Jewish groups slam ex-SA reporter comparing Fauci to Mengele
News reporter Lara Logan is known for her shocking statements, but she took it to new heights when she compared Dr Anthony Fauci to Dr Josef Mengele on Fox News on Monday, 29 November 2021.
Fauci is chief medical advisor to United States President Joe Biden. He’s also a physician-scientist and immunologist serving as the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Mengele, also known as the “Angel of Death”, was a German (SS) officer who tortured and experimented on Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He also selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers and was one of the people who administered the gas.
Logan was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She’s not Jewish. On Monday, in a rant against pandemic restrictions and concerns in light of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Logan claimed that many unnamed “people” had told her that Fauci “doesn’t represent science to them, he represents Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps.
“And I’m talking about people all across the world [who are] saying this,” she continued. “Because the response from COVID-19, what it has done to countries everywhere, what it has done to civil liberties, the suicide rates, the poverty, it has obliterated economies. The level of suffering that has been created because of this disease is now being seen in the cold light of day, i.e. the truth. And people see that there’s no justification for what’s being done.”
Logan was immediately denounced by several prominent Jewish organisations, including the Auschwitz Museum. “Exploiting the tragedy of people who became victims of criminal pseudo-medical experiments in Auschwitz in a debate about vaccines, the pandemic, and people who fight to save human lives is shameful,” the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial said in a Twitter statement. “It’s disrespectful to victims and a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”
The American Jewish Committee said the comments were “utterly shameful”, and noted that Mengele had earned his “Angel of Death” moniker by performing deadly experiments on Auschwitz prisoners, including many children. “There’s no comparing the hell these victims went through to public-health measures. An apology is needed,” it tweeted. Comparing Fauci to “history’s most sadistic medical experimenter is beyond vile”, said David Harris, the chief executive of the committee.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said there was “absolutely no comparison between COVID-19 mitigation efforts and what happened to Jews during the Holocaust. This includes making outlandish analogies suggesting Dr Fauci is akin to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, known for his gruesome medical experiments on prisoners.”
But Logan doubled down on her comments. The day after her comments, she filled Twitter with links to conspiracy theories about Fauci. She also retweeted a user with only one follower who wrote, “Shame on the Auschwitz Museum for shaming Lara Logan for sharing that Jews like me believe Fauci is a modern-day Mengele.” In addition, the Auschwitz Museum said that Logan had blocked it on Twitter.
On Thursday, Fauci called Logan’s comment “absolutely preposterous and disgusting. It’s an insult to all of the people who suffered and died under the Nazi regime in the concentration camps. It’s unconscionable what she said.
“Forget about the fact that she was being totally slanderous to me and, as usual, had no idea what she was talking about,” he continued. “Saying that it’s as benign as flu. When did influenza kill 770 000 Americans?
“So, not only is she being slanderous and disrespectful to so many people who were killed in the concentration camps by Dr Mengele, but she absolutely has no idea what she’s talking about,” Fauci said. “She’s completely incorrect in everything she says.”
Fauci asked why no disciplinary action had been taken against Logan. “What I find striking is how she gets no discipline whatsoever from the Fox network,” he said. “How can it let her say that with no comment and no disciplinary action? I’m astounded by that.”
Local antisemitism expert and emeritus professor of history at the University of Cape Town, Milton Shain, says “the use of the Holocaust in everyday language tells us something about the ways in which the heinous crimes of the Nazis have penetrated popular discourse. At one level, this should be welcomed as an indication of knowledge about these horrific years. At another, we see the increasing trivialisation of an unprecedented crime. Logan’s comments about Dr Fauci illustrate this. Making such comparisons is stupid and wilfully hurtful. They dishonour the real victims and make a mockery of real evil. Every person should call out such trivialisation and stupidity, not just Jews.”
Logan’s comments came amidst a worldwide trend of comparing COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust. Just before a major conference in Malmö in October 2021, where world leaders pledged to further Holocaust remembrance and combat antisemitism, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) report warned of this phenomenon.
The report was written by Stefania Giannini, UNESCO assistant director-general for education, and Kathrin Meyer, the secretary general of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Among other points, they explained that “all around the world, opponents of COVID-19 measures invoke the genocide against the Jewish people by Nazi Germany and its collaborators to paint themselves as victims and their governments as persecutorial regimes.
“In many cases, Holocaust distortion serves as a bridge between mainstream and more radical ideas. It fans the flames of hate – of antisemitism, conspiracy myths, hate speech, science scepticism, and distrust of democratic institutions, all of which have reached new heights during the pandemic.”
The report points out that “this history is abused, excused, misrepresented, and manipulated. Regardless of its form, Holocaust distortion always helps Holocaust denial, antisemitism, conspiracy myths, and populism to thrive.”
Holocaust distortion can be found at all levels of society and is far from a fringe phenomenon, the UNESCO report emphasises. “Often camouflaged as opinion, distortion is difficult to identify and frequently goes unchallenged. Nowhere is this clearer than online. This primes people for more radical points of view. Holocaust distortion and its effects – antisemitism, Holocaust denial, and extreme nationalism – are international in scope. Countering distortion therefore requires an international and interdisciplinary approach that bridges the gap between governments, experts, and civil society.”
The IHRA and UNESCO are therefore jointly launching a new programme to develop training and resources to empower education professionals, policymakers, public servants, and journalists to address and prevent Holocaust distortion.
“Each person has a responsibility to address Holocaust distortion and antisemitism wherever they may encounter it. Everyone has a stake in understanding the accurate lessons of the Holocaust and standing up to hate today,” they conclude.
Logan was formerly a star correspondent at CBS News’ 60 Minutes. She was forced to take a leave of absence after her erroneous reporting on the 2012 Benghazi attack. She left CBS in 2018. She joined Fox Nation to host Lara Logan Has No Agenda in 2020, and has repeatedly engaged in controversy ever since.
“We could do much more together,” Israeli ambassador tells Ramaphosa
Israel’s new ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotsercovsky, rubbed elbows with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa when he presented his credentials to him on Tuesday, 25 January, at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Tshwane.
Ramaphosa was courteous and smiling as Belotsercovsky told him about how the relationship between their countries could improve and how Israel could help South Africa.
“We believe there’s tremendous potential in us working together,” the Israeli ambassador told Ramaphosa. “Together, we can share dreams and together, we can fulfil them.”
Belotsercovsky said that South Africa was a shining example of a peaceful and dignified transition under the enlightened and courageous leadership of Nelson Mandela. He said the country’s democratic transformation took place with an independent judicial system and a free press.
But most importantly, he said, it was achieved through dialogue and “Israel is looking forward to upgrading our bilateral dialogue. There’s so much we can do together in the future in science and technology, education and training, food security, and climate change.”
He used the example of South African and Israeli scientists working together to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak as an example of successful co-operation.
Israel’s government is based on “a rainbow coalition” Belotsercovsky said, which represents an excellent example of partnership between religious and secular Jews and Arabs, people of European and African origins, politicians and technocrats, all united in the task of fulfilling the dreams of the next generation.
He went on to tell the president about the phenomenal ways Israel is already using its technology and knowhow to work successfully in South Africa, and said he hoped there was much more they could do together.
Legal amendment puts Lithuanian citizenship in reach
Thousands of Litvak Jews around the world stand a much better chance at getting Lithuanian citizenship based on ancestry since the law was amended last week.
A bill to amend Lithuania’s Law on Citizenship was unanimously passed in Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament) last Thursday, 20 January. It will have far-reaching positive implications for future applicants, many of whom had unsuccessfully tried and lost hope of obtaining citizenship.
This follows a year of extensive lobbying efforts from many quarters. It involved various iterations of a draft bill which was revised and redrafted several times, according to those involved, leading to last week’s vote, in which 110 members of parliament from across Lithuania’s political spectrum supported the bill.
Lithuanian Ambassador to South Africa Dainius Junevičius said the bill clarified that anyone who was a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania before 15 June 1940 was eligible for reinstatement of their citizenship on condition that there were no decisions adopted on their loss of citizenship.
This is a huge relief to many whose applications were rejected by the Lithuanian migration department, some pending indefinitely with others being placed on hold.
The application jam stemmed from a Lithuanian Supreme Court decision a few years ago which opened the law up for interpretation, making it much tougher, and which dramatically slowed down applications, causing enormous frustration.
In addition to what was always accepted as sufficient proof of Lithuanian citizenship, applicants were also required to provide proof that their Lithuanian immigrant ancestors actively sought to maintain their Lithuanian citizenship once in South Africa (or their new country of residence) until 15 June 1940.
This was a dramatic departure from the original position, which never required proof that citizenship was actively maintained after leaving Lithuania.
“This was a major obstacle for applicants as in almost all cases, no such proof exists. It also had far-reaching implications for all future citizenship applications,” said Lithuanian emigration consultant Nida Degutienė from Next Steps. Her company assists South Africans and others to obtain Lithuanian citizenship by helping to source the required documentation for reinstatement of their citizenship. She told the SA Jewish Report many of her clients’ applications had been declined by the migration department because of this.
In some cases where families had applied at different times using the same source documents, some had been granted citizenship, while others had been rejected.
However, this will soon change, said an elated Degutienė, who believes last week’s vote will pave the way forward for many South African Jews to successfully apply for citizenship.
“Less than a year ago, I was telling a story of a ridiculous court ruling which was applied to an unlucky Litvak family whose application for Lithuanian citizenship was rejected. Now I’m so happy to announce that the law has been amended, and this particular family, as many more, will be free to receive their passports.”
Degutienė and many others including politicians and lawyers in Lithuania and members of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies campaigned tirelessly for the amendment.
“I was really frustrated about the grey zone in the citizenship legislation which was used by Lithuanian institutions to create rules and obstacles that made many South African Litvaks ineligible for a Lithuanian passport,” said Degutienė. “The only way to solve this impossible situation was to change the law as any other solution would have been too temporary, and we would have had to depend on court procedures which are lengthy and costly.”
She said it had been a tough road.
“Not many colleagues or competitors believed I would succeed, but now as you see, if you put all your heart and effort into something, sooner or later it results in positive developments.”
Said Junevičius, “As we welcome this move by the Republic of Lithuania, removing many barriers to apply for the reinstatement of Lithuanian citizenship, we anticipate deepening connection with ancestral land and fully expect an exponential growth in economic relations and tourism.”
The director of AccessEU, Nicole Marcus, said this week, “AccessEU looks forward to overturning the negative decisions and restoring our 100% success record. Over the years, we’ve experienced changes to the requirements and process, at times becoming very difficult if not near impossible, and at other times easing somewhat. We urge everyone who is eligible to use this opportunity to apply for Lithuanian citizenship before any new interpretations might close the doors once again.”
Before the bill becomes law, Lithuania’s president will need to sign the bill into effect, and this is expected to happen soon.
Once enacted into law, the effect of this amendment will be to remove the requirement that one’s Lithuanian ancestor must have actively maintained their Lithuanian citizenship until 14 June 1940. That requirement was strictly enforced by the migration department since December 2020 following the Supreme Court decision in November 2020, when an application for citizenship with no supporting Lithuanian documentation was brought, causing serious ramifications for many other applicants.
Many applicants were refused citizenship on the basis that their Lithuanian ancestor had naturalised prior to 15 June 1940. Now the prospects of success for those applicants have been revived.
According to insiders, many hundreds of applications are believed to have been waiting for years for a decision following various procedural and then interpretative changes. Hundreds of applications which are currently held in suspense pending queries from Lithuania’s migration department which had been almost impossible to satisfy will now need to be reconsidered.
The migration department will probably take some time to work through the backlog, and applicants shouldn’t expect immediate results. They should keep in mind that the change in the law doesn’t mean that every applicant will be successful as each application will depend on its own supporting documentation which varies from one family to the next, insiders say.
Applicants are still required to prove that their Lithuanian ancestor left Lithuania after 16 February 1918 (the Republic of Lithuania’s initial date of independence) and must still prove with Lithuanian documentation that they held Lithuanian citizenship and departed from Lithuania.
One of the questions still being asked is whether those whose ancestors arrived in South Africa prior to 1918 will be able to apply for a passport.
“The answer is no,” said Degutienė. “This law does not extend the right of applying to those who emigrated earlier than the State of Lithuania was established, and it’s unlikely this will ever change.”
Degutienė said the amendment wouldn’t have been made possible without the help of Lithuanian Member of Parliament Dalia Asanavičiūtė. “Without her persistence and resilience against huge pressure from the migration department and opposition, and her deep understanding and respect for Jews, this change would never have been possible.”
Junevičius said the amendment was a very positive development, and would probably ensure the success of many pending and future applications.
He encouraged prospective passport holders to show an interest in Lithuania, saying that amongst other things, the country offered a broad range of international study programmes taught in English in its 19 universities and 22 colleges at a highly competitive price.
Nearly 8 000 students from 127 countries in the world including South Africa and Israel studied in Lithuania in the 2020 to 2021 academic year, Junevičius said. “The reasons to choose Lithuania as your study destination are multiple, but the main ones are high quality world-class education for an affordable price in an attractive European country.”
As for business opportunities, Junevičius said that for the past 20 years, Lithuania had been the fastest growing economy in the European Union in terms of gross domestic product per capita, with a “highly favourable business environment” with top rankings and ratings.
“Things here get done quicker and better because the doers – from students and engineers to the go-to advisors at Invest Lithuania – are agile, ambitious, and driven by big ideas. And when it comes to big ideas, we don’t dabble, we explore, from gene and cell therapy to the latest in machine learning.”
Terror accused in court
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 26 January 2022, where live broadcasting of proceedings and the setting of a court date were discussed. The twins are accused of terrorist activity targeting Jewish institutions in South Africa, amongst other targets. They have been in custody since their arrest in July 2016.
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