Saturday, February 28, 2009
Stern Magazine: "Bischof Williamson ist ein Idiot"
It may have been a bit blunt.... but certainly seems accurate to me.
By the way, idiots can be dangerous too.
Lady Renouf Profiled in Times [London]: Williamson is Her Prize
Friday, February 27, 2009
The United States Will NOT Participate in Durban II
When I was in London last week at an International Conference of Parliamentarians on Antisemitism, the Italian Foreign Minister said that if Durban II promises to be like Durban I, Italy would probably pull out.
This move by the United States probably means that Italy and other European nations will follow suit.
Canada long ago announced it was not going.
Here's Another Example of Racism
Edited 3:58 p.m.
So some commenters have been asking "What's racism?" Here's another example provided in an email sent out by the Mayor of a Orange Country, California town.
The title of the email was "No Easter egg hunt this year."
The mayor claimed he did not know of the stereotype of Blacks and watermelons. That's reason enough for him not to be mayor. And he was dense enough to send it to a Black woman.
[Added: so if he did not know of the stereotype why did he put watermelons on the lawn of the White House. This guy is so dumb that his lies only dig his hole deeper.]
He apologized and resigned [more than we can say for so-called Bishop Williamson].
Vatican Not Satisfied With [Fooled by] Williamson's Pseudo- Apology
The question is: Did Williamson think we were all stupid and would be hoodwinked by his so-called apology?
And who drafted it for him David Irving? Lady Renouf?
This guy is the gift that keeps on giving.... Though, truth be told, I would be happy to never hear of him again.
And -- to those who have asked -- he has never answered my email....
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Bishop Williamson Sees the Light [Or So He Says... And I Have a Bridge in Brooklyn that's for Sale]
A few days ago in an interview with NPR, I said that I was sure Williamson would soon announce that he had "seen the light" and turned away from his Holocaust denial. And, as predicted, it has come to pass.
I am not sure if his SSPX colleagues had read him the riot act or threatened to throw him in the nearest river but it seems that that is precisely what has happened.
I give it as much gravitas as I do his claim the Holocaust is a myth.
[Added: In other words, lest there be any doubt: I do not take anything he says seriously. Were he do wish me a good morning, I would look out the window first to see if the sun were indeed up.]
Remember that one of the first people he contacted upon his return from Argentina was David Irving and his sidekick so-called Lady Renouf.
Here is the full text of his statement.
The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.+Richard WilliamsonLondon, 26 February 2009.
History News Network Mystery Solved: Harris Salomon Strikes Again
When I inquired the editor even said he was not sure Rosenblat falls under the public figure category [public figures cannot sue for libel in the US when the libel action relates to their public activities. That is why Irving waited to sue in the UK.]
I told him that anyone who goes on Oprah twice, gives speeches all over about his experience, pens a memoir, participates in a movie, appears on Good Morning America would have a very hard time claiming not to be a public figure.
Pretty distressing that the HNN folks backed down just like that.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
A Survivor Excoriates Herman Rosenblat's Sidekick/ Handler, Harris Salomon
Peter Kubicek, one of the survivors who had been calling Herman Rosenblat's bluff for a long time and could get no one to listen, has blogged about this travesty. He describes Rosenblat as a "pathological liar" but thinks he has become increasingly deluded.
Kubicek focuses his attention and his venom on Harris Salomon, the person many people believe is orchestrating this latest endeavor:
His interview [On Good Morning America] was boorishly interrupted by his handler, Mr. Harris Salomon, who simply imposed himself into the camera's view and started answering some of the question himself.
While many people view this entire fiasco as grist for the mills of Holocaust deniers, Salomon blithely asserted that without Rosenblat "the deniers would perpetuate some other stories." The sad fact is that deniers have already been treating this story as a gift that keeps on giving. They already use Rosenblat's own words as proof that Jews lie, all Jews lie, and that the Holocaust itself "was nothing but a pile of Zionist B.S.," as one site triumphantly crows.
Salomon is now the grand puppeteer pulling Rosenblat's strings and the deus ex machina of the current situation. If Salomon really had Rosenblat's interest at heart, he would see to it that this poor, deluded old man gets proper psychiatric care instead of exposing him to further public ridicule.
News Flash: France Accepts Responsibility for Its Participation in Holocaust Deportations
I should have posted this earlier. However, since it took France's highest court 67 years to come to the conclusion that it bears responsibility for having organized and carried out the deportations during the war, I guess a few days delay is not a horrendous thing.
If you look at pictures of the famous Paris round up in 1942 you will search in vain for German soldiers or SS men. You will see only French police. [At the trains where Jews are being loaded in the cattle cars you do see Germans but the round ups were conducted by French.]
At the same as acknowledging that the deportations were in French hands the court also ruled that the deportations had been "compensated for" since 1945, apparently ruling out reparations for deportees or their families.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Bishop Williamson on the Way to the UK to Meet So-Called Lady Renouf and David Irving
He has turned to Irving for advice on how to understand the history of the Holocaust. According to the Times Irving and Williamson have been in e-mail contact.
“About a week ago I sent him a lengthy e-mail telling him what he could safely say. He should not be quoted as saying things which are not tenable. I sent two pages telling him what is incontrovertible fact. I got a message back thanking me.”I predicted that he would "see the light" in order to help smooth SSSX's way into the Vatican's good graces. I was, it appears, very very wrong.
This guy may emerge as Irving's successor.
Professor Ken Waltzer's Essay Disappears from History News Network
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The Reader: A Pernicious Book and Movie
Now let's get on to substance. The basic premise of the book and the movie are deeply troubling. Note that the Nazi camp guard is portrayed as the poor, simple, caring woman.
Are we supposed to feel sorry for her because she could not read and had "no choice" but to be a guard? She could have been a street sweeper. She did not have "no choice."
Furthermore, the book and movie suggests that the perpetrators were poor ignorant people. This is such a misstatement of fact and the author, Bernard Schlink, as a German knows better.
Many of the leading perpetrators had Ph.D.s or were clergy and lawyers. They were well educated and quite literate. [In fact, certain section of the party specifically sought out well educated people.]
Finally, note the sharp contrast drawn by the survivor -- very rich [note the maid, the stretch limo, and the art work] and adament in her refusal to offer forgiveness or absolution -- and the poor guard who has nothing. Who is the victim, according to Schlink, here???*
This is a rewriting of history. It is, simply put, soft core denial. It does not deny the reality or the horror of the Holocaust. Not at all. But it does deny who was responsible.
Because it is so slippery I consider it a pernicious book and movie.
[Thanks to Dr. Leah Wolfson, my -- I am proud to say -- former student and now at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies for thinking this through with me. She pointed out that the book/movie seem to want to suggest that literature is redemptive which we know is not necessarily the case.]
* Case in point: a friend who saw the movie said he did felt really sorry Hannah and was sort of rooting for her.... [granted that this friend is at all well versed in the history of the Holocaust].
The Voice of America Speaks to Three Jews and Declares a Trend
Is this the result of lazy reporting or an assumption that if 3 leaders of Jewish organizations think this is a good thing then all Jews agree? Case in point: I don't necessarily agree
Has the reporter never heard: "3 Jews,6 opinions"?
It should be noted that Argentina's government says that he was expelled because he did not inform the government of the true reason for his presence in the country and not because of his denial.
It should be noted that he is a visitor in the country so the country has the right to expel him.
Whether it is something Jews -- leaders or otherwise -- should be celebrating is another question.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Bishop Williamson's Long Track Record of Offensive Statements
One of their teachers was Williamson who they found to be "an unabashed anti-Semite who was dismissive of the Holocaust and hostile to women."
"I have a sizable nose, and he would say to me, 'Rizzo, are you baptized, or are you a Jew?' " John Rizzo, who is now based in New Zealand, said in a phone interview from Australia. "There was another seminarian named Oppenheimer, and he would say: 'Oppenheimer, I don't like your name. If you keep it up, there's a gas chamber waiting for you at the boathouse.' "
"He called the Holocaust the biggest theatrics known to mankind - I remember sitting in a conference one time when he said those words, ...said Joseph Rizzo.
"I walked around the lake with him, and I said, 'Why would you say that?' and he said, 'There's no documentation.' He said it was all staged, and when I asked why, he said because the Jews own the country, they own the banks, and he felt it was some kind of effort to generate some sympathy toward them."
In 1989, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated the bishop, but did not press charges, after he told an audience in Quebec: "There was not one Jew killed in the gas chamber. It was all lies, lies, lies." He has also questioned whether terrorists were behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and has suggested that women should not wear pants.
Friday, February 20, 2009
"How a British jihadi saw the light"
Bishop Williamson Ejected from Argentina
I think Williamson is a low life. That should be clear to any, even casual, reader of this blog.
However, I am not so sure he should be ejected for his denial.
My prediction: Williamson will be depicted as a victim and a martyr for free speech.
I don't think he is either but this actions gives him the cover to do so.
NYPost Apologizes... Sort of
Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.
It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.
It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.
But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.
This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.
However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.
To them, no apology is due.
Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
New York Post Prints Blatantly Racist Cartoon
The New York Post has published a blatantly racist cartoon showing two policemen shooting a monkey and then saying, "They will have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
Whether the NYPost meant it to be racist or not is almost irrelevant. The fact that Blacks have been regularly stereotyped with images of apes and monkeys is undeniable. It is as fundamental part of that stereotype as large noses and money bags are of the Jewish stereotype.
The fact that it was juxtaposed with a picture of President Obama signing the bill did not help the NYPost's claims that the monkey did not mean Obama. [There was a pet monkey shot in NY a few days ago but that does not explain away or excuse the racist elements of the cartoon.]
This is what the editor of the paper said in trying to justify the cartoon:
"The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy."The explanation does not fly and NYPost, which even if it did not mean it to be racist [I know it is a long shot but just maybe], rather than try to justify itself, should apologize.
And those folks who are rightfully sensitive to use of antisemitic stereotypes should make their voice heard.
Bishop Williamson's Society for St. Pius X: A Pernicious Group
As I have repeatedly said on this blog, Williamson's denial is almost minor [and for me to say that is quite something] when placed within the larger context of all else they believe and do.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Has "Good Morning America" Lost its Mind and Its Integrity
I write this from London so I don't know if this segment has aired already but I am just flabbergasted.
I understand that GMA is going to run a segment featuring Herman Rosenblat, who lied repeatedly about his Holocaust experience, and his film producer, Harris Salomon, who told me he knows more about the Holocaust than I do [could be... but I somehow doubt it since he was peddling this as a true story for a long time]
Even more egregiously, Salomon tried to silence Professor Ken Waltzer from publishing his own research on this matter. Salomon, wrote to the president and deans of Michigan State trying to intimidate them into silencing Waltzer.
Now he is trying, once again, to make a buck off of Rosenblat's lies and falsehoods.
Over the past year friends of the Rosenblats have written to me in concern about what this has done to them. I expressed some sympathy. I thought they were pretty off balance folks but so be it....
Now they go on with their story but have issued no apologies to the myriad of people -- including their own family -- to whom they have caused great pain.
And Good Morning America becomes a tool by giving their sleazy producer publicity.
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: Unequivocal Condemnation of Williamson
Thanks to my friend and wonderful sleuth Harry Mazal for alerting me to this.
Spike in Antisemitism in the UK in January
But this BBC report on what is happening here in the UK is relevant.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Holocaust Denier Lady Renof Exposed as a Liar, Falsifier of Her Own History, Denier, and [no surprise] Hater of Jews
There is great example of in depth journalism by Andrew Landeryou exposing, yet again, Lady Renouf, who during my trial we dubbed Brunhilda and who spent her time fawning over Irving.
The first photo is her swooning over Ahmadinejad at the Tehran conference and the second is her doing the same with Robert Faurisson.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The So-Called "New" Antisemitism: How New? What's New?
The Rise of Antisemitism: The Collusion of the Left
[Has anyone verified these numbers? Remember the initial reports of a massacre in Jenin? The results of a check was that approximately 50 Palestinians and 26 Israeli soldiers were killed. The out of proportion was on the Israeli side.]
My response was to ask if this justified antisemitism.
Now from Michael Trapido in South Africa comes a similar critique.
Rise of Antisemitic Incidents in the UK: The Facts are Stark
Thursday, February 12, 2009
CNN: Reflections on the Impact of Williamson on Catholic Jewish Relations
European Antisemitism: Ominous Signs and Silence from the Left
There has been a survey by ADL which finds that a significant portion of Europeans blame the financial mess on Jews. I have no idea who conducted the survey and how the questions were structured [this would impact the outcome] or if one can draw a conclusion about an entire Continent from surveying 3,500 people.
But it is still disturbing. I hope others use this finding to do more research.
On this issue, I strongly recommend Jonathan Freedland's article in the Guardian.
In it Freedland notes that after 9/11 and 7/7 [the date of the London bombings] the British liberal left massed and strongly protested any hostility to Muslims. They were saying to European Muslims and particularly those in the UK: you do not stand alone. They called upon their fellow Britons to be "careful in their language, not to generalise from a few individuals to an entire community, to make clear to Britain's Muslims that they were a welcome part of the national life."
Freedland believes this was the right reaction. Yet he notes that, in the wake of the Gaza operation [which he opposed from the outset], liberals have remained eerily silent even as "British Jews have indeed come under attack."
In the four weeks after the Gaza operation began there was an eightfold increase in antisemitic incidents in Britain compared with the same period a year earlier."
There were "attacks on synagogues, including arson, and physical assaults on Jews. One man was set upon in Golders Green, north London, by two men who shouted, 'This is for Gaza', as they punched and kicked him to the ground."
There has been "Blood-curding graffiti" including slogans such as "Slay the Jewish pigs", and "Kill the Jews", to "Jewish bastardz."
Jewish schools are on high alert.
In the face of this real threat the British left has been virtual silent.
But, Freedland goes on, this is more than a sin of omission.
Take last month's demonstrations against Israel. Riazat Butt, the Guardian's religious affairs correspondent, describes in a joint edition of the Guardian's Islamophonic and Sounds Jewish podcasts how at one demo she heard the cry not only of "Down with Israel" but "Kill Jews". An anti-war protest in Amsterdam witnessed chants of: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas."
At the London events, there were multiple placards deploying what has now become a commonplace image: the Jewish Star of David equated with the swastika. From the podium George Galloway declared: "Today, the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943."
Now what, do you imagine, is the effect of repeating, again and again, that Israel is a Nazi state? Even those with the scantest historical knowledge know that the Nazis are the embodiment of evil to which the only appropriate response is hate. How surprising is it if a young man, already appalled by events in Gaza, walks home from a demo and glimpses the Star of David - which he now sees as a latter-day swastika - outside a synagogue and decides to torch the building, or at least desecrate it? Yet Galloway, along with Livingstone, who was so careful in July 2005, did not hesitate to make the comparison (joined by a clutch of Jewish anti-Israel activists who should know better).
For liberals those Jews who dissociate themselves from Israel are acceptable. Those who don't are "fair game for abuse and attack until they publicly recant."
But they don't ask Muslims to explain jihadism or renounce Islamic extremism. Asking them to do so is seen as unenlightened.
Bishop Williamson is a gnat -- if not lower than that -- compared to this.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Saul Friedlander: A Weaver of History and Memory
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Monday, February 9, 2009
Williamson Begins to Look for a Graceful Exit
The problem is that he presents himself as having been "convinced" by the documentation he read in the 1990s. Anyone who would have encountered such stuff and was not anxious to climb aboard the denial bandwagon who have said: "Whoa, I better check these guys out" rather than jumping on their bandwagon whole hog.
Actually, if the SSPX did not have Williamson they would have to invent him. He has taken the spotlight off of their very particularistic views.
Williamson Dismissed as Head of SSPX Seminary in Argentina
The more this thing is drawn out, the more it seems that this is actually a bonus for the SSPX. it draws attention to one man and away from their more noxious views on Jews and conspiracies and the like.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
My Letter [Email] to Bishop Williamson: You Asked for Proof?
In the face of demands by Pope Benedict that he recant his denial, Bishop Williamson says he is going to wait until he finds "proof" of the Holocaust.
In that spirit I have sent the following letter [email] to the Bishop. I promise to let you know if I get an answer.
YourExcellency@dinoscopus.com* Since first posting this my email has bounced back. I have sent a copy of the letter to the Argentinian headquarters of the SSPX, where Williamson is apparently currently based. I will also send one to the headquarters.
It has come to my attention that you are looking for "proof" of the Holocaust. Let me assure you that such proof exists in reams.
The most expeditious means for you to determine that all the "claims" you have made both on your webpage and in interviews are completely bogus would be to read, in its entirety, the verdict of Judge Charles Gray who presided in David Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt. The judgment can be found at http://www.hdot.org/trial/judgement
You will see there that each of your arguments is shown to be based on bogus documents, fabrications of evidence, or misinformation. This is what we call in common parlance: lies.
Other links can be found on my blog where we have prepared an extensive, point by point, refutation of your claims. This will also take you the Myths and Facts section of www.hdot.org, where you will find even more refutations of your various claims about the gassing process.
You may also want to visit to the Holocaust History Project, where you will find yet additional refutations.
Finally, I also suggest you read the expert report of Robert Jan van Pelt who carefully demolishes the various claims you and other deniers make about the gassing process.
You will see that your arguments are based on false and mistaken suppositions. In short, sir, there is no dearth of evidence. There is only a dearth of willingness to remove the blinders from one's eyes.
Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.
Internal Vatican Politics: Who Has the Upper Hand?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Double Disaster at the Vatican: Indepth Analysis
In addition Sandro Magister, a correspondent for the weekly magazine L’Espresso and one of Italy’s most highly respected Vatican experts, offered extensive background on this "tempest" which he describes a double disaster of “governance and communication” within the church.
I follow with excerpts from both articles.
The New York Times observed that while Pope Benedict has faced challenges before
the internal controversy created by Bishop Williamson’s rehabilitation is unlike anything the Vatican has faced in recent decades.It also observed that Wednesday’s unsigned statement calling on Williamson to reject his Holocaust denial
publicly seemed to be a clear indication that the Vatican was facing nothing less than an internal and external political crisis.The Wednesday statement also clearly addressed questions about what conditions the society would have to meet before being allowed back into the fold.
Most importantly it would have to offer its “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council” to receive “recognition” by the church.The most interesting part of the article comes at the end where it attempts to explain how this maelstrom came to be.
Conversations with a variety of people inside and outside the Vatican portray an intellectual pope increasingly isolated from the Vatican administration. Many point to a lack of communication between the handful of cardinals responsible for revoking the excommunications and other members of the curia who might have opposed the move.
It is also quite striking that there was no consultation with Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German who directs the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and who is the liaison for Vatican-Jewish relations. Kasper has publicly said:
There were certainly management errors on the part of the curia.Sandro Magister writing on his blog described this as a "disaster" and said that in this situation* * * *
Pope Benedict XVI found himself to be the one most exposed, and practically aloneMagister explains at great length how, for the Pope, this is all about healing of schisms.
However, because of Vatican ineptitude that issue was lost in headlines world over that said: the pope clears a Holocaust denier bishop from excommunication, and welcomes him into the Church.
In response the Vatican went "scrambling for cover," with media statements.
Magister goes on to ask was this tempest "inevitable," or was it the result of "errors and omissions of the men who are supposed to implement the pope's decisions."
Magister comes down on the side of the second hypothesis.
Those Cardinals who were responsible said they did not know about Williamson's denial. Magister points out that a click on Google would have shown them that in 1989, in Canada, he openly praised Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and that he was a 9/11 denier.
There were other failures in the Vatican as well. The press office did not handle matters well.
He delineates many other serious lapses.
Magister traces this back to the offices of the curia which "converge in the secretariat of state." He goes into a fascinating analysis of the Secretary of State.
There's a great mystery novel embedded in all this...
And a terrible leadership disaster for the Vatican.
My guess -- and that is all it is -- is that Pope Benedict will emerge from this weakened and unable to regroup.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Williamson was Denying in 1989
According to the Forward, in 1989 Williamson said the following when hegave a speech at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke, Canada,
There was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel.And no one in the Vatican knew????
[After reading the two in depth comments about the way in which the Vatican functions, about which I blogged earlier today, I have come to believe that they indeed might not have known.
Some may think this "exonerates" the Vatican. In some way it does. On the other hand it demonstrates how out of touch the institution is...]
The Vatican Gets the Message and Tells Williamson to Recant
For her there were no ifs or buts. There was just make it clear you think he is a liar.
Well now the Vatican has called on him -- in unequivocal terms -- to recant. The statement, issued today by the Vatican Secretariat of State, said that Williamson “must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his positions on the Shoah,” which it said were “unknown to the Holy Father at the time he revoked the excommunication.”
The more I learn about the SSPX, the less worried I am about Williamson's denial and the more worried I become about their blatant antisemitism.
[I do not think the Pope is the least bit antisemitic. I do think he was willing to tolerate these views in the name of Church unity.]
For the BBC coverage see here.
Father of Slain Wall Stree Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl on Contemporary Terorism
Stop Making Excuses for Terror
By JUDEA PEARLWall Street Journal 2/3/09
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?
The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.
Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.
No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.
But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.
I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.
This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man's second nature. "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," explained Mr. Livingstone.
But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.
Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.
The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.
Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.
Some American pundits and TV anchors didn't seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a "resistance" movement, together with honorary membership in PBS's imaginary "cycle of violence." In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that "each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man's terrorism becomes another's resistance to oppression." He then stated -- without blushing -- that for readers of the Hebrew Bible "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." The "cycle of violence" platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror's victims for violence as immutable as DNA.
When we ask ourselves what it is about the American psyche that enables genocidal organizations like Hamas -- the charter of which would offend every neuron in our brains -- to become tolerated in public discourse, we should take a hard look at our universities and the way they are currently being manipulated by terrorist sympathizers.
At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.
The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.
Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.
Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.
Samuel Kassow's Who Will Write Our History
Kassow was on the Leonard Lopate show yesterday. The interview can be heard here.
There was also a laudatory review of the book in the New Republic.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Professor Martin Marty on Pope Benedict's Actions
It includes much information already post on this site, but concludes with the following musing:
How and why did he get into this situation?Professor Marty's conjecture reaffirms my view, i.e. that the Pope did not not care [that's not a typo] about the fact that the Society has some weird views. He may have specifically known about Williamson's denial [probably did]. But all this paled in importance next to the issue of schismatic movements.
Theories abound, as they did when the Vatican-Muslim flap occurred. This time is different, says Father Oakes, since the offenders are not medieval Byzantine rulers (as in the Muslim case) but living, breathing excommunicated schismatics for whom the pope will do anything, including offend the whole Jewish world and millions of bystanders, among them those who do remember the Holocaust, in order to reincorporate Bishop Williamson and his three Episcopal leaders in the Pius X society.
Put simply, as Father Oakes and numerous Catholic commentators have thus put it: Benedict XVI has such a horror of schism that he and his team can let almost anything else go-including Pius X Society's insults to the Vatican II bishops and their successors, and interpretations of Catholicism which the previous pope and team adjudged to be heretical-in order to stall or demolish schismatic movements. Is Benedict XVI, such a learned and informed and open-intentioned scholar, too much the German with his historian-fed memories of Martin Luther and other 16th century "schismatics" and an inordinate fear of repetition?
We'll wait and see.
Bring them in at all costs, he may well have thought, and everything else will sort itself out.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Vatican Reinstatement: Op-Ed
by Professor Deborah Lipstadt
Pope Benedict XVI has reinstated as a bishop a man who both denies the Holocaust and suggests that 9/11 was an American plot. He has done so, it is reported, in order to strengthen relations with a renegade segment of the Catholic Church. This is one of those inexplicable moves that has left many people asking "Have they no decency?" A more basic and, possibly even more appropriate question would be. "Have they no common sense?" A number of commentators have observed that this will "complicate" Vatican-Jewish relations and will make it more difficult for Israel and the Vatican to come to an agreement about a papal visit in the near future. All this may be true, but that is an exceptionally narrow way of looking at the implications of this move. Simply put, it makes the Vatican look as if it is once again living in the most unenlightened of ages. Holocaust denial is an explicit form of antisemitism. It has no purpose but to inculcate contempt for Jews. According to deniers Jews use the Holocaust to win the world's sympathy and, in the course of so doing, win reparations from Germany and political support for Israel. Such a charge, based as it is the imagery of money and political manipulation, hearkens back to traditional antisemitic stereotypes. Why a pope would want to give support to such a movement is baffling. More baffling, however, is why a pope would want to associate the Vatican with someone who preaches lies and manipulations of history. In 2000 I spent ten weeks in a British court because Holocaust denier David Irving charged that I had libeled him by calling him a denier and an antisemite. My legal team traced Irving's comments and claims about the Holocaust backed to their sources. We followed the footnotes. In every case we found some form of invention, manipulation, distortion, and deletion. The documents that he claimed "proved" that the Holocaust did not happen did no such thing. His wrongs were so egregious that the judge, in a sweeping condemnation of Irving, used language not often heard in a British legal decision. Irving, the judge wrote, "perverts," and "distorts." His statements about the Holocaust were "misleading," "unjustified," "a travesty," and "unreal." But there was more to it than just that. This was not happenstance or a series of improbable mistakes. Irving's "falsification of the historical record was deliberate and ... motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence." Holocaust deniers rely on a merry-go-round of "I will cite you and you will cite me." Irving's claims about the Holocaust are either drawn whole cloth from other denier or parroted by other deniers, such as Bishop Williamson. Deniers have no independent proof on which to rely because there is none. The Vatican has associated itself with a body of lies. But the reinstated bishop does not just deny the Holocaust. He also claims 9/11 was staged by America as a pretext to invade Afghanistan. The linkage between the two sets of denial is, of course, not happenstance. Basic to 9/11 denial is the charge that four thousand Jewish workers in the World Trade Center were warned to stay home that day. In fact, about 500 Jews were among the victims. That is over 15% of the total, a number consistent with the Jewish population of the New York metropolitan area. Moreover, how could so many people be told anything and thousands more not hear about it? In short, both these claims are not just malicious forms of antisemitism but they are completely illogical. They would be laughable were it not for the tragedies they address. In embracing Bishop Williamson the Vatican has done far more than set back Vatican/Jewish relations. It has made itself look like it is living in the darkest of ages. One awaits a pronouncement that it is heresy to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or didn't the Vatican already once do that?
Pope Benedict XVI has reinstated as a bishop a man who both denies the Holocaust and suggests that 9/11 was an American plot. He has done so, it is reported, in order to strengthen relations with a renegade segment of the Catholic Church. This is one of those inexplicable moves that has left many people asking "Have they no decency?" A more basic and, possibly even more appropriate question would be. "Have they no common sense?"
A number of commentators have observed that this will "complicate" Vatican-Jewish relations and will make it more difficult for Israel and the Vatican to come to an agreement about a papal visit in the near future. All this may be true, but that is an exceptionally narrow way of looking at the implications of this move. Simply put, it makes the Vatican look as if it is once again living in the most unenlightened of ages.
Holocaust denial is an explicit form of antisemitism. It has no purpose but to inculcate contempt for Jews. According to deniers Jews use the Holocaust to win the world's sympathy and, in the course of so doing, win reparations from Germany and political support for Israel. Such a charge, based as it is the imagery of money and political manipulation, hearkens back to traditional antisemitic stereotypes. Why a pope would want to give support to such a movement is baffling. More baffling, however, is why a pope would want to associate the Vatican with someone who preaches lies and manipulations of history.
In 2000 I spent ten weeks in a British court because Holocaust denier David Irving charged that I had libeled him by calling him a denier and an antisemite. My legal team traced Irving's comments and claims about the Holocaust backed to their sources. We followed the footnotes. In every case we found some form of invention, manipulation, distortion, and deletion. The documents that he claimed "proved" that the Holocaust did not happen did no such thing. His wrongs were so egregious that the judge, in a sweeping condemnation of Irving, used language not often heard in a British legal decision. Irving, the judge wrote, "perverts," and "distorts." His statements about the Holocaust were "misleading," "unjustified," "a travesty," and "unreal."
But there was more to it than just that. This was not happenstance or a series of improbable mistakes. Irving's "falsification of the historical record was deliberate and ... motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence."
Holocaust deniers rely on a merry-go-round of "I will cite you and you will cite me." Irving's claims about the Holocaust are either drawn whole cloth from other denier or parroted by other deniers, such as Bishop Williamson. Deniers have no independent proof on which to rely because there is none. The Vatican has associated itself with a body of lies.
But the reinstated bishop does not just deny the Holocaust. He also claims 9/11 was staged by America as a pretext to invade Afghanistan. The linkage between the two sets of denial is, of course, not happenstance. Basic to 9/11 denial is the charge that four thousand Jewish workers in the World Trade Center were warned to stay home that day. In fact, about 500 Jews were among the victims. That is over 15% of the total, a number consistent with the Jewish population of the New York metropolitan area. Moreover, how could so many people be told anything and thousands more not hear about it?
In short, both these claims are not just malicious forms of antisemitism but they are completely illogical. They would be laughable were it not for the tragedies they address.
In embracing Bishop Williamson the Vatican has done far more than set back Vatican/Jewish relations. It has made itself look like it is living in the darkest of ages. One awaits a pronouncement that it is heresy to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or didn't the Vatican already once do that?
Peter Steinfels in NY Times: Why Aren't Bishops Speaking Out on Reinstatement of Pius X?
The Holocaust Furor and the U.S. Bishops
jANUARY 31, 2009
one would expect that at least one of 433 active or retired Catholic bishops in the United States might have voiced some misgivings or raised some questions about Pope Benedict XVI’s recent action in revoking the excommunication of four bishops — including one who has denied the Holocaust — of an ultratraditionalist schismatic group, the Society of St. Pius X.
As of Friday afternoon, Catholic News Service knew of not one who had done so.
On Friday, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, the current chairman of the United States bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said Catholics were “embarrassed” by this episode and needed to reaffirm their bonds with Jews.
But no bishop, it appears, has added a public word of doubt about the wisdom of Pope Benedict’s action, or wondered out loud how it came about.
The pope’s action has provoked a crisis in Catholic-Jewish relations. But you don’t have to be Jewish to be outraged by Holocaust denial. Many Catholics are upset, and they are upset not only because Jews are upset.
The problem is more than Bishop Richard Williamson ....
No, the further problem, for Catholics no less than for Jews, is puzzlement about the pope and his leadership. No one believes that he shares Bishop Williamson’s grotesque views about the Holocaust. But was he somehow uninformed about them? Or was he aware of them but inclined to minimize their significance? Or did he disregard how they might poison what he was trying to accomplish? None of the alternatives seem comforting.
Even Catholics who understand the priority that church leaders always give to healing any formal schism that can perpetuate itself are puzzling over the Vatican’s extraordinary solicitude for this relatively small ultratraditionalist sect.
And of course there are Catholics who dread — and some who hope — that the accommodations made to the Society of St. Pius X augur a larger reversal of the work of Vatican II.
This silence would be understandable if the bishops’ only option were to engage in harsh criticism. But they have plenty of respectful, charitable alternatives, from merely acknowledging that the papal action was troubling or perplexing to indicating that they are requesting clarification of Rome’s procedures and the pope’s intentions.
It’s a safe bet that during the last week, private expressions of dismay or bewilderment have been flying from bishop to bishop and from bishops to Rome.
Still, that does not satisfy Jews. Nor does it assure millions of concerned Catholics that their questions and anxieties are shared by leaders determined to discuss them charitably, candidly, maturely, in a way suited to what the bishops themselves teach about the church and the papacy.Who will speak up first?