At The Forum: And the charade goes on

Some reflections on the 47th Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the 5th World Holocaust Forum

                                                                        Section IV

                                                At  The Forum : And the charade goes on

Prince Charles

Macron is not, by any means, the only specie of its kind. He was in the royal company of Prince Charles.

In the time-honoured British “Perfidious Albion”, the Prince made sure to signal to the Palestinian Authority not to take his visit to Israel and his speech to the Forum too seriously: “Ignore what I will say at the Forum, look at what I am doing with you and telling your people here.

His office could have heralded his visit as one with Abbas, some Palestinians and to some Holy sites. Instead it described the visit as to the “Occupied territories”, a toxic phrase premised on an anti-Semitic take of history that has no basis in history or on the facts on the ground, when it could have stuck to the truth of the matter.

Indeed, just like Macron, Charles proceeded to visit the virulent anti-Semite, denier of the Holocaust, Chairman Abbas of the P.A. for a friendly chat   and was thanked   profusely by Abbas for the U.K’s   continued support for the so-called “two state solution” and her rejection of the Trump plan.

If that was not bad enough, according  to a British newscast,  during his visit to three historical  religious institutions, Charles  proceeded to show “ the strongest demonstration  of  the support for the Palestinians  ever made by  a member of the Royal  family.”

He told the people he encountered along the way that:

….the “sufferings” and  “difficulties  experienced by the Palestinians… to continue  to see so much suffering, so many divisions, breaks my heart. No one, among the people arriving in Bethlehem [which he was visiting at the time] can fail to see the signs of the difficulties that you keep encountering and of the situation in which you live… [while at Cosa Nova a Franciscan center of pilgrimage] the Prince added, I cannot but join you and all the communities in your prayer for peace, for a just and durable peace. We must pursue   this objective with faith and determination and to fight to heal the wounds that caused so much suffering. It is my dearest wish that the future bring freedom, justice and equality to all the Palestinians, and making it possible to develop and prosper.” (translation back from French)

Not a word to encourage diplomatically  his street audiences  to try to understand  the Israelis’ point of view; to  try to overcome their anti-Semitism  and at all events,  to try to establish  with the Israelis a sincere dialogue towards beginning to build the  foundations of a sincere mutual pursuit of a peaceful solution that would be  mutually  beneficial, and in the meantime  to ask their government to support them in their endeavours  to make it happen.

Obviously, the Prince could not stand to break his heart again by visiting the people  of southern Israel to  commiserate with and express his sympathies  for having been and continuing to be subjected by Hamas  to years of steady streams of lethal  missiles ,balloons and whatnots  which cause injuries,  affect the mental health of children, destroy houses and farms , not to mention the  local ecology: the very same Palestinian Hamas organisation which his own country has designated as a terrorist entity.

So much for someone who lectured the Forum on the importance of fighting anti-Semitism terrorism and a priori the combination of both.

In 2019, the Jews in England experienced a new high of 100 anti-Semitic incidents every month, while the U.K. universities are being urged to act in the light of a survey conducted the same year which shows a 60% increase in anti-Semitic incidents affecting Jewish students, academics, and various types of student bodies.

Not to mention   the fact that what Giulio Meotti calls “Europe’s new academic fascism” is now also making its way through the universities of the U.K.

The British Home Secretary, recently  informed  the public that she is” pushing for greater collaboration, across the government , policing, the courts and community groups to remove this “shameful stain”  [anti-Semitism] on our society.”

Judging from the police forces’ timid approach to the enforcement of the hate laws and more specifically the religiously motivated crimes, obviously she has not been pushing hard or smart enough. In the light of the experiences to date, the Home Secretary’s and her successors’ prospects of success are hardly promising.

Belgium

Belgium was represented by its King.  One would  have thought that  the King would  have used  his Royal and moral authority  to  persuade the organisers of last year’s infamous Belgian Carnival   to withdraw from the Carnival’s parade a float  depicting Jewish stereotypes standing over bags of money

If that could not have been done last year, surely, he could have insured that the same or a similar spectacle would not be included in this year’s float before His Majesty attended the Forum.

If nothing else in the light of the fact that UNESCO has dropped  the festival as a heritage event, the government or the local authority with the appropriate jurisdiction over  the event  could  have enacted a legislative  order or secured some kind of injunction to prevent   the recurrence of the problem until the case could be adjudicated  on its merits. It did not happen.

This month, the organisers rejected calls by Israel to scrap the parade.

And this is not the only, of all things, festive manifestation of anti-Semitism in Belgium.

In the circumstances, what on earth was the King doing at the Forum? The least he could have done is to stay home.

Well he must be in agreement with Christoph D’Haese, the mayor of  Aalst where the parade takes place, who said: “raising awareness is one thing, forbidding and censors is something else.”

It looks like in Belgium, freedom of speech covers hate speech.

Holland’s half -apology

From the information I could obtain with respect to the list of the countries which were represented the Forum, Holland does not seem to have sent a representative.

Instead, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of Holland, speaking in Amsterdam, at an event to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz officially offered what I consider to be a partial apology for his country’s failure to protect its Jewish citizens from the persecution of the Germans and their deportation to concentration camps.

Ironically, this apology came some eight years after, of all people, Geert Wilders head of the much maligned Dutch extreme right wing party, demanded that the government tender such an apology.

According to the news report I read on the subject:

The government of the day, also headed by Mark Rutte refused to comply with many public demands that culminated in Wilders’ demand, on the grounds that both the evidence concerning the behaviour of the government during the material period, and the extent of public support for such and apology were insufficient.

However, at some point time, another Prime Minister the Dutch government did offer the Parliament an apology for these facts.

Rutte, further announced the start of construction of the [Holocaust] “Names Monument”, the largest of its kind in Europe, to commemorate the death of 102,000 Dutch Jews captured by the SS and the Dutch agents which were compensated by the SS for every Jew they identified. The structure which will not be open the earliest until 2021 is intended “…to serve as a reminder to current and future generations of the dangers of racism and discrimination.”

I suggest that the purported apology is in fact half an apology because it left out the abject treatment of the Dutch Jews- both those who managed to escape the occupation all together and those that survived the concentration camps, upon their return to Holland.

Matt Lebovic points out that the returning Dutch survivors were often met with suspicion and hostility. For example, many parents were unable to retrieve children they had placed in hiding and the returnees were discriminated against in their search for housing and employment.  |In the meantime, the government remained largely indifferent to their plight.

I strongly suspect that the Dutch  Jewish community’s decision in 1950  to erect the, now decaying and forlorn, “Monument of Jewish Gratitude”  was intended to overcome their plight by winning  the friendship of the populace  and overcoming  the indifference of the government .

Lebovic reports that the spokesperson of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee described the monument “as an embellishment of what actually took place in terms of Dutch resistance during the Holocaust.”

On the other hand, the Dutch government of the day did not bother to reciprocate by building a corresponding monument to express the nation’s gratitude for the significant contribution of the Jewish citizens   to the Dutch resistance movement.

The fact of the matter is that  if the Dutch government  had to wait some 70 years  to secure sufficient  public support  for  the government submit  a formal apology to the Government of , then  the extent of the interest  must not have been sufficient enough to induce Rutte  to present the apology in person by attending the Forum and/or the  Remembrance ceremony.

Monaco

During World War II, Monaco, while officially neutral became a fiefdom of the French Vichy government. The Principality was subsequently occupied by the Italian Army followed by the German Army. In the process, Jewish inhabitants of the Principality suffered the same fate as their brethren in the occupied countries.

Yad Vachem opened in 1979.What  took Monaco  51 years  until the week preceding Commemoration to open its wartime archives to the public  by granting the request of  the Simon-Wiesenthal Centre to access   the archives for the period of 1942-1944. And why not all the archives for the period 1933-1945?             

Germany: President Frank-Walter Steinmer’s mealy mouthing

By way of   preliminary observation, I  must confess that I cannot understand why on earth any Jew would want to live in Germany on that land soaked with Jewish hatred and blood, save possibly, getting  the German citizenship offered to the Jews who were rendered stateless by Hitler and  to their descendants , for personal  purposes and then getting out of there.

Of all the countries, the German government of Chancellor Merkel is responsible for the rapid spread and intensification of domestic anti-Semitism

a) By causing, the major re-activation of the extreme right wing nationalist and neo-Nazi movements through her   policies concerning the intake of refugees, and

b) Through the importation of both Sunni and Shi’a extremism under the guises of refugee intake and foreign policy objectives.

Worse, she has failed to discharge the state’s paramount duty to take the necessary security measures to fight these threats effectively in order to protect and insure the safety of its all of its citizens, and especially those whose religion makes them natural targets of the extremists in question

In the result, Germany has turned

a) both its Jewish and Muslim minorities, as the saying goes” into ham in a sandwich” between the right wingers and neo-Nazis; and

b) it’s Jewish minority into yet more ham in a second sandwich between the Jihadi extremists and terrorists on one side and the  extreme right wing and the neo-Nazis on the other side.

Faced with these facts, instead of  fessing up Germany’s failure to deal effectively with the dramatic increase in the rate an gravity of anti-Semitism  and  in fact, its unwillingness to do much about it since the latest by 2016, the German President Frank-Walter Steinmer chose to escape into  the world of fiction  when he addressed the Forum as follows:

“My heart is filled with gratitude for the hands which the survivors tendered us, for the new confidence which have been granted to us by the people of Israel [??] and by the whole world and for the fact that Jewish life is blossoming in Germany”. [Three days after the speech the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Mass expressed fear  that Jews may flee Germany, a thought already expressed by Jews both in Germany and France and already being acted upon in France.]

“My soul is moved by the spirit of reconciliation, this spirit that has opened a new and pacific path for Germany and Israel, for Germany, Europe and all the countries of the world.

[Quere: How could there possibly be a pacific path with Israel for Germany and the E.U, when Germany and the E.U, save for the  four Visegard Block countries, , pursue anti-Israeli policies both with the Palestinian Authority and Iran and more often than not , vote in favour of  motions hostile to Israel at the U.N.G..A ?]

“The eternal flame at Yad Vachem does/will not extinguish. The responsibility of Germany has no expiry date. We want to be equal to the task of our responsibility. And this is the standard by which you must measure us.”

“Yes, we Germans, we remember. But sometimes [???], it seems [???] that we understand the past better than the present. The spirits of evil appear in a different form, and present their antisemitism, racism and authoritarianism as the answer for the future, a new solution to the problems of our times.”

“I would like to say once for all that us Germans have learned from history. But I cannot say that, when hate is spreading, …when Jewish kids get spitted upon in the school yard,…when gross/vulgar antisemitism hides behind a purported criticism of the political behaviour of the State of Israel…, when a heavy thick wooden door is the only thing that prevents a right wing terrorist to cause a blood bath in a synagogue in…Germany…

“There remains only one answer: Never again! Nie wieder.”

About three weeks before the President said these things, his office, at his request drafted a congratulatory telegram to the Iranian regime on the occasion of “Islamic Revolution’s Victory Day” celebrated on February 11.

The President did not deny his involvement in the drafting of his telegram.

His office alleged that the telegram was sent as a result of “an error resulting   from a co-ordination issue “with the German embassy in .A sly opaque explanation that clarifies and explains nothing. More tellingly, the President‘s office refused to release a copy of the telegram.

Decidedly, the President and the Merkel government are more interested in protecting Germany’s massive trade relationship with a country with genocidal plans for the Israeli Jews.

One thing for sure, Never again! Nie wieder” without more, simply will not do, especially when this is coming from this President, presumably on behalf of the Merkel government.

The responses of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu

In his address to the Forum, he was at his diplomatic best when he told the audience that “Israel is eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by the allies. Without that sacrifice there would be no survivors today… But we also remember that some 80 years ago, when the Jewish people faced annihilation, the world turned its back on us…. While the world learned the lesson about evil, it did not necessarily learn about “pre-emption”.

President Rivlin

Prior to the gathering of  the foreign dignitaries to commemorate the anniversary of the  entry of the Soviet Army to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rivlin gave an interview to the Times of Israel, and   inter-alia  “issued a carefully worded rebuke of countries distorting the memory of the Holocaust and a warning against rehabilitating anti-Semitism…He  appeared to chastise Eastern and Central European  governments that glorify Nazi collaborators as national heroes and downplay their citizens’ complicity in anti-Jewish atrocities”.

Interestingly enough, while he slammed the populist right wing political parties and politicians he ignored the extreme lefties and their organisations, which hide their anti-Semitism under the guise of claiming to be legitimately critical of the policies of the government of Israel.

Asked how he planned to deal with the sensitivities involved in hosting some of the very leaders whose handling of these issues critics find troubling, Rivlin replied: «History -good and bad-must never be forgotten. Anti-Semitism-as it was then and as is today-must not be rehabilitated or glorified.”

Rivlin’s speech to the Forum was somewhat more diplomatic when he told the audience that Israel is eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by the allies. “Together, we will continue to fight against antisemitism and racism, we will fight against the negation of the Shoah, we will educate our children, we will remember and we will do researches so that history will not repeat itself.

Fighting words. Yet, I cannot help but think that, based on the evidence  available to date, the European countries  have been acting and continue to do so to give history a fair chance to repeat itself  not once but twice.

I propose to address this issue in the next and final Section V titled: The West Mourns the Jewish Dead-But What About the Living?

A puzzling expression of appreciation

The one puzzling thing about both men’s speeches is their expression of gratitude for the big or extreme sacrifices made by the Allied Forces in saving the lives of potential victims of the Shoah.

First, as a matter of fact,   this an inaccurate statement in so far as the Soviets are concerned. They shipped wagon loads of survivors of camps back to Russia, in the hope of obtaining in the future some quid pro quo for their release. The hope did not materialise and in the meantime, more inmates died.

Second, the Allied Forces did not make extreme sacrifices of their own initiative they were confronted with sights they could not avoid and saddled with tasks which, as Christians, they could not refuse.

The sacrifices they were forced to make were caused by their own doing.

On this subject, Professor Robert Scott Kellner (ret’d) refers to German Justice Inspector Frederick Kellner who lived under the Hitler regime and kept a diary where he wrote about the Allies’ failure to respond decisively to Hitler’s threats.” “The Western nations”, he declared, “will carry the historical guilt for not promptly providing the most intensive preventative measures against Germany’s aggression.”

The so-called sacrifices they made was the least they could do   to assuage and better still to bury it out of sight and out of mind.

 United States: The Ugly Fake American Jews (UFAJs)and   their Canadian soulmates 

American Jews by and large partake in the Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Shoah and care for the safety and well -being of Israel and her citizens. Most regrettably this does not sum up the present state of affairs in the Jewish community of the U.S.

Some years back, those who wanted to badmouth the U.S. about her alleged or actual repressive and exploitative foreign policies, used to refer to it as the “Ugly American”.

Nowadays, I use a modified version of the phrase to refer to those self-righteous, sanctimonious, and presumptuous American Jews and their Jewish organisations, including some of the Reform Rabbis that gleefully flatter themselves as being “liberal” and “progressive”.

I consider them to be  UFAJs.  There is absolutely nothing liberal or progressive about them.

They espouse the vacuous theory of intersectionality championed by anti-Semites; they have nothing good to say about the government of Israel and its policies but keen to criticise both at the drop of a hat.

If that is not bad enough, this bunch mindlessly champions the Palestinian cause through the highly, if not altogether improbable two -state peace plan despite P.A.’s repeated rejections of a number of peace overtures.

They dismissed peremptorily  the President’s   proposed peace proposal set out in some detail  in some 180 pages which is based on incontrovertible  historical facts as well as the facts on the ground rather than the highly improbable  two state solution  based on  historical  fantasies  and practical impossibilities.

They criticise the policies of President Trump regardless of their merits concerning,

a) The severe problem of illegal immigration from the south;

b) The ban of foreign visitors, immigrants and refugees from certain countries based on grounds of national security;

c) Iran, despite its stated intention to build a nuclear arsenal and genocidal intentions towards Israel; and

d) The Palestinian Authority and UNWRA;

e) His combat against anti-Semitism on American university campuses where Jewish students have been and are being administered nasty doses of harassment, abuse and physical violence, and,

f) His battle against the BDS movement to which many UFAJs subscribe.

And this is by no means an exhaustive list of their mischief

In the process, they

a) Legitimise anti-Semitism under the guise of legitimate criticism of the government of Israel;

b) Do not speak, about the anti-Israeli legacy (not to mention the touches of anti-Semitism) bequeathed by Obama to the Democratic party of nowadays, and

c) Contrary to the weight the evidence, seek to blame the white supremacists for the misdeeds and hate crimes committed against Jews and provide cover for the mischiefs of the leftists.

At the moment, besides  the ignoble J-Street, the  most prominent among these UFAJs is Senator Bernie Sanders, the leading Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the U.S. who plays cozy with two members of the U.S. House of Representative who are  rabid anti-Semites ,and needless to say, mortal enemies of Israel. During a town hall meeting February 18, he described the Israeli government as “racist” and made the inane statement to the effect that the U.S. ought to be equally friendly with the Palestinians as it is with Israel, the same Palestinians who slay for pay, indoctrinate their school kids with hatred of Israel and ultimately aim to destroy Israel. Decidedly, the man is endowed with G-d’s vengeance on logic

In behaving as they do, the UFAJs  aid and abet the evil designs of anti-Semites at home and at the Palestinian Authority.

Canada

Canada has its small share of the same breed of so-called liberals and progressives who

a) fight, with some success) against the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism by some municipal governments, and;

b) cannot talk or write about Israel without reproaching it for something or another.

One of these outfits even tasked one of its members, a Reconstructionist Rabbi no less, to lobby at length the Federal Department of National Revenue to get it  to revoke the licence of the Jewish National Fund as a charitable organisation.

There is more to be said, but I stop here.

In the circumstances, it is high time for the Jewish communities at large in both countries, to fight these peoples and organisations for their abominable inexcusable behaviour towards Israel and towards a President who has consistently put up the good and strong fight for the security of Jews at home and for that of Israel.

They need to be taught the following dicta:

First, “If you have nothing good to say about your fellow Jews, Israel- its Jewish citizens, government  and policies  say nothing and keep your mouths shut” ;

Second, “Always make an effort to find something good to say about fellow Jews and Israel  and say  it often, and G-d only knows there is no shortage of praise-worthy accomplishments of Israel; and

Third, “Whatever else you do, never cease to fight anti-Semitism,  anti-Semites including   the anti-Semitic ones   regardless how they describe themselves .

About the Author
Doğan Akman was born and schooled in Istanbul, Turkey. Upon his graduation from Lycee St. Michel, he immigrated to Canada with his family. In Canada, he taught university in sociology-criminology and social welfare policy and published some articles in criminology journals After a stint as a Judge of the Provincial Court (criminal and family divisions) of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, he joined the Federal Department of Justice working first as a Crown prosecutor, and then switching to civil litigation and specialising in aboriginal law. Since his retirement he has published articles in Sephardic Horizons and e-Sefarad and in an anthology edited by Rifat Bali titled This is My New Homeland and published in Istanbul.
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