Tag: anti-judaism

AMERICAN JEWRY, ALREADY FACING MOUNTING BOYCOTT, BDS PRESSURES, SEES SITUATION WORSENED BY NETANYAHU’S PEACE PROCESS AMBIVALENCE

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



                                           

Mr. Prime Minister: Don’t Take Diaspora Jews for Granted: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014— Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week.

The Dark Side of the War on 'the One Percent': Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014 — Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them?Book

Review: 'Genesis,' by John B. Judis: Jordan Chandler Hirsch: Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014— The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year.  

Arab, Muslim and Pro-Israel: Abdel Bioud, Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014 — I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.

 

On Topic Links

 

Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014

Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014
 

 

MR. PRIME MINISTER: DON’T TAKE DIASPORA JEWS FOR GRANTED     

Isi Leibler                                                                 

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014

 

Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week. Its members, leaders of America’s most prominent Jewish organizations, will be briefed directly by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and senior government ministers. Alas, unless the unexpected happens and the prime minister reads the riot act to his ministers, these American activists will receive mixed messages and are likely to return to the US more confused than when they arrived.

They will be baffled by what they learn about the current round of the so-called “peace negotiations.” It now appears that Israel will accept – with major reservations – the framework accord for negotiations as a non-binding document. In contrast, the Palestinians seem poised to reject it outright. And yet, despite the Palestinian intransigence, Israel will continue to be bombarded by demands to make further concessions.

They will find it difficult to make sense of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in the process. Encouraged by a flow of demands and petitions from Jewish liberals urging Netanyahu to be “grateful” to Kerry and “not sit idly by” (whatever that means) and risk forgoing the opportunity for peace, Kerry has displayed a complete lack of evenhandedness in the negotiations. He does not pressure the Palestinians, although he has made multiple threats against Israel, and proposed extreme and dangerous interventions, such as substituting the IDF presence in the Jordan Valley with electronic fences and NATO troops.
 

Disregarding the fact that he represents Israel’s ally, he has alluded to the “dangers” of boycotts, sanctions and delegitimization unless Israel becomes more accommodating – a thinly veiled threat that we can be sure the Europeans heard. Moreover, it was unconscionable that Kerry failed to relate to the vicious incitement of recent weeks, when released Palestinian killers were sanctified as national heroes and, in many cases, actually recounted their ghoulish murders of innocent civilians on state television.

But ultimately, Netanyahu and his government bear the main burden of responsibility for the bewilderment that Diaspora Jews (and many Israelis) are experiencing over the negotiations. While the prime minister initially robustly rejected key security concessions that Kerry demanded, he subsequently caved in to pressure and papered over the differences. Meanwhile, in absolute contradiction to the position adopted by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman – the traditional hardliner – then embarked on an “I love Kerry” campaign, preposterously suggesting that the deals proposed were the best Israel could ever expect. If Netanyahu orchestrated this as a “good cop, bad cop” performance, it seriously backfired. On the other hand, if the foreign minister is running his own mini-government, that is totally unacceptable.

This confusion has had major ramifications in the US, particularly for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the jewel in the crown of American Israel activism. But in recent months, its reputation was tarnished and its standing weakened by failed efforts that resulted primarily from mixed signals it received. Despite AIPAC’s strong Iranian sanction campaign (it obtained bipartisan endorsement and the backing of 59 members of the US Senate, just four votes short to carry the vote), it backed down from its effort due to massive pressure from President Barack Obama, who went so far as to misleadingly proclaim that passage of tougher sanctions against Iran was tantamount to a declaration of war. While Prime Minister Netanyahu initially encouraged AIPAC to proceed with its campaign he is also said to have pressured AIPAC to withdraw in order to placate Obama prior to their meeting in March.

AIPAC is also facing problems that are unrelated to Israel’s current lack of strategic clarity. It has become so obsessed with bipartisanship that the withdrawal of a number of Democrats made them fear a breakdown, and this is said to have also contributed to the decision to pull out its support for the initiative. In the process, AIPAC alienated and left some of its key congressional supporters out on a limb with the Republicans defiantly carrying on. With the increasingly aggressive attitudes against Israel emerging from leftist minority groups within the Democratic Party, complex challenges are likely to arise in future which cannot always be subordinated to the interests of bipartisanship. Nonetheless, the AIPAC debacle is symptomatic of the strained relationship between the Netanyahu government and Jewish organizations trying to support it. The government’s impulsive statements and ministers’ irresponsible public criticism and shrill outbursts have understandably exasperated even committed mainstream supporters of Israel and made them lose credibility…

[To Read the Full Article Follow This Link –ed.]
 

                                                                         

Contents
                                        

THE DARK SIDE OF THE WAR ON 'THE ONE PERCENT'                     

Jordan Chandler Hirsch                  

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014

 

Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them? In a letter to this newspaper, the noted venture capitalist Tom Perkins called attention to certain parallels, as he saw them, between Nazi Germany's war against the Jews and American progressives' war on the "one percent." For comparing two such historically disparate societies, Mr. Perkins was promptly and heatedly denounced. But is there something to be said for his comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity's most successful and least understood political movement.

 

The German political activist Wilhelm Marr, originally a man of the left, organized a movement in the 1870s that charged Jews with using their skills "to conquer Germany from within." Distinguishing the movement that he called anti-Semitism from earlier forms of anti-Judaism, Marr argued on professedly rational grounds that Jews were taking unfair advantage of the emerging democratic order in Europe, with its promise of individual rights and open competition, in order to dominate the fields of finance, culture and social ideas. Though some of Marr's rhetoric and imagery was based on earlier stereotypes, he was right to insist that anti-Semitism was a new response to new conditions, channeling grievance and blame against highly visible beneficiaries of freedom and opportunity.

 

These were some of its typical ploys: Are you unemployed? The Jews have your jobs. Is your family mired in poverty? The Rothschilds have your money. Do you feel more insecure in the city than you did on the land? The Jews are trapping you in factories and charging you exorbitant rents. Anti-Semitism accused Jews of undermining Christian authority and corrupting the German legal system, the arts and the press. Jews were said to be rabid internationalists spreading Bolshevism—and ruthless capitalists exploiting for their own gain the nation's natural and human resources. To ambitious politicians seeking office, to rulers of still largely illiterate populations, "the Jews" became a convenient catchall explanation for deep-rooted and sometimes intractable problems.

 

But though the origins of modern anti-Semitism may be traced to Germany, anti-Semitism itself remains sui generis and cannot be simply conflated with either Germany or Hitler. True, the latter gained power on a platform of anti-Semitism and then proceeded to put his Final Solution into effect, but the modern organization of politics against the Jews is independent of Nazism—and of fascism, since the Italian variant did not specifically target the Jews. Features of anti-Semitism are present in other political movements, on the left fully as much the right.

 

The parallel that Tom Perkins drew in his letter was especially irksome to his respondents on the left, many of whom are supporters of President Obama's sallies against Wall Street and the "one percent." These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today's leading historian of anti-Semitism. His "From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel" (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today's anti-Israel movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions. It was Marx who said, "The bill of exchange is the Jew's actual god," putting a Jewish face on capitalism and accusing both Judaism and capitalism of converting man and nature into "alienable and saleable objects."

 

Herein lies one structural connection between a politics of blame directed specifically at Jews and a politics of grievance directed against "the rich." The ranks of those harping on "unfairly" high earners include figures in American political life at all levels who have been entrusted with the care of our open society; in channeling blame for today's deep-rooted and seemingly intractable problems toward the beneficiaries of that society's competitive freedoms, they are playing with fire. I say this not only, and not even primarily, because some of those beneficiaries happen also to be Jews. So far, mainstream American politicians and supporters of movements like Occupy Wall Street have confined their attacks to the nameless "one percent," and in any case it is doubtful that today any U.S. politician would be electable on an explicitly anti-Jewish platform.

 

My point is broader: Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process. Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively—against rather than for—enjoys an inherent advantage in politics, mobilizing unappeasable energies that never have to default on their announced goal of cleansing the body politic of its alleged poisons. In this respect, one might think of anti-Semitism as the purest and most murderous example of an enduring political archetype: the negative campaign. That campaign has its international as well as its domestic front. Modern anti-Zionism, itself a patented invention of Soviet Communism and now the lingua franca of the international left, uses Israel just as anti-Semitism uses Jews, directing grievance and blame and eliminationist zeal against an entire collectivity that has flourished on the world scene thanks to the blessings of freedom and opportunity.

 

Herein lies a deeper structural connection. On the global front today, the much larger and more obvious beneficiary of those same blessings is the democratic capitalist system of the United States, and the ultimate target of the ultimate negative campaign is the American people. Anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of such a campaign will find much food for thought in Mr. Perkins's parallel.

 

                                                                                                 

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REVIEW: 'GENESIS,' BY JOHN B. JUDIS                                            

Lance Esplund                                                               

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014

 

The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year. John Judis's Genesis claims to distinguish itself by focusing on President Harry Truman's efforts "to resolve the conflict between Jew and Arab." Mr. Judis thinks that we can learn from Truman's failures and wants readers "to approach the subject from when the conflict actually began." But Genesis distinguishes itself in another way: It isn't so much a history as an inquisition—one that weighs the moral balance of the conflict from on high and finds Zionism, and its American supporters, guilty.

 

The author, a senior editor of the New Republic, begins by surveying the 50 years of Jewish-Arab tensions in Palestine that preceded the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. While rehashing the origins of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, he casts the movement for Jewish statehood as an inherently colonialist enterprise and the Arabs as its victims. The Zionist pioneers settling in Palestine, the author writes, committed "many of the sins that Western European countries had visited upon native populations," displacing locals and stifling their "natural development." In making this charge, he equates Europe's mightiest powers with its greatest victims, the Jews—a stateless people seeking refuge in their ancient home by legitimately purchasing and cultivating land. Throughout this preamble, Mr. Judis accuses the Zionist movement of rejecting compromise and "social justice." But regarding the most heinous Arab actions—such as the 1929 massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron or the five-country invasion of the nascent state of Israel in 1948, which followed the Arabs' rejection of the first United Nations peace plan—the author is more forgiving. These he largely plays down or characterizes as understandable responses to Jewish provocation.

 

There is a good reason why this partisan early narrative sounds familiar: It is nearly 200 pages of mostly regurgitated secondary sources. If Mr. Judis were dedicated to telling an original story about Truman, he shouldn't have devoted half of his book to this carbon-copy history. But he isn't primarily concerned with how Truman came to recognize the state of Israel or even, really, with the fate of Palestine. Instead, Mr. Judis is consumed by what he views as the pernicious influence of diaspora Jewish Zionists on the British and American governments. The author traces the sinister sway of Zionism to the drafting of the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 document in which Britain pledged to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, a chemist whose scientific discoveries greatly aided the British during World War I, "charmed his way up the ladder of authority until he reached the top," Mr. Judis writes, and then suckered some key British figures into supporting the Zionist cause. When, after the war, others attempted to dilute Britain's commitment to the Balfour Declaration, Zionist activists in Britain consistently "blocked" their efforts.

 

A running theme is that had these Jews been patriotic Britons, they wouldn't have lobbied for Zionism. Mr. Judis uncritically cites Prime Minister H.H. Asquith receiving a pro-Zionist memo from Herbert Samuel, a Jewish cabinet member, and noting in a private letter that "it is a curious illustration . . . that 'race is everything' to find this almost lyrical outburst proceeding from the well-ordered and methodical brain of [Samuel]." Mr. Judis thus deploys the bigotry of yesteryear to bolster his contemporary arguments.

 

What British Zionists did in London, Mr. Judis claims, American Zionists would do in Washington. By the end of the 1930s, Zionist activists, apparently not as all-powerful as "Genesis" would have readers think, failed to prevent Britain from decisively abandoning the Balfour Declaration. But as British power in the region receded following World War II, both Zionists and Arabs realized that their fortunes rested with the United States. Truman, who had no Middle East experience, was advised by Britain and by the U.S. Defense and State Departments to side with the Arabs. For three years, he anguished over whether to support Zionism. He weighed Arab sentiment against Jewish plight and political expediency against his sense of morality, while always seeking to uphold U.S. national interests.

 

"Genesis" reduces this tortuous deliberation into a simplistic tale of Jewish bullying. In its few pages of background on Truman's relationship with Jews and Zionism, the book discards well-documented complexity to insist that the president didn't sympathize with Jewish sovereignty. Truman, Mr. Judis says, was browbeaten by "unrelenting and obnoxious" pressure from Zionist activists. The president would ultimately bow before Zionist advocates "not because he believed in their cause," but out of electoral concerns. Mr. Judis accuses one figure, Abba Hillel Silver, of putting "the Zionist cause above party politics—and, in effect, above any domestic agenda." If a Democrat failed to fully endorse Zionism, Mr. Judis writes, Silver "tried to use the Jewish vote and Jewish contributions against him." Here and elsewhere, "Genesis" treats issue-driven voter lobbying, a staple of American democracy, as if it were high treason.

The author blames Truman's endorsement of a Jewish state—as opposed to a binational state in Palestine—on American Jewish liberals, who are the true targets of "Genesis." Mr. Judis is mystified by the fact that liberals who "supported labor rights, civil rights, and the first amendment," such as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, could also support Zionism. In doing so, he says, these otherwise stalwart progressive champions "abandoned their principles." Zionism, for Mr. Judis, is a kind of sin against liberalism. Near the end, he quotes a saying of Jesus: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" and castigates Israel's Jews for having "gained a world of their own, but at the expense of another people." An author who brandishes his liberal commitments at every turn ends up invoking a Christian teaching on greed to condemn the Jews for sacrificing another people at the altar of their own interest.

                                                                                              

 

Contents
                                  

ARAB, MUSLIM AND PRO-ISRAEL                                         

Abdel Bioud                                                          

Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014

 

I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.

 

I’m Abdel. I was born in Algeria and lived there for a little over a decade. During that time, I had the distinct pleasure to go through a brutal civil war where Islamists (supported financially and morally by Hamas, Iran and Saudi Arabia) where trying to take over the country to impose their worldview on everyone else. Friends and family members of mine were killed and the country almost went down the drain. My parents, who were executives at the time, were also involved politically. Specifically, they were leading political parties who’re trying to get religion out of politics– in the midst of an Islamic insurgency. You can only imagine how more problematic their personal and familial situation became: regular death threats, bullet proof door in our home, different itineraries and time to get to work, et cetera. In sum, it was a living hell. Oh, did I mention that I’m the VP communication for McGill Students for Israel? Now, why? Why does a guy who’s born in a country that does not even recognize Israel come to support it? Below is the case for Israel from the perspective of someone who grew up and lived in a self-proclaimed Arab and Muslim country.

 

As a libertarian, individual liberty and freedom are values that I cherish very dearly. So, in order for me to understand a situation, I use those two values as guiding principles to shed some light on what is really happening. By applying that freedom filter to the Israeli-Arab conflict, you get the following: All Arab countries are dictatorships. That is, you have ruling gangster families on top, who use their monopoly of violence (via the military) to kill/imprison anyone who questions their business plan.

 

The business plan is the following:

 

1. Use force to maintain power and keep disarmed humans living in fear. 2. Send kids to government controlled schools so they can get indoctrinated with four things: The ruling family is great (à la Kim Jung Il). Their country is the greatest. The Palestinian cause is something that is part of their identity. Force feed them Islam so it can be used as a tool to control (I use the term force feed because I was force fed Islam in the Algerian government school since day 1). 3. While people are brainwashed and live in fear, negotiate a percentage on those resource/construction contracts (SNC-Lavalin anyone?). 4. Profit.

 

It comes as no surprise that the output of such a disastrous mix can only be chaos. On one hand you have the insane families in power who are trying to steal as much money as possible, while using violence against their own people. On the other hand, you have the by-product of this insanity- the Islamists. That is, confused people who had their vision of reality completely distorted by the system they were born in. This vicious cycle has been going on for decades, the result of which was the so-called Arab spring or Arab winter (i.e. the by-product of the system, the Islamists, is taking over). Clearly, this circus will go on for another decade if not more.

 

Now, what about Israel? If you’re a citizen there, your basic freedoms are respected. You can live peacefully, raise a family, and send your kids to competitive and globally recognized universities. This simple basic respect for human dignity put them light-years ahead of any Arab state. As a human being who seeks to improve himself, Israel is a logical choice. It is the only place in the Middle East where your potential can be fully expressed. Based on the values it stands for and the principles that it was founded on, Israel is a force of good for that region and for the world. And remember, this is not coming from a Jewish or an Israeli individual. It’s coming from someone with a Muslim name and an Arab face (which looks pretty good by the way), who actually lived and was raised in an Arab country. It’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m just fantasizing from 5,000 miles away, like most people do.

 

From an individual and rational perspective, it is hard to argue against what I’ve said above. But even then, even if you drop any rational judgement and go tribal on this issue, the Jewish people are the Arabs’ cousins! If your cousins were being slaughtered and discriminated against all over the world (remember the MS St. Louis, the ship filled with Jewish refugees during WWII, that was turned away by Canada and the U.S. to go back to Europe?), wouldn’t you welcome them with your arms wide open? Jewish people have suffered greatly and the only people in the world that should have welcomed and protected them were their cousins, the Arabs. And it’s not like they had an option to flee to a “Jewish” country like you have for so-called Muslim and Christian ones. They were not welcome anywhere on planet earth. Do you fully realize the magnitude of this? The bottom line is this: this is a historical opportunity to start over but on the right foot this time. An opportunity to write history as it should have been from the beginning. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste; you might not have another one.

 

[Abdel Bioud is a graduate student at McGill Universitty and the is the vice president of communication for the McGill Students for Israel Association.]

 

CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!

                                                                          

Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014 —In his 1886 best-seller La France Juive, Édouard Drumont—the spiritual father of French anti-Semitism—wrote, “All comes from the Jew, all returns to the Jew.”

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014 —Over the last few months, Jewish student groups on two American campuses affiliated with the Hillel International Foundation publicly rejected Hillel’s guidelines for partnership.
Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014 —Is it really possible to get all of the most important information about the no-longer upstart, but still disingenuous J Street into a one hour film, one that provides sufficient background information for the uninitiated to be able to grasp just what could be wrong with the organization that promotes itself as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”?

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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JUDAISM, ZIONISM, & STATE: NYT PUSHES TINY MINORITY OF ORTHODOX ISRAEL CRITICS, REFLECTING THE “J-STREET” MENTALITY KERRY RELIES ON

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

 



                                           

Why Anti-Zionist Jews Are a Minority: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Feb. 16, 2014— It is a principle of journalism that news consists of those events that are out of the ordinary.

Why Religious Judaism Is Tied To Nationalism: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Feb. 18, 2014— This weekend, the New York Times ran a column by Mark Oppenheimer about what the author correctly identified as a small and curious minority of observant American Jews deeply opposed to Zionism.

Responding to the J Street Challenge: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2014 — Ever since its founding in 2008, J Street, the liberal Jewish advocacy group, has expended a great deal of time and energy trying to convince American Jews that it is a credible and more ethical alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Kerry's Israeli Supporters: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2014— Once again, on Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to extort Israeli concessions to the PLO by threatening us with a Western economic boycott.
 

On Topic Links

 

A Conflict of Faith: Devoted to Jewish Observance, but at Odds With Israel: Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2014

As George Kennan Inspired Truman’s Foreign Policy, Now Stephen Walt Inspires Obama’s: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 5, 2014

Go Left Young Man: Prejudice 101: Langdon Conway, Feb. 20, 2014

Richard Falk’s Final Report Accuses Israel of “Inhuman Acts” & “Apartheid”: UN Watch, Feb. 18, 2014

The Shame of Princeton: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 2014

 

WHY ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS ARE A MINORITY                                         

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, Feb. 16, 2014

 

It is a principle of journalism that news consists of those events that are out of the ordinary. The old cliché is that when man bites dog, it’s news. A dog biting a man is not. Thus, the conceit of the New York Times Beliefs column feature on Friday met that basic standard for newsworthiness. A story about religious Jews who actively oppose the existence of the State of Israel is one in which it must be conceded that the subjects are unusual.

 

The Pew Research Center of U.S. Jews published in October reported that 91 percent of Orthodox Jews, 88 percent of Conservative Jews, and even 70 percent of those who identified themselves as Reform Jews are either very or somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. That means any discussion about observant Jews who are anti-Zionists is, by definition, one about a very tiny minority. But considering that three of the five Jews whose views are featured in the piece seem to fall into the category of Modern Orthodox, of whom 99 percent told Pew they were very or somewhat attached to Israel with one percent saying “not very attached” and zero percent “not at all attached,” the trio constitute a sample of a group that is not merely a minority but one so small that it is statistically insignificant.

 

Once that is understood, it becomes clear that one of the main failings of the article is not only the fact that its author has no interest in challenging their views but that it fails to put that fact in proper perspective. The Orthodox trio and the one Conservative Jew and one Reconstructionist movement rabbi (whose views may not be all that out of the ordinary among that small left-leaning demographic) highlighted are a peculiar minority. But the willingness of the paper to give them such favorable attention illustrates once again the falsity of the notion that it takes courage for Jews to oppose Israel. To the contrary, as was made clear last week by the controversy over two Manhattan rabbis who defied many of the congregants by signing a letter denouncing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), those Jews who publicly denounce Israel can always look forward to the applause of the mainstream media.

 

While this quintet are entitled to their views about Israel and appear to be none the worse for wear for being so determined to flout the views of their co-religionists, two aspects of the article are particularly objectionable. One is the article’s assumption that there is something remarkable about the fact that they are able to go about their business while living in a Jewish community and attending synagogue without much trouble. The second is the failure of the piece to acknowledge that the views their subjects express are inherently bigoted.

 

It should be acknowledged that the article is correct when it states that prior to 1948, support for Zionism was not universal among American Jews. Many Jews, especially those affiliated with “classic” Reform temples, viewed it as a threat to the rights of American Jews to be treated as equal citizens in the United States. The reason the adherents of that view declined from minority status to statistical insignificance is that Israel’s creation did no such thing. To the contrary, the creation of a Jewish state only a few years after the Nazis and their collaborators had killed nearly one third of the Jews on the planet engendered the respect of other Americans as well as enhancing the self-esteem of every Jew in the world whether he or she was religious or a Zionist.

 

Israel gained its independence because the Jews had a right to sovereignty in their ancient homeland and not as compensation for the Holocaust. The sweat and the blood of the Jews who built Israel and fought to defend it earned that independence. But the Holocaust made it abundantly clear, even to those who had never previously given the idea their support, that without a Jewish state to defend them, Diaspora Jews who had not been lucky enough to make it the United States or the other English-speaking countries that had not succumbed to the Nazis would always be at the mercy of violent anti-Semitism. That was just as true of Jews who lived in Muslim and Arab countries (who were forced to flee their homes after 1948) as it was of the Jews of Europe. Theodor Herzl’s understanding of the inevitable fate of a homeless Jewry—a thesis that he adopted after seeing Alfred Dreyfus being degraded in Paris as a mob shouted, “Death to the Jews”—was sadly vindicated by the events of the first half of the 20th century.

 

Though their neighbors and fellow congregants treat them with the toleration that Israel’s foes do not extend to the Jewish state, the common failing of the five anti-Zionist Jews in the Times story is their failure to account for this basic historical lesson that the rest of their community understands. One need not support every action of the government of the State of Israel or have no sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians to understand that not only does Israel have a right to exist but that its fall would endanger the lives of its people and, by extension, Jews everywhere. The notion put forward by one of the subjects that “non-statist Zionism” would succeed was exploded several decades ago by the refusal of Arab opponents of the Jewish presence in Israel/Palestine to accept Jews on any terms…                                      

[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]                                                                                   

                                                                       

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WHY RELIGIOUS JUDAISM IS TIED TO NATIONALISM    

Liel Leibovitz

Tablet, Feb. 18, 2014

 

This weekend, the New York Times ran a column by Mark Oppenheimer about what the author correctly identified as a small and curious minority of observant American Jews deeply opposed to Zionism. The piece was well-written and compelling, and Oppenheimer’s five interviewees all came off as thoughtful and morally minded. But none, alas, sounded very Jewish. Uniting them all was a belief that Judaism, at its core, was somehow incompatible with the sort of earthly power on which states depend for their existence and which they apply daily in nearly every capacity. “I think nationalism and religion together are toxic,” said Stefan Krieger, a professor of law at Hofstra University. Corey Robin, a political science professor at Brooklyn College, put it even more poetically; “There are lots of ways to be Jewish,” he said, “but worshiping a heavily militarized state seems like a bit of a comedown from our past.”

 

You don’t have to be a noted rabbinical scholar to know that the past to which Robin alludes begins with a covenant that elects the Jews God’s chosen children and directs them towards the Promised Land, where they’re instructed to settle down and live according to the commandments of the Torah. Which, at first blush, seems like a strange idea: if the Chosen People are truly destined to serve as a light unto the nations, might they not better accomplish their mission by settling down among the goyim and preaching their truth to each nation in turn? Why shepherd them, like Abraham in his turn, to Canaan? Why insist on the establishment of a Jewish polity there?

 

The answer is a core tenet of Judaism, namely the realization that earthly power is indispensable. As Michael Walzer elegantly noted in his Exodus and Revolution, nothing inherent sets Canaan apart from Egypt and its houses of bondage; the Promised Land’s promise lies not in some external bit of magic but in the ability of the Jews to apply their sovereignty and turn their nation state into a concrete example of a just and merciful kingdom. In other words, Judaism suggests that if you’re going to live up to your calling and set a moral example, you do it not by shuffling off this mortal coil and declaring yourself too pure for the imperfect and compromise-ridden business of government, but by jumping right in and serving as an example of how a real nation addresses real problems right here in the real world.

 

Which is not to say that Israel’s current means of addressing its problems are perfect; far from it. But which is to say that seeking to define Judaism as antithetical to nationalism when it is, at its very heart, as much of a nationality as it is a religion, is a theological travesty against the ancient faith. Even the traditional religious opposition to Zionism, which Oppenheimer cites in his piece, stemmed not from a categorical rejection of a nation state but from a belief that such a political entity could be established only after the coming of the Messiah. Judaism, then, could certainly be understood as a critique of power, but never as a call for its abdication.

 

Oppenheimer’s subjects, however, don’t see it this way. Steeped in the kneejerk rejection of all forms of nationalism that is de rigueur in many parts of academia these days, they seem to tolerate the religion only if it deals in the ethereal realm of universal morals. Which, again, seems to have very little in common with our ancient faith. Of course, it’s poor practice to judge someone’s belief system on the basis of a few select quotes, however eloquent, in a newspaper article. The men and women Oppenheimer interviewed are all scholars and prolific writers, and this is a conversation well worth having. I’m curious to see how they would reconcile their seemingly modern ideas with the more traditional tenets of Jewish theology.                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                               

Contents
                                  

RESPONDING TO THE J STREET CHALLENGE                            

Ben Cohen

Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2014

 

Ever since its founding in 2008, J Street, the liberal Jewish advocacy group, has expended a great deal of time and energy trying to convince American Jews that it is a credible and more ethical alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). J Street believes, not unreasonably, that there is a constituency for its work among those American Jews who are generally supportive of Israel but queasy over certain of its policies, most obviously creating and sustaining Jewish communities in the West Bank. Nor is this an unprecedented insight: from the 1970s onwards, there were organizations like Breira (“Alternative”) and New Jewish Agenda which aimed to give voice to the same disquiet.

 

J Street, however, is much savvier than either of those earlier incarnations. Unlike its ideological predecessors, there are no rumors circulating of its imminent demise. For the foreseeable future, then, J Street will remain a part of American Jewry’s political landscape. This reality is implicitly acknowledged in “The J Street Challenge,” a critical documentary film about the organization that has just been released by Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a Boston-based group run by the well-known anti-slavery activist Charles Jacobs. And it is a reality that, Jacobs and his co-producers insist, needs to be grappled with through honest debate and discussion.

 

The key question raised by the film is what it means to be “pro-Israel” not on a personal level, but within the context of the political lobbying and advocacy that swirls around American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (or, as Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse more accurately terms it in her interview in the film, “the Arab conflict with Israel”). And when you examine J Street’s record, it becomes very hard to dispute Professor Alan Dershowitz’s assertion that the organization—despite its much-vaunted tagline—is “neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace.”

 

To begin with, there are J Street’s funders. As the film documents, ferocious critics of Israel like the hedge-fund billionaire George Soros and Genevieve Lynch, a board member of the pro-Iranian regime National Iranian-American Council, have donated significant sums to the organization. And although it says it is opposed to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, J Street maintains close ties with those who advocate collaboration with the BDS movement in targeting West Bank settlements, like the writer Peter Beinart and the corporate lawyer Kathleen Peratis. This milieu is hardly conducive to J Street’s “pro-Israel” self-image.

 

Then there are J Street’s statements. As Dershowitz points out, you “rarely” hear J Street praising Israel. A far more familiar refrain consists of slamming Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as an obstacle to peace, or opposing tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime—positions that don’t raise an eyebrow when articulated by anti-Israel groups, but which sound rather discordant coming from a group that claims to support Israel. In that regard, much of the J Street documentary studies why the organization’s analysis of Israel’s situation is wrong. Its emphasis on Israel’s land policies in the West Bank, its tin ear when it comes to Palestinian and Arab incitement, its embrace of a strategy that would result in the U.S. pushing Israel to make decisions contrary to its basic security interests—these moral and strategic errors are all familiar to anyone who has followed the debate about J Street’s contribution.

 

More enlightening is the film’s examination of why J Street exercises such an attraction to a particular kind of American Jew. Many of the interviewees argue persuasively that affiliation with J Street is more of a lifestyle choice than a political statement, in that it allows liberal Jews to equate their identity with their fealty to the “progressive” values they see Israel as betraying. But is that how the J Streeters themselves view it? Since no J Street representative appears in the film, it’s hard to say for sure. According to the end credits, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, “declined” to be interviewed, which left the producers with no option but to use existing footage of Ben-Ami speaking to other audiences. J Street told me that Ben-Ami was not interviewed because he was not available at the time the producers suggested. Either way, the absence of a direct interview with Ben-Ami, in which he answers the points raised by J Street’s critics, slightly blunts the film’s impact.

 

The most heartening aspect of the film consists of young, pro-Israel activists eloquently expressing why they distrust J Street. Through their words, the viewer gets an insight into the courage and intelligence required to defend Israel on campus these days. Indeed, one of them, Samantha Mandeles, who currently works as campus coordinator for media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), is so impressive that I found myself wondering whether she’ll apply for the post-Abe Foxman national director’s job at the Anti-Defamation League—she certainly deserves serious consideration. In any case, seeing and hearing the next generation of genuinely pro-Israel Jewish leaders is reason enough to give “The J Street Challenge” an hour of your time.

                                                                                               

Contents
                                       

KERRY'S ISRAELI SUPPORTERS                                                      

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2014

 

Once again…US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to extort Israeli concessions to the PLO by threatening us with a Western economic boycott. Kerry is obsessed with Israel’s economic success. Last May he told us that we’re too rich to surrender our land. Now he’s saying we’ll be poor if we don’t do so. The anti-Semitic undertones of Kerry’s constant chatter about Jews having too much money are obvious. But beyond their inherent bigotry, Kerry’s statements serve to legitimize the radical Left’s economic war against the Jewish state. Administration supporters and fundraisers from Code Pink and other pressure groups, as well as the EU understand that if they escalate their economic and political persecution of the Jewish state, their actions will be met with quiet understanding, and even support from the Obama administration. This is so even if the State Department issues indignant press releases expressing fury that Israeli elected officials have the chutzpah to object to Kerry’s behavior.

Israel has been subjected to plenty of abuse from American secretaries of state. But Kerry’s incessant talk of “illusory” Jewish money is unprecedented. Why does Kerry believe he can get away with this? The overwhelming majority of US lawmakers oppose economic warfare against Israel. The vast majority of Americans support Israel and believe that a Palestinian state will support terrorism and be hostile to Israel.

So if the American public opposes Kerry’s obsessive aggressiveness toward Israel, who is supporting him? Who is giving him cover for his anti-Jewish smears and his irrational focus on Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines? The answer is as infuriating as it is apparent. It is the Israeli Left and through it, much of the American Jewish community that enables Kerry’s diplomatic aggression against the Jewish state. Operating under their cover, Kerry feels free to engage in anti-Jewish bigotry directed against Israeli society. He believes he is immune from allegations of ill-will toward Israel even as he places the full weight of the US government behind a plan that will endanger Israel, bring no peace, destabilize the Middle East and fail to win the US any friends or allies in the Islamic world.

On the face of it, it is hard to understand why leftist Israeli Jews cheer Kerry’s aggressive attacks and threats. After all, they live here. They know as well as the rest of the country that if Israel bows to his will and surrenders Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the PLO the move will bring no peace. Rather it will unleash a Palestinian terrorist assault the likes of which we haven’t seen before. They know that the international delegitimization of Israel only expands with every Israeli concession to the PLO, and that giving up the store will bring us no respite from the Western world’s assault on our right to exist.

So what do they gain by giving cover to Kerry? Why do people like Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich applaud Kerry for placing unrelenting pressure on the government to take steps that the majority of Israelis oppose and urge him to keep it up? Ron Pundak, one of the original architects of Israel’s embrace of the PLO and the so-called two-state solution at Oslo in 1993 supplied the answer in a recently published paper. Last November the George Soros-supported International Crisis Group published a paper by Pundak entitled “Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” The purpose of his paper was to provide strategies for contending with the religious Zionist opposition to the two-state model. According to Pundak, non-secular Israelis oppose the two-state policy because it “is seen as… aimed at de-Zionizing the state.”

Rather than develop talking points to convince Israeli Zionists that they are wrong to view the two-state model as an anti-Zionist project, Pundak admitted they are right. Indeed, destroying the Zionist underpinning of the Jewish state is not a byproduct of the two-state model. It is the purpose of the two-state model. In Pundak’s words, “Peace is not an objective by itself. It is a way to transition Israel from one era to another: to an era of what I consider is a normal state. Israelisation of society rather than its judaisation…”

Pundak’s explanation is not new. Before the Sharon government surrendered Gaza to Palestinian terrorists and forcibly expelled its 8,000 Jewish residents from their homes, Haaretz published an unsigned editorial along the same lines. “The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different.”

The editorial concluded that all the talk about enhanced security or peace was pure nonsense. The purpose of destroying the communities in Gaza was to destroy the political and social power of religious Zionism in Israel. “The real question is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi route [between Gaza and Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance on the roofs of [the destroyed communities]. The real question is who sets the national agenda.”

 

For Pundak and his colleagues in the post-Zionist camp, Kerry is a key ally. And to the extent Kerry weakens the government and its supporters, he is a strategic asset. True, Kerry’s “framework” will bring no peace. But if what Pundak and his camp were after was peace, they wouldn’t have embraced the PLO to begin with. They would have cultivated pro-Israel Arabs who would lead their people into Israeli society.

That is, they would have done precisely what center- right governing coalitions – that included religious Zionists – sought to achieve, with significant success, in the decade and a half that preceded the phony peace-process. Israel is a democracy. And it is perfectly legitimate for Pundak and his colleagues to try to advance their policy goal of replacing Zionism with a de-Judaized state or anything else they wish. What is illegitimate is the means they have employed to advance their goal…
[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]

                  

Contents

 

A Conflict of Faith: Devoted to Jewish Observance, but at Odds With Israel: Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2014 — There is no question that Charles H. Manekin is a rarity.

As George Kennan Inspired Truman’s Foreign Policy, Now Stephen Walt Inspires Obama’s: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 5, 2014— The postwar American strategy of containing the Soviet Union had an architect—George F. Kennan, the mysterious “Mr. X” who wrote the 1947 Foreign Affairs article that drew from the “Long Telegram,” which laid out a blueprint for American policy that prevailed until the end of Cold War.

Go Left Young Man: Prejudice 101: Langdon Conway, Feb. 20, 2014— Recent attention has been drawn to a young professor (Annette Tezli) for her use of an overtly Bin Laden-excusing, anti-Israel textbook in a University of Calgary sociology course called “Canadian Society.”

Richard Falk’s Final Report Accuses Israel of “Inhuman Acts” & “Apartheid”: UN Watch, Feb. 18, 2014— A controversial United Nations human rights investigator is accusing Israel of “inhuman acts,” and calling on the body world to support a “legitimacy war” against the Jewish state.

The Shame of Princeton: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 2014 — No matter how deep into the political fever swamps some scholars wade, it seems, progressive academe won't shun them.

 

 

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ANNE FRANK MUST NOT WEEP: POSITIVE JEWISH DEMOGRAPHICS, ZIONIST SELF-DETERMINATION, OFFSET REVIVED ANTISEMITISM

Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Defying Demographic Projections: Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom, April 5, 2013— Currently, in sharp contrast with the demographic establishment's projections, there is a 66 percent Jewish majority (6.3 million Jews) in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel (1.65 million Arabs) and Judea and Samaria (1.66 million Arabs), compared with a 40% Jewish minority in 1948 and a 9% Jewish minority in 1900. The Jewish majority enjoys a robust tailwind of high fertility rates and immigration, which could produce an 80% Jewish majority by 2035.

 

Anne Frank Must Be Weeping this Holocaust Remembrance Week: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News, April 10, 2013—

This week, the U.S. commemorates Days of Holocaust Remembrance. Solemn ceremonies across the U.S. and around the globe are taking place against the backdrop of two deeply troubling developments.

 

Persistent Anti-Judaism: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013—The first ghetto in recorded history was set up in Alexandria in 38 CE at a time when Caligula was emperor of Rome, according to Robert Wistrich, an eminent historian of anti-Semitism. Ever since, and perhaps even before Caligula, anti-Semitism has been the most persistent hatred known to Western society. And this “lethal obsession” is not showing any signs of disappearing any time soon.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

PA Museum Invents 200-Year-Old Palestinian History: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Apr. 12, 2013

Anti-Semitism is Why the Arab Spring Failed: Ahmad Hashemi, Times of Israel, Apr. 9, 2013

Israeli Firm Talks Up Mankind’s Recovery from the Tower Of Babel: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Apr. 9, 2013

Israel Vanishing from Scotland Libraries: Giulio Meotti, Israel National News, April 10, 2013

 

 

 

 

DEFYING DEMOGRAPHIC PROJECTIONS

Yoram Ettinger

Israel Hayom, April 5, 2013

 

On March 21, U.S. President Barack Obama stated at the International Convention Center that "given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine."

 

Obama has been misinformed by his advisers. The suggestion that Israel should concede Jewish geography to secure Jewish demography ignores demographic trends in Israel, in the Muslim world in general and west of the Jordan River in particular. These trends reaffirm that time is working in favour of Israel's Jewish demography.

 

Currently, in sharp contrast with the demographic establishment's projections, there is a 66 percent Jewish majority (6.3 million Jews) in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel (1.65 million Arabs) and Judea and Samaria (1.66 million Arabs), compared with a 40% Jewish minority in 1948 and a 9% Jewish minority in 1900. The Jewish majority enjoys a robust tailwind of high fertility rates and immigration, which could produce an 80% Jewish majority by 2035.

 

These 6.3 million Jews (including 350,000 new immigrants not yet recognized as Jews by the rabbinate) expose the systematic errors made by leading demographers. In 1898, the leading Jewish demographer/historian, Simon Dubnov, projected a meagre 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel by the year 2000. In 1944, the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and the guru of contemporary Israeli demographers and statisticians, Professor Roberto Bacchi, projected only 2.3 million Jews in Israel by 2001, a 34% minority. In 1987, Hebrew University demographer Professor Sergio Della Pergola told Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth that no substantial aliyah (immigration to Israel) was expected from the USSR, but a million Soviet immigrants then arrived.

 

In a September 2006 article, Professor Arnon Sofer projected that by 2011 there would be 4.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, almost double the actual number issued in 2011 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics — 2.6 million. And, in fact, the Palestinian number was severely inflated: It included 400,000 overseas residents and a double count of 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are counted both as Israeli Arabs and as West Bank residents.

 

In defiance of demographic projections, Israel's Jewish fertility rate of three births per woman is higher than any Arab country's other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan. The modernity-driven downward trend of Muslim demography is highlighted by Iran's fertility rate of 1.8 births per woman, Saudi Arabia's 2.3 and Syria's and Egypt's 2.9. The Westernization of the Muslim fertility rate was triggered by the unprecedented expansion of education among women, urbanization and family planning. The surge of Israel's Jewish fertility rate was triggered by high levels of optimism, patriotism, collective responsibility, the stable economy and attachment to roots.

 

In contrast with conventional wisdom, Israel's Jewish-Arab fertility gap has been reduced from six births in 1969 to half a birth in 2012. Moreover, the fertility rates of Jewish and Arab women in their 20s and 30s — in Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel — has converged at three births per woman, with the Jewish rate trending above — and the Arab rate trending below — three births. Furthermore, the fertility rate of Israeli-born Jewish women is already above three births per woman.

 

In defiance of the demographic profession, the annual number of Israel's Jewish births has surged by 62.5% from 80,400 in 1995 to 130,000 in 2012, while the annual number of Israeli Arab births has been sustained at around 40,000 annually. In 1995, there were 2.3 Jewish births for one Arab birth; in 2012 there were 3.2 Jewish births for one Arab birth.

 

In 1995 Jewish births amounted to 69% of total births and in 2012 to 77% of total births. In 2013, the Jerusalem Jewish fertility rate is currently 4.2 births, compared with the 3.9 Arab fertility rate.

 

Contrary to political correctness, Israel's Jewish fertility rate is surging at a time when the fertility rate of the ultra-Orthodox sector is in decline, due to its growing integration into the employment market and military service. The surge in fertility is produced by Israel's secular Jews, and mostly by the yuppies around Tel Aviv and the immigrants from the former USSR.

 

"The stronger the Jewish commitment, the more likely Jews are to have children. Living in the Land of Israel is one of the strongest manifestations of Jewish commitment … As unique as the Jews are among the world's people, their fertility in Israel is also unique among the nations, and cause for optimism about the future of the Jewish people," David Goldman, author of "How Civilizations Die," wrote (in Focus, Spring 2013, the Jewish Policy Center).

 

Anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.

 

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ANNE FRANK MUST BE WEEPING
THIS HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE WEEK

Rabbi Abraham Cooper

Fox News, April 10, 2013

 

This week, the U.S. commemorates Days of Holocaust Remembrance. Solemn ceremonies across the U.S. and around the globe are taking place against the backdrop of two deeply troubling developments. First: the last survivors and eyewitnesses to humanity’s greatest crime are inexorably leaving the stage of history. Israel's President Shimon Peres said that 1,000 Holocaust survivors and dying  in Israel every month.

Secondly: There has been a 30% spike in worldwide anti-Semitic hate crimes and attacks this past year.

Why?

 

In part, because we are witnessing the consequences of the dimming of collective memory. Holocaust denial, once the domain of the lunatic fringe, is the state policy of Iran and presented as fact in much of the Arab and Muslim world. Lithuania and Hungary are just two European countries who light a candle for their Jewish citizens mass murdered in the 1940s while simultaneously allowing the veneration of their own Nazi collaborators as national heroes.

 

Which brings us to two incidents in the Netherlands, whose World War II legacy is inexorably linked to the fate of a true hero of humankind: Anne Frank.

 

The municipality of Bronckhorst has chosen  who it will stand silent for. The town fathers have decided to honor the fallen soldiers of Nazi Germany buried there on Dutch National Memorial Day, May 4.

 

They originally hoped to have the ceremony last year, but a judge barred it. Now a higher court has cleared the way for the travesty. There are still a few people alive, Jews and non-Jews who survived wartime massacres by the German army. Simply put had Hitler’s Wehrmacht prevailed, no Jew would be alive today and democracy would have been relegated to an unused word in Third Reich dictionaries.

 

There is another reason why Anne Frank must be weeping—not over the insults to the dead but the danger to the living.

 

Meet Mehmet Sahin, a Dutch Muslim doctoral student, who volunteers to help youth in the city of Arnhem. A few weeks ago he interviewed a group of Dutch-Turkish youth on Nederlands TV2 during which several declared their unabashed hatred of Jews and open admiration of Hitler. “What Hitler did to the Jews is fine with me,” said one. “Hitler should have killed all the Jews,” said another.

 

While the youngsters were aware of the fate of Anne Frank, it did not deter these teens from expressing their outright hatred of Jews over and over again, insisting that everyone at their school harbored similar views.

 

As you can see, their smirks and body language confirm a deeply-embedded hatred as one teen declares: “What Hitler said about Jews is that there will be one day when you see that I am right that I killed all the Jews. And that day will come.”

 

When Mehmet Sahin reprimanded them and indicated that he was committed to debunk the young people’s hatred, here is how his neighbors reacted:  They collected signatures to demand he leave the area. And when Mehmet began to receive death threats, the Mayor of Arnhem, Pauline Krikke, advised him to go into hiding.

 

And that is where he and his family are today.

 

Is this the best solution that democratic Netherlands can come up with? A Witness Protection Program for a man guilty of fighting bigotry and standing up for the truth? Are there no consequences for the hate and threats emanating from adults?

 

One MP, Ahmed Marcouch said that he would raise the scandal in Parliament. “It is horrible that someone has to be afraid because he has done something that we all should do – teach children not to hate.”

 

Recently, Mehmet Sahin wrote these words:

 

“Within a couple of days, I will move to another city of the Netherlands. My personal situation/story is a shame of the European civilization because it is inconceivable that such barbarism can occur in this country. After what happened in the last three weeks, I understood the eternal loneliness and pain of the Jewish population. In the rest of my life, I will tell the whole world that we all must resist this aggression….”

 

I will be traveling soon and hope I may have the opportunity to meet with Mehmet in the Netherlands. Send your message of solidarity c/o information@wiesenthal.com and together we will let him know that he is not alone. After all, isn't that the message Anne Frank wanted the world to learn?

 

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

PERSISTENT ANTI-JUDAISM

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013

 

The first ghetto in recorded history was set up in Alexandria in 38 CE at a time when Caligula was emperor of Rome, according to Robert Wistrich, an eminent historian of anti-Semitism. Ever since, and perhaps even before Caligula, anti-Semitism has been the most persistent hatred known to Western society. And this “lethal obsession” is not showing any signs of disappearing any time soon.

 

In 2012, there were 686 threats, acts of violence and vandalism, including physical attacks – with a weapon (50) or without (89) – perpetrated against Jews because they were Jews, according to a report published on Holocaust Remembrance Day by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

 

As dependable as the changing of seasons, anti-Semitism may, like the weather, fluctuate, but never does it dissipate.

 

There are hotter years, such as 2012, when violent incidents rise, and there are years such as 2010 and 2011 when expressions of enmity for Jews fall.

 

The ebb and flow seems to have its own internal rules.

 

When Israel defends itself – whether against Hezbollah aggression on the Lebanon border or against Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the South – Jews living in places like Toulouse or the Bronx are inevitably targeted.

 

And deadly attacks, like the one on the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse in which a rabbi and four children were murdered by Salafist Mohamed Merah, encourage more violence. The carrying out of such atrocities breaks a psychological barrier, paving the way for more.

 

The tradition of publicizing data related to anti-Semitism on Holocaust Remembrance Day is liable to lead to despair. Even the Shoah failed to shock humanity into abandoning its most ancient hatred. And a new book by historian David Nirenberg titled, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, leaves little room for optimism.

 

In his work of extraordinary erudition, Nirenberg traces enmity toward Judaism from ancient Egypt through the modern era in thinkers such as Karl Marx. He chooses the term “anti-Judaism” as opposed to “anti-Semitism” because the deployment of Judaism as a force of evil that purportedly threatens Egyptian, Christian, Muslim and modern society, takes place irrespective of the existence of living and breathing Jews, whether in Shakespeare’s England, 16th-century Spain, Martin Luther’s Germany or elsewhere.

 

Manetho, an Egyptian historian who lived in the third century BCE, transformed Moses and the Hebrews into lepers who spread diseases as a means of making sense of his people’s history of subjection to foreign powers.

 

Early Christians used the term “Judaism” or “Pharisee” to describe those who rejected Jesus and who attached an overly literal reading of the Bible, in the process destroying the “spirit” of the gospels. Muslims portrayed Judaism as a force that corrupted holy texts. And when Luther rebelled against Catholicism, he attacked the church’s “legalistic understanding of God’s justice” as “Jewish.”

 

Nor did the age of secularism usher in a more positive perception of Judaism. Marx’s insistence on the abolishment of private property emanated from his desire to emancipate society from Judaism’s spiritual slavery and alienation from the world. It was, after all, the essential “Jewishness” of money and property that produced the despicable Jewish qualities in the gentiles who used them.

 

Anti-Judaism is, therefore, not solely a negative attitude toward Jews. Rather it has evolved through the ages as an intellectual apparatus for engaging with and/or criticizing the world. This negative mode of thinking about Judaism’s impact on perceptions has persisted after the Holocaust. As Nirenberg points out at the end of his book, “We live in an age in which millions of people are exposed daily to some variant of the arguments that the challenges of the world they live in are best explained in terms of ‘Israel.’”

 

Notwithstanding the calls to “combat” expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the world, the fight against hatred of Jews seems doomed to failure. Zionism’s response, tragically belated in implementation, was, and still is, the most pragmatic to this disheartening reality.

 

Jewish political self-determination has, admittedly, created problems of its own. But when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vows, as he did at Yad Vashem on Sunday night, “never again will there be a Shoah,” even Israel’s most virulent detractors take him seriously – or they should.

 

Top of Page

 

 

On Topic

 

 

PA Museum Invents 200-Year-Old Palestinian History: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Apr. 12, 2013—The cornerstone was laid Thursday for a new museum north of Ramallah to show off 200 years of the culture of “Palestinians,” another Arab effort to invent a past that has no future. It is a lot easier to convince the world that Israel is “occupying its land” if Arabs can show that the “Palestinians” existed 200 years ago and were not invented by Yasser Arafat. 

 

Anti-Semitism is why the Arab Spring Failed: Ahmad Hashemi, Times of Israel, April 9, 2013—About two years ago, when the so-called pro-democracy movement, better known as the “Arab Spring,” began in the region, many commentators hailed it as “a great step forward,” “a turning point in the contemporary Arab world history”, and a “fourth wave of democratization.” I remember those days very well because my colleagues at Iran’s foreign ministry were very excited.

 

Israeli Firm Talks up Mankind’s Recovery from the Tower Of Babel: David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 9, 2013—You speak in your language but the listener hears you in his or hers — by phone, via the Internet, or even face-to-face. “We believe that our product is the harbinger of a revolution.” said Ike Sagie, the CEO of Lexifone. A step toward conquering the Earth’s linguistic cacophony, Lexifone lets you speak to anyone in English and (so far) seven other languages. The person on the other end (or right next to you, using an Android app) hears what you’ve just said in his or her own language. Right now, speakers of English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, and Mandarin can call each other and have their conversations automatically translated.

 

Israel Vanishing from Scotland Libraries: Giulio Meotti, Israel National News, April 10, 2013—It does not matter what ideas are contained in these books, it is the bare fact of their origin which is enough for them to be banned. One of Scotland’s councils has just implemented a boycott of Israel after comparing the country to apartheid South Africa. The Clackmannanshire Council declared it would resist all economic and political support for Israel in order to “end suffering in Palestine”. In Scotland, once known as the only European country which has no history of state persecution of Jews, a region is officially dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish State as a malevolent, “settler” and foreign entity.

 

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