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An avowed Holocaust denier is running for school board in Minnesota

(JTA) — One of the candidates on the ballot for an upcoming Minnesota school board election is an avowed Holocaust denier who has called for all Jews to be sterilized and tattooed with the Star of David, all synagogues to be closed and all Jewish children to be forcibly removed from their parents.

Vaughn Klingenberg is one of seven candidates on the ballot for three open seats in Roseville, a suburb of the Twin Cities. In addition to his views on Jewish people, which he recently published under his own name on a blog, he also visited two area synagogues during the recent High Holidays, actions that have earned condemnation from the state’s attorney general and from local Jewish leaders alike.

“He has our attention. He’s clearly tried to get the attention of the public by spewing hateful, antisemitic rhetoric, which is obviously untrue but is also dangerous,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told a local news channel

“Minnesota has no place for hate, and we’re not going to tolerate it. And he can think whatever he wants to think, he can even blog about it,” Ellison added. “But when he starts showing up at peoples’ houses of worship and trying to inspire others to commit acts of hatred, that’s where we have to draw the line.”

The site of the first-ever Target store and birthplace of the late evangelist leader Billy Graham, Roseville has a population of around 36,000. Candidates for school board only need to demonstrate proof of residency and declare they are not sex offenders or running for another position simultaneously, according to election information provided by the district, which did not return a Jewish Telegraphic Agency request for comment. 

Klingenberg has not participated in any local candidate forums for the election, set for Nov. 7. This appears to be his first run for public office. He did not respond to JTA requests for comment.

In a blog entry dated Sept. 20, Klingenberg describes visiting two synagogues in the Twin Cities. At the first, over Rosh Hashanah, he said he “dropped off some literature on Big Zionist Jewish responsibility for the Holocaust.” At the second, during the Kol Nidre prayer said at the start of Yom Kippur, he said he wanted to catch Jews reciting “an anti-vow that excuses all Jews who recite it from any oaths, promises, vows…etc. that they may make in the upcoming year.” He was reprimanded by synagogue security at both locations, according to his own accounts.

These visits got the attention of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. “It is appalling that on the holiest days of the Jewish calendar … an obsessive Holocaust denier and antisemite who espouses the most vile conspiracy theories would violate our sacred spaces,” Ethan Roberts, deputy executive director of the group, told the local Jewish news site TC Jewfolk

Roberts added that the JCRC is working with law enforcement “to do everything possible to ensure that Vaughn Klingenberg knows that he is not welcome at our houses of worship and Jewish community institutions.”

Klingenberg works in customer service, most recently for the insurance company and Nordic cultural organization Sons of Norway, according to his LinkedIn page. He lists Progressive Insurance and Xcel Energy among his previous employers. He holds a master’s degree from Marquette University and in 2011 self-published a pamphlet on Holocaust denial called “The Big Lie: The Holocaust (An Introduction to the Greatest Fraud of the 20th Century).” 

Klingenberg’s other writings include two self-published volumes on Shakespeare and an antisemitic novel titled “The Bruderschaft Manifesto” that opens with the statement, “Obviously there are many good, outstanding Jews in the world, but this should not blind us to the fact that an extremely powerful subsection of the Jewish community does not affirm a universalist humanitarian agenda.”

In blog entries titled “Vaughn Klingenberg in Zionist Wonderland,” published on the site VTForeignPolicy on Sept. 20, Klingenberg outlines his proposal for Jews who “refuse to testify” against the wrongdoing of other Jews: They “will have all of their wealth stripped from them, they will be tattooed on their forehead with a Star of David (in order that they not remain hidden from the broader public), they will be stripped of all employment, they will receive as monthly income what is currently paid to those on disability, and they will be given Section 8 housing in which to live.”

He further outlines his plans to have all Jews “permanently rendered sterile so that they cannot, ever, reproduce,” to close all synagogues, and to have Jewish children “placed in foster homes to be adopted by non-Jews.” (Klingenberg said he would make exceptions for anti-Zionist Jews.)

Roseville’s schools superintendent has repudiated Klingenberg’s views. “Roseville Area Schools strongly rejects any language or stance that denies the truth of the Holocaust and its devastating impact not only Jewish people but our world. We stand for truth, human rights and human dignity,” Jenny Loeck said in a statement to Minnesota Public Radio

Regional representatives for the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and educator union group Education Minnesota have also condemned the candidate.

Following impassioned support from local 99-year-old Holocaust survivor Dora Zaidenweber this spring, Minnesota state lawmakers passed a Holocaust and genocide education mandate for public schools. Zaidenweber died two weeks ago.

The post An avowed Holocaust denier is running for school board in Minnesota appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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