Sunday, 3 July 2016
Saturday, 2 July 2016
Holocaust survivor, activist and writer Elie Wiesel, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for becoming the life-long voice of millions of Holocaust victims, has died, Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem said on Saturday.
Wiesel, a philosopher, speaker, playwright and professor who also campaigned for the tyrannized and forgotten around the world, was 87.
The Romanian-born Wiesel lived by the credo expressed in "Night," his landmark story of the Holocaust - "to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time."
In awarding the Peace Prize in 1986, the Nobel Committee praised Wiesel as a "messenger to mankind" and "one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world."
Wiesel did not waver in his campaign never to let the world forget the Holocaust horror. While at the White House in 1985 to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, he even rebuked U.S. President Ronald Reagan for planning to lay a wreath at a German cemetery where some of Hitler's notorious Waffen SS troops were buried.
"Don't go to Bitburg," Wiesel said. "That place is not your place. Your place is with the victims of the SS."
Wiesel became close to U.S. President Barack Obama but the friendship did not deter him from criticizing U.S. policy on Israel. He spoke out in favor of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and pushed the United States and other world powers to take a harder stance against Iran over its nuclear program. Wiesel attended the joint session of the U.S. Congress in 2015 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the dangers of Iran's program.
Wiesel and his foundation both were victims of the wide-ranging Ponzi scheme run by New York financier Bernie Madoff, with Wiesel and his wife losing their life's savings and the foundation losing $15.2 million. "'Psychopath' - it's too nice a word for him," he said of Madoff in 2009.
Wiesel was a hollow-eyed 16-year-old when he emerged from the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. He had been orphaned by the Nazis and their identification number, A-7713, was tattooed on his arm as a physical manifestation of his broken faith and the nightmares that would haunt him throughout his life.
Wiesel and his family had first been taken by the Nazis from the village of Sighetu Marmatiei in the Transylvania region of Romania to Auschwitz, where his mother and one of his sisters died.Wiesel and his father, Shlomo, ended up in Buchenwald, where Shlomo died. In "Night" Wieselwrote of his shame at lying silently in his bunk while his father was beaten nearby.
After the war Wiesel made his way to France, studied at the Sorbonne and by 19 had become a journalist. He pondered suicide and never wrote of or discussed his Holocaust experience until 10 years after the war as a part of a vow to himself. He was 27 years old in 1955 when "Night" was published in Yiddish, and Wiesel would later rewrite it for a world audience.
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed ...," Wiesel wrote. "Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live."
Asked by an interviewer in 2000 why he did not go insane, Wiesel said, "To this day that is a mystery to me."
By 2008, the New York Times said "Night" had sold an estimated 10 million copies, including 3 million after talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey made it a spotlight selection for her book club in 2006.
In 1985 Wiesel helped break ground in Washington for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the following year was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In typical fashion, he dedicated the prize to all those who survived the Nazi horror, calling them "an example to humankind how not to succumb to despair."
Wiesel, who became a U.S. citizen in 1963, was slight in stature but a compelling figure when he spoke. With a chiseled profile, burning eyes and a shock of gray hair, he could silence a crowd by merely standing up.
He was often described as somber. An old friend, Chicago professor Irving Abrahamson, once said of him: "I've never seen Elie give a belly laugh. He'll chuckle, he'll smile, there'll be a twinkle in his eye. But never a laugh from within."
A few years after winning the peace prize, he established the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which, in addition to Israeli and Jewish causes, campaigned for Miskito Indians in Nicaragua, Cambodian refugees, victims of South African apartheid and of famine and genocide in Africa.
Wiesel wrote more than 50 books - novels, non-fiction, memoirs and many with a Holocaust theme - and held a long-running professorship at Boston University. In one of his later books, "Open Heart," he used his 2011 quintuple-bypass surgery as impetus for reflection on his life.
"I have already been the beneficiary of so many miracles, which I know I owe to my ancestors," he wrote. "All I have achieved has been and continues to be dedicated to their murdered dreams - and hopes."
He collected scores of awards and honors, including an honorary knighthood in Britain. Obama presented him the National Humanities Medal in 2009.
Wiesel was attacked in a San Francisco hotel in 2007 by a 22-year-old Holocaust denier, but not injured.
Wiesel and wife Marion married in 1969 and their son, Elisha, was born in 1972.
|WHY WAS ABBAS GIVEN A STANDING OVATION AT EU?|
|WHILE addressing the parliament of the European Union this week, Nigel Farage suggested they should "grow up" in respect of the Brexit vote result.|
In response, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker asked Farage: "Why are you here?".
Should that question not have been better asked of Mahmoud Abbas, following his outrageous accusation of Israeli rabbis calling for the poisoning of Arab wells, rather than him being given a standing ovation?
Friday, 1 July 2016
JNS.org – Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas terrorist leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef and author of a 2011 New York Times bestseller memoir, recently re-emerged in news headlines when he spoke at the annual conference of the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
The so-called “Green Prince,” Yousef is a Palestinian born in Ramallah and raised by one of Hamas’s most dangerous leaders. The younger Yousef was arrested by Israel, but rather than becoming further hardened in prison, he became enlightened about the ruthless and shocking ways of the Palestinian terror group. Yousef became a spy for Israel and later defected from his whole community for a new life outside of Ramallah.
Yousef called his journey one of “human evolution.”
“At some point, I thought the Jewish people were the enemies of humanity and the enemies of the Palestinian people,” Yousef told a captivated audience during his Jerusalem Post conference speech. “That was until I experienced what the Jewish nation is, witnessed a real democratic model in an ocean of darkness.”
Following Yousef’s speech in May, three YouTube videos of his remarks have combined to garner more than 22,000 views.
Yousef challenged himself, his family — who disowned him — and, as he puts it, “the entire Muslim world…to transcend the conditioning of my society.…I have seen death and came from hell, and it is very dark.”
But what made this “Son of Hamas” — the title of his memoir — defect from the Palestinian terrorist culture? How does someone who was raised with privileges among the elite ranks of Hamas choose to leave?
Max Abrahms, an assistant professor of political science at Boston-based Northeastern University, where he researches and teaches on asymmetric conflict and international relations theory, said that a lot of terrorists eventually have “buyer’s remorse” and “would like to return to their society.” For fighters from various countries who get swept into Islamic State or other groups and travel abroad to train, he said many of them “want to return home and lead normal lives.” They might get older and tired, and putting their lives at risk no longer seems palatable. Other times, once someone joins a terrorist group or rises within its ranks, he or she becomes disillusioned with the organization.
“They may see that what the organization is saying is untrue or that it is not as virtuous to its stated ideals as the person would like,” Abrahms told JNS.org. “There might be disagreements over doctrine, disagreements over tactic. Sometimes there are personal disputes.”
But Abrahms said that defecting from a terrorist network is not an easy task — personally, emotionally or from a safety perspective. He said that when someone joins a terrorist organization, the group’s members become like fraternity brothers or even relatives.
“They effectively cut themselves off from the rest of the world when they become terrorists.…They become very insular,” said Abrahms. “It would take a lot of inner strength [to leave the terror group]. The defector is seen as going against their loved ones.”
Similar dynamics were at play for Israeli-Arab teenager Muhammad Zoabi, who had to go into hiding for several months during the summer of 2014 — when Israel was at war with Hamas in Gaza — after publicly describing himself as a “proud Israeli-Arab Muslim Zionist” who opposes antisemitism as well as “Islamic and Arab extremism.”
“I had to hide, go underground, keep a low profile, like what [I would do] if I had done a nasty crime,” Zoabi wrote in a Facebook post soon after coming out of hiding.
More recently, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that senior Hamas member Bassam Mahmoud Baraka defected to Israel, turning himself and his family into Israel during the first week of June. He brought his laptop and secret maps that showed Hamas’s cross-border attack tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, information that has benefited Israel’s security forces.
To escape from Gaza, Baraka needed to lie to his extended family, saying he was going out to run errands and would return in the evening.
In his speech in May, Yousef admitted that on a personal level, he still has a loving father. But when his father puts on his “Hamas mask,” said Yousef, “he is a monster, he is something else.”
He continued, “The problem with that society is conditioning. You take anyone in Hamas on the side, as an individual, and they are just human beings. Any of us could have been brought up in that environment and been conditioned in the same way.”
Yousef called on the world to take action against this radicalization.
“We see waves of violence and darkness taking over and we choose to stick our heads in the same in the name of political correctness,” he said. “The truth is, we are afraid and we are trying not to provoke them more. We are trying not to create a religious war. But there is a religious war whether you like it or not….The better way to face it is with courage.…What is the alternative?”
As Golda Meir said:
“We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
Palestinian Mother Overjoyed Her Son Murdered Jewish Child
Is this the Palestinian society with which Israel is expected to find a genuine and lasting peace?
“My son is a hero. He made me proud. My son died as a Martyr defending Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. …Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine. Allah be praised.”
Those were the words of Mohammed Taraireh’s mother to Palestinian media hours after he butchered a 13-year-old Israeli girl, Hallel Yaffe Ariel (pictured). Mohammed was shot and killed by security officials responding to Hallel’s screams.
While Mrs. Taraireh proudly owned her son’s savagery, official Palestinian Authority media suggested the attack might not have taken place, and that Israeli forces killed Mohammed for no reason.
It is this Palestinian society with which Israel is expected to find a genuine and lasting peace. As seen in these in these two examples, Palestinian society is either celebrating violence against Israel, or denying it altogether.