Israel’s stupid, ignorant and amoral betrayal of the truth on Polish involvement in the Holocaust

The former Auschwitz camp is pictured through a fence on Jan 27, 2014. (photo: Reuters)

We have accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and we have legitimized the campaign to harass, fine and impoverish Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who expose Poles’ involvement in the crimes of the Holocaust.

By Yehuda Bauer | Haaretz | Jul 4, 2018


The usual conduct [in occupied Poland] was not to help Jews, but to harm them, and many Poles were involved in the persecution of Jews. Europeans’ cooperation with the Nazi death machine was widespread, of course, not only in Poland. But in other countries, scholars who uncover this can’t be penalized.


The Polish and Israeli governments have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Polish law that states that claiming that Poland as a country, or the Polish people, were responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. According to the agreement, this criminal aspect was removed.

The Polish government passed the law to begin with to defend its good name against accusations that many Poles took part in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. And who will decide on the historical facts? According to the Poles, it will be the Institute of National Remembrance, which is run by the politicians controlling the country today.

And so according to the law — even after the agreement with Israel — the government will determine what happened in the past via historians in its service, and this narrative cannot be critiqued by historians, independent researchers or others. Is this acceptable to the Israeli government?

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Yad Vashem rebukes Israeli and Polish governments over Holocaust law

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem in April. (photo: Tsafrir Abayov / Associated Press)

The venerated authority on the Holocaust rebukes the prime ministers of both Israel and Poland.

By Isabel Kershner | The New York Times | Jul 5, 2018


“I don’t know what was going on here — ignorance, stupidity or the clear amoral victory of transient interests that will remain with us as an eternal disgrace.”
— Yad Vashem historian Yehuda Bauer


Israel’s official Holocaust memorial center on Thursday issued a stinging critique of a joint statement by the Israeli and Polish prime ministers that was meant to resolve a rift between the countries over a contentious Polish law on the Holocaust.

The Polish law, which made it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in the Holocaust, was amended last week. The two leaders — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki — issued their statement in an effort to put the controversy over the law behind them.

But the memorial center, Yad Vashem, said the statement contained “grave errors and deceptions.”

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US quits UN Human Rights Council

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Department of State in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
(photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP / Getty Images)

Nikki Haley says council is “protector of human rights abusers” that targets Israel in particular and ignores atrocities elsewhere.

By Julian Borger | The Guardian | Jun 19, 2018


“The UN human rights council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”
— Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch


The US is withdrawing from the United Nations human rights council, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday, calling it a “cesspool of political bias” that targets Israel in particular while ignoring atrocities in other countries.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said she had traveled to the council’s headquarters in Geneva a year ago to call for reforms, to no avail.

“Regrettably it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley told reporters at the state department. “Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council.”

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Human rights in Israel

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and others protesting in support of “Dreamer” immigrants, Washington, DC, Jan 2018. (photo: Ralph Alswang / Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)

The last of the tzaddiks (righteous ones).

By David Shulman | The New York Review of Books | Jun 28, 2018


A Palestinian brought before such a military court, for example in the notorious Ofer Prison north of Jerusalem, has no hope of achieving even the slightest semblance of justice. Conviction rates of Palestinians in these courts are higher than 99 percent. Proceedings take place in Hebrew, which Palestinian defendants often don’t understand, and security specialists routinely give secret testimony to which defendants and their counsel have no access.


In the somewhat exotic Jewish home in Iowa where I grew up, it was axiomatic that there was an intimate link between Judaism and universal human rights. Like nearly all Eastern European Jewish families in America, my parents and grandparents were Roosevelt Democrats, to the point of fanaticism.

They thought that the Jews had invented the very idea, and also the practice, of social justice; that having started our history as slaves in Egypt, we were always on the side of the underdog and the oppressed; that the core of Judaism as a religious culture was precisely this commitment to human rights, and that all the rest — the 613 commandments, the rituals, the theological assertions — was no more than a superstructure built upon a strong ethical foundation.

For me, this comfortable illusion was shattered only when I moved to Israel at the age of eighteen. . . .

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Donald Trump’s new world order

flags
(illustration: Javier Jaén / The New Yorker)

How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran — and leave the Palestinians behind.

By Adam Entous | The New Yorker | Jun 18, 2018


In response to the violence in Gaza, the Gulf states issued ritual denunciations and support for the Palestinians, but Israeli officials regarded the language as unmistakably bland, similar to their reactions to the Jerusalem decision. That their emphasis had shifted away from the Palestinians and to the specter of a confrontation with Iran was obvious.


On the afternoon of December 14, 2016, Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, rode from his Embassy to the White House to attend a Hanukkah party. The Obama Administration was in its final days, and among the guests were some of the President’s most ardent Jewish supporters, who were there to bid him farewell. But Dermer, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not share their sense of loss. For the Israeli leadership, the Trump Presidency could not come soon enough.

Netanyahu believed that Barack Obama had “no special feeling” for the Jewish state, as one of his aides once put it, and he resented Obama’s argument that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was a violation of basic human rights and an obstacle to security, not least for Israel itself. He also believed that Obama’s attempt to foster a kind of balance of power between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East was naïve, and that it underestimated the depth of Iran’s malign intentions throughout the region.

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Palestine is not occupied — it is colonized

Israeli troops screened captured Egyptian troops and Palestinians at the start of the war on Jun 5, 1967, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (photo: David Rubinger / Israeli Governement / Getty Images)

Israel’s colonization began when the 19th-Century Zionist movement aspired to build an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine.

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | Jun 6, 2018


The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.


June 5, 2018, marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 — on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.

The unsurprising death of the “peace process” and the inevitable demise of the “two-state solution” has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.

Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the “Israeli occupation” is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. . . .

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Young evangelicals waver in support for Israel

evangelicals
US evangelical Christians march in the Sukkot holiday parade in Jerusalem on Octc20, 2016. (photo: Abir Sultan / EPA)

Generational split reflects concern over Palestinians, spurring outreach by some churches and groups.

By Ian Lovett | The Wall Street Journal | Jun 3, 2018


“The New Testament, I think, would be in favor of human rights.”
— Jackie Westeren, a rising senior at the evangelical Wheaton College


Growing up in evangelical Christian churches, Caleb Fitzpatrick learned quickly to be a steadfast supporter of Israel. From a young age, Mr. Fitzpatrick said, he was taught that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, “was a hero” and that “Christians are supposed to back Israel on everything.”

But the Tampa, FL, native, who just finished his junior year at Liberty University, an evangelical school, has become critical of Israel for what he says is its mistreatment of Palestinians.

“Human rights is a core issue to me,” Mr. Fitzpatrick, 21, said. “It’s less important to me who has dominion over the northern part of historical Israel.”

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Confessions of an Israeli traitor

A Palestinian argues with Israeli policemen during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, Oct 2015. (photo: Abed al Hashlamoun / EPA)

The internal discussion in Israel is more militant, threatening and intolerant than it has ever been.

By Assaf Gavron | The Washington Post | Oct 23, 2015


No matter how many soldiers we put in the West Bank, or how many houses of terrorists we blow up, or how many stone-throwers we arrest, we don’t have any sense of security; meanwhile, we have become diplomatically isolated, perceived around the world (sometimes correctly) as executioners, liars, racists. As long as the occupation lasts, we are the more powerful side, so we call the shots, and we cannot go on blaming others. For our own sake, for our sanity — we must stop now.


I was an Israel Defense Forces soldier in Gaza 27 years ago, during the first intifada. We patrolled the city and the villages and the refugee camps and encountered angry teenagers throwing stones at us. We responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Now those seem like the good old days.

Since then, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has seen stones replaced with guns and suicide bombs, then rockets and highly trained militias, and now, in the past month, kitchen knives, screwdrivers and other improvised weapons. Some of these low-tech efforts have been horrifically successful, with victims as young as 13. There is plenty to discuss about the nature and timing of the recent wave of Palestinian attacks — a desperate and humiliated answer to the election of a hostile Israeli government that emboldens extremist settlers to attack Palestinians. But as an Israeli, I am more concerned with the actions of my own society, which are getting scarier and uglier by the moment.

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Trump considering downgrading US consulate in East Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left and US Ambassador David Friedman in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 21, 2017. (photo: Abir Sultan / AP)

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is advocating for having the embassy in Jerusalem subsume the consulate in East Jerusalem.

By Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee | Associated Press via ArkansasOnline | Jun 2, 2018


For decades, the East Jerusalem consulate has operated differently than almost every other consulate around the world. Rather than reporting to the US Embassy in Israel, it has reported directly to the State Department in Washington, giving the Palestinians an unfiltered channel to engage with the US government.


President Donald Trump is considering giving US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the US outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five US officials said.

Any move to downgrade the autonomy of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem — responsible for relations with the Palestinians — could have potent symbolic resonance, suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank. And while the change might be technical and bureaucratic, it could have potentially significant policy implications.

As president, Trump has departed from traditional US insistence on a “two-state solution” for the Mideast conflict by leaving open the possibility of just one state. As his administration prepares to unveil a long-awaited peace plan, the Palestinians have all but cut off contact, enraged by Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

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Israel lets Jews protest the occupation — it doesn’t let Palestinians

Palestinian protesters run for cover from Israeli tear gas during clashes near the border between Israel and Gaza in May. (photo: Mohammed Saber / Epa-Efe / Rex / Shutterstock)

Whether in Gaza or Haifa, in Bethlehem or at Ben Gurion International Airport, the message Israel is sending is the same: It can do whatever it wants, and people need to shut up about it.

By Mairav Zonszein | The Washington Post | May 31, 2018


As a longtime activist and journalist in Israel, including for the grass-roots news and commentary site +972 Magazine, I have been arrested for documenting and trying to prevent human rights violations in the West Bank. I have reported for years on how Israel silences dissent, even among its Jewish citizens, and how it is moving to outlaw human rights organizations it deems traitors.


The images and video of Israeli soldiers shooting live ammunition into masses of mostly unarmed Palestinians on the other side of the Gaza border fence over the past several weeks horrified observers around the world. Starting March 30, Israeli troops suppressing protests in Gaza killed 118 people and wounded more than 13,000, including 1,136 children.

The deaths and injuries, Israel Defense Forces international spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus lamented recently, have “done us a tremendous disservice, unfortunately, and it has been very difficult to tell our story.” Now Israel’s government is moving to make sure there are no more videos of mass shootings in the future — not by ordering a stop to the shootings, but by considering a law that would ban anyone from filming or photographing any military operations “with the intention of undermining the spirit of IDF soldiers and Israel’s residents.”

Even if that bill never becomes law, the fact that the Knesset is contemplating it underscores the current state of freedoms in Israel: Maintaining its decades-long occupation depends on systematic suppression of dissent on both sides of the boundary fences. Just as Israel exercises varying levels of control between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, it also permits varying levels of dissent and criticism depending on who you are, what you are protesting and where.

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