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LONDON, England -- Anti-Semitic posts from Wiley on social media have been making headlines for days, with the rapper's latest outburst - on his personal Facebook account - aimed at his Jewish critics. BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has spoken to black Jewish people about how posts like these - and the conversations around them - make them feel.

Autumn Rowe is a singer-songwriter who has written for Little Mix, Dua Lipa and Leona Lewis.

"The fact is I am a black person, I can also be a Jewish person, I can also be a woman and a vegan," she told us earlier this week.

"But no matter what, you can't take away from me that I'm a black person and you cannot take away my experience."

Autumn Rowe wants more people in the industry to use their platform to speak out. She says she has been disappointed by the lack of reaction in the UK music industry to Wiley's comments.

"Some people have spoken out, like Labrinth for example.

"I had a long talk with him but I'm seeing other people who are silent and I don't want to attack them or make them feel guilty in any way, I just would like to know why.

"As artists and writers, we have a way to communicate to the entire world - we have the platform of music - it's a universal language."

'Why Wiley's tweets burn deep'

Wiley's social media posts started on Friday evening, when many Jewish people would have been enjoying Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest and time to spend with family and friends.

He was subsequently dropped by his management, with his former manager John Woolf saying he was "shocked and saddened" by the comments.

Wiley, real name Richard Cowie, was challenged by journalist and podcaster Nadine Batchelor-Hunt.

"He was saying that Jewish people didn't effectively care about black people - I told him he was wrong, because I'm both black and Jewish," she told the BBC.

"He responded by telling me that I wasn't really black and then he followed me on Twitter, which meant I could inbox him.

"I asked him why he was doing what he was doing. I just didn't get a response."

Nadine says she found his comments upsetting because they created "awful divisions between two communities" by pitting Black and Jewish people against each other. This is something Autumn felt too and that by creating divisions with his comments, Wiley was detracting from the fight against all forms of racism.

"It's really important that Jewish people who are really upset right now are also really upset about Black Lives Matter," Autumn says. "Anti-Semitism and what's happening to black people with police brutality and systematic racism are completely separate things but at the same time, anti-Semitism is real and it's very dangerous.

"It should not be tolerated and also deserves attention."

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked Twitter and Instagram why Wiley's posts were allowed to stay on the platforms for so long.  Some of his most inflammatory social posts have been removed but many are still visible, allowing for anti-Semitism to continue in the comments sections.

Jodeci Joseph, a 23-year-old Black Jewish motivational speaker, told BBC Radio 5Live: "There seems to be some sort of gap between the knowledge and awareness of what anti-Semitism is or what is classed as anti-Semitism and how it can hurt Jewish people.

He says because there are so few Jews in the UK that many people have never met someone Jewish and so have nothing to base their opinions on.

"To see this comments from an artist not get taken down and then to see other people's comments is just scary - there's so much negativity about Jews and it seems the only people speaking out are my Jewish friends." –BBCi


     13-19 Av, 5780                                                        Aug.3-9, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--640th Web Ed.





Frankfurt, Germany Mayor, Uwe Becker

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) recently announced that Frankfurt Mayor, Uwe Becker, who is also the German State of Hesse’s anti-Semitism commissioner, has joined its Advisory Board. Becker joins an impressive list of advisors helping the organization spearhead the fight against anti-Semitism across the world.

Becker has been a member of the City Government Magistrat of Frankfurt am Main since July 2006. Since July 2016 he has served as Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main. At the same time, as city treasurer, he is responsible for the city's finances. In April 2019, Becker was appointed State Commissioner for Jewish life and the fight against Anti-Semitism of the State of Hesse by the Hessian state government.

Becker has long been a consistent and strong voice against anti-Semitism in Germany. Last year, he publicly called for an end to tax breaks for charities and NGOs that support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, demanding a public review of their non-profit status.

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 250 organizations and 270,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.  

Mayor Becker joins CAM’s Advisory Board, which already includes Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, former-US Sen. Joe Lieberman, human rights icon Natan Sharansky and acclaimed Harvard academic Dr. Ruth Wisse.

Mayor Uwe Becker said, “The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement’s unique, grassroots, apolitical approach has never been more important, with anti-Semitism flourishing across the world. My own determination to fight the evil of anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it is found is no secret. I am therefore delighted and honored to join the organization’s Advisory Board and to help CAM’s tireless efforts to defeat the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director commented, “Mayor Uwe Becker is one of Europe’s most powerful and prominent public voices against anti-Semitism. We are thrilled that he has agreed to join our Advisory Board. We look forward to working alongside him as the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement continues to grow and expand its activities. I am confident that his input, advice and guidance will have a tremendous impact as we strive to influence more people and strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”  

Photo Credit - Courtesy Uwe Becker


During Monday's meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog estimated that some 250,000 people will immigrate to Israel within the next three to five years.
Committee Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) said, “The connection with the Jews (abroad) is important and crucial, both for Aliyah and for creating empathy for Israel among Jewish leaders in the Diaspora." He stressed the need to assist small Jewish communities abroad, mainly in education, communal activity, hasbara (public-relations efforts to disseminate positive information abroad about Israel) and security.
Israel, said MK Bitan, must prepare for a large wave of immigration in the next year and a half due to the fact that large Jewish communities overseas have seen a significant number of corona-related deaths, alongside the rising anti-Semitism around the world.
MK Bitan mentioned that the committee will work in the coming months on job placement for new immigrants, including recognition of degrees obtained overseas, as well as on increasing housing options and expanding the scholarships for new immigrant university students. In addition, MK Bitan is advancing the establishment of a joint fund of the Jewish Agency and the government to assist small Jewish communities abroad, and he has also asked the Cabinet Secretary to set up, as soon as possible, a ministerial committee on immigration and absorption to promote initiatives and remove bureaucratic barriers. According to Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog, due to the corona crisis, most of the 250,000 people who are expected to immigrate to Israel in the next 3-5 years are young individuals with so-called free professions.
“This is a historic challenge that must be taken advantage of, and the government must understand the importance of the hour and prepare a national plan to absorb this wave," Herzog stated, adding that the number of people who have contacted the Jewish Agency about Aliyah from English-speaking countries has increased by 50%, and by 70% from French-speaking countries.



HAMBURG, Germany -- The trial of Stutthof armed SS guard Bruno Dey concluded last week in Hamburg, when the court convicted the 93-year-old baker of being an accessory to the deaths of 5,230 inmates of the Nazi concentration camp.

Opened in 1939, Stutthof was the first Nazi camp located outside of Germany and was the last to be liberated (by the Soviet Army) on May 9, 1945. In all, 110,000 persons were incarcerated there and approximately 65,000 were murdered or died of the horrific conditions in the camp. In 1943, the Nazis built a gas chamber there, which was used especially in 1944, when large numbers of Jews were sent there, primarily from Auschwitz, and the Baltic countries of Lithuania and Latvia. A very large proportion of the Jewish inmates were women.

Dey was sentenced to a two year prison term, but the court, for reasons not fully explained, decided to suspend his sentence, so unless the prosecution appeals the case, which is highly unlikely, he will have been spared any punishment.

Thus none of the four Nazi war criminals convicted by German courts during the past decade – Demjanjuk (Sobibor), Groening (Auschwitz), Henning (Auschwitz) and now Dey will have been incarcerated for a single day after being convicted. This fact tarnishes the results achieved by these late trials.
The Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is responsible for coordinating the Center's efforts to facilitate the prosecution of Nazi war crimes, played an active role in the preparations for the trial of Bruno Dey. We found twenty survivors of Stutthof, to help the prosecution prepare its case, and those who lost first-degree relatives in the camp, joined the prosecution as co-plaintiffs. 

The information supplied by these individuals will also be very valuable in the preparation of the next case about to come to trial in Germany, which is also of a person who served in Stutthof.


MONTREAL -- KlezKanada, an international leader in the world of Yiddish culture, has released the full program for the 25th Anniversary edition of its annual summer festival. The festival's first ever virtual edition will be held from 24-28 August, 2020, with over 60 workshops and classes on offer over the five days.

As ever, the festival features famous names from Yiddish culture alongside emerging talent. Audiences can enjoy exclusive online concerts from headline acts including the Grammy Award-winning band The Klezmatics (New York, NY) and the genre-bending DJ Socalled (Montreal, QC).

While many cultural events have been canceled this season, it was out of the question for KlezKanada. “If the culture of Eastern European Jewish life teaches us anything, it is how to persist in difficult times, to laugh through the tears, to keep on singing,” says Executive Director Sebastian Schulman. “To paraphrase the old adage,  l’impossible n’est pas Yiddish –  nothing is impossible in Yiddish. How could we miss this milestone year? Luckily, a global community like ours is well-positioned to make the move online.”

Usually held in the Laurentian mountains at summer camp by a lake outside Montreal, KlezKanada’s Summer Retreat normally attracts a diverse crowd of some 500 people, Jews and non-Jews, from all over the world. This year’s online edition promises to attract hundreds more. It will feature many of its classic programs– except perhaps canoeing. Alongside world-class music masterclasses and Yiddish language classes, there are online lessons in Jewish visual arts, cooking, film screenings, and more, as well as children’s programming and the renowned Azrieli Scholarship Program, an incubator for new talent and creativity among young people ages 16-35.

There will also be innovative options tailor-made for the digital moment. From live recordings of the hit all-Yiddish podcast Vaybertaytsh, to a digitally enhanced Yiddish Barbershop quartet, to collaborative film projects and even a class for dancing-while-seated, KlezKanada’s festival will take full advantage of the opportunities these technologies provide.

The full program can be accessed at this link

“Who could have predicted this when we first went up to camp for KlezKanada? We’ve faced many challenges over the last quarter century, but nothing like this. Of course it won’t be quite the same, but I know our community will make our anniversary edition as special as ever,” says Montreal founder, Hy Goldman.
About KlezKanada 

KlezKanada was founded in 1996 to teach, nurture and present to a broad public the best of Jewish traditional arts and Yiddish culture. Its goal is to foster Jewish cultural and artistic creativity worldwide as both an ethnic heritage and a constantly evolving contemporary culture and identity. From its start as a small summer festival, KlezKanada has become one of the leading Jewish cultural organizations in the world.