Friday, November 24, 2017

Dear JFS Pupils (UPDATED)

Dear pupils, (there are Updates at end)

I have read the Jewish Chronicle item on Ethan Saunders' intervention of the talk by Dr. Hirsh. I am not sure he is this Saunders (whose account info suggests we read Norman Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry).

It seems, in his challenge, he said that Hirsh hadn't "told the whole truth..." or "hadn’t explained that Begin was a terrorist and about Sabra and Shatila".  There was also this: "‘You haven’t explained to the students about the Ha’avara Agreement and the real collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionists. ‘You haven’t explained that it was Israel who was responsible for nurturing Hamas at the beginning, and Hamas is a creature of Israel’.”

As I wasn't there, I am treading on loose soil but the sound of that conversation is all too familiar.  It is that of a voice of a radical and even extreme anti-Zionist or, to be fair, a politically leftist progressive Jew who rejects Zionism, prefers socialism, will champion the Diaspora over a Jewish national home.  Of course, he could be psychotic in his hatred for his own Jewish identity.

Let me be short, as you may have some homework to do or after-school sports to engage in.

a) one can never tell the whole truth.  So, it's up to you to read and be as informed and knowledgeable as possible.  I don't mind telling you never to trust any teacher completely or any lecturer. Always check, even me (and with Google, you can do that in the classroom while he/she is talking).

b) as for Menachem Begin being a terrorist (oh, by the way, he was awarded a Nobel Prize for Peace which, I must admit, was also awarded to Yasser Arafat), he also could be a "militant", or a "guerrilla leader" as even the NYTimes notes.  Or perhaps a "revolutionary".  I prefer freedom fighter.  Be that as it may, please, study the history of the Mandate and especially the British White Paper of 1939 and ask yourselves, was Great Britain complicit in the preventing of Jews fleeing Nazi Europe by shutting the gates to immigration, thus contributing to Hitler's "success" in killing so many who couldn't get out? 

Did England renege on the terms of the League of Nations Mandate and instead of a Jewish national home in the Jewish people's historic homeland, it decided to alter its purpose and afford preferential treatment for Arabs, many who had illegally entered the country seeking employment, education and health benefits in the only really developing Middle East country at the time (and today, too)?  Could those be good reasons to wage a war of liberation against an oppressive regime?

As for Sabra and Shatilla, nothing sinister there. Begin had no basis to believe Israel's allies would act as they did.  And the Fallangists were the sole direct responsible party for those killings, Arabs by Arabs.

c)  Regarding the Transfer Agreement (HaAvarah), even the Independent carried an op-ed demolishing the theory of Zionists "collaborating" with Nazis. Even Haaretz's radical Chemi Shalev knows that. Even the Guardian.  Edwin Black wrote a book on it. Do you really think Jews worked together with Nazis, except to find a way to get out of the hell that was Nazi Germany?

And here in The Fathom, Paul Bogdanor's article, An Anti-Semitic Hoax.

And I now found this in the TLS:

I’m not sure which history book the former London mayor has been reading, but it presumably isn’t Peter Longerich’s Holocaust (2010), in which we can find (on page 67, should Livingstone wish to consult it) a very clear explanation of the Reich’s policy on Palestine:

“on 16 January 1937 [well before Hitler, in Livingstone’s estimation, ‘went mad’] the Reich Minister of the Interior informed the German  Foreign Office that it was planning to continue to support the policy of Jewish emigration regardless of the destination countries [including Palestine]. But after it began to emerge in early 1937 that Britain’s Peel Commission might opt for a Jewish state in Palestine, on 1 June the Foreign Minister, Neurath, sent guidelines to the embassies in London and Baghdad and to the Consul General in Jerusalem in which he made it crystal clear that he was against the formulation of a Jewish state or ‘anything resembling that state’”.

In other words, and not surprisingly, the Nazi Party was not happy, in the words of Longerich, with the idea of “an internationally recognized power base for world Jewry”.

d) in bringing up these topics, this teacher simply wants to play mind tricks on you.  Don't let him.  The facts are available. Be careful of ideological spins.  You can always write to me and I'll help you overcome your doubts and befuddlement.



I now see that there are petitions up (here and here; UPDATE: they are down) and that a slightly different account of the exchange was published.  As for the petitions, I am all for an investigation which may result in a no-finding or a reprimand, suspension or termination of employment.   In any case, the issue is one of education and the pupils must be made aware that questioning and doubt is at the heart of learning processes but not purposeful undermining by unfair presentations of fact and history.

The different account, based on talks with pupils present, includes that the

teacher had mentioned the Ha’avara Agreement “merely to add context and point out the possible fallacies in Dr Hirsh’s presentation”.

Let us be clear here: mixing in the Ha'arvara Agreement to save German Jewry be entering into a forced economic arrangement with Germany in 1933 (!) , despite it being opposed, for example, by the Revisionist Movement as Ze'ev Jabotinsky had called for a boycott of Nazi Germany in March 1933 which was sabotaged by assimilationist Jews in power, into a debate whether there was Nazi-Zionist cooperation is more than playing around with semantics.  Saunders, even if he only did that was committing an error of grave proportions and injuring his pupils ability to learn, to discern and to comprehend complex historical situations.  Again, if true, he was playing mind games with them.  And those corrupt.

There are no fallacies in Hirsh's argument, which I heard recently in Jerusalem, that anti-Semites use that issue to confound and pervert.


And I see now that someone thinks that his impression of what occurred

is that the approach to Jewish history can be patchy and unsystematic.

and that

if the JFS controversy does highlight one thing, it is that Jewish history should not be an add-on, it should be an essential component of the curriculum in Jewish schools.

Is anything happening of an investigation or is JFS hoping we'll all forget?


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