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LOIS HENRY: Use of Juneteenth as marketing ploy to sell guns doesn’t go over well – The Bakersfield Californian

In the world of boneheaded marketing ploys, this has to rank as one of the boneheadedest.

Kendall Jenner and that dumb Pepsi ad? Move over.

Fliers from Second Amendment Sports, a local gun shop and shooting range, started showing up in mailboxes late last week.

Im just going to describe it verbatim.

The front has large, bold lettering announcing Juneteenth.

Above it is a drawing of an, apparently, African-American man with his arms raised overhead breaking a chain.

A photo of a white mans face has been imposed onto the drawing.

To the side, the flier states, Juneteenth, Dads & Grads Sale June 15th & 17th.

On the back (between clip art of shackled wrists breaking chains) it says:

Celebrate Juneteenth Dads & Grads.

Emancipate yourselves from the oppression of the man.

From your chores, from your school Buy a gun!

Take that boot off your neck and enjoy some great deals!

I found an explainer, sort of, about Juneteenth saying it is recognized mostly by black Americans and commemorates the end of the Civil War and the final Southern state of Texas announcing the emancipation of slaves. (I would argue with that interpretation, which Ill get to.)

It goes on to say that Second Amendment Sports is celebrating the date to remind people that all races at one time in history were enslaved and that freedom comes at a cost.

Buy a firearm and some ammunition and take your power back from a government that would prefer you to be a slave again! says the explainer.

Then theres a convoluted line about states’ rights and keeping the Union together, presumably about the Civil War.

Remember Juneteenth, it ends. Know that it has relevance to all men.

So, that cleared up nothing about this ill-conceived ad campaign.

Just as a start, I wondered if Second Amendment had used Juneteenth as a sale-a-bration marketing concept before?

What was the response? Whats the response now?

Who’s face is that photoshopped onto the drawing?

I did eventually get an email from Second Amendment Sports owner Matt Janes, who defended the fliers as opening a dialogue about the fragility of freedom for everyone.

He said this is the second year Second Amendment Sports has used the Juneteenth ad campaign and reaction has been “mixed.”

“Some people choose to be offended,” Janes wrote. “They do not feel it is our place to bring up U.S. history when it pertains to certain subjects. Like it is taboo or exclusive to only some. Others totally understand the meaning behind our advertisement. Others are ‘Hunh? What’s Juneteenth?'”

As to the face imposed on the drawing: “It is immaterial and largely the point of the image. It could be an ancestor, you, me, our children…that is the importance.”

If nothing else, he wrote, he hopes the flier gets people talking.

The entire thing is disrespectful, said Jason Phillips. And to turn it (Juneteenth) into a political message to fan up emotion, which leads directly to more gun sales for them, is sickening.

Reactions on Facebook and elsewhere were similar, a mixture of outrage and derision.

I’m all for standing firm on civil liberties and slapping back government overreach. But I don’t think coopting Juneteenth is the way to go.

To me, the flier and tortured explainer are boorish and just plain weird.

I mean, why not hawk high-caliber rifles on Holocaust Remembrance Day as “yellow badge repellant?”

Im not going to argue whether the fliers are also racist.

Anyone who doesnt find them racially offensive will get defensive and claim the other side is overly sensitive.

Thats a spin cycle that never ends.

Instead, hey, what exactly is Juneteenth?

I will admit that I didn’t know until I covered the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, an all black rodeo, which happened to be touring in Bakersfield on Juneteenth some years back.

To me, Juneteenth is bittersweet in a lot of ways.

It recognizes the end of slavery, yes.

But it came to 250,000 slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865, two months after the official end of the Civil War.

And 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in January 1863.

And the state of Texas certainly did not announce it, as implied by Second Amendment Sports’ explainer.

Union Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston with 2,000 troops to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Granger made it his first order of business to stand on a balcony and read aloud:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

Today, Juneteenth is typically marked with gatherings of family and friends, food, remembrances and prayer.

Its a recognition, a friend told me.

That sounds right. A recognition. Not a door buster.

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lois Henry. Her column runs Wednesdays and Sundays. Comment at http://www.bakersfield.com, call her at 661-395-7373 or emaillhenry@bakersfield.comfollow her on Twitter @loishenry or on Facebook at Lois Henry.

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LOIS HENRY: Use of Juneteenth as marketing ploy to sell guns doesn’t go over well – The Bakersfield Californian

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June 13, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Cleveland Jewish News

Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to rejectthe $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported.

In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, readthe letter, which was spearheaded byReps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz.

Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the proposed budget.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a Friday statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum.

The museum had requested a funding increase of $3 million from the 2016 allocation in order to cover rising costs, maintenance, equipment support and security.

Trumps new budget would deny that request, keeping the budget at the 2016 level of $54 million instead of the requested $57 million, according to The Hill.

In January, the president cameunder fire forissuing a statement forInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. However, he struck a different tone in April, whenhe pledged to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials atin a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Cleveland Jewish News

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Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

President Donald Trump marking Days of remembrance of the Holocaust in the Capitol Rotunda, April 25 2017. (Ron Kampeas)

(JTA) Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to rejectthe $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported.

In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, readthe letter, which was spearheaded byReps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz.

Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the proposed budget.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a Friday statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum.

The museum had requested a funding increase of $3 million from the 2016 allocation in order to cover rising costs, maintenance, equipment support and security.

Trumps new budget would deny that request, keeping the budget at the 2016 level of $54 million instead of the requested $57 million, according to The Hill.

In January, the president cameunder fire forissuing a statement forInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. However, he struck a different tone in April, whenhe pledged to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials atin a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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Trump Sparks Bipartisan Criticism Over Holocaust Museum Cuts – ATTN:

In response to the news thatPresident Trumps budget would call for$3 million in funding cuts to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,a bipartisan coalition of 64 members of Congress have been swift in their denouncement.

AsThe Hill reported, the coalition has drafted a letter to theInterior appropriations subcommitteethat makes clear why now is a particularly bad time for the cuts.

In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, itsaid.

Attempts to cut funding for the museum are misguided, and this letter demonstrates a strong, bipartisan commitment to protecting the museum and the educational value it provides to all Americans,Rep.Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) told The Hill.

Trumps budget proposal would decrease the Museums budget by 5 percentand drop it back to its 2016 level of $54 million.

The budget proposal saidthe cutswill assist in meeting the Presidents budget objectives, while still providing adequate funds to cover pay increases and rising costs for current services for the Museums facilities and collections. The decrease is achieved by reductions in staff and selected non-pay areas.

In a prepared statement, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO of anti-Semitism watchdog group the Anti-Defamation League, blasted Trump for cutting funding and he urged Congress to fully fund the Museum: In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museum’s mission is as critical as ever.

The budget cuts are particularly disconcerting as they come after a series of problematic statements and actions from Trump, during his campaign and nascent presidency.

During the2016 campaign, he tweeted an illustration using a six-pointed star resembling the Star of David over a background of a pile of money. The image, taken from a fringe website,was meant to denigrate Hillary Clintons supposed corruption, garnereda quick backlash, and the Trump campaign’sexplanation didn’t help matters.

In January, Trumpfailed to specifically mention the Jewish peoplein his prepared statements for Holocaust Remembrance Day, an omission the White Housethen defended.

ThenduringPassoverWhite House Press SecretarySean Spicer sparked outragewhen positively compared Adolph Hitler to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said that Hitler “did not use chemical weapons.” Thatblunder, for which Spicer clarified and apologized, was roundly criticized, with the Holocaust Memorial Museum tweeting a video of U.S. troops liberating a concentration camp in response.

Trump also drew criticism on his recent trip to the Middle East for his all-caps note in the guest book of theYad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem which said: “IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS SO AMAZING & WILL NEVER FORGET! Critics said the reaction was too glib and self-referential for a sitting President.

These incidentsand theTrump administration’sproposedfunding cutscome amidst a backdropof rising anti-Semitism in the United States. New data from the Anti-Defamation League showed anti-Semetic incidents like assaults, vandalism and harassment, surged 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

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Trump Sparks Bipartisan Criticism Over Holocaust Museum Cuts – ATTN:

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Us Weekly gives Ivanka Trump credit for failing – Vox

To understand one of the key shortcomings of the press, consider the esteem that reporters routinely lavish on Ivanka Trump, the favored presidential daughter who has somehow fashioned herself as the good cop to her fathers bad cop.

The narrative of Ivanka as a moderating influence on her fathers crueler impulses suffered another setback last Thursday, when the president announced, over her objections, that United States would pull out of the Paris accord, a major climate change agreement. For that, CNN awarded her its Worst Week in Washington.

It didnt take long for the press to resume fawning over her. Us Weekly splashed Ivanka on its newest cover this week, praising her for balancing her personal ideals with love and loyalty for her father.

The full article is not out yet, but from the snippet released so far, the cover story will likely retread the same myths about Ivanka as a competent advocate. Ivanka is the best woman for the job, Us Weekly gushes, describing her as a skilled negotiator who knows just how to work [Trump] stating her case calmly and directly.

In tone, the tabloid magazines fawning profile doesnt sound all that different from sections of Politicos Ivanka story last week, which was laden with blind quotes defending her failure to sway her father on climate change. According to one explanation, it was unrealistic and unfair to expect that Ivanka would single-handedly change her fathers position away from long-standing Republican orthodoxy.

Another excuse was that Ivanka hadnt really been trying. According to people close to the first daughter and her husband (read: their friends), Ivankas attention was on women’s issues, while her husbands attention was on the Middle East and that climate change was never their focus. Of course, that contradicts an earlier Politico story headlined Ivanka Trump, climate czar? which claimed that Ivanka wanted to make climate change one of her signature issues.

Meanwhile, the soft-focus stories keep coming. A widely ridiculed CNN story last week described Ivanka as America’s most powerful Jewish woman for no other reason, apparently, than the fact that she is Jewish and the daughter of the president. This, in spite of the Trump administrations documented weirdness about the Holocaust, including a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that never mentioned Jewish people.

On child care and parental leave, the issues that Ivanka seems to be most passionate about, her sole victory has been to slip a modest family leave program into Trumps latest budget proposal. Even here, Ivanka has gotten more than her fair share of the credit in the press. A CNN story Tuesday described a new think tank report on paid family leave as a big boost for Ivanka’s paid parental leave plan as if scholars on the left and right hadnt been pushing this idea for years, long before Ivanka put her stamp on it.

Ivankas political efforts might best be described as an extension of her brand, which was always about breezy, cosmopolitan affluence. To the extent that certain political views were necessary to complete that image, Ivanka seems to have done the minimum amount of advocacy necessary in her role as a member of Trumps inner circle.

Its worth noting that Ivanka has an advice book out now, full of vague or otherwise impractical tips that are best understood as an exercise in burnishing her image as a successful, professional woman. The book can be seen as a metaphor for her political efforts: Ineffective at best, but a savvy branding campaign.

Ivankas efforts at self-promotion have neatly lined up with the medias own demand for characters. The relentlessly optimistic coverage of Ivanka speaks to an instinct to frame the world in moral terms: Much of political coverage is storytelling, and too often, people are slotted either as heroes or villains, forces for good or for evil.

It helps that Ivanka possesses a type of beauty that often passes as moral uprightness, as the New Yorkers Jia Tolentino puts it the kind of beauty that sells magazine covers, that invites people to give her endless free passes. The press was always going to find someone in the White House to cheer, and why not Ivanka? At least she looks the part of the protagonist.

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Us Weekly gives Ivanka Trump credit for failing – Vox

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June 7, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Special in uniform – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post
Special in uniform
The Jerusalem Post
PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN addresses the Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Su. PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN addresses the Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Sunday.

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Special in uniform – The Jerusalem Post

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Editorial: Fight prejudice, encourage diversity – Plattsburgh Press Republican

In America, people used to keep their negative opinions pretty much to themselves or at least away from the people against whom the opinions were directed.

This was either out of fear or perhaps a minimal sense of courtesy.

Then, along came the criticism of political correctness.

Political correctness is considered negative in the opposite direction: the refusal to be candid for fear of upsetting others. Its thought of as being cowardly or overly polite.

So what have we now? We have demented people feeling as if it is their right or duty to be as deplorably insulting as they can.

We should all know, in our hearts and right minds, that no human being is superior or inferior to another simply because of where they were born or to whom.

Yet some people have concluded that they outrank certain others because of their race, religion or some other imagined factor.

No one is immune from attack these days.

Almost superhuman NBA basketball star LeBron James learned last week that someone had painted a malicious racial slur on the gate outside his Los Angeles home. James was heartbroken that his children would be exposed to such torment.

No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how many people admire you, being black in America is tough,” James said at a news conference before the start of the NBA finals. “We got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African Americans until we feel equal in America.”

In another vile gesture, a noose was left in the iconic Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a reminder of how blacks were once routinely lynched by misguided Southerners who thought whiteness somehow betokened achievement.

In Portland, Ore., on May 27, police say, white supremacist Jeremy Christian ranted against two young Muslim women before stabbing to death two men who rushed to their defense and seriously injuring a third. He demanded the teens get out of his country, as if he had more right to it than they.

The North Country may not be the cradle of enlightenment, but most people here consider themselves to be generally respectful and even appreciative of genetic or cultural differences. Yet, disturbing incidents of bias have taken place here recently, as well.

Anti-Semitic material was distributed on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus on Holocaust Remembrance Day in late June.And in Chazy, four teens are accused of violating the state’s hate-crimes law by drawing anti-Semitic and racist graffiti on a West Chazy Recreation Park building.

After the incident at James’s house, the NBA star said, “Racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America.”

We very much hope he is wrong. Americans should treasure our diversity and stand up to those who don’t.

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Editorial: Fight prejudice, encourage diversity – Plattsburgh Press Republican

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Local group scores in international competition – Oneonta Daily Star

A local klezmer band struck a chord of originality at a festival overseas and returned with a prize.

Clarinetist Robin Seletsky of Milford Center and her Jewish music ensemble Big Galut(e) were awarded the Simcha Prize for originality at the 20th International Jewish Music Festival and Competition. The event was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from May 4 to 8.

Big Galut(e) was among 24 groups chosenout of 100 applicantsto compete, according to Seletsky, and it was the only ensemble attending from the United States.

On May 5, Big Galut(e) was one of eight groups that advanced to the semi-final round, Seletsky said, and on May 7, the group was presented with the originality award, which included a cash prize of 500 euros.

In presenting the award to Big Galut(e), festival organizers praised the group as very gifted musicians with high-quality playing and very entertaining, the release said.

It was really rewarding to be recognized, Seletsky told The Daily Star recently. We were thrilled.

It was a tremendously empowering experience. We were able to grow musically by hearing the other groups and being part of the festival, she said. It’s a very prestigious event.

Big Galut(e) includes musicians affiliated with the orchestra of Glimmerglass Festival in Springfield Center, near Cooperstown, Seletsky said.

Big Galut(e) members who joined Seletsky playing the festival in Amsterdam were Sasha Margolis on violin, Michael Leopold on guitar and theorbo, Richard Sosinsky on bass and Mark Rubinstein on accordion.

Seletsky said the group performed traditional klezmer tunes, a piece by a Jewish baroque composer and her original works, among other music.

Big Galut(e) was formed in 2010 when a few musicians in the Glimmerglass Festival orchestra decided to explore music from the klezmer tradition, according to Seletsky.

Coincidentally, Sashas father taught him klezmer as a child as did my dad with me, Seletsky said in an email. The group’s first formal concert was on the Cherry Valley Artworks summer series.

Since forming, Big Galut(e) has played dozens of concerts including both the Honolulu and Maui Chamber Music Series, at Ohios Oberlin and Hebrew Union colleges, Californias Stanford University and Sonoma State and, closer to home, with Stamford Friends of Music, at Hartwick College and as soloists with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, Seletsy said. The group offers a variety of musical programs and styles.

In Amsterdam, most of the festival events took place at the historic Uilenburger Synagogue in the heart of Amsterdam. Seletsky said musicians participating in the festival were from Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic and Finland. Many of the ensembles specialized in Sephardic styles featuring Moroccan and Yemenite musical influences, Seletsky said.

The panel of judges included founder of the Klezmer Conservatory Band Hankus Netsky, Dutch conductor Jules van Hessen and Israeli radio personality and music producer Dubi Lenz, the release said.

The first day of the event coincided with The Netherlands National Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was marked by a presentation by the King and Queen of Holland in Amsterdams Dam Square, the release said. This was followed by two minutes of silence throughout the country.

Big Galut(e) members had to pay their own way to participate, according to Seletsky, who said she received financial support from Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta, where she teaches.

The group has plans to build on its success in Amsterdam, including recording a second album and expanding its network in Europe, the release said. In the Cooperstown area, Big Galut(e) will perform in the Glimmerglass Festivals Pavilion Series, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7213 or at drichardson@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_DeniseR.

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Local group scores in international competition – Oneonta Daily Star

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Schoolchildren throw birthday party for Holocaust survivor – Ynetnews

A group of ninth grade students from a school in Ashkelon threw a surprise party for Holocaust survivor Yehoshua Verashavski in his home last Thursday to celebrate his birthday.

Verashavski, 87, struggled to hide his emotion from the singing schoolchildren as tears of joy began to trickle down his face while he expressed his gratitude to the children for their initiative.

This is one of the happiest moments of my life, to know that my citys students remember and respect the people who did everything to survive and to found our state. I will never forget you, an emotional Verashavski promised.

The connection between the students and Verashavski was established as part of The Memory in the Living Room project, in which Holocaust survivors and their families come into people’s living rooms and tell their personal stories.

Last Holocaust Remembrance Day, Verashavski were hosted, along with his wife Chaya, by Guy and Galit Binyamin, the parents of one of the students called Ofir.

Verashavski left a deep impression on the participants with his life story in which he recounted the horrors he witnessed during the Holocaust and told of his conscription into the Palmach and his life in Israel.

Guy Binyamin, who is also the chairman of the Parents Committee of the class, maintained contact with Yehoshua and Chaya, and organized the surprise party.

Together with the students and the class teacher July Cohen, they surprised the Verashavskis in their home, where they presented him with a large cake, balloons and a picture on which was written: Your smile, our victory.

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Schoolchildren throw birthday party for Holocaust survivor – Ynetnews

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LOIS HENRY: Use of Juneteenth as marketing ploy to sell guns doesn’t go over well – The Bakersfield Californian

In the world of boneheaded marketing ploys, this has to rank as one of the boneheadedest. Kendall Jenner and that dumb Pepsi ad? Move over. Fliers from Second Amendment Sports, a local gun shop and shooting range, started showing up in mailboxes late last week. Im just going to describe it verbatim. The front has large, bold lettering announcing Juneteenth. Above it is a drawing of an, apparently, African-American man with his arms raised overhead breaking a chain. A photo of a white mans face has been imposed onto the drawing. To the side, the flier states, Juneteenth, Dads & Grads Sale June 15th & 17th. On the back (between clip art of shackled wrists breaking chains) it says: Celebrate Juneteenth Dads & Grads. Emancipate yourselves from the oppression of the man. From your chores, from your school Buy a gun! Take that boot off your neck and enjoy some great deals! I found an explainer, sort of, about Juneteenth saying it is recognized mostly by black Americans and commemorates the end of the Civil War and the final Southern state of Texas announcing the emancipation of slaves. (I would argue with that interpretation, which Ill get to.) It goes on to say that Second Amendment Sports is celebrating the date to remind people that all races at one time in history were enslaved and that freedom comes at a cost. Buy a firearm and some ammunition and take your power back from a government that would prefer you to be a slave again! says the explainer. Then theres a convoluted line about states’ rights and keeping the Union together, presumably about the Civil War. Remember Juneteenth, it ends. Know that it has relevance to all men. So, that cleared up nothing about this ill-conceived ad campaign. Just as a start, I wondered if Second Amendment had used Juneteenth as a sale-a-bration marketing concept before? What was the response? Whats the response now? Who’s face is that photoshopped onto the drawing? I did eventually get an email from Second Amendment Sports owner Matt Janes, who defended the fliers as opening a dialogue about the fragility of freedom for everyone. He said this is the second year Second Amendment Sports has used the Juneteenth ad campaign and reaction has been “mixed.” “Some people choose to be offended,” Janes wrote. “They do not feel it is our place to bring up U.S. history when it pertains to certain subjects. Like it is taboo or exclusive to only some. Others totally understand the meaning behind our advertisement. Others are ‘Hunh? What’s Juneteenth?'” As to the face imposed on the drawing: “It is immaterial and largely the point of the image. It could be an ancestor, you, me, our children…that is the importance.” If nothing else, he wrote, he hopes the flier gets people talking. The entire thing is disrespectful, said Jason Phillips. And to turn it (Juneteenth) into a political message to fan up emotion, which leads directly to more gun sales for them, is sickening. Reactions on Facebook and elsewhere were similar, a mixture of outrage and derision. I’m all for standing firm on civil liberties and slapping back government overreach. But I don’t think coopting Juneteenth is the way to go. To me, the flier and tortured explainer are boorish and just plain weird. I mean, why not hawk high-caliber rifles on Holocaust Remembrance Day as “yellow badge repellant?” Im not going to argue whether the fliers are also racist. Anyone who doesnt find them racially offensive will get defensive and claim the other side is overly sensitive. Thats a spin cycle that never ends. Instead, hey, what exactly is Juneteenth? I will admit that I didn’t know until I covered the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, an all black rodeo, which happened to be touring in Bakersfield on Juneteenth some years back. To me, Juneteenth is bittersweet in a lot of ways. It recognizes the end of slavery, yes. But it came to 250,000 slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865, two months after the official end of the Civil War. And 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in January 1863. And the state of Texas certainly did not announce it, as implied by Second Amendment Sports’ explainer. Union Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston with 2,000 troops to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Granger made it his first order of business to stand on a balcony and read aloud: The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. Today, Juneteenth is typically marked with gatherings of family and friends, food, remembrances and prayer. Its a recognition, a friend told me. That sounds right. A recognition. Not a door buster. Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lois Henry. Her column runs Wednesdays and Sundays. Comment at http://www.bakersfield.com, call her at 661-395-7373 or emaillhenry@bakersfield.comfollow her on Twitter @loishenry or on Facebook at Lois Henry.

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June 13, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Cleveland Jewish News

Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to rejectthe $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported. In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, readthe letter, which was spearheaded byReps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz. Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the proposed budget. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a Friday statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum. The museum had requested a funding increase of $3 million from the 2016 allocation in order to cover rising costs, maintenance, equipment support and security. Trumps new budget would deny that request, keeping the budget at the 2016 level of $54 million instead of the requested $57 million, according to The Hill. In January, the president cameunder fire forissuing a statement forInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. However, he struck a different tone in April, whenhe pledged to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials atin a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

President Donald Trump marking Days of remembrance of the Holocaust in the Capitol Rotunda, April 25 2017. (Ron Kampeas) (JTA) Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to rejectthe $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported. In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, readthe letter, which was spearheaded byReps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz. Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the proposed budget. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a Friday statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum. The museum had requested a funding increase of $3 million from the 2016 allocation in order to cover rising costs, maintenance, equipment support and security. Trumps new budget would deny that request, keeping the budget at the 2016 level of $54 million instead of the requested $57 million, according to The Hill. In January, the president cameunder fire forissuing a statement forInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. However, he struck a different tone in April, whenhe pledged to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials atin a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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June 11, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump Sparks Bipartisan Criticism Over Holocaust Museum Cuts – ATTN:

In response to the news thatPresident Trumps budget would call for$3 million in funding cuts to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,a bipartisan coalition of 64 members of Congress have been swift in their denouncement. AsThe Hill reported, the coalition has drafted a letter to theInterior appropriations subcommitteethat makes clear why now is a particularly bad time for the cuts. In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises, itsaid. Attempts to cut funding for the museum are misguided, and this letter demonstrates a strong, bipartisan commitment to protecting the museum and the educational value it provides to all Americans,Rep.Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) told The Hill. Trumps budget proposal would decrease the Museums budget by 5 percentand drop it back to its 2016 level of $54 million. The budget proposal saidthe cutswill assist in meeting the Presidents budget objectives, while still providing adequate funds to cover pay increases and rising costs for current services for the Museums facilities and collections. The decrease is achieved by reductions in staff and selected non-pay areas. In a prepared statement, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO of anti-Semitism watchdog group the Anti-Defamation League, blasted Trump for cutting funding and he urged Congress to fully fund the Museum: In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museum’s mission is as critical as ever. The budget cuts are particularly disconcerting as they come after a series of problematic statements and actions from Trump, during his campaign and nascent presidency. During the2016 campaign, he tweeted an illustration using a six-pointed star resembling the Star of David over a background of a pile of money. The image, taken from a fringe website,was meant to denigrate Hillary Clintons supposed corruption, garnereda quick backlash, and the Trump campaign’sexplanation didn’t help matters. In January, Trumpfailed to specifically mention the Jewish peoplein his prepared statements for Holocaust Remembrance Day, an omission the White Housethen defended. ThenduringPassoverWhite House Press SecretarySean Spicer sparked outragewhen positively compared Adolph Hitler to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said that Hitler “did not use chemical weapons.” Thatblunder, for which Spicer clarified and apologized, was roundly criticized, with the Holocaust Memorial Museum tweeting a video of U.S. troops liberating a concentration camp in response. Trump also drew criticism on his recent trip to the Middle East for his all-caps note in the guest book of theYad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem which said: “IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS SO AMAZING & WILL NEVER FORGET! Critics said the reaction was too glib and self-referential for a sitting President. These incidentsand theTrump administration’sproposedfunding cutscome amidst a backdropof rising anti-Semitism in the United States. New data from the Anti-Defamation League showed anti-Semetic incidents like assaults, vandalism and harassment, surged 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

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June 10, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Us Weekly gives Ivanka Trump credit for failing – Vox

To understand one of the key shortcomings of the press, consider the esteem that reporters routinely lavish on Ivanka Trump, the favored presidential daughter who has somehow fashioned herself as the good cop to her fathers bad cop. The narrative of Ivanka as a moderating influence on her fathers crueler impulses suffered another setback last Thursday, when the president announced, over her objections, that United States would pull out of the Paris accord, a major climate change agreement. For that, CNN awarded her its Worst Week in Washington. It didnt take long for the press to resume fawning over her. Us Weekly splashed Ivanka on its newest cover this week, praising her for balancing her personal ideals with love and loyalty for her father. The full article is not out yet, but from the snippet released so far, the cover story will likely retread the same myths about Ivanka as a competent advocate. Ivanka is the best woman for the job, Us Weekly gushes, describing her as a skilled negotiator who knows just how to work [Trump] stating her case calmly and directly. In tone, the tabloid magazines fawning profile doesnt sound all that different from sections of Politicos Ivanka story last week, which was laden with blind quotes defending her failure to sway her father on climate change. According to one explanation, it was unrealistic and unfair to expect that Ivanka would single-handedly change her fathers position away from long-standing Republican orthodoxy. Another excuse was that Ivanka hadnt really been trying. According to people close to the first daughter and her husband (read: their friends), Ivankas attention was on women’s issues, while her husbands attention was on the Middle East and that climate change was never their focus. Of course, that contradicts an earlier Politico story headlined Ivanka Trump, climate czar? which claimed that Ivanka wanted to make climate change one of her signature issues. Meanwhile, the soft-focus stories keep coming. A widely ridiculed CNN story last week described Ivanka as America’s most powerful Jewish woman for no other reason, apparently, than the fact that she is Jewish and the daughter of the president. This, in spite of the Trump administrations documented weirdness about the Holocaust, including a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that never mentioned Jewish people. On child care and parental leave, the issues that Ivanka seems to be most passionate about, her sole victory has been to slip a modest family leave program into Trumps latest budget proposal. Even here, Ivanka has gotten more than her fair share of the credit in the press. A CNN story Tuesday described a new think tank report on paid family leave as a big boost for Ivanka’s paid parental leave plan as if scholars on the left and right hadnt been pushing this idea for years, long before Ivanka put her stamp on it. Ivankas political efforts might best be described as an extension of her brand, which was always about breezy, cosmopolitan affluence. To the extent that certain political views were necessary to complete that image, Ivanka seems to have done the minimum amount of advocacy necessary in her role as a member of Trumps inner circle. Its worth noting that Ivanka has an advice book out now, full of vague or otherwise impractical tips that are best understood as an exercise in burnishing her image as a successful, professional woman. The book can be seen as a metaphor for her political efforts: Ineffective at best, but a savvy branding campaign. Ivankas efforts at self-promotion have neatly lined up with the medias own demand for characters. The relentlessly optimistic coverage of Ivanka speaks to an instinct to frame the world in moral terms: Much of political coverage is storytelling, and too often, people are slotted either as heroes or villains, forces for good or for evil. It helps that Ivanka possesses a type of beauty that often passes as moral uprightness, as the New Yorkers Jia Tolentino puts it the kind of beauty that sells magazine covers, that invites people to give her endless free passes. The press was always going to find someone in the White House to cheer, and why not Ivanka? At least she looks the part of the protagonist.

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June 7, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Special in uniform – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Special in uniform The Jerusalem Post PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN addresses the Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Su. PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN addresses the Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Sunday. and more »

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June 7, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Editorial: Fight prejudice, encourage diversity – Plattsburgh Press Republican

In America, people used to keep their negative opinions pretty much to themselves or at least away from the people against whom the opinions were directed. This was either out of fear or perhaps a minimal sense of courtesy. Then, along came the criticism of political correctness. Political correctness is considered negative in the opposite direction: the refusal to be candid for fear of upsetting others. Its thought of as being cowardly or overly polite. So what have we now? We have demented people feeling as if it is their right or duty to be as deplorably insulting as they can. We should all know, in our hearts and right minds, that no human being is superior or inferior to another simply because of where they were born or to whom. Yet some people have concluded that they outrank certain others because of their race, religion or some other imagined factor. No one is immune from attack these days. Almost superhuman NBA basketball star LeBron James learned last week that someone had painted a malicious racial slur on the gate outside his Los Angeles home. James was heartbroken that his children would be exposed to such torment. No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how many people admire you, being black in America is tough,” James said at a news conference before the start of the NBA finals. “We got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African Americans until we feel equal in America.” In another vile gesture, a noose was left in the iconic Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a reminder of how blacks were once routinely lynched by misguided Southerners who thought whiteness somehow betokened achievement. In Portland, Ore., on May 27, police say, white supremacist Jeremy Christian ranted against two young Muslim women before stabbing to death two men who rushed to their defense and seriously injuring a third. He demanded the teens get out of his country, as if he had more right to it than they. The North Country may not be the cradle of enlightenment, but most people here consider themselves to be generally respectful and even appreciative of genetic or cultural differences. Yet, disturbing incidents of bias have taken place here recently, as well. Anti-Semitic material was distributed on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus on Holocaust Remembrance Day in late June.And in Chazy, four teens are accused of violating the state’s hate-crimes law by drawing anti-Semitic and racist graffiti on a West Chazy Recreation Park building. After the incident at James’s house, the NBA star said, “Racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America.” We very much hope he is wrong. Americans should treasure our diversity and stand up to those who don’t.

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June 7, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Local group scores in international competition – Oneonta Daily Star

A local klezmer band struck a chord of originality at a festival overseas and returned with a prize. Clarinetist Robin Seletsky of Milford Center and her Jewish music ensemble Big Galut(e) were awarded the Simcha Prize for originality at the 20th International Jewish Music Festival and Competition. The event was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from May 4 to 8. Big Galut(e) was among 24 groups chosenout of 100 applicantsto compete, according to Seletsky, and it was the only ensemble attending from the United States. On May 5, Big Galut(e) was one of eight groups that advanced to the semi-final round, Seletsky said, and on May 7, the group was presented with the originality award, which included a cash prize of 500 euros. In presenting the award to Big Galut(e), festival organizers praised the group as very gifted musicians with high-quality playing and very entertaining, the release said. It was really rewarding to be recognized, Seletsky told The Daily Star recently. We were thrilled. It was a tremendously empowering experience. We were able to grow musically by hearing the other groups and being part of the festival, she said. It’s a very prestigious event. Big Galut(e) includes musicians affiliated with the orchestra of Glimmerglass Festival in Springfield Center, near Cooperstown, Seletsky said. Big Galut(e) members who joined Seletsky playing the festival in Amsterdam were Sasha Margolis on violin, Michael Leopold on guitar and theorbo, Richard Sosinsky on bass and Mark Rubinstein on accordion. Seletsky said the group performed traditional klezmer tunes, a piece by a Jewish baroque composer and her original works, among other music. Big Galut(e) was formed in 2010 when a few musicians in the Glimmerglass Festival orchestra decided to explore music from the klezmer tradition, according to Seletsky. Coincidentally, Sashas father taught him klezmer as a child as did my dad with me, Seletsky said in an email. The group’s first formal concert was on the Cherry Valley Artworks summer series. Since forming, Big Galut(e) has played dozens of concerts including both the Honolulu and Maui Chamber Music Series, at Ohios Oberlin and Hebrew Union colleges, Californias Stanford University and Sonoma State and, closer to home, with Stamford Friends of Music, at Hartwick College and as soloists with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, Seletsy said. The group offers a variety of musical programs and styles. In Amsterdam, most of the festival events took place at the historic Uilenburger Synagogue in the heart of Amsterdam. Seletsky said musicians participating in the festival were from Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic and Finland. Many of the ensembles specialized in Sephardic styles featuring Moroccan and Yemenite musical influences, Seletsky said. The panel of judges included founder of the Klezmer Conservatory Band Hankus Netsky, Dutch conductor Jules van Hessen and Israeli radio personality and music producer Dubi Lenz, the release said. The first day of the event coincided with The Netherlands National Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was marked by a presentation by the King and Queen of Holland in Amsterdams Dam Square, the release said. This was followed by two minutes of silence throughout the country. Big Galut(e) members had to pay their own way to participate, according to Seletsky, who said she received financial support from Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta, where she teaches. The group has plans to build on its success in Amsterdam, including recording a second album and expanding its network in Europe, the release said. In the Cooperstown area, Big Galut(e) will perform in the Glimmerglass Festivals Pavilion Series, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8. Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7213 or at drichardson@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_DeniseR.

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June 5, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Schoolchildren throw birthday party for Holocaust survivor – Ynetnews

A group of ninth grade students from a school in Ashkelon threw a surprise party for Holocaust survivor Yehoshua Verashavski in his home last Thursday to celebrate his birthday. Verashavski, 87, struggled to hide his emotion from the singing schoolchildren as tears of joy began to trickle down his face while he expressed his gratitude to the children for their initiative. This is one of the happiest moments of my life, to know that my citys students remember and respect the people who did everything to survive and to found our state. I will never forget you, an emotional Verashavski promised. The connection between the students and Verashavski was established as part of The Memory in the Living Room project, in which Holocaust survivors and their families come into people’s living rooms and tell their personal stories. Last Holocaust Remembrance Day, Verashavski were hosted, along with his wife Chaya, by Guy and Galit Binyamin, the parents of one of the students called Ofir. Verashavski left a deep impression on the participants with his life story in which he recounted the horrors he witnessed during the Holocaust and told of his conscription into the Palmach and his life in Israel. Guy Binyamin, who is also the chairman of the Parents Committee of the class, maintained contact with Yehoshua and Chaya, and organized the surprise party. Together with the students and the class teacher July Cohen, they surprised the Verashavskis in their home, where they presented him with a large cake, balloons and a picture on which was written: Your smile, our victory.

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed


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