Hitler’s Birthday Celebrated By Right-Wing Extremists

April 20th, 2017 was Adolf Hitler’s 128th birthday.  What would’ve been just a normal day, marked with subtle infamy, is now celebrated as a holiday for members of the Alt- Right and Neo Nazi groups.  On that day, The Forward reported of multiple sources that posted celebratory messages for Hitler’s birthday. Neo Nazi and Alt-Right websites posted messages such expressing these messages embodying Hitler’s positive role as a world leader and “peaceful origins” of the nazis. On the Daily Stormer “Happy birthday, Uncle Adolf. We’ve never missed you more than we miss you right now,” was written by  Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi site. The author of The Daily Stormer post also updated his website’s interface with “lit candles and frosted letters wishing Hitler a happy birthday.” Altright.com, a site run by website run by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer,  dismissed nazi activity during the Holocaust as “another Big Lie of the establishment left.” In addition to these prominent posts, there would countless Tweets that circulation on this day which shared similar messages of celebration. This type of display exemplifies many disturbing elements of antisemitism in the 21st century, particularly in the year 2017.  The internet continues to become and a day is being framed by internet users as a holiday worth celebrating. In this case, the internet is being used to express messages of Holocaust denial which is immeasurably powerful. Not only does Holocaust denial express the frightening views of the extreme but its presence on the internet gives it much more power.  As the years pass as we get further away from the WWII era, history will only become...

Anti-Jewish and Anti-Christian Sentiments Found in Marvel Comic

On April 10th, both The New York Post  reported on the Anti-Christian and Anti-Jewish sentiments that were uncovered in a Marvel comic titled “X-Men Gold #1.”Ardian Syaf is the name of the artist responsible for the images released last Wednesday (4/5). The hidden messages in the comic have been interpreted as antisemitic on social media throughout the comic book world. Some of the messages stemmed from the election of Jakarta, Indonesia’s first non-Muslim governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. There is supposedly also a reference from the Quranthat condemns Jews and Christians as Muslim allies. Marvel plans to take “disciplinary action” but it was publicly stated that “these implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.” This situation involves the concept of free speech and the the ability for comic authors to insert their political or religious messages in their personal works, whether hidden or in the open. While the Marvel brand has a responsibility to it s readers to convey messages that are cohesive with its traditional comics, one must whether the author of this controversial work was. While we can condemn him for expressing hateful messages, it is unclear if the printing of this comic will have an impact on readers other than those searching for hidden messages. The New York Post...

Toronto University Students Adopt a Definition of Antisemitism

On April 4th, Marcy Oster of The Forward reported that the student union at the University of Toronto decided to adopt a definition of antisemitism to include the following: denial of the Jewish right to self-determination the application of double standards to the State of Israel the comparison of contemporary Israeli policies to that of the Nazis the use of symbols or imagery associated with classic anti-Semitic tropes This definition was put in place in response to the “shameful incidents to occur on campus this year.” When comparing these actions in Canada to those recently in the US, it is clear that the current climate of antisemitism is not as clear-cut as conceptualized by many. After Tennessee lawmakers proposed a bill designed to reduce hate speech on campus, The University of Tennessee- Knoxville claimed that hate speech was not a problem at their university. Categorizing and perceiving antisemitism during this changing time is becoming just as important and polarized as the acts themselves. A skewed understanding of the impact and presence of antisemitism has the ability to influence the public’s views of a nation or institution’s stability, as well as the opportunities for policy to be implemented, as seen in Tennessee. Additionally, this action at the Canadian university speaks to the controversy regarding Israel’s role in American antisemitism.  Distinguishing between a critique of Israeli policies and a demonization of Israel is extremely important when assessing the severity of hate acts.  By including Israel in their definition, the University of Toronto is setting a clear precedent for the types of actions that they condone. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tennessee-puts-effort-define-anti-semitism-campus-after-students-say-its-not-problem...
Proposed house bill stiffens penalties for would-be JCC bomb threat makers

Proposed house bill stiffens penalties for would-be JCC bomb threat makers

On March 28, 2017 The Jerusalem Post reported that a bipartisan sponsored bill had been introduced into the US House of Representatives that would stiffen penalties for bomb threats made against religious institutions. The bill is entitled the “Combating Antisemitism Act of 2017.” The bill is in response to the over 150 bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers since January. The bill is part of the larger narrative that antisemitism is a growing problem in the US. The bill’s contents makes me uncomfortable, although I appreciate the effort to strengthen the legal defenses available to Jewish Community Centers, I do not believe it is possible to truly the know the intent behind a crime. We can surmise a person’s intentions from background information gathered on them, but we cannot know intentions in the same way we can know if someone committed a crime. Threatening to bomb a community center is wrong, regardless of if the person making the threat cares whether or not the people impacted are Jewish. I see a parallel between these legislative actions and efforts by the government to defend Jewish citizens in the Butcher’s Tale. However I am unsure whether antisemitism is a growing problem in the US or if the media narrative surrounding antisemitism in the US has become gloomier since Trump’s election. Aside from the notable incidents of the JCC bomb threats, the bulk of the reported incidents I see reported on are things I’ve encountered in my daily life as an American Jew for as long as I can remember. Swastika graffiti and the borderline antisemitic rhetorical gray area the BDS...

Karen Fiorito ‘s Anti-@realDonaldTrump billboard

A recent billboard commissioned by a Phoenix art gallery has blown up on Twitter due to its very controversial depiction of Donald Trump. The big red billboard in downtown Phoenix, “shows President Trump wearing a Russian flag pin, flanked by mushroom-cloud explosions and dollar signs that resemble Nazi swastikas.” (Vespa) The artist, Karen Fiorito, believes she is illustrating an image of Donald Trump that many Americans can relate to. Fiorito claims it speaks to a “real fear” of the path of the United States politically, under Trump. While it might not be the initial intention of the artist, I believe the image of the dollar signs imitating Nazi swastikas can also speak to Donald Trumps inability to property address and take action against the rise of antisemitism. One could argue that his popularity amongst wealth, antisemitic nationalist groups inside the United States could be a factor in his incompetence in addressing the increasing cases of  antisemitism in America. While the billboard has created a lot of debate, Fiorito hopes her rights to free speech will allow it to remain up as long as Trump sits in office. She hopes this image will unite individuals with similar ideals together and fuel the already emerging resistance. Below I have attached a youtube video that gives a better depiction of the location of the billboard and the amount of traffic which passes it’s location heading towards downtown Phoenix. If it takes a billboard like this to get people’s attention, I hope we start to see more. Published by Townhall (by Matt Vespa), March 18th, 2017 @ 9:00AM: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/03/18/resist-antitrump-billboard-in-arizona-goes-heavy-on-the-nazi-imagery-n2300786 Karen Fiorito Twitter Post Published, March 17th, 2017...

Anne Frank House and Museum

In this New York Times article by Nina Siegal, she talks about the problems the Anne Frank House and Museum are facing. Many of the visitors that come to the museum have little to no knowledge about the Holocaust and World War II, something that this place is trying to combat especially in the anti semitic environment we are currently living in. The problem some historians are struggling with is that they are trying not to trivialize the Holocaust, they are trying to make sure it is remembered, but making sure it is remembered accurately. This article mentions a statistic that 76% of Jewish people living in Europe, believe that over the past 5 years anti semitism has increased. The Anne Frank House and Museum is struggling with limited space and an increasing number of visitors, recently they announced a 10 million Euro expansion that will increase educational and visitor areas. The museum is trying to create more of a backstory of what lead to the Holocaust, which I think is important because many people think that the Holocaust just suddenly happened, which is not the case. They’re also trying to bring more context to Anne Frank’s life, by bringing her whole life into the story and trying to deromanticize her story, which historians worry is a problem. I think that this news story is important because it talks about the issues of why anti semitism is still prevalent. I think if more people were knowledgeable about the Holocaust and what the Jewish people went through, the issue of anti semitism would be less prevalent.     Amsterdam, Netherlands...