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Behind the Aegis

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Czech Holocaust survivor warns against rising tide of antisemitism and racism across Europe

In 1942, at the age of 16, Doris Grozdanovicova was arrested with her family and sent off to the SS concentration camp at the Czech town of Terezin.

Tens of thousands were sent there to die there during the Nazi occupation, including her mother. Another 90,000, among them her father, were sent on to be murdered at Auschwitz and Treblinka in Poland.

Ms Grozdanovicova, one of the very few survivors of the camp still alive, travelled to Terezin this week to unveil a memorial to those who lost their lives.

She had just returned from a visit to Germany where she had been speaking to school pupils about the terrible damage caused by antisemitism, racism and intolerance, and stressing the need to learn lessons from the past.

“It is sad to say, but we need to remember now what happened more than ever. It is very depressing to see what is happening in Europe, the extremism and the effect it’s having,” she said.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Jun 11, 2018, 03:11 PM (2 replies)

Recovered in Paris flea market, 1924 Austrian silent film is a Holocaust preview

A Jewish man is beaten up on the street. Jewish husbands are separated from their non-Jewish wives and children, and deported on trains. A Jewish community, led by rabbis carrying a Torah scrolls, marches down a dark road as it is banished from town.

These snapshots appear to be Holocaust history — but they are not. These are scenes from a silent Austrian film made a decade prior to the enactment of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg laws, and some 15 years before the outbreak of World War II.

The 1924 film “City Without Jews” is based on a popular 1922 novel by Austrian writer and journalist Hugo Bettauer. It astutely predicted what was to come. But only partially.

The film was conceived as a satirical response to the anti-Semitism gaining popular and political strength in Austria during the early inter-war period. Its plot depicted the scapegoating of the Jews for the country’s problems and their subsequent expulsion.

But unlike in the real Holocaust, these Jews are eventually reinstated when the Austrians realized their country was suffering from the absence of the creative and successful Jewish community. In real life, Austria’s Jews were deported beginning in October 1939, and most did not come back. Approximately one-third of Austria’s 190,000 Jews were killed, and only 5,000 were in the country by the end of the war.

more (including a trailer)...
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Jun 11, 2018, 03:04 PM (8 replies)

Sir Simon Schama delivers powerful message about fighting antisemitism with Jewish history

Historian Sir Simon Schama has delivered a powerful message about how teaching Jewish history can challenge rising antisemitism.

Sir Simon, who was knighted in Friday's Queen’s Birthday Honours, recently presented the BBC series The Story Of The Jews, adapted from his three-volume history of the Jewish people, the final book of which he is still writing.

"Our Jewish community is feeling a little beleaguered, if not alarmed by the rise of antisemitism,” he told the JC.

“In spreading that story lies the power of defying and defeating stereotypes, distortions and dehumanisations, as well as celebrating the passions, wisdom and beauty of our own heritage.”

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Jun 11, 2018, 03:01 PM (4 replies)

(Jewish Group) The Loneliness Of The Liberal Zionist


To be a “liberal Zionist” in the United States is to lead a lonely existence. It often means having few friends, aside from other liberal Zionists. It means you support the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their historic homeland while simultaneously supporting progressive causes in your American homeland. It means wanting to have a place on the left, alongside Black, Latinx, and LGBT activists, because it means you react with horror at the Trump administration’s racist, misogynistic, and homophobic agenda. But it also means a denial of your right to have a place on the left, because the left – including prominent activists like Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Shaun King – consider Zionism to be a white supremacist ideology that has decimated the “native” Palestinian population of the middle east through brutal colonial practices. And it means lowering your head in confusion and shame when the Trump administration offers unquestioned support for Israel while simultaneously enabling – even cultivating – the anti-Semitism of the Alt-Right. It means being homeless in America’s increasingly binary political landscape.

To be a liberal Zionist means having a position on Israel/Palestine, one that is rejected by the anti-Zionist left and the Zionist right. It usually means supporting a two-state solution based on the Oslo Accords, so that Israel can be secure, Jewish, and democratic without having to perpetuate the misery of the stateless Palestinian people. However unlikely this solution may seem at present, liberal Zionists cling to this vision; it is the only way they can intellectually square a commitment to universal human rights and to an ethno-national state. Both the right and the left view this position with contempt, seeing it as implausible, duplicitous, and dangerous. The right insists that a Palestinian state would never allow a Jewish state to exist securely, and even if it would, it is beside the point, because the land belongs to the Jews and the Jews alone. The left, conversely, insists that a Jewish state is by definition repressive because ethno-nationalism is inherently anti-democratic and can never protect the rights of minorities. The right insists that all liberal Zionists are hypocrites because they tolerate and occasionally engage in criticism of Israel’s government and the Occupation. Much like the right, the left insists that liberal Zionism is hypocrisy: their expression of concern for Palestinians is spurious, for if it were genuine, they would not be so hostile to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement which seeks to make Israel into a pariah state in the global community until the Palestinians are liberated.

Liberal Zionists are forced to wage war on two fronts, a reality made apparent yet again last month when Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T’ruah, published an op-ed in the Washington Post, in which she explains “How to tell when criticism of Israel is actually anti-Semitism.” With delicacy and nuance Jacobs staked her claim as an American progressive and a liberal Zionist, neither exonerating the Jewish state for its continued occupation of Palestinian land, nor endorsing the American left’s “Israel as genocidal empire” narrative. What ensued was sadly predictable: a social media outrage mob and a relentless attack against her emanating from the left and the right. There is neither nuance nor middle ground for the left and the right. Israel/Palestine is a zero-sum game.

But liberal Zionism in America is not merely a political position. It is also an expression of American Jewish identity. Liberal Zionists believe that American Jews, much like other minorities who have suffered oppression throughout history, have the right to celebrate their Jewish pride in public, to be a so-called hyphenated nationality, like African Americans, Latinx Americans, and Asian Americans. This is the underlying premise of American multiculturalism as preached (if not always practiced) since the 1960s. And for liberal Zionists, being Jewish includes the right to engage with Israel, the right to express an emotional attachment to Israel, the right to practice and celebrate Israeli culture as Jewish culture. Liberal Zionists demand the right to show pride in Israel in public in America without having to shoulder the burden of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The left argues that they are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist, and they also claim to welcome Jews with open arms in the social justice movement if they check their Zionism at the door. My response to them is: why should Jews be denied the right to express pride in their historic homeland and its culture when this demand is not imposed on any other minority? Why should Palestinian Americans enjoy the right to express their solidarity with Palestine in public when the Jews are not permitted? Nobody on the left has raised this question. Nobody on the left targets Chinese Americans for the oppression of Tibetans. Nobody on the left would dare confront a hijab wearing Muslim woman (such as Linda Sarsour) over Islam’s violent misogyny and homophobia as practiced in many (if not most) Middle Eastern and Central Asian states. If the left finds a Star of David “triggering” and demands that such inherently violent political symbols be left at home, then progressive Jews have every right to feel triggered by placards reading “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.” To banish one and not the other is to impose a double standard on American Jewry.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Jun 9, 2018, 05:56 AM (2 replies)

Meaningless off-screen queering has got to stop

Once upon a time, way back in the nearly forgotten days of 2007, J.K. Rowling dropped a big gay bomb on her adoring fanbase. Albus Dumbledore, beloved patriarch of Hogwarts and guiding weirdo of the Harry Potter franchise, was gay the whole time. People freaked out. It made conservatives uncomfortable. It gave the LGBTQ community a little sliver of hope. It made fanfic writers explode with new works. It cast Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald in a new light.

What it didn’t do was increase queer representation. Not in Harry Potter, and not in the world. A character who is not queer on screen, either by word or deed, does not actually do any of that work. In effect, this is the action of a creator who wants the credit for being inclusive while performing none of the labor and experiencing none of the drawbacks.

This seemed like a one-time thing, and the ongoing conversation about how unfair this deal was should have ensured that we never saw this strange new breed of queerbaiting again.

Narrator voice: It happened again.


The representation of the LGBT is sorely lacking, and there are other issues which gum up the work, but overall, the lack of queer people in movies and TV...SUCKS!
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 7, 2018, 12:32 AM (43 replies)

(Jewish Group) Louis Farrakhan Attacks Jews and Judaism From His Chicago Pulpit


Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan attacked Jews and Judaism during a three-hour sermon from his pulpit at Mosque Maryam in Chicago.

The May 27 sermon was his first major public speaking appearance since February, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

During his sermon Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, warned his listeners about “satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.”

Farrakhan also claimed that contemporary Jews are responsible for promoting child molestation, misogyny, police brutality and sexual assault, among other social ills. In addition, he asserted that contemporary Judaism is nothing but a “system of tricks and lies” that Jews study in order to learn how to “dominate” non-Jews.

Farrakhan based some of his mischaracterization of Judaism on a distorted reading of the Talmud, according to ADL.


Farrakhan also said that President Barack Obama was “under Jewish influence” when he advocated for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality, Farrakhan informed his audience, is “satanic.”



And yet some from our side still cozy up to this bigot and make excuses for him!
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 7, 2018, 12:12 AM (1 replies)

(Jewish Group) Stop Bringing Up Palestine When We Bring Up Anti-Semitism


A few important and upsetting events took place in the past few weeks, events which should have nothing to do with one another.

On Friday, Israeli snipers shot and killed 21-year-old medic Razan al-Najjar in the Gaza Strip, as she tended a demonstrator who had been injured during the tenth week of the Great March of Return. Najjar was the 119th Gazan Palestinian killed since the beginning of the march, but she quickly became an icon of resistance to the brutal Israeli occupation. The death of a young woman who devoted her life to caring for the wounded puts the lie to claims by the Israel Defense Forces that everyone who has been shot is an immediate threat to Israeli civilians, and it reveals the cruelty and barbarism in the IDF’s stated policy to shoot any Gazan who approaches the border fence, even if she is just a medic trying to save lives. It’s no wonder that thousands of Palestinians attended Najjar’s funeral on Saturday.

Meanwhile, on May 27, in his first major public address since February, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam fulminated to his audience about “Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit” and warned of how “the false Jew will lead you to filth and indecency.” Not content to slander Jews only, he also indulged in tropes of anti-blackness, claiming that President Obama was “under Jewish influence” when he endorsed the legalization of same-sex marriage. (Apparently for Farrakhan, President Obama was unable to come to this conclusion on his own.)

Then there the fact that supporters of a neo-Nazi running as a Republican for California Senator are running robocalls calling incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein a “nation-wrecking Jew.” Swastikas and neo-Nazi slogans are appearing on headstones at cemeteries and synagogues across the world. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum has been struggling with a wave of anti-Semitic attacks, inspired by Poland’s new law criminalizing all statements accusing Poles of being complicit in the murders of Jews during the Shoah. (This despite the fact that there was, studies show, a lot of Polish complicity in the murders of Jews.) And in some European countries, as many as one in ten citizens say they would not accept Jews as neighbors.


Once again, something which should be a "no shit!" idea has to be spelled out. Even if the article has a bit of "both sides do it", it still takes the anti-Semitic bull by the horns! Personally though, I would have titled it differently, and just said "Israel" instead of "Palestine", because I have experienced "whataboutism" in regards to anti-Semitism which didn't resort to "what about Palestine" but was all about Israel and all its other alleged evils though the I v. P situation is the most common trope.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue Jun 5, 2018, 04:24 PM (0 replies)
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