Swastikas Painted on a Fence in New York Suburb

The Journal News reported on February 23rd that a fence in New York state was vandalized with Nazi symbols. A fence in the village of New Square was vandalized in black spray pain with the words “GET OUT” along with many swastikas. This village is located roughly 40 miles Northwest of Manhattan. This horrific graffiti was found on a 6ft high fence that separates the village from a neighboring rehabilitation center. The village’s mayor, Israel Spitzer, called this act “bigoted and an attack against the community.” This village in Ramapo, New York, is highly populated with thousands of Hasidic Jews which has been the case since the founding of New Square in the 1950s. New Square’s Hasidic Jews are members of the Skverer sect of Hasidic judaism. This group, among many others in Hasidic Judaism, is a group whose goal is to be largely isolated from the secular world. This extreme form of Judaism represents some of the many characteristics that have fueled religious antisemitism in history.  They are an isolated community, with extremely strict religious practices, and have little interest in assimilating into American secular society. This combination of factors makes them even more vulnerable during this tense time for American Jews.  In recent weeks, while there have countless threats and other forms of antisemitism in JCCs, more modernized Jewish institutions, antisemitism in Orthodox Jewish communities has not been seen as widely. When considering acts of antisemitism in extremely religious areas of the United States, it is important to consider the fact that Orthodox Jews could be viewed as un-American in their practices, in addition to their vulnerability...

Swastikas, Racial Slurs Painted in Suburb on New York

A February 26th article by Haaretz discussed an antisemitic graffiti incident that occurred at a play ground in Buffalo, New York and in the suburb by the school. According to the article, swastikas and racial slurs were painted over multiple cars, buildings and an elementary school playground in a neighborhood called Oak Park. Over 12 residents of the Oak park reported seeing antisemitic graffiti on their property. However, the article did not go into detail about what kinds of racial slurs were written. Like the article said, I find the vandalism at the school playground awful because that is a safe place where little kids go to have fun with their families or classmates. The article went on to say that security footage by the school is being examined by the police so they can try to find the perpetrators. In light of this antisemitic attack, a Go Fund me page has been created to pay for the cleanup of the elementary school playground. This kind of reminds me about what happened at the St. Louis Jewish Cemetery last week. After the graves were desecrated by the perpetrators, I saw that the local St. Louis Muslim community started a Go Fund Me page to help pay to fix the graves. Although the vandalism and graffiti is terrible, it is good to see people throughout various communities stepping up and fighting back. I found the elementary school’s Go Fund Me page and just in one day people have donated almost 2,000 dollars. In total, the school is going to need around 5,000 dollars to rid themselves of the graffiti.   http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.773892...

Thing’s We Should Know About Sebastian Gorka

Sebastian Gorka, our current deputy assistant to the President, has faced some rather serious critics lately as information as come forward in his connection to antisemitic groups and writings. The biggest concerns surround his ties to Hungary’s antisemitic far-right. Gorka was born in London to Hungarian emigres who fled Communism. Later he returned to Hungary and spent time worked under the current right-wing nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán. His connections grew further to far right movements Lili Bayer, from Forward, explained starting in 2007. Gorka at this time, “co-founding a political party with former prominent members of Jobbik.” This specific party was well-known for its history of antisemitism. Jobbik also published numerous articles in a newspaper known for its antisemitic and racist content. Alarming as this is, it only gets worse. Back on January 20th, at the inaugural ball of President Donald Trump, Gorka was spotted wearing a medal of Nazi Collaborators. Supporting such an item is a clear example of his lack of apathy for the Jewish people. Gorka is a smart man and knew exactly what it meant to support such an article. However, when asked to comment recently on the issue he stated, “if you say eight centuries of history can be eradicated by 18 months of fascist distortion of symbols, you’re losing historic perspective.” It’s very disheartening to see a man of such power support such ignorance. Since Gorka now plays a vital role in US politics, it’s alarming to many that such predominant connection exist. Many question his ability to be an unbiased advisor when he has such close connection to antisemitic factions. One journalist for the New York, Jesse...

6 Months to Reclaim Pre-World War II Property

On February 23rd, the city of Warsaw put into effect the December 2016 law that gives the original owners six months to reclaim their property that was seized by the Communists, starting from when the properties go live online. After the six months, the properties will be transferred to the city. This is a chance for Holocaust survivors and their heirs to come and reclaim property that was once theirs, first taken by the Nazis and then under control of Communism until 1989. However, the chair of operations of the World Jewish Restitution Organization says that the six months is unfair. Majority of the people who once lived in these dwellings do not live in Poland, not to mention the advanced age of these persons. “It is unfair for claimants – particularly those who now live outside of Poland – to lose this last opportunity to reconnect with their past because of the administrative complexity of this law,” said Taylor, the organization’s chair of operations. I find myself agreeing with Taylor that the deadline is too short, yet the law is a little too late. If the owners of these properties survived the war, they have most likely passed away since then and any descendants will need longer than six months to provide proper documentation to the city of Warsaw. The law seems like a last-ditch effort to appease groups such as the World Jewish Restitution Organization and to combat any comments that government is anti-semitic. I will be surprised if any families of survivors are able to reclaim property under this law in the six month time sp...

Vice President Pence Visits Jewish Cemetary

  On Wednesday, Mike Pence visited a Jewish cemetery that desecrated recently. While at the cemetery, Pence helped clean up debris and called the destruction of 200 headstones, a “vile act.” On a more positive note, he thanked the local Jewish community for their strong and empowering response by saying those who gathered were “inspiring the nation by your love and care for this place, for the Jewish community, and I want to thank you for that inspiration — for showing the world what America is really about.” After a couple months of the Trump administration doing next to nothing about the recent attacks on Jewish and Muslim communities, it’s positive to see acknowledgement like this by Vice President Pence. As a religious politician, Mike Pence knows the importance of religion to millions of Americans, so I’m not that surprised he came to the cemetery and spoke. Overall, I think this was the first genuine and heartfelt response by the Trump administration to support and speak out on the growing antisemitism. Although it is nice to see those close to Trump acknowledge such disgraceful acts, I think it’s more important for Trump to be leading the charge against antisemitism and islamophobia (even though he promotes the latter). So far Trump has only made tweets, empty comments, or has completely disregarded questions on antisemitism. To often Trump puts himself at the center of attention while ignoring those who are being effected by the recent upsurge in racism. Hopefully, it won’t take a violent event in which lives are lost, in order to call Trump’s attention to this issue.   Missouri, Real...