Anti-Semitism and Bigotry, Should Protesters and Party-Goers be Compliant? KJ Wedding and Covid-19

kj wedding

http://www.news12.com/clip/15082073/kiryas-joel-wedding-calls-into-question-states-order-on-large-gatherings-religion

Kiryas Joel wedding calls into question state’s order on large gatherings, religion

A high-profile wedding celebration is calling into question the state’s executive order when it comes to large gatherings and religion.

Thousands of people packed inside the Village of Kiryas Joel’s main synagogue on Garfield Road last Tuesday.

Video of the event given exclusively to News 12 shows people sitting shoulder to shoulder and without masks, on rows of bleachers and on the floor, during a Hasidic custom called a mitzvah dance, following the wedding of Grand Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s granddaughter.

Catering halls statewide have not yet reopened, causing many people to postpone their weddings, but Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin says the event was held at a synagogue and falls under Phase 2 guidelines, allowing houses of worship to reopen.

Szegedin also compared the event’s size to recent protests saying, “Sometimes social gatherings are unavoidable and spontaneous as we’ve seen the multiple large protests all over the streets of the U.S.”

According to the New York state website, whether protesting or at a wedding, New Yorkers are required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance in public.

Places of worship are permitted to reopen – but at 25% occupancy – with all social distancing protocols in place.

Village officials say despite the turnout, the synagogue was at 25% capacity and that masks – whether worn or not – were made available to everyone.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said it’s up to local officials to enforce the executive order, which can include misdemeanor charges and fines up to $10,000.

County officials say it’s up to state police to investigate and that the governor has been notified of the apparent loopholes.

News 12’s calls to state police have not been returned.

Members of Jewish Community Need to do More – George Floyd and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

A placard stating "Silence Kills" during a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration, June 7, 2020.

As a Jew of Color, I Need More People in My Community to Speak Up’

Sitting on the stoop of his apartment building in Crown Heights early last week, Yehudah Webster took out his cellphone and began recording himself. Being a community organizer for the group Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, he had been conducting virtual meetings from his apartment all day and stepped out for some much-needed air.

 

To continue reading, click here.

Jewish Newspapers and George Floyd Killing – a Paradigm – We Need to Call Out Our Own Racism…

How should a Jewish newspaper respond to George Floyd’s killing?

The unlawful killing of George Floyd was a tragedy for the black community. But as the trauma of recent days has shown, it psychologically scarred people of all colours. Something snapped in us all. As the Chief Rabbi wrote last week: “This is an essential wake up call for each and every one of us.”

That’s why I was determined to put George Floyd on the front page of last week’s Jewish News, the first non-Jewish news story to lead the newspaper since 9/11. The question was, how? How should a Jewish newspaper contribute to a painful debate on racism that isn’t about antisemitism?

 

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BLM, the Ultra-Orthodox Community and Lip Service, Time for Change from the Inside Out.

Image may contain: 43 people, text and indoor

Dear Readers:

We will be posting on the African American/Persons of Color/Jewish relations issues more. The death of George Floyd and the commentary coming out of the Jewish community, which we believe in large part diminishes that death as “another act of racism” has left us a little unsettled, if nothing else.

For now we are starting with an editorial written on a Facebook Site – The Diary of an OTD Girl. For those who do not know, or are new to this site, OTD means “Off the Derech” or someone who has lost his or her way. This is a reference to someone who has left Orthodoxy. It is an otherwise rather derogatory reference, which is as seen by someone who is still Ultra-Othorodox, as an assumption that someone who has left is somehow lost. We would argue that many who have left have in reality been “found”.

We are in awe of this writer. She has courage beyond the capacity of language. We do not, however, assume that she feels similarly about this page.

We are posting this without permission to re-post and will therefore only post a portion of her editorial. Please see her Facebook page for the rest of her opinion which is listed on Facebook as public. Please be supportive, our one ask. Her words are nothing if not honest and her experience as a former member of the Ultra-Orthodox community is both painful and profound. One can learn a lot from her.

LM

This isn’t going to be an easy post to write or read. And yes there will be people who will call me names for saying what I am. But this is my opinion and I need to speak up.

Before I say what I want I’d like to mention that the community I come from which is hasidic and Ultra Orthodox is incredibly racist. They don’t see black people as the same. They’re looked at as less than. As sub-human. The same way the Palestinians are looked at as sub-human.

The things I heard growing up are about as racist as anything you can imagine. There will be those who will say this isn’t true. But I lived that life and know for a fact that it is absolutely the case. Jews I was brought up with are some of the biggest racists. The inflammatory language used about black people is vile.

Even now as the world sees how unfairly black people are being treated there are Jews who justify it by using terms such as “they’re animals” or “they are tigers escaped from the zoo. What do we do to tigers who escape? We kill them”. And so many more that I cannot possibly write here.

I am in no way condoning the looting or rioting, much of which has been done by white people. What I’m talking about are regular black folk going about their lives and being constantly targeted simply because they’re black.

Over the last couple of weeks as people worldwide have been protesting the murder of a black man in broad daylight by 4 police officers. Feelings and emotions are high and there’s been a lot of anger at the police brutality particularly in America but indeed across the globe.

What has infuriated me are the number of Jews who have somehow made this about them. It’s not about YOU. Guess what? There are things that affect others. It’s not always about Jews.

I’ve had countless conversations, some very heated, where jewish people have tried to say that they understand racism because they have experienced antisemitism. Antisemitism and racism are so different. And to compare the two is ridiculous.

I’ve been accused of being antisemitic for using the Black Lives Matter frame on my Facebook page. Why? Because apparently this movement is antisemitic. I’ve asked several times for proof of this or links to data but as yet haven’t received any. That’s because this is nonsense.

I’ve also been told that jews have suffered more because 6 million Jews were killed in 6 years whereas that hasn’t been the case for black people.

This isn’t about who has suffered more. It’s not a competition. Yes Jews died in WW2. But that hasn’t got anything to do with what’s going on right now in 2020. Police brutality against the black community, for decades, does not affect Jews.

There are reports of a synagogue and kosher shop being targeted. This isn’t okay. But that’s done by bad people who are using this opportunity to be hateful. They are not the people who are protesting because they want long term changes to be made.

Jews can leave their homes and not have to worry that they will be a target by racist police. Black people have to be aware of this ALL the time. Never has there been a police officer who has strangled a Jewish person to death on the streets of America.

The fact that all this has to be said saddens me. Why would we need to discuss this as a black/Jewish issue. It’s not a Jewish issue.

To continue reading click here.

Jewish Fundamentalism, Another Case – in – Point 2008

religous fundamentalis

Are We Really so Different?

 Lost Messiah must credit Richard Silverstein and Tikun Olam for the historical perspective and eloquent insights. Please view the site. Silverstein is beautifully eloquent and the pure definition of a journalist, whether or not you agree with his perspectives. We’ve had eight years to consider his comments and we have apparently done a grossly inadequate job of learning from history.

 

On December, 8, 2008 Richard Silverstein the author and editor of Tikun Olam posted an article regarding a Long Island Orthodox Jewish Columnist who advocated for the killing of Muslims. On December 18, 2008 he published a follow-up article.

Today, following a massacre in Orlando, we posted a video wherein a Chabad member advocated for the killing of members of the LGBT community, on the generally same anti-Biblical grounds.

Previously, we had posted several posts about radical Jewish fundamentalism, including a post with videos of Rabbis preaching the killing of Muslims using basically the same agruments the Islamic Fundamentalists use for killing Jews. This is a subject particularly relevant whether you accept that the Orlando shooter committed this act of atrocity because he was a Muslim terrorist or because he was mentally unstable and hated the LGBT community. Either way, what happened in Orlando was a hate crime of epic proportions.

As a Jewish community or as members of a blogosphere which criticizes and scrutinizes the ills of the Jewish community, Lost Messiah believes that these articles have relevance in the picture they paint of extremism and its cross-religious scope. While the articles posted below are historical they are nonetheless very much a part of today’s religious extremist parlance.

It has been nearly 8 years since Silverstein posted the below two articles but the same articles could have just as easily been posted today. They reflect in vivid color current events if not equal than magnified. 

We would be remiss were we not to ask the question: are we in a state of increasing fundamentalism and extremism within ultra-Orthodox Judaism or are these isolated incidents. Is this a sign of the diminishing state of Judaism? We find it unsettling.

You take a stab at judging for yourself.

 

Long Island Jewish Columnist: ‘Kill Muslims’

When you read stories like the one I’m about to tell, it makes you wonder about the editorial judgment of the staff of some American Jewish newspapers.  The Five Towns Jewish Times published yesterday, The Appropriate Response To Islamic Terror (the newspaper doesn’t have the courage of its publishing convictions and has removed the original article–I’ve linked to a cached version) by Lawrence Kulak. It’s a long, rambling discourse on Islamism and Muslim terror that advocates killing Muslim civilians in retaliation for Islamists killing western civilians.

Apparently, some Arab American activists picked up on the article and noticed a few glaring statements that simply boggle the mind:

…The only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye, and they do not have respect for anything perceived as a lesser standard of justice. They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which, if implemented by the West, could finally put an end to all Islamic terror: If somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.

Hard to believe the newspaper’s editor didn’t stop when he saw the italicized phrase.  Unfortunately for him, CAIR noticed it and the paper is going to be in a considerable amount of hot water.

In addition, the problem with Kulak’s understanding of the Talmud’s (not the Torah as Kulak claims) dictum, which he apparently believes is the equivalent of the Bush Doctrine’s justification of pre-emption–is that he is wrong.  The Talmud speaks of rising up to kill someone who is coming to kill you in the most literal sense.  It does not mean for you to take the statement figuratively (though many on the Jewish far-right do).  In other words, it would never justify murdering Islamists (even moreso innocent Muslim civilians) because they have expressed hostility to Jews or even, God forbid, attacked Jews in the past.  Halacha would demand that you know that specific Muslims are coming to kill you before it would be permitted for you to kill those specific individuals (and certainly not other Islamists).  And the statement is certainly not meant as justification for religious war against Islam or even Islamists.

The Arab-American community has rightfully called on New York’s Jewish community to denounce both the column and the editors who endorsed the sentiments in allowing them to see the light of day.  Let’s see whether Abe Foxman and David Harris understand the impact that such Jewish racism has on the public discourse.

Of course, the rest of Kulak’s articles is full of specious generalizations about Islam which he probably gleaned from Jewish “experts” on Islam like Daniel Pipes and Frontpagemagazine.  Here he claims that the Pakistani state targeted India in the Mumbai terror attack:

Muslim countries are routinely targeting innocent civilians via their terrorist proxies and leaving the standing armies of nations alone. This is more or less what recently occurred in Mumbai, India.

Kulak conveniently drops any reference to Lashkar e Taibe, the Pakistani terror group generally believed responsible for Mumbai.  Why bother to differentiate?  It’s all Al Qaeda to Kulak:

The Mumbai attack signifies a change of course for Al Qaeda…

Here Kulak, the anti-terror expert, proffers advice India never asked for:

…The Mumbai attack [was]…an attack on India’s sovereignty…As such, it cries out for some type of retaliatory attack by the Indian government.

India’s foreign minister pointedly rejected the author’s advice saying there would be not attack against Pakistan.  Thank God, there are cooler heads in India policymaking circles than in the suburban Long Island Jewish community.

Here, Kulak urges the western nations whose citizens were murdered in Mumbai to launch an invasion of Pakistan to destroy Lashkar and any Pakistanis who stand in their way:

…The attack on the foreign nationals of Israel, the United States, and Great Britain…constitutes an act of war against these countries and therefore legitimizes the infiltration of Pakistani territory for the purpose of pursuing the aggressors. While a generalized war with Pakistan should not be contemplated or pursued, it may be unavoidable…

The retaliation that is undertaken should strike hard at the…properly identified terrorist commanders and fellow terrorists of those identified in the attack, in a series of sustained surprise attacks over a period of time that is aimed at total eradication of the entire network that coordinated this attack. Any and all collateral damage in the form of casualties to friends, relatives, or anyone connected to the lives of these terrorists should be swiftly ignored. Public opinion and what is written in the newspapers should also be ignored by nations seeking to avenge the death of its innocent civilians.

When terrorists undertake to hide behind a sovereign government and to attempt to hide within its borders, it becomes the responsibility of that government to take swift action to flush them out and to neutralize them. Pakistan has obviously not done this…It must now step aside and let the foreign governments whose citizens have been mercilessly attacked take the proper course of action.

Spoken like the true armchair warrior Kulak undoubtedly is.  He won’t have to be flying the sorties or infiltrating the terror bases or spilling his guts when he’s attacked by Pakistanis defending their homeland from such attack.  He won’t be defending himself from the inhabitants outraged that western nations have trampled over Pakistani sovereignty.  Though if a Pakistani succeeds in infiltrating New York to get revenge, he might get caught in a terror attack.  Then he’d be yet another statistic in the holy war between Islam and the west.  And he’d be playing into the Al Qaeda plan and playbook.

The Jewish author clearly favors all out war against Islam.  Even George Bush comes in for criticism for being too “soft” on the religion:

President Bush also delivered a setback to his own war on terror when, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he labeled Islam a peaceful religion…

In the following twisted passage, Kulak argues that Barack Obama is committed to killing Osama bin Laden because the president-elect knows this will create a Muslim martyr and thereby further the goals of “Muslim radicals:”

…If…Barack Obama is really sympathetic to the Muslims radicals, it might also explain why his main promise in continuing Bush’s war on terror was to pursue this archterrorist through the hills of Pakistan. If Bin Laden is killed and hence martyred, it will only bring honor to himself and his family, who will be very much intact and alive. That will only give rise to more militant imams and more terrorist leaders.

This is how Kulak justifies collateral damage when the U.S. attacks and kills innocent Afghans in the pursuit of terror suspects.  In the process he commits a travesty in mischaracterizing the hilchot milchama:

In terms of Jewish law…a nation may defend itself with whatever means necessary, even if it includes causing death to civilians.

Jewish law states that a nation should defend itself with weaponry commensurate to the danger it faces and an army must do its absolute utmost to avoid killing civilians.  So much for the niceties of actual Jewish halacha.  Don’t let them get in your way, Mr. Kulak.

The reason why it’s important for the Jewish community to speak out about garbage like this is because lately the world has become a tinder box of religious hate: Hebron, Mumbai, etc.  While Kulak’s views may be in the minority in our community, he is by no means alone.  In fact, many national Jewish leaders probably aren’t quite as outspoken or radical in their views.  But they would find much to sympathize with here.  That’s why we need to let the world know that Jews don’t hate Muslims.  They don’t want a holy war against Islam.  They don’t want to invade Muslim countries.  If we remain silent then the Islamists will fill in the picture for us and we won’t like the image one bit.

The reader who provided this story tip also discovered through online research that a Lawrence Kulak was involuntarily hospitalized in New York State under a 1991 disagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Research indicates that both the Lawrence Kulak who was hospitalized and the one who wrote this article are (or were) lawyers.  If I were a newspaper editor and knew this information, I think I would’ve exercised due care and deliberation before publishing.  The ideas expressed here (and possibly the author himself) are in extremis.  But then again, I think we can say that the state of Muslim-Jewish and Israeli-Arab relations are also in extremis and I wouldn’t denigrate or diminish Kulak’s views by attributing them to a mental condition.  They are dangerous precisely because they are shared by so many other Jews.

Long Island Orthodox Jewish Paper Defends Killing Muslims

Once again let me say I find astonishing the near total silence of the organized Jewish community and media to Lawrence Kulak’s diatribe against Islam published in the Long Island Orthodox paper, Five Towns Jewish Times.  In his guest column, he claimed that if Islamists kill innocent non-Muslims that Muslim innocents should similarly be targeted for murder.  Essentially, an invitation to anti-Muslim mass murder:

“The only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye…They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which…would finally put an end to all Islamic terror: if somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

The fact that Kulak was diagnosed in 1991 with a bipolar disorder and hospitalized at a mental health facility never appears to have factored into the publisher’s editorial decision about publishing the piece.  Not only has the 20,000-circulation paper’s editor not distanced himself from the column (though he HAS strangely removed it from the website), he has gone on the counter-attack against the Muslim organization which first brought the world’s attention to Kulak’s hate speech, CAIR.

The Muslim defense organization has a lot of nerve pointing out the deficiencies of the Jewish paper’s editorial when CAIR won’t denounce every single terrorist act ever committed by a Muslim against anyone. It doesn’t matter than CAIR HAS in fact denounced Muslim terror. They haven’t denounced the particular Muslim terrorists who most exercise Gordon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. So instead of taking responsibility for the hash he’s made of things, Gordon decides to blame the Muslim victim for his attack.

In my own post about this I wrote that Kulak’s piece was a meandering anti-Muslim rant.  If possible, Larry Gordon, the paper’s editor, wrote an even more lugubrious, non-responsive reply.  The most relevant passage is this one:

The editorial staff of the Five Towns Jewish Times decries the notion of any support of terrorism, and we fully support the United States government’s War on Terrorism. As an Orthodox Jewish weekly, the 5TJT also rejects the demonization of Muslims, both in this country and abroad. If any such implication of supporting the terrorization or murder of innocent Muslims who do not support terrorists or terrorist activities was made by an article in the 5TJT, it was due simply to a poor choice of words—a slip of the author’s pen, if you will. Read in its entirety, the article is clearly conveying the message that members of a community that supports terrorists and allows them to remain in its midst should not expect to escape retaliation.

For the editor, the fact that Kulak clearly advocating killing Muslim “innocents” is a mere “poor choice of words–a slip of the author’s pen.”  Somehow Gordon transmutes Kulak’s phrasing into a hardly less offensive locution that Muslim members of communities supporting terror deserve retaliation.  Kulak advocated western nations and Israel invading Pakistan to exterminate Muslim militants.  Gordon’s articulation would also justify such egregious violation of international law.  So what has his warped apologia gained?  Not much.

To make matters worse, the paper has published a defense Kulak wrote of his column in which he included this memorable contradiction of the passage I quoted above:

I never advocated the wanton killing of innocent Muslims…

Has he forgotten this passage?  “They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours.”  I thought killing innocents was automatically “wanton” killing.  Or has somehow Islamist terror caused the killing of Muslim civilians to become acceptable?

The ADL, the ony Jewish group to respond in any way to this Jewish publishing outrage, published a generic objection that wasn’t even attributed to a staff person:

We were shocked by Lawrence Kulak’s suggestion that Jews should kill innocent Muslim civilians to counter Islamic terrorism.

Regardless of one’s views on terrorism, to even entertain the notion of responding in kind is morally reprehensible and appalling. It is unfair to hold innocent Muslims responsible for the radical views of an extreme minority.

In the Jewish tradition, words have consequences. In this case, Kulak’s words crossed the line.

“Crossed the line.” That’s as bothered as the organized Jewish community seems to be by Kulak’s Islamophobic hate.

I’m pleased to note as distinguished a theologian as University of Chicago professor Martin Marty has denounced the Five Towns diatribe in Sightings his weekly newsletter:

Kulak is unsentimental in his “kill them all” approach…The problem of making a principle of this…is that the…counter-belligerents who read this…editorial–and read them they do–find occasion to raise the price, engage in more indiscriminate violence, and that, in turn…impels us to raise it still higher and engage in ever more violence…We all know that in all wars, including those we call “just” or “good,” there are “collateral damages” and deaths of innocents. However, making a principle out of doing so, and especially doing so on religious grounds, only invites more violence. Then there are no eyes to trade for eyes, teeth to exact for teeth, while hatred and violence triumph.

If Martin Marty finds this important enough to write about why can’t Jewish organizations? Why can’t Abe Foxman actually sign his name to the ADL denunciation of this malarkey? Why can’t we Jews tell the world in no uncertain terms that the Kulaks and any Jewish paper that publishes him do not represent us in any way shape and form?

I note that Reb Kulak discovered my denunciation of his work and published his own diatribe here:

I would love to personally drive you and Marty into Gaza and then return several hours later to watch the vultures pick at the remains. (and later watch the vultures drop dead from ingesting poison)

That’s slightly less murderous than advocating mass killing of Muslim innocents, but not much.  Thanks to RM for the links and some background research for this post.

 

 

Chabad Jew Celebrating the Deaths in Orlando

Are our Fundamentalist Jewish Counterparts Any Different than the Worst Kind of Fundamentalist Muslims?

Is the man speaking in this Video an Aberration or is this Feeling Shared by Mainstream Chabad?

Lost Messiah, June 14, 2016

We are posting this video which leaves little to be said. It should be viewed with great urgency. For many of us it represents nothing more and nothing less than an embarrassment to who we are as Jews and a sense of despair.

To those of us non-Jews or simply conscientious observers, this represents a slow destruction of a people, a decline in what was once the Jewish conscience, a peaceful moral compass.

We view this video and those like it as nightmarish in its/their implications.

Are our ultra-Orthodox Jewish counterparts one day going to demand that their wives be clothed in Burkhas, claiming the fundamentalist version of a Jihad? Are they going to be praying to a G-d who many of us understand is peace-loving, finding portions within Jewish texts to justify murder?

Orlando represented, for anyone with a conscience, the senseless killing of human beings. Orlando was an act carried out by a single man out on a violent and brutal mission and there was, in our view, nothing G-d loving in the events that transpired. For a Chabad Jew to turn it into something justifiable is unthinkable.

Are we in the process of viewing a demise in the Jewish morality? Are we now giving a justification, for anti-Semitism of the worst kind? You might be surprised by your response.

Yossi Gestetner, why on earth would you be the mouthpiece?

gestednert

Gestetner, a Shining Example of an anti-Hasidic Racist as the Hasidic Mouthpiece? Bad for Jews Everywhere!

Please see Clarkstown- What They Don’t Want you to Know

April 15, 2016

“While one bloc-vote puppet, Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, sat in a holding cell awaiting arraignment, Hasidic ‘mouthpiece’, Yossi Gestetner, was hard at work trying to reel in a bigger fish.

We’re thrilled that Mr. Trump took the time to be brought up to speed about Rockland’s issues by a person who compared Rockland residents with Nazis.

Given that NY’s Republican Primary is four days away, please give us your new and enlightened thoughts on Rockland’s crisis, Mr. Trump. After all, NY is a critical state in your Presidential future.

Please also enlighten us about the following …..

Donald Trump met in Trump Tower today with the individual who made the video ‘The Jew In Rockland’ which compared Rockland with pre-war Nazi Germany.

http://youtu.be/7jDpIp3FbWE

Yossi Gestetner, the producer of that particularly disgusting piece of video trash said Trump is an “amusement thing”.

Gestetner, a “Hasidic political consultant”, pointed out that “Trump has a long history of being friendly to people in the Jewish community.”

Trump has not actively sought the support of the ultra-Orthodox, but he has not turned it away.

Still, many Hasidim and those who closely track the political climate of the community pointed out that the discussion around the election among the ultra-Orthodox may not actually translate into votes.

Gestetner agrees there is a genuine buzz of interest about Trump’s candidacy within his community but he is skeptical whether Hasidim will actually turnout for Trump in the New York primary, which is not until April 19.

He also says many Hasidim he knows support Cruz.

Trump’s popularity in the Hasidic community right now, says Gestetner, “is conversational, it’s an amusement thing.” And just like everywhere else in the country, a large part of the conversation right now is about Trump.

“Politics is the sport of Hasidim,” said Gestetner. “And those who follow politics as closely as fanatic sports fans, see [Trump] as the winning team.”

https://news.vice.com/article/why-some-hasidic-jews-are-loving-donald-trumps-campaign

Clarkstown - What They Don't Want You To Know's photo.
Clarkstown - What They Don't Want You To Know's photo.