Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - amalgamy

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17
The World Below / Kerry Consults Kissinger on Getting to Yes With Russians
« on: September 14, 2013, 09:37:56 AM »

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan - Sep 12, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry consulted with Henry Kissinger, the 90-year-old embodiment of Cold War foreign policy, before heading off to negotiate with his Russian counterpart over Syria’s chemical weapons.

After meeting yesterday with former Secretary Kissinger at the State Department, Kerry brought other U.S.-Russia specialists on his plane that left for Geneva for two days of meetings starting today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to comment.

Kerry and Lavrov will seek common ground on Syria turning over its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a U.S. military strike intended to punish what the Obama administration says was President Bashar al-Assad’s gassing of 1,400 Syrians on Aug. 21. Russia seized on a passing remark by Kerry earlier this week about a weapons turnover in proposing just that.

Though the meeting with Kissinger was planned before the latest developments in Syria, Kerry was eager to draw on the older man’s experience in communicating effectively with Russian diplomats, the U.S. official said. Kissinger pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union and served as secretary of State and national security adviser to Republican President Richard Nixon. The U.S. official described Kerry as a fan of Kissinger’s 1994 book, “Diplomacy.”

Kerry consulted all the living former secretaries of State before taking his post early this year and checks back with them regularly, including twice in the last two days with Madeleine Albright, who held the post under Democratic President Bill Clinton, the official said.

Kissinger-Putin Meetings

U.S. officials -- and the companies that pay Kissinger Associates Inc., the consulting firm he founded -- aren’t alone in tapping Kissinger’s thoughts on great-power politics.

Early last year, Kissinger met in Moscow to discuss world affairs with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose press secretary described the men as “old friends” and said that they had previously met eight to 10 times, including over dinner at Kissinger’s home in New York.

Putin values everyone’s point of view, “especially such a wise man as Henry Kissinger,” Dmitri S. Peskov told the New York Times in January 2012.

In Putin’s book “First Person,” he recounted a conversation with Kissinger in the early 1990s when Putin, then an aide to the mayor of St. Petersburg, picked up the German-born U.S. diplomat at the airport.

Putin’s Praise

Kissinger impressed Putin by saying that he too got his start as an intelligence specialist, and that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew his nation’s forces from Eastern Europe too quickly.

“I told him what I thought and I will repeat it now: Kissinger was right,” Putin wrote.

Kerry yesterday addressed a meeting of his bipartisan 25-member Foreign Affairs Policy Board and hosted a dinner for the group before boarding his plane. The chairman of the advisory board, created by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, is Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of State under President Bill Clinton and a U.S.-Russia and arms control specialist.

The World Below / 'Schindler's List' Receives Zero Bids on eBay
« on: July 29, 2013, 01:19:13 PM »

July 29, 2013

An auction of one of Oskar Schindler's famed lists on eBay at a starting price of $3 million closed without receiving any bids, as some experts questioned the price tag.

Schindler, a factory owner and member of the Nazi Party, saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factory. His employees were documented on lists made famous in Thomas Keneally's book, "Schindler's List," the basis for Steven Spielberg's 1993 film. Those on the lists were saved from deportation to concentration camps.

The list that was up for auction contains 801 male names and is dated April 8, 1945.

David Crowe, a Holocaust historian and the author of the book, "Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind the List," said that the date of the list may be one reason it did not receive any bids.

Crowe said that the film depicted the first two lists ever created, in the fall of 1944. He only views those lists as the "lists of life," as they are called in the film. The subsequent lists -- including this one -- were simply updates of the original lists. They are not worth $3 million, he said.

"When they say 'Schindler's list,' it's almost like they are using the romance of the original list and the magic of that to sell what was prepared at the end of the war," said Crowe. "This list is far less valuable."

 The auction also came under criticism last week from Michal Niezabitowski, director of the Historical Museum of Krakow. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last week that Niezabitowski also said the list on eBay was a copy of the original, and was not worth $3 million.

Crowe said that because he had not seen the list, he could not comment whether it was the original version of the list or a duplicate. But even if it was the original version, he said, he did not think it would be worth $3 million.

"This is not fraudulent," he said of the effort to place the list on eBay. "They certainly do tell the end of the the story, but they don't illuminate the beginning, so they are less important."

The list is described on eBay as "guaranteed authentic." Zimet received the list from a descendent of Itzak Stern, Schindler's accountant, who helped compile the list, and an affidavit from that relative accompanies the list.

The auction closed the evening of July 28 after being open for a little more than a week. Eric Gazin, the president of Gazin auctions, was listed as the seller. Gary Zimet, curator of Moments in Time, which buys and sells original manuscripts, currently owns the list.

Although the list was placed on eBay, it was only open to pre-qualified bidders who had been vetted by Gazin. Gazin said that he still has bidders who are interested, but he was not able to verify their finances in time.

"We are in active discussions with multiple parties," he said.

Read about the auction here.

Gazin said that if an original document existed, it would come from the Stern family. He has no plans to lower the price.

"The value and price of noted historical documents has been rising the past two years as investors realize their significance and investment value," he said. "it's a fair price given its history and its provenance."

The World Below / Israeli wall in 'World War Z' sparks questions
« on: June 25, 2013, 02:08:36 PM »

NEW YORK (AP) — Brad Pitt's "World War Z" imagines a world overrun by a zombie pandemic, leading to an unlikely new global power structure. Two of the few countries that have kept the zombies at bay are Israel, which shelters Israelis and Palestinians behind a wall, and North Korea, which has removed the teeth of its citizens to prevent zombie biting.

It's a curious portrait of geopolitics that's left some moviegoers scratching their heads. Is a wall of unity for both Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem an ironic commentary on the West Bank barrier being constructed by Israel alongside Palestine? Or a suggestion that a wall — which resembles the Western Wall — can be a positive force in the Middle East?

There's little time for rumination on such questions in "World War Z" before the next swarm of zombies attacks. Any whiff of foreign policy contemplation is snuffed out by the stampeding undead, who seem about as interested in politics as the average summer moviegoer.

But in their wake, some have questioned just what, exactly, "World War Z," is saying about Israel.

"Will (foreign moviegoers) conclude that the filmmakers (are) saying that Kim Jong-un and Benjamin Netanyahu are the wisest leaders in the world, except that Kim is a little bit wiser, because he's uncontaminated by humanitarian sentiments?" wrote Hendrik Hertzberg for The New Yorker. "North Koreans still have a few teeth in their heads, but Israel has already built a wall. Will foreign audiences, or potential audiences, interpret the film's message to be that the only thing wrong with the existing wall is that it's not sealed tight enough?"

The Los Angeles Times' Steven Zeitchik wrote: "In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a wall is a heavily fraught symbol. But here it turns into an instrument of . peace?"

Any murkiness is partly the result of the tortured, rewritten path to movie theaters taken by "World War Z," which opened last weekend in North America with a higher than expected $66.4 million at the box office and plans for a sequel.

The film is loosely based on Max Brooks' 2006 novel "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War." Modeled on Studs Terkel's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Good War: An Oral History of World War II," Brooks' book is a collection of dispatches from around the globe years after a zombie outbreak.

Pitt's production company, Plan B, pursued the rights aggressively, winning them for $1 million over competing bidder Leonardo DiCaprio. But though Pitt was initially attracted to "World War Z" for its provocative hypothesizing of various nations' handling of a worldwide epidemic, the need for a more linear narrative soon took precedence.

After many rewrites over the course of years, much of the book was whittled away, eventually producing a film (the ending to which was reshot) with only cursory relation to the novel. Whereas the book deals centrally with geopolitical allegory, pieced together from multiple perspectives, the film is limited to the narrow viewpoint of one United Nations inspector (Pitt) trying to make sense of the catastrophe as its happening.

"It got too dense," Pitt, also a producer, said in an interview last week. "We got too weighed down on it. We spent a couple years on it. We couldn't get it into one movie. We had to walk a line between using the film as a Trojan horse for some of that, but these things have to be fun. And we were bored, ourselves."

In the book, uninfected Jews and Palestinians are quarantined behind a huge wall in Jerusalem. The haven is spoiled not by zombies, but by civil war, which breaks out when Israel's ultra-orthodox rebel. In the film, the Jerusalem scene (shot in Malta) is the film's grandest set piece (seen widely in TV ads) where zombies mount the wall like ants.

The use of such regionally sensitive imagery will likely be hotly debated when it opens in Israel on July 11.

Brooks, who's the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, declined to be interviewed for this article. He's previously distanced himself from the movie. In a video posted by Pennsylvania's Mansfield University in May, Brooks said the movie is "World War Z" ''in name only." Pitt's UN inspector isn't a character in the book, and Brooks reportedly requested that his publisher, Random House, not print new editions of the book with Pitt's face on the cover.

A sequel to the film may follow, which could give the producers a chance to delve deeper into the book's ideas. Moving forward a few years would also sync up chronologically with the novel.

One of the most notable changes to the geopolitics of "World War Z," though, dealt with another part of the world.
In the book, the outbreak begins in China, but the movie vaguely sources it to other parts of Asia. Faithfulness to the book in this instance, would have almost certainly kept the Paramount release out of the lucrative Chinese movie market, which is carefully restricted by the government.

Even when zombies run amok, box-office interests are carefully protected.

The World Below / Putin smiled to Jews. Will Jews smile back?
« on: June 17, 2013, 06:22:43 AM »


Russian President Vladimir Putin made a sensational statement during a visit to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. He said that the decision to nationalize Schneerson library surrounded by never-ending scandals was made in the 1920s by the first Soviet government, 80 to 85 percent of whose members were Jews.

This assessment of the composition of the National People's Commissars is the first such statement made by the head of state. Neither in the USSR nor later such data was disclosed. These facts were treated, at best, silently, and often, for some unknown reason, were regarded as rabid anti-Semitism. Vladimir Putin has made quite a bold move that in addition to other labels generously placed on him by the opposition may add a label of a reactionary and Jew-hater.

Meanwhile, his visit to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center had quite noble reasons, and likely was long-awaited by the Jewish community of Russia. The Russian government has decided to meet the requirements of some Hasidic communities and give the said Jewish organization the Schneerson Library, a collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts from the 18th-early 19th century. Judging by the number - 12,000 books and 50,000 rare documents - they chose to meet the demands to the maximum extent.

Earlier, an impartial legal analysis has shown that the demands of the plaintiff' representing American Hasidim were absolutely illegal under all norms, including international. Meeting them could actually lead to the loss of state sovereignty of Russia by opening a stream of similar claims regarding other objects, from estates to industrial companies and gold mines. The story of the library and respective claims of individual members of the American Hasidic have been ongoing from later 1980s. The story had pronounced aggressive national-religious overtones that could not hide clear material interests of the people behind this campaign.

In February of this year, President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Presidential Council on International Relations suggested the most constructive step under such circumstances - to place the unique collection of books in the Center of Tolerance. This would show respect to the norm of the law on the one hand, and on the other would meet Hasidic requirements of maximum accessibility of the sacred manuscripts and books.

However, the legal basis of such an act remained unclear, and active participation of Mr. Shvydkoy in the transfer of the library evoked sad thoughts about possible scheming around the unique collection.

Today the situation is clearer. A special library unit was created for the Schneerson Library in Moscow. It is located on the territory of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center and acts as a branch of the Russian State Library. This provides certain warranty that the collection will not be stolen and smuggled abroad. At the very least, people planning such a move must be aware that they would be committing a felony with all the ensuing consequences.

However, the most important thing is that Vladimir Putin has once again demonstrated that Russia's policy is aimed at preserving interethnic and inter-religious peace. The President of the Russian Federation believes it to be the basis for the existence and further development of the Russian state. The move of the Schneerson library that has great value not only for the Russian Jews, but also Jews living in other parts of the world into the territory of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center will stop the long-standing ungrounded claims.

This development is very desirable. However, one should not forget that the scandals around the Schneerson collection are heated not by Russian Hasidic rabbis. As noted by Vladimir Putin, as a "military organization" they significantly changed its composition in the last few years. Would their American co-religionists who have already mobilized a considerable force of the American establishment and the judiciary system be satisfied?

The Russian President concluded his speech in a rather unusual way, saying that Russia is passing the books to the Jewish community with a smile. Will they smile in response? We will know soon.

Yuri Skidanov


The World Below / Europeans Bring Back ‘Kauf Nicht bei Juden!’
« on: June 13, 2013, 10:02:15 PM »

By:    Vic Rosenthal
Published: June 6th, 2013

Benjamin Weinthal writes (subscription):
The left-liberal German Green party finally forced the hand of the conservative Merkel administration to explicitly declare—what before had been an open secret—its support for product labels covering export goods from the occupied territories in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Germany’s Green Party unleashed a firestorm of criticism in May over its parliamentary initiative to label Israeli exports to Europe and the Federal Republic. Critics in Germany and the United Kingdom argued that the Green Party push was an eerie reminder of the Hitler movement’s “Kauf nicht bei Juden!” [Do not buy from Jews!] boycott action and a modernized form of the yellow star.

Dr. Emily Haber, a state secretary in the German Foreign Ministry, conveyed the new position of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a letter to the Green Party: “The label ‘Made in Israel’ is, according to the opinion of the federal government, only allowed for products from within the borders of Israeli state territory before 1967.”

The measure is an unashamedly provocative anti-Israel move by the largely pro-Israel Merkel administration. It will blur the lines between an all-encompassing boycott of Israeli merchandise and demarcation of settlement products. In short, the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will push the punitive label action down the slippery slope of blocking access to all Israeli goods.

Apparently, a decision about how to label products made beyond the Green Line hasn’t been made yet. The yellow star is probably not in the running, but it should be. It is impossible any longer to hide the ugly hate-based double standard applied to the world’s only Jewish state by the international Left, of which Greens are representative:

In 1983, the Green Party put out a “Green Calendar” with the headline “Israel, the gang of murderers” and called for a “boycott of goods from Israel.” In an article last month in the German daily Die Welt entitled ‘The long tradition of Green Anti-Zionism,” the Green Party’s history of blaming Israel for the Middle East’s problems was highlighted. A year after the notorious “Green Calendar” was published, Green party politicians launched a fact-finding mission in the Middle East with visits to Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied West Bank. The delegation prepared a final document ahead of the trip declaring Israel “totally responsible for the emerging blood bath in the Middle East, when Israel does not decisively change its policies.”

A mere seven years later, a leading Green deputy, Hans-Christian Ströbele, who still serves in the Bundestag, justified the later Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s rocket attacks on the Jewish state during the First Gulf War in 1991 as a “logical, almost compelling consequence of Israel’s politics.”

Another telling example of the Greens’ disparate treatment toward Israel is that they have shown no comprehensive and systematic effort to push Germany’s government to similarly label products from Turkish occupied North Cyprus. In fact, the E.U. has showed no appetite for product labeling from territorial conflicts spanning the globe: Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, the Russian-held regions of Georgia, Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan, North Cyprus, and Kosovo. Israeli products remain the notable exception subject to EU consumer protection.

The EU continues to hide its official Jew-hatred behind logically indefensible statements that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is illegal, but its double standard betrays its true motivation.


By John Shiffman | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War Two.

 A preliminary U.S. government assessment reviewed by Reuters asserts the diary could offer new insight into meetings Rosenberg had with Hitler and other top Nazi leaders, including Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering. It also includes details about the German occupation of the Soviet Union, including plans for mass killings of Jews and other Eastern Europeans.

 "The documentation is of considerable importance for the study of the Nazi era, including the history of the Holocaust," according to the assessment, prepared by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. "A cursory content analysis indicates that the material sheds new light on a number of important issues relating to the Third Reich's policy. The diary will be an important source of information to historians that compliments, and in part contradicts, already known documentation."

 How the writings of Rosenberg, a Nazi Reich minister who was convicted at Nuremberg and hanged in 1946, might contradict what historians believe to be true is unclear. Further details about the diary's contents could not be learned, and a U.S. government official stressed that the museum's analysis remains preliminary.

 But the diary does include details about tensions within the German high-command - in particular, the crisis caused by the flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain in 1941, and the looting of art throughout Europe, according to the preliminary analysis.

 The recovery is expected to be announced this week at a news conference in Delaware held jointly by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Justice and Holocaust museum.

 The diary offers a loose collection of Rosenberg's recollections from spring 1936 to winter 1944, according to the museum's analysis. Most entries are written in Rosenberg's looping cursive, some on paper torn from a ledger book and others on the back of official Nazi stationary, the analysis said.

 Rosenberg was an early and powerful Nazi ideologue, particularly on racial issues. He directed the Nazi party's foreign affairs department and edited the Nazi newspaper. Several of his memos to Hitler were cited as evidence during the post-war Nuremberg trials.

 Rosenberg also directed the systematic Nazi looting of Jewish art, cultural and religious property throughout Europe. The Nazi unit created to seize such artifacts was called Task Force Reichsleiter Rosenberg.

 He was convicted of crimes against humanity and was one of a dozen senior Nazi officials executed in October 1946. His diary, once held by Nuremberg prosecutors as evidence, vanished after the trial.

 A Nuremberg prosecutor, Robert Kempner, was long suspected by U.S. officials of smuggling the diary back to the United States.

 Born in Germany, Kempner had fled to America in the 1930s to escape the Nazis, only to return for post-war trials. He is credited with helping reveal the existence of the Wannsee Protocol, the 1942 conference during which Nazi officials met to coordinate the genocide against the Jews, which they termed "The Final Solution."

 Kempner cited a few Rosenberg diary excerpts in his memoir, and in 1956 a German historian published entries from 1939 and 1940. But the bulk of the diary never surfaced.

 When Kempner died in 1993 at age 93, legal disputes about his papers raged for nearly a decade between his children, his former secretary, a local debris removal contractor and the Holocaust museum. The children agreed to give their father's papers to the Holocaust museum, but when officials arrived to retrieve them from his home in 1999, they discovered that many thousands of pages were missing.

 After the 1999 incident, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into the missing documents. No charges were filed in the case.

 But the Holocaust museum has gone on to recover more than 150,000 documents, including a trove held by Kempner's former secretary, who by then had moved into the New York state home of an academic named Herbert Richardson.

 The Rosenberg diary, however, remained missing.

 Early this year, the Holocaust museum and an agent from Homeland Security Investigation tried to locate the missing diary pages. They tracked the diary to Richardson, who was living near Buffalo.

 Richardson declined to comment. A government official said more details will be announced at the news conference.

 (Reporting by John Shiffmann in Washington and Kristina R. Cooke in San Francisco; Editing by Blake Morrison and Leslie Gevirtz)

The World Below / 100 Jews ejected from NYC to Atlanta flight
« on: June 04, 2013, 05:11:07 PM »

Southwest AirlinesFlight attendant
NEW YORK (AP) — A group of about 100 high school students traveling from New York to Atlanta were thrown off an AirTran flight, along with their chaperones, after the pilot and crew lost patience with some kids who wouldn't sit down and put away their cellphones.

Seniors from the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn were on the flight about 6 a.m. Monday at LaGuardia Airport. AirTran's parent company, Southwest Airlines, said in a statement that flight attendants asked passengers several times to take their seats and put their mobile devices away.

The airline said that when some didn't comply, the captain repeated the request. When that didn't work either, the whole group of students was ordered to disembark for safety reasons, the airline said. The flight was delayed for about 45 minutes while the students filed out of the Boeing 737, which seats about 137 people, leaving the plane mostly empty.

Rabbi Seth Linfield, executive director at Yeshiva of Flatbush, said administrators Tuesday were still looking into the disagreement, but he said in a statement that "preliminarily, it does not appear that the action taken by the flight crew was justified."

Asked whether he thought 100 teenagers were too many to keep in order on a flight, Linfield said the school has taken similarly sized groups before without any problems.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins wouldn't get into details as to why the entire group was kicked out, but said "I have no indication that the flight attendants overreacted."

He said the AirTran cabin crew made "repeated requests" for an unknown number of the students to behave. "The point at which the captain comes on the PA system and says 'You all need to sit down' is unusual."

The students were on a three-day trip that was to include a rafting excursion and a visit to a Six Flags theme park.

The students were then put on other flights, but it took 12 hours for some to reach their destination via transfers that took them as far out of their way as Milwaukee, Wis.

Some of the students posted pictures and video of their journey on social media sites. At least one sent a barrage of Twitter messages to media organizations, complaining that the way they were being treated was a "scandal."

Linfield said Southwest Airlines offered vouchers to future air travel to faculty and students who were on the plane.


May 28, 2013 11:29am

German officials lay a wreath at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as Claims Conference officials look on, May 23, 2013. (Sasson Tiram)

NEW YORK (JTA) – The German government agreed to significantly expand its funding of home care for infirm Holocaust survivors and relax eligibility criteria for restitution programs to include Jews who spent time in so-called open ghettos.
The agreement, reached after negotiations in Israel with the Claims Conference, will result in approximately $800 million in new funding for home care for Holocaust survivors from 2014 to 2017. This is in addition to $182 million for 2014 that already has been committed.

In 2015, the amount will rise by 45 percent, to approximately $266 million, and then to $273 million in 2016 and $280 million in 2017. Because the sums are set in euro, the actual amounts may change depending on currency fluctuations.
The $84 million increase in funding between 2014 and 2015 will represent the largest year-over-year increase since the program began with 30 million euro (approximately $36.6 million) in 2004, though a bigger percentage increase took place in 2010, when funding doubled from 55 million euro ($68 million) to 110 million euro ($136 million).

“With this new agreement, the Claims Conference will be able to both increase the number of beneficiaries, thus eliminating waiting lists of survivors for home care, as well as increase the number of hours per person to a minimum level of dignity,” Claims Conference board chairman Julius Berman wrote in a letter to the board.
Some 56,000 survivors are now receiving home care through the Claims Conference.

The announcement of new funding comes amid controversy for the Claims Conference over revelations related to bungled investigations in 2001 that failed to detect a broad fraud at the Holocaust restitution organization. A document obtained last week by JTA showed that top Claims Conference officials were involved in the botched probes, including then-executive vice president Gideon Taylor and Berman, who in 2001 served as outside counsel to the Claims Conference.

Claims Conference employee Semen Domnitser, a director of two restitution funds who was at the center of the 2001 inquiries, was found guilty earlier this month in federal court of masterminding the scheme, which ran up more than $57 million in fraudulent claims from 1993 until 2009. The cost of the fraud was borne entirely by Germany.

In his letter to the Claims Conference’s board announcing the result of the latest negotiations, former U.S. ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, who leads negotiations with Germany for the Claims Conference, hailed the work of executive vice president Greg Schneider, who along with a senior Claims Conference staffer discovered and stopped the fraud scheme in 2009.

“The lives of tens of thousands of Holocaust victims will be made easier in their old age due to Greg’s skill and vision,” Eizenstat wrote in his message to the board.
“This unprecedented amount of funding means that we can give Nazi victims around the world the aid that they desperately need as they grow more frail,” he said. “That the agreement encompasses funding through 2017 underscores the German government’s ongoing commitment to Holocaust survivors. It is all the more impressive because it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany.”

In last week’s negotiations, which took place in Israel, Germany also agreed to relax eligibility criteria for the Central and Eastern European Fund and Article 2 Fund, through which the German government gives pension payments of approximately $411 per month to needy Nazi victims who spent significant time in a concentration camp, in a Jewish ghetto in hiding or living under a false identity to avoid the Nazis.

Until now, only those who were interned in closed-off ghettos were eligible for pensions. As of Jan. 1, 2014, pensions will be available also to those forced to live in any of 300 specific open ghettos, such as those in Czernowitz, Romania, where Jews lived under curfew, lost their jobs and were subject to persecution.
Germany in negotiations to take place this fall also agreed to discuss possible special aid for child survivors.

The session that just concluded was the first time since restitution negotiations with Germany began in Luxembourg in 1951 that talks were held in Israel. For decades, the negotiations were held only in the German capital. In recent years, sessions also were held in New York and Washington.

Before they began negotiating last week, German representatives met with survivors in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, visiting private homes where survivors are receiving home care, a senior day center and a soup kitchen. They also took a guided tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem. The negotiations were held in a classroom at Yad Vashem.


Jim Edwards    | 40 minutes ago | 108 |

JCPenney has officially denied that a tea kettle being advertised on a billboard on the 405 Interstate near Culver City, Calif., is intended to represent Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator during World War II.

The notion that the kettle looked a bit like the architect of the Holocaust caught on after someone posted a photo on Imgur, the photo sharing site, showing what the image of the kettle looks like if you squint at it.

Sure enough, a black sweep of hair, a moustache and a saluting "arm" appear, sort of.

The Telegraph wrote a story about it, and JCP responded in a tweet that said, "Certainly unintended. If we'd designed the kettle to look like something, we would've gone w/a snowman." (It's a rare day when a major retailer can get away with tweeting a Hitler joke — but JCP has pulled this off.)


May 27, 2013
Source: Lee Rogers, Blacklisted News

For anyone who has followed my articles over the past several years you probably already know that I have been highly critical of various figures in the so-called alternative media and patriot movement. Many of the people associated with these groups are paid shills, gatekeepers, useful idiots, scam artists and sometimes just downright bad people. Important topics that don’t fit the controlled opposition narrative surrounding any number of subjects such as criticism of Abrahamic religions and Zionism are often marginalized or ignored. For years I have maintained that many of these people are part of a controlled opposition front which would eventually be used to start a civil war or at the very least provide a pretext for a militarized crackdown by the government. With this in mind, the whole narrative surrounding Adam Kokesh and his planned July 4th open carry march on Washington DC and other state capitol buildings has been of great concern to me. The plan is for Kokesh and his supporters to march towards these capitol buildings while openly carrying firearms. In Washington DC you are not allowed to openly carry a firearm unless you wear a goofy blue uniform and hold a badge because the people running that city hate freedom. As a result, the potential for a violent confrontation or a staged event to demonize gun owners, patriots and others is highly probable if this march goes on as planned.

For those who are unfamiliar with Adam Kokesh he is an Iraq War veteran who has received a great deal of attention from corporate media outlets for participating in various anti-war protests. He is also known for doing a television show called Adam vs. the Man on Russia Today (RT) which has since been cancelled. Kokesh has been arrested during different political protests including recently in Philadelphia during a marijuana legalization rally. Each time this man has been arrested the incident appears to be the product of staged theatrics. Check out video of Kokesh being arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial here and his arrest at the Philadelphia marijuana legalization rally here and you can decide for yourself. His arrest in Philadelphia is especially puzzling because there was no legitimate reason for him to be specifically arrested. It was almost as if his arrest was pre-planned despite the fact that this has been used by the alternative media to highlight government tyranny, the police state and the like. In reality, the alternative media should be questioning if this was just an orchestrated public relations stunt but instead they are accepting the arrest at face value.

Even if we were to believe that these arrests were legitimate this most recent arrest has conveniently helped spawn propaganda from radio talk show host Alex Jones and others that he had been disappeared by the government and other ridiculous exaggerated nonsense. This in turn has provided more press coverage for Kokesh’s upcoming planned march.

Kokesh along with Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin are arguably two of the most well-known anti-war protesters around today. Interestingly enough both Kokesh and Benjamin just happen to be Jewish. The power structure that both of them are claiming to be protesting against is dominated by Jewish extremism but neither of them have focused much attention on this very obvious fact. It is highly probable that their tribal connection is why both of these people have been involved in several highly publicized media events. Kokesh is the cult of personality anti-war figure representing tea party Libertarians and Benjamin is the cult of personality anti-war figure representing Green Party leftists. Like Kokesh, Benjamin was also involved in a recent high profile incident after heckling Barack Obama during his national security speech a few days ago. I think it is a reasonable question to ask how two of the most high profile anti-war protesters just happen to be Jewish. I also think it is reasonable to ask why neither of them have been vocal about the crimes committed by other members of a group that they openly identify themselves with. At least Carl Bernstein the Jewish reporter who exposed the Watergate scandal back in the 1970s had the guts to call out Jewish neo-conservatives for their role in devising the Iraq War on MSNBC just a short while ago. It’d be nice to see the same type of courage from both Kokesh and Benjamin.

I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with my point of view on this but I just can’t help but think that there is something very strange about Kokesh even if you decide to totally disregard the Jewish angle to all of this. In my opinion Kokesh appears to be a paid actor of some kind. Generally speaking the corporate media won’t give this much attention to a protester unless they are a useful idiot or controlled opposition. Dating back to the Bush 43 regime, Kokesh received a great deal of corporate media attention after holding up a sign showing the amount of times then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said, “I don’t recall” during congressional testimony. So for years the corporate media has had no problem giving him free exposure.

Another question is how Kokesh and some of these other high profile protesters have the means to travel around the country and attend these events. Traveling is expensive so unless RT paid him a ton of money to do his television show it would be interesting to find out where he’s getting the resources to do all of this. The most logical answer would be that someone is paying for his expenses and even paying him to lead and organize these different protests. Perhaps someone would like to shed some light on this and identify how this man has been able to support himself over the past several years.

With all this said, it makes his plans for open carry marches around the country something of great concern. There is a distinct possibility that this is an operation being steered by the forces of controlled opposition. While Kokesh was allegedly being held in prison he issued a statement calling for an American Revolutionary Army to march on each state capital demanding that state governors secede from the United States and seize federally held land. He would even go on to say that we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible. The marches are also being supported by Alex Jones who has said that he plans to go down to Washington DC to cover the July 4th event. Clearly Kokesh who was recently released from jail is endorsing the prospect of civil war as a potential solution to resolve the corruption and tyranny in Washington DC with these statements. The fact that we now have someone like Kokesh making statements like this shows that what I have been warning about for years is finally starting to come to pass.

Even though I fully support the principles of open carry, the concept of an open carry march on Washington DC and other state capitol buildings opens up the flood gates for any number of staged events to occur. What would happen if an agent provocateur shoots some policemen or a legitimate fire fight breaks out between protesters and police? Immediately after, we’d have all sorts of propagandists and useful idiots calling again for more gun control measures, government crackdowns on domestic terrorists and other rubbish. Worse yet, it could give the government the appropriate justification to further terrorize the American people with their authoritarian militarized police state apparatus.

If the average American zombie perceives that civil war or mass civil strife was started by patriots, constitutionalists, protesters and the like, than the public will not support any effort to violently over throw the government. In order for any sort of violent insurrection against the government to succeed, the American people must perceive that the government fired the first shots and was largely responsible for instigating the conflict. If that happens then the people will support the causes of those that seek to restore the country to limited Constitutional government and overthrow what would be perceived as an authoritarian illegitimate regime. If the perception is the opposite, these attempts will fail and the end result will be a greater expansion of the domestic control grid.

I am certainly no fan of the federal government but this plan for an open carry march on Washington DC and state capitol buildings is highly questionable especially considering who is leading and supporting it. I just see the possibility of more bad then good arising from these marches. The fact that Alex Jones is supporting it raises even more questions. This is a guy who recently said that half of his family members at family reunions are former CIA members, a topic of which I’ll be discussing in a future article.

I’m sure there will be a number of people who will completely disagree with my opinions on this and that’s fine. Instead please go ahead and believe the guy who has numerous family connections to America’s largest terrorist organization the CIA. After all, a guy like that wouldn’t lie to you would he?


VATICAN CITY (CBSDC/AP) – Pope Francis has denounced the global financial system, blasting the “cult of money” that he says is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods.

In his first major speech on the subject, Francis demanded Wednesday that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good. He said: “Money has to serve, not to rule!”

It’s a message Francis delivered on many occasions when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, and it’s one that was frequently stressed by retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis, who has made clear the poor are his priority, made the comments as he greeted his first group of new ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

According to an April Pew Research Center study,  Pope Francis is viewed favorably by an overwhelming majority of U.S. Catholics. More than eight-in-ten (84 percent) say they have a favorable impression of the new pontiff, including 43 percent who express a very favorable view.

New Pope ADL and Jewish Approved

ADL “reassured” by nomination of Pope Francis I, citing Jewish connections; WJC: Bergoglio to strengthen Israel-Vatican ties.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) along with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Wednesday welcomed Cardinal Jorge María Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, on his election as Pope Francis I.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said he was “reassured” over the record of the new Pope, stating that Bergoglio was crucial in maintaing “positive Catholic-Jewish relations.”

In a statement, ADL listed his celebration of Jewish holidays in Argentina, quoting Chanukah as an example of his commitment to his inter-faith relations.

“He lit a candle on the menorah, attended a Buenos Aires synagogue for Slichot, a pre-Rosh Hashana service, the Jewish New Year, as well as a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of violent Nazi attacks against Jews before World War II,” Foxman said.

The ADL also cited his “dedication and support in standing up against extremism” in the new Pope’s response to the 1994 bombing on an Argentinian Jewish center.

Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told JTA that the new pope is a “warm and sweet and modest man” known in Buenos Aires for doing his own cooking and personally answering his phone.After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he “showed solidarity with the Jewish community,” Rosen said.

In 2005, Bergoglio was the first public personality to sign a petition for justice in the AMIA bombing case. He also was one of the signatories on a document called “85 victims, 85 signatures” as part of the bombing’s 11th anniversary. In June 2010, he visited the rebuilt AMIA building to talk with Jewish leaders.

“Those who said Benedict was the last pope who would be a pope that lived through the Shoah, or that said there would not be another pope who had a personal connection to the Jewish people, they were wrong,” Rosen said.

Meanwhile, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder congratulated Cardinal Jorge María Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, on his election as Pope Francis I on Wednesday.

“Pope Francis I is no stranger to us. In recent years he attended many inter-faith events co-organized by the WJC and our regional affiliate, the Latin American Jewish Congress,” he wrote, adding he had met him in Buenos Aires in 2008.

Lauder praised the new pope as “an experienced man, someone who is known for his open-mindedness…a man of dialogue, a man who is able to build bridges with other faiths”.

“We look forward to continuing the close relationship that has been fostered between the Catholic Church and the Jews over the past two decades.”


Emer O'Toole, Thursday 2 May 2013
Anne Frank, pictured in a 1942 photo, wrote honestly about the changes her body went through. Photograph: AP

Gail Horalek, the mother of a 7th-grade child in Michigan in the US, has made international headlines by complaining that the unabridged version of Anne Frank's diary is pornographic and should not be taught at her daughter's school. At issue for Horalek is a section detailing Anne's exploration of her own genitalia, material originally omitted by Anne's father, Otto Frank, when he prepared the manuscript for publication in the late 40s.

I had to look up what age kids are in the 7th grade. They're 12 to 13! They're only about a year younger than Anne was when she wrote of her vagina: "There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!" There cannot be a 13-year-old girl on the planet who hasn't had a root around and arrived at this exact stage of bafflement. I mean, I was so distressed by my fanny's apparent minusculeness that I conducted a series of experiments with travel-size Body Shop shampoo bottles (too big) and hairbrush handles (still too big). I eventually came to the conclusion that, in the presence of an actual penis, some pheromonal reaction would kick in and my vagina would magically expand like a lotus blossom (an illusion of which, sadly, experience deflowered me).

Horalek, predictably, has been laughed out of town. Even commenters on the conservative Fox Detroit Facebook page, where the story "broke" last week, are disparaging. They say things like: "lmao ppl get mad about the stupidest shyt its history … maybe we should let our kids really know what happened at thanksgiving to", which, I think you'll agree, is an ideologically impressive, if grammatically troubling, observation. And so it's easy to dismiss the Horalek affair as just another mad utterance by a wacko zealot, who no one even agrees with, being whipped up into a media story so that the internet's eternal feedback loop has something to recycle. However, I think there's something slightly deeper going on.

Horalek is, of course, wrong to call the passages pornographic. Pornography is material intended to arouse sexual excitement, and I very much doubt that was Anne's intention when she wrote to her imaginary confidant Kitty about her journeys of self-discovery. But the reason Horalek gives for complaining in the first place is that the passages made her daughter uncomfortable. I can well believe this. I can imagine that if, age 13, I had been asked to read or discuss the passages in class, I would have felt deeply uncomfortable (my own nocturnal explorations notwithstanding).

Anne is going through puberty, and she describes her changed vagina in honest detail, saying, "until I was 11 or 12, I didn't realise there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris." (Oh Anne, we've all been there.) She continues: "In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris." It's beautiful, visceral writing, and it's describing something that most young women experience.

And yet I can understand that the junior Ms Horalek would have squirmed and wished herself elsewhere when this was read in class. We live in a society in which young women are taught to be ashamed of the changes that their bodies undergo at puberty – to be secretive about them, and even to pretend that they don't exist. Breasts, the minute they bud, are strapped into harnesses, and the nipples disguised from view. Period paraphernalia must be discreet, with advertisers routinely boasting that their tampons look enough like sweets to circumvent the social horror of discovery.

For my generation, removal of post-pubescent hair on the legs and underarms was mandatory. For Ms Horalek's generation, it is mandatory for pubic hair too. Anne writes: "When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside." How must reading this feel for pubescent girls who've already internalised the message that they must spend the rest of their lives maintaining the illusion that their body hair doesn't exist.

This media event should do more than teach us that there are laughably prudish parents out there. It should encourage us to reflect on why, when confronted with the reality of the female body and female sexuality, girls can be made to feel uncomfortable.

Dealing with this discomfort only involves censoring Anne Frank's diary if you're quite, quite odd. For the rest of us, the answer might be a little more free-flowing boob, some brazen Mooncup sterilisation, hairy legs sprinting through the summer grasses and, to use a pun that is intended as the highest compliment, Frankness about masturbation, sexuality and our bodies. Because it isn't just the Horaleks of this world who teach girls to be shameful rather than celebratory.

Republican Party Animals operator David Stein says he is really David Cole, and that he still holds controversial views

Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Friday 3 May 2013

To those who knew him, or thought they knew him, he was a cerebral, fun-loving gadfly who hosted boozy gatherings for Hollywood's political conservatives. David Stein brought right-wing congressmen, celebrities, writers and entertainment industry figures together for shindigs, closed to outsiders, where they could scorn liberals and proclaim their true beliefs.

Over the past five years Stein's organisation, Republican Party Animals, drew hundreds to regular events in and around Los Angeles, making him a darling of conservative blogs and talkshows. That he made respected documentaries on the Holocaust added intellectual cachet and Jewish support to Stein's cocktail of politics, irreverence and rock and roll.

There was just one problem. Stein was not who he claimed. His real name can be revealed for the first time publicly – a close circle of confidants only found out the truth recently – as David Cole. And under that name he was once a reviled Holocaust revisionist who questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers. He changed identities in January 1998.

"That was when David Cole officially expired," he told the Guardian in an interview this week. "That was the end of Cole. Or so I thought. That was when David Stein was brought into this world.

For 15 years I have been David Stein. Now the genie is out of the bottle. I'm done. I'm finished. I'm not going to try to remain as David Stein.

Cole's brazen reinvention as a social networker and political pundit deceived a roll-call of conservative politicians, filmmakers, journalists and broadcasters who had no clue about his past. A falling out with a friend led to his unmasking in his social circle two weeks ago, when a group of former supporters was shown YouTube clips of Cole's incendiary – and until then forgotten – television appearances in the early 1990s.

As a combative twentysomething with tousled black hair, he was a vilified guest on chat shows hosted by Phil Donahue, Montel Williams and Morton Downey, among others, and was depicted as a neo-Nazi on news shows such as 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.

"My friends are horrified," said Cole, now aged 44 and with greying hair. "They rang and emailed to ask if it really was me. The Hollywood types are the ones hurting the most right now because they could be harmed by this. I'm feeling a certain amount of guilt."

The unmasking shocked and angered the small, tight-knit community of Hollywood conservatives, setting their Facebook groups ablaze and prompting emergency meetings.

Some of Stein/Cole's erstwhile friends are media figures with blogs, newspaper columns and syndicated radio shows. They put a lid on the story. Not a word has been published or broadcast. "When people found out it was, 'Oh my God, get the fuck away from him.' There was debate about whether everyone would look guilty by association," said one entertainment industry artist, a member of Republican Party Animals, who requested anonymity. "The reason we were all so pissed at him is it plays into every horrible stereotype about the right."

Cole, and the half-dozen former friends and acquaintances interviewed for this article, stress that no one suspected his secret and that no one should be tarred with his views.

An additional reason for trying to contain the story, said the artist, was to deprive Cole of further limelight. "No one wants to give him the satisfaction of making him feel grander than he really was."

Cole, who insists he is a genuine conservative, said his betrayal would sting all the more because conservatives in Hollywood are a "persecuted minority" who must hide their political convictions from the intolerant liberals who dominate the industry:

I don't blame them for jettisoning me. Everyone is scared to death. They don't want this to range beyond Facebook.

Cole agreed to meet the Guardian in order to give his side of the story. He was rueful at being outed and wry about his future. "I don't expect many people at my birthday party this year," he said.

Born in 1968 in Los Angeles to liberal, secular-minded Jewish parents, Cole's father, Leon, was a doctor who became controversial for introducing Elvis Presley to Demerol. "He was accused of hooking Elvis on drugs, of killing Elvis." Cole did not go to university – "I wanted to begin working" – but by the 1980s he had become fascinated by political ideology, especially the work of fringe scholars known then as Holocaust revisionists, subsequently renamed denialists.

He became convinced that on some points they were right and that as a Jew, he would undertake a quixotic quest to "correct" the historical record, arguing that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp in the manner of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzac and Chelmno – which he acknowledged were part of a genocidal programme against Polish Jews; that the Holocaust ended in 1943, when the Nazis realised they needed Jewish slave labour for factories; and that there was no overarching, genocidal plan, but an evolving, morphing policy which claimed perhaps 4 million, rather than 6 million, Jewish lives.

The young Cole became a notorious celebrity, the turncoat Jew, ferried from studio to studio, gleefully clashing with historians and Jewish representatives. However he grew uneasy when white supremacists and Islamic radicals appropriated his "work", he said, and he halted public appearances after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Another factor was a death threat from the Jewish Defense League, a militant, violent group. In January 1998, wanting to start anew, Cole wrote a letter to the JDL, recanting his views.

The threat was lifted. Cole, his credibility shredded on all sides, adopted the name Stein, chosen because it was simple and short, he said. Only a few close friends knew the secret.
'I haven't changed my views'

The recanting was fake, he said. Cole today still challenges established Holocaust scholarship, including the certainty about Nazi gas chambers. "The best guess is yes, there were gas chambers" he says. "But there is still a lot of murkiness about the camps. I haven't changed my views. But I regret I didn't have the facility with language that I have now. I was just a kid," he said this week.

As Stein, however, he shielded his views, not least during the next stage of his career odyssey: the maker of respectable, conventional Holocaust documentaries. He knew the subject, needed an income and US schools and universities had budgets to commission such projects. He said: "I gave mainstream audiences what they wanted."

At the same time, he started writing op-eds under Stein and other pseudonyms, expressing what he said was his growing fervour for a hawkish foreign policy, a strong Israel and conservative social policy. Posts on his acerbic blog were picked up by mainstream news outlets.

When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Cole sensed opportunity. Inspired by the writer PJ O'Rourke's brand of rollicking, liquor-fuelled conservativism, he said he launched Republican Party Animals, a networking circle for libertarians and social conservatives which promised spice – "scantily-clad women, drink, fun, loud music" – but not too much. There would be no cocaine or illegality.

"Do you like your conservative politics mixed with a healthy dose of whiskey, fine cigars and kickass rock n' roll?" its website asked. "Do you live in a city filled with morons wearing Che T-shirts as they mindlessly cling to tattered, faded 2008 'Hope and Change' posters? Then WELCOME, friend – this is the group for you!" Blog posts assailed Obama, Occupy protestors and alleged anti-semites.

It was a hit. Congressmen such as Thaddeus McCotter and Mike Kelly attended events, as did neo-con luminaries such as Frank Gaffney.

A 2011 summer bash off Hollywood Boulevard included Larry Elder, a syndicated radio host; Bill Whittle, a commentator and screenwriter; Stephen Kruiser, a comedian; Lloyd Lee Barnett, a visual effects artist for Avatar; Nick Searcy, an actor; and William Sachs, a director. Other Hollywood guests kept their attendance at such events discreet, to avoid the conservative label.

Cole's mistake, he said, was to confide his secret to a friend with whom he fell out. The friend went "nuclear" and outed him to their conservative circle.

Besieged by followers demanding answers, Cole last week shut down much of his online presence and retreated from view. A farewell note on his blog announced the end of his involvement with Republican Party Animals, saying he had been "assassinated" by "an exceptionally vindictive young lady". The note did not elaborate or confess his deception.

Former friends and acquaintances, most speaking on condition of anonymity, challenged elements of Cole's account to the Guardian and called him pathologically duplicitous, alleging he padded his film resume on the IMDb database with fictitious entries. His purported production company, Nistarim, is Hebrew for The Concealed.

Scott Edwards, an Oregon-based businessman, said he founded Republican Party Animals in 2009 and that Cole, claiming to be a Hollywood bigshot, took over the website and was involved in organising just a few events. "He never ran the group. Things started happening behind the scenes so I kicked him out in February 2012." Cole, however, continued controlling the website, networking and organising events under the Republican Party Animals banner until last month.

Holocaust experts and Jewish groups who remembered Cole from the 1990s expressed astonishment that he had resurfaced and still professed Holocaust revisionism.

Michael Shermer, a historian who publishes Skeptic magazine, said Cole's views on the the Holocaust were simplistic and appeared designed to stir controversy.

Shermer debated and interviewed Cole several times in his youth. "I found him to be very smart and on some level likeable, though a little irritating.

But he was too smart for his own good. He had no training as a historian. I had the impression he liked to stir things up just for the hell of it, to be a contrarian for contrarian's sake.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said Cole's views on the Holocaust could no longer be attributed to youthful naivete. "I'm very disappointed that someone who abused his Jewishness to get his five minutes of notoriety still stands by his lies. It's disgusting and puts him in the camp of bigotry."


March 22, 2013

(JTA) -- Spanish Jews accused politicians in Galicia of blocking a resolution for commemorating the Holocaust because they oppose Israel.

The speakers of the leftist AGE party and the nationalist BNG party in the parliament of Galicia -- an autonomous region in northern Spain -- vetoed a draft resolution commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, preventing it from going to a vote, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities (FCJE) in Spain.

“Similar resolutions had passed since 2010, but this time representatives of AGE refused to OK the draft resolution in the Council of Spokespersons ahead of a plenum vote,” Pedro Gomez-Valades, president of the Galician Association for Friendship with Israel, told JTA. His association has issued a joint statement with FCJE, which is the umbrella group representing Spanish Jewish communities, in condemning the veto.

Before they reach the plenum, draft resolutions must be approved by the Galician parliament’s Council of Speakers. But representatives of BNG and AGE to the Council have resisted approving a draft resolution on the Holocaust since January, according to Pedro Gomez-Valades, president of the Galician Association for Friendship. The press departments of AGE and BNG did not respond to JTA’s request for comment.

Gomez-Valades told JTA he decided to make the matter public because weeks of talks have failed to change the positions of the representatives of the two parties. During these talks, party officials said they viewed Holocaust commemoration as part of Israeli propaganda, Gomez-Valades said. His organization and the FCJE umbrella group condemned the two parties in a joint statement earlier this month.

Resolutions commemorating the victims of the Holocaust were passed in the Galician parliament in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27. This year, there was no such resolution.

General / Racy "Girls Gone Wild" video company files for bankruptcy
« on: February 28, 2013, 06:51:38 PM »

LOS ANGELES | Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:20pm EST

 (Reuters) - The company behind the "Girls Gone Wild" video series featuring scantily clad young women drinking, dancing and stripping, has filed for bankruptcy protection citing $16 million in debts, according to court papers obtained on Thursday.

Privately owned GGW Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles company said in a statement that it was seeking reorganization and that the filing would not affect any of domestic or international operations of "Girls Gone Wild."

The company, which has sold millions of the racy videos and DVDs since 1997, listed a $10.3 million debt owed to Wynn Resorts casino owner Steve Wynn as its biggest debt.

"Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis was last year ordered to pay Wynn $40 million in damages for defamation and emotional distress. A Los Angeles jury found that Francis had falsely claimed that Wynn threatened his life over a gambling debt.

Another creditor listed in the bankruptcy papers was a woman who won a $5 million lawsuit against "Girls Gone Wild" after someone exposed her breasts in a bar without her consent for one of company's films.

GGW Brands said it has assets of less than $50,000, according to the court papers.

"The company Girls Gone Wild remains strong as a company and strong financially. The only reason Girls Gone Wild has elected to file for this reorganization is to restructure its frivolous and burdensome legal affairs," GGW Brands said in a statement on Thursday.


By Gil Shefler · February 26, 2013

NEW YORK (JTA) -- In 2006, aspiring Israeli singer Rami Feinstein faced a big-time dilemma: Would he sign a 19-year contract with a top talent agent and relinquish 45 percent of his future profits, or take a job illegally selling cosmetics at an American shopping mall?

Feinstein took the job at the mall -- and it worked out better than he expected.

Not only did he make enough money to cut an album the following year, he found inspiration in the most unlikely of places. The sales pitch he used on clients at the Minnesota mall became the lyrics of “Something Amazing,” his first single.

“The song is about a bittersweet memory from that period,” Feinstein told JTA by phone from Tel Aviv. “As a musician I wanted to make music. But in order to do that I suddenly found myself having to sell cosmetics to American women at a shopping mall. That conflict gave birth to my song.”

Like Feinstein, thousands of Israelis find easy money selling brand-name cosmetics at hundreds of mall kiosks across the United States. But not everyone has a fairy-tale ending.

Last month, 13 Israelis were arrested when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rounded up salespeople at two shopping malls in Houston. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has been working to stem the flow of illegal workers at the source, producing a video warning would-be Israeli kiosk salespeople that beside the ignominy of being jailed, they faced a potential lifetime ban on entering the United States if they are caught.

“It is true that thousands of Israelis have traveled over the past 10 years and worked at these kiosks," Charles Shannon, an embassy official, says in the video released in June 2011. “The difference is we know about it now.”

In the United States, talk of undocumented workers is more likely to conjure images of sun-parched Latino agricultural workers or nannies caring for the children of the affluent rather than pushy Israeli salespeople in air-conditioned emporiums hawking eye lotions and hand creams.

But increasingly, the flow of illegal Israeli workers is capturing the attention of American law enforcement, which treats them much as they treat any worker caught working illegally in the United States.

Even so, Israelis continue to flock to U.S. malls, judging the rewards to outweigh the risks.

“I earn more money in one month working at a shopping mall in the U.S. than I would in Israel in a year,” said Noa, who recently returned from a stint at a Texas mall and asked that her real name be withheld.

Noa, who spends the Christmas shopping season working at U.S. malls, says she can earn up to $8,000 in a good month -- nearly four times the average Israeli monthly salary. Of her many friends who have worked in the business, very few have been caught, she said. Some use the money to open businesses back home, while others used it to pay for trips to South America.

“You're standing at the cart all by yourself trying to communicate with people around you, but they're all saying 'no, no, no,' ” Feinstein said. “Just like an artist, you're constantly being rejected. But if you're strong and you have something interesting to offer, then eventually you'll be rewarded.”

After a few weak years, insiders say the kiosk business at malls is booming again. Kiosks are eager for new recruits, and recruiters typically offer to pay to transport potential employees to malls across the United States. Workers are housed communally; rent is generally free for the first month and then heavily subsidized.

Kiosk workers say they live and breathe salesmanship. Shifts are 12 hours long and they receive one day off per week. At night they laze around playing guitar, singing and exchanging stories about their top sales. First thing in the morning they're back at the kiosk.

The flow of illegal Israeli workers is seen as one reason for the failure of legislative attempts to exempt Israelis from having to obtain U.S. travel visas. A bill co-authored by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ted Poe (R-Tex.) would waive the requirement for Israelis to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States. But the bill is stuck because Israelis have a visa rejection rate of 5.9 percent. By law, visa requirements cannot be waived for citizens of countries with a rate above 3 percent.

Hoping to reduce the rate, Yigal Tsarfati, head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's consular section in Jerusalem, recently took the unusual step of asking young Israelis not to apply for tourist visas to the United States.

“I would be happy if young adults would spare themselves the experience of waiting in line, paying high fees and the anguish of having their application rejected,” Tsarfati said, according to the daily Maariv. “By so doing they will contribute to efforts to reduce the number of those rejected.”

In 2009, Congress made an exception to the 3 percent rule for Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania, countries with higher rejection rates than Israel. Sherman said a similar exception could be made for Israel. He scoffed at the notion that doing so would open the floodgates to illegal Israeli immigrants.

“Proportionally, there are more illegal immigrants from Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and about 100 other countries I can get you than from Israel,” he said. “If you're in a Jewish environment, then you hear 'bubbe meises' [old wives' tales] about the Israeli illegal immigrants at the mall. But there are probably more illegal immigrants in the country from Canada and the UK. We can't shut down our relationship with them over that, can we?”

Flashback Houston...

CIA Agent Killed By Police

Uploaded on Jul 1, 2009

In April 2008 Houston Policemen shot and killed Ronald Carnaby after Carnaby led them on a high-speed chase. During a traffic stop,

The World Below / Secret hearings in case of Chandra Levy slayin
« on: January 25, 2013, 09:46:33 AM »

Friday, January 25, 2013

A judge has been holding secret hearings in the case of the man convicted in the 2001 killing of Chandra Levy, the latest twist in a high-profile murder investigation that went unsolved for years and captured public attention because of the intern’s relationship with a California congressman.

The meetings, held sporadically behind closed doors at the courthouse over the last several weeks, could signal potential problems for the prosecution in a decade-long case that seemed resolved with the 2010 conviction of Ingmar Guandique. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador is now serving a 60-year prison sentence in her death.

Authorities acknowledged at the outset of the case that they had no DNA evidence or witnesses linking Guandique to the crime, building their case instead around a jailhouse informant who testified that Guandique had confided in him that he had killed Levy. They also said the attack on Levy fit a pattern of attacks by Guandique on other female joggers in the same location where Levy went missing.

Guandique, who was already imprisoned for those attacks when he was accused in Levy’s death, professed innocence at his sentencing hearing.

Neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers have revealed the purpose of the meetings, which court records show have been placed under seal by a judge. Several media organizations including The Associated Press petitioned this week to open the post-conviction proceedings. The next hearing is set for Feb. 7 in D.C. Superior Court.

William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is handling the case, declined to comment Friday while the case is pending. A public defender for Guandique did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Levy went missing in the summer of 2001 while exercising in Washington’s Rock Creek Park, where her remains were located in a heavily wooded area a year later.

The case captivated the public after it was revealed that the intern was having a romantic relationship with then-Rep. Gary Condit, whose political career was ultimately crippled by reports of the affair. Mr. Condit was grilled by investigators as a potential suspect but eventually ruled out. He testified at Guandique’s trial that he had no role in Levy’s disappearance or death, but evaded questions about their relationships by saying he was entitled to privacy.

No arrests were made until 2009, when the authorities seized on Guandique,

Levy’s father, Robert Levy, told KGO-TV in San Francisco that he has not been told by prosecutors what’s going on.

He called Guandique a “convicted rapist and an illegal alien,” but added, “if he’s innocent of murder, he shouldn’t be in jail for it.”

The World Below / Researcher in UC Davis apartment blast arrested
« on: January 20, 2013, 12:44:05 AM »

Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013

 A UC Davis researcher, injured in an explosion that rocked his campus apartment early Thursday, was arrested Saturday on multiple charges in the blast that forced evacuation of five university housing buildings.

David Snyder, 32, was being held Saturday night in lieu of $2 million bail as UC Davis police, a Yolo County bomb squad and other agencies try to unravel the mystery of why Snyder's campus apartment contained alleged bomb-making materials as well as completed compounds said to be suitable for detonation.

But UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael said in a news conference Saturday night that there is no evidence Snyder, a Ph.D chemist working as a junior researcher in a campus lab, was planning an act of violence or represented a danger to anyone other than himself.

 "There is currently no evidence to suggest that Mr. Snyder was planning any event on campus or in the community," Carmichael said.

Snyder, who received his doctorate from UC Davis in 2011 and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the university in 2004, was the only one hurt in the 1 a.m. explosion in an apartment at the Russell Park complex on the west side of campus.

He left the apartment, bleeding from hand injuries, and checked into Sutter Davis Hospital – which later notified police.

Carmichael said Snyder, who is still under medical care, was arrested on felony charges of possessing an explosive, possessing materials with intent to manufacture an explosive device and possession of firearms on campus.

Authorities wouldn't reveal what the explosive materials were nor the type of firearms in Snyder's apartment – though Carmichael said the researcher wasn't in possession of anything that would constitute an "assault weapon."

The blast, which caused only minor damage to Snyder's apartment, forced the evacuation of 40 other housing units in five buildings, home to 74 people, including postdoctoral students, spouses and children.

For 20 hours afterward, bomb squads from the Yolo, Placer and El Dorado sheriff's departments, Sacramento police and the California Highway Patrol worked to ensure the safety of the apartment and removed potentially dangerous chemicals and compounds. They were assisted by the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"I would say there were significant concerns for public safety in the area," said Commander Nick Concolino of the Yolo County bomb squad. He said Snyder "did possess the materials necessary and had, obviously, the intent to make an explosive."

Authorities Saturday night wouldn't describe what chemical materials were found in Snyder's apartment nor detail what caused the blast or what Snyder was doing at the time.

Concolino said the materials ranged from common household products that could be used in detonation materials to "mixtures that were completed explosives."

"We're talking about chemical materials that were primary explosives and also secondary explosives," said Concolino, who said authorities are trying to find out why Snyder possessed the materials and what he intended to do with them.

"The motivation is part of the investigation," he said.

Authorities wouldn't discuss how – or where – they believe Snyder obtained the materials.

Following the apartment explosion, authorities disposed and neutralized unsafe chemicals in an open area east of the UC Davis campus. Concolino said there "is no toxic danger" from the materials that were destroyed "in a prescribed manner."

University officials said Snyder has been placed on leave from his temporary job at a campus chemistry lab. His two-month appointment was set to expire Jan. 31. Before his current assignment, Snyder held a one-year research appointment through UC San Francisco that allowed him to work at UC Davis.

Carmichael said in a statement that authorities had no information Snyder was "plotting some broader crime." He said authorities were "relieved that the explosion was not worse and that no members of our community other than Snyder were injured."

The UC Davis police chief told reporters, "This investigation is comprehensive and we're working on everything."

Authorities would not say where Snyder was held Saturday night. They said he would be booked into Yolo County jail and arraigned in Yolo Superior Court once he sufficiently recovers from blast injuries. Authorities declined to offer details on the injuries.

General / Gene study hopes to settle debate over origin of European Jews
« on: January 17, 2013, 05:05:43 PM »

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jews of European origin are a mix of ancestries, with many hailing from tribes in the Caucasus who converted to Judaism and created an empire that lasted half a millennium, according to a gene study.

The investigation, its author says, should settle a debate that has been roiling for more than two centuries.

Jews of European descent, often called Ashkenazis, account for some 90 percent of the more than 13 million Jews in the world today.

According to the so-called Rhineland Hypothesis, Ashkenazis descended from Jews who progressively fled Palestine after the Moslem conquest of 638 AD.

They settled in southern Europe and then, in the late Middle Ages, about 50,000 of them moved from the Rhineland in Germany into eastern Europe, according to the hypothesis.

But detractors say this idea is implausible.

Barring a miracle –which some supporters of the Rhineland Hypothesis have in fact suggested — the scenario would have been demographically impossible.

It would mean that the population of Eastern European Jews leapt from 50,000 in the 15th century to around eight million at the start of the 20th century.

That birth rate would have been 10 times greater than that of the local non-Jewish population. And it would have occurred despite economic hardship, disease, wars and pogroms that ravaged Jewish communities.

Seeking new light in the argument, a study published in the British journal Genome Biology and Evolution, compares the genomes of 1,287 unrelated individuals who hail from eight Jewish and 74 non-Jewish populations.

Geneticist Eran Elhaik of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, trawled through this small mountain of data in search of single changes in the DNA code that are linked to a group’s geographical origins.

Such telltales have been used in past research to delve into the origins of the Basque people and the pygmy people of central Africa.

Among European Jews, Elhaik found ancestral signatures that pointed clearly to the Caucasus and also, but to a smaller degree, the Middle East.

The results, said Elhaik, give sound backing for the rival theory — the “Khazarian Hypothesis.”

Under this concept, eastern European Jews descended from the Khazars, a hotchpotch of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries AD and, influenced by Jews from Palestine, converted to Judaism in the 8th century.

The Judeo-Khazars built a flourishing empire, drawing in Jews from Mesopotamia and imperial Byzantium.

They became so successful that they sent offshoots into Hungary and Romania, planting the seeds of a great diaspora.

But Khazaria collapsed in the 13th century when it was attacked by the Mongols and became weakened by outbreaks of the Black Death.

The Judeo-Khazars fled westwards, settling in the rising Polish Kingdom and in Hungary, where their skills in finance, economics and politics were in demand, and eventually spread to central and western Europe, according to the “Khazarian Hypothesis.”

“We conclude that the genome of European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including Judaised Khazars, Greco-Roman Jews, Mesopotamian Jews and Judeans,” says Elhaik.

“Their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga, with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan.”

Many things are unknown about the Khazars, whose tribal confederation gathered Slavs, Scythians, Hunnic-Bulgars, Iranians, Alans and Turks.

But, argues Elhaik, the tale sketched in the genes is backed by archaeological findings, by Jewish literature that describes the Khazars’ conversion to Judaism, and by language, too.

“Yiddish, the language of Central and Eastern European Jews, began as a Slavic language” before being reclassified as High German, he notes.

Another pointer is that European Jews and their ancestral groups in the Caucasus and Middle East share a relatively high risk of diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

The investigation should help fine-tune a fast-expanding branch of genomics, which looks at single-change DNA mutations that are linked with inherited disease, adds Elhaik.


    Philip Hayes admitted abusing Luciana Berger at Liverpool Music Awards
    Shouted 'I f****** hate Jewish people' at MP after arguing over Israel
    Fined £175 after apologising and insisting he is not racist or anti-semitic

By Hugo Gye

PUBLISHED: 12:36 EST, 9 January 2013

A well-known music promoter has admitted making anti-semitic comments towards a Jewish Labour MP during a drunken tirade at a star-studded awards ceremony.

Luciana Berger was shocked by Philip Hayes' racially abusive rant at the Liverpool Music Awards last year.

Hayes, who has a history of alcohol abuse, suggested that the MP was Israeli rather than British, and later shouted, 'I f****** hate Jewish people' in her direction.

Although he contacted her via Facebook to apologise the next day, magistrates fined him £175 after he pleaded guilty to two charges of racially aggravated disorder.

Abuse: Philip Hayes, left, admitted making anti-semitic remarks to Labour MP Luciana Berger, right

Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard that Hayes, 53, and Ms Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, were both guests at the VIP event on November 17, which was attended by the likes of Spice Girl Mel C and X-Factor stars Craig Colton and Rebecca Ferguson.

They started discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a drunk Hayes made comments which upset and offended the 31-year-old politician.

'During Mr Hayes and Miss Berger's conversation about Gaza, Mr Hayes made a number of remarks about Jewish people,' prosecutor Amanda Haycock said.

'He said, "All Jewish people have money," and began talking about a Rolls Royce.'

The music mogul referred to a prominent local solicitor as a 'f****** Jewish t***', and accused Ms Berger of regarding Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as her national leader.
Fined: The music promoter was ordered to pay a £175 fine over the drunken tirade

Fined: The music promoter was ordered to pay a £175 fine over the drunken tirade

Later in the evening, the two crossed paths again. Ms Haycock described how Hayes shouted, 'I f****** hate Jewish people' in the direction of the MP and her friend.

'As Miss Berger was the only Jewish person there she felt the comment was directed at her and she called a cab and left,' the prosecutor said.

The next day Hayes wrote to Ms Berger on Facebook apologising for his abusive language.

However, after a complaint was made to Merseyside Police, the force's dedicated hate crime unit launched an investigation into the incident.

During a police interview, Hayes claimed he could not remember exactly what he said, but admitted he had used foul and insulting language.

His lawyer George White told the court his client had 'fallen off the wagon' after five years battling a drink problem.
Bringing up the rear: Joan stood back to let her daughter soak up the limelight

Star-studded: The event where they met was also attended by celebrities such as Spice Girl Mel C, seen here arriving at the bash
Craig Colton
Rebecca Ferguson

VIP: Liverpudlian X-Factor stars Craig Colton, left, and Rebecca Ferguson, right, were at the awards ceremony

'The fact that he was drunk let him down that night and the words spoken were completely out of character,' he said.

'He has let down many of his friends from ethnic and diverse backgrounds.'

Mr White blamed Hayes's drinking on 'financial problems' at The Picket, the legendary Liverpool gig venue he runs which launched the career of Elvis Costello, the La's and the Coral.

'I sincerely apologise for the hurt and offence my behaviour has caused Miss Berger,' Hayes said in statement read by his solicitor outside court.

'Prior to this offence for over 30 years I have always tried to fight racism in every form in my personal and professional life.

'I have tried to promote tolerance and celebration of all races and creeds.

'I don't believe the words I spoke on that night reflect who I am, but I accept that I said them and caused offence by uttering them.'

The Beatles on Jews and the Media

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17