Tag: Holocaust Memorial Day


Distortion of the Holocaust Mars Another Holocaust Remembrance Day: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Jan. 24, 2019 — Many people equate Holocaust distortion exclusively with its denial and minimization.

To Combat Holocaust Ignorance, We Must Empower Teachers: Naomi Azrieli, Globe & Mail, Jan. 24, 2018— On Jan. 27, the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau…

Canary in the Mine: Yad Vashem’s Holocaust-Awareness Programs Tackle 21st-Century Anti-Semitism: Deborah Fineblum, JNS, Jan. 8, 2019— It’s American teachers like Lori Fulton who, with their commitment to Holocaust education, are poised to be potent forces for holding back the current tidal wave of anti-Semitism for the next generation.

Making It: Lee Smith, Tablet, Jan. 16, 2019— The most famous first line in 20th-century American literature set in Kings County, New York, must be incomprehensible to many current residents of that highly literary territory.

On Topic Links

Holocaust Survivor’s Book a Story of Perseverance: Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, May 2, 2018

20% of Canadian Young Adults Say Never Heard of the Holocaust: Ilanit Chernick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2019

Hitler Book Maps ‘Final Solution in Canada,’ Library and Archives Canada Curator Says: CBC, Jan. 23, 2019

Top Nazi Hunter Blasts Visiting Ukraine Leader for Ignoring Holocaust Complicity: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Jan. 24, 2019




Manfred Gerstenfeld

Algemeiner, Jan. 24, 2019

Many people equate Holocaust distortion exclusively with its denial and minimization. This is incorrect. The latter two examples are only one category of Holocaust distortion — and they aren’t even the most abusive. Indeed, Holocaust inversion is worse, because it claims that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians the same way that the Nazis did towards the Jews.

There are also a variety of other categories of Holocaust distortion that can only be mentioned briefly here. Holocaust justification refers to the claim that Jews were the cause of their enemies’ antisemitism, and bore responsibility for their own murder. Blaming Jews for the hatred against them is a common antisemitic theme to this day.

Another important distortion category is Holocaust deflection, which admits that the Holocaust happened, but denies the complicity or responsibility of specific groups or individuals. In this way, blame for the Holocaust can be placed on others. One example is Austria, which for many years portrayed itself as the first victim of the Nazis, while in reality it was a major Holocaust perpetrator.

Holocaust whitewashing consists of many techniques and requires profound understanding. It aims at cleansing individuals, groups of people, or nations from blame without necessarily accusing others. For decades in West Germany, false claims were made that the Wehrmacht — the German army — did not participate in the atrocities that took place. But at the end of the last century, the claims about the Wehrmacht’s involvement in mass killings of Jews became irrefutable. Understanding whitewashing techniques of the Holocaust is important because they relate to many contemporary whitewashing techniques of antisemitism. A well-known case concerns the British Labour party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Another Holocaust distortion category — de-Judaization — has several variants. For instance, one can broaden the term Holocaust in order to include people other than Jews who were murdered, but not part of the genocide. A second type of de-Judaization is to avoid or minimize to a large extent the Jewish character of the victims. A major example of the de-Judaization of the Holocaust is the way in which Anne Frank’s life has been presented over the decades. In many places, she became a universal icon, and her Jewish identity was minimized.

The distortion category of Holocaust equivalence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example, pre-war and wartime Holocaust equivalence consists of claims that Germany did not do anything different from what other nations had done earlier. Post-war Holocaust equivalence alleges that certain actions or attitudes of others since the end of World War II are the same as those of the Germans during the war. This includes claims of the double genocide, which refers to the supposed symmetry between Nazi and communist crimes.

Holocaust trivialization is partly a tool for some ideologically or politically-motivated activists to metaphorically compare phenomena that they oppose to the industrial scale of the extermination of the Jews. Frequent examples are the “animal Holocaust,” referring to the mass slaughter of animals. Another is the “abortion Holocaust.” A very different type of trivialization happens in commercial activities. For instance, one sometimes finds images of Hitler used to promote companies or products.

Yet another category of distortion is the obliteration of Holocaust memories. This has many aspects. One facet is the destroying or besmirching of memorials. Another is disrupting memorial ceremonies. The Muslim Council of Britain tried to void the content of Holocaust ceremonies. In 2005, this organization wrote to a British minister that it would not attend the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz unless it included the “Holocaust” of the Palestinians. Sunday, January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On that occasion, we should also focus our attention on the many categories of Holocaust distortion.




Naomi Azrieli

Globe & Mail, Jan. 24, 2018

On Jan. 27, the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, individuals throughout the world will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day – reflecting on the six million Jewish people killed during the Holocaust, as well as the millions of other victims of Nazi atrocities.

But the disturbing results from a new study show that reflecting once or twice a year is simply not enough. The report, conducted by Schoen Consulting on behalf of The Azrieli Foundation in partnership with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, exposed critical gaps when it comes to Holocaust awareness and knowledge among Canadian adults.

When we probed beyond baseline knowledge – such as familiarity with the term “the Holocaust,” ability to identify Adolf Hitler as the leader of the Nazi Party responsible for initiating the Second World War and the Holocaust, and the awareness that Germany was a country where the Holocaust began – our findings uncovered a fundamental lack of detailed knowledge.

Among all those surveyed, more than half of Canadian adults (54 per cent) did not know that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. These numbers are worse among millennials: 62 per cent were ignorant of the fact. Ninety per cent of Poland’s Jewish population was murdered during the Holocaust; the killing centres of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor were all located there. Yet fewer than half of Canadians surveyed (43 per cent) could identify Poland as a country in which the Holocaust occurred.

Too many Canadians are also worryingly unaware of our country’s own Holocaust legacy. Indeed, only 19 per cent of those surveyed knew that Canada employed a “none is too many” stance toward Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. Almost one-third of those surveyed (32 per cent) believed that Canada had an open-border policy at that time. If we want our next generation to successfully uphold a tolerant, thoughtful and democratic society, it is our duty to ensure that they know our history, even when it is problematic and seemingly unaligned with what we as a country stand for today.

Our survey shows clearly and unambiguously that the more Canadians know about the Holocaust, the less likely they are to think that neo-Nazi beliefs and actions are acceptable. Among those respondents with knowledge of the Holocaust, only 4 per cent believe that neo-Nazi beliefs are acceptable. Conversely, 16 per cent of those who never heard of the Holocaust say it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi beliefs.

The consequences of this ignorance are alarming. The number of anti-Semitic incidents has ballooned: In 2018, Canada saw a record number of incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence against its Jewish population. It suggests that, even though the two pillars of Holocaust remembrance are “Never Forget” and “Never Again,” it appears that many of us Canadians have forgotten – or perhaps, never knew. And Canada is not alone. These findings are consistent with those found in another Schoen study on Holocaust awareness and knowledge in the United States. Conducted last year on behalf of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the report found that when Americans are educated about the Holocaust in a meaningful way, the percentage of people holding neo-Nazi views drops dramatically to a potentially negligible number.

What both studies show is that a broad-scale strategy to optimize Holocaust education at the high-school level can fundamentally combat the increase in neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism we are seeing. Currently, each province sets its own school curriculum. They can include study of the Holocaust in courses such as history, social studies, modern history and Canadian law. Then it is up to each individual teacher to decide how they want to teach the Holocaust. But it’s clear this laissez-faire approach is not working. Every province needs to ensure that the Holocaust is included in their curriculum in a comprehensive way. Critically, teachers must be supported by receiving sufficient training, strategies and resources so that they have an appropriate comfort level and knowledge in teaching this sensitive material.

The survey showed overwhelming support for Holocaust education. Eighty-two per cent of Canadian adults believe all students should learn about the Holocaust in school, and 85 per cent say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust.

In a way, the declining level of personal connection to the Holocaust isn’t surprising. The population of first-person survivors and witnesses to the atrocities is dwindling, and 69 per cent do not know or know of a Holocaust survivor. As time inexorably passes, a comprehensive and compulsory Holocaust education curriculum in each province is needed more than ever.

By meaningfully supporting Holocaust education, we can do our part in reducing ongoing anti-Semitism, eliminating neo-Nazism and increasing respect for diversity. As Canadians come together to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz, we cannot allow the Holocaust to be forgotten. We owe that to the men and women who survived, as well as to the millions who perished – and, crucially, to future generations.





Deborah Fineblum

JNS, Jan. 8, 2019

It’s American teachers like Lori Fulton who, with their commitment to Holocaust education, are poised to be potent forces for holding back the current tidal wave of anti-Semitism for the next generation. Many of the tools for empowering Fulton and thousands of other teachers in striving to accomplish this Herculean task come from a hillside in Jerusalem, thousands of miles from her classroom in Mattawan, Mich.

Fulton, a high school English teacher who discovered the Holocaust as a teen when she happened upon The Diary of Anne Frank in her local library, spent two weeks last summer at Yad Vashem: the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. That’s where, together with dozens of other teachers, she learned how to bring these terror-filled years alive for her students. “I thought I knew about the Holocaust, but I realized I was missing something,” she says. “Sure, we can read Wiesel’s Night and watch ‘The Pianist,’ but only when you have the human stories—what it was really like to live through that hell—does everything change.”

Not only does Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies host 7,000 teachers annually in its Jerusalem center, but its programs train thousands more in 50 countries. And it provides a full menu of online teacher resources, including survivor testimonies, photos, rare film footage and lesson plans in 20 languages, destined for classrooms around the globe, in addition to resources for adults.

These offerings could not be more timely, given the uptick in anti-Semitism in Europe (where recent studies report a widespread increase in anti-Semitic behavior) and around the world. It’s coming from the right and increasingly, the experts say, from the left as well, marked by the demonization of Israel on many campuses and in the media, its fires fanned online by Holocaust-denial websites, and on Facebook and other social media.

In light of 21st-century anti-Semitism, the Holocaust is humanity’s canary in the mine. Its lesson: The unimaginable horror born when “garden variety” anti-Semitism is permitted to fester, turning murderous while the world’s global powers turn a deaf ear to 6 million screams. And that puts Fulton and thousands of other teachers on the front line, armed with an arsenal of weapons, much of it supplied by Yad Vashem, where, since its creation by order of the Knesset in 1953, every day is Holocaust Awareness Day.

The 1 million visitors each year who move through the powerful Moshe Safdie-designed structure—that seemingly threatens to close in on the viewer, conveying the feeling of being hunted down and even trapped—may not realize that the adjacent school is a veritable beehive of activity.

In the last two decades, 50,000 teachers from 12,000 schools have returned home inspired and ready to share what they’ve learned with their peers, impacting more than 5 million students over the years. Fulton, for one, is organizing a Holocaust-education training symposium in March for 50 teachers from across Michigan, each one destined to influence hundreds or thousands of students through the course of a career. “Our job is to tell the historical truth based on documentation,” says Avner Shalev, who for a quarter-century has been Yad Vashem’s chairman. “And the most important thing we do here is train teachers.”

“My students have no clue what Yad Vashem is, but after hearing survivor testimony and reading about their lives and the world they lived in, each one is going to own someone’s story,” says Fulton. “There’s nothing like looking over my football player with tears in his eyes watching ‘Schindler’s List.’ I told my principal that this is important enough to devote a semester to, and you know what? He agreed.”

Braxton French says learning about the Holocaust in Fulton’s class changed the way he sees the world. “We read books and watched videos, and we visited a survivor. I don’t know what it’s like to be in her situation, but it’s crazy to think about how this could have happened,” he says. “I’m a Christian, but when my friends say history isn’t important, I say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘It could happen again.’ ” One of the tools Fulton and her fellows use is “Echoes and Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom,” a curriculum Yad Vashem created in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the USC Shoah Foundation, with the North American teacher in mind.

“We’re helping teachers convey the important truth that the Holocaust is both an historical event and the result of human factors—something that can happen anywhere and anytime,” says project director Sheryl Ochayon. To get this key message across, the course introduces such foundational concepts as stereotypes, propaganda, dehumanization, hate crimes and anti-Semitism, along with the deadly Nazi ideology, and the real-life stories of survivors and heroes like Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

“We also invite them to look carefully at the role of the bystander in anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, and in the unit on contemporary anti-Semitism, at their own culture for signs of these things. Stereotypes like ‘Jew you down,’ when they see what it really means, they won’t be as likely to perpetuate it. Something they will take with them when they get to campus or out in the world.” (To learn more about the program, teachers are invited to visit echoesandreflections.org). “The net is where we all look now for information,” says Futon. “But when my students go online to research Holocaust topics, they find lots of sites saying it never happened.”

When they return to class thoroughly confused, Fulton says, “Yes, there are Holocaust-deniers, and there are people who think the world is flat. You have to be careful who and what you believe. And when they ask why the Poles didn’t realize what was going on, I say, ‘Of course, they knew: The stink of burning bodies 24-7, the ashes, the trains full of people.” And that, she says, leads naturally to a discussion of the “innocent” bystander…

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





Lee Smith

Tablet, Jan. 16, 2019

The most famous first line in 20th-century American literature set in Kings County, New York, must be incomprehensible to many current residents of that highly literary territory. “One of the longest journeys in the world,” writes Norman Podhoretz in the opening of his 1967 autobiography, Making It, “is the journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan.”

Podhoretz was of course speaking figuratively, referring to cultural and class differences separating the two boroughs that were infinitely wider than the East River. Today’s Brooklyn is different—apartment hunters are likely to find it less expensive to live off Park Avenue than in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, or Fort Greene, where rents have soared due to the constant influx of tech-savvy millennials.

But back in the day, the price you paid to get from a working-class Jewish enclave in Brownsville to Columbia University and then the literary salons of the Upper West Side was constant re-invention, repeatedly shuffling off old selves and girding on new ones. That journey, as well as Podhoretz’s political transformations, from liberal to leftist to conservative, maps the last six decades of American society and culture and the Jewish community, and where and how they intersect. Today, he turns 89.

We’ve met several times over the last few years, first at lunch close to his home on the Upper East Side. “Here’s where Madonna lives,” he told me on the sidewalk, pointing to a large fortress-like structure, as if to note how the neighborhood of white-shoe lawyers and Wall Street financiers had morphed into something from Page Six.

I wanted to speak with Podhoretz for the same reason I’ve read and reread his work over the years—especially, in addition to Making It, Why We Were in Vietnam, The Bloody Crossroads: Where Literature and Politics Meet, and his two other autobiographies, Breaking Ranks and Ex-Friends. He seemed to me to hold the keys to the vault that contains the blueprint for how we as Americans, how I as an individual, got here, and where we’re going.

He’s taken up the struggle between liberal and conservative politics that re-generates our public life, and tells the truth about the drives of the ethnic New York through which much of the country passed before fanning out to fill and build America. Maybe most importantly to me, it’s because his political and cultural sensibility is shaped by his experience of literature. He takes texts, from the Bible to the modern novel, seriously. It’s easy to forget that the writer perhaps best known for his essay “My Negro Problem and Ours” and one of the intellectual fathers of neoconservatism, especially in foreign policy, studied with Lionel Trilling and F.R. Leavis, two of the greatest literary critics of the 20th century. He wanted to be a poet. Making It is a song of self filtered through a Brooklyn idiom: Here’s who I am—take it or leave it.

We spoke most recently on the phone after I visited him last year in his apartment on the Upper East Side shortly after the New York Review Books re-issued Making It in their classics imprint. He greeted me at the door with his wife, the writer Midge Decter, and daughter Ruthie Blum, an Israeli-American journalist. Their other children are Naomi Decter, the late Rachel Abrams, and son, John, editor of Commentary magazine. Norman edited the magazine from 1960-1995, leading it through at least two political and cultural transformations, first taking it from liberal to leftist and then swinging it back the other way to conservatism…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links

Hillel Neuer Visits Hezbollah Terror Tunnels Ahead of UNSC Meeting: Breaking Israel News, Dec. 19, 2018—UN Watch’s Director Hillel Neuer visits Hezbollah terror tunnels crossing over the Israel-Lebanon border.

Ex-Government Agent Discusses Using AI to Battle Hezbollah Rockets: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2018—Amit Meltzer is not only a former chief technology officer for a key Israeli government agency and a top cyber security consultant, he is also a master strategist.

Israeli Official Briefs Italian MPs on Hezbollah, Iran: Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom, Dec. 20, 2018—Head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs tells Italian parliament session on Middle East that Hezbollah is helping Iran export the Islamic revolution across the region, disputing Italian MPs’ claim that Hezbollah operatives are not terrorists.

What Real Border Security Looks Like: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Jan. 10, 2019—What I saw on Wednesday while traveling along the Blue Line was … a fence. A fence studded with sensors, to be sure, but by no means an imposing one. As the accompanying photos show, here is what a long stretch of the border between two sworn enemies looks like.


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 




The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz: Emil L. Fackenheim, 1972— What does the Voice of Auschwitz command?

How Auschwitz Is Misunderstood: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, New York Times, Jan. 24, 2015— Auschwitz was liberated 70 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945, and news of its existence shocked the world.

Remember the Past to Build the Future: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015— The Holocaust is a black hole in human history.

Oskar Gröning to Stand Trial for Being Auschwitz Guard in Case that Could Make German Legal History: Tony Paterson, Independent, Dec. 17, 2014 — He will almost certainly go down in history as the last Nazi death camp guard to face justice.

Anti-Semitism, Old and New: Irwin Cotler, Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015— This past week, I had the privilege of participating in the first-ever UN General Assembly forum on global anti-Semitism, which, as it happened, took place at a critical historical moment…


On Topic Links


Anti-Semitism Then and Now:, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2014

Auschwitz Survivor Indelibly Marked by Memory of Nazi Horror, Russian Liberation 70 Years On: Aida Cerkez, Montreal Gazette, Jan. 24, 2015

Returning to Auschwitz, 70 Years On: Steve Paikin, National Post, Jan. 27, 2015

For Auschwitz Museum, a Time of Great Change: New York Times, Jan. 23, 2015          





Emil L. Fackenheim

God’s Presence in History: Jewish Affirmations and Philosophical Reflections, 1972


What does the Voice of Auschwitz command? Jews are forbidden to hand Hitler posthumous victories. They are commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. They are commanded to remember the victims of Auschwitz lest their memory perish. They are forbidden to despair of man and his world, and to escape into either cynicism or otherworldliness, lest they cooperate in delivering the world over to the forces of Auschwitz. Finally, they are forbidden to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish. A secularist Jew cannot make himself believe by a mere act of will, nor can he be commanded to do so…And a religious Jew who has stayed with his God may be forced into new, possibly revolutionary relationships with Him. One possibility, however, is wholly unthinkable. A Jew may not respond to Hitler’s attempt to destroy Judaism by himself co-operating in its destruction. In ancient times, the unthinkable Jewish sin was idolatry. Today, it is to respond to Hitler by doing his work.





HOW AUSCHWITZ IS MISUNDERSTOOD                                                             

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen                                                                                       

New York Times, Jan. 24, 2015


Auschwitz was liberated 70 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945, and news of its existence shocked the world. With its principal killing center at one of its main camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, becoming fully operational in 1942, it was Germany’s largest and the most notorious extermination site. There the Germans slaughtered approximately 1.1 million people, a million of whom were Jews. Its mention evokes notions of evil and instant horror. Auschwitz was a death factory, an oxymoron that would have made no sense before the Holocaust, but that now is effortlessly comprehensible. But Auschwitz is also misunderstood — and that misunderstanding distorts what we think about the Holocaust, and about the Nazis themselves.


Historical and popular accounts of the Holocaust tend to emphasize its brutal, bureaucratic efficiency, with Auschwitz as its technological pinnacle, whose industrial scale was not only emblematic of, but also necessary for, its success. But as existentially troubling as Auschwitz was and is, and as lethally portentous as it would have been had Nazi Germany won World War II, it was technically unnecessary for the commission of the Holocaust. Had the Nazis never created gassing installations at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor and elsewhere, they would still have killed around the same number of Jews and non-Jews. About half of the roughly six million Jews whom the Germans and their European collaborators slaughtered, and virtually all the millions of non-Jews the Germans murdered, they killed by nonindustrial means, mainly by shooting or starving them to death. The cliché “assembly line killing” belies the fact that rounding up Jews and shipping them, sometimes for many hundreds of miles, to a death factory was far less efficient than merely killing them where the Germans found them. The Nazi leadership created death factories not for expeditious reasons, but to distance the killers from their victims.


Previous and subsequent genocidal assaults also belie the once reflexively intoned notion that modern technology made the Holocaust possible. Regimes and their executioners around the globe have conducted broad eliminationist assaults against targeted peoples, with the perpetrators’ using a variety of means, including mass murder, expulsion, forced conversion and the prevention of reproduction to rid themselves of hated or unwanted groups. In Rwanda in 1994, the Hutu perpetrators killed 800,000 Tutsi at a more intensive daily rate than the Germans did the Jews, using only the most primitive technological means, mainly machetes, knives and clubs.


Focusing on Auschwitz’s mechanistic qualities as a precondition for the Holocaust’s vast destructiveness allows people to see the Nazis’ eliminationism as something uniquely modern — to believe that it takes a technically proficient, bureaucratically expert state to carry out such violence. And even though we all recognize that genocides can be unleashed without such advanced systems, people still too often assume that true eliminationism, with the intention of completely destroying another group, takes a relatively rare constellation of a state apparatus and technological means. But that’s not true. To understand the politics of mass murder and eliminationism, the technical means of carrying out the deed are almost never the central issue. Rather, the crucial elements are the political leaders’ decision to commit genocide, the willing participation of a large population of perpetrators, the sympathy of an even broader civilian population — in the case of the Holocaust, principally ordinary Germans, but also many other Europeans — and, above all, the ideology that motivates them all to believe that annihilating the targeted people is necessary and right.

This, rather than its technical specifications, is why Auschwitz is so important. Auschwitz is a symbol of the broader, and little understood, racist revolution that the Germans were bringing about in Europe that sought to overturn the fundamentals of Western civilization, including its core notion of a common humanity.


The gassing installations that became Auschwitz’s emblem were but one part of Auschwitz’s system of more than 40 camps and sub-camps. These were run by thousands of German overlords who drove and brutalized hundreds of thousands of Jews, Russians and other “subhumans,” whom they used as slaves to work under horrifying conditions in the camps’ extensive and varied production facilities, making everything from agricultural products to chemicals to armaments. Auschwitz was thus much more than just the gas chambers and crematories — taken as a whole, it was a microcosm, not so much of the specific mechanisms of the Holocaust, but of the Nazis’ ideological vision of a world to be ruled by a master race, resting on the collective graves of the Jewish people and of tens of millions of additional victims the Germans deemed demographically expendable, and served by an enormous population of slaves. It reveals that during the Holocaust, mass annihilation, as genocide always is, was part of a larger eliminationist agenda and, at its core, a mechanism for social and political transformation.


This commonality notwithstanding, Auschwitz still had its singular quality: It expressed the Nazis’ unparalleled vision that denied a common humanity everywhere, and global intent to eliminate or subjugate all nonmembers of the “master race.” Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and the man most responsible for putting the Germans’ plans in action, proudly announced in an address in 1943: “Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only insofar as we need them as slaves for our culture.” Such was the Nazis’ moral and mental mutation, the most profound in the history of Europe, that Auschwitz was built upon, and that, better than any other place, it symbolizes. When Europe’s leaders assemble at Auschwitz on Tuesday for the 70th anniversary commemoration, they should of course remember and mourn the Jewish and non-Jewish victims. They should also realize that they are gazing into the abyss that would have consumed their Continent and the world.







Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks


Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015


The Holocaust is a black hole in human history. There was never anything like it before, and if humanity is to be worthy of its existence, there will never be anything like it again. At some time in the spring or early summer of 1941, Hitler issued an order for a “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” a brutal euphemism for the planned, systematic destruction of the Jewish people. Four years later, as World War II came to an end, the first soldiers to enter the concentration camps began to realize what had been done, and they did not believe it. Six million human beings, among them one and a half million children, had been shot, gassed, burned, or buried alive for no other reason than that they were Jews. Where once there had been community after community of sages and scholars, poets and mystics, intellectuals and visionaries, there was the stench of death. As Jews, we mourn and, still today, we refuse to be comforted.


The Holocaust raises many questions. In an essay entitled “Kol Dodi Dofek,” the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik made a profound distinction between two Jewish responses to suffering. There is the metaphysical question, “Why did this happen?” But there is also the halachic question, “What then shall I do?” The halachic response invites us to react to tragedy not as objects, but as subjects, not as figures of fate, but as masters of our destiny. We are not defined by what happens to us, but by how we respond.


Judaism has never sought to deny the existence of evil. But, equally, it has not sought to come to terms with it by explaining it away, mystically or metaphysically. “There is,” says Rabbi Soloveitchik, “a theological answer to ‘Why did this happen?’” But it must always elude us, for we are not God, nor can we see events from the perspective of eternity. Halachah summons us not to understand and thus accept the existence of evil, but instead to fight it, as partners with God in the process of redemption. In this mode of Jewish spirituality, there is a profound insistence on human dignity, often in the face of immense and unfathomable suffering. The halachic response is not naïve. It does not hide from questions, but it is courageous. It says: we must continue to affirm Jewish life even in the absence of answers. In that, there is a faith that defies even the Angel of Death.


One of the most important halachic responses to tragedy is the act of remembering, Yizkor. More than it has history, the Jewish people has memory. There is no word for history in the Tanach, and modern Hebrew had to borrow one, historiah. But the word zachor (remember), occurs no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible. The difference between them is this: history is someone else’s story; memory is my story. In history, we recall what happened. Through memory, we identify with what happened so that it becomes part of us and who we are. History is the story of a past that is dead. Memory is the story of a future. We cannot bring the dead to life, but we can keep their memory alive. That is what the Jewish people always did for those who died as martyrs al kiddush Hashem (sanctifying God’s name). They never forgot them, as we must never forget the victims of the Holocaust. But there is a specifically Jewish way of remembering. When the word yizkor is mentioned in the Torah, it refers not to the past, but to the present and to renewal. “Va-yizkor Elokim et Rachel” (God remembered Rachel) and gave her a child, and thus new life. “Va-yizkor Elokim et berito” (God remembered His covenant) and began the process of rescuing the Israelites from Egypt. When we remember as Jews, we do so for the sake of the future, so that those who died may live on in us.


Commemorating the 70 years that have passed with 70 days of study, linking individuals with Holocaust victims, and communities with communities that perished – this is the Jewish way of remembering. Few things could do more to give those who died a living memorial. At the core of Judaism is an affirmation of life. Unlike other religions we do not venerate death. In Judaism, death defiles. Moses asked the Israelites to “choose life,” and his words still echo today. One-third of our people died because they were Jews. The most profound Judaic affirmation we can make is to live because we are Jews – to live as Jews, affirming our faith with courage, our identity with pride, refusing to be traumatised by evil, or intimidated by antisemitism.


Whenever, through indifference or fear, we drift away from living as Jews, the Holocaust claims yet more belated victims. Hitler’s antisemitism was not accidental. Hitler declared that “conscience is a Jewish invention,” and he was right. Nazi Germany was intended to demonstrate the triumph of everything Jews had fought against since the days of Abraham and Sarah: might as against right, power as against justice, racism as opposed to the respect for human dignity, violence as opposed to the sanctity of human life. Jews have always lived by and for a different set of values and, as a result, we have always been called on to have the courage to be different. We need that courage now. It is not too much to say that humanity needs it now.

If each of us in the coming year makes a significant personal gesture to show that Judaism is alive and being lived, there can be no more momentous signal to humanity that evil does not have the final victory, because Am Yisrael Chai, the Jewish people lives.









Tony Patterson                                                                                                     

Independent, Dec. 17, 2017


NB: Thomas Walther, a former German judge, Nazi investigator and prosecutor, presented his research on the upcoming Oskar Groening case at the CIJR offices today, Jan. 27, 2015. We were most fortunate to have someone so intimately connected to the legal proceedings of what could be one of the final trials for an Auschwitz collaborator, on the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz—Ed.


He will almost certainly go down in history as the last Nazi death camp guard to face justice. Yet 93-year-old Oskar Gröning says he merely worked as an “accountant” in Auschwitz and feels duty-bound to confront those who claim the Holocaust never happened. After decades of legal inaction, Mr Gröning is to face charges of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Auschwitz prisoners while he worked at the camp. On Tuesday, Hanover state prosecutors ruled he was fit to stand trial.


Mr Gröning’s trial opens in a German court next April. His case highlights the failure of the German judiciary adequately to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice since the end of the Second World War. An estimated 1.2 million were murdered at Auschwitz. Some 6,500 SS guards worked at the camp but only 49 have been convicted of war crimes. Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter at the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said he welcomed the decision to prosecute Mr Gröning. “The passage of time does not diminish the crimes of the Holocaust,” he told The Independent.


Mr Gröning was one in a line-up of a so-called “dirty dozen” of surviving Auschwitz guards who have been identified over the past two years. He is the only one to face trial. Charges against the remaining 11 suspects were dropped because they were considered too frail or ill. Germany’s justice authorities were able to pursue Mr Gröning with ease because he appeared in a BBC documentary about Auschwitz in 2005. In an interview he said, “I see it as my task now to oppose those who claim that Auschwitz never happened,” he said. “I saw the crematoria and the burning pits,” he added. In subsequent interviews with the media, he claimed that he was a sort of Auschwitz accountant and his job there was merely to “collect” the valuables of Jews arriving at the camp and send them to SS headquarters. But he spoke at length about how Jews were sent to the gas chambers.


“On one night in 1943 I saw how the Jews were gassed. It was in a half-built farmyard near Auschwitz,” he recalled. “There were more than 100 prisoners and soon there were panic-filled cries as they were herded into the chamber and the door was shut,” he added. “Then a sergeant went to a hole in the wall and from a tin shook Zyklon B gas pellets inside. In that moment the cries of the people inside rose to a crescendo, a choir of madness. These cries ring in my ears to this day. This guilt will never leave me,” Mr Gröning is on record as saying. He was finally tracked down by the Nazi war crimes investigation unit as part of Germany’s final push to bring the last surviving Nazi war crimes suspects to justice.


In the decades after the Nuremberg trials, German prosecutors relied almost exclusively on evidence, largely from eyewitnesses, that linked suspects to specific murders in order to convict them. The practice explains the low conviction rate of Nazi death camp guards. It took a new generation of prosecutors to bring about the recent change in the German judiciary’s attitude to Nazi war crimes. In 2011 they set a legal precedent by securing the conviction of the former Sobibor Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk by a Munich court. Demjanjuk was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Dutch Jews at Sobibor, an “extermination-only” camp in Nazi occupied Poland, in which all prisoners were gassed within hours of their arrival. There were no eyewitnesses at Demjanjuk’s trial. But judges for the first time accepted the prosecution’s argument he was an accessory to mass murder simply by having worked as a guard at the camp. Prosecutors will use the same legal arguments at Mr Gröning’s trial. However Mr Gröning has already denied the charges. He told Der Spiegel in 2005, “I would describe my role as a small cog in the gears. If you can describe that as guilt, then I am guilty. Legally speaking I am innocent.” His trial could make German legal history.




ANTI-SEMITISM, OLD AND NEW                                                                         

Irwin Cotler                                                                                                                  

Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015


This past week, I had the privilege of participating in the first-ever UN General Assembly forum on global anti-Semitism, which, as it happened, took place at a critical historical moment: the eve of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century, and site of horrors too terrible to be believed, but not too terrible to have happened. Of the 1.3 million people who died at Auschwitz, 1.1 million were Jews. Let there be no mistake about it: Jews died at Auschwitz because of anti-Semitism, but anti-Semitism did not die. And, tragically, as we have learned only too well, while it begins with Jews, it doesn’t end with Jews. In France and elsewhere, Jews are the canary in the mineshaft of evil.


The underlying thesis of my remarks at the UN was this: We are witnessing a new, sophisticated, global, virulent, and even lethal anti-Semitism, reminiscent of the atmospherics of the 1930s, and without parallel or precedent since the end of the Second World War. This new anti-Jewishness overlaps with classical anti-Semitism but is distinguishable from it. It found early juridical, and even institutional, expression in the United Nations’ “Zionism is Racism” resolution – which, as the late U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan said, “gave the abomination of anti-Semitism the appearance of international legal sanction” – but has gone dramatically beyond it. This new anti-Semitism almost needs a new vocabulary to define it; however, it can best be identified from an anti-discrimination, equality rights, and international law perspective.


In a word, classical or traditional anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon, the rights of Jews as people to live as equal members of whatever society they inhabit. The new anti-Semitism involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon, the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations – or to live at all – with Israel emerging as the targeted collective Jew among the nations. Observing the complex intersections between old and new anti-Semitism, and the impact of the new on the old, Per Ahlmark, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, pithily and presciently concluded some 15 years ago: “Compared to most previous anti-Jewish outbreaks, this [new anti-Semitism] is often less directed against individual Jews. It primarily targets the collective Jews, the State of Israel. And then such attacks start a chain reaction of assaults on individual Jews and Jewish institutions … In the past, the most dangerous anti-Semites were those who wanted to make the world Judenrein, free of Jews. Today, the most dangerous anti-Semites might be those who want to make the world Judenstaatrein, ‘free of a Jewish state.’”


What has been called a pandemic of anti-Semitism is underpinned by four indicators. The first indicator of the new anti-Semitism – and the most lethal manifestation of it – is what may be called genocidal anti-Semitism. This is not a term that I would use lightly or easily. I am referring here to the Genocide Convention’s prohibition against the direct and public incitement to genocide. Simply put, if anti-Semitism is the most enduring of hatreds, and genocide is the most horrific of crimes, then the convergence of the genocidal intent embodied in anti-Semitic ideology is the most toxic of combinations. This genocidal anti-Semitism can be seen, for instance, in the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide of Khamenei’s Iran, a characterization I use to distinguish it from the people and public of Iran, who are otherwise the targets of Khamenei’s massive domestic repression…

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






On Topic


Anti-Semitism Then and Now:, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2014—The world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, January 27 – which also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Auschwitz Survivor Indelibly Marked by Memory of Nazi Horror, Russian Liberation 70 Years On: Aida Cerkez, Montreal Gazette, Jan. 24, 2015— The tattoo on her left arm has become unreadable but the habit of reading it aloud in Polish remains strong, seven decades after it first scarred her skin.

Returning to Auschwitz, 70 Years On: Steve Paikin, National Post, Jan. 27, 2015 —A little more than 70 years ago, 11-year old Mordechai Ronen found himself “crammed like cattle” into a boxcar, and transported from his native Romania to a camp where evil thrived like no other place on Earth.

For Auschwitz Museum, a Time of Great Change: New York Times, Jan. 23, 2015—For what is likely to be the last time, a large number of the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz will gather next week under an expansive tent, surrounded by royalty and heads of state, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of those held there at the end of World War II.






















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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)



International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Jan. 28, 2013— Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.

The Abuse of Holocaust Memory in 2011-2012: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA, Jan. 27, 2013—The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.


Ministry Report: Attacks Against Jews on the Rise: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013—There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Sunday. The 2012 report indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.


What Happened to Sweden?: Michael Curtis, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013—Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.


On Topic Links



68 Yrs After 'Liberation' of Auschwitz-Lessons Learned, Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013

UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013

That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013
Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes—Via iPad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013

New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013




Baruch Cohen,

CIJR, Jan. 27, 2013


Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.


Despite my age (93) I continue to present  whenever I am called to share my story, talking about the event that marked my life forever.


In 1933, when Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, my mother (we lived in Bucharest) called me to her side and said, “My dear son (I was the only boy in our family of four children), Hitler’s rise to power will mean the destruction of the Jewish People.”


Today’s rising anti-Semitism, which takes the form of “anti-Zionism”, is a call against the Jewish People, a call of hatred against the State of Israel, and hence of all Jews, of the Jewish People.


International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a universal statement against hate and prejudice, a call to unite the world, to affirm life! Thidsday must also be a day to make alive the memory of a great human being, a unique lover of humanity, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who – in a world which allowed both the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust – shouldered his human responsibility, and in        1944, in Hungary, personally saved thousands of Jewish lives!


Never forget! Never Again!


(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)


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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

JCPA, January 27, 2013

 [Editor’s Note: the following is an excerpt of a much longer article. For the full text please click on the link or download a PDF version here.]


The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.


At the same time, many others increasingly mention and discuss the Holocaust. It took sixty years until in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly named 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Every UN member state also has an official obligation to honour the victims of the Nazi era and develop educational material about the Holocaust. In 2012, remembrance of the Holocaust was devoted to children. In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:


One and a half million Jewish children perished in the Holocaust – victims of persecution by the Nazis and their supporters. Tens of thousands of other children were also murdered. They included people with disabilities…as well as Roma and Sinti. All were victims of a hate-filled ideology that labeled them as “inferior.”


What are the main reasons for this increasing interest in the Holocaust?…One very partial explanation is the memorial meetings that take place every year in many places. Some are very emotional. An annual one is held at the location of the former Paris cycling stadium. There, more than thirteen thousand Jews who had been arrested were brought together in July 1942 before being sent to German death camps. In 2012, French president François Hollande gave a moving speech at the memorial meeting. He noted that the arrests were carried out by French policemen, and added that not a single German soldier had to be mobilized.


This was a very important statement, as it highlighted France’s share in the responsibility for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. It was even more significant because the last Socialist president, François Mitterrand, was unwilling to acknowledge France’s assistance in the crimes. Hollande also said at the gathering that France would act with determination against anti-Semitism. Increased anti-Semitism in Europe is yet another reason for the Holocaust remaining a subject of considerable dialogue. This is the more so as on various occasions, anti-Semites make use of Nazi terminology….


Simultaneously with the growing interest in Holocaust, the distortion of its history and memory increases as well. To fight this effectively, one must first understand this phenomenon….The examples of distortion of the Holocaust come from many countries and many different circles….In the last year or two, there have been so many incidents that one can only describe a limited number of them.


The abuse of the Holocaust has become so major that within several categories of distortion, subcategories have emerged. This can be well illustrated from the first category of distortion, which concerns Holocaust promotion and justification.


The most extreme form of this is the promotion of a new Holocaust. This intense hate-mongering is mainly associated with sizable parts of the Muslim world. The main actors are the Iranian government and the Palestinian Hamas movement. But there are many others. For instance, in October 2012, a video showed how Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi answered “Amen” to an imam who prayed, “Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters.”


The call for the murder of Jews is much more widespread in the Muslim world than many in the Western world wish to know, admit, or publicize. One reason is that from all these examples of Holocaust promotion, several conclusions can be drawn that are to a large extent politically incorrect or even taboo. The basis of the Western multicultural position is the false claim that all cultures are equal in value. A culture where many prominent people promote murder, however, is inferior to a democratic culture. This does not make individuals living in such a culture inferior human beings. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”…


The flawed idea that all cultures at a given time in history are equivalent has absurd implications. One is that Nazi culture in the mid-twentieth century was equal to the democratic culture of the Allies. Murdering six million Jews in the Holocaust fit German culture at the time. If there is no hierarchy of cultures, then there was nothing reprehensible about this genocide….


Other Holocaust promoters can be found in neo-Nazi environments. There are also individuals or small groups who scrawl “Death to the Jews” graffiti, for instance. This also occurs frequently on social networks. “A good Jew” (“UnBonJuif”), which spread anti-Semitic jokes, became the third most popular hashtag among French Twitter users in October 2012. Several of them tweeted “A good Jew is a dead Jew.”


Some of those comparing attitudes of movements in the Islamic world to those of the Nazis present weighty arguments. Holocaust expert Yehuda Bauer points out:


Today for the first time since 1945, Jews are again threatened openly, by a radical Islamic genocidal ideology whose murderous rantings must be taken more seriously than the Nazi ones were two and more generations ago. The direct connection between World War II, the Shoah, and present-day genocidal events and threats is more than obvious. The Shoah was unprecedented; but it was a precedent, and that precedent is being followed.


Holocaust historian Robert Wistrich writes that hard-core anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. Wistrich explains that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension.” As common elements between Muslim and Nazi anti-Semitism, Wistrich lists fanaticism, the cult of death, the nihilistic wish for destruction, and the mad lust for world hegemony….


Growing polarization in Western society is just one of several reasons for the increase in Holocaust abuse. More people are being falsely blamed as being or behaving like Nazis. Another, more specific reason is the explosion of anti-Semitism – often disguised as anti-Israelism – in Western society. This leads to an increase in Holocaust promotion and, above all, of Holocaust inversion – comparing Israelis to Nazis.


The massive abuse of the Holocaust poses the question: what can one do about it? There is no single way to fight against it. Education is very important, as are memorials, monuments, and many other activities. However, a crucial point remains that people should make an effort to prevent the abuse of Holocaust from entering into public debate. When this happens, it should be fought intensely.


Such actions often produce results, even if they arrive late. One example has already been mentioned: in October 2012, four years after he had said that there were no gas chambers, the extreme-conservative Catholic Society of Pius X removed Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson from its ranks.


An important step would be for the nations of the world to live up to their commitments under the UN Genocide Convention and bring Iranian leaders Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before an international court. The same should be done with the Hamas organization and its genocide promoters. That could become the beginning of a much wider struggle against Holocaust distortion.

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Sam Sokol

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013


There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry on Sunday.

The 2012 report on anti-Semitism, which was presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.


The report’s release was timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday. Based on data collected by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, Edelstein noted that “the main conclusion emerging from the document… is that compared to 2011, there was an escalation in violent incidents against Jews around the world.”…


Edelstein also noted that a “preliminary analysis of trends” indicates that Israeli policy “does not constitute the main incentive for anti- Semitic actions against Jews.” Delegitimation of Israel does play a role in fuelling anti-Jewish activity, he said, but “Israeli policies will not affect or reduce these effects of racial hatred against Jews.”


The worst increase in anti- Semitism was seen in Western Europe, according to the report, which listed a number of incidents in France and Germany, including the bombing of a grocery store in Sarcelles, France and the shooting deaths of four Jews at the Otsar HaTorah religious school in Toulouse. Many synagogues in France are now surrounded by high concrete walls and receive special police security details on major holidays. It is also common for Jews in many French cities to remove their kippot for safety reasons when walking outside.


The ministry’s report also detailed the rise of anti-Semitic political movements in eastern and southern Europe, including the Golden Dawn party in Greece and the Jobbik party in Hungary. Most anti-Semitic incidents, it claimed, were either motivated by far-right political ideologies or by those affiliated with radical Islam. Figures published by the French Jewish communal organization SPCJ – Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive – in October, the report further noted, show that the number of incidents that occurred in France in 2011 was 45 percent higher than in the previous year.


Edelstein also said that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have found fertile ground online and that Arab anti-Semitism remains prominent, although it has not seen a marked increase. A 2011 paper on anti-Semitism produced by the Kantor Center stated that while there was an increase in the intensity of violent incidents against Jews in 2011, the total number of such events worldwide during that year fell from 614 to 446. The report said France was the leading country for anti-Semitic incidents with 114 reported in 2011, followed closely by the UK with 105. Canada and Australia reported 68 and 30, respectively.


Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center and the chief historian at Yad Vashem, noted that [while] “there was in 2012…a rise [in anti-Semitism],…it is not about numbers, but about tendencies,” she told The Jerusalem Post. …In tracking anti-Semitism over a period of years, Porat noted, she has seen that “the rise and decline of anti-Semitism is mainly connected to problems within Europe.” Anti-Semitic incidents in Western and Central Europe, she said, “are not necessarily [connected] to the Middle East or to the Palestinian-Israel conflict or to Israel’s conduct. They emanate from political, social and economic problems.”


In response to the report by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor stated that “anti- Semitism in Europe is reaching a tipping point, where certain Jewish communities on the European continent are in danger. We are also gravely concerned that the political rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe has given racists and anti-Semites a certain level of impunity. This coupled with the rise of anti- Israel delegitimization on the Left, and among extreme Muslim communities, is creating an explosive cocktail for European Jews.” The EJC, he stated, is working to formulate “a plan with senior EU and European officials to increase education, policing and action to stem the rise of hatred against the Jews.”


After being briefed on the report, Netanyahu told his cabinet that, “In the perspective of the almost 75 years that have passed since the Holocaust, what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews.”

What has changed, he noted, was the “ability of the Jews to defend themselves.” The prime minister also asserted that “nobody will defend the Jews if they are not ready to defend themselves; this is another lesson of the Holocaust. It is impossible to rely on separate and independent action to defend the Jews if the Jews will not defend themselves.”….


Top of Page





Michael Curtis

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013


Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.


Last October, around 300 people assembled in Raoul Wallenberg Square in Malmo, to join in solidarity the few Jews of Malmo, now numbering about 600, whose community center had just suffered an explosion, and whose cemetery had just been desecrated by antisemitic graffiti. At the same time as this demonstration, on the other side of Malmo, a celebration was taking place to commemorate the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, who, in Hungary in1944, saved thousands of Jews, from being sent to their death in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.


From July 9, 1944 until his arrest by the Soviet army on January 17, 1945 at the age of 32, Wallenberg issued "protective passports" to thousands of Jews and rented 32 buildings, which he declared diplomatic facilities. He used diplomacy, bribery and blackmail to provide Jews with immunity from arrest. He persuaded General Schmidthuber, the Commander of the German Army in Hungary, to cancel Adolf Eichmann's plan to attack the Jewish ghetto and slaughter the 70,000 Jews there. About 120,000 Jews survived in Hungary alone as a result of Wallenberg's efforts.


The courage of Wallenberg is disappointingly absent in Sweden today. Once a moral superpower, Sweden cannot now claim to be seen as even an open or tolerant place. Instead, it has become a haven for antisemitic behaviour, as well as anti-Israel activity, by both Muslim activists and various political groups. Members of the Swedish parliament have attended supposedly "anti-Israel" rallies, which quickly descended into occasions for competitive antisemitic rhetoric. Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked," by "people from the Middle East," according to Malmo resident, Fredrik Sieradzik, in an interview with the Austrian paper, Die Presse. "Malmo," he said, "is a place to move away from."


Sweden is now a country where orthodox Jews are afraid to wear a skullcap, and where the largest tabloid paper, Aftonbladet, libellously claimed, in an August 2009 article, that Israeli soldiers were taking the organs of dead Palestinians. When the city of Malmo in 2009 hosted a tennis match between Sweden and Israel, no spectators were allowed for "reasons of security."


The individual most conspicuous in the denial of this reality is the mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu,. This reality consists of attacks on Jews in a city where the Jewish population has been reduced from 2,000 to about 600; where Molotov cocktails are thrown at Jewish funeral chapels, and antisemitic graffiti is scrawled throughout the town. The mayor nevertheless denies the increase in antisemitism there. When he does allude to the subject, he argues that the violence comes from right wing extremists, not from Muslims who now make up a considerable part of his Malmo population.


Reepalu asserts that "We accept neither Zionism nor antisemitism. They are extremes that put themselves above other groups, and believe they have a lower value." Of the small Malmo Jewish community, he says: "I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population of Gaza. Instead, it decides to hold a demonstration [in reality a pro-peace rally] which could send the wrong signals." Reepalu speaks of Israeli "genocide" in Gaza.


Reepalu, as is common with people in other countries in Europe in their failure to consider that government, laws and human rights partly exists to protect the minority from the majority. He blames the local Jews' use of free speech and freedom of assembly for attacks on them: If only the Jews would stop speaking and gathering peacefully, the distorted logic goes, no one would be attacking them. Historically, the opposite is true: even when Jews remained quiet, and spent years in hiding, as many often did, the only acceptable form of behaviour, apparently, was not to exist.


After years of unremitting antisemitic activity in Malmo, many Jews have either left or are thinking of leaving, largely for Stockholm, England or Israel. Reepalu's comment was : "There have not been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo." From time to time the mayor has claimed that his views were misrepresented, but the full recordings, published on the website of the paper Skanska Dagbladet, make clear that they were not.


One can only hope that the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the exemplification of Sweden's height as a moral superpower, may lead some of those exercising power in Sweden to deal with the forces of accelerating bigotry at their doorstep, and their own bigotry inside.


Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community.


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68 Years After the 'Liberation' of Auschwitz –Lessons Learned and Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013—On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp. Actually “liberated” is the wrong word. Opened the gates of hell is more appropriate a term.  The numbers of murdered are staggering. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust nearly a quarter of the 6 million Jews killed in Holocaust were mass murdered there, most in gas chambers. Of the 400,000 political prisoners brought to Auschwitz, only 65,000 left alive; of the 16,000 Soviet POWs, 96 returned home.


UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013—The Sunday Times of London marked Holocaust Memorial Day [by] running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians.


That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013—I wish more Israelis were with me in outlying County Kerry, Ireland, just recently. There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland. It’s all gallingly beside the point.

Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes — Via An Ipad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013—Thanks to a new iPad and Nook app by the UK-based Beyond The Story, students will be able to learn about the Holocaust in a far more effective and experiential manner than ever before. Together with Viking Penguin, publisher of “The Diary,” the company has developed a tablet version of the book which includes interactive links, videos, voice-overs and historical background along with never-before released material supplied by the Switzerland-based Anne Frank Foundation. The app is being released on January 25 to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the 70th anniversary of the date on which Anne Frank started her diary."


New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013—A new book claims that governments around the world were unwilling to track down Nazi criminals in the wake of World War II because of “vested interests.” The “Nazi Hunt: South America’s Dictatorships and the Avenging of Nazi Crimes, by German historian Daniel Stahl, calls the half-hearted efforts of postwar governments a ‘coalition of the unwilling.’ Stahl writes that the French feared prosecutions would expose their collaboration during the war, the South Americans feared a spotlight on their own murderous regimes and the West Germans wanted to help ‘old comrades’ get away."



Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.



Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2011


The killing of Osama bin Laden comes at a propitious moment in the history of the Middle East. The “Arab Spring” [threatens to] remake the region in [new] ways.… The best hope is that the Mideast will use this moment to take the region past the ideology of Islamist terror, but this can only happen if its new leaders take it there. On that score, the jury is out.

Certainly the wave of popular upheavals had already signalled al Qaeda’s waning appeal among Muslim masses. Starting in Tunisia and spreading to Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, demonstrators have been energized by opposition to corruption and repression and a keen desire for jobs.… As such, these movements contradict the aims of bin Laden and al Qaeda, whose goals are harsh and immovable…Islamic societies.…

Yet al Qaeda’s decline doesn’t mean Muslim countries will embrace a recognizable form of liberal democracy or resist the pull of politicized Islam. Egypt offers an unsettling preview of what could emerge.

Less than three months after the fall of the Mubarak regime, the caretaker government in Cairo has surprised with its radical shifts in foreign policy. Egypt has extended its hand to Iran and to the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Its relations with the U.S. and Israel have cooled markedly.

Last week, the Egyptians brokered a surprising deal on a unity government between Tehran-backed Hamas in the Gaza strip and its rivals in Fatah, which rules over the West Bank. Cairo didn’t bother to inform either the U.S. or Israel about the talks. The foreign ministry abruptly announced plans to reopen the Egyptian border crossing into Gaza, an easy supply point for arms for Hamas. Cairo also plans to establish diplomatic relations with Iran. Indeed, an Iranian destroyer recently was allowed to pass through the Suez Canal for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.…

A budding Arab democracy that wants the world to take it seriously should have little time for Hamas, much less the world’s leading terror sponsor in Tehran. Hamas showed its true, if predictable, colors yesterday in its leader Ismail Haniyeh’s response to bin Laden’s killing: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior.” The Muslim Brotherhood, the best organized political group in Egypt, also condemned the bin Laden killing.…

The U.S. most likely will face some tough choices [in Egypt]. If Cairo’s desire for a more “independent” foreign policy translates into warmer ties with terrorists, America’s own long-standing support for the Egyptian military may eventually need to be reconsidered. We trust that the U.S. has sent this blunt message to the ruling military council and to Egypt’s politicians.

The death of bin Laden disrupts but doesn’t bring the death of bin Ladenism.… While bin Laden’s death at least raises the possibility of the most extremist forms of Islam fading in the region, the early signs out of bellwether Egypt show how much close attention an interested world must still pay to these volatile nations.


Barry Rubin
Pajamas Media, May 2, 2011


Osama bin Laden is dead. But revolutionary Islamism is very much alive and stronger than ever. Thinking that bin Laden is the main problem and his death is the solution is very dangerous indeed and might well intensify the policies that have been leading toward the victory of his cause, though not his specific movement.

It is easy to forget that when bin Laden came on the scene revolutionary Islamism was in retreat. True, Iran was ruled by a revolutionary Islamist regime but that government had failed to extend the revolution overseas very much despite its best efforts. Another such regime, the Taliban, came to power in remote Afghanistan.

But by the end of the 1990s, revolutionary Islamism wasn’t doing so well. The reason was that its strategy was to overthrow Arab governments from within. There had been civil wars in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and to a lesser extent in other places. The existing dictatorships, however, had repressed them.

So bin Laden came along with a different approach. If direct attacks on non-Islamist governments in Muslim-majority countries didn’t work, he proposed an international movement that would raise revolutionary enthusiasm by attacking the West.… The West represented democracy and modernity, a licentious freedom and secularism that bin Laden and his comrades detested. They also hated Western policies, especially the support of Middle Eastern regimes to which these Islamists attributed their own inability to win.…

So bin Laden formed al-Qaida and took the road to September 11. It is important to understand that al-Qaida failed as a movement but succeeded in the broadest sense as an idea. Since al-Qaida was relatively small and eschewed political action and base building for the sole tactic of terrorism it was relatively easy to repress, though not to eliminate entirely.

The U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan drove it from its home base and killed or captured many of its leaders. Al-Qaida scattered but that was not such a great disadvantage given its strategy. From Morocco to Somalia, from Indonesia to Western Europe it continued to stage…bloody attacks. Yet that was the most it could do. In revolutionary terms, al-Qaida was equivalent to the terrorist’s of late nineteenth century Europe, the assassins and bomb throwers of anarchism and Russian social revolutionary tradition.

Ah, but who, then, is the Lenin of our day? Just as the anarchist bomb-throwers were a sideshow—however horrific, bloody, and needing to be repressed—the same is true of today. Al-Qaida stages individual acts of terrorism. Hamas, Hezbollah, the AKP in Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhoods seize state power. And they do so with the help of Iran and Syria.

That’s power that…far exceed[s] blowing up of a café or embassy. To take control over the lives of millions of people, to hold assets amounting to billions of dollars, to rule over whole territories and launch full-scale wars, that is [real] power. That is a threat to Western interests, to world stability.…

Since September 11, 2001 we could [explicitly] list the terrorist attacks [undertaken] by al-Qaida, [as well as] the [resulting] casualties. Or we can list the following not by al-Qaida:

–An Islamist regime rules Turkey and has seized control of most institutions and is gradually crushing democracy. This regime has aligned itself with Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria.

–An Islamist regime rules the Gaza Strip and has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again. Its patrons are Iran, Syria, and now Egypt. This government now exercises veto power over any Israel-Palestinian peace which means there won’t be an Israel-Palestinian peace.

–An Islamist-oriented regime rules Lebanon, backed by Iran and Syria. It has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again.

–The Iranian regime has weathered a major internal upheaval and is heading full-speed ahead toward nuclear weapons.

–With Western help the regime in Egypt—one of the main bulwarks against revolutionary Islamism has fallen—and whether or not Islamists there take over they will be a lot stronger, able to act freely, and direct a movement of millions seeking to Islamize and eventually make Islamist the largest Arab country of all.

–Revolutionary Islamism is also a serious threat…in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan while in other parts of the world it has spread to places like Chechnya, the northern Caucasus, the Balkans, Nigeria, Somalia, southern Thailand and the southern Philippines, and Indonesia. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan seems far from impossible as does a revolutionary Islamist upheaval in Pakistan.

–Serious Islamist movements have gained political hegemony over growing Muslim communities all over the West. While many Muslims are indifferent to the movement and a few courageous dissidents combat it, Western governments and elites often blindly favor the Islamists. In fact, the degree that Western governments, elites, and societies are blind to the actual threat defies belief. The far left—which is a lot nearer than it used to be—often makes common cause with revolutionary Islamism.

Many of these other movements are “smarter” than bin Laden, which is to say they know how to be more tactically flexible. They can smile, and smile and be a villain. They understand far better how to be patient, conceal their plans, use elections, sponsor social services to win supporters, run youth camps to train suicide bombers, take Western aid and assistance, hang out with Western journalists to prove they’re cool guys, produce satellite television networks, and play Western democracies for all they are worth. Oh, and they can still throw bombs with the best of them.

Or, to put it in Iranian terms, bin Laden was the “little Satan” and the “big Satan,” the real revolutionary Islamist movement, couldn’t care less about his death. Indeed, his death serves a useful purpose. If the West thinks the “war on terror” is over and it’s time to celebrate, all the better. Countries can go on trading with Iran, engaging Syria and Hezbollah, and acting as if there’s no big threat in Egypt. All the better to eat you up.

So bin Laden is dead and September 11 is, in a sense, avenged. But his cause goes marching on. It is marching forward. And as the West cheers at the good news of bin Laden’s death it may go back to sleep thereafter, snoring as the bin Laden’s of the world advance.

(Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center,
and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Mr. Rubin will be a featured speaker at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s
upcoming Gala, scheduled for June 15, 2011.)


Alan Dershowitz
Huffington Post, May 2, 2011


The decision to target and kill Osama Bin Laden is being applauded by all decent people. Approval to capture or kill this mass-murdering terrorist leader was given by Presidents Obama and Bush. It was the right decision, both morally and legally.

Although Bin Laden wore no military uniform and held no official military rank, he was an appropriate military target. As the titular and spiritual head of Al Qaeda, he was the functional equivalent of a head of state or commander in chief of a terrorist army.… Yet there are those who claim that all targeted killings are immoral and illegal. These critics characterize such actions as “extrajudicial executions” and demand that terrorist leaders and functionaries be treated as common criminals who must be arrested and brought to trial.

The operation that resulted in Bin Laden’s death was a military action calculated to kill rather than to “arrest” him.… Indeed, a U.S. national security official has confirmed to Reuters that “this was a kill operation” and there was no desire to capture Bin Laden alive.… Nonetheless, our government felt it necessary to announce that Bin Laden was shot after he allegedly resisted thus suggesting he was not killed in cold blood. But it is clear that he would have been killed whether or not he resisted…and it is unlikely he was ever given the opportunity to surrender.…

Accordingly, those who have opposed the very concept of targeted killings should be railing against the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Among others, these critics include officials in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, the EU, Jordan, and the United Nations. Former British Foreign Secretary once said, “The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive.” The French foreign ministry has declared “that extrajudicial executions contravene international law and are unacceptable.” The Italian Foreign Minister has said, “Italy, like the whole of the European Union, has always condemned the practice of targeted assassinations.” The Russians have asserted that “Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and ‘targeted killings.’“ Javier Solana has noted that the “European Union has consistently condemned extrajudicial killings.” The Jordanians have said, “Jordan has always denounced this policy of assassination and its position on this has always been clear.” And Kofi Annan has declared “that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law.”

Yet none of these nations, groups or individuals have criticized the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden by the U.S. The reason is obvious. All the condemnations against targeted killing was directed at one country. Guess which one? Israel, of course.

Israel developed the concept of targeted killings and used it effectively against the “Osama Bin Laden’s” of Hamas, who directed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, killing and wounding more Israelis, as a percentage of its population, than the number killed by Bin Laden. It was when Israel managed to kill the head of Hamas, that the international community, with the striking exception of the United States, decided that targeted killing was illegal and immoral.

But now that it has been used against an enemy of Britain, France, Italy and other European nations, the tune has changed. Suddenly targeted killing is not only legal and moral, it is praiseworthy.… Well the truth is that when used properly, targeted killing has always been deserving of approval—even when employed by Israel, a nation against which a double standard always seems to be applied.

Indeed, in Israel, the use of targeted killings has been closely regulated by its Supreme Court and permitted only against terrorists who are actively engaged in ongoing acts of terrorism. In the United States, on the other hand, the decisions to use this tactic is made by the President alone, without any form of judicial review. So let the world stop applying a double standard to Israel and let it start judging the merits and demerits of military tactics such as targeted killing. On balance, targeted killing, when used prudently against proper military targets, can be an effective, lawful, and moral tool in the war against terrorism.


Dovid Efune
Jerusalem Post, May 3, 2011


On Sunday evening in the presence of survivors, I attended a stirring Holocaust memorial service at a prestigious New York synagogue that included video footage of Nazi crimes, testimonies, prayers and the recital of harrowing poetic works.

Following the service I approached one of the survivors, whom I have known for quite some time, and remarked on the moving nature of the ceremony. “This is nothing,” he responded with torment in his eyes. “One moment in the camps could not be captured by a thousand such events.”

Shortly afterward, President Barack Obama announced that American troops in Pakistan had killed Osama bin Laden in a covert operation earlier in the day. While I listened to the TV pundits updating viewers on the emerging details, and watched images of jubilant and triumphant crowds gathering in Washington and New York, I couldn’t help but think of the event within the wider context of world peace and the eternal Jewish promise, “Never Again.”

Of course, the obliteration of evil and its perpetrators is a profoundly Jewish concept, as it is also an American one. This is yet another ideal that intimately binds the fabric of American society with the Judaic moral code and its keepers. The Holocaust prayers and literature are riddled with calls to avenge the blood of the slain innocents and extend the arm of justice where it is due.… Yet while justice and vengeance may have their place, it is the eradication of evil as the path to securing our safety and our future that serves as the greatest Jewish motivation for hunting down the Osamas of this world and systematically destroying them.

What is therefore a matter of great concern is that it appears Israel is by no means afforded the same enthusiastic moral support in its effort to hunt down its own bin Ladenesque enemies. Of course Osama bin Laden was as much an enemy of Israel as he was of all the free world. However, the aggression of Israel’s local enemies, with similar maniacal dispositions, necessitates that Israel act firmly, decisively and swiftly to protect its citizens and secure its future.

Yet it was only last week that international leaders, including the secretary-general of the United Nations, accepted a new amalgamation of the Palestinian leadership, which placed a local al-Qaida-style incarnation, Hamas, in a position of quasi-diplomatic acceptance. The hands of Hamas’s leaders are drenched with innocent blood; the terrorists they have dispatched have sought to rival bin Laden in the killing of innocents. Yet they enjoy if not international impunity, then at least a certain tolerance.

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s regime in Iran, meanwhile, has murdered many, and is developing the tools to cause unthinkable devastation. Yet much of the world continues to look on in placid apathy and indifference.…

Bin Laden embodied the face of evil, but he was by no means alone; his ideology survives him. Even as the jubilant crowds gathered to hail his demise, there was talk of heightened security alerts. Dozens of fanatical groups have made their wretched mark on countries, communities and families since September 2001 and show little promise of ceasing. The leader is dead, but his perverse legacy lives on.

The juxtaposition of Holocaust Memorial Day and the killing of Osama bin Laden should be seen as no coincidence. The lesson is clear; the free world must be consistent in supporting the eradication of such evil, in all its forms, wherever it is found. The efforts of the West must be uniform and relentless. Justice and vengeance will not suffice, only continuous striving to eradicate this depraved inhumanity. Never again.

(Dovid Efune is the director of the Algemeiner Journal—www.algemeiner.com.)