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January 26, 2015 0

What We Learned From Auschwitz

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, which will be marked Jan­u­ary 27 on Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, comes at a time when some are ask­ing: is it hap­pen­ing all over again in Europe?

We know the ratio­nal answer to that ques­tion. As bad as the resur­gence of anti-Semitism in Europe is, there is no com­par­i­son to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.  Then, a party com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple gained total power in Ger­many and even­tu­ally con­trolled most of Europe, enabling the sys­tem­atic mur­der of six mil­lion Jews and mil­lions of oth­ers in the Holocaust.

Today, gov­ern­ments in Europe are not espous­ing anti-Semitism; they are coun­ter­ing it, even if not strongly enough.

If it isn’t the Holo­caust – and, if it isn’t help­ful to under­stand today’s immense chal­lenges by com­par­ing it to the Holo­caust — does Auschwitz present any lessons at all for today?

I would say there are several.

First is the role of hate­ful ide­olo­gies in pro­duc­ing vio­lent, anti-Semitic behav­ior. While today’s anti-Semites in Europe do not con­trol gov­ern­ments, they are able to mobi­lize indi­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to vio­lence on the basis of fan­tas­ti­cal notions about the unique evil of Jews.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s min­is­ter of pro­pa­ganda, con­vinced Ger­mans not merely to dis­like Jews but to believe that they had to pro­tect them­selves from the evil, all-powerful Jew who was poi­son­ing the Ger­man body politic. So too today, the Islamic extrem­ists, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbol­lah, see the Jew as the source of evil in the world.

The Hamas char­ter not only repeat­edly calls for the destruc­tion of Israel. It claims that Jews are respon­si­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world going back to the French Revolution.

When Al-Qaeda decided to attack the World Trade Cen­ter on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, it was only after they con­sid­ered hit­ting Jew­ish tar­gets in New York. Even the World Trade Cen­ter was seen as partly a “Jew­ish” tar­get since it was deemed that Jews con­trol world com­merce, per the “Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

Once it is decided that Jews are the source of evil, then it is almost a respon­si­bil­ity to act against them. And so attacks on Jew­ish civil­ians, who rep­re­sent evil in ordi­nary form, become permissible.

We must fight this ide­ol­ogy of hatred. We must not equiv­o­cate in call­ing it what it is and in ral­ly­ing peo­ple of all faiths against it.

A sec­ond les­son is that shame about what anti-Semitism could lead to, which man­i­fested itself with the appear­ance of the first pic­tures of Auschwitz after the lib­er­a­tion, is an impor­tant inhibitor of anti-Semitism.

It does not cure the world of the dis­ease of anti-Semitism, which is so deeply embed­ded and serves so many pur­poses, but it does affect the level and inten­sity of anti-Semitic behavior.

For decades, anti-Semitism did not explode as a phe­nom­e­non, partly because of this shame. As time passes, and the imme­di­acy of the Holo­caust recedes, it makes more impor­tant than ever the need to develop new and cre­ative ways to reach younger peo­ple about its horrors.

I remem­ber hear­ing some years ago from Rita Suss­muth of the Ger­man Bun­destag, who talked of the need for new and emo­tional meth­ods in reach­ing each gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who are fur­ther and fur­ther removed from the events in World War II. We must never give up the strug­gle to explain what anti-Semitism can lead to.

A third les­son for me is the inti­mate con­nec­tion between anti-Semitism and the health of a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. Whether it is the expres­sion that Jews are the canary in the coal mine or Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemoller’s famous lines about the con­se­quences of not stand­ing up in the face of evil, Auschwitz is not only about the evils of anti-Semitism, but also how its going unchecked invari­ably endan­gers all of society.

The fight against anti-Semitism should never be seen as sim­ply a moral strug­gle. It is a prac­ti­cal one, as spo­ken so elo­quently by Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls to the French par­lia­ment after the ter­ror­ist attacks on Char­lie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

How, he asked, could French soci­ety not speak up and be out­raged when Jews were insulted, when van­dals vio­lated Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, when pro­tes­tors sought to invade a syn­a­gogue?  His mes­sage was clear: All of France needs to stand up early and loud when Jews are under attack. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital for the well-being of French society.

The mur­der­ous attack on Char­lie Hebdo inevitably fol­lows the mur­der of three Jew­ish chil­dren in Toulouse. The tar­get­ing of Jews in Nazi Ger­many invari­ably led to the efforts by Hitler to dom­i­nate and enslave the world.

So as we observe the 70th year of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz and Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on Tues­day, the impor­tance of know­ing what hap­pened there and of trans­mit­ting it to the next gen­er­a­tion is more urgent than ever.
Threats to Jews today are greater than they have been since those darker days.  And those threats, as taught by the lessons of Auschwitz, threaten all of us.

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September 10, 2014 1

Former Revolution Muslim Imam Encourages Support for ISIS

Imam Abdul­lah Al-Faisal, for­mer spir­i­tual leader of the now-defunct Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM)orga­ni­za­tion, con­tin­ues to actively preach hatred and extrem­ism online in Eng­lish and now actively encour­ages his fol­low­ers to sup­port the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

authentic-tauheed-abdullah-faisal

Ad for the Authen­tic Tauheed con­fer­ence sup­port­ing ISIS

In an online con­fer­ence this week­end, Al-Faisal and three other extrem­ist, English-speaking cler­ics spoke for a col­lec­tive 200 min­utes on the theme of sup­port for ISIS and its self-proclaimed Caliphate.

Two of the cler­ics who spoke in addi­tion to Al-Faisal have also been known to incite extrem­ism. One, Atila Ahmed from Lon­don (also known as Abu Abdul­lah) was report­edly sen­tenced to nearly seven years in prison in 2008 on charges of solic­it­ing mur­der. The sec­ond, Miza­nur Rah­man from Lon­don (also known as Abu Baraa), was con­victed of hate speech and solic­i­ta­tion to mur­der in 2006.

Remarks dur­ing the con­fer­ence ranged from endorse­ment of ISIS to anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT state­ments, including:

  • “Who are those that reject the Dawla (ISIS)?…The peo­ple that claim that the sharia is not impor­tant, don’t think about the sharia, think about them­selves.” (Al-Faisal)
  • “When you see that the Dawla cut off the heads of Shi’as you will think that’s extreme, these peo­ple are crazy…first of all, the clas­si­cal schol­ars did not con­sider Shi’as as Muslims…you don’t know what the Shi’as believe and you don’t know why the Dawla is so harsh against the Shi’as.” (Al-Faisal)
  • “All the other groups espe­cially in Iraq don’t have as strong a com­mit­ment to imple­ment­ing Sharia as the Dawla and…Dawla is con­quer­ing town after town.” (Abu Ruqayyah)
  • “What about our­selves sit­ting on our back­sides eat­ing cakes and bis­cuits at home while they’re [ISIS fight­ers] strug­gling to bring honor to the com­mu­nity of Islam?”
  • “All you Mus­lims that vote, you have the blood of Mus­lims that are killed by the West on your hands… by giv­ing your alle­giance to kuf­far (apos­tates) and the man-made laws…” (Abu Abdullah)
  •  “Did you know that they say Abu Bakr al Bagh­dadi is a Jew? When they accuse Abu bakr al Bagh­dadi of being a Jew, what are they? They are noth­ing but the bark­ing dogs of jah­hanam (hell).” (Al-Faisal)
  • “If you say some­thing against the Zion­ist Jews or the Jews that died in the wars at the hands of Hitler and you don’t accept it, they could put you into prison. This is the free­dom that the Mus­lims are vot­ing for.” (Abu Abdullah)
  • “So by these they [homo­sex­u­als] are prey­ing on our chil­dren in schools. They say the inte­gra­tion, the accep­tance of democ­racy is brain­wash­ing our chil­dren into accept­ing homo­sex­u­al­ity. They’re try­ing to make our chil­dren like them [gay]. As you see if they’re pump­ing it day and night on the news on these shows all full of homo­sex­u­als and les­bians.” (Abu Abdullah)

These remarks are con­sis­tent with state­ments that Al-Faisal has been mak­ing via his Authen­tic Tauheed web­site and on his per­sonal Twit­ter account for months.

In July, Al-Faisal copied the offi­cial ISIS ver­sion of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s biog­ra­phy in Eng­lish onto his web­site and pre­sented a lec­ture encour­ag­ing stu­dents to learn from and about Bagh­dadi and ISIS.  Sim­i­larly, in a July lec­ture posted on his site, he stated, “There is no doubt that he (Bag­dadhi) is the legit­i­mate caliph and it is incum­bent upon you to give your be’ah (alle­giance),” later adding, “So take up arms, take up arms, O sol­diers of the Islamic State! And fight, fight!”

On his Twit­ter account, where this weekend’s con­fer­ence was adver­tised, Al-Faisal’s tweets have included:

  • “The #Islam­ic­state has no bor­ders because we are meant to be #mujahideen sans fron­tiers #ISIS” (August 20)
  • “Why should #Jews com­mit geno­cide and then play the race card to defend them­selves. To me, #Hitler was right.”(September 2)

    abdullah-al-faisal-twitter-isis

    Via Abdul­lah Al-Faisal’s Twit­ter feed

  • “Our females make us proud by join­ing IS (The Islamic State, or ISIS).” (Sep­tem­ber 9)
  • “Any Mujahid [reli­gious fighter] who doesn’t give his bayah (alle­giance) to Dawla (ISIS) is a fake Jihadi and his death will b in vain. So please b warned.” (Sep­tem­ber 9)

Al-Faisal has also used Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tions to encour­age oth­ers to fol­low his views. In com­ments to one of his posts writ­ten on Sep­tem­ber 4, al-Faisal was asked whether the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion was a “good resource to under­stand the zionist’s [sic] and their plan.” Al-Faisal responded, “I was taught the pro­to­cols of zion [sic] in Univ. Hence I would rec­om­mend it as an excel­lent source of knowledge.”

In the same con­ver­sa­tion, Al-Faisal was asked, “Shaikh I recently became Mus­lim but am still in High School how do you rec­om­mend I seek knowl­edge?” Al-Faisal directed the asker to the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion and also to a link on the Authen­tic Tauheed site that, in sum­ma­riz­ing prin­ci­ples of Islam, states, “There is a Quranic verse where Allah (SWT) pro­nounced Jews and Chris­tians as Kuf­far (apos­tates) even before the huj­jah (in this con­text, pun­ish­ment for not fol­low­ing Islam) was estab­lished against them.”

Prior to his sup­port for ISIS, al-Faisal was a known sup­porter of al Qaeda, and once con­demned Anwar al Awlaki, who after­ward went on to become al Qaeda’s chief English-language pro­pa­gan­dist, for not being rad­i­cal enough.

Al-Faisal has pre­vi­ously been jailed for his vio­lent preach­ing. In 2003, al-Faisal was sen­tenced in a court in Lon­don to nine years for incit­ing racial hatred and mur­der. The sen­tence was later reduced to seven years and in May 2007 he was paroled and deported to Jamaica.

In his UK ser­mons prior to his arrest, Al-Faisal encour­aged Mus­lims who are 15 and older to get weapon train­ing dur­ing school vaca­tions and to assume a “jihad men­tal­ity.” In his speeches he said that non-Muslims, includ­ing Hin­dus and Jews, should be killed like “cock­roaches.” In one lec­ture he said that the “filthy Jews [were] evil to the core.” In a recorded speech that was car­ried shortly after the Sep­tem­ber 11 attack and pre­sented as evi­dence at the trial, Al-Faisal, argued that it is “per­mis­si­ble to drop bombs on a kuf­far (apos­tate) nation” and that women and chil­dren who may be hurt are “col­lat­eral dam­age” and Mus­lims will “become martyrs.”

Al-Faisal’s Authen­tic Tauheed site, on which this weekend’s con­fer­ence took place and where he reg­u­larly posts his lec­tures, is hosted on the PalTalk web­site, which bills itself as a “free videochat com­mu­nity.” It also main­tains two Twit­ter feeds dis­tinct from al-Faisal’s feed. Al-Faisal has been using the ser­vice since at least 2008. The word tauheed (some­times spelled tawhid) is an Islamic term refer­ring to monotheism.

Al-Faisal was per­haps best known as the spir­i­tual guide for RM, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years. RM dis­trib­uted al-Faisal’s CDs and posts videos of his lec­tures and his writ­ings to its Web site, and dona­tions to RM were believed to pos­si­bly sup­port Faisal financially.

He is also believed to have played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber” and Jer­maine Lind­say, one of the bombers behind the July 7, 2005 attacks on London’s tran­sit system.

Abdul­lah Ibrahim Al-Faisal (also spelled El-Faisal) was born Trevor For­rest in Jamaica. He con­verted to Islam when he was 16 and moved to Britain as a young man. In 1992, after sev­eral years of study­ing reli­gion in Saudi Ara­bia, he returned to Britain and became a preacher at the Brix­ton Mosque in Lon­don, where he deliv­ered very rad­i­cal speeches to crowds of up to 500 worshipers.

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May 5, 2014 0

UAE Book Fair Again Features Anti-Semitic Books

The Abu Dhabi Inter­na­tional Book Fair (ADIBF) in the United Arab Emi­rates, which is open from April 30– May 5th and hosts exhibitors from over 50 coun­tries, includes noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic titles among its offer­ing of over 500,000 titles. The book fair is offi­cially orga­nized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cul­ture Author­ity, under the patron­age of Crown Prince Moham­mad bin Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in coop­er­a­tion with the Frank­furt Book Fair. Books such as Adolf Hitler’s Mien Kampf and Henry Ford’s noto­ri­ously anti-Semitic newslet­ter, The Inter­na­tional Jew, have been fea­tured along­side rep­utable works on a wide range of top­ics, such as law, soci­ol­ogy and fiction.abu-dhabi-international-book-fair-uae

The ADIBF comes just months after neigh­bor­ing emi­rate Shar­jah fea­tured sev­eral infa­mous anti-Semitic books at the Shar­jah Inter­na­tional Book Fair, includ­ing The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion and con­spir­acy theory-laden Arabic-language titles, such as The Jews and the Secret Move­ments in the Cru­sades.

The anti-Semitic books for sale at the ADIBF are listed under var­i­ous cat­e­gories and clas­si­fi­ca­tions. Adolf Hitler’s noto­ri­ous 1925 auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal man­i­festo is listed under the cat­e­gory “Pol­i­tics,” while the Pro­to­cols is fea­tured under the cat­e­gories “Polit­i­cal Sci­ence” and “Strate­gic and Mil­i­tary Studies.”

The book fair also fea­tures sev­eral Arabic-language anti-Zionist and anti-Israel books pub­lished in the Arab world, such as Zion­ist Ter­ror­ism, The Bar­barism of the Zion­ist Entity and The Tem­ple and the Strate­gic Plans to Judaize Jerusalem.

The guest of honor at this year’s book fair is the King­dom of Swe­den, which will have a spe­cial pavil­ion at the fair. The Swedish Ambas­sador to the United Arab Emi­rate, Max Bjuhr,  attended a spe­cial cer­e­mony hon­or­ing Swe­den ear­lier this week.

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