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Category : In the News

Israel’s Legal Founding: Allen Dershowtiz for Prager University

Course Description

When the state of Israel was founded in 1948, it was done so with the approval of the United Nations. But today, Israel’s enemies routinely challenge the legitimacy of its very existence. So, under international law, who’s right? Israel? Or its enemies?


This Day in Jewish History / The prodigy from Kobryn goes to die with his flock

Kaunas Synagogue, seat of the Jewish community led by Rabbi Avraham Dov-Ber Kahana-Shapiro.

Haaretz, By David B. Green, Feb. 27, 2015

Rabbi Avraham Dov-Ber Kahana-Shapiro went back to his community in Nazi-occupied Lithuania, knowing they were doomed.

On February 27, 1943, Rabbi Avraham Dov-Ber Kahana-Shapiro, the last chief rabbi of Kovno (today Kaunas), Lithuania, died at age 69. Shapiro is remembered not only for his rabbinical prowess, which is on display in the three-volume anthology of responsa – answers to questions of Jewish law – he left behind, but also for his insistence on returning to the city to be with, and die with, his community even though he was outside the country when World War II began.

Avraham Dov-Ber (also called “Dober”) Kahana-Shapiro was born on October 1, 1873 in Kobryn, in what is today Belarus. His father, Shlomo Zalman Sender Kahana-Shapiro, was the great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, founder of the famed yeshiva that bore his name. His mother was Esther Gittel Kahana-Shapiro. (more…)

Swastika attack in Montreal considered hate crime

JTA, Feb 26, 2015

MONTREAL (JTA) — Envelopes on the windshields of at least one of four vandalized cars in a Jewish neighborhood of Montreal contained single bullets and the message “You Will Die.”

The cars in an apartment building garage in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighborhood were spray-painted with large red swastikas on their hoods. The swastikas faced the wrong way and one windshield was smashed with a pickaxe, which was left behind. Two of the car owners were Jewish. (more…)

Danish imam to be charged in Germany for call to kill Jews

JTA, Feb 26, 2015

(JTA) — A Danish imam who called in Berlin for the killing of Zionist Jews will face criminal charges, German prosecutors said.
Abu Bilal Ismail will be charged in Germany for inciting to hate, Denmark’s TV2 News reported Wednesday.

The charges are connected to statements he made during his July 18 sermon at the Al-Nur mosque, Berlin prosecutors told TV2 News this week.

“Oh, Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews, they are no challenge for you,” Ismail, an imam from the Grimhoj Mosque in the city of Aarhus, was filmed saying during the sermon, according to a translation from Arabic prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI. “Count them and kill them to the very last one. Don’t spare a single one of them. Make them suffer terribly.”

The decision to prosecute Ismail follows the Feb. 15 slaying of a volunteer Jewish security guard outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue by a Danish Muslim radical of Palestinian descent.

German Jewish leader warns against wearing kipah in Muslim neighborhoods

JTA, Feb 26, 2015

(JTA) — A Jewish leader in Germany advised Jews not to wear yarmulkes in neighborhoods with large Muslim populations.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in an interview Thursday with the Berlin-based radio station rbb Inforadio recommended wearing a hat instead. (more…)

Kalb’s list: Piecing together a Holocaust rescue operation

At right, Ben Zion Kalb with the Weinberg brothers, Alter and Yitzhak — among the many Polish Jews he rescued. (Courtesy of Mark Colb)

JTA, by Hillel Kuttler, February 25, 2015

The Seeking Kin column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends.

BALTIMORE (JTA) – After his mother died in 2009, Dr. Mark Colb discovered in her bedroom dresser some familiar documents and photographs. He remembered most of the stories accompanying them, too.

All related to his late father’s efforts to rescue Polish Jews during the Holocaust via a land route and a smuggling operation that he had first conceived to save his fiancee and later wife – Mark’s mother, Clara Lieber.

A list of names that Colb found in their Manhattan apartment indicated that his father – then known as Ben Zion Kalb, but often utilizing the code name Ben Avraham – had saved about 150 fellow Polish Jews, mostly infants, youngsters and teenagers.

Colb believes, though, that the true number is several multiples of 150; his mother left behind in Europe many pages from the list. Judith Cohen, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s photographic reference collection, estimated the number at “upwards of 1,000 people” he saved. (See the list below.) (more…)

Study: Over half of U.S. Jewish college students have encountered anti-Semitism

Illustrative: Swastika painted on wall of UC Davis Jewish frat house. (YouTube screenshot from Sacramento Bee)

Haaretz, By JTA, Feb. 24, 2015

Online survey of 1,157 students find that 54% say they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year.

More than half of current American Jewish college students have personally witnessed or experienced an anti-Semitic incident, according to a new study.

Some 54 percent of Jewish college students participating in the survey released Monday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year. The survey was taken in the spring of 2014, prior to the outbreak of hostilities last summer in Gaza.

The online survey of 1,157 students, conducted by Trinity College Professor Barry Kosmin and Associate Professor Ariela Keysar, found that percentages of students reporting encounters with anti-Semitism were relatively consistent across gender, religious outlook, and geographical region. (more…)

Ex-SS medic, 94, charged over Auschwitz deaths

More than one million people were murdered at Auschwitz, most of them Jewish

BBC News, Feb 23, 20145

A 94-year-old man has been charged with 3,681 counts of accessory to murder in Germany on allegations he served at Auschwitz.

Prosecutors said the defendant was a former SS sergeant, who acted as a medical officer at the Nazi death camp in 1944.

If found guilty he could face a jail term ranging from three to 15 years.

Defence lawyer Peter-Michael Disetel told the Bild newspaper there was no evidence of a “concrete criminal act”. (more…)

From the Archive: The Star of David myth and the World War II rescue of Danish Jewry

King Christian X of Denmark was rumored to have worn a Star of David badge during World War II. (Wikimedia Commons)

JTA, by Gabe Friedman, February 21, 2015

Last weekend, Denmark was shocked by the latest terrorist attack on a European Jewish institution. After shooting up a Copenhagen cafe, a gunman attacked the city’s main synagogue, killing a Jewish security guard.

Danish Jews have been encouraged by the response of their government and fellow citizens to the attack. “The response of Danish society has been fantastic,” one of the country’s former chief rabbis told JTA.

This show of Danish solidarity recalls one of World War II’s most well-known stories and one of its most intriguing myths.

When the Nazis invaded Denmark in 1940, they did not impose harsh anti-Semitic laws at first. Denmark’s neutrality and its cooperation with the German invaders allowed the country to retain relative political autonomy for a few years. (more…)

Israel asks UN to condemn Iran Holocaust cartoon contest

An Iranian Holocaust cartoon (photo credit: Channel 2 screen capture)

By Times of Israel staff and Justin Jalil, February 21, 2015

Upcoming Tehran competition to offer first place prize of $12,000 for best drawing on Shoah denial

Israel called on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and on UN member countries to condemn an international cartoon contest on Holocaust denial hosted by Iran which is set to take place in two months.

“The contest legitimizes Holocaust denial and encourages those who deny the Shoah to continue with their incitement,” Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, wrote in a letter released Saturday.

The competition is organized by Iranian organizations that have said it comes in response to the controversial depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last month. (more…)