To my dear cousin from my America,
I can’t focus on my yiddish exercices tonight, too tired… but listening to Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yiddish speech in Stockholm (1978) makes me feel so good!
unsere Kinder haben ein Recht darauf die ganze Wahrheit zu erfahren, keine halben Sachen, das ist nicht fair, nicht förderlich und schlichtweg einfach nicht die Wahrheit !
Deutsche Schulbücher erklären Israelis zu Tätern
Im Nahost-Konflikt machen deutsche Schulbuchverlage die israelische Seite zu Tätern, Palästinenser zu Opfern. Cornelsen, Westermann und Klett sehen keinen Grund für Änderungen. Von Gideon Böss
Surprise surprise. The New York Times reports that the Hezbollah men who traveled to Burgas, Bulgaria to kill Israelis, did so by using Australian and Canadian passports, and they also carried fake Michigan IDs which were fabricated in Lebanon.
Now I know Australia is furious with Israel over the latter’s use of its passports. And apparently Israel promised Canberra that it wouldn’t do so again. Australia even expelled two Israeli diplomats after the Mabhouh affair, in which Mossad apparently used Australian passports. Will Australia now read the riot act to Hezbollah? Will Canada call in the Lebanese ambassador, who represents a government of which Hezbollah is a senior member?
I may be extremely naïve, but I can’t see why this would be necessary in this day and age. I understand the necessity of sovereignty and not putting Australian citizens traveling abroad in precarious situations, but as I see the global terror map, Israel and Australia are on the same side, with Hezbollah and its ilk on the other. So if everyone is using everyone else’s passports, why would the Australians give Israel so much stick over the use of its passports? The same goes for Canada. I understand that Australia and Canada don’t want their traveling citizens to be suspected of working for Mossad, and I feel their apprehension. I also see the inherent problem here for Australian Jews of being accused of dual loyalty. But what if this wasn’t even an issue? What if Australia and Israel’s security concerns and priorities dovetailed when it came to the war on terrorists? What if every Australian, Jewish and non-Jewish, understood that he or she stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel in this fight?
Surely Canberra and Jerusalem could come up with a modus vivendi that works for both countries, who are in the same boat against global Islamic terrorism.
What possible gain could Australia get by exposing Mossad operations against Iran and terror groups? Wouldn’t Australia benefit from the intelligence that Mossad gathers and the operations that it carries out? Doesn’t Australia have its own war to fight against Islamic terrorists? READ MORE
I can’t believe I’m actually writing this blog post. It’s been far too long ago, and I’m sorry. I guess, life has been filled with too many projects the last year and now I’m finally ready to talk about them.
Four major things happened in 2012:
1) I dug out that courage within me and finally booked a ticket to Ukraine, to do that trip I always dreamt of. For two weeks I travelled around in Western Ukraine, in my grandfathers footsteps, alone. Discovered the place where he was born, the city where he grew up and sadly also the city where his family died during the Second World War. I will write a blogpost about this trip and about my family research (a pretty amazing story) very soon!
2) Got elected as one of the youngest members of the Jewish Community Council in Stockholm. Really looking forward to get going with this mission, being a more active part of the Jewish Community.
3) Went to Belarus with a Swedish Television crew from “Uppdrag Granskning” (Mission: Investigation), filming the TV documentary ‘The Black Boxes’ about the telecom company TeliaSonera and their cooperation with secret services in dictatorships, which started a huge debate in Sweden and internationally about corporate responsibilities.
4) Went to Poland with my cousin, producing our first Radio Documentary together, about the political happenings and antisemitic campaign in Poland 1968, also a little trip back to our mothers roots…
It’s a new year now, and I hope that this year will be filled with at least as many interesting happenings as last year… I already have one thing to look forward to. Guess what! In a week from now I’m going to Berlin, for the first time in my life. I’m so happy to be one of 50 participants from all over the world, at the ‘Shifting Thought Shifting Action‘, starting next sunday in Berlin, where change-makers of Jewish life in Europe are gathering to re:envision the future of Jewish communities in Europe. I’ll be listening to and meeting loads of interesting people, but also have a session/workshop myself, where I’ll be talking about campaigning; how to reach out and succeed with your goals (actually, how to CHANGE; change the society, change the world, you name it). I’m so much looking forward to this. I’m sure that these few days will be really inspiring when it comes to my work within the Jewish Community of Stockholm, but also life in general.
I always wanted to go to Berlin! Now I’m finally doing it. See you soon!
For those of you who don’t know much about Lapid, here are a few insights into the leader of Yesh Atid, who looks like he will be THE big player on the Israeli political scene. Lapid is kingmaker to King Bibi.
Lapid says he knows Israeli politicians well from covering politics for many years as a journalist, and he’s “not afraid of them.” I wonder though about his staying power: just how much fight does this former amateur boxer have in him? Because listening to his fighting words, especially against the current political system and pretty much every single serving Israeli member of Knesset [especially the religious MKs but not just them], I predict that Yair Lapid is going to get into the fight of his life – whether he joins the next coalition or stays in the opposition. And it’s going to be a long and ugly fight, so it’s just as well that Lapid said he’s going into politics for the long run. “It’s my second career and there won’t be a third,” he says.
He says he’s going to be a good, thorough, and professional politician, that he’s going to take it extremely seriously, and stuck to his promise of not recruiting any serving Israeli MK into his new party.
Like US President Barack Obama when he ran for his first term, Lapid is someone who is banking on a message of change; change in the political system, change in the nation’s fiscal and social priorities, change in the education system, change to the rules of national burden: he promises that he will work for seismic changes to the national fabric of Israeli society: the ultra-Orthodox must serve in the army or national service and they must join the workforce etc.
But like Obama, Lapid may be creating too many expectations, and might suffer from this down the line when he’s faced with the harsh realities of the Israeli political system, and the expected economic downturn and massive budget cuts the next government will have to implement.
But for now, Yair Lapid is clearly enjoying himself. He’s enjoying “telling the truth” as opposed to politicians’ necessity of messaging and towing party lines. He’s enjoying motivating people and firing up the discontented secular middle class.
Like Obama’s first campaign, Lapid crowd-sourced his campaign, mostly on the Internet. His Facebook friends asked him questions, and he sat all night and answered them. I followed one of his staffer’s Instagram account, and I can tell you that Lapid held at least one parlor meeting every day somewhere in the country. Every day. READ MORE
In my mind, the central theme of the 2013 Israeli elections was that there was no challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Within that context, all the main political battles that took place occurred within the political blocs: Yechimovich vs Lapid vs Livni; but more interestingly, between Netanyahu and Habayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. The latter were canvassing for essentially the same voter base. And if the polls hold true, Bennett emerged victorious – even if he is not crowned prime minister. He will be a major player in the next governing coalition.
Why did Bennett do so well? How did he manage to take away so many votes from the Likud? And how did they succeed in attracting voters so distant from their traditional national religious Zionist base?
For one, Bennett modeled himself on Netanyahu, and that drove the prime minister absolutely up the wall. And talking about walls, take a look at the following two pictures, I think they speak volumes about the two men, and the battle they waged between them. READ MORE
Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?
Looking ahead at 2013 and beyond, there are two distinct trends which I see that are coalescing into one unmistakable reality: Israel is not going to be either a Jewish or Democratic state down the line.
We’re not going to be democratic because there is very, very little chance we’re going to have a two-state deal with the Palestinians.
The way things are shaping up, our next government will likely be the most right-wing we’ve ever had here and its common denominator will be the annexation of large areas of the West Bank and ratification of a report which says that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are legal under international law. Whether you agree with this worldview or not, the fact is that most members of the next government are going to work to make this a reality.
The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is the most ‘moderate’ we’re ever likely to have here and what’s depressing about that is that even the maximum that a moderate Israeli government is willing to give isn’t anywhere near the minimum the Palestinians are willing to accept. And since we’re not going to have a moderate government here for at least the next four years, the Palestinians are not going to get their demands. And after the ‘moderate’ Palestinians go, their successors will be much more extreme.
So there won’t be peace and there won’t be two states.
I feel like a sinner confessing to a priest. I apologize for my blogging neglect; it has been nearly two months since my last update.
Previously I was discussing my plans for a move to Berlin. I have started and promptly ended a new entry about my stay in Germany a dozen times. The problem was not that I had nothing to say, but rather, was what I had to say particularly Jewish, or the same ramblings of any American 20-something doing the whole ‘globe-trotting’ thing? Was the star around my neck the driving force of my experiences or the Bruce Springsteen hoodie clinging to my body with pride?
Currently I am in the Netherlands, and with distance comes the possibility to unpack certain scenes that happened in Berlin that a non-Jewish American or other traveler would have experienced differently, or not at all:
* My first shower in Germany. I was seven when my mother tried to explain the horrors of the Holocaust. It was always her policy not to sugar-coat things in baby talk (but how can genocide be sugar-coated anyway?), and she said that the Nazis (or did she say Germans back then?) killed the Jews in showers of poison, instead of water. She probably explained the whole history leading up to that ending, but all I retained from her lesson was the poison water. The next time I turned the faucet on to take a shower, I stood there for minutes, staring at the water. How do you know if it’s poison or not? My mother screamed from outside the bathroom, “Do you think I own ComEd (the utility company)?” My mother’s disapproval was more real to me than evil ghost Nazis in our pipes, and I promptly jumped into the path of the water. Fast-forward nearly two decades: I stood outside a shower in a town called Neuenhagen, outside of Berlin. I knew the water wasn’t Zyklon B and that, regardless of the NPD story on the front page of the local newspaper I read that morning in the breakfast nook decorated with medieval-style woodcarvings of saints, no Nazis were operating the piping system. But it felt weird. Taking a shower in Germany. Normal events bringing up atrocities in my mind. I finished with the shower and brushed my teeth. It felt like brushing my teeth.
* Finding this book in my host family’s bookshelf: