Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Eichmann Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt

The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem by an Israeli court electrified the world.
Award-winning historian Deborah E. Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the survivors' courtroom testimony—which was itself not without controversy—had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood what the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive had actually experienced.


“Having covered the Eichmann trial myself, I can warmly recommend Deborah Lipstadt’s important analysis of its fascinating perspectives.” —Elie Wiesel
“An excellent work of historical and political analysis by an accomplished writer. Compellingly written, it grips the reader from its opening pages. With this book, Deborah Lipstadt consolidates her standing as one of the major figures in the Jewish world today.” —Anthony Julius, author of Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England
“Just in time for its fiftieth anniversary, renowned historian Deborah Lipstadt has reworked the Eichmann trial. This book is a powerfully written testimony to our ongoing fascination with the proceedings, the resonance of survivor tales, and how both changed our understanding of justice after atrocity.” —David Gergen, professor, Harvard Kennedy School
The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Tel Aviv by an Israeli court electrified the world. The public debate it sparked on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice, and the international media coverage of the trial itself, is recognized as a watershed moment in how the civilized world in general and Holocaust survivors in particular found the means to deal with the legacy of genocide on a scale that had never been seen before. In The Eichmann Trial, award- winning historian Deborah Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the testimony of survivors in a court of law— which was itself not without controversy— had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive. As the world continues to confront the ongoing reality of genocide and ponder the fate of those who survive it, this “trial of the century” offers a legal, moral, and political framework for coming to terms with unfathomable evil and with those who perpetrate it. In The Eichmann Trial, Lipstadt infuses a gripping narrative with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.

Shock Waves The renewed violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be tied to the wave of unrest in the Arab world—as a distraction meant to lure the U.S. back to a failed peace process

It’s unclear who is behind the recent busbombing in Jerusalem and the waves of rockets coming from Gaza. Yet the intent of these attacks is obvious—to change the subject from massive popular discontent with Arab regimes to one that both the region’s endangered rulers and the world’s political and intellectual elite are more comfortable with: the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West’s favored regimes. That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs has, in the upside-down world of Mideast policymakers, made the achievement of an ever-elusive peace deal seem all the more important with every passing year.
This idea was a convenient point of agreement between Washington policymakers and Arab regimes. For Washington, the peace process was a good source of photo ops and a chance to show concern for human rights in the region without interfering with the propensity of America’s Arab allies to torture and murder their political opponents. As for the regimes, they were happy to escape criticism of their own failures—rampant corruption, lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and violence against the Arabs they rule—by blaming Israel.

  • Syriana

    Bashar al-Assad has maintained his country’s key position in Mideast politics by drawing out the peace process and turning it into warfare by other means
Now the notion that the genie of revolution in the Arab world can be put back in the bottle by blaming Israel is laughable. Even Arab populations with no special love for the Jewish state know that the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria were not loved or hated by their people because of their adherence or opposition to the Palestinian cause. In fact, one of the most baffling things about the current wave of Arab revolutions to professional Middle East watchers must be the complete absence of any mention of the Palestinians in popular demonstrations and regime counter-propaganda alike.
However there is a clear connection between the Palestinian cause and the wave of popular discontent that has upended the foundations of Arab politics. By pushing the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the past four decades, the West has helped to underwrite Arab repression at home. The rationale behind the emergency laws in places like Syria and Egypt (even now after Cairo’s “revolution”) is that because of the war with Israel, the Arab security states must be ever-vigilant and therefore forbid their people from exercising basic rights like freedom of speech—or, in the words of Gamal Abdel Nasser, “no voice louder than the cry of battle”—diktats that they enforce through torture and murder.
If the recent wave of revolutions in Arab countries has proven anything it is that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process isn’t even a convenient fiction by which Washington can make nice to the Arabs. Rather, it has been a recipe for failure on a grand scale—social, political, and economic—that has now been laid bare. While the Arab regimes are being held responsible for their failures by their fed-up populations, Washington seems to feel no need to hold itself accountable for the collapse of a set of enabling fictions that has greatly diminished our position in a region that is of crucial strategic importance for the United States both militarily and economically.
So, who might have an interest in the sort of disruption and realignments the Jerusalem bus bombing has caused? Maybe it was the Syrians tapping a few of their Palestinian assets to heat things up in Israel. With so many people on the streets of Syrian cities burning pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and toppling statues of his father, Hafez, from whom he inherited this authoritarian Baathist regime, the leadership in Damascus could sure use a lifeline. And the U.S. administration, always on the prowl for another go at the peace process, is happy to throw it one.
Or perhaps it was the Islamic Republic of Iran, attacking Israel through proxies in order to signal to Washington that maybe they’re ready to come to the table at last. If this turns out to be the case, it will be worth remembering that President Barack Obama failed to support the protesters who took to the streets for Iran’s Green Revolution in June 2009—because he wanted to engage an Iranian regime he thought was ready to deal on a host of Israel-related matters, such as Hezbollah and Iran’s nuclear program.
Of course even then the blame couldn’t fall exclusively on Obama. It’s all a matter of perspective, for in reality everyone plays the same vicious hand, from U.S. presidents to Arab regimes, as well as Arab “liberals,” and even the government of Israel itself.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for example, reached out to Syria when he embarked on a quiet round of negotiations with Damascus under Turkey’s supervision in 2007. Up until then, President George W. Bush’s administration had put the Syrians in isolation after their suspected involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. But Olmert was facing a domestic crisis, including charges of corruption, and he knows how the game works—as soon as the international community gets a whiff of the peace process, everything else is put aside: The Arab regimes get a free pass for killing Arabs if they say they’re willing to talk to the Jews.
Still, Olmert’s opening freed the Syrians from their separation and brought the rest of an international community back to Damascus on bended knee—with France in the forefront. So what if the Syrians tortured their own people, murdered Lebanese journalists and political figures, and helped kill U.S. soldiers and American allies in Iraq, as well as Palestinians and Israelis? Olmert needed some breathing space, and the rest of the world was happy to comply.
Whoever attacked Israel last week knows how the game works, too, and sure enough in short order the U.S. policy community jumped to attention. Instead of pushing to cut off the regime in Damascus as the Syrian people braved death to go the streets, American policymakers like Sen. John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered their bona fides. “There is a different leader in Syria now,” Clinton said of the man believed responsible for ordering the murder of Hariri. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” Never mind that her own State department says rather that Syria is a state sponsor of terror; Washington will do nothing to help the Syrians who’ve come out against their own government, because the U.S. president is going to make good on his word to engage dictators, no matter how many Arabs have to die as he proves his point.
The pro-Israel community in the United States must also share in the blame, or at least that large segment of it that has invested its energy and money in backing the peace process. Some say peace talks have to bring in the hardliners, like Hamas and Hezbollah—even as that means empowering those who have most to gain through murder. Those who want to keep the terrorist outfits out of negotiations are less stupid than they are cynical, for they know that in truth any agreement without Hamas and Hezbollah isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Others say that the peace process is phony, but it’s a diplomatic tool that Washington uses to keep our Muslim allies off our back.
And finally there are the Arab “liberals,” those Western-educated intellectuals who fill the editorial pages of the U.S. press with pleas to push harder on the peace process lest we empower the radicals. But at this stage the peace process does nothing except empower radicals by providing them with a staging ground.
The peace process wasn’t so bad when it started. Sure, President Jimmy Carter nearly undermined the prospects for an Egyptian-Israeli treaty when he tried to bring in the Palestinians and Syrians, but Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was savvy enough to escape the American president’s grand plans. And surely Sadat’s idea of reorienting Egypt from the Soviet Union toward the United States was a good thing for the Egyptian people. There’s also a Jordanian-Israeli deal on the books. But we’re just now beginning to see how high the price is.
There are the thousands of Israelis who were killed and injured when Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions negotiated on behalf of Syria, Iran, and others through the use of terror. And there are the thousands of Arabs killed and injured when the Israelis responded. But this is no “meaningless” cycle of violence; rather, it is the product of a deliberate diplomatic process overseen by the world’s oldest democracy. It was the United States that kept going back to the well over and over, with U.S. policymakers telling themselves that anything was worth the chance of peace.
Suicide bombing and the attacks of Sept. 11 were the logical conclusions to a strategy that started with a fund of surplus Arab youth that the regimes could dispose of as they saw fit. It is that same disposable youth that have taken to the streets these last three months—Arab men under the age of 30 who have no prospects because their regimes turned their countries into economic basket-cases and physical torture chambers, with Washington’s blessing. What they got in return for their suffering were the other-worldly fictions of a peace process that have now been laid bare.

West's policy is nuclear hypocrisy: Salehi

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has criticized Western countries for their negative approach toward the country's nuclear program. 
Salehi made the remarks during a meeting with Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Bessho Koro in Tehran on Saturday, IRNA reported.

Salehi said that despite the country's constructive cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Western governments are pursuing double-standard policies toward Iran's nuclear energy program.

He also censured the West for adopting a different approach in regard to Israel, which possesses a nuclear arsenal and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Salehi also stated that the Islamic Republic is ready to hold more talks with the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany.

The Japanese deputy foreign minister said Japan supports Iran's nuclear energy program and added that Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

He went on to say that Tokyo is determined to develop ties with Tehran.

Salehi and Koro also discussed the latest regional developments and called for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries in all spheres.

On Friday, the IAEA once again confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear energy program, reaffirming that the program has never been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

Iran is a signatory to the NPT and thus has the right to enrich uranium to produce fuel.

Losing Our Sons Trailer

Announcing the upcoming release of "Losing our Sons," a documentary film investigation into the first successful homegrown Islamist terrorist attack on American soil. This is the story of a young African-American man from Memphis who converted to radical Islam, went to Yemen for terrorism training, and came back to murder a young Marine in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Carlos Bledsoe was raised in a good Baptist family. He later converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad. On June 1, 2009, he opened fire at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing Private William Long and wounding Private Quinton Ezeagwula.


Another day here in this devastated village.
Our main goal from the medical perspective is to gain the trust of the Japanese people and physicians.
Israel is the only foreign team on the ground. Generally both at the people level and the municipality, there is restraint from foreigners. Still we are gaining popularity here, which is a bit surprising. We are seeing more and more patients, and it seems we are turning out to be the local referral center. Physicians from all around are coming with their patients for consults with our specialists, for blood tests and x-rays. Pregnant women are coming for ultrasound as well, as this is a service they don’t have.
As always, the personal stories are the interesting ones.  Learning how the patients heard about us … hearing about the elderly lady who walked a long distance to reach us … Gasoline is still a major issue.
We are getting excellent coverage from the media here, so the feeling is that we are on a humanitarian mission while also providing good PR for Israel.
We do have daily earthquakes, but like everything in life, you almost get used to them.  We assembled the hospital close to the shore on one hand but in an elevated area. In this, way if G-d forbid another tsunami will occur, it will not reach us. It is amazing There are houses which are 100 meters above the sea level which were not damaged by the quake, but everything below was destroyed.
On a personal level this is another amazing experience. Although a very different mission than last year in Haiti, it is a challenge to run this clinic efficiently and to be able to merge with such a different culture. I am very satisfied so far with our achievements.
We can all learn a lot from the Japanese about preparedness for these mass casualty events, and this is another personal gain.
Warm regards to all

PMW: PA honors terrorist serving 30 life sentences for Passover murders; PA minister visits family of terrorist who planned Passover Seder bombing that killed 30 Israelis

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, visited the family of the terrorist Abbas Al-Sayid who planned the Passover suicide bombing in 2002. Thirty Israelis were killed in the terror attack, when a suicide bomber entered a hotel in Netanya and detonated his bomb during the Passover Seder dinner. Al-Sayid is serving 30 life sentences for planning this attack.

Palestinian Media Watch has reported that honoring terrorists is an integral part of PA policy.

The photo in the PA daily shows the PA minister handing the family an honorary plaque from the PA. Terrorist Al-Sayid's name and the PA logo are visible on the plaque. (In the photo the rest of the print is too small to read.)

"Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, and a delegation from the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs visited the home of [the family of] prisoner Abbas Al-Sayid in Tulkarem. Al-Sayid has maintained an unlimited hunger strike for the past 21 days, and has been transferred from solitary confinement at the Ramon prison to solitary confinement at the Israeli hospital in Ramle. Karake warned of the severity of prisoner Al-Sayid's condition, following a deterioration of his health in the wake of the strike. He placed the responsibility for [Sayid's] life and health upon the Israeli government and the prison administration, and called for a response to the demands for an end to his solitary confinement, which has continued for over six months, in difficult conditions."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 29, 2011]
[PA TV (Fatah), March 27, 2011]

Why Palestinians Should Learn About the Holocaust

Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi is the founder of the Wasatia movement, which promotes moderation in Islam, and the director of the American Studies department at Al-Quds University. Robert Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute and the author of “Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands.”
Should Palestinian and other Arab schools teach their students about the Holocaust?
This is not an academic question. Many Palestinian and Arab political organizations recently pounced on reports that a new human rights curriculum being prepared for use in Gaza schools operated by Unrwa, the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees, might include historical references to the Holocaust. Their reaction underscores the urgency of answering this fundamental question: Should Palestinians (and other Arabs) learn about the Holocaust? Should this historical tragedy be included in the Arab curriculum?
We — a Muslim-Palestinian social scientist, and a Jewish-American historian — believe the answer is yes. Indeed, there are many reasons why it’s important, even essential, that Arabs learn about the Holocaust. And much of this has nothing to do with Jews at all.
One of the sad realities of many modern Arab societies is that Arab students have been denied history, their own and the world’s. For decades, millions of Arabs have lived under autocrats resentful of the legacy of the leader they replaced and fearful of the leader-to-come. Although Arabs revere the study, writing and teaching of history, and have produced many famous historians, their rulers often tend to view history as a threat. The result is that many historians in Arab countries are more like the court chroniclers of long-dead dynasties, and entire chapters of history have been expunged from the curricula that Arab governments teach their students.
This is particularly true of the Holocaust. A world that has known terrible atrocities has seen none greater than the effort by Nazi Germany and its allies to exterminate the Jewish people. So methodical, so vicious and so exhaustive was the Nazi effort that a new word was coined to describe it — “genocide.” All genocides before and since are judged against the Holocaust. To the extent that we can prevent genocide in the future — an uphill task, given the record of the last few decades — understanding what gives rise to it is essential. Without discussing the Holocaust, discussing genocide is meaningless.
But Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, know little about the Holocaust and what they do know is often skewed by the perverted prism of Arab popular culture, from the ranting of religious extremists to the distortions of certain satellite television channels to the many ill-informed authors. What happened to the Jews during World War II is not taught in Arab schools or universities, either as part of world history or as a lesson in genocide awareness or as an atrocity that ought not to be repeated. Arabs have nothing to fear from opening their eyes to this chapter of human history. As the Koran says: “And say: My Lord, advance me in knowledge.” If Arabs knew more about the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, perhaps Arab voices would be more forceful in trying to stop similar atrocities.
Palestinians have more specific reasons to learn about the Holocaust. We do not urge Holocaust education just so Palestinians can understand more sympathetically the legacy of Jewish suffering and its impact on the psyche of the Jewish people. While it is important for both Palestinians and Israelis to appreciate the historical legacies that have shaped their strategic outlook and national identities, teaching Palestinians about the Holocaust for this reason alone runs the risk the feeding the facile equation that “the Jews have the Holocaust and the Palestinians have the Nakba.” We urge Palestinians to learn about the Holocaust so they can be armed with knowledge to reject the comparison because, if it were broadly avoided, peace would be even more attainable than it is today.
With all the suffering Palestinians have endured, their struggle with Israel is still, at its core, a political conflict, one that can end through diplomacy and agreements. Today diplomacy is deadlocked, yet the nature of politics is that tomorrow that reality may change. The Holocaust was not a political conflict: the very idea of a “Nazi-Jewish peace process” is absurd. Teaching the Holocaust to Palestinians is a way to ensure they do not go down the blind alley of believing their peace process with Israel is as hopeless as one would have been between Nazis and Jews. Discussion of the Holocaust would underscore the idea that peace is attainable.
Almost two years ago millions of Muslim Arabs listened carefully when President Barack Obama, speaking in Cairo, respectfully recited sentences from the Koran and proclaimed America’s endorsement of a two-state solution to achieve a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Few, however, remember that he also condemned Holocaust denial. Now that the Arab masses are applying the universal lessons of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in taking down their authoritarian governments, it is time they take back the learning of history, too. That includes teaching their children the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

Israeli trauma specialists set up field hospital in Japan

Last week, he was frantically treating victims of a terror bombing in Jerusalem. This week, Dr. Ofer Merin from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem is in Japan, enlisted in humanitarian work to help the civilians there cope with medical emergencies following the massive earthquake of March 11.
Merin is one of a team of 50 Israelis who were dispatched on a humanitarian mission to help treat Japan's casualties in one of the island nation's worst-ever natural disasters.
Merin, the hospital's deputy director general, left for Japan the evening of March 26 to serve on Israel's Homefront Command team, part of the relief that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) committed to provide after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's east coast. Israel has sent 18 tons of aid on a 14-hour plane ride and eight-hour bus trip.
As a cardiothoracic surgeon, Merin directs the hospital's disaster preparedness program and its trauma unit. In Japan, he is heading surgical operations in the newly established IDF Field Hospital set up close to the disaster zone in Minami Sanriku in the Miyagi Prefecture. This site is 200 miles north of Tokyo in an area believed to be safe from nuclear radiation.
The field clinic has wards for pediatrics, surgery, maternity and gynecology, ophthalmology and intensive care, as well as a lab and a pharmacy. It is expected to operate for several weeks to alleviate some of the medical emergencies that the Japanese face in this region, which is an hour and a half from the closest hospital.
Experience in Haiti
In 2010 following the Haiti earthquake, Merin played a similar role running a unit of the field hospital there. "The events in Haiti, as well as our extensive experience dealing with mass casualty incidents, have given Israeli medical personnel an important advantage when it comes to setting up these field hospitals and providing comprehensive support and care for those who are desperately in need," Merin said before leaving on the mission.
"We are prepared for a scene in Japan unlike anything we've ever seen before. But we are very confident that our resources and experience will allow us to offer a valuable contribution at this critical time."
The IDF field hospital in Japan is being run out of caravans in a parking lot.
He left Jerusalem days after seeing the hospital through its own bout of tragedy. A terrorist bomb was planted near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, critically injuring one woman who later died, and severely injuring others.
Uri Schwarz, head of International Operations for Shaare Zedek, tells ISRAEL21c that due to its central location, the medical center receives many of the casualties after all-too-familiar terror attacks in Jerusalem.
"Because of our location, we get the highest number of injured when, God forbid, something goes wrong. Unfortunately, we received more than 20 injured from the last attack. For the good or for the bad, we have got a lot of experience with this and so we knew what to do. And unfortunately we've had the chance to prove ourselves."
Applying Western medicine in Japan
An expert in trauma, Merin is the only Shaare Zedek staff member to travel to Japan in a group that includes 11 physicians, eight nurses and logistics personnel.
Merin writes in a dispatch: "The work will be totally different than Haiti. This village was hit by the tsunami. Half of the 17,000 people died or are missing. The rest turned into refugees, including others from the area."
The IDF Homefront Command medical delegation prepares for its mission to Japan.
In addition to treating those injured in the disaster, the team will provide the general population with basic medical care. "A lot of issues arise concerning the difference in culture," Merin writes. "The issue of Western physicians treating [the] Japanese population is not a trivial one. We will have to ... be flexible to the different needs that we will encounter."
Nuclear specialists will be monitoring radiation levels in the vicinity to ensure that the Israeli medical team and its support staff are not in harm's way. "To be honest, I am not worried," Merin concludes.

Israel Is Resilient but Watchful - Amid the return of Palestinian violence and upheaval in the Arab world, there is broad consensus on issues such as land for peace.

The ambulance sirens began sounding and didn't seem to end. The terrorist attack on March 23 that killed one person and wounded 30 was the first bus bombing in Jerusalem since 2005. And it happened just as missiles from Gaza began falling on Israeli cities and towns for the first time since the Gaza War of 2009. Suddenly it was as if the normal life we'd since managed to re-inhabit was an illusion.
But the despair passed quickly. Two days after the bombing, 10,000 people—from as far away as Kenya, Ethiopia and Poland—jogged through Jerusalem in the city's first-ever international marathon. Residents lined the streets, cheering on the runners. Not one participant dropped out as a result of the bombing.
After a brutal decade that began with the collapse of the peace process in September 2000, and which brought four years of suicide bombings, eight years of missile attacks, two wars, and at least two failed attempts at peacemaking, the Israeli public is resilient and sober. As terrorism and rocket attacks return to Israeli cities, and the Arab world reels, those are precisely the qualities Israelis need to cope.
The precondition for containing terrorism is national unity, and on security matters at least, the nation is cohesive. In responding to attacks on civilian Israel, the government has the support of nearly every party. Knesset members of the opposition Kadima party are demanding that the government respond even more firmly—the left pressing the right to be resolute.
Yet so far the government's response has been restrained—and rightly so. Another Israeli-Hamas confrontation is perhaps inevitable, but not now. As the Arab world finally begins to face itself, Israel must avoid focusing the region's attention on the Palestinian conflict. The upheavals have proven that what preoccupies the Arab peoples aren't Israel's actions but Arab failures. The dictators want to deflect their people's rage back onto Israel. Moammar Gadhafi, for instance, has urged Palestinians to board ships and descend on Israel's coast.
This is also not the time for far-reaching political initiatives. With the open question of whether Israel's peace with Egypt will survive the fall of Hosni Mubarak, Israelis are reassessing the wisdom of land-for-peace agreements with dictators. What is the point, many here wonder, of exchanging the Golan Heights for a dubious peace with a Baathist regime run by the hated Allawite minority?
Israelis are asking a similar question about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is widely resented by Palestinians as corrupt and represents at best only part of his people. Why negotiate a land for peace agreement with an unelected, one-party government? Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad is the first Palestinian leader to place economic growth before ideology, but he lacks a political base. In a time of regional change, Israelis are even more reluctant to risk irreversible strategic concessions for a deal that may well lack popular legitimacy.
There is no basis now for an agreement. Claims in the media that Mr. Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were close to a deal are merely another example of the wishful thinking that once turned the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat into a partner for peace. Recently leaked documents from the Palestinian Authority reveal that Palestinian leaders continue to anticipate the "return" of hundreds of thousands of refugee descendants to Israel. No Israeli government will concede on what is, for the Jewish state, an existential issue.
In the coming months, pressure to implement an immediate two-state solution will increase—from the United Nations, the European Union, and the Obama administration. Israel must resist that pressure. The premature creation of a Palestinian state—more precisely two states, ruled by the competing autocracies of Hamas and Fatah—will not bring peace but greater instability.
Still, Israel must do more than passively await regional change. As the Arab world confronts its options of Islamism, democratization or military dictatorship, Israel needs to endorse freedom. Israel's contribution to the new democratic spirit should be sending an unequivocal message to the Arab world that it has no intention of continuing the occupation for ideological motives, and that the only impediment to Palestinian independence is Palestinian intransigence, especially on the issue of refugees.
The least dangerous way for Israel to communicate that message is by declaring an open-ended building freeze in the settlements. That freeze would not include Jerusalem. No government—left, right or center—would stop building in East Jerusalem's existing Jewish neighborhoods. But a freeze should be unilateral—without expectation of reciprocity from the Palestinians. At the same time Israel should transfer control to the Palestinian Authority of more of the West Bank, and continue encouraging economic growth there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reluctance to impose another settlement freeze is understandable. His previous 10-month freeze—the first by any Israeli prime minister—was greeted with skepticism and brought only increased pressure from Washington to freeze building in Jerusalem. But regional conditions have since changed dramatically, and Israel needs to respond.
Mr. Netanyahu cannot impose another freeze while maintaining his present coalition. So he should seriously examine the new offer of opposition leader Tzipi Livni to form a unity government between the prime minister's Likud party and Kadima. A combination of policies—military restraint, an unconditional settlement freeze, realism regarding a Palestinian state—will express the resolve and sobriety of the Israeli public.
Israelis these days are preparing for Passover. The Passover seder is called a night of watching, in remembrance of the Israelites who were prepared at a moment's notice to flee Egypt and enter the unknown. This year Passover has particular resonance. For Israelis, living in a Middle East veering between freedom and even greater repression, it is a time of active watching.

Norway to Jews: You're Not Welcome Here Anti-Semitism doesn't even mask itself as anti-Zionism. ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

I recently completed a tour of Norwegian universities, where I spoke about international law as applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the tour nearly never happened.
Its sponsor, a Norwegian pro-Israel group, offered to have me lecture without any charge to the three major universities. Norwegian universities generally jump at any opportunity to invite lecturers from elsewhere. When my Harvard colleague Stephen Walt, co-author of "The Israel Lobby," came to Norway, he was immediately invited to present a lecture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Likewise with Ilan Pappe, a demonizer of Israel who teaches at Oxford.
My hosts expected, therefore, that their offer to have me present a different academic perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be eagerly accepted. I have written half a dozen books on the subject presenting a centrist view in support of the two-state solution. But the universities refused.
The dean of the law faculty at Bergen University said he would be "honored" to have me present a lecture "on the O.J. Simpson case," as long as I was willing to promise not to mention Israel. An administrator at the Trondheim school said that Israel was too "controversial."
The University of Oslo simply said "no" without offering an excuse. That led one journalist to wonder whether the Norwegian universities believe that I am "not entirely house-trained."
Only once before have I been prevented from lecturing at universities in a country. The other country was Apartheid South Africa.
Despite the faculties' refusals to invite me, I delivered three lectures to packed auditoriums at the invitation of student groups. I received sustained applause both before and after the talks.
It was then that I realized why all this happened. At all of the Norwegian universities, there have been efforts to enact academic and cultural boycotts of Jewish Israeli academics. This boycott is directed against Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian land—but the occupation that the boycott supporters have in mind is not of the West Bank but rather of Israel itself. Here is the first line of their petition: "Since 1948 the state of Israel has occupied Palestinian land . . ."
The administrations of the universities have refused to go along with this form of collective punishment of all Israeli academics, so the formal demand for a boycott failed. But in practice it exists. Jewish pro-Israel speakers are subject to a de facto boycott.
The first boycott signatory was Trond Adresen, a professor at Trondheim. About Jews, he has written: "There is something immensely self-satisfied and self-centered at the tribal mentality that is so prevalent among Jews. . . . [They] as a whole, are characterized by this mentality. . . . It is no less legitimate to say such a thing about Jews in 2008-2009 than it was to make the same point about the Germans around 1938."
This line of talk—directed at Jews, not Israel—is apparently acceptable among many in Norway's elite. Consider former Prime Minister Kare Willock's reaction to President Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel as his first chief of staff: "It does not look too promising, he has chosen a chief of staff who is Jewish." Mr. Willock didn't know anything about Mr. Emanuel's views—he based his criticism on the sole fact that Mr. Emanuel is a Jew. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fewer than 1,000 Jews live in Norway today.
The country's foreign minister recently wrote an article justifying his contacts with Hamas. He said that the essential philosophy of Norway is "dialogue." That dialogue, it turns out, is one-sided. Hamas and its supporters are invited into the dialogue, but supporters of Israel are excluded by an implicit, yet very real, boycott against pro-Israel views.

Soldier, 92, breaks silence over Auschwitz heroics

LONDON (Reuters) – It took him more than 60 years to break his silence, but in a new book 92-year-old Denis Avey tells the story of how he broke into Auschwitz concentration camp twice to witness for himself the horrors of the Holocaust.
Avey was a British soldier captured during World War Two and sent to a labor camp close to Auschwitz where he worked at the IG Farben plant alongside inmates from the concentration camp, nicknamed "stripeys" after their uniforms.
While Avey, a headstrong, battle-hardened soldier, was told about the mass extermination of Jews and experienced the sickening smell from a nearby crematorium, he wanted to see for himself what was happening in Auschwitz.
While conditions in his own labor camp were appalling, the food was better and treatment less harsh than in Auschwitz.
And as a prisoner of war, Red Cross packages occasionally made it through containing chocolate and cigarettes, which could then be bartered for better provisions and aid survival.
After weeks of preparation, including bribes to a guard, Avey twice swapped uniforms with a Dutch Jew of roughly the same height to sneak into the camp where he spent the night.
On both occasions the men managed to change back into their own clothes, despite the risk of discovery and certain death.
"I did my homework over weeks and weeks, but the common denominator of all that was a tremendous amount of luck," Avey said in an interview to promote his biography "The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz," co-written by Rob Broomby and published in Britain by Hodder & Stoughton.
"My life depended on 50 cigarettes -- 25 in, 25 out. He (the guard) could have shot me easily."
His motivation for risking his life was twofold: to "put one over on the enemy" and to see what was happening so he could tell the world afterwards of the atrocities.
He recorded seeing piles of "vaguely human" corpses of workers who died each day. They were carried away by fellow inmates who showed no emotion. Body carriers collapsed, earning them a beating and almost certain death.
Men were pulled from lineups and taken away to be gassed, but there was no protest, so weak and dejected had they become.
Avey described the "foul air" of the sleeping area and putrid "soup" the men were served which he dared not eat.
He held whispered conversations with the inmate lying next to him who was in on the plan, finding out what he could about the concentration camp.
"Auschwitz III was like nothing else on earth; it was hell on earth. This is what I had come to witness but it was a ghastly, terrifying experience."
After surviving the camp and the "death march" at the end of the war, Avey tried to tell the army about his experiences, but when he came up against what he called the "glazed eye syndrome," he gave up and kept silent for 60 years.
Even his mother did not know what he had been through, and never asked why he was so emaciated when he returned to England.
For six years Avey had regular nightmares and woke up in a cold sweat. He still recalls his experiences today.
Then, during a radio interview a few years ago he opened up and told his story, and since then has gained recognition for his bravery from Holocaust organisations and politicians.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has honored Avey with a diploma, and a spokesman in Israel said: "We feel that his story is genuine," adding that a fellow survivor corroborated his account to the foundation's satisfaction.
Avey said his book was relevant today.
"The difference between right and wrong is fast receding. Awareness is being diluted, people are just saying 'such is life'. People are like this now."
Despite its dark content, the story ends on a note of hope.
Avey recently discovered that a Jew called Ernst survived Auschwitz and recorded his testimony on video.
In that testimony he talked about a soldier -- Avey -- who arranged for him to get 10 packs of cigarettes from England which he swapped for food and new soles on his shoes without which he said he would not have survived the death march.
"I thought he was dead," said Avey. "I couldn't believe it."
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)


The Government of Japan deplores the decisions of the Government of Israel to give permission for the construction of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem in addition to 112 units in West Bank just after the Israeli and Palestinian leadership’s acceptance of the start of indirect talks.
The Government of Japan does not recognize any act that prejudges the final status of Jerusalem and the territories in the pre-1967 borders
Japan condemns the demolishing of a part of the Shepherd’s Hotel in East Jerusalem with a view to constructing new housing units for Jewish people.

Japan does not recognize any unilateral measures that prejudge the final resolution on pre-1967 borders, nor does Japan recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel.
In this regard, Japan urges Israel to refrain from any unilateral act that could change the existing conditions of East Jerusalem.
Ambassador Yutaka Iimura, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for the Middle East, who was in Israel, has already informed Israeli Government officials of Japanese views.

Japan once again strongly encourages both the Israel and the Palestinian sides to focus on the goal of a two-state solution, which is important not only for the Middle East but also for the international community as a whole; to act in such a way that mutual trust will be developed; and to continue efforts for peace tenaciously.
Japan welcomes the series of economic measures announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Quartet Representative Tony Blair on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Japan hopes that based on this announcement, measures will be fully and promptly implemented for economic growth as well as for the improvement of the social and living conditions in the Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza Strip.
Japan will pay close attention to any developments surrounding this matter.
Japan also hopes that these measures will enhance the mutual trust between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, although they are not a substitute for negotiations for Middle East peace.
Japan, for its part, calls upon both parties to exert further efforts for the resumption of peace negotiations.
The Government of Japan is concerned about the Jerusalem municipal planning committee’s approval of a plan to build housing units for Jewish people in the Sheih Jarrah of East Jerusalem.Such act goes against the efforts by the international community to resume the negotiations.
The Government of Japan does not recognize any act that prejudges the final status of the territories in the pre-1967 borders nor Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem.
Japan urges Israel to refrain from any unilateral act that
changes the current situation in East Jerusalem.

Dr Fayyad and Naofumi Hashimoto, representative of Japan to the PNA, signed a $32.5 million agreement for the project of treating the waste water in Jericho.
Dr Fayyad pointed out that this important, vital, and strategic project falls under the PNA's plan that aims at the establishment of the institutions of the state of Palestine and its infrastructure. It also comes in concordance with the strategy set by the Japanese Government to support the PNA in the fields of development, improvement of the infrastructure, and enhancement of the ability of the PNA to offer services not only in terms of infrastructure, but in diverse social, educational, and other domains. He said: "Ever since its establishment, Japan has offered the PNA more than $1.1 billion."
He added: "I single out the interest of the Japanese Government in executing projects in Jericho and in the Jordan Valley, where it implemented projects totalling $40 million, including roads, schools, and important vital utilities in this important area of our country in the Jordan Valley. We count on the implementation of more initiatives and projects that our people were deprived of because of the Israeli measures that aim at isolating this area."