World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT

World Jewish Congress Laments “Deplorable” Ukrainian Monument for Petliura



 UKRAINE  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

The following press statement appeared on the World Jewish Congress website on 17 October 2017:

NEW YORK—The World Jewish Congress has denounced the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa’s “disgraceful and deplorable” move to celebrate nationalist leader Symon Petliura, whose Ukrainian People’s Republic killed tens of thousands of Jews in programs under his watch in 1918-1921, and urged the local authorities to pull a monument unveiled over the weekend in his honor.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement:

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Editor’s Comment on a Yad Vashem Group Visiting Lithuania



The following comment appeared on Facebook today:

YAD VASHEM’S “political department” and the group that visited Lithuania last week:

Thanks to both members of the group who quietly reached out to the Defending History team for a meeting. As you saw, nothing but good comes from relaxed, pleasurable, respectful and frank exchange of ideas and knowledge, over a cup of coffee. It was sad that the group was (again) hermetically sealed from “The Second Opinion” here in Vilnius (and those Holocaust survivors who hold such opinions), as if Israeli citizens cannot be trusted to cope with a rich tapestry of opposing views when they visit Eastern Europe. (That various “Yiddish” institutions gleefully, at times, play the role of gatekeeper of ideas here is another issue.) For background on the issues from our team’s perspective, please see:
http://defendinghistory.com/…/political-pressure-on-yad-vas…
http://defendinghistory.com/israel-debates/43340
http://defendinghistory.com/blaming-the-victims
http://defendinghistory.com/category/israel

Over the years some amazing Israeli heroes of truth and courage have indeed spoken out.

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Posted in Dovid Katz, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yad Vashem Manipulated?, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Editor’s Comment on a Yad Vashem Group Visiting Lithuania

Is the WJC Facing a Yiddish Values-and-Ethics Test?



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Yiddish comedy is alive and kicking. Here’s the plot for the new play. The World Jewish Congress gets millions from a Kyrgyz-Kazachstani donor with Lithuanian connections to set up the International Yiddish Center in Vilnius that will save the Yiddish language, a high priority for both the Kyrgyz and Kazachstani peoples. There are just a few strings attached from Lithuanian government-related units and commissions about who may not have a Yiddish teaching job there (for example those who oppose Holocaust Denial or have stood up for Yiddish speaking survivors accused by Lithuanian authorities of war crimes). The new International Yiddish Center is offered an opportunity one day to raise its profile bigtime by being showcased  in the Lithuanian Parliament. Who could refuse that? There may even be some medals to go around. But what is it they have to pull off to get there?

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A Kyrgyz-Kazakhstani Yiddish Twist? Was A. Mashkevich, Major Jewish Philanthropist, Manipulated by Lithuanian Operatives?


Alexander Mashkevich

Alexander Mashkevich

Sources in the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, themselves asking to remain anonymous, have leaked to select media contacts that the “secret donor” for the secretive new WJC/ORT Yiddish cultural center in Vilnius is none other than Kyrgyz born Alexander Mashkevich, a charismatic, brilliant, well-liked, and decidedly flamboyant “Russian Jewish oligarch” who is mostly associated with Kazakhstan.

Mr. Mashkevich holds a doctorate in linguistics, is descended from Lithuanian Jews, and is known for his generosity to numerous charities and his leadership in the Russian-speaking Jewish world. He is a former president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. The WJC and ORT sources supplying the information claim to be worried on his behalf about manipulation by the Lithuanian government’s “double genocide unit” via the medium of famous Jewish organizations.

The center’s establishment was announced in a Vilnius interview with World Jewish Congress executive director Michael Schneider last April, in which he indicated that the new center would be funded by “an anonymous donor who doesn’t want his name to be mentioned.”

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Regina Kopilevich, Genealogist and Historical Tour Guide for Jewish Lithuania, Speaks Out on Yiddish in Vilnius


VILNIUS—Regina Kopilevich, whose extensive contributions to Jewish genealogy and tourism have been covered by the New York Times, today released a statement about the new Yiddish language teaching positions planned in Vilnius. Ms. Kopilevich is one of the leading tour guides in the Baltic region for both Jewish history and family roots voyagers.

The statement follows in short order those released by Milan Chersonski, longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Jewish community’s former newspaper; Daniel Galay, director of Leivick House and the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel; and Professor Olegas Poliakovas, a philology professor at Vilnius University and longtime member of the university’s senate. The positions are being arranged by high officials of the World Jewish Congress.

The text of Ms. Kopilevich’s statement follows.


Open Letter from Regina Kopilevich

Vilnius, 28 July 2014

Professor Dovid Katz first came to Lithuania when it was part of the Soviet Union, and set out on 25 years of interviewing and recording (and always helping) aged Holocaust survivors in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, and northeastern Poland.

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Milan Chersonski, Longtime Editor of “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Calls on World Jewish Congress to Advertise New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius


VILNIUS—Milan Chersonski made public today the text of his letter to Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. Mr. Chersonski was editor-in-chief of the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) Jerusalem of Lithuania, the official publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, from 1999 to 2011. From 1979 to 1999 he was artistic director of the Jewish Folk Theatre in Vilnius, which for many years had been the only Yiddish theatre in the Soviet Union. A film documentary tribute to his work was released in 2012 (part 1; part 2).

Mr. Chersonski is a regular contributor to Defending History. This statement reflects his personal views.


An Open Letter  to Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

 Vilnius, 25 July 2014

Dear Mr. Lauder,

I am one of your loyal admirers who for many years, as editor (in the years 1999-2011) of the quadrilingual newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jerusalem of Lithuania, has been following your achievements, and also your deep commitment to Judaism via a range of philanthropic initiatives that have made a substantial difference for the betterment of Jewish life. When you were appointed to the presidency of the World Jewish Congress in 2007, I was proud as editor to give the event and your many achievements front page coverage (see Jerusalem of Lithuania, 2007, no. 5-6: page 1).

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Prof. Olegas Poliakovas, Longtime Member of Vilnius University’s Senate, Speaks Out on New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius


 VILNIUS—The office of Vilnius University’s Professor Olegas Poliakovas, a leading philologist and member of the Senate of Vilnius University (from 2001 to 2014), issued this statement today concerning possible new Yiddish studies positions in Vilnius.

For background to recent developments, please see the earlier report on the World Jewish Congress initiative; the statement issued by Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House, the center of Yiddish cultural activities in Israel; and a Facebook comment by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

In the meantime, the World Jewish Congress has included news of the new institute in its newsletter, without confirming that the academic positions will be advertised in a fair and transparent process to ensure academic quality, moral integrity, and independence from political pressures. As widely reported, the previous professor of Yiddish (1999-2010), Dr. Dovid Katz (DH’s editor), was terminated following eleven years of incident-free service after speaking out for the Holocaust survivor veterans of the Jewish partisans who are accused of war crimes (in the absence of any charges or specific issues).


Text of Statement issued by Professor Olegas Poliakovas:

Vilnius, 22 July 2014

I was delighted to hear of the possibility that a professorship or major teaching position in Yiddish Studies would be restored in Vilnius. Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the greatest centers of Yiddish culture in Europe. It ceased to have that distinction due to the tragic fate of the Jewish population during the war. Thus, this teaching position could play a part in the restoration of historic justice.

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Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House Issues Call to World Jewish Congress on Vilnius Yiddish Jobs in the Works


 TEL AVIV— Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House in central Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major Yiddish culture institutions, issued the following statement today on the Leyvik House website (copy), and on its Facebook page (see also Efraim Zuroff’s Facebook comment). For background see our earlier report.


 

Appeal to the World Jewish Congress

Tel Aviv, 12 June 2014

Like all lovers of Yiddish language and culture, we at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, home to the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, were happy to see the recent announcement that the World Jewish Congress would be facilitating a new Yiddish center in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Could WJC get Ensnared in “Yiddish” as Cover for Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania?



O P I N I O N

A recent report, also available as PDF, suggests sudden and deep involvement of the World Jewish Congress in the Lithuanian government’s repeatedly documented use of Yiddish, Judaic studies and even Holocaust studies as means to advance — or cover for — state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism with respect to the essential narrative of the Holocaust. The report has proven to be disturbing for the wider Holocaust survivor community and its supporters.

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WJC Executive Director Michael Schneider Goes on the Record in Vilnius, about Yiddish and Secret Donor


The following is a reprint of the interview given by Michael Schneider, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, dated 9 April 2014 and posted shortly thereafter on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (PDF here).

UPDATE: See Section on WJC and ORT Yiddish involvement in Vilnius. Open letters to the WJC from Milan Chersonski, Daniel Galay, Regina Kopilevich, Prof. Olegas Poliakovas.


 

World Jewish Congress and Lithuanian Jewish Community Attention to and Support for the Vilnius Yiddish Institute

 April 9, 2014

SchneiderisMICHAEL SCHNEIDERIS

Michael Schneider, a well-known leader of the World Jewish Congress and former executive director of WJC and the JDC (Joint), is currently visiting the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Discussions are taking place at the community on improving and expanding the activity of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University and changes in its administration.

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Monica Lowenberg Releases Text of Letter to British ORT on Latest Lithuanian Embassy Sponsored “Litvak Do” in London



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

Monica Lowenberg’s office has released for publication the following public letter sent to British ORT. 


 

British ORT, FAO The Chief Executive, Mr. Dan Green

25 November 2013

Dear Mr. Green,

It is with deep regret that my 90 year old father, Ernest Lowenberg, former Berlin ORT pupil and I write to you today.

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Ronald Lauder, President of World Jewish Congress, Speaks Up in Response to Lithuania’s Justice Minister



The following report today appeared on the website of the World Jewish Congress. The initial DefendingHistory.com report of 2 December 2009 is here.

Ronald Lauder criticizes revisionist theses of Lithuanian justice minister

04 December 2009

In June 1941, members of the Lithuanian Militia lead Jews to locations outside the city of Kovno. In all, some 10,000 Jews were murdered within the first six weeks following the German invasion. [photo: Yad Vashem]Lithuanian Justice Minister Remigijus Šimašius  has said his country should answer questions regarding its behavior during World War II with its head held high. Writing in his internet blog, Šimašius dismissed accusations that Lithuania had been an anti-Semitic country and collaborated with the Nazis. “First of all, the fact that many Jews were killed in Lithuania does not in itself mean that Lithuanians were Jew killers. Quite on the contrary: Lithuania was a place where Jews were safe and lived in peace. Until the Nazis came. Had Lithuanians been anti-Semitic, Lithuania would not have become a haven for the Jews, and Vilnius would not have been known as ‘Jerusalem of the North’,” the justice minister argued.

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Justice Minister Defies Documented History, Denies Lithuanian Holocaust Collaboration


On his blog, the justice minister of Lithuania, Remigijus Simasius, dismisses the internationally known history of massive (and official and institutional) Lithuanian collaboration with the Nazi annihilation of the country’s Jewish population during the Holocaust. English translation. Delfi summary in Lithuanian.  BNS summary in English. He makes no mention of his own prosecutors’ continuing defamation of Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance, or the international condemnation of his prosecutors’ activities. He does, however, fault the US, Great Britain and the USSR in connection with the Holocaust.

His blog cites his prime minister’s earlier HARDtalk interview with the BBC’s Jonathan Charles on 30 Nov (video here; → Holocaust issues at timecode starting ±18:40; alternate here at ±5:55). The PM effectively let slip the policy of investing in Jewish memorials and projects while trying to (a) equate the Holocaust with Soviet crimes, and (b) downplay local collaboration.

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