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ZGram: Where Truth is Destiny

April 27, 2000

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

Every once in a while, I like to see what our opposition is up to by studying their publications. This time my choice fell on the most recent issue, due out tomorrow, of the Canadian Jewish News.

As expected, it is first and foremost packed with Irving-Lipstadt content, from which I gleaned the following:

* Defense witness Jan van Pelt, referred to on page 1 as "a professor of architecture" and widely referred to likewise in many mainstream papers, is nothing of the sort. He is a "cultural historian" - as page 3 makes clear.

In this issue van Pelt admitted to being a Jew - the first time I have seen that in a paper, although the trial clarified that. In this issue he admitted that the Irving-Lipstadt trial had made him "nervous" and the verdict had been "quite a bitter victory".

His comment was that ". . . there was a real sense that this was a completely obscene issue we'd been involved in." Right he is on that one - only not the way he thinks!

He also explains that ". . . evidence and testimony in the years since World War II made it a 'moral certainty' that gas chambers were the main instruments of murder at Auschwitz between the summer of 1942 and fall of 1944."

A paragraph later we learn the difference between 'moral certainty' and other kinds of certainty. Moral certainty, explains van Pelt, is based on quality of evidence and is the best certainty a historian can have.

And then he adds: "It's a very particular technical term."

* A column titled "From the Editor's Desk" says this: "The recently concluded libel trial in London in which David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt for having called him a Holocaust denier, reminds us like a hammer hitting our forehead that there are still people in the world who harbour evil intentions toward the Jewish people."

That same column, same page, runs a blood-curdling poem, prefaced by these italicized words: The Bible avows that the Creator "Will avenge the blood of His Servants".

Next comes a rabbi, Louis Farrel, putting words in the Lord's mouth in what he calls "The Oath of the Holocaust". This poem includes the following:

"May the curse that is theirs be their sons,

May they die by their sword and their guns,

May their rivers flow red,

their first born be dead

May they perish from earth like Huns."

* We also get a glimpse of Holocaust Education, Canadian style:

"(A) teacher searched for a way to make comprehensible the incomprehensible, namely the number 6,000,000. He asked his young students who were familiar with baseball and baseball stadiums to imagine the Skydome in Toronto filled to capacity, every seat occupied and then to imagine 20 such stadiums filled to capacity and placed side by side. Then his students would have an idea of the number - but not of the suffering - of the Jewish children murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices."

* In a Letter to the Editor one Ezra Levant has observed the following:

"The (Canadian Jewish Congress) is pressuring the Ontario government to ban Christian prayer at Queen's Park and town councils, and they applauded when Saskatchewan banned prayers in tax-funded schools, too. (...)

"The CJC has made a decision: If it is for tax-funded prayer in Jewish day schools, how can it be against Christian prayer in tax-funded public facilities?

"Doesn't the CJC understand the precedent it wants to set for Christians will be applied to Jews, too? (...)

"Unfortunately, the CJC has forsaken its pro-Jewish past for an increasingly secular, multicultural and even anti-Christian future. (...)

"The words 'human rights' and 'minorities' don't even appear in the CJC's charter."

* In an article that is supposed to soften up the Netherlands for the appropriate guilt - and never mind they hid Anne Frank! - it is pointed out by Manfred Gerstenland in "Re-examining Holland's wartime record":

"...the Netherlands had the highest number of Waffen-SS volunteers in Western Europe. They numbered about 25,000, and another 5,000 applied. The number of Dutch Nazi collaborators during the war exceeded the number of those active in the resistance."

And, further down, in the same article:

"Dutch-born Holocaust psychologist Dr. Shai Schellekes, now living in Israel, comments: 'From an educational point of view, it is much better to tell Dutch children that there is a choice between good and evil, while the collective is neither good or evil. The collective myth of the good Dutchman is only an educational hindrance."

* Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel last month gets a comment or two. The visit is seen as 'a historic triumph for Israel and the Jewish people.'

By contrast, Pope Paul VI gets a posthumous rebuff because he spent only 12 hours in Israel, refused to utter the name of the Jewish state, and snubbed the chief rabbis ". . . on the basis of equality." And something else was missing: "There was no discussion of anti-Semitism or complicity in the Holocaust."

* Foreign workers, we find out, are a problem in Israel, as they are most everywhere else. Working conditions are poor; workers are exploited, and "Some employers illegally confiscate their passports when they arrive and withhold wages in the months before they return, virtually relegating them to the status of indentured servants."

* One Rabbi Reuben Poupko tells us some things regarding memory and history. Citing Chaim Yerushalmi, he writes:

"(M)emory is not synonymous with history. Memory springs from collective consciousness, and not only concerns itself with factual substance of the past, but is also informed by intuitive decisions made by history's heroes and victims about how to frame, contextualize and learn from that past.

"A people's character is determined not only by what they have done or what was done to them, but also by the lessons they decide to learn from those events. There is an often painful debate concerning the uses and abuses of the Holocaust memory . . . While the Torah never explains why we were slaves in Egypt, it repeatedly tells us how to behave because we were slaves. . . The Holocaust has refined our moral antennae..."

* And then, in an article titled "Holocaust denial's a tool for pseudo-intellectuals," we find out that

". . . the Nazis themselves originated the idea of Holocaust denial . . . "

Alan Schwartz, the article's author, then asks his readership, because

". . . troubling questions haunt: Do the deniers achieve success, despite their pecuniary penalty, by placing the facts of the Shoah - the Holocaust - in the arena of judicial debate? And is the truth of the horrors to be made dependent on whether they are verified and validated by this or that court? (...)

"The (Irving-Lipstadt) case has brought the troubling reality of this phenomenon to the broad general public, who might otherwise never have confronted or considered its implications."

* Also, very interesting are two side-by-side articles titled "Zionism and democracy are pillars to be preserved" and "What Israel needs now: to reconcile Judaism, democracy".

And here we were told all along that Judaism and democracy were identical ideological twins!

* And finally this: In trying to shore up support for the 13 Iranian Jews on trial for their lives in Iran for allegedly spying for Israel, CJC representatives marched themselves to the Iranian Embassy in Canada to have a little chat - but found themselves rebuffed.

So much for a stroll through the Canadian Jewish News pages.


Thought for the Day:

"Some events happen, but they are not true. Others, on the other hand, are true, but they never happen."

(Talmudic wisdom from Elie Wiesel in "Legends of our Time")

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