Gaza war seen fueling increase in attacks in area.
Amy Sara Clark
Following a spike in anti-Semitic crimes over the summer — including the attack of a visibly-Jewish couple on the Upper East Side last month — New York City-area Jews began celebrating the High Holidays this week in a charged atmosphere and with stepped-up security measures at synagogues and other Jewish institutions.
With the exception of the glorious weather, the summer of 2014 was deeply depressing. There was the collapse of the Mideast peace talks. Then came seven weeks of war in Gaza with much of the world seemingly more critical of Israel for aggressively defending itself than of Hamas for initiating, prolonging and expanding the conflict. Hamas fired from within civilian areas and encouraged their citizens to stay put rather than escape from Israeli-targeted buildings. Yet the onus of a United Nations commission on human rights violations no doubt will highlight alleged Israeli violations, once more equating the arsonist and the fireman.
“A yarmulke is an indoor garment.” Ask any male Ramaz graduate from the 1940’s through the mid-‘60’s and he will recognize that declaration as one with which we – and others of our age – grew up. We didn’t wear kipot outside. We wore hats or no head covering. Essentially, we didn’t identify as Jews in the street, a street that was not entirely welcoming to us. It was a time of overt or covert anti-Semitism and we were acculturated to be aware of it and respond accordingly.
Canterbury, England - A well-known London theater has reversed its decision and will host future Jewish film festivals partly financed by the Israeli Embassy, though not this year. Earlier this month, the Tricycle Theatre board decided not to host the 2014 UK Jewish Film Festival because of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and the Israeli government’s financial backing of the festival.
Twenty-six films were scheduled to be shown in November.
Berlin - It’s been 17 years since Suzette Bronkhorst co-founded the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, but she said she doesn’t remember the level of anti-Semitic speech on social media platforms ever being this high.
Turkey took another step away from democracy and closer to becoming an extremist Islamist state and patron of terrorists this week when Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the country's first elected president.
He has said he wants to build a "new Turkey" that will respect the diverse views of his nation, but he is the one most responsible for the deep divisions that plague it and damaging its international standing.