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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘genocide’

Israeli Vice PM: Syrian Assault is Genocide

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, is calling Syrian President Bashar Assad’s war against opposition a “genocide”, and said Israeli support is behind efforts to overthrow him.

“A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today, and the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic,” Mofaz told Israel Army Radio on Sunday.

The comments come as a continually severe crackdown on a 15-month uprising brought the death toll to approximately 16,200, with 52 civilians killed across the country on Saturday, according to the Voice of America.

Mofaz also chastised Russia for selling arms to Syria, calling their involvement anything from “irresponsibility” to “partnership in the slaughter”, and called on the western world to assist rebels in overthrowing Assad’s regime.  “We need to enlist the West. We need our voice to be heard. This slaughter is being carried out not far from Israel’s border,” Mofaz said. “We cannot get involved, for understandable reasons. But I think that the West, led by the United States, has an interest in safeguarding the threshold (so) genocide does not take place.”

Mofaz is the chairman of the Kadima party and joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on March 27, as part of a new coalition maneuver which brought Kadima into the government.

Leftist Campaign Against Purim Hits the Web

Monday, March 5th, 2012

A leftist campaign making the rounds in Israeli cyberspace is telling Israelis to think twice before celebrating Purim because Megillat Esther promotes genocide by Jews against its enemies.

The internet pamphlet plays on a popular Purim greeting, ‘Sameach u’mevadech’ (happy and humorous), and asks rhetorically if people really know what Purim is about. It proceeds to list verses from Megillat Esther that seemingly implicate the Jewish people in genocide. It ends by asking readers if they too think that genocide is “happy and humorous.”

To dispel any idea that it was a hoax, prominent Israeli blogger Yossi Gurevich posted it on a Facebook page titled ‘החברים של ג’ורג’ with text in Hebrew saying “let’s leave Purim to Bashar Assad and celebrate festivals that are a bit more human.”

Anti-Purim Internet Pamphlet

Beyond taking self-loathing to a height that only radical left-wing Jews can reach, it’s clear that the campaign organizers are neither masters nor students of Torah exegesis.

How come the Left always manages to take the fun out of everything, anyway?

If You Don’t See Where You’re Going, You Might Not See Where You End Up

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.

Last night, as I was telling my enthralled neighbor the story of Esther, I realized that there was a tremendous hole in the plot. Haman is the all-powerful viceroy to the king. He has the King’s signet ring and he has the power of life and death over everyone around him. As he walks through the streets, trumpets sound and knees hit the ground in homage. Basically, he is the man in charge with the power of life and death, freedom and captivity, poverty and wealth over every person he sees. He has it all.

And yet, one person doesn’t cower before him and Haman goes berserk. The most powerful man in the country stops his busy schedule and decides to engage in a single-minded campaign of destruction against one man with absolutely no power. He most likely could have Mordechai executed on the spot, but even that wasn’t enough.

For comparison purposes let’s take Aishwarya Rai of India who has been called the most beautiful woman in the world by many different magazines. Can you imagine that she would go crazy with anger and revenge if one person didn’t find her the most beautiful? I imagine that she would confidently walk past him, convinced of her own beauty and self worth.

The viceroy here has no internal self worth and confidence. A single powerless person has defied him and he is utterly consumed by this defiance. The only thing that can make Haman feel better about himself is to commit genocide. That is more than using an elephant to crush an ant; I would argue this is using an atomic weapon to destroy the ant.

And in pursuit of that goal, he’s willing to give ten thousand talents of silvers to the king. For those of us in the modern world, a single talent is 67 pounds. That’s more than three tons of solid silver. Silver is around 33 dollars an ounce. At my calculations, that’s more than 35 million dollars. There’s a lot of people I dislike, but I’d much rather have the cash than trash them. So why did Haman flip out in such a self destructive way?

The answer came to me today as I cried on the shoulder of a friend. For the past two years I have been working in Israel advocacy. Dealing with bureaucratic board members, hostile organizations and just nasty people can wear on a person.

Sometimes, I would fantasize about letting out my anger in a vicious tirade. At desperate times, I would dream of getting some sort of revenge by going to the Dean or prominent organizations to get them into trouble. I knew I was right and I wanted the people who impeded the rightness of my cause to be held accountable and apologize for the damage they had wrecked upon the Jewish community. And yes, I know it would have gotten me nowhere – and that is my point. Revenge turns a logical feeling of distaste for injustice into a futile and ridiculous tilt at windmills.

At best, revenge is a distraction from your real goal, and at worst, it becomes a trap that ensnares and destroys those caught in it. Haman may have been a sociopath, but that wasn’t his fatal flaw. He just didn’t seem to know what his real goal was. Although I don’t know the man well, I imagine his goal was to achieve power.

Haman started out right. He had managed to survive the whims of a drunken and capricious king; he admits he has everything in the world. The sight of one measly person refusing to bow should have been annoying to him, but not something worth more a few moments of irritation. There was definitely no intelligent reason to go on the warpath like he did and we all know how well that ended. Once the most powerful man in the empire, he is today best remembered for a dessert that resembles his ears.

Haman’s fatal flaw of hubris made him unable to see past his own ego. It didn’t matter how much power he had, any slight flaw in his tapestry of life could not be tolerated. He could not see anything but his own dignity and missed the big picture, instead reverting to genocide as the revenge on one man. He was too ego-driven to realize that power is not something that is only external, but must be matched by an internal dignity.

Students Ask, ‘Where Was The NY Times During The Holocaust?’

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Last April, NYU student Emily Harrold embarked on the production of a film exploring why The New York Times under-reported the Holocaust during the 1940s. Now, a little less than a year later, the project has expanded to more than twenty students. Together the students have interviewed historians, journalists, Holocaust survivors, and American citizens who lived during the 1940s. They are currently working on finishing the project in order to submit it to film festivals across the United States.

“While the film is about The New York Times and The Holocaust,” explains director Harrold, “it is also about how American society understood and dealt with genocide in the 1940s. We are shocked today to learn that papers as well respected as The New York Times kept quiet on The Holocaust. But are we as a society reacting any differently to genocide happening today?”

The film, titled “Reporting on The Times,” was inspired by Laurel Leff’s book Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper. The film is currently fundraising on Kickstarter.com. The team has raised close to 50 percent of its $6,000 goal. Please visit http://kck.st/tq3zbv to make a donation. You can also learn more about the project and see the trailer at www.facebook.com/reportingonthetimes.

French Parliament Passes Bill Outlawing Denial of Armenian Genocide; Erdogan Furious

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the French Parliament’s approval of a bill Monday that makes it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide, saying that it was the culmination of “racist and discriminatory” French attitudes toward Turkey.

Erdogan also threatened that Turkey would enact additional sanction if French President Sarkozy signs the bill into law.

The bill had already been a source of cooling relations, with Turkey breaking off economic, military, and political ties with France, and recalling its ambassador last month when when the lower house approved the bill.

Holocaust Scholars Criticize Obama

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Eighty-five prominent Holocaust scholars last week criticized President Obama for failing to respond to Libya’s hosting of a Darfur war criminal.

The new Libyan regime hosted a visit by Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his leading role in the Darfur genocide. The Obama administration did not comment on the visit.

“Especially in view of the role the United States played in bringing about the overthrow of the Gadaffi regime,” the Holocaust and genocide scholars wrote, “the U.S. has a right, and a moral obligation, to demand that the new Libya join us in treating perpetrators of genocide as pariahs.”

The petition was organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C.

The scholars’ petition urged President Obama to “speak out publicly against Libya’s embrace of Bashir and to make it clear to the international community that the U.S. regards the hosting of visits by Bashir as unacceptable.” They also called for “a firmer policy by the U.S. toward perpetrators of genocide and those who coddle them.”

The signatories included Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews; Prof. Yehuda Bauer, of Yad Vashem; and Prof. Deborah Lipstadt, best known for her courtroom battles with Holocaust denier David Irving.

(Jewish Press staff)

Legacies Of Nuremburg, Eichmann Trials Shape Our World

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Sixty-five years ago at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, 22 defendants stood in the dock. They represented a cross-section of Nazi diplomatic, economic, political and military leadership, and became the first people in history to be indicted for crimes against humanity.

A tribunal of judges from the victorious Allied countries – the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union – did not convict all of the defendants. While 12 were sentenced to death, three to life terms and four to prison terms of up to 20 years, three were acquitted.

Additional trials were held in the following years. Collectively, all of the proceedings are now commonly referred to as the Nuremberg Trials.

Well before the war ended, the Allies had decided to prosecute Germans who were responsible for crimes against civilian populations. They believed the trials would hold an important place in history. They also hoped that establishing a new legal precedent would extinguish the possibility of the world ever facing these crimes again.

Among its legacies, the military tribunal at Nuremberg codified a new law – crimes against humanity – to protect civilians, and it prosecuted Nazi war criminals for atrocities they committed not only against their own citizens but those of other nations.

It rejected the longstanding doctrine of sovereign immunity, which exempted heads of state from prosecution for actions taken while in office, and the doctrine of superior orders, which protected subordinates from being prosecuted for crimes they committed under orders.

The legacy of Nuremberg in preventing future atrocities has been uneven. The United Nations unanimously adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on Dec. 9, 1948. However, the United States did not become a party to the UN Convention until 1988, and not until the 1990s were the first international criminal tribunals since Nuremberg established in the wake of the massive failure to prevent genocide in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.

More recently, some encouraging signs that genocide prevention efforts are taking hold have emerged. In 2002, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court established the first permanent judicial body dedicated to trying those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Three years later the World Summit, a gathering of leaders from UN member countries, adopted language maintaining that member nations have a “responsibility to protect” civilians anywhere when their own government cannot or will not protect them from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing.

Whether these trends continue will depend on the will of policymakers and the commitment of their constituents to making prevention and punishment a priority.

In addition to its legal legacy, Nuremberg had an enormous impact on our collective understanding of this pivotal era in history. The U.S. chief prosecutor, Robert Jackson, made a crucial decision to base the prosecution on the voluminous documentary evidence produced by the perpetrators of genocide themselves rather than eyewitness testimony, in part because he feared the testimony of survivors and other witnesses to Nazi crimes could be dismissed as unreliable or biased.

Jackson’s decision to rely on documentary evidence presented a fuller picture of Nazi atrocities than anyone had previously imagined, and the trial stands as an eternal testament to the magnitude of the Holocaust. Never before or since have the perpetrators of genocide so thoroughly documented their own evil.

Some 3,000 tons of documents, photographs, film footage and artifacts were presented at the first Nuremberg Trial alone, and the prosecutors’ meticulous work provided the foundation for initial scholarship on the Holocaust and much of what we know about that event today. Jackson’s concept of proving “incredible events with credible evidence” probably ended up having as much of an impact educationally as legally.

Interestingly, 15 years after Nuremberg, a new approach to the evidence would be used but with equally powerful public impact.

One of the primary implementers of the Nazi genocide who escaped trial right after the war was Adolf Eichmann. Captured by the Israelis in Argentina, he was brought to trial in 1961. This time, however, the trial would not take place in occupied Germany but in Israel, home to many Holocaust survivors. This would not be victors’ justice but victims’ justice.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/legacies-of-nuremburg-eichmann-trials-shape-our-world/2011/05/04/

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