Monday, December 21, 2015

Update from Ukraine from David Schneier

Interesting news from Ukraine

Svoboda, known as the Social-National Party of Ukraine until 2004, has been accused of being a neo-Nazi party by Ukrainian Jews and while party leaders have a history of making anti-Semitic remarks, their rhetoric has toned down considerably over the past years as they attempted to go mainstream. While it managed to enter mainstream politics and gain 36 out of 450 seats in the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, the party’s support seemed to evaporate following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, in which it played a central role. It currently only holds six seats in the legislature.

The party managed to improve its standing during recent municipal elections, however, obtaining some 10 percent of the vote in the capital of Kiev and garnering second place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. For the most part, however, Svoboda is far from the major worry for Ukrainian Jews that it was only two years ago.“ It is a sad, but a reality when anti-Semites are being elected in local governing bodies, even mayors promoting hate and intolerance. Konotop is a clear case,” said Eduard Dolinsky of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

For the Jews of Konotop, however, worries persist, with Ilya Bezruchko, the Ukrainian representative of the US-based National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, saying that he believed that residents, who generally get along well with local Jews, voted for Semenikhin because he projected an image of someone who could bring change and reform a corrupt system.

“The reaction of community is shock. People are shocked it could happen in the city and nobody believed it could happen here but it happened somehow,” community activist Igor Nechayev told the Jerusalem Post by phone on Monday. While there have been a couple of instances of anti-Semitic graffiti over the past decade and one occasionally hears references to conspiracy theories identifying Ukrainian political leaders as Jews, for the most part relations between the Jewish community and their non-Jewish neighbors are cordial, he said.

However, while the mayor attempts make sure that his statements never cross over into outright anti-Semitism, many things he says can be interpreted in such a way, he continued. As an example, he referred to a recent statement by Semenikhin in which the Mayor refused to apologize for anti-Jewish actions taken by far right nationalists during the Second World War, intimating that it was because those responsible for the Holodomor famine of the 1930s were largely Jewish. The Holodomor was a man-made famine that came about during the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union and which led to the starving deaths of millions. Ukrainians consider it a genocide.

“The community is discussing the situation and they understand that the mayor is balancing between anti-Semitism— he isn’t crossing a red line with statements but saying borderline things that can be understood as antisemitic,” he explained. While the Jews are not scared, Nechayev said that they are wary because “Svoboda has a lot of activists [and] fighters in region and [they] can be dangerous.”

Many of the community’s members are elderly and there aren’t many young activists. However he said, members of the city council who have approached by members of the community seem in agreement regarding the Mayor, with several indicating that he has insufficient experience and will not last long in the job.

Speaking to the Post, Vyacheslav Likhachev, an anti-Semitism researcher affiliated with the Vaad of Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, said that “Ukrainians are afraid of the Russian threat, not the threat of national radicalism” and that “Semenikhin has successfully created himself an image of defender of Ukrainian independence, and voters were able to support him, not paying attention to the radicalism of his views.” Unfortunately, the current Ukrainian legislation does not allow it to be forbidden to take part in the election candidates with right-wing views, or to remove them from the elected positions. The special anti-communist and anti-Nazi law talks about banning the symbols of the National Socialist (Nazi) of the totalitarian regime, which includes symbols of the Nazi Party and the state symbols of the Third Reich only. It is impossible to interpret, in legal terms, symbols like '14/88.'”  From the Jerusalem Post, 12/21/15.

   Is this just the beginning in Ukraine? We can ponder that question but Ukrainian Jews are living with this as a new reality. Shalom. David Schneier

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Horrors of the past fondly remembered by some in the present in Ukraine

Ukrainian Jews are outraged over the erection of a monument to the perpetrators of an eighteenth century massacre that killed thousands of their co-religionists. Residents of the western city of Uman earlier this month unveiled the statue to Ivan Gonta and Maxim Zheleznyakov, who were among the leaders of a 1768 uprising against Poland, and carried out a pogrom, which, according to some estimates, killed between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews. According to Russian-language media reports, the five-ton granite monument, topped with statues of Gonta and Zheleznyakov, was built with funds donated by local businesses, a fact that enraged Russian Jewish Congress president Yuri Kanner.

Much of the local economy in Uman rests upon the annual high-holiday pilgrimage to the grave of the hassidic master Rebbe Nachman, who requested that he be buried there to be close to the martyrs. Calling it “a monument to thugs built by Jewish money,” Kanner asserted that building such a memorial near the mass grave of the victims was “not just blasphemy [but] savagery.” This is a “glorification of those whose hands are stained with blood,” he wrote in his blog.

Eduard Dolinsky of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee blamed the far-right Svoboda party for the monument. Svoboda was accused of attacking a Jewish tent city in Uman immediately prior to Rosh Hashana this year, and there is frequent tension between Jewish pilgrims and Ukrainian locals. He added that it appears that there is no great outcry among Ukrainians regarding the issue, citing the expected presence of Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch Filaret at a ceremony blessing the monument on Saturday. “No comment from the government or from civil society has been made about this. Everyone is calm and this is a shame,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Jewish groups in the country have begun putting pressure on Filaret to make reference to the Jews killed in Uman during the ceremony, said Vyacheslav Likhachev of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. “I think that in the common Ukrainian mass identity and mass historical self-identity, people even don’t know that there were Jewish victims of Gonta and Zheleznyakov,” he said, explaining that the pair had been placed in “a pantheon, a long historical list of persons from Bohdan Khmelnytsky to Stepan Bandera who struggled for Ukrainian independence.” Both Khmelnytsky, who was a Ukrainian leader in the seventeenth century, and Bandera, who was a prominent nationalist leader in the twentieth, were responsible for mass killings of Jews and are considered seminal historical figures in contemporary Ukraine. Shalom from David Schneier

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Report from Paris

   Here's a report from a Pastor (who is also a friend of ours) of a church near Stade de France just outside of Paris where one of the recent terrorist and murderous acts of jihadist Muslims in France. I heard recently that we may already "lost" 200 Syrian refugees in Mobile, AL so this should be of interest to those who are concerned about the vetting process of refugees in light of the attacks in France. At this point the news reports are now saying that maybe two of the terrorists who attacked Paris recently entered Europe as Syrian refugees through Greece.
Shalom. David Schneier

Hi David,
Yes this is a bit of a trying time.  First of all we are extremely grateful to God that no one in our churches was killed or injured in the events.  As you know three bombs went off at the Stade de France which is very close to our church.  Only 1 passerby was killed!  Three kamikazes, and only one victim.  This is not exactly the kind of victory ISIS is looking for.  According to the police, it would appear that one of the terrorists actually walked to an alley, out of harm’s way, before detonating the device. (We would like to think that the years of prayer and intercession over our neighborhood was somewhat responsible for the protection over the 80,000 people in the stadium and the thousands of residents.) We still need prayer.  Thursday is day of prayer and fasting for us.  We will have a prayer team down town at the Bataclan while our church is in prayer; and we will stream it all at 7:30 pm Paris time (1:30 New York). You know the French, they are afraid, and defiant, at the same time.  There are a number of articles that I’ve posted to my blog that give a pretty good description of what is happening here.  Feel free to read it and share it:

Thank you for standing with us.  God bless you all richly.

Robert Baxter

Monday, November 16, 2015

Though not reported on major news outlets. the Jewish connection to the slaughter in France unfolds.

Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris
The Jewish Connection to Paris Music Venue Where 89 People Were Killed News Staff (Nov 16, 2015)

The French magazine Le Point reported that in 2011, a terrorist told French security services that "we (the Army of Islam terrorist group) had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.  (Paris, France)—[JNS] The Bataclan concert hall—site of the deadliest of Friday's six coordinated Islamist terror attacks in Paris, with 89 people killed—was under Jewish ownership for four decades and had received frequent threats in the past for that reason. (Photo via Sold only two months ago by co-owners Pascal Laloux and Joel Tuitto, the venue is still under their responsibility. "One of the managers called me and began to tell me about the disaster that was taking place," Tuitto, who recently moved to Israel, told Israel's Channel 2. "I could hear the gunshots and the voices in the background... The terrorists were inside the theater, and I heard the gunshots, but I couldn't do anything." Tuitto said he had co-owned the Bataclan since the 1970s, and that according to the terms of the sale, he remains responsible for it until September 2018. The French magazine Le Point reported that in 2011, a terrorist told French security services that "we (the Army of Islam terrorist group) had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews." The Bataclan, which regularly hosted Jewish and Israeli events, also received serious threats in 2007 and 2008. Tuitto said a group of masked Palestinians had even come to the venue two years ago demanding its closure due to its "fundraising for Israel and the IDF," and warning of an attack if their demand was not met, but nothing came of the threat. The band playing at the Bataclan the night of the brutal attack, Eagles of Death Metal, played a concert in Tel Aviv this past summer. Reprinted with permission via

    I knew there was a Jewish connection to all of this. Shalom. David Schneier


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Attack in the Beersheva

    Here's an account from a friend who lives in Beersheva in Israel. These terrorists are not freedom fighters. They're just murderers. So I guess, Secretary Kerry, it's Israel's fault as usual. Time to give our government leaders the boot. Where are the voices of indignation in the US anymore? Asleep, otherwise occupied, indifferent or joining the ranks of the anti-Semites. Let's make Israel the real issue in the upcoming elections so Jewish people can make a real choice in the US and dump those who won't stand up to the real gangsters in the Middle East. Shalom. David Schneier

From "The Telegraph"

"Shalom David,

Last night at approximately 19:30 a terrorist from Shuafat neat Jerusalem
entered the Beersheva Central Bus Station, armed with a handgun, ammunition
and a knife. Somehow he passed through security unchallenged. There are many
Bedouin and other Arabs who freely move through Beersheva, so being Arab
would not have been cause enough to raise suspicions. Nevertheless, he
should have been checked.

He entered the bus station and tried to knife a woman in her twenties. She
kneed him and sprayed him with pepper gas, then fled with him in pursuit.
She then slipped and feel, knocking herself unconscious.

The terrorist came up behind a 19 year -old new soldier Omri Levi, shot or
stabbed him from behind (mortally wounding him), and stole his army-issue
M-16. The terrorist then began spraying semi-automatic bullets wildly at
civilians in the enclosed shopping mall area of the Central Bus Station. He
wounded  5 civilians seriously, and was set upon by police, four of whom he
wounded lightly.

The security chief at the bus station came running into the scene and saw
one dark-skinned man fleeing. He mistakenly identified him as a terrorist,
but the man was actually an Eritrean man (either legal or illegal, I don't
know) and shot him in hot pursuit. The man just died of his wounds this

The terrorist ran out of the bus station and hid in an adjoining cubicle,
where he was apprehended by security forces and eliminated.

Total toll - eleven wounded, two killed, terrorist killed.

The Hundred Years' War continues."

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Send the Clerk to the Slammer - What are the Feds thinking?

Well, I have been off the blog for a while but the Feds sending Kim Davis to the slammer was irresistible. Is this the face of a criminal?

Not hardly. The thing is that if we don't follow the orders of 5 folks from DC we get a free pass to jail despite our consciences. So here's what I say: Let's fill the jails, like in the 60's, with those who will not compromise their religious beliefs. You're talking about millions of believers who are fed up with religious persecution. There are enough of us to cause the judicial  system to come to a halt. They can't house us all and feed us all. Then compromise and accommodation will break through.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that the ultimate duty of the believer, when the state neglects to protect its citizens, is to be a spoke thrown into the wheel of government. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr understood this principle and through non-violence got the ball rolling against racism. Also remember that many of the leaders in the Southern civil rights movement were pastors. I can't say the same for the same sex marriage movement and they don't have the statesmanship and character that the civil rights movement had. Just a thought as we finish up the Shemitah year and head into 5776. Shalom, David Schneier

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Refugees, Holocaust survivors and orphans in Ukraine

The news from Ukraine comes and goes but photos seem to bring everything back to reality. In five months the Ukrainian Hrivna went fro 13 to the US dollar to as high as 30 to the dollar. While we are Odessa and Nikolaiv  less than a week ago, the Hrivna had settled back to 25 to the dollar. Can you imagine what you would be going through if that happened in your country while prices rise, war rages in the east and work is hard to find? Here are some photos from the region that tell of a story still going on while we celebrate Passover or Easter.

Let's start in this part of the blog with refugees who have moved West in Ukraine with only what they could carry. Let's keep the pressure for the US to do something to stop the madness in Ukraine. Shalom, David Schneier

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Even After Charlie Hebdo, Little in France Changes

       You would think that after a brutal massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in France, anti-Semites (those who hate Jews and want to eradicate them from Europe or the entire world) would lay low for a little bit. Not so! These "brave" Jew haters took on the Jewish dead who can't fight back from the grave. A few years ago in Toulouse an adherent to Islam shot Jewish children at point blank range in their school. He was hailed a hero after he died in a battle with the police. In 2006, a Muslim gang (The Barbarians) tortured to death a young Jewish man because he was a Jew. They believed all Jews have money to pay ransoms. About 15 members in the gang managed to take on one Jew and eventually left him for dead on the street. The gang's leader, after being convicted of murder, said it was better to live one day as a lion rather a lifetime as a lamb. In the Middle East, ISIS decapitates children in front of their parents because these kids won't renounce Yeshua, Jesus.
        The truth is Islamic extremists want to eliminate Jews in Europe. French Jews are making aliyah to Israel in response to terrorism directed at them only because they are Jews and to the astounding rise of anti-Semitism in France. The French government and most of Europe have caved their growing Muslim populations by curtailing the rights of free speech and expression of their citizens that disagree with Islam. They are not protecting their 600,000 Jewish citizens, the 3rd largest Jewish population in the world, as they failed to do when they deported 77,000 Jews to death camps during WW II. (I know this first hand because one of my relatives, who sought refuge in France from her native Ukraine, was deported by the Vichy government to her death.) They are not heeding the warnings of books like "Londonistan" which reveal in great detail the erosion of fairness and civil liberties in Great Britain because of their fear of offending Islam. How will this all play out and what do we face here in the US? Fear of offending others is eroding our civil liberties. This is not a time for citizens to be silent or complacent. Having an opinion and expressing it through speech or publication is critical to maintaining a free society.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is my story and I am sticking to it. Shalom,  David Schneier

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Update from Odessa - Bombings Increasing, Finances Plummeting

   News is getting more difficult from Odessa as the war with Russia through its surrogates continues. Here is a copy of an e-mail I just received from a friend:
" Shalom dear David and Leslie!
Happy new year! We wish you God's blessings in the New Year and each new day of your life!
A new year has come and in Odessa and there is news worthy of your attention. Over the past month, there have been 5 attacks. Most of them were small. They blew up Bank branches, or offices of volunteers (those who help the Ukrainian military or refugees). But for the last 10 days in the center of Odessa happened 3 explosions. Twice they blew up the cars (once suffered the driver, the second time was blown up empty car, but suffered passers-by). A few days before the New Year, there was an explosion at 4 o'clock in the morning. The man was carrying a package with (explosive materials) of great power, and perhaps unexpectedly, this thunder flash exploded right in his hands. Since this happened early in the morning, many people were not around, but was badly damaged nearby houses. The man was killed instantly. In Odessa, now declared anti-terrorist Operation. Maybe for someone this inconvenience (checking in the streets, checking cars, suspicious bags), but I'm willing to tolerate the inconvenience and I have hope that the explosions will stop and not happen a tragedy!
Ukraine has suffered badly, and most people in a very hard financial conditions. The price of the dollar rose more than two times (previously the dollar was worth UAH 8, today 17 UAH, on the black market 24 UAH), respectively, and commodity prices rose in two and wages remained and what was before that."

    Leslye and I lived in Odessa for 12 years and have led leadership conferences there for an additional 7 years. Life was hard but we did not have to endure an invasion and a 100% drop in the value of the money in a short period of time. If you want to help believers in Ukraine during this crisis  as well as desperate Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine who are winding up in Messianic Jewish congregations let me know. We have now 19 years of experience in doing so and all of your donations are tax exempt. Blessings for a new year. Shalom, David Schneier