antisemitism

 
 

Is Holocaust denial really about the Holocaust?

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arbeit-macht-freiIn 2005, The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 60/7 to officially choose January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This is the day when the world is supposed to mark and remember the Holocaust and its victims.

2016 marks the 71st anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Today more than ever, the motto NEVER AGAIN needs to be repeated to older generations and taught to the newer ones. as very few of the Holocaust survivors remain alive today, we run the risk of forgetting one of the most–if not the most–tragic genocide of human history.

This date is different from the Jewish commemoration of Yom HaShoah that takes place each spring in Israel. The International Day is an event sponsored by the United Nations. Even though I have lost faith in the ability or even the willingness of the UN to deal with Israel fairly, I appreciate UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s statement about this event: “Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community”. Of course, with all the pressure applied at the UN by many countries who are vowed enemies of the Jewish State, the tug-o-war between historical accuracy and political correctness is ever present.

In 1978, staunch antisemite Willis Carto founded the Institute for Historical Review (IHR.) Mr. Carto passed away last year but the website is still up and even though their administrator claim that they are not Holocaust deniers, their site is replete with books, videos, CDs and DVDs promoting that very view. It is interesting to note that a site called “Institute for Historical Review” almost exclusively deals with Holocaust denial and Jewish cabal theories. IHR is one of many websites promoting historical revisionism, yet they have in common to focus on Israel, the Jews and the Holocaust more than anything else.

On one hand, it is only when it comes to the Holocaust that people come out of nowhere with a pseudo-scholarly approach to the Jewish tragedy. People like David Irving, Louis Faurisson, Roger Garaudy, Louis Farrakhan or Bobby Fisher are just a few names in the pantheon of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. It appears to be such an obsession for these men (and many more) to prove that the Jewish catastrophe was a hoax.
On the other hand, very few people, if any, are interested in writing books trying to play down or deny events such as the Sudanese mass killings, the war in Kosovo, the Armenian genocide or even the Stalin massacres.  All these tragedies (and so many more throughout history) were responsible for the death of millions of innocent people. When one evaluates the level of interest in denying the Holocaust as opposed to any other genocide, there is a flagrant imbalance. Why?

Additionally, nobody seems to hold any ethnic group or sub-group corporately responsible for the ills inflicted by a small section of their community onto another ethnic group. This being said, we would even have to prove that Israeli Jews are guilty of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, and they are not. But, let us assume that it is the case for a moment. The question would then arise:” Why should all Jews be equally responsible for what Israelis do to Palestinians?” Logically, they shouldn’t, right? But you see, antisemitism is highly illogical.

Using the same logic, all Turks of all times should be held corporately responsible for the Armenian genocide of the 20th Century. There is certainly a small percentage of people who hate the Turks, but nobody sees all Turks of all times responsible by proxy. Yet this is exactly what looms over the global Jew wherever he is geographically or historically. Even Jewish people today–and as difficult as it might be–do not see all Germans as Nazis.

So maybe, Holocaust denial is more about the demonization and ostracism of the global Jew than it is about historical revisionism. This would lead the world to consider the Jews as lesser important or even “sub-human”. This concept was exactly what Hitler used to justify the Holocaust. So wait a minute, Holocaust denial could lead to another Holocaust?

It is exactly for that reason that we must continue to remember the Holocaust; because of Holocaust deniers. We must also continue to remember the Armenian genocide, but that one doesn’t seem to suffer at the hands of Armenian Genocide deniers (the same principle applies to all other genocides). Even though we continue to witness an increase in “Holocaust fatigue”, for as long as people try to tell us that the Holocaust never happened, it is OUR duty as decent human beings to continue to tell them and the rest of the world that IT DID happen, because very soon, all the first hand witnesses of the Catastrophe will be all gone.

In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.  Isaiah 63:9


No hate speech on Facebook, unless it’s against the Jews of course

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In December 2015, the NGO Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center, started an experiment on Facebook to see if the social network giant was indeed guilty of double standards when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.

They decided to create two similar Facebook pages called “Stop Israel” and “Stop Palestinians” and started posting similar articles, visuals and statements on each site. For instance, the anti-Israel page had a post that read “The Zionist bites Palestine part after part and the world is silent. We’ll stop them any way we can”, while the anti-Palestinian site posted “Greater land Israel should return soon from the hands of the Muslim enemy back to Jewish sovereignty! We’ll do it in any way we can.”  

More posts purposely filled with hatred and incitement against both sides and from both pages continued to flow. The verbiage was almost similar on all posts except for the obvious targeting of one side by the other. They actually documented the process in a two-minutes film where they show how Facebook shut down the anti-Palestinian page while the anti-Israel page continued to run. The NGO Shurat Hadin filed a lawsuit against Facebook and both sides are awaiting a date for a court hearing.

This is not the first time that Facebook chooses to take sides. I have reported several pages over the last five years only to get the same answer from Facebook staff. That very answer was given to the Israel Law Center, justifying the taking down of the anti-Palestinian page because, “We reviewed the page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it violates our community standards.”  The very same day, the page inciting against Jews received a message from Facebook staff saying that “ it was not in violation of Facebook rules.” Wait a minute, I thought that violence and hatred against anybody was to be reprimanded. The Facebook “Community Standards” that were violated on one page were IDENTICAL to those violated on the other page except of course for the fact that one targeted group was the Jewish people and Israel.

The sad truth about this experiment is that the vast majority of people won’t react because they are used to seeing Jewish people harassed, abused and even physically hurt. There seems to be a sense of resignation, if not acceptance when Israel and/or the Jews get hurt, while there is an immediate display of outrage when Palestinians are targeted. Forget the fact that Palestinians and their leadership are almost always the instigators and Israelis the victims. Let us simply seek equality in the censorship of xenophobic websites and social network pages or accounts.

Consider Facebook pages such as  Images from Palestine, Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict or Jewish Ritual MurderThey are replete with antisemitic rhetoric in pictures, videos and words, yet they are not taken down because they are “not in violation of Facebook rules.” Seriously?

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg –a self-proclaimed atheist from Jewish parents–declared his unequivocal support for Muslims worldwide in response to Donald Trump’s statement about closing US borders to all Muslims. He was quoted coming to the defense of Muslims after the November 2015 Paris attacks “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.” So I wonder if Mr.Zuckerberg forgot or ignored his recent statement that all of us should “stand up against attacks on all communities?” Maybe he doesn’t even know about the double standards applied to Jews and Palestinians on Facebook, although by now he has got to be aware of it all.

Taken straight from Facebook’s “Community Standards” we can read their simple statement under: Encouraging Respectful Behavior: Hate Speech “Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on Race, Ethnicity, National origin, Religious affiliation, Sexual orientation, Sex, gender, or gender identity, or Serious disabilities or diseases. Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook.”

Then please explain why the anti-Israel page with virulent antisemitic statements was never removed? Regardless of where the double standard comes from, Facebook must be held accountable. The Israeli lawsuit might correct the recent wrong but it will not stop the next one and those thereafter.

I have used Facebook for years as a platform to share my thoughts, comments, and articles. I value that platform because of its global reach. It has become such a part of our daily routine and social communication that it would be hard to refrain from using it. On the other hand, if you feel that there is a double standard in the treatment of Jews and Palestinians on the Social Network giant, speak up.

You can file complaints on Facebook’s Help Center and you don’t have to be Jewish, Muslim or anything else for that matter. You just have to be a proponent of truth, justice, fairness, and accountability for all mankind. If we don’t say anything, we have no right to complain when Israelis are getting stabbed to death on the streets of Israel or French Jews machine gunned in a Kosher supermarket or any other xenophobic acts take place.


Terror in Israel: Lone wolves are still wolves

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In the last month, Israel has reported almost 800 acts of terror. Much speculation arose in the media around the globe as to the possibility of a third Intifada slowly taking place. Yet, as of now, if we compare the current events to those of the First Intifada of 1987-1991 and of the Second Intifada of 2000-2005, we are not seeing an out-of-control uprising of a large number of Palestinians. It is simply too early to tell. There is little doubt that it could pick up more momentum and become a third Intifada, but for right now it appears to be a random series of acts of terror by Palestinians acting as “lone wolves”.

Frankly, the recent attacks on Israeli citizens–as isolated and sporadic as they have been–are still posing a great danger to everyday life in the land. They represent individual jihad more than a third Intifada, but at the end of the day, the same people are targeted, the same people are victimized and the same agenda is promoted. Terror is terror. Many unnecessary fatalities have been reported.

• Unpredictable Terror:
One of the grave dangers posed by this ongoing terrorism in Israel is the fact that each act of terror is very unpredictable and very different from other murderous acts.

Here are just a few:
• October 20: The stoning of a car forced an Israeli citizen to exit his vehicle and led him to be killed by a moving truck.
• October 18: A Palestinian grabbed the rifle off an IDF soldier, killed him and wounded eleven more people.
• October 16: A Palestinian disguised as a journalist stabs an IDF soldier
• October 13: A stabbing and shooting on a bus in Southern Jerusalem led to the killing of 4 people and wounding 15 more.
• October 1: Shooting to death of a young couple under the eyes of their wounded young children.

These acts are all different which makes them nearly impossible to predict or thwart. This unpredictability is possibly the greatest threat to Israel right now. Israel has become a world leader and expert on how to detect explosive devices ahead of their detonations. But how do you detect a knife made out of a school ruler? How do you predict the stoning of a car on the road? How do you avoid a car running into a group of people waiting at a bus stop? It is simple…You don’t.

• Cheap Terror:
Martyrdom has long been part of the Palestinian culture. Young Palestinians are indoctrinated at a very early age against Jewish people. They are told and taught about “killing Jews.” Death is part of the fabric of many Muslim countries in the Middle East, especially when it is connected to Israel. The promise of a “heavenly harem” of 72 virgins along with financial incentives to the families of homicide bombers have been common practice in Palestinian circles.

Not every Palestinian is keen on losing their life to “the cause”, but just about anyone would be willing to randomly hurt Israelis as they have done recently. This demands a very small investment of willing “Palestinian Martyrs” and thus is a cheap method of terror that becomes very attractive to many. We can expect a lot more of these acts in the upcoming weeks.

• Financed Terror:
It was good to hear that the US decided to cut its financial aid to Abbas by $80 million (why they still sent the remaining $290 million defies logic). Financial help to a terrorist group is basically terrorism. Why would we look at any other terror states such as Iran funding Hamas, Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda and see them as terror partners but ignore the United States involvement in terrorism?

Not one dollar of the $290 million that the United States sent Abbas in 2015 was ever justified unless of course we bought Abbas’ lies about Palestinians being the victims of the Israeli occupation. The fact that the US retained $80 million in funding shows that something is wrong, but it is akin to trying to get somebody to stop smoking by pulling a few cigarettes out of their pack and letting them smoke the rest. It simply won’t work.

This current wave of spontaneous terror attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers is not an intifada per se, at least not an “old school” intifada. Yet it might end up being more damaging than the previous two intifadas. If creativity prevails, we will see more attacks in ways that nobody could predict. This has become a logistical nightmare for Israel. No wonder the mayor of Jerusalem recently announced to its Jewish residents that if they had a valid carry license, they should never leave home without a firearm.

The wolves attacking Israel might not come in packs and might be far from being well organized and structured, but they remain wolves with a ferocious appetite for Jewish lives. It is not about Jerusalem, it is not about the Temple Mount and it is not about the disputed territories. It is simply about the complete eradication of Israel and all Jews.

I still rest in the fact that God continues to be a Zionist and continues to protect Israel from complete destruction as we can read in Psalm 121:1-4:

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.


Fighting the darkness of anti-Semitism one candle at a time

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The 5th Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism took place in Jerusalem on May 12-14, 2015. The theme was: “The Oldest Hatred in the Newest Vessels: Confronting Antisemitism and Hate Speech on the Internet and in Social Media” and “The Rise in Antisemitism in Europe’s Cities Today: Means of Response”. This is a conference that is organized by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study, expose and fight global anti-Semitism.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered the opening speech in Jerusalem at the same time that European Jewish leaders convened in Toulouse, France for the biennial Conference of European Rabbis. There is no doubt that anti-Semitism’s recent global spike is causing great concern amid various Jewish communities as well as within the ranks of those who understand racism and human rights.

Mr. Netanyahu delivered a sobering message pointing to the urgency of the matter as well as the irrationality of the “Oldest Hatred.” I concur, as I have said for a while now that anti-Semitism, and especially the new hybrid that I have called “Eschatological Anti-Semitism” or “End-Times Anti-Semitism” is an irrational hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. It comes from all fronts with accusations that are so ludicrous that they would be comical if their goal wasn’t to destroy a people group and a sovereign state. Consider a few of the most recent headlines:

• ICC Threatens Israel to Provide Information for Probe: ICC prosecutor says if Israel does not hand over information on Gaza op, she will be forced to open full-scale ‘war crimes’ investigation.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is far more focused on demonizing Israel than probing Hamas, Iran, Syria or Yemen. Logical or irrational?

• Top Khamenei Advisor: We Have Divine Permission to Destroy Israel
This is coming from the country that is currently building a nuclear arsenal arrogantly and as the world watches. There is no viable deal short of preventing them from building a bomb. Their genocidal drive against Israel doesn’t seem to worry anybody. Logical or irrational?

• Israel Used Aid Mission to Nepal As Cover for Baby Trafficking
The recent tragedy in Nepal has drawn the attention and sympathy of many including Israel, and so it should have. As a matter of fact, 30% of the rescue/medical help came from Israel while Israelis only make up less than 1% of the world population. Where was Iran? Where was the Palestinian Authority? So let’s accuse Israel of having a cover-up agenda hidden behind their humanitarian help! Logical or irrational?

I could keep going with many more headlines but you get my point. Mr. Netanyahu clearly brought it up when he called it a travesty: ” Now, thousands are being killed in the brutal conflict in Yemen. You see any demonstrations in London or Paris? A quarter of a million people have been savagely butchered in Syria. You hear any word of academic boycotts on the Assad regime? And in Iran now under the Rouhani government, executions have gone up, innocent people are taken to death. You hear any UN resolutions condemning these violations of basic human rights? And the answer regrettably is no. The demonstrations, the boycotts, the resolutions are all reserved for the Middle East’s one true democracy, in fact it’s the most beleaguered democracy on earth – Israel. This is a travesty.”

Then he went on to say that it all starts with education and here again I couldn’t agree more. In my fifteen years of work on the subject, I have been shocked, over and over by some of the comments I heard from people about Israel and the Jewish people. Some of these comments coming from very bright people and/or Bible believing and Bible reading evangelicals. So I continue to take it upon myself to clarify the misconceptions and debunk the stereotypes as much as I possibly can, and so should you!

What Mr. Netanyahu added to the need for education, was the fact that even when we educate people we cannot fully eradicate the problem of anti-Semitism. It is deeply rooted in the willingness to slander, he said. I would add that in many cases it goes beyond willingness to slanders, and crosses the line over to desire and even obsession: “So education and knowledge may be a partial protector against this slander, but there’s something deeper here because these are such patent falsehoods. It is the willingness to submit to slander, the willingness to believe this. This is what creates the ground, and it starts not from the bottom. It starts with the elites. And that’s where it has to be challenged. And today the treatment of Israel is no different from the treatment of our forbearers. The Jewish state is being treated among the nations the way the Jewish people were treated for generations”.

It is so important to continue to speak up against anti-Semitism and all kinds of xenophobia. It is important but unfortunately increasingly unpopular. It seems that one’s level of tolerance, multiculturalism and liberalism is now measured by how deep their disdain for Israel and the Jewish people is. We might never be able to completely eradicate anti-Semitism–at least before we see the Messiah. This doesn’t exonerate us from fighting it.

Mr. Netanyahu ended his poignant speech by retelling the story of the day he met the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson and was taught a lesson in courage and endurance: “When I came to the United Nations many years ago to serve as Israel’s ambassador, I met a famous Jewish religious leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he said to me: You know, you’ll be going into a house where many, many lies will be leveled at Israel and at our people, and he said, ‘Remember that in the darkest halls, if you light one candle, then people will see the light of truth for a very long distance. They’ll see it from afar, and your job’, he said to me, ‘is to light a candle of truth in a dark hall.’ Well, I’ll tell you, we need a lot of candles, a lot of lighters of candles, and that’s how I see you”.

When it comes to fighting anti-Semitism, each one of us can play our part. We do not need to be at a global forum in Jerusalem or a conference in France. The darkness of anti-Semitism is all around us and is advancing like an inkspot on porous paper. Each one of us is a lit candle in the hall of Jew hatred. Please do not let political correctness blow you off.

The prophet Isaiah tells us that Zion will shine one day because of God ‘s glory. He also tells us (Isaiah 52:13-53-12) that the hope of Israel can only be in Messiah Who would suffer for His people as Mashiach ben Yoseph, yet also reign in Yerushalaim as Mashiach ben David.
As we wait for that day when light will prevail, let us keep our individual candles lit.

“ Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
“For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you.
“ Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isaiah 60:1-3