What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About Anti-Semitism – The New Yorker

Hatred of Jews, like hatred of Muslims, is embedded more deeply in the Western consciousness than President Trump seems to understand.CreditPHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIER DOULIERY / GETTY

The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil, President Trump said Tuesday at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. He was referring, rather obliquely, to a spate of recent bomb scares and acts of vandalism, part of an uptick in hate crimes that has occurred since his arrival on the political scene. Trumps sentiment, however forced, was welcome, given the obtuseness, ambivalence, and even denial that have characterized his past responses to the problem. As a candidate and a President, he has seemed oddly untroubled by the license that anti-Semites derive from the us-against-them motif of his rants. But now, Trump says, the bigotry has to stop, and its going to stop.

Would that it were that simple. Anti-Semitism is not a run-of-the-mill example of hate and prejudice and evil, which is why contempt for Jews keeps showing up as a symptom of social stresseven now, and even in the United States. One neednt posit an eternal anti-Semitism, in Hannah Arendts warning phrase, to know that the imagination of the West has always defined itself positively against the negative other of Jewishness. That was blatantly the case in Germany in the sixteenth century, when Martin Luther characterized Jews as vermin within the German body politic, a pest in the midst of our lands. That belief ultimately came to flower, of course, in the exterminating anti-Semitism of Hitler, who saw the very existence of Jews as a mortal threat to the Thousand-Year Reich. But, as the Holocaust revealed, this fear infected both Nazi ideology and the broader Western consciousness. The crime of genocide may have been enacted by the Nazis, but Jews died as they did because the rest of Europeand America, tooexcluded them from moral concern.

Religious anti-Judaism, which became racial anti-Semitism, began long before Luther, stretching all the way back to the Gospels themselves. It is not just that Jews are labelled as Christs killers in the Passion narratives, but that Jesus is fully portrayed throughout the texts as fiercely opposed to his own Jewish people. (He came unto His own and His own received him not, John 1:11 says.) If Jesus was merciful, Jews were condemning; if Jesus was egalitarian, Jews were hierarchical; if Jesus was generous, Jews were greedy. Soon enough, Christians imagined that Jesus had never really been Jewish to begin with. Never mind that this was a terrible mistake of memory, that he was a faithful, law-observing, Shema-proclaiming Jew to the end, and that, Johns words notwithstanding, the only ones to receive Jesus in his lifetime were Jews. The imagined conflict persisted, and it informed the structure of Christian theologychurch against synagogue, New Testament against Old, Christian god of mercy against Jewish god of judgment. Down through the centuries, this positive-negative bipolarity formed the twin pillars of European consciousness, and, whenever the social equilibrium shook, Jews were targeted. When the targeting reached its genocidal peak, in the twentieth century, the old hatred was exposed once and for all.

Well, not quite for all. The Holocaust was a world-historic epiphany, but not to the Trump Administration, which last month erased the Holocausts most salient feature by deliberately omitting any reference to Jews from the White Houses official statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Trumps generalizing in that statementthe victims, survivors, heroeswholly ignored the fact that Hitlers industrialized death machine was created expressly to eliminate one particular people. To neglect that purpose is to restrict responsibility for the broad civilizational crime, with roots in the religious anti-Judaism of the Christian Church, to a small gang of Nazi thugs, as if no one else were guilty. Both the neglecting and the restricting are forms of Holocaust denial.

If it is too much for Trump to grasp anti-Semitism as the bug in the software of the West, it is not likely that he will see how his own Islamophobia comes from the same malicious code. When Christendom launched the Crusades, the holy wars that shaped Europe, in the eleventh century, Jews were the paradigmatic enemy inside (the infidel near at hand), and Muslims became the defining enemy outside (the infidel far away). Little wonder, then, that the First Crusade coincided with some of the earliest German pogroms, known as the Rhineland massacres. Within a few hundred years, the Spanish Inquisition had instituted its blood-purity laws, which lumped Muslims and Jews together in a new category of biological inferiority. In 1492 and 1502, first Jews and then Muslims were declared personae non gratae in Spain, facing forced conversion, expulsion, or death. The invention of racism in Europe, in other words, aligned neatly with the discovery of the New World and the advent of colonialism. Genocide and slavery followed.

Islamophobia is thus, to use the phrase that Edward Said applied to Orientalism, a strange secret sharer of Western anti-Semitism. This hidden alignment was particularly discernible in the ease with which the Cold War, with its ubiquitous, if subliminal, anti-Semitism, morphed into the clash of civilizations, with jihadists replacing Reds as figments of the American nightmare. Trump no doubt regards himself as an American original, but he is only the latest ringmaster of this binary circus. In fact, our temperamental President is bigotrys clich. Even the cult of white supremacy on which his movement depends has its origins, too, in the positive-negative structure of the Western imagination, a structure erected in the first place to keep Jews in their place. It may offend Donald Trump to be linked to an ancient current, but while his arrival, with all its mayhem, is an unprecedented crime against democratic values, it is also evidence of the deeper disorder from which our culture has yet to recover.

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What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About Anti-Semitism – The New Yorker

Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022 – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (third from left) and his guests at the launch of the National Policy Agenda in Ramallah. WAFA photo by Maan Khalifa.

RAMALLAH, February 22, 2017 (WAFA) The Palestinian government launched Wednesday the Palestine National Policy Agenda (NPA) for 2017 2022, which Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said puts the Palestinian citizen first.

Speaking at the launch event held in Ramallah in the presence of Palestinian and international guests, including United Nations Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov and European Union representative in Jerusalem Ralph Tarraf, Hamdallah said the NPAs Putting Citizens First, is a program to develop the people and achieve freedom and progress.

The purpose of the NPA is to provide basic quality services to all our people, regardless of where they live, and to strengthen their steadfastness, particularly in Area C (of the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the capital of the independent State of Palestine, and in the Gaza Strip, he said.

The agenda is based on three tracks: The road to independence, reforms and improving quality of services, and sustainable development, said Hamdallah.

The prime minister said that even though international donor aid has dropped by 70 per cent, his government was nevertheless able to overcome this hurdle, as witnessed in reports by international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said if Israel allows the Palestinian to benefit from Area C, which makes 60 per cent of the area of the West Bank and is under Israeli military control, investment in this area would bring in $3.5 billion a year to the Palestinians, as confirmed by World Bank reports.

He urged the international community to help the Palestinians get rid of Israeli control over Area C.

Speaking at the same event, UN Special Coordinator Mladenov congratulated the Palestinian government for finalizing an ambitious policy agenda for Palestine that articulates a strong, clear vision for the Palestinian people.

He said the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2018-2022, currently being developed, will be aligned with the NPA and support the strategic priorities of statehood, governance reform, as well as economic and social development.

I applaud the Government of Palestine for aligning the NPA with global imperatives including the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda and for ‘putting citizens first. This is smart governance, he said.

The NPA is expected to strengthen institutions, improve governance and develop a sustainable economy.

This is a step in the right direction that tangibly demonstrates the Palestinian commitment to advancing the two-state solution, said the UN official.


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Government launches Palestine National Policy Agenda for 2017 2022 – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

How Marie Antoinette and Sean Spicer Are Making Babka Famous – Forward

Bomb threats against JCCs throughout the U.S. are bringing many reactions, but none tastier than this tweet from The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in response to Presidential spokesman Sean Spicers bizarre insistence that Donald Trump has spoken out against anti-Semitism many times:

Thats a nice Jewish twist on let them eat cake, which is a frequently used translation of a sentence in Jean-Jacques Rousseaus autobiography, Confessions. But wait thats just the beginning of the story.

In French, the sentence actually reads: Quils mangent de la brioche and it is often mis-attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, who was nine years old in 1765, when Rousseau wrote those words in his multi-volume opus. (He finally published it in 1782.)

In the interest of facts, an endangered concept these days, in the previous sentence, Rousseau merely refers to a grande princesse, and he doesnt name names. Theres no record of Marie Antoinette saying anything about brioche.

What the let them eat cake saga does show is that fake news has a long history; the misattributed utterance was taken as a symbol of total disregard for the struggles of poor peasants; brioche was a luxury, and certainly not within the means of the poor.

Back to babka and the contemporary struggle for actual reality. Yes, the Anne Frank Center was suggesting that the current administration literally, at least should eat some yeast cake that in Jewish tradition usually includes lots of chocolate or cinnamon. Figuratively, of course, the Anne Frank Center was displaying its disdain for Spicers claim.

But language nerds had another pressing concern. Come to think of it, what does the word babka mean?

The Oxford English Dictionary says babka is the diminutive form of baba, which, via French from Polish, literally married peasant woman. (The shadow of Marie Antoinette and the peasants lives on.) The OED also points out that baba in Indian culture means father or respected older man, but thats not relevant to the European cake that has become a staple of Jewish-American cooking as well as Israeli bake shops.

If babka immediately makes you think grandmother, or the Yiddish word for grandmother, bubbe, its because, well, thats also what babka means.

Savta. Bubbe. Grandma.

The Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian baba mean grandmother or little grandmother. And while this may sound a bit creepy, The Oxford Companion to Food points out that the babkas bottom part looks like the pleats of a skirt in other words, the kind of thing grandma might wear.

No matter what grandma is wearing, many of us would love it if a brigade of feisty Jewish grandmothers were responding to Spicer and Trump right now, perhaps while slinging babka.

So how did a word for grandmother become a pastry? According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, babka as a pastry name came to English from Polish, via French. But dont worry too much about grandmas disappearance from use: The Canadian Oxford assures us that babka is still sometimes used in its original meaning (grandmother), especially among those of Central and Eastern European descent. And of course, the word babushka can be heard in neighborhoods with Russian-Jewish grandmothers in abundance. Babushka means grandmother, and is the diminutive of baba, or older woman, according to Merriam-Webster.

If all this etymology just makes you want to snack, youre in luck. You can certainly make babka at home, no matter what your heritage, and a bonus is that making babka can keep you busy long enough to miss a news cycle and the accompanying rise in blood pressure.

Baking a chocolate babka is no casual undertaking, writes Melissa Clark of The New York Times in her introduction to her babka recipe.

The Eastern European yeast-risen coffee cake has 14 steps and takes all day to make, Clark writes. But the results are worth every sugarcoated second with a moist, deeply flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a dark fudge filling, then topped with cocoa streusel crumbs.

Here is her recipe:

If fourteen steps seems too simple, and you want to stay busy and distracted from the Presidency for even longer, Bon Appetit offers a babka recipe featuring a double helix twist. Think of it as supporting science, another endangered entity right now.

Maybe babka will get a Trump bump, just like Nordstroms, Teen Vogue, and other unexpected members of the resistance. But for those who follow pastry, grandmothers favorite snack, babka, was getting kind of hot before the Anne Frank Center made it even hotter.

Bon Appetit magazine declared last month that babka is the new bagel, meaning it is finely making its way to the masses. We can only rejoice, Vered Guttman of Haaretz wrote about a year ago, when it seemed a bit easier to rejoice.

Not to be outdone, Haaretz offers a classic poppyseed babka recipe, an ideal treat to master with Purim only weeks away. Last but certainly not least, Haaretz even offers a ten-photo, step-by-step babka-making primer which makes babka-making seem totally doable, and even soothing.

Far less damaging to the heart rate than watching Sean Spicer, and a reminder that if our grandmothers survived what they survived and still managed to roll dough, spread chocolate, and enjoy the ensuing babka, perhaps we can best get through this with a little piece of elaborate yeast cake too.

Aviya Kushner is The Forwards language columnist and the author of The Grammar of God (Spiegel & Grau). Follow her on Twitter at @AviyaKushner

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How Marie Antoinette and Sean Spicer Are Making Babka Famous – Forward

Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

A Revisionist Chronicle

Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

By Robert Faurisson

The following is the remark, not of a revisionist, but rather by an anti-revisionist: note 1

“Holocaust denier,” “revisionist,” “negationist”: everyone knows what such an accusation means. It effectively means exclusion from civilized humanity. Anyone who is suspected of this is finished. His public life is destroyed, his academic reputation ruined.

And he went on to add:

One day people will have to discuss the state of public affairs in a country where to brand a renowned scholar as a Holocaust denier (by hitting him with the ‘Auschwitz Lie’ club [die Keule der Auschwitz-Lge]) is enough to destroy him morally, in an instant.

Writings such as this essay cannot be sold openly in my country. They must be published and distributed privately.

In France, it is forbidden to question the Shoah — also called the “Holocaust.”

A law on the “freedom of the press” enacted on July 13, 1990, makes it a crime to question the Shoah, in its three hypostases: the alleged genocide of the Jews, the alleged Nazi gas chambers, and the alleged figure of six million Jewish victims of the Second World War. Violators are subject to a prison term ranging from one month to one year, a fine of 2,000 to 300,000 francs ($333 to $50,000), an order to pay considerable damages, and other sanctions. More precisely, this law makes it a crime to question (“contester”) the reality of any of the “crimes against humanity” as defined in 1945 and punished in 1946 by the judges of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, a court established exclusively by the victors exclusively to judge the vanquished.

Debates and controversies about the Shoah are, of course, still permitted, but only within the limits set by the official dogma. Controversies or debates that might lead to a challenging of the Shoah story as a whole, or of a part of it, or simply to raise doubt, are forbidden. To repeat: on this issue, even doubt is proscribed, and punished.

In France, the impetus for such a law (which is of Israeli inspiration), note 2 came in 1986 from several historians of Jewish origin, including Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Georges Wellers, and Franois Bdarida, together with Chief Rabbi Ren-Samuel Sirat. note 3 The law was enacted in 1990 on the initiative of former prime minister Laurent Fabius, then a member of the Socialist government, president of the National Assembly, and himself a Jewish militant of the Jewish cause. During this same period (May 1990), a desecration of graves in the Jewish cemetery of Carpentras, in Provence, had given rise to a media furor that nullified any inclination on the part of opposition lawmakers to mount any effective resistance to the bill. In Paris some 200,000 marchers, with a host of Israeli flags borne high, demonstrated against “the resurgence of the horrid beast.” Notre Dame’s great bell tolled as for a particularly tragic or significant event in the history of France. Once the law was on the statute books (promulgated in the Journal officiel on the 14th of July, the national holiday: the same issue, incidentally, that announced Vidal-Naquet’s nomination to the Order of the Lgion d’honneur), the Carpentras outrage was mentioned only, if at all, with a certain distance, as a mere reminder. Only the “Fabius-Gayssot” Act remained.

Under pressure from national and international Jewish organizations, and following the Israeli and French examples, other countries similarly adopted laws forbidding any questioning of the Shoah. Such has been the case for Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Lithuania. In practice, such specific laws are not absolutely necessary to combat and suppress historical revisionism. In France, as elsewhere, the practice has often been to prosecute questioners of the Shoah under other laws, according to the needs of a given case, on the basis of laws against racism or anti-Semitism, defaming living persons, insulting the memory of the dead, attempting to justify crimes, or spreading false news, and — a source of cash indemnities for the plaintiffs — using personal injury statutes.

In France the police and the judiciary rigorously ensure the protection thus accorded to an official version of Second World War history. According to this rabbinical version, the major event of the conflict was the Shoah, in other words the physical extermination of the Jews that the Germans are said to have carried out from 1941-1942 to 1944-1945. (Lacking any document with which to assign a precise time span to the event — and for good reason, as it is a matter of fiction — the official historians propose only dates that are as divergent as they are approximate.)

Since 1974 I have had to fight so many legal battles that I’ve been unable to find time to compose the systematic exposition that one is entitled to expect from a professor who, over so many years, has devoted his efforts to a single aspect of Second World War history: the “Holocaust” or the Shoah.

Year after year, an avalanche of trials, entailing the gravest consequences, has thwarted my plans to publish such a work. Apart from my own cases, I have had to devote considerable time and effort to the defense, before their respective courts, of other revisionists in France and abroad. Today, as I write these words, two cases are being brought against me, one in the Netherlands, the other in France, while I must also intervene, directly or indirectly, in proceedings pending against revisionists in Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. For lack of time, I have had to decline helping others, notably two Japanese revisionists.

Around the world, our adversaries’ tactic is the same: use courts to paralyze the work of the revisionists, if not to sentence them to prison terms or to order them to pay fines or damages. For those convicted, imprisonment means a halt to all revisionist activity, while those ordered to pay large sums are compelled to set off on a feverish pursuit of money, goaded by threats of bailiffs, “writs of seizure,” “notices to third parties,” and freezing of bank accounts. For this reason alone, my life over the past quarter of a century has been difficult. It still is and, in all probability, will remain so.

To make matters worse, my idea of research has never been that of the “paper” professor or historian. I consider it indispensable to see the terrain for myself: either the terrain of the forensic investigation, or the terrain where the adversary is deployed. I wouldn’t be entitled to talk about the camps of Dachau, Majdanek, Auschwitz or Treblinka without first having visiting them to examine for myself the buildings and the people there. I won’t talk about anti-revisionist activities, such as demonstrations, conferences, symposia, and trials, without having attended them, or at least delegating an instructed observer to the events — a practice that is not without risk, but which enables one to obtain information from a good source. I have friends and associates produce countless letters and statements. Whenever possible, I go myself to the ramparts. To cite but one example: the impressive international “Holocaust” conference organized in Oxford in 1988 by the late billionaire Robert Maxwell (also known as “Bob the Liar”). I believe I can justifiably say that it aborted so pitifully (as Maxwell himself admitted), note 4 thanks to an operation on the spot that I personally organized — with the help of a female French revisionist who lacked neither courage, nor daring, nor ingenuity: her activism alone was certainly worth several books.

To the hours and days thus spent preparing court cases or various sporadic actions should be added the hours and days lost in hospital, recovering from the effects of an exhausting struggle or from the consequences of physical attacks carried out by militant Jewish groups. (In France armed militias are strictly prohibited, except for the Jewish community.) note 5

Finally, I have had to encourage, direct, or coordinate, in France and abroad, numerous activities or works of a revisionist nature, shore up those whose strength has faltered, provide for the continuance of action, answer requests, warn against provocations, errors, digressions from the goal, and, above all combat ill-conceived accommodations given that, for some revisionists, there is a great temptation in such a struggle to seek compromise with the adversary and, sometimes, even to back down. Examples of war-weary revisionists who have sunk to public contrition are, sad to say, not lacking. I shall not cast a stone at them, though. I know from experience that discouragement is liable to befall each of us because the contest is so unequal: our resources are laughable, while those of our opponents are immense.

Revisionism is a matter of method and not an ideology.

It demands, in all research, a return to the starting point, an examination followed by re-examination, re-reading and rewriting, evaluation followed by revaluation, reorientation, revision, recasting. It is, in spirit, the contrary of ideology. It does not deny, but instead aims to affirm with greater exactitude. Revisionists are not “deniers” (or, to use the French expression, “negationists”). Rather, they endeavor to seek and to find things where, it seemed, there was nothing more to seek or find.

Revisionism can be carried out in a hundred activities of everyday life and in a hundred fields of historical, scientific, or literary research. It does not necessarily call established ideas into question, but often leads to qualifying them somewhat. It seeks to untangle the true from the false. History is, in essence, revisionist; ideology is its enemy. Because ideology is strongest during times of war or conflict, and because it then churns out falsehood in abundance for propaganda needs, the historian working in that area is well advised to redouble his vigilance. In probing deep into the “truths” of which he has been reminded so often, he will doubtless realize that, when a war has led to tens of millions of deaths, the very first victim is the ascertainable truth: a truth that must be sought out and re-established.

The official history of the Second World War comprises a bit of truth mixed with a great deal of falsehood.

It is accurate to say that National Socialist Germany built concentration camps; it did so after, and at the same time as, a good number of other countries, all of which were convinced that their camps would be more humane than prison. Hitler saw in them what Napolon III had thought he saw in the creation of penal colonies: progress for humanity. But it is false to hold that Germany ever established “extermination camps” (an expression invented by the Allies).

It is accurate to say that the Germans manufactured gas-powered vehicles (Gaswagen). But it is false to say that they ever built homicidal gas vans (if a single one of these had ever existed, it would be on display at an automobile museum, or at one of the various “Holocaust” museums, at least in the form of a drawing of scientific value).

It is accurate to say that the Germans employed Zyklon (made from a base of hydrocyanic acid and in use since 1922) to safeguard, by disinfestation, the health of large numbers of civilians, troops, prisoners, and internees. But they never used Zyklon to kill anyone, let alone to put to death throngs of human beings at once. In light of the draconian precautions for the use of hydrogen cyanide gas, the gassing of inmates as allegedly carried out at Auschwitz and at other camps would have been fundamentally impossible. note 6

It is accurate to say that the Germans envisaged a “final solution of the Jewish question” (Endlsung der Judenfrage). But this solution was a territorial one (eine territoriale Endlsung der Judenfrage), and not a murderous one. It was a project to induce or, if necessary, to force the Jews to leave Germany and its European sphere of influence, thereafter to establish, in accord with the Zionists, a Jewish national home, in Madagascar or elsewhere. With a view toward such a solution, many Zionists collaborated with National Socialist Germany. note 7

It is accurate to say that a gathering of German officials was held at a villa in Wannsee, on the outskirts of Berlin, on January 20, 1942, to discuss the Jewish question. But the subject of their discussions was the forced emigration or deportation of the Jews, as well as the future creation of a specific Jewish territorial entity, not a program of physical extermination.

It is accurate to say that some German concentration camps had crematories to incinerate corpses. But their purpose was to combat epidemics, not to incinerate, as some have dared assert, living human beings along with corpses. note 8

It is accurate to say that many Jews experienced the hardships of war, of internment, deportation, the detention camps, the concentration camps, the forced labor camps, the ghettos; that there were, for various reasons, summary executions of Jews, that they were the victims of reprisals and even massacres (for there are no wars without massacres). But it is equally true that all of these sufferings were also the lot of many other nations or communities during the war and, in particular, of the Germans and their allies (the hardships of the ghetto aside, for the ghetto is first and foremost a specific creation of the Jews themselves). note 9 It is above all most plausible, for anyone who is not afflicted with a hemiplegic memory, and who seeks to acquaint himself with both sides of Second World War history (that is, the side that is always shown, as well as the side almost always hidden), that the sufferings of the vanquished during the war and afterwards were, in number and in nature, greater than those of the Jews and the victors, especially as concerns deportations.

It is false that there ever existed, as some have long dared to assert, any order whatever, given by Hitler or any of his associates, to exterminate the Jews. During the war, German soldiers and officers were convicted by their own courts martial, and sometimes shot, for having killed Jews.

It is a good thing that the exterminationists (that is, those who believe in the extermination of the Jews) have grown weary to the point that they now acknowledge that no trace of any plan, instruction, or document relating to a policy of physical extermination of the Jews has ever been found and that, similarly, they have at last admitted that no trace of any budget for such an undertaking, or of a body responsible for running such a project, has been found.

It is a good thing that the exterminationists have at last conceded to the revisionists that the judges at the Nuremberg trial (1945-1946) accepted as true certain pure inventions, such as the stories of soap produced from Jewish fat, of lampshades made of human skin, of “shrunken heads,” and of homicidal gassings at Dachau.

It is an especially good thing that the exterminationists have finally recognized that the most spectacular, the most terrifying, the most significant part of that trial — that is, the session of April 15, 1946, in the course of which a former commandant of the Auschwitz camp, Rudolf Hss, testified openly that, in his camp, millions of Jews had been gassed — was merely the product of the tortures inflicted on him. His “confession,” presented for so many years and in so many historical works as the Number One “proof” of the genocide of the Jews, is now consigned to oblivion, at least as far as historians are concerned. note 10

It is fortunate that exterminationist historians have finally acknowledged that the famous testimony of SS officer Kurt Gerstein, an essential element of their case, is devoid of value. It is loathsome that the French University revoked the revisionist Henri Roques’ doctorate, earned for having demonstrated that fact in 1985. note 11

It is pitiful that Raul Hilberg, the “pope” of exterminationism, ventured to write, in the first, 1961 edition of his study, The Destruction of the European Jews, that there were two orders by Hitler to exterminate the Jews, and then later to declare, in 1983, that the extermination had come about on its own, without any order or plan, but rather through “an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus — mind reading by a far-flung [German] bureaucracy.” So it was that Hilberg replaced a gratuitous assertion with a magical explanation: telepathy. note 12

It is a good thing that the exterminationists have, in effect, finally (or very nearly) abandoned the charge, based on “testimonies,” according to which there were execution gas chambers at the camps of Ravensbrck, Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, Hartheim, Struthof-Natzweiler, Stutthof-Danzig, Bergen-Belsen … note 13

It is a good thing that the most-visited “gas chamber” in the world — that of Auschwitz I — has at last (in a January 1995 article) been recognized for what it is — a fabrication. It is fortunate that it has at last been admitted that “Everything in it is false.” I personally delight in knowing that an Establishment historian has written: “In the late 1970s, Robert Faurisson exploited these falsifications all the better as the [Auschwitz] museum administration balked at acknowledging them.” note 14 I delight all the more given that the French courts, in their iniquity, convicted me for basically saying just that.

It is a good thing that, in that same 1995 article, this same historian revealed that such a figure in the Jewish world as eminent as Tho Klein sees in that “gas chamber” only a “trick” (“artifice”).

It is also a good thing that, in that same article, this same historian revealed, first, that the Auschwitz Museum authorities are conscious of having deceived millions of visitors (500,000 yearly in the early 1990s), and second, that they will nevertheless continue to deceive their visitors, for, as the Museum’s assistant director put it: “[Telling the truth about this 'gas chamber'] is too complicated. We’ll see to it later on.” note 15

It is fortunate that in 1996 two historians of Jewish origin, the Canadian Robert Jan van Pelt and the American Debrah Dwork, finally denounced some of the enormous fakeries of the Auschwitz camp-museum, and the cynicism with which visitors were being duped there. note 16

It is, on the other hand, unconscionable that UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) should maintain its patronage (as it has done since 1979) of a site such as Auschwitz, whose center upholds, in its fake “gas chamber” (to say nothing of other enormous falsifications), an imposture now avowed as such. UNESCO (based in Paris and headed by Federico Mayor) has no right to use the dues of the member countries to sanction such a vast swindle, one so incompatible with the interests of “education,” “science,” and “culture.”

It is fortunate that Jean-Claude Pressac, after having been praised to the skies, has fallen into discredit. Promoted by the Klarsfeld couple, this French pharmacist thought it wise to stake out a half-way position between those who believed in the gas chambers and those who did not. For him, in a sense, the woman in question was neither pregnant nor unpregnant, but rather half-pregnant and even, with time, less and less pregnant. An author of writings that were supposed to be about the Nazi gas chambers, but in which not one comprehensive photograph or drawing of a single one of those chemical slaughterhouses was to be found, this pitiful scribbler would, in a Paris court on May 9, 1995, go on to give a demonstration of his total inability to reply to the presiding judge’s questions as to what, concretely, such a mass murder machine might actually have been. note 17

It is fortunate that, although in ruins, “the gas chamber” of Krematorium II in Birkenau (Auschwitz II), plainly shows that there never was a “Holocaust” in this camp. According both to a German defendant’s statements under interrogation, as well as 1944 aerial photographs “retouched” by the Allies, the roof of this gas chamber seems to have had four special openings (about ten inches square, it was specified), through which Zyklon was poured in. But as anyone at the site can observe for himself, none of those four openings ever existed. Given that Auschwitz is the capital of the “Holocaust,” and that this ruined crematory is at the core of the alleged extermination process of the Jews at Auschwitz, in 1994 I said (and this phrase seems since to have caught on): “No holes, no ‘Holocaust’.”

It is equally fortunate that a plethora of “testimonies” that supposedly confirm these homicidal gassings have thus been invalidated. By the same token, it is extremely deplorable that so many Germans were tried and convicted by their victorious adversaries for crimes they could not have committed, some even being put to death.

It is a good thing that, in the light of trials resembling so many judicial masquerades, the exterminationists themselves voice doubts as to the validity of numerous testimonies. The defective nature of these testimonies would have been much more obvious if one had taken the trouble to carry out a expert examination of the supposed weapon of the alleged crime. But in the course of hundreds of trials concerning Auschwitz or other camps, no court ordered any such inquiry. (The one exception, very little known, was carried out at Struthof-Natzweiler in Alsace, the results of which were kept hidden until I revealed them.) It was nonetheless known that a good number of testimonies or confessions needed to be verified and checked against the material facts and that, in the absence of those two conditions, they were worthless as evidence.

It is fortunate that official history has revised downwards — often quite drastically — the supposed number of victims. It was only after more than 40 years of revisionist pressure that Jewish authorities and those of the Auschwitz State Museum removed the 19 plaques that, in 19 different languages, announced that the number of victims there had been four million. It then took five years of internal bickering for agreement to be reached on the new figure of one and a half million, a figure that, in turn, was very quickly challenged by exterminationist authors. Jean-Claude Pressac, Serge Klarsfeld’s protg, has more recently proposed a figure of 600,000 to 800,000 Jewish and non-Jewish victims during the entire period of the Auschwitz complex’s existence. note 18 It is a pity that this quest for the true figure is not followed through to reach the likely figure of 150,000 persons — most of them victims of epidemics — in the nearly 40 camps of the Auschwitz complex. It is deplorable that the film “Nuit et Brouillard” (“Night and Fog”), in which the Auschwitz death toll is put at nine million, continues to be shown in French schools. This film perpetuates the myths of “soap made from the bodies,” or lampshades of human skin, and of scratches made by fingernails of dying victims on the concrete walls of the gas chambers. The film even proclaims that “nothing distinguished the gas chamber from an ordinary barracks”!

It was a good thing that Arno Mayer, a Princeton University professor of Jewish origin, wrote in 1988: “Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable.” note 19 But why was it affirmed for so many years that the sources were countless and trustworthy? And why was scorn poured on the revisionists who, since 1950, had written what Arno Mayer affirmed in 1988?

It was a particularly good thing that the French historian Jacques Baynac, who had made a speciality, in Le Monde and elsewhere, of labeling the revisionists as forgers, should finally acknowledge in 1996 that there was, after all, no evidence of the existence of homicidal gas chambers. It was, he made clear, “as painful to say as it is to hear.” note 20 Perhaps, for certain persons, and in certain circumstances, the truth is “as painful to say as it is to hear.” For revisionists, though, the truth is as pleasant to say as it is to hear.

Lastly, it is fortunate that the exterminationists have allowed themselves to undermine the third and last element of the Shoah trinity: the figure of six million Jewish deaths. note 21 It seems that this figure was first put forth by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel (1903-1956). Based in Slovakia, this rabbi was the main inventor of the Auschwitz lie based on the alleged testimonies of Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler. He organized intensive “information campaigns” aimed at the Allies, at Switzerland, and at the Vatican. In a letter of May 31, 1944 (that is, nearly a full year before the war’s end in Europe), he did not shrink from writing: “Till now six times a million Jews from Europe and Russia have been destroyed.” note 22

This six million figure was also published before the end of the war in the writings of the Soviet Jew Ilya Ehrenburg (1891-1967), perhaps the most hateful propagandist of the Second World War. note 23 In 1979 the six million figure was suddenly termed “symbolic” (that is, false) by the exterminationist Martin Broszat during the trial of a German revisionist. In 1961, Raul Hilberg, that most prestigious of conventional historians, estimated the number of Jewish wartime deaths to have been 5.1 million. In 1953, another of those historians, Gerald Reitlinger, put forth a figure of between 4.2 and 4.6 million. In fact, though, no historian of that school has offered any figures based on the results of an investigation. It has always been a matter of each one’s own more or less educated guess. The revisionist Paul Rassinier, for his part, proposed the figure of “about one million” Jewish deaths. As he pointed out, though, he did so on the basis of numbers furnished by the opposing side. His figure was thus also a product of guesswork.

The truth is that many European Jews perished, and many survived. With modern calculation methods it should be possible to determine what, in each case, is meant by “many.” However, the three sources from which the necessary information might be obtained are, in practice, either forbidden to independent researchers or are accessible only with great limitation:

Even 52 years after the end of the war, the State of Israel put the official number of “Holocaust” “survivors” around the world at some 900,000. (More precisely, it gave figures of between 834,000 and 960,000.) note 24 According to a computation made by the Swedish statistician Carl O. Nordling, to whom I submitted that Israeli government evaluation, it is possible, postulating the existence of 900,000 “survivors” in 1997, to conclude that there were, at the end of the war in Europe in 1945, slightly more than three million “survivors.” Even today, a diverse range of organizations or associations of “survivors” flourish around the world. These include associations of veteran Jewish “rsistants,” of former children of Auschwitz (that is, Jewish children born in that camp or interned there with their parents at a very early age), of former Jewish forced laborers, and, more simply, formerly clandestine Jews or Jewish fugitives. Millions of beneficiaries of “miracles” no longer constitute a “miracle,” but are rather the result of a natural phenomenon. The American press has reported fairly often on moving reunions of family members, “Holocaust” survivors all, each of whom, we are assured, was at one time convinced that his or her “entire family” had been lost.

To sum up, in spite of the dogma and the laws, the pursuit of the historical truth about the Second World War in general, and about the Shoah in particular, has made headway in recent years, but the general public is kept in the dark about this. It would be stunned to learn that, since the early 1980s, establishment historians have relegated many of the most firmly held popular beliefs to the rank of legend. From this point of view, one can say that there are two levels of “the Holocaust”: on the one hand, that of the public at large and, on the other, that of the conformist historians. The first seems to be unshakable, while the second (to judge by the number of hasty repairs being made to it), seems on the verge of collapse.

Year by year (and especially since 1979), the concessions made to the revisionists by the “orthodox” historians have been so numerous and of such quality that today the latter find themselves at a dead end. No longer having anything of substance to say about the “Holocaust,” they have handed the baton to the filmmakers, novelists, and theater people. Even the museum people are at a loss. At the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the “decision” has been made not to offer for public viewing “any physical representation of the gas chambers.” (This is according to a statement made to me, and in the presence of four witnesses in August 1994, by the Museum’s Research Director, Michael Berenbaum. He is the author of a guide book of more than 200 pages in which, in effect, no physical representation of gas chambers appears, not even one of the miserable and fallacious mock-up on display for Museum visitors.) note 25 The public is forbidden to take photographs there. Claude Lanzmann, maker of “Shoah,” a film remarkable for its utter lack of historical or scientific content, today no longer has any recourse but to pontificate in deploring the fact that “the revisionists occupy the whole terrain.” note 26 As for Elie Wiesel, he calls on everyone to show discretion. He requests that we no longer try to closely examine, or even to imagine what happened in the gas chambers: “Let the gas chambers remain closed to prying eyes, and to imagination.” note 27 The “Holocaust” historians have turned into theoreticians, philosophers, and “thinkers.” The squabbles among them, between “intentionalists” and “functionalists,” or between supporters and adversaries of a thesis such as Daniel Goldhagen’s on the near-innate propensity of Germans to descend into anti-Semitism and racist crime, ought not to conceal from view the poverty of their historical work.

In 1998, an appraisal of the revisionist enterprise could be briefly put as follows: a sparkling success on the historical and scholarly front (where our opponents capitulated in 1996), but a failure on the public relations front. (Our adversaries have closed off all access to the media except, for the time being, the Internet.)

In the 1980s and early 1990s, anti-revisionist authors attempted to cross swords with the revisionists on the field of historical scholarship. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Nadine Fresco, Georges Wellers, Adalbert Rckerl, Hermann Langbein, Eugen Kogon, Arno Mayer, and Serge Klarsfeld, each in turn tried to persuade the media that answers had been found to the revisionists’ material or documentary arguments. Even Michael Berenbaum, even the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in 1993 and in early 1994, wanted to pick up the gauntlet I had thrown down, and try to show just a single Nazi gas chamber, just a single proof — of their own choosing — that there had been a genocide of the Jews. But their failures were so stinging that thereafter they abandoned, ever more progressively, the fight on that turf. More recently, in 1998, appeared a thick book by Michael Berenbaum (together with Abraham J. Peck) entitled The Holocaust and History. note 28 But far from examining, on the level of historical scholarship, what the authors call the “Holocaust,” instead they unintentionally show that the “Holocaust” is one thing, and “History” quite another. The work, moreover, is quasi-immaterial, presenting neither photographs, nor drawings, nor the least attempt to represent physically any reality whatever. Only the dust jacket offers a view of a heap of shoes. Reputedly possessing a certain graphic eloquence, at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum they supposedly tell us: “We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.” This book is merely a compilation of 55 contributions written and published under the watchful eye of Rabbi Berenbaum: in it even Raul Hilberg, even Yehuda Bauer, even Franciszek Piper, abandon any real effort at scholarly research, while at the same time anathema is pronounced against Arno Mayer who, in his 1988 study, tried to put the “Holocaust” back into the realm of history. note 29 The irrational has prevailed against attempts at rationalization. Elie Wiesel, Claude Lanzmann, and Steven Spielberg (in his film, “Schindler’s List,” inspired by a novel), have in the end triumphed over those in their own camp who once tried to prove the “Holocaust.”

In future years it will be seen in hindsight that in September 1996 the death knell sounded for the hopes of those who wanted to combat revisionism on historical and scholarly grounds. The two long articles in a Swiss daily paper written by the anti-revisionist historian Jacques Baynac definitively closed the book on attempts at a rational response to revisionist arguments.

In the mid- and late 1970s, I offered my own contribution to the development of revisionism. I discovered and formulated what has since come to be known as the physical and chemical argument, that is, the physical and chemical reasons why the alleged Nazi gas chambers were quite simply inconceivable. At the time, I commended myself for having presented to the world a decisive argument that had never before been expounded either by a German chemist or an American engineer. (Germany is not short of chemists, and the United States has engineers who, given the forbidding complexities involved in making and operating an American penitentiary gas chamber, ought to have realized that, because of certain physical and chemical realities, the alleged Nazi gas chambers could not possibly have operated as claimed.)

If, during that period, amidst the fracas prompted by my discovery, a clairvoyant had predicted that, 20 years later, my adversaries, after many attempts to show that I was wrong, would (as Baynac did in 1996) resign themselves to acknowledging that, after all, there existed not the least evidence with which to prove the reality of a single Nazi gas chamber, I certainly would have rejoiced. I might have also concluded that the myth of the “Holocaust” could never survive such a direct hit, that the media would then quit propagating the Great Lie and that, quite naturally, the legal repression of revisionists would end by itself.

In so reckoning I would have committed an error both of diagnosis and of prognosis.

For the spirit of superstitious belief is different than that of science. It makes its own way in the world. The realm of religion, of ideology, of illusion, of the media, and of fictional cinema can develop at a certain remove from scientific realities. Even Voltaire never succeeded in “crushing the vile foe.” One may therefore say that, like Voltaire denouncing the absurdities of the Hebraic tales, the revisionists — in spite of the scholarly character of their work — are doomed never to carry the day against the wild imaginings of the Synagogue, while the Synagogue, for its part, will never succeed in stifling the voices of the revisionists. The “Holocaust” and “Shoah business” propaganda will continue to flourish. It still remains for revisionists to show how this belief, this myth was born, grew and flourished before, perhaps, one day disappearing to make way, not for reason but for other beliefs and other myths.

How are men deceived, and why do they deceive themselves so readily?

The masses are most easily fooled through manipulation of images. With the liberation of the German concentration camps in April 1945, British and American journalists rushed to photograph and film true horrors that were then, one may say, made into truer than life horrors. In the language dear to media people, the public was presented with a “put-up” job. note 30 On the one hand, we were shown real dead bodies as well as real crematories, and, on the other hand, thanks to some misleading comments and a cinematic staging, a deft artifice was effected. I describe this fraud with a phrase that may serve to help unmask all such impostures: We were led to take the dead for killed, and crematories for execution gas chambers.

Thus was born the confusion, still so widespread today, between, on the one hand, the crematories, which actually existed (but not at Bergen-Belsen) for the incineration of corpses and, on the other hand, the Nazi gas chambers allegedly used to kill whole crowds of men and women, but which, in reality, never existed nor could have existed.

The myth of the Nazi gas chambers and their association with the crematories originated, in its media form, in the press and newsreel photographs and media commentary from the Bergen-Belsen camp — which, orthodox historians now admit, possessed neither mass-execution gas chambers nor even simple crematories.

At a news conference in Stockholm in March 1992, I issued a challenge to the audience of newspaper and television reporters. That challenge was made in the nine words: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber.”

The next day, the journalists’ reports on the news conference indeed appeared, but they passed over in silence its essential object: precisely that challenge. They had looked for photographs and had found none.

Billions of people over this past half-century assume (or imagine) that they have seen images of Nazi gas chambers in books or in documentary films. Many are convinced that, at least once in their lives, they’ve come across a photograph of a Nazi gas chamber. Some have visited Auschwitz or another camp where guides told them that this or that structure was a gas chamber. Such visitors are told that before their eyes is (as the case may be) a gas chamber “in its original state” or “a reconstruction” of an original gas chamber. (This latter expression implies that the “reconstruction” is faithful, that it conforms to the “original.”) Sometimes visitors are shown remains of what they are told are “ruins of a gas chamber.” note 31 Yet, in all such cases, they have been deceived or, better, have deceived themselves. This phenomenon is easily explained.

Many people imagine that a homicidal gas chamber is merely a room with poison gas inside. This reveals confusion between an execution gassing, and a suicidal or accidental one. An execution gassing, such as those of individuals in some United States prisons, is unavoidably a very complicated undertaking. In such a case, care must be taken to kill only the condemned prisoner without causing an accident, and without putting one’s own life, or that of one’s associates, in danger, especially in the final phase, that is, when the chamber must be entered to remove the contaminated corpse. Most “Holocaust” museum visitors, readers, film-goers, and even most historians, are obviously unaware of any of this. Those in charge of “Holocaust” museums exploit this lack of awareness. For an effective Nazi gas chamber exhibit, they need only show the credulous public a gloomy space or room, a cold morgue room, a shower room (preferably located below ground), or an air raid shelter (with a peephole in its door), and the trick will work. The tricksters can manage with even less that this: it’s enough merely to show a door, a wall, or a roof of a purported “gas chamber.” The most clever ones will get by with just a bundle of hair, a pile of shoes, or a heap of eyeglasses, while claiming that these are the only traces or remains left of the “gassed” victims. Naturally, they will refrain from mentioning that, during the war and the blockade, in a Europe beset with general shortages and penury, vast “recovery” and “recycling” programs were organized to reclaim all recoverable materials, including hair, which was used, for example, in textile products.

A similar confusion reigns with respect to the witnesses. We are presented with bands of witnesses to the genocide of the Jews. Whether orally or in writing, these witnesses claim to assert that Germany carried out a plan for the overall extermination of the Jews of Europe. In reality, these witnesses can truthfully attest only to such facts as the Jews’ deportation, their internment in detention camps, concentration camps or forced labor camps, and even, in some cases, the functioning of crematories. The Jews were to so great a degree not doomed to extermination, or to end up in mass-execution gas chambers, that each one of these countless survivors or escapees, far from constituting, as some would have us believe, a “living proof of the genocide,” is, on the contrary, a living proof that there was no genocide. As has been seen above, at war’s end the number of Jewish “survivors” of the “Holocaust” probably exceeded three million.

For Auschwitz alone, a lengthy list may be made of former Jewish inmates who have borne witness — in public, orally or in writing, on television, in books, in the law courts — to “the extermination of the Jews” in the camp. note 32

I shall also mention the resounding case of a late arrival — the Swiss clarinettist Binjamin Wilkomirski. It is not clear why, but this false witness was publicly exposed after a three-year spell of glory during which he was honored with the US National Jewish Book Award, the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize in Britain, the Mmoire de la Shoah prize in France, and an impressive series of dithyrambic articles in the press worldwide. His purported autobiography, in which he relates being deported as a child to Majdanek and to Auschwitz (?), was originally published in Germany in 1995. It appeared in English under the title Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood. note 33 Jewish author Daniel Ganzfried concluded, on the basis of his investigation, that Binjamin Wilkomirski, alias Bruno Doessekker, born Bruno Grosjean, indeed had some experience of Auschwitz and Majdanek, but only after the war, as a tourist. note 34 In 1995 the Australian Donald Watt successfully deceived much of the English-language media with a memoir that told of his alleged life as a crematory “stoker” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. note 35 Between September and November 1998, a vast media operation was organized in Germany and France based on the sudden “revelations” of Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mnch, one-time SS physician at Auschwitz. The vein is decidedly bountiful.

Primo Levi is still generally treated as a reliable witness. While this reputation was perhaps deserved in 1947, with the publication of his book Se questo un uomo (published in the US under the title Survival in Auschwitz), Levi later conducted himself rather unworthily. Elie Wiesel remains the undisputed “star false witness” of the “Holocaust.” In his autobiographical account Night he does not mention “gas chambers.” For him, the Germans threw Jews into blazing pits. (As recently as June 2, 1987, he testified under oath at the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyon that he had “seen, in a little wood, somewhere in [Auschwitz] Birkenau, SS men throwing live children into the flames.” (The translator and editor of the German version of Night resuscitated the “gas chambers” in Wiesel’s account of Auschwitz. In France, Fred Sedel in 1990 similarly proceeded in re-editing a book that had appeared in 1963, putting “chambres gaz” ["gas chamber"] where, 27 years earlier, he had mentioned only “fours crmatoires” ["crematory ovens"].) note 36

In this same boat of “pious lies” one may also include the testimonies of some non-Jews, in particular that of General Andr Rogerie. In the original 1946 edition of his memoir, Vivre, c’est vaincre, he wrote only of having heard talk of “gas chambers.” But fortified by support from Georges Wellers, he presented himself in 1988 as a “Holocaust witness” who had “beheld the Shoah at Birkenau.” note 37 As he himself has related, his lot as a prisoner in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was a privileged one. He lodged in the barracks of the “bosses” and enjoyed a “royally cushy position” of which he “has fond remembrances.” He ate pancakes with jam and played bridge. Of course, he wrote, “not only merry events take place [in the camp].” Still, upon leaving Birkenau he had this thought: “Unlike many others, I have been better off here than anywhere else.” note 38

Samuel Gringauz got through the war in the ghetto of Kaunas, Lithuania. In 1950 — that is, at a time when it was still possible to speak somewhat freely on the subject — he gave an appraisal of the literature thus far produced by the survivors of the “great Jewish catastrophe.” Deploring the trespasses to which their “hyper-historical complex” was then giving rise, he wrote: note 39

The hyper-historical complex may be described as judeocentric, lococentric and egocentric. It concentrates historical relevance on Jewish problems of local events under the aspect of personal experience. This is the reason why most of the memoirs and reports are full of preposterous verbosity, graphomanic exaggeration, dramatic effects, overestimated self-inflation, dilletante [sic] philosophizing, would-be lyricism, unchecked rumors, bias, partisan attacks and apologies.

One can only assent to this judgment, which could perfectly well apply today to a Claude Lanzmann or an Elie Wiesel. For the latter’s “hyper-historical complex,” for the “judeocentric, lococentric and egocentric” character of his writings, one may refer to Wiesel’s two recent volumes of memoirs, published in the US under the titles All Rivers Run to the Sea, and, And the Sea is Never Full. In so doing, one may also realize that, far from having been exterminated, a great many of the members of the Jewish community of the little Romanian-Hungarian town of Sighet in all likelihood survived deportation, notably to Auschwitz in May and June of 1944, and internment. Himself a native of Sighet, Wiesel endured the fate of his fellow townspeople. In journeys to various places around the world after the war, he came upon an amazing number of relatives, friends, old acquaintances, and others from Sighet who, thanks to a succession of “miracles,” had survived Auschwitz or the “Holocaust.”

Just as perplexed as today’s generation, those of the future will ask themselves identical questions about a number of Second World War myths besides that of the Nazi gas chambers: in addition to the stories already mentioned of “Jewish soap,” tanned human skins, “shrunken heads,” and “gas vans,” one may also cite the stories of the insane medical experiments attributed to Dr. Mengele, Adolf Hitler’s orders to exterminate the Jews, Heinrich Himmler’s order to halt said extermination, and the mass killings of Jews by electricity, steam, quicklime, crematories, burning pits, and vacuum pumps. Let us also cite the purported exterminations of Gypsies and homosexuals, and the alleged gassings of the mentally ill. Future generations will also wonder about many other subjects: the massacres on the Eastern front as related in certain writings, and in writing only, at the Nuremberg trial by the professional false witness Hermann Grbe; such now-acknowledged impostures as the book supposedly by Hermann Rauschning, which in fact was written chiefly by the Hungarian Jew Imre Rvsz, alias Emery Reves, but used extensively at the Nuremberg trial as though it were authentic; note 40 the mass killing of Jews near Auschwitz with an experimental atomic bomb, a claim also brought up at the Nuremberg trial; note 41 the absurd “confessions” extorted from German prisoners; the reputed diary of Anne Frank; the young boy in the Warsaw ghetto shown as going to his death, whereas he most likely emigrated to New York after the war; note 42 along with various false memoirs, false stories, false testimonies, and false attributions, the true natures of which would, with a minimum of effort, have been easy to ascertain.

But those future generations will probably be astonished most of all by the myth that was instituted and hallowed by the Nuremberg trial (and, to a lesser degree, by the Tokyo trial): that of the intrinsic barbarity of the vanquished and the intrinsic virtue of the victors who, as becomes apparent upon a close look at the facts, themselves committed acts of horror that were far more striking, both in quantity and in quality, than those perpetrated by the vanquished.

At a time when one might be led to believe that only the Jews really suffered during the Second World War, and that only the Germans behaved like veritable criminals, an impartial examination into the true sufferings of all peoples and the real crimes of all belligerents seems overdue.

Whether “just” or “unjust,” every war is a butchery — indeed, notwithstanding the heroism of countless soldiers, a competition in butchery. At the end of it, the winner turns out to have been nothing more than a good butcher, and the loser a bad butcher. So when hostilities have ceased, the victor may perhaps be entitled to give the vanquished a lesson in butchery, but certainly not in Right and Justice. Yet that is just what happened in the great Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, when the four big winners, acting in their own names and in the name of the 19 victorious entities (not counting the World Jewish Congress, which enjoyed the status of amicus curiae or “friend of the court”), had the cynicism to inflict such a treatment on a beaten nation reduced to total impotence.

According to Nahum Goldmann, President of both the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization, the idea of such a trial was the brainchild of a few Jews. note 43 As for the role played by Jews in the actual proceedings at Nuremberg, it was considerable. The American delegation, which ran the entire business, was made up largely of “re-emigrants,” that is, of Jews who migrated in the 1930s from Germany to America, and then returned to Germany after the war. Gustave M. Gilbert, the famous psychologist and author of Nuremberg Diary (1947), was a Jew who, working behind the scenes with the American prosecutors, did not miss the chance to practice psychological torture on the German defendants. Airey Neave, a member of the British delegation, remarked, in a book prefaced by Lord Justice Birkett, one of the panel of judges, that many of the American examiners were German-born, and all were Jewish. note 44

For reasons I deal with in detail in my crits rvisionnistes collection, the Nuremberg trial can be regarded as this century’s crime of all crimes. Its consequences have proven tragic. It accorded the status of truth to an extravagant volume of lies, calumnies, and injustices that over the years have served to justify all kinds of wickedness: in particular Bolshevik and Zionist expansionism at the expense of nations in Europe and Asia, and of Palestine. Given, however, that the Nuremberg judges found Germany guilty, first and foremost, of having unilaterally plotted and instigated the Second World War, we must begin by first examining this point.

Because history is primarily a matter of geography, let us consider a desktop globe of the year 1939 on whose surface a single color would cover four immense aggregates: Great Britain and her empire of a fifth of the Earth, and upon which “the sun never set,” France and her own vast colonial empire, the United States and its vassals, and, finally, the impressive empire of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Then, another color would mark the modest Germany within her pre-war borders, the meager Italy and her little colonial empire, and finally Japan, whose armies at the time occupied territory in China. (We shall not consider here the countries that were later to join the ranks, at least provisionally, of one or the other of these two belligerent blocs.)

The contrast between the geographical areas covered by these two groups is striking, as is the contrast between their natural, industrial, and commercial resources. Of course, by the end of the 1930s, Germany and Japan were starting — as the postwar years further proved — to shake off their yokes, and to build an economy and an army capable of disquieting the bigger and stronger powers. And, of course, the Germans and the Japanese, during the first years of the war, deployed an uncommon measure of energy and succeeded in carving out their short-lived empires. But, all things considered, Germany, Italy, and Japan were mere dwarfs, so to speak, beside the four giants that were the British, French, American, and Soviet empires.

Who today can seriously believe — as was maintained at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials — that during the late 1930s these three dwarfs deliberately sought to provoke a new world war? Better still: who today can believe for an instant that, during the general slaughter that ensued, the first of these three dwarfs (Germany) was guilty of every imaginable crime, while the next (Japan) came a distant second, and the third (Italy), which changed sides in September 1943, committed no really reprehensible acts? Who today can accept the notion that the four giants did not, to use the Nuremberg terminology, commit any “crimes against peace,” any “war crimes,” or any “crimes against humanity” that, after 1945, would have warranted judgment by an international tribunal?

It is nevertheless easy to show, with solid proof, that the winners, in six years of war and in a few years afterwards, accumulated, in their massacres of prisoners of war and of civilians, in massive deportations, in systematic looting, and in summary or “judicial” executions, more horrors than the losers. Katyn forest, the Gulag, Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the expulsion, under horrible conditions, of 12 to 15 million Germans (from East Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia), the handing over of millions of Europeans to the Soviet moloch, the bloodiest purge ever to sweep the continent: was all of that really too small a matter for review by an international tribunal? During this past century, no military force has killed as many children — in Europe, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Central America — as the US air force. And yet no international authority has held it to account for these slaughters, which the “boys” have always been ready to carry out anywhere in the world, for such is their “job.” note 45

“Cursed be war!” reads the inscription on the war memorial in the small French town of Gentioux. In the town of Saint-Martin-d’Estraux, the inscription on the memorial is lengthier, but its “assessment” of the war sends forth the same cry. note 46 The lists, in churches and on monuments throughout France, of the dead from the 1914-1918 war are heart-rending. Today no one is really able to say for just what reason the youth of France (just as, on its side, the youth of Germany) were thus mown down.

On some of these same memorials in our towns and villages one can also find, though in markedly smaller numbers, the names of young Frenchmen killed or missing during the campaign of 1939-1940: about 87,000 altogether. Occasionally one also finds lists of civilian victims. During the war years, the British and Americans alone killed some 67,000 in their air attacks on France. Occasionally, to round out the list, one can sometimes find the names of a few Rsistance members who died in their beds well after the war. Almost never can one find the names of French victims of the “Great Purge” of 1944-1947 — probably 14,000, and not 30,000 or, as is sometimes claimed, 105,000 — in which Jews, Communists, and last-minute Gaullists played an essential role. With rare exceptions the names of the colonial troops who “died for France” are also missing, because they were not natives of the French towns.

For France, the two world wars constituted a disaster: the first, especially because of the sheer volume of human losses, and the second because of its character as a civil war that has persisted to this day.

When reflecting on these lists of First World War dead, including those “missing in action,” when remembering the whole battalions of men who survived with ruined faces, of those wounded, maimed, and crippled for life, when taking stock of the destructions of all sorts, when thinking of the families devastated by these losses, of the prisoners, of those “shot for desertion,” of the suicides provoked by so much suffering, when remembering as well the 25 million deaths in America and Europe in 1918 from the epidemic of a viral illness wrongly called “Spanish influenza” (brought into France, at least in part, by American troops), note 47 can one not understand the pre-1939-1945 pacifists and supporters of “Munich,” as well as the Ptainists of 1940? What right today has anyone to speak blithely of “cowardice,” either with regard to the Munich accords of September 29 and 30, 1938, or to the armistice signed at Rethondes in Picardy on June 22, 1940? Could the Frenchmen who, in the late 1930s, still bore the physical and emotional scars of the 1914-1918 holocaust (a veritable one), and its aftermath, consider it a moral obligation to hurl themselves straight into a new slaughter? And, after the signing of an armistice that, however harsh, was by no means shameful, where was the dishonor in seeking an understanding with the adversary, not in order to wage war but to make peace?

“Hitler [was] born at Versailles”: that sentence serves as the title of a work by the late Lon Degrelle. note 48 The 1919 Versailles Diktat — for it was not really a treaty — was so harsh and dishonorable for the defeated nation that the American Senate refused to recognize or adopt it (November 20, 1919). And in the years that followed, it was ever more discredited. It dismembered Germany, submitted it to a cruel military occupation, and starved it. In particular, it obliged the defeated nation to cede to the newly created state of Poland the regions of Posen, Upper Silesia, and part of West Prussia. The 440 articles of the “Treaty of Peace Between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany” (together with its annexes) signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, constituted, along with the related treaties (Trianon, Saint-Germain, Svres), a monumental iniquity which, if anything, only the fury of a recently ended war can explain. As one French writer has put it: “It is easy enough to find fault with the Germans for not having respected Versailles. Their duty of honor as Germans was, first, to get round it, and then to tear it up, just as that of the French was to maintain it.” note 49

Twenty years after that crushing humiliation, Hitler sought to recover some of the territory turned over to Poland, just as France, after its defeat in 1870, sought to recover Alsace and a part of Lorraine.

Unless he chooses to speak flippantly, no historian is in a position to state who in fact is mainly to blame for a worldwide conflict. It is thus wise not to ascribe to Hitler exclusive responsibility for the 1939-1945 war under the pretext that, on the 1st of September 1939, he went to war against Poland. On the other hand, the attempt to justify the entry into war of Britain and France, two days later, against Germany on the basis of a pledge to come to the aid of Poland seems rather unfounded given that, two weeks later (September 17, 1939), the USSR invaded Poland and occupied a good part of its territory, without prompting any military reaction on the part of Britain or France.

Worldwide conflicts resemble tremendous natural disasters in that they cannot accurately be predicted, even if one can sometimes feel them coming. Only after the fact can they be explained, laboriously and, too often, affected by reserves of bad faith in the form of mutual accusations of negligence, blindness, ill will, or irresponsibility. All the same one can note that in Germany during the late 1930s, the pro-war camp, that is, those who urged military action against the western powers was, to all intents and purposes, non-existent. The Germans envisaged only a “push to the East” (Drang nach Osten). On the other hand, in Britain, France and the United States, the anti-German hawks were powerful. The “war party” wanted a “democratic crusade,” and got it. Among these new crusaders figured, with a few noteworthy exceptions, the whole of American and European organized Jewry.

During the First World War, the British cynically exploited all the resources of propaganda based on wholly fictitious atrocity stories. note 50 During the Second World War they remained true to form.

Today people widely condemn Neville Chamberlain for his policy of “appeasement” in dealing with the Germans, whereas people hold, or pretend to hold, Winston Churchill in high esteem for his determination to carry on war against Germany. It is not yet certain that history, with time, will uphold this judgment. New discoveries concerning Churchill’s personality and wartime role raise questions about the dubious justifications for that determination, along with questions about the fruits of his policies. At least Chamberlain had foreseen that even a British victory would entail disaster for his country, her empire, and for other victors as well. Churchill did not see this, or did not know how to see it. He promised “blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” to be followed by victory. He did not anticipate the bitter morrow of victory: the hastened disappearance of the empire he held dear, and the handing over of nearly half of Europe to Communist imperialism.

During an address given several years ago, David Irving, Churchill’s biographer, showed the illusory nature of the justifications given by Churchill, first, to launch his countrymen into the war, and then to keep them in it. The business, if one may so term it, was carried out in four phases.

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Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism

Trump, the Jews and the political weaponization of antisemitism – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Was that so hard?

At some point in the past week, it looked like President Donald Trump was never going to use antisemitism in a sentence. It took a fourth series of hoax bomb threats at JCCs around the country and imprecations from Jewish groups across the ideological spectrum for the president to at last use the A word.

Antisemitism is horrible and its going to stop, and it has to stop, Trump said Tuesday morning. The antisemitic threats targeting our Jewish community and our Jewish community centers are horrible, are painful and they are a reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

That it took so long for Trump to condemn antisemitism after twice being asked about it last week, and coming on the heels of a White House International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that somehow omitted any mention of the Jews, was mind-boggling to many groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said so in a tweet.

It had reached a point that I already started imagining a White House Passover greeting that didnt mention the Jews.

Starting at sundown, the world will come together to remember certain events in Egypt, it would begin, and end with, Ive made it clear that all plagues are horrible.

What made Trumps demurrals stranger is that denunciations of antisemitism are to presidential declarations what kosher symbols are to supermarket goods: It doesnt hurt to have one, and only Jews usually notice.

So why did it take the administration five tries to get it right? I am counting the two news conferences, in which Trump basically punted on the question from two Jewish reporters; a statement from the White House on Monday that denounced hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind without mentioning Jews or antisemitism, and daughter Ivankas tweet saying We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC. The JCC hashtag was a nice touch, but not exactly a Queen Esther-style declaration of co-religious solidarity.

Pundits spent the past week trying to explain Trumps hesitation. Peter Beinart blamed narcissism, using the theory that when Trump hears antisemitism, he cant help but take it as a personal attack that he must fend off. I wondered if it was simple belligerence that the more you ask this president for something, the more he is likely to say you cant make me.

Or maybe he was just annoyed at the ADL, the group most identified with combating antisemitism, for repeatedly calling him and his campaign out for either ignoring or encouraging intolerance. Maybe Trump saw CEO Jonathan Greenblatts Feb. 17 column in The Washington Post recalling how the Trump campaign repeatedly tweeted and shared antisemitic imagery and language, thus allowing this poison to move from the margins into the mainstream of the public conversation.

The most ominous explanation, offered by Bradley Burston from the left-wing Haaretz newspaper and a surprisingly outspoken Chuck Todd of NBC News, was that Trump was throwing a bone to or at least trying not to alienate the alt-right trolls who formed a small but vocal part of his winning coalition.

Mr. President, we believe you and many other Jews believe you, so please make it clear that not only are you not an antisemite but that you reject people who are even if they did vote for you, Todd said last week.

If Trump had been struggling with a political calculation, it was reminiscent of one that played out in the 2008 campaign, when then-candidate Barack Obama was being pressed to disavow an endorsement from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. When he was asked about Farrakhan during a debate with fellow Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, you could almost see the thought bubble over Obamas head as he weighed rejecting Farrakhan without alienating supporters who considered him a hero.

Obama answered by reiterating his denunciation of Farrakhans antisemitism, leading to a semantic debate with Clinton over the distinction between denouncing and rejecting. Eventually the ADLs then national director, Abe Foxman, declared that Obama had cleared the Farrakhan hurdle.

If Trumps allergy to the A word is a political calculation, what would it be? He knows that three out of every four Jews didnt vote for him, and perhaps someone is whispering to him, a la James Baker, that he gains no advantage by caving to a special interest as liberal as the Jews.

Trumps critics pin the issue on his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, who came to the Trump campaign after steering Breitbart News, which he himself called a platform for the alt-right, among other right-wing movements. In turn, Bannons defenders note that Breitbart is enthusiastically pro-Israel and often keeps tabs on antisemitism.

But search antisemitism at Breitbart and a pattern emerges one that could explain the week that was. The site seems most exercised about Jew hatred when it is committed by Muslims, members of the left wing in Europe, and far left and anti-Israel activists on American college campuses. When it does report on hate crimes in the United States, its coverage is almost always skeptical, highlighting hate-crime hoaxes or quoting those who deny that there has been a surge in hate crimes here or in Britain since the US elections or Brexit.

This week, when much of the press corps was focusing on how and whether Trump would denounce antisemitism, Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, was accusing the media of hyping fears of antisemitism. Pollak blames an ongoing pattern of false hate crimes and the medias reluctance to report on left-wing antisemitism. But mostly he blames general anti-Trump hysteria.

Trumps critics seem to want to believe false accusations of antisemitism, which justify their hatred of him and maintain a sense of outrage and unity among activists, writes Pollak.

For Pollak and other Breitbart contributors, the reporting and denunciation of antisemitism is a partisan weapon wielded by the left to discredit the right. (Just as Trump asserted that its a charge wielded by a dishonest media to discredit him.) Of course, Breitbart also politicizes antisemitism, using it as a scarlet A to be worn, almost exclusively, by Muslims, campus radicals, self-hating Jews and European leftists. In fact, it has become an increasingly familiar trope both on the left and the right that the other is more antisemitic.

At least both sides agree that antisemitism is bad, even if they hesitate to take responsibility for the version that metastasizes among their ideological allies. They want to target the Jew haters but are wary about friendly fire.

Maybe the mistake of Jewish groups in seeking a strong response from Trump is that they are living in a simpler past, when both sides could agree that antisemitism was an evil, no matter the perpetrators or their politics.

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Israel prevents EU lawmakers from Gaza entry – The Times of Israel

Five European parliamentarians said Wednesday that Israeli authorities prevented them from entering the Gaza Strip.

The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable, Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis said in a statement.

Similar delegations of European lawmakers have been barred from entering the Palestinian coastal enclave since 2011, the statement added, though a team led by the head of the European Parliaments budget committee was allowed to visit once.

What is there to hide from us? Sylikiotis said, condemning what he called systematic entry bans.

Cyprian MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis 2107 (Screen capture: YouTube)

Israel, which controls all access to Gaza apart from its southern border with Egypt, explained that parliamentarians were not among those allowed to enter the Hamas-run territory.

Israeli policy allows professional and humanitarian officials to cross between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the development of the Gaza Strip in the field of economy and infrastructure, in addition to foreign diplomats serving in the Palestinian Authority or Israel, the defense ministry body responsible for approving entry told AFP.

Sylikiotis dismissed the explanations as unacceptable, and called on the international community to pressure Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.

On Tuesday the delegation visited Israels Ofer Prison in the West Bank, where Palestinian security prisoners are held, and Sylikiotis took to Twitter to criticize Israel for jailing minors.

The European Union is the largest donor of financial aid to the Palestinians.

Israel says its maritime, land and sea blockade of Gaza is aimed at preventing Hamas from receiving weapons and supplies which could be used for military purposes. An Islamist terror group, Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, seeks the destruction of Israel, and has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.

The World Bank and the United Nations say the decade-long blockade of Gaza has killed virtually all exports and severely damaged the enclaves economy.

The blockade, coupled with the almost permanent closure of the Egyptian border, impacts almost all the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

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Israel prevents EU lawmakers from Gaza entry – The Times of Israel

A proposed real estate development in the historic center of Manchester is pitting two ex-Manchester United soccer … – Tablet Magazine

A proposed real estate development in the historic center of Manchester is pitting two ex-Manchester United soccer stars and a Reform synagogue against Englands heritage lobby.

Former pros Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are the public face a plan for two new skyscrapers in the St. Michaels area of Manchester, the heart of what has traditionally been a low-rise city, near the sight of the historic town hall and central library. Developers have called it a landmark development for Manchester.

Construction would necessitate the demolition of three older buildings, including Manchester Reform Synagogue, the citys centers only shul, founded in 1857. The current structure, an imposing red brick building with stained glass windows noteworthy for their depictions of full human figures and faces, was opened in 1953. Their previous synagogue was bombed and largely destroyed during the Blitz in 1941.

Though the St. Michaels project would involve the loss of their synagogue, its president Danny Savage said the demolition has unanimous support from membership. The present structure, he said, is dilapidated and poorly built, suffering from damp, failing electrical and heating systems, and is without parking, disabled access, and youth facilities.

With this in mind, Manchester Reform struck a deal with the developers. In return for their prime real estate, a new, purpose-built synagogue and cultural center will be built into the lower levels of one of the proposed skyscrapers. Along with a new, accessible sanctuary, they will gain parking spaces and multi-purpose meeting rooms. Some of the current structures original fixtures, such as the stained glass and Torah ark, will be retained. The developers argue this arrangement will enable the congregation to continue to enjoy its city center location and play an important role in the civic life of the city. Savage believes their plans offer Manchester Reform a chance to reinvigorate the membership and keep the congregation safe for future generations.

Standing in their way, however, are a coalition of heritage organizations who believe St. Michaels constitutes an architectural eyesore and aberration that would dominate its vicinity. The conservation group SAVE Britains Heritage argues: If the proposal gets the go-ahead it will be a town planning disaster of a magnitude not seen in decades. The Twentieth Century Society, which campaigns to safeguard architecture and design in Britain from 1914 on, saidthe design of the towers shows no consideration to Manchestersspecial sense of place.

These groups also oppose the demolition of Manchester Reform Synagogue itself and submitted an urgent application to save the buildingwhich the government rejected. Historic England, a public body that champions and protects Englands historic places, agreed, telling me in a statement that the building is not distinctive architecturally and has been subject to fairly extensive alterations over the years.

Still, Historic England believes the demolition of Manchester Reform Synagogue would harm the character and appearance of the center of town, so it would have to be very clearly justified.

The Twentieth Century Society and [Historic England] seem to be hell bent against the development and have never contacted the synagogue ever to see how it affects us, Savage told me. We as Jews welcome change, as most of Manchester does, in the hope that regeneration of the city center will create and secure jobs and prosperity.

Manchesters city council is expected to consider the planning application for St. Michaels in the next few months.

Liam Hoare is a freelance writer whose work on politics and literature has featured in publications including The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and The Forward. He is a graduate of University College Londons School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

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A proposed real estate development in the historic center of Manchester is pitting two ex-Manchester United soccer … – Tablet Magazine

‘Just like Hitler’: the diminishing of the Holocaust – Spiked

If Jews can be replaced with sheep, why not with embryos, too? This is what Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, was getting at when he argued that abortion is just like the Holocaust. It seems that, sooner or later, all campaigns feel tempted to exploit the Holocaust brand. Animal-rights activists in Canada refer to a holocaust of seals. In Australia there is talk about of the holocaust against Aborigines. Then there is the African-American holocaust, the Serbian holocaust, the Bosnian holocaust, the Rwandan holocaust.

The label Holocaust can be used to attack just about anything these days. Everything from the erosion of biodiversity to the loss of large numbers of jobs can be denounced as a holocaust. Moral entrepreneurs embrace the Holocaust to lend weight and legitimacy to their campaigns. They also sometimes insist that anyone who questions their worldview should be treated in a similar manner to those who say the Holocaust didnt happen: that is, as deniers.

The Holocaust has become the most overused metaphor for evil in modern times. In an era when Western societies find it difficult to discuss morality in a real, meaningful way, the Holocaust serves as the functional equivalent of Hell. Even religious figures find it difficult to resist Holocaust-mongering. Pope Francis has not yet issued a papal bull against populism, but he has warned that populism could lead to the election of saviours who are similar to Hitler. He also echoed the anti-populist consensus when he said the example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933. Here, the pope didnt merely compare today with the past and use the phrase like 1933 he went a step further and said populism is Germany in 1933.

Holocaust-mongers seldom explain how or why our world is like the 1930s or their figure of hate is like Hitler. Sometimes they try, but they invariably resort to sophistry rather than making a serious historical comparison. A recent Newsweek article asked: Just how similar is Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler? It answered the question by saying what makes the comparison between Hitler and Trump so poignant is that both men represent their personal character as the antidote to all social and political problems. But many politicians do that; they play the saviour card. Focusing on this one personal attribute that Trump and Hitler reportedly share in common is as arbitrary as saying that both of them have problems with their hair.

Holocaust rhetoric relies on reading history backwards. It is an attempt by people to delegitimise their opponents or targets by associating them with the horrors of the past. This strategy is boosted by the fashionable teleological reading of history, which suggests that all the roads of modernity led to Auschwitz. This fatalistic theory of malevolence can be used to indict almost anything that occurred before the Holocaust and treat it as in some sense responsible for the Holocaust. By the same token, treating the Holocaust as the inevitable outcome of otherwise unexceptional things in history that preceded it means that events in the here and now can be held up as precursors of the next Holocaust.

This anachronistic theory of history is most simplistically expressed in the slogan: The Holocaust did not begin with gas chambers it began with words. This slogan is widely used as part of a cautionary tale that draws a link between speech and action, most often between being offensive and creating the conditions for a new Holocaust. So Trump only needs to say something stupid or offensive for people to remind us that the Holocaust began with words. This inane statement is used to justify shutting down discussion and curbing free speech. The disturbing idea taking hold on American campuses and elsewhere that free speech leads to hate speech, and even that Free speech is hate speech is the logical consequence of the insidious theory that the Holocaust started with words.

Yet as historians of fascism know, the Holocaust did not begin with words. Fascist movements like the Nazis were not simply a more radical version of right-wing, anti-Semitic nationalists. Unlike classical right-wing nationalist movements, they did not merely rely on words. No, from the outset they deployed violence against their opponents and used physical force rather than argument to beat them into submission. The precondition for the emergence of the Holocaust was the destruction of public life in Germany in the context of a catastrophic global war.

It is something of a paradox that the idea that the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chamber but rather with words is so often used to curb democratic freedoms. And not just by campus censors. When Canadas public-safety minister, Steven Blaney, introduced a new anti-terrorism bill, he justified his illiberal measures with the mantra: The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers. It began with words. His plundering of history to score a cheap point, and to undermine liberty, can only contribute to the debasement of our memory of the Holocaust.

Today, when Holocaust talk is everywhere and all sorts of contemporary events are compared to it, it is easy to overlook the fact that it was a neglected part of the Western historical memory for a long time, particularly in the 1950s and 60s. The Holocaust only really emerged as a powerful symbol of human barbarism in the 1980s and 90s. In the 90s, holding back a future Holocaust became one of the defining claims of the EU and its related organisations; they came to denounce anyone who criticised their worldview as a populist echoing the 1930s.

The belated transformation of the Holocaust into a transcendental sacred value in Western Europe was not so much an act of sincere atonement, as an attempt to come to terms with the moral malaise of Western society in the late 20th century. The absence of moral clarity generated conflict over values and created a demand for symbols and rituals that might confer a measure of coherence on the social and political order. When society finds it difficult to say what its values are, or even to differentiate between right and wrong, it is important that some kind of line be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Without a moral grammar through which to express ideas about right and wrong, ethical guidance tends to become more forced and artificial. This is where the Holocaust has come into play: for institutions like the EU, sacralising the Holocaust became an important way of asserting their moral authority

The sacralisation of the Holocaust also provides society with a very powerful taboo. Not being against the Holocaust is probably the most ritualised and institutionalised taboo in Western society today. Back in January 2006, I warned in an article for the Daily Telegraph that the transformation of the Holocaust into a political symbol, and its constant usage in everyday discussion, threatened to deprive it of its important moral meaning. Worse, the more that the terrible experience of the Nazi era has come to be institutionalised through Holocaust days, Holocaust memorials, Holocaust museums, Holocaust curricula and Holocaust films, the more the Holocaust has become a focus of competitive claims-making.

If Holocaust Memorial Day were just another kind of moral ritual, there would be little reason for concern. But such initiatives actually, and unwittingly, help to foster cynicism and scepticism about what happened during the Nazi era. False morality always incites a response of cynicism, and Holocaust-mongering is no exception. In 2004, a poll carried out in nine European countries by the IPSO research institute found that 35 per cent of those surveyed thought Jews should stop playing the role of Holocaust victims. At present, this mood of scepticism is pretty instinctual, and unformed. But it is surely only a matter of time before the obsessive institutionalisation of the cult of the Holocaust creates a situation where scepticism translates into disbelief.

The concerns I raised in 2006 are even more pressing today. Scepticism towards and even denial of the Holocaust have grown significantly and in parallel with the expansion of public initiatives designed to memorialise the Holocaust. Last month, a report cited Dr Nicholas Terry, a history lecturer at Exeter University, who estimates that there are thousands of low-commitment Holocaust deniers online. In December 2016, the top hit on Google in response to the question Did the Holocaust happen? was a link to a piece claiming the murder of six million Jews is a hoax. It is inconceivable to think that back in the 1950s or 60s, before the public sacralisation of the Holocaust took off, there would have been such an interest in conspiracy theories claiming this act of genocide didnt really happen.

Holocaust-mongering is bad enough on its own terms. It cheapens the memory of the Holocaust and it debases political life. Tragically, it also invites scepticism about the Holocaust and encourages the rewriting of history. The more we hear Today is just like the 1930s, the more Trump or Brexit or other events are spoken about in the same breath as Hitler, the more we lose sight of the true meaning of the singular calamity of the Holocaust.

Frank Furedi is a sociologist and commentator. His latest book, Whats Happened To The University?: A Sociological Exploration of its Infantilisation, is published by Routledge. (buy this book from Amazon(UK)).

Picture by: Getty

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‘Just like Hitler’: the diminishing of the Holocaust – Spiked

Act on rising anti-Semitism, Jewish students tell UK universities | The … – The Times of Israel

Jewish students and academics in the United Kingdom have become increasingly worried about growing anti-Semitism on British university campuses and are calling on university administrations to do more to combat the rising trend.

According to a Saturday report in the Guardian, the concerns were raised following a spate of anti-Semitic incidents at British universities. Most recently, a swastika was found carved into a door and a sign reading Rights for Whites was hung at the entrance to a dorm room at the University of Exeter earlier this week.

Other recent incidents include the appearance of flyers praising Holocaust denier David Irving and swastikas drawn around the campus at Cambridge University earlier this month.

The Community for Security Trust, a British anti-Semitism watchdog, stated in its most recent annual report that there were 41 cases of reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, nearly double 2015s tally of 21, showing that anti-Semitism on campuses is indeed growing rapidly.

Baroness Ruth Deech, a Jewish cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and first ever independent adjudicator for higher education handling student complaints, called on universities to rise up and condemn anti-Semitism on campuses. She told the Guardian that she sees parallels between the current situation and how her parents were attacked for being Jewish while at European universities in the run-up to the Holocaust.

Baroness Ruth Deech (Wikimedia Commons, John Cairns, CC0)

In the 1920s and 1930s discrimination against Jews started in German, Austrian and Polish universities, long before the second world war, Deech said, while adding that attacks on Jewish students in universities today should be seen as the canary in the coalmine. It starts there and it spreads.

In an interview in December with The Telegraph, Deech pointed to the large sums of donations many British universities receive from countries such as Saudi Arabia as a possible reason for why so little has been done by campus administrations to combat anti-Semitism, speculating that maybe they are afraid of offending potential donors from Gulf states.

While much of the attention has been focused in recent years on anti-Semitism emanating from the far-left, most notably as a result of a number of controversial statements made by Labour Party politicians, David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London, claimed the most recent cases instead seem to be the work of the far-right.

My impression is this is coming from a different place to incidents that arise in the context of criticizing Israel. This is straightforward anti-Semitism and its coming from the right, he said.

The National Union of Students President Malia Bouattia echoed Feldmans claim, telling the Guardian that the uptick is attributable to Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump, both of which drew support from anti-Semitic fringes on the far-right.

Oxford University (Shutterstock)

Josh Nagli, the campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, told the Guardian that while he does not consider the recent rise in anti-Semitism to be of serious concern, the multiplicity of incidents at different campuses suggests a level of coordination.

While statistics suggest that reported incidents of anti-Semitism in universities remain low, Universities UK, a representative organization for British universities, told the Guardian, even a single incident is one too many.

Universities UK called on students to be vigilant in reporting any cases of anti-Semitism.

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Act on rising anti-Semitism, Jewish students tell UK universities | The … – The Times of Israel

Top European rabbi: Synagogues no longer a safe haven – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Armed French soldiers stand in front of a Synagogue during a visit of French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve after an attack in front of a Jewish school in Marseille’s 9th district, France, January 14, 2016.. (photo credit:REUTERS/JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER)

Synagogues are no longer a safe haven, a top European rabbi said Sunday at a special panel about the situation of Jews across the continent, held in the framework of the Munich Security Conference.

At the back of almost every Jews mind is the possibility of what could happen. Sadly, in Copenhagen, Brussels and in Paris, that has become a reality, said Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, at a breakfast event he was hosting titled Securing Jewish Communities across Europe.

The Jewish community finds itself targeted from a number of directions; from the extreme Right, the extreme Left and Islamic terrorism, Goldschmidt said, referencing terrorist attacks that have targeted Jews in different European countries in recent years.

The event took the form of a panel discussion featuring MK Tzipi Livni, Deputy CEO for Diplomacy of the World Jewish Congress Maram Stern, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization Dr. Peter R. Neumann and former director of Europol Jrgen Storbeck. German journalist Richard Schneider moderated the discussion.

Stern expressed a similar sentiment to Goldschmidt, noting that while he feels comfortable walking the streets in general, when the synagogue is his destination he begins to feel uneasy.

People are curious who walks in and who walks out, it is like you are in a zoo, he remarked.

Livni said that while Israel feels a responsibility for the security of Jews around the world, it is the responsibility of every state to protect its citizens and we cannot take away from that.

Every Jew should be able to walk around looking Jewish and not face discrimination, she added.

For his part, Stobeck addressed Berlins capabilities to deal with the threat of terrorism, saying that prior to the 2016 ramming attack at a Christmas market, German security services did not have enough money.

After the attack in Berlin, security services got a lot of money, he said. But you need to improve information management both nationally and internationally. We are still not quick enough, and we do not have a good [long-term] forecast.

Neumann described Jews as a priority target.

They are the first ones to be targeted. If Jews are being targeted, then all citizens should be worried because there is more to come, he warned, indicating that nobody should be lulled into a false sense of security by a period of calm. Just because the Jewish community has not been attacked in the last year, it does not mean it is not a target, he added.

Turning to the rise of the far Right in Europe, Neumann said: At the core of every far-right party, there is bona fide antisemitism.

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Top European rabbi: Synagogues no longer a safe haven – Jerusalem Post Israel News

‘The Jewish community is being targeted from all directions’ – Arutz Sheva

Conference of European Rabbis hosts antisemitism discussion at the Munich Security Confere

David Friedmann

At the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Sunday, Conference of European Rabbis (CER) President Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said, “The Jewish community finds itself targeted from a number of directions; from the extreme right, the extreme left and Islamic terrorism.”

Speaking for the first time to the MSC, at an event organised by CER, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidts comments were part of a breakfast he hosted entitled, “Securing Jewish Communities across Europe.”

The event took the form of a panel discussion including MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), Maram Stern (World Jewish Congress), International Center for the Study of Radicalization Director Dr. Peter R. Neumann, and former Director of Europol Jrgen Storbeck. The discussion was moderated by German journalist Richard Schneider.

In his closing remarks, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, “Within the last few years, high-profile, and devastating attacks across the continent, have targeted Jews. Many Jews in Europe feel themselves being targeted from all sides.

“Synagogues are no longer a safe haven, where citizens go to pray, celebrate or mourn. At the back of almost every Jews mind is the possibility of what could happen. Sadly, in Copenhagen, Brussels and in Paris, that has become a reality.”

During the discussion, Dr. Neumann said, “Jews are a priority target, they are the first ones to be targeted. If Jews are being targeted then all citizens should be worried because there is more to come. (With authorities) there is a tyranny of the last attack.

“We focus on the last attack. The last attack was a truck and a Christmas market, so now we are worried about trucks and Christmas markets. Just because the Jewish community has not been attacked in the last year, it does not mean it is not a target.

“In the core of every far-right party there is bonafide antisemitism.”

“Every Jew should be able to walk around looking Jewish and not face discrimination. Israel does feel a responsibility, but it is the responsibility of every state to protect its citizens and we cannot take away from that,” Livni said.

“Before the Berlin attack, security services (in Germany) did not have enough money,” said Jrgen Storbeck. “After the attack in Berlin, security services got a lot of money. But you need to improve information management both nationally and internationally. But still we are not quick enough, and we do not have a good (long-term) forecast.”

Maram Stern said, “When I walk on the street alone, I have no problem. When I am on my way to synagogue, you feel uncomfortable. People are curious, who walks in and who walks out, it is like you are in a zoo.”

Original post:
‘The Jewish community is being targeted from all directions’ – Arutz Sheva

Amid anti-Semitism row, Pence tours Nazi concentration camp – The Times of Israel

DACHAU, Germany US Vice President Mike Pence paid a somber visit to the site of the Dachau concentration camp on Sunday, walking along the grounds where tens of thousands of people were killed during World War II.

Pence was joined by his wife, Karen Pence, and the couples 23-year-old daughter, Charlotte, as they toured the exhibits at the former concentration camp that was established by the Nazis in 1933 near Munich.

The vice president was accompanied by Abba Naor, a survivor of the camp, and other dignitaries as he passed through the wrought iron gate bearing the inscription, Arbeit macht frei, or Work sets you free.

It was a miracle that we survived, Naor told the vice president and his family, describing a typical meal as a slice of bread.

The Pences placed a wreath beneath the International Memorial at the center of the camp, toured the barracks and viewed the ovens inside the crematorium.

The Pences also stopped at religious memorials at the site and later attended a church service on the camps grounds.

Moving and emotional tour of Dachau today, he tweeted on his official Twitter account. We can never forget atrocities against Jews and others in the Holocaust.

More than 200,000 people from across Europe were held at Dachau, and more than 40,000 prisoners died there. The camp was liberated by US forces in April 1945.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, his wife Karen, second from left, and his daughter Charlotte, left, are lead by Holocaust survivor Abba Naor, right, as they visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, southern Germany, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, one day after he attended the Munich Security Conference. (Sven Hoppe/pool photo via AP)

Making his first overseas trip as vice president, Pence spoke to foreign diplomats and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders.

Pence was traveling to Brussels later Sunday for meetings on Monday with NATO and European Union officials.

In 2015, then-US vice president Joe Biden visited the site with his granddaughter during a trip to Germany.

US Vice President Michael Richard Pence (2L), his wife Karen Pence (L) and his daughter Charlotte Pence look at the crematorium at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site at the former Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, Germany, on February 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)

Pences visit to Dachau follows a recent outcry over US President Donald Trumps failure to mention the Jews in his statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust, the president said in the statement. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, left, lay a wreath during a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, southern Germany, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

When pressed why no mention was made of the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the administration doubled down on its original statement, with Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks saying we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered, pointing to priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovahs Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters as other Holocaust victims.

In response to the statement, a number of US Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League condemned the administrations failure to mention the murder of Jews during the Holocaust, as well as the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition, both of which are generally sympathetic to Trump.

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

During a joint press conference with Trump on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the US president and his people against charges of anti-Semitism, saying there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than Donald Trump.

Although Trump evaded a question from a reporter regarding rising anti-Semitism during the press conference, the US president acknowledged the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust in his opening statement, saying we will never forget what the Jewish people have endured and hailing the Jews for their survival in the face of genocide.

Asked by ultra-Orthodox reporter Jake Turx during a press conference the next day how his administration planned to handle anti-Semitism, Trump grew furious and accused his questioner of dishonesty, seeming to mistakenly believe he was being accused of anti-Semitism. Trump referenced Netanyahus support and insisted, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.

Following the incident, Turx defended Trump, telling Fox News that its very unfair whats been done to him and I understand why hes so defensive. And Im with him when it comes to being outraged about him being charged with this anti-Semitism.

See original here:
Amid anti-Semitism row, Pence tours Nazi concentration camp – The Times of Israel

Features | Jewish identity in a pickle – The McGill Daily (blog)

Affirming non- and anti-Zionist Jewish people at McGill

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) McGill is a group of anti- and non-Zionist Jewish students on McGill campus.

In speaking about the origins of Zionism and contemporary anti-Semitism in this article, we have chosen to focus on the experiences and theories of European Jewry. We acknowledge the diversity of experiences, whether those are of violence or of thriving communal life, specifically in the contrasting experiences of Sephardic, Mizrachi, and other Jewish peoples. We also acknowledge the forms of violence and dispossession Zionism has imposed on these communities, like Operation Magic Carpet in Yemen, and general erasure from dominant conceptions and narratives of Judaism. For the purpose of discussing mainstream Zionism that evolved from European thinkers, as it is applied in Israel by its government, and how it manifests in North America, we are choosing to focus on Ashkenazi experiences and European political Zionism. However, we hope to acknowledge the failure of mainstream dialogue within and beyond the Jewish community to engage with non-Ashkenazi identities and histories. We hope to include these perspectives as we move forward with IJV McGills work.

A recent tweet by a student politician, which read punch a zionist today, has inflamed discussion over anti-Zionism, violence, and anti-Semitism at McGill. For many of us, this has been a difficult and turbulent time to be both a Jewish student, and an anti/non-Zionist student on campus. We would like to begin this article with the recognition that the tweet may incite violence against visibly Jewish people and Jewish communities in Montreal and beyond. We hear and support calls for the necessity of emotional, physical, and mental safety from anti-Semitic violence.

The conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism within and beyond the McGill community denies us, as young Jewish folks, the diversity of our Diasporic Jewish identities. We denounce anti-Semitism, and recognize the lived realities of the concerns expressed by the Jewish community. However, this conflation fails to recognize anti-Semitism an attack on members of the Jewish faith and peoplehood as separate from criticism of the actions of the Israeli state, in particular its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The ongoing oppression of other peoples is not a project with the right to invoke Jewish peoplehood or Diasporic Jewish claims in our names. In integrating Israel into the fabrics of our communities, the plurality of political convictions held by Jewish peoples are erased, silencing anti-Zionist voices.

The ongoing oppression of other peoples is not a project with the right to invoke Jewish peoplehood or Diasporic Jewish claims in our names.

It is vital to state that anti-Semitism was and continues to be a violent threat to Jewish people and communities worldwide and leftist anti-oppressive spaces are certainly not free from such anti-Semitism. However, it is also vital to note: modern day systemic oppression cannot be justified by historic discrimination experienced by others. In coming from histories of oppression, we are tied to social justice struggles; as Rabbi Jill Jacobs explains, the obligation to show ourselves as having experienced discrimination [] means continuously working to alleviate the suffering of others. We are a collective of young Jewish folk identifying as non- or anti-Zionists, who share principles that are grounded not only in political conviction, but also in ethical imperatives of our shared Judaism. In that sense, we define non/anti-Zionism as a spectrum of political, moral, and religious views that encompass an opposition to the Zionist project, whether it be through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state, actively fighting the notion that Israel is the Jewish homeland, or criticizing Israel for its injustices. While we each identify as non- or anti-Zionist Jews, we acknowledge that this article does not speak for all non- or anti-Zionist Jewish people.

In this piece, we aim to critically assess the Zionist theory from which todays North American Zionist communities and actions are grounded, and from which the principles embodied by the government of Israel originate. But beyond just discussing ideology, we aim to share our personal stories of how the conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has harmed us.

The obligation to show ourselves as having experienced discrimination [] means continuously working to alleviate the suffering of others.

Students identifying as Zionists have institutional resources and familial support systems at their disposal. As folk that face alienation from our greater Jewish communities and even our families for our solidarity activism, we are systematically and routinely denied these supports. We have expended tremendous emotional labour to publish our views and experiences, and ask that our Jewish identities be respected.

The Jewish State, a pamphlet published by the Jewish reporter Theodor Herzl in 1896, aimed to galvanize Jewish people to adopt a national identity and engage with the Zionist project. The text was written in the greater context of widespread anti-Semitism throughout Europe, and in the specific context of the anti-Semitic persecution of a French military captain in what is known as The Dreyfus Affair. The contemporary manifestation of anti-Semitism that Herzl responded to was new and radical; it departed from medieval myths of wicked Jewish crimes against Christian Europe, such as the alleged Jewish ritualistic murder of children, or the Blood Libels, and conspiracies against governments. As rising ethnocentric nationalism, the emergence of eugenics, and continentalism were embedded into European culture through academic acceptance and institutional normalization, so too were they embedded into anti-Semitism; the Jewish people became a singular, and more importantly, inferior ethnic group, irreconcilable with European ethnic and societal standards. Anti-Semitism pervaded all communities, from rural peasantry to the highest ranks of European intelligentsia. Violent persecution and nonviolent discrimination were widespread, and many Jewish people were denied their rights to bodily safety, economic security through employment and property, and freedom of movement. It is within this context that Herzl began his work on the Zionist project.

The Jewish people became a singular, and more importantly, inferior ethnic group, irreconcilable with European ethnic and societal standards.

At the time of its conception, Zionism and the intent to leave Europe and form a Jewish state was not a widely accepted political ideology amongst European Jewish communities. Parallel to many other settler-colonialist projects, Zionism was spearheaded by the elite in this case, the upper-class Jewish intelligentsia of Central and Western Europe. Poor, mainly Eastern European Jewish communities were largely excluded from the Zionist intellectual project, but were instead expected to perform the labour of settling the land wherever or whenever that was to be.

Diasporic Jewry were proud of their status in the European secular world whether that pride was grounded in their insular and rabbinical religious communities, their assimilation into the European intelligentsia, or their radical political work. Many of these Jewish folk did not hold an intrinsic yearning to return to Israel, as Zionists often assert. It is important to note that many disenfranchised and oppressed Eastern European Jewish folk tended to favour workers organisations like the Bund and advocated for Yiddish Socialism, a Jewish workers movement, rather than Zionism.

Poor, mainly Eastern European Jewish communities were largely excluded from the Zionist intellectual project, but were instead expected to perform the labour of settling the land wherever or whenever that was to be.

Many contemporary Jewish people have noticed, as we do, that much Zionist theory harnesses the same nationalistic, ethnocentric rhetoric utilized by the anti-Semitic European powers at the time such as the portrayal of Jewish peoples as genetically of one ethnicity or race. These similarities expanded through the political discourse of the early- and mid-1900s. However, as European powers became more threatening and violent leading into World War II, many Jews took comfort in the adoption of Jewish unity as a means for Jewish strength. However, through this process, Jewish oneness, a foundational and ancient element of Jewish religious thought: , became conflated with nationalism and Zionism. Echoing early political Zionists like Herzl, contemporary groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli government use this notion of a singular Jewish people to reinforce the myth of unanimous and unwavering Jewish support for the state. This narrative of oneness, rooted in the unification efforts of early Zionism, is a harmful tool of the Zionist project imposed to erase Jewish ethnic and lived diversity.

Contemporary Zionists draw upon the constructed concept of Jewish unity to suggest that all Jewish peoples are treated with equity within the state of Israel. However, from the initial entrance of these peoples into the land, they have been subjugated and segregated. For example, Mizrahi Jewish children were subject to unhealthy levels of radiation at the hands of Ashkenazi officials. Although the Israeli government long denied it, they recently admitted to forcefully sterilizing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women upon entering the country, and the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel experiences rates of police brutality six times higher than their communities proportion to the population in the country. From its establishment, oppression has been evident in the social fabric of Israel: day-to-day discrimination and threats of violence are a prominent component of the narratives of non-Ashkenazi Jewry who immigrate to or live in Israel.

Although the Israeli government long denied it, they recently admitted to forcefully sterilizing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women upon entering the country.

Similarly, the Zionist project responds to the Palestinian issue in a variety of ways: through the delegitimization of Palestinian people, nationhood, and citizenship, the depiction of the Palestinian people as primitive and a violent threat to the Jewish state, and the construction of a paternalistic fallacy that the State of Israel would better serve the Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves. In reality, Israeli Jewish citizens are placed in a position of institutional power and hold privilege over Palestinians; this imbalance of power manifests in a multitude of ways which systematically oppress Palestinians. Israel continues to hold Palestinian youths under administrative detention and deny youths access to education, Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes, and the Israeli government censors, arrests, and abuses Palestinian journalists and activists.

As Jewish folks with relative privilege in Israeli society, we cannot pretend to comprehend the experiences of Palestinians in occupied lands and do not wish to speak over their narratives. However, there is a discriminatory nature of Israel which we can speak to: particularly focusing on its privileging of white Ashkenazi (European) Jews and creating a class-structured society in which Soviet Jews, Sephardic Jews, Mizrachi Jews, North-African Jews, and African Jews are oppressed, marginalized and exploited. The Zionist project largely ignores the inequities of varying ethnic groups of Jewish folk in Israeli society and presents Israel as the protector of all Jews. The patriarchal saviour narrative of Israel as a safe haven for the Jewish people inspires steady Jewish Diasporic support for Zionism.

In order to further concretize Diasporic and domestic Jewish support of Zionism, the Zionist project infuses their political agenda into the architecture of Jewish religious life. However, political Zionism can be further distinguished from Judaism through some religious justifications for a Jewish Diaspora or Exile, known in the Torah as Geulah. We would like to preface these religious claims with an acknowledgement that the following is not the only true religious interpretation, but also that these views are far from fringe. Following the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, some Rabbis re-interpreted G-ds promise of the land of Israel and Judea to Abraham as a pact, and concluded that only the Messiah can rule a Jewish nation. Under this interpretation, until the Messiah is sent, humans cannot create or self-govern a Jewish state.

The patriarchal saviour narrative of Israel as a safe haven for the Jewish people inspires steady Jewish Diasporic support for Zionism.

Zionism has invaded religious practice, where those forms of prayer and practice that are centered around Israel are deemed superior. In contrast, non-Ashkenazi modes of prayer and practice are deemed impure. Zionism has, through time, modified all practices regardless of geographic or ethnic affiliation, damaging and erasing significant elements of them. Diasporic Jewish spaces and practices should not be invalidated by the Zionist project, nor should acceptance into these spaces be conditional on support of Zionist ideology.

Zionism is woven into the fabric of Jewish life and tradition, permeating familial, religious, secular, institutional, and emotional aspects of Jewish existence. Jewish day schools are the birthplace of many young Jewish folks strong Jewish identities; they are a place for teaching prayer, spreading culture, and providing a foundation for Jewish children to carry on the Jewish tradition. Unfortunately, these academic institutions use their position to perpetuate the Zionist agenda and encourage impressionable students to subscribe to Zionism. Like many other mainstream institutions, most Jewish day schools tend to erase the differences between a Zionist identity and a Jewish identity. Furthermore, Zionist conditioning occurs in the home, where Jewish families will preach their support and love for Israel as a distant homeland.

Hanna*, who grew up in a Russian Jewish family in the U.S., recounts her story of the pickle jar:

It was the second night of Passover: I had just sung the four questions, our plates were dotted with red wine, our bellies audibly growling. As the Seder came to a close, my mother left to carry steaming bowls of matzo ball soup in from the kitchen. She also brought a large pickle jar to the table. As my relatives began to slurp, the pickle jar was passed around, and it came to me. My eyes fell to its label: Made in Israel. My mother and I made eye contact as I passed the jar to my brother. Shocked, she said in her heavy Russian accent, Youre not eating pickles? I was ashamed, and angered. I thought to myself, there are so many varieties on the shelf, mama why choose Israeli imported pickles? How was I to explain my logic of abstaining, or my involvement in the boycott of Israeli products at the dinner table, in front of my grandparents? And who was I? A privileged girl, born to immigrant parents, who could choose what to eat, and choose to politically disengage from certain brined foods. Had I taken it too far? I myself, was in a pickle. The post-dinner kitchen clean up was icy, and my pickle-refusal has come up again, many times, as proof of me turning my back on our past. Yet again, Jewish culture was being placed inside an Israeli pickle jar.

Hadar*, a member of IJV McGill and a Jewish day school graduate, explains that her experience with Zionist indoctrination started in kindergarten:

With a Zionist Israeli father and a Zionist Canadian mother, I was enrolled in a Zionist institution by the ripe age of three. As a young girl, I recall looking up to Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers with pride and hoping to join them one day in defence of my country. Throughout elementary school, we performed plays about the state of Israel, wrote short stories about summers in Tel Aviv, and sang songs expressing our emotional connection to Zion. I distinctly recall an experience that I had in grade four: our Hebrew instructors decided to take a break from studying dik-duk, or grammar, to screen a film. We saw Kershners 1977 Raid on Entebbe; a film depicting the historical hijacking of an Air France aircraft by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. As an impressionable Jewish child, this film and our discussion of it thoroughly frightened me and taught me to fear Muslim-appearing peoples and erased the necessary context of Palestinian resistance to conditions of oppression. I have since worked to unlearn this early Islamophobia, but so much of my elementary schooling and domestic environment conditioned me to view Muslim Arabs as inherently bad and Israeli Zionists as ultimately heroic.

I recall looking up to Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers with pride and hoping to join them one day in defence of my country.’

Continuing on with my Zionist activism, I joined my day schools own AIPAC club, assumed a leadership role in it, and travelled to Washington D.C. to lobby for the pro-Israel super-PAC. I didnt buy into it unequivocally I questioned the Islamophobic speakers and presentations and was wary of evangelical Christians that preached their support for AIPAC but I felt proud, empowered, and part of a larger purpose. I admired the Columbia and Barnard students that led a workshop on combating anti-Zionism in which they implied that this work also combated anti-Semitism on college campuses. I struggled with my connection to Judaism in a religious sense, but I thought that I had finally found my place in the Jewish community; my Zionism was my Judaism.

In Beit Knesset (temple), school, summer camp, and extra-curriculars, I was conditioned to unequivocally support Israel. After reading about the atrocities of Operation Protective Edge, when over 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli airstrikes, I completely abandoned my Zionism by the start of grade 11. I knew that my morals and my values hadnt a shred in common with those of the Zionists, who could avert their eyes from or even justify the massacre. Through interaction with anti-oppressive Jewish communities that acted as alternatives to my Jewish school community, I realised my Judaism once more and reclaimed my Zionist-free identity. However, my immediate community was still Zionist. I sat through my mandatory Israel-Advocacy course as a senior in high school as a mishloach, or representative, from Israel came to inspire us to further support Israel. He asked: Is Israel a racist country? Expecting an overwhelming NO, I raised my hand and curtly answered, yes. My fellow students looked at me in awe, processed my answer, and raised their hands to agree with me. I turned to our mishloach; Id never seen a more shocked look on someones face.

He asked: Is Israel a racist country? Expecting an overwhelming NO, I raised my hand and curtly answered, yes.’

To this day, my views would be met with the same shocked look coupled with an accusation of being a self-hating Jew at any given Zionist institution. I beg these Zionist organisations to validate and acknowledge that yes, anti-Zionist Jews exist and we are proud of it. I hope for non-Zionist spaces in which Jews can practise. I hope for Jewish schools that do not condition their students to support Israel. However, spaces on college campuses like Independent Jewish Voices are a step in the right direction for the creation of Jewish communities free of Zionist ideology.

Reba*, an IJV McGill member, recounts her journey towards separating Zionism from her Jewish identity:

In pursuing an active Jewish identity in the Diaspora, I am repeatedly confronted by a frustrating message that Jewish fulfillment is only possible in Israel. It was only recently, in the past couple of years, that I felt able to call myself religious even though I have no intentions of associating my Jewish identity with Zionism. My whole life, I learned that I should feel the most Jewish and the most at home when in Israel, despite its distance and difference from anywhere Ive lived long-term. I grew up being taught that the true uniting force of Jews all around the world was a shared ground, a sovereign land. I now find this argument, that is extremely normalized in Jewish communities, offensive and invalidating to the work I do in the Jewish community in the Diaspora. When I spent nine months living in Israel at the age of 18, I was still confused about how Judaism could mean so many different things to different people, yet by living within certain borders, we were fulfilling the most important Jewish demand. It angers me that Zionist rhetoric conflates a religious, spiritual identity with nationalism. As I have personally stopped holding nationalist ideology and supporting borders, Zionism sits in contradiction with more and more of my personal values.

Ive always connected to Jewish texts, holidays, and practices, and felt satisfied as an active member of Jewish communities in Montreal and Vancouver. However, the conflation of Judaism with Zionism gives rise to a disappointing erasure of Jewish practice and culture that occurs in the Diaspora independently from Israel. Consequently, claims of anti-Semitism in the face of anti-Zionist efforts have struck me as reductive and misguided. In response to criticisms of Israel, Jewish communities will tend to defend the rights and safety of Jews. If we are trying to defend the rights and safety of Jews, why is there not a more inclusive, diverse Jewish community on campus? Why dont we recognize the role of Yiddish and Arabic in Jewish history? Why dont we promote celebrations of Jewish holidays outside of Ashkenazi, European practices?

If we are trying to defend the rights and safety of Jews, why is there not a more inclusive, diverse Jewish community on campus? Why dont we promote celebrations of Jewish holidays outside of Ashkenazi, European practices?

Furthermore, conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism allows for an acceptance and ignorance of Israels violations of human rights. Rising to protect the rights and safety of Jews in response to anti-Zionism ignores Israels settler-colonialist oppression and violence. These kinds of responses have often left me wondering what Israel Zionist groups even support, since the country they choose to defend is an idealized, peaceful land of milk and honey so very far from the brutal reality on the ground. Zionist structures will often pick and choose what parts of Israel they portray and validate; on Birthright trips, for example, Israeli tourism is glorified and violence is hidden. Continuing to live with such a narrow understanding of Israel will only continue the oppression of Palestinian people. Jews must be honest with themselves about Israel, for its violations of human rights does warrant a global response that is not inherently anti-Semitic.

Recently, the Algemeiner, a Jewish and Zionist paper, named McGill as one of the worst universities for Jewish students in North America. The article argues that the McGill student body largely supports BDS, and is therefore anti-Semitic and hostile toward Jews. Due to its refusal to publish Zionist articles, The McGill Daily has been accused of anti-Semitism by the Algemeiner, as well as in articles by Bnai Brith Canada, McGill Hillel, Honest Reporting, and other Zionist organisations. This criticism is rooted in the above conflation, as Zionist is assumed as Jewish, and thus criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. This continues to silence non/anti-Zionist Jewish voices many of which have appeared in the pages of The Daily. By clarifying the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, we would like to show that such accusations of anti-Semitism against The Daily are baseless, and that refusing to publish Zionist opinions is compatible with an anti-oppressive mandate.

This criticism is rooted in the above conflation, as Zionist is assumed as Jewish, and thus criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism.

Dominant narratives that conflate Zionism with Judaism result in the marginalization and negation of these non or anti-Zionist Jewish voices. At McGill, Jewish community groups either take an assumed Zionist stance or are apolitical which means upholding the status quo of conflating Zionist and Jewish identities. Apart from Independent Jewish Voices McGill, there is no other non/anti-Zionist Jewish group on campus organising around and speaking openly against Zionist abuses of power. Furthermore, there is not a single other Jewish institution on campus which has committed to a radical anti-oppressive mandate. Radical Jewish folks are left without the familial, communal, material, financial, and institutional support or resources with which to create radical Jewish spaces. Even when recognized, the non/anti-Zionist Jew identity continues to be a taboo on campus, which IJV McGill seeks to deconstruct and combat. The emergence of IJV McGill and non/anti-Zionist spaces for Jews echoes a growing transnational Jewish resistance movement, which includes organisations like Jewish Voice for Peace in the U.S. or Jewdas in the UK.

Independent Jewish Voices McGill is here to affirm that we will not be silenced. Opposing Zionism, an oppressive and violent execution of colonisation, is not an act of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, we aim to challenge the unquestioned harm inflicted on Jewish folks and communities by the Zionist project. We are proud Jewish folks who stand in solidarity with Palestine, the Daily, and criticisms of Israel and Zionism.

*names have been changed.

To contact the McGill Students Chapter of Independent Jewish Voices, email ijvmcgill@gmail.com.

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Features | Jewish identity in a pickle – The McGill Daily (blog)

Jews against other Jews – Jerusalem Post Israel News

My dads politics is emotional.

My sister and I used to take advantage of this trait by toying with him over Shabbat dinner with political arguments, just to see him turn redder and redder as he ranted. Somehow, most things eventually led to antisemitism and then to the Holocaust.

My dad grew up in the Orthodox community of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Most of his friends were children of Holocaust survivors. He and the other kids would whisper to each secrets about the parents who made it through Auschwitz, fled to the Soviet Union or dug a hole in the ground in the forest and powered through snowstorms and fires. My grandfather wasnt a survivor, but he was beaten up by Nazis many times, before his family managed a last-minute escape in 1938.

Today, my dad thinks that his kids do not consider the threats of antisemitism seriously enough. We were born and raised in Jerusalem, and although my friend Uris grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, it was a rarity. We were not raised among survivors. We were taught Jewish European history in school, and the Holocaust was integral in our education, but during the nineties, buses were more of a potential threat than showers. In other words, as my father says, there is a generational thing going on about the attitude toward antisemitism.

Two weeks ago, on Friday, my dad took me out for lunch at the famous downtown Pinati restaurant. After we had eaten and the plates were removed, the conversation that started with politics turned to antisemitism, and my dad confessed, When I was a kid, I thought that after the Holocaust antisemitism would be wiped out, that the lesson would be learned.

His sadness was overwhelming, striking, even. It lingered with me for several more days.

UNLIKE MY dad, I never thought antisemitism is a thing of the past. The particular political rhetoric of antisemitism describes a group of people who pretend to be part of society but are, in fact, conspiring to advance their own community at the expense of the well-being of the nation or even to take over the world. In some places, its coupled with the idea that the Jews are poisoning society. This rhetoric is political because it is used politically: the hatred toward the Jews is a way to satisfy public rage instead of dealing with real problems.

This hateful rhetoric runs through European history. The Jews were supposedly responsible for the Black Death; they supposedly baked matza with Christian blood, and stabbed Germany in the back in World War I by covertly cooperating with its enemies.

Middle Eastern antisemitism, which is very much informed by mainstream Western antisemitism, tells a similar story. A 2004 article written by Henan Akhmis, an official at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as the original protocols from the First Zionist Congress held in Basel in 1897. I personally saw the book in many bookshops in Jordan, Morocco and northern Iraq.

Middle Eastern antisemitism puts more weight on Israel and the culmination of the attempt for Jewish control, while in other parts of the globe, especially the US, the Jews are said to aim at realizing world domination through the banking system. But this is a matter of nuance; in Turkey, too, you could find books on how the Rothschilds are the worlds most successful manipulators, who behind the scenes run the world.

A contemporary antisemitic wave in the United States is thriving. As a Jerusalem Post editorial last month mentioned, quoting the ADL, These aggressors are disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives or part of the alt-right, a loosely connected group of extremists, some of whom are white supremacists.

This trend is also fueled by wild conspiracy theories. Many of those theories focus on presenting Jews as descendants of the Khazars, who supposedly converted to Judaism in the eighth or ninth century.

According to one conspiracy theory, the so-called Khazar Jews practice the Talmudic Babylonian law and were able to penetrate European and American societies and assume almost ultimate power through the banking system, the media, academia and the entertainment business. Another leitmotif of these theories is that Ashkenazi Jews are not authentic Jews, and that only Sephardim are of real Jewish stock.

The antisemitic conspiracy films floating about YouTube have names like The House of Rothschild: Khazarian Mafia Pretending to Be Jews or Zionist Conspiracy a.k.a. Fake Jews (Synagogue of Satan).

Today, my fathers hope that antisemitism is a thing of the past seems naive.

The world still has an antisemitism problem. But Jews as well are haunted by an antisemitism problem. The Jewish national movement, Zionism, aimed to fulfill a Jewish prophecy, a desire to return to Zion. Yet Zionism was also an answer to antisemitic threats by securing a country that would be safe for Jews. European culture during the birth of Zionism was awash with antisemitism, and as it often turns out, the victim inherited a grain of the aggressors mind-set, and the reverberations of antisemitism in Israeli society are deep.

By and large, secular Ashkenazi Zionists wanted to disengage from their Jewishness and become new Jews Jews who are not as stereotypically Jewish as their parents. The negative stereotype of Jews has found its way to some secular Zionists, mostly in the struggle to shape Jews who arent galuti, who do not behave like Diaspora Jews. In some cases, immigrants to Palestine, and later to the State of Israel, who demonstrated visible Jewish features were forced or encouraged to abandon them. For instance, in 1950 a mission of Yemenite leaders complained to the Chief Rabbinate, saying that people from their community were subject to forcible shaving of their peyot (sidecurls) and beards by secular Zionists.

While antisemitic tendencies arent a sweeping trend of secular society, and while the younger generation of Israelis do not inherit these antisemitic tendencies, it is something to be seriously considered.

Some Israelis find symbols of Jewishness to be repulsive and threatening.

The first time I encountered this was when I was about five years old. My mom took me to a playground on a visit to Tel Aviv. When I had enough of playing, I saw that she was engaged in a conversation with a stranger. I came closer.

A woman was complaining, in a derogatory manner that is lodged in my mind to this day, that the religious people are ruining the country. My mom was uncharacteristically quiet.

After the woman left, I said, Mom, couldnt she see that Im wearing a kippa? Ignore her, my mom retorted, she is a nutcase.

The nuts never cease to surprise you.

When I was 17, I lunched at my first girlfriends house. They are good people, nice, open, friendly, and I still love them to pieces. At that age I didnt wear my kippa anymore, which is perhaps why one of their guests felt comfortable to say the city is going from bad to worse.

I agreed, not having a clue what she was talking about. Then she explained: I went to the movies the other day, and when the lights turned on you saw kippot everywhere. Its horrible.

It is horrible, and it is going from bad to worse.

ON FEBRUARY 8, Breaking the Silence was invited to speak at Barbur Gallery in Jerusalems Nahlaot neighborhood. The event provoked resistance from a long list of politicians, and Mayor Nir Barkat decided to shut down the gallery.

At the time of the event, two large groups showed up, one supporting the gallerys right to invite Breaking the Silence, and the other demonstrating against the event and led by Lehava, a Jewish racist group that denounces marriages between Jewish women and non-Jewish, particularly Arab, men.

The group often occupies Jerusalems city center main square and intimidates Arabs through violence.

This time, however, Lehava supporters were protesting against other Jews.

Separated only by a human wall of cops, the tension between the groups was severe.

The people on Lehavas side were calling the other group traitors. I asked some of the demonstrators what the punishment for treason is, and was answered, death. One person accused the organization of giving IDF secrets to Hamas and the enemy.

Breaking the Silence is an organization composed of former IDF soldiers who speak up about what they saw and did in the army. Up until now, they have proved to be rather reliable in their testimonies.

Implying that Breaking the Silence sells Israeli secrets to the enemy is a vicious lie. Breaking the Silence is as guilty of cooperating with Hamas as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the authentic transcript from Basel, and as the Khazar Mafia is ruling the US. As Jews, we should think carefully before making false accusations of other people betraying the country and poisoning the public.

Antisemitic rhetoric often has to do with ethnic tensions. In the demonstration it was clear that many of the participants supporting Breaking the Silences right to speak were secular Ashkenazim, while the ones on Lehavas side were mostly Mizrahim, with the exception of Ben-Zion (Benzi) Gopstein, American- born Baruch Marzel and a few other.

Gopstein and Marzel are students of American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane and are today leading this campaign of framing leftists as traitors.

WHEN THE demonstration was winding up, two older men standing next to me were speaking. One told his friend, Ashkenazim, Im telling you, arent real Jews.

His friend quickly answered, If that is so, what should I tell my children who are half Ashkenazi? Yes, replied the first, my grandkids are half Ashkenazi as well.

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Jews against other Jews – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Modern lessons from the Holocaust – Inquirer.net

The exhibit State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, launched on Feb. 10, 2017 at the University of Santo Tomas, includes a set of posters from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is a living memorial to the Holocaust. Photo by Kristine Angeli Sabillo/INQUIRER.net

As a young girl, Hadass Nisan had nightmares from hearing stories about the Holocaust.

She imagined gas chambers, crying babies and people killed by dogs.

Should I say more? Im not sure, she tells a hundred or so students attending the Holocaust Remembrance event at the University of Santo Tomas last week.

Nisan, who is now Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel in Manila, explained that while she did not experience the Holocaust or the genocide of European Jews, her grandparents survived the Holocaust in Germany.

And from their stories and the things she learned in school, she was exposed to things that you could not even imagine.

For many years, seriously, I had nightmares, she said.

The Holocaust refers to the systematic and state-sponsored persecution of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime, which came to power in Germany in 1933. By the end of World War II, six million Jews have been murdered, many in concentration camps where they were subjected to forced labor.

Fearing the repeat of such harrowing experiences, Nisan asked her mother if the Holocaust can happen again. But instead of assuring her that they were safe in Israel, her mother said that since it happened in the past it might happen again.

Lessons for everyone

Today, Nisan is among those who seek to educate people in order to prevent another Holocaust.

The Holocaust is not an issue of the JewsIt is the issue of (every) human being, she said.

Narcisa Tabirara, UST Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, said remembering the Holocaust is important, especially at a time when the world is seeing images of instability.

I hope we can see how the past can impact our present lives and to ensure we all work together to create a kinder and gentler world, she said.

Meanwhile, UNICs information officer Teresa Debuque pointed out that the Holocaust was considered a turning point in history by the UN General Assembly.

It prompted the world to say, Never again, she said. Never again will the community of nations sit idly by while an entire peopleis exterminated out of a misguided, inflated sense of racial superiority of another.

Debuque said people should remember what human beings are capable of, that there are no limits to the depth that one can sink.

During the program, the audience watched the documentary The Path to Nazi Germany, which detailed the prevailing social and economic realities that led to the rise of Nazi Germany. It showed how Adolf Hitler and the Nazis gained the favor of German citizens as they promised to regain the countrys strong economy and image.

Finding balance

Asked how the present generation can avoid making the same mistakes, especially amid US President Donald Trumps earlier plan to ban travelers from seven Muslim majority countries, Nisan said people should find a balance between nationalism and globalism.

She said each nation has values that reflect its peoples character and identity.

The opposite of having an identity and being part of a nation is the pluralism, to accept everybody, to be a global person, to love everyone, she said.

These are two edges [and we] need to find balance between them, Nisan said. Between the two edges of nationalism and globalism, there is something in between.

Nisan said she decided to become a diplomat to heal the world.

She said people should not be bystanders and instead do as much as we can to prevent such catastrophes.

She called the Filipino people the kindest people on Earth who accept everybody.

During World War II, the Philippines became instrumental in the saving of lives of more than a thousand Jews by opening the countrys doors to refugees.

A documentary on the event, titled Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust was screened at Malacaang Palace in 2014.

READ: How Filipinos became heroes during the Holocaust

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Modern lessons from the Holocaust – Inquirer.net

Sweden to name special envoy to Israel-Palestine peace process – The Local Sweden

Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallstrm. Photo: Sofia Eriksson/TT

Sweden is to appoint a special envoy to the Israel-Palestine peace process, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrm is expected to announce when she presents her foreign policy vision in parliament today.

Wallstrm will present the ruling centre-left Social Democrat-Green coalition government’s foreign policy declaration for the year ahead in parliament on Wednesday morning, an annual tradition.

One of the key points, reports Swedish public radio which has seen the declaration, is that the government will appoint a diplomat to work full-time on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The special envoy is to establish contacts and represent Sweden in international talks about the conflict.

Sweden’s relationship with Israel has been increasingly frosty in the past few years. In 2014 it recognized Palestine as a state, and Israeli officials have routinely refused to meet Wallstrm after she called for investigations into “extrajudicial” killings of Palestinian assailants by Israeli forces.

Wallstrm will also address Britain’s decision to leave the EU in her speech, saying that Sweden will act according to what best serves Swedish and European interests once Brexit negotiations start.

Without mentioning US president Donald Trump by name, she is expected to say that the relationship with the new US government continues to be important for our trade and our security, adding, but the White House’s actions raise questions about the US’ role in the world.

Wallstrm is set to meet her Russian counterpart in the near future and Swedish radio quotes the foreign policy declaration as saying: We will maintain political dialogue, promote long-term efforts and encourage cooperation instead of confrontation.

Sweden is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The foreign policy declaration to parliament is seen as the country’s official stance on international affairs and is usually attended by foreign diplomats as well as members of parliament and Swedish officials.

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Sweden to name special envoy to Israel-Palestine peace process – The Local Sweden

How Not to Honor Holocaust Remembrance Day | Human Rights First – Human Rights First (blog)

By Dora Illei

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is customary for the U.S. government to honor its victims, who were primarily Jewish. In last year’s statement, for example, the White House acknowledged the “six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis” and said it is our duty to counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred that threaten the values we hold dearpluralism, diversity and the freedoms of religion and expression.

However, the White House statement this year explicitly avoided any mention of antisemitism or Jews. Instead, the statement said, “We remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust.”

When pressed, White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the omission was intentional, because they “took into account all of those who suffered.” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also defended the statement, saying that he did not regret the omission. It later turned out that the White House rejected a State Department statement highlighting Jewish victims.

The Nazis persecuted and killed many groups because they viewed them as inferiorincluding Roma, sexual minorities, Poles, Jehovahs Witnesses, and communistsand they should all be cited and honored. But the Holocaust was the Nazis effort to exterminate the Jews, which was at the core of their effort to create a pure race. The omission of the Nazi targeting of Jews has raised concerns of soft Holocaust denial, which seeks to minimize the facts of the Holocaust rather than deny it altogether. Its a tactic used by white supremacists such as Richard Spencer, who applauded the de-Judification of the Holocaust by the White House. This minimization of the Holocaust is especially concerning given the alarming levels of antisemitism and hate crimes in the United States and Europe.

This is not to say that the suffering of Jews should be separated from the persecution of other minorities. On the contrary, it is crucial to recognize that hatred of one minority often leads to hatred of others. Today in many places, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia feed off each other.

Indeed, the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not appear in a vacuum; it exists in both the context of history and the context of current global affairs. It was on Holocaust Remembrance Day that President Trump signed an executive order barring citizens from seven predominately-Muslim countries. The executive order also suspended the refugee resettlement program for four months and indefinitely suspended the entry of Syrian refugees.

The United States failed to be a place of safety and refuge for European Jews fleeing the terror of the Nazi regime. In fact, the Holocaust shaped the development of human rights law as the world vowed that a tragedy like this would never happen again. We now face the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The best way to honor victims of the Nazis, both Jewish and non-Jewish, is to remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the human rights of those desperately fleeing violence and persecution.

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How Not to Honor Holocaust Remembrance Day | Human Rights First – Human Rights First (blog)

Ecuador not ‘Unknown’ to Jews fleeing Shoa – New Jersey Jewish News

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Ecuadorian native Anna Rosa Kohn of Princeton, left, speaks with attendees at the screening of An Unknown Country, Glenda Mendelsohn of Yardley (center) and Janet Moshe of Jerusalem.

Photos by Michele Alperin

by Michele Alperin NJJN Contributing Writer

February 13, 2017

For some Jews desperate to escape Europe in the late 1930s, Ecuadorian consuls offered visas to those willing to work in industry or agriculture. These cultured European Jews knew little about where they would be going, beyond physical features like big mountains, tropical rain forests, and eucalyptus trees.

Eva Zelig, a producer and writer who was born in Ecuadors Jewish immigrant community, was inspired by a 2010 reunion of former and current Ecuadorian Jews to start doing research that culminated in a documentary film, An Unknown Country, that was screened at Congregation Adath Israel in Lawrenceville on Dec. 11.

Introducing the film, Zelig said that she was telling the story of her country and why Jews were able to gain visas into this strange country that no one had ever heard of.

Rabbi Benjamin Adler invited Zelig, his fathers first cousin, for the screening. I wanted to make sure that the story gets told, he said. Even though my part of the family came directly through New York, this is part of my larger familys history, and part of the history of the Jewish people in the 20th century.

Ecuador was mostly feudal in the 1930s, with landowners living outside the country in places like Madrid or Paris, explained Joseph Kohn, a former refugee and emeritus professor of mathematics at Princeton University who attended the screening. (For more on Kohn, see Kohns bond, on next page.) The middle class was small, he said, and some pragmatic people wanted to encourage Jews to come in and they did a tremendous amount for the economy of the country.

Ecuadors need for economic development, however, was tempered by strong German influences and some Nazi ties, generating some anti-immigration feelings. In fact, the film suggested that some consuls who gave visas to Jews were shunned and later found it hard to get jobs.

Jews came to Ecuador from many European countries, before and after World War II, leading to the Jewish populations height of 4,000 in the 1950s. Today Ecuador has only 800 Jews.

Even though Ecuador was different from what they had known in Europe, some refugees were immediately content. As one immigrant said in the film, My parents were happy to be [in Ecuador]. I was taught to love this country very much. Europe was a cemetery. Many others eventually adjusted, but some suffered from survivors guilt, or simply never became accustomed to life in this poor and seemingly backward country.

Many Jews used Ecuador as a stepping-stone untilthey got visas to other places. Often they sent their children to the United States for college and then followed.

To make a living some farmed, at least until 1944, when they got official approval from the Ecuadorian government to work in fields other than industry or farming. One refugee sold fabric door to door. Many immigrants were able to eventually create businesses that provided necessary goods, such as pharmaceuticals and raincoats.

The Jewish community also contributed to Ecuadorian arts. Philanthropist Gisella Neustaetter donated money to build Casa de la Msica, a performance hall, in Quito, and Olga Fisch became an ambassador of Ecuadorian handicrafts.

For most Jews in Ecuador in the 1940s, the Jewish community was the center of their lives: They had a synagogue, a social club, and a community center with a small stage for performances as well as High Holy Day services.

Yet the immigrants remained separate from most native Ecuadorans. Being born in Ecuador doesnt mean youre an Ecuadoran. You dont look like them, so youre a gringo, said Zelig.

Similarly, Kohn said, In a country that is homogenous, the displaced people stand out.

Zeligs parents arrived in Ecuador in 1939 from Bratislava, in former Czechoslovakia. Her father opened a restaurant in Guayaquil, but it burned down, and her father was falsely accused of setting the fire for the insurance money. The family stayed in Ecuador for 10 more years, living off profits from a small bakery. Zelig said that her parents were never happy, always depressed, and couldnt adapt.

After moving to the United States, Zelig did menial work for a year in Florida, but as she had been a ballet dancer with the National Ballet of Ecuador, she moved to New York City, where she still resides, and spent two years auditioning and taking ballet classes. Eventually she gave up dance and got a job at Columbia University, where she was able to take advantage of free evening classes to earn a degree in French literature.

After working for several years for a company that produced medical videos, she decided to follow her dream of moving into broadcasting, and took an internship at Channel 13. She was hired to do research for the science and technology series, Innovation, where she got a chance to produce shows, and she has since produced others which have appeared on The Learning Channel, New York Times TV, ABC, and National Geographic Channel.

Video creator and communications professional Ed Alpern, who has done work on the history of Trentons Jews, was especially impressed with the films depth. There were so many voices and so many stories she was able to get in there the before, how they arrived, the life they had in Ecuador, and the way they dispersed from Ecuador.

After watching the film, Hazzan Art Katlin of Adath Israel said he was struck by the stories of not just how they [the Jewish immigrants] made homes for themselves, but made differences in the lives of the country.

You never know where youll find love. For Princeton residents Anna Rosa and Joseph Kohn, theirs came from Ecuador.

In the wake of the 1938 racial laws passed by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to prevent Jews from working for non-Jewish organizations or holding property, Anna Rosas father, a chemist, started investigating options for leaving Italy. A motley group of Jewish scientists from Turin were headed for Ecuador to set up a pharmaceutical company, and he was invited to join the venture.

But shortly before he left, he met Anna Rosas mother in Rome. Anna Rosa said they were smitten, but her father was unwilling to commit without knowing what lay ahead of him in an unfamiliar country. Once he saw that life in Ecuador was livable, he proposed by mail, and they were married by proxy.

She made it to Ecuador in April of 1940, a close call because Italy entered the war in June, and the ship she was on was confiscated by American troops on its return trip.

Anna Rosa, who was born in Ecuador, remembered that the pharmaceutical company struggled to succeed and her family, the Di Capuas, had a hard time making ends meet.

We grew up feeling ourselves always living modestly, she said. My mother made our clothes from her clothes. If we had worn out sheets, she would join two and make another. The tension was always there that things might collapse.

Joseph, who knew of Anna Rosas family, said he had a different perspective.

According to the standards of immigrants, the Di Capuas were considered well off, with several servants.

Eventually Dow Chemical bought the pharmaceutical company, reduced production, and made money by selling the real estate; her father retired. Luckily, Anna Rosa said, my father was a person who did not look back. Meanwhile, Anna Rosa decided to attend college in the United States and enrolled in Cornell University.

Josephs father came from a close-knit family of five brothers and two sisters, one of whom died before the war. Josephs maternal grandfather was the head lawyer of the central bank in Prague, though he had rejected the banks first offer for that position because they said he would have to change his religion. A year later they made the offer again, this time without that condition, and he accepted. Josephs parents met whenthat maternal grandfather hired Josephs father, an architect, to reconstruct his house.

Joseph said his family, especially his mothers, were very comfortable financially in Prague. He explained that they were opposed to leaving.

They felt, Here we are Jews in these privileged positions; while the country is doing well, we stay, and [then do] we pull up roots when things are going badly? And what will happen if it comes to war? We have to stay to defend our property.

Although his fathers side felt similarly, one of Josephs brothers who had traveled widely arranged visas for them all to move together to Ecuador. Fear dominated the last days the family spent in Prague. Joseph remembers watching from his house on the hill when the many German sympathizers lit bonfires during blackouts; they would also look up Jewish phone numbers to make obscene calls.

Leaving was very tense, he said, and his mothers brother was so furious at the whole thing that he didnt say goodbye. By the time he changed his mind, it was too late to get out. The uncle was deported to the Lodz ghetto, then to Terezin, and finally to Auschwitz, where Josephs aunt and her son were immediately led to the gas chamber. His uncle was sent on a work detail, and did not survive the war.

The family would embark on a ship to Ecuador from La Rochelle, France, and they were very nervous to change trains in Salzburg on their way. They were not stopped, but some German officers made fun of a cousin with Downs syndrome and remarked about dirty Jews.

Joseph and his cousins had a great time shipboard, but he said his parents were not happy. They were not allowed to go in first class, and the British personnel were not pleasant to them, he said.

When they arrived in Ecuador, they were told their visas were illegal and they couldnt remain in the country, but ultimately they were allowed to stay.

His father first got a job teaching modern architecture at the university in the provincial town of Cuenca. Already Ecuador was completely backward, but this town was 100 years more backward, Joseph said. After three years in Cuenca, the family moved to Quito, and then, in 1945, a month after Josephs bar mitzvah, to the United States.

Although in Ecuador Josephs family had never witnessed serious anti-Semitism, in New York they encountered it for the first time with housing restrictions for Jews. Joseph went to high school at Brooklyn Tech, to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and did his doctoral work at Princeton University. After spending two years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he taught at Brandeis for 10 years. That was where he connected with Anna Rosa.

His future wife was still at Cornell University and she sought Josephs advice on whether she should transfer to Brandeis, but he discouraged her, saying that transferring would not solve her problems at her current school. Some years later, when Anna Rosa was 26, she was back in Ecuador after earning a masters degree in economics. Joseph, 34 at the time, was visiting his mother in Ecuador; she was there for an extended visit after his father died. Joseph and Anna Rosa spent time together, but he left for a four-month lecture tour after just three weeks.

Anna Rosa happened to be in New York for a month when Joseph returned from his trip, and she and Joseph saw each other in the evenings and were engaged soon after. They were married a month later, thousands of miles from their homeland, but never straying far from their roots.

Anna Rosa remembers calling her mother to ask whether she could swing a wedding in a month, and the response she got was Yes, if you will accept the eyelet cotton material grandma bought in 1938 in Belgium for a wedding dress.

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Ecuador not ‘Unknown’ to Jews fleeing Shoa – New Jersey Jewish News

What Judaism Can Teach Islam About Reforming The Faith – Forward

Does Islam needs its own Martin Luther? Does it need its own Reform, which will lead to the separation of the Muslim church from the state? I have heard these questions frequently in the past decades from Westerners. They were right about one thing: Islam, despite being a religion that once cultivated an open, tolerant, enlightened civilization, has not yet made its peace with liberal modernity. Hence a clash of values have been taking place, in various levels, between conservative Muslims and liberal values with gruesome results such as stoning of adulterers or execution of blasphemers. So, when looked from a liberal perspective, mainstream Islamic thought and practice indeed needs some kind of reform.

Yet many those who were calling for that reform in Islam were still making a mistake: They were comparing Islam to Christianity. These two religious, however, are quite different. Islam never had a dominant institution like the Church especially the Catholic Church that needs to be depoliticized or decentralized. Thats not the issue. Meanwhile, Christianity never had a sacred law that encompasses all areas of life. With Islam, that sacred law the Shariah is the issue.

Judaism, on the other hand, has a lot common with Islam. Both religions are strictly monotheistic, with no room for doctrines like the Trinity. Both religions lack the clericalism that is central to Catholicism. And both religions have a tradition of sacred law Halacha and Shariah that raises the real issue when it comes to reconciling with liberalism.

That is the case, because Islam is really a religion modeled on Judaism. The Quran is a book that has strong similarities to the Torah. Prophet Muhammad is a lawgiver exactly like Moses. And the law has many themes such as dietary laws, circumcision of males, or the banning of graven images that are clearly inherited from Judaism.

As a Muslim, I have been thinking on these parallels between my religion and Judaism. They also made me ask a question: How did Jews move forward? How did they embrace the liberal society, where everyone is free in their choices, and no one is coerced by any sacred law? That question must be asked, because the Halacha clearly includes a penal code with many illiberal injunctions. It also draws boundaries between Jews and gentiles. So, how could most Jews in the world, with the exception of the ultra-Orthodox minority, embrace the modern values of freedom and equality?

A part of that answer is in Jewish history: The destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE deprived Jews from a state of their own for almost two thousand years. This experience forced them to conceptualize themselves as minorities without political power and without any chances for a Halachic State.

But besides this political reality, Jews also went through their own war of ideas. A key moment was the Haskalah, or the Jewish Enlightenment, an intellectual movement that began in 18th-century Europe. Its proponents argued that the liberal and rational spirit of the Enlightenment was already rooted in Judaism, if the latter is properly understood. They also argued that Jews could fully integrate into European society as Germans or Frenchmen of the Mosaic faith.

Lately I have been reading the works of Moses Mendelssohn, the most prominent pioneer of the Haskalah (his bust is displayed above). What strikes me is the similarities between his arguments and the arguments of contemporary Muslim reformists. Mendelssohn offered a new interpretation of Judaism where Jews could be true to their faith while being full members the gentile society. He argued against religious coercion among Jews, with the argument that only under freedom a genuine religiosity can flourish. These are the exact same issues that Muslim liberals are dealing with today.

It is notable that Mendelssohn was criticized in his time by both more conservative Jews who found him too liberal, and by gentile skeptics who found him too Jewish. One of the latter, a Christian writer named August Friedrich Cranz, judged Mendelssohns reformism a hopeless effort. For Cranz, Judaism was a religion of armed ecclesiastical law, and Jews would never be able to accept freedom of religion unless they directly contradict the faith of their forefathers. He sounds like the Islamoskeptics of today, who also think there can be no real Muslim liberals, except the ones who really cease to be a Muslim.

One interesting detail from Mendelssohn: He believed that one of his famed co-religionists, Jesus of Nazareth, had offered a vision that could serve as a model for reinterpreting Jewish Law by focusing on the moral purposes of law, rather than blind literalism. That, too, is a vision noted by some Muslim reformists.

Neither Jews nor Muslims will probably ever accept the Christian teaching that defines Jesus as God. But Jesus own teaching as a reformer of law had helped inspire the Haskalah. It may also help inspire the Muslim Haskalah that is needed today.

Mustafa Akyol is currently a visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at the Wellesley College, and the author of the just released The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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What Judaism Can Teach Islam About Reforming The Faith – Forward

Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence – Wikipedia

Whether Ashkenazi tend to have higher intelligence than other ethnic groups has been an occasional subject of scientific controversy.[1]

A 2005 scientific paper, “Natural History of Jewish Intelligence”,[2] proposed that Jews as a group inherit higher verbal and mathematical intelligence with somewhat lower spikes in spatial intelligence than other ethnic groups, on the basis of inherited diseases and the peculiar economic situation of Jews in the Middle Ages. Opposing this hypothesis are explanations for the congenital illnesses in terms of the founder effect, explanations of intellectual successes by reference to Jewish culture’s promotion of scholarship and learning, and doubts about whether a group difference in intelligence really exists.

One observational basis for inferring that Jews have high intelligence is their prevalence in intellectually demanding fields. While only about 2% of the U.S. population is of full Jewish descent,[2] 27% of United States Nobel prize winners in the 20th century,[2][3] 25% of Fields Medal winners,[4] 25% of ACM Turing Award winners,[2] 9 out of the 19 world chess champions, and a quarter of Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners have either full or partial Jewish ancestry.[4] However, such statistics do not rule out factors other than intelligence, such as institutional biases and social networks. Undue weight is also given to the statistics because people of partial ancestry (half or less) are included, but only compared to the portion of the US population of full descent.[citation needed]

A more direct approach is to measure intelligence with psychometric tests. Different studies have found different results, but most have found above-average verbal and mathematical intelligence in Jews, along with below-average spatial intelligence.[3][5][6][7]

The average IQ score of Jews has been calculated to be 112115 (Cochran et al.),[8] and 107115 (Murray; Entine).[9][10][11] A study found that Jews had only mediocre visual-spatial intelligence, while their verbal IQ (which includes verbal reasoning, comprehension and working memory) compensated for this with a high median of 125.6.[12][13]

Assuming that today there is a statistical difference in intelligence between Jews and other ethnic groups, there still remains the question of how much of the difference is caused by genetic factors.[14]

“Natural History of Intelligence”,[2] a 2005 paper by Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending, put forth the conjecture that the unique conditions under which Jews lived in medieval Europe selected for high verbal and mathematical intelligence but not spatial intelligence. Their paper has four main premises:

Other scientists gave the paper a mixed reception, ranging from outright dismissal to acknowledgement that the hypothesis might be true and merits further research.[15]

In a television interview, Cochran said:[16]

“It doesn’t have to be extremely heritable for this [intelligence inheritance] to have happened, because you only need small changes in each generation, and there might be forty generations over 1000 years. So if [ Jews] increased a third of an IQ point per generation, that would almost certainly be enough to make this effect happen.”

The enforcement of a religious norm requiring Jewish fathers to educate their sons, whose high cost caused voluntary conversions, might explain a large part of a reduction in the size of the Jewish population.[17]Persecution of European Jews maybe have fallen disproportionately on people of lower intelligence.[15]

In medieval society, wealth, social status, and occupation were largely inherited. The wealthy had more children than the poor, but it was difficult for people born into a poor social class to advance or enter a new occupation. Leading families held their positions for centuries. Without upward social mobility, genes for greater talent at calculation or languages would likely have had little effect on reproductive success. So, it’s not clear that mathematical and verbal talent were the prime factors for success in the occupations to which Jews were limited at the time. Social connections, social acumen, willingness to take risks, and access to capital through both skill and nepotism could have played at least as great a role.[14]

Genetic studies have suggested that most Jewish congenital diseases arose from genetic drift after a population bottleneck, a phenomenon known as the founder effect, rather than from selective pressure favoring those genes as called for by the Cochran, et al. hypothesis.[14][18] To take one example, the mutation responsible for Tay-Sachs disease arose in the 8th or 9th century, when the Jewish population in Europe was small, just before they spread throughout Europe. The high frequency of this disease among Jews today might simply be the result of their not marrying outside their group, not because the gene for Tay-Sachs confers an advantage that more than makes up for the fact that the disease usually kills by age three.[14] However, an examination of the frequencies and locations of the genes for 21 Jewish congenital diseases suggested that six of them do appear to result from selective pressure, including the mutation for Tay-Sachs.[18] There is still no evidence one way or the other about whether the reason for this is increased intelligence for commercial skills or something else.[19][20]

Evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker suggested that “[t]he most obvious test of a genetic cause of the advantage would be a cross-adoption study that measured the adult IQ of children with biological parents and gentile adoptive parents, and vice versa”, but noted, “No such study exists, so [Cochran]‘s evidence is circumstantial.”[21]

Another type of explanation for higher intelligence in Jews is differences in culture which tend to promote cultivation of intellectual talents.

For example, after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Jewish culture replaced its emphasis on ritual with an emphasis on study and scholarship.[22] Unlike the surrounding cultures, most Jews, even farmers,[2] were taught to read and write in childhood. Talmudic scholarship became a leading key to social status. The Talmudic tradition may have made the Jews well suited for financial and managerial occupations at a time when these occupations provided new opportunities.[14][23]

The emphasis on scholarship came before the Jews turned from agriculture to urban occupations. This suggests that premise #3 of Cochran et al. may have the causal direction backward: mastery of written language enabled Jews to thrive in finance and international trade rather than the other way around.[14] Similar cultural traditions continue to the present day, possibly providing a non-genetic explanation for contemporary Jews’ high IQs and prevalence in intellectual fields.[14] Preoccupation with Torah and Talmud study keeps alive a certain intellectual acumen, attuned to weighing situations and opinions.[24][25]

Other proposed cultural explanations:

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