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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Second Intifada’

Terrorist Receives Doctorate from Hebrew University

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Adel Hidmi, a terrorist who served two prison terms following his involvement in planning a suicide bombing and other terror activities, received his doctorate in chemistry at Hebrew University this past week.

A resident of east Jerusalem, Hidmi was convicted in 1992 for his involvement with terrorist organizations and served ten months in prison. Despite his record, Hebrew University accepted Hidmi as a doctoral candidate where he began his double career as a chemistry student and terrorist networker, according to a news report in Israeli newspaper, Maariv.

During his doctoral track at Hebrew University’s Department of Chemistry, Hidmi was approached by two Palestinians in Ramallah and asked to locate a man ready to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2002. With the backdrop of the second Intifada and a slew of suicide bombers frequently carrying out attacks, in the midst of writing academic papers, Hindi was able to find a suitable candidate to carry out the bombing.

Three days before the attack was to be carried out in central Jerusalem, an elite army unit arrested the two Palestinians in Ramallah and Hidmi was arrested in Jerusalem. Shin Bet representatives stated in a Jerusalem court that Hidmi had been taking advantage of his Israeli citizenship to organize suicide attacks against civilians.

A Hebrew University cafeteria had also been the deadly target of a terrorist bombing that killed nine students and staff that same year.

When Hidmi was released from prison after serving three years for his terror activities, he requested to complete his doctorate at Hebrew University. An internal committee at Hebrew University gave him the go-ahead, but on a condition. Because Hidmi’s work centered on chemistry experiments which could aid in developing explosives according to Maariv, the university did not allow him to use their laboratories. Hidmi thus completed his research based on past experiments.

This past Sunday, Hidmi was awarded his doctorate degree along with 375 other researchers at Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus. Hebrew University released a statement declaring that “The University does not prohibit those with criminal backgrounds from studying within its gates. The work of Adel Hidmi – who completed serving his sentence – was considered academically worthy and he met all the requirements to receive doctorate degree. With that, note that Hidmi did not receive permission to use the university labs after his conviction.”

“I think it’s going too far to allow someone with Himdi’s record to study at Hebrew University,” said Elan, a third-year student in politics and communications. “It’s one thing to have a criminal record, but to have a terrorist record is entirely different matter.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Hebrew University criminology student, Adi Golan organized a protest against the university’s decision along with other student movements including Im Tirtzu.

“We organized this protest because we don’t believe it’s legitimate to allow someone who has a terrorist background to earn a doctorate in a subject like chemistry,” Golan told Tazpit News Agency. “Who knows how he [Hidmi] will use the academic and research knowledge he gained against Israel in the future?” she asked.

Top American Comedians Joke for Israel – in Israel

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Israel holds an important place for Avi Liberman, an LA-based comedian who has performed on such shows as CBS’s “Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson and appears frequently on Comedy Central and E!

The Israel-born, Texas-raised comedian visits Israel twice a year, bringing with him some of America’s best comics on a biannual comedy tour of the country. The comics perform to raise funds for The Koby Mandell Foundation, which assists families and children who are victims of terror.

Liberman himself has arranged widely acclaimed Stand Up for Israel comedy tours since 2001, following a visit during the Second Intifada, where he discovered that many of his old friends were not going out at night because of terrorist attacks.

“I wanted to give people a night out, so that they could laugh a little bit during that very tense time,” Liberman says. Subsequently, the LA comedian began organizing successful comedy tours across Israel to help boost morale.

“There are two important elements to these tours,” Liberman elaborates in an interview with Tazpit News Agency. “First, these top-tier comedians get to do something important for the community here. They don’t just come to tour and see the sites, but they actually perform their material to audiences for an important cause.”

“And while the comedians are here, they also get to see the positive side of Israel,” Liberman explains.

“It is important that Israel get some good press. Many times, I encounter comedians who think of Israel in the context of war. There is obviously a lot more to this country than those headlines,” he says.

“It’s difficult to get comedians to come on these trips,” Liberman admits. “But when they do agree to come, they are just amazed by what they see and encounter.”

The Comedy for Koby May 2013 tour began on May 22 with shows in Beit Shemesh, Modiin, Jerusalem, Raanana, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion. While much of the audience is made up of Anglos, there are Israelis who also attend the shows, according to Liberman.

The May tour features several top comedians including Wayne Federman, who has performed on The Tonight Show and appeared on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, Funny People and Curb Your Enthusiasm, among many other shows and movies.

On Sunday night, May 26, during the Jerusalem show, Federman, who performed in Israel 10 years ago with Liberman, joked with the audience about some elements of Israeli life including driving and finding a parking space. “Israelis are some of the calmest and most relaxed drivers in the world,” he quipped, following with a song about Tel Aviv, entitled “I Think I Found a Parking Space.”

For the other comedians, like Ralph Harris who has appeared in Evan Almighty as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, coming to Israel was a surreal experience. “It’s amazing to actually be here in Jerusalem after reading about this city,” he said.

Comedian Dennis Regan, who claims he knows some Hebrew, opened the Jerusalem show. Regan has made multiple appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and has toured nationally for many years. This is the tenth year of Comedy for Koby tour, which has brought a slew of North American comedians to Israel.

The Koby Mandell Foundation was created by Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell, following the brutal murder of their 13-year-old son Koby and his friend Yosef Ishran by Arab terrorists, on May 18, 2001, while the boys were hiking near their home.

The foundation provides individuals and families with psychological and emotional support, as well as therapeutic programming for children who have been victimized by terror attacks and tragedy. The foundation’s website reports that in more than a decade, terrorism has claimed more than 1,300 lives in Israel, and has left more than 6,000 Israelis wounded, while impacting an estimated 50,000 Israelis.

Showing the power of humor in dealing with tragedy, the Mandells always make sure to open the first act of the Comedy for Koby tour with a couple of jokes of their own.

The last two acts of the comedy tour will take place in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, May 28 and Gush Etzion on Wednesday, May 29. Tickets can be ordered online at www.comedyforkoby.com or by phone at 052-798-5200.

Legal Activist Calls for Prosecuting France 2 for Al-Dura Hoax

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Israel should file criminal charges against France 2 following a government report Sunday that the television channel broadcast a film in 200 that falsely portrayed the alleged killing of 12-year-old Mohammed Al-Dura by Israeli soldiers.

Charles Enderlin was bureau chief of France 2 when the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, broke out. He “should never be allowed to practice journalism in Israel again,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.

“In 2007 we argued at the High Court in Jerusalem that France 2′s credentials be canceled, but the press office cited they had a lack of authority to do so,” she added. “Now that the government has determined we were right, it’s time France 2′s bureau chief be prosecuted. Enderlin’s report became a symbol of the second Intifada and a modern-day blood libel directly resulting in hundreds of Jewish and Arab deaths, only for the purpose of raising France 2′s ratings.

“The French network ignited a still-burning torch of hatred against Israel, with images of al-Dura still being presented in anti-Israel protests in Iran, the Arab world and in Western Europe. Those who are responsible must bear the consequences of their actions in order to avoid the repetition of incidents like this and, moreover, to stop this blood libel once and for all.”

Israel Explodes the ‘Big Lie’ – Gaza Al Dura Boy Wasn’t Killed

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

An official Israeli government report declared Sunday that Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old boy whose picture convinced the entire world that the IDF had killed him, not only did not die but also may never have been shot.

Now, 13 years after the supposed killing that incited the senseless murders of Israelis as well as Jews throughout the world, the Israel government report categorically concluded that the France 2 report was much more of a hoax than thought several years ago.

For a close look at the footage, click here.

“Contrary to the claim that the boy was dead, the committee’s review of the raw footage indicates that at the end of the video – the part that was not broadcast – the boy appears to be alive,” according to the report by the Ministry of International Affairs and Strategy.

“The probe has found that there is no evidence to support the claims that the father, Jamal, or the boy Mohammed, were shot. Furthermore, the video does not show Jamal being seriously wounded. On the other hand, many signs indicate that the two were never hit by the bullets.”

The panel was comprised of officials from the Defense and Foreign ministries, experts from outside the government and the police, and it was headed by Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

The revelation puts another nail in the coffin of the “Al Dura news report” that was challenged by a French Jew, Philippe Karsenty, who charged that France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin created a media lie by broadcasting edited footage that alleged that the IDF killed the boy.

An emotionally wrenching photo that was seen around the world shows Mohammed supposedly crying out as he and his father took cover during a gun battle between the IDF and Palestinian Authority terrorists at the beginning of what has been termed the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, in 2000.

The alleged shooting of Mohammed Al Dura was filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian Authority photographer who free-lanced for France 2. The film lasts for 55 seconds and shows the boy screaming before the sound of gunfire, followed by a scene of the boy apparently dead over his father’s legs.

Enderlin told viewers the boy was killed and had been the “target of fire from the Israeli positions.” The gunfight occurred on the second day of the Oslo War and spread venom throughout the Arab world, inciting terrorist against Israel.

To make matters worse, the IDF apologized within 24 hours even though the military had not verified the alleged shooting.

The timing of Sunday’s government report is astounding because a French court is to rule later this week on a libel suit filed by Enderlin against Karsenty, who previously was backed by a lower French court, which stated that Karsenty presented a “coherent mass of evidence” and that the Palestinian Authority cameraman for France 2 was not “perfectly credible.”

Karsenty’s investigation revealed that France 2 had edited the film and it was not clear whether the boy died from Israeli or Palestinian Authority fire. At the same time, media watchdogs began documenting “Pallywood” productions that the Palestinian Authority staged for journalists, who gobbled up faked scenes of supposedly wounded Arab victims of IDF gunfire who magically were later seen walking around freely after having been shoved into ambulances.

From a further perspective, the Israeli report punctures another Big Lie that has haunted Israel ever since the Six-Day War in 1967 way.

A small sample of other lies includes:

–   Israel  occupied Judea and Samaria, most of which were in fact taken over by Jordan without any international authorization;

–   Children of Arabs who were chased out of Israel or who fled Israel are ”refugees,” a second generation status that the United Nations does not grant to anyone in the world except Arabs who claim Israel as their home;

–  Israel aggressively attacked Lebanese “guerillas” who pulverized northern residents before the “Peace for the Galilee campaign, now known as the First Lebanese War, in which Israel established a security zone in southern Lebanon to defend the north;

–  Israel committee war crimes for years, especially during the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in the winter of 2008-2009. The United Nations Goldstone report claimed Israel for dozens of war crimes but the report’s author, Judge Richard Goldstone, later admitted that had he known then what he knows now, he would have reached different conclusions;

–Israel built an “Apartheid’ Wall that creates a separation between Jews and Arabs. In fact, most of the “wall” that runs for more than 200 miles is a fence, which has helped reduce the number of suicide terrorist attacks against to near zero. The fence also does not “keep out” Arabs because Israel operates checkpoints at numerous gates to make sure that Arabs who are not terrorists can travel freely into the rest of Israel; and

–  Israel “degrades” Palestinian Authority Arabs at checkpoints, even though it uses the same search methods that the United States and other Western countries use at airports and borders.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the new report was released that the France 2 film in 2000 “was an example of the deceitful delegitimization that we are constantly subject to. There is only one way to battle lies – by telling the truth.”

The supposed killing of the boy has been cited as the catalyst for the grizzly and barbaric lynching IDF reservists the following month in Ramallah, where they had arrived by mistake. The “Al Dura incident” also was said to have incited the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl as well as Osama bin Laden.

The question remains whether Mohammed al Dura was ever wounded, or if he even was a real person.

There is a less of a question concerning the credibility of international coverage of Israel.

Day by day, reports covering the “peace process” and the “Palestinian struggle” show fatigue in continuing to report Arab claims that have become so ludicrous that they simply are ignored.

Without media support, and without media incitement, the Palestinian Authority is increasingly being left with an audience of one hand clapping.

One other question arises: Can France 2 can be accused of inciting war crimes against Israel?

Report: Marwan Barghouti’s Interrogation Transcripts Reveal His, Arafat’s Role in Second Intifada

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Convicted Palestinian terror chief Marwan Barghouti, in comments to the Israel Security Service (Shin Bet) soon after his arrest in 2002, admitted to facilitating terror attacks during the second intifada, and told his interrogators that the Intifada “was supposed to be a popular uprising, but things got out of hand,” as first reported by Haaretz.

The Israeli daily obtained and published transcripts of  interrogation sessions dated April 21-May 14, 2002 at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, 6 days after his arrest. They were released in the course of legal proceedings against the former Fatah Secretary-General, who was arrested and later convicted on charges of murder during the second intifada, and sentenced to five concurrent life sentences.

On the basis of these recorded partial confessions, he was indicted for three terror attacks: the murder of a Greek Orthodox monk near Ramallah in June 2001; the murder of an Israeli girl near Givat Ze’ev in January 2002; and the shooting attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv in March 2002, which left three civilians dead.

Barghouti on the second intifada

Barghouti, who also founded the al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade, spoke of the lead-up to the second intifada, and confirmed once again that Ariel Sharon’s controversial visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 was convenient pretext for the “outbreak” of the Intifada – not the reason, “but the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Barghouti spoke at length of fears within Fatah about being overshadowed on ‘the street’ by the more hardline elements involved in the intifada – Hamas and Islamic Jihad – and how this fear led them to attempt to outbid the other terror groups in proving their fidelity to the Palestinian cause. In essence this meant the use of suicide bombers by Fatah, and the elimination of the distinction between attacks within or over the Green Line.

Barghouti is documented as confirming his role in coordinating operations and activities of terror squads and in financing them as well. He details how, on one occasion, he gave orders to avenge a terrorist’s death, which resulted in the shooting death of an Israeli near Givat Ze’ev, and how he gave money to various individuals that were seeking to perpetrate attacks.

Barghouti on Arafat

Barghouti described Yasser Arafat as the prime mover, his direct commander, and the force behind Fatah’s overall policy. He painted a picture of Arafat as the man who issued only general orders, with the specifics implied, so that the acts perpetrated could not be traced back to him: “When Arafat would call for a cease-fire, he would convene the heads of Tanzim and instruct them, and add that if the cease-fire were to end, they knew what they would have to do, when it was clear to everyone that he was talking about a continuation of military activity.” Barghouti stressed that Arafat was instrumental to the intifada because, in no uncertain terms, he was bankrolling it, he was the “one source” from where all the finances flowed.

The Palestinian street, reflections on the peace process, and funny jokes

Concern over his image on the Palestinian street was preeminent in determining whether and how much to confess to his interrogators. At some point in the interrogation he insisted on meeting with then-Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, or with his second, Yuval Diskin, before offering his confession: “There are things that a person in my position has to take care of in terms of the future, for my own interests and those of my men.” His request was not granted (at least not in the three and a half weeks that the transcripts cover). At another point, he is recorded as saying that “cooperation with the interrogation will be to his detriment in his future political career among his people.”

Barghouti compared the second intifada to the Yom Kippur War, in that the Palestinians feel they restored their pride, and achieved a type of balance with the terror wave, such that peace between the two peoples was now possible.

Looking back at the peace process, Barghouti blamed its failure on Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

Throughout the interrogations, Barghouti seems to vacillate between crafty pragmatist and uncompromising ideologue. At some points he suggests that Fatah’s descent into violence was a strategic mistake, and at others he insists that an independent state could only be achieved through bloodshed. Either way, ‘street cred’ was foremost in his decision-making, and he viewed his participation in terror activity as ensuring “that in the future he could point to himself as someone who worked both for peace when necessary and in war.”

In the three and a half weeks of interrogation revealed in the transcripts, the Shin Bet appeared to have developed a rapport with Barghouti, enough so that one wrote: “It should be noted that the subject has a well-developed sense of humor and provided us with a number of great jokes.”

Park Hotel Terror Victims Return to the Scene of Horror to Heal

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Ten years after the Second Intifada’s deadliest terror attack in which 30 people were killed and 140 injured at Seder night dinner in the Park Hotel, more than hundred victims and their families returned to the Netanya hotel for a memorial gathering and therapy session, part of their ongoing treatment and care at the OneFamily organization.

At the memorial service, attended by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, the OneFamily Bereaved Fathers Choir sang verses from the Book of Psalms, Yair Hamami, whose father, the manager of the Park Hotel Amiram, was killed in the attack, recited the Kaddish prayer, and relatives of the victims lit memorial candles for their loved ones.

Amiram’s widow, Corrine Hamami, spoke about her determination to keep the hotel open despite the serious psychological barriers that lay in front of her: “Overnight I found myself alone with six children, I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I found strength in my family, I decided then that the terrorists would not defeat us”.

Dalia Falistian, whose parents were killed in the attack, was left completely alone in the world: “I had no other family, until a OneFamily representative came to visit me during my week of mourning. They became my family…”

OneFamily founder and Chairman Marc Belzberg says that “returning to the Park Hotel is an integral part of the healing and rehabilitation of the victims, offering them the opportunity to remember and display their resilience in the face of such tragedy..”

Over the last 10 years, OneFamily, recipient of the 2011 Presidential Citation for Volunteerism, has effected the rehabilitation of thousands of Israel’s 17,000 victims of terror. The organization provides material and rehabilitative support to anyone who has been bereaved, injured and/or recognized as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They offer a tailor-made blend of financial assistance, therapeutic programs, legal assistance, personal encouragement and moral support.

It began after Chantal and Marc Belzberg’s then-12-year-old daughter decided to donate her Bat Mitzvah gifts to the victims of the 2001 Sbarro suicide bomb. Today, the organization employs 37 professionals and almost 750 volunteers in four centers around Israel. OneFamily, with the help of friends and supporters around the world, aims to assure continuity of care for terror victims into the next decade and beyond.

Telling The Story Of A New Shoah

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The ongoing war against Israel is most visible at precisely the point where the effects of terrorism are concealed. If that sounds paradoxical, think of the bodies hurled into the void from the World Trade Center – only to immediately disappear from the television screens and the front pages of newspapers.

Israel’s ordeal under terrorism is at the core of my book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (released last month in the U.S. by Encounter Books).

I spent six years tracking down and interviewing witnesses to terrorist atrocities – as well as people who survived attacks and family members of victims who did not. It was a labor of relentless determination, loneliness and, dare I say it, obsessive moral commitment.

When I was finished, I had thousands upon thousands of words that finally were edited down to the current 400 pages of the book – the first ever devoted to Israeli victims of terrorism.

I began the project knowing it was virtually impossible for survivors themselves to tell these stories. Their testimony is a kind of peripheral knowledge kept locked neatly in the shadows. But given the right circumstances, that knowledge can be brought into the light. And with each witness and each hearing the understanding of truth grows, as does the sense of the past existing within the present.

A New Shoah is not an archival reminder but rather the reliving of a smaller-scale Shoah – a Shoah not of millions of Jews killed merely because they were Jews living in Europe but a Shoah of thousands of Jews killed simply because they were Jews living in Israel.

I had to resurrect the events not as something from the past but as the horror that still exists in the minds and souls of those who witnessed and survived. Israel’s Ground Zero is not limited to a building or plot of land. It is an immense black hole that in fifteen years has swallowed up 1,557 innocent men, women and children and left more than 17,000 injured.

Israel is a very small country – a jet can fly from one end to the other in two minutes and the distance between the Israeli city of Netanya and the Palestinian city of Tulkarem is only twelve miles. Does the reader want proportions? It would take the murder of 53,756 Americans and the wounding of 664,133 others to equal, in terms of percentage of population, the number of Israelis who have fallen victim to Arab terrorism in just the past decade and a half.

* * * * *

 

My book tells this story of a slow-motion 9/11 launched against civilians day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, attack after attack.

While the media were busy falling over themselves in denouncing Israel, the suicide bombers kept coming. Some places were not hit as hard as others; none, though, was completely safe. Jerusalem bore the brunt of the suicide bombings; Jewish communities inside the West Bank came under attacks by terror groups; rural settlements near the pre-1967 border suffered badly; coastal cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Hadera and Netanya were all bombed.

There were times when Ben Gurion Airport had more security guards than travelers. To the relatively few people who did come – I was one, arriving in 2003 to make a documentary about the Intifada – the country presented a surreal spectacle. There were few external signs of damage. Immediately after each terrorist attack, teams of specially trained volunteers and medics would gather the dead, tend to the wounded and literally scrape up human remains before putting them in plastic bags. Municipal crews would then quickly repair the structural damage. It was only a matter of hours before life returned to “normal,” no matter how bloody the atrocity or how high the casualty count.

Israelis’ consuming need for normalcy was on unusually vivid display just a few weeks ago, during the tenth anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada. Surprisingly few articles or reports in the Israel media were devoted to the decade-long trauma. The silence of Jewish writers was disconcerting – as it has been for a long time now.

Maybe it was the duty of a non-Jew, a non-Israeli, a stranger, to enter this realm of desperation and solitude.

In 1968, just months after Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War, the American writer Eric Hoffer, also a non Jew, wrote an op-ed article for the Los Angeles Timesin response to the proliferation of anti-Israel sentiment in the international community. His words now seem prophetic:

“I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.”

The Jewish condition is again the focal point of an enormous battle of identities. The survival of Israel is the most important – the defining – issue of our time. Tiny Israel matters urgently to the Western world because it has become its most imperiled member – yet widely treated as a sacrificial lamb.

The book I’ve written is not journalism, not propaganda, not political. For me it was an act of witness. A New Shoah is an affirmation of life in the kingdom of death.

Why did I choose to adopt the word “Shoah”? The Holocaust is a unique evil in human history, and I had to be very careful in terms of making false comparisons. What has happened to Israel under the hanging sword of terrorism is a very specific destructive process. The families and stories in the book are like a Greek chorus that gathers an inexorable hypnotic power – a hymn to life that rises above the experience – of death. “Holocaust,” with its sacrificial connotations, was an inadmissible word.

Shoah is an opaque word that, to me at least, links the generation of the Holocaust to the Israelis killed in their homeland. A New Shoah is a lament for the most tragic past, delivered in the present tense. I wanted to show the absolute character of Jewish tragedy. I wanted to show how the Jews were victimized and how they were alone, abandoned by the world – now just as then.

After each terror attack, the media would, with dreary and depressing regularity, boycott the memories of the murdered and the maimed. For me, these innocent victims are all saints and heroes; and those who survive them are the best humankind has to offer because they held on to the value of life. The testimonies, the tears, the emotions of the witnesses are more authentic than historical documents.

Today, to speak the name of Israel in friendly tones, especially in journalistic and academic circles, is to risk facing a firestorm of condemnation. Doors are often closed to authors who refuse to use lies and hatred against Israel. Anti-Semitism assumes many masks, and anti-Zionism is certainly one of them.

Since few people admit to believing in the devil anymore, the state of Israel is a handy substitute, a convenient secular replacement for Satan. The Jewish state has become the object of unremitting demonology; Israel, the Collective Jew, has become the purveyor of all ills; Zionists are considered the instigators of every type of disorder.

This ontological hatred of Israel can be seen in many people, mainly, these days, on the political left. It is ontological because it is beyond reason; it sees the creation of Israel as a latter day Original Sin. And if Israel’s existence is attributable to sin, both the sin and the state need to be expunged, and so Israeli victims of terrorism become nothing more than insignificant and faceless casualties. The “civilized” world easily accepted the daily massacres during the Second Intifada and the unending waves of Kassam rockets because Israel’s sins had to be washed away by Jewish blood.

* * * * *

 

You listen carefully to the way the families and survivors speak and you see it is not about the past. Their testimony – like the book itself – is about Israel’s future. A New Shoah is daunting and draining; its moral and emotional weight slowly accumulates until it is inescapable.

I decided to locate the Israeli victims at the center of two stories, different and extraordinary: the great story of their original societies – European, North African, Yemenite, Russian, American – and the little story they created in coming to Israel. The story of pioneers who refused the title of “settlers,” the story of doctors who healed Arabs before being killed, the story of soldiers and professors, secular and religious people – the humanity of a small country guilty of one unforgivable fault: surviving.

I decided to start the story with the destruction of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. I chose that terrible event because those Israeli athletes were killed, in front of a worldwide television audience, just because they were Israelis. Those athletes were rays of light and beauty in the darkness of pure hatred. For me, they belonged to a different moral order.

I could not, of course, tell the stories of every Israeli who lost his or her life to terrorism, so I had to make a sad but necessary choice: I had to rescue significant stories from Israel’s various communities. My book challenges the reader to enter a new, probably unfamiliar world – a world where Zionist triumphalism is conjoined with an inherent vulnerability. An invincible people confesses its bewilderment while the world isolates it and deepens its wounds.

It was very hard to enter a world where journalists and other outsiders rarely, if ever, venture. They’d rather not have to confront the infinite martyrdom of the Jewish people, who instead of mass shootings and gassings conducted by Nazis now confront a continuous drip murder administered by terrorists.

As I plunged, one by one, into the lives of those killed, I found wires connecting the Holocaust perpetrated against the Jews of Europe to the contemporary jihad launched against the Jews of Israel.

The book’s protagonists are all branches of the great and hopeful “kibbutz galuiot,” the union of nations that is Israel, and their stories are cautionary tales of the maniacal hatred of Jews that has pursued this people through the centuries.

And yet The New Shoah is not only about the suffering of the Jewish people as a whole but about the suffering of individuals, individually remembered. The terrorists direct their explosives and guns and rockets not against military outposts or armed soldiers but against a pizzeria, a discotheque, a school bus, a restaurant, a hotel, a railway station – wherever there are civilians to exterminate.

Civilians like the father, mother, brother and grandfather of Menashe Gavish, who lost his loved ones in a night of terror. Civilians such as Malka Roth, who was simply returning home from school. Civilians like Gabi Ladowski, studying at the university. Civilians like Yanay Weiss, who was playing the guitar in a Tel Aviv caf? just beside the U.S. consulate.

I wanted to show just how monstrously determined so many of Israel’s enemies are to kill Jews – but I also wanted to show the determination and spirit of the survivors. These families are a moral example to the whole world. I portrayed the beauty of their lives in order to make the unbearable bearable.

I hope I am able through my words to dramatically illustrate the appalling costs the rebirth of anti-Semitism, fueled by an absolute and undying hatred of Israel and its citizens, is imposing on the whole planet, not just Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

Sixty years ago my country betrayed its Jewish citizens, allowing them be deported from Rome to Auschwitz. They were separated from parents, siblings, spouses and children. They were stripped naked, their documents, their identities, thrown into the fire. They were pushed into a room with a low, heavy ceiling and no light. And they were gassed.

Sixty years later, I offer this book, this labor of love and tears, as my memorial chant for the martyred Jews and my own personal protest against the immorality of silence, then and now.

Earlier on I described A New Shoah as being a draining and daunting book. But it is also a comforting book. In its way, by giving identity to the Israeli victims of terrorism, it honors the words of Simone Weil, who wrote: “If, as is only too possible, we are to perish, let us see to it that we do not perish without having existed. ”

One cannot write a book like this without being condemned to solitude. Yes, I drew inspiration from the shining example of the families and witnesses I interviewed, but the more I involved myself, the lonelier I became. I began this article on a paradoxical note and now I’ll close on another one. In order to deliver such a book to the world, an author has to be very much in love with life. And – even more so after being in the presence of those families and witnesses – I am.

Giulio Meotti is an Italian author and a journalist with the Il Foglio newspaper. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Commentary and Yediot Aharonot.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/telling-the-story-of-a-new-shoah/2010/11/24/

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