On Sunday evening, April 27, 2014, six Holocaust survivors lit six torches representing the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide during the opening ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem.
Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’
World leaders do not understand the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran just as they misjudged or did not even want to understand “the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday night, the beginning of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
Speaking at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister asked rhetorically, “Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time? In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as a trickle and transformed into a huge wave….
“Very few world leaders understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism….. The bitter and tragic truth is this: it is not that they did not see it. They did not want to see it. And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that world leaders in the 1930s adopted of a policy that was based on “one axiom – avoid another confrontation at any cost.”
He quoted the Biblical phrase from the Book of Psalms, “They have eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear.”
Netanyahu then turned his attention to Iran, which has called for destroying Israel and is recognized by the virtually the entire western world as retrying to develop a nuclear weapon.
“Today, just like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as one that serves domestic purposes,” he said. “Today, just like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation – a will that should be accepted.
“And just like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.”
Netanyahu quoted the Bible throughout his speech and concluded a train of thought that implied that the Jews in Israel, unlike those in without a Jewish state under the Nazi regime, will not let themselves be destroyed.
He cited the fourth Book of the Torah (BaMidbar, or Numbers, 23:13-26,) in which the non-Jewish told King Balak, who had paid him to curse Israel, “The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion; it will not lie down until it consumes prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.”
An annual report on Anti-Semitism worldwide during 2013 was released today (Apr. 27), a day before Israel marks Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
The report, compiled by Prof. Dina Porat of the Moshe Kantor database for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, describes a severe escalation in the worldwide anti-Jewish atmosphere in 2013, as anti-Semitism continues to infiltrate the mainstream from the extreme left and right fringes, and its manifestations have become an almost daily phenomenon. The major conclusion of the research conducted by the Kantor Center team and supported by both community reports and independent surveys by non-Jewish sources, is that the anxiety felt by Jews around the world, both as individuals and as communities, originates in the growing intensity and the increase in insults, abusive language and behavior, threats and harassment, but not necessarily in an increase in the number of physical violent incidents.
Surveys show that most Jews who have experienced an anti-Semitic verbal or physical attack did not report them; therefore the situation is worse than the one reported by monitoring and law enforcing agencies and Jewish communities.
During 2013, the Kantor Center team registered and analyzed 554 violent anti-Semitic acts perpetrated with weapons or without, by arson, vandalism or direct threats against Jewish persons or institutions such as synagogues, community centers, schools, cemeteries and monuments, as well as private property. Physically violent incidents decreased in 2013 by 19% to 554 attacks, yet the number of direct attacks against persons is steadily increasing.
Among all registered cases worldwide there were 25 attacks with weapons, 98 cases of weaponless violence, 9 cases of arson, 89 direct threats, and 333 incidents of vandalism. The targets of such incidents were 185 persons, 67 synagogues, 52 community centers and schools, 90 cemeteries and memorial sites and 160 private properties. The highest number of events occurred in France: 116, (compared to 200 in 2012). A decline in violent cases was registered in Italy, Poland, the US and Australia, and a rise was recorded in the UK, Canada, Germany and the Ukraine. The number of violent incidents during the last decade (2004-2014) is higher than in the former one.
Disconcerting findings were the result of a wide scope survey published in the beginning of November 2013 by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), a research branch of the European Union (EU), on the reactions and perceptions among European Jews regarding anti-Semitism. The survey was conducted among six thousand Jews in eight countries, where approximately one million Jews who constitute 90% of the Jewish population of the European Union reside.
The findings point at an intensified feeling that personal safety and communal well-being are jeopardized, especially in Hungary, France, and Belgium, followed by Sweden, Italy, Germany, UK and Latvia, where the situation is less severe. About 80% of the participants in Hungary considered extreme right circles as the main source of threat; over 60% in Italy pointed to the left; 73%t in France and 60% in Belgium blamed radical Muslims, while anti-Semitism originating in the church and in Christianity in general, was last on the list.
The report offers two conclusions.
First: There is a growing discrepancy between official policies in most western countries that support commemorating the Holocaust, condemning any form of anti-Semitism, and promoting legislation against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and the popular opinion in such countries that surfaced, for instance, during the kosher slaughtering and circumcision debates, and intensified when Jewish property looted by the Nazis reappears as a national issue. A significant number of politicians, leaders, and officials who expressed anti-Semitic opinions, slurs and the like in public (at least 15 during 2013), were forced to resign, or did so on their own accord.
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is warning that the Jews for Jesus missionary group is using Holocaust imagery to lure Jews away from their faith.
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement Thursday condemning a new video posted to YouTube by the missionaries as a “cynical abuse of the Holocause for proselytizing.”
The video shows an image of Jesus carrying a cross among the Jews, and being selected for the gas chambers by a Nazi officer at the gates of the Auschwitz death camp. The tag line of the video is, “That Jew died for you.”
Mr. Foxman, who called the video an “outrage,” said, “It is deeply offensive not only to Jews who lost family members in the Holocaust but also to Christians who would not want to see images of Jesus used for propaganda or shock value.
“Jews for Jesus has taken their abuse of Holocaust imagery to a new low… [it is] an outrageous cheapening of the tragedy of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust for the purpose of gaining attention to the Jews for Jesus missionary cause, which is to convert Jews to the belief that Jesus is their messiah.”
There is a direct contradiction between the two.
In Judaism, the messiah has not yet arrived. Jesus is perceived in the Jewish faith as having lived as a human being who did not meet the qualifications to be the messiah, either in his time or in future years. Jews do not believe that Jesus bears any divine attributes whatsoever.
In Christianity, of course, the exact opposite is true. Jesus is perceived as having lived as a man with divine attributes, and as being the messiah who lived and was “resurrected to live again.”
It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For some Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on this Passover holiday of “freedom,” concern and even fear is lurking in their thoughts, making them wonder about the lessons of the past.
On the first day of Passover this week, three armed men in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk distributed flyers warning Jews to “register” themselves and their assets with the new pro-Russian government, according to the novosti.dn.ua website.
The flyers were handed out next to a synagogue as people were leaving following holiday prayers. They read as follows:
“Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,
Due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported (Stepan) Bendery Junta, and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, [the interim government] has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent age 16 and older, residing within the territory of the republic, are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register by May 3.
(Ed. Note: Stepan Bander was a Ukrainian nationalist leader in Kiev who fought with Nazi Germany in the 1940s against Soviet troops before switching sides and taking up arms against the German occupation.)
“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles. Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revocation and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property. A registration fee of $50 is required.”
Pro-Russian separatists are occupying the building where the Jews were told the register.
The flyer was written in the Russian language and bore the symbol of Mother Russia at the top of the page and that of the Donetsk People’s Republic at the bottom. It was allegedly signed by Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Donetsk interim government but no ink signature is seen on the paper.
Donetsk was recently declared an independent “people’s republic” by pro-Russian activists. In response to a query by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin confirmed the flyers were indeed distributed by his organization. However, he was quoted by the tvrain.ru news site on Wednesday as denying any connection to the content, and called the flyers a ‘provocation.’
Nevertheless, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky told Voice of Israel government radio on Wednesday that aliyah from the Ukraine is likely to double by the end of 2014.
The flyer – authentic or not – constitutes the 17th anti-Semitic incident to have taken place in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. Most were violent attacks. Several were aimed at Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and a few were life-threatening. Five took place in Kiev alone, according to statistics gleaned from the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA) website.
A reader on the Israel Matzav blog warned in a number of posts that the situation in Ukraine is becoming extremely dangerous for Jews.
Wisely, a Jewish resident of Donetsk told Ynet that she does not intend to register, although she said that she had never encountered any form of anti-Semitism until she saw the flyer. “Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity,” she said.
A sapling taken from the tree that grew outside the attic where teen Holocaust diarist Anne Frank was hidden will be planted at the U.S. Capitol.
The tree will be planted on the west front lawn on April 30.
Saplings taken from the tree have been planted around the world. The tree, at more than 150 years old and weakened by a fungus, collapsed in stormy weather in Amsterdam in 2010.
Anne frequently wrote about the tree in her famous diary, which was discovered and published after the Holocaust. She died at the age of 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Members of the Jewish community were among the demonstrators protesting the construction of a controversial monument to the Hungarian victims of the German occupation, implying that the Hungarian government bore no responsibility for the death of Jews.
Work on the statue began Tuesday in downtown Budapest, according to Klubradio, a news station known to be critical of the government. The protest was held that evening adjacent to the U.S. Embassy building, with protesters carrying signs saying the memorial is “a falsification of Hungary’s history.”
The Freedom Square monument, due to be completed in May, will pay tribute to “all Hungarian victims with the erection of the monument commemorating the tragic German occupation and the memorial year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust,” according to the Hungarian Government Information Center.
The Jewish community has argued that the memorial removes any responsibility from the Hungarian government of that time for the death of Hungarian Jews.
Along with the Jewish community, the protesters included Hungarian opposition politicians and civil activists.
Construction was halted before the general elections, held over the weekend, due to the opposition of the Jewish community.
Andras Heisler, president of the Hungarian Jewish community, told Klubradio that the start of construction was a surprise to the leadership of the Jewish community, coming just days after the elections in which the ultranationalist Jobbik party garnered 23 percent of the vote — an increase of 6 percent from four years ago.
Following Sunday’s elections, Jewish community leaders congratulated the winning Fidesz party, notably its leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban.