25 December 2019 06:40
In late December 2019, during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, readers asked us about the authenticity and provenance of a stirring, powerful photograph. The picture was shared several times on social media in the final week of December, during which the eight-day festival of lights fell in 2019: On Hanukkah 1932, just one month before Hitler came to power, Rachel Posner, wife of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, took this photo of the family Hanukkah menorah from the window ledge of the family home looking out on to the building across the road decorated with Nazi flags. In 2017, the New York Times spoke with members of the Posner family, who explained that Yad Vashem exhibited the original menorah throughout the year, with the exception of Hanukkah, when it is displayed in the home of the Posners' great-grandson, Akiva Baruch Mansbach, in Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem. Mansbach explained to the Times the continued symbolic significance of lighting the very same menorah shown in the now-famous photograph: A Jewish-Israeli student at Columbia University has filed "the first legal action since [President] Trump's Executive Order that asserts a university is in violation of Title VI for discrimination against Jews," his lawyer told Fox News on Tuesday. In the complaint, Jonathan Karten, a senior at Columbia University, alleges he was subjected to anti-Semitism on campus.
It was filed last Tuesday, about one week after President Trump signed an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order broadens the federal government's definition of anti-Semitism to include the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition, which can include criticism of Israel, and instructed it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses under Title VI. TRUMP TARGETS ANTI-SEMITISM, BOYCOTTS AGAINST ISRAEL ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES "We drafted and filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which is, to my knowledge, the first action of its kind since Trump's executive order," attorney Brooke Goldstein, who is representing Karten, told Fox News. ISRAELI STUDENT SUBJECTED TO FOUL-MOUTHED ANTI-SEMITIC TIRADE ON NEW YORK SUBWAY Goldstein, who is also the executive director of The Lawfare Project--a Jewish civil rights advocacy group that provides legal assistance to members of the Jewish community who have been targeted because of their faith--said she hopes an investigation is launched into the university. She said Karten, 23, "has been ridiculed and embarrassed because of his religion and his national identity" on campus by members of the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)--and even professors.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND BARNARD COLLEGE 'HOTBED FOR HATE,' REPORT DOCUMENTING 'SYSTEMIC ANTI-SEMITISM' AT THE SCHOOLS SAYS "However, according to Professor Massad, this group's killing of innocent Israeli citizens, like Jonathan's uncle and countless others, is justified due to Israel's 'settler colonialism,'" the complaint said. In a statement sent Fox News, Karten called the alleged comments made by Massad a "wake-up call." "I am not proud to say that over the past several years studying at Columbia, I have learned to become far too comfortable with [the] anti-Israel sentiment, anti-Israel bias that often bleeds into anti-Semitism, a bias that has become all too normalized," Karten said. COLUMBIA PROFESSOR UNDER FIRE FOR BLAMING ISRAEL FOR EVERY PROBLEM 'IN THE WORLD' ELITE NEW YORK SCHOOL IS ROCKED BY ANTI-SEMITISM AFTER SWASTIKAS DAUBED ON WALLS Goldstein told Fox News that "Jewish students have submitted multiple complaints to the administration, which details the treatment [on campus], and there has been no response." "First there was no response and then they were given the runaround, told to go from one administrator to another," Goldstein said, adding that the executive vice president of the Office of University Life then allegedly told students "that nothing can be done, and the university has continually refused to take action against SJP even though they isolate and target Jewish and Israeli students." She said Karten filed a complaint with Columbia University's Department of Public Safety last year "after he and his friends were repeatedly called murderers at a BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] referendum at the school." Columbia University did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. This Hanukkah, I'm Remembering Persecuted People of All Faiths The Greek king of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus Epiphanes, imposed a heavy hand against the Jews in the land of Israel, forbidding the free exercise of their religious practices. Jews around the world every year remember this story of God's intervention at the people's initiative in a moment of persecution.
Hanukkah is a special time of joy for every Jew in every place, but it's also an opportunity for us to pray for divine intervention even as we act against injustice – to pray that the power of the light will once again overcome the darkness of religious oppression wherever it exists today. We do this because modernity hasn't liberated us from the spirit of Antiochus; rather, modernity has tragically reminded us that the same evil often lurks just around the corner.With each candle I light this blessed season, I do so with gratitude for the ways God has proven Himself faithful to the Jewish people, and for how He has led us to overcome one injustice after another in all the centuries that have followed our first Hanukkah. Yes, that's my Hanukkah prayer… that this Festival of Lights will bring a brighter day to those oppressed and persecuted in every dark place on our planet. And may it be not just for Jews, but for people of all faiths, at all times and in all places. But in one of the many ironies that have become so commonplace in politics in the age of Trump, the same people who believe they are attempting to save the republic if not civilization itself from the scourge of the 45th president are becoming unwitting impediments to the actual struggle against anti-Semitism. That was made clear during the course of the two weeks preceding the House of Representatives vote to impeach Trump when many liberal or left-wing Jews seized upon the president's actions and statements as further proof of the justice of the "resistance" to him. Trump's speech to the Israeli-American Council in which he both invoked old and dangerous tropes about Jews and money while urging Jews to be more supportive of Israel sparked fresh outrage among his critics. Days later, his signing of an executive order seeking to extend protections of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jewish students who are being intimidated by anti-Semitic BDS propaganda on college campuses was interpreted by many on the left as a dog whistle to Jew haters on the far right and an attack on free speech. But however much the majority of Jews may despise Trump, it's time for even those most obsessed with what they consider to be his awfulness to pause and consider whether their instinct to resist him is really more important than combating anti-Semitism. Yet the last weeks seem to crystallized the way the discussions about anti-Semitism has not so much been influenced by partisan politics as it has completely taken it over. The willingness of so many on the left to not merely ignore the fact that Trump was taking action against anti-Semitism but to claim his executive order was either an attack on free speech (a consideration that no one thinks applies to federal restrictions on colleges promoting racism against blacks or Hispanics) or a racist redefinition of Jewish identity that was inspired by white supremacist attitudes demonstrated that rational debate is no longer possible about the subject. By saying that Jews should be especially opposed to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax and making a passing remark about Jewish real estate brokers in New York being "brutal," he seemed to be invoking traditional anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money. His words were inappropriate but were also delivered in the context of a speech in which he criticized Jews for not being supportive enough of Israel and in which he gave a ringing and unqualified condemnation of anti-Semitism from both the left and the right. If the "resistance" isn't willing to recognize that Trump is not only not an anti-Semite but actually someone who has done a great deal to fight it, then it has become part of the problem rather than its solution.