Posts Tagged ‘anti-Semitic’

Backlash to Trump claim that Soros paid anti-Kavanaugh protesters

October 6, 2018

Liberals accuse Trump of peddling anti-Semitic tropes, while the Washington Post says the allegation is just plain untrue

President Trump at the White House on Sept. 5. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s claim on Friday that demonstrators against his beleaguered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were paid by Jewish billionaire investor and liberal donor George Soros sparked immediate backlash, with some accusing the president of spreading an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and a major American newspaper calling out his statement as flagrantly untrue.

“On the surface, Trump’s tweeting of a Soros conspiracy theory acts to explain-away opposition to Kavanaugh. But beneath that veneer, those conspiracy theories trace back to longstanding anti-Semitic tropes,” tweeted Right Wing Watch, a liberal advocacy group in the US.

Longtime Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, who is Jewish, said the statement itself was anti-Semitic, but stopped short of calling Trump a Jew-hater.

“If it was anyone else, this would seem to be base anti-Semitism,” he wrote. “One might think Trump is appealing to a similar mob. But the president is clearly no anti-Semite.” Cohen concluded the remarks were “not anti-Semitism by intent,” but amounted to anti-Semitism nonetheless.

As the Senate geared up to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the president tweeted that “very rude elevator screamers” who confronted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake were bought by professionals to make senators look bad. “Paid for by Soros and others,” he said.

Donald J. Trump


The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love!

Last week, a group of sexual assault victims verbally assailed Flake in an elevator over his vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination. Videos of the exchange went viral and all week demonstrators have been targeting swing senators who are on the fence.

George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2017. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

Soros, a Hungary-born Holocaust survivor, is a donor to the Democrats and other liberal causes in the United States, Europe and Israel. The Jewish billionaire is frequently described by arch-conservatives as a behind-the-scenes operator driving liberal and progressive movements — criticisms that have prompted counter-accusations of anti-Semitism.

Trump’s reference to Soros, who has supported pro-democracy movements around the world and the US Democratic Party for years, appeared aimed at rallying more support for Kavanaugh and inciting anger from the president’s conservative Christian base.

During his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump ran an ad that criticized “those who control the levers of power in Washington” and “global special interests.” Over those words were images of Soros and the then-Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, who also is Jewish.

Max Boot, a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, said Trump’s attempt to ascribe fault on Soros, an identifiable Jew, was historically how despotic rulers acted.

Max Boot


Funny (actually not so funny) how authoritarians or would-be authoritarians always blame their problems on the Jews–and now in particular on George Soros who has replaced the Rothschilds as the symbol of Jewish finance.

Donald J. Trump


The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley was asked by a Fox Business anchor earlier in the day if he thought Trump’s statement was accurate. “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it,” Grassley said.

David Leonhardt, a New York Times columnist, tweeted a link to that clip and accused the senator of also propagating anti-Semitism.

“Let’s be clear here: Charles Grassley is a United States Senator,” Leonhardt said. “He is responsible for his words. And his words here amount to an anti-Semitic smear.”

David Leonhardt


Let’s be clear here: Charles Grassley is a United States Senator. He is responsible for his words. And his words here amount to an anti-Semitic smear.

Dave Brown


Maria Bartiromo asked Chuck Grassley this morning if he thinks George Soros is paying the elevator protesters. “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it,” Grassley said. Trump tweeted the accusation about 80 minutes later

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog found Trump’s claim to be untrue, granting it three Pinnochios.

While noting that the Open Society Foundation, which Soros bankrolls, has supported the Center for Popular Democracy, which had activists protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination on Capitol Hill, The Post said that was not tantamount to Soros buying protesters.

“There is some, indirect money from Soros associated with the groups that confronted senators in elevators, but it is wrong to claim the protesters were paid by Soros or directed by him,” the article said.

On Friday, key senators announced they would vote for Kavanaugh on Saturday, all but securing his confirmation.


President Trump’s ignorant attack on George Soros


Boris Johnson: We must ditch Chequers or be condemned to a crazed Corbynista takeover

September 24, 2018

Labour’s leader is the biggest threat to freedom we face

But why won’t he just say it? Spit it out, man, I feel like shouting, as I watch Jeremy Corbyn. Just state the bleeding obvious – and denounce evil. And he just won’t. He never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

I saw it in the House of Commons earlier this month, when the Prime Minister announced that by a superb piece of detective work the police had identified the Salisbury assassins. There they were on the CCTV, this pair of goons from Moscow – and the whole thing was plain as the beard on Corbyn’s chin. With sickening disregard for public safety, they had daubed poison on Sergei Skripal’s door and then left traces of novichok all over a park frequented by children. Having laid their horrific trap, they then chucked away the poison bottle, which later killed an innocent member of the public, Dawn Sturgess.

Commentary By Boris Johnson
The Telegraph
September 24, 2018

These thugs are members of the Russian military intelligence – the GRU. As the PM rightly said, the order came from the top. There is only one possible conclusion: that the Russian state has been responsible for murder, using chemical weapons, on British soil. There can be no hedging or fudging.

As the PM made her statement, Corbyn had his chance. He could have shown that he was willing to stick up for Britain, and to point the finger at the aggressor. He could have condemned the Russian state – completely and unequivocally – and yet he just wouldn’t do it. He condemned the perpetrators, whoever they might be. He disapproved strongly of the attempted assassination. But he couldn’t find it in himself to denounce Moscow.

The right words stuck in his craw; and I saw the same thing today on the Andrew Marr show, when he was shown the famous lefty mural from east London, against whose removal he had initially protested. Would he accept that the image was anti-semitic?

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Marr in Liverpool. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The entire TV audience looked the screenshot of the mural – a blatantly anti-semitic image straight from the propaganda of 1920s Soviet Russia. We waited for Corbyn to state the obvious; we waited him to confirm what we needed to hear – that in his view such imagery is unacceptable and anti-semitic. But he just wouldn’t do it. He mumbled something about how the mural had been taken down. The opportunity was lost.

What is going on in his head? I am afraid we are coming up against the ugly reality of his world-view. He refuses to condemn Moscow for the Skripal atrocities, because in his primitive conception there is at least one thing to be said in favour of the Russian state. It doesn’t matter that Russia is no longer socialist. It doesn’t matter to Corbyn that today Russia is a giant kleptocracy run by Putin’s cronies, in which journalists are regularly killed.

The important point is that Russia is still opposed to the West – and Corbyn, deep down, is opposed to the West, and inclined to believe that in any great controversy it is the West, and especially the USA, that is in the wrong; and that explains his attitude to the Hackney mural. He refuses to condemn obviously anti-semitic images of Jewish financiers because he still basically believes that the world is in the grip of a great Zionist-capitalist conspiracy. He still believes – in the face of all the evidence – that Israel is the main obstacle to peace and progress in the Middle East. It is because he is unable to shake off these prejudices – anti-Zionist, pro-Moscow – that he finds it so hard to denounce some things that everyone else can see are quite loathsome.

He happily appears on Russia Today, and has taken plenty of money from Press TV of Iran – even though both these outlets are prodigious peddlers of lies; and if anything he would like the British media to be more like these mouthpieces of the Russian and Iranian regimes. As he said in his recent McTaggart lecture, he would like to politicise the BBC, by ensuring that senior executives had to stand for election, and he would even like newspaper editors to stand for election.

You only have to look at the modern Labour party, now dominated by Momentum entry-ists, and you can see the potential for disaster. Across the country fine moderate Labour MPs are facing deselection by claques of crazed Corbynistas. One by one they are being purged, like something from the French revolution; and if you want to understand the ideology behind Momentum, listen to the praise heaped yesterday by Dawn Butler – Corbyn’s most loyal lieutenant – on Derek Hatton. Derek “Degsy” Hatton!

The man who broke the law and almost bankrupted Liverpool, and who personified the Militant Tendency that almost wrecked the party. It took the combined efforts of Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair to defeat the likes of Derek Hatton, and now they are back. Militant is back in the guise of Momentum. They are running the Labour party, and under Corbyn’s proposals they could be running our media.

Jeremy Corbyn would not only be an economic nightmare; he is the biggest threat to freedom that this country has faced for decades. He can and will be defeated: by sensible One Nation Conservatism, that makes the case for markets and wealth creators – as the only way to pay for great public services. There is one mistake we Conservatives must avoid – and that is to fail to deliver on the Brexit referendum.

If we go with the Chequers approach, the public will spot it. They will see that the UK has become a vassal state, that we have not taken back control, but lost control. They will take their revenge at the polls. There is a far better solution, a SuperCanada free trade deal broadly on the lines set out by Shankar Singham in an IEA paper.

That is the agenda the PM needs again to seize – because it has been her agenda in the past. We need to get back to the elegance and uplift of that Lancaster House vision, because I am afraid that Chequers = surrender; Chequers = a sense of betrayal; Chequers = the return of Ukip; Chequers = Corbyn. The Labour leader is set to betray the referendum result by offering – absurdly – another vote. We Conservatives must show that we can and will deliver.

Berlin: Heart of Anti-Semitic Crime in Germany

August 8, 2018

Police register far more anti-Semitic offenses in Berlin than in any other German state, according to local German media. Most felonies are committed by right-wing groups, but religious motives also play a part.

Johann König Solidarity Hoodie mit Kippa Aufnäher (Jakob Blumenthal/Jüdisches Musem)

German authorities recorded at least 80 felonies directed against Jews in Berlin during the first six months of 2018,  Berlin-based Tagesspiegel reported Wednesday. The figure corresponds to nearly one-fifth of 401 such incidents nation-wide.

Berlin, which is both Germany’s capital and one of its 16 federal states, registered almost twice as many anti-Semitic offenses as Bavaria, second in the national statistics with 43 offenses. However, Bavaria counts 12.5 million residents, in comparison to Berlin’s 3.5 million.

Read moreBerlin anti-Semitic video ‘completely outrageous’

Usual suspects

Earlier this year, a viral video of a Syrian teenager attacking a kippa-wearing man in Berlin caused outrage in Germany and prompted a debate about anti-Semitism among Middle-Eastern migrants. The incident is believed to be one of four violent crimes noted in the report.

However, the police numbers published by the Tagesspiegel indicate that right-wing groups committed 62 out of 80 anti-Semitic offenses in Berlin. Authorities said that eight more attacks were motivated by “foreign ideology,” which would include migrants attacking Jews out of hatred for Israel.

Separately, the police noted three more incidents with suspects motivated by “religious ideology”, which usually indicates Islamist groups. Only three offenses were designated as leftist-motivated and four had no ideology behind them, according to the statistics.

Over 200 people hurt by far-right groups

The German government provided the numbers in response to a query by Left party lawmaker and Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau. However, the actual number of anti-Semitic incidents is likely to be much bigger due to delays in police procedure. For example, Berlin authorities reported only 67 such offenses for the first half of 2017 and 48 for the second, but later determined the total number of anti-Semitic incidents to in fact be as high as 288.

Read more: Anti-Semitic online harassment in Germany on the rise, study finds

Police also reported at least 7,693 incidents of far-right crime, both with and without an anti-Semitism link, across Germany in the first six months of 2018. Authorities say 374 involved violence and at least 201 people were hurt.

Extremists on patrol

On Tuesday, Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann warned that right-wing groups were conducting “militia-style patrols” in the state. Right-wing extremists were using fear of migrant crime, including fear of attacks on women, for their benefit, Herrmann said during the presentation of Bavaria’s mid-year intelligence report.

Supporters of a neo-Nazi party “Der III. Weg” (The Third Way) were patrolling through Munich’s central train station and the surrounding area, where mostly young migrants spend their time. An international far-right group called “Soldiers of Odin” is conducting similar activities in several other Bavarian cities, Herrmann reported.

Facebook: Farrakhan’s Anti-Semitic Talks Do Not Violate Hate Speech Rules — Isn’t This Racism?

August 8, 2018
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s official Facebook page seems rife with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and other hateful speech, which have not been censored by Facebook content monitors….
  • Facebook has allowed Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to espouse anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on its platform
  • Facebook deleted right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ page on Monday for violating rules against hate speech
  • Videos on Farrakhan’s page show him accusing Jews of secretly controlling government agencies and “weaponizing” marijuana to “feminize” black men

Videos posted to Farrakhan’s Facebook page show the Nation of Islam leader claiming that Jews are secretly controlling government agencies to suppress black Americans and blaming Jews for “weaponizing” marijuana with “chemicals” to “feminize” black men.

Image result for Louis Farrakhan, photos

Neither of those videos violate Facebook’s rules prohibiting hate speech, a Facebook spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a phone interview Tuesday.

Another video that showed Farrakhan warning against interracial marriage — which he blames on “the enemy” in Hollywood — to keep the black race “from being any further mongrelized,” was originally ruled not to violate hate speech rules, according to the Facebook spokeswoman.

After this article was published, the spokeswoman called back and said that a closer review by the company’s content monitors determined Farrakhan’s use of the word “mongrelized” did violate Facebook’s rules, and that the video would be deleted.

Facebook and other tech giants, including Spotify, YouTube and Apple, banned right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms Monday for violating prohibitions against hate speech.

Here’s how Facebook defines hate speech:

a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.

Farrakhan has repeatedly advanced anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his Facebook page.

“The FBI has been the worst enemy of black advancement. See the Jews have control over those agencies of government,” Farrakhan said in a March 7 video clipped from his annual Saviour’s Day speech.


“This enemy, he’s so angry with Farrakhan that now if you like me, you have to either hide it, especially if you want advancement in the white man’s world. Now if you go to work tomorrow and Jews are your boss, don’t tell em where you been,” Farrakhan said to laughs from the audience.

Farrakhan claims in another video that the U.S. government and Jews are working together to “weaponize” marijuana “with chemicals that perform lobotomies.” (RELATED: Twitter Finally De-Verifies Farrakhan After ‘Satanic Jew’ Rant)

“Minister Farrakhan talks about the role of the U.S. government and the Jewish community in the weaponization of marijuana that is feminizing and killing Black men,” the video’s description reads.

“Now God don’t want you inter-marrying with them,” Farrakhan said of white people in a November 2016 video. Farrakhan claimed that: “God wanted us to be to ourselves, us with our women. He respected white people who wanted to keep their race white, because we sure want to keep ours from being any further mongrelized.”

The Nation of Islam leader blamed Hollywood — which he has repeatedly and unapologetically said is under Jewish control — for promoting interracial marriage. After this article was published, a Facebook spokeswoman said that that video was, upon closer examination, determined to be in violation of Facebook policy.

One February 2017 video posted to Farrakhan’s page shows him telling a Nation of Islam audience, “Your fathers built civilization while the white man was crawling around the hills and cave sides of Europe. Stand up, black man and woman, and be yourself, and stop copying this freak of a human.”

This article has been updated to note Facebook’s reversal on Farrakhan’s video warning against interracial marriage  

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson


The soft bigotry of the New York Times — Identity politics and racism

Gatekeepers or Censors? How Tech Manages Online Speech

August 8, 2018

The rules that Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter follow in their roles as arbiters of online speech are often vague. Critics say they are arbitrary.

Apple, Google and Facebook this week erased from their services many — but not all — videos, podcasts and posts from the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars site. And Twitter left Mr. Jones’s posts untouched.

Image result for google, facebook, twitter, art, photos

The differing approaches to Mr. Jones exposed how unevenly tech companies enforce their rules on hate speech and offensive content. There are only a few cases in which the companies appear to consistently apply their policies, such as their ban on child pornography and instances in which the law required them to remove content, like Nazi imagery in Germany.

When left to make their own decisions, the tech companies often struggle with their roles as the arbiters of speech and leave false information, upset users and confusing decisions in their wake. Here is a look at what the companies, which control the world’s most popular public forums, allow and ban.

Facebook at the Center of the Storm

Of all the tech companies, Facebook has faced the biggest public outcry over what it allows on its platform.

Whenever the social media company has been pressed to explain its decision-making, it has referred to its community standards, a public document that outlines Facebook’s rules for users. The company has outright bans against violent content, nudity and terrorist recruitment propaganda. The rules on other types of content, including hate speech and false news, are more ambiguous.

When asked about Infowars last month, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said he wouldn’t remove pages hosting popular conspiracy theories of the type Mr. Jones is known for sharing. Mr. Zuckerberg then turned the conversation to the subject of the Holocaust, defending Facebook users who deny the Holocaust occurred.

His awkward explanation prompted outrage, and less than a day later, Mr. Zuckerberg offered a public apology.

Now, less than a month later, Facebook has banned Mr. Jones and removed four pages belonging to him — including one with nearly 1.7 million followers — for violating its policies. The ban means that while Mr. Jones still has an account and can view content on Facebook, he is suspended from posting anything to the platform, including to his personal page or any pages on which he is an administrator.

Read the rest:



The soft bigotry of the New York Times — Identity politics and racism

Is Liberal Racism a Horse of a Different Color?

August 8, 2018

Bigotry is bigotry, whether systemic, as at Harvard, or idiosyncratic, like Sarah Jeong’s Twitter feed.

One of the gates to Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Mass., June 18
One of the gates to Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Mass., June 18 PHOTO: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Be honest. Are you really surprised that the New York Times has stood by its decision to hire Sarah Jeong as an editorial board member even after it was revealed she spent years on social media making openly racist and sexist remarks about white men? You may be outraged, sure. But surprised?

To paraphrase a well-known political figure, Ms. Jeong could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot a white person without losing the support of liberals. It’s a safe bet she was tapped by the Times because of these racial prejudices, not despite them. Editorial board members are hired to help formulate and express the official position of a newspaper. Ms. Jeong is being hired to speak for the Times, and they like where she’s coming from.

The Grey Lady attacks President Trump as a racist and sexist on a near-daily basis, and columnists like Charles Blow write about little else. So is it hypocritical for the paper to hire and defend a new editorial board member who has made no secret of her own biases? Of course it is, but that’s considered beside the point by people who share Ms. Jeong’s worldview.

The liberals who control most major media outlets specialize in applying different standards to different groups. Like the Times, Twitter had no problem with Ms. Jeong’s repugnant observations. Scores of tweets that included offensive phrases—“#cancelwhitepeople”; “are White people genetically disposed to burn faster in the sun?”; “White people have stopped breeding. you’ll all go extinct soon. that was my plan all along”—didn’t faze Jack Dorsey’s content monitors. But when conservative activist Candace Owens decided last weekend to reproduce Ms. Jeong’s posts and replace “white” with “black” or “Jewish,” Twitter temporarily suspended her account. Following a backlash, Twitter restored the account and claimed that “we made an error.”

Of course, the Times can hire whomever it pleases. But if it’s going to give the likes of Ms. Jeong a pass while lecturing us about growing intolerance on the political right, how seriously should readers take the paper’s nonstop Trump-is-a-bigot coverage? The president’s attacks on the media are often misguided and overstated—his daughter Ivanka is right; we’re not the enemy of the people—but major news outlets are doing plenty to erode public confidence in the news without any help from Mr. Trump.

Welcome to another example of the left’s inconsistency on race. If the goal is a postracial America, why does racial identity continue to be liberalism’s overriding obsession? Why is racism viewed as something to redirect rather than end outright? If you’re situated on the progressive left, racist views are OK to harbor so long as they’re targeted at the right groups for the proper reasons?

At Harvard, Asian students are currently out of favor among administrators for the sin of taking up too many slots in the freshman class. America’s most prestigious university, a bastion of liberal thinking, is being sued by Asian students for discrimination. Harvard wants a certain racial balance on campus, and Asians are getting in the way by academically outperforming applicants from other groups. The nerve.

Harvard can no longer credibly deny that it’s engaging in systematic racial discrimination. Internal documents that the school has been forced to disclose to fight the litigation suggest that Harvard is doing what has long been rumored. Nonetheless, school officials justify these racially biased practices. They insist, like Ms. Jeong and her defenders, that such bigotry is in the service of a noble cause. Unlike you or me, Harvard knows how to discriminate the “right” way.

Prior to World War II, and long before Harvard and other Ivy League schools had an “Asian problem,” the concern was too many Jews on the quad. The parallels are instructive. “Jewish students outperformed their Gentile classmates by a considerable margin,” writes Jerome Karabel in his 2005 book, “The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.”

Then as now, the schools came up with ways to overcome that reality by de-emphasizing objective admissions criteria. Jews were less likely to participate in athletics or belong to social clubs other than Jewish fraternities, both of which were deemed “character” flaws for the purpose of bringing the “Jewish invasion” under control. These days, Asian applicants to Harvard receive consistently low “personal” ratings, which are then used to undercut their academic achievements under Harvard’s “holistic” assessment of their worthiness.

So long as the goal is not to level the playing field but to tilt it in a different direction, expect history to continue repeating itself.

Appeared in the August 8, 2018, print edition.


The soft bigotry of the New York Times — Identity politics and racism

Holocaust experts want to help Zuckerberg solve Facebook’s denial dilemma — Anti-Semitic, Holocaust denial is racism

August 8, 2018

After Facebook chief told interviewer he doesn’t think Holocaust deniers were ‘intentionally getting it wrong,’ 6,000 individuals and institutions call for content’s removal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, July 14, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/via JTA)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, July 14, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/via JTA)

Holocaust experts want to meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the social network’s unwillingness to automatically remove anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial material.

The heads of organizations and experts involved in Holocaust and genocide education offered to meet with Zuckerberg and help raise Holocaust awareness within the Facebook community.

In late July, Zuckerberg said in an interview published online that he would not automatically remove Holocaust-denying posts from the social network he founded.

“Facebook must not allow complete and utter falsehoods about the Holocaust, and about the Jewish people, to go systematically unchecked,” the letter dated Tuesday to Zuckerberg says. “Virulent antisemitism is a proven pathway that leads from rhetorical hatred to actions of violence. Freedom of speech laws are not a reason to do nothing — inaction is always the opportunity for evil to flourish. All genocide starts with distortion of the truth and prejudice.”

The experts later say: “We offer you tangible, rapidly executable steps towards Facebook becoming part of the solution. We can deliver proven educational resources in multiple languages, ready for digital deployment with Facebook — important as you may wish to break the task down by different jurisdictions with different laws.”

They also offer “cost-free professional development programs for educators on Facebook to give them resources, skills and confidence to tackle hate and prejudice, and to teach empathy, understanding and respect.”

Among the signers are Simon Bentley, head of Yad Vashem UK; Peter Schafer of the Jewish Museum Berlin; Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation; Laura Marks, chairwoman of the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust; and Diane Lee, director general of the Imperial War Museum in London.

In an interview published on the Recode website, Zuckerberg had told tech journalist Kara Swisher: “I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong.” He said, “I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

Zuckerberg later clarified his comments, saying “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.”

Meanwhile, some 6,000 educational institutions, museums and individuals from around the world signed a petition started by the New York-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect along with the Association of Holocaust Organizations, and Holocaust Learning and Education Fund calling on Zuckerberg and Facebook to stop hosting Holocaust denial on the social network.


Anti-Semitism on the rise? Western European Jews think so

July 31, 2018

A study of five countries has found that while the picture of anti-Semitic attitudes is complex, Jews feel under threat. However, the researchers point out that no single group is more clearly anti-Semitic than another.

A Muslim man and a Jewish man ride a tandem bicycle in Berlin in a demonstration against religious discrimination (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Schreiber)A Muslim man and a Jewish man ride a tandem bicycle in Berlin in a demonstration against religious discrimination

The report entitled “Anti-Semitism and Immigration in Western Europe Today: Is there a connection?” presented findings and recommendations from a 2016-17 project involving five separate national reports from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The research was commissioned by the Berlin-based “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” Foundation (EVZ) and led by the Pears Institute for the study of Anti-Semitism, Birkbeck, University of London.

The study examined various indicators of societal change, including increased immigration from predominantly Muslim countries in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). However, rather than measuring the number of anti-Semitic verbal or physical attacks, the team of researchers measured perceptions of anti-Semitism held by individuals from various religious, social and ethnic groups.

Read more: Anti-bullying commissioners tackle anti-Semitism in German schools 

Fear leading to emigration

Notably, the report’s findings indicated rising fear among Jews in every country studied. In Germany, for instance, 78 percent of German Jews noticed an increasing threat, according to a 2017 study.

Just shy of half (48 percent) of the readers of the Dutch Jewish weekly Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad said last year they were concerned about security and anti-Semitism. In 2016, about two out of three (63 percent) French Jews had the impression that there was “a lot” of anti-Jewish sentiment in their country. In fact, Jewish people in France take the threat so seriously that quite a few have left: while about 1,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel in 2012, the number rose to 7,800 in 2015 and 5,000 a year later — still more than double the number just a few years earlier.

Belgian Jews are also worried, with authorities in Brussels advising people in more than one case to no longer publicly show their religious affiliation. Jewish parents have also increasingly warned their children not to wear the Star of David since the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

Read more: Berlin rabbis, imams bike ride against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

Fear and concern a ‘cross-border phenomenon’

While the question mark in the title indicates that the study’s authors are far from being alarmist, the 13 researchers who studied anti-Semitic phenomena in the above-mentioned countries did come to an alarming conclusion: fear and concern among Jews in Western Europe are a “cross-border phenomenon.”

The EVZ researchers were cautious, however, when addressing the question of how far these feelings are related to immigration from MENA countries. They said the surveys they evaluated portrayed the current MENA migrants as a “current or potential source of anti-Semitism,” but the team made it clear that “opinion polls have different results depending on the questions asked.”

Read more: How should Germany deal with anti-Semitism among Muslims?

‘Islamic State’ flags

However, the authors of the study spoke of “tendencies” noticeable in the surveys from the five Western European countries. “If we look at the tendencies in the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded, we see that in all five countries the Second Intifada, which began in October 2000 and lasted until February 2005, represented a significant turning point. Since 2000, certain events in Israel, Gaza and the Occupied Territories have repeatedly provoked reactions in Western Europe, including anti-Semitic incidents.”

According to the study, anti-Semitism is not an across-the-board sentiment, and it is limited among Muslims. A 2014-15 study showed that although about 66 percent of young Muslims have a negative attitude towards Zionists — Jews committed to the preservation of Israel as a Jewish nation in Palestine — significantly fewer (just 12 percent) expressed hostility towards Jews themselves.

On the other hand, Moroccan Dutch, and more recently Turkish Dutch, youths have been involved in harassing Jews on the streets. Dutch citizens with a Muslim background were clearly present in anti-Semitic incidents in the summer of 2014, with supporters of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization waving black flags and chanting “Death to the Jews” in Arabic.

Read more: Extremist crimes in Germany down, number of fanatics up

Complex results

“Anti-Semitic attitudes and/or behavior are disproportionately present among Muslim minorities as well as among people with sympathy for extreme right-wing groups,” the researchers said in their summary of findings.

Yet in examining such a multifaceted topic across a wide geographic area, it is difficult to make accurate generalizations.

For example, the authors note “that anti-Semitic attitudes are widely diffused among MENA refugees, as are positive attitudes to democracy, equal rights and peaceful coexistence among Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

They further concluded: “There is no evidence that MENA migrants make any significant contribution to anti-Semitism at a societal level.”

Facebook’s Zuckerberg says he won’t remove Holocaust denial posts

July 19, 2018

Founder of social media giant says those denying Holocaust may be doing so unintentionally and should not be removed, drawing condemnation from ADL; later clarifies remarks

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a round-table discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub in St. Louis,  November 9, 2017. (Jeff Roberson/AFP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a round-table discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub in St. Louis, November 9, 2017. (Jeff Roberson/AFP)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared to defend Holocaust deniers on Wednesday, suggesting that online hate speech disclaiming the genocide of six million Jews is misguided rather than a matter of ill-intent.

Zuckerberg later clarified his comments, saying he never intended to defend Holocaust denial.

Noting his Jewish heritage to the Recode tech news site, Zuckerberg defended the social media giant’s refusal to remove various offensive content. Instances of Holocaust denial are “deeply offensive,” he opined.

“But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong,” he continued, before the interviewer interjected to disagree.

“It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” said Zuckerberg. “I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, ‘We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.’”

The Facebook head said the social network drew a line at calls for violence.

“What we will do is we’ll say, ‘Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive,’” he said.

His comments were swiftly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League.

“Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL, said in a statement.

“Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination. ADL will continue to challenge Facebook on this position and call on them to regard Holocaust denial as a violation of their community guidelines,” added Greenblatt.

Zuckerberg later emailed Recode to say he had never meant to defend Holocaust denial.

“I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” he said. “Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services.”

In September 2017, Facebook came under fire after investigative reports in ProPublica and Slate showed that advertisers were able to specifically target anti-Semitic or prejudiced social media users with their ads.

ProPublica reported that “the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn Jews,’ or, ‘History of why Jews ruin the world.’”

Although the category was too small on its own, when adding other categories, such as the far-right, ultra-nationalist National Democratic Party of Germany, ProPublica was able to purchase ads targeting the 2,274 people who listed “Jew hater” in the “education” or “work” sections of their Facebook profiles. The ads were approved within 15 minutes.

The website also found that 3,194 Facebook users listed their employer as “German Schutzstaffel” — the German SS — and another 2,449 who said they worked for “Nazi Party.”

Facebook later intervened, but according to Slate, it was still possible to purchase ads targeting anti-Muslim and white nationalist users.

Zuckerberg’s remarks come amid mounting condemnation and calls for scrutiny of Facebook over a massive privacy breach.

In the worst ever public relations disaster for the social media giant, Facebook has admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for US President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Cambridge Analytica, which also had meetings with the Leave.EU campaign ahead of Britain’s EU referendum in 2016, denies the accusations and has filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Britain.

Agencies contributed to this report.


Anti-Semitic online harassment in Germany on the rise, study finds

July 19, 2018

When Yorai Feinberg first opened his restaurant in Berlin, he felt welcome. But lately the Israeli has increasingly been the recipient of hate mail. A new study has found that hate in Germany has become more radical.

Yorai Feinberg (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Carstensen)

Yorai Feinberg has gotten used to hearing from “Ludwig Fischer.” Every few days the Berlin restaurant owner receives emails from a man who writes under the pseudonym of one of Hitler’s most notorious SA henchmen. He calls Feinberg a “filthy rat,” says the Holocaust is just a “scam” and rants that all Jews will land in the gas chamber.

Feinberg has collected some 60 pages of hate mail from Ludwig Fischer alone. “I don’t take it so personally anymore. I don’t take it too seriously,” says Feinberg.

Threshold getting lower

The Israeli says that when he came to Berlin six years ago, he felt at home right away: “I was immediately welcomed in Berlin.” Feinberg lived in Vienna before moving to Berlin, where he says the mood toward Jews and Israelis was less relaxed than in Germany. But he adds: “Things have gotten a bit worse meanwhile.”

The last few months have seen several high-profile attacks on Jews in Germany. Just last week a Jewish-American professor was attacked by a young German of Palestinian descent in the city of Bonn. In April, an attack on a yarmulke-wearing man in Berlin made international headlines.

Read moreGerman Jewish groups say NGOs must fight anti-Semitism if they want public funds

But it is online where attacks and insults are most frequently directed toward Jews and Israelis. That is according to a new study conducted by the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), in which researchers studied 300,000 mostly anonymous texts. Most came from social media sites. The conclusion: Not only are more hateful comments directed at Jews, they are also becoming more radical.

“The threshold is sinking,” says Monika Schwarz-Friesel, who heads the TU Berlin institute for language and communication. “People use the anonymity of the internet to disseminate anti-Semitic comments.”

Anti-Semitism from the heart of society

Feinberg had his first encounter with anti-Semitism in Germany’s capital on the street. In December of 2017, a man berated him for several minutes in front of his restaurant. Feinberg recorded the incident and put it online. He says he received a lot of support from across the country. Nevertheless, he has also received an increasing amount of hate mail. “The problem is not a few evil individuals,” he says, “but all of those who agree with them.”

Read more‘Solidarity Hoodie’ challenges anti-Semitism

The TU Berlin study backs up that statement. “Anti-Semitism doesn’t only come from right-wing extremists or the populist scene,” says Schwarz-Friesel. She notes that left-leaning and liberal people as well as Muslims drew her attention with their anti-Semitic comments. “Everyday anti-Semitism rooted in the heart of society is the most dangerous,” in Schwarz-Friesel’s estimation. Radical statements are often brushed off as crazy, but when educated segments of society express anti-Semitic sentiment it is much more likely to gain acceptance, she says.

Old prejudices

“We were shocked to see that prejudices against Jews had changed so little over the last hundred years,” says Schwarz-Friesel, adding that Jews are still seen as the “scourge of the world,” a race that must be eradicated.

The arguments of today’s anti-Semites differ little from people with similar prejudices in the sixteenth century. One slight change, however, is that today’s anti-Semitism is often mixed with criticism of the state of Israel.

Read moreSeparating anti-Semitism from criticism of Israel

Most of the hate mail directed at Feinberg comes from the far-right. Pseudonyms like Ludwig Fischer point to a particular bent and the texts themselves tend to suggest a certain ideological template. Writers often deny the Holocaust, claiming that concentration camps never existed and that the Jews themselves that were responsible for the mass murder that took place during the Second World War, not the Nazis.

“The atmosphere in Germany has become more extreme overall, in every direction,” says Feinberg “Those on the right are getting more extreme and the left has also grown more extreme as a result.”

No perpetrator punished

Nevertheless, Feinberg is fighting the hate, but it isn’t always easy. When he shared the first hate mail he received from Ludwig Fischer on Facebook, it was immediately taken down and his account was blocked. The social media network’s censorship algorithms seemingly do not differentiate between the threatening and the threatened. Feinberg says he also feels abandoned by the justice system: “None of the attackers have been punished yet. I have experienced a number of extreme cases where I think the person issuing the attacks deserves to be punished for their actions.”

“If this trend continues, anti-Semitism will become more normal in real life, not just online,” says Schwarz-Friesel, explaining that today, the internet and reality are more intertwined than ever.

Still, Feinberg is hopeful that the situation will improve: “I am not going to leave Germany just because of a tiny and insignificant part of society.”