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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


October 27, 2017

Fliers found at Cornell read ‘Just say no to Jewish lies’

(JTA)—Anti-Semitic fliers with swastika-like symbols were discovered on the campus of Cornell University in upstate New York.

The posters, which read “Just say no to Jewish lies!” and urged students to “join the white gang,” were discovered Monday morning and taken down the same day. They promoted the “Solar Cross Society,” but there is no such group at Cornell and it does not have an internet presence.

The Ivy League school’s president, Martha Pollack, denounced the fliers.

“Whoever is responsible for these fliers is hiding under the cover of anonymity, having posted them overnight,” she said in a statement. “Whoever they are, they need to ask themselves why they chose our campus, because Cornell reviles their message of hatred; we revile it as an institution, and I know from many personal conversations that thousands of Cornellians deplore it individually.”

Police were investigating the matter and increasing patrols around Jewish buildings on campus, the Cornell Hillel said in an email to the Jewish community.

“We are deeply concerned that a poster of this nature was placed on our campus, as these sentiments run counter to the spirit of diversity and pluralism that our university works to uphold,” Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Ari Weiss said in a statement.

Publisher apologizes for nursing textbook that stereotypes Jews and others

(JTA)—The Pearson education publishing company has apologized for a section of one of its nursing textbooks that claims Jews are often “[v]ocal and demanding of assistance” during medical treatment.

The page from “Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning” drew widespread ire on social media for its descriptions of how Jews, Asians, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and “Arabs/Muslims” respond to pain.

Blacks, for example, “often report higher pain intensity” and believe “suffering and pain are inevitable,” the page reads. Hispanics may “believe that pain is a form of punishment,” it continues.

The section also noted that Jews “believe that pain must be shared and validated by others.”

Pearson issued an apology to the website Mic on Thursday.

“While differences in cultural attitudes towards pain are an important topic in medical programs, we presented this information in an inappropriate manner,” wrote Scott Overland, Pearson’s communications director. “We apologize for the offense this has caused and we have removed the material in question from current versions of the book, electronic versions of the book and future editions of this text.”

Former Nazi death camp guard, 96, charged as accessory to murder

(JTA)—A former guard at the Majdanek Nazi death camp has been charged in Germany with being an accessory to murder.

The Frankfurt resident, 96, whose name has not been released due to the country’s privacy laws, was charged by the city prosecutor on Friday for being an accessory to murder during his service between August 1943 and January 1944, when at least 17,000 Jews were killed at the camp located near the Polish city of Lublin.

He is alleged to have worked as a perimeter guard and in the guard towers as a member of the SS’s Death’s Head division. He was 22 at the time.

The indictment accuses him of being part of Operation “Erntefest”—or Harvest Festival—on Nov. 3, 1943, when at least 17,000 Jewish prisoners from the Majdanek camp and others who were being used as forced laborers in and around Lublin were shot in ditches that they dug for their graves just outside the camp.

No trial date has been set.

The conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 had launched several high-profile trials of Nazi camp guards, including Oskar Groening, 96, in 2015 and Reinhold Hanning, also in his 90s, in 2016. In September, a German court dropped its case against former Auschwitz medic Hubert Zafke, 96, after he was found unfit to stand trial due to dementia.

Hamas leader visits Iran, defying Israel’s conditions on Palestinian unity

WASHINGTON (JTA)—A top Hamas official defiantly rejected Israel’s conditions for recognizing Hamas-Palestinian Authority unity, noting that the very act he was committing—an official visit to Iran—went against the conditions.

“Our presence in Iran is the practical denial of the third precondition—cutting ties with Iran,” said Saleh Arouri, the deputy chief of the terrorist organization controlling the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters, which quoted Iranian news wires.

Arouri, who was in Iran over the weekend, also committed Hamas to rejecting the other two conditions, disarming and recognizing Israel.

The Trump administration has encouraged the unity talks—while also embracing Israel’s conditions—seeing the Palestinian Authority’s return to control in Gaza as key to advancing peace talks.

President Donald Trump’s top negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, decried Arouri’s defiance in posts Monday on Twitter.

“Hamas, which has only brought ruin and misery to Palestinians, now begs Iran for help and again vows to destroy Israel,” Greenblatt said. “Palestinians deserve so much better than this. We must find a better path forward toward peace and prosperity.”

Roman Polanski accused of sexually molesting 10-year-old girl in 1975

(JTA)—Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski, who fled the United States some four decades ago after being convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl, has been accused by another woman of sexually assaulting her when she was 10.

Some 16,769 people have signed an online petition set up by artist Marianne Barnard calling on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to kick out the Polish-born director. Barnard is one of five women who have accused Polanski of sexually molesting them when they were underage.

Barnard tweeted about Polanski last week in the wake of a The New York Times report on sexual harassment allegations against Jewish movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by several women, including some renowned actresses. The Weinstein disclosures led to the #metoo campaign on social media in which women have come forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted.

“#RomanPolanski took photos of me naked & in fur coat on beach in Malibu, I was 10 yrs old. He went on from there. This ends now #ROSEARMY,” the tweet said.

The hashtag #Rosearmy was created by actress Rose McGowan, who has claimed that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 1997.

Barnard told the British newspaper The Sun that Polanski molested her during that 1975 photo shoot on the beach when her mother stepped away from the area. She said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident and reliving it has been very difficult for her.

“I felt terribly conflicted that I have been silent all this time and all these women are bravely coming forward, and I thought to myself I can’t in good conscious knowing what I know—and having gone through what I’ve gone through—not speak out,” she told The Sun.

In her petition Barnard wrote: “The board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently voted to revoke the membership of film producer, Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting countless women for nearly 30 years. I am asking you to sign this petition to demand the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoke Roman Polanski’s board membership. It is a small consequence for him considering his crimes and the great amount of harm he has caused me and his other victims.”

Polanski, who has French and Polish citizenship, lives in Paris. He won an Oscar for best director for “The Pianist” in 2002, though he could not enter the United States to accept the award. He fled the country in 1977.

Austrian Jewish leader fights to keep far-right party out of government coalition

VIENNA (JTA)—Austria’s far-right Freedom Party will “probably be a part of the coalition” despite pleas by Jews to keep it out, the president of the Jewish Community of Vienna said.

Oskar Deutsch made the prediction last week in the aftermath of Oct. 15 elections that saw the Freedom Party finish third behind the center-right People’s Party, headed by the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, and the Social Democrats.

“I am the president of a very small community,” said Deutsch, who called for the Freedom Party to be excluded from the government before and after the elections—about Austria’s approximately 7,000 Jews. “I don’t think that the state of Austria will listen—or maybe they’ll listen but my influence is not so big.”

The Jewish Community of Austria has said that the Freedom Party, which was founded in the 1950s by a former Nazi SS officer, is tainted by fascist tendencies and rhetoric, and that the anti-Islam party’s public rejection of anti-Semitism is lip service.

Kurz has declined to preclude any specific coalition partners, saying he would not join forces with a party that supports anti-Semitic or hateful rhetoric—a definition that may or may not apply to the Freedom Party, as its spokespeople and leader deny that their party incites hate or anti-Semitism.

On Wednesday, Kurz will begin talks with Freedom Party officials on a possible power sharing deal, the Der Standard daily reported Monday.

Both Deutsch, whose community boycotts the Freedom Party, and Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the European Conference of Rabbis, called on Israel to also shun the Freedom Party and its officials regardless of whether they enter government.

“Israel should search allies that share its basic values,” said Goldschmidt, whose organization canceled a 2000 meeting of its executive board in Vienna to protest the Freedom Party’s inclusion that year for the first time in Austria’s governing coalition.

Whereas Goldschmidt’s organization and other international Jewish groups may resume protest against Austria if the Freedom Party joins its government, he said working with officials tied to that party may be unavoidable for the local Jewish community.

“Any Jewish community has to work with its government,” said Goldschmidt, who last week presented at the European Parliament a book he wrote about rising extremism, among other subjects.


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