Tag: Jewish contribution to humanity

CIJR HONOURS THE UNIQUE, VITAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF JUDAISM, ISRAEL, & THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO HUMANTY

The 400-Year-Old Foundation of the Unique US-Israel Ties: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017— 1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society. 

When Gatekeepers of Justice Leverage the Law to Abet Injustice: Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017— In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity.

Zion’s Mother Tongue: Visions of a Promised Land: Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017— The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Montreal Poet Seymour Mayne Remembers his Friend Leonard Cohen: Seymour Mayne, Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017— Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960…

               

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017

 

     

 

THE 400-YEAR-OLD FOUNDATION OF THE UNIQUE US-ISRAEL TIES

                                                            Yoram Ettinger

                                                     Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017

 

1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society.  Civil liberties are Bible-driven, reflecting more responsibility than rights. 2. For instance, on December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts chose to recite Genesis 1:1-10, the Creation, in their a special broadcast to earth upon entering the lunar orbit. 3. President Lincoln referred to Exodus, Chapter 20, the Ten Commandments, as the summation of his theology. 4.  President Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount….”

 

5. On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 6-foot-high Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. According to Chief Justice Rehnquist: “Acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America…. Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze [of the US Supreme Court….] Representations of the Ten Commandments adorn the metal gates lining the north and south sides of the Courtroom as well as the doors leading into the Courtroom.  Moses also sits on the exterior east façade of the [US Supreme Court] holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments…. Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.  A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives.  Inside the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet.  In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. So too a 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse, depicting, among other things, the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is also prominently featured in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver as well as a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

 

6. A February 25-27, 2005 Gallup Poll shows that 76% of Americans were in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments monument on the ground of the Texas State Capitol.

 

7. On March 29, 2006, the California State Senate approved bill SCR 108 stating: “This measure would recognize and acknowledge that the Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments, ranks among the influential historical documents that have contributed significantly to the development of the secular governmental and legal principles and institutions of the USA and the State of California…. The integral secular role played by the Decalogue in the legal history of Western civilization, from the time of England’s King Alfred the Great, through the era of William Blackstone and the American Framers…. In the history of American institutions, no other book – except the Bible – has played so great a role…. The American Revolution preserved the Biblical seven-day week, dictated by the Ten Commandments, with the seventh day – a day of rest…. Members of the US Supreme Court have noted the foundational role played by the Ten Commandments in the development of our legal system….

 

8. Eight sculptures of Moses are featured in the US Supreme Court and a bust of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Moses and/or the Ten Commandments also feature in the US Federal Courthouses in Cleveland, OH and Indianapolis, IN; the Supreme Courts in Harrisburg, PA, St. Paul, MN, Lansing, MI and Knoxville, TN; the County Courthouses in Cleveland, OH, West Chester, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Ft. Wayne, IN and Jackson, MS; the Appellate Court in Brooklyn, NY; the Boston Public Library and the State Capitol in Lincoln, NE; etc.

 

9. On April 8, 2015, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, signed into law a bill instructing the state to erect a privately-funded Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock. The Arkansas State House and the Senate approved the bill 72:7 and 27:3 respectively.

 

10. The Ten Commandments have been an integral part of the legal, cultural, religious and political fabric of the American people and their representatives on Capitol Hill, highlighting the 400-year-old Judeo-Christian foundation of the US-Israel covenant. This foundation has transcended transient politics and geo-strategic considerations, catapulting US-Israel cooperation to unprecedented levels.

 

 

Contents

 

WHEN GATEKEEPERS OF JUSTICE LEVERAGE

THE LAW TO ABET INJUSTICE                                     

Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017

 

In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity. Unfortunately, however, there are other German judges today who subvert that commitment by ignoring common sense, morality, and history.

 

We refer to a decision by the Wuppertal court, recently upheld by a regional court, found that the three Muslims who set fire to a synagogue did so as an act of political protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza War, and therefore could not be convicted of anti-Semitism. As Prof. Alan Dershowitz put it, “The idea that attacking a synagogue can be justified as an anti-Israel political protest rather than anti-Jewish hate act, is as absurd as saying that Kristallnacht was merely a protest against poor service by Jewish store owners.” Or, we might add, torching a mosque could be considered a protest against ISIS. Or desecrating the Cologne Cathedral might be dismissed as a consequence of long-simmering discontent over the medieval Crusades.

 

Common sense and Jews are not the only victims of this court. It has twice dismissed charges against a group of local Salafists who enjoyed patrolling the streets with jackets announcing themselves as Sharia Police, and warning locals not to defy Islamic practice though music and alcohol. The court found their actions not “suggestively militant,” and lacking “intimidating effect.” One of the accused was on trial for supporting a terrorist organization. Had they beheaded someone, that court undoubtedly would have ruled that they were merely testing their shaving apparatus.

 

At a pivotal moment in German and world history, German jurists—far from using the law to protect the persecuted, first turned a blind eye to the way laws that destroyed millions of lives were made, then eagerly confirm Nazism’s absolute evil as binding law. From the outset of the Third Reich in 1933, German judges formulated and presided over the Rassenschutzgesetz, which allowed Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians and other untermenschen to be legally recognized as less than human. The judiciary perverted the old Rechtsstaat, meant to protect the citizen against the power of the State, and turned it into the legal basis for the eventual murder of millions. It became a willing vassal of an empire of death and destruction, quickly dispatching Stauffenberg, Bonhoeffer and any other German who resisted to quick and painful execution – all under the banner of the law.

 

In the aftermath of WW II, the very same judges maintained their moral perch above postwar society. While many sectors of public life worked to prevent the stain of Nazi thought from blackening the German future (including purging Party members from teaching social studies in German schools), the legal sector often protected Nazi criminals from prosecution again and again. The numbers confirm this. A full 77 percent of senior Justice Ministry officials in the late 50’s were former Nazi Party members, exceeding the percentage during the War itself. In fact, according to the recent Rosenburg Project, between 1949 and the early 1970s, 90 of the 170 top ministry officials were former Nazi Party members. Absent were judges who had belonged to the Resistance, or who had spent the War in exile.

 

Many friends of Germany are worried that some gatekeepers of German law may once again be using the law to open the gates of hell. The target today is once again the Jews. Providing a moral and legal free pass to attack a synagogue is quintessentially anti-Semitic, and seen as such by the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the National Democratic Party, despite embracing positions opposed by Germany’s Constitution, could not be banned because it was not a threat to democracy. The rest of the world – and many Germans – looks on in horrified disbelief, remembering that this was exactly what they said about the Nazi Party and Hitler in 1933…

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

                                                                       

Contents

 

ZION’S MOTHER TONGUE: VISIONS OF A PROMISED LAND

                                     Benjamin Balint

                                    Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017

 

The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. My guests were struck not so much by the parchments themselves as by the sight of a group of Israeli fourth-graders, their noses pressed to the display cases, reading aloud from texts that were two millennia old.

 

In “The Story of Hebrew,” Lewis Glinert, a professor at Dartmouth College, aims to track the fate of the Hebrew language “from the Israelites to the ancient Rabbis and across two thousand years of nurture, abandonment, and renewal.” The most ambitious attempt since William Chomsky’s groundbreaking 1957 study, “Hebrew: The Eternal Language,” Mr. Glinert’s biography of Hebrew succeeds in representing the language not just as a vehicle of communication but as a crucible of national cohesion.

 

Mr. Glinert’s narrative, related with impressive sweep, begins with the classical Hebrew of biblical literature. The Bible’s sublime idiom is marked by stylistic suppleness and breadth, he says, that could encompass “narrative, prophecy, law, proverbs, philosophy, elegy, romance” and much else. The era of biblical Hebrew reaches as far back as the second millennium before the Christian era, and Mr. Glinert suggests that the spoken language survived the Jews’ exile to Babylon, their return and their struggles under Roman rule.

 

Spoken Hebrew seems to have died with little fanfare around A.D. 200, more than a century after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. But throughout the diaspora, Jews used written Hebrew to scaffold elaborate edifices of religious and legal interpretation. Though stateless, Hebrew would flourish as a written medium of cultural continuity. If the Jews safeguarded Hebrew, it was said, the holy tongue safeguarded “the people of the Book.”

 

The first of these edifices, the Mishnah, was compiled in the second and third centuries. This record of religious teachings and laws “created a rich lexical heritage that could be passed on to future generations,” Mr. Glinert writes, “and that Hebrew poetry and prose would draw upon long after Hebrew had ceased to be a spoken language.” The Babylonian Talmud—another great edifice of interpretation, setting out the authoritative commentary on rabbinic law—expanded Hebrew’s expressive possibilities by inflecting Hebrew with Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East.

 

In the ensuing centuries those who standardized Hebrew’s grammatical architecture and honed its philological precision saw the language not just as a precious possession in itself but also as a fulcrum of Jewish life. “It must constantly be on our lips,” the Egyptian-born linguist and sage Saadiah Gaon wrote in the year 902, “for it affords us an understanding of the Divine Law.” While Hebrew commingled with Arabic in Islamic Spain, it preserved a separate reservoir of expression in the realms of law and liturgy. During the golden age of Hebrew literature, roughly the 10th to the 13th centuries, Andalusian poets like Judah Halevi and Solomon ibn Gabirol wielded a Hebrew of astonishing allusive density in order to blur the lines between sacred and sensual.

 

In a pair of chapters on the neglected story of how Hebrew figured in the Christian imagination, Mr. Glinert tells how Christians learned Hebrew both to access “hebraica veritas,” or Hebrew truth, and to monitor the Jews in their midst “with the goal of mastering the mischief and the falsehoods of the Jews,” as a 14th-century writer put it. Martin Luther’s call for “sola scriptura,” or “only the Scriptures,” led Protestants back to the original texts of the Hebrew Bible. In the 15th to 17th centuries, Christian Hebraists—including Johannes Reuchlin in Germany, Guillaume Postel in France, and John Selden in Britain—put Hebrew at the center of Western humanism.

 

In the 18th century, leaders of the Jewish Enlightenment sought, through Hebrew, to emancipate Jews from the confines of the ghetto; by making Hebrew an aesthetic equal to European languages, they hoped to open the doors to modernity. Their efforts, while incomplete, prepared the ground for a small group of secular Eastern European writers in the following century to dig channels through which Hebrew’s hidden vitality could course once more. These cultural Zionists brought about a rebirth of Hebrew, an achievement, Mr. Glinert writes, “without precedent in linguistic and sociopolitical history.”

 

In its early stages, this revival didn’t seem to have much prospect for success. For the pious, Mr. Glinert says, “using the holy tongue for everyday speech smacked of desecration.” For pragmatists, resurrecting a bookish tongue that lacked words for tomato, theater, microscope or fun seemed either ridiculous or inconceivable. Even the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, envisioned a Jewish state of German speakers…

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

 

                                                                           

Contents

 

MONTREAL POET SEYMOUR MAYNE REMEMBERS

HIS FRIEND LEONARD COHEN

Seymour Mayne

Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017

 

Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960, when our mutual friend, the poet Henry Moscovitch, ushered me forward to meet him. He was twenty-six that spring, the lion of the McGill University arts crowd, and I was a high school student aged sixteen. I had just entered the Canadian literary world, small as it was then, having published several poems in The Canadian Forum. The first sight of the debonair figure, with two beautiful young women who flanked him on his left and right side, remains framed in my memory. He must have said something encouraging to me. And that is how our long friendship began. As he grew older, the strength of affection and respect he inspired in his old Montreal friends increased in depth and intensity. When he left us this November, he was still that gracious Davidic figure.

 

How Jewish was Leonard Cohen? He had no way not to be, born into the unique Montreal Jewish community, sandwiched as it was between the French-speaking working-class quartiers to the east and the English-speaking middle-class suburbs to the west. While Yiddish was the first language of many Jewish immigrants in the working-class neighbourhoods of Montreal, it did not have the same currency among the wealthier members of the community. Leonard’s home was not suffused with the expressive language. At school he studied mainly in English, with French added as a second language. In synagogue he heard biblical and liturgical Hebrew, which echoed and strongly resonated for him right up to his last album, You Want It Darker. In his middle years, he ranged out from Biblical texts to studying the Kabbalah, which fascinated him to his last days.

 

In a province defined by linguistic and religious affiliations, our Jewish community was an almost autonomous city-state of its own, with health facilities, its own hospital, and school system. Every writer and artist who emerged from Montreal in those first decades of the last century was shaped by these communal influences, and Leonard was no exception, even though he was raised in the upper-class neighbourhood of Westmount. Leonard never forgot nor could he forget that he was Jewish. He carried it as a mark of honour all his life while he alluded to and punned on his priestly name, Cohen, in poem, song and fiction. Called to the Torah by his Hebrew name, Eliezer, he nevertheless published exclusively under his English name, like almost every Jewish boy in Montreal who bore two names, double identities. Although he passed through a Buddhist initiation on Mount Baldy, in his last years his Jewish heritage took more and more of his observance, to the point that he was returned at the end to be buried, not in Los Angeles, but in one of the Jewish cemeteries of Montreal, alongside generations of his noted family…

 

At this juncture, A.M. Klein (1909–1972)—a member of this Montreal group and, later, by general consensus, one of Canada’s major poets—proudly affirmed a strong Jewish voice. Klein unashamedly celebrated his roots and tradition while exploring the bilingual Canadian milieu. Such was the older poet’s abiding influence on the younger poet over the years, that Leonard dedicated a number of poems to him, including the resonant “To a Teacher”, which later became a song in the album, Dear Heather. The Montreal dynasty of Jewish poets continued from Klein to Irving Layton (1912–2006), with whom Leonard maintained a close and special relationship for decades. The Jewish lineage in Canadian poetry, then, begins with Klein, continues with Layton from the 1950s on, and finds new force in Leonard’s poetry and lyrics.

 

While I am beholden to Leonard for the inspirations of his writing and friendship, he remains indebted with an unfulfilled promise, made over a half-century ago in the apartment of his friend, Robert Hirschhorn. We made a bet one day in 1963, as a group of Leonard’s friends sat in a circle in Robert’s living room and Leonard strummed his guitar, offering us song after song. Impetuously, as the youngest enthusiast in that room, I predicted that he would easily make a million with his then-unrecorded songs. Leonard quickly responded that he would present me with $10,000 for my little magazine, if that indeed materialized.

 

Over the years and on various occasions, I would remind him, with a smile, of his pledge, and he would aver, with an even more winsome smile, that he still hadn’t reached that magic million-dollar figure. Over time, of course, I let the matter slip. And then came Leonard’s difficult years, when he discovered that his manager had availed herself of his pension fund, which meant that he had to go out on the road again, a wandering minstrel even in his seventies.

 

Given his recent successes, this past summer, for fun, I was thinking of writing him one more friendly reminder. But his emails began to reveal a darker edge. He was “out of the loop for a while”—in his own words, “dealing with some disagreeable visitations from the Sitra Achra”, those fearful Kabbalistic presences from the dark and shadowed side of existence. Who under such circumstances could have the heart to raise the issue of an amusing wager made decades earlier? Along with his innumerable fans and followers, I would have to remain satisfied with the ample offerings of his prolific works. You got away, Eliezer, and the $10,000 was never paid out. But you left us a legacy which, contrary to your expectations in the rebellious years, I along with all your friends and devotees recognize as rich and bountiful. Your songs and name call up an abundance of blessings. Wager met and copiously acquitted. We’ll miss you, chaver.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents                                                              

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017—Jack Diamond has long been considered one of Canada’s best architects and he’s designed award-winning landmarks around the world. But few projects have touched him as deeply as the one he’s working on now: Britain’s National Holocaust Memorial.

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017—Why would an observant woman with a talent for drawing and painting publish a book with images of her canvas creations of reworked masterpieces? What, in addition to her obvious artistic abilities, is she expressing?

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017—When a revamped highway into Jerusalem fully opens in coming months, it will be just the latest makeover of a road that has served Holy Land travelers for centuries.

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017—In the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, poetry and song captured the moment in Israeli history when the people, as Natan Alterman, said were ‘drunk with joy’. Naomi Shemer’s addendum to ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ a song penned, as the legend has it, while Israeli troops celebrated at the Western Wall, groans with the sound of ram’s horns echoing round the Old City. ‘We have returned to the water cisterns, to the market and to the square,’ Shemer sang. ‘We shall return and go down to the Dead Sea by the Jericho Road.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S SUCCESSFUL START-UP & TECH SECTORS ABOUT TO ENTER “WARP DRIVE”

There Are Some Lessons From Israel's Success: Harold Mitchell, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 10, 2017— No matter what President Trump says or does, this century belongs to Asia.

Accelerating to Warp Speed: Ilan Evyatar, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 2017— Israeli innovation is about to enter warp drive, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved tells me, borrowing a phrase from the iconic Star Trek TV series that described the propulsion system that would take the USS Enterprise into faster-than-light flight.

Intel Deal for Mobileye Fuels Israel’s Drive to Become Automotive Tech Hub: Rory Jones, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 14, 2017— Our earliest encounter with the study of History ought to have occasioned a certain exaltation , but also a significant distress.

Can Startup Nation be an Incubator for Palestinian High-Tech Entrepreneurs?: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Mar. 3, 2017— When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

               

On Topic Links

 

Where Does Israel Rank in This Year’s UN Happiness Index Report?: Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2017

Take Note of the Good News: Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017

Execs From Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel For Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016

Israel is at the Forefront of Cardiac and Chest Trauma Innovation: Allison Barksdale, Times of Israel, Mar. 8, 2017

 

 

             

INTEL DEAL FOR MOBILEYE FUELS ISRAEL’S DRIVE

                   TO BECOME AUTOMOTIVE TECH HUB                                        

                                                    Rory Jones

                                                     Wall Street Journal, Mar. 14, 2017

 

Israeli startups have new incentive to hit the gas in a race to develop the next big vehicle-automation technology. Intel Corp.’s $15 billion acquisition of Jerusalem-based Mobileye NV—the biggest technology deal in the so-called Startup Nation—has raised hopes that Israel can produce companies that may attract massive investments from multinationals. “It shows that we can build big companies that sell with 11-figure numbers,” said Ben Volkow, the founder of Otomono, a data company that helps car firms gather information from connected vehicles.

 

From cybersecurity to artificial intelligence, Israeli entrepreneurs have turned this Mediterranean country into a global innovation hub. Now they are disrupting almost every element of the car manufacturing chain, using local expertise to create cutting-edge technologies in everything from combustion engines to quick-charge batteries. The country has come to occupy a prominent position in the global automotive supply chain despite not having much of an auto industry at home.

 

Mobileye—known globally for its chip-based camera systems that power automated driving features—has said its operations and roughly 600 employees will remain in Israel. “This [Intel] deal will be looked at as the new phase for the industry,” Eran Shir, chief executive of Israeli startup Nexar Ltd., said of the Mobileye buyout. “Data is now the new oil.”

 

Intel’s investment is expected to further spur development of Israel as an automotive hub, with more than a hundred Israeli firms already working in this space. Mr. Volkow’s Otonomo, for instance, is focused on the data collected by cars. His platform takes hundreds of parameters that new connected cars communicate to manufacturers in real time—tire pressure, driving habits and what is on the radio—and sells the data to third parties such as insurance companies, retailers and maintenance firms to boost car manufacturers’ margins.

 

The Israeli firm is working with eight car manufacturers, including Daimler AG, and aims to become a marketplace like Apple’ Inc.’s iTunes for car data. The Nexar app is attempting to make motorists more accountable, with just a smartphone and a dashboard holder. It uses cameras and sensors in the smartphone to create a network of phones that monitors cars and drivers. The app warns individuals about potential hazards one or more cars ahead and can reconstruct collisions for insurance claims. The app is being piloted with professional drivers that work with ride-hailing apps such as Uber Technologies Inc.

 

About 400 Israeli companies and entrepreneurs in the transportation and automotive sector have raised roughly $4 billion from investors in four years, according to EcoMotion, a nongovernmental organization set up in partnership with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Economy Ministry. The figure includes an initial public offering from Mobileye and Volkswagen AG’s purchase of a $300 million stake in Israeli taxi app Gett last year. Israeli-founded ride-hailing app Via Transportation Inc. raised $100 million last year. And Ford Motor Co. purchased an Israeli machine-learning company last year for an undisclosed sum. Fast-charge battery company Storedot Ltd. raised $18 million in 2015 to power electric cars.

 

“We believe the auto industry is being transformed,” said Emanuel Timor, a partner at Vertex Ventures, which originally bought a stake in Israeli mapping firm Waze, purchased by Google in 2013 for $1 billion. “There’s a great opportunity for startups.” The country’s expertise in cybersecurity is providing one such opportunity. Young Israelis trained by its defense forces in cyberintelligence have gone on to establish some of Israel’s biggest tech firms. They also are creating security products to ensure cars aren’t easily hacked.

 

“If there’s a defined problem, Israeli startups are focused on solving that problem and monetizing it,” said Ian Simmons, vice president of business development at Canadian parts supplier Magna International Inc. in a recent interview. It invested in Tel Aviv-based startup Argus Cybersecurity Ltd in 2015.

 

 

Contents

 

 

THERE ARE SOME LESSONS FROM ISRAEL'S SUCCESS                                                           

Harold Mitchell

Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 10, 2017

 

No matter what President Trump says or does, this century belongs to Asia. It will be 50 per cent of the world's economy in no time with half of the world's middle-class customers. The middle class has driven the growth of Europe for more than 300 years. And in America, when Henry Ford doubled his workers' salaries so they could afford a motor car, he created the consumer momentum that made the US the economic force of the 20th century with 5 per cent of the world's population controlling 25 per cent of the world's economy.

But there are other places now where the catalytic forces of immigration and innovation, which established the US, are creating new opportunities. One of them is Israel, where I have been this week. Its 8½ million people are crammed into an area about a third the size of Tasmania with no natural resources. And while being on a constant war footing, Israel produces more start-up companies than Japan, India, Korea, Canada and Britain combined.

 

It should be no surprise that this tiny country has more than 10 per cent of the world's cyber-security industry and it's doubling every year. And the booming innovation companies work in fields as diverse as medicine and irrigation. It's not surprising that a country that transformed desert into a fruit and veg bowl would have invented drip irrigation…Three things stand out. First. Israel's motivation is the survival of its people. Let's not forget that it's a land of immigrants, bound together by a shared commitment to build a safe and prosperous nation. Charlie thinks that three years' compulsory military service for all young men and women toughens both body and mind.

 

Second, the Israelis have an enormously strong family culture.  I built my business on the simple domestic values of telling each other the truth and when arguments occur they are fixed before bedtime. Most of our competitors spent a huge amount of time fighting among themselves because they didn't address their problems by the end of the day. Families, companies and nations succeed with these values. And third, some Israelis are not afraid to question authority, be it the boss or the government. And what's more, authorities usually listen. We should all know by now that if you tend to surround yourself with people who only agree with you, collapse is just around the corner. That is the story of the great Napoleon and it will be the fate of some current leaders who don't have the capacity to listen to news they'd rather not hear.

 

There was a good example just before I left. The governor of the Bank of Israel said: "The key to realising the economy's potential will be the development of policies that address economic issues of inequality, inefficient regulation and the need to increase both investment and human capital." Which raises a fourth great strength in fact: success through risk taking. The Financial Times reports: "While some 'old-economy' companies and industries are stagnating or struggling, the country's growing technology sector is a magnet for inward investment and a continuing source of jobs – including for its underemployed Palestinian and ultra-Orthodox minorities. "The industry accounts for 18 per cent of gross domestic product and more than one-third of the country's total exports."

 

The governor's agenda should be ours – reduce inequality, eradicate inefficient regulation and boost our investment and human capital. We are not doing enough and with Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia in a week or so we should listen; we can really learn from Israel. I'm told Australian politicians were through here in serious listening mode a little while ago: Josh Frydenberg, and also late last year, Victorian minister Philip Dalidakis on cyber security. Clever!

 

But the story of Israel cannot end without an account of my visit to the Hadassah Medical Centre, part of the Hebrew University and with one of the world's great cardiologists, Professor Chaim Lotan, doctor at one time to former president Shimon Peres, who died last year aged 93. Chaim asked if I wanted to witness two simultaneous heart operations…On the right was an older Jewish man and to my left was a 12-month-old baby. And the team performing these lifesaving operations within sight of the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinian territory was made up of Arab Israeli and Jewish technicians, side by side. This is as you would expect from doctors of course.

 

But it struck me strongly that here in the operating theatre the animosities of the outside world didn't mean a thing. I wished the world's leaders could have been there. Both patients survived because of the day-to-day skilful co-operation of people across perhaps the most publicised of divides. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.                                   

                                                                       

 

Contents

 

                            ACCELERATING TO WARP SPEED

                                                   Ilan Evyatar

                                                               Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 2017

 

Israeli innovation is about to enter warp drive, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved tells me, borrowing a phrase from the iconic Star Trek TV series that described the propulsion system that would take the USS Enterprise into faster-than-light flight. With a bunch of good news in recent weeks, such as fourth-quarter 2016 growth figures of 6.2% – pretty much warp drive itself – and record low unemployment of 4.3%, I decided to skip the usual politics and gloom and doom. If you are looking for something upbeat, no one fits the bill better than Medved, who describes himself as “a guy who believes in miracles.”

 

“What, me worry?” he says as I try to squeeze a little pessimism out of him on manpower shortages, the overly strong shekel and geopolitical risk. But seriously, Medved sees Israel’s tech sector getting even stronger than it is now and that can only be good news. The tech community, he explains, and especially its investment arm, is shifting its interest to deep technology. In other words, while a lot of tech companies made it big on things that “didn’t require changing the laws of physics” as he puts it, today’s tech is intensely complicated, be it machine learning, computer vision, autonomous driving or whatever.

 

“These aren’t apps. This is beyond the app economy – this is really complicated stuff and this is stuff where Israel shines. Things are about to get more intensely into Israel’s favor, because as the market shifts into deep technology, Israel becomes more important,” says Medved. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would put it as he pushes Israel’s tech on every stage, “Israel is at the nexus of the great change taking place in any technology.”

 

So what does all of that difficult stuff translate to in economic terms? “If Israel has already taken a disproportionate share of the innovation economy, which it has, then it is going to be getting even more,” says Medved. In 2016, he notes the tech sector in the whole of Europe – population several hundred million – attracted $13.6 billion in investment, while Israel with a population of 8.5 million drew some $4.8b. “Do the arithmetic,” says Medved, that’s 30 x on a per capita basis more than the European levels.”

 

While choking Medved’s enthusiasm seems about as hard as breaking the laws of physics, he does admit that there are challenges to making sure Israel’s tech sector picks up speed fast enough to go into warp drive, in particular a chronic shortage of manpower. “We have to do essentially three things all at once,” says Medved. “The way we solve that problem is, No. 1, to widen the circle of employment in tech to include the three big underrepresented groups. The biggest one is women; we need to bring in women in a major way, women entrepreneurs, women venture capitalists, women engineers and that’s starting to happen, but not quickly enough. We need to bring Arab Israelis into tech and finally the haredim, where we have gone from a couple of thousand to 14,000 haredim in four-year colleges.”

 

Second on Medved’s list: importing engineers. “It’s really meshuga that we can import Thai farm workers and Romanian construction workers, but we can’t import Indian coders,” he says before adding, “Where do we get more added value for the economy?” That, as he notes, is changing with government programs such as start-up visas for entrepreneurs and expert visas for coders and programmers. Third up for Medved is recognition that start-up economies are no longer about single country companies. “The smart and good start-ups today are baby multinationals with people all over the world not just selling but also in development,” he says. “Sharp Israeli companies are now relying on all kinds of talent from all over the world, with development teams in Ukraine, India, the Philippines and God knows where, and that trend is going to continue.”

 

While careful not to get drawn into politics, Medved notes that with United States President Donald Trump putting an emphasis on cyber security, Israel will have enormous opportunities on that front. What Medved is willing to say is that he is a believer in the growth of Israeli technology companies and the growth of the Israeli tech sector regardless of who is in charge.

 

“People have got to get out of this perspective that strategic issues change over matters of weeks. The relationship between Israel and the US is so much bigger than whoever is sitting in the Oval Office,” says Medved. “It is so broad and so deep, with so many elements involved, but increasingly it’s technology and business. And what’s really interesting is how little coverage that gets, the fact that there is a $25b. trade relationship between the US and Israel. The fact is there is so much joint development of products, that academic research has gone up nearly 50% in the last decade.” And, throwing political correctness to the winds, he adds, “Let the BDS morons choke on that.”        

                                                                           

                                                                           

Contents

 

CAN STARTUP NATION BE AN INCUBATOR FOR

PALESTINIAN HIGH-TECH ENTREPRENEURS?

Dov Lieber

Times of Israel, Mar. 3, 2017

 

When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

 

Taha did not manage to land a job in the Gulf. Instead, he worked for a short stint in a local construction company before landing a job for six months in Nigeria. Afterwards, he returned home, to work in the restaurant management business. Finally, he decided he was going to go back to school to study business at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

 

Sari’s troubles are part of a much larger challenge for young Palestinians looking to break into the tech market. Palestinian universities produce around 2,000 IT graduates annually, according to a 2014 Paltrade report. But there are not enough jobs for them in the West Bank, nor according to the report, are these graduates “adequately skilled” to work in the local Palestinian IT market. The result is that most grads need look for jobs in the Gulf. And competition there is fierce.

 

Fast-forward four years and Taha has sold his shares in a tech startup he cofounded and is now busy putting together the first-ever Palestinian tech park, which he hopes to transform into a Silicon Valley of the West Bank. The city of Rawabi — the first pre-planned Palestinian city touted as an example for what can be achieved in a future Palestinian state — has been earmarked to host the park.

 

The fortunes of Taha, an East Jerusalemite, were changed by the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP), a three-year old USAID funded initiative that handpicks Palestinian IT graduates and sends them on internships in multinational companies and Israeli startups. The aim is for these Palestinian interns to soak up the knowledge of how to operate a successful and competitive tech startup and bring this knowledge back home to help build a Palestinian high-tech sector. Bereft of natural resources and without control over their own borders, Palestinians hope high-tech can play a major role in their flagging economy. According to the World Bank, the Palestinian gross domestic product (GDP) has been shrinking since 2013, mostly due to declining foreign aid.

 

The PIP initiative was set up by Yadin Kauffman, an American immigrant to Israel who in 2011 co-founded Sadara (Arabic for “forefront”), the first venture capital firm to target Palestinian tech startups. The $30 million investment fund gathered by Sadara, which is backed by first-rate investors including George Soros, AOL founder Steve Case, and former eBay president Jeff Skoll, as well as Google, Cisco and the European Investment Bank, has so far backed six Palestinian companies, three of which are start-ups.

 

But Kauffman’s PIP initiative, which began holding its first internships in the summer of 2014, aims to provide the Palestinian tech sector with another kind of capital: experience. “I’ve seen through my work investing in Palestinian companies that there were lots of talented young graduates coming out of Palestinian universities who did not have any opportunity to work and gain experience in a sizable tech company,” Kauffman said in an interview with The Times of Israel. “That is something that is important for the professional development of these young graduates.” Kauffman, who took part in Israel’s tech-boom in the 1980s-90s as a venture capitalist, compared Palestinian internships in Israel to the valuable experience Israelis took home from working in Silicon Valley.

 

PIP internships are paid three-month stints, supplemented by workshops, company tours, networking events and mentoring. Kauffman admits there is a limit to what one can learn in such a short period of time. “But,” he said, “at least it’s a taste of what a significant company looks like.” Nadine Handal, a female alumna of PIP from East Jerusalem who did software development while interning at Intel, said the program provided a “unique experience…not the kind you can find in the West Bank.” “PIP tries to put you in an environment with professional people who have deep experience in the industry and exposure to global markets. I wanted to gain that kind of experience,” she added.

 

After she finished her internship, the East Jerusalemite was hired by Intel and worked there for a few years. After leaving her job in Israel, Handal, who studied computer engineering in the West Bank, is now studying data analytics in the United States. Her goal is to open up her own Palestinian data analytics company. “I hope to be one of the people who will bring this new knowledge to my community and to the Palestinian IT-sector,” she said. “It can provide job opportunities to a lot of talented Palestinian youth that are seeking opportunity. They will learn about a new and growing field and gain exposure to the advancements in technology in the world,”

 

The unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories at the end of 2016 was at 27 percent (18% in the West Bank and 42% in Gaza) and job creation has not kept pace with the growth of the labor force, according to the World Bank. Handal said the PIP business seminars, in which top teachers, including from Harvard and Brown, train the interns in entrepreneurship, were the most useful to her. “I found these very helpful for me, especially because I come from a technical background with little knowledge of business and management,” she said…

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

 

 

 

Contents                                                              

On Topic Links

 

Where Does Israel Rank in This Year’s UN Happiness Index Report?: Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2017—The annual World Happiness Report published on Monday by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2017, a spot it has held for four years.

Take Note of the Good News: Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017—The good numbers continue to come out of Israel. After the latest poll indicating that Israelis are pretty well satisfied with life, the Bloomberg news agency's "Misery Index" of economic indicators came out over the weekend. Israel, happily enough, is near the bottom of the list, one of the least miserable countries.

Execs From Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel For Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016—Born just 68 years ago, Israel has developed a reputation as one of the world's most innovative tech hubs. Silicon Valley multinationals in particular have cottoned on, setting up offices in the region and acquiring numerous Israeli startups.

Israel is at the Forefront of Cardiac and Chest Trauma Innovation: Allison Barksdale, Times of Israel, Mar. 8, 2017—Perhaps it is no secret that Israeli researchers are pioneers in innovation in a diverse array of fields. And perhaps one of the medical fields in which a sizable number of patients around the world could reap the benefits of Israeli ingenuity is cardiology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADL & J STREET’S PARTISAN LEFTIST AGENDAS DAMAGE THEIR REPUTATIONS & THREATEN JEWISH UNITY

American Liberal Jewish Leaders Fuel Antisemitism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 15, 2017— We try to rationalize that the anti-Zionist behavior of individual Jews does not justify antisemitic bigotry.

J Street's Dead End: Gregg Roman, The Hill, Jan. 22, 2017— At the end of 2017, the far-left Jewish advocacy group J Street will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

A Centennial Landmark: the Russian Revolution of March, 1917: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Mar. 13, 2017— Our earliest encounter with the study of History ought to have occasioned a certain exaltation , but also a significant distress.

Mark My Word: David Wolpe, Weekly Standard, Mar. 6, 2017— In 1992, the exiled Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide spoke to Jewish leaders in New York City.

               

On Topic Links

 

[N.B: Rabbi Abraham Cooper will be a Keynote Speaker at CIJR’s 29th Annual Anniversary Gala: “Israel’s Contributions Biblical and Modern to Western Civilization. Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017 (Montreal)

For More Information and Registration Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

When Gatekeepers of Justice Leverage the Law to Abet Injustice: Abraham Cooper, Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017

IPT Examines J Street's Unusual "Support" for Israel: IPT News, March 9, 2017

The Best Archaeological Finds in Israel of 2016: Ruth Schuster. Ha’aretz, Dec. 28, 2016

Why Are Jews Called Jews?: Elon Gilad, Ha’aretz, Feb. 15, 2017

 

 

 

AMERICAN LIBERAL JEWISH LEADERS FUEL ANTISEMITISM                                                                            

                                               Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 15, 2017

 

We try to rationalize that the anti-Zionist behavior of individual Jews does not justify antisemitic bigotry. However, the crass political exploitation of their Jewish identity by American leaders of purportedly “nonpartisan” mainstream Jewish organizations is unprecedented. Today, in what must be described as self-destruction, a substantial number of irresponsible leaders of the most successful and powerful Jewish Diaspora community seem to have gone berserk, and are fueling antisemitism.

 

Nobody suggests that Jews should not be entitled, like all American citizens, to engage in political activity of their choice. As individuals, they may support or bitterly criticize their newly elected president – but as leaders of mainstream religious and communal organizations they are obliged, as in the past, to assiduously avoid being perceived as promoting partisan political positions. What has taken place in leading mainstream American Jewish organizations during and since the elections can only be described as a self-induced collective breakdown. What might have been regarded as a temporary aberration has in fact intensified in recent weeks.

 

Let us set aside the fact that many of these liberal Jewish organizations have also distanced themselves from or even abandoned Israel. They have done so even though the Trump administration has the potential to restore the US-Israel alliance that president Barack Obama undermined in a vain effort to appease Muslims. It is also clear that, for many assimilated liberal Jews, Israel is no longer a priority, especially now that President Donald Trump has signaled his intentions to renew the alliance.

 

The facts are that liberal Jewish leaders have declared a hysterical war against the Trump administration. Led initially by the Anti-Defamation League but rapidly joined by the Reform and Conservative wings of the Jewish community, many Jewish community leaders have exploited their positions to endorse a vicious campaign in which Trump is portrayed as a satanic antisemite promoting fascism and racism, representing the antithesis of Jewish values. This, despite the reality that his presidency highlights an unprecedented acceptance of Jews at the highest levels of government.

 

Headed by CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama staffer, the ADL initiated its campaign during the elections by effectively echoing the far-left J Street. It accused Trump of tolerating and encouraging antisemitism and white supremacy and engaging in Islamophobia. Greenblatt went so far as to proudly announce that if immigration restrictions weighed against Muslims he would proclaim himself a Muslim, and called on Jews to do likewise. At the same time, some progressive rabbis, usually without a mandate from their constituency, organized fasts and days of mourning in their synagogues and, donning prayer shawls and kippot, they paraded at the forefront of anti-Trump demonstrations that vulgarly undermined the presidency, emphasizing that their political stance was a product of their religious Jewish values.

 

Furthermore, they supported and participated in demonstrations led and hijacked by vicious anti-Israel Muslim activists such as Linda Sarsour and even convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh. In a similar vein, the ADL continues to promote Black Lives Matter despite its hatred of Israel and support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The constant false accusations of antisemitism were highlighted by the biased liberal media, emboldening right-wing degenerates who were provided with enormous exposure. This created a perception of a sudden rise in radical Right antisemitism.

 

There has been a huge flurry of antisemitic outbursts in social media. Jewish organizations have been plagued with bomb threats and several cemeteries were desecrated. The media highlighted these developments and many Jews panicked, in the belief that this was evidence of a dramatic increase in antisemitism, and accepted the false allegation that this was due to the Trump factor. Last week, Greenblatt went so far as to make the preposterous statement that Trump had “emboldened” antisemites and encouraged acts of terrorism in his own country.

 

Fortunately, to date not a single Jew has been harmed. It only takes a few fanatical scoundrels to ignite a flow of antisemitic tweets and social media activity. It only takes a handful to telephone bomb threats to Jewish organizations. The campaign to blame Trump and accuse him of indifference to anti-Jewish agitation is simply nonsensical. It is also noteworthy that the first person arrested for having made numerous bomb threats was no alt-right extremist but an African-American notorious for his tweets against “white people” and the “white media.”

 

Alas, the reality is that in promoting their personal political agenda and vulgarizing and demonizing Trump while posing as Jews motivated by religious principles, they are hypocritically exploiting their leadership positions and fueling antisemitism.

 

This becomes even more stark in contrast to the eight years of Obama’s administration, during which not a single condemnation was uttered against the outrageously biased statements of the administration in relation to Israel. Obama’s repeated statements attributing moral equivalence to Israeli defenders and Palestinian terrorists, his accusations of disproportionate Israeli response to terrorism and his refusal to condemn the Iranians as they repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map were all ignored. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was treated despicably in Washington while Obama was groveling to the Iranian terrorists…

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

                                                                                   

 

Contents

 

                                                   J STREET'S DEAD END                                 

                                                   Gregg Roman

                                                               The Hill, Jan. 22, 2017

 

At the end of 2017, the far-left Jewish advocacy group J Street will celebrate its 10th anniversary. At its inception, J Street promised to be the first political movement "to explicitly promote American leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." However, the organization's pursuit of this goal was an abject and damning failure.

 

Circumstances couldn't have been more amenable toward J Street's lofty goal. Within 14 months of J Street's inception, Barack Obama swept to power in elections that also left both houses of Congress controlled by Democrats. As president, Obama's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was groundbreaking in many ways, deviating from the positions and tone of his predecessors, both Republican and Democrat. J Street backed this shift with political cover, campaign donations, and organizational unanimity, providing a convenient panacea to American Jewish community outrage over Obama's maneuvers.

 

The fledgling J Street found itself at the top table with veteran Jewish and pro-Israel organizations at the White House, with almost unprecedented access during Obama's two terms. J Street touted itself as a vital part of the Obama administration's Israeli-Palestinian policy. It wasn't merely a spectator: J Street saw itself as a vital part of the administration's strategy and policy on Israel and the peace process. It prided itself on the puppeteer role it played in defending the White House or pushing its policy platform. "We were the blocking-back, clearing space for the quarterback to do what we wanted him to do," said J Street's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, in 2011. He added, Obama "hasn't been able to push as aggressively as we would like," and J Street has "switched from being out front and clearing the way, to pushing him to do something more."

 

Something more turned out to be a lot less. During the full eight years of the Obama administration, which set as one of its foreign policy goals a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas never sat in the same room for more than a few hours in total. While Netanyahu constantly repeated that he was willing to meet with the Palestinian leader at any place at any time, with no preconditions, Abbas made a series of impossible preconditions that pushed meaningful negotiations further and further away. J Street ended up blaming Netanyahu for Abbas's intransigence.

 

Mutual distrust between the parties may not have been greater in a generation, and it could be argued that peace is as far away as it has been since the Oslo Peace Process began. J Street's continued criticism of the Israeli government created a pseudo-Zionist political shield on the Jewish community's left flank that the Obama administration used to blame Israel for actions largely caused by Palestinian obstinacy.

 

For eight years J Street supported Obama's destructive policies toward Israel like the unilateral settlement freeze, nuclear détente with Iran, and his allowance for international condemnation of Israeli communities in the West Bank. As a group that prided itself on its ability to make its voice heard in the American administration's halls of power, J Street's inability to influence must take a very heavy responsibility for the remission of the peace process. Moreover, in its unrelenting vision of itself as chartering new territory, it lost many ideological allies.

 

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami's efforts to conjure support for Obama's treatment of Israel fell flat even among Democrats. At the end of 2008, when Israel decided to defend itself against incessant rocket attacks from the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip, J Street attacked Israel's defensive actions. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, called J Street's reaction to Israeli policy "morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naïve."

 

In 2009, J Street initially tried to facilitate meetings between Richard Goldstone, lead author of a slanderous report on Israel's war on terror in Gaza, and members of Congress. In 2011, when it appeared to advocate for the U.S. not to veto a deeply problematic UN resolution condemning Israel, supporters like Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York cut ties with the organization. J Street also placed itself out of mainstream pro-Israel circles when it invited prominent activists in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to its conferences and claimed that George Soros had not funded the organization until it became a matter of public record that he had in fact provided significant donations, especially during its formative years.

 

All of these hits have left the reputations of J Street and its combative president battered and bruised. However, the latest election results have delivered the knock-out punch. If perhaps the only selling point J Street could offer its potential donors in recent years has been largely unfettered (if squandered and ineffective) access to the White House, this will now be completely removed from the equation by the victory of Donald Trump and continued Republican control of both houses of Congress. J Street has now become an organization vilified by former friends, distanced from the Left in Israel, and distrusted by many more. It may reconstitute itself in some constellation or another, but its heyday has passed.        

                                                                           

 

Contents

 

                       A CENTENNIAL LANDMARK:

          THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF MARCH, 1917                                         

                                         Paul Merkley

                                            Bayview Review, Mar. 13, 2017

 

Our earliest encounter with the study of History ought to have occasioned a certain exaltation, but also a significant distress. My generation was in grade school during the last years of the Second World War, when, as our teachers explained,  the forces of light and the forces of darkness were locked in a battle whose outcome would determine whether we would all become slaves.  As an elderly person who has taught history for about a half century,  I have become more and more confirmed in this  view of the matter – but this is at the cost of increasing alienation from my  student audience – and also, sad to tell, from many of my peers.

 

But how can History really be about the largest possible meanings, and also about me? I was born into this world at a moment when History (correctly understood as everything that we can learn about the human story by contemplating the written record of human affairs) had been accumulating increasingly complex meanings for about five thousand years. I learned in Sunday School about the probability that my life would travel, alongside of History, in the same track of time – measured by the rising and the setting of the sun – for maybe three score and ten, or perhaps fourscore years (Psalm  90:10) and at that point I would  be tossed out of the track of time. Meanwhile, those bigger human meanings will go on, in my absence, becoming bigger and more complex for God-only- knows-how-long…

 

As it happens, we are now (March, 2017) in the midst of the centenary of one of the most consequential moments in Twentieth Century History — the unfolding of the Soviet Communist Revolution.  This is a story that began in the childhood of my parents (born 1908 and 1910.) It is now entirely completed, and its content has gone forward into the History textbooks for more-or-less disinterested evaluation by the current generation and future ones.  It thus serves for marking-off the passage of historical time and for the measuring of the singular lifetimes of those of us who give any thought at all to History.

 

The landmark in question is the popular uprising that took place in Petrograd (today, St Petersberg) on March 23, 1917.  (As this event occurred before Russia’s calendar was brought into line with the calendar used in the West it is remembered as the February Revolution. Sorry about that.) As always with historical recitals, it is necessary to flash back before flashing forward. An earlier season of violent popular uprisings had broken out on “Bloody Sunday” January 9 (January 22, New Calendar) 1905, in protest of the Czar’s disastrous failure in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. A few months later, the revolutionary mood dissipated, as Czar Nicholas II promised to call an elected Parliament.

 

The Petrograd uprising of February (March) 1917 ignited copy-cart demonstrations throughout the land over the next week. Each of these uprisings reflected some element of spontaneous popular outrage on account of Russian defeat in the current Great War, but each was at least equally being manipulated by political parties bent on total overthrow of the Czarist regimes and then of its “liberal” successor.  An early result of this “February Revolution” was the abdication (March 2) of Nicholas II, the last of the Czars. One especially colorful example of how much difference a century has made in Russian history is the fact that the name of Czar Nicholas name is generally taken for a blessing among Russians surviving today.  Not surprisingly, Vladimir Putin, encourages this thinking.

 

In the last days of that Revolutionary year (October/November, 1917) a small minority of extreme Socialists managed through sabotage, infiltration and then a dramatic and disciplined display of absolutist fervor, to win over the masses of soldiers with its promise to take Russia out of this unpopular war. The Provisional Government disappeared following the coup, and with it went all hope for democracy. Thus began over sixty years of Soviet Communism. The withdrawal of the U.S.S. R. from the Great War (March 3, 1918) allowed Germany to move its huge Eastern army back to the Western Front — nearly reversing the outcomes of that war for us all.

 

Well beyond the years of the First World War, the Soviet Communists gave direction to revolutionary spirits everywhere in the world. After Soviet Communism was thrown out following 1989, the several other Communist governments were overthrown or dismantled. Today, only five regimes are still calling themselves Communist: People’s Republic of China (PRC), Cuba, North Korea (DPRK), Laos and Vietnam.

 

Contents

 

MARK MY WORD

David Wolpe

Weekly Standard, Mar. 6, 2017

 

In 1992, the exiled Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide spoke to Jewish leaders in New York City. Having studied for three years in Jerusalem, he spoke to them in Hebrew as well as English. Aristide was slightly shocked to discover, after the talk, that he was not understood: Most of the American Jewish leaders did not speak Hebrew.

 

Although unmentioned in Lewis Glinert’s elegant book, that anecdote is emblematic of the paradoxes of modern Hebrew. Even after the establishment of Israel, being Jewish does not always entail speaking Hebrew. Before the establishment of the state, Hebrew was a language familiar primarily to the pious. As the secular Theodor Herzl asked in The Jewish State: "Who among us knows enough Hebrew to use it to buy a railway ticket?" Hebrew was not exactly a "dead" language, but lived only in sacred tomes and learned discourse. When the early Zionists began their push for statehood, the number of genuine Hebrew speakers could be counted on one hand.

 

The revival of modern Hebrew is only the latest chapter of the story. Glinert begins with the Bible, whose Hebrew shows a variety of levels and covers centuries of language development. The rabbinic texts following the Bible—the Mishnah, an austere and stately law code providing the foundation on which the mostly Aramaic discourse of the Talmud is based; the Hebrew of interpretation (midrash); and the proliferation of written legal decisions—sustained the thread of Hebrew. Yet as Glinert writes of the rabbinic age of Rome: "By any sociological yardstick, the prospects of native Hebrew's survival were now minimal."

 

After the destruction of the Temple in the first century, Jews were scattered among non-Hebrew-speaking populations. As the Aristide incident demonstrates, keeping linguistic proficiency in a foreign land is difficult. Jews continued to pray in Hebrew, however, and a succession of adepts modified and clarified the workings of the language: The Masoretes standardized the text of the Torah, and the mystics and poets performed exegetical acrobatics with letters and numbers. (In Hebrew, letters have numerical values as well: aleph is 1, yod is 10, and so forth. So each word also has a numerical equivalent, giving rise to ingenious and often far-fetched connections.) Along the way, Hebrew benefited from the efforts of religious genius as well: In 11th-century France, the great commentator Rashi used a compact and elliptical Hebrew to illuminate the meaning of the Bible and Talmud. When, in the next century, Maimonides wrote his monumental law code, he fashioned a form of Hebrew that made the code both a linguistic as well as a legal landmark.

 

The poets of Spain's golden age wrote beautiful odes to God, but also poetry about war and wine and women. Other medieval poets, living in a textual echo chamber, composed elaborate referential poem/prayers, called piyyutim. These were not only creative and pietistic exercises, but intellectual feats: Some were of great beauty, others as much puzzle boxes as poetry. Glinert walks the reader through the phases of Hebrew with sufficient historical background to make the story clear but uncluttered. There are fascinating byways, such as the place of Hebrew in the revival of science during the Renaissance. The early story of our nation is also deeply affected by the centrality of Hebrew to the Pilgrims and their intellectual descendants. The first two presidents of Harvard were Hebrew scholars, as was the first president of Yale, Ezra Stiles, whose university seal still bears a Hebrew motto.

 

The capstone of the story is the miraculous revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. As Glinert writes: "It was not only necessary to invent words denoting locomotive, telegraph, or parliament; the language would also need to express such conceptual distinctions as people, nation, and state." It was left to the collective creativity of a new movement, Zionism, and individual fanatics, such as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, to shape, update, and enforce the new language. (One of the many piquant details Glinert includes here is that the national poet laureate of modern Hebrew, Hayim Nahman Bialik, was forced to apologize in the press for speaking Russian in public!)…

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

 

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Contents                                                              

 

On Topic Links

 

[N.B: Rabbi Abraham Cooper will be a Keynote Speaker at CIJR’s 29th Annual Anniversary Gala: “Israel’s Contributions Biblical and Modern to Western Civilization. Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017. (Montreal)

For More Information and Registration Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

When Gatekeepers of Justice Leverage the Law to Abet Injustice: Abraham Cooper, Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017—In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity. Unfortunately, however, there are other German judges today who subvert that commitment by ignoring common sense, morality, and history.

IPT Examines J Street's Unusual "Support" for Israel: IPT News, March 9, 2017—J Street, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, has an unusual way of showing it "is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans."

The Best Archaeological Finds in Israel of 2016: Ruth Schuster. Ha’aretz, Dec. 28, 2016—Israel is soaked in blood and relics of human history. Primitive humans passed through Israel on their way out of Africa: now we know what they ate. Israel is part of the area where human society formed: 12,000 years later, we have found their homes. Modern civilization arose in these parts, as did the three big monotheistic religions: all left behind gods, death and destruction at which we now gaze in awe. Here are just some of the stories in Israeli archaeology in 2016.

Why Are Jews Called Jews?: Elon Gilad, Ha’aretz, Feb. 15, 2017—The word “Jew” ultimately comes from Judah, an ancient kingdom centered in Jerusalem, in the 2nd century BCE. But how did the kingdom's Hebrew name, Yehudah (Judah in English), pronounced ye-hu-DAH, beget “Jew”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURIM 5777: RAISE A GLASS AND CELEBRATE THE SAVING OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM HAMAN

Purim 2017—5777: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Mar. 10, 2017— The Book of Esther describes not just one, but all historical periods.

Purim Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Mar. 10, 2017— a. Purim’s historical background…

Is a Disbanded European Union Good for Israel?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 28, 2017— After the Brexit referendum, the breakup of the European Union through a collapse or voluntary disbandment can no longer be considered a fully absurd scenario.

Why Dutch Sentiment Has Turned Against Immigrants: Leonid Bershidsky, Japan Times, Feb. 28, 2017— Soon after she moved into her new neighborhood, Ijburg, on the eastern outskirts of Amsterdam, in 2005, Xandra Lammers started a blog about it.

               

On Topic Links

 

Purim Drink and Diplomacy: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 3, 2017

Anti-Semitism and Aliyah: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2017

The Future of the European Union?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 2, 2017

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, Mar. 6, 2017

 

    PURIM 2017—5777

                                      Baruch Cohen

        CIJR, Mar. 10, 2017

 

In Loving Memory of Malka – z”l

 

The Book of Esther describes not just one, but all historical periods. It remains forever new because enemies of the Jews will not allow it to grow old. The Book of Esther breathes love for Judaism, even as it tells of, and foretells, the everlasting attacks, hostility, and enmity against the Jews in diasporic lands.

 

Wherever the Jews have lived there have arisen new Hamans to enslave and persecute them. Purim gave the Jews courage in the darkest hours, and the hope that they would see the downfall of their enemies. The story of Purim in the Book of Esther is one that expresses the ties that united the Jews then, and today.

 

It is not strange that, since the festival of Purim is connected to a story about the indestructibility of the Jewish People, it will be celebrated forever by young and old. This book is one that unites all Jews, connecting ordinary people to those who attained the highest honors. Purim, a holiday that celebrates liberation, expresses something we Jews have not always had the opportunity to enjoy–the playful, light-hearted side of life.

 

In Purim, with its reading of the Book of Esther, its groggers decrying the mention of Haman’s name, and its costume-contests for the young, the Jew found a day, when we can revel and enjoy life together. Purim Sameach to all CIJR’s readers and friends!

 

Baruch Cohen, who celebrated his 97th birthday last October, is CIJR’s long-time Research Chairman           

                                                                       

Contents

 

                                  PURIM GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

         Yoram Ettinger

                                                                 Jewish Press, Mar. 10, 2017

 

Purim’s historical background: a. The 586 BCE destruction of the First Jewish Temple (on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount), and the expulsion of Jews from Judea & Samaria, by the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, triggered a wave of Jewish emigration to Babylon and Persia, which eventually replaced Babylon as the leading regional power.*In 538 BCE, Xerxes the Great, Persia’s King Ahasuerus, who succeeded Darius the Great, proclaimed his support for the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple and the resurrection of national Jewish life in the Land of Israel, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish Homeland.

 

Ahasuerus established a coalition of countries, which launched the Greco-Persian Wars of 499-449 BCE, attempting to expand the Persian Empire westward. However, Persia was resoundingly defeated (e.g., the 490 BCE and 480 BCE battles of Marathon and Salamis), and Ahasuerus’ authority in Persia was gravely eroded. An attempted coup – by Bigtan and Teresh – against Ahasuerus was thwarted by Mordechai, a retired Jewish military commander, who relayed critical intelligence to Queen Esther, his cousin (or niece).  Just like Joseph, who adopted an Egyptian name (Zaphnat Paa’ne’ach), so did Mordechai adopt a Persian name (derived from Marduk, a Mesopotamian god). Both Joseph and Mordechai reasserted their roots in the face of a clear and present lethal threat to the Jewish people.

 

b. Purim is the holiday that foiled an ancient 9/11.  The numerical value (e.g., the letter “a” would be 1, “b”=2, etc.) of the Hebrew spelling of King (מלך=90) Ahasuerus (אחשורוש=821) – who ordered the annihilation of Jews – is 911…., just like the dates of Kristallnacht (9.11.1938) and the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples in Jerusalem (9.11 – the ninth day of the eleventh Jewish month).

 

c. “Purimfest 1946” yelled Julius Streicher, the Nazi propaganda chief, as he approached the hanging gallows (Newsweek, October 28, 1946, page 46).  On October 16, 1946, ten convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremberg.  An 11th Nazi criminal, Hermann Goering, committed suicide in his cell. According to a Jewish survivor, the late Eliezer Cotler, Julius Streicher’s library, in his ranch (which served as a camp for young Jewish survivors on their way to Israel), documented Streicher’s interest in Purim’s relevance to the fate of the enemies of the Jewish people. Streicher underlined, in red ink, each reference to the Amalekites and Haman…. (The origin of the Aryan race is claimed to be in Iran/Persia….). According to the Scroll of Esther, King Ahasuerus allowed the Jews to defend themselves and hang Haman and his ten sons.  According to the Talmud (Megillah tractate, 16a), Haman had an 11th child, a daughter, who committed suicide following her father’s demise.

 

d. Purim’s physical and spiritual clash of Civilizations between the values and worldviews of Mordechai and Haman, exemplifies an early edition of the clash among nations, communities and within each person: between right and wrong, liberty and tyranny, justice and evil, truth and lies, just like Adam/Eve vs. the Snake, Abel VS. Cain, Abraham vs. Sodom & Gomorrah, Jacob vs. Esau (grandfather of Amalek, the deadliest enemy of the Jewish people), the Maccabees vs. the Assyrians, the Allies vs. the Nazis, the West vs. the Communist Bloc and the Free World vs. Islamic rogue regimes and terrorist organizations. The numerical value of the Hebrew spelling of “blessed Mordechai” () and “cursed Haman” () is identical, 502, cautioning us that evil can be easily misperceived as benevolence.

 

e. Purim is celebrated on the 14th/15th days of the Jewish month of Adar.  Adar (אדר) is the root of the Hebrew adjective Adir ( glorious, awesome, exalted, magnificent.  It is, also, a derivative of the Akkadian word Adura (heroism). According to the Babylonian Talmud, Adar is featured as a month of happiness, singing and dancing. The zodiac of Adar is Pisces (fish), which is a symbol of demographic multiplication. Hence, Adar is the only Jewish month, which doubles itself during the 7 leap years, in each 19 year cycle. Purim is celebrated on the 14th day in non-walled towns, and in Jerusalem on the 15th day of Adar, commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish People from the jaws of a holocaust in Persia.  It also commemorates the 161 BCE victory of Judah the Maccabee over Nikanor, the Assyrian commander…

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

 

Yoram Ettinger is a Keynote Speaker at CIJR’s 29th Anniversary Gala: “Israel’s Contributions Biblical & Modern to Western Civilization,” March 26, 2017 (Montreal). For more information and registration click the following link—Ed.

 

                                                                                   

Contents

 

       IS A DISBANDED EUROPEAN UNION GOOD FOR ISRAEL?

                                         Manfred Gerstenfeld

                                            Jerusalem Post, Feb. 28, 2017

 

After the Brexit referendum, the breakup of the European Union through a collapse or voluntary disbandment can no longer be considered a fully absurd scenario. To create a framework of thought it is worthwhile to start analyzing what that could mean for Israel, even though Israel will not play any role in the process if it develops.

 

Particularly in the new century, the EU has taken increasingly hostile and occasionally antisemitic positions toward Israel on several issues. This led the Simon Wiesenthal Center to put the EU in third place in its 2015 list of worldwide promoters of antisemitic and/or anti-Israel incidents. It gave as reason: “The European Union has chosen to label products from the Golan Heights and disputed territories on the West Bank alone, ignoring the products of other occupied and disputed territories in the world such as Western Sahara, Kashmir, Tibet and products from areas controlled by terrorist Hamas and Hezbollah. This use of double standards against Israel typifies modern anti-Israelism and has been at the core of antisemitism for many centuries.”

 

The above example of discrimination is only one of the many justified criticisms Israel has of the EU. This hostility originates on a continent where the greatest mass murder of the Jews to ever take place occurred less than a hundred years ago. The Holocaust was not a German and Austrian project alone. Many other European authorities and individuals collaborated. Some elements of its impact continue to exist today. Today there is a large amount of indirect support of Israel-hatred and antisemitism coming from Europe. The European Commission has done nothing to develop selection procedures concerning immigration from Muslim countries with high levels of antisemitism. There is a testimony from the Dutch former EU commissioner Frits Bolkestein that when he raised the issue of Muslim immigration in a meeting of the EC around 2000, his colleagues considered him a racist. Nor has the EU, with all of its talk about the rise in antisemitism, tried to develop a unified reporting system for antisemitic incidents in its member countries.

 

One major argument which seemingly favored the existence of the EU from an Israeli viewpoint has been that some member countries could take stronger anti-Israel positions if they were not bound by common EU positions. In recent months, various actions taken by France have shown that this argument is weaker than often considered. Presidential elections are due there within several weeks. The presidency of Socialist François Hollande has been such a failure that for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, a sitting president is not running for a second term. He did the favor to two journalists, Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, of giving them access to regular private conversations during his time in office. In their recently released book, they list “impotence” as the main characteristic of the Hollande presidency.

 

Recently, Israel became an even more convenient scapegoat for the French authorities. In January, France organized a useless international conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The organizers knew that a few days later US President Donald Trump, who holds radically different views from his predecessor, would be inaugurated. France subsequently could not even obtain the adoption of the conference’s statement in the EU Foreign Affairs Council, as it was blocked by Britain. It is not far-fetched to assume that the French Socialists hope to attract Muslim voters, of which there are many, with their anti-Israel positions.

 

When the new Swedish government, dominated by the Social Democrats, was installed in 2014, one of its earliest actions was to recognize the non-existent Palestinian state. It well knew that if there were free elections among Palestinians in the West Bank, the genocide-promoting Hamas would most likely obtain a majority. The Swedish government did not feel the need to act in coordination with its EU partners on this issue. The Irish foreign minister, Charles Flanagan, has stated that his government constantly considers recognizing a Palestinian state.

 

Against this background, the disappearance of the EU would mainly present advantages for Israel. If the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy would be abolished, a source of ongoing multilateral incitement against Israel would end. The disappearance of the European Commission’s Legal Service would also be very positive for Israel. It is responsible for the one-sided opinion that the West Bank is occupied territory according to international law and that the settlements are illegal. Many leading international legal experts contest this position.

 

Whether the EU remains as it is, whether some countries leave it, or whether it is abandoned altogether, should not be of particular interest to Israel. If the EU disappears, the Common Market will most likely remain. So will collaboration in research and a few other fields of interest to Israel. There will also be a common interest in continuing to jointly fight terrorism, mainly that committed by Muslims. When countries will need to guard their own borders, this may make them more sensitive to Israel’s problems.

 

Finally, there is one great advantage to the disappearance of the EU. The Israeli population is substantially bigger than that of 14 of the 28 EU member states. Another six have populations on the same order of magnitude. Only eight have much larger populations. Israel’s force in bilateral relations will greatly increase if compared to the current confrontation with the EU behemoth with its more than 500 million inhabitants.

 

Contents

 

        WHY DUTCH SENTIMENT HAS TURNED AGAINST IMMIGRANTS

                                                       Leonid Bershidsky

                                                  Japan Times, Feb. 28, 2017

 

Soon after she moved into her new neighborhood, Ijburg, on the eastern outskirts of Amsterdam, in 2005, Xandra Lammers started a blog about it. Ijburg is a curious place, an architectural wonder, built in the middle of a lake on reclaimed land and partly on water. She still keeps the blog alive, but curiosity has given way to frustration: It’s all about the unpleasantness of living next to Muslim immigrants.

 

“I used to vote Labor,” Lammers told me. “I was quite politically correct. But now I no longer am.” She is a determined supporter of Geert Wilders and his anti-immigrant, anti-Islam party, PVV, the front-runner in the Netherlands’ March 15 election. She is also a character in a book by nationalist writer Joost Niemoeller, called “Angry,” published last month and already on the best-seller list. The anger fueling the Wilders campaign is real and tangible in the Netherlands, but — like the anger of Donald Trump’s voters in the U.S. — it’s rooted in the existence of parallel realities in a society where efforts at social and cultural integration have run into major obstacles.

 

Lammers’ reality is stark. The owner of a translation bureau, she’s a native Amsterdammer, forced out of the city center by steeply rising real estate prices. When she and her husband bought their house on the water in Ijburg, she says the real estate agent didn’t tell her the neighborhood would become the arena of what she calls a “social experiment” — an effort by the city government to put middle class homeowners and social housing renters in one innovative urban development. Initially, Ijburg had a village feel: People with similar backgrounds bought the houses so they could stay in Amsterdam, and soon they all knew each other. Then the immigrants started moving in, brought over from suburbs where their cheap housing was demolished; 30 percent of Ijburg housing turned out to be earmarked for the social renters.

 

“We have to share the gardens in some blocks, elevators in others,” Lammers says. “So people started experiencing bad things — cars scratched, elevators urinated in. There’s now a mosque on my street, a radical one.” (The mosque’s Facebook page, removed since locals complained to the authorities, contained references to a radical preacher and to Islamic Brotherhood, an organization some countries consider terrorist). Some of Lammers immigrant neighbors soon found out what she was writing on her blog, and Moroccan youths started yelling “cancer whore” at her on the street, she says. According to the Amsterdam city government, Ijburg has one of the highest youth crime rates of all the city neighborhoods. Immigrants living in Ijburg have one of the lowest scores in Amsterdam on the Dutch government’s integration scale.

 

Niemoeller, who presented the first copy of his book to Wilders, says the anger he described had to do with a sense of displacement. In Amsterdam, the middle class can no longer afford to live in the city center because of gentrification and the growing influx of tourists, but the cheaper neighborhoods where they have moved have been rapidly filling with families from Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. “The atmosphere on the street changes, and people feel they no longer belong,” Niemoeller says. “But there’s no place else to go.” Lammers says she can’t afford to leave her house and still stay in Amsterdam, where her small business operates.

 

Wilders became an anti-immigrant politician in part because he witnessed a similar change in his neighborhood. In the 1980s and 1990s, he lived in Kanaleneiland, an Utrecht neighborhood that, in those two decades, was transformed from nearly all-white to international, then to Muslim-dominated. Wilders has said in speeches that he was mugged and had to run for safety more than once. A longtime admirer of the Israeli far right, he blamed the changes on the nature of Islam. To him and his supporters, mosques are “hate palaces” and North African muggers are “street terrorists.”

 

Though Wilders supporters say the immigrants run the streets, they themselves don’t feel that way. Murat, a car mechanic who moved to the Netherlands from Turkey 30 years ago, lives in the city of Almere, built from scratch since 1980 on a drained swamp east of Amsterdam. Almere is multiethnic, with about 30 percent immigrant population — and a city council in which Wilders’ PVV is the biggest party.

 

“If I tried to write a book about all the times when I was stopped in the street by the police for nothing, just because I have dark hair, or pulled over in my car for no violation, the book would be this thick,” says Murat, spreading his palms about a foot apart. “If I could save enough money, I’d move back to Turkey, but good luck with that here.” Murat says his Turkish name prevents him from getting better-paying jobs, and there are facts to support this: Last year, a Dutch think tank sent out identical resumes under different names and found that a native-born Dutch person’s probability of being invited for a job interview was almost twice as high as a Moroccan immigrant’s.

 

Then there’s a third perspective — that of the “leftist elite” Wilders is fond of denouncing. Rob Wijnberg, founder of the investigative journalism website De Correspondent, has written columns reaching out to Wilders voters in search of a common ground. When I ask him about the Muslims in his neighborhood — he says there are many — he shrugs. “They’re just my neighbors,” he says.

 

There’s a factual basis for this worldview, too. The Netherlands is an exceptionally safe country. It has one-third the rape rate and one-fifth the murder rate of the U.S. Amsterdam is a safe city by European standards, too. I wandered in Ijburg after dark and saw no Moroccan teenage gangs hanging out on street corners. The streets were clean and largely deserted. In Utrecht, I walked around Kanaleneiland. The kids frolicking on the Anne Frank School playground were dark-skinned, and the Turkish mosque next to the shopping center lacked a minaret. I felt safe and comfortable.

 

The problem is bringing all the conflicting — and somewhat justified — worldviews together. It’s especially different in the Netherlands with its history of a pillared society, in which people of different religions and backgrounds never mingled. Marriages between Catholics and Protestants were frowned upon, but the general attitude was live and let live — “liberalism as apathy,” as Wijnberg puts it. In part because of this traditional attitude, when the immigrants arrived as guest workers in the 1950s to rebuild the Netherlands after World War II and then jump-start its industries, they just formed a separate pillar. They were especially easy for the Dutch to put up with because the government promised to send them back when their work was done. It never happened, of course — but neither really did integration.

 

“The Netherlands is a segregated society,” Wijnberg says. “It’s not just black versus white, it’s also higher-educated versus lower-educated. Because there are no churches, no schools, even no pubs to which to go together, the only place where we can bump into each other is probably a soccer game.” As in the U.S., Wilders supporters and their left-wing opponents read different newspapers and watch different TV channels. The idea of integration is less about melding the two sides than forcing one to adopt the other.

 

Wilders supporters are telling immigrants to adopt the host country’s culture — which, in the Netherlands’ case, includes gay marriage, widely available abortion and euthanasia — or leave. The immigrants say little, but they have closed the corner pub and replaced the traditional butcher’s with a halal one. The leftists want the Wilders supporters to be less xenophobic and more accepting of other cultures — just like them. “We are intolerant of people who are intolerant of our tolerance,” as political historian Hubert Smeets put it.

 

This being the Netherlands, a trading nation that prides itself on its ability to find a consensus, this tug of war will eventually result in some kind of compromise. Though Wilders probably won’t govern after the March election since no big party wants to form a coalition with PVV, Niemoeller expects his strong showing to shift the national consensus. “We have these almost mystical changes,” he says. “Our elite changed to a ’60s liberal mentality in one summer. We went from rejection to acceptance of euthanasia in one summer — nobody could see why. So maybe we’ll end up agreeing that Islam is a big problem in the same way.”…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Sameach & Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents                                                              

 

On Topic Links

 

Purim Drink and Diplomacy: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 3, 2017— Purim combines two of my passions: politics and wine. With the holiday ten days away, I offer a reflection on the dangers of “daylight” in diplomacy, and suggestions how to stock your fridge with great new Israeli wines.

Anti-Semitism and Aliyah: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2017—Political correctness still seems to impel us to continue chanting the mantra that we are prohibited from relating to anti-Semitism as a cause for settling in Israel and insisting that the only motivation for aliyah today is to enable a committed Jew to lead a truly Jewish life in his homeland.

The Future of the European Union?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 2, 2017—The European Commission has published a document outlining five scenarios for how the European Union could evolve within the next ten years. The so-called White Paper on the Future of Europe, which will be presented at the Rome Summit on March 25, 2017 to mark the 60th anniversary of the European Union, is intended to be "the starting point for a wider public debate on the future of our continent."

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, Mar. 6, 2017—Why do you stay here?” “I have a son here,” he replied. And then he added: “God gave me as a Jew such a place in life—to live in Russia.” “What about the other Jews, why do they stay here?” “About the others I don’t know, but I imagine they too are needed here by nature and the Creator.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEFTISTS EMBRACE ANTI-ZIONISM—SOME ON RIGHT, & INFAMOUS NAZI’S GRANDSON, MAKE AMENDS FOR ANTISEMITISM

The Roots of Anti-Israeli Attitudes: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 14, 2016— Israel is demonized and singled out by the media and international bodies.

Jews and the Global Tilt Coward Conservativism and Populism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2016 — Since the emancipation of the eighteenth century, Jews traditionally supported liberal, reform and even revolutionary movements which, in most cases, paved the way for them to achieve equality.

Cultural Relativism Undermines Human Rights: Philip Carl Salzman, Daily Caller, Jan. 20, 2016— Anthropologists invented cultural relativism.

Grandson of Infamous Nazi Spends Lifetime Making Amends for Namesake's Atrocities: Tal Bashan, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2016 — I had to re-read the email I received from Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic, to make sure I understood it correctly…

Herman Wouk: The Well-Adjusted American Jewish Writer: Perry J. Greenbaum, Jan. 20, 2016—An article, by Adam Kirsch, in Tablet looks at the latest book by Herman Wouk [born in 1915], who is an American Jewish writer; he is also religiously observant and content with his life.

 

On Topic Links

 

Land for Peace in the Middle East?: Yoram Ettinger, The Ettinger Report, Jan. 22, 2016

Uncovering J-Street: Benjamin Gerstein, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 18, 2015

Amos Oz, BDS’s Man of the Year: Ben-Dror Yemini, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 10, 2015

The Challenge Facing Education Minister Naftali Bennett: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Jan. 20, 2016

 

 

THE ROOTS OF ANTI-ISRAELI ATTITUDES

Prof. Efraim Inbar

Arutz Sheva, Jan. 14, 2016

 

Israel is demonized and singled out by the media and international bodies. Israel is accused of excessive use of force, despite its great efforts to minimize collateral damage, while the massacres by the Assad regime or the heavy collateral damage resulting from Saudi attacks in Yemen are hardly mentioned. The EU decided to mark the products of the Israeli settlements beyond the “Green Line,” taking no similar action for the products in northern Cyprus (occupied by Turkey), or in Tibet (occupied by China), or in Western Sahara (occupied by Morocco). Israel, a democratic state, is accused of human rights violations, while the UN ignores the human rights violations of many of its members.

 

The reasons for the dislike of the Jewish state are numerous and often reinforce each other. First, there is a theological base for hatred towards the Jews and Israel. For the two largest religions, Christianity and Islam, comprising roughly half of the world population, Jews are problematic. Theological considerations have produced centuries of anti-Semitism. While not all Christians and Muslims are anti-Semitic, their cultures are permeated with anti-Semitic motifs.

 

Deicide is a main motif in the Christian tradition. However, the obstinate Jews have consistently across time rejected the Christian conditions for redemption. Similarly, Islam was conscious of the Jewish rejection of the prophet Muhammad. While Jews, as people of the book, are not considered infidels, they are still relegated to dhimmitude – second class citizens. We can detect attempts in Christianity to change internal attitudes towards the Jews. It remains to be seen how successful they are. In contrast, very few Muslim religious leaders have engaged in similar efforts. Furthermore, the rise of radical Islam is also hardening the attitudes towards Jews among Muslims and particularly Arabs.

 

Second, Israel’s unique story is not always easily accepted. Israel reflects an unprecedented journey of an ancient people in the diaspora back to their homeland.  After 2000 years the Jews returned to reestablish their state. The juxtaposition of Israel’s Zionist story against the Palestinians’ is not always convincing. Often Zionists have to explain that a large proportion of the Arabs in Palestine have arrived in the 19th century. In addition, most of the world does not remember that the Arabs in Palestine have rejected all compromise proposals, and that attempts at co-existence were countered by rampant violence. Justifying Israel’s story needs prior knowledge when many people do not pay attention to historical details. Zionism is very different from the annals of national movements elsewhere. Jews are nowadays involved in a tragic struggle with a population that is seen by many as oppressed natives.

 

Part of the animosity toward Israel is the result of the activities of misguided Jews. Indeed, part of the West is displaying feelings of guilt for its colonial past, which is projected onto the Arab-Israeli conflict. The establishment of Israel is seen through a colonialist prism, according to which Western powers have implanted a Jewish state in the Middle East to enhance their control of this region. The Muslim world has largely embraced this outlook, which reinforces its religious hostility to the Jewish state. Israel is seen by the Arabs as a nation of modern crusaders that are doomed to disappear.

 

Third, we witness, particularly in the West, widespread post-nationalist attitudes that are critical of nationalist particularism. For example, young Europeans adopt transnational identities. They consider themselves Europeans rather than belonging to a particular nation. Such a new transnational identity is encouraged by the spread of the multi-cultural ethos. Multi-culturalism obfuscates particular national identities. In contrast, Israel is a nationalist phenomenon, when in certain circles, particularly on the left, nationalism has become more suspicious. Nationalism is often equated with jingoism and narrow minded conservatives. Furthermore, some reduce Judaism to constitute a religious phenomenon only, denying the legitimacy of its nationalist manifestation.

 

Fourth, the radical left, that has traditionally been hostile to Zionism, has become in many countries more influential. Such a shift we see in the socialist parties of Europe. For example, the new Labour leader in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, is far to the left and is of course anti-Israeli. President Barack Obama in the US is part of the left wing of the Democratic Party, which has been more critical of Israel’s policies than other elements in the American political spectrum. Fifth, we witness the tightening of the Red-Green alliance. Its main glue is anti-Americanism. The Reds (Marxists and Communists) and the Greens (Islamacists) don’t like America for what it stands for, and as Israel is rightly perceived as a staunch US ally, they by extension don’t like Israel. The Red-Green alliance is nowadays a stronger political force, particularly in Europe, where increasingly larger Muslim minorities are located.

 

Sixth, the memory of the Holocaust for non-Jews is becoming more distant. The feelings of sympathy for Jewish suffering are weaker today and cannot overcome deeply rooted cultural anti-Jewish dispositions. Unfortunately, such feelings are sometimes replaced with pervert sympathy for the Palestinians who are portrayed as victims of Israeli Nazi-type behavior. Furthermore, the Palestinians have capitalized on this with systematic propaganda to cultivate their perceived (and cherished) victimhood status. Seventh, part of the animosity toward Israel is the result of the activities of misguided Jews. Often, we hear critics of Israel saying: “I read this argument in Haaretz.” We have organizations such as “Jews for Justice in Palestine,” similarly to “Jews for Jesus.” In the US, the J-Street lobby joins in supporting anti-Israeli campaigns….

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

                                                                       

Contents

 

   

JEWS AND THE GLOBAL TILT COWARD CONSERVATIVISM AND POPULISM                                                       

Isi Leibler                                                                                                                                    

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2015

 

Since the emancipation of the eighteenth century, Jews traditionally supported liberal, reform and even revolutionary movements which, in most cases, paved the way for them to achieve equality. This was not surprising as, by and large, the conservatives and especially the nationalist and radical right embraced anti-Semitism as a central part of their political world outlook. That was not deflected by the fact that many of the early socialists, even those of Jewish origin like Karl Marx, frequently also promoted anti-Semitism. This trend accelerated in the 1930s when many conservatives tolerated Nazism as a bulwark against Bolshevism.

As the global Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda onslaught mushroomed, it was primarily (but not exclusively) the socialists and liberals who spoke out. In countries where Jews found haven from the Nazis, the liberals and socialists tended to be more accommodating to the refugees than the frequently hostile conservatives.
In occupied Western Europe, it was parties on the Right, such as the French Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis. In Eastern Europe it was the traditional radical right-wing nationalists with a long tradition of instigating pogroms against Jews who often directly aided and abetted the Nazis in their Final Solution.

It is thus hardly surprising that in the postwar era, the Jews in the West largely supported, contributed and were overwhelmingly represented in liberal and labor parties, even when their own economic status would have inclined them toward the more conservative parties. Even at the turn of the century this applied, especially in the United States which absorbed large numbers of East European Bundist social democrats and where Jewish involvement with and support of the Democratic Party became part of their uniquely American DNA, at times superseding their Jewish cultural and religious background.

However, the past three decades have witnessed dramatic changes. Together with organizations purporting to promote human rights, the liberals and the left-wing political parties have distanced themselves from Israel and, at best, employed moral equivalence toward the Palestinian perpetrators of terrorism and the Israelis defending themselves. Throughout Western Europe they have become outrightly hostile to Israel.

The newly elected UK Labour Party leader is even on record praising Hamas. This has led increasingly to many committed Jews who had traditionally voted for parties on the Left to tilt toward more conservative parties. This applies to Europe, Canada and Australia.

The United States is an exception. Even following President Barack Obama’s vicious diplomatic onslaughts against Israel and the Republican Party’s committed support for Israel, the majority of American Jews remain Democratic supporters. Over the past two or three years, the emergence of populist parties on the far Right of the political scene has further complicated the political situation for Diaspora Jews. Of course the Hungarian Jobbik and Greek Golden Dawn are disgusting outright anti-Semitic Nazi parties which Jews abhor. But there are other populist parties which have grown dramatically in response to Arab terrorism and more recently in protest to the massive Syrian and other Muslim “refugee” influx…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

                           

CULTURAL RELATIVISM UNDERMINES HUMAN RIGHTS                            

Philip Carl Salzman

Daily Caller, Jan. 20, 2016

 

Anthropologists invented cultural relativism. Founding figures of American anthropology, Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, the latter in her famous pre-war book Patterns of Culture, argued that you can only understand other peoples’ lives if you consider their cultures and their actions from their own points of view.

 

In the latter decades of the 20th century, the idea of cultural relativism was expanded to moral or ethical relativism. As we have our own values, and other people have different ones, no one being on neutral ground, the argument goes, on what basis can we pass judgement on the beliefs or actions of those in another culture? Every judgement is cultural. From this perspective, ethical judgement being culturally-based and thus inapplicable cross-culturally, every value or practice must be seen as good as every other practice. There is no way that we can judge some better or worse. Judgement of other cultures and those in them must be suspended entirely. There are no objective, non-cultural criteria to allow us to decide whether giving a widow a pension is better or worse than burning her alive on the pyre of her dead husband.

 

Cultural relativism has been built into public policy through “multiculturalism,” the official policy of Canada and the unofficial policy of many European countries. Multiculturalism is often thought of as the opposite of assimilation; that is, multiculturalism allows immigrants to live in their own culture, with their own values, rules, and customs. Cultural communities, rather than individual citizens, would be the operative units of society.  The shift from individuals to collectivities is a major transformation of Western political philosophy, with people being judged not on their individual merits, but on the characteristics of their community. However, there is an alternative, assimilationist understanding of multiculturalism, one that is held, according to repeated polls, by a large majority of the Canadian population: we welcome people from all cultures to come to Canada and adopt Canadian ways.

 

In the case of multiculturalism, Canadian common sense is on firmer ground than collectivist multicultural political philosophers, for multiculturalism is an incoherent concept. A culture is a distinct way of life; different cultures are distinct ways of life. For people to live together in society, they must at least to a degree share a common culture. An obvious example is language; people must be able to communicate in a common language. The previous Conservative Government of Canada advised immigrants that, whatever the laws, customs, and practices of their countries and cultures of origin, they must obey Canadian law. For example, “honour” killings of family members, regarded as proper in cultures of the Middle East and South Asia, are not acceptable in Canada. Three members of the Afghan Shafia family of Montreal were recently convicted of murdering four female family members who they deemed to have been insufficiently modest, or too Canadian.       

 

We are urged by champions of multiculturalism to acknowledge that each immigrant cultural community has a right to pursue its vision, values, customs, and practices. So increasingly public institutions, such as the Toronto schools, are providing space and time for Friday prayers, with girls required to sit in the back, and menstruating girls excluded altogether. Demands in Ontario for Sharia family courts enforced by the state were almost instituted by the provincial government, but for a clamorous public opposition by an informal group of young Muslim women. Should we recognize the right of South Asian families to force marriages to insure that the caste hierarchy is respected? Recently two South Asians in British Columbia were convicted of murder of the daughter of one of them, having killed in retaliation for marriage to a man of an “inappropriate” caste. Is forced marriage acceptable as the custom of a cultural community? Are hierarchies of purity, as in the caste system, acceptable in North America?…

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

 

                                                                       

Contents                       

GRANDSON OF INFAMOUS NAZI SPENDS

          LIFETIME MAKING AMENDS FOR NAMESAKE'S ATROCITIES

Tal Bashan

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2016

 

I had to re-read the email I received from Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic, to make sure I understood it correctly: “In commemoration of International Students’ Day, which falls on November 17 – the day the Nazis closed down all the universities in the Czech Republic in 1939, and the day students in Prague protested against the Communist regime in 1989 – we are holding a major event and we would like to invite you to be one of two keynote speakers on a panel titled ‘Humanity and Barbarism in the Holocaust and in Europe today.’” I was okay with everything up until the next point in the email. “The other keynote speaker will be Mr. Rainer Höss, the grandson of Nazi war criminal Rudolf Höss, who, like you, also has a family connection with Auschwitz.”

 

Rudolf Höss? As in the commandant of Auschwitz – the chief commanding position within the SS service of a Nazi concentration camp? His grandson? No way. I was freaked out and closed the email, the instinctual reaction to that name by a child of Holocaust survivors. The next thing I did was call my 92-year-old mother, who survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. “I don’t see what the problem is,” my mother told me in her matter-of-fact Czech. “Rainer is his grandson. He hadn’t even been born yet when all of this took place.” That’s true, I responded.

 

In the days leading up to my trip, I obsessively read everything I could find on radicalization and racism in Europe, about Höss the grandfather, who was responsible for killing at least 500,000 Jews, and about Höss the grandson, who is active in Holocaust education and preaches tolerance. There is nothing like a dialogue between the descendants of the victims with those of the perpetrators, so long as the latter want to make amends.

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16. The Old Town Square in Brno is full of candles for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. Someone has hung up Lebanese and Turkish flags – there were victims there, too, a passerby mentions. Brno, the capital of Moravia, is a three-hour drive from Prague. It used to be ethnically German, and tens of thousands of Germans who lived there before World War II were deported en masse in 1945. In short, this is an appropriate place for my first meeting with Höss the grandson. We meet at a local café and drink Czech beer.

 

The organizers of the event are walking around us on eggshells, a little nervous about how the program will turn out. Rainer Höss is tall, athletic and has a chiseled face (“I’ve been told a number of times that I look like my grandfather. It’s not pleasant to hear, but there’s not much I can do about it.”). He’s used to meeting with survivors, as well as children of survivors, and he speaks freely with me. I, for one, am still keeping my distance. To me, he’s first and foremost the grandson of the man who commanded Auschwitz-Birkenau, the hell my mother was sent into in September 1943. Every once in a while I remind myself that Rainer was born in 1964, and that he isn’t responsible for his family’s horrific past. The first question I ask him is why didn’t he change his name? “Before he was hanged, my grandfather wrote to my grandmother that she should change her name,” Rainer explains.

 

“Both my grandmother and my father were in complete denial of his crimes, and so they adamantly refused to change their names. ‘Höss will remain Höss,’ my grandmother would say. I decided that if I kept the name, this would enable me to do my part in repenting in my grandfather’s name. It’s not so simple, of course – you need to always be careful about everything you say, because people are judging you. Sometimes people curse me on the Internet and neo-Nazis are always trying to contact me. Ultimately, the name Höss is connected with Auschwitz, where millions of people were murdered.”

 

For years, Rainer engaged obsessively in rehabilitating his family name. He researched his grandfather’s and others’ crimes, spent hours in archives, has had talks with groups of teenagers about tolerance and fighting racism, and he gives (self-financed) guided tours of Auschwitz. He’s active in an organization called Footsteps, which was founded so that people can not only learn about what happened in history, but also so that history doesn’t repeat itself. Rainer also works with Khubaib Ali Mohammed, a German- Muslim attorney, to bring to justice other Nazi war criminals who are still alive. “We work together – Christians, Muslims and Jews – and I’m very proud of that.”

 

RAINER, 51, lives in Munich, is divorced and is the father of three children. He is a chef by profession. At the age of 15, when he found out who his paternal grandfather was, he ran away from home. By 18, he was already married with a baby. Today, his eldest granddaughter is 15 years old. One of his daughters is married to a Bosnian Muslim, “and I’m so happy for her – I’m in favor of pluralism,” he says. At the age of 21, Rainer cut off all contact with his family – his father, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. His mother, who divorced his father in 1983, is the only person he’s still in contact with…

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

 

 

Contents                       

HERMAN WOUK: THE WELL-ADJUSTED AMERICAN JEWISH WRITER

Perry J. Greenbaum

Perry J. Greenbaum, Jan. 20, 2016

 

An article, by Adam Kirsch, in Tablet looks at the latest book by Herman Wouk [born in 1915], who is an American Jewish writer; he is also religiously observant and content with his life. There is no evidence of alienation or existential angst, no deep inner agonies present in his work. This makes him a rarity among Jewish writers, notably his endorsement of happiness and contentment. He has has achieved longevity, both as a writer and as a human being. Wouk turned 100 in May; his latest book, his 17th, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, was released in January 2016. It is a slim volume of 138 pages…

 

Like many millions of others, I read This is My God (1959), first as a teenager and later in middle age, where I posted a few thoughts. Wouk is on record as saying that his maternal grandfather (Mendel Leib Levine from Minsk, Belarus,) who took charge of his Jewish education, and his military service during the Second World War in the U.S. Navy were the two most important influences in his life. One had an effect at home in his years as a child; the other away from home in his years as an adult. The former strengthened his Jewish identity, his sense of self; the latter directed his sense of purpose onto a wider stream of life, which in Wouk’s case was an openness to American culture and what it both represented and offered.

 

This in many respects defines modern Orthodoxy; observe the rules of Judaism (Shabbat, kashrut, etc.), but do not deny the reality and significance of the surrounding culture. What Wouk says in so many words is that you can be a doctor, lawyer, professor or writer and follow the traditional laws of Judaism while moving around freely in the great and large secular culture, which does have much to offer. This includes success and happiness, If there was a conflict between the two, it was not great or apparent in Wouk’s case, as it was in Bellow or Roth or, to a lesser extent, Potok. (Malamud belongs in a different category, one closer to my heart.) If misery begins at home, then so does happiness.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic

 

Land for Peace in the Middle East?: Yoram Ettinger, The Ettinger Report, Jan. 22, 2016—US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro believes in “Land for Peace” and echoes the US Administration pressure on Israel to retreat to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines: an 8-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, towered over by the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria.  

Uncovering J-Street: Benjamin Gerstein, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 18, 2015—With J-Street announcing that they will be allocating funds to oust two prominent pro-Israel Senators, Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), I believe that it is important to examine J-Street, their motives, and their past.

Amos Oz, BDS’s Man of the Year: Ben-Dror Yemini, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 10, 2015 —Amos Oz will win the BDS campaign’s man of the year award. It’s strange, because the Israeli author is against the BDS movement. But he recently announced that he would boycott state-sponsored events around the world.

The Challenge Facing Education Minister Naftali Bennett: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Jan. 20, 2016—Anyone following the leftist media in Israel could be forgiven for believing that Israel is undergoing a Kulturkampf and that a desperate struggle is taking place in the secular school stream to retain freedom of expression from an extremist government seeking to subvert democracy and promote fascism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

PARSING THE SYRIAN CONFLICT, DUBIOUS “PALESTINIAN” ALLIES, HONOURING EDMONDS’ COURAGE & RECREATING BIBLICAL WINE

The Syrian and Spanish Civil Wars— Both Preludes to Wider Conflicts?: Prof. Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Dec. 4, 2015: Jerusalem Post, Nov. 12, 2015 — In 1936 Spanish pro-fascist monarchist forces under General Francisco Franco attacked the legitimate government of the Spanish Republic, setting off a vicious and soon internationalized civil war.

Last Tango in Paris: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2015— By the time he arrived for his fifth wedding in 1975, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had murdered tens of thousands of his citizens, including scores of generals, politicians and judges, besides expelling more than 50,000 Asians and thus leading his economy to ruin.

Yad Vashem Honors American GI Who Told Nazis 'We Are all Jews': Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2015 — An American non-commissioned officer who defied the Nazis while in captivity by refusing to identify Jewish POWs was posthumously honored with the title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem on Wednesday.

Israel Aims to Recreate Wine That Jesus and King David Drank: Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, Nov. 29, 2015 — The new crisp, acidic and mineral white from a high-end Israeli winery was aged for eight months — or, depending on how you look at it, at least 1,800 years.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Bibi Just Went Off On France and It Was Epic: Israel Video Network, Dec. 2, 2015

A Trunk Full of Britain’s WWII Secrets Saved the World: Maureen Callahan, New York Post, Sept. 27, 2015

Lessons From the Pollard Saga: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 2, 2015  

You’ll Never Guess What Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe Have in Common: Barbara Hoffman, New York Post, Sept. 27, 2015

 

 

THE SYRIAN AND SPANISH CIVIL WARS— BOTH PRELUDES TO WIDER CONFLICTS?    

                                     Prof. Frederick Krantz,

                                     CIJR, Dec. 4, 2015

 

In 1936 Spanish pro-fascist monarchist forces under General Francisco Franco attacked the legitimate government of the Spanish Republic, setting off a vicious and soon internationalized civil war. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany directly supported Franco’s nationalist forces, with air support, military equipment, advisers, and materiel; France provided some aid to the Republic while Britain maintained neutrality. Soviet Russia countered Fascist-Nazi support to Franco with military equipment and advisers, while thousands of largely socialist and communist foreign volunteers, organized into International Brigades, also came to the aid of the Republic.  

 

The viciously partisan war, pitting Catholics against secular Republicans, fascists and monarchists against liberal, socialist, and anarchist republicans, ended with the defeat of the Republican forces in March, 1939, as the Western democracies provided little real help, and the Soviets, fearing the Spanish anarchist-republicans (POUM), withdrew their support.  The war, entailing large-scale urban and rural destruction and dislocation (Guernica), produced the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and over 400,000 Republican refugees.

 

The Spanish Civil War should in some ways, mutatis mutandis, remind us of the increasingly complex and even more destructive, dangerous and internationalized civil war in Syria. Now almost five years old, with eight million internal and four million external refugees and a death toll approaching 300,000, the Syrian civil war shows no signs of soon ending. In Syria, of course, the government was, and is, not a legitimate representative Republic, but a one-man, one-party dictatorship, while the initial Syrian rebels were not proto-fascist monarchists but relatively moderate Muslims, demanding, in one of the last gasps of the failed regional Arab Spring, a truly representative government.

 

While the Assad dictatorship had traditionally been supported by the Soviet Union, a policy continued by its Russian successor, Moscow’s direct intervention has come only recently. Initially, the West supported the rebels indirectly, with the American President, Obama, calling for Assad’s removal but providing no aid to his opponents.  As Assad moved militarily against his largely civilian opponents, new factors entered the equation: Shiite Iran ramped up its support for the Alawite Syrian ruler, while the anti-Assad Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs (and to some extent the Turks) supported the largely Sunni rebels.

 

Soon, however, the conflict deepened, with a new element entering the increasingly volatile mix.  An extremist Sunni Islamist force, IS, or Islamic State (or ISIL [Arabic “Daesh”]), breaking away from Al Qaeda, established itself and proclaimed a strict sharia-based Caliphate in both Iraq and Syria. A fundamentalist movement, bloodily repressive, beheading and burning captives and raping and enslaving subordinate Yazidi and other women, IS quickly conquered part of northern Syria, around Raqqa, which it proclaimed its capital, and a swath of north-eastern Iraq around Ramadi, threatening both Iraqi-Turkish Mosul and Baghdad.

 

As in the Spanish Civil War, an initially internal conflict was soon internationalized. In Spain, the conflict was deepened and broadened by direct Italian-German military support for monarchist-conservative Franco, and indirect and ineffective Western, and then direct Soviet Russian, support for the Republican forces. In Syria, the initial moderate Muslim rebels were soon overshadowed by more radical Islamist forces, financed and supported by Sunni Arab states (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States), and dedicated to removing Assad,  while Assad received Iranian funding and arms, troops from Iran’s Lebanese client Hezbollah, and increasing Russian support.

 

In Spain France and Britain gave only minor, indirect support to the Republic (the International Brigades, however heroically motivated, being militarily of relatively modest weight), while the Soviets, providing arms and some military cadres, but always with an eye on the larger international scene, never went “all in”. Similarly, in Syria, where Obama, while proclaiming that Assad had to go, kept the US (and NATO) out of direct involvement. The moderates received moral support, but little direct military aid, with their weakness creating a kind of pro-Sunni vacuum soon filled by IS.

 

(The rise of IS can, in fact, in large part be laid at Obama’s feet. Allergic to providing “boots on the ground”, Obama reneged on a pledged “red line” after Assad’s use of chemical weapons was discovered. Lack of American resolve and leadership created the political vacuum into which IS expanded.)

 

As the crisis deepened, IS expanded and Assad’s area of control steadily shrank. The foreign interventions were now radicalized: the U.S. in 2014, after a series of IS massacres and the beheading of American captives, championed a rather desultory Western-Sunni Arab  air campaign against IS (but still no “boots on the ground”, save latterly for the use of Kurdish forces in the north-east).  Iran’s support for Assad (before, through and after its nuclear deal with Obama) ramped up, Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops intervened directly, and, finally, as Assad’s regime seemed to totter, Russia intervened directly. (Putin mounted his own air campaign from his Syrian airbase near Latakia against the “terrorists” [supposedly including IS, but actually directed against the coalition of moderate anti-Assad Sunni forces].)

 

Now, in November, 2015, as Russia’s involvement deepens and the American-led air campaign still shows little sign of markedly impeding IS, the US, in an Obamian about-face, has announced the placing of an initially small contingent of American troops on the ground and a ramping up of the aerial sorties.  So suddenly the two leading world-powers are directly facing off against one another in the downwardly-spiralling Syrian civil war where, despite hurried “deconfliction” talks to avoid accidental confrontations, incidents sparking a deeper crisis—like the recent Turkish shooting down of a Russian bomber–remain quite possible…

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

 

(Prof. Frederick Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

 

                                                                       

Contents                      

 

LAST TANGO IN PARIS

                                Amotz Asa-El                                 

                                Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2015

 

By the time he arrived for his fifth wedding in 1975, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had murdered tens of thousands of his citizens, including scores of generals, politicians and judges, besides expelling more than 50,000 Asians and thus leading his economy to ruin. The wedding, part of a flamboyant, unpredictable and ruthless strongman’s eight eventful years in power, has long been forgotten and would not be relevant now but for Amin’s choice for best man, who gladly accepted the dubious role: Yasser Arafat.

 

The friendship with the East African butcher was but a link in a chain of catastrophic choices of allies that animated the Palestinians’ failure to achieve their goals. Now, what began in the 1930s and continued to the Cold War and its aftermath is approaching a new height, as the Palestinian leadership flirts with the Islamist scourge just when it becomes global enemy No. 1.

 

The poor choice of allies began when Haj Amin al-Husseini threw in his lot with Nazi Germany. His mistake had three tiers: the moral, the public and the political. Morally, Husseini questioned none of the racist tenets and totalitarian plans for which the Nazis were notorious from their movement’s inception; on the public sphere, he failed to consider the repercussions of siding with a cause that was repulsive to millions, including some of the world’s richest and strongest countries; and politically, he failed to predict his ally’s defeat.

 

The results of this choice were horrendous, not only because many throughout the victorious West now associated the Palestinian cause with its disgraced ally’s record, and not only because this alliance contributed to the Soviet decision to back Israel’s establishment, but because it left the Palestinians identified with defeat. Even so, Husseini’s successors, as if eager to demonstrate they had forgotten nothing and learned nothing, soon repeated his mistake by spending the Cold War on the wrong side of the future.

 

Palestinian fighters trained in East German camps, Palestinian diplomats plotted anti-Israeli motions with their Soviet peers, and Palestinian students were indoctrinated in Moscow by Soviet propagandists. Like the Palestinians’ previous strategic alliance, this one also unfolded on the moral, public and political plains, and it, too, ended in calamity.

 

Morally, Palestinian leaders remained silent when their allies mowed down thousands of freedom fighters in Budapest, crushed the Prague Spring, and let dissidents on the scale of Andrei Sakharov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Vaclav Havel rot in jail. Publicly, this Palestinian choice made its leaders lose the respect of the popular luminaries who were fighting tyranny. And politically, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Eastern Bloc vanished, the Palestinians understood they had been in bed with the Cold War’s losers.

 

The Cold War had hardly ended when the syndrome repeated itself following Iraq’s conquest of Kuwait. Faced with an alliance of 33 countries including NATO, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and three armies from the former Eastern Bloc, Yasser Arafat failed to understand where history was headed and threw in his lot with Saddam Hussein.

 

Again, the strategic fiasco unfolded on its three familiar plains: Morally, the Palestinians identified with a bully who, unprovoked, invaded a small and defenseless neighbor, after having previously gassed thousands of his own citizens. Publicly, the Palestinians were now seen by millions of Arabs as adversaries out to split the Arab world. And politically, the Palestinians ended up, again, on the loser’s side, a position that left them so splendidly isolated that it took the Oslo Accords to restore their international legitimacy.

 

It was against this backdrop that the Palestinians, having flirted along the decades with German fascism, Soviet imperialism, African totalitarianism, and Saddam’s chauvinism, were this fall called to shape a strategy vis-à-vis Islamism. Considering recent weeks’ events, the current Palestinian leadership seems set to follow in its predecessors’ footsteps.

 

This week’s drama in Paris and the downing of a Russian civilian flight above Sinai last month have sealed Islamism’s status as the rest of the world’s common enemy. No single idea has been in this position since Nazism. Communism, by contrast, had a democratic version. There were legitimate and strong Communist parties in France and Italy that were critical of Soviet oppression, upheld freedom, and sincerely preached humanism. There is no Islamist equivalent of this, because Islamism is by definition about its violent imposition on the rest of the world through an apocalypse whose horsemen are now evidently deployed, equipped and eager to act.

 

There was a time when this quest seemed to many governments as an exoticism at best, an irritant at worst. Not anymore. Last weekend’s bloodshed and the subsequent succession of bomb scares, rerouted flights and canceled sports events have finally convinced civilization that it has an enemy, and that the enemy will settle for nothing less than all-out war.

 

Islamism has overplayed its hand. The sense of insecurity, grief and wrath that has befallen Paris after its trademark glee and light were disrupted by gunfire and commando raids has traveled far and wide. From Paris, London and Washington to Canberra, Beijing, and Moscow, Islamism’s preachers and followers now loom as the most immediate, potent and ubiquitous threat to world peace. This does not necessarily mean that the war on Islamism will be swift, cheap or efficient, or that its allies will join it simultaneously and in similar force.

 

Like the alliance that defeated fascism, the anti-Islamist alliance will likely take more bloodshed before it is fully assembled and unleashed. Even so, as French President Francois Hollande prepares to visit the White House and the Kremlin in order to coordinate anti-Islamist action, it is clear that Islamism’s enmity, and the need to eradicate it, have this week become the rest of the world’s consensus and most urgent concern…

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

 

                                                                       

Contents

   

YAD VASHEM HONORS AMERICAN GI

WHO TOLD NAZIS 'WE ARE ALL JEWS' 

    Sam Sokol                                                                                     

    Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2015

 

An American non-commissioned officer who defied the Nazis while in captivity by refusing to identify Jewish POWs was posthumously honored with the title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem on Wednesday. The title, granted after extensive research and corroboration, is intended to honor those who risked their own lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.

 

Captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds of the US 422nd Infantry Regiment was the senior officer in the American section of the Stalag IXA prisoner of war camp. When Nazi guards demanded all Jewish prisoners report the following morning, in a move reminiscent of the movie Spartacus, Edmonds instructed all soldier inmates in the camp to show up alongside their Jewish comrades.

 

When camp commandant Major Siegmann saw the entire American contingent standing and identifying as Jews he exclaimed, “they cannot all be Jews,” and Edmonds replied, “we are all Jews.” Siegmann then drew his pistol on Edmonds, who coolly responded that “according to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.” Outfaced by Edmonds, the commandant turned and walked away.

 

Lester Tanner, one of the Jewish POWs Edmonds had save, said of his brave commander: “He did not throw his rank around. You knew he knew his stuff and he got across to you without being arrogant or inconsiderate. I admired him for his command. “We were in combat on the front lines for only a short period, but it was clear that Roddie Edmonds was a man of great courage who led his men with the same capacity we had come to know him in the States,” Tanner said.

 

Tanner told Yad Vashem that the American troops were well aware of the Nazis’ murders of Jews and that Edmonds understood the danger should the Jews be separated from the other soldiers. “I would estimate that there were more than 1,000 Americans standing in wide formation in front of the barracks with Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds standing in front, with several senior non-coms beside him, of which I was one,” Tanner said. “There was no question in my mind, or that of Master Sergeant Edmonds, that the Germans were removing the Jewish prisoners from the general prisoner population at great risk to their survival.

 

“The US Army’s standing command to its ranking officers in POW camps is that you resist the enemy and care for the safety of your men to the greatest extent possible,” Tanner said. Edwards “at the risk of his immediate death, defied the Germans with the unexpected consequences that the Jewish prisoners were saved.”

 

A statement from Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said Edmonds “seemed like an ordinary American solider, but he had an extraordinary sense of responsibility and dedication to his fellow human beings. “These attributes form the common thread that binds members of this select group of Righteous Among the Nations. The choices and actions of Master Sergeant Edmonds set an example for his fellow American soldiers as they stood united against the barbaric evil of the Nazis.” Edmonds died in 1985. He is the first American serviceman, and only one of five Americans in total, to be declared Righteous Among the Nations.

                                                           

Contents

                                                     

                 ISRAEL AIMS TO RECREATE WINE THAT JESUS AND KING DAVID DRANK                                            Jodi Rudoren                                                                                             

                     New York Times, Nov. 29, 2015

 

The new crisp, acidic and mineral white from a high-end Israeli winery was aged for eight months — or, depending on how you look at it, at least 1,800 years. The wine, called marawi and released last month by Recanati Winery, is the first commercially produced by Israel’s growing modern industry from indigenous grapes. It grew out of a groundbreaking project at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank that aims to use DNA testing to identify — and recreate — ancient wines drunk by the likes of King David and Jesus Christ.

 

Eliyashiv Drori, the Ariel oenologist who heads the research, traces marawi (also called hamdani) and jandali grapes to A.D. 220 based on a reference in the Babylonian Talmud. “All our scriptures are full with wine and with grapes — before the French were even thinking about making wine, we were exporting wine,” he said. “We have a very ancient identity, and for me, reconstructing this identity is very important. For me, it’s a matter of national pride.”

 

The redevelopment of local varietals, however — like so many things in this contested land — is not free of political friction. It comes alongside contentious new labeling guidelines by the European Union requiring that wines from the West Bank and the Golan Heights carry a label saying they were made in Israeli settlements. And Palestinians have their own ownership claims on these grapes.

 

For Israeli winemakers, the search for old-new varietals is an opportunity to distinguish their wares in a competitive global marketplace where they harbor little hope of improving on, say, chardonnay from France. Archaeologists and geneticists are testing new methods for analyzing charred ancient seeds. In the endless struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, it is a quest to underscore Jewish roots in the holy land.

 

But Recanati is not the first to sell wine from these grapes. Cremisan, a small winery near Bethlehem where Palestinians partner with Italian monks, has been using hamdani, jandali and other local fruit since 2008. “As usual in Israel, they declare that falafel, tehina, tabouleh, hummus and now jandali grapes are an Israeli product,” Amer Kardosh, Cremisan’s export director, sniped in an email. “I would like to inform you that these types of grapes are totally Palestinian grapes grown on Palestinian vineyards.” Yes, but the Palestinian farms that sold the grapes to Recanati have insisted on anonymity, for fear of backlash over working with Israelis, or just helping make wine, which is generally forbidden in Islam. Recanati, for its part, embraced the heritage, using Arabic on marawi’s label and hiring an Arab-Israeli singer to perform at its October unveiling to 50 select sommeliers.

 

The vintner, Ido Lewinsohn, said his product is “clean and pure of any political influence,” adding of the grapes: “These are not Israeli; they are not Palestinian. They belong to the region — this is something beautiful.” Wine presses have been uncovered in Israel — and the West Bank — that date to biblical times. But winemaking was outlawed after Muslims conquered the holy land in the seventh century. When Baron Edmond de Rothschild, an early Zionist and scion of a famed Bordeaux winery, helped restart the local craft in the 1880s, he brought fruit from France.

 

Today, Israel’s 350 wineries produce 65 million bottles a year. The sticky-sweet Manischewitz was long ago overshadowed by top-quality chardonnay, cabernet, merlot, syrah, carignan and more. But there is only so far to go with such imports. “Have we managed to create a DNA for Israeli wines? Not yet,” lamented Haim Gan, owner of Grape Man, a company that advocates Israel’s wine culture…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

 

On Topic

 

Bibi Just Went Off On France and It Was Epic: Israel Video Network, Dec. 2, 2015

A Trunk Full of Britain’s WWII Secrets Saved the World: Maureen Callahan, New York Post, Sept. 27, 2015 —On June 4, 1940, a defiant Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Dunkirk” speech to Parliament. The British had just rescued 338,000 retreating Allied soldiers, cornered by German forces. France was days away from formal surrender. It was spectacular ­humiliation spun as victory.

Lessons From the Pollard Saga: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 2, 2015 —Even before the dust settled on last Friday’s happy headlines proclaiming that after 30 years in federal prison, Jonathan Pollard was being released, we discovered that his release wasn’t the end of his sad saga.

You’ll Never Guess What Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe Have in Common: Barbara Hoffman, New York Post, Sept. 27, 2015 —If you’ve never seen Marilyn Monroe’s menorah — or heard Elizabeth Taylor softly recite the Jewish prayer, the Shema, in Hebrew — what are you waiting for?

 

                   

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

“THE COMMANDING VOICE OF AUSCHWITZ”: NEVER FORGET: 70th ANNIVERSARY OF AUSCHWITZ LIBERATON

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

                               

                                   

    

THE COMMANDING VOICE OF AUSCHWITZ

Emil L. Fackenheim

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

 

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

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                               

   

HOW AUSCHWITZ IS MISUNDERSTOOD                                                             

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen                                                                                       

New York Times, Jan. 24, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                

   

                                   

REMEMBER THE PAST TO BUILD THE FUTURE       

 

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

 

Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                

                      

         

OSKAR GRÖNING TO STAND TRIAL FOR BEING AUSCHWITZ GUARD               

IN CASE THAT COULD MAKE GERMAN LEGAL HISTORY

 

Tony Patterson                                                                                                     

Independent, Dec. 17, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                               

 

ANTI-SEMITISM, OLD AND NEW                                                                         

Irwin Cotler                                                                                                                  

Times of Israel, Jan. 26, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

On Topic

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

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

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

FOUNDED ON THE “ROCK OF ISRAEL”, THE JEWISH STATE ROSE PROVIDENTIALLY LIKE A PHOENIX, DEMONSTRATING THE POWER OF JEWISH HISTORY

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Israel, 65 Years Young!: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 16, 2013—On Friday May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708) the State of Israel came into being with a population numbering 650,000.  Immediately the young state had to weather the assault of five regular Arab armies actively aided by one million Palestinian Arabs.

 

Israel's Declaration of Independence: Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, May 14, 1948—The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. 

 

Israel’s Resurgence: A Spiritual Calculus: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2013—Press reviews of the state of this country on its Independence Day commonly miss the spiritual, meta-historic significance of Israel’s achievement. They tend to calculate a balance sheet of successes and failures in defense, economy, democracy and peacemaking, but fail to fathom the processes at work behind the curtain of current affairs.

 

Independence Day and the Zionist Vision: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr.14, 2013—As we launch into our 65th Independence Day celebrations it is timely to review and rationally assess the extent to which our Zionist objectives have been achieved. When the Jewish state was proclaimed in 1948, the 650,000 Jews who constituted the Yishuv were totally engaged in a desperate battle to repel the combined military forces of our Arab neighbors, who from the outset were determined to deny Jewish sovereignty.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

65 Years of Innovation, from Rummikub to the ‘God Particle’: Marcella Rosen, Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2013

Independence Day For The Secular and Religious: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013

In Israel We Feel at Home: Raanan Shaked, Ynet News, Apr.16, 2013

Israelis Overwhelmingly Proud of Their Country, New Poll Shows: Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL, 65 YEARS YOUNG!

Israel shall endure forever!
Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 16, 2013

In memory of Malca z”l

 

In memory of all the victims of Israel’s wars, who gave their lives against unending Arab aggression.

 

On Friday May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708) the State of Israel came into being with a population numbering 650,000.  Immediately the young state had to weather the assault of five regular Arab armies actively aided by one million Palestinian Arabs. It must be remembered that the Jewish State, the State of Israel, was born of a strong desire for sovereignty, independence and freedom and was won by the Jewish People, who had gathered their power and their strength against the onslaught of her enemies! Never again would there ever be another Holocaust.   Israel’s population today is eight million and growing. The State of Israel is here forever!

   “And I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.” (Leviticus 26:6)    Am Yisroel Chai! Hag Sameach!

 

Arthur Szyk from his hagaddah.

 

Top of Page

 

 

THE DECLARATION OF THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, May 14, 1948

 

On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over  Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved the following proclamation, declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. The new state was recognized that night by the United States and three days later by the USSR.

 

 

ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) – the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim [(Hebrew) – immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

 

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.  This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people – the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations.

 

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland. In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

 

Accordingly we, members of the people's council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the united nations general assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the state of Israel.

 

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.

Placing our trust in the "Rock of Israel", we affix our signatures to this proclamation at this session of the provisional council of state, on the soil of the homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 (14th may,1948). 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S RESURGENCE: A SPIRITUAL CALCULUS

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2013

 

Press reviews of the state of this country on its Independence Day commonly miss the spiritual, meta-historic significance of Israel’s achievement. They tend to calculate a balance sheet of successes and failures in defense, economy, democracy and peacemaking, but fail to fathom the processes at work behind the curtain of current affairs. It’s valid to apply temporal yardsticks of measurement to Israel, but such evaluations undershoot the deeper challenge: to understand the resurgence of Israel in grand historical terms; to discern the mystic movement, the divine drama – if you will, at play.

 

It cannot be otherwise. There is nothing global, or even massive, about the State of Israel in political terms. This is a small piece of earth. We Israelis are but a tiny fraction of the human family. In the sweep of history, there have been greater battles, larger transfers and emigrations of populations, bigger construction and technological projects, more eminently impressive displays of might. So in secular terms, Israel is not all that a big deal. But as vindication of spirit; as validation of tenacious faith; as proof of the Jewish People’s, indeed humanity’s, power to overcome – Israel’s establishment and advancement is a very big deal indeed.

 

History knows no parallel to the prophecies of the Bible, which foretold the break up of a people into a thousand pieces across the world, yet one destined to persevere for centuries and return to their indigenous homeland. This is a defy-all-odds saga of metaphysical union spanning centuries between a people, their G-d, and a land. This, wrote the late ambassador Dr. Yaakov Herzog, “is the celebration of a nation who, at the moment of ultimate nadir, of devastating Holocaust, rose from the ashes, armed with little more than conviction and a historical consciousness that promised renewal, to stake claim to their ancestry. This is redemption, providential consolation.

 

“The still small voice of Israel reborn has a significance overreaching the criterion of material capacity, extending beyond the boundaries of geographical dimension and the gradation of international status. Israel represents a vindication of faith and prayer through the ages; it is a symbol of revival, a message of hope, indeed a lasting evidence of the integrity of the spirit,” Herzog said.

 

At the 22nd Zionist Congress in 1946, Chaim Weizmann said: “[We] stand today six hundred thousand strong, with steady vision and unwavering courage… drawing sustenance, spiritual and material, from a grudging and neglected soil…. testimony to the irresistible force which drives our people to become free men and women once again on the land of our forefathers.”

 

This belief in the power of Jewish history, animated by ancient faith, explains much about Israel today. It explains our willingness to sacrifice so much for independence. It explains our drive to succeed in the arts and sciences and to share our advances with the world. It explains our attachment to Jerusalem. It explains why we sometimes stubbornly refuse to accept rational calculations of diplomatic cost and benefit politely impressed on us by well-meaning allies. It explains why those who consider history only in terms of national politics and international relations underestimate or misjudge us. They fail to understand that Israel is guided by an astral calculus that is not always perceptible. Our deep sense of historical mission blurs the lines between imagination and reality, between the possible and the feasible.

 

Not everybody in this country is religious in terms of the practice of traditional Judaism. But just about everybody is religious in the sense of feeling part of a grand meta-historic journey that is connected to spiritual powers and a moral heritage invested in the Jewish People that has sustained us and returned us to the Land of Israel. Consider the Talmud’s metaphor for the resurgence of Israel. “The Lord your God will turn your captivity… and gather you from all the nations,” speaks Deuteronomy 30:3. Read not “turn your captivity,” says the Talmud, but rather “return Himself” from captivity. In other words, G-d is returning to the Land of Israel too, bit by bit, along with us. His presence in the Land of Israel, and His protection, grows with every new immigrant stepping off the plane and every house we build.

 

Regrettably, many of us seem to have lost the capacity to think in providential terms; to discern historical movement, not momentary difficulty; to see the forest, not the trees; to disregard the mud and focus on the magnificent. On Independence Day, it is time to remind ourselves (and our global friends) of this prophetic perspective on the meaning and success of Israel.

Top of Page

 

 

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY AND THE ZIONIST VISION

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Apr.14, 2013

 

As we launch into our 65th Independence Day celebrations it is timely to review and rationally assess the extent to which our Zionist objectives have been achieved. When the Jewish state was proclaimed in 1948, the 650,000 Jews who constituted the Yishuv were totally engaged in a desperate battle to repel the combined military forces of our Arab neighbours who from the outset were determined to deny Jewish sovereignty.

 

In their wildest dreams, the founders of our state fighting a war of survival could never have envisioned the dynamic and thriving nation of eight million citizens that would emerge from that maelstrom. Indeed, by any benchmark, taking into account numerous wars, failures and disappointments, this extraordinary Jewish nation-state will indisputably be recorded in the annals of history as one of the greatest successes of the past millennium.

 

There is no historical situation which remotely compares to the Jewish people’s renaissance and transformation into a Jewish nation. After being exiled for 2,000 years to all parts of the globe and having suffered endless cycles of discrimination, persecution, exile and mass murder culminating in the genocidal horror of the Shoah, we reconstituted ourselves into a nation state.

 

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, an ingathering of the exiles took place with Jews from all over the globe flocking to find haven in the newly established Jewish state. There, against all odds, they bonded together into a melting pot of Shoah survivors, refugees fleeing persecution in Arab countries, Jews escaping from the underdeveloped societies of Ethiopia, and from discrimination in the former Soviet Union – and succeeded in creating one of the most vibrant and resilient societies in the world.

 

The ancient and sacred Hebrew language has been revived as a living, pulsating cultural force and lingua franca for Jews, uniting those from totally different cultures. There has been a renaissance of Torah study with greater numbers of Jews familiar with the traditional texts and teachings of Judaism than at any period in our history.

 

Who could possibly have imagined that a people, subjugated and powerless for 2,000 years, would emerge in a very short space of time, as a dominant regional military superpower able to deter and defend itself against the vastly numerically superior military forces of its combined regional adversaries? Who could have dreamt that this tiny, arid strip of land would become the fulcrum for a dynamic economy and emerge as the second-largest hi-tech start-up nation in the world, exceeded only by the United States? And as a special gift, on the eve of our 65th anniversary, this country, devoid of the oil reservoirs which have empowered some of our adversaries, virtually overnight became energy self-sufficient and is now even exploring markets to export its surplus gas resources.

 

Our spectacular success far exceeded the expectations of our idealistic founders. By any rational benchmark it would be deemed a modern-day miracle. And yet despite this, there are those in our midst who constantly whine about our failings and transform self-criticism into masochism. Instead of celebrating they predict doom and gloom. There is also a tiny, but highly vocal minority who disparages our achievements and complains about the sacrifices required to ensure our security and existence, some of whom even mock Zionism and challenge the merits of Jewish statehood.

 

Also there are some young Jews, never having experienced the dehumanizing impact of powerlessness on the Jewish psyche, who take the State of Israel for granted. They never underwent the chilling experience of their European antecedents in Europe who in the 1930s desperately sought – mostly unsuccessfully – to obtain entry visas to countries to escape the impending Nazi genocidal onslaught. And nor do they appreciate the soul-destroying impact of living in an environment of anti-Semitic incitement where Jews are considered pariahs and the mainstream media shamelessly promotes frenzied anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

 

However, despite the prevailing belief that after the revelation of the horrors of the Shoah, anti- Semites would become an extinct species, the world’s oldest hatred has returned with a vengeance, particularly in Europe, whose soil had been drenched in Jewish blood only a few years before Israel’s independence. The extent of the current European malaise is exemplified by youngsters in some public schools seeking to hide their Jewishness in order to avert torment or social exclusion. In many European cities there is also a growing reluctance to outwardly wear Jewish symbols like kippot to avoid random violence from hooligans in the street.

 

In Europe, especially in France, the UK, Scandinavia, Hungary, Greece, Ukraine and throughout South America there are daily reports of increasing anti-Semitic violence, of incitement and even murder. Whereas, in North America, where public opinion is strongly pro-Israeli, the campuses have been transformed into launching pads for visceral anti- Israelism and anti-Semitism….And yes, there are still many problems in Israeli society which must be overcome. There are too many poor people and we suffer internal divisions between religious and secular and between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. We all agree that we must continue striving for a better society to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming “a light unto the nations.”

 

But today, almost half the Jewish people are happily domiciled in Israel. The word happily should be stressed because despite our masochistic self-criticism and endless complaints, all polls show that Israelis are numbered amongst the happiest and most satisfied people in the world. Our numbers will increase and an ever-growing proportion of global Jewry will return to live in its homeland, increasingly out of choice rather seeking a haven.

 

Thus, as we celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary, notwithstanding all the challenges and threats confronting us, we should remind ourselves of our humble origins and give thanks to the Almighty for having enabled us to be the blessed generation that is privileged to live in freedom in this extraordinary country, our ancient homeland.  Chag Sameach!

 

Top of Page

 

 

On Topic

 

 

65 Years of Innovation, from Rummikub to the ‘God Particle’: Marcella Rosen, Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2013 —While a great deal of international and media focus has been placed on Israel’s military conflicts, the country quietly has become an energetic, ambitious incubator of entrepreneurialism and invention. What follows is a timeline chronicling some of the most important and interesting innovations produced by Israelis during their country’s 65-year existence.

 

Independence Day for the Secular And Religious: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013—Tonight there will be an assortment of celebrations to commemorate Yom Ha’atzmaut. Most of the country will watch the official transition from Remembrance Day to Independence Day in the impressive ceremony which takes place on Mount Herzl and the lighting of the six torches by Israeli citizens representing different walks of life. That will be followed by a night of partying and fireworks.

 

In Israel We Feel at Home: Raanan Shaked, Ynet News, Apr.16, 2013—It's been 65 years and we haven't gotten used to it yet, huh? Sixty-five years, and it still seems like a big deal to us, that there is an entire country here that is totally ours, in our hands, under our control, without a responsible adult to actually tell us what to do.

 

Israelis Overwhelmingly Proud of Their Country, New Poll Shows: Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013—Some 92% of Israel's Jews say they are very proud or somewhat proud of their nationality • A clear majority say they are Jewish first and only then Israeli, but sense of bond with Diaspora drops slightly • Israel's population reaches 8,018,000, a 4.8% increase from last year.

 

Top of Page

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

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

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org