Why the Holocaust Does Not Fade Away: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2018 — One may wonder why the memory of the Holocaust does not fade away with time as do most historical events.
The Inevitable Politicization of International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Matt Lebovic, Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2018 — When President Donald Trump left Jews out of his remarks for International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, he inadvertently gave the relatively new commemoration an unprecedented amount of publicity.
What Did you Hear when Mike Pence Spoke to the Knesset?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, Jan. 23, 2018— In Monday’s New York Times, columnist Max Fisher treated Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel as just another expression of what he considers the divisive policies of the Trump administration.
A Tale of Two Speeches: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Jan. 25, 2018— I've been privileged to attend the two great speeches of this decade in the Knesset plenum: that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (exactly four years ago, January 20, 2014) and that of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (this week).
New Israeli Exhibit Highlights Power of Photos in Holocaust: Aron Heller, National Post, Jan. 25, 2018
Is Ukraine’s Holocaust Memorial at Babi Yar in Trouble?: Izabella Tabarovsky, Tablet, Jan. 24, 2018
Accomplices to the Holocaust: Mordecai Paldiel, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2018
Dear Mr. Ambassador, Why is Canada Funding Anti-Semitism?: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Jan. 18, 2018
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2018
One may wonder why the memory of the Holocaust does not fade away with time as do most historical events. Why are the Holocaust and several related World War II issues mentioned increasingly in the media? Why do these aspects seem to draw increased attention as time passes? Even though one cannot quantify the phenomenon, similarly the increase of Holocaust abuse seems evident. It is only when one starts researching this, that the frequency and diversity of the distortions become apparent.
When looking for reasons for the frequent mention of the Holocaust, a number of disparate possible causes emerge. One is a trend toward increasing chaos in the world. In such a reality many look for extreme points of reference, while others distort them. A second reason is the increased removal of barriers of what is acceptable in the public domain or in certain environments. A further source of increased Holocaust distortion is the largely unregulated social media arena.
The exposure of antisemitism has greatly increased in recent years, together with the growth in incidents expressing hatred toward Jews. Holocaust abuse and distortions to some extent overlap with antisemitism. The promotion of a new Holocaust is not a distortion category in the strictest sense of the word, even though the two are related. This promotion of a second Holocaust has many gradations. Some are explicit. In the 1960's George Lincoln Rockwell was head of the American Nazi Party. He said that, "If he came to power he would execute Jews who were traitors. He furthermore stated that 90% of American Jews were traitors."
Nowadays explicit institutional threats of genocide against Jews mainly come out of parts of the Muslim world. Iran and Hamas are two of the major perpetrators. Others are usually of an indirect and far more limited nature. Neo-Nazi movements can be direct or indirect promoters of a new Holocaust. Much international publicity was given to a march of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August, 2017. Arms were outstretched in Hitler salutes. Some had tattoos of swastikas. There were also chants of the Nazi slogan "blood and soil." All this is documented in photos and video footage. The demonstration quickly turned violent, as white supremacists intimidated and attacked counter-protesters. A car, driven by a white supremacist man, reportedly also an antisemite, rammed into counter-protesters, resulting in the death of a woman.
In September 2017, the British police announced that three men in the UK were charged with terror offenses, in connection with the banned neo-Nazi group "National Action." Two of the suspects were active soldiers. Other aspects are a mix of hooligan behavior and neo-Nazism. In September 2017, when the German soccer team played against the Czech Republic in Prague, tens of German soccer fans shouted Nazi slogans. There were also calls of "Sieg Heil." In bars, fascist music was played at the request of these Nazi supporters.
A lengthy case in South Africa concerning the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) resulted in the Equality Court unequivocally upholding a South African Rights Commission ruling that international relations spokesman, Bongani Masuku, had been guilty of antisemitic hate speech for which he must apologize to the Jewish community. The hate speech written a number of years ago against Jews — including South African Jews — stated that Hitler was their friend. Masuku added that those Jews whom he defines as “Zionists” should be "forced out of South Africa." He also threatened violence "with immediate effect against families in South Africa whose children had moved to Israel and served in the army."
Antisemites know that saying to Jews “Hitler should have killed you,” or “The Nazis forgot to gas you,” are extreme insults. While the main occurrences of this take place in the Arab and Muslim world, the original Hamas charter said it explicitly: “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.” The revised charter still aims at the same target. There are also slightly less evident ways in which the same genocidal aim is indicated. For instance, when Palestinian and other Arab sources present a map of the geographic area in which Israel does not appear. This can only be achieved through genocide, which usually is not stated outright…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2018
When President Donald Trump left Jews out of his remarks for International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, he inadvertently gave the relatively new commemoration an unprecedented amount of publicity. Ahead of this Saturday’s observance, the annual tribute is already drawing headlines, from an Israel-related show-down in South Carolina’s legislature to Jewish leaders preparing to boycott Austria’s official observance in parliament.
The day of Holocaust memory was proposed at the United Nations by Israel in 2005. In addition to encouraging education about the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, the authors of Resolution 60/7 sought to push back against denial of the genocide. January 27 was chosen because on that date in 1945, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews from all over Europe were murdered during World War II.
With last year’s tribute notable for what was not said, activists around the world are drawing battle-lines in anticipation of this Saturday’s observance. In a climate of far-right political parties gaining sway across Europe, leaders of Austria’s tiny Jewish community said they will not attend the parliament’s Shoah observance because legislators of the Freedom Party are set to participate. Founded by a former Nazi SS officer in 1956, the party is opposed to anti-Nazi legislation and has sparked protests among Austrians alarmed by its nationalist agenda.
“If there will be ministers there from the Freedom Party, and I’m sure there will be, I will not be able to shake their hands, so the Jewish community will not attend,” said Oskar Deutsch, president of Vienna’s Jewish community, in an interview last week. Austria has punished very few Nazi perpetrators compared to Germany and other countries, and there is not a strong culture of “memory work” with regards to the past, as in Germany. The Freedom Party has been in power before, and the Jewish community has officially maintained a no-contact policy with it for 17 years.
Across the pond in South Carolina, Saturday’s commemoration has been declared the deadline to pass a bill that would codify a universal definition of anti-Semitism among state institutions. For several weeks, Governor Henry McMaster has been calling on the senate to pass the codification measure before January 27. The bill would make South Carolina the first state to define anti-Semitism as per the US State Department’s guidelines, which include Holocaust denial and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist among forms of anti-Semitic expression. “Governor McMaster has rightly asked the state senate to pass the bill before Holocaust Memorial Day in honor of over six million souls who were murdered because of their Jewish ethnicity and faith,” said State Representative Alan Clemmons, who drafted the bill out of concern for a resurgence of anti-Semitism on college campuses. “Never again means passing the bill now,” said the Republican legislator.
Under former Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina became the first state to cease awarding business contracts to companies that boycott Israel. Since then, similar “anti-BDS” measures were adopted by 23 other states. Boycott activists have called the pending anti-Semitism measure a ban on free speech, including because it equates calls for Israel’s destruction with anti-Semitism.
Since the first commemoration in 2005, the United Nations has given each International Holocaust Remembrance Day an educational theme. Past frameworks include the plight of children in the Shoah, the persecution of Roma and Sinti victims, and the Nazi regime’s efforts to murder individuals with physical or mental disabilities. This year, the theme of “shared responsibility” for remembering the genocide was chosen to frame activities, including a focus on gathering accounts from “the last survivors.” Last Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened an exhibition on the genocide as it unfolded in Soviet territories, including what has been called “the Holocaust by bullets.”
In Israel, the Holocaust is officially commemorated on an entirely different day, Yom HaShoah, an observance timed to the Hebrew calendar day marking the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943. That annual day of mourning first took place in 1951, and was tied to the new state’s desire to project the kind of strength exhibited by Jewish resistance in Warsaw and other ghettos. However, following the lead of the United Kingdom in 2001, many countries selected January 27 as their official day of Holocaust remembrance…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jonathan S. Tobin
Jewish Press, Jan. 23, 2018
In Monday’s New York Times, columnist Max Fisher treated Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel as just another expression of what he considers the divisive policies of the Trump administration. Even before Pence gave a rousing speech to the Knesset, Fisher wrote that Trump’s approach to the Middle East conveyed what he called “a particularly American notion of being ‘pro-Israel.’” Trump and Pence’s stances on Jerusalem and the peace process were, he wrote, rooted in the “us versus them” American identity politics of evangelicals that liberals view with disdain.
To this way of thinking, Pence’s instinctive identification with America’s only democratic ally in the region, his robust support for Israel’s right to exist, its claim on its ancient capital Jerusalem and the need for its opponents to come to terms with these facts is just another version of the Trump administration’s immigration policies or its views on abortion. But what Trump and Pence’s critics get wrong is not so much their critique of the details of their policies as it is their resistance to the notion that America’s love for Israel is rooted in its religious heritage as well as its national interests.
How did any sentiments such as Pence’s words on Jewish rights or even a recognition of the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital come to be seen as just another front in America’s increasingly bitter partisan wars? Is it really the fault of Republicans or Christian conservatives? Or is rather that some on the left have come to embrace intersectionality—a view of the world in which Israel is falsely accused of being a colonial power oppressing a group that is identified as the moral equivalent of those who are made to suffer because of their race, gender or sexual preference? For the growing numbers who subscribe to this view, Israel is just another front in the great divide between left and right in which Pence’s stands are easily demonized.
But no matter how you feel about Trump, Pence or the views of evangelicals on social issues, what is really troubling about the way some left-wingers are so quick to lash out at the administration’s stands in such a way as to demonize normative pro-Israel positions. The reality check needed here is not for the administration and its supporters but for those so deeply identified with the “resistance,” which made its voice heard last weekend in marches around the country, that anything the president or vice president say on any subject must somehow be shoehorned into a narrative about how awful they are. There was nothing particularly controversial in either the president’s remarks on Jerusalem last month or Pence’s speech today from the point of view of the pursuit of peace. Neither Trump nor Pence precluded a two-solution or even a re-division of Jerusalem in order to accommodate a Palestinian capital if that was part of a peace plan accepted by both sides.
It was significant that Pence quoted George Washington and John Adams in his Knesset speech. Few American Jews know that the first U.S. president to endorse a Jewish state wasn’t Harry Truman or anyone else in the 20th century. It was Adams, the nation’s first vice president and second president. That demonstrates just how far back into America’s political history backing for Zionism goes. That vast numbers of Americans are inspired by the Bible to support Jewish rights in their ancient homeland isn’t so much a function of the left-right conflict as it is an integral part of the nation’s political culture. Those turned off by Pence’s rhetoric need to ask what exactly it is about a desire to respect Jewish rights and demand that Palestinians give up their century-old war on Zionism that annoys them so much.
Nor is there anything intrinsically right-wing or crazy about Pence’s declaration that the Iran nuclear deal must be renegotiated to end the sunset clauses that will enable Tehran to legally seek a weapon once the accord expires within a decade. President Barack Obama vowed to end Iran’s nuclear program and to never to allow Iran to obtain a bomb, but the only way those promises can be fulfilled are by the measures Trump and Pence advocate. For those who can’t listen to anything coming out of this administration without re-interpreting it through the lens of the resistance, Pence’s moving comments about the ties between America and Israel may seem like a creepy conservative plot against liberal values. But if that’s how you heard it, the problem isn’t in Pence’s rhetoric, but in a rejection of a belief that the overwhelming majority of American still rightly view as a consensus issue.
David M. Weinberg
Israel Hayom, Jan. 25, 2018
I've been privileged to attend the two great speeches of this decade in the Knesset plenum: that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (exactly four years ago, January 20, 2014) and that of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (this week). Two uplifting experiences: one moral and one spiritual. I felt that each speech was an epoch-making event that perhaps transforms the course of history. I felt in the presence of something momentous.
In his soaring speech to the Knesset, Harper articulated a principled approach that calls out the hypocrisies and shames the injustices of what too often passes as "politically correct" policy regarding Israel. He savaged the campaign to boycott and isolate Israel. "In the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy 'to go along to get along' and single out Israel. But such 'going along to get along,' is not a 'balanced' approach, nor a 'sophisticated' one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong. Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant. And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.
"As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening. In much of the Western world, the old hatred, crude anti-Semitism, has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East."
And in this ugly environment, Harper emphatically concluded, "Support today for the Jewish State of Israel is more than a moral imperative. It is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own long-term interests." And then there was Harper's thundering finale which brought me and everybody in the room to their feet (for a 15th time): "Through fire and water Canada will stand by Israel!" The speech was incredibly important validation for Israelis and supporters of Israel everywhere who at times feel outcast or are afflicted by self-doubt – given the daily battering and vituperation of Israel's enemies.
Came Harper and said: Fret not. Israel may not be perfect, but the problem isn't you. It's the nasty way others are judging you. Israel doesn't merit the vicious and violent criticism it is being treated to. The anti-Israel narrative is not supported by the facts on the ground, and this narrative is just another iteration of the age-old hatred from which Jews have suffered for two millennia. Harper also mildly anchored his support for Israel in the Jewish people's Biblical lineage, noting in an earlier speech on Israel's 60th anniversary that "the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made their way home. Their pilgrimage was the culmination of a 2,000-year-old dream."
Pence picked up where Harper left off, adopting a metahistorical perspective and adding a spiritual dimension to the case for Israel. For Pence, Israel's resurgence as a modern nation-state in its ancient homeland is nothing less than biblical prophecy actualized. "As I stand in Abraham's 'Promised Land,' I believe that all who cherish freedom, and seek a brighter future, should cast their eyes here to this place and marvel at what they behold. How unlikely was Israel's birth; how more unlikely has been her survival. And how confounding, and against the odds, has been her thriving. You have turned the desert into a garden, scarcity into plenty, sickness into health, and you turned hope into a future.
"Israel is like a tree that has grown deep roots in the soil of your forefathers, yet as it grows, it reaches ever closer to the heavens. And today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel, and all the Jewish people, bear witness to God's faithfulness, as well as your own. It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again. And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again. The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that 'even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,' from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed."
Then Pence turned to Jerusalem, and explained the Trump administration's decision to recognize it as Israel's capital by saying: "The Jewish people's unbreakable bond to this sacred city reaches back more than 3,000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in God. It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government. And so we will 'pray for the peace of Jerusalem.' That 'those who love you be secure,' that 'there be peace within your walls, and security in your citadels.' We will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit 'under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.'"…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
New Israeli Exhibit Highlights Power of Photos in Holocaust: Aron Heller, National Post, Jan. 25, 2018—Staring at grainy video footage of Jewish children marching to their freedom though the barbed-wire fences of the Auschwitz death camp, 79-year-old Vera Kriegel Grossman excitedly points a finger at the screen upon identifying a dark-haired girl in a dirty striped uniform as her 6-year-old self.
Is Ukraine’s Holocaust Memorial at Babi Yar in Trouble?: Izabella Tabarovsky, Tablet, Jan. 24, 2018—Babi Yar, a patchwork of ravines outside Kyiv where 33,771 Jews were executed by firing squads on Sept. 29-30, 1941, is the most potent symbol of the “Holocaust by bullets” in the Nazi-occupied Soviet territories. Yet more than 75 years after the murder of 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews—a quarter of all Holocaust victims and more than half of all Jews murdered in the Holocaust in the USSR—Babi Yar remains an orphan among the sites of global memory of the Holocaust.
Accomplices to the Holocaust: Mordecai Paldiel, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2018—Many people refer to the oft-quoted admonition by British political thinker Edmund Burke – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – without applying it to modern events, such as the Holocaust. On January 27, we shall again commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most heinous place ever designed by human beings.
Dear Mr. Ambassador, Why is Canada Funding Anti-Semitism?: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Jan. 18, 2018—Dear Ambassador Blanchard, I understand that you plan to visit Israel next week and the West Bank as well. In light of the long overdue attention focused recently on UNRWA — the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees — a key client in your portfolio, I presume you are popping into the region to better understand the relevant issues.