Monday, January 27, 2014

From Ian:

JPost Ed: ‘Never again’ imperatives
On International Holocaust Day, which is being commemorated today, we are asked not just to remember. We are also asked to learn lessons from that dark period in history.
One lesson which tends to be emphasized in Israel and among world Jewry is that anti-Semitism is essentially a terminal moral disease of humanity and that Jews must never again rely solely on the kindness of others. They must instead take responsibility for their own destiny.
Much of Zionism’s moral force is derived from this “never again” imperative. Never again must the Jewish people allow itself to be in a state of powerlessness. This awareness of our potential vulnerability drives our perception of the Iranian threat and our apprehensions regarding a territorial compromise with the Palestinians.
To murder 6 million people, the Nazis showed us, you don’t even need fanatics
The Holocaust also has a clear meaning for the Jews, its paradigmatic victims: as a dismayingly vast proof that there is no safety in European pluralism, culture or “civilization,” in high-minded talk of humanism, individualism and international community, or in calming analyses that downplay future threats.
These are all important reflections on the “lessons” and “meaning” of Auschwitz, but they constitute too much of our public conversation about it, almost as though we are willing to discuss any aspect of that event except the choking, shivering bodies of the real-life gas chamber. Auschwitz too often serves as a bludgeon for our social or political agendas, an instrument to express our own fears and passions. There is a vague consensus that Auschwitz reflects something ultimate and untouchable, and so we immediately set about sullying it.
Exposing the myth of the Arab bystander to the Holocaust
Many of the current leadership in the Middle East owe their power base to the emergence of their predecessors during those dark times. The Palestinians still revere Husseini and many of terrorist groups are named after groups he founded.
The myth that the Arabs were innocent bystanders to the Nazi Holocaust is unfortunately widely accepted at face value. It is about time that this capricious fallacy was exposed, not just out of respect to those Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their allies everywhere, but also to deconstruct the simplistic notions used to explain the history of the conflict, especially that the Arabs were not responsible for the suffering that resulted from their continued incalcitrance.

Half of Knesset in Poland for Holocaust memorial
The largest ever delegation of Israeli lawmakers to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Polish site Monday.
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz joined some 60 Knesset members, 24 Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as 250 prominent public figures, including State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev on the trip to Poland, where they took part in several memorial ceremonies.
Rare Color Footage of the Liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau
This video shows the Liberation of the Buchenwald and Dachau Concentration Camps. Watch the German Townspeople who were ordered by the Americans to go to the camps and watch.
I find that the color enhances the reality of these images, doesn’t permit them to be overlooked. The black and white images we’ve all been saturated with, unfortunately, have all merged over time into one, continuous and incomprehensible fog. The color, especially when reflected from the Germans being forced to look at what they had done, makes it impossible to overlook the horror.
IDF Blog: Two Generations of Jewish Heroes: Holocaust Survivor and Israeli Soldier
Corporal Ezra Friedman was born to a family with a distinguished heritage. His great grandfather on his mother’s side was a combat soldier in the United States Navy in World War I, and his grandfather was a combat pilot in Vietnam.
Ezra's grandparents- mother's side
His grandfather on his father’s side was a fighter in the Jewish resistance movement against the Nazis during World War II. Listening to his grandfathers tell their stories throughout his childhood convinced Cpl. Friedman that he wanted to make Aliya. “Being the grandson of a holocaust survivor definitely has an affect on me in a very direct way,” Cpl. Friedman says. “The stories are very real and personal.”
Remember How Danes Donned Yellow Stars To Protect the Jews? That Never Happened.
It’s an incredible story—probably the best-known example of mass civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to come out of WWII. The trouble is it’s just that—a story. It never happened, and couldn’t have, because the Danish Jews were never forced to wear the yellow star. But the tale was prominently featured in American news outlets during the war, and after making its way into Leon Uris’ novel Exodus became one of the great unchallenged myths of European resistance.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Nazis failed to deport Danish Jews in significant numbers, thanks to an operation that became known as the “Miracle Rescue,” by which the vast majority of Danish Jews were spirited away to Sweden—a neutral country—in October 1943, where they lived out the rest of the war in relative safety.
UN's Ban calls on world to remember lessons of Shoah on Int'l Holocaust Day
Ban Ki-moon recently released the video, reflecting on his visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland late last year.
"I will never forget my visit. I saw the horrific remnants of the machinery of genocide... The United Nations was founded to prevent any such horrors from happening ever again," Ban Ki-Moon stated.
“We will continue to shine a light on these unspeakable crimes so that they may never be repeated.” Emphasizing the importance of formal instruction on this subject, the secretary-general has also said that education and public awareness are the first defense against prejudice, ethnic hatred and intolerance.
White House taps special envoy for Holocaust survivor community
Aviva Sufian, a staff member at the Health Department’s Administration for Community Living, will be the special envoy for U.S. Holocaust survivor services, a White House announcement said last Friday.
“Her work as Special Envoy will focus on those survivors currently living in poverty, as well as those who may not be receiving services for which they are currently eligible,” according to the statement.
Reza Aslan Compares Israeli Company SodaStream to Adolf Hitler, Implies Scarlett Johansson is Nazi Supporter
Iranian-American writer and academic, Reza Aslan, compared Israeli company SodaStream to Adolf Hitler and implied that its newly minted spokesperson, actress Scarlett Johansson, was a Nazi supporter in a tweet on Friday afternoon that he quickly deleted.
“Scarlett Johansson: Adolf is committed to building a bridge to peace between Germany and Poland,” Aslan wrote, linking to a Huffington Post article in which the actress responds to critics of her representation of the soda machine maker.
American Studies Association Academic boycott: The Fallout Continues
The fallout over the American Studies Association academic boycott resolution continues. As of this week, 218 University presidents have denounced the measure, and 6 Universities have dropped their institutional membership. Individual memberships are also being withdrawn, though the danger is that strategy may further empower the extremist fringe within the Association. Again, Kol hakavod to both Avi Mayer and Prof. William Jacobson for their efforts in keeping us up to date. And thanks are due as well to the countless bloggers, pundits and non-profits who refused to remain silent in face of this attack on academic freedom.
Pinkwashing, Redwashing, Greenwashing — the multi-colored world of anti-Israel hate
It’s no surprise that the ASA boycotters also seek to deny the Jewish people indigenous status in Israel. It completely destroys the “anti-colonial” and “post-colonial” foundation of the BDS movement.
The inability to come to grips with a fair examination of indigenous rights is not limited to ASA boycotters.
UNESCO first canceled then delayed an exhibition on the Jewish people’s ties to Israel dating back 3500 years after protests from Arab countries, out of fears that such an exhibition would endanger the peace process. The U.S. refused to support the Exhibition for the same reason.
George Soros Funding Anti-Israel Evangelical Group
Last year, Alexander H. Joffe, PhD published a booklet titled “The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: How Soros-funded Groups Increase Tensions in a Troubled Region,” where he exposed organizations funded by George Soros seeking to change American Christians’ viewpoints on Israel.
A group that receives “approximately half” of their funding by Soros’ “Foundation to Promote Open Society,” is the Telos Group, which aims to strengthen “the capacity of American faith communities – and especially American evangelicals – to help positively transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (h/t MtTB)
US attorney: NY district didn’t deal with student anti-Semitism
The statement of interest filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says, in part, that the evidence collected in the lawsuit “could support a conclusion” that the school district “ignored multiple signals that greater, more directed action was needed,” and that its efforts to prevent the anti-Semitism did not go far enough and were ineffective.
The statement also said the district’s leadership did not appear to have “engaged the school board or the faculty in any substantial discussion” about the anti-Semitic harassment, and that the district “failed to ensure that school administrators were aware of the scope and nature of the problem across the district’s schools.”
Holocaust historian returns Hungarian honor over ‘whitewash’
The Hungarian state news agency MTI on Sunday quoted a letter from Braham, 91, in which the Bucharest-born scholar, a Holocaust survivor and expert on the Holocaust in Hungary, said he was handing back the Cross of the Order of Merit “with a heavy heart” following recent developments in Hungary. He also said he would no longer permit the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center to use his name for one its research departments.
Braham, an emeritus professor at the City University of New York, wrote in the letter that: “The campaign of history falsification which aims to whitewash the (Miklos) Horthy era, has shocked me.” Horthy led Hungary into World War II as a Nazi ally.
Braham said the “last straw” had been the decision by the government to erect a memorial in downtown Budapest to the 1944 German occupation of Hungary. This, he said, was a “cowardly attempt” to exonerate Hungarians from their own role in the Holocaust and confuse the issue by placing all blame on the Nazis.
London: Visit by Hungarian Far-Right Leader Sparks Tensions
A Hungarian far-right politician is sounding a defiant tone on the eve of a visit to London Sunday, where he will address members of the UK's sizable Hungarian immigrant community at a rally just one day before Holocaust Memorial Day.
Gábor Vona leads Hungary's Jobbik party, which has been branded anti-Semitic and xenophobic for its views targeting the country's Jewish and Roma minorities. In 2012 a party official called on the government to "draw up a list of Jews" serving in the government and parliament "for security reasons", and the party has been blamed for stoking racial tensions which have led to an increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Roma attacks.
Anelka comic to perform in the UK: Man behind controversial 'quenelle' gesture says he will prove he is 'by no means racist'
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala will visit London to support the West Bromwich Albion footballer, who faces a ban for performing the comic’s ‘quenelle’ Nazi salute on the pitch.
Anelka faces a five match ban for performing Dieudonne's 'quenelle' gesture - a hand and arm movement which some say is a reverse Nazi salute.
‘The Green Prince’ snags Sundance award
The film is loosely based on the bestselling memoir “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices” by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of senior Hamas member Sheikh Hassan Yousef.
The movie recounts Yousef’s experience spying for the Shin Bet from 1997 to 2007. Yousef was responsible for preventing numerous suicide bombings during the Second Intifada and was largely considered the most important agent to report to Israel from inside Hamas during those years.
Space Week blasts off with new Israeli satellite launch
Israel may or may not be sending a second astronaut into space in the coming years, but there is already a significant Israeli presence in space, in the form of over a dozen reconnaissance and communications satellites plying the heavens. Now, Israel will be launching its first civilian-oriented satellite — Venus (Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Micro-Satellite), to be launched jointly with France in 2015. The announcement on the final decision for the launch, which has been delayed several times, was made Thursday by Dr. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency.
The announcement was made in advance of Israel Space Week, highlighted by the ISA’s 9th International Space Conference, on January 29 and 30. The annual event, dedicated to the memory of Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, brings together senior space personnel — engineers, technicians, astronauts, and heads of space agencies — from Israel and abroad, among them officials from NASA, the European Space Agency, Russia, China, Italy, Canada, and Norway.
That Annoying Sound You Hear May Be One Startup's Billion Dollar Opportunity
Even in remote areas, such as the wilderness around California’s Lake Tahoe, the drone of hot tubs, speed boats and distant road traffic carries into the mountains for miles. In cities like New York and Beijing, where the din is overwhelming, noise complaints top the list of quality of life concerns.
For regular people, unwanted noise is a scourge and a health hazard. But for Silentium, a startup based in central Israel, it’s the sound of opportunity. For more than a decade, Silentium’s engineers have been working on a computer chip that can wipe out unwanted noise by cancelling its sound waves.
Let a billion chips bloom: Intel Israel celebrates 40 years
What would Israeli tech look like without Intel? It’s impossible to know, of course, but chances are the picture would be dramatically different. Speaking at Intel Israel’s annual press conference – which this year also celebrated the company’s 40th year in Israel — Eden cited research conducted by Intel that shows the impact of the company on the Israeli economy. “If Israel is the Start-Up Nation, it’s Intel that had a major role in getting it there,” said Eden, citing a list of a list of hundreds of companies, large and small, that were led by entrepreneurs and developers who got their start at Intel. The study shows that some 10,000 former Intel workers have gone on to help establish 30 new high-tech companies every year — creating at least 250 new jobs annually.

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