Tuesday, 19 November 2013

No peace on offer from palarabs, just more salami slicing of Israel

Minister Naftali Bennett normally gives much needed support to Bibi Netanyahu in what has become a fight to the death with the present US Administration ( I said already in Obama's first administration that he was the biggest threat to Israel and the Jewish People since Hitler, and nothing since has caused me to change my mind other than to realise he's a similar threat to the American People and world peace).

 But did Naftali Bennett really say the following:
“If the Palestinians want peace they have to do one simple thing: Recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. That’s all. But if they don’t do that, if they don’t recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, they can’t expect peace,” he told Amanpour.

For years supporters of Israel who read what arabs say to themselves in arabic (rather than in english to naive reporters) have argued that palestinian arabs don't want peace, that the only peace that Israelis will get from arabs is that of the everlasting sort, of the grave.

And here Bennett talks as if it is the arabs who need to make a choice between recognizing Israel or having peace instead of saying that the arabs refuse to make peace with Israel, and until forced by Kerry wouldn't even sit down for peace talks with Israel because their ideology does not allow for the existence of Israel. Just to get palestinian arabs to sit down at the table (not even the same table, they won't deal directly with Israel) Israel had to release 100 arab cold blooded murderers of jews.

Not for nothing do Israelis use 'Shalom' ('Peace') as a greeting. It is what Israel has always aspired to even before Independence when arabs were busy slaughtering jews, sometimes under the protective gaze of Britain. Peace is what Israel has known little of, and has had to fight for in the face of constant arab attacks.

Israel doesn't reject peace, but the arabs do, on the grounds that Israel is 'occupying their muslim land'.

There is no place for Israel in the arab mindset, no chance of peace with those who say that "Palestine from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Mediterranean)."

What Bennett means but did not elucidate was that he unlike Begin, Rabin and Sharon who gave away much land in return for a just the illusion of peace, is a chastened Israeli one with the benefit of hindsight, one who realises that the more concessions Israel makes, the less likely peace will happen. Peace in the middle east comes at the end of a gun, and the ability to defend yourself. The smaller Israel is, the less defensible, the more arabs are tempted to give Israel the coup de grace. So giving away land for 'peace' means not that there will be less attacks, but rather that there will be more, with dead jews as a consequence.

Bennett understands that peace is not  possible with arabs who hate Israel, and who only want jews dead, not as neighbours. Bennett rejects making any more concessions for a mirage, not that he rejects peace, because he doesn't.
What he rejects is the land linkage and the notion that Israel should have to pay for peace. The only side that pays for peace is the losing side, and if arabs see you as a loser there is no chance you will ever get peace.
Naftali Bennett the ex-Sayeret soldier should be careful not to ruin Israel's image whilst talking tough, in soundbites. Netanyahu would never have made such a gaff as he realizes that Israel's security depends not only on the gun but on how we explain Israel and its actions. Allowing our enemies to paint us as aggressive and against peace is a major prize that they seek that we must not hand them on a plate.

Bennett should have been doubly wary of his speech with this unsympathetic reporter, when dealing with CNN that routinely attempts to tarnish Israel's image.

Bennett should either learn from this mistake or leave the media arena to those such as Regev or Netanyahu who understand it.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Britain sacrificed Czechoslovakia in 1938, but couldn't do the same to Poland as it was treaty bound to come to its defense

Below is an interesting article but I believe wrong when arguing that the Kindertransport had any effect on the British People's attitudes to the nazis. Kristallnacht possibly had a great effect. Britain entered the war as it was treaty bound to come to the defense  of Poland when attacked, and moreover because Britain realised that no matter what was sacrificed to nazi aggresion there was no sating it, no limit to Hitler's aggression, so Britain might as well do the decent thing for Poland and declare war on Germany.

Before WWII British feelings were mixed regarding Germany. As in the USA there was much support for fascism, especially amongst the elite, and even more support for keeping out what they saw as a european problem.
To some extent Britain's reluctance to get involved in europe is understandable when considering that Britain had lost a million men only 25 years beforehand.

The Jewish Community then is however marked by cowardice, then for the refusal by its leaders in the USA and Britain to raise hell for jews suffering under the nazis. We see the same now in the defence of Israel, where famous artists such as Fry and Jonathan Miller preferring instead of supporting Israel when under attack from all sides,  to try and curry favor with Israel's detractors, to latch onto the refrain about 'wicked' Israel and the 'occupation'. 

There are of course other jewish personalities like Howard Jacobson and Woody Allen who recognise the new antisemitism for what it is, and are unafraid to give their opinions about it.

The author is of course right about Hannah Arendt's soundbite about Eichmann epitomizing the “banality of evil”. Those who met Eichmann such as Joel Brand related that they felt when in his presence in terror of their lives. 
One man, "Dr. Senator, who didn't stand when Eichmann entered the room; Eichmann told him that if he wasn't gone from Austria within the day he'd be sent to a camp"." (When Eichmann was finally captured, a religious cabinet minister Dr. Yosef Burg worried that trying Eichmann would ruin Israel's image in the world. His son Avraham Burg took things further by leaving Israel and missing no opportunity to pander to Israel's enemies, whether about the supposed illegitimacy of jewish life in their ancestral homeland Judea and Samaria or generally about israeli democracy).

By Fred Barschak

On November 9 1938, a Wednesday, at the age of seven years and eight months, I was standing at my bedroom window looking across the street where, some 25 yards away, the synagogue, the famous Schiffschul, was burning. Unknown to me, so were
 22 other synagogues and some 60 shtiebls in Vienna alone.

Four-and-a-half weeks later, on a Friday afternoon, December 10, together with hundreds of other children aged from three to 17, I boarded a train and began a two-day journey that ended with a boat-trip landing us at Harwich.
 The experience of these two events, the one arising directly from the other, certainly lends a certain perspective to one’s recollection and, 75 years on, some things, dimly perceived at the time and even more dimly understood, have become clearer.

In many cases, parents told their children that the separation would not be that long, that they would be joining them sooner or later. In fact, only some 3,000 of the 9,739 children ever saw their parents again. And certainly the older children, seeing the forced smiles and hidden tears, had some idea of what the parents were saying and especially what they were not saying.

There was a very considerable difference between the experience of the German and Austrian communities. The Jews in Austria had had a very real taste of the “Kristallnacht medicine” ever since the first hour of the Anschluss in March 1938. The norms of civilised or even semi-civilised behaviour had long since been abandoned in post- Anschluss Austria.

But, in Germany, things were very different. In his book, Last Waltz in Vienna, George Clare pointed out that, even after Kristallnacht, arriving in Berlin was like landing on another planet. You could actually go to a coffee house without encountering the ubiquitous Juden unerw├╝nscht (Jews not welcome) signs — plastered everywhere in Vienna, but not everywhere in Berlin. The point is that, before Kristallnacht, life in Germany was very unpleasant, but dangerously bearable.

Which explains why, in the six years between Hitler’s coming to power on January 30 1933, and Kristallnacht on November 8 1938, out of 600,000 Jews, barely 100,000 had emigrated, whereas, after that watershed, apart from the children, approximately 140,000 managed to get out of Germany. Three hundred thousand did not.

So, to that extent, while Kristallnacht led directly to the death of 90 Jews, with a further 1,000 victims who succumbed to their treatment in Dachau and Buchenwald, where 30,000 had been immediately incarcerated, by making clear that there was no possible future for those who thought things couldn’t get worse, Kristallnacht actually saved lives. The flames of the burning buildings illuminated the writing on the wall.

What was truly irreplaceable, and hit the Jewish communities like a volcanic eruption, was the destruction, within 24 hours, of 200 synagogues, together with 750–800 shtiebls (buildings each capable of holding some 100 people,) and their contents, some 10,000 sifrei Torah, all of which signalled the end not just of religious life, but also the destruction, even for non-religious Jews, of their communal life in Germany and Austria.

There was one thing that both groups of Jews had in common — a frantic attempt to get their children away.
 The first Kindertransport train left Berlin with 200 children on December 2. But it was the first train from Vienna, which left at about 11.45pm on a Friday evening, December 10, that had a direct bearing on a very old controversy. This dates from 1961, when Hannah Arendt, covering the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker magazine, coined the ineffable phrase, “the banality of evil”.

This refers to two of the most prominent points in Eichmann’s defence. What does Eichmann actually say? He says first, I was a mere cog in a wheel, concerned with efficient transport arrangements; second, I was following orders and, third, I had no particular animus against Jews, i.e. I would have transported Chinese or Hottentots if so ordered. It remains extraordinary that this hugely experienced journalist accepted Eichmann’s presentation at face value.

But it is the third of his claims that relates directly to the December 10 Kindertransport. The true story was revealed in 1968 by Vera Weismuller, the wife of a Dutch Catholic banker, and hugely involved in organising Kindertransports.
 She arrived in Vienna on or about December 3, carrying with her the priceless permissions for 600 children to board the train for Britain. On arrival, she was immediately incarcerated in one of the cells in the infamous Hotel Metropole — the SS and Gestapo headquarters.

In the morning, she was ushered into the presence of Eichmann; but not before she was subjected to a “personal” search by two Gestapo women. He then asked her: “Do the children know that they are going?” When she replied “Yes”, he asked: “Do the parents know the children are going?” When she replied “Yes”, he said: “Then you may take the children, but there is one condition: they must travel on Saturday.”

At first sight, the order was so obviously aimed at those, probably about 50 per cent of the children, who came from Orthodox backgrounds, and one is tempted to say that, thank God, he was unaware that even the most Orthodox Jew is enjoined to set aside the laws of Shabbat for the purpose of saving life. But, of course, it wasn’t aimed only at the Orthodox; families who were certainly not observant still had a Friday-night family meal, and it was not a proper Friday night without their children, so they, too, were targeted by Eichmann’s order.

Now there are dozens of examples of Eichmann’s dedicated pursuit of Jews, in matters much more severe than an order to travel on Saturday. But one thing unites them all. The infliction of gratuitous pain is the common feature of all Eichmann’s actions, and is completely at variance with his claim of an absence of animus against Jews.

And what about the children once they got to England? When I addressed the who’s who of Anglo-Jewry on March 9 1988 at the Wiener Library, where we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Anschluss, I felt obliged to point out that the Kindertransport did not represent Anglo-Jewry’s finest moment of glory.

In the nine months during which the children arrived, there were living in Great Britain, in varying degrees of affluence and poverty, some 125,000 Jewish families. Of the 9,739 children, about 4,500 were accommodated in hostels, 3,000 were offered a home by Jewish families, and about 2,300 were accommodated in non-Jewish households. Since the organisers tried their best to get Jewish children placed with Jewish families, 3,000 Jewish families offered to take a refugee child in, and 82,000 families did not.

Now it is certainly the case that many of these families could not afford to make the offer — but many could, and didn’t. It was this extraordinary refusal by so many to rise to the occasion that caused Chief Rabbi Hertz, in January 1939, to state that he wished he could say that he had found as much support in his work of rescuing Jews from Europe among the Jewish community as he had among many in the non-Jewish community. This makes the contribution of those British Jews who did put their shoulder to the wheel all the more praiseworthy.

This year, there have been many detailed accounts of the contribution which the children and the refugees generally have made, in every field of endeavour.

But there is perhaps one contribution that the Kinder made without their ever being aware of it. And it is this; when Chamberlain returned from Munich in September 1938, he was greeted and cheered as if he were a visiting Messiah. And yet, when the scales were finally removed from his eyes and he decided to confront Hitler after the occupation of Czechoslovakia on March 15 1939, he found that he had a majority of the British public behind him.

Now historians are quite clear that the reason for the abandonment of the policy of appeasement was, indeed, the occupation of Czechoslovakia. But that does not explain the complete change in public opinion. So what exactly were the major events that took place between September 1938 and March 1939? There were, in fact, only two: Kristallnacht and the Kindertransports.

What in fact happened is that the British public felt cheated. They thought they had signed up for “Peace in our time”. What they got instead was a pogrom in the heart of modern Europe, and a picture of children, including toddlers, walking down a gangplank at Harwich clutching their pathetic suitcases.

A feeling began to spread that “it’s not right”, and this may partly explain why it was that when Chamberlain declared war in 1939, and one year later when Churchill was left to fight that war, the climate of opinion had changed sufficiently for them to have a reasonably united nation behind them.

The two events may have played only a very small part in that change of opinion, but a part they surely played.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Israel helping the Philippines recover from the tornado

It is typical of Israel to want to help the Philippines after the most savage tornado ever to hit the islands.

An IDF delegation departed on a humanitarian mission to the Philippines Wednesday morning to provide aid to the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban, the army said.

The 148-member group, comprising national search-and-rescue unit officials and senior doctors in the IDF medical corps, will be tasked with rapidly setting up a “multi-department medical facility” to provide medical care for casualties of the disaster in Tacloban.

The facility will have children’s, women’s and ambulatory care departments, as well as a general admission department, and will be “equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel.
No country is more deserving of such help, not only because a thousand jews were given shelter from the nazis, but because thousands of Filipino people spend their lives caring for Israel's elderly and disabled citizens.

Also interesting is that despite Philippines being a very religious catholic country, you will be hard pressed to ever find an expression of antisemitism in that country.

Filipino people are tolerant, and jew hatred so endemic in europe and the muslim world is alien to that country. This tolerance is seen in the historic acceptance of transvestite and homosexuals. The Philippines to my knowledge never in history engaged in the discrimination and violence meted out to LGBT people in europe.

I can only hope that the victims of this tragedy can soon rebuild their lives despite all.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pope Francis again demonstrates his love for the Jewish People

After John Paul II it was hard to imagine a pope even more full of love for the Jewish People than him, and then came Pope Francis (this does not imply criticism of Pope Benedict whose temperament was much more low key). 
Jews can only hope that Pope Francis will have a long and happy life in his post at the Vatican. 

He will have his work cut out if he tries to do something about the entrenched hatred of jews in his church however.

But hopefully some of Pope Francis' love can filter down to the frankly unlovely catholic orders such as found in Israel, none worse than the Franciscans, whose clerics are ever ready to attack Israel which protects them from arab muslim fanatacism, the one country in the middle east where to harm a christian is a criminal offence, and treated as such.

OME – Calling Jews “our older big brothers,” Pope Francis marked the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht by renewing what he termed his “closeness and solidarity with the Jewish people.”

Francis spoke about the anniversary following his Sunday address to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today is the 75th anniversary of the so-called ‘Crystal Night,’ ” he said. The violence on the night between Nov. 9-10,1938 against Jews, their synagogues, homes, and businesses, he said, “signaled a sad step toward the tragedy of the Shoah.”

He added, “We renew our closeness and solidarity with the Jewish people, our older big brothers. And we pray to God that the memory of the past, the memory of past sins, helps us to be ever vigilant against any form of hate and intolerance.