MEMRI: Fatah Announces ‘National Campaign To Thwart The Deal Of The Century,’ Publishes Posters Against The Deal And Its Initiators
Even before its terms have been publicized, the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, known as “the Deal of the Century,” has encountered harsh opposition from the Palestinian Authority (PA), on the grounds that it does not promote peace but seeks to eliminate the Palestinian national identity and the Palestinian state and to topple the Palestinian leadership.Against this backdrop, PA elements have directed personal attacks at the U.S. officials promoting the deal. For example, a statement by the PA Foreign Ministry called Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner a “political novice who reads history through Israeli eyes.” An editorial of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida likened U.S. President Donald Trump to “the last Roman emperor, Nero, who burned Rome down, so that the roads no longer led to it…” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist ‘Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul called Trump “a disgrace for America and its people,” whose “populist policy” is “dangerous” for the U.S. and the world at large. 
Harsh criticism against the deal and its proponents was also voiced by Fatah, whose chairman is Palestinian President Mahmoud ‘Abbas. Recently the movement announced the launching of “a national campaign to thwart the Deal of the Century.” An announcement on behalf of the campaign, which was also posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page, stated that its objective is “to clarify the dangers posed by this deal, which is known to be a bad deal, and explain how it can destroy our national cause [by] proposing alternative solutions that circumvent the Palestinian people’s eternal rights [in favor of] humanitarian gestures and economic enticements.” The announcement states further that the Deal of the Century is an American attempt “to impose [on the Palestinians] the vision of the Israeli occupation state and to end the dream of the Palestinian state and of national independence.”
Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmeh announced that the movement supported the campaign and called on Palestinians to join its activities “on the ground and in the media, and in every language, in order to voice [the protest of the] Palestinian people that will not accept surrender and disgrace.” In addition, following the launching of the campaign, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisin met with the heads of the movement’s branches in the West Bank in order to prepare “The March of Refusal of the Deal of the Century,” and also announced that protests would take place in Ramallah on July 2, 2018 against “the American crime of our era.”
Melanie Phillips: The hurdles in front of the Trump peace plan
President Trump’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, his attempt at the “deal of the century,” will apparently soon be revealed to the world.
His envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, have been making the rounds in the region to get Arab allies on board. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau has paid a visit to the King of Jordan.
No one yet knows the terms of this deal. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused even to talk to the United States about it and has presumptively rejected it sight unseen.
The message he has received, however, is that the days of using such rejectionism to stymie progress are over. If he won’t agree to these terms, the Israelis will have U.S. backing in doing what they need to do to safeguard their security. And the Arab world has indicated that it will raise no serious objection.
Abbas and his camp are in effect being told: “You lost. Now get over it.” So will they?
As has been clear for decades, there are no terms on which the Palestinian Arab leadership can ever accept the existence of the State of Israel.
Until now, the West didn’t believe that. It thought that if only Israel would give more, and then more again, there could be a two-state solution and an end to the conflict.
This merely demonstrated the delusion born of Western hubris that the agenda of everyone in the world is negotiable. It failed to grasp two crucial aspects of the Palestinian Arab story—one dating from the 1930s, and the other going back to the seventh century.
Consider this: Strikingly, the image Palestinian Arabs present to the world systematically appropriates for themselves characteristics of the Jewish and Zionist experience.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The Palestinian paradox: 70 years of perpetuating refugeeism
“The Palestinian side won by a knockout,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the IDF’s international spokesperson.
Well, of course. That’s the result of the “wait and see” policy. Hamas knows it won’t defeat Israel in the battlefield. But it knew in advance that it would defeat Israel in the global public opinion. Hamas wasn’t the only one that knew that. Any sensible person knew that.
Israel should have made the Palestinians in Gaza, including Hamas, an offer they couldn’t refuse a long time ago. I have repeated this claim, I must say, like Cato the Elder.
Now, Hamas is proposing a hudna. The proposal’s precondition, senior Israeli officials responded, doesn’t meet Israel’s demands. Such foolishness. Not only is Israel failing to initiate anything, it is also rejecting a Hamas proposal.
When Hamas propose something, Israel should first of all say yes, and add that the hudna must be based on the international community’s terms. Does Israel have anything to lose? No.
But Israel, once again, is winning on the Gaza border and suffering a defeat in the global media. That’s what Hamas wanted. That’s what Hamas got. And the admission of senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil, that 50 of the Palestinians killed on May 14 were Hamas members, doesn’t help Israel in any way. We have lost this conflict—not because of Hamas, but because of Israeli foolishness.
The June 2018 issue of The Atlantic includes a feature by Wajahat Ali titled, “A Muslim Among Israeli Settlers.” It’s an 8-part, 9500 word article, with each part dedicated to a different West Bank or Jerusalem neighborhood or town in which Ali talks to the residents.
There are a lot of positives in the lyrically written piece, not least that Mr. Ali attempted this feat at all. I appreciated his candid admissions that for the Muslim Student Association at his alma mater UC Berkeley, “the conflict in the Holy Land superseded all other Muslim suffering,” and that “many Palestinians I encountered [while in the West Bank] think of the people in Tel Aviv as settlers as well.” He directly quoted one of his subjects saying she “wants all the Israelis ‘to go back where they came from.’” It bears noting that Ali has suffered repercussions for writing the piece.
There are, however, some factual problems, and his conclusions are based on some untested assumptions that warrant scrutiny.
In the conclusion of his essay, Ali writes,
Two things stand in the way of actual peace. The first is the yearning of some Palestinians for all the Jews to leave. … But the second problem – perhaps the even bigger problem – is the settlements, and the exclusivist attitude that motivates the people who live in them. A two-state solution is, theoretically, the best in a basket of bad solutions. But given the dismal realities on the ground, what might be better, alas, is a one-state solution that absorbs all the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and gives everyone an equal vote and equal rights.
Ali is not the first, nor will he be the last, to claim that the settlements are the biggest impediment to peace. It’s disappointing, however, that he would make such a claim after having spent so much time meeting and talking with them, and even as he writes that, “as a result of engaging with Zionists, I found that once you allow a space for conflicting narratives, even those that might repulse you, the characters take up room in your mind and your heart. You can no longer unsee or unfeel them.”
Israeli writer Yossi Klein Halevi is determined to reach across the divide to Palestinians who share his homeland. He writes letters about faith and longing to an anonymous Palestinian neighbor.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Yossi Klein Halevi left his home in New York when he was in his 20s and moved to Israel. Over the decades since then, he has tried to sort out for himself how these two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians, have been locked in their intractable conflict for generations. In his new book, titled “Letters To My Palestinian Neighbors” (ph), Halevi tries to reach beyond the failed politics and toxic narratives to connect with the neighbors that he does not know. Here he is reading from the opening chapter.
YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI: (Reading) We are living incarnations of each other’s worst historical nightmares, neighbors. But I don’t know how else to address you. I once believed that we would actually meet, and I am writing to you with the hope that we still might. I imagine you in your house somewhere on the next hill, just beyond my porch. We don’t know each other, but our lives are entwined. And so – neighbor.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to have refused an offer to hold a meeting last week with Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, also US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and leaders of neighboring Arab countries, according to a report on Saturday in the London-based, Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat.
Citing an unnamed diplomatic source, the paper reported that Abbas viewed the offer as an attempt by the Americans to push the Palestinians into agreeing to a peace process favorable to Israel, while also achieving the “real objective” of closer Israel-Arab ties in the region.
The offer for the meeting was proposed to Abbas via Egypt during Kushner and Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt’s most recent trip to the region. The two visited Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt last week to discuss a much-anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, as well as enlist humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. They did not meet with representatives from the Palestinian Authority, as Abbas cut off all contact with Washington over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
During the visit, Kushner gave a rare interview to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds in which he urged Palestinians not to let their “scared” leadership reject the Trump administration peace plan, and voicing doubt on whether Abbas truly wanted an accord.
At least, 60 percent of the Israeli population today is made up of Jewish immigrants or children of immigrants. The Jews come from about 100 countries of all colors and paths of life, but these Jews are all united in one society. If the global index of happiness and satisfaction could factor in these parameters and paradoxes, perhaps Israel would be the happiest country in the world.
It is easy to understand why the peaceful, orderly and wealthy Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, Iceland, Denmark and Australia are at the top of the “smiling nations”. These societies are not living in the midst of violent conflicts. Nor are they the target of international campaigns of isolation and boycotting. The Danes do not have at their borders thousands of weapons aimed at the centers of the civilian population.
Israel has all these.
So why is Israel the most hated country in the world, expecially in the West? Because of its border issues. The Western consensus is “post-borders” and we are witness to a new conflict about their necessity, once taken for granted, from Mexico to the Mediterranean, from Calais in France to Lesbo in Greece.
Israel and its population are probably the only Western, democratic country, barring Trump’s wall with Mexico, that is going in the opposite direction of the new Western consensus of a humanity without borders.
Israel is a tiny state. From north to south, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, you can fly over all of Israel in about 10 minutes. If you climb on the peaks of Gush Etzion, a few miles from Jerusalem, you can see Israel from one side to the other one, west to east. It is as if from the Eiffel Tower, in France, you could see the Atlantic Ocean or the German border.
Monday’s Knesset vote passing into law a historic bill aimed at stopping the Palestinian Authority from giving terrorists and their families 1.2 billion shekels a year in monthly stipends will be attended by Stuart Force, whose son, US Army Captain Taylor Force was murdered in Tel Aviv in March 2016.
Taylor Force’s murder led to the March 2018 passage of the Taylor Force Act in both houses of Congress, which cuts US aid to the PA until it stops paying terrorists and their families, as well as Monday’s vote in the Knesset, which requires the government to deduct the amount the PA pays terrorists from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority.
This will be the first visit to Israel for Stuart Force, whose son was traveling with other graduate students from Vanderbilt University studying global entrepreneurship when he was stabbed to death as he was walking on the Tel Aviv Promenade.
He was invited to come by the co-sponsors of the bill in the Knesset, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter (Likud), who met with Force in Washington two weeks ago, and Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern.
While he is in the country, Force will attend events marking the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords that were organized by the Middle East Forum, which opposed them. The events will be held Tuesday at the Knesset when the Israel Victory Caucus convenes, and Wednesday night at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.
Force will also attend a US Independence Day party hosted by American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Tuesday at Airport City.
Firefighters battled to fight five blazes sparked by incendiary devices flown toward Israeli communities from Gaza on Saturday.
Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said Saturday that those who launch the kites from Gaza should be targeted, as the safety of Israelis living in the vicinity of the coastal enclave must be the first priority.
“These kites are not toys, but weapons aimed at hurting us, just like Kassam rockets and Molotov cocktails,” Cohen told the Shabbat b’Tarbut cultural event in Holon.
Israeli leaders have been split on how to respond to those responsible for the airborne arson attacks, with some calling for the IDF to shoot the kite flyers and balloon launchers on sight, while others argue that it would be a step too far.
Economy Minister Eli Cohen attends a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2018. (Flash90)
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched countless kites, balloons and inflated latex condoms bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks and forests.
The Israeli military brought in six wounded Syrian nationals, four of them reportedly newly orphaned children, into the country for treatment in a local hospital late Friday night, in a “unique and complex medical operation,” the army said.
The six Syrians were among those injured in Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s renewed offensive against the remaining rebel holdouts in southwestern Syria. Earlier in the evening on Friday, local leaders in the area made contact with Israel in order to transfer the injured, the Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday night.
“In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment,” the IDF said in a statement.
Once the Israeli troops made contact with the injured Syrians, they provided them with first aid in order to stabilize their conditions, before bringing them to an undisclosed hospital in northern Israel, the army said.
At least two Palestinians were killed and five injured on Saturday evening in an explosion in an apartment in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.
The cause of the blast was not immediately known, but there were suggestions it was the result of mishandling of explosives.
Hadashot TV news reported that the family in whose home the explosion occurred is affiliated with Fatah, Hamas’s Palestinian rival, which was violently overthrown by the terror group now ruling Gaza in 2007.
By contrast, Haaretz reported that the apartment held firecrackers and other explosives, and cited a Palestinian source as saying there were indications the alleged lab belonged to Hamas’s armed wing.
The paper also said the two Gazans killed were 17-year-old Mouayed Hals and Dia al-Arar, also 17.
Hamas has refused to return Israeli citizens and the bodies of IDF soldiers it holds as part of an agreement to provide humanitarian help to the Gaza Strip, an Arabic daily reported Saturday, and is conditioning any release on Israel freeing hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners.
According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, Hamas is weighing three proposals seeking to address the security and humanitarian conditions in Gaza, two of which would see the terror group release the Israelis and agree to a truce in exchange for the opening of border crossings to all goods.
Hamas, however, is only willing to return the Israelis as part of an “exchange deal” for the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel on security offenses, the report said.
Furthermore, the terror group has indicated it does not want an agreement that addresses its weapons stockpile, the report said, nor will it agree to end the clashes on the Gaza border until the security blockade of the Palestinian enclave is lifted.
Hamas rejected on similar grounds a third proposal presented by the UN’s Middle East peace envoy Nikolay Mladenov that would include fuel shipments for Gaza’s power plant and the permanent opening of border crossings while also addressing Israel’s security needs, according to Asharq al-Awsat.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday that Lebanon is “obliged to defend itself” in the event of “Israeli aggression”.
“I will work with the new government on improving the economy, continuing the reforms and combating corruption,” Aoun told visiting British Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt, according to the Naharnet news website.
He stressed that Lebanon is “committed to the truce and Resolution 1701”, which was approved by the Security Council in August of 2006 in an attempt to end the Second Lebanon War, while underscoring that it is also “obliged to defend itself should Israel attack its territory.”
Aoun has several times in recent months issued threats against Israel. In February, he said that “Lebanon has made a decision to defend itself in case of an Israeli aggression or encroachment on its rightful access to its offshore oil and gas resources.”
Last November, Aoun accused Israel of “squatting in the southern borders” and of “violating Lebanon’s sovereignty”.
Earlier that month, he warned that if a war with Israel were to occur, all the citizens of his country are willing to battle Israel.
While U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to take active measures against Iran, the Iranian regime is already showing signs of economic and political collapse, although throughout the 40 years of its existence it has presented itself as a powerful regime that benefits from popular support, a prosperous economy despite the sanctions, comprehensive economic, technological and scientific capabilities and unprecedented military abilities. Trump’s May 2018 announcement about planned economic measures against Iran was enough to destabilize the country’s economy and cause resurgence, on May 26, 2018, of large-scale protests in central Tehran that lasted several days. In our assessment, even if the protests die down or are repressed by the regime for a while, they will eventually recur and intensify, because the Iranian regime can offer no solution for the economic crisis except by changing its regional and nuclear policies, i.e., by directing Iran’s national resources towards benefiting the Iranian people rather than promoting its goals outside the country.
Trump’s Measures To Date
On May 8, 2018 Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the so-called nuclear deal with Iran, i.e., the JCPOA. It should be stressed that the JCPOA was not a “deal” in the first place, due to Iran’s insistence that it would not be an agreement signed by the sides but only a joint plan of action approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 – just like any other resolution in the Security Council’s history, many of which were not implemented. The U.S. President also announced his intention to re-impose the nuclear sanctions that had been lifted following the adoption of the resolution, and also to impose additional unprecedented economic sanctions.
However, the renewed sanctions, including oil and banking sanctions, will come into effect only on November 4, 2018. Only then will companies no longer be able to make transactions with Iran without incurring punitive measures by the U.S. Hence there was no objective economic reason for the collapse of the Iranian currency four months before this date, especially considering that the European Union actively opposes Trump’s plans and is considering countermeasures to allow the Iranian regime to continue enjoying the economic privileges granted to Iran by the Obama administration. While in recent weeks some international companies have announced their intension to pull out of the Iranian market, the country is still allowed access to the SWIFT international system, a major financial lifeline of global trade.
Iranian officials likewise stress that there is no objective reason for the currency crash, and this is not inaccurate, since the crash apparently stems mainly from the Iranian public’s apprehensions. According to the officials, the protests and the public’s loss of confidence in the regime are the result of a plot by the Americans and the Zionists, who are employing psychological warfare against Iran since they are unable to confront it militarily.
Tens of thousands of people from across Europe and the US gathered on Saturday at the Paris suburb Villepinte Congress Center for the annual meeting of the Iranian opposition “Free Iran” movement.
Waving flags of Iran, supporters of the Iran Mujahedin kept chanting in Farsi ‘’We are ready,’’ and ‘’People are dying, we will take back Iran,’’ responding to the calls of the speakers to topple the Ayatollah regime.
Wearing a blue scarf and traditional attire, leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi addressed the crowd, saying ‘’the overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice, requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberty army.
‘’We call for the establishment of a society based on freedom, democracy, and equality, which has clear demarcations with despotism and dependence as well as gender, ethic and class discrimination. We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, assembly, unions, associations and syndicates.’’
A large American delegation, headed by former Mayor of New York and prominent Republican Party member Rudy Giuliani, a long-time supporter of the movement, took part in the event.
Also present were former speaker of the House of Representatives Newton Gingrich and former US Ambassador Bill Richardson. The delegation was mostly comprised of neo-Conservative Republicans, but also by a few Democrat figures objecting the Iranian nuclear agreement. Former Canada Prime Minister Stephan Harper headed the Canadian delegation to the event.
Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy – Iran
Protesters in Tehran Shout: Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy! No to Gaza, No To Lebanon!Footage posted on social media on June 25 showed protesters in various locations in Tehran marching and shouting slogans like “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran!” and “Death to the dictator.” In one demonstration, the protesters shouted “Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy!”
The Spanish state of Navarre recently voted to endorse the BDS movement against Israel, calling on the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel, while slamming the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to “occupied Jerusalem.”
More than 50 Spanish cities and regions have passed motions condemning Israel. Driven by the rise of the far-left in Spain, this proliferation of anti-Israel activism is establishing the kingdom as the most anti-Israel member state in the EU, reports the Gatestone Institute.
If Spain truly cared about Israel’s “occupation,” why does the kingdom continue to preserve its own colonialist legacy? Since 1815, Spain has occupied the Portuguese town of Olivenza, despite signing a treaty agreeing to return control to Portugal.
Spain has also refused to acquiesce to demands of Basque separatists seeking to create an independent homeland in northern Spain, while also maintaining control over the plazas de soberanía, and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, despite both being claimed by Morocco as their sovereign land.
But Spain’s most flagrant violation of its neighbors’ sovereignty came last year, when it refused to respect the autonomy of Catalonia and its desire to secede from Spain. In a referendum in late 2017, an overwhelming 90% of Catalans voted in favor of independence. The Spanish government responded by arresting Catalan independence leader Jordi Sànchez; it has jailed him for the past eight months on charges of sedition.
The editorial board of a leading Irish newspaper slammed on Thursday those calling for a boycott of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.
Such a boycott, the Irish Examiner pointed out, “would have no impact one way or the other on the policies of Israel’s government which, lest it be conveniently overlooked, represents the region’s only democracy and whose highest priority is the protection of its citizens from those whose wish is to wipe the country off the map.”
“There is in this campaign, endorsed in Ireland by notable gay and feminist activists, the refrain of hypocrisy,” the oped noted.
“The boycott brigade, marching for human rights and social justice, sees Israel’s defence of itself as a primarily Jewish state as a war crime,” it continued. “We look forward to reporting its demands for an international boycott of, say, Saudi Arabia or Iran where, when we last looked, gay and feminist activists would not be tolerated.
The Irish Examiner concluded: “Can we look forward to calls to cut off all cultural, academic and economic ties with, say, China, with its more than somewhat appalling lack of interest in human rights? We suspect not.”
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is pursuing criminal charges against three people who made antisemitic statements online.
These included such sentiments as Hitler “should’ve killed you all” and “The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards.”
The three men charged are Muhammad Hattia, Tameez Seedat, and Matome Letsoalo, who issued threats on Twitter and WhatsApp.
Laden with obscenities, the messages openly threatened Jews and evoked crude antisemitic stereotypes.
Letsoalo’s tweets included, “The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards. F*ck All Of You.” Elsewhere, he referred to Jews as vermin and said Hitler should have succeeded in exterminating them.
Hattia and Seedat made their comments in a WhatsApp group. Hattia wrote, “F*ck you jew pricks. Fat nosed f*cks …. I hope you and your family die. Hitler f*cked up he should’ve killed you all.”
Seedat wrote afterward, “You f*cken Jew / Zionist will see your time coming. Make our fellow brothers and sisters suffer, but what you don’t understand is that worse will be coming your way.”
“On the world stage, the United Nations takes an uncompromising stance on sexual abuse, trumpeting a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for infractions by its employees and condemning rape laws that require a woman to show injuries to prove that she did not consent.
But within the United Nations itself, the system for examining sexual misconduct by employees is so inconsistent that investigators sometimes use those same contentious laws to help guide their inquiries – a clear example, critics say, of the broad gap between the organization’s public pronouncements and its own practices…
The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has promised to make accountability for sexual misconduct a central part of his leadership… But to many women in the industry, these measures sidestep the deep structural problems that have allowed decades of sexism and abuse within the United Nations to continue.
They say internal investigations give greater credence to powerful men who deny wrongdoing than to the women who accuse them, and that reporting systems are so byzantine that it is often unclear how to make a complaint, or what happens to the women who do…
Public prosecutors in the French city of Toulouse announced Friday they are opening an investigation into a senior Muslim cleric who recited anti-Semitic religious passages and predicted Israel’s destruction in a sermon.
Mohamed Tatai, the imam of the newly inaugurated Grand Mosque of Toulouse and the leader of an interfaith dialogue group, is to be investigated for “possible incitement to hatred.”
On December 15 Tatai recited a Muslim text, called a Hadith, stating that on Judgment Day, the Muslims will kill the Jews.
The Prophet Muhammad “told us about the final and decisive battle: ‘Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him – except for the Gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews,’” he said.
Growing up in Imperial Japan during World War II, Isaac Shapiro’s best friend was a member of the Hitler Youth.
The friend wore the organization’s brown shirt uniform to their international school every day, but not because he wanted to — he was German and Japan was an ally of the Nazi regime, so he was expected to project support for the Fuehrer.
Instead of instilling fear into his classmates, however, the uniform had the opposite effect — his non-German peers gently teased him.
“We made fun of him — everybody at school made fun of him,” Shapiro said. “We didn’t support the German Reich.
Shapiro, now 87, lives in New York. (Ben Sales)
“He was obviously not very enthusiastic about being in the Hitlerjugend,” Shapiro added, using the German word for Hitler Youth.
Countless Jews have harrowing stories of growing up under the terror of Nazi rule, but Shapiro has a different tale of growing up under the Axis — he was one of the few Jews living in Japan at the time. He was born in 1931, the year Japan invaded Manchuria, and was living there when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.
Before and during World War II, Jewish communities across Europe cried out for help. World powers were overwhelmingly silent. Jews trying to flee were turned away by countries across Europe and the Americas, with Britain blocking immigration to what is now Israel.
Unfortunately, some Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere now downplay or even ignore the dangers the Jewish people face. We found this in some of our conversations with European-Jewish leaders, who expressed their unwavering confidence in their local government’s willingness and ability to protect them.
Jews in America today have the power to stand up, speak out, and fight back against the antisemites. We should use this power now – before it’s no longer available.
This brings us to our third lesson. We must support Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people and ultimate insurance policy for all Jews.
Israel did not exist during the time of the Holocaust. It has already saved millions of Jews fleeing antisemitism around the world. In its infancy, Israel accepted Holocaust survivors from displaced persons camps. It launched countless operations to save Jews facing existential threats across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe. In the 90s, the Jewish homeland welcomed approximately 1.6 million Jews from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, who had endured harsh antisemitism and hatred. More recently, rising antisemitism in Venezuela brought over half of the country’s Jews to Israel.
Israel has changed the game when it comes to the security of the Jewish people. This point was driven home for us during the trip, by Maj. General Amir Eshel – the former commander of the Israel Air Force, who accompanied us to Auschwitz. In 2003, Eshel led a squadron of IAF F-15s in a flyover of Auschwitz, issuing an eternal promise from the cockpit that the IDF is “the shield of the Jewish people and its nation, Israel.”
Remembering the Holocaust is not enough. We must turn the tragedies of the past into lessons for the future. Nothing less than the continuation of the Jewish people is at stake. It’s in our hands to ensure that Never Again really means Never Again.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.