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Holocaust Remembrance Day

  • Why is Trump's adviser wearing a medal of Nazi collaborators?

    Donald Trump's deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, has appeared in multiple photographs wearing the medal of a Hungarian group that collaborated with the Nazis. By Eli Clifton The White House’s omission of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in its statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day raised objections from Jewish groups across the political spectrum but the Trump administration’s combative defense was perhaps the most surprising move by a presidency facing record low approval numbers. Last Monday, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka refused to admit that that it may have been poor judgment not to specifically acknowledge the suffering of Jews in…

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  • Give me back my Zionism!

    The week commencing on Holocaust Remembrance Day and ending on Independence Day is when Israel is swept with unquestioning patriotism. But as hard as it may be, it is important to resist the temptation. By Lev Yam Gonen In last year's Knesset elections, I voted for a left-wing party. This piece of information is enough for most Israelis to infer that I'm a vegetarian – no, vegan, actually – work for B'Tselem and have an Arab boyfriend. And the blue eyes that I don't have are from my Ashkenazi father's side. But actually, except a poster of Meretz leader Zehava…

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  • Who's allowed to talk about 1930s Germany?

    The Palestinian member of Knesset Israelis love to hate and the IDF deputy chief of staff make harsh but nearly identical statements invoking 1930s Germany. The statements are received very differently. IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan raised a small storm when he said at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony Wednesday evening:  "If there's something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it's the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016."…

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  • A rare opportunity to put Jewish universalism on a pedestal

    On this Holocaust Memorial Day, I'd like to seize the opportunity and honor the memory of my teacher, Auschwitz survivor Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, by remembering an important lesson: A universal vision is an essential part of Jewish particularism. By Rabbi Arik Ascherman A day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed in Israel starting Wednesday evening, Israeli author and media personality Irit Linor published a rant on Facebook (Hebrew), apparently with Holocaust and Heroism Day (as it is known in Hebrew) on her mind. She wrote that she is completely particularistic and that she doesn't have "any truck with universalistic…

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  • Likud minister: Drowning of migrants justifies Israeli policy

    Just one day after 950 asylum seekers drown on their way to Italy, Israel's transportation minister praises the government for preventing migrants from entering the country. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) sees lessons for Israeli policy in the tragic massacre of 700 asylum seekers who drowned when their vessel capsized on Sunday in the Mediterranean Sea. Posting a photo showing rows of corpses brought to shore by rescue workers, Katz wrote the following caption, which is translated here from Hebrew: "Hundreds of migrants from Africa drowned to death close to Italy in a disaster that horrified all human beings. Europe is…

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  • Every day is Holocaust Day in Israel

    Netanyahu talks about Iran every single day. Today was the one day he shouldn't have.  Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. But if someone had landed here from another planet, they wouldn't necessarily catch on. They might find it hard to  commemorate the Jewish lives taken in Europe during World War II, and instead be preoccupied with Iran's nuclear program. On Thursday night, as businesses closed throughout the country, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum. Standing on the podium, among the few survivors that are still alive, he took the opportunity to talk about Iran, and…

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  • We can no longer deny the Holocaust of Libya's Jews

    I wanted to believe that my mother's cries, who for years woke up in the middle of the night, crying in a mix of Arabic and Italian, were not heard by a single writer of Israeli history. By Yossi Sucary I wanted the believe that the Nazis' bullets, which struck the heads of my mother's 12 and 13-year-old cousins with frightening precision, accidentally missed the history books of the State of Israel. I wanted to believe that my grandmother, who was taken from the blazing heat of the Sahara Desert, where she lived as a free and loving woman, on…

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  • To my Ashkenazi girlfriend, and the one who is yet to come

    It’s fairly common these days to hear people in Israel claim that there can’t be racism because everyone is marrying everyone else, regardless of ethnicity. Except that’s not really true. By Adi Sadaka Part 1: A certain kind of truth When I began studying film five years ago, one of the first movies they showed us was David Ofek's "Bayit" (Home), from 1994. The movie, which was Ofek's final project, tells the story of an Iraqi family in Israel during the Gulf War of 1991. David (who plays himself) arrives at his parent's home with his Ashkenazi girlfriend. Together they…

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  • Film review: Arab citizen of Israel, member of the enemy

    What is a Muslim woman's place in a country where Jewish suffering is the dominant cultural theme? A new Israeli film tells the story of Hadeel, a 27-year-old Arab woman who teaches at a Jewish school in central Israel, and explores the difficulty of never fully belonging. By Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber Dove’s Cry, Ganit Ilouz's new documentary (playing at New York City's "The Other Israel" film festival, November 16-18), tells the story of a charismatic Arabic teacher in a Jewish elementary school in Israel. Edited by Sara Salomon, the film speaks to both the possibilities as well as the limitations of implementing an…

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  • How a Jewish Agency fellow becomes a one-state activist

    When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits…

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  • Liberal Zionism at 65: Fantasy and reality

    Liberal Zionism has had 65 years to prove Israel can indeed be both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy. Given its track record, is it time to put the ideology to rest?  By David Sheen Imagine if you would, for a minute, that Liberal Zionists have been proven correct: that it is totally possible for a state that accords privileges to members of one specific ethnic group only - Jews, in this case - to be a flourishing democracy. Imagine that Israel is indeed a Light Unto the Nations, and that people from all the other nations who see the…

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  • They weren't real refugees

    On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu talked about how Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany were turned away by countries around the world. Considering the Netanyahu government's standards for processing asylum claims, would Jewish refugees have been accepted by today's Israel? "The gates of [the land of Israel] were locked to Jewish refugees, as were the gates of most countries, if not all of them, including the most enlightened ones." (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, April 7, 2013) Bibi, why are you lying? They're not refugees. First of all, everyone knows what the economic situation in Germany…

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