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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘hatred’

European Parliament President Martin Schultz to Receive 2016 Medal of Tolerance

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Andrei Konchalovsky, a Russian film director, producer and screenwriter are both to be awarded the 2016 European Medal of Tolerance this month by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR).

The ECTR is an international organization comprised of former world leaders and other senior public figures that fights against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. The Board of the ECTR is headed by Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK.

Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the ECTR, said that the medal is being awarded to Schulz in recognition of his commitment to the preservation of the memory of the Shoah and the exceptional leadership in the struggle against the rising wave of ultra-nationalism and hatred in Europe.

“The number of hate-motivated crimes and incidents is rising around Europe. Political extremism both inspires and profits from these acts. At this worrying time it is important to send a clear message that political courage and moral leadership is vital for our societies,” Dr. Kantor said. “Martin Schulz, the outgoing President of the European Parliament, is a man who throughout his political career has taken an uncompromised stand against xenophobia, intolerance and political extremism in Europe.”

“A strong and unified Europe is the greatest barrier against hatred and extremism and even during some very difficult years, economically and politically, President Schulz has remained a voice of reason, sanity and unity.”

The European Medal of Tolerance in the area of culture will be granted to Andrei Konchalovsky, a Russian film director, producer and screenwriter, perhaps best known for his latest movie, the Holocaust drama “Paradise”. In 2016 this movie won the Silver Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. In December 2016 it was shortlisted in the nine films to be considered for the 89th OSCAR Academy Award.

“The Medal goes also to Andrei Konchalovsky because of his lifelong achievements in the area of remembrance of human tragedies”, emphasized Kantor. “Extremists are using and manipulating the past to serve their own agenda, and it is an important role of people in the arts and culture to stand against extremism and provide those of us who did not experience the past with teachable moments for the present and the future which Andrei has done.”

The award ceremony is planned for later this month.

Hana Levi Julian

Lebanon’s Hatred of Israel: A Symptom of Dysfunction

Monday, September 19th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Lebanon has many problems, including sectarian divisions, Iranian influence, spillover from the Syrian civil war, the weakness of its army, the ineffectiveness of its politicians, and the very existence of Hizballah, but Israel’s existence next door is not one of them.

The animosity of Lebanon towards Israel continues today only because it provides a convenient excuse for Hizballah to maintain a formidable arsenal that it uses to control Lebanon and to help its allies in Syria.

Lebanon has a law forbidding its citizens from interacting with Israeli citizens. As Michael J. Totten wrote:

“Lebanese citizens aren’t allowed to have any communication of any kind with Israelis anywhere in the world. If citizens of the two countries meet, say, on a beach in Cyprus or in a bar in New York, the Lebanese risks prison just for saying hello.”

The Lebanese online news source NOW explains that law in detail. Even a dual citizen (of Lebanon and Canada for example) could be jailed for interacting in the most innocuous way with an Israeli.

The Lebanese delegation, for example, recently refused to share a bus with the Israeli delegation at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, prompting the Israeli minister of culture and sports to describe the incident as, “anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and the worst kind of racism.” The incident was, however, hardly surprising, considering the history of Lebanese animosity towards Israel.

Only one of many incidents of pettiness and bigotry

The Olympics incident is unfortunately not unique.

Incidents in the entertainment industry have been just as visible. In Lebanon’s only attempt to enter the Eurovision song contest, its contestant Aline Lahoud was forced to withdraw in 2005 after Lebanon would not allow the program to be broadcast because it included a performance by an Israeli. Despite his huge popularity in Lebanon, the Jewish Moroccan-French comedian, Gad Elmaleh, was forced to cancel his performances at a 2009 Lebanese festival due to what Reina Sarkis, a Lebanese psychoanalyst living in France, described as Hizballah’s “intellectual terrorism”. In June 2010, a boycott targeted the British Rock band Placebo, performing in Lebanon, resulting in a lawsuit by the Lebanese concert promoter against the groups that organized the boycott. Popular Belgian-Italian singer Lara Fabian cancelled a concert in Lebanon in 2012, after she was the target of threats for supporting Israel.

Such incidents have occurred in academia as well. In March 2010, Palestinian scholar Sari Hanafi, a professor at the American University of Beirut, was verbally assaulted at the university by a crowd of nearly 300 for having worked with two Israeli scholars on a book, even though the book was critical of Israel.

Even Miss Lebanon 2014, Saly Greige, was implicated in this type of incident in 2015, when a photo of her was taken with Miss Israel, Miss Japan, and Miss Slovenia. Lebanese Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon launched a probe into what was considered an incident of national significance. Greige was allowed to keep her crown only after she made the implausible claim that the picture was taken against her will.

Religious officials are not immune either. In May 2014, Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi of the Maronite Church faced heavy criticism from politicians, and threats from Hizballah media mouthpieces, for his decision to accompany the Pope to Jerusalem. This was despite the fact that Maronite clergy are legally permitted to travel to Israel for ministry duties.

An unjustified hatred

Lebanon has no valid justification for its hatred towards Israel. The tiny “Shabaa Farms,” on the border with Israel, which is only 22 square kilometers in size, is often cited as a reason, but Syria also claims that same piece of land. Moreover, Israel is reported to be willing to evacuate it if it were to come under the control of UN peacekeepers. The “Shabaa Farms” is an excuse, not a reason.

Lebanon has suffered significant human and material losses as a result of its two wars with Israel after 1949; that would certainly be reason for animosity towards Israel, if it were not that Lebanon was mainly responsibility for both wars.

The first Israel-Lebanon war in 1982-1985 was an attempt by Israel to stop attacks against its citizens by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). If Lebanon had better controlled the actions of the PLO on its own territory, that war would never have occurred.

The second Israel-Lebanon war in 2006 was an attempt by Israel to stop attacks against its citizens by the Lebanese Shi’ite militia, Hizballah. If Lebanon had disarmed Hizballah when it disarmed other militias after the 1975-1990 civil war, the second Israel-Lebanon war would never have occurred, either.

Lebanon, which has a weak army, might be considered a victim of circumstances beyond its control, but that is not the case. Lebanon has contributed immensely to its circumstances.

Lebanon chose to be part of the Arab coalition that rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan and attacked Israel in 1948, thus creating the Palestinian refugee problem. Lebanon still chooses to keep Palestinians in camps with limited rights rather than to integrate them into Lebanese society, thus fostering Palestinian grievances and a desire for “revenge”. Lebanon also chose to allow the Palestinians in the country to form their own armed militias, which were a catalyst in the Lebanese civil war and resulted in PLO attacks on Israel.

Lebanon has yet to try reaching a permanent peace with Israel. Israel had hoped to sign a peace treaty with Bashir Gemayel, who was elected president of Lebanon in 1982, but who never became president because he was assassinated soon after his election. His older brother, Amin Gemayel, who was elected in his place, reached a limited agreement with Israel in May 1983 that fell far short of a full peace agreement, and obviously did not stop Hizballah attacks against Israel.

Lebanon’s provocations

In addition to failing to stop attacks, successive Lebanese governments have even encouraged hatred and violence against Israel.

In May 2008, Lebanon’s newly elected president, Michel Suleiman, praised Hizballah‘s fight against Israel. In July of that same year, the Lebanese government gave a hero’s welcome to Samir Kuntar, the cold-blooded murderer of an Israeli father and his three young children. Kuntar was welcomed in person by the three most important officials in the Lebanese government: President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri. Kuntar became a Hizballah commander and was later killed in Syria by an IDF operation.

Lebanese governments have even made anti-Israel aggression their policy. In 2009, the cabinet issued a policy statement recognizing Hizballah’s “right to use arms against Israel,” despite the objections of some ministers who insisted that Hizballah’s “substantial arsenal … undermines the authority of the state”.

Again, in 2014, Lebanon’s government issued a policy statement claiming that “Lebanese citizens have the right to resist Israeli occupation and repel any Israeli attack”.

Anti-Israel rhetoric also permeates the unelected civil service. In 2013, while discussing the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, caused by the murderous Syrian regime and ISIS terrorists, Abbas Ibrahim, director-general of Lebanon’s General Security Department, insisted that, “Lebanon’s one and only enemy is Israel”.

Even some Christian politicians engage in such hateful speech. In 2015, Emile Lahoud, a former president of Lebanon, appeared on Iran’s Press TV, where he declared, “All our troubles come from Israel through the US.” The previous day, Michel Aoun, a former Lebanese Army Commander, declared on the same show his support for Hezbollah, calling Israel the “enemy”.

A divided Lebanon with no real autonomy

Despite Lebanon’s official encouragement of Hizballah, many Lebanese politicians would like Hizballah disarmed, and they have been saying so for a long time. They usually however also reaffirm Hizballah’s right to fight Israel, therefore undermining their own message.

Before he became Lebanon’s prime minister in 2009, following the assassination of his father, Saad Hariri expressed concerns about Hizballah’s arsenal. It was suspected at the time that his father, Rafik Hariri, had been assassinated by Hizballah, a suspicion later confirmed by a UN-backed tribunal. The young Hariri’s term ended in January 2011, due to pressure by Hizballah. In March 2011, tens of thousands of Lebanese demonstrators demanded that Hizballah be disarmed, chanting, “The people want the fall of arms”, but in June a new Hizballah-dominated government was announced.

Lebanese politicians discussed Hizballah’s arsenal again in 2012, because some felt that “many Lebanese have grown increasingly suspicious of Hezbollah’s weapons”.

In March 2013 and again in June 2013, Ziad Al-Kadri, a young parliamentarian in Hariri’s Sunni party, criticized Hizballah, accusing it of “seeking to make of Lebanon a liquidation field to settle regional scores”.

In August 2013, Lebanese Christian leader Samir Geagea, chairman of the Lebanese Forces (the organization once led by Bashir Gemayel), reacted to an anti-Israel speech by Hizballah’s leader, accusing him of “dragging the country into war against the wishes of its leaders”.

Lebanon has had a national unity government since February 2014 that includes members of Hizballah and members of Hariri’s party, but in January 2016, then Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, a member of Hariri’s party, resigned. This followed Saudi Arabia’s cancellation of a deal worth $4 billion in support of the Lebanese army. The Saudi move resulted from Lebanon’s failure to support Saudi Arabia against Iran, the sponsor of Hizballah. Rifi said that Hizballah “is an armed party that is dominating the government’s decisions”.

In February 2016, Saad Hariri, who no longer resides in Lebanon, accused Hizballah of wanting to transform Lebanon into an “Iranian province”. The status of Lebanon as Iran’s cannon fodder was confirmed in July, when Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said, “In Lebanon, more than 100,000 Qasem missiles are ready for launch … ready to wipe out one malevolent and black spot from the political geography forever”.

Lebanon’s lack of autonomy was also confirmed by Marwan Hamade, a former Lebanese cabinet minister, and an ally of Rafik Hariri, who said that Lebanon had wanted to negotiate peace with Israel, but that all dialogue was blocked by Syria. Hamade said that, “While Hariri and his block wished to normalize and demilitarize Lebanon after Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah and Syria wanted the opposite”.

Lebanon’s real problems

The rift between pro-Hizballah factions and anti-Hizballah factions is growing and is tearing Lebanon apart. Lebanon’s parliament has been unable to compromise on a new president after Michel Suleiman’s term expired in May 2014. Since the three most senior positions in Lebanese politics are constitutionally divided between a Christian president, a Sunni prime minister, and a Shiite parliamentary speaker, the stalemate means that for over two years, Christians have had no representative at that level.

However, Lebanon’s political dysfunction goes far beyond a constitutional crisis, and it affects the daily lives of Lebanese people. The New York Times reported

“With a new government dominated by allies of Hezbollah… censorship has been on the rise… Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims — traditionally moderate — have been increasingly challenged by extremists, including Salafi mullahs in Sidon and Al Qaeda in the northern city of Tripoli … Christian groups have also been joining the call for censorship”.

This has led “a parade of artists to leave the country.” The dysfunction even affects public health; garbage was not collected in Lebanon for almost a year, from July 2015 until March 2016, when a temporary solution was finally implemented.

In May 2016, popular Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich revealed his support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, by tweeting that the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo would have been better off under Israeli occupation. Koteich’s daring tweet (later deleted) demonstrates that despite Hizballah’s stranglehold on Lebanese politics, the irrational anti-Israel position of Lebanon is opposed by many of its people.

It is very likely that some of the nine athletes in the Lebanese Olympic delegation are not anti-Semites and would even welcome interaction with Israeli athletes. However, they also know the power of Hizballah and the consequences of challenging its authority.

The difficulties of Lebanon are much larger than the question of whether or not its athletes should avoid Israelis. The occupation by Israel of a disputed piece of land, the “Shabaa Farms” that is 0.2% of the size of Lebanon, hardly warrants the existence of an independent militia that is more powerful than the Lebanese army and that has undue and disproportional influence over the country.

If the Arab states, among them Lebanon, had not attacked the newly-independent Jewish state in 1948, and if Lebanon had prevented terrorist attacks from its territory against Israel, not one bullet would have been exchanged between the two countries. Today, Lebanon would be enjoying diplomatic relations with Israel, and the benefits of successful trade.

Fred Maroun

Orlando Shooting: Pickled in Hatred

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

It is a lot to process. Omar Mateen, the American-born son of Afghan parents, murdered 50 people and wounded scores of others in a gay nightclub Sunday. The first surprise is that it was not a surprise, especially to the FBI. Mateen was the subject of investigations in 2013 and 2014. “He was a known quantity,” a source said. “He has been on the radar before.” But Assistant Special Agent Ronald Hopper told reporters, “Those interviews turned out to be inconclusive, so there was nothing to keep the investigation going.”

Omar Mateen’s father probably wasn’t terribly surprised. He told NBC News “that his son became angry after seeing two men kissing a few months ago in Miami.” He speculated that could have triggered his decision to kill. “This has nothing to do with religion,” his father added.

President Obama was not exactly surprised, given, he said, the number of guns in America. He called again for gun control and said there was, “no definitive judgment on the precise motivations” of the terrorist.

Oh really?

President Obama’s response might have been a surprise to local police, who, according to CNN, received a 911 call from Mateen pledging his allegiance to ISIS just before the attack. Whether he was actually with ISIS or not, the Islamic State wasted no time blessing him as one of their own.

So where do Americans go with this?

First, pray for the victims and their families, and thank the first responders.

Second, do not bother trying to “explain” terrorists, or figure out their “motivation.” They are pickled in hatred that simply does not allow for the humanity of “the other” and insists that individuals exist only as representations of religions, objects, and social or political points of view. There is no other way to explain Shalhevet Pass, a six-month old baby shot in her stroller by a sniper, or Malki Roth murdered while eating pizza, or the Fogel children murdered in their beds. There is also no other way to explain shootings at Max Brenner in Tel Aviv or stabbings in Jerusalem; Hamas rockets fired indiscriminately into Israeli towns; gay men thrown off buildings by ISIS in Iraq or dragged behind motorcycles in Gaza; barrel bombs and chlorine gas dropped on civilians by Assad’s Syrian forces; the kidnapping and forcible conversion to Islam of girls by Boko Haram; the sale of Yazidi women and girls as sex slaves by ISIS; and the skinning alive of prisoners by the Taliban. They are all of a piece.

Third, recognize that the same hatreds exist in our country. We imported them — already pickled — and we pickled some of them here. What Mateen’s father said was that seeing what he found unacceptable — men kissing — was enough to make his son kill. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, what do we need to do about people willing to kill us under those circumstances?

The Heritage Foundation maintains an extremely useful timeline of terrorist plots in the US. It includes the “shoe bomber” (2002), the “underwear bomber” (2010), the Times Square bomber (2010), the Boston Marathon bombers (2013), and the San Bernardino shooters (2015). But there’s more. Here is sampling from a Jewish Policy Center analysis:

[T]here were also plots against U.S. landmarks and institutions including the NY Subway system (2005 & 09), Sears Tower (2006), the Brooklyn Bridge (2003), the Long Island Railroad (2009), DC Metro (2010), the Federal Reserve in Manhattan (2012), the Capitol (2011, 12 & 15), World Bank Headquarters (2005), JFK airport (2009), the NY Stock Exchange (2004), and the GOP convention (2004).There were plots against American service personnel, including military hit lists (2010 & 15); Ft. Hood (2009); Ft. Riley (2015); Ft. Dix (2007) and Ft. Myers (2011); recruiting stations in Arkansas (2009), Maryland (2011) and Washington (2011); the Pentagon (2011); Quantico Marine Base (2009); National Guard facilities (2005, 08 & 09); U.S. Marshals (2013); and the NYPD (2015). There were plots against the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (2011) and Pakistan (2004), and the Israeli Embassy (2011).

There were assassination plots against Presidents Bush (2003) and Obama (2011).

There were regional attacks planned for a Chicago Bar (2012), NY and Chicago-area synagogues (2009 & 10), an Oregon Christmas tree ceremony (2010), the Wichita Airport (2014), a Canada-NY train (2013), a Dallas skyscraper (2009), a Wyoming refinery (2006), the Florida Keys (2015), shopping centers in Ohio (2003) and Illinois (2007), and the University of North Carolina (2006). The Lackawanna (PA) Six (2002), the Lodi (CA) jihad training camp (2005), and the VA Jihad Network (2003) operated along with smaller-scale plots in support of al Qaeda (2002, 09 & 10).

The American homeland — free speech, religious institutions, open inquiry in academia, our military and our way of life — is under attack.

America’s blessing is a political system built on tolerance of “the other.” Not all of us, not all the time — remember that we used to buy and sell our fellow human beings — but the principle to which we aspire is tolerance of “the other.” America’s glory is men and women who run into danger while everyone else is running out — without regard for the particulars of who they are saving. It was true on 9-11 and it was true this weekend in Orlando. But our national blind spot is not seeing that we share this lovely space with people who want to kill us for the peculiar people we are.

Shoshana Bryen

German Museum Displays Small Scale Expressions of Racial Hatred

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

If you’re concerned about a repeat performance by the German nation of the events of the first half of the 20th Century, you may wish to visit a new exhibition at the German Historical Museum, featuring some 600 stickers and replicas, racist and anti-racist, from 1880 to the present day.

It turns out Germans continue to harbor very ugly feelings about people and things that are not German, and that they prefer their bigotry small and intimate, away from the lime lights.

The exhibition, titled “Sticky Messages — Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present,” shows adhesive notes, trading cards and pictures, letter sealers and stickers from the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the reign of Nazism and on into the present day in their respective context. “Sticky Messages” tells of a social practice of misanthropic prejudices and recounts at the same time the history of fighting against antisemitic and racist stereotypes.

A sticker from around 2011 reads: "Cult of Guilt: Holocaust - I can't hear it anymore!" / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 2011 reads: “Cult of Guilt: Holocaust – I can’t hear it anymore!” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

“They are familiar to everyone and can be found sticking everywhere: on street signs, letter boxes, in underground stations, in children’s rooms, in love letters,” explains the exhibition’s flyer. “Stickers and adhesive labels, also known as sticky notes, have been around on a massive scale since the late 19th century: a small format that is zealously disseminated in public places, privately collected and often traded. Stickers have been used since the beginning as an inexpensive way of popularizing worldviews. Collector cards and albums helped to spread and reinforce racist ideas of inequality and superiority and to bring them into people’s private lives. Stickers with anti-Jewish pictures and slogans have always been extremely popular with anti-Semites. But Jewish organizations soon learned to fight back against these slanderous attacks and publicly combated the anti-Semitic propaganda. Even today stickers are used for political agitation. Stickers like ‘Refugees welcome’ or ‘Nein zum Heim’ – short for saying ‘we don’t want any refugees living here’ – serve to signal acceptance, to polarize or to intimidate people.”

A sticker from around 1900 reads: "Away with Juda! - The Jews are Germany's disaster." / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 1900 reads: “Away with Juda! – The Jews are Germany’s disaster.” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present
April 20 to July 31, 2016
An exhibition of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technische Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Historisches Museum.


Istanbul Synagogue Sprayed With Anti-Israel Grafitti

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The Istipol Synagogue in Istanbul’s historically Jewish Balat neighborhood was sprayed with hate a few days ago, according to a report Tuesday in the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

The grafitti, “Terrorist Israel, there is Allah!” was found slathered on the outside walls around the synagogue, in white paint, on January 8. It has since been painted over.

The vandalism occurred after a one-time prayer service was held at the synagogue – the first in 65 years – a rare event that given the response, may not be repeated for some time.

There are nine synagogues in the area, but only two remain active at this point, according to the newspaper.

Ivo Molinas, chief editor of the weekly Jewish Salom newspaper, was interviewed about the anti-Semitic attack by the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

Molinas noted that the Turkish Jewish community has nothing to do with Israeli domestic or foreign policy. He expressed exasperation at the automatic connection made by gentile Turks between Turkish Jewry and the State of Israel.

“I don’t know what to think, other than that people insist on connecting us to Israel. Of course there are some connections between our community and Israel; members of our community have family that live there and might have emotional connections but we have nothing to do with their political policies,” Molinas explained in a phone interview with Today’s Zaman.

“Writing anti-Israel speech on the wall [outside] of a synagogue is an act of anti-Semitism. There is widespread anti-semitism voiced in Turkey and it gets in the way of celebrating the richness of cultural diversity in this country,” he added.

This hatred is not new.

About 18 months ago, a conservative columnist known for his ties to the AKParty led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a piece calling on the Turkish government to tax the country’s Jews in order to rebuild Gaza.

Writing in the Yeni Akit, Faruk Kose wrote that Turkey should impose the “Gaza Fund Contribution Tax” on Jews having anything whatsoever to do with Israel, or on anyone tied in any way to Israel.

The columnist said that Turkish Jewish citizens, any corporation, company or business that has any connection or maintains a partnership with a Turkish Jew – in short, anyone with any tie or connection with a Jew anywhere, or with Israel – should be taxed. Failure to pay the tax should lead to revoking one’s business license, and seizure of the offender’s property.

“The reconstruction of Gaza should be paid for by Jewish business owners,” Kose wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Move De Line’: Shalom Bayit; Shalom Aleinu

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

In parshah Ki Tetzei, Moses teaches us, almost as an afterthought, “Do not hate an Edomite because he is your brother.” This teaching is understandable. After all, even an estranged brother who has wronged me is still my brother. But then, in a leap hard to grasp for many of us, the Torah goes on to teach, “Do not hate an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (23:8).

What? How can we help but hate those who enslaved us? Whose king demanded that “every male Israelite born be thrown into the Nile”? There must be a deeper meaning to these words. How can we be expected to develop good relations with such a mortal enemy? Which do we do? Do we recall our suffering in Egypt (l’maan tizkor et yom tzetcha m’eretz Mitzrayim) or do we “not hate an Egyptian”?

When I studied at Yeshiva University, hundreds of us would rush to the cafeteria after morning seder to quickly get our lunches so we could make it to our afternoon shiur on time. As you can imagine, the line could grow very long. There, standing behind the counter, dishing out daily helpings of whatever was on the menu was a gentle Holocaust survivor, Mr. Weber. To this day, so many years later, I can still hear his voice prompting us along: “Move de line, move de line.”

Over the many years of my life, his constant refrain has become integral to my personal philosophy. To me, he was not simply asking us not to slow down the line; he was telling us not to get stuck in a tough spot and, by extension, not to remain mired in the bitterness of the inevitable challenges and disappointments we all face – not to bear grudges for the rest of our lives.

We all have to “move de line.”

That means letting go of the negatives that hold us back – the things that enslave us, that humiliate us, that degrade us. Ironically, until we can let go of those things, we will remain enslaved, even long after our captors have set us free. We need to “move de line” if we are to forge new paths and realize new goals.

Hurt begets hurt. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate. If you want to move de line, you have to let go of hurt and anger. If your “captor” allows you to go free, the least you can do is grant yourself the same grace. As long as you continue to be enslaved by negativity, you can know no freedom; you cannot embark on a new beginning. You are stuck.

As Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks eloquently teaches, “To be free, you have to let go of hate. That is what Moses is saying. If they continued to hate their erstwhile enemies, Moses would have taken the Israelites out of Egypt, but he would not have taken Egypt out of the Israelites. Mentally, they would still be there, slaves to the past. They would still be in chains, not of metal but of the mind – and chains of the mind are the most constricting of all.”

But what of all the mitzvot centered on Yetziat Mitzrayim – including those recalled on Shabbat, when laying tefillin, putting on our tzitzit or reciting the ancient truths at our Seders? In fact, there is no hate, no rage, no call for revenge or retaliation – not even a shred of negativity – in any of these mitzvot. Instead, they focus on the positive: Remember. Learn. Grow.

Move de line.

Rav Soloveitchik views the Egyptian exile and suffering as the “…experience which molded the moral quality of the Jewish people for all time.” Rather than embitter us, our experience in Egypt and subsequent emancipation teaches us not to hate and retaliate but rather “…ethical sensitivity, what it truly means to be a Jew. It sought to transform the Jew into a rachaman, one possessing a heightened form of ethical sensitivity and responsiveness.”

The most practical method of teaching compassion, sensitivity and concern for others, the most direct way of imparting a sense of mitgefiel, is to recall one’s own experience of tzarah. It should come as no surprise that it is often he who has suffered sickness who best understands the discomfort of the ill; he who has sustained loss who can best comfort the bereaved, and he who knew wealth and success but who suffered reversals who can best identify with a colleague or neighbor who confronts similar obstacles.

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Cancer Imagery and Jew Hatred

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Rowhani’s comment about Israel being a ‘sore’ (whether or not he added that it should be removed) expresses a popular meme in the Muslim world. The idea is expressed explicitly in the Hamas covenant, and it often appears in PLO media. Palestinian Journalist Khalid Amayreh published an article in 2010 on an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website in which he called  Jews “an abomination, a cancer upon the world.” Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday called Israel a “cancerous gland” which must be “excised,” echoing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Other Iranian officials also use this language on a regular basis.


The idea persists, despite the fact that — by any objective standard — the behavior of Israel is anything but expansionist and invasive. Although Israel ‘grew’ at the expense of the Arab nations in 1967, it has eagerly abandoned most of the territory conquered in the name of ‘peace’, even when that goal proved illusory. It would probably have given it all up if the Arabs had been more focused on strategic advantage than honor and vengeance.

Since 1948, the Arabs (and from 1979, the Iranian regime) have persisted in trying to ‘cure’ the Jewish ‘cancer’, sometimes by war, sometimes by diplomacy and often by both at once. The Arabs seem to have learned by successive humiliations (which only deepen their hatred) that direct means will not be successful. Now they have adopted a multi-pronged strategy of military pressure combined with delegitimization to reduce Western support for Israel, along with diplomatic offensives at the UN and with the US to obtain a solid territorial base. Once this is achieved, they expect to finish the job in another regional war.

The Arabs in particular have never been terribly original. First they borrowed the anti-Jewish ideology of the Nazis, exemplified by Palestinian Arab leader al-Husseini’s relationship with Hitler and the Nazi scientists and war criminals who found sanctuary in Egypt, Iraq and Syria after the war.

The rest of the world was understandably repelled by Nazi ideology, but in the late 1960′s Yasser Arafat was instructed by the KGB to present his gang as a movement of national liberation for a distinct ‘Palestinian people’, and Zionism as a form of imperialism. The international Left followed the KGB’s lead, and this marked the beginning of the Left’s fanatic anti-Zionism.

In 2001, a new element was added with the development of the Durban Strategy by anti-Israel NGOs. Gerald Steinberg explained it thus in 2005:

The Durban conference crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation based on the South African model. This plan is driven by UN-based groups as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which exploit the funds, slogans and rhetoric of the human rights movement.

On this basis a series of political battles have been fought in the UN and in the media. These include the myth of the Jenin “massacre,” the separation barrier, the academic boycott, and, currently, the church-based anti-Israel divestment campaign.

Each of these fronts reflected the Durban strategy of labeling Israel as the new South Africa.

Since then the campaign has expanded greatly, despite the complete absence of parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

It’s important to understand — and the cancer imagery makes this clear — that despite the various guises that the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian cause affects, there is one basic element that underlies it: an extreme hatred of the Jewish people and the desire for another genocide against it.

Vic Rosenthal

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/cancer-imagery-and-jew-hatred/2013/08/07/

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