Beth Tikvah Synagogue & CIJR Present: The Annual Sabina Citron International Conference: THE JEWISH THOUGHT OF EMIL L. FACKENHEIM: JUDAISM, ZIONISM, HOLOCAUST, ISRAEL — Toronto, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The day-long Beth Tikvah Conference, co-chaired by Prof. Frederick Krantz (CIJR) and Rabbi Jarrod R. Grover (Beth Tikvah), open to the public and especially to students, features original papers by outstanding Canadian and international scholars, some his former students, on the many dimensions of Emil L. Fackenheim's exceptionally powerful, and prophetic thought, and on his rich life and experience. Tickets: Regular – $36; Seniors – $18; students free. For registration, information, conference program, and other queries call 1-855-303-5544 or email Visit our site:


“This is a liberation organization? Its goal is to destroy a state; to kill men, women and children – this is its method and this is a national movement?  There was a Spring of Nations – that was a national movement; there was an American Revolution – that was a national movement; there was a war for Israel’s independence – that was a national movement. This, however, is a movement of murderers of the most base kind ever since the Gestapo…and they will not succeed. We will strike them, we will pursue them ‘til the bitter end. We will not allow them any respite.


This is the difference between the Galut and a homeland. Our fellow Jews could not defend themselves. They had not the withal. What could they employ? No one would protect them. Here, thank God, we are living in the Land of Israel. Here we will defend every child, every woman, every man and the murderers will not go unpunished.”


—Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Knesset Speech, May 9, 1979 (Menachem Begin Heritage Center, 13 Oct., 2015)


Third Intifada Or Third Reich?: Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015 — Polish journalist Anna Bikont has written a masterwork (The Crime and the Silence) about the infamous 1941 massacre of Jews in wartime Jedwabne – not by Nazi soldiers by their Polish Catholic neighbors.

Sadism and Masochism in International Culture: Alex Joffe, Times of Israel, Oct. 14, 2015— To cultures have personalities, meaningful collections of attitudes and behaviors?

ISIS Fires Up Palestinians: Bassam Tawil, National Post, Aug. 20, 2015 — By now, it has become clear that our young Palestinian men and women have learned a lot from the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

An Open Letter to the World: Paula Stern, Jewish Press,  Aug. 15, 2015 — In the last few days, as Israel has been hit with a wave of terror, I’ve started to write many times and each time, was only able to capture a fraction of what is on my mind and in my heart.


On Topic Links


Arabs Set Fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, Pushed Back by PA Police: Jewish Press, Oct. 16, 2015

Fatah’s ‘Symphony of Love’ for Jerusalem on Twitter: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015

Only Four NGOs Condemn Anti-Israeli Violence, Others Focus on Israeli ‘Unlawful Killing’: Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015

Israel Must Deport the PLO: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Oct. 17, 2015




Dr. Phyllis Chesler                                                                                                                                  

Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015


Polish journalist Anna Bikont has written a masterwork (The Crime and the Silence) about the infamous 1941 massacre of Jews in wartime Jedwabne – not by Nazi soldiers by their Polish Catholic neighbors. At least forty residents of Jedwabne beat, herded, and drove between 200 and 340 of their Jewish neighbors into a barn, locked the doors, and set the barn on fire.


The killers took over all the Jewish homes and shops, moving right in – and without shame helped themselves to furniture, clothing, jewelry, china, market wares, and rich farming acreage. And they tried to keep what they had done secret; when challenged, they denied it. Every eyewitness was made to understand that anyone who “talked” would be killed.


In order to explain such a heinous massacre, Bikont begins by describing what the situation like was for Jews in rural, agricultural Poland in the 1920s and 1930s. Catholic priests routinely preached and propagandized against Jews; a climate was created in which, according to Professor Jerzy Jedlicki, “hatred towards Jews, contempt and mockery of Jews, [became] part of twentieth-century European culture…”


In painstaking and painful detail, Bikont recounts what a relative, Oleg Wolynski, told her, an account confirmed by Zygmunt Klukowski’s Diary of the Occupation. The Poles eagerly took part in liquidation raids, “hunted down Jews, drove them to the magistrate or police station, beat them, kicked them. Boys chased little Jewish kids who were killed by policemen right in front of everyone.” Before the Holocaust, Poles laughed and joked as they harassed, beat, hacked at, tortured, and burned alive Jewish men, women, and children.


Why do I refer to these events? Most Arab and Muslim countries, before the advent of ISIS, significantly “cleansed” their countries of Jews by torturing and murdering them or by exiling them with a few dollars in their pockets. Like the Poles of Jedwabne, Arab Muslims also took over all the Jewish homes, shops, factories, furniture, and land. Jews from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and other Muslim countries never received the slightest compensation or sympathy.


Like the Polish Catholic priests in pre-World War II rural Poland, mullahs and imams in Palestine and all across the Muslim world have been whipping Muslims into a Jew-hating frenzy for a long, long time. With the advent of the Internet, their message of hate reaches significantly more people.  Arab terrorists have spent decades hijacking planes, blowing up synagogues, and sending human bombs into crowded shopping malls, cafes, pizza parlors, nightclubs, and hotels. In recent years they’ve also been launching rockets at Israeli civilian centers.


Now individual Arab Muslims are stabbing Jews of all ages. Lynch mobs are stoning Israeli Jews at prayer as well as Israeli cars on the road. They wield cinder blocks and deadly rocks. Individual Arab Muslims are shooting and stabbing “religious” and “settler” Jews, or trying to run them over with cars. They have been empowered to do so by President Obama’s dangerously misguided foreign policy and by Palestinian religious and political leaders who have lied to their people about Jews endangering mosques and have imbued them with dangerous religious hatred. Just like the Catholic priests did in rural Poland.


Earlier this month, Mrs. Odel Bennett, a wife and young mother of two, was returning with her family from praying at the Kotel. She was stabbed in the back and neck by a terrorist who had killed both her 22-year-old rabbi husband, Aharon, and 41-year-old Rabbi Nehemia Lavi. He had also shot her two-year-old son Natan in the leg. The terrorist was a Palestinian law student. He was not illiterate. He was not educationally deprived, reduced to humiliating manual labor. He was not starving. (Many of the 9/11 terrorists were educated and came from solidly middle class families. Bin Laden himself was a multi-millionaire. This is different from rural, Catholic, pre-Holocaust Poland.)


As Mrs. Bennett staggered down an alley in the Old City, the terrorist’s knife still lodged in her neck, she begged the Arabs nearby to help her. Instead they “stood chatting and laughing – they spat at me.” One man continued to drink a soda; others shook her off when she tried to hold onto them to lift herself off the ground. “I was looking for a glimmer of mercy in their eyes,” she said. She was rescued by Israeli police officers.


In 2010 at Yale, I chaired and spoke at a panel on anti-Semitism organized by Dr. Charles Small. One of the panelists, my friend and ally Dr. Richard Landes, ended his speech rather abruptly. He said: “Folks, they are coming to shecht [butcher] us. The least we can do is, like Balaam’s donkey, open a mouth.” Five years later, I share his words with everyone reading this. More than ever, we need to open our mouths.                   





SADISM AND MASOCHISM IN INTERNATIONAL CULTURE                                                                            

Alex Joffe                                                                                                   

Times of Israel, Oct. 14, 2015


To cultures have personalities, meaningful collections of attitudes and behaviors? If so, what does the ongoing wave of stabbings of Israelis –elderly passersby, strangers on buses, boys on bikes, infants in carriages- say about Palestinian culture? Who are they, really? One suggestion is that Palestinian culture has been overtaken by psychosis. But what is the underlying cause for this flight to unreality? Part of the answer is sadomasochism.


All cultures have a touch of sadism. Political success requires defeating and humiliating enemies in battle, if only occasionally. Individuals capable or prone to committing terrible pain upon others are found everywhere. And all societies endorse a degree of institutional sadism – police, prisons, military – as part of their monopoly on violence. But for most, pain is only a means to an end, political success and cultural survival, which are the true pleasures.


But inflicting pain and rejoicing in suffering is so visible within Palestinian culture that it could be construed as a defining trait. Israelis being murdered, kidnapped or even just rocketed are causes to hand out sweets to strangers in the street, to publicly affirm – and to invite others to affirm – pleasure in the suffering of others. This is a cultural psychology of objectification and dehumanization. But to characterize it merely as the result of pervasive incitement is inadequate.


Sadism of course is hardly restricted to Palestinian culture. Native American tribes routinely tortured and killed their captives for sport. Torture is rife in Afghan and Pakistani society, as well as in Mexico and Central America. ISIS broadcasts its beheadings, crucifixions and mass killings as messages to their enemies and to display religious devotion and resolve. European and North American cultures are hardly virtuous – recall Abu Ghraib, not to mention Auschwitz – but today sadism is the individual exception rather than the societal rule. Systematizing it in culture is anathema. With the exception of warfare, elites that set trends and values, religious authorities, educators, media and politicians, never endorse sadism.


The leaders of Palestinian culture do. As Gaza’s Sheikh Muhammad Sallah put it, “My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother is the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!” This merely operationalized Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ dehumanizing call to arms: “Al-Aksa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” To these we may add generations of Fatah newspapers, Hamas summer camps, Friday sermons, children’s TV characters like Nahoul the bee, and much more.


Individual Palestinians of course are disgusted by kidnapping and murder, by rocket attacks and inevitable retaliation. But few speak out for fear of ostracism and violence. Palestinian culture as a whole rejects empathy with Israelis as deviance. Why the inability to feel a human connection with Jews and Israelis? One explanation is that their experience at the hands of Israelis is so uniquely terrible that however Palestinians respond is logical and virtuous. In this narrative dispossession and ‘occupation’ legitimize Palestinian violence, which is not really violence at all but ‘ legitimate resistance’ by victims par excellence.


But the fetish of ‘resistance’ and victimhood leads to another notable Palestinian cultural trait, masochism. The ideology of steadfastness and resistance has long celebrated Palestinian ability to endure pain, much of which it creates itself. Decades of theatrical – and individual – violence necessarily and by design provoked Israeli responses. At every step potential gains were secondary to inflicting real and psychological pain on Israeli civilians and the political-cultural goal of ‘publicizing the Palestinian cause.’ Israeli counterattacks were used to rally support, quash peaceful voices, and cement the reign of the PLO and then Hamas. Retaliation was demanded and then reveled in, amidst blood and ashes, reinforcing the self-perception of Palestinian victimhood.


The goal of Hamas’s rocket campaign of 2014 was sadistic, random destruction, but the construction of an entire battlespace within and below Gaza’s civilian population was deeply masochistic. Tunnels connected homes, clinics and schools in order to be tactically useful for fighting and strategically useful when destroyed. The population was not merely a human shield for Hamas, but a line of defense that Hamas knew would be destroyed. When tunnel entrances are behind someone’s kitchen sink, to what extent were Gaza’s civilians were also aware of Hamas’s strategy? They became, willingly and not, human sandbags.


Conventional terrorism has a group context that rationalizes violence and states ‘we are the resistance.’ Today’s interpersonal violence manifests culture at the individual level, where sadism and masochism are no longer political but supremely personal. They appear unmoored from notions of cause and effect that motivate political violence like hostage taking or even bombings, designed to provoke fear and specific actions like freeing prisoners.


Masochism has effects beyond dead civilians and the desired international condemnation. It demands that Palestinian society be dragged by the violence of the street, by factions and ‘rogue cells,’ whose unauthorized and untimely violence must be endorsed lest resistance be ‘betrayed.’ The deepest ‘cycle of violence’ is the individual who invites punishment for the whole, which must then be endorsed and endured.


The masochism of the current stabbing campaign is apparent, since any rational analysis based on experience would conclude that Israelis will suffer but Palestinians will ultimately suffer more. But against this is something else, captured neatly in Hamas’ preaching “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” Here is a religious appeal to a higher reality that cannot be refuted by logic or experience. Masochism is an avenue to salvation, transforming murderers into heavenly beings…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





ISIS FIRES UP PALESTINIANS                                                                                          

Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 19, 2015


By now, it has become clear that our young Palestinian men and women have learned a lot from the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. This new "intifada" that some Palestinians are now waging against Israel should be seen in the context of the wider jihad that is being waged by the Islamic State, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda against the "infidels, Zionists, apostates, Crusaders" and against non-extremist Muslims. The tactics employed by Palestinian youths over the past two weeks show that they are doing their utmost to copy the crimes and atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other Arab countries.


Although the Islamic State is not physically present in the West Bank or Jerusalem (largely thanks to the efforts of the Israel Defense Forces and other Israeli security agencies), there is no denying that its spirit and ideology are hovering over the heads of many of our young men and women.  The current wave of stabbings of Jews in Israel and the West Bank is an attempt to imitate Islamic State terrorists who have been using knives to behead many Muslims and non-Muslims during the past two years.


Like the Islamic State, many of the Palestinian terrorists who recently stabbed Jews saw themselves as jihadis acting in the name of Allah, the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed. This was evident by the Palestinian terrorists' cries of "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greater!"] as they pounced on their victims. Our young men and women must have been watching too many videos of Islamic State jihadis shouting "Allahu Akbar!" as they beheaded or burned their victims.


The stabbing attacks that were carried out in the past two weeks were actually attempts to slit the throats of Jews, regardless of their age and gender. In most instances, the terrorists were aiming for the upper part of the body, focusing on the victims' throats and necks. The Palestinian terrorists are now trying to replace Islamic State jihadis as the chief "butchers" of human beings in the Middle East. For now, they seem to be partially successful in their mission.


Our young men and women have learned from the Islamic State not only the practice of stabbing the "infidels," but also how to destroy religious sites. On Thursday night, scores of Palestinians attacked and torched Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus, in scenes reminiscent of the Islamic State's destruction of ancient and holy sites in Syria and Iraq. The shrine was set on fire for no reason other than that it is revered as the tomb of a Jewish biblical figure. This is a site frequented by Jewish worshippers, although it is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security forces in Nablus. It is worth noting that agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians guarantee access for Jewish worshippers to Joseph's Tomb, and there were assurances to the Israelis that the PA could be trusted to safeguard the site.


What the Palestinians did to Joseph's Tomb is no different from what the Islamic State and other terrorist groups have been doing to holy sites and archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq. The Palestinians who attacked Joseph's Tomb were obviously influenced by the crimes of the Islamic State against religious and ancient sites. What is still not clear is why the Palestinian Authority security forces, which maintain a tight grip on Nablus, did nothing to prevent the arson attack. How can our leaders in Ramallah accuse Jews of "contaminating" the Aqsa Mosque with their "filthy feet" at a time when our youths burn a religious site such as Joseph's Tomb?


This is not the only Jewish holy site that has been targeted by Palestinians in recent years. While our leaders are screaming day and night about Jews "invading" and "desecrating" the Aqsa Mosque, Palestinians from Bethlehem have been throwing stones, petrol bombs and explosive devices at Rachel's Tomb near the city. This has been going on for several years now, in an attempt to kill Jewish worshippers and the Israeli soldiers guarding Rachel's Tomb.The attacks on Joseph's and Rachel's Tombs in Nablus and Bethlehem are part of a Palestinian-Islamic campaign to destroy Jewish holy sites and deny any Jewish link to the land. The attacks are an attempt to rewrite history so that Jews will not be able to claim any religious ties to the land. This is exactly what the Islamic State is doing these days in Syria and Iraq: "erasing history that lets us to learn from the past."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WORLD                                                                                         

Paula Stern

Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015


In the last few days, as Israel has been hit with a wave of terror, I’ve started to write many times and each time, was only able to capture a fraction of what is on my mind and in my heart. To some extent, feelings are so fleeting, despair so deep, that you realize you can’t capture it and you give up. In each half-finished post (or less or more), there is an element I want to share…and then, I get to a point and realize I can’t. I can’t really explain. I have another thought and so am starting that post but rather than let all these go…I’m going to publish them as they are…unfinished, unedited…unsure. Here’s one:


Dear World, This morning, a Palestinian woman blew herself up on the road that goes past my city and into Jerusalem. Her goal was to get herself to downtown Jerusalem (where I work daily) where tens of thousands of people shop and work and kill as many Israelis/Jews as possible. She was stopped with the help of God and an alert policeman from my city.


For many days now, you have ignored the ongoing wave of terror directed at Israelis. You have ignored the murder of parents, the orphaning of children. You do not see the violence, the stabbings, the terror, the stoning attacks and the fireworks used as weapons to attack innocent people who are just trying to live their lives and hold on to some level of normalcy. The anger we have here boils inside – partly for what is being done here; partly for the Palestinians attempt to twist the facts to claim WE are guilty. A 19-year old stabs a 15 year old…an innocent, unarmed 15 year old waiting for a train…quick acting security manage to shoot and kill the 19 year old before he can kill the 15 year old or anyone else…and Abu Mazen mourns for the 19 year old terrorist/murderer.


A 13 year old Palestinian critically stabbed a 13 year old Jewish boy – and the Palestinians run to the world and complain about the Palestinian 13 year old murderer who was neutralized. And the other part is that you, the world, are stupid enough and deaf enough to accept the Palestinians at their word and speak of Jews and Arabs at war and Israel and the Palestinians needing to calm down. Would you calm down if your child was stabbed simply for being in the street waiting for a bus or a train?


Wake up…I would say before it is too late, but I’ve been on the streets of London and Amsterdam – it’s already too late. Europe is dying. As amazing as that sounds, it is the truth. You are about to lose your identity, your enlightenment. Wait, this wave of terror we are experiencing…it’s coming your way.



On Topic


Arabs Set Fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, Pushed Back by PA Police: Jewish Press, Oct. 16, 2015—Several hundred Palestinian Authority Arabs Thursday night set fire to parts of the Joseph’s Tomb compound in the site of biblical Shechem, using firebombs. Palestinian police removed the rioters and put out the fire.

Fatah’s ‘Symphony of Love’ for Jerusalem on Twitter: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015 —As Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas proclaims the wish of his people for “peace,” the PA’s leading Fatah faction sings a very different song.

Only Four NGOs Condemn Anti-Israeli Violence, Others Focus on Israeli ‘Unlawful Killing’: Jewish Press, Oct. 15, 2015—Only B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, New Israel Fund (NIF), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) were quick to condemn the attack against Israeli civilians, according to an NGO Monitor report this week.

Israel Must Deport the PLO: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Oct. 17, 2015 —The only reason the 80-year-old dictator of the PLO has a new $13 million palace, even while claiming to be short of funds, a $100 million bank account and a 1,000 member presidential guard is because of the same agreement with Israel that he just disavowed.