Month: January 2014

RUSSIA ON THE EVE OF SOCHI PUTIN HAS OUTMANEUVERED THE WEST, IN: UKRAINE, SYRIA, IRAN—WILL ISLAMIST TERRORISTS EXPOSE HIS FLAWED POLICY?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

                                           

Caught Between Europe and a Hard Place: John Mraz, National Post, Jan. 31, 2014— As the violence in Ukraine escalates, and that country drifts closer to civil war, the world community is wondering how far Russian President Vladimir Putin might move to protect his interests in the second-largest former Soviet republic.

How Iran, Putin and Assad Outwitted America: David Keyes, The Daily Beast, Jan. 16, 2014 — Historians will look back at the present moment with astonishment that Iran so skillfully outwitted the West.

Terror Wave in Russia: Robert Spencer, Frontpage, Dec. 31, 2013 — There have now been three major jihad terror attacks in Russia in four days. The attacks are a grim reminder of how vulnerable crowded public places are worldwide to jihad mass murder — and an indication of what the United States could look like sooner or later.

 

On Topic Links

 

Russia Can't Lose in Oil Deal With Iran: Tatiana Mitrova, Al-Monitor, Jan. 27, 2014

Terrorists, Putin and the Hubris of Sochi: L. Todd Wood, New York Post, Jan. 4, 2014 

The Selling Out of Eastern Europe: George Jonas, National Post, Jan. 29, 2014 

Women of the Gulag: From Stalin to Pussy Riot: Vladislav Davidzon, Tablet, Jan. 8, 2013

 

CAUGHT BETWEEN EUROPE AND A HARD PLACE                        

 

John Mraz

National Post, Jan. 31, 2014

                                                           

As the violence in Ukraine escalates, and that country drifts closer to civil war, the world community is wondering how far Russian President Vladimir Putin might move to protect his interests in the second-largest former Soviet republic. Russia already is economically and politically entrenched across Ukraine. But should Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, a Russian loyalist, begin to lose control of his own security services, will Putin’s troops be invited in to quell the unrest? And should that mobilization occur, what could the West do?

 

The current crisis may have taken the West by surprise. Yet it is merely an acute symptom of sectarian, ideological and economic divisions that have been growing within the country for years. The 2004 Orange Revolution shone some light on those domestic schisms, as did the underlying battle between Russia and the West to secure Ukraine as an ally. Western-friendly President Victor Yushchenko’s ultimate victory in that contest held out enormous promise, but his tenure ended in failure. His administration remained ineffectual and corrupt from start to finish, providing Yanukovych and his pro-Russian backers the opportunity to seize power in a compromised (if not outrightly fraudulent) election in 2010.

 

Since then, Yanukovych has aggravated divisions in Ukraine. He has imprisoned political opponents; illegally seized assets; and attempted to pass legislation that would silence his critics, by eliminating rights to assembly, free speech, and transparent media. When Yanukovych refused to sign a long-negotiated formal economic association with the European Union last year, breaking years of assurances to his citizenry, his true loyalties to Russia were exposed. Ukrainians took to the streets to protest this betrayal, whereupon activists and journalists were beaten, disappeared, arrested and even killed, while the Western world offered little more than rhetorical support for the oppressed. Why has the West remained so ineffectual in its response to Yanukovych’s tyranny?

 

Presumably, Yanukovych believes that in signing an economic accord with Russia in lieu of hooking his wagon to Brussels, he will not only reap the benefits of Putin’s largesse (including an offered $15-billion bailout, and dramatically reduced gas prices for his people), but also enjoy the protection that the Russian Federation can afford he and his oligarchs from international prosecution. Putin’s admonition of any future Western intercessions in Ukraine this week confirmed Putin’s apparent belief that Ukraine lies entirely within his country’s sphere of interest. But Ukraine is more complex than that. It is divided in all sorts of ways, and only part of the country can be said to be primarily sympathetic to Moscow.

 

Ukraine is a fractured country. Oligarchs, both pro-Western and pro-Russian, vie for the spoils of a still corruptible economic environment. Xenophobic, anti-Semitic ultra-nationalists compete for influence with liberal democrats. And the opposition ranks span the gamut of socialists, capitalists and anarchists. Yanukovych has, to date, taken advantage of the opposition’s divided nature, but he also has suffered defections from his own ranks, and has experienced resistance from elements within his military, his political backers, and even soccer clubs (essentially, groups of organized thugs) across Ukraine, many of whom hitherto had been staunch loyalists. He has tried to finesse the growing schisms by offering calculated concessions, hoping that these will serve to tamp down the domestic volatility. For now, he remains firmly entrenched in office, largely because of the implicit support — “threat” might be a better word — from Ukraine’s looming neighbor to the east.

 

Ukraine’s largest trading partner is Russia, which provides Ukraine with essential imports, especially natural gas. Russian gas also flows through Ukraine to needy European markets. Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, is a critical warm-water port on lease from Ukraine until 2042 — an arrangement that Putin would fight to keep by any means. There are also high symbolic stakes: Putin can ill-afford to be perceived as losing influence in the region, in part because this would bring him enormous shame among Russian nationalists at home.

 

What can be done to prevent Russia from bullying Ukraine? This week, Canada announced the imposition of travel bans on some Ukrainian diplomats and actors as a gesture of protest. With about 1.3-million Canadians identifying themselves as Ukrainian-Canadian, our government had to do something. But Canada has no real power in the area, and almost no economic relations with Ukraine itself. Whatever sanctions we impose are guaranteed to be virtually meaningless. In Europe, nervous governments, dependent upon Russian gas, weigh just how far they might go without compromising their energy supply. Economic sanctions against the Ukrainian state might, at the very least, compromise Western investments in that country; and, at worst, create an energy crisis if Moscow turns off the gas.

 

The United States has done little. Barack Obama understands that to confront Yanukovych is to confront Putin, whom he believes (rightly or wrongly) is needed at the table to resolve conflicts with Iran and Syria. Certainly, there seems to be no appetite in the West to intercede with boots on the ground should Russia be invited to secure Ukraine for Yanukovych.

 

The opposition in Ukraine understands that the window of opportunity for real democratic change is slender: Indeed, it may well close with the end of the Sochi Olympics. To keep the Olympic peace, Putin has been prudent, and Russia’s presence in Ukraine has been muted to date. However, when the Olympic torch is extinguished, Putin will be free to intercede as he sees fit, and military “assistance” is not off the table.

 

No matter Putin’s interventions going forward, the Ukrainian people, loyalist and opposition alike, must recognize that theirs is a divided country that must come together to preserve its autonomy. They must work through democratic means to find unity and tolerance notwithstanding their neighbours’ competing interests. Canada can and must promote and facilitate that dialogue by providing competent, neutral, non-Ukrainian observers and arbiters, as Canada has done when Ukrainians went to the polls in the past.

 

Should Russia or the Western world intercede aggressively on one camp’s behalf with emissaries from the Ukrainian or Russian diasporas, this might accelerate the path toward revolution or even civil war. Ukrainians must be encouraged to negotiate peace for themselves, by themselves, in internationally facilitated forums that guarantee a fair discourse. To ensure this process remains peaceful, the West must encourage Putin to keep as far from Kyiv as possible, using whatever means are available and necessary.

 

The West might also apply effective pressure by imposing economic sanctions on Ukrainian oligarchs with massive holdings in Europe and North America. (It is interesting to note that even pro-Russian oligarchs tend to avoid either investment or residence in Russia itself.) Those oligarchs, many of whom fund Yanukovych, provide the best available leverage for resetting Ukraine on a democratic path — as they might be persuaded to restrain Yanukovych so as to protect their own equity.

 

Even most pro-Russian Ukrainians have little wish to be under Russia’s thumb again. And even most pro-western Ukrainians, who properly seek to develop Ukraine’s economic potential through trade with the EU, likely recognize that they cannot entirely ignore the interests of the giant regional power that lives next door.

 

The goal must be to help guide Ukraine on a peaceful and democratic path that recognizes its position vis-à-vis both the EU and Russia. Canada can, and should, be part of that process.                              

 

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HOW IRAN, PUTIN AND ASSAD OUTWITTED AMERICA                        

 

David Keyes                  

The Daily Beast, Jan. 16, 2014

 

Historians will look back at the present moment with astonishment that Iran so skillfully outwitted the West. They will note the breathtaking naiveté of American and European officials who let a brutal theocracy undermine Western interests throughout the Middle East. At one of Iran’s most vulnerable moments, America threw the mullahs a life-line; an ill-conceived nuclear deal coupled with a complete inability to stop Syria, Iran’s closest ally, from continuing to slaughter en masse. Western diplomats speak optimistically of a deal with Syria in Geneva, while the region’s thugs use force of arms to impose their will.

 

[Jan. 16], Iran’s foreign minister, Mohamed Zarif, took a diplomatic victory lap as he arrived in Moscow to meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Russia’s Foreign Ministry released this statement: “We intend to continue the expansion of mutually advantageous relations with Iran and interaction in the interest of regional stability and international security…We expect to strengthen positive trends in every sphere of Russia-Iran cooperation.”

 

Zarif’s mission to Moscow quells any lingering hopes that Russia can be seduced away from Syria or Iran. Putin has made a simple calculation: Assad will protect his interests better than anyone. Russia, in turn, has made it clear that it will prop up Syria’s tyrant and their Iranian backers at almost any cost. Zarif arrived in Moscow to expand cooperation with Russia and pay homage to his sugar daddy for making all of this possible. Iran, Syria and Russia appear to be the strong horses of the Middle East. Assad slaughters with impunity because he knows that no one will actually stop him. Russia knows it can get away with backing Syria and Iran, because who is ready to pay the price to stop it? American interests, meanwhile, are thwarted at every opportunity by Russia. Morality and fair play are not in Putin’s lexicon. Only power and money. The KGB veteran has never changed its stripes. Ask Sergei Magnitsky, a young tax lawyer, who died in Russian prison after uncovering massive corruption at the heart of Putin’s regime.

 

What is the West’s response to Russia’s expanding influence? To dither and appease. In 2012, I sat in an Istanbul hotel ominously named “Titanic,” as a senior European official told a delegation of Syrian opposition figures that Russia was distancing itself from Assad. The Russian government, he said, spoke increasingly of supporting “Syria” and mentioned Assad by name less and less. This, he said, was a very positive development. The Syrians looked at us dumbfounded. Russia, they said, is backing Assad without hesitation. Our families are being slaughtered, they pleaded, because of Russian arms and money. They were right. The hyper-nuanced linguistic interpretations of European diplo-speak were absurd. Putin’s support of Assad was clear as day.

 

Zarif’s visit to Russia comes days after a trip to Lebanon where he honored master Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. Does a “moderate” pay homage to one of the most ruthless terrorists in modern history, a man who killed hundreds of Americans and Jews around the world? Is there anything Zarif could do to forfeit his credentials as a “moderate”? Apparently not. The Iranian government has mastered the art of deception. At a lunch I attended with Zarif during his New York charm offensive, the foreign minister sounded like a mix between Gandhi and Mother Teresa. In Zarif’s telling, there is quite simply no government on earth more dedicated to peace, freedom and equality than Iran.

 

Iran’s actual record tells a very different story. It is a brutal theocracy that imprisons bloggers, tortures dissidents and murders opposition. Zarif’s mask slipped momentarily when I asked him if he thought it was ironic that he enjoyed posting on Facebook when his government bans it in Iran. “Ha! Ha!” he laughed. “That’s life.”

 

If Iran was serious about peace, it would begin by ceasing its support for a mass murdering tyrant like Assad. At the recent Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy, I asked former president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Moaz Al Khatib, why Assad was still in power. “Because the Iranians want him to stay,” he answered immediately.

 

It is no surprise that Iran’s mullahs are gloating that they outwitted the West with the recent nuclear deal. They did. Our sincere and overwhelming desire for peace clouded a sober reading of Iran’s intentions. Iran’s political prisoners must have wept quietly in Evin prison’s dark torture chambers as they heard that the free world was rewarding their vicious rulers. If Iran was committed to human rights, as Zarif claimed to much fanfare during his New York charm offensive, it would begin by releasing the hundreds of jailed student leaders, dissidents and bloggers like Majid Tavakoli and Shiva Ahari.

 

In this Middle Eastern proxy war, it often seems that only one side is actually fighting. Russia is pouring massive sums of money and arms into Syria to prop up Assad. Iran has made it abundantly clear that it too supports the Syrian government. Yet for a decade prior, useful idiots in the West spoke of prying Assad out of Iran’s orbit. It is not too late to change course. America can begin by speaking clearly about the duplicity of Iran’s theocrats, the danger of Russia’s autocrats and the brutality of Syria’s dictator. A renewed push to support human rights and dissidents would do much to alter the balance of power in the Middle East. All dictatorships fear freedom, accountability and transparency. It is their Achilles heel. Russia, Syria and Iran are profoundly dangerous regimes, but it is equally true that they are inherently weak. No government which jails its critics can claim to be powerful. Peace and freedom can triumph in the end, if only we would stand up for our principles.

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TERROR WAVE IN RUSSIA                                                        

 

Robert Spencer                                                              

Frontpage Magazine, Dec. 31, 2013

 

There have now been three major jihad terror attacks in Russia in four days. The attacks are a grim reminder of how vulnerable crowded public places are worldwide to jihad mass murder — and an indication of what the United States could look like sooner or later. The latest round of jihad mass murder began last Friday, when jihadists murdered three people with a car bomb in Pyatigorsk in southern Russia. Then on Sunday, a jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered sixteen people at the train station in Volgograd – the city that, as Stalingrad, was the bloody site of the turning point of World War II. Then on Monday, a jihadist murdered fourteen more people on a trolley bus in the same city.

 

These were by no means the first jihad strikes in Russia in recent years. In September 2004, Islamic jihadists under the command of Chechen jihad leader Shamil Basayev took 1,300 hostages at a school in Beslan, a town in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia; ultimately the jihadists murdered well over 300 people. Then in August 2009, jihadists claimed to have murdered over 24 people with a bomb at Siberia’s Sayno-Shushenskata hydro-electric plant in Siberia, although the Russian government claimed that there was no bomb at all, and that the explosion was an accident. On November 27, 2009, jihadists murdered 27 people with a bomb planted under the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Then in March 2010, Islamic jihad/martyrdom suicide bombers murdered 39 people on the Moscow subway. In February 2011, another jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered 36 people at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow.

 

Another Chechen jihadist, Doku Umarov, the leader of a group that calls itself the Caucasus Emirate (Umarov styles himself the “Emir of the Caucasus”), told Russians in 2010: “I promise you that war will come to your streets and you will feel it in your lives, feel it on your own skin.” He later threatened that “more special operations” would soon follow, for “among us there are hundreds of brothers who are prepared to sacrifice themselves….We can at any time carry out operations where we want.” He warned the Russians again last July, exhorting Muslims to wage jihad warfare against the Russians for daring to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi on the Black Sea coast. Umarov said that Muslims should “use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing” – by which Patrick Swayze-evoking locution he referred to the Games. The Russians, he said, “plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we Mujahedeen are obliged not to permit that — using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah.”

 

The Caucasus Emirate has not claimed responsibility for the jihad attacks this week, but given the threats Umarov has made against the Games, which are scheduled to begin February 6, it is understandable that suspicion has focused on this group. Vladimir Putin has tightened security, but Russian officials know that there is little he can do to prevent still more jihad terror. Alexei Filatov, whom Reuters describes as the “deputy head of the veterans’ association of the elite Alfa anti-terrorism unit,” observes: “We can expect more such attacks. The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression. The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.”

 

There is little doubt that Filatov is right: the area that requires protection is simply too vast, and the possible targets too many, to ensure that there will not be more jihad attacks in Volgograd or elsewhere. The situation is the same in the United States: while law enforcement agents so far have been able to stop most jihad plots from ever coming to murderous fruition, their luck is unlikely to hold – particularly since the Obama Administration has forbidden agencies to study Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism, thereby depriving them of the ability to understand the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy Western societies.

 

It is well within the realm of possibility, then, that sometime in the not-so-distant future, the United States could be the country that is reeling from three jihad attacks in four days, with an untold number of casualties. What is glaringly deficient, if not altogether absent, in both the Russian and American response to this reality is any serious attempt to prevent such attacks from being plotted in the first place. No one is challenging Muslim groups in the U.S. or Russia to reinterpret the Islamic texts and teachings that jihadists use to justify violence and supremacism, and to teach actively against the understanding of Islam that gives rise to such attacks…

                                                                 

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CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!

                                                                          

Russia Can't Lose in Oil Deal With Iran: Tatiana Mitrova, Al-Monitor, Jan. 27, 2014 —Following the news of the agreement reached between Iran and the world powers regarding the country's nuclear program, Reuters on Jan. 10 published unofficial information obtained from unnamed sources in Iran and Russia about a deal in the works to exchange Iranian oil for Russian goods.

Terrorists, Putin and the Hubris of Sochi: L. Todd Wood, New York Post, Jan. 4, 2014  —Last week, 34 people died after two bombs — one in a rail station, the other on a trolleybus — exploded in Volgograd. Terrorist attacks are, sadly, nothing new for Russia. But these murders had a particular motive behind them: Vladimir Putin’s arrogance.

The Selling Out of Eastern Europe: George Jonas, National Post, Jan. 29, 2014  —In a few days we will come to a doleful anniversary. Sixty-nine years will have passed since Yalta, the wartime summit of the “Big Three,” generally blamed for consigning Eastern Europe to the tender mercies of Stalin and his successors for the next 45 years.

Women of the Gulag: From Stalin to Pussy Riot: Vladislav Davidzon, Tablet, Jan. 8, 2013—Forty years ago this week, the YMCA-Press, then based in Paris and founded by White Russian emigrants, published Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago to the collective horror of the civilized world.

 

 Contents:         

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Manfred Gerstenfeld: HOLOCAUST AWARENESS ARRIVED LATE IN WESTERN EUROPE

Manfred Gerstenfeld speaks to Prof. of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Amsterdam University, Johannes Houwink ten Cate. For International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

The writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

 

Johannes Houwink ten Cate is Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Amsterdam University. He specializes in the history of anti-Jewish politics of Nazi Germany in the occupied Dutch territories.

 

 

“It took a long time until Holocaust awareness developed in Western Europe. Academics studying this subject found that much went terribly wrong in these societies during the initial post-war decades.

 

"This manifested itself in several ways. One was that prominent European politicians promoted self-images of heroic resistance against the Nazis. Another was that these politicians were unwilling to help Jewish survivors financially.

 

"They shifted responsibility for the persecution and extermination of the Jews as much as possible onto the Germans. This meant ignoring the huge assistance that the Germans received from many members of the occupied nations in their expropriations and deportations of the Jews.”

 

“The only comparative study of how elites in Western Europe dealt with the memory of Nazi occupation, including the Holocaust, was written by eminent Belgian historian Pieter Lagrou. In his book, The Legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945-1965, Lagrou noted that there was a marked difference between the Netherlands on one hand and Belgium and France on the other.

 

"In the Dutch case, the occupation was ‘experienced as a collective affliction for the whole of society, an external aggression and a moral outrage to a country that saw itself as a model pupil in the school of nations.’”[1]

 

Houwink ten Cate adds: “This last view has not changed. The Dutch still regard themselves as a ‘model pupil in the school of nations,’ even if the rest of the world does not agree.

 

“Lagrou furthermore wrote: ‘In the austere reconstruction ethic that dominated Dutch society in the first two post-war decades, the war was presented as an ordeal that had strengthened social cohesion and national identity.’[2] This national memory was – to quote Lagrou again – ‘harsh’ towards those who had suffered more than others.

 

"‘The Jewish survivors of the genocide in particular suffered from a lack of recognition (…), from a lack of support,’ both in material terms and in terms of ‘their need for integration.’[3] Thus, the few Jewish survivors – 75% of Dutch Jewry was deported to Eastern Europe in order to be murdered – ‘struck a bad deal,’ according to the impartial Lagrou: ‘no solidarity for them, no consolation.’"[4]

 

“Lagrou contrasted the Dutch perception of Nazi occupation with its Belgian and French counterparts. In these states, ‘the cacophony’ of commemorative narratives set different victim groups ‘in macabre rivalries and opposition.’ Nevertheless, this offered Jewish victims more recognition and more consolation than the ‘austere consensus’ in The Netherlands.[5]

“In the 1950s, the Dutch portrayed themselves as a nation unified in resistance against the Nazis, a view that was actively supported by the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (then called RIOD, nowadays NIOD), which in its research focused on the three strikes during war time.

 

“In France in 1987, eminent historian Henry Rousso coined the neologism ‘Résistancialisme’ to describe the Gaullist effort to lump together Resistance, nation and state, [6] but this effort was not as dominant as its Dutch counterpart. Nevertheless, for 35 years, French historians ignored the co-responsibility of the Vichy government for persecution of the Jews. It was not until 1981 that American historian Robert O. Paxton and his Canadian colleague Michael R. Marrus, fully described this co-responsibility.[7]

 

“The situation was not fundamentally different in West Germany. It first became a habit of the authorities in various states of the Soviet bloc and later of the German left to correctly proclaim that the track record of the German Federal Republic in bringing Holocaust perpetrators to justice was poor.[8] It was as poor as the actual performance of the French, Belgian and Dutch states in bringing their bureaucrats who had aided the Germans, to trial. These civil servants went unpunished as a group.

 

“Nowadays, ironic descriptions of states which portray themselves as ‘nations of heroes,’ be it the Dutch, the French or the Germans, have become a sort of genre. But Rousso’s book marked the birth of Post-Holocaust studies as an academic field in its own right.

“Post-Holocaust Studies as a field have slowly widened and become more academic. More recent publications – such as the book by Lagrou – are often based on many years of research in the archives of states and civil society organizations.” 

 

Houwink ten Cate concludes: “These studies on national self-image are part of the developing discipline of Post-Holocaust Studies. It is greatly enriched by input from scholars who are either legal experts, or have a marked sensitivity and understanding of legal issues. This branch of learning covers many other areas such as education, psychology, contemporary history, etc. There are many varied publications in the field of Post Holocaust Studies. However, it is not structured academically, e.g., there are no chairs for its studies.

"Yet if they were established, it would give this important discipline the support it needs.”

 

   (Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow and the 2012 recipient of the Lifetime        Achievement Award of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.

 

Sources:

[1] Pieter Lagrou, The Legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945-1965, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 293.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Lagrou, 293, 295.

[4] Lagrou. 303.

[5] Lagrou, 303-304.

[6] Henry Rousso, Le Syndrome de Vichy: (1944-198..) (Paris: Seuil, 1987).

[7] Michael R. Marrus, Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981).

[8] Dick de Mildt, In the Name of the People: Perpetrators of Genocide in the Reflection of their Post-War Prosecution in West Germany. The ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘Aktion Reinhard’ Trial Cases (The Hague/London/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1996), 18-40.

RETURN OF THE REPRESSED: FOR EUROPEAN ANTISEMITES [WHOOPS, “ANTI-ZIONISTS”], WHAT DARK FORCES ARE BEHIND THE HOLOCAUST? ISRAEL AND THE JEWS, OF COURSE!

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

                                           

Why Europe Blames Israel For the Holocaust: Post-1945 Anti-Semitism: Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014— The acclaimed British novelist Howard Jacobson opened his speech at the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem last October with piercing sarcasm: “The question is rhetorical. When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust? Never.”
Why Is Germany Telling Jews Where to Live?: Michael Freund, Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2014 — With an impeccable sense of timing, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Israel earlier this week, attended the funeral of Ariel Sharon, and then proceeded to browbeat Israel in public.
Belgian Legislator Says Zionists Bankrolled the Holocaust: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Jan. 30, 2014 — A Belgian legislator who last year told the Parliament Israel is using Islamic support to overthrow Assad now has taken the podium to charge, “The Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism.”
Holocaust Historian Returns Hungarian Honor Over ‘Whitewash’: Richard D. Heideman, Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2014 — Noted Holocaust historian Randoph L. Braham is returning a high honor granted him by the Hungarian state.

A French Clown’s Hateful Gesture: Sylvain Cypel, New York Times, Jan. 23, 2014 — Sixteen years ago, the leader of the far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, deemed the Holocaust a “detail in the history of the Second World War.”
 

On Topic Links

 

Belgian MP Laurent Louis: When Will Belgium Support Assad in Face of "Greater Israel" Project?(video): Youtube, May 10, 2013 

Continental Drift: A Quarantine For the Sick Men of Europe: David Aikman, Weekly Standard, Jan. 13, 2014

Plan To Open Another Holocaust Museum in Budapest Faces Criticism—From Jews: Ruth Ellen Gruber, Tablet, Jan. 10, 2014

Holocaust Awareness Arrived Late in Western Europe: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2014 

Leader of French Jewish Group Has a Plan for Countering Anti-Semitism: Downplaying Zionism: Nidra Poller, Tablet, Jan. 3, 2014 

 

 

WHY EUROPE BLAMES ISRAEL FOR THE HOLOCAUST:

POST-1945 ANTI-SEMITISM                                                  

Benjamin Weinthal                                                                    

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014

 

The acclaimed British novelist Howard Jacobson opened his speech at the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem last October with piercing sarcasm: “The question is rhetorical. When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust? Never.” However, there has been a shift in the underpinnings of anti-Semitism. Israel has become the collective Jew among the nations, as the late French historian Léon Poliakov said about the new metamorphosis of Jew-hatred. Jacobson was piggy-backing on the eye-popping insight of the Israel psychoanalyst Zvi Rex, who reportedly said: “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”

The anti-Semitic logic at work here is Europe’s pathologically guilt-filled response to the Holocaust, which, in short, is to shift the onus of blame to the Jews to cleanse one’s conscience. Two German-Jewish Marxist philosophers – Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno – coined an esoteric sociological term for what unfolded in post-Shoah Germany: Guilt-defensiveness anti-Semitism. On the one hand, Adorno and Horkheimer may come across as kitchen-sink psychology. On the other hand, the explanatory power behind anti-Semitic guilt animating hatred of Jews and Israel can provide a window into Europe’s peculiar obsession with the Jewish state. Europe is largely consumed with imposing discipline and punishment on Israel. How else to explain the efforts by the German government and fellow EU member states to label products from the disputed territories? The EU refuses to apply the same label system to the scores of other territorial conflicts ranging from China/Tibet to Turkey/Cyprus to Morocco/ Western Sahara.

The origins of Europe’s disturbing preoccupation with Israel can be traced to the late 1960s. The Austrian Jewish writer and Auschwitz survivor Jean Amery recognized that “anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm.” The German-Jewish author Henryk M. Broder perhaps best captured the toxic mix of pathological Holocaust guilt with the desire to dismantle Israel. In an article he wrote in the early 1980s he told his contemporary Germans: “You’re still your parents’ children. Your Jew today is the State of Israel.”

Sacha Stawski, an expert on anti-Semitism in the German media, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that “Israel-related anti-Semitism is probably the most common and most persistent form of anti-Semitism in all levels of society today.” Stawski, who is a German Jew and editor-in-chief of the media watchdog website Honestly Concerned, added: “Today it is no longer fashionable to hate Jews outright, but it is perfectly acceptable to debate about and to demonstrate against the very core of the Jewish state’s existence – in a way and with emotions unlike that about any other country.” The social-psychological theory articulated by Adorno and Horkheimer might, just might, provide a macro-level grasp of a pan-European epidemic that is fixated on turning Israel into a human punching bag.   

                                                             

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WHY IS GERMANY TELLING JEWS WHERE TO LIVE?          

Michael Freund

Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2014

 

With an impeccable sense of timing, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Israel earlier this week, attended the funeral of Ariel Sharon, and then proceeded to browbeat Israel in public. Speaking with reporters, Steinmeier accused the Jewish state of “damaging” the peace process by building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria. And in a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of Sharon’s interment, he pressed the premier to refrain from additional construction as this “could still disturb the process”. While I am not familiar with bereavement rituals in Germany, I assume they do not include insulting one’s hosts right after the burial service. And yet, while in Israel, Steinmeier apparently saw nothing wrong in doing just that: exploiting the opportunity to highlight a political issue regardless of how tasteless and unseemly it was to do so. This is not the kind of behavior one expects from a “friend,” is it?

 

But what is even more offensive about Steinmeier’s exploits is the German government’s historical amnesia, which has left officials bereft of any sense of irony regarding their position on the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria. After all, it was not even eight decades ago that Germany singled out Jews in the September 1935 Nuremberg laws, seeking to cast them out of civil society as a step towards “cleansing” German soil of their presence. Subsequently, in areas under German control, the right of Jews to live where they saw fit was severely restricted. One would think that in light of this dark chapter in their history, Germans would be extra careful about wading into such an issue and proclaiming where Jews can live, build or raise their families. But that has not been the case. Indeed, last summer it was widely reported that Berlin had decided to back a European Union initiative that singles out Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria. The move is aimed at targeting them for special treatment, which could include the application of unique labels of origin on products produced by Jews in the areas. Needless to say, goods made by Palestinian-run plants in the territories would not similarly be branded.

In an interview with Reuters last month, EU envoy to the Middle East Andreas Reinicke warned that if the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fails, the EU would speed up its plans to slap labels on Jewish-made goods from Judea and Samaria. The hypocrisy behind the labeling crusade is all the more apparent when one considers that no such campaigns are being contemplated for other “disputed territories”. Hence, there is no European demand to label Chinese products made in Tibet, Russian items manufactured in Chechnya or Spanish goods from Catalonia. It seems that only when matters involve the Jewish state do European liberals insist on such measures.

 

This is not merely duplicity, it is discrimination pure and simple. And in the case of Germany, such a stance is especially outrageous, and the government of Angela Merkel should be ashamed of itself for going along with it. Whatever one may think of the peace process and the two-state solution, it should be obvious that treating merchandise and construction differently simply because the person who owns the factory or built the house is a follower of Moses rather than Muhammad is an act of bigotry. And in light of its own ignoble record during the 20th century, Germany and its leaders have a special responsibility to be exceptionally sensitive to such issues, particularly when they relate to Jews. No one is suggesting Germany is planning a second Holocaust, but the country must show greater awareness regarding the painful irony at work here.

In 1936 a board game called “Juden Raus” (“Jews Out”) became popular throughout the Reich. Players would move figures representing Jews toward “collection points” from which they would be deported to the Land of Israel. “If you manage to see off six Jews,” the game instructed, “you’ve won a clear victory”. Sadly, Germany is once again playing a similar game, albeit with one difference. Whereas previously the aim was to send Jews away to Israel, now their goal is to compel us to leave parts of it. But I have a bit of news for Ms. Merkel and her colleagues: no one, especially not Germany, has the right to tell Jews where they can or cannot live. In 1945, the Jewish people crawled out of the ovens of Europe and succeeded in reclaiming our ancestral homeland. Regardless of what Berlin might think or say, we are not about to give any part of it away.                               

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BELGIAN LEGISLATOR SAYS ZIONISTS

BANKROLLED THE HOLOCAUST     

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu                                                                                   Jewish Press, Jan. 30, 2014

 

A Belgian legislator who last year told the Parliament Israel is using Islamic support to overthrow Assad now has taken the podium to charge, “The Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism.” Intelligent people take these kinds of tantrums as harmless ignorance from a hate-mongering populist, but that is what they said in 1933. So speaking of the Holocaust, Belgium’s Laurent Louis, who has created his own Movement for Liberty and Democracy party after being expelled from the People’s Party, stood up in the Belgian legislator and performed the quenelle, the invention of Dieudonne, the so-called French comedian. The president of Belgium’s parliament condemned Louis’ theatrical hate. “I would like to reinforce my condemnation of these hateful acts,” Andre Flahaut said. The Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, a newly-established watchdog, pledged during its inaugural event to focus much of its activities on Louis — an independent member of the lower house of Belgium’s Federal Parliament. “We do not wish to offer Laurent a podium,” Isaac Franco, the league’s vice president, said earlier this week in Brussels. “But considering the tens of thousands of visitors to his website, we see he represents a threat that needs to be confronted.” Hate mongers who are elected to public office are a danger to the public. Louis has said that Israel was guilty of Nazi crimes against Palestinians, and last year he posed for pictures outside parliament while standing on an Israeli flag. Below is a video, with English sub-titles, of his speech in the Belgian parliament last May when he accused Israel of everything under the sun in order to promote a “Greater Israel.” According to Louis, that does not top at Judea and Samaria. It includes parts of Iraq, Jordan and Jordan. His speech started out with condemnation of Israel for conducting surveillance flights over Lebanon and then connected that with the IDF’s bombing Syrian trying to destabilize the country and use the Arab Spring rebellion to promote Greater Israel.

 

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HOLOCAUST HISTORIAN RETURNS HUNGARIAN                                  HONOR OVER ‘WHITEWASH’                                                                    

Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2014

 

Noted Holocaust historian Randoph L. Braham is returning a high honor granted him by the Hungarian state.  The action is a protest against what he called the government’s falsification of Holocaust history and attempts to whitewash Hungary’s role in the Holocaust. The Hungarian state news agency MTI on Sunday quoted a letter from Braham, 91, in which the Bucharest-born scholar, a Holocaust survivor and expert on the Holocaust in Hungary, said he was handing back the Cross of the Order of Merit “with a heavy heart” following recent developments in Hungary. He also said he would no longer permit the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center to use his name for one its research departments.

 

Braham, an emeritus professor at the City University of New York, wrote in the letter that: “The campaign of history falsification which aims to whitewash the (Miklos) Horthy era, has shocked me.” Horthy led Hungary into World War II as a Nazi ally. Braham said the “last straw” had been the decision by the government to erect a memorial in downtown Budapest to the 1944 German occupation of Hungary. This, he said, was a “cowardly attempt” to exonerate Hungarians from their own role in the Holocaust and confuse the issue by placing all blame on the Nazis. Hungarian Jewish leaders, historians and others have sharply criticized plans for the memorial.

 

“The events of 1944 are, to say the least, more complicated than a story of ‘bad’ Germans fighting ‘good’ Hungarians,” the prominent historian Krisztian Ungvary wrote in the HVG.hu news magazine. “Eichmann himself was thrilled by his experiences here, observing that the Hungarians must surely be descended from the Huns since nowhere else had he seen so much brutality ‘in the course of solving the Jewish question.’”

 

Hungary’s conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has designated 2014 as Holocaust Memorial Year, with a series of events and initiatives planned. In October, Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics told an international conference that the country’s leaders recognized Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust and vowed that the state will combat anti-Semitism and racism. Hungary’s ambassador to the United Nations made a similar statement last week.

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A FRENCH CLOWN’S HATEFUL GESTURE                         

 

Sylvain Cypel  

               

New York Times, Jan. 23, 2014 

 

Sixteen years ago, the leader of the far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, deemed the Holocaust a “detail in the history of the Second World War.” Today, a popular comic known as Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala (his stage name is simply Dieudonné) claims “not to know, between the Jews and Germans,” who’s telling the truth — “but I have my own little ideas on the subject.” We know what those ideas are: Dieudonné invited onstage at one of his shows Robert Faurisson, a “theorist” of Holocaust denial, who argues that the extermination of the European Jews is a Jewish invention.

 

Dieudonné, who revels in stoking controversy while hiding behind ambiguity, recently came up with a rallying gesture for his supporters. He calls it the “quenelle” (literally, a dumpling, a French version of gefilte fish). The move consists of the right arm pointed straight down, which the left hand keeps from lifting — very like the repressed Nazi salute of Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove.” Mr. M’Bala M’Bala claims this is not anti-Semitic but “antisystem,” a defiance of authority, but his true disciples have caught on, pulling quenelles in front of synagogues. On grounds that “inciting racial hatred” is illegal in France, the interior minister, Manuel Valls, decided to ban the comic’s shows, creating a furor. Canceling Mr. M’Bala M’Bala’s tour not only gave him free publicity, but it has also risked making him a victim of censorship.

 

At first glance, the Dieudonné affair seems a new form of anti-Jewish expression. Of course, it is. But it would be wrong to say that’s all that it is. French society has suffered from an economic and social crisis for three decades. Whichever party has been in power, the unemployment rate has hardly dipped below 8 percent since the 1980s; more than one in four young people are out of work. I recently returned to France, after six years working in the United States, to discover some unpleasant surprises. In “la France profonde,” a diffuse populism is stirring. Reminiscent of America’s Tea Party, this movement combines a nostalgic mind-set that everything “was better before” with a radical aversion to taxes and a hostility toward the detested European bureaucracy. According to a recent study, only 8 percent of French people espouse racial inequality, yet there is a palpable conviction that everything bad comes from outside: Brussels, globalization, immigration. Whatever the law says, the “freedom” to express racist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant views has reached new levels. Mr. Le Pen used to claim to “say out loud what the people think in private.” Lately, many have begun thinking out loud.

 

The Dieudonné affair is symptomatic of an insidious slide toward intolerance, but anti-Semitism is the least of it; racism and xenophobia manifest themselves more often as anti-Arab, anti-Muslim or anti-black. Last year, in Carpentras, a town notorious in 1990 for the desecration of Jewish graves there, swastikas were spray-painted on the headstones of French Muslim soldiers. Late in 2013, the minister of justice, Christiane Taubira, a black woman originally from French Guiana, was called a “monkey” by a National Front candidate in municipal elections; the same slur was repeated by a representative of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement, the mainstream opposition party.

 

Urban neighborhoods where poor African, Asian or Caribbean populations live have become increasingly ghettoized. In French political parlance, this is called a “failure to integrate,” or a “rise in communitarianism.” France has become a hotbed of tensions that has seen a steep rise in “ethnicist” views of society. It is not just Mr. M’Bala M’Bala who has flourished in this atmosphere; other comedians trot out the most hackneyed racial clichés. The phenomenon cuts across social class. Take Alain Finkielkraut, a professor of philosophy at the elite École Polytechnique: He recently published “L’identité malheureuse,” a book bemoaning the dilution of an eternal France about to be defiled by swarthy barbarians threatening to plunge “European civilization” into a multicultural bouillabaisse. Among the objects of his disgust: “Halal butcher shops and fast food.”

 

Mr. Finkielkraut’s sentiments echo those of Renaud Camus, a writer (not related to Albert Camus) who has denounced the “great replacement” of populations, which imposes on “the true rooted French” those who are not. Mr. Camus makes no secret of his admiration for Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie and current leader of the National Front. Such ideas have even found resonance in the media, thanks to commentators like the political journalist Éric Zemmour, who laments the fate of the “white proletariat,” helpless before the “ostentatious virility of their black and Arab competitors seducing numerous young white women.” The worst came last fall with a campaign against France’s Roma people. The previous president, Nicolas Sarkozy, had already singled out this vulnerable population of 20,000 as a dangerous nuisance — despite the fact that the Roma constitute just 0.03 percent of the population. The interior minister, Mr. Valls, has now called for their expulsion. Well might we wonder about the integrity of a politician who defends Jews from Dieudonné’s quenelle while deporting Gypsies.

 

The son of a white mother and a black father, Mr. M’Bala M’Bala will continue to surf a wave created by the “competition of victims” in a country that is historically “guilty” twice over: toward the Jews, for its participation in the collaborationist Vichy regime, and toward its black and Arab citizens, for its colonial past. By calling Jews “slave traders,” Mr. M’Bala M’Bala plays a game of provoking the authorities’ squeamishness about anti-Semitism, even as other expressions of racism get a pass. When Dieudonné described Ms. Taubira as a “cheetah,” there was scarcely a stir. Unless things change, this deplorable clown has a bright future.

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Belgian MP Laurent Louis: When Will Belgium Support Assad in Face of "Greater Israel" Project?(video): Youtube, May 10, 2013 

Continental Drift: A Quarantine For the Sick Men of Europe: David Aikman, Weekly Standard, Jan. 13, 2014 — The year 1946 was vintage for Churchillian rhetoric, with two speeches that significantly affected the history of the West—and, indeed, the world.

Plan To Open Another Holocaust Museum in Budapest Faces Criticism—From Jews: Ruth Ellen Gruber, Tablet, Jan. 10, 2014 —The Hungarian author György Konrád is arguably one of the best-known child survivors of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Awareness Arrived Late in Western Europe: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2014 — Manfred Gerstenfeld speaks to Prof. of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Amsterdam University, Johannes Houwink ten Cate. For International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Leader of French Jewish Group Has a Plan for Countering Anti-Semitism: Downplaying Zionism: Nidra Poller, Tablet, Jan. 3, 2014 —In mid-December, France’s President François Hollande held a reception at the Elysée palace in honor of the 70th anniversary of the CRIF, as the umbrella organization of French Jews is known. Hollande, whose delivery is often wooden and halting, was unusually at ease with his guests and made sure to note in his remarks that he was celebrating “by extension, all the Jews in France.”

 

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Mordechai Nisan: THE TWO-STATE DELUSION

Two decades after the signing of the declaration of principles (DOP) by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on the White House lawn, there is something unreasonable in the world's continued adherence to the Oslo paradigm, tattered and battered as it is by years of a bloody fiasco. The Palestinian Arab leadership has consistently and adamantly rejected the two-state solution since its first articulation in 1937 by the British Peel commission[1] and has, as consistently, advocated the destruction of the Jewish state. Still, it undertook a successful public relations campaign in the 1980s promoting the notion of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—"the occupied territories."

 

Twenty years of Oslo, filled with optimism and enthusiasm and adorned with Nobel prizes, like the ones held here by Arafat, Peres and Rabin (l-r) have delivered no peace for either side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Firmly entrenched in its place, however, is a textbook example of cognitive dissonance written on a grand political scale, as the failed Oslo paradigm is revived again and again.

 

Over the years and especially in the wake of the DOP, the Palestinian demand for statehood has gained rapid political momentum and international acceptance. A succession of Israeli prime ministers—from Shimon Peres, to Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Binyamin Netanyahu—embraced the idea, as did U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The paradigm for a final peace includes among its primary components Israeli territorial withdrawal and Palestinian sovereignty, political separation with reconciliation, compromise, and coexistence.

 

Yet twenty years on, the two parties find themselves further apart despite years of diplomatic wrangling. It is thus past time to examine and invalidate the paradigm that has taken hold in the hope that a new and less sanguinary one will take root.

A History of Failure

 

The concept of a Palestinian state appears just and reasonable. It evolves from the notion of a right to national self-determination for the stateless Palestinian people and their demand to end an Israeli presence in the territories captured in 1967. The terminology of decolonization regarding Jews who have settled in those territories fits this narrative of thwarted native Palestinian rights; ending the "illegality" of Israeli rule over the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem is a global political stipulation for conflict-resolution. From the November 1988 resolution in Algiers that called for Palestinian independence to the extensive diplomatic campaign of September 2011 to promote Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, the PLO dramatically altered the political parameters of the conflict and its resolution. In sketching the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine as representing complementary rather than contradictory elements in the puzzle of peace-making, values of equality and freedom radiated from both sides.

 

The Palestinian state idea had been proposed repeatedly in the post-1967 era,[2] and its feasibility, viability, and desirability were analyzed and advocated again and again. The idea was central to the Arab-originated Fahd plan of 1981 and the Fez plan of 1982 and was reintroduced two decades later in 2002 by the Saudis as the Beirut peace plan. On the Jewish side, the nongovernmental Council for Peace and Security founded in 1988 was book-ended by the so-called Geneva initiative of 2003—headed by two failed politicians, Yossi Beilin and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak—with centrist Labor and leftist political parties contributing their own details along the way, all promoting a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The two-state solution emerged within PLO circles in 1988 when Bassam Abu Sharif, a political advisor to Arafat, presented a position paper on the theme.[3]

 

However, when the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO were signed in September 1993, there was no explicit mention that the peace process would culminate in a Palestinian state. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had in 1974 rejected the notion of a "third state" between Israel and Jordan,[4] had reiterated this position in an autobiographical work in 1979, contending that a Palestinian "mini-state" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would serve as a stage toward the "secular, democratic state of Palestine" that would rise "on the ruins of the state of Israel."[5] Four years before concluding the historic agreement with Arafat at the White House, Rabin asserted that a Palestinian state would be a time-bomb for chaos and warfare,[6] and even with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994, it remained Rabin's belief that the final version of the Palestinian entity must be less than a sovereign state.[7]

 

With that said, Palestinian sovereignty was, nevertheless, anticipated as the end-product of the Oslo process. Israel had acknowledged Palestinian peoplehood and rights in the 1978 Camp David-negotiated framework agreement for Middle East peace. It then recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, agreed to the founding of the PA and its police force in 1994, and implemented territorial withdrawals from towns and rural areas in Judea-Samaria and Gaza in 1994-97. The International Donors' Committee provided billions of dollars in aid to the PA, which established institutions for what could be termed a state in formation. Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition Likud Party in 1993, said he would abrogate the Oslo accords, but as prime minister in 1996, he failed to do so.[8] The Hebron protocol of January 1997 and the Wye River memorandum of October 1998 demonstrated that Netanyahu operated within the Oslo paradigm for peace by relinquishing Israeli control over land, which was linked to explicit Palestinian obligations such as combating terrorist organizations and preventing incitement. Soon afterward, the Israeli government cancelled additional withdrawals because the PLO did not fulfill its commitments but not because Jerusalem dispensed with the Oslo idea.

Faith in Oslo did not dissolve even when failure struck over and over again. In July 2000 at the Camp David summit, Ehud Barak offered Arafat Palestinian statehood with control over approximately 92 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and a political capital in the vicinity of Jerusalem. But Arafat spurned the offer, and a reign of terror and suicide-bombing ensued.

 

Despite the basic breakdown of diplomacy and although U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross admitted that Oslo had failed, he remained convinced—having written eight hundred pages of close text detailing the intricacies, efforts, obstacles, formulae, and setbacks regarding "the missing peace"—that "there is room for creative diplomacy."[9] Should failure not have brought about a reevaluation and some change in policy orientation?

 

In January 2002, President Bush called for an "end to occupation and [for] a peaceful democratic Palestinian state" as the prescription for peace, a formula endorsed a year later by the international "Quartet" (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations). Another year later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also hitched onto the Palestinian state bandwagon as did his successors in Jerusalem—Olmert and Netanyahu—a few years hence. Yet negotiations, such as those between Olmert and PA president Mahmoud Abbas in the latter part of 2007, dragged on without results. The plethora of issues—from settlements and prisoners, to Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, to the Fatah/Hamas split—preoccupied and confounded the Israeli-Palestinian discussions without any satisfactory conclusion.[10]

On May 19, 2011, President Barack Obama affixed his name to the distinguished roster of supporters of a Palestinian state by advocating that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."[11] Netanyahu reacted sharply that the Palestinian state could not come at the "expense of Israeli existence," affirming that the 1967 borders were "indefensible."[12] This set the political stage for a dispute between Washington and Jerusalem and assured that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were not likely to renew soon. The Oslo paradigm was frozen: There were to be no negotiations, no Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state, and no peace in the offing. The three "nos" on Israel formulated at the 1967 Khartoum Arab summit—no negotiations, no recognition, and no peace—had been transformed and reformulated with their political core unchanged.[13]

 

Twenty years of the Oslo process filled with optimism and enthusiasm, adorned with Nobel prizes, grand summitry, and historic declarations that peace was "just around the corner" have delivered no peace. Firmly entrenched in its place, however, is a textbook example of cognitive dissonance written on a grand political scale. A final status agreement should have been consummated by 1999, five years following the "Gaza-Jericho First" stage in 1994, but neither Rabin's assassination in 1995 nor the murder of 1,084 Israelis from September 2000 to October 2010 (along with 250 from 1993 until July 2000)[14] could quash efforts at advancing the process. True believers continue to argue that once a Palestinian state in the territories is established, the Oslo paradigm will be validated. For those afflicted with "Osloitis," when the evidence counters their utopian paradigm, the bearer of bad news is defamed rather than commended for contributing to an alternative conceptual construct.

Oslo's Unaddressed Fallacies

 

At the heart of the failed Oslo paradigm are a core group of fallacies that have been promoted as truths: that the land can sustain two opposing population groups; that the Arab goal of destroying Israel can be appeased through "painful concessions" (rather than defeated by an Israeli victory); and that this is not a conflict based on something as elemental and incendiary as religion. Not one can withstand close scrutiny.

 

Geopolitical conflict is frequently a function of a dearth of resources and cannot be resolved by a mere wish for human harmony. In this case, both land and water are scarce, and the less than 40-mile width of the land from the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan River is insufficient to accommodate two rival states with expanding populations and vibrant national ambitions. While there are a few small states living cheek by jowl like the Netherlands and Luxembourg that are not at each others throats, they do not face the other factors that have contributed to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

 

There is, moreover, a great likelihood that a Palestinian state ensconced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would evoke a powerful zeal for further land concessions, not only from the Arabs of Ramallah or Nablus, but also among many Israeli Arabs in the Galilee, for example, of whom opinion surveys indicate their belief that Jews are foreigners in the Middle East.[15] Such a state could easily foment an insurgency within Israel, bringing along further disruptions and destruction in its wake. Indeed, the Palestinian belief that Tiberias, Haifa, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa are lost cities of Arab Palestine fuels a deep-seated rejectionism, which is manifested in the leadership's adamant refusal to recognize Israel's very right to exist as a Jewish state.[16]

Finally, the war against Israel is little more than a modern application of Qur'anic hostility toward Jews, expressing the ethos of jihad and the religious definition of Palestine as a sacred waqf (Islamic religious endowment). Buoyed with this faith and ideology, Iran and Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Muslim elements dedicate themselves to destroying Israel once and for all. In this, they are only more obvious than the so-called moderate Fatah leadership, which makes use of religious imagery and imperatives whenever it suits its purpose. A two-state solution is, in essence, a betrayal of Islam although a Palestinian state could become the springboard for the ongoing campaign to undermine, overrun, and eradicate the Jewish state—fi Sabil Allah (in the path of God). All this is so because, as article 15 of the Hamas covenant declares, "the Palestinian problem is a religious problem."[17]

 

The irrefutable conclusion is that the Oslo process brought no discernible change in the Palestinian attitude toward Israel. It remains a state that has to be eliminated. In May 2013, Mahmoud Abbas repeated the PLO's position that the Palestinians would refuse, as they indeed have, to recognize Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state.[18] Jibril Rajoub, Fatah Central Committee member, declared soon thereafter that the Palestinians were the enemies of Israel, adding that if the Palestinians had nuclear weapons they would use them.[19] No less acerbic was a remark by Jamal Zahalka, Arab member of Israel's Knesset, who on July 31, 2013, railed against his fellow-citizens and parliamentarians: "We [the Arabs] were here before you [the Jews], and we'll be here after you're gone."[20]

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (l) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet at a conference in Washington, D.C., on September 2, 2010. In May 2013, Abbas repeated the PLO's position that the Palestinians would refuse, as they indeed have, to recognize Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state.

 

In addition, the Oslo paradigm founders on the twin rocks of Palestinian factionalism and extremism as Palestinian society is hopelessly fissured by traditional identities and loyalties with extended family and tribal ties enduring despite a narrative of nationalism. The rural-urban split, the settled-refugee dichotomy, and the Muslim-Christian differentiation all confound integral social cohesion. Such a political tapestry, barely holding together despite decades of trying, baffles national unity, complicating the viability of any Palestinian state project becoming sturdy or stable.

 

These divisions have become further concretized by geopolitical partition. In 2007, Hamas seized control of Gaza after Israel's disengagement-withdrawal from the strip two years earlier and the Islamists' electoral victory over Fatah in 2006. The 40-kilometer geographic separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, alongside the ideological and political enmity between Fatah-PA and Hamas, is a powerful obstacle to generating Palestinian unity. The conventional two-state proposal is a misnomer inasmuch as Gaza already constitutes a Palestinian "statelet," so that another Palestinian state based in the West Bank would actualize a three-state solution. The fathers of the Oslo accords could not imagine in their wildest dream such a bizarre turn of events.

 

Lastly, an ethic of extremism has been embedded in the culture of Palestinian politics for the last one hundred years, beginning with Hajj Amin Husseini (1897-1974) and continuing through the tenure of Yasser Arafat (1929-2004), with a slew of other noteworthy firebrands such as Izz al-Din al-Qassam (1882-1935) and Ahmad Yassin (1937-2004) throwing fuel on the blaze in between. Five days before the Oslo signing, Arafat told an Israeli journalist that one day there would be "a united state in which Israelis and Palestinians will live together" (without Israel)[21] while in 1996, after Oslo, he forecast Israel's collapse under the weight of an Arab return to the West Bank and Jerusalem, linked to psychological warfare that would convince the Israelis to emigrate.[22] The Arabs of Palestine have every reason to believe that the country is theirs alone because their leaders have been telling them that from the very beginnings of their own self-awareness as a people. For them, extremism is justified although this mental universe of self-delusion and fanaticism has not led them to a political victory.

Four Insurmountable Oslo Issues

 

Early in 1993, the Oslo negotiators concluded that a full and immediate resolution of the conflict was an impossible task, preferring instead to conceive of peace-making as a staged process rather than a single, decisive event. The major points of contention would be left to a later phase following the initial and practical launching of the accord. In the final status negotiations, peace would be achieved when the outstanding issues could be settled to the satisfaction of the Israelis and Palestinians alike.[23]

 

The religious-cum-political issue of the holy city of Jerusalem represented perhaps the most intractable problem to be resolved. Despite the Jewish people's millennial connections to Zion, Israel's June 1967 decision to apply its law and administration over the entire united city as its capital was rejected by the Palestinians and their abettors in the international community. At Camp David in July 2000, contorted and repeated efforts were made to formulate an agreement that would accord Palestinians sovereignty over the Arab-inhabited peripheral areas of Jerusalem, jurisdiction over the inner neighborhoods, and Palestinian governance over the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City. In these plans, the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, would be handed over to a Palestinian administration that claimed it as the al-Haram al-Sharif (sacred precinct). Prime Minister Barak's negotiating position, although it seemed to waver over the summit days, demanded Israeli sovereignty over West Jerusalem and the post-1967 Jewish neighborhoods around the city but also over the inner Arab-inhabited Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi Joz. He firmly rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount while Arafat apparently called for Palestinian sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.[24] In the end, Arafat spurned the deal, and the world will never know if further Israeli concessions, like recognizing absolute Muslim control and Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif, would have perhaps elicited Arafat's agreement. Palestinian militancy regarding Jerusalem has continued over the years, leading to assaults upon Jews in the Old City area and stoning attacks on the Temple Mount. These attacks have occurred despite an Israeli policy to limit and sometimes prohibit Jewish prayer on the mount. Self-imposed Israeli renunciation of Jewish religious rights merges with and perhaps evokes Palestinian violence.

 

One of the most intractable issues that the Oslo accord was supposed to resolve revolved around the status of Jerusalem. Despite a number of good-faith efforts to share the city proposed by Israeli negotiators, the Palestinians have spurned all offers. In fact, lines have hardened as evidenced by the confrontation seen here between Palestinians and Israeli police over the presence of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

An even greater sticking point is the final status of the so-called Palestinian refugees. The unyielding Palestinian demand that the "right of return" be acknowledged and implemented is a call for Palestinian "justice" that carries within it the seed for Israel's destruction. The "right of return" has become sacred dogma for Palestinians. Perhaps equally fixed is the Israeli rejection of the idea as suicidal for the Jewish state. A growing constituency of Arabs in Israel echoes the "return" theme.[25]

 

This Palestinian position, sustained by a contrived memory of forced dispossession and nurtured by political rigidity, has been met with an equally steadfast Israeli rejection although Barak was willing to concede a symbolic number of returning refugees in July 2000.[26] The refugee issue proves clearly that the Palestinian intent is to Arabize Israel and obliterate the Zionist enterprise. These are not the building blocks for the two-state solution envisaged by the Oslo negotiators.

 

Of late, the issue of the "settlements"—Jewish communities—has become the international community's bête noire. The Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, numbering more than 120 localities with more than 330,000 people, may have begun in part as a perceived security imperative, but early on, it also expressed the immutable right of the Jewish people to live in and control the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River. For the Palestinians however, these communities were concrete evidence of Zionist expansionism and colonial occupation. The Palestinian position has become monolithic, demanding a dismantling of all Israeli communities and the expulsion of all their residents.

 

Meanwhile, Israeli governments forged a public consensus around those population blocks to be retained in any future agreement, a position endorsed by President Bush in 2004.[27] The Palestinian position hardened further in 2010 when Abbas, encouraged by President Obama, demanded a complete cessation of all construction activity, not only in the territories but also in post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Har Homa and Ramat Shlomo, which are on the eastern side of the city.[28] In short, the settlement issue brought the sides to political wrangling that froze the already-stalled Oslo process. A Judenrein West Bank, recalling what Menachem Begin did in expelling Jews when handing over the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982, and what Ariel Sharon similarly did in the Gaza Strip in 2005, was not the future that many Israelis had in mind when imagining the contours of peace.

 

The fourth intractable issue is one of borders. A final political map delineating the outline of a Palestinian state is tied to the Arab demand that Israel withdraw to the June 4, 1967 lines. No Israeli government ever agreed to such a total retreat, which runs counter to U.N. resolution 242, which established the land for peace formula in the wake of the 1967 war: Barak wavered between 88-93 percent of the West Barak while Sharon and Netanyahu considered withdrawal from perhaps 50 percent of the area.[29] Military control of the Jordan Valley remains of particular importance for Israel to prevent both future smuggling of weapons and terrorists through Jordan into Palestine and to constitute a defensive line for Israel's eastern front facing the Arab states across the river. Israel would have to evacuate 100,000 residents in the unlikely event that final borders would exclude many smaller Jewish localities dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria beyond the larger population centers such as Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, and the Etzion block.[30] This grim scenario alone would be sufficiently critical to hamper an agreement, considering the national trauma that resulted from the expulsion of 8,000 Gush Katif residents from Gaza in August 2005. This is not the kind of public atmosphere that would generate Israeli support, let alone enthusiasm, for any peace based on the Oslo parameters.

Conclusion

 

While Israelis consistently poll in support of a Palestinian state, the reasons for abandoning the idea have multiplied over time. Palestinian nationalism with its malignant and rogue features remains committed to destroying Zionism. The Fatah media and school curricula indoctrinate the Palestinian people and youth to disparage Jews as "evil" and Israel as a "cancer."[31] Palestinian military forces train for the possibility of future fighting with Israeli military forces,[32] and Palestinian diplomacy, like the recent failed attempt to get the U.N. to grant it unconditional statehood, remains the stuff of wily bazaar bargaining in a diplomatic war of attrition. It is clear that the Palestinian public has never really accepted the two-state solution as a final end to the conflict.[33] This was given vivid expression in the last interview by the late Faisal Husseini, the prominent PLO leader, who infamously compared the Oslo process to a Trojan horse that would bring about Israel's demise.[34] More recently, Abbas Zaki, Fatah Central Committee member, confessed that "it's not acceptable to say we want to wipe Israel out … It's not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself."[35]

 

Obstacles also exist in addressing the practical aspects and nitty-gritty details of a Palestinian state centered in the West Bank. Israel's security-related conditions regarding demilitarization and control of airspace and military monitoring stations on West Bank hilltops meet with unwavering Palestinian opposition on all counts.[36] A state of Palestine, founded in a moment of desperation and born in bitter acrimony, will lack the space to absorb millions of refugees should the expatriate Palestinian community opt for emigration and be fated for economic impoverishment (discounting the billions of dollars donated to the PA by the international community since 1994). Based on everything a dispassionate observer can testify to since the 1994 establishment of the Palestinian Authority, this Palestinian state, awkwardly sandwiched between Israel and Jordan, has all the likelihood of becoming a failed state—fragile, mismanaged, tending to disorder and civil war.[37]

 

As such, the two-state paradigm trumpeted by Oslo has been invalidated with the growth of the magnitude of dissonance. There is just no sound political basis for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. All basic final status issues escape resolution. Yet, there has never been an admission of error, let alone an apology by Peres or Bill Clinton, Bush, Sharon, Olmert, Obama, or Netanyahu in their advocacy of a two-state solution. Speaking of the predominant role played by Peres in the Oslo saga, the contemporary grand master of realpolitik, Henry Kissinger, once remarked that Peres had "the trait of French academics who tend to believe that the formulation of an idea is equivalent to its realization."[38] The same could be said of all those well-intentioned diplomats and politicians who have followed in Peres's footsteps. Small wonder that, notwithstanding the plan's abysmal failure and likely calamitous future, the intellectual brainwashing exercised by the Oslo paradigm has not yet loosened its grip over people's minds as evidenced most recently by John Kerry's heroic, but ultimately doomed, attempt to resuscitate the "peace process."[39]

 

    (Mordechai Nisan, CIJR Academic Fellow,  is a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at other academic institutions in Israel. His most recent book is Only Israel West of the River (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).

 

[1] The Peel commission recommended the incorporation of the Arab part of western Palestine into Transjordan, ruled by Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein, rather than its constitution as an independent state.
[2] For example, Richard J. Ward, Don Peretz, and Evan M. Wilson, The Palestine State: A Rational Approach (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1977); Mark A. Heller, A Palestinian State: The Implications for Israel (Cambridge.: Harvard University Press, 1983).
[3] Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2nd ed. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009), pp. 535-8, 711-29.
[4] Yediot Aharonot (Tel Aviv), July 26, 1974.
[5] Yitzhak Rabin, Pinkas Sherut, vol. II (Tel Aviv: Ma'ariv, 1979), p. 583.
[6] Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Feb. 10, 1989.
[7] David Makovsky, Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accord (Washington and Boulder: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Westview Press, 1996), p. 123.
[8] Yossi Beilin, "Oslo Kvar Betocheinu," Yisrael Hayom (Tel Aviv), July 27, 2011.
[9] Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), p. 800.
[10] "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Annapolis and After," Middle East Briefing, no. 22, International Crisis Group, Jerusalem/Washington/Brussels, Nov. 20, 2007.
[11] Barack Obama, remarks on the Middle East and North Africa, State Department, Washington, D.C., May 19, 2011.
[12] Al-Jazeera TV (Doha), May 19, 2011.
[13] "The Khartoum Resolutions," Sept. 1, 1967, The Jewish Virtual Library.
[14] Ross, The Missing Peace, p. 782.
[15] The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2011.
[16] "My Country Palestine," Fatah PA TV, July 13, 2011, in MEMRI Bulletin, Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington, D.C., July 26, 2011; YNet News (Tel Aviv), Aug. 28, 2011.
[17] "Hamas Covenant 1988," Yale Law School Avalon Project, accessed Oct. 29, 2013.
[18] Al-Hayat al-Jadida (Ramallah), May 4, 2013, quoted by Palestinian Media Watch, Jerusalem.
[19] Al-Mayadeen TV (Beirut), in Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, May 8, 2013.
[20] Israel Hayom, Aug. 1, 2013.
[21] Efraim Karsh, Arafat's War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest (New York: Grove Press, 2003), pp. 59-60; idem, "Arafat Lives," Commentary, Jan. 2005.
[22] The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 1996; Yedidya Atlas, "Stockholm Revisited," Israel radio 7, May 10, 1996.
[23] Makovsky, Making Peace with the PLO, chap. 2-3.
[24] Shlomo Ben-Ami, Hazit Le'lo O'ref: Masa el Gvulot Tahalich Hashalom (Tel Aviv: Yediot Aharonot, 2004), pp. 165-95; Ross, The Missing Peace, pp. 686-7.
[25] L. Barkan, "Israeli Arab Leadership Jockeys for Central Role in Palestinian Leadership," Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry & Analysis Series Report, no.721, Aug. 11, 2011.
[26] Ron Pundak, "From Oslo to Taba: What Went Wrong?" Survival, Autumn 2001, pp. 31-45.
[27] The Washington Post, Apr. 15, 2004.
[28] YNet News, Nov. 10, 2010.
[29] Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), Nov. 4, 2006; The Times of Israel (Jerusalem), Feb. 19, 2013; "Peace Negotiations in Name Only," DebkaFile (Jerusalem), Sept. 23, 2013.
[30] Giora Island, "The Future of the Two-State Solution," Jerusalem Issue Brief, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 8, 17, 2009.
[31] Al-Aqsa TV (Gaza), July 13, 2008; "Religious War," Palestinian Media Watch, Jerusalem, July 3, 2013.
[32] Gal Luft, "The Palestinian Security Forces: Capabilities and Effects on the Arab-Israeli Military Balance," Ariel Center for Policy Research, Shaarei Tikva, Oct. 2001; CNS News, July 7, 2008.
[33] Benny Morris, "Eliminating Israel," The National Interest, July 19, 2011.
[34] Al-Arabi (Cairo), June 6, 2001.
[35] The Blaze (New York and Dallas), Oct. 3, 2011.
[36] Dore Gold, "Banging Square Pegs into Round Holes," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dec. 2008.
[37] Charles W. Kegley, Jr., and Eugene R. Wittkopf, World Politics: Trend and Transformation, 7th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999), p. 372.
[38] Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), p. 376.
[39] The New York Times, July 19, 2013.

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: UNDERSTANDING THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL’S UNIVERSITIES “The boycott movement is a caution to Israel that it must be less obdurate in its relations with the Palestinians — a position far removed from the toxic response to the ASA within the United States, where many groups long have opposed any discussion of the reality of Israel’s occupation…U.S. academics are not in the lead here. Matters are far more developed in Europe, where faculties have fought to divest and boycott Israel and where the European Union is moving toward labeling products from illegal Israeli settlements. But U.S. academics recognize a special mission: Israeli institutions that benefit from the occupation do so with impunity granted by U.S. financial, military and diplomatic support.” — Vijay Prashad, Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2014 (Vijay Prashad holds the Edward Said chair in American studies at the American University of Beirut)

 

 On Topic Links

 

Paris “Day of Anger” Demonstrations (Video): Youtube, Jan. 27, 2014

Islamists in Egypt Want to Turn Back the Clock: Nabil Esamil, Montreal Gazette, Jan. 28, 2014

The Sick Middle East: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Jan. 23, 2014

International Holocaust Remembrance Day’s Fatal Flaw: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2014

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Although there are internal disagreements in Iran, there is no dispute in the regime about developing nuclear weapons and the goal of wiping Israel off the map.” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said. The next round of international nuclear negotiations with Iran is expected to be held in New York next month. (Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

"Let me be clear…if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it." —U.S. President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. He added, "for the sake of our national security…we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed." The speech marked the first time Obama personally threatened to veto sanctions legislation against Iran. Senior White House aides have issued similar veto threats since the end of December, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013. The bill— which would trigger new sanctions tools against Iran should negotiations fail to reach a comprehensive agreement in twelve months time— has since garnered 59 public cosponsors in the upper chamber across party lines. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2014)  

 

“Nothing will be stopped or dismantled in Iran’s nuclear program (and Iran will) press ahead with its current activities.” — Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. He added that “we have fundamental disagreements with the US on different issues, including human rights, Palestine, hegemony, and so on…If they want to continue or restore sanctions on Iran under other excuses, it means they are violating the agreement,” Araqchi said.                                                                

           “In the past years, the Zionists have always tried to use Iran’s peaceful nuclear program as a pretext for diverting the attention of world public opinion and governments from their crimes in Palestine.”  — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated on Tuesday, in a meeting with former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, that his country’s nuclear program is peaceful. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

“Anyone who says he wants to keep the settlers in a Palestinian state is really saying he does not want a Palestinian state.” — chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared. “No settler will be permitted to stay in a Palestinian state, not one, because the settlements are illegal and the presence of settlers on occupied lands is illegal,” Erekat added. This week, sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sparked controversy when they announced that in any future Palestinian state, Israel would insist that Israelis living in Judea and Samaria be allowed to remain under Palestinian control if they should choose to. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2014)  

 

"[Mr. Bennett's] presence in the coalition, coupled with that of the Likud hawks, ensures that Netanyahu can only advance alone.'' —Ofer Zalzburg, an analyst at the International Crisis Group. Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett is among a growing number of Israeli parliament leaders seeking to turn pessimism about the peace process into opposition to a Palestinian state. Mr. Bennett says giving sovereignty to Palestinians is a recipe for a "failed state," and an existential threat to Israel.     

        "There's no perfect solution. Get out of that." — Naftali Bennett, referring to Mr. Kerry's approach. "By shooting for perfection, you get disaster," he added. When it comes to a Palestinian state and control over Jerusalem, Bennett is unbending, urging Mr. Netanyahu to rebuff Mr. Kerry's efforts. "With all due respect to Washington, D.C., America has been around … for 220 years or so years … . Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years and it's going to be our capital for eternity," he said. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

“As long as they [the Palestinian Authority] educate 3-year-old children at ceremonies to wear explosives belts and when Israel doesn’t appear on their maps, there is no prospect for peace.” —Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a security conference at Tel Aviv University. Addressing the unrest in the Arab world, Ya’alon said neither the optimistic term Arab Spring nor the negative term Islamic winter is appropriate. “A new geopolitical division has been created in the Middle East,” Ya’alon said. “A Shi'ite axis [of power] has been created, driven by Iran, and it’s receiving support from Russia. That’s a significant force. It is facing a Sunni axis that views the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat, and [this axis] includes Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but doesn’t include Turkey and Qatar, which constitute a third, smaller axis that supports the Brotherhood and the [Hamas] government in Gaza…The Sunni bloc has mutual enemies coming from both sides — Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaida — and a connection with the United States. These are mutual interests that we share, too…The United States is steering clear of regions of conflict and is no longer enamored over being the world’s policeman, but it has become the only superpower. There is no superpower that threatens to step into its shoes, even if it is facing challenges from Russia and China. The United States has decided to stay away. It has disengaged from Iraq, which is now under Iranian hegemony.”  (Ha’aretz, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

"Nothing could be further from the truth." —U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Friday, responding to claims that the U.S. was disengaging from the Middle East. On Iran's nuclear program Kerry said that there was a reason the world has placed sanctions on Iran and that is why the nuclear deal reached with Iran "was not grounded in trusting but in testing." Kerry said that the difficult part on the nuclear issue begins with the implementation of the nuclear deal. Iran now has the opportunity to prove wrong doubters who believe that it is pursuing nuclear weapons. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2014)

 

"If (the US) want to leave Afghanistan, we bid them farewell and they can leave." —Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday, adding that …Afghanistan has a 5000-year history where foreigners have come and gone. We have our own constitution, media, army and police and will be moving toward progress whether international forces stay here or not." The U.S. had planned to keep up to 10,000 troops in the country to train local forces, but that prospect looks unlikely after Karzai said his country “bowed down to no one.” (The Australian, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

“There is no overall partnership.” — A European diplomat, commenting on the growing sense that Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has no intention of signing a security agreement with NATO. Without an agreement, the Obama administration has said, it will pull American forces from Afghanistan when the NATO combat mission here ends this year. “We have some Afghan partners, and we have a lot of Afghans in the government who want us to leave. I think we’re all beginning to realize that.” (New York Times, Jan. 25, 2014)

 

 “He is simply adored here – I don’t think there’s another leader except Nasser who has so much support here.”Maye Kassem, a professor of political science, comparing Egyptian army chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi with the popular Egyptian nationalist leader who headed Egypt from 1956-1970. “There are even chocolates wrapped with pictures of Sisi and his picture is shown everywhere,” added Kassem. Sisi, who has become a hero for many Egyptians, seems poised to become the next president even before announcing that he intends to run. Kassem said that Sisi is young and charismatic and offers the best chance for stability in Egypt. Under the previous Islamist government of Morsi, there were shortages of gas and electricity, crime went up, and many Egyptians no longer felt safe. She said that support for the Islamists among the middle class has plummeted. According to Kassem “the majority of Egyptians have never supported an ideology – they’ve supported competence…now we have gas, we have electricity and crime is down. That is what Egyptians want.” (Ynet News, Jan. 26, 2014)

 

 “I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.” —Scarlett Johansson, American actress and brand ambassador of the Israeli company SodaStream. Her public comments were made after she came under fire for the endorsement deal — which was to include a TV ad screened during the Super Bowl — from the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Johansson added, “I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them.”(Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2014)

 

“In effect, the continuing imprisonment of [Jonathan Pollard] long after he should have been pardoned on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States…. Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.” —Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, has charged that the continued refusal of American governments to free Jonathan Pollard for prison is a “vendetta’ against the entire American Jewish community. (Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

 “If you want to visit your relatives, you go to Tel Aviv or New York.” — Holocaust survivor David Frankel, a 77-year-old retired judge from Jerusalem, who was in Auschwitz this week for his fifth trip to the camp. “The only place I can visit is Auschwitz. I am going to unite with the memories of my relatives,” added Frankel. “They have no grave. I will say kaddish [the Jewish prayer of mourning] for them there.” Stewart Rahr, an eccentric Manhattan billionaire, paid more than $600,000 for two charter 737 planes to fly 64 Knesset members and 30 death-camp survivors from Tel Aviv to visit Auschwitz on Monday for a day of remembrance.                                                                                         

Issawi Frej, one of 12 Arab legislators in the Knesset, said he failed to convince the other 11 to join him for the trip: “I think they are making a mistake…this is not a Jewish issue. It is a human issue and affects all of us.” (New York Post, Jan. 26, 2014)

SHORT TAKES

 

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY MARKS 69 YEARS SINCE AUSCHWITZ LIBERATION (Birkenau) —A ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, established by the United Nations in memory of some 6 million Holocaust victims, and some 1.5 million victims of Auschwitz, who were mostly Jews. Some 20 survivors walked through the gate that bares the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes You Free) sign and laid a wreath at the former camp's Executions Wall, where the inmates, mainly Polish resistance members, were shot to death. (Daily News, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

HEINRICH HIMMLER'S LETTERS PUBLISHED (Tel Aviv) —A collection of letters, notes and photographs from Heinrich Himmler were published on Sunday, shedding light on the private life of the man who orchestrated the Holocaust. Spanning from Himmler’s courtship of his future wife in 1927 to just a few weeks before he committed suicide in 1945, the archive published by Die Welt is an unprecedented insight to the domestic relationship of the Nazi high command. In excerpts released by the German newspaper on Saturday night, some exchanges between Himmler and his wife Marga contain a chilling informality. In a July 1942 note to his wife, he wrote: “I am travelling to Auschwitz. Kisses. Your Heini.”  (Telegraph, Jan. 26, 2014)

 

SHIN BET, POLICE ARREST 16 HAMAS ACTIVISTS IN JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — A group of 16 east Jerusalem residents was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israel Police on suspicion of belonging to a Hamas cell operating in the capital’s eastern neighborhoods and the Temple Mount, the security service stated on Tuesday. The Shin Bet said the suspects include activists from the northern branch of the Israel Islamic Movement, who were involved with Hamas at the Temple Mount compound. The Shin Bet said that while investigating the cell they found that the Islamic Movement was operating educational courses on the Temple Mount and paying people to maintain a presence there, in order to “increase the tension and cause disturbances, especially during Jewish holidays.” They added that the courses were a major contributing factor to recent disturbances in the vicinity of the Mount. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

SYRIAN TALKS BREAK DOWN OVER FUTURE ROLE OF ASSAD (Geneva) — The first meeting meant to discuss the contentious issue of a Syrian transitional government broke up after less than an hour Monday following a tense session that one delegate described as “a dialogue of the deaf.” The Syrian government has said it will not discuss replacing President Bashar Assad. The opposition insists he must step down in favour of a transitional governing body with full executive powers that would lead the country until elections are held. United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi managed to get both sides to sit in the same room over the weekend to discuss humanitarian aid to besieged areas of the central city of Homs and a possible prisoner exchange. But the opposition said little progress has been achieved. (Montreal Gazette, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

ISRAELI OFFICIAL WARNS OF RISING JIHADI THREAT FROM SYRIA (Jerusalem) —A sharp increase in the number of al-Qaida linked fighters joining the fight against President Bashar Assad in Syria is threatening to spill over the borders and prompting the Jewish state to re-evaluate its policy of neutrality in the civil war next door, a senior Israeli intelligence official warned on Friday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because military regulations prevent him from releasing the information, claimed more than 30,000 al-Qaida linked fighters are active in Syria, a huge increase over previous Western estimates. (Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2014)

 

CLASHES KILL 49 EGYPTIANS ON UPRISING’S ANNIVERSARY (Cairo) — Thousands of Egyptians celebrated the third anniversary of their revolt against autocracy on Saturday by holding a rally for the military leader who ousted the country’s first democratically elected president. Elsewhere, at least 49 people died in clashes with security forces at rival antigovernment protests organized by Islamists and left-leaning activists. In at least one case, the Islamists and liberals chanted against each other. But within as little as 15 minutes, riot police officers began firing tear-gas cannons and shooting guns into the air, swiftly dispersing the protests and leaving the day to the military leader, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. (New York Times, Jan. 25, 2014)

 

SINAI JIHADIST GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR EGYPTIAN ATTACKS (Cairo) —The Sinai-based jihadist group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility in statement released on the internet for the assassination of a senior Egyptian Interior Ministry official outside his home in Cairo on Tuesday. On Wednesday, an army spokesman blamed the assassination of the official, and another of a policeman guarding a church on Tuesday on the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Egypt will put an Australian, two Britons and a Dutchwoman on trial for aiding 16 Egyptian members of a "terrorist organization", the public prosecutor said on Wednesday, describing the four as Al Jazeera correspondents. Al Jazeera's Cairo offices have been closed since July 3 when they were raided by security forces hours after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against him. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2014)

 

TUNISIA'S PROGRESSIVE CONSTITUTION FRUIT OF COMPROMISE BETWEEN ISLAMISTS AND OPPOSITION (Tunis) — After decades of dictatorship and two years of arguments and compromises, Tunisians finally have a new constitution laying the foundations for a new democracy. The document is groundbreaking as one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world — and for the fact that it got written at all. It passed late Sunday by 200 votes out of the 216 seats in the assembly of the Muslim Mediterranean country that inspired uprisings across the region after overthrowing a dictator in 2011. "This constitution, without being perfect, is one of consensus," assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar said after the vote. "We had today a new rendezvous with history to build a democracy founded on rights and equality." The constitution enshrining freedom of religion and women's rights took two years to finish. During that period, the country was battered by high unemployment, protests, terrorist attacks, political assassinations and politicians who seemed more interested in posturing than finishing the charter. (Montreal Gazette, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

PARIS ANTI-HOLLANDE MARCH TURNS INTO DAY OF HATRED OF JEWS (Paris) — A march through Paris against French President Francois Hollande ended with anti-Semitic chants and cries of support for an anti-Semitic comedian. At least 150 protesters were arrested in the “Day of Anger” demonstrations on Sunday. Nineteen police officers were injured in clashes with protesters, one seriously, and an estimated 17,000 protesters participated in the march. Protesters performed the quenelle, a gesture reminiscent of the Hitler salute that was invented by the anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. They also called for freedom of speech on Dieudonne’s behalf. Anti-Semitic chants included “Jews go home” and “Jews, France is not your country.” (Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

ITALIAN OFFICIALS CONDEMN THREATS AGAINST JEWS (Rome) — Italy's president has condemned threats against Rome's Jewish community in recent days, including the delivery of packages containing pig heads, as a "miserable provocation". President Giorgio Napolitano said Monday during Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations that recent insults to the Jewish community are "comparable only to the repugnant material in those packages." Police on Monday said they have detained two men, ages 33 and 47, on suspicion of instigating racial hatred through anti-Semitic graffiti, including denial of the Holocaust, near the main judicial offices in Rome. Authorities say the men belong to different far-right groups. (Vancouver Sun, Jan. 27, 2014)

 

MUSLIM GROUP DEMANDS APOLOGY OVER ‘TERRORIST’ COMMENT (Ottawa) — A national Muslim organization is demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper publish a retraction and apology on his government website for a chief spokesman’s comments that the group says linked it to terrorists. The National Council of Canadian Muslims, which is now challenging Mr. Harper to prove this allegation, has filed a notice of libel saying it intends to sue Mr. Harper and Prime Minister’s Office director of communications Jason MacDonald for comments he made earlier this month. On Jan. 18, the PMO spokesman, dismissing comments from the Muslim group about the makeup of Mr. Harper’s Middle East trip delegation, told Sun News: “We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.” (Globe & Mail, Jan. 28, 2014) 

 

N.Y. ASSEMBLY BILL TO PUNISH COLLEGES SUPPORTING BDS (New York) — A bill introduced in the New York State Assembly would suspend funding to educational institutions which fund groups that boycott Israel. The legislation, introduced earlier this month by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and first reported by Mondoweiss, an anti-Zionist news site, would ban state funding to colleges which fund groups that boycott “in countries that host higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.” The bill, which currently has 48 sponsors out of 150 members, would cut funding to institutions that pay dues to groups such as the ASA or which subsidize travel to its conferences. (Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2014)

 

On Topic Links

 

Paris “Day of Anger” Demonstrations (Video): Youtube, Jan. 27, 2014

Islamists in Egypt Want to Turn Back the Clock: Nabil Esamil, Montreal Gazette, Jan. 28, 2014—Ehab Lotayef’s commentary about the political situation in Egypt on the third anniversary of the uprising three years ago this week failed to make mention of recent acts of terrorism by Islamists in Cairo and other Egyptian cities

The Sick Middle East: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Jan. 23, 2014—The recent fall of Fallujah to an al Qaeda-linked group provides an unwelcome reminder of the American resources and lives devoted from 2004 to 2007 to control the city — all that effort expended and nothing to show for it.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day’s Fatal Flaw: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2014 —On the surface, it is very moving to see half of the members of Knesset at Auschwitz marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. But in a larger sense, it is not at all clear why this is necessary.

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

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BDS B.S.: UNDERLYING ANTISEMITISM OF ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS IS CLEAR— A CONCERTED POLITICAL & LEGAL COUNTER-OFFENSIVE IS IN ORDER

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

                                           

Academic Boycott Event at UC Riverside: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Jan. 13, 2014—Dear Chancellor Wilcox, We are writing to you regarding an antisemitic event about to occur on your campus. 

MLA Resolution: What's it all About?: Michael C. Kotzin, Juf News, Jan. 17, 2014 — On Jan. 11, the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA) meeting in Chicago voted 60 to 53 to support a resolution which urged the U.S. State Department “to contest Israel’s denial of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” 

Winning the BDS Battle: Dr. Jonathan Rynhold, Besa Center, Jan. 5, 2014 — The recent Association of American Studies (ASA) boycott of Israel is the latest chapter of a general campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel.

Countering Illegal Boycotts of Israel: Richard D. Heideman, Washington Times, Jan. 17, 2014 — Educational, corporate and political organizations have stepped up efforts to isolate Israel through academic discrimination and economic blacklisting. Wrongly, organizations funded either directly or indirectly by U.S. taxpayers are advocating these boycotts.

 

On Topic Links

 

Scarlett Johansson Rejects Criticism of Her SodaStream Role: Debra Kamin, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2014

Let the BDS Movement Be a Warning: Dr. Ellen Wald, Frontpage, Jan. 23, 2014 

The MLA: How to Promote a Faltering Field by Attacking Israel: Peggy Shapiro, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2014                           

Open Letter To NYU's President: Why The American Studies Assn.'s Israel Boycott Makes Me Ashamed To Be An Alumnus: Richard Behar, Forbes, Jan. 14, 2014

 

ACADEMIC BOYCOTT EVENT AT UC RIVERSIDE                           Tammi Rossman-Benjamin                                                    

Jan. 13, 2014

 

Dear Chancellor Wilcox,

 

We are writing to you regarding an antisemitic event about to occur on your campus.  Although sponsored by two UC Riverside academic units, this event will not be a legitimate expression of academic freedom but rather a violation of it, as consistent with recent public statements by UC President Janet Napolitano, the American Association of University Professors, the American Association of Universities, and more than 180 University leaders across the country. 

 

It has recently been brought to our attention that the UCR College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) and Ethnic Studies Department are co-sponsoring a talk by Omar Barghouti entitled "Palestine's South Africa moment: relative justice, not relative humans," scheduled to take place this Tuesday, January 14, on your campus.  According to an email announcing the talk sent to the CHASS faculty and staff, student attendance at the event can be used for official course credit…

 

Although Omar Barghouti's talk is being sponsored by an academic division and department, and students can fulfill course credit for attending it, Barghouti himself is neither a university professor nor an academic.  So why is Omar Barghouti being brought to speak at UCR? For one reason alone: his politics.  Omar Barghouti is the most well-known and outspoken founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the campaign from which all other academic boycotts of Israel derive, including the recent boycott of Israeli universities and scholars by the American Studies Association (ASA) and the resolution currently under consideration by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

 

It is important to point out that the sponsoring academic units — CHASS and the Ethnic Studies Department — have several faculty members who have publicly endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.  Indeed, of the eleven current UCR faculty members who have publicly endorsed the academic boycott of Israel, all but one are CHASS faculty…nine of the eleven (82%) UCR faculty members endorsing the academic boycott of Israel are members of, or cooperating faculty in the Ethnic Studies Department. (Astonishingly, one-third of the UCR Ethnic Studies Department's active faculty members, including the department chair, have publicly endorsed the academic boycott of Israel). Furthermore, two UCR faculty members — Feras Abou Galala and David Lloyd — are founding members of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, and David Lloyd is also an organizer of the recent American Studies Association's academic boycott of Israel and a promoter of the boycott at the MLA convention last week.

 

It is abundantly clear that Omar Barghouti has been invited to UCR in order to promote the academic boycott of Israel, by UCR faculty who themselves seek to promote the academic boycott of Israel. As you know, ASA's boycott of Israeli universities and scholars has been roundly condemned by UC President Janet Napolitano, several academic associations including AAUP and AAU, and more than 180 other university leaders across the country, who have deemed the academic boycott of Israel a violation of academic freedom and antithetical to the very mission of the university.  Moreover, by singling out only one country in the world—Israel—for censure and abuse, while ignoring entrenched human rights abuses that are rampant throughout the Middle East, the movement exposes its antisemitic nature. Therefore, it is inappropriate, and indeed a violation of both university policy and state law, for CHASS and Ethnic Studies faculty to use the name and resources of the University of California to promote an antisemitic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars. We call on you to withdraw the university's sponsorship of the upcoming lecture by Omar Barghouti.

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MLA RESOLUTION: WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?                                      Michael C. Kotzin         

Juf News, Jan. 17, 2014

 

On Jan. 11, the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA) meeting in Chicago voted 60 to 53 to support a resolution which urged the U.S. State Department “to contest Israel’s denial of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” To become adopted by the organization as a whole, the resolution will next have to be approved by the MLA’s Executive Council, scheduled to meet in late February, and if it passes it would face a vote of the total membership. While the resolution passed by the MLA’s Delegate Assembly thus has yet to be adopted, it still is a matter of concern and merits scrutiny. A useful way to approach it would be to apply a variation on the analytic terms first developed by medieval Kabbalists for reading the Torah – starkly different though the nature of these texts may be. 

 

This approach proceeds by considering four levels of meaning, the first of which deals with the literal meaning of the text. Looked at on its face, the resolution thus is simply calling for certain State Department action. This reading is in tune with the claim made by one of the drafters of the resolution in opening the discussion at the MLA session where it was voted on, who asserted that the resolution should be taken only in the narrow sense of coming to the support of fellow academics. But looked at only in this way, the resolution has hardly any value. It is hard to imagine the State Department truly “contesting” Israel’s application of its security policies regarding academic visitors – especially because, as research done by a newly formed group called MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights showed, the proponents of the resolution could identify only one person who might have faced the problem, which is cited as the purported basis of the resolution.

 

Looking then for other meanings to this resolution, we can next see it as a symbolic statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, whom the drafters and supporters of the resolution clearly regard as an oppressed people. If the resolution is seen this way, what matters is not what it calls for directly but how it could be taken by the Palestinians. Their sense of grievance and victimhood was validated by the language of the resolution’s backers, who repeatedly spoke about Israel’s “racist” system and “apartheid” regime when they took the floor at the MLA meeting. Given that approach, this resolution and other statements like it can be seen as perpetuating the situation the Palestinians currently face, ultimately hardening both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict instead of advancing reconciliation and hastening the coming of the day when the Palestinians could have self-determination in a state of their own next to the state of Israel.

 

Moving on to the third level of meaning, the resolution can be seen as advancing a narrative which, as supporters of the resolution demonstrated, sees Israel as being a racist country practicing apartheid and using chemical weapons. As we dig deeper and get closer to the true meaning behind a resolution like this, we recognize that the rhetoric of its supporters is the rhetoric of the delegitimizers of Israel, of those who would marginalize the state for what they portray as its gross violations of human rights. This resolution may not go as far as the one passed by the members of the American Studies Association, whose right to call for an academic boycott was defended in an “emergency resolution” that failed to achieve consideration by the MLA.  But the resolution’s defenders talked about Israel with the same animosity as do the boycotters. The hostility of one speaker after another at the MLA session was tangible.

 

And this brings us to the resolution’s deepest, fourth level of meaning, to what Cary Nelson, Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, calls “the elephant in the room.” That is anti-Semitism. Those of us who talk about these matters need to use the anti-Semitism charge with care – both because its seriousness needs to be respected and also because, in attempting to pre-empt consideration of this issue, Israel’s enemies are always quick to claim that Israel’s friends use the term indiscriminately when talking about any critic of any of Israel’s polices or actions. Though one of the supporters of the resolution at the MLA meeting attacked what he called the “rhetorical ploys” and “suppressive rhetoric” of Israel’s supporters, it is in fact the enemies of Israel who try to suppress exposure of the anti-Semitism that often suffuses their own rhetoric and approach. Thus, though we should be careful about using the term anti-Semitism, when anti-Semitic concepts can be identified within the verbal attacks on Israel, it is far from improper to point that out. So when one of the supporters of the resolution who took the floor during the Delegate Assembly meeting talked about financial contributions to political candidates in America by a “pro-Israel lobby,” which, he implied, corrupt American foreign policy, the anti-Semitic reverberations were surely there…                                                                                                                                                        [To Read The Full Article Click the Link—ed.]                                                                                            

                                                                                                           

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WINNING THE BDS BATTLE                                                     

Dr. Jonathan Rynhold                                                             

Besa Center, Jan. 5, 2014

 

The recent Association of American Studies (ASA) boycott of Israel is the latest chapter of a general campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel. In examining BDS there are three key questions one needs to answer: Who and what is behind this? What is the extent of the threat? And how should Israel respond? The hardcore elements behind this campaign hail from the radical Left and are anti-Zionist – that is, they oppose the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The good news is that the overwhelming majority of the public in the West oppose this position. The bad news is that the BDS hardcore recognizes this and focuses publicly on the issue of settlements and the “disproportionate” use of force by Israel in order to broaden their support. Indeed, they have had some success in this regard, as the consensus in the West feels that settlements are wrong or at least counterproductive.

 

One should not exaggerate the significance of the ASA boycott. The American public’s support for Israel over the Palestinians is overwhelming and despite their criticism of settlements, more American liberals sympathize with Israel than with the Palestinians. With the exception of the mainline Protestant Church in America, the real battlefield for BDS is in Western Europe; right now none of the boycotts have had much practical effect. However, it would be grossly misleading to take this as a sign that all is well, because the goal of society-led BDS is to create a hostile political environment; the material consequences are secondary. The struggle is over political legitimacy and symbolism. BDS is not going to bring Israel to its knees, but it has the potential to inflict substantial diplomatic, economic, and even military damage on Israel over time. If the current peace talks collapse, the Palestinians will seek to impose sanctions against Israel at the UN and in other international bodies. In addition, they will seek to have Israeli army officers tried at the International Criminal Court, a threat which could have negative consequences for Israeli deterrence. Society-based boycott initiatives play into this strategy by allowing the Palestinians to claim that there is widespread support for sanctions among Western publics.

 

How should Israel and its friends abroad respond to this threat? First, it is critical to divide up the responsibility appropriately. Government institutions should lead the interaction with foreign governments and international organizations like the UN. There are many things foreign governments can do to dis-incentivize society-led BDS, and the Israeli government is best placed to make the case. Indeed, it is already doing this. In terms of political symbolism, the government needs to remember two things. First, especially if the peace process collapses again, it is very important that Israel be viewed as willing in principle to agree to a two-state solution involving extensive territorial concessions in exchange for peace and security. Concern about BDS should not trump Israel’s vital and legitimate interests on issues such as refugees and security. However, pointing out Palestinian extremism or recalcitrance will not suffice to deflect BDS, as the retort will simply be that pressure is needed on both sides. Without Israeli credibility on this score, BDS has the potential to move from the leftist periphery to the liberal mainstream and beyond.

 

Second, a major bulwark against BDS is the fact that Israel is a democracy, not simply in terms of voting and majority rule, but also in terms of liberal rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of association. This is the critical point for most of those who support Israel in the West and it is a major weapon in the symbolic struggle over BDS. Therefore, attempts to combat BDS by passing laws that are seen to significantly curtail those democratic freedoms are entirely counterproductive. The latest initiative in this vein is a government-approved bill to restrict funding to NGOs that support BDS, which is opposed by the Attorney-General on the grounds that it will have a chilling effect on free speech. Such anti-Zionist NGOs need to be combatted, but this must occur within the context of democratic norms. Making such NGOs suffer by imposing financial penalties is populism that will boomerang and erode the resonance of Israel’s most important asset in the war over political symbolism. The supposed remedy will inflict more damage than the disease itself.

 

In terms of dealing with society–led BDS abroad, the lead must come from Israeli society and Israel’s friends in the West. The government should facilitate and cooperate, but not lead. For Israel to directly enter a fight with various pro-boycott organizations abroad simply raises their status. It will be viewed as inappropriate even by members of those organizations who oppose BDS. Israeli academics, trade unionists, and religious leaders should engage their foreign counterparts. In order to be listened to and have the required legitimacy and standing to act, it is critical to have the appropriate partner. In addition, it is crucial to recognize that local activists opposed to BDS are best placed to take the lead, since they know the environment best and have the appropriate standing. They also have the advantage of not being bound to defend every policy of the Israeli government. Being able to differentiate between the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the policy of this or that Israeli government is critical to ensuring widespread disdain for BDS. It is the government’s job to defend its policy; it is therefore unsuitable for the government to take the lead. Taking the lead will play into the boycotters’ hands by allowing them to make Israeli policy the main issue, about which Israelis and Israel’s supporters are often divided.

 

Since this division of labor was put in place by Israel and Jewish Diaspora organizations, the tide of BDS which rose significantly from 2005-2009 has been held back. However, there is now talk of creating a new governmental body to deal with BDS. This would be a mistake. It would shift the strategy from one based on the premise that “it takes a network to fight a network” to one based on the directives of Israeli politicians whose political priorities lie elsewhere. Witness reports of the Knesset committee discussion on the issue, where Right and Left vied to impose their ideological stamp on the issue. If the anti-BDS cause is blurred and subjugated to other concerns, and the means deployed to combat it are inappropriate and heavy-handed, things will go from bad to worse. If, however, the focus is the legitimacy of Israel itself, and the means employed to combat BDS are appropriate and sophisticated, then Israel is well positioned to defeat BDS efforts.          

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COUNTERING ILLEGAL BOYCOTTS OF ISRAEL                               Richard D. Heideman                                                   

Washington Times, Jan. 17, 2014

 

Educational, corporate and political organizations have stepped up efforts to isolate Israel through academic discrimination and economic blacklisting. Wrongly, organizations funded either directly or indirectly by U.S. taxpayers are advocating these boycotts… At their recent conference in Chicago, the Modern Language Association debated the issue of boycotting Israel, reportedly narrowly defeating a resolution calling for a boycott, but adopting a resolution condemning Israel. A panel on Jan. 9 consisted of four panelists and a moderator all supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the state of Israel. One of the panel’s “experts,” Omar Barghouti, is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and currently studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Mr. Barghouti once infamously wrote in the Electronic Intifada on Jan. 6, 2004, “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it . I, for one, support euthanasia.”

 

Boycott methodology was instituted immediately after the 1948 establishment of Israel in hopes of starving the nation of economic sustenance and her legitimate right to exist and to grow as a nation-state of the world. Previously, Congress enacted two pieces of legislation to discourage U.S. entities from participating in illegal boycotts against Israel or other countries. A 1977 amendment to the Export Administration Act of 1969 instituted criminal and civil penalties for such participation, and an amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 instituted tax penalties for participation in illegal boycotts. Both were partially successful, and congressional intervention is needed now.

 

Outrageously, the federal government essentially subsidizes these academic boycotts by granting tax-exempt status for many organizations endorsing and encouraging the boycotts. For example, American Studies Association membership includes 2,200 colleges, universities, museums, foundations, societies and other institutions — many of which are tax-exempt — and their revenues often come from tax-deductible contributions. Actions should be taken to highlight — and preclude — charitable organizations from using tax-supported dollars or contributions to engage in illegal conduct. Economic boycotts of Israel by U.S. companies are also ongoing. In July 2010, a food cooperative with two locations in Olympia, Wash., voted to become the first grocery store in the United States to ban all Israeli-made items from its shelves. Just last month, the office-supply store Staples reportedly announced plans to cease sales of the popular new SodaStream products because the company’s manufacturing facility is located in Israel’s ancient Judea-Samaria area.

 

An important Supreme Court case shows how Congress should address this issue. In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service informed Bob Jones University, a private religious university, that its tax-exempt status would be revoked owing to its racially discriminatory policies. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment’s religious-liberty guarantee does not prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from revoking the tax-exempt status of an educational institution with practices contrary to a compelling state interest. Congress can instruct the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of institutions endorsing any Israeli boycott. Although some may argue such action would violate First Amendment “free-speech” rights, Supreme Court precedent clearly shows the First Amendment does not preclude the United States government from taking away tax-exempt status if a “compelling state interest” exists in so doing. Because academic boycotts are contrary to U.S. foreign-policy interests and, in effect, promote hatred and racism, a compelling state interest exists in acting to stop these anti-Israel boycotts by denying tax-exempt status to boycott proponents. In addition, Congress should create a private cause of action under the Export Administration Act for businesses directly impacted by an unsanctioned boycott. The federal government possesses the power to levy monetary damages in the form of fines against companies that comply with demands by boycott proponents, and the government should do so. The Export Administration Act should be amended to allow private parties harmed by boycotts to pursue punitive and compensatory damages in U.S. courts against the responsible party. It’s time to put a stop to taxpayer subsidization of boycott advocates, and it’s time to allow victims of these boycotts to pursue justice in a court of law. Illegal boycotts cannot be countenanced and must be stopped, and the offending companies and organizations must be held legally accountable.

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Scarlett Johansson Rejects Criticism of Her SodaStream Role: Debra Kamin, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2014— American actress Scarlett Johansson released a statement Friday about the controversy surrounding her role as the first-ever brand ambassador of the Israeli company SodaStream, describing the firm as “building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine.”

Let the BDS Movement Be a Warning: Dr. Ellen Wald, Frontpage, Jan. 23, 2014 —Last year, a tiny academic organization, the Association for Asian American Studies, voted in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The MLA: How to Promote a Faltering Field by Attacking Israel: Peggy Shapiro, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2014 —The Delegate Session of the Modern Language Association began with an hour-long session on the perils of falling enrollment in the MLA and reduced support for the humanities in general.  

Open Letter To NYU's President: Why The American Studies Assn.'s Israel Boycott Makes Me Ashamed To Be An Alumnus: Richard Behar, Forbes, Jan. 14, 2014 —Dear NYU President John Sexton, I’m a journalism graduate of New York University.

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Asaf Romirowsky: Review of “State of Failure Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State”

'If you build it, they will come," was the line that made Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams famous, as his Ray Kinsella was called upon to build a baseball field that would allow Shoeless Joe Jackson and the seven other players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal to play again.

 

The phrase should be modified in this key way: "If you build it to that end, actual work needs to be put into any enterprise to make it alive and sustainable" – especially if we are talking about state-building.

 

In the Palestinian case study, Palestinians have attempted to circumvent the building phase in favor of "instant statehood," that is to argue that because we think we should have a state, we will.

 

Enter Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who specializes in Palestinian politics. In his latest book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, he methodically details the corruption, lack of leadership and countless excuses by the Palestinians to avoid building a viable state, in favor of Jewish rejectionism at large. As the author correctly describes Arafat's leadership, "While Arafat was revered by his people for almost singlehandedly focusing the world's attention on the Palestinian cause from the 1960's until his death, the problem of corruption would, to some extent, define his legacy."

 

Historically, the notion of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state existing alongside Israel was never part of Arafat's vision or the Palestinian worldview at large.

 

Furthermore, Palestinians continuously rejected the notion of a single bi-national state. Palestinian society has never seen Jewish sovereignty or Israel's existence as a "right"; the only right in their narrative is their sole connection to the land. They do, however, see the State of Israel as a temporary military fact. But they believe a day will come, so the narrative goes, when they will be able to rid all Jews from Israel.

 

The Abbas push for a Unilateral Declaration of Independence at the UN was a new and cynical turn, used to mask the history of rejectionism while touting Palestinian statehood. As the author states, "supporting a bureaucratic maneuver at the United Nations, which merely granted Abbas a temporary boost in approval, was not a viable strategy for developing a functioning democratic state in the West Bank.

 

The move, in fact, only exacerbated the challenges in the West Bank. It bolstered the current leadership without pushing for much-needed reform."

 

Consequently, once again the Palestinian leadership showed no follow-through on the reform front, but rather expected the international community to continue funding a failing enterprise.

Like Arafat, Abbas understands the need to promote the notion of a Palestinian state as a way to show readiness for a farewell to arms. However, pragmatically, Palestinian statehood would force Palestinians to give up the Nakba victimhood narrative they have been carrying as a "badge of honor" for over 60 years. Then world opinion would be forced to judge them as a state, and not as the "underdog" – and this, of course, has not been the chosen path.

 

Notwithstanding, Washington has remained committed to the politically correct two-state solution, in which it has invested billions of dollars. After all, it does sound idyllic: two states living side-by-side in peace and harmony, with free trade and a free market of ideas. This is exactly where Schanzer's book stands out: in its unique ability to give policy-makers the necessary tools to hold Palestinians accountable and implement long-term changes that could lead to a true reform.

 

Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams made the dream a reality. Palestinian leadership, on the other hand, continues to hold onto a dream that has no reality, and no long-term state-building plans. Moreover, until Palestinian society fully accepts Israel's right to exist, the two-state solution will remain unattainable.

 

All in all, this is an essential read for any policy-maker and observer who wants a clear picture of the problems within Palestinian society, and what Washington can do to address them.

 

ZACHOR: NEVER FORGET, NEVER AGAIN! SINGLED OUT AFTER AUSCHWITZ, JEWS–RELIGIOUS & SECULAR–MUST PROUDLY AFFIRM ISRAEL & JEWISHNESS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

                                             

Zachor!; International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Baruch Cohen, Jan. 27, 2013— Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me.

God’s Presence in History: Jewish Affirmations and Philosophical Reflections: Emil Fackenheim, 1970 — …For twelve long years Jews had been singled out by a hate which was as groundless as it was implacable.

‘Never Again’ Imperatives: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2014 — On International Holocaust Day, which is being commemorated today, we are asked not just to remember.

French Society Views Jews through the Prism of Shoah: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 23, 2014 — Dr. Gerstenfeld interviews Prof. Shmuel Trigano on the Jewish question in France for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

On Topic Links

 

Universal Lessons of the Holocaust: Irwin Cotler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2014   

This Holocaust Remembrance Day, We Pay Homage to Angelo Chalikias: Joël Lion & Thanos Kafopoulos,  Montreal Gazette, Jan. 26, 2014

Himmler letters: 'I am travelling to Auschwitz. Kisses. Your Heini': Damien McElroy & Inna Lazareva

, Telegraph, Jan. 26, 2014 

Yesterday’s Ashes, Today’s Crime: Paula Stern, Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2014

Exposing the Myth of the Arab Bystander to the Holocaust: Shimon Ohayon, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2014

 

ZACHOR!; INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST

REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                        

Baruch Cohen

Jan. 27, 2014

                                        

Today, January 27, 2014, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities. Despite my age (94) I continue to present  whenever I am called to share my story, talking about the event that marked my life forever. 

 

In Dec., 1933, when Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, my mother (we lived in Bucharest) called me to her side and said, “My dear son (I was the only boy in our family of four children), Hitler’s rise to power will mean the destruction of the Jewish People.” 

 

Today’s rising anti-Semitism, which focuses on Israel and takes the form of “anti-Zionism”, is directed against the Jewish People, a call to hatred against the State of Israel, and hence against all Jews, the Jewish People.

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a universal statement against hate and prejudice, a call to unite the world, to affirm life! This day must also be a day to make alive the memory of the Righteous Gentiles, of great human beings, like the unique lover of humanity, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who – in a world which allowed both the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust – shouldered his human responsibility, and in 1944, in Hungary, personally saved thousands of Jewish lives! May his name and memory be a blessing to us all. 

 

Zachor! Remember! Never forget! Never Again!

                 

(Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, is also a docent at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center .)

                                                                         

     Contents
                                       

GOD’S PRESENCE IN HISTORY: JEWISH AFFIRMATIONS AND PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS                                             

Emil Fackenheim                                    

1970

 

…For twelve long years Jews had been singled out by a hate which was as groundless as it was implacable. For twelve long years a power had held sway in the heart of Europe to which the death of every Jewish man, woman, and child was the one and only unshakable principle. For twelve long years the world had failed to oppose this principle with an equally unshakable principle of its own. Any Jew, then or now, making normalcy his supreme goal should have been, and still should be, in flight from this singled-out condition in total disarray. In fact, however, secularist no less than religious Jews have responded with a reaffirmation of their Jewish existence such as no social scientist would have predicted even if the holocaust had never occurred. Jewish theology still does not know how to respond to Auschwitz. Jews themselves –rich and poor, learned and ignorant, believer and secularist – have responded in some measure all along.

 

            No doubt social scientists have their ready explanations. Persecution stiffens resistance. Humiliation causes pride in half-remembered loyalties. The ancient rabbis themselves suggest that Israel thrives on persecution. Such are the normal explanations and in normal times they may well be right.

           

The times, however, are not normal times. A Jew at Auschwitz was not a specimen of the class “victim of prejudice” or even “victim of genocide.” He was singled out by a demonic power which sought his death absolutely, i.e., as an end in itself. For a Jew today merely to affirm his Jewish existence is to accept his singled-out condition. It is to oppose the demons of Auschwitz: and it is to oppose them in the only way in which they can be opposed – with an absolute opposition. Moreover, it is to stake on that absolute opposition nothing less than his life and the lives of his children and the lives of hid children’s children…

           

Thus a radical contradiction has appeared in Jewish secularist existence in our time. As secularist, the Jewish secularist seeks Jewish normalcy; as Jewish secularist he opposes absolutely the demons of death with his own Jewish life. Throughout the ages the religious Jew was a witness to God. After Auschwitz even the most secularist of Jews bears witness, by the mere affirmation of his Jewishness, against the devil.

           

The Jewish secularist cannot escape this contradiction; or rather, he could escape it only if he either pretended that the Nazi holocaust had never occurred or else fled from his Jewishness.

 

After Auschwitz… Jewish opposition to the demons of Auschwitz cannot be understood in terms of humanly created ideals. Those of reason fail, for Reason is too innocent of demonic evil to fathom the scandal of the particularity of Auschwitz, and too abstractly universal to do justice to the singled out Jewish condition. The ideals of Progress fail, for Progress makes of Auschwitz at best a throwback into tribalism and at worst a dialectically justified necessity. Least adequate are any ideals which might be furnished by a specifically Jewish genius, for Jewish survival after Auschwitz is not one relative ideal among others but rather an imperative which brooks no compromise. In short, within the context of Jewish existence the secularism which we have termed subjectivist reductionism is breached by absolute Jewish opposition to the demons of Auschwitz: and the secularism which we have seen exemplified in Nietzscheanism and left-wing Hegelianism is breached because internalized absolutes either cannot single out or else cannot remain absolute. Jewish opposition to Auschwitz cannot be grasped in terms of humanly created ideals but only as an imposed commandment. And the Jewish secularist, no less than the believer, is absolutely singled out by a Voice as truly other than man-made ideals – an imperative as truly given – as was the Voice of Sinai.

According to the Midrash, God wished to give the Torah immediately upon the Exodus from Egypt, but has to postpone the gift until Israel was united. Today, the distinction between religious and secularist Jews is superseded by that between unauthentic Jews who flee from their Jewishness and authentic Jews who affirm it. This latter group includes religious and secularist Jews. These are united by a commanding Voice which speaks from Auschwitz.

 

The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz

 

What does the voice of Auschwitz command?

Jews are forbidden to hand Hitler posthumous victories. They are commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. They are commanded to remember the victims of Auschwitz lest their memory perish. They are forbidden to despair of man and his world, and to escape into either cynicism or otherworldliness, lest they cooperate in delivering the world over to the forces of Auschwitz. Finally, they are forbidden to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish. A secularist Jew cannot make himself believe by a mere act of will, nor can he be commanded to do so…. And a religious Jews who has stayed with his God may be forced into new, possibly revolutionary relationships with Him. One possibility however, is wholly unthinkable. A Jew may not respond to Hitler’s attempt to destroy Judaism by himself cooperating in its destruction. In ancient times, the unthinkable Jewish sin was idolatry. Today it is to respond to Hitler by doing his work.

God’s Presence in History (1970, New York)

 

(Emil L. Fackenheim [1916-2003], was one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of the post-Holocaust period. Long a member of the Philosophy Department at the University of Toronto, he made Aliyah to Israel, where he passed away.  He was the author of many works in addition to the text cited here, including The Religious Dimension in Hegel [1967], The Jewish Return to History [1978], Encounters Between Judaism and Modern Philosophy [1973], To Mend the World: Foundations for a Future Jewish Thought [1982], and his posthumously edited autobiography, An Epitaph for German Judaism: From Halle to Jerusalem [2007].  An International Conference on "The Jewish Thought of Emil L. Fackenheim" is being organized by CIJR to celebrate the recent tenth Jahrzeit of his passing.)

                                                                       

                                                                         Contents
                                       

‘NEVER AGAIN’ IMPERATIVES                                                 

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2014

 

On International Holocaust Day, which is being commemorated today, we are asked not just to remember. We are also asked to learn lessons from that dark period in history. One lesson which tends to be emphasized in Israel and among world Jewry is that anti-Semitism is essentially a terminal moral disease of humanity and that Jews must never again rely solely on the kindness of others. They must instead take responsibility for their own destiny.

Much of Zionism’s moral force is derived from this “never again” imperative. Never again must the Jewish people allow itself to be in a state of powerlessness. This awareness of our potential vulnerability drives our perception of the Iranian threat and our apprehensions regarding a territorial compromise with the Palestinians. There are ample examples to buttress this reading of history. Just this week in Italy, a country not known to be particularly anti-Semitic, there was a disturbing hate crime. Two boxes containing pigs’ heads were sent to conspicuously Jewish and Israeli venues. One was sent to the Israeli Embassy in Rome and another was sent to city’s synagogue.

The Rome incident is hardly isolated. Jews are feeling increasingly uncomfortable in Europe. A recently published survey conducted during 2012 by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency among 5,847 Jews living in Belgium, Britain, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, and Sweden found that large percentages (76%) thought anti-Semitism had increased either a lot or a little over the past five years; that 27% had witnessed other Jews being verbally insulted or harassed or physically attacked in the past 12 months; and a quarter were afraid to wear a kippa or attend a Jewish event or site which would publicly identify them as Jews.

Anti-Jewish sentiment is strong in the Middle East as well, including among Palestinians. Even high-ranking figures in the Palestinian Authority, with whom Israel is conducting peace negotiations, have made declarations that reveal either a total lack of understanding of the Holocaust or an intentional desire to distort its memory. As Palestinian Media Watch has shown, school history books and media sources regularly omit the fact that Jews were systematically murdered during World War II. Some Palestinian leaders have compared Israeli control over Palestinian populations on the West Bank to Nazi treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. Purposely ignoring the atrocities committed against the Jews during the Holocaust or belittling them are often calculated attempts to undermine the moral legitimacy of the Jewish state.

In addition to the “never again” imperative that relates specifically to Jews as victims, however, there is another “never again” lesson to be learned from the Holocaust. All of humanity is obligated to recognize that mankind is capable of inconceivable acts of horror. We therefore all have a solemn duty to do everything in our power to prevent such acts of extreme violence from happening again. Jews, who know firsthand what it means to be on the receiving end of irrational and violent hatred, have a unique responsibility to prevent it from happening again.

Part of that moral legacy means joining forces with other minorities in Europe, such as Muslims and Roma, to fight prejudice there. Prof. Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, noted that the Roma are particularly vulnerable, because they are unorganized and many are illiterate. Another aspect of that legacy is to continue to take steps to bring about an equitable end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via a two-state solution. Doing so would ensure a strong Jewish majority, peace, and security for Israel. For Palestinians, a two-state solution would mean an end to Israeli control over their lives and the beginning of national self-determination.

On International Holocaust Day, we must keep in mind both “never again” imperatives – balancing one with the other without ever abandoning either. These are not mutually exclusive views. One recognizes the dangers to the Jewish people presented by the lethal obsession that is anti-Semitism. The other obligates us to temper this recognition with the moral obligation to fight injustice wherever it might manifest itself.                                                                                                    

                                                                                                  Contents
                                   

   FRENCH SOCIETY VIEWS JEWS THROUGH THE PRISM OF SHOAH  Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                       

Arutz Sheva, Jan. 23, 2014

 

Dr. Gerstenfeld interviews Prof. Shmuel Trigano on the Jewish question in France for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

 “The position of the Jews in a country is largely determined by how its general population views them. This is often far more important than the Jews’ own conduct. French society and the Jewish community frequently have different mindsets…in recent years, to be involved in Jewish life has become synonymous with communautarisme (i.e., withdrawal into one’s own community, which is considered a lack of loyalty to the French Republic) – a term with a negative connotation. This was not the case previously. French public opinion now sees the Jewish community as ambivalent regarding national citizenship…the Jews in France play a symbolic role – a result of their lengthy past in European civilization. This role was greatly influenced in the previous century by the Shoah and more recently by the mass immigration of Muslims.”

 

Shmuel Trigano is Professor of Sociology at Paris University, President of the Observatoire du Monde Juif and author of numerous books focusing on Jewish philosophy and Jewish political thought.

 

“In France in the 1980s, the Holocaust rather suddenly replaced almost all of the Second World War history in collective memory. Thereafter, the image of the Jew as victim, the person with whom one should commiserate as a matter of principle, became dominant. Today however, this role is almost non-existent.”

 

“During the years after the war, an obscuring of the Shoah took place. Initially Gaullism ruled, which promoted the myth of ‘resistant France,’ as if the majority of Frenchmen had actively opposed Vichy. The country’s authorities and elites had to conceal the fact that the collaborating Vichy government had come to power democratically as a result of a vote by the French Parliament…the radically changed situation made the ‘Jewish question’ an extremely sensitive one. It began with a scandal over statements made by Louis Darquier de Pellepoix. He was Commissioner for Jewish Affairs under the Vichy regime. By fleeing to Spain, Darquier escaped French post-war justice, which condemned him to death…In 1978, he told the weekly L’Express that only lice had been gassed in Auschwitz and that the Jews were lying about what went on there. Thanks to that interview and the reaction it sparked, the Jews suddenly became the subject of both media and public debates.”

 

“When Darquier gave his interview, the new perception of the ‘Jew as a victim’ had not yet crystallized. However, that happened later on. This image has been instituted by state bodies – rather than by the Jewish community – such as the Museum of the Shoah Memorial and the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah…what is remembered nowadays in this ‘victim image’ is the human condition as it expresses itself in Jewish suffering. This is an ambivalent role. To be accepted by French society at large, the suffering must be greatly de-Judaized. Many public personalities and educators say that transmitting the Shoah to the current generation requires stressing and valorizing its universal aspect. It means exposing barbarianism, inhumanity and suffering, in general terms.”

 

“During the 1968 student riots in Paris, the slogan ‘We are all German Jews’ was used to defend one of the student leaders, Daniel Cohn Bendit, a German Jew. Indirectly, it meant that one identified with the victims of a Nazi state. Twenty years later, this saying obtained a new connotation: ‘We identify with universalist, assimilated German Jews, but not with Zionists and Jewish communautarians.’”

 

“Already in the previous century, the role of the ‘absolute victim’ in France slowly mutated from the Jews to the mainly Muslim immigrants, whose situation is often compared publicly with that of Jewish victims in the past. In the 1980s, one occasionally heard that when fighting against the extreme-Right racism of Jean Marie Le Pen’s Front National party and general anti-Arab racism, one was combating anti-Semitism…the so-called Debré laws of 1997 – named after Interior Minister Jean Louis Debré – regulated the immigration and status of foreigners. In demonstrations against these laws, some participants dressed up as camp prisoners. They wore striped pajamas and carried bags on their backs as if traveling toward the trains that would deport them to concentration camps. Those demonstrating and their supporters associated the fate of these immigrants suffering from French racism, with that of the Jews as victims of the Shoah.”

 

Trigano concludes: “There are many more roles which Jews fill in French society. They include that Jews are upheld as a positive role model for Muslim immigrants. They are also an instrument for the authorities to maintain social peace, a witness to the supposed tolerance of Muslims, or, as whitewashers for French problems such as anti-Semitism. Above all, French Jews are placed in the role of ‘representatives of Israel,’ which is portrayed negatively in the French media.”                 

                          

[Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR Academic Fellow, is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.]         

                                                                            Contents                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Universal Lessons of the Holocaust: Irwin Cotler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2014 — On Monday, the largest-ever parliamentary delegation to Auschwitz will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.   

This Holocaust Remembrance Day, We Pay Homage to Angelo Chalikias: Joël Lion & Thanos Kafopoulos,  Montreal Gazette, Jan. 26, 2014 — Luckily, for many survivors of history’s deadliest massacre, some righteous souls did step out of the shadows, risking their own lives to save friends — and in some cases, complete strangers.

Himmler letters: 'I am travelling to Auschwitz. Kisses. Your Heini': Damien McElroy & Inna Lazareva

, Telegraph, Jan. 26, 2014  — A collection of letters, notes and photographs from Heinrich Himmler are to be published in full on Sunday, shedding light on the private life of the man who orchestrated the Holocaust.

Yesterday’s Ashes, Today’s Crime: Paula Stern, Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2014  — Sometimes when you read a news article, it has the power to stab you right in the heart.
Exposing the Myth of the Arab Bystander to the Holocaust: Shimon Ohayon, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2014 — In recent years many writers have attempted to grapple with the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict by trying to create a metaphor to demonstrate a shared injustice perpetrated both against Jews and Arabs.

 

 

 Contents:         

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HARPER À JÉRUSALEM ET LES VALEURS HUMANISTES

Déclaration du Premier ministre du Canada à Jérusalem
Stephen Harper
Jérusalem, 20 Janvier 2014

 

Le Premier ministre Stephen Harper a prononcé aujourd’hui le discours suivant devant la Knesset, parlement israélien, à Jérusalem :

 

 « Merci monsieur le Président, monsieur le Premier ministre, monsieur le Chef de l’opposition, monsieur le Juge en chef, mesdames et messieurs les ministres et les députés de la Knesset, distingués invités, mesdames et messieurs. Shalom. Merci de m’avoir invité à visiter ce remarquable pays, et particulièrement de m’avoir donné l’occasion de m’adresser à la Knesset. C’est vraiment un grand honneur. Et je vous remercie également de m’avoir fait l’honneur de me remettre la clé de la Knesset. Alors maintenant j’ai l’impression de pouvoir y venir chaque fois que je le veux.

 

« Permettez-moi seulement, Monsieur le Président, de commencer en remerciant, au nom de mon épouse Laureen et de la délégation canadienne, le gouvernement et la population d’Israël de leur chaleureuse hospitalité. Nous avons senti que nous étions plus que les bienvenus. Nous nous sommes immédiatement sentis comme si nous étions chez nous.

 

« Mesdames et messieurs, le Canada et Israël sont de très proches amis et des alliés naturels. Avec votre indulgence, j’aimerais vous faire part de mes réflexions sur l’importance et la particularité du lien qui unit le Canada et Israël. Car c’est un lien très fort qui nous unit. Cette entre le Canada et Israël prend ses racines dans l’histoire, se nourrit de valeurs communes et se renforce volontairement aux plus hauts échelons du commerce et du gouvernement ce qui est l’expression de fermes convictions. Il y a par exemple depuis de très nombreuses années un Accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et Israël, accord dont la valeur s’est avérée. L’élimination des tarifs douaniers sur les produits industriels et certains produits alimentaires a permis de doubler la valeur des échanges commerciaux entre nos deux pays.

 

« Mais ce n’est rien si l’on considère le potentiel économique de cette relation et je me réjouis de développer et d’élargir bientôt nos objectifs communs en matière de commerce et d’investissement. De plus, nos établissements militaires échangent leur information et leur technologie. Ces échanges se sont aussi révélés mutuellement avantageux. Par exemple, pendant la mission du Canada en Afghanistan, l’équipement de reconnaissance construit en Israël dont nous nous sommes servis a permis de sauver la vie de nombreux soldats canadiens.

 

« Tous ces liens, et je pourrais en nommer de nombreux autres – les sciences et la technologie – permettent de construire des ponts solides entre nous. Cependant, pour bien comprendre la relation particulière entre Israël et le Canada, il faut regarder, au-delà du commerce et des institutions, les liens personnels tissés par l’amitié et la parenté.

 

« Des Juifs sont établis au Canada depuis plus de 250 ans. De génération en génération, grâce à leur travail et à leur persévérance, les immigrants juifs, souvent partis de rien, sont devenus très prospères. Aujourd’hui, près de 350 000 Canadiens ont en commun avec vous leur héritage et leur foi. Ce sont de fiers Canadiens. Mais pour avoir rencontré littéralement des milliers de membres de votre communauté, voici ce que je peux vous dire: ils sont immensément fiers de ce que la population d’Israël a accompli ici. De votre courage en temps de guerre, de votre générosité en temps de paix et de l’épanouissement du désert sous votre gouverne. Laureen et moi aussi en sommes fiers Nous en sommes fiers, et nous comprenons que ce qui a été accompli ici l’a été à l’ombre des horreurs de l’Holocauste …

 

« La compréhension du fait qu’il est juste d’appuyer Israël parce qu’après avoir connu la persécution durant plusieurs générations, le peuple juif mérite d’avoir son propre pays et mérite de vivre en sécurité et en paix dans ce pays. Permettez-moi de le répéter : le Canada appuie Israël parce c’est fondamentalement ce qu’il faut faire.

 

« Soit dit en passant, c’est un trait de caractère bien canadien, faire ce qu’il faut sans aucune autre raison, même sans s’attendre à en retirer quoi que ce soit d’immédiat ni sous aucune menace. Il est souvent arrivé que les Canadiens aillent jusqu’à donner leur sang et leur vie pour défendre les libertés des autres dans des contrées lointaines. Je dois aussi avouer que nous avons, à l’occasion, fait de terribles erreurs …

 

« Comme quand le gouvernement a refusé dans les années 1930 de soulager la misère des réfugiés juifs. Mais aux grands moments charnières de notre histoire, notre pays a toujours choisi, souvent en le payant cher, de se tenir aux côtés de ceux qui combattent l’injustice et les forces du mal dans le monde. Il est donc dans la tradition canadienne de défendre ce qui est juste et fondé sur des principes, que ce soit non commode ou populaire.

 

« Mais je dirais, le Premier ministre et moi avons dit, qu’appuyer l’État juif d’Israël est aujourd’hui plus qu’un impératif moral. Cet appui a aussi une importance stratégique dont dépendent aussi nos propres intérêts à long terme. Mesdames et messieurs, j’ai dit que l’amitié spéciale entre le Canada et Israël est née de leurs valeurs communes. En effet, Israël est le seul pays du Moyen‑Orient à s’être ancré depuis longtemps dans des idéaux de liberté, de démocratie et de primauté du droit.

 

« Et il ne s’agit pas de notions abstraites. Ce sont les éléments qui au fil du temps et contre toute attente se sont maintes et maintes fois révélés comme le seul terreau fertile pour les droits de la personne, la stabilité politique et la prospérité économique. Ces valeurs ne sont pas l’apanage de certains; elles n’appartiennent pas en propre à un seul peuple ou une seule nation. Elles ne sont pas limitées.

 

« Au contraire, plus elles se répandent, plus elles prennent de la force. Et inversement, lorsqu’elles sont menacées quelque part, elles le sont partout. Et qui les menace? Ou, plus précisément, qu’est-ce qui, aujourd’hui, menace les sociétés qui adoptent ces valeurs et le progrès qu’elles rendent possible ?

 

« Ceux qui méprisent la modernité, ceux qui détestent la liberté d’autrui et ceux qui sont outragés par les différences entre les peuples, les cultures et les religions. Ceux qui, souvent, commencent par détester les Juifs. Mais qui, comme nous l’enseigne l’Histoire, finissent par détester tous ceux qui ne sont pas comme eux

 

– Lire la suite: http://www.pm.gc.ca/fra/nouvelles/2014/01/20/declaration-du-premier-ministre-du-canada-jerusalem#sthash.Vu2St1BF.dpuf.

 

''L'amitié des faucons''
Jean Ouellette
Envoyé à La Presse, 18 janvier 2014

 

Madame: Votre texte montre à quel point vous êtes déconnectée des réalités du Proche-Orient et du seul état démocratique de cette région. L'application mécanique de critères tels droite/gauche ou encore faucons/colombes n'éclaire en rien la réalité qui prévaut dans cette région du monde. Même la gauche israélienne que vous semblez affectionner trouverait votre essai court et conceptuellement pauvre. Les dirigeants israéliens, de droite ou de gauche, feront des compromis territoriaux dès qu'ils auront senti qu'un partenaire palestinien sera assez fort (face au Hamas, au Hezbollah et à l'opinion arabe) pour offrir des garanties réelles de paix à l'État juif. Pour l'instant, grâce en partie à l'armée israélienne et à l'interminable processus de paix, Abbas est maintenu en vie. Il sait très bien qu'il sera assassiné par des cellules jihadistes dès lors qu'il aura offert des garanties de paix durable à cet ennemi démocratiquement encombrant qu'il espère pourtant un jour chasser de cette Palestine arabe dont il rêve. Si je vous ai bien compris, les Israéliens devraient s'empêcher de vivre en attendant un miracle qui ne se produit pas. J'aimerais sentir que vous lisez des commentateurs pour leur compétence au lieu de les classifier selon des catégories pour le moins artificielles. Je parierais que Harper le faucon a compris cet impératif tout comme ces leaders israéliens de gauche (des colombes!) qui n'ont pas tari d'éloges à l'endroit de Sharon le faucon qui a redonné Gaza aux Palestiniens  dans l'espoir qu'en  transformant cette terre ingrate en un jardin paradisiaque ils mettraient fin à leurs tirades belliqueuses. Et à leurs de missiles. Il est permis de rêver. Pour les Israéliens, l'incitation à la haine et le recours au terrorisme dont ils sont  à la fois les témoins et les victimes prennent l'allure d 'un véritable cauchemar. Réveillez-vous: vous rendrez service à vos lecteurs.

 

Bien cordialement,

 

Jean Ouellette 

(Professeur à la retraite de l' Université de Montréal, membre du Conseil académique de l' ICRJ.)

Le venin anti-israélien
Guy Millière
http://www.dreuz.info, 22 janvier 2014

 

Récemment, Bruno Gollnisch, outragé par mes remarques concernant l’absence de condamnation de l’antisémitisme par les dirigeants du Front National, m’a taxé d’être un « intellectuel communautaire ». N’étant pas juif, je suppose qu’il a voulu faire de moi un Juif d’honneur, et je pourrais en être flatté.

 

Je suis agnostique, mais mes valeurs éthiques sont celles qui sont nées depuis et par le judaïsme, je le sais. Tout en étant flatté, cela m’a conduit à une réflexion plus large : je dois remarquer que, parmi les intellectuels qui ne sont pas juifs, en France, il s’en trouve fort peu pour défendre Israël, et pour dénoncer explicitement l’antisémitisme. Je dois dire que cela me semble troublant.

 

Que sur un continent qui a vu s’accomplir la seule tentative d’extermination totale et industrielle d’un peuple, celle des Juifs, aussi peu d’intellectuels non juifs soient à même de voir ce que signifie la remontée de l’antisémitisme en Europe est un phénomène qui me consterne. Que, dans une période où le traitement d’Israël comme le Juif parmi les Etats de la terre s’accentue, il se trouve aussi peu d’intellectuels non juifs pour voir qu’Israël est traité comme le Juif parmi les Etats de la terre est une réalité qui me donne la nausée.

 

Je dois dire qu’il en est ainsi, je pense, parce que l’Europe a deux mille années d’antisémitisme dans son passé, parce que ce qu’on appelle la shoah a été mis entre parenthèse et passé sous silence pendant trente années après la guerre et n’a commencé à être regardé en face qu’à partir de 1978 et de la diffusion de la série Holocauste à la télévision : des gens se sont dits surpris et choqués de ce qu’Holocauste montrait, y compris des gens qui avaient une cinquantaine d’années et qui avaient donc vécu à l’époque de ce qu’Holocauste montrait. Etaient-ils sourds et aveugles à l’époque ? Ont-ils été ensuite frappés d’une amnésie soudaine ? Les deux hypothèses sont improbables. Il y a eu ceux qu’on honore comme les « justes » et il y a eu beaucoup de nazis en Allemagne, ou, pour le moins de sympathisants. Il y a eu en France quarante millions de pétainistes, quelques résistants, beaucoup de gens porteurs d’une veste réversible. Le film Shoah de Claude Lanzmann a eu un impact. Les cérémonies du cinquantième anniversaire de la chute d’Auschwitz ont marqué la fin d’une période, au terme de laquelle le dossier a été rangé sur une étagère. Je pense, pour reprendre à ma façon la célèbre phrase, que beaucoup d’Européens n’ont pas vraiment pardonné Auschwitz aux Juifs.

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Je dois dire qu’il en est ainsi, aussi, parce que la gauche en Europe a voulu démultiplier les objets de repentance et y a ajouté la colonisation (seulement la colonisation effectuée par des Européens, bien sûr), l’esclavage (dont seuls les Européens se seraient rendus coupables, cela va de soi), le racisme (qui s’est vu appliqué, entre autres, à la célèbre race islamique dans laquelle on entre sitôt on devient musulman, qu’on soit un petit brun ou un grand blond) : cette démultiplication a fini par créer une réaction de crispation très logique et conduit à un relativisme au sein duquel les mots ont perdu leur sens (perte du sens qui continue, puisque pour l’extrême gauche, on peut être « facho » dès qu’on s’assied sur la droite de Jean-Louis Borloo : ce qui est une façon de faire oublier que Mussolini était un socialiste).

 

Je dois dire que je pense que le traitement d’Israël comme le Juif des Etats a été assez vite entériné en Europe parce qu’Israël était l’Etat du peuple juif et que non, beaucoup d’Européens n’ont pas pardonné Auschwitz aux Juifs. Ils ne leur ont pas non plus pardonné de ne pas se laisser écraser par les armées arabes en 1948-49, ce qui aurait été conforme au scénario prévu. Pendant une vingtaine d’années, Israël ayant survécu, les Européens ne se sont pas acharnés contre Israël. Mais peu à peu est apparu la bonne raison de le faire : soutenir les armées exterminatrices du monde arabe n’était pas présentable. Soutenir les « Palestiniens » était beaucoup plus honorable.

 

Le soutien a commencé à l’extrême gauche, qui a toujours eu une affection pour terroristes et totalitaires. Il s’est propagé à la gauche, puis à l’ensemble de la classe politique européenne ou presque. Le « peuple palestinien » a été conçu pour que les Européens aient une « lutte de libération nationale » à soutenir et pour qu’ils retrouvent une raison de s’en prendre aux Juifs, et cela a fonctionné parfaitement.

 

On trouve aujourd’hui des gens qui se disent « défenseurs de la liberté », et hostiles au totalitarisme qui, d’un seul coup, oublient tous leurs principes lorsqu’il s’agit d’Israël, pays de liberté économique, politique et culturelle, et de l’Autorité Palestinienne, entité totalitaire aux allures de Troisième Reich miniature.

 

On trouve des gens qui se disent partisans de l’économie de marché et du droit naturel des êtres humains qui deviennent brusquement aveugles face au fait que l’Autorité palestinienne est une création artificielle qui ne survit que par des subventions massives servant essentiellement à une double violation du droit naturel des êtres humains (les subventions financent un endoctrinement imprégné d’idées nazies destinée à transformer des êtres humains en assassins et financent aussi l’assassinat d’autres êtres humains).

 

Rares, très rares sont ceux qui osent dire qu’Israël est une démocratie et un état de droit menacé, que ceux qui menacent Israël sont des antisémites criminels irrespectueux de l’idée minimale de droit, que la Judée Samarie n’a jamais été « colonisée » par Israël, mais l’a été, par contre, pendant dix neuf ans, par l’Etat palestinien de Jordanie, créé sur 78% des terres du Mandat palestinien, ou qu’en 1967, Israël a gagné une guerre contre des agresseurs aux projets génocidaires, en un moment où il n’existait pas un seul « Palestinien » (les principaux concernés n’avaient pas encore appris la leçon) et pas un seul « territoire palestinien ».

Pour noter tout cela, et mille autres choses encore, il n’y a pas à être un « intellectuel communautaire » : il y a juste à faire un travail des idées honnête et scrupuleux et à connaître l’histoire, et à ne pas avoir des valeurs à géométrie variable. C’est beaucoup demander ? Il semble que oui, désormais, c’est beaucoup demander.

 

Est-il risqué de faire un travail des idées honnête et scrupuleux, de connaître l’histoire, et de ne pas avoir des valeurs à géométrie variable. Il semblerait que oui, là encore.

 

Le venin antisémite a encore de beaux jours devant lui en Europe. Le venin anti-israélien a, lui, de très beaux jours devant lui.

 

Les dirigeants de plusieurs pays d’Europe ont convoqué ces derniers jours les ambassadeurs d’Israël de leurs pays respectifs pour les sermonner : Israël décide de construire des logements pour des Israéliens, ce qui est inadmissible. Les dirigeants des mêmes pays continuent à financer les incitations au meurtre d’Israéliens par des « Palestiniens » : cela, c’est très admissible, qui dirait le contraire ?

 

 

Hongrie : la communauté juive pourrait boycotter

les commémorations de la Shoah
Agence France-Presse
La Presse, 21 janvier 2014

 

La communauté juive hongroise, qui accuse le gouvernement de blanchir la Hongrie de ses responsabilités dans la Shoah, pourrait boycotter les commémorations de la tragédie prévues cette année, a déclaré mardi un responsable.

 

«Il y a une limite, et si elle était franchie par les événements officiels, cela forcerait les organisations juives à retirer leur participation», a affirmé à des journalistes Andras Heisler, président de Mazsihisz, la première organisation communautaire du pays.

 

Le gouvernement avait annoncé l'an dernier une série de manifestations marquant le 70e anniversaire des déportations qui ont abouti à la mort de quelque 600 000 juifs de Hongrie, dont 450 000 pendant l'occupation nazie, du 19 mars 1944 au printemps 1945.

 

Un monument commémorant cette dernière phase cristallise la crispation de la communauté. Voulu par le gouvernement conservateur de Viktor Orban, il doit être inauguré le 19 mars sur une place du centre de Budapest.

 

Il doit évoquer l'ensemble des victimes, y compris juives, de l'occupation allemande de la Hongrie. Mais selon Mazsihisz, le monument est symbolique des efforts de la droite au pouvoir pour exonérer la Hongrie de ses propres responsabilités dans l'extermination des juifs.

 

La semaine dernière, Sandor Szakaly, un historien nommé en octobre 2013 par le gouvernement Orban pour diriger un nouvel institut d'histoire, avait ainsi qualifié de «procédure administrative pour des citoyens étrangers» la déportation d'environ 10 000 juifs en 1941 vers des territoires occupés par l'Allemagne en Union soviétique. Presque tous avaient été tués.

 

Depuis son arrivée au pouvoir en 2010, Viktor Orban et son parti Fidesz ont été souvent accusés d'encourager tacitement le souvenir de l'autocrate Miklos Horthy, homme fort de la Hongrie de 1920 à 1944, qui fit en son temps allégeance aux nazis.

 

La communauté juive de Hongrie est l'une des plus importantes en Europe, avec quelque 120 000 membres. Elle est aussi la plus inquiète d'une montée du préjugé antisémite, selon une enquête récente de l'Agence des droits fondamentaux (FRA) de l'Union européenne.

«Nous sommes des optimistes», a toutefois assuré mardi Andras Heisler, pour évoquer son espoir de voir le gouvernement renoncer au monument prévu.

 

Shabbat Shalom à tous nos lecteurs!

Manfred Gerstenfeld: FRENCH SOCIETY VIEWS JEWS THROUGH THE PRISM OF SHOAH

Dr. Gerstenfeld interviews Prof. Shmuel Trigano on The Jewish Question in France. For International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

“The position of the Jews in a country is largely determined by how its general population views them. This is often far more important than the Jews’ own conduct. French society and the Jewish community frequently have different mindsets.

 

"In recent years, to be involved in Jewish life has become synonymous with communautarisme (i.e., withdrawal into one’s own community, which is considered a lack of loyalty to the French Republic) – a term with a negative connotation. This was not the case previously. French public opinion now sees the Jewish community as ambivalent regarding national citizenship.

“The Jews in France play a symbolic role – a result of their lengthy past in European civilization. This role was greatly influenced in the previous century by the Shoah and more recently by the mass immigration of Muslims.”

 

Shmuel Trigano is Professor of Sociology at Paris University, President of the Observatoire du Monde Juif and author of numerous books focusing on Jewish philosophy and Jewish political thought.

 

“In France in the 1980s, the Holocaust rather suddenly replaced almost all of the Second World War history in collective memory. Thereafter, the image of the Jew as victim, the person with whom one should commiserate as a matter of principle, became dominant. Today however, this role is almost non-existent.

 

“During the years after the war, an obscuring of the Shoah took place. Initially Gaullism ruled, which promoted the myth of ‘resistant France,’ as if the majority of Frenchmen had actively opposed Vichy. The country’s authorities and elites had to conceal the fact that the collaborating Vichy government had come to power democratically as a result of a vote by the French Parliament.

 

“The radically changed situation made the ‘Jewish question’ an extremely sensitive one. It began with a scandal over statements made by Louis Darquier de Pellepoix. He was Commissioner for Jewish Affairs under the Vichy regime. By fleeing to Spain, Darquier escaped French post-war justice, which condemned him to death.

 

“In 1978, he told the weekly L’Express that only lice had been gassed in Auschwitz and that the Jews were lying about what went on there. Thanks to that interview and the reaction it sparked, the Jews suddenly became the subject of both media and public debates.

“When Darquier gave his interview, the new perception of the ‘Jew as a victim’ had not yet crystallized. However, that happened later on. This image has been instituted by state bodies – rather than by the Jewish community – such as the Museum of the Shoah Memorial and the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah.

 

“What is remembered nowadays in this ‘victim image’ is the human condition as it expresses itself in Jewish suffering. This is an ambivalent role. To be accepted by French society at large, the suffering must be greatly de-Judaized. Many public personalities and educators say that transmitting the Shoah to the current generation requires stressing and valorizing its universal aspect. It means exposing barbarianism, inhumanity and suffering, in general terms.

 

“During the 1968 student riots in Paris, the slogan ‘We are all German Jews’ was used to defend one of the student leaders, Daniel Cohn Bendit, a German Jew. Indirectly, it meant that one identified with the victims of a Nazi state. Twenty years later, this saying obtained a new connotation: ‘We identify with universalist, assimilated German Jews, but not with Zionists and Jewish communautarians.’

 

“Already in the previous century, the role of the ‘absolute victim’ in France slowly mutated from the Jews to the mainly Muslim immigrants, whose situation is often compared publicly with that of Jewish victims in the past. In the 1980s, one occasionally heard that when fighting against the extreme-Right racism of Jean Marie Le Pen’s Front National party and general anti-Arab racism, one was combating anti-Semitism.

 

“The so-called Debré laws of 1997 – named after Interior Minister Jean Louis Debré – regulated the immigration and status of foreigners. In demonstrations against these laws, some participants dressed up as camp prisoners. They wore striped pajamas and carried bags on their backs as if traveling toward the trains that would deport them to concentration camps. Those demonstrating and their supporters associated the fate of these immigrants suffering from French racism, with that of the Jews as victims of the Shoah.”

 

Trigano concludes: “There are many more roles which Jews fill in French society. They include that Jews are upheld as a positive role model for Muslim immigrants. They are also an instrument for the authorities to maintain social peace, a witness to the supposed tolerance of Muslims, or, as whitewashers for French problems such as anti-Semitism. Above all, French Jews are placed in the role of ‘representatives of Israel,’ which is portrayed negatively in the French media.”

 

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Council Member,  a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.