Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Australia drops bid to take Iran to court over Israel comments

From Ynet News, 15/10/08, by AFP:

Australia has dropped moves to take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the International Court of Justice over comments he made about Israel, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in May the government was taking legal advice on launching a case against Ahmadinejad after the Iranian leader said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Smith said the government would no longer proceed with the case against Ahmadinejad, whose comments he described as "appalling by any standard"...

... He said the government had dropped the bid because of the complexity of the issues involved and the high legal threshold required to bring forward a case. "As well, we determined to avoid pursuing a case which would give further profile to these obscene remarks," Smith said in a statement. "Most importantly, the Australian government would not want such legal action to complicate or distract from the international community's efforts to address the serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program and its failure to abide by binding United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Smith said in response to Iran's ongoing defiance of the UN, Australia would impose new financial and travel sanctions on 20 Iranian individuals and 18 organizations which contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programs, or otherwise assist Iran to violate its Security Council obligations. "These organizations include Iranian banks Melli and Saderat," he said....

Dresden victims and Shoah manipulation

From THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 14, 2008, by Manfred Gerstenfeld:

At the beginning of October, a commission of experts concluded that in the Allied bombing of the German city of Dresden in February 1945 at most 25,000 people were killed.

This figure is much lower than previous estimates of scholars, some of which reached 135,000 victims. Neo-Nazis claim that the number of victims was half a million to a million and speak about a "bombing Holocaust."

The findings of the historic commission, which was appointed in 2004 by Dresden's mayor, have far greater importance than the significant issue of writing history correctly. They are also a weighty tool in the struggle against the multiple manipulations and distortions of the Holocaust, which is a growing phenomenon.

Such developments in Germany merit particular attention. One of the most worrying aspects is the effort of sizable segments of the mainstream to portray Germans as major victims of World War II rather than as prime perpetrators of genocide. This revisionism is mainly done through a combination of four methods:
  • decriminalization of Germans,
  • blaming the Allies for Holocaust equivalence and
  • Israelis for Holocaust inversion, while
  • claiming that Jews speak too much about the Holocaust.
The decriminalization method presents the German perpetrators and supporters of extreme racism and genocide as a small group of Nazis. The implicit claim is that the great majority of Germans didn't know, hear or see anything of the crimes being committed by their fellow countrymen.

In the widespread revisionist German narrative, Nazis are represented as some kind of aliens who took over a decent country. The truth however is that Hitler and his associates were voted into power democratically in 1933. Thereafter, even more Germans went over to their side.
The weekly Die Zeit earlier this year drew attention to the perfidy of the two-part television movie Die Gustloff which tells about the sinking of the ship of that name in January 1945 by the Russians. It wrote: "The movie shows the 9 000 people on board as innocuous lambs" and mentions that it gives the impression that there were at most two or three Nazis on board, who are shown as caricature characters.

THE SECOND manipulation method is to present the actions of the Allies against Germans as similar in nature to German crimes. In this Holocaust equivalence framework, the exaggeration of the number of victims of the Dresden bombardment plays a major role. For instance, in two best-sellers the German historian Jörg Friedrich uses Nazi terminology when speaking about Allied bombings of Dresden and elsewhere.

Historian Susanne Urban writes that Friedrich "uses terms that for decades were associated with Nazi persecution and the Shoah; thus, cellars and air-raid shelters in which Germans died are 'crematoria,' and a RAF bomber group is an Einsatzgruppe, and the destruction of libraries during the bombings constitutes Bücherverbrennungen. In this way the Shoah is minimized through language."

In his second book, Friedrich depicts Germans as victims and doesn't mention the persecutions. "The book contains horrifying photos of the effects of the Allied bombings of Germany. Ruins, burned bodies and ashes everywhere evoke associations with the Warsaw Ghetto after its liquidation in 1943 and well-known images from Auschwitz and other extermination camps."
Urban points out that Friedrich declared openly, in several television interviews in 2002, that "Churchill was the greatest child-slaughterer of all time. He slaughtered 76,000 children." Friedrich did not mention the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by Germans and their allies.

A THIRD method, also widespread in the German mainstream, is diminishing Germany's guilt by inverting the Holocaust and claiming that Israel is committing crimes against the Palestinians similar to those of the Nazis. In a major poll of more than 2,600 Germans undertaken in 2004 by the University of Bielefeld, 51 percent agreed with the statement: "The way the State of Israel acts toward the Palestinians is in principle no different from the Nazis' behavior in the Third Reich toward the Jews." Sixty-eight percent agreed with the allegation: "Israel undertakes a war of destruction against the Palestinians."

The fourth manipulation method has two aspects. The first one is accusing the Jews of speaking too much about the Holocaust. Its second element can only rarely be publicized. It consists of mentioning the Holocaust as little as possible. Its public origins can be traced back to the author Martin Walser. When he received the prestigious Peace Prize of German Publishers in 1998, he stated that he was fed up with being confronted by Auschwitz. Some 1,200 members of the German elite gave him a standing ovation.

THESE MANIPULATIONS are all stepping stones toward revising German history. This will become easier in the future because most survivors of German horrors are very old. In the revision process the German mainstream avoids the pitfall of applying a fifth method of distorting history. Holocaust denial or stating that the number of Holocaust victims was far less than 6 million should be left to the neo-Nazis, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and many Arabs and other Muslims in the world.

The mainstream German distortion of history using the above-mentioned methods has increased dramatically in recent years. It may ultimately become the new German collective memory as well as official history. To avoid this it should be exposed as much as possible.
Germany's post-war governments have made major efforts to reeducate Germans after the war and to avoid most of the major distortions of the Holocaust. Their aim was to make Germany acceptable again among the nations. If the current major distortion of past crimes succeeds, it can only lead to one ultimate outcome: paving the way for future ones.

The research for this article was made possible in part by the support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Documentation and Education).

Germany blocks effective sanctions of Iran

From the Jerusalem Post Oct. 15, 2008, by Benjamin Weinthal, correspondent in BERLIN:

German Ambassador to Iran Herbert Honsowitz violated EU guidelines by allowing a military attaché to attend an anti-Israel military parade in Teheran late last month, according to a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry's Iran section.

"Israel must be wiped off the map" was one of the slogans painted on Shihab-3 missiles featured at the event in Teheran, which commemorated the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

The presence of a German defense attaché at the military parade was a source of enormous embarrassment for the ministry in Berlin. In uncharacteristically strong language and disciplinary action, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ordered Honsowitz to return to Berlin on September 29.

...A ministry spokeswoman, who wished to remain unnamed, told the Post that the European Union reached a consensus three years ago not to attend the annual military parade, adding that "well-know anti-Israeli and anti-American slogans" were displayed at the event.

..."Unacceptable and strange behavior" is how the spokeswoman described the attaché's presence at the parade...

...Honsowitz, who has served as ambassador in Teheran since 2006 and is considered "Iran-friendly," has now left Berlin to return to his post.

...In April, the Post reported on Honsowitz's presence at an Iranian oil show and the embassy's role in facilitating an expansion of German engineering firms' business with the Iranian regime. Honsowitz told Iranian Press TV last November that the "German Embassy is trying to take measures toward maintaining and improving economic ties between the private sectors of the two countries."

Israeli officials view Germany as severely undercutting France and Britain's effort to economically isolate Iran because of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. According to German and Iranian-exile critics, Steinmeier has shown great leniency toward the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies of the Islamic Republic.

... Social Democratic Party head Steinmeier ...and his Social Democrats, a partner in the coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel, refuse to enact legislation banning trade with Iran.

Many Israeli government officials view an end to German-Iranian economic relations as the litmus test on combating Iranian anti-Semitism and ensuring Israel's security.

Nasrin Amirsedghi, an intellectual who fled the Islamic Republic and lives in Germany, told the Post "the main responsibility for the future lies in the hands of Europe, and particularly with the German government. Back then [in 1945] Germany and the Jews were finally liberated from Hitler's barbaric tyranny with the help of the Allies. Today, it is Germany's duty to take this threat [Iran] seriously and take action. Anyone who does not recognize this danger should not be surprised when Iranian atom bombs are flying everywhere."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Consecutive jail sentences for Toben?

From an analysis by Peter Kohn in The Australian Jewish News (October 10, 2008):

THE arrest of Fredrick Toben at Heathrow Airport could result in the Australian Holocaust denier being brought before a German court and tried under that country’s criminal code.

...Toben could well end up in a German prison, a fate he experienced in 1999, when he spent seven months incarcerated after being convicted on similar charges.

The latest charges, as stated in a European Union (EU) arrest warrant issued by German authorities, involve material the 62-year-old former South Australian schoolteacher posted between 2002 and 2004 on the Adelaide Institute website. Holocaust denial – while not categorised as a crime in Australia – is prohibited by federal anti-discrimination laws.

Interestingly, the material referred to in the EU warrant is part of a greater body of evidence at issue under a civil contempt action launched against Toben in the Federal Court of Australia by Jeremy Jones, in his capacity as former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

Jones was ECAJ president in 2002 when the Federal Court, in Jeremy Jones vs Fredrick Toben, ruled that the material on Toben’s website had the potential to “offend, insult, humiliate and intimidate” Australian Jews. The court ordered Toben to remove the material and not to replace it, but the continued existence of content of this nature on the Adelaide Institute website prompted Jones to take legal action against Toben in October 2006.

... the 23-month-old civil contempt case before the Federal Court could be affected in different ways by the developments in Europe.

If the Australian Federal Court rules that Toben has breached its 2002 order, it could impose a penalty, including a possible prison sentence to be served after Toben has served his time in Germany.

Alternatively, the Australian court may decide to delay its sentencing until after any German sentence has been served by Toben.As the penalty phase of Toben’s Federal Court proceeding is being held separately from the liability phase, the court could rule that Toben is in contempt, but that it cannot hold a penalty hearing while he is in prison in Germany because he would have a right to give evidence as to why he should not serve an Australian prison sentence.

Soldiers thwart terror attack at checkpoint

If you need to be reminded why Israel has those oh-so-inconvenient checkpoints, read this from Ynet News, 13/10/08, by Efrat Weiss:

Soldiers at Hawara checkpoint in Nablus shoot, wound Palestinian [Arab] after finding three explosive device on his person

Soldiers thwarted a potential terror attack on Israeli soil Monday evening, when they shot and wounded a Palestinian [Arab] attempting to smuggle three improvised explosive devices through the Hawara checkpoint in Nablus.

The Palestinian [Arab] man arrived at the checkpoint as it was manned by forces from the military police and the Golani infantry brigade. Upon arousing the soldiers' suspicion, who open searching his possessions found three explosives.

According to the IDF, he attempted to escape by trying to get into a nearby get-away vehicle, but was shot by one of the soldiers before he could make it to the car. He was then taken to the hospital in Nablus, apparently not in serious condition.

IDF sappers were called to the area and detonated the bombs in a controlled manner.

In recent months, a number of attacks have been foiled at this same checkpoint. A dozen pipe bombs were discovered in two incidents this month. Earlier, Palestinian with six pipe bombs was caught in June, while in May a Palestinian was killed carrying four pipe bombs.

More recently, Palestinian [Arab]s have taken to attacking soldiers at the checkpoint. In September, soldiers had to deal with stabbing attempts, as well as an incident in which a Palestinian [Arab] woman threw acid in a soldier's face, almost blinding him.