Wednesday 29 August 2007

Dr. Martin Luther King III at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Martin Luther King III spoke at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as part of a symposium entitled “Realizing the Dream in the Middle East.”

The title of his talk was “Can the dream be applied in the Middle East?” The event was held under the auspices of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University and the Religious Actors in Conflict Areas Research Group (RACA).

“I am speaking of realizing the dream, because dreams have their own, innate power, but one needs to take concrete steps in order to realize them,” he said. He added that while not every person can be a Martin Luther King, “everyone can educate his children towards non-violence.”

Dr. King III leads a non-profit coalition force called Realizing the Dream that continues the humanitarian and liberating work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through specific, sustainable initiatives in economic development, non-violence and conflict resolution training, and targeted leadership development for youth.

Tuesday 28 August 2007

“I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true”, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France

In a welcome break with his predecessors, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his first major foreign policy speech, reiterated his friendship for Israel. In spite of his pro-US and pro-Israel stance, Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval ratings remain exceptionally high at over 70%. JTA reports:

“Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed his affection for Israel and hostility toward Hamas.

“I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true. I will never compromise on Israel's security,” the French president said Monday in his first foreign-policy speech since taking office in May.

While he said France would continue to cultivate rich ties with the moderate Arab world, Sarkozy drew a line at engaging Hamas or allowing Iran to procure nuclear weaponry.

He described the Gaza Strip as “Hamastan” - a term seldom heard outside Israeli political circles - and said the Islamist Palestinian group must be curbed lest it take over the West Bank as well.

Sarkozy, who was speaking to French diplomats, further urged Iran to abandon its nuclear program or for effective international sanctions to be imposed on Tehran. Otherwise, he hinted, there could be military intervention.

“This tactic is the only one that allows us to escape from a catastrophic alternative: an Iranian bomb, or the bombing of Iran,” he said.”

“Our own history as a nation and Israel’s have many parallels”, John F. Kennedy

“Before he became president, John F. Kennedy visited Palestine and Israel twice -- once in 1939 and again in 1951. He wrote about the trips in his 1960 collection of speeches entitled The Strategy of Peace.

“In 1939 I first saw Palestine, then an unhappy land under alien rule, and to a large extent then a barren land... In 1951, I travelled again to the land by the River Jordan, to see firsthand the new State of Israel. The transformation that had taken place was hard to believe.

For in those twelve years, a nation had been born, a desert had been reclaimed, and the most tragic victims of World War II... had found a home.”

Kennedy used that recollection to introduce his February 9, 1959 speech to the Golden Jubilee Banquet of B’nai Zion in New York City.

“[O]ur own history as a nation and Israel’s have many parallels - in the diversity of their origins, in their capacity to reach the unattainable, in the receptivity to new ideas and social experimentation...

History records several… breakthroughs - great efforts to which spiritual conviction and human endurance have combined to make realities out of prophecies. The Puritans in Massachusetts, the Mormons in Salt Lake City, the Scotch-Irish in the Western territories were all imbued with the truth of the old Jewish thought that a people can have only as much sky over its head as it has land under its feet...

I would like to... dispel a prevalent myth... the assertion that it is Zionism which has been the unsettling and fevered infection in the Middle East, the belief that without Israel there would somehow be a natural harmony throughout the Middle East and Arab world. Quite apart from the values and hopes which the State of Israel enshrines... it twists reality to suggest that it is the democratic tendency of Israel which has injected discord and dissension into the Near East. Even by the coldest calculations, the removal of Israel would not alter the basic crisis in the area... The basic rivalries within the Arab world, the quarrels over boundaries, the tensions involved in lifting their economies from stagnation, the cross pressures of nationalism - all of these factors would still be there, even if there were no Israel...

Israel, on the other hand, embodying all the characteristics of a Western democracy and having long passed the threshold of economic development, shares with the West a tradition of civil liberties, of cultural freedom, of parliamentary democracy, of social mobility...

The choice today is not between either the Arab states or Israel. Ways must be found of supporting the legitimate aspirations of each. The United States, whose President was first to recognize the new State of Israel, need have no apologies – indeed should pride itself – for the action it took...

The Jewish state found its fulfilment during a time when it bore witness, to use the words of Markham, to humanity betrayed, “plundered, profaned, and disinherited.”But it is yet possible that history will record this event as only the prelude to the betterment and therapy, not merely of a strip of land, but of a broad expanse of almost continental dimensions... [A]s we observe the inspiring experience of Israel, we know that we must make the effort...””
Rick Richman in Jewish Current Affairs

Sunday 26 August 2007

Apology of evil, by Pilar Rahola

“I want to shatter the core of the lie”, stated the elated Robert Faurisson, cheered loudly with passionate applause. The well-known French negationist Faurisson had just been sentenced in his country for having denied the Nazi extermination against Jews. Yet, this did not prevent him from enjoying a pleasant holiday in the Iranian paradise, and from participating as a speaker in the congress on the Holocaust organised by Iranian fascists. In the corridors of the congress, David Duke, ex leader of the Ku Klux Klan, expressed his satisfaction to the few European journalists that covered the event, and took advantage to talk about the western “shame”, that represses freedom of speech… Of course, Iran was, for the well-known American racist, a model of freedom.

... It means that the Iranian Congress on the Holocaust was a great show of hate and disdain for the Jewish victims of the Shoah, funded by a member state of the UN, whose influence in Islam, in the Middle East and the world, is more than notorious. Obviously, once again President Ahmadinejad threatened Israel, called for its disappearance and encouraged all Muslims to take part in its demise. In conclusion: an apology for hate, a war threat on another country, a public show of Anti-Semitism, without complexes an Anti-Semite orgy, and lastly, the notorious inaction and indifference of the world, perfectly demonstrated in the perverse silence of the Organization of the United Nations. If the Iranian Congress served any purpose, unfortunately it was to confirm what we already knew. It proved that the apology for Nazi negationism can be made without suffering any consequences.

I have dozens of friends who have been victims of the terrible disaster of the Holocaust; I remember my Colombian friend, whose grand-mother had completely lost her mother tongue, Polish, when she, at 13, was rescued from Auschwitz, having lost her whole family. I remember the trembling look of a Chilean survivor telling me, in tears, that a European had never apologized. I remember a sad man that I met in Santiago whose father, working as a musician, was forced to play the violin as his family was executed. There were more than 1 million children, two thirds of the European Jewish population disappeared; dozens of villages with their centuries of Jewish life, poets, school teachers, peasants, traders, doctors, children and grand-parents, men and women, all were wiped off the map. Smoke, only smoke, and some do not even want them to be remembered. Smoke and oblivion.

For such pain, for such evil, for such a tragedy that is such burden to carry, with centuries of guilt in Europe, I feel a profound sadness, I feel profoundly lost and profoundly defeated.

It is true. Duke the racist has reasons to feel exultant, feeding the hate for Jews and laughing at the extermination of six million people, it does not cost anything. Who cares? Which country has expelled the Iranian ambassador from its territory? Who has demanded an explanation at the United Nations General Assembly? Who is going to send to prison those who participated in this apology for evil? Who is moved by this horror?

Having written a number of times that Jews stand alone in their misfortune and that Israel faces survival alone, this occasion gives me the most evidence to be sure of the fact. I wonder whether the world would have allowed an official congress, public and legal, in favour of racism. Would there not have been all kinds of protest and acts of solidarity? Wouldn’t they have envisaged an economic boycott, military intervention? Wouldn’t the route of diplomacy have been exhausted first? Wouldn’t left-wing organisations have taken to the streets, indignant about the apology of evil that racism represents? Wouldn’t SOS Racism have been outraged? Wouldn’t those like the writer Saramago have expressed their profound rage? Yet, when racism is perpetrated against Jews, the victims of the greatest extermination of all times, the world considers that this is not its problem, as it has never been.

Impunity gives rise to hate, raging and reinforced, and, with hate reinforced, all the doors of evil are opened.

As an old saying puts it: “When your enemy assures that he wants to kill you, believe him”. What should the Israelis think confronted with the reiterated threats of destruction by Iran, a country that will have nuclear weapons without being punished? What can the Jews think around the world? They think that they stand alone. That they always stood alone in the face of the anti-Semitic hate.
December 14, 2006
Translated by Margarita Estapé.
Pilar Rahola comes from a republican and anti-fascist family. She is a Catalan writer, journalist and former parliamentarian of the republican left.

Lessons to Learn From Israelis, by As'ad Abdul Rahman

In a column in Gulf News, Professor As'ad Abdul Rahman, Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopedia, has harsh words on the state of disunity and internal conflict in Palestinian society. He praises Israel’s "political system [which] is designed to accommodate its political and ethnic contradictions. Hence the Israelis are all concurrent on important issues, and ultimately unified in face of what they call external threats". He adds that there are "no fundamentally controversial issues internally. The Israelis only differ on means of realising their goals."

"In spite of being brought to believe there is nothing positive about Jews, we must take the example of Israel and review the values that govern Palestinian (and Arab) society in dealing not only with political issues, but also our day to day lives.

That would enable us underline many a flaw and heel many a wound. Divisions and differences are so abundant in our life that some of us cannot tolerate others. We forget that pluralism is actually desirable.

How long will we be content with words and slogans while the Palestinian people are being slaughtered daily by their own people in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip? How long will the mentality of exclusion and non-engagement persist? Do a few conspirators within Hamas and Fatah aim to transform us into the new aliens in this land?

… we have found shelter in illusions, and have killed each other in the name of freedom and the homeland, and ultimately lost even more through the Hamas-Fatah fighting. …

Let's differ, but in the "Jewish manner" this time: when killing a Jew is forbidden for another Jew. Whereas Israel was fortunate in bringing Jews together, inside and outside Israel, we have failed to unify the Palestinians inside the homeland itself.

While the Jewish state has adopted pluralism, we are still addicted to tribalism, factionalism and blind partisanship. While every corrupt leader in Israel, including its head of state, is brought to justice, we've rejected a necessary building process based on transparency and democracy.

And finally, whereas the Israeli public go to the street demanding the punishment of every erring official, we have refused accountability and collective examination. Jews were the "aliens" in the past, and today we are how they were. Can we accept that?"

Friday 24 August 2007

Le Pen is neither an Atlanticist nor a Zionist

While on holiday in Morocco this summer, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French National Front Leader, a far right political party, granted an interview to La Gazette du Maroc. Asked for his views on President Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Pen stated their differences : "He is an Atlanticist, a Zionist and pro-European. I am neither of these."

Thursday 23 August 2007

European Parliament to host controversial anti-Israeli conference

The European Parliament will be hosting later this month a highly controversial conference under the auspices of a UN committee for Palestinian rights. All pointers indicate that the conference will turn into a platform for the demonisation of Israel.

The leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament, Timothy Kirkhope, as reported by The San Diego, indicated that he is concerned that the Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union might be represented at the conference. "'I am always very nervous when I hear of these conferences ... I do not like them, particularly if they are sponsored by a narrow political pressure group,' he said."

UN Watch asks:

"Who was behind the European Parliament's decision to play host to this poorly disguised hate-fest? With the conference façade removed, who in Europe will now have the courage to speak out?"

The Jerusalem Post leader reports that Polish MEPs have condemned the initiative:

"Polish members of the European Parliament deserve credit for showing the way by announcing their refusal to participate in the Brussels conference. As Bronislaw Geremek, a Polish MEP, was quoted as saying by the web site Europa21: "Although there is no official statement that Israel must be pushed down to the sea there, the choice of subjects ... shows that it will be a biased, conflict generating conference. Actually we can call it anti-Israeli." MEP Konrad Szymanski stated, "I am astonished that the European Parliament allowed such activity in its building."

This is a time when UN and European claims to be honest brokers and even friends of Israel will be put to the test. It is not possible to press for peace and to sponsor and participate in the fomenting of hate. It is not enough to retroactively express "regret" at outcomes that were foregone conclusions. The time to stop Durban II is now."

Albert Camus on anti-Semitism (1947)

"In your daily life, you can be sure you will invariably come across a Frenchman who, incidentally, is likely to be intelligent and who will tell you that Jews exaggerate. Naturally, he has a Jewish friend, who at least … He does not, in the least, approve of the torture and burning of millions of Jews. Nevertheless, he thinks that Jews exaggerate and that they are wrong to stick together, even though their solidarity is the result of their concentration camp experience."

A. Camus (1913-1960), French writer and philosopher

"La Contagion", Combat, 10.5.1947. Quoted in La France et les Juifs : De 1789 à nos jours, by Michel Winock, Seuil, 2004

Translated by Philosemite

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Christian Aid's pro-Palestinian stance and hostility against Israel

NGO Monitor report Christian Aid´s Myopic Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Continues discusses Christian Aid’s pro-Palestinian bias and hostility against Israel. The report analyses and denounces : moral equivalence, omission of the context of terror, manipulative use of international legal terminology, reliance on anecdotal accounts, and silence on Hamas and corruption.

"Christian Aid, heavily subsidized by the Irish and UK governments, has been criticized for promoting a sharp pro-Palestinian position in its "charitable" activities, and abetting the conflict. In two June 2007 reports, it repeats this pattern. Christian Aid relies on the claims of highly politicized NGOs lacking credibility such as Al-Haq, Palestinian NGO Network, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. The organization minimizes terrorism and Palestinian responsibility for violence and corruption. As in the past, this NGO selectively applies international legal terminology such as "war crimes" and "collective punishment" and reinforces these accusations with highly emotive, yet unverifiable anecdotal accounts. These practices constitute a violation of Christian Aid's stated position of being an "impartial" group working toward peace and the alleviation of poverty. This one-sided political agenda is entirely inconsistent with the status of a registered charity and raises questions regarding substantial increased funding for the organization by Irish Aid."
Full report :
NGO Monitor 2003 report on Christian Aid (UK) can be read here :

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Nissim Ezekiel (1924-2004), an Indian poet

There is a way
Emerging from the heart of things,
A man may follow it
Through works to poetry,
From works to poetry
Or from poetry to something else.
The end does not matter,
The way is everything,
And guidance comes.

In Something to Pursue
Nissim Ezekiel, poet and scholar (1924-2004), belonged to the Mumbai Bene Israel Jewish community.

On his death, Lawrence Joffe, in The Guardian, paid tribute to the poet:

"Ezekiel's poetry described love, loneliness, lust, creativity and political pomposity, human foibles and the "kindred clamour" of urban dissonance. He echoed England's postwar Movement (Philip Larkin, DJ Enright and Ted Hughes) but honed a distinct, ironic voice, moving from strict metre to free verse.

Over the course of his career, his attitude changed, too. The young man, "who shopped around for dreams", demanded truth and lambasted corruption. By the 1970s, he accepted "the ordinariness of most events"; laughed at "lofty expectations totally deflated"; and acknowledged that "The darkness has its secrets/ Which light does not know.""

"He acted as a mentor to younger poets, such as Dom Moraes, Adil Jussawalla and Gieve Patel. Many of his poems, such as The Night Of The Scorpion, and that supreme antidote to jingoism, The Patriot, are set-works in Indian and British schools.",12559,1165150,00.html

Magdi Allam - Muslim, Italian and Zionist

In this day and age, it takes immense courage to stand up publicly for Israel, especially if you are a Muslim. As Haaretz reports, this is precisely what Magdi Allam, deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's leading newspapers, has done.

"It's not every day that a Muslim intellectual puts his own head on the line to defend Israel's right to exist. But that is exactly what Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born Italian writer and journalist, has been doing for years. He recently published a book whose name alone is enough to endanger his life: "Long Live Israel - From the Ideology of Death to the Civilization of Life: My Story."

In "Long Live Israel" ("Viva Israele" in Italian), Allam directly links the denial of Israel's right to exist to the death cult being nurtured in fundamentalist Islamic circles, and refers to "the ethical erosion that has led to even the denial of the supreme value of the sanctity of life." Allam sees Israel as "an ethical parameter that separates between lovers of civilization and those who preach the ideology of death." The sanctity of life, he writes, "applies to everyone, or to no one."

Allam was not always a defender of the Jewish state. "'Zionism' was a dirty word for me," he admits in his book. For years he considered Israel an aggressive, racist, colonialist, immoral entity, and he accepted the methods of the Palestinian struggle and its leader Yasser Arafat, "without criticizing the fact that Fatah adopted the path of terror extensively inside and outside Israel." ... "My passion for the Palestinian cause was strong, as was my enthusiasm for Arafat's personality."

In his new book he describes his long road from profound admiration for Arafat and "the prophet of pan-Arabism," Gamal Abdel Nasser, and strong support for the Palestinian cause, to his unreserved support for Israel. "I want to tell you about my slow and tortured path from the ideology of lies, tyranny, hatred, violence and death, to the culture of truth, freedom, love, peace and life, until it ripened into absolute certainly that defending the sanctity of life is more than ever in keeping with defending Israel's right to exist," he writes. At the end of this "slow and tortured path" he reached the conclusion that the Arab countries' refusal to recognize Israel during the 1950s and 1960s hurt the Palestinians, and that Arafat was a tyrant, a megalomaniac, corrupt and corrupting, and the worst disaster to befall them.”

Sunday 19 August 2007

“I believe in peace and this is the message I take", Maulana Jameel Ahmed Ilyasi

Ynetnews interviewed the secretary-general of the All-India Association of Imams and Mosques during his unprecedented visit to Israel:

"The time for violence has come to an end, and the era of peace and dialogue between Muslims and Jews has begun - that was the message delivered by Maulana Jameel Ahmed Ilyasi, secretary-general of the All-India Association of Imams and Mosques, during an interview with Ynetnews. Ilaysi’s organization represents half a million imams, who are the main religious leaders of India’s 200 million Muslims.

In an extraordinary visit to Israel, organized by the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) India office, Ilaysi arrived as part of a delegation of Indian Muslim leaders and journalists.

Asked to address Hamas’s call for jihad to destroy Israel, Ilaysi said, “I believe in peace and this is the message I take. I don’t believe in anything that destroys another country.”

The religious leader also said the time had come for Pakistan to establish official relations with Israel. “This is the right thing to do,” he added.

“My impression was initially that the Israelis are certainly dominating Muslims out here. Once I came here, that impression completely changed,” Ilaysi said. “I saw the reality on the ground, the mutual respect Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews have for each other. Constant conflict is not the reality here,” Ilaysi said, describing his visit to the Israeli-Arab village of Abu Gosh, frequented by Israeli Jews.

A visit to Jerusalem’s holy sites only served to reinforce what Ilaysi described as his “pleasant surprise.” “I saw that Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side happily, not at each other’s throat,” he said.

Ilaysi added that the Indian government has lessons to learn from Israel on how to deal with Muslim minorities. “I was pleasantly surprised to know that Sharia (Islamic law) code is being supported by the Israeli government, whereas in India only local Muslims implement it. That is unique,” he said.

“The Jews I have met here say that we are all children of Abraham, part of the same family. This is something I didn’t hear in India. The Muslims in India should come and see things for themselves,” Ilaysi said.

In a meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Sunday, Ilyasi said that “Islam does not give permission to kill, murder, or harm, and we want to sit together and talk.”,7340,L-3439462,00.html

Anti-Semitism is a political phenomenon

In an interview with Nextbook, Ruth Wisse, professor of comparative literature at Harvard, discusses her new book, Jews and Power. She makes the point that anti-Semitism is not merely a form of discrimination (the moral argument) but is also a political phenomenom that should be taken much more seriously by political scientists. She warns that “a society that resorts to anti-Semitism will destroy itself”.

"… The Zionist movement attributed the problem of anti-Semitism to the fact that Jews did not have a land. The idea was that you would make the Jews unexceptional by reclaiming the land, a reasonable hypothesis at a time of emerging nation-states. No one understood that by then anti-Semitism had become such a potent political instrument that it could be used whether or not Jews had a land. In fact, no sooner had Hitler been defeated than the Arab League formed around opposition to Israel. Arabs began to use the politics of blame much more vigorously than Europeans ever did. Anti-Semitism is even more important to Arab societies and to some Muslim societies than it was for European societies, because they feel they are starting from so much farther behind the West in the process of modernization. They feel so much more threatened by modernity and the concept of equal rights.

Anti-Semitism is treated as merely a form of discrimination. It gets a cluck-cluck of the tongue and then everyone says, "Oh, isn't that horrible. They hate the Jews. They shouldn't hate the Jews." There is no sustained analysis of why these countries need it so profoundly—of what role it is playing in their political culture and in their political institutions and actions.

… The time has really come when political science has to take much more seriously that anti-Semitism is a political phenomenon, the most successful ideology of modern times. It is the only ideology that made its way from Europe to the Middle East, and played a central role among so many different peoples. Jews have to become much more comfortable with analyzing the political aspects of their existence. Yes, they are a religious civilization. Yes, they have a rich culture. But their political existence is what has become most problematic. The politics of blame ultimately kills more people than AIDS, for example, because it foments aggression which, ultimately, the Jews are too small to contain.

So, anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish problem?

It is not. Politics organizes against the Jews because they are a convenient target. It's safer to foment aggression against the tiny Jewish people than against Britain or America. But as we see in retrospect, Hitler's war against the Jews was a generative force for the war against all that the Jews represented, and the same now holds true for the Arab war against Israel. Bush and Blair have come in on the side of the Jews against terror for the same reason that Roosevelt and Churchill had to come in on the side of the Jews of Europe, because the enmity against the Jews is directed, ultimately, against them."

Saturday 18 August 2007

India’s Jews - A proud and continuing heritage, free of anti-Semitism

There is a fine piece in Forbes by Gary Weiss on India's Jews: “India may be the only country in the world that has been free of anti-Semitic prejudice throughout its history. As the Jewish genealogical journal Avotaynu recently observed in an article on one Indian Jewish group, “The Bene Israel flourished for 2,400 years in a tolerant land that has never known anti-Semitism, and were successful in all aspects of the socio-economic and cultural life of the people of the region.”

Comparing India with Europe, Weiss writes: “But in 'backward' India, from the beginning, the Jewish communities have not only been free of discrimination but have dominated the commercial life of every place where they have settled - something that has fed traditional European anti-Semitism.”

Indian Jews were not free of persecution : “Kochi's Jews were indeed persecuted--not by Indians but by the Portuguese, following in the glorious traditions of the Inquisition. With the help of the Hindu maharaja and the Dutch, Kochi's Jewish community rebuilt its synagogue, burned by the Portuguese, in its current location near his maharajah's palace. It has remained there, unmolested, ever since.”

Weiss concludes: “I've always had difficulty with Indians when we've discussed anti-Semitism. They don't understand it, and to tell you the truth, I've had difficulty explaining it myself.”

It's worth reading in full:

Wednesday 15 August 2007

“Israel's security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy”, Rudolph Giuliani, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination

Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination

“We are all members of the 9/11 generation.”

“The international community must also learn from the mistakes that allowed the genocide in Darfur to begin and have prevented the relevant international organizations from ending it. The world's commitment to end genocide has been sidestepped again and again.”

“The election of Hamas in the Palestinian-controlled territories is a case in point. The problem there is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America's commitment to Israel's security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.”

Foreign Affairs Magazine, September/October 2007

“A clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel”, Barack Obama, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination

Barack Obama is a Democratic Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region -- a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. Now more than ever, we must strive to secure a lasting settlement of the conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security. To do so, we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability. ... The world must work to stop Iran's uranium-enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. At the same time, we must show Iran -- and especially the Iranian people -- what could be gained from fundamental change: economic engagement, security assurances, and diplomatic relations. Diplomacy combined with pressure could also reorient Syria away from its radical agenda to a more moderate stance -- which could, in turn, help stabilize Iraq, isolate Iran, free Lebanon from Damascus' grip, and better secure Israel.”

“The new UN Human Rights Council has passed eight resolutions condemning Israel -- but not a single resolution condemning the genocide in Darfur or human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Yet none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission.”

Foreign Affairs Magazine, July/August 2007

“Genocide ravages Darfur even as the world stands frozen”, Mitt Romney, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination

Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

“Today's challenges are daunting. They include the conflict in Iraq, the resurgence of the Taliban, and global terrorist networks made even more menacing by the threat of nuclear proliferation. While Iran's leaders relentlessly pursue nuclear weapons capabilities and spout genocidal threats against Israel, the world largely stands silent, unable to agree on effective sanctions even as each day the danger grows. Genocide ravages Darfur even as the world stands frozen. In Latin America, leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez seek to reverse the spread of freedom and return to failed authoritarian policies. AIDS and potential new pandemics threaten us in an interconnected world. The economic rise of China and other countries across Asia poses a different type of challenge. It is easy to understand why Americans -- and many others around the world -- feel so much unease and uncertainty.”

“Many still fail to comprehend the extent of the threat posed by radical Islam, specifically by those extremists who promote violent jihad against the United States and the universal values Americans espouse. ... It is broader than the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, or that between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Radical Islam has one goal: to replace all modern Islamic states with a worldwide caliphate while destroying the United States and converting all nonbelievers, forcibly if necessary, to Islam. This plan sounds irrational, and it is. But it is no more irrational than the policies pursued by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s and Stalin's Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the threat is just as real. ”

“Nothing shows the failures of the current system more clearly than the UN Human Rights Council, an entity that has condemned the democratic government of Israel nine times while remaining virtually silent on the serial human rights abuses of the governments of Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, and Sudan. In the face of such hypocrisy, it is understandable that some Americans would be tempted to favor unilateralism.”

Foreign Affairs Magazine, July/August 2007

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Baruch Lopes Leão de Laguna, the “Portuguese” painter who died at Auschwitz

Baruch Lopes Leão de Laguna was a notable representative of late 19th, early 20th century Dutch portrait painting. He was born in Amsterdam on 16 February 1864, to a Portuguese sephardic family. His early life was marred by tragedy, as would his later life be. His parents, Salomão Lopes de Leão Laguna and Sara Kroese, died when he was 11, and he was raised in the orphanage of the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. Teachers in the community were supportive and he trained at the Quellinus Art School and then at the National Academy of Fine Arts. To earn a living, Leão Laguna worked in the studio of painter Jacob Meijer de Haan.

Gradually, he became successful and was able to devote himself entirely to his own painting. His first exhibition was held in 1885 at Arti et Amicitiae, a cultural association. His work was well received by both critics and fellow artists. He married Rose Asscher, the daughter of a diamond cutter.

Baruch Lopes de Leão Laguna spent the first years of the Nazi occupation in hiding in a remote farm in Laren, and it is believed that painted the above self-portrait then. As a sign of gratitude, he offered it and several other paintings to the family that was, at great risk, helping him.

Eventually, Baruch Lopes de Leão Laguna was caught and taken to the Auschwitz extermination camp, where he was murdered on 19 November 1943. He was 79.

Posted at Rua da Judiaria, Nuno Guerreiro Josué's blog
Translated and adapted by Philosemite

Monday 13 August 2007

“Judaism is the culture of parasitic predation that was incubated in the isolation of Ghettos”, Ibrahim Alloush

It is very distressing that this sort of anti-Semitic trash is being circulated by Kif Kif, a Belgian blog. But what is even more distressing and should be sending alarm bells ringing is that the blog carries official government logos – this seems to indicate that it enjoys official backing and is the recipient of public funds. It is indeed a cause for great concern and sadness.

“Can we really separate Judaism from Zionism?” by Ibrahim Alloush,

“Zionism is not a misinterpretation of Judaism, it is rather the distilled essence of mainstream Judaism.”

“Marx considered Judaism, as representative of what he called the 'practical Jew', a parasitic predatory ideology that befits capitalism in its decaying phase.

Indeed, Judaism is the culture of parasitic predation that was incubated in the isolation of Ghettos. It's also marked by its supra-national character, sniffing down upon any national allegiance. Hence, it's no wonder that globalism brought with it the globalization of the Hollowcause as a post-modern secular fetish. Globalization is essentially about the hegemony of non-productive financial capital, and usury, so globalization meant that the world was also turning Jewish. It's also no wonder that anti-Judaism, as secular anti-Zionism or as anti-Jewish religious fundamentalism (be it Christian or Muslim) has become a staple of national liberation movements worldwide.”
On Ibrahim Alloush’s views:
Alloush: “The Holocaust is exploited to justify the Zionist policies and to justify the enemy state's right to exist. There is evidence, and scientific research, that prove the Holocaust is a lie. I support the legitimate resistance, and primarily martyrdom operations in Iraq, in Palestine, and wherever there is occupation.”
“Those who associate themselves with Nazism these days are the American and other Western governments, not us.”
Host: “How come? These are serious accusations.”
'Alloush: “Nazism crossed [Germany's] borders and invaded the territories of others under various pretexts. Nazism oppressed others and exploited the media. Nazism is what the Zionist movement is doing – the same movement to which Steven Emerson belongs – and what the U.S. government is doing. I am not defending Nazism, but Nazism is a thing of the past. The new Nazism of today wears the robes of new liberalism. The new Nazism is imperialistic and Zionist policy, witnessed on a universal and globalized level today.”
“You can only imagine the killings that the Americans carry out daily to ignite ethnic conflicts in Iraq. I do not doubt for a second that Americans and Zionists are stirring up domestic racial and ethnic tensions in Iraq.”
'Alloush: “America brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself. Okay? This is a case of the chicken coming home to roost. In other words, you have brought this problem upon yourselves. As long as America occupies the Arab homeland and the Islamic world militarily, politically, economically, and culturally, and as long as it supports the Zionist entity, it should expect something.”

Why We Cannot Criticize Israel That Way, Matthias Küntzel

“Israel is not a haven of virtue as is generally known. On one hand, Israel’s government deserves to be criticized just like every other democratically elected government in the world. On the other hand, European thinking has been influenced by anti-Semitic patterns for centuries—in this regard, no criticism of Jews or Israel is a priori immune of anti-Semitic stereotypes. At least, a European Union working definition has helped us establish a framework to evaluate when legitimate criticism stops and anti-Semitism begins: 1. When Israeli policy is equated with Nazi practices or when symbols and images of long-established anti-Semitism are assigned to Israel; 2. When Israel’s right to existence is denied; and 3. When a double standard applies and demands are made of Israel that would never be expected or demanded of another democratic state.

Those who breach this code are not necessarily supporters of Nazi anti-Semitism. They nevertheless pave the way for those who are prepared to wage a nuclear war against Israel. Hostilities against Israel appear today in the form of a pincer movement: On one side, we have anti-Semites such as Ahmadinejad or Hamas who draw their “knowledge” about Jews from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” On the other side we have non-Jewish and Jewish “fellow travellers of anti-Semitism” in progressive Western movements and governments who take up and proliferate, albeit in muted form, Iran’s attempts to delegitimize Israel.”

Why We Cannot Criticize Israel That Way, A response to Alfred Grosser, by Matthias Küntzel in Internationale Politik - Global Edition, Summer issue 2/2007, Vol. 8 - Matthias Küntzel is a German author and political scientist who specialises in the threat of Islamic fundamentalism

Over 300 U.S. university presidents protest boycott

Nearly 300 [over 300 since] university presidents signed on to a full-page advertisement in Wednesday's New York Times protesting the academic boycott of Israel.

“Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too!” read the ad, organized by the American Jewish Committee in response to a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union. The ad featured a statement by Lee Bollinger, president of New York's Columbia University, endorsed by the other presidents.

“At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate -- as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their government's policies,” Bollinger wrote. “Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.”

Sunday 12 August 2007

Judeosphere’s List of Top Ten Double Standards on the Middle East ™

Double the Standards, Double the Fun!

(1) Christian fundamentalists who support Israel are religious fanatics; Jewish fundamentalists who oppose Zionism are individuals of deep religious and moral conviction.

(2) Comparing Israelis to Nazis is a poignant political statement; comparing Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler is a gross distortion of history with the intent of demonizing foreign leaders and justifying imperialist military campaigns.

(3) Palestinian nationalism reflects the inherent right of all people to self-determination; Jewish nationalism is an archaic form of tribalism and racial supremacy.

(4) Criticizing academics that legitimize hateful stereotypes of African-Americans and Arab-Americans is a proper response from minority groups who oppose racism; criticizing academics that legitimize hateful stereotypes of Jewish-Americans is an attempt to stifle free speech.

(5) Iran has the right under international law to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes; any other country that pursues nuclear power is endangering the environment and increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation.

(6) Jews who cite the lessons of the Holocaust as a rationale for opposing Israel are moralists; Jews who cite the lessons of the Holocaust as a rationale for opposing authoritarian regimes in places like Yugoslavia and Iraq are neocon warmongers.

(7) Israeli policies are said to be tantamount to “genocide”; accusations of genocide in Darfur are a Zionist plot to divide the Muslim community.

(8) The war on terrorism is driven by Islamophobia; the “new anti-semitism” is a myth created to deflect legitimate criticism of Israel.

(9) Efforts to oppose anti-semitism on college campuses undermine academic freedom; academic boycotts against Israel infringe upon academic freedom but serve a greater good.

(10) Burning flags with Muslim symbols is desecration, burning the Israeli flag and the Star of David is political protest.

Posted by Judeosphere on August 04, 2007

1921: Anti-Semitism is “un-American and un-Christian”

1921. After the American Jewish Committee distributes copies of a Jewish statement condemning the spread of the anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to men and women in public life throughout the United States, a statement is published and signed by 119 “distinguished American Christians” deploring such anti-Jewish actions. The first three signatories were President Woodrow Wilson, former President William Howard Taft and William Cardinal O’Connell.

A Statement to the Public

The undersigned citizens of Gentile birth and Christian faith, view with profound regret and disapproval the appearance in this country of what is apparently an organized campaign of anti-Semitism, conducted in close conformity to and co-operation with similar campaigns in Europe. We regret exceedingly the publication of a number of books, pamphlets and newspaper articles designed to foster distrust and suspicion of our fellow-citizens of Jewish ancestry and faith—distrust and suspicion of their loyalty and their patriotism.

These publications, to which wide circulation is being given, are thus introducing into our national political life a new and dangerous spirit, one that is wholly at variance with our traditions and ideals and subversive of our system of government. American citizenship and American democracy are thus challenged and menaced. We protest against this organized campaign of prejudice and hatred not only because of its manifest injustice to those against whom it is directed, but also, and especially, because we are convinced that it is wholly incompatible with loyal and intelligent American citizenship. The logical outcome of the success of such a campaign must necessarily be the division of our citizens along racial and religious lines, and, ultimately, the introduction of religious tests and qualifications to determine citizenship.

The loyalty and patriotism of our fellow citizens of the Jewish faith is equal to that of any part of our people, and requires no defense at our hands. From the foundation of this Republic down to the recent World War, men and women of Jewish ancestry and faith have taken an honourable part in building up this great nation and maintaining its prestige and honor among the nations of the world. There is not the slightest justification, therefore, for a campaign of anti-Semitism in this country.

Anti-Semitism is almost invariably associated with lawlessness and with brutality and injustice. It is also invariably found closely intertwined with other sinister forces, particularly those which are corrupt, reactionary and oppressive.

We believe it should not be left to men and women of Jewish faith to fight this evil, but that it is in a very special sense the duty of citizens who are not Jews by ancestry or faith. We therefore make earnest protest against this vicious propaganda, and call upon our fellow citizens of Gentile birth and Christian faith to unite their efforts to ours, to the end that it may be crushed. In particular, we Call upon all those who are molders of public opinion—the clergy and ministers of all Christian churches, publicists, teachers, editors and statesmen—to strike at this un-American and un-Christian agitation.

Saturday 11 August 2007

Christian Delacampagne worried about increasing hostility towards Israel among the French elite

“I am neither an Orientalist nor any kind of expert on the issue of Islamism. But I have spent years in the Middle East, as well as in other Muslim countries, and I know that the situation in the Islamic world corresponds very little to the wishful thinking of so many French scholars, journalists, and political leaders. A quick look at a world map—from Chechnya to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Kashmir, southern Thailand, and the southern Philippines—reveals that the planet’s most devastating wars are now of the jihadist type. All are fuelled by Islamism.

I also know that the growing anti-Semitism one encounters in France, combined with the increasing tendency of the country’s elite to speak of Israel as a “temporary” state, is not only dangerous in itself but bad for France. A republic founded on principles of freedom and equality cannot easily accommodate such noxious ideas. Corruption is difficult to confine, and the moral and intellectual compromises that allow educated people to deny the nature and reality of today’s struggle against Islamism—a struggle facing the West as whole—soon find their way into other aspects of public life.”

The Redeker Affair, by Christian Delacampagne
Commentary Magazine Online, January 2007
Christian Delacampagne died in 2007. He was a professor of French literature and philosophy at Johns Hopkins University.

“They supplied the world with two leaders of the stature of Jesus Christ and Karl Marx”, Peter Ustinov

“I believe that the Jews have made a contribution to the human condition out of all proportion to their numbers: I believe them to be an immense people. Not only have they supplied the world with two leaders of the stature of Jesus Christ and Karl Marx, but they have even indulged in the luxury of following neither one nor the other.”
Peter Ustinov (1921-2004), British actor, playwright, film star
Dear Me, autobiography (1977)

“Anti-Semites will only listen to their hatred and jealousy; their lowest instincts.”, Theodor Mommsen

“A few years before his death, German historian Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), who was a specialist in Latin Antiquity, and one of the few major scholars in his country to take exception to anti-Semitism, wrote of his embittered weariness at the hopelessness of such a fight. “You are mistaken if you think that reason will prevail in any way”, he warned in a letter. “Previously, I too used to believe that it could, and continued to protest against anti-Semitism which is a monstrous baseness. But it is pointless, absolutely pointless. Irrespective of what I or other people will tell you, in the final analysis, arguments based on reason and moral will always be used; and plainly no anti-Semite is sensitive to them. Anti-Semites will only listen to their hatred and jealousy; their lowest instincts. Nothing else counts for them. They are deaf to the voice of reason, law and moral. One cannot influence them … . Like cholera, it is a dangerous epidemic and it is impossible to explain or cure it. One can only wait patiently for the venom to consume itself and lose its virulence.”
Quoted in Europe, une passion génocidaire, essai d'histoire culturelle, by Georges Bensoussan, Mille et une nuits
Translated by Philosemite

The Jewish Bride - 340 years/worlds apart

The Jewish Bride, c. 1667, by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)
The Jewish Bride, by Ben Heine, Brussels 2007

The Jewish Bride - 92 years/worlds apart

Couple 1 : Birthday (1915), by Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Couple 2 : Headless Naked Jewish Woman and Headless Muslim?/Christian? Palestinian Man Wearing a Palestinian Flag, by Ben Heine, Brussels 2007

Friday 10 August 2007

Media Without Conscience, by Judeosphere

A reader of the far-left alternative news site, “Media with Conscience” (MWC), writes the following letter to the editor:

I was surprised to notice that Media with Conscience, which I read on a regular basis, has been, for a while, featuring cartoons by Ben Heine. I am writing to you to ask you to reconsider your association with him.

Let me explain who Ben Heine is. Ben Heine is a Belgian cartoonist in his early 20s whose main claim to fame is to have been the only Belgian artist (by the way, one among only a handful of European and US artists) who took part in the infamous 2006 Teheran holocaust cartoon contest. The Economist described the contest, on 14 September 2006, in terms that perfectly reflect Mr. Heine's 'art': “are wantonly anti-Semitic. The imagery is grotesque and predictable: Stars of David morphing into swastikas; the Statue of Liberty giving a Nazi salute. Subtle, the cartoons are not”. The full spectrum of European media from right to left critised the contest. Heine's idea of art is to portray politicians with bananas, bombs and phaluses coming out of their heads, or with Hitler's moutaches – indeed, subtle they are not, coarse they are!

Indeed, see the image below for a sample of Heine's work. This cartoon appeared on Daily Kos--prompting so much protest that he was banned from the site. (Which is rather extraordinary, given Daily Kos's tolerance for cartoons such as this.)
Ben Tanosborn, the MWC editor, offered this response:

It is very difficult for someone like me, an activist/advocacy writer whose writings are considered unpalatable – and non-publishable – in the mainstream corporate media, to identify with the idea that someone’s work (literary or artistic) is simply objectionable because it won’t be touched with a ten-foot pole by The Economist or any “reputable” European newspapers.

To me, MWC is a medium by which a few of us, hopefully many in the future, express our concerns about legal and civil rights issues; human rights, war and genocide; and economic and socio-political affairs. Each of us hopefully imparts a high level of experience and knowledge on the subject, always ready to defend our views and withstand the scrutiny of truth when challenged. At times we may be more passionate than that which is permitted in good journalism, but that is our own personal equalizer to “idealistic” contributory journalism...for in most cases, not only do we not get compensated for our work, but must subsidize it.

Hah, touché! We in the alternative media cannot let ourself fall into the dispassionate mainstream media trap of denouncing Holocaust denial and anti-semitism. Take THAT, Economist!

Meanwhile, Heine has been staunchly defended by his "true friend, spiritual brother," Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. As previously noted here, Latuff won Second Prize and $4,000 in the Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest, and once published a cartoon accusing Jews of murdering homeless people in the streets of São Paul.

Here's Latuff's cartoon in tribute to Heine:

Spiritual brothers, indeed.
Posted by Judeosphere on August 01, 2007

Stunning: John Pantsil displays his love for Israel

John Pantsil, a Ghana defender who plays professionally for Hapoel Tel Aviv, displays his love for Israel at the 2006 World Cup.
Photos from Rua da Judiaria, um blog de Nuno Guerreiro Josué

Sorry Vigário Geral, Gaza takes precedence, by David Wainer, The Jerusalem Post

“A recent documentary about the favelas Rio, Favela Rising, was nominated for an Oscar and honored with several awards including “Film of the Year” by the International Film Association for its glaring look at the violence of a favela called Vigário Geral. The film, which offers powerful imagery of the brutality of the gangs and the police in Rio, while tracing the mission of a local music group AfroReggae to inspire youngsters to stay away from drug-dealing, received excellent reviews in the Boston Globe, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Interestingly, at the very beginning of this acclaimed documentary, a screen shot in bold white letters printed over a black background offers perturbing statistics: While 467 minors were killed in Israel and the Palestinian Authority between 1987 to 2001 (a date which includes the first intifada), 3,937 minors were killed as a result of gang warfare in Rio de Janeiro alone - an 8 to 1 ratio.

None of the reviews have focused on this alarming fact and the message that the Brazilian directors intended to convey by this statistic. Why does a documentary that stresses the suffering and longing of the youth in the favelas of Rio care about the deaths of minors in Israel and the Palestinian territories? Because disproportionate media attention has been given to hyped conflicts such as Israel-Palestine and Kosovo, framing the public perception to believe that those conflicts are in fact the ones in most dire need of international aid. …

But is a Palestinian Arab or Israeli Jewish child worth any more than a Brazilian child? Is it fair to dump aid and diplomatic efforts and to disproportionately spotlight on one region of the world?”
Favela Rising a film by Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary