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August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘murder’

Elie Wiesel and Kagame of Rwanda Discuss Genocide & Syria

Monday, September 30th, 2013

There were several important news making items that emerged from our historic discussion on genocide that our organization, This World: The Jewish Values Network, together with NYU Hillel, staged on Sunday night, 29 September, at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in New York City – the venue that brought Abraham Lincoln to national prominence in 1860 – before 1000 people. The event – introduced by philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt and which I moderated – was historic because it brought together the two biggest names in global genocide remembrance: Prof. Elie Wiesel, the living embodiment of the martyred six million of the holocaust, and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the only man alive who can claim to have stopped a genocide when his RPF forces conquered Rwanda in 1994 and ended the slaughter that had taken the lives of nearly one million Tutsis.

As to the discussion of whether President Franklin Roosevelt did enough to stop the murder of Europe’s Jews, Elie Wiesel came down firmly on the side of those who say he failed at this great moral responsibility. He deserves credit for defeating Hitler, Wiesel said, but as a someone who confronted a genocide and did not limit it, he deserves to be severely criticized.

I then turned the question to Kagame, adjusted to the Rwandan genocide. Did he harbor anger toward the United States, a moral and righteous superpower who blew it completely in Rwanda, doing next to nothing to stop the genocide and, arguably, even obstructing the efforts of other nations to assist. No, the President said. We’re way past that. It’s not about anger but our conclusion that we alone can protect ourselves and can never rely on a fickle world for our defense. Rwandans can rely on Rwandans for their defense.

I pointed out to the president that Israel came to the same conclusion about its defense in general, and is now pondering whether it will apply that principle by striking Iran alone, now that President Obama has decided to engage the Iranian president even as he continues to enrich Uranium and fund Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists.

I asked Elie Wiesel about Syria. Given the Bible’s commandment ‘not to stand idly by the blood of your neighbor,’ did the United States have a moral obligation to punish Assad for gassing children, even if he surrenders his chemical arsenal? Wiesel was unequivocal. Both the American political, and Jewish communal leadership had failed on Syria. Chemical gas was a trigger point for genocide and mass murder. The fact that Assad had paid no price for gassing children was a tremendous moral failure that had to be corrected, and the Jewish community should have been at the forefront of saying so.

President Kagame echoed that sentiment. Those who use either chemical, or even conventional weapons to slaughter innocent people must be held accountable or nothing will check further aggression and murder. Here were the world’s two leading voices on genocide were being jointly critical of the American government’s decision to commute the military attack on Assad to simply destroying his arsenal. Even if he did so he still had to pay a personal price for mass murder.

My close friend Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo had already announced, at a press conference we convened in October of last year, that Rwanda would be opening an embassy in Israel. I turned to the President and said to him that countries like Rwanda can understand Israel’s security situation in ways that few others could. The similarities between the two countries is striking. They are of similar size. They have terrorist enemies on their borders. Israel has Iran-funded Hezbollah and Hamas and Rwanda the FDLR in Eastern Congo. Both are regularly criticized unfairly by the UN. Both have had frictions with France which has at times assumed a curiously negative posture toward both countries. And, of course, both have experienced genocides of staggering proportions.

In light of the unique relationship between the two countries, I asked the President would it not be proper for Rwanda to open its embassy not in Tel Aviv but in Jerusalem, becoming one of the first nations to affirm the holy city as Israel’s eternal and undivided capitol? The President was surprised by the question but answered graciously. Rwanda and Israel indeed share similar histories and security challenges. He was very happy that they were increasing their bilateral relations with Rwanda opening an embassy in Israel. It was an important step in an evolving relationship and opening an Embassy in Jerusalem would be too great a leap for now. He and I both smiled at his response, with the President knowing I had put him on the spot and with me knowing that he had artfully dodged my question.

I turned to Professor Wiesel and told him that the full page ads he took out in America’s major publications in March, 2010, mildly rebuking President Obama, with whom he is close, for his pressure on Israel to cease building in parts of Jerusalem were widely credited with reversing the Administration’s policy. Would he be consider taking out similar ads questioning the President’s decision to open diplomatic relations at the highest level of the Iranian leadership without first demanding that Iran cease funding Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, or enriching Uranium? Wiesel said that Iran’s holocaust denial was dangerous and delusional, and that opening diplomatic relations with the Iranians before they had formally renounced their genocidal aspirations against the Jewish state was unacceptable. He would consider the ads.

At last, I asked Professor Wiesel about a subject he and I had discussed many times. Why was it inappropriate to hate those who have committed genocide? Should we not despise the SS who murdered his family, or Hutu genocidaires who hacked children to death with machetes? Wiesel was adamant. Once you start hating, the emotion is internalized and you cannot control its spread and growth. It’s not long before it is directed even at those whom it is inappropriate to hate.

I have been close to Wiesel for 25 years. He is my hero and teacher. But on this one point, I remain unsure, and continue to despise those monsters who would murder a child because of his nationality, religion, or race. Never again must mean just that, Never again.

Keep the Hebron Show Going

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

It happened again.

In 2002, on the first day of the huge Sukkot celebrations, early evening, an Arab terrorist opened fire near the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. As a result, Rabbi Shlomo Shapira from Jerusalem was killed.

Fast forward: Sukkot, September 2013, eleven years later. Almost the same exact time. An Arab terrorist shoots, killing an Israeli soldier, near the “Beit Merkachat” intersection in Hebron. As with Rabbi Shapira, the soldier never really had a chance. A bullet penetrated his neck, leaving an entrance and exit wound. Medical personnel did everything humanly possible. But it wasn’t enough.

Prior to the killing, I could define today as “interesting.” Actually I really don’t know if that’s the right word to use.

More than 10,000 people arrived in Hebron Sunday, filling Ma’arat HaMachpela, walking the streets, visiting the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, all having a good time. One of the day’s highlights was the opening of the Cave of Otniel ben Knaz to Jewish visitors, an event occurring only very few days during the year. This, because the site is located on the “Arab” H1 side of the city.

On holidays, such as today, the 300 meter walk from the “Kikar HaShoter” checkpoint to the holy site is heavily protected, allowing visitors, escorted by soldiers or police, to view and worship at the cave.

But earlier, prior to its opening, I’d received notification of trouble. A firebomb was hurled at soldiers in the area. Rock-throwing, an almost normal occurrence in Hebron, was starting. But the security forces had the situation under control, and dozens and dozens of people walked back and forth to the place.

Me, too. Today was the first day of our special VIP tour. A busload of Hebron friends and supporters visited our newly initiated Tel Hebron overlook, on the roof of Beit Menachem, in Tel Rumeida. They also heard a short talk from Mrs. Tzippy Shlissel (whose father, Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, was killed by terrorists in Hebron), and then, too, participated in the walk to the fascinating Cave of Otniel.

I had the privilege to escort a wonderful woman whom I’ve known for about 15 years, Mrs. Ruth Simons, 91 years young, but you’d never know it. When we arrived at the Cave, she climbed up the stairs on her own two legs, entering the site for the first time in her life.

But, honestly, on the way there, and on the way back, I wasn’t entirely relaxed. I’ve done this many times before, and people here, well, sometimes we develop “antennas” which pick up vibrations in the air. And the vibes were definitely there.

Everything and everyone were in place – soldiers, border police, regular police, but, at the same time, booms from stun grenades and rubber bullets being shot at distant attackers, filled the air. It wasn’t, as it usually is, a quiet walk. I was very impressed by my guests. Ruth and her family, who didn’t seem phased in the least. They took it all in stride.

But my insides, my gut, didn’t like it. It is a disgrace for Jews to have to walk down a street to the tune of stun grenades exploding, not too far from them, on a Jewish holiday. Or on any day, for that matter.

But we did it, and that was that.

Later, our guests were treated to a delicious lunch at the Yeshivat Shavei Hebron sukkah and then visited Machpela. After they left, I recalled, for some reason, Rabbi Shlomo Shapira’s murder, as I walked past the site of that terror attack, back to the office.

A little while later, at 6:30, I received a call from my son, who works with security in a community outside of Hebron, asking about the shooting.

“What shooting?”

“There was a shooting and someone was hit.”

It didn’t take long to get preliminary details, where, when, and the victim’s condition: very critical. Together with a few others, we watched soldiers and police running back and forth, huddling, talking in whispers. Ambulances, their red lights flashing, driving by, in all directions. There wasn’t too much else to do, except wait.

Later tonight we’ll meet, and talk, to discuss our reactions.

The first reactions are easily expressible. First, our shock and pain at a young soldier’s death, as a result of an Arab terrorist sniper’s bullet.

A September Evening

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

For a while, the eyes still seemed to see them there, perfect straight lines rising into the sky, an empty space on the horizon that your mind filled in without even thinking. You walked past, and thought, “Of course they’re there. They’re always there” and you saw them as they were, grey ghosts of steel rising above the rubble. You saw the city as it was and then you remembered that city is gone.

New York, the old grimy bustling city, has made way for two cities. The Bloombergian city of the yuppie toting a bag of organic groceries to her Citibike and the miniature Detroits of housing projects and endless grievances.

The old imaginary city still exists in the countless movies being filmed on every block where space aliens, monsters and superheroes regularly rampage past stereotypical cabbies with Brooklyn accents, but that city is fading away.

The tourists flock to see the shadow of that city which lingers on like the shadow of the towers.

On September 11, Ground Zero was New York. Today you can see Mexican and African vendors peddling commemorative patriotic knickknacks made in China and on a bad day the Truthers show up howling their contempt for the site. Tourists stop by and pose for snapshots with their families. Office workers walk by without thinking. The site, like the towers, is just something that’s there.

Tonight and the night before as the towers of light cast blue beams across the sky, we remember but memory is a destructive medium. Each year the memories grow fainter. People ask each other where they were that day but the stories grow fainter each year and the memories of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, stumbling through the ash or handing out sandwiches to rescue workers have dimmed.

To walk through the darkness toward the towers of light is to pass through a city of shadows. In a stray glimmer of light reflecting from a storefront or a puddle you can still see the old MISSING posters covering every face and dark trucks filled with grim men tearing apart the street asphalt. You can catch glimpses of a city reeling from the incomprehensible.

New York City is used to tragedy. Terrible things happen here all the time. The oldest photos of the city show the same stunned faces, legs lying in a puddle of blood, gawking children and stern cops frowning at something we cannot see. And relentlessly the blood is washed away, the tears are dried and the city moves on. September 11 left behind more blood, more legs and more frowning police… but the ashes have still been dumped in a landfill, the tears dried and the city moved on.

September 11 has become a tragedy and tragedy is an experience, not an explanation. It is a bonding experience that gives way to catharsis. The dead are mourned, the grief is expelled and the horror of it takes on the faint tinge of memory. It is no longer what is, but what was. It is not how we live now, but how we lived then. There is no longer a need for answers and that for many is also a relief.

“It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story,” Agatha Christie said.

Most people who live here have given up on solving the city’s detective stories. The weathered New Yorker is expected to meet the  inexplicable with a shrug of the shoulders. Everything is strange, but the strangeness is the point. Everyone is living in a postmodern detective story with no solutions and no need for them.

In Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot arrives at the solution by realizing that only in America could such an unlikely collection of characters have met. By America, he means New York, and the city is still the ideal place to find unlikely collisions of characters.

There is still a murder to be solved  and the suspects come and go in the streets below. The crime did not end with the murder of 3,000 people and the destruction of two towers. New schemes of mass murder are hatched every day across one river or the other. Maps are studied, charts are drawn up and the tools of the trade are gathered up by men who during the day sell papers or drive food trucks.

The murderers are still on the loose and what happened that terrible day was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of attacks taking place in a clash of civilizations. New York, the crossroads of civilizations, is a natural target for the attacks. New York is to the world what Mecca was to Arabia and the new Mohammeds are eager to do to it what Mohammed did to Mecca.

Bin Laden is dead, but the Muslim Oilsphere is full of other wealthy sons warring against the West. His backers are alive and the drone attacks that kill Al Qaeda leaders don’t touch their money men in the Oilsphere. The clerics who teach young Muslim men about the glories of martyrdom can rest easy. They can even open up a mosque at Ground Zero.

This conflict of ideologies and collision of cultures is nothing less than the perpetuation of the great Islamic crusade against the Other. And where better to wage that war than in the places where others meet others every day? What better target than a World Trade Center for a violent ideology built on merchants turned robbers and robbers turned merchants?

In a city where everyone is different, it can be difficult for some to understand that the attackers were motivated by those differences. Their war against us is an attack on people who are fundamentally and incomprehensibly different than they are.

Islam is xenophobia written into unholy writ, a long chain of conquest, subjugation and cultural destruction by desert nomads who know how to drive a sharp bargain, but despite their claims of golden ages and scientific discoveries, have never been anything more than the jackals sniffing around the ruins of greater civilizations.

It is as natural for them to attack us as it is for us to wonder why we were attacked.

Americans hold the peculiar belief that life need not be a zero sum game. That we can learn from other people without turning them into our subjects. That we can make more of something instead of stealing from a finite amount that someone else has and then destroying them so that they can never get it back.

That is the great creative power of American Exceptionalism. It is a transcendent force that turned a land full of refugees into a world power brimming with technological wonders.

New York, that strange part-Dutch, part-English, part-Everything-else city, runs on the creativity of the impossible. Starving artists, aspiring actors, failed musicians, flailing poets, real estate mavens without a dime and brokers trading thin air gamble on the impossible. New York always seems on the verge of total anarchy and destruction and yet keeps going on in that strange half-mad creativity.

For Islam, the game is zero sum. If American civilization thrives, then their civilization is shadowed. If people are happy here, then they cannot be happy. If there are two towers in New York, that detracts from the glory of Islamic civilization. Islam is the bitter beggar forever looking to steal what it cannot have, worrying over the imaginary history of its own greatness and cursing the upstarts in the streets of a foreign city for taking the glory was rightfully theirs.

The American who shares his good fortune with the rest of the world cannot understand that there are some people who would rather steal than accept a gift, who would rather destroy than build and who would rather drown the world in darkness than accept someone else’s light.

With some difficulty he might accept the existence of a small number of people who think this way, but an entire civilization built in this mold is too obscene an idea.

As with so many other strange things that wash up in the concrete streets of a strange city, it is easier to leave the mystery unsolved, to let the blanket fall back over the clash of civilizations and go on forward. It is the way that things have always been done in the city and as twin rays of light bisect the sky, they remind New Yorkers of their own fortitude, and not of the enemy waiting outside the light.

Outside a shadow war is waged with drones and hackers, spies and journalists, men in mosques speak quietly of terror and other men listen over the phone. There is little truth in this shadow war, but in some moments the light pierces the darkness and those who have forgotten why we are doing this, remember. And then they remember to forget.

Northern Israel Arab Kills Wife, Daughters and Himself

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

An Israeli Arab from the Galilee, in northern Israel, shot and killed his divorced wife, two daughters, another man and himself early Sunday. A third daughter is in critical condition.

The murderer shot his wife and another identified person at a nursing home where she worked. Their eight-year-old daughter was shot but survived, while two teenage girls and another unidentified person were murdered as the children waited at a municipal building for a bus to school.

Jewish Leader Was on List of Possible Mass Murder Victims (Video)

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

An Ohio ex-felon, whose sporting goods store was raided by the FBI in December in a roundup of rifles and ammunition, turns out to have placed a Detroit Jewish official and other Jewish and black leaders on his list of  possible victims.

Richard Schmidt pleaded guilty to a host of charges in July and faces sentencing next month. Details of the case reveal that while the raid may have prevented a murder spree, federal laws and authorities did not stop Schmidt from managing to get a hold of  18 guns, including assault rifles and 40,000 rounds of ammunition despite his being prohibited for possessing firearms due to his previous conviction.

Investigators discovered that Schmidt maintained notes with the names of Detroit leaders, including,  Scott Kaufman, the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

“For a convicted violent felon to amass an arsenal with 40,000 rounds of ammunition with no red flags popping up is problematic,” Kaufman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “ No matter where you stand on the gun issue, it makes you wonder. The moment I saw my name in this guy’s notebook, I freaked out.”

Schmidt was released from jail in 2003 after serving 13 years for manslaughter and assault in 1989, when he fired a 9 mm semiautomatic at three people as they  left a bar. Schmidt killed one of the men and wounded two others.

His “rehabilitation” included the formation of a non-profit organization, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as having “a reputation for drinking, brawling and following a racist version of Odinism, a form of ancient paganism practiced by Vikings,” the newspaper reported.”

Schmidt later opened up his  Spindletop Sports Zone sports memorabilia business, which federal agents began tracking in 2011 for counterfeit items.

Shipments of “Men’s Clothing” turned out to be low-quality NFL jerseys, and federal agents were suspicious when they spotted him unloading a large number of boxes in four trailers.

The FBI raid in December uncovered an arsenal large enough to equip a small police force – three assault rifles, three 9 mm handguns,  four shotguns, cases of Winchester bullets and a bullet-proof vest.

’Yoseph Robinson Ave.’ Honors Orthodox Jewish Jamaican (Video)

Monday, August 19th, 2013

New York City has renamed an intersection “Yoseph Robinson Ave.,” in memory of a Jamaican convert who was gunned down while trying to protect his girlfriend during a robbery of a kosher liquor store, The New York Daily News reported Monday.

Ave. J and Nostrand Ave. in Midwood is now “Yoseph Robinson Ave.” in honor of the victim who tried to grab the gun of the masked robber, Elon Klass, who also demanded the jewelry that Robinson’s girlfriend was wearing.

Robinson had converted to Judaism and helped bridge gaps between the Caribbean and Orthodox Jewish communities in Midwood and East Flatbush.

Klass was sentenced last January to 35 years in prison for manslaughter and robbery.

The List of 26 Palestinian Prisoners and their Victims

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The following is a list of the 26 prisoners scheduled for early release from prisons in Israel later this week as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to encourage Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table. In all, Israel agreed to eventually release 104 so-called pre-Oslo prisoners.

As we have noted, many in the media (including the Guardian, The Independent, and the Irish Times,) have whitewashed the violent, and often brutal crimes of the prisoners being released, and, conversely, have depicted the families of the soon-to-be released prisoners in a disturbingly sympathetic light.  So, in addition to listing details about the perpetrators, we’ve also included some information on the victims.  (You can see the complete list of pre-Oslo prisoners – information which was translated, edited and published exclusively by CAMERA – here.) 1. Kour Matwa Hamed Faiz (Fatah. Born 1964, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested 1985) was sentenced to one life term for his part in establishing an armed Fatah cell and for the murder of Menahem Dadon in 1983 and for another attempted murder.

Menahem Dadon from Netivot was 22 years old when he was murdered. He had been sent by his employer to purchase building materials in Gaza and whilst in the shop, was shot in the head at point-blank range. He left a pregnant wife and two daughters.

2. Tsalah Ibrahim Ahmed Mugdad (Fatah. Born 1966, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested 1993) was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment for the murder of Israel Tennenbaum and was due to be released on 13/6/2025.

Born in Poland in 1921, Israel Tennenbaum from Moshav Vered was a farmer who also worked as a security guard at a hotel in Netanya despite being 72 years old at the time of his death. In June 1993 Tsalah broke into the hotel and murdered Israel Tennenbaum by beating him over the head with a steel rod. He also stole a television from the hotel.

3. Na’anish Naif Abdel Jafar Samir (Born 1967, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested 1989) was sentenced to a life term for his part in the murder of 24 year-old reservist Binyamin Meisner in February 1989.

Na’anish was part of a group which lured Meisner into an ally in Nablus (Schem) in which they had pre-prepared a stockpile of rocks. They then stoned Meisner to death.

4. Arshid A’Hamid Yusuf Yusuf (Fatah. Born 1968, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested 1993) was sentenced to five life sentences after having been convicted of the murders of Nadal Rabu Jaab, Adnan Ayaad Dib, Mufid Canaan, Tawfik Jaradat and Ibrahim Said Ziad by stabbing. Arsheed was also indicted on several additional counts of attempted murder of others he also suspected of ‘collaboration’.

5. Al-Haj Othman Amar Mustafa (Fatah. Born 1968, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested 1989) was sentenced to a life sentence for his part in the murder of 48 year-old Frederick Steven Rosenfeld in June 1989.

Rosenfeld was hiking in the hills near Ariel when he came across a group of shepherds who stabbed him to death with his own knife and hid his body.

6. Matslah Abdallah Salama (Hamas. Born 1969, resident of the Gaza Strip, arrested 1993) was sentenced to one life sentence for the murder of Reuven David in Petah Tikva in 1991.

Together with an accomplice, Matslah entered 59 year-old Iraqi-born Reuven David’s mini-market, tied him up, gagged him and then beat him to death, before escaping in the victim’s car. He left a wife, three children and several grandchildren.

7. Abu-Musa Salam Ali Atia (Fatah. Born 1971, resident of the Gaza Strip, arrested 1994) was convicted of the murder of Isaac Rotenburg from Holon as part of an initiation rite for joining a terror organisation and sentenced to one life sentence.

Holocaust survivor Isaac Rotenberg was born in Poland. Most of his family was murdered in the Sobibor death camp, but Isaac managed to escape and joined the partisans. After the war he tried to make his way by ship to mandate Palestine, but was interred by the British and sent to a detention camp in Cyprus until 1947. After his release Isaac arrived in pre-state Israel and fought in the War of Independence. He continued his work as a plasterer even after pension age and in March 1994 was at his place of work in Petah Tikva when he was attacked by two Palestinian labourers with axes. He died, aged 67, two days later.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/the-list-of-26-palestinian-prisoners-and-their-victims/2013/08/12/

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