Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A great time for a fresh look at the Armenian Genocide

From National Post, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, by Jonathan Kay, Managing Editor for Comment at the National Post, and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

This week, a Turkish court approved a criminal indictment against four former Israeli military commanders for their alleged role in the deaths of nine Turkish activists who were trying to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-run Gaza in 2010. The indictment calls for between 8,000 and 18,000 life sentences for each of the Israeli men.

That’s a lot of life sentences — especially given last year’s UN report concluding that, while Israel had used excessive force against the knife- and club-wielding Turkish jihadis, the blockade itself was perfectly legal.

As an arithmetic experiment, imagine if the Israeli military had done something truly monstrous — comparable, for instance, to what the Ottoman Turks did to the Armenians during World War I and the years that followed. How many life sentences do you hand out to the killers of over a million innocent people? (Extrapolating from the flotilla indictments above, the figure I come up with is over a billion.)

Alas, those WWI-era Ottoman killers have long since given up this earthly vale of tears. Many died in their beds — unlike the Armenian men and women who perished from exposure or starvation, clutching their children’s bodies, during their forced marches through the Anatolian hinterlands.

As it happens, a new book on this historical episode — The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, by Clark University professor Taner Akçam — landed in my mailbox a few months back. According to the publishers, Princeton University Press, Akçam is the first scholar of Turkish origin to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

Till now, Akçam’s work has been taboo in Turkey. But given the recent flotilla indictments, it would seem the Turks are exhibiting a newfound zeal for litigating the crimes of the past. What better time to crack open Akçam’s book?

The first theme that jumps out from The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity is the obsessive zeal with which the Turks of the early 20th-century sorted the Anatolian population by religion and ethnicity. Christians — Greek and Armenian alike — were singled out for special scrutiny. But even non-Turk Muslims were seen as suspect. Millions of Kurds, for instance, were ethnically cleansed from certain regions in a bid to weaken their political claims — a legacy of persecution that continues to this day.

“In order to reform the Kurdish element and transform it into a constructive entity, it is necessary to immediately displace and send [Kurds] to the assigned places in Anatolia,” reads one 1916 telegram cited by Akçam. “In the place of resettlement, the sheikhs, leaders and mullahs will be separated from the rest of the tribe and sent to different districts … to places where they will be unable to maintain relations with other members.”

The overarching demographic goal of the Ottoman Turks prior to WWI was what Akçam calls “the 5% to 10% rule”: Officials sought to cleanse each region of the country such that resettled non-Turk groups would constitute not more than one-in-20 or one-in-10 within the larger population. One way to meet this mathematical threshold was through massive, long-range population transfers.

Another strategy, implemented as World War I unfolded, was outright extermination: Cadavers didn’t count toward the 5-to-10 quota.

The process by which Ottoman officials and generals used military exigencies as a pretext for annihilating large swathes of the Armenian population was complex. Readers looking for the details will find them in chapters five through eight of Akçam’s book, along with the names of the men responsible. But it is the anecdotes that stand out in a reader’s memory, such as this one, quoted from a 1918 debate in the Ottoman Chamber of Deputies:

“There was a county head in the military district. He loaded the Armenians onto a caïque on the pretext of sending them off to Samsun [by boat] and then dumping them into the sea. I heard that the governor [of the province of Trebizond] Cemal Azmi performed this act personally … As soon as I arrived [in Istanbul], I told the interior minister those things that I had seen and heard … But I was unable to persuade him to take any action … I tried over a period of perhaps three years, but it was not to be. They would claim it [had happened in] the war zone, [and] say things like this.”

Almost a century later, Turkish officials still “say things like this” when confronted with evidence of the Armenian Genocide. The country’s formal position is that the Armenians endured a mere “relocation” exercise during a period when they were suspected of comprising a pro-Russian fifth-column threat. Five years ago, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan asked his government officials to use the phrase “1915 Events” to describe the Armenian Genocide — which is kind of like referring to the Jewish Holocaust as “that thing that happened in the early 1940s.”

Many nations and ethnic groups whitewash their own history. Russian school textbooks underplay the crimes of Stalin. And Chinese officials are scandalized whenever someone mentions the atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners. But unlike Turkey, these nations generally do not posture as guardians of human rights and international law.

If Turkey presumes to lecture Israel or anyone else on these subjects, it could start with a frank admission of the horrors that Turks themselves perpetrated against Armenians and other minorities. Even then, the Turkish case against Israel would have little merit. But at least, it wouldn’t stink of hypocrisy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The 'Flame' ('Worse Than Stuxnet') Computer Virus Strikes Iran

From INN, 28 May 2012, by Chana Ya'ar:

Iranian security experts report a virus far more dangerous than the Stuxnet worm has struck the country's computer systems.

Iranian security experts report a virus far more dangerous than the Stuxnet worm has struck the country's computer systems.

Dubbed the “Flame,” the virus is one that has struck not only Iran, however, but a number of other enemies of Israel as well.

The Kaspersky Internet security firm is calling the “Flame” data-stealing virus the “most sophisticated cyber-weapon yet unleashed” and hinted it may have been created by the makers of the Stuxnet worm.

Kaspersky called the virus a “cyber-espionage worm” designed to collect and delete sensitive information, primarily in Middle Eastern countries.

The “Flame” has struck at least 600 specific computer systems in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, Kaspersky malware expert Vitaly Kamluk told the BBC. He added that the virus has probably been operating discreetly for at least two years.

"This virus is stronger than its predecessor,” he said. “It is one that could only have been created by a state or other large entity.”

Problems in Iran's computer systems are also continuing to surface in connection with the 2010 “Stuxnet” virus. The malware successfully disabled the computers that operated Iran's uranium enrichment facility. More than 16,000 of the Natanz facility's centrifuges were destroyed as a result of the cyber attack.

We need wise leadership...

From Rabbi Sacks, 29 May 2012:

...If we are to negotiate the coming years safely ...we need the rediscovery of an ancient kind of leadership that has rarely been given the prominence it deserves. I mean the leader as teacher.

It’s an idea at the heart of Judaism. The story, though never set out explicitly, lies just beneath the surface of the Mosaic books. The surface narrative, told in the books of Exodus and Numbers, is about miracles. Moses leads the Israelites to freedom, and all along the way there are signs and wonders: ten plagues, the division of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, water from a rock. Whatever the people need, heaven sends.

Which European leader today would not relish the wonder-working powers of a Moses? Budget deficit? Unpopular cuts? How about just a little miracle, an overnight increase in gold reserves, a new oil field, or the next world-changing communications technology? Surely that’s not too much to ask.

What makes the Hebrew Bible so fascinating and unpredictable is that it tells us that miracles don’t solve the problem. Moses does more of them than any leader before or since, and they don’t help. Yes, they end the immediate crisis – the division of the Red Sea allows the people to get to the other side – but not the long term one. The people don’t change. They remain querulous, quarrelsome, ungrateful, unstable, ready to despair at the slightest setback, unfit for the responsibilities of freedom.

The real radicalism of the Mosaic books is to be found not in Exodus and Numbers with their miracles, but in Deuteronomy, a book with no new miracles at all. It sounds unexciting, a series of speeches given by Moses in the last month of his life, but it is to me one of the great texts of all time. It is the birth of a radically new form of leadership. Moses stops performing wonders and becomes instead a teacher, an educator of the nation.

Patiently he talks the people through the challenges that lie ahead. What he has to say is deeply counterintuitive. The real challenge will not be poverty but affluence. Slavery is easy, freedom is hard. National identity is more important than power. Memory is more significant than history. Education will be the most consequential of all: what parents teach children. What will determine the future of the people won’t be strength, military or demographic, but the values and ideals that permeate society: justice, compassion, welfare, social responsibility, love of neighbour and stranger and care for the poor, the lonely and disenfranchised. Don’t even think you can survive without these. You can’t. And of course, he was right.

The great leaders have been teachers, among them Roosevelt, Churchill, Ben Gurion, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. They spent inordinate amounts of time reading, thinking, learning, writing, studying the past and its lessons the better to understand the future and its challenges. And then they taught. They made speeches, they wrote articles and books, coined vivid phrases and told stories so that people would understand the long journey that lay ahead and the sacrifices they might have to make along the way.

They appealed to people’s altruism. They made sure that the sacrifices were borne equally and that everyone contributed. They had no patience for people intent on their own advantage at the cost of others. They didn’t seek miracles or make promises they couldn’t keep. They knew that the only way successfully to negotiate change is to educate the people, trust them, empower them, and speak to the better angels of their nature. They taught. And they were tireless.

We need our leaders to be less clever, more wise; less fixated on tomorrow’s headlines than on the next generation’s prospects; unafraid to shame those who take but do not give; and willing to educate, educate, educate. Jews call Moses not our hero, liberator or prophet but rabbenu, “our teacher.” Leadership does not come higher than that.

A new dilemma in hosting a German president

From JPost, 28 May 2012, by Efraim Zuroff:

...the visit to Israel this week of recently elected (this past March 18) German President Joachim Gauck poses a serious dilemma for Israeli leaders. For the first time ever, the visiting German head of state does not share the heretofore-accepted narrative of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and its recognition as a sui generis event in the annals of mankind.

Given the fact that in Germany the primary function of the president, who does not have executive powers, is, in the words of the important German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung following Gauck’s election to the post, “to ensure that the people are provided with a compass for intellect and morals... [and] is responsible for endowing politics with meaning,” this is likely to prove extremely problematic for Israel and Jews the world over.

Gauck’s divergence from the narrative accepted by previous German presidents became public almost four years ago when he signed the Prague Declaration of June 3, 2008. This document, which was signed by more than two dozen mostly East European intellectuals and political leaders, promotes the canard of equivalence between Nazi and Communist crimes. It calls for specific practical steps which, if implemented, would undermine the justified current status of the Holocaust as a unique case of genocide unprecedented in human history.

Thus, for example, the Declaration calls for the designation of August 23 as a joint day of commemoration for all the victims of totalitarian regimes. In other words, all those murdered by the Nazis and the Communists. The choice of date in this case is indicative of the agenda.

August 23 was the date of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact signed in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The message conveyed by the choice of that date is that the Soviet Union, by signing the treaty with the Third Reich, in effect shares equal responsibility for the atrocities of World War II, a distorted view of the history of that conflict, which purposely ignores the indispensable role of the Red Army in defeating Nazi Germany, and falsely equates the regime which conceived, planned, built and ran the Auschwitz death camp, with the country whose armed forces liberated that death factory and effectively halted the mass annihilation conducted there.

NEEDLESS TO say, should this proposal ever be implemented, and a non-binding resolution calling for the designation of August 23 as a joint day of commemoration was already passed by a huge margin in the European Union, the future of the International Holocaust Memorial day established by the United Nations in 2005 would look extremely bleak.

Other initiatives called for by the Declaration would also pose a danger to the accepted Holocaust narrative, whether it is the call to rewrite European textbooks in the spirit of the equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes or the desire to establish a “European Institute of Memory and Conscience,” which would include a museum which would reflect that false equivalency and support the work of Eastern European research institutes, which since their establishment have focused exclusively on Communist crimes and purposely ignored those of the Nazis.

Prior to his election, President Gauck campaigned for civil rights in his native East Germany and was the director of the Stasi Archives, and as such one can understand his natural sensitivity to the crimes committed by the Communists, a sensitivity which might also have been significantly influenced by the arrest, while he was a youngster, of his own father by the East Germans.

Yet while there is a legitimate case to be made for greater recognition of Communist crimes and additional commemoration and concern for their victims, the attempt to do so by creating a false symmetry with the Holocaust is not only misguided, it is rooted in the dishonest ulterior motives of its main proponents in the post-Communist world, and particularly the Baltic countries, one of whose major goals is to rid themselves of the guilt for their extensive collaboration with Nazi Germany in the mass murder of Jews.

Thus if Communist and Nazi crimes are declared equivalent, thereby earning the former a false categorization as genocide, they in turn can point to the crimes of Jewish Communists and spare themselves the justified accusations previously levelled against them. If members of every nation, including even Jews, are guilty of the most terrible of crimes, then obviously no nation can be accused, and its members prosecuted. If the choice is between being a nation of killers and a nations of victims, what country would not opt for the latter?

After his election, President Gauck was quoted in the German daily Tageszeitung as saying that in the wake of the debate over his candidacy, he would “engage himself with new issues, problems, and people.” His visit to Israel is therefore an excellent opportunity for our political leaders to enter into dialogue with him and present the serious dangers posed by the Prague Declaration and the potentially terrible long-term effects of its practical proposals.

The question is, however, whether President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman are fully cognizant of this issue and willing to bring it to the table during their meetings with Gauck.

Until now, Israel has refrained from actively seeking to thwart the adoption of the Prague Declaration and its various recommendations, even in its bilateral contacts with far-less important countries like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia which are its major proponents. It remains to be seen whether the Jewish state can finally take a major active step in this direction and not squander the opportunity presented by the visit this week of German President Joachim Gauck.

PA TV glorifies armed attacks against Israel

From a PMW Bulletin, May 28, 2012, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik:
Palestinian Authority TV recently broadcast a music video glorifying and calling for armed attacks against Israel. The official PA TV broadcast, which resembles videos that were common on PA TV during the 5-year PA terror campaign (the Intifada, 2000-2005), shows masked fighters shooting automatic weapons, launching rockets and RPGs, and blowing up an Israeli tank. While showing numerous armed attacks, the song's refrain is: "The revolution calls to its men."
Click to view
Fighters in formation advance with bayonets
Camouflaged fighter launches rocket
Dust and smoke from launched rocket
Masked fighter fires automatic weapon
The Alashekeen band, which wrote and performed the song, has performed other songs on PA TV promoting violence against Israel. Palestinian Media Watch documented a song by the band that presents Israeli cities like Lod and Ramle as Palestinian cities to be liberated through "Jihad." The song also includes the verses "we replaced bracelets with weapons" and "pull the trigger."

Despite the violent content of their songs, the Alashekeen band was honored by PA Chairman Abbas in 2010 and declared a Palestinian national band.

The following is the transcript of the song "Its Men" broadcast on PA TV:
"To its men, to its men, the revolution calls to its men,
[like] a rider calling to his horse, and a horse calling to its rider.
To its men, to its men, the revolution calls to its men,
[like] a rider calling to his horse, and a horse calling to its rider.
[The revolution] calls to its men, who fear no oppressor or his spears.
Whoever doesn't protect the land isn't one of its men.
To its men, to its men, the revolution calls to its men,
[like] a rider calling to his horse, and a horse calling to its rider."
[PA TV (Fatah), April 27, 2012

Stolen Lives and a Stolen Minute

From the Zionist Council of Victoria, 29 May 2012, by Jack Chrapot:

In less than two months, the Games of the XXX Olympiad will take place in London; a sporting pageant featuring athletes from over 200 nations competing in 26 sports and a total of 39 disciplines. The programme will cover nineteen days and hundreds of hours of competition and yet, the International Olympic Committee cannot find a minute to spare during the Games to honour the memory of the eleven Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists forty years ago at Munich.
The organisers would no doubt insist that their refusal of such a request on behalf of relatives of the athletes has nothing to do with politics or the fact that Arab and Muslim countries make up more than a quarter of the participating nations or to avoid embarrassment to the Palestinian contingent which is competing at the games under its own flag and whose current President, Mahmoud Abbas, was responsible for the financing of the Munich attack.

IOC spokesman Andrew Mitchell says that “the victims are honored on a regular basis by the IOC and the Olympic movement, for instance, on the occasion of IOC sessions,” but such sessions are not public and the victims and their relatives deserve more respect. 

As a recent editorial in the Jerusalem Post noted, “a moment of silence does not seem to be too much to ask, especially considering the brutality of the murders and the fact that the victims were killed not on the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv but rather inside the Olympic village as participants in the Games” (see more).

It should be remembered that when Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the modern Olympic movement at the end of the 19th Century, his goal was to use the Games to build a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sports. He wanted to create opportunities for sport to be practiced without discrimination. 

Regrettably, while the IOC's insensitive stand in not honouring the slain victims of the Munich massacre runs counter to the ideal of the Olympic spirit, this is nothing new when it comes to the Jewish people and the Olympics.

The Games of the XI Olympiad which were held in Berlin in 1936 were a propaganda triumph for the Nazi regime after an IOC edict that “in principle the German Jews would not be excluded from the Games of the XI Olympiad” went unheeded. 
For more than three years after his accession to the Chancellorship, Adolph Hitler waged a relentless war against the Jews. Their stores, businesses and professionals were subjected to a State-sponsored boycott and they were systematically purged from the public service and later from the arts, theatre, media and sports. 

Julius Streicher wrote in Der Sturmer, “We need waste no words here. Jews are Jews and there is no place for them in German sports”. One young Jewish sportsman, Fritz Rosenfelder, took his life after he was expelled from his Wurtemburg athletics club.

By the summer of 1936 when the Games were held, half of the Jewish workforce was unemployed. It was only a matter of time before Jews would not only be deprived of the amenities of life but also of its necessities. The seeds of the Endlosung (“Final Solution”) were being sown.

Still, the propaganda value of the Games was far too valuable for the Nazis who engaged Josef Goebbels to ensure that the facade of German grandeur would overshadow the degradation to which the Jews were being subjected. 

Their cause was not helped by an investigation by Avery Brundage, then President of the United States Olympic Committee, into the position of the Jewish athlete in Germany. Brundage interviewed German Jewish leaders (heavily chaperoned by Nazis) and concluded there was no cause for concern. It should be noted that Brundage had a share in Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara, California - a club that admitted no Jews and no blacks to the ranks of its members.

The Berlin Games opened on 1 August, 1936 with the Greek, Spiridon Louis who won the first modern Olympic Marathon race, presenting the Fuehrer with an olive branch from the sacred grove at Olympia - the symbol of peace. 

Of course, the boycotts and the oppression led to something far more sinister but the world was more consumed with happier days and with getting itself out of economic depression than with the Nazis and their threats against the Jewish people. 

The Berlin Games were the world's first major sporting tragedy and the irony was not lost when Jewish athletes were massacred again on German soil 36 years later in Munich.

The world has changed again since Munich and there are those who would prefer us to forget the lessons of the two Olympic tragedies. There are those who would revive the boycott in business, the arts, the theatre and in sports but this time they call for a boycott of the Jewish State. Some of them would prefer not to let the world know that their objectives are to deligitimise and ultimately destroy that State while others still, attempt to make light of the nature of the threats posed by those who fire missiles at Israeli citizens or threaten it with nuclear annihilation. 

There are those who even seek to downplay the horrors of the past and to airbrush out of existence the murders such as those committed in Munich in 1972 in front of the world and in the eyes of those who gathered at a sporting event convened in the name of peace.

This is a report from the Guardian (whose sports journalists put its political writers to shame these days) and it covers the event well - Stunning Olympic Moments: Munich 1972.

By 1972, Avery Brundage had risen to the Presidency of the IOC and I have often wondered what thoughts must have gone through his mind when he sat stone faced as the orchestra played Beethoven's Eroica Symphony in the Munich Olympic Stadium, a matter of a few kilometres away from the ovens of Dachau.

But even under Brundage's reign at the IOC, they put the Games on hold for a few hours in memory of athletes whose lives were stolen in Munich. Today, to their everlasting shame, they won't spare a minute for them. 

*Jack Chrapot is a Melbourne lawyer and a member of the ZCV Executive. He is also a Maccabi Hall of Famer and served on the Executive of Maccabi Victoria, the Ajax Football Club, the Ajax Junior Football Club (AJFC) and the Ajax Maccabi Athletics Club and is a life member of the AJFC and the South Metro Junior Football League. The views expressed are his own.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Boycott Israeli products? Not in the PA.

From Ynet News, 25 May 2012, by Elior Levy:

The storm surrounding South Africa's decision to boycott Israeli products manufactured in the West Bank is the result of a successful Palestinian campaign. Yet a Ynet probe reveals that the Palestinian Authority continues to market Israeli products, with locals seeing no reason why they should stop purchasing the products.

The boycott, which was recently announced in South Africa, is set to spread to Denmark and Ireland has also announced that it is considering a boycott. As mentioned, the Palestinian Authority has been pushing a campaign through the Palestinian National Initiative led by Mustafa Barghouti which has been gathering momentum.
...Brand names like Strauss, Tnuva, Osem, Elite, and other smaller Israeli brands are displayed in Hebrew and Arabic side by side in stores in Bethlehem. The names are even featured on the store signs and in the stores themselves.

"People love and buy Israeli products," says one Bethlehem minimarket owner. And while there are local dairies that sell their products in the Palestinian Authority, he says "lots of people prefer to buy Tnuva products simply because there is tighter supervision and they want to feel safe in what they buy.

"It has nothing to do with politics. When we buy a product from you (Israelis) we know it is under supervision and only made with fresh ingredients."
The Israeli goods are not only found at the local food markets in the PA. Imad Naama, who owns a cleaning and hygiene product warehouse, explains that there is no comparison between the quality of Israeli products and other brands.

"If my clients see that the product has Hebrew letters on it or if it says the product is from Israel, they are sure that it is better," he notes.

Naama said that during the period before the Second Intifada and before the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, products produced in Palestinian factories were marked in Hebrew and people were sure that was their place of origin.
After the Intifada broke out, manufacturers changed the inscription and removed the Hebrew so people refused to buy it, even though it was the exact same product. "They said they weren't willing to purchase it because it's what you call 'Arabic work'," he joked.
...For his part, Naama said that he has heard of the boycott campaign but says it will never work, as long as there is no alternative. "I have no problem with people trying to encourage the use of Palestinian products. That's fine, but you need to have Palestinian alternatives to the products," he stated.

At Shavuot, we remember the Farhud

From Point of No Return, 27 May 2012:
This Shavuot marks 71 years since the outbreak of the pro-Nazi pogrom in Iraq known as the Farhud....
Jihad is considered no less important of the five pillars of Islam (أركان الإسلام) but this aspect of militant Islam had been neglected in the 20th century... The cause of such neglect was not only European military power, but also the fact that Hashemite Hejaz family led by Sharif Hussein Ben Ali and his sons Princes Faisal and Abd - Allah cooperated against the Ottoman Empire.
Muslims found many similarities between Nazi doctrine and Islamic military power: the rise of Islam as a religion, which must be spread by the sword, protects its followers against hellfire. The British, who saw the rich oil wells of Iraq were a strategic area of ​​utmost importance, always strove to maintain friendly relations with the Hashemite family. Therefore, they crowned Prince Faisal king of Iraq. Britain's agreements with the new state fanned the hatred of nationalists in the secular Iraqi army. With the founding of Iraq in 1921, most army officers studied in the German education system in Ottoman Turkey. The Nazi doctrine advocated force, racism and superiority of the Aryan race and favored Germany. King Ghazi, who hated the British because they betrayed his grandfather's Sharif Hussein Ben Ali dream to establish a new Arab empire, was disappointed with British support of the Jewish national home in Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, the young King worked to cement a friendship with Hitler and founded the Hitler Youth scouts.
The organization was taken over by exiled Palestinians in Iraq. It spread hatred of Jews and harassed them in the streets. Sunni Palestinians took over the school system and replaced Iraqi Shi'ites. The predominance of Jews in commerce and in the new state as bookkeepers and financial policy makers advisers to the British in the running of Iraq's economy, aroused the envy and hatred of the people. The incited was fuelled by the Palestinian students at the School of the Templars, who were full of hostility to the British for the Balfour Declaration.
In the midst of the Second World War the Germans sought to control the Iraqi oil wells. They promised air support and political patronage to the Iraqi nationalist officers. The Palestinians, headed by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al - Husseini, were given a free hand. Palestinians and Syrians exiles incited the masses against the Jews in the press, in radio broadcasts and educational institutions.
On the advice of Haj Amin al - Husseini, they surrounded the British Army Air Force base at Habbaniya in western Iraq. British counterattack Glubb Pasha Join Major Glubb Pasha G. John Bagot. Iraqi Jewish officers serving in the British Army broadcast announcements that the Iraqi government headquarters under the Rashid Ali government had been overrun: the British army had defeated the Iraqi army and heavy tank columns were advancing on Baghdad. This caused panic among the officer corps and the pro - Nazi government and they fled to Persia and Turkey, and then Rashid Ali al - Gilani and Haj Amin al - Husseini and their entourage fled to Berlin and joined forces with the Nazis in Eastern Europe, especially Muslims in Bosnia.
The defeat of the Iraqi army by Glubb Pasha, commander of the British Legion in Jordan, and the flight of the leaders of the revolt to Iran, Turkey and Germany , with the British Army at the gates of Baghdad, left a political vacuum. Defeated and humiliated soldiers and the mob vented their anger against the Jews. They murdered 179 Jews, injured 2,500, and raped girls and women, and robbed and burned their property over the days days of Shavuot in 1941.
A returning monarchist government headed by Regent Abd al - Ila'a and the strongly pro- British Nuri al - Said were put in place. The Iraqi army, composed of rebel soldiers, opened live fire on the looters when they began to rob the stores of Muslim merchants. Dozens of looters killed by troops loyal to the royal family died. Today some amateur leftists and Arab nationalists argue brazenly to flatter that about 200 Muslims were murdered to protect the Jews. Two scholars from Iraq are fighting unfounded allegations: journalist, broadcaster and writer Salim Fattal - whose uncle was murdered in the first hours of the Farhud wrote a book, An idol in the Temple of the Israeli Academy, in 2010: and Dr. Nissim Kazzaz wrote a book too. His father died and so did Salim Fattal's uncle died too when trying to rescue his racehorse-breeder partner the Shiite neighborhood of Bab El - Sheikh.
After the Farhud the Iraqi government established a committee to investigate the events of the 1 June 1941 and submitted its report on July 8, 1941. A list of victims recorded by Dr. Zvi Yehuda came to 145. The community put the number of victims at 179. We still do not have a final tally because from time to time families of relatives that are not included in the list come forward.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Breaking the silence on Jewish property rights

If you listened only to leftwing and human rights groups, you would conclude that Jews had no rights in 'Arab' East Jerusalem, argues Lyn Julius in the Times of Israel.
This Lag BaOmer, Jewish pilgrims will be flocking to the tomb of a Second Temple-era high priest, Simeon the Just (Shimon Hatzaddik), in East Jerusalem. But the celebrations will be subdued compared to times gone by: in the 19th century, witnesses report that the entire city, in which Jews were a majority, took part in a massive festival, watched by Christians and Muslims. There was candle lighting, dancing, prayers, haircuts for children. The pilgrims made donations according to the weight of the trimmed hair.

In 1876 Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities in Jerusalem jointly purchased the site next to Shimon Hatzaddik’s tomb. They built dwellings for the pilgrims on part of the site. The Jewish residents of some 100 homes were among the first to be expelled when hostilities broke out at the end of 1947. Arab families moved into the empty Jewish homes. From 1949 to 1967 Jews could not visit the holy sites under Jordanian rule — a violation of the 1949 armistice agreement.

This year’s celebrations will take place against a backdrop of legal wrangling over the ownership of Shimon Hatzaddik, Nahalat Shimon and Jewish neighborhoods adjoining the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Over the last few years, human rights and left-wing groups have held weekly demonstrations protesting Jewish settlement in “Arab East Jerusalem.”

Jewish revelers at the Tomb of Simeon the Just in Jerusalem (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Jewish revelers at the Tomb of Simeon the Just in Jerusalem (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Some Jewish former owners have been resorting to the Israeli courts to have their properties returned to them in areas conquered by Israel in 1967.

” I demand to get my property back,” 76-year-old Elisha Ben-Tzur told Ynet News a couple of years ago. “My grandfather built this house and the synagogue that was burned down by Arabs in 1948. Before Sheikh Jarrah, we lived in Silwan, but were expelled out of there as well.”

The courts have not always ruled in the Jewish petitioners’ favor, recognizing that the current inhabitants’ rights must also be protected under the law. The only those Arab tenant families to be evicted from Sheikh Jarrah where those that had failed to pay rent. But groups such as Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity have insisted on portraying these cases as “Israeli settlers evicting the rightful Palestinian owners.”

More recently groups such as Yachad — known as the British J-Street — have taken up the cause of the Arab Sumarin family in Silwan, charging that they are victims of an Israeli policy to “Judaize” Jerusalem. The Sumarins had protested that settlers, backed by the JNF, wished to take over their house, but an Israeli court ruled they had no title. Even the Independent newspaper conceded that technically, Israel was “acting within the bounds of its own law” in the Sumarin case. The current occupier is not the legal owner, although he initially won his case in the Israeli courts, before it was proved that he had forged ownership documents. The media fumed with indignation that settlers linked to the very heart of the Israeli establishment were taking over “Arab” property. An international outcry has forced a delay in the implementation of the verdict.

Again, Silwan is being misrepresented as a Palestinian village in East Jerusalem, despite the fact that poor Yemenite Jews lived in stone houses at the southern end of the village for about 50 years. Only in 1938, after attacks on the Jewish residents, did Silwan become Judenrein on the advice of the British.

Human rights groups eager to defend Arab property rights are curiously indifferent when it comes to Jews reclaiming their property. Many of these claimants are Sephardim or Mizrahim, but a veil of silence is drawn over their rights.

Palestine's Self-Inflicted Wound

From Huffington Post, 17 May 2012, by Alan Dershowitz:
I just returned from a visit from several university campuses during which I spoke about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. On these and other campuses anti-Israel students commemorate the Palestinian Nakba. They call this the Day of Catastrophe on which the Palestinians were deprived of their homeland and were made refugees from their birthplace. They compare their catastrophe to the Holocaust. Perhaps out of deference to the suffering of the Palestinian people, Pro-Israel students generally say nothing in response to these Nakba commemorations. The impression is thus created that everyone agrees that this was indeed a catastrophe inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians. The time has come to reply to this canard and to place it in its historical context.

The Nakba was indeed a catastrophe, but it was a self-inflicted wound.  

The Palestinian Nakba was a direct result of the refusal of the Palestinian and Arab leadership to accept the two state solution offered by the United Nations in 1947-48. The UN divided what remained of Palestine, after Trans-Jordan was carved out of it, into two states of roughly equal size (The Israelis got slightly more actual land, but the Palestinians got considerably more arable land). Israel would control territories in which Jews were a majority, while the Palestinians would control territories in which Arabs were a majority. Israel accepted the partition and declared statehood. Palestinians rejected statehood and attacked Israel with the help of all the surrounding Arab countries. In the process of defending their new state, Israel lost 1% of its population (1 out of every 100 Israelis were killed.) In the ensuing war- a war declared to be genocidal by Israel's enemies- 700,000 Palestinians left their homes, some voluntarily, some at the urging of Palestinian leaders and some forced out by the Israeli military. None of these people would have had to leave Israel had the Palestinians and other Arabs been willing to accept the two state solution. It was indeed a catastrophe for all sides, but the catastrophe was caused by the Palestinians and Arabs.
In the aftermath of the war, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. There were no United Nations condemnations of these occupations though they were brutal and denied the Palestinians autonomy and sovereignty. Only when Israel occupied these lands, following a defensive war against Egypt and Jordan, did the occupation become a source of international concern.

This is the reality. This is the historical truth. And the world should understand that this particular catastrophe, as distinguished from others like the Holocaust, could easily have been prevented had the Palestinians wanted their own state more than they wanted to see the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.

The Germans don't celebrate the catastrophe resulting from their invasion of Poland. Japanese do not celebrate their catastrophe resulting from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Why do Palestinians celebrate their catastrophe resulting from the Arab attack against Israel?

The Iranian Leadership's Continuing Declarations of Intent to Destroy Israel

From JCPA, 25 May 2012, by Joshua Teitelbaum and Michael Segall*:
  • Iranian declarations calling for Israel's destruction are being voiced by a broad spectrum of the Iranian leadership, including different senior officers in the Revolutionary Guard.
  • These spokesmen are not talking about a long historical process regarding Israel's elimination, but rather a development that is to take place in the near term.
  • These calls for the destruction of Israel for the most part are not made in the context of an Iranian retaliatory strike, and are not contingent upon what actions Israel will take.
  • Thus the problem is not just President Ahmadinejad, who will be out of office when his term ends in 2013, but rather with the entire present-day Iranian leadership.
*Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum, principal research fellow at the Jerusalem Center, is Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at Bar-Ilan University. Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center, is a former IDF military intelligence officer.
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