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Total number of comments: 955 (since 2010-07-08 12:35:09)


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  • Hillary Clinton expresses alarm for Israeli Jews, and not one word about Palestinian victims
    • No I don't mooser, clearly, but why let that get in the way of a snipe. Its what you do.

    • --- The Clintons are motivated by money and power and will be sympathetic to the greater sources of those.

      --- Ramming a rabbi at a stop sign and then finishing him off with a hatchet will never be seen as the actions of a David against Goliath, whatever injustice made that killer snap. Its understandable that Americans will see it that way and random brutal violence helps Israel at home and abroad, and weakens non-violent, rights based approaches such as BDS.

      --The response of Israel's supporters on for example Facebook is remarkable for its genuine and affected cluelessness. Palestinian terrorists killing Jews simple for being Jewish, as if there is no occupation, as if there is no wider context for violence, as if there is no sense (of course there is no perceived right) of retaliation for Israeli's killing of them and theirs.

      Lastly, In the opening scene of the film Kagemusha, the bound thief who would later become the "shadow warrior" to the warring statesman Takeda Shingen, rolls over in laughter even though he might be headed to torture and the gallows. He scoffs at his captors, lord Shingen and his brother. They dare call -him- a thief for his individual crimes? The warlords meanwhile have stolen whole domains with vast murder and plunder, in an attempt to become the most powerful, and the most honoured.

      It is human nature beyond I/P to grant legitimacy to power. Israel can take an entire territory and fight with planes and missiles (with the occasional "collateral" damage). Yet, a palestinian with a knife or a rock will be a terrorist.

      This is quite unfair and in a saner world. Murder would be murder and theft would be theft. whichever the actor, whatever the scale, in fact the larger the scale the worse the crime. But we are in this world and Israel gains favour here in ways that are outside of the kind of typical explanation. This is in part about human optics, not the specifics of Jews and American empire.

  • Mourners of Gaza mother and child killed in airstrike urge resistance-- '3rd, 4th, 5th intifada, whatever it takes'
    • Ok, lets say you're right, the bomb hit and the house collapsed collaterally. So what?

      You're parsing evil and it is despicable whoever does it in whichever cause.

  • Rescuing atheism from Harris and Hitchens
    • The tells:

      ---One's definition of the essence of a religion is identical or near identical to the most radical of its adherents.

      ---One's source or sources are only or nearly only discontented ex-adherants and other ciritcs.

      --Reformers within the tradition, as mentioned above, are ignored or minimised. They must be celebrating their own private X because X is and always has been a molevolant faith.

      -self-awareded degrees and the assumption of expertise are attained in a day or week or a few months of internet scholarship, often confirming pre-existing biases.

      --The religion is essentialized to only one thing, across time and space.

      --One's definition of bigotry is drawn with a hole in it shaped exactly like the disliked faith. So, there is no such thing really as bigotry against that religion, just natural reactions to it.

      The major Abrahamic faiths and others all have their differences, but apply the above and you know your critic.

  • Jerusalem at a breaking point
    • Zaid I do understand your frustrations but in fact
      There are still groups within Christianity an Islam claiming old churches now mosques and mosques now churches. In India there is constant violence over temples that wee mosques and reverse. The Caliphate movement does claim Spain too. You can google any of this.
      That said, if the goal is to give Jews free and safe access to the comparatively few sites that are considered holy, it's not working out so well.

  • To condemn, or not to condemn
    • Human beings don't lose their moral agency even when victimised.

      If you look at slave revolts in the US or attacks on wagon trains of Westward colonists, you see a variety of responses.

      The choice to murder the master's children or to rape his wife is still a moral choice.

      I/P can be approached as a human rights issue or from a warring tribes issue. In the first, murdering civilians sitting next to their children is wrong, in the second it depends whose doing it to whom.

      imo, the issue is only solved by the first.

      Fortress Israel can last a long time and violence, especially on civilians is its fuel. In fact, violence against advanced settlers and the brutal response is indeed how the west was won.

    • They're only contradictions as far as she also claims the mantle of human rights advocate. As a partisan advocate of the Palestinian cause it makes complete sense that she holds the positions you describe or that she has a hair trigger sensitivity to Islamophobia but calls BS on any claim of anti-Semitism, even questioning the reality of the category.

      Its a kind of reverse-zionism and I sense the author did not realise he is writing for an audience that largely sees this issue in binary terms.

    • That is actually the less problematic item of two in Annie's way of thinking.

      The larger conceptual and moral problem with her reductionist idea, imo, is that she makes Palestinians into unthinking, irresponsible automatons, rather than fully human agents with choices, however circumscribed by the terrible and criminal activity of illegal colonists.

      Some people chose to protest, some chose to shoot at cars.

      This does not mean that Israel has no responsibility or even most of the responsibility. It does.

  • It was heroic to throw a brick at Stonewall but Palestinians who throw stones can be shot
    • Rock throwing is a tactic. It can be done out of hate (as happened to my friend's grandmother in Egypt in the 1930's (she lost an eye) or even my dad in 1950's Philadelphia (apparently he killed Christ). Or, it can be done out of resistance to conquest.

      It all depends on the legitimacy of the government and the intention of the rock-throwers.

      If I/P was a 1 person 1 vote with guarantees for minority groups then yeah, try them in court and if guilty lock up rock throwers.

      But its not. Its a battleground and everyone is choosing the weapon available to them.

  • 'NYT' piece on stonethrowing leaves out 'occupation'
    • Keller-san -- while you are exaggerating (there is no potential ban in the US against critiquing Israel or your favourite topic "Jewish Power"- you're good so carry on) there certainly is a heinous effort to slander criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic in the UC system.

      Zionists who attempt to label all criticisms of Israel (I would say any) have diluted the meaning of anti-semitism, and understandably made anti and reverse-zionists like you and Annie suspicious of any claim anywhere.

      By the way I love this quote from you. I could not have said it better.


      "My knowledge of Judaism is relatively slight, one of my primary sources is "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years," by Israel Shahak..."


      "I am unfamiliar with Emmanuel Levinas or how he relates to the historical core of Jewish religious teaching."

      And that is exactly why I am flippant and not "scholarly" with you, my friend. If you know Shahak but you don't know Levinas than you are indeed the guy who knows Hirsi Ali, the word "Taqquia" and a few weak Hadith but nothing, really, about Islam.

  • Fasting for Palestine
    • And you are quoting Shahak to prove Shahak.

      You don't understand how the Talmud works, clearly.

      But, carry on in your expertise and with your one source.

    • Keith-

      The point about Shahak not being a rabbi is that he is not any kind of religious authority, however much he is treated as a high priest in the temple of Jew watching.

    • Shahak, a chemist not a rabbi, is not the last word on Judaism by any means though is very popular with people who otherwise know little to nothing about Judaism and would like him to be just that. His weakest point, in fact, is the claim that a Gentile's life should bot be saved on the Sabbath when in fact the precedent has been the opposite.

      The Talmud, which does indeed distinguish Jew and non-Jew in many passages,, is a dialogue of opinions not an instruction book.

      And imo religion, perhaps only religion, can make a naturally good person do bad things for sure, and this can certainly include Judaism, depending on how its interpreted. And religion can create justifications in the mind of a natural born psychopath, such as a Baruch Goldstein, may hell be real so he can rot there.

      But you don't need religion of any kind to explain conquest, occupation, expulsion which have happened everywhere under many pretexts of supposedly divine or natural sanctions.

      Shahak may have lied about the particular incident, and he definitely lied about the ruling of the Chief Rabbinate. Pikuach nefesh, the saving of human life trumps all other commandments.

      On Shabbat and Gentile Lives:

      link to

  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
  • A communal confession on Yom Kippur
    • Rabbi Brant.

    • Personally, I don't know what else we who id in any way as Jews should be thinking about before Yom Kippur except I/P even if we don't go as far or take the same pov as Rabbi Brent, who is to be commended here and in general.

      I have suggested before that threads like these get very little comments because for -some- of the active commenters here, the interesting part of I/P is indeed the trans-historic malfeasance of a monolithic community. Rabbi Brent Jews (and we are growing in number) makes that harder.

      For 100 comments you need some of Jewish abuse of power angle.

  • Losing My Religion: A high holy days reflection
  • #IStandWithAhmed: Story of Muslim-American teenager arrested for bringing clock to school goes viral (Updated)
    • It's a great quote, but then again FDR had all the Japanese living on the West Coast rounded up and put in camps out of, well, fear, since the vast majority were proven loyal citizens.

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
  • The Star of David is fair game
    • Mooser --

      While I would not be surprised in the least if on Planet Mooser Jews prayed from a Sanskrit text revealed to their prophet Joseph Smith, facing Helsinki, on Earth there are actually a few practices (yes, beliefs is a bit trickier) that distinguish each religion. Islam is the easiest in this regard as it has five practices that every Muslim accepts as defining Islam.

      All Jews accept the Torah as the founding Jewish text and the Talmud as the Jewish oral tradition. All Jews accept Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Hannukah as Jewish holidays.

      The relevant point is that all Jews accept the Star of David as a symbol of their religion. So, while it can be symbol of the IDF (Thanks Israel for muddying these waters) it is also the normative symbol of Judaism.

      I suppose again on your home planet Jews also wear small Thor's Hammers and Poseidon tridents around their neck (its not as cool when the chest hair stick through though -- no frame) but again I am just talking about Planet Water here.

    • Mooser--

      By normative I am simply distinguishing the practices that all adherents of a faith agree on -- for example in Islam the fundamentals of proclaiming the shahada, charity, prayer or in Judaism, that the Torah is a foundational text, from a particular practice that may or may not be a part of the faith. The Sta of David is taken as a symbol of Judaism by all Jews. The shahada is universally accepted as the Islamic credo. Therefore normative.

      There is nothing in Judaism that says you must emblazon the SoD on a fighter jet or any other military equipment.

      Cartoonists and critics should simply be careful and respectful.

    • Annie--

      And by the way, there are places where Jews are pressured by social reality not to openly display their Judaism such as wearing a Star of David or Kippah.

      Is that because Israel uses the same star on its jets. Many here would probably say yes, that wearing a Star in the bannlieues or Malmo is dangerous because of Gaza.

      You have said this kind of thing [...] is low on your priority list of human right, but it is nonetheless true.

    • Yes, there is not exact -political- equivalence between poking fun in a sweeping way at Jews and at Muslims.

      I was speaking of the moral equivalence.

      Its actually not that hard. Just be specific. If a cartoonist lampoons Israel the Star of David may be included just as a cartoon with ISIS may have Allahu Akbar or a Shahada flag.

      The point is whether the Star or Shahada also represents normative Islam and Judaism, which they do, and that does, imo, give a satirist or critic some responsibility.

    • The better analogy would be between the Star of David and the Shadah, the Islamic confession, which has appeared on many Islamic flags, such as the ISIS black standard and the green field for Saudi.

      But its also said by normative Muslims everywhere as a matter of religious worship.

      In both cases, imo, one should do as the author suggests and be very clear.

      When cartoonists use "Allah hu Akbar" meaning -- this is what terrorists say, they are being derogatory to the religion and its adherents.

  • BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue
  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • Kris --

      Sorry, I was not avoiding your question. I either missed it or got busy.

      The Jewish Identity aspect means looking at the extent to which Zionism is not just Jewish nationalism (like Arab or Asian nationalism) but in fact a true expression of the Jewish essence, a replacement of the Jewish religion etc..
      If that's the case, than I/P cannot be understood or undone without analysing The Jew as he has supposedly existed throughout time and geography.

      Is there an I/P conversation completely independent of Judaism, Jewish communities, Arab-Jewish relations etc... ? of course not. But that discussion also includes of the West, colonialism, Islam, Arab nationalism etc.

      Can I/P be solved by people of all backgrounds, including Jewish (and drawing Judaism as their inspiration even) within the framework of universal values and with the understanding that groups occupy different positions of power at various times in their history?

      That's the only legitimate and lasting way, imo.

      If you made a list of 10 important things to secure Palestinian rights, which number would be proving that Jews are deviant interlopers (in some form, religion, culture, community)? Some people, and I stand by my comment some people here, seem to put finally getting to be able to tell the (alleged) truth about the Jews fairly high up.

      Now, those drawn to "The Jewish Question" are not necessarily racial anti-semites, though almost always have a particular aspect of what they see as Jewish culture that they dislike and mistrust. I used the term "Jew-hobbyist" to convey the idea that whatever subject comes up, someone with this predisposition (including philo-semitic braggarts) is going to tell you which Jew is at the root of it, but that term was rightly criticised here.

    • Mooser --

      Yup, Hophmi et al will exaggerate and use anti-Semitism as a cover for Israel's misdeeds.

      Did you look at the credit card in question? Did you read Piotr's comment?

    • Yes, association between hook nose Jews and money as a "good luck" symbol is derogatory. Most people with black lawn jockeys and Native American mascots for their ball team think its cute and funny too.

      If you're pointing out that blaming a stupid credit card design by an obnoxious customer can be made into an international incident and used as cover to justify stealing land and water from Palestinians, yes you may be right.

      But hook nosed Jew characters and Zwarte Piet and Chief Wahoo and Sasha Cohen's Arabs are not funny or cute. Not in this world.

      I'm just going to file this in an obvious trend of, for some, there being no such thing as anti-semitism anywhere, ever. And yes, a good part of the blame for this situation is the exaggerations of pro-Israel factions and the use of the history anti Jewish bigotry as a carte blanche.

  • The 'Pallywood' smear: Viral images of Palestinian boy's brutalization brings backlash
    • Hophmi--

      You're playing hopscotch in the Venn diagram. Palestinian is as much an ethnic group as any other and by the way would certainly be a nation as well, if Israel would let it.

      People who use this term mean it to say not just that a particular event is staged or enhanced, but that the entire resistance of Palestinians is a farcical invention.

      How cruel.

      Its a despicable allegation and can be recognised by anyone, especially, I would argue, by someone who understands Jewish history.

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • Tree - I mentioned her as someone who has been accused of anti-Semitism to make the point that people accused of anti-Semitism have not been barred from speaking at what Keith obviously thinks is some exclusive conversation that hides from critics of Israel or controversial speakers.

      Finkelstein, Weiss, Shipman have been -accused- of anti-semitism. Are they anti-semites? Of course not. Does my mentioning that they have been -accused- of anti-Semitism imply agreement. No. In fact, that I had them invited means I want them to have a chance to respond.

      I mentioned that were I still at that task, I would have no problem inviting Atzmon, Weir or anyone else to do what we did there, open debate, not moaning about victimisation.

      I understand the criticisms of the term Jew-hobbyist.

    • Sibiriak,

      I think it is useful in describing a type of person drawn to the I/P discussion. I think it is a shade of grey in what is otherwise considered a black and white scenario. I think I have used it to mean that while you cannot know whats in someones heart, you can know what their interests are. I don't believe I have ever called anyone who comments here regularly an anti-semite. It is clear, however, that there are several people here who are drawn to the increasingly visible/audible Jewish ID aspect of I/P.

      Though it has this descriptive utility, imo, you are correct it does lend itself like "racist" to being used as an ad-hominem that shifts focus to the alleged character of a person and away from the argument itself, and should be used carefully if at all.

    • Tree-

      Your last point I accept.

      I did ask Phil the question as you describe. I was not among those who wanted him to feel guilty, in fact I wanted Phil to make them feel guilty where appropriate.

      But yes, it was mostly a Jewish conversation,among a diverse crowd of Jews and non Jews, and moreover I can see how people as different as me, Keith, Phil could all be considered Jew hobbyists.

    • Tree-

      I am not sure why you see my being very careful about Weir is the same as slandering her or participating in her slander. Meaning, I am not instantly assuming she is a bigot just because someone, even JVP which I respect, says so. In fact, this is the opposite of jumping on the accusation bandwagon, the opposite of tossing around antisemitism accusations lightly.

      I find Jew-hobby a useful term because it can describe someone who likes to discuss Jewish power topics without lobbing the anti-Semitism accusation. A Jew hobbyist may or may not be an anti-Semite. This is again an effort to be more careful, not less.

      As for me and Hophmi? We may agree on some aspects of anti-Semitism. About I/P, no I stand firmly with all those here who completely reject the idea of Jewish supremacy of any kind over Palestinians. I find the use anti-Semitism charges to cover Israel to be especially despicable.

    • .. I don't know anything about Weir to evaluate whether the accusations are correct or not imo, I do know she has been accused of clustering legitimate criticisms of Israel with old school Jew baiting. My point to Keith was, contrary to his fantasy, I did and would indeed host people who have been accused of anti-Semitism (Finkelstein, Weiss, Shipman all came and others) and were I still there I would host Weir in a heartbeat.

      In fact, Keith and others only know of Eliezer, -because- I invited Phil so a bit strange for him to imagine it as a place that avoided this conversation or any side of it.

      Anything else?

    • Keith:

      You said this:

      "Anti-Semite? Keep talking like that and maybe Ben Karp will invite you to Eliezer where you and he can hobnob in plush surroundings, eat good food and enjoy fine wine (ask Phil), all the while basking in the reflective glow of shared victimhood."

      I responded with an accurate description of what went on at Eliezer, not your fantasy of Jews huddled around groaning about victimisation.

      You have indeed rejected the idea that anti-Semitism was endemic to Europe for much of its history, implying that I meant Europeans were essentially anti-Semitic when I never agreed that. So those are direct response to what you have said here. I may miss some of your comments so sorry if I seemed to have been avoiding responding to you.

    • Hi Tree --

      No swipe at Weir at all.

      Keith seems to think I hosted private Jewish meetings which exclude people like him. I replied that in fact I went out of my way to host people who were considered dissident to mainstream conversations about I/P and were I still there would have no problem hosting Weir, someone who has been accused of being anti-Semitic.

    • Keith -- you flatter yourself to think you are someone I would not have invited you to discuss anything, including anti-Semitism, were you around town. And yes it would have been over some nice bourbon. Why not.

      I don't have any reason to think you are particularly loathsome in person or a vulture. I do think you want to deny that anti-Semitism was an -endemic- (please refresh your understanding of this word it does not mean essential) feature of European society and also want to cast it as a rational response to Jewish malfeasance. I consider that despicable and not on tribal grounds because I fins it despicable when applied otherwise. I don't see any rational reason to pogrom or make Jews live in a ghetto or wear different color shoes etc... etc... etc...

      Fact is, the only person in my whole time arranging completely open discussions about a wide range of subjects who I refused to host was Pamela Geller.

      Were I still around I would have no problem hosting a debate with almost anyone of your Jew-hobby heroes, even Mr. Atzmon, certainly Israel critics who are perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering such as has been accused about Weir (I don(t know her work).

    • Jews have often been taken as either super or sub human, not as normal.

      Normalizing the Jew means becoming like other groups who are presumed to have a range of opinions, skills and allegiances. Not all Jews are untied under Zionism, whatever its pretentions (one of which I mentioned was precisely to turn Jews into a "normal" nation). But, most American Jews are correctly assumed to support Israel. That is changing, which is Phil's point and we both agree its for the good.

    • Ironically, one of the Zionist dreams was that Jews could finally be normal citizens of they town country, that the police officer would be Jewish as would be the criminal. Jews could be scholars and farmers and bus drivers.

      In fact it will probably be the collapse of Zionism and the split of the Jewish community into the same various camps you find in most groups, that will lead to full normalisation.

      I agree with Phil, most importantly its good for I/P and good for America and lastly, btw, good for the Jews.

  • A year after Shipman lost his Yale job for speaking out on Israel's actions, some Jews say the same thing
    • Kris --

      Most recent, imo.

      Dan Crowther asks:

      I want to ask a question here: does anyone here, after watching the “Iran debate” and “The Lobby’s” antics ever question the shibboleth that all of European “antisemitism” was irrational and based solely on a racist hatred? Cuz you can read a million and one French, German, English, Spanish, Russian (and others) writers describing THE EXACT SAME shit happening in their countries at different times and obviously in different places.

      Its a question Phil should answer. We’re watching a worldwide conspiracy and shakedown right before our eyes, and no one here denies it. I’m wondering if people think this is the ONLY time the stereotype or the accusation is true."

      Keith, of course agrees (and Henry Ford and Martin Luther...) . This is an old story. Its the Jews then and now. Antisemitism charges (which are always inflated - Annie (see even this thread) , and never really so bad -- Citizen (see under Keith following this quote were not so bad anyway), are effectively a cover for Jewish malfeasance.

      I said -some-. This does not define the pro Palestinian movement or MW, even the comment section.

      Dan's comment is about 2015 about an Iran deal that American Jews in fact support in the majority. Support their American president

      But, for him seemingly its just one dot on a long unbroken line.

    • I respect any persons reasonable self-identity where its no harm to others.

      But, you do know Chris Rock stopped performing this piece, right?

      He realised that white audiences were laughing just a little too hard.

      Judaism is thousands of years old. Zionism and Israel just a hundred and a half.

      There are affirmative ways to be Jewish that are not tied to armed nationalism or anchored to either a positive or negative stereotype.

    • Just a note: Bruce Shipman did not work for Yale. He worked for a private organisation that has official ties ti the campus ministry.

    • Thats not the right analogy, though.

      The correct comparative would be whether actions by ISIS in Iraq contribute to Islamophobia in the suburbs of Paris.

      I say no, not legitimately at least.

    • Kris--

      And that is my issue with the "Ewige Jude" (Eternal Jew) themes that -some- people attracted to the I/P issue return to over and again. Watch -some- comments here, even if grounded in legitimate criticisms of Israel or even American Jewish support of Israel, drift towards the theme of finally getting to be able to tell the alleged truth about the Jews, then, now and always.

      As if there is some particular Jewish essence, unchanging and unchangeable throughout all space and time.

      Certainly, many people within a group also claim a special Jewish or black or Japanese or white "soul," but its a very dangerous way of categorising human beings. imo.

    • tree -- well we definitely also agree that bigotry. true bigotry against a group is defined not by a particular criticism or even general critique of a particular time and place but through essentializing.

      It also happens to be an especially useful way to detect anti-semitism through all the BS (imo coming from all sides).

    • W Jones.

      Believe it or not were saying the same thing here as in my second point to tree.

      Your point about Puritans and Natives is exactly right.

    • tree --

      My second point, which I am curious what you think about is that power/no power is also insufficient as a moral or even rational indicator of which group is fair game for critique.
      Not only because all groups, perhaps especially Jews (my reference to the myths in which power/no power is -part- of the story) have in moments both.

      African Americans have speeding power near the equivalent of the South Korean GDP, over one trillion dollars, there dis a black president, and African Americans as a group dominate school boards in several major cities. But no one in their right mind would argue that Sandra Bland for a striking example, could happen in a country where black people have equal due process to whites.

      So, can White Anglo Saxon Protestants opine on black Americans, politically or culturally. and have their arguments taken on merit? I sure hope so. That neither race nor relative power disqualifies him.

      My point is that I think Phil, who I guess I should add I like a lot as a person, and whose larger project I support, seems to be creating a Jewish shaped exemption from what would be his normal position on who gets to say what. Of course this is in response to the very type of disqualifying from the self-appointed and assumed leaders of the Jewish community he often writes about.

    • Indeed. Though, strangely, Witzelsucht begins with a "W."

    • Phil ends his observations (which I think are correct regarding the double standard) with the following:

      "It’s one thing if only members of a persecuted minority get to comment on that minority; I understand that ancient prohibition. But when you have power– a lot, I say; or a “modicum of power,” as Foxman says — then you should be able to take some criticism."

      This is a shift from his earlier point that truth is truth regardless of the source. I am suggesting it is a kind of Jewish exemption. Since Jews have power they can take it. Since other groups don't the ancient tradition of only members of that group being able to criticise still holds. I am saying this is not morally or logically consistent.

    • Phil,

      If the first part is true, that the truth matters more than the source, and I think I agree, than your second part is not morally consistent, imo. I think this is important to you as a kind of Jewish exemption, a way out of a particular kind of community pressure, to be sure )which as you know I support), but also a way around liberal conventions you will still apply generally to other groups, especially those with whom you have empathy.

      In fact, groups can be powerful and not in different times and places and even in the same time and place. In the Jewish example, from the myths, Esther and Exodus both depend on this combination.

      Shipman is either right or not, as he might be opining about Palestinians or African Americans in another case, regardless of his ethnicity or religion.

  • Videos: 'Vanity Fair' story about anti-Semitic pogrom in Paris is falling apart

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