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Israel Set to Commemorate Yom Hashoah Under the Shadow of War and Global Antisemitism

Flares burn in the empty square of Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre to mark the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions around the country April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

i24 News – As the sun sets on Sunday evening, Israel and Jewish communities worldwide will begin observing Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the millions of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

This year’s Yom HaShoah carries a larger significance, coming just months after the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, and amid ongoing war in the Middle East.

Yom HaShoah has been observed in Israel since 1951, with the date anchored in law by the Knesset in 1959.

Across the country, solemn ceremonies will take place, including a state ceremony at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem, where survivors will light six torches to represent the six million victims of the Holocaust. The day will also be marked by services at schools, military bases, and other public institutions.

This year, however, Yom HaShoah takes on added symbolism.

It arrives in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught, which resulted in the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. With as many as 100 hostages still held in Gaza and rising antisemitism globally, this year’s commemoration carries a heightened sense of urgency and remembrance.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the importance of remembering the Holocaust’s lessons and defending against present-day threats.

“If we do not defend ourselves, nobody will defend us,” Netanyahu stated. “Therefore, we will defend ourselves in every way. We will overcome our enemies and ensure our security – in the Gaza Strip, on the Lebanese border, everywhere.”

Reflecting on the significance of this year’s Yom HaShoah, Yad Vashem spokesperson Simmy Allen noted how the theme of “A Lost World: The Destruction of Jewish Communities” has taken on new meaning in light of recent events.

“This year’s Yom HaShoah is particularly poignant as we remember not only the victims of the Holocaust but also those who have suffered in recent attacks,” said Allen. “The resilience of survivors serves as a beacon of hope and strength in the face of adversity.”

In addition to traditional commemorations, the International March of the Living, an annual educational pilgrimage to Auschwitz, has adapted its approach this year.

Led by 55 Holocaust survivors, including some affected by the Oct. 7 attacks, the march aims to honor the memory of the Holocaust victims and educate participants about the horrors of the past. University presidents and chancellors from the United States and Canada will also participate, underscoring the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance.

US President Joe Biden also reflected on the solemn occasion, proclaiming May 5 through May 12, 2024, as a week of observance of the Days of Remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust.

“During Yom Hashoah and these days of remembrance, we mourn the six million Jews who were systematically targeted and murdered in the Holocaust,” Biden said.

“We honor the memories of the victims, the courage of the survivors, and the heroism of those who stood up to the Nazis, and we recommit ourselves to making real the promise of ‘Never Again.’”

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law?

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”?

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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