Freemasonry

Billy Joel (Kike) wears yellow Star of David during concert encore

Billy Joel

(JTA) — Billy Joel wore a yellow Star of David on his sports jacket during the encore of his monthly concert at Madison Square Garden.

Photos of the legendary singer wearing the star began appearing on Facebook shortly after his performance Monday night. At least one tweet bore the hashtag #Charlottesville. Others called Joel “a true hero,” and his decision to wear the star “Epic and brave.” One tweet read: “So dope seeing Billy Joel live and seeing him take a stand to the hate in our country. Wearing the star of david is a huge statement.”

Other tweets, however, took issue with Joel’s statement.

“What is Billy Joel protesting? A president with part Jewish kids? The fact that Muslim immigrants in the US tend to be anti-semitic? WHAT!?” The tweet was in response to another that said, “Ok, so Billy Joel has lost his mind.”

Joel’s parents are Jewish but he was not brought up with the faith. He has been described as a secular Jew and an atheist.

At the concert, Joel invited singer Patty Smyth on stage to sing her hit song ““Goodbye to You” with him while a screen behind them flashed pictures of fired White House staffers including chief strategist Stephen Bannon, press secretary Sean Spicer and communications adviser Anthony Scaramucci.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Billy Joel doing is encores at MSG on 8/21 wearing one Jewish Star on his breast and another on his back. He is a true hero.

Ok, so Billy Joel has lost his mind. pic.twitter.com/hpxt2ps9r7

What is Billy Joel protesting? A president with part Jewish kids? The fact that Muslim immigrants in the US tend to be anti-semitic? WHAT!?

Billy Joel and patti smythe play “goodbye to you,” showing photos of trump staffers

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Trump threatens shutdown, suggests controversial pardon at Arizona rally

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-holds-campaign-style-rally-amid-large-protests-in-arizona/2017/08/22/dd7c83c0-8796-11e7-961d-2f373b3977ee_story.html?utm_term=.a98d875ebb57

 

 President Trump on Tuesday threatened to shut down the government over border wall funding, said the North American Free Trade Agreement is likely to be terminated and signaled that he was prepared to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is anathema to the Latino community.

Trump’s freewheeling comments came during a boisterous campaign rally here during which he also went on an extended diatribe about the media, blaming reporters for the negative fallout he has received over his responses to the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville.

Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants. A major Trump supporter during last year’s campaign, he awaits sentencing.

“So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked the crowd. “You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, okay? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good.”

Trump last week told Fox News that he was “seriously considering’’ a pardon for Arpaio and said he might do it soon, sparking speculation he would use Tuesday’s campaign rally here to make the move.

In a speech that stretched well over an hour, Trump also expressed frustration with efforts to negotiate with Canada and Mexico to improve NAFTA, saying he was more likely to terminate the deal. He also blamed “obstructionist Democrats” for standing in the way of funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and suggested a government shutdown might be needed to force their hand. And Trump called for ending the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes for many issues in the U.S. Senate, a move that Republican leaders have refused to embrace.

At the outset of the rally, Trump selectively recounted the series of statements he made in the days following the melee in Charlottesville, arguing that he “spoke out forcefully against hatred and bigotry and violence” but that the media — whom he called “sick people” — refused to report it properly.

“You know where my heart is,” Trump said, before pulling a copy of his first of three statements on the violence out of his suit coat and reading it to his audience. He later accused the media of giving a platform to the hate groups that were central to the violence in Charlottesville that led to three deaths.

Following his comments last week, Trump was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for blaming “both sides” for the violence and saying that “fine people” had marched along with white supremacists to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. He did not mention either of those remarks Tuesday.

The rally, organized by Trump’s reelection campaign, came as the president continues to face criticism for his response to Charlottesville and feuds with fellow Republicans in Congress whose cooperation he will need to kick-start his sputtering legislative agenda next month.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) had urged Trump to not come to his city this week, saying that it was too tense of a time in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters and that Trump could be setting the stage for more violent strife here. He also said that a pardon of Arpaio could make the situation even more dire.

Inside a partially filled Phoenix Convention Center, Trump was given a hero’s welcome from supporters who chanted “USA! USA! USA!” and waved signs reading “Drain the Swamp,” “Make America Strong Again” and “Make America Proud Again.”

“You were there from the start, you’ve been there every day since, and believe me, Arizona, I will never forget it,” Trump said at the start of his remarks, referencing a large crowd he drew at the site early in his campaign. His crowd Tuesday night numbered in the thousands but did not completely fill the hall at the convention center.

Before his arrival, Trump traveled to Yuma, where he received a closed briefing on border protection — something he touts as being among his administration’s successes — and greeted Marines and their families, signing a couple of autographs on camouflage hats.

Trump was greeted at the airport by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who was not expected to attend the rally. Nor were the state’s two Republican senators, with whom Trump has been openly sparring.

There was a heavy police presence in downtown Phoenix, with law enforcement seeking to maintain civility between Trump supporters and detractors. Authorities used tear gas to disperse protesters after the rally ended.

About an hour before Trump was scheduled to arrive, hundreds of protesters gathered across the street, shouting, “This is what democracy looks like!” Metal barricades divided them from the red-capped people streaming into the rally, some grinning and waving.

A police officer wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest could not say how many people had come to demonstrate against the president’s visit. “A lot,” he offered.

Uzma Jafri, a 40-year-old doctor from Phoenix, walked through the crowds of Trump supporters and protesters with a backpack of medical supplies. She said she came here to quickly treat anyone if violence broke out.

“My ethical background, and my moral background, is to assist anyone who needs it — regardless of if they hate me,” said Jafri, who poured a bottle of water over her black hijab in the 107-degree heat.

Brian Ratchford came to the event armed with a .357-caliber gun to defend Trump supporters if things got out of hand

“He’s an American for Americans,” said Ratchford, 47, of Tucson. What Trump said after Charlottesville “was perfect — people on both sides were causing the problems,” said Ratchford, who had been outside the convention center since 10 a.m.

Tuesday night’s event was part of a familiar pattern for Trump.

When he finds himself under attack or slipping in popularity, he often holds a rally in a place like this: a diverse blue city that’s home to liberal protesters but surrounded by red suburbs and rural towns filled with Trump supporters who will turn out in droves.

It happened in the first weeks of his presidential campaign, when he was dismissed as a sideshow and criticized for his comments on undocumented immigrants — only to be greeted by thousands of fans, along with protesters, at a rally at the convention center.

Then in March 2016, when Trump grew frustrated that he still had not become the presumptive Republican nominee, he planned a massive rally in inner-city Chicago that attracted thousands of supporters but was canceled at the last minute because of the high number of protesters. This March, when his presidency seemed constantly under attack, Trump held a rally in Nashville that attracted at least 2,500 protesters.

Unlike rallies in states that are solidly Republican, these events allow Trump to highlight the deep division in the country — and force voters to pick a side.

In Phoenix, campaign organizers expected more than 10,000 supporters to show up at the convention center on Tuesday night, and numerous counterprotests were planned for outside the rally. Local activists said they hoped to outnumber the rally­goers, sending a clear message to the president after the Charlottesville rally this month that attracted neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

“By coming here in a time of national crisis and a national question of where people stand, he is doubling down on his bigotry, continuing to race-bait and speak to his base,” said Carlos García, executive director of Puente Arizona, which advocates for migrants.

Phoenix is home to some of the most organized progressive activists in the country, and they have provided a much-studied example of how to fight at a grass-roots level to challenge lawmakers and change policies that target undocumented immigrants. The Phoenix area gave liberals one of their few victories last November: The ouster of Arpaio, the longtime Maricopa County sheriff, who was accused of encouraging his deputies to employ racial profiling and enforce federal immigration laws in the Phoenix suburbs.

In July, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in Arizona for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5, and he faces up to six months in prison.

Last week, Trump told Fox News the former sheriff is a “great American patriot” who has “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.” Arpaio told CNN that he had not been invited to attend the Tuesday night rally.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling with the president Tuesday that Trump was not planning to announce a pardon for Arpaio at the rally.

“There will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any point today,” she said.

A pardon — whenever it might come — would be likely to ignite the anger of hundreds of activists who spent more than a decade peacefully pushing for change through traditional channels, as well as the voters who chose not to reelect him.

“A pardon for Joe Arpaio is a pardon for white supremacy,” Jess O’Connell, chief executive of the Democratic National Committee, said at a news conference here Monday.

Early Tuesday morning, local authorities closed streets near the convention center and installed barricades along the sidewalks aimed at keeping protesters separated from rallygoers.Many businesses and government buildings downtown closed early.

In the hours before the rally, as Trump supporters lined up outside the convention site, a police officer on his motorcycle drove by, repeatedly offering this instruction: “Folks, please drink water. If you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s too late.”

Protest organizers said one challenge would be managing the hundreds of people not affiliated with their groups who showed up wanting to make a statement. Organizers and local lawmakers were urging a peaceful demonstration.

However, there were clashes after the rally, and police eventually used smoke canisters to disperse the crowds. No injuries were immediately reported.

While Democrats and immigration rights activists have been holding news conferences and speaking out against the president this week, Republicans have been quiet. No one answered the phone at the Arizona GOP offices on Monday or Tuesday.

Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have at times been critical of the president. Trump has tweeted praise of Kelli Ward, a former state lawmaker with far-right views and a long-shot Senate candidate who is challenging Flake.

In the hours leading up to the rally, a few dozen Ward supporters were out on the streets wearing yellow T-shirts reading “TRUMP 2016/WARD 2018” on the front and “MAKE ARIZONA GREAT AGAIN” on the back.

This was Trump’s ninth rally in the state — and his fourth at the Phoenix Convention Center.

His first event at the convention center was on July 11, 2015, a few weeks after he announced he was running for president and gave a rambling speech that cast undocumented immigrants as criminals and “rapists.”

Although those remarks prompted criticism and led several corporations to cut their business ties with him, the support for his campaign was evident in Phoenix, where he had to upgrade to a larger venue and then still had to turn away many supporters — a showing that shocked many Arizonans.

Lourdes Medrano in Phoenix and Philip Rucker in Washington contributed to this report.

Paul Ryan rejects constituent rabbi’s plea to censure Trump

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Responding to a local rabbi at a town hall, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Donald Trump “messed up” in his Charlottesville comments but dismissed a bid by Democrats to censure the president as a “partisan hack-fest.”

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, fielded the question by Rabbi Dena Feingold, a constituent in his district, at a town hall in Racine televised Monday on CNN.

Feingold, of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, began by noting that her family and Ryan’s had been friendly for decades. (Feingold’s brother Russ is a former Democratic senator from the state.)

“Given our shared upbringing, I’m sure that you are as shocked as I am at the brazen expressions, public expressions of white supremacy and anti-Semitism that our country has seen since the November election,” Feingold said.

“And our synagogue in Kenosha has had to have extra security hired and we’ve asked the Kenosha Police Department to help us out so that people can feel comfortable coming to our synagogue to gather,” she said. “And so following up on what’s been asked already, Speaker Ryan, as the leader of the congressional Republicans, I’d like to ask you what concrete steps that you will take to hold the president accountable when his words and executive actions either implicitly or explicitly condone, if not champion, racism and xenophobia. For example, will you support the resolution for censure?”

She was referring to a motion introduced last week by 75 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who is Jewish — that censures Trump for his “inadequate” response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a far-right rally earlier this month. Neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist protesters clashed there with counterprotesters, and a counterprotester was killed when an alleged white supremacist rammed a crowd with his car.

Trump said afterward that “many sides” were to blame for the violence, and there were some “very fine people” on both sides.

Ryan said at the town hall that Trump had “messed up” in his responses, but the congressman also praised the president for a separate address delivered just before the town hall started in which he called for unity. His reply to Feingold was acerbic.

“I just disagree with you,” Ryan said. “I will not support that. I think that would be — that would be so counterproductive. If we descend this issue into some partisan hack-fest, into some bickering against each other, and demean it down to some political food fight, what good does that do to unify this country?”

The moderator, Jake Tapper, pursued the issue, noting the fears in the district among Jews and among Sikhs, who were the targets of a lethal 2010 racist attack. The CNN newsman argued that the concerns about heightened racial tensions were not necessarily partisan.

“Forget his party for a second,” Tapper said. Trump is “giving aid and comfort to people who are fans of losing, discredited, hateful ideologies. ”

Ryan hesitated in his reply, but ultimately stood his ground.

“It is very, very important that we not make this a partisan food fight,” he said. “It is very important that we unify in condemning this kind of violence, in condemning this kind of hatred. And to make this us against them, Republicans against Democrats, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, that is a big mistake for our country, and that will demean the value of this important issue.”

Of Trump, Ryan said, “He needs to do better.”

The authors of the censure motion pushed back on Tuesday, saying in a statement that Ryan was shying away from moral accountability.

“In the wake of Charlottesville, Democrats and Republicans alike have been moved to reject the president’s ambivalent and wholly inadequate response to acts of domestic terrorism.” said a statement from Nadler’s office. “Many have gone so far as to condemn any attempt to project a moral equivalency between white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis, and those who gathered to protest against the ‘Unite the Right’ rally and the racist ideals it represents. Yet Speaker Ryan remains silent, and continues to omit calling out the President directly for his morally repugnant statements.”

BILL O’REILLY (WHITE IDIOT, WHITE FREEMASON, ZIONIST): TRUMP DOESN’T UNDERSTAND TRUE HORRORS OF THE THIRD REICH (LOL….)

 

Bill O’Reilly, former Fox News pundit and best-selling author, thinks that US President Trump doesn’t know enough about the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazism.

In an opinion piece published on The Hill, O’Reilly said that this lack of historical knowledge is at the heart of what happened in the aftermath of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said during an August 15 news conference. “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but I will say it right now.”

For Bill O’Reilly, this response was a mistake and shows that the US president doesn’t understand the full scope of Nazi horror.

“No other discussion can take place when Nazis are being analyzed,” O’Reilly said. “Mr. Trump saw violence by some counter-protesters and pointed it out. But when a young woman is killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer, that point must wait to be made.”

While there are certainly good people who want to keep the Robert E. Lee statue, the “proximity of white supremacists to the situation obscures the point,” O’Reilly continued.

However, he did not think Trump’s mistake was malicious, nor should he be branded as a Nazi sympathizer, saying that “truth is always the first casualty of hysteria.”

And Trump is far from the only history-challenged person according to O’Reilly.

“I can tell you with certainty that most people on this planet have no clue as to how German Nazis went about their lethal business. And that includes President Trump and many other politicians both present and past,” O’Reilly wrote.

He lamented that the Second World War was hardly taught in US schools and that Hitler had become a “caricature of evil, a distant monster” when he should be taught as something real and vivid.

“Mass murder was carried out by ordinary Germans while the vast majority of that population looked away out of self-interest and fear,” he stated. “These people weren’t from another planet.”

“The crimes of Hitler’s regime and the population that allowed it were so terrible that words cannot come close to description. Yet words are all we have.”

If we were taught more in-depth about the horrors of Nazism and the crimes of the Third Reich, O’Reilly concluded, Americans would have been united against hate after Charlottesville, not divided by politics.

Austrian soccer fan gets 18 months for Nazi salute

An Austrian soccer fan has been given an 18-month prison sentence for a Hitler salute during a match, falling foul of the country’s tough laws against Nazi glorification.

The unemployed 39-year-old from top-flight Rapid Vienna’s “ultra” wing of hardline fans was spotted performing the banned gesture during a match in August 2016 and sentenced in Vienna on Monday.

“I didn’t really give it much thought. But it clearly wasn’t a good idea,” the skinhead told the court, saying he had had “a few beers and spritzers” before the game.

Similar convictions are relatively common but usually the sentences are suspended. In this case, however, than man had a previous conviction for wishing Hitler happy birthday on Facebook in 2013.

Rapid Vienna is Austria’s most successful club with 32 league titles but its hardcore “ultra” supporters have a reputation for hooliganism and anti-Semitism.

Earlier this year, the the team launched an internal probe into its fans who had chanted anti-Semitic slogans at a friendly game in May.

A small group among the several hundred spectators were filmed shouting “Jewish pigs” after Rapid II lost 2-1 against arch rival Austria Vienna in Tuesday evening’s clash.

Rapid at the time described the behavior as “unforgivable,” saying it “trampled on the club’s values and principles.”

“Anyone who is found to have joined in these insults will be immediately banned from SK Rapid events,” the club said in a statement sent to AFP.

Wiesenthal Center program against racism part of Youth Olympic games

BUENOS AIRES — The Simon Wiesenthal Center program against Racism in Sport will be implemented in the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games with the support of the Organization of American States.

The “Eleven Points Against Racism in Football” program works with sport authorities, athletes and referees to stop and prevent racial hatred in sport matches and events and to use sports as a bond between peoples.

On Tuesday, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, confirmed to JTA the agreement with OAS and its support to implement the program during next year’s global event organized by the Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires for young sportsman.

On Friday OAS confirmed its decision to grant its support to the program as a way to fight for fundamental rights.

“If we succeed in eradicating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in sport we can generate a greater awareness in society. As Nelson Mandela has shown, sport is a powerful tool for changing unacceptable behaviors and promoting inclusive societies,” Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center.

“Over the next year, we look forward to working hard to adopt the program in the lead up to the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games,” said Gelblung, who is planning an educational site inside the Olympic village in Buenos Aires.

The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent violence in major sporting events.

In March 2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors club over anti-Semitic chants from its fans against Atlanta, a team associated with the Jewish community. One year later, the center asked for sanctions against Atlanta for making racist chants against rival Chacarita.

Israel will participate in the 2018 youth Olympic games, which has soccer star Lionel Messi as one of its main supporters, in which athletes from 206 countries ages 15 to 18 years old will compete in Buenos Aires, October 6 -18, the third edition of the global sport main event for youth organized by the Olympic committee.

US trying to thwart UN blacklist of settlement-friendly firms

The Trump administration is reportedly urging the UN’s Human Rights Council not to publish its blacklist of international companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, saying the move was “counterproductive” and would not advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Last year, the UN body unanimously voted to compile a database of all business enterprises that have enabled or profited from the growth of Israeli settlements in areas Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The proposal, put forward by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states in 2016, included a condemnation of settlements and called on companies not to do business with Israeli settlements.

According to a Tuesday report in the Washington Post, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein intends to publish the list by the end of 2017, despite opposition from the US and Israel.

“The United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, according to reports. “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues.”

Nauert said a joint US-Israel effort to stop funding for work related to the database had been unsuccessful.

“We have made clear our opposition regarding the creation of a database of businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and we have not participated and will not participate in its creation or contribute to its content,” she said.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walks with Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon as they arrive for a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hussein, a Jordanian diplomat spearheading the initiative, had already agreed to postpone publishing the list once this year, in part due to US pressure, the report said. He has reached out to member states for input before September 1.

American companies on the list include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb and others, The Post reported, citing those familiar with the database.

On Monday, Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon slammed the Geneva-based council, claiming the creation of a blacklist amounted to anti-Semitism.

“This shameful step is an expression of modern anti-Semitism and reminds us of dark periods in history,” Danon’s office said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on the terrible humanitarian problems plaguing the globe, the Human Rights Commissioner is seeking to harm Israel, and in doing so has become the world’s most senior BDS activist.”

The statement called on the UN and the international community to reject the “dangerous” and “anti-Israel” initiative.

In June, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, condemned the blacklist as “the latest in this long line of shameful actions” taken by the UNHRC.

“Blacklisting companies without even looking at their employment practices or their contributions to local empowerment, but rather based entirely on their location in areas of conflict is contrary to the laws of international trade and to any reasonable definition of human rights,” she said in a speech in Geneva. “It is an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. It must be rejected.”

Haley went on to warn at the time that the US could withdraw from the 47-member body unless it reformed, ending its built-in procedural mechanism to condemn Israel, and banning notorious human rights violators from serving on the council.

Since 2007, Israel has been the only country whose alleged human rights abuses are regularly discussed in the framework of a single permanent item on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.

In talks with Putin, Netanyahu to focus on Iran threat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations with his top security officials on Tuesday, a day before he travels with them to Sochi for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss threats from Iran.

“I will discuss with him Iran’s accelerated attempt to establish a military presence in Syria,” said Netanyahu in a statement.

“This attests, of course, to Iran’s aggression which has not lessened in the wake of the nuclear agreement,” Netanyahu said, adding that “this also presents a problem not only to Israel, but rather to all the nations of the Middle East and the entire world.”

The prime minister will be joined on the trip to the Black Sea resort city by Mossad chief Yoram Cohen and newly appointed National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Head of Mossad Yossi Cohen speaks at the launch event for Libertad foundation. June 27, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

The pair will sit in on the meetings with the Russian leader, during which Netanyahu is expected to raise concerns over a ceasefire in Syria brokered by Washington and Moscow. Israel has opposed the deal, saying it does not properly address Israel’s concerns about Iranian ambitions in the region.

The Israeli delegation will also try to secure assurances that after a ceasefire brings the fighting in Syria to an end, Iranian forces will be pulled out of the country and its territory, a Ynet report said.

Iran is said to be trying to forge a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon, where its ally Hezbollah operates.

Netanyahu last met with Putin in Moscow in March, but they have spoken by phone frequently since then.

“The two set the meeting to discuss the latest developments in the region,” a Saturday statement from the PMO said, adding that “it must be noted that in the last two years Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with President Putin every few months to discuss bilateral and regional issues with the intention of preventing any clashes between Israeli and Russian air forces in Syria, with success until now.”

Meir Ben-Shabbat, who was named National Security Adviser on August 13, 2017. (Courtesy)

Russia entered the Syrian civil war in 2015 in support of the regime of President Bashar Assad, carrying out bombing runs against rebel groups fighting against Damascus.

While Israel has rarely acknowledged carrying out its own airstrikes in Syria, numerous raids on weapons transfers have been attributed to Jerusalem.

Despite the coordination between the two countries, some of the reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria on weapons convoys have led to tensions between Jerusalem and Moscow.

In April, Moscow summoned Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, to protest a reported Israeli strike that nearly hit Russian troops stationed in the area. Syria’s ambassador to the UN later said that Russia had changed its policy and no longer grants Israel freedom of action over Syrian skies.

Netanyahu subsequently denied reports Moscow had told Israel to end airstrikes in Syria, vowing that the IDF would continue attacking weapons convoys.

When American Jews fought Nazis — in New Jersey

JTA — The Nazi punching debate (is it OK to punch a Nazi?) went viral in January after a liberal protester slugged white supremacist Richard Spencer in the face during President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It was reignited this month following brawls between far-right nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and counterprotesters, including some associated with the combative Antifa movement.

Although most eyewitness accounts of the events in Charlottesville pin much of the blame for the violence on the far-right marchers, and a counterprotester was killed by a car driven by a suspected white supremacist, critics like attorney Alan Dershowitz disapproved of the “anti-fascists” who showed up at the rallies.

“They use violence, and just because they’re opposed to fascism and to some of these [Confederate] monuments shouldn’t make them heroes of the liberals,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

But whether it’s OK to confront hatred with violence is not a new topic of conversation. The question was debated in the 1930s among American Jews, who were faced with both the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and Nazi sympathizers at home.

One hotbed for the debate was Newark, New Jersey, home to a large German-American population and a fair share of supporters of the Nazi cause. Though only around 5 percent of the city’s German-American population of some 45,000 sympathized with the Nazis, they made it known, said Warren Grover, a historian and the author of the 2003 book “Nazis in Newark.”

Following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Jews in Newark saw Nazi-sympathizers marching down their city’s streets.

“The threats they faced were physical because the Nazis were marching in uniform. Many of them were armed. They broke windows, and they attacked merchants, but never with fatal consequences,” Grover said of residents of the city’s Third Ward neighborhood, where many Jews and Nazi supporters lived side by side.

Nazis also screened movies with anti-Semitic messages and hung anti-Jewish posters in the city, Grover told JTA. At a local election in bordering Irvington, they plastered posters across the city urging residents not to vote for Jewish candidates.

During the 1930s in Yaphank, New York, members of the Nazi party march through the Long Island town, where they also organized a pro-Hitler summer camp (Public domain)

In response, Jews started organizing to defend themselves. Across the country, Jews would fight Nazis on an ad hoc basis. But in Newark, a more organized group emerged: the Minutemen. Jewish mobster Meyer Lansky had started the group in New York, but the Minutemen were shut down there by the authorities after some Jews reported them, fearing the use of violence would lead to an increase in anti-Semitism.

In Newark, however, the Minutemen took hold, aided by another Jewish gangster, Abner “Longy” Zwillman, and led by former professional boxer Nat Arno. On October 18, 1933, JTA reported on a typical clash, outside a Nazi meeting at a German auditorium: “The meeting, at the Schwabenhalle, under the auspices of the Friends of the New Germany … was the target for stones and stench bombs thrown by the anti-Nazis in the crowd of about one thousand who waited outside the hall.”

The following May, JTA reported on a melee in Irvington: A “Nazi meeting terminated in fisticuffs, a miniature riot, arrests and injury to many persons.”

Though the Minutemen were “cheered and accepted by the majority of the Newark Jewish population,” Grover said, not everyone was enthusiastic.

Some Jews, especially those affiliated with Reform synagogues, “felt it gave Jews a bad name to be engaged in brawling, and they felt the government would take care of it,” he said. Those who opposed the group tended not to live in the Third Ward.

Yet the mostly Jewish group, which also had a few Irish and Italian members, became a powerful tool to fight Hitler sympathizers..

“The Minutemen were ready for them. The Minutemen had clubs and stink bombs, and they attacked the participants of the event,” Grover said of one Nazi mass demonstration in 1933. “Police came, and there were some arrests, and people said later that the Jews, the Minutemen, had no right to attack a peaceful gathering in a Newark hall.”

The Minutemen also boosted Jewish morale.

“Physical prowess as exhibited against the Newark Nazis, Irvington Nazis, was a matter of pride for the Eastern European Jews who came because of the pogroms in Russia in the 1880s,” Grover said. “They took pride in it because they saw the newsreels coming from Germany [showing] how the Jews in Germany were being treated and all the different anti-Jewish legislation.”

Ultimately, Grover said, the group served its purpose: deterring Nazis from organizing in Newark.

“Just the thought of having Minutemen present at any of their meetings discouraged a lot of the Nazis from holding public meetings,” he said. “They were successful because a lot less propaganda was brought out by the Nazis because of fear of the Minutemen.”

Should New York City remove statues of its anti-Semitic Dutch governor?

JTA — Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson … and Peter Stuyvesant?

One of these things is not like the others.

Amid the impassioned debate over whether, when and how to remove statues memorializing the Confederacy, an Israeli nonprofit is seeking a piece of the action. On Tuesday, Shurat HaDin, the Isreal Law Center, which represents terror victims in court, called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove all memorials to Stuyvesant, the last Dutch director-general of New Amsterdam (now New York), who was a known anti-Semite.

“Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,” read a statement by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin’s president. “New York, of all American cities, which boasts such important Jewish history and claims such a present day vibrant Jewish community, should take the lead in denouncing Stuyvesant’s bigotry.”

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: 'Hezbollah is launching a fundraising campaign and using Western Union to accept the donations.' (courtesy)

The group’s complaint affects a range of locations and institutions around the city — from the elite Stuyvesant High School to Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Brooklyn neighborhood. The Dutchman also has a statue in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Square.

It’s true that Stuyvesant hated the Jews — to put it lightly. He didn’t want them to stay in his colony when they arrived in 1654 from the Netherlands via Brazil. When that didn’t work (because — awkward! — some of the colony’s owners were Jewish), Stuyvesant settled for prohibiting them from building a synagogue and serving in the militia. And he slapped them with a special tax.

He also called them “the deceitful race, such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ.” So, yeah, not a fan.

But does that put him on par with the leaders of the Confederacy?

The statues of Lee, Davis and Jackson aren’t being taken down only because they were racist, though they certainly were. It’s because they led an armed rebellion against the United States so they could form a country built on the principle of enslaving an entire race.

If activists were calling for the removal of any monument to any racist (or anti-Semite), municipal workers would have their hands full taking down monuments to everyone from George Washington (he owned slaves) to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who interned Japanese Americans en masse) to Edith Wharton (who has been described as “vehemently anti-Semitic, even by the standards of her milieu and her era”). Despite the protestations of President Donald Trump, no one is demanding these actions.

Virginia State Police in riot gear stand in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee before forcing white nationalists out of Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

And in the generations following the Civil War, Lee and crew became symbols not just of military honor but of institutionalized racism. Most of the Confederate memorials went up during the imposition of Jim Crow and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, and there was another burst of defiant statues during the civil rights era. The statues celebrated segregation, and worse.

Stuyvesant is no such symbol. Though he institutionalized anti-Semitism for a brief period, his likeness isn’t viewed as a call to Jew-hatred. It’s likely most Jews in New York City don’t even know he was anti-Semitic (I didn’t before today).

Shurat HaDin is calling for all of Stuyvesant’s memorials to be renamed for Asser Levy, a prominent member of the first New York Jewish community who campaigned for equal rights. Levy already has two city parks and a school to his name — and he’s unlikely to get all of Stuyvesant’s real estate. Notably, Shearith Israel, the still-running congregation founded by the original New York Jews, has not joined Shurat HaDin’s campaign.

Plus, Bed-Levy just doesn’t have the same ring to it.