Sunday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israel marks the Holocaust on a separate day – Yom Hashoah, after Pesach in the spring. Yet, I cannot let this day pass in silence.
The Holocaust was an expression of evil of overwhelming proportions.
After Hitler was defeated and the nature of the Nazi project had been exposed, there was, for some brief interval, hope for a better world. Many believed that humanity, having confronted that cataclysm of indescribable perversion and cruelty, was now chastened: Somehow reformed, or improved, as it were.
That belief was illusory. For some years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism was not politically correct. What that meant is that contempt or hatred for Jews was not spoken of out loud, but, rather, whispered in closed circles. But it was not eradicated from human hearts.
As the decades passed, the inhibition faded. It was no longer politically incorrect to hate Jews, and so we have now seen rising anti-Semitism in the western world. It comes from the radical left, the extreme right, and from Islam (whether described as normative or as radical Islam).
And today anti-Semitism is very frequently wrapped in the garb of anti-Zionism. I have alluded to this before, but it needs to be repeated again and again.
There are those who insist that they have nothing against Jews, and that their issue is with Israel. But this is nonsense. For Israel is the nationalist expression of the Jewish people.
In fact, this form of anti-Semitism is particularly perverse, as those embracing it assume a stance of moral superiority: It is good to stand against Jews who are Israelis, for they are “occupiers,” and practice “apartheid” against suffering Palestinian Arabs.
According to this perspective, Jews do not have a right to their own nation state, or a right to defend themselves against attack. Israel should be denied legitimacy and weakened.
This anti-Semitism must be recognized for what it is and challenged at every turn.
The video below, put out by the Australian Jewish Association, juxtaposes scenes from the Holocaust with tweets written by Students for Justice in Palestine (as documented by Canary Mission). The tweets draw on Holocaust themes to express attitudes toward Zionists today. It is shocking and horrible, and illustrates my point precisely. Please, see it and share it widely:
Anti-Zionism defies reason or logic. The enormous good that Israel does in the larger world is ignored or discounted.
What is perhaps most incredible is that we keep doing what we do so well, because it is the right thing to do, no matter what the world thinks.
Israel, with all of her flaws and foibles, is the most moral of nations.
Last Friday, a dam broke in the mining town of Brumadinh, Brazil, unleashing a torrent of mining debris along with the muddy water. Over 50 people are estimated dead and hundreds went missing.
Without delay, a delegation of 200 members of the IDF Home Front Command – comprised of 130 soldiers and officers and 70 reservists – were on their way to help.
The IDF delegation, which arrived on Monday (see picture below) and quickly set to work, consists of engineering experts, doctors, firefighters and search-and-rescue personnel. Joining them are members of the volunteer organization ZAKA, skilled in the identification of victims.
ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said, “It is a moral obligation to offer help and assistance to those in need, regardless of religion.”
Twenty-two years ago, in January 1997, the IDF partially redeployed in Hevron, pulling out of 80% of the city, which was to be controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and retaining control of the remaining 20%, which included the Machpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the Old City with its venerable Jewish history. This was in accordance with the 1995 Interim Agreement of the Oslo Accords.
Four days later, the Agreement on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron was signed, and on February 1, 1997, the TIPH mission began.
By agreement, the mission had a brief mandate that had to be regularly renewed by both parties. This is not a UN mandated mission, but rather is financed and staffed by Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. The 64 members of the mission are overseen by Norway. They have no police or military authority and serve as observers.
TIPH was charged, among its other responsibilities, with “promoting by its presence a feeling of security to the Palestinians of
I reflect on the fear felt by the very small Jewish community of Hevron at the time of the redeployment, and on all of the terrorism that has emanated from Hevron over the years, and I am left dumbfounded. Today there are about 1,000 Jews in the Israeli part of Hevron and some 20,000 Arabs in the PA section.
What is clear is that the TIPH mission has not been staffed by individuals who are genuinely even-handed. One might have surmised as much when considering the nations that sent them. But there have been specific incidents of a disturbing nature:
In one instance, which occurred last summer, a TIPH legal advisor from Switzerland slapped a ten year old Jewish child. This was caught on a security video camera:
When this happened, the legal advisor was with the anti-Israel group “Breaking the Silence” and he apparently hit the boy for approaching the group. The boy’s behavior in doing this was later described by the Swiss ambassador to Israel as a “provocation,” although it was admitted that the response was not acceptable. Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the advisor to leave the country.
Another incident had been caught on a security camera a year earlier: a TIPH staff member could be seen slashing the tires of a vehicle belonging to a Jewish resident of Hevron. It was made public after the slapping incident and at that point the head of TIPH was summoned to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. He delayed in appearing long enough to allow the alleged tire-slasher to flee the country. The Foreign Minister reported that the head of TIPH had said the group “regrets” the incident.
According to Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud), who had submitted a confidential report to the prime minister on the activities of TIPH, this group has interfered with the work of the IDF and police, and cooperated with extremist left-wing organizations that work to promote the delegitimization of Israel.
On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a much-welcomed decision that had been urged by the Jewish community of Hevron: He announced that he would not be renewing the mandate of TIPH; the renewal was due very shortly.
“We will not allow an international force to act against us,” he said in his statement.
While Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin (pictured) observed that, “We don’t need foreign inspectors in the city of our ancestors.”
Right on! A vigorous stand against anti-Israel behavior is what keeps us strong.
I note here in passing that there is a certain historical irony in this happening now. Binyamin Netanyahu was prime minister in his first term when the pull-out from parts of Hevron took place. (He served from 1996 to 1999, and was elected again in 2009.)
It was not his government, but that of Shimon Peres, that had negotiated the deal. But Netanyahu believed that he was bound to honor that signed agreement and see it through, even as he told the Knesset that the deal was not a good one. (Some felt he should not have honored it.) Perhaps now he feels a small sense of vindication.
Needless to say, the PA is horrified and incensed. In my next post, I will have a good deal to say about this entity, whose leaders, along with those of Hamas, are mired up to their eyeballs in moral corruption.
It goes without saying, as well, that this is not the end of the story. There are always other anti-Israel behaviors to stand up against.
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein (Likud) on Monday cancelled a scheduled trip to Ireland by a Knesset delegation that was to take place in March because of pending Irish legislation that would criminalize business with Israelis who are over the Green Line. If the bill passes, those selling products from Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights could be fined up to 250,000 Euros or receive sentences of up to five years in prison.
Said Edelstein: “We won’t waste time with a country that obsessively looks for ways to hurt us.”
Malaysia, a Muslim majority country, had been scheduled to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships this summer, but its government made the decision that it would not permit Israeli para swimmers into the country to compete. It was considered likely that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has a history of virulent anti-Semitism, was responsible for this decision.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry then protested to the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC, after a meeting of its governing board in London on Sunday, announced that Malaysia would be stripped of its right to host the competitions because it “failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination and safely in the championships.”
Andrew Parsons, IPC president, said: “All world championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination…The Paralympic Movement has, and always will be, motivated by a desire to drive inclusion, not exclusion.”
Emmanuel Nahshon, Foreign Ministry spokesman, tweeted that “[this] is a victory of values over hatred and bigotry, a strong statement in favor of freedom and equality. Thank you @Paralympics for your brave decision!!!”
In this picture you see Israeli Paralympics gold-medal winners from last year.
I write regularly about contributions Israeli scientists make to the larger world. But if the projections of Dr. Ilan Moran, CEO of AEBi, and Dan Aridor, Chairman of the Board (pictured), are actualized, it will surpass everything else:
“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” announced Aridor. “Our cancer [treatment] will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market.”
Let us pray for the success of this venture. To read more about it:
Should this venture be successful, you can be certain that individuals fighting cancer in places such as Malaysia, Ireland and Norway will be exceedingly eager to benefit from it.
And you can be equally certain that the Israeli scientists, being who they are, will say, “So glad we could help!”
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.