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Support for IHRA definition gaining steam as opposition to Nazi memorials grows

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A coalition of more than 140 NGOs submitted a letter to Facebook, urging the social media company to implement a comprehensive hate speech policy on anti-Semitism.

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Facebook Standards

On Friday, August 7, 2020, a coalition of more than 140 NGOs submitted a letter to Facebook, urging the social media company to implement a comprehensive hate speech policy on anti-Semitism that incorporates the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

The coalition explained “the full IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism provides Facebook an effective, neutral, and nuanced tool to protect Jewish users from hate speech and imagery that incites hate and oftentimes leads to violence.” As antisemitic vitriol has increased exponentially online, community standards on Facebook and other social media platforms have failed to address the growing threat. In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly committed to revising the company’s policies to fight hate speech.

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was already adopted by the U.S. State Department and over 40 other countries. President of Zachor Legal Institute Marc Greendorfer said: “Today’s antisemitism is particularly potent online. Social media platforms must assume responsibility to protect users and combat this inciteful hatred. The volume and velocity at which anti-Semitism grows online require greater responsibility on behalf of the platforms that enable them to spread. There is no free pass to amplifying antisemitism. We’re not just fighting hate speech; we’re fighting for people’s safety.”

Hungary

Hungary’s largest Jewish group announced it was “terminating its relationship” with Rabbi Gabor Finali,i who accused Israel of appropriating the money of Holocaust victims and putting Diaspora Jews in danger, saying the rabbi “is more loyal in his writings to the enemies of Israel than to Israel.”

The rabbinical council of the Mazsihisz umbrella wrote to Israeli Ambassador Yacov Hadas-Handelsman that it “an indefinite suspension” of Finali, since 2017 the resident rabbi of the Ohel Avraham Synagogue in Budapest.

A supporter of many left-wing causes, Finali created more controversy in July on his Facebook page.

“Israel took all the benefits and most of the compensation from Germany for the death and suffering of our relatives,” he wrote. “The chaos that Israel has been causing since 1948 is the reason for most, if not all, attacks on Jews in the Diaspora. The money spent on security until recently (2018) was because we suffer the consequences, we’re the soft targets … Herzl’s mission failed because it didn’t stop the Holocaust, but soon it will lead to a new one.” Finali apologized for and retracted the post, too little, too late.

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Lithuania

A Lithuanian human rights activist has dared authorities to find him, after being convicted of destroying a plaque honouring a Nazi collaborator. As reported in Haaretz, Stanislav Tomas, a former candidate for the European Parliament, fled the country after being sentenced to three months in prison and fined for his actions in April of 2019.

“Let them look for me,” he said, unrepentant for hammering into pieces a plaque on the facade of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences dedicated to Jonas Noreika. Known as Generolas Vėtra (General Storm), he was responsible for setting up a ghetto Jews of the Šiauliai Region and confiscated their assets. Thousands of Jews living in that ghetto were shot and killed at the market square and buried in a mass grave less than two months later.  He also produced a 32-page brochure  called “Raise Your Head, Lithuania,” in which he called for an economic boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

Noreika is regarded by some Lithuanians as a national hero for his fight against the Communist regime and there is at least one school named after him.

The plaque was glued back together and put back on the wall, however of Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius ordered the removal of it July 27, 2019, the same week the city decided to redesignate a street to replace the name of Lithuanian diplomat Kazys Škirpa, due to his anti-Semitic views.

Jonas Noreika, known as Generolas Vėtra (General Storm), was responsible for setting up a ghetto Jews of the Šiauliai Region. They were murdered en masse two months later. Courtesy: Alma Pater

Azerbaijan via Israel

In Tel Aviv-Jaffa, almost 600 Azerbaijani Jews marched along the Old City of Jaffa and then demonstrated outside of the Armenian Cultural Center and the Armenian Church.  They were protesting about Armenian mortar fire killing a 76-year-old Azerbaijani citizen and 12 Azerbaijani servicemen, after days of skirmishes in the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan. Israeli political analyst Arye Gut, who organized the demonstration, spoke out against the occupation of Karabakh and the glorification of the Nazi-allied Armenian Legion.

“Garagen Nzhdeh is a national hero and has a memorial in the middle of Yerevan.  He was a fascist but because he was Armenian, he is a national hero.  It does not work like that. How can we, Israelis, react to the monument erected four years ago in Yerevan to commemorate Nzhadeh, an anti-Semite and apparent Nazi accomplice,” Gut asked. “Thanks to the Armenian Legion the towns of Simferopol, Yevpatoria, Alushta, Kerch and Feodosia, as well as other areas of Western Crimea, were completely expunged of Jews. The prolongation of his memory is a reprehensible insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The glorification of Armenian fascists and Nazis who worked closely with Nazi Germany, are being promoted at the state level in Armenia.”

Gut also asserted, “Armenia is striving by all means possible to spoil relations between Israel and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a real strategic partner of Israel in the world, an example of multiculturalism and tolerance. Today, there is a 25,000-strong Jewish community in Azerbaijan.  And in contrast, Armenia has almost no Jews.  There are 50 ethnic Jews in Armenia.”

Florida

The president of Florida State University announced the campus will adopt the IHRA universal definition of anti-Semitism and the division of student affairs “will institute annual training for its staff surrounding anti-Semitism, religious discrimination and ways to foster a more inclusive campus for our Jewish students and employees.”

 “As a minority group, the Jewish people have faced bias and discrimination and have been marginalized for centuries. It is one of the oldest forms of bigotry and is as intolerable as all forms of hate,” said John Thrasher in a statement. “The United States, the State of Florida and Florida State University recognize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism and its contemporary examples.”

He also said the university “has re-established its Jewish Student Union and is creating a Jewish Alumni Network to provide enhanced support and educational resources for all our students,” according to Thrasher.  

“My university leadership team and I will continue to work determinedly to combat anti-Semitism and unlawful behavior. While freedom of speech is of paramount importance on a college campus, so is creating a climate of acceptance and appreciation for the value and richness of the many cultures and ideas that make Florida State University such an excellent academic experience.”

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Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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