Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. August 3, 2018

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

Please see below for the links to this week's new updates.

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. August 3, 2018

Protesters Chant Anti-Putin Slogans at Moscow Rally Against Retirement Age Plan
Voice of America, July 29, 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Thousands protested in central Moscow on Sunday against a proposed increase to the retirement age and the crowd chanted slogans critical of President Vladimir Putin whose approval ratings have been dented by the bill.

The rally organized by the opposition Libertarian Party chanted "Putin is a thief" and "away with the tsar," slogans common at anti-Putin and anti-government protests.

Around 90 percent of the population oppose the bill, according to a recent opinion poll, and a petition against it has attracted 3 million signatures online.

Israel, Ukraine, plan for Rosh Hashanah visitors to Uman
Arutz Sheva, August 1, 2018

In preparation for the tens of thousands of Jewish visitors who will be heading to Uman, Ukraine, for Rosh Hashanah, an Israeli delegation of representatives from emergency services met with representatives of the Ukrainian government.

High ranking Ukrainian officials from the police and emergency medical services, as well regional and local government officials, took part in the meeting, which aimed to create a plan of action enabling a smoother, safer, holiday for the throngs of visitors.

Each year, tens of thousands of Jewish worshipers head to the city of Uman, where the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is located, for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Poland honors fighters, victims of Warsaw's 1944 revolt
By Monika Scislowska
Associated Press, August 1, 2018

WARSAW, Poland — World War II veterans, Warsaw residents and Poland's leaders stood at attention Wednesday as sirens wailed during anniversary ceremonies honoring the fighters and victims of the city's ill-fated 1944 revolt against the Nazi occupation.

Warsaw traffic stopped for a minute's remembrance as the sirens sounded at 5 p.m., the exact hour when the Aug. 1 revolt started 74 years ago.

Earlier in the day, President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath at a memorial in Wola district, where German forces killed tens of thousands of civilians in early August 1944, in retaliation for the revolt organized by Poland's clandestine resistance movement, the Home Army.

Rabbi’s son says he was assaulted by Polish police, who gave him Nazi salute
By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA, August 1, 2018

The son of a rabbi in Poland said police in Krakow assaulted him and gave him Nazi salutes outside a synagogue, but police denied the accusation and said he was drunk and disorderly.

In the incident late Sunday afternoon, Yaakov Gluck, 40, of Brooklyn, told JTA that he was prevented from giving a tour of the Kupa Synagogue to friends by a Jewish community employee. Gluck said he insisted that the employee call another member who regularly allows him to show the synagogue to guests, but the employee instead called police, who wrestled him to the ground. Later, he said, other police officers did the Nazi salutes to offend him while he was in custody at a police station.

Sebastian Gleniu, a spokesman for the Krakow police, denied the allegations concerning any sort of anti-Semitic discourse or behavior by the officers who arrested Gluck and later at the station. He told the news site Wirtualna Polska that Gluck was drunk and disorderly, obstructed the work of the officers called to remove him from the premises and shouted obscenities at them.

Holocaust memorial vandalized in Poland
JTA, August 1, 2018

WARSAW— A memorial to the Holocaust victims of a central Polish town was vandalized, and swastikas were painted on the fence of its Jewish cemetery.

On Monday, police in Plock were notified by passers-by of the vandalism, which included the phrase “F*** the Jews,” according to local news reports.

The following day, Plock residents gathered to clean up the cemetery, which also was filled with garbage and overgrowth, and paint over the anti-Semitic graffiti.

Who Speaks for the European Right? Orban. Yes, Orban.
By Leonid Bershidsky
Bloomberg, July 31, 2018

If you want to know what the European right is thinking about Europe and the world, listen to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Unlike most far-right leaders, Orban is a consistent winner with strong mainstream credentials, and his outspokenness stems from conviction rather than a mere desire to win protest votes.

Every year, Orban gives a speech at a summer camp for his young supporters. The latest such oration, on Saturday, was different from most of the earlier ones because it presented a geopolitical creed for right-wing forces throughout the continent. This was a speech by the man President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has called “Trump before Trump.”

Orban shares an enemy with Bannon: financier and philanthropist George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation quit Budapest this year after Orban’s party, Fidesz, won its third election in a row. But Orban also sees a method to what others write off as Trump madness. To the Hungarian leader, Trump is consciously working to transform the global multilateral order into one based on bilateral agreements.

Russia to deploy military police on Golan Heights
By Denis Pinchuk and Tom Balmforth
Reuters, August 2, 2018

MOSCOW - Russia will deploy its military police on the Golan Heights frontier between Syria and Israel, its defense ministry said on Thursday, after weeks of mounting volatility in the area.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s sweeping away of rebels in southwestern Syria has worried Israel, which believes it could allow his Iranian backers to entrench their troops close to the frontier.

Underlining the tensions, Israel killed seven militants in an overnight air strike on the Syrian-held part of the Golan Heights, Israeli radio said on Thursday.

How does it feel to belong to a minority in Slovakia?
By Radka Minarechová
Slovak Spectator, July 31, 2018

Philosopher Fedor Gál lived 50 years without actually realising he belongs to a minority. He knew he was a Jew, since he grew up in a village where he was part of the only Jewish family. But he adopted the philosophy that he was secular, not a Zionist, and speaks no other language than Slovak.

“I first realised I belong to a minority in 1990,” he said at the July 19 discussion held at the Goethe Institute in Bratislava under the title “What is it like to be a minority in Slovakia?”
The discussion was part of the European Minorities project, running under Erasmus+. It was organised by the Jewish Educational Centre Chabad of Slovakia and the Goethe Institute in Bratislava.
Putin Says He's Invited Trump To Moscow; White House 'Open' To Idea
RFE/RL, July 27, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 27 that he has invited U.S. President Donald Trump to Moscow and that both he and Trump were ready for further summits.

Putin added that he is also ready to travel to Washington to meet Trump but said conditions need to be right for a meeting to take place.

Speaking to reporters at a summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries in South Africa on July 27, Putin said telephone calls between Moscow and Washington were insufficient.

Rivlin welcomes new Polish ambassador with unsubtle rebuke over Holocaust law
By Raphael Ahren
Times of Israel, August 2 2018

In an unsubtle censure of Poland’s controversial Holocaust law, President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday told the country’s incoming envoy that Israelis, as opposed to Poles, prefer to let historians determine historical facts. “The main difference between us is that we leave the facts of history to the historians,” Rivlin told a stone-faced Ambassador Marek Magierowski. “We are not letting any politician interfere or be involved with or creating the facts of history.”

Receiving Magierowski’s letter of credence in his Jerusalem residence, Rivlin started off by mentioning that Jews and Poles had nearly a thousand years of common history. “It’s a history that cannot be forgotten. And I know that we have differences of opinion from time to time, and we prefer to deal with them. It’s very important from time to time also to discuss differences of opinion rather than abstain from cooperation or discussion,” he said.

Without mentioning the controversial now-amended law, which had stipulated fines for people accusing the Polish people of complicity in Nazi Holocaust crimes, Rivlin indicated that Polish politicians trying to clear their country’s wartime record formed the main point of disagreement between Jerusalem and Warsaw. However, Rivlin also said that this issue should not be allowed to negatively impact the future of bilateral ties.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.