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In this morning’s Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch, we told you about the warning delivered by the only rabbi in the Crimea region of Ukraine to not let the Jewish people there become targets. Haaretz is reporting that the only synagogue in the region was spray-painted with “death to Jews.”
There is a long, sad history of Jew-hatred in this region of the world. A statue in central Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, celebrates Cossack leader Bogdan Chmelnitsky who, yes, led an uprising that resulted in a liberated Cossack state in the 17th century. But the uprising also resulted in the massacre of the majority of the Ukrainian Jewish community. Pogroms were common throughout the next few centuries. In fact, the term “pogrom” came into our lexicon from the anti-Jewish riots of the 19th and early 20th centuries in — you guessed it — Ukraine. During the Holocaust, when Ukraine was occupied by the Nazis, about one million Ukrainian Jews were murdered. Ukrainians were recruited to serve as guards at some of the most notorious death camps and the Ukrainian police participated in many massacres, including the infamous two-day murder spree of more than 33,000 Jews at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev.
So we’re not exaggerating when we say that there is real reason to fear for the tiny remnant of the Jews of Ukraine. Anti-Semitism is a virus that feeds on ignorance, instability, and fear — all of which will be plentiful in the coming uncertainty in Ukraine. And, in places with a history of the virus, it never really goes away.
We hope you will join us in praying for the Jews of Ukraine, and ask for your help in providing them security and aid.Comments (12) »
Monday, March 3rd, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Stand For Israel
The Jewish community in Ukraine is one of the largest in Europe. With the current chaos and strife surrounding them, Ukrainian Jews are waiting to see where their country will end up, and if there will be a safe place for them once the turmoil has ended.
Last week, protests against the ruling Ukrainian government left dozens of protestors and police officers dead and hundreds more people injured. This weekend, President Viktor Yanukovych fled the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, with the current party in charge placing a warrant out for his arrest. The entire country is unstable and awash in violence.
Ukrainian Jews are at even greater risk during the current situation. Stand for Israel has tried to keep you abreast of the plight of Ukraine’s Jewish population, and of the rampant anti-Semitic attacks that have been occurring with greater frequency. And while Jews did take part in the protests against a corrupt government, an anti-Semitic nationalist faction of the opposition party is one of many looking to seek control. Because of these multiple threats, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, safety and security for the country’s Jewish community grows more dire with each day of uncertainty:
Over the past few months, many Jewish institutions have simply gone into hibernation, suspending activity during the turmoil.
The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, which runs the Orach Chaim day school in Kiev and several other institutions, has been paying $1,000 a day for round-the-clock security by teams from two private firms, one of which also provides security for the Israeli embassy in Kiev. Together, staff guard nine buildings, including four school buildings, a community center, a synagogue and a religious seminary, according to Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, the confederation’s president and a Ukrainian chief rabbi.
“Nobody goes alone at night, so we have three people doing escorts from the synagogue and back,” he told JTA last week …
“The Jewish community has to stay vigil and see what’s going to be,” he said. “What’s going to happen…Read More » Comments (4) »
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Stand For Israel
Every year on February 25, the city of Amsterdam gathers at a statue of a dockworker and remembers the February Strike, which was the first stand taken against Hitler by occupied Europe.
In February 1941, the Netherlands had been controlled by Nazi Germany for nearly a year. Since June 1940, anti-Jewish measures had been in place, and in November of that year, Dutch Jews were barred from holding any public positions in the country.
On February 19, 1941, Nazi soldiers stormed an ice cream parlor in Amsterdam — a small business owned by Jews. When the owners put up a fight and several Nazis were wounded, a harsh reprisal came down on all of the city’s Jews. 425 young Jewish men were rounded up, imprisoned, and eventually shipped to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps. Only two of those young men would survive.
In protest of this anti-Semitic action, Amsterdam’s non-Jews banded together and organized a city-wide strike on February 25, 1941. The Dutch Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) recalls this brave stand against Hitler and Nazi Germany:
Throughout the city, firms went on strike: public transport, municipal work, shipbuilding and the metal industries in North Amsterdam, all came to a standstill. Large department stores, like De Bijenkorf on Dam Square, remained closed for business.
The next day the strike spread to neighbouring towns and centres.
While the Nazis put an end to the strike with further cruelty and violence, and while the war would last for four more years, this first stand — against the Nazis, against anti-Semitism, against hatred — was a a step in the right direction, a step toward good and away from evil.Comments (3) »
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Stand For Israel
While Ukraine is in the middle of much political unrest, its anti-Semitic elements are still acting out against the country’s Jews. The Times of Israel reports today that a synagogue east of Kiev was the target of firebombs:
No one was hurt in the attack and that police were searching for suspects. Officers found the neck of a glass bottle which was used as a Molotov cocktail … The Ukrainian capital and other cities have seen the eruption of a wave of violent demonstrations that culminated this weekend with the apparent ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych … Several Jewish communities in Kiev have beefed up their security arrangements during the unrest. Other communities put their activities on hold out of safety concerns.
We pray for the safety of Ukrainian Jews — and all of the citizens of Ukraine — and that this time of violence and anti-Semitism will be resolved.Comments (1) »
Monday, February 24th, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Stand For Israel
While our country may not be perfect, a new study by the Anti-Defamation League is the country where Jews suffer the least anti-Semitism. Writing for The Times of Israel, Uriel Heilman notes that America offers Jewish people — and all people — freedoms and safety not found elsewhere:
Jews can live, study, and work anywhere they want in America. Yes, there’s Mel Gibson, Louis Farrakhan and the occasional swastika scrawled on a synagogue wall, but Jews in America for the most part live free of discrimination or the threat of violence.
Yet, as the article notes, there is still anti-Semitism in the U.S. And, as we see with more and more frequency, Jews in Europe and the Middle East are being targeted because of their faith. Let us pray for God’s protection for all people, and let us do our part to alleviate hatred and anti-Semitism in the world around us.Comments (1) »
Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Stand For Israel
In a brilliant, if deeply troubling, essay, Caroline Glick writes that the stain of anti-Semitism brought to Turkey by Prime Minister Erdogan will effect that country — and its relationships with Israel and the West — for a long time and may, because it is also found in popular opinion, have changed the country for good:
Comments (7) »
It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset. Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.
Monday, February 17th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel
Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, discusses something we didn’t know very much about: the quenelle – a down-facing Nazi salute that has become all the rage in France and other parts of Europe. As Tobin points out, the fad wouldn’t be a big deal were it not for the history of Europe and its relationship with Jews:
At a time when the efforts of European intellectual elites to delegitimize Israel has frequently crossed the line into anti-Semitism, and the growing population of North Africans and Africans have brought their own brand of traditional animus toward Jews onto the continent, the quenelle is the perfect example of the changed atmosphere in Europe and the way practitioners of Jew hatred have managed to portray themselves as trendy rather than throwbacks to the Holocaust.Comments (31) »
Monday, January 6th, 2014 at 9:55 AM | Stand For Israel
Walter Russell Mead, writing at The American Interest, says that the presence of anti-Semitism in a society tells us something important about that society’s future – or lack thereof:
Comments (10) »
Rabid anti-Semitism coupled with an addiction to implausible conspiracy theories is a very strong predictor of national doom; Nazi Germany isn’t the only country to have followed these dark stars to the graveyard of history. Many liberal minded Americans (though loathing both anti-Semitism and chowderheaded conspiracy thinking themselves) don’t like to look this truth in the eye. It leads to some very uncomfortable reflections about the potential for democracy in many countries beyond Egypt, and casts a dark shadow over the prospects for the development of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state. It suggests that there are narrow limits on what we can expect from diplomacy with Iran.
Monday, December 30th, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
Yair Rosenberg, writing at Tablet Magazine, points out the funniest yet development yet in the desperate attempt by the American Studies Association to prove that their recent decision to boycott Israel is anything other than rank anti-Semitism — they’ve decided to cite the opinions of a well-known anti-Semite:
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Falk serves as the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, where his support for the terrorist group Hamas has been so blatant that the Palestinian Authority tried to get him fired. The United States and Canada have also called for him to be dismissed, and he has been censured by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Friday, December 27th, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel
Jeffrey Goldberg, writing at The New York Post, takes on the decision by the American Studies Association to undertake an academic boycott of Israel and calls it what we all know it is — blatant anti-Semitism of the worst and most obvious kind. Sadly, Goldberg doesn’t think that will be enough to stop the growing movement in its tracks:
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A campaign that starts with Israel, I fear, will end with Israel. One starts with Israel because one can. Is it a coincidence that these academics are singling out the world’s only Jewish-majority country for boycott? Only to those who know nothing of the history of anti-Semitic scapegoating.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Stand For Israel