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Posts Tagged ‘atrocities’

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mulling Military Intervention in Syria

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The escalating atrocities in Syria may trigger a U.S. military intervention, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Fox News on Monday. He spoke in the wake of the Hula massacre that left more than 100 dead.

Dempsey said that military options are currently in development.

“Of course – there is always a military option,” Dempsey said.

He added that while military leaders are naturally hesitant to use force, the situation in Syria could require an intervention.

“You’ll always find military leaders to be somewhat cautious about the use of force, because we’re never entirely sure what comes out on the other side,” he said. “But that said, it may come to a point with Syria because of the atrocities.”

Dempsey refused to comment when asked if the Libya model, involving intervention by the U.S. along with other allies.

“I’m sure there are some things that we did in Libya that could be applicable in a Syria environment or Syria scenario. But I’m very cautious about templates,” he said.

Defense Minister Barak Meets with U.S. Senators, Discusses Syria and Iran

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with a delegation of U.S. senators in Tel Aviv on Monday, and reiterated his government’s conviction that the recent nuclear talks in Baghdad were yet another example of Iran “dragging its feet while attempting to deceive the world.”

Barak was referring to the fruitless negotiations that took place last week, where the West saw its glimmer of hope dashed by Iran’s rejection of the P5+ 1′s proposal (the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, China, Germany) to rein in Iran’s nuclear program. He also took the opportunity to emphasize that “All options remain firmly on the table.”

Barak also discussed the massacre perpetrated by the Assad regime in Houla on Friday. “Israel supports the UN Security Council’s condemnation of the atrocities in Syria.  The pictures of the children’s mutilated bodies are both shocking and disturbing.  We call upon the nations of the world to unite and act immediately to stop the ongoing massacre of innocents.”

Daughter of Telz: Rebbetzin Rivkah Bloch Hacarmi (1925-2012)

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Rivkah Bloch grew up in Telz (Telsiai), a historic township and renowned Torah center in north-west Lithuania. In 1939 the Jews of Telz numbered about 2,800, some 28 percent of the population. Rivkah’s paternal grandfather Reb Yosef Leib Bloch, (1849-1930) zt”l, also known as Maharil Bloch, was a distinguished personality and a prominent scholar and educator. Besides his position as town rabbi, he headed the great Yeshivah of Telz that his father-in-law Rav Eliezer Gordon, zt”l had founded. Its student body numbered around 400 students in 1900.

Rav Yosef Leib Bloch, z"tl

Rav Bloch resisted the challenge of the secular Haskalah or Enlightenment movement in a positive way, as he understood the need to educate religious youth differently from what had been done in the past. He was the inspiration behind many educational institutions in Telz, including boys’ schools, a girls’ elementary and high school, and separate teachers’ seminaries for men and women. Another innovation of his was the Kollel Rabbanim established in 1921 to train rabbis. His volumes on Jewish law (Shiurei Halacha) and Jewish thought (Shiurei Da’at) were published posthumously.

Rivkah’s father and uncle were outstanding leaders of the Telz community. Her father Rav Zalman-Shmuel Bloch, Hy”d chose to become a rabbinical court judge and mashgiach of the yeshiva after his father’s death. He thus cleared the way for his younger brother, Rav Avraham-Yitzhak Bloch, (1890-1941) Hy”d, to take over as head of the yeshiva in 1930. Although both were murdered by the Nazis, their brother Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch had arrived in America with his brother-in-law, Rav Mordechai Katz, and some students just prior to World War II. They hoped to raise money for the yeshiva and obtain visas to relocate its students. Though their families perished tragically in Europe (except for a daughter of Rav Bloch), starting from small beginnings, they were able to establish the Telshe Yeshivah in Cleveland, Ohio.

One of eight children, Rivkah Bloch attended the high school that her grandfather had founded. At Yavne, which belonged to the high-level educational network of Agudath Israel, limudei kodesh or sacred subjects were taught in Hebrew alongside a broad curriculum. Since the girls were actively encouraged to talk Hebrew during school breaks, Rivkah acquired a sound knowledge of Hebrew and also learned Lithuanian, German and Russian.

When Lithuania lost its independence in 1940, the Russians disbanded the yeshiva and the religious high schools. The disastrous German invasion followed on June 22, 1941, reaching Telz on June 26, where they wreaked slaughter and destruction. Armed Lithuanians under Nazi command brutally rounded up the Jews, stole their valuables and ejected them from their homes. On July 15, Rivkah’s father, brothers and male relatives were shot to death or buried alive with the other Jewish men in mass graves at Rainiai, four kilometers away. In bidding farewell to three of his daughters, Chasya Hy”d, Naomi and Rivkah, Rav Zalman-Shmuel Bloch urged them to remain true to their heritage as religious women.

Most of the Jewish women and children were liquidated at the Geruliai concentration camp on August 30. Children were buried alive, while babies’ heads were smashed with stones.  (Many of the atrocities are documented at http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/telz  According to this source a few Lithuanian farmers extended help to the suffering Jewish women on forced labor details, while others abused them severely and murdered them in some cases.)

The family of Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch (wearing the eyeglasses). If you can identify other people in the photo, please email us.

In the final months of 1941 the Lithuanians and the Gestapo continued their cruel abusive behavior. Fifteen-year-old Rivkah was transported to the Jewish ghetto in nearby Shavli (Siauliai) late in 1941. Aware that death was imminent if she stayed there, Rivkah escaped together with her cousin Miriam Kleiner. The girls sought refuge in a wooded area where they wandered among farming villages and forests.

Although Miriam was blond and could pass for a gentile, dark-haired Rivkah had a Jewish appearance, so the two parted company where necessary in order to survive. Starting in the final months of 1943, Miriam was sheltered for a year by a good-hearted Lithuanian woman named Emilija Vitkeviciene who had already hid two other Jewish women earlier in the war. Vitkeviciene and her 14-year-old son Kazys Vitkevicius lived on the outskirts of the town of Alsedziai. At some point in 1944, Vitkeviciene agreed to take in Rivkah too, and a third girl named Anela Shneider joined them for a while. When keeping the girls in their home became too dangerous, Kazys dug a pit in the forest which he camouflaged with branches, and that became their new shelter. The brave youth rode out every day on his bicycle to throw them some food. Even when his mother was arrested for seven weeks and interrogated for harboring Jews, Kazys took the risk of helping the girls in their improvised hideout. Fear was their constant companion, especially when they needed to emerge above the surface to. In 1997, mother Emilija and son Kazys were honored for their good deeds by Yad Vashem and named Righteous Among the Nations.

Rubin Reports: Obama Gov’t Backs Atrocity-Producing Forces; How Will it Stop Them?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/obama-government-backs-atrocity.html

How can one write satire when the Obama Administration has created an Atrocities Prevention Board to prevent mass murder and genocide while at the same time has been largely supporting the forces most likely to commit mass murder and genocide? We can almost call these regimes the Organization of Atrocity-Exporting States (OAES).

With the exception of Libya – an issue I’m not going to debate in this article – the Obama Administration has been distinguished by its accommodation with those who have committed and are most likely to commit atrocities.

For example, Obama gave a speech in Afghanistan welcoming into political life those members of the Taliban who would renounce violence and obey Afghan law or, more accurately, those who would say such things for just long enough for the Americans to leave the country. But the administration has been negotiating with a Taliban that has done neither. It has committed past atrocities, including complicity in the September 11 attack which would presumably be pardoned. No matter what it pretended, the Taliban would put Afghans under an oppressive regime again if—or should I say as soon as—it has the chance. My June 2011 article on Obama’s Afghanistan policy remains quite relevant.

Once again in his speech, Obama made the deadly error of claiming that, in effect, al-Qaida is America’s only real enemy in the world. Even the Taliban (whose name he cannot pronounce correctly) is redeemable, though it answered him with a suicide attack in Kabul. As for Obama’s other claims (international consensus for stability in South Asia, etc) he can’t even get Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and concealing al-Qaida leaders. And India has been treated by Obama in a manner reminiscent of his policy toward Israel.

So is his administration working to prevent atrocities and is al-Qaida America’s only enemy?

Let’s start with the terrorist group Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip and has committed atrocities, keeps trying to do so, and openly advocates genocide against both Israel and Jews. The Obama Administration has opposed a serious effort to overthrow it, has accepted de facto its coalition with the Palestinian Authority, and pressed Israel in the past to reduce sanctions to a minimum.

Regarding Lebanon, the Obama Administration has ignored a law precluding interaction and aid to a government that includes a group, like Hizballah, on the State Department terrorism list. It has not been phased by investigations showing Hizballah involvement in assassinations in Lebanon. The 2006 UN ceasefire, in which the United States played a leading role, promises to keep Hizballah from building up a military zone in the south and to help prevent its importing weapons from Syria. Yet this has not prevented U.S. officials from dallying with Hizballah.

Among others, General David Petraeus, Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have testified in detail about how Hizballah has committed terrorist attacks against Americans in Iraq and elsewhere in addition to training terrorists.

In Syria, the Administration didn’t just engage but actually rewarded the Arabic-speaking world’s worst dictatorship. On one notable occasion, junior administration staffers visiting Damascus – sitting within screaming distance of the prisons known for torture – tweeted away about what a good time they were having and how great the coffee tasted. And what about the Muslim Brotherhood, elected by the graduating class at Terrorism High School the group most likely to succeed in committing really big atrocities? Every day its leaders and publications pour out bloodthirsty hate and support for violence. And every day the Western mass media tells us it is moderate and has renounced violence.

I could go on to recount the White House’s softness on Sudan, arguably the most atrocity-generating government in the world. Obama has, however, announced his profound opposition to the Lord’s Resistance Army, an east African group that has not surfaced for years. It apparently has two advantages: it isn’t revolutionary Islamist and it probably doesn’t exist any more.

The Board is to be headed by Samantha Powers, whose pre-Libya ideas about atrocities seemed to revolve largely around blaming Israel exclusively. Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to participate and legitimize a UN human rights’ council run by and for atrocity-producing states. It has been largely silent on Iran, late and ineffective on Syria, has worked to save the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and empower the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and was on the wrong side in the Sudan and a number of other countries.

That all of this was announced at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC adds to the bad taste and bad faith of the whole enterprise. And by the word “enterprise” I’m not just referring to the Atrocity Prevention Board.

J.E. Dyer: Finally, the Obama Doctrine – “Atrocities Prevention”

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Numerous news outlets have reported on the new Atrocities Prevention Board unveiled by President Obama as part of commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, and quite a few have expressed skepticism. It’s one thing to create a board, another entirely to take action using the tools of national power.

Defining “atrocity” will be a stiff challenge.  If something seems awful but the US administration doesn’t really want to intervene in it, will it be defined as an “atrocity”?  If it’s defined as an atrocity but we don’t do anything other than blather about it, what exactly will be the point of the Atrocities Prevention policy?

Presumably, a due-out from the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) will be a periodically updated list of which foreign activities and ongoing events the United States considers to be atrocities.  The absence of any such communication will render the APB so pointless as to be a daily unfolding satire.  Silence from an Atrocities Prevention Board is inherently untenable.

Yet assembling that list will be a heavily politicized process.  Will we call “atrocities” things we have no power to intervene in?  If the American people are reluctant to take on an “atrocity” intervention, is there any political value for the president in having the atrocity officially identified?  A divided Congress may have been inert in the last 18 months, but when overly provoked, as with the endless, punch-pulling Vietnam intervention, Congress becomes a snorting, stamping elephant.   How would a president acting on the proposals of an Atrocities Prevention Board deal with Congress?

If atrocities are defined and declared on a regular basis, yet remain undeterred, the atrocity list will lose its impact in the same way the Homeland Security terror-alert system has.  “Yeah, we’ve got some atrocities going on out there,” the average citizen might say.  “I don’t know what they are, but there’s some kind of board for that.”

Institutionalizing indifference to mass murder – to use The Weekly Standard’s formulation – is one of the obvious hazards of boardifying the US posture on “atrocity.”  There are a couple of others worth mentioning.  One is contingent:  the APB’s leadership under Obama.  The president has appointed Samantha Power– the brain behind the “responsibility to protect” non-hostile kinetic military action in Libya – to head the APB, and she is on record as calling Israel a “major human rights abuser.”  Here is her 2002 proposal for intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict:

What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially (sic) mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Getting a US military intervention force in Israel past Congress would be interesting.  The American politics of this are a head-scratcher, but so is the definition in this case.  If Power were to be specific about what she considers “human rights abuses,” one can only presume she would be speaking of checkpoints, the security fence between Israel and Gaza (the security barrier with the West Bank had not been constructed in 2002), and Israel’s military attacks on terrorist strongholds in Gaza.

One question this raises is what the APB would term terrorist attacks by Hamas.  Presumably a single terrorist incident is not a “mass atrocity” – if the Holocaust is taken as the standard – but how about systematic terrorism of the same kind, and against the same people, over decades?  Terrorist organizations do commit mass atrocities, as they have in Colombia and Russia, among other places.  Are terrorists to be intervened with like national governments?  How about syndicate crime, like the cartel thugs who have slaughtered more than 50,000 Mexicans in the last five years?

Meanwhile, are India and Pakistan abusing the other’s populations with their border barriers in Kashmir?  Perhaps even more informative, is the UN committing a human rights abuse by sponsoring (and managing) the security barrier between the Republic of Cyprus and the unrecognized Turkish-occupied portion of the island?

Is the existence of border-security measures a justification for armed intervention?  And if it is, how does it fit into the “mass atrocity” construct?  If it doesn’t justify armed intervention, on the other hand, but something else – what is that something?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-finally-the-obama-doctrine-atrocities-prevention/2012/04/30/

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