The 1930’s Were Humanity’s Darkest Hour. Are You Paying Attention?

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German chancellor Adolf Hitler amid huge crowds at a rally to mark the Bückeberg Harvest Festival on Oct 1, 1934. (photo: Hulton Archive / Getty)

A decade haunted by mass poverty, violent extremism and world war gives us one crucial advantage: the chance to learn the era’s lessons and avoid its mistakes.

By Jonathan Freedland / The Guardian
March 11, 2017


Witness the remarks of Steve Bannon, chief strategist in Donald Trump’s White House and the former chairman of the far-right Breitbart website. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Bannon promised that the Trump era would be “as exciting as the 1930’s.” (In the same interview, he said “Darkness is good” – citing Satan, Darth Vader and Dick Cheney as examples.)


Even to mention the 1930s is to evoke the period when human civilization entered its darkest, bloodiest chapter. No case needs to be argued; just to name the decade is enough. It is a byword for mass poverty, violent extremism and the gathering storm of world war. “The 1930’s” is not so much a label for a period of time than it is rhetorical shorthand — a two-word warning from history.

Witness the impact of an otherwise boilerplate broadcast by the Prince of Wales last December that made headlines: “Prince Charles warns of return to the ‘dark days of the 1930s’ in Thought for the Day message.” Or consider the reflex response to reports that Donald Trump was to maintain his own private security force even once he had reached the White House. The Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s tweet was typical: “That 1930s show returns.”

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Muhammad Ali’s Son Detained … Again

House Democrats Hold Forum On Trump Administration Immigration Policies
Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali participate in an immigration enforcement forum with Democratic members of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on Mar 9. (photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

A month after being detain while returning to the U.S., the son of “The Greatest” was detained again before boarding a domestic flight in Washington, D.C.

By Marissa Payne and Des Bieler / The Washington Post
March 10, 2017


“We must step into the ring and fight this thing and keep fighting it until it’s done.”
— Khalilah Camacho-Ali, wife of the late Muhammad Ali


A month after Muhammad Ali’s son and his mother, Ali’s second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were detained in a Florida airport allegedly for their “Arabic-sounding names,” he says he was held up again, this time at Reagan National Airport on Friday. He and his mother had come to Washington to lobby to end racial profiling, and he was trying to board a flight back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A lawyer for Ali, Chris Mancini, said that as the son of the former heavyweight champion was trying to board a Jet Blue flight, he was detained by Department of Homeland Security officials for about 20 to 25 minutes. According to comments Mancini made to the New York Daily News, they rejected his identification and repeatedly asked where he was from, before allowing the 44-year-old to board after he produced his U.S. passport.

“None of this was happening Wednesday,” Mancini said of the Alis’ trip to D.C. in remarks to the Associated Press. “Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS.”

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Capitol Hill Synagogue Vandalized

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Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying graffiti was spray-painted on the facade of Temple De Hirsch Sinai on Capitol Hill. The temple has chosen to leave it in place for the moment. (photo: Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle synagogue Temple De Hirsch Sinai was vandalized with graffiti saying “The Holocaust is fake history.”

By Evan Bush / The Seattle Times
March 10, 2017


“[Since the election, people] previously marginalized or silenced now feel newly empowered. The majority of us need to push back against that and convey that America is still America . . . there is no place for hate or tolerance of toxic expression.”
— Rabbi Daniel Weiner, Temple De Hirsch Sinai


A synagogue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood was vandalized overnight Thursday with anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying graffiti, said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

A Seattle police officer discovered the spray-painted message Friday morning on the old sanctuary’s facade.

“It says, ‘The Holocaust is fake history,’ ” Weiner said. The “s” characters in the graffiti are dollar signs, Weiner said.

“It really is a toxic mix of Holocaust denial, the stereotypical charge that Jews are obsessed with money, and the notion coming from the (President Trump) administration that all facts are fungible . . . fake facts, fake history,” Weiner said.

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Event: The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy (Washington, DC)

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For those of you in the “other Washington,” please consider attending this event.

Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: National Press Club
529 14th ST NW
Washington, DC 20045
Information: Event website

Event Details

Growing numbers of Americans question massive, automatic and unconditional U.S. support for Israel. The American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy will host an historic fourth annual conference on March 24, 2017 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC focusing on the key issues. This is a conference for everyone! Interested members of the public, students, news media, academics, policy experts and novices — now in its fourth year.

Keynote speakers: Hanan Ashrawi, John Mearsheimer, and Ilan Pappé.

More information and registration here.

A Budding Symbiosis between Trump and Netanyahu

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photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times

Political lift as both Netanyahu and Trump face mounting challenges on home front.

By Mark Landler / The New York Times
March 7, 2017


“It appears that President Trump is prepared to go a long way to help Prime Minister Netanyahu with his domestic difficulties and that Netanyahu, in return, is willing to provide a kosher seal of approval for a president who was slow to condemn anti-Semitism.”
— Martin S. Indyk, former special envoy to the Middle East


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was sitting in his residence in Jerusalem on Monday, being questioned by the police in a murky bribery and fraud investigation that could put an end to his political career, when the telephone rang.

On the line was President Trump, who wanted to talk to Mr. Netanyahu about Iran and a few other matters.

The prime minister excused himself for several minutes to take the call, and later issued a statement in which he thanked Mr. Trump “for his warm hospitality during his recent visit to Washington and expressed his appreciation for the president’s strong statement against anti-Semitism during the president’s speech before Congress.”

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Israel’s New Travel Ban Tells the World to Stay Away

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The new anti-BDS law marks a drastic shift in Israel’s relationship with the outside world by sending the message that many of those who deeply object to the occupation are no longer welcome to visit.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer / Haaretz
March 7, 2017


With this new law, the message to young Jews, and the rest of the world is no longer: “Come, see for yourself, let’s have a discussion — even an argument — in which I try to change your views. We know it’s complicated, but let’s not end our relationship.”

Instead, [the message] is: “Stay away. If you don’t agree with us, there is no place for you here.”


At first glance, Israel’s sweeping travel ban passed by the Knesset on Monday night essentially changes nothing. The authorities at Israel’s borders and airports already have complete discretion to keep anyone out, and numerous prospective visitors have been blacklisted and turned away because they are believed to be hostile to Israel.

They don’t need this law, which spells out support of boycotting of any Israeli institution or any area under its control as grounds to block their entrance as visitor.

But, actually, it changes everything. The statement it makes and the message it sends — that those who so deeply object to the occupation that they choose not to buy settlement products — are no longer welcome to visit, see and experience their country is a drastic shift in Israel’s relationship with the outside world.

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Event: Turning the “Other” into a Brother (Town Hall Seattle)

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Euphrates Institute for an evening with Janessa Gans Wilder speaking on “Turning the ‘Other’ into a Brother.”

Date: Friday, April  14, 2017
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Town Hall Seattle (Downstairs)
1119 Eighth Ave
Seattle, WA  98101
(enter on Seneca St)
Information: Facebook event
Event website
Tickets: $10 suggested donation at the door

Event Details

Janessa Gans Wilder, founder and CEO of Euphrates Institute, has a powerful and refreshing perspective as a nonprofit executive and former CIA officer turned peace builder. She will share her journey of transformation from seeing Iraqis as the “other” to seeing them as brothers during the Iraq war. In 2006, Janessa founded Euphrates, a nonprofit organization that builds peace and understanding about critical Middle East issues. Euphrates informs people about Middle Eastern issues, inspires them with examples of solutions, and invites them to become effective global citizens. Janessa speaks frequently in interfaith, community, government, international, and educational settings. She has been published by CBS, CNN, The Christian Science Monitor, Democracy Now, and the Los Angeles Times.

How Did It Start?

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(photo: U.N.)

So how the hell did it all start?

By Uri Avnery / Antiwar.com
February 18, 2017


In 1908, a group of Arab members of the Turkish parliament . . . had a brilliant idea: why not approach the Zionists and offer them an alliance against the Turks? . . . This was a historic moment, one of those moments when history holds its breath. A totally new vista opened up: an alliance between Arabs and Jews! A joint liberation movement!


So how the hell did it all start?

Last week I tried to describe the 1948 war, starting from the shooting at a Jewish bus on the morrow of the UN partition resolution. Some readers dispute the timing. They insist that the war started on May 15, on the morrow of the founding of the State of Israel, when the armies of the neighboring Arab states entered the country.

I have seen this many times. Every serious debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raises the question: “When did it start?” Each side has its own date, proving that the other side started it.

The Arabs started it, the Zionists assert. The conflict started with the “invasion” of the Arab armies. (“Invasion” in quotation marks, since they entered the territories allotted by the UN to the Palestinian Arab state, though their declared aim was to crush the new Jewish state right at the beginning.)

The Jews started it, the Arabs assert. They began to drive the Arab population out, leading to the Naqba (“disaster”).

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A Great New Accidental Renaissance

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Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn was filled on Feb. 6 for an evening of strategizing against President Trump. (photo: Demetrius Freeman / The New York Times)

By Timothy Egan / The New York Times
March 3, 2017


Trump has been good — indirectly — for a free press, an independent judiciary, high school civics, grass-roots political activity, cautionary tales in literature and theater, and spirituality. You don’t know what you’ve got, as the song says, till it’s gone — or nearly so.


My friend Sam laughed when I told him I was going to spend my Saturday at a “Search for Meaning” festival at a Jesuit college in the heart of seriously secular Seattle. He assumed, as I did, that a bare handful of the usual search-for-meaning suspects would be straining minutiae while still clinging to the meaninglessness of it all.

But nooooo — all the keynote events at Seattle University were completely sold out. In the winter of the American soul, people thronged to hear advice on how to “live a life of significance and impact” and to “find meaning in times of change, challenge and chaos.”

I credit President Trump. Not because he seems any more evolved than the first earthworms now appearing in the cold soil of my garden. But because the threats to truth, civility, rational thought and brotherly love coming from the White House have prompted a huge counterreaction.

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White Supremacists Targeting Washington State Colleges

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University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. (photo: U.W.)

Campuses in 24 other states also have been hit with supremacist fliers, a new national report says.

By Katherine Long / The Seattle Times
March 6, 2017


“Don’t let these cowardly tactics succeed. Remember: There are far, far more of us than there are of them.”
— UW President Ana Mari Cauce


White-supremacist groups are targeting college campuses in Washington and 24 other states with fliers that promote their ideology, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that fights hate speech and anti-Semitism.

Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said three white-supremacist groups appear to be at work in Washington: Identity Evropa and Atomwaffen at the University of Washington and American Vanguard at Washington State University.

In total, the Anti-Defamation League has cataloged 104 incidents of white-supremacist posters appearing on campuses in at least 25 states, starting in September 2016. “The fact we’re seeing this many fliers around the country raises a red flag,” Segal said.

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