Free Speech and Fake News on Campus

In this post I  explore academia, professors, and their legitimate sounding papers and books that may even use legitimate concepts but apply these concepts fallaciously. I refer to the left, using the ideology of “colonialism” to apply to Israel, and the Palestinian strategy of applying the South African ideology of “apartheid” to the Israel/Palestine conflict, and plain deceptive media like “Electronic Intifada”

Over the years, I have become acquainted with Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of The Electronic Intifada, Jewish Voices for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, Israel/apartheid conferences.

Here are some images of Omar Barghouti.

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And here is his bio on wikipedia:
Omar Barghouti is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Wikipedia
Born: 1964, Qatar

Note that his first degree was from Tel Aviv University. He is identified with the website Electronic Intifada whose Home page has the following screen today: December 25, 2015 and is an example of the misleading media which employs classic antisemitic methods of lying and deception about the truth of what is going on.

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Of course they don’t tell you that on Christmas eve there were three separate attacks, car jammings and knife attacks on IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians as reported here in The Times of Israel. The Israel news report lists the incidents, the attackers and their victims, and the condition of both attackers and victims.

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This is how it was reported in the Israeli press.

One person was lightly injured Thursday morning in a suspected car-ramming in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, Israeli officials said, the third attack in as many hours Thursday morning.

The army said a car tried to hit soldiers and border police at the Adam junction next to the Rama army base. The driver was shot and killed at the scene, an IDF statement said.

The incident was the third attack of the day after two separate stabbing incidents, also in the West Bank.
Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed and injured two security guards at an industrial park outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Guards at the site shot and killed the attacker during the incident, police said.
One victim, 24, was listed in serious condition after suffering several stab wounds to his upper body. A female guard, also 24, was listed in moderate condition with a stab wounds to her upper body, according to police and the Magen David Adom rescue organization.
Less than an hour later, a Palestinian man attempting to stab soldiers with a screwdriver was shot and killed near the West Bank city of Hebron Thursday morning. The army said the assailant, “armed with a screwdriver, approached a checkpoint near Hebron and attempted to the stab security forces.” The soldiers opened fire on the man, killing him, the IDF said.

Sadly, Since September, Israel has endured hundreds of knife attacks and car rammings on civilians in many cities both inside Israel the West Bank. There have been many dead and many injured on both sides. However clearly the aggressors are the stabbers and terrorists. And the world media largely ignores it because of its anti-Israel bias. Some people call anti-Israel bias – antisemitism. So there you have it!

 

Antisemitism: Rational or Irrational?

Antisemitism has been at times likened to a disease or a mutating virus.israel apartheid dry bones

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor, made the remark, “The world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only antisemitism has remained … The only disease that has not found its cure is antisemitism.” (1)

Where does antisemitism come from and why? Is antisemitism rational or  irrational. This is the sixty four million dollar question and the answer is: – “it is both rational and irrational”.

The Goals and Purpose of Antisemitism

To the propagators  of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, antisemitism is understood to be a powerful psychological weapon in the interest of national policy.This is very rational and goal directed. Both Hitler and the current day jihadists/Palestinians, understand this very well. Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler’s ‘confidant’, said in the mid-1930s:

“Anti-Semitism … was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler’s] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man’s stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last”.[10]

 

And now here is the deceptive and irrational part exemplified by deceptive books and newspapers, such as the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Hitlers’ Mein Kampf (which was largely based on the previous book and Der Sturmer, the antisemitic German newspaper which began its publication in Germany in 1924. I quote from wikipedia: 

“Beginning in 1924, Streicher used Der Stürmer as a mouthpiece not only for general antisemitic attacks, but for calculated smear campaigns against specific Jews…Streicher orchestrated his early campaigns against Jews to make the most extreme possible claims, short of violating a law that might get the paper shut down. He insisted in the pages of his newspaper that the Jews had caused the worldwide Depression, and were responsible for the crippling unemployment and inflation which afflicted Germany during the 1920s. He claimed that Jews were white-slavers and were responsible for over 90 percent of the prostitutes in the country. Real unsolved killings in Germany, especially of children or women, were often confidently explained in the pages of Der Stürmer as cases of “Jewish ritual murder.”

One of Streicher’s constant themes was the sexual violation of ethnically German women by Jews, a subject which served as an excuse to publish semi-pornographic tracts and images detailing degrading sexual acts. These “essays” proved an especially appealing feature of the paper for young men. With the help of his notorious cartoonist, Phillip “Fips” Rupprecht, Streicher published image after image of Jewish stereotypes and sexually-charged encounters. His portrayal of Jews as subhuman and evil is widely considered to have played a critical role in the dehumanization and marginalization of the Jewish minority in the eyes of common Germans – creating the necessary conditions for the later perpetration of the Holocaust.”

Although Julius Streicher was able to escape the consequences of his writing during Nazi times. (He was frequently sued for libel but manged to evade guilty verdicts): in 1945 he was one of the nine Nazis tried and found guilty by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Julius Streicher was one of the nine Nazis who were convicted  for “Crimes against Humanity.” and died on the gallows.

Joshua Muravchik in his book “Making David into Goliath” documents the pro-Palestinian leanings of the EU. Is this political stance rational or irrational? Joshua Muravchik points to the policy of appeasement of Palestinian hijackers by European states in the wake of Palestinian terror attacks such as the plane hijackings which were so ubiquitous in the 1960’s and the Munich Olympics terror attack in 1973.

In an interview based on his book Joshua Muravchik  notes:

We know that several European governments made quiet deals with the Palestinians to keep the violence off their soil. One barometer of this was that in virtually every case – and there were dozens – where the perpetrators were taken into custody after a hijacking or terror act, they were soon released. This was sometimes in exchange for other hostages who had been seized by the terrorists and sometimes as part of some other diplomatic deal. This was a measure of how much governments, particularly European governments, didn’t want to be embroiled in a conflict with these groups and were inclined to make concessions to keep things quiet.

Thus for policy reasons, European nations have turned a blind eye towards the anti-Israel terrorism on their own soil and on Israeli soil. Of course, this policy has come back to bite them big time. As many have noted “antisemitism may begin with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews.”

These are the Rational Purposes of Antisemitism: What about the Irrational Aspects? What about those ideas prevalent since the middle ages and into the present time, that Jews use human blood to create matza (unleavened bread) for Passover. Can any rational person believe this? And then there are the even more outlandish internet videos on youtube that spew lies about Jews and Israel the following is just a very abbreviated list:•  

 ARE THE JEWS ALIEN LIZARDS ? I thought it was a crazy idea until I studied it by Neo triestowarnyou 124,198 views 
 1:20:59

•    Where have the Rothschilds disappeared to? by The Bilzerian Report 1,373,332 views 
 21:03

•    Michael Collins Piper vs Eric Jon Phelps – The Great Debate: Zionists or Jesuits? by Reasonable Doubtt 28,625 views 
 1:26:06

•    Should the British stop tolerating intolerance? (The Big Questions, 15/6/14) by Islam & Islamicate 58:50

(By the way I have not watched all of these but any brief look  at the titles will advise you of the nature of the content.)

And then there are the conspiracy theory antisemites highlighted inthese kinds of videos.

•    The Protocols Of The Learned Elders Of Zion by ZeroSixtyFive 40,721 views 
 3:21:38

•    Evidence that The Protocols of Zion are Genuine, 1of4 by TheRapeOfJustice 10,258 views 
 14:57

But we have not yet talked about the most significant driver of antisemitism, the emotional psychological driver. It is well known that emotional arguments suffused with fear and anxiety have a powerful hold on individuals both children and adults and take precedence over critical thinking. The best example of this is the claim that “Jews murdered Jesus”. This calumny is what motivated Christian antisemitic pogroms as it was promoted by the Christian church to the masses who then felt justified in hating and murdering Jews through many centuries of Christian church influence.

 

Benny Morris at McGill

Benny Morris, the Israeli historian of the 1948 war in Israel, recently spoke at the first  meeting of this year’s series of lectures sponsored by ISGAP, The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism

Benny Morris flyerBenny Morris, an Israeli historian, was the darling of the anti-Israel left for supporting the Arab narrative about ht

In addition to describing both sides of the war, the players and their motivations, He asked the question: “Was the war by the Arabs against the establishment of the State of Israel (1947-1948) in the area that was called Palestine during the governance of the English Mandate, an Islamic Jihadi war?” He has uncovered evidence that it was. He has uncovered broadcasts from the Allimah of Al-Azhar University, one of the the highest Islamic authorities, calling for a Jihad against the Jews immediately after the partition announcement in the United Nations.

At the same time, he pointed out how the armies that were unleashed against the nascent State of Israel, in addition to their Muslim anti-Jewish motivations, also had their particular agendas. Israel alone was fighting for survival. And this is why she had the absolute motivation to win at all cost, and did win. And the

This lecture brought out the largest audience ISGAP has ever had at Mcgill. Hecklers showed up prior to the lecture objecting to Prof. Morris giving his talk. They shouted loudly and we were not sure whether he would be able to speak, but finally they were persuaded to leave.

After the talk there was a lively question period. One question that I found very interesting was a question from someone, who could have been a professor, asking Why ISGAP, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism invited Benny Morris, a professor of Israeli history. Unfortunately Israel’s history then and now is filtered through the lens of Jew-hatred. Even though critics of Israel love to proclaim that “criticism of Israel is not antisemitism”. The BDS movement’s focus on destroying the Jewish State is very close to it. And this person’s objection to hearing the scholarly talk of a historian speaks for itself.

And by the way, Benny Morris has been vilified by both sides for his historical analysis and it is a credit to the Institute that they invited him to speak.

I am writing this a day after the Horrific Paris attacks. As I listen to the CBC and BBC all still appear to be confused by the attacks. Israel has been dealing with this kind of terrorism since its inception and even today the mainstream media is not reporting the hundreds of attacks perpetrated in Israel by the Palestinians, inspired by their Jew baiting, Israel baiting Imams. Over 609 attacks have been documented in Israel during the months of September and October of this year and even today we received news of a murder of a father and a son attacked in their van.

This article says it best How Many More Wake-Up Calls.

And here is a post if you needed any more confirmation about the antisemitic, anti-Israel incitement that goes on everyday over the internet.

Fortunately we now have organizations like PAL WATCH – Palestinian Media Watch who are there to document and expose these purveyors of hatred towards Israel and Jews everywhere.

And here is the video recording of the talk by Benny Morris at McGill University, Montreal, November 2015

https://vimeo.com/147348120

 

JQMTL magazine des cultures juives: Quebecers – Who Are They: What are their Origins?

La flute de rafi Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. André Vanasse, a prolific writer, professor and well known Quebecois literary figure. Recent developments in the world arouse thoughts of concern about world order, migrations, religions, commerce, and how they affect the individual. André Vanasse’ expansive historical novel, La flûte de rafi deals with the themes of migration, both physical and cultural between Europe and the New World. It tells the story of  several generations and permutations of a family. The protagonist is a young Jewish man from Poland whose father is a “shochet”, a Jewish slaughterer, i.e. a man who is well versed in the laws and regulations prescribed for the slaughter of animals for food as prescribed in the “Mishnah” and “Talmud” – the compilation of the Jewish code of life.

The project was conceived and executed by Sonia Sarah Lipsyc and she is the interviewee. Here is the piece in French with English subtitles.

This is the first of a series of similar interviews with authors, scholars, and artists whose books, works and oeuvres touch upon Jewish culture in Quebec , conceived and executed  by Sonia Sarah Lipsyc in collaboration with AskAbigail Productions for the JQMTL/videos website – the JQMtl Quebec’s Jewish Arts and Culture Magazine, Le Magazine des culture juives du Québec.

The next one will be an interview with Marc Alain-Wolf about his current work Histoires de famille, histoires de guerre, which also has autobiographical elements about the search for identity in contemporary Quebec.WOLF histoire de famille histoire de guerre

 

 

 

 

 

Is the Parti-Quebecois anti-semitic? Louise Mailloux and her “Kosher Tax” ideas

Louise Mailloux is a local Quebec academic, and author. She is also running in the upcoming Quebec election in the constituency of Gouin on behalf of the Parti Quebecois. She is a strong theoretician and supporter of the Quebec Charter of values. Louise Mailloux has recently made some strange statements about Christianity and Islam:

Mailloux 2 In an April 2012 editorial for L’aut’journal, she mocked the lack of culinary prohibitions in Christianity, claiming that the church missed “a great opportunity to make money….Just as the prayers of a priest turns bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, those of the rabbi turns slaughtered chickens, Nestle Quick and ketchup into thousands of dollars,”. Louise Mailloux has also come under fire for supporting a fringe conspiracy theory holding that Jews use kosher food to fund clandestine political causes. I don’t know Ms. Mailloux personally, but I do feel that her anti-Semitic conspiracy theories need to be forcefully addressed. Ignorance should never be a shield in these matters. I am not in any position to respond to her ideas re Christianity and Islam but I can comment regarding her ideas regarding Kosher food. When Ms. Mailloux speaks about Kosher food and Jews in this inaccurate way, her misinformation needs to be exposed and corrected.

Ms. Mailloux claims that  “kosher food is a form of a Jewish tax on everyone and raises the cost of food in Quebec.” If anyone were to explore this they would find out that the companies who look to have kosher certifications seek to increase sales, and therefore they themselves seek out kosher certification to make the product appeal to a larger market. The kosher certification does not increase the price of the brand name foods but does increase the market for the manufacturer.

Kosher meat however is more expensive. “Kosher” by the way has nothing to do with the Rabbi blessing the food. It has to do with the person who slaughters the animal following the strict rules for kosher slaughter which is designed to cause the least pain to the animal. (And he does not have to be a Rabbi.) Non-kosher meat is much cheaper in price, and is readily available toanyne who does not want to pay the higher price. Kosher meat is only of interest to Jews who are concerned abut this religious practice, and they are willing to pay for this additional service when it comes to meat.

Ms. Mailloux also has been quoted as saying  “… Jews use kosher food to fund clandestine political causes”.  This is a lie, an untruth, and is a classic anti-Semitic trope implying that Jews have intentions to rule the world etc. Ms. Mailloux’s charges caused Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, to publicly declare that her party is not anti-Semitic. Marois stated, “We have very good relations with the leaders of this community and all the different communities in Quebec”. I actually believe her and do not think she is anti-semitic but I do object to Mailloux’ prejudiced and ignorant statements regarding Jews and kosher food.
Nobody wants to be called an anti-Semite, but very few people fully understand what Antisemitism is. It is lies about Jews that become acceptable truths when no one speaks up to correct the misconception. These ideas were behind the persecution of Jews in Europe and were used to the n’th degree by Nazi Germany. They are still circulated on the internet and shared by Jew hating forces. It is of utmost importance to challenge and debunk these myths, especially when they are espoused as truth by political and academic leaders within the community, who should know better.
I just discovered this letter to the editor on this subject in the Gazette titled
Here is a link to the National Post article about the issue titled: Jewish Group accuses Parti-Quebecois candidate of spreading KKK antisemitic conspiracy theory
Here is another informative article discrediting Mailloux ‘ notions re kosher food.
And here is a letter defending Louise Mailloux titled:

Louise Mailloux is entitled to freedom of speech followed by comments from the public which I reprint below because they enhance the discussion.

  • Gayle Holdaway

    There is a fine line between free speech and inciting hatred and Ms. Mailloux represents the later. Is this really the people that you want in your government. It amazes me that the PQ still stand in front of their sign when making announcements that says “Quebec pour tous”. Really?????? I think Ms. Mailloux has just spoken out loud what many of the racist PQ members wouldn’t dare say, but think. Their whole premises of the “Charter of Values” is to discriminate against those who do not fit into their picture of what their country of Quebec should look like. Sound familiar? They had to throw in the crucifixion on the list of banned religious symbols or it would have looked way too obvious as to their discrimination against other religions. These are people and views that you should be very concerned about.
    • Suzy Kiepprien · Top Commenter

      What hate? Please explain. I’m fed up with brainless and uninformed people who lap up lies and distortions for the only purpose of dividing a society. The PQ has 3 muslims, one Jew and one Black on its team. Can any other party say the same… NO.What she said about Kosher tax imposed on non-Jews was confirmed by Jewish associations in a 2007 TV interview. The reason for this is to bring down the price of Kosher for the practicing Jews. Yes, we are paying for this unwittingly. The same with Halal except it gets worse.I am very troubled by Couillard who was seriously questioned by Canadian surveillance/terrorism agency re his possible/probable ties with groups promoting terrorism. Couillard managed to get elected as PLQ leader, I believe, to stop the investigation.Québec is loads in debt because of this corrupt bribe-loving party.As to the rest of your rant, check out what’s happening in Europe. It has already started coming our way. Sharia Law is now being carried out in certain Canadian Court rulings.

      Six million Jews walked without resistance to their deaths… it seems they haven’t learned their lesson. Read the Qur’an. You are the most vile of creatures, to be killed on sight, an ape and a pig.

      THE ONLY RELIGION I ADMIRE IS ISLAM – Adolf Hitler

      Reply · Like · March 21 at 4:36pm
    • Joseph Aspler · Top Commenter · Montreal, Quebec

      Suzy Kiepprien : Your comments are rubbish.You stated the following “What she said about Kosher tax imposed on non-Jews was confirmed by Jewish associations in a 2007 TV interview.”OK – let’s see your sources. What Jewish associations? What TV network and what TV program? Who was the interviewer? You are precise enough to claim 2007 – let’s see the rest of the date. You talk about a “tax”? What was the amount of that so-called “tax”?Perhaps you should learn actual facts, instead of parrotting Internet rumours. Like how Heinz foods doesn’t even bother counting the costs of Kosher certification. As a corporate giant with more than 30,000 employees, the trivial cost of a handful of inspectors is outweighed by something called “increased market share” for Heinz productsSome people eat Kosher food for reasons other than religion – for example, vegans and vegetarians will eat Kosher food because the Kosher mark is a guarantee that what the label says is accurate.

      Non-Jewish Coca-cola purists will even stock up on Kosher-for-Passover Coke, to the great profit of the Coca-Cola company and its shareholders. I will leave the reason for you to research. Call it a homework assignment for you, since you are desperately in need of more education.

      Reply · Like · Edited · March 21 at 10:07pm
    • Joseph Aspler · Top Commenter · Montreal, Quebec

      Suzy Kiepprien Then you also say, “The PQ has 3 muslims, one Jew and one Black on its team”.Funny that – my outgoing (liberal) MNA is Black.And wow – the PQ has one Jewish candidate. I grew up in the 60s, where we learned all about token representation.So the PQ has a single Jewish candidate? Big deal, when 95% of the Jewish community will vote NO to the separatists, as always.
      Reply · Like · March 21 at 10:17pm
  • Christopher Randle · Top Commenter · My Dawson College

    There is no place for people with views like that in a public office.
    Does it sound like secularism to you? it is not turbans or kippahs we should be worried about, but people like this. Which of course is what the PQ are made up of.
  • Mara Campagnolo · Top Commenter

    Yes she is but, she must also face the consequences of her actions which call for an immediate dismissal. Mme Marois is obviously unfit to command the helm for a good leader would have immediately denounced Mailloux’s deranged and racist rants and given her the boot.
  • Joseph Aspler · Top Commenter · Montreal, Quebec

    Louise Mailloux may be entitled to what Robert O’Brien calls “free speech”. But the price of her “free speech” is the scorn and contempt that she receives when she chooses to repeat lies and slander invented by others.You are allowed to believe that the earth is flat. But a Flat Earther is not allowed to complain that he can’t get a job as a Professor of Astronomy as a major university.And if you are running for a major political party that claims (with all evidence to the contrary) to be “all-inclusive”, then you had better be prepared for the backlash that occurs when your party’s claim to be oh-so-tolerant turns out to be rubbish.
  • Italo Camerino · Top Commenter · University of Life

    Outright lies should never be defended.

More thoughts about Yiddish: a tale of survival

Excellent film – the interviews are so intimate, with such depth of emotion, and the editing is right on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgQBwJ63yh4 6 minutes into the film.

So why Yiddish…Professor talking about her attachment to Yiddish

Ruth Wisse speaking about Sholem Aleichem and Yiddish humour

Milena Kartovsky performing in Montreal (in Yiddish and French)

the CBC radio interview. all-in-a weekend 8/31/2013
http://www.cbc.ca/allinaweekend/episodes/index.html

 

Lessons from Henry Morgentaler and Carlos de Soussa Mendes

Rabbi Kruger and Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Rabbi Chaim Kruger and
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, 1940

Yesterday, a full auditorium at the Jewish Public Library, in Montreal, watched the film about Aristide de Sousa Mendes, Disobedience, made for French television, and we all listened to the moving discussion by the panel, one of whom was Louis Philippe Mendes, the grandson of Aristide Sousa de Mendes, who grew up in and happens to live in Montreal.

This is how the movie, created by French television, is described in a recent post:

Joel Santoni’s powerful drama is a vivid retelling of the moving true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul General stationed in Bordeaux, France, during World War II.  His government had issued strict orders to all its diplomats, in a document called Circular 14, to deny visas to Holocaust refugees seeking to escape Occupied Europe through Portugal.  Sousa Mendes defied these orders and issued Portuguese visas to an estimated 30,000 people in May and June of 1940 in an operation described by the Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer as “perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.” Sousa Mendes’ defiance of government’s order was harshly punished by Salazar, ally of Hitler, the dictator of neutral Portugal.

As Louis-Philippe reminded us last night: Aristides de Sousa Mendes’s act of conscience consisted in defying the direct orders of his government and exhibiting courage, moral rectitude, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice by issuing visas to all refugees regardless of nationality, race, religion or political opinions.

The movie shows how all of his heroic work was done over a period of several days with the help of his male secretary, and a certain Rabbi Kruger, pictured above from the archives of the Jewish Public Library, a man introduced by a letter from a friend who Aristide welcomed into his home along with his four daughters at that very time, and his eldest son. Aristide de Soussa Mendes was the father of 14 children and his mistress was also expecting at that very time.

What I really loved about this “you are there” movie recreation were the little vignettes that one witnesses such as the opening which starts with de Soussa Mendes conducting a small orchestra made up of his children playing a compostion by “me, Aristide de Soussa Mendes”: glimpses of his relationship with his wife, and his mistress, his relationship with his son, with Rabbi Kruger, with his loyal male secretary, and with his twin brother. The other reason that it is worth watching this movie is for the glimpse into the process of totalitarian power: the glimpse of how Salazar, the dictator of Portugal, thinks and acts, how he deals with “insubordinationan”, and glimpses of the others who carry out Salazar’s orders.

A moving and gripping story that is a lesson for all humanity and for all time.

The same day, I listened to the Gian Gomeshi interview with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, son of the late abortion rights advocate Dr. Henry Morgentaler, following his father’s  recent death at the age of ninety.

The outpouring of interviews and reviews unleashed by the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, were intense and worldwide, but hearing about him from his son was special. As his son explained, Henry Morgentaler, grew up in Lodz, Poland, facing local antisemitism there, and then at the age of eighteen endured the Nazi invasion which led him and his family first to a ghetto and then being transported to Auschwitz. After losing both his parents and surviving a slave labour camp, Henry Morgentaler, arrived in Montreal, became a doctor, married and had children, and in the course of his work championed medical abortions for women in Quebec and Canada, at a time when the Church considered that sinful, and the laws of the land supported that stance. He went to jail more than once for upholding his values, and eventually won for women the legal  right to a safe, medical abortion in Canada.

Two stories that Abraham Morgentaler, the son, shared struck me as poignant. He shared a story from his childhood. He was perhaps nine year old at the time. He and his friends were arguing about who was the best hockey player in the world, “Rocket Richard or Richard Beliveau”. Eventually, all the kids ganged up on him: one kid said “we all believe that it’s Rocket Richard, so you are wrong!” He was telling his father about this when his father was putting him to bed, and he recalls his father saying very clearly, “It is possible for everyone in the world to say that you are wrong and for you still to be right.”

The other wonderful image was Gian Gomeshi asking Abraham Morgentaler, “What is your favorite memory of your father to which he responded that he would always remember his Dad, at family celebrations addressing the family, and then singing either a Yiddish song or one of his favorite Edith Piaf songs. And I am thinking perhaps, “Rien de rien, je ne regrette rien”?

Just to let you know that although, Aristides de Sousa Mendes died in poverty and struggling to clear his name, since the death of Salazar, his heirs have banded together with community members to share his story. You can read all about it on the site of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. The movie has been shown at many Jewish Film Festivals and private screenings. Currently, the movie can only be seen via arrangement with the Sousa Mendes Foundation.

The following appears on the website:

For information on hosting a film screening, please contact us at info@sousamendesfoundation.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing he would face harsh consequences for his actions, Sousa Mendes decided to act in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and Catholic faith.
For this adherence to his sense of humanity, Aristides de Sousa Mendes was rendered helpless in a society which no longer recognized his diplomatic status and forbade him from practicing law to earn a decent living and support his family. He spent the rest of his life pleading his case and being ignored time and again by the Portuguese dictator Salazar and his political machine.

 

The same day I heard
http://www.cbc.ca/q/2013/06/10/authenticity-and-politicians-willem-dafoe-henry-morgentalers-son/

Academics as Theologians: Judith Butler and Stephen Hawking

The internet wages war mainly via words and images. However words and ideologies are indeed important in understanding and in influencing the world. The Jewish Bible claims that G-d’s ideas and words preceded the creation of the world. “In the beginning there was the word” and indeed ideas do precede actions in a thinking world.

Judith Butler, a feminist, a philosopher, a professor of critical thinking who also happens to hold the Hannah Arendt Chair in Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Sass-Fee, Switzerland, – another point of irony for anyone who knows about the controversies that swirl around Hannah Arendt, who was also a Jewish and academically acclaimed, but very controversial  philosopher) is about to receive an honorary degree from McGill University in Montreal.

She has been criticized for supporting the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement that was seeded at the notoriously anti-semitic first Durban UN Human rights conference,and which has become an international political arm of the Palestinian “electronic and political” intifada against Israel. BDS has become an industry solely focused on Israel and has spawned legal opposition groups. Here is how one of them Shurat Hadin describes the BDS movement:

“The Briefing: Israel, and the Jewish community at large, is beset by a dangerous international campaign utilizing new strategies to delegitimize the Jewish State. Unable to defeat the IDF militarily or weaken the population through persistent terrorism, the extremist groups, Islamic terrorists and their rogue regime allies have embarked upon a global effort to demonize and isolate Israel, casting it as a pariah state.The widespread Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and its utilization of Lawfare, is the main component of the “Durban Strategy” adopted by Israel’s opponents at the U.N.’s Human Rights Conference in 2001. Tactics like the Gaza Flotilla,  the effort overseas to indict IDF officers and elected officials for war crimes, blood libels in the media, the boycotting of Israeli academics, and the persistent debate over whether a Jewish State has a right to exist, are having a perilous impact on Israel’s security and diplomatic capabilities.  As the Anti-Defamation League has stated: “The BDS movement at its very core is anti-Semitic.”

Judith Butler has defended herself in a blog: “Judith Butler Responds to Attack”. Sadly, she exposes her lack of critical thinking in a long and wordy defense focusing on her “Jewish and ethical” background without any appreciation of the political and ideological war that she has been drawn into by her academic leftist convictions. At one point she states:

“…A few words are taken out of context, their meaning distorted, and they then come to label or, indeed, brand an individual. This happens to many people when they offer a critical view of Israel – they are branded as anti-Semites or even as Nazi collaborators; However she uses exactly the same tactic of devaluing the scholars who criticize her by saying: “SPME, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is not, as The Jerusalem Post has reported, a large group of Jewish scholars in Germany, but an international organization with a base in Australia and California. They are a right-wing organization and so part of an intra-Jewish war.

Having attended one of the SPME conferences in Miami, I can assure her that the members of SPME are scholars of academia just as she is, not all Jewish by the way, and actually from all parts of the world including Germany. They have united to fight the spurious BDS movement which was ignited on campuses all over the world and has been embraced by left-wing academics such as herself.

I have written about anti-semitism, the anti-Jewish rhetoric and ideology, that is propagated by Islam in more than one post:

Jonathan Spyer on Obama’s Foreign Policy and Antisemitism: an unsexy subject.

However, today I read an editorial that reveals the Christian anti-Jewish “replacement theology” bias that I would have thought was by now obsolete in the Christian world.  By “replacement theology” I refer to the Christian doctrine that Judaism is an inferior religion that has no validity since it has been superseded by the birth of Christ and Christianity, the superior religion. We all owe Mordechai Ben Dat a debt of gratitude for reading and analyzing the 10 page treatise published by the Scottish Church (PDF), which few of us would ever read, and exposing its virulent outdated ideology in  Polemics as Theology. He writes, “The document titled ‘The Inheritance of Abraham? A Report on the ‘Promised Land,’ is a brazen attack on the Jewish state as well as on the Jewish religion.” If you have some time you will appreciate his insightful article.

In addition, we have recently witnessed the sad case of the atheist scientist, Stephen Hawking, refusing to attend a scientific conference in Israel, because he too supports  BDS, and boycotting Israel for “human rights abuses”.  As Allan Dershowitz astutely pointed out, Hawking has previously attended conferences in China and Iran without objecting to their human rights abuses. Allan Dershowitz writes:

“Yet Iran is a country that Stephen Hawking visited. He did not boycott that Islamic country. He limited his boycott to the democratic nation state of the Jewish people.
Not only did Steven Hawking visit China, he praised it effusively. Although Chinese universities are considerably better than Iran’s, there is no real freedom to criticize the government or the Communist Party. The people who brought us Tiananmen Square still hold positions of authority in China. Dissidents are persecuted. There is no semblance of fair trial. Censorship reigns.
Yet Stephen Hawking did not boycott China. He boycotted only Israel — the only country of these three with real academic freedom and the only country where people with disabilities are fully integrated, first-class citizens of society. In China, many disabled children are aborted due to the country’s one-child policy. In Iran many disabled people are kept hidden within families because of prevalent cultural taboos.
I am neither an academic or a scientist or a rabbi or a priest. All I can do is to share what I see and rely on the power of words and the internet to shine a light on these issues.

Passover and the Arab Spring in Middle East Media. 2013

Dear friends,

I thought you would appreciate these two videos which I posted this week.

One is a Passover teaching by Rabbi Chaim Stenimetz:

And the second is about “The Impact of the Arab Spring on Arab anti-semitism“, a lecture by Yigal Carmon with video clips from middle Eastern television programs.

Is there any connection? Passover is the celebration of the journey from slavery to freedom. During the Passover seder, we relive this journey. Rabbi Steinmetz points out in the first video that freedom can only begin when and if one begins to question one’s servitude. Without a challenge to the status quo, no movement is possible.

There is no question that the Arab spring was initiated by people asking questions of their leaders, and seeking freedom from oppressive regimes. Has this resulted in greater freedom of expression and has it led to “freedom”? The answer has to be both “Yes” and “No”. We have all seen how the legitimate aspirations of the peoples of the Middle East seem to have been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood.

We often forget that the toppling of the Shah of Iran was also billed as a movement of the people overcoming the dictatorial Shah. Very few Iranians anticipated that the revolutionaries who championed the Shah would be arrested and murdered by him as soon as he took power. Very few, least of all America, in the person of Jimmy Carter, anticipated the stranglehold of the Iranian clergy that would take over the political realm of Iran.

Nevertheless, peoples of the Middle East continue to seek freedoms: freedom of thought and freedom of speech. The contrast between the fascism of the Muslim Brotherhood and some of the Muslim clergy, and the efforts of the people to speak up were both clearly apparent in the talk by Yigal Carmon, founder of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) who spoke recently in Montreal. MEMRI monitors the treatment of Jews and Israel in Middle East media. He shared actual clips from Arab television. First he explained the ingrained anti-semitic (i.e. anti-Jewish) tropes of Islamic culture promoted by important Imams and political figures, even President Morsi of Egypt. Then at the 59:33 point of his talk above he shares a clip from a young scholar which I link here. Dr. SA’id Okasha of El Ahram University on Al-Faraeen TV (Egypt January 29, 2010. If you click on this link you will see for the first two or three minutes, the presentation of the anchor regarding the “facts of the Holocaust” that she has “researched”, followed by the attempt by Sa’id Okasha to refute these “facts”. The debating match between them on live television is an exciting thing to watch. And as Yigal Carmon reminds us, the next day Dr. Sa’id has to go back to his university and his colleagues at El Ahram University.

But Dr. Sa’id is not the only one speaking out. Below I discovered on Youtube an amazing woman in disguise, ridiculing Hassan Nasrallah speaking about the Syrian revolution.

This brings me back to the Passover seder, The annual festival that Jews celebrate as the holiday of freedom from slavery. We forget that modern day slavery, especially the slavery of ignorance, is still very much present in many parts of the world. But the first step towards redemption is the questioning of the status quo.

Happy Passover to all who strive for freedom from tyranny.

Purim, Jews, and the Academy Awards

Ted, voiced by Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, and Mark Wahlberg present at Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

This year Purim and the Academy awards happened to fall on the same day. Personally I thought the show was classy and the most fun in a long time. Seth McFarlane can sing and dance and deliver a joke. I loved the dance numbers and I only fell asleep once. (I read in the paper the next day that Barbara Streisand had been there. I totally missed her!!!)

The next day, there were many articles about Abe Foxman, the head of the Bnai Brith Anti Defamation League, who objected to Seth’s jokes about “Jewish Hollywood.” and a series of responsive essays on why these jokes were the best thing that ever happened to Jews. I think they all have a grain of truth but the funniest aspect is that it all happened on Purim: the day that Jews celebrate an ancient anti-semitic attempt to eliminate them by making jokes and putting on parodies called “Purim shpiels”. Some feel that the whole tradition of Jews and the theatre was born in this tradition of Purim shpiels. Check out my blog which explains this tradition and has a terrific modern day example of a Purim Shpiel video.

Now what’s the back story that validates all of this brouhaha? I have read the book “How Jews invented Hollywood” and watched the recent PBS Television documentary about Jewish song writers and creators of musicals on Broadway. Jews wrote many favorite Christmas Songs like “Silent Night” and “I am dreaming of a White Christmas“. Yes Jews excelled in these areas starting in the early 1900′. The dirty little secret is that they excelled in these areas because they were restricted from other occupations by anti-semitic social structures. What you did not know that anti-semitism was alive and well in the US at the turn of the century? It was, especially a part of the upper classes. A very good book that illustrates this social phenomenon is “An Orphan in History“, a memoir by Paul Cowan that shares the history of two Jewish families, his paternal and maternal parents and grandparents living in the US since the 1850’s. Jews were restricted in universities, corporations, and lawyers’s firms even in the United States of America even into the 1950’s. Read Dershowitz’ book “Chutzpa” where he talks about graduating from Harvard Law School in the fifties, and being unable to get a job in any firm, because they did not want any Jews. Yes, he had to start his own firm. Independence is the name of the game. Jews have always had to thrive in spite of anti-semtism. During the middle ages in Europe they were restricted from farming, and so had to engage in commerce to make a living. Also lending money was forbidden by Christian laws so Jews became the only legal money lenders. But I digress.

This morning I was shmoozing about the Academy awards issue with my trainer who is a practicing Mormon. He was telling me about the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” which has been having a strong Broadway run for the last four years. Yes it makes fun of Mormons, but it also shares their story and he loves it. Similarly, he was telling me how he loved “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat”  because the music and the parody still tell the wonderful Joseph story in all its details. Then he said; Could you ever imagine something like that using the Koran as a base text?  End of story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.simchajtv.com/im-thinking-of-suing-iranian-dictator-mahmoud-ahmadinejad-over-hollywoodism/