Never Again? Shut Up!

Never Again? Shut Up!

Buchenwald“You Jews – it never happened, and if you don’t shut up it will happen again.”

This quote was shared by Ben Kingsley in his recent interview about filming the story of Simon Wiesenthal in Budapest, Hungary. This is disturbing, on every imaginable level.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and on this day I’m proud to be associated with the book Genocide Revealed, which covers the culpability of Hungarian War Hero Admiral Miklos Horthy.  According to Aleksander Veljic’s book, Horthy, Hungarian Regent over occupied Serbia, was the first Anti-Semitic leader of Europe – and an inspiration to Hitler. Miklos Horthy RazziaVeljic’s one-of-a-kind book independently revealed the names, dates & places prior to the unveiling of the UN Archives which corroborated his previously disputed presentation of events.

As we remember the liberation of Jews at Auschwitz, specifically, and Buchenwald, Dachau, and all the other places and events, generally, let’s also remember the unknown-to-most Razzia in Serbia, which happened 73 years ago on January 23. The details of this horrendous event are covered in detail in Veljic’s account.

But back to “It never happened, and if you don’t shut up it will happen again.” and Ben’s calm, reasoned plea that Europe grieve.  This bears megatons of emotional weight. The sentiment expressed by the person in Budapest gives credence to the oft-repeated quote that Europe has never forgiven the Jews for the Holocaust.

This “blame-the-victim” mentality directed at Jews must be opposed by non-Jews.  Pieter Schelte Ship SSJews shouldn’t need to ask and ask and ask for the respect and consideration they are denied in Europe and elsewhere. When Jews oppose naming the largest crane ship in the world after SS War Criminal Pieter Schelte the rest of us should support their demand to change it.

Even Google, the organizer of the world’s information has failed us. I looked to see how they would change their logo today, like they do for other memorable events.  Nope, they used their standard, cheery, colorful logo above their search bar.  But they did stick a link below “I’m Feeling Lucky” – “Remembering the Liberation of Auschwitz” as though the Holocaust is something we celebrate.  Jews should feel lucky too – they were liberated!” Yippee!Google Celebrates the HolocaustThey’re smart at Google and they have reasons for this which I’m unaware of.  These reasons might affect my opinion but for now I’m disappointed to say the least.

Further words fail me in the face of this issue. So today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I really needed a random virtues card to provide me with a lens through which to view what is otherwise a very depressing situation. “Wonder” was the card that came up.

Wonder Synchronicity“Wonder is being open to the beauty and mysteries of life. It is our soul’s appreciation for what is precious and inspiring. When we live reflectively, we delight in the signs and wonders that appear in our lives. We are alert to synchronicities that point us toward a decision or give us a deeper insight into the truth.” Sure enough, I am uplifted by these thoughts.

I suppose, in a way, it is synchronicity that brought Kingsley’s Interview,  Alexander Veljic, me, and you, together on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It does certainly open up a door of discussion.  So I will open myself up to the wonder of this day of remembrance, and that which reveals itself along its path.

I hope you will too. Let’s agree to share our thoughts with each other, and in so doing, remember to make the world a better place.

I wonder what will happen when we do?


Plus Jamais

Plus Jamais

I’m gratified by the generally favorable attention garnered by the Je Suis Charlie Who? – aka “Onion” blog. At the same time some were puzzled and a few were angry. Two types of people responded “Quoi?”.Anti Zionist Symbol

Some found my meandering post hard to follow. Others twisted what I wrote, creating an opportunity to loudly and proudly use the “Zionist” epithet.  Many automatically lob that stone at anyone daring to discuss antisemitism.  They do so with impunity.  It is politically correct to harbor this particular brand of hate.The irony is not lost on those able to discern double standards and false equivalencies. This followup blog is an explanation to the confused and a challenge to Anti-Zionists.”

Je Suis Charlie” is a wonderful hope-filled phenomenon. But declaring to “Suis” Charlie begs the question of whether France and the Western world are committed to “Plus Jamais” (Never Again) disassociate themselves from the Jews. We need to l
ift up the onion layers donned by emperor Charlie to find out if  Je Suis solidarity will be enough to cover up France’s shame.

Shame?  What shame?

The shame that comes from having apologized for delivering Jews to the Nazis while failing to defend them from the  kinds of attackers that massacred the Charlie cartoonists. Attackers who target Jews systematically.  Deliberately. With malice, forethought, and genocidal intensity. And without provoking them with offensive cartoons.

JuifAfter the Holocaust the world exclaimed “Plus Jamais” and invited the Jews to establish a homeland called Israel in what was then called Palestine.  The Jews have been mercilessly attacked and brutally murdered for having done so. The “Je Suis” movement should have started years ago.  And it should be called “Je Suis Juif”. To those who think I’m over reacting – yesterday the Wall Street Journal ratified my onion blog.

Here’s a shout out to my friend Mike Rochelle, for pointing out the WSJ video to me! Do me, him and the world a favor – vote for his book “Lead with Love and Peace“.

And as my regular readers know, I challenge myself at the end of each blog to take a fresh look at the topic, by pulling a random Virtues Card. Today I pulled  Righteousness. The first four sentences in the lengthy description are as follows.

“Righteousness is living by a code of moral rectitude. It is practicing impeccable integrity in light of what we know is right. We don’t allow the fads of the day to sway us from doing the right thing. Nor do we stand in judgment of others.”

Wow. It brings another French word to mind. Apropos.

Even though some may judge me as standing in judgment of others. To that idea, I say “non”.  This blog merely peels off an onion layer or two, shedding light on a topic that invites us to judge ourselves. Only we know who and what we are, and whether what we say we are is true or not.


Je Suis Charlie Who?

Je Suis Charlie Who?

My Bachelor of Arts degree features a major in Theology and a Minor in French. This odd combination qualifies me for very, very little. It does, however, lead me to reflect on what is just below the surface of the current Je Suis Charlie meme sweeping the Western World.

Searching for truthDr. David Wainwright, may he rest in peace, not only taught me French, he was one of my most respected mentors and an accomplished public speaker, who wasn’t afraid to address topics others avoided. I often reflect on a sermon he gave in the 80’s for the church that sponsored Ambassador College, where I was studying. He used the layers of the onion to symbolize how ignorance and misinformation must be stripped away to uncover truth.

What interested me most is that his analogy was true to the onion. There was nothing inside.  He didn’t put defined boundaries around Truth, which is why he was such a powerful mentor. He left it up to the individual, even within an organization generally comprised of people telling us exactly what to believe.  The balance between a collective and personal view is a topic that fascinates me.

Which ends the general philosophical noodling and gets to the point of this blog – the situation in France. Many Americans find the French rude and stuffy, but I love the language, the culture, and the people. I came to know them quite well living with four different families across northern France, including the Paris region, during a college immersion program. They can be very warm, genuine, and have big hearts. But the individuals aside, when it comes to their collective approach to Islamic Terrorism over the last 50 years there is little to like about France.

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Charlie

Suddenly everyone knows Charlie Hebdo – the French weekly satire magazine which may have inspired an American equivalent, The Onion, founded in Madison, where I live today. Ironic, since the meme from the Charlie Hebdo attacks is “Je Suis Charlie” – “I am Charlie”. Stripping off the layers of this French onion reveals that Charlie is an American whose last name is Brown. Yes, it’s the peanuts character. Do the French know this, and relate to Charlie Brown, I wonder? Do they have a Charlie Brown style anxiety about identifying with the Jews?

Is that, perhaps, why they tried to exclude Israeli Premier Netanyahu from participating in the recent rallies? Among the people who can legitimately claim “Je Suis Charlie” the Jews should be considered exhibit A. How can the French be so gauche? Where did such attitudes and perspectives originate?

The roots of the modern nation’s conflicted relationship to terrorism may be embedded in France’s own “Reign of Terror“. That, and the focus of their own colonialism may be behind their affinity for the Arab world which over the last 50 years has focused way too much of its energy on hatred for Israel. It goes beyond attacking cartoonists, it denies Israel’s right to exist, and seeks to drive its people into the sea. And while elements of French society are anti-Islam, they pale in comparison to France’s historic antisemitism. France has a long and illustrious history with this particular evil, which became especially visible during the World War II era.

It continues to lurk in the shadows, but can be clearly seen, if you know where to look. A double standard was applied to the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the subsequent attack at a Jewish Supermarket. This hypocrisy goes hand in hand with the false equivalency France applies to Israel and its enemies. There is an old “joke” that Europe has never forgiven the Jews for the Holocaust, which highlights the ongoing tendency to blame the victims of Islamic Terrorism, – when they’re Jewish, which they usually are. For this reason it’s especially important to pay attention to how France ultimately processes the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Will they finally begin to hold the perpetrators, including their culture and beliefs, responsible for the global hatred and murder that is being spawned, or will they childishly and selfishly focus on the handful of their own who fell victim to it? Will this current crisis drive the people of France to peel back the layers of the onion that have formulated their national perspectives in this confusing and troubled age? Or will they continue to scapegoat Israel and the Jews for a problem they, in fact, helped create?

Alan Dershowitz, for example, goes so far as to say the French “Played Footsie with Terrorists“. They’ve done this with Israel too. They enabled the Israeli nuclear program, which arguably has enabled Israel to survive, and thrive, as a beacon of multicultural diversity in a dark region. But France regretted their participation. They are torn, conflicted, and don’t really know who they are or what they stand for.  They don’t want to be seen as Antisemetic, but they still can’t identify with the Jews. Those sentiments run deep. In fact, there are those who believe Arabs imported antisemitism from Christian countries in Europe.

Regardless of where one stands on these various topics, and of the issues of concern in this current wave of French solidarity, I applaud the engagement of the French on the topic of the attack on Charlie. And as Dershowitz pointed out, the US President should absolutely have joined in. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And there are worse icons we could identify with than a newspaper that adopted Charlie Brown as its muse. But all of us, and at this moment in time, especially the French, need to reflect deeply on who and what we are.  We shouldn’t just “Suis” the latest fad. Reacting to attacks and conforming to mass movements is a fast and effective way to wrap more onion layers around large groups of people.

Diligent independent investigation of the truth is required to emerge from behind the veils of the onion layers, and into the light. If enough individuals engage in this activity, society can be transformed. Civilization has proven repeatedly that when large masses of people quickly adopt an identity they don’t fully understand, there are lots of tears. They flow freely when history crushes the onions we choose to inhabit.

Peeling the onionIn keeping with a blogging promise I made some time ago, I pulled a random Virtues card (from my deck of 100 cards obtained through The Virtues Project) and Courage came up. No challenge making many connections here. I’ll just end with excerpts of the quote from the front of the card and let my readers form their own. After all, each of us lives inside our own unique onion.

It’s helpful, though, as we’ve done here, to reflect upon the soil in which it grew. As you do, do so with Courage. And strip those layers off – one by one.

“Courage transforms fear into determination. It is embracing life fully, without holding back, doing what must be done even when it is difficult or risky. When we are tempted to give up courage supports us to take the next step. Courage opens us to new possibilities, and gives us the strength to sacrifice for what we love. At times we need courage to accept the truth, and to pick ourselves up after mistakes, ready to make amends and try again.”



bytdvd – House of David

bytdvd – House of David

bytdvd house of davidAncient Rock adds Evidence of King David’s Existence” is the headline in the Times of Israel.  It may not be big news, but it got my attention.  I was on the City of David Archaeological Expedition and know that doubt was cast on  the Biblical account because archaeological mention of bytdvd – “House of David” is rare.

Steven Fine, a professor of Jewish history and director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University, said “It’s astonishing how little the Jewish press has noticed it.” This blog is my modest contribution to getting it noticed.

In my humble opinion, it’s material, at this juncture in history, that we are finding more evidence of King David.  I  believe we are entering a convergence of Science and Religion, in which the secular West will have ample opportunity to rethink our decision to erect a Science that denies God by excluding Him and to create a Global political landscape that is Antisemitic.

Will this little rock change this?  No.  But it might encourage a few people to take a fresh look at the historical evidence for bytdvd and it’s implications.  After all, even Science accepts what John Adams said about facts, that they are “Stubborn Things”.  The facts around that quote are blurry too.  A bit of literary archaeology reveals that Tobias Smollett translated the phrase from a book by Frenchman Alain-René Lesage.  And there are even earlier usages.  In this case, it’s not about who chiseled the term “bytdvd” into the stone, but that it was chiseled at all.

bytdvd house of david commonsWhat Virtue did I randomly choose, after writing the above, for my closing comments? Modesty.

I love “coincidences” and was pleased to have used the word modest to describe this blog and the modest lowercase rendering of the Hebrew for House of David in the title.

Digging deeper (Archaeological pun intended) the card states “Modesty is a sense of quiet confidence and self-respect, which allows us to enjoy our accomplishments without inflating our self-importance.”  For Jews, modesty is a hard-won-virtue.  They have suffered for Millennia for the audacity of having a religion that claims they are “chosen”.   At the same time, they know their history, that there was a bytdvd, and that their modern nation rests on a firm foundation of international law.

And while I’m not a Jew, and I know this ancient rock is not the Rock of Salvation, it is nice that although it once was lost, now it is found.