A new law in Poland criminalizing Holocaust-related speech presents an offensive, distorted narrative about the nation’s wartime history and its coming-to-terms with the past. But that’s far from the whole story. By David Sarna Galdi The Polish cabinet last month approved a law that will punish (including imprisonment) anyone for claiming that Poles killed Jews during the Second World War or referring to concentration camps like Auschwitz, which were located in Nazi-occupied Poland, as “Polish.” The legislation was met with widespread criticism, most of which missed the point; what’s most egregiously offensive about this law is its assault on storytelling.…Read More... | 6 Comments
Director Farschid Ali Zahedi fled Iran for Germany following the Islamic Revolution, where he became fascinated by Jewish history and the Holocaust. After four years of work he is now releasing his latest film on the extermination of Jews in the Ukrainian city of Kovel. Orly Noy sat down to speak to him about debuting his film in Israel, the memory of the Holocaust, and the bleeding wound of his homeland. Before the Second World War, the Ukrainian city of Kovel was home to an significant and flourishing Jewish community. During the Nazi occupation, which lasted from 1941 to 1944, the Jewish population…Read More...
Never has a prime minister appointed a defense minister so far beyond the consensus. For the first time in a decade, it feels like fewer people truly buy into Bibi's lies and theatrics. By Alon Mizrahi Throughout his years in the public spotlight, Netanyahu and his advisors have been successful at doing one thing: to completely control the story of the State of Israel. It does not matter whether they were able to do so because they are talented at doing so, or because they use deeply-entrenched Jewish and Israeli motifs: victimhood; persecution; siege mentality; the Arabs as a representation…Read More... | 9 Comments
A major Jewish-American organization breaking with Israeli policy, especially regarding Jewish universalism and the Holocaust, is a statement in and of itself. The Anti-Defamation League, American Jewry’s foremost civil rights organization, has made a powerful statement recognizing the Armenian genocide by the crumbling Ottoman regime in the early 20th century. Last Friday, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt posted a blog on the organization’s website in which he stated: “What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Armenians beginning in 1915 was genocide.” He reviewed the methods, from death marches to torture, massacre and starvation, and then restated the point: “What happened to the Armenian…Read More... | 3 Comments
The deputy IDF chief of staff came under a barrage of criticism for saying trends that prevailed in pre-WWII Europe can be seen in Israel today. But if Israelis took a minute to reflect on his comments, they would realize that they were more solemn than slanderous. Headlines in Israel are blaring this Holocaust Day over a statement by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the IDF, General Yair Golan, comparing trends in Israel to those in Germany leading up to the Holocaust. At the official state ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday evening, Golan gave a…Read More... | 6 Comments
This Holocaust Memorial Day, a group of young Russian-speaking Israelis is calling attention to the stories of their grandparents — Soviet heroes who defeated the Nazis, living on the margins of Israeli society. By Edi Zhensker and Berry Rosenberg A lot of us stare at them and wonder: who are these elderly people who speak Russian? What are they wearing on their chest? Who gets so many medals? Many wonder whether it is some weird 90s fashion trend that these immigrants brought with them, and which they refuse to let go of. Others have a hard time pronouncing the word…Read More...
As a former Israeli ambassador, I never expected just how badly the country's situation would deteriorate. By Ilan Baruch It has been five years since I breathed a sigh of relief and left Israel's Foreign Ministry building. No more would I represent the Netanyahu government's hasbara as a diplomat and attorney. In my farewell letter to the Ministry I wrote: "The government leaders have endorsed policies that outrage me… I have a hard time explaining them honestly." I did not expect that after five years, over the course of which we faced two wars and two elections, Israel's situation would…Read More... | 7 Comments
Netanyahu is claiming that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was responsible for convincing Hitler to exterminate the Jews. Israelis and Palestinians are not letting him get off easy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon, where he claimed that until he was convinced by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hitler never actually planned on exterminating European Jewry. [tmwinpost] According to Netanyahu's curious reading of history, Hitler had only intended to expel the Jews, a plan that allegedly worried the Mufti, who was concerned that they would flee Europe for Palestine. Thus the Mufti…Read More... | 10 Comments
When the deputy interior minister demands Palestinian citizens renounce our citizenship, he only exposes the true nature of the Israeli state. After all, without us there is no 'only democracy in the Middle East.' We, the rowdy Arabs who live in the democratic state of the Jewish people, formally apologize for disrupting a Knesset plenum on the Citizenship Law, which denies status in Israel to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens. So what if the discussion was about our future, our place in society, our fate—we have no right to state our opinions. Since you were already there, dear coalition members, and…Read More... | 10 Comments
On Nakba Day last year, Israeli Border Police killed two Palestinian teenage protesters and gravely injured a third. Two days after witnessing one of the shootings, I find myself at a memorial service in Vienna, honoring my relatives who perished in the Holocaust. The dizzying identity carousel never stops revolving. It is the early afternoon and I am in a car with two companions, driving through the West Bank. It is Nakba Day 2014, and we are on our way to Beitunia, a Palestinian town next to Ofer Prison, in order to attend one of several demonstrations being held in memory of the…Read More... | 4 Comments
After 50 years of diplomatic relations, the Israeli-German partnership is strained by mounting German dismay over Israel’s settlement policy and reinvigorated anti-Semitism in Germany. By Angela Gruber Israel and Germany are marking 50 years of diplomatic relations this week. While most people probably aren’t reeling with excitement in anticipation of the countless festivities (especially on the German side) to mark the occasion, the anniversary does serve as a good occasion to take stock of the relationship between these two countries. [tmwinpost] Can Israeli-German relations ever be normal? Should they, after the Holocaust? Is Israel more entitled to German support than…Read More... | 6 Comments
Just one day after 950 asylum seekers drown on their way to Italy, Israel's transportation minister praises the government for preventing migrants from entering the country. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) sees lessons for Israeli policy in the tragic massacre of 700 asylum seekers who drowned when their vessel capsized on Sunday in the Mediterranean Sea. Posting a photo showing rows of corpses brought to shore by rescue workers, Katz wrote the following caption, which is translated here from Hebrew: "Hundreds of migrants from Africa drowned to death close to Italy in a disaster that horrified all human beings. Europe is…Read More... | 27 Comments
The High Court decision on the 'boycott law' uses the word terror 11 times, likens BDS supporters to Holocaust deniers and quotes a right-wing columnist who makes it his duty to target boycott supporters. By Yael Marom The justices of Israel's High Court upheld the controversial "boycott law" Wednesday, giving ground for individuals to sue anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel, or areas under its control (read: the occupied territories). [tmwinpost] But beyond the consequences, questions and political issues that arise from the ruling, there are also a few gems that would be a shame to miss. The…Read More... | 2 Comments
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