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February 5, 2016 / 26 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust denial’

Iran’s Holocaust Denial Film Strikes Deep Chord

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Iran’s Supreme Leader is once again working hard to incite the haters of the world against global Jewry.

On the day the United Nations marked for commemoration of the world’s worst genocide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei uploaded a three-minute, English-subtitled video denying the Holocaust to his website called “Are the Dark Ages Over?”

The film features audio of a March 2014 speech during which Khamenei claimed that “No one is European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is reality or not.

“Even if it is reality, it is not clear how it happened.”  Images of infamous British Holocaust denier David Irving and others are featured in the film.

In June, Iran has announced a contest for satirical cartoons relating to the Holocaust as part of the Teheran International Cartoon Biennial. The winner is to be awarded a prize of $50,000 – a sum four times that of the previous year.

Last year, Iran announced a similar Holocaust denial cartoon exhibit just days before the Al Qaeda/Da’esh terrorist attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in Paris.

Israeli officials and Knesset members expressed their disappointment with France and Italy for inviting and hosting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – of all people – to visit on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“We all learned yesterday that the president of Iran, who we thought was a cruel and insensitive man who holds Holocaust denial exhibits, is actually such a sensitive person that the statues in Rome were covered in his honor, so as not to offend him,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein noted with sarcasm from the podium.

U.S. President Barack Obama was also blunt about the rising anti-Semitism around the world Wednesday in his speech at the Israel Embassy in Washington DC.

Obama declared that it would be necessary for American to take the lead in fighting the phenomenon. “We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise,” Obama said. “We cannot deny it… I’ve made sure that the United States is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

Ira Forman, the US State Department’s special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, told JNS.org, “We’re really concerned this contest is used as a platform for Holocaust denial…and antisemitic speech,” Forman told JNS.org.

Yet in Europe, where Rouhani is being welcomed with open arms, at least some government leaders are still awake enough to warn others about what is coming.

Speaking in Brussels Wednesday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Jewish and European leaders, “It pains me that in today’s Europe Jews again fear for their lives; that they ask themselves ‘will I be safe going to a synagogue, or a Jewish job? Will my children be safe in a Jewish school… some consider leaving Europe for good because they no longer feel safe.”

It is the responsibility of Europe’s leaders to fight the “demons of anti-Semitism… intolerance” he said. “Some deny the Holocaust ever happened, they try to convince us that the pain and loss inflicted on innocent victims are illusions, are lies. What makes me angry every day is that these people are sitting in the parliament here. The Holocaust deniers are electted to the European parliament.”

At the start of January, following reports of the latest cartoon contest in Iranian media, Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-HaCohen wrote to Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN agency, to bring the issue to her attention. “It is time for UNESCO to demand accountability from the Iranian regime with regard to its malicious rhetoric, Holocaust denial and global negative activity.”

French Jewish Leader Indicted for Calling Dieudonne ‘Professional Anti-Semite’

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Roger Cukierman, president of France’s largest Jewish group, was indicted for supposedly defaming the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala a “professional anti-Semite.”

Cukierman, who heads the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities and organizations, announced the indictment on Monday in a video that appeared on the CRIF website.

“So I am being indicted for having stated on Europe 1 that Dieudonne is a professional anti-Semite. Isn’t that funny? For once, Dieudonne is actually comical,” Cukierman said.

Dieudonne has 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, according to CRIF. He also invented the quenelle salute, which French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said was an inverted Nazi gesture of anti-Semitic hate, and the term “shoananas,” a mashup of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and the French word for pineapple, which is used to suggest the genocide never happened without explicitly violating France’s laws against doing so.

Earlier this year, Valls, then interior minister, advised mayors to ban Dieudonne’s shows, leading to the show’s cancellation and replacement with another routine which featured less anti-Semitic material.

Indictments are “quasi-automatic” in France when police receive complaints of defamation, according to the L’Express news website.

Responding to the indictment, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Vigilance, or BNVCA, extended its support for Cukierman.

“No one in France knows anti-Semitism better than Roger Cukierman, who survived the Holocaust at the age of nine because nuns hid him while his family was deported to Auschwitz and gassed there,” the Drancy-based watchdog wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Dieudonne and the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral recently decided to form a political party, the news site Mediapart.fe reported Tuesday.

Last week, Dieudonne was indicted for fraud, money laundering and abuse of public funds, Le Monde reported. Researchers believe Dieudonne, who declared he had no money to pay fines he received for his hate speech, transferred more than $500,000 to Cameroon while he declared himself to be insolvent.

Still A Nation That Dwells Alone

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Days turn into weeks and the ominous news continues. Our precious sons are in harm’s way and we hear the horrific news that some of them will never come home. One boy was about to get married; another’s wife just had a baby; and still another left behind a wife who was in her ninth month. I realize you are all aware of this. I am not telling you anything new but still I have a compulsion to share and speak and write.

I listen to the news day and night. People have suggested that I stop, that it’s too depressing. But even if I were to shut out the media, in my mind I would still see and hear bereaved parents, and young wives who in the blink of an eye have become widows, and little orphans who are crying for their daddies.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that I am a survivor. I saw this all before and everything is coming back to me from those days in Europe before Hitler occupied Hungary. My revered father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, ztl, was the chief Orthodox rabbi of our city Szeged, the second largest city in Hungary (not to be confused with Sziget).

Our home became a gathering place not only for Jews from our city but for community leaders from the provinces. The discussions went on late into the night. “What to do?” everyone asked. And the answer to that question, the conclusion to all such discussions, was always the same: “Surely the civilized world will never countenance such beastly evil. People will protest and Germany will find itself a pariah among the family of nations.”

I have often thought about those conversations. Why were we so blind to our horrific reality? Simply put, there was nothing much we could do. We had no weapons. We had no friends. There was no place to run. No place to hide. Hitler was determined to annihilate every Jew and he kept meticulous records of the Jewish populations in the countries he conquered.

Some years ago I was invited to speak at Fort Hood to over 40,000 U.S. military personnel. After one of my presentations some officers asked if they could invite their families to listen to me. They wanted their wives and children to know about the Holocaust. When I concluded my address, an adorable little girl stood up.

“Rebbetzin, Ma’am,” she said in her innocent sweet voice, “why didn’t you call the police?”

For a moment I was astounded by the question. What an American question! And then I explained to the little girl that there were no police we could call. The police were equally as cruel as the Nazis. Jewish blood was cheap and could be shed with impunity. The question from the little girl continues to echo in the wind.

When the sinister darkness of the Holocaust had finally lifted, I heard the cry “never again” – “never again will we allow such satanic evil to take place. Never again.” Those words have become a clarion call. Tourists visit the sites where the death camps operated and nations build Holocaust museums to ensure that people learn from the past.

Under such circumstances, who could be a Holocaust denier? It’s there for all to see. And yet, incredibly, the Holocaust denial movement is alive and well.

But the problem extends well beyond out-and-out Holocaust deniers. Let a Jew raise his hand to defend himself and suddenly otherwise placid people become seething cauldrons of Jew hatred.

It has been my privilege to speak throughout the world. Recently I’ve been receiving calls from many friends in the countries I’ve visited. Be it Paris, London, Johannesburg, or any of a couple dozen other locations, anti-Semitic demonstrations are taking place. Not that we have to cross the ocean to hear this message –it’s happening right here in our own back yard.

Anti-Semitism is the New “Black” in California Public Schools

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Teaching in the public school system in Southern California has taught me a lot of things. However, the most important thing that I learned through my several years as a public educator in California is that teaching “tolerance” means anti-Semitism is just fine. In public schools, anti-Semitism is the new “Black,” just like the Netflix popular series Orange is the New Black. In other words, anti-Semitism is cool.

If you are a gay student, you are protected. If you are Hispanic, the public school system will make sure anybody who even hints that you are inferior will be severely punished. If you are Black, you are a protected minority as well. But no matter how many times supposedly open-minded teachers teach “The Diary of Anne Frank,” a Jewish student isn’t protected. The public education doesn’t really consider Jews minorities. Some think it’s because of their light skin color, while others think it’s because many come from families who just happen to work hard and make a good living. However, the seething hatred of Israel from most liberal educators is what causes most of their apathy towards Jewish students in the present day.

Discussions about how the Holocaust never happened are common in California public schools. Just ask “Jazzy,” a Southern California high school student who was interviewed by Martin Hill from Libertyfight.com. The clip, which went viral, has been erased but not before receiving thousands of “likes” when it first aired. In the video, Jazzy cites that there has been no proof Jews died from being gassed to death. She mentions that not a single body was found with any signs of being gassed. The most disgusting part about this ignorance: Jazzy received an “A” on a homework assignment she submitted based on her research.

The truth is that in California’s public education system, one can earn an “A” on an assignment that has several spelling errors, contains shady research, and is completely incoherent. Teachers believe giving students high grades increases their confidence, even if the high grade hasn’t truly been earned. However, can you imagine a student turning in an assignment that denies slavery existed? Can you imagine a student turning in a paper that hints the suicide of Tyler Clementi had nothing to do with his sexuality? You can bet that student would be yelled at, suspended, and viciously taunted by the school staff. Imagine what would happen with the teacher who gave that student an A!

My first professional experience with anti-Semitism came when teaching in Glendale, a middle class city that is just a couple minutes north of Los Angeles. A majority of the population is Armenian and I was shocked to learn just how much a significant percent of Armenians in Glendale hates Jews. This shocked me, especially since studying how Armenians, like Jews, faced inhumane genocide. Even the best and most intelligent Armenian students were taught to hate Jews. Things turned pretty brutal when a Jewish student of mine named Stacey was severely bullied and physically attacked by other Armenian students, who received an after-school detention something their parents actually thought was too harsh.

Our administration had us attend several conferences on “diversity” and “tolerance.” However, my complaints about anti-Semitism coming from students and even other teachers were virtually ignored. But hey our school was required to teach “The Diary of Anne Frank,” even if one teacher told me she wouldn’t spend much time on the book since a lot of it was fiction. Some parents even requested that their child be offered an alternative assignment. Oh, and the teacher that called Anne Frank a spoiled princess is still teaching at the same exact school!

Stealth Anti-Semitism In Middle School

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The Rialto Unified School District school board outside of Los Angeles was in full damage control earlier this month, fending off universal opprobrium over a third-quarter English Language Arts argumentative writing/research project given to 2,000 eighth-graders. The breathtakingly ill-conceived assignment asked students to “read and discuss multiple, credible articles on this issue, and write an argumentative essay, based on cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe [the Holocaust] was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

Most critics denounced the assignment as absurd on its face, since it asked middle school students, after reading only a handful of brief research essays, to convince a reader that the Holocaust, one of the most documented historical events in modern human history, either happened or did not happen. Even more egregious than the notion that the Shoah might not have occurred was the statement that, as the instructions for the assignment read, “some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual event, but instead is a propaganda tool.”

Given that even American high school students cannot identify, as random examples, the half century during which the U.S. Civil War was fought, name a single Supreme Court justice, identify the intent of the Bill of Rights, or identify Britain on a map of the world, the notion that eighth graders could coherently disprove something that is an historical fact, not an opinion, is obviously a useless intellectual exercise. And critics of the assignment were appalled that students were even exposed to the idea that the Holocaust was a myth in the first place, a notion only those on the lunatic fringe embrace.

While the shell-shocked spokesperson for Rialto school district, Syeda Jafri, assured the media that no complaint about the assignment had been forthcoming from within the district system, either from teachers or parents, the larger question is how the committee of eighth–grade teachers who conceived the critical thinking exercise in the first place had not anticipated the calamitous reaction to their choice for the essay topic. Presumably, every member of that committee had attended college; some, perhaps, even possess advanced degrees. In an education culture suffused with political correctness – and especially on college campuses where the educators studied for their profession – an enormous amount of attention is paid to who may say what about whom and what is acceptable thought and speech on campuses where “victim” groups vie for rights and accommodations.

One of the groups that does not fare well on campuses these days, however, is Jews, particularly in the context of the debate over Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, the same careless sentiments that accuse Jewish students of being inherently racist for supporting the “apartheid” state of Israel seem to have been present in the committee room when ideas for this year’s assignment were being tossed about for consideration. Consider how classically anti-Semitic the language of the assignment itself is, suggesting in the same paragraph – not once but twice – that the Holocaust “is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain,” and “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.” Who is seeking monetary gain? Who schemed to extort the West? Who has global influence over public opinion? Who seeks undeserved profit? For anti-Semites, the answer has always been the same: Jews.

And that is the very clear message transmitted in the essay assignment. Professor Robert S. Wistrich, one of the world’s leading authorities on anti-Semitism, has noted that Holocaust denial by definition libels Jews; “that, by accusing Jews…of inventing the Shoah to extract billions of dollars and blackmail Germany or the West, the deniers add a peculiarly vile conspiracy theory to the arsenal of millennial anti-Semitism and transform the victims into superlatively cunning, fraudulent, and despicable perpetrators” – precisely what the assumption would be of any student who completed the assignment with the thesis that the Holocaust was a fraud, a “scheme,” or a “propaganda tool.”

Holocaust Denial and Critical Thinking Skills

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Charles C.W. Cooke opened up a can of worms at NRO when he opined, on 7 May, that asking 8th graders to prove to themselves whether the Holocaust had actually happened was a perfectly good exercise in academic honesty.  He certainly has no doubts about the reality of the Holocaust, he stressed.  But he also thinks we shouldn’t fear the outcome of an empirical investigation into the question, which can be compared with debates over value questions like whether “war is always wrong,” or whether “sharia law would be good for the West.”

Jonah Goldberg responded promptly, making the main points that occurred immediately to me.  First, 8th graders are not college students; it’s the rare 8th grader who is up to the rigors of an Oxford Union debate.  Second, debating a factual point that’s subject to empirical disproof is a different game from debating what our moral values should prescribe for us (or, indeed, what those values should be).

Cooke acknowledged both points.  He still thinks we shouldn’t reflexively object to a research-and-reasoning exercise on the reality of the Holocaust.  He compares it in his response to a similar exercise treating the reality of the Declaration of Independence.  In his view, it would be an opportunity to stress the value of empiricism and the use of critical thinking skills.

And while he doesn’t state it explicitly, an implied advantage of doing this with a topic like the Holocaust is that a student’s success would be measurable.  Since we know there was a Holocaust, and we know a great deal about it, a student’s performance will be indicated by whether he concludes that the Holocaust most certainly happened.

Right?  Well, that’s where the elevation of abstract reasoning over all else breaks down for me.  What about the student who doesn’t conclude that the Holocaust happened, but can make a compelling argument – in the abstract – that doubt, at least, should be cast on it; and can even “show his work,” very possibly running logical rings around the instructor?

The question about this scenario is not whether we should “fear” it.  The question is what good it has done to put time and effort into it.  (There’s also a question whether putting effort into it is actively harmful.  More on that in a minute.)

Not every intellectual freedom that we have an inherent right to is a priority for education.  A 13-year-old could congratulate himself, for example, on demonstrating that there’s no objective proof of his existence; and from the standpoint of intellectual freedom, we’d all say, “Knock yourself out, buddy.”  But whether we want him to devote his educational time to that effort, and what we expect him to get out of it, depend on our scale of values.  Education is intrinsically a process in which we make value-based choices about what to emphasize and what to do.  No such thing exists as abstract, non-value-weighted education.

There’s thus a big value difference between giving children the tools of thinking, and selecting things for them to approach with skepticism.  The latter can never be a neutral action, in any context.

In recent decades, in fact, much of academia has made something of a fetish of it for very specific purposes, like casting doubt on whether America’s Founders were Christians or not.  The upshot of this has been that “skepticism” itself has been turned on its head, and middle- and high-school students are encouraged to think they’ve been endowed with a refreshing skepticism on one topic or another, when in fact they’ve simply been indoctrinated with an arguable falsity.

Muslims Planning ‘Shadow Holocaust’ Event on Dutch Memorial Day

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

A Dutch Muslim group is planning to commemorate “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine” on Holland’s memorial day for victims of Nazism.

The Platform Bewust Muslim group is planning to hold the ceremony on Sunday at a mosque in Hilversum, near Amsterdam, under the banner “Palestine, the Shadow Holocaust,” the Jewish television channel Joods Omroep reported Monday on its website.

The event was advertised as a symposium offering “a review of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the passive attitude of the international community.”

May 4 is the Netherlands’ official day for Remembrance of the Dead, when commemorations are held for Dutch civilians and members of the armed forces killed by enemy forces in terrorist attacks or in combat. Many of the events are designed to commemorate victims of Nazism, often with an emphasis on Holocaust victims.

Hilversum has received 45 objections urging that the municipality prevent or postpone the event, Joods Omroep reported. Some complaints also were made to the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, a watchdog group based in The Hague.

Hilversum Mayor Pieter Broertjes told the Joods Omroep that he is discussing the relevant issues with organizers, “including the possibility of postponement.”

One of the complainants is Jack Justus, who was among the leaders of a campaign that ended with the issuing of an injunction in 2012 banning the town of Vorden from advancing plans to memorialize German soldiers on May 4 along with their victims. Memorial organizers had said it was a gesture meant to promote world peace and reconciliation.

But “the Hilversum commemoration tops it all,” Justus told the Joods Omroep. “It’s an enormous insult to victims, survivors and their descendants.”

Separately, Landerd canceled plans to unveil a memorial plaque on Sunday for a German pilot who was shot down over the eastern Dutch town during World War II, the Omroep Brabant reported Monday. The cancellation followed a complaint by Justus and Federative Jewish Netherlands, the Jewish group that had obtained the injunction in 2012.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/muslims-planning-shadow-holocaust-event-on-dutch-memorial-day/2014/05/08/

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