“Honouring our heroes. Honouring our loved ones”

We will remember them

Nous nous souviendrons d’eux

Thank you Canada!

Merci Canada!

“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.”

 

 

“The soldiers had arms missing, legs missing, pipes and gadgets holding their faces together – it was the sight I was not prepared for…that’s when the movie ended, and the reality of war set in.” – Mort Lightstone, Captain (Ret’d). Korean War veteran, Royal Canadian Air Force.

 

 

      by Alan Simons

TORONTO, CANADA- On the front lawn of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto, stands a 30-metre-long granite wall, etched with scenes from Canada’s military history. The Ontario Veterans’ Memorial is dedicated to every man and woman who has served with courage to protect our freedom in times of war and in peace.

On Sunday, November 11, starting at 10:45 am we will honour our veterans and all Canadians currently serving in ongoing military activities throughout the world by remembering their selfless courage and commitment during Ontario’s Ceremony of Remembrance to be held at the Front Lawn of the Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Canada.

In an official capacity, I have been given the honour of participating at the Ceremony, where I will be laying the wreath on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada.

For the Jewish community of all ages living in Toronto and the surrounding area, I extend an invitation to you to attend and be part of this moving ceremony.  As Jews, especially at this time, irrespective of where you live, we need to proudly stand up and be counted more than ever before! 

As for me, when I lay the wreath, I will not only be thinking of my family members who served their country proudly and with distinction, but I will be honouring all of our vets and civilians in gratitude for their sacrifices. 

Lest We Forget.

In addition, in my thoughts, I will be quietly honouring members of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh who were massacred a few days ago in their synagogue, simply because they were Jews. And I will also be honouring the six worshippers who were killed and the nineteen others injured last year when a lone gunman opened fire after the end of evening prayers at the Islamic Cultural Centre Mosque in Quebec City, Canada, simply because they were Muslims.

I have a personal debt of gratitude in attending the Ceremony of Remembrance. During WWI, my grandfather, Louis Cohen, served in the British Army fighting 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 Wienburg, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, served in the 1st Bn. Border Regiment. Uncle David died aged 23 on Thursday, April 11 1918. He is remembered with honour at the Ploesgsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium.

During WWII my dad served in the Royal Air Force. His brother served in Europe and North Africa, where he was a tank driver. Both my dad and my uncle survived.

My sister’s partner flew the Hampden, known as the flying suitcase, which alongside the Whitley and the Wellington was the backbone of Bomber Command at the outbreak of war in 1939. He was shot down on three separate occasions over enemy territory and captured. As a POW he escaped three times, was sent to Peenemünde, Stalag Luft III, where he played an active part in Operation Escape 200 (The Great Escape), Oflag IV-C (Colditz) and finally he was sent to Bergen-Belsen. He survived.

Many years later he found a photo of the Hampden at an aircraft museum. My sister had it framed after her partner wrote on the back of the photo:

“The last of 20 bombing operations over Germany. Operation Wilhelmshaven. Delayed action pencil slim armour piercing bomb, a Barnes Wallis experiment. We didn’t make it. ‘Jerry’ was waiting for us with flak and a Me 109.”

He survived the crash. All his crew died.

With exception of my great uncle David, they all withstood the horrors of war, all in their own way, all with their thoughts and memories remaining shut to their family and friends for most of their lives. Our heroes. Our loved ones.

Lest We Forget.

As a young boy living in London, England, I always accompanied my dad and uncle to the Remembrance Day Service and Parade held each year in November by AJEX, The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women. Literally, thousands attended. Proud Jews. Proud to be British. Proud of serving their country. There they were, all together, Jewish men and women of rank and file, with the VC, the GC, the DSO, the MM and DFM as well as a plethora of Croix de Guerre and Légion d’Honneur recipients.

Lest We Forget.

I will also be thinking about our grandchildren. Those far too young to have personal knowledge, thank God, of the ravages of war. 

On Sunday, November 11 we will remember those who died for us. They came from every background, every religion and every culture.

“Sadly, for the vast majority of Jews living in Canada, young and old, we have failed miserably in advising them of the part Canada’s Jewish war veterans contributed to Canada. It’s not too late to show them your support.”

The history of the Jews in the Canadian military, both male and female, 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.

Lest we forget

JWV 1 Nov 2011During 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.

For 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. It is my understanding 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.

A few years ago I received an email from Janet Chernin, of Nova Scotia who told me her aunt, Section Officer Rose Jette Goodman of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, (r) was the first member of the Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force to lose her life on active service in World War II. She was just 23 years of age. The New Glasgow News wrote of her passing: “… She made her choice; she has given her life for her country.  She served—and died—that men may fly. That we may win this war.” Janet has pictures and newspaper accounts.

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. 

Elie Wiesel once said: “Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other.”  Let us reflect on Elie Wiesel’s message and recognize that all our children and grandchildren are part of our innermost self.  And let us remind them that as adults we are here to safeguard their future against the antisemites, the Islamophobes and the sick and demented racists of our society.

Come and join me and your neighbours.  Sunday, November 11 at 10:45 am on the Front Lawn of the Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Canada, or simply consider participating in the Remembrance Day service in your city.

Lest we forget.

Editorial content and photo credits: The Ontario Veterans’ War Memorial, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg; Canadian Jewish Heritage Network; Jewish War Veterans of Canada (JWV); Veteran Affairs, Canada; The Royal Canadian Legion; National Defence-Canada; Mort Lightstone and the Jewish Canadian Military Museum. “They shall grow not old,” is attributed to the poem “For the Fallen”, by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943).

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The stench of hate, pure evil and foul disease continues in Gaza unabated.

OPINION: Part II | Alan Simons

This article has been updated from a previous version.

This weeks’ abhorrent theatre by Gazans in their attempt to lure and kill Israeli kindergarten children, see above photo, coupled with Gaza’s list of mediocre actors performing on the world stage and screaming to get attention, smells worse than a dozen rotten eggs and burning tires floating on a polluted lake.
Gazans, over the years, have had every opportunity to join the civilized world. Unfortunately, led by a bunch of deluded psychopaths, they continue to utterly fail.

 

by Alan Simons

There are good and bad individuals in all societies and cultures. However, neither are judged by its individuals, as much as being judged by its actions as a whole.

According to UK Media Watch, “Palestinians in Gaza today launched an incendiary device into Israel using Minnie Mouse as bait, in order to lure children. (Per i24NEWS English)

“It landed in an Israeli kindergarten near the border, but, luckily, it was retrieved and neutralised before anyone was hurt.”

For the most part, I have attempted to keep out of writing about much of the hate and intolerance that emanates from Gaza. One can never objectively express a common-sense opinion to a repulsive society that, from its very beginning, emphasizes with passion their primary duty in life from birth is to kill, in whatever means at their disposal, as many Israeli children or adults, as possible.

It’s a known fact, if you want to take control of the minds and souls of your citizens, you start with the children. In this, Gaza excels, and they’re probably better at it than Daesh (ISIS), Hezbollah, the Syrians and Iranians and all the other psychopaths living in the region. Today, in the Gaza Strip, the obsessive devotion to killing Jews starts at an early age and is as much a part of the child’s growth as learning to count.

In past years we have been subjected to a plethora of videos emanating out of the Gaza Strip where its children have proudly expressed a willingness to kill Jews, much of which has gone unabated, without the slightest expression of rage, from western-based non-government organisations and UN officials, whose sole interest in life is to make sure their personal monthly incomes continue as well as the successful solicitation for ongoing funding.

Much of the western media refuse to express an honest opinion of the abhorrent hatred existing in the Gaza Strip. I am sure they fear they will lose their accreditation and thus their ability of, dare I say it, of reporting with ‘impartiality’ in this godforsaken strip of land.

Tarek Fatah, the well-known and respected Canadian writer, activist and a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, stated at a UNHRC Geneva conference in 2013, “Any nation, any society, any country that is created on the basis of a hatred towards the others, will soon run out of people that it can hate or groups it can decimate and it will devour itself.”

Perhaps it’s time we take Fatah seriously and look at this strip of land as a lost cause. After all, none of the region’s Arabs, want anything to do with it, unless it is to incite Gazans to kill as many Jews as possible.

“Gaza? The stench of hate, pure evil and foul disease continues unabated.”

Killing Jews also strikes a euphoric chord with today’s adult masses. For devoid of reality, it appeals to many of the region’s adults who, through their earlier years of exposure to child abuse and indoctrination, prefer to ‘return’ to their childhood era where magical thinking reigned supreme. For them, “Kill the Jews” has a nice ring to it. And for many of the western media, the very thought of it surely is better than reporting about how the State of Israel is doing its darnedest to assist Syrians through its Operation Good Neighbor project, or saving the lives of many of Gaza’s children brought to hospitals in Israel.

Over the years I have seen groups of splenetic small-minded antisemitic bigots of this world, from both the far-left and the far-right, become more adventurous in their misguided fantasy that we Jews are weak, pathetic individuals, without any backbone. Oh, are they misguided! The Gazans haven’t quite figured that one out!

Yes, there was a special time when those living in the West on the left of the political spectrum came to the defence of us Jews. After all, then we were weak thriving to earn a day-to-day humble living. Those days have far gone! Now, many of the current generations of left-wingers thrive on seeing us as target practice against their new-found friends, the weak and maladjusted living in Gaza.

“Let my people go,” has become the rallying point for many of these demented souls espousing the plight of Gaza’s people caused, in their belief, by Israel and its people and for that matter all Jews.

Over the years we have seen once respected newspapers, such as Britain’s The Guardian, turn its back on striving to present a balanced view of Middle East issues, but now in the forefront of stoking the fires of antisemitism and hate.

Over the years we have seen NGOs and international rights groups fervently compete for funding by branding themselves as leading authorities on Middle East issues – translate this as Israel apartheid – yet refuse to focus their resources on victims of democide in the region.

“Gaza? The stench of hate, pure evil and foul disease continues unabated.”

 

We have seen both young and old, male and female Israelis murdered, we have seen components of the British Labour Party outwardly show their vindictiveness towards British Jews.

We have seen Jews and Muslims come together in an honest attempt to resolve their differences, that is, as long as the name Israel, for the Muslim, isn’t mentioned by the Jews.

Last year, we saw Gazan psychopaths again taking to the streets by showering its citizens with candies in response to the news that a 19-year-old Palestinian teenager stabbed to death an Israeli 70-year-old grandfather and his two adult children, and gravely wounded his wife in their home.

Celebrating and praising their own murderers is part of their stagnant hypoxia mentality. It is not mine or yours. To partially quote Tarek Fatah, “Let them devour themselves.”

Gazans, over the years, have had every opportunity to join the civilized world. Unfortunately, led by a bunch of deluded psychopaths, they have utterly failed. It is they who have failed. We must not carry any guilt for their actions.  If they wish to be devoured, it is their choice and their choice alone!

Clamouring to celebrate the daily antisemitic claptrap and hate mongering diatribe against Israel and all Jews, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Hamas continues to threaten Israel with an abhorrence selection of vile and psychotic disorders that must have dead Nazis applauding in their graves.

Gaza’s Hamas: A bunch of failed deluded theatrical psychopaths.

Dr Martin Sherman is the founder and CEO of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  In an interview he gave on May 29, 2018, on Israel’s ILTV he said:

“The only solution to Gaza is not reconstruction but deconstruction… Because of the nature of the society in Gaza, this will go on and on and in the end, to put it bluntly, there will either be a large Arab population in Gaza or Jews in the Negev. But, there won’t be both over time.”

The interviewer remarked that out of roughly two million Gazans who are living in the Strip, not all of them are in Hamas’ pockets, to which Sherman replied:

“We should stop considering Palestinians as prospective peace partners and relate them as they relate to themselves, as implacable enemies and treat them as such. In the Second World War, not all the Germans were bad people, but when you have a class of collectives you must decide which collective you want to win, yours or theirs. And if you’re willing to sacrifice your individual, your collective rights for their individual rights, you’re going to lose.”

A theatre of violence

For now, one might look at it in the same way as a long-running theatre performance. Every full-house performance has a standing ovation for violent acts, which Jews of the diaspora are befuddled in how one should respond.

This past weeks’ abhorrent theatre by Gazans with their list of mediocre actors performing on the world stage and screaming to get attention, smells worse than a dozen rotten eggs and burning tires floating on a polluted lake.

It is a repetitive theatre, encouraged and thoroughly enjoyed by antisemites, the hate-mongers of this world, the Palestinian flag-waving members of the British Labour Party, as well as Nazi extremists in many countries clamouring to outdo each other.

Are Martin Sherman’s comments accurate? Should one treat Gazans as they relate to themselves, as ruthless enemies? Will Jews of the diaspora understand, placating one’s enemies will not help Gazans discover their humanity?

For Gazans, discovering humanity will mean they first have to lose face. And culturally, that’s no easy task!

So be it!

 

(Featured image: UK Media Watch)

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Diaspora Jews. What do we want? Leaders!

OPINION | Alan Simons

“Popularized by the American sociologist Barry Glassner, the culture of fear is the concept that people may incite fear in the general public to achieve political or workplace goals through emotional bias.”

“Non-Jews do not care a damn about our achievements!”

     by Alan Simons

Egged on by Trumptwits International (2016) Inc., the culture of fear is proliferating world-wide at a frightening rate. And for a great majority of diaspora Jews steeped in their historical obsession that at last resort now there’s always Israel to flee to, are becoming more inward-looking and hell-bent on building their own protective wall against antisemitism. In addition, promoting the never-ending old joke such as, “When does a Jewish fetus become viable? When it graduates from medical school.” Or, the study that Jews are the world’s most-educated religious group or  22.5% of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Jews, not only isolates us more than ever from the society we live in, but our non-Jewish neighbours couldn’t care less and for the most part are sick to death of us continually asserting ourselves, ploughing a knife into them on these subjects. In essence, non-Jews do not care a damn about our achievements!

Encouraged by the rhetoric of Mr T, who just hours ago in a political speech referred to himself as a “Nationalist”, for many a frightening euphemism for white nationalism, we are experiencing a terrifying political infectious disease containing no international borders. White nationalism and Nazism is rampant today and Trumptwit is a language common to many people, irrespective of the country one lives in.

Today, we are experiencing an upsurge from politicians, the antisemites, the hate mongers, and tenured university bigots, who publicly vilify and delegitimize diaspora Jews.

Diaspora Jews have become fearful of the political consequences now taking place in many of their respective countries, a trait not particularly acknowledged by many of them before Trumptwits International was incorporated in 2016. Yet, it’s always been there, hasn’t, hovering in the background, waiting for the Trumptwits to ignite the fire.

J.J. Rousseau, the 18th century French philosopher said, “The Jews in Dispersion have not the possibility of proclaiming their own truth to humankind; but I believe that when they once have a free Commonwealth, with schools and universities of their own where they can speak out safely, we shall be able to learn what it is that the Jewish people have to say to us.”

To which I might add, today we Jews are still trying to communicate, to coexist with each other, let alone trying to figure out what we have to say to all the billions of non-Jews!

Communication is about giving-taking, asking-answering, sending-receiving. It’s not something we Jews are known to be good at. Yes, I recognize in many countries Jews sit on various inter-faith committees that encourage dialogue and cooperation. And the work they are doing in their field is mind-boggling, until the name of Israel is asserted by them!

As Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster has pointed out, “Why do Jews make such lousy communicators? For hundreds of years, we used the great art of language development to entertain as well as educate. It is no coincidence that so many of the great intellectuals, academics, writers and performers come from our ranks.”

He adds, “The ability of Jews to understand and connect with people transcends international boundaries. It is in our culture and in our blood. But over the years, we have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend. We assert when we should inform. We reject when we should interject. We push people away when we should pull them in.” As he remarked, “Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

We need a leader to bring us together, a leader amongst the diaspora ranks, each in our own particular country we can point to, who stands head and shoulders above us, to communicate to non-Jews on our behalf. Sadly, no one in Canada, or the USA or the UK is there such a person willing to come forward on our behalf, unless they see an Israel component to the message.

So, what do we want?

“You Jewish people. What exactly do you want?” How many times have we heard this question from non-Jews? Well actually, we don’t know what we want, do we? Which is abysmal, since as Jews we’ve had more time than anyone else to come up with the answer. Perhaps we will never reach an answer. Perhaps there isn’t one. Perhaps we don’t want to. Perhaps we are so ingrained in believing no one really cares about who we are. And after so many centuries of us having to endure pograms and genocides, we have turned to indifference as many Jews now have in the USA. For many, being a Jew is simply down to going out on an early Sunday morning to purchase a dozen bagels, lox and cream cheese. And as for Israel? Well, they wish it would just go away!

What this all boils down to is this: Trumptwits International (2016) Inc. and its ever-increasing mob mentality, has become unable not only to differentiate between ignorance and conscientious stupidity but the ability to make intelligent decisions. And coupled with Nationalism, we diaspora Jews, are in for a rough time if we don’t get our act together and communicate as one.

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who was overheard to say that in politics, stupidity is not a handicap, a statement Trumptwit subordinates in their eagerness to please their leaders are making every effort to accept.

It’s been said Trumptwits are analogous to the zebra mussel, a species originally native to the lakes of southern Russia and accidentally introduced to numerous other areas. It has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide, including the USA and Canada.

To quote Elie Wiesel: “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” As diaspora Jews, our alarming silence and our indifference to the nationalists and their cronies will be our demise. Our willingness, as diaspora Jews, to openly declare our achievements in the fields of arts and letters with non-Jews and at the same time use them instinctively for self-preservation, no longer works in today’s society. 

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