Rabbi Yaakov Baruch, the rabbi of Indonesia’s only synagogue, Shaar HaShamayim, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism to discuss why he feels compelled to create education on the Holocaust for his country.

Rabbi Baruch discussed how, in partnership with Israel’s Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, he created Indonesia’s first ever Holocaust exhibition. His motivation behind the creation partly stemmed from his desire to commemorate his own relatives who were killed during the Holocaust, stating that his grandmother lost 40 relatives. Rabbi Baruch also wants to educate Indonesians about the Holocaust, which he believes is desperately needed. 

Rabbi Baruch said that he believes that many Indonesians are still either ignorant of the atrocities of the Holocaust or think that it may have not occurred at all, with some even posting swastikas and images of Adolf Hitler to their social media accounts. He revealed that many visitors to his Holocaust exhibition thanked him for his work, saying that they never imagined that such events could have taken place. Rabbi Baruch said: “Many Indonesians don’t know about [the Holocaust], and [those] who know the Holocaust know mostly from Holocaust denial groups.”

Rabbi Baruch told our host that during a televised appearance in Indonesia, he was confronted by a Holocaust denier. “When I was on local TV talking about the Holocaust museum…he said that the Holocaust is a hoax on live TV. It so destroyed my heart. But what I can do is, I can tell him that this is not a hoax, that’s why I’m doing this.”

Despite this, however, Rabbi Baruch is pleased that the exhibition has largely received positive feedback from locals of all backgrounds, including the local government, though some Muslim groups had criticised it and accused Rabbi Baruch’s exhibition of attempting to normalise relations with Israel. However, this has not deterred him.

“I tell them what we do is nothing to do with the conflict in the Middle East…the Holocaust happened before the State of Israel, before the [creation] of Indonesia, even. I just want to share the history,” he says.

The podcast with Rabbi Baruch can be listened to here, or watched here.

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox. Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, The Sunday Telegraph columnist Zoe Strimpel and actor Eddie Marsan.

Indonesian Muslim groups have alleged that the country’s first-ever Holocaust exhibition is simply an attempt to normalise relations with Israel, calling for the closure of the exhibit.

The exhibition was launched to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January and was featured at Shaar HaShamayim, Indonesia’s only synagogue, located in North Sulawesi province. The exhibition, titled “Shoah: How is it Humanly Possible?”, was created by the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

Rabbi Yaakov Baruch, the synagogue’s rabbi, stated that “When I had this idea to build a Holocaust museum, the reason was to remember my family who died in the Holocaust on my grandmother’s side.” He also added that he wanted to “educate Indonesians on the danger of antisemitism, especially the danger of hate crimes.”

However, despite Rabbi Baruch’s personal connection to the exhibition, Muslim groups have called for its closure over allegations that the exhibition is an attempt to normalise relations with Israel. 

Sudarnoto Abdul Hakim, the Head of Foreign Relations and International Cooperation of the Indonesian Ulema Council, a top Islamic scholar’s body also known as MUI, said: “We demand any exhibition be stopped and the museum be cancelled [and] discontinued.”

“Jewish communities and the descendants of Jewish people everywhere, including in Indonesia and North Sulawesi, should also see fairly clearly the brutal acts that have been perpetrated by Israeli Zionists against the Palestinian people since 1948.”

Objections were also raised by Hidayat Nur Wahid, Deputy Speaker of Indonesia’s legislative branch, the People’s Consultative Assembly, over the exhibition’s links to Israel’s Yad Vashem.

However, criticism of the exhibition was not unanimous among Indonesia’s Muslim community, as Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisation, not only in Indonesia but also the world, spoke out in favour of the exhibition. 

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The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has announced that for the first time, Azerbaijan will commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th. 

The decision reportedly arose after a meeting with New York-based rabbi, Rabbi Marc Schneier, who said of their encounter: “President Aliyev said in response, ‘We would very much like to do this, and to be a part of it,’ and said that he would instruct his Foreign Ministry to coordinate with Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan in planning the commemoration events for the day.”

“I think this is one more step, one more benchmark in Aliev’s unparalleled solidarity and commitment to his indigenous Jewish community, and to world Jewry and the State of Israel,” he continued.

President Aliyev also agreed to provide funding to the only Jewish school in Azerbaijan, the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish school in Baku, the country’s capital.

Rabbi Schneier added: “All around the Muslim world, we are seeing miracles of a bold new support for Jewish life and partnership between our communities. This magnanimous demonstration by President Aliyev is truly an astounding example of goodwill at the highest level, and mirrors Azerbaijan’s wholehearted commitment to the embrace of its Jewish population. I express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to President Aliyev for his profound commitment to interreligious cooperation and coexistence.”

Azerbaijani Chief Rabbi Schneor Segal, a leader of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, also praised the President’s pledge to assist the school financially. “Azerbaijan is taking the concept of tolerance to a whole different level than what we see anywhere else in the world,” said Rabbi Segal. “For decades, the Jewish community has enjoyed a comfortable and peaceful life, without experiencing any sign of antisemitism. The government is truly committed to supporting and strengthening the future of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan. We are thankful to President Aliyev for his constant care for the Jewish population.”

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Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a new weekly podcast. New episodes of Podcast Against Antisemitism are available every Thursday and can be streamed here or downloaded wherever you get your podcasts. 

Concern has been raised after a Chinese state-run news outlet proposed a “final solution to the Taiwan question”.

The term was used on Twitter by Global News, which is self-described as “China’s national English language newspaper”. It said: “The CPC’s warning against secessionism is not just talking the talk, and whether the final solution of Taiwan question will be peaceful or not, the secessionists will be judged, condemned and punished.”

Frank Müller-Rosentritt, a member of the German Parliament and its Committee on Foreign Affairs, compared the terminology to Nazi propaganda. The Final Solution (Die Endloesung), or the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem, is the name given by the Nazis to their programme to exterminate six million Jews during the Holocaust.

Mr Müller-Rosentritt said: “If a Chinese propaganda medium operates with historically loaded terms, then all alarm bells should ring for us against the background of our history.”

One Twitter user replied to the article by saying: “As a German living in Taiwan I never ever want to hear anyone talking about a ‘final solution’. This is disgraceful.”

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A host club in Japan has come under fire after holding a Nazi-themed night, it was revealed recently. 

Host clubs are a type of nightclub where female staff members are paid to drink and spend time with male customers. In some instances, customers are presented with a “menu” of available hosts.

Twitter users were dismayed to find out that the Unfair Club in Osaka chose to host a theme night in which staff wore Nazi uniforms. 

In addition to this, the event released promotional material advertising the night featuring swastikas. A photo of the inside of the club shows someone surrounded by bottles of alcohol that display swastikas on them, and is sitting in front of a large swastika that has been mounted on the wall.

One user wrote: “This is what the inside of the Nazi host club looks like. Ignorance and stupidity at its finest.”

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The Chinese state news agency, Xinhua News, has been condemned for posting an “antisemitic” cartoon of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish.

The tweet, posted on 30th July, depicted Secretary Blinken with devil horns and a nose that was exaggerated in size, a key feature in antisemitic Nazi propaganda. It also portrayed him towering over the Director of the World Health Organisation in a manner that seemed to imply global control, a common antisemitic trope. Accompanying the cartoon read: “U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Kuwait”

In a tweet on Friday, the American Jewish Committee condemned the cartoon as “antisemitic” and “despicable”. It added: “Xinhua’s depiction of @SecBlinken, a Jew and stepson of a Holocaust survivor, utilises overt tropes of antisemitism, including a large nose, devil horns, and accusations of global control. What a shameful display.”

This is not the first instance of Chinese state-affiliated media being charged of antisemitism. In May, China Global Television Network (CGTN) was accused of airing a programme that expressed “blatant antisemitism”. Presenter Zheng Junfeng discussed the motivation behind the United States’ support for Israel, stating that “some people believe that US pro-Israeli policy is traceable to the influence of wealthy Jews in the US and the Jewish lobby on US foreign policy makers.” Persisting with the antisemitic stereotype, Mr Zheng went on to say that “Jews dominate finance and internet sectors…so do they have the powerful lobbies some say? Possible.”

In June, Secretary Blinken called for reforms of UNRWA textbooks including “taking steps to ensure the content of all educational materials currently taught in UNRWA-administered schools and summer camps is consistent with the values of human rights and tolerance and does not induce incitement.” He stated that UNRWA “disseminates antisemitic and anti-Israel material in its curricula,” and advised that the State Department would be “looking very, very carefully” at the processes UNRWA uses to deal with hateful educational materials.

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South Korea has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The news was revealed last week when South Korea’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during a phone call that the country would be adopting the Definition.

Akiva Tor, Israel’s Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, tweeted the news and said that the two ministers “had a great conversation.”

Currently, South Korea is the first and only country in Asia to have adopted the Definition.

Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds the decision. Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism and Lord Pickles worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street. Last month, we reported that Switzerland had adopted the Definition.

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Jemima Goldsmith has called out a leading Pakistani politician for making an antisemitic comment about Ms Goldsmith’s children.

Pakistani Prime Minister and former cricketer Imran Khan, who has two sons with his former wife, Ms Goldsmith, recently spoke at a rally in Kashmir in which he made reference to the son of Maryam Nawaz, the Vice-President of the Pakistani Muslim League and daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Mr Khan accused Ms Nawaz’s family of corruption, attacking her son for playing polo at the University of Cambridge in the UK, saying: “The common man cannot play polo – a kings’ sport. You need a lot of money to keep a horse and play polo. So tell us where this dear grandson [of the former Prime Minister] got this money from. It’s the people’s money.”

Ms Nawaz responded by noting that her son is the team captain and brings honour to his country, adding: “He is Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, not Goldsmith’s, and he is not being raised in the lap of Jews.”

Ms Goldsmith reacted on Twitter saying “I left Pakistan in 2004 after a decade of antisemitic attacks by the media & politicians (& weekly death threats & protests outside my house). But still it continues” 

Responding on Twitter, Ms Nawaz said: “I have absolutely no interest in you, your sons or your personal lives because I have better things to do and say but if your ex drags in families of others out of spite, others will have nastier things to say. You have only your ex to blame.”

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister was accused of casually peddling an antisemitic trope live on CNN.

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Kentaro Kobayashi, the Director for the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, has been fired the day before the ceremony is scheduled to begin for making a joke about the Holocaust.

The joke in question occurred in 1998 when Mr Kobayashi, a former comedian, performed a live sketch in which he held up paper dolls and said to his comedy partner that they were “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust’.”

A video of the sketch surfaced on Twitter yesterday, prompting outrage.

Mr Kobayashi has released a statement in light of his release as Director which read: “Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable. I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it.”

Last year, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) apologised for posting a tweet that appeared to celebrate the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games hosted by Nazi Germany.

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Antisemitic content on the social media platform TikTok has increased by 912%, according to a new study.

According to research from Dr Gabriel Weimann of the University of Haifa and Natalie Masri of IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism, antisemitic comments on TikTok grew 912% from 41 in 2020 to 415 in 2021, and the platform saw 61 antisemitic postings so far this year compared to 43 last year. 

Antisemitic tropes and images that were used in video content included Nazi salutes, diminishing the impact of the Holocaust, and propagating caricatures of Jews with long, hooked noses. 

Antisemitic usernames, such as “@holocaustwasgood” and “@eviljews”, increased a staggering 1,375% from four in 2020 to 59 in 2021. 

Dr Weimann expressed concern that the platform’s algorithm lends itself to suggesting further hateful content to users who may have clicked on dangerous videos, rather than restricting them. He said that “TikTok’s catering to young, impressionable and naive audiences, combined with bad-faith actors who are posting hateful content online, is something that should be taken very seriously,” before warning that some users may fall down “a rabbit hole of hatred.”

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This dramatic increase in antisemitism on TikTok is an urgent concern, particularly because of the platform’s appeal to younger users.

“Social media platforms can act as hotspots for the dissemination of racist tropes and conspiracy theories. Technology companies, therefore, have a responsibility to enforce their own policies, ensure their algorithms do not promote antisemitic material and remove dangerous posts and ban repeat offenders.

“Last year, a TikTok Director declared the company’s intention to intensify its removal of antisemitic content. Instead, the reverse appears to be the case. TikTok must prove it is serious about tackling antisemitism not with empty words but with real action.”

This report follows a similar one released last year which revealed that the social media platform was infested with far-right antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

In May, Lily Ebert, a Holocaust survivor and educator, had her TikTok videos targeted by antisemitic trolls praising Hitler.

In October of last year, a director at TikTok told a Knesset Committee that hatred had “no place” on the video-sharing platform and that they would increase their efforts to remove antisemitic content.

Last summer, we reported that numerous users of the social media video platform were pretending to be Holocaust survivors in an abominable new antisemitic trend dubbed “trauma porn”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has long called for tougher regulations on social media sites and that social networks proactively search for and remove hate speech from their platforms.

Chinese state TV has been accused of airing a programme which expressed “blatant antisemitism”.

Last week on the China Global Television Network (CGTN), presenter Zheng Junfeng discussed the motivation behind the United States’ support for Israel, stating that “some people believe that US pro-Israeli policy is traceable to the influence of wealthy Jews in the US and the Jewish lobby on US foreign policy makers.”

Persisting with the antisemitic stereotype, Mr Zheng went on to say that “Jews dominate finance and and internet sectors…so do they have the powerful lobbies some say? Possible.”

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” is an example of antisemitism.

CGTN is the international division of the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV).

The Israeli embassy in China tweeted: “We have hoped that the times of the ‘Jew’s controlling the world’ conspiracy theories were over, unfortunately antisemitism has shown its ugly face again. We are appalled to see blatant antisemitism expressed in an official Chinese media outlet.”

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The United States has expressed deep concerns over the recent Sindh High Court ruling to release several convicted terrorists responsible for the abduction and murder of American-Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl.

On 24th December 2020, the Sindh High Court issued an order for the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib as their convictions were overturned.

Mr Sheikh was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court in 2002 for organising and leading the kidnap and murder of Mr Pearl. The four accused have been in jail for the last eighteen years after the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter was brutally murdered in the country’s capital in January of that year.

In April 2019, a lower court had commuted Mr Sheikh’s sentence to a seven-year prison term and advocated for his immediate release. Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that his detention should be extended for a week and it would then rule on his potential release while the case was appealed.

The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the US State Department tweeted that the accused have not been released at this time and that the case is ongoing. The four are reportedly being held under the emergency orders of the local government throughout an ongoing appeal against their acquittals.

According to acting US Attorney-General Jeffrey Rosen, if efforts to reinstate Mr Sheik’s conviction are not successful the United States “stands ready” to take custody of him to stand trial.

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China’s crackdown on unapproved religions is impacting Kaifeng’s Jewish community, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Despite numbering barely 1,000, the Jewish community of Kaifeng is reportedly falling foul of Beijing’s campaign to erase non-sanctioned religions. An ancient well and stones marking a 12th-century synagogue have been removed or have vanished beneath cement as the authorities strive to erase Jewish history from the area. The authorities have also reportedly torn down the Hebrew signs indicating “Teaching Torah Lane” while a building used for holding services has a security camera directed at its entrance and it has been plastered with posters about China’s “management of religious affairs” and reminders that Judaism is prohibited.

Jewish schools have been closed and exhibits documenting the history of Jews in Kaifeng have also disappeared from a museum and a historic guild hall.

Unable to obtain Jewish religious materials, members of the Jewish community pass around dog-eared pamphlets compiled when Jewish scholars, rabbis and tourists flocked to Kaifeng as China opened up in the 1990s. Now, one resident explained, “no print shop dares to help us copy these”.

Groups such as the Sino-Judaic Institute and Shavei Israel had previously set up centres and helped some to emigrate. But both groups were among the first targets of the Government crackdown and expelled a few years ago.

Jews first settled in China’s historic former capital over 1,000 years ago. Of the 1,000 Kaifeng residents who claim Jewish heritage only around 100 are practising Jews. Yet the Jews in Kaifeng are remarkably resilient, and have found ways to keep their faith alive. Each week, meetings are supposedly held in secret to celebrate Shabbat, and candles to mark Chanukah were lit over the festival. “Whatever we do, we’re always very careful to make sure the authorities don’t find out,” one man said.

A local man, who said he dreamed of training in Israel to be a rabbi, claimed it was “Government policy” to “make sure the next generation doesn’t have any Jewish identity.”

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Amid uncertainty over the continued detention of the Islamist terrorist convicted in Pakistan of the murder of American-Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, a statement by a leading American Jewish organisation said that Mr Pearl’s murderer “should be behind bars for the rest of his days”.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, issued its statement after it appeared that Mr Pearl’s murderer, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh  –   a British national  –   could be released imminently.

Mr Sheikh was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court in 2002 for masterminding the kidnap and murder of Mr Pearl. The Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter was murdered in the capital, Karachi, in January of that year.

However, earlier this year, a lower court commuted Mr Sheikh’s sentence to a seven-year prison term and argued that he should be released immediately as he had already served eighteen years.

Responding to an appeal from the Pearl family’s lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Mr Sheikh’s detention should be extended for another week. The court will then rule on whether to release Mr Sheikh or keep him in custody while his case is again appealed.

Following the hearing and noting that the appeal “could take years”, Mr Siddiqui told the AP news agency that he was pressing for Mr Sheikh’s continued incarceration during the appeal process.

Mr Siddiqui added that there was “ample evidence” to dismiss Mr Sheikh’s appeal. “There is eye-witness evidence, there is forensic evidence, there are confessional statements,” he said.

In a statement welcoming the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision not to release Mr Sheikh, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations said: “This killer should be behind bars for the rest of his days. Anything less would be a painful insult to the Pearl family. They have suffered enough in the years since this atrocity occurred.”

Those responsible for the death of “an American citizen” who affirmed his Jewishness with his last words, were “motivated by their hatred of who he was and must be held accountable, the organisation said, adding: “We call on the US government to do all it can to ensure that justice is served in this case.”

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