Tag: Holocaust Remembrance Day

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” & YOM HASHOAH

                                         LESSONS NOT LEARNED

                                                          Editorial

                                                     Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2018

Commemorating the genocide of European Jewry as we will on Holocaust Remembrance Day – which begins Wednesday night and continues through Thursday – is not just a show of respect for those lost. Actively remembering the past should also have relevance for us today. Yet looking around the world, we can easily reach the conclusion that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned.

An annual Anti-Defamation League report surveying antisemitic incidents in the US in 2017 released in February found the number of antisemitic incidents was nearly 60% higher than in 2016 – the largest single-year increase on record. There were 1,986 incidents, including 1,015 cases of harassment, 952 of vandalism and 19 physical assaults.

Europe, meanwhile, has become an inhospitable place for Jews. A recent survey by the World Zionist Organization conducted before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, found that half of European Jews said they do not feel safe being in public using a Jewish name, or seen with Jewish symbols such as a kippa or Star of David.

And it is not just a subjective feeling. Last month, Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, was hacked to death and burned in her home, evidently by a young male Muslim neighbor. France’s President Emmanuel Macron said that Knoll was murdered “because she was Jewish.”

Other incidents include the murder last of year of Sarah Halimi, 65, by Kobili Traore, who reportedly shouted “allahu akbar” as he carried out the murder. Sarah Halimi apparently is a distant relative of Ilan Halimi, the French-born Jew who was kidnapped and murdered in 2006 by a gang of Muslims. Four Jewish hostages were murdered in the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris two days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In Germany, police recorded 1,453 antisemitic incidents in 2017.

Antisemitism can be found both on the Left and on the Right. In the US, according to an ADL survey from a few years ago, the American subgroups with the highest proportion of antisemitic opinions – African Americans, first-generation Hispanic immigrants and Muslims – also happen to vote disproportionately for Democratic candidates. And politicians such as US Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) cooperate with groups that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. In Europe, the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has become a haven for Israel-bashers. And it is true in varying degrees of left-wing parties on the continent as well, particularly those that cater to a Muslim vote.

In Europe, the Right is more worrying. Poland has passed legislation that seeks to distort the memory of the Holocaust by making it a crime to claim that the Poles as a nation were in any way complicit in Nazi crimes. And Hungary’s Victor Orban, who has generally avoided antisemitic remarks, last month gave a bizarre speech in which he attacked not only Hungarian Jew George Soros but also “an enemy that is different from us; not open but hiding; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have a homeland but feels it owns the whole world.”

In a broader sense, the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned. In Syria, Bashar Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons yet again against civilians, including little children. Autocratic rulers such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, who have protected the Assad regime from UN sanctions in the past, will undoubtedly do it again. Meanwhile the US, Europe and other nations do not stop the killing.

All of these developments are indicators that although World War II ended 73 years ago, the lessons have not been learned. All should serve as a warning and a reminder that we in Israel must educate while remaining vigilant and ready.

 

On Topic Links

A Canadian Holocaust: Remembering the Shoah: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Apr. 11, 2018

Syria: Fighting over the Corpse: Shoshana Bryen, Algemeiner, Apr. 10, 2018

West Playing its Part in Hamas Propaganda War: Alex Ryvchin, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 9, 2018

What The New York Times Isn’t Telling You About Israel’s Gaza ‘Blockade’

: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Yom HaShoah reminds us of our eternal responsibility to preserve the memories of those we lost, share the stories of survivors, and keep alive the bitter lessons of the Holocaust. Tonight and tomorrow, friends and families will gather to recite prayers and light memorial candles. On the streets of Israel, sirens will sound as an entire nation pauses to remember, while the Mourner’s Kaddish will echo through synagogues around the world. These moments of reflection and remembrance are vital. We cannot let the horrors of the Holocaust fade, and forget the dangers of anti-Semitism, indifference, and silence. Every generation must know what happened, and restate the values we hold dear, to bring meaning to the solemn vow, ‘Never again.’ These are not just words but a call to action: A call to always speak out against racism, hate, and bigotry in all its forms. And to stand on guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and prejudice.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (PMO, Apr. 11, 2018)

“The first thing that is happening here may be summarized in one word – security…security for Israel, security in the future…We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: if someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him. We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us. We will hurt them…Security in the present is a necessary condition for security in the future and what we have here today is a powerful expression for our future security.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu said Monday that Israel will hit anyone who intends to harm the country, appearing to indirectly refer to a predawn missile strike on an air base in central Syria that reportedly killed 14 people, which has been blamed on Israel. Earlier Monday Israeli planes carried out airstrikes in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said, hours after a group of Palestinians entered Israeli territory from the enclave and planted two improvised explosive devices along the Gaza security fence. Israel was also accused of carrying out strikes beyond its northern border. (Times of Israel, Apr. 9, 2018)

“You have to understand, there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip. Everyone has a connection to Hamas. Everyone receives a salary from Hamas…Those who are trying to challenge us at the border and breach it belong to Hamas’s military wing.” — Defense Minister Liberman. On Friday, Israeli soldiers repelled an assault on its border fence with Gaza, killing nine Palestinians who had participated in the “Great March of Return” along the barrier’s route. Participants in the event that began on March 30 hope to enter Israel by breaking down the fence. Liberman insisted that participants were not protesters, but Hamas activists. His description included photojournalist Yasser Murtaja, who reportedly was killed by the IDF near the Gaza border while he was wearing a flak vest that clearly said he was a member of the press. “Dozens of times in the past Hamas has used journalists, the media, the Red Crescent and ambulances to carry out terror attacks,” said Liberman. “We sent warnings in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Everyone knew that we were determined to defend Israeli citizens and our sovereignty. Those who take risks and endanger their lives do so knowingly.” To date, the IDF has killed 31 Palestinians on the Gaza border in this set of protests. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2018)

“The [Palestinian leadership] does not like the protests in Gaza because they feel that Hamas is taking advantage of them for their political gain…The protests are actually embarrassing for them because Hamas and the people in Gaza are taking the show and putting themselves on the local, regional and international agenda, while they are doing nothing in the West Bank.” — Mohammed Daraghmeh, a West Bank-based Palestinian journalist. The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has taken a public stance in support of Palestinians who have been protesting for more than two weeks on the Gazan side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. However, despite the Palestinian leadership’s public expressions of solidarity with thousands of Gazan protesters, it privately stands in opposition to the ongoing demonstrations. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 9, 2018)

“Israel is losing the public relations war…The media around the world today are against Israel, Europe and the UN are enemy entities when it comes to talking about the real reasons for this conflict,  America is distracted and even the pro-Israel forces that could speak are silent. Hamas managed to turn the terrorist assault on a neighbor in its sovereign borders recognized by the international community, the only democratic and civilized country in the Middle East, into the story of some clowns, some children and 50,000 ‘defenseless’ demonstrators. It happened during the Second Intifada as well, when “the story” people knew was not the suicide bombers against thousands of truly unarmed Israelis, but just the IDF tanks placed in front of the Muqata of that criminal assassin named Arafat.” — Giulio Meotti. (Arutz Sheva, Apr. 11, 2018)

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad.” — President Donald Trump. Trump said there would be a “big price to pay” for a chemical attack against a besieged rebel-held town in Syria where aid groups reported dozens of people were killed by poison gas. Syria denied government forces had launched any chemical attack and Russia, President Assad’s most powerful ally, called the reports bogus. The Syrian American Medical Society said 49 people had died in the attack in the town of Douma. Others put the toll even higher. (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018)

“Assad’s atrocity seemed to jolt Trump. He appeared, in its aftermath, to be finally waking up to the glaring contradiction between his soft attitude toward Russia and his hostility to Iran. In Syria, the two countries are partners. Getting tough with Iran and restraining its quest for regional hegemony as well as the activities of its terrorist auxiliaries like Hezbollah and allies like Assad required a more clear-headed approach to Russia than Trump had previously been willing to accept. On Monday, Trump assured the world that a “very tough” response to the Douma attack was on the way. It’s not clear whether the U.S. reaction will be a one-off attack on Syrian targets or something more far-reaching. Either way, the real question isn’t how many missiles are fired but whether the president is prepared to abandon his illusions about détente with Putin and recognize that pulling out of Syria isn’t a viable option. The answer will tell us all what exactly an “America First” foreign policy means in a world in which the president’s desire to avoid more Middle East wars and entanglements cannot be reconciled with the defense of America’s interests and values or those of its allies.” — Jonathan S. Tobin. (National Review, Apr. 10, 2018)

“We are on the edge of a dangerous precipice…The great evil of chemical weapons use that once unified the world in opposition is on the verge of becoming the new normal. The international community must not let this happen…Only a monster does this…Russia and Iran have military advisers at the Assad regime’s airfields and operations centers. Russian officials are on the ground helping direct the regime’s ‘starve and surrender’ campaigns, and Iranian allied forces do much of the dirty work. When the Syrian military pummels civilians, they rely on the military hardware given by Russia. Russia could stop this senseless slaughter, if it wanted. But it stands with the Assad regime and supports it without hesitation…The United States is determined to see that the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people held to account.” — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (Fox News, Apr. 10, 2018)

“Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter…The Assad regime’s documented use of chemical weapons remains the most serious violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the treaty’s twenty-year history…We urge the UN to understand that at a time when Syria is gassing its own men, women, and children to death, to see Syria heading the world body that is supposed to protect these victims will simply shock the conscience of humanity.” — Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch. Neuer protested the appointment of Syria as Chair of the UN Conference on Disarmament, a forum on chemical weapons that will be held next month. The appointment comes after Assad was accused of using chlorine gas in an attack. Neuer announced that his group intends to hold protests when the forum is held in Geneva next month. (Breaking Israel News, Apr. 10, 2018)

“Despite all conspiracies and in spite of the enemy, the power of the Islamic establishment will continue to increase on a daily basis…Movement toward negotiation with the cheating, lying, and oppressive regime [Israel] is a big, unforgivable mistake that will push back the victory of the people of Palestine…With an intense and planned struggle, they should force the enemy [Israel] to retreat toward the point of demise.” — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. His comments followed a verbal assault against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over his acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist. Khamenei has always insisted that the “liberation” of Palestine is the duty of Muslims. “The return of dignity and power to the Islamic nation is exclusively linked to resistance—while confronting arrogant powers and their wicked plots—and the issue of Palestine is at the top of Islam’s international agenda in the face of the arrogant front,” he stated. (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018)

“Reform is useless in Iran…The Iranian people are very dissatisfied with their current government. They have reached the point and realized this system is not reformable.” — Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer. For Ebadi the means of ending Iranian tyranny should be a U.N.-monitored referendum on the constitution that proposes a basic change: the elimination of the unelected office of supreme leader. The Iranian people, she said, “want to change our regime, by changing our constitution to a secular constitution based on the universal declaration of human rights.” Ebadi’s radicalism, along with the mass demonstrations that began at the end of December, is a powerful rebuke to the foreign policy consensus among many Western progressives who still pine for Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to deliver on the reforms he promised in his 2013 and 2017 campaigns. Ebadi said she never believed Rouhani was a reformer. (Bloomberg, Apr. 5, 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

ISRAEL ‘WARNED’ US OF STRIKE, RUSSIA SAYS LEFT IN THE DARK (Damascus) — Israel gave the U.S. advance warning of its strike on a military base in Syria, according to reports, while the Kremlin charged that it failed to inform Russia. Israel has not made any statement on the strike. The attack came two days after Syrian government forces allegedly gassed at least 60 civilians in a chemical attack in Douma. Russia and Syria have also accused Israel of striking the Tiyas Military Airbase. Located near Homs, it is the largest Syrian airbase. It is believed to house an Iranian complex that that supplies arms to Hezbollah. It is believed that Israel also hit this same base in February. (Times of Israel, Apr. 9, 2018)

PA LIFTS ‘DISGUISE’ ON PAYMENTS, DEFYING TAYLOR FORCE ACT (Jerusalem) — After three years of disguising its payments to families of martyrs and imprisoned terrorists, the PA has lifted its veil on those payments in a “blatant act of defiance” against the U.S. The legislation, recently passed by the US Congress, stipulates that portions of US aid to the PA will be cut back until it stops paying stipends to terrorists in prison, released terrorists and the families of terrorists who die while carrying out violent acts. Since May 29, 2014, the amount allocated to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs was removed from the PA budget “in an attempt to disguise the fact that it is the PA that finances the payments to imprisoned and released terrorists,” the report says. (Jerusalem Post, Apt. 9, 2018)

HUNGARY’S ORBAN WINS THIRD STRAIGHT TERM (Budapest) — Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a third straight term in power after his anti-immigration campaign message secured a strong majority for his party in parliament, granting him two-thirds of seats based on preliminary results. The right wing prime minister projected himself as a saviour of Hungary’s Christian culture against Muslim migration, an image which resonated with millions of voters. Orban, Hungary’s longest-serving post-communist premier, opposes deeper integration of the bloc and – teaming up with Poland – has been a fierce critique of Brussels’ policies. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 8, 2018)

AT LEAST 2 PEACEKEEPERS KILLED IN MALI (Bamako) — The UN mission in Mali says at least two peacekeepers have been killed and 10 wounded in Mali. The deaths happened when several mortar rounds struck a peacekeeper camp. The attack took place in the northern region of Kidal, and the victims were from the Central African nation of Chad. There was no claim of responsibility, though a number of Islamic extremist groups are known to be active in the area. Kidal was among the Malian towns under jihadist rule in 2012 until a French-led operation ousted them from power and dispersed them into the desert. They have staged numerous attacks on international forces. (CTV, Apr. 5, 2018)

HOLLYWOOD EXECS BACK NETFLIX OVER ‘FAUDA’ BOYCOTT (Los Angeles) — 50 Hollywood executives have thrown their support behind Netflix, which is facing a BDS campaign to drop Israeli television series “Fauda.” The executives called the move a “blatant attempt at artistic censorship.” “Fauda” is an Israeli-made television thriller set about an Israeli undercover agent who comes out of retirement to hunt for a Palestinian militant. The show, which features dialog in Hebrew and Arabic, premiered on Netflix in 2016. Netflix is due to release the second season in May. BDS said the series “glorifies the Israeli military’s war crimes against the Palestinian people.” (CTV News, Apr. 2, 2018)

LUNAR XPRIZE WENT UNCLAIMED, BUT SPACEIL STILL PLANS ‘MOONSHOT’(Haifa) — Google’s $20 million prize in the prestigious Lunar X Prize competition may have gone unclaimed, as none of the five finalists made the deadline to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, but some competitors – including Israel – insist their hat is still in the ring, even without the financial incentive. Israeli startup SpaceIL, one of the five finalists, said last week just three days before the deadline, that it had every intention of forging ahead, with plans to launch its spacecraft on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 via Spaceflight industries later this year. The competition involved placing a spacecraft on the moon, traveling 500 meters, and transmitting video and images back to Earth. (No Camels, Apr. 5, 2018)

ISRAEL DAY RALLY IN MONTREAL (Montreal) — The annual Israel Day Rally in Montreal attracts over 10,000 people to celebrate Israel’s birthday (Yom Ha’Azmaut). This event is the largest celebration for Israel in Canada. People from all walks of life: students, seniors, politicians, Jews, Christians and all faiths come together to stand with Israel. Please join us in this exciting celebration of Israel through song, dance and exciting guests. This year’s Israel Day Rally will take place on April 19, 2018 at 11 AM at Phillips Square, downtown Montreal. (Israel Day Rally, Apr. 11, 2018)

ISRAEL’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY YOM HA’ATZMAUT GALA CONCERT (Montreal) — Join us to salute Israel’s 70th anniversary gala concert “Songs of Israel: Yesterday and Today.” Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 8:00pm, Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke West, Montreal. For more information call the Hebrew Culture Organization of Canada 514-739-7300 ext. 3105.

 

On Topic Links

A Canadian Holocaust: Remembering the Shoah: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Apr. 11, 2018—Think about it. What would the death of six million people look like in the Canadian population?

Syria: Fighting over the Corpse: Shoshana Bryen, Algemeiner, Apr. 10, 2018 —The Syrian government’s chemical attack on civilians in the rebel-held suburb of Douma this weekend is the complete responsibility of the war criminal Bashar Assad, his Russian bedfellows, and his Iranian bankers. However, the fact that President Trump had announced that the U.S. is nearly finished its mission to defeat ISIS (which is questionable) and wants to leave Syria quickly may have encouraged the others to speed up their efforts to divide Syria’s corpse.

West Playing its Part in Hamas Propaganda War: Alex Ryvchin, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 9, 2018 —Writing for Bloomberg during the 2014 Israel- Hamas war, Jeffrey Goldberg observed: “Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.”

What The New York Times Isn’t Telling You About Israel’s Gaza ‘Blockade’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018—Nearly every New York Times dispatch about the recent violent pre-planned riots in Gaza has used the word “blockade” to describe Israel’s treatment of the territory.

 

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY: HOLOCAUST MEMORY HASN’T FADED, BUT DANGEROUS REVISIONISM & UNIVERSALIZATION BECOMING MAINSTREAM

Why the Holocaust Does Not Fade Away: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2018 — One may wonder why the memory of the Holocaust does not fade away with time as do most historical events.

The Inevitable Politicization of International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Matt Lebovic, Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2018 — When President Donald Trump left Jews out of his remarks for International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, he inadvertently gave the relatively new commemoration an unprecedented amount of publicity.

What Did you Hear when Mike Pence Spoke to the Knesset?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, Jan. 23, 2018— In Monday’s New York Times, columnist Max Fisher treated Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel as just another expression of what he considers the divisive policies of the Trump administration.

A Tale of Two Speeches: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Jan. 25, 2018— I've been privileged to attend the two great speeches of this decade in the Knesset plenum: that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (exactly four years ago, January 20, 2014) and that of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (this week).

 

 

On Topic Links

 

New Israeli Exhibit Highlights Power of Photos in Holocaust: Aron Heller, National Post, Jan. 25, 2018

Is Ukraine’s Holocaust Memorial at Babi Yar in Trouble?: Izabella Tabarovsky, Tablet, Jan. 24, 2018

Accomplices to the Holocaust: Mordecai Paldiel, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2018

Dear Mr. Ambassador, Why is Canada Funding Anti-Semitism?: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Jan. 18, 2018

 

 

 

WHY THE HOLOCAUST DOES NOT FADE AWAY

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2018

 

One may wonder why the memory of the Holocaust does not fade away with time as do most historical events. Why are the Holocaust and several related World War II issues mentioned increasingly in the media? Why do these aspects seem to draw increased attention as time passes? Even though one cannot quantify the phenomenon, similarly the increase of Holocaust abuse seems evident. It is only when one starts researching this, that the frequency and diversity of the distortions become apparent.

 

When looking for reasons for the frequent mention of the Holocaust, a number of disparate possible causes emerge. One is a trend toward increasing chaos in the world. In such a reality many look for extreme points of reference, while others distort them. A second reason is the increased removal of barriers of what is acceptable in the public domain or in certain environments. A further source of increased Holocaust distortion is the largely unregulated social media arena.

 

The exposure of antisemitism has greatly increased in recent years, together with the growth in incidents expressing hatred toward Jews. Holocaust abuse and distortions to some extent overlap with antisemitism. The promotion of a new Holocaust is not a distortion category in the strictest sense of the word, even though the two are related. This promotion of a second Holocaust has many gradations. Some are explicit. In the 1960's George Lincoln Rockwell was head of the American Nazi Party. He said that, "If he came to power he would execute Jews who were traitors.  He furthermore stated that 90% of American Jews were traitors."

 

Nowadays explicit institutional threats of genocide against Jews mainly come out of parts of the Muslim world. Iran and Hamas are two of the major perpetrators. Others are usually of an indirect and far more limited nature. Neo-Nazi movements can be direct or indirect promoters of a new Holocaust. Much international publicity was given to a march of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August, 2017. Arms were outstretched in Hitler salutes. Some had tattoos of swastikas. There were also chants of the Nazi slogan "blood and soil." All this is documented in photos and video footage. The demonstration quickly turned violent, as white supremacists intimidated and attacked counter-protesters. A car, driven by a white supremacist man, reportedly also an antisemite, rammed into counter-protesters, resulting in the death of a woman.

 

In September 2017, the British police announced that three men in the UK were charged with terror offenses, in connection with the banned neo-Nazi group "National Action." Two of the suspects were active soldiers. Other aspects are a mix of hooligan behavior and neo-Nazism. In September 2017, when the German soccer team played against the Czech Republic in Prague, tens of German soccer fans shouted Nazi slogans. There were also calls of "Sieg Heil." In bars, fascist music was played at the request of these Nazi supporters. 

 

A lengthy case in South Africa concerning the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) resulted in the Equality Court unequivocally upholding a South African Rights Commission ruling that international relations spokesman, Bongani Masuku, had been guilty of antisemitic hate speech for which he must apologize to the Jewish community. The hate speech written a number of years ago against Jews — including South African Jews — stated that Hitler was their friend. Masuku added that those Jews whom he defines as “Zionists” should be "forced out of South Africa." He also threatened violence "with immediate effect against families in South Africa whose children had moved to Israel and served in the army." 

 

Antisemites know that saying to Jews “Hitler should have killed you,” or “The Nazis forgot to gas you,” are extreme insults. While the main occurrences of this take place in the Arab and Muslim world, the original Hamas charter said it explicitly: “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.” The revised charter still aims at the same target. There are also slightly less evident ways in which the same genocidal aim is indicated. For instance, when Palestinian and other Arab sources present a map of the geographic area in which Israel does not appear. This can only be achieved through genocide, which usually is not stated outright…

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

 

Contents

THE INEVITABLE POLITICIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

Matt Lebovic

Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2018

 

When President Donald Trump left Jews out of his remarks for International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, he inadvertently gave the relatively new commemoration an unprecedented amount of publicity. Ahead of this Saturday’s observance, the annual tribute is already drawing headlines, from an Israel-related show-down in South Carolina’s legislature to Jewish leaders preparing to boycott Austria’s official observance in parliament.

 

The day of Holocaust memory was proposed at the United Nations by Israel in 2005. In addition to encouraging education about the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, the authors of Resolution 60/7 sought to push back against denial of the genocide. January 27 was chosen because on that date in 1945, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews from all over Europe were murdered during World War II.

 

With last year’s tribute notable for what was not said, activists around the world are drawing battle-lines in anticipation of this Saturday’s observance. In a climate of far-right political parties gaining sway across Europe, leaders of Austria’s tiny Jewish community said they will not attend the parliament’s Shoah observance because legislators of the Freedom Party are set to participate. Founded by a former Nazi SS officer in 1956, the party is opposed to anti-Nazi legislation and has sparked protests among Austrians alarmed by its nationalist agenda.

 

“If there will be ministers there from the Freedom Party, and I’m sure there will be, I will not be able to shake their hands, so the Jewish community will not attend,” said Oskar Deutsch, president of Vienna’s Jewish community, in an interview last week. Austria has punished very few Nazi perpetrators compared to Germany and other countries, and there is not a strong culture of “memory work” with regards to the past, as in Germany. The Freedom Party has been in power before, and the Jewish community has officially maintained a no-contact policy with it for 17 years.

 

Across the pond in South Carolina, Saturday’s commemoration has been declared the deadline to pass a bill that would codify a universal definition of anti-Semitism among state institutions. For several weeks, Governor Henry McMaster has been calling on the senate to pass the codification measure before January 27. The bill would make South Carolina the first state to define anti-Semitism as per the US State Department’s guidelines, which include Holocaust denial and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist among forms of anti-Semitic expression. “Governor McMaster has rightly asked the state senate to pass the bill before Holocaust Memorial Day in honor of over six million souls who were murdered because of their Jewish ethnicity and faith,” said State Representative Alan Clemmons, who drafted the bill out of concern for a resurgence of anti-Semitism on college campuses. “Never again means passing the bill now,” said the Republican legislator.

 

Under former Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina became the first state to cease awarding business contracts to companies that boycott Israel. Since then, similar “anti-BDS” measures were adopted by 23 other states. Boycott activists have called the pending anti-Semitism measure a ban on free speech, including because it equates calls for Israel’s destruction with anti-Semitism.

 

Since the first commemoration in 2005, the United Nations has given each International Holocaust Remembrance Day an educational theme. Past frameworks include the plight of children in the Shoah, the persecution of Roma and Sinti victims, and the Nazi regime’s efforts to murder individuals with physical or mental disabilities. This year, the theme of “shared responsibility” for remembering the genocide was chosen to frame activities, including a focus on gathering accounts from “the last survivors.” Last Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened an exhibition on the genocide as it unfolded in Soviet territories, including what has been called “the Holocaust by bullets.”

 

In Israel, the Holocaust is officially commemorated on an entirely different day, Yom HaShoah, an observance timed to the Hebrew calendar day marking the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943. That annual day of mourning first took place in 1951, and was tied to the new state’s desire to project the kind of strength exhibited by Jewish resistance in Warsaw and other ghettos. However, following the lead of the United Kingdom in 2001, many countries selected January 27 as their official day of Holocaust remembrance…

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

                                                                       

 

Contents

WHAT DID YOU HEAR WHEN MIKE PENCE SPOKE TO THE KNESSET?

Jonathan S. Tobin

Jewish Press, Jan. 23, 2018

 

In Monday’s New York Times, columnist Max Fisher treated Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel as just another expression of what he considers the divisive policies of the Trump administration. Even before Pence gave a rousing speech to the Knesset, Fisher wrote that Trump’s approach to the Middle East conveyed what he called “a particularly American notion of being ‘pro-Israel.’” Trump and Pence’s stances on Jerusalem and the peace process were, he wrote, rooted in the “us versus them” American identity politics of evangelicals that liberals view with disdain.

 

To this way of thinking, Pence’s instinctive identification with America’s only democratic ally in the region, his robust support for Israel’s right to exist, its claim on its ancient capital Jerusalem and the need for its opponents to come to terms with these facts is just another version of the Trump administration’s immigration policies or its views on abortion. But what Trump and Pence’s critics get wrong is not so much their critique of the details of their policies as it is their resistance to the notion that America’s love for Israel is rooted in its religious heritage as well as its national interests.

 

How did any sentiments such as Pence’s words on Jewish rights or even a recognition of the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital come to be seen as just another front in America’s increasingly bitter partisan wars? Is it really the fault of Republicans or Christian conservatives? Or is rather that some on the left have come to embrace intersectionality—a view of the world in which Israel is falsely accused of being a colonial power oppressing a group that is identified as the moral equivalent of those who are made to suffer because of their race, gender or sexual preference? For the growing numbers who subscribe to this view, Israel is just another front in the great divide between left and right in which Pence’s stands are easily demonized.

 

But no matter how you feel about Trump, Pence or the views of evangelicals on social issues, what is really troubling about the way some left-wingers are so quick to lash out at the administration’s stands in such a way as to demonize normative pro-Israel positions. The reality check needed here is not for the administration and its supporters but for those so deeply identified with the “resistance,” which made its voice heard last weekend in marches around the country, that anything the president or vice president say on any subject must somehow be shoehorned into a narrative about how awful they are. There was nothing particularly controversial in either the president’s remarks on Jerusalem last month or Pence’s speech today from the point of view of the pursuit of peace. Neither Trump nor Pence precluded a two-solution or even a re-division of Jerusalem in order to accommodate a Palestinian capital if that was part of a peace plan accepted by both sides.

 

It was significant that Pence quoted George Washington and John Adams in his Knesset speech. Few American Jews know that the first U.S. president to endorse a Jewish state wasn’t Harry Truman or anyone else in the 20th century. It was Adams, the nation’s first vice president and second president. That demonstrates just how far back into America’s political history backing for Zionism goes. That vast numbers of Americans are inspired by the Bible to support Jewish rights in their ancient homeland isn’t so much a function of the left-right conflict as it is an integral part of the nation’s political culture. Those turned off by Pence’s rhetoric need to ask what exactly it is about a desire to respect Jewish rights and demand that Palestinians give up their century-old war on Zionism that annoys them so much.

 

Nor is there anything intrinsically right-wing or crazy about Pence’s declaration that the Iran nuclear deal must be renegotiated to end the sunset clauses that will enable Tehran to legally seek a weapon once the accord expires within a decade. President Barack Obama vowed to end Iran’s nuclear program and to never to allow Iran to obtain a bomb, but the only way those promises can be fulfilled are by the measures Trump and Pence advocate. For those who can’t listen to anything coming out of this administration without re-interpreting it through the lens of the resistance, Pence’s moving comments about the ties between America and Israel may seem like a creepy conservative plot against liberal values. But if that’s how you heard it, the problem isn’t in Pence’s rhetoric, but in a rejection of a belief that the overwhelming majority of American still rightly view as a consensus issue.       

 

Contents

A TALE OF TWO SPEECHES

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Jan. 25, 2018

 

I've been privileged to attend the two great speeches of this decade in the Knesset plenum: that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (exactly four years ago, January 20, 2014) and that of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (this week). Two uplifting experiences: one moral and one spiritual. I felt that each speech was an epoch-making event that perhaps transforms the course of history. I felt in the presence of something momentous.

 

In his soaring speech to the Knesset, Harper articulated a principled approach that calls out the hypocrisies and shames the injustices of what too often passes as "politically correct" policy regarding Israel. He savaged the campaign to boycott and isolate Israel. "In the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy 'to go along to get along' and single out Israel. But such 'going along to get along,' is not a 'balanced' approach, nor a 'sophisticated' one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong. Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant. And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.

 

"As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening. In much of the Western world, the old hatred, crude anti-Semitism, has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East."

 

And in this ugly environment, Harper emphatically concluded, "Support today for the Jewish State of Israel is more than a moral imperative. It is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own long-term interests." And then there was Harper's thundering finale which brought me and everybody in the room to their feet (for a 15th time): "Through fire and water Canada will stand by Israel!" The speech was incredibly important validation for Israelis and supporters of Israel everywhere who at times feel outcast or are afflicted by self-doubt – given the daily battering and vituperation of Israel's enemies.

 

Came Harper and said: Fret not. Israel may not be perfect, but the problem isn't you. It's the nasty way others are judging you. Israel doesn't merit the vicious and violent criticism it is being treated to. The anti-Israel narrative is not supported by the facts on the ground, and this narrative is just another iteration of the age-old hatred from which Jews have suffered for two millennia. Harper also mildly anchored his support for Israel in the Jewish people's Biblical lineage, noting in an earlier speech on Israel's 60th anniversary that "the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made their way home. Their pilgrimage was the culmination of a 2,000-year-old dream."

 

Pence picked up where Harper left off, adopting a metahistorical perspective and adding a spiritual dimension to the case for Israel. For Pence, Israel's resurgence as a modern nation-state in its ancient homeland is nothing less than biblical prophecy actualized. "As I stand in Abraham's 'Promised Land,' I believe that all who cherish freedom, and seek a brighter future, should cast their eyes here to this place and marvel at what they behold. How unlikely was Israel's birth; how more unlikely has been her survival. And how confounding, and against the odds, has been her thriving. You have turned the desert into a garden, scarcity into plenty, sickness into health, and you turned hope into a future.

 

"Israel is like a tree that has grown deep roots in the soil of your forefathers, yet as it grows, it reaches ever closer to the heavens. And today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel, and all the Jewish people, bear witness to God's faithfulness, as well as your own. It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again. And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again. The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that 'even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,' from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed."

 

Then Pence turned to Jerusalem, and explained the Trump administration's decision to recognize it as Israel's capital by saying: "The Jewish people's unbreakable bond to this sacred city reaches back more than 3,000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in God. It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government. And so we will 'pray for the peace of Jerusalem.' That 'those who love you be secure,' that 'there be peace within your walls, and security in your citadels.' We will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit 'under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.'"…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Contents

On Topic Links

 

New Israeli Exhibit Highlights Power of Photos in Holocaust: Aron Heller, National Post, Jan. 25, 2018—Staring at grainy video footage of Jewish children marching to their freedom though the barbed-wire fences of the Auschwitz death camp, 79-year-old Vera Kriegel Grossman excitedly points a finger at the screen upon identifying a dark-haired girl in a dirty striped uniform as her 6-year-old self.

Is Ukraine’s Holocaust Memorial at Babi Yar in Trouble?: Izabella Tabarovsky, Tablet, Jan. 24, 2018—Babi Yar, a patchwork of ravines outside Kyiv where 33,771 Jews were executed by firing squads on Sept. 29-30, 1941, is the most potent symbol of the “Holocaust by bullets” in the Nazi-occupied Soviet territories. Yet more than 75 years after the murder of 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews—a quarter of all Holocaust victims and more than half of all Jews murdered in the Holocaust in the USSR—Babi Yar remains an orphan among the sites of global memory of the Holocaust.

Accomplices to the Holocaust: Mordecai Paldiel, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2018—Many people refer to the oft-quoted admonition by British political thinker Edmund Burke – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – without applying it to modern events, such as the Holocaust. On January 27, we shall again commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most heinous place ever designed by human beings.

Dear Mr. Ambassador, Why is Canada Funding Anti-Semitism?: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Jan. 18, 2018—Dear Ambassador Blanchard, I understand that you plan to visit Israel next week and the West Bank as well. In light of the long overdue attention focused recently on UNRWA — the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees — a key client in your portfolio, I presume you are popping into the region to better understand the relevant issues.

 

                                                              

 

 

YOM HASHOAH: CONFRONTING THE DANGER OF HOLOCAUST DISTORTION AFGHANISTAN: U.S. DROPS “MOAB” AMID DECLINING SECURITY SITUATION

 

 

The Real Danger: Holocaust Distortion: Efraim Zuroff, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 23, 2017— During the past month Holocaust- related issues have received an extraordinary amount of attention from the media.

‘It Wasn’t Us’: The Battle for Memory and History: Robert Rozett, Times of Israel, Apr. 23, 2017— Although Europe, fortunately, has not known full-fledged war since the end of the twentieth century, it is the main scene of a battle going on today.

Sound and Fury: Max Boot, New York Times, Apr. 14, 2017— When I read of the United States forces’ dropping of the second-largest non-nuclear explosive in their arsenal — the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) — in eastern Afghanistan…

Iran, Fighting to the Last Afghan: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Apr. 3, 2017 — During the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and Cuba regularly used foreign proxies to fight their battles.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Marks Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day With Official Opening Ceremony at Yad Vashem (Video): Jerusalem Online, Apr. 23, 2017

Celebrating Life in Krakow: Tamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2017

At Least 140 Dead After Taliban Attack on a Key Afghan Army Base, Officials Say: Sayed Salahuddin & Pamela Constable, Washington Post, Apr. 22, 2017

Is It Time for America and Afghanistan to Part Ways?: Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest, Apr. 23, 2017

 

 

THE REAL DANGER: HOLOCAUST DISTORTION

Efraim Zuroff                                  

           Jerusalem Post, Apr. 23, 2017

 

During the past month Holocaust- related issues have received an extraordinary amount of attention from the media. Four examples come to mind. One was the inaccurate comparison by White House spokesperson Sean Spicer between Hitler and Syrian President Bashar Assad in which he forgot that the Nazis had gassed to death millions of Jews. A second was French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s assertion that France was not responsible for the roundup by Vichy police of more than 12,000 Jews in Paris in the summer of 1942.

 

The third was the patently false claims made by former London mayor Ken Livingstone that Hitler supported Zionism, implying that the Zionist movement actually collaborated with the Third Reich. The fourth was the erroneous claim that documents from the recently- opened archives of the UN war crimes commission were the first proof that the Allies were already aware of the Holocaust in late 1942 and not only after the liberation of German concentration camps.

 

The good news is that the Holocaust occupies a unique place in Western historical consciousness and that any glaring mistakes by those in prominent positions about its events will be publicized immediately and corrected by responsible historians. The most important question is, however, the reason for such comments, and their implications.

 

In that respect, we must differentiate between those remarks motivated by ignorance or incompetence, like those of Spicer (who to his credit profusely apologized) or the ones about the ostensible significance of the documents in the UN war crimes archives, and those prompted by antisemitism, such as those of Livingstone, or by a combination of antisemitism and political opportunism, such as those of Le Pen.

 

Needless to say, whereas the first two are undoubtedly annoying, it is the last two which should be of serious concern, since they reflect the growing danger posed by Holocaust distortion, in which the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis and their helpers is not denied, but efforts are made to rewrite the narrative of the Shoah for political reasons. Thus while it appears that Holocaust denial has been defeated in the Western world, new lies about aspects of the Shoah are being invented which are even more dangerous, since they cannot be as easily refuted as Holocaust denial.

 

Nowhere is this phenomenon more acute than in Eastern Europe, the only region where collaboration with the Nazis entailed active participation in mass murder. Thus a primary motivation behind East European efforts to rewrite the history of the Holocaust is to hide, or at least minimize, the crimes of local collaborators. Another objective is to convince the world that Communist crimes were just as bad as those of the Nazis, and that the peoples of Eastern Europe were the victims of genocide.

 

These goals were formulated in the June 3, 2008 Prague Declaration which calls upon Europe to treat the tragedies of Nazism and Communism as if they were historically equivalent, and calls for measures which if adopted would undermine the justified status of the Shoa as a unique historical event. It is therefore quite surprising that former German president Joachim Gauck was invited this year to participate in the official closing ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot. Gauck is one of the politicians who signed the Prague Declaration (before he became president) and to this day has never indicated any change of mind about the equivalency of Nazi and Communist crimes. So if that’s the case in the Jewish state, what can we expect from anyone else?

 

                                                                           

Contents   

                     

‘IT WASN’T US’: THE BATTLE FOR MEMORY AND HISTORY

Robert Rozett                                                                 

Times of Israel, Apr. 23, 2017

 

Although Europe, fortunately, has not known full-fledged war since the end of the twentieth century, it is the main scene of a battle going on today. It is a battle for memory and about the history of the Holocaust and events of the Second World War. This battle is playing out on several fronts, but with at least one clear common denominator: history is frequently being manipulated and whitewashed for political reasons.

 

The most recent newsworthy skirmish took place in France, where Marine Le Pen declared that “France was not responsible for the Vel d’Hiv.” This is perhaps the most infamous raid on French Jewry. Early in the morning on July 16, 1942 some 4,500 French policemen started to arrest foreign Jews living in Paris. More than 11,000 were arrested that day, and confined to the Velodrome d’Hiver, known as the Vel’ d’Hiv, a winter cycling stadium in Paris. They were held in atrocious conditions. Within a few days, the number of Jewish incarcerated had grown to 13,000, including about 4,000 children. From the Vélodrome d’Hiver the Jews were sent east to Nazi extermination camps by way of French transit camps. Le Pen presents what has come to be known as “alternative facts,” in other words a totally ungrounded version of events that seeks to whitewash the role of the French in this deportation and subsequent murder of Jews, so as to place all of the onus on the Germans.

 

Le Pen, of course, is not the first and probably will not be the last public figure to try to relieve her nation of responsibility for its role in the Holocaust and shift it to the shoulders of the Nazis. This is certainly a central theme in the discussion about the Holocaust and Second World War in Poland. The Polish president Andrzej Duda has denied that Poles took part in the murder of their Jewish neighbors in Jedwabne. In this version of events, the murder of the Jews of that town was solely a German enterprise. However there is solid documentary evidence that Poles took part in that murder and others.

 

Concomitantly, there is a trend to present Poles as a nation of victims and rescuers. Of course Poland suffered greatly under the yoke of the Nazis, but Polish suffering did not translate into solidarity with Jews. The arithmetic gymnastics that are employed to extrapolate from the 6,706 Polish Righteous among the Nations and conclude that at least a million Poles were involved in rescue, are just that, gymnastics. It is true that more Righteous among the Nations have been recognized in Poland than any other country, but that is because Poland had by far the largest Jewish community under Nazi domination, and it is not because Poland was a nation of rescuers.

 

Reading Barbara Engelking’s recently published monograph “Such a Beautiful Sunny Day, Jews Seeking Refuge in the Polish Countryside 1942-1945” (Yad Vashem 2017) alongside Jan Grabowski’s seminal study “Hunt for the Jews, Betrayal and Murder in German-occupied Poland” (Indiana University 2013) demonstrates unequivocally that many ordinary Poles were deeply complicit in the persecution and murder of their Jewish neighbors, and that those who rescued Jews, first and foremost feared denunciation by fellow Poles, usually their neighbors and even family members.

 

In Hungary, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his associates are also busy revising history. So far nothing has come of the museum they had planned to build to eclipse the excellent Holocaust museum on Pava Utca in Budapest that portrays events and processes in a historically accurate fashion, including that Hungarian institutions played a principal role in the persecution and deportation Hungarian Jews. The new museum’s planned narrative would skirt around such “inconvenient” facts, and focus on the suffering of children, ascribing it to “fate.” No less an expression of Orban’s revisionism is the monument that was erected in Budapest to all the victims of the German occupation of Hungary. Hungary was occupied in March 1944 when it tried to get out of the war. Nevertheless it was precisely during the occupation that the Hungarian government fully cooperated in the deportations of the Jews. The monument obscenely equates general suffering under occupation with the Holocaust.

 

Especially in the Baltic countries, but not only there, the narrative that equates Stalin’s crimes to Hitler’s has established a firm foothold. Undeniably Stalin perpetrated much evil, but when this is equated to the Holocaust, there is an underlying manipulation at play. The subtext is rooted in the canard that Stalin’s crimes were perpetrated primarily by the Jews, since even if not all communists were Jews, all Jews were supposedly communists. So the culpability of local people in the persecution of their Jewish neighbors is cancelled out by the purported crimes committed by the Jews. In the Baltics, as well as other places that were under Communist control, like the Ukraine, anti-communist patriots are often lauded. Many of them, however, like Stepan Bandera in the Ukraine or Herberts Cukurs in Latvia, also engaged in the murder of Jews, and that part is overlooked.

 

The ongoing battle for memory does not imply that the Holocaust should be placed on a pedestal and never invoked in conjunction with other issues and events, or probed to derive whatever insights we can about our own condition. On the contrary, sometimes aspects of the Holocaust are very germane to the conversation. But they should be invoked with thoughtfulness and with the best historical integrity that can be mustered, without slipping into a new clash in the battle for memory and history.

 

Contents                                                                                                                                          SOUND AND FURY                                                                                 

Max Boot                                                                                         

New York Times, Apr. 14, 2017

 

When I read of the United States forces’ dropping of the second-largest non-nuclear explosive in their arsenal — the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) — in eastern Afghanistan, I am reminded of what John Paul Vann, the legendary Army officer and civilian adviser during the Vietnam War, said about the right way to fight guerrillas: “This is a political war, and it calls for discrimination in killing. The best weapon for killing would be a knife, but I’m afraid we can’t do it that way. The worst is an airplane. The next worse is artillery. Barring a knife, the best is a rifle — you know who you’re killing.” An Israeli general made a similar point to me after the defeat of the second intifada, saying, “Better to fight terror with an M-16 rather than an F-16.”

 

What they were saying, these veteran counterguerrilla fighters, is that war requires careful calibration in the application of violence, lest excessive firepower kill lots of innocents and drive more recruits into the enemy’s camp. That is precisely the problem that United States forces (and before them, the French) encountered in Vietnam and the Russians encountered in Afghanistan.

 

There is, to be sure, no evidence of any collateral damage from the use of the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. Preliminary reporting indicates that the bomb may have killed 36 Islamic State militants and collapsed some tunnel networks. These are results to be cheered. And if North Korea or Iran is intimidated by this staggering display of firepower, so much the better.

 

But while it makes sense to loosen the overly restrictive rules of engagement imposed by the Obama administration, doing so carries risks. A reminder of that came in Syria, where a recent United States airstrike mistakenly killed 18 friendly Syrian fighters. This is not an anomaly; as my Council on Foreign Relations colleague, Micah Zenko, notes, both American airstrikes and civilian casualties have increased since the Trump administration took office.

 

President Trump, who campaigned on a promise to “bomb the shit” out of the Islamic State militants, will not be concerned about this; indeed, he said that the use of the MOAB was a “very, very successful mission,” and he is probably right, in the narrow tactical sense. But for the bigger strategic picture he would be well-advised to read the 2006 United States Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, co-authored by his own secretary of defense, which states: “An operation that kills five insurgents is counterproductive if collateral damage leads to the recruitment of 50 more insurgents.”

 

Beyond the possibility of collateral damage, there is a larger reason the use of the MOAB in Afghanistan should not be a cause for high-fives and unseemly celebration: It is a sign that the war in Afghanistan is not going well. The kind of war that Vann envisioned — employing small arms — is only possible if the threat is below a certain threshold. When the enemy becomes too powerful, as it did in Vietnam, then it becomes necessary to call in air and artillery strikes. That was not a sign of progress; it was a sign, in fact, that the security situation was spiraling out of control.

 

The situation in Afghanistan is, needless to say, not nearly as bad as it was in Vietnam during the 1960s. The Taliban are no Vietcong, and they are not supported by regular army units like the People’s Army of Vietnam. But nevertheless the trajectory in Afghanistan has been headed in the wrong direction since President Obama prematurely ended his surge and withdrew most American troops by 2016.

 

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of the international military force in Afghanistan, noted in early February that the government is in control of only about two-thirds of the population. As the terrorism analyst Peter Bergen points out, this means that the Taliban either “control or contest” “a total of around 10 million people, which is more than the population that ISIS controlled in Syria and Iraq at the height of its power during the summer of 2014.”

 

The Taliban are bad enough. Just as worrisome is that the Islamic State is also making inroads in eastern Afghanistan. Indeed, the Islamic State is by now so well-established that the Afghan Army was unable to advance into its stronghold in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province. Hence the decision to drop the MOAB. But, as Mr. Bergen says, in 2001 the United States dropped 15,000-pound “Daisy Cutter” bombs on the nearby Tora Bora complex and still failed to kill Osama bin Laden and other senior leaders of Al Qaeda. Such enormous munitions may make a big blast, but they are not guaranteed to wipe out enemy fighters burrowing deep underground. And even if they kill insurgents, they will not kill the insurgency.

 

Victory in any counterinsurgency requires improving the effectiveness of the government and bringing 24/7 security to the countryside. In the case of Afghanistan, it is simply not possible to achieve those objectives with only 8,500 United States troops assisting the embattled Afghan security forces, which are suffering heavy casualties and losing ground. General Nicholson asked for a “few thousand” more advisers, and if the Trump administration wants to maintain even the existing, tenuous level of security, it will have to, at a minimum, meet his request. Bombs alone, no matter how big, won’t get the job done.                   

 

Contents                                                                                                        

IRAN, FIGHTING TO THE LAST AFGHAN                                                                             

Michael Rubin                                                                                                    

Commentary, Apr. 3, 2017

 

During the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and Cuba regularly used foreign proxies to fight their battles. When Radek Sikorski became Poland’s Defense Minister in 2005, he exposed how the Soviet Union’s classified war plans against NATO included using nuclear weapons against West Germany and then sending Polish soldiers to march across the radioactive battlefields. Cuban soldiers meanwhile became proxies for Cold War struggles in Angola and across Latin America. During the Cold War, the Algeria-based Polisario Front forcibly separated Sahwari children from their parents for re-education in Cuba and eventual deployment in service of various liberation movements. Such exploitation of whole countries as mercenary forces was a disgusting practice. It was one that should have ended with the fall of the Cold War.

 

Increasingly, however, the Islamic Republic of Iran is replicating the former Soviet and Cuban strategies in Syria, where its intervention to support Bashar al-Assad has cost the Islamic Republic several thousand Iranian soldiers and cadets. The Iranian use of Hezbollah in Lebanon should have put permanently to rest any notion that Hezbollah has evolved into a Lebanese national organization. Rather, it remains what it always has been: A proxy for the Islamic Republic of Iran. But Hezbollah is not alone. A couple of years ago, I noted the increasing number of funerals of foreign nationals—especially Afghans—occurring in Iran whom Iranian news sources said had died fighting in Syria.

 

In recent weeks, however, mention of the Afghans has increased. On March 2, for example, Esmail Ghani, the deputy commander of the Qods Force, praised the entirely Afghan Shi’ite Fatimiyoun Brigade for its sacrifices in both Iraq and Syria. When the Fatimiyoun [Brigade] set foot in Syria, its streets were in America’s hands. Today… [the Fatimiyoun] have slapped America on the mouth. [America] would never have come to the negotiations if it weren’t for [the Fatimiyoun’s] strength on the field,” Ghani said, according to a translation from the American Enterprise Institute’s Iran team. Subsequently, the Fatimiyoun Brigade announced that it had created a dedicated mosque in Mashhad–Iran’s second-largest city–so that it could form its own Basij unit.

 

The Basij, of course, are a paramilitary and cultural organization which, on the one hand, keeps order in times of crisis but, on the other, recruits and indoctrinates. They fall under the wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iranian leaders have previously said they want to create a 100 million-strong Basij organization spanning national borders and nationalities. It seems this was not mere rhetoric but rather a roadmap to Iran’s future plans.

 

Throughout its existence, Hezbollah has been a force for instability. As first the Obama administration and now seemingly the Trump administration acquiesce to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remaining in power and the Iranian influence that follows him, it is time to recognize that such ‘stability’ comes at a price which makes the world decidedly less stable. While the Obama team, at least, whitewashed Iran’s poor behavior, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have put in place a strategy to radicalize not only Afghans but to use Shi’ite mercenaries from Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere to take ‘export of revolution’ potentially ever farther afield.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Marks Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day With Official Opening Ceremony at Yad Vashem (Video): Jerusalem Online, Apr. 23, 2017

Celebrating Life in Krakow: Tamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2017—The main square of Krakow’s Jewish quarter was bursting with life Sunday with groups of youth from all over the world on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Groups of young participants in the International March of the Living thronged outside the Remah Synagogue where Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett paid a visit and stopped to talk to high school students.

At Least 140 Dead After Taliban Attack on a Key Afghan Army Base, Officials Say: Sayed Salahuddin & Pamela Constable, Washington Post, Apr. 22, 2017—The nerve center of Afghan and NATO combat activities in northern Afghanistan is a sprawling military base in Balkh province. There, thousands of Afghan National Army troops live and train, regional deployments and attacks are planned, and U.S.-supplied helicopters and fighter planes are launched to support Afghan troops battling the Taliban.

Is It Time for America and Afghanistan to Part Ways?: Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest, Apr. 23, 2017—The war in Afghanistan has been going on for such a long period of time that it’s almost become a ritual for a new administration to take a bottom-up, comprehensive look at America’s war strategy during its first two months on the job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRANCE HEADS TO POLLS AMID ESCALATING ISLAMIST TERRORISM & ANTISEMITISM

 

 

The Attack in France: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 20, 2017 — Three days ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election, terrorism has intervened.

French Jews are Worried About Le Pen. Now Another Presidential Candidate Scares Them, Too.: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Apr. 20, 2017 — Even before the communist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon emerged as a serious contender for the presidency in France, the elections were shaping up to be a fateful moment for the country’s 500,000 Jews.

Will Britain’s Labour Lose the Jews Again in 7 Weeks?: Robert Philpot, Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2017  — With Holocaust Remembrance Day approaching a fundamental question that is frequently asked is how relevant will the Holocaust be in society once almost all of the remaining witnesses – nowadays mainly child survivors – have passed away?

A Broad Look at Survivors: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 20, 2017— Ever since the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka “the Iran Deal”) was agreed to in the summer of 2015, Iran has become empowered both militarily and economically.

 

On Topic Links

 

French Jews Fear Extremists on Right and Left, But Have No Favorite in Sunday’s First Round of Presidential Election: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Apr. 19, 2017

Le Pen and the Rise of French Extremism: Max Boot, Commentary, Apr. 13, 2017

France's War to Delegitimize Israel: Yves Mamou, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 12, 2017

“Welcome to Europe’s 4 Capitals of Anti-Semitism": Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 18, 2017

 

THE ATTACK IN FRANCE

                                        Editorial                                           

                    Wall Street Journal, Apr. 20, 2017

 

Three days ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election, terrorism has intervened. A gunman with an automatic rifle jumped from a car on the Champs-Élysée Thursday evening and poured bullets into a police car, killing one officer. Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

 

This event puts extraordinary pressure on a French electorate already trying to sort through difficult decisions about its vote on Sunday. Conventional political wisdom would hold that the assault will benefit far-right candidate Marine Le Pen because last-minute events of this magnitude can influence voter sentiment, and Ms. Le Pen is running hard on the idea that France is under assault from Arab immigrants. In recent debates she has proposed that France suspend all legal immigration into the country.

 

The shooting may well tip sentiment in Ms. Le Pen’s direction, but at least two of her three opponents—conservative François Fillon and center-left Emmanuel Macron —have run on strong antiterror platforms. They have also run hard on the widespread sense of economic torpor among the French people. As we saw in the U.K.’s Brexit vote and the U.S. election last year, the sense of dimming economic opportunity is a potent political force. Polls indicate that is French voters’ number one concern.

 

Whatever the immediate effect of Thursday’s shooting in the heart of Paris, there is no avoiding the blunt reality at the heart of France’s momentous election, which is the general sense among the population that the nation’s elites—in politics and the French media—have become disconnected from the realities of the nation’s problems. It will be a pity if one shooting tips Sunday’s results, but it would not be a surprise.

 

                                                                           

Contents   

                     

FRENCH JEWS ARE WORRIED ABOUT LE PEN.

NOW ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SCARES THEM, TOO.

Cnaan Liphshiz                                                                      

JTA, Apr. 20, 2017

 

Even before the communist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon emerged as a serious contender for the presidency in France, the elections were shaping up to be a fateful moment for the country’s 500,000 Jews. Many of them are deeply worried about the rise in the polls of Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front party, with its xenophobic policies and anti-Semitic roots. Some French Jews vowed to leave France should Le Pen win — she was leading the polls for weeks ahead of the first round of the elections on April 23 and the final one on May 7.

 

With the meteoric rise of Melenchon, an anti-Israel lawmaker with a record of statements deemed anti-Semitic, French Jews now feel caught in a vice between two extremes. Melenchon climbed to third place in the polls, with approximately 20 percent of the vote this month, from fifth with 9 percent in February. “I don’t see any significant difference between Melenchon and the National Front on many issues,” Joann Sfar, a well-known French-Jewish novelist and filmmaker who used to support communist causes, wrote last week on Facebook. Both are “surrounded by Germanophobes, nationalists and France firsters.” Sfar’s post triggered a torrent of anti-Semitic statements about him on social networks.

 

Le Pen, whose father, Jean-Marie — a Holocaust denier and inciter of racial hate against Jews who founded the party his daughter now leads — recently said France “was not responsible” for the murder of Jews whom French police helped round up for the Nazis. She has also vowed to ban kippahs and the right of French citizens to have an Israeli passport – prohibitions she said were necessary to enforce similar limitations on Muslims.

 

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, has also equated Melenchon with Le Pen. “They both traffic in hatred, and they are both a danger to democracy,” CRIF President Francis Kalifat told JTA last month, adding that his group shuns all contact with both politicians. Melenchon, 65, a former Socialist deputy minister, was born to Spanish parents in what today is Morocco. He supports a blanket boycott of Israel. True to his populist oratory style, has said that allowing Israel to keep even some West Bank settlements “is like letting bank robbers keep the money.”

 

His fiery rhetoric in speeches and quick comebacks in recent television debates have helped the surge in Melenchon’s numbers following the establishment of his Unsubmissive France movement in February. So has his opposition to the increasingly unpopular European Union and to budget cuts designed to jump-start France’s stagnant economy. He is appealing to the poor with promises to increase welfare, promising the money will come from new markets that he seeks to open by improving relations with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and oil-rich socialist countries in South America.

These policies and his remarks have alienated many Jews, as did Melenchon’s assertion in 2013 that a Jewish Socialist politician, Pierre Moscovici, “thinks in international finances, not in French” – a statement critics said was anti-Semitic. (Melenchon denied the charge.) But it was only after a speech that Melenchon delivered in August 2014 that leaders of French Jewry flagged him as a public enemy.

 

Speaking in Grenoble less than a month after nine synagogues were attacked amid a wave of violent and unauthorized protests against Israel over its war with Hamas in Gaza that summer, Melenchon praised the protesters. He also condemned French Jews for expressing solidarity with Israel in a support rally in front of its embassy. “I want to congratulate the youth of my country who mobilized in defense of the miserable victims of war crimes in Gaza,” Melenchon said in the speech at a general assembly of his Left Party. “They did so with model discipline when they were pushed to extremes on all sides. They knew how to remain dignified and embodied better than anyone the founding values of the French republic.”

 

Melenchon did not mention the synagogue attacks and the wave of anti-Semitic assaults that followed the protests. But he did go on to criticize thousands of French Jews over their support for Israel. “If we have anything to condemn, then it is the actions of citizens who decided to rally in front of the embassy of a foreign country or serve its flag, weapon in hand,” he said.

 

Melenchon also said: “We do not believe that any people is superior to another” — a statement some of his critics took as an allusion to the Torah’s designation of Jews as the “chosen people.” He also accused CRIF of attempting to label him an anti-Semite  in order to discredit his criticism of Israel. “We’ve had enough of CRIF,” Melenchon said, shouting. “France is the opposite of aggressive communities that lecture to the rest of country.”

 

Recalling these and other remarks, François Heilbronn, a well-known scholar of political science, recently wrote in an op-ed that he will vote neither for Le Pen, whom he called a successor of those who collaborated with the Nazis, “nor for those who encouraged the pogromists and anti-Semites” in 2014, referring to Melenchon. “Vote to keep out of power those two candidates of hatred for democrats, modernity and liberty.” Bernard-Henri Levy, a left-leaning French Jewish intellectual, also drew parallels between Le Pen and Melenchon, whom Levy said “unfortunately often [has the same] anti-democratic radicalism, anti-Zionist, pro-Assad and pro-Putin attitudes” as Le Pen, he wrote Sunday on Twitter.

 

Levy has endorsed Emmanuel Macron, a centrist candidate and former banker at the prestigious Rothschild investment house. Macron is leading in the polls ahead of the first round with approximately 23 percent of the vote, slightly ahead of Le Pen. The Republican candidate Francois Fillon, whose campaign has suffered because of his recent indictment on corruption charges, and Melenchon are each drawing 18-20 percent in the polls. Whoever wins the first round Sunday will run against the second-place candidate in the final round.

 

Surprisingly, it’s not just the Jews who are finding equivalence between Melenchon and Le Pen. The comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and incitement against Jews, thinks the far-right and far-left politicians are both standing up against Jewish and outside influence. “Some say it’s a faceoff between the real right and the real left,” Dieudonne said about Le Pen and Melenchon in a video he posted Tuesday and which has been viewed more than 160,000 times. “I say it’s the real France that will fight the France of Rothschild and of Qatar that finances terrorism and war in the world.” Le Pen and Melenchon, he said, “are the candidates of peace.”       

 

Contents                      

                                          

WILL BRITAIN’S LABOUR LOSE THE JEWS AGAIN IN 7 WEEKS?                                                      

Robert Philpot                                                                                                        

Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2017

 

For Britain’s battered Labour party, there will be a particularly cruel irony in the fact that the formal start to the country’s general election campaign in two weeks’ time will come almost 20 years to the day after Tony Blair’s historic victory on May 1, 1997.

Labour’s landslide win two decades ago turned the country’s political map red as scores of constituencies which had been solidly Conservative for decades fell into Blair’s lap. One of the most symbolic gains came in Finchley in northeast London — a seat which Margaret Thatcher had represented in parliament for over 30 years and where around 20 percent of voters — the highest concentration in the country — are Jewish. Blair’s victory in Finchley mirrored wins in a string of other seats with a comparatively sizeable Jewish presence, few of which are natural Labour territory. With the opinion polls suggesting that Prime Minister Theresa May will inflict a crushing defeat on Labour when the country votes on June 8, it is probably safe to predict that Finchley and Golders Green will remain in Conservative hands.

 

As in 1997, though, the “Jewish vote” will prove an excellent barometer as to which party has captured the center ground on which Britain’s general elections are won and lost. Moreover, while the Jewish community’s relatively small size limits its electoral potency, its voters are nonetheless clustered in a handful of marginal seats: Hove, Hendon, Brent Central, Harrow East, Harrow West, Ilford North, Hornsey and Wood Green, Hampstead and Kilburn. And, then there are of course, Finchley and Golders Green, which are traditionally on the general election front line.

 

American Jews have remained, alongside African-Americans, one of the Democratic party’s most loyal constituencies. This historic party loyalty prompted essayist Milton Himmelfarb to quip that “Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Britain’s Jews, however, have long since become detached from their traditional moorings on the political left.

 

Concentrated in the East End of London and similar inner-city parts of Leeds, Manchester and nearby Salford, Jewish immigrants to Britain in the early 20th century were, like other working-class voters, naturally drawn to the Labour party. When Labour won its first parliamentary majority under Clement Attlee in the 1945 general election, seats with large Jewish populations voted overwhelmingly for the party. But, beneath the surface, British Jewry was already undergoing significant demographic shifts. As they joined the ranks of the middle-classes, Jews moved out of the inner-cities to the Tory-voting suburbs and old political allegiances began to loosen.

 

These socioeconomic factors were overlaid and complicated by Britain’s relationship with Israel. The Attlee government’s betrayal of the Zionist cause which Labour had hitherto steadfastly advocated, coupled with Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin’s notorious hostility to the young Jewish state, angered and offended many British Jews. So, too, did the party’s stance during the Suez crisis in 1956 when Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell compared Britain’s actions to someone helping “the burglar [Israel] shoot the householder [Egypt].” But, in its greatest hour of need in October 1973, it was Labour who was to prove the Jewish state’s better friend, attacking Edward Heath’s government for imposing an arms embargo on both sides and urging solidarity with “democratic socialist” Israel.

 

A few months later, the country went to the polls. Where their votes counted, Jewish voters punished Conservative MPs who had backed the government’s stance and rewarded those who had rebelled against it. Indeed, Labour has provided three of Britain’s most pro-Israeli prime ministers of the past four decades: Harold Wilson, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

 

Nonetheless, Labour has too often forced Jews who might naturally vote for it to choose between their party and their support for Israel in a manner that the American Democratic party has never done. The US “kosher vote” has remained steadfastly loyal, in part, because the Democratic party has never succumbed to the virulent hostility to Israel which became fashionable in some sections of the European left during the 1970s. That tide of anti-Zionism swept over Labour in the early 1980s when, in the wake of Thatcher’s election in

 

Labour’s lurch to the left extended well beyond the arena of foreign policy in general and Israel in particular. Given the overwhelmingly middle-class nature of the Jewish electorate, the party’s newfound radicalism on economic and social policy would regardless have alienated many Jews who had previously voted for it it, as it did with millions of other Britons. But difficulties for Labour in the community were compounded by the fact that virulent opposition to Israel was one of the hallmarks of the hard left, while attacks on the Jewish state became a mainstay of debates in many local parties.

 

The principal beneficiary of these developments was Thatcher. As polling by Prof. Geoffrey Alderman indicates, in northeast and northwest London, Jewish electoral behavior was significantly different from that of other voters in these areas — almost always, Jews were more likely to vote Conservative and less likely to vote Labour. In 1987, as she headed towards a then-record three consecutive general election victories, Thatcher captured the votes of six out of 10 of Finchley’s Jews; a share six points higher than that of other middle-class professionals in the seat. When Britain swung back to Labour 10 years later, however, constituencies with large Jewish populations fell to the party with greater than average swings.

 

Of course, Jewish voters do not vote on the single issue of Israel. Blair may, as one former aide put it, have purged his party of its “anti-Israelism,” but his commitment to education, emphasis on the values of community and reciprocal responsibility, and desire to rid Labour of its knee-jerk hostility to entrepreneurialism, all resonated with many Jews…                                                                                     

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]                                

 

Contents                                                                                                                         

A BROAD LOOK AT SURVIVORS                                                                                      

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                                         

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 20, 2017

 

With Holocaust Remembrance Day approaching a fundamental question that is frequently asked is how relevant will the Holocaust be in society once almost all of the remaining witnesses – nowadays mainly child survivors – have passed away? Elie Wiesel said that as the second generation listens to witness testimony, they become the witnesses. This raises another question: Are some memories of child survivors actually experiences they lived through, or rather things they heard? The issue of Holocaust testimonies becomes more relevant as the use of “Hitler” and “Nazi” in name calling becomes increasingly common. Such insults to draw attention are now mainstream and are even used by national leaders. Three Mexican presidents, including the current one, Enrique Peña Nieto, compared Trump to Hitler.

 

At the state level, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the prime producer of such insults. He asserted that he does not know whether Israel or Hitler is more barbarous. Erdogan also called the Netherlands “Nazi remnants.” His use of such false moral equivalence is so frequent that The Atlantic devoted an entire article to Erdogan’s statements of this kind.

 

Yet when discussing all aspects of what might be called “the survivor issue,” many more questions need to be asked. For instance, what additional relevant information can survivors still provide and in what areas? The answer includes memories of the reception survivors received upon returning to the societies they fled or were deported from. Much has been published about the most extreme negative events. The best known may be the 1946 Kielce Pogrom in Poland, where Polish soldiers and police officers killed 42 Jews and wounded 40. There is a great deal more, much of it negative, but also a substantial number of positive experiences.

 

Another important issue concerns post-war migration. The big questions for survivors included whether to try to return to where they lived before the persecutions or attempt to start anew elsewhere. The help of some US Army rabbis and others who assisted in illegal emigration to Palestine is an interesting aspect of postwar migration about which more may be told.

 

Another survivor-related issue of importance is the reestablishment of Jewish communities and various organizations in formerly occupied countries. This is often a story of incredible perseverance. Part of my research concerns a small field, namely, the establishment of post-war Jewish youth movements in the Netherlands. In recording their stories one gets a view of the resilience of youngsters coming out of hiding or even returning from the camps. In addition, the role played in the initial post-war months by soldiers of the Jewish Brigade is memorable. The first post-war circumcision in the Netherlands was carried out by an American rabbi. It has also been documented that in some French cities US Army rabbis assisted in reestablishing communities.

 

The efforts of survivors to recover their stolen assets is another important topic about which many more personal experiences need to be recorded. To some extent payments were made for suffering during the war. German payments play a dominant role but there are many other cases of restitution. In 2014, the French state railways agreed to pay $60 million to survivors who were transported to German concentration camps. More than 70 years after the war the restitution issue has yet to be concluded, primarily in Eastern Europe.

 

It has been suggested that the experiences of hidden children navigating between their foster and real parents after the war can be considered a precursor of experiences in contemporary society. The complex relations of children with divorced parents and step-parents has become a life experience for many. How Holocaust survivors coped with their wartime experiences can also serve those who have survived other genocides. A meeting 20 years ago with survivors from the Rwanda killings ago remains unforgettable. They were grappling with many questions that Holocaust survivors are familiar with. Some of the Rwanda survivors’ realities are even worse: They live in townships next door to the murderers of their families.

 

A very different set of issues concerns medical, psychological and social aspects. Certain illnesses appear more among Holocaust survivors than other groups. It is now known that they have a greater likelihood of osteoporosis, dental problems, impaired vision, and heart issues from prolonged malnutrition in childhood and early adulthood. There is a need for further research on the transmission of survivors’ Holocaust traumas to the next generation. In the field of epigenetics, there are claims that some children of survivors show marked changes in their chromosomes which are the result of the experiences and traumas of their parents. This issue of epigenetic transmission remains controversial.

 

There are many other potential research projects as well. One concerns the contribution of survivors to their post-war societies. Another should deal with the history and role of organizations that assisted survivors. In terms of the academic debate about what has the most effect on a person’s life, nature or nurture, i.e., genetics or life experiences, nurture has usually been the dominant factor for Holocaust survivors. All the above and much more indicates that a broad analysis of subjects relating to survivors should be undertaken, and this should be done well before they are no longer with us.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

French Jews Fear Extremists on Right and Left, But Have No Favorite in Sunday’s First Round of Presidential Election: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Apr. 19, 2017—French Jews are apprehensive and have no favorite candidate among the 11 running in the first round of their country’s presidential election on Sunday, a number of community figures told The Algemeiner this week.

Le Pen and the Rise of French Extremism: Max Boot, Commentary, Apr. 13, 2017 — French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has tried hard to shed the anti-Semitic baggage of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the National Front party, who once called the Holocaust a “detail of history.”

France's War to Delegitimize Israel: Yves Mamou, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 12, 2017—Officially, France prohibits any form of boycott against Israel. In 2015, the Court of Cassation confirmed a 2013 decision regarding the illegality of boycotts and the call for boycotts in France. Under the law, in 2013, BDS France was fined €28,000 (USD $30,000) by a local French court, after a call made in 2010 by 14 activists to boycott Israeli products in a supermarket. In addition, each of the 14 activists was fined €1,000.

“Welcome to Europe’s 4 Capitals of Anti-Semitism": Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 18, 2017—If I wrote from the point of view of my personal interest as a non Jew, I would tell Europe’s Jews: stay here, on our side, because your departure would bring irreparable harm. If I look at what better serves the interests of the Jews, it would not be so unthinkable to advise them to pack and leave for Israel, as thousands are doing every year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIVINGSTONE COMMENTS ARE THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF UK ANTISEMITISM

Zakhor! Remember! Yom HaShoah 5776: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, May 5, 2016— The world must be reminded: Never Again!

Ken Livingstone Gets the History Wrong on Anti-Semitism and Hitler: Andrew Roberts, CapX, Apr 28, 2016— Ken Livingstone’s characteristically outrageous intervention in the debate over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – denying it existed while simultaneously proving that it does – was wrong on all sorts of levels, but one of them was in his grotesque mangling of the historical record.

Ken Livingstone Takes British Politics to New Lows.: Rex Murphy, National Post, May 1, 2016— Complaints about the tone of debate in the House of Commons are almost seasonal in their regularity.

An Israeli Black Book on the EU: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2016— It would have made sense for the European Union to be in Israel’s good books, rather than in a potential “black book.”

Remembering the World’s First Jewish Ghetto: Jack Gottlieb, Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2016— Not a year goes by without a tourist walking into the Venice Ghetto asking where the concentration camps are or were.

 

On Topic Links

 

British Policy, Jews and Israel: Adam Shay & Judy Lash Balint, JCPA, May 4, 2016

UK Shows Where Anti-Zionism Leads: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, May 4, 2016

Col. Richard Kemp: Israel an ‘Outpost of Strength,’ Europe on ‘Spiral Downward to Obliteration’: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 13, 2016

Venice Haggadah Gets Facelift for 500th Anniversary: Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2016

 

 

ZAKHOR! REMEMBER! YOM HASHOAH 5776 

Baruch Cohen                                                              

CIJR, May 5, 2016

In memory of beloved Malca z”l

 

The world must be reminded: Never Again! Today, the indescribable Islamist murders in France and Belgium remind us that genocidal hatred continues unabated.

 

During the Shoah, Herman Kruk, a historian who lived in the Vilna Ghetto, documented the life of the people until his deportation and death in Estonia in 1944. He wrote that just as “the Vilna Jewish community was for years known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania,” so now the Vilna Ghetto, in respect to its cultural life, would during those terrible years be called the Jerusalem of the Ghetto, because it was a symbol of Jewish spiritual resistance under the criminal Nazi regime.

 

Arnold Dagani, a Romanian-Jewish artist deported to the Transnistria killing-fields, was interred in a labor camp in 1942 along with his wife. In 1943, he and his wife escaped, and Dagani recorded the harsh treatment, beatings and executions. The records left by Dagani and his wife described the misery, hunger and forced labor, under conditions of unimaginable misery and hardship, during years of terrifying crimes.

 

Pianist Adela Bay, an artist in the ghetto and slave labor camps, used her talent, despite horror and death, to maintain hope and meaning.

 

These courageous Jewish writers and artists should remind the world: Never Again! We Jews and the entire world must be on continued alert. A Holocaust, directed today not only against Israel, but against the entire Middle East and beyond, must be opposed, and defeated. 

 

Masada will never fall again.

 

Never Forget! Am Yisrael Chai!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research,               

and a member of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)

           

Contents

KEN LIVINGSTONE GETS THE HISTORY WRONG

ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND HITLER

Andrew Roberts

Cap X, Apr. 28, 2016
 

Ken Livingstone’s characteristically outrageous intervention in the debate over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – denying it existed while simultaneously proving that it does – was wrong on all sorts of levels, but one of them was in his grotesque mangling of the historical record. “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932,” he told BBC Radio London, “his policy was then that Jews should be moved to Israel.”

 

First, Adolf Hitler absolutely did not “win” either the July or the November 1932 elections in Germany; in the latter he only gained 33% of the vote, giving the Nazi Party 196 seats in a Reichstag of 584. More centrally, however, insofar as Hitler had a stated rather than inferred policy towards Germany’s Jews at all, it was to force them to leave Germany, but not specifically to Palestine, which was then governed by the British under League of Nations Mandate and was not accepting European Jews in significant numbers.

 

The Nazis couldn’t frankly care less where the Jews went, so long as they left Germany, preferably with as few possessions as possible. Later on they conceived ideas such as the Madagascar Plan of July 1940 which would they hoped involve mass migration to places where the Jews would suffer and eventually die of disease and malnutrition, all long before the full-scale genocidal programme conceived at the Wannsee Conference in 1942. Jews were being killed in large numbers as soon as the war began, but especially after Hitler’s invasion of Russia in June 1941. The idea that Hitler ever wanted a fully-functioning successful Jewish state in Palestine – the dream of Zionists – is ludicrous, as Mr Livingstone undoubtedly knows.

 

The sole reason Ken Livingstone brought up the Fuhrer in his interview was to be as vicious and loathsome as he possibly could to any Jews listening, rather than genuinely intending to make some valid historical point about the migration policies of the putative Third Reich in the 1930s. He must know perfectly well that the very insertion of the word “Hitler” in the context of a debate over anti-Semitism would create precisely the effect that it has. It was therefore a totally cold-blooded attempt to offend the maximum amount of Jews to the maximum extent, and was said to a Jewish interviewer Vanessa Feltz.

 

Filthy politics, of course, but Mr Livingstone has such a long record of this kind of thing that we shouldn’t be surprised, even if we must still be outraged. Likening a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard was a similar attempt at dragging the Holocaust into the discourse. Accusing Jews and what he openly refers to as “the Jewish lobby” – of “obsessing” about his links with hate preachers such as Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is all part of the same playbook. Whether Labour finally acts remains to be seen, and this might be clever politics in terms of the mayoral election, but when it comes to history, Mr Livingstone gets an “F”

 

Contents

             KEN LIVINGSTONE TAKES BRITISH POLITICS TO NEW LOWS

         Rex Murphy                                                                 

Boston Globe, May 1, 2016

 

Complaints about the tone of debate in the House of Commons are almost seasonal in their regularity. And they are justified. Some MPs imagine that since they lack eloquence, or the ability to articulate a rational argument, they can compensate with exhibitions of vulgarity or insult.

 

When tensions are high, or elections are close, the backbenches of all three parties can supply multiple examples of MPs forgetting where they are, and heedless of what is longingly referred to as “the dignity of the House of Commons.” At such times, there is almost a ritual reference to the British House of Commons and the superiority of debate in that ancient forum; the filigrees of wit and fine phrasing that mark the speeches of its members and the altogether too classy performances of its speakers.

 

 

We’re not alone in this dutiful reverence to the Mother of Parliaments. British MPs, perhaps a little slow in recognizing that self-praise is the cheapest commodity in politics, are wont to advertise their own practices and manners. Just recently, for example, there was the utterly smug and silly debate on a petition to ban Donald Trump from the U.K. The debate was spurred by Trump’s explosive campaign call for a “temporary ban on Muslims to the U.S., till we figure this all out.” But the Commons debate was more a recoil against his vulgarity — his “commonness” — especially as seen by British MPs, in contrast to their own, far-more genteel style and precious manners.

 

When British parliamentarians and public voices go off the rails, however, they plunge into chasms of ugliness and vilification that even Trump can’t match. Indeed, when they go low, they go really low. They go for anti-Semitism. Take Vicki Kirby, a Labour activist whose parliamentary candidacy failed when a few of her Twitter musings fell under scrutiny. It turned out that the fresh-faced, left-wing activist had curiously ardent views on Israel and the Jewish people. Some of her more vile tweets included: “We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher;” “I will never forget and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!;” “Hitler was the Zionist God;” and the ancient favourite of Jew-baiters everywhere, “What do you know about Jews? They’ve got big noses … lol.”

 

Kirby is but small fry, however, compared to Labour MP Naz Shah, the woman who ironically defeated Israel-hater George Galloway for the Bradford East constituency. Kirby’s Facebook page included the interesting suggestion that Israelis should be “transported” from Israel and relocated in the United States. All would then be peace and roses in the Middle East or, as Shah put it, “Problem solved and save you bank charges for the £3bn you (the US) transfer yearly” (no attack against the Jews is really complete without a reference to money and banks). And, in regards to a poll on “Israeli war-crimes,” she urged her Facebook myrmidons to get on it because “the Jews are rallying.” When it comes to nasty words about Jews and Israel, even Galloway doesn’t hold a candle to Shah.

 

But the real brick in this inverted arch of slander and slurs is former Labour MP and ex-London mayor, Ken Livingstone. During the Shah controversy, Livingstone went to bat for her by saying that Hitler was actually — dear Lord — a pioneer Zionist. According to Livingstone, when Hitler was elected in 1932, he wanted to move the Jews to Israel, and that was before “he went mad and ended up killing six million of them.” Please note the passive use of the term “ended up.” It is appalling that 70 years after the concentration camps of the Second World War, there is a British celebrity politician hailing Hitler, one of the country’s most despised enemies, as a “Zionist.” But such are the public pronouncements of one of British politics most famous figures, a member of the Labour party’s executive committee and a former mayor of cosmopolitan London.

 

I think you can stack Trump up against Livingstone any day. Trump is careless, crass and heedless, but he doesn’t waltz with anti-Semitism, the most perdurable racism our world has ever known. There are lessons that politicians around the world can take from the British Parliament and British politics. It has dignified leaders and backbenchers, speakers of grace and intellect. But when British politics slides, it finds a pit in a cavern of darkness that our side of the Atlantic, thankfully, leaves unexplored.                                                                                                                     

 

 

Contents           

                                                                            

AN ISRAELI BLACK BOOK ON THE EU                                                                                                     

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2016

 

It would have made sense for the European Union to be in Israel’s good books, rather than in a potential “black book.” Israel’s imports from the EU exceed its exports to the region, by several billion euros. Research collaboration with Israel is of value to the EU in view of Israel’s scientific creativity. Yet during several decades the EU has maligned and defamed Israel. In line with the fragmented nature of contemporary ‘post-modern’ society, EU attitudes are not homogeneous, and the totality of all the negative attitudes toward Israel is not self-evident.

 

The maligning of Israel has also contributed to the great increase in European anti-Semitism over the past decades. Comparable statistics on anti-Semitic incidents in the various member countries of Europe do not even exist. In addition, after abandoning a prior working definition of anti-Semitism, the EU has not developed another. This despite it being the most basic precondition for fighting anti-Semitism. While the EU has made some feeble attempts to deal with the hatred, its actions have been primarily verbal and barely effective.

 

The EU’s defamation of Israel and the undermining of its sovereignty are of major dimensions. If Israel’s “black book” were transformed from an idea into an actual black book it would greatly help in exposing the EU’s incitement against it. A single volume could reveal the many ways in which Europe discriminates against Israel and defames it. It could also list examples comparing this behavior to the way in which the EU has averted its gaze from much of the extreme racism and criminal attitudes in Arab and Muslim countries.

 

The current time is particularly propitious for the creation of such a black book. The EU is in major disarray due its incompetent handling of the current refugee crisis, after ignoring the building up of refugee-related problems for several years. The current crisis has heightened friction between individual EU member countries, as well as exposed the regional body’s tensions with several of its members.

 

Discussions in the United Kingdom in favor of and against a British exit from the EU (Brexit) provide yet another source of information about the weaknesses of the EU. Some of the arguments brought forward there against the EU could form part of a document exposing its misdemeanors toward Israel. The same is true regarding some disclosures concerning the refugee crisis. One such example is Hungary’s claim that there are 900 no-go areas in Europe which are overrun by migrants and where the authorities cannot establish the rule of law.

 

Such a proposed black book would include the high percentages of EU citizens – in the region of 40 percent – who consider that Israel behaves like the Nazis, or that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians. That these absurd opinions are so widespread is a damning condemnation of contemporary Europe. Frequent incitement against Israel has achieved its defamatory goals. This comes from the EU itself and from European political echelons. It also emerges from civil society entities such as media, NGOs, some liberal churches, academia, trade unions and more. If indeed Israel were conducting a war of extermination, Palestinians would have become extinct long ago. In reality the Palestinians are now much more numerous than several decades ago.

 

False moral equivalence comparing Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis was even used decades ago by now deceased prominent social-democratic politicians, including French president François Mitterrand, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou. Without devoting more study to the subject, it is not possible to draw up a full table of contents for this proposed black book, though some chapter headings are already evident. The EU not only insists on referring to the disputed West Bank as “occupied territories,” it even refuses to enter into debate on the subject. Over a thousand lawyers and jurists have written to the EU on this issue, receiving confirmation only from a junior EU staffer. If the EU were so convinced of the occupied status of the West Bank, it would not have avoided the debate.

 

Another chapter could be devoted to the EU requirement that products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights be labeled separately. As the EU has not applied the same measures in other similar or more obvious cases this represents double standards, one of the key characteristics of anti-Semitism. The labeling issue brought the EU into the 2015 list of major anti-Semitic slurs published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The EU’s voting patterns in the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies would also be worthy of a chapter. Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold has shown how the European voting record at the UN demonstrates a longstanding anti-Israel bias. He explained how the EU participated in the demonization of Israel at the UN.

 

A further chapter should be devoted to the undermining of Israel’s sovereignty. One aspect of this would be to scrutinize EU financing of Israeli NGOs which ignore extreme Palestinian crimes. Another could deal with the EU funding of illegal building in Area C. The EU has allowed massive non-selective immigration from Muslim countries for decades, giving rise to part of the significant increase in anti-Semitism in European countries. This subject should also be included in the proposed black book. Muslims have been the originators of most extreme anti-Semitic incidents in Europe since the end of the past century. Muslims have committed all anti-Semitic murders of Jews in the EU. Yet Muslims are not the only factor in the increasingly problematic state of Jews in many European countries…

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

 

 

Contents           

REMEMBERING THE WORLD’S FIRST JEWISH GHETTO

Jack Gottlieb

Times of Israel, May 4, 2016

 

Not a year goes by without a tourist walking into the Venice Ghetto asking where the concentration camps are or were. This question, unfortunately, reflects a lack of understanding as to why the Venice Ghetto was founded on March  29, 1516 and maintained for centuries–all of which had nothing to do with the Holocaust. That is not to say that the Venice Ghetto was not involved in the Holocaust. It was decimated by the Nazis in 1943 when most of its inhabitants perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It never recovered until this very day when only 20 Jews now live in the Ghetto itself. Two memorials, The Last Train and The Holocaust Memorial Wall, situated in the Ghetto Square bear witness to this tragedy.

 

The distinction between the two types of ghettos is important. The Nazi Ghetto was set up as an interim solution to the ‘final solution’, the other as a means of segregating a group whose values were deemed harmful or dangerous to the common good. Members of my family who managed to survive the first kind of Ghetto reported a litany of horror stories about their experiences. My mother watched from the woods as the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania was liquidated. My uncle was lucky enough to escape the Lida Ghetto in Belarus before it too suffered the same fate. Obviously, no redeeming features will ever be reported from this type of ghetto. The Venice type of ghetto, for all it’s negatives, those of density, segregation and restrictions, did have a positive side to it. It provided protection, business opportunities and amazingly enough, a sense of community.

 

In an effort to close the gap between the misconception and reality of what the Venice Ghetto is and what it represents, the city of Venice has embarked on a year-long program of events to mark the quincentennial of its founding.  It was kicked off nearly a month ago by an opening ceremony at the Fenice Opera House attended by local, national, and international dignitaries.

 

I was fortunate enough to wrangle an invitation to this event as well as the launch earlier that day of an important book called The Venice Synagogues. It was written by Umberto Fortis, professor of Italian literature, coordinated by Toto Bergamo Rossi, Head of the Venetian Heritage Council, and published by Assouline Books, a prestigious book publisher. The book describes in rich and glorious detail five important synagogues of the Venetian Ghetto and stands as a symbol of the rich Jewish culture which blossomed regardless of, or despite the hardships imposed on the Ghetto Jews.

 

When I leafed through this book I definitely had the sense that Jews in the Venice Ghetto were thriving, and that Jewish culture was flourishing, unlike the Nazi Ghetto where Jews were being killed and their cultural heritage was being erased. Rossi was quite right in describing this hand-bound book ‘as not just another high end collectible but as a work of art’. Kudos to Assoulin Publishing who is contributing half of the proceeds to the Venice’s synagogue restoration project which, unfortunately, is still short of the 8 million dollars it needs to begin.

 

In stark contrast to the joyous air at the book launch was the air of solemnity later that evening of the opening ceremony at the Fenice Opera House. The former was a celebration of life, the latter a commemoration of evil. Before giving way to Mahler Symphony No.1 (by the way, banned by the Nazis as degenerate), the keynote speaker of the event, Simon Schama, the noted author of the Story of the Jews and subsequent TV series, delivered a riveting commentary on the evolution of the ghetto. He explained that “history is not always a trip down memory lane”. And events like the Venice Ghetto, the Holocaust and the recent bombings in Brussels are a stark reminder against complacency-that just when we think that things could not get worse, they unfortunately do! Specifically, he commented, “an event we think that we had left behind in a particular period or in a particular moment crashes into our present lives and leaves us at great risk!”…

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

 

CIJR Wishes all our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic Links

 

British Policy, Jews and Israel: Adam Shay & Judy Lash Balint, JCPA, May 4, 2016—The Beit Venezia Jewish culture center unveiled a series of 24 etchings created by eight international artists that will form part of a new, illustrated Venice Haggadah.

UK Shows Where Anti-Zionism Leads: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, May 4, 2016—We didn’t have to wait for the results of the independent inquiry into charges of anti-Semitism promised by the head of Britain’s Labour Party to see the scale of the problem. On Monday, the Telegraph reported that what it describes as the party’s “compliance unit” had already been overwhelmed by the problem of dealing with charges of anti-Semitism because it lacked the resources to look into so many cases.

Col. Richard Kemp: Israel an ‘Outpost of Strength,’ Europe on ‘Spiral Downward to Obliteration’: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 13, 2016—Discussing the challenges democracies face in confronting unconventional warfare, a retired British Army officer on Tuesday touted the Jewish state as exemplary.

Venice Haggadah Gets Facelift for 500th Anniversary: Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2016 —This week Cambridge University Press is publishing my new book, Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. I examine a spectrum of antagonism by the East German government and West German radical leftist organizations – ranging from hostile propaganda and diplomacy to military support for Israel’s Arab armed adversaries — from 1967 to the end of the Cold War in 1989.

 

                    

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

YOM HASHOAH 5776: REMEMBER, EDUCATE, & FIGHT HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM

The Erosion of Holocaust Memory: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, May 5, 2016— My grandparents and many members of my family were exterminated by the Nazis.

The Holocaust: Many Villains, Few Heroes: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, May 2, 2016— As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, at which selected Nazi leaders were placed in the dock, we must ask some disturbing questions about those who were never tried for their complicity in the world's worst genocide.

‘Never Forget,’ the World Said of the Holocaust. But the World is Forgetting.: Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, May 1, 2016— Long before the Holocaust had run its course, there was already a desperate urge to keep it from being forgotten.

The Tip of a Huge Iceberg of Holocaust Distortion: Efraim Zuroff, Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2016— During the past month I have written about a rash of neo-fascist and anti-Semitic incidents which recently took place in Croatia, where the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust have come under heavy attack from ultra-nationalists and revisionists.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Air Force Ceremony – F-15 Jets Over Auschwitz: IDF, Apr. 20, 2016

Jews Died at Auschwitz Because of Anti-Semitism, but Anti-Semitism Did Not Die There: Irwin Cotler, National Post, May 5, 2016

The Holocaust: A Tool for Abuse and Distortion: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, May 4, 2016

Is Germany Really Honoring the Memory of the Holocaust?: Gabriel Fuchs, Algemeiner, May 2, 2016

 

 

THE EROSION OF HOLOCAUST MEMORY

  Isi Leibler                                                                    

Candidly Speaking, May 5, 2016

 

My grandparents and many members of my family were exterminated by the Nazis. I would probably also have perished had my parents not had the foresight of leaving Antwerp when I was a young infant on what was probably the last boat to sail to Australia before the outbreak of war. Like survivors, those of us whose families were murdered by the Nazis retain the memory of the Holocaust as part of our DNA. Indeed, in most cases this also applies to our children, who share the sensitivities of their parents.

 

But today, 70 years later, for our grandchildren, most of whom were deprived of the opportunity of hearing their families agonize over memories, the relevance of the Holocaust will fade unless there is a conscious effort to convey it within the framework of their history. The extent to which Holocaust commemoration is maintained by future Jewish generations will largely be determined by the educational approach and curriculum provided in the Israeli school system.

 

We should be under no illusions. The so-called Holocaust commemoration in Europe and other Western countries is a sham. In most cases it trivializes the Holocaust by linking it to other mass murders. In fact, commemoration has become so broad and universal that the words “Jew” and “anti-Semitism” are not even mentioned in the European Union’s lengthy call to its constituents to engage in Holocaust remembrance.

 

If Holocaust awareness truly existed, it would have been inconceivable for the current anti-Semitic tsunami to have swept through the continent of Europe, which was soaked with the blood of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. In fact, a survey of adults in 101 countries reveals that only 54% had ever heard of the Holocaust, and a large proportion of these considered it a myth. With the actual number of survivors dramatically diminishing, Holocaust deniers have proliferated and indeed today there is a growing campaign, spearheaded by Islamic anti-Semites, promoting Holocaust denial.

 

As Jews, I believe that it is our obligation to ensure that this dark chapter of our history is commemorated and studied by future Jewish generations. This is not merely to honor our martyrs but to appreciate the contrast between the Jewish people today, which, with the revival of nationhood, can defend itself, and the powerlessness of those dark years when the world stood by as we were being murdered. If we follow the double standards and bias currently leveled against us, particularly at the United Nations, often with the support or indifference of the Europeans, we must appreciate how fortunate we are today that we are able to rely on our own defenses.

 

There are some, including far-left Israelis, who seek to scale down or even cancel Holocaust commemoration within Israel on the spurious grounds that it is exploited to create an environment of Jewish victimhood and as a means of extorting money and political favors from European countries. This would be disastrous because it is imperative that future generations understand what happened to their European ancestors and realize that the state in which they live cannot be taken for granted. As we commemorate our Exodus from Egyptian slavery to freedom, so we are obliged to remind ourselves how, after 2,000 years of exile and immediately in the wake of the most barbaric genocide, we revived Jewish nationhood in the State of Israel.

 

My grandson returned a few weeks ago from his school’s journey to the Polish death camps. Even though his family was already sensitive to the Holocaust, the visit had a profound impact on him. I was therefore deeply saddened to read that the principal of Tel Aviv’s prestigious elite secular Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, Dr. Zeev Dagani, proposes canceling annual trips to the Nazi death camps. He claims that “there are many youth who are not emotionally built to grasp the reality of the horror. It is too much for them and I think it is too early to send 16- and 17-year-olds to trips to Poland. It is a trip which requires emotional and intellectual maturity.”

 

The reality is that if adequate education is provided and the tours are led by well-informed guides, the results have proven to be extraordinary and have major beneficial impact on the participants, not only in terms of comprehending the Holocaust, but equally so in relation to their understanding and appreciation of the Jewish state. There is a valid complaint that the escalating costs prevent some students from participating. This is something the government should be reviewing with the aim of providing subsidies to enable all students who wish to participate. It would prove to be a worthwhile long-term educational investment.

 

Of course, it is sickening to hear of occasional groups visiting a death camp and engaging in drinking parties in the evening or interspersing their visit with a shopping day in Warsaw. Under such circumstances, it would undoubtedly be preferable to cancel such trips. But most trips are well-planned and have immense educational impact, highlighting the emergence of a Jewish state like a phoenix from the ashes of the Holocaust – something that no classroom study course can replicate…                                                   

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

           

Contents

      THE HOLOCAUST: MANY VILLAINS, FEW HEROES

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, May 2, 2016
 

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, at which selected Nazi leaders were placed in the dock, we must ask some disturbing questions about those who were never tried for their complicity in the world's worst genocide. It would have been impossible to carry out the mass murder of so many people without the complicity of so many governments, groups, and individuals. Perhaps there were too many guilty parties to put them all on trial, but it is not too late to hold the guilty morally accountable for what they did and failed to do.

 

To be sure, the guiltiest individuals were the Nazi leaders who directly planned and implemented the final solution. Their goal was to in gather Jews from all over the world in order to kill them and to destroy what they regarded as the "Jewish race". They came very close to succeeding, wiping out nearly all of Europe's Jews in a relatively brief period of time. These Nazi leaders had the help of many "willing executioners," both in Germany and in the countries under its control. Among the worst culprits were individual Lithuanians, Latvians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Poles, Ukrainians, and others. There were some heroes among these groups and they are justly remembered and honored. But the number of villains far exceeded the number of heroes.

 

Then there were the guilty governments that cooperated and helped facilitate the deportations and round-ups. The French government deported more Jews than the Nazis demanded. Other governments, including those of Norway, Holland, Hungary and Austria (which had become part of Nazi Germany), also helped the Nazis achieve their genocidal goal. Bulgaria, on the other hand, declined to cooperate with the Nazi genocide, and its small Jewish population were saved. Denmark too rescued its Jews, many of whom were ferried to neutral Sweden.

 

There were also the countries that refused to accept Jews who might have escaped the Nazis had they been permitted to enter. These countries include the United States, Canada, and many other potential places of asylum that shut their doors. In the United States and Canada too, there were heroes who pressed their leaders to do more, but for the most part they failed. Many Arab and Muslim leaders also played ignoble roles, siding with the Nazis and conducting their own pogroms against local Jews. The leading villain in this regard was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who joined Hitler in Berlin and played a hands-on role in sending Jews to their deaths and in keeping the doors of Palestine closed to Jewish refugees.

 

Could more have been done by Britain and the United States to end the genocide? Could they have bombed the rail lines to Auschwitz and other death camps? These are complex questions that have been asked but not satisfactorily answered since 1945. There were also the actions of those who pardoned and commuted the sentences of Nazis convicted at Nuremberg, and those who helped Nazis escape prosecution after the war ended. That list too is long and disturbing.

 

The Nuremberg trials, by focusing narrowly on Nazi leaders and their direct henchmen, implicitly exculpated those who played important, but less direct, roles by their actions and inaction. By their nature, courts are limited in what they can do to bring to justice large numbers of individuals who belong on a wide continuum of legal and moral guilt. But historians, philosophers, jurists and ordinary citizens are not so limited. We may point fingers of blame at all who deserve to be blamed, whether or not they were placed on trial at Nuremberg, or at subsequent legal proceedings.

 

There will never be perfect justice for those who helped carry out the Holocaust. Most of the guilty escaped prosecution, lived happy lives and died in their beds, surrounded by loving family members. West Germany prospered as a result of the Marshall Plan, and many German industrialists, who had benefited from slave labor, continued to benefit as a result of the perceived needs of the Cold War. The scales of justice remain out of balance. Perhaps this helps to explain why more than 6 million people have been murdered in preventable genocides — in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and other places — since the world pledged "never again." There is, of course, the risk that by blaming all, we blame none. It is important to calibrate the responsibility of those who played very different roles in the Holocaust. This is a daunting task, but it must be undertaken if future genocides are to be deterred.

 

 

Contents

          ‘NEVER FORGET,’ THE WORLD SAID OF THE HOLOCAUST.

       BUT THE WORLD IS FORGETTING

   Jeff Jacoby                                                          

Boston Globe, May 1, 2016

 

Long before the Holocaust had run its course, there was already a desperate urge to keep it from being forgotten. In hiding and on the run, amid the shadows of gas chambers and the smoke of crematoria, Jews frantically sought ways to bear witness to the enormities of the Nazis. Surrounded by horror, anticipating their own deaths, they appealed to the future: Remember. In his Nobel Prize lecture in 1986, Elie Wiesel recalled the eminent historian Simon Dubnow, who over and over implored his fellow inhabitants in the Riga ghetto: “Yiddin, schreibt un farschreibt” — “Jews, write it all down.”

 

Many felt an overpowering need to preserve the truth. “Countless victims became chroniclers and historians in the ghettos, even in the death camps,” said Wiesel. “[They] left behind extraordinary documents. To testify became an obsession. They left us poems and letters, diaries and fragments of novels, some known throughout the world, others still unpublished.” And when the war was over and the mind-boggling scope of the Final Solution was fully grasped — the Germans and their collaborators had annihilated 6 million Jews from every corner of Europe, wiping out more than one-third of the world’s Jewish population — the moral imperative to remember grew even more intense.

 

Judaism has always attached intense significance to remembrance; in multiple passages the Hebrew Bible even makes it an explicit religious obligation. Not surprisingly, Israel’s parliament long ago added Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, to the Jewish calendar each spring. (It begins this year on Wednesday evening.) For many Holocaust survivors and their children, “Never Forget” understandably became almost an 11th Commandment.

 

But a commitment to remembrance spread far beyond the community of those most affected by the Nazis’ industrial-scale campaign to eradicate the Jews. In recent decades, Holocaust commemoration, particularly in the West, became a widespread cultural phenomenon. Countless books, lectures, and documentaries have been devoted to the topic. Academia is replete with Holocaust studies programs. On big and small screen alike, movies and miniseries on Holocaust themes have been runaway successes. Online resources for learning about the Holocaust are almost too numerous to count. And Holocaust memorials and museums have been erected in cities large and small, on every continent except Antarctica.

 

The Nazis’ extermination of European Jewry, an evil so unprecedented that the word “genocide” had to be coined to describe it, is among the most exhaustively researched, documented, and memorialized crimes of the 20th century. The powerful Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler, who in 1943 characterized the wholesale murder of the Jews, by then well underway, as “a glorious page in our history that . . . shall never be written,” was wrong. The history was written. Its remembrance is sustained by an ocean of scholarship, testimony, literature, and education. The last living survivors of the Holocaust are now mostly in their 80s or 90s. In a few years almost no one will be left to speak from personal experience of what it meant to be engulfed in the singular horror of the Shoah.

 

But the survivors have at least this reassurance: What happened to them will not be forgotten. Or will it? The events of the Holocaust have haunted me for as long as I can remember. My father, who was born in a tiny village on the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border in 1925, is a survivor of Hitler’s destruction. With his parents and four of his brothers and sisters, he was seized by the Nazis in the spring of 1944, imprisoned in a crowded ghetto, and then, after six weeks, herded into a cattle car to be transported to Auschwitz. Of the seven members of his immediate family who entered the death camp, six were murdered. Only my father escaped death.

 

For me, the Holocaust has always been intensely personal. It may have ended a decade and a half before I was born, but I have always understood that I was intended for obliteration too. In a Reichstag address in 1939, Hitler had vowed to achieve “the annihilation [Vernichtung] of the Jewish race in Europe.” The essence of the Final Solution is that it was to be final. No Jews were to survive — above all, no Jewish children through whom 3,000 years of Jewish existence might continue. It was to that end that Germany constructed such a vast continent-wide operation and committed such immense financial resources: to track down and murder every last Jew in Europe.

 

Never before had a world power, deranged by anti-Semitism, made the eradication of an entire people its central aim, or gone to such exhaustive extremes to achieve it. That is what makes the Holocaust so grotesquely, terrifyingly unique. The unexampled virulence of anti-Semitism, a hatred older than and different from any other in human history, is at the heart of what the Holocaust is about — that, and the role of the Jews as the canary in the mine of civilization. When a society fills with toxic moral fumes, Jews become the target of bigotry and terror. But rarely does it end with them. Hitler set out to incinerate the Jews; in the end, all of Europe was in flames…                                                                                      

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

 

Contents           

            THE TIP OF A HUGE ICEBERG OF HOLOCAUST DISTORTION

Efraim Zuroff                                                               

Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2016

 

During the past month I have written about a rash of neo-fascist and anti-Semitic incidents which recently took place in Croatia, where the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust have come under heavy attack from ultra-nationalists and revisionists. In the wake of those articles and a visit to Zagreb by Nicholas Dean, the US State Department’s envoy on Holocaust issues, who met with both Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, the former issued a statement to the effect that the Ustasha government which ruled Croatia during the years 1941- 1945 was a criminal regime, while the latter spoke in general terms criticizing totalitarianism.

 

If anyone hoped that these two declarations would dampen the enthusiasm of Croatia’s neo-fascists, they were sadly disappointed as less than two weeks ago, at the official state ceremony commemorating the victims at Jasenovac, the largest and most notorious of the concentration camps established by the Ustasha regime, which was nicknamed “The Auschwitz of the Balkans,” a new low was reached in terms of Holocaust commemoration. On the direct intervention of Natasha Jovicic, the director of the memorial complex, who also serves as a special adviser to the president on Holocaust issues, notorious Ustasha supporters from the Croatian National Platform were allowed to lay a wreath in memory of “all the victims of the camp from 1941 until 1951.”

 

The practical implication of this outrage was to legitimize the myth propagated by the Ustasha apologists that the postwar Communist regime turned Jasenovac after its liberation in April 1945 into a death camp where innocent people were murdered, thereby creating a false symmetry between Ustasha and Communist crimes. (The local Serb and Jewish communities, as well as the organized opponents of fascism, had justly refused to attend this official state ceremony to protest the failure of the government to stem the resurgence of neo-fascism and Ustasha nostalgia, and therefore were not present, and could not have prevented this outrage.) The problematic events in Croatia are only the tip of a huge iceberg of Holocaust distortion which is spreading throughout post-Communist Eastern Europe. An important part of the explanation for this dangerous phenomenon has to do with the history of the area during the Holocaust. While the Nazis sought and succeeded to enlist local collaborators in every country they occupied, as well as in those allied with them, only in Eastern Europe did collaboration with the Nazis include active participation in mass murder.

 

Thus while the Nazis’ helpers elsewhere actively assisted in the implementation of the initial stages of the Final Solution (definition: Aryanization of property and valuables, concentration and deportation), these collaborators were not the ones who committed the murders. They were accessories to murder, having sent Jews to be annihilated in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. In countries like Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus, local collaborators were integrated into the mechanism of the mass murder of the Jews. This historical fact is one of the main reasons why these countries find it so difficult to tell, teach and write the truth about World War II and the Shoa. Another reason is their oppression under the Communists and their desire to obtain recognition and compensation for their suffering.

 

In that regard, the success achieved on behalf of Holocaust survivors is a source of envy, and one which these countries seek, unsuccessfully until now, to replicate. These two factors are the main themes of the attempts to rewrite the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust – to minimize or hide the crimes of local perpetrators and to promote the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes. They find practical expression in the Prague Declaration of June 3, 2008, which calls for a rewriting of European textbooks to reflect the supposed historical equivalency between the crimes of the two totalitarian regimes, the establishment of a European Institute of Memory and Conscience which would serve as a museum/memorial and research center along the lines of Yad Vashem, and a joint memorial day for all the victims of totalitarian regimes to be observed on August 23, the day that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a Non-Aggression pact.

 

Needless to say, the adoption of any of these demands would seriously undermine the hereto accepted perception of the Holocaust as a unique historical event and the singular fate of Jews under the Third Reich.

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the views expressed in the Prague Declaration were fairly strong in Eastern Europe, but they were not so actively promoted, for fear that they might negatively affect these countries’ chances of obtaining entry to the European Union and NATO. Once that goal was achieved, however, all restraint in this regard disappeared and now the revisionist agenda is being pursued with vigor.

 

I wish I could say that the EU, the US, Canada and Israel were taking the necessary steps to prevent the revised version of history being promoted in Eastern Europe from being accepted, but unfortunately virtually nothing has been done. A variety of political and economic interests have combined to prevent any effective action and in the meantime, an entire generation of Eastern Europeans has grown up virtually ignorant of the Holocaust crimes of their own countrymen and convinced that Communist crimes (which in Eastern Europe are out of all proportion to reality – and blamed on Jews) were just as bad as those of the Nazis. Holocaust Remembrance Day is another good opportunity for a wake-up call in this regard.

On Topic Links

 

Israel Air Force Ceremony – F-15 Jets Over Auschwitz: IDF, Apr. 20, 2016—"Triumph of the Return" – On September 4, 2003, in a large ceremony, the Israeli Air Force flew three f-15 jets over the Auschwitz concentration camp in a show of the Jewish people's continued strength and triumph over past adversities.

Jews Died at Auschwitz Because of Anti-Semitism, but Anti-Semitism Did Not Die There: Irwin Cotler, National Post, May 5, 2016—I write at a historic moment of remembrance and reminder, of witness and warning. For we are on the eve of two historic anniversaries: the 80th anniversary of the coming into effect of the Nuremberg Race Laws, which served as prologue and precursor to the Holocaust; and the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials — which served as the foundation for the development of contemporary international human rights and humanitarian law.

The Holocaust: A Tool for Abuse and Distortion: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, May 4, 2016—Historical events usually fade with time. Not so the Holocaust and related issues, which are increasingly appearing in the public domain. In previous years, one annual summary was sufficient for a fairly complete overview of Holocaust-related issues.  However, last year the selection was so great that I had to limit myself to several issues from the main categories.

Is Germany Really Honoring the Memory of the Holocaust?: Gabriel Fuchs, Algemeiner, May 2, 2016—In one episode of the TV show Band of Brothers, the liberation of a concentration camp is intensely portrayed. The camp in question was situated just outside the town of Landsberg am Lech, along with another 10 concentration camps.

 

                    

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

AS BAN FORGETS THE HOLOCAUST’S MEANING, UNCHECKED IMMIGRATION & “MULTI-CULTURALISM” MAY BE THE EU’S DEATH

Holocaust Remembrance Day and UN Chief Ban Ki Moon’s Cowardly Act: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News, Jan. 27, 2016 — Embedded in the DNA of the Jewish People there is a special gene; call it "Zachor" — remembrance.

Why Europe's Great Experiment Is Failing: Ian Morris, Stratfor, Jan. 27, 2016— The slow-motion crisis of the European Union finally seems to be coming to a head.

The End of the Multiculturalist Consensus in Europe: Michael Gurfinkel, Daily Caller, Feb. 3, 2016— One wonders why America, a nation of immigrants, can be suddenly so receptive to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

No More Illusions: Come Home: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2016 — Objectively analyzing recent events can only lead to the dismal conclusion that the status of Diaspora Jewry, bad as it is, is only likely to deteriorate.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Broader Framework of Trudeau’s Holocaust Distortion: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Feb. 3, 2016

The Hidden Agenda Behind the UN Chief’s Israel-Bashing: Benny Avni, New York Post, Feb. 3, 2016

Italy's Courage: Jack Rosen, Huffington Post, Feb. 3, 2016

What the Führer Means for Germans Today: The Economist, Dec. 19, 2015

                  

 

 

             HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY AND UN

               CHIEF BAN KI MOON’S COWARDLY ACT

Rabbi Abraham Cooper                                   

                                                      Fox News, Jan. 27, 2016

 

Embedded in the DNA of the Jewish People there is a special gene; call it "Zachor" — remembrance. From the time Moses first showed up at Pharaoh’s palace, to the moment the few living Jewish skeletons crawled out of the gates of Auschwitz on the day of their liberation by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945, we have always taught our kids and reminded ourselves and anyone else who would listen, that memory holds the key to redemption. Could there possibly be a worse sin than willfully forgetting?

 

This January 27th we learn that there are sins far worse. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, who, as he has done each year on this day, will preside of the international organization remembrance of 6 million dead Jews. Yet he chose the eve of this hallowed anniversary to bestow a moral and political blank check to Palestinian terrorists who this week alone buried knives into mother of 8, a pregnant woman and a beautiful young woman buying groceries for her grandparents.

According to Ban, the current Intifada by knife, gun, and vehicle “is a reaction to the fear, disparity and lack of trust the Palestinians are experiencing.”  He went on to explain that "Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process," he said, blaming "the occupation" for causing "hatred and extremism." "As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."

 

Powerful words and imagery: fear, lack of trust, frustration, and humiliation. What a tragedy that Mr. Ban lacked the courage to use this Holocaust Remembrance Day as a teachable moment for Palestinians and other “frustrated” and “humiliated” young Arabs and Muslims. He should have told them, “instead of embracing the culture of death of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Shabab, why not read Eli Wiesel’s 'Night,' or Victor Frankel’s 'Man's Search for Meaning'?

 

Back in 1945, the Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide had seen their world and families destroyed, their lives reduced to a number tattooed on their arms, most malnourished and at death’s door, with little reason to hope. If there ever was a group of people with the moral right to turn to terrorism, it was those Jewish survivors of the Holocaust Kingdom. But they didn’t: They chose life.

 

Instead of using the heroic and tenacious trek of Holocaust survivors, to find hope amongst the ashes of their loved ones, Mr. Ban instead defaulted to political expediency that doesn’t help a single Palestinians but does succeed in further embedding a dangerous double standard when the victims of terrorism are Jews-especially Israelis. Whatever his motivation, the effect of his words was to tell Palestinians and by extension anyone with a gripe against Israel, that he understood the pain of today’s murderers of Jews.

 

The Secretary General isn’t alone in failing to internalize basic and applicable lessons of the Holocaust. Across Europe, the continent’s elite will pause for a moment of silence of the victims of the Nazis and then will return to their deafening silence about anti-Semitism in their own countries; where virtually every Jew is a potential target for a hate or Islamist terrorist, where synagogue needs armed guards to protect its Jewish parishioners, where anti-Semitic hate crimes go unpunished in democracies like Sweden; where not a single European leader has publicly demanded that part of the litmus test for Middle Eastern migrants’ acceptance in to European society is offloading their hatred for Jews that sadly is embedded in their native lands. Yes, Wednesday, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, we can see that there is something much worse than forgetfulness: Shedding crocodile tears for dead Jews while doing nothing to defend live Jews.

 

Contents

                                 

      

WHY EUROPE'S GREAT EXPERIMENT IS FAILING                                         

                            Ian Morris

Stratfor, Jan. 27, 2016 

 

The slow-motion crisis of the European Union finally seems to be coming to a head. "Europe could lose its historical footing and the project could die quickly," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned in a speech at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Things could fall apart within months," which, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble added, "would be a tragedy."

 

The catalyst for these fears is Britain's upcoming referendum on its EU membership, due by the end of 2017. I am writing this column having just left Congress Hall in Davos after British Prime Minister David Cameron's own speech on "Britain in the World." At least, that was what the speech was supposed to be about; in fact, it might have been better titled "Britain in the European Union (and What I Don't Like About It)." There are, to be sure, bits of Europe that Cameron does like, particularly its potential to create a single market for goods and services, but there is much more of which he disapproves. The core issue, he insisted, is that "if Europe is about ever-deepening political union, with ever-deepening political institutions, then it's not the organization for us."

 

Pressed on this point in the Q&A session, Cameron accepted that "you [can] never forget that this is a group of countries that used to fight each other and kill each other, and have actually now come together in a common endeavor"; but that coming together, he suggested, was the result less of the movement toward political union than of "some values that we in Britain are very proud of, in terms of committing to democracy and freedom and rights and all the rest of it."

 

Much ink has been spilled over whether David Cameron's speeches about the European Union represent his own views, those of his party, or a subtle attempt to manage the British nation's political mood. Yet whatever the prime minister's motives, seeing the 70-year process of European integration as part of a much longer history of state formation casts an interesting new light on the arguments Cameron offered at Davos.

 

When I was a teenager growing up in 1970s Britain, no topic seemed quite as dull as the European Community (as it was called until it rebranded itself as the European Union in 1993). Nothing could get me to turn the TV off quite as quickly as yet another announcement from the bureaucrats in Brussels about what I was allowed to eat or drink and what size container it could come in. But I — and the millions of others who shared my lack of interest in all things European — was very wrong to react this way.

 

For 5,000 years, since the first states were created in what is now southern Iraq, governments have been using violence to create political unity and then using politics (and, when necessary, more violence) to create economic and cultural unity everywhere that their power reached. From 3000 B.C. through the late 1940s, it is hard to find a single example of a state formed in any other way. Since the late 1940s, though, Western Europeans have been turning history's most successful formula on its head.

 

The European Union has arguably been the most extraordinary experiment in the history of political institutions, but the reason its accomplishments seemed so boring was that dullness was the bloc's whole point. In committee meeting after committee meeting, unsung bureaucratic heroes spun a web of rules and regulations that bound the Continent's formerly sovereign states into an economic and cultural unit and then began using economics and culture to create a political unit. "The final goal," Helmut Schlesinger, the head of the German Bundesbank, explained in 1994, "is a political one … to reach any type of political unification in Europe, a federation of states, an association of states or even a stronger form of union." In this agenda, "the economic union is [merely] an important vehicle to reach this target."

 

For the first time in history, huge numbers of people — 500 million so far — have come together to form a bigger society without anyone using force to make them to do so. The consequences have been extraordinary: Between 1914 and 1945, Europeans killed more than 60 million people in two world wars, but by 2015 the European Union had become the safest place on Earth. Its citizens murdered each other less often than any other people on earth, its governments had abolished the death penalty, and it had renounced war within its borders (and almost renounced it outside them, too).

 

In 2003, opinion pollsters found that only 12 percent of French and German people thought that war was ever justified, as opposed to 55 percent of Americans. "On major strategic and international questions today," U.S. strategist Robert Kagan concluded that same year, "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus." The contrast with the lands beyond the European Union's eastern border, where Russian leaders have not hesitated to assassinate their critics and use force against weaker neighbors, could hardly be starker. Small wonder that the Nobel Committee decided in 2012 to award its Peace Prize to the European Union as a whole…

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

 

 

Contents

 

THE END OF THE MULTICULTURALIST CONSENSUS IN EUROPE

Michael Gurfinkel

Daily Caller, Feb. 3, 2016

 

One wonders why America, a nation of immigrants, can be suddenly so receptive to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. The best answer, so far, is that immigration does not seem to work any more the way it did, at least for certain groups of immigrants.

 

A similar situation has arisen in Europe. In 2009, the American journalist Christopher Caldwell famously characterized the changes that a massive non-European, non-Judeo-Christian, immigration was forcing over Europe as a “revolution.” We may now be on the brink of a counter-revolution, and that can be as violent and far-reaching as revolution itself. Last year’s massacres in Paris (the attacks on satirical cartoonists and a kosher supermarket’s customers in January 2015, then the November 13 killing spree) were a tipping point : the French – and by extension, most Europeans — realized that unchecked immigration could lead to civil war.

 

Then there was the Christmas crisis in Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean. On December 24, a fire was activated at an immigrant-populated neighborhood in Ajaccio, the capital of Southern Corsica. As soon as the firemen arrived, they were attacked by local youths, Muslims of North African descent. Such ambushes have been part of French life for years. This time, however, the ethnic Corsicans retaliated; for four days, they rampaged through the Muslim neighborhoods, shouting Arabi Fora! (Get the Arabs out, in Corsican). One of Ajaccio’s five mosques was vandalized.

 

Then, there was the New Year’s crisis in Germany and other Northern European countries. On December 31, one to two thousand male Muslim immigrants and refugees swarmed the Banhofvorplatz in Cologne, a piazza located between the railway Central Station and the city’s iconic medieval cathedral. As it turned out during later in the evening and the night, they intended to “have fun”: to hunt, harass, or molest the “immodest” and presumably “easy” German women and girls who celebrated New Year’s Eve at the restaurants and bars nearby, or to steal their money. 766 complaints were lodged. Similar incidents took place in other German cities, like Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, as well as in Stockholm and Kalmar in Sweden, and Helsinki in Finland.

 

Here again, the local population reacted forcefully. Support for asylum seekers from the Middle East plummeted – 37 percent of Germans said that their view of them has “worsened,” and 62 percent said that there are “too many of them.” The Far Right demonstrated against immigration in many cities, but liberal-minded citizens were no less categorical. Le Monde, the French liberal newspaper, on January 20 quoted Cologne victims as saying, “Since 1945, we Germans have been scared to be charged with racism. Well, the blackmail is over by now.”

 

Indeed, postwar Europe, and Germany in particular, had been built upon the rejection of Hitler’s mad regime and everything it stood for. Nationalism, militarism, authoritarianism, and racism were out. Multinationalism, pacifism, hyperdemocracy, and multiculturalism were in. This simple, almost Manichean, logic is collapsing now – under the pressure of hard facts. Or rather the Europeans now understand that it was flawed in many ways from the very beginning, especially when it came to multiculturalism, the alleged antidote to racism.

 

What Europeans had in mind when they rejected racism in 1945 was essentially antisemitism. Today, the “correct” antiracist attitude would be to welcome non-European immigrants en masse and to allow them to keep their culture and their way of life, even it that would contradict basic European values. Hence last summer’s “migrants frenzy,” when the EU leadership in Brussels and major EU countries, including Angela Merkel’s Germany, decided to take in several millions of Middle East refugees overnight. European public opinion is now awaking to a very different view. And the political class realizes that it must adjust – or be swept away.

 

The Schengen regime – which allows free travel from one country to the other in most of the EU area – is being quietly suspended; every government in Europe is bringing back borders controls. The French socialist president François Hollande is now intent to strip disloyal immigrants and dual citizens of their French citizenship (a move that precipitated the resignation, on January 27, of his super-left-wing justice minister, Christiane Taubira). He is also hiring new personnel for the police and the army and even considering raising a citizens’ militia. Merkel now says that immigrants or refugees who do not abide by the law will be deported. Even Sweden, currently ruled by one of Europe’s most left-wing cabinets, has been tightening its very liberal laws on immigration and asylum. Most Europeans agree with such steps. And wait for even more drastic measures.    

                

Contents

 

NO MORE ILLUSIONS: COME HOME

                 Isi Leibler                                                                 

      Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2016

 

Objectively analyzing recent events can only lead to the dismal conclusion that the status of Diaspora Jewry, bad as it is, is only likely to deteriorate. The horrific escalation of the global anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli tsunami extends to areas that are not even inhabited by Jews. The United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights organizations, hijacked by Muslim and far-left elements, have been transformed into anti-Israeli hate-fest arenas, employing blood libels against the Jewish state as a surrogate for the Jewish people in a similar manner to anti-Semites throughout the ages. The global community demonizes the only democratic state in the Middle East while downplaying the sea of barbarism that pervades the region.

The epicenter of global anti-Semitism is the Arab world, where hatred of Jews has become endemic among both Sunni and Shi’ite religious extremists. The Palestinians are the most fiercely anti-Jewish Arab sector. After being brainwashed and incited by Yasser Arafat, Palestinian Authority President Abbas and the Hamas mullahs, their hatred of Jews has evolved into a murderous religious frenzy.

 

Muslim migrants who settled into enclaves in Europe have imported their hatred and formed unholy alliances with traditional anti-Semites and political leftists – including organizations purportedly promoting human rights – to foment an environment of Jew-hatred reminiscent of the 1930s, immediately prior to the rise of Nazism. The ongoing influx of millions of Muslim refugees will massively reinforce the existing Muslim anti-Semitic elements and permanently alter the demographics of Europe. Unlikely to be reversed, it will enable Islam to become an immensely powerful political force in many West European countries.

The implications for European Jews are horrendous, as the combination of the prevailing virulently anti-Israeli public opinion and extremist Islamic political agitation will, in all likelihood, lead to even more extreme policies toward Israel. Despite lip service to the contrary, anti-Semitism will continue to thrive.

 

Moreover, there is the constant danger of terrorist acts against Jews by jihadists who entered the country posing as refugees or by second-generation Muslims incubated by extremist European jihadi mullahs. Jews in Europe have been murdered and attacked in the streets and armed guards or military forces are required to protect schools and synagogues. University students face concerted anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli hostility, both casual and violent. Jews are warned not to draw attention to themselves and avoid being publicly identified as such.

 

To top it off, most European governments, even those like the French that have experienced jihadist terrorism, still direct their foreign policy to placate their Arab minorities by haranguing and applying their double standards against Israel. They refuse to recognize that the murder of Israeli civilians is a direct consequence of Palestinian incitement of religious frenzy and continuously condemn Israel for defending itself. They now seek to pressure Israel to create a Palestinian state despite the fact that such a criminal entity would represent an existential threat and merely prepare the ground for a takeover by the Islamic State group.

 

The absence of any sense of moral compass is highlighted by the despicable groveling of European countries toward the Iranian terrorist regime. The continent that was drenched with the blood of six million Jews during the Holocaust is currently hosting the leaders of a state that repeatedly calls for the elimination of Israel from the map and obscenely engages in Holocaust denial, even stooping to the grisly depths of state-sanctioned cartoon competitions lampooning the Final Solution…

 

But Jew-hatred is not restricted to Europe. Jews in South Africa face an equally grim situation and anti-Semitic forces in Latin America, encouraged by Muslim migrants and Iranian influence, have also increased dramatically over the past decade. The situation in the United States, Canada and even Australia, while not comparable to Europe, has also taken a massive downturn since US President Barack Obama assumed office. By its constant undermining and pressuring of the Israeli government, the Obama administration has effectively given a green light to the Europeans and others to intensify pressure against Israel.

 

Fortunately, two factors have inhibited Obama from going much further. The shameful silence of the Jewish leadership cannot detract from the fact that committed Jews at the grass-roots level are still an influential force and remain loyal to Israel. More importantly, American public opinion is overwhelmingly pro-Israel and the powerful and growing movement of evangelical Christians in America (and throughout the world) has now emerged as Israel’s most fervent supporter and ally.

 

But there are concerns. Bipartisanship, which prevailed over the past few decades, has frayed considerably with the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, accelerated under the Obama administration. More worrying is the hardening of liberal policy against Israel; the toleration and support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in academia; and above all, the intensity of frenzied anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity on campus. BDS in the United States (as in other parts of the world) is intimidating Jewish students, many of whom resist confrontations to avoid social stigma.

 

Since Justin Trudeau displaced Stephen Harper as prime minister, Canada has rapidly followed the Obama approach to Israel. Canadian Jews were appalled when Trudeau’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day message, like that of many European countries, omitted any mention of Jews.

 

The Diaspora Jewish situation can therefore be summed up as disastrous in Europe and South Africa and worrisome in North America and Australia. But thanks to the existence of Israel, today most Jews are able to determine their own fate. Now is the time for Diaspora Jews to honestly review their situation and plan for the future. Yes, Israel is currently undergoing a difficult period. Yes, there are threats. But we should bear in mind that the Israel Defense Forces has never been as powerful and is capable, if necessary, of defeating all our adversaries simultaneously.

 

Above all, here in Israel there is a Jewish army, a Jewish police force and a Jewish community – which is significantly different from a non-Jewish military presence grudgingly provided to protect Jews in the Diaspora. As a former Diaspora Jew, I urge you to review the situation objectively. If you are a European and want your children to be proud Jews, you should seriously weigh leaving now…                           

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

On Topic

 

The Broader Framework of Trudeau’s Holocaust Distortion: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Feb. 3, 2016—The absence of any mention of Jews in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day has drawn much criticism. The omission of Jews in any commemorative statement on the Holocaust and its victims, even if unintended, serves as a typical example of a much wider phenomenon — the de-Judaization of the Holocaust.

The Hidden Agenda Behind the UN Chief’s Israel-Bashing: Benny Avni, New York Post, Feb. 3, 2016—United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seems intent on using his last year in office to significantly increase UN pressure on Israel. Last week, he told the Security Council that “human nature” can explain the recent wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens. He raised the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Ban of giving a “tailwind” to terrorism.

Italy's Courage: Jack Rosen, Huffington Post, Feb. 3, 2016—At a time when European nations are turning their backs on Israel, Italy has held steadfast in support of both the Jewish State and its own Jewish citizens. Polls consistently show Italians with the lowest percentage of anti-Semitic views compared to other Europeans, even as anti-Semitism is making a resurgence throughout the continent.

What the Führer Means for Germans Today: The Economist, Dec. 19, 2015—In Germany, as in the rest of Europe, copyright expires seven decades after the author’s year of death. That applies even when the author is Adolf Hitler and the work is “Mein Kampf”. Since 1945, the state of Bavaria has owned the book’s German-language rights and has refused to allow its republication. German libraries stock old copies, and they can be bought and sold. But from January 1st no permission will be needed to reprint it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

HOLOCAUST: HORROR, HISTORY & REMEMBRANCE—“NEVER AGAIN” MEANS TODAY, AND TOMORROW

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was ushered in at 8 PM Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The central theme of this year’s (April 19) commemoration is “My Brother’s Keeper—Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust.”

At the ceremony, attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, six survivors lit torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust:

Batsheva Dagan, born in Lodz, pretended to be Aryan and worked as a housemaid for a Nazi family until she was turned in. She survived six prisons, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Death March. Dagan is a child psychologist who educates the young about the Holocaust.

Eliezer Lev-Zion helped rescue 36 children as a member of the Jewish resistance in France. After the war, he worked as a Jewish National Fund forester and managed immigrant absorption centers in Israel.

Anatoly Rubin, born in Minsk, evaded the Nazis but served six years in Soviet labor camps on trumped-up charges that included conspiring to kill Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was a Prisoner of Zion until he immigrated to Israel in 1969.

Chasia Vardi escaped into the forests as her companions were lined up at the edge of a pit and subsequently shot by Nazi soldiers. She survived with the help of a Pole later named a Righteous Gentile. Vardi went on to help found Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.

Artemis Miron of Greece survived Auschwitz and the Death March. She is a tour guide.

Yehuda Widawski, a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz, has been involved since 1978 in restoring the Lodz Jewish cemetery.

YOM HASHOAH, 70 YEARS LATER:
RESISTANCE, DIGNITY, TENACITY
Baruch Cohen

In memory of beloved Malca z’l

It is known that the great Jewish historian Simon Dubnow was taken to his death in Riga. At the time he turned to his fellow Jews and urged them: “Schreibt un Farschreibt”—Write and Record.

This injunction, to record the message for future generations, resonates with a strong, powerful call. Here are other examples of moral resistance and symbolic acts by our people during those years of brutality and terror:

Herman Kruk, an historian who lived in Vilna Ghetto, documented the life of the people until his deportation in 1944. He wrote within a city known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” because for years Vilna was a spiritual and cultural Jewish center.

Rabbi Leib Geliebter, realizing that his and others’ death was close, left written testimonies, letters and messages for future generations documenting life in Czestochovska and Poland.

Arnold Dagani, a Romanian-Jewish artist deported to Transnistria, was interned in Mihailova, a labor camp, in 1942, along with his wife. In 1943, he and his wife escaped the Bershad ghetto, Transnistria. Dagani recorded the harsh portrayal of beatings and executions in his art.

Pianist Adela Bay, another artist in the ghetto and slave labor camps, used her talent to sustain hope and meaning. Defying hunger, misery and forced labor, Adela and others used inner strength to maintain their humanity and identity. Under conditions of unimaginable hardship, Adela created musical compositions, and wrote poetry.

These are many other examples of Jewish resistance, dignity and tenacity, defying years of crimes, brutality and terrifying conditions.

Never again! The Jewish world, the entire world, must be reminded: Never Again!

Today, the indescribable murders in Toulouse, France, remind us, once again, that hatred for our people continues unabated. We must be on alert. The Iranian president is working to unleash a new, nuclear Holocaust. A Holocaust not only against Israel, but against the entire Middle East and beyond.

We Jews must remind the world: Never Again! “Massada will never fall again!” Am Israel Chai!

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

VISIONS OF HORROR—EISENHOWER, BRADLEY AND PATTON
AT OHRDRUF CONCENTRATION CAMP
Jeff Dunetz

The Lid, April 18, 2012

…Holocaust Remembrance Day…is observed on the 27th day of the month of Nisan, which marks the day when Allied troops liberated the first Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany, in 1945.…

On the morning of April 12th, 1945 General Eisenhower met Generals Bradley and Patton at Ohrdruf Concentration Camp [a sub-camp of Buchenwald—Ed.].… They wanted them to see for themselves what they were fighting against. On Yom HaShoah their words are much more moving then anything I could say:

“During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were ‘beyond the American mind to comprehend.’ He ordered that every citizen of the [nearby] town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on Ike wrote to [his wife] Mamie, ‘I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.’ He cabled General Marshall to suggest that he come to Germany and see these camps for himself. He encouraged Marshall to bring Congressmen and journalists with him.… General Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to comprehend the full scope of this horror. He also understood that any human deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied as being literally unbelievable. For these reasons he ordered that all the civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the camps and record their observations in print, pictures and film. As he explained to General Marshall, ‘I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.’”

His prediction proved correct. When some groups, even today, attempt to deny that the Holocaust ever happened they must confront the massive official record, including both written evidence and thousands of pictures, that Eisenhower ordered to be assembled when he saw what the Nazis had done.

General Patton wrote the following in his diary after he toured the Camp: “It was the most appalling sight imaginable. In a shed…was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench. When the shed was full—I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January, 1945.”

General Omar Bradley said of the atrocities at Ohrdruf: “The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade.… Emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.”

May the Memories of those who suffered through the Shoah always be for a blessing. And may we never forget what evil men can do when they are appeased by the rest of the world.

DON’T STRAND THE HOLOCAUST IN HISTORY
Jonathan S. Tobin

Contentions, April 18, 2012

Today, Jews in Israel and around the world will mark Yom HaShoah, the day of remembrance of the Holocaust. For most, it will be a moment of mourning as well as an occasion to ponder the lessons of history and to ask whether humanity has learned anything in the 67 years since the end of the Second World War. But for some on the left, the Holocaust has become a political liability that must be drained of all relevance to the contemporary world.

That’s the gist of yesterday’s editorial in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that demands that “Netanyahu stop hiding behind Holocaust warnings.” Haaretz, which articulates the opinion of the minority of Israelis who espouse the views of the hard left about the conflict with the Palestinians as well as the potential confrontation with Iran, has come to negatively view any attempt to ground the country’s security policies in the historical experience of the Jewish people. Thus, for them it’s not merely enough to chide the prime minister for what they wrongly believe is the promiscuous use of Holocaust analogies. Instead, their goal, as well as that of others who pay lip service to the idea of proper commemoration of the Six Million who died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators, is to strand the event in history. Doing so serves their immediate political purpose but, in fact, confounds the entire concept of remembrance of the Holocaust.…

Though the Holocaust has universal significance, its particular meaning relates to what happens when Jews are rendered powerless in the face of powerful foes bent on their destruction. While there are those who wish to discuss it only in the most general terms about bias, the Holocaust was a specific event that happened to a people who had been demonized for 2,000 years and lacked the ability to adequately defend themselves.

Netanyahu is not injecting a political agenda into commemoration of this tragedy. It is actually those who wish to ban mentions of Iran’s nuclear program, the genocidal intent of Hamas and other Islamist terrorists as well as the rising tide of European anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism from the discussion of the Shoah who are distorting the debate.

The notion that Israelis or American Jews are so distracted by fears rooted in the Holocaust that they have ignored other problems or exaggerated the present threats to Jewish existence is rooted in a foolish assumption that Islamist forces who speak of their desire to eradicate Israel don’t mean what they say. Netanyahu isn’t, as Haaretz charges, irresponsibly “feeding the fear” of a second Holocaust to the detriment of his country. He is merely acknowledging the reality that Jewish history has the ability to inform our understanding of today’s conflicts, and that we must act on the conclusions we must draw from the past.…

What we must understand is that any commemoration of the Holocaust that does not speak of the need to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons or of preserving Israel’s security against the threat of Palestinian terrorism is not worthy of the name. Far from there being too much talk about Iran when discussing the Holocaust, there is not enough. Though today’s situation is not akin to that of 1939 when there was no Jewish state ready to defend itself or an America that despite the ambivalence of its president is united in support of Israel, the peril is nonetheless real.

The mere recital of expressions of sorrow for the Six Million is not enough.… Those who weep today about the fate of the Six Million but say nothing about the possibility that the West will not act to stop Iran or seek to discourage Israel from defending its people have learned nothing.

CLAIMS CONFERENCE SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT
Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, April 4, 2012

The management of the Conference on Material Claims against Germany (Claims Conference) is ecstatic after having successfully forced two Israeli journalists to publicly apologize and praise them.

In 2008, Israeli TV aired a program titled Moral Reparations—The Struggle Continues, which bitterly condemned the management of the Claims Conference for refusing to prioritize financial disbursements to ameliorate the desperate plight of aging Holocaust survivors unable to live out their remaining years in dignity.…

The Claims Conference sued the show’s producers Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz for libel, alleging that the program was “anti-Semitic” and presented “a cruel and distorted calumny.” In order to intimidate future potential critics, they demanded the exorbitant amount of NIS 4 million in damages. Ultimately…a settlement was negotiated for a much smaller amount—NIS 150,000—which it was agreed would be donated to a Holocaust survivor fund chosen by the journalists. In addition, the Claims Conference obtained a written apology praising them for “acting tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish people” and its “unprecedented contribution to assisting Holocaust survivors.”

However, while acknowledging that “in the course of our struggle to correct what we saw as a historical and inhuman injustice…we failed to present the whole picture,” there was no acknowledgement by the journalists of any specific factual error in their film. Moreover, as part of the settlement, Vilnai and Meroz insisted on including a sentence stating that “the frustrating gap between the desire to help Holocaust survivors which is shared by the entire Jewish people, and the actual condition of Holocaust survivors requires criticism—on occasion harsh if deserved—directed at those who set policy in this area, as well as of those who implement it, since this is a sacred task.”

The Claims Conference management is now exploiting this settlement as a means of diverting attention from the legitimate criticisms and increasing anger directed against them over recent years.… In order to attempt to balance the equation, I would challenge Chairman Julius Berman and his Chief Executive Officer to respond to the following issues which continue to concern Jews throughout the world:

1. In view of the pitiful state of the diminishing number of ailing survivors, many of whom…cannot even afford to pay for basic food, fuel and medical expenses: a) Has there been an independent review of the existing allocations provided toward major charitable causes like hospitals and Israeli infrastructure which do not directly benefit survivors? Has consideration been given to prioritizing funds from these projects toward survivors? b)Will the Claims Conference consider temporarily freezing allocations to all non-survivor related funds in order to at least partially improve the [sometimes] catastrophic living conditions of these…people?

2. In February 2010, it was revealed that there had been a massive theft of funds specifically earmarked by the German government for Holocaust survivors. The Claims Conference initially specified that the amount stolen was $350,000. But later it was reported that the theft was in excess of the staggering sum of $50 million. Last November Der Spiegel stated the sum had reached $57 million!

It was subsequently disclosed that six corrupt Claims Conference officials, including senior employees working out of their own New York head office, had been looting these funds for over 15 years—under the very noses of the highly paid senior executives. Repeated warnings that a single part-time internal comptroller was absurdly insufficient for an organization handling billions of dollars were ignored until it was too late.…

It is inconceivable that any normal private or public institution would refuse to accept accountability and fail to demand resignations or at least censure of management after such a massive fraud has been perpetrated on their watch. The public is entitled to demand that the management reveal the precise quantity of funds stolen and advise as to whether there is any intention of introducing a genuinely independent forensic audit to review the entire organization.…

3. The Board of Deputies of British Jews commissioned an independent review (the Gruder Report) following complaints from Holocaust victims that the Claims Conference lacked “transparency and accountability” and had behaved unethically in the sale of Jewish German properties. The report was highly critical of the Claims Conference’s moral conduct, suggesting that reprehensible efforts had been implemented to prevent heirs from recovering property stolen from their families. The matter was raised at the last annual board meeting—and dismissed by the chairman, who treated the request to review the situation with utter contempt. Is this the last word on this matter?

4. Is it acceptable for the largest charitable institution in the Jewish world, which has been responsible for the disbursement of over $80 billion of restitution funds, to continue to be headed by the same elected officers for over a decade, notwithstanding complaints that the chairman has inordinate powers and runs the organization like a personal fiefdom?

5. The board, which meets annually and whose directors have great difficulty comprehending the complexity of the allocation of funds, has rarely, if ever, rejected a recommendation from the allocations committee and effectively serves as a rubber stamp for the management.

This situation is exacerbated by potential conflicts of interest of directors whose organizations receive funding from the Claims Conference. Is it not now imperative to set up an independent committee to review the entire procedure of allocations in order to ascertain what can be done to ameliorate the tragic plight of the survivors—the greatest scandal of our time in the Jewish world?… What is needed is not self-aggrandizement, but genuine soul searching and, even at this late hour, fulfilling the obligation to consider drastic initiatives to overcome the scandalous suffering of elderly Holocaust survivors living in penury.

FROM PROSOR AT THE UN TO BAIRD IN JERUSALEM, HERZL’S LEGACY ENDURES, & POLLARD IS NOT FORGOTTEN

WARM SUPPORT FROM THE CHILLY NORTH
Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, February 3, 2012

The Hill Times, a Canadian weekly newspaper that covers that country’s politics, recently came out with its annual edition of the country’s 100 most influential people in government and politics. John Baird, Canada’s Conservative 42-year-old foreign minister, was listed as number three.

“If you weren’t in politics, what would you want to be doing,” Baird was asked in the magazine interview. “Likely working on a kibbutz in Israel,” was his reply. Anyone who heard Baird either in private conversation or public appearances this week—he was in Israel for diplomatic meetings and to take part in the Herzliya Conference—would not be surprised by his answer. The man, appointed Canada’s foreign minister in May 2011, likes Israel—a lot.

And Baird is not the only one. Since Stephen Harper became the country’s prime minister in 2006, Canada went from being a middle-of-the-road friend of Israel…to setting the gold standard for support of the Jewish state. There is not a government on the planet today more supportive of Israel than Harper’s Canada. And the love runs both ways. According to…Baird…“The amount of warmth and love for Canada here in Israel is just unbelievable.…”

What follows are excerpts of the [Jerusalem Post’s] interview with Baird.

You said in your speech this week at the Herzliya Conference that Israel has no better friend in the world than Canada. Where is that coming from?… Because it hasn’t always been this way.

First and foremost it is some of the prime minister’s leadership. There is no moral ambiguity; he’s not one who believes in moral relativism. The prime minister’s leadership is very strong on this. There are a number of ministers—I’m one—who feel very passionately about Israel.

I can recall being here once [a number of years ago] and talking to the Canadian ambassador and asking why Canada is so against Israel. “What do you mean,” he said. I said, “all these resolutions at the UN.” When he said they don’t mean anything, my response was, “Well if they don’t mean anything why do we vote for them?” And his reply was, “Oh that just happens every year.…”

But Mr. Harper has said this, and I have said it many times too, that too often in the past Canada’s [foreign policy] is just “go along to get along.” And it is easier to do that. If someone asked in the past about Canada’s foreign policy, the working assumption would be that it is whatever…the international consensus is among our allies. But now we base it on values and principles.

Is this coming from a religious place for the prime minister? Is this religious-based support?

No, I don’t think so. It is very similar to me. After the Holocaust it is tremendously important for there to be a Jewish homeland, a Jewish state that can be a place of refuge. In this region today there is only one liberal democracy, only one place that values and respects democracy, human rights and the rule of law. And that is our ally.

My grandfather went to war in 1942—the big struggle of his generation was fascism and then communism. The great struggle of my generation, of our generation, is terrorism. Too often Israel is on the front line of that struggle, and it is tremendously important that we take a principled stand and support our friend and ally.

How well does that resonate in Canada?

We certainly don’t do it for electoral advantage. It is not an electoral winner.… There are 2,800 Jews in my constituency in Ottawa. I have 11,500 Muslims and Arabs. The Arab and Muslim population is much larger. So I don’t think we do it for electoral reasons. We’ve gotten great support from the Jewish community in Canada, which we value, but it is not done with an electoral calculation in mind.

Has it, or could it, hurt you politically?

When you stand up for your values and you do something that is basically right, you are never hurt.

How about around the world? Is Canada’s stature diminished…because of your support for Israel?

If, as the minister of foreign affairs, my job was to wake up in the morning and ask how to be popular, this probably wouldn’t be the way to do it. But at the same time it is not an albatross by any stretch.… I was in the [Persian] Gulf for five days in late November and one of the Canadian reporters said, “Baird is going to the Gulf and this [Canada’s support for Israel] will be the elephant in the room for the entire five days.” No one brought it up. No one. People may disagree with our position, but they respect that we have differences.…

How about with Europe?

Certainly Prime Minister Harper fought very hard for a balanced statement on the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict at the G-8 [last may in France, when Canada was instrumental in softening a statement on the Middle East and keeping out any mention of the pre-1967 lines as a precondition for negotiations]. Of course it would just be easier if Canada would just shut up, sit in the corner and not cause any problems.…

But isn’t it harming your stature in the world? Didn’t you lose a 2010 vote to join the Security Council because of it?

There is no doubt that it was unhelpful in the Security Council. I don’t think you could say there was one particular reason [why Canada lost to Portugal for a temporary seat on the Security Council]. But that was certainly one of the reasons.…

You said that Canada is Israel’s greatest friend in the world. Where is the US in this?

I think the US is a good friend, too. I like to think we are better.… A stronger friend.

How does that manifest itself?

Take the G-8 communiqué. It made reference to [US] President [Barack] Obama’s speech.… But if you want to talk about 1967 borders with land swaps, let’s talk about Israel as a Jewish state. If you want to talk about the [‘67 borders] , we can talk about a future Palestinian state being demilitarized.… If you want to be specific, we would want some of those more favorable comments toward Israel included in the communiqué.…

In your speech at Herzliya you quoted Winston Churchill about the dangers of appeasing fascism. Is the west today appeasing terrorism?

I think terrorism is a scourge and it requires leadership to confront it. There is no room for moral ambiguity. It is the great struggle of our generation.

I was down in Sderot earlier today. Terror is not exclusively the death count, or those who are injured. What does a mother say to a child who can’t go to sleep at night because he is so scared? There are teachers teaching games to their students on what to do when they have 15 seconds [to get to a bomb shelter]. There is culture of fear that results from terrorism and the threat of terrorism. It is hard to quantify it. We can say “x number of people were killed in this or that incident” but there is a culture of fear that has gripped far too many people around the world.

Has the West adequately stepped up to the plate to deal with it?

I think Canada has. We have been very clear. We listed Hamas as a terror entity and won’t have any contact with them. I think that is the right thing to do.…

What would Canada’s policy be if [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] formed a government with Hamas?

We don’t support terrorism. That is our policy and it is crystal clear.… We just will not work with terrorists.…

Turning to Iran, [what] do we know about what is going on there?

What we know is that this is a regime that is enriching uranium and that has a clear nuclear arms program underway. That is undisputable. We know that Iran’s support of international terrorist organizations in the region—whether it is Hamas, Hezbollah or Palestinian Jihad—is an absolute disgrace and causing more problems. Iran supports a lot of evil and violence.…

We don’t just fear that Iran would like to acquire nuclear weapons and we don’t just fear that this would lead to an arms race by others trying to counterbalance them. I fear that they would use them.… I used to look at Iran through the prism of Israel. But the fear of much of the Arab world on Iran is palpable. It is a threat to Canada. It is a threat to entire international peace and security.…

[What are your views on anti-semitism?]

I think we have seen a new anti-Semitism emerge around the world—delegitimizing the state of Israel. We see it popping up in Canada: Israeli Apartheid Week on universities. It is all to delegitimize Israel.… The most horrifying thing at [the] Yad Vashem [Holocaust memorial] in many respects is not the end of your tour, but the beginning.…

Yesterday at Yad Vashem the rabbi said it was the 79th anniversary of Adolf Hitler becoming chancellor. He wrote Mein Kampf 12 years before that. None of this was a surprise or a secret. So if you have the president of Iran making these outrageous statements and then trying to acquire nuclear weapons—I mean, what more do you need to inspire fear of the potential consequences? It would be easier to just shut up and hope for the best, but that’s not the best way to conduct foreign policy.…

THE DREYFUS REVIVAL
David Breakstone

Jerusalem Magazine, January 20, 2012

When Theodor Herzl began covering the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in 1893 as Paris correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse, he suspected that the French army officer charged with treason was guilty of the crime for which he’d been arrested. A devotee of the promises of Enlightenment and Emancipation, it was difficult for him to accept that the French republic—born of the belief in liberté, égalité and fraternité—was capable of fabricating the web of lies that would result in the public humiliation and imprisonment of a loyal French officer. Ultimately, however, the affair would have a dramatic effect in propelling him toward the conclusion that the Jews could never be at home anywhere in the world until they had a home in a land of their own.

Herzl wasn’t so much shaken by his discovery that the authorities had conspired to frame an innocent Jew, but rather by the response of the masses to Dreyfus’s conviction, culminating in the cry of the mob that continues to reverberate to this very day. “Death to Dreyfus” he might have been able to swallow, but “death to the Jews” was a different matter altogether, giving expression, in Herzl’s words, to “the wish of the overwhelming majority in France to damn a Jew, and in this one Jew, all Jews.”

Enter Rotem Singer. Hustled into a Punta Arenas courtroom last month on charges of igniting the fire that would consume 28,300 hectares (69,900 acres) of pristine Chilean forestland, the Israeli backpacker was accosted by spectators who decried him as a “stinking Jew,” unleashing a pandemic of anti-Semitism in this otherwise civilized society. Local newspapers, blogs and social networks are abuzz with the most outrageous conspiracy theories accusing Jews in general and Israelis in particular of a plot to establish a second Jewish state in southern Chile.…

Making reference to the possibility Herzl raised in his Zionist manifesto, The Jewish State, that the Jewish people might consider establishing their homeland in Argentina, an alarming and baffling number of personalities are now reviving talk of the century-old Andinia Plan, the South American equivalent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Though no such program ever existed (Herzl himself nixed the idea of Argentina two months after publishing his book), those who swear by it maintain that there is an international Jewish conspiracy to colonize southern Argentina and Chile, in the precise area of Patagonia where the conflagration was burning out of control.

Fanning these flames of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, [well-known Chilean journalist] Andres Figueroa Cornejo published a diatribe against Israel in El Ciudadano that is shocking to read, even in an age when we have become accustomed to the virulent lies and vituperative distortions that characterize the campaign to delegitimize the very idea of a Jewish state. In it he accuses Israel of crimes against the Palestinian people that, he notes, are ironically similar to those perpetrated against the Jews by Nazi Germany. What else is new? In this instance, the insinuations included in his tirade that Singer, “a militaristic Israeli” trained in the ways of occupation and domination by one of the strongest armies on the planet, was sent by the imperialist Israeli government to further its strategic geo-military objective of taking over the territory that was ravaged.

I wish we could simply dismiss this absolute hogwash as the inane gibberish of a mentally unbalanced fanatic. Unfortunately, that would be dangerous to do. Figueroa Cornejo’s rantings are based in part on a statement attributed to a member of the Chilean senate and chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee, Eugenio Tuma of the Party for Democracy. Tuma said that “it is not normal that the Israeli government send a military team to tour Patagonia. The free transit of tourists is completely different from having a state financing and organizing its former soldiers,” who, he suggested, are being sent to the area in order to help them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder developed as a consequence of their role in oppressing the Palestinian people. These remarks were echoed by another Chilean senator, Fuad Chachin, vice president of the Christian Democratic Party, who raised questions as to whether Rotem Singer was really a tourist at all, or perhaps, as he suggested, someone sent by Israel for other reasons “after killing Palestinian children.”

Laudably, the heads of the Christian Democratic Party and the Party for Democracy have condemned these statements and distanced themselves from the anti-Semitism they reflect.… It now remains to be seen how the rest of Chilean society will react to such outrageous outbursts of anti-Semitism and whether this response will echo or rebuff Herzl’s observation of more than a century ago. “We have honestly tried everywhere to merge ourselves into the social life of surrounding communities,” he wrote. “We are not permitted to do so.… In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down as strangers.…”

Hopefully [the local Zionist Federation’s] efforts and those of others in this well-organized Jewish community will mean that the negative impact of the last few weeks will be minimal. But while Singer is certainly no Dreyfus, this disagreeable episode is nevertheless an unpleasant reminder that anti-Semitism did not disappear with the advent of Zionism, as Herzl predicted it would, and that the uncomfortable question as to just how much the Jewish people can ever really be at home outside of a Jewish state remains unanswered.

(David Breakstone is deputy chairman of the World Zionist Organization
and a member of The Jewish Agency Executive.)

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH FOR POLLARD!
Dennis Deconcini

Jerusalem Post, January 24, 2012

It’s been more than 15 years since I first publicly advocated for Jonathan Pollard to be released from prison. I did so less than two years after I had completed my term as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In reiterating that plea today, I find that a number of other high-ranking government officials have come to share my view. The time is long overdue.

In the past 18 months I have been publicly joined in that view by many noteworthy veterans of government service—including the former head of the CIA James Woolsey, the former deputy attorney-general Philip Heymann, and the former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum—all of whom have reviewed the classified information of the Pollard case.

A good deal of momentum in the push for clemency has come from people who dealt with the case from the highest positions of government, from the time Pollard was arrested on November 21, 1985. Then-secretary of state George Shultz has now publicly called for his release. The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, Sen. David Durenberger, recently sent a letter to the president that I co-signed with 16 other former senators advocating Pollard’s immediate release. The fact is that the classified information I reviewed nine years after Pollard’s arrest does not justify his continued confinement.

Federal prosecutors in the Pollard case sent the court a victim-impact statement which accurately reflected the extent of his crime. In summary, the statement said that Pollard gave Israel US information on the weaponry of the Arab countries and this information deprived the US of its bargaining leverage with Israel on intelligence sharing and assisted Israel in its balance of power with the Arab countries. The statement concluded that “In short, Mr. Pollard’s activities have adversely affected US relations with both its Middle East Arab allies and the government of Israel.” This statement is also consistent with the fact that Pollard was not charged with intending to harm the US.

I am encouraged by the recent meeting between Vice President Biden and Jewish leaders to discuss Pollard’s plight. This was the highest-level meeting ever held with an administration official concerning Pollard. It is obvious that across the Jewish community there is widespread support for Pollard’s release and this view is shared by major American figures from both sides of the political aisle.…

With a presidential election coming up in less than a year it is interesting to note that the Republican candidate for president three years ago and one of his main Republican rivals for the nomination—Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mike Huckabee—have both publicly called for clemency. But I do not believe this is, or should be, a political decision. Simply put, Pollard broke the law—no matter how you slice it or dice it, he was convicted. Period. However, 27 years is far more than a sufficient sentence for the offense he committed. The president should grant him clemency.

(Dennis Deconcini is a former US senator from Arizona.)

AM YISRAEL CHAI!
Ron Prosor

Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2012

[The following speech, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, was delivered
Friday, January 27, by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor.—
Ed.]

I, Ron Prosor, stand before you today as the child of Uri Prosor, who fled Nazi Germany when a Jewish state was still a dream—and the father of Lior, Tomer and Oren Prosor, for whom that dream is a vivid reality.

I see many from my father’s generation here today, some who survived death camps and death marches; who saw the unimaginable and still had the hope to imagine a brighter future; who endured the unspeakable and still had the courage to speak out for others. I am honored—truly honored—to be in your presence.

I see some from my children’s generation here. Today is about you. It is to you, and your children, that we extend a sacred promise during this week of [Holocaust] commemoration at the United Nations.

Today I hear the voice of a 12-year-old girl named Donia Rosen, who hid in the forests of Poland after the Nazis murdered her entire family. She wrote in her diary on June 23, 1943: “I ask you not to forget the dead. Establish a memorial to us…a statue not of marble and not of stone, but of good deeds.”

Donia’s words echo in these halls of the United Nations, which were built in the wake of the Holocaust. On this day of commemoration, I say to my UN colleagues and to all the distinguished people gathered here: the commitment of “Never Again” must be universal. It extends to each and every one of you. And ladies and gentleman, we have much work to do.

In our world today, state-sponsored anti-Semitism persists, hate fills children’s textbooks, and spiritual and religious leaders incite violence and racism. We live in a world that saw the atrocities of Auschwitz and Birkenau, only to have then witnessed the killing fields of Cambodia, the genocide in Rwanda and the ongoing massacres in Darfur. In this hall of the General Assembly—at the very podium where I stand today—Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands every year and shamelessly denies the Holocaust, while his government threatens to carry out another one.

Our duty is clear. It is not enough to be good. We must know what to do when we face evil.…

This week we have heard many powerful stories of children who lived during the Holocaust. One of those children is Petr Ginz—a brilliant writer and an artist. He yearned to explore the universe and discover its truths, drawing a landscape of the moon well before man had laid eyes on it. I have a copy of the picture that he drew in Terezín with me today. Let me hold it up for all of you to see.

Today I ask you to think of all the works of art that were never made, all the ideas that were never known, and all the cures that were never found. The scale of destruction is incomprehensible. Look at one child, and multiply by a million and a half. Look at a member of your own family and multiply by six million. Just try to imagine!

Yet, there is something even greater than that unbearable loss: the Jewish people’s determination to endure and rebuild. We are a nation of survivors. The State of Israel is a living, breathing symbol of survival.

And although Petr’s life was cut short in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, his dreams have never died. A copy of his picture traveled with the first Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, on his journey into space on the Colombia shuttle—a mission that ended in tragedy.

From the depths of Auschwitz, to the outer reaches of space, to the halls of the United Nations, the journey of Petr’s drawing embodies the resilience of our people. It lives on. And on this day of commemoration, as a representative of the Jewish state among the nations of the world, I am so proud to say: Am Yisrael Chai! The People of Israel will live on.

EACH MAN HAS A NAME— ISRAEL REMEMBERS ITS FALLEN HEROES

 

 

ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
May 10, 2011

 

Over 10,000 supporters of Israel will gather on May 10, 2011 to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. The Israel Day celebration will begin at 11:00 am at Phillips Square.

This multi-cultural event is the largest of its kind in Canada and draws Montrealers–Jews and non-Jews alike—together in support of Israel.

 

At 11:45 am the gathering will proceed with a march from Phillips Square along Rene Levesque to Place du Canada. Adam Stotland and his band as well as Israel's own Mey Orav Tel Aviv group, will provide the music for song and dance. Greetings to the assembly on behalf of Israel and Canada will be delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 

For more information, visit the event’s official website, http://www.israeldaycelebration.com.

 

 

 

EACH MAN HAS A NAME

 

Each man has a name, given him by
G-d, and given him by his father and
mother. Each man has a name given
him by his stature and his way of
smiling, and given him by his clothes.
Each man has a name given him by the
mountains and given him by his walls.
Each man has a name given him by the
planets and given him by his neighbours.
Each man has a name given him
by his sins and given him by his
longing. Each man has a name given
him by his enemies and given him by
his love. Each man has a name given
him by his feast days and given him by
his craft. Each man has a name given
him by the seasons of the year and
given him by his blindness. Each man
has a name given him by the sea and
given him by his death.
Zelda Mishkovsky, The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse, The Viking Press and Penguin Books, 1981, Pg. 558.

 

THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, 1948
Baruch Cohen

 

In loving memory of Malca z’l

In honor of IDF warriors in all Maarahot Israel

 

As Israel celebrates its 63rd Independence Day, our thoughts are directed towards the unforgotten heroes of Mahal—Mitnadve Chutz La’aretz—the military organization of the foreign volunteers who fought in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Today, and always, we remember all the volunteers, Jews and non-Jews, from all parts of the world, who flocked to the gates of the as yet unborn State of Israel, to offer their services as part of the Israel Defense Forces.

The story is dramatic, and incredible. Five thousand volunteers were organized after the United Nations General Assembly, in November 1947, recommended the partition of Palestine. Jewish ex-servicemen in so far off places as here in Canada heeded the call to fight for the newly-created State of Israel. In the United States and Scandinavia, Jews contacted and recruited Shlichim, foreign representatives of the Haganah, who worked under cover, to return to Israel to defend the infant Jewish State. In South Africa, fighters were organized after the arrival of a Jewish Agency representative, who had previously contacted the South African Jewish Servicemen Association.

By early 1948, volunteer organizations existed in most Jewish communities in the Western world. The majority of volunteers were channelled through training camps in France and Italy. Most of them were WWII veterans.

Approximately 150 Mahal volunteers were killed in action during Israel’s War of Independence, the majority of whom were from the United States and Canada. Of the estimated five thousand volunteers, close to three hundred settled in Israel after the war.

On this solemn day, I call upon everyone to remember the Mahal volunteers’ unique contribution to our beloved and incredible State of Israel; the eternal home of all Jews all over the world.

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

 

NATION MOURNS 22,867 FALLEN SOLDIERS AS SIREN SOUNDS
Yaakov Katz & Jpost.com
Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2011

 

The nation bowed its head Sunday evening for Remembrance Day, mourning the 22,867 servicemen and—women who fell defending the land of Israel since 1860—the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City walls to settle other parts of the country.

In the past year, 183 soldiers and security personnel died while serving the state. The figure includes the Prisons Service victims of the Carmel fire.

Remembrance Day officially began at 8 p.m. Sunday when a one-minute siren sounded across the country. President Shimon Peres opened the state ceremony at the Western Wall, which was attended by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and representatives of bereaved families.

“We didn’t seek war. It was imposed upon us. But when we were attacked, we didn’t have the possibility to lose, even one war. And when we won, we returned to seek peace,” Peres said at the ceremony.…

On Monday, when a two-minute siren sounds at 11 a.m. nationwide, the day’s main memorial ceremony will begin at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery. A special ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence will take place at the Mahal memorial near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction.

Ceremonies will be held at an additional 43 cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry said it expects over 1.5 million people to visit soldiers’ graves throughout the day.

In honor of Remembrance Day, the Defense Ministry has placed a miniature flag and black ribbon on the graves of all fallen soldiers. On Wednesday, Gantz laid a flag on the grave of the latest soldier to have died during his service—Cpl. Niot Watzman from the Golani Brigade, who was killed during a diving accident on vacation in Eilat in April.

“Israel’s renewal was achieved through a rare combination of vision and action, but in order for it to materialize, generations of soldiers and commanders needed to fight and fall,” Gantz said.…

 

I MISS YOU, ALWAYS
Karnit Goldwasser
Ynet News, May 9, 2011

 

It’s sad. Sad and painful.

I see how it starts, a week before Memorial Day, after Holocaust Remembrance Day ends. I see how the air changes and the colors turn grim; I see the country withdrawing into its pain; into its bloody history.

As for myself, I have been sad since the moment we bid farewell to each other. And that happened almost five years ago, in July 2006.

His story is yet another standard story about an almost 31-year-old guy who left his family, his wife, his studies and his job and went to safeguard the homeland. People like him are referred to as “salt of the earth.…”

Udi managed to return to his homeland after two difficult years. He was returned in order to be buried in the place where he was born, grew up and got married. He was my man. He still is. Upon his burial, the counting of a new time started. A different life got underway.

They say time heals the wounds and that it’s the best cure for pain. For me, it’s different. Time taught me how to live with the pain and sorrow; how to laugh, be happy, get excited and revitalize along with it. How not to fear it. Time allows me to learn how to live with the wounds created upon his departure. Yet, for me they will never heal. A scar that will never heal shall remain in my heart.…

Had it been possible to go back in time, I could have said goodbye properly or maybe not say goodbye at all.

On Memorial Day, the whole country stops and remembers its sons and daughters; the ones whom we, the bereaved families, remember every day, every hour. We miss them always, just like we do every day.

When Independence Day starts, and the flags are again raised to full staff, happiness returns to the streets, and to me as well. Only I’m left with a crack.

(Karnit Goldwasser is the former wife of fallen IDF reservist Ehud Goldwasser, whose remains were returned to Israel two years after being abducted in a cross-border raid by Hezbollah terrorists.)

 

LETTER FROM A FRIEND TO A FALLEN HERO
Hillel Fendel
Arutz Sheva, May 9, 2011

 

Noam Apter, 23, a student in Yeshivat Otniel on leave from the army, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists on a winter Sabbath night in late 2002, together with three of his friends. The four were caught in the kitchen of the yeshiva’s dining room on kitchen duty, and Noam heroically locked the dining room door in order to save his dozens of friends eating the Sabbath meal. The terrorists were unable to open the door separating them from the other students, though they kicked, banged, and shot at it. “I do not know how to explain that a person closes himself up inside [to save his friends], knowing that he will die,” said one of the yeshiva staff afterwards.

In honor of Memorial Day, his friend Avishai Mizrachi wrote the following letter.…

Noam:

You would certainly be amused if you knew that I was writing about you. Your smile still appears to me from every direction; you had good-natured eyes, with a spark of mischievousness playing about them. If those accursed terrorists only knew how much innocence and softness they were taking.… If they would have received a soul for just a moment, they would likely have turned away.…

What did you think to yourself there? Tell me, what were you thinking when you locked the doors of the kitchen and closed yourself and your life up and exposed your body to the terrorist fire, and saved tens, tens of your friends? From where did you get the strength, the daring?

For we were together in the same room in Kfar HaRoeh [yeshiva high school], six of us, on three bunk-beds in a crowded room. We laughed so much together, and hiked, and talked about profound things deep into the night. You would always return from Shabbat in your parents’ home with new insights, with interesting thoughts. How did you suddenly turn into a hero? Into a photo in the newspaper? Into words engraved on a tombstone?

And that dark, stark night, the end of the holy Sabbath. Whispers of rumors were heard that there had been an attack in Otniel. I prayed so much that you were not there—but my prayers went unanswered. I traveled from Kiryat Shmonah [in the north] down to the cemetery in Shilo for your funeral, a long night with tears flooding my eyes. To see your friends in the army, with red berets, paratroopers’ wings, carrying your coffin in silence.… And your father humming next to you a last Sabbath song with tearing eyes, “He who keeps the Sabbath, the son and the daughter, will be pleasing to G-d like a [Holy Temple] skillet offering.…”

Noam, the world did not stop, even after your death. Its heart is still beating wildly, and did not stop even upon hearing your last dying gasps. People here, in this world, love life and repress the finality that awaits us, the death that is waiting to come upon us. And you, you are most certainly enjoying yourself there among the angels and seraphim in that other world, the eternal world, the one that is hidden from the eyes of all thinkers.

Yours,

Avishai

 

WHO CAN COUNT THE DUST OF JACOB
Daniel Greenfield
Canada Free Press, May 9, 2011

 

“Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel.” Numbers 23:10.

The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills, the traffic stops, the people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country. Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking arms and the country’s own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror—Israel’s Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war. Where remembrance means adding the toll of one year’s dead and wounded to the scales of history. A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob. And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village beneath the hills. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.…

But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it’s the dust that supports our feet. We stand upon the shoulders of giants. We walk in the dust of our ancestors.…

The [Jewish] calendar itself is a memorial. After Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, Lag BaOmer, the commemoration of the original Yom Yerushalayim, the liberation of Jerusalem from the Romans, still covertly remembered in bonfires and bows shot into the air. Remembering a victory turned into a defeat and encoded in a story about a plague caused by a lack of brotherhood. That lack was very real and the plague took the form of swords and spears. All in a season that begins with Passover, the exodus that set over a million people off on a forty year old journey to return to the homeland of their forefathers.

The battles today are new, but they are also very old. The weapons are new, but the struggle is the same. Who will remain and who will be swept away. Some 3,000 years ago, Judge Jephthah and the King of Ammon were exchanging messages not too different from those being passed around as diplomatic communiques today. The King of Ammon demanding land for peace and the Judge laying out the Israeli case for the land in a message that the enemy would hardly trouble to read before going to war.

Take a stray path in these hills and you may find a grinning terrorist with a knife, or the young David pitting his slingshot against a lion or bear. This way the Maccabees rush ahead at the armies of a slave empire, and this way a helicopter passes low overhead on the way to Gaza. Like Dali’s melting clocks, time is a fluid thing here. And what you remember, you shall find.

The soldier is not so sacred as he once was. The journalist and the judge have taken his place. The actors sneer from their theaters. The politicians gobble their free food and babble of peace. Flowers in gun barrels and doves everywhere. But the soldier still stands where he must. The borders have shrunk. The old victories have been exchanged for diplomatic defeats. From the old strongholds come missiles and rockets. And children hide in bomb shelters waiting for the worst to pass. This is the doing of the journalist and the judge, the politician and the actor, the lions of literature who send autographed copies of their books to imprisoned terrorists and the grandchildren of great men who hire themselves on in service to the enemy.…

In a land built on memory, it is possible not to remember, but it is impossible to entirely forget. Memory becomes a desperate burden that some are only too happy to cast off.…

Yet though men may forget, the dust remembers. And the men return to it. For some four thousand years they have done it. And they shall do it yet again. For He who has made men of the dust and made worlds of the dust of stars does not forget. As the stars turn in whirling galaxies and the dust flies across the land, so the people return to the land. And though they forget, they remember again. For the dust is the memory of ages and the children shall always return to the dust of their ancestors.

In the cities, towns and villages—the dead are remembered. Those who died with weapons in their hands and those who just died. Men, women and children. Drops of blood cast to the dust, reborn as flowers on lapels. Reborn as memory.

All go to one place, said King Solomon, all that lives is of the dust, and all returns to the dust. There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works. And so memorial day precedes the day of independence. That we rejoice in that which those who sleep in the dust have died to protect. The skyscrapers and the orchards, the sheep ranches and the highways, the schools and the synagogues. For they who drained the swamps and built the roads, who held guard over the air and built the cities, may not have lived to see their works. But we rejoice in their works for them. And a new generation rises to watch over their dust and tend the works that they have built. Until the day when He that counts the dust of Jacob shall count them all, and the land shall stir, and in the words of Daniel, they that sleep in dust shall arise, and then rejoice with us.