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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

'Never again,' Obama style

At Pajamas Media, Michael Ledeen analyzes Barack Obama's Holocaust Memorial Day speech and concludes that the President has a very Orwellian idea of what we mean when we say "Never again!" (Hat Tip: Power Line). Here's the key part of the article.
He then gave his version of “never again,” and it’s a very odd version indeed. First, he draws hope from the survivors of the Holocaust. Those who came to America had a higher birthrate than the Jews who were already living here, and those members of “a chosen people” who created Israel. These, he says, chose life and asserted it despite the horrors they had endured. And then he goes on:
We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side-by-side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall, people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world.

Those numbers can be our future, our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say “never again.”
So “never again” means that we learn from others how to forgive and forget, and ultimately live happily with one another. But that is not what “never again” means, at least for the generation of the Holocaust and for most of those who followed. For them, “never again” means that we will destroy the next would-be Fuhrer. In his entire speech, Obama never once mentions that the United States led a coalition of free peoples against Germany, Italy and Japan, nor does he ever discuss the obligation of sacrifice to prevent a recurrence. Indeed, his examples suggest that he doesn’t grasp the full dimensions of the struggle against evil. Northern Ireland is a totally inappropriate example (nothing remotely approaching a Holocaust took place there), the relations between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda and Burundi are hardly characterized by forgiveness, even though the president of Burundi is striving mightily to achieve a peaceful modus vivendi, and as for Darfur, well, despite the tens of thousands who demonstrated on the Mall, nobody has done much of anything to stop the Khartoum regime from slaughtering the peoples of the south.

In the history of modern times, the United States has done more than anyone else, perhaps more than the rest of the world combined, to defeat evil, and we are still doing it. Yet Obama says that we must “learn from others” how to move on, forgive and forget, and live happily ever after. But these are just words, they are not policies, or even actions. And the meanings he gives to his words show that he has no real intention of doing anything to thwart evil, any more than he had any concrete actions to propose to punish North Korea.

Significantly, Barack Obama is a lot tougher on his domestic American opponents than on tyrants who threaten our values and America itself. He tells the Republicans that they’d better stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, but he doesn’t criticize Palestinians who raise their children to hate the Jews. He bows to the Saudi monarch, but humiliates the prime minister of Great Britain. He expresses astonishment that anyone can worry about a national security threat from Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela, even as Chavez solidifies an alliance with Iran that brings plane loads of terror masters, weapons and explosives into our hemisphere from Tehran via Damascus, fuels terrorists and narcotics traffic, and offers military facilities to Russian warships and aircraft. He is seemingly unconcerned by radical Islam and a resurgent Communism in Latin America, even as his Department of Homeland Security fires a warning shot at veterans–the best of America–returning from the Middle East. He seeks warm relations with Iran and Syria–who are up to their necks in American blood–while warning Israel of dire consequences if she should attempt to preempt a threatened Iranian nuclear attack.
I don't agree with everything Ledeen says. Specifically, while he is right to point out that the United States led the Free World in defeating the Nazi menace in World War II, there is a lot more that could have been done that the Roosevelt administration refused to do to alleviate the Holocaust. Such as bombing the railroad tracks leading into the concentration camps and parts of the camps themselves.

But the point of this post is not to remind everyone of American shortcomings 65 years ago. The point is to look at what Obama is saying today and how it shows a deeply troubling concept of what "Never again!" means. Perhaps Ledeen felt uncomfortable saying it, but I don't: Comparing what happened in the Holocaust to the atrocities of Darfur and Rwanda - let alone to Northern Ireland! - cheapens what happened in Europe in the 1940's. Never has a war machine been so systematically turned for so long on a civilian population who had nothing to do with the war at hand. So deep was Hitler's animus for the Jews that had he not expended so much effort in attempting to exterminate them, we might all be driving Volkswagon's today. Never before in human history was a people so dehumanized, turned into 'scientific experiments' or slaughtered with such a brutal efficiency. As much as the Jewish people and the State of Israel may have diplomatic and political interaction with the German people today, we cannot and will not forgive or forget what they did to us, and we will always be on a vigilant lookout for the next despot who puts us in his crosshairs - whether he be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ismail Haniyeh or Mahmoud Abbas or anyone else.

Like being cured of many cancers, 'forgiving and forgetting' are not a realistic option. It's more like a scar that you learn to live with. Ask the families of the terror victims here in Israel who were all over the media here yesterday. Something else Obama will never understand.


At 9:08 PM, Blogger shmu said...

obama is a sick amerika hating bastard ..... ONE BIG YEMACH SHEMO

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

Technically, Obama's idea and our idea are the same. However, we have a few steps in between that are very serious, such as the fight with Gog and Magog.

Also, I think that we Jews have done a terrible job in teaching the Holocaust, focusing more on the fashionable 'we are victims' rather than 'now we know what it clearly evil'.

There's a lot more to say, a Tractate's worth to say, but I believe the place to begin is to finally give the world a good definition of evil, including the fact that it cannot be cajoled, charmed, or appeased. We just haven't done that--and I would think that would have been our primary job after World War II.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Agreed, Carl. The children though do not inherit the sin and every man is morally accountable before G-d not because of what his ancestors did. The soul that is righteous shall live; he who does evil, shall die. That is what Ezekiel says about individual responsibility. Having said that, the generation that committed the Holocaust must never be forgiven and it must never be forgotten and any future Amalek who threatens the continued existence of the Jewish people must be wiped out from under Heaven. Barry Rubin, I think expressed it best: we must give no living victories to today's enemies of the Jewish people.

The importance of it is so that the words "Never Again" is more than a facile slogan. It is the existence of the State Of Israel that is a guarantee the words have real weight behind them.

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Pat Austin Becker said...

Great post - I'm linking it on my blog and adding you to my blogroll.

Thanks for writing this!

At 3:37 AM, Blogger muman613 said...

Obama is a clueless monster. Every day I must curb my anger at this travesty in the white house. He has done much evil in the 100 days he has sat in the white house. If Hashem could take him home soon we would see divine providence like we did in Mitzrayim. The Chutzpah of this Am Haaretz to actually mock the Jewish tradition by having a mock seder. May the anger of Hashem rage against the monster who sits on his throne in the white house.

At 3:39 AM, Blogger muman613 said...

How compassionate was the Obama administration earlier this week when they flew Airforce One low over New York without warning the populace! What insensitivities to the families of the victims of 9/11 which my mother and I are {because of my brothers death in the terrorist attack}. My blood boils at the cruel administration which is destroying the very fabric of America as I work hard.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger a little bit of everything said...

what a nonsensical interpretation of what is actually a very nice speech. I guess you have indeed some twisting to do if you attempt to turn what is essentially a decent human being into some sort of monster...
With regard to the 'never again'. You know, I think that the Jews would have an easier time getting people to remember certain things if they weren't sort of guilty of the same stuff they want others to remember. True no gas chambers and no murder of millions (just thousands) yet, but plenty of other similarities. With Palestinians inside of Israel being treated like second class citizens and now being treatened with expulsion (even though there were actually born there!) and a bunch of people living occupied without any passport, sovereignty to speak of, an acknowledged identity and history and a boycotted economy, it is hypocritical to be upset with people forgetting about the holocaust.
And i am all in favor of remembering the holocaust. As it demonstrates like nothing else can what people are capable of.
But not in this way.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Owl of Minerva,

I am frankly tiring of your posting 'Palestinian' propaganda and lies on my site.

Jews have massacred no one - not even 'Palestinians.' The 'Palestinians' were not indigenous to this land - they arrived here seeking economic opportunity after the Jews started to arrive en masse in the 1880's. Here is an eyewitness account:

In Chapter LVI of Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote regarding his trip here in 1867:

Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee sleep in the midst of a vast stretch of hill and plain wherein the eye rests upon no pleasant tint, no striking object, no soft picture dreaming in a purple haze or mottled with the shadows of the clouds. Every outline is harsh, every feature is distinct, there is no perspective--distance works no enchantment here. It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land.

Small shreds and patches of it must be very beautiful in the full flush of spring, however, and all the more beautiful by contrast with the far-reaching desolation that surrounds them on every side. I would like much to see the fringes of the Jordan in spring-time, and Shechem, Esdraelon, Ajalon and the borders of Galilee--but even then these spots would seem mere toy gardens set at wide intervals in the waste of a limitless desolation.

Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Where Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists--over whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead-- about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching lips, but turns to ashes at the touch. Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross. The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour's voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land? Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition--it is dream-land.

This is the truth about the fictitious people who call themselves 'Palestinians':

The term "Palestina" was invented by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The Romans wanted to rename Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) after the Philistines, the longtime enemy of the Jews. Hadrian believed that by renaming the Jewish homeland after the Jews' archenemy, he would be able to forever break the bond between the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.

But even the name of the Philistines, from which the term "Palestine" was adopted, is completely alien to the Land of Israel.

The name Philistines in Hebrew is plishtim, which comes from the Hebrew verb polshim (foreign invaders).
Arabs only came to the Land of Israel in large numbers after the Jews returned in the 20th century and started to rebuild the nation, thereby creating economic and employment opportunities for Arab immigrants.

Prior to 1870, when Jews started to return to the Holy Land in large numbers, there were fewer than 100,000 Arabs living in what is today the State of Israel - including Yesha (the Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District).

This small number of nomadic, tribal Arabs who lived in the Holy Land before the modern Jewish return never considered themselves to be a separate people or nation.

The Arabs who lived in the Land of Israel were not "Palestinians" but Arabs - part of a huge Arab people with 22 very large independent nations that control one-ninth of the land mass on the planet Earth.

In an interview given by Zuhair Mohsen to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977, Mr. Mohsen explains the origin of the 'Palestinians':

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.

For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

Go find someplace else to spew your sewerage. There are plenty of hate sites available.

Sorry folks, we're on full moderation mode for a while.


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