Rwanda: 7 April 2017. Never Again!

Four words:

Duhore Tuzilikana Kirazira Kwibagirwa!

We Must Never Forget!

Today, 7 April 2017 is the 23rd Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi. 

by Alan Simons

In a few weeks time, on 23 April at sundown, Jews throughout the world observe Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. It is the day where we pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust and ghetto uprisings. Inaugurated 64 years ago we like you, have no intention of forgetting our loved ones. Therefore, as a Jew, my message to you is not from a stranger, but from a brother and partner. For in commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, your loss, is also my loss.

However, I ask myself what right do I have to speak of such experiences of genocide?

Who am I to speak of such unthinkable acts of violence and cruelty, unequaled in modern history?

I never witnessed killings, or had my life threatened. I never lost immediate family members, nor witnessed rape or sexual mutilation, or had to hide under corpses.

Rwanda April 7 2017 bSo, what authority gives me the right to speak about Rwanda’s genocide, to talk about your families and friends who perhaps survived these 23 years, and hopefully, I repeat hopefully, have been able to overcome their traumatic experiences and find optimism in the future, as well as speak of those who were murdered?

Well, a few years ago President Kagame of Rwanda, photographed above, said: “The world chose to watch as one million were being slaughtered. Victims were turned into perpetrators and justice was turned into a political tool. The world has shown us that we cannot afford not to fight. Do not be afraid to stand up for truth, justice and for who we are. The only way to live in this world is to stand up for ourselves, stay true to who we are and define our own destiny.”

Perhaps, more than anything, it is in these words that binds Jews and Rwandans together in a mutual understanding of what intolerance and hate is all about in our society today. And, we have only to look at the past few weeks of what happened in London, a few hours ago in Stockholm, as well as the gassing earlier this week of children and adults in Syria, to appreciate the scope and threat of the world we continue to live in.

Hate is hate, irrespective of one’s religion, colour or nationality.

Even now in Canada there are deniers of both the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust who continue to thrust their sick fermented ideas into the international arena. As Hitler remains centre stage to many antisemites, it was only a couple of months ago that Rwanda’s deniers actually competed to question who was to blame for the 1994 killings. 

It’s been said that sadness is but a wall between two gardens. May all of those who perished in the genocide be remembered for their beauty and fragrance that grace our gardens.

My dear Rwandan brothers and sisters, finding an appropriate way of honouring and remembering the dead is one of the goals of the mourning process. For, as Elie Wiesel the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor said, “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

(Photo credits: From Paul Kagame’s Post, in Timeline Photos)

 

Opinion: The world of the trumptwit

red-tieThere are many trumptwits in this world. Some belong to the world of politics. Some to the corporate sector, and some spend their lives trolling on social networking services and online social media. But, the bottom line is this:  All trumptwits must have a supreme leader. And now, after many years as an apprentice, they have one in the canicula figure of King Trumptwit the First.

King Trumptwit, in his 17 minute coronation speech yesterday, the shortest inaugural speech in 30 years, gave much pleasure to all the infatuated little trumptwits in his audience. Well, there they were, all jumping up and down in their red baseball hats, hugging each other- as long as the trumptwit was of the same color, while others, commonly referred to as members of the Street Trumptwits Society (STS), were gleefully gallivanting through the Capitals’ downtown streets looking for anti-trumptwits.  

Now, to be fair it was also the anarchists and like-minded folk, AKA “an organized group,” who seized upon, what later the King would declare to his minions. Namely, to give Washington back to the people. And they must have read his mind. They did what any sensible rioter would do.  “More specifically, the group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers, and asps.” In the foray an official media videographer (as opposed to the fake kind), was thrown to the ground by one the cities’ finest men in blue, who obviously in the confusion couldn’t distinguish between authentic and fake.

To quote.

The Metropolitan Police Department released the following statement following the vandalism:

“At approximately 10:30 a.m., an organized group was observed marching south in Northwest Washington. On their way, members of the group acting in a concerted effort engaged in acts of vandalism and several instances of destruction of property. More specifically, the group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers, and asps. Preliminary information indicates the group collectively engaged in these criminal acts. MPD members were alerted to the criminal activity, and responded swiftly to contain and detain the involved individuals in the area of 12th and L Streets, NW. At this time, numerous arrests have been made and those individuals have been charged with rioting. Investigation into the incident remains ongoing. Pepper spray and other control devices were used to control the criminal actors and protect persons and property. During the incident, police vehicles were damaged and two uniformed officers sustained minor injuries from coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest.”

Then we learnt that a BBC reporter, desperately seeking out “an expert in US politics” – there were only a few thousand in the crowd to choose from, claimed King Trumptwit the First’s “inauguration speech was the angriest he had ever heard.” Oh?

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who was overheard to say that in politics, stupidity is not a handicap, a statement that little trumptwits in their eagerness to please their leader are making every effort to subscribe to. What this all boils down to is they have now become unable to differentiate between ignorance and conscientious stupidity and the ability to make intelligent decisions.

Encouraged by their King, we are experiencing a frightening political infectious disease that contains no international borders. Trumptwit is a language common to many people, irrespective to what country one lives in.

It’s been said that little trumptwits are analogous to the zebra mussel, “a species originally native to the lakes of [Putin’s] southern Russia and accidentally introduced to numerous other areas. It has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide, including the USA.”

Ordinary, decent Americans are fearful of the political consequences now taking place in the USA, a trait not particularly recognized before in their country. But they sure understand it now. And so should you, whatever country you live in.

(This Opinion piece has been updated from an earlier version)

 

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

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

“How to Assess the Bannon Appointment”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute  and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on November 17, 2016.

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016President Elect Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist has been criticized on the ground that Bannon is an anti-Semite. There are many reasons for opposing the appointment of Bannon, but anti-Semitism is not one of them. I do not support the Bannon appointment. But neither do I support accusing Bannon of being an anti-Semite, based on the evidence I have seen.

With regard to anti-Semitism, there are three distinct but overlapping issues: (1) Is Bannon personally an anti-Semite? (2) Does his publication, Breitbart, promote anti-Semitic views? (3) Do Breitbart and Bannon have followers who are anti-Semitic?

From what I can tell, the evidence cited in support of the accusation that personally Bannon is an anti-Semite falls into two categories: first, that his wife testified at a hotly contested divorce proceeding that he did not want his children to go to school with “whiney Jews”; and second, that he ran an article describing Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew.”

Let us consider these items of evidence in order. Senator Harry Reid tried to strengthen the first accusation against Bannon by saying that it appeared in a court document, thus suggesting that it had the imprimatur of a judge. But that is not the case. The claim was simply made by his former wife in a judicial proceeding, thus giving it no special weight. Bannon has rigorously denied making the statement and said that he and his wife were fighting over whether his children should attend Catholic school, rather than a secular school.

On the other side of the ledger is the testimony of Jewish individuals who have worked closely with him for years. These include my former research assistant, Joel Pollak, an orthodox Jew who wears a kippah and takes off all the Jewish holidays. He is married to a black woman from South Africa who converted to Judaism. Joel assures me that he never heard a single anti-Semitic utterance or saw an anti-Semitic action in the four years they worked together. The same is true of numerous other Jewish individuals who work with him, some of whom thoroughly disapprove of Bannon’s politics and the way he ran Breitbart, but none of whom have reported any events of anti-Semitism.

The second alleged item of evidence is the following headline that appeared on Breitbart: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.”[1] I am advised, however, that this article and the headline were written not by Bannon but rather by David Horowitz, a right-wing Jew who was upset with Kristol for his refusal to support Trump. Horowitz deemed that a betrayal of the Jewish people. While I fundamentally disagree with that appraisal and also of the article, I find it hard to characterize Bannon as an anti-Semite because Breitbart ran it. Breitbart has also personally attacked me,[2] but that doesn’t change my views.

I keep an open mind waiting for more evidence, if there is any, but on the basis of what I have read, I think it is wrong to accuse Bannon of one of the most serious forms of bigotry. So I will not join the chorus of condemnation that employs this radioactive term against Bannon without compelling evidence. The Anti-Defamation League has now commendably acknowledged that there is no evidence of anti-Semitism by Bannon: “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.”

As to whether Bannon promotes the alt-right, and whether the alt-right includes anti-Semites, I think the answer to that is yes.[3] Both Bannon and Breitbart have made bigoted statements about Muslims, women and others, which I do not condone. That is why I do not support Bannon, even though I do not think he’s an anti-Semite. Bigotry against any group should be disqualifying for high office. But let’s put this criticism of Bannon and Breitbart into context. Haaretz certainly serves as a platform for the alt-left in Israel. Though it features a wide range of commentary, primarily from the center-left, it also features hard-left writers such as Gideon Levy, who supports academic, cultural and economic boycotts against Israel and its “criminal” regime, as well as Amira Hass, who encourages Palestinians to throw stones and engage in “violent resistance” against Israel. These writers have certainly been accused, and with some justification, of promoting hatred not only against the current Israel government, but against the very nature of Israel and Zionism.[4] Their hateful writings are often quoted gleefully by anti-Zionist and anti-Semites.[5]

This is not to compare Breitbart with Haaretz, but it is to suggest caution in holding a publication responsible for all the views expressed by its writers. To be sure, Haaretz‘s general orientation tends to be center-left, whereas Breitbart is hard-right, but both serve as platforms for extremes on either side. The same can be said of J Street, which is a center-left organization which serves as a platform for, and includes among its active members and contributors, BDS supporters, anti-Zionists and opponents of Israel’s existence as the Nation State of the Jewish people.

Or consider Black Lives Matter, an organization with a commendable goal, that has promoted anti-Semitism by singling out one country for condemnation in its “platform”: calling the Nation State of the Jewish People an “apartheid” and “genocidal” regime. In an article in Above the Law, Joe Patrice attacks me for my critique of Black Lives Matter, claiming that “it’s certainly possible someone in the movement also has sympathy for Palestinians.” But there is an enormous difference between “sympathy for Palestinians” (which I share) and accusing the entire nation state of the Jewish people of “genocide” (which I believe is anti-Semitic).

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are prevalent both on the hard-right and on the hard-left. The Trump election has brought hard-right anti-Semitism into public view, but the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses, both in the United States and in Europe. A single standard of criticism must be directed at each. We must judge individuals on the basis of their own statements and actions, and we should be cautious in judging publications and organizations on the basis of who they publish, who their audience is and who supports them.

People of good will, Jews and non-Jews, must condemn with equal vigor all manifestations of bigotry whether they emanate from the hard alt-right or hard alt-left. That is why I cannot support Bannon’s appointment, even though he is strongly pro-Israel. But that is also why I can’t support those on the hard-left who advocate good causes, while at the same time promoting anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel.

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus and author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and “Electile Dysfunction.”


[1]Bill Kristol: Republic Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” by David Horowitz, 15 May 2016.

[2] See Adrian Otto, “Alan Dershowitz Hangs Up Over Clinton College Scandal,” Breitbart, Nov. 4, 2016; the article was originally published with the title “Dershowitz Goes Berserk.” The article falsely claimed that Laureate University received money from the State Department, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

[3] See Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” Breitbart, March 29, 2016.

[4] David Lev, “Amira Hass: I’ve Had it With the Jews,” Israel National News, September, 10, 2011. To Levy, Israel can never do any good. In an op-ed titled “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” he writes, “Peace was murdered with or without Rabin because Israel didn’t want it. It never seriously wanted it because it includes the end of the occupation, which it has never agreed to give up. No ceremony will change that.” Gideon Levy, “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” Haaretz, Nov. 3, 2016.

[5] For instance, Hass is favorably cited by Norman Finkelstein, MondoWeiss, and Democracy Now. Gideon Levy has been praised by the dean of anti-Zionist intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, as “an early Jewish prophet.” Johann Hari, “Is Gideon Levy the Most Hated Man in Israel or just the Most Heroic?“, Independent, Sept. 23, 2010.

The article printed above does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of jewishinfoNews

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

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