Result of Jew-Hatred – My GOD Don’t Forget!
After Hitler’s Holocaust was discovered by the winning Allied
armies, the West experienced a collective guilt on how badly Jews were treated in a horrific Jew-hatred manner. In Ari Bussel’s essay he expresses the very legitimate concern that the pre-Holocaust days are here again – even in America.
When Jews Stand Silent
By Ari Bussel
Sent: 10/21/2014 6:23 PM
Allow me to start with a bit of family history.
During WWII, among the Allied forces, my grandfather was in General Anders' (Polish) army fighting the Nazis. At the end of the War he was in Italy. After the war, my grandfather joined his brother in NY and remarried (my grandmother had been murdered by the Nazis).
To his last day, my grandfather lived on the Upper West Side, whereas his brother lived on the Upper East Side. NYC was his favorite city, a magical place with much to do. He regularly attended operas and concerts at the Lincoln Center. I remember when my father and I were packing his things, after my grandfather passed away, and found stacks of programs of performances he had attended. We may still have some of them.
My grandfather is buried in NY, where he is likely turning in his grave, at how—after seventy-five years—we have come full circle backward. Not just in Europe, but in the USA as well.
Today, everything is permissible, even in America. Acceptable now, first and foremost, is Jew-hatred.
Once we knew how to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil. Today, the lines are blurred, terrorists become "freedom fighters," and the blame always lies with someone else, most readily and easily with Israel and the Jews.
Metropolitan Opera of the pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel opera "Death of Klinghoffer."
Tonight at the Met is the opening night of Death of Klinghoffer. So what is all the fuss about? "Munich" humanized the terrorists who targeted and murdered Israeli athletes because they were Jewish. Its director was none other than Schindler's List director, Steven Spielberg, himself a Jew.
Many movies in recent years that vilify Israel and glorify her enemies are made in Israel and are supported by funding from the Israeli government.
So why is everyone up in arms against yet another such occasion, one that happens to be at my grandfather's favorite city and performing arts center?
Those who do not understand the premise we must fight all these instances may stop here. Others will dwell into the following questions:
* Who stands up and takes action?
* What type of action is sufficient to effect change?
* Can we even fight modern-day anti-Semitism?
I will attempt to answer these three questions.
Good people are expected to fight back but seldom do. A major shock to the system is necessary before they spring to action and for its effects to remain etched in memory. The Holocaust was a drastic shock and its effects lasted some seven decades but now have almost faded away.
Short of a major system-wide tsunami, as we learned time and again, "money talks." To effect change, one must get to the major source of funding. Then those at the helm pay attention. For change to be meaningful and lasting, rather than passing, pressure must be sustained.
Thus the call for major funders of the NY Met to withhold their donations must be a consideration.
Experience, though, teaches us that such efforts rarely work. Ha'Aretz, Israeli leading intellectual paper, is still up and running, none of its advertisers has backed off, despite its working tirelessly to bring about the fall of the Jewish state.
Not only in Israel. The NY Times, LA Times and other major papers still exist and their main advertisers (many Jewish) have not backed off, despite a systematic anti-Israeli approach.
And this experience extends well beyond the printed media.
To effect change, there has to either be a major groundswell or the major benefactors behind an operation must take a stand (i.e. stop the flow of funds) and remain firm on their convictions. Either one will create the necessary shock effect. Yet, this is as rare as a major earthquake here in California.
There are instances when we must stand up and take action, not just hope that a storm will pass and everything be forgotten. These shocks have positive effects, for they force us to change the status quo. And what is happening today is not good, by any stretch of one's imagination.
So allow me to highlight a friend, who is now on a plane to NYC, to participate tonight in the demonstration in front of the Lincoln Center. She will be sitting in a wheelchair this evening at the Klinghoffer Demonstration against the Met. It is inspiring, but not enough.
Several years ago, a professor from Ben Gurion University, the head of the Poli-Sci department, wrote an op-ed that was published by the Los Angeles Times. It was not personal musings, rather the professional presentation of a person very established in this field. He called to "Boycott Israel."
Jews were outraged. The University President flew in to Los Angeles to meet with the major donors who were very upset. She refused to meet with anyone else; they were of no concern or value to her. The major donors were appeased, and nothing much has changed since. Post-Zionism is alive and well at BGU.
The Jews have persuaded themselves that everything is OK, someone else is to blame (clearly noise created by some troublemakers) and there is nothing the university president can actually do. Life continues.
The same happened when J Street, the self-proclaimed "pro-Israel, pro-peace" (anti-Israel, undermine-AIPAC) organization came into being. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles was gravitating toward supporting it, until Newt Becker went from one friend to another (all major donors) and made it an issue.
Then, and only then, the Federation paid attention.
Promises were made. The Federation resorted to legalities and ultimately confused the issue. “It depends what 'supporting' really means," they said, and the shenanigans continued. United we stand, divided we fall, and J Street continues to bring about the fall of the walls of Jerusalem. Alas, it happened before, we will survive it again.
Newt's actions were a necessary, but not a sufficient condition.
In Orange County, activist Dee Sterling has been fighting the Olive Tree Initiative (and the world-wide travel intifada) for years. Philanthropist Dr. Shelley Ventura Cohen arranged several meetings at the Federation here in LA, alongside a major contributor. The president of the Federation had to make time for these meetings, but not much has resulted. Shelley passed away, the philanthropist spends her time abroad and the Olive Tree Initiative goes from strength to strength, having expanded now to numerous other universities.
Major Met Donors Deafening Silence Is An Operatic Kristallnacht- If Bloomberg, Annenberg, Neubauer, Toll Bros. Spoke Out, Anti-Semitic "Klinghoffer" May Have Been Cancelled
Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, in a press release this morning, calls the Deafening Silence of major Met donors "an Operatic Kristallnacht." He names names – Bloomberg, Annenberg, Neubauer, Toll Bros – and points out that had they spoken out, the anti-Semitic Klinghoffer may have been cancelled.
He recognizes a necessary, but not necessarily sufficient condition.
But I am a simple, practical person, and I know that ZOA's calls will not bear fruit. Not yet at least. Tomorrow is another day, and life continues. Today's "noise" becomes tomorrow's history, thus must be relegated to oblivion. That is exactly what we learned with the President, the Democrats and Benghazi. The 2012 "Spontaneous" attacks did happen, whether because of a video or not. “Who really cares? Get on with your lives, Republicans, you are just starting trouble” has been the prevailing attitude.
ZOA's call is a call to action. It follows James 2:14-26. It expects the obvious, which is simply too much.
The Annenbergs were Jewish, but their main focus was the arts. Alas, Jews in the USA were not very concerned about their brethren in Europe. Life here was somewhat isolated. Life was good.
That was then. It evolved into an anti-Israel sentiment coming first and foremost from American Jewry today. It is well concealed under layers of "just criticism of Israel," "disagreeing with policies," "love and strength to tell the truth," "the overarching community tent," and on and on as a never-ending list of excuses that permits Israel hatred to blossom.
A few years ago, Wallis Annenberg opened her "Space for Photography" in Century City with a National Geographic exhibit about water.
Covered with the most beautiful dress of "National Geographic" and a brand new "museum," hatred became the new truth. Israel became the guilty party. 20% of the exhibit was focused on Israel. But rather than highlighting all the good Israel has bestowed on the region and the world in terms of water (including conservation, reclamation, desalination, development of drought resistant crops, drip irrigation, regional cooperation and assistance), Israel was highlighted and portrayed as the wasteful thief and the source of all evil.
Reality was obfuscated in favor of baseless attacks and a most amazing portrait of lies, most befitting the new Annenberg Space.
Apparently, this sells. More accurately, it is acceptable. It spreads like bacteria on a Petri dish.
Where were the Israelis and the Jews? Where were the State of Israel and her local representatives? How about other sane and rational people?
Were there any demonstrations? Was the exhibit scrapped or corrected? Annenberg definitely has the clout to achieve it, had she only wanted.
Some people remember work done "behind the scenes." Alas, the exhibit continued as planned, and the many thousands of visitors were exposed to one of the worst viruses ever to dwell on earth - the purest form of anti-Semitism, blood libels distilled to such high proof, their potent strength alone is dangerous.
Wallis Annenberg was being courted at that time for money for the new Beverly Hills Cultural Center. Money, it seems, is the solution for all the world’s ills. One would ignore evil for a payment of $25 million. Oh, how satisfying.
Israelis in Israel were busy too, and the National Geographic special issue was allowed to stand, thus remaining a testament to a new reality. Students in the near future will study water shortage and its aftermaths, and they can always refer back to an amazing pictorial presentation, accompanied by some of the most horrific lies; "it is all Israel's fault."
Likewise, the President of Iran's Conference on the Holocaust-that-never-was also remains a factual resource for future generations, of history that was re-written while the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, stood silent.
Mort, salvation will not come from Wallis Annenberg.
From her fellow mega-donors?
My experience has taught me that until something affects them directly, we can talk and shout until we fall exhausted out of breath, and nothing will happen.
A case in point: A member of the Board of Regents for the University of California system was kind enough to hear my ranting about what was happening at the UC Irvine campus with dangerous activities of the Muslim Student Union, the threat to Jewish students and the implications to all of us.
She was kind not to me, but to a close friend of hers, whose guest I was year after year after his wife died.
Except, nothing was internalized. I talked and was gently dismissed as the "Meshugane" (the crazy one, not really in possession of his faculties).
This continued until Israeli Ambassador to the US, Prof. Oren, came to give a talk at UCI. Until the pressure on Jewish students and others intensified so much that people started taking notice. Everything I had described time and again happened, and everyone was shocked at the "discovery."
It happened right under their watch. They enabled it.
We can continue with other examples. I seem to carry a bag full of them. But allow me to return to my own family history.
I am the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors. Not much was left of our family, and all of us here and now have an obligation: Not to Forget.
When we remember, we know that our true mission is to protect Israel, thus protecting the Jewish people.
Remembering, the essence of "Never Again," does not translate to the fanfare usually connected with "remembering" the Holocaust. Rather, it is off the well-traveled road that we venture.
In Israel, one started "remembering" the survivors when the deplorable living conditions of many were highlighted for all to see. It shamed Israel into action.
While survivors are struggling in their last years, there is a robust and thriving "Claims Conference." Many years ago, they told my mother they did not reach her mother's year of birth. They did not reach it until my grandmother passed away. But throughout the years, they enjoy their salaries, benefits and other perks, like clockwork. It became their "entitlement," not the survivors'.
For those who wonder, not much has changed with the Claims Conference.
In Los Angeles, I regularly pass the statue of Raoul Wallenberg and stop to salute. The plaque reads "he restored our faith in humanity," signed "the survivors." (For those who may want to read more, here is the link to "The Angel of Faith" I wrote in 2010: http://newsblaze.com/story/20100404083512buss.nb/topstory.html)
Not long ago, LA Councilmember Paul Koretz held a major event at the intersection where the statue stands. There were numerous Holocaust survivors in attendance, yet not a single child from all the religious day schools or the high school (Fairfax High) just a few blocks walking distance from there.
No one bothered to clean the square where the statue stands, daily the sleeping place for homeless people.
The act of "remembering" has to translate to action, and that action must be meaningful. I found the ceremony lacking, since it did not translate into meaningful action. No one thought of bringing children, and I stood at shock and wept.
Somewhat like the neighborhood itself, once the heart of Jewish LA, turned into a heap of eateries and trendy t-shirt, shoes or skateboard stores, the generation of survivors is slowly disappearing into the memory bins of history. A sad story, for who may remember the past? Should we even bother with it? Will it ultimately be rewritten out of existence completely?
My grandfather, Newt, Shelley, Atara, Roz's mother and so many others are up there, in council, looking down, advocating on behalf of the Jewish people. Hoping now is the time for all sane, rational beings to ponder.
They understand well when good people stand silent, evil is triumphant, and tonight will be no different.
This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between Zager and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.
Ari Bussel and Norma Zager collaborate both in writing and on the air in a point-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related. Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.
© Israel Monitor, October 2014
First Published October 20, 2014