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Checking in with chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov – Jewish Insider

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Garry Kasparov, the outspoken political activist and chess grandmaster, has long argued that President Donald Trump is an aspiring dictator whose actions are reminiscent of authoritarian strongmen like Russian President Vladimir Putin. That Trump is now refusing to concede the election as he makes baseless claims about voter fraud only appears to have further validated Kasparovs instincts.

Not that hes gloating about it. Since the end of the Cold War, we have been complacent and have failed to make a strong case for liberal democracy, the Russian-born Kasparov, who lived under Soviet rule and now resides in New York, told Jewish Insider. That has to end now.

Kasparov, 57, has been busy lately working to ensure that he can help usher in a more peaceful era in American politics after Trumps term ends, writing opinion pieces and maintaining his lively and combative Twitter feed. The chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Renew Democracy Initiative has also found time for lighter pursuits, having served as a special consultant on the popular new Netflix miniseries The Queens Gambit. In acknowledgement of his dedication to human rights, the Anti-Defamation League will present Kasparov with its International Leadership Award tonight during a virtual summit on antisemitism.

In a recent email exchange, Kasparov discussed some of the issues that he has focused on over the past few decades, including antisemitism, the state of American politics, Putin, Trump and chess. The interview has been lightly edited.

Jewish Insider: What do you make of Trumps efforts to discount the results of the election?

Garry Kasparov: Unfortunately, I am not surprised by them. When he lost the Iowa caucus to Ted Cruz, he claimed it was rigged. When Hillary won more votes than he did, he claimed they were fake. Even when his show, The Apprentice, failed to win an Emmy, he claimed the Emmys were rigged. But taking a step back for a moment, one of the things Ive frequently said is that wannabe authoritarian leaders never ask why they should do something. They only ever ask why not. Therefore, because Republican leaders have failed to rein him in and express what we all know to be true, Trump has been empowered to question the integrity of the election with no supporting evidence.

JI: Do you think Trump will ever concede?

Kasparov: Of course not. On January 20, he will leave the White House, if he doesnt before, but he will never concede.

JI: Are you optimistic that President-elect Joe Biden will usher in a more civil era in American politics?

Kasparov: A lot depends on what we do over the coming years. Ensuring a more peaceful and more productive era in American politics is no small task, but it is the very reason we founded the Renew Democracy Initiative. We believe that in order to move forward, we need to move past the old left-right divides, empower moderate voices and work together to come up with creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Since the end of the Cold War, we have been complacent and have failed to make a strong case for liberal democracy. That has to end now. One of my top priorities will be working with our team at RDI to educate people about the importance of key constitutional principles and using my experience as a dissident in my authoritarian home country to help Americans avoid that future in my adoptive one.

JI: Are you concerned about the rise of antisemitism? If so, what do you think can be done to counteract it?

Kasparov: Yes, absolutely I am. And unfortunately antisemitism isnt limited to any one group. In the U.S., its resurgent on both the left and the right. There are two ways we can combat it. The first and most important one is education. We need to make sure that all Americans know what antisemitism is and how to recognize it: Holocaust education should be universal. Second, we need to call attention to antisemitism wherever it rears its head. So whether a politician engages in antisemitic dog whistles or a Hollywood star like Ice Cube promotes antisemitic caricatures, we should be ready to call attention to it. And we need to make sure that antisemitic acts remain beyond the pale. We can all agree that Holocaust denial isnt welcome in polite society, but we should ensure that more mild antisemitism also carries a heavy price for its instigators.

JI: What do you make of the news that Putin may retire soon? Do you think its legitimate?

Kasparov: This isnt news yet. So far its just a rumor spread by a dictatorship, so I am not taking it at face value.

JI: Youve previously been critical of Kanye West for his controversial 2013 performance in Kazakhstan. What did you think of his presidential run?

Kasparov: As the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, I have been critical of any Western star performing in a dictatorship. On HRFs website, you can find many of the letters that weve signed calling upon performers not to accept money from dictatorial regimes. As for his presidential run, I didnt make much of it since it was little more than a joke.

JI: Do you think there is anything politicians can learn from chess?

Kasparov: The ability to analyze the big picture doesnt hurt. Politicians are frequently purely reactive and lack the strategic vision that chess players have had to develop over years of practice.

JI: What do you do to pass the time during the pandemic? Do you play chess?

Kasparov: I am as busy as Ive ever been from media appearances to online conferences to publishing articles to working on the Renew Democracy Initiative. You can also look at the Kasparov.com newsletter.

JI: Do you have a favorite chess movie?

Kasparov: Queens Gambit.

JI: Do you have a favorite chess piece?

Kasparov: The best chess piece is the most useful one at the moment. It needs to be in the right place at the right time whether its a pawn or a queen. As in real estate, its all about location, location, location.

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Checking in with chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov - Jewish Insider

US elections and Jewish vote: Priorities of American Diaspora, implications for Israel – JNS.org

Posted By on November 21, 2020

(November 20, 2020 / JNS) A key interest for Americans and Israelis in U.S. presidential elections every four years is the Jewish voterwho they choose and over what issues. The Jewish vote drew attention this year mainly due to U.S. President Donald Trumps perceived pro-Israel achievements he garnered over the last four years as well as the polarized view of him among Jewish Americans. So did those moves make an impact? How did they measure up against other pressing issues like the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the economy? And what are the implications for Israel as a Biden administration is expected to take the reins of power in January?

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) held an online symposium this week titled, The U.S. Elections and the Jewish vote: Priorities and Concerns of American Jews and the Implications for Israel to discuss these questions and more. Dore Gold, president of the JCPA, noted that a lot of the commentary [leading up to the elections] not just in the Jewish community was that different groups in American society were going to alter their orientation as a result of developments that had occurred since the last election.

Indeed, according to numerous reports since the election, Trump appears to have picked up votes since 2016 in multiple demographics and racial groups. Yet some of this could be attributed to turnout, which was at its highest levels in decades and both candidates picked up records of amounts of votes with Trump over 73 million and Biden closing in on 80 million in the popular vote count.

An American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey of Jews in the United States before the election showed that 75 percent would choose former Vice President Joe Biden and 22 percent Trump. After the election, it appears that Trump exceeded expectations, garnering about 30 percent of the Jewish vote.

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While Trump did do better than expected among American Jewish voters, his pro-Israel policies were not enough to convince most Jews, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, to support him. The AJC survey showed that the most important issue for American Jewish voters were domestic concerns such as COVID-19 (26 percent), with others prioritizing health care (17 percent), the economy (13 percent), race relations (12 percent), crime (6 percent), foreign policy (5 percent) or another issue (20 percent).

Gold emphasized the importance for Israel to keep its finger on the pulse of Americans across the country.

If we can get a sense at the very beginning of where America is going, it will help us operate intelligently in the period ahead, he said. No one can really answer this with assuredness. Being cognizant of what is going on in the debates in different communities and geographic parts of America will help Israel understand its most important ally.

Not allow Israel to become a wedge issue

Michal Cotler-Wunsh, an Israeli Knesset member of the Blue and White Party, said it is important to understand the elections so that we can improve and deepen the engagement not just between Israel and the U.S., but between Israel and North American Jewry.

She also said it is imperative that there exists bipartisan collaboration and continued engagement between Israel and the United States.

We need to depoliticize the relationship and not allow Israel to become a wedge issue, she added.

Steven Windmueller, a Jerusalem Center Fellow and emeritus professor of Jewish Communal Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, said this election was a battle over the Jewish vote in terms of why and what it represents.

Over 73 million people voted for Trump, which is an extraordinary statement that his ideas, politics and imprint are not leaving the political scene, he said. And in many ways, the polling data suggests we have many multiple Jewish expressions in this election.

Windmueller pointed to the outcome of the election as a sign that a core issue for American Jews is anti-Semitism.

Every poll prior to the election pointed to the strong sense of insecurity and concern among U.S. Jews, he said. American Jews, for the first time in their history, are weighing pressures of having threats to their political right and left. How that will define Jewish political behavior moving forward will be the core story as an outcome of this election.

Windmueller said it is important to understand that American Jews have a deep and abiding love for Israel, but that it did not show up on Nov. 3 in the context of American Jewish voters.

As long as Israel is not in crisis, he observed, American Jewish voters will not bring that issue forward in the same kind of intensity as we have seen in the past.

Windmueller concluded his remarks by saying that the re-engagement of Israel is an important theme in helping American Jews understand the mix of interests they have along with other competing identities and values that are redefining who and what the American Jewish polity is about.

Iranian aggression in the region must be countered

Irwin Mansdorf, a Jerusalem Center Fellow specializing in political psychology, said that as far as the Jewish vote is concerned, there is a difference between Jewish Biden and Trump voters overstating their love for Israel unconditionally.

He said most American Jews see themselves as liberal and do not always see anti-Israelism as anti-Semitism, which is viewed as a right-wing issue. Israel-related issues are not make-or-break.

Mansdorf also noted a smaller, hardcore of Jewish Americans who are openly antagonistic to Israel, and that there is a willingness to vote for candidates clearly unsympathetic to Israel even among mainstream Jewish Americans.

He found a large amount of unfamiliarity in the Jewish community of three important issues: Palestinian financial support for terror, Nazi-themed anti-Semitism within Palestinian media, and Iranian Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.

One of the bottom-line conclusions, according to Mansdorf, is that being pro-Israel is not a yes-or-no answer and may not be a term we can use anymore, and because of that, we need to pay attention to this issue and the conditional aspect of voters being pro- or not pro-Israel.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, emphasized that although the reins of power in Washington will be changing hands, the special U.S.-Israel relationship will continue to thrive, as it has for decades.

The big-picture, long-term policy decisions of the incoming administration will have a significant impact in the Middle East, he said. Iranian aggression in the region must be countered, and the Ayatollah [Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khameini]s nuclear development cannot be allowed to continue unabated.

With regard to the talk of renegotiating the JCPOA, Daroff said it is our hope that any new Iran deal be more far-reaching and comprehensive regarding Irans actions in the region and its nuclear ambitions for the long term.

Turning to the Palestinian issue, he spoke of the Biden administrations interest in re-engaging the Palestinians to get them back to the negotiating table, as well as restoring aid to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA.

Biden is committed to abiding by the Taylor Force Act, a congressional act that forbids U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authoritys abhorrent pay-to-slay program wherein terrorists and their families are rewarded for their murderous acts. So well see how they thread this needlehopefully, in a way that changes this noxious policy.

Addressing the U.S.-Israel relationship, Daroff said personnel is policy.

Certain appointments will have far-reaching consequences, he pointed out, and those people in key roles will set the tone for the special relationship under the Biden administration.

Nevertheless, he emphasized, I am optimistic about the path ahead.

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US elections and Jewish vote: Priorities of American Diaspora, implications for Israel - JNS.org

What I learned about teshuvah (and the internet) when I sat down with a repentant white supremacist – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Posted By on November 21, 2020

(JTA) - Before I met him, I saw Benjamin McDowell's name in the news. Inspired by Dylann Roof, the notorious shooter responsible for the Charleston church massacre, he planned an attack on a synagogue that was thwarted by FBI agents.

No lives were lost. No lasting physical harm was done, though the synagogue members certainly felt threatened and terrified. I read the news item online and, though I didn't yet know the word, doomscrolled onward.

I probably wouldn't have thought much about McDowell again had I not seen a video of him in my Facebook feed three years later. Rabba Karpov, the rabbi of Jewish Center of Indian Country, Oklahoma, had posted a Youtube video uploaded by McDowell in which he expressed remorse for his past behavior. (The video has since been removed, though I don't know why or by whom).

I watched the video and was genuinely moved. Something had happened to Benji while in prison. Here he was, talking about the power of love and light to transcend differences, political and religious, and how we were all part of one larger human family. How many of us have undergone such a profound, public transformation from deadly darkness to hope? How many ex-White Supremacists are out there seeking to amend their past ways?

A few nights before I had watched the film "Burden," which tells the true story of how a Black minister, Reverend Kennedy, welcomed a former KKK member, Mike Burden, into his home and changed his life forever. Inspired by this radical act of loving kindness on the reverend's part, I felt compelled to act on the video of McDowell. I reached out to him directly on Facebook.

Even though I have invited anti-Semites into my home before, I generally believe it is not the Jewish people's responsibility to combat anti-Semitism - in the same way that it is not Black people's responsibility to dismantle systemic racism. Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia are prejudices which plague society, and we as a nation bear a communal responsibility towards eradicating them.

But a communal responsibility is fulfilled through countless individual acts. And I knew that encounters with people from such a polar opposite outlook can be sacred and potentially profoundly impactful.

After some texting and a phone call, I invited Benji onto my show, "A Rabbi And A - Walk Into A Zoom." I've hosted priests, Holocaust survivors, doctors, musicians, actors - even President and Michelle Obama's speechwriter - but never before a repentant white supremacist. And so, we had our event's name: "A Rabbi And A Former White Supremacist Walk Into A Zoom."

He described meeting with an undercover FBI agent who was ready to sell him weapons to use against the Jewish community. The FBI had tracked his hateful rhetoric online and sought to see just how close this one blogger was to bringing his online musings into fruition.

What struck me most during our conversation - which took place on Sept. 14, right before Rosh Hashanah - was the dissonance McDowell described between his online and real-life experiences. Online, he was being inculcated with and reflecting back an ideology centered on the idea that Black people and Jews are destroying society. But he said that even when he was writing hateful messages about Black people online, he always treated them fairly when he countered them in real life.

"And Jews?" I asked.

He had never met a Jew before. Our conversation, he said, was the first time he had knowingly spoken to a Jew.

The Rabbis of the Talmud wrote of the spiritual potency of teshuvah, a genuine return to one's self, heartfelt repentance. They wrote that teshuvah has the power to transform one's intentional sins into meritorious deeds. A preposterous sentiment! However, when speaking with Benji, I saw how teshuvah indeed could be seen this way.

His intentional hateful acts had brought him to this meritorious place of seeking out reconciliation.

Though our country is engulfed in national turmoil, and we are each convinced of our own political righteousness, McDowell said he was undergoing a personal transformation. (He told me he doesn't follow the news much because its toxic nature isn't the most conducive to his emotional recovery, as he puts it.)

How many of us have given up on Fox News viewers, or MSNBC viewers, because they are dead set in their ways? How many of us refuse to engage with someone who says "All Lives Matter" or "Black Lives Matter" because we are so disgusted by the sentiments we think are motivating them? If Benji has taught me anything, it is to never believe the lie that we are conditioned to believe: that people cannot change. People can.

It is ironic that I encountered Benji through Facebook, a social media giant which is often under criticism for fueling misinformation and polarization. I myself experienced Facebook's mishandling of hate speech when its moderators removed a post I wrote about being assaulted by Farrakhan supporters on a subway car.

The platform, for all of its flaws, permitted Benji and me to connect. But as Benji himself puts it, it was also the echo chamber of the online groups he had found, which further fueled his toxic thinking. If Facebook chose to actively combat misinformation and hate speech, who knows how many Benjis would be steered away from falsehoods? Facebook's new policy banning Holocaust denial on its platform is a welcome change that comes several years too late.

In the age of COVID-19, we are online now more than ever. For me, Benji's story is serving as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of echo-chambers, a reminder to Facebook of the heavy burden they now carry as a connector of people.

But may we also remember that there are people behind the profiles. Real human beings with emotional range and capacity. Let us never lose sight of each other's humanity, no matter how deeply we doomscroll.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.

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What I learned about teshuvah (and the internet) when I sat down with a repentant white supremacist - Heritage Florida Jewish News

Angered by Facebook and Twitter, conservatives jump to alternatives – AZFamily

Posted By on November 21, 2020

(Meredith/CNN) -- Among tweets containing claims about election results, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo echoed a rallying cry of many prominent conservative voices in a tweet shortly after Election Day: "I will be leaving [Twitter] soon and going to Parler. Please open an account on @parler right away."

Others who've been active on the alternative social network Parler in recent weeks include Fox News host Sean Hannity, radio personality Mark Levin, far-right activist Laura Loomer, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Devin Nunes. Eric Trump also has an account verified by Parler as does Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

A substantial number of users have followed these voices onto the platform, fueled by complaints over actions major social media platforms have taken against election misinformation and false allegations of voter fraud, such as disputing claims with fact-check labels. Twitter, in particular, took aggressive action on many of President Trump's tweets during the election. At one point, the social network applied warning labels to more than a third of Trump's tweets after polls closed. Some of Trump's tweets were hidden behind a warning label which users had to click through before being able to read what they said.

Parler, founded in 2018 by John Matze and Jared Thomson, bills itself as "unbiased social media" and a place where people can "speak freely and express yourself openly without fear of being 'deplatformed' for your views," according to its website and App Store description. It looks like a mashup of Twitter and Instagram, with its main feed, follower counts and ways to share posts and links.

It's also rife with misinformation, including a stream of allegations of voter fraud, such as false assertions that "millions" of votes were either lost or switched from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

The app has seen an influx of downloads following the US election. Parler hit the number one spot overall on Apple's US App Store among free apps for the first time on Sunday -- ahead of names including TikTok and YouTube -- according to Apptopia which tracks mobile apps. Since last Friday, more than 4.5 million new people signed up for accounts, according to a letter from Parler CEO Matze. CNN Business asked Parler about the recent influx of conservative voices and whether the platform uses any kind of content moderation but did not receive a response.

"A lot of people are just discovering Parler for the first time, but it's been around for a while in terms of being an echo chamber for both right-wing news, but also for misinformation," said Joan Donovan, an expert in online extremism and disinformation and research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Singer Joy Villa, a vocal supporter of President Trump, told her nearly 250,000 Twitter followers to go follow her on Parler earlier this week. She said she previously had one of her YouTube videos temporarily removed, and she feels that conservatives are being "disenfranchised" on the larger social media platforms.

"There's a lot of shadow banning, censorship and over saturated 'fact checking' to the detriment of being able to freely post anything, even on the President of the United States," Villa told CNN Business in an email. "I love that Parler is transparent with who views my posts, and that they promote and actually support free speech and free thought."

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have stepped up efforts to crack down on misinformation, which comes amid an outcry from prominent conservatives that their voices are being disproportionately censored.

Twitter and Facebook declined to comment for this story.

It's not just Parler that's getting a boost. The app of right-wing media outlet Newsmax has climbed the app charts recently and other social apps like MeWe and video-sharing platform Rumble are also gaining steam, both of which promise not to clamp down people's voices.

Oren Segal, vice president at the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, warned that while Parler has become popular with conservatives, it's also attracting extremists. He worries this could expose non-extremists to radical viewpoints.

"We have seen, time after time, that extremists always look for alternatives to migrate to if they are finding difficulties on the platforms on which they're established," Segal said. "If a lot of people start migrating onto a platform to hear the Laura Ingrahms and Sean Hannitys, but are getting a steady dose of Proud Boys ... that may normalize the fringes in a way that normally it wouldn't."

(The Proud Boys are a group whose ideology has been labeled "misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration" by the ADL).

According to an ADL report released on Thursday, members of the Proud Boys, adherents of conspiracy theory QAnon, anti-government extremists and white supremacists all openly promote their views on Parler. "Holocaust denial, antisemitism, racism and other forms of bigotry are also easy to find," the ADL said.

Both extremists and "mainstream conservatives" are using the app to organize and recruit for pro-Trump events, such as the "Million MAGA March" in Washington DC, according to the ADL report. Meanwhile, a virtual event on Facebook scheduled for Friday is spurring people to join alternative platforms, like Parler. The event banner reads: "LEAVE FACEBOOK. Join another social media outlet that does not Censor US! #MassExitOffFacebook November 13, 2020." RSVPs to the event topped 78,000 people, while more than 393,000 Facebook users said they were interested.

But Parler's staying power is an open question. Over the years, cries of censorship have prompted several alternatives to crop up, such as Gab, 4chan and 8chan. However, none have yet succeeded in creating a long-lasting and robust right-leaning platform. These smaller players lack the resources of big companies like Facebook, their infrastructure can buckle under the pressure of increased traffic and they typically don't have all the features of other social platforms that users are accustomed to.

"When these minor apps get popular, they don't work," said Harvard's Donovan. "People try to have some kind of mass exodus from some of the major platforms and they can't because the user experience is just poor."

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Angered by Facebook and Twitter, conservatives jump to alternatives - AZFamily

Hungary Now Safest Place in Europe for Jews – Rabbi Kves at the Hungary at First ‘Site’ Conference – Hungary Today

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Hungary is probably the safest place for Jews in Europe at the moment, said Chief Rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) Slom Kves at the international Hungary at First Site press conference organized by the Friends of Hungary Foundation, Hungary Todays publisher, held online this year due to the pandemic. Although a part of the society has anti-semitic feelings, there are no physical atrocities unlike in some Western European countries.

In his presentation, Rabbi Kves referred to the establishment of their foundation called Foundation for Action and Defense (TVA). The inspiration for its founding came from the emergence of the extreme right, the growing popularity of Jobbik, certain politicians controversial statements around the middle of the last decade, and from the very thought that Jewish communities are responsible for themselves.

FactThe organizations activities are centered around three pillars, the first providing legal protection and aid for victims, or in connection with Holocaust denial cases, or making documents to help change in legislation. Research and monitoring comes next, something that they lately extended to eight more countries. The third being education (programs, textbooks, courses), which Kves deems the most important.

Concerning Hungarian anti-semitic tendencies, Hungary definitely counts as safe in international comparison, Kves says. In 2019, for example, TVA listed only 35 cases of anti-semitic incidents in Hungary, meaning 3.5 cases per million inhabitants. This figure is considerably better than similar data of Western countries (the Netherlands, France, US, or Great Britain). What is more, neighboring Austria also recorded more cases over previous years.

Still, anti-semitic feelings are definitely present in Hungarian society. While in year-to-year comparison, the ratio of moderately anti-semites vary between 10-18%, the proportion of those with strong anti-semitic attitudes range between 18-27%. Around two-thirds of Hungarian society has no anti-semitic feelings at all. However, its worrisome, the rabbi pointed out, that moderate anti-semites are shifiting towards the extreme, something that Kves attributes to the emergence of the Jobbik party, which made far-right feelings more acceptable.

Kves claims, in response to a question about regular Western reports on Hungarian anti-semitism. He notes that while in many parts of the world Jewish people often need a survival stratetgy when going out on the streets, this is not the case in Hungary. On the other hand, Hungary is still a country where a large part of the population does believe in the antisemitic ideology, something however, which is not specific to Hungarians, he argues.

Nevertheless, besides the aid of the Hungarian and Israeli governments, and being in close cooperation with the Hungarian police, both major Jewish communities have their own guarding system, including their own security staff, camera surveillance systems, and emergency rooms to be prepared for anything that can happen, Kves revealed.

In reference to [formerly far-right, now right-wing opposition party] Jobbik, Kves admits that Jobbik moved towards the center from 2016 and now declares ifself a peoples party, but he believes Jobbik still lacks explanatory statements about their reasons and distancing statements about earlier unacceptable statements and stances, lacking visible efforts to change from the grassroots. In addition, he points to their polls in which they showed that while the ratio of anti-semitic-leaning voters of the other parties range between 15-40%, in the case of Jobbik, it fluctuated around 60-70%, something that hasnt changed in the last five years.

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Hungarian Jews can live in safety, their cultural live are thriving, but there would be a lot more to do, and unfortunately Hungarians still score high in xenophobia, says Pter Kirschner, leader of the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association (MAZSIKE), the first, biggest and neutral Hungarian Jewish cultural organization, and manager of a number of important []Continue reading

In response to a question about whether the Orbn governments anti-Soros campaign had negative effects on the countrys anti-semitism and the Jewish community, Kves, besides admitting that he hasnt found the campaign elegant, once again referred to their polls. According to their pretty shocking findings, despite the political overtones, respondents tended not to connect Soros to the Jewry and apparently the campaigns did not have any considerable effect on anti-semitism.

He thinks, on the other hand, that the only way that could accelerate and have an effect would be if we started to say that the anti-Soros campaign is actually anti-semitic, as those people who started to hate Soros because of the campaign would now connect the two, strenghtening their hate to the Jews. The overall number of anti-semitic incidents didnt go up either with the appearance of the campaign and billboards, he claimed.

In regard to the House of Fates memorial project that drew waves in domestic politics as well, Kves says that they are working hard on it, but such large-scale projects definitely need time.

The project was announced in 2013 to be prepared for the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust. After it came to a halt due to disagreements between historian Mria Schmidt, who was responsible for the concept, and the Jewish communities in 2017, the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation was asked to take the lead on the project in 2018. They are now working with well-known design firms and the most famous historians of the Holocaust, Kves explained, showcasing the yet-to-be-published plan lying on his table, predicting the potential opening on or before the 80th anniversary (2024).

featured image via Zoltn Balogh/MTI

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Hungary Now Safest Place in Europe for Jews - Rabbi Kves at the Hungary at First 'Site' Conference - Hungary Today

The Latest: Romney slams Trump efforts to overturn election as ‘undemocratic’ – pressherald.com

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Two Republican senators are criticizing President Trump and his team for their efforts to pressure state and local election officials to overturn President-elect Joe Bidens victories in several closely contested states.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, one of Trumps most vocal Republican critics, tweeted Thursday, It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.

Romney accused Trump on resorting to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., went after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who held a press conference Thursday presenting a list of far-fetched, thoroughly debunked claims on the 2020 election.

Sasse tweeted: Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets.

Biden wins Georgia, flipping the state for Democrats

Joe Biden has won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes, an extraordinary victory for Democrats who pushed to expand their electoral map through the Sun Belt.

The win by Biden pads his Electoral College margin of victory over President Donald Trump.Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 7after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to the Democrats column.

Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trumps 232.

Trump won Georgia by 5 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In 2020, Democrats had focused heavily on the state, seeing it in play two years after Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost the governors race. Both of Georgias Senate seats were on the ballot this year, further boosting the states political profile as well as spending by outside groups seeking to influence voters.Those two races are headed to a January runoff.

Georgia hadnt voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Wisconsin issues recount order, paid for by Trump, in 2 liberal counties

MADISON, Wis. The Wisconsin Elections Commission issued an order Thursday to recount more than 800,000 ballots cast in two heavily liberal counties at President Trumps request.

The order, required by law after Trump paid $3 million for the recount, was agreed to after rancorous debate for more than five hours Wednesday night that foreshadows the partisan battle ahead.

Its just remarkable the six of us in a civilized fashion cant agree to this stuff, Democratic commissioner Mark Thomsen said hours into the debate. The commission is split 3-3 between Democrats and Republicans.

The recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, where Joe Biden outpolled Trump by a more than 2-to-1 margin, will begin Friday and must be completed by Dec. 1. Milwaukee County officials said they plan to finish the recount by Wednesday. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell has not provided an estimated completion date.

Biden won statewide by 20,608 votes. Trumps campaign has cited irregularities in the counties, although no evidence of illegal activity has been presented.

We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks, Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsins top elections official, said Thursday. We look forward to again demonstrating the strength, security, integrity and transparency of our election systems in Wisconsin.

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Trump invites Michigan Republican leaders to White House

DETROIT President Trump summoned Michigans Republican legislative leaders to the White House for a meeting Friday amid a longshot GOP push to overturn the certification of Democrat Joe Bidens victory in the battleground state.

Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing private conversations.

It was not immediately clear what the meeting would be about. Neither Shirkey nor Chatfield commented.

The Legislature would be called to select electors if Trump succeeds in convincing the states board of canvassers not to certify Bidens 153,000-vote victory in the state.

Both Shirkey and Chatfield have indicated they will not try to overturn Bidens win.

Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes, Shirkeys spokeswoman said last week.

Also Thursday, state officials said Michigans largest county cannot revoke its certification of election results after two Republicans who approved Joe Bidens local landslide wanted to revert to their initial stance of refusing to bless the vote tally.

The GOP effort to change position represented another complication in what is typically a routine task. Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, said they only voted to certify the results after hours of sustained pressure and after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.

We deserve better but more importantly, the American people deserve better than to be forced to accept an outcome achieved through intimidation, deception and threats of violence, they said in a statement Wednesday night. Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process.

State officials said the certification of the Detroit-area vote will stand. Michigans chief election officer said a post-election audit will be performed, though not to check mythical allegations of fraud.

There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. Their job is done, and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify, said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for the Michigan secretary of state.

Read the full story here.

Michigan says its too late for Republicans to take back election certification

DETROIT Michigans largest county cant revoke its certification of election results, officials said Thursday after two Republicans who approved Joe Bidens local landslide wanted to revert to their initial stance of refusing to bless the vote tally.

The GOP effort to change position represented another complication in what is typically a routine task. Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, said they only voted to certify the results after hours of sustained pressure and after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.

We deserve better but more importantly, the American people deserve better than to be forced to accept an outcome achieved through intimidation, deception and threats of violence, they said in a statement Wednesday night. Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process.

State officials said the certification of the Detroit-area vote will stand. Michigans chief election officer said a post-election audit will be performed, though not to check mythical allegations of fraud.

Read the full story here.

Michigan Republican asks to rescind vote certifying election results after Trump call

DETROIT President Trump called a GOP canvassing board member in Wayne County who announced Wednesday she wanted to rescind her decision to certify the results of the presidential election, the member said in a message to The Washington Post Thursday.

I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting, Monica Palmer, one of two Republican members of the four-member Wayne County canvassing board, told The Post. He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred.

The call came after an hours-long meeting on Tuesday in which the four-member canvassing board voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, a key step toward finalizing President-elect Joe Bidens victory in the state.

In affidavits signed Wednesday evening, the two GOP members of the board allege they were improperly pressured into certifying the election and accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to audit votes in Detroit.

In an interview, Palmer estimated that she talked with Trump for about two minutes Tuesday. She said she felt no pressure to change her vote. Palmer has said she received messages threatening her and her family during and after the Tuesday tense meeting.

His concern was about my safety and that was really touching. He is a really busy guy and to have his concern about my safety was appreciated, she told The Post.

Read the full story here.

As GOP heavyweights storm Georgia for Senate runoffs, Democrats hold back for now

When Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Georgia on Friday, hell become the fourth national Republican figure to campaign for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in nine days.

During the same period, no outside Democrat has visited the state on behalf of challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and thats just fine with them.

The diverging approaches between the parties illustrate the initial strategic calculations they are making in the opening phase of Georgias U.S. Senate runoff elections, following a cycle where a stable of well-funded, high-profile Democratic candidates severely underperformed.

While Republicans are embracing an all-hands-on-deck approach to rejuvenate a base still grappling with President Donald Trumps defeat in Georgia and nationwide, Democrats are so far resisting the temptation to fully nationalize races that will determine the balance of power in a closely divided Senate, instead hoping to keep the focus on the records of the GOP incumbents.

Were not soliciting anything, said a Warnock aide, who indicated that the campaign was still evaluating the use of well-known Democrats beyond their emails for fundraising assistance.

While former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among those urging their lists of donors to send money to Georgia, neither has immediate plans to appear in-person.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton will be in Perry, Georgia, on Thursday to rally on behalf of Perdue and Loeffler; Ossoff and Warnock will be the sole headliners at their own joint event in Jonesboro about 90 minutes away.

Teresa Pike Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate this year, said Ossoff and Warnock are best served by modeling themselves after the understated effectiveness of former GOP Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.

They werent grabbing national headlines and getting Beto ORourke-sized crowds, but people loved them, Tomlinson said. Its whos going to bring in the riverwalk and the bike trail and take care of the local contract? Who is going to keep the local university afloat? So you bring in somebody famous? Big deal.

Some outside groups like NextGen which works to organize millennials and Generation Z behind liberal causes are treading lightly and taking their cues from local Georgia groups. The organization will use 20,000 volunteers to call and text young progressives in the state about the mechanics of voting in the runoffs, but it has no plans to deploy in-person canvassers.

We wont do anything on the ground, partly because of COVID and partly because our allies with boots on the ground are saying, Weve got this,' said Ben Wessel, NextGens executive director.

Facebook says it labeled 180 million debunked posts ahead of the election

Facebook on Thursday said it slapped warnings on more than 180 million pieces of content that were debunked by fact-checkers during the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Between March 1 and Election Day, it also removed more than 265,000 pieces of content in the U.S. for voter interference. The company did not reveal how effective its labels are, except to say that when a label obscures a post, 95 percent of people do not click to see what is behind the warning screen.

The company estimated it helped register 4.5 million voters in the U.S. this year across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and helped 100,000 sign up to be poll workers. Since its launch, 140 million people have visited the companys voting information center, and on Election Day, 33 million people visited its election center, which included results as they came in.

Facebook also said in its update its artificial intelligence systems are getting significantly better at rooting out posts with hate speech, even as the content continues to proliferate on its social media sites.

The technology now identifies 95 percent of hate speech posts that the company eventually removes before a user reports them. Nearly three years ago, the AI only proactively found about 24 percent of the violating posts.

But its not a perfect system, and Facebook also revealed a new way to measure hate speech on its site during its third quarter Community Standard Enforcement Report. About one in every 1,000 views of posts on the flagship site contains hate speech. It did not release a similar metric for its photo-sharing app Instagram.

Facebook has been more aggressive in recent years about expanding its policies that define hate speech and trying to quickly take down those posts. In October, the company reversed course on a long-held controversial policy and banned holocaust denial posts after years of CEO Mark Zuckerberg defending the hands-off approach.

In its quarterly standards report, Facebook said it took enforcement action on nearly 29 million posts on Facebook and Instagram that contained hate speech between July and September. It also took action on 23 million pieces of violent and graphic content.

Facebooks ability to police content has been hampered by the pandemic. It has had to send much of its moderation workforce home, and says the majority of those workers are still working remotely. While they can handle many of their tasks remotely, Facebook cant send them its most problematic content such as sexual exploitation content.

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US Dept. Of Education Opens Investigation Into Alleged Anti-Semitism At U Of I – – Illinois Newsroom

Posted By on November 21, 2020

URBANA The U.S. Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights is investigating the University of Illinois response to reports of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist incidents on its Urbana campus.

Three Jewish organizations including the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights, the Jewish United Fund and Hillel International filed a complaint earlier this year alleging that Jewish and pro-Israel students on the U of I campus face an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment and that the university allowed the proliferation of a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The incidents contained in the complaint date back five years and include swastikas found on or near the campus, vandalism to Jewish symbols and buildings, as well as Jewish fraternities and sororities. The complaint also details incidents involving the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UIUC. In one incident, the SJP promoted a rally on campus by saying [t]here is no room for fascists, white supremacists, or Zionists at UIUC, according to the complaint. In another incident during a mandatory diversity training session in 2019, a multicultural advocate on campus delivered a presentation about Palestinian resistance to Israels policies that allegedly glorified violence against Jews. The complaint details other incidents in which students who supported the Palestinian cause allegedly called Jewish and pro-Israel students white supremacists.

Alyza Lewin, president and general counsel for the Brandeis Center, says the university failed to address and protect Jewish students from discrimination.

The university is required by law to take prompt and effective steps to address harassment and discrimination and to ensure that the students have a safe environment where theyre not deprived of any educational opportunities, where theyre not excluded, where they dont feel compelled to shed some part of their identity in order to participate in university activities, Lewin says.

Lewin added that the university has started to seriously engage with us. They recognize the seriousness of this problem, theyve started to appreciate and understand the multitude of ways that anti-Semitism manifests itself.

This week, the U of I issued a joint statement with the Jewish groups that filed the complaint, acknowledging that anti-Semitism is a problem on campus and that the university needs to do more to address it. Incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise on college campuses across the country, according to Hillel, an international Jewish student organization. The Anti-Defamation League reported earlier this year that anti-Semitic incidents, generally speaking, increased to an all-time high in 2019 since the organization began tracking them in 1979.

Ian Katsnelson, a U of I junior and vice president of the pro-Israel student group, IlliniPAC, applauds the joint statement. Katsnelson says he hasnt felt supported by the university. He says last year when he ran for president of the student body, he was called a Nazi because he was Jewish and supported Israel.

My ancestors have been killed by Nazis. And here I am on this college campus, and Im being called a Nazi myself, just for being Jewish. And I really wish at that moment that the university had my back. And unfortunately, they didnt really at that time.

Katsnelson is one of multiple Jewish students on whose behalf the complaint was filed.

Robin Kaler, a spokesperson for the U of I, wrote in an emailed statement that the campus would respond to the complaint, is committed to supporting a safe and welcoming environment for all students, and we are focused on working together on clear, concrete and actionable steps to support Jewish students, staff and faculty.

After the complaint was announced late last month, dozens of Jewish faculty members signed an open letter to U of I Chancellor Robert Jones stating that they refuted the facts of the complaint. They wrote that they believe the campus had adequately addressed incidents of anti-Semitism, and that the incidents in the complaint dont constitute an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment.

Bruce Rosenstock, a professor in the U of Is religion department, is one the professors who signed the letter. Rosenstock, who is himself Jewish, worries that the complaint and ensuing investigation will force the university to declare that Zionism is an ancestral and ethnic trait of the Jewish people. Zionism is defined by Merriam Webster as an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel.

Rosenstock says not all Jews identify as Zionists.

Theyre demanding that the university make it a policy that a certain group who identifies with Zionism as their ancestral identity, as Jews, that that group get to define what Jewish expression is at this university. And that is simply unacceptable, he says. Rosenstock added that it can be hard to distinguish when anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic.

He worries that the complaint and the result of the investigation will ultimately have a chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom on campus.

Lewin, with the Brandeis Center, said nobody is trying to shut down legitimate discourse and conversation and disagreement, even passionate disagreement, about the current policies of the government of Israel. Lewin argues that Zionism isnt only a political ideology but is an expression of Jewish identity.

The Jewish students at UIC arent experiencing viewpoint discrimination. Theyre actually experiencing national origin discrimination, Lewin says.

Rosenstock disagrees. I do fear that the university will be forced to define Zionism, not as a political ideology, but rather, as the very essence of Judaism and of the Jewish peoples identity as Jews. That is a falsehood that needs to be battled, he says.

Lewin says the organizations involved in the complaint plan to continue engaging with the university while the Office for Civil Rights conducts its investigation. She says they ultimately want the university to take a number of steps, including adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, modifying the universitys anti-discrimination policies, and creating training programs to education the community about anti-Semitism, among other actions.

Lee Gaines is a reporter for Illinois Public Media.

Follow Lee Gaines on Twitter: @LeeVGaines

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US Dept. Of Education Opens Investigation Into Alleged Anti-Semitism At U Of I - - Illinois Newsroom

For the Jewish state, the Holocaust is a tool to be manipulated – +972 Magazine

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Something remarkable happened within the same week that an internal Israeli government committee approved the appointment of Effi Eitam, a former IDF general and far-right politician, as chairperson of Yad Vashem, Israels Holocaust museum. In a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that President Donald Trump intends to declare the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement antisemitic.

The proximity between the two announcements symbolizes the final phase in the manipulative metamorphosis that antisemitism and the Holocaust have undergone in the hands of Zionism.

Effi Eitam, a right-wing hawk and an avowed racist, made the following remarks in 2006 during the memorial service for Lt. Amichai Merhavia, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War:

We will have to do three things: expel most of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria [West Bank] from here. It is impossible with all these Arabs and it is impossible to give up the territory, because we have already seen what they are doing there. Some may be able to stay under certain conditions, but most will have to go. We will have to make another decision, and that is to kick out the Israeli Arabs from the political system. Here, too, things are clear as day: we have created a fifth column, a group of first-degree traitors, so we cannot continue to allow such a hostile and large presence in Israels political system. Third, in the face of the Iranian threat, we will have to act differently from everything we have done until today. These are three things that will require a change in our ethics of warfare.

The expulsion of an occupied, native people from their land by the occupying force is a war crime. Preventing the participation of citizens in the political system based on ethnic or national affiliation is akin to fascism. The incoming Yad Vashem chairperson does not shy away from expressing opinions that amount to war crimes in order to advance his political ambitions.

Effi Eitam speaks during the Gush Katif conference, Tel Aviv Museum, March 23, 2017. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Trump, as Libby Lenkinski wrote on these pages, is the man who brought classic antisemitism back into fashion in the United States while being warmly embraced by the prime minister of the Jewish state.

Yad Vashems fondness for fascists and war criminals is no secret either. Since Apartheid South Africas Prime Minister John Worster, a member of a pro-Nazi organization during World War II, visited Yad Vashem in 1976, the museum has hosted a delegation of Myanmars military junta responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It has opened its doors to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the man who has praised Hitler and openly supports the physical extermination of LGBTQ people, Brazils indigenous population and a host of other atrocities, including rape, torture and military dictatorship. It has even hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn, who has expressed support for Mikls Horthy, Hungarys antisemitic leader during World War II; and South Sudans Anthony Lino Makana, a senior official in a government responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban tours Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, July 19, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

If Zionism previously justified its crimes against the Palestinian people in the name of the Holocaust, today it uses the Holocaust as a tool to justify antisemitism itself in exchange for political profit. More than that: it allows an antisemite to define what antisemitism is. This is the bitter truth we face today for the official State of Israel, the concept of the Holocaust and antisemitism are purely political means, and as such can be manipulated, distorted, and deceived, just like any other political tool.

After they dispossessed the Palestinians under the pretext of the Holocaust, Israeli leaders are now adopting an antisemite like Trump who will persecute the descendants of those same dispossessed Palestinians in the name of fighting antisemitism. And not only them, but also the countless Jews who show solidarity for the Palestinian struggle for justice. However, as long as there are people of conscience who shiver at the sight of this heinous exploitation of the Holocausts memory, this will be difficult to do.

That is why Effi Eitam, a racist and proponent of war crimes, has been appointed to guard the memory of Jewish tragedy so that the Holocaust forever remains subject to utilitarian and political manipulation. That is how Israel honors the dead in 2020.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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For the Jewish state, the Holocaust is a tool to be manipulated - +972 Magazine

Rouhani: "Trump Has Almost Carried Out Dictates Of The Zionist Regime" – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on November 21, 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a recent meeting that conditions would be more favorable for acting in the USs actual interests when the Trump administration ends.

The problem of the [US] administration, which is in its final months, was that it was not very familiar with international politics. It was almost carrying out the dictates of the [US] extremists and of the Zionist regime, Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on Irans IRINN TV.

Some of our youth believe that we were the ones who cut off relations with the Americans. This isnt the case. They are the ones who cut off relations with Iran. We didnt start this.

Rouhani also lamented the fact that the Trump administration has interfered with Irans relations with other countries.

(YWN Israel Desk Jerusalem)

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Rouhani: "Trump Has Almost Carried Out Dictates Of The Zionist Regime" - Yeshiva World News

The anniversary of Rabin’s assassination and its significance – Mondoweiss

Posted By on November 21, 2020

This article was published on the 1995 bulletin of the St. Ives Association in Jerusalem in Hebrew after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed on November 4, 1995 by Yigal Amir, after Rabin initiated the Oslo Peace Accords. It was translated into English by Ofra Yeshua-Lyth and is reprinted with permission from the author.

The flash of shots that pierced Yitzhak Rabins body shed a cold and cruel light upon the abyss opened as a result of the clash of social and political forces whose mutual contradiction reached its climax with this murder the contradiction between democracy on the one hand, and a Jewish state on the other. This deep contradiction has existed in Israeli society at least since the founding of the state of Israel. The Zionist movement, agent in the settlement process here in the East, attempting to turn the various ethnic groups that adhere to the Jewish religion into one nation, could not find any other cohesion for its purpose except for that very religion. Thus, Zionism created the Gordian knot between religion and state and rendered a special status to the practitioners of that religion and especially to those who find their livelihood in it.

These social and political elements received perpetual nurture from all Israeli governments. Not only the settler-colonists and their rabbis, but a thick layer of sacristans namely kosher-legitimacy supervisors, officials of religious councils, religious judges, butchers, rabbis in towns, kibbutzim, settler-colonies and institutions, all being paid their salaries not by the actual believers but especially by the secular crowds tax money. This parasitic layer consists of tens of thousands of people whose religious studies are their artisanship, including yeshiva students and mystics who specialize in cursing secular citizens. The Zionist left, in its support of the apartheid mentality of a Jewish state, lost any ability to struggle towards the separation of religion and state and for the democratization of Israeli society. Thus it, too, is responsible for nurturing this parasitic layer and for the intensification of Jewish fundamentalism.

The contradictions in Israeli society were exacerbated after the conquests of 1967, when the states leaders decided to prevent any chance of Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied Territories. To this end, these areas had to be populated by Jews, just as in pre-1948 Palestine. The human resources of the Zionist left had already dwindled, just like its spiritual ones, and the need arose to find new social forces. Gush Emunim, a neocolonial-messianic trend, was most suitable for this purpose, and enjoyed massive support of all Israeli governments in order to found about 150 new settler-colonies in the newly acquired occupied territories. The settler-colonists became an integral part of the security system and the tip of its spear for oppressing Palestinians. However, after the Gulf War the U.S. succeeded in pressuring Israel to act towards stabilizing a new order in the Middle East. The quick about-face carried out by the Israeli oppression system towards this new order was very partial and in fact consisted only of its head. Thus, the executor of the new order in the Middle East was assassinated by a member of the old order. The murderer, bound both to messianic fundamentalism and to the security system when he served as a combat infantry soldier, gladly carrying out Rabins orders at the time to Break their bones! opposed the later change according to which Arafat would now be responsible for breaking Palestinian bones on behalf of Israeli security. The tail of the Israeli oppression system, like the tail of a gigantic monster that includes both the settler-colonists and loyal transferists, now gave its head a lethal blow.

The shots that killed Rabin were in fact aimed at the heart of democracy. The campaign of incitement and de-legitimization against Rabin leaned upon those growing layers of Israeli society, not only on right-wing factions. The fact that Rabin was willing to rely on a democratic majority that included Arab citizens of the state in order to retain the Jewish nature of the state through an agreement with Arafat doomed him with those racists who had regarded him as a democrat.

Naturally, these were not the opening shots of a civil war they merely exposed its hidden existence: Rabin is the last victim so far, in a long line of victims Arabs murdered by Jewish settler-colonists, people murdered by the Jewish underground, Arab workers who were shot, and Emil Grunzweig (Jewish Israeli peace activist murdered during a demonstration).

Note that like most apartheid supporters, the organizers of the demonstration where Rabin was assassinated accepted the basic assumptions of the Zionist right regarding the illegitimacy of Rabins leaning on the support of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Thus the head of the demonstrations organizing committee prevented Arab mayor of Nazareth, Ramzi Jaraisi, from delivering a speech on this occasion. Ironically, while Rabin thought his plan to preserve a Jewish state by controlling the most area with the least Arabs would grant him the support of the settler-colonists, they regarded him as a traitor. Rabin and the Israeli secret service did not conceive of the possibility that a Jew would assassinate the Prime Minister, because like separation supporters they believed the lie disseminated by Jewish fundamentalists about the sanctity of Jewish blood.

The sorrow that is now being expressed by the Judea and Samaria Council members, yeshiva students and various transferists is a hypocritical political guise. It is totally obvious to them that all their power and monetary resources are derived from the very fog concealing the abyss that lies between a Jewish state and a democratic one. Exposing this abyss would clearly mobilize the supporters of democracy against them.

The key question now is whether the country holds strong enough forces to counteract the fake consensus, and struggle towards a democratic solution of the national question. Any other way would be a mere attempt to maintain these contradictions until the next blow-up.

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The anniversary of Rabin's assassination and its significance - Mondoweiss


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