Sunday 30 December 2007

Three whom God should not have created: Persians, Jews and flies, by Khairallah Tulfah

A year ago, on 30 December 2006, Iraki dictator Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging in Bagdad after being convicted of crimes against humanity.

During Saddam Hussein's regime his maternal uncle, Khairallah Tulfah, an ex-army officier, wrote a racist and anti-Semitic tract entitled "Three whom God should not have created: Persians, Jews and flies". Jews were described as a "mixture of dirt and the leftovers of diverse people". Under Saddam's dictatorship, Tulfah's writings were widely distributed in Irak, namely in schools.

Thursday 27 December 2007

European Coalition for Israel: concern over lack of religious freedom in Palestinian controlled territories

The European Coalition for Israel calls the European Union leaders' attention to the plight of Christians in Palestinian controlled areas:
"In a letter to the two leaders of the European Union the Coalition points out that "according to international human rights law everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion". These fundamental rights were codified in the new EU Reform treaty which was signed in Lisbon earlier in December. In the new treaty the European Union commits to affirming and promoting human rights and fundamental freedom in their relations and cooperation with non-EU countries. The Palestinian Authority receives annually over 500 million euro in funding from the European Union and is the single largest recipient of EU aid.
This Christmas the European Coalition for Israel wishes to draw attention to the fact that the Christian communities living in the Palestinian controlled territories in the West Bank and Gaza are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Muslim persecution and maltreatment. According to a report by scholar Justus Weiner from Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, Christians are streaming out of the Palestinian Authority controlled areas, including some of the holiest sites of Christendom.
"Christians comprised 85 percent of the population of Bethlehem in 1948; today their numbers have dwindled to 12 percent", concludes Weiner* in his report. Elsewhere in the Palestinian territories only about 3.000 Christian, mostly Greek Orthodox, live in the Hamas run Gaza Strip, out of a strongly conservative Muslim population of 1.4 million.
In a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on November 15, 2007 the deputies expressed concern over "a number of serious events which compromise the existence of Christian communities" and mentions specifically the Palestinian controlled territories."
*Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society, by Justus Reid Weiner (JCPA, 2005)
report is "dedicated to the memory of a courageous man, Ahmad El-Achwal, a Palestinian convert to Christianity. El-Achwal was a married father of eight who lived in the Askar Refugee Camp. Despite repeated harsh treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Authority including imprisonment, severe beatings, arson, intimidation and torture, El-Achwal clung to his religious beliefs and even ran an informal church in his house. El-Achwal was murdered on January 21, 2004, at the entrance to his residence."

Monday 24 December 2007

Europe is not impressed by Walt and Mearsheimer: the Continental divide

A review of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Eric Frey focuses on the issue of anti-semitism which was raised much more frequently in Europe than in the U.S. Frey believes that around third of Europeans are still "susceptible to covert antisemitic propaganda, and some of them will see their views confirmed by two respected American political scientists. But the rest will not be impressed".

"Mearsheimer and Walt’s book is not about Israel. It is about American politics, specifically about the allegedly nefarious role played by a mostly Jewish circle of people and organizations in the politics of a predominantly Christian nation. The charge that Jews manipulate non-Jews to further their own interests is so much part of antisemitic lore here in Europe that discussing such a thesis almost immediately requires addressing the issue of antisemitism.
That is what happened to Mearsheimer and Walt. In what seemed to be every interview and panel discussion, they were forced to address the charge that they were themselves antisemites, or at least giving ammunition to antisemites. In the interview I conducted with them in Vienna for my newspaper, Der Standard, the two authors themselves constantly returned to the theme of antisemitism, sounding defensive and at times snivelling.
They repeated their argument that their book was not about Jews, but about the workings of political lobbies in American politics. But that argument will ring false in New York, let alone in places like Austria and Germany where the obsession with Jewish power has a long and terrible history.
While there are plenty of people who will use the book to reaffirm their belief that, to quote Mel Gibson, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” mainstream readers of political non-fiction will at least be concerned that they might be seen as antisemites if they identify too closely with Mearsheimer and Walt’s thesis.
Even when it came to the issue of the Iraq war, the academics’ Jewish spin has tended to dampen the impact of their message in Europe. There is a near consensus here on the view that the Bush administration’s decision to go to war was at a minimum foolish and perhaps even criminal, and that the neoconservatives are largely to blame for that decision. But once you equate that group with the Israel Lobby, as Mearsheimer and Walt have done, the Iraq war gets tied up with the darkest sides of Europe’s own history. …
Perhaps a third of the European public is susceptible to covert antisemitic propaganda, and some of them will see their views confirmed by two respected American political scientists. But the rest will not be impressed."

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Christmas: Banksy, Bethlehem and bigotry

There is a timely piece in The Times by Michael Gove about what has become "a feature of seasonal journalism", i.e. pro-Palestinian militancy in the run-up to Christmas.

"Eggnog lattes on sale at Starbucks? Feature-length M&S commercials? There’s one invariable sign that Christmas is almost upon us - a story about how Bethlehem is suffering at the hands of wicked Israel.
It has become almost as much a feature of seasonal journalism as stories about how Nativity plays are being subverted and commentaries on how commercialism is snuffing out the true meaning of the festival.
This year we’ve already had our first exercise in demonising Israel for its treatment of Bethlehem with the graffiti artist Banksy enjoying extensive coverage for his trip to decorate the security barrier near the town with his work. The message of Banksy’s work and the coverage it has generated is the same: oppressive Israel has snuffed the life out of the town where the Prince of Peace was born. Herod’s spirit lives on, even as the spirit of Christmas is struggling to survive.
The truth is very different. The parlous position of Palestinian Christians, indeed the difficult position of most Christians across the Arab world, is a consequence not of Israeli aggression but of growing Islamist influence. Israel goes out of its way to honour sites and traditions sacred to other faiths while the radicals who are driving Palestinian politics seek to create an Islamist state in which other faiths, if they survive at all, do so with the explicit subject status of dhimmis. But when it comes to Israel’s position in these matters it’s still a case of O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see them lie."

Monday 17 December 2007

Palestine: over 100 human rights NGOs, less than 10 in the agricultural sector

Georges Malbrunot, the French journalist who was kidnapped in Irak, writing today in Le Figaro on the subject of aid given to the Palestinians quotes an expert: "Over one hundred Human Rights and Environmental Protection NGOs have been created, whereas there are less than 10 NGOs working in the key agricultural sector".

The figures are amazing: over 100 dealing with rights - human and environmental rights - and less than 10% with agriculture - add the billions poured in in aid, and one gets the picture: Palestinians are being encouraged to be dependent and irresponsible. For Malbrunot, the usual culprits are Israel and the US (Europe is powerless). Maen Eraka, a Palestian, explained that, although international aid has increased by 300%, Palestinians' net income went down by 10% - this sorry state of affairs is due to Israeli occupation! Israeli occupation in Gaza?

Malbrunot concludes that Israel is only too happy for Europe to pay, but does not want Europeans at the negotiating table...

Friday 14 December 2007

Thinking World Historically, by Rick Richman

This is a piece by Rick Richman from Jewish Current Issues:

"... what is happening in Iraq -- the attempt to create representative government in the heart of the Arab world -- is a potentially world-historical event, the latest chapter in what David Gelernter has termed the "fourth great Western religion:" "Americanism:"

From the 17th century through John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Americans kept talking about their country as if it were the biblical Israel and they were the chosen people. . . .
Freedom, equality, democracy: the Declaration held these truths to be self-evident, but "self-evident" they were certainly not. Otherwise, America would hardly have been the first nation in history to be built on this foundation. Deriving all three from the Bible, theologians of Americanism understood these doctrines not as philosophical ideas but as the word of God.
Hence the fervor and passion with which Americans believe their creed. Americans, virtually alone in the world, insist that freedom, equality, and democracy are right not only for France and Spain but for Afghanistan and Iraq.

George W. Bush is only the latest in a long line of American presidents -- including Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy and Reagan -- who considered Americans "an almost chosen people" (in Lincoln’s phrase), living in a country whose beginning in 1776 "really had its beginning in Hebrew times" (in Truman’s phrase), that is a "shining city upon a hill" (in Reagan’s phrase) and stands ready to "bear any burden and oppose any foe" to insure the survival of liberty (in Kennedy’s phrase).
All five presidents (three Republicans, two Democrats) thought America had a world-historical mission. None of them was a realist."

Wednesday 12 December 2007

"Anti-Semitism, just like any other form of prejudice, cannot breathe the air of truth", Bernard Harrison

Extracts from an article in Jewish Exponent by Bernard Harrison author of The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism, Jews, Israel and Liberal Opionion

“Plenty of Jews, and others, have protested against the current climate of demonization not merely of Israel, but also of the large majority of Jews and others who support Israel.
But furious denial is the usual response to any suggestion that there is anything anti-Semitic either about grotesquely hyperbolic defamation of Israel ("a Nazi state," "the apartheid wall"), or about attacks on the "Israel lobby" that patently revive and reanimate the hoary myth of Jewish conspiracy.
Denial is buttressed by the claim that these accusations of anti-Semitism are themselves evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to silence critics of Israel and close down debate on the Middle East. That charge, of course, reanimates another traditional anti-Semitic theme - that of the Jew who whines about his sufferings less because he is really injured than because he hopes to draw some hidden advantage from complaining.
That, however, is beside the point. The point, as ever in the diagnosis of prejudice, concerns not disrespect but truth. How, in reality, could accusations of anti-Semitism hope to stem the tide of defamation now running so strongly, let alone "close down debate"?
What factual basis, if any, supports accusations that Israel is a "Nazi state" or that Israelis are planning - or executing - a Nazi-style genocide against Palestinians?
Anti-Semitism, just like any other form of prejudice, cannot breathe the air of truth. It thrives on luridly colored falsehood.”
H/T: Engage

Sunday 9 December 2007

Darfur: Will the peacekeepers find them before the Janjaweed do?

Luxembourg boys school: physics or incitement to hatred?

Pupils at the Lycée de Garçons in Luxembourg were given a physics problem to solve (after protests, it was removed from the school website and young stone-thrower Mohamed was replaced by a golf player ...).

"Mohamed lives in Gaza. He is a Palestinian child and is throwing stones at the occupying Israelis. He wants to hit a soldier who is sitting on the top of a tank 60 metres away. ...
3. The child throws the stone at a speed of 20 metres/second. How long does it take for the soldier - from the moment he realises the stone has been thrown - to dodge ?
4. A second soldier, crouching on the ground, reacts by shooting once at the child with his rifle. The bullet leaves the rifle at a horizontal speed of 500 metres/second. How long does it take for the bullet to hit Mahomed?"

Saturday 8 December 2007

Kosta Plevris: Hitler could have rid Europe of the Jews but did not

The trial of Kostas Plevris, a Greek lawyer, neo-Nazi militant and author of Jews: The Whole Truth, and of the far-right newspaper Eleftheros Cosmos, on charges of breaking the anti-racism law, has opened in Athens on 3 December. Mr. Plevris stands accused of publishing anti-Semitic material and of "inciting actions that could provoke discrimination, hatred and violence against persons and groups of persons, solely because of their racial and ethnic origins". Here are some quotes from his book:

Adolf Hitler: The tragic leader of the German Third Reich is certainly the most impressive leadership figure of the modern age… Human history will blame Adolf Hitler for the following: 1. He could have rid Europe of the Jews, but did not; 2. He did not use the special chemical weapons, which only Germany possessed, to gain a victory... Because of the defeat of Germany then, the White Race and Europe are at risk now… The day will come when Europeans will either dominate or be destroyed. Either way they will acknowledge that Hitler was right... (p. 881)
Heinrich Himmler: Chief in Command of the SS… facts and arguments verify the high moral standing of the Man who, despite the fact that in one day he could have issued the order for all Jews to be put to death, chose to expel them from Europe so as to rid the continent of the White Race of the non-European Semites …. The SS, in particular the combatant SS (Waffen SS,) were the knights in armor of the modern age, indomitable fighting men from every country in Europe, who sacrificed their lives for the ideal of a New Order for civilized peoples. Unfortunately for the human race, they were defeated… They were all fine examples of faith, discipline and fighting skill, serving the ideals of National Socialism. Their bearing reflected the greatness of their character so only the very best of the Aryan Race were included in the ranks of the SS…. (p. 869)
Joseph Goebbels: One of the brightest minds of the century. A philosopher and fighter with a deep understanding of mass psychology, on every battlefield he vanquished Jewish Bolshevism and headed his country's all out war. (p. 885)
Hitler was blamed for something that did not actually take place. Later the history of humanity will blame him for not ridding Europe of the Jews, though he could have … My dear Jews, I do not ask you to suffer all the things that your holy books tell you that we should suffer from you… You are criminals because that is what your religion has taught you to be. You are murderers because crime is instilled in you from an early age. Therefore we others have the right to deal with you. And that is what we will do. (p. 852)
ZYKLON B, so extensively publicized as the gas used to put Jews to death in the special gas chambers (which have not been found) was merely a poisonous gas used to fumigate the concentration camps…everything else [said about it] is fiction produced for the purposes ofpropaganda. (p. 1008)
The SS divisions fought with unparalleled heroism. (p. 853)
In 1945 the White Race suffered the greatest catastrophe in its history. Hitlerian Germany's epic struggle for dominance by Aryans ended without a victory. (p. 869)

Monday 3 December 2007

"From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat", an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris

Article by Jeffrey T. Iverson in TIME Magazine
"In Search of Superman's Inner Jew
The debate has raged for decades: is he Jewish, Methodist, Kryptonian Raoist? But finally, it's been settled: Superman is definitely... a non-Aryan Protestant. The complex origins of many a comic book character are deconstructed at the engaging and erudite exhibit, "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" - through Jan. 27 at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris - which explores the impact of the Jewish experience on the evolution of the comic strip and graphic novel. …
And it is in that committed comic-book aficionado spirit that "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" presents some 230 American and European works dating back to 1890, including the 1940 strip How Superman Would End the War. "I'd like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw," grumbles the Man of Steel as he drags Adolf Hitler off to be tried for crimes against humanity. For the late comic-book artist Will Eisner, the Jewish people, faced with the rise of fascism, "needed a hero who could protect us against an almost invincible force." Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman in 1938 was only the first and - like Bob Kane's Batman in 1939, Jack Kirby's Captain America in 1940 and many more that followed - he was created by sons of Jewish immigrants living in New York.
Like their characters, many of these artists took on dual identities, says author and comic book historian Didier Pasamonik, a consultant on the exhibit: "There was a kind of diffused anti-Semitism at the time, and it was better to use a good American commercial name to reach the wider public." Even as Robert Kahn had become Bob Kane and Jacob Kurtzberg worked as Jack Kirby, their superheroes reflected some of the identity they were masking, evoking Jewish concepts such as tikkun olam (repairing the world through social action) and legends such as the Golem of Prague, the medieval superhero of Jewish folklore who was conjured from clay by a rabbi to defend his community when it was under threat.
Years later, some comic superheroes would actually be identified as Jews, like Auschwitz survivor Magneto and - the Golem myth incarnate - Ben Grimm (The Thing) of the Fantastic Four. But despite the rumors, the Man of Steel is no Supermensch, says Pasamonik. "Superman is not Jewish," he says. "When Superman gets married it's not at the synagogue!" Pasamonik has not missed the heavy dose of Jewish culture Siegel and Shuster instilled in their character: baby Superman's passage through space in a cradle-like vessel and subsequent adoption "is the story of Moses," he says, adding that El of Superman's given name Kal-El is a Hebrew word for God. But with a Methodist upbringing and extra-terrestrial origins, Superman, says Pasamonik, is best described simply as a "non-Aryan" hero.
And why not? Non-Aryan describes most of the southern and eastern European and Asian immigrants that crossed the oceans with the Siegels, Shusters, Kahns and Kurtzbergs in the late 19th and early 20th century. For the Pulitzer-prize- winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, World War II-era superheroes embodied the American dream shared by the countless foreigners. "It wasn't Krypton that Superman came from; it was the planet Minsk or Lodz or Vilna or Warsaw," wrote Feiffer in his essay The Minsk Theory of Krypton. "Superman was the ultimate assimilationist fantasy."
After World War II, the comic book genre became an unlikely vehicle for civic protest and consolidation of memory. "The hour of immigrant assimilation gave way to the fight for minorities and civil rights," explains Pasamonik. Harvey Kurtzman used the medium to tackle racial segregation, the Cold War and McCarthyism in his satirical MAD magazine. In 1955, when popular awareness of the Holocaust was scant, Bernard Krigstein and Al Feldstein caused a shock by revisiting the concentration camps with the seminal graphic story Master Race. During the '60s and '70s the genre opened up to the banal and biographical, with Pekar and Crumb's darkly humorous American Splendor and Eisner's landmark graphic novel, A Contract with God.
"Eisner brought an absolutely revolutionary dimension to the graphic novel, which was to make it an instrument of memory," says Pasamonik. Finally, with a nod toward Edmond-François Calvo's 1944 La Bête est Morte (The Beast is Dead) - which uses animals to tell the story of World War II - Art Spiegelman brought the graphic novel worldwide recognition by winning a Pulitzer prize in 1992 for his Holocaust saga, Maus. Eisner and Spiegelman's heirs now litter the globe, from Frenchman Joann Sfar (The Rabbi's Cat) to Iranian Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis). "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" pays homage to these artists, inviting the viewer to consider the subtexts at work even in comic books about men in tights."

Sunday 2 December 2007

We who live beneath a sky still streaked with the smoke of crematoriums..., François Mauriac

"We who live beneath a sky still streaked with the smoke of crematoriums have paid a high price to find out that evil is really evil."

François Mauriac (1885-1970), French novelist, essayist, literary critic and journalist

Israel and American politics: moving beyond Professors Mearsheimer and Walt and President Jimmy Carter

From the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East website:
"Mark Lichbach, Professor, Comparative Politics Chair of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland and Alan Zuckerman, Professor of Political Science at Brown University will convene a formal conference this summer of invited distinguished scholars to formally academically critique the work of Walt and Mearsheimer, Jimmy Carter and others which have gained so much attention recently.
In spring 2005, two well known political scientists, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, of the University of Chicago and Harvard University respectively, wrote a much discussed essay about the "Israel Lobby" and American foreign policy. Suddenly, the rumors of the power of American Jews were brought from the fringes of American politics into the faculty club, or rather the pages of The London Review of Books. In September 2007 Professors Mearsheimer and Walt published their book, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, to a continuing storm of controversy. In winter 2006, former President Jimmy Carter wrote a book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. In defending his book in major news outlets, Carter repeatedly fell back on canards about the power of the Jews to influence political dialogue and public policies in America. The storm over President Carter’s book also continues.
This conference and an edited volume is thus a response to an American embarrassment. Historians and political scientists have known for decades that the far right and the far left thrive on crackpot conspiracy theories of American society and politics. Among the most enduring of these fantasies is that American Jews, whose six million members comprise two percent of the American population, exert disproportionate control over the nation’s foreign and domestic policies. Before the Second World War and the Holocaust, such ideas were respectable enough to be found in country clubs and corporate offices. But it has been many decades since professors at distinguished universities and former Presidents of the United States have lent credence to ideas that had been the stock in trade of modern anti-Semitism. At their core lay the notion that the Jews, few in number yet possessed of much intelligence and no morality, ran affairs of state behind the scenes to the detriment of the vast non-Jewish majority. Whether the "Israeli Lobby" is responsible for the current war in Iraq and a future war with Iran is now debated on PBS, with the national director of the Anti-Defamation League serving as a witness for the defense. ...
We would ask them to address questions such as the following:
1. When and why did the United States conclude that the survival of the state of Israel is in the vital national interest of the United States? In view of the hostility of the Arab and Islamic world to the Jewish state, and in view of the presence of vast amounts of oil in the Arab states, how, when and why did American foreign policy make the defense of Israel a priority? When, how and why did some American diplomats and military leaders change their views on this issue?
2. Why did the United States go to war in Iraq and what, if anything, did that have to do with American support for Israel? Who were the key decision makers and what did the decision process look like? What role did "Jewish neo-conservatives" play in these decisions? As the war did not proceed as key decision makers hoped and expected it would, when and in what form did the focus on "Jewish neo-conservatives" and the "Israel Lobby" emerge?
4. What role does public opinion, the mass media, and elections play in deciding American foreign policy toward the Middle East? And who or what moves opinions, media, and elections? 5. How does the Congress and the executive branch, particularly the State Department and the Department of Defense, influence U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East? And who or what influences these decision-makers? How important is the "Israel lobby" compared to these other influences?
6. What is the connection between the lobbying efforts of American Jewish organizations, most famously but not only the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, and the formation of American foreign policy? What arguments have supporters of Israel made to politicians and why have these arguments struck a responsive chord? How do the lobbying efforts of supporters of Israel compare to efforts of other ethnic or religious groups or interest groups (African Americans, Irish, or, for that matter, non-ethnic lobbies such as big oil, the auto industry, high-tech) in general?
7. With respect to the Middle East, has the financial and corporate worlds - including Big Oil - taken sides? And which side on which issues have they taken?
8. What have Israel’s foreign policy priorities been in recent years and what do they have, if anything, to do with the war in Iraq? What were Israeli leaders saying about Iraq and Iran before and after 9/11?
9. What is the connection between American support for Israel and the rise of the terrorism of Islamic radicalism-Bin Laden’s declaration of war of 1998; bombings in Africa; 9/11; and general spread of anti-Americanism in the Middle East and Europe? What is the connection between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism? Why did anger at Israel grow as international terrorism became more destructive, frequent and vile?
10. Regardless of the authors’ intent, does the Mearsheimer/Walt and Carter statements stand in a longer tradition of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic analysis? If yes, why and if not, why not?"

Thursday 29 November 2007

Algerian Minister attributes Sarkozy's rise to power to the "Jewish lobby"

Le Figaro reported that, ahead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Algeria next week, Mohamed Cherif Abbès, War Veterans Minister, had attributed Mr. Sarkozy’s rise to power to the "Jewish lobby". As evidence of this, Mr Abbès referred to the appointment of Bernard Kouchner as Foreign Minister and underlined his Jewish "origins": "Why did Bernard Kouchner, a man of the Left, decide to change sides and join the government ? His move was not guided by personal convictions. It was the result of a movement that reflects the aims of the real architects of Sarkozy’s rise to power, the Jewish lobby that has a monopoly on French industry."
Mr. Abbas also hinted at President Sarkozy's "origins" - an explicit reference to his maternal grandfather who was Jewish: "You are aware of the roots of the French president and of those who brought him to power".
He further added that, during the French electoral campaign, the Israeli authorities had issued a stamp bearing Sarkozy’s portrait.
There is nothing new about this. Last year, when a member of the Socialist party visited Algiers, the issue of the party’s infiltration (noyautage) by Jews was raised privately …

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Annapolis: Hope or scepticism for Israel-Palestine?" by Harry Hagopian - illustrated with Abbas and Olmert naked cartoon by Ben Heine

Ben Heine's comment (so that no one misses the subtle message): "The drawing shows Mahmoud Abbas (left), President of the Palestinian National Authority and Ehud Olmert (right), Prime Minister of Israel, in very tough peace negotiations..."

Ben Heine’s website carries, with the author’s permission, an article "Annapolis: Hope or scepticism for Israel-Palestine?" by Harry Hagopian, "Ecumenical, Legal & Political Consultant to the Armenian Church in the UK. Former Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches and a recognised regional expert, Dr Hagopian is a coordinator of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and a lobbyist for recognition of the Armenian genocide."

A cartoon by Ben Heine illustrates Dr Hagopian's article. Its vulgar sexual connotations and explicit hate message are utterly revolting. Suffice it to say that Ben Heine (the only Belgian who took part in the infamous 2006 Tehran Holocaust cartoon contest) is highly appreciated by the far-right, conspirationist Canadian website Zionofascism which purports to expose "Zionofascism in Canada and the World". It features Heine’s portrait by Carlos Latuff depicted as James Bond fighting the Zionist Gang. The site’s "Top Clicks" are: Quotations from President Ahmadinejad of Iran; La fin de Sion (est proche) (The end of Zion is nigh); ZioPedia; and Ben Heine.

Monday 26 November 2007

"Anti-Semitism may be a good starter but it is a bad finisher", Winston Churchill (1932)

Saving Civilization From Itself - Churchill understood that the Jews are the bedrock of Western tradition.
Arthur Herman reviews Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert in the WSJ:
"A student of history, Churchill came to feel that Judaism was the bedrock of traditional Western moral and political principles - and Churchill was of a generation that preferred to talk about principles instead of "values." For Europeans to turn against the Jew, he argued, was for them to strike at their own roots and reject an essential part of their civilization - "that corporate strength, that personal and special driving power" that Jews had brought for hundreds of years to Europe's arts, sciences and institutions.
To deny Jews a national homeland was therefore an act of ingratitude. Churchill became a keen backer of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which broached the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. As a friend to Zionist leader Chaim Weizman, and as colonial secretary after World War I, Churchill made establishing such a homeland a matter of urgency. "The hope of your race for so many centuries will be gradually realized here," Churchill told a Jewish audience in Jerusalem during his visit in March 1921, "not only for your own good, but for the good of all the world." …
Churchill was to be disappointed by the results of his Middle Eastern efforts, as Arabs hunted down and murdered Jewish settlers by the hundreds in the 1920s and 1930s - just at the time when Adolf Hitler was building his own regime around the persecution of the Jews in Germany. As early as 1930 Churchill realized that the Nazis' anti-Jewish policies carried the stench of an ancient evil. "Tell your boss from me," he said to a Hitler acquaintance in the late summer of 1932, as the Nazi Party was on the verge of power, "that anti-Semitism may be a good starter but it is a bad finisher."
Today the existence of Israel is apparently something to be regretted, even deplored, not only in Arab capitals but in European ones and on American university campuses. Paradoxically, such feelings intensified after 9/11, an event that should have made us all aware of who the friends of Western civilization really are - and who its enemies. Martin Gilbert's book reminds us that anti-Semitism is the dark turn of the modern mind against itself, and a form of cultural patricide."
Arthur L. Herman's "Gandhi & Churchill" will be published by Bantam in April.

Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton

Jewish Current Issues has this piece on John Bolton’s new book, Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad and the forthcoming peace conference in Annapolis:

"Bolton includes a lengthy, hour-by-hour, description of the process at the State Department and the UN by which Resolution 1701 was adopted last summer, ending the Second Lebanon War. He makes it clear it was - to be diplomatic - not a stellar performance by the State Department. Ultimately, he writes, the resolution left a situation in which "it became increasingly clear that there was not going to be another resolution to disarm Hezbollah, that the arms embargo was not being enforced, that Hezbollah was rearming, and that "enhanced UNIFIL" looked and acted much like the existing, ineffective UNIFIL."

Here is Bolton’s conclusion, near the end of the book, regarding U.S. policy and Israel:

"Because of its location, Israel experiences the terrorist threat almost daily, facing Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist groups, not to mention being within range of Iranian missiles. Hamas has now seized control of the Gaza Strip, fracturing the Palestinian Authority, leaving the "former terrorists" of Fatah now in control of the West Bank; Hezbollah is close to overthrowing Lebanon’s democratic government; and Syria is increasingly under Iran’s control. Given this reality, there is no rationale for the United States to pressure Israel into "peace agreements" with its remaining Arab neighbors, or to believe that "dialogue" on such issues will have any material effect on the Middle East’s numerous other conflicts. . . . Of course, Israel’s own government for its own reasons may decide to make concessions in various negotiations, and bear the consequences, but the United States has no interest in precipitating such decisions."

Last week, Bolton was the keynote speaker at a dinner of the Lincoln Club. Just before the dinner, he graciously agreed to answer a question from JCI about Secretary Rice’s current diplomatic effort:

JCI: I’m speaking with Ambassador John Bolton; it’s October 30, 2007. Ambassador Bolton, I’d like to ask you if you think Condoleezza Rice will be successful in convening a peace conference in Annapolis, who might attend, what the outcome will be.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think the odds are that the conference will take place, but I am very skeptical that a positive outcome is possible. The circumstances in the region are just not conducive to progress, particularly on the Palestinian side, where there is no effective Palestinian Authority, no effective entity that can carry out commitments that might be made. And the risk is not simply that the conference will fail, but that a failed conference will leave us in a worse situation in the region.

In a later conversation, Bolton indicated the two-state solution has run its course, and that any future solution will more likely be a three-state one involving the participation of Egypt and Jordan."

Saturday 24 November 2007

A spate of anti-Semitic acts in Paris 10th arrondissement

The CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France) reports that Le Parisien carried an article on a spate of anti-Semitic acts perpetraded recently in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. The Jewish community is both worried and exasperated. On Sunday 18 November a 15-year old boy, wearing a kippa, was beaten up by three boys when leaving home. On Saturday 17 November two 10- year olds were verbally abused and punched by a boy the same age in the Vellefaux school playground. The Jewish community held a spontaneous demonstration on Tuesday 20 November. One mother complained: "The insults are only one aspect of the violence. Youngsters threaten to burn our buildings and shout: "This is Palestine. Go home". It is hell to put up with this on a daily basis."

The newspaper also referred to the murder in 2003 of a young man, Sébastien Sellam. The alleged murdered, Adel, was a neighbour and a friend. After slitting his victim’s throat and mutilating his face, Adel went home and declared: "I have killed a Jew! I will go to heaven!"

Thursday 22 November 2007

Judeosphere rates the Realists

Judeosphere offers a sampling of the only too human fallibility of John Mearsheimer's and a few other Realists' predictions:
"During the last few months, I've seen a number of editorials demanding that pundits be held accountable for their "complicity" in making the case for war in Iraq.
Writing in the National Interest, Justin Logan offers what he considers to be a practical solution:
Thanks to news cycles and short attention spans, pundits get away with murder. Columnists and talking heads can issue endless prognostications about what Iraq will look like in another six months, and because nobody’s going to remember to follow up six months on, it doesn’t matter whether they were right.
The best way to correct the situation is by developing a predictions database, where experts can weigh-in on specific, falsifiable claims about the future, putting their reputations on the line. Something like this was envisioned in a DARPA program developed under Admiral John Poindexter in 2003. The so-called "policy analysis "market" was designed to allow analysts to buy futures contracts for various scenarios. As the value of these contracts went up or down, other analysts could observe and investigate why, determining how and why others were "putting their money where their mouths were", and whether they should do the same.

Well now, that's interesting. What's also interesting is that Justin Logan is an analyst at the Cato Institute, which is affiliated with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are among the Coalition's founding members.
So, I find myself wondering: How would the venerable foreign policy realists fare in this proposed predictions database? Here's a sampling:
John Mearsheimer: An academic with such a wretched track record, that if he had been a royal astrologer he would have been beheaded. His 1990 opus [pdf] for the Atlantic Monthly, "Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War," confidently predicted that the decline of the Soviet Union would usher in a new arms race in Europe, with nations--especially Germany--rushing to build nuclear weapons. In a 1991 NYT editorial [pdf], he made the case for the First Gulf War, predicting that "a quick victory will reduce losses on both sides." (Iraqi casualties: 40,000 dead troops and more than 140,000 dead civilians.) In 1993, he declared [pdf] that a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent was "inevitable", since the country would never return its nuclear warheads to Russia. (In 1995, Ukraine returned all of Russia's nuclear weapons.) Then, in 1998, he said [pdf] the Kosovo peace agreement was "doomed" to fail because "neither the Albanians nor the Serbs are likely to stick to it." (One year later, Milosevic agreed to withdraw troops from Kosovo, and the Kosovo Liberation Army agreed to disarm.)
Leon Hadar: His famous 1992 essay, "The Green Peril," declared that fundamentalist Islamic movements posed no threat to the West. (Hey, how did that turn out?)
Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute: A man who has predicted war so many times it's a wonder that we haven't been bombed back into the Bronze Age. In the last eight years he's warned of a forthcoming war with China; a forthcoming Turkish war against Greece; a Marxist/narcotrafficking takeover of Colombia; and war with North Korea.
Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation: In 1998, he predicted an "economic tsunami" would soon strike Japan, and then engulf America and the entire global economy. (Ahhh! Run away! Run away!)
And there, my friends, are the "realist" pundits. By all means, let's add them to the "predictions database," so everyone can see firsthand their true market value."

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Simon Deng tells Bishop Desmond Tutu that Israel is not an apartheid Stat

Simon Deng, a native of the Shiluk Kingdom in southern Sudan, is an escaped jihad slave and a leading human rights activist. Simon Deng has this piece in the Jewish Advocate.
"Disappearance of Bishop Tutu
Late last month, I went to hear Bishop Desmond Tutu speak at Boston’s Old South Church at a conference on "Israel Apartheid." Tutu is a well respected man of God. He brought reconciliation between blacks and whites in South Africa. That he would lead a conference that damns the Jewish state is very disturbing to me.
The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families – even though I also drove on Israeli roads protected by walls and fences from Arab bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools, and get the best medical care in the world. I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. I see street signs in Arabic, an official language here. None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid in Tutu’s South Africa. …
Bishop Tutu, I see black Jews walking down the street here in Jerusalem. Black like us, free and proud. …
Yes, the Palestinians are inconvenienced at checkpoints. But why, Bishop Tutu, do you care more about that inconvenience than about Jewish lives?
Bishop, when you used to dance for Mandela’s freedom, we Africans – all over Africa – joined in. Our support was key in your freedom. But when children in Burundi and Kinshasa, all the way to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in particular in Sudan, cried and called for rescue, you heard but chose to be silent.
Today, black children are enslaved in Sudan, the last place in the continent of Africa where humans are owned by other humans – I was part of the movement to stop slavery in Mauritania, which just now abolished the practice. But you were not with us, Bishop Tutu.
So where is Desmond Tutu when my people call out for freedom? Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now. Where are you for Sudan, Bishop Tutu? You are busy attacking the Jewish state. Why?"

Monday 19 November 2007

ADL survey: Americans see Israel as ally

From The Jerusalem Post
"A large percentage of Americans continue to support the State of Israel, especially in relation to the Palestinians and the "war on terror," according to a survey released Sunday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The survey reveals that a large majority of Americans, 65%, see Israel as an important ally.
A 2005 ADL poll showed nearly identical numbers of Americans with this view, indicating that American support for Israel has stayed strong and relatively constant over the last few years.
This support comes despite the common belief that America's friendship with Israel makes the US a bigger target for terrorists. Though 65% of respondents expressed this conviction, 57% said that the US should continue to give Israel its support.
Americans remain much more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinian people, the survey says. Forty-five percent of respondents said that they sympathize more with the Israeli people, compared to 16% who said they sympathize with the Palestinians.
This sympathy toward Israel has increased only slightly over the last few years. Two years ago a similar poll showed 42% of Americans being sympathetic toward Israel, and 13% sympathetic toward the Palestinians, and a 2003 poll revealed that 40% of Americans had sympathy for Israel and 15% had sympathy for its Palestinian neighbors. …
"These findings are reassuring, not only because of continuing strong support for Israel, but because Americans understand that without a major Palestinian effort to deal with terrorism, there can be no viable Palestinian state," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman."

Sunday 18 November 2007

What they say: Chirac, Dawkins, Jones, Alderton

What the politician, the scholar, the entertainer, the Royal aides say:

President Jacques Chirac at the Anglo-French Summit in Le Touquet, February 2003:
"On the middle East, Chirac was sceptical that the Americans would do anything, said power was not in Washington but in the Jewish population of New-York."
The Blair Years, Alastair Campbell, Hutchinson, 2007 (page 662)

Richard Dawkins, The Guardian:
"When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."

Life of Brian director Terry Jones talks to Marc Lee about the scene he cut from the legendary Python film, The Daily Telegraph:
"A new DVD edition of the film includes the deleted "Otto" scene, which features a radical, first-century Jewish revolutionary who has the same dreams as the young Adolf Hitler. Otto sports a toothbrush moustache, and, in case we still haven't got the message, his disciples all wear a symbol that combines the Star of David with a swastika. These are "Nazi Jews".
Jones insists he didn't make the cut to avoid giving offence.
"It was a very funny scene," he says, "but it wasn't relevant; it wasn't part of the story. When I took it out, the film just flowed so much better."
He regretted having to cut the scene at the time and regrets it even more so now.
"I think what it addressed is extremely relevant today," he says, "with what's going on in Israel. Eric [who wrote the scene] put his finger on something; it was quite prophetic.""

Leaked e-mail pitches Prince Charles into heart of row over royal visit to Israel, The Times:
"Internal e-mails between two of the Prince's closest aides make clear that there was "no chance ever" of Clarence House accepting an invitation to visit Jerusalem. The e-mails, published in The Jewish Chronicle today, also disclose a fear that Israel would want the Prince "to help burnish its international image." …
The initial response from Sir Michael was enthusiastic. In an e-mail to Mr Heifetz and copied to his deputy, he says: "The invitation to Israel is hugely appreciated and Clive and I would love to come."
However, by the time that Mr Alderton responded to Sir Michael six days later, the ardour had cooled. Mr Alderton wrote: "Safe to assume that there is no chance of this visit ever actually happening? Acceptance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Israel would want HRH to help burnish its international image."

Friday 16 November 2007

Israel: The sand and the soldier, Serge Gainsbourg (1967)

The sand and the soldier

I will. I will defend the sand of Israel,
The land of Israel, the children of Israel,
I am ready to die for the sand of Israel,
The land of Israel, the children of Israel,

I will defend against any enemy
The sand and the land I was promised.

I will defend the sand of Israel,
The cities of Israel, the land of Israel,
I am ready to die for the sand of Israel,
The cities of Israel, the land of Israel.

All the Goliaths who come from the pyramids,
Will retreat before the star of David.

I will defend the sand of Israel,
The land of Israel, the children of Israel,
I am ready to die for the sand of Israel,
The land of Israel, the children of Israel.

I am ready to die for the sand of Israel,
The land of Israel, the children of Israel.

This song was presented by Serge Gainsbourg to the State of Israel. It was composed in June 1967 during the Six-Day war.
On You Tube
Six-Day War-1967 Third Arab Israeli War
Translated by Philosemite

Thursday 15 November 2007

Walt and Mearsheimer's "The Israel Lobby" - footnote No. 1,399

Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s extensive use of footnotes in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy has been the subject of as much comment as has the carelessness of their research. I had a look at the footnote section of the book and was intrigued by the last one, to be precise the 1,399th according to Leonard Fein who took the trouble of counting them. Indeed, footnote No. 1,399 refers to a manifesto concocted by 25 German peace activists (in fact 17, the other 8 only expressed support, but did not sign) and was sent for publication by the authors themselves to the Spanish website Tlaxcala.
The manifesto Why the "special relationship" between Germany and Israel has to be reconsidered recycles the usual anti-Jewish tropes and is illustrated by an Iranian cartoonist Jaber Asadi. The cartoon depicts a brutish and heavily armed Israeli soldier who does not look at his victims (not enemies of course) and who cowardly hides behind a tombstone marked "Holocaust". Got it? To be associated with such a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon did not seem to trouble in the least either the "peace activists" or Walt and Mearsheimer. A proper look at the other 1,389 footnotes might reveal a few more surprises of the kind.
For those who are unfamiliar with Tlaxcala here is a small sample of the scholarly stuff to be found on the site:
By Khalid Amayreh: Israel: perpetual criminal, perpetual liar; Israel’s silent holocaust against the Palestinians; Grand-Children of the Holocaust turning Gaza into another Ghetto Warsaw.
By Fausto Giudice and Ben Heine An oblivion repaired, A motto for Israel, discussed here and here.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

For President Sarkozy the creation of Israel is one of the "miracles" of the 20th century

The AJC reports:
"French President Nicolas Sarkozy was honored today [7 Nov.] by the American Jewish Committee with the global advocacy organization’s prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award.
"Above all, we honor President Sarkozy’s conviction, conscience, and courage - qualities that are in short supply in a world desperately in need of all three," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.
The AJC award pays tribute to outstanding statesmanship.
"President Nicolas Sarkozy is a man of passion," said Harris. "It is his passion, combined with his conviction, conscience, and courage, that has quickly elevated him to a place of exceptional prominence and respect on the global stage."
Richard J. Sideman, AJC National President, opening the meeting and award ceremony, saluted President Sarkozy’s "unparalleled vigor and uncommon principle," and spoke of the common challenges and threats facing the "sister democracies" of the United States, France and Israel. …
"Anti-Semitism must be attacked head on," declared President Sarkozy. "Once you try to explain anti-Semitism, you are rationalizing anti-Semitism."
He said anti-Semitism is a reality that must be acknowledged, not denied. "We cannot fight against what is denied," he said. "Unless you agree on a diagnosis, you cannot find the remedy."
President Sarkozy described himself as a committed friend of Israel who regards the very creation of the state as one of the "miracles" of the twentieth century. ...
"He is steadfast in his opposition to anti-Semitism," said Harris, recalling President Sarkozy’s words at a 2004 AJC luncheon in Washington, when he declared: "I consider any insult against Jews an insult against France.""

Monday 12 November 2007

Cross-eyed Europe. The Protocols of the Sages of Information, by Pilar Rahola (2003)

"The present anti-Semitic edifice is built on two equally powerful pillars. One has to do with the culture of the hatred and prejudice that marks us as a people. However, the other pillar is absolutely necessary for those prejudices to take wing and fly: the informative lie. And "lie", nowadays, is a verb conjugated with equal enthusiasm by journalists and intellectuals, to such a degree that the truth about Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict is being superseded by a parallel truth, based on the distortion and falsification of history. Here, too, there is nothing new, inasmuch as historical and contemporary anti-Semitism have to do with lying. I will put in the harsh terms merited by the accusation: Europe - erudite, intellectual, media-minded; the Europe that reports daily on the Middle East and which is responsible for the voraciously anti-Israel cast of opinion, is rewriting a new version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The secret agents of czarism have replaced by modern-day journalists; the ancient peril of a Jewish plot is now being couched as a Yankee-Israeli plot; the evil Jew of yesteryear is the same evil Jew he always was, except that now his plot is situated on Wall Street and he has an army. I shall never cease to be amazed and horrified by the force of old iniquities. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) put it this way in a study it conducted among adults in five European countries: it is alarming to find in this post-Holocaust and post-September-11th world that one out of five persons believes in the old slanders. In Spain, for instance, some 70% believe in the concept of a Jewish financial lobby, as lobby that, naturally, pulls the world’s strings. Thus, in the beginning of time, we had Christian texts converting the Jewish people into God killers. I believe that somewhere there is a wretch who wants to make a movie out of it… In 1903, we had the Protocols garbed by the Russian extreme right, who contributed to instigating the pogroms that devastated that country until 1914, with the slaughter of 60,000 Jews in the civil war between the whites and the reds. In 1920, we had Henry Ford and frenzied international Jew. And in vanquished and convulsed Germany, well nourished on the Protocols, Hitler wrote his Mein Kampf and Rosenberg and Goebbels saw to the propagation of hatred and, therefore, the legitimization of persecution. The outcome is well known.
Today, the same Europe which gave rise to everything - hatred, persecution and extermination, is now giving birth to a new narrative whose stigmas are distant and the distortion of which is equally inconsiderate and whose consequences, in any event, will never be good. This is my explicit accusation: the journalistic and intellectual world, fundamentally composed of leftists, has written new highly influential Protocols, with devastating consequences. Day by day, with every news item, with every declaration, we don’t have the odd ferocious book; today, we have a library full of them. Like their forebears, the Protocols of the Sages of Information are fake, criminal and false. Israel is the target. The reason - there are many, most of which are ignoble. The justification is Sharon. The excuse - anti-Zionism. The weapon - prestige. The propagator - thousands of media. The ally - Arafat. The result - anti-Semitism."
From a speech delivered at the International Keren Hayesod Conference, 25.11.2003.
Pilar Rahola comes from a republican and anti-fascist family. She is a Catalan writer, journalist and former parliamentarian of the republican left.
Also by Pilar Rahola.

Ben Heine - another victim of the Zionist Lobby

Simply Jews has this strong comment on Ben Heine’s angry reaction at the withdrawal of his self-promotional page on Wikipedia by Karl Meier, a member of the famous Zionist Lobby:
"Attention Zionists at Work !!!
I didn't grok that Flicker could be used as a ersatz blog: just upload a picture and start carping around it. But here is an unexciting, albeit pitiful, wail from Ben Heine, he of the Iranian Holocaust cartoon competition fame.
Another Victim of the Zionist Lobby
No more and no less. Ehehe....
To put things straight, dear Ben: a cockroach squashed by a bulldozer can call itself a victim of industrial revolution with more reasons than you can call yourself a victim of this or any other lobby. A fart in a hurricane would be more apt as a description of your miserable life story...
In fact, all operatives of the Elders' field units are under strict order to keep a safe distance.
It is the smell, you know."

Cross-posted at under the appropriate label: Israel Derangement Syndrome!

Sunday 11 November 2007

It's Time To Acknowledge Philosemitism, by Hilary Rubinstein

This is an important article by Dr. Hilary Rubinstein in the Council of Christians and Jews, Victoria (2005)
"In 1928 an English radical politician and ardent gentile Zionist, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, a direct descendant of the Unitarian founder of the famous pottery firm, published a book outlining his dream that the Jewish national homeland in Palestine would eventually become Britain's seventh dominion. In that book Wedgwood, who like his Sydney-based daughter, Camilla, would later work strenuously on behalf of refugees from Nazism, noted:
"The Anglo-Saxon, more than any other race, wants to sympathise with the Jews. . . no doubt we understand the Jew better than can those to whom the Old Testament is not familiar from infancy. To the foreigner the word Jew is a hissing in the street; to us the word suggests Solomon and Moses, and a thousand cradle stories. So often have we used their names for our own children that they seem now to be our fathers, especially our Puritan forefathers. . . Towards such a people one has a feeling almost of awe. . ."
England, as he saw, was fundamentally different from the European Continent in its attitude towards Jews. Between their expulsion by Edward I in 1290 and their official readmission by Cromwell in 1656, the country had experienced a Protestant Reformation that engendered manifestations of philosemitism.
With the Reformation, Henry VIII ordered a vernacular translation of the Bible to be placed inside every church in his realm, and the Bible especially with the publication in 1611 of the beautiful King James version - began to assume the role that scientist Thomas Huxley, himself a supporter of Jewry, characterised as "the national epic of Britain", so closely did Britons identify with the scriptural story of Israel. Thus could a nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish scholar, who had migrated from Central Europe, marvel at "the generosity [and] liberality . . . of a nation whose chief model is the Bible".
Such was the impact of the Bible that even the humblest Jewish pedlar was often esteemed as the descendant of patriarchs and prophets. "Whenever I met a Jewish old clo' man, I could not forebear from taking my hat off to him», one Anglican priest and fervent philosemite recalled of his boyhood in Victorian London. "What an honour to be permitted to minister in any way to the seed of Abraham, God's chosen ones!" enthused a gentile contributor to a relief fund for Palestinian Jewry in 1854. Countless Britons identified with the biblical Israelites against Pharoah and Haman, and, by extension, with the contemporary descendants of the Israelites against their modern tormentors. "When I think of the persecution of the Jews", declared an Anglican bishop and unswerving friend of Jewry in 1935, "I wish that we would draw the sword and fight for God's people." Repeatedly, Christian philosemites, clerical and lay, made similar statements.
Jews and non-Jews alike should be more aware that in Britain, the United States, Australia and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, mass demonstrations on behalf of Jews under Nazism were mounted by distinguished public figures, religious and secular. If this fact was more generally known, the enduring canard of the "bystanders" might begin to be eroded and if only more people were aware of the similar rallies and public meetings held during other periods of crisis to protest injustice to Jews, the perception of an almost universally normative historical legacy of antisemitism would begin to be challenged.
Let there be no mistaking the fact that from the Damascus Affair of 1840 onwards, through the Mortara Affair of 1858-59, the May Laws of 1881 in Russia and subsequent pogroms, the Kishinev massacre of 1903, the Dreyfus Affair of 1894-1906, and the Beilis Affair of 1911-13, in Britain and other English-speaking lands, gentiles protested in their hundreds, and opinion-makers, ranging from politicians to prelates, spearheaded the cause.
Among those who demonstrated on behalf of oppressed Jews were active fishers for Jewish souls, such as the Anglican bishop who, notoriously, instituted a fund for the conversion of London's immigrant Jews, and members of the Evangelical Alliance (who included two prominent Sydney protesters against the pogroms, Archbishop Saumarez Smith and Canon Archdall). However, most committed Christian philosemites had no conversionist agenda. Indeed, some of Jewry's most devoted Christian allies were insistent that Judaism offered an alternative path to redemption.
The leading pioneer of this outlook was Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna, the remarkable editor of both the Protestant Magazine and the Christian Lady's Magazine, who strenuously campaigned for justice for Jews and organised a petition by British elite figures, all practising Christians, to Tsar Nicholas during his private visit to London in 1844, deploring his treatment of Jews.
Sadly, Jews in general seem unaware of the generous tradition of philosemitism in the English-speaking world, of which there were four, often overlapping, strands: Christian, liberal, conservative and Zionist.
Driven by the tendency of chroniclers and commentators to emphasise the dolorous aspects of Jewish history and highlight gentiles' misdeeds, there has been a woeful neglect of our friends. Much publicity in the local Jewish press greeted a recent discovery that in 1938, representatives of an aboriginal organisation had delivered a petition to the German consul in Melbourne protesting Nazi antisemitism, and a plaque in their honour was unveiled in the Holocaust Museum. Certainly, there is something deeply moving about the image of one oppressed people speaking out on behalf of another. The impression conveyed is that the aborigines' initiative had been the only one of its kind, and that white Australians made few or no attempts to alleviate the plight of European Jewry. Where, for instance, is the plaque to honour Critchley Parker, the young Melbourne man who lost his life in the Jewish cause?
How many Australian Jews today can identify Archbishop Duhig, Bishop Pilcher, and rightwing imperialist Sir James Barrett as having been among this country's staunch champions of persecuted German Jewry? Or name even a handful of the non-Jewish national figures of various political allegiances and religious denominations who supported the idea of a refuge for persecuted Jewry in the Kimberleys? Undoubtedly not very many. Few are aware of earlier Australian efforts on behalf of Jewry involving people ranging from statesmen such as Sir John Robertson to Methodist Ladies' College principal W.H.Fitchett to a group of Chinese Melbournians, and private citizens in rural areas, not least the Presbyterian pastoralist Anne Fraser Bon. It is high time that Jews reversed this blinkered attitude and acknowledged those who have been our friends. To over-concentrate upon those who have done us wrong is to skew the historic record, and it is profoundly unjust.
Dr. Hilary Rubinstein is Associate Editor of the Victorian issues of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal and is a former member of Temple Beth Israel and the CCJ (Vic). At present living in Wales, where she taught Modern Jewish History to religion students at the University of Lampeter, she is working on various historical projects. She is the author or co-author of several books and many articles, including Philosemitism: Admiration and Support in the English-Speaking World for Jews, 1840-1939 (London, Macmillan, 1999).

Thursday 8 November 2007

Hannah Senesh remembered in Budapest on 63rd anniversary of her execution

From the JTA:
"Zionist heroine Hannah Senesh was remembered in Budapest on the 63rd anniversary of her execution.
Senesh was executed by Hungarian Nazis on Nov. 7, 1944 [aged 23] after parachuting behind enemy lines during World War II and being arrested as a spy.
The memorial ceremony was organized by the Budapest Holocaust Museum and Documentation Center in the Hannah Senesh Park, named for the Budapest-born Senesh who as a young girl immigrated to Palestine and served during World War II as a British soldier, parachuting first into Italy and Yugoslavia, and then into Hungary in 1944.
Two of Senesh's Hungarian cousins took part in the ceremony, as well as Israeli Embassy First Secretary Yahel Vilan, representatives of the Budapest Holocaust Museum and members of the Hungarian Jewish community.
No Hungarian officials attended the ceremony."
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honour's sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Poem by Hannah Senesh

Hannah Szenes was a Hungarian Jew, one of 37 Jews living in Palestine, now Israel, who were trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia during the Second World War in order to help save the Jews of Hungary, who were about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.
Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but she refused to reveal details of her mission, and was eventually tried and executed by firing squad. She is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, where streets are named after her and her poetry is widely known.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Record number of churches to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day

European Coalition for Israel reports:
A record number of local churches in Europe are expected to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday 27 January 2008. The Remembrance Day, which was initiated by the European Parliament already in 2000 and supported by a declaration of the United Nations in 2005, was first introduced to church communities in Europe a year ago by the European Coalition for Israel. The Coalition brings together organizations and churches which seek to foster better relations between Europe and Israel, commemorate the Holocaust and inform about new forms of anti-Semitism.
At the main event in Brussels last year European Commissioner for Culture and Youth Jan Figel spoke about the need for the younger generations in Europe to learn about the Holocaust. This year European Parliament president Hans-Gert Pöttering is scheduled to speak at the event in Brussels where parliamentarians, diplomats and church leaders will attend. But apart from the high profile event in Brussels the organizers hope to inspire over 1000 local churches to commemorate the Holocaust day in their Sunday service on January 27. European director Jeff Fountain of Youth with a Mission explains:
"The Holocaust was a defining phase in Europe's modern history, and its commemoration remains a crucial reminder of what can happen in Europe when we stray from our Judeo-Christian foundations."
Already last year a few hundred churches participated in the campaign despite short notice. This year the organizers will ask each church to also register....“Many churches have asked for a concrete program for the Holocaust event and we will provide them with one”, says Tomas Sandell who is the main coordinator of the campaign and the founding director of European Coalition for Israel.
One of the main objectives of the campaign is to learn what the consequences are when Christians fail to speak up against the evil of our time. One particular issue which is raised in the campaign material is the need for Christians to react differently today when the Jewish nation is threatened with annihilation. The organizers hope that the campaign will teach and inspire Christians in Europe to speak up against any form of evil or genocide.
"The atrocities of the Nazis started with the Jews but it did not stop there. The same pattern can be seen today with those forces who once again wish to eliminate the Jewish people", says Sandell.
The campaign is non-political and includes churches and citizen groups from a variety of backgrounds. Many of the churches which took active part in last years campaign were of immigrant Arab origin. More information on the campaign and a registration form can be found on the website

Rua da Judiaria's 4th anniversary on the net

Nuno Guerreiro has just celebrated the 4th anniversary of Rua da Judiaria with the publication of the photograph of an old fishing boat named "Deus de Israel" taken by Luis Novaes Tito in Viana do Castelo (Portugal). Many congratulations to Nuno.

Cartoonist Ben Heine draws a Zionist "Myriam" (Tlaxcala blog)

Fausto Giudice, an Italian, announced on Tlaxcala (a Spanish website) that he and Ben Heine will shortly be writing a constitution for Israel based on the Decalogue. In the meantime, Ben Heine, a Belgian, has drawn a Zionist "Myriam".
A German reader of Tlaxcala expressed utter shock at the article and drawing: "It is really saddening to see the overt and disgusting anti-Semitism you are publishing on your homepage. It is a pity that right now I don't have the time and money, but I hope somebody will sue you for this article, Ulrich Becker."

"Every state has its motto, its flag, its national anthem and its Constitution. But one state does not follow this rule: Israel. Besides, what kind of political system has this State? Monarchy? Republic? No one can answer it, as even if Israel has a flag and a national anthem it has neither Constitution nor motto. It is also the only United Nations state member that has not deposited a map of its borders before the UN. ...
Therefore from this proposition cartoonist Ben Heine has drawn a Zionist "Myriam". At glance everybody will recognize Delacroix’s Marianne standing up on 1830 barricades from the famous picture "Liberty guiding the people". However she is armed with a menorah, the Jewish seven branches candlestick. It is possible that her bare breasts could shock orthodox rabbis, although Zionists can be accused of anything except prudery. Evidently, this Zionist Myriam should be suspicious and keep a distance from Israel’s fallen president Moshe Katsav, a sexual harasser of women.
So we have repaired an oblivion and henceforth the state of Israel has a motto. In short we will start writing a Constitution tailored to this State, directly inspired from the the Bible’s Decalogue, the 10 Commandments transmitted to Moshe by Yehova on Mount Sinai."

Fausto Giudice and Ben Heine and their motto for Israel ... in German (Tlaxcala blog)

Fausto Giudice, an Italian, and Ben Heine, a Belgian, announced on Tlaxcala (a Spanish blog) that they had "repaired an oblivion" by proposing a motto for Israel. They drew their inspiration from the French Republic "Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité", which was translated from French into German, and then appropriately adapted to fit the "Zionist state". What is the rationale for the choice of German? Well, isn’t Israel a Nazi State and isn’t German the language of the Nazis, which according to them "a big chunk of Israeli citizens" understand? A German reader wrote a letter expressing utter shock: "It is really saddening to see the overt and disgusting anti-Semitism you are publishing on your homepage. It is a pity that right now I don't have the time and money, but I hope somebody will sue you for this article, Ulrich Becker."
"An oblivion repaired - A motto for Israel
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity": this proud and beautiful motto, engraved on the pediment of each and every town hall of France and its colonies since 1880, is the official motto of the French Republic, written down in both the 1946 and 1958 Constitutions. It needed time to impose itself: In 1790 the Convention rejected Robespierre’s proposition to include it on flags and uniforms. From 1793, Parisians wrote down on their houses: “Unity, indivisibility of Republic; liberty, equality, fraternity or death”, but soon they will be invited to erase the last part of it; it’s too associated to Terror...
Every state has its motto, its flag, its national anthem and its Constitution. But one state does not follow this rule: Israel. Besides, what kind of political system has this State? Monarchy? Republic? No one can answer it, as even if Israel has a flag and a national anthem it has neither Constitution nor motto. It is also the only United Nations state member that has not deposited a map of its borders before the UN.
So wanting to repair the oblivion of the State of Israel founding fathers we propose a motto. It is in German, therefore it will easily understood by a big chunk of Israeli citizens. For those who don't understand German, here is a small explanation:
In German Liberty is Freiheit. In our proposition, it becomes Frechheit = cheek, brashness. It is the exact equivalent of the Hebrew/Yiddish word chutzpah, the fact of being insolent, brash, in a few words of being shameless. Chutzpah seems to be the main characteristic of any Zionist.
Equality is Gleichheit. In our proposition, it becomes Gleichgültigkeit = indifference. Indeed, Zionists’ other characteristic is their indifference to the fate of those who, to their eyes, are not Jewish, are either goyim (gentiles) or “self-hating Jews” (they define so any Jew who is critical with regard to Israel).
Fraternity is Brüderlichkeit. In our proposition, it becomes Unbarmherzigkeit = cruelty, derived from unbarmherzig = without compassion, pitiless. It is useless to explain this pitiless character: it is enough to contemplate the 60 year history of the Zionist state. ...
So we have repaired an oblivion and henceforth the state of Israel has a motto. In short we will start writing a Constitution tailored to this State, directly inspired from the the Bible’s Decalogue, the 10 Commandments transmitted to Moshe by Yehova on Mount Sinai."