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Everyday Antisemitism

Former Green Party candidate denies Holocaust, proclaiming “HoloHoax”

17 June 2016, German-Canadian Monika Schaefer, former senior member of the Green Party in Canada, publicly released a video which allegedly denies the Holocaust.

Through her husband, Alfred Schaefer’s, YouTube account, Monika Schaefer presents what is apparently a post-mortem apology to her late mother. Schaefer recalls the trauma of her childhood growing up German in Canada post-World War II. She claims she was “indoctrinated” by society, through education and media, to consider Adolf Hitler a villainous figure in history.

Over the last few years, she has come to the understanding that the Holocaust is “the biggest and most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history.” Consequently, she regrets reproaching her mother in her youth for participating in a Nazi-ruled Germany that turned a blind-eye to the atrocities committed by that regime. Schaefer now asserts that the Holocaust is “the six million lie.”

RESPONSE:

The Green Party reacted to their former candidate’s video with a swift dismissal of her beliefs and a condemnation of such antisemitic propoganda. Elizabeth May, current leader of Canada’s Green Party referred to the video as hate speech and promised to remove Schaeffer from the party as quickly as possible. “I am shocked by comments made by Ms. Schaefer and I condemn her terribly misguided and untrue statements,” said May.

Emily McMillan, Executive Director of the Green Party commented, “Monika Schaefer’s comments denying the Holocaust are outrageous and shocking. Ms. Schaefer has no standing within the Green Party of Canada…”

Moreover, local community members of Jasper, Alberta, where Schaeffer resides, have stepped up to speak against her. Ken Kuzminski, President of the Jasper Royal Canadian Legion, filed a hate speech complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission referencing her publication as a Hate Crime. Kuzminski clarified his point stating, “Monika has a right to say whatever she wants to say, but once she’s published it, I feel that’s moved on to hate speech.”

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Everyday Antisemitism Politics Sweden Ξ E-mail Ξ Social Media

Swedish Politician Denies Systematic Murder of Jews at Auschwitz

At a council meeting in Alvesta, Sweden in March, Swedish Democrat, Lennart Johansson, stated that it was not Jews, but patriotic heroes of Poland who died in Auschwitz. “They died because they would defend Poland from foreign fascist invaders…I have read in Polish encyclopedias that it was so.” Johansson cited himself as a credible and knowledgable source due to the time he spent living in Poland. 

Another Swedish politician, Thomas Hedevik, of the Social Democratic party, called Johansson out for being a historical revisionist. In regard to Johansson’s attempt to undermine the tragedy of the Jews in Auschwitz and focus on ‘national Polish heroes,’ Hedevik says, “It proves that the Swedish Democrats are a purely Nazi and undemocratic party. It must be handled as such.”

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Everyday Antisemitism Italy Ξ E-mail Ξ Social Media

Holocaust Memorial Vandalized

Red spray paint reads, “Burn the bank” on a Holocaust memorial opened just this year in Bologna. This happened just one month after the monument’s debut. 

On one part of the memorial, four dice were drawn with numbers corresponding to the alphabet, comprising the acronym “A.C.A.B.” or “all cops are bastards.” This was followed by the message, “Extinguish your mortgage, turn on your bank,” followed by an “A” circled in anarchist fashion. 

Another message scrawled on the side of the memorial read, “Place the crate,” reminiscent of concentration camp dormitories.

Claudio Mazzanti, leader of the Democratic Party of the City Council believes the vandals to be “political delinquents” creating a “political provocation” that is, above all else, “stupid” and “shameful.”

Valter Giovannini, deputy prosecutor of Bologna called the act “vile” and an “ignoble gesture. More books and less spray cans.”

Chief Rabbi of Bologna, Alberto Sermoneta, while not underestimating the event, did not wish to dramatize it. He called this crime, “an act, which must be taken for what it is, that is, a manifestation of stupidity…This does not outrage me as a Jew, but as a human being.”

The offenders are expected to be apprehended via images caught on cameras in the area. 

In addition to the graffiti found on the new Shoah memorial, more vandalism was discovered on via Zamboni. Writing targeted the Municipal Theater and commissioner Ignazio Coccia. As in the memorial, another anarchist “A” was seen in the sprayed message, “Coccia hang.” Right beside the entrance of the theatre, someone wrote, “Playground for the rich.”

Daniele De Paz, president of the Jewish community commented that this type of behavior is happening all over the city. “It is a widespread act, I do not think it centers around antisemitism. These slogans are generic and have been found in this piazza in which the Shoah memorial was born, but we believe that the person who besmirched the wall and the monument at night did so only because he found himself in front of a blank white sheet and for this decided to write in this place. Regardless of this, however, the gesture is absolutely unjustifiable and we condemn it.”

“I want to believe that there is still insufficient knowledge of this place that merits much respect, and for this reason the wall has been used for slogans distant from us.” 

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Everyday Antisemitism Italy Ξ E-mail

Italian journalist accosted in London tube

David Guetta, native Florentine and writer for Firenze Viola, was approached by a small crowd of Italian youth after a football match in London on February 25.

Guetta, a sports journalist, had been covering a Europa League match between ACF Fiorentina (known as Fiorentina of Florence) and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (the ‘Spurs’ of Tottenham, London). While awaiting a train on his way back to his hotel after the game, Guetta was surrounded by about 20 teenagers who recognized him and sang, “David Guetta, c’è un treno per Mauthausen che ti aspetta” (David Guetta, a train for Mauthausen waits for you).

Guetta is known as the radio voice of Fiorentina. In response to the event, he published a blog, writing, “…[these young adults] almost certainly do not really know what happened at Mauthausen. Or at Auschwitz, or at Dachau, or at Treblinka. I would have liked to have this encounter on via Farini, in front of the plaque that commemorates the Florentines that left on these trains that today these people want me to go on, on which none of them ever returned.”

Guetta mentioned that in his 30 years of providing radio post-match analysis, he has been subjected to racist anti-Semitic slurs on many occasions. One such event occurred six years ago, when an individual expressed his desire to come to the radio station and “chop off his head” in regard to Guetta’s professional promotion. 

Despite not being an observant Jew, Guetta’s response to these aggressions has been to rejoin the Florentine Jewish community.

Editors of firenzeviola.it expressed solidarity with their colleague.

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Everyday Antisemitism Facebook Italy Ξ E-mail

Rampant Facebook antisemitism after Brussels attacks

After terror attacks hit Brussels on 22nd March, Facebook became the venue for widespread antisemitic publications. Profiles of individuals, groups, organisations, and movements aggressively posted polemics against Jews.

While it is typical for conflicts in the Middle East and acts of international terrorism to evoke a vigorous outpouring of antisemitic media (cartoons, photos, comments, etc), there were a few particularly notable posts made recently that are particularly appropriate considering the current high holiday.

One supporter of Italy’s radical right, who defines himself as Kapò at Ferramonti of Tarsi (also know as Ferramonti, an Italian internment camp established by Benito Mussolini in 1940 for political dissidents and ethnic minorities, which housed over 3,800 Jews in the far south), posted, “The Brussels attacks get interpreted as a conspiracy and as a blood ritual practiced by the Jews to ‘propitiate’ the coming Passover holiday.”

The small neo-Nazi party of Lombardy, NSAB-MLNS (NationalSozialistische Arbeiter Bewegung — Movimento di Lavoratori NazionalSocialista), calling themselves the Workers’ National Socialist Movement, published a photo of graffiti that claims, “Terrorism has no religion, it only has financiers: Paris and Brussels are farces of a Jewish system.”

NSAB-MLNS also preaches ideas such as, “Europe is White—fight with us to safeguard your identity!” and “Life is a fight—who doesn’t fight, dies.” This group supports the Waffen SS and denies the Holocaust.

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Everyday Antisemitism Italy Vandalism Ξ E-mail

Swastika sprayed on Italian school named after Anne Frank

In Montecchio Maggiore, a small town situated just outside of Vicenza, between Verona and Venice, multiple schools were desecrated with antisemitic graffiti. Public middle school, Anne Frank, was vandalised on the night of Friday, 4th March, as delinquents defaced the school’s sign with a swastika.

Afterwards, evidence suggests the vandals got into the school yard where they tarnished a wall with blasphemy, slander against the school’s vice principle, Alessandra Mantiero, and antisemitic libel. Similar writing was found on elementary school, Manzoni.

Upon arrival at school Monday morning, students and teachers were shocked. Especially poignant is the fact that a school named after a victim of the Holocaust, in remembrance of Nazi persecution, has been targeted with antisemitic violence. In addition to besmirching the schools, the hoodlums knocked about plants and attempted to start a fire. A tree in the courtyard was planted to commemorate the experience of the oppressed during World War II, as the tree Anne Frank watched grow from outside her window in Amsterdam while she was in hiding.

In response to this expression of contempt for a name that is symbolic of persecution, president of the parents’ committee, Barbara Gasparella stated, “It is a very serious act.”

Livio Fedrigo, a teacher at the school, explained, “For us it is not a joke because this act extols a situation that we, in school, fight against. They [the culprits] wanted to strike universal symbols. On our [the teachers’ ] part, we stand in full solidarity with Mantiero.”

Police located the spray-paint can used to deface the schools by Manzoni. Thanks to nearby bank surveillance camera footage, local police have been able to identify the vandals as 13, 14, and 15 year old students.

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Egypt Everyday Antisemitism Sports Television Ξ E-mail

Lionel Messi accused of being Jewish in Egyptian TV farce

Lionel Messi, a professional footballer from Argentina who plays forward for Football Club Barcelona and the national Argentine team, was recently accused by member of the Egyptian parliament, Said Hasasin, of “humiliating…all Egyptians.”

During an on-air interview with talk show host, Mona El-Sharkawy of Yes I am Famous, broadcast on the MBC Masr channel, Messi offered his football boots to be auctioned for charity.

A shoe may be construed as disrespectful in Arab culture, especially when thrown or shown the sole. Upon witnessing Messi’s donation, MP Hasasin responded on his own talk show, “Whose shoes do you want to sell, Messi? How much do you think it will get? You don’t know that the nail of a baby Egyptian is worth more than your shoes? Keep your shoes to yourself or sell them to Israel.”

Egyptian Football Association spokesman, Azmi Mogahed, phoned into Hasasin’s show to add, “I know he’s Jewish, he donates to Israel and visited the Wailing Wall…we don’t need his shoes and Egypt’s poor don’t need help from someone with Jewish or Zionist citizenship.”

Ahmed Abdelhamid, better known as Mido, former footballer and current Egyptian football manager of Zamalek, tweeted, “The most precious thing the writer owns is his pen… and the most precious thing the footballer owns is his shoes. I hope we can stop the false accusations.”

Messi is the only football player to have won the European Golden Shoe three times, amongst many other titles. This honour is awarded each season to the leading scorer in matches from the top division of every European national league.

Messi visited the Western Wall with his team, FC Barcelona, as a stop on their peace tour in Israel in 2013. The following year, Messi participated in an all-star match organised by Pope Francis in Rome’s Olympic Stadium to support coexistence amongst people of different religions and support children’s charities. Mohamed Aboutrika, former Egyptian footballer, rejected the Pope’s invitation, citing “Zionist” participation in reference to Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, alongside whom Aboutrika refused to play.

Messi’s philanthropic endeavours include his position as Ambassador for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) since 2010, when he traveled to Haiti to raise awareness of the effects of the earthquake’s impact on children there. As an active participant in UNICEF’s campaigns, he works to increase child HIV prevention, improve education access, promote disabilities inclusion, and mitigate mortality of disadvantaged youth. The football star founded his own organisation, as well. The Leo Messi Foundation supports access to health care, education and sport, such as youth football in Argentina, amongst other projects.

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Everyday Antisemitism Italy Newspaper Ξ E-mail

Literary Nobel Prize winner, Dario Fo, speaks of ‘Jewish brutality’

Playwright, actor, comedian, singer, director, painter, politician and overall Renaissance man, Dario Fo, commented on Jews in a recent interview with Anna Bandettini of La Repubblica. In response to a question regarding Roberto Benigni, Fo criticised the actor/comedian for his work on The Ten Commandments, a show aired by Italy’s RAI 1 channel.

Benigni, who acts in this rendition of the Exodus, said that there is no more beautiful story. In the La Repubblica interview, Fo calls Benigni out for being an ‘opportunist’ and states that, “…you cannot become the maker of the Jews and not mention their brutality against those of other religions, as it happens today…Benigni is not good for comedy.”

Fo, who is internationally acclaimed for his plays, has notably been denounced by the Vatican for his ‘blasphemous’ writing. In 1997 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.