jtnews | october 2, 2009
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DESCRIPTIONJTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington issue for Oct. 2, 2009.
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Rabbi Berry Farkash leads the procession to carry the newly finished Torah, held by Roei Ganzarski, to its home at the Chabad of the Central Cascades in Issaquah. See the story on page 4.
Revelations of Iranian plant return nuclear threat to center stageRon KampeasJTA World News Service WASHINGTON (JTA) With Iran, it always comes back to the nuclear issue. The revelation last Friday that Iran has a second secret uranium-enrichment plant with a configuration inconsistent with peaceful intent, according to President Obama has placed the Islamic Republics nuclear program front and center, spurring momentum in Congress, at the White House and in Europe on potential sanctions that U.S. officials describe as crippling. Ahead of Thursdays meeting in Geneva between Iranian officials and representatives of the United States and five other major powers a summit arranged before last weeks revelations as part of the U.S. presidents engagement policy Obama said he would demand an Iranian commitment to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog. At that meeting, Iran must be prepared to cooperate fully and comprehensively with the IAEA to take concrete steps to create confidence and transparency in its nuclear program and to demonstrate that it is committed to establishing its peaceful intentions through meaningful dialogue and concrete actions, Obama said. Irans leaders continue to insist that their program is peaceful and that they are complying with IAEA rules. But it didnt help their argument that over the weekend Iran tested missiles capable of reaching Israel, parts of Europe and U.S. forces in the Middle East tests apparently scheduled long before the revelations. News of the secret plant threatened to obscure the human component of the threat posed by Irans leadership: The one directed at the Iranian opposition, which charges that the June 12 election was stolen by the regime. For a while, talk of centrifuges and a potential nuclear threat was overshadowed by images like that of the young woman gunned down during an election protest whose last moments were captured on video and posted on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site. The result was a previously unimaginable collusion of interests between pro-Israel groups that had been pressing for sanctions and liberal groups that had opposed them. Both now are making the case that the Iranian regime represents an extremist and dangerous threat albeit separately, for the most part. The time is now, not months from now, to determine the most effective and impactful sanctions and implement them, said a statement from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish communitys foreign policy umbrella group. Should the U.N. Security Council not be able to muster the votes necessary, then Europe, the U.S. and other nations should act outside of the framework of that body. So far, European countries appear to be taking a tougher stance on Iran than Obama. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined Obama on stage last Friday in Pittsburgh, at the G-20 industrial summit, to sound ominous warnings to Iran. Brown spoke of further and more stringent sanctions, and Sarkozy said the sanctions could begin as soon as December. It remains to be seen whether Russia and China will join expanded and enhanced sanctions. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he prefers negotiations, although he acknowledged last week that sanctions may be inevitable. China pressed Iran to cooperate with the IAEA. The Washington Post reported Sept. 29 that the Obama administration was prepared to go it alone by enhancing existing sanctions against dealing with Irans banks and imposing new sanctions targeting insurers and reinsurers of its energy sector. A senior European diplomat told JTA that the European Union is also ready to join the United States in
Synagogue vandalism evokes anger, strong sense of communityJoel MagalnickEditor, JTNews Three weeks after the fact, the paint has been scrubbed and the memory of the vandalism on two Seward Park synagogues has somewhat faded in light of the High Holidays, but police have yet to find a perpetrator to the crime that occurred Sept. 12. Still, for some members of Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, the discovery of swastikas spray painted on their synagogue and the parking lot after Selichot services on Sept. 12 hit an especially raw nerve. Its upsetting, its disturbing, its unfortunate there are people who hate for the sake of hate, and of course it makes it even more reprehensible given that there are a number of Holocaust survivors that are members of the congregation, said Moshe Kletenik, BCMHs rabbi. Im a child of Holocaust survivors who are the only survivors of their families. The red paint was still fresh when members of the Seward Park neighborhoods Orthodox Ashkenazic synagogue discovered the graffiti, which included the swastikas and the word Nazi and the words 4th Riech, misspelled. Sephardic Bikur Holim, which is located across the street from BCMH, and a few neighbors homes were vandalized as well. Seattle police responded immediately and turned investigation over to its bias crimes unit, which is investigating the vandalism as malicious harassment, the term for Washingtons hate crimes statute. Accord i ng to Seat t le Pol ice spokesma n Ma rk Jamieson on Wednesday, the case is still under investigation.
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Confronting the Holocaust industryNearly 65 years on., the Holocaust is more about money than memoryEdwin BlackSpecial to JTNews During the first months of the Hitler regime, in 1933, leaders of the Zionist movement concluded a controversial pact with the Third Reich, which, in its various forms, transferred some 60,000 Jews and $100 million almost $1.7 billion in 2009 dollars to Jewish Palestine. In return, Zionists would halt the worldwide Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott that threatened to topple the Hitler regime in its first year. Ultimately, the Transfer Agreement saved lives, rescued assets, and seeded the infrastructure of the Jewish State to be. Fier y debates i n st a nt l y ig n ited throughout the pre-war Jewish world as rumors of the pact leaked out. That acrimony was rekindled in 1984 with the original publication of my book The Transfer Agreement and has never stopped. Why? Simply put, The Transfer Agreement came out a decade ahead of its time. When the book first appeared, in 1984, the world was still preoccupied with the enormity of Nazi genocide. The worlds emphasis was on the murderous events of the war years. Organized remembrance was collectively fighting an anti-Semitic revisionist movement that was trying to deny or minimize the Holocaust with rabid pseudo-history. Few had spoken of the financial aspects of the Holocaust until I did. Few had publicly ever used the words Zionist and Nazi in the same sentence until I did. For perspective, consider that the first network television attempt to treat the Holocaust was a TV series called The Holocaust, which aired in 1978 the same year neo-Nazis marched through Skokie. That was the year I began researching The Transfer Agreement. At the time, the Second Generation movement of children of Holocaust survivors was just forming. The First World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors was only in the planning stage. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which received its charter in 1980, was several years and many controversies away from opening. Organized Holocaust education was essentially nonexistent. For society and for survivors, the dominant priority was coming to grips with the genocide not the assets. What has changed in 25 years? Assets are now part of almost every Holocaust discussion. Zionists are compared to Nazis everywhere by anti-Semites and opponents of the existence of the State of Israel. Holocaust remembrance has become a business. The survivors efforts at recovering assets or restitution have been expropriated by national and international organizations claiming to speak for them and then pretending to pay homage to them. Hence, we witness the spectacle of thousands of survivors in Brooklyn and Miami and elsewhere living at or near the poverty level. My dad in Palm Beach has nothing but a roof over his head. But the well-heeled movers and shakers of communal remembrance travel first class, create vibrant Web sites, and talk the talk all on their fair share of the diverted recovered assets or restitution of the actual survivors. Every day the survivors, in their newsletters and online exchanges, rail against the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for sequestering their access to the all-revealing Bad Arolsen archives while tiny Luxembourg, with few survivors, just gained a full copy. No one listens. Prominent national Jewish leaders find it easier to give well-funded communal cover to the perpetrator corporations, including insurance companies, who victimized the Jews. Holocaust historians find it more lucrative to go on the payroll of perpetrator corporations such as General Motors, IBM, I.G. Farben, and Deutsche Bank, murk the facts, and then slam the files shut. My mother jumped from a moving train on the way to Treblinka into a snow drift, neve