Archive for category Anti-Semitism

Plymouth Rock Assurance Company of New Jersey discriminates against Jews

Moshe worked near the orthodox synagogue in Westboro, Mass. He sold insurance, always passed quota, left early in winter on Fridays, didn’t work Saturday, and never missed the numbers.

So the office is moving to Hudson, where there is no synagogue nor observant Jewish community. After looking for a change, he had job offers from Portland OR, Lakewood NJ, and elsewhere. He picked Lakewood because he is a single young man and there is a big orthodox community there.

After he accepted the offer in writing, moved out of his apartment, he is now being told that his offer of employment has been rescinded because he will not work one Saturday a month. This requirement wasn’t mentioned on the job posting, nor was even touched upon during the entire interview process.

This isn’t Saudi Arabia, this is 2015 in Greater New York. This isn’t an employer hassling someone for leaving early on Friday; this is revoking an offer of employment due to religious observance.

Moshe needs to hire a lawyer; this isn’t about money, it is about religious freedom. And we need to make a public stink so that Plymouth Rock Assurance Company learns to accept diversity.

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Life and Death in Har Nof: A First-Hand Account

yicara weiskoffI wrote the following yesterday, during the “lock-down” in Har Nof, during and after the massacre, while we were waiting to be able to leave our bulding – ie. waiting for the search copters to stop circling and leave.  It WAS on my [Facebook] Timeline, then wasn’t for some reason. So, as per request of some people I’d messaged it to, I’m posting it again.  It follows.

Dear Family and Friends,

I feel compelled to write this to you.

Terrorists killed 5 men and injured 13 more, some critically, in our neighborhood about an hour ago. During our morning prayer services, 2 or 3 Palestinian extremists, ie. terrorists, entered a shul/synagogue where my husband davens/prays regularly. They had knives, axes, and guns. They began stabbing and hacking, then shooting the daveners. Police arrived quickly, and shot 2 of the terrorists in a gunfight. Helicopters are still circling around our neighborhood, which indicates that the other terrorist, or additional terrorists, may still be on the loose here. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Ignorance is Bliss, Why Aren’t Americans Happier?

Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof’s column in yesterday’s New York Times laments the lack of knowledge many Christians evidence regarding their own Scriptures.  Kristof also challenges secular Americans to seek greater knowledge about the religions of others.

Before I explicitly respond to his column, let me share a story. Its relevance I’ll make apparent later.

Many years ago, I was sitting in an airplane beside a little old lady who spent the flight immersed in her Bible… until my kosher meal arrived.  At that point, she felt compelled to save my soul.  Read the rest of this entry »

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A Trip to ArabRat’s Grave

The Arafat Memorial

Harvard Students on Pilgrimage to the Arafat Memorial

The Forward ran a disappointing editorial today arguing that the Harvard visit to Arafat’s grave was “the right thing to do”.

Among other things, it said:

“Imagine going on an educational tour of Berlin and not stopping at Hitler’s bunker.”

First of all, the Arafat grave is dolled up as a hero’s monument in a Palestinian government building.  Unlike Hitler’s Bunker, it is indeed constructed as a form of homage.

If you visit the Lincoln Memorial and then share your proud, smiling picture on Facebook, your visit will be construed as a form of homage whether you like it or not, because that’s why the Lincoln Memorial exists. So too with Arafat’s current grave site.

Why else would the Israeli Government have destroyed Baruch Goldstein’s grave site?  It featured glorious, stone, circular hand-washing stations like those in front of the Western Wall, and a miniature plaza all to itself.  Arafat’s grave is presented even better.

Second, for the record, I was on tour in Berlin in 1974 and 2011, and it never even crossed my mind that Hitler’s Bunker was there or worth seeing.  In 1974, it was Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall, AlexanderPlatz, Brandenburg Gate, museums, day-trips to castles, etc.   In 2011, it was local synagogues, “stumble-stones”, Jewish concerts, the Jewish Museum, the zoo (for my kids), the book-burning memorial beneath AlexanderPlatz, and the “space needle” towering above it.

As the Harvard students’ own justifications make clear, their choice to go there actually reflects their politics; and their politics are what we take issue with.

The Forward article continued:

Or trying to see the sites of a conflict like the American Civil War without taking a look at the Confederate Memorial Carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  Hitler killed 6 million Jews and 5 million others, but no one would argue that your visit to his bunker was meant to “honor” him.   Davis, Lee and Jackson were considered war criminals in the North in their time, but no one is going to argue that you’re embracing their side of the Civil War at their monument.

First of all, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson weren’t thought of as war criminals, they were thought of as traitors.  (On the other hand, Southern bushwhackers like Jesse James were indeed terrorists and war criminals).

Second, as a tourist I’d have no interest in the statue cited — a statue which is not intrinsically of any historical significance.  It’s just a souvenir.  On the other hand, the fact that Southerners haven’t yet torn it down themselves is what’s historically significant.  (Yes, they are embracing their side of the Civil War by maintaining it.)

Having visited, and been disgusted by, The Hermitage — with it’s whitewashing of slavery (via the relocation of the slave quarters) and the unsavory Jackson in particular — and by other monuments throughout the South (which is still not entirely Reconstructed, you know), it seems to me that someone visiting the South reveals his or her values by the tourist sites chosen.

Visitors can choose educational sites about black history and civil war battles, or they can take their selfies at statues that pay homage to racists who fought for an evil cause.  At best (e.g., Robert E. Lee) they are tragic figures, and at worst (e.g., Nathan Bedford Forrest) they were monsters.

The Forward article concludes:

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Just One More Ignorant Anti-Semite in Virginia Politics

John Whitbeck, clueless Virginia politician

John Whitbeck, clueless Virginia politician

Hard to believe, but the Virginia GOP hasn’t learned much from its setbacks of recent years.  John Whitbeck, a Republican district chairman, just a few hours ago introduced the Republican candidate for  governor with an anti-semitic joke.  What a way to celebrate Constitution Day!

It’s watchable on YouTube  at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKENPy2Vr90

The joke states that for hundreds of years each newly elected pope has received a delegation from the head of the Jews attempting to collect on a bill for “The Last Supper”.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Israel’s Robot Army Coming to a Town Near You!

The U. S. military is building a robot army to wage war against Americans on behalf of Israel.  That’s according to The Sovereign, a far-right and white-supremacist magazine.

Kind of reminds me of that old joke about Jews, Masons, and the Queen of England conspiring to enslave the world by getting everyone addicted to drugs.

I can see the new version now:  “Why robots?”  /  “Why Israel!”

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Six More Rockets Pound Israel, Shaking Cease-Fire Resolve

There is a miserable AP headline this morning. CBC picked it up, and then it got to Google News.

Israeli aircraft strike targets in Gaza Strip
Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in the area has mainly held

What garbage! Here’s a correction:

Israel Responds to Gaza Rockets
six more rockets pound Israel, shaking ceasefire resolve

Quite a bit more accurate.

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Gene-building Plunder vs. Deliberate KinderMort

Dick Winters

I just finished reading the memoir of Dick Winter, Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, co-written by military historian and retired U.S. Army Colonel Cole C. Kingseed.

In finishing that memoir, he stumbled across a small camp I never heard of.  He was around the Rhine after Bastogne in the Bulge, and saw piles of starved bodies, uncountable thousands of dead and dying.  He said it could never be overestimated, the scale of the horror.  [He never knew about Auschwitz.]

He had just come through the rural edge of Germany, and said that, unlike England, from whence he’d come by way of parachute, there was no rationing, they had fresh eggs seven days a week.   In the basements of a nearby village they found giant wheels of fresh cheese.  This Point-Unit made the Germans haul out the cheese, and bring it to feed the prisoners.  Also like other Americans sometimes did out of instinctive justice, made them bury the bodies and clean up the camp.  Then unit doctors caught up and stopped them feeding the cheese, saying it was too rich for their condition.

It’s interesting getting the attitude of this front line fighting civilian-lieutenant.  He seemed to like the break of forcing these Germans to haul their cheese to the prisoners.  He sounded disappointed at the doctors showing up and giving them only soup. It freaked him out to see the camp, in a way that months of battle and killing front-line Germans did not.  It’s different than reading an historian.  It’s not as articulate, but sometimes you get a deeper look than the writer intends.

So then he goes back to fighting front line troops, and makes clear he really knows now why he’s fighting, but still can create no hatred of the Germans, ‘officers’ or ‘men’, but understands even before seeing the camp ‘why the Jews would hate them’.  He’d been giving prisoners to Jewish soldiers, who never lost a prisoner, but killed a few apparently.  Now he watched the Jewish soldiers more closely to prevent too many prisoners getting killed.  But he didn’t seem to mind as long as he tried to be militarily correct.  I’d imagine like since 9/11, nobody cries too much about drone-like targeting of Arab Nazis.

It’s finally starting to come home to me that all this happened just twelve years before I was born.  And that no group can overcome with any level of propaganda an image of killing the women and children of the enemy in a deliberate manner. Human instinct will accept the gene-building assimilation of plunder, but not the wanton destruction of the gene pool. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Every Generation…Victimhood is a License to Persecute

exodusHolocaust Remembrance Day always falls during the week that follows Passover. At first glance, the two would seem to have little in common — one memorializes the millions of European Jews annihilated by Nazi Germany; the other commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Yet for all their obvious differences, a fundamental similarity links these two crucial chapters in Jewish history. Both were attempts at genocide — and in both cases the perpetrators justified their savageries by claiming that they were the real victims, threatened by the people they intended to wipe out.

At the Passover Seder, retelling the 3,000-year-old story, Jews read the passage from Exodus in which Pharaoh rationalizes the lethal repression he is about to inflict on the Hebrews. “Come, let us deal wisely with them,” he declares. “Otherwise they may become so many that if there is a war they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the land.” His notion of dealing wisely: slave labor, followed by mass murder. “Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every boy that is born to the Hebrews, you shall throw into the Nile.’ ”

Thirty centuries later, the same pattern preceded the Holocaust.

“The Jewish people stands against us as our deadly foe,” railed Adolf Hitler in 1922, “and will so stand against us always.” More than 100,000 Jews had served in the German army during World War I; 12,000 had fallen in battle. Yet Germany’s defeat was blamed on a “stab in the back” by disloyal traitors — especially the Jews. To this baseless libel the Nazis added others, such as the grotesque claim of race defilement. “The Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race,” Hitler seethed in “Mein Kampf.” Such a villainous enemy could be shown no tolerance and given no quarter: “It must be the hard-and-fast ‘Either-Or.’ ”

Within weeks of coming to power, the Nazis launched the reign of terror that would culminate in the Final Solution. At every step, their crimes against the Jews were described as self-defense. “The Jews of the whole world are trying to destroy Germany,” screamed government posters as the Nazis unleashed a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. “German people, defend yourselves!” In every issue of Der Stürmer, the Nazi newspaper published for more than 20 years by Hitler’s ally Julius Streicher, a front-page banner proclaimed: “The Jews are Our Misfortune.” Read the rest of this entry »

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More Antisemitism at Northeastern University

Stephen Director, apologist for anti-semitism at Northeastern

Stephen Director, apologist for antisemitism at Northeastern

Americans for Peace and Tolerance has released a documentary on Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Week, and Charles Jacobs has published a column in the Jewish Advocate summarizing his criticisms of it.  In response, Northeastern Provost Stephen Director has complained that Jacobs “cherry-picked his examples”:

In dismissing a dozen examples of intellectual and moral abuse of the Holocaust program at Northeastern as “cherry-picked,” Director expresses either a lack of awareness or a dishonesty about the nature of the intellectual and moral stakes.  That Jacobs could “cherry-pick” any examples of people using this venue at Northeastern to make the morally sadistic comparison of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews represents a failure of judgment on a colossal scale.

How can an occupation which systematically exterminated millions of innocent civilians in a matter of three years be compared with one in which the “target” population both grew in number and in prosperity over the course of 40 years?

How can one make such a comparison without including a comparison of how Israel treats its “occupied” Palestinians with how the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war have been treated by their Arab hosts?  They have been and continue to be far more ruthless and cruel with their own people than the “Nazi-like” Israelis are with the Palestinians.

Comparisons of Israelis with Nazis are not sober assessments of empirical reality — the hallmark of good history and journalism.  They are wild and intentionally debasing accusations — Israel-baiting — made in a moral and intellectual fog.  This represents a disorientation of empirical reality so radical that its prominence on campus needs to be addressed, explained, and corrected, and not covered up with claims of “academic freedom.”

Academics are not “free” to make things up, and universities are not required to give those who do a pulpit.  That, as Stephen Director should in principle know, is a crucial component of the “pursuit of knowledge.”  Instead, in his apologetics, he sounds like the FBI after Waco: “We didn’t do anything wrong, and we won’t do it again.”

We can’t learn from mistakes we don’t admit.

Far from an example of “academic freedom,” this situation is actually the opposite.  The radical voice that compares Israel to the Nazis and tars as “right-wing” those Jews who object has essentially driven the entire political spectrum off-kilter. What Northeastern calls diversity and vigorous debate “in pursuit of knowledge” actually represents the shutting down of precisely the kind of debate that must take place, replacing it with unchallenged intellectual and moral abuse.

Northeastern University - source of holocaust distortionModerate vs. extremist.  Left vs. right.  Dove vs. hawk.  None of these ranges mean anything anymore as a result of the skew those running the Holocaust program at Northeastern bring to the university community.  This skew is reflected in many places, including the news media.  A “moderate” in the Palestinian system (e.g., Mahmoud Abbas) does not translate into a moderate in ours; and a “hardliner” in ours is a (way too) soft-liner in theirs.  Someone who promises his people the land from river to the sea, who demands the ethnic transfer and cleansing of a religious minority from territory he rules, who wants to keep his own people stateless, whose “authorities” bully and intimidate the press, who uses torture against his own opposition?  This is not a “moderate.”

Any Israeli leader with such a record would be immediately branded — by Jews and other Westerners alike — as a vicious fascist.  Of course, in comparison with the genocidal Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Abbas is at least willing to say he’s willing to (maybe) negotiate, and therefore appears on our current skewed political register as a “moderate.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, who allows a much wider range of dissent and lives by far more demanding democratic principles, is branded a “hawkish” right-wing extremist when he resists pressure to compromise with foes.  But since holding Palestinians responsible for their choices — suicide bombing, hate propaganda, river-to-the-sea ambitions — would be blaming the victim, it’s so much easier for the politically correct to blame the “hardliner” Netanyahu for the failure of negotiations rather than the “moderate” Abbas.

As a result of this skew of the political spectrum, for nearly a decade Northeastern’s hijacked Holocaust program repeatedly invited highly politicized, intellectually dishonest, morally hysterical people who demonized Israel and who tried to exclude, silence, and intimidate anyone who defended her.

This is a widespread phenomenon on American and Canadian campuses.  It occurred partly on a public stage — see the attacks on people like Nonie DarwishNetanyahuDavid Horowitz, and Michael Oren – and partly in a private way:  scholars who might challenge these accusations were pointedly disinvited from the discussion.

Northeastern apparently mistakes a situation in which defenders of Israel were systematically intimidated and denied a voice, while rabble-rousers with revolutionary agendas controlled the stage, for a “vigorous exchange of diverse opinion.”

Michael Oren - scholar at Columbia and Princeton, then professor at Harvard and Yale, then Israeli Ambassador to the USA.

Michael Oren - scholar at Columbia and Princeton, then professor at Harvard and Yale. Israeli Ambassador to the USA.

Nothing better illustrates this off-kilter political register than Provost Director’s pointing to Northeastern’s invite of Michael Oren — a scholar of impeccable credentials both as an academic and as a public intellectual — as a balance to Alice Rothschild.  You’d need a Kahanist who wanted to ethnically cleanse the West Bank of Arabs to match her unhinged radical ideas.  And yet, no one at Northeastern is going to defend such a racist “right-wing” speaker on the basis of academic freedom.  So we end up with a spectrum that goes from radical left to a mild, even timid, center – moderates who rather than challenge shrill and dishonest accusations, plead “can’t we all just get along?”

Meanwhile, no one at Northeastern is exposed to anything that is not “peace” oriented.  Heaven forbid students be exposed to evidence that points out how the peace movement has been hijacked in the service of war.

Indeed, one might conjecture about the reason this “vigorous” voice has become so rhetorically extravagant in its insults against Israel and her defenders.  Branding those who object as “racists, fascists, and Islamophobes” serves to intimidate and marginalize an opposition which, if sane people could hear their voice, would lead them to walk away from this deranged anti-Zionist, anti-democratic discourse.

That’s what’s so disturbing about the typical “university” response to objections from Jews regarding the demonizing of Israel: administrators are in total denial about a serious — some of us think urgent — problem on our campuses today.  The voice of a loyal opposition has been banished by the voice of a hostile opposition which uses a discourse that violates so many of the rules of the “public sphere.”

Empirical evidence, disciplined reasoning, honest use of analogies, open and un-coercive consent: these are key elements of the public sphere.  And the public sphere is where a discourse of fairness and empathy takes place, the oxygen supply of our experiment in freedom and prosperity.  Our many “cherry-picked” case studies violate this not on occasion, but as a matter of principle.

Northeastern administrators should consider themselves co-defendants in the recent findings on the administrators at the University of California.  Far from performing their role as the university’s quality control mechanism, they now routinely function as the enablers, protectors, and even apologists for the politicized university and its degraded scholarly and educational standards.

This is not a slip or a stumble.  This is a catastrophic failure of the last generation.  Under the guise of “cutting-edge scholarship” in “theories” (post-modern, post-colonial, queer, etc.), they bring us dishonest, accusing voices that demonize and scapegoat and never self-criticize.  They demand that we believe the voices of the “subaltern” Palestinian “other”; they insist that to question that testimony would be cruel, would be “blaming the victim.”  Accordingly, they pump our information system with poisoned lethal narratives, with icons of hatred which they proudly claim will help make the world a better place.   They represent an insane marriage of pre-modern sadism and post-modern masochism: while Palestinians make the most terrible accusations against Israel, “good Jews” like Alice Rothschild say: “Yes, you’re right, we are terrible.”

(Indeed, one has to wonder what happened to Alice as a “child” according to her own “psycho”-analysis of the abuse syndrome: i.e., Jews, having been abused by Nazis, now abuse Palestinians.  What abuse has Rothschild experienced that she so abuses her own people?  Was it at the hand of her fellow “progressives”?)

This is not just a Jewish question.  What the “Left” has done to Israel, it does to every other Western nation and culture: it insists we liberals, in order to prove our good will, adopt Islamism’s demonizing narratives about the infidel, especially the Jew.  The consequences are terrible for those like we Jewish and non-Jewish liberals who, in a paroxysm of self-critical good will, accept this dishonest and vicious story about ourselves.  But they are in some ways worse for Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim culture, where our acceptance of these hate- and violence-filled lethal narratives strengthens the grip that the producers of this war-mongering propaganda have on their own people.  And in the process, peace is the first and last casualty.

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New York’s Anti-Semitic Friends School

Gilad Atzmon, viscious and influential hater of Jews

If you want to understand why anti-Semitism seems to be increasing among young people—especially young people on the hard left—consider a recent invitation extended by a left-leaning school in New York to a self-proclaimed Jew hater.

The Friends Schools around the country are legendary. Presidents’ children attend them, my own daughter and nephew were students, and they are regarded as one of the most elite schools in the world. That is why it is so shocking that the Friends Seminary in New York has lent its imprimatur to a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Friends Seminary has a reputation for propagandizing its students against Israel, but it has now crossed a red line into legitimating anti-Semitism.

Author and jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who was invited to be a featured performer in a celebration of Martin Luther King at the Friends Meeting House, has written an overtly anti-Semitic book entitled The Wandering Who?, which, he acknowledges, draws…much of his “insights from a man who…was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist.”

Among the “insights” Atzmon seeks to share with students are the following:
While the Holocaust “was not at all an historical narrative,” and Auschwitz was not a “death camp,” the “accusations of Jews making matzo out of young Goyim’s blood” may be true.

“The Jews” caused the recent credit crunch, which the author calls “the Zio-punch.”

If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’”

The “new Jewish religion…could well be the most sinister religion known to man…”

The author of the book containing these statements has told students that he cannot “say whether it’s right or not to burn down a synagogue. I can say that it is a rational act.” He has also apologized to the Nazis for having earlier compared them to Israel: “Israel is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany.”

He has written that we “must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously,” and that “with Fagin and Shylock in mind, Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.”

It is not as if Friends School is unfamiliar with Atzmon’s anti-Semitic rants. Atzmon was previously invited to make a guest appearance in a class last year and one of his essays was distributed to the students. The essay came from his website, which is replete with anti-Semitic “insights.”

When I heard about this bizarre invitation, I wrote the following letter to the school’s headmaster:

Your school is now legitimating anti-Semitism by inviting a self-described Jew hater, Gilad Atzmon, to participate in events at the school. This sends a powerful message to your students, and to other students around the world, that Atzmon’s views are legitimate and an appropriate subject for discussion in academic circles….If you believe these views are appropriately discussed, considered and possibly accepted by your students, then you are doing the right thing by associating your school with the man who expressed them. If not, then you are doing a terrible disservice to your students and to the values for which the Friends School purports to stand.I cannot overemphasize how serious this matter is. Legitimating the oldest form of bigotry is a moral and academic sin. I cannot remain silent in the face of complicity with bigotry. Nor should you.

The Headmaster did not respond to my letter, but he had the director of development (the fundraiser) send me an email saying that Atzmon was invited “solely for his musical accomplishments” and that the invitation was extended by “the Meetinghouse Jazz Orchestra.”
Atzmon performed on January 13 to honor a man—Martin Luther King—who despised anti-Semitism and would have been appalled by Atzmon’s hateful words. Students cheered his performance and conversed with him.

I cannot imagine an overtly homophobic, sexist or racist musician being invited by any group in any way associated with Friends “solely for his musical accomplishments.” (I hear that David Duke, the white supremacist perennial candidate, plays a mean saxophone). Atzmon is famous (really infamous) not because he is a distinguished musician, but rather because he is a notorious anti-Semite whose blogs are featured on neo-Nazi websites all over the world. He never would have been invited but for his well publicized bigotry.

Friends Seminary is well known for inviting artists whose politics and ideology are consistent with the values of the school. Indeed, the poster advertising his featured appearance at the “22nd Annual Martin Luther King Concert” at the “Meetinghouse at Friends Seminary” included a description of him as a “writer” and “political activist.” Moreover, when he was previously invited by the school to address a class, the teacher distributed one of his bigoted essays from his anti-Semitic website.

However the school may try to spin this invitation, the end result will be that Atzmon’s bigoted views will have been given the imprimatur of the Friends Seminary. Shame on Friends.

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Honoring All Who Saved Jews

By EVA WEISEL
Khaled Abdul Wahab in 1936

Khaled Abdul Wahab in 1936

IN December 1942, when I was 13 years old, German troops occupied my hometown. Within days, our house was commandeered as an officers’ mess hall. I soon had a yellow star on my dress, setting me apart from many of my childhood friends. The men of our family were ordered into forced labor. My happy life had vanished.

Luckily, an influential local man knew of our difficult straits and generously offered his protection. One night, he ferried the women, children and old men in our family to a farm he owned about 20 miles outside of town. There, he said, we would be safe. Though the stables he provided us for lodging were modest, with just a drape across the door to protect against the elements, we were relieved to be behind the thick, high walls of his property. We were deeply grateful.

As luck would have it, however, a German unit arrived in the area not long after we did. Our host told us to get rid of our yellow stars, stay inside the farm walls and keep far away from the main house. He had his own strategy for dealing with the Germans. A bon vivant and world traveler, he invited German officers for evenings filled with food and drink. While nearly two dozen of us were hiding in one part of the farm, he protected himself from the prying eyes of the Germans by entertaining them on the other side of the farm.

Our host’s strategy worked well, until the night a couple of drunken German officers wandered away from the main house.

In the courtyard outside the stables, they started banging on the courtyard door and shouting, “We know you are Jews and we’re coming to get you!”

My grandmother started screaming “Cachez les filles!” — “Hide the girls!” I remember being shoved under the bed, trembling and sobbing as I tried to hide under a blanket.

At that moment of unspeakable fear, as our hearts pounded and tears poured from our eyes, a guardian angel came to the rescue. Out of nowhere, our host appeared. A strong, powerful man who projected authority and commanded respect, he stopped the Germans and managed to lead them away.

The next day, our host came to the stables. We rushed to express our thanks to him, but he was more eager to apologize to us. He said he was sorry that we had to face the terrifying ordeal of the Germans’ threats, expressed relief that he had intervened in time to prevent a horrible tragedy, and promised that it would never happen again. We never found out how he fulfilled his promise — perhaps he bribed the Germans — but he did. We passed the rest of the German occupation at our host’s farm, without incident.

During the horrors of the Holocaust, non-Jews saved many thousands of Jews from death and depravity at the hands of Germans and their allies. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial museum, has recognized more than 23,000 of these brave men and women as “The Righteous Among the Nations.” Our family’s rescuer deserves to be among that number. And in his case, the impact of recognition would have powerful reverberations, striking a blow against Holocaust denial in a part of the world where such denial is widespread.

That is because my hometown is Mahdia, on the eastern shore of Tunisia, and our rescuer, Khaled Abdul Wahab, was an Arab Muslim. (He passed away in 1997.)

So far, however, Abdul Wahab has been denied the recognition he deserves. Nearly five years ago, in January 2007, the Department of the Righteous at Yad Vashem nominated him to be a “righteous,” the first Arab ever to be formally considered for this honor. This nomination was based on witness testimony from my late sister, Anny Boukris. In March of that year, however, the official Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, a body presided over by a retired Israeli judge and created by Israeli law to decide who merits recognition as a “righteous,” voted to reject the nomination. That decision was kept secret for two years.

In 2010, that same jurist, Justice Jacob Tuerkel, sent the Abdul Wahab file back to the commission for a second review. This time, the case was bolstered by two fresh testimonies — a video interview of my cousin Edmee Masliah, who was with me at the farm and now lives outside Paris, and a notarized letter I wrote recounting my own experience. Yad Vashem now had three firsthand accounts of the story. But to my complete dismay, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous once again voted to reject the nomination. Abdul Wahab was a noble man, I was told by Yad Vashem, but his actions did not rise to the statutory level required to merit the “righteous” designation — that is, he didn’t “risk his life” to save Jewish lives.

While that may be the wording of the law, I am told by experts that Abdul Wahab would not be the first rescuer of Jews not to have suffered physical harm, let alone life-threatening danger. Many in France who have won that designation were honored because they acted to save Jews without knowing for sure what fate would await them if they were caught. In addition, some of the famous diplomats honored as righteous were never arrested, injured or threatened with death for aiding Jews.

I refuse to believe that Yad Vashem has one standard for “righteous” in Europe and another for “righteous” who performed their sacred duty on the other side of the Mediterranean, in an Arab country.

Sixty-nine years after pinning a yellow star to my chest in my native land, I know that I was able to enjoy a long, full life because Abdul Wahab confronted evil and saved me, as he saved other fortunate members of my family. I hope that Yad Vashem reconsiders his case before no one is left to tell his story.

Eva Weisel lives in Los Angeles. She is retired from the banking industry.

 

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