love of israel

vendredi 24 avril 2015

Israël doit reconnaître le génocide arménien

Il est temps pour les autorités les plus représentatives d’Israël, son président, le chef de son gouvernement, la Knesset, de reconnaître le génocide dont ont été victimes les Arméniens de l’Empire ottoman.
Dans moins de vingt-cinq ans, ce sera au tour du centenaire du génocide des juifs d’être célébré dans le monde entier, et – nous l’espérons – y compris dans le monde musulman. Comment cultiver cette espérance d’unanimité si l’Etat des juifs se refuse encore à cette reconnaissance formelle pour ne pas indisposer son puissant voisin turc ?
Le génocide arménien a été reconnu par de nombreux pays, et le président de la République, François Hollande, s’est engagé à ce qu’une loi sanctionne la négation du génocide arménien comme la loi Gayssot sanctionne depuis un quart de siècle la négation du génocide juif.
En un temps ou les massacres des chrétiens d’Orient se multiplient, la voix du pape s’est fait entendre pour le déplorer et pour, enfin, proclamer que les Arméniens ont été victimes d’un génocide.
Ce n’est pas pour condamner la Turquie moderne, pas plus qu’à Nuremberg on a voulu condamner l’Allemagne qui naîtrait des ruines du IIIe Reich. D’ailleurs, l’Allemagne fédérale dès sa naissance, la République démocratique allemande peu avant sa chute et l’Allemagne enfin réunifiée ont reconnu le génocide commis par l’Allemagne hitlérienne et, en en assumant les conséquences sur tous les plans, ont libéré le peuple allemand d’une partie de son fardeau moral.
Les dirigeants de la Turquie doivent suivre cet exemple. Tant qu’ils nieront la vérité historique, tant qu’ils essaieront d’échapper à leurs responsabilités et qu’ils continueront à prétendre que les Arméniens les ont trahis pendant la première guerre mondiale et qu’eux ont seulement riposté, ils seront tenus à l’écart par la communauté internationale, et en priorité par l’Union européenne. Tant qu’Israël ne reconnaîtra pas le génocide arménien, la Turquie se refusera à le faire.
L’Etat juif sait que les nazis ont pu se risquer à commettre au XXe siècle un second génocide parce que les auteurs du premier n’avaient pas été punis. Aucun argument ne peut s’opposer valablement à la reconnaissance que nous demandons à Israël en ces jours ou nous commémorons Yom HaShoah (la Journée du souvenir de l’Holocauste en Israël).

Krakow for Holocaust Remembrance Day: my journey

In Krakow, Poland the sun was shining, the wind blew pleasantly and a large group of Charedim pushed passed me as I disembarked the plane, ready for what one organiser had already promised was going to be ‘a deeply personal journey that would change my life’.
Here we go; already a stranger talking to me about 'my journey' in connection to what I’ve heard cynics refer to as ‘Holocaust tourism’.
As one of 250 British delegates taking part in this year’s March of the Living – an annual educational programme, which brings students from all over the world to Poland in order to study the history of the Holocaust – I was not sure what to expect.
It’s a subject I’ve written about, a history that was taught to me, but a reality always too unimaginable to grasp.
We were split up and put on one of six buses accompanied by an educator and survivor. I met my group who were all on the same but inevitably different ‘journey'.
Mine started at baggage reclaim when survivor Zigi Shipper 85, shuffled up to me and said: "You are the reporter from the JC?
“You are more beautiful than any of the other ones I’ve met."
He winked and as he continued to tell the group this is his third trip to Poland this year.
Zigi was 14 when he arrived at Auschwitz. He told us how he spent days in a cattle truck so crowded there was only room to sit down once several passengers had died.
He said: “I didn’t feel human I was so desperate to hope that someone would die so I could just sit.
“I didn’t understand how I could think that.”
All that before lunch. We got on to our bus with two destinations ahead.
First stop was a restored synagogue in Dabrowa Tarnowska, once home to 2500 Jews and a building surrounded in controversy.
Many locals opposed the restoration of the building after the war and the Polish money that went into doing it. Our tour guide told us: “There were posters that went up saying ‘the Jews have a synagogue but we have no money. "A lot of people did not want it."
Under the decorative ceilings that looked more Italian church than synagogue to me, youth groups gathered together to sing, others walked around looking at artefacts in glass cases, quietly reflecting.
I noticed instantly nowhere were there descriptions (in English at least) of what happened to the shul or the Jews in the war, in fact there was no mention of Jews or Holocaust at all.
This quite remarkable building that said something, on the outside, wasn’t actually saying much at all. Even stranger the synagogue, or The Centre for the Meeting of Cultures as it is called, makes no reference to it being a synagogue at all.
And with it serving no local Jewish community because all were killed, its presence has an eerie irrelevance, a reminder of what was once. But sadly no longer is, because there are literally no Jews left in the town.
Its irrelevance was visible on the faces of locals who sat at the bus stop outside it too.
Their eyes scanned me up and down as if I might be another species and their gaze was far from welcoming.
We got back on the bus with a warning the next part wasn’t going to be so easy.
"You're like a naughty school boy at the back of the bus,” I say to Zigi as he commanded the attention of his audience punch line after punch line.
And as if we never joked, he answered: "I wouldn't know what that's like; I didn't get to go to school."
A sobering reminder of how my own childhood experience was totally lost on a man who grew up seeing many of his friends shot in front of him.
We drove to a forest with trees twice the height of the toy-like houses surrounding it and are told the ground we are walking on is where 800 children were taken on the same day and killed along with their parents and 2000 Polish who opposed the Nazis.
As we stood where fathers were forced to dig pits for the bodies of their own children, my stomach turned as my boots sunk into the muddier parts of the ground.
All that marked the children's graves were the odd candle and drawing of a Disney character.
‘My journey’ so far has had some unexpected laughs and some very expected sorrow.
It’s only day one.

Biden: No deal with Iran

President Barack Obama would reject any Iran deal that does not increase its breakout time to a nuclear weapon to a year, Vice President Joe Biden told Israelis.
Biden, addressing the Israeli embassy’s Independence Day festivities, also said the United States will deliver F-35 fighter jets to Israel next year to help maintain its military edge regionally.
Biden said Obama’s minimum requirement for a deal between the major powers and Iran would be to increase Iran’s breakout time from the current 2-3 months where the United States estimates it currently stands to a year.
“If it doesn’t, no deal,” Biden said. A final deal is due June 30. Biden said it would include verifiable reductions of Iran’s stock of enriched uranium and guarantees that Iran could not manufacture plutonium.
The pledges come as the Obama administration is seeking to improve ties frayed with Israel over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expressions of opposition to the talks, including his speech to Congress last month organized without consulting the White House.
Biden also said there would be a phased reduction of sanctions on Iran, measured against Iranian cooperation with a regimen that would keep it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said he wants immediate sanctions relief.
Biden described the F-35 as “our finest, making Israel the only country in the Middle East to have this fifth-generation aircraft” and said the United States would maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.
“You protect our interests like we protect yours, so let’s get something straight in this moment of some disagreement, occasionally, between our two governments,” Biden said. “No president has ever done more to protect Israel’s security than President Barack Obama.”
Likening Israel and the United States to “family” he said: “Sometimes, we drive each other crazy, but we love each other and we protect each other.”
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced in mid-February that it had signed a deal with the United States to purchase 14 more F-35 planes for the Israel Air Force at $110 million each, bringing the total to 33. Israel in 2010 said it would acquire 19 of the aircraft.

Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles! Topol wins top honour

Chaim Topol has received Israel’s highest civilian honour.
Nine distinguished Israelis were awarded this year’s Israel Prizes in a state ceremony held on Thursday night in Jerusalem attended by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two Lifetime Achievement Awards for special contributions to society and the State of Israel were given to Chaim Topol, who played milkman Tevye in the much-loved 1971 movie Fiddler on the Roof.
The acclaimed star is also the founder of the Jordan River Village for children suffering from life-threatening diseases.


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