Friday, January 27, 2023

From Ian:

Irwin Cotler: Int'l Holocaust Remembrance Day: 10 universal lessons
I write on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – marking the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century – about remembrance, and a reminder of horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened.

I write also in the aftermath of the oft-ignored, if it is even known at all, 81st anniversary of the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, convened by the Nazi leadership to address “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question” – the blueprint for the annihilation of European Jewry – which was met by the indifference and inaction of the international bystander community.

We are on the eve also of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, begun on April 19, 1943 – the most courageous civilian uprising in all of the Holocaust. There is a straight line between Wannsee and Warsaw; between the indifference of one and the courage of the other.

I write also in the wake of the 78th anniversary of the arrest and disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg on January 17, 1945 – Canada’s first honorary citizen, and an honorary citizen of the US, Australia and Israel. Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat whose leadership and mobilization of other courageous diplomats and Jews was able to rescue some 100,000 Jews in the last six months of 1944 alone – more than any other single government or organization. He demonstrated how one person with the compassion to care and courage to act can confront evil, prevail and transform history.

I write amid the international drumbeat of evil – on the eve of the first anniversary of the unprovoked and criminal Russian invasion and aggression in Ukraine, underpinned by war crimes, crimes against humanity, and incitement to genocide; the increasing assaults by China on the rules-based international order; the Iranian regime’s brutal and massive domestic repression met with the Iranian people’s courageous response of “women, life, freedom”; the mass atrocities targeting the Uyghurs, Rohingya, Afghans and Ethiopians; and the increasing imprisonment of human rights defenders like Russian human rights hero Vladimir Kara-Murza – the embodiment of the struggle for democracy in Russia and the critic of its invasion of Ukraine.

And I write also amid a global resurgence of antisemitic acts, incitement and terror – of antisemitism as the oldest, longest, most enduring, and most dangerous of hatreds; a virus which mutates and metastasizes over time, but which is grounded in one foundational, historical, generic, antisemitic, conspiratorial trope: namely, that Jews, the Jewish people, and Israel are the enemy of all that is good and the embodiment of all that is evil, regardless of what moment in time we are experiencing or living in.

And so, at this important inflection historical moment, we should ask ourselves: What have we learned in the last 78 years – and more importantly – what must we do?
Netanyahu: ‘The difference now is that the Jewish people have the State of Israel’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day by vowing to ensure that the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II will never be repeated.

“Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and exactly 78 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. We in Israel mark this event by honoring the sacred memory of those who perished at the hands of a murderous Nazi regime. And we vow that this will never, ever, happen again to our people,” said Netanyahu.

“The difference now is that the Jewish people have the State of Israel. Israel protects itself by itself. We are a strong and vibrant nation and we have built up a powerful state that will not allow our enemies to inflict the very pain, suffering and devastating loss our people experienced during the Holocaust,” he continued.

“And there are those who still call for our destruction, day in and day out. We will not cower in fear nor will we allow the threats of these tyrants to intimidate us. For this enemy knows that at the end of the day, if needed, we can and will defend ourselves, and we will not allow our enemies to possess an ability to carry out its murderous agenda. We see them on their steady march towards obtaining the most lethal of weapons and I say to them here and now—we will stop you from obtaining them. And we do not forget or forgive the evil deniers of the Holocaust, which for them, one Holocaust was not enough,” said the prime minister.

“On behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, on behalf of the survivors and those who perished, I vow to you as Prime Minister of the one and only Jewish state, that we will remain vigilant, strong and never allow the Holocaust to happen again. Never,” he concluded.

Seven killed, 10 injured in Jerusalem terror attack
At least seven people were killed and another 10 injured in a terror attack at a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday evening.

The terrorist was identified as Alkam Khairi who lived in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat and had no known terror connections prior to the attack.

The 21-year-old opened fire at people leaving the Ateret Avraham synagogue after Friday night prayers.

After entering and attacking the people in the synagogue, the shooter reportedly started chasing after people who were trying to escape.

He then attempted to flee the scene by car and fired in the direction of Israel Police officers. The officers fired back and killed him.

One of the attendants of the synagogue who witnessed the attack said that the police didn't arrive at the scene for 20 minutes after the initial shots were fired, as they didn't believe the callers and thought the noise came from shots being fired in the air in nearby east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

A police spokesperson, however, said that the terrorist was caught within five minutes of receiving the first call.

MDA paramedics are providing treatment at the scene of the attack. United Hatzalah said that they are providing treatment for dozens in a state of shock on location.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to be receiving updates from the scene and is set to hold a situational assessment later this evening. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai arrived at the scene of the incident shortly after the shooting occurred.

Doron Turgeman, police chief of Jerusalem district said in response to the attack: "This is one of the hardest terror attacks we've seen in recent years... to our knowledge, this terrorist acted alone. We are continuing to scan the area."

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem also responded to the attack, saying "this operation is a response to the crime conducted by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the occupation's criminal actions."

The smaller militant group Islamic Jihad also praised the attack without claiming responsibility.

Half of America’s 25 most generous philanthropists are Jews. Few give much to Jewish causes.
Jews made up nearly half of America’s biggest philanthropic donors last year, according to a calculation by Forbes of who gave the most money away in 2022.

In a year that saw their fortunes take a hit amid declines in the stock market, America’s 25 “most generous givers” donated a collective $27 billion, up from $20 billion in 2021, for a lifetime total of $196 billion, according to Forbes. They included 12 billionaires with Jewish backgrounds — a dramatic overrepresentation when compared to the proportion of Jews in the overall U.S. population.

The Jews on the list include financier George Soros, who gave away at least $300 million to racial justice and humanitarian work in Ukraine and other causes; businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg with $1.7 billion in donations to charter schools, clean energy, and fighting heart disease; and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose charity donated more than $900 million, with much of the money going to fund research into artificial intelligence and genomics at universities.

One thing that stands out about these Jewish philanthropists is that almost none focuses giving on the Jewish community. Only Lynn and Stacy Schusterman of the Tulsa oil dynasty, who are paired together on the list, are prominent donors to Jewish causes.

To be sure, many, if not all of the others have given at least small amounts to Jewish charities. In 2021, for example, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced $1.3 million in gifts to 11 Jewish groups; last year they distributed more than $900 million in total, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, have donated at least $1 million to the Jewish National Fund; they gave away more than $800 million last year. And Michael Dell, the founder of the Dell computing company, donated the land for a Jewish community center in his home of Austin, Texas, and supported a recent renovation.

But only the Schustermans, who donated $370 million last year, have prioritized Jewish giving with hundreds of millions of dollars over their decades of involvement in the Jewish communal world.

It’s hard to make comparisons to the past and say whether Jews at the apex of philanthropy ever tended to focus on Jewish causes because the level of wealth today is almost unprecedented, according to Andrés Spokoiny, the president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network.

“Historically, individuals, except for during the Gilded Age, perhaps, didn’t amass these types of fortunes, and there weren’t many Jews at this economic caliber,” Spokoiny said.
Jonathan Tobin: Why leftists shrug at calls for violence against Jews
Those who are persuaded by such specious arguments are ignoring the fact that for contemporary antisemites, Israel is the stand-in for traditional tropes of hatred that are directed at Jews. As the IHRA definition makes clear, the attempts to judge Israel’s conduct in the course of defending itself against efforts to destroy it by double standards that are not applied to any other democracy aren’t merely hypocritical. They are evidence of a virulent form of prejudice against Jews.

But the point about the “intifada” march at the Ann Arbour campus of the University of Michigan is that those who defend it or, as in the case of Eshman, rationalize or excuse it, aren’t just confusing the notion of “criticism” of Israel with an antisemitic BDS campaign or advocacy for violence. Millions of Israelis get up every day and criticize their government in much the same way as hundreds of millions of Americans do about theirs. The point of anti-Zionist activism is to eliminate the one Jewish state on the planet, not to seek to modify its policies or adjust its borders. Since anti-Zionism seeks to deny to Jews that which no one would dare deny to anyone else, the claim that it should not be categorized as merely one more variant of antisemitism is a big lie.

Moreover, Jews who complain about calls for their deaths are not weak-kneed “snowflakes” who run for cover at the first sign of dissent against their beliefs or seek to suppress opposing views. That’s not just because no one would dare say the same about African-Americans who challenged racist attacks on their community in the way that they question the right of Jews to be outraged over antisemitic advocacy.

The atmosphere on many, if not most U.S. campuses is one in which pro-Israel voices are often intimidated into silence. As the recent controversy over the offer of a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the Israel-hating and antisemitic former head of Human Rights Watch at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government illustrated, anti-Zionism has become normalized in American higher education. Pro-Israel academics must either keep quiet or seek another way to make a living while those who spread toxic myths about the Jewish state are celebrated.

That has a profound impact on Jewish students. They know that speaking up for their people puts them at odds with fashionable liberal opinion which has embraced the toxic myths of intersectionality in which Jews and Israel are falsely labeled as beneficiaries of “white privilege.” Those who seek Israel’s destruction are wrongly treated as victims rather than supporters of terrorism and genocide for Jews. Those who think Jews should be willing to debate the merits of arguments for their slaughter are either confused about the nature of Palestinian nationalism and terrorism or morally bankrupt. In some cases, the obvious answer is that both judgments apply to their advocacy.

The liberal willingness to tolerate calls for the death of Jews in the name of free speech isn’t merely hypocritical. It’s also disingenuous. It’s a reflection of a desire to normalize that which no one would think of normalizing when it came to hatred directed at any other ethnic or religious group.

Those who are prepared to label calls for the shedding of Jewish blood as simply an argument about which reasonable people can disagree are not only engaging in a disreputable type of advocacy. They are also reminding us just how meaningless so much of the commemoration of the Holocaust has become. The only true or meaningful monument to the 6 million is the Jewish state that was created too late to save them, but which can prevent future attempts to slaughter the Jews. Anyone, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, who doesn’t understand that has no business commenting on the subject.

Harvard University Thrusts Human Rights Watch & Former Leader Into The News What Is The Real Face Of The “Human Rights” Organization
Recently, Harvard University re-extended an invitation to Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), to join the school as a fellow, after reportedly initially canceling the original invite ostensibly due to his anti-Israel bias.

But while Harvard apparently caved to pressure in re-admitting Roth, it shone a light on how Roth and Human Rights Watch in general have become so prominent, despite their problematic anti-Israel biases.

MEMRI: On Traditional And Social Media Platforms, Holocaust Deniers In Arab, Muslim World Continue To Deny, Question And Justify The Holocaust, Accuse The Jews Of Benefiting Financially From It
As the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2023, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps in Poland on the same day in 1945, Holocaust deniers in the Arab and Muslim world, using both traditional and social media platforms continue to deny, question and justify the Holocaust as well as accusing Jews of benefiting financially from it. These deniers ranged from Islamists and jihadis online to public figures appearing on government sponsored media in places like Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestine Authority (PA). In the last few years, MEMRI has published dozens of reports featuring politicians, intellectuals, journalists and religious leaders from around the Arab and Muslim world and beyond who are blatantly adamant in their denial, questioning and justification of the Holocaust. This report will highlight MEMRI's documentation of Holocaust denial reports over the past five years and present recent samples of Arabic-language Holocaust denial contents on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

(Holocaust denial content which are sponsored or supported by the Iranian government will be reviewed in a separate MEMRI study.)

Holocaust Deniers Use Various Descriptions To Express Their Denial

Some of the descriptions used by Holocaust deniers to describe the Holocaust are expressions such as "lie," "myth," "fake," "scam," and "fabrication." These expressions are used by Holocaust deniers from various backgrounds, nationalities religious and political affiliations including Americans, French, Arabs, Sunnis, Shi'ites, writers, clerics, government officials, journalists, TV hosts and even members of terrorist groups. The followings are MEMRI reports highlighting all too frequent and recent cases of Holocaust denial in Arabic-language media and online outlets.

Iraqi Islamic Scholar Fares Al-Azawi: The Killing Of Six Million Jews In The Holocaust Is A Myth

On October 12, 2022, Iraqi Islamic scholar Fares Al-Azawi claimed on a show on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza) that it is a "myth" that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and that the Nuremberg Trials had been a sham and part of a Zionist scheme to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. He also cited French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy and said that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir had colluded with the Nazis in 1941. According to Al-Azawi, "One of the modern myths is the myth of Zionism being against Nazism and Fascism. [The Jews] pretended that there was enmity between them and Nazism and Fascism and on this basis, they wanted to have a 'national home. The second myth is that the Nuremberg Trials were just. In these trials, no evidence whatsoever was presented. All they wanted was to create a Zionist enterprise based on these trials. The third myth is the myth of the six million. That the Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust. This was proven to be a lie by [Roger] Garaudy."[1]

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Hizb ut-Tahrir-affiliated Danish Imam Mundhir Abdallah Refers To The Holocaust As The "Alleged Holocaust"

In a July 9, 2022 Eid Al-Adha sermon in Copenhagen, Hizb ut-Tahrir-affiliated Danish Imam Mundhir Abdallah referred to the Holocaust as the "alleged Holocaust." He said, "That sinner Muhammed bin Salman [Saudi Crown Prince MBS]... I am saying this for the sake of history... He forced the Muslims yesterday, on the Day of Arafah, to pray behind a man who is a sinner. Some people pronounced that man a heretic. I do not care whether he is or is not, but that man, Muhammad Al-Issa... Those accursed immoral and criminal sinners call themselves 'Muhammad'... 'Muhammad' bin Salman, but he is an immoral enemy of Allah. 'Mohammed' bin Zayed, but he is an immoral enemy of Allah. This 'Muhammad' Al-Issa is also an immoral enemy of Allah. He prayed over [the souls] of the Jews in Auschwitz, in Poland, the [venue] of the alleged Holocaust... He went there and prayed for the [souls] of the Jews.[2]

Palestinian Political Analyst Ahmad Abd Al-Rahman: The Holocaust Was A Lie Used By The Zionists To Blackmail The World Into Bringing Jews To Palestine

On April 7, 2022, Palestinian political analyst Ahmad Abd Al-Rahman said on a show aired on Al-Quds Al-Youm TV (Gaza – Islamic Jihad) that the Holocaust and the image of Jews as poor and downtrodden were lies used by the Zionists to blackmail the world into bringing the Jews to the "so-called Promised Land."[3]
A new book puts today's antisemitic climate in perspective - it is just more of the same
The Jewish people, for generations, have been enjoying an acceptance and equality throughout the West, that too many officials affiliated with NGOs, the media, politics, and academia have been working to deny to those living in the world’s only Jewish-majority state. By exploiting their credibility, such misleading individuals, with reputable platforms, have been the predominant instigators in an uptick of antisemitism within enlightened societies. Today's increasingly hostile climate brings into stark relief the reality that peace for Jews has always been an anomaly.

As college students who vocally support Israel, and Hasidic Jews walking on the streets of New York City could testify, misplaced hostilities against the Jewish people had merely gone dormant, just to mutate and reemerge as today’s malicious trends. Antagonists in this arena have not only been exploiting the lack of knowledge among people vastly unfamiliar with Jews, Judaism, and Israel, but they’ve also been effective at targeting a population of Jews who are not so informed, and therefore vulnerable to the erroneous accusations targeting them and their ethnic kin.

This is where Americans Against Antisemitism co-founder, Israel B. Bitton, comes in with his new book published by Gefen Publishing House, A Brief and Visual History of Antisemitism, a massive account of societies’ overwhelming marginalization, scapegoating and violence against the Jewish people.

In the format of a textbook, this extensive volume on the history of the cruelties inflicted on the Jewish people, often at the detriment of the perpetrating societies, could very well be displayed as a coffee table book in an average home as much as be used as a resource for every high school and college student. Though it is painstakingly organized, and probably best understood in order, one could flip the book open to a random page and still benefit from its wisdom.
The dark irony of Croatia as guardian of Holocaust remembrance
Just in time for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations, the state of Croatia adopted the definitions of antisemitism, Holocaust denial and anti-Roma discrimination as proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). As a result, it will now assume the presidency of the 35-state organization until 2024.

The irony of this will not be lost on anyone familiar with contemporary Holocaust remembrance in Croatia.

In WWII, the Nazis often had supporters in the countries they invaded, but Croatia was different. It had its own ready-made Nazis – the Ustasha. With Hitler’s blessing, this fanatically Catholic movement led by Ante Pavelić (who had a special hatred for Serbs) took power in 1941, assuming control over large parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a small part of Serbia.

Massacres began immediately. Even before the Wannsee Conference, the Ustasha had already slaughtered a huge number of Serbs, Jews and Roma. Brutal enough even to disturb the SS, they created 16 camps, the most notorious of which was Jasenovac, where roughly 100,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma were killed.

The triumph of Tito’s socialist Partizans and the creation of the Republic of Yugoslavia pushed Ustasha nationalism underground and into the diaspora, but when it broke apart in the 90s, it returned. This return was exemplified by the newly independent country’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, who once remarked “thank God, my wife is neither a Serb nor a Jew.” He also published a book accusing the Jews imprisoned in Jasenovac of being the camp’s main perpetrators and cast doubt on the overall number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Croatia has blossomed since the Yugoslav wars. It is a beautiful country. Nevertheless, it struggles with Holocaust denial, which in the local context is more complex than “normal” denial. In Croatia, it means primarily the denial of the Ustasha genocide of Jews, Roma and Serbs.

Examples of this abound. In 1998, former Ustasha leader and Jasenovac commandant, Dinko Šakić, was deported from Argentina to Zagreb, where he stood trial. Nazi hunter Ephraim Zuroff, who came to Zagreb for the trial, recalled being surrounded on the street by local citizens chanting Sakić’s name at him and being attacked as a “Christ Killer.” During the trial, supporters of the unrepentant Sakić flashed Nazi salutes.

Holocaust Memorial Day is for everyone — except Jews
When will Jews be forgiven for the Holocaust? The great Howard Jacobson first posed this provocative question back in 2013. He argued that with so many nations bound up in the genocide it was easier for them to reject the burden of guilt by portraying themselves as victims of the Jew.

Perhaps today, though, the argument should be updated to something along the lines of: can the Jews please have the Holocaust back? Indeed, it appears as though every event in modern times has been compared to the Holocaust (unless, of course, Jews are involved). Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, for example, compared the vaccine rollout to the Holocaust, while trans rights activists frequently and consistently abuse the memory of the genocide — the most recent example being a Scottish councillor a few days ago.

“I’d like to challenge those people who appropriate the Holocaust to come and meet a survivor and tell them how what you are experiencing is akin to being locked up, treated as an animal and losing your family to murder,” Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Education Trust tells me. “It is such a lazy and offensive comparison.”

Troublingly, these false analogies are becoming increasingly normalised in politics. In addition to Bridgen’s comments, the Welsh government minister Julie Morgan MS intended to hold a Holocaust Memorial Day (which falls on the 27th January each year) vigil for “gypsy, Roma and traveller” victims. Nowhere did Morgan’s plan mention Jews. Why? It should be an “inclusive” event, apparently. Elsewhere, the University and College Union and an official from the National Union of Students have both previously marked HMD by referring to every group targeted by the Nazis except one: Jews.

While on HMD we also remember the other victims of the Nazis, there is, in fact, another day (August 2) which commemorates the Roma and Sinti genocide, which is known as the Porrajmos. Strangely, Morgan made no mention of this.

The new fashion for anti-colonialism adds another layer to these issues because there are some who like to call Jews the new Nazis — a particularly nasty form of antisemitism called Holocaust Inversion, whose practitioners legitimise it by pointing to the injustices committed by the modern state of Israel. According to this reading, Jews should have learned a lesson from the Holocaust which was, apparently, to be nicer people.

Was the Holocaust Predictable?
This essay was first delivered as a lecture at “The Holocaust—A Generation After,” a conference in New York in March 1975, and later printed in the May 1975 issue of “Commentary.” It here is reprinted with permission of the literary estate of the late professor Jacob Katz.

Almost anyone who lived through the period of the Holocaust, observing it from either near or far, will readily testify that information concerning the Nazi murder of the Jews, when it first came out, seemed absolutely unbelievable—impossible. Yet once it became evident that the unbelievable had indeed occurred, it began to seem altogether necessary and inevitable. Now the question, often put in a self-torturing way, is, how could we have overlooked the signs that unmistakably foretold the impending tragedy?

This query reaches out to different dimensions of the past. The prehistory of Nazidom as well as the first years of Hitler’s regime have been scrutinized by historians for signs indicating a readiness on the part of the Nazi movement to implement a program of destruction, or a resolve on the part of Hitler to carry out such a program in the simple, physical sense. Next, the spotlight has been turned on German antisemitism of the last decades of the 19th century, and its forerunners in the romantic nationalism of the early 19th century, there to detect the seeds of Nazism and its ideology of Jew-hatred. Some have gone further, attempting an analysis of the German mentality as reflected in typical representatives of the German Geist like Luther, Hegel, Wagner, or Nietzsche, and meaning to reveal an innate tendency toward tyranny, totalitarianism, and social intolerance. Indeed, the inquiring mind has not stopped at the German border. The teachings of the Christian churches since the Middle Ages, and Jewish-Gentile relations since antiquity, have been examined for an answer to the frightening riddle of the present. Though a connection between past history and the climax represented by the Holocaust has not always been explicitly asserted, virtually no contemporary historical, sociological, or philosophical analysis of early antisemitism ignores the symbolic presence of the six million dead of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Now, remoteness in time does not of itself exclude a possible connection between two phenomena, and there can be no doubt that the history of Jewish-Gentile relations since antiquity does have a bearing on the Holocaust—in what sense, we shall explore later on. Still, the antinomy persists between the feeling of having been taken by surprise by the events of the Holocaust when they occurred and the inclination, after the fact, to reconstruct those events in such a way as to make them appear inevitable. This antinomy is often overcome by asserting that some people, at least, had foreseen the events in question, but then-warnings went unheeded.

In 1945, when the horrors of the Holocaust were already fully known, I heard Arnold Zweig quoting what he himself had told the Zionist leader Menahem M. Ussishkin during a visit to Jerusalem in 1932, when the ascendance of Hitler seemed imminent—namely, that this would lead to the total destruction of German Jewry. Yet the book written by Arnold Zweig shortly after Hitler’s rise to power, Bilanz der deutschen Judenheit [“The Balance Sheet of German Jewry”] attests that his real views at the time were not so clear-cut. Zweig did fear the downfall of German Jewry, and saw a danger to leftist intellectuals like himself, but he believed that a man like Martin Buber still had a chance to fight for the ideal of religious socialism in Germany, and Zweig strongly enjoined Buber to continue his work. Zweig himself left Berlin and settled in Haifa in 1934; from Palestine he commented (in the newly-published correspondence between him and Sigmund Freud) on the events in Europe, taking every setback in Hitler’s advance as a sure sign of his pending downfall. In quoting what he later claimed he had said to Ussishkin, I am by no means suggesting that Zweig in 1945 was not telling the truth. What often occurs in such cases is that statements uttered under certain circumstances assume, in retrospect, a weight they were far from having carried in their original setting.

Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of “right-wing” Zionism in the pre-State era, is often credited by his followers with having had a remarkable prescience of the catastrophe awaiting European Jewry; it is he who is said to have coined the phrase, “Liquidate the Galut [Diaspora] or the Galut will liquidate you.” Indeed, rereading Jabotinsky’s speeches from the years preceding World War II, one comes across sentence after sentence that sounds like an apprehension of coming doom. But what did these warnings mean in their original context? This great patriot tried to prod his audience into a more activist Zionist stance than the Jewish leadership at the time thought possible, or even contemplated. In the late 30’s he urged the “evacuation” of Polish Jewry, and would not have hesitated to enlist the help of the antisemitic Polish government in implementing his plan. Jabotinsky pointed to the plight of German Jewry, then leaving Germany because of the pressure of anti-Jewish legislation. as evidence of the urgent necessity of his scheme, and he used phrases that seem to us to indicate foreknowledge of the Holocaust.
A refugee from the Nazis, she helped create the Haganah and IDF canine units
Esther Cohen was born in 1930 in Würzburg, Germany, as Else Karola Sichel. Her family fled before the Holocaust and she subsequently joined the Haganah militia and later the IDF’s canine division, the Oketz Unit.

“I remember the Nazi rise to power and Hitler visiting my town,” Cohen told JNS.

She witnessed the gradual deteriorating circumstances for Jews. She recalls an incident around Christmas time in 1934: She was out with her grandmother and they saw decorations.

A lady asked, “Are you excited that Santa Claus will bring you presents?”

A 4-year-old Cohen replied, “We don’t believe in Santa Claus, we have the Hanukkah man.” Her grandmother interrupted, telling the bewildered German lady: “The child doesn’t know what she’s talking about!”

She recalls another incident where she wanted to see a Shirley Temple film but Jews were forbidden from going to the cinema after the Nuremberg Laws had been passed in 1935. However, a sympathetic non-Jewish neighbor volunteered to take her. But she did not enjoy the film for fear that someone would figure out that she was Jewish.

Her family escaped to the British Mandate of Palestine in September 1938, when she was 8 years old.

Cohen said that it was not easy adjusting to a new country. They managed to get her grandparents out of Germany shortly after Kristallnacht, following much paperwork. Her parents opened a grocery store.

It was in the store that she met Austrian-born cynologist (canine scientist) Rudolphina Menzel (1891–1973).

Menzel helped to establish the canine unit for the Haganah, the forerunner of the modern-day IDF Oketz Unit. “I always loved dogs,” Cohen said.
Film commemorates Holocaust survivor and swimming champ Alfred Nakache
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, a film about the champion Algerian-born swimmer Alfred Nakache is about to be launched. The film, Sélectionné, stars Amir Haddad and will have a special showing in Paris on 30 January. Nakache was one of thousands of Mizrahi Jews living in France during WWII. Here is the extraordinary story of how Nakache not only survived the Auschwitz death camp, but went on to break sporting records after the war, as told by Véronique Chemla:

Alfred Nakache was born in 1915 into a large Jewish family in Constantine (Kabylia, Algeria). The Nakache family arrived from Iraq in the nineteenth century to settle in this exceptional site overlooking a river, the Rhummel.

Around the age of ten, he manages to overcome his fear of water. Indeed he takes to water like a duck. Spotted for his physical stamina, Nacache is trained in the Olympic pool by two Frenchmen doing their military service in Constantine. After they leave Alfred Nakache continues training himself, hence his unorthodox approach. (He is disqualifed in one race for straying out of his lane.)

He takes part in local galas, and moving to Paris to attend the prestigious Lycée Janson de Sailly, in 1935 becomes 100 m French champion.

He is one of 1, 000 Jewish athletes to take part in the 2nd Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv in 1935, winning the silver medal in the 100 m freestyle crawl.

In 1936, after some hesitation, the Popular Front government decides to send a delegation to the Olympic Games in Berlin in Nazi Germany. Nacache’s team comes fourth, ahead of Germany.

In 1937, Alfred Nakache does his military service in a battalion of top athletes and continues to win medals for France.

Under the Vichy regime, Jews are deprived of French nationality, and Nacache is forbidden from exercising his profession, etc.
Kiss frontman Simmons wants to rock Holocaust memorials with Never Again concert
Gene Simmons, the bass player and co-lead singer of the iconic rock band Kiss, called for widening identification with the Holocaust beyond the Jewish community during a Thursday event commemorating the genocide at the United Nations.

Simmons’s mother survived the Nazi death camps as a teenager, then moved to Israel after the war. Born Chaim Weitz in the northern city of Haifa, Simmons moved to the US as a boy, identifies as Israeli and remains involved in pro-Israel advocacy.

The glam rocker was critical of an event he attended featuring Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters in New York, held a day before Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The ceremony was well-intentioned but “boring,” said Simmons, calling on the Jewish community to get other groups involved in Holocaust awareness and activities.

“We must connect the Jewish Holocaust to all hatred that goes on around the world throughout history,” he told The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the event, suggesting a multi-ethnic music event.

“Nobody wants to be preached at so if you have Holocaust remembrance events, concerts, music, a ‘Never again’ music festival — great idea — where people of all nationalities, all creeds, all religions, all skin tones get together,” he said. “You buy a ticket, it goes to charities and of course Yad Vashem and other organizations to try to stop this hatred.”

“We should have U2 up there, people that mean something,” he said. “Who says it is much more important than what they’re saying.”

He also connected the Holocaust to other expressions of hatred and discrimination, including the war in Ukraine. Many Jewish groups describe the Holocaust as a singular event in scope and intention and have rejected comparisons to other tragedies. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky drew fire from some Knesset members last year for comparing the Russian invasion to the Nazi genocide.

“You’ve got to connect the Ukrainian story to the Holocaust and all peoples and colors otherwise they’re not going to care,” Simmons said. “Have an Armenian representative up there who says, ‘I abide and feel the pain of the Jewish Holocaust because we Armenians lost 1 million men, women and children at the hands of the Turks.'”

“When Martin Luther King marched on Birmingham, next to him was a rabbi,” Simmons said. “If you ignore the hatred of somebody who is different from you, guess what, you’re next, so we got to look out for each other, share the pain. The Holocaust is not the exclusive domain of Jews.”
Conspiracy theories trend online amid lack of Holocaust education

Israeli and Emirati singers collaborate to commemorate the Holocaust in Abu Dhabi
On January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, a one-of-a-kind memorial event was held in Abu Dhabi by a perhaps unlikely delegation from Israel. Dozens of Arab Israelis from the organization Together Vouch for Each Other gathered to commemorate and educate about the Holocaust, alongside Emiratis and Bahrainis, in order to ensure “never again” is a reality.

The event featured speeches from both Jewish and Arab Israelis including Together Vouch for Each Other CEO Yoseph Haddad, as well as Emiratis such as political analyst Amjad Taha.

At the event, Taha, who has long been an advocate for Holocaust education in the Arab world, emphasized the need to continue to educate and build bridges between Arabs and Jews, as well as to combat antisemitism. “If you want to fight antisemitism the only way to fight it is by educating people…We need to educate people to make sure they never get radicalized. We need to educate people in society to make sure that we don’t have Holocaust deniers like we do with the Iranian [regime], Hamas, and others who use the fact that people lack knowledge about the Holocaust, to promote Holocaust denial.” Yoseph Haddad echoed the same sentiment, telling Ynet, “Last year we were honored to bring the first delegation of Arab Israelis to Auschwitz to learn about the Holocaust and participate in the March of the Living. As proud Arabs and proud Israelis, we want to build more ties with the rest of the Arab world to continue on the path of promoting tolerance and Holocaust education.” Haddad continued, “What better place to hold such an event than in Abu Dhabi, where we have newly established ties between Israel and the UAE as a result of the changing Middle East? Together we are stronger and fight both racism and antisemitism.” The highlight of the night however, was the participation of Emirati singer Ahmad Al Hosani, and Israeli Jewish singer Nicole Raviv, who came to the UAE as part of the delegation of Together Vouch for Each Other.
The first Arab Israeli delegation to visit Auschwitz

Biden Commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day
US President Joe Biden on Thursday released a statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, pledging always to remember and keep with faith the phrase “never again.”

“‘Never again’ was a promise my father first instilled in me at our family dinner table, educating me and my siblings about the horrors of the Shoah,” Biden noted. He continued that seeing “neo-Nazis and white nationalists march from the shadows in Charlottesville in 2017, spewing the same antisemitic bile we heard in the 1930s in Europe” is what inspired him to run for president.

The statement also acknowledged other groups that were victims of the Holocaust, including the Roma and Sinti, Slavs, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and political dissidents. “Together, we must affirm, over and over, that hate has no safe harbor in America,” Biden continued, urging that’s what his administration was doing.

Biden then listed the achievements of his administration, from appointing the first Ambassador-level Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism to developing a national strategy to fight antisemitism.

“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day and every day, the United States stands with Holocaust victims, their families, and their descendants,” he concluded. “We remember. We honor their stories. We will face down the hate and the lies that carry in them the terrifying echoes of one of the worst chapters in human history.”

“And for generations to come, we will continue to defend our foundational values as a nation — freedom, equality, and dignity for all human beings.”

'Saving the World Entire' film honors righteous among the nations

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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