Tag: Raoul Wallenberg

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY: “JEWS WERE MURDERED AT AUSCHWITZ, BUT ANTISEMITISM DID NOT DIE THERE”

Have We Learned the Lessons — and Causes — of the Holocaust?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017— This coming Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Persistence of Anti-Semitism Shows World Has Yet to Learn Lessons of the Holocaust: Mario Silva, National Post, Jan. 26, 2017— This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Justice for Those Who Have Endured: Yechiel Eckstein, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2017— This January 27, nations around the world mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the most horrific evil ever perpetrated upon humanity – the near destruction of European Jewry.

Three Reasons Why a Double Standard is Imposed on Israel: Philip Carl Salzman, CIJR, Jan. 25, 2017— While nationalism of the Americans, French, and Chinese is admired or at least accepted, Jewish nationalism (Zionism) is regarded as racism by pro-Arab activists and journalists.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

The 400-year-old Foundation of the Unique US-Israel Ties: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017

Remembering the Holocaust, Forgetting the Survivors: Yechiel Eckstein, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2017

Story of Japan’s 'Schindler' Offers Lessons for Tackling Contemporary Xenophobia: UNNewsCentre, Jan. 26, 2017

Raoul Wallenberg, Hero of Humanity: Irwin Cotler, Times of Israel, Jan. 21, 2017

 

 

 

HAVE WE LEARNED THE LESSONS — AND CAUSES —

OF THE HOLOCAUST?

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017

 

This coming Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is often assumed that the Holocaust was caused by a long-lasting antisemitic infrastructure in Germany and on the European continent. According to this theory, many centuries of demonization of the Jews created an atmosphere that made it possible for the Nazis to commit genocide against the Jews.

 

Over the course of centuries, Christianity systematically demonized the Jews. This demonization began in Roman Catholic theology. A major role was played by Voltaire and other French enlightenment philosophers. They were followed by German idealists and other philosophers, as well as 19th century French socialists and Karl Marx. Many others joined this movement of hate in the late 19th and early 20th century. Even after the Holocaust, Europe’s main philosopher was the German antisemite and former Nazi, Martin Heidegger.

 

But these explanations of the Holocaust may not be so simple. In 2015, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby remarked that antisemitism is a complex and difficult subject, adding that it is still deeply embedded “in our history and culture in Western Europe.” British-Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who recently passed away, claimed that there is a far more opaque infrastructure for the Holocaust than mentioned before. In his book, Modernity and the Holocaust, he links the great genocide to structural elements of modern society. He states that the Holocaust was a product of men educated in the most refined culture of Western society, and  thus a product of Western civilization. In Bauman’s view, the conditions for a similar event to occur are still in place.

 

As an aside, Bauman’s insights did not prevent him from making contemporary Holocaust-distorting observations. In an interview with the Polish weekly Politika, he compared the Israeli separation fence to the walls surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto.

 

The question as to whether a second Holocaust is possible was the subject of a debate in 2002. American columnist Ron Rosenbaum claimed that it was likely that, sooner or later, a nuclear weapon would be detonated by Arab fundamentalists in Tel Aviv. This led to a reaction by Leon Wieseltier, who said that the Jews had found both safety and strength after the war, and that a second Holocaust would not occur. Rosenbaum countered by claiming that Wieseltier was fleeing into denial, as there were many Hitler-like figures who were demonizing Jews in the Arab world. Furthermore, in recent decades, we have seen genocides elsewhere, the best known in Cambodia and Rwanda.

 

All this raises the question as to what the history of the Holocaust means for today. In contemporary society, there are many demonizers of Jews and in particular of Israel. This is a multilayered process. At the forefront of this movement are forces from the Muslim world. Iranian rulers have often mentioned that Israel will be wiped off the map. Others include Muslim terror organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as countless individuals. Their de facto allies include a broad range of demonizers of Israel who knowingly ignore genocidal and demonizing tendencies in the Arab world. Some examples of these are the UN and associated bodies, assorted NGOs, various European socialist parties, many pseudo-progressive academics, numerous trade unionists and so on.

 

All the above can only lead to one conclusion: It is incumbent upon Israel and the Jewish world to make a huge effort to map how all of this hangs together. Only once we understand the arrangement of our enemies on the battleground can we fight them effectively.

 

 

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PERSISTENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISM SHOWS

WORLD HAS YET TO LEARN LESSONS OF THE HOLOCAUST                                                           

Mario Silva

National Post, Jan. 26, 2017

                       

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Sadly, the liberation of the camp on Jan. 27, 1945 did not put a stop to the mass killing of innocent Jewish men, women and children. Nor did it stop after the Canadian 2nd Infantry Division liberated the Westerbork concentration camp in Holland in April 1945. The Nazis continued their slaughter until the last moments of their murderous machine, which was put to an end when Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

 

Nazism subscribed to theories of a “master race” — a racial hierarchy where superior people have a right to dominate others and purge society of so-called inferior elements. By the time the war ended, Nazi Germany and its many collaborators had exterminated one-third of the Jewish people, six million Jews. Those of us who look back at that dark period history become traumatized by the ease and speed with which the killing took place. Nowhere is this more evident (than) in Babi Yar, Ukraine, where from Sept. 29–30, 1941, over just two days, 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation.

 

Remembering these unique horrors is a key to Holocaust remembrance. In 2013, I was honoured to be the chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) during the Canadian Chairmanship. Canada’s membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance reflects our country’s commitment to ensuring that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust.

 

It was with the goal of remembrance that, in 1998, then Swedish prime minister Göran Persson asked Britain’s Tony Blair and then U.S. president Bill Clinton to join him in forming an international task force on Holocaust remembrance, education and research. And on Jan. 27, 2000 in Stockholm, 46 governments — represented by heads of state, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, and ministers — unanimously adopted the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust. Today, we also mark the 17th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration.

 

The commitment of the international community to the principles of the Stockholm Declaration was the starting point for many countries to begin a public debate on their role during the Second World War and the Holocaust. What happened during the war? What did our country do? What did it not do? And what are the lessons we must learn to ensure this never happens again?

 

Today, IHRA has expanded from its three founding members to an international network of experts on the Holocaust and related issues. It has strengthened political co-operation among its 31 member countries, which work together in a consensus-based framework.

 

Member states that join IHRA commit to the principles of the Stockholm Declaration, which states that “the unprecedented character of the Holocaust will always hold universal meaning,” and that in a world “still scarred by genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils.” Member governments must pledge to strengthen efforts to promote Holocaust education, remembrance, and research.

 

Knowledge about the background, purpose, and significance of the Holocaust is essential to raise public awareness and mobilize forces to push back against the prejudices and stereotypes that led to it. Hate crimes, be they based on xenophobia, anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial, are a global phenomenon. Individually and collectively we have an obligation to fight discrimination that leads to the exclusion of groups of people and spreads hatred.

 

The liberation of Auschwitz should be a powerful call against anti-Semitism, hatred, racial intolerance and prejudice. Unfortunately, genocides and other atrocities occurred before and after the Holocaust. Even after the Holocaust, one particular form of hate stands out today from among the others. Anti-Semitism is unique in its universality, intensity, longevity and irrationality. During my chairmanship, I worked hard to make sure that IHRA adopted an international definition of Holocaust denial, which by its very nature is another form of anti-Semitism.

 

The Holocaust was an unprecedented crime against humanity and a defining historical moment, one that fundamentally altered how the world views and treats acts of genocide. As such, it provides us with many important lessons that can help prevent such crimes from happening again. The challenge is to ensure that those lessons are remembered, shared and applied. In this way, the world can honour the memory of those we failed to protect.

 

 

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JUSTICE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ENDURED

Yechiel Eckstein

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 2017

 

This January 27, nations around the world mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the most horrific evil ever perpetrated upon humanity – the near destruction of European Jewry.

 

It was fitting, then, that during a special Knesset ceremony on December 20, 2016, I was honored on behalf of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, along with eight other individuals and organizations, to receive the Beacon of Light Award from the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims. Limor Livnat, chairwoman of the foundation, said the annual awards pay tribute to those dedicated to improving the lives of survivors, honor Holocaust survivors who have excelled in their contribution to Israeli society, and recognize volunteers improving survivors’ quality of life.

 

I was humbled that The Fellowship was recognized for its longtime dedication to helping needy Holocaust survivors in Israel at a time when the entire world prepares to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust, in a global annual event the United Nations General Assembly launched in 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

 

While the ceremonies and awards are important, they also serve to underscore a largely ignored humanitarian tragedy of global proportions that we as a community are not doing enough to address: Today, many of the world’s remaining 500,000 Holocaust survivors are living out their final years in poverty. Most of those who are suffering live either in Israel, across the former Soviet Union, or in greater New York City.

 

Of 189,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, 25% live below the poverty line. Among the 60,000 survivors throughout the former Soviet Union, poverty is endemic – approaching 85-90%. Even in New York City, home to another 60,000 survivors, about half live below the poverty line.

 

This is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. But worse, it speaks of a moral failure, because those who suffered the unimaginable are suffering once again through general ignorance or neglect. And the clock is ticking for us to respond. Every day, 40 survivors die. Within a decade few who experienced the Holocaust first-hand will remain.

 

In Israel and throughout the FSU, the poorest survivors are barely subsisting on meager income, often forced to choose between eating and securing life-saving medicine. Many survivors suffer through brutal winters unable to afford heating fuel.

 

Thanks to the support of millions of Christians across the United States and elsewhere, The Fellowship has been able to provide more than $7.3 million annually in food, medicine, heating fuel, daycare and other assistance to over 18,000 survivors in Israel and more than $15m. annually in food, medical assistance, home care and winter aid to those in the FSU. In fact, we recently ramped up our partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, establishing the IFCJ Food and Medicine Lifeline to serve tens of thousands of poor elderly Jews, many of them survivors not only of the Holocaust but of Soviet oppression, in 11 countries in the FSU.

 

While we are certainly gratified to have been able to make some impact and help many survivors, we are by no means satisfied that our job is done. As a community, we cannot stand idly by as even one Holocaust survivor in Israel or anywhere else is forced to perform a cruel financial calculus regarding their most basic human needs. Our moral responsibility only begins with remembering the six million, whether it is on International Holocaust Remembrance Day or on Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day each spring. Our moral duty will only be fulfilled when those who survived the unspeakable are not forced to live in unspeakable conditions. This is about seeing to justice for those who have endured.

 

                                                           

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THREE REASONS WHY A DOUBLE STANDARD IS IMPOSED ON ISRAEL

Philip Carl Salzman                                                                 

CIJR, Jan. 25, 2017

 

While nationalism of the Americans, French, and Chinese is admired or at least accepted, Jewish nationalism (Zionism) is regarded as racism by pro-Arab activists and journalists. While Syrian President Bashar Assad declares war against his people, with deaths numbering in hundreds of thousands and displaced in the millions, next door Israel is lambasted by the foreign minister of Sweden for "extrajudicial killings," when it kills terrorists in the act of attacking Israeli citizens.

Notwithstanding the oppression of women in the Islamic Middle East, the forced marriages, mandatory seclusion, obligatory wearing of tents, honor killings, enslavement, gang rapes, and sale as sex slaves, the National Women's Studies Association boycotts Israel, the only country in the Middle East where women are free and equal.

 

What explains this double standard? The first reason is traditional Christian anti-Semitism. For 1,800 years Jews were Europe's own despised minority, blamed for murdering Jesus and then rejecting Christian salvation. This was still being preached from the Catholic pulpit fifty years ago when I arrived in Quebec. The Jews were the feeble minority that Europeans loved to hate. Any Jewish deviation from propriety was seized upon to justify their lowly status

 

However, with the establishment of Israel, Jews were no longer the feeble minority, but a robust majority of a small state, with Jewish "pushiness" becoming Israeli military victory. In Israel, the Jews no longer knew "their place" at the bottom of the European hierarchy, but were independent actors no longer dependent upon European permission.

 

Europeans have responded by being hyper-critical of their despised ex-minority, demanding things of Israel that they have never demanded of Israel's adversaries or neighbors, or even of themselves, and condemning Israel when it does not comply with their unreasonable demands.

 

The second reason for the double standard is pragmatic, not to say cynical: There are hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims, and only a few million Jews. Arabs and Muslims are spread in many strategically important locations throughout the world. Furthermore, Arabs and Muslim make up a huge commercial market for the industrial nations of Europe and beyond.

 

As to propriety and standards of behavior, European Christians never thought much of, or expected much of the people of the "South." These gentiles, pagans, and heathens would do just about anything, so there was no point measuring them against civilized standards and judging them. Deal with them pragmatically, was the strategy, as politically important and economically useful. The European rule is this: do not unnecessarily irritate the vast number of Arabs and Muslims by siding with a handful of uppity Jews; that would just be foolish. Showing you are on the side of Arabs and Muslims by condemning Israel is just smart policy.

 

The third and final reason for the double standard is the Holocaust, the European genocidal project to murder all Jews. Germany expertly designed and engineered the Holocaust, but was joined enthusiastically by many in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, and collaborated with by Western European countries. Even those who did not take direct part, such as Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland, did nothing to stop the Holocaust, in spite of pleas that they do so, and some blocked their gates to Jews trying to escape their fate.

 

The shadow of the Holocaust – its blame, shame, and guilt – has hung over Europe since 1945. After 70 years, Europeans are fed up with hearing about it. Current generations were not even alive at the time. Why should they be blamed and feel guilt, they wonder, about something that they did not do, do not approve of, and would not do themselves. Yet the shadow prevails.

 

How can it be removed? Well, if it turns out that the Jews are evil – that, given the chance to be in charge as in Israel, they behave exactly like the Nazis – then the ledger is balanced. European hyper-criticism of Israel makes both Europeans and Jews oppressors and murderers, equally guilty and thus equally innocent. Extravagant denunciation of Israel, however dishonest, frees Europe of its guilt. Americans, implicated in the Holocaust only to the extent of having closed its doors to Jews trying to flee, currently favor Israel over the Palestinians, according to annual Gallup polls, by four to one, while Europeans heavily favor Palestinians. Americans do not need to escape the blame for the Holocaust, while for Europeans condemning Israel is the easiest route.

Prof. Philip Carl Salzman is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

The 400-year-old Foundation of the Unique US-Israel Ties: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017

1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society.  Civil liberties are Bible-driven, reflecting more responsibility than rights.

Remembering the Holocaust, Forgetting the Survivors: Yechiel Eckstein, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2017 —This January 27, nations around the world will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the most horrific evil ever perpetrated upon humanity: the near destruction of Europe’s Jews.

Story of Japan’s 'Schindler' Offers Lessons for Tackling Contemporary Xenophobia: UNNewsCentre, Jan. 26, 2017 —During World War II, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat posted as an acting consul in Lithuania, disobeyed instructions from his own Government and issued visas for Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.

Raoul Wallenberg, Hero of Humanity: Irwin Cotler, Times of Israel, Jan. 21, 2017— I write at an important moment of remembrance and reminder, of bearing witness and taking action – on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, reminding us of horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened; and on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century. From 1941 to the end of 1944, some 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, 1.1 million of them were Jews.

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE “DELUSIONAL” FAR-LEFT ACTIVISTS SPREAD ANTISEMITIC PROPAGANDA, ISRAEL FIGHTS BDS

The Left’s Depraved Sideshow: Terry Glavin, National Post, Aug. 10, 2016— It took a cartoon appearing in the World Social Forum program in Montreal this week..

Israel to Expel BDS Activists? Bravo!: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 11, 2016— The decision by the Interior and Public Security ministers to form a special task force to expel foreigners engaged in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities is a long overdue…

New Jewish Apostates: Edward Alexander & Paul Bogdanor, Algemeiner, Aug. 3, 2016— On August 1, Professor Hasia Diner of NYU and Professor Marjorie Feld of Babson College in Massachusetts took to the pages of Ha’aretz to denounce the world’s only Jewish state for being racist, colonialist, reactionary, aggressive, and – this above all – Jewish…

From a Dacha Wall, a Clue to Raoul Wallenberg’s Cold War Fate: Neil Macfarquhar, New York Times, Aug. 6, 2016— The 1945 disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg — a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi gas chambers — ranks among the most enduring mysteries of World War II.

 

On Topic Links

 

Who Speaks For America’s Jews?: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2016

Not Just Anti-Semitism: New Boss Seeks to Broaden ADL’s Reach: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Aug. 7, 2016

J Street Jews-The New Uncle Tom.: Diane Weber Bederman, Jews Down Under, Aug. 7, 2016

Elie Wiesel: Conscience of Humanity: Irwin Cotler, Times of Israel, Aug. 2, 2016

 

 

 

THE LEFT’S DEPRAVED SIDESHOW

Terry Glavin

National Post, Aug. 10, 2016

 

It took a cartoon appearing in the World Social Forum program in Montreal this week that could have come straight from the pages of Julius Streicher’s Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Stürmer to provide a fleeting glimpse into just how deeply the rot has spread. It featured a hook-nosed Jew vomiting a caricature of Uncle Sam, who’s disgorging a long-bearded jihadist.

 

Put to the crude Khomeinist propaganda purpose of attributing the Wahhabi-inspired terrorism afflicting the Middle East at the moment to the United States and Israel — a lunatic conspiracy theory that enjoys generous toleration among Canada’s self-described “anti-imperialist” activists — it should tell you something that the World Social Forum’s animateurs did not notice anything untoward about the cartoon until it became the subject of a public uproar.

 

That is how far the “anti-globalization” movement has fallen since the World Social Forum’s first annual gathering in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001. Conceived as an altruistic alternative to the neo-liberalism of the World Economic Forum convened annually in Davos, Switzerland, the World Social Forum is now as pleased to draw unambiguously fascist tendencies to its bosom as it is to facilitate note-swapping among vegans who have quarrels with Monsanto’s genetically modified food experiments.

 

It wasn’t until the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs raised a commotion and Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt took the forum’s organizers to task about it that the cartoon was pulled. Then the federal government pulled its maple leaf logo. The event the cartoon was intended to advertise was struck from the forum’s five-day agenda. A chastened spokesperson for the forum, Carminda Mac Lorin, explained it all away: “We are really open to everyone, and we are definitely happy to welcome everyone who is interested in working for a better world.”

 

I guess that depends on your definition of “a better world.” There are at least a dozen major forum events that remain devoted to the proposition that in this “better world,” the Jewish state of Israel would not be permitted to exist. Activists will be offered workshops in how to participate in the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel — the eliminationist movement begun by the Arab League in 1945 to target Palestine’s Jewish population, three years before the state of Israel was even born. The forum will also feature sessions smearing Israel as an apartheid state and will host events to mobilize more “Gaza Boat” spectacles — the project pioneered by a collaboration between the Hamas-affiliated Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief, and the Perdana Global Peace Organization. Perdana is a creation of the former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad, whose anti-Semitic greatest hits include “the Jews rule the world by proxy,” and, “even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world.”

 

But that’s just for starters. While we were all being taken in by the elaborate publicity stunt staged in the run-up to the gathering — “Hundreds of Activists Denied Visas to Attend World Social Forum in Montreal” — just one thing that escaped notice was the most prominent conference platforms being offered to the world’s most deranged apologists for the “anti-imperialist” regime of Syrian president and mass murderer, Bashar Assad.

 

It’s a good thing Concordia University is hosting a forum-affiliated seminar titled, Defeating War: Syria Under Siege, featuring Lebanese author and analyst Gilbert Achcar, chair of the Centre for Palestinian Studies at the University of London. At least Achcar is a genuine socialist. The forum’s main-event stupidities include a workshop delineating the “imperialist and colonialist actors” at large in Syria, which is not meant to shed any light on the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by Russia, Iran’s Quds force, Assad’s barrel bombers and Hezbollah mercenaries — the blood-drenched alliance that accounts for the overwhelming majority of the nearly half-million Syrian civilian deaths over the past five years.

 

That workshop is being run by the absurdly named Syria-Palestine Solidarty group. Its main speaker is the notorious pro-Assad conspiracy theorist Issa Chaer of the just as absurdly named Syria Solidarity Movement. The event is sponsored by an outfit that at least doesn’t pretend to strive for a peaceful two-state solution resolving the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy: the helpfully named One State Assembly, which is devoted to Israel’s elimination and replacement by a single Palestinian state. Chaer’s Syria Solidarity Movement is running at least two other events at the forum. Populated by the usual detritus of Rabble.ca contributors, Canadian Peace Alliance retreads and Press TV dingbats, the Syria Solidarity Movement is unambiguously and unashamedly pro-Assad. When the World Social Forum’s officials say they are “really open to everyone,” they should be taken at their word.

 

It didn’t have to be like this, but it’s what you get when you try to build such a big anti-capitalist tent that you welcome anyone, no matter the depths of their Jew-hatred, their insane antipathies toward “the West” or their dirty allegiances to Third World despots. It is an intellectual and moral vacuity that has crippled what the World Social Forum’s founders sincerely hoped would produce some sort of democratic alternative to what they saw as the heartless corporate model of globalization…

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

 

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                            ISRAEL TO EXPEL BDS ACTIVISTS? BRAVO!            

                                                            Isi Leibler                                         

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 11, 2016

 

The decision by the Interior and Public Security ministers to form a special task force to expel foreigners engaged in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities is a long overdue but urgent call for remedial action against antisemites and renegade Jews who demonize and delegitimize us. In this context, I applaud the government for, albeit belatedly, taking action to expel or bar entry to foreigners who come into Israel in the guise of tourists in order to promote or assist BDS and provoke West Bank Palestinians against the IDF. There is also is a strong case to prosecute Israelis who engage in such seditious activities. No doubt this will lead to a torrent of hysteria by the delusional left who will claim that this “denial of freedom of expression” is another move by the government towards implementing a “fascist” regime.

 

This legislation should have been introduced a long while ago and the timing coincides with impending actions by European governments, currently floundering in their efforts to provide security to their citizens under attack from crazed Islamic fundamentalist killers – both imported and homegrown. They will be seeking to impose legislation which will to some extent impose limits to unfettered civil liberties if they compromise security. If they fail to act they will be overwhelmed at the polls by radical right wing parties which have already mushroomed in response to the recent terrorist rampages.

 

The situation in Israel is infinitely more acute than in any other country. The Jewish state is the only country in the world whose right to exist is constantly challenged by neighboring states motivated by fanatical Islamic antisemitic dictatorships. Israel’s purported peace partner has made it clear that a Palestinian state is merely the first step towards the ultimate goal of eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the region. Ironically, even though much of the world refuses to recognize it, the reality is that today most Israelis are ready to separate from the Palestinians if this could be implemented in conjunction with long term security. It is the Palestinians, brainwashed by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, who only see an end of conflict with the destruction of Israel.

 

In addition, unlike the situation in Europe, Israel is an oasis of relative tranquility in a continent of dictatorships and fanatical Islamic rogue states where the concept of human rights is simply nonexistent. Moreover over the past few years the region has become transformed into the most brutal killing fields in the world where hundreds of thousands have been cruelly massacred and millions displaced from their homes at levels of barbarism reminiscent of the Dark Ages.

 

It thus particularly galling for Israelis to witness governments and media listing terror attacks throughout the world and yet exclude Israel, the greatest victim. Their sickening justification for these omissions is that terror attacks in Israel differ from those in Europe because they are based on “resistance to occupation.” Never mind the fact that terror in Israel far predates 1967 when Israel repulsed the combined Arab armies which then sought to conquer it. The fact is that Israel has been the canary in the coal mine of terrorism and many Europeans are now likely to try to emulate our techniques and strategies in dealing with their own threats.

 

The government seems to have only now, belatedly, recognized that a crucial component in the effort of Israel’s enemies to destroy us is the war of ideas — and we are painfully losing this battle. Not to mention the vast sums of money foreign governments surreptitiously pour into NGOs, not for the promotion of human rights but in order to delegitimize the State of Israel. Our government has been nonchalant and intimidated by the delusional left from taking steps to protect itself from internal and external enemies.

 

There is also a strong case to prosecute Israelis who engage in activities which subvert the state or seek to delegitimize it. When the extreme left-wing media, academics and activists broadcast self-evident lies demonizing their country and besmirching it by falsely accusing the Israel Defense Forces of engaging in war crimes, in the present climate this amounts to subversion. No other country confronting the threats to its existence would tolerate such behavior or enable taxpayers’ funds to be employed towards subsidizing “cultural” activities designed to demonize the nation.

 

Can one envisage how Churchill would have dealt with such behavior during the Second World War? A British parliamentarian expressing seditious remarks supporting those seeking the destruction of the nation – such as MK Haneen Zoabi has done — would face charges of high treason. Bleeding hearts opposing the exclusion of foreign BDS activists should review US policy during the Cold War which denied entry to any foreigner who had been a member of the communist party. The dangers confronting Israel are infinitely greater than those the US then faced from the Soviet Union. And we should be under no illusions. Since the creation of the state of Israel we have been and continue to live in a state of war. The vast majority of the Israeli public would doubtlessly agree that limited curtailment of civil liberties is highly justified if it inhibits those engaged in demonizing and delegitimizing us or even saves a single Israeli from becoming a terrorist casualty.           

 

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NEW JEWISH APOSTATES                 

Edward Alexander & Paul Bogdanor                                             

Algemeiner, Aug. 3, 2016

 

On August 1, Professor Hasia Diner of NYU and Professor Marjorie Feld of Babson College in Massachusetts took to the pages of Ha’aretz to denounce the world’s only Jewish state for being racist, colonialist, reactionary, aggressive, and – this above all – Jewish. Vilification of Israel has long been de rigueur in that newspaper. “When it comes to defaming Jews,” says a character in Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock, “the Palestinians are pisherkes [small fry] next to Ha’aretz.” On August 2, the same publication (perhaps as a result of some internal dissent) printed a powerful rebuttal by historian Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis. Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic Monthly declared that he was “getting ready to leave Ha’aretz behind.” Later he added: “when neo-Nazis are e-mailing me links to Ha’aretz op-eds declaring Israel to be evil, I’m going to take a break.”

 

Both Feld and Diner tell what might be called unconversion tales, from Zionism to Israelophobia, raw hatred of Israel, of its people, and, still more, of Diaspora Jews who recognize that securing Israel is the moral duty of this generation. Feld hints that she was awakened from her Zionist “delusions” by the outpourings of Noam Chomsky, a writer who would be rendered virtually speechless on the subject of Israel if he stopped equating the Jewish nation with Nazi Germany. His loathing of American Jewry was expressed as follows in 1988: “The Jewish community here is deeply totalitarian. They do not want democracy, they do not want freedom.” Beautiful and touching words! Are they also music to the ears of disillusioned history professors?

 

Diner, more than Feld, has ideas all her own, some of which may surpass Chomsky’s ravings. For example, she contends that “the death of vast numbers of Jewish communities as a result of Zionist activity has impoverished the Jewish people.” Was it “Zionist activity” and not the Third Reich and its collaborators that annihilated European Jewry? Was it “Zionist activity” and not Arab dictatorships that expelled one Jewish population after another from countries they had inhabited for over a thousand years? And was it “Zionist activity” and not the devastation left by communism that prompted more than a million Jews to leave Russia?

 

Diner complains that “the singular insistence on Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state” forced her to renounce her Zionist views. “Does Jewish constitute a race or ethnicity?,” she asks. “Does a Jewish state mean a racial state?” This from a teacher of Jewish history? Doesn’t she know that Jewish people are found in all races, and that anyone can become Jewish? Did none of Diner’s colleagues at NYU tell her that the “racial state” of Israel is the only country in history to have sought out and brought to its shores tens of thousands of Africans as free and equal citizens? “The Law of Return,” Diner avers, “can no longer look to me as anything other than racism.” Yet other free countries have their own Laws of Return, occasioning no protest from the principled professor. The Armenian constitution, for instance, permits individuals “of Armenian origin” to acquire citizenship through “a simplified procedure.” The Lithuanian constitution proclaims: “Everyone who is ethnically Lithuanian has the right to settle in Lithuania.” The Polish and Ukrainian constitutions have identical provisions…

 

Since Israel’s people have been under military as well as ideological siege throughout its existence, our professorial duo could hardly avoid the subject of atrocities. They deal with it, alas, just as one might have expected. Diner writes: “I abhor violence, bombings, stabbings, or whatever hurtful means oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration. And yet, I am not surprised when they do so, after so many decades of occupation, with no evidence of progress.” Can these historians really be unaware that terrorism against Jews in the Jewish homeland began decades before the “occupation”? As Paul Berman observed about apologists of their ilk, “Each new act of murder and suicide testified to how oppressive were the Israelis. Palestinian terror, in this view, was the measure of Israeli guilt. The more grotesque the terror, the deeper the guilt…”

 

Feld and Diner are nothing if not frank. They do not even bother to hide the logical end-point of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Diner not only boycotts everything Israeli, but also many of her co-religionists in the Diaspora. “I feel a sense of repulsion,” she explains, “when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel.’ I just do not go and avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.” As genocidal fanatics build nuclear bombs in Iran; as Hezbollah arms itself with over a hundred thousand missiles in Lebanon; as men, women, and children are butchered with knives in Israel; as small children in a Jewish school and shoppers in a kosher deli are massacred in Europe; as synagogues and community institutions are fortified against the never-ending nightmare of Islamist violence throughout the world, the Israel-haters take pride in their own perfidy by shunning their fellow Jews.

 

“One who separates himself from the [Jewish] community” – by showing indifference when it is in distress – “has no share in the world to come.” So declared Maimonides, the greatest of all Jewish sages, in the twelfth century (Laws of Repentance, iii). But if this verdict seems too remote and old-fashioned for Diner and Feld, let them ponder the following, delivered at the height of the Holocaust: “The history of our times will one day make bitter reading, when it records that some Jews were so morally uncertain that they denied they were obligated to risk their own safety in order to save other Jews who were being done to death abroad” (Ben Halpern, Jewish Frontier, August 1943).

 

 

Contents          

                                 

FROM A DACHA WALL, A CLUE TO RAOUL WALLENBERG’S COLD WAR FATE

                                      Neil Macfarquhar                             

                                                New York Times, Aug. 6, 2016

 

The 1945 disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg — a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi gas chambers — ranks among the most enduring mysteries of World War II. Suspicion for the snatching of Wallenberg off the streets near Budapest fell almost immediately on the Soviet Union. To the Soviets occupying Budapest, the ties that Wallenberg had forged with senior Nazis and Americans smelled like espionage, with rescuing Jews an implausible cover story. But his disappearance went unexplained, right through the Gorbachev era of glasnost and the chaos after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 

This summer, however, the newly published diaries of the original head of the K.G.B. — found secreted inside the wall of a dacha — have shed fresh light on the case by stating outright for the first time that Wallenberg was executed in a Moscow prison. “I have no doubts that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947,” wrote Ivan A. Serov, a Soviet military man who ran the K.G.B. from 1954 to 1958. Tantalizing hints that Wallenberg, the scion of a rich, prominent family of Swedish industrialists, was imprisoned in Moscow emerged immediately, then dripped out at long intervals. Alexandra M. Kollontai, the domineering Soviet ambassador to Sweden, initially told Wallenberg’s mother that the diplomat was in custody, but backtracked after the Kremlin announced that it knew nothing of the case.

 

In the 1950s, Moscow began releasing war prisoners, and some reported meeting a V.I.P. inmate. Some called him mysterious; some knew his name. Sweden started asking pointed questions, and seeking to improve ties, the Kremlin released a report in 1957. It said a newly discovered, partial medical report indicated that Wallenberg, age 34, died of a heart attack in prison in July 1947 — a stock Soviet cover story.

 

The next halting step toward resolution came with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin agreed to cooperate with a comprehensive Russian-Swedish effort that included archival research and interviews with retired state security employees. But the final report in 2000 reached no definitive conclusion about Wallenberg’s fate, and found that documents had been destroyed or altered to eliminate all traces of him.

 

In time, Wallenberg’s rescue work became a lasting symbol of the international human rights movement, but the mystery of his fate seemed likely to endure forever — until the Serov diaries came to light. Memoirs from high-ranking Kremlin officials are exceedingly rare, and this one, while hardly definitive, contains several references to previously unknown documents on Wallenberg. They include a report about Wallenberg’s cremation, and another quoting Viktor Abakumov, who preceded Serov as head of state security but was tried and executed in 1954 in the last Stalin purges. Abakumov apparently revealed during his interrogation that the order to “liquidate” Wallenberg had come from Stalin and Vyacheslav M. Molotov, the foreign minister.

 

The word “killed” has never appeared in any official documents released from the Soviet side, according to Nikita Petrov, a historian with the Memorial organization in Moscow who specializes in the Stalinist era and Serov himself. “They did not use this word,” Mr. Petrov said. “They said it appears he was killed, but we know nothing about this, we don’t have any documents. In Serov’s diary, you can find this word as a fact.” Memoirs lack the weight of official documents, Mr. Petrov noted, but Serov also described reading a Wallenberg file. Previously, the security service denied that any such files existed, according to diplomats, historians and others who have long worked on the case…The Serov book is called “Notes From a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First K.G.B. Chairman, Found Over 25 Years After His Death,” and appeared in Russia in June with its own extraordinary tale…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                           

           

On Topic Links

 

Who Speaks For America’s Jews?: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2016—Last Friday, Peter Beinart and a few dozen Jewish anti-Zionists had a marvelous time in Hebron. They wore funny blue T-shirts and sang about “tikkun olam” (repairing the world) in two languages. They pretended they were civil rights activists.                                                                

Not Just Anti-Semitism: New Boss Seeks to Broaden ADL’s Reach: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Aug. 7, 2016 —For more than a century, the Anti-Defamation League has been known as a group that combats anti-Semitism. But one year after taking the group’s helm, Jonathan Greenblatt wants it to focus on more than just the Jews.                                                         

J Street Jews-The New Uncle Tom.: Diane Weber Bederman, Jews Down Under, Aug. 7, 2016—I read that J Street received a great deal of money to promote the Iran deal.                                                                                                                    

Elie Wiesel: Conscience of Humanity: Irwin Cotler, Times of Israel, Aug. 2, 2016—The passing of Professor Elie Wiesel was – and on his shloshim today remains – a personal and profound loss. It is akin to the passing of one of the legendary “Lamed Vavniks,” the 36 righteous people living in the world. Their just lives, at any given moment, redeem humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WALLENBERG: A SHINING EXAMPLE OF HOW TO CONFRONT EVIL IN OUR CRUEL, & INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLD

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

 

Contents:

 

In Dark Times, Remember Wallenberg: Irwin Cotler, Algemeiner, Jan. 18, 2015— It has been a dark January.

While the World Has Been Looking Elsewhere, Boko Haram Has Carved Out its Own, Brutal Country: David Blair, National Post, Jan. 14, 2015— You might not have noticed, but the world has acquired a new country.

Let us Mourn for Paris – And No Less for Nigeria: Globe & Mail, Jan. 12, 2015— Millions gathered in Paris this weekend as a tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and in defiance of the Islamic extremists who murdered them..

This Is Obama’s Last Foreign Policy Chance: Leslie H. Gelb, Daily Beast, Jan. 14, 2015 — Here’s why America’s failure to be represented at the Paris unity march was so profoundly disturbing.

Obama: Charlie Who?: Charles Krauthammer, National Review, Jan. 15, 2015 — On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie.

 

On Topic Links

 

Satellite Images Show Boko Haram Massacre in Nigeria: Drew Hinshaw,  Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2015

Chad Soldiers to Fight Boko Haram in Cameroon: Emmanuel Tumanjong & Drew Hinshaw, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2015

Boko Haram’s Campaign of Terror in Nigeria is Only Getting Worse: Washington Post, Jan. 14, 2015

When Normal Is Deadly: How Boko Haram Made Us Ok With Slaughter:  Joe Randazzo, Daily Beast, Jan. 18, 2015

                                                     

                            

IN DARK TIMES, REMEMBER WALLENBERG                                                                       

Irwin Cotler                                                                                                                             

Algemeiner, Jan. 18, 2015

 

It has been a dark January. Thus far, 2015 has brought tragic and infuriating terrorism, anti-Semitism, and assaults on liberty in France; a car bomb in Yemen that killed and injured dozens; and the massacre of thousands in Nigeria by Boko Haram, as well as yet another of the group’s mass kidnappings. This is in addition to continuing mass atrocities and humanitarian crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Central Africa, Sudan, and elsewhere, and it comes on the heels of the deadly hostage-taking in Sydney, and the barbarous terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan that left more than a hundred dead, most of them children.  At times like these, the evil in the world can feel overwhelming, and it can be tempting to cede to despair, aggravating the problem of the international community as bystander to atrocity and injustice. How appropriate, then, that January 17 was Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada, in remembrance and tribute to this disappeared hero of humanity.

 

Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, was a beacon of light during the darkest days of the Holocaust, and his example remains so today. Prior to his arrival in Budapest in July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Auschwitz death camp in the space of ten weeks – the fastest, cruelest, and most efficient mass murders of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued more Hungarian Jews from the Nazis than any single government, notably saving 20,000 by issuing Schutzpasses – documents conferring diplomatic immunity. He even went to the trains as mass deportations were underway, distributing Schutzpasses to people otherwise consigned to death. Other diplomatic missions followed suit, saving thousands more.

 

Wallenberg saved an additional 32,000 by establishing dozens of safe houses in a diplomatic zone protected by neutral legations. He organized hospitals, soup kitchens, and childcare centres, providing human dignity along with the essentials of life. Moreover, when thousands of Jews were sent on a 125-mile death march in November 1944, Wallenberg followed alongside, distributing improvised Schutzpasses, as well as food and medical supplies. To Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi desk murderer who organized the mass deportations to Auschwitz, Wallenberg was the judenhund, the Jewish dog; to thousands of survivors and their families – many of whom have shared their stories of Wallenberg’s bravery with me – he was a guardian angel. Finally, with the Nazis preparing to liquidate the Budapest ghetto as the war neared its end, Wallenberg warned Nazi generals that they would be held accountable and brought to justice, if not executed, for their crimes. The Nazis desisted, and 70,000 more Jews were saved.

 

Regrettably, 70 years ago on January 17, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets, who had entered Hungary as liberators. He disappeared into the Gulag, and his fate remains unknown. Initial Soviet claims that he died in custody in July 1947 have since been contradicted by investigations, including the International Commission on the Fate and Whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg, a group I chaired in 1990, and which included Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Soviet scholar Mikhail Chelnov, former Israeli attorney general Gideon Hauser, and Wallenberg’s brother, Guy von Dardel, who was the driving force behind the commission’s establishment. In 1985, a U.S. Federal Court found the evidence “incontrovertible” that Wallenberg lived past 1947, “compelling” that he was alive in the 1960s, and “credible” that he remained alive into the 1980s; but precisely what became of him remains a mystery.

 

It is tragic that, while too many of the Holocaust’s guilty have lived out their lives in peace, this saviour of the innocent was detained and disappeared. Indeed, the person who saved so many was not saved by so many who could. Yet, while we pursue the moral obligation of discovering the truth of Wallenberg’s fate, his legacy endures, reminding us of the power of an individual with the compassion to care and the courage to act to confront evil, resist, and transform history. In recognition of his heroism, Canada named Wallenberg our country’s first honorary citizen 30 years ago. He has been granted the same distinction in Hungary, Australia, Israel, and the USA – where many states mark Wallenberg Day on October 5. There are monuments to him in cities around the world, as well as streets and schools that bear his name. In Paris, there has been a Rue Raoul-Wallenberg since 2007.

Wallenberg is a shining example of how to confront overriding evil. By intervening to save civilians, he personified what today we call the Responsibility to Protect; by giving out food and medical supplies, he provided what today we call humanitarian relief and assistance; and by issuing his warning to Nazi generals, he prefigured the Nuremberg principles and what today we call international criminal law. At a time when it seems as though each day brings a new heart-wrenching catastrophe, let us be inspired by Raoul Wallenberg, who came face to face with the horrors of Nazism, and was moved not to despair, but to action.

                                                           

Contents                                                                            

                                     

WHILE THE WORLD HAS BEEN LOOKING ELSEWHERE,                                  

BOKO HARAM HAS CARVED OUT ITS OWN, BRUTAL COUNTRY                                                          

David Blair                                                                                                                                           

National Post,  Jan. 14, 2015

 

You might not have noticed, but the world has acquired a new country. With its own capital, army and self-styled “emir,” this domain possesses some of the features of statehood. But don’t expect an application to join the United Nations: the consuming ambition of this realm is to reverse just about every facet of human progress achieved over the past millennium. Boko Haram, the radical Islamists responsible for enslaving the Chibok schoolgirls and killing hundreds of people in the past week alone, have carved out a heartland in the plains of northern Nigeria. Every insurgency tries to graduate from launching hit-and-run attacks to controlling territory. Boko Haram has now crossed this vital threshold. Scores of towns and villages have fallen into the hands of its gunmen across the states of Borno and Yobe. Today, Boko Haram rules a domain the size of Belgium with a surface area of about 32,000 square kilometers and a population of at least 1.7 million people. The capital, incidentally, is a town called Gwoza. The terrorist state’s army comprises Boko Haram’s fearsomely well-equipped insurgents and the “emir” is a maniacal figure called Abubakar Shekau.

 

For the second time in less than three years, an African government has been sufficiently absent-minded to lose a swathe of its country. Ever since the attacks on September 11, a central goal of Western counter-terrorism policy has been to prevent al-Qaida or its allies from controlling territory. But, somehow, it keeps happening – over and over again. Back in 2012, al-Qaida’s affiliate in North Africa managed to take over two thirds of Mali, achieving mastery over an area three times the size of Britain. France’s brilliantly executed intervention broke al-Qaida’s grip on that domain in 2013, but there is no prospect of Boko Haram being similarly defeated in Nigeria. As Shekau proclaims the birth of his new African “Caliphate” – to go with the similar creation of Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS) in the Middle East – three questions arise: How did it come to this? How dangerous is the world’s newest country? And, most vitally of all, what is to be done?

 

The first question is easiest to answer: Boko Haram achieved its advances because of the corruption and incompetence of the Nigerian state. Now that a string of towns has fallen, the failure of the country’s army to stand up to the insurgents is glaring. Partly, that is explained by the fact that the Nigerian armed forces are relatively small: the army has only 62,000 soldiers to defend a country four times bigger than Britain, with no fewer than 180 million people. But that is not the sole reason for the failure. Instead of spending their generous security budget – almost $8 billion in 2014 – on proper weapons and equipment, Nigerian generals tend to pocket the money themselves or blow it on showpiece helicopters that attract generous commissions but are of precious little use against Boko Haram. The result is that the beleaguered 7th Division, which has primary responsibility for fighting Boko Haram, confines itself to mounting a static defence of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Back in 2013, the Islamists managed to destroy most of this unit’s helicopters. Lacking the means to wage a mobile war and crippled by a venal and inept leadership, the 7th Division has made no serious effort to recapture territory from Boko Haram…

 

As for the dangers posed by the birth of Boko Haram-land, the immediate threat is that the new state will become a base for more conquests. That has already happened, with the town of Baga falling last Wednesday and the Islamists launching regular raids over the border into neighbouring Cameroon. Does this pose a wider peril, stretching beyond West Africa? At the moment, the answer is probably not. Boko Haram shares the anti-Western fanaticism of al-Qaida, but the insurgency stubbornly fails to conform to neat categories. Even its name is not what it seems. Boko Haram is generally taken to mean “Western education is banned,” but “Boko” means book in the Hausa language, so “books are banned” would be a more accurate translation. By implying that their campaign is motivated by an objection to “Western education,” we risk allowing Boko Haram to appear less atavistic than they actually are…                                 

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

                                                                       

Contents                                                                  

                                                            

LET US MOURN FOR PARIS – AND NO LESS FOR NIGERIA                                                                  

Globe & Mail, Jan. 12, 2014

 

Millions gathered in Paris this weekend as a tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and in defiance of the Islamic extremists who murdered them. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, Islamic extremists continued the grim work of slaughtering innocents. The heavily armed Islamist group known as Boko Haram has cut a bloody swath through the country since 2009. It now controls a territory of roughly the same size as the one that suffers under the yoke of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

 

It’s not yet known how many people died during a vicious, week-long rampage in and near Baga, a fishing town in the strife-ridden northeast. Estimates vary, but it’s claimed that between 600 and 2,000 were killed. The weekend toll from the towns of Potiskum and Maiduguri is more precise: 19 dead and 26 injured, after a pair of explosions in crowded outdoor markets. It’s believed the suicide bombers were 10-year-old girls. Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “the international jihadist movement has declared war” and that countries like Canada must face it head on. International jihadists may or may not amount to one monolithic enemy. But Mr. Harper is right. With the Nigerian military on the run in Baga – where the national army has itself been accused of mass killings in the past – and as calls multiply for greater international involvement, this is a good opportunity for Canada to define more clearly how this country could contribute to thwarting radical Islamist violence. Ideally, it would go beyond the modest military involvement in Iraq. It’s not realistic to send on its own a Canadian mission, military or otherwise, to Africa’s most populous nation. But surely Canada has a role to play. Mr. Harper and the other party leaders should urgently sketch out their conceptions of it.

 

The insurgency led by Boko Haram – which explicitly rejects Western niceties like public education, gender equality and democracy – is precisely the sort of thing a country serious about opposing violent, obscurantist zealots ought to help stamp out. It’s time to break with the West’s scandalous pattern of inaction in the face of large-scale loss of life in Africa. Millions proclaim, “Nous sommes Charlie.” Let’s also be Baga.                               

                                        

Contents                                                                                     

                                                   

THIS IS OBAMA’S LAST FOREIGN POLICY CHANCE                                                                            

Leslie H. Gelb                                                                                                     

Daily Beast, Jan. 14, 2015 

 

Here’s why America’s failure to be represented at the Paris unity march was so profoundly disturbing. It wasn’t just because President Obama’s or Vice President Biden’s absence was a horrendous gaffe. More than this, it demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years. It’s simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is—with his current team and his way of making decisions. America, its allies, and friends could be heading into one of the most dangerous periods since the height of the Cold War.

 

Mr. Obama will have to excuse most of his inner core, especially in the White House. He will have to replace them with strong and strategic people of proven foreign policy experience. He’ll also need to seed the Defense and State Departments with new top people serving directly as senior advisers to the secretaries. And he also will need to set up regular consultations—not the usual phony ones—with the two key Senate leaders in this field, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, two people who can really improve his decisions and bolster his credibility. Many will be tempted to dismiss these crash solutions as several bridges too far, as simply unrealistic. But hear me out. It can be made much more plausible than it seems at first blush. What’s more, if Mr. Obama doesn’t do something along the lines of what’s proposed here, he and we are in for unmanageable trouble. Before I continue, I have to tell you that I’ve never made such extreme and far-reaching proposals in all my years in this business. I’ve never proposed such a drastic overhaul. But if you think hard about how Mr. Obama and his team handled this weekend in Paris, I think you’ll see I’m not enjoying a foreign policy neurological breakdown. It was an absolute no-brainer for either Mr. Obama or Mr. Biden personally to show the American flag on the streets of Paris. Of course every senior staff person should have recommended it three seconds after the news of the Parisian horrors. So far as we know, none did. Sure, this was an inexplicable and utter staff failure, but the president and the vice president shouldn’t have required anyone to tell them what to do in this situation. It was, after all, about terrorism, the main issue of the era. If all these top officials blew this obvious decision, shudder at how they’ll handle the hard ones.

 

First, Mr. Obama will have to thank his senior National Security Council team and replace them. The must-gos include National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, chief speech writer/adviser Ben Rhodes, and foreign policy guru without portfolio Valerie Jarrett. They can all be replaced right away, and their successors won’t require senatorial confirmation. Here’s who could succeed them and inspire great confidence immediately at home and abroad: first rate former top officials and proven diplomats Thomas Pickering, Winston Lord, and Frank Wisner; Republicans with sterling records like Robert Zoellick, Rich Armitage, Robert Kimmitt, and Richard Burt; or a rising young Democrat of proven ability and of demonstrated Cabinet-level quality, Michele Flournoy. Any one of them would make a huge difference from Day 1 in a top role. Others among them could be brought on to the NSC as senior advisers without portfolio to take the lead on specific problems. These are not just my personal opinions about these individuals; they are practically universal ones.

 

The State Department really needs help, too. Anthony Blinken, the new No. 2 there, is quite good and should stay. But Secretary of State John Kerry has been described even by the faithful in this administration as quixotic. Any of those mentioned above for the top NSC job could also serve as senior advisers without portfolio to Kerry and Blinken. But they would have to be given real access and authority. Even if they could only do their advising two or three days a week, these are the kind of people who carry most of the relevant information in their heads already, and their experience is unmatched. Ashton Carter, the defense secretary to be, will be very strong and very good, but he too could use some senior national security/foreign policy advisers to help him through the long list of problems. Particularly good in this role would be Dov Zakheim, a Pentagon undersecretary in a Republican administration. He knows budgets and policy. Carter could also take aboard first rate retired military minds such as Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the Army.

 

And Mr. Obama also has a great opportunity that he should try his best to pursue: establishing a genuine working relationship with two new senatorial power brokers. Bob Corker and John McCain really know their stuff and are very good heads. Nothing can stop McCain from going beyond acceptable limits of critiquing Mr. Obama, and if he’s determined to do it so be it, but he has the knowledge and often the good instincts to really improve the president’s defense policies. This can work only if McCain accepts that he is not president of the United States and commander in chief. At some point, he’d have to be a team player as he has proved he can be. Corker is much more self-controlled and a very wise head on foreign policy. The more Americans get to know him in the coming years, the more this gem of a public servant will be recognized. Finally, Mr. Obama will need the usual wise men for regular informal consultation: Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and James Baker. These suggestions are all ad hoc and a bit helter-skelter. But no one can figure out how to make the present Obama team work, and I haven’t heard other solutions.

 

In the end, making the national security system work comes down to one factor, one man—Barack Obama. He’s the key problem, and he’s the only one who can bring about a solution. He’s such a closed person. He’s first rate as an intellectual thinker, but he thinks about problems as an intellectual and not as a policy maker and a leader. Alas, that’s just too clear. He also doesn’t like to be challenged with give and take. If he were to bring in the kind of people I suggest, he would have to resolve at the outset to give them a full hearing and tangible respect for their views. The world’s challenges to America today are not mere distractions from domestic priorities. They are gut challenges to our national security in the Middle East, with Russia and China, and with the terrorist threat inside and outside our borders. The terrorism and cyber warfare challenges in particular imperil our very survival. Mr. Obama will not be a lesser man but a greater man if he recognizes what’s at stake and accepts the help he must have to ensure our survival. End of story.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                             

OBAMA: CHARLIE WHO?                                                                                                

Charles Krauthammer                                                                                                  

National Review, Jan. 15, 2015 

 

On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, “reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities.” Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of Paris to declare “No” to intimidation, and to pledge solidarity, indeed identification (“Je suis Charlie”), with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? And yet, within 48 hours, the new Charlie Hebdo issue featuring the image of Muhammad — albeit a sorrowful, indeed sympathetic Muhammad — sparked new protests, denunciations, and threats of violence, which in turn evinced another round of doubt and self-flagellation in the West about the propriety and limits of free expression. Hopeless.

 

As for President Obama, he never was Charlie, not even for those 48 hours. From the day of the massacre, he has been practically invisible. At the interstices of various political rallies, he issued bits of muted, mealy-mouthed boilerplate. These were followed by the now-famous absence of any U.S. representative of any stature at the Paris rally, an abdication of moral and political leadership for which the White House has already admitted error. But this was no mere error of judgment or optics or, most absurdly, of communication, in which we are supposed to believe that the president was not informed by his staff about the magnitude, both actual and symbolic, of the demonstration he ignored. (He needed to be told?) On the contrary, the no-show, following the near silence, precisely reflected the president’s profound ambivalence about the very idea of the war on terror. Obama began his administration by purging the phrase from the lexicon of official Washington. He has ever since shuttled between saying (a) that the war must end because of the damage “keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing” was doing to us, and (b) that the war has already ended, as he suggested repeatedly during the 2012 campaign, with bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda “on the run.” Hence his call in a major address at the National Defense University to “refine and ultimately repeal” Congress’s 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force, the very legal basis for the war on terror. Hence his accelerating release of Gitmo inmates, in full knowledge that about 30 percent will return to the battlefield. (Five more releases were announced Wednesday.) Which is why, since, oh, the Neolithic era, POWs tend to be released only after a war is over.

 

Paris shows that this war is not over. On the contrary. As it rages, it is entering an ominous third phase. The first, circa 9/11, involved sending Middle Eastern terrorists abroad to attack the infidel West. Then came the lone wolves — local individuals inspired by foreign jihadists to launch one-off attacks, as seen most recently in Québec, Ottawa, and Sydney. Paris marks Phase 3: coordinated commando strikes in Western countries by homegrown native-speaker Islamists activated and instructed from abroad. (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo killings, while the kosher-grocery shooter proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State.)…

 

The War on Terror 2015 is in a new phase with a new geography. At the core are parallel would-be caliphates: in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State; in central Africa, now spilling out of Nigeria into Cameroon, a near-sovereign Boko Haram; in the badlands of Yemen, AQAP, the most dangerous of all the al-Qaeda affiliates. And beyond lie not just a cast of mini-caliphates embedded in the most ungovernable parts of the Third World from Libya to Somalia to the borderlands of Pakistan, but also an archipelago of no-go Islamist islands embedded in the heart of Europe. This is serious. In both size and reach it is growing. Our president will not say it. Fine. But does he even see it?

Contents           

On Topic

 

Satellite Images Show Boko Haram Massacre in Nigeria: Drew Hinshaw,  Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2015

Chad Soldiers to Fight Boko Haram in Cameroon: Emmanuel Tumanjong & Drew Hinshaw, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2015—Chad began deploying troops on Friday to fight Boko Haram in neighboring Cameroon, officials from the two countries said, drawing the landlocked, Central African nation into a now-regional conflict against the Islamic militants.

Boko Haram’s Campaign of Terror in Nigeria is Only Getting Worse: Washington Post, Jan. 14, 2015 —While the world fixated on the murder of 17 people by Islamic terrorists in and around Paris last week, another slow and grisly massacre was taking place in Nigeria, at the hands of the Islamist militants of Boko Haram.

When Normal Is Deadly: How Boko Haram Made Us Ok With Slaughter:  Joe Randazzo, Daily Beast, Jan. 18, 2015—In the first few days after Boko Haram’s recent attack in the remote village of Baga, most of the news coverage I saw about it concerned the lack of news. Why, the media wondered, was the media not more interested? As many as 2,000 people had been slaughtered, a figure that, if true, would dwarf the number killed in Paris around the same time.

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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

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

THE WIDE WORLD OF JEWISH EXPERIENCE: NEW YORK TO KARACHI, TORONTO TO BUDAPEST, ENTEBBE TO ALBERTA

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

 

 

How Ed Koch Honoured My Son: Judea Pearl, Tablet, Feb. 4, 2013Most Jews have simple epitaphs on their headstones—perhaps a quote from Psalms or a passage from the Torah, or maybe a phrase proclaimed by one of the prophets. Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, who died at 88 last Friday and is being buried today in his city, has the last words spoken by our son Daniel Pearl before he was murdered by terrorists in 2002: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”

 

Second World War Survivor Amazed to See Her Picture on Canada Post Stamp Honouring Swedish Diplomat Who Saved Her Life: Joe O'Connor, National Post, Jan 25, 2013Ann Weiszmann has a fascination for Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Hungary by issuing them bogus Swedish identity papers, or “shutz-passes.”

 

A Native and a Zionist: Ryan Bellerose Metropolitain,  Jan. 24, 2013I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist. 

 

On Topic Links
 

 

Ed Koch’s Tombstone: Rabbi Benjamin Blech, AISH, Feb. 8, 2013
The Jew Who Would Be God : Peter Schäfer, The New Republic, June 7, 2012Book Review: The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ: By Daniel Boyarin, (New Press, 200 pp., $21.95)
Benny Morris – An Evolving Historian: Robert Slater, Jerusalem Report, Dec. 26, 2012

 

 

HOW ED KOCH HONORED MY SON

Judea Pearl
Tablet, February 4, 2013

 

Most Jews have simple epitaphs on their headstones—perhaps a quote from Psalms or a passage from the Torah, or maybe a phrase proclaimed by one of the prophets. Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, who died at 88 last Friday and is being buried today in his city, has the last words spoken by our son Daniel Pearl before he was murdered by terrorists in 2002: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”

The fact that Koch has now died on the same day as our son seems to be yad hahashgacha, the hand of providence, at work. If I were a believer, I would say: How could anyone doubt God’s existence? Instead, I am struck by what a strange, surreal coincidence this is.

I never met Koch in person, but we first corresponded in 2004, when my wife and I were working on a book of essays inspired by the last words of our son. When I first heard what Danny said in that dungeon, I knew it would strike a chord with every Jewish soul—and, in fact, that every decent human being would be moved by this expression of identity. That he declared those words—words connecting him to his people with a shared, ancient history—makes me feel he wasn’t alone, that he had many millions of hearts with him in Karachi. “Back in the town of B’nai Brak there is a street named after my great-grandfather, Chaim Pearl, who was one of the founders of the town,” Danny said, and he had the pulse of the entire Jewish history with him, from the Talmudic scholars who founded the ancient town to the city-builders of modern Israel.

The echo of Danny’s words has not subsided. Koch took the dramatic act of putting it on his tombstone, but many others carry Danny’s words and are nurtured by them, quietly. For the book, we commissioned many prominent Jews to reflect on what the phrase “I am Jewish” meant to them, and Koch was one of the 300 people we asked. Koch sent in an essay mainly expressing anger about the terrorists—how they act against civilized society, and how they should be dealt with. It was about our world and how we got into this war, and we felt it didn’t fit the theme. The theme was what does being Jewish mean to you, a very personal question, and we asked Koch if he’d be open to revising it. Koch’s answer was definitive: That’s how I feel, he said, and I can’t change it.

 

Maybe his Jewishness was genuinely defined by who his enemies were. Or maybe it was defined primarily by being part of a certain generation of New Yorkers who lived through the Depression—after all, he refused to leave Manhattan, even in death. “I’m proud of being Jewish,” he would always proclaim, and his tombstone will never allow us to forget that fact: “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith,” it reads….

 

Some will surely comment on the fact that Koch included how our son was murdered, and who his killers were: “Muslim terrorists.” Koch, as I said, was very angry about Islamist terror, and I think using these words was very purposeful on his part: a way of reminding us that our enemy is not 19 misguided lunatics, but a whole ideology that fosters anti-Western fanaticism and elevates itself above the norms of civilized society. In a time when political correctness was at its peak, perhaps it was productive for Ed Koch to remind New Yorkers that our real enemy is not Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but the ideology on which he grew and that is being passed on to his children, emboldened and intensified by the hour. That is our real enemy.

 

When the New York Times reported that Koch had chosen Danny’s words for his headstone a few years ago, I was extremely moved, and I called to thank him. “This is how I feel,” he told me, “and this is how I want to be remembered.”

 

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SECOND WORLD WAR SURVIVOR AMAZED TO SEE HER PICTURE ON CANADA POST STAMP HONOURING SWEDISH DIPLOMAT WHO SAVED HER LIFE
Joe O'Connor

National Post, Jan 25, 2013
 

Ann Weiszmann has a fascination for Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Hungary by issuing them bogus Swedish identity papers, or “shutz-passes.”  Ms. Weiszmann’s interest in the man is understandable: Without Mr. Wallenberg there would be no Ann Weiszmann. She is the daughter of Wallenberg Jews and a consumer of all things — academic talks, articles, books and movies — related to the Holocaust hero.

And so it was on a recent evening in Toronto that she attended the screening of a film dedicated to the great man, at the conclusion of which event organizers informed the audience that Canada Post had issued a Raoul Wallenberg commemorative stamp on Jan. 17.

Ms.Weiszmann rushed out to buy a couple booklets, tossed them in her purse, pulled them out later to take a closer look and practically fainted. The stamp features Mr. Wallenberg and a shutz pass, and not just any shutz pass, but one belonging to Judith Kopstein — age 14 in 1944 and age 83 now — and, more importantly, Ann Weiszmann’s mother. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says.

Neither could her mother, Judith, a retired structural engineer, Winnipeg resident and transplanted Hungarian Jew whose shutz pass — with picture included — is now immortalized on a stamp honouring a man she regards as the “greatest man” of the 20th century. “It is just incredible that something like this would happen,” Judith Weiszmann says. “Wallenberg was fearless. He saved people’s lives by risking his own and having a stamp of him — that is very natural — but having my picture on it, that is something completely unexpected.”

It is also something of a mystery. Canada Post bought the rights to the image from an image bank. How Ms. Weiszmann’s shutz pass came to be in that bank, however, is a happy subject of speculation among her family members that has produced a second startling philatelic revelation. Sweden issued a commemorative stamp honouring Mr. Wallenberg in May 2012 featuring an image of the hero and a copy of you-know-who’s shutz pass. “My son, Paul, found the Swedish stamp on the Internet,” Ms. Weiszmann says.

Behind both stamps is the story of a teenaged girl living in Nazi Occupied Budapest, the final redoubt of the Hungarian Jews in 1944 — the majority of whom had already been deported and murdered in places like Auschwitz. Ms. Weiszmann’s father, a lumberman, had business ties in Sweden predating the war and when Mr. Wallenberg came to town and began issuing his life-saving documents the Weiszmanns’ rushed to the consulate door. “I remember the lineup outside,” Ms. Weiszmann says. “I remember everything about those days as though it were yesterday.”

She remembers getting her picture taken, the picture that has come back to her after all these years — the original of which is locked in a bank vault in Winnipeg — and leaving the consulate with a phony document and taking up residence in one of the scores of properties Mr. Wallenberg rented to house the phony Swedes. “He arranged dozens of these houses,” Ms. Weiszmann says.

He operated soup kitchens, ran a hospital and intervened when the Hungarian Gestapo seized Ms. Weiszmann and her mother. “Those papers saved our lives,” she says. She met Mr. Wallenberg once. “He shook hands with me. I was only 14, and I was so very honoured because we all knew that what he was doing was something remarkable. He would go and talk to the German officers without fear, even though they attempted to assassinate him numerous times.”

Judith Kopstein met her husband, Erwin, another Wallenberg Jew, after the war. They became engineers, married and fled to Canada in 1956 after the Russians crushed the Hungarian Revolution….“Our second miracle was coming to Canada as refugees after the Hungarian Revolution,” Ms. Weiszmann says. “We were able to make a good life here. I cherish being Canadian.”

The couple had a son and a daughter, and now, grandchildren. Erwin passed away 16 months ago. He was 88. His widow remains in good health. Judith Weiszmann (nee Kopstein) is a “voracious emailer” with friends all over the world, she says, but she also enjoys posting letters the old-fashioned way and plans on mailing a handful of dispatches — with a Canadian-Wallenberg stamp attached. “Some of my friends would be interested,” she says. “It is incredible, something like this happening.”

 

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A NATIVE AND A ZIONIST

 

Ryan Bellerose

Metropolitain,  January 24, 2013
 

I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist.  Let me tell you why.

I grew up on a Métis colony in what many would say are rough conditions: we had no electricity, running water or telephone.  When it rained, the dirt roads that linked us to the highways flooded and we were stranded. I lived in a bunkhouse with my two stepbrothers, while my father and stepmother lived in a small cabin nearby.  We raised a garden, hunted and fished, picked berries and made the odd trip to town to buy supplies.  My father worked construction and lived in camps for long stretches and I would often stay at relatives’ to escape my stepmother’s abuse. Still, I considered my childhood normal.  

My interest in Israel started at a young age.  My father gave me a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica for my 5th birthday and, from there, a passion for history was born.  I would sit and read whenever the weather was bad.  In fact, it was a family joke that taking away my books for a few hours was a better way to discipline me than a spanking.  One entry that caught my eye was that of Israel’s birth in 1948. It struck me as the ultimate David and Goliath story: Israel, a tiny country that had fought for independence from the British Empire, was forced from its first moments to defend its existence against the combined armies of the Arab world.  Israel survived against all odds, and did so in a truly epic story of will and heroism.  This story inspired me.

Growing up, I was a very small child. (I am called "Tiny Ryney" to this day, though I play defensive tackle for the Calgary Wolfpack).  I was called a "half-breed" and other slurs by white kids while the children in my colony made fun of my paler skin.  I didn’t belong anywhere.  And I had to be resourceful to protect myself, since I was weaker than the others. Being the victim of bullying shaped who I am and my sense of right and wrong.  It is one reason that I support Israel, a country that has faced bullying and manipulation since its birth.  Israel too has had to be resourceful to defend itself against enemies that dwarf it.  And, like me, it overcame. 

Noticing my curiosity about Israel, my father bought me as a birthday gift a book about the 1976 Raid on Entebbe, a brilliant rescue by Israeli commandos of hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists to Uganda.  Again, this impressed me.  Israel was willing to do the impossible to rescue its people, regardless of the political fallout.  This pushed me to read more about the Arab-Israeli conflict.  In so doing, I learned about the ’72 Munich Olympic Games, where Palestinian terrorists massacred 11 Israeli athletes during an event meant to be a celebration of brotherhood and peace. I wondered why more people weren’t as upset as I was.

It was during this time, while visiting relatives working oil rigs, that I learned while watching a hotel TV of the horrific 1972 Lod Airport massacre where terrorists shot dead 26 civilians waiting for their flights, including 17 Christian pilgrims. I also remember the 1985 attack by Yasser Arafat’s forces on the Achille Lauro cruise ship, where an old disabled man was thrown overboard in his wheelchair for the crime of being a Jew.  The more I saw, the more I needed to understand why such things were happening.  The more I learned, the more I grew to appreciate Israel’s moral integrity in the face of brutal hatred.  And I came to believe that the Jewish people and Israel should serve as an example to indigenous people everywhere.  It is with the Jews – and their stubborn survival after being decimated and dispersed by powerful empires — that we have the most in common.

My people, the Métis, came to Alberta after the American Revolution, at the government’s request, to prevent the settling of the Americans in western Canada.  We settled the land and followed the white man’s rules.  But we were eventually evicted, our homes given to white pioneers.  No one wanted us. We were forced to live in hiding, on road allowances, in the bush. We had no rights, and we were killed out of hand, as "nuisances". Exile fractured our nation. Our people wandered with no hope and no home. Then, in the mid 1900's, our leaders managed to secure land for us, not the land we had wanted but land that would nonetheless allow us to build a better future. We took it, built our settlements and formed a government to improve the lives of our people. We still have many problems to solve, of course, but we also have more educated people than ever and are slowly becoming self-sufficient, as our leaders envisioned.  In this, the Jewish people and the Métis have walked the same road. 

The Jews also suffered genocide and were expelled from their homeland.  They were also rejected by everyone and forced to wander.  Like us, they rebelled against imperial injustice when necessary and, despite their grievances, strived for peace whenever possible.  Like us they were given a tiny sliver of their land back after centuries of suffering and persecution, land that nobody else had wanted to call home until then.  Like us, they took that land despite their misgivings and forged a nation from a fractured and wounded people.  And like us, they consistently show a willingness to compromise for the good of their people.  

I hope the Metis keep walking the same road as the Jewish people.  Through their efforts, the Jews were able to preserve their identity despite terrible persecution and to revive their culture and language once back in their homeland.  They never lost their sense of who they were, but neither did they lose sight of the importance of looking forward.  Given their history, it would have been natural for them to become insular and reactionary.  But instead, they work hard to be productive and are friendly even to countries that have caused them tremendous suffering.  I want us to similarly make education and the preservation of our ancient culture a priority.  I want us to continue to strive for peace and productivity. 

Many claim that we Natives have more in common with the Palestinians, that their struggle is our struggle.  Beyond superficial similarities, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Beyond the facile co-opting of our cause, the comparison with the Palestinians is absolutely untenable.  It trivializes our suffering.

Co-opting today’s native struggle to the Palestinian propaganda war is a fallacy. Though the Palestinians have undeniable ties to the land, first hand accounts by Mark Twain and countless other travelers to the Holy Land through the ages suggest that a large percentage of the Palestinian people immigrated to Palestine in recent decades.  And for 65 years, the Palestinians have convinced the world that they are worse off than many other stateless nations, despite all evidence to the contrary.  The Palestinians claim to have been colonized but it was their own leaders who refused to negotiate and who lost the land that they want by waging a needless war on Israel.  They claim to have faced genocide but they suffered no such thing: their population has exploded from a few hundred thousand in 1948 to over 4 million today.  They claim deprivation but their elites live in luxury while their people live in ramshackle poverty.  

What’s more, the Palestinian leaders have never been interested in a peaceful solution for their people. They were given several opportunities to have their own state – for the first time in history — and refused each time, choosing war over peace because the offers were never deemed sufficient. They have persistently used terrorism to bring attention to their cause and their leaders have celebrated the killing of civilians by naming parks and schools after murderers.  And any Palestinian that questions the maximalist rhetoric or who suggests real compromise is immediately ostracized, branded a traitor, or killed.

The Palestinians are not like us.  Their fight is not our fight.  We natives believe in bringing about change peacefully, and we refuse to be affiliated with anyone who engages in violence targeting civilians.  I cannot remain silent and allow the Palestinians to gain credibility at our expense by claiming commonality with us. I cannot stand by while they trivialize our plight by tying it to theirs, which is largely self-inflicted.  Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history.  To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me. The Palestinians did lose the land they claim is theirs, but they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state on it and to partner with the Jews — and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war.   We were never given that chance.  We never made that choice
 

 

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Ed Koch’s Tombstone: Rabbi Benjamin Blech, AISH, Feb. 8, 2013—With the words he chose to be inscribed on his tombstone, Ed Koch, the iconic New York Mayor who passed away last Friday [Feb. 1], made it very clear how he wanted most to be remembered.

 

The Jew Who Would Be God : Peter Schäfer, The New Republic, June 7, 2012Book Review: The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ: By Daniel Boyarin, (New Press, 200 pp., $21.95) That the historical Jesus was a Jew, that his followers were Jews, and that the Gospels as well as the letters written by the apostle Paul are Jewish writings, firmly embedded in first century C.E. Judaism—all this has become almost commonplace. After long and bitter battles, this fact now has a foothold not only among historians of ancient Judaism but even among the most dedicated Christian theologians. Indeed, the pendulum has swung far in the opposite direction, with scholars outdoing each other in proving the Jewishness of Jesus and the New Testament.

 

An Evolving Historian: Robert Slater, Jerusalem Report, Dec. 26, 2012—Historian Benny Morris has been reviled for exposing Israeli expulsions of Arabs in 1948, but he believes the expulsions were justified and the Palestinians’ end game is Israel’s destruction.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

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

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