Last week, Mr. Sigmund Rolat visited his birthplace in Poland, the city of Czestochowa. As he does on every trip, he took time out to pay his respects to the local Jewish cemetery.
The following is the original text of an important lecture delivered by Professor Louis Rene Beres to the Dayan Forum, Israel, on March 11, 1994 (Ambassador Zalman Shoval, presiding). It remains entirely relevant today, especially with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's: (1) recent release of Palestinian terrorists as a "goodwill gesture;" (2) the Prime Minister's equally incomprehensible support of one murderous terrorist faction (Fatah) against another (Hamas); and his corollary commitment to the altogether twisted cartography of a markedly one-sided "Road Map."
We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don't need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.
Part I of this series introduced the 6,000-mile driving tour that my wife, Barbara, and I took in the van driven by my brother, Avi, and our sister-in-law, Martha, to the Canadian Rockies.
Last week I wrote about going to Nowy Zukowice, the town my grandfather came from.
Jorge Luis Borges sometimes happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although without any apparent basis in Halachah, he obviously felt himself a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges At Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."
Since I started writing this column I have been inundated with questions from my readers about various shtetlach. Often the places mentioned are well-known cities and, possibly, places I have visited.
Israel and the United States still think of counter-terrorism as a narrowly military and geopolitical task. What both fail to realize is that Arab/Islamic terrorism in general, and Palestinian terrorism in particular, are driven by religious notions of sacrifice. As these notions are common to both Fatah and Hamas, the developing Bush/Rice/Olmert plan to aid the former against the latter is misconceived. This plan will fail promptly and calamitously. Othman Abu Gharbiya, Deputy Chief of the National and Political Guidance Bureau of Fatah (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, May9, 1998)
Like many other New Yorkers, during my 35 years of living in Brooklyn, I had rarely traveled outside the tri-state region and had never been to Florida, California, the National Parks or to most states outside the East Coast.
One of the most frequently asked questions, regarding the situation in Poland, is about the local Polish attitude towards Jews and the Holocaust.
Whenever I go to Poland it is for a specific occasion. This last trip was to cover the laying of the foundation stone of the Museum of Jewish History, the Krakow Jewish Cultural Festival and the weddings and bar mitzvah of my friends in Warsaw.
Seeking to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the Hamas triumph in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert now intends to free many Fatah terrorists. "As a gesture of good will towards the Palestinians," Mr. Olmert announced at the Sharm El-Sheik summit with Abbas and the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, "I will bring before the Israeli Cabinet a proposal to free 250 Fatah prisoners who do not have blood on their hands." There should be no problem, he continued, because the Fatah men "must sign a commitment not to return to violence."
It is essential today, that the Begin Doctrine be reinvigorated and declared. Now, just as during the Second World War, Jews face the threat of mass murder because of nuclear weapons. Now, however, the danger is not that these weapons will be used by a genocidal state against other states to acquire physical custody over Jewish bodies. Instead, it is directed against that single state which was expressly created for the eternal protection of these Jewish bodies.
The 17th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow just concluded and has lived up to the promise of being one of the most exciting Jewish festivals around the globe.
After uncovering Nazi Germany's vast kingdom of death at the end of World War II, the victorious allies drafted a special charter for an international military tribunal at Nuremberg. Concluded on August 8, 1945, this document defined "crimes against humanity" as uniquely egregious acts that are designed to eradicate entire groups of people.
Whenever Jews come together in honor of a lifecycle event, it is a simchah.
Repeatedly, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Mohammed al-Baradei has urged Israel to accept nuclear disarmament and join a Middle East "nuclear-weapon-free zone." Although this official proposal sounds perfectly reasonable and even-handed in principle, it would, in fact, lead quickly to Israel's final demise. Still surrounded by states and terror groups openly committed to its annihilation, Israel must soon remind the world, that it has an absolutely fundamental right of self-preservation.
When traveling, it is best to do a little homework first - the more you know and prepare for a trip the more you will get out of it.
Despite altogether unimagined transformations of weapons technologies, some ancient principles of warfare remain entirely valid. Founded upon the essentially persistent nature of human behavior in organized conflict, these principles can be ignored only at great strategic risk. For the always-imperiled state of Israel, there is especially much to be learned from certain elements of past thought. This includes the unchanging requirements of national survival.
As summer approaches, people are making vacation plans. More and more people are traveling to Poland, to the old shtetl, to see where their families lived for hundreds of years, before coming to America.
This summer, from June 23 to July 1, the city of Krakow will play host to the 17th annual Jewish Cultural Festival, which as usual, is expected to be a resounding success.
First published here almost one year ago, Professor Beres' column about Prime Minister Olmert's devastating policy errors was a warning unheeded. Written even before the 2006 Lebanon War fiasco, it takes on new and especially urgent meanings following the scathing report by Israel's Winograd Commission.
Israel is celebrating 40 years since the reunification of our holiest city, Jerusalem, and the miraculous victory of the 1967 Six-Day War.
While Polish-Jewish relations have grown more and more friendly in Poland, Israel and the U.S., Poland has also been reaching out to Jews around the world.
Religious Extremism And International Legal Norms Perfidy, Irrationality And Preemption (Conclusion)
Another term that appears in the title of my remarks is "irrationality." I have noted before − per Rene Girard − that violence need not necessarily be irrational.