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Posted April 15, 2007

April 15, 2007

Tonight begins Yom HaZikaron l’Shoah ve l’Gvurah — Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and of Heroism, a somber day here in Israel. All places of entertainment are closed. There was an official ceremony at Yad VeShem. Tomorrow morning there will be a two-minute siren, during which everyone is to stand silent.

This year in particular the remembrance is of significance. Remembrance of what can happen as well as of the capacity to stand strong. For we remember in the face of threats currently leveled against us: By Iran and by the Palestinian Arabs arming in Gaza. And with the knowledge of increasing international anti-Semitism (with the greatest increase in incidents in Great Britain). The cry is "Never Again!" We as Jews –and all of our non-Jewish friends– must work to ensure that it indeed never happens again.


But there’s a great deal to be vigilant about, not just with regard to Jewish survival, but also with regard to the entire Western world. The Jerusalem Post editorial today has it right when it says that we Jews must sound the warning.

I offer here a link to a piece by Barry Rubin called "Goodbye to Western Civilization." I urge all of you to read it, but particularly those who are in N. America. There must be sufficient alarm about such events as those Rubin describes to arouse people from their complacency. During the Pesach holiday I had the misfortune to meet with someone from Los Angeles, here visiting family, who was entirely complacent and uncomprehending about the threat of radical Islam. Her opinion in and of itself is unimportant, but I was deeply distressed because I knew that she represents an entire stream of thought in the US — a stream of thought that is appalling oblivious and thus deeply deeply dangerous. Those of you who know such persons might consider sending this link to them.

What Rubin describes is an article from a British newspaper that contains what "may be the scariest sentence" he has ever read.

"It’s so frightening because the story reveals how the institution most entrusted with preserving democratic society and Western civilization–the school system–is betraying that trust. According to a report by the British government’s Department for Education and Skills, schools in England are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils.

"And here’s the really scary sentence in the press reports: ‘Some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.’ Get it? They are told at home or by Muslim preachers that the Holocaust never happened, and rather than challenge this misinformation, teachers are shutting up so as not to disturb a world view based on lies.

"…Moreover, teachers are dropping such material due to, as press reports put it, ‘Fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.’"

Anyone not frightened by this is asleep.

Says Rubin, "Up until now, democratic, modern societies have successfully absorbed large numbers of immigrants because of the process of assimilation or…acculturation. The idea, so successful in the United States, has been that immigrants must accept the society’s rules…

"But now, it is the successful society that must adapt to less democratic ones. Where does it end? Can schools teach democracy to those told this is heresy because laws can only be made by God? …And what about the value of tolerance itself, since it might upset those who have been taught intolerance toward others?

"…Rather than [students being confronted or challenged], they will be left safe in their prejudices. Aside from the broader implications, such behavior constitutes a reinforcement of racism, intolerance, and hatred in the name of a philosophy–political correctness–which is supposed to combat these things…"

"This new approach also condemns Muslim immigrants to be slaves of the radical Islamists among them. Rather than challenge extremism, the school would reinforce it. Students hungry for knowledge and freedom would be told to shut up and believe what their mullahs say…"

Rubin is deeply concerned about the fact that these policies have been adopted even though there have been no Muslim riots with regard to the matter. There has been an acquiescence offered up voluntarily: "…there is one more horrifying element–perhaps the worst of all–in what is happening in Europe [note: it is not only in Britain and Rubin also mentions France]: the passivity with which people are excusing or ignoring this revolution against freedom."

I urge each of you to be vigilant on behalf of freedom. It depends on all of us.


Barry Rubin is Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Interdisciplinary Center University, Herzliya.


Ironically, on the eve of our time for remembering the Holocaust, our prime minister, Ehud Olmert, met in his residence with a Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Abbas. (His doctoral thesis in Moscow was Holocaust denying and he elaborated on the theme in the book in Arabic that followed.)

As was anticipated, nothing of significance came from the meeting. In fact, I was able to get a good laugh out of PA preparations before the meeting. (I look for humor where I can find it.) Abbas, it was reported, was planning to ask Olmert to turn over to the Palestinian Authority responsibility for security in certain Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria. Yea, right! (Abbas or his advisors must have thought twice about this idea, because he never asked.) These are the cities where the IDF enters regularly to catch terrorists, break up terrorist rings, etc. Remember those?

Ah, but never fear: the PA cabinet had voted on a security plan for stopping the anarchy (which until now they sure haven’t stopped). Included in this plan was a joint operation room for rival security forces and an appeal to gunmen not to flaunt their weapons in public. That’ll do it, for sure.

What did transpire at the meeting was an agreement to meet next time in Jericho. Abbas also put forward a plan — which had been drafted by US Security Coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton — that calls for PA security forces to deploy along the Philadelphi border with Egypt to help stop smuggling, and along the Gaza Strip corridor to stop the firing of Kassams. Forgive me if I’m just a tad dubious here. My motto: Show me, don’t tell me.


Meanwhile Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department, explained before the meeting that Shalit would not be discussed because this was being handled by Egypt, acting as a go-between before Israel and Shalit’s captors:

"We don’t have enough information about this case. We don’t even have a copy of the list of names of Palestinian prisoners that the captors submitted to Israel."

Well, now… even if (a big if) Abbas were sincere about wanting to improve the situation with Israel, it is clear as clear can be that he is out of the loop and totally powerless. That’s why the idea that he will now stop smuggling or the shooting of Kassams is a joke.


As concerns the deal for Shalit, Hamas has let it be known that more bombings and kidnappings will follow if Israel doesn’t agree soon to release those prisoners. In my book, such threats qualify as
sufficient reason to refuse to go along at all.


Olmert is making some not altogether explicit noises about being willing to meet with certain Arab states that have relations with Israel in the course working group meetings set up by the Arab League to advance the "peace process."

And Foreign Minister Livni is in Jordan discussing the "peace process" as well.

Heaven help us.


MK Azmi Bishara, still out of the country, has now let it be known that he’ll quit the Knesset. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, he speaks about the "incitement" against him. Ah, poor thing. It has now been revealed that he is under investigation by an Israeli court. Said he: "We are the true natives of this land, and we refuse to accept the assumption that those who are the enemies of the state are also our enemies. They consider this an offense." How about that.


On March 12, Alan Johnston, a native of Scotland who worked as a BBC journalist, was kidnapped at gunpoint in Gaza City. Efforts to rescue him were unsuccessful, but on April 12, Abbas assured BBC that he had "credible evidence" that Johnston was "safe and well."

Today, Palestinian Jihad, an al-Qaida affiliated group in Gaza that allegedly abducted Johnston, declared that they have killed Johnston and promised to release a video of his murder; BBC has no confirmation of this announcement.

In its declaration, the group said:

"The whole world made so much noise about this foreign journalist, while it took no action over our thousands of prisoners.

"Our objective was to broadcast a clear message, and we were surprised by the position of the Palestinian Authority, which attempted to hide the case as much as it could and to present the case in an untruthful manner, leading us unfortunately to kill the journalist so that our message is understood."

I, also without confirmation, tend to believe this. Abbas gives people what they want to hear. We are likely looking at another example of the powerlessness of Abbas and the total anarchy that reigns in PA areas. Security sources say that al-Qaida-linked groups in Gaza and not Hamas present the greatest danger to Abbas.


I had reported back a few weeks ago that the testimony of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz would be released by the Winograd Committee before their interim report on the conduct of the Lebanese war last summer. There was then a pullback on this position, with demands by the court to know why the delay. But the decision for the moment seems to be an acceptance of the delay — with the testimonies to be released two weeks after the report, although this might yet change again.


This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/4/15/posted-april-15-2007.html


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