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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chutzpah versus Sharia!!!

     One February 2010, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was invited to lecture about US-Israel relations at UCI (University of California Irvine). Soon after he started, students started to stand and interrupt him shouting statements such as:" Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech". A total of 11 students stood up and yelled, 8 from UCI in Orange County, but also 3 from Riverside.
     The students were speaking on cue, even using cards, in what clearly appeared to be a "rehearsed show".
      The connection with the MSU (Muslim Student Union) shouldn't be missed, as they had denounced Oren's visit hours prior. The same MSU is responsible for organizing a yearly event in the Spring that has been known as Hate-Fest, when they invite anti-Israel speakers, many of them having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and even the terrorist group Hamas.
     UCI has the reputation of being the most virulent anti-Semitic campus in America, yet Michael Drake (UCI chancellor) has been quoted to say that there was no such problem on campus. To his credit, he decided to revoke the MSU charter for one year and put them on probation for another year. Thus they did not have the opportunity to organize their annual anti-Israel rallye in 2010. They quickly resumed in May of 2011 with another week of vitriolic diatribes while on probation. Well, we are back to freedom of speech I guess!
     The anti-Israel rhetoric is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing or anti-Semitism in disguise. That is of course if we agree that anti-Israel sentiment, as the lesser of two evils is indeed the "sheep", and this is hardly a fact!
     Almost one year later, on February 4, 2011, the disrupting students were facing charges by the Orange County District Attorney. This was already a small victory against the poison of radical Islam and it certainly didn't go unnoticed by both Jewish and Muslim communities. This was small but worth mentioning in our politically correct self mutilating society. And yet, the verdict had not come out!
     On September 23rd, the Santa Ana Court in Orange County, California made their final deliberation and to much surprise, found the students GUILTY. They were sentenced to community service and put on a three-year probation.
     This is a great victory in the history of campus anti-Semitism. This creates a precedent that will for sure dictate how other universities will and should react to hate speech, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. It sends a message to those who go on spewing hatred, thinking that they will go unpunished.
     This is one case where "Campus Intifada" has been defeated because there were enough outraged people within and without our legal system, and they were not afraid to speak up and defend the truth.
     An anti-Semitic group attempted to propagate hate speech by misusing free speech but Judeo-Christian ethics prevailed over radical Islam lack of ethics.
     Chutzpah prevailed over Sharia and may the momentum continue!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Anti-Semantic or anti-Semitic?

            In our postmodern global community of political correctness, what happens in Europe has a tendency to quickly duplicate itself in America and it is usually not a contribution that would benefit our quickly atrophying Western civilization. This is the case for the latest French educational reform.

The new manuals used by the French educational system for the 2011-2012 school year, preparing last year high school students for their exit exam “Baccalaureat”, will look different this year. Adjustments are not necessarily bad and even needed at times, as, to reprise an old Dylan song: “ The times they are A-changin”. But there are words that are better left untouched. Words that have become part of history and thus have acquired a meaning that sets them apart from other words and even possibly from the original meaning applied to them.

One such word is the word Shoah!

While not widely used in the United-States, it has been the descriptive word in Europe and Israel for the Nazi Holocaust of World War II. The origin of the word is Hebraic and means “catastrophe”. Israel has even instituted a yearly memorial to the Holocaust known as “The Day of the Catastrophe” or Yom HaShoah.

Now France is having second thoughts about its usage in school manuals. Instead of using Shoah, French educational reformers prefer the term anneantissement, which more plainly means “annihilation” and is definitely more politically correct. This of course will require to rename the French “Memorial of the Shoah” to less offensive “Memorial of the Annihilation” or “Yom HaShoah” “The Day of the Annihilation”.

Reactions have been almost immediate in France, especially by the Jewish community and/or by key contributors and proponents of the perpetuation of the memory of the Shoah. One such man is writer and movie director Claude Lanzmann whose nine-and-a-half hour documentary film on the Holocaust, titled Shoah (1985), has been recognized as the foremost movie on the topic.

Lanzmann wrote a lengthy reaction article in French newspaper Le Monde, defending the word Shoah and expressing his disgust at those who want to diminish the unique tragedy of the Holocaust by changing its name. He claims that by using the word Shoah while himself not a Hebrew speaker, he felt that it was almost as if he was not naming the unnamable, as he couldn’t find any word worthy of properly carrying the meaning and perpetuating the legacy of the Holocaust.

History grabbed hold of the word and today, it belongs to an unchangeable family of unique foreign terms for unique events such as Perestroika, Glasnost or even Intifada. On that basis, Lanzmann cry for the preservation of the word is justified.

One of the excuses given by French officials is that the word Shoah, coming from the Bible, gives the event a religious and even emotional connotation more than a historical meaning. “History must be retold from a secular perspective” they claim.

Additionally, the French minister of Education Claude Chatel made a quick comeback by stating: “I have never been opposed to the use of the word ‘Shoah’ in our programs or manuals”, insisting that the word does appear in the new schoolbooks. And they do, kinda! But how they do is of the utmost importance.

In looking at how the Holocaust is reported in the new French History manuals. They now include a chapter titled: The Second World War: A war of Annihilation of Jews and Gypsies.

To be sure, we have no ground to deny or even belittle the treatment of Gypsies by the Germans during World War II, but even by their own admitting, the Gypsies never lived the same tragedy. As a matter of fact, no one can today report an exact number of Gypsy lives lost during the time of the Holocaust. Yet, one Gypsy life taken by the Nazis was still one too many, but I don’t think that there is any validity in equating the death of both Jews and the Gypsies under the same umbrella of the Holocaust. What is next: “Homosexuals, Jehovahs Witnesses, retarded people” why not? After all, they were all targeted by the Nazi race purification war machine, so they should rightfully be recognized as well!

Finally, while changing the intensity of the descriptive word for the Holocaust, and in most cases the very use of the word Shoah, the French educational system multicultural reformers have quietly added the word Nakbah, yet another foreign word from Arabic origin meaning, well you guessed it: “Catastrophe” and that is used by Palestinians every year on May 15 (one day after Israel Independence Day) to commemorate Yam an-Nakbah, or, yes you guessed it again: “The day of the Catastrophe” or the day of the rebirth of the State of Israel.

So is the problem with the awkwardness and/or religious meaning of the word Shoah or could it be one more, subtle attempt at delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people.

If this is not a double standard, I don’t know what is! The fate of the Holocaust memory now lays in the hands of French schoolteachers, in a country that is 11% Muslim and growing. Once all the survivors are gone, and we are approaching that day rapidly, who will be left to tell the story. Who will be left to tell the truth?

"The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference".
Ian Kershaw,
British Historian