A message from Canada to our brothers and sisters in France

We are one JIN November 14 2015

Solidarity demands. Remember, we are one people.

La solidarité exige. Rappelez-vous, nous sommes un seul peuple. Le terrorisme est une menace mondiale qui exige une réponse mondiale et complète.

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What actually does the Palestinian want?

“Read our lips, how many times do we have to tell you?”

by Alan Simons

 by Alan Simons

There’s a well-known quotation by the American writer Eric Hoffer. “Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.”

Among the lives of people, individuals and cultures there are many living in the Palestinian Territories who maintain that the best thing for man to strive for in this world is to take revenge on his enemies. For many young Muslim Palestinians who have been educated at an early age in their schools to hate Israel and hate Jews, the satisfaction for revenge cannot be clearer than it is today.  

The great ninth century Jewish philosopher Saadia Gaon commented that the thirst for revenge affords the pleasure of seeing discomfiture of its enemy, assuages the vehemence of its wrath and puts an end to excessive brooding. Saadia said that the man who is consumed by the desire for revenge gets into a frame of mind of refusing to accept intercession or entertaining any feeling of compassion or pity.

“Hatred brought on by illiterate Imams.”

Over one thousand years later Saadia’s comments still reflect the attitude that we have learnt nothing. As we observe the hatred in the Palestinian Territories against the Jew we find very little is based upon the acceptance that, heaven forbid, my world can also be shared in peace, equally, without reservation.

And as to its leaders, today’s Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, openly falsifies historical evidence, instills hatred in his young people’s minds towards the Israeli citizen, young and old, that I maintain no civilized democratic government has a hope in hell in stopping. It is a hatred that has its own direction, its own time and space, egged on by the perverse nature of fanatics utilizing the services of weak squabbling western-based democratic governments, of financially-strapped international media that have no time, or will, to verify the accuracy of its stories, the ten second clip, satellite dishes, mobile phones, photos of children and Internet web sites and social media outlets. It is a hatred brought on by illiterate Imams to the masses of the uneducated and their educated children.

Christopher Hitchens, the noted British born author, religious and literary critic once said: “It is a moral idiot who thinks that antisemitism is a threat only to Jews.” How right he was! Look no further than in the Middle East. Those who hate Jews also hate Christians.

“The Church is being silenced and driven out of its ancient biblical heartland.”

JIN November 2015 shutterstockEarlier this week, a bi-annual report on Christian persecution, produced by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, was published. In essence, the report states:

At a time when the numbers of displaced and refugees have hit an all-time high, Islamists groups—ISIS foremost—are carrying out religiously motivated ethnic cleaning of Christians, notably in the Middle East and in parts of Africa.

In parts of the Middle East—particularly in Syria and Iraq—the crisis is so severe that barring significant interventions on the part of world powers, the Christian presence may disappear completely within a decade or even sooner. For example, there may be as few as 275,000 Christians left in Iraq, down from 1 million 12 years ago.

For Palestinian Christians, in towns such as Bethlehem, which used to be uniquely Christian, Muslims now are a clear and growing majority. As it’s been said, “The veil has replaced the cross.”

To return to Hitchens: “And the most depressing and wretched spectacle of the past decade, for all those who care about democracy and secularism, has been the degeneration of Palestinian Arab nationalism into the theocratic and thanatocratic hell of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, where the Web site of Gaza’s ruling faction blazons an endorsement of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Many Jews ask me, “What actually does the Palestinian want?”

For Palestinians, the answer is simple. Time and time again, in numerous opinion polls and studies, the vast majority have said; read our lips, how many times do we have to tell you? We do not want to make peace with Israel. Yet, for some crazy implausible reason many Jews on the political left, don’t believe them. Why is it that by some twisted conclusion we wholeheartedly accept that Iran wants to annihilate Israel, yet, in our hearts and minds we have become mired in the conviction that we can help to transform a Palestinian people, indoctrinated from birth to hate and kill Jews, to live side-by-side with their Jewish neighbour?

Was it not Shakespeare who said: “In time we hate that which we often fear?” For the ordinary Palestinian perhaps we should first try to understand what they fear more than what they want.

Well, that’s my opinion!

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

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JWV November 11 2015

A tribute to our Jewish War Veterans of Canada

A tribute to our Jewish War Veterans of Canada and to all Canadians serving in ongoing military activities throughout the world.

We salute all of you.

by Alan Simons

by Alan Simons

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Fourth stanza of ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Chanukah party in Antwerp, Belgium, 1944

This Wednesday, November 11, is Remembrance Day in Canada and in many other Commonwealth countries. 2015 marks the 101st anniversary of World War I and the 76th anniversary of World War II.

The history of the Jews in the Canadian military and of their exploits and experiences dispels the myth that Jews have not contributed their share in the Canadian Forces. This includes the Boer War (1899-1902), WWI (1914-1918), WWII (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as in Canada’s ongoing military activities throughout the world.

JWV Remember themIn addition, let us not forget that over 50,000 women served with the Canadian Armed Forces during WWI and WWII. Some time ago I received an email from Janet Chernin, of Nova Scotia who told me her aunt, Rose Jette Goodman, was the first woman to die in active service in WWII – she was a section officer with the RCAF. Janet has pictures and newspaper accounts.

Once again, in an official capacity, I have been given the honour of participating at the Remembrance Day service at Toronto’s Old City Hall where I will be laying wreaths on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada and CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

I have a personal obligation to attend this significant event honouring our military war veterans. During WWI, my grandfather, Louis Cohen, served with the British in the trenches in Belgium. He somehow managed to survive, never to speak of his ghastly experiences until a few hours before he died in the 1970s. My great uncle David Wienberg, born in Merthyr Tydvil, Wales, served in the 1st Bn. Border Regiment. David died aged 23 on Thursday, April 11 1918. He is remembered with honour at the Ploesgsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium. During WWII my father served in the Royal Air Force. His brother served in Europe and North Africa where he was a tank driver. Both survived.

Lest we forget

During WWI, 38% of all Jewish males 21 years and over in Canada served in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. 4.5% won decorations for bravery and distinguished military service, in comparison with 3.4% Canadian soldiers of all origins.

JWV 1 Nov 2012For Canadian Jews, the Second World War was the Jewish community’s most sustained war effort ever. Out of a population of approximately 167,000 Jewish men, women and children, over 16,880 volunteered for active service in the army, air force, and navy. There were an additional 2,000 Jews who enlisted, but who did not declare their Jewish identity in order to avert danger if captured by the Nazi forces.  All of this at a time when Canada had the shameful reputation of being the only western country to completely close its doors to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.

Of the 16,880 who served, which constituted more than one-fifth of the entire Jewish male population in the country, 10,440 served in the army, 5,870 in the air force, and 570 in the navy. 1,971 Jewish soldiers received military awards. Over 420 were buried with the Star of David engraved on graves scattered in 125 cemeteries. Thousands returned home with serious physical and mental wounds.

Saskatchewan Jews were among the first to volunteer during both World War I and II, and many lost their lives in the European trenches. The province honoured those who sacrificed their lives, including a number of Jewish heroes, by naming several lakes and mountains of the vast northern region after them.

And then there’s the story of Kitty Wintrob. Kitty was born in London’s East End and was one of a multitude of London school-children evacuated to foster parents in the countryside at the start of World War Two. Her memoir, I’m Not Going Back: Wartime Memoir of a Child Evacuee, is a fascinating recollection of her experience. She and her husband Ralph live in Toronto, where they give talks to schools, churches, synagogues, book clubs and library groups about that time in her life. 

 A website link provides the date of death and place of burial of many of Canada’s Jewish service men and women who died serving in the Canadian Forces in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The data was originally compiled by the Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives, Montréal. 

>Click here< to view a video on Canada’s military heroes.

>Click here< to view a video describing the tremendous number of British Jews who fought and fell for their country.

Editorial content and photo credits: Canadian Jewish Heritage Network; Jewish War Veterans of Canada (JWV); Veteran Affairs, Canada; The Royal Canadian Legion; National Defence-Canada and the Jewish Canadian Military Museum.

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

 Check out our jewishinfoNews videos