Volume 2, Nu

mber 30
Volume 2, Number 212




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Today's Postings

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

{Click on a headline in this area to jump to story, or scroll leisurely through our report}


Children try to persuade parents to make aliyah from war-torn Georgia by Idan Peysahovich

Special Report: Internet AntiSemitism by Debora Stone in Canberra, Australia

The Jews Down Under, a roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian in Melbourne:

Year-long Israel odyssey inspires teacher

NSW Premier announces security funding boost

ECAJ President named to Claims Conference

MP petitions Deputy Prime Minister to ban blog

ADC calls for action against broadcasts

Western Australian Jewish Community expands

Central Synagogue feted with a grand concert

Local lobby group apologizes

San Diego County

Neo-Nazi graffiti again plagues Ner Tamid by Donald H. Harrison in Poway, California

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THE FAMILY SHVANISHVILI—Author Idan Peysahovich, right, joins Shvanishvili family
at their home in Tbilis: top row, left to right): Ella, Giorgi, Grandmother Nelli and Leona.
(Bottom left to right): Tamaz, Lana and Nelli. At right, Nelli stands outside family home.


Children try to persuade parents to
make aliyah from war-torn Georgia

By Idan Peysahovich
Correspondent for the Jewish Agency for Israel

Editor's Note: Peysahovich earlier wrote about his tour of the war-torn area of Gori, Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia, September 1—On Friday evening I went to the synagogue (at right) in Tbilisi. It was a beautiful synagogue with intricate designs and stained-glass windows. During my time in Gori I saw the ruins of war, the hopelessness on people's faces and the fear of an unknown future.

When I stepped inside the synagogue, filled with the close-knit Tbilisi community, I felt the familiar pull of the Sabbath prayers.  No matter where we go in the world, or what is happening, when Jews pray together on the Sabbath we are home.

On Saturday, Gregory and I visited an incredible family in Tbilisi. Ella Shvanishvili, 35, is raising five children by herself, and caring for her sick father, with the help of her mother Nelli. No one in the family is employed, and I silently wonder how these two proud women put food on the table.

Again, I was in complete shock when I saw the living conditions. There are eight people living in two small rooms. The bathroom is outside. There is no hot water. They warm water by putting it in bottles and letting it sit in the sun. The building feels as if it will collapse at any minute.

But the children, Teona, 16, Giorgi, 15, and the younger ones Tamaz, 11, Lana, 9, and Nelli, 7, bring light to this dreary place. They are cultured and well-behaved. Gregory and I brought them special treats – chocolate, snacks and drinks – and they thanked us politely before sampling and savoring every bite.

Through this family, I saw the wonder of the work the Jewish Agency is doing with the support of more fortunate Jews around the world. The children go to a Jewish day school, where they get their only hot meal of the day. They participate in the Sunday school and in holiday activities. They go to the youth club. Their only taste of real summer is at the fully subsidized summer camp.

Teona, the oldest girl, is on the Jewish Agency's Na'aleh program in Israel and is home for a summer visit. Na'aleh is an aliyah program for high school kids to go to Israel before their parents. Many times, their families make aliyah after them.

Teona is flourishing in Israel, and does not stop talking about it. She reminds me of me, at age 15, in Russia, unrelenting in my drive to bring my family to Israel. I think to myself, it is the youth who are leading now. They are the ones filled with energy, with hope, pushing the adults toward a better future for all.

"Mother," pleaded Teona. "What do we have here? You are young; you can start a new life in Israel. The children will be so happy. Grandma and Grandpa will be taken care of."

But Ella is afraid. Afraid that the misery she knows is better than the unknown of a new country. And again, like I did with the Shukashvili family, I tell Ella of the support she will receive, and the incredible opportunities she and her children will have. The choice is entirely hers.

I tell her of my decision, the best one in my life, to go to Israel from Barnaul, Russia. And that this decision not only affected me and my sister. It will affect our children, and their children, for generations to come.
"It's hard work to make such a big change," I say. "But the minute you land in Israel, you are home."

Ella looks at her family and squeezes my hand. I squeeze hers back, knowing that she will find the courage to do what she believes is best for her children. 

The author grew up in Bernaul, Siberia, and made aliyah in Israel after being amazed by the visit to his city in 1991 of two representatives of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He had never seen people who were so openly Jewish, and resolved to persuade his family to move from Russia to Israel. Now, Peysahovich, is himself a JAFI representative on a mission to war-torn Georgia.

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Special report: Internet Anti-Semitism

By Debora Stone

CANBERRA, Australia—The internet has become, among all its other activities, the most effective purveyor of antisemitic canards since the Nazi publication Der Sturmer went out of business with the
end of World War II. It contains every myth and defamation that has dogged the Jewish people: that Jews control the world financial system; that the Holocaust never happened; that the Jews killed Christ; that Israel creates terrorist attacks against its own citizens to win sympathy.

This paper examines the sources of antisemitism on the internet and considers the possibilities for controlling internet hate. It explores the regulatory context in Australia and the models available in other jurisdictions. It argues for the extension of Australian internet regulation to include hate, as is now under consideration by the Attorneys- General.

But it also warns that regulation alone is unable to stop the tide of hate now being disseminated. The author argues for a multi-pronged approach to fighting antisemitism and racism on the internet. This should include developing positive web-based resources, utilising search engines, working with internet service providers and developers to improve tools available, engaging in web-based dialogue and developing
resources to support critical thinking, values education and defensive behaviours. Antidefamation
must be conducted where so much hate is disseminated: on the internet.

Data isn’t information, information is knowledge and knowledge isn’t wisdom This aphorism was invented long before the internet but the increase in data that has come with the surge of technology has given it new sting. As our access to data expands and the speed of delivery increases data is in danger of becoming an end in itself. Data is now in such over-supply that the filtering process required for processing its value, assessing its societal impact or its moral worth has been all but lost. A 2008 study by Netcrafti identified 155,583,825 websites. This was almost certainly an underestimate but it does not matter. By the time you read this the number will have grown. The point is that the number, whatever it is, is so large that no individual or organisation is able to monitor or control the content.

The internet is an entity created by nerds. That is to say it is a medium that has been technology-led. We did not develop websites, let alone Facebook or msn, because we wanted a society that communicated anonymously or at greater speed than we could process what it communicated. We developed them because we could. The technology enabled a publishing system where the entry point was so low that anyone could publish anything.

We are now playing catch-up in an attempt to understand the implications of making everyone a publisher, not only kids and cranks but also pornographers, racists and shysters.

Our legal system has long recognized that free speech has its limits. Obscenity, defamation and race hate are all limited by law. You cannot publish detailed pictures of lurid sexual acts on a billboard. You can’t stand outside Flinders Street Station the main Melbourne suburban railway station and yell that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is married to the mob. You can’t leaflet people’s homes and claim black people have lower IQs. But you can do all those things on the web because so far the law hasn’t worked out a way to stop you.

Law exists, in part, to protect the vulnerable. The victims of a free-speech-at-any-cost system will be those who are most vulnerable to being damaged or defamed including children and the members of minority groups. Those who have historically been victims of such defamation have a greater vulnerability in a system that makes no effort to protect them. This is the context in which the internet has become, among all its other activities, the most effective purveyor of antisemitic canards since the Nazi publication
Der Sturmer went out of business with the end of World War II.

Website antisemitism

If you use the market-leading search engine Google to search the internet for the word “Jew” the very first item you get is an information notice informing you that you may have inadvertently come across offensive search results. The reason for that notice becomes alarmingly clear if you scan the rest of the results. The first couple are unremarkable – the ubiquitous Wikipedia on Jews and Judaism respectively. But the third site is the kind that concerns us, an extensive catalogue of hate called Jew Watch. The “Jew Watch Project” claims to be “The Internet's largest scholarly collection of articles on Zionist history: a free educational library for private study, scholarship, research & news about Zionism.”

Like many such sites it conflates traditional antisemitic stereotypes (Jews control the world; Jews have a secret stranglehold on the world’s banks) with attacks on Israel (Israel is the mother of terrorism; Israelis are Nazis).

Thus the site refers to “Zionist bankers” and describes itself as an “oasis of news for Americans who presently endure the hateful censorship of Zionist occupation.” Jew Watch offers links to such sub-topics as “Jewish capitalists, Jewish pornographers, Jewish criminals, Jewish media lies and Jewish genocides.”

Jew Watch is by no means alone. All the classic antisemitic canards and texts are available on the internet, not presented as research documents but as fact. Just as you can find the full text of Shakespeare’s plays and Chaucer’s tales, you will have no trouble accessing a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the classic antisemitic forgery which purports to be the handbook of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.
Its 1920s American imitator The International Jew by the industrialist Henry Ford is also widely available.

The motivations and ideological perspectives of the sites that post this material and the context within which it is delivered vary considerably. There is certainly no relationship between the professionalism of presentation and the quality of information. Such sites can be classified only loosely and with considerable crossover but it is possible to discern different strands presenting effectively the same material.

1. Traditional far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis These sites are run by the kind of groups who in the past peddled pamphlets or operated fringe bookstores. Their cultural framework is the traditional context of antisemitism – far right, authoritarian and militaristic. Their vocabulary emphasises freedom, individuality, capital, white or Aryan superiority and traditional family structures. They may use Germanic tropes in vocabulary or design to invoke Nazi connections. They are typically opposed not only to Jews but also to blacks, homosexuals, Asians, to immigration and welfare. Familiar players include the Australian League of Rights and TheNational Front, based in the UK, and the Ku Klux Klan, based in the US.

The internet has given these traditional purveyors of antisemitism much wider reach and increased potential for addressing an audience who would not previously have come in contact with their material. One result of this new access is that such groups have become adept at connecting their own agenda to other political issues in the hope of attracting web-surfers who might then be influenced on the group’s core issues. A web surfer looking to “eliminate credit card debt” can reach the site which alleges Jewish paedophilia and Jewish dominance in the pornography industry. A surfer looking for Australian protests over China’s treatment of Tibet can be directed to the New Right website where the recommended reading includes The dissolution of Eastern European Jewry by Walter N. Sanning, a text which argues that Jews were never exterminated by the Nazis but were deported to Stalinist Russia.

2. Far left Websites of the far left frequently attack Israel in broad and virulent terms sometimes invoking Holocaust references or using traditional antisemitic tropes such as a claim of secret Jewish control over governments or institutions of power. They post arguments that Israel has no right to exist and that the Jews have no historical connection to the land. These attacks sometimes extend to Jews in other western countries, typically the American Jewish lobby, and are sometimes couched within strong anti-American
sentiments. Green Left is an Australian site which has contained such views. These sites are less numerous than far right sites but they tend to have more influence in the general media.

A difficulty with these sites is that there is a grey area between legitimate criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians and the more disturbing elements given space on these sites. The casual web surfer is unlikely to make the necessary distinctions and may well absorb antisemitic beliefs through these sites.

3. Extremist Muslim

Most Muslim sites are religious or cultural meeting places of no concern. But there are many sites that intersperse this material with political extremism which is blatantly antisemitic. An Australian-based example is Mission Islam which includes links to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and to misquotations or out-of-context Talmudic quotations which portray Jews as murderers and racists. This material is presented in the context of Islamic observance and belief, implying that subscribing to these beliefs is no different from observing the innocuous recommendations for health or reading the prayer material also contained on the site.

4. Extremist Christian

Several extreme Christian sites link to material similar to the material contained on extremist Muslim sites. The Australian Bible Believers site contains material about the shape of Jewish skulls and the length of noses which would not have been out of place in a Nazi eugenics text. The site, which also attacks Catholics and Freemasons, reworks many of the classic medieval attacks on Jews which link them to demonology and paganism, while simultaneously running the 20th century myths which blamed Jews for the extremes of both communism and capitalism.

5. Holocaust denial

Sites that dispute the facts of the Holocaust, argue that there were never gas chambers or that six million Jews were not killed by the Nazis characterize themselves as “revisionist historians”. The deceptively scholarly-sounding Institute for Historical Review is a good example of such a site. It presents itself as an objective academic seat of inquiry while denying the existence of Holocaust gas chambers and describing Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel as a false witness. The Australian-based Adelaide Institute run by Frederick Toben has made similar claims and has been the subject of litigation (see below).

6. “New age” spiritualism

The “New Age” movement is an extremely broad church, which takes in health practices, positive psychology, non-institutionalised spiritual practices, mythic references, indigenous traditions and environmental attitudes. Most of this material is completely apolitical and tends to regard all traditional religions and identity politics with detachment. But sheltering under its wings are occasional sites of vicious antisemitism. An American spiritual leader Allen Aslan Heart (also known as White Eagle Soaring) posts links on how to weave a dream catcher and organic gardening but he also links to his writings on “debt elimination” which in turn links to claims that Jews control not only the banks but also the pornography, prostitution and drug smuggling industries, among other libels.

7. Traditional antisemitism

Jew Watch is relatively unusual as a site with a single undisguised antisemitic agenda. This is perhaps the reason why it has been an effective focus for attempts to control antisemitism on the internet.

Web pages represent the declared end of internet antisemitism. The position of these sites is generally unambiguous and a consolidated reading of their material would leave the reader in little doubt as to their belief framework.

But websites represent a particular danger because they have a deceptive sense of authority. In the days of print dominance, the authority of the printed word derived from the authority of the publisher of a book or editor of a journal or newspaper. Web publication removes this process of mediation turning all publication into what used to be called vanity press. With no verification or accreditation process, the authority of a site is entirely opaque to the casual user.

The problem of lack of authority is aggravated by the method through which websites are accessed. Search engines are mathematical tools that select web pages and sites for viewing on the basis of the words they contain and rank them according to algorithms. The exact criteria each search engine uses are a trade secret but the formulae rest heavily on technical criteria such as site structure and page linkages.

Google’s patented PageRank technology considers more than 500 million variables . This process enables a Holocaust denial site to be accessed as if it is an authority on Holocaust history or a site vilifying Jews to rank highly on a search of the word “Jew”.

The web surfer – who may be a Darwin school student with a project or Kenyan public servant who has never met a Jew – has no way of assessing the authority of this information.

Web 2.0: Forums, social sites, opinion and entertainment vehicles

There are all sorts of ways people communicate on the internet other than by posting web pages. Groups, social networking sites, message boards, chat rooms and blogs are all forums where individuals can publish and connect. The technology allows easy access and multiple linkages in a range of forms nicknamed “Web 2.0”.

In Web 2.0 there is not even the pretence of authority that comes from the website. As Andre Oboler has observed, “In a Web 2.0 world, information is not usually imparted directly from authority. It either arrives through social networks or is sought out directly by individuals. The search methods in Web 2.0 favour the volume of supporters of a narrative and have little relationship to the degree of truth in the narrative.”

These vehicles contain some of the most virulent hate material on the web. Sometimes these attacks come in the form of vicious political opinions directed at Jews or Israel. Sometimes individuals are harassed on the strength of a Jewish name or affiliation. In some cases discussion in groups dedicated to issues of politics or history deteriorates into hate speech. In moderated and responsible forums an offensive posting may receive an appropriate response from the moderator or other group members but more
often it goes unchecked.

There are other groups where the forum’s raison d’etre is antisemitic. Alt.revisionism, for example, is a group dedicated to Holocaust denial. But more insidious is the way in which antisemitic libels are scattered throughout the web on social sites that have nothing to do with Jews or Israel. The offensive claim that “Zionism is racism” appears not only in discussions devoted to politics or the Middle East but on groups that are supposedly about tennis, astronomy or the music of Mariah Carey.

One of the virtues of the internet is its capacity to bring together small groups of people who are geographically and socially disconnected, such as victims of a rare disease. But the flip side of this capability is that groups can be gathered over what in other forums would be non-tenable issues. A group calling itself “Israel is not a country…delete if from Facebook as a country” exists on the social networking site and was temporarily successful in having citizens of the settlements in the disputed territories listed as living in Palestine. In Australia a cricketer received an eight year ban after setting up a Facebook site entitled “FU Ajax Cricket Club” attacking the Jewish sports club.

Social networking sites and the easy availability of email contact have also led to a new kind of antisemitic attack: electronic harassment. In 2007 55 per cent of antisemitic incidents recorded by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry were emails. Some of these are mass emails, the modern equivalent of pamphleteering. More frighteningly, others were cases of individuals being harassed, such as man who received over 200 antisemitic emails after stating he was Jewish on his You Tube profile.

Stone serves as the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission's research director in Australia


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Year-long Israel odyssey inspires teacher

By Garry Fabian

MELBOURNE -The King David School’s Jewish studies teacher Ittay Flescher returned recently from a year-long study tour of Israel.

Flescher, along with 14 other Jewish educators from around the world, spent the year as a student of the Melton Centre’s Senior Educators Program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

As a result of his year abroad, Flescher has developed a program, “From Tree of Knowledge to Tree of Life,” on teaching the Tanach.

“Now that I am back at The King David School, I appreciate how much the immense social and spiritual input of a year in Israel can contribute to engaging our students in Judaism,” he said.

He explained that classes and lectures were held in various locations, from the halls of the university to caravans on the West Bank.

“I attended many festivals, concerts, demonstrations and sing-a-longs. I gathered stories from countless dreamers, doomsayers and travelers on Egged buses. Finally, I prayed in more than 40 different shuls across six streams of Judaism, while quietly arguing with one God,” Flescher said.

Flescher’s trip was supported by King David, the Jewish Agency, the Victorian and national Unions of Progressive Judaism and Melton Mini-School.

NSW Premier announces security funding Boost

SYDNEY - New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has announced a $2.5 million contribution to the upcoming Jewish security appeal.

Iemma said that “religious freedom, safety and security” remained at the forefront of his Government’s “concerns.”
Iemma made the announcement at the New South Wales Board of Deputies (JBD) annual general meeting last week.

JBD CEO Vic Alhadeff said the announcement was “a very pleasant surprise”, and added that the funding demonstrated the NSW Government’s commitment to Jewish security.

“It represents a significant kick-start to the security appeal that the community will hold in September and October”, Alhadeff said, “and delivers an important symbolic message that the Government of this state takes the security of our community seriously and recognises the importance of the security appeal”.

The appeal aims to raise $20 million, and the funds will be used to upgrade the security of buildings, including the instalLment of bollards, barriers and shatterproof glass.

Stephen Green, a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA), said the appeal would benefit everyone in the community.

“It represents a tremendous commitment and an unbelievable demonstration of communal leadership to support and endorse this appeal.”

And Iemma said that vigilance was an important aspect of providing protection, but education was imperative, and he noted the effectiveness of the JBD’s Understanding Judaism booklet.

Early in 2008, the JBD established the Council for Jewish Community Security NSW (JCS), and in the coming months, the organisation is expected to become a Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA) constituent in its own right.

In late September, the JCS will kick off the security appeal, which will be chaired by Green, and former executive director of JCA Ken Lander will act as its executive director.

Green stressed that funding would not go towards the Community Security Group, but would benefit the actual physical security needs of buildings utilized by the 47 Jewish communal institutions in NSW.

ECAJ President named to Claims Conference
SYDNEY- Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Robert Goot has been appointed to a special committee by Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany -– or Claims Conference.

The move comes after reports of infighting between Israeli and Diaspora delegates at a meeting of the organisation in New York in July.

The 14-person committee will analyse and assess the viability of the Claims Conference’s current structure and make recommendations on changes to its representation.

It will also look into the health of the organisation’s public image, after a documentary released earlier this year accused it of withholding up to $1 billion in funds -– a claim the board has vehemently refuted.

Goot said the appointment was a vindication of the ECAJ’s contribution to the worldwide effort to claim compensation and restitution for Holocaust survivors.

“The inclusion on the special committee of the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry is significant recognition by a major international Jewish organisation of the importance and standing of the ECAJ and Australian Jewry’s continuing substantial contributions in the councils of world Jewry,” said Goot, the only Australian on the committee.

“I look forward to participating in this important project at a critical time in the affairs of the Claims Conference.”

MP petitions Deputy Prime Minister to ban blog

CANBERRA- Mounting concerns over anti-Israel propaganda posted on the taxpayer-funded blog, Khaldoun, have spurred calls that the Rudd Government take immediate action.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week with a formal complaint about the site, which is operated by academic staff at Macquarie University, a Sydney university with about 29,000 students.

“Despite its claim of being a ‘site that places scholarly and informed perspectives into the public realm ...’ substantial parts of the content of Khaldoun are hate-filled and provocative attacks against Israel, the Jewish people and others who are friends of Israel,” wrote O’Farrell in the letter dated August 15.
“Views other than anti-Israel views are savaged by the website’s founders/managers from the ranks of Macquarie University’s anthropology and politics departments ... I would strongly suggest that you immediately look into the Khaldoun matter.”

Gillard’s spokesperson said however, that the minister’s office had not yet received the letter.

But regular Khaldoun contributor Noah Bassil, who serves as acting director of Macquarie’s Centre for Middle East Studies, defended the site, which posts regular coverage about the “carnage of Palestinian civilians at the hands of armed Israelis,” as stated in its August 12 entry.

“I feel very strongly that Israel needs to rethink its policy towards the Palestinians,” he said in a statement “Criticism of politics is necessary to ensure that power does not corrupt. What we want is to see some balance in the overall commentary.”

Macquarie spokesperson Greg Welsh said the university had no plans to review the site.

“The academics commenting on the Khaldoun blogsite -– which is not a Macquarie University site -– are expressing their professional opinions on subject matter well within the area of their appointment: Middle East politics.

"Our role is simply to ensure the university is a place where different views are tolerated and debated without prejudice.

“Macquarie University will not monitor the blogsite or try to tell the blog’s authors what to publish or what views to hold. That would be the antithesis of what a university in a free society stands for.”

However, fear among students over the website – as well as escalating anti-Israel bias at Macquarie – appears to be growing.

The Australian Liberal Students’ Federation (ALSF) has submitted a complaint about the site to the Senate Committee Inquiry into Academic Freedom, saying its comments were “shocking examples of anti-Semitism.”

A joint submission was also sent by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) to express its concerns, specifically about anti-Israel bias in the university’s curriculum.

“The website is a manifestation of what appears to be a lack of rigorous academic standards and balance [at Macquarie],” ECAJ president Robert Goot said “In the [university’s] ‘Introduction to Middle East Politics’ course, anti-Israel course material is required reading, while pro-Israel material is recommended reading only.
The skewing of course content and reading materials to give preponderance to one particular point of view or school of thought is a subtle, but insidious way of brainwashing young minds. This ought not to be tolerated.”

ADC calls for action against broadcasts

MELBOURNE - Australia should investigate jamming an anti-Semitic, pro-terrorism television station being broadcast into Australia from Indonesia, B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, a Jewish advocacy group says.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman John Searle said yesterday he was disappointed that Australia's Arabic community was supporting the station, al-Manar.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority has twice stopped the channel from being broadcast in Australia, in 2004 and in January this year, because of its support for terrorism. Now it is being transmitted by an Indonesian satellite company part-owned by the Indonesian Government, which has declined American requests to halt the broadcasts.

Al-Manar is operated by Hezbollah, a militant Lebanese Muslim party banned in the United States as a terrorist organisation. In Australia only its armed wing is proscribed.

The fiercely anti-Israel and anti-US station endorses suicide bombing and often broadcasts the final messages of suicide bombers.

Mr Searle said al-Manar went beyond acceptable limits of free speech and was renowned for inciting violence and hatred.

He said he was disturbed at statements by Australian Arabic Council chairman Roland Jabbour in The Age yesterday that the channel was popular and should not be restricted.

"I would have hoped that a station broadcasting programs which describe Jews as the offspring of apes and pigs and which advocates their annihilation would not receive the support of Australia's Arabic community," he said.

Mr Jabbour responded yesterday by saying that anti-Semitism was wrong and that Judaism should be respected, but that Hezbollah was not anti-Semitic.

"We need to make a clear distinction between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, and between a terrorist organisation and a resistance group," he said.

He said he would not call Jews the offspring of apes and pigs, but that in the context of "the crimes of the state of Israel" it was reasonable for al-Manar to do so and to portray Israeli rabbis as killing Christian children to use their blood in Passover meals.

He said The Age yesterday referred to Hezbollah kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. "That resulted in the release of 500 prisoners rotting in Israeli jails. Israel understands only the language of force. An occupier cannot claim self-defence," he said.

Communication specialist Paul Budde said jamming broadcasts into Australia from a satellite was relatively simple with military equipment, but would require a political decision by the Government rather than a regulatory decision by the media authority.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the authority was analysing al-Manar broadcasts to see whether they offended the counter-terrorism standards.

Western Australian Jewish Community expands

PERTH - Phil Samuell, president of the Perth Jewish Aged Home Society, has announced plans to secure additional beds in order to fulfil the needs of Perth's elderly Jewish community.

Samuell said the organisation had conducted a review because of growing waiting lists and the anticipated need for further assistance. The result was a decision to increase the number of hostel rooms, provide additional retirement villas and make provision for retirement apartments.

He added that the Perth Jewish Aged Home Society would apply for more bed licenses from the Federal Government. He outlined plans to build on land currently owned by Perth's Jewish community and to construct "high" quality multi-storey apartments that would be ready for occupancy after 2012.

The Jewish Community Council of Western Australia (JCCWA) has secured a new site for Jewish burials. At the recent JCCWA annual general meeting, president Dr Keith Shilkin said that after a lengthy process, plots had been secured at the new Guilford Cemetery.

The announcement alleviated concerns over lack of space at the current Jewish cementery.
Dr Shilkin, now in the final year of a two-year term as president, also announced that the Perth community would be encouraged to participate in the upcoming survey on Australia's Jewish community.

Central Synagogue feted with a grand concert

SYDNEY - It's 1994, and a community mourns as its beloved shul and many Torah scrolls are destroyed by fire.

By 1998, a new shul -– more beautiful than its predecessor -– is dedicated. And in 2008, the community celebrated the 10th anniversary of the shul’s re-opening.

This is the story of the Central Synagogue. Its most recent pages tell of the immense pride and joy, witnessed at a gala concert titled “Jerusalem to Broadway” last month.

A host of stars came out for the occasion -– the foremost was musical great Marvin Hamlisch, who traveled from New York as conductor of “the three cantors” and the Sydney International Orchestra.

As a composer, Hamlisch has won virtually every major award in existence: three Oscars, four Grammys, two Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards. His groundbreaking show A Chorus Line was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The three cantors were the Central Synagogue’s chief cantor, Cantor Shimon Farkas, his son and chief cantor of Melbourne’s Caulfield Synagogue, Cantor Dov Farkas, and Australian-born Canadian Cantor Alex Stein.

At one stage, the three cantors became four with the addition of Central’s associate cantor, Cantor Yehuda Niasoff.

The concert’s program was an eclectic compilation of traditional Jewish, Yiddish and Italian melodies, interspersed with opera and Broadway favourites.

From the toe-tapping strains of Irving Berlin until the final notes of a catchy Broadway medley, the audience was hooked.

For Shimon Farkas, too, there were many highlights. 

“It’s hard to pick one ... I got the shivers when we sang Hatikvah together with everyone,” he said

The audience of about 1,700 people, including a strong contingent from Melbourne, gave the performers a standing ovation and demanded an encore.

The Central Synagogue’s Rebbetzin Chanie Wolff addressed the audience and said: “Our mystics teach us that the tongue is the pen of the heart and that music is the pen of the soul. Our shul has hosted many wonderful events of music, but I think you will all agree that tonight’s concert truly illuminates the soul.”

The concert was sponsored by Harry and Rhonda Triguboff and produced by Ken Laing. It was performed in the presence of NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir, Ambassador for Israel Yuval Rotem, Senator Mark Arbib and shadow treasurer and member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull.

Local lobby group apologizes

MELBOURNE -A Regional Victorian lobby group has removed a poster from its website that compared Premier John Brumby to Adolf Hitler.

An apology to the Jewish community was also issued on the ‘Plug the Pipe’ website early Friday and the group’s chairman admitted that the image was “extremely offensive”.

The apology came after Victorian parliamentarians and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria slammed the poster, which was pictured being carried by a woman at a protest rally.

The poster depicted Hitler and Brumby with the words “Can you spot the difference between these two dictators”.

Plug the Pipe is an organisation that opposes the transportation of water from northern Victoria to the city in a project known as the Food Bowl Modernisation Project. The group was in the news last month after it threatened to trespass Brumby’s rural property.

Bureau chief Fabian may be contacted at fabiang@sandiegojewishworld.com

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TWO INCIDENTS OF VANDALISM—Marker of Ner Tamid Synagogue was vandalized in
late April and again in late August by neo-Nazis.


Neo-Nazi grafitti again plagues Ner Tamid

By Donald H. Harrison

POWAY, California—A new wave of anti-Semitic vandalism in this San Diego suburb over the past two weeks targeted Ner Tamid Synagogue, the private Abraxas Continuation High School, and five residences possibly chosen at random, according to Sheriff’s Detective Norm Hubbert.

 He said the Sheriff’s Department and the FBI, in a joint investigation, are not jumping to the conclusion that the same perpetrators were involved at all seven venues.  He noted that the incidents were spread out over different occasions and that in some cases there were differences in the materials used to paint the graffiti.

This was the third time that Ner Tamid’s monument on the street was defaced this year.  In late April, gang-style symbols unrecognized by authorities were spray painted on the monument, along with the numbers 88 and 14, both significant among neo-Nazis.  As “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, 88 has come to be known as the numerological equivalent of “HH” or “Heil Hitler,” according to the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director Morris Casuto.  The number 14 has a more subtle derivation, standing for the fourteen words of the white supremacist motto: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." 

A second instance was painted over by the synagogue without calling public attention to the details. 

The latest vandalism discovered shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 31,  again  featured the number 14 but this time a swastika also was smeared on the monument which sits at street level well below the synagogue campus atop a hill.  As in the last incident, there was no damage to the synagogue’s buildings or grounds on the hill.

Hubbert said there were there no reports of any vandalism at Poway’s two other synagogues, Temple Adat Shalom and Chabad of Poway.

However, the Abraxas High School, which serves numerous minority students in its student body of 259, was the subject of graffiti containing slurs not only against Jews but against Latinos and African-Americans, Hubbert said.  The school is located approximately a mile from the synagogue.

Within the last two weeks, five houses also were subjected to vandalism, four of them on Brookstone Drive, within a mile of the synagogue.  Detective Hubbert said some of the affected homeowners were Jewish, while others were not.

After the incident at Ner Tamid in April, various organizations offered rewards totaling $11,500 for information leading to the capture of those responsible.  Detective Hubbert said that the trail of the vandals had gone cold in the interim, but the latest rash of incidents has generated tips from several citizens—all of which will be evaluated.

Hubbert said sheriff’s officers are helping to organize “Neighborhood Watches” in the affected areas, with residents being asked to be aware of any suspicious activity in their neighborhood.  If they see strangers in their area without obvious cause, he said, they should advise the sheriff’s office, which will then sound out deputies to find out why those people are there.  If the newcomers have legitimate reasons for being where they are, he added, “it won’t be a problem.

Hubbert said among late-night behaviors residents might be on the lookout for are teenagers engaging in “tomfoolery, shenanigans, loud talking and boisterous attacks.”  Another tell tale sign, he said, may be people speeding in their vehicles around neighborhoods at night.

The sheriff’s deputy said he would encourage anyone with information about the latest vandalism to call Crime Stoppers at 858 550 TIPS (8477).

Harrison may be contacted at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com


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The Actors’ Gang
brings the dead to life

By Cynthia Citron

CULVER CITY, California After every war---or should I say between every war, since there always seems to be a next one---there is a plethora of literature denouncing war as senseless, futile, unbearably cruel, and tragic.  This seemed to be most in evidence after the Great War---World War I, The War to End All Wars.  And one of the most moving denunciations of that horrendous slaughter came from a 23-year old Jewish playwright named Irwin Shaw.

Shaw wrote his play in 1936, when the world was still struggling to overcome the aftermath and consequences of that first world war, and before it got sucked into the inevitability of World War II.  The play was called Bury the Dead, and it became a classic, along with films such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Johnny Got His GunWhat Price Glory? and Grand lllusion.

It’s a simple story, really, about six dead soldiers who refuse to allow themselves to be buried.  Tossed into a trench dug by two of their buddies, they stand up, one by one, and claim the right to not be covered up and forgotten.  “I didn’t chose to give my life for four yards of bloody mud,” says one.  “Maybe there’s too many of us under the ground now.  Maybe the earth can’t stand it no more,” says another.  “You got to change crops sometime.”  And another offers his own protest: “We are reclaiming our home; we didn’t ask for permission to leave.”

In response, the generals (George Ketsios and Adam Jefferis) are nearly apoplectic.  “Lie down and allow yourselves to be buried!” they command.  “The burden of war is on your shoulders; men must be buried and forgotten.”

The men, in turn, offer poignant reasons for not wanting to obey those orders.  Johnny, a farmer (played by Andrew Wheeler), offers a soliloquy about the smells of the earth and the crops on a summer’s day.  Henry (John Pick) rhapsodizes about women, those he’s known and the ones he’ll never get a chance to meet, and charges that “the earth still owes me.”  And a third, played by Brandon Hanson, bemoans the fact that there are “too many books I haven’t read; too many places I haven’t seen.”
In desperation, the generals bring in the women who are significant to the dead men---women who, they hope, will be able to persuade the men to lie down and be interred.  The women are wives,  girlfriends, a sister, a mother, and though each of them is horrified at the sight of their dead loved ones, they each do their part in trying to cajole them into taking their places in the earth.  Especially moving is Annemette Andersen, the mother of a 20-year-old (Jesse Luken) who has had most of his head blown away.  She pleads with him to remove his bandages so she can see him for one last time, and when he finally does remove them, her reaction brings a chill to everyone in the theater.

Bury the Dead is a grim play, but so well acted by the Actors’ Gang and so well directed by Matthew Huffman that it grips you even as it chills you.  Its battlefield setting by Francois-Pierre Couture is austere and effective, and the camouflage and battle fatigues of the soldiers, designed by Shannon Kennedy, are fine.  The uniforms of the officers, however, belong somewhere between The Chocolate Soldier and Nelson Eddy’s Mountie costume in Rose Marie.

Irwin Shaw used his novels and short stories as vehicles for his concerns about war, about civil liberties, and about McCarthyism.  Falsely accused of being a Communist and placed on Hollywood’s black list, he left the United States for Europe, where he lived for the next 25 years.  Although he died in 1984, he would probably not be surprised to learn that his anti-war play Bury the Dead is as timely and relevant now as it was when he wrote it.  He would probably also be delighted to know that it was being presented by The Actors’ Gang, a company known for its rambunctious staging of plays with political messages of which he would thoroughly approve.

Bury the Dead will be presented Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 through September 13th.  The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation is located at 9070 Venice Blvd. in Culver City.  Call (310) 838-4264 for reservations.

Los Angeles bureau chief Citron may be contacted at citronc@sandiegojewishworld.com

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Editor's Note: To create a permanent and accessible archive, we are reprinting news articles that appeared in back issues of various San Diego Jewish newspapers. You may access an index of the headlines of those articles by clicking here. You may also use the Google search program on our home page or on the headline index page to search for keywords or names.

From Southwestern Jewish Press, December 30, 1949, page 6

By Anna B. Brooks

Just as the bright candles of Chanukah signify the rebirth of the Faith of Israel, so do the members of the J.C.R.A. rekindle the hopes of the patients at the Sanatorium at Duarte by supplying funds for the new drugs and newly devised methods, which are actually snatching tubercular patients from the grave. Only by a large membership can the Jewish Consumptive Relief Assn. raise the necessary monies needed by the city of Hope.  Both men and women are eligible to join.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Addleson, in honor of their 50th Wedding Anniversary, are giving a luncheon and card party at Temple Center at noon on January 17th.  All proceeds will go into the J.C. R. A. treasury. The public is invited.

Installation of officers will be held on Sunday, January 22nd, at Temple Center, at 7:30 p.m.  Refreshments will be served.  Mrs. Rose Bertram, Regional Director of the Sanatorium, will come from Los Angeles to install Mrs. Esther Schwartz and her slate.

Members and friends of JCRSA are reminded that simchas, such as a new grandchild, a child’s marriage, school graduation and even a Yahrzeit, can take on a bigger meaning when they make a donation to as good a cause as J.C.R.A.

Congregation Beth Jacob
From Southwestern Jewish Press, December 30, 1949, page 6

At the first meeting of the year 1950 that Beth Jacob Congregation will hold on Tuesday evening, January 3rd at Beth Jacob Center, 3206 Myrtle Avenue at 8:00 p.m., the main topic of business will be a discussion on the date of ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Synagogue and Center that this Congregation will build this coming year.

The final plans for the building have been approved and they have been submitted for bid to various firms. When these bids have been checked and a bid accepted, the groundbreaking will take place. It is hoped that this long looked-for event will take place within the next thirty days.

Mr. Morrie Kraus, Chairman of the Building Committee, will give a detailed report on the progress of the Building Fund and will fill in any details on the business of the Building Committee the members will ask about.

Another important phase of business will be a reading of the Constitution, with some changes the Congregation will vote.

Mr. A. Abramson, President of the Congregation, urges all members to attend this meeting and to take an active part in the work of the Congregation’s most important venture, the Building of the new Synagogue.  Mr. Abramson said: “There are a number of vacancies on committees for which I would appreciate volunteers. Come to the meeting and get into the swing of things and you will find much enjoyment for yourself in this worthwhile work.” 

Refreshments will be served at the close of the business meeting.

Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary
From Southwestern Jewish Press, December 30, 1949, page 6

Plans are complete for the gala New Year’s Eve Turkey dinner which the Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary will hold at Beth Jacob Center, 3206 Myrtle Street on December 31st.

This party, where the ladies will serve a turkey dinner with all the garnishment to make it complete, will only be the start of festivities for the evening.  A social program and musical entertainment will add to the gaiety of the occasion.

Mrs. Anna Shelley, president of Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary, joins with her able committee in an invitation to attend this New Year’s Eve Party for which the cost is $2.00 per person.

Help usher in the Year 1950 in good company, with good food and good entertainment.  Come as early as you like, and stay as long as you like.

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
From Southwestern Jewish Press, December 30, 1949, page 6

A “Nu Fong Shoyn Un” luncheon meeting will be held January 10th by the Tifereth Israel Sisterhood at the Synagogue, 30th and Howard.

The highlight of the afternoon entertainment will be a delightful book review on “Go Fight City Hall” by Ethel Rosenberg; reviewer, Mrs. Sidney Goldhammer, to be assisted by various members of the Sisterhood, who will pantomime parts of the book.

Chairman for the luncheon will be Mrs. William Moss assisted by the Mesdames: Sara Shelley, I. Teacher, Harry Wax, Itz Penter, Sidney Smith, Herman Tulchinsky, Herman Sarfan, Bill Solof, Abe Ratner, David Solof, Julius Levin, Harry Weisberg, Henry Price, Sam Sklar, Jennie Siner, Monroe Levens, and Miss Sara Judd.

Reservations are necessary.  Please contact the following women: Mrs. Henry Price, T-5505; Mrs. William Moss, B-7726; Mrs. Sara Shelley, T. 1-5081.

“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg.  Our indexed "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" series will be a daily feature until we run out of history.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 211)

Problems in U.S., Israel known; likely responses of leading candidates aren't
by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Unusual ceremonies scheduled for Ramadan in Jerusalem and lifesaving at the Dead Sea
by Judy Lash Balint in Jerusalem
San Diego County
Congregation Beth Am picnics on the green
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
One of Jewish San Diego's favorite columnists walks—and writes!—again
It's Gert Thaler in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History:
— December 30, 1949:Jewish War Veterans of the United States
by Binnie Brooks
— December 30, 1949:San Diego Birdie Stodel B’nai Brith Chapter No. 92 by Bess Borushek
— December 30, 1949:Senior Pioneer (Negba) Club
— December 30, 1949: Hadassah
Music of Our People,
a collection of Jewish songs performed by Cantor Sheldon Merel of San Diego, debuts today on San Diego Jewish World with Adon Olam

Monday, September 1, 2008 (Vol. 2,No. 210)
Interfaith dialogue best at grassroots level
by Rabbi Dow Marmur in Toronto, Canada
Souvenirs not from U.S., Israel, but China
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Eco-activists rob U.S. of 'can-do' spirit
by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Arrival of family from Israel prompts the brit debate: who should do it and where? by Carol Davis in San Diego
Nike's 'Human Race' went well for red-shirted 10k runners in Tel Aviv by Ulla Hadar in Tel Aviv
San Diego Jewish History
December 30, 1949: Life Begins for Rabbi Cohn
December 39, 1949: Community Center Soccer Team
December 30, 1949: Chaim Weizmann Labor Zionist Organization
December 30, 1949:
San Diego Hebrew Home Auxiliary

Sunday, August 31, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 209)

Amid Georgia's ruins, Jews weigh aliyah
by Idan Peysahovich in Tbilisi, Georgia
Turkish diplomat saved Jews from Nazis
by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego
Campaign 2008: VP pick Palin has 'strong working relationship' with Alaska's Jews
by Matthew Brooks in Washington, D.C.
Campaign 2008: NJDC rejects RJC critique of Biden
by Ira Forman in Washington D.C.

Why so many laws not found in Torah?
by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
Instrumental vs. nurturing friendships
by Natasha Josefowitz in La Jolla, California
San Diego Jewish History
San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History:
—December 16, 1949: Beth Jacob P.T.A.
—December 16, 1949: Youth Groups to Stage Chanu-Kapers
—December 16, 1949: Temple Sisterhood
—December 30, 1949: Federation Plans Community Survey
—December 30, 1949: Community to Know Allocations Before Campaign Begins

Friday, August 29, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 208)
Tough interview: a jet-lagged grandson, 7 by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Bolshoi Principal Dancer Sulamith Messerer centennial was August 27
by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
—December 16, 1949: Tifereth Israel Men's Club
by Henry Bowman
—December 16, 1949: Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary
by Binni Brooks
—December 16, 1949: San Diego Birdie Stodel Chapter B'nai B'rith
by Bess Boroshek
—December 16, 1949:
San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged

Thursday, August 28, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 207)

Worrying about Obama's Mideast advisors by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Campaign 2008: Biden wrong on Iran, inconsistent on Israel by Matt Brooks in Washington, D.C.
The 'Leviticus Traps' by David Benkof in New York

Choose your student's backpack carefully by Gary Rotto in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History:

December 16, 1949: Sisterhood Invites All to ‘Come to the Fair’
December 16, 1949: Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
December 16, 1949: Delegation Attends Conference of Histadrut
December 16, 1949: Hadassah
Thursdays With the Songs of Hal Wingard, in San Diego
#217, Silent He And A Silent She
#200, Two Elderly Ladies
#2, Emperor's New Clothes

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 206)

Sublimating more pressing global concerns, Rice pushes her false Mideast priorities
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
The Jews Down Under, a roundup of Jewish news of Australia, by Garry Fabian in Melbourne
—Record number of Jews enter local politics
—Scholarship winner to promote peace efforts
—How Jews fared in the Big Run
—Nazi Hunter calls for swift extradition
—Salcberg's Run at Olympics comes to an end
—Survivors on show in Adelaide
—Move to block anti-Semitic 'Terror TV'
—Police Apology for Vorchheimer
—Peres Peace team arrives in Australia
—Brisbane Jewish community supports victim of violence
—Jewish Issues get airing at Writers Festival

San Diego Jewish History
—December 16, 1949: Letters to Southwestern Jewish Press from Rabbi Monroe Levens, Lou Mogy, Rabbi Baruch Stern, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, Wm. B. Schwartz, Manuel S. Fisher, Julia Steinman, Marie Berg, Clara E. Breed
—December 16, 1949: Senior Pioneer Women (Negba) Club

Jewish high school soccer sensation now a freshman on University of Maryland's team
by Bruce Lowitt in Oldsmar, Florida
Life turning pleasant circles upon itself
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Jewish tam at Currant American Brasserie
by Lynne Thrope in San Diego

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