Saturday, December 28, 2019

Hanukkah 2019 in Cuba: Educational authorities bar Jewish children from wearing yarmulkes at school.

Is the Castro regime antisemitic?
We are still in the midst of Hanukkah, and in Cuba today, Jewish children are being assaulted for displaying their Jewishness, and ordered by regime authorities to conceal their identity or be punished.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) on December 23, 2019 reported that Liusdan Martínez Lescaille, a twelve year-old Jewish boy has been forbidden by Cuban educational authorities from entering his school while wearing a kippah ( also known as a yarmulke) since December 11, 2019 with the result that he has been prevented from continuing his education. His younger brother, Daniel Moises, has also been subjected to the ban and government authorities threatened to open legal proceedings against his parents, jailing them and taking their children away for "threatening the children’s normal development."
Cuban Jewish family targeted by the Castro regime for being Jewish.
CSW documented that Liusdan was regularly beaten up at school since the family moved to the Nuevitas municipality in 2016, and that the situation worsened in September 2019.
"According to his parents, Olainis Tejada Beltrán and Yeliney Lescaille Prebal, members of the Sephardic Bnei Anusim community, their son was singled out for ridicule soon after he started classes in September 2019 at the Latin America Urban Basic Secondary School in Nuevitas. Since then he has been subjected to four severe beatings instigated by a classmate who is the son of a military captain, along with other students. Despite multiple complaints by the parents to Martínez Lescaille’s teacher, who is head of the grade and the school director, no action was taken to protect the child.
After Tejada Beltrán publicly denounced the treatment of his son in the independent media, the Cuban educational authorities created a commission to review his son’s situation. However, during this period, he was pressured by school administrators on multiple occasions to retract his complaints. At one point there was an attempt by the school director to expel his son for supposed acts of violence, however, five teachers stepped in to defend Martínez Lescaille and the expulsion did not take place. On 11 December the commission announced its findings, holding a school guard responsible for failing to stop the attacks on Martínez Lescaille. However, rather than sanctioning the guard, a kippah ban was put in place instead. Tejada Beltrán has called for the ban to be revoked, pointing out that it effectively prohibits his son from entering the school grounds and that there are no other educational alternatives.
The Castro regime has a long history of anti-semitism. Seth J. Frantzman, a Jewish academic based in Jerusalem, following the death of Fidel Castro in November 2016 wrote an analysis of the tyrant's antisemitism.
"Most Jews fled Cuba when Castro came to power, dwindling from 15,000 to around 1,500 by 2014. One Castro entered the Soviet orbit the official anti-Zionist and anti-Israel line became common in Cuba, but most writers argue it did not flow over into anti-semitism. Only one anti-semitic incident, stone throwing at a synagogue during the 1973 war, was recorded in decades."
Religious repression was widespread in Cuba, beginning in the 1960s, and that also included Judaism. The 1973 attack on the synagogue coincided with Fidel Castro breaking diplomatic relations with Israel on September 10, 1973.
Seth J. Frantzman
The lack of reported anti-semitic incidents had more to do with the end of independent civil society, shuttering of the free press, and the outlawing of human rights groups under Castro. Frantzman exposes the duplicity of Fidel Castro, highlighting how he prevented the importation of kosher meat.
The reality is revealed in an interesting report was revealed regarding an episode in 1994 in which Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau attempted to get Castro to allow kosher meat into Cuba. An Israeli diplomat named Joel Barromi told Haaaretz writer Adi Schwartz in a 2006 interview surprising details.  The Cuban leader had initially rejected Lau’s request to bring in kosher meat. “I told you that I am fighting against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in my country…do you want to make my people anti-Semitic,” Castro asked. “We have the practice of allocating 150 grams of bread a day, but the Jews in Cuba would have meat? [The people] will have a horrible hatred for them, envy them tremendously and loot their homes if under such conditions you see to import kosher meat for the Jews, you yourself create the anti-Semitism that I have been stopping.” 
This is the example of supposedly stopping anti-semitism, to threaten Jews that if they should want to eat kosher meat that they would “create” anti-semitism. Castro was at first admitting that he had starved his country by putting it on bread rations, but surely Cubans eat some meat. So why would some meat for Jewish people “make” them anti-Semitic?  One wonders whether “envy” for Muslims eating Halal would create the same excuse for Islamophobia just because Muslims celebrate Eid by eating a sheep?  According to articles the same Cuba that feared meat would force people to be anti-semitic, was welcoming to Halal food.
Digging deeper one finds disturbing patterns in the actions carried out by the Castro regime over the past six decades.
Otto-Ernst Remer was a German Wehrmacht officer who played a major role in stopping the July 20 plot in 1944 against Adolf Hitler, and established a Neo-Nazi political party in post-war Germany, before fleeing to the Middle East where he served as an advisor to Arab nationalists. In the early 1960s Otto-Ernst Remer had contacts with and assisted Fidel Castro in Cuba with the purchase of weapons. Ernst-Remer along with Ernst Wilhelm Springer sold the Cuban dictator 4,000 pistols. Castro also contracted former Nazi SS officers to train Cuban troops. German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) reported: "Evidently, the Cuban revolutionary army did not fear contagion from personal links to Nazism, so long as it served its objectives." Until the end of his life Remer remained an unrepentant Nazi who engaged in holocaust denial.
The Castro regime aided, trained, and armed terrorist groups that targeted Israel for destruction. Cuban troops were sent by Castro to the Middle East to fight against Israel, with the Yom Kippur war being a high profile example. Focus on Cuba,  an information service of the Cuba Transition Project of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami in their Issue 57 published  staff report on July 29, 2004 titled "Castro and Terrorism: A Chronology" that summarized this hostility to Israel.
Cuban military and intelligence personnel aided Middle Eastern groups and regimes in their struggle against Israel, and Cuban troops fought on the side of Arab States, particularly Syria, during the Yom Kippur war. Castro sent military instructors and advisors into Palestinian bases; cooperated with Libya in the founding of World Mathaba, a terrorist movement; and established close military cooperation and exchanges with Iraq, Libya, Southern Yemen, the Polisario Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara, the PLO and others in the Middle East.
Nan Robertson in a special to The New York Times on July 11, 1975 published the article "FRANCE EXPELLING 3 CUBAN OFFICIALS" that reports on the link between Cuban diplomats and Carlos the Jackal.
"France expelled three high‐ranking Cuban diplomats today in connection with the worldwide search for a man called Carlos, who is believed to be an important link in an international terrorist network." [...] "The French Interior Ministry said that investigators were convinced that the terrorist network had been helped significantly by the intelligence services of “certain nations.” The Cubans, according to the ministry, had been “constant visitors” to the Paris hideout of Carlos. André Mousset, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, added that the Carlos affair was looking more and more like an “international terrorist plot.” [...] French authorities have also said that Carlos may have been directly involved with a siege at the French Embassy in The Hague last September and a grenade attack the same month on Le Drugstore on the Left Bank here, in which three persons were killed and 22 wounded. The Cuban diplomats on whom expulsion orders were served today were Raul Rodriguez Sainz, 32 years old, first secretary for cultural affairs; Pedro Lara Zamora, 33, deputy cultural attache, and Ernesto Reyes Herrera, 32, the chief of protocol.
In January 1966 the Castro regime hosted the first Tricontinental Conference in Havana. This was the first major forum where both Cuba and the PLO participate. Author Claire Sterling wrote in 1981 that "the roots of the terrorist network can be traced directly to the Tricontinental Congress held in Havana in January 1966."

Castro regime met and planned with PLO in 1966
Less than a year later, in 1967, according to David J. Kopilow, more than a dozen training camps for guerrillas are established in  Cuba, under the direction of KGB Colonel Vadim Kotchergine. Palestinians were among the terrorist groups trained.


Carlos the Jackal received training in Cuba, and obtained assistance from Cuban diplomats in Europe. He had detailed knowledge of the operation to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Chevy Chase, Maryland and contacts with the terrorists who carried out the political killing in July 1973. Carlos was also credited with being the man behind the seizure of 70 hostages at the OPEC oil ministers' meeting in Vienna in 1975 and the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes.
Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat met in Havana in 1974
In the 1970s the Cubans started arriving in the Middle East in large numbers to train guerrillas, but they would go beyond terrorism into full military action against the Jewish people.
In the August 1988 issue of The Atlantic in the article "Cuba: Havana's Military Machine" by John Hoyt Williams provided more detail on Cuban involvement in the Yom Kippur War against Israel.
In 1973, probably at Moscow's behest, Castro dispatched 500 Cuban tank commanders to Syria. These men performed well and died well in the Yom Kippur War with Israel. Not long after their debut in Syria, Cuban military personnel were training, arming, and advising Polisario guerrillas who were fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara.
The Castro regime closely followed the example of their Arab counterparts in referring to Israel in terms previously reserved for Nazis. For example, Bruno Rodriguez, now Cuba's Foreign Minister, but in 1978, when he was a leader of Cuba's Union of Young Communists, he told a gathering at the University of Havana "that the attitude of the Zionist authorities was similar to Hitler's hordes who massacred millions of European Jews during World War II." The occasion of Rodriguez's speech was the 30th anniversary of Israel's founding, an event referred to by him as the"usurpation of Palestinian territory by Zionism to convert it into the state of Israel."

Israeli athletes were tortured and murdered by terrorists linked to the Castro regime in 1972
Myles Kantor's November 12, 2003 article in National Review, "Who’s Afraid of 'Uncle Fidel'?" exposed the underreporting of anti-semitism by the Anti-Defamation League with regards to Cuba and detailed some of the Castro regime's anti-Israel and anti-Jewish history.
“I am assaulted by the anti-Israel propaganda,” Cuban Jew Ricardo Behar remarks. “It is a constant nightmare over our minds.” Cuban Jew Tony Fune refers to the regime’s “persistent Judeophobia” that manifests itself in the media’s “endless hours of hatred against Israel.”Foxman writes of the U.N.’s 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism:Thankfully, the “Zionism is racism” resolution was revoked in 1991 by a U.N. vote of 87 to 25–although this vote of course indicates that, as of 1991, at least twenty-five states were still willing to openly maintain the position that Zionism is a form of racism, thereby seeking to delegitimize Israel and threaten the Jewish right of self-determination.Cuba cosponsored the resolution and was one of the 25 countries that opposed its revocation.
Scholar Irving Louis Horowitz in his 2007 paper, “Cuba, Castro and Anti-Semitism” observed that “the remnants of the Jewish community in Havana, not-withstanding, Cuba is one more nation where anti-Semitism without Jews is a core belief.”  
This is underscored by the actions of the dictatorship in Cuba over the past six decades.
Castro regime officials in 2019 barred Jewish children from wearing the kippah to school, decades earlier barred the importation of kosher meat into Cuba, while importing Halal food, broke relations with Israel in 1973, trained terrorists who murdered Israelis, sent Cuban troops to Syria to fight against Israel during the Yom Kippur War, and backed the 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism. This accumulation of facts should lead reasonable people to conclude that the Castro regime is antisemitic.
Poster for the PLO in 1972 denies existence of Israel
This blog is based on a December 27, 2091 CubaBrief by the Center for a Free Cuba.

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