I did a quick google search for the “renounce being Jewish” quote.
Here’s what I found: Radio Islam (whatever the hell that is) has a
page that comments (favorably) on and quotes from The Holocaust
On the page are some links to other Radio Islam pieces. One of them
is entitled “Jews, who want to be decent human beings, have to
renounce being Jewish.” If you click the link
http://www.radioislam.org/gaza/macdonald.htm, you find that the
quote is from some guy named Joachim Martillo, whose claim to fame is
that he’s the husband of someone named Karin Friedemann. Astounding.
Could not ask for better proof that this Charny guy is a complete
I did a quick google search for the “renounce being Jewish” quote.
Here’s a fool-proof method to stop the spread of anti-Semitism: Israel should re-christen itself the “State of the Vandal People.”
Jan. 25, 2010
BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, Jerusalem Post correspondent in BERLIN , THE JERUSALEM POST
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1263147969631&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
In embarrassing diplomatic row, Wiesel denounces German Chancellor Merkel: “She promised to pay me two million dollars per word. I spent all night with my dictionary connecting words randomly to soak these Nazis for every dollar I could squeeze out of them. Now she says that she promised to pay me two million LIRA per word.”
Anlässlich der Veranstaltung des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus am 27. Januar 2000 hielt der Friedensnobelpreisträger Elie Wiesel eine Gedenkrede.Address to the German Bundestag Berlin, 27 January 2000 President Rau,
President of the Bundestag,
President of the Bundesrat,
My dear Chancellor Schröder,
Members of the cabinet,
Distinguished Members of the Bundestag,
Friends, Allow me to tell you a story. But, first, I hope you understand that I speak to you as a witness. When a witness speaks, he or she must take a vow to tell the truth. The Jew that I am feels that he ought to make a prayer. 55 years ago the Russians came a bit too late for me and those who are close to me. Do not look at me and see the man that I am now. Please try and see in me the person I was 55 years ago. Today, I am here with my wife, Marion, and two very close friends, Inga and Ira, and so I will say a prayer. The prayer is from the Book of Baruch: “Blessed be the Lord for enabling me to be here at this day.” And now a story. Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a benevolent king. One day, he was told by his astrologists that the next harvest would be cursed and that whosoever would eat from it would go mad. And so he ordered an enormous granary built and stored there all that remained from the previous year’s crop. He then entrusted the granary’s key to his closest friend and this is what he told him: “When my subjects and their king will have been struck with madness, you and you alone will have the right to enter the storehouse and eat uncontaminated food. Thus you will escape the malediction. But in exchange, my poor friend, you will be dutybound to fulfill a vital and impossible task. Your mission will be to crisscross the earth, going from country to country, from town to town, from marketplace to marketplace, from person to person, shouting with all your might: ‘Good people, do not forget that you are mad! Men and women, do not forget, do not forget that you are mad!’” This tale, told by the very great Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav, who was a forerunner of Franz Kafka, surely applies to this century which has just ended, a century, in which madness erupted in history and turned it often into a nightmare. And so the witnesses that we are, some of us, we, too, go around the world simply to say: “Don’t forget that you were mad, don’t forget that history has carried madness in it”. And so the man you so kindly invited to take part in this solemn and moving session devoted to the memory of the victims of what we so inadequately call Shoa or Holocaust – there are no words for it – is a son of an ancient people whose mission over the centuries has been to teach the oneness of God and the sacredness of human life. Some sixty years ago, in this very metropolis, in this city, this man that I am and his community, were condemned to isolation, distress, despair and death. And yet, I hope you believe me, I am a witness and I speak to you today with neither bitterness nor hate. All my adult life I have tried to use language to fight hate, to denounce it, to disarm it, not to spread it. Will my words hurt you? That is not my intention. But please understand, when I entered this Chamber, I did not leave my memories behind. In fact, here, because of you, they are more vivid than ever. All I wish to do in this short time is to evoke in a few words an unprecedented event which will, for generations to come, continue to weigh on the destiny of my people and yours. And this event, I still don’t understand it. I go on trying and trying. Since my liberation, on April 11, 1945, I have read everything I could lay my hands on that deals with its implications. Historical essays, psychological analyses, testimonies and testaments, poems and prayers, assassins’ diaries and victims’ meditations, even children’s letters to God. But though I managed to assimilate the facts, the numbers and the technical aspects of the “Aktionen”, the implacable significance which transcends them continues to elude me. The Nuremberg Laws, the anti-Jewish decrees, the Kristallnacht, the public humiliation of proud Jewish citizens, including brave World War I veterans, the first concentration camps, the euthanasia of German citizens, the Wannsee conference, where the highest officials of the land simply met to discuss the validity, the legality and the ways of killing an entire people. And then of course Dachau, Auschwitz, Majdanek, Sobibor – the capitals of this century. Yes, these names … flags, black flags, reminding a world that will come, of a world that has been. What made them possible? How is one to comprehend the cult of hatred and death that flourished in this country? How could bright young men, many superbly educated, from fine families, with diplomas from Germany’s best universities, which then were the best in the world, how could they allow themselves to be seduced by Evil to the point of devoting their genius, the genius of Evil, to the torture and the killing of Jewish men, women and children whom they had never seen? They didn’t do it because these Jews were rich or poor, believers or non-believers, political adversaries, patriots or universalists, but simply because they had been born Jewish. Their birth certificate had became a de facto death sentence. But did it really make these killers feel strong and heroic to murder defenceless children? Could they really have been so afraid of old and sick people, of small children as to make them their priority targets? What was it about them that was frightening? Their weakness, their innocence perhaps? Were the killers still human? That is the question which is my obsession. At what point does humanity end? Is there a limit beyond which humanity doesn’t deserve its name anymore? While preparing myself for today’s encounter with you – an encounter of course which is symbolic on more than one level, as you put it very well, President of the Bundestag – I reread certain chronicles by survivors and witnesses, both living and dead. And I was struck again by how similar the scenes of cruelty were. It is as though one German, always the same, tortured and killed one Jew, for ever the same, six million times. Yet each episode is unique, for every human being, created in God’s image, is unique. Since I am not a historian, rather than discuss history I tell stories. And here is one, just one: it takes place in September 1941 in Babi-Yar, in Kiev, as reported by an eyewitness, a certain B.A. Liebmann. He tells of a Jewish family which has spent several days hiding in a cave. The mother decides to seek help in a nearby village with her two small children. They are intercepted by a group of drunken Germans who, in front of the mother, behead one child, then the second. As the distraught mother clutches the bodies of her dead children, the Germans, obviously delighted with the spectacle, kill the mother as well. And when the father appears on the scene, they murder him too. I don’t understand. One could tell you more stories, six million more. Of all the crimes committed against my people, the Jewish people, the murder of its children is the worst. They were always the first to be taken and sent off to death. A million and a half Jewish children perished, Ladies and Gentlemen. If I were to begin reciting their names, the Moischeles, the Jankeles, the Sodeles, here and now, I would have to stand here for months and years. Haven’t the peoples of the world lost so much, too, not only my own, through what was done? How many benefactors of humanity perished when they were a month old, or a year? There could have been among them scientists who would have discovered a remedy for AIDS, a cure for cancer. They could have written great poems to inspire everybody, to renounce violence and war, a few words perhaps or a song to bring people together at last. There is a picture that shows laughing soldiers surrounding a Jewish boy in a ghetto, I think probably in the Warsaw ghetto. I look at it often. What was it about that sad and frightened Jewish child with his hands up in the air, that amused the German soldiers so? Why was tormenting him so funny? Were these soldiers, who likely were good husbands and fathers, not conscious of what they were doing? Weren’t they thinking of their own children and grandchildren, who one day would have to carry the burden of their crimes although, as I shall say later, they are innocent? Ivan Karamazov believed that “cruel people are sometimes very fond of children.” Yes, but not of Jewish children. Of course, for us Jews in occupied Europe, it soon became clear that the free world was aware of and therefore responsible, though to a much different degree, for what was happening to us. The Allies seemed not to care very much; they did not open their borders to us when there was still time. And so Berlin became convinced that our fate was of no real concern to anyone. Not even God, the God of Israel, seemed to care. More than anyone else’s, his silence was a mystery that continues to puzzle and distress many of us to this day. But that is another matter, one we debate mostly when we are among ourselves. Today, we shall speak only of Jews and Germans, then and now. My people has had innumerable enemies since it appeared on the world stage. We remember them all. But none had wounded us as deeply as Hitler’s Germany. Over time, we endured discrimination, persecution, many forms of isolation, we survived the Crusades, the Inquisition, the pogroms, the various results of ingrained antisemitism. But the Holocaust went much farther indeed. I say it with pain: no nation, no ideology, no system has ever inflicted brutality, suffering and humiliation on such a scale on any people as yours has on mine in such a short period. The sentence the Third Reich imposed upon us was deadly and irrevocable. The Final Solution, precisely outlined, was eschatological in nature; its goal was to annihilate every Jew, down to the last one on the surface of the earth. That was actually a kind of principal objective; the deportation of Hungarian Jews, and I am one of them as you know, had priority over the military convoys taking much-needed soldiers to the front. I know, there were Germans who did not comply. And we must remember them, you and I. Those who had the courage to oppose the official racist ideology. Those who resisted the Nazi totalitarian regime. Those who tried to topple it and paid with their lives. And you are right in honouring their bravery. Only, sadly, they were few. And those who rescued Jewish friends and neighbours even fewer. Now, many in Germany and elsewhere choose to put all the blame on the Nazis. “The Nazis did this or that,” is the accepted formula. The Nazis, not the Germans. Does it mean that there were two parallel histories of Germany, a Nazi history and a German history? Of course, all Germans were not Nazis. But I can tell you again as a witness, I remember in those times that the word German inspired fears; we were afraid when we heard that the Germans were coming. Here, in this very place, the new leaders of the German people are so valiantly and honourably trying to build a new destiny, a more human philosophy of living. And we are here to tell you that we appreciate this. In those times, the decision to kill the Jews was taken at the highest level of government but was implemented down below. And for the victims, everything was German: the Zyklon gas was German, those who built the crematoriums were German, those who built the gas chambers were German, the orders given were German. As Paul Celan put it: “Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland.” And Celan committed suicide because he felt probably that his words could not communicate this essential truth of his or our experience. Until the end of times, Ladies and Gentleman, Auschwitz will remain a part of your history, just as it will continue to be a part of mine. I know, it is difficult and painful for you to think in these terms. Yours is a new generation, none of you have had to swear allegiance to Hitler. Of course, none of you have committed any crime or any sin. But I am sure that, in moments of anguish, you wonder where your parents were then, were did they stand then? I feel compelled to tell you what I repeat everywhere I go, not only here: I do not believe in collective guilt; only the guilty and their accomplices are guilty, but surely not those who were not yet born, surely not their children. The children of killers are not killers, but children. And your children, many of them are so good. I know some of them; a few have been my students. They are so marvellous, so highly motivated, and at the same time tormented, understandably so. They somehow feel guilty, although they should not feel guilty at all. And what they are doing to somehow redeem your country, your people, is extraordinary. Whatever touches the spirit is of concern to them. They go to Israel to build, and they help any cause that deals with violation of human rights because they feel, your children feel that it is important not to forget this dark period. So what is what we call the Holocaust? Was it the consequence of history, an aberration of history? This is not the time, nor the place to speak about that. There are other times, in school, when education is important. The Chancellor and I yesterday participated in a meeting in Stockholm about education on the Holocaust. And your words were very highly appreciated there. I am not sure that I have the answer to the Holocaust, but surely education is a major component of that answer. So emphasise education, increase the budget, do whatever you can so that the children, your children, who want to know, are able to know.
I am here, and I remember 55 years ago. I remember, and if I were to tell you what I remember, you would, like me, tremble. So, let us speak rather of what has to be done. I as a Jew, of course, speak of the Jewish victims, my people. Their tragedy was unique, but I do not forget other victims. When, as a Jew, I evoke the Jewish victims, I honour the others as well. As I like to put it: not all victims were Jewish but all Jews were victims.
And it is to remember them, Mr. President, Mr. Chancellor, President of the Bundestag, that this Parliament is marking the 27th of January as a day for commemorating the victims of the Nazi regime or, as I would call it, National Holocaust Remembrance Day. And this decision does you honour. And my presence here is meant, of course, to highlight your willingness to open the gates of memory and to declare together our conviction and resolution that it is high time for Cain to stop murdering his brother Abel.
Surely, there will be those who will say that it is too easy for you to devote one day a year just to pay a kind of homage and then go back to your normal business. Some will say it is a mockery. I don’t agree. I take your move very seriously. I don’t believe that it is to forget Auschwitz that you wish to remember its liberation. On the contrary, I believe that you wish to recall its liberation so as to condemn what preceded it, and to know more about it. I also believe that you will not listen to the indecent voices here in this land urging you to “turn the page” because you allegedly are “fed up with those stories”. Those who want to turn the page have done so already. Not only have they turned the page, they have ripped it out of their consciousness. But by conspiring to obliterate the victims’ memory, those who want to turn the page are killing them a second time, and that will be their burden.
After the war, some of us expected a defeated and humiliated Germany to deliver a more powerful message of remorse and contrition, one that would be linked to morality; instead, in those years it was related more to politics. But, since Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s time, you have become a democracy, worthy of taking its place in the family of nations. You have consistently supported Israel, and your record of financial reparations to the victims, mainly to the Jewish victims, but also to all slave labourers, as the law you are introducing in Parliament stipulates, is positive. But I believe that perhaps the time has come for you to make a gesture that would have world-wide repercussions.
President Rau, you met a group of Auschwitz survivors few weeks ago. And one of them told me that you expressed something very moving. You asked for forgiveness for what the German people had done to them. Why shouldn’t you do it here? In the spirit of this solemn occasion. Why shouldn’t the Bundestag simply let this be known to Germany and its allies and its friends, and especially to young people? Have you asked the Jewish people to forgive Germany for what the Third Reich did in Germany’s name to so many of us? Do it, and it will have extraordinary repercussions in the world. Do it, and the significance of this they will acquire a higher dimension. Do it, and the world will know that its faith in this Germany is justified. For, beyond national, ethnic or religious considerations, it was mankind itself that was threatened then, in those darkest of days. And in some ways, it still is. Whatever this new century holds in store, and we desperately want to have hope for the new century and its new generation, Auschwitz will continue to force men to explore the deepest recesses of his and her being so as to confront their fragile truth.
I told you before that I prefer stories. I would like to conclude with the story of a little Jewish girl who died with her mother the night they arrived in Birkenau in May 1944. She was eight years old, and believe me, she had done nothing to hurt or harm your people – why did she have to die such an atrocious death? If her brother lives to be as old as the world itself, he will never understand. And so, he will simply quote another great Hasidic Master: Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov. He was known for his great compassion and he said: “My friends, do you wish to find the spark? Look for it in the ashes.”
Date: The year 2050Setting: In the past 40 years Israel has nuked almost every country on the planetScript: Invoking the memory of the Holocaust for the 100th consecutive year, Prime Minister Bibi Jr. warns world that Nauru poses existential threat to Israel — “If we don’t obliterate it now, the evil will spread.”
Prime minister says on eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, ‘There is evil that can spread, which threatens security of Jews.’ While he did not mention Iran explicitly, Netanyahu noted: ‘There are new haters of Judaism with new reasons to destroy Jewish state. This is our concern’Ronen Medzini
Published: 01.25.10, 14:07 / Israel News Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Yad Vashem on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day Monday. During his speech at the memorial, the prime minister addressed threats coming from Iran: “Today there are new Judaism haters with new reasons to destroy the Jewish people. This is a test for humanity, and we will see in the coming weeks how the international community will stop the evil before it spreads.” Netanyahu, who participated in the opening ceremony of the “Architecture of Murder” exhibit at Yad Vashem which presents the Auschwitz blueprints, compared the Holocaust with Iran’s intentions, even though he did not explicitly mention Iran in his speech. “The evil is spreading and hurting innocent people. Large things must be stopped while they are still small. There is still denial, and lies are still being spread in the world,” said the prime minister. “There is an evil that can spread, and it is threatening the security of the Jews,” Netanyahu warned. “We know that it just starts with the Jews and then continues on to the rest of the world. There are new Judaism haters who have a new reason to destroy the Jewish state. This is our concern.” The weekly cabinet meeting held Sunday focused on International Holocaust Memorial Day. Prior to the meeting, the prime minister presented the plaque that will be shown in the UN. The plaque shows the arm of a Holocaust survivor with a number on it as she holds her great-granddaughter’s hand on a visit back to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The prime minister said on Sunday: “This is the essence of the Zionist legacy. I hope that the UN remembers what it was like when the Jews did not have a country and the right and responsibility of the international community to defend the existence of the Jewish state.”
Annual Jewish Agency report cites poll finding 42% of West Europeans believe Jews exploit past to extort money.Nearly half of Western European believe that Jews exploit the persecution of their past as a method of extorting money, according to an annual Jewish Agency report released on Sunday. A joint report on anti-Semitism conducted by the Agency and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs found that 42 percent of those polled by the University of Bielefeld in Germany agreed that “Jews exploit the past to extort money.” he countries in which the highest percentage of the population agreed with that statement were Poland and Spain. According to the Jewish Agency, there were more anti-Semitic incidents in 2009 than in any year since the Second World War. In the first three months of 2009 – immediately following Israel’s three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip – there were as many anti-Semitic incidents recorded as in the entire year of 2008. In France, for example, there were 631 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the first half of 2009, compared to 474 in all of 2008. Worldwide, eight people were killed in attacks last year. The report indicates that there were two murders linked with anti-Semitism in the United States in 2009 – one of a female university student in Connecticut and the other of a non-Jewish guard at the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. This rise in anti-Semitism is stemming from both the political Left and Right, according to the Jewish Agency. At the press conference at which the report was released, officials referred to a film that has been making the rounds in recent days that charges Israel with stealing organs at the IDF hospital in Haiti
Traditionally, it is around Yom HaShoah that the history and lessons of the Holocaust are in focus, and we pause on that special day to honor the victims. As a Holocaust survivor it has always been very important for me to participate in Yom HaShoah events either in the United States, in Israel, or wherever in the world I might be on that day.A recent and welcome recognition of the Shoah is the annual commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. As we approach it this year, it is important to recall the significance of having the international community demonstrate awareness of the ongoing task to impart the lessons of the Shoah and be reminded of the deadly dangers of forgetting the brutality that human beings can inflict. This international commemoration recognizes the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the special responsibility to ensure that the lessons of the Shoah are never forgotten. At the same time, we must all do much more to ensure that those lessons are not only remembered on January 27, but are absorbed deeply by societies around the globe and transmitted from generation to generation. One of the basic lessons from the Nazi era is that acts of hate and hate speech cannot be ignored. Words of hate, and the world’s disregard of that hate, paved the road to Auschwitz. Yet, we see that the United Nations continues to permit its platform to be used for spewing hate against Jews and Israel without consequence. Among the numerous examples are Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blaming Jews and “global Zionism” of dominating international finance and media, a Libyan representative charging that Israel’s actions in Gaza are worse than the Holocaust, and the President of the General Assembly accusing Israel of “crucifying” the Palestinians. Today we are in an environment where the Internet instantaneously propels hate-filled material of all kinds around the globe. Holocaust denial and other forms of anti-Semitism arrive on our desktop computers at home, in our workplaces and on our smartphones wherever we are. YouTube videos demonizing Israel and the Jewish people and Facebook social networking communities engaging in blatant Holocaust denial are becoming commonplace. The language of the Holocaust is turned upside down and Israelis are described as Nazis. Fueled by intense anti-Israel sentiment, Nazi comparisons and anti-Semitic beliefs mix in a dangerous brew in street demonstrations throughout the world where chants of “Jews to the gas chambers” and other calls for death to Jews are generally met with little or no public condemnation. The alleged perpetrators of the two recent arson attacks on a synagogue on the Greek Island of Crete are reported to have explained their acts by noting they don’t like Jews. The Big Lie of Israeli organ harvesting for profit has again resurfaced and gone global practically overnight in a video posted on YouTube by a Seattle man who claimed that the IDF mobile hospital unit in Haiti may be involved in stealing organs. Remembering and commemorating the Shoah will never be sufficient to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust are learned. We must make certain those lessons are taught and applied not just on International Holocaust Day, but every day throughout the world.
Holocaust Hucksters Inc. to Sue Estate of Abraham Lincoln for Holocaust compensation; class-action lawsuit on behalf of 27,553,364 needy Holocaust victims alleges that former president used Jewish slave labor to build his log cabin
By Patricia Zapor, Catholic News ServicePrinter-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friendPDF versionPDF version WASHINGTON — A California appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against the Vatican bank seeking restitution for Holocaust survivors who said the bank stored and laundered millions of dollars worth of assets looted by a Nazi-backed regime in Croatia. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Dec. 29 upheld a federal District Court ruling that said that as an agency of a sovereign state, the Vatican bank is immune from such lawsuits. The 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects other countries from being sued in U.S. courts, the court noted. The lawsuit sought an accounting from the Vatican of assets the plaintiffs allege were stored and laundered by the church under the Nazi-backed Ustasha government in Croatia. It also asked for restitution and damages. The class-action suit was originally filed in 1999, on behalf of potentially hundreds of thousands of concentration camp survivors of Serbian, Jewish, Roma and Ukrainian background and their heirs. It currently has about 28 named plaintiffs, according to their attorney. Still remaining is a similar lawsuit against the Franciscan order, which also was dismissed by the Northern California District Court and is on appeal to the 9th Circuit. Jonathan Levy, a Washington-based attorney who represents the plaintiffs, told Catholic News Service Dec. 30 that it hadn’t yet been decided whether to appeal the 9th Circuit ruling involving the Vatican bank to the Supreme Court. Levy said there is a stronger connection between the Croatian assets and U.S.-based Franciscan entities than there was to the Vatican, creating what he believes is a better case for pursuing the religious order for redress. The case started after the U.S. State Department in 1998 issued a report linking the Vatican to the disappearance in 1945 of the treasury of the “Nazi Puppet State of Croatia,” according to background material on the plaintiffs’ Web site, www.vaticanbankclaims.com. The site says that during the war some Franciscans were “militant Catholics” who “led pogroms against Orthodox Christian Serbs, Roma and Jews” and that Franciscans in Rome helped smuggle the Ustasha treasury out of the country. The Ustasha ran a brutal Nazi-backed government in Croatia between 1941 and 1945. In a November order finding the lawsuit against the Franciscans fell outside the jurisdiction of the federal court, District Judge Maxine Chesney left open the door to refiling the case in a state court. Levy told CNS that there are connections linking the missing assets to the Croatian Franciscan Custody based in Chicago, making it possible the plaintiffs will pursue their claims in a state court. The U.S.-based lawsuit was filed after Swiss banks agreed in 1998 to pay $1.25 billion in restitution to people who said the banks stole, concealed or sent to the Nazis hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property owned by Jews.
Gerald CaplanPublished on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 11:43AM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 11:47AM EST Since I wrote last week, the Harper government’s bizarre embrace of Canadian Jewry continues to tighten. On Dec. 16, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, Multiculturalism, was in Jerusalem speaking at a conference on combatting anti-Semitism. All Canadians should know that Kenney and his government will not abide anti-Semitism. That, of course, is in sharp contrast to all other Canadian political parties that do abide anti-Semitism. Kenney’s stated message was his government’s opposition to those who “advocate the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people.” That is in sharp contrast to those Canadian parties that do not oppose those who advocate such destruction. To demonstrate its firmness, Kenney announced that the “Canadian government has now…implemented a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in Canada. What does this mean? In part it means we have eliminated any government funding relationship with organizations…who are taking a leadership role” in the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. That’s why, he said, “we have defunded organizations most recently like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role” in this campaign. KAIROS is a Canadian NGO whose mission is social justice and support for oppressed groups. What’s distinct about it is that it’s the only such organization supported by just about all Canadian churches. When KAIROS was abruptly defunded by CIDA early in December, officials claimed it no longer fit CIDA priorities. But on the basis of a few other hints, I reached a different conclusion. The Conservatives simply can’t stomach KAIROS’ support of Palestinians, even if that support is restricted to those who protest peacefully against Israeli actions. Now Jason Kenney has confirmed my deduction. But hold on. There are a couple of problems with Kenney’s statement. First, it’s completely false. Not only does KAIROS not lead a BDS campaign against Israel, it does not endorse one. Any check of their website would instantly see that they explicitly do not support such campaigns. What they do scrupulously support is the legitimate right of the Israeli people to a safe and secure state. Second, how is it tolerable for a government minister to baldly accuse an organization of being anti-Semitic without a single shred of evidence, which is of course non-existent. And don’t tell me that’s not what Kenney deliberately implied. The Anglican Church immediately issued an angry statement condemning Kenney’s accusations as false. So too did the United Church, whose spokesperson pointed out that KAIROS’ policies are approved by its Board, on which 11 Canadian churches are represented. “So in a sense,” he observes, “ what Mr. Kenney is doing is accusing Canadian churches of being anti-Semitic.” Of course the Harperites insist that anyone who criticizes the Israeli government in any way is an anti-Semite. Yet if Kenney had bothered to look around him in Jerusalem, he would have discovered a slew of Israeli writers, commentators, scholars, soldiers, human rights activists and others who routinely and severely criticize their own government. Imagine NOT criticizing an extremist Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, a radical nationalist; Avigdor Lieberman, who supports ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians; and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Or he could have met with Prof. Neve Gordon, a nice Jewish boy who’s also chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. They could have discussed Gordon’s advocacy of an international boycott against Israel “to save Israel from itself”. But perhaps Gordon too is anti-Semitic. If I were KAIROS, or any of the mainstream churches that support it, I’d feel that I’d been slandered, libelled and maligned by my own government, for no reason other than to make some political points with Canadian Jews. What my fellow Jews in Canada make of this extraordinary campaign of seduction by the Harper government is not yet clear. I’m especially curious–-and nervous–- about the position of the Canadian Jewish establishment and the small number of organizations that claim to speak for us all. Is the romancing of Canadian Jews by the Harper government requited? As United Church spokesperson Bruce Gregerson points out, to charge KAIROS with anti-Semitism “with so little thought cheapens the reality of anti-Semitism in the world and diminishes the very careful attention that it deserves”. I’ve yet to see a Canadian Jewish “leader” make this all-important point. Did Kenney’s despicable accusation of anti-Semitism against KAIROS not somewhat trouble the Canadian Jews in the audience who have actually worked with KAIROS? Real enemies of anti-Semitism do not throw the term around recklessly. In the United States, the leading Jewish neoconservatives made an unholy alliance with evangelical Protestants whose ultimate vision was a Jew-free world–-Hitler’s demented goal finally realized. What they had in common was support for the state of Israel–at least for the moment. Are Canadian Jews now going to be seduced by a government that uses anti-Semitism for political reasons? That maliciously accuses decent men and women of being anti-Semitic? That identifies legitimate, democratic criticism of Israeli governments with anti-Semitism? Is there not one among them who will say to this Government: We reject your right to play the anti-Semitic card for your own crass political purposes. There’s another way to make this point as well. Harper has rejected KAIROS’ request for $7-million over the next 4 years for a series of important human rights projects across the world, including the Middle East. A self-respecting Jewish community would make sure that this fine, dedicated NGO and those it serves will receive the funds it needs. What an honourable message that would send this holiday season.
Climatologists reconvene in emergency session at Copenhagen; Delegates to discuss effects of disappearance of Auschwitz sign on polar ice cap and carbon emissions; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expresses “concern” after Israel threatens to nuke Amazon rainforest if sign isn’t returned
By David HirshJohn Mann is a British Labor MP who explains that there isn’t a single Jew among the industrial workers, farmers and retired coal miners in his constituency. He is one of the handful of MPs who came out of the recent parliamentary-expenses scandals cleaner than he went in. He was honored with an award at the Knesset during last week’s conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, for his work in Britain and internationally against anti-Jewish racism. Mann compared the Jews to a canary, like the ones his constituents used to take three miles down into the mines to make sure that the atmosphere was healthy for human beings. The process of the decay of all human values begins with anti-Semitism, said Gert Weisskirchen, who was honored in the same ceremony. Weisskirchen is a scholar as well as a long-time member of the Bundestag, a man imbued with the spirit of the gentle, civilized and worldly social democracy that built post-war West Germany out of the ashes of the Holocaust. So what’s going on? The Jews are hawks, not canaries, aren’t they? The Global Forum is run by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, making Avigdor Lieberman its current host. He is a political figure who has broken new ground in Israel, mainstreaming the kind of racialized thinking of which anti-Semitism was a historic prototype, garnering votes by rhetorically threatening the status of the state’s Arab citizens. He is the deputy prime minister in a government that continues to fail to bring its army and its settlers home from Palestinian territory, where they perpetrate the daily violence and humiliation characteristic of all occupations. In truth, it is only by denying whole facets of reality that one can fit Jews and Israelis into a simple worldview that defines everyone either as oppressed or as oppressor. Similarly, we would all like to believe that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, but the ready-made ways of thinking that it offers are too deeply embedded in various cultural imaginations around the world for it to disappear easily. No matter how much serious consideration of anti-Semitism is ridiculed as a dishonest attempt to silence criticism of Israel; no matter how much Israelis would prefer to think of themselves as strong, and as being responsible for their own situation rather than perceiving themselves as victims of anti-Semitism – the old libels are still manifested in the ways in which people think about Israel and about Jews. Sammy Eppel, a journalist from Venezuela, explained to the conference in Jerusalem how half the members of that country’s Jewish community have left, as the Chavez regime continues to whip up fervor against “Jewish Zionist imperialism” and to embrace the Jew-hating Iranian regime. Furthermore, a 747 fully loaded with who-knows-what flies from Caracas to Tehran weekly. Dovid Katz, who teaches Yiddish in Vilnius, raised the alarm about current trends to normalize the Holocaust in the Baltic states by portraying Stalin and Hitler as perpetrators of twin genocides. This is a rhetoric that hides a preference for Hitler, and allows surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust to be honored as anti-communist partisans, and anti-fascists to be put on trial as Stalin’s collaborators. An additional worry is that this kind of “re-understanding” of the Holocaust fits in with other kinds of revisionism – like those that portray the Shoah as an invented justification for the State of Israel, or as a minor intra-European spat, dwarfed in importance and impact by the history of European colonialism – of which the oppression of the Palestinians is currently the key manifestation. Patrick Desbois, a quiet but hugely charismatic French Catholic priest, was also present at the Global Forum gathering, explaining how he has been traveling Ukraine and Belarus encouraging perpetrators, witnesses and bystanders of the Nazi genocide to divulge their memories before they are lost. Many who refuse to talk to investigators, and who appear to be Jewish, happily chat with him when he is wearing his comforting priest’s collar. Stories were also presented to the conference about intellectuals, trade unionists, anti-racists and other good people who seek to exclude Israelis, and only Israelis, from the global academic, cultural and economic community; who declare that anti-boycott lawyers are financed by stolen Lehman Brothers money from New York; who say that “Zionist” Jews are the new Nazis, the new racists, the new imperialists, the new supporters of apartheid; who teach that the “Israel lobby” is responsible for the Iraq war; who find excuses for anti-Semitic violence and terrorism; who act as apologists for “critics of Israel” who learn from far-right conspiracy theorists; and who seek to silence those who speak up against anti-Semitism by saying that they only do so to give Prime Minister Netanyahu an easy ride. Eminent Israeli scholars Yehuda Bauer and Emmanuel Sivan skewered the worldview of those who ignorantly and innocently embrace anti-Semitic notions when all they think they are doing is speaking up for Palestinians. Yet they both warned the Global Forum that the fight against anti-Semitism is only part of the general fight against bigotry. Both found it necessary to spell out what ought to have been obvious to the delegates: that the struggles against Islamophobia and other types of racism are intimately related to the fight against anti-Jewish racism. David Hirsh is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Washington to convene international conference on missing Auschwitz sign. Workshops include: Ben Bernanke, “Impact of the Auschwitz sign’s disappearance on the elasticity of the long-term business cycle and short-term interest rates”; Stanley Fish, “A Lacanian analysis of the Auschwitz sign as a discursive Foucauldian trope”; Dominick LaCapra, “A Derridean analysis of the Auschwitz sign as a discursive Lacanian trope”; Elie Wiesel, “There was only one Holocaust. (May I have my honorarium now?)”; Abraham Foxman, “Contrasting and comparing the disappearance of the Auschwitz sign with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima”; Tom Friedman, “The Auschwitz sign’s disappearance as a metaphor for high-tech industry in Shanghai”.
BERLIN — It was hard to know what was more shocking: the haplessness of the thieves who stole the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign looming over Auschwitz, or the laxness of the security protecting this emblem of the Holocaust’s perversity and horror.The thieves first tried to steal the sign, which means “Work Makes You Free,” last Thursday evening. But they lacked the right tools. Undetected, they drove to a hardware shop in the nearby town of Oswiecim and bought better tools. When they returned to the camp past midnight, there were no guards in sight, no evidence that surveillance cameras were functioning. They set to work. Just as any visitor to the concentration camp could, they easily climbed atop the modest wrought-iron gate. They unbolted one side of the sign and then ripped off the 66-pound metal frame when the other side proved more difficult. They then discovered the sign would not fit into their car, according to Artur Wrona, the prosecutor and lead investigator in the case. So they had to saw it in three pieces, but dropped the “i’ in Frei and left it behind. “They were so unprofessional,” said Jaroslaw Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, a vast, eerie complex that covers nearly 500 acres and commemorates the slaughter of 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, but also thousands of Roma, homosexuals, conscientious objectors, and Soviet and German political prisoners. “They clearly did not do their homework,” he said. The tale of the theft has prompted shock across Europe and criticism from Israel and Jewish groups. Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, said he was “shaken and outraged,” and Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, issued a statement saying, “The theft of such a symbolic object is an attack on the memory of the Holocaust.” Mr. Wrona, the prosecutor, was scathing in his criticism of security at what has become one of the most visited former Nazi concentration camps, attracting over a million visitors a year, calling it “glaring negligence.” Theories of why someone would steal the infamous sign have raced through the local press, including a report that someone in Sweden had orchestrated the theft. While police officials in Poland and Sweden have not confirmed such accounts, local officials have said the evidence suggests that someone outside the country had a role in the theft. To help understand the crime, officials brought three suspects to the scene on Monday to re-enact the events. The dropped letter “i” offered investigators clues that the sign had been cut, and the Polish police embarked on an intense search. They found the sign Monday, stashed away in a wooded area beneath a layer of snow in northern Poland, several hundred miles from the camp. But details have been sketchy as to where exactly it was found, or how. They arrested five men, though they have not said how they were led to them. Lidia Puchacz, a forensics expert called in to examine the banner, told journalists on Tuesday that cutting and sawing tools used in the theft had been found at the home of one suspect. All the suspects were brought to Oswiecim. Polish television showed them handcuffed and dressed in jeans and jackets, their faces covered by their jacket hoods, entering the police station. Three of the suspects have already admitted to playing a role in the crime, according to Mr. Wrona. Two of them are refusing, so far, to cooperate. In the meantime, a duplicate sign, prepared five years ago when the original was being refurbished, has been put up. Despite the speculation that the sign could have been taken by neo-Nazis or others seeking to glorify the past, Mr. Wrona said the crime did not appear to be linked to any ideology. He said the lack of security allowed the perpetrators to approach the gate “unnoticed” and “undisturbed.” Mr. Mensfelt, 47, who has been working at the Auschwitz Museum for the past 13 years, agreed that the security was not what it should be. It was not clear why the surveillance camera at the gate did not capture the theft, or why no security guards were on patrol. But he did say that simply paying to keep the huge site open was an issue. “The total museum budget in 2008 was about 6.8 million euros, partly through visitors and contributions,” he said, adding that the Polish government provided about 2.5 million euros a year. “Aid from abroad covers less than 5 percent of the budget,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have to pay a staff of 250, of which 50 are security guards,” he said. “The personnel costs are over three million euros a year. You can see we are strapped for cash.” Just two days before the theft, the German government provided a grant of up to 60 million euros for the protection of the site. The funds will be sent in the coming weeks to an oversight foundation. Mr. Mensfelt said some small items had been stolen over the years, ever since the museum was created by an act of the Polish Parliament on July 2, 1947, but there had never been such a security breach as this. Made in 1940 by Polish political prisoners, the sign remains one of the first things visitors see on approaching Auschwitz. Although much has been sanitized or destroyed, visitors today nevertheless get a real sense of the organization of the extermination camp, which was built on the site of a former army barracks. Besides the ruined gas chambers and crematoriums, there are several hundred camp buildings, nine miles of camp fence, camp roads, and the railroad spur at Birkenau. In addition to document archives, which Mr. Mensfelt said accounted for most of the security, there is an enormous collection of possessions. “We have over 2,000 kilograms of human hair, we have so many personal possessions, 3,800 suitcases, 2,100 of which bear the names of their owners. We have diaries, spectacles, shoes, Jewish clothing.” “It is a vast archive,” he said. “Who would have thought that the banner would be stolen?”