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Egypt border guards killed in Sinai attack –

Egypt border guards killed in Sinai attack – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna

This just in from Emily Hauser. I’m reprinting it here because it is so truly important for people to read. The Holocaust was a terrible and historical event. Politicians are misusing it to manipulate people.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna

by Apr 20, 2012 12:01 PM EDT

On the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Prime Minister chose—as so many have done before him—to compare a current geopolitical circumstance to the dark days of Nazi Germany.

“People who make light of the Iranian threat have learned nothing from the Holocaust,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Wednesday, adding that during a recent trip around the country, “for a moment I replaced Tel Aviv with Vilna, Haifa with Białystock, Degania, Nahalal, Be’er Sheva with Plonsk, Riga, and Odessa.”

Warsaw Ghetto monument in Warsaw, Poland, Wojtek Grzedzinkski / AFP / Getty Images

There’s nothing new here, of course. Nasser, Arafat, Ahmadinejad—they’re all Hitler. Palestinian nationalism is Nazism. The 1967 borders are Auschwitz Borders. On and on Israel’s leaders go, misusing and abusing the memories of the six million, even as they claim to be fighting in their memory.

The words “false equivalency” come up a lot in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but arguably the worst case of it is perpetrated by successive Israeli governments when they compare the Jews in the Jewish State to the Jews in mid-century Europe.

Can there be any equivalency more false than that drawn between a starved, terrorized population without access to hope or help—and the Middle East’s most successful country, its borders guarded by the Middle East’s most powerful army, its people fed, clothed and housed in the Middle East’s most successful economy? In what way, exactly, is a nation bristling with armaments like people gunned down by the Einsatzgruppen? How, precisely, are Israel’s internationally recognized borders even remotely like the gates reading “Arbeit Macht Frei”?

These are ahistorical and frankly grotesque comparisons, and the damage they cause cuts deep, in many directions.

In turning the Holocaust into the centerpiece of the Israeli narrative, Israel’s leaders feed the misapprehension that Jewish nationalism is a direct result of the Shoah, the establishment of Israel a gift from an international community wracked by guilt.

Yet this reading of history erases the evolution of Zionism—which was, in point of fact, concurrent with the rise of nationalism around the globe—and frankly denies the Jewish people agency. Does the 1909 establishment of the city of Tel Aviv count for nothing? How about the 1918 establishment of Hebrew University? Or, indeed, centuries of praying three times a day to return home? When we make the Holocaust the starting point of Jewish nationalism, we play into the hands of those who would deny Jews the right to build a home in their own homeland.

Furthermore, when leaders on the international stage consistently make patently ridiculous claims, it’s all too easy to turn a deaf ear. Israel has real, verifiable security concerns. Even presuming a sudden break-through on peace talks, it’s entirely reasonable and only responsible for Israel to maintain a strong defensive stance and negotiate iron-clad security arrangements. Decades of war and their consequence don’t just drop away.

But when Israel, a nuclear power, compares itself to Vilna and Białystock, and equates a state that doesn’t yet have a nuclear bomb to the Wehrmacht, it’s very easy for those who would deny Israel’s every claim to continue to do so. Moreover, such hyperbole bolster’s Ahmedinijad’s position with Iran—an outcome that is surely not in Israel’s best interests.

But for me, the worst damage is in the sheer contempt these facile comparisons demonstrate toward the six million themselves.

The children who watched their parents shot, the parents who watched their children starve, the wives and lovers and grandfathers and students and all the humans, the endless parade of human beings who lost and lost and lost and were then lost—they deserve more. They deserve better.

The Holocaust is and remains a story of slaughter, wave upon wave of Jews killed for their noses and their language and their God. Ground up in a malevolent machine engineered precisely for their destruction, killed and killed and killed, their blood nourishing the European earth even today, their ashes caught and held in the corners of buildings and roots of trees, even today.

Whatever our politics, whatever our thoughts on Israel’s position in the Middle East, the Shoah’s victims deserve, at the very least, genuine respect, and deep humility.

The Jewish people—each and every one of us—is a living testament to something much bigger than political wrangling and ideological disagreement. We are and will be testament to the fact that though Hitler tried—he failed. We are Jews, and we are alive. We will carry the blood and the names of the six million forward.

Offensive, dishonest Holocaust rhetoric will not help us achieve that end, nor will it keep Israel safe. It will only serve those who question Israel’s right to exist, and disgrace the memory of those we claim to honor.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna – The Daily Beast.

Why Don’t I Write About Syria?

So many headlines about the rioting and killing in Homs, Syria. Yet, not a “peep” from me here on a blog where I often write about Muslim issues. Why?

English: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria . ...

President Bashar al-Assad

The answer is a simple one. I have conflicting information about the situation in Syria and can’t verify any of it. This is what I know.

Of course, we’ve all heard these terrible reports coming out of Syria, from Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia, and Western News sources. Western journalists have been killed, claims have been made against President Assad‘s regime blaming him for thousands of deaths.

Yet, a Muslim friend tells me her sources in Syria are claiming it is a “grand conspiracy” to try to bring Assad down. Christians in Syria are still positive towards Assad because of the freedom his regime has afforded them.

President Assad, a mild-mannered Ophthalmologist claims innocence and ignorance of all that is going on in his country. So what is the truth? Is he lying, or so incompetent that he doesn’t know what his military is doing? Who is really killing all these people?

It’s a question that Western Journalists aren’t able to answer very accurately at this point because few if any are on the ground in Homs. The Red Cross has been trying to enter as well.

Certainly, someone is killing thousands of Syrians.

If it is an Arab Revolution, it’s not clear to everyone who the rebels are or what they want.



I want to introduce you to my friend, Joanna, who writes an intelligent and insightful blog about things that matter in our world. Her most recent post titled, “Bearing Our Own Energy Burden” provoked a strong reaction in me.
I have been looking into the truth about Hydro-Fracking and the impact it will have on us here in Dryden, NY. A lingering question in my mind has been, “Why can’t they figure out a better way?”. I’m ashamed to say, Joanna’s viewpoint never occurred to me, nor have I heard anyone in our area mention it. There seemed to be only two sides to this debate on extracting energy from underneath our soil: For= Because we need it and it’s not really so harmful, or Against= It is harmful and we don’t want to suffer the consequences.Sadly, I had never thought of it as a Human Rights issue.

Please click on the LINK above to continue reading and let us (Joanna or me) know what do you think of Joanna’s viewpoint.


The Keystone XL pipeline – once relatively unknown to everyone but energy execs and protestors – has become a major US election issue and the source of much controversy lately.

The proposed pipeline would carry oil 2,000 miles from Canada’s tar sands through the US and down to Texas. Environmental activists have been fighting the project aggressively. They claim it would threaten indigenous populations, run the risk of major spills, speed up climate change, and waste vast amounts of water.

They’re probably right, but lately I’ve been frustrated by the rhetoric.

I have seen firsthand the absolutely devastating impact of unregulated, unchecked energy production. Fly ash pollution, oil spills, and poisoned well-water are real, and most of the time the companies responsible never pay appropriate damages. Even the best injury attorneys have to invest millions just to take the offending corporations to court. That’s a big gamble on behalf of…

View original post 351 more words

Top Holocaust scholar blasts ‘Holocaust-abuse’ by U.S., Israeli politicians – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

holocaust memorial in kibbutz mishmar- haemek,...

Holocaust Memorial, Kibbutz Mishmar, Hemek, Israel

Holocaust-abuse”,  finally, a term, coined by someone who cannot be accused of being “anti-semitic”. Deborah Lipstadt, of all people, is not denying the Holocaust in her criticism.

We can’t know anyone’s heart but our own, but “anti-semitic” is a term often applied to anyone who criticizes Israeli policies, and this is one of the kinder terms.

I’m grateful that this invisible shield protecting Israel from criticism is breaking down.  I don’t harbor anti-Semitism in my heart, nor am I anti-Jewish.  As a Christian, I treasure the Holy Books of Judaism as part of my Biblical DNA.

All sane people know that the Holocaust did happen and was a horrible crime against humanity.

Israel claims to be the only Democracy in the Middle East.  The inevitability of freedom of speech and protest is a sign of a maturing Democracy. Movement towards reconciliation with the rest of the world requires breaking the pattern of fear that has haunted Israel for decades.

That our politicians would “pander” to the worst fears of the Israeli people is shameful.

Top Holocaust scholar blasts ‘Holocaust-abuse’ by U.S., Israeli politicians – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Mustafa Tamimi Has Died

It is reported that Palestinian protester, Mustafa Tamimi, picked up and threw rocks at the IDF, thus compromising a Peaceful Protest. Of course, he was wrong to let his passion move him to throwing rocks.

For those who think, it is impossible for Palestinians to be “peaceful”, you should know that many of these peaceful protests have originated out of the Palestinian Evangelical Christian Church working alongside Muslims.

“Point is that the IDF should not use a tear gas canister like a projectile weapon. It should be aimed up into the crowd for dispersal, not in a protestor’s face. There are ways of dispersing crowds, and the IDF soldier will ultimately go unpunished.”

Warning: The video feed has a very gruesome scene.

Mustafa Tamimi has died | Mondoweiss.

America’s Second Chance and the Arab Spring – By Kenneth M. Pollack | Foreign Policy

What do you think?

America’s Second Chance and the Arab Spring – By Kenneth M. Pollack | Foreign Policy.