“Good Will Foundation” (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania)

Israel Chronicle


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Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2020)

JAN 2019: ARON HELLER IN THE WASHINGTON POST ON NETANYAHU’S “SALE OF HOLOCAUST HISTORY” IN EASTERN EUROPE; SAM SOKOL’S NEW PAPER

 

LOOKING BACK AT 2018-2019:

Historic lowpoint in Israeli diplomacy?

Also: Netanyahu’s Trip to Lithuania. Ten Knesset members call on country’s president to cancel convention center project in old Vilna Jewish cemetery; Interior Minister adds his voice.

A historic highpoint: Israeli ambassador to Ukraine, HE Joel Lion, speaks up with integrity.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Chronicle

Lingering Discussions of Netanyahu’s 23-26 August 2018 Visit to Lithuania



ISRAEL PAGE  |  ISRAEL SECTION  |  LOWPOINT IN ISRAEL’S PROUD DIPLOMATIC HISTORY?

Debbie Maimon in Yated Ne’eman on the “Pandora’s Box” Opened; Efraim Zuroff’s Critique of Netanyahu’s Acquiescence to Lithuanian State Holocaust PR Games

DH’s Israel Page

Ben Cohen’s Coverage  in Algemeiner.com Cites Three Defending History Suggestions for the “Lithuanian-Israeli Moral Agenda”

(1) Call for letters of apology for three Israeli citizens defamed for posterity by Vilnius prosecutors: Yitzhak Arad (b. 1926) and Rachel Margolis (1921–2015) and Joseph Melamed (1924–2017). All three fought with the Jewish partisans against the Nazis. Two of the three were decorated heroes of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

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Herbert Block Issues Public Statement on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  USCPAHA  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES

by Herbert Block

 

I have been involved in Jewish community, heritage and Holocaust-restitution issues in Lithuania for almost two decades, through various professional and personal capacities. While I have worked on these matters in other European countries, I have a special interest in and bond with these subjects as almost all my family came to America from Litvak areas. In the past few years I have spent a lot of time on the issue of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery in Šnipiškės (Piramónt) and the future plans for the Sports Palace building which has been on that site for decades. I met with many rabbis and community leaders with vastly different views and no meeting or photo should be interpreted as an endorsement of any position.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Herbert Block, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Comments Off on Herbert Block Issues Public Statement on Fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

100 Jews from Across Lithuania Peacefully Protest Undemocratic Hijack of Official Jewish Community



VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

VILNIUS—As covered sequentially by DH over the past year, the official “Lithuanian Jewish Community” (LJC) saw its democracy abruptly dismantled in the spring of 2017 with the mid-campaign rule-change whereby the three thousand or so surviving Jews of Lithuania were disenfranchised and their voting rights replaced by a roomful of “Jewish oligarchs,” most of whom are beneficiaries of funds allocated by the government’s Good Will Foundation. Some have two or three votes, some represent defunct organizations, and one, who has two votes actually lives in Brussels. Western observers have compared it with some irony to the original Zero Mostel version of the Hollywood film The Producers. In any case, the “election” was ruled illegal by the Lithuanian courts in a case that brought their judicial independence to the fore, to the nation’s great credit.

UPDATES: JTA REPORT

Observers have pointed to the dangers of restitution settlements with East European governments that end up destroying communities’ democracy and independence in the direction of becoming “Jewish PR” units for the state with massive glories falling upon one or a handful of “court Jews” who serve to showcase state policies to the outside world.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas | Comments Off on 100 Jews from Across Lithuania Peacefully Protest Undemocratic Hijack of Official Jewish Community

“Pylimo Jewish Commissariat” Ensures Readers Won’t Ever Hear About the New York Times



HUMOR (OF SORTS)  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH

by Motke Chabad

Our national Ministry for Jewish Control’s website editors were recently faced with a daunting quagmire. An article in the New York Times (one written, to make matters worse, by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist), had featured, right on top, a large beautiful photo of a handsome young Lithuanian Jewish man, Simon Gurevich, who was elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community by an overwhelming majority, one year ago. Even worse, he is of pure Litvak heritage going back seven hundred years on all sides of his family. Shockingly, the article quoted him as saying that the government might find a better place for its new national convention center than on top of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. (Obviously he was misled by those 42,500 people who signed some petition or other.  By the way, a few years ago I helped the Commissariat in its search at the time for a suitable new rabbi with that question in mind.)

Who’s afraid of Simon Gurevich and The New York Times?

Naturally, all those local Jews who voted for Mr. Gurevich are Russians who claim to be Jewish, as the Commissariat demonstrated brilliantly last May beyond any shadow of a doubt. The challenge became to ensure that readers from the lands of the capitalist leaches, those who speak English, never find out about this article. Easy enough, who will ever hear about a New York Times article about our distant country? Mum’s the word.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Humor (Of Sorts), Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, Motke Chabad, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on “Pylimo Jewish Commissariat” Ensures Readers Won’t Ever Hear About the New York Times

Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

by Josifas Parasonis

Professor Josifas Parasonis (Vilnius Gediminas Technical University) contributed this opinion piece in Lithuanian earlier today. This translation is provided by Defending History, with Prof. Parasonis’s consent, for our readers’ information (with hyperlinks provided by DH). In the event of any query arising, the Lithuanian version alone is authoritative. Prof. Parasonis is one of the twenty-one Vilnius Jewish Community council members elected on 24 May 2017. See also the letter signed by him and nineteen others, addressed to the Good Will Foundation last July, and, in reverse chronological order, Defending History’s section on Vilnius Jewish life. DH opinion pieces represent the views of the author.

Methods of authoritarian and obtuse governance, evident for many years in the management of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC), have recently reached the public sphere. Despite the fierce resistance and brutal interference of the chairwoman of the LJC (and, until recently, of the Vilnius Jewish Community, too) Faina Kukliansky, the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) [on 24 May 2017] organized a general conference of Vilnius Jews according to all legal procedures — with, incidentally, record-high attendance — and elected its new council [of 21 members] democratically. But the notion that Jewish people solve their problems in a wise manner, although prevalent in society, demonstrably did not take root in this case. As a former deputy chairman of the LJC (2000–2005), I feel an obligation to share my thoughts on why this has happened. It seems to me that I have a moral right to share these thoughts.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?

Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?



OPINION  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Beware of any academic conference hosted by a nation’s parliament. This isn’t about Lithuania, the Baltics, or Eastern Europe. It’s about the intellectual independence and academic integrity of bona fide academic conclaves anywhere. There are elementary questions. Was there a public call for papers? Was there an academic committee established to select those papers by the most competent specialists on the actual topic of the conference? An academic committee that would guard against the petty jealousies, politics of revenge and personal exclusions, as well as larger political correctnesses or state-sponsored-agency attempts to predetermine the proceedings or (ab)use them for governmental PR? Is the conference a free tribune for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect? One where scholars of opposing views can thrash it out, robustly and publicly — without the loss of interpersonal respect — to yield positive results for the area of human enquiry to which the conference was dedicated in the first place. One of the ironies is that Vilnius is nowadays host to some of the world’s best (and most academically free) conferences in an array of fields, both in the humanities and the sciences. That Soviet-style rigging should survive in the case of Judaic studies, of all things, will itself be studied one day.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky: Not Afraid to Blog on Community Leaders’ Injustices



CHABAD IN VILNIUS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

VILNIUS—After a number of readers reported technical difficulties in accessing the publicly posted and widely read blog of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, in the interests of preserving the history of the Lithuanian Jewish community these are here offered in chronological order with separate links for each (the original is also available in internet libraries). Rabbi Krinsky’s respectful call for the resignations of leaders of the Good Will Foundation is perhaps the best known, covering the wider issue of integrity of restitution payments far beyond Chabad issues alone. For  highly divergent views on the events the rabbi covers in these blog posts, see the Defending History section tracking Rabbi Krinsky’s recent history in Vilniusand the official website of the state-sponsored Jewish Community of Lithuania (e.g. herehere).

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Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—One month ago, on 7 July 2017, twenty of the twenty-one elected board members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (the 21st was abroad) signed a full-hearted letter addressed to the Good Will Foundation, the Lithuanian government restitution fund for Jewish community survival deriving from part of the value of the communal properties owned by the annihilated religious Jewish communities of prewar Lithuania. To this date, there has been no reply from the Good Will Foundation, nor any statement from its esteemed foreign board members who represent the World Jewish Restitution Organization. The board’s co-chair is Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, who is a recipient of a number of Lithuanian government medals over the years.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”

Dr. Jerrold A. Zoloto’s Open Letter to Ms. Kukliansky



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Jerrold A. Zoloto, PhD

The following Open Letter appeared today on Dr. Zoloto’s public Facebook page and is reposted in Defending History with the author’s permission.

We have watched in horror the events leading up to and concluding with your “election” as the leader of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Having grown up in the world’s greatest democracy, it appalls me to see how you have ruthlessly and illegally managed to maintain your power base.

I am a proud Litvak, but you would not consider me a Litvak because I do not fit your definition of a Litvak. My mother was a Litvak and my father was a Jew born in Zhitomir. I grew up with my grandmother who was born in Kaunas. My grandfather was also from Kaunas, though he had died before I was born. Yiddish and Russian were spoken in my home as I grew up. You have disenfranchised Litvaks whose native language was not Lithuanian or whose parents were not both Litvaks or who was not born and raised in Lithuania. Your rhetoric on this subject is dangerously close to that of the Nazis who tried to destroy us. Within that concept of yours, you remind me of a Kapo who will do anything to her own people to ensure her own survival.

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Young Vilnius Jews Converge on Jewish Community Center to Protest Rigged Election



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Defending History Staff

VILNIUS—In one of the most remarkable events in post-Soviet Jewish Lithuania, around a hundred Jewish residents of this city, most of them from younger generations, came today to the Pylimo 4 headquarters of the “official” Jewish community to monitor the quadrennial elections for chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania which they believed to be rigged. First, the rules had been changed right in the middle of the campaign, on 19 April, disenfranchising the small Jewish population of Lithuania by reducing to one vote each Jewish community and abandoning the long-standing formula of 1 vote for 100 persons which gave a voice to actual Jewish people (while retaining one, two or even three votes for various oligarchs from NGOs and other organizations, associations, and entities, including a not-yet built museum in a town with no Jews). That meant that the 2,200 or so Jews of Vilnius would have one vote rather than around 22.

UPDATES OF 29 MAY:

Vilnius District Court today nullified the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s decision to eliminate proportional representation and reduce the electoral weight of Vilnius Jewry to one vote. It offered temporary relief with a right to appeal within seven days. Net moral effect of the decision is to delegitimize the “re-coronation” of the incumbent chairperson.

Also: The “Good Will Foundation” released its latest allocation figures of funds deriving from the communal religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities. Incredibly, it contains money for the state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” that is dedicated to the 2008 Prague Declaration

Second, the fifteen representatives which the newly elected Vilnius Jewish Community Board designated to attend the election conference were not admitted to the conference. Last Wednesday evening, the VJC elected Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) its chairperson. He is the challenger candidate for the national chairpersonship position.

Third, a massive multi-layered security presence (guards in the building wore at least three kinds of fancy uniforms, police and security cars graced the sidewalk outside) added both bad will and farce to a day that will invariably go down in Vilna Jewish history on a number of counts. The Vilnius Jewish Community’s report on the day’s events (in Lithuanian) is available on its Facebook page.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Chabad in Vilnius, Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Young Vilnius Jews Converge on Jewish Community Center to Protest Rigged Election

Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Over 300 members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC), representing all adult age groups, and constituting the numerically largest such conference this century, this evening elected a new VJC chairman at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. Professionally organized, members with voting rights had to present their membership cards and separate ID at conference tables organized by initial letters of surnames. The proceedings, started with a few sentences of Yiddish by Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), were meticulously conducted bilingually, with all proceedings in both Lithuanian (first) and (then) Russian in an atmosphere of democratic catharsis of an East European Jewish community, many of whose members have felt sidelined by the interests of a handful of elites close to government circles in recent years. The assembly included virtually all of the known personalities of Vilnius Jewry who do not happen to have employment at Pylimo Street 4, the official community’s headquarters (but there were a few of those too, as well as some from the official synagogue minyan).

ORIGINAL POST ON WEBSITE OF STATE-SPONSORED “JEWISH COMMUNITY”

After the election of the new chairperson came elections for twenty-one members of the Vilnius Board. Also, a resolution was adopted cancelling the recent attempt to disenfranchise some two thousand Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes as a single vote (while the heads of various NGOs, including the not-yet-built Sheduva Lost Shtetl Museum, have two or more votes each).

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on Adopting Antisemitic Trope, “Official Jewish Community Website” Blasts 300 Vilnius Jews as “Mainly Russian Speakers Calling Themselves Jews”

Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), candidate for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, today issued a statement on his public Facebook page inviting members of the community to participate in the electoral conference for chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, to be held this Wednesday evening 24 May 2014 6 PM (18:00) at the Karolina Hotel in Vilnius. His statement, in Lithuanian, reminds readers that the recent attempts to cancel the conference (whose date was democratically voted on by a clear majority of Vilnius Jewish Community Board members) would result in the application of the “new rules” decided on in the middle of the current campaign that would effectively disenfranchise 2,200 Vilnius Jews by recounting their votes from the present 22 or so (via the longstanding formula of 100 people = one vote) to one vote, while each of the elite power brokers in the chairperson’s circle (not all of whom live in Lithuania) would in effect have the votes to decide the entire future of the Jewish community, resulting in a tragic undermining of the future of the actual living Jewish people in Lithuania. To make matters worse, various of these “machers” have two or three votes each.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Shádov (Šeduva), Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gurevich Explains How Kukliansky, Levin, Žakas, and Kanovich Control 40% of Votes in “Kangaroo Election”

Arkadijus Vinokuras: Chairperson’s Henchman-Spoiler or Independent Candidate?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Arkadijus Vinokuras, the highly talented and successful Lithuanian Jewish author, journalist, and comedian, has today jumped into the fray of the official Jewish Community’s elections for the post of chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community. In contrast to Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), who declared his candidacy at the start of the election season and whose candidacy has (as of the time of this posting) not even been reported on the official community website, Mr. Vinokuras’s effort comes one week before the scheduled May 24th Vilnius Jewish Community conference, and has been announced with respect and a fine photograph on the website today (the same moment it came out on his own Facebook page). But that is not the main reason his candidacy is thought by many in the community, on first reaction, to be in the service of chairperson Faina Kukliansky, whose democratic terms as chief of both the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) and the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) ran out last month.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Arkadijus Vinokuras: Chairperson’s Henchman-Spoiler or Independent Candidate?

Is “Good Will Foundation” Enabling a Mockery of Jewish Community Democracy in Lithuania?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The official trilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian) website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, generously financed from the restitution funds (deriving from prewar Jewish religious communal properties) allocated by the state-sponsored Good Will Foundation, is in the nature of things meant to represent that community. Once a community chairperson’s tenure was expired and a democratic election campaign was underway, it was widely expected that the website and its editor, Lithuanian journalist Ilona Rūkienė, would take every care to ensure evenhandedness, giving the various candidates equal space and each campaign the same respect, coverage, and democratic tools for reaching the electorate, thereby enabling voters to make an informed decision.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on Is “Good Will Foundation” Enabling a Mockery of Jewish Community Democracy in Lithuania?

Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Coming hard on the heels of the mid-campaign rule-change of 19 April that effectively disenfranchised over 2,000 Vilnius Jews, by “recounting” their collective vote as one vote instead of over 20 (via the long-established formula of 100 persons = one vote), the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, on 4 May placed an announcement on the Lithuanian-language page of the official community website (followed by the Russian section), Lzb.lt, cancelling the widely announced 24 May 2017 conference of the Vilnius Jewish Community decided upon by a clear majority vote of its Council (15 of 21 active members), for which the large hall of Hotel Karolina had already been booked. This was followed on 5 May by an English language version complete with “Red-Ink Warnings from the Leader” which seems to inaccurately report that the planned 24 May conference was an “arbitrary” act of “one” Council of the Vilnius Jewish Community member, presumably referring to her opponent in the race, Simonas Gurevičius.

UPDATES TO 12 MAY 2017: 

8 May 2017: Vilnius Jewish Community board member Simon Ceitlin posts a notice on his Facebook page confirming that the 24 May event at Hotel Karolina will proceed as announced.

10 May 2017: Simonas Gurevičius posts refutation of official Community website notice and confirms that the 24 May meeting, decided by all present at the most recent Vilnius Jewish Community board meeting, will proceed.

12 May 2017: Faina Kukliansky reposts announcement on community website assuring readers that the meeting will not occur.

 

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jews Dismayed at New Attempt to Crush Democracy

Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Interviews by several Defending History staffers with several dozen members of Vilnius’s Jewish community over the past several days have turned up what seems to be a widespread sense of (citing terms that recurred frequently in the conversations) “disappointment” or “shock” at the “unbelievable changing of the rules of an election in the middle of the campaign.” (Such mini-surveys are not scientific, and a professional survey of today’s Jewish community on a number of issues is a critical desideratum here.)

The change seems to be in the cause of in effect disenfranchising the actual living Jews of Lithuania by suddenly decoupling the numbers of living, resident Jews from votes cast for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for which elections are scheduled, as of today, for May 28th (for recent developments see the DH section on Vilnius Jewish Life). A number of those interviewed mentioned the role of the “Good Will Foundation” that allocates funding for the community’s administration, including elections, from the government finance provided as restitution for prewar communal religious Jewish property. Some of its allocations have been highly controversial.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Shádov (Šeduva) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jews “Shocked” by Maneuver to “Rig the Community’s Elections”

Community Democratization: Four Leadership Jobs? Four People!



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—The disappointing failure of the official website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania to give Equal Space to each candidate, and to each campaign, in the current leadership contest is a scar in the modern community’s history that can still be repaired as the campaign turns to its final stages. Let us hope it will be, and that this minimal democratic standard will be respected by the site’s editor and by the Good Will Foundation that allocates lavish finance for the website, which was never intended to be a Soviet-style paean to a single never-to-be-questioned Leader. Perhaps the Board’s foreign members, in particular, will rise to the occasion, at long last, at next week’s scheduled meeting here in Vilnius, especially in light of the recent series of unsettling reports.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Community Democratization: Four Leadership Jobs? Four People!

Hon. Herbert Block’s Lithuanian Engagements and the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  | OPPOSITION  |   USCPAHA (US COMMISSION FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE ABROAD)  |  CPJCE  |  ADMAS KODESH  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—The Hon. Herbert Block, a prominent and popular personality known to New Yorkers from his days as the highly successful Jewish affairs liaison for the campaign and administration of New York City mayor David Dinkins years ago has emerged as a major force at the confluence of Jewish-Hasidic, American and Lithuanian-government politics on issues in Lithuanian-Jewish affairs. There are conflicting views about his myriad, and some would say conflict-of-interest laden, entanglements that include a Satmar group in Monroe, New York intent on fulfilling the wishes of Vilnius builders for a convention center and annex in the heart of the old Jewish cemetery of Vilnius (allegedly for the financial benefit of their London followers in the CPJCE), a US taxpayer funded agency that exists to preserve  Jewish cemeteries (but has yet to issue a word of protest at the “convention center in the Jewish cemetery” project) and the Lithuanian government’s “Good Will Foundation” that allocates monies deriving from the religious properties of the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania.

NEW SECTION ON MR. BLOCK’S LITHUANIAN INVOLVEMENTS

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Posted in "Admas Kodesh", "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hon. Herbert Block’s Lithuanian Engagements and the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuanian Jews Call for Democracy in their Community



OPINION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—The human rights of even small, weak and demographically struggling minorities to enjoy a free and open website that offers a forum to people and groups of diverse opinions is well established. It is also a test of democracy that members of such groups feel able to speak out when those rights are abrogated. Against that backdrop, it was significant today that a group of older members of Lithuania’s Jewish community (including Holocaust survivors), spoke out on the subject, around a week after a pubic appeal for website democracy by a younger generation on Facebook.  The older group blogs under the name of the semi-legendary 19th century Vilna Jewish “wisecracker and whistleblower” Mótke Chabád in the Russian-language Vilnius-based publication Obzor (not to be confused with Defending History’s “own” Motke Chabad…).

“Bravo to Vilnius’s Jewish community for their pre-Passover 2017 stand for democracy, the younger generation in Facebook, the survivor generation in Obzor.”

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Comments Off on Lithuanian Jews Call for Democracy in their Community