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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘legacy’

Tamar Yonah Show – The Obama Legacy in Two Words…. [audio]

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Tamar tells you exactly what she thinks about the Obama Legacy in 2 words, and then steam-rolls the John Kerry Speech.

Joining her on this show are Shifra Hoffman of VictimsOfArabTerror.org  and Shuva.net  who talks about renewed antisemitism in America,  and IQ Al Rassooli who pundits on Obama’s legacy and what he has and has not done during his presidency.

Tamar Yonah Show 01Jan2017 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Obama’s UN Legacy: Whitewashing Iran’s Nuclear Cheating; Outlawing Jewish History

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Legal Insurrection website}

The year was bookmarked by the passage of UN Security Council resolution 2231 in January, giving U.N. authority to the Iran Nuclear Deal, and resolution 2334 last week, purporting to declare illegal the presence of Jews in areas in which form a key part of Jewish history.

In the case of the Iran deal, the United States led the Security Council and voted for the resolution enshrining the nuclear deal into what passes for international law. In the case of the more recent resolution, the United States abstained, according to some incoherent reasons spouted by US Ambassador Samantha Power, but it looks like, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charges, that Obama orchestrated it. (Yesterday, Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes charged that Israel had “ironclad information” that Obama was indeed behind the maneuver}.

In the case of 2231, the Security Council reversed a decade of policy and undermined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by removing nuclear-related sanctions from Iran without insisting that Iran stop enriching uranium first. Obama, of course, obfuscated this by saying that sanctions brought Iran to the table. That’s incredibly misleading. Iran was sanctioned because it was a nuclear outlaw. Not only a nuclear outlaw, but a nuclear outlaw that had threatened and continues the destruction of another member state.

But administration officials insisted that Iran had, during sanctions, neglected too many civilian needs, so it would use the billions to shore up its crumbling infrastructure. Iran said it would use the billions to further its destabilizing activities and has done so. The destruction of eastern Aleppo, is the latest sign that Iran was emboldened by the deal that whitewashed its crimes and convinced its leaders that they could get away with mass murder. (Amb. Power telling Iran, Russia and Syria that they should be ashamed of themselves is not any sort of punishment.)

Eleven months after exonerating Iran, Obama put Israel in the penalty box by allowing a resolution that stated, “that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law,” meaning of course that the Jewish presence in the Old City of Jerusalem, (which Jews were illegally ethnically cleansed from by Jordan in 1948) is against international law.

This is just a secularized version of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s September 2015 declaration that the PA “won’t allow Jew’s filthy feet” to defile the holy places in Jerusalem. Just as Abbas statement served as a call to arms beginning last year’s “knife intifada,” resolution 2334 has become a call for more terror. That call hasn’t just been made by Hamas, but also by Abbas’s “moderate” Fatah movement.

In other words with its support of these two resolutions it has given Israel’s enemies a license to kill, while limiting what Israel can do to defend itself.

There are other aspects to these twin betrayals that are worth mentioning.

Both show that international outlaws can get what they want by simply waiting. As noted above, Iran hated sanctions and hated being branded an outlaw. With Obama eager to make a deal they saw an opportunity to get their crimes expunged AND keep their illicit uranium enrichment program. Obama said simply that Iran would never agree to scrap its enrichment program if there was to be a deal. (This of course contradicted the common administration refrain that no deal was better than a bad deal.)

But Abbas, too, has benefited from changing circumstances. The Washington Post, which has spent most of the past two months warning that Donald Trump would break with traditional foreign policy, woke up to the fact that Obama has already done that regarding Israel. An editorial Friday observed that Obama had “[reversed] decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents,” of “[vetoing] past resolutions on the grounds that they unreasonably singled out Jewish communities in occupied territories as an obstacle to Middle East peace.”

The editorial also correctly noted, “The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas proved unwilling to negotiate seriously even during the [2010] settlement freeze, and it refused to accept a framework for negotiations painstakingly drawn up by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in 2014.” In other words the failure of the Obama administration to make peace can be traced to Palestinian intransigence.

But as Post editor Jackson Diehl noted back in 2009, Abbas had been reassured by his early meeting with Obama that “the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud.” And as Prof. Jacobson noted back in 2011, that Obama sought to make peace based on the so-called 1967 borders.

This was a change in U.S. policy. First of all, the 1967 borders, prior to the Six-Day-War were the never-meant-to-be-permanent 1949 armistice lines. In fact President Lyndon Johnson, during whose administration the war occurred, believed the armistice lines to be a prescription for renewed war.

Second of all, the basis for calling the territory won by Israel in 1967 “occupied” requires a fraudulent reading of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Fourth Geneva Convention is a point of convergence for both shameful UNSC resolutions as Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a conference call last week, “And we are seeing the Iranians using the Shi’ite population from Iraq and as far away as Afghanistan and Pakistan and moving them into these areas to alter the demographic balance of the Levant. That is exactly what the Fourth Geneva Convention wanted to address, and that is exactly what is being ignored today by the UN.”

Hypocritically, the Obama administration is refusing to apply the Fourth Geneva Convention to rein in Iranian aggression resulting from the nuclear deal, but using it to vilify Israel.

In short, what Obama has done is used the U.N. to give every benefit of the doubt to Israel’s enemies and to criminalize Israel for existing. This is Obama’s shameful Middle East legacy done with the connivance of the United Nations.

 

David Gerstman

Shlomo’s Legacy And BJX

Monday, November 21st, 2016

On September 11, 2016 the world observed the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.

September 11th changed the course of history. It is a day punctuated with memories of terrorism, death, fire, darkness and pain. On that fateful day, many lives were cut short. 9/11 was also a day that the world witnessed an incredible display of heroism, love and ahavas Yisroel. On 9/11 Shlomo Zakheim, beloved husband of Dr. Faye Zakheim, rushed to the Twin Towers as a first responder, along with many other Hatzalah members. His primary goal was to evacuate, rescue and save as many people as possible. His engine, his driving force, was chesed and ahavas Yisroel.

On Rosh Hashanah, September 4, 2013 as the Jewish world was preparing for a new year, Shlomo’s lofty neshama departed this finite world.

On a beautiful Shabbos Nachamu weekend, I, along with a busload of students from the Brooklyn Jewish Xperience (BJX), spent an unforgettable Shabbos upstate in Woodridge, New York at the Zakheim home. The rabbis planned a spectacular itinerary with Dr. Zakheim. We were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived on Friday until the time we departed on Sunday. Dr. Faye, Reb Azi and Reb Moshe Zakheim hosted our group of students and young professionals in a beautiful home designed by Shlomo Zakheim from his hospital bed for the specific purpose of welcoming guests for Shabbat and holidays. Both Rabbi Yitzchok and Rabbi Moshe Fingerer presented Dr. Zakheim with a beautiful framed birchat ha’bayit prayer as a token of appreciation from the BJX community for her incredible devotion, meticulous care and deep love.

BJX students and young professionals come from all different religious and geographical backgrounds. Many of us, like myself, did not grow up religious. BJX is an extremely warm, welcoming organization and shul where we feel comfortable and at home, even though many of us were raised unobservant.

Dr. Faye Zakheim is the “mother” of BJX and a critical part of creating its warm and inspiring atmosphere. Most Shabbat evenings, Dr. Faye hosts the BJX Shabbaton for college students and young professionals. For many of us, it is the highlight of our week as we reconnect with our “family,” hear inspiring divrei Torah and catch up about our week.

As a professor of Social Work, Dr. Zakheim is an expert in building community and bringing out the best in people. Each week she has a different thought-provoking question to pose to everyone around the Shabbat table. Each person takes turns introducing him or herself, receiving a warm welcome from the crowd, and answering the question of the week. It is an opportunity to share our thoughts on current events, life situations and Torah in an open, friendly environment. Many uplifting thoughts are exchanged around her upstate Shabbat table. For example, Yelena shared how BJX had sent her and her husband Alex to Israel to study after their wedding. She shared inspiring tidbits of her growth and spoke of her spiritual experiences. Yelena had to return to her job as a nurse; her husband, Alex however stayed an extra week to continue learning in yeshiva! Mike, a pre-med college student, spoke about how he overcame the challenge of taking time off from his research work to learn Torah at Sinai Retreats. Many of those present took the opportunity to express their hakarat hatov to the rabbis and Dr. Faye for infusing them with an excitement and love for Shabbat and for being made to “feel” part of the BJX family.

Kabbalat Shabbat services that weekend were held in the beautiful shul at the Goldenberg home. Dr. Faye said the bracha over the Shabbat candles with many of the young women. Cantor Joe Kessner walked a distance to join. He led the beautiful Carlebach services with singing and dancing.

For many of us, it was our first opportunity to see a vibrant Jewish community upstate. Shabbat day we joined services at the historical Woodridge synagogue. The shul is over 100 years old with highly unusual, beautiful and detailed paintings on the walls. The sanctuary was standing room only.

Over Shabbat we had the opportunity to hear from two accomplished members of the community whose lives were deeply influenced by Shlomo Zakheim. First, Dr. Knoll, a renowned urologist, spoke about the various aspects of his career as they related to halacha. A mohel, Dr. Knoll told stories about the many brisim he performed and how Shlomo helped sponsor many brisim for unaffiliated Jews. Together they traveled around the world to help Jews fulfill this precious mitzvah – even traveling to Cuba to covertly perform brisim.

Next, we had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Michael Vatch, who spoke about his successful career in ambulance and healthcare administration. Michael focused on his close personal and professional relationship with Shlomo Zakheim. Shlomo became an extremely close friend and personal mentor to Michael. He encouraged Michael to enter the ambulance and healthcare businesses and together they engaged in innumerable chesed projects around the world. Michael said that the most important lessons he learned from Shlomo were to learn Torah every day and to constantly do acts of chesed, especially acts no one knows about. Most of Shlomo’s charitable acts were conditioned on his anonymity.

By inviting the BJX community to experience a meaningful and inspiring Shabbat in their home, Shlomo’s legacy of Torah and chesed continued throughout the shabbaton. On Shabbos Nachamu we traveled upstate and embarked on a journey with our “family.”

Let us learn from Shlomo’s life and increase our Torah learning and ahavas Yisroel. We hope that all of the mitzvos we do bring both elevation to the neshama of Shlomo Eliezer ben HaRav Yaakov zt”l, and consolation to his precious family.

Since that memorable Shabbat upstate, I often reflect on the experience. Clearly, Shlomo’s legacy of ahavas Yisroel didn’t end on 9/11 or on Rosh Hashanah. To accommodate an overflow crowd on Yomin Noraim, the BJX Beis Medrash moved to the Agudah for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The packed and inspiring davening was dedicated in Shlomo’s memory.

Shlomo’s preferred way of doing good was under the cover of anonymity. We saw at Dr. Faye’s Shabbat table that Shlomo, although concealed in Shamayim, continues to give of himself. His powerful legacy endures through the graciousness of his wife, Dr. Faye, and his beloved children. May his memory serve as a blessing.

Ari Siegel

Clubbing us with the ‘Peres Legacy’

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

It was predictable. Shimon Peres barely had five days of rest in his fresh grave on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem before the Obama administration began to use the “Peres legacy” as a club with which to browbeat the Netanyahu administration.

Responding to plans for expansion of the Shvut Rachel neighborhood in the Shiloh settlement in Binyamin (in order to compensate homeowners of the nearby Amona outpost, ahead of a court-ordered December demolition), the State Department went berserk on Wednesday.

“Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. Such moves will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from many of its partners, and further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace,” boiled John Kerry’s spokesman, Mark Toner.

And then he added this kicker, evoking the passion of Peres for Palestinian statehood as the ultimate moral compass: “Furthermore, it is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the US and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for the two state solution that he so passionately supported.”

In other words, the ghost of Peres is the new cudgel to be wielded against Prime Minister Netanyahu and anybody that runs afoul of US President Obama’s ideological commitment to “justice” for the Palestinians.

That’s what Obama was saying when he spoke at the state funeral on Mt. Herzl last Friday about Peres’ “moral ‎vision” and passion for “justice”; contrasted with his concerns about those who only ‎see “the true wickedness of the world.”

That’s what Obama meant when he spoke ‎about the “dehumanizing” and “unfinished business” of peacemaking with Palestinians, and ‎talked about security that can come only from “true peacemaking,” and by ending ‎Israel’s “slave”-like rule over the Palestinians.‎

I immediately understood Obama’s speech as a warning of “tough love” that can yet be ‎expected of him in the waning days of his presidency, and beyond; of determined action in support of “justice” for the Palestinians (– yes, there is that word again!) that Obama will yet dish out while citing the legacy of Peres as cover.

He is citing the “legacy” of Peres as cover for pressure on Israel, and brandishing Peres’ so-called peace bequest as a battering ram.

Alas, the love expressed for Israel by the scores of kings, princes, presidents, premiers, and ministers who flocked to Jerusalem last week for the Peres funeral is largely a love for the Israel of Oslo; the Israel that makes broad concessions and takes delirious risks for peace, etc.

It is almost as if Israel can be loved only if it talks and walks in Peres’ footsteps. If Israel ‎chooses a different path – which it clearly has after 23 years of Oslo-spawned ‎diplomatic disaster – it can’t be deserving of the world’s love. Unfortunately, this is the tone that runs as an undercurrent through much of the international media comment following the passing of Peres.

This is also the not-so-subtle anti-Netanyahu diplomatic discourse underlying the otherwise deserved paeans of praise to Peres. To wit: ‘Oh, what visionary and sophisticated and broad-minded leaders ‎Israel once had, and what hard-headed, small-minded, dark and ‎depressing leaders Israel has today!’

SO WHILE DEEPLY appreciative of the fact that many statesmen, dukes, dames and duchesses arrived in Israel on short ‎notice from all corners of the world to attend last week’s grand funeral, I nevertheless have to wonder whether the extraordinary event isn’t going to boomerang on Israel; to be used a bludgeon against the current government of Israel.

I ask: Will the Peres-legacy-animated friends of Israel be there for the people of Israel and ‎the State of Israel not just at funeral time or peacetime, but also in times of crisis? Will they stand up for Israel also when it runs into conflict and needs their hard-‎core political, not just sentimental, backing?

After all, Israel’s reality is a Hobbesian one, with conflict and the use ‎of hard power a foreseeable and persistent feature of this country’s political future. In addition, significant Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, civilian or military, is not in the cards any time soon, if ever; all the pining for Peres notwithstanding.

So when the Israel Defense Forces next have to crush the Iranian-backed Hamas and ‎Hezbollah armies that are arrayed on our southern and northern borders – armed as ‎they are with hundreds of thousands of missiles aimed at this tiny state – will global leaders ‎support Israel or condemn her? ‎

Will they rush to take our side as they rushed to last Friday’s funeral, or will they hurry to ‎indict us in the courts of global opinion as they have done too many times in past?‎

When the IDF is forced to interdict Palestinian terrorists planning to blow up Israeli ‎buses and cafes, requiring mass arrests or significant crackdown in Hebron, will they ‎show understanding and love for Israel as they showed for Peres?

Or will American presidents and European prime ministers ‎extend to us only “tough love” leading to unfair rebuke; warn of our “deepening ‎isolation”; and point to settlements as “proof” that Israel is the warmonger?

Take Prince Charles, for example. He has visited Israel only twice – for the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin and Peres. He comes to bury Israeli leaders. Neither he, nor any ‎other member of the British royal family ever has made a proper visit to Israel.

In ‎close to 70 years, no British royal has visited the Knesset, Yad Vashem, the Old City of ‎Jerusalem, or the vineyards of Judea. The living, breathing, renaissance of the Jewish ‎people in their ancient homeland doesn’t rank a visit. Only funerals cut it.‎

Unfortunately, such tentative, tenuous support for Israel is becoming more and more ‎politically correct in global capitals. On our toughest existential issues (like the conflict ‎with Palestinians and with Iran) we are not so beloved.‎

So excuse me if I am a somewhat skeptical of the love lavished on Shimon Peres and on Peres’ dreamy vision for Israel last weekend. We should appreciate such friendship, but remain a bit wary of ‎it too.

Weinberg David

Retracing A Family’s Legacy

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Two years ago I met several descendants of Rav Simcha Dinter (1867-1929), an active member of the Belzer chassidic dynasty and a right-hand man to the then third and fourth Belzer Rebbes, Rav Yissachar Dov Rokeach (1851-1926) and his son, Rav Aharon Rokeach (1880-1957), respectively.

When the family learned that I was traveling to Poland last fall, they asked me if I would take photographs of the Dinter family property in Krakow, located at 9 Brzozowa Street in the once heavily Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz, Krakow.

When I reached the street, I expected to find a small house.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself gazing up at an impressive stone building, several stories high. Fortunately, one of the tenants of this apartment building was leaving and allowed me to enter and take photographs of the building’s interior.  Unlike what I witnessed in Warsaw, my grandmother’s city of origin, in which the vast majority of buildings did not survive the bombings of World War II, this building was quite intact.  Moreover, it had been extremely well maintained and still bears the original, huge, and intricately hand-carved wooden front doors.

From the interior staircase landing, I peeked out the window overlooking the sizable backyard, where, according to Dinter family members, two wooden frame houses formerly stood.  I began to picture the Yom Tov of Sukkos, with the large, extended Dinter family along with the building’s other Jewish tenants seated in the sukkah, eating their meals and singing festive holiday songs.

Simcha Dinter poising in traditional Hasidic garb for his American passport application, c. 1920. (Thanks to Dinter family members for providing this photograph.)

Simcha Dinter poising in traditional Hasidic garb for his American passport application, c. 1920. (Thanks to Dinter family members for providing this photograph.)

After I returned to New York, the family asked me to assist them with additional genealogical research, particularly about their progenitor, Rav Simcha.  What follows is the story of the Dinter family and the biography of Rav Simcha, as it was related to me by one of his grandsons.

Rav Simcha was one of the gabbaim to the aforementioned Belzer Rebbes.  Upon his marriage to Bina Dreier, he moved from the town of Belz to the city of Krakow, his new bride’s hometown and the Dreier family’s site of residence.

In Krakow, Rav Simcha purchased a large apartment building in the historically and centrally-located neighborhood of Kazimierz, the city’s predominantly Jewish quarter.  The Dinters would have eight children and own a family business that made medical uniforms.

Rav Simcha was a major financial supporter of Belzer chassidim.  Not only did he give generously from his own funds, but he also raised money both in Galicia and America.  Beginning in 1908, Rav Simcha made more than a dozen trips between Krakow and America, speaking to Belzer chasidim about the importance of sending money to the Belzer community in Europe.

When he traveled to America in 1914, Rav Simcha brought along his wife and five of their children. When shortly thereafter, World War I broke out, the family spent the remainder of the war and beyond on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Rav Simcha started a business producing wigs for dolls.  In those days, dolls were made out of porcelain and wigs were glued on.  Before the war, most of the toys and dolls sold in America were manufactured in Germany, and the war curtailed this production.  As this created a newly-found opportunity, some Jews from Galicia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) went into this business.

When the war ended in late 1918, the Belzer community was in dire need of financial assistance.  Rav Simcha expended his time and energy in raising money for the Belzer community in Europe. His letters to the editor were published in Yiddish newspapers and advertised that he would be speaking on the Lower East Side as part of this fundraising campaign.

In 1920, Rav Simcha, who had become an American citizen, applied for a U.S. passport to return to Europe. Interestingly, his passport photo shows him appearing as a typical chassidic rav.  Perhaps, today, it is not unusual to see somebody who looks like Rav Simcha on the streets of New York City, but in 1920, it was quite unusual.

The first thing a great number of religious male Jews did upon arrival in America was shave or trim their beards, cut off their peyos, get rid of their black hat, and change their mode of dress to that of the average American male of the day.  But such was not the case with Rav Simcha.  His passport application describes him as having a “long beard [grey], large moustach[e], [and] a curl at [the] side of each ear.”  In his passport photo, Rav Simcha is wearing his rabbinical black hat – clearly, he had refused to remove it.

In 1923, Rav Simcha can be found in a photograph with the Belzer Rebbe and his aides, which was taken in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia (today, the Czech Republic), a well-known resort where many chassidim vacationed prior to World War II.  During this visit to Marienbad, Rav Simcha and his wife Bina were photographed strolling in the town square.

Rav Simcha’s four daughters and one son remained in New York while he and his wife returned to Krakow. Afterward, he made yearly trips to New York, raising funds for the Belzer community. Rav Simcha died in 1929; his wife Bina in 1936.  They are both buried in the new Jewish cemetery in Krakow on Miodowa Street.

Sadly, the Dinter family met the same fate as most of Poland’s Jews.  The three children still in Poland, not being American citizens, found themselves trapped there when World War II broke out.

In the summer of 1940, the Germans ordered the majority of Krakow’s Jews to relocate to other ghettos.  The Dinter family chose to go to Bochnia, where some relatives owned property.  Along with their children and spouses, Rav Simcha’s three children managed to survive until the first Aktion of the Bochnia ghetto in the summer of 1942.  Most of the Dinter family perished then, others during the Aktion in the summer of 1943.  Jews who were not killed in Bochnia were deported to death camps, where the overwhelming majority was murdered upon arrival.

At the war’s end, of the entire Dinter family that had been caught up in Hitler’s murderous web, only one grandson had managed to survive.

Rivka Schiller

The Mixed Legacy of Nuremberg

Monday, May 9th, 2016

This year commemorates the 80th anniversary of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazi racist enactments that formed the legal basis for the Holocaust. Ironically, it also marks the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, which provided the legal basis for prosecuting the Nazi war criminals who murdered millions of Jews and others following the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws.

There is little dispute about the evil of the Nuremberg Laws. As Justice Robert H. Jackson, who was America’s chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, put it: “The most odious of all oppressions are those which mask as justice.”

There is some dispute, however, about the Nuremberg trials themselves. Did they represent objective justice or, as Hermann Göring characterized it, merely “victor’s justice?” Were the rules under which the Nazi leaders were tried and convicted ex post facto laws, enacted after the crimes were committed in an effort to secure legal justice for the most immoral of crimes? Did the prosecution and conviction of a relatively small number of Nazi leaders exculpate too many hands-on perpetrators? Do the principles that emerged from the Nuremberg Trials have continued relevance in today’s world?

Following the Holocaust, the world took a collective oath encapsulated in the powerful phrase “never again”, but following the Nuremberg Trials, mass murders, war crimes and even genocides have been permitted to occur again and again and again and again. Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, the former Yugoslavia and now Syria. Why has the promise of “never again” been so frequently been broken? Why have the Nuremberg principles not been effectively applied to prevent and punish these unspeakable crimes? Will the International Criminal Court, established in 2002, be capable of enforcing the Nuremberg principles and deterring future genocides by punishing past ones?

Whether the captured Nazi leaders — those who did not commit suicide or escape — should have been placed on trial, rather than summarily shot, was the subject of much controversy. Even before the end of the war, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau had proposed that a list of major war criminals be drawn up, and as soon as they were captured and identified, they would be shot. President Roosevelt was initially sympathetic to such rough justice, but eventually both he and President Truman were persuaded by Secretary of War Henry Stimson that summary execution was inconsistent with the American commitment to due process and the rule of law.

It was decided, therefore, to convene an international tribunal to sit in judgment over the Nazi leaders. But this proposal was not without considerable difficulties. Justice must be seen to be done, but it must also be done in reality. A show trial, with predictable verdicts and sentences, would be little better than no trial at all. Indeed, Justice Jackson went so far as to suggest, early on, that it would be preferable to shoot Nazi criminals out of hand than to discredit our judicial process by conducting farcical trials.

The challenge of the Nuremberg tribunal, therefore, was to do real justice in the context of a trial by the victors against the vanquished — and specifically those leaders of the vanquished who had been instrumental in the most barbaric genocide and mass slaughter of civilians in history. Moreover, the blood of Hitler’s millions of victims was still fresh at the time of the trials. Indeed, the magnitude of Nazi crimes was being learned by many for the first time during the trial itself. Was a fair trial possible against this emotional backdrop?

Even putting aside the formidable jurisprudential hurdles — the retroactive nature of the newly announced laws and the jurisdictional problems posed by a multinational court — there was a fundamental question of justice posed. Contemporary commentators wondered whether judges appointed by the victorious governments — and politically accountable to those governments — could be expected to listen with an open mind to the prosecution evidence offered by the Allies and to the defense claims submitted on behalf of erstwhile enemies.

A review of the trial nearly 70 years after the fact leads to the conclusion that the judges did a commendable job of trying to be fair. They did, after all, acquit three of the twenty-two defendants, and they sentenced another seven to prison terms rather than hanging. But results, of course, are not the only or even the best criteria for evaluating the fairness of a trial. Furthermore, it is impossible to determine with hindsight whether the core leaders, such as Göring, von Ribbentrop and Rosenberg, ever had a chance, or whether the acquittals and lesser sentences for some of the others was a ploy to make it appear that proportional justice was being done.

In the end, it was the documentary evidence — the Germans’ own detailed record of their aggression and genocide — that provided the smoking guns. Document after document proved beyond any doubt that the Nazis had conducted two wars: One was their aggressive war against Europe (and eventually America) for military, political, geographic, and economic domination. The other was their genocidal war to destroy “inferior” races, primarily the Jews and Gypsies. Its war aim was eventually crushed by the combined might of the Americans and the Russians. Their genocidal aims came very close to succeeding. Nearly the entire Jewish and Gypsy populations within the control of the Third Reich were systematically murdered while the rest of the world — including those nations sitting in judgment — turned a blind eye.

The Nuremberg tribunal and those that followed it administered justice to a tiny fraction of those guilty of the worst barbarism ever inflicted on humankind. The vast majority of German killers were eventually “denazified” and allowed to live normal and often productive lives.

It is necessary to ask whether, on balance, the Nuremberg Trials did more good than harm. By convicting and executing a tiny number of the most flagrant criminals, the Nuremberg tribunal permitted the world to get on with business as usual. The German economy was quickly rebuilt, unification between East and West Germany became a reality, and anti-Semitism is once again rife through Europe.

Perhaps Henry Morgenthau was asking for too much when he demanded that Germany’s industry and military capacity be destroyed “forever,” and that Germany must be “reduced to a nation of farmers.” But perhaps the Nuremberg tribunal asked too little when it implicitly expiated those guilty of thousands of hands-on murders by focusing culpability on a small number of leaders who could never have carried out their wholesale slaughter without the enthusiastic assistance of an army — both military and civilian — of wholesale butchers.

The Nuremberg trial was an example of both “victor’s justice” and of the possible beginning of a “new legal order” of accountability. Trying the culprits was plainly preferable to simply killing them. But trying so few of them sent out a powerful message that the “new legal order” would be lenient with those who were “just following orders.”

The reality that, following Nuremberg, the world was to experience genocide again and again demonstrated that trials alone cannot put an end to human barbarity. But the fact that tribunals were established to judge at least some of these crimes against humanity also demonstrates a willingness to at least attempt to prevent and punish evil using the rule of law.

These and other issues have challenged and continue to challenge thinking. That is why a major conference of judges, academics, prosecutors, victims and government officials is convening today, May 4, 2016, at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland to consider the duel legacies of the Nuremberg Laws and the Nuremberg Trials. We plan to explore all sides of these enduring issues in a series of talks, panels and visual presentations. The goal of the conference is symbolized by Santayana’s famous dictum: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The world cannot afford to repeat the tragedies of the Holocaust and so we must learn from the duel legacies of Nuremberg.

One of the most important lessons of history is that for genocide and other mass killings to be carried out requires the active participation of numerous individuals, from those who do the actual killing to those who incite, organize and provide the means. The Holocaust itself required hundreds of thousands of active co-conspirators and millions more of morally complicit people who remained silent while it was being carried out around them. Not only were most of these guilty participants immunized from prosecution, but many were rewarded with good jobs and other economic benefits. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Nuremberg trials did not effectively deter subsequent mass killings. Indeed, the use of civilians as weapons of war — victims of genocide, mass rapes and human shields — has continued, with only a few handfuls of leaders and perpetrators prosecuted and punished. The challenge of Nuremberg is to construct an effective, ongoing, legal regime that punishes not just the leaders, but each and every guilty participant in the most egregious of war crimes.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Obama’s Cultural Rape

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Rape is an ugly word, an even uglier deed. I don’t use the word lightly or easily. Rape is a crime of violence, not passion; of destruction. The intent is to take the soul, destroy the body. It is an injustice beyond measure, a violation of humanity. No, I’ve never been raped but I know women who have been.

When someone uses the word “holocaust” – even without the capital letter, it bothers me because too often it is thrown around easily and rather than elevate the crime, it diminishes, just a bit, the Holocaust. I think rape is the same way – people use the word so freely, it takes away from when a real rape is inflicted on a person.

And yet…and yet, I’m going to use it here because it is the only word I can think of that applies, and the man ultimately responsible for this rape, this cultural rape – is Barack Hussein Obama – and yes, I’m using his middle name because he felt fine using it in Cairo and other places. And perhaps, just a little, that middle name plays a role in what he is about to do.

The full story, credit for it, comes from and goes to Caroline Glick in her article in the Jerusalem Post, “Our World: A miracle and an Outrage.” The gist of it is – by some miracle, 2,500 years of heritage, of holy books and more survived the devastation and the almost entire complete exile of the Iraqi Jewish community. Saddam Hussein (yeah, there’s that name again), stole over 2,700 Jewish books and writings from the Jewish community. He stored them in some basement to rot and by some miracle, invading US troops found the waterlogged remains.

Amazingly enough, the troops and leaders realized the magnitude of what they had found and the collection was taken to the States, refurbished, renewed, reclaimed at a cost of $3 million dollars. I don’t know how, but I’m willing to raise the money to pay the Americans back for this kindness.

But…here comes the outrage about which Caroline Glick wrote. The American government proudly put their accomplishment on display. Good for them. The exhibition at the National Archives runs through January – that is the scheduled date of the cultural rape about to take place. On or around that time, Obama and the State Department feel it is their responsibility to return the archive to its rightful owners. And I commend them for this decision as much as I condemn them for being too stupid to know who those rightful owners are. No, Mr. President

I believe that the Israeli Ambassador to the United States should request an immediate meeting with the United States President. I believe our Prime Minister must, in no uncertain terms, make it clear that the owners of the archives are the Iraqi Jews – who live primarily in Israel and that to send the archives, these holy books, “back” to Iraq is tantamount to destroying them. Obama might as well blow them up in Washington for all that sending them back to Baghdad will accomplish.

It is hard to believe that caring human beings would not do all in their power to stop a rape they know is about to take place – well, here’s our chance. We know where, we know when – now it is up to each of us to stop it.

Obama – what do you want to stop this travesty? Do you want 3 million dollars? We will raise it. You want a request from the Iraqi Jewish community – I’ll see to it. You want the Israeli government to request it – Bibi, please, do this before it is too late.

Just was what was stolen by the Nazis has long been recognized as belonging to the victims of the Holocaust, the archives belong to the Jews from whom Saddam Hussein stole them. They are not, and never were, the legacy of Iraq – rather, they are the legacy of a small community that was all but hounded into exile, only to re-establish themselves in Israel.

The archives should be donated to the community here in Israel, to a museum they established as a true legacy to what was once a thriving Jewish community. These holy books never belonged to the Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein, or the greater Iraqi people. To deny the rightful owners, to turn these books over to the Iraqis is an abomination, a cultural rape of 2,500 years.

Please help – write to Washington and demand that the archive be given to their rightful owners, the Iraqi JEWISH community, largely represented in Israel and no where else.

Please write to your Congress representatives and ask them to add their voices against this injustice.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/obamas-cultural-rape/2013/10/28/

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