Yet, more gallons of double-talk and a teaspoon [if that] of action

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

                                                Section IIIB 

                      More gallons of talk and a teaspoon [if that] of action

 The Fifth World Holocaust Forum, bearing the title “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting   Antisemitism” was held in Israel during week immediately preceding the Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The Forum is organised by the European Jewish Congress and the World Holocaust Foundation with the European Parliament.

President Rivlin requested and arranged for the Forum to be held in Israel . 

I do not know what President Rivlin and those he consulted in Israel were smoking or vaporing when he the decided  to have the directing minds of the Forum to hold the Forum in Israel . It was an unfortunate initiative.

The politicisation of the Shoah

The Forum  became an unprecedented  mammoth diplomatic show in Israel,  that managed to secure the attendance  of  the leaders of some 47 countries (at first count, apparently over 50 on the final count).Presumably, the occasion offered yet another opportunity for Israel and others to pursue and hopefully score diplomatic wins on the back of the Shoah.

I do not know whether Israel scored any such wins. However, the show itself provided incontrovertible evidence of the continuing politicisation of the Holocaust which in retrospect, was fully foreseeable from the early days of the Forum when an increasing number of heads of states or their representatives began to attend the Forum.

And, for those who would require me to point to specific facts to sustain my contention, I would point, among others, to two of the leading keynote speakers at the Forum: President Putin -an old admirer of Joseph Stalin and President Macron.

President Putin

The government  of Israel seeking either  to get back  and/or  to remain in the good graces of Putin, made him the dominant face of the event,  by inviting him to  address the Forum  and  to the unveiling  ceremony  of a memorial for the fallen Russians during the long and devastating  siege of Leningrad by the German army during the Second World War.

And Putin, as is his wont, took this opportunity to carry on with his war of words against the Polish Prime Minister about their countries’ handling of the German occupation and of the Jews during the occupation .In the process, he had no qualms to dispense falsehoods as historical facts and to proffer unsubstantiated opinions in support of his accusations against the Poles. Not surprisingly, these falsehoods were promptly exposed and strongly rejected by respected historians.

And soon after Putin pontificated on Memorial Day, RT a Russian TV network funded by the Russian government aired an interview with Professor Joseph Massud of the (U.S.) University of Columbia. In his replies, Massud used Holocaust inversion to sully the Holocaust Memorial Day by using IHRA’s working definition against the victims of the Holocaust.

This leads me to the following two questions:

First, what does this controversy between two foreign countries has to do with fighting anti-Semitism which was the focus of the Forum?

Second, in the light of Stalin’s vicious anti-Semitism  and  his  position that the  Jews were acting in cahoots with the Germans in their own interests against the Allies,( cf. Section 1 supra.) what is the  material connection between the siege of Leningrad during the Second World War  and  the theme of the 5th World Forum? None I could think of.

President Macron

Macron admitted the irrefutable fact that antisemitism is spreading in France. He then proceeded, to fib dramatically with the following undertakings and promise : “… in responding to antisemitism we must concede nothing and we are fighting with laws, texts, the enforcement of laws, by resolute action, protection…Our presence at Yad Vachem…is a promise…We will not  be pushed around. We will not give up”.

This is this same person who

First, true to form, having eloquently phrased and acted these fibs, he did not lose time to invoke the occasion to reproach the Israelis, as he has done before, their politicisation of the Shoah. He said: “No one has the right to invoke their dead in order to justify some division or some contemporary hatred.”

Political columnist Guitel Benishay described this statement ‘as a typical Quai d’Orsay [French presidents’ offices and abode] way of reproaching the Israelis of behaving like Nazis against the Palestinians and to invoke the Shoah in order to paralyse the” two- state solution” which the P.A does not care about it save on terms that would lead to the dismantlement of Israel.

Second, prior to attending the Forum whose theme  was to fight antisemitism, visited  Ramallah for a friendly chat with Mahmoud Abbas, the Chairman of the P.A. who besides being the embodiment of anti-Semitism , has made it his business to deny publicly and repeatedly that the Holocaust ever occurred.

Third, banalised the Holocaust by comparing it to the Algerians killed by the French army during the Algerians’ war of independence.

If I was in a position of authority, after Macron’s visit with Mahmoud Abbas, I would have dis-invited him from attending the Forum and Yad Vachem, and minimally barred him from addressing publicly the subjects of the Holocaust or anti-Semitism.

Macron’s undertakings and promises

Macron’s promise not give up his daily combat against antisemitism, minimally in France, through firm actions begs the question as to whether he even started the good fight in good faith.

The evidence strongly indicates that he has not started it and he is not likely to ever to start it, as his attitude towards the Jews of France, Israel or for that matter anywhere else, demonstrates a singular lack of good faith which also extends to his dealings with the State of Israel.

Internationally, France, as do Germany and most of the other E.U countries, adopts domestic and foreign policies and practices which sustain domestic and international antisemitism, as they do at the U.N.

Like Germany through its immigration policies   and practices, France provokes and  feeds the  anti-Semitic extreme right wing as well as lending credence to  the agitations and initiatives of the extreme left  engaged in  a vicious brand of antisemitism under the guise of purporting to make legitimate criticism of the State of Israel; not to mention  the facts  that  directly or through the E.U or France funds or contributes to the funding of NGOs.in Israel and in the P.A. that are connected to terrorists groups and engage in the kind of  anti-Israeli propaganda that feeds anti-Semitism.

Macron, as the soul mate of Angela Merkel and member of the E.U, also

  1.  Finances the homicidal policy of the Palestinian Authority  as well as the Authority’s virulent anti-Semitic school books,
  2.  Plays friends with the terrorist state of Iran despite, the ayatollahs’ clearly stated genocidal intentions to wipe out the State of Israel.

On the domestic front, as it has been already pointed out, “the Jews do not/cannot live like the non-Jews or do not have the same lives as the non-Jews” as evidenced by the following data:

  1. A classified report produced by the French General Directorate for Internal Security written some years ago, documented the existence of 150 “No-go-zones” under Islamist control which are steadily growing in numbers, where the presence of Jews that use to live in some of these is not tolerated.
  2.  The number of anti-Semitic incidents and crimes between 2017 and 2018 increased by 74%.
  3. During 2019, the number of anti-Semitic incidents increased by 27% compared to 2018.
  4.  In the town of Sarcelles [and probably in other towns with similar demographic profiles) it is too dangerous for the Jews to wear their kippahs after 6 p.m.
  5. 70% of the Jews, -particularly the young, have been victimised by an anti-Semitic incident or crime in their lifetime.
  6.  34% of the Jews feel threatened by antisemitism.
  7.  An increasing number of Jews feel compelled to leave the country and continue to leave the country, while an increasing number are seriously considering doing so.
  8.  Despite Macron’s repeated references in his speeches to the importance of education concerning the Holocaust, as shown above, the program of education is seriously deficient.

And, the horror show goes on and on with a new detailed survey of  the perceptions of and experiences with anti-Semitism in France conducted  by the American Jewish Committee(AJC).(google: American Jewish |Committee survey of anti-Semitism in Paris in 2019) .

Guillaume Bigot, a French educator, political writer put it right when he stated: “Macron makes an impeccable diagnostic of the perils of Islamism [and I would add, anti-Semitism], and at the same time, not only he does nothing [about it], he does everything to spread it.”

Macron will not be in power for ever. Fortunately, there one significant ray of hope for  the fight  against anti-Semitism  in France disclosed by the  AJC(Paris) survey is that;  73%  of the French public (along with 72% of the Jewish one) consider  anti-Semitism  a problem that  affects  the whole of  the French society. On this finding Anne- Sophie Sebban-Becache, Director of AJC, Paris, said that “anti-Semitism has become a concern of the French society as a whole….It is not considered anymore as only the concern of the Jews. We are not as alone as we could have felt in the past to fight this scourge.”

The key question then becomes whether and at what the point in time will this concern lead the French society to take strong political action to defend their society against anti-Semitism and the root causes of it.

With 47% of the general public opining that the level of anti-Semitism in France is high while   27% thinking that it is low, I fear that such political action is not within site.

Then again, looking at France’s record during World War II, the political action may focus on promoting and encouraging the ongoing emigration of French Jews rather than fighting anti-Semitism and its root causes.

The Swedish experience

The Swedish Prime Minister Stephan Lofven attended the Forum but, to the best of my knowledge did not  give a speech  to speak about his government’s sleazy domestic politics concerning its refugee and migrant intake policies  and the problem of anti-Semitism  in the light of the related empirical evidence.

By way of background, I submit that Sweden has an ugly track record of hostility towards Israel and support of the P.A, at times bordering on and crossing over into the realm of irrationality.

Sweden also has an equally irrational refugee intake policy, the key features of which are

a) Its idiosyncratic policy of focusing on asylum and related migration from predominantly   Muslim countries; and

b) its propensity to falsify intake records to show an applicant as a minor despite the fact that the authorities could not determine his or her age and in other instances taking the word of the person accompanying the applicant who vouched that the person was a minor, despite evidence to the contrary.

In 2015 alone 163,000 people applied for asylum and Sweden took them all in. This high intake pattern continued and was further sustained by the ongoing family reunions. Consequently, under the Lofven regime, the number of annual residence permits issued by the government for asylum and family reunification fluctuated between 120,000 and 150,000.

As is the case in Germany and possibly other E.U countries, the government ignored the antisemitism of the extreme left, and resorted to accusing it political adversaries on the right, of racism; comparing them to Nazis and imputing anti-Semitic criminality to them.

This mendacious political strategy was refuted by the analysis of crimes statistics for the year 2016 which disclosed a phenomenal increase of anti-Semitic incidents and crimes.

In 2016, 51% of these crimes were connected to the Muslim extremists refugees compared to the 25% rate for left wing-extremists and a mere 5%  to right-wing extremists who, prior to the  implementation of the refugee policy ,were the traditional anti-Semites of the country.

Not surprisingly, the subsequent annual crime statistics seem to be deep filed.

The Prime Minister now proposes to send school children to Auschwitz to learn about the dangers of, all things, and nationalism.

It is most regrettable that Prime Minister did not have the intestinal fortitude to address the Forum  on this matter and inject an air of reality to the deliberation by telling outright  the national leaders in attendance, to their faces  something which they already know but  they prefer to ignore or  lie about it; namely

a) the indiscriminate policies of granting entry to illegal immigrants, asylum seekers together with the immigrants arriving under related family reunification program is the cause of the steep rise of anti-Semitic incidents and crimes; and

b) It is urgent to quit forthwith playing political games on this subject and get on with the task of solving the problems at hand.

I contend that the governments of France and Germany, not to mention those of the UK and some other E.U nations have been and continue

a) to be less than respectful of their respective nations and delinquent  in discharging  the universal paramount duty of all democratic governments  to insure the security, the safety and well-being  of their citizens  and  the members of their minorities in particular, and instead,

b) To ignore the threats of political and religious fanaticism and extremism and the goals pursued by those who practice these types of extremism in the mindless pursuit of their  political doctrine of globalism an d the ideal of abolishing the concept of nation-state;

they would have spared their countries from the progressive and, the way things are moving irreversible cultural disintegration which they are currently undergoing.

This is precisely this kind of situation that leads to the kind of Germany that emerged in 1933 after the victorious Allies of World War I   imposed on her the Treaty of Versailles which not only saddled the Germans with huge and unreasonable burdens but also did that in a manner that deeply offended the self-esteem and self-worth of the proud and accomplished German nation.

So much for the link between the Holocaust and fighting anti-Semitism.

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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