Friday, 1 August 2014

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

Levin on Stewart

I find this particularly delicious because a few years ago I sat in a room with a spokesperson for the Israeli government who defended this douchebag and said he was actually a good friend of Israel. And this was after he showed a clip from Stewart's show aired during operation Cast Lead which was very crude ande highly critical of Israel. With friends like these...via Scaramouche

France Steps Back in Time

A pharmacy is trashed.  A synagogue is attacked.  People gather in the streets and shout ‘Death to the Jews.”  Jewish owned businesses are targeted.  Europe circa 1940 makes a comeback in Europe 2014.  Europe never rid itself of anti-Semitism and it failed to acknowledge or confront it in a bold and meaningful way.  It definitely paid lip service to it - Never again, never again, never again – but in the post Shoah era it was far too easy for Europe to spread blame and focus on its own victimhood.  Official stances evolved over time however big public statements and apologies, regardless of their sincerity, often do not translate into public consciousness.  France is but one example.
Forty-two years ago last week, on July 16 and 17th 1942, French police and municipal agents carried out Opération Vent printanier.  Over 12,000 Jews, including approximately 4,000 children, were arrested in Paris and imprisoned in the Vélodrome d’hiver.  Police entered apartments and went to the windows to stop Jews from escaping or committing suicide, as some did.  Neighbours witnessed these acts.  Families were removed, marched through the streets, put on busses.  Although some French families did shelter Jews (the target was to round-up 25,000 Jews for deportation that day), many simply watched as their neighbours were taken away by les gendarmes.  The Vélodrome d’hiver, more commonly known as the Vel d’hiv, was an old cycling stadium where the Jews were held for several days with little access to food, water, or sanitation.  It was unbearably hot, people were sick, starving, scared.  Some committed suicide in the stadium.  After several days, the Jews were transported to Austerlitz, sent by train to Beaune-la-Rolande and then on to their deaths at Auschwitz.  Of the over 12,000 deported, approximately 25 survived.  Two children managed to escape from Beaune-la-Rolande.
After the Shoah, many Jews who survived were reluctant to talk about their experiences.  French society certainly did not want to hear about them.  Few texts or first-hand memoirs of the Shoah were published in France during this time, and those that were met with little interest from the general public.  It was not until the 1987 trial of Klaus Barbie that the Shoah was thrust back into the general consciousness of the French public and its remaining Jewish community.  At this time there was a noticeable increase in memoirs written by Jewish survivors.  Many who had kept silent for decades began to relate small parts of their experience to their families.  However, the general narrative that practically every French citizen had been a member of la Résistance continued.  It was not until 1995 that French officials apologized for their role in the deportation of Jews, and the Catholic Church in France followed suit in 1997.  Even after this, French society has been reluctant to acknowledge anti-Semitism, beyond admitting that Jews were killed and France was complicit.  This is why, when Roselyne Bosch began working on the film La Rafle (released in 2010), which depicts the events of July 16 and 17 1942, she was told that it was “too soon” and that France was not ready for this film.  Seventy years later was too soon.  Bosch made her film, and it was relatively successful.  Although the film is profoundly disturbing, it sanitizes much of what took place, including the treatment of Jews at Beaune-la-Rolande.  A small boy, Nono, miraculously survives a train to Auschwitz, leaving viewers with a completely false trickle of hope at the end of the film.  Was this put in because a true depiction of events would have been too much for French viewers to handle?  Joseph Weismann, one of the few survivors of Opération Vent printanier, visited the set of the film several times.  Weismann visited the set of the staged Vel d’hiv (it is no longer standing), and was overwhelmed by the director’s ability to recreate the horrific stench that permeated the stadium during his imprisonment.  His daughter, who visited the set with him, informed him there was no smell.  So powerful were his memories of his final days with his family.
Memories of the Vel d’hiv were stifled and repressed, left unacknowledged by French society for decades.  Finally, a small monument was built in Paris, it is located on the Seine, but it is obscure and there is little to mark it.  A tourist may happen to stumble upon it, but it is not easy to find.  The text on the monument reads as follows:
La République française
En hommage aux victimes des persécutions
Racistes et antisémites et des crimes
Contre l’humanité commis sous l’autorité de fait dite
Gouvernement de l’état français 1940-1944
N’oublions jamais

So very vague and absolving.  There is another memorial at the former site of the Vel d’hiv, which is largely maintained by the Jewish community.  It is nestled in amongst other businesses on the street, visible but easy to walk past without much thought unless the passerby knows why it is there.

Some believed France was not ready for the film La Rafle, but Europe was certainly ready to Irène Némirovksy’s Suite française.  Over 60 years after it was written, Némirovsky’s daughters began typing the hand-written manuscript their father gave them prior to his arrest and deportation.  Suite française was publiched in 2006 and proved very popular.  It is interesting to note one of the most popular books written by a French Jew during the Shoah focuses entirely on life in France, for the French during the Occupation.  There are no scared or suffering Jews in her work.  But there are many French citizens in turmoil, which is also a factual reality of the period.  Némirovsky does not delve into the Shoah at all in her text, in fact several of her other writings are considered anti-Semitic in their portrayal of Jews.  She wrote under a pen name when Jews were being persecuted in France.  She was arrested at her home and deported to Auschwitz where she was killed, she never finished writing Suite française.

Official France has acknowledged its involvement in the deportation of Jews during the Shoah, but this does not necessarily translate to the public at large.  Reluctance to tackle this issue head on has stemmed from many places.  Human nature dictates that people prefer to remember the heroes of la Résistance, or the Catholic priests who hid Jewish children (see Louis Malle’s Au revoir les enfants) – but these stories have overshadowed some of the darker parts of France’s history which need to be carefully and honestly examined in order for the public to move forward in a healthy way.  Albert Memmi, in his semi-autobiographical book La Statue de sel, wrote of witnessing pogroms in his childhood home of Tunisia.  He idolized France and “la civilisation” it represented to him.  Mordekhaï, the protagonist, finds his vision of the world upended when German soldiers arrive in France (it is World War 2) and the French colonial police help them round up the Jews to be sent to camps.  (As an aside, Memmi was anti-colonial and anti-Israel).  Seventy years later, the marriage of the groups who targeted Jews in Memmi’s book – Arab Muslims, French officials and parts of the public – are joining forces in France to denounce Israel and target France’s remaining Jewry.  While French politicians denounce anti-Semitism in one sentence, they say rioters have legitimate grievances in the next (see Manuel Vallis).  For years anti-Semitic rioters have been hiding behind their right to protest against Israel – emboldened by a public that does nothing to challenge them and may largely sympathize with them – these groups are so emboldened that they now run about Paris and its suburbs attacking Jews and Jewish businesses.  And there is no mass public outcry.  In fact the only crying in the streets has been to kill the Jews.  In France.  In 2014.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

1939 is back!

Something is terribly wrong in France. I am working on a few pieces about this. Unfortunately I have been without Internet for a week and blogging from my Smartphone for long posts is less than ideal. Hoping to be up and running again tomorrow. In the interim please visit BCF and Laura Rosen Cohen ( for updates on the deteriorating situation in France and elsewhere.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Cherish Life

The past few weeks have seen some very dark days.  There is much evil in the world, and we must fight this evil with every ounce of our beings.  If we cannot continue to live life, love life, cherish life, then evil has already won.

The sun is shining here.  The air is warm.  My family is well.  This weekend we will take time to celebrate life.

Grad Rocket Attack Kills 23 in Ukraine

Rusty says:  I wish the Ukrainians all the luck in the world in taking back territory lost by Putin's brownshirts, but I just wanted to also say thank God for the Iron Dome (90% success rate!) and, of course Palestinian incompetence!

Amen brother!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Appeasement Police

It is old news now that last week’s protest, organized by the Jewish Defense League, outside Palestine House in Mississauga, Ontario turned violent.  Not surprising is the non-event this was for the media, with the exception of Ezra Levant, an article in the National Post, and a small blurb on CP24.  Equally unsurprising is the reaction of Peel Police.  The only people arrested on the scene were there to support Israel, and the force has subsequently stated: It appears that these two parties had opposing views and were voicing their opinions in a public forum and unfortunately brought fighting to the streets of Mississauga.”  Two parties with opposing views.   How quaint Constable Ruttan.  While it is plausible there was some pushing and shoving from both sides, the assault with a weapon that took place and sent a Jewish man to the hospital via ambulance was clearly one sided.  Charges should be laid and the suspect should have been arrested or at the very least detained by police. 

This lack of police response is at best their idea of diffusing a situation, at worst a cynical attempt to appease Palestine House.  Either way, Peel Police have shown complete and total ignorance of the dynamics at play and this is dangerous.  At a time when tensions are extremely high, and anti-Semitic attacks are popping up around the globe, “Jewish blood on the streets of Toronto” cannot be ignored.  Appeasement policing, which seems to be the preferred method of crowd control used by Ontario police forces, will only encourage further violence.  These protests, be they pro or anti-Israel, will escalate in size.  Sadly, this violence and the lack of consequences will read as an open invitation for those looking to escalate violence at a future protest.  There was a whiff of indignation when police stated that only twice before in the force’s history had they been forced to call out such numbers (30-40 officers) – ie. Why can’t those Jews just stay away?  But this also seems like amateur hour and suggests that Peel Police have almost zero experience with this type of violence.

Several years ago I covered a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy in London, organized by the Jewish community, in support of Operation Cast Lead.  Let me tell you how police there deal with these types of situations: Riot barricades were set up where supporters of Israel entered (like a pen) after going through a security check to make sure they were not actually there to hurt Jews.  When it became known that hundreds of London’s ample anti-Israel crowd were going to show up, a separate barricade was set up and a SWAT vehicle (not a car – a bullet proof miniature tank) was parked between the two barricades along with hundreds of police in full riot gear.  This was not to stop Israel’s supporters from getting out of hand – it was to protect them from the mob of blood thirty anti-Semites who showed up and screamed death threats at them while waving Hamas and Hezbollah flags.  When the pro-Israel demonstration was over, its participants left under police escort, again for their own protection.  Then a funny thing happened – the anti-Israel crowd did not leave.  Instead, they stayed around to firebomb Starbucks, smash the windows of local businesses, and attack police.  Several police officers were injured, including an officer who was knocked unconscious and beaten.  However, this was not enough to satisfy they crowds.  Later that night Jewish businesses in North London were vandalized.  The sidewalks in another neighbourhood were painted with JIHAD 4 JEWS.  

As Laura Rosen Cohen observes, attacks against Jews elsewhere always find imitators in North America.  It is only a matter of time.  Blood has been spilled, and police should not underestimate the blood lust of anti-Semitic hooligans residing in Canada.  

Monday, 7 July 2014

York Region Police: it really is a banana republic

Paging Pamela Geller....
This is what the YRP is up to when theyre not threatening Rabbis who invite you to speak at their synagogue.

Where have I been?

A few people have asked so.....
No, I was not on a supersekrit Zionist antijihad mission for the past 3 years, although that would make a great post.  For awhile I was commuting back and forth between Canada and the UK while working and writing a book, which left me with little to no time for SMW.  Then I expanded the family, which resulted in even less SMW time.  We are back in North America for the time being.  There are so many great bloggers here (Blazing Cat Fur, Laura Rosen Cohen, Kathy Shaidle, etc.) that I was not feeling any great urge to get back on the keyboard.  Lately there seems to be a lot of evil going around and this is one of the ways that I know to fight it - and so SMW is back.  The format will be slightly different then before.  Stay tuned...

Travel Alert: uncharged mobile devices not allowed

just in time for summer

There is no justification for this heinous crime. None

We condemn the brutal murder of this young boy

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Death of Klinghoffer and the Justification of Terror

Much has been written about the New York Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming production of The Death of Klinghoffer.  Originally slated to broadcast in theatres around the world, the Met bowed to public pressure and agreed to “cancel” the production – or at least this is what was widely reported.  What they have done in fact is agree to cancel the broadcast – not the production.  The Death of Klinghoffer is still scheduled to run this November at the Met.  The opera is based on events surrounding the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair bound American Jew who was shot by terrorists and subsequently thrown overboard the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship on which he was vacationing with his wife in 1985.  On its website, the Met describes this terrorist attack as a “tragic incident.”  The opera presents a sympathetic view of the terrorist hijackers who killed Klinghoffer in cold blood, while reinforcing numerous anti-Semitic stereotypes.   John Adams, the composer is quoted as saying, “there are reasons why a terrorist behaves the way he or she does”, and the opera certainly implies that the reason a terrorist behaves the way he or she does it not genocidal motives, but rather because of their suffering at the hands of the Jews.  What they are saying is, yes terrorism is bad but those Jews were asking for it.  This opera presents far more justification than it does understanding.   Adams and his colleague Alice Goodman have included lyrics such as:

Let the supplanter look
Upon his work.  Our faith
Take the stones he broke
And break his teeth.

The day that I
And my enemy
Sit peacefully
Each putting his case
And working towards peace,
That day our hope dies
And I shall die too.  (this lyric is sung by one of the terrorists)

Wherever poor men
Are gathered they can
Find Jews getting fat
You know how tocheat
The simple, exploit
The virgin pollute

While ancient slanders and stereotypes against Jews are reinforced, the terrorists are described as men of ideals.  This opera recalls an era not so long ago when anti-Semitic propaganda was filling theatres, and museums across Europe.  Le Juif et la France, an exposition held at several museums in Paris was not described as anti-Semitic at the time, but rather as an educational tool to help the French understand the risks the Jews allegedly posed to society.  This propaganda was used to dehumanize Jews and rationalize their extermination.  Anti-Semitic propaganda has been used through the ages to justify the terror and murder of Jews.  While some Jewish organizations have spoken out against the Met’s decision to run The Death of Klinghoffer, it is still scheduled to run and the response from outside the Jewish community has been extremely muted – except for those speaking in support of the opera. 

It is disturbing, that in 2014 an NBA team owner who makes racist, abhorrent comments in private can be ostracized and shamed by the media, but the public production of an opera which justifies acts of terror while demonizing Jews is met with silence by the public at large.  Every individual involved in this opera, from the writers, to the Met, to the actors, needs to be shamed.

One has to wonder if Goodman and Adams woke up this morning and thought, “Finally – new material!”…..coming to the Met in 2020: The Deaths of Shaer, Yifrah, and Frankel.