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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Chronicle’

Arab Teachers’ Rejection of Holocaust Education Highlights Arab Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard once commented that, sometimes, the only proper reaction to a particular event is despair. The following represents such an example.

According to a recent report, rumors of a U.N. decision to introduce Holocaust studies in schools in Palestinian refugee camps run by UNRWA  have outraged Jordanian teachers, who say they will refuse to teach history that “harms the Palestinian cause.”

Roughly two million Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA’s Jordan offices, and they operate 172 schools in 10 refugee camps across the kingdom.

The Executive Committee of UNRWA teachers in Jordan responded to news that Holocaust studies would be added to the curriculum on ‘conflict resolution’ by issuing a statement stating that, “We condemn this decision, which equates the butcher and the victim,” (emphasis added).

The teachers’ statement demanded instead classes on the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

The statement continued, objecting to the fact that “Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called “Holocaust” as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause … and changes the students’  views regarding their main enemy, namely the Israeli occupation.

“We shall monitor the curriculum being taught under the title ‘concepts of human rights’ [which is] aimed at reducing [Palestinian] students’ awareness of the right of return…”

The reaction by Jordanian teachers follows a decision last year, by the association of UNRWA employees, to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools.

Remember that these are not Islamist extremists we’re talking about, but middle-class Jordanian educators, ordinary men and women who evidently are outraged by “rumors” of a U.N. decision to teach children about the Nazi slaughter of one out of every three Jews on earth.

Identifying with six-million victims of Nazi genocide is evidently seen as harming the Palestinian cause.

Moreover, it’s important to understand that though the Holocaust did not come close to putting an end to anti-Semitism across the world, news of the unspeakable horrors in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek did attach to expressions of Judeophobia, in most of the enlightened world, a significant moral stigma.

Holocaust memory in our times creates a bulwark of sorts against the most virulent expressions of antisemitism, as it demonstrates the potential deadly consequences of unchallenged racism against Jews – and, indeed, against other minorities.

It is indeed telling that the central address of anti-Semitism in modern times is the Arab and Muslim Middle East, where the cultural antibodies against Jew hatred have failed to materialize.

If the citizens of the Middle East were to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust they would be forced to confront their own society’s often homicidal  anti-Semitism – a self-reflective habit of mind which the honor-shame culture of the Arab world does not promote.

The reaction by Jordanian teachers to the suggestion that they educate Palestinian children about the unspeakable crimes committed against Jews is, therefore, not surprising, as such a curriculum would necessarily turn a mirror on their own extensive moral and cultural shortcomings.

Finally, how can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

The only healthy response to such stories is simply despair.

Originally published at the CifWatch blog.

British Judge Permits 10 Year-Old Jewish Girl to Convert to Christianity

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A British judge has permitted a 10-year-old Jewish girl to convert to Christianity despite her mother’s opposition.

The decision comes after the girl’s mother applied for a court order in November 2011 to prevent her ex-husband from having the girl baptized until she turns 16. The mother claimed the girl had been “brainwashed” and was too young to convert out of her faith.

The parents, both of whom were Jewish at the time of the girl’s birth, divorced in 2010. They had agreed on a custody arrangement for the girl – identified as C by the court – and her younger brother. Not long after the divorce though, the father converted to Christianity.

Judge John Platt, in a letter to the girl last week, wrote: “Sometimes parents simply cannot agree on what is best for their child, but they can’t both be right. Your father thinks it is right for you to be baptised as a Christian now. Your mother wants you to wait until you are older so they have asked me to decide for them. That is my job.”

The judge continued by thanking the girl for “telling me so clearly why you want to be baptised now…It is important for me to know how you feel.”

The judge outlined both parents’ positions, saying that the mother believes C is too young to make such a momentous decision and that it should wait until C turns 16. In opposition, C’s father’s claimed that he does not intend to negate his children’s “Jewish heritage and culture.”

Giving his decision, Judge Platt wrote: “My job is to decide simply what is best for you and I have decided that the best thing for you is that you are allowed to start your baptism classes as soon as they can be arranged and that you are baptised as a Christian as soon as your minister feels you are ready.”

Still, he said, “Being baptized does not mean that you give up your Jewish heritage. That will always be part of you and I hope that you will continue to learn more about that heritage and about your mother’s faith. Even after you are baptized you are still free to change your mind about your faith later when you are older.”

Regarding confirmation, which is considered to be the ratification of the covenant initiated by the baptism ritual, the judge wrote: “In the light of her Jewish heritage, I would consider it appropriate that she should attain a much fuller degree of understanding and greater maturity before being confirmed and I therefore propose that she should not be confirmed before her 16th birthday without the consent of the mother.”

The court considered a written submission from Odom Brandman, a Chabad rabbi, who was quoted by the London Jewish Chronicle as saying that “It is unfair to any child to put them under this pressure and to do something unnatural to their soul.”

The Judge’s letter to the child was reproduced as the written judgment of the case.

JTA content was used in this report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/british-judge-permits-10-year-old-jewish-girl-to-convert-to-christianity/2012/08/06/

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