Tag: Hannah Arendt

ISRAEL TODAY FACES GREAT OPPORTUNITIES— DESPITE ONGOING ANTISEMITIC & ISLAMIST THREATS

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 

 

Contents:

 

Israel at a Turning Point: Jonathan Adelman, Huffington Post, Feb. 2, 2015 —The news today about Israel is often negative.

Theories Over Death of Alberto Nisman Stir Dark Memories in Argentina: Stephanie Nolen, Globe & Mail, Jan. 30, 2015 — Was the death of Alberto Nisman intended as a message?

Remembering Auschwitz and the Enormity of Evil: Rex Murphy, National Post, Jan. 31, 2015— January 27th was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous beyond infamy of the Nazi factories of torment and death.

‘Pugnacious Zionist’ Martin Gilbert Was the Chronicler of Modern Jewry: Jenni Frazer, Times of Israel, Feb. 4, 2015 — To the outside world, Sir Martin Gilbert was an eminent historian, a member of Britain’s Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot, and – overall – Churchill’s biographer.

 

On Topic Links

 

'Accountant of Auschwitz' To Go On Trial in Germany in April: Ynet, Feb. 4, 2015

A Murder in Argentina: Clifford D. May, Natioanl Post, Jan. 29, 2015

Balancing Faith and Reason: Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2014

A Diamond Among Diamonds: Dovid Winiarz OB”M: Sandy Eller, Jewish Press, Jan. 30, 2014

                                                                     

                                      

ISRAEL AT A TURNING POINT                                                                                        

Jonathan Adelman                                                                                                       

Huffington Post, Feb. 2, 2015

 

The news today about Israel is often negative. While 135 nations have recognized a Palestinian state, the PLO has gained admission to the International Criminal Court where it wants Israel to be found guilty of war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A recent study found that the State Department has cited Israel as the #4 state in the world for "unacceptable behavior." Already one of the most hated countries in the world, Israel faces a new wave of anti-Israel sentiment in Europe and is surrounded by radical Islamic fundamentalist groups including Hamas (Gaza), Hizbollah (Lebanon), ISIS (Syria and Iraq) and Al Nusra (former Syrian Golan Heights).

 

The threat to Israel is at a level not seen since 1948 and 1967. The highest level of existential threat is posed by Iran and a "soft" nuclear deal that would leave it on the threshold of having nuclear weapons. With most Israelis living in 3,400 square miles, only two atomic bombs could kill nearly one million Israelis. Iranian bases, 700 miles from Israel, would need only 11 minutes to fire missiles that could hit Tel Aviv.

 

The second moderate level of threat is the 100,000 missiles and rockets that Hizbollah possesses in Lebanon. Several thousand rockets could hit any target in Israel with more accuracy than Hamas' weapons. In war Ben Gurion International Airport would likely be shut down, thousands of Israelis might be killed and Hizbollah might try an invasion of the northern Galilee. The lowest level of threat would come from the radical Islamic groups near Israel's border who could kill dozens or hundreds of Israelis.

 

Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there has also been much positive news about Israel. This year 15,000 French Jews are likely moving to Israel and 50,000 could come in the next five years. In a region lacking any Arab democratic states, Israel is holding its 20th democratic election since its founding in 1948. Egypt has closed 80% of its tunnels with Hamas-ruled Gaza. General Al Sisi has called for a "religious revolution" among Moslems and repeatedly ordered attacks on 2,000 jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. The Syrian civil war has driven one million Sunnis into Lebanon, thereby decreasing the power of Shiite Hizbollah already mired down in fighting in Syria. The Syrian civil war has lessened any Syrian threat as the country has fractured into feuding Alawite, Kurdish and radical jihadist areas. Saudi Arabia and the UAE see Israel as a counterweight to Shiite Iran. The Saudi cleric, Iyad Madani, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, just paid an unprecedented visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jordan has turned even closer to Israel from fear of ISIS.

 

Israel has developed strong relations with three BRIC countries. India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to develop closer relations with Israel, especially in the development and military arenas. Sino-Israeli trade is moving towards 10 billion dollars. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently denounced anti-Semitism and compared the importance of Crimea to Russians to the Temple Mount's importance to Moslems and Jews. Despite its small size, Israel has emerged as a top 5 high tech nation in the world with over 20 billion dollars of high tech exports. A MIT-Skolkovo study found Technion to be sixth among 120 universities in high tech entrepreneurship and innovation. The Global Cleantech Index named Israel as the #1 innovator globally in clean technology. The United States (Roosevelt Island), Russia (Skolkovo) and China (Shantou) have asked Israel and Technion to partner in developing hi-tech zones and universities. Tel Aviv is #2, after Silicon Valley, as the best place in the world to bring out a start-up in high tech.

 

Israel exports seven billion dollars of weapons a year. This provides futuristic defense systems ranging from the relatively simple Iron Dome to the highly complex Arrow 3 anti-missile system under development. Its military intelligence, as seen by its successful attack on Hizbollah leaders in Syria this week, is excellent. Even unexpected events — the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Israel and the massive fall of oil prices costing the Iranians tens of billions of dollars — show there is hope for Israel. Israel today faces great dangers — and also great opportunities.

 

                                                           

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THEORIES OVER DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN STIR DARK                                            

MEMORIES IN ARGENTINA                                                                                            

Stephanie Nolen                                                                      

Globe & Mail, Jan. 30, 2015

 

Was the death of Alberto Nisman intended as a message? And if so, who sent it? After two weeks of near-unceasing drama, this uneasy question hovers over the Argentine capital. Mr. Nisman was a special prosecutor tasked with investigating one of the most brutal terror attacks in Latin American history. He was found dead on Sunday of a gunshot wound in the bathroom of his elegant Buenos Aires apartment. He had been set to testify on Monday to Congress about charges he filed implicating President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, her Foreign Minister and political aides in a plot to cover up Iranian responsibility for the suicide truck bombing of a 1994 Jewish community centre here that killed 85 people.

 

Police are investigating whether Mr. Nisman killed himself or was murdered, a question still not answered to anyone’s satisfaction. Ms. Fernandez de Kirchner first vigorously proclaimed his death a suicide – and now just as fiercely says he was murdered. Few Argentines are likely to trust any official conclusions in the case, given this country’s history of political state violence and how deeply the government’s tentacles still reach into the police and the judiciary.

 

But in cafés beneath bright awnings, and at scarred wooden tables in parilla steakhouses, theories are debated intensely. The cast of potential suspects includes assassins sent by the President or her allies to eliminate a critic and frighten others following his work; the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah seeking to shut down the investigation of its patron, Iran; and the President’s own latest favourite that Mr. Nisman died at the hands of rogue agents from Argentina’s shadowy domestic spy service.

 

The theories are so complicated, and sometimes so lacking in logic, that it is difficult to imagine them being floated, let alone seriously debated in endless television coverage, in any country but this one, so steeped in political division and dark history. If it was murder, carried out on the watch of an elite security detail, the specific message remains opaque. But the larger tactic is perfectly clear, and it has unsettled many Argentines, stirring dark memories of an era they had hoped they were leaving behind. “It’s like a signal: nobody else investigate power,” said Patricia Bullrich, spreading worried hands across her dining room table. “It’s like when drug traffickers send a message: stop here or you will be next.” Ms. Bullrich, an opposition member of Congress from a patrician family with shifting political ties, chairs the parliamentary committee that had called Mr. Nisman to testify. She spoke to him two days before he died, and recalled in an interview this week that he seemed utterly normal – just tired, a bit worried. Not remotely suicidal.

 

She is among those who believe his accusations against the President had merit. She says she knows he built the case on 5,000 hours worth of wiretapped telephone conversations. “But I can’t imagine the President gave the order to go and kill him,” Ms. Bullrich added, her brow creased with anxiety beneath heavy auburn bangs. Plenty of other powerful people, however, might have been keen to silence Mr. Nisman to demonstrate the price of asking questions. It’s a blunt-force mode of communication in a country where most people have vivid memories of life under dictatorship. “It’s the return of political violence,” Ms. Bullrich said. “That is the feeling. Can you sense it?” The prosecutor’s death is profoundly damaging for Argentina, where an air of progress on some key national issues has been sharply undermined by the tumultuous events of the past few weeks.

 

Mr. Nisman, known as a hard-working federal prosecutor with a tendency for the occasional grandstanding accusation, took charge of investigating the AMIA bombing – it is known by the name of the community centre – in 2004. It was already a politically charged file. In the late 1990s, a group of Argentinian police officers and others were brought to trial on charges of assisting in the bombing, but were acquitted after the judge and investigators were found to have faked evidence and bribed witnesses. A new series of indictments alleges those irregularities extended all the way to the office of former president Carlos Menem, who is among eight people expected to go on trial for obstruction of justice in that case in June. Then, on Jan. 14, Mr. Nisman filed a stunning charge sheet with a judge. President Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, he said, had conspired with Iranian officials to cover up the role of Iranian nationals in the bombing. The allegation is that they subverted the course of a nationally important investigation – in effect, as a senior legal official described it in an off-the-record conversation about the charges, they committed treason.

 

Mr. Nisman said that he had uncovered hints of the alleged plot in the course of his AMIA work, and it so disturbed him he had no option but to pursue it. Essentially he said that Ms. Fernandez de Kirchner, eager to build ties with Iran and bolster an economy crippled by her government’s policies, made a secret deal with Iran to cover up Iranian involvement in the bombing. That deal, he charged, was made before the countries publicly agreed in 2013 to work together on a so-called Truth Commission to investigate the attack. Under the secret deal, Mr. Nisman alleged, said Argentina would drop the Interpol notices for seven Iranian suspects in the bombing, and redirect its investigation away from Iran, likely onto a local fascist organization. In exchange Argentina would trade food for Iranian oil. The pact was allegedly brokered by aides including Luis D’Elia, a provocative left-wing social activist who dealt with Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires who some believe was the mastermind of the bombing. Ms. Bullrich compares it to the idea of a U.S. president conspiring with Osama Bin laden on a 9/11 truth commission; she called it “a very dark, illegal negotiation with people not in government.”

 

Reactions to the Nisman charge cleaved along political lines, in accordance with the roughly equal parts admiration and loathing inspired by President Fernandez de Kirchner, a champagne socialist with a flair for populism and a fierce with-me-or-against-me political ethic. Those who hate the President, and there are many, are fully prepared to believe she ordered the prosecutor killed. “She has a sick hunger for power and to keep it she is capable of anything,” said Gabriel Levinas, author of a book about the bombing and commentator on a prominent current-affairs program with the Clarin media group, with which she has battled. Supporters of the President reject the Nisman indictment as legally flimsy and full of fantastic and baseless allegations. A former Interpol chief has said that the Argentine government never tried to get the warrants on the Iranians lifted, noted Horacio Verbitsky, a prominent investigative journalist who also heads a human rights organization. He also pointed out that Argentina does not import the petroleum products Iran sells. In an interview in his book-lined living room, he waved a copy of the Nisman denuncio, fringed in Post-it notes, then threw up his hands. “It’s self-contradictory and rebuffed by reality. It’s an impossible crime.”…

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

                                                                       

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REMEMBERING AUSCHWITZ AND THE ENORMITY OF EVIL                                                               

Rex Murphy                                        

National Post, Jan. 31, 2015

 

January 27th was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous beyond infamy of the Nazi factories of torment and death. It was here the “blood-dimmed tide” unleashed by Hitler reached its most swollen, where a million Jews went in unspeakable humiliation and pain to their end. Anniversaries, perhaps especially those of the most grim event, provoke recollection, and in the case of the Holocaust in particular are meant to reinforce memories. “Lest we forget” is not an idle injunction. Some things have to be remembered.

 

The capture and famous trial of Adolf Eichmann was perhaps the real beginning of Holocaust memorialization, certainly the key event that pushed the horrors of the Nazi era back into the mind of the world. Yet curiously, the most singular account of that trial, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem, gave birth to a terrible shorthand description of that period in its subtitle: A Report on the Banality of Evil. That one phrase, “the banality of evil,” has become a commonplace, a near-signature designation for events so much larger than the words it encompasses. It is grotesquely inadequate, utterly wrong.

 

The scale and depth of the horrors of the extermination machine, invented, set in motion, and kept demonically in exercise for the entire six years of war, are not so much diminished as sidelined, obscured and obliterated from primary notice by Arendt’s semantic sleight of phrase. Nazi evil reached nearly unscalable dimensions, possessed an inverted, perverted sublimity — a negative sublime, for which of all words in all languages “banality” is the last and least it suggests. When we think or read of Auschwitz and its brethren slaughterhouses, most of us don’t have ready or adequate words for its scene — and even in the highest poetry it is difficult to find worthy correlatives, though Milton’s words on Hell are, singularly, very close: No light; but rather darkness visible//Served only to discover sights of woe,//Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace//And rest can never dwell, hope never comes//That comes to all, but torture without end …

 

Auschwitz was a scene not of banality, but enormity — of vast, incomprehensible, massive evil. The operative understanding is not simply the “enormousness” which the associate word instantly implies, but far more centrally the essence of the act being denoted — evil. Enormity is not, first, a word of magnitude; it speaks cardinally of evil and disaster. It is a word of judgment far more than measure. Banality is so far removed from this dimension, is so placid, clinical and even self-satisfied a term — it is, in the worst sense, a writer’s word — that it will not do as anything more than a smart, blunt effort at facile paradox. Arendt was wrong, wrong from the very beginning to deploy it, and however much, in whatever sense it has been used since to dismiss, scorn or reduce Eichmann, it has also been wrong. It is a spectacular misreading. Her error lies in taking the reading of Eichmann’s personality, his demeanour, his dull face, his “boring” presentation of himself, as ascriptive of the character of the deeds which he ruthlessly and with such passionate (not banal) efficiency pursued.

 

The phrase is the very end chord of her long piece, in which she dismisses Eichmann’s speech from the gallows as “grotesquely silly,” and his thoughts and words as rancid with cliché. But the famous equation that concludes the coda is not about Eichmann. It is about evil: “It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us — the lesson of the fearsome word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.” That the sadist fanatic in the Israeli dock had no horns and didn’t speak with the manic fluency of his master, Hitler, emphatically does not mean the “work” he superintended with such reptilian frigidity was banal, or that the moral category in which it was so perfectly enfolded — Evil — was itself banal. An easy but unpalatable speculation discloses the error quite succinctly. Were it Hitler that day on the gallows, would his dark, fearsome charisma have suggested a different ascription — the insanity of evil, the monstrousness of evil? Or bloated Goering — would he have suggested the gaudiness, the bestial appetency of evil?

 

Arendt’s urge for a flare of originality, a reach after cleverness, betrayed her, but such was the unexpectedness of the conjunction between the two key words — banality and evil — that her phrase has become fixed in altogether too many glancing minds as something of an assessment. It lowers the moral and intellectual temperature of the reality of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and all those other halls of Hell. Banality is not a word that serves history or language, and “banality of evil” is a hollow, nullifying, profoundly — let me borrow Arendt’s term — silly formulation. Seventy years on from Auschwitz, 54 years after the trial that seized the mind of the world, it is past time to retire it.

 

                                                                       

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PUGNACIOUS ZIONIST MARTIN GILBERT

WAS THE CHRONICLER OF MODERN JEWRY                                                                    

Jenni Frazer                                                                                                                             

Times of Israel, Feb. 4, 2015 

 

To the outside world, Sir Martin Gilbert was an eminent historian, a member of Britain’s Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot, and – overall – Churchill’s biographer. But to the Jewish world Martin Gilbert, who died Tuesday, was a passionate Jew and Zionist, a Soviet Jewry campaigner and chronicler of the Holocaust, repeatedly using his forensic skills to unpick telling details of the Jewish experience in the 20th century.

 

Just over 10 years ago this writer sat for two fascinating hours as Gilbert, sitting in his book-lined Highgate, London workroom, recalled how it was ultimately Winston Churchill, the man who dominated his life, who was responsible for the young Gilbert’s homecoming after he and his cousins had been evacuated from London to Canada in the summer of 1940. Gilbert was almost 4 at the time and had been sent to Toronto with his aunt. Then an only child, he was very upset to be parted from her and farmed out to foster parents. He recalled, “I used to walk to see my aunt every Shabbat. I thought it was an enormous distance, but when I went back a few years ago…” As Gilbert explained it, by April 1944, Churchill had examined the state of British trans-Atlantic shipping and realized that the RMS Mauretania, which had been converted into a troop ship, was carrying a relatively small number of military personnel. Churchill suggested the ship bring back as many of the evacuated children as possible and, typically, gave orders for there to be extra lifeboats on board.

 

So, on May 22, 1944, Gilbert landed in Liverpool, clutching among his few belongings a suitcase containing oranges, presented by his Canadian hosts and destined to be given to his parents…His father was a manufacturing jeweler based in London’s Hatton Garden and had spent the war years working with industrial diamonds. Gilbert’s grandfather, Aaron, was one of 17 brothers and sisters of whom, Gilbert estimates, around one-third stayed in Russian Poland and perished in the Holocaust…After a brief time in Oxford, the Gilbert family resumed life in London, and Gilbert was sent as a weekly boarder to Highgate School, where, he said, “I was very keen on geography but I fell into the clutches of the history master.” The master in question, Alan Palmer, himself a noted author and historian, laid down for Gilbert guiding principles of his approach to history. Always, Palmer said, be inquisitive about subjects beyond that which you are immediately studying. His other piece of advice also resonated with Gilbert: “Never pass a wall plaque without reading it.”

 

It was, perhaps, in this way that Gilbert maintained his astonishing output. At the time of our meeting he had published 75 books (not just about Churchill, but about Israel, Natan Sharansky, the Holocaust, and war-time appeasement) and was to embark on his 76th, “Churchill and the Jews,” as soon as I left the premises. He ended his long career as the author of more than 80 books, many featuring his trademark history maps showing the paths taken by Jews back and forth, criss-crossing Europe and Russia. He also published a series he nicknamed “Gilbert’s Ghetto Guides,” pocket guides with pull-out maps to allow informed walks around ghettos from Vilna to Venice. Gilbert was frequently criticized as a historian because of his tendency to set out the facts and allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. But he demurred. “I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I was reluctant to publish ‘Auschwitz and the Allies’ because I was concerned that my own voice was too strong. I was worried that my book on Israel might be deemed to have too strong a Zionist voice, and in my history of the Holocaust, my voice is in part the voice of the survivors. Although in one way, I would like to feel that my voice is not there… if I present the evidence fully and honestly, why should my voice be any more interesting than the reader’s voice?

 

School was followed by National Service, and Gilbert used the opportunity to learn Russian, something which stood him in great stead in his later work. He was dismissive, however, of his ability with languages. Despite stints teaching at both Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University, he said his Hebrew was not great. “I struggle with language,” he said. “But one skill I do have is to extract from a mass of documents a clear, strong, narrative.” In his last summer vacation from Magdalene College Oxford, in 1959, Gilbert, who described himself as a “pugnacious Zionist” at university, went with a group of friends to visit Treblinka, Auschwitz and Birkenau, seeing “the doors of the huts, flapping in the wind.” It was an unusual trip to have made at the time, but it undoubtedly sowed the seeds of Gilbert’s life-long, clear-eyed commitment to recording the Holocaust. It eventually led to one of Gilbert’s most popular and accessible books, “The Boys,” the personal stories of 732 concentration camp survivors, men and women, who ultimately made their second homes in Britain…

 

His workload was prodigious, but Sir Martin Gilbert was that rare bird in the British Jewish community, open, always up for a new challenge, and bursting still in his later years with profound enthusiasm and a commitment to the Jewish and Israeli experience. For many years his was the only voice of a professional historian to look at some of the most painful issues of the Holocaust, which has been followed – only relatively recently – by a new generation of Jewish academics. His will be large shoes to fill.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

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On Topic

 

'Accountant of Auschwitz' To Go On Trial in Germany in April: Ynet, Feb. 4, 2015—Oskar Groening, a 93-year-old man dubbed the 'accountant of Auschwitz,' will go on trial in April on allegations he was accessory to 300,000 murders as an SS guard at the Nazis' death camp, a German court said on Monday.

A Murder in Argentina: Clifford D. May, Natioanl Post, Jan. 29, 2015 —“When heads of state become gangsters, something has to be done.” Winston Churchill said that. It’s a proposition not many people nowadays endorse. Fewer still take it upon themselves to stand up to the thugs-cum-statesmen.

Balancing Faith and Reason: Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2014—A high percentage of the best historical novels have been written with the classical world as background.

A Diamond Among Diamonds: Dovid Winiarz OB”M: Sandy Eller, Jewish Press, Jan. 30, 2014—It was January 12th when I got an email asking me to write about the Facebuker Rebbe, an individual named Dovid Winiarz who used Facebook as a kiruv medium.

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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THE HOLOCAUST & LYDDA AFFIRM THAT WE MUST CONTINUE TO SEARCH FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH

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 

 

Contents:

 

As We Go To Press: AT LEAST FOUR DEAD, INCLUDING PARIS GUNMAN, IN KOSHER MARKET HOSTAGE-TAKING (Paris)  — Two police officials say at least four people, including the attacker, have died at a kosher grocery in Paris where a gunman took several hostages. Security forces stormed the grocery minutes after their counterparts assaulted the building outside Paris where two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo killings had holed up. The gunman has been identified as Amedy Coulibaly. Before the police rushed in, an official said the gunman in Paris threatened to kill the hostages if police launch an assault on the cornered brothers suspected in the massacre. He took at least five hostages and wounded several in the Hyper Cacher store near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris. As the man opened fire in the market he declared “you know who I am,” the police official said. That came as police swooped in on the suspected Islamist perpetrators of the Jan. 7 attack on the satirical weekly that left 12 people dead in the worst terrorist incident in France in half a century. (National Post, Jan. 9, 2014)

 

 

Eichmann… He Wasn't Only Following Orders: Saul David, Telegraph, Dec. 22, 2014— In 1963 the political theorist Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil.

Auschwitz ‘Bookkeeper’ May Be Last Nazi Tried in Germany For War Crimes: Joe O’Connor, National Post, Nov. 14, 2014— Thomas Walther is talking about Auschwitz, and numbers, and how the statistics of the Holocaust exceed imagination.

The Nazis Next Door,’ by Eric Lichtblau: Deborah E. Lipstadt, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2014— In the wake of World War II, America recruited a few leading German scientists in order to advance our space and military programs and to keep these valuable assets from falling into Soviet hands.

Lydda, 1948: They Were There: Martin Kramer, Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2014 — Most Israelis know nothing about Ari Shavit's bestselling book, "My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel."

 

On Topic Links

 

From the Shores of Nova Scotia, Israel’s First Soldiers: Rob Gordon, National Post, Jan. 5, 2015

‘The Wall,’ by H. G. Adler: Cynthia Ozick,  New York Times, Dec. 17, 2015

Laura Hillenbrand on 'Unbroken': Deirdre Donahue, AARP, Nov., 2014

Meet the 'Post''s Gatekeeper – 70 Years and Going Strong:  Tamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2014

                                               

                   

EICHMANN… HE WASN'T ONLY FOLLOWING ORDERS                                                                        

Saul David                                                                                                           

Telegraph, Dec. 22, 2014

 

In 1963 the political theorist Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil. A Jew who had fled Germany in the 1930s, Arendt had been at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the so-called "Manager of the Holocaust", and believed his claim to be an overworked bureaucrat who was simply "doing his job". He "not only obeyed orders", she wrote, "he also obeyed the law". Arendt concluded that Eichmann, the head of the SS's department for Jewish Affairs who personally oversaw the deportation and extermination of 400,000 Hungarian Jews in 1944, was neither a psychopathic "monster" nor a virulent anti-Semite. Instead, his appalling acts were driven more by stupidity and a desire for professional advancement than by ideology. Thus was coined the term "the banality of evil", implying that there is a potential Eichmann in all of us. Arendt's theory has been challenged before. But only now, with the publication (originally in German) of this book by the award-winning political philosopher Bettina Stangneth, can we see how completely Arendt (and later historians) were hoodwinked by Eichmann.

 

Stangneth uses newly discovered documents, including Eichmann's own notes and the transcripts of conversations he had with comrades in Argentina in the 1950s, to reconstruct the post-war lives of Nazis in exile. Stangneth's new portrait of Eichmann is very different from Arendt's. Instead of the reclusive, taciturn and boring war criminal on the run, she reveals a skilled social manipulator with a pronounced ability to reinvent himself, an ideological warrior unrepentant about the past and eager to continue the racial war against the Jews. Stangneth charts in detail Eichmann's movements from his escape from Germany in 1948 to his capture by Mossad agents in 1960. We discover just how organised the Nazi escape route to South America was, complete with Vatican officials helping to provide false identity documents, and how openly and brazenly former National Socialists lived in Argentina and elsewhere after the war. Protected by the regime of Juan Perón, they ran businesses, advised on security matters and plotted a political comeback in Germany. In Eichmann's case, he even arranged for his wife and sons to be brought over from Germany to join him.

 

What ultimately did for Eichmann – as opposed to his former partner in crime Dr Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's "Angel of Death", who had also fled to Argentina – was his egotistical need for his "achievements" to be recognised. He never denied his true identity, allowed his sons to apply for German passports in the name of Eichmann and discussed openly with fellow Nazis his true feelings about the Holocaust. He even allowed a former Dutch SS journalist, Willem Sassen, to record some conversations for a potential book. It was during the "Sassen interviews" that Eichmann came clean.  His only regret, he told Sassen, was not killing more Jews. "If we had killed 10.3 million [instead of six], I would be satisfied, and would say, 'good, we have destroyed an enemy…' We would have fulfilled our duty to our blood and our people… if we had exterminated the most cunning intellect of all the human intellects alive today." Part of the reason Sassen and his colleagues had begun the discussion was to get Eichmann to deny that genocide had ever been intended. Only then could they distance National Socialism from "the one thing of which we are always accused" – the Holocaust. But Eichmann refused. He was proud to have taken part in the extermination of the Jews, and his only criticism of this lunatic National Socialist project was that "we could and should have done more"…

 

Fortunately, Eichmann's misdeeds, and the Israeli secret service, eventually caught up with him. Taken to Israel, he was tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged on May 31, 1962. For many decades since, his cunning depiction of himself as a "small cog in Adolf Hitler's extermination machine" has blinded many people to his central role in the Holocaust and the nature of the key participants. But no longer. Thanks to this brilliant book, exhaustively researched and convincingly argued, the veil has at last been lifted. "Like a mirror," writes Stangneth, "he reflected people's fears and expectations, whether they were fearing for their own lives or hoping he would confirm a theory of evil. Behind all the mirror images lay Eichmann's will to power and desire to control."                      

                                                                                                                                                 

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AUSCHWITZ ‘BOOKKEEPER’ MAY BE LAST NAZI TRIED IN                                           

GERMANY FOR WAR CRIMES                                                                                                 

Joe O'Connor                                                                                                       

National Post, Nov. 14, 2014

 

Thomas Walther is talking about Auschwitz, and numbers, and how the statistics of the Holocaust exceed imagination. What does it mean, for example, to deport 437,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in the span of 57 days in the spring and early summer of 1944? What does it mean to murder them at a rate of 3.5 Jews per minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that by the end of the 57th day 300,000 of them are dead? What does it mean to have your parents, spouse, children and relatives systematically killed in a German Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland, only to have them counted by history as a lump sum?

 

“I can speak about 300,000 dead people who are murdered, but nobody can imagine what that means — such figures of death — while the Holocaust, this word, it is a part of families,” Mr. Walther says. “It is inside of human beings. It is something in the tears, if you wake up in the night and think about your father who was killed. That is the Holocaust. And in the second generation, in the children of survivors, those who suffer the nightmares and memories of their parents — that is the Holocaust.” Mr. Walther, with his red running shoes, grey shoulder length hair and rumpled-looking dark blazer, could easily pass for a university lecturer. But his interest in the Holocaust isn’t academic. The 71-year-old retired German judge is a Nazi hunter, and he has been in Toronto and Montreal for the past two weeks interviewing Hungarian-Canadian Auschwitz survivors as co-plaintiffs for what could be the last Nazi war crimes trial in Germany. “Co-plaintiffs represent their murdered parents and siblings, and I represent the co-plaintiffs in court,” Mr. Walther says. “And to be sure that I find the right words for them, the right feeling in a German courtroom, this is the reason I am here in Canada, interviewing them.”

 

The accused is Oskar Groening, the so-called “bookkeeper” of Auschwitz, a former SS sergeant who sorted and counted monies stolen from the murdered Jews, occasionally couriering it to his Nazi overlords in Berlin. He also stood guard on the train platform in Auschwitz, as cattle cars delivered their doomed Jewish cargo. Doing so in the belief that, as he told DER SPIEGEL magazine in 2005, the destruction of the Jews was a “necessary thing.” What makes Mr. Groening, now 93 — and a widower with a comfortable home and robust company pension thanks to his postwar career managing a German glass factory — an intriguing defendant, is that he has repented, in a sense. He admits he was at Auschwitz, and has spoken openly about it. Taking his story public several years ago, as he explained to a German reporter, to combat the lies of the Holocaust deniers with the truth of someone who was there. And in his version of the truth, he is not guilty of any crime. Not in a legal sense, since he was merely a bookkeeper, a brainwashed Nazi zealot involved in executing the murderous master plan of Adolf Hitler, but not an actual executioner himself.

 

“Guilt really has to do with actions,” Mr. Groening told DER SPIEGEL. “Because I believe that I was not an active perpetrator, I don’t believe that I am guilty… “I would describe my role as a small cog in the gears.” Mr. Walther has heard this defence before, and views it is a fairytale, a convenient narrative where the otherwise decent German gets caught up in a killing mess, not of their making, and dutifully follows orders — without blinking an eye — as many did during the Nazi era. “Groening will not deny anything,” Mr. Walther says. “He will only seek to diminish.” Judy Lysy is a Holocaust survivor in Toronto. She recently met Mr. Walther at a dinner honouring him at a local synagogue. She is not among the co-plaintiffs in the Groening case since the charges against him, for German legal reasons, only cover the 57-day killing frenzy associated with the Jewish Hungarian deportees. (Mr. Walther would not disclose the identities of the co-plaintiffs to me, explaining that, even today, there are those unhappy with Groening’s prosecution.) Ms. Lysy, a Slovakian Jew, was raised in pro-Nazi, Hungarian-occupied territory. She arrived in Auschwitz in April 1944. It was a sunny day. She was 16. “There were these German officers, very neat and clean,” the 86-year-old says.

 

“They asked for a translator, and because I spoke Hungarian, German and Slovak, I put my hand up. And I stood beside this officer telling the people that those able and capable to walk, would walk [to our barracks], and the old people and children — he would send by truck. “We would all be together, at the end. I translated all this to Hungarian ladies, including my aunt, with her two little children, and my Grandma. The officer told the mothers not to fuss, if they wanted to stay with their children. And he put them all together, on the side that went straight to the gas. “We did not know where those people had gone for the first 10 days. And this was my arrival to Auschwitz. Oskar Groening didn’t kill with his hands. But he was part of that killing machinery.” Being a small cog, a guard in a watchtower, an accountant in Auschwitz, was a well-tread road to legal — social, moral and economic — absolution for SS men after the war. Of the 6,500 SS members who worked in Auschwitz, only 49 were ever convicted of a crime. “The German police, prosecutors, the local judges, they weren’t interested in going after what were perceived as the small fry war criminals, and this attitude persisted well into the 1970s and beyond,” says Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Many of those judges and lawyers had Nazi pasts, while the German people — including the 20% of respondents to an American survey conducted in the American-occupied zone in 1945, who said they agreed with Hitler’s treatment of the Jews — weren’t willing, or even interested in confronting their complicity in the Holocaust. Hitler and his high-ranking Nazi cronies were the real bad guys, not them.

 

And the little Nazi fish, such as Oskar Groening, got married, had kids and came to be viewed as valuable employees. He applied managerial skills honed in Auschwitz to a civilian job at a glass factory. Most Nazi war criminals didn’t disappear into the jungles of South America. They moved in next door. And then along came Thomas Walther. “My youngest child went to university in 2006,” he says. “I was 63 and I thought, if I can do something really important, something that has to be done — then I would like to do it.” His father, Rudolf, hid two Jewish families during the Kristallnacht riots of 1938, later helping them escape Germany. He taught his son to do the right thing, instead of just talking about it. And in the years since 2006, the retired judge has awakened the German judiciary to the little fish, successfully arguing that Auschwitz and the other camps were macabre assembly lines. Every SS man, like every worker at an auto plant, had a job to do. If they didn’t do their job — the assembly line stopped. “My colleagues in the past, these German prosecutors and judges, did things in the wrong way,” Mr. Walther says. “You have to learn, and you learn it in the second term of law studies: what is aiding and abetting a crime.”

 

It means being a bookkeeper in Auschwitz, being immersed in the terror, and party to its making by keeping stolen money flowing to Berlin, while keeping Jews moving in an orderly fashion toward the gas chamber. Mr. Walther, in his red sneakers, understands that he is in a losing race against time. The Holocaust survivors are dying off. And so are the killers. It is late in the game. Justice must be done. “Where does this end?” the Nazi hunter says. “It ends when it is truly over.” The trial begins in February.

                                                                       

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THE NAZIS NEXT DOOR,’ BY ERIC LICHTBLAU                                                                                     

Deborah E. Lipstadt                                                                                            

New York Times, Oct. 31, 2014

 

In the wake of World War II, America recruited a few leading German scientists in order to advance our space and military programs and to keep these valuable assets from falling into Soviet hands. This is the broadly accepted script about Nazis in America. In fact, as Eric Lichtblau, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times, relates in “The Nazis Next Door,” we welcomed approximately 10,000 Nazis, some of whom had played pivotal roles in the genocide. While portions of this story are not new — see Annie Jacobsen’s book “Operation Paperclip,” for example — Licht­blau offers additional archival information in all its infuriating detail…

 

America began reaching out to leading Nazis months before the Germans surrendered. In March 1945, while the war still raged, the American spy chief Allen Dulles conducted a friendly fireside chat in the library of a Zurich apartment with the Nazi general Karl Wolff, the closest associate of the SS leader Heinrich Himm­ler for much of the war. The Scotch-­lubricated conversation convinced Dulles that Wolff, despite his ties to Himmler and his role as a leader of the Waffen SS, was a moderate who deserved protection. When prosecutors sought to try Wolff, one of the highest-ranking SS leaders to survive, at Nuremberg, Dulles worked to have his name removed from the list of defendants. While Wolff was in Allied custody, he was permitted to take a yacht trip, spend time with his family and carry a gun. Nonetheless, he complained that what he endured was “much more inhumane than the extermination of the Jews.” He said the Jews had been gassed in a few seconds, while he did not know how long he would be held. (His imprisonment lasted four years.) While Jews languished in the camps after Germany’s defeat (“We felt like so much surplus junk,” one survivor said), the United States gathered up Nazi scientists. Had only leading scientists been enlisted, it would have been distasteful if understandable. But of the more than 1,600 scientists brought over, some had pedestrian skills. Others had developed the chemicals for the gas chambers, or conducted experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Even the State Department protested.

 

But we did not stop with scientists. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. sought out spies and informants who had participated in genocide. For these agencies, engaging in murder was acceptable as long as the recruits did not lie about their record. Ultimately, most of these “informants” never provided any valuable information. Some even offered bogus reports. But these intelligence agencies remained their greatest protectors. In the 1980s, when the Justice Department began to hunt war criminals who had lied in order to enter this country, both agencies actively obstructed the investigations. They were also protected by White House officials such as Pat Buchanan, then a top aide to Ronald Reagan, who denounced the Justice Department’s “revenge obsessed” and “hairy-chested Nazi hunters” as dupes of the Soviets. And the largest group of Nazis who entered America simply slipped in through “the back door,” according to Lichtblau. They gamed the system and immigrated as “refugees,” starting new lives as thousands of people perished in the Allied camps. Lichtblau brings ample investigative skills and an elegant writing style to this unsavory but important story. “The Nazis Next Door” is a captivating book rooted in first-rate research.                         

                                                                       

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LYDDA, 1948: THEY WERE THERE                                                                                          

Martin Kramer                                                                                                      

Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2014

 

Most Israelis know nothing about Ari Shavit's bestselling book, "My Promised Land: The ‎Triumph and Tragedy of Israel." Readers of Haaretz, where he's a columnist, may have seen it ‎mentioned in short articles celebrating Shavit's stateside success. But few Israelis have heard of ‎the book, and I'm guessing that only a handful have actually read it. That is because there is no ‎Hebrew edition.‎ Shavit wrote it in English for an American Jewish audience, upon the suggestion of David ‎Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Haaretz at first reported that a Hebrew version would appear ‎at the end of 2013, and later that it would be published in the spring of 2014 (by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir). But ‎while the book has also appeared in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, and Polish, there is no ‎sign of a Hebrew edition.‎

 

So Israelis have no clue that Shavit has added a massacre in the city of Lydda (Lod) to the litany ‎of Israel's alleged crimes in 1948. That's why I felt privileged to take part in a December 4 panel ‎on the conquests of Lydda and Ramla in 1948, sponsored by the Galili Center for Defense ‎Studies. The chairman of the center, Uzi Arad, suggested that I explain and analyze the claims ‎made by Shavit in his book, which I had already done in English for the web magazine Mosaic. (The ‎organizers also invited Shavit, but he was off collecting accolades in south Florida.)‎ I was youngest participant on the panel, and nearly the youngest person in the lecture hall, which ‎was full of veterans of Lydda and many other battles of 1948. These people are not historians, and ‎they do not necessarily know the big picture of how politics and military operations interacted. ‎They were not commanders (the officers are all gone); they were young soldiers in 1948, at the ‎bottom of the chain of command. They have also read a lot and shared recollections over the past ‎‎60-plus years, so you cannot always tell whether what they say about some episode is first-hand or ‎derives from something they read or heard. Finally, time erodes memory, as some are quite ‎prepared to admit.‎

 

Still, there were some very sharp minds in the audience — people who know more about the ‎history of the 1948 war than anyone but a handful of expert historians. They know the ‎commanders, the military units, the weaponry, the battles, the geography, the chronology — and ‎woe unto you if you make a mistake. They won't wait for the Q&A to correct you. The war to ‎establish the State of Israel was the great adventure of their youth, and they wear it as badge of ‎honor.‎ I was the only one of the four panelists who dealt directly with Shavit's Lydda chapter. I was ‎preceded by two well-regarded military historians, who described the campaign from an ‎operational vantage point, and one veteran of the conquest, Yeshayahu (Shaike) Gavish. Now 89 ‎years old and still vital, he is most famous to Israelis as the general who led the Southern ‎Command in the Six-Day War, when Israeli forces overwhelmed the Egyptians and seized the ‎Sinai. In Lydda in 1948, he was a lowly operations officer, and a wounded one at that, so he had ‎a fairly limited view of the theater, confined as he was to a jeep.‎His most interesting comments concerned the flight of Lydda's inhabitants, whose mass ‎departure made a deep impression on him (as it did on many other Israelis). While there is no ‎doubt that an expulsion order was issued (on whose authority is debated), Gavish echoed many ‎other witnesses who have said that Lydda's inhabitants were eager to get out, begged to leave, and ‎packed up as soon as the roads to the east opened. He did say that in his opinion, the events in ‎the Dahmash mosque (the "small mosque") which Shavit insists on calling a "massacre," had a ‎strong effect on the populace, reinforcing their desire to flee. But on the question of just what ‎happened at the small mosque, he had nothing to say, as he was not there.‎

 

In my presentation, I explained just how large an impact Shavit's book has had on American ‎Jewry, and the crucial role played by The New Yorker in running the Lydda chapter as a ‎provocative teaser. I then reviewed the "massacre" narrative sentence by sentence, just as I had ‎done in my initial article for Mosaic. I figured that a mostly elderly crowd of Hebrew-speakers ‎would need the crutch of a visible text, so I projected the relevant passages from the Lydda ‎chapter up on the screen and read them slowly and deliberately. Then I explained why I thought ‎Shavit's conclusions were implausible.‎ I could have dispensed with my own analysis. The reactions tumbled forth in immediate response ‎to Shavit's text. I heard gasps of disbelief and angry asides. I didn't ask for a show of hands as to ‎how many thought Shavit's account had any credibility, and in retrospect I wish I had. But to ‎judge from the audible responses, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this audience was ‎surprised and offended.‎ Two passages produced especially strong reactions. Shavit made this claim about the conduct of ‎Palmach soldiers after the counterattack on the small mosque: In their "desire for revenge," ‎‎"because of the rage they felt," they entered the mosque and "sprayed the surviving wounded ‎with automatic fire." Shavit also charged that soldiers who were ordered to bury the Arabs killed ‎in the mosque "took eight other Arabs to do the digging of the burial site and afterward shot ‎them, too, and buried the eight" with the rest. Simply projecting these passages on the ‎screen provoked a few salty comments I won't repeat.‎

 

That said, nothing I heard, either in the lecture hall or outside of it, added to the store of ‎testimony about the "massacre" component of Shavit's Lydda tale. The conquest of Lydda had ‎many moving parts, and most of the veterans I met served the 89th Battalion under Moshe ‎Dayan. That meant that they were not in the city when the "massacre" supposedly took place, but ‎fought the day before, mostly on the road between Lydda and Ramla. But I wasn't looking for ‎new testimony, because there are plenty of recorded recollections from people who witnessed the ‎events, including the scene in and around the small mosque. I did want these veterans to know ‎what much of the world (Israel excepted) has been reading about their battle for over a year now. ‎And I wanted them to start to talk about it among themselves and with others…‎

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents           

On Topic

 

From the Shores of Nova Scotia, Israel’s First Soldiers: Rob Gordon, National Post, Jan. 5, 2015—The Fort Edward blockhouse in Windsor, Nova Scotia is one of the the oldest wooden fortifications still standing in North America. It played a major role in the Explusion of the Acadians in 1755, helped defend Nova Scotia in the War of 1812 and, in a truly odd twist of history, assisted in the creation of the State of Israel.

‘The Wall,’ by H. G. Adler: Cynthia Ozick,  New York Times, Dec. 17, 2015—Of Homer we know nothing, of Jane Austen not enough, of Kafka more and more, sometimes hour by hour; and yet Achilles and Elizabeth Bennet and Joseph K. press imperially on, independent of their makers.

Laura Hillenbrand on 'Unbroken': Deirdre Donahue, AARP, Nov., 2014—In a 21st century awash with selfies, sex tapes and Kardashians, readers have found inspiration and uplift in a book about an American World War II hero named Louis Zamperini.

Meet the 'Post''s Gatekeeper – 70 Years and Going StrongTamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2014—"World War II had ended, and our war for independence had begun. You could feel it in the press… from London, New York… there was a very different spirit in those days," says Alexander Zvielli, chief of The Jerusalem Post's archives and the newspaper’s longest-standing employee.

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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OBAMA’S LIES, PUTIN’S THREATS—AND EICHMANN’S DUPLICITY: THE BANALITY OF DECEIT

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 

 

Contents:

 

 

Vladimir Putin’s Plan: He Took Crimea. He’s Taunting NATO. What Will Russia’s President do Next?: Joseph Brean, National Post, Nov. 16, 2014 — Menace clouded the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Brisbane Australia on Friday, as he was the only world leader to bring along a naval fleet, including his Pacific flagship, forcing Australian vessels to intercept as it neared territorial waters.

Testing the Limits: Andrew Stuttaford, Weekly Standard, Oct. 20, 2014 — "I don’t think it’s 1940,” the woman in Riga told me in June, referring to the year the Soviets brought their own variety of hell to Latvia.

Contest of the Liars — Bill Clinton vs. Barack Obama: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 15, 2014— We all know, or I should say, we all used to know that Satan, the Adversary, was the father of lies.

A Murderer’s Warped Idealism: George F. Will, Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2014— Western reflection about human nature and the politics of the human condition began with the sunburst of ancient Greece 2,500 years ago, but it lurched into a new phase 70 years ago with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps.

 

On Topic Links

 

FIDF Protective Edge (Video): Youtube, Nov. 9, 2014

The Loneliest President Since Nixon: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 14, 2014

Victory was Easy, Now the Hard Part: Linda Chavez, New York Post, Nov. 8, 2014

Obama Survival Manual, Intl. Edition: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 2014

Angela Merkel's Putin Problem: Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2014

 

 

         

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S PLAN: HE TOOK CRIMEA. HE’S TAUNTING NATO.

WHAT WILL RUSSIA’S PRESIDENT DO NEXT?                              

Joseph Brean                                                                                                         

National Post, Nov. 16, 2014

 

Menace clouded the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Brisbane Australia on Friday, as he was the only world leader to bring along a naval fleet, including his Pacific flagship, forcing Australian vessels to intercept as it neared territorial waters. Russian officials claimed the boats are testing their range in anticipation of climate research in Antarctica, but in light of Mr. Putin’s escalating provocations of the West, the symbolism was impossible to ignore.

 

It was a reminder that, even at this meeting from which Mr. Putin was nearly uninvited amid outrage over the downing of a passenger jet by Russian enabled separatists in Ukraine, he is the one who makes the threats. Other recent gestures have likewise revealed a belligerent vanity, with an undertone of nuclear danger, which raises worrying questions about Mr. Putin’s true goals, broader strategy and appetite for risk. These include the frequent sorties of Russian military planes into or near the airspace of other countries, often NATO members, including one over the Labrador Sea during a NATO summit. In September a Russian plane buzzed a Canadian warship in the Black Sea during Russian combat training near the Crimean port of Sevastopol, coming within 300 metres and causing the HMCS Toronto to lock its radar on the plane in anticipation of firing in self defence. Russia has denied the flight was provocative, and said it was routine.

 

Other airspace incursions have been noted over the Arctic, where Russia and Canada have disputed claims to energy resources. These are not merely exercises in international airspace or waters, but rather they are provocations, “almost an invitation to an accident,” said Aurel Braun, a professor of international relations at the University of Toronto, now a visiting professor at Harvard. They are increasing in frequency, intensity, and recklessness, he said. As winter approaches, there are fears Mr. Putin’s next move could be to cut off gas to Ukraine — or to Europe — despite the economic harm it would cause Russia. Mr. Putin has used this lever before, and Russian companies have reportedly purchased much of Germany’s gas storage capacity in recent months, as a way to prevent stockpiling there.

 

While the fear of gas disruption seems to have been largely averted by a deal last month to secure $4.6-billion in guaranteed funds for Russian gas that transits Ukraine into Europe, Mr. Putin’s recent behaviour suggests playing by the rules is not a top priority. The self-sabotage of a gas shut-off could cause great harm to Russia’s economy, not least via the sanctions it could trigger, but such a tactic is no more risky than invading a neighbouring state or providing arms to separatist militias. As such, Mr. Putin still wields the threat of real hardship in countries, like Germany or the Netherlands, that are traditionally unwilling to push back too hard. This willingness to threaten neighbouring countries, even at its own likely expense, has led some European leaders to allude to dark memories of the 20th century, such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, who came close to comparing Mr. Putin to the expansionist dictators of modern European history.

“We have to be clear what we are dealing with here is a large state bullying a smaller state. We have seen the consequences of that in the past and we should learn the lessons of history and make sure we do not let it happen again,” Mr. Cameron said, adding he did not think there was a purely military solution.

 

A think-tank, the European Leadership Network, this week released a report called Dangerous Brinkmanship, which identified nearly 40 recent close military encounters including three high-risk encounters and 11 “serious incidents of a more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher risk of escalation.” It called on Russian leadership to “urgently re-evaluate the costs and risks of continuing its more assertive military posture.” “To perpetuate a volatile stand-off between a nuclear armed state and a nuclear armed alliance and its partners in the circumstances described in this paper is risky at best. It could prove catastrophic at worst.” While it is possible Russia is testing NATO defences in anticipation of outright conflict, there are indications the provocation is the main point, serving as it does Mr. Putin’s domestic goal of projecting his image as a Russian nationalist defender against a looming foreign threat.

 

It is one of the few poses available to Mr. Putin, who leads a country with a GDP the size of Italy’s and an economy one-eighth of the size of the U.S., and smaller than China, Japan and Germany. His stage is global, but his audience is largely domestic, and it is this duality that gives rise to the strange image of “a tiny man in elevator shoes,” as Prof. Braun put it, who still manages to stand astride the world like a colossus, exerting power through empty gestures, like riding bareback on a Siberian horse, flying with rare cranes in a glider, or diving into the Black Sea and coming up with ceramic antiquities. Dictators are famous for their bluster, but this is a man with nuclear bombs, whose aggression has already split a country. And there are signs that Mr. Putin is prepared to push his nuclear advantage, for example the news this week that Russia intends to reduce its participation in a joint effort with the U.S. to secure nuclear materials.

 

Even the unveiling this week of the memorial statue in Sofia of Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident who was assassinated on a bridge over the Thames in London by a man with a poison dart umbrella, was a reminder of how far Mr. Putin is willing to go: The killing of Alexander Litvinenko, similarly poisoned in 2006 by radioactive polonium in a cup of tea at a hotel on Piccadilly, with Russian agents the main suspects, occurred during his presidency. If provocation ever does tip over into open conflict with the West, Ukraine is the obvious flashpoint, even more so now that there are reports of Russian troops and materiel crossing the border into Crimea, including ballistic missiles with nuclear capabilities.

 

To Mr. Putin, as Prof. Braun describes it, the danger of Ukraine has never been about outright conflict with NATO, for which Russia is no match. Rather, the fear is that Ukraine could become a successful democracy integrated with Europe, a large Slavic state transcending the fortunes of modern Russia. “It would undermine his legitimacy,” Prof. Braun said, and so if Mr. Putin cannot control Ukraine, he would rather destroy it. “Ominously, evidence is growing that this buildup [of Russian military in the Donbas region of Ukraine] is preparing a new offensive by [Mr. Putin] in his war against Ukraine — a campaign of attrition against Ukraine’s economically fragile state,” according to a report for the Atlantic Council by Adrian Karatnycky. In all this, Mr. Putin has been lucky in having a “feckless” American president, Prof. Braun said, who makes him look good by being so desperate not to intervene in the Syria and Iran, and seeking Russian help, which comes at a diplomatic price. “We should not confuse political luck with political acuity,” said Prof. Braun. “This is where the comical blends with the dangerous.”

 

Prof. Aurel Braun is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

                                                                       

Contents      

                                                                                                                                                          

TESTING THE LIMITS                                                                                              

Andrew Stuttaford

Weekly Standard, Oct. 20, 2014

 

"I don’t think it’s 1940,” the woman in Riga told me in June, referring to the year the Soviets brought their own variety of hell to Latvia. “But then, I wouldn’t have expected 1940 in 1940 either.” And then she laughed, nervously. With Russia’s ambitions spilling across the borders that the breakup of the Soviet Union left behind, and talk from Vladimir Putin of a broader Russian World (Russkiy Mir), in which the Kremlin has the right to intervene to “protect” ethnic Russian “compatriots” in former Soviet republics, the once bright line that had cut the Baltic states off from the horrors of their past now seems fuzzy.

 

And in a more literal sense the borders that separated the Baltics from their old oppressor have lately appeared more vulnerable than once believed. Moscow has been pressing and provoking in the Pribaltika for years​—​some subversion here, some denial of history there. There have been maliciously random trade bans (Lithuanian cheese, Latvian sprats, and quite a bit more besides) and carefully planned cyberattacks. But the bullying has been stepped up sharply this year. The saber-rattling has evolved from menacing “training exercises,” such as last year’s Zapad-13 (70,000 Russian and Belarusian troops war-gaming their way through a fight against “Baltic terrorists”), to include too many flights by Russian fighters near or even in Baltic airspace to be anything other than part of a significantly more aggressive strategy.

Related Stories

 

On September 3, Barack Obama traveled to Tallinn, the Estonian capital, to reaffirm NATO’s commitment to the three Baltic states, all of which have been members of the alliance since 2004. Two days later Eston Kohver, an Estonian intelligence officer investigating smuggling across Estonia’s remote and poorly defended southeastern frontier, was, claims Tallinn, grabbed by a group of gunmen and dragged across the border into Russia. His support team at the Luhamaa frontier post nearby were distracted and disoriented by flash grenades and their communications were jammed: They were in no position to help. Shortly afterwards, Kohver turned up in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison. According to Russia’s rather different version of events, the Estonian was captured while on a mission on the Russian side of the border. Kohver faces espionage charges that could mean decades behind bars. He has “decided” to drop the lawyer that the Estonian government had arranged for him. Court-appointed lawyers will fill the gap. The stage is being set for a show trial, complete, I would imagine, with confession.

 

After a year of Russian lies over Ukraine, I’m inclined to believe democratic Estonia over Putin’s Russia. The timing was just too good. Barack Obama descends on Tallinn with fine words and a welcome promise of increased support, and Russia promptly trumps that with a move clearly designed to demonstrate who really rules the Baltic roost. In the immediate aftermath of Kohver’s kidnapping the Estonians signaled that they were prepared to treat the whole incident as an unfortunate misunderstanding. No deal. The power play stands, made all the more pointed by the way that it breaks the conventions of Spy vs. Spy, a breach that comes with the implication that Estonia is not enough of a country to merit such courtesies. If anything could make this outrage worse, it is the historical resonances that come with it. There are the obvious ones, the memories of half a century of brutal Soviet occupation, the slaughter, the deportations, the Gulag, and all the rest. But there are also the echoes of a prelude to that: the kidnapping of a number of Estonians in the border region by the Soviets in the days of the country’s interwar independence, intelligence-gathering operations of the crudest type. These days Russia prefers more sophisticated techniques: Earlier this year, it polled people in largely Russian-speaking eastern Latvia for their views of a potential Crimean-type operation there (as it happens, they weren’t too keen).

 

But whatever the (pretended) ambiguities of the Kohver case, there were none about what came next. Moscow reopened decades-old criminal cases against Lithuanians who acted on their government’s instructions and declined to serve in the Red Army after Lithuania’s unilateral declaration of independence in March 1990. That government may not have won international recognition at that time, but recognition​—​including from Moscow​—​followed within 18 months. To attempt to overturn now what it approved in the interim comes very close to questioning the legitimacy of Lithuanian independence today. This could turn out to be more than merely symbolic harassment. The Lithuanian government has advised any of its citizens theoretically at risk of Russian prosecution on these grounds not to travel beyond EU or NATO countries. That’s not as paranoid as it sounds​—​Russia has been known to abuse Interpol’s procedures in ways that can make for trying times at the airport for those it regards as its opponents…

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

 

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CONTEST OF THE LIARS — BILL CLINTON VS. BARACK OBAMA               

Rex Murphy        

National Post, Nov. 15, 2014

 

We all know, or I should say, we all used to know that Satan, the Adversary, was the father of lies. Alas, the Grand Serpent’s claim to that dubious paternity has long since been challenged by more fertile and febrile monsters, among which louche set none can claim first rank with more authority than the tongue-torquing, lip-biting prevaricators of modern politics. As for old Nick, when he was Lie-Master-in-Chief, He at least was clear on one thing: That a lie was, indeed, a lie. Not even in the broiling stews of Hell would He have tried to imply otherwise. He treasured His lying, tied it in fact to matters of apocalyptic consequence: the loss eternal of souls and endless perdition and pain. But not even Nicky had the brass to claim a lie as truth, or a lie as a disguised virtue. That was left to the PR-bred, spin doctor-massaged politicians of our sad and weary day.

 

Let us take the case of the great duplicitist himself, the Master, William Jefferson Clinton, a man who looked warily upon truth as the grease on the pole of his ambition. He knew it was an easier mast to climb when it had been studded with something more abrasive, when it had been gritted and rutted with evasions, equivocations, infinite parsing and jesuitical conjugations of the obvious. He splintered the pole with each evasion, scarred it with chop logic, and carved whole footholds with artful deceit. And subtle, too, he could be. “That depends on what the meaning of is is” is his most famous slip-slide into swampy semantics. Not many politicians can claim to have taken the wind of out the most fundamental verb in human history. Mr. Clinton’s most brass-faced lie, his Thermopylae stand against the truth and all its attendant soldiery, is now famous. People who cannot house a line of Lincoln in their iPhone brains store Clinton’s famed animadversion and denial, the immortal: “I did not have sex with that woman … er … Ms. Lewinsky. “ He spoke this locus classicus of determined deceit, which at the time was hysterical in its rebuttal of reality. For at the moment the words were uttered he was living a White House sex fantasy in real time, featuring under-the-desk carnal ministrations from his intern-houri while he whispered diplomatic sweet-nothings to some foreign ambassador. History’s first tête-à-tête-à-tête. Clinton’s nose-telescoping gobsmacker was spoken with gritted teeth, live, into the eyes of a camera and watched by every American citizen. Rarely has a lie, a straightforward brass-faced lie, been launched with such fulsome bravado, unshaven of all qualifications whatsoever.

 

Skip now to the current incumbent, the supercool master of the outright, non-subtle, brazen, full-on, deliberate lie. He sold the transformation of 20% of the American economy, the upheaval of its health-care system, and the launch of the error-riddled and Byzantine (the law is more than 20,000 pages long, with more to come) Obamacare. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health-care plan you can keep your health-care plan. Period.” Those are Obama’s straightforward, urgently stated declarations — repeated on tape to audiences of thousands and on television to audiences of millions. The “period” was his anchor of assurance. No way you couldn’t keep your plan or your doctor. Period. As millions of Americans now know, of course, those were lies. And they were lies when they were made. The most central persuasion to have Americans vote or buy into Obamacare was a declaration from the herald of a new politics, of truth and transparency such as America had never seen, from the mouth of the angel of Hope and Change … all of it a damn lie. It was not a Clinton sex lie, a lie to excuse hormonal recreation, or fraternizing sexually with the White House help. This was a policy lie, from a man who came into the White House as a symbol of a new day in politics, a turning away from the mud and madness of Washington. But “you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan” was a deceit that would have shamed Nixon. Obama, the winged messenger of a new day, turns out to be as loose with the truth, and as comfortable with casting it aside, as the most pot-bellied, cigar-chomping ward-healer of old.

 

Of these two, who lied least? I give Clinton a slight moral edge. He can plead his overactive sex drive, and he confined his lies to matters that (mainly) concerned him and Hillary and Monica. Obama’s, however, is far more serious. He was a president speaking as a president. He was changing the law. He was giving eye-to-camera assurances to Mr. and Mrs. America, and knew those assurances were false. Obama wins the lie tournament with the Clinton. But he was aided by a mindset. Obama is a progressive politician. He went to Harvard. He knows more than anybody else — and especially all those millions less intelligent than he — what is good for them. So with the smug, righteous and callous authority of the progressive, he was more than prepared to deceive those who elected him … and place his head on a soft pillow each night with the soothing thought, that — after all — he was lying to them for their own good. And who could know better than them what they really wanted but he himself?

 

                                                                       

Contents   

                                                   

                                                                                               

A MURDERER’S WARPED IDEALISM                                                          

George F. Will

Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2014

 

Western reflection about human nature and the politics of the human condition began with the sunburst of ancient Greece 2,500 years ago, but it lurched into a new phase 70 years ago with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps. The Holocaust is the dark sun into which humanity should stare, lest troubling lessons be lost through an intellectual shrug about “the unfathomable.” Now comes an English translation of a 2011 German book that refutes a 1963 book and rebukes those who refuse to see the Holocaust as proof of the power of the most dangerous things — ideas that denigrate reason. The German philosopher Bettina Stangneth’s “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer” responds to Hannah Arendt’s extraordinarily and perversely influential “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.” Although, or perhaps because, Arendt was a philosopher, in her report on Israel’s trial of Adolf Eichmann, the organizer of industrialized murder, she accepted the facade Eichmann presented to those who could, and in 1962 would, hang him: He was a little “cog” in a bureaucratic machine. He said he merely “passed on” orders and “oversaw” compliance. Arendt agreed. She called Eichmann “terribly and terrifyingly normal,” lacking “criminal motives,” “a buffoon,” “a typical functionary” who was “banal” rather than “demonic” because he was not “deep,” being essentially without “ideology.” Arendt considered Eichmann “thoughtless,” partly because, with a parochialism to which some intellectuals are prone, she could not accept the existence of a coherent and motivating ideological framework that rejected, root and branch, the universality of reason, and hence of human dignity.

 

It was odd for Arendt to suppose that the pride Eichmann took in his deportations — especially of the more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews when the war was already lost and even Heinrich Himmler, hoping for leniency, was urging it for the Jews — was merely pride in managerial virtuosity. Arendt, however, did not have, as Stangneth has had, access to more than 1,300 pages of Eichmann’s writings and taped musings among Argentina’s portion of the Nazi diaspora, before Israeli agents kidnapped him in 1960. Eichmann was proudly prominent in preparations for the “final solution” even before the Wannsee Conference (Jan. 20, 1942) formalized it. “His name,” Stangneth notes, “appeared in David Ben-Gurion’s diary only three months after the start of the war” in September 1939. On Oct. 24, 1941, a newspaper published by German exiles in London identified Eichmann as leader of a “campaign” of “mass murder.” “I was an idealist,” he told his fellow exiles, and he was. In obedience to the “morality of the Fatherland that dwells within,” a.k.a. the “voice of blood,” his anti-Semitism was radical because it was ideological. Denying that all individuals are created equal entailed affirming the irremediable incompatibility of groups, which necessitated a struggle to settle subordination and extermination. “There are,” Eichmann wrote, “a number of moralities.” But because thinking is national, no morality is universal. Only war is universal as the arbiter of survival. So, Stangneth writes, “Only thinking based on ethnicity offers a chance of final victory in the battle of all living things.”

 

Eichmann, a premature postmodernist, had a philosophy to end philosophizing. To him, Stangneth says, “philosophy in the classical sense, as the search for transcultural categories” was absurd. She says his ideology was “the fundamental authorization for his actions.” In 1996, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s “Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust” argued that Germany was saturated with “eliminationist anti-Semitism” that produced much voluntary participation in genocide. This made Hitler a mere product and trigger of cultural latency. But in 1992, Christopher Browning in “Ordinary Men,” a study of middle-aged German conscripts who became willing mass murderers, had noted that the murders of millions of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge and tens of millions of Chinese by Mao’s Cultural Revolution could not be explained by centuries of conditioning by a single idea. Martin Amis’s new novel “The Zone of Interest” — set in Auschwitz, it is a study of moral vertigo — contains a lapidary afterword in which Amis abjures “epistemological rejection,” the idea that an explanation of Hitler and his enthusiasts is impossible. An explanation begins with Eichmann’s explanation of himself, rendered in Argentina. Before he donned his miniaturizing mask in Jerusalem, Eichmann proclaimed that he did what he did in the service of idealism. This supposedly “thoughtless” man’s devotion to ideas was such that, Stangneth says, he “was still composing his last lines when they came to take him to the gallows.”

 

Contents           

 

 

On Topic

 

FIDF Protective Edge (Video): Youtube, Nov. 9, 2014

The Loneliest President Since Nixon: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 14, 2014 —Seven years ago I was talking to a longtime Democratic operative on Capitol Hill about a politician who was in trouble.

Victory was Easy, Now the Hard Part: Linda Chavez, New York Post, Nov. 8, 2014 —The GOP victory Election Night was the easy part. Now comes the real work: forging an agenda that will solidify Republican gains over the next two years.

Obama Survival Manual, Intl. Edition: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 2014—So Paul Krugman, who once called on Alan Greenspan “to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble”; who, a few months before the eurozone crisis erupted, praised Europe as “an economic success” that “shows that social democracy works”; who, as the U.S. fracking revolution was getting under way, opined that America was “just a bystander” in a global energy story defined by “peak oil”; and who, in 2012, hailed Argentina’s economy as a “remarkable success story”—this guy now tells us, in Rolling Stone magazine, that Barack Obama has been a terrific president.

Angela Merkel's Putin Problem: Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2014 —Checkpoint Charlie is an aging tourist shrine. As a symbol of a divided continent, it's part of a Berlin that was buried late in the last century.

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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LE QUOTIDIEN LA PRESSE FLIRTE AVEC L’ISLAMISME
Dépêche 

Postedeveille.ca, 23 avril 2012

L'équipe de Poste de Veille répond à l'article d'Anabelle Nicoud Le Québec flirte avec Marine Le Pen paru dans La Presse du 21 avril dans lequel elle associe Poste de Veille à la «toile brune» qui inciterait à la violence.

 

Parcourir Poste de Veille permet aux lecteurs de lire un nombre significatif d’articles et de chroniques réfutant l’opinion éditoriale du quotidien La Presse telle qu’exprimée par certains de ses éditorialistes et de ses chroniqueurs.

 

C’est que Poste de Veille, dans le souci d’informer objectivement ses lecteurs, s’est donné le mandat de rétablir les faits chaque fois qu’un grand quotidien ou un grand diffuseur s’adonne à la désinformation. L’édition de La Presse du samedi 21 avril ne fera pas exception, il s’agit cette fois d’un reportage signé Anabelle Nicoud et dont le titre est «Le Québec flirte avec Marine Le Pen».

 

Dès l’introduction l’intention de l’auteur est mise en évidence: discréditer les blogues qui informent le public sur l’islamisme et les risques qu’il incarne pour les sociétés occidentales. En guise de rapprochement, trois éléments chocs ont été utilisés dans le même paragraphe: la mention de l’extrême droite européenne, celle d’Anders Breivik le tueur norvégien d’extrême droite et l’expression «toile brune» en référence aux chemises brunes nazies, de sinistre mémoire, dont le rôle était d’intimider et de violenter les adversaires politiques. On peut donc affirmer qu’Anabelle Nicoud n’y est pas allée avec le dos de la cuillère ou comme on dit au Québec «elle en a beurré épais». Le procédé bien connu de reductio ad Hitlerum ne l’a pas rebutée, ce qui dénote chez elle un certain amateurisme. En effet, elle a, sans s’en apercevoir et dès les premières phrases, dévoilé son parti-pris et soulevé des doutes sur son objectivité.

 

L’auteur du reportage ne le dit pas explicitement mais de toute évidence elle considère les craintes que suscite l’islam radical comme non fondées. S’il en avait été autrement elle se serait donné la peine d’investiguer la question pour savoir si les auteurs des blogues ont de bonnes raisons de s’inquiéter. L’égalité des sexes, les droits des femmes, la laïcité dans l’espace public, la démocratie, la liberté d’expression, les droits des homosexuels, la paix sociale etc. sont-ils menacés par l’islam radical? Cette question Anabelle Nicoud ne s’est pas donnée la peine de se la poser et elle n’y a pas répondu dans son reportage, cependant elle laisse entendre que ceux qui soulèvent cette question dans leurs blogues ne sont que des «chemises brunes» virtuelles qui incitent à la violence. L’auteur a emprunté ici l’un des procédés de l’extrême gauche, l’inversion des responsabilités: le danger ne vient pas du fascisme islamique mais de ceux qui tirent la sonnette d’alarme à son sujet!

 

L’auteur associe islamophobie et judéophobie pour mieux discréditer les blogues qui informent le public sur l’islam radical et les forfaits dont il se rend responsable. Jihadwatch, Atlas Shrugs, Gates of Vienna, Riposte laïque, etc., qu’elle mentionne ne s’intéressent aucunement aux juifs sauf quand ces derniers subissent des menaces et des préjudices de la part des islamistes. D’autres groupes, les homosexuels, les coptes, les bahaïs, les ahmadis par exemple, sont également ciblés par l’islamisme, ils obtiennent par conséquent une couverture adéquate dans ces blogues faute d’en obtenir dans les grands médias écrits et télévisés.

 

Mais l’auteur ne se donne pas la peine de définir l’islamophobie, s’agit-il pour elle d’une haine aveugle, d’une peur irraisonnée ou d’une crainte légitime et justifiée de l’islamofascisme? On ne sait trop, ce qu’on constate toutefois c’est qu’elle s’en sert dans un sens péjoratif, imitant en cela l’Ayatollah Khomeiny qui a inventé cette expression pour discréditer ceux qui dénonçaient la tyrannie islamique imposée brutalement aux Iraniens.

 

Madame Nicoud n’explique pas pourquoi il n’existe pas de blogues qui mettent en garde contre le christianisme, l’hindouisme, le bouddhisme, l’animisme ou, tant qu’à y être, contre l’islam alaouite, l’islam ismaélite ou l’islam soufi. Serait-ce parce que ces religions ou ces branches de l’islam ne constituent aucun danger pour notre société? Ou parce que leurs adeptes s’y intègrent facilement et ne cherchent pas à en faire une copie conforme de celle qu’ils ont quittée?

 

L’auteur ne souffle mot des blogues islamistes haineux qui pullulent sur le web, certains de leurs auteurs vivent au Québec. Ces sites ne se contentent pas de semer la haine des non-musulmans, ils vont plus loin et incitent leurs lecteurs à s’enrôler pour le jihad mondial. C’est ainsi que nombre de jihadistes en Afrique du Nord, en Somalie, en Irak, au Yémen, en Tchétchénie et en Afghanistan ont été recrutés en Occident. Et que dire des complots jihadistes fomentés à partir d’internet au cœur même du Québec, ne sont-ils pas de nature à inspirer à madame Nicoud un peu d’islamovigilance? L’auteur ne nous dit pas pourquoi La Presse détourne les yeux quand des conférenciers islamistes sont invités dans nos universités pour endoctriner les jeunes musulmans et les inciter à ne pas s’intégrer dans notre société. Leur enseignement serait-il à ce point conforme aux principes du multiculturalisme défendu par La Presse?

 

Madame Nicoud fait siennes les affirmations d’Oyvind Strommen à l’effet qu'avant de tuer 77 personnes, Anders Behring Breivik s'est nourri des idées propagées sur les réseaux internet de l'extrême droite européenne et américaine. Il soutient par là que les informations objectives qu’il a récoltées ici et là l’ont décidé à commettre son crime. Il s’agit là d’affirmations dénuées de fondements et dont le but premier est de salir ceux qui défendent des opinions et des positions opposées aux siennes. Bat Yeor, Mark Steyn ou Robert Spencer cités par Breivik sont reconnus pour le sérieux de leur travail et de leur documentation, ils n’affirment rien sans preuve bien démontrée. On ne peut, sans mauvaise foi, les accuser d’inciter à la haine ou à la violence.

 

…Oyvind Strommen et tous ceux qui soutiennent sa thèse dont Anabelle Nicoud auraient dû accorder aux islamistes qui massacrent sans discernement, le même traitement réservé à Breivik, à savoir questionner les références sur lesquelles ils se basent pour accomplir leurs crimes haineux

 

Pour être équitable et faire preuve d’objectivité, Oyvind Strommen et tous ceux qui soutiennent sa thèse dont Anabelle Nicoud auraient dû accorder aux islamistes qui massacrent sans discernement, le même traitement réservé à Breivik, à savoir questionner les références sur lesquelles ils se basent pour accomplir leurs crimes haineux. Ces références sont le coran et la sunna de Mahomet, les jihadistes les citent ouvertement pour justifier leurs attentats meurtriers. En effet les textes sacrés des musulmans incitent explicitement au meurtre des infidèles, et pourtant à aucun moment les bien-pensants comme Strommen n’ont dénoncé le coran ou la sunna de Mahomet. Peut-on parler ici de deux poids deux mesures, d’indignation à géométrie variable ou d’aveuglement volontaire?

 

Les lecteurs de La Presse avaient droit à un examen objectif du contenu des blogues qui s’opposent à l’islam radical, en effet dénoncer et condamner sans preuves à l’appui est contraire à l’objectivité la plus élémentaire. Nous pouvons même aller plus loin et affirmer que l’objectivité implique d’informer le public d’une manière équilibrée sans prendre parti et laisser le public juger par lui-même. Or l’auteur n’a rien exposé du contenu des blogues et en ce qui concerne Poste de Veille dont elle parle, elle a choisi de passer sous silence les nombreux articles rédigés par des musulmans modernistes tels que Tarek Fatah, Salim Mansur, Tawfik Hamid, Sami el Beheiri, Amil Imani et bien d’autres qui dénoncent le fanatisme islamique et pour qui nos quotidiens, dont La Presse, ne font preuve d’aucun intérêt.

 

Mais il y a plus quand l’auteur mentionne que: Le site espère inciter ses lecteurs à «passer à l'action», elle fait délibérément usage de guillemets et omet de préciser qu’il s’agit d’action citoyenne. Plus loin dans le reportage elle rapporte les propos d’Oyvind Strommen pour qui «les idées défendues sur la «toile brune» sont virtuelles, mais ne devraient pas être banalisées: leur potentiel de violence, lui, est bien réel.» C’est avec cette phrase que le reportage se termine, et il s’agit là du message que l’auteur cherche à transmettre aux lecteurs. Madame Nicoud aurait pu, sans porter de jugement explicite ou implicite, conseiller aux lecteurs de se faire une idée par eux-mêmes, en allant faire un tour sur les sites qu’elle mentionne dans son reportage. Elle ne l’a pas fait, elle a gardé le silence sur le contenu des blogues, se contentant de les traiter de chemises brunes virtuelles et de sites d’extrême droite.

 

Il sied mal à un journal qui se veut objectif et respectable de condamner sans preuves et sans appel des citoyens qui s’imposent le devoir d’informer le public d’ici et d’ailleurs. Le geste est d’autant plus déplorable qu’il s’apparente à une tentative d’éliminer la concurrence émanant d’individus qui ne disposent pas de moyens comparables à ceux d’un grand quotidien. Mais ce qui est encore plus révoltant c’est le fait que le quotidien La Presse discrédite des opinions contraires aux siennes, sans analyse objective, sans s’astreindre au débat d’idées, sans étayer ses arguments, en un mot sans se donner la peine de réfuter les thèses qu’il ne partage pas.

 

Paresse intellectuelle ou manque flagrant de professionnalisme chez les journalistes de La Presse? Arrogance ou sentiment de supériorité morale qui les dispense d’accomplir honnêtement leur travail? Désir inavoué de maintenir les lecteurs dans leur giron? Volonté de défendre par n’importe quel moyen le multiculturalisme que les Québécois rejettent de plus en plus? Telles sont les questions qu’il convient de se poser après la lecture du reportage d’Anabelle Nicoud.

 

Mais il est également approprié de s’interroger sur le pourquoi du succès de blogues tels que Poste de Veille. Si la presse écrite et électronique faisait convenablement son travail et informait objectivement les gens, si elle ne cherchait pas à leur inculquer par des moyens contestables ce qu’ils doivent penser, les blogues n’auraient jamais vu le jour. S’ils existent et s’ils ont du succès c’est parce qu’ils inspirent confiance et répondent à un besoin. Tant que les grands médias se réfugieront dans le déni et persisteront dans la même voie, les blogues continueront de prospérer et d'attirer un nombre sans cesse croissant de lecteurs.

 

Poste de Veille

PARDONNER AUSCHWITZ AUX JUIFS
David Ouellette

Davidouellette.net, 8 avril 2012

Au lendemain de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et de la découverte des camps d’extermination nazis, la philosophe juive allemande Hannah Arendt consignait cette réflexion dans une lettre à son ancien maître Karl Jaspers:

 

Ces crimes, il me semble, ne peuvent être appréhendés juridiquement et c’est justement ce qui fait leur monstruosité. […], cette culpabilité, contrairement à toute culpabilité criminelle, dépasse et fracasse tout ordre juridique. […] Cette culpabilité est toute aussi inhumaine que l’innocence des victimes. Les hommes ne peuvent absolument pas être aussi innocents qu’ils l’étaient, tous ensemble, devant les fours à gaz. On ne peut absolument rien faire humainement et politiquement avec une culpabilité campée au-delà du crime et une innocence au-delà de la bonté et de la vertu. Car les Allemands sont accablés par des milliers ou des dizaines de milliers ou des centaines de milliers qui ne peuvent être punis de manière adéquate au sein d’un système légal; et nous Juifs sommes accablés par des millions d’innocents, en raison desquels chaque Juif aujourd’hui se perçoit comme l’innocence personnifiée. [Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers Briefwechsel, 1926-1969 / Lotte Kohler et Hans Saner (éd.), Munich, 1985]

 

Plusieurs années plus tard, le psychanalyste israélien Zvi Rex cristallisera le ressentiment engendré par le sentiment de culpabilité incommensurable liée à la destruction des Juifs d’Europe dans cette formule lapidaire: «Les Allemands ne pardonneront jamais Auschwitz aux Juifs». Un antisémitisme, non pas en dépit, mais à cause d’Auschwitz, parce que par leur survie et leur simple présence, les Juifs se désincarnent pour ne devenir qu’un rappel lancinant des crimes perpétrés à leur endroit.

 

Le revers de cet antisémitisme à cause d’Auschwitz est un philosémitisme tout aussi répréhensible, quoique moins répandu. Le philosémitisme projette sur les Juifs une innocence et une vertu inhumaines, mais se retourne rapidement en antisémitisme, dès lors que les Juifs sont perçus comme étant en deçà de cette attente inhumaine.

 

C’est à la formule de Rex que j’ai immédiatement songé en lisant l’étrange coup de gueule travesti en poème du prix Nobel de littérature Günter Grass. Publié cette semaine dans plusieurs journaux internationaux, le poème de la “conscience morale” de l’Allemagne d’après-guerre, lui qui à l’automne de sa vie a levé le voile sur son passé de Waffen-SS, prétend briser un tabou. Lequel? Le tabou qui l’a longtemps prévenu de critiquer Israël en tant qu’Allemand sous peine de passer pour un antisémite. Et la critique? Israël, croit Grass, planifie l’ “extinction du peuple iranien” et “menace une paix mondiale déjà fragile”. Pourquoi? Parce que l’ancien nazi ne voudrait pas devenir un “survivant” du génocide qui vient; tourmenté par son passé nazi, Grass voit dans la dénonciation d’un génocide imaginaire israélien l’occasion de déboulonner l’ “innocence et la vertu inhumaine” attendue des Juifs après la Shoah et de se dérober du fardeau intolérable de la “culpabilité inhumaine” des crimes nazis.

 

De l’extrême-gauche à la droite libérale allemande en passant par l’arc-en-ciel idéologique de la presse européenne, plusieurs soupçonnent Grass d’antisémitisme larvé, voire décomplexé. Mais la critique qui retient davantage mon attention est celle de la projection de son propre sentiment de culpabilité pour Auschwitz sur l’État d’Israël. “Schuldverschiebung und Selbstentlastung“, dénonce le prestigieux hebdomadaire Die Zeit, “transfert de culpabilité et auto-exonération“. “Schuldverrechnung eines Rechthabers“, “virement de culpabilité opiniâtre”, critique aussi l’hebdomadaire Der Spiegel. Le quotidien autrichien Die Presse y voit un mal qui est loin d’affecter le seul auteur du poème: «Grass n’est évidemment pas l’unique intéressé politique en Allemagne (ou en Autriche) qui s’occupe obsessivement d’Israël, qui consacre une bonne partie de son potentiel de protestation au pays. Qui, comme Grass dans un passage particulièrement perfide, reproche à l’État d’Israël de vouloir éliminer un peuple (dans ce cas-ci, le peuple iranien)». Pour le grand critique littéraire allemand Frank Schirrmacher, le poème est un «torchon de ressentiment». «Le débat devrait porter sur la question de savoir s’il est justifié de faire du monde entier la victime d’Israël seulement pour qu’un homme de 85 ans puisse faire la paix avec sa propre biographie», conclut-il sévèrement.

 

Nul besoin d’être allemand ou autrichien pour retourner la Shoah contre Israël et les Juifs. Tourmenté par le sentiment coupable de sa propre survie à Auschwitz, l’écrivain Primo Levi ne fut-il pas le premier à céder à la tentation de faire expier aux Juifs leur statut involontaire de victimes absolues en érigeant Israël en bourreau absolu et ses ennemis au Moyen-Orient en victimes absolues lorsqu’il déclara que «tout le monde est le Juif de quelqu’un, et aujourd’hui les Palestiniens sont les Juifs des Israéliens»? Pensons au philosophe juif français Edgar Morin qui s’exclamait dans Le Monde que «les juifs victimes de l’inhumanité montrent une terrible inhumanité». Au prix Nobel de littérature portugais José Saramago qui pontifiait en 2002: «Ce qui arrive en Palestine est un crime que l’on peut arrêter. Nous pouvons le comparer à ce qui est arrivé à Auschwitz».

 

Plus près de chez nous, pensons à Victor-Lévy Beaulieu pour qui la Seconde Guerre du Liban illustrait l’extériorisation d’une prétendue pulsion génocidaire ancrée dans l’essence même du judaïsme: «de l’assassinat sélectif à la guerre totale, du génocide à l’extermination absolue, les armes du droit judaïque ne connaissent pas la mesure (…) Que sont donc ces guerres contre la Palestine et le Liban, sinon des guerres d’extermination, sinon des génocides odieux». Ou encore à Pierre Vadeboncoeur qui, dans un article intitulé Guernica bis en référence à la destruction de cette ville espagnole par l’aviation nazie, écrivait dans Le Devoir, au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre du Liban, que «le traitement des Juifs dans les pays chrétiens à travers les siècles et finalement l’Holocauste furent des crimes pour lesquels il n’y aura pas de rémission même dans mille ans. Le peuple juif n’aura jamais fini de demander réparation». Ce même quotidien hurlait «Israël ne se défend pas, il extermine» pendant la guerre de Gaza de 2009.

 

Alors qu’on ne cesse de reprocher aux Juifs le chantage à Auschwitz, c’est surtout l’inverse qui est vrai. Il n’y a pas de manifestation “pour la paix” sans assimilation de l’étoile de David à la croix gammée. «Les Juifs n’ont-ils donc rien appris de la Shoah?» est devenu un lieu commun de la “critique” d’Israël et de la démesure avec laquelle on nazifie non seulement les “crimes de guerre” imputés à l’État juif, mais l’existence nationale des Juifs. Et c’est là un cruel paradoxe de la condition juive; pour ceux qui ne pardonnent pas Auschwitz aux Juifs, la restauration de l’existence nationale du peuple juif, qui devait l’émanciper de sa condition d’exception, sert de prétexte pour cimenter l’exception juive.

Shabat Shalom et Yom Haatsmaout à tous nos lecteurs!