Catching up with Yvette Felarca, fascist “anti-fascist”

Yvette Felarca

In April, we spent most of a week here discussing Yvette Felarca, a leader of “The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary,” known, for short, as “By Any Means Necessary,” and, for shorter, as BAMN. It’s a California group, founded in 1995, that has spent the last two decades holding protests, bringing lawsuits, and committing acts of violence – or, to use a word that both the FBI and the Defense Department have used to describe its activities, terrorism.

Felarca, who is also a middle-school humanities teacher in Berkeley, has participated fully in BAMN’s storm-trooper-type brutality – beating, rock-throwing, setting fires, breaking store windows, and so on – which she excuses as a legitimate means of defending America against the words of Nazis and fascists.

In June of last year, she was arrested at a demonstration in Sacramento; at her arraignment, which didn’t take place until August of this year, she was charged with “felony assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury and two misdemeanor counts of inciting and participating in a riot.” (Reportedly, she had punched a man in the abdomen and told him to “get the fuck out of our streets.”)

This past February, Felarca was in the center of the action when vioent BAMN members managed to keep journalist Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at UC Berkeley. Appearing on Fox News afterwards, Felarca charged Yiannopoulos with leading “a movement of genocide.”

Felarca experienced no professional blowback for her arrest in Sacramento or for her participation in the violence in Berkeley. At the latter event, the Berkeley police stood down. The mayor of Berkeley, asked for a comment, echoed Felarca’s absurd claim that Yiannopoulos was a white supremacist. Despite calls for Felarca’s firing, the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) kept her on. So things stood when we last looked in on Yvette.

Felarca being taken into custody on September 26

Here’s an update. On September 26, members of “Patriot Prayer” – a conservative Christian group based in Portland, Oregon – held a small, peaceful rally at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way in Berkeley. The speakers were “quickly…drowned out by protesters” from BAMN and another group, Refuse Fascism. (The latter is a campaign run by the Revolutionary Communist Party; BAMN itself is an RCF spinoff.) The “Patriot Prayer” contingent then marched down Telegraph Avenue to People’s Park, only to be trailed by the leftists; arriving at People’s Park, the conservatives began holding speeches, in response to which the BAMN and Refuse Fascism members heckled them. And worse.

By the end of the day, Felarca – who at the time was out on bail – was in cuffs, arrested on suspicion of rioting, obstruction, and battery. Along with two fellow BAMN members, both male, she was held at Santa Rita Jail. Her bail was set at $20,000. (The bail for her BAMN colleagues, who had apparently wreaked less havoc, was set at $10,000 for one and $5,000 for the other.) That evening, a spokesman for the school district replied to a query about Felarca by saying that it was “monitoring developments” and that, “[s]hould an occasion arise for the District to take action, we will respond in an appropriate manner, in keeping with federal law, the California Education Code and the BUSD collective bargaining agreement with our teachers.”

In other words, when a Berkeley schoolteacher is arrested at multiple public events for committing acts of violence, that, in itself, isn’t enough reason for school authorities to “take action.” One wonders what BUSD’s response would’ve been if Felarca had been on the other side.

Felarca will be arraigned on November 8. In the meantime, presumably, she’s still spending her weekdays in front of a Berkeley classroom. One can only imagine what she is cramming into her pupils’ heads in the guise of “humanities.”

 

Catching up with Sally Kohn, consummate hater

Of all the people who make a living these days spouting opinions, perhaps none are dumber and more clueless than Sally Kohn.

Sally Kohn

We discussed Sally, a community organizer turned CNN commentator, in September of last year. Over the course of a week, we learned that she’s incredibly ignorant of a staggering range of things, from the fundamental tenets of Islam to basic facts of European history and geography. She didn’t know Amsterdam was in the Netherlands. She bragged that if she had an adopted Moroccan son, she’d raise him as a Muslim, not grasping that a devout Muslim male might disapprove of her lesbianism, her Judaism, her failure to wear a head covering and subordinate herself to men. It’s shocking to discover that she actually has a law degree, because she gives no indication of ever having studied anything. She knows nothing but politics and never has anything to say that isn’t right out of the PC handbook.

Linda Sarsour

We thought we’d do an update on old Sally. First we should mention her support for sharia devotee and sham feminist Linda Sarsour, an organizer of the Women’s March on the day after this U.S. year’s presidential inauguration. In April, we included Sally on a list of Sarsour’s admirers but we didn’t quote any of her tweets in Sarsour’s defense. Here you go: “#IStandWithLinda today & always! Her every word is being picked apart and contorted. I know @lsarsour to be a defender of justice FOR ALL!” This wasn’t exactly a surprise: Sally has consistently stood up for sharia law and has refused to listen to reason about it. On some mental level she has to be aware that she’s misrepresenting it, but her determination to be foursquare PC in every possible way makes it impossible for her to criticize it.

Kurt Schlichter

One person she has been able to criticize is one Kurt Schlichter. When Schlichter tried to explain to her, via Twitter, that Sarsour is “an Islamic fanatic,” Kohn replied: “I feel sad for you and everyone who thinks like you. It must be hard having your heart filled with so much blind hatred.” Schlichter, a retired Army colonel, replied with a photograph of himself, in uniform, presumably in Iraq or Afghanistan, in the company of several Muslim youths, all of them smiling and happy. Schlichter’s comment: “Here’s me showing my ‘blind hatred’ while deployed away from my family protecting Muslims from genocide. Where’s your pic?”

Sally has also called Donald Trump a fascist and totalitarian, has charged Dana Loesch (entirely without justification) with inciting violence, and has accused Paul Ryan of murder (for supporting repeal of Obamacare). Even as she has poured out all this bile, she has repeatedly posed as a model of civility, calling on her ideological opponents to avoid name-calling and stick to respectable lines of argument. She assailed Republicans for using the so-called “nuclear option” to get Judge Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court, tweeting: “Are we really surprised that after Democrats DIDN’T use #NuclearOption, Republicans DID? Perpetual high-road/low-road distinction.” In fact, the Democrats had used the “nuclear option” in 2013 to confirm several Obama judicial appointees.

Corey Lewandowski

Her obnoxiousness is through the roof. On the day of the presidential election, she tweeted that she’d run into former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in a CNN makeup room “and offered my condolences in advance.” A couple of weeks before the election, she published a supposed letter to her eight-year-old daughter in which she described Trump as “a mirror reflecting a dark and dangerous part of our history” and characterized Trump voters as viewing “the equal treatment of women and people of color as a bad thing.”

Donald Trump

Linking Trump and his supporters to slavery, to lynching, and to what she described as the “genocide” of Native Americans,” Sally told her daughter: “As you grow up, it will be easier for you to get into college and get a job and buy a home than it will be for your black friends.” No, not if Affirmative Action is still in effect. Sally went on to write: “You’ve said that if Donald Trump wins, you want to move to India.” She asked her not to do that. (But how did such an idea get into the head of an eight-year-old to begin with?) No, if Trump wins, Sally asserted, “we will not only march in the streets, but we will use our bodies to stop his forces from entering mosques or raiding homes of immigrants.” If Trump symbolized the worst of America, a vote for Hillary Clinton would serve “to uplift the best of America’s values,” including “justice and inclusion and fairness and kindness and equal opportunity for all.”

According to her website, Sally is currently writing “a book about hate – why there’s so much hate in our world today, why it’s getting worse, and what we can do to stop it.” She seems totally blind to the fact that she herself is a geyser of hate, unfairly smearing as haters tens of millions of Americans who hate no one but who are justifiably weary of the obsessive identity politics that are what Sally and her ilk have in place of a mind and a moral compass.

Catching up with George Ciccariello-Maher, expert on “white supremacy”

George Ciccariello-Maher

Last Christmas Eve, George Ciccariello-Maher, a previously obscure professor at Drexel University and an enthusiastic booster of chavismo, made national headlines with a tweet reading: “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” On Christmas Day, he referred fondly to the “massacre of whites,” explaining that, in his view, the mass murder of about four thousand caucasians during the Haitian Revolution “was a good thing.” Those who looked further into his Twitter feed discovered that earlier in the month he’d proudly boasted: “Sorry, I’m not ‘alt-left,’ just an actual communist.”

When the media got wind of all this, George blamed the fuss on “white supremacists.” If George had written such a thing about pretty much any other identity group, you can be sure he’d have been fired instantly and condemned by Drexel’s administration in the strongest possible terms; instead, the university issued a tepid press release slapping him on the wrist and promised an investigation. In response, George went on the offensive, describing his bosses’ action as a “chilling” and “frightening” reaction to “harassment” by outsiders. When leftist commentators and George’s academic colleagues stood up for him, blaming the media attention on right-wing bigots, the powers that be at Drexel withdrew their plans for an investigation,

Drexel University

In January we devoted a week to George’s case, which provided a perfect example of the double standards that currently rule the ivory tower roost. These days, a public declaration of even the mildest moderate or conservative opinion by a professor can lead to major trouble – to charges of having sown discord among students, caused them emotional distress, committed “microaggressions” against them. A biology instructor who makes even the most innocuous statement of fact about differences between the sexes can find his career in danger. But to express enthusiasm for the massacre of white people is fine – as Drexel’s president ultimately pronounced, George was simply exercising his First Amendment rights.

In March, George’s Twitter feed once again put his name in the headlines. On a plane, he saw a fellow passenger giving his first-class seat to a soldier in uniform. “People are thanking him,” wrote George. “I’m trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul.”

The notorious tweet

Now George is back in the news. On the morning of October 2, the day after the mass killing in Las Vegas, he took to Twitter again. So far, nobody knew anything of substance about the killer or his motives, but George had all the answers. “Yesterday was a morbid symptom of what happens when those who believe they deserve to own the world also think it is being stolen from them,” he wrote. “It is the spinal column of Trumpism, and most extreme form is the white genocide myth. The narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years. White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don’t get what they want.”

On the far-left TV show “Democracy Now!”

Once again, the authorities at Drexel distanced themselves from George’s views, saying that their thoughts and prayers were with the survivors. There’s no reason to believe, however, that they’ll go any further this time than they did last Christmas. As far as they’re concerned, George has all the right in the world to spread his poison. What is appalling is that this man is responsible for teaching young people, and that the ranks of American university faculties are full of people who share his reprehensible views and have rushed to his defense for expressing them.

The Red Cross and the Nazis: a dark chapter

Gerald Steinacher

Sometimes the people who end up being useful stooges can be those who have – or who think they have – the noblest of intentions. A new book by University of Nebraska historian Gerald Steinacher, Humanitarians at War, draws attention to the lamentable conduct of the International Committee of the Red Cross during World War II. Founded in 1863, the ICRC was responsible for the conference that first formulated the Geneva Conventions, and during the wars that followed was permitted by all belligerents to operate behind their lines and take care of wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. The Red Cross, it must be said, was a remarkably modern and humanitarian conception.

Carl Jacob Burckhardt

But the execution has not always matched the conception. The ICRC’s record is not spotless, and the worst chapter in its entire history undoubtedly came during the Holocaust, when the ICRC was under the de facto leadership of its official second-in-command, Carl Jacob Burckhardt (its president, Max Huber, was largely out of commission during that period), a Swiss diplomat and anti-Semite. As Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale, notes in a recent review of Steinacher’s book for the Wall Street Journal, Burckhardt’s fear of Communism caused him to view Nazism “as a bulwark of civilization and a necessary evil.” Although the ICRC, since 1933, had been receiving letters from German concentration camps making it clear just how horrible the treatment of inmates was, Burckhardt was determined to keep a lid on it all, praising the commandant of Dachau, for example, “for his discipline and decency.”

That was just the beginning. Not long after the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, at which Nazi leaders agreed on the objective of exterminating the Jews of Europe, the ICRC became aware of this resolution. But it said nothing about it and did nothing about it.

Samuel Moyn

To be sure, it could be argued that there was little or nothing the ICRC could have done to prevent the execution of Hitler’s Final Solution. But Burckhardt’s problematic attitude persisted after the war. Silent on the Holocaust, he spoke up against the Nuremberg trials, calling them “Jewish revenge.” “Red Cross officials,” writes Moyn, “attempted to whitewash the record of Nuremberg defendant and high-ranking Nazi diplomat Ernst von Weizsäcker. After the Holocaust, the ICRC—by then helmed by Burckhardt—even abetted the flight of Nazis such as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele by providing them with travel papers.”

Adolf Eichmann

It has been known for a long time that the ICRC helped Nazis escape Europe; at first, the ICRC’s excuse was that a relatively small number of Nazis had successfully misrepresented themselves as innocent refugees and taken advantage of an overburdened Red Cross bureaucracy to evade justice. But Steinacher’s research on the subject, published in his 2011 book Nazis on the Run, showed that the numbers of Nazis helped in this fashion by the ICRC – as well as by the Vatican – were “much higher than thought.” Thanks to the ICRC, in fact, no fewer than “90% of ex-Nazis fled via Italy, mostly to Spain, and North and South America – notably Argentina.” As Steinacher has documented, individual ICRC officials and local ICRC delegations in Europe knowingly held out a helping hand to Hitler’s former henchmen. Their motives varied: some were acting “out of sympathy for individuals”; others had sympathy for the Nazi cause. Whatever the case, the Nazi chapter of the ICRC’s history is a profoundly tainted one, serving as a salutary reminder that even the most pristine of images can be seriously deceptive.

A gilded Cage

There are few people more gifted at the art of phony moral preening than your average Hollywood movie star. Most of them know next to nothing about anything, but a remarkable number of them are quick to weigh in on political issues and say whatever they think will make them look like pillars of virtue.

And yet one after another of these stars, who are already extremely well paid, are also quick to sell their services, for the right price, to any brutal dictator who comes down the pike.

Will Smith

We’ve seen, for example, that Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, have gone all-out to promote Dubai, which, of course, is one of the United Arab Emirates, where gays are executed and where straight tourists who engage in even the tamest public displays of affection are subject to long prison terms. We’ve discovered how Sting took a million or two dollars to perform for the daughter of murderous Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov and how Nicki Minaj cashed a $2 million check from the Angolan dictator José Eduardo dos Santos for a similar gig.

Sharon Stone with Putin and unidentified girl

We’ve listed the names of several celebrities – among them Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Paul Anka, Gérard Depardieu, Mickey Rourke, and Sharon Stone – who’ve taken money from Vladimir Putin to turn up at official events in Russia, and other luminaries – including Seal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Hilary Swank – who’ve accepted payments to entertain Putin’s puppet leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Now it’s time to add another Tinseltown name to this roster of shame: Nicolas Cage. Born Nicolas Coppola, a nephew of filmland’s master of nepotism, Francis Ford Coppola, Cage, now 53, has been one of the luckiest men in the business, reaping great rewards in exchange for a very modest talent. He gets millions of dollars per picture and is reportedly worth about $25 million.

Nicolas Cage in Kazakhstan with an official of the Eurasia Film Festival

In short, he is not a man in drastic financial need. Nonetheless, in exchange for an unknown but presumably hefty sum, he recently attended the Eurasia Film Festival in Kazakhstan, a country that has been ruled for over a quarter of a century by the tyrannical Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Some people will do anything for a buck. Cage, who invariably comes off on talk shows as something of a self-important jerk and all-around dimbulb, was willing to don a native Kazakh outfit that earned him widespread mockery online. “I would be pleased to participate in some film project on the territory of Kazakhstan,” Cage told local journalists during his lucrative visit. “I enjoyed the architecture of your capital. What I saw reminded me of an old black-and-white film that depicted the future.” These stars often make such dopey, ingratiating statements in these situations. It’s hard not to believe they are reading from a script. In any event, one thing is clear: Nicolas Cage didn’t go to Kazakhstan for his health.

“I must take children”: Chaim Rumkowski’s final solution

Jews being deported from the Lodz ghetto

The date was September 4, 1942. The day before, the Nazis had ordered Chaim Rumkowski, the Jewish head of the Lodz ghetto, to hand over all of the residents of the ghetto who were sick, under the age of ten, or over the age of sixty-five. Rumkowski, knowing that these pdeople – 20,000 in all – would be sent to their deaths, gathered together the residents of the ghetto and delivered a now-notorious speech. Entitled “Give Me Your Children,” it read, in part, as follows:

Rumkowski with his Nazi superior, Hans Biebow

A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They are asking us to give up the best we possess – the children and the elderly….Yesterday afternoon, they gave me the order to send more than 20,000 Jews out of the ghetto, and if not – “We will do it!” So, the question became: “Should we take it upon ourselves, do it ourselves, or leave it for others to do?” And, we reached the conclusion that…I must perform this difficult and bloody operation – I must cut off limbs in order to save the body itself! I must take children because, if not, others may be taken as well.

The residents of the ghetto wept and wailed. But over the next few days, the round-up was carried out by the Nazis with brutal efficiency. Every home was searched and emptied of its young and old and sick, with over 500 ghetto residents being killed in the process. The archives of the U.S. Holocaust Museum contain several eyewitness testimonies to this round-up, including the following by a sixteen-year-old girl:

I saw two wagons full of little children drive past the open gate. Many of the children were dressed in their holiday best, the little girls with colored ribbons in their hair. In spite of the soldiers in their midst, the children were shrieking at the top of their lungs. They were calling out for their mothers.

Rumkowski with Heinrich Himmler and several other Nazi officers

What happened to those children, elderly, and infirm Jews is described as follows on the museum’s website:

The deportation trains traveled 37 miles northwest to the Chelmno killing center. Arriving Jews were greeted by the camp’s German staff, who spoke of work, better food, and a shower. After leaving their clothes behind for disinfection, the Jews crowded into trucks to ride to the baths. Chelmno’s trucks, however, were engineered so that deadly engine exhaust filled the cargo compartments. German guards sealed the airtight doors, and the driver started the engine. After 5 to 10 minutes, the screams from the suffocating prisoners stopped. The bodies were dumped in mass graves.

Beginning in spring 1942, the gassed victims’ bodies were destroyed in one of two crematoria built two miles from the camp’s headquarters. The ashes of Chelmno’s dead, including the Lodz ghetto children, were buried in the nearby fields.

Primo Levi

Rumkowski’s argument that he had to allow the children to be taken lest others be taken too proved to be meaningless, of course, for in the weeks and months that followed, others were taken. Less than two years later, in August 1944, Rumkowski and his family were among them. He had managed to get the Nazis to save them for the end – they were on the very last transport to Auschwitz. When he got there, Rumkowski was killed instantly – not by the Nazis whom he had assiduously served, but by Jewish inmates who could not forgive him for being such a loyal toady to the murderers of their people. As for Rumkowski’s Nazi overlord, Hans Biebow, he was tried after the war in a Polish court and executed in 1947.

“Had [Rumkowski] survived his own tragedy,” the distinguished author and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi would later write, “no tribunal would have absolved him, nor, certainly, can we absolve him on the moral plane.”

The Nazis’ most loyal Jew: Chaim Rumkowski

Chaim Rumkowski tasting soup

During the last few days we’ve been examining the supremely sobering topic of the Jewish ghettos in Poland during the Nazi occupation. We’ve seen how Chaim Rumkowski, installed by the Nazis as head of the ghetto in Lodz, pursued a policy of wholehearted collaboration. One survivor of the ghetto later recalled that Rumkowski, in his dealings with Jews, “was an incomparable tyrant who behaved just like a Führer and cast deathly terror to anyone who dared to oppose his lowly ways.” But with the Nazis, “he was as tender as a lamb and there was no limit to his base submission to all their demands, even if their purpose was to wipe us out totally.” Rumkowski would presumably have argued that by responding to the invaders with docility – and by building up a vibrant local industry that supplied many of the material needs of the Wehrmacht – he would keep his people safe.

Jews entering the Lodz ghetto after being evicted from their homes

Yet Rumkowski’s assumption that a productive ghetto would remain a protected ghetto proved to be false. Eventually the Nazis began sending the Jews of Lodz to the death camps. And it was Rumkowski who personally made up the lists of names. He took the opportunity to consign to their deaths people he considered enemies. And he brooked no resistance. If anyone tried to escape deportation, Rumkowski made sure he or she ended up in Nazi hands. Even as the Nazis began draining the ghetto of Jews (the first large-scale deportation occurred in December 1941), Rumkowski continued to believe that his exceedingly meek and accommodating approach to the Nazis was the correct one.

Rumkowski officiating at a wedding

So much was he hated by the residents of the ghetto that they organized several strikes and public protests against him over a period of several months. In response, Rumkowski ordered the Jewish police to shut the protesters down violently. Sometimes he even brought in Nazi muscle to enforce his autocratic discipline. In time, the protesters gave up. Rumkowski, secure in his power, bragged that the ghetto, in three years’ time, would be “working like a clock.” While most members of the Lodz ghetto were compelled to work long hours and to eke by on meager rations, Rumkowski lived high on the hog, socializing with his Nazi handler, Hans Biebow, and the other Nazis whose orders he not only followed but prided himself on anticipating. Some historians describe Rumkowski as having “identified so closely with his Nazi masters that [he] became their Jewish counterpart — a Machiavellian fascist bent on separating ‘useless eaters’ from productive workers, all the while stoking his own cult of personality.”

A footbridge connecting the two parts of the Lodz ghetto

Ultimately, Rumkowski was confronted with the same challenge that Adam Czerniaków, his counterpart in Warsaw, had faced: the deportation of children. But Rumkowski took a different route than Czerniaków did. Whereas Czerniaków, as we have seen, responded to his failure to save the Warsaw ghetto’s orphans by taking his own life, Rumkowski helped arrange for the removal from the ghetto of 15,000 children under the age of 14 between January and May 1942. Later that year, when ordered by his Nazi superior, Hans Biebow, to round up another batch of children, Rumkowski gathered his ghetto’s residents together and delivered a now-infamous speech.

We’ll get to that speech, and finish up with this solemn topic, tomorrow.