Palestine Potpourri: The Holocaust

Palestine Potpourri: The Holocaust

April 30, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

The Holocaust

In this edition of Palestine Potpourri I have decided to concentrate on one of the special features of Jewish life in Palestine, and modern Jewish life in particular. It is the Jewish fascination with death, and the centrality of death within their self-understanding. It seems to be rather unique as a cultural phenomenon gluing the community together, but one must also remember that it has given rise to the thriving business of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Day will be “celebrated” in Israel on May 1, 2019, six days before the Memorial day for fallen soldiers and a week before Independence Day on May 8, which is always calculated according to the Jewish calendar.

This is the national program which will be shown on television.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS 2019

THE EVE OF HOLOCAUST AND HEROISM REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, May 1, 2018 – 26th of Nissan 5779

THE STATE OPENING CEREMONY AT YAD VASHEM

In the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset and the President of the Supreme Court—Warsaw Ghetto Square. Admission to the State Opening Ceremony is by invitation only.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on television, radio and the Yad Vashem website.

8:00 pm, Warsaw Ghetto Square, Yad Vashem, Mount Herzl

THE HOLOCAUST AND HEROISM REMEMBRANCE DAY

Thursday, May 2, 2019 – 27th Of Nissan 5779

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY EVENTS AT YAD VASHEM

10:00 am – Siren

10:02 am – Wreath-laying ceremony at the Ghetto Heroes Monument.

11:00-12:45 am – “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” – Public recitation of Holocaust victims’ names at the Hall of Remembrance in Yad Vashem.

11:00-14:30 pm – “Behind the Scenes” – Activities for the general public on the Yad Vashem campus. A series of gatherings with Yad Vashem experts will be on offer to the public, at which participants will have access to documents and artifacts that are not on display year-round. Further details are available on the Yad Vashem website.

1:00 pm – Main memorial ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance in Yad Vashem.

17:30 pm – Ceremony for Youth Movements at the Valley of the Communities. Admission to the ceremony is by invitation only.

On Wednesday, 11 April 2018, Yad Vashem will be open to the public until 12:00 only.

On Thursday, 12 April 2018, Yad Vashem will be open to the public until 20:00 (entrance to the Holocaust History Museum until 19:00). The Holocaust History Museum will open at 9:00. The Visual Center and Children’s Memorial will open at 11:00.

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY EVENTS AT SAFRA SQUARE

The Jerusalem Municipality will hold a memorial ceremony at Safra Square, May 2, 2019 which will be led by 12th graders sharing their experiences from their journey to Poland in the presence of Holocaust survivors living in Jerusalem.

08:15 am, Safra Square, Jerusalem

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It is clear from the program that Holocaust Day is a serious and important event in the Israeli Jewish calendar. Here a somewhat “out of line” approach , but only in the Israeli context, voiced in an article published in the Israeli liberal newspaper “Haaretz” on April 28, 2019. I have provided the absent “punch line” explaining how radical it is in the Jewish-Israeli context.

From “Eva’s history” to a selfie at Auschwitz

A hand breaks through the wire fence, holding a smart phone. If Instagram had a child in the Holocaust, how many followers would it have had? It is impossible to cross the Ayalon highway snaking through Tel-Aviv without confronting the yellow-flagged street signs (as per lemon-yellow or banana-yellow), announcing the new special for the coming Holocaust Day. “Eva’s History” seeks to bring to the attention of the younger generation the story of Eva Heiman, a 13 year old girl from Hungary, who wrote a diary during the Nazi occupation and was sent to the death camp in Auschwitz, where she was murdered.[sic-LBB]

A reprint of her diary, published in Israel for the first time in 1964, and advertisements in the newspapers do not help give momentum to this story. The youth do not read newspapers, and they read even less books. A stage adaptation starring Noa Kirel, an 18 year old Israeli singer, actress and TV host, is always an option, but the young star is apparently very busy now having issued a single inspired by the story of a Jewish boy taken from the Lodz ghetto. “There is no business like Shoah business” so we have no choice. We must give little Eva an account on Instush (an Israeli twitter) together with life-like stories with German actors and period costumes accompanied by the TV hosts Agam Rodberg and Guy Pines, who will produce something really big, really showy, something to be spoken about!

The rationale is simple. If the mountain does not come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain. Young men and women do not want to hear about the girl Eva? Wait till you see what we’ve prepared for you. We will bring to life the Holocaust of European Jewry in a way that you never dreamt of! We will drench you with it so that you cannot escape from it. This is the name of the game. Make it accessible and mollycoddling at one and the same time!!!

But I’m sorry to spoil the party!! Accessibility should not have been expected to succeed: it was doomed to failure from the start. Why? Because all of it is tainted with condescension and contempt for the youth treating them as if they were two-legged animals, as if all their desires begin and end with their whatsapp groups. The person who conceived this project does not know teenagers. Perhaps he has heard stories or read eulogies, but if he had bothered to meet them, to talk to them, he would have learned that they can smell that shtick or idiocy from miles away, and would not be tempted to follow its superficiality.

True, we parents have the responsibility to teach our children the lessons of the Holocaust. This responsibility carries a great challenge. What again? We have to teach about the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto? Operation Barbarossa? The magnificent [sic] kidnapping of Eichmann by the Mossad? Or the letters and testimonies which we stuff down their throats of Holocaust victims from first grade until their pilgrimage to Auschwitz?

We must break through the veil of banality of the rituals with the black Bristol and glittering memorials, and use creative and critical tools that will encourage discourse and thought. As a teacher I come across it again every year. Holocaust Day is approaching, and the e-mail box is sent out of a few lesson plans on the subject, which she collected for us, hard as an ant, responsible for pedagogy at school.

Their stimulus threshold is high, and in order to cross it, new roads must be carved in the rock. But the fictitious Instagram account of a girl who was murdered in the Holocaust will not be and cannot be a legitimate way. First, it is a show of bad taste, marketed aggressively, and second, much more serious, it will have consequences. The road from “Eva’s Story” to the “selfie” at the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau is short and steep, and at the end all the naysayers will cluck their tongues and nod their heads, and in turn tell us about the lost and detached youth, devoid of values ​​and shamelessness.

Last year, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we learned about German resistance to Nazism and talked about Sophie Scholl and the “White Rose” group. Sophie was only a few years older than my students when she joined her brother Hans and scattered protest posters at the university in Munich that cost her life. I called on my students to distribute their flyers for their own ends, whatever they were. For dessert we watched Tom Cruise try to assassinate Hitler and failed. To teach them that Tom Cruise is just a human being.

At the end of the lesson, one of the students approached me. She noticed that on my desk was a book on the subject, which I used to prepare for the class, and asked to ask him. She looks to her on the cake, Sophie Scholl. A week later came back with new insights. Would you believe it? A girl sat at her house, opened a book, and read it.

Y. Mendelssohn is a musician and a teacher of citizenship

This article is very interesting from the point of view that the author, a musician and teacher of citizenship, bewails the “lachrymose” method of Jewish history. This phrase was introduced by the famous Jewish historian, Salo Baron, who decried this “victimhood” version of Jewish history. In iddish, this is the nebich approach. “Oh the poor Jews!!! Oh what they have suffered! Oh! Oh! Oh!” This has now been standard since WWII and the Holocaust myth is not merely integral to this approach, but is the very heart and core of the modern Jewish understanding, if not actual experience. Jews talk about second and third generation Holocaust “survivors” [sic]. Here, the writer is “tired” of this same old, same old, cry-baby stories of people who lost their lives in the “Holocaust” whether told through letters or through testimonies collected after the war.   He also decries the “theatrical” promotion of another nebich story – the Eva story!! More horrors, more crying, more death etc!!

Instead he suggests a new approach and believe me, it is totally radical in the Jewish Israeli setting. He suggests approaching the Holocaust from a non-Jewish perspective! His approach is radical because he is ignoring the central characteristic Jewish “holocaust” narrators have promoted since 1967 – the “uniqueness” of the Jewish experience. He has the gall to mention a goy, Sophie Scholl, in positive terms!!! Literally unheard of!!!! I did not bring any of the comments which followed the article but many were in this vein condemning the writer’s approach!

I do not want to make too fine a point of it but many have come to the conclusion that the deliberate extermination of six million Jews belongs in the realm of the mythical rather in factual history. So one may ask what is the lesson of the so-called Holocaust? There is no dissension concerning the fact that Hitler wanted to expel the Jews from Germany and that they were not transported by luxury wagons-lit to the east. But given that all the local populations suffered atrociously during WWII, what should we learn from this brutality?

I think it is not apposite to remind the readers that these lines follow on the Passover festival just celebrated by the Jews, the festival of both the Renewal of life and Freedom! The name derives from the “passing over” of the angel of death of the homes of the Children of Israel dwelling in the land of Goshen in Egypt under an oppressive Pharoah! This is the biblical story in which the Egyptian children were smote while the children of the Children of Israel were saved by God’s hand, an “event” celebrated yearly at the Seder table in Jewish homes, where the story is repeated with the killing of the first-born of the Egyptians stressed with glee!

And here, in the reality of Israel today, April 30, was a report of a young Palestinian living under the military occupation of the West Bank of Palestine,aged 20 years old, who was shot by Israeli soldiers because he “threatened” them – a term used repeatedly without any accompanying evidence or explanation. He was taken to a Jewish hospital in Israel where he was strapped down in the bed and held by hand-cuffs while the doctors tried to treat him but it was obvious he was about to die. His family tried to get permission to visit him before he passed away but not one Israeli authority would do anything: not the army, not the legal advisor to the army, not the department of Justice of Israel and not the court! He died alone and abandoned. This is an example of the “compassionate compassion of Jews” which comes from the Hebrew – rahmanim bnei rahmabim used without any tongue in cheek!

Which brings me to another example of Israeli/Jewish autism. Zionist leaders have always touted Israel/the Jews as a “light to the nations”. Day in and day out Palestinians are routed from their beds at 2 am, children are woken up, thrown out of their beds, parents are shooed to the wall, the beds are overturned, the cupboards emptied and the people cower in fear of whatever brutality they cannot think of but which will be invented by the most “moral army in the world” the Israeli Defence [sic] Forces – who, in a myriad of self-same instances- defend themselves from sleeping attackers. One could say that this is hardly worth mentioning except for the fact that it indicates that there is not one facet, and even the smallest one, in which Palestinians have the safety of privacy.

There is a group of Israeli women who have voluntarily taken upon themselves to watch the border crossings between Israel and the Occupied West Bank of Palestine. They are called “Machsom Watch” and they issue daily reports. In one poignant incident, an observer wrote the following:

“A man K’ approached us who lives in Yabed, a village near a northern border crossing. He asked our help in providing him with books teaching Hebrew to Arabic speakers – a suggestion which we accepted with pleasure. He told us that the soldiers broke into his home, that they were looking for his brother, broke many things sins the house but did not find him. He said that he was interested in learning Hebrew so that he could talk [sic] to the soldiers”.

If there is one thing a Palestinian cannot do successfully, it is “talk” to the soldiers, explain to the soldiers. I would like to write another essay on this subject another time, but basically Palestinians are not counted within the species” homo sapiens” for the Israeli authorities. Israelis do not listen to Palestinians talking!

The author is an Israeli lawyer who has represented Palestinians in the Israeli courts. She has lived in Israel/Palestine for over fifty years and considers herself political dissident and lives in an Arab township. She writes out of her own experiences.

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On Jews Being United

April 18, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

soral.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

In his Times of Israel article “What All Anti-Semites Have In Common,” Andres Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, tells us everything we shouldn’t know about the current state of the Jew/Goy divide.

“Today,” Spokoiny complains, “many Jews are willing to overlook and even excuse anti-Semitism when the bigots hate a certain type of Jews.” In the good old days, anti-Semitism was a uniting force. “Anti-Semitism used to be the big Jewish unifier. Jews were always fractious and quarrelsome, but when it came to anti-Semitism, everybody agreed. Anti-Semites hated us without distinction, so in the face of a common threat, we would recognize the danger and unite.” Spokoiny is nostalgic, he wants to see the Jews reunited into a fist of resistance against anti-Semitism.

In the eyes of Spokoiny, the three types of contemporary anti-Semitism, be it Left, Right or Islamic (“which is not only fascistic but outright genocidal,” according to Spokoiny) are in fact one by nature: “there’s just one type of anti-Semitism that simply dresses its ugly persona in different ideological garments.” So it isn’t just the Jews that should be reunited; the Goyim, or shall we say the rest humanity, aren’t diverse either, their oppositions to Jewish politics, Israel or Zionism are only a matter of “different ideological garments.”

In Spokoiny’s universe, the Jews are hated for being Jews. It is not that some oppose Israel for being racist, expansionist and genocidal. It is not because some may be upset that the Israeli Lobby dominates Western foreign affairs in the open. It is not because American and British boys and girls are sent to fight and die in Zio-con wars, it is not because some have noticed that it was a bunch of prominent Jewish intellectuals who have managed to reshape the Western ethos by means of so-called progressive ideologies. It is not because the media seems to be biased in favour of a criminal state, which happens to be a Jewish one. In Spokoiny, reasoning and self-reflection are pushed aside. In his universe some just hate Jews blindly, irrationally and for no reason.

But Spokoiny may as well be right. There is a common element in the Left-wing, Right-wing, Christian and Islamic opposition to Jewish politics, culture and ideology: opposition to choseness is how Bernard Lazare described it in his 1894 Zionist text Antisemitism: Its History and Causes. There is a shared common ground that unites all those so-called ‘anti-Semites.’ The alleged ‘enemies of the Jews’ are people who want the Jewish past to be subject to scrutiny like all other historical chapters, Israeli barbarism to be curtailed, Wall Street to be restricted, Palestine to be free. They want globalisation to be halted, immoral interventionism to die out. The so-called ‘anti-Semites’ actually follow the Zionist promise, they want Jews to finally assimilate and become ‘people like all other people.’ The so-called ‘enemies of the Jews’ are upholding the most enlightened rational universalist ethical positions. They treat Jews as ordinary people and expect their state and institutions to subscribe to ethical standards.

Spokoiny hates Alain Soral, the French intellectual who was sentenced this week to one year in prison by a French court for “negationisme” (history revisionism).

In the eyes of French Jewish institutes and Spokoiny, Soral is the ultimate enemy. He has managed to present a unifying message that appeals to the Left, the Right and Muslim immigrants. Soral calls for a universal reconciliation, between them all under a French nationalist egalitarian ethos. The French Jewish institutions see Soral’s call as a vile anti-Semitic message as it doesn’t seem to accommodate Jewish exceptionalism. However, some Jews have joined Soral’s movement. But they clearly demoted themselves to French patriots. They left chosenism behind, they see themselves primarily as French.

“We in the Jewish community need to believe him (Soral).” Spokoiny writes, “We need to stop participating in the divide-and-conquer game of those who hate us.” In other words, Spokoiny wants to see Jews as one monolithic identity. One that sticks together and exercises its power. If Spokoiny or anyone else thinks that such politics may eradicate anti-Semitism, he or she must be either naïve or just stupid   . What Jews need to do is to self-reflect, to ask themselves why anti-Semitism is rising again. Jews must identify their own role in this emerging reality. Rather than constantly blaming their so called ‘haters,’ Jews may want to repeat the early Zionist exercise and ask what is exactly in Jewish culture, identity and politics that makes Jewish history into a chain of disasters.


My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

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Massive campaign to defend 5 jewish terrorists accused of stoning to death Palestinian mother of nine

Massive campaign to defend Israeli religious students accused of killing Palestinian mother of nine

Jean Shaoul — WSWS Jan 14, 2019

Demonstrations against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Demonstration against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Far-right and ultra-Orthodox groups have created a media storm over the arrest of five Jewish youths on suspicion of carrying out “serious terror offenses,” including the killing of a Palestinian woman last October.

The defence of the accused is being used to stoke nationalist tensions in the run-up to the general election on April 9, and to shift Israeli politics further to the right. All the mainstream parties are complicit.

The five boys, students at the Pri Ha’aretz yeshiva (religious seminary) in the Rehelim settlement in the occupied West Bank, are accused of the stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian car October 12 that killed Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, a mother of nine, and injured her husband, Yacoub.

The past year saw a threefold increase in racist attacks on Palestinians over 2017, with 482 politically motivated crimes by Jews reported in the West Bank. These included beating and throwing stones at Palestinians, painting nationalist, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars, and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The murder and its aftermath highlight the utter lawlessness and racism inherent in the Greater Israel project from which the settler movement stems. Speaking to Ha’aretz after the attack, Yacoub Rabi said, “I don’t have any doubt it was the settlers. There were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young.”

As is common in such stoning attacks, the police dragged their feet over their investigation, to the extent that few believed any action would be taken.

According to the public broadcaster Kan, the day after the stoning attack, settlers from Yitzhar broke with the strict religious rule of not driving on the Sabbath and traveled to the Rehelim yeshiva. One of those in the car was reportedly Meir Ettinger, a grandson of the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has accused of being a ringleader of an underground group that spawned the racist filth legitimising attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Ettinger spent time in administrative detention, which enables the state to order someone’s arrest without informing the detainee of the reason or providing any evidence of wrongdoing, and to detain him for unspecified periods and interrogate him without lawyers in attendance. Administrative detention orders are routinely used against Palestinians, but rarely against Jewish Israelis.

Ettinger’s arrest followed attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and churches and mosques in Israel by right-wing Jewish extremists, including the torching of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed an 18-month-old baby.

The use of administrative detention orders under the pretext of combating militant Jewish nationalists facilitated the introduction of such methods as part of the build-up of repressive measures to be used against the working class.

On October 13, Ettinger and his companions went to the Rehelim yeshiva to brief the assailants before any investigation, arrest or interrogation, and thereby prevent them revealing the details of the stoning attack.

Two weeks ago, Shin Bet, not the police, arrested three of the suspects on suspicion of murder. They also arrested two others who were taking part in a protest in support of the alleged assailants. A gag order was imposed on the media to prevent any reporting on the details of the investigation, and the youths were banned from seeing their lawyers, the far right activist Itamar Ben Gvir and Nati Rom and Adi Kedar of the Honenu NGO, which provides legal aid to Jewish activists suspected of terrorist attacks.

The police also called all the yeshiva students in for questioning after entering the seminary amid claims from the staff that they did not have a search warrant. By last Thursday, 30 students had been questioned.

The settlers and their supporters, including religious leaders and the suspects’ lawyers, issued statements condemning the arrests and organizing protests outside the homes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet members, and later demonstrations outside the court proceedings. Neither Netanyahu nor any member of his cabinet had condemned the attack or demanded that those responsible be brought to justice. Rather, they actively encouraged the protests over the arrests and the investigation.

Following an appeal by one of the families over lack of access to lawyers, Ayelet Shaked, justice minister and leader, along with Naftali Bennett, of the newly formed New Right Party, called the mother of one of boys to say that she had discussed his case with State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and urged the mother to “stay strong.”

A week after the youths were taken into custody, they were permitted to meet with their lawyers, who claimed the boys were innocent and accused Shin Bet interrogators of “severe manipulation” and causing “serious trauma.”

The Shin Bet was also forced to lift the gag order on part of the case. In response, it issued statements that it had discovered an Israeli flag with a swastika and “Death to Zionists” scrawled on it in the room of one of the suspects, who were now described as radical anti-Zionists. The lawyer for the five youths, Itamar Ben-Gvir, described this as “a spin” by Shin Bet, stating that there was “no real evidence” against his clients who “are good kids that love the State of Israel.”

On Thursday, a judge ruled that four of the suspects should be released and subject to house arrest, while the fifth should be kept in detention because of the nature of the allegations, the evidence against him and concerns over obstruction of justice.

The Shin Bet claimed that it had respected all the suspects’ rights under law, saying, “Claims of their denial are baseless and aim at diverting the discourse from the serious suspicions for which they were detained and at bringing the service in disrepute.”

The increase in violence and murderous attacks on Palestinians are bound up with the encouragement of all forms of extreme nationalism by Israel’s fascistic settler parties, which sit in Netanyahu’s government, as well as from recently elected municipal leaders. As the World Socialist Web Site explained in its statement on January 3: “The ultra-rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel is establishing the closest relations with extreme rightwing regimes and parties throughout the world. These alliances reflect the growing strength of fascist forces within Israel itself.”

The WSWS drew attention to a column in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on December 31, by the Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who warned:

“We have to face reality. We are witnessing the flourishing of a Jewish Ku Klux Klan movement. Like its American counterpart, the Jewish version also drinks from the polluted springs of religious fanaticism and separatism, only replacing the Christian iconography with its Jewish equivalent. Like white racism’s modus operandi, this Jewish racism is also based on fear mongering and violence against its equivalent of Blacks—the Palestinians.”

Such obnoxious and abhorrent phenomena mirror similar trends internationally and demonstrate the bankruptcy and reactionary dead-end of the entire Zionist project.

Source

‘Racist Discourse’ in israeli (apartheid state) School Text Books

‘Racist Discourse’ in Israeli Text Books

on Nov 23, 2011

Alternate Focus interviews Nurit Peled-Elhanan, author of the forthcoming book Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. Nurit Peled-Elhanan argues that the textbooks used in the school system are laced with a pro-Israel ideology, and that they play a part in priming Israeli children for military service. She analyzes the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity.

israel (apartheid state) discovers Europe’s soft underbelly – the Balkans

Israel discovers Europe’s soft underbelly – the Balkans

Vuk Vuksanovic's picture

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Varna, Bulgaria, as a guest of honour at the Craiova Group summit, a gathering of Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian and Romanian leaders.

Netanyahu was the first foreign leader to receive an invitation to this summit. In recent years, Israel has pursued a more proactive foreign policy in the Balkans, both from a strategic perspective and to weaken the EU’s stance on the Palestinian issue.

As a supporter of the two-state solution and an opponent of Israeli settlements, the EU has been a thorn in Israel’s side. In 2011, Israel made a push to gain the support of Balkan countries in the EU on the Palestinian issue.

The drive appears to have been successful: in 2012, Romania and Bulgaria abstained from the UN General Assembly vote on the recognition of Palestine as a non-member state.

Palestinian statehood

While many Balkan countries have yet to join the EU, Israel has also managed to lure Bosnian Serbs into vetoing the decision to endorse Palestinian statehood at the Bosnia-Herzegovina state level. This decision was preceded by a visit from then-Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. 

More recently, in May, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania broke ranks with the EU by sending their envoys to the festivities surrounding the US embassy move to Jerusalem.

While all Craiova Group countries recognise Palestine, except for Greece, Netanyahu is using his interactions with the Balkan countries to put pressure on the EU. The day before the summit, the Israeli prime minister blasted the EU’s “hypocritical and hostile attitude”.

Having a diplomatic presence in the Balkans is tempting and logical, given that geography places many of these countries at the crossroads between West and East

A wider strategic context for Israel’s interest in the Balkans can be traced to its national security doctrine shift over the past seven years. In 2011, Israel fell into a diplomatic spat with old ally Turkey over Israel’s refusal to apologise for the deadly Mavi Marmara raid. The row with Turkey marked a loss of influence for Israel with a long-time strategic ally.

Israel’s interests in the Balkans are also motivated by its rivalry with Iran. In 2012, Iranian ally Hezbollah allegedly attacked Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

The worsened strategic environment required Israel to make a shift in its alliances, modifying the historical “Periphery Doctrine”, which entailed forming alliances with non-Arab states in the periphery of the Middle East to compensate for its encirclement by hostile Arab nations.

Israel has since expanded its periphery, forming closer diplomatic and security ties with Greece and Cyprus in opposition to Turkey’s strategic clout in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Forming partnerships

As part of this shift, Israel has gradually and discreetly formed partnerships with Balkan countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and others.

Having a diplomatic presence in the Balkans is tempting and logical, given that geography places many of these countries at the crossroads between West and East. Greece has maritime access to both North Africa and the Middle East; Serbia connects the Balkan Peninsula with central Europe; and Romania and Bulgaria, as Black Sea countries, open the door to the Caucasus and Central Asia.



Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, in Belgrade on 26 July (AFP)

In July, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin became the first Israeli president to visit Serbia, where he named a street in the Belgrade municipality of Zemun after Zionist ideologue Theodor Herzl, whose parents lived there. Israeli investments in Serbia and the number of Israeli tourists are also growing. Over the years, Israel has emerged as one of the main diplomatic backers of Republika Srpska, the Serbian entity in Bosnia.

Albanians from both Albania and Kosovo have avoided aligning against Israel in diplomatic forums, despite Israel’s non-recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Israel also nurtures military and diplomatic ties with Croatia and Macedonia. During the recent Craiova summit, Netanyahu complimented the intelligence cooperation between the Balkans and Israel.

Western vacuum

On its own, Israel’s foreign policy shift towards the Balkans is neither positive nor negative. Israel has been exploiting the vacuum generated by the inactivity of Western players in the Balkans since 2008, and is seeking opportunities to further its own interests.

Israel has not been the only Middle Eastern player making overtures in the Balkans: Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and even Iran have also done so. Israel does not have the capacity to achieve a robust presence in the Balkans, but its increased activity provides an important geopolitical insight: namely, that the Balkans and the Middle East should cease to be viewed as two unrelated geopolitical units.

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From Syria to Serbia: The migrants’ Balkan backdoor

It is becoming increasingly obvious that there is geopolitical and security interplay between the two regions, as demonstrated by the presence of jihadi groups in the Balkans, refugee flows and the diplomatic presence of Middle Eastern players such as Israel.

– Vuk Vuksanovic is a PhD researcher in International Relations at the London School of Economics. He previously worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and as a political risk consultant in Belgrade. He writes widely on modern foreign and security policy issues, and is on Twitter @v_vuksanovic.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pose after a news conference in Varna on 2 November (HO/Bulgarian Government Press Office/AFP)

Leaked report: israel (apartheid state) acknowledges Jews in fact Khazars; Secret plan for reverse migration to Ukraine

From the “Times of israel”

Leaked report: Israel acknowledges Jews in fact Khazars; Secret plan for reverse migration to Ukraine

Fast-breaking Developments

Followers of Middle Eastern affairs know two things: always expect the unexpected, and never write off Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has more political lives than the proverbial cat.

Only yesterday came news that Syrian rebels plan to give Israel the Golan Heights in exchange for creation of a no-fly zone against the Assad regime. In an even bolder move, it is now revealed, Israel will withdraw its settlers from communities beyond the settlement blocs—and relocate them at least temporarily to Ukraine. Ukraine made this arrangement on the basis of historic ties and in exchange for desperately needed military assistance against Russia. This surprising turn of events had an even more surprising origin: genetics, a field in which Israeli scholars have long excelled.

A Warlike Turkic People—and a Mystery

It is well known that, sometime in the eighth to ninth centuries, the Khazars, a warlike Turkic people, converted to Judaism and ruled over a vast domain in what became southern Russia and Ukraine. What happened to them after the Russians destroyed that empire around the eleventh century has been a mystery. Many have speculated that the Khazars became the ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews.

Schnitzler1857.emp

The Khazar Empire, from M. J-H. Schnitzler’s map of The Empire of Charlemagne and that of the Arabs, (Strasbourg, 1857)

Arabs have long cited the Khazar hypothesis in attempts to deny a Jewish historical claim to the land of Israel. During the UN debate over Palestine Partition, Chaim Weizmann responded, sarcastically: “lt is very strange. All my life I have been a Jew, felt like a Jew, and I now learn that I am a Khazar.” In a more folksy vein, Prime Minister Golda Meir famously said:  “Khazar, Schmazar. There is no Khazar people. I knew no Khazars In Kiev. Or Milwaukee. Show me these Khazars of whom you speak.”

KhazAxe1

a warlike people: Khazar battle axe, c. 7th-9th centuries

Contrarian Hungarian ex-communist and scientist Arthur Koestler brought the Khazar hypothesis to a wider audience with The Thirteenth Tribe (1976), in the hope that disproving a common Jewish “racial” identity would end antisemitism. Clearly, that hope has not been fulfilled. Most recently, left-wing Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People took Koestler’s thesis in a direction he had not intended, arguing that because Jews were a religious community descended from converts they do not constitute a nation or need a state of their own. Scientists, however, dismissed the Khazar hypothesis because the genetic evidence did not add up. Until now. In 2012, Israeli researcher Eran Elhaik published a study claiming to prove that Khazar ancestry is the single largest element in the Ashkenazi gene pool. Sand declared himself vindicated, and progressive organs such as Haaretz and The Forward trumpeted the results.

Israel seems finally to have thrown in the towel. A blue-ribbon team of scholars from leading research institutions and museums has just issued a secret report to the government, acknowledging that European Jews are in fact Khazars. (Whether this would result in yet another proposal to revise the words to “Hatikvah” remains to be seen.) At first sight, this would seem to be the worst possible news, given the Prime Minister’s relentless insistence on the need for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” and the stagnation of the peace talks. But others have underestimated him at their peril. An aide quipped, when life hands you an etrog, you build a sukkah.

Speaking off the record, he explained, “We first thought that admitting we are really Khazars was one way to get around Abbas’s insistence that no Jew can remain in a Palestinian state. Maybe we were grasping at straws. But when he refused to accept that, it forced us to think about more creative solutions. The Ukrainian invitation for the Jews to return was a godsend. Relocating all the settlers within Israel in a short time would be difficult for reasons of logistics and economics. We certainly don’t want another fashlan like the expulsion of the settlers in the Gaza Hitnatkut [disengagement].

“We’re not talking about all the Ashkenazi Jews going back to Ukraine. Obviously that is not practical.

Speaking on deep background, a well-placed source in intelligence circles said: “We’re not talking about all the Ashkenazi Jews going back to Ukraine. Obviously that is not practical. The press as usual exaggerates and sensationalizes; this is why we need military censorship.”

Khazaria 2.0?

All Jews who wish to return would be welcomed back without condition as citizens, the more so if they take part in the promised infusion of massive Israeli military assistance, including troops, equipment, and construction of new bases. If the initial transfer works, other West Bank settlers would be encouraged to relocate to Ukraine, as well. After Ukraine, bolstered by this support, reestablishes control over all its territory, the current Autonomous Republic of Crimea would once again become an autonomous Jewish domain. The small-scale successor to the medieval empire of Khazaria (as the peninsula, too, was once known) would be called, in Yiddish, Chazerai.

SprunerCarl.det.1000

the Khazar Empire, map of Europe in the Age of Charles the Great, from Karl von Spruner, _Historisch-geographischer Hand-Atlas_ (Gotha, 1854)

the Khazars did not have to live within ‘Auschwitz borders.’”

“As you know,” the spokesman continued, “the Prime Minister has said time and again: we are a proud and ancient people whose history here goes back 4,000 years. The same is true of the Khazars: just back in Europe and not quite as long. But look at the map: the Khazars did not have to live within ‘Auschwitz borders.’”

EmpCharlMonin.1841.500

no “Auschwitz borders”: the great extent of the Khazar Empire (pink, at right) is readily apparent in this map of Europe circa 800, by Monin (Paris, 1841). Compare with Charlemagne’s empire (pink, at left)

“As the Prime Minister has said, no one will tell Jews where they may or may not live on the historic territory of their existence as a sovereign people. He is willing to make painful sacrifices for peace, even if that means giving up part of our biblical homeland in Judea and Samaria. But then you have to expect us to exercise our historical rights somewhere else. We decided this will be on the shores of the Black Sea, where we were an autochthonous people for more than 2000 years. Even the great non-Zionist historian Simon Dubnow said we had the right to colonize Crimea. It’s in all the history books. You can look it up.”

Old-New Land?

Black Sea, showing Khazar presence in Crimea and coastal regions: Rigobert Bonne, Imperii Romani Distracta. Pars Orientalis, (Paris, 1780). Note Ukraine and Kiev at upper left. At right: Caspian Sea, also labeled, as was the custom, as the Khazar Sea

Black Sea, showing Khazar presence in Crimea and coastal regions: Rigobert Bonne, Imperii Romani Distracta. Pars Orientalis, (Paris, 1780). Note Ukraine and Kiev at upper left. At right: Caspian Sea, also labeled, as was the custom, as the Khazar Sea

“We’d like to think of it as sort of a homeland-away-from-home,” added the anonymous intelligence source. “Or the original one,” he said with a wink. “After all, Herzl wrote about the Old-New Land, didn’t he? And the transition shouldn’t be too difficult for the settlers because, you know, they’ll still get to feel as if they are pioneers: experience danger, construct new housing, carry weapons. The women can continue to wear scarves on their heads, and the food won’t be very different from what they already eat.”

In retrospect, we should have seen this coming, said a venerable State Department Arabist, ticking off the signs on his fingers: a little-noticed report that Russia was cracking down on Israeli smuggling of Khazar artifacts, the decisions of both Spain and Portugal to give citizenship to descendants of their expelled Jews, as well as evidence that former IDF soldiers were already leading militias in support of the Ukrainian government. And now, also maybe the possibility that the missing Malaysian jet was diverted to Central Asia.

A veteran Middle East journalist said: “It’s problematic, but in a perverse way, brilliant. In one fell swoop, Bibi has managed to confound friend and foe alike. He’s put the ball back in the Palestinians’ court and relieved the pressure from the Americans without actually making any real concessions. Meanwhile, by lining up with the Syrian rebels and Ukraine, as well as Georgia and Azerbaijan, he compensates for the loss of the Turkish alliance and puts pressure on both Assad and Iran. And the new Cypriot-Israeli gas deal props up Ukraine and weakens the economic leverage of both the Russians and the Gulf oil states. Just brilliant.”

Reactions from around the world

Given the confluence of the weekend and the Purim and Saint Patrick’s Day holidays, reporters scrambled to get responses. Reactions from around the world trickled in.

• Members of the YESHA Council of settlers, some of them evidently the worse for wear after too much festival slivovitz, were caught completely off-guard. Always wary of Netanyahu, whom they regard as a slick opportunist rather than reliable ideological ally, they refused to comment until they had further assessed the situation.

Most of the hastily offered reactions fell into the predictable categories.

• Right-wing antisemitic groups pounced on the story as vindication of their conspiracy theories, claiming that this was the culmination of the Jews’ centuries-old plan to avenge the defeat of Khazaria by the Russians in the Middle Ages, a reprise of Israel’s support for Georgia in 2008. “Jews have memories as long as their noses,” one declared.

a continuum of conquest and cruelty?

• From Ramallah, a Fatah spokesman said the offer was a start but did not go nearly far enough toward satisfying Palestinian demands. Holding up an image of a Khazar warrior from an archaeological artifact, he explained:

There is a continuum of conquest and cruelty. It’s very simple, genetics does not lie. We see the results today: the Zionist regime and brutal Occupation Forces are descended from warlike barbarians. Palestinians are descended from peaceful pastoralists, in fact, from the ancient Israelites that you have falsely claimed as your ancestors. By the way, it is not true, however, that your ancestors ever had a temple in Jerusalem.

475px-Khazar_1

Then: Khazarian barbarian. Warrior with prisoner, image from archaeological object.
[source: Wikimedia Commons]
Now: Israeli border policeman with Palestinian protester
[source: Amnesty International]

 

• The famously reliable unofficial intelligence website DAFTKAfile admitted:

Boy, are our faces red. We were caught flat-footed and thought that the return to Spain and Portugal was the real story. Obviously, that was an impeccably planned and clever feint to distract attention from the coming revolution in Ukraine. Nicely played, Mossad.

• Prolific blogger Richard Sliverstein, whose knowledge of Jewish culture and uncanny ability to ferret out military secrets regularly provoke astonishment even among his critics, commented:

Frankly, I’m surprised that my Mossad sources did not get this story to me first. But I’ve been up against a deadline for an essay on the kabbalistic significance of sesame seeds, the main ingredient in hummus, so I haven’t caught up on my email. But, do I feel vindicated? Well, yes, but it’s scant satisfaction. I’ve been saying for years that the Jews are descended from Mongol-Tatar Khazars, but it has barely made a dent in the propaganda armor of these Zionist hasbaroid dolts.

• An official of a leading human-rights NGO said:

Evacuating illegal settlements must be a part of any peace deal, but first forcing settlers to leave Palestine and then resettling them in Ukraine may be a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We’ll see what the ICC has to say about this. And if they think they can be even more trigger-happy in Ukraine than the West Bank, they have another thing coming.

• Ultra-Ultra-Orthodox spokesman Menuchem Yontef (formerly of Inowraclaw) welcomed the news:

We reject the Zionist state, which is illegitimate until Mashiach comes. We don’t care where we live as long as we can study the Torah and obey its commandments in full. However, we refuse to serve in the military there as well as here. And—we also want subsidies. That is G-d’s will.

• The spokeswoman for a delegation of Episcopalian peace activists, reached after the Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem, said, with tears in her eyes:

We applaud this consistency of principle. If only all Jews would think like Menuchem Yontef—in fact, I’d like to call them “Menuchem Yontef Jews”: “M. Y. Jews,” for short—then antisemitism would disappear and members of all three Abrahamic faiths would again live together peacefully here as they did before the advent of Zionism. The nation-state is a relic of the nineteenth century, which has caused untold suffering. The most urgent task for world peace is the immediate creation of a free and sovereign Palestine.

• Noted academic and theorist Judith Buntler mused:

It may seem like a paradox to establish alterity or ‘interruption’ at the heart of ethical relations. But to know that we have first to consider what such terms mean. One might argue that the distinctive trait of Khazarian identity is that it is interrupted by alterity, that the relation to the gentile defines not only its diasporic situation, but one of its most fundamental ethical relations. Although such a statement may well be true (meaning that it belongs to a set of statements that are true), it manages to reserve alterity as a predicate of a prior subject. The relation to alterity becomes one predicate of ‘being Khazarian.’ It is quite another thing to understand that very relationship as challenging the idea of ‘Khazarian’ as a static sort of being, one that is adequately described as a subject. . . . coexistence projects can only begin with the dismantling of political Zionism.

not the “two-state solution” they expected?

• Anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) leader Ali Abubinomial put it more simply. Pounding his desk, he fumed, “So, Israel and Khazaria? This is what the Zionists mean by a ‘two-state solution’?! Do the math! Has no one read my book?”

• Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) called an emergency meeting to establish ties with the Pecheneg Liberation Organization (PLO), saying, “Pechenegs should not pay the price for European antisemitism.” The new solidarity group, “Students for Pechenegs in Ukraine” (SPUK), proclaimed as its motto: “From the Black to the Caspian Sea, We’re Gonna Find Somebody to Free!”

• For his part, peace activist and former East Jerusalem administrator Myron Benvenuti responded with equanimity: “I’ve got nothing to worry about: I’m Sephardic and my family has lived here for centuries. Anyway, if I have to go somewhere else, it’s going to be Spain, not Ukraine: more sunshine, less gunfire.”

The consensus of the broad majority of “Middle Israel,” which feels that Netanyahu is not doing enough for peace but also questions the sincerity of the Palestinians, is skeptical and despairing. One woman said, in frustration: We all long for an agreement but just cannot see how to achieve it. For now, all we can see is this Chazerai.

* * *

Update March 17:

Latest reports, including Vladimir Putin’s recognition of Crimea as a “sovereign and independent state,” and the estimate that relocation of Israeli settlers in any peace agreement would cost $10 billion, confirm the details of the above story. Ed.

The faulty logic behind the Zionist attack on #BDS

The faulty logic behind the Zionist attack on BDS

Right to boycott Israel

By Lawrence Davidson 

Boycotts are historically common

If you search the topic boycotts on Google you immediately realise how historically common they are. There are a lot to choose from, and one of the first listed is the 1769 boycott instituted by the First Continental Congress against Great Britain over the issue of “taxation without representation”. That makes a boycott against a perceived oppressive power an integral part of American heritage.

As you move into the modern era, a reaction against racism also becomes a noticeable motivating factor for many boycotts. The Chinese instituted a boycott against the United States over the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892 and 1904. Then, in 1933, the American Jewish Congress declared a boycott of Nazi Germany in protest against its racially motivated oppression of the German Jewish community. In the 1940s, Gandhi would encourage Indians to boycott imperial Britain. In the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans would boycott segregated institutions in the US South. In the 1960s through the 1990s, much of the world would boycotted South Africa over the issue of apartheid. And this is but a short list.

In 2005, 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, including unions, refugee networks, women’s organisations and political parties, put out a call for a boycott of Israel. This was to be a non-violent effort to put pressure on the Zionist state to conform to international law and cease its oppression of the Palestinians. The call was also for divestment from Israel and all entities that assisted and profited from its behaviour, as well as for eventual sanctions. This is known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or BDS for short.

Redefining anti-Semitism

Even though Jews had suffered from Nazi persecution and ethnic cleansing during World War II and had used boycott as a weapon against their oppressors, the Israelis and their Zionist supporters have taken great umbrage at the call for boycott by the Palestinians. They see it as “anti-Semitic”.

For instance, in the US the Zionist Anti-Defamation League has this to say about the BDS campaign on its website:

Many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination… are anti-Semitic. Many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state… And, all too often, BDS advocates employ anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel.

This statement expresses the “official” Israeli/Zionist position, and at its core is a purposeful conflation of the Jewish people and the Israeli state. By insisting on this identification of Israel and all Jews, the Zionists are able to redefine anti-Semitism. Indeed, they take a very old and well-understood phenomenon and give it a radically new, and quite suspect, definition.

The traditional definition of anti-Semitism is a dislike of or bias against Jews by virtue of their imagined inherent “Jewishness”. Note that this is very different from objecting to, say, the criminal behaviour of someone or some group that just happens to be Jewish. In the first case, it is “Jewishness” that you object to. That is anti-Semitism. In the second case, it is criminal behaviour that you object to, regardless of whether the criminal is Jewish. That is not anti-Semitism

However, by arbitrarily conflating all Jews with the Israeli state, the Zionists tell us that criticism or opposition to Israeli state behaviour – even if that behaviour is criminal – is anti-Semitic. This is because Israel stands in for all Jews. Thus, they redefine anti-Semitism in a way that allows Israel to sidestep all moral responsibility by turning the argument around and pointing fingers at their critics. For instance, do you object to Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians? Well, for the Zionists the issue is no longer the criminal nature of ethnic cleansing, but the alleged anti-Semitism of those criticising that behaviour.

Background information

Let’s consider this Zionist manoeuvre against the following background. Consider the following:

— In June, 2018, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), representing 1.5 million Americans, “voted unanimously” to support the BDS campaign.

— In July, 2018, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA voted to support BDS by screening suspect companies that might be aiding Israel in the violation of Palestinian human rights and divest from them if this proves to be the case. The Episcopal Church USA represents 3 million Americans.

— There are, in fact, dozens of Jewish organisations worldwide supporting the BDS campaign. These have thousands of members.

Altogether we are talking about millions of people, both Christian and Jewish, a good percentage of whom support, or at least are in sympathy with BDS. Are they all anti-Semitic? According to the Zionist’s novel definition – the one that conflates Jews with the Israeli state – the answer is yes. But clearly this assertion can’t be right.

Logical fallacies and erroneous thinking

The Zionist gambit is actually an act of obfuscation using a logical fallacy called the “straw man“. It is “based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be attacking a straw man”.

Thus, as suggested above, every time someone charges that the state of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is, say, in violation of international law, the issue of the validity of this charge is replaced by “straw man”, which in this case is alleged anti-Semitism of the critic. It is to be noted that in most of these confrontations only one side has any real evidence. The critic might point to evidence of ethnic cleansing, property destruction and land theft, and various policies that have, according to David Harel, the vice-president of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, turned Israel into an “apartheid” state. On the other side, however, those using the straw man fallacy often have no objective evidence at all. Their claim of anti-Semitism is based on their own idiosyncratic definition of this prejudice. Making a case in this way also involves “begging the question” or “circular reasoning”, which are also erroneous ways of arguing. This occurs when a person “assumes as evidence for their argument the very conclusion they are attempting to prove”.

Conclusion

The great 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume once remarked(referring to the subject of miracles) that “those with strong religious beliefs are often prepared to give evidence that they know is false, with the best intentions in the world, for the sake of promoting so holy a cause”. We can ascribe this sentiment to the true believer of just about any belief system deemed “holy” in one sense or another. Certainly those with strong Zionist beliefs would qualify – though I am pretty sure theirs are not “the best intentions in the world”.

Hume goes on to say that “people are often too credulous when faced with such witnesses, whose apparent honesty and eloquence… may overcome normal scepticism.” Thus, the faulty logic of the Zionist attack on the BDS campaign has not prevented partial success. This is particularly true in the halls of power where faulty logic is combined with Zionist lobby power that can help or hinder the politician’s re-election. Here Zionist power and influence are being used to actually outlaw BDS. To date some 25 US states have tried to do this even though, as an infringement of free speech, their efforts are clearly unconstitutional. In this case lobby power proves more compelling than either the US constitution or logic.

Let’s end by quoting George Orwell. His experiences with the pervasive propaganda used by all sides just before and during World War II gave him “the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” Such efforts have not stopped. The Zionists are still doing their best to make it so.

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