Cantor Moshe Kraus Speaks at Faith Temple and Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg

 

Moshele de zinger cover

Pastor Rudy Fidel and his wife Gina were so impressed with Cantor Kraus’ memoir of his life experiences “Moshele: Der Zinger: How My Singing Saved My Life”, that they organized a week of events for Cantor Moshe Kraus and his wife to speak in Winnipeg. I accompanied them on this trip as part of my work to create a documentary featuring Cantor Kraus’ life story which has many twists and turns. On Wednesday, September 12, 2017, Cantor Moshe Kraus, age 95, spoke to a gym full of students at Shaftesbury Public High School. The event was followed and broadcast on the CBC evening news that same evening.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/holocaust-survivor-shares-story-with-students-at-shaftesbury-high-school-1.4286654

And here is the story which he shared with the students on that day.

On Sunday morning Cantor Kraus was welcomed at Pastor Rudy’s Church, Faith Temple.  by Pastor Rudy, Indian Chief Baird and Chief of Chiefs, Jerry Daniels, and a klezmer band.At 10:35 min. into the event seen below, Cantor Kraus shares another one of his many stories – this one about a Hungarian Bishop who came to visit him during the German occupation of Hungary during WWll…

Author: Abigail Hirsch, MSW, filmmaker, blogger, journalist, citizen of the world

Judaism Israel and the World: 73 years after the Shoa.

Screen Shot 2011-12-19 at 3.28.34 PMThought: Words: Action:

Today is Yom Hashoa ve Hagvura – The day Jews both mourn and celebrate. They mourn the destruction of more than six million innocent men, women, and children, hunted down for the sole reason that they were Jews (the Shoa) and the Gvura (courage and heroism), they celebrate the courage of  all those who fought to survive. Every moment of continuing life every day required courage everywhere during this period and great courage was required and offered by many, many who died and many who survived: all of them fought to defeat the enemy and some lived to see the defeat of the vicious enemy –  Nazi Germany and her vicious antisemitic policy.

This day always comes shortly after celebration of the Passover holiday, commemoration of the miraculous Jewish liberation from slavery three thousand years ago. Regardless of whether you believe the exodus from Egypt actually happened or not, we have to acknowledge with the reader of the Passover Hagada that “if we had not been freed, we and our children and our children’s children would still be enslaved: but tonight we celebrate as free men and women.”

Last night I attended the annual shoa commemoration project of the Montreal community. Every year, six survivor families are chosen to light a candle and to share their story. Each survivor, flanked by their families, tell their story on a short prerecorded video. No matter how often one attends these programs one is consistently awed by these stories of survival and redemption.

When I returned home I saw two programs on PBS  ((Public Broadcast Station). One program (Nova) visits the city of Vilna/Vilnius to attempt to find the underground traces of the Great Synagogue of Vilna over which a school has been built. This documentary tells the story of the destruction of the culture of Vilna, which was also known by Jews as the New Jerusalem, and the murder of the 70,000 Jewish residents of Vilna, and the heroic survival of 8 of the 80 last Jews of Vilna – 76 men and 4 women who were tasked with burning the bodies of their brethren, while imprisoned in a deep pit over several months,  just before the arrival of the Russians. These 76 men and four women who realized that they too would be executed at the end of their task, succeeded in creating a secret underground tunnel which led from the pit in which they were imprisoned into the forest for a last ditch effort at escape. Only eight of the eighty persons survived this escape through the tunnel. And the whole episode became a legend which survived only as a “tale” told by the survivors.  A group of scientists returns to the site and succeeds in uncovering the remains of the tunnel thus verifying their story. At the end of the show, we see the eight survivors, now living in various parts of the world, reunited with each other.

The next program was a 90 minute production called GI-Jew, which told the story of the 500,000 Jewish American men and 20,000 Jewish American women who enlisted and fought in the American army to destroy the Nazi scourge and to save whoever could be saved from the Nazi onslaught. Among them were 1,000 Jewish American Rabbis who served as American army chaplains. Throughout the war they accompanied the troops and organized services for soldiers, and upon liberation for survivors. And victory was not at all assured over 5 long years of war in Europe and the Far East.

Whether you believe in the G-d of Israel or not, something has enabled the Jewish people to survive every attempt at destruction and to continue to thrive for the last three thousand years. I believe what has enabled them to survive and to thrive is the ideology of the Torah, which lays out a vision of justice and compassion for all living beings, individually and in community, and for the planet itself.

Yes, I was born a Jew to parents who lived through the terrible time of the Shoa in Europe. I have struggled with the issues of the Shoa (Holocaust in Hebrew) my whole life. What have I learned from this over the course of my lifetime? The lesson I take away from this is that the ideas of Torah are mightier than the sword. What are these ideas? First, the idea of a G-d interested in humanity, who has “an eye that sees and an ear that hears”. It is a G-d who prescribes rules for communal living, which include prohibitions against murder and theft, and also legislates that one is not to covet the goods and assets of one’s neighbor, including his wife. Also one where individuals and communities struggle with the right path that will conform to this G-d’s ideas of truth, justice, and compassion. And in this Jewiish world, there is  also room for human error and correction without resorting to violence. The torah prescribes economic principles as well as how to deal with murderers and those who may kill accidentally. It prescribes a code of behavior for the common man, for the King and for the priest and it tells us how to regulate time, weekly, monthly, and by the year. The laws of Sabbath and  dates of the holidays are thus prescribed. And the Torah does this while also giving us a narrative history of the Jewish people from their beginnings as a family to the creation of the nation in the dessert following the exodus and laws for dealing with the settlement of the land of Israel, whose boundaries are also described in the Torah.

We see that those who have missed out on the precepts of truth justice and mercy described in the Torah and who revel in the power of the sword, have repeatedly been doomed to the ash bin of history. This is evident in the demise of the powerful empires that did not know G-d or mercy or justice, such as the Assyrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, The French Empire, the German Reich, the Soviet Empire, etc. What is the remedy to all this fighting and destruction? One thing and one thing only: for every one to lay down their arms and to acknowledge that life, liberty, and happiness can only come to those who lay down their arms and struggle to improve the lot of their human compatriots. This is the most powerful idea, and the idea of redemption prescribed by the Hebrew prophets.  It is what we pray for at the end of the seder – for everyone to lay down their arms and to acknowledge the rule of the G-d of justice and compassion. Jews of course are aware of vengeance but we are admonished to leave retribution and vengeance up to the Almighty alone.  Our duty is to get on with our lives in a productive way. We leave vengeance to the Almighty as is discussed in this blog regarding Jewish views on vengeance. blog.

…The prophet rehearses the classical Jewish teaching that even a merciful and patient God will ultimately wreak powerful, unanswerable retribution upon the enemies of His chosen people.

 Following Torah prescriptions would work much better than war crimes trials, and better than hollow statements often made by politicians and human rights activists regarding peace and “never again”. Only organized actual disarmament by all rulers and civilians and working towards improving the lives of all, as prescribed in the Jewish Bible (Torah) will bring us to a just world where violence is renounced and the lion can lie down with the lamb as detailed in the biblical book of Micah chapter 4 verses 2 and3

verse 2: Many nations will come and say,
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the house of the G-d of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For from Zion will go forth the law,
            Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

verse 3; And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.

Redemption lies in getting the agreement of all peoples to lay down their arms in the name of justice and compassion and the rule of the Transcendent Law:  And I believe that the amazing thing is that this actually lies within our power today but we do have to start the ball rolling:  the right hashtag? – the right call  to all leaders and to all individuals to lay down their arms? to embrace love between man and man via the amazing instrument of the internet ? Is it possible?  I am envisioning setting a date in the near future for this to happen at the same moment all over the world – Like New Years Day during World War one when both sides spontaneously lay down their arms on the battlefield and celebrated together – “Peace on earth good will to men”. The Rabbis have said that if all the nations were to observe one Sabbath, at the same time, it would be a signal that the Messianic times had arrived.

Who will join me in this project?  How long can we all continue to deal with the effects of hatred, war and destruction? Wouldn’t a world focused on feeding the hungry and clothing all of the poor be a much better kinder world for all of us!

As i shared this post with my friends, many responded “its too idealistic, it will never work”. I believe that it can work and will work. Who could have dreamed seventy years ago that we would have a Jewish State that is not only able to defend itself but has become the strongest nation in the Middle East and a powerhouse for agriculture, water purification, medicine, pharmacology, technology, and humanitarian aid, – truly  “a light unto the nations”.

And here is another post which I discovered today illustrating the “gvura” heroism of those who took action and resisted the Nazi onslaught:With Eternity in their Hearts, Daniel Seaman

The story of young women at the outset of their lives who, when challenged by history, responded with remarkable courage. The Jewish “Couriers” who were real life “Wonder Women”.

 

The three couriers (from the left) – Tema Sznajderman, Bella Chazan, Lonka Korzybrodska (Photo – Ghetto Fighters House Archives)
 

During the Holocaust, Jewish resistance groups employed women as messengers to communicate with the world outside the ghettos. Daniel Seaman tells the story of three daring young women—Tema Schneiderman, Lonka Kozybrodska, and Bella Chazan—who risked their lives to help their people:

In December 1941, Tema, Lonka, and Bella were. . . invited to the Christmas party at Gestapo headquarters in the then-Polish city of Grodno, disguised as Polish Catholics. . . . [Before the war, all three had been] members of their local chapters of the [Zionist-socialist] He-ḥaluts Dror Jewish youth movement. . . . Once the war broke out, the youth movements, with their elaborate network of connections, proved to be an unexpected asset for the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were deliberately isolated [from one another] by the Germans.

Tema, Lonka, and Bella, like several other female members of the youth movement, were the natural choice to serve as the link between the communities, known as the “couriers” (k’shariyot in Hebrew). Disguised as non-Jews, they risked their lives to move from ghetto to ghetto, traveling through treacherous territory, transporting documents, papers, money, ammunition, and weapons across borders and into ghettos. . . .

Not long after that evening, the dangers of the tragic era would inevitably catch up with them and their luck would run out. First Lonka, who in June 1942 was caught at the border crossing at Malkinia. She was interrogated as a member of the Polish Underground, [her captors not realizing that she was a Jew], and held in the [notorious] Pawiak prison in Warsaw. When she failed to arrive at her expected destination, Bella set out to look for her. She too was captured at the same border crossing and also sent to Pawiak. Bella and Lonka never revealed their identities, never broke, never exposed secrets though tortured severely. They never broke character either, [maintaining the ruse that they were Polish Gentiles].

Of Tema’s fate, it is known that she was transferred to the Treblinka extermination camp after being captured in the Warsaw Ghetto on January 18, 1943, during one of her many daring excursions to the place. She most likely perished there.

While Lonka died in Auschwitz, Bella survived and lived to the age of eighty-two in Israel.

And this was a comment posted following this article by Nancy Rexin Evans who shares the story of her own Mother who also had risked her life and joined and underground movement.

Nancy Rexin Evans says:

  • This article was heart-wrenching and brought tears to my eyes as I read about this brave young woman and brought memories of my own mother, a 19 year-old non Jewish woman with a huge Jewish heart and a lot of ‘chutzpa getting angry at this ‘new fangeld upstart Adolph and his brown-shirts, a group of thugs going about, beating up people and going after Jews, her own friends included. She and others joined an underground movement where they started to print and distribute anti fascist flyers. She was caught after being betrayed by her best friend and room mate, arrested and interrogated for several months yet never gave away any names. Subsquently, she was sent to Ravensbrueck, outside of Berlin, afterwards to a labor camp from where the Americans liberated her. One of the soldiers became my dad. Two things stayed with me when Grandmother told me that the Jews were God’s chosen and to always remember that. The night before she died she made me promise to never forget the Jews and always stand up for them and Israel which we visited shortly before her passing, overwhelmed how beautiful Israel was. She would speak to schools, churches, the media, etc. about what happened and how survivors rebuild their home land. “Am Yisrael Chai” indeed.
    May we always remember! Never Again!. Thank you for this article and the bravery of those young women who should make us ashamed whenever we complain about little inconveniences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanukah – Why do we light those candles? Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il

This morning I was musing about Chanukah and the great unprecedented events of our time, the recent death of Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia and Kim Yong Il of North Korea with my Mormon trainer, Steven. Yes, my trainer Steven, is a committed and practicing Mormon. We train and we talk twice a week. This morning it was about the unexpected death of Kim Yong Il, the North Korean “Great Leader”, the starvation and virtual imprisonment of the North Korean people who are dominated by a well fed and well armed military. North Korea is the world’s most militarized nation, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. It is a nuclear-weapons state and has an active space program. (wikipedia) and this led us to think about how the few enslave the many via ideology all over the world.

Jonathon Kay writes, Kim Il-sung knew that the only way to legitimize his repressive, impoverished regime was to insulate subjects from the outside world (the dials on North Korean radios are soldered so as to lock them in permanently to the state propaganda network) and to turn himself into an ersatz deity. Over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung dot the North Korean landscape, and a revisionist history of his days as an anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter have been embellished to the point that they seem like something out of a 1980s-era Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

It seems the pen is mightier than the sword and both sides know it.

So what does this have to do with Chanukah? I share with you this video that lays out the background of the Chanukah story.

Chanukah is the story of the weak and the few against the strong and the many. However there is another important lesson that we learn from this video and the Chanukah story. The lesson of knowing what to fight for. The Macabees were fighting the ideology of the Greeks which conflicted with the human rights articulated by the torah. This is what gave them the courage to fight because they understood that fighting for these principles was more important than life itself.

Vaclav Havel, who fought against the same kind of enslavement as in North Korea by the former Soviet Union, on the other side of the world, and won, understood both of these issues.

And after he succeeded in freeing his people, he is quoted by Irwin Cotler sharing this important truth, “those who would repress the human rights of their own citizens will threaten the rights of the citizens of other countries.” We are seeing this manifesting all over the world, in Syria, Iran, where tyrants are willing to fight to the death to buttress their own power, they endanger all of us with their power and their arsenals.

None of us have crystal balls regarding the future, but the story of Chanukah reminds us to light the candle, and not give up the struggle. Again I quote Vaclav Havel, the only lost cause is the one we give up on before we enter the struggle.

Let’s light those candles, remind ourselves why we are lighting them, and take courage from the victories of those who have shown the way.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 5.48.08 AM

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!

 

Eyeless in Gaza: how fake media works

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eyeless in gaza

The fake news coming out of the Palestinian Media and their supporters is often not at all reported or recognized in the Western Press.  A worthy documentary on this subject Eyeless in Gaza was recently released. I happened to catch it when it was screened by the Student Society of St.John’s University, Manhattan, NY.

The film reports that “In reporting the Gaza War of 2014, these quotes appeared in the international media: “They’re calling it a massacre”, “Children and civilians comprised the vast majority of the 200 killed”, “All innocent people. All of them civilians”, “Israel is targeting a number of different places including hospitals.” This information formed international opinion yet all the above quotes are in this documentary clearly shown to have been influenced by the systematic intimidation, threats, torture and persecution of journalists in Gaza, of both local and Western media.The producers interview Palestinian civilians and journalists, Hamas leaders, UN officials, military analysts and Israeli spokespeople to arrive at these troubling conclusions.

The film is now available on I-tunes for sale or rent. I challenge you to watch this documentary and share it with your  colleagues.

finally we have a name for this kind of “news”.

Liar liar fake news

And just to further prove my point about the repressive tyranny that is currently going on in Gaza. I just saw this article about refugees fleeing Gaza not because of Israel but because of What the Gaza administration is perpetrating on its citizens.

 

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 the Palestine creation myth in 1948.

In this lecture, an update of his views  presented on Thursday November 12th. 2016, at McGill University, 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, each nation fighting Israel had its particular agenda. Israel alone was fighting for survival. And this is why she had the absolute motivation to win at all cost, and did win her battle for survival. This war of 1948 which was long and brutal is called by israeli historians, the Israeli war of Independence.

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 on college campuses everywhere 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 even 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

 

What is the Source of Antisemitism in Islam?

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Arab protococols_egypt_1976What is the source of antisemitism in Islam? What is the cause of Muslim antisemitism? Why have Arab countries and the Palestinians been so adamantly against accepting and acknowledging the Jewish narrative, the continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land, and the Jewish state of Israel? Professor Mordechai Kedar, explains this very well:

This was one of a series of talks on antisemitism sponsored by  ISGAP – Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism at McGill University in January 2015.

Prof. Kedar explains that Mohammad borrowed extensively from the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians but when Jews and Christians refused to accept his doctrines, he systematically attacked their communities with his mercenaries for the denial of his message. Islam makes the claim that only the Islamic version of G-d is permissible anywhere in the world: That all messages of Jews and Christians are deceptive and invalid: That Islam is the one and only true religion i.e. the true version of reality. This very conveniently self serving doctrine has been followed up by Mohammad and his successors by the murder of Jews and Christians. This has been the source of Islamic precepts of Jew hatred and animosity towards Jews and Christians and Pagans throughout the centuries.

As Professor Kedar pointed out Muslims have a different view of history, and different values than those that have developed in the western democracies. Their concept of peace is “the peace of Sharia”, and Sharia can brook no compromise with other religions or cultures. For Westerners this is a hard lesson to accept: but it has to be faced if we are to understand the current state of conflict in the middle East between between Islam and the West, and between Islam and Israel, and between Islam and Jews.

In addition to the Islamic precepts demeaning Jews and infidels, European/Nazi ideas of Jew hatred have also permeated the Arab world via the Mufti of Jerusalem, an ally and friend of Hitler.

A living monument to European anti-Jewish hatred and misunderstanding is enshrined in the many publications of the forged Russian document: “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion“. Prof. Kedar pointed out that this document is being widely published and disseminated all over the Arab world and has been published widely there since the 1920’s. Apparently, no one has told the Arabs of the Middle East that this was and is a forged antisemitic document published by the Russians. The Egyptians have been misguided to the point that when they opened the New Library of Alexandria in Egypt, The Protocols of the Elders was chosen as one of the two most important books representative of Jews and Judaism. It was only removed when the Israeli ambassador, who was present at the opening advised them about the origins of this book which never had any reality connection whatsoever to any living Jews in the world or to Judaism.

If you have never heard of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I quote below from wikipedia.

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion is an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination.[1] It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the 20th century. The Protocols purports to document the minutes of a late 19th-century meeting of Jewish leaders discussing their goal of global Jewish hegemony by subverting the morals of Gentiles, and by controlling the press and the world’s economies.

Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the US in the 1920s. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent. It was studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power in 1933,[2] despite having been exposed as fraudulent by The Times of London in 1921. It is still widely available today in numerous languages, in print and on the Internet, and continues to be presented by some proponents as a genuine document.”

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other similar books such as Mein Kampf, written by Hitler himself formalized the rampant antisemitism of Europe in the 19th century and made it sound rational and authoritative. These two works formed the basis of the irrational Jew hatred (otherwise known as antisemitism) in Europe and Russia of the 20th century. These books disseminated irrational notions about “The Jews”  which lead directly to the acceptance of the genocidal murder of at least six million “Jews” identified as such by the third Reich. Publication of both texts has been banned in many countries due to their libelous and destructive nature.

This fraudulent book, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”  is considered to be G-d’s truth in the Arab World as evidenced by the many publications and republications in the last several years. Some of the covers of these publications are reproduced here:

:     

Even if you do not read Arabic, the cover pictures associating Jews and Judaism with snakes and worse is clear.

Alongside antisemitic publications, one can find hundreds if not thousands of videos on you-tube espousing these ideas.

As unpleasant as this is, it has to be faced if anyone wants to understand the sources of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment in the Muslim world, and also in the ranks of the non-Muslim, European, anti-Jewish, antisemitic ranks. This virulent antisemitism, finds its voice amplified and easily spread on the internet.

Sadly few Western pundits or journalists have faced this dark truth about Islam when discussing Israel or the Middle East.

Sir Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, essay “The Face of Evil” sheds some light on analyzing irrational hatreds and the most virulent power of irrational hatreds such as antisemitism. I quote,

When hate depends on a specific cause, it ends once the cause disappears. Causeless, baseless hate, – irrational hate – can last forever.”

After 9/11, when the horror and trauma had subsided, Americans found themselves asking what had happened and why. Was it a disaster? A tragedy? A crime? An act of war? It did not seem to fit the pre-existing paradigms. And why had it happened? The question most often asked about Al Qaeda was, ‘Why do they hate us?

Just like the surprised Americans who woke up the day after the 9/11 tragedies asking “Why do they hate us?” Jews have asked the same question – “Why do they hate us?”. Antisemitism, the hate unjustly directed at Jews can and has morphed to meet the political needs of various regimes and religious groups. It has become a cutting edge tool to advance aspirations for power and dominance. In the middle ages it was used as a tool by the Catholic Church: In Russia: It was used as a tool by the Russian Czar: in Nazi Germany, Hitler used it to advance his ideology, and Islam has also used it, since its beginnings to assert dominance. None of these tyrants knew or understood anything about Jews  or Judaism. They were all spinning their Jew-baiting tales as a means to an end.

As Ruth Wisse has so ably pointed out, “antisemitism has nothing to do with Jews: it has everything to do with the antisemites. Antisemitism has very little to do with the realities of Jews or of Israel. It has everything to do with the power of irrational hatred as a self aggrandizing tool, and as an instrument for political dominance. Ruth Wisse, below analyzes very well, antisemitism and its effects not only on Jews but also on how it affects those who practice antisemitism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GDDJrTuWos

 

 

 

American Historical Association: Anti-Israel-HAW-resolution-2016

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 1.31.28 PM

I became aware of the American Historical Association’s meeting in Atlanta where they are planning to reintroduce the same motion that was voted down in January of 2015.

Here is the video of Jeffrey Herf who rallied historians to vote negatively on this proposition. He thoroughly exposed the speciousness of the arguments put forth by the HAW – Historians Against the War. And yet here they are putting forth the same tired arguments with many “historians” signing onto it.

And here is the current resolution with a list of all the members of the American History Association who have signed onto it and are set to vote on the same proposition at the 2015  Atlanta meeting.

I am not impressed by the credentials of all these historians. On the contrary, I think they should reconsider their signing onto this kind of resolution that has very little to do with historical scholarship. And if they really were to explore this with a historian’s eye as Prof. Jeffrey Herf did, they would think twice before signing onto this kind of proposition.

I share below the full proposition:

Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

WHEREAS, members of the historical profession support the Right to Education, including the universal access to higher education enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education can be exercised only when students and faculty have the freedom of movement to teach and study at institutions of their choice;
WHEREAS, Israel’s restrictions on the movement of faculty, staff and visitors in the West Bank impede instruction at Palestinian institutions of higher learning;
WHEREAS, Israel routinely refuses to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad or at West Bank universities;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education is undermined when state authorities raid or close campuses;
WHEREAS, in summer 2014, Israel bombarded fourteen institutions of higher learning in Gaza, partially or completely destroying nine, and its military routinely invades campuses in Jerusalem and the West Bank and frequently impedes entry;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education can be exercised only with access to a broad range of ideas and a diverse faculty; and
WHEREAS, Israel restricts the right to lecture or teach at Palestinian universities by denying entry to select foreign nationals, including US citizens; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the AHA upholds the rights of Palestinian faculty and students to pursue their education and research freely; and
Resolved, That the AHA calls for the reversal of Israeli policies that restrict the freedom of movement, including denial of entry to foreign nationals; and
Resolved, That the AHA calls for the cessation of physical attacks on Palestinian educational institutions; and
Resolved, That the AHA commits itself to monitoring Israeli actions restricting the right to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.1

Signatories

Signatories of the “Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” resolution who are AHA members in good standing as of November 1, 2015.

Paul Adams, Shippensburg University
Kevan Aguilar, University of California, San Diego
Guy Aronoff, Humboldt State University
Silvia Marina Arrom, Brandeis University
Jeanie Attie, Long Island University
Aaron Bae, Arizona State University
Marc Becker, Truman State University
Jonathan Beecher, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joel Beinin, Stanford University
Norman Bennett, Boston University
Jade Bettine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Allison Blakely, Boston University
Renate Bridenthal, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Kaye Briegel, California Stater University, Long Beach
Michelle Campos, University of Florida
Alejandro Cañeque, University of Maryland
Juan Carona Zabala, University of California, San Diego
Clayborne Carson, Stanford University
Amy Chazkel, CUNY, Queens College and the Graduate Center
Bruce Cohen, Worcester State University
Deborah Cohen, University of Missouri, St. Louis
Juan Cole, University of Michigan
Sandi Cooper, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Paul Croce, Stetson University
Kenneth Cuno, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Daniel Czitrom, Mount Holyoke College
Leena Dallasheh, Humboldt State University
Natalie Davis, Princeton University
James D’Emilo, University of South Florida
Jennifer Derr, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dennis Deslippe, Franklin & Marshall College
Sandra Deutsch, University of Texas, El Paso
Alan Dillingham, Spring Hills College
Justus Doenecke, New College of Florida
Thomas Dublin, SUNY, Binghamton
Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
Geoff Eley, University of Michigan
Mark Elliot, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Marjorie Feld Babson College
Thomas Field, Embry-Riddle University
Eileen Findlay, American University
Jerise Fogel, Montclair State University
Tami J. Friedman, Brock University
Warren Goldstein, University of Hartford
Stephen S. Gosch, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Van Gosse, Franklin & Marshall College
Marc Goulding, University of Central Oklahoma
Karen Graubart, University of Notre Dame
Anthony Gronowicz, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
Martin Halpern, Henderson State University
Elizabeth Heineman, University of Iowa
Kelly Herold, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Luis Herran Avila, New School for Social Research
Gerald Horne, University of Houston
David Hostetter
Temma Kaplan, Rutgers University
Rebecca Karl, New York University
Mary Kelley, University of Michigan
Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie, Howard University
Dina Khoury, George Washington University
Peter Kirstein, St. Xavier University
Thomas Klubock, University of Virginia
Dennis Kortheuer, California Stater University, Long Beach
Scott Laderman, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Jesse Lemisch, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Deborah T. Levenson, Boston College
Zachary Lockman, New York University
Henry Maar, University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrae Marak, Governors State University
MJ Maynes, University of Minnesota
Teresa Meade, Union College
Shane Minkin, University of the South
Marissa J. Moorman, Governors State University
Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of Michigan
Ruth Mostern, University of California, Merced
John Munro, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax
Pamela Murray, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Melanie J. Newton, University of Toronto
Mary Nolan, New York University
Enrique Ochoa, California State University, Los Angeles
Melina Pappademos, University of Connecticut
Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College
Roger Peace, Tallahassee Community College
Samuel Pearson, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Lewis Perry, St. Louis University
Jeffrey B. Perry, Independent Scholar
Margaret Power, Illinois Institute of Technology
Jean H. Quataert, Binghamton University
Michael Reagan, University of Washington
Thomas Ricks
Alfred Rieber, Central European University and University of Pennsylvania
Shira Robinson, George Washington University
Sonya Rose, University of Michigan
Karin Rosemblatt, University of Maryland
Ellen Ross, Ramapo University
Doug Rossinow, Metropolitan State University
Adam Sabra, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sara Scalenghe, Loyola University Maryland
Johanna Schoen, Rutgers University
Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University
Kirsten Schultz, Seton Hall University
Joan Scott, Institute for Advanced Study
Paul Seaver, Stanford University
Robert Shaffer, Shippensburg University
Martin J. Sherwin, George Mason University
Daniel Sidorick, Rutgers University
Robyn Spencer, Lehman College
Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ted Steinberg, Case Western University
David Suisman, University of Delaward
James Swarts, State University of New York at Geneseo
Dennis Sweeney, University of Alberta
Carol Symes, University of Illinois
Lynn Thomas, University of Washington
Judith Tucker, Georgetown University
Daniel Walkowitz, New York University
Frank A. Warren, Queens College
Barbara Weinstein, New York University
Robert Whealey, Ohio University
Jon Wiener, University of California, Irvine
Carol Williams, University of Lethbridge
Rhonda Y. Williams, Case Western Reserve University
Lawrence Wittner, University of Albany
Marilyn B. Young, New York University
James Young, Montgomery County Community College
Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University

Note

1. For documentation, see http://historiansagainstwar.org/aha16/.

I hope all of the above professors will be reading this post. I have already reached out to several professors who are planning to promote this resolution. Judith Tucker (Georgetown University). Tucker will be chairing a “Roundtable on Violations of Academic Freedom in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,”
Andrew Zimmerman and Shira Robinson (George Washington U.)
Robinson will be giving a talk accusing Israeli archives of “forgetting the Palestinians” and Zimmerman is scheduled to chair a session on “Boycott Campaigns: California, South Africa, Palestine.” Prof. Prasannan Parthasarathi of Boston College, another sponsor of the resolution condemning Israel, will also be speaking at the AHA assembly in Atlanta. Barbara Weinstein (NYU), Robyn Spencer (Lehman College) and Luis Herran Avila (New School for Social Research) and Geoff Eley of the University of Michigan are all apparently speaking out in support of this resolution.

On the other hand I just received this article about a Palestinian professor, Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi formerly from Al Quds university.

A Lonely Palestinian Moderate

As told to Machla Abramovitz | Monday, December 28, 2015
Dr Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, the Weston Fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, was once a Fatah activist in Beirut determined to destroy the Israeli enemy. These days, though, he speaks of peace. Dr. Dajani, a secular Muslim and founder of American graduate studies at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem who now lives in Washington DC, made headlines last year when he took Palestinian graduate students on a study tour of Auschwitz. The idea was to expose Palestinian students to the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jewish People, something standard Palestinian education promotes as exaggerated at best, mythological fantasy at worst. But Dr. Dajani couldn’t have anticipated the outrage that followed. He lost his job at Al-Quds, and Palestinian critics torched his car and threatened his life. Despite these personal setbacks, he remains steadfast in his determination to establish a model for peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. “We, as a generation, have inherited this conflict, so it is important that we leave for our children a peace inheritance. We seek reconciliation in the midst of conflict,” he told Mishpacha. “The idea is that moderation leads to reconciliation; reconciliation paves the way for negotiations with good spirit and good will, which leads to conflict resolution, which will lead to democracy and prosperity.”

 Scholars of history should stick to scholarship and measure their actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antisémitisme / Islamisme Qu’ont-ils en Commun? Et sont-ils tout aussi importants l’un et l’autre?

Un billet de Abigail Hirsch
traduit par Hélène Anna
ISGAP, l’ Institut pour l’Étude de l’Antisémitisme parraine des conférenciers effectuent des recherches sur le phénomène de l’antisémitisme. J’ai assisté à presque toutes les conférences à l’Université McGilll à Montréal  depuis le début car je suis également mandatée pour filmer les conférences.
Gunther Jikeli, un spécialiste sur cette question, vient d’écrire un livre dans lequel il expose ses recherches sur l’état actuel de l’antisémitisme en Europe. Il a récemment présenté les fruit de ses recherches dans le cadre de ces conférences.
Jikeli book
Jikeli a interrogé les populations musulmanes vivant en Europe et les populations non-musulmanes. L’article de l’investigative project résume certaines de ses conclusions.
La plupart de ces enquêtes étaient basées sur les réponses des sujets aux stéréotypes sur les Juifs, en leur demandant de se mettre d’accord ou en désaccord avec de telles déclarations: «les Juifs ont trop de pouvoir dans la vie politique» et «les Juifs ont trop de pouvoir dans les médias.” Pays par pays, le nombre de musulmans d’accord avec ces déclarations antisémites a dépassé de loin celui des non-musulmans.
Ce qui rend le rapport ISGAP particulièrement intéressant est la preuve qu’il offre contre la croyance communément répandue que la classe sociale, la discrimination et autres facteurs similaires jouent un rôle dans l’antisémitisme musulman en Europe. Jikeli note plutôt que “le niveau de l’antisémitisme augmente avec le niveau de religiosité et les interprétations fondamentalistes de l’Islam.” De plus, il ajoute : “bien que l’antisémitisme est particulièrement forte chez les fondamentalistes ainsi que pour les croyants et ceux qui pratiquent la religion musulmane, le niveau de l’antisémitisme parmi les moins religieux musulmans est encore plus élevé que dans la population générale.”
Aujourd’hui, tout le monde sait que les textes sacrés de l’Islam, le Coran et les Hadiths, sont remplis de prescriptions à haïr les Juifs, et à faire la guerre contre eux, parce qu’ils sont des gens mauvais et maudit par Allah. Même un musulman qui n’est pas très religieux a été élevé avec ces idées antisémites.
Néanmoins, cela ne veut pas dire que l’antisémitisme européen et nazi a totalement disparu. Cette réalité a elle aussi été corroborée par la recherche du professeur Jikeli. L’antisémitisme avoué par l’extrême droite est seulement légèrement inférieure à celui de la population musulmane en général.
Croyez-vous que ces inepties? Croyez-vous que les Juifs méritent d’être attaqués? Ont-ils méritent d’être attaqués dans l’Allemagne nazie?
Quelle est la similitude entre l’idéologie anti-juive nazie et de la haine anti-juive islamiste? Je crois que la similitude réside dans le fait que chacune de ces idéologies prétend qu’il ne peut atteindre son rôle messianique qu’en détruisant l’autre, en le diabolisant.
Maajid Nawaz, un ancien islamiste radical, explique ce qu’est le djihad:
Le djihad est une idée traditionnelle musulmane impliquant un combat, parfois un combat spirituel personnel, parfois un combat contre un ennemi extérieur. Le djihadisme, cependant, est tout autre chose: c’est la doctrine qui met de l’avant l’usage de la force pour répandre l’islamisme…
Il donne également une définition de l’Islam:
L’islam est une religion, et comme toute autre religion, il est diversifié. L’islamisme, en revanche, est la volonté d’imposer une seule version de l’islam sur toute la société. L’islamisme est pas l’islam, mais il est une émanation de l’islam. C’est la théocratie musulmane.
Aucune stratégie destinée à vaincre l’islamisme ne peut réussir que si l’islamisme lui-même et son expression violente dans le djihadisme ne sont pas d’abord nommé, isolé et compris. Il est fallacieux de prétendre que l’État islamique est entièrement dissociée de l’islam tout autant que d’affirmer qu’il est synonyme de l’islam. l’État islamique a en effet quelque chose à voir avec l’islam, ni «rien», ni «tout», mais quelque chose. Ce quelque chose c’est le fait que tous les islamistes justifient leurs arguments en utilisant écritures islamiques et cherchent à recruter des musulmans.
L’antisémitisme est une branche de l’idéologie islamiste anti-infidèle qui menace actuellement le tissu même de tous les Etats-Nations européens comme on le voit par les attaques aveugles récents en France, en Espagne, à Londres et aux Etats-Unis.
Tout comme un tyran devient plus fort quand personne ne se lève pour le contrer, l’antisémitisme se développera si les gens restent les bras croisés et refusent de nommer la bête, qu’elle vienne de musulmans ou non-musulmans. L’immoralité des antisémites et les djihadistes doit être exposée et toute violence doit être sévèrement traitées si l’Europe veut faire des progrès dans sa lutte contre l’islamisme et toute autre doctrine pernicieuse comme l’antisèmitisme.

anti antisemitism French