Tag: Poland


Who Owns the Holocaust?: Ben Cohen, JNS, Feb. 5, 2018— Who owns the Holocaust?

The Dutch and Their Jews: The Never-Ending Shame of the Netherlands: Abraham Cooper & Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Jan. 17, 2018— Last month, a video showing a man waving a Palestinian flag and smashing the windows of a kosher Amsterdam restaurant went viral.

France: Migrant Crisis Spirals Out of Control: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 6, 2018— Hundreds of Africans and Asians armed with knives and iron rods fought running street battles in the northern port city of Calais on February 1, less than two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the area and pledged to crack down on illegal immigration.

Aliya from Western Countries: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2018— The founders of modern Israel originated from contrasting ideological movements.


On Topic Links


Poland’s Shoah Policy – Precursor to a New Holocaust Revisionism?: Shimon Samuels, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2018

Poland Slams the Door on Holocaust Dialogue: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, Feb. 6, 2018

The Widespread Anti-Israelism in the UK: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 9, 2018

The Jews Vs. Hitler: An Interview with Author Rick Richman: Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press, Jan. 31, 2018




Ben Cohen

JNS, Feb. 5, 2018


Who owns the Holocaust? That, ultimately, is the key question posed by the impending legislation in Poland that will criminalize any discussion, or investigation, or mere mention, of incidents of Polish collusion with the Nazi occupiers during World War Two. My goal here is not to look into the details of the Polish dispute – save for noting that Warsaw’s impassioned claim that its ire is driven by the phrase “Polish death camp” to describe Auschwitz is actually a straw man argument. Nearly all reputable scholars of the Holocaust – including those at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial – have repeatedly said, over several years, that this form of words is insensitive and inaccurate. It should be purged from our Shoah lexicon, but through education, not legislation.


This dispute is about who sets the parameters for our understanding of what the Holocaust was and what it represented – and it is a problem that extends far beyond Poland’s borders. On a purely conceptual level, molding a particular historical event to fit a particular interpretation always involves simplification. Look at our own Civil War 150 years later – as we often do, and with great anger – and we still see it as North against South, a society of free individuals against a society built on slavery. All that is basically true, and yet it doesn’t easily explain why there were so many Northern Democrats more loyal to Jefferson Davis than Abraham Lincoln, or why the citizens of Eastern Tennessee threw in their lot with the Union.


This is why the study of history is only possible in free societies where all avenues of inquiry are open, and where knowledge is “owned” by all. Here in the West, our understanding of the Holocaust’s complexities has been hugely enriched by the histories, bibliographies, oral testimonies and images patiently collected and interpreted by scholars in Israel, the U.S. and Europe. But in the nations that were until 1989 under the boot of the Soviet Union, like Poland, the situation is the exact opposite; over there, “Holocaust education” for decades consisted of lies, distortions and shameful cover-ups.


It began with the Soviets, for whom there was no ideological or political room for something called the “Holocaust” in their account of the “Great Patriotic War.” In his monumental poem “Babi Yar” – a searing critique of the official Soviet representation of the Nazi massacre of 33,000 Jews by a ravine in Kiev in September 1941 – the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko summoned up the ghosts of native Russian anti-Semitism when he imagined himself as young Jewish boy in the midst of a pogrom. (“To jeers of ‘Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!’/My mother’s being beaten by a clerk.”) Yevtushenko’s goal was to remind his readers of the difficult, painful truth that the Communist Party’s enforcers sought to suppress. The Holocaust was defined by the anti-Semitic legislation, persecution and eventual genocide – under the gaze and sometimes with the active participation of their non-Jewish neighbors – that defined the fate of the Jews under Nazi rule.


But just as the Communists sought to undermine this core truth at every turn, so do today’s ultranationalists. It’s not just Poland, after all. Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Latvia are just a handful of the other European countries where similarly ugly disputes have arisen, always involving ultranationalist political leaders promoting the deceitful rewriting of history. In all these cases, the end has been the same: to portray the occupied non-Jewish populations as facing exactly the same trials and perils as their Jewish neighbors, and thereby launder their own soiled records of past Nazi associations. Here, I believe, is where the rub lies. The Holocaust scholarship engendered in the open societies of the west is robust enough to withstand these political campaigns to rewrite history. In that sense, the current Polish dispute is just a particularly nasty example of a clash we’ve seen before, and not much more than that. The real losers in all this are the very people these ultranationalists claim they represent.


Consider the following sentences. “The conditions in those trains defy coherent language…They were packed in a standing position in sealed, windowless, and unheated cattle wagons, for a winter journey of thousands of miles.” You might well think that the subject here is the deportation of the Jews, but in fact, it is the eminent historian Norman Davies’ description of the 1940 deportations of thousands of Poles by the Soviet NKVD to gulags in Siberia. So, as we see plainly here, the historical record rarely gives comfort to our preconceived notions and prejudices.


If the Polish government’s goal was simply to encourage greater awareness and education about Polish suffering under the Nazis, that would be a laudable goal. But by tying that aspect of Nazi rule so explicitly to the mass enslavement and extermination of the Jews, and by willfully misrepresenting documented evidence of Polish anti-Semitism and collaboration with the Nazis as a slander upon the Polish nation as a whole, they are engineering their own deserved failure, to the detriment of Poland’s people.


For instead of enlightening the world about how the Soviets and the Nazis collaborated to crush the Polish national movement – and why that matters especially today – Poland’s leaders are disgracing themselves by uncomplicatedly claiming three million Holocaust victims murdered because they were Jews for the general record of Polish wartime suffering. You’d have thought that the Soviet Union was the last country they would want to emulate.                                 





Abraham Cooper & Manfred Gerstenfeld

Algemeiner, Jan. 17, 2018


Last month, a video showing a man waving a Palestinian flag and smashing the windows of a kosher Amsterdam restaurant went viral. Thereafter, two policemen — who stood by during the vandalism — overpowered the attacker. Two days later, the attacker was freed by the police with a warning that if he committed additional crimes, he would be rearrested. Later, it became known that the perpetrator is a Palestinian-Syrian asylum-seeker who’s lived in the Netherlands for several years. He reportedly promised not to repeat his hate/terror crime in Amsterdam. The prosecution also withheld several salient facts from the public — for example, that the man was an ex-combatant in Syria’s civil war.


When the restaurant owner’s lawyer released this additional information, the prosecutor’s office said that it would seek disciplinary action against the lawyer. While the Palestinian Syrian was being investigated, the kosher restaurant was vandalized for a second time. Also, on New Year’s day, a rock destroyed the windows of the Chabad House in Central Amsterdam. When the perpetrator of that attack came before the court, it was decided to request a psychological examination, which will take several months. In the meantime, the attacker will remain free. Michael Jacobs, a Jew, wasn’t so lucky. He was arrested for holding an Israeli flag on Amsterdam’s main square last summer because he stood too close to a pro-Palestinian demonstrator. Jacobs remained in jail for a full week. Yet there is nothing in the Dutch legal system which forbids his action.


Apparently, the Dutch judicial system doesn’t have its act together. In the previous government, two successive ministers of justice had to resign. And as far as Jews and Israel are concerned, the rot runs deeper. There are unique aspects of Dutch antisemitism. First, the Netherlands is the only European Union country with Muslim parties in parliament and some municipal councils. Their representatives make extreme remarks about Jews and Israel. One Hague councilman, Abdoe Khoulani, called visiting Israeli schoolchildren “Zionist terrorists in training” and “future child murderers and occupiers.” The public prosecutor decided that this was legal. In Rotterdam last year, an international congress of Hamas front-groups was allowed to hold its meeting after neither the Muslim (Labour Party) mayor, nor the Dutch security services, acted to block the gathering — despite information publicly available from German security services about the organizers’ links to Hamas.


The second specific Dutch antisemitism characteristic has bizarre origins.  The extreme fans of Ajax, the leading Amsterdam Soccer Club — all gentiles — call themselves “Jews.” For more than 20 years, they have been welcomed in several other Dutch stadiums with songs like, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” Such slogans have spread into the public arena. At the beginning of this century, two Socialist Party parliamentarians participated in an anti-Israel demonstration in Amsterdam; one was caught on a video shouting, “Intifada, intifada.” During the 2014 Gaza War, some anti-Israel demonstrations had a pro-Hamas character. At one protest, when a Green Left Party Euro parliamentarian started to make negative remarks about Hamas — after she had criticized Israel — she was shouted down. Such attitudes confirm that for some, tolerance includes tolerating evil.


Meanwhile, Kajsa Ollongren, the current minister of the interior, on behalf of the anti-Israeli center party, D66, declared on TV that the horrible attack on the kosher restaurant was related to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As if an Amsterdam Jewish restaurant owner has anything to do with Trump’s decision. In Parliament, the most extreme anti-Israel speakers are often former foreign office officials. For instance, in an answer to parliamentary questions, the previous foreign minister from the Labour Party played down payments by the Palestinian Authority to murderers of Israeli Jews.


The Dutch government has for many years subsidized Dutch organizations that finance Palestinian hate mongers. The previous foreign minister supported the labeling of Israeli goods. And without a second thought — just like other Western European countries — the Netherlands opened its doors wide to immigrants from Muslim countries where antisemitism is rife. When a small Christian party managed to get a parliamentary motion passed that Israel should not be discriminated against in the UN, the Netherlands nevertheless voted in favor of the anti-US motion on Jerusalem. The Netherlands is also the only country in Western Europe that has never admitted the major shortcomings of its World War II government, even though new studies clearly show the collaboration of the Dutch police with the German occupiers in hunting Jews; the cooperation of notaries in the theft of Jewish assets; and the total negligence of the Dutch Red Cross headquarters toward the Jews.


Not even the legacy of Anne Frank is safe. The writer of a new play on Anne Frank’s diary, Ilja Pfeiffer, transformed one of the people in hiding who was murdered in the Holocaust, Fritz Pfeffer, from a victim to a perpetrator of violence. Several Dutch media outlets reviewed the play rather positively. The Anne Frank Foundation in Basel is suing the author, but a play in which a Holocaust victim’s memory is sullied is just one more example of a society that will not treat its Jews fairly — not even in death.   




Soeren Kern

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 6, 2018


Hundreds of Africans and Asians armed with knives and iron rods fought running street battles in the northern port city of Calais on February 1, less than two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the area and pledged to crack down on illegal immigration. The clashes plunged Calais — emblematic of Europe's failure to control mass migration — into a war zone and reinforced the perception that French authorities have lost control of the country's security situation.


The mass brawls, fought in at least three different parts of Calais, erupted after a 37-year-old Afghan migrant running a human trafficking operation fired gunshots at a group of Africans who did not have money to pay for his services. Five Africans suffered life-threatening injuries. Within an hour, hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese took to the streets of Calais and attacked any Afghans they could find. More than a thousand police officers using batons and tear gas were deployed to restore order. Two dozen migrants were hospitalized.


French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb described the level of violence in Calais as "unprecedented." He attributed the fighting to an escalating turf war between Afghan and Kurdish gangs seeking to gain control over human trafficking between Calais and Britain, which many migrants view as "El Dorado" because of its massive underground economy. Each day around 40 ferries depart Calais for Britain. Vincent de Coninck, director of the charity Secours Catholique du Pas-de-Calais, said that rival gangs were trying to secure control over access to the port of Calais in order to induce payments of €2,500 ($3,100) from migrants seeking to stow away on trucks crossing the English Channel. De Coninck added that the situation in Calais had deteriorated since January 18, when Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the so-called Sandhurst Treaty, in which May pledged to speed-up the processing of migrants hoping to travel to Britain from Calais.


According to de Coninck, Macron and May failed adequately to explain the contents of the new treaty. This failure, he said, had created false hopes among migrants from Africa and elsewhere that the treaty would improve their chances of reaching Britain. De Coninck further said that hundreds of new migrants had arrived in Calais during the two weeks since the treaty was signed. The surge of new arrivals, he said, had created an "imbalance" between Africans and Asians — thereby increasing inter-ethnic tensions.


François Guennoc, vice-president of the Calais charity L'Auberge des Migrants, echoed the view that the new treaty had created false expectations. "It gave people hope to reach England," he said. "People arrived suddenly, about 200, mainly underage people and women who arrived in Calais because they thought that the Home Office said they could go directly to England. Then they thought the Home Office was lying. People were upset. It was crazy." Europe's migration crisis has emerged as the first major test facing President Macron, who appears to be seeking out a middle-ground compromise position on the issue: he has promised to pursue "humanitarianism" by speeding up the processing of asylum requests while also pledging to pursue "firmness" by deporting those who do not qualify.


During the presidential campaign, Macron, who ran as a centrist, repudiated the anti-immigration positions of his opponent, Marine Le Pen. He campaigned on a platform of open borders and promised to establish France as "the new center for the humanist project." Since assuming office on May 14, 2017, however, Macron appears to have incorporated many of Le Pen's ideas. In an essay published by Le Monde on January 2, 2017, Macron wrote that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow in more than a million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East had "saved the collective dignity" of the European people. He added that he would not tolerate the "rebuilding of walls in Europe" and criticized the "abject simplifications" made by those who say that "by opening the borders to migrants, the chancellor exposed Europe to severe dangers."


On July 27, 2017, however, after less than three months in office, Macron warned that 800,000 migrants in Libya were on their way to Europe. He announced a plan to establish immigration centers in Libya to vet asylum seekers there. He said his plan would stem the flow of migrants to Europe by discouraging economic migrants from embarking on the Mediterranean crossing to Europe. "The idea is to create hotspots to avoid people taking crazy risks when they're not all eligible for asylum," Macron said. "We'll go to them." In that same speech, though, Macron appeared to encourage migrants to make their way to France. He pledged housing for all newcomers "everywhere in France" and "from the first minute."…

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




Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2018


The founders of modern Israel originated from contrasting ideological movements. Since their dispersion into exile, Jews who for centuries endured Christian and Muslim persecution maintained spiritual (and in a few cases physical) links with their barren Jewish homeland, praying for their return to Zion and the advent of the Messiah.


In the late 19th century, the East European secular utopians who sought to escape persecution and murderous pogroms came to Palestine with the objective of engaging in agriculture and transforming the Jewish homeland into a socialist haven. The British conquest of Jerusalem and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire ushered a series of mass migratory movements, and for the first time, large numbers of Jews in distress turned to Israel as a haven. The Russian civil war and the bloody pogroms associated with it were followed by the rise of Nazism which led to a growing immigration of Eastern European and subsequently German refugees, which, apart from a trickle of illegal immigration, was frozen in 1939 until the end of the British Mandate.


The mass immigration of Holocaust survivors was augmented after the War of Independence by the airlift of Jews fleeing persecution in Muslim countries. They were subsequently joined by other, smaller communities such as the Ethiopians, climaxing with an influx of over a million Jews from the former Soviet Union. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, kibbutz galuyot – the ingathering of the exiles – as predicted in the Bible, has been realized at a dramatic pace. From a fledgling community of 600,000 in 1948 when the state was proclaimed, Israel’s population has increased more than tenfold. It is now unquestionably the most successful and powerful state in the region, despite being an oasis in a turbulent Middle East engulfed in a brutal civil war in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have been butchered like animals.


However, more than half of the world’s Jewish population remains in the Diaspora – the bulk in the United States but with smaller communities in Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. While there has always been a trickle of highly motivated, largely idealistic and religious Western immigrants, kibbutz galuyot was hardly a feature of the more affluent and less discriminated-against communities. But today the time has come for Jews in these communities to objectively re-evaluate their position.

It is clear that the majority will not pack up and come to Israel, even if there is a significant deterioration of their condition and dramatic escalation of antisemitism.


But committed Jews must ask themselves one basic question: is Jewish continuity important to me and my children? Sadly, unless the response is positive, there is little further contemplation. But those remaining in the Diaspora must recognize that even with the best of intentions, the chances of their grandchildren remaining Jewish are slim. In today’s open society, suffused with post-modernism, it is almost impossible to build solid barriers against acculturation. Any objection to intermarriage that is not based on religious grounds is condemned as racist. Many young people identify Judaism exclusively with liberalism and universalism, and are totally ignorant of core Jewish values.


In addition, the cost of Jewish education has skyrocketed in recent years and only the most committed are willing to sacrifice their standard of living to provide their children with a decent Jewish education. Not surprisingly, the level of Jewish education in the US and most Diaspora Jewish communities has never been so abysmally deficient. With the passage of time, the Holocaust no longer impacts on the identity of youngsters as it did with their parents. It has been reduced to unemotional historical statistics devoid of contemporary relevance. Likewise, support for Israel, which served as the greatest unifying element, has declined steeply among those with little or no traditional Jewish upbringing. Some even consider it socially advantageous to regurgitate the anti-Israeli agenda promoted by the liberal media.


In this environment, it is not surprising that intermarriage figures have escalated dramatically. Today, over 70% of unions among non-Orthodox Jews involve a gentile partner, with the overwhelming majority of children from such mixed marriages remaining, at best, Jews in name only. Clearly, the likelihood of Jewish continuity among non-observant Jews is minimal. Today, even the Orthodox minority is becoming affected. The statistics indicate that, other than the strictly Orthodox, Diaspora Jewish communities will significantly shrink…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Poland’s Shoah Policy – Precursor to a New Holocaust Revisionism?: Shimon Samuels, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2018—In November 2011, the Palestinians entered UNESCO, thus beginning a period of mayhem in the form of Jewish and Christian ID theft.

Poland Slams the Door on Holocaust Dialogue: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, Feb. 6, 2018—The legacy of the Shoah in Poland, John Paul II said, is “a wound that has not healed, one that keeps bleeding.” The Polish government’s new Holocaust law rubs salt into the wound and renders healing that much more elusive.

The Widespread Anti-Israelism in the UK: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 9, 2018—Various studies have shown how widespread the dislike of Israel and anti-Israelism are in a number of European countries. The University of Bielefeld, for instance, published a widely publicized report of seven EU countries in 2011.

The Jews Vs. Hitler: An Interview with Author Rick Richman: Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press, Jan. 31, 2018—A Jewish army fighting Hitler? The idea sounds wild, but Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky – and, to a lesser extent, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion – thought it achievable. Jabotinsky envisioned an army of 100,000 fighting the Nazi menace, placing Jews in a perfect position after the war to demand a Jewish state.







Whitewashing Evil: Poland’s New Law about the Holocaust: Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Aish, Jan. 29, 2018 — The irony of its timing is inescapable.

The Rapid Increase of Holocaust Abuse: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 1, 2018 — Over the past decades, the abuse of the Holocaust has gradually increased.

'Orgy of Murder': The Poles Who 'Hunted' Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis: Ofer Aderet, Ha’aretz, Feb. 11, 2017— (Last year), the Polish-born historian Jan Grabowski won a lawsuit he filed against a Polish website.

The Predictable Liberal Response to Pence: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2018 — Listening to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset was a euphoric experience.


On Topic Links


Poland’s Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism Run Far Deeper Than Just Its Latest Controversial Law: Benjamin Gladstone, Tablet, Jan. 30, 2018

‘Germany Was Always Antisemitic, That Hasn’t Changed Much:’ Holocaust Survivor Stuns German TV Viewers With Candid Answer: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 30, 2018

When a French Ambassador Described Israel as a 'Sh—y Little Country' – and Polite Society Defended Him: Tom Gross, Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2018

Google Partners with Anti-Semitic Islamists: Steven Emerson, IPT News, Jan. 30, 2018





Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Aish, Jan. 29, 2018


The irony of its timing is inescapable. This past Friday marked the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz–Birkenau, the horrific site in Poland where more than one million Jews perished in barbaric murders beyond our imagination. Friday was also the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day meant to serve as an everlasting reminder to the world of the sin of silence in the face of evil and the crime of complicity associated with those who made German genocide possible.


And this past Friday the Polish government passed a law which would place fines or up to three years in jail for claiming that Poland bears any responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Germany on Polish soil. True, the bill still needs final approval from the Polish Senate as well as the signature of the president. But its intent is clear. Poland, in the words of Beata Mazurek, spokeswoman for Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party and deputy speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, proclaims with righteous indignation that “We have had enough of accusing Poland and Poles of German atrocities.”


In short, Poland, a land where three million Jews lived before the war and only about 380,000 survived, a country selected by the Nazis for six extermination camps – Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek – and more than 700 ghettos, dare not any longer be challenged for the role it played during the Holocaust! Historians, beware. Authors, journalists, even diarists and survivors of Polish anti-Semitism – be prepared for dire and severe consequences for failure to adhere to the new narrative of Polish victimization by Germany comparable to the fate of the Jews.


In all fairness, about 6,700 Poles were commemorated by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for rescuing Jews, the largest number in any country. Yad Vashem has also, for many years, acknowledged the possible misinterpretation of the phrase “Polish death camps” as referring not to location but to its creators – an unfortunate wording which does indeed need to be corrected to “Nazi death camps”.


Yet at the same time Yad Vashem continues to make clear that it was Poles who made the Nazi Holocaust in Poland possible. Without the cooperation of the local citizenry, sometimes passive and many times enthusiastically supportive, a program of mass murder would simply have been impossible. “[With that in mind] restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion,” Yad Vashem said.


Similarly, the United States Holocaust Museum concluded: “To carry out the Final Solution across an entire continent, the Germans required the collaboration and complicity of many individuals in every country, from leaders, public officials, police, and soldiers to ordinary citizens. In every country locals participated in a variety of ways—as clerks, cooks, and confiscators of property; as managers or participants in roundups and deportations; as informants; sometimes as perpetrators of violence against Jews on their own initiative; and sometimes as hands-on murderers in killing operations.” That is what is so upsetting about Poland’s attempt for legal whitewashing.


Yair Lapid, a member of the Israeli Parliament and son of a Holocaust survivor, made the case strongly: “I utterly condemn the new Polish law which tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust. It was conceived in Germany but hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier. There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that.”


Polish anti-Semitism has a long and well documented history. The eminent Polish historian Jan Grabowski, also the son of a Holocaust survivor and currently a history professor at University of Ottawa, made it his life’s mission to expose the truth of Polish participation in the killings of their Jewish neighbors, even though for decades Polish society denied that anti-Semitism motivated the slayings. Winner of the 2014 Yad Vashem’s International Book Prize, his book Judenjagd tells the heart-breaking story of Jews who, having survived ghetto liquidations and deportations to death camps in Poland in 1942, attempted to hide "on the Aryan side" where the majority perished as a consequence of betrayal by their Polish neighbors.


The by now famous story pictured in Claude Lanzmann's myth-shattering documentary film Shoah demonstrated that many Polish peasants were keenly aware of the Nazis' mass murder of Jews on Polish soil; “Neighbors,” by Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, which explored the murder of Jews by their Polish neighbors in the village of Jedwabne, documents how nearly all of the Jews of Jedwabne, Poland, were murdered on one day, most of them burned alive by their non-Jewish neighbors. Following the script of the “new narrative”, in a mid-July interview on Polish public broadcaster TVN, Education Minister Anna Zalewska insinuated that the Jedwabne massacre, when Poles burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn, was a matter of “opinion.”


What might be called a post-Holocaust sequel is the tragic story of the 200 Jewish survivors who returned to their homes in Kielce following the war. They began to slowly rebuild their lives. They established a synagogue, a kibbutz, and an orphanage. On July 4, 1946, a blood libel spread through the town, falsely accusing the Jews of kidnapping a Christian child. Kielce’s residents descended on the Jewish area. Repeating a scene so familiar to these Jews, the police and soldiers stood by and watched as the mob attacked them, murdering 42 Holocaust survivors and injuring scores more. No one could blame the remaining Jews who saw no other option but to flee the place they wrongly believed they could find a measure of peace and freedom. This was the beginning of a mass emigration of Jewish survivors from Poland…

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





Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 1, 2018


Over the past decades, the abuse of the Holocaust has gradually increased. Rather unnoticed in the last year or two, however, the number of these distortions has grown at a far more rapid rate. Holocaust abuse has also permeated several additional areas of mainstream society. Manipulation of the truth may well become a substantial part of the Holocaust discourse. This is increasingly likely to occur as surviving Holocaust victims are aging. In an increasingly chaotic world it is difficult to see how this trend can be halted.


As the abuse of the Holocaust is not systematically monitored, hardly anyone realizes that the number of incidents has greatly increased. When I wrote The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses in 2009, it was still possible to categorize almost all distortions within eight distinct categories. Before that time, the focus in the media and the public domain had been on Holocaust denial. This is not the most extreme category of Holocaust abuse. Holocaust inversion is a more devious category. A major slogan used in this category is that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews.


Since 2009, not only the borders between categories of Holocaust abuse have diffused. There are also new variations. A particular devious one has been pointed out by Israeli genocide scholar Israel Charny. He has illustrated how Holocaust research departments at various universities, including Israeli ones, contain “a good number of scholars who indulge in Holocaust denials or minimization and are entirely bona fide according to all the rules and conventions of academia.”


Charny called the University of Sussex in the UK a “center of Holocaust distortion.” One scholar there published an article claiming that Hitler did not specifically target the Jews but “it was part of a larger program that disposed those who stood in the way of expanding German living space.” The distortion at universities also shows itself in far more primitive ways: “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was painted on a sidewalk at the University of California campus at Berkeley.


At the European Union in 2015, an official from Malta was accused of antisemitic hate speech and assault of an EU employee. He praised Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in a rant and attempted to strangle the woman whom he mistakenly assumed was Jewish. He said, “Dirty Jew… Hitler should have exterminated all the Jews, just as they today are exterminating the Palestinians.”


Chief Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs, the head of the Dutch Orthodox Rabbinate, says that when something happens in Israel, people shout at him, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” He also says that Dutch youngsters shouted “Heil Hitler” during one of his speeches at the memorial meeting for Dutch Holocaust victims. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party for the past two years, has frequently appeared publicly with Holocaust-denier Paul Eisen. The latter wrote that Corbyn has “attended every single one of his charity’s annual events and has even donated money to the group.”


A major Holocaust-distortion issue concerns Polish Holocaust revisionism. Since the beginning of this century, there have been major disclosures about massive crimes committed by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust. The two main scholars who have pointed this out are Jan Gross and Jan Grabowski. Grabowski states that his research shows that 200,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust by Poles. The Polish government is trying to deny these facts. Nor should one look away from the abuse of the Holocaust by Jews, which also seems to be on the increase. One of the most severe insults for a Jew is to accuse another Jew of being a Nazi. The Sephardic chief rabbi of Jerusalem and former chief rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, said that Reform Jews are worse than Holocaust deniers…

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






Ofer Aderet

Ha’aretz, Feb. 11, 2017


(Last year), the Polish-born historian Jan Grabowski won a lawsuit he filed against a Polish website. About 18 months earlier, the site had launched a savage attack on him under the headline, Sieg Heil, Mr. Grabowski, accompanied by a photograph of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. That followed the publication of a favorable report in a German newspaper about Grabowskis book Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland. The book describes the Polish populations involvement in turning in and murdering Jews who asked for their help during the Holocaust.


The editors of the right-wing site Fronda.pl criticized Grabowski for washing Poland’s dirty World War II laundry in full international view. But what upset the editors most was that the book drew praise in, of all places, Germany, which was responsible for the war. So, the argument went, if the Germans praise Grabowski, then Grabowski is a Nazi, Grabowski, 55, explained in an email interview with Haaretz from Ottawa, where he teaches.


Grabowski, whose father was a Holocaust survivor and whose research focuses on the crimes perpetrated by the Poles in the war, decided not to take it lying down. He won a lawsuit against the websites owner, Tadeusz Grzesik, last September. At the end of January, the owner lost the appeal as well; he was sentenced to do community service work, pay a fine of 3,000 zloty ($750) to Children of the Holocaust – an organization of Polish survivors who were children during the war – and to publish an apology.


As you can see, writing history in Poland, about Poland, is not boring at all, Grabowski said. On a more serious note, he added, as a Polish historian, I think that trying to cover up the less glorious aspects of our own national past – something that’s being done today in Poland with a lot of enthusiasm – is a crime against our profession. It is also unethical and, in the long run, counterproductive and silly. 


Grabowskis book was first published in his native land in 2011, and two years later in English, by Indiana University Press. A revised and expanded edition, in Hebrew translation, has now been published by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial authority in Jerusalem. The research underlying the book is the fruit of a three-year archival journey embarked upon by Grabowski in pursuit of a phenomenon called hunting for Jews. The term, which originates in the German word Judenjagd, refers to the murderous search for Jews who succeeded in escaping from the ghettos and sought haven from their compatriots in occupied Poland.


Grabowskis book concentrates on a rural region of southeastern Poland called Dabrowa Tarnowska. Of its population of 60,000 on the eve of the war, 5,000 were Jews, almost all of whom were deported to the death camp Belzec. Of 500 who managed to escape and hide among the Poles, only 38 survived the war. All the others, as Grabowski discovered, were betrayed and murdered in direct or indirect ways by their Polish neighbors. The events described in Hunt for the Jews, notes the historian Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands), constitute an inquiry into human behavior in dark times from which all can learn.


Drawing on Polish, Jewish and German records from the war and postwar periods, Grabowski was able to document the local populations involvement in turning over and murdering the Jews who sought their help – but also the heroism of Poles who tried to rescue their Jewish neighbors and sometimes paid for it with their lives. Between these two extremes, Grabowski also found more complex cases: of Poles who helped Jews not for altruistic and moral reasons, but out of greed. In this connection, his study challenges the prevailing opinion, according to which most of those who proffered help were righteous. He describes no few instances in which Poles saved Jews and then extorted money from them, and in some cases murdered them if they didnt get what they wanted.


That was the tragic story of Rywka Gluckmann and her two sons, who in 1942 were given shelter by Michal Kozik in Dabrowa Tarnowska county. Until a short time before the Russians entered the area and freed its citizens from the German occupation, he allowed them to remain in his house, as long as they paid him. But when the money ran out, he butchered all three with an ax. Jews who were hiding across the way heard the cries of people being murdered, and the next day they learned that the Gluckmanns were dead, as a local resident, Izaak Stieglitz, testified after the war.


A better fate befell a Jewish dentist, Jakub Glatsztern, who found shelter in the home of a Polish woman. When his money ran out, Grabowski writes, he turned to his last remaining option: He decided to extract one of his teeth, in the crown of which he had hidden a diamond. He asked the womans husband for pliers. He gave me old, rusty pliers. I had to remove the tooth together with the root, otherwise I risked breaking the diamond. So I removed the tooth with the root – without an injection, without a painkiller. I took it and said to her, Mrs. Karolak, here is the diamond. As long as I stay under your roof, you will feed me. For starters, she gave him a pork sandwich and some vodka.


Sexual exploitation and rape were also forms of payment that were sometimes included in the transaction between a Pole and a Jewish woman whom he saved. Testimony to that effect was given by Szejna Miriam L., a Jewish woman of 20. In June 1943, she was turned over to the Gestapo by the man who promised to save her. In her interrogation she related that the man, named Grabacz, promised to help and that very night he had intercourse with me. She gave him a diamond ring, a gold watch, a wedding ring and clothing, but the next day she was arrested by the Gestapo. Now I know that I am doomed and that Grabacz betrayed me, she told the Nazi interrogators before being sent to Auschwitz.


As Hunt for the Jews is published in Israel, a debate is raging in Poland about the role of the local population in the Holocaust. At its center is the question of whether the Poles were victims of the Nazis or collaborators with them, and where they are to be placed in terms of rescuers, murderers or bystanders in relation to the fate of their Jewish neighbors. Last month, in a visit to Israel, Polish President Andrzej Duda referred extensively to the dark chapters in the Polish peoples past. A member of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party, he was elected in part on the basis of his promise to introduce a new strategy in history policy – namely, to rebuff those who falsely accuse the Poles of participating in the Holocaust, as he put it…

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





Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2018


Listening to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset was a euphoric experience. Pence is a devout evangelical Christian who regards America’s religious commitment as a crucial component of the administration’s policy. He genuinely believes that God will bless those who promote the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people. President Donald Trump’s deputy gave an address affirming the United States’ love of Israel and vindicating the Jewish people’s Zionist vision based on our biblical and historical vision and the spiritual bonds we share.


He stressed that the administration still sought to facilitate a peace settlement but asserted that ultimately, the parties must negotiate directly with each other. He reiterated Trump’s warning that if the Palestinians refused to negotiate with Israel, Abbas would not succeed with such behavior. As Trump pointed out, the days of free lunches are over and the Palestinians will no longer be able to take for granted that the billions of dollars of U.S. aid would continue pouring in to support them. More importantly, the entire UNRWA operation was being reviewed on the supposition that vast funds were being channeled into a bottomless pit which was financing incitement against Israel and no effort had been made to integrate the ever-growing number of refugees and their descendants – but instead they had been exploited as a vehicle with which to destroy Israel.


The policy of the Trump administration as expressed by Pence is a stark contrast to the Barack Obama era, when at best Israel and the Palestinians were portrayed in terms of moral equivalence, even as Abbas openly flaunted his incitement by praising and rewarding killers and their families – an abomination simply ignored by the U.S. Pence declared that “we stand with Israel because we believe your cause is our cause, your values are our values and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”


This was accompanied by pledges of support and renewed commitments by the U.S. to opening a Jerusalem embassy next year. He also guaranteed that the U.S. would never acquiesce to the “disaster” of a nuclear-armed Iran. No American leader has ever spoken to or about Israel in this manner. It signaled the end, at least for the time being, of the daylight Obama created between the U.S. and Israel. It was thus apt of Pence to recite the blessing “shehecheyanu vekiymanu vehigi’anu lazman hazeh,” thanking God for granting us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this occasion.


Setting aside the Joint Arab List MKs who were ejected from the Knesset after trying to provoke an incident with the vice president and Meretz representatives who remained seated, almost the entire Knesset unanimously cheered him and provided repeated standing ovations. Aside from the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was the first real instance of a display of near-total unity in the Knesset toward a foreign statesman since the division of the nation over the Oslo Accords…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic Links


Poland’s Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism Run Far Deeper Than Just Its Latest Controversial Law: Benjamin Gladstone, Tablet, Jan. 30, 2018—Just before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the lower house of the Polish parliament voted in favor of a bill that condemns anyone who acknowledges Polish complicity in the Holocaust to up to three years in prison.

‘Germany Was Always Antisemitic, That Hasn’t Changed Much:’ Holocaust Survivor Stuns German TV Viewers With Candid Answer: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 30, 2018—A 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz stunned the viewers of one of Germany’s most popular political talk shows on Sunday night when — asked to compare the Nazi era with the situation today — she asserted that the two periods had more in common than many people may care to admit.

When a French Ambassador Described Israel as a 'Sh—y Little Country' – and Polite Society Defended Him: Tom Gross, Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2018—Donald Trump’s reference to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “s—hole countries” has rightly been condemned the world over.

Google Partners with Anti-Semitic Islamists: Steven Emerson, IPT News, Jan. 30, 2018—Why are Google and YouTube sponsoring a day-long symposium featuring a roster of speakers including known Islamist anti-Semites, as well as known militant Islamists who are long time Israel bashers and Hamas supporters? And why are Google and YouTube providing a forum for Islamists who approve of Sharia-imposed "death by stoning?"








Why They Keep Leaving Jews Out of the Holocaust: Rafael Medoff, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017— The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews.

An Antisemitic Smear Gets Another Hearing: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Oct. 9, 2017— Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore.

Out of Bethlehem: Mitri Raheb's Empire of Lies: Dexter Van Zile, Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017 — Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate.

Poland 2017: Tears And Tribute: Ettie Kryksman, Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017— In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return.


On Topic Links


Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017

France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017

I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017





Rafael Medoff

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017


The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews. Unfortunately, Canadian Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly has compounded the original error, by announcing that the new plaque will acknowledge “the six million Jews, as well as the five million other victims, that were murdered during the Holocaust.”


There is, in fact, no historical basis for that “five million” figure. Yet it keeps cropping up, cited by people who apparently assume it’s true just because a lot of other people keep saying it is. After critics blasted the Trump administration for neglecting to mention Jews in its January 2017 statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, White House spokesperson Hope Hicks said the administration was trying to be “inclusive of all those who suffered.” She then provided a link to a Huffington Post UK article titled “The Holocaust’s Forgotten Victims: the 5 Million Non-Jewish People Killed by the Nazis.”


A busy White House spokesperson doesn’t have time to start researching Holocaust statistics. That’s understandable. Evidently she assumed a reputable news outlet would not run such an article without basic fact-checking. Also understandable. But she was mistaken. The author of the article was Louise Ridley, an assistant news editor at HuffPost UK who specializes in “media, social affairs and gender,” according to her tag line.


Ridley described some of the groups that were persecuted, in differing degrees, by the Nazis, such as gays, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. Her list also included “communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, trade unionists, and resistance fighters.” And she pointed out that the Nazis murdered several thousand priests. The Nazis also murdered millions of Polish civilians and Soviet prisoners of war. In fact, the total number of non-Jews killed by the Hitler regime far surpasses five million. But none of that was part of the Holocaust.


The Germans murdered a lot of innocent people, for a variety of reasons. But the only ones who were targeted for complete annihilation, and whom the Nazis hunted down, in country after country, for the sole purpose of murdering them, were the Jews. The term “Holocaust” was coined to refer to that specific historical event. Don’t blame Louise Ridley or Hope Hicks for the confusion. It was Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi-hunter, who was first responsible for spreading the “five million” figure. Confronted many years ago by Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, Wiesenthal said he invented the idea of “five million non-Jewish victims” because he thought it would help get non-Jews more interested in the Holocaust. One can understand Wiesenthal’s concern. But he chose the wrong way to address it.


The President’s Commission on the Holocaust, appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1978 and chaired by Elie Wiesel, specifically warned against “any attempt to dilute” the Jewish nature of the Holocaust “in the name of misguided universalism.” But the Wiesenthal formulation appealed to White House aides who liked the idea of making the Holocaust more ecumenical, even at the price of historical accuracy. As a result, Carter’s October 1979 executive order establishing the US Holocaust Memorial Council – which then created the US Holocaust Memorial Museum – referred to the Holocaust as “the systematic and State-sponsored extermination of six million Jews and some five million other peoples by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.”


Prof. Walter Reich, former executive director of the US Holocaust Museum, has written, “And so the executive order… officially defined the Holocaust in a way that realized Wiesel’s great fear – that the Holocaust would be defined as an event in which 11 million people, six million Jews and five million non-Jews, had been killed, and that the crucial distinction between the planned and systematic extermination of all Jews on racial grounds, and the killing of civilian non-Jews on, say, political grounds – in response to resistance, or because of acts of collective reprisal or brutality – would be lost.”


Simon Wiesenthal picked a number of non-Jewish victims that was high enough to seem substantial but still a little less than the number of Jewish victims. He thought that formulation would still keep Jews as the primary focus. Evidently he didn’t realize how easy it would be for someone – even an American or Canadian government official – to slide down the slippery slope from “a Holocaust of Jews and non-Jews,” to a Holocaust without Jews at all. It’s just not that far from a Holocaust of everybody to a Holocaust of nobody in particular.                                                           





                                        Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, Oct. 9, 2017


Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore. Plame gained fame due to her unmasking, which occurred when her husband was a prominent critic of the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq war policy. But her status as a liberal icon took a hit when she retweeted an antisemitic polemic that claimed that Jews were responsible for pushing the US into wars in the Middle East for Israel’s sake.


Plame defended the piece, before eventually issuing a weasel-worded apology that further damaged her reputation. But the interesting aspect of this incident was the way that some critics of Israel sought to disassociate their attacks on the Jewish state from the sort of antisemitic invective that Plame had promoted. The Washington Post’s Molly Roberts, for example, whined that Plame’s open hate discredited an otherwise reasonable argument about Israel and its friends playing the puppet master on unsuspecting Americans.


While almost all of the attention devoted to antisemitism in the weeks since the Charlottesville incident has been devoted to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, Roberts was unhappy that the attention devoted to Plame changed the narrative to one about the “intolerant left” and because it undermined her desire to have a debate about “the outsize role Israel plays in American foreign policy.” But the problem is that those who single out Israel and its supporters traffic in age-old antisemitic themes that cannot be disguised as scholarship or legitimate debate.


What Roberts seems to want is a rehashing of the “Israel Lobby” thesis, which was promoted by authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt a decade ago. They claimed that Israel and its supporters, especially the AIPAC lobby, were buying the votes of members of Congress to do Israel’s bidding — and that this was harming the best interests of Americans. As it happens, Walt resurfaced this week with an article in The Forward, in which he claimed that “history proved us right” — and defended his smears against the pro-Israel community.


But the “Israel Lobby” thesis was based on two big lies. One was that, in Walt and Mearsheimer’s telling, the effort to impose the pro-Israel agenda on America was a conspiracy so vast that it contradicted the authors’ premise that a minority was manipulating a majority. Since most Americans support Israel and view it as a fellow democracy with common values, the claim that the Jewish tail is wagging the American dog is absurd. Second, the nature of Walt and Mearsheimer’s arguments hinged on antisemitic stereotypes about Jews buying influence or manipulating unsuspecting gentiles. The focus on the Israel “lobby” as the greatest force in US politics was also a distortion that ignored the work of other, more powerful lobbies. Singling out Israel and its supporters in this manner betrayed an agenda that was built on prejudice, not a defense of American interests.


While Walt continues to deny the antisemitic nature of his work, it is telling that in his Forward article, he cited — among other things — the rise of Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that engages in openly antisemitic and anti-Zionist incitement, as proof that his stand was correct. He and Roberts ignore the reality of the Mideast conflict, in which a Palestinian political culture rejects peace on any terms, and where Israel’s destruction is the only genuine obstacle to the conflict’s resolution.


While most Jews are still focused on President Donald Trump’s wrongheaded comments about Charlottesville, the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly hostile to Israel. After eight years during which President Barack Obama’s efforts to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government only worsened the conflict with the Palestinians — and Obama’s appeasement of Iran drove Sunni Arab states into the arms of the Israelis — talk of a suppressed debate about the Jewish state’s disproportionate influence in the US is ridiculous.


But now that we have a president who, despite other obvious faults, isn’t obsessed with the idea of “saving Israel from itself” or empowering an Iranian regime that is as much of a threat to the US and the Arab states as it is to Israel,it’s unsurprising that some on the left want to revive this dishonest discussion. In the 10 years since The Israel Lobby was first published, a rising tide of antisemitism has swept across the globe, fueled in part by smears of Israel and Jews — just like the ones that Walt has helped spread. That is an indictment of his work, not a vindication. Those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining US interests without being rightly labeled as antisemites aren’t fooling anyone.




OUT OF BETHLEHEM: MITRI RAHEB'S EMPIRE OF LIES                                                           

Dexter Van Zile

Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017


Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate. He did not celebrate the attack per se, but the mass protests that convinced the Israeli government to remove metal detectors it installed near the Temple Mount after the murders.


Raheb posted a video montage of his July 27, 2017 visit to Al Aqsa, two days after the attack. The montage, which was posted on Youtube and broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, shows Raheb standing arm-in-arm with other Palestinian pastors and paying his respects to Muslim leaders outside the mosque. In a Tweet linking to the montage, Raheb declared that his visit to Al Aqsa — where imams regularly spout hatred against Jews — was an “unforgettable night … demonstrating faith in the space of Empire and Christian-Muslim unity as a tool of creative resistance.” In response, one of Raheb’s fans declared the Lutheran Pastor from Bethlehem a Palestinian “national treasure.”


Most Christian peacemakers would consider it bad form to engage in exultant displays of solidarity with a political movement that uses anti-Jewish violence and hatred as a unifying agenda, but Raheb has been offering displays like this for years. From Raheb’s perspective as an anti-Israel agitator and approval-seeking dhimmi, his visit to Al Aqsa was a smashing success. It allowed him an opportunity to shroud jihadist violence behind veils of “creative resistance” and inter-religious “unity” between Christians and Muslims – never mind that the unity he lauded is rooted in a shared contempt for Jews and their state.


Raheb’s rhetoric was almost enough to make people forget that the drama surrounding metal detectors at the Temple Mount began with Palestinian terrorists shooting two unsuspecting Israeli police officers — one of them a father of a newborn baby — at close range, killing them. If Hail Stawi and Kaamil Snaan had not been ambushed by murderers who had been lying in wait for them on the Temple Mount, no metal detectors would have been installed, no protests would have taken place, and Raheb would have no “creative resistance” to celebrate.


The entire drama surrounding the metal detectors, and the murders that served as its opening act, were not rooted in a desire for freedom or self-determination for Palestinians, but in the unifying agenda of anti-Jewish hate, making the spectacle of Raheb’s visit — and his social media campaign drawing attention to it — ghoulish and horrifying. As a pastor, he should have been mourning the hatred that drove the drama he was participating in, but there he was fanning its flames — on the same stone pavement where the attack unfolded.


Instead of trying to calm and challenge the anti-Israel hostility that unaccountable Palestinian elites have used to stay in power for decades, Raheb aligned himself with it to stay in the good graces with the corrupt authoritarian kleptocrats who control the West Bank.


It’s good work if you can get it. Because of his ties and utility to the Palestinian Authority, Raheb has been able to build something of an empire in the West Bank. In addition to serving many years as pastor at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem (a position now held by Munther Isaac), Raheb is founder and president of the Diyar Consortium, a non-profit that provides social services to people in the West Bank. He is also founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, often described as the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. An empire like this — which includes a medical center, a cultural center and a publishing house — cannot be built in the West Bank without the support of the Palestinian Authority, which does not come free.


Because of his entrepreneurial ways, Raheb was able to establish the college on land previously owned by Lutheran missionaries from Germany and which the British had confiscated during World War I. The land eventually fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Yassir Arafat. Raheb approached Arafat with architectural plans prepared by a prominent architect and asked for the land back so he could start his college. “With some arm-twisting, we were able to get at least six acres back of that land,” Raheb told an American audience in 2016. “Arafat said, ‘OK, you have to prove that the first building will be up and running because many people want that piece of land.’ It’s really prime land.” These days the college has five buildings.


To support the college and other institutions in Bethlehem, Raheb has founded a U.S. charity, Bright Stars of Bethlehem. Between 2009 and 2015 the charity raised a total of $5.5 million, helping Raheb’s empire of non-profits become the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. Like all empires, Raheb’s promotes a story that legitimizes its existence to itself and to its core constituents, which in this case are proponents of Israel’s destruction in Palestinian society and anti-Zionist activists in North America and Europe.


Raheb needs the support of both groups to maintain his empire in the West Bank. The first group — Israel haters in Palestinian society — allow him to function as a Christian in the West Bank and the second group — Israel haters in the West — provide him with the funds he needs to maintain his empire financially. Both of these groups use anti-Israel hostility as an instrument to achieve and maintain status in their respective societies. Raheb simply gives them the story they need to justify their hostility.


An important aspect of this story, which was on display during his visit to the Temple Mount, is that Israeli violence against the Palestinians is highlighted and condemned while Palestinian violence is ignored or hidden behind a veil of euphemism and obfuscation. This narrative has been the bread and butter of Palestinian Christian propaganda for quite some time. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, was an earlier (but not the first) purveyor of this story, which Raheb has propounded for years.


This narrative is clearly evident in Raheb’s 2004 book, Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble (Fortress Press). In this text, the pastor from Bethlehem tells the story of Israel’s 2002 invasion of the West Bank, which began on April 2 of that year. He talks about the tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters that Israel sent into to the West Bank and he describes the destruction wreaked upon the church where he was pastor…

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




Ettie Kryksman

Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017


In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return. It was a somber march to the end of the path where a huge memorial pit gave testimony to unspeakable atrocities. Walking through this forest we tried to but could not fathom the thoughts of those innocent souls whose footsteps still resound in the Lupochowa forest.


The entire Jewish community of Tykocin marched down this path to their deaths. Men, women, and children all passed these trees, fearing but not knowing their final destination – until they came to a huge clearing where there was no place left to go. The forest surely trembled as the trees stood in muted silence while the Nazis’ methodical campaign of death by bullets was carried out. Within minutes an entire village was exterminated.


I am a child of Holocaust survivors. I know what the Nazis did to my family and to the Jewish people. Everyone in my mother’s family was killed. I have never seen my grandparents. I have no photographs or family mementos from grandparents, aunts, or uncles. I always wondered what my grandparents looked like. I will never know. Why, people asked me, would I want to go on a trip to Poland? It’s so depressing. It’s too hard to bear. You already know what happened. Why go there? And yet, until I walked through the woods where an entire town was wiped out, until I stood in a forest just outside Tarnow, where 900 children were killed, I felt there was no way I could pay proper tribute to their memories.


We stared silently at a memorial where those hundreds of children were shot. Dolls and flowers had been placed there, commemorating those precious children, snatched from their parents in the cruelest of ways. We thought of our own children and grandchildren and realized how fortunate we are to have them. We cried as we imagined the confusion, the terror, the abject fear of those precious souls before they were killed. It was impossible to comprehend that this had really happened. And yet, in that place of unspeakable horror, the inconceivable did happen. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, stand today as memorials to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people fewer than eight decades ago. In each of the death camps, as were led by our tour guide, Rabbi Michael Olshin from Israel, we said Kaddish and made Keil Molehs.


It was the month of Elul and a member of our tour group had brought a shofar. We somberly remembered our grandparents and entire families who perished there as we listened to the cries of the shofar piercing the silence, assuring the souls surrounding us that we attest, here and now, that they will never be forgotten. Yet amid all the memories of an almost lost generation, new life rises from the ashes. We have come back with a promise fulfilled; a promise for the future. We have continued to build. Our families have continued to grow. We have not succumbed. We have not been defeated. We have not been reduced to relics of a once vibrant people. We are alive and thriving, Baruch Hashem. At each memorial we were uplifted by the sight of the blue and white flags of the state of Israel, placed there as reminders: “Never again.”


We will continue to visit, though our hearts are heavy and our tears flow freely. So, yes, the trip is an emotional and difficult journey, but at the very least those who perished merit our prayers and our tears. We came to tell them they are not forgotten and did not die in vain…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017—Rarely do local Canadian events receive widespread “real-time” attention in Europe, America and Israel, with coverage in top-tier media, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC.

France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017—The French admissions of Holocaust guilt, which came many decades too late, are currently being contested by important French politicians. This year the truth of contemporary France as the legal successor of the Vichy regime was denied by two extremist candidates in the presidential elections, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon.

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017—On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths.

I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017—Landing in Israel was an experience like no other. I’d heard about the feeling of arriving at Ben Gurion from friends and colleagues I have met since founding the Pakistan Israel Alliance, but I certainly didn’t expect it to feel like this.







The Shofar's Call: Yom Kippur 5778: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017 — The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows…

Yom Kippur Thoughts: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017— Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment.

From Poland to Lithuania: A Writer’s Search for Her Jewish Past: Charly Wilder, New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017— I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake.

On Becoming an American: Ben Cohen, JNS, Sept. 20, 2017— This week, I became an American citizen.


On Topic Links


Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017



Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017


In Loving Memory of Malca z”l


The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows

The long-drawn call for all humanity!

A call for peace that’s yet to be

Addressed to all humanity.


Within the little synagogue the lights are dim

We hear the shofar sound–

Piercing a silence that seems

To pray, for you and me, its call

A prayer for you and all.


A call for a peace yet to be,

A long-drawn note to all humanity:

The tone resounds,

And mankind knows

It is the call for love,

For a humanness yet to be…


All around the air is hushed!

We hear the shofar’s blast redound:

From my heart, may peace abound!


(Baruch Cohen, CIJR’s Research Chairman, will soon be celebrating his 98th birthday)





Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017


Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known by Him. But it begins in the strangest of ways.


Kol Nidre, the prayer that heralds the evening service and the beginning of the sanctity of the day, is the key that unlocks the Jewish heart. Its melody is haunting. As the cantor sings, we hear in that ancient tune the deepest music of the Jewish soul, elegiac yet striving, pained but resolute, the song of those who knew that to believe is to suffer and still to hope, the music of our ancestors that stretches out to us from the past and enfolds us in its cadences, making us and them one. The music is sublime. Tolstoy called it a melody that “echoes the story of the great martyrdom of a grief-stricken nation.” Beethoven came close to it in the most otherworldly and austere of his compositions, the sixth movement of the C Sharp Minor Quartet, opus 131. The music is pure poetry but the words are prosaic prose.


Kol Nidre means “all vows.” The passage itself is not a prayer at all, but a dry legal formula annulling in advance all vows, oaths and promises between us and God in the coming year. Nothing could be more incongruous, less apparently in keeping with the solemnity of the day. Indeed, for more than a thousand years there have been attempts to remove it from the liturgy. Why annul vows? Better, as the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis argued, not to make them in the first place if they could not be kept. Besides, though Jewish law admits the possibility of annulment, it does so only after patient examination of individual cases. To do so globally for the whole community was difficult to justify.


From the eighth century onwards we read of gaonim, rabbinic leaders, who condemned the prayer and sought to have it abolished. Five centuries later a new note of concern was added. In the Christian-Jewish disputation in Paris in 1240, the Christian protagonist Nicholas Donin attacked Kol Nidre as evidence that Jews did not feel themselves bound by their word, a claim later repeated by anti-Semitic writers. In vain, Jews explained that the prayer had nothing to do with promises between man and man. It referred only to private commitments between man and God. All in all, it was and is a strange way to begin the holiest of days.


Yet the prayer survived all attempts to have it dislodged. One theory, advanced by Joseph Bloch in I917 and adopted by Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, is that it had its origins in the forced conversion of Spanish Jews to Christianity under the Visigoths in the seventh century. These Jews, the first Marranos, publicly abandoned their faith rather than face torture and death, but they remained Jews in secret. On the Day of Atonement they made their way back to the synagogue and prayed to have their vow of conversion annulled. Certainly some such reason lies behind the declaration immediately prior to Kol Nidre in which the leaders of prayer solemnly grant permission “by the authority of the heavenly and earthly court” for “transgressors” to join the congregation in prayer. This was a lifting of the ban of excommunication against Jews who, during the year, had been declared to have placed themselves outside the community. That, surely, is the significance of Kol Nidre in the Jewish imagination. It is the moment when the doors of belonging are opened, and when those who have been estranged return.


The Hebrew word teshuvah, usually translated as “penitence,” in fact means something else: returning, retracing our steps, coming home. It belongs to the biblical vision in which sin means dislocation, and punishment is exile: Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden, Israel’s exile from its land. A sin is an act that does not belong, one that transgresses the moral boundaries of the world. One who acts in ways that do not belong eventually finds that he does not belong. Increasingly he places himself outside the relationships – of family, community and of being at one with history – that make him who he is. The most characteristic sense of sin is less one of guilt than of being lost. Teshuvah means finding your way back home again.


That, on this night of nights, is what Jews do. The synagogue is full of the faces of those who rarely visit it. During the year – albeit less dramatically than their medieval predecessors – they may have been Marranos, hidden Jews. They have worn other masks, carried different identities. But on Yom Kippur night the music of Kol Nidre has spoken to them and they have said: here is where I belong. Among my people and its faith. I am a Jew. In ancient Israel, there were holy places. The land itself was holy. Holier still was the city of Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem the holiest site was the Temple. Within the Temple was the supremely sacred place known as the Holy of Holies. There was holy time. There were the festivals. Above them was the Sabbath, the day God himself declared holy. Above even that was the one day in the year known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths, the most holy day of all: the Day of Atonement.


There were holy people. Israel was called “a holy nation.” Among them was a tribe of special sanctity, the Levites, and within it were individuals who were holier still, the kohanim (priests). Among them was one person who was supremely holy, the high priest. In ancient times the holiest man entered the holiest place on the holiest day of the year and sought atonement for his people. Then the Temple was destroyed. Jerusalem lay in ruins. Devastated, too, was the spiritual life of Israel. There were no sacrifices and no high priest. None of the rites of the Day of Atonement, spelled out in the Book of Leviticus, could be performed. How then could sins be purged and the people of Israel annually restore their relationship with God?


One saying has come down to us from that time, a sentence that rescued Judaism from the ruins. Its author, Rabbi Akiva, lived through the destruction. His early years were spent as an illiterate shepherd. Tradition tells us that he fell in love with Rachel, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem. She agreed to marry him on condition that he studied and became a Torah scholar. Her father disinherited her, but she remained devoted to Akiva, who eventually became the supreme scholar of his day and one of the architects of rabbinic Judaism. He died, a martyr, at the hands of the Romans.


Rabbi Akiva was a remarkable man. It was at his insistence that the Song of Songs was included in the biblical canon. He framed a number of enactments to foster love as the basis of marriage. He said, “Beloved is mankind, for it is created in the image of God,” and declared that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the fundamental principle of Judaism. But above all he could see through catastrophe. When others wept at the destruction of the Temple, Rabbi Akiva preserved a spirit of hope, saying that since it had been prophesied, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which had also been prophesied, would also come to pass. “Whatever God does is for the best.” About the Day of Atonement he said this: “Happy are you, O Israel! Before whom are you purified and who purifies you? Your Father in heaven, as it is said: ‘And I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be purified’ ” (Ezekiel 36:25).


Israel did not need a Temple or a high priest to secure atonement. It had lost its holiest place and person. But it still had the day itself: holy time. On that day every place becomes a holy place and every person a holy individual standing directly before God. By turning to Him in teshuvah it is as if we had brought an offering in the Temple, because God hears every cry that comes from the heart. When there is no high priest to mediate between Israel and God, we speak to God directly and he accepts our prayer. So it has been for almost two thousand years.


So we fast and remove our shoes and dress in white shrouds. We spend the day in prayer and confession as if each of us stood in the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem, because God heeds not who or where we are, but how we live. And though we no longer have a Temple and its offerings, we have something that is no less a powerful prayer: the “service of the heart.” Hear our voice, Lord our God, Have pity and compassion on us, And with compassion and favor accept our prayer…

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




A WRITER’S SEARCH FOR HER JEWISH PAST                                                          

Charly Wilder

New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017


I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake. I had been walking with a guide and an interpreter, both Polish men in late middle age, through Makow Mazowiecki, a small town about 45 miles north of Warsaw. This was where two of my great-grandparents were born in the late 19th century, when Jews made up nearly half the local population.


Like the vast majority of American Jews, I descend from Yiddish-speaking Europeans who settled along the Rhine River around the first millennium. Known as Ashkenazi Jews (Ashkenazi being an old term for German), they later moved to the edges of the Russian Empire, the so-called Pale of Settlement, an area spanning much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldova, where Jews were allowed to reside.


All eight of my great-grandparents immigrated around the turn of the century from the Pale to the United States. They settled in New Jersey, where my father grew up, and Kansas City, Mo., where my mother, and later my brothers and I, were raised among the mowed lawns and flush supermarkets of Midwestern suburbia. “They lived in shtetls,” my parents would say, using the Yiddish diminutive for town. “Backward, mud-caked, poverty-stricken little villages surrounded by anti-Semites.” Or something along those lines.


It wasn’t until recently, after a decade of living in Europe, that I decided to find out more about my ancestors, to travel to the places they were from and see what, if anything, remained of the shtetl world they had left behind. In this, I wasn’t alone. Jewish heritage tourism has been growing steadily since the fall of the Iron Curtain, when the former Pale of Settlement began to open up to Western tourists. The influx of foreign interest has encouraged a re-examination of Jewish history, especially in larger urban centers. New museums, most notably Warsaw’s phenomenal Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, but also smaller institutions throughout Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic nations, cater to visitors of Eastern European Jewish descent.


“It’s a tremendous change,” said Tomasz Cebulski, a Polish Holocaust scholar whom I contacted early in my heritage quest. “Within the last 25 years in this country, it’s like day and night,” said Mr. Cebulski, whose company, Polin Travel, offers Jewish heritage tours and genealogical services. He attributes the change partly to the lifting of taboos around discussion of Judaism and the Holocaust — but also to growing interest in ancestral research. In addition to hundreds of booming genealogical resources like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, there are numerous sites geared to Jews, most notably JewishGen, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the New York-based Museum of Jewish Heritage, with more than 20 million records and links to country-specific Jewish record archives, like Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland.org).


But like most genealogical quests, mine started the old-fashioned way, through talking to relatives. My mother knew a few facts. Samuel Frank Wengrover, her maternal grandfather, was a tailor from Makow Mazowiecki. After arriving in New York around the turn of the century, he moved to Alabama and opened a tailor shop. It was almost immediately burned down by Klansmen types. “So he picked up and moved to Kansas City and tried it again,” my mother said. My father knew that his mother’s family, the Russaks, moved around the same time from Lodz, Poland, to the Jewish section of Paterson, N.J. The whole family had once been Orthodox, but had forsaken religion and “turned into Communists.” Of his father’s Lithuanian parents, he knew almost nothing.


I set up an account on Ancestry.com and began building a tree, adding facts the website extracted from now-digitized public records. At the same time, I started reaching out through the JewishGen databases to people who had searched similar name-and-place combinations. That’s where I found Kathy Herman. I had never heard of her, but she turned out to be my second cousin on the Russak side. Her grandfather, Benny, was the brother of my great-grandfather Joe. She was the first to tell me the names of their parents: Moishe Meyer Russak and Mindel Stetin. “Family lore is that she was raped by a Cossack, and my grandfather killed the guy,” she wrote in an email. “They hanged my grandfather by his hair (I don’t even really know what that means), and then the Russaks had to get Benny out fast.” That, Kathy said, is why the Russaks moved to the United States. Not exactly “Fievel Goes West,” but I was hooked. She had two addresses in Lodz where the Russaks had lived. Armed with these anecdotal scraps and scant genealogical documents, I was off. Old Country or bust.


In Warsaw I met a man who has been working for decades as a fixer for Jewish visitors researching their Polish roots. It’s a job that often stirs resentment in Poland, especially since the current right-wing government came to power, said the fixer, a retiree with kind eyes and a talkative, disheveled demeanor who asked that his identity be concealed. Widespread anti-Semitism persists, he said, and there is fear, especially in remote, provincial areas — shtetl country — that the descendants of Polish Jews will come back and claim their stolen property. “Keep in mind that Poland before the Second World War was like the United States. We had a huge mixture of minorities, and the Jews made up 10 percent of the prewar Polish population,” he said, as we drove past fields of black currants, lindens and the occasional roadside taverns, until we reached Plock…

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



ON BECOMING AN AMERICAN                                           

                                                          Ben Cohen        

JNS, Sept. 20, 2017


This week, I became an American citizen. As I intently studied my naturalization certificate after the oath-taking ceremony, it struck me how fortunate I am to be accepted into this nation on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, of all occasions. I should stress that my own story is rather routine and uninteresting. I came to the US from the United Kingdom with my family, I had a job and a home in New York, and as the years went by, I progressed from a work visa to a “green card” to full citizenship. Along the way, I did nothing more dramatic than fill out lots of forms and attend periodic interviews with immigration officials.


But there were 199 other people in the room with me, from 60 different countries, and with vastly different experiences that, nonetheless, led us all to this single moment. As I wound my way to my seat, climbing as delicately as possible over the outstretched knees and handbags on the narrow floor between the rows in the auditorium, I said hello to individuals I learned were originally from New Zealand, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines. When we went up to the stage to collect our naturalization certificates, it felt as if the entire world had been locked in the embrace of American democracy: a fellow from Cote d’Ivoire, another from Mali, a young woman from Bangladesh, an older woman from Ukraine, even a couple of people from Israel, just moments after we all swore the same oath of allegiance before the same flag.


For me, taking the oath was the most powerful part of the ceremony — the clearest reminder that America is built upon the idea of liberty, and the most compelling signal to all of us present we were now participants in the American republic. Consider, if you will, the last clause of the oath: “…and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” Is there any pithier expression of the idea that we are, as humans, bestowed with individual consciousness, along with an innate ability to think and speak freely and make our own decisions, so long as the circumstances allow? Does any country represent and respect that idea better than the United States?


More than two centuries after the American Revolution, we accept this idea as commonplace. But that ceremony reminded me of just how revolutionary it is. Thomas Paine — a son of Norfolk, England, who came to these shores in 1774 — wrote in his splendid pamphlet, “Common Sense,” that the “independence of America, considered merely as separation from England, would have been but a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments.”


These principles have been considered utopian, but I believe they also reveal a fundamental truth about how humans should be governed. We are imperfect, we are selfish, we will always clash, but we have as well common principles and common beliefs that bring us together — the task of government, therefore, is to reconcile those two poles in a manner that is lawful and liberal in the classical sense of that term. For all the bitterness of our current politics, who wants to live in a society where beliefs and opinions are imposed from above? I’d rather be free to pick my way through the drek of social media than have my access blocked by the government. I’d rather be free to express disappointment in the society I live in — silly and unjustified or eloquent and persuasive — than be compelled by my rulers to toe the line. That is a key element of the historic promise the US continues to offer.


In his speech to the UN on Tuesday, President Donald Trump quoted John Adams, the second US president, observing the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” That collective sense of freedom — which breeds furiously divergent opinions, rather than dull uniformity — is what led the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville to note in 1831 that America’s free press contained “such a strange mixture of good and evil that, without its presence, freedom could not thrive and with its presence good order could hardly survive.”


That ever-present tension, perhaps, is part of freedom’s very nature ­– yet as the years have progressed, “good order” has become more stable at no discernible cost to our revolutionary liberties. And it’s that same good order that allows us to take for granted what our forefathers in foreign lands certainly did not: the right to spend a peaceful Rosh Hashanah with one’s family in a land with no established religion. This year, I will do that as an American for the very first time. Shanah Tovah.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters an Easy Fast & Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic Links



Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017—1. Yom Kippur is one of the six main annual Jewish fasting days: (a) The 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei is Yom Kippur, an annual day of repentance for one’s misconduct toward fellow human-beings – in order to minimize future missteps – the cleansing of one’s behavior, recognition of one’s fallibilities, forgiveness of fellow human-beings’ misconduct.

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017—It's become a Rosh Hashanah tradition for newspapers to publish lists of the "most influential" or "most prominent" Jews. The lists are mainly a potpourri of the wealthy, powerful, organizationally well-positioned or pop-culture famous.

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017—External threats to our existence as Israelis create an awareness of a common fate. It is tempting to focus on such threats, because they provide a comfort zone in which security-political experts can ask the familiar question: how will we continue to defend our existence over the coming year? By concentrating on this question, we have found a way to repress basic questions about Israeli identity.

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017—Seven years ago, Shadrach Mugoya Levi drove three hours from his rural village of Magada in the Namutumba District of Uganda to find a woman named Naomi. His friends had insisted he meet her. When he arrived at her house, her mother answered the door and said: “No, my daughter is too young.”








Our Latest Fallen Soldier: Terry Glavin, National Post, Nov. 11, 2015 — “Today they kill us. Tomorrow they kill you.”

A Call for Unity and Expressing Outrage: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Nov. 11, 2015 — The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages.

American ‘Israel Advocacy’ Needs to Change: Gideon Drucker, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2015 — 23 years old, after finishing a university degree, becoming professionally licensed in my field, and seeing my long-awaited future becoming a reality, I felt a pull to Jerusalem in my soul whose light could not be diminished.


The Crime and the Silence,’ by Anna Bikont: Louis Begley, New York Times, Nov. 4, 2015— On July 10, 1941, in Jedwabne, a town of roughly 3,000 inhabitants in northeastern Poland, a mob of Catholics murdered most of their Jewish neighbors.


On Topic Links


Kurdish Unit Honours Canadian Who Died Fighting ISIL: ‘We Lost Our Daring and Courageous Companion’: Stewart Bell, National Post, Nov. 8, 2015

You Won’t Hear This on the Evening News About Israel: Jonathan Feldstein, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 9, 2015  

1920. The Year the Palestinian Identity Was Created: Youtube, May 21, 2009

Balfour Declaration was “Legal Birth Certificate” of Israel, says Dershowitz: Jenni Frazer, Jewish News, Nov. 4, 2015




Terry Glavin                                               

National Post, Nov. 11, 2015


“Today they kill us. Tomorrow they kill you.” That was one of the more stirring slogans shouted by some of the at least 10,000 marchers in Kabul, Afghanistan, just a few hours before the pipes began trilling and the dignitaries began laying their wreaths for the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.


The Kabul demonstration was a sobering reminder that the gallant cause for which 158 Canadian Forces members gave their lives in Afghanistan was not won when the last contingent returned home last year. Nor did that cause begin for Canadians only 12 years earlier, with the first deployment of Joint Task Force 2 in the weeks following Al-Qaida’s attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.


It’s an older, civilizational struggle. It recognizes no borders and allows no innocent bystanders. It pits the liberty of the individual and the legacy of the Enlightenment against theocratic barbarism and police-state totalitarianism, and it is a rare thing for a Canadian to articulate that understanding of the war now underway around the world with such moral clarity as has 32-year-old John Robert Gallagher from Wheatley, Ont.


Gallagher, formerly of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was killed last week in Northern Syria while fighting alongside Kurdish partisans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In an essay he wrote before setting off for Kurdistan in May, Gallagher explained why he was going. “We are all on the front lines of this conflict, whether we know it or not,” Gallagher wrote. The war is unfolding not only in faraway places, but is also a terror that is enfeebling “cartoonists, satirists, publishers and booksellers, news media and educators” in Western countries.


Gallagher took particularly careful aim at “pacifists and the appeasement left,” and ridiculed the faddish preoccupation in Canada with “Islamophobia” as something that is, as often as not, a surrender to the very fearmongering the term’s deployment purports to strike a pose against. It is a posture that reflects “a deep contempt for the character of immigrant Muslims,” rather than the respect that Muslims deserve as individuals capable of making their own rational choices.


In Kabul, the massive anti-terror demonstration was only the latest surge in a convulsion of popular Afghan revulsion over a series of recent outrages in Islamist barbarism in that country. The protestors were following a multi-ethnic procession carrying the coffins of seven Hazaras whose beheaded corpses were discovered last weekend in the Taliban-harried province of Zabul, where jihadists have also lately sworn allegiance to ISIL, the scourge of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq.


The Hazaras are a Shiite Muslim minority who were subjected to genocidal violence during the days before the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Their predicament was not unlike the catastrophe facing the Kurds in their struggle to resist the equally genocidal forces of ISIL.


It is worth noticing that popular protest is now possible in Afghanistan only because of a NATO-led intervention that was broadly supported by Afghanistan’s Sunni and Shia Muslims — especially democrats, feminists and secularists — but “progressive” Canadian opinion opposed and recalls even now only with a sneer. Another irony: while Gallagher’s succinct manifesto took particular aim at the privileged 1960s-era “pacifists” who dominate the ranks of Canadian leftists nowadays, he himself comes from an older, sturdier tradition of left-wing internationalism that once set Canada apart from both Europe and the United States.


Among the books Gallagher was reading before he set out to volunteer with Kurdish partisans in the spring was George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, the memoir the great anti-totalitarian polemicist wrote of his time as a volunteer with the anti-fascist republicans in the Spanish Civil War. As Maclean’s magazine writer Michael Petrou points out in Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, the definitive book on the Canadian volunteers in Spain, Canada contributed nearly half the number of anti-fascist volunteers to the Spanish-republican cause as did the United States, even though Canada’s population was only about a 10th of America’s. Britain was five times as populous as Canada but contributed only a few hundred more volunteers. At least 1,700 Canadians sailed off to Spain to fight the Nazi-aligned forces of Spanish General Francisco Franco. More than 400 never made it back home.


The Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) guerillas in Northern Syria that Gallagher joined as a volunteer are also strikingly similar in their outlook to Orwell’s libertarian-socialist Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) comrades in Spain, although the YPG has renounced Marxism, leaning instead towards a nearly anarchist model of decentralized, multi-ethnic popular democracy. Even so, Gallagher’s commitments directly descend from the clearest articulations of the causes that Canadians will recall in Remembrance Day commemorations honouring the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families down through the generations. These are commitments that bind Canadians from the First World War through the Second World War, the Korean War, the Cold War contributions in United Nations peacekeeping missions, the UN-mandated Afghan intervention and the minor but brave effort Canada’s Special Operations Regiment is still making in Iraqi Kurdistan.


The right of small nations to self-determination and the rights of all people to the rule of law, liberty, democracy, equality and individual freedoms — that is the cause that leaps off the page of Gallagher’s essay, and it is what Canadian soldiers have always fought and died for. No snivelling about “us” imposing “our values” on “them,” no boring appeal to Canadian vanity, no whinging about Canada’s allegedly lost reputation on the “world stage.” Not for Gallagher…

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





A CALL FOR UNITY AND EXPRESSING OUTRAGE                                                              

Isi Leibler                           

Candidly Speaking, Nov. 11, 2015


The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages. In this context, the behavior of the Palestinians has now descended to such barbaric depths that in a rational world, Israel should have the unequivocal support of all civilized people. However, hypocritical global leaders, devoid of moral compass, have abandoned us. They relate to Israel and those seeking its destruction with moral equivalence and opportunistically collaborate with rogue states. Moral relativism has paved the way for a realpolitik in the democratic world, which no longer relates to concepts like good and evil.


George Orwell undoubtedly could have devoted another book to the doublespeak adopted in relation to Israel. Global leaders are not merely indifferent to the fact that innocent Israeli citizens are targeted for assassination by youngsters transformed into frenzied religious lunatics by their leaders. They even condemn Israelis for defending themselves. Western leaders refuse to recognize, that in the same way the Nazis successfully transformed Germany into a society endorsing genocide, Palestinian leaders have inculcated children, from kindergarten onward, with the notion that being killed in the process of murdering Jews is the highest form of religious martyrdom.


Our “peace partner,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “blesses the blood” shed in killing Jews, glorifies debased murderers, and provides millions of dollars of funds received from foreign governments as monthly salaries to those murderers in jail and pensions for their families. The bloodlust generated by frenzied lies about Jews threatening to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and substituting it with a Jewish Temple is promoted through the mosques, schools, media and Facebook and via other social media.


Yet whilst mayhem prevails as millions of people have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands have been butchered, the European Union carries a resolution effectively paving the way for sanctions against Israeli products produced over the Green Line. It is a shocking reflection on the cynicism of Europeans, whose soil was drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust, that they so cravenly betray Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East — an oasis of tranquility in a sea of barbarism — which is surrounded by neighbors openly baying for its destruction.


Even the president of the United States, our purported ally, contributes toward this poison by calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reduce the incitement. Israel is on the front lines and must seek more effective means of publicizing the fact that the current Palestinian Authority is a criminal regime that promotes a culture of death — a barbaric society whose feral hatred of Jews and Israel is on a par with Hamas and ISIS.


We must repeat again and again that the Arab-Israel conflict is not a dispute between two peoples over land. The reality is that the Palestinian Authority (no less than Hamas) adamantly refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty, as evidenced when both Yasser Arafat and Abbas even declined to make counteroffers when Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 97% of the territories previously occupied by the Jordanians.


In order to make the world understand, Israel must focus on two issues — national unity and a far more aggressive presentation of our narrative and exposure of the criminal nature of our adversaries. National unity is crucial and will immensely strengthen us. It is scandalous that in the current circumstances, our government operates on the basis of a hairline majority of one, virtually neutralizing any flexibility of the prime minister.


The fact is that today there is a genuine consensus among Israeli Jews, the vast majority of whom believe that to annex the territories and absorb millions of additional Arabs would result in a binational state and the end of the Zionist dream. In addition, with the absence of a peace treaty and security, there is also firm opposition to ceding additional territories to the corrupt Palestinian Authority whose hatred of Israel is indistinguishable from Hamas, which in the absence of the IDF, would in all likelihood have assumed control over territories.


Even the prominent left-wing ideologue Professor Shlomo Avineri and one of the key architects of the Oslo Accords, Dr. Yossi Beilin, admit that those proposals no longer apply as the PA’s present leadership has proven to be utterly opposed to the existence of a sovereign Jewish state. There is also a broad consensus concerning the disastrous agreement consummated by the Obama administration with Iran.


Under these circumstances, the Zionist political parties should unite to face the challenges. Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Lieberman all share ambitions to become prime minister. But now, if they share any concern for the national interest, they should temporarily set aside their personal ambitions and unite. Likewise, Prime Minister Netanyahu should make every effort to enable them to join his government with dignity…

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







                                       Gideon Drucker                                  

                                                Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2015


At 23 years old, after finishing a university degree, becoming professionally licensed in my field, and seeing my long-awaited future becoming a reality, I felt a pull to Jerusalem in my soul whose light could not be diminished. Despite having no family and few friends in Israel, I moved to Israel to prepare myself for joining the IDF as a combat soldier. As I saw it (and still see it), my brothers and sisters in Israel were on the front lines defending the Jewish people’s right to live free and secure in our eternal Homeland. It was time to honor my history and do my part in protecting the Jewish people’s future.


While seemingly exceptional and a bit bizarre, my story is not unique in the slightest. There are thousands of lone soldiers from every corner of the world who have felt this emotional attachment to a land they have never called home and the need to play their part in a nation at once 4,000 years old and 67 years young. In a broader sense, my story is even less unique. The Jewish people are connected by a bond that has endured over 2,000 years in the most bitter of circumstances; it is this bond that has allowed us to survive and thrive as Jews in the first place. Without this belief that we would one day return home and without this connection to each other, we never would have survived the world’s relentless attempts to destroy us.


Our peoplehood, which until the rebirth of Israel remained abstract and indescribable, is how Jews from lands and cultures as far away as Ethiopia, the Soviet Union, and the United States can all feel, improbably, a personal stake in the survival of one another. As Daniel Gordis has written, it this national narrative, this ineffable understanding that we are part of a history greater than ourselves, that has led the Jewish people to overcome unspeakable horrors, achieve magnificent successes, and remain in our hearts and souls “Jews.” King David, Judah Maccabee, Moshe Dayan, and Menachem Begin, while separated by 2,000 years, spoke the same language, toiled the same land, and dedicated their lives to the same purpose. In our hearts, we understand that they are all part of one remarkable story. Our Story. Our History.


This is Zionism. This is the story America’s Israel advocates need to be proclaiming for the world to hear: Zionism is Just. Zionism is the return of an indigenous people to its homeland after untold centuries of murder, persecution and oppression. Israel is the national redemption of the Jewish people in the one corner of the Earth that has always served as our national, religious and spiritual home.


I did not join the IDF because of Israeli technological genius or because we created the cell phone. Soviet Jews did not feel a pull to Zion because of our medicinal breakthroughs and because Israel is the “Start Up Nation.” The early Zionists did not leave family and friends and endure the hardships they did because of Israeli strawberries and vegetables. And while it is certainly important that Israel is a democracy in a part of the world that treats the idea of freedom like a disease not to be caught, that is not why millions of Ethiopian Jews have come home either.


Our country was re-established to serve as a safe-haven for Jews around the world so that the Jewish people could once again return to the forefront of history as the leading actors of our own story. We sweat, bled, and died so that we could regain the responsibility and the difficult choices inherent to having one’s own sovereignty. We envisioned, prayed for, and dreamed about contributing to the world a uniquely Jewish answer to the question: What is our purpose here? We came home so we could be Jews and carry on our story. Our defense of Israel and Zionism around the world has not succeeded because defense never does. Zionism doesn’t need to be defended. It needs to be proclaimed. Zionism is a passionate cry of freedom and redemption. We need to speak in the language of justice, Jewish civil rights, and Jewish history.


It is mind boggling to me when my fellow Americans (particularly on college campuses) make our case by pointing to our medicinal and technological achievements, our record on gay rights, women’s rights, our freedom of the press, etc. Our enemies don’t hate us because we aren’t doing a good enough job running our country. Our detractors aren’t nitpicking about the way we govern. They don’t care about that. It’s why we, and not the dozens of countries around the world worthy of international scorn, are targeted for delegitimization. They don’t want us to improve our country. They don’t think we should have one. THEY DON’T THINK WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST. They think that we are an illegal, foreign colonial entity. They think we are ethnically cleansing the “Native Arab population” of Palestine. They think that we are war criminals and murderers. And our response is to talk about the iPhone and our disaster relief team in Haiti??…

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






‘THE CRIME AND THE SILENCE,’ BY ANNA BIKONT                                                        

Louis Begley

                      New York Times, Nov. 4, 2015


On July 10, 1941, in Jedwabne, a town of roughly 3,000 inhabitants in northeastern Poland, a mob of Catholics murdered most of their Jewish neighbors. Estimates of the number of victims vary, from about 300 men, women and children to as many as 1,600. Whatever the correct figure, very few Jews survived. Using axes, clubs and knives, the mob first killed some 40 Jewish men. The remaining Jews — men, women and children, many of them infants — were herded into a wooden barn on the outskirts of the town. Then, as the jeering crowd watched, the murderers barred the doors, poured gasoline on the structure and lit the fire. Everyone inside died. Plunder of Jewish homes followed. Peasants from neighboring villages, who had begun arriving in Jedwabne at dawn on the day of the massacre, joined in the fun.


The Polish journalist Anna Bikont’s beautifully written, devastating and very important book, “The Crime and the Silence” (published in Poland in 2004, and now expertly translated by Alissa Valles), details her painstaking reconstruction of this crime, along with the attempt by families and descendants of the perpetrators, right-wing politicians, historians, journalists and Catholic clergymen to cover it up and deflect blame on the victims.


Both the crime and the fact that the perpetrators were Catholic Poles entered the public record at the latest in 1949, when 21 Jedwabne men and one German gendarme were tried for the murders before the district court in Lomza, the seat of the district government. Eleven Polish defendants and the policeman were found guilty; the others were acquitted. The press reported the proceedings, but the coverage doesn’t seem to have created a stir. Sensibilities had been dulled by World War II, when Germans slaughtered some three million Polish Jews and more than two million Polish Catholics. A few years later a monument was erected near the barn where Jews were immolated, but the inscription read: “The site of the martyrdom of the Jewish population. Gestapo and Hitler’s gendarmerie burned alive 1,600 people, July 10, 1941.” The Catholic Poles who had done the killing could rest easy.


So matters stood until 2000, when a ­Polish-born American academic, Jan T. Gross, published in Poland a Polish-­language book that told the real story of the massacre. The following year it was issued in the United States, in English, as “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland.” According to Anna Bikont, the relative quiet that reigned after the publication of Gross’s book in Polish turned into a media storm once the realization sank in that “Neighbors” would expose to the American public an incident shockingly at odds with the image Poles presented of themselves as a martyred but heroic and noble people. “Neighbors” was attacked as libelous and inadequately documented, and as part of a Jewish effort to extract compensation for the lives taken during the Jedwabne pogrom. There was an orgy of denials of responsibility, including claims that the killing had been done by German SS and gendarmes — because if it had been just Poles (the reasoning went), the Jews would have resisted. Another argument said the victims were killed not because they were Jews but because they had collaborated with the Soviet occupation. (Jedwabne was part of the Polish territory assigned to the Soviet Union by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, breached by Germany in June 1941.) The fact that infants were among the victims was callously ignored.


Gross claimed 1,600 Jews had been killed. Except with respect to that number, his version of the events in Jedwabne has been fully vindicated. In September 2000, the Institute of National Remembrance (I.P.N.), an entity established by the Polish Parliament, began investigating the massacre. Three years later it announced the case had been closed because no living perpetrators could be identified. However, its examination of the case, including a review of the 1949 judicial proceedings and a new investigation by the special prosecutor, had led to the conclusion that while the crime was inspired by Germans, “insofar as the participation of the Polish population in the execution of the crime is concerned, it is necessary to accept that it played the determinative role in the execution of the criminal plan. . . . The perpetrators of these crimes, as the executors sensu stricto, were the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and the surrounding area.” Finally, on July 10, 2004, the spokesman of the Polish Press Agency declared that no appeals had been filed challenging the investigation’s ­conclusions…

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



CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic


Kurdish Unit Honours Canadian Who Died Fighting ISIL: ‘We Lost Our Daring and Courageous Companion’: Stewart Bell, National Post, Nov. 8, 2015—A Canadian volunteer fighter killed in Syria last week died in a “suicide attack” carried out under the cover of darkness, according to a condolence letter the Kurdish armed group he fought with has sent to his family.

You Won’t Hear This on the Evening News About Israel: Jonathan Feldstein, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 9, 2015 — Last Wednesday, my family’s WhatsApp group was buzzing. Daughter No. 1, away at college, heard news of a terrorist attack near our home.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/53427/you-wont-hear-this-on-the-evening-news-about-israel-opinion/#wXWfIIscAkIX6Cw2.99

1920. The Year the Palestinian Identity Was Created: Youtube, May 21, 2009—Since October 1, 1948, when the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Husseini, stood before the Palestine National Council in Gaza and declared the existence of an All-Palestine Government, there have been many declarations of a Palestinian state.

Balfour Declaration was “Legal Birth Certificate” of Israel, says Dershowitz: Jenni Frazer, Jewish News, Nov. 4, 2015 —Britain’s 1917 decision to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland was effectively a “legal birth certificate” held by almost no other nation, declared Professor Alan Dershowitz this week.





We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Should Netanyahu Suspend Israel’s Confrontation With Obama?: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 25, 2015 — In examining Iran’s attitudes toward the Arab world in light of the Iranian nuclear deal, it is important to remember that Iranian interests in the Arab world have a long history beyond the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Poof Goes the Big Enchilada: David M. Weinberg, Israely Hayom, Aug. 28, 2015— Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

Palestinians Flock to Islamic State: Khaled Abu Toameh, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015 — This year marks the tenth anniversary of an Egyptian-Israeli economic partnership that has quietly pumped billions into Cairo’s vulnerable economy.

‘No End of Secrets’: Dry Polish Rivers Recede, Revealing Downed Soviet Fighter Plane and Jewish Tombstones: Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera, National Post, Aug. 25, 2015 — Good evening. It is my pleasure to speak to you on this evening that represents the end of one chapter in our lives, and the start of another.


On Topic Links


More Than Seven Decades Later, Monaco Apologizes for Deporting Jews: Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 2015

These 1,200 German Jews Survived Hell And Were Saved By The Philippines: Israel Video Network, Aug. 24, 2015

From Kaifeng to the Kotel: Chinese Jews in Jerusalem: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015

Iran Deal Could Reboot America's Big Enchilada Policy in the Mideast: Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2015




CONFRONTATION WITH OBAMA?                                                                                          

Isi Leibler                     

Candidly Speaking, Aug. 25, 2015


The US-Israeli tensions that have escalated over the Iranian issue during the past month have led to waves of criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet in reality, Netanyahu has proven to be an impressive statesman. His address to the joint meeting of Congress, though initially harshly condemned, was far from being a disaster and served to establish the parameters of the debate. His widely disseminated statements articulating the case against the Iranian deal resonated widely among the American public and he is due much of the credit for persuading the majority of Americans to oppose the disastrous capitulation to Iran.


It is surely absurd to suggest that out of deference to a delusional American president, Israel’s prime minister should tread softly when his country faces an existential threat as the US empowers our most dangerous Islamic terrorist neighbor to become a threshold nuclear state. All the more so when some of its leaders are undeterred by mutual assured destruction and are even now reiterating their determination to wipe the “cancer” Israel off the face of the earth.


The reality is that the US administration is entering into a pact with a terrorist state that is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the US will be releasing over $150 billion into its coffers, which the Iranians openly boast will be employed to bolster terrorist activities by its surrogates against Israel. For Netanyahu not to oppose such a policy, irrespective of the outcome, would have been unconscionable and a dereliction of his responsibility as head of the Jewish state.


As further horrific details emerge of the ineptitude and immorality of the US administration in its negotiations with Iran, some of Obama’s former Democratic supporters have begun to publicly question his rationality. That the US agreed to cede responsibility to the duplicitous Iranians to selfcheck compliance in lieu of an independent body is mind-boggling. This highlights the delusional nature of the administration and exposes Obama’s duplicity when he assured the world that compliance would be rigorously monitored. It exemplifies the farce of this utterly sordid “deal” capitulating to genocidal Islamic terrorists.


Obama’s betrayal was further compounded when it was recently disclosed that he had already secretly offered concessions (which were rebuffed) to the satanic, genocidal then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That was long before the “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani, who this week accused Israelis of killing and raping women and children, assumed office. Clearly, Obama’s long-term strategy from the outset was to create a realignment in the Middle East through a US engagement with the most dangerous Islamic rogue state and thus abandon Israel, the only genuinely democratic ally in the region.


Obama’s commitment to ongoing military cooperation and repeated assurances that he “has Israel’s back” cannot be relied upon following his failure to provide political support for Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. In that war, he repeatedly condemned Israel for lack of proportionality, applied moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas and even withheld arms shipments to Israel. This follows a clear pattern in which Obama has consistently ignored Palestinian incitement and terrorism, reneged on the Bush endorsement of Israel’s retention of the major settlement blocs and defensible borders, and has threatened to abrogate the US veto at the United Nations, enabling the Security Council to apply sanctions against Israel. It was also despicable to see a US president repeatedly humiliate and denigrate the Israeli prime minister while simultaneously groveling and capitulating to the Iranian ayatollahs.


The extent of Obama’s frenzied efforts to appease the ayatollahs despite their repeated calls for death to America was exemplified in his hysterical personal attacks and intimidation of those urging Congress to reject the deal. He was especially vicious in relation to Jewish opponents, whom he went so far as to accuse of warmongering, providing legitimacy to the hoary allegations of dual loyalties, extended in the past by traditional anti-Semites.


Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the few Democratic legislators courageous enough to oppose Obama, was accused of dual loyalties and subjected to unprecedented anti-Semitic venom. Obama’s hysteria even stunned some of his own Democratic supporters, who urged him to restrain himself and avoid using “anti-Jewish incitement” to promote his position.


This was also a turning point for the Jewish leadership. It is regrettable that until last month, the vast majority of normally robust American Jewish organizations, fearing a confrontation with Obama, remained silent – with the exception of the Zionist Organization of America and a number of small groups. Had they spoken up a year ago, they would be in a much stronger position today…

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




POOF GOES THE BIG ENCHILADA                                                                                            

David M. Weinberg                                            

Israel Hayom, Aug. 28, 2015


Just in case there was any doubt as to what U.S. President Barack Obama is up to, Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University has laid it out for us in a series of recent articles. Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is meant to reboot and redirect the entire vector of American Middle East policy: to retreat from Pax Americana and allow Iran to take its rightful place as a major regional power.


For decades, two tenets have informed U.S. policy in the Middle East. The first is that U.S. interests there are best served by the position of unquestioned American pre-eminence. The second is that military might holds the key to maintaining that dominant position. (In this context, Israel has been an important U.S. regional ally). This approach is what Bacevich calls the "Big Enchilada" — the America-as-top-dog approach that Obama is seeking to overturn.


Obama rejects this notion, since he essentially views America's preponderance in world affairs as arrogant and sinful. He feels that American "bullying" has brought about disastrous results. Most telling was Obama's infamous lament in 2010 about America as "a dominant military superpower, whether we like it or not." In other words, he really doesn't like it at all. No statement could be more revealing of Obama's disgust for American global leadership.


In the context of the current deal with Iran, Obama has been equally clear as to how he expects this play out. If successfully implemented, the agreement that slows Iran's nuclear program will also end Iran's isolation. This will allow Tehran, over time, to become a "legitimate" and "extremely successful regional power" and a "powerhouse in the region." These are Obama's own words. All this leads, of course, to American retreat — blessed retreat from Obama's perspective — from the projection of power in the region. Replacing America will be a revanchist, greatly emboldened, anti-Semitic and genocidal (toward Israel), Islamic Republic of Iran. Poof goes the Big Enchilada.


Obama has been mostly dismissive of Iran's "bad behavior," as he flippantly calls it. He says that he "hopes to have conversations" with Iranian leadership that might lead someday to their "abiding by international norms and rules"; that he "hopes and believes" that Iranian "moderates" will leverage their country's reintegration into the global economy as an opportunity to drive kinder, gentler and less revolutionary foreign policies.


Whether Obama himself believes such nonsense is moot. The rub is that Obama doesn't view American behavior in the region over past decades as any more moral or legitimate than Iran's behavior. Consequently, the main thing for him is the humbling and retreat of America. What happens after that? Well, that will be some other president's problem, and Israel can lump it.


It is against the backdrop of such unfounded expectations and dangerous strategic vision that Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading the fight against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, otherwise known as the nuclear agreement.


Netanyahu understands that the nuclear agreement isn't just about Iran's nuclear program. It's about American detente with Iran and a perilous rejigging of America's global strategic posture. As such, Netanyahu's main goal is to prevent American retreat from the region, to thwart any intensification of American rapprochement with Iran and to avert the inevitable corollary of this: the further downgrading of U.S.-Israel ties. To do so, the Iran deal must be kept strategically disputed and politically fragile. Even if (or when) Obama steamrolls over Congress, the deal must remain controversial and questionable. It needs to become politically toxic.


American and European companies must know that investing in Iran is still a risky business. Iran must know that it is under extraordinary scrutiny, and that American opponents of the deal will jump at every opportunity to scuttle it if red lines are crossed. Space must be cleared for the rescinding or cancellation of the accord in the face of Iranian "bad behavior." Obama's successor should be under pressure to vigorously oppose Iranian hegemony in the region and to act more forthrightly than Obama to block Tehran's nuclear program.


In fact, a climate must be created that will encourage the next U.S. administration to backtrack from the deal, to reassert and reinvigorate America's traditional foreign policy approach, and to revitalize the U.S.-Israel relationship.


This explains why Netanyahu has rebuffed all attempts by dozens of well-meaning mediators to scale down his opposition to the deal and cut a compensatory deal with Obama. Aside from the fact that Obama never rewards his "friends" and has little to offer Israel of meaningful counterweight to this terrible deal, Netanyahu understands that far more is at stake. It's the big enchilada…

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





PALESTINIANS FLOCK TO ISLAMIC STATE                                                                          

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                           

Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015


Hardly a week passes without another report of a Palestinian killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror group. The reports have raised deep concern among many Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A recent report estimated that some 100 Palestinians have already joined Islamic State. Other reports claim that the number is much higher. According to the report, most of the Palestinians who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are from the Gaza Strip. Another 1000 Palestinian men are believed to be preparing to join Islamic State, but have been unable to fulfill their dream for various reasons, the report revealed.


It is no surprise that most of the Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State are from the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007. In the past year, various reports have suggested that Islamic State and its supporters have managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, where they pose a major threat to Hamas’s rule over the area, home to some 1.6 million Palestinians. Earlier this year, Islamic State supporters organized their first public appearance on the streets of Gaza City, where they called for an Islamic army to destroy Israel and the “enemies of Islam.”


Earlier this week, the Islamic State informed the Yehia family from the West Bank city of Jenin that their son, Said, had been killed while fighting for the terror group near Aleppo in Syria. The family was told that Said had joined the Islamic State seven months ago. Said’s family members said he told them he was travelling to Europe to look for work. Later, however, they learned that he had headed to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. The two strangers who arrived at the family’s home even provided Said’s parents and brothers with a photograph of Said’s dead body.


In recent months, at least four Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were also reportedly killed while fighting for the Islamic State. One of them, Abed al-Elah Kishta, 29, of the southern town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, was killed while fighting for the Islamic State in eastern Libya. Weeks before he was killed, Kishta contacted his family to inform them that he had joined the group.


The second Palestinian from the Gaza Strip was identified as Musa Hijazi, 23. His father, Hassan, said that his son was killed while fighting for the Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. The Islamic State later mourned Hijazi as one of its martyrs, referring to him by his nickname Abu Mu’men al-Maqdisi.


A third Palestinian was identified as Wadi Washah, 21, from the Jebalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Washah’s family said they were shocked to hear about his death while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. The family said their son had previously joined Palestinian Islamic Jihad before escaping the Gaza Strip through a smuggling tunnel along the border with Egypt. Wadi’s father said that his son had travelled to Syria on instructions from Islamic State-affiliated salafi-jihadi leaders in Gaza. According to the father, Wadi had told him that he had managed to kill dozens of Iranians in Syria.


The fourth Palestinian was identified as Ahmed Badwan, 26, nicknamed Abu Tarek al-Ghazawi, of the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Sources close to the family said that Badwan had left the Gaza Strip through a smuggling tunnel run by Hamas, and had first joined the Islamic State in Syria, before moving to the group’s branch in Iraq. He was killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on an Islamic State base in Iraq, the sources said.


Although the number of Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State remains relatively low, it is evident that the terror group has become extremely popular among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Four public opinion polls published a few weeks ago showed that at least a million Palestinians support the Islamic State.


The polls found that 24% of the Palestinians hold positive views about the Islamic State. Given that there are 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and another 2.7 million in the West Bank, this means that there are more than one million Palestinians who support Islamic State.


Commenting on the results of the polls, Christian activist Sam Butrous noted that the widespread support for the Islamic State among Palestinians is a sign of increased extremism and a denial of Christians’ rights in the Holy Land. “Apparently, 20% of the Palestinians have no problem with expelling their Christian brothers and destroying their churches and turning them into mosques,” he wrote. “This is what the Islamic State terror group is already doing in areas under its control.”


Christians are not the only ones who should be worried about the Islamic State’s growing influence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians’ two governments, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), also have good reason to be worried. In recent weeks, Islamic State spokesmen have issued threats against both the PA and Hamas, accusing them of “collaboration” with the “Zionist entity.”


But the PA and Hamas can only blame themselves for the surge of Palestinians joining the Islamic State. The two governments allow anti-Western incitement in their mosques and media outlets. Their leaders regularly glorify and endorse Palestinians who carry out terror attacks against Israelis, thus encouraging other Palestinians to follow suit. And if these Palestinians are unable to carry out attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they travel to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad against Israel’s allies, namely the U.S. and other Western countries.


Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot evade responsibility for inspiring dozens of Palestinians to join the Islamic State. The fiery rhetoric of these leaders, in addition to the ongoing incitement against Israel and the West, is further radicalizing Palestinians and driving them into the Islamic State’s open arms.






Monika Scislowska &Vanessa Gera                                                                                       

National Post, Aug. 25, 2015


As river levels in Poland fall to record lows amid a prolonged drought, Jewish tombstones and a Soviet fighter plane with the remains of its pilots have been found in the riverbank, evidence of Poland’s tortured 20th-century history. Those discoveries follow the findings of stone fragments from the early 20th-century Poniatowski Bridge across the Vistula River in Warsaw, which the Germans blew up in 1944 as they crushed the Warsaw Uprising. The bridge was rebuilt after the war.


“The Vistula River is hiding no end of secrets. They are everywhere,” said Jonny Daniels, the head of Jewish foundation “From the Depths,” who waded Tuesday into a shallow area of the Vistula, picking up fragments of stones with Hebrew lettering. Officials knew that archaeological remnants remained hidden under wild and murky waters of the Vistula River and its tributaries, but it was impossible to carry out searches for them until now. The Vistula, which flows 1,047 kilometres from the Beskidy Mountains to the Baltic Sea, is now at its lowest level since measurements started in the late 18th century.


On Sunday, explorers found the remnant of the Soviet fighter bomber in the Bzura River, a Vistula tributary, near the village of Kamion in central Poland. The pieces have been moved to a museum in nearby Wyszogrod for examination, with more recovery work planned for Saturday. The head of the museum, Zdzislaw Leszczynski, told The Associated Press that parts of Soviet uniforms, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar, parts of boots, a pilot’s TT pistol and radio equipment were found, along with a lot of heavy ammunition. The inscriptions on the control panel and the radio equipment are in Cyrillic.


It’s all part of the devastating war that played out across Poland from 1939-45: a German invasion from the west, a Soviet invasion from the east, the murder of Jews across occupied Poland and fighting between the Soviets and Germans after Adolf Hitler turned on former ally Josef Stalin. Leszczynski said, according to witnesses, the plane was hit while flying low in January 1945 and crashed through the thick ice into the river. At the time, the German army was retreating toward Berlin before the Red Army’s advance. “Until now, the water level did not allow for the search and there was no one willing to enter this swamp,” he said.


Russian Embassy spokeswoman Valeria Perzhinskaya said she considers the discovery important and believes the crew could be identified by the numbers on the wreckage and properly buried. About 600,000 Soviet troops were killed fighting the German army on Polish territory. The Jewish tombstones found in Warsaw are believed to come from the Brodno cemetery in the Polish capital’s Praga district. Once the resting place for 300,000 Jews, only 3,000 tombstones remain there today. The rest were removed during and after the war, used as building materials and to reinforce the Vistula’s banks.


Two weeks ago, a man walking along the river in Warsaw came across fragments of the tombstones with Hebrew lettering. On Tuesday, he took Daniels there. In the meantime, some had already been removed, although a few fragments were still lying on the riverbed. Now Daniels hopes to take students there to do a more thorough search and return anything he can find to the cemetery. “Jewish history is buried in the Vistula,” he said.


   CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!






On Topic


More Than Seven Decades Later, Monaco Apologizes for Deporting Jews: Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 2015—Monaco committed the "irreparable" injustice of deporting Jews to Nazi camps during World War II, Prince Albert II said Thursday in belated apology for the action 73 years ago that sent scores of residents and refugees to their deaths.

These 1,200 German Jews Survived Hell And Were Saved By The Philippines: Israel Video Network, Aug. 24, 2015

From Kaifeng to the Kotel: Chinese Jews in Jerusalem: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015—On a brisk winter day seven months ago, three young men from Jerusalem named Moshe Li, Gideon Fan and Yonatan Xue showed up at the military induction center in Tel Hashomer to formally enlist in the IDF.

Iran Deal Could Reboot America's Big Enchilada Policy in the Mideast: Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2015 —At American University on Wednesday, President Obama defended his Iran nuclear agreement and depicted the issue at hand as a choice between "diplomacy or some form of war." To walk away from the deal was inevitably to plunge into armed conflict.






We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Does Israel Stand Alone?: William Kristol, Weekly Standard, Aug. 24, 2015— Let’s for the moment ignore the fact that many other countries, especially those with the most at stake, are in fact privately appalled by the Iran deal. Let’s stipulate that Israel stands publicly alone.

That Anti-Israel Reggae Beat: Wall Street Journal, Aug. 18, 2015 — Rototom Sunsplash is an annual arts-and-music festival going on this week near Valencia, Spain.

The UN Human Rights Council and its Moral Relativism: Manfred Gerstenfeld & Jamie Berk, CIJR, Aug. 20, 2015 — Moral relativism is a key tool used to undermine human values.

In Poland, Searching for Jewish Heritage: Joseph Berger, New York Times, July 30, 2015— When I was growing up, my mother filled me with visions of her hometown, Otwock in Poland, describing it as a kind of Brigadoon without actually using that American word.


On Topic Links


Keep the Sanctions — Stop the Deal! (Petition): Mozuud

Spanish Reggae Festival Re-Invites Matisyahu: Herb Keinon, Sam Sokol & Michelle Malka Grossman, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2015

It’s Official: Thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel Boycott, Anti-Semitism is No More: Howard Jacobson, Independent, May 17, 2015

Condemnation and Condolence by the UN Secretary General — Genuine or Politically Biased?: Amb. Alan Baker, New JCPA, Aug. 6, 2015


DOES ISRAEL STAND ALONE?                                                                                        

William Kristol

Weekly Standard, Aug. 24, 2015


“Because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.” — President Barack Obama, August 5, 2015.


Let’s for the moment ignore the fact that many other countries, especially those with the most at stake, are in fact privately appalled by the Iran deal. Let’s stipulate that Israel stands publicly alone.


So what? If the United Nations Security Council had existed in October 1938, it would have rushed to support the Munich agreement signed with Germany by the P2+1 of the day, Great Britain and France plus Italy. The majority of arms control and foreign policy experts would have supported it. Former ambassadors who had served under Republican and Democratic presidents would have supported it. In fact, while the United States was not a party to the agreement, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it publicly known that he had cabled British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, “Good man.”


Little Czechoslovakia—not invited to be a party to the negotiations and of course not a party to the agreement—stood alone. And as Churchill put it the next week: “All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness. She has suffered in every respect by her association with the Western democracies and with the League of Nations.”


Today, according to President Obama, Israel stands alone. She has suffered from the fecklessness of the Western democracies and the hostility of the United Nations. But all is not over. Israel is not broken and has no intention of receding into the darkness. As Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech to Congress in March: “Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.” So it does. Writing in the New York Sun, Seth Lipsky commented: “President Obama may have mocked the Jewish state for being the only country in the world to oppose the pact of appeasement he’s just inked with Iran. All the greater Israel’s glory, we say.”


But the key point, Lipsky notes, is this: In its opposition to the Iran deal, Israel does not stand alone. America stands with Israel—even if the Obama administration does not. The majority of the U.S. Congress stands against the deal. And so does Army Staff Sergeant (ret.) Robert Bartlett, who was grievously wounded on May 3, 2005, in Baghdad by an improvised explosive device made far more devastating by sophisticated Iranian expertise dedicated to the task of killing and maiming as many American soldiers as possible.


The destruction of Sergeant Bartlett’s Humvee was a feather in the cap of the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Suleimani. A retired American general officer who served in Iraq commented recently that special forces and drone operatives had Suleimani in their sights several times during those years. They were told by their civilian superiors to refrain from killing him. The general deeply regrets that he and his colleagues were constrained by those orders. Now the Iran deal removes international sanctions from Suleimani personally and from his Revolutionary Guard. In an ad aired by the group Veterans Against the Deal, Sergeant Bartlett has spoken out. You can watch the ad at vetsagainstdeal.com. You might consider asking your senators and representatives to do so as well.


On August 12, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated the deal with John Kerry, met in Beirut with Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the Iran-funded terror group Hezbollah. Zarif told Nasrallah the deal “created a historic opportunity to .  .  . face threats posed by the Zionist entity.” Hezbollah has killed Israelis and Jews. It has killed Muslims and Christians. It has also killed Americans. The group took gleeful credit for the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, which killed 241 Americans who were in Lebanon to serve as peacekeepers at the request of Arab nations and for that matter the U.N. Security Council.


Members of Congress should be proud to stand against a deal that empowers Iran and Hezbollah, that leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place and increases the chances of nuclear proliferation, that funds Iranian terror and increases the chances of regional wars. As Sergeant Bartlett said when he first heard about the deal, “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. The very country that killed so many Americans over in Iraq—I just couldn’t believe it.” Sergeant Bartlett couldn’t believe it. He’s chosen to fight the deal and try to defeat it. He has the support of the American public. No, Israel does not stand alone.





THAT ANTI-ISRAEL REGGAE BEAT                                                                                             

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 18, 2015


Rototom Sunsplash is an annual arts-and-music festival going on this week near Valencia, Spain. Showcasing “the cream of reggae’s crop,” Rototom Sunplash according to its organizers also aims to promote a culture of “peace, equality, human rights and social justice.” Unless you’re Jewish, that is.


This year Rototom Sunsplash disinvited Matthew Miller, a Jewish-American reggae star who performs under the name Matisyahu, because he wouldn’t publicly endorse a Palestinian state. The organizers said they cancelled Mr. Miller’s appearance after having “repeatedly sought dialogue in the face of the artist’s unavailability to give a clear statement against war and on the right of the Palestinian people to their own state.”


Mr. Miller was the only participant asked to engage in such political “dialogue.” Micah Shemaiah, Andrae Jay Sutherland and other Jamaican artists weren’t asked to disavow antigay violence in their country. Sudanese journalist and festival presenter Sami al-Hajj, a former Guantanamo detainee, wasn’t required to publicly denounce the Khartoum regime’s human-rights abuses. “It was appalling and offensive,” Mr. Miller wrote of the incident, “that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements.” Even the virulently anti-Israel Spanish press has denounced the move.


Many European cultural and intellectual elites still don’t see the connection between singling out the world’s sole Jewish state for opprobrium and the explosion of anti-Semitic sentiment on the Continent. Remember the Matisyahu affair the next time proponents of the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanction movement insist their aim is to promote Palestinian rights, not anti-Jewish bigotry.


[The Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival has apologized and re-invited Matisyahu to perform at this year’s festival. In a Facebook post, the festival’s organizers wrote that it had been a “mistake” to drop the reggae-rapper from the schedule. They blamed the initial decision to drop Matisyahu on a “campaign of pressure, coercion and threats” against the festival by the local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in Valencia, Spain—Ed.]




THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL AND ITS MORAL RELATIVISM                                                        

Manfred Gerstenfeld & Jamie Berk                                                                                       

CIJR, Aug. 20, 2015


Moral relativism is a key tool used to undermine human values. This destructive approach may be defined as “moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint – -for instance, that of a culture or a historical period — and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others…. It relies the insistence that we should refrain from passing moral judgments on beliefs and practices characteristic of cultures other than our own.”


Many use moral relativism to accuse Israel of alleged “crimes”. Nations often do so while whitewashing their own behavior which is often similar in nature to their accusations against Israel, or even far worse. They frequently also ignore or justify elements of the huge criminality inherent in large parts of the Muslim world. This may include racial and other discrimination, extreme abuse of women, including honor killings, as well as slavery, incitement and major other violence, including mass murders.


Once one accepts the principle of moral relativism as legitimate, one is on the road to structurally undermining democracy and core human values. The application of double standards is a broader notion than that of moral relativism. The latter has a strong focus on values, which double standards do not necessarily have.


Moral relativists justify immoral practices. Such justifications can lead to extreme implementations of moral relativism, such as equating the values of the Nazis with those of the Allies, indirectly justifying the Holocaust. The centerpiece within international law which was established to counter moral relativism is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in December 1948. The primary impetus for drafting the UDHR was to provide universal legal norms that did not exist during the horrors of Nazi rule. The UDHR was also intended to prevent a second Holocaust from occurring by declaring extreme abuses of values, such as those perpetrated by the Nazis, globally unacceptable.


An overwhelming majority of the UN member nations voted in favor of adopting the UDHR. Eight nations abstained and none voted against it. The first article of the UDHR proclaims, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This is equal to saying that all individuals are equally responsible for their acts. The UDHR was made into binding international law in 1976 and agreeing to uphold its statutes serves as a prerequisite for nations to enter into the UN.


Despite this the United Nations and its various affiliated agencies provide major examples of moral relativism. This is in particular true as far as UN positions regarding Israel are concerned. UN delegates and agencies often choose to blatantly ignore the values of equality proclaimed by the UDHR in their stance on Israel. One of several UN agencies where one can easily see the regular abuse of moral relativism is the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In 2006, this body succeeded the UN Commission on Human Rights. The extreme perversion of values taking place in such international bodies, for the most part, often results from the stances taken by various Muslim states, which are then also supported by others. In view of the multitude of examples from the UNHRC which are readily available, an essay is required to do justice to this subject. In this context, however, one recent example may serve to illustrate the issue.


In the summer of 2014, the UNHRC held a debate on the “Occupied Arab Territories.” This session included a heartfelt plea by Rachel Frankel, the mother of Eyal, one of the Israeli boys who was kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The session was largely used, however, to blame Israel for “occupying” Palestine. The representatives of other nations that hold, have held, are at war or have warred over disputed territory were in attendance and criticized Israel. Ethiopia declared that Israel was guilty of occupation. Yet after this statement, no UNHRC members mentioned the 1998-2000 Ethiopian-Eritrean war, where an estimated 70,000-120,000 civilians and soldiers were killed. This war was started because of Ethiopia’s occupation of the Eritrean Badame region.


Russia also spoke of the “indivisibility” of Palestinian territory, yet it is currently involved in numerous territorial disputes, including with UN member states Japan, Ukraine, and Georgia. Morocco and Algeria, who have both occupied the disputed Western Sahara region for the last forty-five years, gave statements condemning Israel for its occupation of the Palestinian territories.


Although there has been a far larger death count from the territorial disputes and occupations maintained by these nations, Israel’s actions were deemed intolerable according to these moral relativists. During rebuttals, there was no mention of the territorial disputes of these nations who hypocritically attacked Israel, except for an argument between the Moroccan and Algerian representatives over who really had claim to Western Sahara. To these and other UNHRC member nations, Israel is morally corrupt in its mistakenly called “occupation of Palestine,” – which are disputed and not occupied areas — whereas their own illegal occupations of territory can be overlooked for the sake of condemning Israel.


Overall, the sheer volume of resolutions against Israel in the UNHRC is a major indicator of its extreme moral relativism. There have been more UNHRC resolutions against Israel than against all other 191 countries in the world combined. Although the UN charter claims that it advocates for “the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity,” much like the United Nations General Assembly, this Muslim-dominated body does little to stop the worst abuses within the Muslim world. Principles of universality were challenged by the UNHRC in 2008 when the mandate of freedom of expression, one of the tenants of the UDHR, was overturned by the Muslim-dominated Council. Now, anyone who “abuses” this freedom, or “dare say something deemed offensive to Islamic sensitivities” must be reported to the Council.


Many more examples of extreme moral relativism can be brought, not only from the UNHRC, but from other UN agencies such as UNESCO and the UNRWA as well as the United Nations itself…

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





IN POLAND, SEARCHING FOR JEWISH HERITAGE                                                                       

Joseph Berger                                                                                                                               

New York Times, July 30, 2015


When I was growing up, my mother filled me with visions of her hometown, Otwock in Poland, describing it as a kind of Brigadoon without actually using that American word. It seemed like an enchanted spot graced by tall pine trees, lush lilac bushes and bracing air. In an era when anti-Semitic discrimination seemed laced into the national fabric, the Jews of Otwock managed to squeeze much sweetness out of their hardscrabble lives through timeless religious habits and the pleasures of a resort that attracted bourgeois vacationers and Hasidim.


My sister and I recently visited the town for the first time. It was lilac season and the pine trees were still tall, the air as bracing. But we found with palpable certainty that the Jews are all gone — there were 10,000 of them — and only a few traces are left of the touchstones of my mother’s girlhood. All four synagogues, including those where her father was a cantor on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, were destroyed by the Germans. The wooden “villa” where her family had a cramped apartment had been replaced by a retirement home for priests. Even the cemetery where her mother was buried when our mother was only 6 was an overgrown shambles of crooked, broken headstones.


In our father’s hometown, Borynya, across the border in Ukraine, we learned firsthand that we come from poor hill people — Berger means “mountain person” — who subsisted on farming and lumber from Carpathian spruces. We spoke to an 86-year-old woman who remembered when the sprawling village had 300 Jews; she even vaguely recalled the Bergers. But we understood more firmly how painful recounting the past must have been for our father, who lost his parents and six sisters to the Nazis. He not only did not speak about those sisters, he couldn’t even tell us how beautiful the Carpathian countryside was.


Our parents’ hometowns had receded into a dim past. Nevertheless, we, like many others now making this particular kind of roots journey, were enriched by the trip because we discovered a new Poland. Jews, some of them impassioned American expatriates, have planted the seeds of a reviving community in Warsaw and Krakow, and an astonishing corps of Polish gentiles have made it their mission to rediscover a people that had been so entwined with their own. We met a dozen such trailblazers who enlightened us about Jewish remnants and helped us locate cemeteries and repurposed synagogues.


I had seldom thought about actually visiting Poland, but after my mother’s death in 2009 my curiosity seemed aroused and so did that of my sister, Dr. Evelyn Hartman (my wife’s need for a family visit to Australia made the timing ideal). We started our trip in Warsaw, most of which was leveled in the September 1939 blitzkrieg and in the retaliations for 1943 and 1944 uprisings. The Poles have recreated, brick by brick, the picturesque Old Town, where we had lunch with Maria Bukowska, a Polish Mary Poppins who cared with such tenderness for my Alzheimer’s-ridden mother. At the elegant Literatka Cafe I confirmed that what I thought was Jewish food — an earthy mushroom soup and meat-filled ears of dough that I call kreplach and Poles call pirogi — is actually Polish food.


My mother, Rachel Golant Berger, lived in Warsaw from age 14, when her father sent her there to help put food on the table, until she was 20, when the Germans invaded in September 1939. In a memoir she hand-wrote in old age, she described the pleasures of shopping for shoes on chic Marszalkowska Street, attending Yiddish plays at the 2,000-seat Nowosci Theater, catching American movies, and savoring the cerebral hubbub at clubs for writers, socialists and Zionists. Marszalkowska Street has been rebuilt and is still a modish boulevard. But the clubs and theaters were destroyed.


When the bombing began, my mother’s half-brother Simcha advised her to avoid basement shelters — they might collapse — and dodge with him through the city’s parks. My sister and I visited the two parks she named, Krasinski and Saxon Gardens, both throwbacks to a stately Warsaw past. Lilacs were in bloom, ducks paddled in a pond, lovers kissed on benches. It was hard to imagine the human corpses and horse carcasses my mother saw.


We looked for the market at Zelaznej Bramy (the Iron Gate), where her brother stumbled across an abandoned sack of prunes that fed them during the monthlong bombing. The market has been shifted, but it was bustling with stalls of fresh strawberries, sausages and flowers, a far cry from wartime and Communist-era austerity. At the shelling’s tail end, my mother retreated to an aunt’s home at 26 Franciszkanska, closer to the Vistula River, on her brother’s theory that they would be nearer a source of water they could drink. My mother described the building’s terrified tenants huddled in a courtyard.


My sister and I saw a pleasant street where all the prewar buildings had been replaced by ascetic apartment blocks. There was no Number 26. What was left of the addresses we searched for was a four-story plain gray building at 16 Krasinaskiego where my parents and I, their infant son, lived in 1946 after returning to Poland from their wartime refuge in the Soviet Union. They stayed a few months, fleeing when news broke of the Kielce pogrom that left 42 Jews dead and making their way to the Allied displaced persons camps. Like tens of thousands of other Jews, they gave up on Poland.


So my mother’s Warsaw is no longer there, but we took time to enjoy contemporary Warsaw, which is a cosmopolitan city that can rival other European capitals in charm, intriguing shops and fine restaurants like Dawne Smaki on Nowe Swiat, where we ate pierogi while a woman played Chopin. As important to us, it is a city that has made an effort to underscore its tragic Jewish past and rebuild. A New Yorker, Michael J. Schudrich, 60, is officially Poland’s chief rabbi and has reignited Sabbath services at the Nozyk Synagogue, a surviving classic, with financing by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture.


Helise Lieberman, another New Yorker, started a Jewish school 20 years ago with financing from the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. It has 240 students, half of them non-Jewish. A modest community center has been set up by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ms. Lieberman, now director of Taube’s Warsaw office, pointed out bricks inlaid in sidewalks demarcating the Warsaw Ghetto’s wall and a monument to the Umschlagplatz (German for collection point), the square from which 300,000 Jews were shipped by freight cars to Treblinka. With muffled sorrow, we read the Yiddish names on an otherwise blank wall.


The new Polin Museum, too, with its inventively illuminating survey of the thousand-year history of Poland’s Jews, seems a monument of atonement. As we entered, Jewish students from several countries stood outside singing “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic


Keep the Sanctions — Stop the Deal! (Petition): Mozudd—Obama’s deal with Iran is an unforgiveable betrayal of America’s interests and Israel’s interests.  What has gone largely unsaid, however, it is also an unforgiveable betrayal of the interests of the Iranian people. 

Spanish Reggae Festival Re-Invites Matisyahu: Herb Keinon, Sam Sokol & Michelle Malka Grossman, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2015 —The Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Spain wants Matisyahu after all. Apparently it hopes that by apologizing and re-inviting the Jewish-American singer to the show, “every little thing gonna be alright,” in the words of reggae icon Bob Marley.

It’s Official: Thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel Boycott, Anti-Semitism is No More: Howard Jacobson, Independent, May 17, 2015—Gather round, everybody. I bear important news. Anti-Semitism no longer exists! Ring out, ye bells, the longest hatred has ceased to be. It’s kaput, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. It’s a stiff, ladies and gentlemen. An EX-PREJUDICE!

Condemnation and Condolence by the UN Secretary General — Genuine or Politically Biased?: Amb. Alan Baker, New JCPA, Aug. 6, 2015 —The recent tragic act of terrorism and hatred that caused the murder of a Palestinian child Ali Dawabsha in the West Bank and the serious wounding of the child’s family, cannot, and should not, in any way be minimized.





“THE DEVIL THAT NEVER DIES”: Antisemitism & Anti-Israelism Persist in Academia, UN, Media, and among Leftists, But A New Polish Museum & Sir Winton Offer Hope

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 




How the Jewish State is Being Demonized: Clifford D. May, National Post, Oct. 30, 2014— Last week, a terrorist drove his car into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old baby.

Willful Blindness To Academic Anti-Semitism: Richard L. Cravatts, Jewish Press, Oct. 29, 2014 — As yet more evidence that academics are regularly able to engage in what George Orwell sardonically referred to as “doublethink” – “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them,” 40 professors of Jewish studies recently published a denunciation of a study that named professors who have been identified as expressing “anti-Israel bias, or possibly even antisemitic rhetoric.”

Amid Growing European Anti-Semitism, New Jewish Museum in Poland ‘Reveals Hope’ : Ruth Ellen Gruber, JTA, Oct. 28, 2014 — In a Europe wracked by fears of rising anti-Semitism, and in a country whose Jews were all but annihilated in the Holocaust, a dazzling new “museum of life” celebrates the Jewish past and looks forward to a vital future.

An Old Man in Prague: Roger Cohen, New York Times, Oct. 30, 2014 — An old man went to Prague this week.

On Topic Links


Europe’s Alarming New Anti-Semitism: Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2014

Nobel Prize Winner Patrick Modiano Summons the Shadow-World of Postwar French Jewry: Clémence Boulouque, Tablet, Oct. 20, 2014

Eichmann Before Jerusalem (Book Excerpt): Bettina Stangneth, National Post, Oct. 30, 2014

The Democratic Embrace of Al Sharpton: Heather Mac Donald, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2014




HOW THE JEWISH STATE IS BEING DEMONIZED                                           

Clifford D. May                                                                                                   

National Post, Oct. 30, 2014


Last week, a terrorist drove his car into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old baby. Eight others were injured, including a 22-year-old woman who died a few days later. The attacker fled the scene pursued by police who shot and killed him. Terrorists also have struck in Ottawa and New York in recent days. So Israelis are not alone. But many feel alone — perceiving that an increasing number of Europeans and Americans see them not as a tiny nation on the front lines in a global conflict against jihadism, but as bullies culpable for the war being waged against them.


The first AP report on the terrorist attack bolstered that impression. It carried the headline: “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” A little later, that was changed to “Car slams into east Jerusalem train station.” Finally, following protests on social media, the headline became: “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station.” There also was this: The Fatah movement, led by “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called the vehicular terrorist a “heroic martyr” who had “executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem.” If that evoked outrage in any Western capitals, I missed it.



Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced Studies, has been studying the growth of anti-Israelism. He presents his analysis in a cogent and valuable book: Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel. Start with the good news if for no other reason than there’s not much of it: Polls show a clear majority of Americans continue to support Israel, continue to believe the Jewish state has a right to exist and to defend itself. But over the last few decades, intellectuals of the Left, academics, the UN, human rights organizations, some mainstream Protestant churches and the media have grown not just unsympathetic but, in many cases, hostile toward Israel and Israelis. At the same time, they have been indulgent of Israel’s enemies, Islamist terrorists included. An article over the weekend in the International Herald Tribune noted that “Britain’s center-left Labour Party often sympathizes instinctively with the Palestinian cause.” Hamas — which claimed responsibility for the murders of the woman and child in Jerusalem last week — defines the Palestinian cause as the extermination of Israel and the murder of Jews. (It’s in the Hamas Charter. Look it up.)


If Britain’s Labour Party sympathizes with that, it is probably a learned, not instinctive, response. Muravchik notes that as recently as the 1960s, Israel was almost universally admired. Leon Uris’ Exodus shaped the prevailing narrative, one which saw “the founding of the Jewish state as a story of heroism, sacrifice and redemption … both just and necessary.” Muravchik recounts how, in May 1967, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser sent his troops into the Sinai, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping (an act of war) and vowed that Egypt, joined by other Arab armies, would “destroy Israel … This is Arab power. This is the true resurrection of the Arab nation.” Opinion in the West, popular and elite alike, came down firmly in support of the Jewish state. “As the crisis deepened,” Muravchik writes, “a luminous group of intellectuals,” including thousands of academics, called upon the U.S. government to help Israelis defend themselves. When the fighting concluded, Israel had prevailed, taking Gaza from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan. U.S. Sen. George McGovern, who would become the Democratic Party’s “peace candidate” in 1972, said he hoped Israel would “not give up a foot of ground” until the Arabs made peace.


This summer, by stark contrast, as Hamas fired thousands of missiles at Israel, anger was directed at Israel. The media focused almost exclusively on Palestinian victims — even though the Israeli Defense Forces did more than any army in history ever has to protect non-combatants, many of whom Hamas used as human shields. How did this change come about? After the 1967 war, Israel’s enemies and critics stopped talking about an Arab-Israeli conflict. It became a Palestinian-Israeli conflict instead. The new David was supported by the diplomatic, political and economic clout of 22 Arab states, oil giants among them, as well as more than 50 nations that self-identify as Islamic. Another significant factor has been what Muravchik calls “the transformation of the paradigm of Leftism from class struggle to ethnic struggle.” More than half of all Israeli Jews come from families who for centuries made their homes in Muslim lands. In the 1940s and 1950s, most of them were forced to flee. Nevertheless, the narrative shaped by the Left is of oppressed third world Palestinians rising against colonialist European usurpers.


Views prevalent on the Left have a tendency to “seep, albeit in diluted form, into the mainstream,” Muravchik adds. And the “anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.” Muravchik doesn’t rule out the possibility that, should this process continue, should “Israel’s enemies succeed, the result could be a second Holocaust.” I was looking forward to Muravchik’s thoughts on efforts to counter the rise of anti-Israelism (and the anti-Semitism now inextricably attached to it), why such efforts have fallen short, and what else might be considered by those who are anti-anti-Israeli – or even just anti-genocide. But he didn’t provide that. Perhaps he will tackle the subject in his next book. Or maybe he is leaving the task to writers of a less scholarly and more activist bent. Either way, he has made a persuasive case that such thinking is urgently needed.




WILLFUL BLINDNESS TO ACADEMIC ANTI-SEMITISM                                 

Richard L. Cravatts                                                                                                     

Jewish Press, Oct. 29, 2014


As yet more evidence that academics are regularly able to engage in what George Orwell sardonically referred to as “doublethink” – “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them,” 40 professors of Jewish studies recently published a denunciation of a study that named professors who have been identified as expressing “anti-Israel bias, or possibly even antisemitic rhetoric.” While the 40 academic “heavyweights” claim they, of course, reject anti-Semitism totally as part of teaching, they were equally repelled by the tactics and possible effects of the AMCHA Initiative report, a comprehensive review of the attitudes about Israel of some 200 professors who signed an online petition during the latest Gaza incursion that called for an academic boycott against Israeli scholars. Calling “the actions of AMCHA deplorable,” the indignant professors were insulted by the organization’s “technique of monitoring lectures, symposia and conferences,” something which they believe “strains the basic principle of academic freedom on which the American university is built.”


Only in the inverted reality of academia could a group of largely Jewish professors denounce a study which had as its core purpose to alert students to professors who have demonstrated, publicly and seemingly proudly, that they harbor anti-Israel attitudes, attitudes which unfortunately frequently morph into anti-Semitic thought and speech as part of discussions about Israel and the Middle East. Since the individuals named in the report teach in the area of Middle East studies, they are also likely to bring that anti-Israel bias into the classroom with them, and students, therefore, would obviously benefit from AMCHA’s report. Can anyone believe that had the AMCHA Initiative issued a report that revealed the existence of endemic racism, or homophobia, or sexism, or Islamophobia in university coursework, and had warned students who might be negatively impacted to steer clear of courses taught by those offending professors, these same 40 feckless professors would have denounced such reports as potentially having a negative effect on teaching and learning?


Why should a professor’s political attitudes not be known to students, especially, as in this case, when those anti-Israel attitudes are extremely germane to their area of teaching, namely Middle East studies? The AMCHA researchers did not furtively investigate the private lives of the 200 professors, nor did they delve through their association memberships, reading habits, or private writings without the professors’ knowledge or consent. They were not spied upon and their courses taped by students. The signatories were also skeptical about the guidelines used by AMCHA to gauge instances of anti-Semitism and an acceptable definition by which campus speech, teaching, publications, and events could be judged to include manifestations of anti-Semitism and not just vituperation and critique of Israel. AMCHA’s “definition of antisemitism is so undiscriminating as to be meaningless,” the professors’ statement asserted, ignoring the fact that AMCHA based its own definition on earlier working definitions of anti-Semitism carefully developed by the U.S. State Department, the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now the Fundamental Rights Agency), and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law, among others.


It is not as if campuses are unaware of the prevailing sensitivities of groups normally considered to be protected classes – black students, gay students, Muslim students, Hispanics, among others. Earlier this month, in a breathtaking act of moral incoherence, Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) voted against condemning ISIS after the Black Students Officer, Malia Bouattia, opposed the motion, not because students did not have sincere concern for Syrians and Kurds being slaughtered, but because “condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for . . . blatant Islamophobia.” None of the Jewish Studies professors seemed to be concerned with investigations of purported instances of Islamophobia on campus and elsewhere, and how exposing those occurrences might lead to a stifling of someone’s academic free speech or “chilling” of scholarly debate. In fact, FBI statistics indicate that acts of anti-Semitism occur with eight times the regularity of anti-Muslim incidents, and that between 2011 and 2012 alone, the number of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses tripled.


So regardless of how significant the professors seem to think the problem of anti-Semitism actually is, and whether they wish to minimize the virulence of anti-Semitism because they insist on conflating it with, and making it part of, the furious academic debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the AMCHA report shows us that the “oldest hatred” is still with us, creeping noxiously up the ivy walls.                                





NEW JEWISH MUSEUM IN POLAND ‘REVEALS HOPE’                                   

Ruth Ellen Gruber                                                                                                        

JTA, Oct. 28, 2014


In a Europe wracked by fears of rising anti-Semitism, and in a country whose Jews were all but annihilated in the Holocaust, a dazzling new “museum of life” celebrates the Jewish past and looks forward to a vital future. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday jointly inaugurated the long-awaited core exhibit of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a more than $100 million complex first conceived more than 20 years ago. “It is not a museum of the Holocaust, it is a museum of life,” Rivlin, who was making his first trip abroad since his election this summer, declared at the opening ceremony. “It is the place that commemorates everything that is gone and will never return. And it reveals hope for a different future.” Komorowski stressed the same hopes, declaring that the museum opening was a history-making event that bore witness to Poland’s development into a democratic state since the fall of communism. “One of the central themes in our drive to freedom was to put right the account of history that had been corrupted, manipulated and distorted in so many ways during the non-democratic communist era,” Komorowski said.


Before the Holocaust, some 3.3 million Jews lived in Polish lands. Thousands of survivors fled anti-Semitism in the postwar period. The fall of communism sparked a remarkable revival in Jewish life and identity, but the Jewish population today is still tiny, estimated at 15,000-20,000 in a country of nearly 40 million people. “We are here!” Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski, chairman of the Council of the Jewish Historical Institute, one of the institutional founders of the museum, said in an emotional speech at the opening ceremony. “That is the message: We are here!” The museum is housed in a shimmering glass building erected on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto facing the dramatic monument erected atop the rubble left when the Nazis crushed the ghetto uprising in 1943. Described as a “theatre of history,” the core exhibit uses state-of-the-art technology and multimedia installations to narrate 1,000 years of Polish Jewish history.


The exhibition’s eight thematic and chronological galleries detail the complex ebb and flow of Jewish life in Poland from the early middle ages to the present, including periods of prosperity as well as persecution. They recount grand events but also use letters, diaries, photos and other intimate material to provide personal viewpoints. This is particularly notable in the Holocaust gallery, which narrates the history through the words and deeds of the people who experienced it.  Other highlights include the reconstructed and elaborately painted ceiling and bimah of the now-destroyed wooden synagogue in Gwozdziec (in present-day Ukraine) and a painted animation of 24 hours in the life of the famous yeshiva in Volozhin (now Belarus).


But the core exhibit is only part of the story. The museum’s impact “stretches way, way beyond the building,” said Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland. “And it’s not about a museum of the history of Polish Jews — it’s about Polish Jews. History means past, and it’s not about the past.” Hundreds of thousands of people — Poles and Jews, locals and foreigners — have visited the museum in the 18 months since the building was opened to the public. Organizers expect a half-million or more each year now that the core exhibit has been opened. The museum is part of a wider movement since the fall of communism “to reconnect with the past, including the Jewish past,” said Dariusz Stola, the museum’s director. “The museum is the most visible element in this movement. But without the broader movement it wouldn’t have happened.” This broader movement includes a number of new Jewish studies programs at Polish universities, new or revamped museums, permanent exhibits and memorials on Jewish or Holocaust themes in a number of provincial towns and scores of grassroots initiatives ranging from Jewish cemetery cleanup actions to Jewish culture festivals. This year alone, some 40 Jewish culture festivals took place in Poland, mostly in places where no Jews live today. “The Jewish presence in Polish consciousness is vast, vast,” said Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the program director of the core exhibit. “It means that there is a kind of inverse relationship between the numbers of Jews living in Poland and what we call Jewish presence in Polish consciousness.”


The POLIN museum was built as a public-private institution, with the Polish government and the city of Warsaw providing $60 million for construction and more than 500 private and institutional donors, many of them Jewish, contributing $48 million for the core exhibition. “Though Europe has seen a recent rise in anti-Semitism, in Poland we are seeing a revitalization of Jewish life and culture that is being experienced by – and truly driven by – both Poland’s Jewish and gentile communities,” the San Francisco-based philanthropist Tad Taube, head of Taube Philanthropies and the Koret Foundation, said in a statement. The two organizations were the largest private donors to the museum with a total contribution of $16 million. “The opening of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a game changer that will break down negative stereotypes about Poland,” Taube said. The hope, his statement added, is that its lessons “will have ripple effects throughout Eastern Europe as Poland’s neighbors seek to develop their own major modern cultural institutions and broader, more inclusive narratives of their multicultural histories.”





AN OLD MAN IN PRAGUE                                                                              

Roger Cohen                                                                                                      

New York Times, Oct. 30, 2014


An old man went to Prague this week. He had spent much of his life keeping quiet about his deeds. They spoke for themselves. Now he said, “In a way perhaps I shouldn’t have lived so long to give everybody the opportunity to exaggerate everything in the way they are doing today.” At the age of 105, Sir Nicholas Winton is still inclined toward self-effacement. He did what any normal human being would, only at a time when most of Europe had gone mad. A London stockbroker, born into a family of German Jewish immigrants who had changed their name from Wertheim and converted to Christianity, he rescued 669 children, most of them Jews, from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. They came to Britain in eight transports. The ninth was canceled when Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. The 250 children destined for it journeyed instead into the inferno of the Holocaust.


Winton, through family connections, knew enough of the Third Reich to see the naïveté of British officialdom still inclined to dismiss Hitler as a buffoon and talk of another war as fanciful. He raised money; he procured visas; he found foster families. His day job was at the Stock Exchange. The rest of his time he devoted to saving the doomed. There were enough bystanders. He wanted to help. Now he has outlived many of those he saved and long enough to know that thousands of their descendants owe their lives to him.

Back in Prague, 75 years on, Winton received the Order of the White Lion, the highest honor of the Czech Republic. The Czech Air Force sent a plane. He was serenaded at Prague Castle, in the presence of a handful of his octogenarian “children.” The only problem, he said, was that countries refused to accept unaccompanied children; only England would. One hundred years, he said, is “a heck of a long time.” The things he said were understated. At 105, one does not change one’s manner.


Only in 1988 did Winton’s wartime work begin to be known. His wife found a scrapbook chronicling his deeds. He appeared on a BBC television show whose host, Esther Rantzen, asked those in the audience who owed their lives to him to stand. Many did. Honors accrued. Now there are statues of him in London and Prague. “I didn’t really keep it secret,” he once said. “I just didn’t talk about it.” Such discretion is riveting to our exhibitionist age. To live today is to self-promote or perish. Social media tugs the private into the public sphere with an almost irresistible force. Be followed, be friended — or be forgotten. This imperative creates a great deal of tension and unhappiness. Most people, much of the time, have a need to be quiet and still, and feel disinclined to raise their voice. Yet they sense that if they do not, they risk being seen as losers. Device anxiety, that restless tug to the little screen, is a reflection of a spreading inability to live without 140-character public affirmation. When the device is dead, so are you.


What gets forgotten, in the cacophony, is how new this state of affairs is. Winton’s disinclination to talk was not unusual. Silence was the reflex of the postwar generation. What was done was done because it was the right thing to do and therefore unworthy of note. Certainly among Jews silence was the norm. Survivors scarcely spoke of their torment. They did not tell their children. They repressed their memories. Perhaps discretion seemed the safer course; certainly it seemed the more dignified. Perhaps the very trauma brought wordlessness. The Cold War was not conducive to truth-telling. Anguish was better suffered in silence than passed along (although of course it filtered to the next generation anyway.)


But there was something else, something really unsayable. Survival itself was somehow shameful, unbearable. By what right, after all, had one lived when those 250 children had not? Menachem Begin, the former Israeli prime minister whose parents and brother were killed by the Nazis, put this sentiment well: “Against the eyes of every son of the nation appear and reappear the carriages of death. … The Black Nights when the sound of an infernal screeching of wheels and the sighs of the condemned press in from afar and interrupt one’s slumber; to remind one of what happened to mother, father, brothers, to a son, a daughter, a People. In these inescapable moments every Jew in the country feels unwell because he is well. He asks himself: Is there not something treasonous in his existence.”


Winton’s anonymity, for decades after the war, was of course also the result of the silence or reserve of the hundreds he had saved. How strange that seems today, when we must emote about everything. The deed speaks — and occasionally someone lives long enough to know in what degree.


CIJR Wishes all our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic


Europe’s Alarming New Anti-Semitism: Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2014—This year, Europe’s Jews enter Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, with a degree of apprehension I have not known in my lifetime. Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. Never again has become ever again.

Nobel Prize Winner Patrick Modiano Summons the Shadow-World of Postwar French Jewry: Clémence Boulouque, Tablet, Oct. 20, 2014—Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier (“So that you don’t get lost in the neighborhood”), Patrick Modiano’s latest novel, which came out one week before he received the Nobel Prize, opens on a quote by Stendhal: “I cannot give the reality of facts, I can only present its shadow.”

Eichmann Before Jerusalem (Book Excerpt): Bettina Stangneth, National Post, Oct. 30, 2014 —Adolf Eichmann’s fame surpasses even that of SS leader Heinrich Himmler and holocaust architect Reinhard Heydrich. So why write another book? It was the simplest of questions: I wanted to find out who knew Adolf Eichmann before the Mossad famously snatched him from Argentina and put him before a court in Israel.

The Democratic Embrace of Al Sharpton: Heather Mac Donald, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2014—The Rev. Al Sharpton once epitomized New York’s bad old days of the 1980s, when the then-corpulent, gold-medallion-bedecked tub thumper inflamed racial hatred and courted violence.





















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La singularité de la Shoah et l’indépendance d’Israël

Freddy Eytan

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 10 avril 2013


L’amour de Sion nous porte depuis des millénaires et le mouvement sioniste politique existe depuis Theodore Herzl, mais la Shoah a rendu la création d’Israël urgente, obligatoire, vitale et immanente. La création de l’Etat juif est le triomphe de la vie sur la mort, la victoire des prières entendues. Juste après la guerre, les Européens, encore troublés et culpabilisés, ont préféré tourner la page furtivement. Le Vatican a fermé ses archives. Les portes du souvenir ont été bouclées à double tour. Personne n’osait franchir les murs d’acier et vérifier les arcanes du monde de l’indifférence, remuer un passé flou et douteux. Derrière le rideau de fer, les camps de la mort résonnaient encore des cris des âmes pures et innocentes. Les cendres de nos proches, de nos coreligionnaires, ont été absorbées, englouties dans le sol européen. Les années sombres ont plongé les survivants de la guerre dans la honte et la réflexion pragmatique, matérielle. L’Europe meurtrie et ruinée par la guerre était surtout préoccupée par sa reconstruction, par le plan Marshall et par la réconciliation avec la nouvelle Allemagne du chancelier Adenauer. Le procès de Nuremberg, les condamnations des crimes de guerre et l’emprisonnement des nazis ont fermé la page, le lourd dossier. Le passé était déjà “lointain” et pour certains “mort et enterré”. Les bombardements d’Hiroshima et Nagasaki par l’arme atomique ont éclipsé les atrocités de la Shoah.


L’Europe rouge de honte et souillée de sang de la guerre devait d’abord se bâtir sur les ruines des camps de concentration et des champs de bataille, et s’unir pour retrouver la paix et la sécurité. La Shoah des Juifs n’était qu’un “épisode de la guerre” et demeurait pour certains ” l’affaire des Juifs”…


Depuis le procès d’Adolf Eichmann, le monde s’est réveillé  de sa torpeur, de son indifférence dormante. Des bibliothèques ont été écrites sur l’holocauste des Juifs durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. D’innombrables ouvrages, des documents historiques, des films documentaires et des longs métrages, des albums individuels et collectifs ont raconté avec émotion cette grande catastrophe de l’histoire contemporaine devenue tristement célèbre. Des chercheurs se sont attelés avec acharnement à découvrir la vérité  et des instituts ont été fondés pour la mémoire de la Shoah en Europe, en Amérique et au Japon.  La chasse contre les anciens nazis a été lancée tous azimuts.


Certes, presque tout a été dit et raconté sur la Shoah, et publié avec l’appui de preuves et de documents irréfutables, et pourtant, 70 ans après le déclenchement de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, on demeure perplexe face à l’hécatombe. Les grands comme les petits s’interrogent  toujours, posent des questions et se demandent comment cela a pu être imaginé, planifié et exécuté? Pourquoi cette haine féroce contre tout un peuple? Pourquoi la barque de l’humanité a-t-elle brusquement sombré en Europe? Comment la dignité et les droits de l’homme ont-ils été bafoués au XXe siècle? Pourquoi cette collaboration avec Satan? Pourquoi le Vatican et de nombreuses nations ont gardé le silence et ont laissé faire? Pourquoi Dieu miséricorde était absent? Ou était-il à Auschwitz-Birkenau? Pourquoi s’est-il caché? Pourquoi le Roi de l’univers, notre Créateur, a préféré garder le silence? Pourquoi les Juifs et le monde libre n’ont pas sonné, avec force, le cri d’alarme? Ne se sont-ils pas révoltés en masse et à temps? N’ont-ils pas refusé  la servitude! L’Esclavage!  Plus d’un million et demi d’enfants, dont le seul crime était d’être né de parents juifs, ont été massacrés durant cette guerre. Pourquoi avoir arraché des bébés de leurs berceaux et les avoir jeté par milliers dans la gueule des fours crématoires, dans les flambées du diable? Pourquoi avoir enlevé par la force bestiale un enfant des bras de sa mère et l’envoyer dans les feux de l’enfer? Qu’a-t-il fait? Quel crime a-t-il commis? Au nom de quelle justice? De quelle loi? A titre de quelle mission? Au nom de quoi, de quelle doctrine, les bourreaux ont-ils agi?


Aucune explication raisonnable à l’antisémitisme, rien n’explique la Shoah. L’aveuglement des régimes, la passivité administrative et diplomatique, l’esprit de Munich ont contribué à l’abandon des Juifs et des victimes.


Comment des dizaines de milliers d’adolescents, fébriles et innocents, portant des pyjamas rayés marqués par une étoile jaune, ont-ils  vécu ces moments terribles  avant de partir dans les trains de la mort, dans les wagons à bestiaux de l’enfer? Qui sont ces enfants cachés qui ont échappé à l’abattoir, au massacre? Qui sont les Justes des nations, chrétiens, musulmans, agnostiques et athées, qui ont réussi à sauver de nombreuses vies humaines y compris au Japon, allié d’Hitler? Les questions sont nombreuses et certaines demeurent sans réponse. Notre devoir est de répondre aux jeunes, à toute une jeunesse assoiffée de connaissance et qui aspire à vivre en paix et en sécurité. Nous devons enseigner aux jeunes l’horreur des atrocités et les crimes commis d’une monstruosité  inouïe. C’est notre devoir civique.


La singularité  de la Shoah se distingue non seulement par la dimension quantitative du massacre que dans la désignation des victimes. Des hommes, des femmes et des enfants ont été marqués de l’étoile jaune, déclarés publiquement coupables puis exterminés simplement parce qu’ils étaient nés Juifs.


On assiste aujourd’hui encore à une banalisation de la Shoah.  Le mot “holocauste” est devenu trivial, et il est prononcé  trop souvent pour définir toutes sortes de situations dramatiques ou catastrophes. Le fléau de l’antisémitisme existe toujours sous différentes formes. Certains groupes et mouvements démentent publiquement la Shoah dans des articles et des tribunes y compris en Allemagne. D’autres, en France, évoquent un “détail” durant la Guerre. Des dirigeants de grands peuples, membres de l’ONU, lancent des appels à la destruction de l’Etat juif. Des écrivains, des intellectuels et des évêques intégristes contestent la véracité de la Shoah. Des leaders religieux incitent à la haine du Juif et au culte de la mort. Lors des crises financières et économiques mondiales, les antisémites se réveillent et relancent leur vague de haine contre “ceux qui détiennent le pouvoir de l’argent, les banques et les bourses”. Aujourd’hui encore, en 2013, les Juifs sont toujours sur la sellette, susceptibles d’être désignés comme les boucs émissaires. Nombreux sont ceux en Europe à penser que la crise financière est la faute des Juifs? Pourquoi?!


Nier le passé des peuples c’est nier la vérité. Tout ce qui concerne la Shoah est un devoir sacré. Il a pour but de préserver l’identité de millions d’êtres humains tués sauvagement par des hommes sanguinaires. Nous représentons fidèlement leur héritage et leurs noms. Nous sommes, respectueusement,  les fils et les filles, leurs porte-parole, leurs voix, leurs multiples échos, et leurs tombeaux vivants.


Le syndrome de la Shoah nous hante toujours car les menaces sont omniprésentes. Dans les moments où Israël regardait la mort en face, dans les circonstances terribles que nous avons vécues, avant la guerre des Six Jours en 1967,  durant la guerre du Kippour en 1973, pendant la Première guerre du Golfe et face à la menace nucléaire de l’Iran, les images de la Shoah resurgissent toujours. Le monde devrait être plus compréhensible à nos souffrances et aux malheurs de notre douloureux passé. Certes, nous réfutons la pitié et le peuple israélien n’est pas malheureux et il se défendra seul pour son existence, mais à chaque menace, devant chaque guerre, nous vivons toujours dans l’angoisse du syndrome de la Shoah. Notre pays se transforme en un ghetto assiégé et nos frontières en celles des barrières d’Auschwitz. Le repli sur nous-mêmes, nos opinions intransigeantes pour notre défense et notre sécurité sont des phénomènes naturels et devraient être pris en considération dans toutes les négociations de paix avec nos voisins arabes.


Cependant, en dépit de la barbarie de la Shoah, le peuple israélien a réussi à garder un visage humain. Sa justice implacable est toujours imprégnée par une morale universelle, celles des valeurs de la Bible et du Judaïsme. La Shoah ne devrait pas non plus servir de prétexte, une raison alléguée pour dissimuler les problèmes et les conflits, une sorte d’alibi pour ne pas éprouver la solidarité, l’empathie envers les malheurs des autres et notamment nos voisins. Les fils et les filles des survivants de la Shoah sont toujours capables de faire des concessions douloureuses pour aboutir à une paix juste et sincère. La force de notre peuple est de pouvoir, dans la douleur et la souffrance, demeurer généreux, prier pour le bonheur de tous sans distinction et poursuivre le chemin de la paix et de la justice contre vents et marées. Il est très important aussi de ne pas faire l’amalgame entre une campagne qui dénonce la politique israélienne dans les territoires et l’antisémitisme. Il est légitime de critiquer telle ou telle politique gouvernementale. Des pays européens amis, tels que la France, la Grande Bretagne ou l’Allemagne ne sont pas aujourd’hui des pays antisémites, mais il existe hélas dans ces pays des antisémites et des négationnistes notoires que nous devons ensemble combattre. 


L’Europe qui a été, en juillet 1938, indifférente au sort des réfugiés juifs rescapés de l’Anschluss devrait prendre plus au sérieux le fléau du négationnisme. Bien que des lois aient été adoptées, seules des sanctions sévères, une vigilance sans relâche et surtout un programme éducatif à tous les niveaux pourront mettre un terme au négationnisme, à la renaissance de l’antisémitisme et aux nouvelles menaces.


L’ancrage de la morale et notre mémoire rendent hommage aux victimes, pour ne jamais oublier! Mettre un terme définitif à la lâcheté, à la barbarie! Au génocide! Pour ne plus que cela ne recommence! Plus jamais ça!


Quand seul Kerry veut y croire

Sami el Soudi

menapress.org, 10 avril 2013


Le Secrétaire d’Etat américain, John Kerry, déploie ces jours une intense activité diplomatique pour tenter de ramener Palestiniens et Israéliens à la table de négociation. Mais le ministre américain, en dépit de toute sa bonne volonté, n’est pas parvenu à rendre l’optimisme à ses interlocuteurs


Après en avoir discuté avec le 1er ministre Binyamin Netanyahu, Kerry a proposé à Ramallah une série de mesures économiques et politiques afin de convaincre les dirigeants de l’Autorité de participer à nouveau au processus en vue du règlement pacifique du différend. Avec le soutien du Président Obama, les Etats-Unis ont déjà obtenu de Mahmoud Abbas et de Salam Fayyad – souffrant et récemment hospitalisé quelques jours durant – que l’AP abandonne son exigence d’un gel complet des implantations, y compris à Jérusalem-est, pour entrer en matière.


Ramallah accepterait un gel partiel, qui durerait le temps de la négociation. Les responsables palestiniens ont modifié cette approche à la demande de Washington, qui leur avait signifié que si cette condition était maintenue, les pourparlers n’avaient aucune chance de reprendre. Les Etats-Unis avaient fait remarquer à Mahmoud Abbas que s’il ne faisait pas montre de souplesse sur ce point, l’AP passerait aux yeux du monde industrialisé pour le responsable principal du statu quo. Argument encore plus convaincant : faute de l’abandon de cette position, l’Administration US avait informé les Palestiniens qu’elle ne s’impliquerait pas dans la réactivation de ses efforts diplomatiques pour mettre un terme à l’absence de dialogue qui prévaut depuis quatre ans maintenant. Précisément depuis la minute à laquelle M. Netanyahu est redevenu 1er ministre de l’Etat hébreu.


En revanche, Barack Obama était venu à la Moukata et à Bethlehem leur promettre, qu’en cas d’abandon de cette précondition, lui et son gouvernement s’investiraient à nouveau dans la poursuite d’une solution. Abbas avait demandé si cela inclurait des pressions économiques et politiques sur Jérusalem, ce à quoi le pensionnaire de la Maison Blanche avait répondu par la négative. Il avait argué qu’il avait déjà tenté cette méthode et qu’elle avait eu plus d’effets négatifs que positifs, participant à raidir la position du cabinet en place en Israël, et à augmenter sa popularité auprès du public.


De plus, les analyses expertes de mes camarades de l’agence ont démontré que l’unique superpuissance restante se trouvait désormais dans une phase de désengagement des conflits du monde, et, qu’à ce titre et vu la situation prévalant au Proche et au Moyen-Orient, il était dans son intérêt de conserver les meilleurs rapports possibles avec l’Etat hébreu. Ces commentaires très réalistes du numéro 1 mondial avaient provoqué une sévère déception parmi son auditoire palestinien ; les observateurs avaient noté, à ce sujet, les visages fermés de nos dirigeants durant les cérémonies officielles, qui prirent un caractère purement protocolaire.


Pour ne rien arranger à la lourdeur de l’ambiance, la fanfare de la police palestinienne à Bethlehem avait massacré l’hymne US, et certains diplomates redoutaient qu’elle ne l’eût fait exprès ou même sur ordre. D’expérience, je suis toutefois en mesure de rassurer leurs doutes : cet orchestre est médiocre et corrompu et il égratigne tous les morceaux qu’il interprète. Après avoir écouté les propos de M. Obama, il importait à la direction de l’AP de se hâter de définir une nouvelle ligne stratégique ainsi que des tactiques adaptées. Ce qu’elle s’empressa de faire.


A Ramallah, on commença par envoyer des barons du Fath’ expliquer à la presse étrangère qu’une libéralisation de la circulation des personnes et des marchandises en Cisjordanie c’était bien, et qu’on ne cracherait pas sur la libération par Israël de quelques prisonniers. On a d’ailleurs tendu à John Kerry une liste de cent vingt et une personnes détenues par les Hébreux depuis avant le processus d’Oslo.


Que tout cela était positif, particulièrement au vu de l’état calamiteux de nos finances, mais en soulignant que le problème à régler était de nature politique et non économique. Sur le plan tactique, le Président Abbas a demandé qu’avant la reprise des contacts directs, Netanyahu lui transmette une carte mentionnant les frontières – même approximatives – du futur Etat palestinien. Parfaitement au courant du fait que cette nouvelle condition serait rejetée à Jérusalem, l’AP a décidé de ne pas abandonner l’idée que seules des pressions énergiques en provenance des rives du Potomac pouvaient obliger les Israéliens à négocier sérieusement.


On a également réalisé que si la requête était uniquement adressée à Washington par l’AP, elle manquerait cruellement de poids, alors que si elle se transformait en requête renouvelée de l’ensemble du monde arabe, elle avait des chances de porter ses fruits. La stratégie consiste ainsi à obliger les Américains à adopter l’Initiative saoudienne comme fondement des négociations à venir. Un plan proposé au printemps 2009 par le futur roi Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Sa'ud, qui prévoit, en résumé, une reconnaissance de l’Etat d’Israël par l’ensemble des pays de la Ligue Arabe, en échange d’un retrait des Hébreux sur la ligne frontière avec la Jordanie, d’avant la Guerre des Six Jours.


Abbas se trouve actuellement au Qatar, où il expose l’état des discussions au comité ad hoc de la Ligue. Fin avril, une délégation ministérielle de cette organisation se rendra à Washington afin de tenter de convaincre l’Administration d’adopter l’initiative – et de l’imposer à Netanyahu – en tant que base de travail pour d’éventuelles nouvelles négociations directes.


Autant dire qu’après les mises au point de Barack Obama à Ramallah, les chances d’aboutir de cette démarche sont ténues, voire inexistantes. Car à Jérusalem, M. Netanyahu, conscient de la réorientation de la politique US globale, ne sera pas tenté par l’Initiative arabe.


Il a déjà fait savoir, qu’à son sens, les pourparlers devaient d’abord se pencher sur les questions attenantes à la "reconnaissance" et à la "sécurité". Par "reconnaissance" – et il s’agit d’une nouvelle condition qui n’existait pas jusqu’à la fin 2009, date de la cessation des négociations directes – le 1er ministre entend la "reconnaissance du caractère juif de l’Etat d’Israël".


A Ramallah, on pense que l’adversaire use d’un stratagème destiné à faire reculer aux calendes grecques l’échéance d’un accord. On prétend aussi qu’il n’appartient ni à l’AP, pas plus qu’au monde arabe, de déterminer les critères d’Israël, et enfin, on est persuadé qu’une acceptation de ce principe, de la part des Palestiniens, contribuerait à fragiliser le statut des Israéliens arabes, qui constituent près de vingt pourcent des quelques huit millions d’Israéliens [16% de musulmans, 2% de chrétiens et 1,5% de Druzes].


A Jérusalem même, tout le monde n’est pas convaincu de la vacuité des considérations palestiniennes. Des proches de la ministre de la Justice, Mme Tsipi Livni, sont ainsi d’avis que l’Etat hébreu pourrait renoncer à cette demande en échange d’un retour à la table de négociation.

Ce qui n’est guère du goût de Naftali Bennet et de sa Maison juive, bien décidés à s’opposer par tous les moyens à la création de notre Etat, y compris en plombant les pourparlers. Certes Binyamin Netanyahu a déclaré à des confrères, en présence de John Kerry, qu’il est "déterminé pas uniquement à réactiver le processus de paix avec les Palestiniens, mais aussi à consentir à de sérieux efforts afin d’en terminer avec ce conflit une fois pour toutes", mais on reste confiné dans la sphère rhétorique.


Parce que le leader israélien ne produit aucun plan pouvant conduire au règlement du différend, à l’instar des partis membres de sa coalition. Quant à Yaïr Lapid et surtout Tsipi Livni, ils savent pertinemment où se trouve la clé pour débloquer la situation. Elle est dans l’armoire où Livni l’a laissée en janvier 2010, juste avant de transmettre le témoin au Likoud et à Netanyahu. Seule la décision de reprendre les négociations qui avaient été abandonnées à cette période là où on les avait laissées en plan présenterait une opportunité réelle de parvenir à un compromis signifiant la fin de la controverse israélo-palestinienne, et, partant, israélo-arabe.


Le Québec réaffirme l’importance

de ses liens avec l’État d’Israël

Le Blogue de David Ouellete, 9 avril 2013


Le ministre des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur et ministre responsable de la région de Montréal, Jean-François Lisée, s’est entretenu avec le consul général d’Israël Joël Lion, à Montréal le 3 avril dernier.


Les deux hommes ont profité de l’occasion pour réaffirmer les bonnes relations entre le Québec et Israël et souligner les nombreuses affinités entre les deux sociétés. Les échanges ont porté, notamment, sur les relations économiques et la coopération scientifique et technologique.


Les économies québécoises et israéliennes étant basées sur le savoir et l’innovation ainsi que la vitalité des différentes institutions présentes sur les deux territoires offrent d’excellentes possibilités d’échanges et de coopération que le Québec souhaite renforcer.


Le ministre et le consul général ont échangé sur différentes initiatives qui permettront d’intensifier, au cours des prochaines années, le réseautage d’institutions scientifiques et académiques ainsi que d’entreprises du Québec et d’Israël.


Rappelons d’ailleurs que le Québec et Israël ont signé deux ententes de coopération, en 2007 et 2008, couvrant les domaines scientifique et technologique, la culture, l’éducation, la santé, l’économie et le commerce.



Historien polonais:

les Juifs ont provoqué la Shoah et

participé activement à l'assassinat de leur peuple

Philosémitisme, 9 avril 2013


Krzysztof Jasiewicz, historien réputé, professeur à l’Académie polonaise des sciences et expert renommé en matière de relations entre Polonais et Juifs, a provoqué un scandale en affirmant dans une interview accordée au magazine très populaire polonais Focus-Historia, que les Juifs avaient pris une part active dans le massacre d’autres Juifs pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Dans l'interview intitulée "Les Juifs sont-ils eux-mêmes coupables?", il affirme:


"La thèse ridicule qui veut que les Juifs furent essentiellement tués par des Polonais a été inventée pour cacher le plus grand secret des Juifs: l'ampleur du crime commis par les Allemands n'a été possible que grâce à une participation active des Juifs à l'assassinat de leur peuple".


"Le problème avec les Juifs est qu'ils sont convaincus qu’ils sont le peuple élu. Ils considèrent qu'ils ont le droit de tout interpréter, y compris la doctrine catholique… Je suis convaincu qu'il est inutile de dialoguer avec les Juifs, car ça ne mène à rien".


Evoquant le massacre de Juifs par 340 voisins catholiques polonais, il déclare: "Je suis absolument convaincu que le crime commis dans le village de Jedwabne et les autres pogroms n'ont pas été perpétrés pour voler les biens des Juifs ou par vengeance pour les choses horribles que les Juifs ont commises envers les Polonais dans le passé. Les pogroms ont été commis parce qu'il y avait une très grande peur des Juifs". Et l'historien a précisé que les assassins se trouvaient dans une situation désespérée et "devaient se dire qu'ils commettaient des atrocités, mais que leurs petits-enfants leur en seraient reconnaissants. C'est une interprétation possible, même si elle ne justifie pas le crime".


Toujours dans la même veine il explique que le comportement des Juifs a provoqué l'Holocauste: "Pendant de nombreuses générations, les Juifs, mais non l'Église catholique, ont tout fait pour provoquer l'Holocauste. Et il semble que les Juifs n'ont pas retenu leur leçon et n'en ont tiré aucun enseignement".