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Australia moves toward banning Nazi symbols in wake of neo-Nazi incidents



(JTA) — In the wake of a series of neo-Nazi incidents, Australia’s government is moving toward passing legislation to ban the use of Nazi symbols on clothing, flags and websites and in other domains.

Trading in Nazi memorabilia will also be banned, but religious, academic and other exemptions will be allowed. Before the Third Reich, the swastika was known first and foremost as a religious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

“There is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust,” Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said on Thursday. “And we will no longer allow people to profit from the display and sale of items which celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology.”

The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee recommended a ban last month in a move that was applauded by Jewish leaders. Dreyfus, who is Jewish, said that the law will penalize offenders with up to a year in prison.

Peter Wertheim, co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “there has been a proliferation of the public display of Nazi symbols in different parts of Australia” since the end of 2016.

The Victoria state’s strict COVID-19 restrictions led to a far-right anti-lockdown movement which, according to Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute, “allowed a normalization with some people being ambivalent about open Nazism.” Community outrage brewed after a couple flew a swastika flag above their Melbourne home in 2020. Victoria eventually banned the public display of Nazi symbols in 2021.

In March, The Age published an investigation of active soldiers’ neo-Nazi links, following a 2021 SBS report on men’s fitness centers used by white supremacist networks that employ Nazi symbols.

Then on March 18, a group of 30 people from a neo-Nazi group called the National Socialist Network showed up to a rally headed by British anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull in Melbourne. The neo-Nazi rally-goers, all dressed in black with their faces covered, marched onto the steps of the city’s parliament house, where police allowed them to stand in a line facing the crowd and repeatedly perform a Nazi salute.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted: “Nazis aren’t welcome. Not on Parliament’s steps. Not anywhere.”

“Transgender people, the targets of the neo-Nazis at the recent anti-trans rally in Melbourne, Jews, or other oft-demonized communities should not have to face situations where this evil is allowed to happen with police having no legal avenue to stop it,” said Michael Barnett, the co-convenor of Aleph, a Melbourne-based advocacy group for LGBTQ+ Jews, after the March rally.

In May, a Victorian council canceled a family-friendly drag queen-led story reading hosted at a library and other LGBTQ+ events following a series of threats from far-right groups. Later in the month, neo-Nazis performed a Heil Hitler salute while attending an anti-immigration rally at Melbourne’s parliament building to oppose “ethnic replacement.”

“This was not an isolated incident,” Oboler said in reference to the March rally. “There is a rise of the use of Nazi salutes, other Nazi symbols, and open neo-Nazism not just in Australia but internationally.”

Barnett said bans will send a message of consequences for “expressions of Nazi ideology designed to instill fear.”

Australia is home to the largest per-capita Holocaust survivor population outside Israel.

Wertheim said that bans “would only scratch the surface” in Australia, and new legislation “would not obviate the need for a more systematic, whole-of-government approach to address the problem of extremism.”

“We have argued the need to move beyond banning specific symbolism and to instead directly tackle Nazism and neo-Nazism,” Barnett said. “We have been warning about this, monitoring the threat, and taking action, but there is far more to be done.”

The post Australia moves toward banning Nazi symbols in wake of neo-Nazi incidents appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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