Thursday, April 26, 2018

Conductor of Toronto Mendelssohn Choir resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

TORONTO -- Grammy-nominated conductor Noel Edison has resigned as artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir after an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

In a statement, the TMC says its board of directors has received and accepted his resignation.

Last month the TMC announced it had placed Edison on a personal leave of absence while it investigated the allegations.

In a joint statement with the Elora Singers choir in southwestern Ontario, the TMC said they had received letters of complaint "from third parties" regarding his behaviour.

Both organizations also said they launched an independent third-party investigation.

Dean Artists Management, which represents Edison, said Wednesday that it had "no comment."

Last week the Elora Festival and the Elora Singers announced that Edison's employment as artistic director of both organizations had been terminated effective immediately.  (more...)


British institutions 'prioritise reputation of political leaders over children', warns child sex abuse inquiry

Police recommended Cyril Smith be prosecuted for allegedly sexually abusing
boys before he was awarded a knighthood by Margaret Thatcher's government
British institutions are prioritising the reputation of political leaders and their staff over the sexual abuse of children, an inquiry has found.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which was started in 2014 in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, has heard evidence of horrific crimes linked to children’s homes, schools, the Catholic and Anglican churches and government migration programmes.

“The inquiry considers that all too often institutions are prioritising the reputation of political leaders or the reputation of their staff, or avoiding legal liability, claims or insurance implications, over the welfare of children and tackling child sexual abuse,” an interim report concluded.

“Government must demonstrate the priority and importance of tackling child sexual abuse through its actions.”

One survivor described being abused by an unnamed “pillar of the local establishment”, who had powerful friends and considerable influence.

“It was an open secret that he molested the boys in his charge,” he added. “All child molesters are lowlifes. But some are lowlifes in high places.”  (more...)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Farber: Bring the Remaining Nazi War Criminals to Justice

nazi crime war justice euthanasia fascism genocide

We recently commemorated Yom ha-Shoah – the day we set aside to remember when Hitler’s forces of evil engineered a plan to commit genocide against the Jewish people. With the help of a world that turned a blind eye, his plan almost succeeded: six million Jews were murdered by gas, starvation, forced labour and firing squad.

Today, we know the survivors are true heroes. Despite the pain that consumed them, despite their broken hearts, they moved forward and built new lives, created new realities and, most importantly, did what our sages told us must always be done: “choosing life.”

Even 73 years after the Shoah, memories have not faded. How could they when those who enabled the genocide of the Jews still walk among us?

They were the cogs in the Nazi wheel of mass murder who greased the engines of genocide. Some were brought to justice, though after the war, perhaps thousands of these men and women who enabled murder escaped and snuck their way into Canada. Many have died natural deaths, but even one Holocaust enabler walking our streets is one too many.

Not more than a 90-minute drive from my comfortable home in Toronto lives Helmut Oberlander. Today, he is a frail 94-year-old man. Oberlander lied to Canadian authorities about his work as a translator for a Nazi death squad known as Einsatzkommando 10a. After entering the country, like many Holocaust survivors, he built a new life for himself in Kitchener, Ont.  (more...)

Bernie Farber is not without opposition in his mission to make genocide unthinkable for future generations:

That opposition should come from within the Jewish community, or that justice should be so long in coming, is difficult to process. There are divisions in Judaism and in the larger world that undermine the moral bedrock that justice should stand on. A Jewish appraisal of these divisions may be helpful to all:

nazi crime war justice euthanasia fascism genocide
Satan arousing the rebel angels

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

‘They come for us first’: New report shows spike in anti-Semitic incidents in Alberta

nazi anti semitism crime hate racism xenophobia white supremacy

EDMONTON – Anti-Semitic harassment spiked in Alberta last year, according to a report from B’nai Brith Canada released on Tuesday.

Combined numbers from Alberta and the Northwest Territories show 206 recorded incidents of harassment and vandalism in 2017. Last year, when the report grouped Alberta and British Columbia together, it showed 121 incidents between those two provinces.

Abe Silverman, B’nai Brith’s manager of public affairs for Alberta, said the numbers should concern all Albertans.

“Jews are only the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “They come for us first, and then everybody else comes after.”

Silverman said the bulk of the anti-Semitic harassment in the province is coming from southern Alberta.

Nationally, B’nai Brith said Canada registered its second straight record-setting year for anti-Semitic incidents with 1,752.  (more...)

Why would a broadly condemned social pathology persist over so many generations? Is it linked to broader anti-religious phenomena - Christophobia, Islamophobia? Is it sustained by secret societies and government structures? Read:

America’s Far Right is Stumbling, But has Already Infiltrated the Mainstream

hate racism xenophobia fascism nazi gay agenda immigration politics youth Islam

On March 5, the prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer was scheduled to speak at Michigan State University.

The event quickly turned into a bust when only about three dozen people made it inside the building — while hundreds of Spencer supporters and anti-fascist protestors confronted each other outside, throwing rocks and punches. Local police arrested 25 people.

The next day, Spencer’s lawyer Kyle Bristow resigned and quit the white nationalist “alt- right” movement altogether, complaining about the relentless vilification of his work in the media.

The Southern Poverty Law Center previously described Bristow as the “go-to attorney for a growing cast of racists.” He’d set up the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, which he once described as “the sword and shield” of the alt- right. Now the website and Facebook page no longer exist, and there’s been no mention of any new leadership.

Less than a week later, on March 11, Spencer announced in a YouTube video that he was canceling a planned college tour amid increasing violence and low attendance. “Antifa is winning” and rallies “aren’t fun anymore,” Spencer conceded. “We felt that great feeling of winning for a long time. We are now into something that feels more like a hard struggle, and victories are not easy to come by.”

Indeed, as alt-right members seek more of a public profile, coordinated anti-fascist actions and online pushback have intensified, making it harder for them to recruit, host events, and find jobs. They’ve been forced into online echo chambers.  (more...)


hate racism xenophobia fascism nazi gay agenda immigration politics youth Islam
Luv-hate relationship?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Conference on Mennonites and Holocaust should come to Canada

Heinrich Himmler, third from right, head of the SS, at a flag-raising ceremony
in the Molotschna Mennonite colony in Nazi-occupied Ukraine, 1942. Himmler
and other National Socialists praised Mennonites’ allegedly Aryan blood.
I have followed the reports of the Mennonites and the Holocaust Conference that took place March 16-17 at Bethel College with keen interest. Three different life experiences have shaped my personal interest in this tragic subject.

I grew up on a farm in a Mennonite family in Southern Ontario. My father was a conscientious objector, and did not question his pacifism until I spent a year in Trier, West Germany, in 1973-74 attending a German high school and living with four different German families. I will never forget an evening spent with one host family looking at a recently published collection of photos of Trier in the aftermath of World War II: page after page of bombed rubble. As we neared the end of the book, the photos took a dramatic turn of subject matter. What followed were photos depicting death camp atrocities, mass graves, naked lifeless bodies piled high. In an instant, we all recoiled from the unbearable weight of connection. The sadness of the destruction of Trier was a direct result of the evil of Nazi Germany’s Aryan empire expansionism and the Final Solution.

My host father asked, “Can you imagine where we would be today if the Allies had not been successful in bringing an end to the Nazi madness?” Then he asked me, “Where did your father serve during the war?” Not really understanding how naive I sounded, I proudly proclaimed that my father was a pacifist and that he helped build a highway as a form of alternative service. My host father’s reaction was one of astonished disbelief, and I realize now that as he hurriedly changed the subject, he was trying to refrain from insulting his young guest. Until that moment, I had never really thought that there might be other understandings of the choice my father made.

Shortly after returning from Germany, I began an undergraduate degree at University of Toronto, studying German and History. Nazi Germany and the Holocaust were a big part of my studies. But it was friendships with Jewish students during those university years that left a lasting impact on my life.  (more...)


Today is a good day to die: Canadian lynched in Peruvian Amazon was accused of killing Indigenous human rights defender

Olivia Arévalo Lomas
It was October 2013 when Sebastian Woodroffe decided to quit his job and leave his home in Canada to study plant medicine in Peru. A relative’s battle with alcoholism had inspired him to “fix the family’s spirit” and pursue a career as an addictions counsellor, he said in a YouTube video.

Woodroffe, then a 36-year-old father of a four-year-old boy, began raising money for an apprenticeship with traditional healers in the Amazon. He felt a responsibility to “support this culture and retain some of their treasure in me and my family, and share it with those that wish to learn,” he wrote on a fundraising page. He was particularly interested in experiencing ayahuasca, a sludgelike hallucinogenic potion used by indigenous shamans in spiritual exercises.

It’s not entirely clear what happened in the years that followed, or whether the Canadian tourist found the healing for which he was searching in the Peruvian Amazon. But late last week, this Canadian tourist’s name and face somehow landed on a wanted poster accusing him of murdering a beloved shaman and indigenous activist in a remote rain forest in northeastern Peru.

Enraged members of the indigenous community appear to have taken matters into their own hands. Peruvian authorities say a mob of locals in the Amazonian region of Ucayali lynched Woodroffe before burying him in a makeshift grave.

A cellphone video that emerged in local news outlets shows a man – later identified by officials as Woodroffe – being dragged through the mud by a cord wrapped around his neck. He moans and pleads for mercy before lying motionless in the dirt.

Police found the buried corpse and identified it as Woodroffe’s body, Peru’s interior ministry said in a statement Saturday, vowing to pursue an aggressive investigation into both his killing and that of the shaman, Olivia Arévalo Lomas, a respected member of the Shipibo-Konibo tribe in her 80s.  (more...)

That fascination with hallucinogenics can get you into all kinds of trouble:

You can wrap your arms around Mellon's weird family here:

All this puts me in mind of the story of a Native Elder I met several years ago in Toronto. His early years were entangled with the world of healing drugs, celebrities, and "Hollywood Indians". More significant, the story of his conversion to the Catholic faith, with that of other Elders I had known, was very formative for me. Here's a bit about Vern:

Come to these people with a pure heart and a clear mind. Drugs are absolutely not necessary.

You can ditch the costume, too.