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Huge cache of art works seized by Nazis discovered in Munich apartment

WJC, A cache of works, many by artists the Nazis considered “degenerate,” has been discovered in a moldy storage room in Munich. The 1,500 paintings, prints, sketches, engravings and etchings are estimated to be worth billions of dollars. They were hoarded by an elderly man who sold some of them to cover every day expenses.
Included in the cache are works by such artists as Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, MarcChagall, Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Paul Klee and Henri Matisse. It is believed that they were confiscated or stolen by the Nazis from Jewish owners. The Nazis regarded Impressionist, Cubist and Modernist pieces as ‘degenerate art'.
The magazine ‘Focus’ reported that official searches had been underway for at least 200 of the works. An art historian is now tracing provenance and estimating values.
Reportedly, an art dealer snapped up the works in the 1930s and 1940s. Cornelius Gurlitt's father HildebrandtGurlitt had in the run-up to World War II been in charge of gathering up 'degenerate art' for the Nazis. For 50 years, Cornelius apparently hoarded the works in a dark storeroom in his home in Munich, on homemade shelves. They were found by customs officials alongside rotting food and trash. According to ‘Focus’, investigators made the discovery already in 2011, but the authorities kept silent while searching for more information.
“Now we need to quickly find out whether there are legitimate owners or heirs. Belated justice is better than none,” Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, told the newspaper ‘Bild’.
The works have not been publicly identified by investigators, who are working to reunite them with the families of their rightful owners. However, one painting is known to have been 'The Lion Tamer' (pictured left), by German artist Max Beckmann. Cornelius sold it through an auction house for nearly US$ 1 million shortly before the collection was seized. Another is a portrait of a woman by the French master Matisse that belonged to the Jewish connoisseur Paul Rosenberg.
Rosenberg had to abandon his collection as he fled Paris when France fell to the Nazis in 1940. His granddaughter Anne Sinclair, ex-wife of former IMF bank chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been fighting for decades for the return of her grandfather’s pictures, but is said to have not known of the existence of this painting.

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German Jewish leader: Burial of Nazi secret police chief in Jewish cemetery 'a terrible iniquity'

WJC, Heinrich Müller, the notorious head of the Nazi secret police Gestapo, was buried in a Jewish cemetery in central Berlin, the German newspaper 'Bild' reports, citing Johannes Tuchel, the director of the Memorial German Resistance. Tuchel told the newspaper that according to new documents found in different archives, Müller was interred in 1945, in the last days of the war, in a mass grave of the Jewish cemeteryBerlin-Mitte. It is apparently unclear why the prominent Nazi was buried there.
Contrary to the belief held by Western intelligence agencies, Müller did not survive the war, Tuchel said. "Müller's corpse was found in August 1945 near the former Reich Ministry for Aviation", he told 'Bild'. According to documents, the body was clearly identified at the time and Müller was wearing the uniform of a general in which his Gestapo pass bearing a photo of him was discovered. In 1963, a gravedigger told police that he had buried Müller personally, and that he had seen Müller's face. While his statement was not confirmed at the time, it turns out now that he was telling the truth.
Müller became Gestapo chief in 1939 under Reinhard Heydrich, and was involved in the planning and execution of the Holocaust. Adolf Eichmann, who headed the Gestapo's office of resettlement and the Office of Jewish Affairs, was Müller's immediate subordinate. Once World War II began, Müller and Eichmann planned key components in the deportation and then extermination of Europe's Jews. Müller was last seen in Hitler's bunker in Berlin on 1 May 1945 and has so far been the most senior figure of the Nazi regime who was never captured or confirmed to have died.
Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, called the discovery that Müller was buried in a Jewish graveyard "horrific". Graumann said: "That one of the most brutal Nazi sadists is buried in a Jewish cemetery, of all places, is a terrible iniquity."

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Sydney: Five injured in worst anti-Semitic attack in Australia's recent history

WJC, The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has called for Australia's anti-racism strategy to be strengthened following the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent history. A group of eight young men attacked families who were walking home from a synagogue in Sydney late on Friday after Shabbat services.
The group allegedly yelled racial slurs at the families before the confrontation turned into a physical fight. Four men and a woman were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. One man aged in his 60s suffered a bleed on the brain, others suffered broken bones.
ECAJ Executive Director Peter Wertheim said the authorities needed to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check. He called for the national anti-racism strategy to be strengthened and included in the education curriculum.
Police have charged three people over the assault, which happened in the Bondi area of Sydney. Two 17-year-olds were both charged with affray and breach of bail. They are due to appear in Sydney Children's Court on Sunday. A 23-year-old man was also charged with affray and granted bail. Police are still looking for five others who ran away.
Wertheim said in a statement: “I grew up in Bondi and never experienced a single incident of anti-Semitism, not even verbal. For decades, Bondi has been famous for its relaxed, free-wheeling and culturally diverse way of life. Many Jewish people live there. There are numerous shuls, kosher eateries, a kosher butcher, kosher bakeries, kosher grocery stores and Jewish communal institutions. It is not uncommon to see men walking along the street wearing kippot or Chasidic garb, often strolling with their families. Sometimes they are the objects of verbal abuse, but violence is rare. Last night’s violence was exceptional.”

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Around 400 young Jews gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia for the Limmud FSU Conference

Jewish News, St. Petersburg, Russia, Around 400 young Jews from across St. Petersburg came together at the New Peterhof Hotel, near St. Petersburg, Russia over this past weekend, October 25-27, for the Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) Conference. St. Petersburg is the second largest Jewish community in Russia today, and it counts around 100,000 Jewish residents (according to the Israeli law of return). Limmud FSU is a festival of Jewish learning featuring a packed program of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide-range of cultural events. 

During the three-day conference, participants coming primarily from St. Petersburg, but also from many other neighboring countries and cities (like Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saratov, Belarus, Ukraine), attended some 80 seminars, lectures, presentations, master-classes, round-table discussions and creative workshops on a wide variety of topics. Some of the topics included: Jewish spirituality and philosophy, ethical issues, current topics in politics and society, Bible and Talmud, arts, music, and dance. Among the presenters will be prominent historians, scientists, artists, politicians, businessmen, educators and musicians mainly from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Israel and America. Some of the exciting names at this year’s conference included famous Israeli actress Helena Yaralova who is originally from Kiev, well known poet and philosopher Lev Rubinstein from Moscow, children’s author Michael Yasnov, historian Ilya Altman from Moscow, and fashion designer Liliana Modigliani. Also in attendance was the Israeli Consul General in St. Petersburg, Ambassador Eddie Shapira.

Like all other Limmud conferences, Limmud FSU in St. Petersburg is egalitarian and pluralistic. The conferences are organized and run entirely by local volunteers who are passionate and enthusiastic about the Limmud mission of strengthening Jewish identity and bringing Jewish learning to Jews of all backgrounds.

Under the reign of Alexander II in the 19th Century select groups of Jews gained legal access to the Russian interior, including the imperial capital. Under the policy of selective integration, “useful” Jews, such as, physicians, army veterans, university graduates, and wealthy merchants, were permitted to live outside the Pale of Settlement. By the end of Alexander II’s reign, approximately 16,000 Jews lived in St. Petersburg legally, making it the largest Jewish community outside the Pale. There are estimates that an almost equal number of Jews were living in the city illegally at the time as well. According to the 1897 census there were 17,254 Jews in St. Petersburg (including 310 Karaites), constituting 1.4% of the population. Despite its small numbers, the St. Petersburg Jewish community played an important role in Russian Jewish life, in part due to the wealth of individual members and their influence at the court.

In 1917, all residence restrictions on Jews, which had allowed only Jews who worked in St. Petersburg to remain there, were abolished, and the city became a center of the organizational activities of all the factions and parties of Russian Jewry. However, there remained periods of pronounced anti-Semitism. Though mass emigration in the 1980s-90s reduced St. Petersburg’s Jewish population, the city re-emerged as a vibrant Jewish community after the fall of Communism, with a full range of educational and religious facilities, including a Chabad House and synagogues, Jewish private University, five day schools, Reform synagogue, many JCCs, and large range of international and local organizations, such as the Israeli Consulate General, Israeli cultural center, JAFI, JDC, Hillel, Family Center "Adain Lo" and many others.

“St. Petersburg has one of the most vibrant and flourishing Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and we are thrilled to be part of it”, said Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU. “We are sure that this conference, like all other Limmud FSU conferences, contributed to the Jewish life in the city and will leave a significant impact on the Jewish community members while they are looking to strengthen their Jewish identity.”


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“Jew in the City” Announces Top 10 Orthodox Jewish All Stars of 2013

The Jew in the City Second Annual “Top 10 Orthodox Jewish All Stars” Awardees and Red Carpet event will take place on Sunday, November 24th in New York City 

New York, NY, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Nobel Laureate Robert Aumann are among ten individuals who have been named 2013 Orthodox Jewish All Stars by Jew in the City, the organization dedicated to re-branding Orthodox Jews and Judaism to the world through digital media.

This year's All Stars are an extremely accomplished and diverse group, and, in addition to Secretary Lew and Dr. Aumann, include: Sarah Hofstetter, who was promoted last week to CEO of 360i in the US (the No. 2 advertising firm on Ad Age's Agency A-List); Ari Pinchot, co-executive producer of the star-studded and critically acclaimed new film, Lee Daniels' The Butler, featuring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey; Naama Shafir, the first Orthodox female professional basketball player; Joseph Shenker, chairman of Sullivan and Cromwell (the No. 3 law firm in the country according to Vault Rankings); Rama Burshtein, writer, director and producer of the awarding-winning film, Fill the Void (and the first Hasidic woman to make a film for general audiences); Anne Neuberger, the Director of the National Security Agency's Commercial Solutions Center; Issamar Ginzberg, a marketing guru who was named one of Inc. Magazine's Top 10 Entrepreneurs (and is the grandson of prominent Hasidic rebbes); and Dr. Laurel Steinherz, Director of Pediatric Cardiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering and co-founder of Camp Simcha, a renowned camp for Jewish children with cancer.

This year's winners will be honored at a red carpet event which will coincide with a historic, once-in-a-lifetime overlap of Chanukah and Thanksgiving and will commemorate the redemption from religious persecution of Chanukah coinciding with Thanksgiving's celebration of religious freedom in our great country, which has provided Jews with the opportunity to achieve the highest levels of professional success while maintaining their heritage.

“There is a common misconception that being an Orthodox Jew means you don't have many career options,” said Allison Josephs, award-winning Jewish influencer and author, who founded Jew in the City (JewintheCity.com) six years ago to break down myths and misconceptions about religious Jews and observant Judaism. “Jew in the City is building awareness about a community that otherwise gets depicted as extreme and reclusive, and rarely is presented with any nuance."

The inaugural "Orthodox Jewish All Stars" began last year with a YouTube video written, directed, and produced by Josephs that featured an inspiring and varied group of awardees, including former Senator Joe Lieberman, Top Ten Billboard Recording Artist Alex Clare and NYTimes bestselling novelist, Faye Kellerman - all people who have reached the pinnacle of their respective fields, which ranged from HBO producer to former top title holding professional boxer - while maintaining a religiously observant lifestyle.

Many of this year's and last year's All Stars will be attending the red carpet awards party in midtown Manhattan on the evening of November 24, the Sunday night before Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Attendees will enjoy live music, an open wine bar, and Chanukah/Thanksgiving themed dishes.

"For last year's list, we sought out the individuals ourselves. This year, we opened up nominations to the public and a panel of judges selected the winners,” explained Josephs. “There were so many more remarkably successful Orthodox Jews that didn't make it to this year's list; we'll hopefully be doing this for many more years."


Josephs was named one of the Jewish Week's 36 Under 36 in 2013 and one of NJOP's Top Ten Jewish Influencers in 2012. She has been studying Torah with actress Mayim Bialik since 2004 and is often quoted in the media on issues relating to Jewish life and observance. Josephs provides Orthodox Jewish Cultural Diversity training to top corporations such as Con Edison and NYU Langone Medical Center and also gives inspirational lectures across North America. She has been featured or published in The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, Yahoo News, the Jewish Press, and The Forward, among other publications. Josephs, who is married with four children, has been involved in the field of Jewish education and outreach for over a dozen years, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in Philosophy.

Jew in the City, founded and directed by Josephs, harnesses the power of social media to break down stereotypes about religious Jews and offer a humorous, meaningful look into Orthodox Judaism. Through a website JewintheCity, YouTube channel (where its videos that have been viewed over a million times), and via Facebook and Twitter Jew in the City explains important Jewish concepts like Shabbat, keeping kosher, and mikvah, and tackles difficult topics like the Orthodox Jewish approach to homosexuality, feminism, and conversion. With a mix of light humor and rich content, Jew in the City explores these topics in a pleasant and easy to understand fashion, appealing to anyone who is curious to learn more about Orthodox Jews and observant Judaism, whether Jewish or not.

“Unfortunately, most non-Orthodox Jews and non-Jews have a very negative perception of Orthodox Jews and Judaism,” said Josephs. “When they think of Orthodoxy, they think things like backwards, repressed, outdated, sexist, and anti-scientific. Scandals that reinforce these misconceptions hit the papers all too often. Popular movies, books, and TV shows repeat negative stereotypes about religious Jewish people and their lifestyles, which make it even harder to counteract these negative stereotypes. Jew in the City was created to break down those misconceptions and stereotypes.”

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WJC ANALYSIS - Carmen Matussek: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Arab world

The following article was first published in the 'Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs', a publication of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, which operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — what are they?
Whoever begins to explore the phenomenon of anti-Semitism soon encounters this most influential anti-Semitic fabrication of the last century. Anyone concerned about the big lie of a so-called Jewish global conspiracy knows about this pamphlet, which is said to be proof of the intrigues of “the Jews,” allegedly penned by the Jews themselves. But if one leaves the circle of the informed public, one does not have to go far afield to find people who have never heard of the Protocols — or who assess them in a totally different way.
Seventy years ago the Protocols were a bestseller in Germany. Today they are hardly remembered.
Section 130 of the German Criminal Code deems these writings inflammatory, so people abide by the rules, do not read the Protocols, and do not care. The booklet is not well known in political circles, churches, or universities.
Seemingly, the only ones who are familiar with it are a handful of anti-German left-wing activists, whose ideas a non-Marxist might not understand, but whose penetrating and profound statements concerning Israel are made loud and clear, even if they are often disregarded.
There is another place you can find the Protocols: at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, delivered by the Iranians in English, or inside several mosques in Turkish or Arabic translation, as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution confirms.
The situation is similar in other parts of Europe. An Arabic edition of the Protocols (one of many), published in Egypt in 2002 by the large publishing house Akhbar al-Youm, contains a list of thirty-seven countries to which it is exported, including Germany, Great Britain, France, and the United States.
In Germany, prosecution for the dissemination of the inflammatory booklet proves to be less frequent if it is in Arabic, Turkish, or Farsi. This special dispensation for incitement is not without consequences. In the face of an unending series of violent attacks on Jewish citizens, often committed by youth with a Muslim background, Europe should at least demonstrate some interest in what lies behind this phenomenon.
Instead of approaching the subject as earnestly as possible, there has been much effort expended on the denial of the problem. For the last three years, confronted with the release of some relevant studies and even more violent incidents, Muslim anti-Semitism has garnered more attention. But too often it is interpreted as a reaction to the discrimination Muslims suffer.
Most Germans and probably most Europeans do not know (and do not want to know) that Mein Kampf is a bestseller in the Arab world today. They regard the friendly salute of a taxi driver in Egypt and the words “Heil Hitler” as meaningless exceptions. What, then, should be made of the proliferation of Arabic-language editions of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
The Protocols in the Arab world
The popularity of the Protocols in the Arab world is not at all limited to Islamist circles. The belief in a Jewish world conspiracy characterizes the general historical and political consciousness in much of the Middle East. However, the main reason for this is not the reference to the Protocols in Section 32 of the Hamas Charter or other extremist propaganda.
The Jews’ responsibility for every evil on earth is, rather, a very common, academic, and centrist world view in Arab nations.
The Protocols are translated, commented upon, published, and promoted by famous Arab intellectuals, politicians, and professors. They introduce the Protocols as an authentic document and as absolutely essential in explaining world affairs.
The Lebanese politician Ajjaj Nuwayhid (1897–1982) published an Arabic translation of the Protocols that is still among the most famous editions. In the foreword to the fourth edition, he quoted Said Aql, one of Lebanon’s most important modern poets: “Before the publishing [of the Protocols] Israel could be seen as a mere military danger, but now it has become a cultural and metaphysical danger.”
Whether the Protocols were authentic or not was a question of little or no significance: “In this period of history in the Middle East no one who has not read your [Nuwayhid’s] book should be entrusted with politics.”
Nuwayhid’s translation has been reprinted by many publishing houses in different Arab countries. Most editions of the Protocols include the following blurb:
• Oh, you may not stop halfway, my dear Arab, as it is your duty to know most certainly what and who is “International Jewry,” working toward the devastation of Christianity, Islam, and all of civilization.
• If you stop halfway you are harming yourself, your Umma, your history and your present and future descendants.
• Do not be deceived by what you have known until now about 'Zionism' and 'Israel'. It is important for you to know the 'international Jewry' that is behind the scenes and that has performed its criminal deeds for twenty centuries.
• 'Zionism' and 'Israel' are nothing but its facade. Read these Protocols!
This invitation is often combined with a warning to the reader to exercise caution in dealing with the Protocols; purportedly, no translator or publisher of this tome has ever died of natural causes: To the reader: Take care of this copy, as the Jews fought this book wherever it appeared and in every language.
They appear, no matter what the cost, in order to collect and burn the copies, because they do not want the world to know about the hellish plots they have made against it. In this book they [the plots] are revealed.
One often reads that the real object of the Arabs’ struggle did not appear for the first time in 1948 (i.e. with the creation of the State of Israel) or in the late nineteenth century with the emergence of Zionism, but rather that “International Jewry” has been a threat to mankind throughout the ages.
The first Arabic translation of the Protocols to gain mainstream fame was the one by Muhammad Khalifa at-Tunisi, first published in 1951. It is still reprinted today and is also available on the internet.
At-Tunisi explained why he translated the Protocols: I do not warn against the [Jewish] danger because they are fighting against my people; and not because they carved Israel out of Palestine and in so doing, became a neighboring enemy; and not because they are situated right in the midst of our own countries. But I warn against their danger to mankind, too. Even if all of that belongs to my motives for paying attention to this danger, I still warn against their danger to mankind. Even if they were expelled from our countries to any spot of land—wherever they were, they were enemies to mankind.
At-Tunisi’s translation is supplemented with a benevolent foreword by the great Egyptian liberal writer Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad. The foreword to the English translation by Victor Marsden is also reprinted there in Arabic, as well as that of Sergej Nilus, the Orthodox mystic who first published the Protocols in Russia in 1905. This creates the impression that people all over the world are all aware of the “Jewish peril.”
Most Arabic editions of the Protocols contain much more than just the text of the fabrication. The above-mentioned 1996 edition of Nuwayhid’s translation has about 600 pages, of which the Protocols themselves account for less than 100.
The rest is pseudoscientific material, forewords of older Arabic or foreign editions, and articles by other so-called “scholars and experts.” But the fact is that they are mostly well-educated people. It is frightening to observe that blatant anti-Semitism and progressive, higher education are not mutually exclusive.
Nuwayhid adds to his translation an analysis of the Old Testament. It is not unusual for the Protocols to be placed in the context of Jewish sacred writings.
The content of the Protocols — the call to conspire against the world — is said to be binding for every Jew.
According to Nuwayhid, one of his goals was “the disclosure of the sources of these [the Jewish] drives—the sources to which the Talmud always belonged, like the deeds of Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, and Ezekiel during the Babylonian captivity and afterwards.”
Arab scholars are quite familiar with the true history of the fabrication and they usually do not refrain from recounting it. Some retell that history in detail, but still manage to use the Protocols as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy. In the Arabic Wikipedia article on the Protocols, for example, the idea that the booklet is a fabrication is presented as the “opinion of some historians” while others are said to take it seriously.
The writers clearly favor the latter interpretation. The article has been changed often since 2008, but its impact is still the same. Most people are so convinced of the existence of a global Jewish conspiracy that they might see the Protocols as a confirmation of their world view; however, they do not need proof, as al-Aqqad wrote: “It is a fact free of doubt …that the secret government exists with or without these Protocols.”
Later in the same edition at-Tunisi adds: “The forger — assuming that it is a forgery — was undoubtedly an excellent forger, and he was undoubtedly Jewish. For no forger who is not [Jewish] would be able to forge these prophecies.”
At-Tunisi follows a similar kind of logic in many other passages of his introduction. If the person about whom he writes is not undoubtedly Jewish, he or she might be a Jew pretending not to be Jewish, or a non-Jew influenced by “the Jews.” He alleges, for example, that the copies of a 1917 Russian edition of the Protocols were confiscated by the Bolsheviks, who were, either officially or secretly, for the most part Jewish, or at least “henchmen” of the Jews.
He maintains the same view regarding the British parliament,American congressmen, and various UN delegations.
Even today, the Protocols, treated as a factual book, are circulating in the more educated classes in the Arab world. But propaganda and the pervading belief in a Jewish world conspiracy infiltrate all sectors of society.
The production of the Ramadan soap opera ‘Knight without a Horse’ was a high point in the process of 'dumbing-down' the Protocols for the benefit of the often less-educated masses in the Arab world. Over the course of forty-one episodes, this Egyptian soap opera brought the myth into the living rooms of the Arab world in a “prime time” slot after the evening news.
Some argue that this series, which was released in 2002, was already dated. But like the oldest Arabic editions of the Protocols, this drama did not disappear after the first broadcast. It continues to be aired on TV, spreading the messages of the Protocols in probably the most “successful” way.
References to the Protocols can be found in Arab textbooks as well as in academic curricula. Prof. Ahmad Hijazi as-Saqa of the Azhar University in Cairo published two anti-Semitic books on the Protocols in 2003.
Fath Allah of the University of Aleppo wrote the film script of the 2003 Lebanese Ramadan series ‘Diaspora’ which also propagates the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy.
There are thousands of examples that indicate that the belief in a Jewish world conspiracy is a mass phenomenon in the Arab world. The Protocols are only a single example drawn from a vast literature of hate. The study of the popularity of Mein Kampf in the Arab world and widespread Holocaust denial leads to similar findings.
Functions of the Protocols
Conspiracy theories in general fulfill certain functions for societies, individuals, and governments. By creating a world view of black and white, good and evil, in-group and out-group, they have an identity-establishing effect.
This is also the case in the Arab world with the myth of a Jewish world conspiracy. Wars between different Muslim groups or nations, economical backwardness, and even natural disasters are often said to be caused by sinister Jewish forces. For example, it was hard to explain to the Arab world why Fatah and Hamas, two Sunni Muslim Palestinian groups of so-called “freedom fighters,” were not able to form a common government in Gaza after the elections in 2006.
A cartoon in the Qatari newspaper 'al-Watan' from 13 November 2006 portrayed an Orthodox Jew as responsible for the bloodshed between the two. Fatah and Hamas are seen peacefully sitting at the negotiating table, while the Jew secretly places a grenade under it.
In religious contexts, the Jews are often seen as “satanic antagonists” who conveniently serve as an explanation if promised heavenly blessings seem to be denied to Islamic theocracies or groups. In that same context, anti-Semitic out-group discrimination has a strong anti-modern component.
All of these and other “functions” of the Protocols must not be confused with “reasons”. Anti-Semitism is systematically used as an instrument, and Arab- Muslim societies are fertile ground for conspiracy theories. But it must never be accepted as a law of nature that suppression and poverty lead to anti-Semitism.
The very rational, often officially subsidized, use of the Protocols for spreading anti-Jewish propaganda should be seen as the instrumental use of that document.
Disseminating that fabrication does not, however, bring any real relief to the Arab world. On the contrary, it prevents Arabs from looking for solutions to many homemade problems.
Dealing with anti-Semitism among Muslims in Western societies
Anti-Semitic attitudes in Western societies have hardly disappeared; if anything they are on the ascent. However, by only focusing on right-wing extremism we run the risk of ignoring the very real threat of Muslim anti-Semitism.
People in the West have mostly forgotten about the Protocols. Despite their revival in the Arab and Muslim world, they are not garnering much attention.
Yet, as the dangerous lie is still alive and kicking, action must be taken to identify and combat it. A first step of Western governments and societies would be to recognize the facts: This bastion of anti-Semitism in the Arab world is not a collection of exceptions pointed to by those who want to defame Arabs or Muslims, but has become an ideology with deep roots and a strong impact on individuals, societies, and world affairs.

Carmen Matussek is a scholar specializing in Islamic studies in Tübingen, Germany. She is the author of Der Glaube an eine ‘jüdische Weltverschwörung - Die Rezeption der ‘Protokolle der Weisen von Zion’ in der arabischen Welt (2012), a book on how the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are received in the Arab world. Since 2009 she has worked as a freelance journalist and editor, cooperating with the Political Education Authority of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.


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Canadian provincial government, Quebec, wants to ban religious symbols for public workers

WJC, The French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec is planning to ban public workers from wearing religious symbols including Jewish skullcaps (kippot or yarmulkes). The measure was unveiled on Tuesday by the Parti Quebecois, a separatist party which controls the provincial government. Supporters say the ban, which would apply to teachers, police officers and others, would promote secular society. The federal government said it might challenge the law in court if it is adopted.
The government of the province said the proposed Charter of Quebec Values, as the law is named, promoted state neutrality on religion, including among those who work in the public sector. "That is why the government of Quebec is proposing to ban public employees from wearing ostentatious religious symbols during work hours," Bernard Drainville, Quebec’s minister of democratic institutions, said at a press conference. Those included "very obvious symbols" which "send a clear message: 'I am a believer and this is my religion,'" he added.
The proposed law would ban prominent crucifixes, all manner of Islamic covering, Sikh turbans and Jewish skullcaps but would allow public workers to wear discreet religious symbols including small crucifixes or a Star of David. The ban would not apply to elected officials because people have a right to choose their representation, Drainville said.
The Parti Quebecois has no overall majority in the Quebec legislature and must win support from another party in order to enact the measure, and officials say it would be introduced for debate later this year.
Strong criticism from Jewish community, federal government
Political and religious leaders voiced opposition to the measure.
“It is unacceptable and will only serve to inflame civil discourse,” the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the Canadian affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, said in a strongly worded statement. The proposed legislation is “discriminatory, arbitrary, provocative and will sow the seeds of division that the government claims it wishes to avoid.CIJA said the Quebec government "is rehashing old, out-of-context stories in order to generate support for the unwarranted attack on the basic rights and freedoms of Quebecers.” The statement added that “The prohibition on wearing religious symbols in the public and para-public service is not justified and would exclude a large number of Quebecers. The role of the state should be to bring people together, not to divide them."
CIJA counters that the separation of church and state is well entrenched and there’s no need for new laws.
“The prohibition on wearing religious symbols in the public and para-public service is not justified and would exclude a large number of Quebecers. The role of the state should be to bring people together, not to divide them,” it says.
The federal government has said it would seek legal advice on the issue. "If it's determined that a prospective law violates the constitutional protections to freedom of religion to which all Canadians are entitled, we will defend those rights vigorously," Federal Minister Jason Kenney said.

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Holocaust-themed video game for smartphones developed

WJC, The developer of a Holocaust-themed game rejected in 2008 by Nintendo has now announced plans to release his work for smartphone users. Luc Bernard, 26, announced his plan on the website ‘Indiegogo’, a platform which helps developers and inventors find funding for their products.
Bernard created a stir in 2008 with his game ‘Imagination is the only escape’ which he had developed for Nintendo and which looked at the events of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child. The gaming giant eventually rejected to market the game because it was deemed unfit for children, according to the ‘New York Times’.
Now Bernard announced that he would raise funds online with a plan to release the game next year, according to a report by the news website ‘The Verge’. Bernard’s mother is Jewish and his grandmother in Britain looked after orphaned Jewish children after World War II, he told the ‘New York Times’.
The game features a young boy named Samuel during the Nazi occupation of France in 1942. When Jews are rounded up for deportation to the Nazi death camps, Samuel spends much of his time in a nearby forest, and retreats into his own mind to shield himself from the reality of what'is happening. In this fantasy world he befriends a talking fox named Renard who takes him on a series of adventures. Much of the game takes place in this fantasy realm, which Bernard believes will heighten the emotional impact of some of the more powerful scenes that take place in the real world. "Every time reality comes back, it sort of just slaps you in the face."
The developer, who grew up in France, told ‘The Verge’ that the game was meant to inspire players to read more on the history of the Holocaust.

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Confusion over Iranian leaders' Twitter messages to Jews

WJC, Twitter messages that appeared to have been issued by newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, wishing Jews a good Rosh Hashanah, have been met with mixed reactions by the international community.
On Wednesday, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a message was posted on Rouhani's English-language Twitter account where he wished all Jews a happy Jewish New Year. “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” the tweet read. A day later, as the message was analyzed abroad and in Iran, the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted a Rouhani aide as saying that the account was no longer active. That appeared to be a dodge, especially since the same account was also used Thursday to announce the change in Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.
In only his second tweet, Iran's new Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wished Jews a "Happy Rosh Hashanah." Zarif even replied to a tweet from Christine Pelosi, the daughter of US House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said to him: "Thanks. The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran's Holocaust denial, sir" by distancing himself from Iran's former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Zarif first tweeted "The man who did is now gone," but then deleted that post and replied again to clarify: "The man who was perceived to be denying [the Holocaust] is now gone." The foreign minister confirmed to CNN that he did write those tweets and was aware he was responding to Nancy Pelosi's daughter. Rouhani also retweeted Zarif's "Happy Rosh Hashanah" post.
Access to Twitter is officially banned for most Iranians.
Reactions
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said that while the Iranian leaders' message were "a surprising gesture and a welcome change in tone", “words are meaningless if they are not backed up by credible actions. Until Iran ends its support for the enemies of the Jewish state, until it stops providing support to terrorist groups targeting Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, and a regime that is gassing thousands of its own citizens in order to remain in power, these words sound hollow.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "not impressed", and that the Iranian regime would "be judged only by its actions and not by greetings" whose purpose, he said, was to deflect attention from its nuclear program. He called on the international community to strengthen sanctions on Iran meant to curb its nuclear activities.

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Jewish Diplomatic Corps to rejoin World Jewish Congress

The Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps), an international network of Jewish professionals engaged in public diplomacy, will be reintegrated into the structure of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and see its global budget and staff boosted. The corps’ precursor was set up in 2006 under the auspices of Peleg Reshef of the WJC. Today, the network comprises 130 young Jewish lay leaders from 30 countries world-wide.
“This is a major investment into the future of Jewish organizational leadership. The Jewish Diplomats, or JDs, as they are called, are successful professionals in their late twenties or thirties who identify with Jewish and Israel-related issues. They will continue to play an important role in addressing the issues affecting the Jewish people in the future. The entire WJC family welcomes the fact that the JDs will from now on be a key part of the WJC’s organization. They have proven over the past years that they are capable of influencing important policy decisions, including at the United Nations, and we look forward to complementing the WJC’s activities with these talents,” said WJC President Ronald Lauder.
JDCorps Chairman and Co-Founder Adam H. Koffler highlighted that the JDCorps will have staff led by current JDCorps Executive Director Michael Colson at the WJC’s Geneva office. “This is a terrific union and significant development both for the JDCorps and for the WJC. It will allow 130 highly skilled and motivated young professionals to become an integral part of the world’s foremost Jewish organization, and it will strengthen the WJC’s ability to fulfill its critical mission as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people,” Koffler declared, adding: “As part of the WJC’s permanent program of activities, the Jewish Diplomatic Corps will continue to empower its members impacting diplomacy, public policy and advancing Jewish interests in international affairs, notably at the UN.”
The JDCorps will become a key part of the WJC’s new ‘Young Leadership’ bouquet of programs which includes the Jewish Professionals’ Network, the Global Campus Initiative and the Young Leadership Training Academy and it will be overseen from WJC headquarters in New York.
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. The WJC was founded in Geneva in 1936 as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people.

About the Jewish Diplomatic Corps
The Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps) was established as an independent organization in 2009 by Co-Founders Adam H. Koffler and Peleg Reshef after being initiated in February 2006 by the WJC. It has since served as a world-wide, non-partisan network of diplomatic innovators advancing Jewish interests in international affairs and has actively engaged young lay leaders on issues vital to the Jewish people.

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