Yesterday, CIJR published UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer’s National Post article, “Letting An Anti-Semitic Truther Speak Is A Disgrace To McGill,” describing Montreal-based McGill University’s decision to offer a platform to Richard Falk, thereby legitimating his explicit anti-Semitism. Of the many emotions stirred by this gross violation of ethical conduct, justified under the banner of “freedom of speech” by a purported institution of “higher learning”, my overwhelming sentiment was one of disappointment—not directed at McGill, mind you, since such “lapses in judgment” have become the norm throughout academia, but rather at the leadership of Montreal’s organized Jewish community.
I am disappointed that Falk’s planned appearance was not dutifully made known to the greater public ahead of time, despite the advance knowledge of various influential individuals.
CIJR last Sunday convened its International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel,” in which the perverted, global campaign to demonize Israel, spearheaded by the likes of Richard Falk, was analyzed. One thing was made clear: the world’s “Richard Falks” are inflicting immeasurable harm on the Jewish state, and organized Jewish communities worldwide are not doing enough to fight back.
My experience has taught that the only way to counter anti-Semitism—nowadays commonly masked in terms of the much more “fashionable” anti-Israelism—is to mobilize when confronted, and to denounce the perpetrators openly in the public sphere, while simultaneously exerting pressure on their facilitators. In this instance, McGill University could have been condemned by the Jewish and non-Jewish communities, pointing to the fact that Richard Falk’s blatant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities do not coincide with McGill’s supposed commitment to “providing service to society…by virtue of academic strengths.” Grassroots efforts, including the enlistment of McGill students, could have been made to organize protests—not against free speech, but rather against hate speech, a crucial distinction that is too often blurred.
Unfortunately, due to having kept Richard Falk’s appearance off the Montreal community’s radar, those in the know, for whatever reason, ensured that such recourse could not be effectively organized.
As such, it is my sincere hope that in the future Montreal’s leaders will have sense to convey to the larger community the information it needs in order to safeguard not only the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel, but the university itself as a precious repository of true free speech and academic freedom.
–Charles Bybelezer, CIJR Publications Chairman
KRISTALLNACHT, 1938—THE UNLEASHING OF THE HOLOCAUST
November 9, 1938, “the night of broken glass.” The official German propaganda was that Kristallnacht represented a spontaneous response by an angry Germany to a Jewish crime: Ernst von Roth, the secretary at the German embassy in Paris, was shot on November 7 by a Jewish boy distraught over the state of his Polish-Jewish parents, who were mercilessly deported by the Nazis from Hanover along with thousands of other Polish Jews in Germany.
“In twenty-four hours of street violence, ninety-one Jews were killed, more than thirty thousand were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Before most of them were released two to three months later, as many as a thousand had been murdered.” (Martin Gilbert: The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War; New York: Holt Reinhart and Winston, 1985.)
The destruction of the synagogues led the German Nazis to call that night “Kristallnacht”—the night of [broken] glass. These words were chosen deliberately to mock and belittle the horrendous crime. (I lived through a similar tragedy between January 21-23, 1941, in Bucharest, Romania, where 130 Jews were tortured and killed, homes and stores were torched and vandalized, and twenty-five synagogues were destroyed. It signalized the beginning of the Holocaust in Romania.)
Remember! The world was silent!
We Jews must ensure that there will never be another Kristallnacht. The appalling resurgence in global anti-semitism, under the banner of political correctness and prejudice against the Jewish people, and the infectious virus of worldwide hatred directed against the state of Israel, requires us to proclaim in clear, unambiguous language: never again!
Kristallnachtwill never occur again!
Today’s United Nations is a shameful copy of the infamous Geneva institution, the League of Nations. The United Nations tribune is a discredited podium that permits a new Hitler, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to menace the world with global terror. This Mahmoud calls clearly for the destruction of the only democratic state in the Middle East, the Jewish state of Israel. Yet the world again remains silent.
Remember Kristallnacht! Massada will never fall again! Kristallnacht must never be allowed to occur again. Am Israel Chai! The Jewish people lives!
Do not be silent in the face of hatred, discrimination, and the delegitimation of the Jewish state of Israel.
(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)
AN OMINOUS RECKONING
Robert S. Wistrich
Jerusalem Post, November 7, 2011
Seventy-three years ago, on November 9, 1938, the murderous Nazi onslaught against the German Jews began with a nation-wide pogrom that smashed the fabric of their existence. Known euphemistically as Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night”), this state-organized orgy of violence happened in peacetime. It involved the systematic burning of hundreds of synagogues, the destruction of approximately 7,500 Jewish businesses, the murder of nearly 100 Jews, and the deportation of another 30,000 male Jews to German concentration camps.
It was a crucial turning-point in Hitler’s “war against the Jews,” a major signpost on the road leading to World War II, which Nazi Germany would initiate less than a year later.
Nazi propaganda, already then, openly warned about the imminent annihilation of Jewry through “fire and sword,” though few in the West took these threats too seriously.
Today, there is no immediate danger of a new Kristallnacht in the Western world, although levels of anti-Semitism (hiding under the more acceptable mask of hostility towards Israel) have reached levels unprecedented since 1945. But in the Middle East, the hatred of Jews burns much more fiercely—both in Iran and in the Arab world.
Islamist anti-Semitism, in particular, is soaked in some of the most inflammatory motifs that made the Kristallnacht atrocities possible in Nazi Germany and only three years later provided the rationale for the mass murder of European Jewry. For example, there is the pervasive exploitation in Arabic of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with its insistence on the reality of the “Jewish conspiracy for world domination”; there is a revival of the medieval Christian blood-libel against Jews, transplanted from Europe to the contemporary Arab-Muslim Middle East; and the mass diffusion of stereotypes about the Jews as cruel, treacherous and bloodthirsty colonialists seeking to destroy the identity and beliefs of the Muslim peoples.
To this, one must add the slanderous but widely popular identification of Zionism with Nazism and apartheid and the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians—a Goebbels-like propaganda lie that has also found a growing audience in the West.
However contradictory it may appear to some, the Zionism-is-Nazism fabrication co-exists in the Middle East today with Holocaust denial on a broad scale. Indeed, in Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Holocaust denial has become a state-sponsored weapon in the regime’s efforts to win over the Arab street and indoctrinate its own people with anti-Jewish toxins.
The increasingly entrenched anti-Semitism in the Arab world has not, unfortunately, been diminished by the “Arab Spring.” Earlier this year, Sheikh Yusuf al- Qaradawi, one of the most authoritative religious leaders of the Sunni Arab world (and especially esteemed by the Muslim Brotherhood), told a million Egyptians assembled in Tahrir Square that he hoped their mission would be to complete Hitler’s work. Al- Qaradawi, an immensely popular cleric, publicly insisted that the esteemed German Fuhrer had been sent by Allah as a “divine punishment for the Jews.” Not long before, CBS’s foreign correspondent Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted and brutalized in the heart of Cairo by a mob of Egyptian men screaming “Jew, Jew, Jew.” Logan is not, in fact, Jewish. But this aspect of her ordeal was, typically enough, very much downplayed by both the American and European media.
There has indeed been very little appetite in the West for reporting on the Jew-hatred that saturates the Arab world. Arab nations (not least, the Palestinians) are never held to the standard expected of the rest of the world when it comes to racism, sexism or Judeophobia.
Hence, precious little reference is made to the genocidal anti-Semitism that runs through the “Sacred Covenant” of the Palestinian Hamas, any more than the West was unduly concerned with Haj Amin al-Husseini’s role in the Holocaust of European Jewry. Haj Amin, a Hitlerian anti-Semite if ever there was one, dominated the Palestinian Arab national movement for nearly forty years, leaving a legacy of hatred that would poison the Middle East for decades.
The Arab demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state has continued uninterruptedly since 1948. It has yet to be challenged by the Arab revolutions of 2011. The leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, did nothing to improve the atmosphere by his recent denial at the UN that the Jews are a people with a profound historic connection to the land of Israel. His negation of Israel’s most basic rights and Jewish identity is of a piece with his brazenly racist insistence that the new Palestinian State should be “Jew-free.”
Nothing that has happened thus far in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia—where the Islamic movements have emerged greatly strengthened—leads me to believe that Arab anti- Semitism has been significantly weakened. The bogeyman of the “world Zionist conspiracy” is, unfortunately, still with us. Arab tyrants (as in Syria) continue to use it as an “opium for the masses,” but it also has powerful roots in popular Arab culture as well as in political Islam.
Even more sobering is the fact that the sickening anti-Jewish racism in Iran and the Arab world is nourished by so many Arab theologians, intellectuals, journalists, artists, deans of university faculties and so-called academic “experts.” In other words, the raw, primitive, street-hatred of the Jews has cultural and intellectual legitimacy among the educated elites, as it once did in Nazi Germany.
Over seven decades ago, Kristallnacht was an unmistakable warning to the rest of Europe as to where “eliminationist anti-Semitism” would lead. It went largely unheeded. Millions of non-Jews as well as two-thirds of European Jewry would pay the ultimate price for this blindness. As Iran moves towards acquiring nuclear weapons and vows to annihilate Israel, will history repeat itself? Will the West remain silent? For Israel, the moment of reckoning comes closer by the day.
(The writer is the director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study
of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of A Lethal Obsession:
Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad [Random House, 2010].)
Media-ocrity of the Week
“I can’t stand him anymore, he is a liar.”—France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a conversation with US president Barack Obama that was overheard by reporters at the G20 summit, chastising Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Obama then replied, “You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.” (Wall Street Journal, November 8.)
The following is a response by CIJRsupporter Victor Redlick, Toronto:
The elevator shoe-wearing French President was caught on an open G20 mic, telling the lanky US President, that he ‘couldn’t stand Netenyahu’ and that ‘he was a liar’; to which the diplomatically-challenged dupe, Obama, agreeably chimed in, ‘Are you kidding me? I’ve got to deal with him every day.’ Funny thing is the smarmy, petit Sarkozy is widely quoted to have said he doesn’t think much of the ‘naive’ Obama either. Typical. Here’s a very unpopular French leader and part-time concubine of the Middle East emirs and despots—in trouble up to his cuisses de grenouilles in pretty well all aspects of French life—bogusly convincing the gullible, way-out-of-his-league US president that he’s a confidant. But then none of the other G20 members think much of Sarkozy or Obama either. Ironically, while most of them are in such gravely deep, domestic trouble in their own respective nations, many of them, nevertheless, continue to concentrate on wastefully vilifying Israel, every chance they collectively get. Israel has better things to do. If only the others did.
“The significance of the report is that the international community must bring about the cessation of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, which endanger the peace of the world and of the Middle East.”—Statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office, calling on the international community to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showing Tehran has worked on designing an atomic bomb. (Jerusalem Post, November 9.)
“The facts lay out an overwhelming case that this was a pretty sophisticated nuclear weapons effort aimed at miniaturizing a warhead for a ballistic missile.”—David Albright, a U.S. expert in nuclear proliferation, commenting on the IAEA’s report detailing Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. (Globe & Mail, November 9.)
“Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet: ‘His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.…’ I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation. Yours sincerely, Arthur James Balfour.”—The Balfour Declaration, which celebrated its 94th anniversary on November 2nd, formalizing Britain’s 1917 commitment to create a Jewish state in the Jewish people’s biblical heartland. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, November 3.)
“Many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of [his] murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets and that Arafat wasn’t delivering the goods. Father after all wasn’t a blind man running forward without thought.… He was someone for whom the security of the state was sacrosanct.”—Dalia Rabin, confirming that her father, former Israeli Prime Minister and signatory of the Oslo Accords, Yitzchak Rabin, considered cancelling the “peace process” prior to his death, due to Palestinian intransigence and the threat posed to Israel’s security. November 9, 2011 marks the 16th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, z”l. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, November 4.)
“By boycotting negotiations and by going instead to the United Nations, they [the Palestinians] have reneged on a central tenet of Oslo.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reaffirming that the Palestinian pursuit of unilateral statehood constitutes a gross violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords with Israel. (Jerusalem Post, November 8.)
“In common with France, and in consultation with our European partners, the United Kingdom will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN.”—Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, confirming that, like France, Britain will abstain in any United Nations Security Council vote on full Palestinian membership. At present, it is believed that the Palestinians do not have the requisite support of nine Security Council members for their membership request to be approved. (Jerusalem Post, November 9.)
“At the ceremony Abbas held in their honor in Ramallah, he…praised these individuals for their ‘courage and sacrifice.’ The atrocities referred to by Abbas as acts of ‘courage’…include the murders of scores of innocents, including women and children.… I feel it incumbent upon myself to present these facts to you…in order to ensure that the full facts are before you, as you deliberate on whether to continue extending financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority.”—Member of Israel’s Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Moshe Matalon, in a letter to the budget committees of the US Senate and EU Parliament, condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ glorification of “unrepentant terrorists” released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal, and informing foreign governments of a $5000 stipend paid by Abbas to each freed Palestinian prisoner with US and EU tax dollars.[It has also been reported that Abbas will provide new housing for each released Palestinian criminal—Ed.] (Jerusalem Post, November 3.)
“The West Bank and Gaza have another section in Palestine which is the Palestinian coast that spreads along the [Mediterranean] sea, from…Ashkelon in the south to Haifa in the Carmel Mountains. Haifa is a well-known Palestinian port. [Haifa] enjoyed a high status among Arabs and Palestinians especially before it fell to the occupation [Israel] in 1948. To its north, we find Acre. East of Acre, we reach a city with history and importance, the city of Tiberias, near a famous lake, the Sea of Galilee. Jaffa, an ancient coastal city, is the bride of the sea, and Palestine’s gateway to the world.”—Excerpt from a Palestinian Authority TV “educational” broadcast, aired dozens of times since 2007 and most recently on November 1, 2011, describing the Israeli cities of Haifa, Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa and the Sea of Galilee as Palestinian. (Palestinian Media Watch, November 1.)
IAEA: IRAN DEVELOPING NUCLEAR ARMS—(Jerusalem) According to a new report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has been working on developing a nuclear-weapon design, and carried out testing relevant for such arms. In its most detailed report to date on Tehran’s nuclear program, the IAEA reiterated its “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” and said that data “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” Tehran’s ambassador to the IAEA rejected the report as “unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated,” and Iran’s official news agency stated that the findings “repeat the Zionist regime’s claims.” The US State Department said it needed time to study the report and declined to make any immediate comment on its contents. According to diplomats, Israel is now expecting the US to take the lead in pushing to impose tougher, new sanctions on Iran. (Jerusalem Post & Ynet News, November 8.)
PERES: CHANCE FOR IRAN DIPLOMACY FADING, MILITARY OPTION CLOSER—(Jerusalem) Israeli President Shimon Peres believes Israel is closer to utilizing a military option in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program than it is to finding a diplomatic solution to the threat. In an interview with Channel 2, the president suggested that the media speculation about a potential attack on Iran may have some basis in truth: “Intelligence services in many countries are looking at the clock and warning their leaders that not much time remains,” Peres said. He also asserted that Iran could be as close as six months from becoming nuclear-armed and it is Israel’s role to warn the world of the danger. (Jerusalem Post, November 4.)
UK MILITARY STEPS UP PLANS FOR IRAN ATTACK—(London) Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential US-led military action against Iran. According to British Defense Ministry officials, military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles as part of what would be an air and sea campaign. Recently, the New York Times reported that the US was looking to build up its military presence in the Middle East, with one eye on Iran. According to the paper, the US is considering sending more naval warships to the area, and is seeking to expand military ties with the six countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council. Next week, a report will be issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency which is expected to provide fresh evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. (Guardian, November 2.)
U.S. BACKS AWAY FROM SANCTIONS ON IRAN CENTRAL BANK—(Washington) The Obama administration has backed away from its calls to impose new and potentially crippling economic sanctions against Iran. Though U.S. officials recently declared that they would “hold Iran accountable” for its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons as well as a purported plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, they have since backtracked, claiming that a move against Iran’s central bank could disrupt international oil markets and further damage the reeling American economy. Sanctioning the Central Bank of Iran would further isolate Iran by barring any firm that does business with it from transacting with U.S. financial institutions. (LA Times, November 4.)
US RELEASES HOLD ON $200 MILLION IN PA SECURITY FUNDS—(Jerusalem) US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has released the block on aid to the Palestinian Authority after the Obama administration convinced her that funds support US and Israeli interests. Ros-Lehtinen said that she would release her block on two separate sections of security aid, an about-face that clears the way for the PA to receive almost $200 million. An additional $200 million in economic assistance is still being withheld by both the US State and Foreign Relations Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Funds to the PA were frozen by Congress in August, in response to the PA’s strategy of seeking unilateral recognition of statehood at the UN. (Jerusalem Post, November 7.)
ISRAEL HALTS $2 MILLION PAYMENTS TO UNESCO—(Jerusalem) Israel has halted its $2 million annual payment to UNESCO, in protest over its decision to accept “Palestine” as its 195th member. In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “Such steps [the UNESCO vote] distance peace, they don’t advance it. The only path to peace is through the immediate resumption of negotiations without preconditions.” The US has also frozen its funding of UNESCO, although the UN’s cultural body is appealing to Washington to rescind its decision. (Jerusalem Post, November 3.)