Ben Shapiro: Why Israel?
Last week, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. The government of Israel responded to that atrocity, as well as Iran’s use of Syria as a thoroughfare for weapons transfers to terrorist groups like Hamas, by bombing Syria’s T4 airbase. The media responded by castigating Israel: for example, the Associated Press headlined, “Tensions ratchet up as Israel blamed for Syria missile strike,” and accompanied that story with a photo of suffering Syrian children targeted by Assad, making it seem that Israel had targeted the children.
That media treatment was no surprise — the week before, the terrorist group Hamas used large-scale protests against Israel on the Gaza border as a cover for terrorist attacks on Israeli troops. When Israeli troops responded with force, the media falsely suggested that Israel had indiscriminately fired into the crowd. Meanwhile, reporters touted the story of a supposed photographer killed by Israeli forces; it turns out that the photographer was a known Hamas officer.
A few weeks earlier and some 2,000 miles away in France, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was stabbed 11 times and her body set on fire by a Muslim neighbor who knew her well, and had convictions for rape and sexual assault. In 2017, there were 92 violent anti-Semitic incidents in France, a 28 percent year-on-year increase.
Moving across the English Channel, Israel’s Labor Party finally was forced to cut ties completely with the leader of the U.K.’s Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime anti-Semite who has routinely made nice with terrorists and defended open Jew-hatred in public. And, of course, in the United States, the alt-right’s anti-Semitism continues to make public discourse more crude and the Women’s March continues to make nice with anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan.
In other words, there is a reason for Israel to exist.
JPost Editorial: The Holocaust and Assad
If Syria, Russia and Iran are right and Israel did in fact carry out an attack on a Syrian air base a day and a half after Bashar Assad’s regime used chlorine gas against civilians in a Damascus suburb, the Jewish state should be proud.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, as Israel commemorates the destruction of European Jewry at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies in Vichy France, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere, it is essential for the world – and the Assad regime – to know that indiscriminate acts of barbarism will not be tolerated.
US President Donald Trump was exercising a healthy moral sense when he responded strongly on his Twitter account to the atrocity committed by Assad’s regime against Syrians in Douma, including women and children.
“President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.”
Trump’s Tweet should be followed up by military action and it should be backed by all civilized countries, particularly the nations of the European continent on which the Holocaust was carried out. (Russia, which prides itself so much on having destroyed Nazism during World War II, is now protecting the Assad regime and spreading lies that poison gas was not used in Douma.) The point of the military action is not to change the course of the civil war in Syria. Rather, the point of a combined US, European military strike that causes significant damage to the Assad regime’s military capabilities is to make a moral statement and, one hopes, to deter Syria from using poison gas against anyone in the future.
What makes the Syrian use of chlorine gas all the more despicable is that it was motivated not by desperation but by depravity. Assad, with the backing of Russia and Iran, has all but won the civil war. Forces loyal to him have surrounded Douma.
In any event, the ruthless murder of civilians is rarely if ever a deciding factor in war. In World War II the Axis powers were responsible for the vast majority of deaths – as well as for a disproportionately high rate of civilian killings, in part due to the Holocaust – yet their defeat was total and relatively speedy once the US entered the war.
Assad, apparently emboldened by Trump’s declaration that the US plans to pull its troops out of Syria, believed that the world would stand by in indifference, as it has in the past when he used barrel bombs containing chlorine against civilians.
Perhaps Assad also thought that the Trump administration’s decision a year ago this month to fire Tomahawk missiles at Syrian army bases in response to his use of Sarin gas was a blip and that the US under a fickle Trump, who was now in the mood for retreat, would not act again alone among the nations.
Perhaps he also thought that the US and other nations would make a distinction between the chlorine gas used this week and sarin, the nerve gas developed by the Nazis during World War II.
Forty-one percent of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz was, according to a comprehensive national survey of Holocaust awareness and knowledge among US adults.
The survey, to be released Thursday, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day, by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), found that there are critical gaps in Americans’ awareness of basic facts and in their detailed knowledge of the Holocaust, awareness and knowledge that deteriorate in the younger generations.
Two-thirds of Millennials interviewed, between the ages of 18 and 34, could not identify what Auschwitz is.
Claims Conference Board member Matthew Bronfman led a task force comprising Holocaust survivors as well as representatives from museums, educational institutions, and leading nonprofits in the field of Holocaust education, such as Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Claims Conference, the Jewish Agency and George Washington University.
The study found that 11% of US adults and over one-fifth of Millennials (22%) hadn’t heard, or were not sure if they had heard, of the Holocaust.
While approximately six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust, nearly one-third of all Americans (31%) and over four in every 10 Millennials (41%) believed that two million Jews or less were killed during the Holocaust.
Almost half of US adults (45%) and Millennials (49%) could not name one of the over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust.
Moreover, most Americans (80%) had not visited a Holocaust museum.
On this day yearly, the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are remembered pic.twitter.com/TEuo4CbaQe
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) April 12, 2018
Most Americans (58 percent) believe the Holocaust could happen again and half think it could happen in the United States, a survey released on Holocaust Remembrance Day showed.
Just over two thirds (68%) thought that anti-Semitism was present in the US, half believed there were many neo-Nazis in the country, and most people thought it was important to continue teaching about the Holocaust and that it should be compulsory in schools.
The study, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, revealed considerable ignorance about the World War ll genocide of the Jews.
Out of 1,350 American adults aged 18 and over who were questioned, 45% were unable to name a single concentration camp or ghetto and 41% were not sure what Auschwitz was.
There were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, according to researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Nearly all respondents had heard of the Holocaust (89%), believed that it really happened (96%), and knew that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were responsible for it.
But just half knew that six million Jews perished during the Holocaust, with a third guessing the toll was two million or less.
Thirty years ago, Alfred Wetzler died in his native Slovakia. He and his friend, Rudolf Vrba, risked their lives and escaped Auschwitz so they could warn other Jews and the world in precise detail what was happening behind the fences and gates of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Although they were not successful in their attempt to save Hungary’s Jews from marching to their deaths at Auschwitz, Vrba and Wetzler did succeed in saving some Jews as well as compiling and publicizing the first record of the Nazis’ systematic atrocities at the camp.
Rudolf Vrba, formerly Walter Rosenberg, was born on Sept. 11, 1924, in the Slovakian town of Trnava. The son of a sawmill owner, he was expelled from high school in Bratislava due to Slovakia’s version of the Nuremberg Laws. He worked as a laborer in Trnava until March 1942, when he was arrested and, on June 14, 1942, he was deported to the Maidanek concentration camp and later to Auschwitz.
Alfred Wetzler was born on May 10, 1918 in the same town as Vrba. He was sent to Birkenau on April 13, 1942. Later, he too was sent to Auschwitz.
Both Vrba and Wetzler held administrative jobs in Auschwitz, which allowed them access to many different areas of the camp and finally to plan their escape. “There had been a number of escapes from Auschwitz and in every case; the escapee had been caught, sometimes within hours, sometimes within a few days,” the late British historian and Oxford professor Martin Gilbert said in a 2011 episode about Vrba and Wetzler’s escape in the PBS series Secrets of the Dead. As the English historian David Cesarani added, “The consequences of failure were torture and public execution. Anyone connected with the escape would also be tortured and murdered.”
In his book I Escaped From Auschwitz, Vrba wrote, “It was a simple plan and I literally stumbled across it by accident.” When an escape occurred, the two men noticed, the Nazis would look for the escapee for three days, after which they would give up on the search. If they could survive the initial search period, they reasoned, their chances of survival would increase.
Today is Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה) or ‘Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day’ in Israel. It is celebrated on the 27th of Nisan (Hebrew calendar) each year. For me, a student of history, the Holocaust is a living thing, that has roots stretching back decades before Hitler came to power, and still reverberates today. Outside of the details in a book, the Holocaust took millions of real people, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, and with brutal and calculated efficiency, exterminated them because they were Jewish.
One of the most haunting days I have experienced at the National Archives in Kew, was when I stumbled on a dry bureaucratic document from 1934. Hitler had come to power and Jews were once more being unsettled through persecution. The British viewed this with alarm. Not because of any particular fondness for European Jews, but out of concern for a potential rise in immigration into the British Mandate of Palestine. So they took stock of some the Jewish community in Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany.
I thought I would take a moment out of ongoing research, to share some of this with you. This is some of the world that was.
Remembering the Righteous Diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state remains “steadfast” in preventing Iranian aggression amid ongoing threats.
“We are preventing Iranian activity in Syria. These are not just words,” Netanyahu said in his speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial marking Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Our policy can be summed up in three words: ‘Steadfastness against aggression.’ Steadfastness on defense, steadfastness on deterrence, steadfastness against anyone who threatens to destroy us,” added Netanyahu.
The statement by Netanyahu comes just days after Israel purportedly carried out an airstrike against a Syrian military base where Iran is also operating. Israel has not confirmed it was behind the airstrike, which left 14 dead, including several Iranian military personnel.
The Israeli leader, who has often said that Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons is an existential threat to Israel, said that recent events “teach us that standing up to evil and aggression is the mission imposed on every generation.”
“In the Holocaust we were helpless, defenseless and voiceless,” he said. “In truth, our voice was not heard at all. Today, we have a strong country, a strong army, and our voice is heard among the nations.”
Israel came to a standstill at 10 a.m. Thursday as sirens wailed throughout the country in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
Buses and cars halted on streets and highways as Israelis stepped out of their vehicles and stood with heads bowed.
The sirens were followed by ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in schools, public institutions and army bases. Later in the day the traditional “March of the Living” began in Poland.
The traditional wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, at the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. It was followed by various events and activities, including the main memorial ceremony at 1 p.m., and a youth movements assembly was to be held at 5:30 p.m.
The national siren marking Holocaust Remembrance Day was activated today by Holocaust survivor Avraham Zalmanovich (87), who survived the war as a child in Romania.
Avraham arrived this morning at the Home Front Command’s warning room where his granddaughter, Corporal Gal Roth, acts as an alarm operator. Together they pressed the button that sounded the siren all over the country.
Avraham lived in a small house in Romania with his family – his mother, his father, his brother, his aunt, and her husband. His mother worked in the family grocery store near their home, and Avraham helped support the household. On the first day of summer vacation, the Germans bombed the town where he lived and at the same time took control of the family grocery.
In the morning of that day, the Germans took his father to a labor camp. Later in the day, the rest of the family and villagers were taken to a remote location and waited for a train that was to transfer them to labor camps.
Waiting for the train took about three months, and in the meantime the family rented a warehouse where they could live. Throughout the period they survived under difficult conditions without food, drink, clothing, or a proper home. All family members were forced to wear yellow badges in the streets. They would work clearing snow in the area and at night they would return to the shelter and look for ways to survive.
Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018
Actress Gal Gadot posted an emotional tribute to her grandfather Abraham Weiss, a Holocaust survivor, on Instagram on Thursday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Gadot was one of many who used social media to mark the national memorial day.
She uploaded a short video of herself greeting her grandfather at the premiere of Fast & Furious 5, which was released in 2011. Weiss died in late 2013 at age 85.
“I was looking for a photo of you all night on my phone but I couldn’t find one,” she wrote on Thursday. And then, she said, her assistant just happened to show her a video a fan uploaded recently.
“She had no idea today is the [H]olocaust [R]emembrance day, and didn’t know I was looking for a photo of him/us all night,” Gadot continued. “I wasn’t surprised.. My grandpa is always with me.. That’s not the first time he pops out of nowhere.”
A post shared by Gal Gadot (@gal_gadot) on Apr 12, 2018 at 1:58am PDT
Holocaust survivor Hank Brodt on Wednesday night sang “Vi Ahin Zol Ich Geyn?” (“Where shall I go?”) with IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson.
The two sang together at the Philharmonic House of Krakow, during the annual March of the Living Ceremony.
Brodt had been in five Nazi Concentration camps, including Plashov, Matthausen and Ebensee. He was liberated from Ebensee on May 6, 1945.
He has attended nine March of the Living events.
Brodt sang Oyfn Pripetshik, a song in memory of the murdered 1,500,000 children who died at the Warsaw orphanage run by Janucz Korchak,
At Birkenau in 2007, Hank lit one of the six memorial torches in memory of the numerous members of this family who had been murdered by the Nazis. Shortly thereafter, Hank discovered his brother’s family who lived in Israel.
On Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, and during this week of remembrance, we reflect on one of the darkest periods in the history of the world and honor the victims of Nazi persecution. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when the imprisoned Polish Jews mounted a courageous and extraordinary act of armed resistance against their Nazi guards.
The Holocaust, known in Hebrew as “Shoah,” was the culmination of the Nazi regime’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” an attempt to eradicate the Jewish population in Europe. Although spearheaded by one individual, this undertaking could not have happened without the participation of many others who recruited, persuaded, and coerced in their efforts to incite the worst of human nature and carry out the ugliest of depravity. The abject brutality of the Nazi regime, coupled with the failure of Western leaders to confront the Nazis early on, created an environment that encouraged and enflamed anti-Semitic sentiment and drove people to engage in depraved, dehumanizing conduct.
By the end, the Nazis and their conspirators had murdered 6 million men, women, and children, simply because they were Jews. They also persecuted and murdered millions of other Europeans, including Roma and Sinti Gypsies, persons with mental and physical disabilities, Slavs and other minorities, Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gays, and political dissidents.
Let us continue to come together to remember all the innocent lives lost in the Holocaust, pay tribute to those intrepid individuals who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, and recall those selfless heroes who risked their lives in order to help or save those of their persecuted neighbors. Their bravery inspires us to embrace all that is good about hope and resilience; their altruism reminds us of the importance of maintaining peace and unity, and of our civic duty never to remain silent or indifferent in the face of evil. We have a responsibility to convey the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations, and together as Americans, we have a moral obligation to combat antisemitism, confront hate, and prevent genocide. We must ensure that the history of the Holocaust remains forever relevant and that no people suffer these tragedies ever again.
A synagogue in the German town of Bingen recently hosted a Torah scroll for the first time since its destruction in 1938, the woman responsible for the synagogue’s revival told The Jerusalem Post this week.
Last month, Rabbi Aharon Vernikovsky from Mainz, near Frankfurt, brought a Torah scroll to the community and led prayer services and discussions, renewing a tradition that had been missing in the town since the Nazis stamped it out on the Night of Broken Glass in 1938.
A local social worker, Dorothea Duersch, spearheaded the effort to return life to the synagogue, which had been turned into a fire station by the municipality.
Duersch developed a connection to the Jewish faith when she and her husband, Klaus, spent ten years living in Israel, eventually becoming leaders of moshav Ness Amim, near Nahariya. The moshav was set up by European Christians in the early 1960s as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people after the Holocaust.
Since their return to Germany, the couple has been active in preserving the memory of the Jews from their area of southern Germany and have organized educational and dialogue projects.
Duersch helped organize a group of local Jews – consisting mainly of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, but also from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Brazil and from Germany – who demanded that the municipality give them the right to use rooms in the former synagogue of Bingen.
On Polish soil, President Reuven Rivlin told his Polish counterpart, Andrjez Duda, on Thursday that while some Poles helped rescue Jews during the Holocaust, others took part in their extermination.
“There is no doubt that there were many Poles who fought the Nazi regime, but we cannot deny that Poland and Poles had a hand in the extermination,” Rivlin said during a joint press conference with Duda in Krakow.
“The country of Poland allowed the implementation of the horrific genocidal ideology of Hitler, and witnessed the wave of anti-Semitism sparked by the law you passed now,” the president added, challenging recently passed legislation that criminalized the mention of complicity by the Polish state in the Holocaust.
The president noted that Israel honors those Poles who gave their own lives to save Jews, but pointed out the widespread anti-Semitism that existed in Holocaust-era Poland and the fact that many Poles also participated in the extermination.
“People murdered and then inherited [the property of the dead]. Here was the foundation” of anti-Semitic feeling “that allowed the Nazis to do as they wished, not only in Poland but throughout Europe,” Rivlin said.
“We’re not coming to learn [about the Holocaust], we’re coming to teach,” Police Chief Roni Alsheikh said in an interview on Israel Army Radio ahead of the annual March of Living on Thursday.
Thousands of tourists from across the globe flooded the Polish city of Krakow ahead of the the 3.2-kilometer march from Auschwitz to Birkenau which marks Holocaust Memorial Day.
“We come to Poland to connect to the events that are so hard to understand, but this we do only with our legs,” Alsheikh said, arguing that remembrance was only a side-note of the event.
“The march today, the March of the Living, is in fact an Israeli, national and Zionist statement that we are in a different position,” he emphasized. “Coming to Poland in uniform and with an Israeli flag, with the president and other security officials, is very meaningful.”
Arguing that the delegation, completely compromised of Holocaust survivors and their families, came to make a statement about what has changed in the 70 years since the foundation of Israel, Alsheikh commented that “The holocaust was carried out by Nazi police officers – and this is a horrifying thing – unifying under one goal, in 1936, to make the horrific act possible.”
When the Nazis infiltrated Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe during Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941, they established the Vilna Ghetto and rounded up the Jews of the city. Between June and December of 1941, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered 40,000 of Vilna’s Jews, herding them to the forest of Ponar. It was there, in the forest, that the Nazis forced the Jews to dig their own graves. Once the digging was complete, the Nazis shot the Jews and buried them in the freshly turned earth. Their bodies have remained there to this day.
On New Year’s Eve of 1942, Abba Kovner published a manifesto in the Vilna Ghetto whose message has become infamous:
“Jewish youth! Do not trust those who are trying to deceive you. Hitler plans to destroy all the Jews of Europe…We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter! True, we are weak and defenseless, but the only reply to the murderer is revolt! Brothers! Better to fall as free fighters than to live by the mercy of the murderers. Arise! Arise with your last breath!”
Practically overnight, the Vilna Ghetto partisans formed a militia under the name Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye (The FPO – Eng: United Partisan Organization) of which Abba Kovner was one of the leaders. Among the warriors was the poet Avraham Sutzkever and student activist Vitka Kempner.
“We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter,” the battle cry of the Vilna Ghetto partisans, spread far and wide. The group, nicknamed Ha Nokmim (“The Avengers”), was considered a valiant group in the Jewish resistance against the Nazis.
The trouble is that Kurek has made a number of potentially anti-Semitic statements, and is alleged to be something of a Holocaust revisionist. Even a cursory web search shows that such an accusation would be far from hysterical: Within the first couple minutes of one lecture, she condemns the “Jewish lie” that the Poles didn’t do enough to save Jews during the Holocaust, and then darkly accuses Jews of being religiously obligated to “sacrifice lives of part of the community to save the rest.” There is more like this out there, and Potasnik said he would have returned his award if Kurek had been honored. “I couldn’t in good conscience continue to have an award that was in any way connected to someone who would distort the truth about the Holocaust,” he said.
Gottlieb told me that after the award for Kurek was announced, he received messages from Jews in both Poland and the United States warning him about her views. The Simon Wiesenthal Center communicated its concerns earlier this week as well: Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs for the center, said in an interview that he first learned about the award for Kurek, who he calls “a flat-our anti-Semite and certainly a Holocaust distorter,” through concerned contacts and acquaintances in Poland. He doubts, he said, that the event’s organizers were aware of Kurek’s most noxious statements, and said that Poland’s right-wing government may have been trying to use a Jewish community-related American organization to launder her views. “It was an effort by agents within the Polish government to manipulate a group of idealistic well-meaning people and give some sort of political recognition and cover to extremists positions,” he said.
The award to Kurek, Gottlieb said, is going to be withdrawn, although, as of Wednesday morning, he was still having difficulty reaching Kurek to inform her of the decision. Kurek is just one honoree—it doesn’t seem as if controversy over her receiving the award was the only factor in the awards ceremony’s cancellation. After all, this is a fraught moment for Jewish-Polish relations. Still, it’s hard to find a better microcosm of the current boiling point thank the decision to recognize Kurek: Even a supposed embodiment of mutual understanding turns out to be the exact opposite, hinting at just how wide the current gulf between may really be. An award named for Jan Karski—who fought the Nazi takeover of his country and struggled to alert the world to the realities of the Holocaust—was nearly given to an alleged Holocaust revisionist, and an event meant to bring Jews and Poles closer together is now another sign of how far apart they really are.
The word “holocaust” refers to an all-consuming fire, and complete destruction.
Seventy-three years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp by the Soviet Army, some still deny this darkest human tragedy.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “Supreme Leader” of Iran, has said that “the Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it happened, it’s ambiguous how it happened.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinekad, the former president of Iran, has called the Holocaust a “lie and a mythical claim.” In 2016, Iran held its most recent Holocaust Cartoon contest to undermine the murder and suffering of six million men, women, and children.
Such rhetoric has presented a negative image of Iran and Iranians around the world. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently commented that “Iran’s supreme leader is worse than Hitler.”
But before the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, there was another Iran. This Iran, contrary to the current regime’s antagonistic stance towards the United States and Israel, had a close alliance and friendship with both.
My first-hand knowledge on the subject of the Holocaust comes from two separate cultures: that of my British mother, and that of my Iranian father.
The “Palestinian” Anne Frank is an inversion of the Holocaust. Another major distortion of the Holocaust is its de-Judaization. In 1952, an English translation of the diary was published for the American market. It was titled Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. David Barnouw, a researcher formerly with the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), wrote that the foreword was written by Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of the wartime president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this text, the terms “Jew” or “persecution” of Jews were not mentioned at all.
Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett wrote a play based on the diary which premiered in 1955 in New York. Barnouw writes, “Of course the adaptation of a book or in this case a diary [to a stage play] cannot be totally true to the original. But the fact that there was a Hitler and national socialism as well as anti-Semitism and that Anne was persecuted as a Jewish girl has been pushed to the background.” An earlier play written by Meyer Levin had a much more Jewish content but was rejected by many producers.
The historian Tim Cole observes: “The contemporary lesson of tolerance demands that Anne’s words be rewritten to include members of ‘this or that minority’ and yet that makes a mockery of the historical reality.” He adds: “Given its mythical status, the Holocaust risks becoming a popular past used to serve all sorts of present needs. In particular, the needs of contemporary liberalism tend to latch onto a powerful tale in the past and universalize it so as to produce a set of universal lessons.” Cole concludes: “If there is one lesson that can be drawn from the Holocaust it is precisely that the optimism of Anne Frank was woefully misplaced.”
Steven Goldstein, the director of a small American organization which calls itself the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect regularly attacks Donald Trump. He is entitled to his opinion. Doing so on behalf of a center named after Anne Frank however is abuse of the memory of a deceased person who cannot defend herself.
In regard to instrumentalizing the diary as a tool for “universalist” ideals, the role of Anne’s father, Otto Frank, should be mentioned as well. Verhey details this. She also wrote that Anne’s father did nothing to dispel the myth that Anne Frank died “quietly in the notion that nothing serious was happening to her.”
The above is only a small selection out of a huge distortion complex concerning the famous young Jewish woman murdered in the Shoah. Unfortunately, one can be almost sure that if this article is updated in say a year from now it will include a number of new examples of the abuse of Anne Frank’s memory.
The Anne Frank Fonds Basel and New Israel Fund (NIF) have signed a partnership agreement whereby the Anne Frank Foundation will make new grants to organizations supported by NIF, according to a press release issued on Tuesday by the NIF.
The New York based NIF has provided more than $300 million to more than 900 Israeli organizations, including the pro-BDS Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Adalah, and 972 Magazine; the pro-Intifada groups Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and Yesh Din; and the generally anti-Israel groups Breaking the Silence, Molad, B’Tselem, Emek Shave, Gisha, HaMoked, Ir Amim, Mossawa, Machsom Watch, Rabbis for Human Rights, and SISO- Stop the Israeli Occupation, to name but a few.
The Anne Frank Fund (AFF) is a foundation under Swiss law based in Basel, affiliated with the Anne Frank Foundation in the Netherlands, originally established to maintain the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and in recent years also advocating the fight against anti-Semitism and racism and publishing the Dutch annual Racism and Extreme Right Monitor, in which the activities of present-day racists and extreme rightists are studied.
As of Tuesday this week, this enormous commemoration enterprise dedicated to the young diarist who perished in the Holocaust, Anne Frank, will be sending parts of the proceeds to a group that funds a lengthy list of anti-Zionist and anti-Israel NGOs.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine at Columbia University held an anti-Israel demonstration opposite a pro-Israel group’s booth marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.
About 20 people attended the demonstration against Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters in recent clashes on the Gaza border. According to the protest’s Facebook event page, it aimed to “show solidarity with the 30,000 Palestinians participating in the #GreatReturnMarch,” the mass demonstrations in the past two weeks on the Gaza border.
The event description did not mention the Holocaust, nor did chants or speeches at the protest, according to video shot by Students Supporting Israel, a pro-Israel student group. Students chanted slogans like “Free Palestine, free” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The protest was held a couple hundred feet away from a Students Supporting Israel booth commemorating the Holocaust, with memorial candles and printed testimonies from survivors. The booth also flew a large Israeli flag and prominently showed the group’s name and logo.
Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter did not respond to requests for comment.
Holocaust Denial on PA TV – Palestinian Writer Hani Abu Zeid: The Jews Colluded with Hitler in the “False Holocaust” pic.twitter.com/vKhbia6btw
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 12, 2018
Saudi Scholar Saad ibn Abdullah Al-Humayd: What Is Written in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” Is Translated into Reality https://t.co/3CddU3xKJB
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 12, 2018
The mother of one of the two suspects arrested in the anti-Semitic murder of 85-year-old holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll has been arrested after police suspect she may have attempted to tamper with the weapon used to stab the pensioner to death.
The woman, who is the mother of suspect Yacine M., was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence on Friday but reports of her charges only came to light on Tuesday, broadcaster Franceinfo reports.
According to investigators, the woman lived in the same building as Ms. Knoll, who was stabbed to death and then set on fire in an act that was determined by investigators to have been anti-Semitic in nature.
Two men, one of whom was well-known to the victim for years and had been previously convicted of sexual offences, were arrested and have since proceeded to accuse each other of the murder but both deny the motivation of anti-Semitism.
The murder galvanised public outrage in Paris and saw politicians across the political spectrum condemn the attack and march alongside thousands of others late last month.
Violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide directed against Jewish communities, Jewish people and their property decreased by about 9 percent in 2017, according to an annual report.
There were 327 cases in 2017 compared to 361 in 2016, according to the annual “Antisemitism Worldwide” report by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.
The data were published Wednesday, on the eve of Israel’s national day of remembrance of the Holocaust. This year’s 103-page report is a global overview combining surveys from recognized watchdogs from dozens of countries, including nearly all European Union member states.
The figures for 2017 do not include some cases of extreme violence in France, including that of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman who was thrown out of her apartment window to her death. The incidents are still being studied, according to the report.
The violent incidents in France have continued into 2018 with the murder of Holocaust survivor of Mireille Knoll, 85, who was stabbed and burned in her apartment.
For once, Israelis got to do the boycotting: The nation’s Labor Party has suspended ties with its British cousin, thanks to UK Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitism.
Israel’s Labor Party chief Avi Gabbay cited Corbyn’s “hostility to the Jewish community” and “enabling” of anti-Semitism.
“It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements your actions have allowed as leader of the Labour party UK,” Gabbay wrote Corbyn.
“You are not fulfilling your role in curbing anti-Semitism around you, and your public statements carry a load of hatred toward Israel.” All plainly true.
Just last week, Corbyn attended a Passover seder … organized by the far-left Jewdas, which routinely calls for Israel’s destruction. Over the weekend, he called for a review of arms sales to Israel because of its “illegal and inhumane” actions against Palestinians.
As people in Israel, and throughout the world, mark Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a touching eulogy to the thousands of Germans who saw their reputations suffer under Nazi rule.
“We can never forget the terrible tragedy of Europe’s concentration camps, where innocent Germans were verbally attacked simply for doing their jobs,” Corbyn said in a heartfelt speech. “Every citizen of the world can imagine the suffering of these poor guards, scientists and executioners who bravely defended their country from the Zionist occupiers only to be met with criticism.”
For Corbyn, the speech was meant as an olive branch to the Jewish community following the opposition leader’s controversial appearance at a Passover Seder of the radical anti-Israel group “Jewdas.”
“Look, I said that the Holocaust was bad,” Corbyn told The Mideast Beast. “What more do you want from me?”
In recent years, all too many university faculty members have taken a sharp detour on Israel. Professors at institutions like Columbia, NYU, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College — once bulwarks of secular Jewish ideals — have not just turned their backs on Israel, but have begun to hit it frontside.
These actions weigh heavily. Those of us who grew up in the aftermath of World War II can only be astonished at this reversal. As children, we collected nickels for the Jewish National Fund. The dawning of the State of Israel stays with us and we continue to be alert to threats against it.
This aside, the content of Israeli detraction is uninformed — if not bigoted. The deepest prejudices are typified by distortions or misstatements of fact and the application of standards to Israel that are not brought to bear on other liberal societies. Herein lies a continuous pattern of singling out Israel’s alleged misdeeds, which would go unnoticed elsewhere. Context, or the lack of it, is fundamental to anti-Israelism — so much so that complexities are ignored in order to locate some fault that is supposedly unique to the Jewish state.
Among the most conspicuous detractors are 187 scholars who recently opposed American recognition of Jerusalem on the grounds that it granted religious preeminence and “Jewish proprietorship” over the city. The signatories are scholars of Jewish Studies, and we should expect the highest standards of commentary from them, even if critical.
This is hardly the case.
An Irish student group that seeks to raise awareness about Israel has come out against two resolutions adopted last week by Ireland’s largest students’ and teachers’ unions, which singled out the Jewish state for boycotts.
The motions — adopted by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) at their respective annual meetings — expressed support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel until it complies with Palestinian demands.
Daniel O’Dowd, a law student at Maynooth University and president of Irish Students for Israel, told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that the measures are “merely a continuation of the partisan stake the USI and INTO have taken in the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.”
“For a nation now celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it seems we have forgotten how this agreement was forged and the principles underpinning its operation,” he said. “Alienation and boycott of one side is not a pathway to peace, rather it leads to the entrenchment of both sides.”
“Contrary to some theories, peace doesn’t lie in the destruction of Israel,” O’Dowd said of the BDS campaign, which has been criticized for opposing the existence of a Jewish homeland in the Levant. “The fact that the Jewish state is the only state that the USI and INTO support the boycott of, is a worrying state of affairs.”
Incidents of anti-Semitism were on the rise for a fifth straight year in Canada, despite an overall decline in the number of incidents worldwide, according to a Jewish advocacy group.
The analysis, which was conducted by Amanda Hohman and Aidan Fishman of B’Nai Brith Canada, suggests anti-Semitism “is becoming mainstream,” based on a number of highly public incidents that occurred in 2017. “While final numbers for 2017 have not been compiled, there is no doubt that the five-year trend of elevated levels of anti-Semitism is continuing,” Hohman and Fishman write. Their perspective on Canada is included in a draft analysis of worldwide anti-Semitism in 2017, which was released by Tel Aviv University’s Kanton Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.
The report complies data on hate-related incidents against Jewish people, as compiled by Jewish advocacy groups in each country. Groups were encouraged to consider expressions of hate through various forms, including mail, social media, verbal insults, harassment and violence.
The worldwide report says there was an overall nine per cent decrease in the number of anti-Semitic incidents of violence, according to its criteria, from 2016 to 2017. However, the report adds that those numbers are preliminary and do not include several violent cases in France, which are still under investigation.
“It should be emphasized that some of the recent violent cases have been perpetrated more brutally, causing more harm,” the report says. It also suggests social media has played a significant role in the spread of anti-Semitic sentiment. “The public discourse is increasingly found on social media, which magnifies and distributes every utterance and event in a matter of seconds,” the report says.
Hohman and Fishman say Canada has seen a rise of anti-Semitism in all its forms online, at public protests, in politics, on university campuses and in several “brazen” public assaults. “Anti-Semitic incidents and attacks spanned the political spectrum, ranging from the far-right to the far-left, with significant contributions from Islamic and Arab nationalists as well.”
This past winter here in Vilnius, the charming capital of Lithuania, was much like any other. During long solid weeks of subzero temperatures, as the flow of tourists and roots-seekers slowed to a trickle, I adjusted the route of my daily walk to pass by up to a dozen top tourist sights. Day after day, there was one constant: The most popular, winter-defying “must-visit” for foreigners is “The Museum of Genocide Victims.” Perhaps there is something grotesquely sexy about “genocide.” Maybe the promise of (real) former KGB interrogation rooms and isolation chambers in the basement is less run-of-the-mill and more strikingly authentic than much usual museum fare. Estimates obtained from the museum’s administrators suggest about a million visitors total to date.
Called “The Genocide Museum” for short, the city’s premier attraction is housed on the central boulevard in an elegant Russian imperial building completed in 1899 that was formerly used for the courthouse of the empire’s Vilna Province. The museum’s current headquarters are located in an annex dating to 1914-1915, just prior to World War I, which brought that empire tumbling down. Vilna would then change hands (depending how you count) around seven times through to 1920, when it came under the stable rule of the interwar Polish Republic, a rule that lasted until the Hitler-Stalin pact brought on Poland’s dismemberment in September of 1939. Then came little over a month of Soviet rule of the city (Sept.‒Oct. 1939), a little over a half-year of Lithuanian rule (Oct. 1939‒June 1940), a year of Soviet rule (June 1940‒June 1941) three years of Nazi rule (June 1941‒July 1944), 46 or 47 years of Soviet rule, and since 1990 or 1991, depending from when you prefer to reckon, the beginning of close to three decades of modern democratic Lithuanian sovereignty. Somewhere around the halfway mark of this modern period, in 2004, the country, along with a number of neighboring states that had been freed from Soviet yoke and became successful democracies with growing market economies, joined NATO and the European Union, cementing their firm and proud anchorage within the West.
This particular building had a starkly macabre function during two of its signal incarnations. It was the German Nazi Gestapo headquarters, with its own interrogation rooms, prison cells, and death chambers. Then for decades, it was a Soviet NKVD/KGB central facility used to coordinate terrorization of the undesired part of the population, particularly dissidents and resistance figures, who were incarcerated, interrogated, and tortured in its cells and shot on its premises during the Stalin years and beyond.
A swastika and the phrase “dirty Jew” was painted on the entrance to a Jewish elementary school in Paris.
The graffiti appeared Monday at the Gustave Leven school in the French capital’s 16th district, the French anti-Semitism watchdog National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, reported. The school is a part of the Alliance Israelite network.
Separately, unidentified individuals daubed numerous swastikas in the northwest London district of Dollis Hill, the Board of Deputies of British Jews reported. The group’s chief executive, Gillian Merron, called the acts “disgusting.”
Dollis Hill, “with its historic connection to Winston Churchill’s stand against fascism, will not be divided by the actions of idiots,” Merron said. “We hope the police catch the offenders and that they face the consequences of their actions.”
A highlight reel of Nazi cinema rewinds a familiar and fearful montage: the celebration of eugenic perfection in Leni Riefenstahl’s triumphal pseudo-docs, the anti-Semitic agit-prop of Hippler and Harlan, and the stock footage from archival compilations whose final act reveals the skeletons, living and dead, from the liberation of the concentration camps. Yet the entertainment feature films made under the banner of the swastika—the marquee fare that the average German might have gone to see on a night out—is mainly a blank screen. For decades, the prints were kept under lock and key, banned from exhibition in Germany and radioactive to critics who preferred to dote on the glories of German Expressionism in the 1920s or the high renaissance of the New German Cinema in the 1970s. Only recently have scholars and documentarians been granted access to the vaults sealed since 1945.
Written and directed by German documentarian Rüdiger Suchsland, Hitler’s Hollywood: German Cinema in the Age of Propaganda 1933-1945 (opening Wednesday at New York’s Film Forum) seeks to fill in the mental gap by taking an unblinking—and sometimes frankly appreciative—look at the cinematic legacy of the Third Reich—the big-budget diversions too connected to the world outside the theater to be deemed truly escapist, but that, on the surface anyway, seem more concerned with the eternal appeal of love, music, and adventure than the immediate needs of the thousand-year Reich. His is not a reexamination or a revision—after all, so many of the images will be new even to the eyes of cinephiles—but a preliminary once-over to scope out the terrain. I can’t imagine anyone interested in the symbiosis between film and history not being fascinated and challenged by Suchsland’s audacious act of archival retrieval.
Voiced in subdued Teutonic tones by the actor Udo Kier—Werner Herzog was unavailable?—Hitler’s Hollywood boasts an exceptionally eloquent and thoughtful narration. More than simple exposition for a rapid-fire clip-a-thon, the commentary is an exercise in film criticism, exegesis, and argument. “The films are better than their reputation,” asserts Kier, setting the terms for the studio tour. “Many are worth a second look, a look that focuses on the details and disregards the surface message without losing sight of it. Some films disclose more than the makers intended.” To presume the creators weren’t aware of what they were up to or implicated in is dubious, but Suchsland is dead-on about the films being worth a second—or, for most of us, first—look.
After a perfunctory précis of the Nazi rise to power, the film settles in and goes to the movies. “Most Germans had adjusted themselves to the regime,” is the droll understatement spoken over home-movie footage of a placid and peaceful Germany, what with the unadjustable arrested, exiled, or murdered.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is to play the role of Eli Cohen, a spy for Israel in Syria in the early 1960s, in a new Netflix series, US entertainment media reported Wednesday.
The six-episode drama, “The Spy,” will be written and directed by Israeli Gideon Raff, best known for the Hebrew-language drama series “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) and its acclaimed US adaptation “Homeland.”
Mossad agent Cohen was put on trial and executed by the Syrian government for espionage on May 18, 1965, after he successfully infiltrated the Syrian government under the alias Kamel Amin Thaabet for four years. The intelligence conveyed to Israel during that period was credited by then-prime minister Levi Eshkol as greatly assisting Israel during the Six Day War.
Jewish Londoner Baron Cohen, who shot to fame as the satirical character Ali G. and who went on to make films such as “Borat,” “The Dictator” and “The Brothers Grimsby,” is currently appearing on a Netflix special called “Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity.”
In March, Israel saw 393,000 tourists arriving in the country, representing a 34% increase in comparison to March 2017 and a 63% increase in comparison to March 2016. An average of 23,200 arrived each day, for a 98% increase since March 2017 and 26% more since 2016.
Of those, 348,200 tourist entries were by air, 36% more than in March 2017 and 60% more than during March 2016. An additional 44,600 tourists arrived via Israel’s land crossings, 19% more than in March 2017 and 101% more than in March 2016.
Over the course of March 2018, tourism injected $577 million into the economy.
Between January- March 2018, about 949,000 tourist entries were recorded, representing a 30% increase when compared to the same period last year, and a 58% increase when compared to the same period in 2016. Since the beginning of the year, tourism has injected 4.9 billion NIS ($1,392,923,000) into the Israeli economy.
The largest increases were registered in those countries in which the ministry is investing its marketing efforts – 39% increase in USA, 136% in Poland, 90% in Sweden, 68% in Spain, 55% in Germany and 49% in France.
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