YITZHAK NAVON, ISRAEL’S FIFTH PRESIDENT, DIES AT 94 Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s fifth president, diplomat, key adviser to David Ben-Gurion and respected Labor politician, died Friday night at the age of 94. Navon, the scion of a long line of renowned Sephardi rabbis, was born on April 9, 1921. He was the first Israeli president to be born in Jerusalem, where his family had lived for more than 300 years. Navon served as the head of the Arab section of the Haganah, the forerunner to the IDF, in the years running up to the establishment of the state. He then served as an Israeli diplomat in Latin America, before becoming personal secretary to Israel’s first foreign minister, Moshe Sharett, from 1950-1952. Navon then took a position as a political adviser to David Ben-Gurion, a post he held for more than a decade, becoming one of the first prime minister’s most trust aides. (Times of Israel, Nov. 7, 2015)
Jew Hatred, Throughout the Ages: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov. 5, 2015 — During the Second World War, civilization as we knew it perished in the fires of the Holocaust.
From Kristallnacht to the Kindertransport to, Finally, America: John H. Lang, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2015— Monday, Nov. 9, marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi hordes ran wild throughout Berlin, as well as in other German cities.
Middle East Refugees, Anti-Semitism, and the Challenge to Europe’s Democratic Values: Rabbi Abraham Cooper Town Hall, Oct. 29, 2015 At the beginning of the emotional debate sparked by the huge influx of refugees, leaders of the small vulnerable Jewish communities in Europe did not dare express their fears, lest they be painted as racists or Islamophobes.
A Mass Migration Crisis, and It May Yet Get Worse: Rod Nordland, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2015— They arrived in an unceasing stream, 10,000 a day at the height, as many as a million migrants heading for Europe this year…
Munich Marks This Kristallnacht by Making Room For Boycotters of the Jewish State: Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman, Jewish Journal, Nov. 6, 2015
Europe’s Feeble Fight Against Anti-Semitism: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015
Germany’s Gathering Clouds of Discontent: Jochen Bittner, New York Times, Oct. 29, 2015
Germany: "20 Million Muslims by 2020": Soren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 1, 2015
National Post, Nov. 5, 2015
During the Second World War, civilization as we knew it perished in the fires of the Holocaust. The fires were stoked by a hatred whose ferocity had no precedent in human history. Shocked to the core, we thought we would never see its like again. We are seeing it again, but we are shy to call it by its name, lest we be forced to admit that there is no atrocity so egregious it cannot serve as inspiration elsewhere.
The night of Nov. 9-10 will mark the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 “night of broken glass,” when a general pogrom against Jews was incited by the Nazi government. Like the current “knife Intifada” in Jerusalem, the violence in Germany had the superficial air of spontaneity, but was in fact well orchestrated by authorities endorsing mass barbarism as a permissible outlet for culturally long-simmering Jew hatred.
Many critics will say that this is a false analogy. They will say the Jews of Germany did nothing to deserve their punishment, but that the Palestinians’ murderous rage is justified by the “occupation” or by the “settlements.” But the analogy is correct. Jew hatred in the Middle East is old news and predates the occupation and the settlements. The hatred ebbed and flowed across the centuries, of course, and there were periods of relative peace and harmony. But no credible observer of the Middle East suggests that the anti-Semitic cancer afflicting the Arab world’s body politic today suddenly sprang forth after Israeli forces captured Jerusalem in 1967.
Nov. 10 also marks the 532rd anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth. It is no accident that Kristallnacht coincided with Luther’s birthday. Luther was one of the world’s great haters. You would be hard pressed to choose between the papacy and the Jews as the target for the more passionate of his rants, so virulent was his loathing for both, and both so extensively documented. Luther describes the Pope, cardinals and bishops as “the whole brood of Sodom,” and suggests people attack the Church “with every sort of weapon and wash our hands in its blood.” Anticipating Charlie Hebdo, in 1545, Luther produced a book in collaboration with the painter Lucas Cranach featuring obscene depictions of the Pope involving animals and excrement. Leaving a Lutheran Council, he made a sign of the cross and called to the crowds, “May the Lord fill you with hatred of the Pope.”
When the Jews did not convert to his new faith, Luther boiled with rage against “this depraved and damned people,” urging civil authorities to “set fire to their synagogues or schools” and “throw brimstone and pitch upon them.” Sounds a lot like Kristallnacht. Indeed, according to Pinchas Lipide, a scholar of relations between Jews and a succession of Popes, “Hitler’s henchmen found a complete blueprint for their Aryanization project in Luther’s writings.” Later, at his 1946 trial in Nuremburg, Hitler’s chief Reich propagandist, pederast Julius Streicher, would attempt (unsuccessfully, happily) to use Luther’s Jew hatred, as expressed in his tract, Of the Jews and Their Lies, as a defence for promoting genocide.
Powerful and consequential as it has been, Islam’s prophet Mohammed’s hatred for the Jews, as expressed in the Koran, wasn’t a patch on Luther’s. Which, given the long view of history, can offer a glimmer of hope. For, outrageously bilious as he was, Luther cannot be blamed for the Holocaust. After all, Lutheranism spread to many countries, becoming the official religion of Sweden, for example. And though a fat streak of anti-Semitism runs throughout Swedish history, Sweden was not infected by the deadly toxin of murderous anti-Semitism that swept Germany, and in fact welcomed Jewish refugees escaping closing Nazi nets in Norway and Denmark.
Today, there are 72 million Lutherans in the world, one Christian branch amongst many others, and there are probably few amongst them who are even aware of the extreme Judeophobia their religion’s founder espoused. Hateful sentiments can be vanquished. Realistically, we will not see a similar transcendence in the Islamic world in our lifetime. Too many of them still want their Holocaust. But they won’t get it. Perhaps their great-grandchildren will refuse to hate. When Muslims will it, it will be no dream.
John H. Lang
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2015
Monday, Nov. 9, marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi hordes ran wild throughout Berlin, as well as in other German cities. Jewish houses of worship were desecrated and then set afire. Thousands of Jews were rounded up, some beaten to death, others sent to concentration camps. Jewish-owned businesses and homes were looted.
I will never forget seeing the unimaginable horror of the night and the following day 77 years ago. By luck, my parents were not in Berlin. I was at my grandmother’s. Through the window I could see my beautiful synagogue engulfed in flames as desperate screams rose from the street below. Each knock on our apartment door brought terror, followed by incredible relief. By some miracle, two of my uncles made it to my grandmother’s seeking safety from the savagery of this night.
The next morning as I wandered through my neighborhood, I saw shards of plate glass everywhere, as every Jewish-owned shop had been looted and painted with vile Jew-hating slogans. Uniformed Nazis and their sympathizers were having fun as they surveyed their brutality. One group looked at a large stain on the street that was said to be the blood of a Jew. Even now I can hear their laughter. At that moment, I was an 8-year-old who had suddenly turned 18. My every thought turned to survival. When my parents returned, I told my father that I would never live to see my ninth birthday. He took my hand and told me that he would always protect me and that nothing would happen to our family—because he had been a decorated front-line soldier during the 1914-18 World War.
Though reports of Kristallnacht—called the night of broken glass—were circulated world-wide, there was no forceful reaction by the world powers, although the U.S. ambassador to Berlin was recalled to Washington for consultations. In retrospect this became a rehearsal for the Holocaust to come. Although my parents already had applied to immigrate to the United States, they were informed by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin that our quota number would not be reached for several years. There was no escape.
After I got into a fight with a member of the Hitler Youth, I sensed a new level of desperation by my parents. It was then that England, with an act of Parliament, threw a lifeline to Germany’s Jews, agreeing to admit 10,000 unaccompanied children. It was an act of kindness and humanity that I will never forget. Parents had to make agonizing decisions to send their children to safety and possibly never see them again. The Kindertransport trains started in December 1938 and continued to the start of World War II on Sept. 1, 1939. Farewells were filled with hugs and tears as children separated from their parents. In retrospect we could see how at that moment, all such parents became supreme heroes.
I will never know how my parents secured a spot on one of the early Kindertransport trains for me, but I left Berlin in January 1939. Toward the end of 1940, much earlier than I would have believed, the American Embassy in London informed me that my quota number had been reached and I could now proceed to the United States. I left London with its nightly heavy bombing and its brave, resolute citizens. The North Atlantic voyage was perilous, and we never knew whether we might be torpedoed by a German submarine, as so many other ships has been. My parents ultimately escaped Germany too, but not without trauma.
After nearly 75 years in the U.S., I still am stirred by the thought of American freedom—so precious and thrilling that I cannot imagine life without it. In the shadow of the Kristallnacht anniversary, I see that the Christian communities of the Middle East are being savaged by Islamic terrorists. Men are publicly beheaded, women condemned to acts of depravity, and churches destroyed. Who in our government has forcefully spoken out to stop this human tragedy? Who will throw the Christians of the Middle East a lifeline? I pray that our nation will. As I recall my past and revel in my American freedom, I think of my favorite film, “Casablanca.” A couple, celebrating at Rick’s café as they prepare to depart for the United States, raise their glasses in a toast. They jointly say: “To America,” and so do I.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Town Hall, Oct. 29, 2015
At the beginning of the emotional debate sparked by the huge influx of refugees, leaders of the small vulnerable Jewish communities in Europe did not dare express their fears, lest they be painted as racists or Islamophobes. At that point the dominant voices in Western Europe not only favored the intake of all refugees, but bullied many early critics into silence. Nor did Jews dare ask an obvious question: do European leaders have a responsibility to incorporate concerns of Jewish communities already reeling from anti-Semitic threats and attacks often emanating from radicalized Muslims?
Now, as European leaders seek to recalibrate their policies toward the continuing huge influx from the Middle East, several Jewish leaders have begun to speak out. Oskar Deutsch, chairman of the Jewish community in Vienna, wrote in the Austrian daily Kurier that his community has helped many refugees over the years. However, the arrival of 20 million Muslims in Europe over recent decades has led to increased physical anti-Semitic attacks and migration of Jews. Deutsch added that refugees arriving now from Syria and Afghanistan come from societies where anti-Semitism is a staple in their schoolbooks, media and social networks. Terror against Israelis, Muslim attacks on Jewish schools, synagogues, museums and other institutions are often glorified in these countries.
A coalition of Dutch Jewish groups reacted with alarm as hundreds of refugees are being housed next to a Jewish neighborhood in the Amsterdam suburb of Amstelveen. It is the only place in the Netherlands with a visible Jewish community with multiple synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher restaurants and shops.
Their fears are based in reality. A newly published report by the Fundamental Rights Agency elaborates on the sizable increase of anti-Semitism in Europe A Jewish defense organization in France reported that almost all attacks on Jews are carried out by Muslims. In the Netherlands this is true for over 60% of all anti-Semitic attacks. There are strong indications that many anti-Semitic incidents go unreported. All this has led the Vice-President of The European Commission (EC), Frans Timmermans, to assign separate coordinators to track anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Germany is the key player in this unfolding drama, because of the sheer number of new refugees taken in from Arab and Muslim countries. There are other reasons as well. After the Nazi Holocaust, Germany's Jewish community remained small until Germany welcomed sizeable Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union. Russian Jews make up the great majority of the 230,000 Jews currently living in Germany.
In a country which committed the ultimate crime against Jews in the previous century, the presence of a large number of Jews is a psychological indicator that German democracy is functioning. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government underscored its sensitivity to Jewish concerns when it intervened rapidly with corrective legislation after a Cologne judge banned the core Judaic (and Muslim) practice of circumcision in 2012, a prohibition which had wide public support. Now, Josef Schuster, President of Germany's Central Council of Jews, has expressed his worries during a meeting with Chancellor Merkel that many now seeking refuge in Germany come from countries where Israel is considered the prime enemy. He remarked that these people grew up with a very hostile image of Israel and frequently transfer these negative feelings to all Jews.
It is also likely that the massive refugee influx will lead to greater support of the extreme right wing, whose ideology poses yet another danger to Jewish communities. Jews are left to wonder whether anyone else will express concerns that Germany could be welcoming some among the new arrivals who take the Koran literally and believe that Jews are pigs and monkeys. In the 20th Century, dehumanization of Jews was a centerpiece of German Nazi ideologies, which classified Jews as vermin or bacteria and paved the way for the Holocaust.
The German constitution has been translated into Arabic so it could be read by new immigrants. This is a beginning, but far from adequate. In view of what has happened in the past, all newcomers should be asked to sign a declaration accepting Democratic Values. Just as it has lead the way in opening its borders and hearts to refugees, Germany will do itself, the rest of the continent and the new class of refugee/migrants a great service by demanding each new immigrant to commit to democratic values of peace, justice, non-discrimination and mutual respect. Failure to require refugees to embrace civil society will likely lead to Jewish emigration, as is already has in France. It will also generate further mainstream support for xenophobic political parties and see a moral decline of a society that with much effort built a new democracy on the ruins of the Nazi Third Reich.
New York Times, Oct. 31, 2015
They arrived in an unceasing stream, 10,000 a day at the height, as many as a million migrants heading for Europe this year, pushing infants in strollers and elderly parents in wheelchairs, carrying children on their shoulders and life savings in their socks. They came in search of a new life, but in many ways they were the heralds of a new age.
There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history — 60 million in all — and they are on the march in numbers not seen since World War II. They are coming not just from Syria, but from an array of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, even Haiti, as well as any of a dozen or so nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa. They are unofficial ambassadors of failed states, unending wars, intractable conflicts. The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get.
What if Islamic State militants are not beaten back but continue to extend their brutal writ across Iraq and Syria? What if the Taliban continue to increase their territorial gains in Afghanistan, prompting even more people to flee? A quarter of Afghans told a Gallup Poll that they want to leave, and more than 100,000 are expected to try to flee to Europe this year. There are between six million and eight million people displaced in Syria, along with more than four million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Egypt’s five million or more Copts, the Middle East’s last remaining major Christian sect, are deeply worried about their future in an unstable and hostile country. Ancient minority groups like the Yazidis of Iraq are already homeless, as are many small communities of Assyrian, Nestorian and Chaldean Christians from northern Iraq. While Yemenis have yet to abandon their homeland in substantial numbers, their plight is worsening daily amid wartime shortages of food and medicine and persistent bombardment by Saudi warplanes. Yemen is not much farther away from Europe than Eritrea, now the biggest source of African refugees, just across the Red Sea, and at some 25 million it is as populous as Afghanistan.
Nor is it only the Middle East and North Africa that European leaders need to consider. The Gallup Poll, based on data compiled from more than 450,000 interviews in 151 nations from 2009 to 2011, found that in Nigeria, which already has double the population of Germany, 40 percent of people would emigrate to the West if they could. And the lesson of 2015 — for them and much of the world — is that they can.
While the flow of migrants to Europe this year already represents the biggest influx from outside the Continent in modern history, many experts warn that the mass movement may continue and even increase — possibly for years to come. “We are talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said in a recent Twitter posting.
Many of the migrants are fleeing persecution, poverty, ethnic and religious strife and war, but these afflictions are often symptoms of more profound changes. In the Middle East and Africa, borders drawn by Ottoman dynasts and European colonialists are breaking down as the autocratic Arab states that enforced a grim peace for generations continue to implode. As traditional lines of authority break down, militant groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram, in Nigeria, seek to fill the vacuum while minority sects and ethnic groups suffer unspeakable treatment at their hands.
Climate change, too, is roiling societies across the Middle East and Africa. Syria was in the grip of a prolonged drought when war broke out, and large areas of sub-Saharan Africa are becoming uninhabitable. With rising sea levels, a single typhoon in the Bay of Bengal could drive millions of Bangladeshis from their homes in low-lying coastal areas and render that land uninhabitable, too. Europe has spawned mass movements of refugees in the not-too-distant past — 700,000 from the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1993, 1.1 million from Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain was torn down in 1989 — but what is new now is not just the scale of the arrivals, in such large numbers over such a short period of time. It is also the sheer number and variety of problem places they are leaving behind.
Many migrants are from countries where the West has tried to intervene and failed spectacularly — Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular. There are now some two million Iraqi refugees, many bound for Europe. Among them are people like Muhammad Basher, a young Kurdish doctor from Iraq, who took his life savings of $2,000 and had spent nearly all of it by the time he reached the Croatian border — $1,200 just for a seat in a rubber dinghy on a dangerous sea crossing to Greece. “Better to die quickly there, than slowly in Iraq,” he said. Sayid Karim Hashimi, 23, a native of Kunduz, was among the Afghans recently crossing the border out of Serbia. “There is no future in Afghanistan,” he said.
Libya represents another failed intervention, by the French and British, with American support. Although few Libyans have been prompted to join the exodus, the chaos in their country has made it easier than ever before for other African migrants to flee to Europe through northern Africa. While most of the migrants have been from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, those who came through villages like this last summer could have arrived from almost anywhere. Two women from Haiti and a young girl, the daughter of one of them, passed through in early October, according to officials here representing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They had flown to Turkey from Haiti, then joined smugglers’ routes through the Balkans.
Others come from places like Eritrea, where young men are fleeing a brutal dictatorship that offers them the prospect of a lifetime of unpaid military service, and little else. Some are escaping civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo or poverty in nations like Gambia or Senegal. Many, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are motivated by elemental problems like spreading desertification. Others are looking for economic opportunity. Ibrahim Isahaq, 18, from Ghana, was among those migrants who came through Serbia in October, attracted by news of how easy passage had become. He was simply fleeing a family feud over a disputed inheritance. Youssou, 25, from Senegal, said his father was a commander in the little-known Casamance separatist movement, but he seemed more interested in business prospects in Europe. “There was no life for me in Senegal,” he said…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Munich Marks This Kristallnacht by Making Room For Boycotters of the Jewish State: Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman, Jewish Journal, Nov. 6, 2015 —The worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is the twenty-first century’s highest profile anti-Israel global campaign that meets the “three D” ( Double standard, Deligitimization, and Demonization) litmus test for crossing the line between legitimate criticism of the Jewish state and toxic anti-Semitism…
Europe’s Feeble Fight Against Anti-Semitism: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015 —Earlier this month, the Fundamental Rights Agency – an official European body – published a review of anti-Semitism in Europe over the period 2004-2014. Perhaps the most significant observation on studying the document is that no data was supplied by several member countries, and that the quality of data collected differs greatly from country to country.
Germany’s Gathering Clouds of Discontent: Jochen Bittner, New York Times, Oct. 29, 2015— It’s getting darker and colder here in Germany, and it’s not just because winter is coming.
Germany: "20 Million Muslims by 2020": Soren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 1, 2015 — Germany's Muslim population is set to nearly quadruple to an astonishing 20 million within the next five years, according to a demographic forecast by Bavarian lawmakers.