Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Memory and the Vel d’Hiv
Monday marked the seventieth anniversary of the rafle du Vel d’Hiv, the mass arrest and deportation of Jewry from France, conducted by Nazi and some 9,000 Vichy police officers, on July 16 and 17, 1942. 12,884 Jews were penned into the Vélodrome d’Hiver, the majority including 4,000 children for five days in the heat of summer with little sustenance, before movement onto Drancy and then Auschwitz. An official act of commemoration in the presence of President François Hollande will take place on Sunday, July 22.
A poll conducted by CSA for the French Union of Jewish Students has revealed that 67% of those aged between 15 and 17, 60% between 18 and 24, and 57% between 25 and 34 did not know of the round up of Jews into and out of the Vél d’Hiv. Across the entire population, 42% possessed no knowledge of the one of the most important events in the history of twentieth century France, indicitive of the nation’s struggle and oftentimes failure to face up to the hand it played in the Holocaust.
It was not until 1995 that the French government officially acknowledged that it had played any part in this most heinous of acts. “These dark hours soil our history forever and are an insult to our past and our traditions. The French and the French state seconded the occupying powers in their criminal folly”, Jacques Chirac proclaimed on Vél d’Hiv day in 1995. “France committed the irreparable”.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
A Note on Jewish Values
According to the most recent survey of Jewish values, a majority of American Jews:
- Support the re-election of Barack Obama (62pc);
- View President Clinton either very or somewhat favourably (77pc);
- Believe Republican leaders are doing too little to compromise with President Obama (77pc);
- Believe the government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor (64pc);
- Favour the introduction of a new tax bracket for those earning over $1 million per annum (81pc);
- Believe American Muslims are an important religious community within the United States (66pc);
- Greatly distrust the Christian Right, ranking them 20.9 on a 1-100 unfavourable-favourable scale;
- Think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (90pc) and Iran (83pc) are the greatest threats to Israel’s future and security;
- Believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases (93pc);
- Support same-sex marriage (81pc);
- Favour tougher laws and regulations to protect the environment (69pc); and
- Oppose the Supreme Court potentially overturning Obamacare (58pc).
American Jewry, thus, is one of the essential minority groups that prevent the United States from becoming a banana republic.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
by Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, December 6, 2011
The Obama administration seems to be arguing lately that the blame for stalled peace talks rests almost entirely with Israel. This clearly isn’t true. The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas seems uninterested in even sharing its ideas for compromise with Israel. Yet this doesn’t excuse the Netanyahu government’s inability to curtail the settlements or the settlers, some of whom behave despicably toward their Palestinian neighbors. The occupation will come to an end only through direct negotiation. The West Bank settlers should, if nothing else, be brought under the rule of law, and be encouraged to come home.
Israelis, and their American supporters, often argue that Israel’s problem is one of public relations. It is, to some degree. The world holds Israel to a higher standard than any other country. But here’s a secret: American Jews hold Israel to a very high standard as well, and if Israel ceases to be a free and open country governed by the rule of law, American Jewish support for Israel will dissipate, with dramatic and unpleasant consequences.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Silence is equivalent to death.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Jamel represents the failings of German reunification writ large. A hamlet in the German Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, it is a neo-Nazi settlement where people Hitler salute in the street. And it is a town where people gather together around barbecues inscribed with the words “happy holocaust” in medieval blackletter script.
The reunification of Germany resulted in the loss of 2.5 million Eastern jobs in industry alone. Today, parts are still blighted by high unemployment, social isolation and the emergence of skinhead gangs that target foreign workers and asylum seekers as scapegoats for their socio-economic ills.
Nationally, the prominence of the far-right in German politics is often overstated. But in the east, the simmering undercurrent of neo-Nazism and unreconstructed communism amongst the disaffected suggests, amongst other things, a rejection of unified German identity and its historical discourse.
Read more: http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/55166/reuni%EF%AC%81cation-fuelled-neo-nazi-%EF%AC%81re
Editorial, The Jewish Daily Forward, September 22, 2011
It’s time to call out those who would use Israel for political gain. It’s time for American Jews to put our values and our votes in context, and stop allowing a few people with loud, extremist voices to act as if they speak for all of us. Only 7% of the voters in the heavily Jewish district in Queens that recently elected a Republican to office cast their ballots based on Israel, exit polls say. Seven percent. The overall vote was certainly a repudiation of Democratic policies — tinged, just perhaps, by the fact that the former Democratic officeholder resigned in a sex scandal. But to frame it as a message to the White House only about Israel willfully distorts what actually happened.
Too much is at stake to allow this type of misrepresentation to continue without response. In the long run, Israel will not become safer if it becomes even more isolated, and if the legitimate aims of the Palestinian people are denied. We continue to believe that unilateral action at the U.N. is a bad idea, but there are steps that Israel and the Palestinians can take to hasten the return to real negotiation and resolution. Punitive moves to deny funding will only worsen the situation on the ground and encourage the Palestinians to seek financial solace from far less friendly nations.