Isadore Greenbaum, the Jew Who Tried Singlehandedly to Take on American Nazis

Oct. 20 2017

In 1939, some 22,000 members of the German-American Bund—a pro-Nazi group—flocked to a rally in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, ostensibly to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. Isadore Greenbaum, a twenty-six-year-old resident of Brooklyn, snuck in to hear what was being said. At some point during a speech by the Bund’s leader, Fritz Kuhn, Greenbaum became so incensed by the anti-Semitic rhetoric that he rushed the stage, yelling “Down with Hitler!” As Philip Bump recounts, he was swarmed and beaten by a group of uniformed thugs until rescued by the police, who promptly arrested him. Video footage can be seen here:

When the U.S. entered World War II, Greenbaum joined the Navy, in which he served for the duration of the conflict. He recalled the Madison Square Garden incident in an interview with Stars and Stripes in which he claimed, apparently falsely, to have landed a punch on Kuhn.

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More about: American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Nazism

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey