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Making sense of a weekend of violence and antisemitism

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It’s been an intense Jewish news weekend: A Palestinian gunman murdered seven Israelis as they left synagogue Friday night, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff spoke emotionally about antisemitism as he toured Holocaust memorials and other Jewish sites in Poland, the land of his heritage. 


Then early Sunday morning, a masked man threw a Molotov cocktail at our editor-in-chief’s suburban synagogue. No one was hurt, but everyone was shaken. 


“There’s close to home, and then there’s home,” Jodi Rudoren wrote in a special Looking Forward column. “Today’s antisemitic incident feels like the latter for me and my kids. We think of Ner Tamid as something of a second home.”


A place “where we should be safe,” she added. “But after Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay and Memphis and Neve Yaakov and Jenin, after Uvalde and Buffalo and Highland Park and Colleyville, is there anywhere safe?”


Read the column ➤


Deborah Lipstadt and Doug Emhoff with U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann and Felix Klein, the German commissioner for Jewish life, at an antisemitism summit in Berlin this morning. (Laura E. Adkins)

Our opinion editor, Laura E. Adkins, is in Berlin today with Emhoff and Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt for a summit of antisemitism envoys from across Europe. It convened on the 90th anniversary of the appointment of Hitler as chancellor of Germany, on the site of the former SS headquarters no less.


The site, now the Topography of Terror Museum, documents Nazi atrocities and sits to the West of the largest standing section of the Berlin Wall. Afterward, the group toured the Jewish Museum Berlin. 


Lipstadt noted the alarming rise in antisemitism across the United States, and of conspiracy theories in general, and praised the second gentleman’s work on the issue. Emhoff, for his part, repeated what he has been saying since arriving in the region on Thursday: “We cannot be silent and we cannot live in fear.”


The Forward’s Laura E. Adkins and Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman of the United States, in Poland.

Laura has been traveling with Emhoff since Thursday, visiting Auschwitz to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Krakow to meet Ukrainian refugees and Gorlice, the Polish town where his great-grandparents lived before fleeing persecution 120 years ago.


“Had they not left, I would not be here today,” Emhoff told community leaders there before visiting a mass grave that includes hundreds of Jews from the town murdered in 1942.


Between stops, Laura spoke with the Second Gentleman at Cheder, a bustling coffee shop and cultural center in Krakow’s historic Jewish quarter. He told her of a time when he was a young lawyer out with colleagues who did not realize he was Jewish and “made some pretty vile antisemitic jokes.”


“And I didn’t say anything. I’ve regretted that for many years,” Emhoff said. “There have been times when I didn’t say anything and I wish I had. So now, I’m gonna keep speaking out as much as I can.” Read the story ➤ 

Check out Laura’s photos from the trip, and follow her on Twitter for real-time updates.


Relatives and friends at the funeral Sunday of Asher Natan, 14, a victim of the shooting attack. (Getty)

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Israelis and Palestinians this morning “to calm things down and deescalate tensions” after Friday’s massacre at an East Jerusalem synagogue that killed seven people as they left Shabbat services, and an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp the day before that killed nine Palestinians. He is headed to Jerusalem today to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then going to Ramallah for talks with President Mahmoud Abbas.


In the aftermath of two of the deadliest incidents in the conflicts in years, Israelis mourned on Sunday while some Palestinians celebrated in the streets. Speaking outside his mosque on Saturday, the father of the Palestinian responsible for the synagogue attack said: “I don’t know what happened to his mind,” adding: “The occupation kills boys before they are men.”


We’ve got several opinion essays on the weekend of violence in Israel…

  • We’ve seen this horror movie before, Jodi Rudoren wrote Friday, recounting her years covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the ground. The problem is not that it always has the same ending — it’s that it never ends.
  • With Netanyahu’s hard-right government taking shape and Ramadan on the horizon, “it seems that the necessary ingredients for the next explosion are gradually accumulating,” Amos Harel said in Haaretz.
  • Our contributing columnist Dany Bahar offered what he calls five “fundamental truths” about the current situation, including not directing “frustration or anger towards the Palestinian people as a whole.”
  • “Palestinian institutions are broken,” says Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist, who condemned the street celebrations that broke out in Gaza and the West Bank after the synagogue attack. “All humanity should recognize the difference between a preventative assault on a terrorist cell and the massacre of civilians in a house of worship.”



A woman on Saturday in Memphis protesting the death of Tyre Nichols. (Getty)

Opinion | Former Israeli cop on ‘former officers’ in Memphis and the failure of police reform: After Friday’s release of the horrific body- and pole-cam videos, our Robin Washington, who has covered police violence against Black men for decades, spoke with Maria Haberfeld, a criminal justice professor who served in in the Israeli police and military. She highlighted the “recruitment of officers – a process that historically has tapped many with go-get-’em cowboy mentalities – as a needed change to achieving a cultural shift among police,” Robin writes. Read his essay ➤



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A protest on Sunday in Istanbul against the burning of the Quran. (Getty)

🇹🇷  The United States warned its citizens in Turkey on Monday of a potential “imminent” terror attack against synagogues, churches and diplomatic missions in Istanbul. The warning follows giant street protests of recent incidents of Quran burnings in Europe. (Times of Israel)


👊  A man who was beaten in a Maryland grocery store last week told the police that a group of onlookers cheered, “Yeah, do it for Kanye” after noticing that he was wearing a Star of David, according to court documents. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, and the suspect was later arrested at a McDonald’s. (JTA)


💻  We’ve reported previously on the increase in antisemitic posts on Twitter since Elon Musk took over the company. Human-rights groups say there’s been a rise in anti-Muslim material on the platform as well. (WSJ)


😲  An Australia merchant removed from its website Valentine’s Day gifts showing Hitler surrounded by hearts alongside the phrase Be Mein. “It was meant to be a joke,” said the shop’s owner. (Brisbane Times)


🐕  And speaking of Hitler: An Ohio couple has been unmasked as leaders of a neo-Nazi homeschool group that distributes lesson plans to 2,400 members. One of the key clues used to identify them was that they own a German Shepherd called Blondi – the same name as Hitler’s dog. (Vice


Shiva call ➤  Mira Lehr, an artist known for her environmental activism and for promoting other women in the art world, died at 88. “First you start not knowing anything,” Lehr told us in an interview last year. “Then you start learning about too much, and then you have to shed it all and get to where you are.”

What else we’re reading ➤  Schmear campaign: A bagel crawl across Rep. George Santos’ district … Canada announces first envoy to combat Islamophobia … A survey of Israeli soldiers found that tooth decay is more widespread among the obese and the underweight.



Amrita Sher-Gil became known as the ‘Indian Frida Kahlo.’ (Wikimedia)

On this day in history (1913): Amrita Sher-Gil, a pioneer of modern Indian art, was born in Budapest. Sher-Gil, whose mother was Jewish, began training as an artist at the age of 8, when her family moved to northern India. At 16, she moved to Paris to study at École des Beaux-Arts and gained recognition for her painting Young Girls. She moved back to India to paint female subjects, and her art drew comparisons to Frida Kahlo. She married her cousin, Victor Egan, in 1938 to gain independence from her parents. She died on Dec. 5, 1941 at the age of 28, apparently due to a failed abortion performed by Egan. 



(Courtesy Alexsandro Palombo)

An Italian artist known for using pop culture figures to tackle dark issues painted characters from The Simpsons in concentration camp garb on the exterior wall of Milan’s Holocaust memorial. A spokesperson for the site said they weren’t involved with the mural, but didn’t mind. “We appreciate the intention behind it, and don’t find it particularly harmful.” Read the story ➤


Thanks to Laura E. Adkins, Sarah Nachimson, Jodi Rudoren and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at


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