We’re All Jews

January 12, 2015

by Izzy Lemberg

Watching the images of the terrified hostages released from hiding in the freezer at the Hyper Cacher market on the television last week, I could not help but feel that French Jews must be having terrible flashbacks of the Holocaust and that they could not help but think of Anne Frank, hiding in her attic.

The whole world is watching how France will react to the horrible terrorist acts in Paris, to the war against freedom of expression and the war against the Jews. A rally of over one million marchers took place in Paris in response, with thousands holding Je Suis Charlie, Je Suis Juif and Je Suis Achmed signs.

Over seventeen people died in the attacks, starting with the massacre at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, on January 7th, which took the lives of twelve, the shooting death of a French policewoman the next day, a siege in Dammartin and a hostage situation in east Paris the following day, in which four were murdered in a kosher market. The terrible events are a wake up call for Europe: there is a problem with radical Islam in Europe, which has, deeply embedded in its ideology, a hatred of Jews.

When Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who killed four and held fifteen others hostage at the Hyper Cacher market in Paris spoke to a journalist, “He explained why he did this: to defend oppressed Muslims…notably in Palestine…and finally he explained his target, why this kosher store: because he was targeting Jews.”

When France voted to recognize the Palestinian state in their recent failed UN statehood bid, they did not care that their ‘yes’ vote would endanger Israel and leave it exposed. Palestinian rejectionists have a long track record of using terrorism to achieve their ends. In a legal maneuver in December, the EU removed Hamas from its terror list only months after it fought a war with Israel, firing over 4,500 missiles at Israeli civilians. These decisions to seem to have come back to haunt the French.

The lesson that the Europeans must take away from these terrible events is that the anti-Semitism that has taken hold in Europe in recent years must be exposed and expunged. Europeans who support economic sanctions and divestment from Israel have to realize that there’s a strong connection between anti-Israel policies and rhetoric and anti-Semitic attacks and murders.

70 years ago, French police rounded up the Jews and sent them to Auschwitz, on Nazi orders. Following the attacks last week, for the first time since the Holocaust, the Great Synagogue in Paris was closed for Sabbath services. The Jews of France in other words, have a tenuous history and they do not feel safe in France right now. A record number emigrated to Israel in 2014 and more are on the way. France now faces a pivotal moment in its relationship with the Jews. This is the deciding moment.

Lassana Bathily, a heroic Muslim employee at Hyper Cacher was the one who hid the Jews in the freezer during the siege, and saved their lives. He was not indifferent, he was exceptional. Ahmed Merabet, also a Muslim, was the first policeman at the scene at the Hedbo offices. He was shot in cold blood.

Maybe this is the watershed – the opportunity in France, which is once again in the spotlight vis a vis the Jews and freedom. The question for the French is whether the Jews will be defended as passionately as free speech.

As I’m watching the rally in Paris on the television, and I see signs in support of Charlie Hebdo, free speech and Jews. There seems to be a resolve that anti-Semitism cannot be swept under the rug anymore in France. Muslims are also holding the Je suis Juif signs and I can’t help feeling a sense of hope that Jews and Muslims in France may be able to come together. When I see Benjamin Netanyahu walking with Mahmoud Abbas in solidarity with France, I wonder if I am dreaming that maybe one day the Muslim world will recognize Israel’s right to exist.

This article was originally published by the Times of Israel

The Missing Gene of Empathy for Murdered Jews

January 28, 2016

by Izzy Lemberg

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the ‘conscience’ of human rights was addressing the UN when he told the world that he understood that killing innocent Jews was a result of Palestinian “frustration from the occupation.” The Secretary General said, “The full force of the law must be brought to bear on all those committing crimes –- with a system of justice applied equally for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

This outrageous statement has now become the new normal in contemporary anti-Semitic discourse and media coverage.

A day earlier a young girl, Shlomit Krigman, 23, was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian murderer. The week before Dafna Meir, 38, a nurse and a mother of six was brutally slain by a fifteen year old Palestinian murderer.

In Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery the two women now lie side by side.

Also, one week earlier, America’s Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro spoke at a conference in Tel Aviv where he too made references about Israel’s justice system, saying, “there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law – one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.” Alluding to the fact that he thought Israel was discriminating against the Palestinians. He spoke about the terrorist attack the day before briefly in his opening remarks, but he did not feel it was inappropriate to condemn Israel.

The fact that both Ban Ki Moon and Ambassador Shapiro thought there was nothing wrong with condemning Israel on the same day that Palestinians were butchering women shows the apparent missing gene of empathy for murdered Jews.

I remember in my many years working in the international media, especially during the second intifada, when I witnessed countless times how there was no sympathy at all for Israelis who were murdered by Palestinians. Palestinian suicide bombers and other Palestinians who died during the conflict had names that the media reported. More often than not, names of Israeli victims were overlooked and I often wondered why that was.

The overwhelming majority of the media coverage of Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israeli army far outstripped any sympathetic attention given to Jews.

Last week, the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, a Holocaust denier was given a reception by the Holy See, Pope Francis. Iran is now holding its third annual, Holocaust denial cartoon competition and the regime continues to be the world’s biggest Holocaust denial industry. Rouhani is no different to his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although the world continues to pretend that he is a moderate.

There is something fundamentally wrong when the head of a religion with one billion adherents globally has an audience with the world’s biggest sponsor of Islamist terrorism, where many of the victims are Christians worldwide.

Before leaving Italy, Rouhani was speaking on the same day as the international Holocaust Memorial Day when he was being anti-Semitic by blaming the “Zionist lobby” for the strained relations between Iran and the United States. In truth, the majority of Americans are against the nuclear deal that was struck between the P5+1 and Iran.

It did not matter to President Barack Obama that the Iran deal still left Iran on record calling for the destruction of Israel and it continues its policy of denying the Holocaust. The European Union and especially Germany had no problem in ignoring the genocidal ambitions of Iran and promotion of lies about the Holocaust. Germany should know better. This betrayal of Holocaust memory and betrayal of Israel’s right to exist is the original sin of the Iran deal.

As the world recoils in horror at the crimes of ISIS and radical Islamist ideology exported from Syria to Europe, when it comes to Islamist’s butchering Jews in Jerusalem, the UN Secretary General makes excuses for murder, when he said, ”it is human nature to react to occupation.” Perhaps human nature does not extend sympathy to victims when they are Jews.

I ask myself whether people just don’t get it or is it deliberate?

This article was originally published by the Times of Israel

The Butchering Intifada and the Season of Misinformation

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The use of knives as the weapon of choice for butchering Jews can be traced to the Har Nof Massacre in November, 2014. The western media has been complicit and instrumental in advancing this religiously inspired campaign of hate, through its “mistakes” and “errors” in its reporting of terror attacks. Most notably last year when CNN “mistakenly” reported a synagogue as a mosque. CNN was not alone, many other western news agencies too made this error on the same story. Others claiming that Har Nof, which is located in West Jerusalem, well within Israel’s pre 1967 borders, was in ‘disputed’ territory. This can only be due to the media breathing the air that Israel is always wrong and the Palestinians are always right. Such fundamental errors in representing the facts are not found by the same news channels when reporting elsewhere.

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Man of peace

Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama takes the stage to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, February 5, 2015. Flanking Obama are Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey (L) and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. (photo credit:REUTERS)

When House Speaker John Boehner and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out-maneuvered President Barack Obama by planning for Netanyahu to address the US Congress this March, they did something risky. For AIPAC, bipartisanship is the holy grail of the American-Israeli relationship and this move may now cause a split along party lines. There is also the danger that the planned speech may raise the specter of anti-Semitism in America where there are already have been minority voices that have said in the past that Israel is conducting its foreign policy at the expense of American foreign policy.

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Countdown to the new 9/11

September 11, 2014, 11:04 am

by Izzy Lemberg

When 29 year-old Medhi Nemmouche shot and killed four Jews in the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May 24th, we were horrified. But now we know that he had much worse in store. Nemmouche was about to become the next Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 masterminds. A member of the Islamic State, Nemmouche was planning a much larger attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris, on Bastille Day. The attack could have been a devastating version of 9/11 for the French.

The horrifying video footage of the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff (both carried out by a masked man dubbed “Jihadi John” by the British press, who speaks with a distinctive, clipped London accent) makes clear that the Islamic State and their Jihadi ideals are a cult of death. As are their Jihadi brethren, Hamas.

Continue reading “Countdown to the new 9/11”