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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Chairman Gets Gold Medal in Hypocrisy!

     40 years ago this September, we will commemorate the tragic death of the eleven members of "Team Israel" who where taken hostages and killed by terrorists during the Munich Olympic Games of 1972. The tragedy was perpetrated by Palestinian terrorist group"Black September" under the leadership of then PLO leader Yassir Arafat.
     Although debated by some, the events of the Munich 72 Olympics are recognized as having put terrorism "on the map". As a matter of fact, counter-terrorism organizations were borne out of the Munich tragedy. The world was starting to change then, and it has continually morphed into an unpredictable powder keg, leading to the events of 9/11 and to today's volatile global situation.
     The Munich 11 have been remembered by many over the last 40 years and while we do not want to dwell unnecessarily on the tragedy of their death, we can all agree that their memory must live on. They went to the Olympics to compete, excel and hopefully bring back a medal or two for Israel. They didn't bring a political message, they didn't promote a religious ideology, they had no agenda other than be the best athletes they could be as they proudly wanted to represent their country, just like every other athlete before and after them. But these men never got a chance to do that!
     On Friday July 27, 2012 at least 3 billion people watched the London Olympics opening ceremony. I WASN'T ONE OF THEM! 
     Almost half the planet was watching though. Talk about a great opportunity to remember the Munich 11. Additionally, days ago, some of the Munich 11 widows made a request to International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman, Jacques Rogge, to have a minute of silence during the opening ceremony and remember the Munich 11 on the 40th anniversary of their death. 
Not a speech, politically charged or not!
Not a prayer possibly promoting one religion over another in such a multicultural event!
NO...just ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE with no other agenda but the promoting of human decency!
     The request was denied by Jacques Rogge on the premise that the opening ceremony was not the appropriate venue for such a moment of silence to take place. In a press conference last week, Rogge went on the record stating that: We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident." Rogge later declared to one of the Munich 11 widows that his "hands were tied" and that he could do nothing. Are Rogge's hands tied by the 46 Muslim nations members of the IOC? and if yes, is that a politically charged decision? Rogge also insisted that they were no precedents for such a moment to be shared with the world at an opening ceremony.
     The decision by Rogge is unfortunate and hypocritical at best, especially in light of the fact that past Olympic opening ceremonies DID INCLUDE special moments of remembrance for various victims of world tragedies. The war in Bosnia was remembered at the opening of the 1996 Olympics and/or the 9/11 tragedy was remembered by a flag being carried into the 2002 Salt Lake City Arena to honor the World Trade Center victims (including a request made by Mitt Romney back then to have a minute of silence on the 30th anniversary of the Munich 11). That request was denied of course!
     To add insult to injury, the London opening ceremony included a tribute to the 52 victims of the London subway terrorist attack of July 7, 2005. Wait a minute! how did that one creep in? or was it planned all along?
     I am not saying that the London 7/7 victims didn't deserve recognition and a tribute, of course they did! I am just noticing a pathetic double standard and I cannot help but think that the decision to exclude the Munich 11 was nothing but a political move, misguided by a biased and bigoted committee and fueled by anti-Semitism.
     When we also consider that the BBC just refused to list Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel, we start to understand the possible reasoning behind Jacques Rogge's decision. Mr Rogge was emboldened by a pro-Palestinian media giant as well as possibly forced by the powerful and arrogant Islamist block of Great Britain. The result is an OLYMPIC MEDAL IN HYPOCRISY at best, and A MEDAL IN ANTI-SEMITISM at worst.
     Mr Rogge, your decision last Friday to ignore the Munich 11 was a slap in the face of human decency and dignity. At a time when sportsmanship and athletic prowess are the only qualities to be displayed, you chose to cowardly hide behind a facade of rules and regulations. You are a disgrace to the spirit of the Olympics!
     Many athletes will make history in an unforgettable positive way in the next 17 days, but YOU will make history in a very negative way as you boldly and wickedly ignored the right thing to do.
     You claim that "your hands were tied" and in a sense you declared that you answered to a higher authority.Well Mr. Rogge, I and many others also answer to a higher authority (you will too one day)
     We all answer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also known in the Bible as the God of Israel. It would have been very easy, not to mention very appropriate to bless Israel last Friday (Genesis 12:3) But as you denied the Munich 11 widows their renewed request,  you also denied God His request. May God have mercy on you and all the other enemies of Israel! I will pray for you while I am not watching the Olympics!
     It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)

Monday, July 23, 2012

In Hope of a Better Future, French Jews Remember the Vel d'Hiv Roundup of 1942

     70 years ago last week (July 16-17, 1942), one of the darkest chapters in the history of France was being written. Without any warning and in the middle of the night, over 13,000 Jews (of an expected 22,000) were gathered by French police and taken to the Vel d'Hiv (velodrome d'hiver or winter cycle track) in Paris' 15th district.
     The Vel d'Hiv roundup or Rafle du Vel d'Hiv was organized by German Nazi officials but methodically executed by French police and civil servants serving Marshall Philippe Pétain's war interim government in Vichy, France. In the meantime, the exiled French government under General Charles de Gaulle had relocated to London. Very little was done to prevent the damages. There were only about 100,000 French members of the Résistance and only a limited number of them was able to make a difference.
     A roundup of that magnitude would have been impossible before 1940 because no religious census had taken place since 1874 in France. But in 1940, Jews were required to register their names and origins at the sous-prefecture (sub-prefecture) of the district where they lived. By the end of September 1940, things started to change radically for foreign Jews residing in France. A dossier of Jewish names quickly grew to over 150,000 names for the greater Paris area. Eventually, all Jews of France "citizens" or "foreigners" were at risk. 78,000 of them perished in the Holocaust.
     Two days after the official rafle more Jews were gathered and sent to temporary French internment camps in Drancy, Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande to be added to the Vel d'Hiv internees. Final destination: Auschwitz!
      My maternal grandfather Maurice Weinzveig was one of them as he was picked-up by the Gestapo on the morning of July 19, 1942 after having been exposed by a French neighbor who worked for the Paris Police Department. Maurice perished in the smokestacks of Auschwitz.
     For over 50 years, the Vel d'Hiv Roundup , as if exonerated by self-righteous and pseudo-bien pensant  French political leaders, had become a taboo subject in France. Excuses abounded!
     "The Vichy government was not the official French government!"
     "Pétain had no choice but to co-operate otherwise Germans would have done the job themselves"
     "The events happened while the French republic was dismantled, thus France is not responsible "
...and on, and on, and on!!!
   It is very shameful to realize that most of the French police and civil servants who were perpetrators in the Vel d'Hiv tragedy were still in office after the war, some for years to come like the infamous René Bousquet (Secretary-general of the National Police) who helped finance François Mitterrand 1986 presidential campaign. Incidentally, Mitterrand would never apologize and/or take ownership of the Vel d'Hiv massacre by French police.
     It is not until 1995 (53 years later) that then French President Jacques Chirac spoke these words on July 16 at a Vel d'Hiv memorial:
These black hours will stain our history for ever and are an injury to our past and our traditions. Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was assisted by the French, by the French state. Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and the Paris region, nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested at home, in the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations... France, home of the Enlightenment and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, land of welcome and asylum, France committed that day the irreparable. Breaking its word, it delivered those it protected to their executioners."
    A few days ago, his message of ownership of the past mistakes and French responsibility was echoed in the words of new French President François Hollande who declared that: the crime was committed in France by France.
     All this comes in the aftermath of the Toulouse massacre and an unavoidable resurgence of antisemitic acts all over France and much of Europe. Mr. Hollande really doesn't have much of a choice in that matter. He must display an iron fist against any kind of anti-Semitism. But this might soon prove to be more of a challenge for the man who was most likely put in office by the Muslim voting block in France.
     Words are cheap, especially if they refer to the past. Unfortunately, the present offers ample opportunities to combat anti-Semitism in France (and much of the world for that matter).
     Mr. Hollande, while you cannot change the past, thank you for taking ownership of the Vel d'Hiv massacre on behalf of France. Now, using the momentum acquired by your unequivocal speech of last Sunday, it is time to combat the present situation in order to alleviate the gloomy future of French Jewry.
     I certainly hope you have it in you to do so, but I am afraid that France might end-up not being your strongest ally in keeping the Jewish people safe in France.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Is the German Circumcision Ban Casting Shadows of the Third Reich?

     On June 26, a court ruling in Cologne Germany has made ritual circumcision illegal, declaring that it is an assault on the rights of the child since it is performed without its consent. It immediately affects the future of the children of four million Muslims and about 120,000 Jews. It came as the result of a possible malpractice on a 4-year old Muslim boy. It currently appears irreversible, but Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to come up with a legal solution to allow both Jews and Muslims the practice of the ritual according to their respective religions.
     Jews have practiced the brit milah (circumcision of boys on the eighth day as a sign of the Abrahamic covenant as first found in Genesis 17:9-14). 
     For Muslims, male circumcision is also required as a sign of purity (it is actually believed by Muslims that Muhammad was born without a foreskin), but Muslims have more time to perform the ritual as it is only required of a Muslim boy to be circumcised before puberty.
     Muslim and Jewish European leaders have been very vocal in their attempt at getting Angela Merkel to revert the decision. While not impossible, this might prove to be an uphill battle for the German Chancellor.
     While affecting both Muslims and Jews, the pressure to revert the new law is obviously greater on the Jewish community and the danger of having circumcisions performed illegally by less than competent practitioners will undoubtedly increase. Looking at the implications for the Jewish community, is the new ban on circumcision simply a matter of protecting one's rights or rather the opposite, and that is: removing rights from people in an effort to cripple them and ostracize them from society?
     The decision might be reverted but the question remains: Will it be seen as simply the "nipping in the bud"of one of the many new ills against the Jewish people or simply a symptom of something bigger? In both cases, it foreshadows the growing of an unwelcoming atmosphere that is reminiscent of mid 30s Germany and the enacting of the Nuremberg Laws. This is a parallel that ought to make any 21st century German citizen cringe, any decent global citizen for that matter! Of all places in the world, Germany IS NOT where we need to see some neo-Nuremberg laws appear. And again, even though it might be reverted, the very fact that it crossed the mind of German lawmakers and actually was passed as a law, is a sign of a much greater problem.
     In his definitive work The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg established that there were three stages in the process of riding Europe of its Jews:
     The missionaries of Christianity had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as Jews. The secular rulers who followed had proclaimed: You have no right to live among us. The Nazis at last decreed: You have no right to live. 1
     While I reserve the right to properly define what makes a "true Christian"(a Bible believing and practicing disciple of Yeshua/Jesus) and while I certainly cannot agree with the generalizing of Hilberg regarding Christianity, for the most part, European Christendom failed to make my Jewish people jealous of their Messiah.
     Additionally, Hilberg makes an undeniable and sobering parallel between the Nuremberg Laws of the 1930s and the "Canonical Laws" of a "Christianized" Europe established and codified in bodies of work such as the Theodisian Code (started in 429 AD) and/or the Justinian Code (529-534 AD).2
     The Nuremberg Laws were very carefully crafted and gradually implemented to make Jewish life in Germany impossible (later it extended to greater Europe as the Nazi war machine continued to spread its tentacles).
     Recent attempts (while unsuccessful) have also been made a banning ritual meat slaughter in the Netherlands, and these are also "signs of the times". Attempts (also unsuccessful) at banning circumcision have also been made in California.
     I believe that no matter the final outcome of the circumcision law, the first two stages of no right to live among us as Jews  and no right to live among us might very well have been reached, at least in Germany. Compounded with the desire by radical Islam and an re-emerging neo-Nazi movement to annihilate all Jews, we could actually posit that all three stages are in place for the final attack against the Jews.
     According to the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, all we needed for the Holocaust to happen was six things to be in place 3
     1.   Hatred (i.e., bigotry, prejudice, racism or anti-Semitism)
     2.   A dictatorship (one, a few, or many)
     3.   A bureaucracy
     4.   Technology
     5.   A crisis (war, disaster, economic crisis, an opportune moment to act on the hatred)
     6.   A minority or "scapegoat"
     So it looks to me like the world is again ready to turn against the Jews "en masse", as all six pre-requisites appear to have been met, at least in Europe. It is only a matter of time before other regulations and restrictions are added to the infamous roaster of the New anti-Semitism. The soil is fertile, seeded and being watered as we speak.
     We cannot ignore the evidence, we cannot be bystanders and we cannot remain silent.
     It is time for real believers, followers of Yeshua the Messiah to declare His love to all and especially to Israel and the Jewish people as they will very soon only have Him to turn to.
     When that days comes (not if), may we be found as genuine ambassadors of Messiah to the lost, but particularly to those who brought Him to us 2000 years ago, and that is of course The Jewish people!

1 Hilberg, Raul: The Destruction of the European Jews (Holmes & Meyer, New York, NY, 1985) p. 8
2 ibid. Pages 10-11
3 Wiesenthal, Simon: Every Day Remembrance Day: A Chronicle of Jewish Martyrdom (Henry Holt and Co., New York, NY, 1986). Pages 1-30

Friday, July 6, 2012

Is Postmodern Anti-Semitism the Fate of 21st Century Jews?

     It was over 12 years ago that I started to realize that the "oldest hatred" had morphed into a new beast that could potentially be much more damaging than the old. The antisemitism of yesterday, based on the faulty Nazi assumption that Jews are a sub-human race destined to total annihilation, was no longer worth promoting. A new breed of anti-Semites started to appear–as committed to the complete destruction of the Jewish people as the old one–yet with a different message.
     The boundaries had gone from the European railroad system (a LIMITED physical network) to the Internet and the media (an UNLIMITED virtual network). The cancer has now metastasized!
     The methodology had gone from a racial antisemitism based on the flawed science of Eugenics and the very flawed hateful human nature to a postmodern anti-Zionism in the name of "peace".
     The source (while unchanged as it continues to be Satan) had started to subcontract its hatred of God's chosen people to new groups of people including the Christian Church, the Liberal Left and Islam. It is important to note that not all people belonging to these groups are anti-Semites and that these three groups involvement in promoting the hatred of the Jewish people is on different levels.
     A postmodern society was slowly finding a new way to hate the perpetual scapegoats of humanity. Out with the "dirty Jew", "Christ killers" and "greedy kikes" and in with the "occupiers", "oppressors" and "Islamophobes".
     In a ubuesque role reversal, the Jew became the "New Nazi of the Middle East" while the Palestinians became the oppressed and imprisoned innocent victims. This grotesque blame shifting is based on the acceptance of prejudiced assessments and fabricated stories. All that is needed is the story of an underdog "The Palestinian people" suffering from the oppressor and the world starts holding hands to stop the "Zionist occupiers"!
     As damaging as this new breed of anti-Semitism is, I was convinced that it had superseded the "old". I was always under the impression that the "old" anti-Semitism had been relegated to the outer fringes of the extreme right movement and neo-Nazis almost extinct sub-culture.
     I am starting to believe that it might not be the case. Of course we must all understand that the goal of anti-Semitism has never changed: It is the destruction of all Jews simply because they are Jews.
     The old adage "the end justifies the means" has never been truer than when it relates to the Jewish people. The progress made by all kinds of anti-Semitism is proportional to the level of acceptance by the general public, and to my great dismay, it seems that nowadays, more and more is becoming acceptable.
     France is somewhat of a barometer of the New Anti-Semitism while Europe as a whole can also be one for the Old. The events of Toulouse in March 2012 were very possibly the catalyst for a new momentum in antisemitic acts. Caught in the whirlwind of the French presidential elections, both Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande vowed to combat anti-Semitism fiercely. An example was to be made of how the Toulouse massacre was promptly handled and Merah found and stopped by the authorities. The opposite seems to be happening!
    Oddly, the brutal murder of the rabbi and three other Jewish students has emboldened anti-Semites the world around. The old anti-Semitism is resurfacing as if encouraged by the results of the new and allowed to roam around freely due to a general apathy of the public.
     Weeks after the Merah bloody murders in Toulouse, Jewish teenagers were attacked on the street in Villeurbane. And only a few days ago, a Jewish teen on a train from Toulouse was attacked. As a matter of fact, in the month following the Toulouse massacre, over 140 antisemitic acts were reported (that amounts to 1/3 of all antisemitic acts of 2011 in France).
     In Cologne Germany, in June of 2012, a ruling was passed to ban religious male circumcision 
(reminiscent of the Nuremberg Laws passed by Hitler in the 30s).
     Hungary leads the way in the old anti-Semitism but is joined by the UK, France, Norway, Spain, Greece, Poland and many more European countries as stated in the latest Simon Wiesenthal Center Report. Swatikas are fast becoming the signature of Jew hatred again!
    So, where is this all going? As the New anti-Semitism seems to be pouring fuel on the red coals of the Old, the Jewish people are now getting caught in a vise made of both sides of the political spectrum and slowly turned tighter and tighter by a postmodern society in search of world peace and tolerance.
      The old and the new are joining forces in a final effort by God's enemies to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. This is a new hybrid anti-Semitism that most people didn't see coming and certainly didn't expect. We can expect to see an exponential increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and do not think for a moment that we are exempt in the United-States. Just take a look at the latest wave of anti-Semitism in Brooklyn.
     So, in all honesty, it's not looking good for the Jews of France or for the Jews of Europe for that matter! It has become critical for those who seek real peace and who love Israel and the chosen people of God to SPEAK UP and STAND FOR ISRAEL before the Jews get further squeezed into the vise.
     In between the times that we stand up for the Jewish people, we need to get on our knees before the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and intercede of Israel's behalf. The Prince of Peace is coming back for His people, Jews and Gentiles who have put their trust in Him (Yeshua/Jesus). While God promised to never forsake Israel ( Jeremiah 31:35-37), this unfortunately doesn't mean the safety of all Jews and most assuredly doesn't mean the "salvation" of all Jews. As Rabbi Nicodemus came to Yeshua in John 3, he was told that even him "a teacher of Israel" had to become born again.
     This is the real hope for Israel: Regeneration through the atoning death of Yeshua for their sins and the sins of the whole world (John 3:16).