thus primarily a nationalistic separatist movement.

In June 1984, Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar and killed Bhindranwale and hundreds of his armed supporters. The assassination, as well as what Sikhs considered the desecration of their holiest shrine, infuriated the Sikh community and led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Indias prime minister, by two of her Sikh bodyguards in October 1984. This in turn sparked riots in which Hindu mobs killed more than 2,000 Sikhs. By the early 1990s, the central government had succeeded in crushing Sikh militancy in India.

What is usually called Hindu fundamentalism in India has been influenced more by nationalism than by religion, in part because Hinduism does not have a specific sacred text to which conformity can be demanded. Moreover, conformity to a religious code has never been of particular importance to Hindu groups such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For the members of such groups, Hinduism is above all a symbol of national identity rather than a set of rules to be obeyed.

The nationalistic orientation of the BJP is reflected in its name, which means the Party of the Indian People. Similarly, the name of the Rashtriya Swayamesevak Sangh (RSS), a self-defense force associated with the BJP, means National Volunteers Corps. Neither the BJP nor the RSS advocates the creation of a Hindu state. The principal concern of both groups is the danger posed to the Hindu nation by Islamic proselytization among the Scheduled Castes (formerly untouchables) and lower-caste Hindus; both groups have also vehemently opposed Christian proselytization in India for the same reason. In RSS tracts, there is little reference to specific Hindu beliefs, and its members acknowledge that they are not themselves religious.

The nationalism of the BJP and the RSS is also reflected in their religious and moral demands; in this respect they differ significantly from Christian fundamentalist groups in the United States. In a notorious incident in 1992, the Babri Mosjid (Mosque of Bbur) at Ayodhya was demolished by a mob of Hindu nationalists; the subsequent rioting led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Although there was real religious fervour associated with the belief that the site of the mosque was the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama and the location of an ancient Hindu temple, the attack was above all a reflection of the Hindu nationalists belief in the essentially Hindu character of India and their perception of Muslims as inherently alien. The fact that Hindu nationalism is sometimes called Hindu fundamentalism illustrates how indiscriminately the term fundamentalism has been used outside its original American Protestant context.

Although the terms fundamentalism and fundamentalist have entered common parlance and are now broadly applied, it should not be forgotten that the myriad movements so designated vary greatly in their origins, character, and outlook. Thus, Islamic fundamentalist movements differ from their Christian and Jewish counterparts in having begun as essentially defensive responses to European colonial domination. Early Islamic fundamentalists were reformers who wished to affirm the value of their religion by returning to what they sought to portray as its pristine original form; their movements only gradually acquired the militancy characteristic of much religious fundamentalism today. On the other hand, these movements share with Christian and Jewish fundamentalism an antipathy to secularism, an emphasis on the importance of traditional religiosity as their members understand it, and a strict adherence to sacred texts and the moral codes built upon them. Although these and other common features are important as sources of insight, each fundamentalist movement is in fact unique and is best understood when viewed in its own historical and cultural context.

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Fundamentalism | religious movement | Britannica.com

Anti-Defamation League | American organization …

Posted By on May 12, 2018

Anti-Defamation League, originally Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith, advocacy organization established in Chicago in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination. Its activities include assessing hate crimes and anti-Semitism in various countries, assisting law-enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting extremists, providing antibias and diversity training, and publishing Holocaust education curricula. The headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are in New York City, and the ADL also has about 30 regional offices in the United States and an office in Israel.

In 1913 Leo Frank, a Jewish factory executive and president of the Bnai Brith lodge in Atlanta, Georgia, was wrongly convicted of having murdered a 13-year-old girl and then lynched by an angry mob shortly after the judge commuted his death sentence. The trial and related incidents of injustice and prejudice strengthened a revival of the Ku Klux Klan, but they also provided the impetus for Sigmund Livingston, a young Chicago lawyer, to start the Anti-Defamation League with the sponsorship of the Independent Order of Bnai Brith.

The ADLs early activities were concerned mainly with countering anti-Semitic expressions and stereotypes on the stage, in film, and in print media. Adolph Ochs, publisher of The New York Times and an ADL executive committee member, led one of the most successful of these early efforts, sending letters to newspaper editors throughout the United States that discouraged the use of objectionable references to Jews in the media.

Henry Fords distribution of anti-Semitic literature through The Dearborn Independent, a newspaper Ford owned, became a central focus of attention for the ADL in the 1920s. The newspaper published anti-Semitic articles written under Fords name and reprinted in The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a fraudulent document alleging a Jewish and Masonic plot to achieve world domination. The ADL solicited the aid of U.S. Pres. Woodrow Wilson and others to denounce Fords anti-Semitism. Under mounting pressure from the ADL and other groups, Ford closed The Dearborn Independent and issued an apology in 1929.

The Great Depression and Adolf Hitlers rise to power in Germany contributed to the proliferation of a variety of fascist groups in the United States, including the German-American Bund, led by Fritz Kuhn, and the Christian Front, led by Charles Coughlin. The ADL embarked on public education campaigns and jointly produced a monograph countering Coughlins anti-Semitic claims and proving that he plagiarized a speech by Joseph Goebbels, Hitlers minister of propaganda.

After World War II, the ADL campaigned for civil rights legislation in the United States, joining with other civil rights groups to call for an end to discrimination in housing, employment, and education. It strongly supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ADL also sought to protect the separation of church and state and the rights of religious minorities in education, filing an amicus curiae brief in the 1948 Supreme Court case McCollum v. Board of Education arguing for the unconstitutionality of released time for religious instruction in public school classrooms. It likewise fought against quotas for Jewish students in college and university admissions.

In 1960 the ADL commissioned sociologists at the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct surveys measuring anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States. The project resulted in a series of publications that became the most rigorous and detailed examinations of American anti-Semitism. Some of the studys findings were presented by an ADL representative at the Second Vatican Council and played a role in that councils condemnation of anti-Semitism and repudiation of the idea of Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus Christ in 1965.

In the 1970s the ADL began developing Holocaust-education programs for classrooms, college campuses, corporations, and police. In 1979 it also launched a yearly survey of anti-Semitic threats, harassment, and violence in the United States, the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. A decade later the ADL joined with other groups to lobby for the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, passed in 1990, which required states to determine whether crimesboth physical acts of violence and statements that might lead to violence were committed because of the victims race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation; the law also required states to transmit that information to a federal database that could be shared with law-enforcement officials nationwide. The ADL also closely monitored extremists and paramilitary groups and pushed for legislation to restrict their activities.

Internationally, the ADL strongly supports Israel and seeks to counter the messages of individuals and groups that are critical of Israels occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip or supportive of the Palestinian cause. Those efforts have brought the ADL into conflict with Arab and Muslim groups, peace groups, and pro-Palestinian activists such as Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky. The ADLs detractors have accused it of abandoning its original civil rights mission and of equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

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Anti-Defamation League | American organization …

Lithuanias Museum of Holocaust Denial Tablet Magazine

Posted By on May 11, 2018

This past winter here in Vilnius, the charming capital of Lithuania, was much like any other. During long solid weeks of subzero temperatures, as the flow of tourists and roots-seekers slowed to a trickle, I adjusted the route of my daily walk to pass by up to a dozen top tourist sights. Day after day, there was one constant: The most popular, winter-defying must-visit for foreigners is The Museum of Genocide Victims. Perhaps there is something grotesquely sexy about genocide. Maybe the promise of (real) former KGB interrogation rooms and isolation chambers in the basement is less run-of-the-mill and more strikingly authentic than much usual museum fare. Estimates obtained from the museums administrators suggest about a million visitors total to date.

Called The Genocide Museum for short, the citys premier attraction is housed on the central boulevard in an elegant Russian imperial building completed in 1899 that was formerly used for the courthouse of the empires Vilna Province. The museums current headquarters are located in an annex dating to 1914-1915, just prior to World War I, which brought that empire tumbling down. Vilna would then change hands (depending how you count) around seven times through to 1920, when it came under the stable rule of the interwar Polish Republic, a rule that lasted until the Hitler-Stalin pact brought on Polands dismemberment in September of 1939. Then came little over a month of Soviet rule of the city (Sept.Oct. 1939), a little over a half-year of Lithuanian rule (Oct. 1939June 1940), a year of Soviet rule (June 1940June 1941) three years of Nazi rule (June 1941July 1944), 46 or 47 years of Soviet rule, and since 1990 or 1991, depending from when you prefer to reckon, the beginning of close to three decades of modern democratic Lithuanian sovereignty. Somewhere around the halfway mark of this modern period, in 2004, the country, along with a number of neighboring states that had been freed from Soviet yoke and became successful democracies with growing market economies, joined NATO and the European Union, cementing their firm and proud anchorage within the West.

This particular building had a starkly macabre function during two of its signal incarnations. It was the German Nazi Gestapo headquarters, with its own interrogation rooms, prison cells, and death chambers. Then for decades, it was a Soviet NKVD/KGB central facility used to coordinate terrorization of the undesired part of the population, particularly dissidents and resistance figures, who were incarcerated, interrogated, and tortured in its cells and shot on its premises during the Stalin years and beyond.

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It is all the more eerie, painfully so, to have to say that this building now mars the pleasant Vilnius ambiance of the delightful, freewheeling city center in a raw, soul-destroying sort of way. Not because it tells the story of dark and brutal chapters of history. Those stories must be told. They are told in major museums in city centers around the world.

Moreover, there is no country on the planet without major blots on its history. It is a sign of maturity when for example the United States has museums dedicated to the national crimes of slavery, horrors against Native Americans, and commemorative sites for many others who were victimized and mistreated. Though far from perfect, these efforts indicate an elementary sense of national honesty, in dealing with the past that is, whether we like or not, very much part of our present. The reconciliation part of this effort has a lot to do with tolerance for minorities who may not see the mainstream historical narrative or its foundational heroes quite the way the standard schoolbooks like to have it, but who are nevertheless patriots who serve their country just like everyone else. America got some small echo of a taste of all that last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia. The proximate cause of discontent was the fate of a long-standing statue of Confederate States General Robert E. Lee.

So let us try a little thought experiment: Imagine not a statue of General Lee in Charlottesville, but an elaborate state-sponsored museum in the nations capital, in which the Confederate forces are depicted as pure heroes of independence and freedom, fighting off the central government of tyranny, and African Americans turn up only occasionally as evil collaborators with the Northern tormenters who came to destroy their beloved civilization. An American constitutional scholar might well explain why such a counter-historical museum, founded on intellectually and academically filtered racial hatred, could well be legal on someones private property as their own private realm but must not occupy public space. In the hands of specialists, it can all be made to look rather convincing to the proverbial outsider from Mars.

In Lithuania, the murder rate of around 96 percent of the Jewish population during the Holocaust was among the highest in Europe, which incidentally makes the bravery of those who did the right thing and rescued someone all the more inspirational. They were regarded as betraying their own nationalist cause. They are the people who should be honored throughout the land starting with a museum in the capital.

In todays incarnation of the Genocide Museum, a stones throw from the nations parliament, there are no longer individual human victims in the flesh. The victim here, in the 21st century, is the truth. The point of the museum is to persuade all comers that Soviet crimes were the genocide that took place in this part of the world and that those groups to which most of the museums space is dedicated to glorifying were indeed humanitarian lovers of truth, justice, and multi-ethnic tolerance. The sad truth is, however, that many of those honored were collaborators who participated in, or abetted, genocide. There lies the heart of the title Museum of Lies, which Holocaust survivors here (now mostly gone) would use over these last decades to describe the project.

But there is one theme in this museum that is very honest, and necessary, and if it is one day disentangled from the Fake History componentsand those components discardedit would make a truly excellent Museum, namely a cabinet of KGB Crimes and Stalinist Horrors such as one finds in numerous other cities. These exhibits expose Soviet crimes against humanity, particularly in the Stalin period, including mass deportations, imprisonments and harsh punishments, including torture and barbaric murder, of supposed enemies, suppression of human freedoms including speech, religion, emigration and political beliefs, and, pervasive from morning to night for all those decades, a cruel forced occupation of ones country by a larger empire with the resultant loss of freedom, identity and myriad basic human rights.

If the ghosts of KGB tormentors still linger in those cellars, they can only be giggling that their own cruelty is presented as part of a twisted tale in which the legitimacy of anything and everything sinks into some murky postmodernist mush under the inane heading of Everything is Equal.

The LAF Rebellion

The first major dynamic historical episode encountered in the Genocide Museum is a series of exhibits lavishly dedicated to the 1941 Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) white-armbanded fascists whose pre-Nazi invasion central planning came from Berlin, and included a group of high-level Lithuanian Nazis, adherents of ethnic cleansing (to put it politely) stationed there in the months before the Nazi invasion of the then Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. But as the Soviet occupation collapsed in disarray on the day of the Nazi invasion, and especially the following day, Monday, June 23, 1941, many nationalist young men rapidly joined the LAF militias, often by donning a white armband and just becoming LAFers or joining related militias and gangs at will. With or without the armband, with or without documentary affiliation to the LAF, they have all come to be known as the White Armbanders in the local languages (Lithuanian Baltaraiiai, Polish Biae opaski, Russian Bielorukavniki, Yiddish Di Vyse rembendlakh, and so forth). Accompanied by a sham radio-address declaration of independence (that included the oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitlerwoe to such independence), they took over post offices, police stations, and town halls vacated by the fleeing Soviet forces for several days before turning them over, unctuously and with sumptuous servitude, to the arriving Germans.

The museums exhibits tell a very different story, which is not rooted in historical fact. A tall tale: that this was all a rebellion of the Lithuanian people against Soviet rule. That story is shameless nonsense. While the Soviets were in power, these White Armbander and LAF folks did not fire a single shot at any Soviet official or military installation. When the Soviets were fleeing for their lives from the Nazi invasion, the local militants fired at their backs and took over some freshly-vacated installations. (To be clear, the KGB and its affiliated organs did brutally murder many political prisoners and others in their last hours on the soil of the lands they had occupied in 1939 or 1940 all along the front of the arriving Nazi invasion forces.)

Put simply, you cannot rebel against an authority that has collapsed because of someone elses attack, the less so when the folks you are rebelling against are already fleeing. Nor do you have much moral authority when your main activity during those days was butchering your Jewish neighbors. In other words, there was no rebellion. And, it goes without saying that the Soviet army was fleeing Hitlers invasion, Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history. As surely as water is wet, the Soviet Army was not fleeing the local Lithuanian White Armbander Jew-killers.

For that is, alas, what the White Armbander Lithuanian nationalists were doing in the final week of June 1941. They initiated the first phase of the Lithuanian Holocaust, murdering Jewish civilians, particularly younger women and older rabbis, often in macabre city-center shows of victory, such as the teenage Jewish girl cut in half in the center of iauliai (in Yiddish: Shavl), or Rabbi Zalmen Osovskys head put in a shop window in Kaunas (Kvne). The late Professor Dov Levin, historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, documented 40 locations in Lithuania where the actual murdering began before the arrival of German forces. If we add violence causing serious injury, plunder of property, humiliation, degradation and dehumanizing treatment, it is hundreds of places, not 40. And if we add the places where many of the same murderers continued on under German administration, the kill rate grows exponentially. But this is not about numbers, though the numbers of Jews killed by the LAF-affiliated White Armbanders is in the thousands, with the biggest single concentration in Kaunas itself. Kaunas was the interwar de facto Lithuanian capital and center of the rebellion. (Vilna, prewar Wilno, in Yiddish forever Vlne, was still a largely Polish city at the time, and there were vastly fewer instances of pre-German lethal violence in the city and its area, that Stalin had given to Lithuania in October 1939 when it became Vilnius.)

But what does the Genocide Museums exhibit tell us about these LAFers deeds? Not a word about their rampage of murder that unleashed phase one of the Holocaust in the country. Instead, the story told is illustrated by this key panel:

This text (which like all, appears bilingually in Lithuanian and English) has caused such anguish to local Holocaust survivors and their families over the years that many found it too painful, or too enragingor bothto even set foot in the place. Survivors are unanimously quick to point out, incidentally, that in addition to occupying the just-vacated post offices and police stations, murdering and humiliating Jewish neighbors, the LAF actually did something else too. On the roads crisscrossing the country, outside hundreds of towns, they created a ring of armed militants who prevented the flight of Jewish people who were attempting to flee eastward to Russia (the only hope for survival for a Jew in this part of the worldthere were no American or British forces around). Fleeing Jews were sent back into the Nazi choke-hold until the Germans could arrive to organize it all properly (which took the form of organized mass shootings at around 230 major mass grave sites that dot the country today). Holocaust memoirs contain hundreds of eyewitness statements about the white-armbanders and their cohorts preventing Jews from escaping even when all their property was left behind for the taking. These then are the LAF white armbanders celebrated in this museum as heroic rebels.

Needless to say, it is nowhere mentioned that the LAF masterminds in Berlin in the preceding months had published leaflets and entire works calling for the removal of Jewish citizens from Lithuania. These were no street thugs. They were educated people who knew their history. One infamous leaflet declares the charters of toleration issued by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Witold (Vytautas) in the 14th century to be completely and finally revoked. That Lithuanian leaders charters of tolerance were a highpoint of European civilization in the middle ages, and he became known as The Cyrus of Lithuania to many generations of Litvaks, or Lithuanian Jews. I am proud in my home to follow a tradition of hundreds of years of Jews here of having a portrait of Witold near my front door.

Before going any further, however, let us be very clear that the launch of the 1941 genocidal phase of the Holocaust by the White Armbanders, and by their fellow partisans in Latvia, Estonia, and western Ukraine, among other places, does not mean that any of these nations are bad. The guilty alone are responsible, and their supporters and enablers. All these nations had, as noted, inspirational rescuers who risked everything to save a neighbor in danger (the Righteous Among the Nations). All these nations have their storied poets, statesmen, military heroes, scientific geniuses, architects, artists, and much more.

So why would anyone in the 21st century, much less anyone fortunate enough to be in the NATO and European Union area, choose to falsify the history of these first days of the Holocaust in order to turn Holocaust-initiating thugs into national heroes to be featured in museums as rebels, partisans, and freedom fighters? That question requires serious study, a task that has been shirked by many historians in these recent days of The New Cold War.

But just scratch a historian, diplomat, or political PR person involved with such things in this part of the world and youll get an answer, one that is probably part of the answer. Ultranationalist elements, consumed with (understandable) resentment against the many crimes of the Russian and Sovietempires over the centuries, will go to any length to make heroes out of all anti-Soviet and anti-Russian manifestations in history, including Hitlerism andto hell with the detail of the extermination of a national minority. The problem here is that virtually all of the many thousands of actual East European Holocaust murderers were anti-Soviet. If that makes them heroes, ipso facto, heaven help European civilization.

During the genocidal phase of the Holocaust, from June 22, 1941 onward, the Soviets were of course in the Alliance with Great Britain and the United States, where they remained until wars end. But there are also many subtly local aspects in play. For example, many ultranationalist historians in all three Baltic states are ashamed that their people barely fired a shot against the peaceful Soviet annexation of their countries in 1940, and a revolt in 1941 seems like a darned good idea for stitching up a patriotic narrative of resistance. Again, these nations all have grand patriotic histories, which in the Baltics includes the magnificent rise to independence of democratic states in 1918, and then again in 1991.

Double Genocide and Holocaust Envy

The post-Soviet East European nationalist decision to glorify Hitler collaborators is situated very near the conceptual core of the current set of Holocaust issues in Europe and beyond. The far-right jewel in the crown is the Genocide Museum in Vilnius. The other regional museums infected with the same virus are more in the dressed-up-for-export mode of Double Genocide, the theory that Nazi and Soviet crimes are in principle equal and that that equality must guide the study and application of European History. That theory has come to be, in effect, the 21st century respectable-in-high-society successor to the previous centurys classic Holocaust Denial. It came to its fullest expression in the 2008 Prague Declaration. (Disclosure: I was privileged, in 2012, to co-author, with Danny-Ben Moshe, the European parliamentary rejoinder known as the Seventy Years Declaration, signed by 70 European parliamentarians, including eight particularly courageous ones from Lithuania, all incidentally Social Democrats.)

Unlike Vilniuss Genocide Museum where Soviet crimes are presented in fact as The Genocide, the others follow the model of equality of the Prague Declaration, that insists on equality as the absolute principle of European history and the point of departure for all else. For example, the House of Terror Museum in Budapest, founded in 2002, features on its outside roof-corner display both the arrow cross (the local fascist wartime symbol) and the Soviet star side by side in an exposition of equality, echoed by two huge panels with the same symbols in the welcoming hallway (in case someone missed the message outside). The Museum of Occupations in Tallinn, Estonias capital, founded in 2003, welcomes visitors with an elaborate piece of Double Genocide modern art, with the Soviet star and the swastika atop equal commanding pillars. Much older than both is Rigas Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, founded in 1993, where recent revisions have taken harsh Western criticism into account, though the system of red (Soviet) and brown (Nazi) panels gives the immediate impression that the Soviet issue is the main one, as it is in space dedicated. But to be fair, this is called a museum of the Occupation, not of Genocide. The most recent addition to Eastern Europes macabre litany of anti-Holocaust museums (in the sense of negating the Holocausts place in history and consciousness) is the Lonsky Street Prison National Memorial Museum, founded in 2009 in Lviv (former Lvov, Lemberg, Yiddish Lmberik), which has prominently featured a photoshopped photograph of a woman looking for her murdered Ukrainian relatives in 1941 with the piles of Jewish corpses in the image covered over by circles indicating numbers of Ukrainian victims far and wide.

(Photo: Dovid Katz)

That brings us back to the mother of East European genocide museums, the Museum of Genocide Victims right here in Vilnius. While its main message is much more extreme than its sister museums in Eastern Europe, there have for many years been hints of the compulsion for comparison that must lead to some sort of equality. The ascendant phenomenon called Holocaust Envy comes to the fore at the Genocide Museum in a large bilingual chart on the main floor, toward the rear of the corridor near the restrooms, in other words away from the actual major exhibit rooms. For the foreign Jews, as a former museum employee once quipped to me. For many years, until 2011, this was the only oblique and nameless reference to the Holocaust in the entire Museum of Genocide Victims.

A lengthy analysis of this chart could be penned, a chart that contained the only mention of what happened to the Jews of Lithuania between the museums founding in 1992 and late 2011. For here a few salient points may suffice. First the use of the word losses to cover the Jewish victims of the campaign of genocide to murder every Jew in the country as well as an array of other categories of state crimes: arrested, interrogated, imprisoned, deported, prisoners who died, died in deportation, partisans and their supporters killed, for the Soviet side of the ledger; and then for the Nazi side: imprisoned and deported to concentration camps, killed and deported to Germany for forced labor. The penultimate category, killed has the addition in parenthesis: including about 200,000 Jews, which is not only lost in the list but comports exactly with what the eye first saw above, Arrested, interrogated, imprisoned with, lo and behold, also 200,000. This is all related to the inflation of the word genocide by the ultranationalist camp, which was boldly exposed by the late, lamented Lithuanian philosopher Leonidas Donskis.

Such equivalencies are no quirks of some statistical modelling. They are part of two interrelated, and weird, phenomena that represent different stages of the Holocaust revisionism tendencies of Eastern Europe. First is in fact Double Genocide, the notion that the starting point for the subject is the universal acceptance of the Nazi and Soviet regimes brutality being the same. Second is a deeper feeling, just under the surface, that in some profound sense the Holocaust must be regarded as the lesser of the two phenomena.

(Photo: Dovid Katz)

Since 1997, the Genocide Museum has been under the auspices of a state-financed institute with close ties to the highest echelons of power, called the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania or, for short, the Genocide Center. For years its website carried a page on the two genocides that included this gem of Holocaust Envy: One may cut off all four of a persons limbs and he or she will still be alive, but it is enough to cut off the one and only head to send him or her to another dimension. The Jewish example clearly indicates that this is also true about genocide. Although an impressive percentage of the Jews were killed by the Nazis, their ethnic group survived, established its own extremely national state and continuously grew stronger. For many years, one of its chief specialists was also a leader of the neo-Nazis in Lithuania. Recently, a bold Californian-born Lithuanian scholar who settled in his ancestral homeland years ago, Prof. Andrius Kulikauskas, has boldly taken on its leadership, which frequently defends the ethnic cleansing policies of various purported national heroes.

Analogous points have been scored in visiting exhibitions. For some years it was this comparison in an exhibit on the Ukrainian famine, or Holodomor, which for years was the only word starting with h-o-l-o in a museum of genocide in Eastern Europe. The museum told its visitors that When the Holodomor eyewitnesses, even those who survived the Nazi death camps, were asked what was more frightfulthe famine or the war, they unanimously answered: [a number of quotes follow, including, under the image of an elderly woman, her quote]: In Auschwitz, we were given some spinach and a little bread. War is terrible, but famine is even worse. No mention of the fate suffered by the statistically overwhelming victims of Auschwitz or who they might have been. Such is the face of our new centurys Holocaust Denial: Talking the Holocaust out of history without denying a single death, or for that matter, fact, through rhetorical analogies and false comparisons.

The Forest Brothers

(Photo: Dovid Katz)

A vast portion of the Museum of Genocide Victims is dedicated to The Partisan War Between 1944 and 1953. Popularly known as the Forest Brothers, these were the resistance fighters from the time of the defeat of Hitlers forces in 1944 until around 1953, who opposed Soviet rule and carried out armed attacks. Not all of these fighters were recycled murderers of 1941 but a disputed number were. Most painfully, a number of their leaders are now extolled as national heroes for resisting the postwar Soviets, as if their involvement in the Holocaust is a minor, disregardable detail of history that must not spoil the heroic resistance party. The fearless Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balinas has published exposs using solid sources concerning the Holocaust participation of a number of the heroes extolled in the museum as martyrs for justice, freedom and democracy. Asking why his states authorities glorify murderers, Balinas went on to publish a series of articles on individual heroes extolled in the Museum of Genocide Victims who were actually collaborators with the perpetrators of the genocide that actually occurred in the country. Among those that have appeared in English translation are his pieces on Antanas Baltsis-vejas, Juozas Barzda, Konstantinas Liuberskisvainys, Vincas Kaulinis-Mikinis, Juozas Kriktaponis (Kritaponis), Jonas Noreika, Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas, Juozas ibaila, Sergijus Stanikis Litas, and Jonas emaitis. One of the most notorious, an actual participant in the Holocaust, Jonas Noreika, has a stone block outside the building, on Vilniuss main boulevard, dedicated to his memory.

Instead of the medal he deserves, Evaldas Balinas was hit with police visits to his place of work, summonses, and a series of nuisance court cases that finally, after a dozen 280-mile round trips from home, came to a not guilty verdict in July 2016. But the message was clear: The country is a democracy for 99 percent of topics but not for far-right choices on historical narratives related to the Holocaust, which are enforced by the power of the state. In 2011, the late Joe Melamed, longtime head of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, was visited by Interpol in his Tel Aviv office because some of the same names appeared in his 1999 book Crime and Punishment; the harassment of Melamed made it to the British Parliament. After questioning the postwar bonafides of one of these heroes a best-selling Lithuanian author known (and widely criticized) for her lurid sensationalism, Ruta Vanagaite, in late 2017 had her books banned by her own publisher, in an episode that reached the New Yorker. There is little doubt that the real reason for the ban was a 2016 book she coauthored with famed Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff that revealed the extent of Holocaust participation by local forces.

(Photo: Dovid Katz)

Until 2015, the museums large halls dedicated to glorification of the Forest Brothers also contained three blatantly anti-Semitic caricatures that appear in a section on the Brothers underground artwork and literature. One features a jeep driven by Lenin, Stalin, and Yankelke the Jew, a second shows a coarse caricature of a Jew behind Stalin blowing economic bubbles (along with a soap dish adorned by a Star of David should someone miss the point). The third depicts an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jew serving as a Soviet torturer of Lithuanian patriots. These images all date from after the Holocaust (at right).

In 2015, after numerous complaints, these three images disappeared from the exhibit on the Forest Brothers underground art. In reply to our question for this article on whether the removal was permanent, museum director Eugenijus Peiktenis said (in a written reply): Exposition of the museum is constantly updatedone exhibit is replaced by another.

The best known free-thinking, critical book here on the Forest Brothers, one that is a great credit to Lithuania, Memorial Book for the Victims of Partisan Terror, edited by Povilas Masilionis, appeared in 2011. It comprises his introduction in three languages (Lithuanian, English, Russian) followed by a list of some 25,000 names of people, nearly all civilians, murdered by the Forest Brothers, who were notorious for killing fellow Lithuanian citizens they considered collaborators with the Soviets, including those who led or worked on collective farms and other Soviet enterprises (as if people had a choice about where to work under the autocratic and dictatorial Soviet rule). Masilionis concludes his forward to the book, aptly named Victims of the Unbrotherly Forest Brothers with the plea: Books of memory should be published in every city and every region. Even a national Memory institution could be established to defend the rights of relatives of terror victims and to defend the memory of murdered unarmed civilians.

Before that, in 2009, Lithuauanian historian, Mindaugas Pocius published his academic monograph, The Far Side of the Moon, which reported only some 9,000 innocent civilians murdered by the Brothers (including 300 children). He too became a victim of nuisance prosecution, intended to defame and to deter others more than to find guilt with someone exercising their European Union right of freedom of expression. Last year, the mayor of Vilnius fired Dr. Darius Udrys, the American-born head of the capitals Go Vilnius development agency, after he dared ask on his own Facebook page whether Lithuanians who worked for Soviet collective farms in the 1950s actually deserved to be summarily executed.

Lithuania is a democracy for 99 percent of topics but not for far-right choices on historical narratives related to the Holocaust, which are enforced by the power of the state.

The ultranationalist-controlled academic establishment at major universities plays its part too in stifling free debate, especially since a 2010 Double Genocide law made it a crime to disagree with the state model, one punishable by up to two years in prison. (Disclosure: That was the year I was myself discontinued as professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University after 11 blissful, incident-free years; I was told it was because I had published false articles in three radical left-wing newspapers, a reference to two 2009 articles in Londons Jewish Chronicle and Dublins Irish Times and the final straw, a 2010 piece in the Guardian.) Vilnius has a tiny, separate Holocaust museum, out of sight on a hill up a driveway, whose longtime fearless director, Rachel Kostanian, now retired, was repeatedly harassed for her determination to just tell the truth. On more than one occasion, the late Sir Martin Gilbert would truly play the part of the white knight who would step in to save her job. The saga became the source for much dark humor on all sides of the debate. Nobody has gone to prison, but freethinking, talented Lithuanian young historians continue to flee the country for studies abroad before even thinking about staying to face ruined careers.

Thankfully, the Lithuanian people have vastly more common sense than the far-right elite that has usurped control of the countrys official historical narrative. In 2015, there was a proposal to rename a high school in the town Obeliai (known in Yiddish as Abel), in northeastern Lithuania, in honor of a Forest Brother leader whose memoir had recently been published. The schools leaders did something very intelligent and quite simple. They organized a poll, by secret ballot. A majority of the town opposed the proposal.

But the clique of ultranationalists controlling state history keeps going further in the other direction. Another alleged Holocaust collaborator who became a postwar Forest Brother leader, Jonas emaitis, was incredibly proclaimed to be the de-facto fourth president of Lithuania by the nations parliament in 2009. And, in December of 2017, the parliament declared 2018 to be the year honoring yet another alleged Nazi collaborator, Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas).

Whenever a Holocaust-tainted militant is chosen for honors, it is a de-facto message of adulation for fascism and not-so-latent glee at the greater ethnic purity rendered by the Holocaust and its related events. Believe it or not, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry (which squanders vast sums on history and Holocaust manipulation) had arranged to pay for a monument to Ramanauskas in the Connecticut town of New Britain (where Ramanauskas happened to be born, before his parents returned to Lithuania). The mayors office was rapidly persuaded. And why notno mention was made of his Holocaust-era activity, only his postwar anti-Soviet activity. Here in Lithuania, the American monument for Ramanauskas was flaunted for months in the media in the triumphalist spirit of demonstrating how America now accepts the East European nationalist narrative of Holocaust history. Moreover, there is no (known) evidence Ramanauskas personally killed anyone during the Holocaust, though he boasted in his memoirs of leading one of those (Hitlerist, LAF-affiliated) groups of partisans in the first days of the Holocaust. Is that the kind of symbol of heroism the free world wants to bequeath to future generations?

When our Vilnius-based web journal Defending History posted an appeal to the New Britain mayor in January 2018, after writing to her office, there was no immediate response. A lively internal debate then ensued within the New Britain city council. Several weeks ago, that debate ran into the single determined force of elected city alderman Aram Ayalon, a professor in the education department of Central Connecticut State University. He rapidly launched a petition and alerted local media. The New Britain Progressive published a report on 2 April. Last Friday, April 6, Justin Dorsey of the mayors office circulated an email confirming that There will be no monument recognizing this individual. The Progressive carried the news of the cancellation. This, while the walls of (and around) the Genocide Museum in Vilnius continued to be plastered up with posters celebrating the 2018 Year of Ramanauskas.

Now 2018 is a very special year for Lithuania. It is the 100th anniversary of the rise of the modern democratic state in 1918, special too for its remaining Jewish people, because that state was founded on the principle of cultural autonomy for minorities. It included even a Jewish Affairs ministry led by the famed Dr. Max Soloveitchik in its early years. Ramanauskass link to those events? He was born in 1918 (as were so many others). After deliberation with numerous colleagues in different fields here, our small dissident band at Defending History countered by naming as person of the year for 2018 Malvina okelyt Valeikien, who was decorated by the Republic of Lithuania for her bravery in Lithuanias 1918 war of independence, and then went on during the Holocaust a generation later to save a Jewish neighbor. The point we were making by doing this was honoring a true Lithuanian hero in honor of the countrys 100th anniversary celebration, and, of course, making a wider point: Lithuania, like all the countries of Eastern Europe, has many centuries of genuine heroes in whom all humanity can rightly take pride.

Addition of a Holocaust Cubicle in the Basement

Following a number of Holocaust-related scandals, not least the attempts by Lithuanian prosecutors to target Holocaust survivors for investigation of their activities in the Jewish partisans, which I reported on for Tablet back in 2010, the Genocide Museum announced with considerable PR gusto that one of the former prison cells in the basement would be turned into a Holocaust exhibit. It was opened with fanfare in 2011, in the atmosphere of a major concession to the Jews. Yes, you heard that right, the concession was that the Holocaust would finally merit one cubicle in the basement of the citys Genocide Museum.

Although a map of the basement still lists the same 18 exhibits as before, including cell no. 3 (= item no. 5 on the list, marks on the wall made during the Nazi occupation), it suddenly came to house a contemporary museum-tech exhibit on the Holocaust. There is an emblem of the yellow Star of David outside the door and when you look inside the new room, there is a huge Star of David on the far wall near the radiator.

The problem with this one room addition is that it tells a very distorted story of the Lithuanian Holocaust. Worst of all, the perpetrators who unleashed the killing through much of the country before the Germans even arrived, the LAF and their associated killer groups, is obfuscated yet again. The Nazi puppet prime minister of the summer of 1941, Juozas Ambrazeviius (Brazaitis) whose remains were repetriated in 2012 from another Connecticut town, Putnam, for reburial with full honors in Lithuania, is presented as obliquely anti-Nazi when in fact he personally signed Lithuanian versions of the Nazi orders for Jews from his own city, Kaunas, to be sent to a murder camp, the Seventh Fort, and another for all the remaining Jews to be locked up in a ghetto within one month.

In other words, the added Holocaust Room repeats the same Fake History as in the main grand exhibit halls upstairs: covering up the murders by the LAF, and of the Provisional Government which followed it, at the start of the Lithuanian Holocaust, and sanitizing the perpetrators as some kind of freedom fighters.

Much of the Holocaust room is dedicated to the Vilna Ghetto, where it is infinitely easier to downplay local collaboration and consider it all a German deed alone, with a few odd tantalizing references to the Jewish police and Judenrat as the supposed co-authors of the Holocaust in Vilna. While far from noble in many cases, there is no moral comparison of the tragic compulsion of Jewish police and Judenrats intermingled with false hopes of saving some, vs. the massive voluntary participation in the gleeful genocide of neighbors by those in positions of power. To cite the one and omit the other amounts to Fake History par excellence.

But there is one major redeeming feature of the Holocaust cell in the basement: There is honor for those who did the right thing and saved a neighbor from the barbaric hands of the Nazis, and their LAF and other local collaborators and partners. They are the true Lithuanian heroes of WWII. They deserve an entire museum in their honor.

In addition, there have been some other welcome modifications since 2011. Some Holocaust videos have been added to the repertoire on the monitors, and the outside plaque now duly notes that the building once housed the Gestapo.

Chicanery, Context, Caveats

The nonsense of Fake History museums rises to the level of dangerous chicanery only when it is all done so well that is can fool even journalists from famous Western publications. In recent years, naive souls writing for the New York Times (in 2015) and the San Francisco Examiner (2016) were successfully bamboozled, and the front desk where you pay to buy your ticket has stickers flaunting the approval of those publications for the farce of historical denialism inside. By contrast, a well-seasoned author from the London Guardian, writing back in 2008, immediately saw that something was wrong, and another, in 2010, analyzed the Double Genocide industry. The New York Timess seasoned, Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent Rod Nordland recently did some measure of penance for his publication by writing an extended, fair article after a chance visit brought him to this shocking museum, and to some other shocks of contemporary Vilnius. These include church steps made of readable Jewish gravestones that the church has refused to remove for years, and plans to house a new national conference center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery (reported by Tablet in 2017).

Todays Putinist Russia does indeed pose a very real and serious threat to the small, freedom-loving nations on its periphery, most dangerously the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which were forcibly made into Soviet republics for all those decades, not left as Warsaw Pact allied states like Poland, Czechoslovakia, or Hungary. The Western alliance, NATO, the European Union and Western civilization more generally need to stand up for these democracies against Putins (and future Russian) mischief, and make clear that the protections of NATO are real and permanent. But that loyalty must not include adopting a pro-fascist revision of history that turns Holocaust perpetrators into heroes simply because they were against the Soviets. Just about all East European Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators were against the Soviets.

Adulation of Hitlers accomplices is at odds with core Western values as is the legal crackdown, of all things, on dissident opinions about history. It is shameful that in 2017, to counter Putins disgraceful Zapad 17 military exercises right near the borders of his small, free neighbor countries, NATO produced a film lionizing the Forest Brothers without so much as a hint of a second opinion that these were largely veterans of Hitlerist fascism and mostly murderers of civilians and believers in an ethnically pure state. In recent years, American embassies in this part of the world, particularly here in Vilnius, have misguidedly participated in events to deceive foreign (particularly Jewish) groups while participating themselves in the defamation of any who challenge Baltic history revisionism as Putinist agents. The noticeable shift in State Department policy can be traced to 2009-10.

True friends of the Baltic states should be pointing out that such museums do grave damage to the countrys reputation and that those citizens who stand up with a contrary opinion should not be the victims of state-financed campaigns of defamation or prosecutorial investigations carried out to harass dissenters and deter free thought. The USSR, during the time of the Lithuanian Holocaust (1941-1944), in alliance with Great Britain and the United States, was the only force seriously fighting the Nazis and was largely responsible for there being any survivors and progeny alive today. History is history.

Still, there is a very big caveat to all this. People reading such articles might think that Lithuania is an anti-Semitic country or a country with a majority of fascism-lovers who delight in the Holocaust having taken place. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have lived for almost 19 years here in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where I have always felt welcome, well-treated, and blessed to have a wide and diverse circle of friends from an array of backgrounds. Heres that extra bit of proof: I am treated very well by the fine staff whenever I enter this museum that makes my local Jewish friends sick. When I bump into its director at a weekly antiquarian flea market that we both frequent, we exchange warm handshakes and pleasantries. This is not personal.

As in other parts of Eastern Europe, a small group of powerful elites, who have been able to enmesh Holocaust history into current geopolitical security, are the ones doing the damage to history, and to the freedom of their own citizens and the reputations of their own countries. History will show that the folks they are prosecuting under a series of laws are the real patriots. While there certainly is an anti-Semitic component in elite ultranationalist circles in this part of the world, it is neither pervasive nor necessarily dominant. There is moreover a special kind of East European anti-Semitism that is focused on an alleged Jewish Communist past, that despises todays tiny remnant Jewish communities who have a different narrative of history (think Charlottesville), but that has generally very positive approaches to modern Western Jews and Israelis. There is a heavily subsidized effort to enmesh Judaic studies (and particularly its fragile components like Yiddish studies), and even Holocaust Studies per se, within the project to revise the narrative of the Holocaust and WWII.

Future of the Museum

If any one feature of this museum is just too much, it is its name. This past September, an announcement was made that national powers had decided to change the name to: Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights. Last month, the nations parliament took steps to enact the name change. As of now, the bill is one ballot short of adoption.

But in a macabre sort of way the new name is worse. The inflation of the concept genocide to cover Soviet crimes in Lithuania (and to obfuscate the Holocaust) is lost. But what is gained? The misnaming, potentially in the museums very title, of the murderous unleashing of the Lithuanian Holocaust by the LAF Hitlerist fascists as a freedom fight! Is that what is supposed to count as an improvement?

And so, without the name change, and even more so with the proposed name change, the shameful core of this museum is its permanent exhibits glorification, via fake history, of actual Holocaust killers who unleashed its first phase here in June 1941, turning them into would-be rebels and freedom fighters. That falsification needs to disappear before the next million visitors are misled. This is all a grave injustice to the delightful, hard-working, tolerant, and economically long-suffering citizens of the country, who all deserve better. Until that most foul of untruths about the Holocaust is done away with, this will remain the most dishonest and pernicious museum in the lands of NATO and the European Union.

***

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed in Israel and around the world on 27th day of Nisan, which falls on April 11-12 this year.

Dovid Katz, a Vilnius-based Yiddish and Holocaust scholar, is professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. He edits the web journal Defending History and is at work on a new Yiddish Cultural Dictionary.

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Lithuanias Museum of Holocaust Denial Tablet Magazine

Community Synagogue of Rye – Home

Posted By on May 11, 2018

RSVP HEREPlease send check to CSR, 200 Forest Ave, Rye, NY 10580 with event(s) in memo.To use credit card: Please call CSR at (914)967-6262.There is a 3% service fee for all credit card payments.BEAD THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLDMay 107:00-9:00PMBEAD EVERYTHING175 E Post Rd, White PlainsCost: $54/personBead with the best and make your own baubles. All materials are included to make either a bracelet or a necklace with the most beautiful gems of your choice.

PAINTING IT FORWARDTUESDAY, MAY 227:00 – 9:00PMPINOTS PALETTE108 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543Cost: $54/personTalk to the hamsa… and paint it too! Come sip, snack, socialize and unleash your creative spirit.No judgements, no expectations — just channel your inner Piccasostein and Van Goghberg.

T.G.I.SHABBAT7:45 PM Location to be privately disclosed -Home HospitalityIs there anything better then winding down after a long week and welcoming in the Sabbath? Enjoy a Shabbat dinner with new friends and old. Congregants Michele & Neil Fredman, Shara & Michael Kimmel, and Rabbi Daniel & Tamara Gropper are each opening their homes to share the Sabbath’s special arrival. Limited space available at each Shabbat table.

*50/50 raffle will be at each event

Inspired by Jewish teachings and traditions, Community Synagogue of Rye seeks to be a center for spiritual transformation; to foster the creation of sacred relationships; and to give people the tools and resources to be God’s partner in healing the world.This vision is guided by our commitment to the Jewish values of Worship (T’filah), Life-Long Learning (Talmud Torah), Community (Kehilah), Loving Kindness (Hesed), Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam) and Love of Israel (Ahavat Yisrael).

A special welcome message from Rabbi Daniel Gropper,Rabbi Leora Frankel and Cantor Melanie Cooperman.

The capital campaign to upgrade and modernize our synagogue is underway!We are excited to work with you to create a new space for worship, learning and connecting.

We encourage adults and children to share in experiences of Jewish family learning and become energize through our lively activities and discussions.

We navigate the many paths of prayer with a variety of worship opportunities, all stemming from Reform Judaism’s core principles of egalitarianism and innovation.

We share a commitment to seek social justice through both individual and communal acts of tzedakah (righteous giving) and gemilut hasadim (loving kindness).

Community Synagogue of Rye is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism.

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Community Synagogue of Rye – Home

Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago

Posted By on May 11, 2018

2018 ATT’s Evening with the StarsThe ATT thanks the community for its enthusiastic support of its 2018 Awards Presentation and Annual Meeting, An Evening with the Stars, held May 8th. Over 275 people gathered together to elect the 2018-2019 ATT Board and honor ATT students and teachers as they received various awards and scholarships. Following the presentations, a Glittering Star Reception was held where the celebration continued with more photo ops of the awardees and delicious refreshments.

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The Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago’s Annual Teachers’ Educational Conference took place on Monday, February 19, 2018 at the ATT, in Skokie, from 8:45 am to 1:00 pm. The Conference featured 54 workshops for all ATT Day School and High School teachers, from pre-nursery through 12th grade. Especially noteworthy were the new features this year – online pre-registration, personalized packets at registration, shorter workshops and sharing sessions.

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Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago

Jewish American Heritage Month In May 2018 Celebrates …

Posted By on May 8, 2018

“Through JAHM, we honor the values of inclusion, acceptance, and religious liberty cherished by this country,” says Ivy Barsky, CEO and Gwen Goodman Director of the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia, the lead sponsor of JAHM.

Inspired by the 2018 global Leonard Bernstein centennial celebrations, this year’s JAHM theme recognizes the many Jewish Americans who helped create the nation’s soundtrack individuals who have been shaped by American life, society, and culture, and in turn enriched America’s musical repertoire, from classical compositions to rock and roll. West Side Story composer and humanitarian Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) used the power of music to respond to the social crises of his day. Songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989)was an Eastern European immigrant whoproduced timeless hits, including God Bless America, while fighting for the United States in WWI. Singer Fanny Brice (1891-1951), the child of Jewish immigrants, delighted audiences with her vaudeville acts, inspiring a stage and film portrayal by another widely successful artistglobal stage and screen sensation Barbra Streisand (b. 1942). Chart-topping hits have been produced by Bob Dylan (b. 1941), Carole King (b. 1942), Paul Simon (b. 1941), Regina Spektor (b. 1980),and countless others.The musical output of these creative individuals continues to entertain and inspire today.

The JAHM website and Fascinating Rhythmsresource booklet produced by NMAJH provide myriad ways to connect to JAHM nationally: communities can submit their related events to the calendar, dive into musical resources from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music and the Library of Congress, download and share the pdf of the booklet or contact astuble@nmajh.org to request hard copies, and more. For an in-depth look at individuals such as Leonard Bernstein, visit exhibitions like Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music on view through September 2, 2018 at NMAJH.

For more information and updates visit http://www.jahm.us.

About Jewish American HeritageMonthJewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) is a national month of recognition of the more than 360-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, celebrated in May. JAHM acknowledges the achievements of Jewish Americans in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government and military service. For more information, visit jahm.us and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jewish-american-heritage-month-in-may-2018-celebrates-american-jews-and-music-300641361.html

SOURCE National Museum of American Jewish History

http://www.nmajh.org

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Jewish American Heritage Month In May 2018 Celebrates …

Federal Register :: Jewish American Heritage Month, 2018

Posted By on May 8, 2018

Proclamation 9731 of April 30, 2018 A Proclamation

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the profound contributions that the Jewish faith and its traditions have had on our Nation. Two hundred years ago, in April 1818, Mordecai Noah delivered his famous discourse before the members of America’s first synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, upon the consecration of their new house of worship. Reflecting on Jewish history as well as on the unique rights and privileges afforded to American Jews, Noah proclaimed that, for the first time in eighteen centuries, it may be said that the Jew feels he was born equal, and is entitled to equal protection; he can now breathe freely.

Jewish Americans have helped guide the moral character of our Nation. They have maintained a strong commitment to engage deeply in American society while also preserving their historic values and traditions. Their passion for social justice and showing kindness to strangers is rooted in the beliefs that God created all people in his image and that we all deserve dignity and peace. These beliefs have inspired Jewish Americans to build mutual-support societies, hospitals, and educational institutions that have enabled them and their fellow Americans to advance American society. Jewish Americans marched for civil rights in Selma and fought for the freedom of their brethren behind the Iron Curtain. Through their actions, they have made the world a better place.

The contributions of the Jewish people to American society are innumerable, strengthening our Nation and making it more prosperous. American Jews have proudly served our country in all branches of government, from local to Federal, and they have defended our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The indelible marks that American Jews have left on literature, music, cinema, and the arts have enriched the American soul. In their enduring tradition of generosity, Jewish Americans have established some of the largest philanthropic and volunteer networks in the Nation, providing humanitarian aid and social services to those in need at home and abroad, acting as a light unto the nations. Universities and other institutions around the country proudly display Nobel prizes won by Jewish Americans in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.

In reaction to Mordecai Noah’s 1818 discourse, Thomas Jefferson wrote that American laws protect our religious as they do our civil rights by putting all on an equal footing. The American Jewish community is a shining example of how enshrining freedom of religion and protecting the rights of minorities can strengthen a nation. Through their rich culture and heritage, the Jewish people have triumphed over adversity and enhanced our country. For this and many other reasons, the American Jewish community is deserving of our respect, recognition, and gratitude.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2018 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.Start Printed Page 19600

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

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Federal Register :: Jewish American Heritage Month, 2018

Trump proclaims Jewish American Heritage Month – Israel …

Posted By on May 8, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday proclaimed the month of May to be Jewish American Heritage Month.

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the profound contributions that the Jewish faith and its traditions have had on our Nation. Two hundred years ago, in April 1818, Mordecai Noah delivered his famous discourse before the members of Americas first synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, upon the consecration of their new house of worship. Reflecting on Jewish history as well as on the unique rights and privileges afforded to American Jews, Noah proclaimed that, for the first time in eighteen centuries, it may be said that the Jew feels he was born equal, and is entitled to equal protection; he can now breathe freely, Trump said in a statement.

Jewish Americans have helped guide the moral character of our Nation. They have maintained a strong commitment to engage deeply in American society while also preserving their historic values and traditions. Their passion for social justice and showing kindness to strangers is rooted in the beliefs that God created all people in his image and that we all deserve dignity and peace. These beliefs have inspired Jewish Americans to build mutual-support societies, hospitals, and educational institutions that have enabled them and their fellow Americans to advance American society. Jewish Americans marched for civil rights in Selma and fought for the freedom of their brethren behind the Iron Curtain. Through their actions, they have made the world a better place, he continued.

The contributions of the Jewish people to American society are innumerable, strengthening our Nation and making it more prosperous. American Jews have proudly served our country in all branches of government, from local to Federal, and they have defended our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The indelible marks that American Jews have left on literature, music, cinema, and the arts have enriched the American soul. In their enduring tradition of generosity, Jewish Americans have established some of the largest philanthropic and volunteer networks in the Nation, providing humanitarian aid and social services to those in need at home and abroad, acting as a light unto the nations. Universities and other institutions around the country proudly display Nobel prizes won by Jewish Americans in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.

In reaction to Mordecai Noahs 1818 discourse, Thomas Jefferson wrote that American laws protect our religious as they do our civil rights by putting all on an equal footing. The American Jewish community is a shining example of how enshrining freedom of religion and protecting the rights of minorities can strengthen a nation. Through their rich culture and heritage, the Jewish people have triumphed over adversity and enhanced our country. For this and many other reasons, the American Jewish community is deserving of our respect, recognition, and gratitude.

Trump called on Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.

Former President George W. Bush first proclaimed the month of May to be Jewish American Heritage Month on April 20, 2006. Since then, annual proclamations have been made by Presidents Bush, Barack Obama and Trump.

The Canadian Parliament recently approved similar legislation which makes every May Canadian Jewish Heritage Month.

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Trump proclaims Jewish American Heritage Month – Israel …

Ashkenazi Jews are not inbred – Gene Expression

Posted By on May 7, 2018

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