How Holocaust survival of Michael Bennet’s family shaped his 2020 campaign

The Democratic hopeful won’t promise to cut aid to Israel, saying such a move might backfire by hardening Israeli right

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, speaks at the J Street National Conference, with the hosts of "Pod Save the World," October 28, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, speaks at the J Street National Conference, with the hosts of “Pod Save the World,” October 28, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — When Democrat Michael Bennet goes on the campaign trail, he often talks about his mother. That’s not unusual for a presidential candidate; they often invoke their family as an inspiration for getting into politics. But Bennet’s Jewish mother has a story that none of the other candidates’ mothers do.

A native of Poland, she was separated from her family as a young girl and survived the Holocaust. The experience, Bennet said, has made her acutely aware of the danger posed by US President Donald Trump.

In an interview Monday with The Times of Israel, the Colorado senator elaborated on how his mother views the parallels between her experience and that of immigrant children now in the United States.

“I think she’s mostly seen it at the separation of families at the border,” he said. “That’s a very personal thing for her. I wouldn’t want to overextend the analogy or the metaphor, but I think that’s where she really sees that. And I think she does see Trump as a tyrant.”

A boy from Honduras is shown being taken into custody by US Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico Border near Mission, Texas, June 12, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Susanne Bennet, 80, was born in 1938 in Warsaw, Poland, where her family owned a small art gallery. After the Nazi invasion, they had to separate to survive. (In 2012, she offered an oral history to the United States Holocaust museum.)

“My grandfather didn’t want to leave his family,” candidate Bennet said, “so my mom and her parents were split up during the war. My mom went out to a suburb of Warsaw and lived there. My grandmother lived with a convent of nuns and my grandfather hid underneath a candy manufacturer in Warsaw.”

The family was reunited after the war, and went on to live in Sweden and Mexico before settling in the United States in the 1950s.

Rarely did they discuss what happened to them, Bennet recalled.

“They seldom talked about their experience,” he said. “You could tell something terrible had happened. But only until later in life would my grandmother talk about it.”

That family history, Bennet said, has profoundly shaped his political outlook.

“I’ve never met people who were greater patriots than my grandparents were, and I really mean that,” he said. “America gave them a lot, and they gave a lot to America. And I think that’s the way this place is supposed to work.”

In this photo taken on March 27, 2019, US Senator Michael Bennet listens during a news conference on climate change at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

As a candidate he regularly touts his immigration bona fides — he was part of the “Gang of Eight” senators who wrote and shepherded an immigration reform bill in 2013 that passed the Senate but died in the House — as he tries to climb from the bottom of the polls. (He’s currently under one percent in most surveys)

“I know — notwithstanding our imperfections — how much the world looks to us as an example of pluralistic, democratic leadership in a world beset by sectarian hatreds and violence,” he said.

“We really remain a singular example. That’s why I find Trump so offensive, because he rejects the tradition of responsibility for the rest of the world, for living up to those democratic ideals,” Bennet said.

On US policy toward Israel

On Monday, Bennet appeared at J Street’s National Conference along with four other 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

While his main policy position vis-a-vis the conflict is in line with the liberal Mideast advocacy group’s — supportive of a two-state outcome — he differs from some of his 2020 rivals on tactics.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has vowed to leverage US military aid to pressure Israel to roll back its settlement enterprise and enter peace talks with the Palestinians. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has floated the same possibility if Israel creeps closer toward annexing the West Bank settlements. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has promised to work to end the occupation.

Bennet, on the other hand, wouldn’t go quite that far.

“I think what we’ve got to do is reassert the importance of there being a two-state solution and having the United States play whatever role is constructive to achieve that,” he said. “We’re living in an era where I recognize that there is not a domestic constituency in Israel, or in the Palestinian territories, for that solution. I hope that’s not a permanent state of things.”

He went on, “But I don’t think this is really about whether you are willing to use this lever or that lever so much as it is, I believe, about trying to forge a relationship between the American people and the Israeli people in our mutual self-interest and democratic impulses.

“In a post-Trump, post-Netanyahu era, I believe those impulses are very important. I would do everything I could as president to rebuild those bridges.”

US President Donald Trump, right, and visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walk along the Colonnade of the White House in Washington, March 25, 2019. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Bennet suggested that cutting aid to Israel could ultimately backfire on an American president’s attempts to move Jerusalem closer to a peace deal.

“I’m not saying it would, but I’m saying it could,” he said. “I would want to make sure that whatever we’re doing was weakening the resolve of the elements trying to push for settlements, rather than strengthening their resolve. And I think that’s just realistic. I mean, I don’t want to be seen as overly pessimistic, but I think it’s important to take those things into account when you’re deciding what your policies are.”

Another priority, he said, would be to repair the relationship between Washington and Ramallah, which has deteriorated under the Trump administration.

Since Trump ordered the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December 2017, the Palestinian Authority has refused to engage with the White House. In retaliation, Trump cut aid to the PA and the East Jerusalem hospital network, and shuttered the PLO’s compound in Washington.

Democratic presidential candidates Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York., left, former Colorado senator Michael Bennet and California Representative Eric Swalwell stand on stage before a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

 

“The United States is, I believe, in the end, the only one that’s going to be able to bring the parties together to forge a peace,” Bennet said. “It doesn’t when the Palestinians believe we’ve completely put the thumb on the scale for Israel, which is what they believe today.”

In the interview, Bennet also said he would seek to either reenter the Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from, or bring Tehran and world powers back to the negotiating table to broker a new one.

“I think that it would be really important to put our allies in a room who helped negotiate that deal and see where it is they see the prospect for restarting it,” said Bennet, who voted for the landmark pact as a member of Congress in 2015. “And Iran would obviously want to weigh in as well.

“I think it’s unlikely that we could end up with an identical deal because times have changed, we’re further along in the calendar, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we would be better off having the parties sit down and negotiate and see if we can make progress,” he added. “There’s not a shred [of doubt] in my mind that the whole world would be better off if Donald Trump had never pulled the plug on the Iran deal.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-holocaust-survival-of-michael-bennets-familys-shaped-his-2020-campaign/

Historian: New evidence shows FDR’s bigotry derailed many Holocaust rescue plans

In his book about Franklin Roosevelt and the Holocaust, Rafael Medoff finds links between the US president’s anti-Japanese stances and his policies against Jews fleeing Hitler

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a 'fireside chat' from the White House. (public domain)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a ‘fireside chat’ from the White House. (public domain)

Not only was US president Franklin Roosevelt perfunctory about rescuing Jews from the Nazis, but he obstructed rescue opportunities that would have cost him little or nothing, according to Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff.

FDR’s role in preventing the rescue of European Jewry is detailed in a new book called, “The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust.”

Wrote Medoff, “Franklin Roosevelt took advantage of Wise’s adoration of his policies and leadership to manipulate Wise through flattery and intermittent access to the White House.” In return for visits to the White House and Roosevelt calling him by his first name, Wise undermined Jewish activists who demanded the administration let more Jewish refugees into the US.

According to Medoff, Roosevelt’s policies toward European Jews were motivated by sentiments similar to those that spurred him to intern 120,000 Japanese Americans in detention camps as potential spies.

“Roosevelt used almost identical language in recommending that the Jews and the Japanese be forcibly ‘spread thin’ around the country,” Medoff told The Times of Israel. “I was struck by the similarity between the language FDR used regarding the Japanese, and that which he used in private concerning Jews — that they can’t be trusted, they won’t ever become fully loyal Americans, they’ll try to dominate wherever they go.”

‘The Jews Should Keep Quiet,’ by Rafael Medoff

During the 1920s, when Roosevelt was already a seasoned politician and a vice presidential candidate, he expressed racist views in editorials and interviews. Regarding new immigrants — and Asians in particular — he bemoaned the creation of ethnic “colonies” in major cities.

“Our main trouble in the past has been that we have permitted the foreign elements to segregate in colonies,” Roosevelt told the Brooklyn Eagle daily newspaper in a 1920 interview. “They have crowded into one district and they have brought congestion and racial prejudices to our large cities.”

During these key years before Roosevelt entered the White House, he also wrote and spoke about “the mingling of white with Oriental blood” and preserving other forms of “racial purity.” According to Medoff, all of this was part of a long-held worldview that later guided Roosevelt during his three terms in office.

“Roosevelt’s unflattering statements about Jews consistently reflected one of several interrelated notions: that is was undesirable to have too many Jews in any single profession, institution, or geographic locale; that America was by nature, and should remain, an overwhelmingly white, Protestant country; and that Jews on the whole possessed certain innate and distasteful characteristics,” wrote Medoff.

During the 1920s, members of the KKK march in Washington, DC (Public domain)

Even as late in the war as 1944, when a Gallup poll found that the American public overwhelmingly approved of letting in an unlimited number of Jewish refugees, Roosevelt worked to make sure nothing of the sort took place.

“It wasn’t the public mood that set Roosevelt’s immigration policy; he could have quietly allowed the quotas to be filled without anybody knowing it,” said Medoff. “His harsh policy was a choice that he made, which emanated from his vision of what he thought America should look like.”

‘They’ll try to dominate wherever they go’

Last year, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum opened an exhibition called “Americans and the Holocaust.” In many ways, Medoff’s book challenges the premises of that installation, although the exhibition is not mentioned by the author.

According to Medoff, the USHMM exhibition “distorts and minimizes Roosevelt’s abandonment of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.” The president is depicted as having been virtually powerless to enact rescue efforts, despite overwhelming evidence the administration worked to torpedo rescue plans at nearly every opportunity, explained the author.

USHMM exhibition distorts and minimizes Roosevelt’s abandonment of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust

Historian Rafael Medoff

“[Roosevelt] would not have had to incur substantial political risks had he permitted immigration up to the limits set by US law, admitted refugees temporarily to a US territory, utilized empty Liberty ships to carry refugees, or authorized dropping bombs on Auschwitz or the railways from planes that were already flying over the camp and its environs,” wrote Medoff.

The Holocaust museum’s portrait of Roosevelt is particularly problematic, believes Medoff, because the president’s torpedoing of Jewish rescue efforts has been well-documented for several decades. Specifically, Medoff pointed to David Wyman’s seminal 1984 book, “The Abandonment of the Jews,” as well as research conducted by historians Henry Feingold and Monty Penkower.

“I’m told that the museum’s bookstore ordered only three copies [of Medoff’s new book, ‘The Jews Should Keep Quiet’],” said the author, who directs the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. “It would be interesting to compare that to the number of copies they have ordered of books that defend Roosevelt’s response to the Holocaust.”

Asked for a response to Medoff’s take on “Americans and the Holocaust,” USHMM communications director Andrew Hollinger said the exhibition “clearly” shows instance in which Roosevelt declined to save Jews from Hitler.

An image from the exhibition, ‘Americans and the Holocaust,’ running at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum through 2021 (courtesy)

“[Rescuing Jews] was not a priority for President Roosevelt or virtually anyone else in the government, which the exhibition lays out,” Hollinger told The Times of Israel. “The exhibition clearly shows President Roosevelt led the effort to prepare America to enter the war, but never made rescuing the victims of Nazism a priority.”

The installation, said Hollinger, asks a key question: “If Americans knew so much about Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, why didn’t rescue become a priority?” The installation poses that question not only with regard to Roosevelt but to various sectors of the American public, said Hollinger.

“[FDR] condemned Kristallnacht but did not loosen immigration quotas despite pleas to do so,” said Hollinger. “His State Department took steps to prevent Jews and other refugees from entering the country… All of this is examined in the exhibition. I would encourage people to visit the exhibition in person or online to see it for themselves.”

‘Not to repeat the failure of their parents’

During the 1930s, Roosevelt maintained trade with Nazi Germany, and his administration even helped the Germans evade the boycott against German goods that many Americans were practicing.

As detailed by Medoff in “The Jews Should Keep Quiet,” products from Germany were permitted to enter the US with misleading labels that disguised the country of origin. This helped FDR undercut the boycott movement supported by Jewish leaders and millions of other Americans.

Even after the Kristallnacht pogrom in November of 1938, Roosevelt refused to criticize the leaders of Nazi Germany. His statement about the slaughter merely called the night’s events “unbelievable,” and he declined to name the victims or perpetrators. Indeed, FDR did not issue a single statement critical of the Nazis during the first five years of Hitler’s rule.

Synagogue in Hanover, Germany, set ablaze during the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9-10, 1938 (public domain)

In 1939, as the world went to war, Hitler broadcast his intentions to annihilate European Jewry. Simultaneously, FDR refused to support a bill that would have let 20,000 Jewish German adolescents into the US. Anne Frank and her sister Margot could have qualified to be included, since they were German citizens and under age 16, said Medoff.

Roosevelt’s determination to keep Jews away from America knew few limits, as probed in several chapters of Medoff’s book. Although it is well-known that Roosevelt turned away the St. Louis ship packed with German Jewish refugees, the president took other steps that have been omitted by most of his biographers.

For example, when the Dominican Republic made a public offer to take in 100,000 Jews on visas, the administration undermined the plan. From Roosevelt’s point of view, explained Medoff, that country was too close to home, and Jews deposited there would inevitably come to America. Officials in the US Virgin Islands, too, were willing to rescue Jews by letting them into the country, but Roosevelt halted the plan, wrote Medoff.

US president Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with the National Jewish Welfare Board — (left to right) Walter Rothschild, Chaplain Aryeh Lev, Barnett Brickner and Louis Kraft — at the White House on November 8, 1943 (public domain)

When asked what Jewish leaders in the US learned from those dark years, Medoff pointed to the community’s later activism for the Jewish state and Jews endangered behind the Iron Curtain.

“Where we can really see the impact of remorse over the Holocaust is in the rise of the Soviet Jewry protest movement and pro-Israel activism by American Jews,” said Medoff. “Many of the key figures in those efforts have said they were driven by a determination not to repeat the failure of their parents’ generation to speak out during the Shoah.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/historian-new-evidence-shows-fdrs-bigotry-derailed-many-holocaust-rescue-plans/

Principal and teacher at Utah school placed on leave after student dresses as Hitler

(JTA) — The principal and a teacher at an elementary school in Utah have been placed on paid administrative leave after a student dressed in an Adolf Hitler costume and participated in the schools Halloween parade.

The student at the Creekside Elementary School in Kaysville, Utah wore a brown long-sleeve shirt with a red swastika armband on the sleeve in photos that circulated Friday on social media. He also appeared to be wearing a Hitler mustache.

The Davis School District apologized for the incident in a statement, the local Fox affiliate reported.

“The Davis School District apologizes for what took place yesterday. It does not tolerate speech, images or conduct that portray or promote hate in any form. The district is taking the matter very seriously and is investigating every aspect of the situation,” the statement said. “It does not tolerate speech, images or conduct that portray or promote hate in any form.”

“The United Jewish Federation of Utah is deeply concerned about the rising tide of hateful speech and actions in our country. As such, we are appalled that an elementary school student at Creekside Elementary School in Kaysville, Utah was allowed to participate in a Halloween parade dressed as Adolf Hitler. Almost all Jews and Americans regard Hitler and Nazi symbols as signifiers of the worst hatred, racism, and crimes against humanity that the world has known. Dressing a child as Hitler is intolerably offensive and should not be suggested, permitted or condoned.

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/principal-and-teacher-at-utah-school-placed-on-leave-after-student-dresses-as-hitler

UK’s Labour Party has an opportunity in upcoming elections. The anti-Semitism controversy is holding it back.

BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) – After nearly a decade in power, Britain’s Conservative Party is in tatters.

Years of failing to negotiate a deal with the European Union to follow through with Brexit have led to internal party discord and roiled public frustration. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial push to leave the EU without a negotiated deal has only added to the political headache.

As if Brexit woes aren’t enough, Conservatives are also under fire in the media for alleged xenophobic radicalization in their ranks — not least by Johnson himself, who last year wrote an op-ed calling Muslim women who wear face-covering veils “ridiculous” for choosing to look like “bank robbers” or “letterboxes.”

Johnson’s approval ratings in August were the lowest of any British prime minister in over 40 years of polling, and since then he’s suffered a succession of policy defeats. He felt the need to call for new elections, which will be held Dec. 12.

It all adds up to what seems like ideal conditions for the liberal Labour Party’s return to power, which it has not held since 2010 under Gordon Brown.

But multiple opinion polls consistently suggest that the Conservatives still have a significant lead on Labour, which has been led by Jeremy Corbyn since 2015.

Corbyn’s hard-left economic policies, often described as populist, his perceived neutrality on Brexit and his history of alleged support for Britain’s enemies have caused major strife in Labour’s own ranks and likely have contributed to its dismal performance in the polls.

But Labour’s many scandals involving anti-Semitism — and the British media’s unrelenting attention to these problems — are also a key factor holding back the party at this crucial moment of opportunity, according to expert observers.

Following Corbyn’s takeover of the party, hate speech against Jews and Israel began proliferating in Labour’s ranks. Thousands of incidents have been recorded both by internal Labour groups like Labour Against Anti-Semitism, and external ones, including the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

British Prime Minister-elect Boris Johnson waiting to glide on a zip line onto the Olympic Park in London, the United Kingdom, on August 1, 2012. (Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, waits to glide on a Zip line onto the Olympic Park in the British capital, Aug. 1, 2012. (Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Corbyn came under scrutiny increasingly in the media and beyond both for his alleged failure to stop the hate speech and for past actions in which he appeared to ignore, condone or encourage it — and even to partake in it himself.

He has defended a London mural showing bankers, understood by many to be Jewish, playing monopoly on the backs of dark-skinned people. He once said that UK-born “Zionists” have “no sense of irony.” He blamed “the hand of Israel” for an Islamist terrorist attack in Egypt in an interview for the Iranian state-run Press TV network. He has called Hezbollah and Hamas — militant groups that vow to destroy Israel — his friends. In 2015, he placed a wreath in a Tunisian cemetery to commemorate the Black September terrorists who killed 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In 2016, an interparliamentary committee, which included Labour representatives, accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”

Jewish community leaders and prominent members have not minced words about the controversy.

British Jewry’s leaders, including former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, said it would be an “existential threat to their community were Corbyn to come to power. In a recent poll, 85 percent of British Jewish respondents said Corbyn is anti-Semitic.

In a Jewish News poll last month of more than 1,000 non-Jewish voters, 55 percent agreed with the statement that Corbyn’s “failure to tackle anti-Semitism within his own party shows he is unfit” to lead.

In the poll, 51 percent said Labour has a “serious anti-Semitism problem” – up from 34 percent when the same question was asked by an earlier ComRes poll. Just 18 percent disagreed.

According to a YouGov survey from May, 80 percent of British voters are now aware of Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis, and just 19 percent are still convinced by Labour and Corbyn’s arguments that they are not anti-Semitic.

Still, a typical voter from northern England, for example, where few Jews live, will likely not be aware of the intricacies or the timeline of the Labour anti-Semitism crisis, says Jonathan Arkush, the previous president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

But even there, “there is now a pretty wide spread perception that there’s something rather nasty around Labour,” Arkush suggested.

“Voters aren’t stupid. They’re able to recognize when a pregnant woman, a member of Parliament, is being bullied,” he said, referencing the case of Luciana Berger, a young rising star who resigned from Labour this year over anti-Semitism while pregnant.

U.K. parliament member Luciana Berger announces her resignation from the Labour Party at a press conference in London, Feb. 18, 2019. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Parliament member Luciana Berger announces her resignation from the Labour Party at a news conference in London, Feb. 18, 2019. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“They recognize it when another Jewish lawmaker, who represented Labour for 20 years, faces hostile and aggressive questions at a party meeting,” Arkush added, referencing recent incidents involving lawmakers Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth. Ellman recently joined other Jewish Labour leavers when she quit the party over anti-Semitism after 55 years in its ranks.

If Corbyn’s critics, especially his Jewish ones, are correct, it means that the general electorate is punishing Corbyn for Labour’s perceived treatment of a minority so small that it comprises less than half a percent of the population. It’s a remarkable scenario considering the relative success of parties with a longer tradition of anti-Semitic controversy elsewhere in Europe, including the National Front in France and the Freedom Party in Austria.

The possibility that Labour pays a price for its anti-Semitism problem at the ballot box makes activist Jonathan Hoffman, an activist who last year spearheaded a billboard campaign against Corbyn, feel “relieved.”

“If we lived in a society whose people and media were prepared to overlook anti-Semitism, it’d be a terrible place,” Hoffman said. “And I’m proud of how Jews, but also many non-Jews, are standing up to anti-Semitism here.”

https://www.jta.org/2019/11/01/global/uks-labour-party-has-an-opportunity-in-upcoming-elections-the-anti-semitism-controversy-is-holding-it-back

 

Men dressed as Jews hand out Holocaust denial fliers at Colorado mall

Group wearing yarmulkes and fringed prayer shawls distribute leaflets proclaiming that ‘Marxist Jews’ dominate academia and Jewish people run the porn industry

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, Colorado. (Google Street View)

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, Colorado. (Google Street View)

A group of men wearing large white yarmulkes and fringed prayer shawls handed out fliers promoting Holocaust denial and hung up cards bearing anti-Semitic canards on a pedestrian mall in Boulder, Colorado.

The fliers handed out at Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall by the men who appeared to be posing as Jews claimed the Holocaust was “impossible.”

The men livestreamed their actions, according to the report.

As of Sunday morning, no reports were filed with police about the fliers, Boulder police told the newspaper.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/men-dressed-as-jews-hand-out-holocaust-denial-fliers-at-colorado-mall/

Yvette Lundy, French Resistance member who helped Jewish families, dies at 103

BY MARCY OSTER

(JTA) — Yvette Lundy, a member of the French Resistance who provided false identification papers to Jewish families, has died. She was 103.

Lundy, who also survived two Nazi concentration camps, died in the northern French town of Epernay on Sunday.

She would go on to become a schoolteacher and also worked at the town hall.

Lundy joined the Resistance at the beginning of the Nazi occupation of France, the French news agency AFP reported. She provided fake papers to Jewish families and escaped prisoners of war.

She was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1944, when she was 28. Lundy was imprisoned at the Ravensbrück concentration camp and later at Buchenwald. Later she later was assigned to a Kommando slave labor unit near Weimar and was liberated by the Russian army in April 1945.

Lundy returned to France but did not begin speaking about her experiences until 1959.

“The words of Yvette Lundy were a powerful call for citizen vigilance, so that the darkest hours of the 20th century would never be repeated,” a statement issued by the office of President Emmanuel Macron said.

Her memoir “Le Fil de l’araignée” (The Spider’s Web) was published in 2012. In 2017, she received one of France’s highest honors, becoming a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/yvette-lundy-french-resistance-member-who-helped-jewish-families-dies-at-103

Anti-Semitic hate crimes in Sweden rise by 53% to all-time record high

BY CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes recorded in Sweden rose to a record high last year, jumping 53 percent over the 2016 figures, government statistics show.

The 2018 report, which the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention published Thursday, listed 280 anti-Semitic hate crimes that year compared to 182 in 2016. The latest numbers are the highest on record since at least 2006, when the Council began collecting aggregated data.

Overall, the number of hate crimes with a racist or xenophobic motive rose by 69 percent over 2016 in Sweden to 4,865 cases last year, the report stated.

The council decided not to publish hate crime figures for 2017 without explaining the decision. In one attack from 2017, the Jewish assembly synagogue in Gothenburg was firebombed by approximately 10 men protesting Israel’s policies.

Anti-Semitic motives represented the largest increase from 2016 in hate crimes and was the largest hike in anti-Semitic crimes on record, the report said.

Anti-Semitic attacks accounted for 4 percent of all hate crimes in 2018. The Jewish population of 20,000 comprises approximately 0.2 percent of Sweden’s population.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes accounted for 8 percent of the hate crimes recorded in 2018, a proportion slightly lower than that minority’s estimated share of the population in Sweden.

The report did not specify the identity of perpetrators of hate crimes against Jews, but it did say the data include “cases both when the offender belongs to the majority population and when the offender belongs to another minority group.”

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/anti-semitic-hate-crimes-in-sweden-rise-by-53-to-all-time-record-high

Fliers bearing swastika and Star of David found around Arizona State U campus

BY MARCY OSTER

(JTA) — Fliers bearing a swastika and a Star of David were discovered around the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

The Hillel Jewish Center at ASU said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that some of the fliers depict references to the Holocaust, and “trivialize” it.

“Like you, we believe this message has no place on our campus. We are proud to work with you to make Jewish life on campus stronger every day, and an isolated incident such as this one will not deter us,” the post said.

A student first discovered one of the fliers on Friday, The State Press, the campus student newspaper,reported.

Arizona State University Police, in conjunction with the Tempe Police, are investigating the incident.

The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona said in a Facebook post that it has reached out to Hillel and Chabad at ASU.

“Ensuring the safety and security of our students is our top priority, and the university undertakes extensive efforts to ensure student safety is not compromised. ASU is a place where open debate can thrive and honest disagreements can be explored, but not when hateful rhetoric is used. That is not who we are,” a university statement said,according to the Arizona Republic Daily newspaper.

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/fliers-bearing-swastika-and-star-of-david-found-around-arizona-state-u-campus