Thursday, October 31, 2013

Say Hello to Whitney Fisch and Jewhungry

Michael L.

Every once in awhile I come across a blog or a writer that I feel a need to help promote.

Thus, say hello to Whitney Fisch and Jewhungry!
About Me:

When I was 19 a modeling agency sent me to Milan, Italy to try to make it as a model. Then I discovered chocolate croissants and parmesan cheese. So that ended that.

About the Blog:

Now an all-the-time food blog and a most-of-the-time parenting blog, Jewhungry is an expression of a little bit of this and a dash of that through the lens of a girl who loves food, travel, spirituality, and happened to have a kid along the way of all that exploration and learning.

Jewhungry was started because I love food and just because I keep kosher doesn’t mean I can’t try/have it all when it comes to the culinary world. Everybody’s got their ‘kosher’, they just call it ‘organic’ or ‘paleo’ or ‘vegan’ or ‘gluten free’. I just call it dinner

I’m on a mission for connection. There’s a movement sweeping the land and that movement is food–you need it to survive and even if you can’t afford to grocery shop at Whole Foods or even your local kosher grocer on a daily basis, you can still make delicious food. Food is everywhere and as young Jews in this world, it’s a way to connect to our history, to our spirituality and to each other. However, it seems in the food world, that there is still a question mark hovering over the world of kosher cooking. Well, let’s be honest, it’s not just the food world that doesn’t know what to do with kashrut but the Jewish world too for that matter. So, my hope is to minimize that question mark and to see kosher food for what it is–a way to connect but also legitimate enough to deserve a place in the elimination challenge on Top Chef. Sure, if you want to keep actual kosher, you have to separate; buy two and sometimes three of everything. However, even if you aren’t Jewish and don’t want to keep a kosher home, kosher food is still good food. It’s still a delicious, multi-faceted category of food that can’t be pigeon-holed into one solitary category. It can be vegan, vegetarian, Indian, Italian, Chinese, Korean, new, old, fusion, Southern–you name it, it fits.

What Jewhungry for?

*All pictures posted on this page are the property of Jewhungry and should not be reposted without permission of the authors. Thank you.


Maybe you have a great idea for a blog post? Maybe you want some Kosher advice? Tried a recipe? Need a Rabbi? Looking for a new Jewish friend? Let us know! Ask! Tell! We’re addicted to email…so why don’t you send us one?

We can be reached at

Shalom, Y’all!
We here at Israel Thrives wish Whitney nothing but the very best in this world and very much intend to steal some of her recipes!

EU and Obama Administration Demand that Jews Stop Building on Jewish Land

Michael L.

The tidbit below was written by the Associated Press and published by Y-Net.
The European Union's top diplomat has denounced Israel's plan to build more than 1,500 homes in Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. She calls the move illegal and a potential obstacle to peace.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, says the EU "deplores" the Israeli plan and says it violates international law. Ashton said in a statement Thursday that "any actions that could hamper or undermine the on-going negotiations must be avoided."

The construction plan, announced Wednesday, has also drawn angry condemnations from Palestinian officials, who accuse Israel of undermining newly relaunched peace efforts. UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the Israeli plan as well, and Washington said it would not create a "positive environment" for the negotiations.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON – US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki responded Wednesday to Israel's announcement of building 1,500 units in east Jerusalem saying "We do not consider continued settlement activity or east Jerusalem construction to be steps that create a positive environment for the negotiations."

At no time in the course of pursuing negotiations toward a two-state solution have we condoned settlement activity or east Jerusalem construction," she added.
This is playing out just exactly as I predicted it would.

First the US strong-arms Israel into faux negotiations.  Then the PA, the US, and the EU make various demands on Israel, some of which it will meet and some of which it will not.  Nothing, of course, will be required of the Palestinian Authority other than its participation in screwing around with the Jews.

When Israel fails to meet the demands made of it the PA, the US, and the EU will complain and blame Israel for hurting the faux "peace process."

At some point in the not distant future the PA will then pull out of talks and blame Israel for the failure of the negotiations.

The EU will place sanctions on Israel and around this time the violence will begin in earnest.  When that happens the EU, and the western left, will blame that violence on the victims of that violence, which is the Jewish minority in the Middle East.  The greater the violence against the Jews in the Middle East the greater the condemnation of those Jews by western leftists.  If the Second Terror War (intifada) is any indication, western left condemnation of the Jews (or the Israelis or the Zionists)  will reach a sadistic crescendo right around the time that buses and pizza parlors are getting blown up by "Palestinian freedom fighters" leaving body parts all over the place.

Then Israel will, of course, respond to the violence and get further condemned for the "collective punishment of the Palestinian people."

Because really what this is about is the process of delegitimization.  What it most definitely is not about is bringing peace between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.  If this horrendous fiasco were really about bringing an end of hostilities via a two-state solution then the EU and the US would place pressure on the Arabs, who have never accepted two states for two peoples, rather than this ongoing arm-twisting of the Jews because we have, for the most part, always accepted the principle of two states for two peoples.

The whole drama is entirely unjust.  Also, of course, I've seen this movie before.

It ends badly.

From the comments:
1. Lady Ashton Pray tell madam,

what are the Brits doing in the Falklands?

Mendoza , Tel-Aviv, Israel (10.31.13)
5. Where are her condemnations of Abbas' daily undermining

Where are her condemnations of Abbas' daily undermining negotiations by trying to get other governments to pre-determine the outcome of the negotiations?

Eric, Tel Aviv & NYC (10.31.13)
This is just the kind of question that I am seeing more and more of.  Which is to say, how can we have any confidence whatsoever in the Palestinian Authority as a "peace partner" when it continues to promote genocidal hatred towards Jews and is now on a whirlwind world-tour of anti-Israel defamation?

It simply makes no sense and, yet, the Obama administration is mute.
7. Can she actually name the law it is against?

As Israel is building in land that was originally designated for Israel that was later liberated from Jordanian occupation; what law is being broken by Israel building in Israel?

Eric, Tel Aviv & NYC (10.31.13)
Israel's enemies refer to all that is Jewish-Israeli as "illegal" or illegitimate.  Of course, the people who constantly cry out that "settlement activity" is illegal under "international law" almost never cite the law, itself.  Under what law, under whose law, is it illegal for Jews to build housing for themselves on Jewish land?

Which is why my friend, Scott, can write:
13. Ashton thinks if she keeps repeating a lie it will come true

Israel is not in violation of international law for building in Judea & Samaria since it has not been part of a sovereign state since ancient Israel. Many professionals on international law have come to the same conclusion. The territories are in dispute & the Arabs do not have exclusive rights to them.

Scott, Ramat Gan, Israel (10.31.13)
At this point I wouldn't even say that the land is in dispute any more than I would suggest that American land is in dispute due to the claims of Native-Americans.  Judaea and Samaria are Jewish lands and have been since long, long before there was any such place as, say, France.  In fact, from a historical perspective the Jews of the Middle East have far greater claims to Jerusalem than the United States has to Washington D.C., because unlike the vast majority of Americans, the Jews are the indigenous people of their region.  Nonetheless, if the Jews of Israel feel so gracious as to give up some of their tiny portion of the world for yet another Arab country, that's OK with me.

In fact, I recommend it.  Here is, in my opinion, what Israel should do:

1) Declare final borders.

2) Remove IDF to behind those borders.

3) Toss keys over shoulder.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Islam Bad"?

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at News and Views From Jews Down Under.}

The tidbit below was written by Alex Fishman and published by Y-Net.
More than 30,000 global jihadists have settled in and are fighting in countries that border with Israel. They belong to various groups, but they all have one dream: To liberate the Arab world from heretic regimes, with the climax being the liberation of Jerusalem. Afghanistan is already here; on our border.

Global jihad is the main concrete threat the army will be preparing for in 2014, and it is the focus of discussions the defense minister is holding with the General Staff ahead of the next working year. While not all of the IDF's top officers accept the term "Afghanistan is already here," there is broad agreement regarding the scope of the threat this development poses to Israel.
This is an example of what one opinionator refers to as "Islam Bad."   Some people think that speaking out against political Islam, which is the foremost fascistic movement in the world today, is nothing less than "racism" toward Muslims, in general.

In this way they conflate Hamas and al-Qaeda with all people of the Islamic faith which, in itself, is a bigoted position.

This is something akin to being afraid to oppose the Klan out of a fear of insulting Christians.  If I were a Christian and I was told that opposing the Ku Klux Klan is basically the same as "Christianity Bad" I would be deeply insulted, but this is precisely what people do when they oppose those of us willing to speak out against the movement for politicized Islam.

Is opposition to political Islam "racist" toward Muslims?  What I argue is that political Islam is an exceedingly important political movement within the umma that we ignore at our peril and whose foremost victims are Muslims, themselves.  We don't need to go running around with our hair on fire, but we need to acknowledge and oppose a political movement that oppresses women, hangs gay people from cranes, seeks the submission of all non-Muslims, and cries out for the genocide of the Jews.

Some misguided individuals believe that this is "racist" towards Muslims, in general, which is why the opinionator mischaracterized it as "Islam Bad," with the implication that such concerns are nothing but bigotry.  I would suggest that the opposite is true.  It is not those of us who are opposed to the Jihad who are bigots, but those westerners who cannot bring themselves to stand up against the Jihad who are bigots, because they think that doing so is a smear on all Muslims.

It isn't.

The progressive-left tends to be exceedingly squeamish when it comes to political Islam.  It's not that they are afraid of getting blown up by Jihadis, but that they fear their fellow progressives will smear them as "racist" if they find the cajones to stand up against the movement.  The fear is social, not physical.  This makes them not only cowards, but ultimately stooges for a cause that would see their own people either destroyed or oppressed.  So long as some people oppose those of us who speak out against this movement then those people become stooges for the movement, itself.

One can be a western progressive without being a stooge for political Islam, but not if one insists on spitting hatred at those of who speak out against it.  It's one thing to ignore the rise of a large-scale fascistic movement throughout the Middle East, but it is another thing entirely to oppose those of us who refuse to do so.  Furthermore, supporting an American president that, himself, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and thus supported the rise of political Islam, more generally, is just plain stupid.  It's one thing to have voted for Obama, even twice, but not everyone who voted for Obama is a sycophant or remains a sycophant.

Failing to stand up to the rise of political Islam, it should be noted, is also a betrayal of progressive-left values.  When I was growing up the progressive-left fought for things like women's rights, gay rights, the rights of minorities to equal treatment within the public sphere.  Now the progressive-left has turned 180 degrees and ignores women's rights and ignores gay rights, so long as the people oppressing women and murdering gay people are Muslims in the Middle East.  In this way, the western-left has obliterated its core value of universal human rights.

Until the western-left can find the strength and the intelligence to stand up for its own alleged values then it is essentially dead.  It may still elect politicians to high office in the United States, and Europe, and Australia, but that has not prevented it from undermining its ideological core.  So long as the western-left supports anti-Semitic anti-Zionism and withholds support for women, gay people, and Jews in the Middle East, then it is a movement that no longer stands for what it stands for.

It thereby sacrifices itself upon the bleeding altar of political Islam.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kerry Takes a Slap at Netanyahu

Michael L.

The tidbit below was published by Y-Net.
In a speech Monday night at a disarmament forum, Kerry said the United States has "an opportunity to try to put to test whether or not Iran really desires to pursue only a peaceful program, and will submit to the standards of the international community in the effort to prove that to the world."

He added: "I suggest that the idea that the United States of America, as a responsible nation to all of humankind, would not explore that possibility would be the height of irresponsibility."

In response to the Israeli demand for more pressure, Kerry said "some have suggested that somehow there's something wrong" with giving diplomacy a chance.

"We will not succumb to those fear tactics and forces that suggest otherwise," Kerry said.
It has to be recognized that the Obama administration has no intention whatsoever in preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weaponry.  It could hardly be more obvious at this point.  Just as Obama supported the Arab Spring in the name of democracy, despite the fact that political Islam is a non-democratic movement, so it will enable a nuclear Iran in the name of diplomacy.

The Obama administration has been an absolute disaster in terms of foreign policy.  Not only has this administration supported the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East, even going so far as to send heavy weaponry to Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt prior to the downfall of Muhammed Morsi, but it has alienated its allies all over the world.  No one trusts the United States under the Obama administration and some have suggested that Russia may be filling the vacuum of power in the Middle East left by the United States.

Furthermore, freeing the murderers of Jews, as I discussed yesterday, is a betrayal of Israel's very reason to be.  This betrayal probably came about due to pressure from the Obama administration because otherwise it means that it came about due to pressure from the Palestinian Authority, which is highly unlikely.  The release of these murderers, of course, will do absolutely nothing to help bring about a peaceful resolution to the ongoing war against the Jews in the Middle East.  Because the Arab majority is absolutely intransigent in its hostility to the Jewish minority these concessions will be pocketed and simply lead to the next round of demands.

Meanwhile, in Persia the centrifuges continue to spin.

From the comments:
10. Richard Cohen's article in the Washington Post...

titled 'Questioning Obama's competence' points out that America and Obama's standing is not what it once was and that neither are held in awe or respect any longer. From the U.S. causing the world financial crisis to Obama's failed foreign and domestic policies, the spying scandal, not to mention the political gridlock the U.S. appears to have lost control of itself and that is extremely dangerous for the future safety of the world. Yet the only world leader who seems to be towing the Obama line is Netanyahu. Yet Israels' very existence is at stake. I am a fan of Bibi, but he cannot afford to let Obama dictate Israeli policy when it comes to Israels future. Obama is at best incompetent or at worst Israels' biggest closet enemy. While uranium enrichment continues and world 'leaders' lips keep flapping, Israels very existence is at peril. Obama is already a lame-duck at home and now abroad. There are only three more years of his administration to endure. If I were Bibi, I would rather strike Iran now and risk 'managing' Obama till he is out of office, than risk a nuclear Iran. ex-frummie ,

Johannesburg S.A. (10.29.13)
I do not know that the US is responsible for the world financial crisis, but it is clearly true that Obama is at best incompetent and at worst Israel's biggest "closet enemy."  That any Jew anywhere could possibly support an American president that supports the most fascistic and anti-Semitic political movement in the world today staggers the imagination, yet they do.
5. Netanyahu hung out to dry

The sheer idiocy of Netanyahu's yielding to American pressure to "negotiate" with the Palestinians even to the point of releasing terrorist murderers becomes clearer by the day. In return for a worthless promise from Obama and Kerry to "keep all options on the table", Netanyahu is now talking about such things as Israel returning to the 1949 Armistice-Auschwitz Lines, dividing Jerusalem, and turning over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians. Utter lunacy on all counts--as with Syria, the Americans would never have attacked Iran or supported an Israeli attack..

george , ashdod (10.29.13)
The potential division of Jerusalem should be a "red line" for all of us.  I know that progressive-left dhimmis like Jon Segall would favor tearing Jerusalem asunder if the Arabs made sweet noises but, for those of us not so ideologically enslaved, the potential division of Jerusalem must be fought against at all costs.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Knesset should take control of the Temple Mount because the Waqf has shown itself, through the wanton destruction of ancient Jewish artifacts, to be an irresponsible caretaker.
7. Kerry is an idiot in the original sense of the word

That is, someone who does not know nor understand what is going on in the polis, in this case, the world.

Jumbix (10.29.13)
I do not know what Kerry is.  All that I have to say about the man is that he is the spitting image of Stan Laurel!

Yes, that was gratuitous, I know.  But, damn, the man looks just like Stan Laurel!

Whose fault is that, huh?
11. Bibi can no longer hide behind US inaction

If he wants to fiddle while Tel Aviv burns, dont blame the US any more. Obama's isolationism is now predictable. He has abandoned US foreign interest in the ME. Israel is truly alone.

Lemmings Hotline , sd usa (10.29.13)
We cannot know what Netanyahu is thinking or what his intentions are.  Given the man's background - the influence of his historian father and the death of his brother at Entebbe - one would hope that he would not be so enthralled by the hideous Obama administration that he would actually trust that administration to prevent Iranian nukes.   Also, of course, Israel is emphatically NOT alone when it comes to opposition to Iranian nuclear weaponry.  Saudi Arabia does not want to see a nuclear Iran and neither does Egypt.  Europe has no reason to celebrate an Iran with nuclear weaponry, but no one is willing to prevent it.

If Israel takes unilateral action it will have the quiet support of all sorts of countries throughout the world... who will, if Israel does what they want it to do, turn on it in a New York minute.  They will scream to the heavens about Israeli aggression even as they wipe a little sweat from their brow.  They will leave Israel to do their dirty work and then they will condemn Israel for doing so.

So, cancel that.  Israel truly is alone.
21. Kerry is the ONE who pushed for the release of convicted...

...mass murderers of Jewish children. Now, he is about to allow Iran to continue to develop nuclear weapons with which to threaten the six million Jews of Israel. And, yet, the Jewish community in America will support him when he stand for elections for the presidency.... How pathetic!!

Hermon Ben-Israel , Qatzrin, Israel (10.29.13)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Releasing the Murderers of Jews

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel and News and Views From Jews Down Under.}

The tidbit below was written by Yasser Okbi and the Jerusalem Post Staff.
Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Karaka said Monday that there would be an official welcoming ceremony for 26 Palestinian security prisoners being released from Israeli jails at the Presidential Palace in Ramallah on Tuesday at midnight.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas was set to be on hand at the ceremony to greet the prisoners, released as part of ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

A Ministerial Committee on Sunday approved the release of 26 prisoners imprisoned for murder or attempted murder prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. A first batch of 26 prisoners was released in July.

"The second phase of the prisoner release is a great achievment for the Palestinian leadership, for Abu Mazen [Abbas] and for the Palestinian people because it represents an extra step toward the release of all the prisoners from the Israeli occupation's jails," Karaka stated.
They were imprisoned for the murder or the attempted murder of Jews.  There is a deep irony and symbolism in the fact that someone like Simon Wiesenthal could spend his life hunting Nazis so that they might be held accountable for the murder of Jews and now Israel is in the business of freeing the murderers of Jews.

And why is the Jewish State freeing the murderers of Jews?  In order to gain the privilege of sitting down for negotiations with a corrupt terrorist leader, with ideological ties to both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, who thinks that any future state of Palestine must be Judenrein, and does so at the insistence of an American president that supported the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East.

So, what I say is, pack it in, guys.

There are some allegedly pro-Israel people - like, say, David Harris-Gershon - who think that the best way to support the Jews of the Middle East is to kick them in the teeth every chance they get.  Why shouldn't allegedly pro-Israel BDS people (the heinous Peter Beinart and J-Street crowd) think that the best way to help Israel is to hurt Israel, when the Israelis, themselves, give them considerable support?

Then, of course, there are the pro-Israel people, such as Jonathan Segall, who think that the real problem is not ongoing Arab-Muslim genocidal hostility toward Jews, but the fact that some Jews prefer to live in Judaea and Samaria.  This bigotry toward Jewish people somehow doesn't register as bigotry among progressives who do little more than scream about bigotry and racism and Islamophobia on a daily basis as a club against their political opponents.   The progressive-left is perfectly OK with rank discrimination against the Jewish people even as they self-righteously decry it everywhere else.

And then there are the Jews who are simply done with peace processing because they recognize that such efforts are not only worthless, but entirely counterproductive to the well-being of the Jewish people.  Many of these folks call for the annexation of the entirety of the Jewish homeland, which is to say, the annexation of Judaea and Samaria, or what progressive-left Jews call the "West Bank" despite the fact that this term wipes out more than 3,500 years of Jewish history on Jewish land.

What I say is that if the Israeli government is so weak that it would yield to outside pressure from Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama to release the murderers of Jews then the Zionist project is essentially over.  The point of Zionism was never merely just the protection of the Jewish people.  It also redeemed the Jewish language and opened venues for Jewish literature and Jewish art and Jewish culture, more generally.  It gave a place for Jewish scientists to explore their studies and for regular Jews to gain an appreciation for their heritage and history.  It gave a place for deeply religious Jews to practice their faith among their own people and upon their own land.

The movement for Jewish Liberation, which is the Zionist movement, is a movement for the redemption of a people that is among the most persecuted people within recorded history.  Along with Native-Americans, who were likewise subject to a genocide, and the slaves from Africa, who were subject to European and Arab-Muslim subjugation, the Jews of the Middle East were subject to dhimmitude in which their numbers were kept artificially small and their people subject to daily humiliations, violence, and servitude.

Among the various purposes of Israel, one of the foremost was to undermine anti-Semitism by normalizing Jewish people-hood through the establishment of a Jewish state.  Theodor Herzl and the early Zionists thought that the establishment of a Jewish state would ease relationships with the rest of the world because no longer would Jews be a stranger in someone else's home.  This has turned out not to be the case because in the twentieth-century anti-Semitism simply morphed into anti-Zionism and generalized hatred for Israel, even among many Jews, such as Harris-Gershon.

But now we have the Jewish state, itself, freeing the murderers of Jews.

What I fail to understand is that if Israel will not really stand up for itself, why anyone else would possibly stand up for it?  The releasing of the murderers of Jews is a deeply symbolic act that is certainly not lost on the Palestinian-Arabs, even if it is lost on the Netanyahu government.  When Israel behaves in a manner that goes directly against the well-being of Jews throughout the world, as this prisoner release does, it gives great pause to pro-Israel diaspora Jewry because it makes us wonder just what Israel actually stands for?

The question is this:  how can Israel stand for the well-being of the Jewish people when it releases the murderers of Jewish people?

I wish I had a reasonable answer, but I don't.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Lumish - Swindle Debate Continues

Michael L.

Debating America’s Ideological Origins: Part III in Lumish Vs Swindle.

PJ Lifestyle editor, David Swindle, and myself are having a very interesting discussion around disagreements concerning the founding fathers and classical liberalism.

My latest contribution, linked to above, outlines historian Bernard Bailyn's argument as to the ideological sources of the American Revolution and to the Constitution of the United States.  Swindle sees Judeo-Christian ideology behind our form of government, whereas Bailyn also includes, rightly so, the Heritage of Classical Antiquity, English Common Law, and the European tradition of Enlightenment Rationalism.

The piece then transitions toward a more personal conversation around the differences in our individual political evolution within recent years.

It's a very interesting discussion, so far and I would very much encourage you guys to check it out. 

Part One by Lumish - Politics Vs Theology: Beginning A Debate With David Swindle

Part Two by Swindle - Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish

Friday, October 25, 2013

Boycott the Palestinian Authority

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at News and Views From Jews Down Under.}

The tidbit below was written by Elior Levy and published by Y-Net.
The Palestinians have launched a diplomatic campaign calling on countries to prohibit private companies operating within their borders from conducting business in the West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior economic official and negotiator in the peace talks with Israel, told the Financial Times on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority’s minister of foreign affairs had begun sending letters about a month ago to 50 countries that are home to 504 companies with business in settlements, asking them to withdraw their investment or freeze their activities.

Commercial activity in the settlements is illegal and constitutes a violation of international law, the letters said.
The only reason that BDS has any traction at all is because we acquiesced to the notion that Jews should not build housing for themselves in Judaea and Samaria.  It is because prominent Jewish liberals agreed with Mahmoud Abbas that Jews should be allowed to live in certain places but not others within our ancestral homeland that opened the door for president Barack Obama to likewise condemn "settlement activity" which gave the EU notice that the US backs the anti-Semitic boycott movement.

If we had stood up from the beginning and told people like Abbas and Obama that Jews have every right to live in, and build housing for themselves, and conduct business in, the land that Jews have been living on for over 3,500 years it would have been much harder for Obama to support Abbas in his BDS activities.  He would have needed to do so directly over the objections of his Jewish supporters.  Instead he does so with the approval of progressive-left American Jews who seem to think that the real enemy is not so much Hamas or al-Qaeda or the Brotherhood or Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad, but Yosef and Melody Hartuv who actually have the chutzpah to live in the ancestral Jewish city of Hevron.

What it is, is a hangover from Oslo.  The Oslo "peace process" is long dead, but no one seems to have told people like Alan Dershowitz and the progressive Jewish left does not have the creative imagination to think in fresh terms on old problems.

And now, according to Y-Net, we have PA officials claiming that "commercial activity in the settlements is illegal."  Please try to wrap your brain around that moronic statement.  Commercial activity in the settlements is illegal and constitutes a violation of international law.  The ironic thing, of course, as the article goes on to mention, is that if the PA is successful in its racist campaign against the Jews 20,000 to 30,000 Palestinian-Arabs will be thrown out of work.

I say that it is time to boycott the Palestinian Authority.  Mahmoud Abbas is in the 9th year of a 4 year term and is, thus, the democratically elected leader of nothing and should be treated as such.

This hideous charade needs to end and Israel needs to take matters into its own hands.

Declare final borders.

Remove IDF to behind final borders.

Toss keys over shoulder.

From the comments:
11. Confused

How can anyone in Israel or beyond listen to this man and claim that Israel has a valid "peace partner" When will the Israeli left and their friends wake up and face reality. The PA and its government are a joke. Israel brought them out of obscurity and it is time to return them to obscurity.

Ellen , Israel/NYC (10.25.13)
I couldn't agree more, Ellen.
15. Total Israeli boycott of Fictional Palestine.

There is no excuse left for conducting negotiations with the terrorist P.A. These creaps are no different than Nazis standing in front of Jewish stores to foster racist boycotts. The time is long overdue for Israel to end all talks with these vile racists. End ALL Israeli support for Fictional Palestine. No more food, money, materials, medicine, electricity. NOTHING for evil Fictional Palestine.

Chaim , Israel (10.25.13)
Chaim is a tad more hyperbolic than am I, but he is also correct.

Why is Israel supporting an organization that is devoted to the demise of Jewish sovereignty on Jewish land?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's Open Season on Jews in Israel

Michael L.

The tidbit below was written by Maayana Miskin and published in Arutz Sheva.

Five people were injured Tuesday morning in a massive rock ambush near Jerusalem. An Arab mob hurled large stones at passing cars with Israeli license plates.

Arutz Sheva spoke to one of the injured, Rabbi Kfir Getz. In a conversation held as an ambulance took him to a Jerusalem hospital, Rabbi Getz recalled the terrifying attack, and the split-second change that he says saved his life.

Rabbi Getz was on his way to his place of work near Gilo in Jerusalem when he encountered the mob. “I saw a boy around 13 years old with murder in his eyes and a giant stone,” he recalled.

A split second later, his windshield shattered and glass flew into the car as the first rocks hit.
Israel needs to show its Arabs that teaching their children that it's OK to attack Jews with rocks and boulders is not acceptable.  I understand, of course, that stoning Jews is an old-timey Arab hobby and that it has many centuries of tradition behind it, but, still, it might be time to let it go.

Israel very much needs to crack down on this kind of thing.

From the comments:
4. Where are the arrests?  
So in Israel if are in a group and you attempt to murder people you are just dispersed? WTF? Arrest them all and make them hire lawyers and pay fines and sit in jail. That is what is supposed to happen to criminals.  
Evan, St Petersburg (22/10/13)
Yes, arresting the little bastards would be a good place to start, don't you think?
5. Obviously Jews are not afforded police protection.

Consequently the Jewish people must equip itself with instruments for self defense. And use such instruments as need be if attacked.

SHmuel, Eretz Israel (22/10/13)
But any efforts at Jewish self-defense will be regarded as fascistic acts of aggression by the UN, the EU, and our progressive-left friends here in the United States.
6. Stones Kill

When will the Israeli Gov't describe what is going on as what it is, WAR, and start treating the perpetrators as what they are, enemy soldiers. The situation is not going to go away by ignoring what it is. The only way to win is by killing the enemy, whether they are hiding behind "innocent children and women".

Belle, USA (22/10/13)
Yes, well, that's one point of view, now isn't it?  Of course, Belle is correct.  These acts of violence by Arab teenagers against Jews in Israel are part of the larger ongoing Arab-Muslim war against the Jews of the Middle East.   They are essentially ground troops within the larger project of harassing the Jewish minority in that part of the world.  Meanwhile, our friends who concern themselves with little things like "social justice" and "human rights" consider the majoritarian aggressors to be the victims and the minority victim population - which is the Jewish population - to be the aggressors.
9. Arabs with rocks

I think that any driver who is attacked should *deliberately* (if possible) drive right into the mob, and hopefully kill a few of the murderous vermin.

Gavriela, usa (22/10/13)
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Gandhi

Of course, Gandhi was also an anti-Zionist.  Just sayin.'
13. Drivers, carry

rifles, shoot the rock-throwers. Amen !!!

A, PG BC CA (22/10/13)
I particularly like the little prayer directly after the call for retaliatory violence.  Might as well cry out, "Allahu Akbar!"

Look, obviously I am not going to condone vigilante retaliation against such behavior, but Israeli and Jewish frustration at the attempts to murder Jews on the roads of Israel are very well understandable.  I empathize with their desire to strangulate the little bastards, but I would hope that the Israeli government could take the necessary steps to quell this kind of behavior.

Can they not?
14. As long as traitorous leftists rule,this will continue

Is this why Jews came back to their homeland after 1900 years? So that a Jew in his own capital city would not be sure with his life when driving through certain neighborhoods.There is only one solution to this problem,and we all know what it is,even the criminally insane delusional traitorous leftist's know it,that solution was articulated by a certain rabbi 25 years ago,and for that he was thrown out of that insane asylum called the Knesset

Chaim Schonbrun, Brooklyn ny (22/10/13)
People like "progressive Zionist" Jon Segall consider the late Meir Kahane to be the devil.  But, of course, he's just one of any number of Jewish conservatives that Jewish progressives love to demean and spit hatred at.  A big part of the reason that I sometimes stand up for Pamela Geller is because she is an object of hatred among leftists within the Jewish community, so naturally I come to her defense when I can.  I do not have to agree with her on everything to recognize that she's fighting the fight that progressives would be fighting if they actually believed in their own values.  She opposes the violence and human rights violations associated with the movement for Islamic Supremacism.  She opposes the calls for genocide of the Jews.  She opposes female genital mutilation.  She opposes the practice of killing one's daughter for the crime of promiscuity or the crime of being accused of promiscuity.  And she opposes hanging gay people from cranes and is willing to say so.

I would certainly rather stand with her than with the people who are inclined to give such behavior a pass, such as our current president of the United States.

As for Kahane, I oppose turning Israel into a theocratic state and I oppose the idea of the transference of unruly Arabs out of the country.  However, I do think that they need to be made to understand that violence against the Jewish people will simply not be tolerated and that Israel should strengthen measures in order to get that message across.

In no uncertain terms.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Christians Fleeing Throughout the Middle East

Michael L.

The Arab Spring, which was the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East, is having a terrible effect on the Christian population, particularly in Egypt and Syria.  In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is targeting Christians for persecution and burning down churches because the Copts are taking the fall for the deposing of Muhammed Morsi.  In Syria, Christians are trapped between the secular authoritarian forces of Bashar al-Assad, backed by the Russians, and the theocratic authoritarian forces of the Brotherhood and affiliates, backed by the Obama administration.
Almost a third of Syria’s Christians have left since the start of the civil war, according to one of the country’s senior clerics.

Syria’s most senior Catholic leader Gregorios III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch, told the BBC that more than 450,000 of Syria’s estimated 1.75 million Christians have gone.
It doesn't surprise me that many in the west think of Arab persecution of the Jews as well-earned comeuppance, but I am a little surprised at the Christian indifference to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.  The Arabs chased the Jews out of their homes throughout that part of the world many decades ago and almost nobody in the west minded.  Now almost nobody in the west cares that Arab-Muslims are chasing the Christians out, as well.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who Are the Palestinians?

Michael L.

A Big Tip 'O the Kippa to Dan Bielak.

The Peace Process Two-Step (Updated)

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at News and Views From Jews Down Under.}

In a piece entitled, Is Kerry Precipitating Another Intifada?, by Jonathan Tobin over at Commentary, he writes:
But not everyone is taking the talks that were forced upon the parties by Secretary of State John Kerry as a total non-event. Yuval Diskin, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, is claiming that the net result of the slow-motion failure of Kerry’s attempt to create momentum for peace when virtually no one thought the time was propitious could be another outbreak of violence.
My prediction was (and remains) that the talks will fail and with that failure will come Arab violence against Jews and with that violence will come the condemnation of Israel by the US government under Barack Obama, the EU, the UN, and the entirety of the Muslim states.  This condemnation will be grounded in race-hate toward Jews because it will be based on the idea that Jews should not be allowed to live, and thus build housing for themselves, in Judaea and Samaria.

The notion that Jews should not be allowed to build housing for themselves within the Jewish heartland has become an idée fixe by many who concern themselves with this matter, including those partners in crime, Abbas and Obama.

The idea of "settlement freeze" will be used by the Palestinian Authority as an excuse for either walking out of the talks, or for the failure of the talks, despite the fact that throughout the entire Oslo process, under Clinton, Jews continued to build housing for themselves on that land and the PA, at that time, did not allow such building to prevent negotiations.  Although United States policy has generally been in opposition to the settlement project since 1967, it was only under Obama that it became a deal-breaker entirely.  The reason for this, as we have gone over ad nauseum, is because once Obama turned it into a requirement, Mahmoud Abbas could do nothing less.

This remains Barack Obama's primary screw-up on the Arab-Israel conflict and it came right out of the gate.  Obama wrecked whatever little potential there may have been for a deal and continues to compound the very problem that he created at the beginning of his tenure.

Nonetheless, it has to be understood that Obama put forth this counterproductive and racist policy because his Jewish advisers were in favor of it, which is why I consider him the Accidental anti-Semite.  No one, for example, is a bigger supporter of Israel than is Alan Dershowitz, but Dershowitz opposes the so-called "settlements" and he has made his beliefs very clear to president Obama.  Dershowitz is, in my estimation, a man to be admired, but this does not mean that he is incapable of being wrong.  I, also, for a long time opposed settlement activity because I believed that the Arabs were not only serious about a negotiated conclusion of hostilities within a two-state solution, but that Israel was primarily at fault for the conflict to begin with.

I have since learned better.

Thus, if you want to find the true source of the current impasse, look no farther than the people sitting across from you on any given Passover seder, because many of them agree with Obama that Jews should be allowed to live over here, but not over there, and that those of us who choose to live in the wrong place are the true obstacles to peace in the region between Arabs and Jews.

In my opinion they can be forgiven for taking up this toxic and racist view toward their own people because for a very long time, during the Oslo process, we thought that peace might be in the offing if Israel were to show good will by making concessions, but this has turned out not to be the case.  Israel can handover every single Arab murderer in Israeli prisons to the Palestinian Authority, where they will be hailed as heroes, but this will not bring us even one step closer to peace.  Israel can carve up Jerusalem and give the Old City to the Arabs while contracting to what Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz Borders," but that will not bring about peace, either.

There is only one real way to ease the conflict and that is to shut off the spigot.  The war against the Jews in the Middle East is financed by the west and, in some measure, by Israel, itself.  Orchestrated violence and the creation and dissemination of propaganda cost money and it is "Palestinian" violence and propaganda that keeps the conflict against the Jews going, decade upon decade.  If the west was honestly interested in ending the conflict they would focus pressure not on the victims of the conflict, which is the Jewish minority, but the perpetrators of the conflict, which is the much larger Arab majority.

When that day comes we'll know that the west is serious about peace, but that day will not come anytime soon.  The reasons for that are political, financial, and ideological.  So, in the mean time, the Jews of the Middle East will have to endure this never-ending aggression against them.

All that we can do is stand up to the best of our abilities.

That is all.


And right on cue, we get this:
Abbas: Israel will be responsible for any failure of talks

Palestinian President says if peace talks fail, Israel will be to blame, backs UN's demand that Israel stop settlement construction
Israel should cease to recognize the Palestinian Authority because the PA is nothing but the PLO in a necktie.

Nothing good will come from legitimizing this anti-Semitic organization.  All that will result is that the European Union and the Obama administration will use PA intransigence as a weapon against the Jews of the Middle East.

There are no good options, here, but the best option is to probably withhold any Israeli recognition of the PA, entirely.  Such a move would upset the apple cart, that much is certain, but perhaps the apple cart is in need of upsetting.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Welcome to Palestine

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel and News and Views From Jews Down Under.}

The tidbit below was written by Alex Fishman and published in Y-Net.
Two months after first wave of prisoner releases – on October 27 – the State of Israel is expected to release a second wave of Palestinian prisoners.

As part of the preconditions for the resumption of peace negotiations, Israel is slated to release 104 prisoners who have been imprisoned since prior to the Oslo Accords, most of whom were sentenced to life and considered major terror participants, with blood on their hands.
Palestine is about to release more murderers of Jews for the great privilege of sitting down with corrupt terrorist dictator, Mahmoud Abbas.  The Palestinian-Arabs have raised a Nazi flag above a Palestinian-Arab town and have engaged in a mini-terror war against the Jews, killing a number of innocent people, as well as shooting a 9 year old Jewish girl in the chest.

Anyone who is familiar with my writings knows that I consider the language that we use to discuss the ongoing war against the Jews in the Middle East as key.  My contention is that we tend to use language borrowed from the enemies of the Jewish people and that doing so is highly detrimental to our own case.

But if Israel has so capitulated to Arab ways of thinking that it will actually release the murderers of Jews then is the country really "Israel"?  The whole point of Israel is to protect the Jewish people, not the murderers of Jewish people.  That's the job of Palestine.

It is Palestine, not Israel, that is responsible for setting the murderers of Jews free.

It is Palestine, not Israel, that would prevent Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.

It is Palestine, not Israel, that would submit to a nuclear Iran.

People need to understand that language has a silly-putty quality to it.  The Queen's English was not given to the world by G-d.  Language is malleable, flexible, and constantly evolving.

So, given the fact that the former State of Israel seems no longer to be in the business of standing up for the Jewish people, perhaps we should refer to it as Palestine.  I don't see why not.  Why continue with the charade that "Israel" actually stands for the well-being of the Jewish people if it is willing to give the murderers of Jews a cookie and a pat on the head?

In politics, things sometimes have a way of turning into their opposite.  So, for example, we have liberal American Jewish supporters of Israel supporting a president who, himself, supports political Islam, which is a movement that is genocidal towards Jews.

{Perhaps we can call it the Big Switch.}

We have western liberals, and western feminists, who claim to stand for human rights and social justice, who are just dandy with the fact that Arab men in the Middle East, and often in Europe, force their women to walk around strapped into potato sacks.  Some western feminists even defend the practice as liberating for Arab women.

And, needless to say, we have western fighters for social justice who think that the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East is guilty of persecuting a hitherto unknown Arab minority who they call the "Palestinians," despite 1,300 years of Jewish dhimmitude and persecution under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule.

Israel does not need to change its name to Palestine in order to be Palestine.

All it needs to do is act like Palestine in order to be Palestine.

No wonder that Netanyahu prostrated himself before Turkey's Islamist leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  Those of you who are familiar with American politics will recall that vice president Dick Cheney once shot a hunting partner in the face with bird-shot.  That individual - while still healing from the wounds caused to his shattered face - apologized to Cheney for causing him inconvenience once the press caught wind of the incident.  In this manner, Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdoğan for the Turkish attack against Israel's sovereign right to defend its people in the Mavi Marmara incident.  This is not the way that a proud Israeli Jew would behave, but it is the way that a dhimmitudenous Jewish Palestinian would behave.

And this leads me to wonder just what it is that diaspora Jews who care about Israel are actually defending?  Are we defending a proud and strong Jewish State of Israel or are we defending a Palestinian dhimmi state?

There is no reason for Abbas to go to the United Nations in order to acquire recognition of the State of Palestine.  The United Nations already does recognize the State of Palestine.  They may call it "Israel," but so long as the country undermines the well-being of the Jewish people by releasing the murderers of Jews, it already is Palestine.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Palestinian-Arabs Fly the Nazi Flag

Michael L.

The tidbit below was written and published by Arutz Sheva staff.
For at least the second time in five months, Arab residents of Beit Umar in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have placed a Nazi flag over a major thoroughfare where Jews pass in their vehicles. Beit Umar is located between Halhoul and the Etzion Bloc, not far from Hevron.

Soldiers from the Haruv battalion in Kfir Regiment tried to take down the flag Saturday, but encountered difficulty because it was placed very high up.

A similar event took place at Beit Umar in May, when hundreds of residents of Gush Etzion who drove down Highway 60 were astounded to see an oversized Nazi flag flying next to a mosque in the Arab town.
Naive western progressives believe that the "Palestinian" national movement is about social justice for the local Arabs, but that is not what it is about, nor was that ever what it was about.

My Discussion With Editor David Swindle

Michael L.

David Swindle of Pajama's Media and I are having a discussion around the question of religious faith in politics and his latest contribution to that discussion is here:

Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing A Debate With Michael Lumish

My contribution opening the discussion is here:

Politics Vs. Theology: Beginning a Debate with David Swindle

You guys should check it out.

I will have my response within about a week or so.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brief Note: Turkey

Mike L.

The tidbit below was published by Y-Net.
MK Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday addressed Turkish claims that Israel was behind a Washington Post report that argued that Anakara had disclosed an alleged Israel spy ring to Iran... 
"That Turkish accusation that argues that Israel was behind the (Washington Post) report in bid to avoid paying compensation to the Marmara passengers – as are previous accusations that argued that Israel was behind the riots of Turkish protesters in Taksim Square and Erdogan's claims that he had 'documents and proof' that Israel was behind the Egypt coup that ousted Morsi – is baseless and proves again that Erdogan's Turkey is not interested in improving ties with Israel.
I have not focused much on Turkey over the last few years, finding myself far more interested in the broader rise of political Islam, the ways in which president Obama sought to assist that rise, and how it is playing out between Israel, Egypt, and the United States.

Turkey is an exceedingly important part of this story that I have not focused on.

In the comments beneath the article we have this:
6. Is the idea of Turkey as a regional ally finally at an end? 
Israel would be wise not to cut the Turks in on any of those off-shore gas & oil finds. 
Cameron, USA (10.19.13)
It is the nuances to this question that many people far more knowledgeable on Israeli-Turkish relations than I are endeavoring to figure out.  By all accounts, Turkey has shifted allegiances, in some significant degree, from the West toward Iran.  I am convinced that many western business people who work with Turkish companies, and who are not necessarily up on the politics, are more or less oblivious to this fact.  I draw this conclusion from my conversations with such people and, thus, it is anecdotal.

Nonetheless, if Turkish intelligence gave over the names of Iranians working with Israeli intelligence then this has - or should have - highly significant repercussions concerning relations between the two countries.  What kind of relationship can Israel have with a country that is clearly not an ally or one that does not seem to think that it shares strategic interests with Israel?

I certainly do not have the answers to these questions, but it's becoming more and more clear that The Apology was nothing more than a humiliation that bestowed upon Israel nothing and that may have been forced down Netanyahu's throat by Barack Obama.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Progressive-Left Racism

Mike L.

Stealth Prayer on the Temple Mount

Mike L.

Daniel Pinner has an op-ed over at Arutz Sheva that I find rather interesting.

He writes about how he, and some of his fellow devout Jews, ascended the Temple Mount:
The ritual is well-known. Before being admitted to our holiest site, a policeman told us the rules: it is forbidden to pray, even in a whisper; it is forbidden to display any Jewish or Israeli item (a flag, for example, or a tallit); no Jewish (or any non-Muslim) form of devotion is allowed.

I came up with an inventive solution. I set the countdown alarm on my cell-phone for five minutes. When it rang I pulled my cell-phone out of my pocket, hit the off button, put it to my ear, and as though answering a phone call I said aloud, “Sh’ma Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem echad”.

Within seconds a policeman was by my side, snarling at me, “You know it’s forbidden to pray”. I said into the phone “Just a moment, please”, still as though I was talking to someone, then turned to the policeman. “What do you mean, pray?” I asked him in surprised innocence. “That’s how I always answer the phone.”
It's just a disgrace.

That's the holiest spot for world Jewry, and although I understand that the rabbinate frowns upon Jewish visitation to the site, for theological reasons, there are still plenty of Jews who earnestly desire to ascend the Temple Mount for the purpose of contemplation and prayer.

Why are they not allowed to do so?  The fact that the Jewish State of Israel would prevent Jews from praying at the holiest site of the Jewish people makes a mockery of the movement for Jewish national liberation, which is the movement upon which Israel was built.

When I was there, not so long ago, I forgot about the rules against bringing Jewish religious materials up onto the Mount after having just purchased a small shofar at one of the little shops that sell such things in the Old City.  The Israeli authorities confiscated my newly purchased shofar and assured me that it would be returned once I was done touring the site.  And, in fact, it was returned.  It was an inconvenience, but my personal inconvenience on that day is not the point.

The point is that it is bigoted against Jews to prevent Jewish people, or anyone for that matter, from praying on that spot.  Why is it disallowed?  Is it because the local Arabs, or perhaps the greater Arab-Muslim world, objects?  If that is the reason, it is a mighty unjust and bigoted reason for preventing Jews from praying where the Temple of David once stood.  Can you imagine if Jews, somehow, prevented Muslims from praying in Mecca?  Would anyone consider such a thing either natural or just?

Why should we capitulate to Arab-Muslim religious bigotry toward us?  Why do we suffer from such low self-esteem as a people that we cannot even bring ourselves to assert sovereignty on the places where the Temples once stood?

Zionism is (or was) a movement for social justice.  It was the means by which the Jewish people freed themselves from 13 centuries of dhimmitude and persecution on Jewish land.  And while the movement for Jewish liberation has succeeded far beyond anyone's wildest dreams in 1947, it is still not complete.  The Temple Mount is in Jerusalem, which is in Israel, and which, therefore, should be under Israeli sovereignty, yet it is not.  The holiest place for the Jewish people is in Israel, is in the ancient City of David, and yet it is under Islamic authority and they do not want us even going up there because they consider our mere presence a religious desecration and an affront to imperial Islam.

Furthermore, the Waqf has been known to destroy ancient Jewish artifacts from the Temple Mount in order to erase Jewish history.  So, again, why do we put up with it?

The Arabs have proven themselves to be irresponsible custodians of the Temple Mount and, thus, Israel would be well within its rights to take over the administration of the area.

I very much hope that someday it will, but I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rosa's Story


"I wonder if that Jewish girl Grandma and her parents saved from the Nazis survived the war?"

This is a story of the Holocaust, survival, resistance and terror beyond the language and perhaps most importantly about the people who  Yad Vashem and the State of Israel term the Righteous Among the Nations ( חסידי אומות העולם‎, khassidey umot ha-olam "righteous (plural) of the world's nations"). 

It is a story that is only now being told and never before in English. It is also a story of the power of the internet and may well be the most important piece I have ever posted. 

We have the privilege of knowing for decades Rosa Segal, a lovely lady, one of life's treasures. As she has been married to my first cousin Gerald since 1971 this will not surprise. Recently Rosa and Gerald were visiting from Melbourne and over lunch the conversation turned to an experience of Rosa and her sister Sara just before Passover (and Easter) this year. A lot of work has been done since but this is Rosa's Story from that family lunch.

Rosa's mother was born Estera (Esther)  Bordowicz in 1917 and died in Melbourne in 2001. In the summer of 1939 she was a twenty one year old Jewish girl in the Polish town of Kalisz.  Kalisz was a border town with Germany. It had a thriving population of about 89 000  including perhaps 25 000 or 30 000 Jews. The family was well educated and prosperous. 

We now know that Esther was engaged to a young doctor or medical student and in the prime of life. 

On 1 September 1939 Hitler invaded Poland.The town was taken by surprise and occupied by the Wehrmacht on the first day with barely a chance to put up a fight.  By the summer of 1942 the Jewish population had been destroyed. By the end of the war the town's population was half what it was in 1939.

Esther and her older brother Ignatz, and his family, survived the war. 
They were in Tashkent in the far east Soviet Union, now Uzbekistan, when the war ended, almost exactly four thousand kilometres from Kalisz.

Ignatz travelled to Kalisz as soon as he could get a permit in a search for any surviving family. There was no one. Not a soul. There were hardly any Jews. Soon he, Stella his wife and their children went to Israel. Esther returned to Kalisz where she fell pregnant and married who has been described as "the only Jewish man in Kalisz". Rosa was born in 1949 and the family moved to Israel in 1950. They migrated to Melbourne in 1959 where a relative had lived since 1933. 

That's about all that was known about her life in the years between 1939 and 1945. Pretty much nothing.  Esther hardly ever spoke about the war in her lifetime. Nor did her brother in Israel and their son who was eleven years old in 1941 still refuses to and the family have stopped asking.

Then in March 2013 Rosa's sister Sara and then Rosa received emails from this beautiful young lady. 


This is Monika Leonczyk who lives in the city of  Słupsk in the north of Poland. Monika and her family know where Esther was for four of those dreadful years. They have always known. This is because Monika's family kept Esther hidden in their home, at times in a large bedroom cupboard and  when the risk of detection was most acute in a specially built compartment under the floor boards. For two years from 1941 when the town came under Nazi occupation the family and Esther lived this way.

When she was a young high school student Monika entered an essay in a national competition on the subject of  "Poles and Jews during the Second World War". Monika had a particular story to tell and researched her material carefully. She saught and obtained assistance from Anna Przybyszewska Drozd of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, who responded to her letters.

Her essay won second prize. I can not imagine what won first prize.

Monika's grandmother is Joanna Kocięcka who in 1939 lived in the town of Stolin with her parents Veronica and Vladislav Koźlakowskich.   Stolin too was a  border town but in the east. Now in Belarus, the town was on the border with the Soviet Union about as far from the German invasion as you could get without leaving Poland. The Poles term this region "the Borderlands". Poignant. 

In early September Esther and her family managed to escape from Kalisz to Stolin where the family had relatives. On 17 September 1939 the Poles, both Catholics and Jews, were still fiercely resisting the Nazi onslaught on their own and with incredible courage but the back of the military was already broken. Then Stalin invaded from the east under a secret pact with Germany. Taken by surprise Stolin was taken by the Red Army on the first day. By 8 October it was all over. Germany annexed the west and centre and the Soviet Union annexed the east and Poland ceased to exist.   

Other than it did not specifically target the Jews for genocide,  in many ways Stalin's occupation of Poland was as brutal as Hitler's. The hideous massacre of Katyn Forest  is now well documented. Stalin had thousands murdered, including thousands of Polish officers the Soviets held prisoner. Anyone with advanced education or wealth, both Catholics and Jews, were rounded up and murdered or deported in a process that was carried out over all of Soviet occupied Poland. However Esther and her family managed to live without harassment under the Soviet occupation in the home of their relatives  until 22 June 1941. Then the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and soon Stolin, and the rest of Soviet occupied Poland, came under Nazi occupation. 

Soon the Jews of Stolin were forced into a ghetto and that is where Esther and all her surviving family were herded. At some point the Nazis moved to liquidate the ghetto. The whole town soon knew that they were killing the Jews.  Many people were shot in the streets.  The survivors were  forced to nearby woods and slaughtered. Monika's grandfather was among the Polish men the Germans sent to bury the corpses in the trenches.

It is not known if or how many Jews other than Esther, Ignatz and his family survived the massacre. They may have been the only ones.

Ignatz had been a soldier in the Polish army.  He, Stella and their children escaped to a group of partisans and helped wage a guerrilla war against the Nazis. Esther avoided the round up by the dumb luck of not being home when the soldiers came. Her parents were arrested and she never saw them again. There is some speculation she may have seen them murdered. She ran in the streets to a home she picked at random, terrified and in tears, and knocked frantically on the door pleading for help.

This is when fifteen year old Joanna and her family first met Esther.

They took her in and hid her for about two years. During that time Esther was never to be seen by anyone outside the family. No one could know. She could not leave the home except to take occasional short walks with Joanna in the garden after dusk.

Esther and Joanna had become close friends. They shared a bed. It was Joanna's cupboard that Esther hid in when the family received visitors.

They talked about many things and Joanna was to come to know much about Esther's earlier life. She learned about Esther's fiance and how much  she missed him. She was never to see him again. 

One day Joanna recalls watching as a fifteen year old  from the window of her home a man she recognised named Szklar; a wealthy man who owned a department store in the town before the war. She could look out but of course Esther would dare not.

Szklar was stripped to the waist and bare foot and being marched to the woods by 'peasants" armed with pitchforks in the company of two SS men. He was holding the hand of a terrified young girl. It was his daughter Masha. Later Joanna was to learn they were soon murdered. They had been betrayed by the "peasants" who Szklar had paid to shelter them on their farm and who may have murdered them as well.

Szklar and Masha were relatives of Esther, well known to her. They were the family that sheltered her and her family after they fled Kalisz. Rosa never knew that she had cousins in Stolin let alone what happened to them. Esther never breathed a word of it. It is best that these truths come out eventually.

During all that time each of the  Koźlakowskich family could not by some slip draw any suspicion from anyone about what they were doing. The family had to get on with the business of their lives as best they could in this Polish community under Nazi occupation.

This is an act of courage and resolution that requires some perspective. The family of Anne Frank and the others were hidden and supplied by a courageous man who shared their fate after they were betrayed. Miraculously he and Anne's father survived the war and so Anne's story could be told.   

In Nazi occupied Poland there were different rules. Only there did the Nazis feel the need to issue a proclamation that any Pole caught harbouring a Jew would be summarily executed along with all of his or her family.  The Koźlakowskich family was living with the Jew they were harbouring. Joanna shared a bed with her. 

Then something happened. After two years Joanna was suddenly arrested by the Germans.

She and her family were lucky. She was caught only for supplying drugs and medicines to the partisans. Not for harbouring a Jew and therefore only Joanna was deported. Initially it was to a concentration camp but her father managed to bribe a German officer to have the sentence "commuted" to deportation to a slave labour detachment in Germany where it was calculated she had some chance of survival. She was seventeen and she did survive. So did her parents. 

Esther was never to know that.  

It was time to leave. 

Joanna had been caught aiding the partisans and her parents could be arrested and the home searched at any moment. They fled Stolin after getting permits to travel to Pinsk where Vladislav Koźlakowskich had family. But first Vladislav arranged a fake birth certificate for Esther from a friendly priest and walked with her to the village of  Struga  where in the surrounding forests there was stationed a large partisan unit. It was either the unit of Major Stephen Kaplun or Major John Burzynski.  Joanna is uncertain which. 

Esther linked up with the partisans and the Koźlakowskich family never saw or heard from her again.

There is evidence that Esther lived in Struga or elsewhere as a Catholic although in contact with the partisans in the forests and perhaps as an agent for them. It is not hard to deduce that her brother with the partisans and with whom she ended up in Tashkent and ultimately Israel had much to do with this.  She had the fake birth certificate and Rosa reports she said that she went to Church at some stage and learned the religion. It could only have been during this period. For the rest of her life she retained the habit of crossing herself, to make the Sign of the Cross, whenever she was stressed or had heard bad or distressing news. As if it was some sort of spell to ward off the evil eye.

I'm not sure how that would have gone down in Israel.  

No one knows how Esther and her brother got to Tashkent, or why,  thousand of kilometres to the east, at some point after 1943 and likely towards the end of the war after the tide had turned. Monika has wisely speculated it could have been to make contact with Anders Army. and that would certainly explain how they came to be in Tashkent. It is difficult to imagine they made the trip across the whole of  wartime Soviet Union without Soviet partisan and Red Army support. There was an enormous traffic from all over the Soviet Union to and from Tashkent as the USSR moved much of its industry and manufacturing capacity to the region out of reach of the Germans. To get through the German lines to the Red Army front would have needed the help of the partisans. From there, with all the traffic to Tashkent  it would have been easy to hitch a ride or take trains despite the enormous distance , provided they had the necessary permits.

But there is a pattern here. Tashkent is now the capital of Uzbekistan but in 1943 it was about as far as you could get from the Germans without leaving the Soviet Union. Esther could not settle in either Israel or Poland after the war but eventually she settled in Melbourne which of course is about as far as you can get from the Germans without leaving the planet.

In those years Anne Frank, Joanna and Szklar's young daughter Masha were all about the same age and Esther was not much older. Also about the same age as Monika when she researched her prize winning essay at school and discovered the Jewish girl that Grandma and her parents saved from the Nazis did in fact survive the war, and a few years later with further research was able to track down her descendants in distant Melbourne.

Esther has twelve descendants. Gerald and Rosa have two sons and a daughter and four grand children. Their daughter Sarah was married last month in Melbourne. She is 27 and Monika's family who have seen photos say she is very like Esther from when they knew her. The same beautiful thick dark hair. There are no photos of Esther from that period of course. An image of Sarah now the same age as her grandmother then appears at the end of this post.

There is no evidence that Esther made any attempt to contact Joanna and her parents after the war. Who knows what nightmares she carried for the rest of her life. Perhaps she was just too fearful to hear that Johanna or her parents had not survived. She knew Johanna was in the hands of the Nazis.  Perhaps she just could not cope with any memory of those years. We do know that to be the subject of a racist attack can be the most humiliating experience you can endure. Besides anger or even rage it can induce deep feelings of shame and guilt. You can only imagine what Esther felt. Perhaps she did not try to contact the Koźlakowskich family because she was simply too ashamed to face the people who had risked so much to save her.

When Stella died in Israel in 1971 Ignatz very quickly followed. They had been through it all together since Kalisz. He could not bear to be without her after all that. He could not bear her death. He took his own life.  

It is well documented what happened to Anne Frank and her sister after they were betrayed in 1944. The story could not be more dispiriting. Anne's suffering and death nine months later could not have been more sordid.  On 13 October 2013  the New York Times had this to say on the opening of  a permanent exhibition in Los Angeles. 

LOS ANGELES — What lessons do we learn from Anne Frank? Since her diary is the chronicle of an education, we learn what she learns: the lessons of daily life and early adolescence, acquired during a horrific time. We watch a meticulously observant girl, age 13, evolve into a self-consciously observant young woman, age 15. We watch — as one of Philip Roth’s characters pungently remarked — a fetus growing a face.

What we don’t learn from the diary is what happened after the last entry, on Aug. 1, 1944. We don’t learn how this self-described “chatterbox,” whose most-quoted pronouncement is “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart,” must have come to doubt that sentiment; nor do we learn that by that winter, she was a typhus-ridden, starving, naked, weeping, walking corpse in Bergen-Belsen, where the Germans had shipped her from Auschwitz along with other condemned souls in the waning months of the war.

Anne died on March 21 in 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the British on 15 April.  Had Anne survived you can be certain she would not have been quiet about her experiences. She would have written essays and books about it and about many other subjects as well.  Esther not so much. She breathed hardly a word about her experiences to anyone in her lifetime. Not even to her own children.

Monika reports that her great-grandfather knew that he would qualify for the honour "Righteous Among the World Nations" but declined to have his name put forward. Joanne makes the point that her grandfather did what he did not because he sort fame and reward but because he was a good person who did what he had to do. Hence he declined to apply for the award.

But this is no reason why he could not be nominated now. Vladislav did not know that Esther had in fact been rescued and it would be understandable if he had grave doubts. Moreover an application for a posthumous award can hardly be attributed to a motive for fame and reward. In any event rescuing Jews from the Holocaust without motive for reward is a criterion for the honour.

Besides Vladislav is not the only unrecognised "Righteous" in this story.

There are many reasons why it is important these heroes should be recognised with this award and the history recorded forever. These stories bring hope and meaning to many in a dangerous and savage world. They provide a centre point and inspiration. 

There are many accounts of Poles behaving indifferently, callously and viciously during the war and its immediate aftermath. Too many. However it is also true that many Poles saved many Jews at terrible risk. More than any other nationality it seems. It is good for the Polish people to know that. It is also good for the Jews. Many Poles were executed specifically for the crime of harbouring Jews. The ledger should be balanced for accuracy lest we lose faith in the human spirit.

Antisemites and other enemies of the West, life and humanity are fond of taunting the Jews with the Goebbels lies, big, bold and spitting, about Israelis acting like Nazis and the genocide of the Palestinians. This is especially common in Europe.

They should look to the experiences of the people in this story to know how the Nazis behaved. They should look to the experiences of these people to know what genocide is. 

It is a rare privilege to propose that these names be submitted to the Yad Vashem selection process  for the honour of "Righteous Among the Nations". 

This rescue is already well documented. I believe these names should be added to the Wall of Honour in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and we should get an application rolling as soon as we can.

 Vladislav Koźlakowskich. 

Veronica Koźlakowskich. 

Joanna Kocięcka

Vladislav and Veronica rescued Esther from certain death knowing that by doing so they risked the life of their only daughter. And Joanna gave Esther the only warmth and friendship Esther had during those two years knowing that what she was doing could have her and her parents summarily hanged or shot.  

If the rules were up to me I would add another name.

Monika Leonczyk.

Monika answered the question about the 'Jewish girl" and in doing so has provided a history that her descendants and the world had no inkling at all. How many stories from those years have been lost? How many memories? As many as there were people I suppose. People whose lives we never knew even happened.

It is impossible to return and rescue an innocent life from the Nazis. Someone like Masha, Rosa's unknown terrified young cousin who was marched off with her father by thugs to be butchered in the woods. But Monika has done the next best thing.  Monika has rescued the memory of this young girl and many others from oblivion as surely as her grandmother and her parents rescued Esther. By doing this she has done something very important.

She did this to write an essay when she was no older than Anne Frank. 

cross posted Geoffff's Joint

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