Why They Keep Leaving Jews Out of the Holocaust: Rafael Medoff, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017— The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews.
An Antisemitic Smear Gets Another Hearing: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Oct. 9, 2017— Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore.
Out of Bethlehem: Mitri Raheb's Empire of Lies: Dexter Van Zile, Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017 — Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate.
Poland 2017: Tears And Tribute: Ettie Kryksman, Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017— In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return.
Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017
France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017
In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017
I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017
The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews. Unfortunately, Canadian Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly has compounded the original error, by announcing that the new plaque will acknowledge “the six million Jews, as well as the five million other victims, that were murdered during the Holocaust.”
There is, in fact, no historical basis for that “five million” figure. Yet it keeps cropping up, cited by people who apparently assume it’s true just because a lot of other people keep saying it is. After critics blasted the Trump administration for neglecting to mention Jews in its January 2017 statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, White House spokesperson Hope Hicks said the administration was trying to be “inclusive of all those who suffered.” She then provided a link to a Huffington Post UK article titled “The Holocaust’s Forgotten Victims: the 5 Million Non-Jewish People Killed by the Nazis.”
A busy White House spokesperson doesn’t have time to start researching Holocaust statistics. That’s understandable. Evidently she assumed a reputable news outlet would not run such an article without basic fact-checking. Also understandable. But she was mistaken. The author of the article was Louise Ridley, an assistant news editor at HuffPost UK who specializes in “media, social affairs and gender,” according to her tag line.
Ridley described some of the groups that were persecuted, in differing degrees, by the Nazis, such as gays, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. Her list also included “communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, trade unionists, and resistance fighters.” And she pointed out that the Nazis murdered several thousand priests. The Nazis also murdered millions of Polish civilians and Soviet prisoners of war. In fact, the total number of non-Jews killed by the Hitler regime far surpasses five million. But none of that was part of the Holocaust.
The Germans murdered a lot of innocent people, for a variety of reasons. But the only ones who were targeted for complete annihilation, and whom the Nazis hunted down, in country after country, for the sole purpose of murdering them, were the Jews. The term “Holocaust” was coined to refer to that specific historical event. Don’t blame Louise Ridley or Hope Hicks for the confusion. It was Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi-hunter, who was first responsible for spreading the “five million” figure. Confronted many years ago by Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, Wiesenthal said he invented the idea of “five million non-Jewish victims” because he thought it would help get non-Jews more interested in the Holocaust. One can understand Wiesenthal’s concern. But he chose the wrong way to address it.
The President’s Commission on the Holocaust, appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1978 and chaired by Elie Wiesel, specifically warned against “any attempt to dilute” the Jewish nature of the Holocaust “in the name of misguided universalism.” But the Wiesenthal formulation appealed to White House aides who liked the idea of making the Holocaust more ecumenical, even at the price of historical accuracy. As a result, Carter’s October 1979 executive order establishing the US Holocaust Memorial Council – which then created the US Holocaust Memorial Museum – referred to the Holocaust as “the systematic and State-sponsored extermination of six million Jews and some five million other peoples by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.”
Prof. Walter Reich, former executive director of the US Holocaust Museum, has written, “And so the executive order… officially defined the Holocaust in a way that realized Wiesel’s great fear – that the Holocaust would be defined as an event in which 11 million people, six million Jews and five million non-Jews, had been killed, and that the crucial distinction between the planned and systematic extermination of all Jews on racial grounds, and the killing of civilian non-Jews on, say, political grounds – in response to resistance, or because of acts of collective reprisal or brutality – would be lost.”
Simon Wiesenthal picked a number of non-Jewish victims that was high enough to seem substantial but still a little less than the number of Jewish victims. He thought that formulation would still keep Jews as the primary focus. Evidently he didn’t realize how easy it would be for someone – even an American or Canadian government official – to slide down the slippery slope from “a Holocaust of Jews and non-Jews,” to a Holocaust without Jews at all. It’s just not that far from a Holocaust of everybody to a Holocaust of nobody in particular.
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, Oct. 9, 2017
Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore. Plame gained fame due to her unmasking, which occurred when her husband was a prominent critic of the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq war policy. But her status as a liberal icon took a hit when she retweeted an antisemitic polemic that claimed that Jews were responsible for pushing the US into wars in the Middle East for Israel’s sake.
Plame defended the piece, before eventually issuing a weasel-worded apology that further damaged her reputation. But the interesting aspect of this incident was the way that some critics of Israel sought to disassociate their attacks on the Jewish state from the sort of antisemitic invective that Plame had promoted. The Washington Post’s Molly Roberts, for example, whined that Plame’s open hate discredited an otherwise reasonable argument about Israel and its friends playing the puppet master on unsuspecting Americans.
While almost all of the attention devoted to antisemitism in the weeks since the Charlottesville incident has been devoted to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, Roberts was unhappy that the attention devoted to Plame changed the narrative to one about the “intolerant left” and because it undermined her desire to have a debate about “the outsize role Israel plays in American foreign policy.” But the problem is that those who single out Israel and its supporters traffic in age-old antisemitic themes that cannot be disguised as scholarship or legitimate debate.
What Roberts seems to want is a rehashing of the “Israel Lobby” thesis, which was promoted by authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt a decade ago. They claimed that Israel and its supporters, especially the AIPAC lobby, were buying the votes of members of Congress to do Israel’s bidding — and that this was harming the best interests of Americans. As it happens, Walt resurfaced this week with an article in The Forward, in which he claimed that “history proved us right” — and defended his smears against the pro-Israel community.
But the “Israel Lobby” thesis was based on two big lies. One was that, in Walt and Mearsheimer’s telling, the effort to impose the pro-Israel agenda on America was a conspiracy so vast that it contradicted the authors’ premise that a minority was manipulating a majority. Since most Americans support Israel and view it as a fellow democracy with common values, the claim that the Jewish tail is wagging the American dog is absurd. Second, the nature of Walt and Mearsheimer’s arguments hinged on antisemitic stereotypes about Jews buying influence or manipulating unsuspecting gentiles. The focus on the Israel “lobby” as the greatest force in US politics was also a distortion that ignored the work of other, more powerful lobbies. Singling out Israel and its supporters in this manner betrayed an agenda that was built on prejudice, not a defense of American interests.
While Walt continues to deny the antisemitic nature of his work, it is telling that in his Forward article, he cited — among other things — the rise of Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that engages in openly antisemitic and anti-Zionist incitement, as proof that his stand was correct. He and Roberts ignore the reality of the Mideast conflict, in which a Palestinian political culture rejects peace on any terms, and where Israel’s destruction is the only genuine obstacle to the conflict’s resolution.
While most Jews are still focused on President Donald Trump’s wrongheaded comments about Charlottesville, the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly hostile to Israel. After eight years during which President Barack Obama’s efforts to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government only worsened the conflict with the Palestinians — and Obama’s appeasement of Iran drove Sunni Arab states into the arms of the Israelis — talk of a suppressed debate about the Jewish state’s disproportionate influence in the US is ridiculous.
But now that we have a president who, despite other obvious faults, isn’t obsessed with the idea of “saving Israel from itself” or empowering an Iranian regime that is as much of a threat to the US and the Arab states as it is to Israel,it’s unsurprising that some on the left want to revive this dishonest discussion. In the 10 years since The Israel Lobby was first published, a rising tide of antisemitism has swept across the globe, fueled in part by smears of Israel and Jews — just like the ones that Walt has helped spread. That is an indictment of his work, not a vindication. Those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining US interests without being rightly labeled as antisemites aren’t fooling anyone.
Dexter Van Zile
Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017
Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate. He did not celebrate the attack per se, but the mass protests that convinced the Israeli government to remove metal detectors it installed near the Temple Mount after the murders.
Raheb posted a video montage of his July 27, 2017 visit to Al Aqsa, two days after the attack. The montage, which was posted on Youtube and broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, shows Raheb standing arm-in-arm with other Palestinian pastors and paying his respects to Muslim leaders outside the mosque. In a Tweet linking to the montage, Raheb declared that his visit to Al Aqsa — where imams regularly spout hatred against Jews — was an “unforgettable night … demonstrating faith in the space of Empire and Christian-Muslim unity as a tool of creative resistance.” In response, one of Raheb’s fans declared the Lutheran Pastor from Bethlehem a Palestinian “national treasure.”
Most Christian peacemakers would consider it bad form to engage in exultant displays of solidarity with a political movement that uses anti-Jewish violence and hatred as a unifying agenda, but Raheb has been offering displays like this for years. From Raheb’s perspective as an anti-Israel agitator and approval-seeking dhimmi, his visit to Al Aqsa was a smashing success. It allowed him an opportunity to shroud jihadist violence behind veils of “creative resistance” and inter-religious “unity” between Christians and Muslims – never mind that the unity he lauded is rooted in a shared contempt for Jews and their state.
Raheb’s rhetoric was almost enough to make people forget that the drama surrounding metal detectors at the Temple Mount began with Palestinian terrorists shooting two unsuspecting Israeli police officers — one of them a father of a newborn baby — at close range, killing them. If Hail Stawi and Kaamil Snaan had not been ambushed by murderers who had been lying in wait for them on the Temple Mount, no metal detectors would have been installed, no protests would have taken place, and Raheb would have no “creative resistance” to celebrate.
The entire drama surrounding the metal detectors, and the murders that served as its opening act, were not rooted in a desire for freedom or self-determination for Palestinians, but in the unifying agenda of anti-Jewish hate, making the spectacle of Raheb’s visit — and his social media campaign drawing attention to it — ghoulish and horrifying. As a pastor, he should have been mourning the hatred that drove the drama he was participating in, but there he was fanning its flames — on the same stone pavement where the attack unfolded.
Instead of trying to calm and challenge the anti-Israel hostility that unaccountable Palestinian elites have used to stay in power for decades, Raheb aligned himself with it to stay in the good graces with the corrupt authoritarian kleptocrats who control the West Bank.
It’s good work if you can get it. Because of his ties and utility to the Palestinian Authority, Raheb has been able to build something of an empire in the West Bank. In addition to serving many years as pastor at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem (a position now held by Munther Isaac), Raheb is founder and president of the Diyar Consortium, a non-profit that provides social services to people in the West Bank. He is also founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, often described as the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. An empire like this — which includes a medical center, a cultural center and a publishing house — cannot be built in the West Bank without the support of the Palestinian Authority, which does not come free.
Because of his entrepreneurial ways, Raheb was able to establish the college on land previously owned by Lutheran missionaries from Germany and which the British had confiscated during World War I. The land eventually fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Yassir Arafat. Raheb approached Arafat with architectural plans prepared by a prominent architect and asked for the land back so he could start his college. “With some arm-twisting, we were able to get at least six acres back of that land,” Raheb told an American audience in 2016. “Arafat said, ‘OK, you have to prove that the first building will be up and running because many people want that piece of land.’ It’s really prime land.” These days the college has five buildings.
To support the college and other institutions in Bethlehem, Raheb has founded a U.S. charity, Bright Stars of Bethlehem. Between 2009 and 2015 the charity raised a total of $5.5 million, helping Raheb’s empire of non-profits become the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. Like all empires, Raheb’s promotes a story that legitimizes its existence to itself and to its core constituents, which in this case are proponents of Israel’s destruction in Palestinian society and anti-Zionist activists in North America and Europe.
Raheb needs the support of both groups to maintain his empire in the West Bank. The first group — Israel haters in Palestinian society — allow him to function as a Christian in the West Bank and the second group — Israel haters in the West — provide him with the funds he needs to maintain his empire financially. Both of these groups use anti-Israel hostility as an instrument to achieve and maintain status in their respective societies. Raheb simply gives them the story they need to justify their hostility.
An important aspect of this story, which was on display during his visit to the Temple Mount, is that Israeli violence against the Palestinians is highlighted and condemned while Palestinian violence is ignored or hidden behind a veil of euphemism and obfuscation. This narrative has been the bread and butter of Palestinian Christian propaganda for quite some time. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, was an earlier (but not the first) purveyor of this story, which Raheb has propounded for years.
This narrative is clearly evident in Raheb’s 2004 book, Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble (Fortress Press). In this text, the pastor from Bethlehem tells the story of Israel’s 2002 invasion of the West Bank, which began on April 2 of that year. He talks about the tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters that Israel sent into to the West Bank and he describes the destruction wreaked upon the church where he was pastor…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017
In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return. It was a somber march to the end of the path where a huge memorial pit gave testimony to unspeakable atrocities. Walking through this forest we tried to but could not fathom the thoughts of those innocent souls whose footsteps still resound in the Lupochowa forest.
The entire Jewish community of Tykocin marched down this path to their deaths. Men, women, and children all passed these trees, fearing but not knowing their final destination – until they came to a huge clearing where there was no place left to go. The forest surely trembled as the trees stood in muted silence while the Nazis’ methodical campaign of death by bullets was carried out. Within minutes an entire village was exterminated.
I am a child of Holocaust survivors. I know what the Nazis did to my family and to the Jewish people. Everyone in my mother’s family was killed. I have never seen my grandparents. I have no photographs or family mementos from grandparents, aunts, or uncles. I always wondered what my grandparents looked like. I will never know. Why, people asked me, would I want to go on a trip to Poland? It’s so depressing. It’s too hard to bear. You already know what happened. Why go there? And yet, until I walked through the woods where an entire town was wiped out, until I stood in a forest just outside Tarnow, where 900 children were killed, I felt there was no way I could pay proper tribute to their memories.
We stared silently at a memorial where those hundreds of children were shot. Dolls and flowers had been placed there, commemorating those precious children, snatched from their parents in the cruelest of ways. We thought of our own children and grandchildren and realized how fortunate we are to have them. We cried as we imagined the confusion, the terror, the abject fear of those precious souls before they were killed. It was impossible to comprehend that this had really happened. And yet, in that place of unspeakable horror, the inconceivable did happen. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, stand today as memorials to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people fewer than eight decades ago. In each of the death camps, as were led by our tour guide, Rabbi Michael Olshin from Israel, we said Kaddish and made Keil Molehs.
It was the month of Elul and a member of our tour group had brought a shofar. We somberly remembered our grandparents and entire families who perished there as we listened to the cries of the shofar piercing the silence, assuring the souls surrounding us that we attest, here and now, that they will never be forgotten. Yet amid all the memories of an almost lost generation, new life rises from the ashes. We have come back with a promise fulfilled; a promise for the future. We have continued to build. Our families have continued to grow. We have not succumbed. We have not been defeated. We have not been reduced to relics of a once vibrant people. We are alive and thriving, Baruch Hashem. At each memorial we were uplifted by the sight of the blue and white flags of the state of Israel, placed there as reminders: “Never again.”
We will continue to visit, though our hearts are heavy and our tears flow freely. So, yes, the trip is an emotional and difficult journey, but at the very least those who perished merit our prayers and our tears. We came to tell them they are not forgotten and did not die in vain…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017—Rarely do local Canadian events receive widespread “real-time” attention in Europe, America and Israel, with coverage in top-tier media, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC.
France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017—The French admissions of Holocaust guilt, which came many decades too late, are currently being contested by important French politicians. This year the truth of contemporary France as the legal successor of the Vichy regime was denied by two extremist candidates in the presidential elections, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon.
In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017—On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths.
I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017—Landing in Israel was an experience like no other. I’d heard about the feeling of arriving at Ben Gurion from friends and colleagues I have met since founding the Pakistan Israel Alliance, but I certainly didn’t expect it to feel like this.