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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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October 19, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Indian PM Modi to arrive in Israel for ‘historic’ 3-day visit – The Times of Israel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due in Israel Tuesday afternoon for a three-day visit both countries are going to great lengths to describe as historic.

Billed as a celebration of the 25-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, Modis visit marks the first to Israel by an Indian head of government. Besides sit-downs with senior politicians and business leaders, his packed itinerary includes meeting a Jewish victim of a terror attack in Mumbai; visiting a flower farm, a desalination plant and the Israel Museum; headlining a rally for thousands of Indians living in Israel; and laying wreaths at a military cemetery in Haifa.

Notably, Modi decided not to visit the Palestinian Authority, an exceedingly rare move for countries with good ties in the Arab world. New Delhi explains this anomaly as part of a desire to de-hyphenate its relationships with Jerusalem and with Ramallah.

As the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, I am greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring our two countries and people closer, Modi wrote on his Facebook account Monday. I will have in-depth talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the full spectrum of our partnership and strengthening it in diverse fields for mutual benefit. We will also have the chance to discuss major common challenges like terrorism, he wrote, next to a photo of himself with Netanyahu.

To underline the importance Jerusalem is ascribing to Modis visit, Netanyahu cleared his schedule to be at his prominent guests side throughout almost the entire time he is in the country. This kind of attention by an Israeli prime minister is usually reserved for American presidents.

I will accompany the prime minister at many events during his visit, as befits the leader of the largest democracy in the world, Netanyahu said Monday during the weekly cabinet meeting.

On Tuesday, hours before Modis arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, he and Netanyahu co-authored an opinion piece hailing the importance of this weeks visit.

The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size, the two leaders wrote in the piece, which was published in The Times of India and Israel Hayom newspapers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, during the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples.

Both Israel and India are complex countries, Modi and Netanyahu continued. Like yogic asanas grounding down and pulling up at the same time, they face many challenges. By working together we can overcome some of the challenges.

Besides the high symbolic value and the diplomatic meetings, Modis visit has a strong economic focus as well. The two countries are set to establish a new India-Israel CEOs Forum, which is expected to serve as a hub to foster trade and commerce.

I will join with leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and startups to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground, Modi wrote on Facebook. In addition, I hope to get insights into Israels accomplishments in technology and innovation through on-site visits.

Then-defense minister Moshe Yaalon meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of a defense industries of Israel pavilion during an arms fair held in Bangalore, India, February 18, 2015. (Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90)

Modi, who visited Israel for the first time in 2006 as chief minister of Gujarat, is scheduled to land at around 4 p.m. in Tel Aviv, where he will be greeted by an official welcoming ceremony, attended by Netanyahu.

En route from the airport to Jerusalem, the two prime ministers will stop at the Mishmar Hashiva moshav to visit the Danziger Dan Flower Farm, one of Israels leading floriculture companies. Together with Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, the prime ministers will learn about the innovative way in which the flowers are produced there, according to the Prime Ministers Office.

Once Modi and Netanyahu arrive in the capital, they will head to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. The two leaders will visit the Hall of Names and participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and tour the Childrens Memorial. At 8 p.m., Modi and Netanyahu will deliver statements to the media at the Prime Ministers Residence on Balfour Street, before dining together.

Relatives and friends of Holocaust survivors place flowers and candles on names of concentration camps seen on the floor of the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 28, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

On Wednesday morning, Modi will hold a working meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. From the Presidents Residence, he will head back to the King David Hotel for another working meeting with Netanyahu. After the two leaders have lunch together, they will attend a ceremony during which a series of bilateral agreements will be signed, and deliver statements to the press.

In the afternoon, Modi is set to meet opposition leader Isaac Herzog and members of the Indian community. He will then head to the Israel Museum, where together with Netanyahu he will walk through the Synagogue Route and gaze at a reconstruction of the Kadavumbagam synagogue from the town of Cochin in southern India. The 16th-century wooden structure has an exquisitely carved and painted ceiling directly influenced by the decorations of mosques and Hindu temples, according to the Israel Museum.

A crumbling old Cochin synagogue (photo credit: CC-BY, Emmanuel Dyan via Flickr)

The Jewish community in India was always welcomed with warmth and respect and never faced any persecution, Modi and Netanyahu wrote in their joint article Tuesday. The Jews of Indian origin in Israel are proud of their heritage and have left an indelible imprint on both societies. Both communities serve as a human bridge between our nations.

On Wednesday evening, at around 8, the two prime ministers will address a major rally at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, which is expected to draw some 4,000 participants. Before the two leaders make their speeches, the crowd will be entertained by a cultural program, including a performance by popular Bollywood playback singer Sukhwinder Singh.

In Tel Aviv, he will also meet with diamond merchants from Gujarat, a state in western India. I am particularly looking forward to interacting with the large vibrant Indian diaspora in Israel that represents an enduring link between our two peoples, Modi wrote on Facebook.

About 12,000 non-Jewish Indian nationals currently live and work in Israel, as well as some 80,000 Israeli Jews with at least one parent of Indian origin. Only 5,000 Jews remain in India today.

In Tel Aviv, Modi is also scheduled to meet Moshe Holtzberg, the now 12-year-old son of two Chabad emissaries, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were killed in a November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. He is also expected to meet with Sandra Samuel, Moshes nanny at the time, who rescued the boy on the day of the attack.

The attack on the Indian citys Chabad House was part of a mass attack in the city by a Pakistani Islamist group that left 166 dead and hundreds injured. In addition to the Holtzbergs, four other Jewish visitors to the Chabad House were killed in the attack.

Moshe Holtzberg seen on his first day at first grade in the city of Migdal Haemek on August 26,2012. Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant, were killed during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani Islamic terrorists. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. (Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash90)

On Thursday morning, Modi and Netanyahu will take a helicopter ride to Haifa, where they will visit a cemetery where Indian soldiers who fought in World War I are buried. Modi is expected to lay two wreaths one for Hindu and one for Muslims soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918, as he explained in his Facebook post.

On their way back to Tel Aviv, Modi and Netanyahu will stop at Olga Beach to visit a water desalination unit operated by G.A.L. Water Technologies. Israels extreme water crises in the past place it in a unique position to understand Indias quest for efficient water solutions, the two prime ministers wrote. The cost effective adaptation of Israeli technology to Indias needs could create new solutions that we could use to help address the water challenges of other developing nations across the globe.

Modi and Netanyahu will proceed to have lunch with Indian and Israeli executives at the Dan Hotel, before attending a large innovation conference, during which five Israeli companies and four Indian companies will make presentations.

In 1992, when diplomatic ties were established, bilateral trade was at about $200 million. Today, it reaches $5 billion, one-fifth of which is in Israeli defense exports.

India is a key export market for Israel, said Economy Minister Eli Cohen. It is a country of 1.3 billion consumers, some 300 million of whom belong to the middle and upper-middle class, with purchasing power equal to the middle class of Western economies, he added.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, inspects IDF troops with President Reuven Rivlin during the first official visit to Israel of an Indian leader, October 14, 2015 (Mark Neyman/GPO)

After a short meeting with Indian students late Thursday afternoon, Modi will head to the airport, where Netanyahu will bid him goodbye during an official ceremony.

This weeks historic visit, as we celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, reflects not just the close cooperation of our governments, but also the great sympathy and affinity between our peoples, the two prime ministers wrote.

We are confident that 25 years from now, Indians and Israelis will look back on this visit as the first of many historical milestones that we reached together in the great friendship between our peoples.

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July 4, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Bulgaria is a step closer to full membership of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – The Sofia Globe

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has decided to accept Bulgaria as a liaison country, the first state to take the next step towards full membership since 2009.

The decision was taken at the IHRAs first bi-annual plenary meeting under the Swiss Chairmanship in Geneva, the organisation said after the conclusion of the meeting on June 29 2017.

TheIHRAunites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research world-wide, and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration.

At the four-day meeting in Geneva, more than 200 experts and policymakers from the IHRAs31 member countries,11 observer countries, andseven international partner organizationsgathered to discuss Holocaust education, research and remembrance as a contemporary political issue.

The Bulgarian government decided on March 8 2017 to apply for full membership of IHRA.

Bulgarias Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the countrys candidacy had prompted a strong interest among the member states that have highly appreciated Bulgarias performance as an observer in the IHRA from December 2012, as well as the commitments made to strengthen the commemoration, education and research activities on Holocaust issues.

During the presentation of the Bulgarian candidacy, the honorary president of the IHRA, Professor Yehuda Bauer, expressed his full support for Bulgarias membership and noted that the allianceheld open discussion and the presentation of concrete results on all issues on the agenda of the organization, and that Bulgaria has the capacity and opportunity to contribute to this process, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Bulgaria was allied to Nazi Germany in World War 2, but in 1943, thanks to the initiatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some political leaders and civil society, refused to hand over Bulgarian Jews to the death camps of the Holocaust where more than six million Jews were murdered. In northern Greece and Yugoslavia, under Bulgarian control on behalf of Germany, a total of 11 343 Jews were deported, mainly to Treblinka, where they were murdered by the Nazis. These Jews, through earlier legislation approved in Sofia, did not have Bulgarian citizenship.

Because of the events of 1943, a number of Bulgarians are honoured at the Yad Vashem Museum as Righteous Among the Nations. An initiative is underway for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the prevention of the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to the Holocaust.

(Main photo: The Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel. Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Simone Veil, Ex-Minister Who Wrote France’s Abortion Law, Dies at 89 – New York Times

In 2008, she became one of few politicians to be elected to the Acadmie Franaise, the august 40-member body that is the authority on the French language; Valry Giscard dEstaing, the president under whom Mrs. Veil served as health minister, is another.

Opinion polls routinely showed Mrs. Veil to be one of the most admired people in France.

The abortion law, still known as the Veil Law, was one of the most divisive actions taken by the government of Mr. Giscard dEstaing and his first prime minister, Jacques Chirac.

In three days of debate before the National Assembly passed the law on Nov. 29, 1974, by a vote of 284 to 189, phrases like an act of murder, monstrous and France is making coffins instead of cribs were hurled in the chamber. Critics likened abortion to Nazi euthanasia; one asked, Madame Minister, do you want to send children to the ovens?

Mrs. Veil told lawmakers: I say this with total conviction: Abortion should stay an exception, the last resort for desperate situations. How, you may ask, can we tolerate it without its losing the character of an exception without it seeming as though society encourages it? I will share a conviction of women, and I apologize for doing it in front of this assembly comprised almost exclusively of men: No woman resorts to abortion lightheartedly.

Abortion had been criminalized in France since the Napoleonic era. The new law, which took effect on Jan. 17, 1975, made the procedure legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy (later extended to 12), and required that the procedure be carried out by a doctor at a hospital or a clinic. Girls under 18 were required to obtain parental consent.

Mrs. Veil, whose parents and brother died in the Holocaust, rejected the comparison of abortion to murder as absurd.

Simone Jacob was born in Nice, France, on July 13, 1927, the youngest of four children of Andr Jacob, an architect, and the former Yvonne Steinmetz. She completed her baccalaureate, the diploma required to pursue university studies, on March 29, 1944, the day before her arrest by the Germans.

She was deported, with her eldest sibling, Madeleine (nicknamed Milou), and their mother, to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and then to Bergen-Belsen. The two sisters were liberated on April 15, 1945, but their mother had died of typhus weeks earlier.

Another sister, Denise, who entered the Resistance at the start of the war, was arrested and deported to the Ravensbrck camp in Germany, but survived by hiding her Jewish identity.

No trace of their father, Andr, and brother, Jean last recorded in Lithuania on a convoy of French Jews bound for Estonia was ever found.

Im often asked what gave me the strength and will to continue the fight, Mrs. Veil told an interviewer in 2005. I believe deeply that it was my mother; she has never stopped being present to me, next to me.

Her left forearm forever carried the number tattooed on it at Auschwitz; she tended to wear long-sleeve dresses.

Resuming her studies in law and political science in Paris, Simone Jacob met a fellow student at Sciences-Po, Antoine Veil. He later enrolled at the cole Nationale dAdministration, which trains Frances top civil servants, and became a businessman.

They married in 1946 and had three sons: Jean, Claude-Nicolas and Pierre-Franois. The middle son died in 2002; Mr. Veil, in 2013.

Mrs. Veil is survived by her two other sons and 12 grandchildren. Her sister Milou died in a car accident in 1952; her sister Denise died in 2013.

In 1954, Mrs. Veil passed the extremely competitive national examination to become a magistrate. As an official in the Justice Ministry, she helped improve living conditions for female prisoners, including Algerians detained during their countrys war for independence.

At age 46, she was plucked from the Civil Service by Mr. Giscard dEstaing to serve as health minister, becoming only the second woman to hold full cabinet rank in France. (The first was Germaine Poinso-Chapuis, health minister from 1947 to 1948.)

Mrs. Veil left the government in 1979 to run for the European Parliament, in the first direct elections to that legislative body, for what was then the European Economic Community, a precursor to the European Union.

In her July 17, 1979, speech accepting the presidency of the Parliament, she said: Whatever our political beliefs, we are all aware that this historic step, the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage, has been taken at a crucial time for the people of the Community. All its member states are faced with three great challenges: the challenge of peace, the challenge of freedom and the challenge of prosperity, and it seems clear that they can only be met through the European dimension.

Mrs. Veil was president of the Parliament until 1982 and remained a member until 1993. She returned to the French government in 1993, as minister for health, social affairs and urban issues, under Prime Minister douard Balladur, serving until 1995.

From 1997 to 1998, she was president of the High Council for Integration, a body devoted to the assimilation of immigrants, and in 1998 she began a nine-year term as a member of the Constitutional Council, the countrys highest legal authority.

Mrs. Veil was also the president of the Fondation pour la Mmoire de la Shoah, Frances Holocaust remembrance organization, from 2000 to 2007, and chairwoman of the board of the Trust Fund for Victims from 2003 to 2009. The group supports victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in cooperation with the International Criminal Court.

She published an autobiography in 2007, in which she criticized the long delay in the French governments acceptance of responsibility for the murder of French Jews, whose deportations were organized by the collaborationist regime based in Vichy. The French state affirmed its collective error for the crimes only in 1995, during Mr. Chiracs presidency, after decades of equivocation.

When Mrs. Veil was elected to the Acadmie Franaise, the novelist Jean dOrmesson paid her tribute, saying her capacity to bring about support among the French was crucial to her popularity.

This support does not rest on mediocre and lame consensus among the countless opinions that never cease dividing our old country, he said. It rests on the principles that you affirm and, against all odds, without ever raising your voice, manage to convince everyone of. We can say this without airs: In the heart of political life, you offer a moral and republican image.

Follow Sewell Chan on Twitter @sewellchan.

Tamar Ziff contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on July 1, 2017, on Page A24 of the New York edition with the headline: Simone Veil, 89, Politician Who Inspired France, Dies.

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Simone Veil, Ex-Minister Who Wrote France’s Abortion Law, Dies at 89 – New York Times

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Benjamin Netanyahu will be PM Modi’s shadow: Israel’s envoy to India – Economic Times

NEW DELHI: India and Israel will elevate an already deep relationship to the strategic level by announcing high-level mechanisms on water, agriculture and innovation when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives there on what will be a historic visit.

The first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel in the 25 years that India and Israel have had diplomatic relations, the Modi visit -July 4-6 -will see him spending three days with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and stitching up agreements on areas that are critical for India’s developmental goals.

Modi will receive a pomp-filled welcome, said Daniel Carmon, Israel’s envoy to India. “During the three days that Modi will be in Israel, PM Netanyahu will accompany him everywhere,” Carmon said, indicating the depth of interest in the visit.

An MEA statement said “During the visit, the PM will have detailed dis cussions with PM Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest and will also call on President Rivlin. Elements of his programme include homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa and address to the Indian community at an event in Tel Aviv .”

On the 4th, Modi will visit holocaust remembrance centre Yad Vashem, have a private dinner with Netanyahu, and call on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was recently in India.

The main day will be the 5th which will be taken up with the official meeting with Netanyahu, delegation talks, signing of agreements and a joint press conference. He will also meet Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader and Moshe, the little boy who was the only survivor, when his family was attacked by LeT terrorists at the Chabad House in Mumbai on 26/11.

On the 6th, Modi will go to Haifa to pay homage to the Indian soldiers at the cemetery and return to Tel Aviv to meet about 15 CEOs from both countries, before leaving for Germany .

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Keep your promise – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Antonio Guterres. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Earlier this month, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the murder of border policewoman Hadas Malka, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on June 16.

On Thursday and Friday, a group with alleged ties to the PFLP was hosted at the UNs headquarters in New York. Al-Haq participated in the UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation.

Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, a pro-BDS organization, is said to be active in the PFLP. In 2007, High Court justices were convinced of Jabarins ties with the PFLP after seeing confidential intelligence information presented to them by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Based on that information, the court upheld the IDFs refusal to grant Jabarin the right to leave Israel.

Then-justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote the courts decision, noting that Jabarin is apparently a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terrorist organization which has not shied away from murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights; rather, they violate the most basic right of them all, the most fundamental right that without which there are no other rights the right to life.

It is unthinkable that the UN, a body created to facilitate worldwide peace and solve conflicts through open communication among the nations of the world, would provide a venue to a group with ties to a terrorist organization. While freedom of expression and assembly are integral to open debate, these rights must not be extended to those affiliated with organizations that use violence and murder to intimidate and terrorize.

The best defense against Israel-bashing fests such as the UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation is a good offense. Organizers of these kangaroo courts must be exposed for what they are: supporters of nihilistic terrorist organizations. In the present atmosphere in UN forums, on college campuses and on social media, outlandish accusations are regularly leveled at Israel, a country compared implicitly or explicitly to Nazi Germany. When Israel is accused of committing ethnic purges or maintaining the Gaza Strip as a huge concentration camp, it is not particularly effective to point out that Israel is the Middle Easts most accommodating country for homosexuals or that Israels technologies are among the most demanded in the world or extol Israels rescue missions in Haiti.

Rather one must uncover those who make these pernicious claims for what they are: fellow travelers with organizations such as the PFLP, members of which took responsibility for the massacre of the Fogel family in 2011 and the pogrom in Jerusalems Har Nof neighborhood in 2014.

According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is not the only Palestinian nonprofit that has ties to the PFLP. Others include Addameer, the Alternative Information Center, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestine Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

Jewish Voice for Peace, another group that took part together with Al-Haq in the UN forum, organized a 2017 National Member Meeting in April that featured Rasmea Odeh, a PFLP operative convicted of US immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel.

Slightly more surprising was the participation of former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Joint List MK Aida Touma- Sliman and executive director of BTselem Hagai El-Ad.

How can we take these individuals calls for justice seriously when their ideological bedfellows are members of an organization that is willing to use suicide bombings and coldblooded attacks on civilians including stabbing to death babies and little children as they sleep to further their goals? The same question must be asked of NGOs that collaborate with Hamas, which like PFLP is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the EU and Israel.

In April, during a speech to delegates at the World Jewish Congresss plenary assembly while Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN secretary-general said that he would be on the front lines in the fight against antisemitism, and promised to make sure the UN is able to conduct all possible actions for antisemitism to be… eradicated from the face of the earth. Guterres added that a modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist.

It is time for Guterres to keep his promise.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump is no joke – Rutland Herald

President Donald Trump will hold the first fundraiser of his 2020 re-election campaign this month at the Trump International Hotel near the White House.

That is now a normal sort of sentence. It may be true or it may not (in fact it is). Theres no enormity about it. Already, on the 155th day of this presidency, Americans are suffering from incredulity fatigue. Oh, we just sold $12 billion of fighter jets to Qatar a few days after Trump accused Doha of being a major funder of terrorism that kind of thing.

So much for the theor y Trump would get bored of the job (or distance himself from his business empire). Hes thinking eight years; the June 28 dinner with him is billed as a BIG LEAGUE event for his supporters.

What, one wonders, makes it Big League? Up until now, Trump has consistently fulfilled only one campaign promise: We must as a nation be more unpredictable. Trumpism is an exercise in arbitrariness. At its core lies distraction.

The aim is to get Americans heads spinning. Have them waste time dissecting statement X as Trump moves on to outburst Y. For example, Ill absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. That was a good one.

Or, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations. Six weeks later, Trump reveals that there are no tapes of their conversations. Not bad. Had a Nixonian ring to it.

Noise is the thing and adrenaline and suspense. There is no content, meaning, history or gravity. Can the president, less than six months into his first term, really hold a 2020 fundraiser in his own Washington hotel? The Oval Office has become the Oval Adjunct. It provides, at taxpayer expense, an ancillary service to Trump properties.

Trump visits Yad Vashem, Israels memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and writes in the guest book: It is a great honor to be here with all my friends so amazing & will never forget! So amazing! Almost as amazing as the White Houses International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not mention the Jews. Oh, yes, them. There we have it: the unbearable lightness of being Donald Trump. His latest is a solar wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Remember that one.

In Humboldts Gift, Saul Bellow wrote that the United States is a big operation, very big. One thing is certain: It is bigger than this little man.

Trumpism is a form of collective gaslighting at Twitter speed. It is founded on the principle that velocity trumps veracity perfect for the presidents manic personality. I t reflects the presidents intuitive sense through his own acute experience of limited attention spans. It seeks to achieve dominance through a whirlwind of individually meaningless but cumulatively manipulative statements.

Max Weber, the German sociologist, contrasted modern legal rule with traditional rule. In the first, the person who commands has himself to obey the rule; in the second, the lords administrative staff is made up of personal dependents (members of the household or household officials) or from relatives or personal friends (favorites). In this setup, the bureaucratic idea of competence as objectively demarcated spheres of responsibility is absent.

Trump functions, still, within our democratic institutions, but with a personal court ( composed in part of family). Legal rule, as defined by Weber, is not really his thing. The vassal-like professions of fealty from his Cabinet the other day feudalism meets Pyongyang demonstrated why he likes Saudi Arabia so much and has such evident reservations about the Republic.

There are many things that concern me about the Trump presidency in fact, few dont but the frivolous blurring of truth and untruth, fact and falsehood, is the most grave. Liberty depends on facts. When the distinction between truth and lies disappears there is no basis for the rational discourse on which the organization of a free society, governed by laws, depends. Disorientation propagates itself and disoriented people are more inclined to accept a despot as the sole font of truth.

Theres no policy toward Syria. Theres no policy toward Russia. Theres contempt from the White House for important European allies. Theres shock really that China is not whipping North Korea into shape. Theres a grotesque attempt to deprive tens of millions of Americans of health insurance. Theres contempt from a man of 71 for the planet his grandchildren will inherit.

All of this is serious. But its not as serious as the seeping, constant attempt one sacred value at a time to disorient Americans to the point they accept the unacceptable, cede to the grotesque, acquiesce to total arbitrariness as a governing principle. On one side the Constitution; on the other the rabbit hole that leads to the Trump International Hotel.

And to Trump saying of President Andrew Jackson that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, Theres no reason for this.

In fact, Jackson had been dead for 16 years when the Civil War began. He said nothing.

There is no reason to or in Trumpism. Thats the point and the danger of it.

Roger Cohen is a columnist for The New York Times.

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Trump is no joke – Rutland Herald

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump’s travel ban is about to go into effect. Here’s why it’s immoral. – Vox

Six months ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order shutting out refugees and halting visas from six Muslim-majority countries. But that ban was never implemented, thanks to rulings in two separate federal courts.

That changed on Monday.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration should be permitted to enforce the ban starting on Thursday, June 29. The court did impose some restrictions on the ban, however, including allowing people who already have a valid visa to enter the country.

The ban on refugees remains, though. Refugees will not be allowed to enter America for a period of 120 days unless theyve already been issued a visa or have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

Below is an interview I conducted back in January with Joseph Carens, a professor of political theory at the University of Toronto and a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. The author of The Ethics of Immigration, Carenss work focuses on the challenges involved in applying democratic principles to immigration policies.

Here, I spoke with Carens about the ethics of Trumps executive order as well the normative questions it raises about human rights.

What do you see as the basis of our moral obligations to admit refugees?

I think there are at least three overlapping bases for these obligations. The first is that the US is sometimes responsible for the fact that someone has become a refugee. For example, people in Iraq and Afghanistan who have helped American forces by serving as translators or in other capacities have sometimes been put at risk because of this service. There are already stories of such people being excluded from admission (and hence, safety) as a result of Trumps policy.

The second basis for the obligation to refugees is simply the humanitarian duty to help people in desperate straits when one can do so. This duty has its roots in many different religious and secular ethical traditions. The United States has traditionally admitted more refugees than any other country (although Germany has clearly passed the US in this respect in the past few years). The complete ban on refugee admissions for four months and the subsequent reduction (by half) of the number who will be accepted is a failure to meet Americas humanitarian obligations.

The third basis for the obligation to refugees is that the United States and most other countries have acknowledged that the international state system has a duty to protect refugees. In the wake of the failure of democratic states to protect Jewish refugees from the Nazis, the United States led the effort to create institutions that would prevent such a moral failure in the future. That regime already suffers from severe limitations, and the new Trump policy will undermine it further.

What are the moral limits on what states can do to individuals in a democratic society, and why is the answer to that question relevant to thinking about immigration policy?

I’d say that we have principles that everyone recognizes. For example, people have a right to a fair trial, to freedom of religion, to freedom of speech, to freedom of movement. Now, many of these things are put into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but there are overlapping rights that are freestanding norms that we have about how you can treat people or what it’s reasonable for the government to do. These are basic norms of fairness and reciprocity, principles that we hold to be transcendentally true.

Ill stop you there for just a second and ask an obvious question: What do these norms and rights have to do with immigration in particular? I imagine many people will associate these rights with citizenship, or membership in a defined polity.

Well, this includes norms about how you can treat noncitizens. People sometimes think that all rights are due to citizenship, but that’s just not correct in the empirical or legal or normative sense. So take the right to a fair trial. If you’re a noncitizen and you’re accused of a crime, you’re supposed to be treated exactly the same way a citizen is. You have the same rights that a citizen does in this area. In fact, permanent residents have virtually all the rights that a citizen has except for the right to vote.

In your book, you say that contemporary reflection about refugees begins in the shadow of the Holocaust. Countless Jewish people fled Hitler in search of protection, and most of them did not get it. Do you see Trumps executive order banning the entry of all refugees for 120 days and those from Syria indefinitely as analogous in any way?

Absolutely. I think this is a point that’s been made by a number of Jewish groups who are trying to welcome Syrian refugees. It’s an irony, as many have noted, that this policy was announced on Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the time of the Holocaust, there were lots of Jews trying to flee Nazi Germany, and many Western states, including America and Canada, refused to accept them.

President Trump’s answer to the question of how many Syrian refugees are too many seems to be “none.” None is too many. In the wake of World War II, in the wake of seeing what happened, we vowed never to let that happen again, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in the case of Syria.

These people’s lives are at stake, and if the United States turns them away, why do we assume other countries will take them in? And if no one else takes them in, what do we think will happen to them?

Theres a lot of discussion about the legality of Trumps executive order, but here Id like to dive into some of the deeper ethical objections. Ill start with this: Do you think this policy will produce more suffering than it relieves?

The goal of the policy is to reduce the threat of terrorism, but many objectors (rightly) think that the policys actual effect will be to increase the threat of terrorism because it will alienate Muslims throughout the world and will confirm the claim of ISIS that the United States is fundamentally hostile to Islam, but it wont actually aid in preventing the entry of people who might pose a threat.

This is an important, and, in my view, persuasive argument about the likely consequences of the policy, and so a good reason for rejecting it, but it is an ethical argument only in the very limited sense that any policy that causes more harm than good with respect to a legitimate goal (like reducing the threat of terrorism) can be said to be bad from a moral perspective.

What about the claims that it runs counter to fundamental American values?

Openness to immigrants and refugees has played a key role in making the United States what it is today and is a central element in the American ideal. This need not entail denying the reality of practices of marginalization and exclusion of immigrants and refugees at many points in the American past. Rather, it reflects a commitment to live up to the ideal and not to repeat those failures.

This sort of objection to Trumps policy focuses on values and ideals, and, in that respect, it is clearly a moral argument. On the other hand, within some limits, deciding what you want your country to be is clearly the sort of thing that democratic politics is supposed to be about.

Perhaps the most essential moral objection is that a policy like this violates basic principles that are supposed to limit or constrain democratic politics. Here Im thinking of principles of justice, fairness, equality, and individual freedom.

I think this policy does that in two obvious ways.

First, in imposing restrictions on entry that take immediate effect, it violates norms of fairness. As everyone knows, the policy has stranded people abroad who had already been living in the United States as well as people who had been given permission to come and had made life plans on that basis. To deprive people of a right to enter the United States that they had previously been granted and which they have done nothing to forfeit is unfair.

The Trump administration has already implicitly acknowledged this moral failure in changing the policy so that it no longer restricts the entry of green card holders (i.e., people entitled to live in the US as permanent residents), but this still leaves a great many people who have done nothing wrong stranded abroad with their lives disrupted. For example, students cannot get in to continue or start their studies, workers with permits other than green cards cannot return, and so on. These exclusions are simply arbitrary.

Second, the policy violates the moral principle that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of religion. The seven states whose citizens are not permitted entry are all overwhelmingly Muslim. Trump himself has implicitly acknowledged that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of religion by denying that he is doing so. This recalls the old saying that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. In this case, however, the hypocrisy is so blatant, given Trumps past and present statements about Islam, that no one who cares about reality can take his protestations seriously. This policy is clearly and deliberately aimed at restricting the entry of Muslims.

Why is the distinction between migrants and refugees so important, and why do refugees have a stronger claim upon host societies for aid and sanctuary?

Migrants are people who want to move from one country to another. They may have good reasons for moving or bad reasons for moving. Refugees are people who have a desperate need to move: They’re not safe in some fundamental way and they need to leave. So their claim to move is much stronger, and we all recognize that. The United States has signed the Geneva Convention on refugees. Even Trump doesn’t deny that refugees have some kind of claim, he’s just not willing to meet it. He’s concerned about those who are suffering and desperate, but he’s not prepared to say what he will do to help them.

What rights do states have to determine that accepting or admitting refugees imposes unsustainable burdens or risks on their society?

Nobody thinks that states have to admit people who actually are terrorists, and so it’s reasonable for a state to do some vetting. Nobody thinks a state should admit so many refugees that it cannot function. But in a lot of cases, this involves what one thinks is a reasonable assessment.

So the idea that because someone might be a terrorist, or there’s a tiny chance that someone’s a terrorist, is not in itself a justification for shutting the doors. There has to be some kind of balance in terms of the judgments we’re making. Reasonable people can disagree about what that balance is, but the extreme standard that Trump is using is well beyond the standards of reasonableness.

There seems to be a problem of distributive justice here in which the burdens of accepting refugees are not dispersed equally across the nations of the world. How do we deal with that given the limits on interstate cooperation?

That’s an important issue, and there isn’t a structural solution to that, there’s nothing that can make a state accept refugees. So if the United States refuses to do, there is no one that can force us to do it. But that’s a question that every American should ask himself or herself: If we don’t take in these refugees, who is going to do it? And why do we think it’s reasonable to expect them to do it if we won’t? It seems to me that nobody is asking that question.

Right now there are millions of Syrian refugees in countries like Jordan and Turkey and Lebanon, and these are not countries that have caused this crisis in any way. They have no particular responsibility for these refugees, except for the fact that they’re next door. But there’s no reason to expect these countries to provide new homes for all of these refugees for the rest of their lives, and there’s no sign that this conflict will end anytime soon.

Here’s the thing: How many people actually ask themselves what will happen to these refugees if we dont take them in? I think a lot of people blind themselves to this question. They’re not willing to contemplate the consequences of refusing entry to these desperate people, and thats part of the problem.

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Trump’s travel ban is about to go into effect. Here’s why it’s immoral. – Vox

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As Austrian Capital Readies for ‘Al-Quds Day’ March, Anti-Fascist Activists Pledge to Confront ‘Antisemitic Agitation’ – Algemeiner

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Al-Quds Day 2016 in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Photo: Screenshot.

As pro-Iranian and Hezbollah demonstrators prepare for the annual Al-Quds Day march in Vienna on Saturday, anti-fascist activists in the Austrian capital are demanding that the government ban the event.

In astatementannouncing a counter-demonstration at Saturdays rally, a wide range of individuals and organizations slammed march participants for their consistent antisemitic agitation against Jews and Israel.In striking contrast to the rest of western Europe, most of the statements signatories came from socialist and Green political circles.

Noting that antisemitism was not the sole preserve of the extreme right, and that previous Al-Quds Day marches have been occasions for antisemitic placards and slogans, the statement called upon all anti-Fascist politicians from the parliament and the municipal council as well as civil society to join our alliance and to position themselves clearly and unambiguously against the Al-Quds march!

June 23, 2017 3:23 pm

Among the signatories of the statement were Austrian parliamentarians Sigi Maurer and Albert Steinhauser of the Green Party and Petra Bayr of the SPO Socialist Party. The head of theSocialist Partys section for the LGBT community, Peter Traschkowitsch, also signed. Several Jewish and pro-Israel groups added their names, including the Austria-Israel Friendship Society, the LaborZionist Hashomer Hatzair and the Austrian branch of the womens Zionist organization, WIZO. Other left-wing groups that endorsed the statement included the Communist Student Union of the Left.

One of the organizers of the statement told The Algemeiner that opponents of the Al-Quds Day march were determined that hateful antisemitic ideology should never again be tolerated in the streets of this city.

The glorification of terrorism is against the law in Austria, Stefan Schaden a spokesperson for Stop The Bomb, an organization campaigning for democracy in Iran said on Friday. So how come that supporters of the Iranian regime and of Hezbollah can march for the annihilation of Israel in the center of Vienna?

For years we have demanded to ban Al-Quds Day, Schaden added. There must be a full ban on Hezbollah in Austria and in all of Europe, in order to effectively counter Iranian regime-sponsored terrorism.

Schaden said that the Austrian governments decision to adopt the definition of antisemitismendorsedby the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) an inter-governmental organization gave added impetus to calls for the Al-Quds Day march to be prohibited. The definition includes antisemitism that is directed at the Jewish State of Israel, such as the denial of Israels right to exist, Schaden said.

Previous Al-Quds Day demonstrations in Vienna have involved the display of Hezbollah flags as occurred in London last weekend as well as signs juxtaposing the Nazi swastika with a Star of David and inflammatory slogans describing Israel as the Fourth Reich.

One of the main organizers of the Vienna Al-Quds Day event is an Austrian convert to Islam Erich Muhammad Waldmann, the imam of a leading Vienna mosque and a member of Austrias Council of Imams.

Waldmann, who is said to have close links with the Iranian regime, was filmed at an Al-Quds Day march in 2015 calling for the destruction of the Zionist regime.

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Indian PM Modi to arrive in Israel for ‘historic’ 3-day visit – The Times of Israel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due in Israel Tuesday afternoon for a three-day visit both countries are going to great lengths to describe as historic. Billed as a celebration of the 25-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, Modis visit marks the first to Israel by an Indian head of government. Besides sit-downs with senior politicians and business leaders, his packed itinerary includes meeting a Jewish victim of a terror attack in Mumbai; visiting a flower farm, a desalination plant and the Israel Museum; headlining a rally for thousands of Indians living in Israel; and laying wreaths at a military cemetery in Haifa. Notably, Modi decided not to visit the Palestinian Authority, an exceedingly rare move for countries with good ties in the Arab world. New Delhi explains this anomaly as part of a desire to de-hyphenate its relationships with Jerusalem and with Ramallah. As the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, I am greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring our two countries and people closer, Modi wrote on his Facebook account Monday. I will have in-depth talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the full spectrum of our partnership and strengthening it in diverse fields for mutual benefit. We will also have the chance to discuss major common challenges like terrorism, he wrote, next to a photo of himself with Netanyahu. To underline the importance Jerusalem is ascribing to Modis visit, Netanyahu cleared his schedule to be at his prominent guests side throughout almost the entire time he is in the country. This kind of attention by an Israeli prime minister is usually reserved for American presidents. I will accompany the prime minister at many events during his visit, as befits the leader of the largest democracy in the world, Netanyahu said Monday during the weekly cabinet meeting. On Tuesday, hours before Modis arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, he and Netanyahu co-authored an opinion piece hailing the importance of this weeks visit. The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size, the two leaders wrote in the piece, which was published in The Times of India and Israel Hayom newspapers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, during the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO) Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples. Both Israel and India are complex countries, Modi and Netanyahu continued. Like yogic asanas grounding down and pulling up at the same time, they face many challenges. By working together we can overcome some of the challenges. Besides the high symbolic value and the diplomatic meetings, Modis visit has a strong economic focus as well. The two countries are set to establish a new India-Israel CEOs Forum, which is expected to serve as a hub to foster trade and commerce. I will join with leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and startups to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground, Modi wrote on Facebook. In addition, I hope to get insights into Israels accomplishments in technology and innovation through on-site visits. Then-defense minister Moshe Yaalon meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of a defense industries of Israel pavilion during an arms fair held in Bangalore, India, February 18, 2015. (Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90) Modi, who visited Israel for the first time in 2006 as chief minister of Gujarat, is scheduled to land at around 4 p.m. in Tel Aviv, where he will be greeted by an official welcoming ceremony, attended by Netanyahu. En route from the airport to Jerusalem, the two prime ministers will stop at the Mishmar Hashiva moshav to visit the Danziger Dan Flower Farm, one of Israels leading floriculture companies. Together with Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, the prime ministers will learn about the innovative way in which the flowers are produced there, according to the Prime Ministers Office. Once Modi and Netanyahu arrive in the capital, they will head to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. The two leaders will visit the Hall of Names and participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and tour the Childrens Memorial. At 8 p.m., Modi and Netanyahu will deliver statements to the media at the Prime Ministers Residence on Balfour Street, before dining together. Relatives and friends of Holocaust survivors place flowers and candles on names of concentration camps seen on the floor of the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 28, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90) On Wednesday morning, Modi will hold a working meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. From the Presidents Residence, he will head back to the King David Hotel for another working meeting with Netanyahu. After the two leaders have lunch together, they will attend a ceremony during which a series of bilateral agreements will be signed, and deliver statements to the press. In the afternoon, Modi is set to meet opposition leader Isaac Herzog and members of the Indian community. He will then head to the Israel Museum, where together with Netanyahu he will walk through the Synagogue Route and gaze at a reconstruction of the Kadavumbagam synagogue from the town of Cochin in southern India. The 16th-century wooden structure has an exquisitely carved and painted ceiling directly influenced by the decorations of mosques and Hindu temples, according to the Israel Museum. A crumbling old Cochin synagogue (photo credit: CC-BY, Emmanuel Dyan via Flickr) The Jewish community in India was always welcomed with warmth and respect and never faced any persecution, Modi and Netanyahu wrote in their joint article Tuesday. The Jews of Indian origin in Israel are proud of their heritage and have left an indelible imprint on both societies. Both communities serve as a human bridge between our nations. On Wednesday evening, at around 8, the two prime ministers will address a major rally at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, which is expected to draw some 4,000 participants. Before the two leaders make their speeches, the crowd will be entertained by a cultural program, including a performance by popular Bollywood playback singer Sukhwinder Singh. In Tel Aviv, he will also meet with diamond merchants from Gujarat, a state in western India. I am particularly looking forward to interacting with the large vibrant Indian diaspora in Israel that represents an enduring link between our two peoples, Modi wrote on Facebook. About 12,000 non-Jewish Indian nationals currently live and work in Israel, as well as some 80,000 Israeli Jews with at least one parent of Indian origin. Only 5,000 Jews remain in India today. In Tel Aviv, Modi is also scheduled to meet Moshe Holtzberg, the now 12-year-old son of two Chabad emissaries, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were killed in a November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. He is also expected to meet with Sandra Samuel, Moshes nanny at the time, who rescued the boy on the day of the attack. The attack on the Indian citys Chabad House was part of a mass attack in the city by a Pakistani Islamist group that left 166 dead and hundreds injured. In addition to the Holtzbergs, four other Jewish visitors to the Chabad House were killed in the attack. Moshe Holtzberg seen on his first day at first grade in the city of Migdal Haemek on August 26,2012. Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant, were killed during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani Islamic terrorists. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. (Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash90) On Thursday morning, Modi and Netanyahu will take a helicopter ride to Haifa, where they will visit a cemetery where Indian soldiers who fought in World War I are buried. Modi is expected to lay two wreaths one for Hindu and one for Muslims soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918, as he explained in his Facebook post. On their way back to Tel Aviv, Modi and Netanyahu will stop at Olga Beach to visit a water desalination unit operated by G.A.L. Water Technologies. Israels extreme water crises in the past place it in a unique position to understand Indias quest for efficient water solutions, the two prime ministers wrote. The cost effective adaptation of Israeli technology to Indias needs could create new solutions that we could use to help address the water challenges of other developing nations across the globe. Modi and Netanyahu will proceed to have lunch with Indian and Israeli executives at the Dan Hotel, before attending a large innovation conference, during which five Israeli companies and four Indian companies will make presentations. In 1992, when diplomatic ties were established, bilateral trade was at about $200 million. Today, it reaches $5 billion, one-fifth of which is in Israeli defense exports. India is a key export market for Israel, said Economy Minister Eli Cohen. It is a country of 1.3 billion consumers, some 300 million of whom belong to the middle and upper-middle class, with purchasing power equal to the middle class of Western economies, he added. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, inspects IDF troops with President Reuven Rivlin during the first official visit to Israel of an Indian leader, October 14, 2015 (Mark Neyman/GPO) After a short meeting with Indian students late Thursday afternoon, Modi will head to the airport, where Netanyahu will bid him goodbye during an official ceremony. This weeks historic visit, as we celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, reflects not just the close cooperation of our governments, but also the great sympathy and affinity between our peoples, the two prime ministers wrote. We are confident that 25 years from now, Indians and Israelis will look back on this visit as the first of many historical milestones that we reached together in the great friendship between our peoples.

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Bulgaria is a step closer to full membership of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – The Sofia Globe

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has decided to accept Bulgaria as a liaison country, the first state to take the next step towards full membership since 2009. The decision was taken at the IHRAs first bi-annual plenary meeting under the Swiss Chairmanship in Geneva, the organisation said after the conclusion of the meeting on June 29 2017. TheIHRAunites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research world-wide, and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration. At the four-day meeting in Geneva, more than 200 experts and policymakers from the IHRAs31 member countries,11 observer countries, andseven international partner organizationsgathered to discuss Holocaust education, research and remembrance as a contemporary political issue. The Bulgarian government decided on March 8 2017 to apply for full membership of IHRA. Bulgarias Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the countrys candidacy had prompted a strong interest among the member states that have highly appreciated Bulgarias performance as an observer in the IHRA from December 2012, as well as the commitments made to strengthen the commemoration, education and research activities on Holocaust issues. During the presentation of the Bulgarian candidacy, the honorary president of the IHRA, Professor Yehuda Bauer, expressed his full support for Bulgarias membership and noted that the allianceheld open discussion and the presentation of concrete results on all issues on the agenda of the organization, and that Bulgaria has the capacity and opportunity to contribute to this process, the Foreign Ministry statement said. Bulgaria was allied to Nazi Germany in World War 2, but in 1943, thanks to the initiatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some political leaders and civil society, refused to hand over Bulgarian Jews to the death camps of the Holocaust where more than six million Jews were murdered. In northern Greece and Yugoslavia, under Bulgarian control on behalf of Germany, a total of 11 343 Jews were deported, mainly to Treblinka, where they were murdered by the Nazis. These Jews, through earlier legislation approved in Sofia, did not have Bulgarian citizenship. Because of the events of 1943, a number of Bulgarians are honoured at the Yad Vashem Museum as Righteous Among the Nations. An initiative is underway for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the prevention of the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to the Holocaust. (Main photo: The Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel. Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism) /Politics comments

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Simone Veil, Ex-Minister Who Wrote France’s Abortion Law, Dies at 89 – New York Times

In 2008, she became one of few politicians to be elected to the Acadmie Franaise, the august 40-member body that is the authority on the French language; Valry Giscard dEstaing, the president under whom Mrs. Veil served as health minister, is another. Opinion polls routinely showed Mrs. Veil to be one of the most admired people in France. The abortion law, still known as the Veil Law, was one of the most divisive actions taken by the government of Mr. Giscard dEstaing and his first prime minister, Jacques Chirac. In three days of debate before the National Assembly passed the law on Nov. 29, 1974, by a vote of 284 to 189, phrases like an act of murder, monstrous and France is making coffins instead of cribs were hurled in the chamber. Critics likened abortion to Nazi euthanasia; one asked, Madame Minister, do you want to send children to the ovens? Mrs. Veil told lawmakers: I say this with total conviction: Abortion should stay an exception, the last resort for desperate situations. How, you may ask, can we tolerate it without its losing the character of an exception without it seeming as though society encourages it? I will share a conviction of women, and I apologize for doing it in front of this assembly comprised almost exclusively of men: No woman resorts to abortion lightheartedly. Abortion had been criminalized in France since the Napoleonic era. The new law, which took effect on Jan. 17, 1975, made the procedure legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy (later extended to 12), and required that the procedure be carried out by a doctor at a hospital or a clinic. Girls under 18 were required to obtain parental consent. Mrs. Veil, whose parents and brother died in the Holocaust, rejected the comparison of abortion to murder as absurd. Simone Jacob was born in Nice, France, on July 13, 1927, the youngest of four children of Andr Jacob, an architect, and the former Yvonne Steinmetz. She completed her baccalaureate, the diploma required to pursue university studies, on March 29, 1944, the day before her arrest by the Germans. She was deported, with her eldest sibling, Madeleine (nicknamed Milou), and their mother, to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and then to Bergen-Belsen. The two sisters were liberated on April 15, 1945, but their mother had died of typhus weeks earlier. Another sister, Denise, who entered the Resistance at the start of the war, was arrested and deported to the Ravensbrck camp in Germany, but survived by hiding her Jewish identity. No trace of their father, Andr, and brother, Jean last recorded in Lithuania on a convoy of French Jews bound for Estonia was ever found. Im often asked what gave me the strength and will to continue the fight, Mrs. Veil told an interviewer in 2005. I believe deeply that it was my mother; she has never stopped being present to me, next to me. Her left forearm forever carried the number tattooed on it at Auschwitz; she tended to wear long-sleeve dresses. Resuming her studies in law and political science in Paris, Simone Jacob met a fellow student at Sciences-Po, Antoine Veil. He later enrolled at the cole Nationale dAdministration, which trains Frances top civil servants, and became a businessman. They married in 1946 and had three sons: Jean, Claude-Nicolas and Pierre-Franois. The middle son died in 2002; Mr. Veil, in 2013. Mrs. Veil is survived by her two other sons and 12 grandchildren. Her sister Milou died in a car accident in 1952; her sister Denise died in 2013. In 1954, Mrs. Veil passed the extremely competitive national examination to become a magistrate. As an official in the Justice Ministry, she helped improve living conditions for female prisoners, including Algerians detained during their countrys war for independence. At age 46, she was plucked from the Civil Service by Mr. Giscard dEstaing to serve as health minister, becoming only the second woman to hold full cabinet rank in France. (The first was Germaine Poinso-Chapuis, health minister from 1947 to 1948.) Mrs. Veil left the government in 1979 to run for the European Parliament, in the first direct elections to that legislative body, for what was then the European Economic Community, a precursor to the European Union. In her July 17, 1979, speech accepting the presidency of the Parliament, she said: Whatever our political beliefs, we are all aware that this historic step, the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage, has been taken at a crucial time for the people of the Community. All its member states are faced with three great challenges: the challenge of peace, the challenge of freedom and the challenge of prosperity, and it seems clear that they can only be met through the European dimension. Mrs. Veil was president of the Parliament until 1982 and remained a member until 1993. She returned to the French government in 1993, as minister for health, social affairs and urban issues, under Prime Minister douard Balladur, serving until 1995. From 1997 to 1998, she was president of the High Council for Integration, a body devoted to the assimilation of immigrants, and in 1998 she began a nine-year term as a member of the Constitutional Council, the countrys highest legal authority. Mrs. Veil was also the president of the Fondation pour la Mmoire de la Shoah, Frances Holocaust remembrance organization, from 2000 to 2007, and chairwoman of the board of the Trust Fund for Victims from 2003 to 2009. The group supports victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in cooperation with the International Criminal Court. She published an autobiography in 2007, in which she criticized the long delay in the French governments acceptance of responsibility for the murder of French Jews, whose deportations were organized by the collaborationist regime based in Vichy. The French state affirmed its collective error for the crimes only in 1995, during Mr. Chiracs presidency, after decades of equivocation. When Mrs. Veil was elected to the Acadmie Franaise, the novelist Jean dOrmesson paid her tribute, saying her capacity to bring about support among the French was crucial to her popularity. This support does not rest on mediocre and lame consensus among the countless opinions that never cease dividing our old country, he said. It rests on the principles that you affirm and, against all odds, without ever raising your voice, manage to convince everyone of. We can say this without airs: In the heart of political life, you offer a moral and republican image. Follow Sewell Chan on Twitter @sewellchan. Tamar Ziff contributed research. A version of this article appears in print on July 1, 2017, on Page A24 of the New York edition with the headline: Simone Veil, 89, Politician Who Inspired France, Dies.

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Benjamin Netanyahu will be PM Modi’s shadow: Israel’s envoy to India – Economic Times

NEW DELHI: India and Israel will elevate an already deep relationship to the strategic level by announcing high-level mechanisms on water, agriculture and innovation when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives there on what will be a historic visit. The first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel in the 25 years that India and Israel have had diplomatic relations, the Modi visit -July 4-6 -will see him spending three days with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and stitching up agreements on areas that are critical for India’s developmental goals. Modi will receive a pomp-filled welcome, said Daniel Carmon, Israel’s envoy to India. “During the three days that Modi will be in Israel, PM Netanyahu will accompany him everywhere,” Carmon said, indicating the depth of interest in the visit. An MEA statement said “During the visit, the PM will have detailed dis cussions with PM Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest and will also call on President Rivlin. Elements of his programme include homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa and address to the Indian community at an event in Tel Aviv .” On the 4th, Modi will visit holocaust remembrance centre Yad Vashem, have a private dinner with Netanyahu, and call on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was recently in India. The main day will be the 5th which will be taken up with the official meeting with Netanyahu, delegation talks, signing of agreements and a joint press conference. He will also meet Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader and Moshe, the little boy who was the only survivor, when his family was attacked by LeT terrorists at the Chabad House in Mumbai on 26/11. On the 6th, Modi will go to Haifa to pay homage to the Indian soldiers at the cemetery and return to Tel Aviv to meet about 15 CEOs from both countries, before leaving for Germany .

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Keep your promise – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Antonio Guterres. (photo credit:REUTERS) Earlier this month, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the murder of border policewoman Hadas Malka, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on June 16. On Thursday and Friday, a group with alleged ties to the PFLP was hosted at the UNs headquarters in New York. Al-Haq participated in the UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation. Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, a pro-BDS organization, is said to be active in the PFLP. In 2007, High Court justices were convinced of Jabarins ties with the PFLP after seeing confidential intelligence information presented to them by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Based on that information, the court upheld the IDFs refusal to grant Jabarin the right to leave Israel. Then-justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote the courts decision, noting that Jabarin is apparently a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terrorist organization which has not shied away from murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights; rather, they violate the most basic right of them all, the most fundamental right that without which there are no other rights the right to life. It is unthinkable that the UN, a body created to facilitate worldwide peace and solve conflicts through open communication among the nations of the world, would provide a venue to a group with ties to a terrorist organization. While freedom of expression and assembly are integral to open debate, these rights must not be extended to those affiliated with organizations that use violence and murder to intimidate and terrorize. The best defense against Israel-bashing fests such as the UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation is a good offense. Organizers of these kangaroo courts must be exposed for what they are: supporters of nihilistic terrorist organizations. In the present atmosphere in UN forums, on college campuses and on social media, outlandish accusations are regularly leveled at Israel, a country compared implicitly or explicitly to Nazi Germany. When Israel is accused of committing ethnic purges or maintaining the Gaza Strip as a huge concentration camp, it is not particularly effective to point out that Israel is the Middle Easts most accommodating country for homosexuals or that Israels technologies are among the most demanded in the world or extol Israels rescue missions in Haiti. Rather one must uncover those who make these pernicious claims for what they are: fellow travelers with organizations such as the PFLP, members of which took responsibility for the massacre of the Fogel family in 2011 and the pogrom in Jerusalems Har Nof neighborhood in 2014. According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is not the only Palestinian nonprofit that has ties to the PFLP. Others include Addameer, the Alternative Information Center, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestine Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. Jewish Voice for Peace, another group that took part together with Al-Haq in the UN forum, organized a 2017 National Member Meeting in April that featured Rasmea Odeh, a PFLP operative convicted of US immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel. Slightly more surprising was the participation of former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Joint List MK Aida Touma- Sliman and executive director of BTselem Hagai El-Ad. How can we take these individuals calls for justice seriously when their ideological bedfellows are members of an organization that is willing to use suicide bombings and coldblooded attacks on civilians including stabbing to death babies and little children as they sleep to further their goals? The same question must be asked of NGOs that collaborate with Hamas, which like PFLP is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the EU and Israel. In April, during a speech to delegates at the World Jewish Congresss plenary assembly while Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN secretary-general said that he would be on the front lines in the fight against antisemitism, and promised to make sure the UN is able to conduct all possible actions for antisemitism to be… eradicated from the face of the earth. Guterres added that a modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist. It is time for Guterres to keep his promise. Share on facebook

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump is no joke – Rutland Herald

President Donald Trump will hold the first fundraiser of his 2020 re-election campaign this month at the Trump International Hotel near the White House. That is now a normal sort of sentence. It may be true or it may not (in fact it is). Theres no enormity about it. Already, on the 155th day of this presidency, Americans are suffering from incredulity fatigue. Oh, we just sold $12 billion of fighter jets to Qatar a few days after Trump accused Doha of being a major funder of terrorism that kind of thing. So much for the theor y Trump would get bored of the job (or distance himself from his business empire). Hes thinking eight years; the June 28 dinner with him is billed as a BIG LEAGUE event for his supporters. What, one wonders, makes it Big League? Up until now, Trump has consistently fulfilled only one campaign promise: We must as a nation be more unpredictable. Trumpism is an exercise in arbitrariness. At its core lies distraction. The aim is to get Americans heads spinning. Have them waste time dissecting statement X as Trump moves on to outburst Y. For example, Ill absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. That was a good one. Or, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations. Six weeks later, Trump reveals that there are no tapes of their conversations. Not bad. Had a Nixonian ring to it. Noise is the thing and adrenaline and suspense. There is no content, meaning, history or gravity. Can the president, less than six months into his first term, really hold a 2020 fundraiser in his own Washington hotel? The Oval Office has become the Oval Adjunct. It provides, at taxpayer expense, an ancillary service to Trump properties. Trump visits Yad Vashem, Israels memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and writes in the guest book: It is a great honor to be here with all my friends so amazing & will never forget! So amazing! Almost as amazing as the White Houses International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not mention the Jews. Oh, yes, them. There we have it: the unbearable lightness of being Donald Trump. His latest is a solar wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Remember that one. In Humboldts Gift, Saul Bellow wrote that the United States is a big operation, very big. One thing is certain: It is bigger than this little man. Trumpism is a form of collective gaslighting at Twitter speed. It is founded on the principle that velocity trumps veracity perfect for the presidents manic personality. I t reflects the presidents intuitive sense through his own acute experience of limited attention spans. It seeks to achieve dominance through a whirlwind of individually meaningless but cumulatively manipulative statements. Max Weber, the German sociologist, contrasted modern legal rule with traditional rule. In the first, the person who commands has himself to obey the rule; in the second, the lords administrative staff is made up of personal dependents (members of the household or household officials) or from relatives or personal friends (favorites). In this setup, the bureaucratic idea of competence as objectively demarcated spheres of responsibility is absent. Trump functions, still, within our democratic institutions, but with a personal court ( composed in part of family). Legal rule, as defined by Weber, is not really his thing. The vassal-like professions of fealty from his Cabinet the other day feudalism meets Pyongyang demonstrated why he likes Saudi Arabia so much and has such evident reservations about the Republic. There are many things that concern me about the Trump presidency in fact, few dont but the frivolous blurring of truth and untruth, fact and falsehood, is the most grave. Liberty depends on facts. When the distinction between truth and lies disappears there is no basis for the rational discourse on which the organization of a free society, governed by laws, depends. Disorientation propagates itself and disoriented people are more inclined to accept a despot as the sole font of truth. Theres no policy toward Syria. Theres no policy toward Russia. Theres contempt from the White House for important European allies. Theres shock really that China is not whipping North Korea into shape. Theres a grotesque attempt to deprive tens of millions of Americans of health insurance. Theres contempt from a man of 71 for the planet his grandchildren will inherit. All of this is serious. But its not as serious as the seeping, constant attempt one sacred value at a time to disorient Americans to the point they accept the unacceptable, cede to the grotesque, acquiesce to total arbitrariness as a governing principle. On one side the Constitution; on the other the rabbit hole that leads to the Trump International Hotel. And to Trump saying of President Andrew Jackson that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, Theres no reason for this. In fact, Jackson had been dead for 16 years when the Civil War began. He said nothing. There is no reason to or in Trumpism. Thats the point and the danger of it. Roger Cohen is a columnist for The New York Times.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump’s travel ban is about to go into effect. Here’s why it’s immoral. – Vox

Six months ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order shutting out refugees and halting visas from six Muslim-majority countries. But that ban was never implemented, thanks to rulings in two separate federal courts. That changed on Monday. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration should be permitted to enforce the ban starting on Thursday, June 29. The court did impose some restrictions on the ban, however, including allowing people who already have a valid visa to enter the country. The ban on refugees remains, though. Refugees will not be allowed to enter America for a period of 120 days unless theyve already been issued a visa or have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Below is an interview I conducted back in January with Joseph Carens, a professor of political theory at the University of Toronto and a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. The author of The Ethics of Immigration, Carenss work focuses on the challenges involved in applying democratic principles to immigration policies. Here, I spoke with Carens about the ethics of Trumps executive order as well the normative questions it raises about human rights. What do you see as the basis of our moral obligations to admit refugees? I think there are at least three overlapping bases for these obligations. The first is that the US is sometimes responsible for the fact that someone has become a refugee. For example, people in Iraq and Afghanistan who have helped American forces by serving as translators or in other capacities have sometimes been put at risk because of this service. There are already stories of such people being excluded from admission (and hence, safety) as a result of Trumps policy. The second basis for the obligation to refugees is simply the humanitarian duty to help people in desperate straits when one can do so. This duty has its roots in many different religious and secular ethical traditions. The United States has traditionally admitted more refugees than any other country (although Germany has clearly passed the US in this respect in the past few years). The complete ban on refugee admissions for four months and the subsequent reduction (by half) of the number who will be accepted is a failure to meet Americas humanitarian obligations. The third basis for the obligation to refugees is that the United States and most other countries have acknowledged that the international state system has a duty to protect refugees. In the wake of the failure of democratic states to protect Jewish refugees from the Nazis, the United States led the effort to create institutions that would prevent such a moral failure in the future. That regime already suffers from severe limitations, and the new Trump policy will undermine it further. What are the moral limits on what states can do to individuals in a democratic society, and why is the answer to that question relevant to thinking about immigration policy? I’d say that we have principles that everyone recognizes. For example, people have a right to a fair trial, to freedom of religion, to freedom of speech, to freedom of movement. Now, many of these things are put into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but there are overlapping rights that are freestanding norms that we have about how you can treat people or what it’s reasonable for the government to do. These are basic norms of fairness and reciprocity, principles that we hold to be transcendentally true. Ill stop you there for just a second and ask an obvious question: What do these norms and rights have to do with immigration in particular? I imagine many people will associate these rights with citizenship, or membership in a defined polity. Well, this includes norms about how you can treat noncitizens. People sometimes think that all rights are due to citizenship, but that’s just not correct in the empirical or legal or normative sense. So take the right to a fair trial. If you’re a noncitizen and you’re accused of a crime, you’re supposed to be treated exactly the same way a citizen is. You have the same rights that a citizen does in this area. In fact, permanent residents have virtually all the rights that a citizen has except for the right to vote. In your book, you say that contemporary reflection about refugees begins in the shadow of the Holocaust. Countless Jewish people fled Hitler in search of protection, and most of them did not get it. Do you see Trumps executive order banning the entry of all refugees for 120 days and those from Syria indefinitely as analogous in any way? Absolutely. I think this is a point that’s been made by a number of Jewish groups who are trying to welcome Syrian refugees. It’s an irony, as many have noted, that this policy was announced on Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the time of the Holocaust, there were lots of Jews trying to flee Nazi Germany, and many Western states, including America and Canada, refused to accept them. President Trump’s answer to the question of how many Syrian refugees are too many seems to be “none.” None is too many. In the wake of World War II, in the wake of seeing what happened, we vowed never to let that happen again, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in the case of Syria. These people’s lives are at stake, and if the United States turns them away, why do we assume other countries will take them in? And if no one else takes them in, what do we think will happen to them? Theres a lot of discussion about the legality of Trumps executive order, but here Id like to dive into some of the deeper ethical objections. Ill start with this: Do you think this policy will produce more suffering than it relieves? The goal of the policy is to reduce the threat of terrorism, but many objectors (rightly) think that the policys actual effect will be to increase the threat of terrorism because it will alienate Muslims throughout the world and will confirm the claim of ISIS that the United States is fundamentally hostile to Islam, but it wont actually aid in preventing the entry of people who might pose a threat. This is an important, and, in my view, persuasive argument about the likely consequences of the policy, and so a good reason for rejecting it, but it is an ethical argument only in the very limited sense that any policy that causes more harm than good with respect to a legitimate goal (like reducing the threat of terrorism) can be said to be bad from a moral perspective. What about the claims that it runs counter to fundamental American values? Openness to immigrants and refugees has played a key role in making the United States what it is today and is a central element in the American ideal. This need not entail denying the reality of practices of marginalization and exclusion of immigrants and refugees at many points in the American past. Rather, it reflects a commitment to live up to the ideal and not to repeat those failures. This sort of objection to Trumps policy focuses on values and ideals, and, in that respect, it is clearly a moral argument. On the other hand, within some limits, deciding what you want your country to be is clearly the sort of thing that democratic politics is supposed to be about. Perhaps the most essential moral objection is that a policy like this violates basic principles that are supposed to limit or constrain democratic politics. Here Im thinking of principles of justice, fairness, equality, and individual freedom. I think this policy does that in two obvious ways. First, in imposing restrictions on entry that take immediate effect, it violates norms of fairness. As everyone knows, the policy has stranded people abroad who had already been living in the United States as well as people who had been given permission to come and had made life plans on that basis. To deprive people of a right to enter the United States that they had previously been granted and which they have done nothing to forfeit is unfair. The Trump administration has already implicitly acknowledged this moral failure in changing the policy so that it no longer restricts the entry of green card holders (i.e., people entitled to live in the US as permanent residents), but this still leaves a great many people who have done nothing wrong stranded abroad with their lives disrupted. For example, students cannot get in to continue or start their studies, workers with permits other than green cards cannot return, and so on. These exclusions are simply arbitrary. Second, the policy violates the moral principle that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of religion. The seven states whose citizens are not permitted entry are all overwhelmingly Muslim. Trump himself has implicitly acknowledged that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of religion by denying that he is doing so. This recalls the old saying that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. In this case, however, the hypocrisy is so blatant, given Trumps past and present statements about Islam, that no one who cares about reality can take his protestations seriously. This policy is clearly and deliberately aimed at restricting the entry of Muslims. Why is the distinction between migrants and refugees so important, and why do refugees have a stronger claim upon host societies for aid and sanctuary? Migrants are people who want to move from one country to another. They may have good reasons for moving or bad reasons for moving. Refugees are people who have a desperate need to move: They’re not safe in some fundamental way and they need to leave. So their claim to move is much stronger, and we all recognize that. The United States has signed the Geneva Convention on refugees. Even Trump doesn’t deny that refugees have some kind of claim, he’s just not willing to meet it. He’s concerned about those who are suffering and desperate, but he’s not prepared to say what he will do to help them. What rights do states have to determine that accepting or admitting refugees imposes unsustainable burdens or risks on their society? Nobody thinks that states have to admit people who actually are terrorists, and so it’s reasonable for a state to do some vetting. Nobody thinks a state should admit so many refugees that it cannot function. But in a lot of cases, this involves what one thinks is a reasonable assessment. So the idea that because someone might be a terrorist, or there’s a tiny chance that someone’s a terrorist, is not in itself a justification for shutting the doors. There has to be some kind of balance in terms of the judgments we’re making. Reasonable people can disagree about what that balance is, but the extreme standard that Trump is using is well beyond the standards of reasonableness. There seems to be a problem of distributive justice here in which the burdens of accepting refugees are not dispersed equally across the nations of the world. How do we deal with that given the limits on interstate cooperation? That’s an important issue, and there isn’t a structural solution to that, there’s nothing that can make a state accept refugees. So if the United States refuses to do, there is no one that can force us to do it. But that’s a question that every American should ask himself or herself: If we don’t take in these refugees, who is going to do it? And why do we think it’s reasonable to expect them to do it if we won’t? It seems to me that nobody is asking that question. Right now there are millions of Syrian refugees in countries like Jordan and Turkey and Lebanon, and these are not countries that have caused this crisis in any way. They have no particular responsibility for these refugees, except for the fact that they’re next door. But there’s no reason to expect these countries to provide new homes for all of these refugees for the rest of their lives, and there’s no sign that this conflict will end anytime soon. Here’s the thing: How many people actually ask themselves what will happen to these refugees if we dont take them in? I think a lot of people blind themselves to this question. They’re not willing to contemplate the consequences of refusing entry to these desperate people, and thats part of the problem.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

As Austrian Capital Readies for ‘Al-Quds Day’ March, Anti-Fascist Activists Pledge to Confront ‘Antisemitic Agitation’ – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “As Austrian Capital Readies for Al-Quds Day March, Anti-Fascist Activists Pledge to Confront Antisemitic Agitation” to a friend Al-Quds Day 2016 in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Photo: Screenshot. As pro-Iranian and Hezbollah demonstrators prepare for the annual Al-Quds Day march in Vienna on Saturday, anti-fascist activists in the Austrian capital are demanding that the government ban the event. In astatementannouncing a counter-demonstration at Saturdays rally, a wide range of individuals and organizations slammed march participants for their consistent antisemitic agitation against Jews and Israel.In striking contrast to the rest of western Europe, most of the statements signatories came from socialist and Green political circles. Noting that antisemitism was not the sole preserve of the extreme right, and that previous Al-Quds Day marches have been occasions for antisemitic placards and slogans, the statement called upon all anti-Fascist politicians from the parliament and the municipal council as well as civil society to join our alliance and to position themselves clearly and unambiguously against the Al-Quds march! June 23, 2017 3:23 pm Among the signatories of the statement were Austrian parliamentarians Sigi Maurer and Albert Steinhauser of the Green Party and Petra Bayr of the SPO Socialist Party. The head of theSocialist Partys section for the LGBT community, Peter Traschkowitsch, also signed. Several Jewish and pro-Israel groups added their names, including the Austria-Israel Friendship Society, the LaborZionist Hashomer Hatzair and the Austrian branch of the womens Zionist organization, WIZO. Other left-wing groups that endorsed the statement included the Communist Student Union of the Left. One of the organizers of the statement told The Algemeiner that opponents of the Al-Quds Day march were determined that hateful antisemitic ideology should never again be tolerated in the streets of this city. The glorification of terrorism is against the law in Austria, Stefan Schaden a spokesperson for Stop The Bomb, an organization campaigning for democracy in Iran said on Friday. So how come that supporters of the Iranian regime and of Hezbollah can march for the annihilation of Israel in the center of Vienna? For years we have demanded to ban Al-Quds Day, Schaden added. There must be a full ban on Hezbollah in Austria and in all of Europe, in order to effectively counter Iranian regime-sponsored terrorism. Schaden said that the Austrian governments decision to adopt the definition of antisemitismendorsedby the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) an inter-governmental organization gave added impetus to calls for the Al-Quds Day march to be prohibited. The definition includes antisemitism that is directed at the Jewish State of Israel, such as the denial of Israels right to exist, Schaden said. Previous Al-Quds Day demonstrations in Vienna have involved the display of Hezbollah flags as occurred in London last weekend as well as signs juxtaposing the Nazi swastika with a Star of David and inflammatory slogans describing Israel as the Fourth Reich. One of the main organizers of the Vienna Al-Quds Day event is an Austrian convert to Islam Erich Muhammad Waldmann, the imam of a leading Vienna mosque and a member of Austrias Council of Imams. Waldmann, who is said to have close links with the Iranian regime, was filmed at an Al-Quds Day march in 2015 calling for the destruction of the Zionist regime.

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June 24, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed


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