Remnants Of The Holocaust

Holocaust Number Tattoo

So I had coffee with a wonderful gentleman this week.


And he–like myself–is a child of Holocaust survivors. 


Two quick stories he told me:


– His father, a survivor of the notorious concentrations camps that killed millions, had a number tattooed on his arm by the cursed Nazis. As the years past and his father worked to resume a normal life, what did he do with that number to try and help forget all the atrocities he went through? Get this…he used the number on his arm as the code for garage door opener. As he told his son, this way, I will never forget the code to open it.


– As a child, my new friend wanted to go to summer camp, he once asked his father, “Dad, when you were my age did you go to camp?” And his father replied, “Yes, I went to concentration camp!” Indeed, a very different sort of experience for a child. These days our children run, play, and swim in the beautiful outdoors at summer camp, but in our parents time, as Jews, they were hauled in cattle cars to suffer at the hands of the Nazis in slave labor, starvation, disease, beatings, torture, and in extermination camps behind razor-sharp barbed wire, attack dogs, and watch towers with machine guns.


How on Earth did these atrocities and genocide occur just 70 years ago–in the 20th century?


As much as I have learned, I am still dumbfounded by it: people (really more like vicious animals or Zombie devils) brutalizing other people, human beings–men, women, children, old people, the sick and disabled–and exterminating millions in the most horrific and brutal ways.


Now, the victims, their children, and grandchildren are left to go on and rebuild, where a tattooed number by the Nazis in the infamous concentration camps becomes a reminder for the everyday garage door opener in what we try to make of a normal life once again. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to HolocaustSurvivors.org)

What’s Behind The Iran Deal?

Party Animals
The U.S. is driving forward toward a looming deadline for a deal with Iran, so they don’t go nuclear (on us).



But with this deal, Iran does go nuclear!



The question then is who is this non-deal of a deal for?



Usually one makes a deal that is good for you, your team, your allies, your friends, your community–that’s why you’re making the deal…otherwise why bother?



In this case, no one has more to lose with a (very) bad deal than Iran’s neighbors in the Middle East, so they are actually very good judges as to whether this is a good deal or not, right?



If it’s a good deal that safeguards them, the region, and us–wouldn’t they all be jumping up and down doing the Horah?


But they are not–and far from it!

PM Netanyahu was extremely clear and got 23 standing ovations in just a 40 minute speech explaining how kicking the thermonuclear can down the road ten years does not a non-proliferation agreement make with a homicidal terrorist regime like Iran. 



Similar, today again it is reported that “America’s other key allies across the Middle East–such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates–are just as distraught.”



And the same reason that they don’t like this deal is why we shouldn’t like this deal–because it doesn’t accomplish the goal of safety and security for this region of the world or for us from dangerous Iran. 



In this case, where a no-nuke Iran was what was committed to, instead we are getting, at best, a temporary deal with Iran that leaves them their nuke infrastructure and capabilities, as well as the legitimacy to ultimately have their nukes and make us eat it too!



So perhaps it is understandable why Netanyahu came here to speak to the U.S. Congress about what this dangerous “deal” is turning into and means to the very country that has been threatened by Iran with extermination. 



And why a prominent Emirati political commentator said, “A lot of the Gulf countries [our traditional U.S. allies] feel they are being thrown under the bus.



Hmm, perhaps rather than playing right side/left side of the aisle politics, we should be asking some common sense questions:



1) Why would anyone and why would we in particular want a deal that doesn’t accomplish the goal of stopping the terrorist Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons of mass destruction?



2) Why would we desperately seek a deal that doesn’t safeguard us, and our allies, and where the common refrain is that no deal is better than this deal?



3) Why would we be pushing to lift sanctions on Iran that has threatened us and our allies with everything from raping the President’s daughter to sinking the U.S. Navy to annihilating Israel instead of clamping down on these terrorists?



You know the famous saying that when something smells fishy, it usually is.  



This deal makes no sense–and our allies in the Middle East know it, Congress knows it, and if you don’t let partisan politics get in the way, we all know it. 



That means that as Iran is now aggressively spreading it’s influence and forces across a contingent land sphere including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, there is some ulterior motive at play here–should I draw you a map? 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sifting Through The Beef Stew

Beef

Many of the negative nellies who either didn’t attend PM Netanyahu’s critical speech to Congress or who were simply circling the wagons came across pretty darn pathetic yesterday.


A smidgon of their very shakey arguments:


1) THIS IS POLITICAL, PERSONAL, MACHO, DISRESPECTFUL, CONDESCENDING, AND MADE ME CRY


FALSE. Actually, with great alarm and dismay, we have been watching for many months, the name-calling and discrediting coming right here from bipartisan Washington…this, rather than supporting the only true democracy, friend, and ally in the middle east. For the Jewish people, this is a mater of survival from genocide, plain and simple–and only 70 years after the Holocaust.


2) THIS IS TO CHANGE THE ELECTION


FALSE. This was at the invitation of Congress to come speak, and at its timetable. The timing does not necessarily help or hurt the PM’s election chances; these are matters for individual voters at the polls to decide.


3) THERE’S NO ALTERNATIVES


FALSE. The alternative is plain, simple, and common sense–keep the sanctions in place and the pressure on Iran, and NOT settle for a deal that proflierates dangerous nukes to a threatening Iranian regime. Those advocating otherwise will find themselves on the wrong side of the historical nuclear aftermath…won’t that leave them a wonderful legacy!


4) WE CAN SURVEIL AND VERIFY ALL NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES


FALSE. The IAEA has repeatedly declared that they have NOT been able to verify Iran’s nuclear activies or the facilities used to build and house them. Moreover, repeated agreements with North Korea turned out to be unverifiable and ended up in their attaining dangerous nuclear weapons that we are still contending with.


5) NO DEAL WILL BE ACCEPTABLE


FALSE. A (very) bad deal is not acceptable. A deal that KEEPS nukes–weapons of mass destruction–out of the hands of the world’s premier sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses–Iran–for an phased-in easing of sanctions is a good deal.


6) YOU CAN’T STOP USE OF NUCLEAR KNOWLEDGE


FALSE. You can deny Iran the infrastructure and legitimacy to use that knowledge, period. Maybe you can’t put it back in the can, but you can take away the can, shaped like an ICBM, itself.


7) WRONG ON IRAQ AND WRONG AGAIN


FALSE.  When the world was passive in the face of nuclear proliferation in Iraq, Israel was spot on when it destroyed their nearly completed nuclear reactor in 1981. Unfortunately, we were wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability as reported by the Presidential Commission that investigated this post the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 


8) NOTHING NEW HERE


FALSE. PM Netanyahu made clear that this is NOT partisan, that he has the highest respect for the President(cy), that he is most grateful to America, that our bounds are unbreakable, that the enemy (IRAN) of our enemy (ISIS) is not our friend (both seeking radical dominion over the middle east and globally), and that proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction is not acceptable–now or in ten years. And maybe most inspiringly and underpinning many of our common bonds and values is that there is a picture of Moses over the door of Capital!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Purim All Over Again

queen-esther
Last night my wife received an email from a very holy woman from our synagogue telling us to pray for G-d to save the Jewish people.

 
This at a time when Iran is on the verge of nuclear breakout capability and has for more than a decade threatened Israel with genocide
 
As Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday, the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is a security issue to the U.S. (which has been threatened by Iran, including unbelievably threats to President Obama’s family), but is a survival issue to Israel.
 
The holy lady from the shule reminded us that this is the week we celebrate Purim.
 
This holiday commerates when the Jewish people were miraculously saved almost 2,500 years ago from an evil plot to destroy all the Jews in ancient Persia (and yes, what is now related to modern day Iran).
 
The threat: “To destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
 
But for a miracle from G-d through Mordechai and Queen Esther were the Jewish people saved from annihilation. 
 
It is not lost of any of us that now Iran wants to exterminate the Jews once again, in a single day, in a single nuclear strike on the holy land. 
 
The Jerusalem Post astutely points out today that Prime Minister Netanyahu is like Mordechai who recognized the threat of the evil Haman who sought the Jews’ destruction, as well as Queen Esther who spoke truth to this to King Ahasuerus. 
 
Both my mother and my wife are named after the beautiful Queen Esther and so this holiday has enormous personal meaning for me, especially since my family are also survivors of the Holocaust. 
 
Today, we are all praying for another miracle when Netanyahu addresses the U.S. Congress that the Jews should once again be saved from historical enemies old and new. 😉
 
(Source Photo: here with attribution to pixgood)

Noticeably Absent From Auschwitz Liberation Memorial

Auschwitz Concentration Camp
So yesterday was the 70th anniversary memorial of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp,



More than 1.1 million Jews and 100,000 other POWs and ethnic minorities were EXTERMINATED there.



There was forced labor, beatings, torture, starvation, the gas chambers and the crimatoria, the electrified barbed wire and attack dogs, the human experimentation, and every cruelty known to mankind. 



At yesterdays memorial at Auschwitz 50 countries sent delegations “with heads of state leading those from:” 



– Germany

– Austria

– Belgium

– Bulgaria

– Croatia

– Lithuania

– France

– Netherlands

– Poland 

– Switzerland

– Ukraine (even though they are currently fighting a war with Russia!)



And even Russian President Putin “marks day at the Jewish Museum in Moscow.”



It is quite mysterious, why like with the recent Unity Rally in France after the terror attacks there on Charlie Hebdo Magazine and a Jewish grocery store that left 17 dead, that the head of state for the United States was once again noticeably absent.



This time, a meeting in Saudi Arabia took precendence–why of course.



At least, the million plus murdered at Auschwitz got a (prepared) statement to mark their tragic deaths.



What does all this say about our commitment to human rights and fighting blind hatred, discrimination, racism, Islamist terrorism, and outright genocide?  



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ricardo Francesconi)

^^^To The Six Million^^^

Holocaust Memorial Miami
I am dedicating my 2001st blog post to my 6 million! Jewish brothers and sisters who were murdered in the Holocaust. 



May G-d have mercy on their souls and in their name bless us, the survivors, to do his holy bidding and good deeds. 



Thank you G-d for bringing me to this time and for all your enduring kindness. 



May you give me the strength and inspiration to carry on as a hopefully positive influence in this world. 



(Source Photo of Miami Holocaust Memorial: Andy Blumenthal)

Pets, But Not People

Pampered_pooch

I remember learning how the Nazi’s in the Holocaust and WWII would take great care of their dogs, while at the same time exterminating Jews, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, as well as political opponents and prisoners of war. 

While I fully respect people who are pet owners and love their pets, it is odd how even today the love of animals and their treatment can be elevated above how we treat each other.

Some recent articles about our pets that stood out:

– An article in the Wall Street Journal (2 December 2012) compares helicopter parents to now helicopter pet owners. One example given, from a pet-rescue site states: “All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety…animals such as bats, bees, and snakes can gain access to yards” and threaten your dog. Another example provided was about a couple who wante dto adopt a dog, but had to complete an 50 question application. 

– Two days later, another article in the Wall Street Journal (4 December 2012) about people memorializing their pets by turning their ashes into diamonds. “Producing a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of ashes or unpacked hair.” And “some gems start at about $250, while pet diamonds cost about $1,400.” No really!

In contrast, here were some recent articles about how we memorialize those who were gruesomely murdered and tortured by Nazis (may their name be obliterated):

– The Wall Street Journal (1 December 2012) presented an article on how “every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association (SMA) has [disgracefully] given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in space medicine” even though, “Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 ‘persons, firms, or organizations implicated’ in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments.” In particular, Dr. Strughold was implicated in the “infamous hypothermia, or ‘cold experiments,’ in which inmates were used, and typically died as subjects [brutally] exposed to freezing conditions” such as immersion in freezing water or in vacuum chambers that simulated altitudes of nearly 20,000 feet. Yes, the concentration camp prisoners exposed to these experiments at Dr. Strughold’s own instuitute, included “children 11 to 13 old [who] were taken from a nearby psychiatric facility” and subjected to oxygen deprivation experiments,” yet the SMA continues to use Dr. Strughold name as worthy of an annual award–yes, beyond belief and sick indeed. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (6 December 2012) describes how in India, a clothing store in Ahmedabad is named Hitler with a swastika used as the dot over the “i” in Hitler, and Mein Kampf is a bestseller. Similarly, in 2006 a cafe opened in Mumbai called Hitler’s cross and a pool hall named Hitler’s Den opened in Nagpur. Last year, a comedy was released called Hero Hitler in Love and there is a hit soap opera called Hitler Didi (or “Big Sister Hitler”). While the article states the “Hitler’s popularity in India is not a result of anti-Semitism” but rather that Hitler weakened the British in WWII, thereby freeing their country. Nevertheless, the hero treatment for Hitler stands out in stark contrast to his life as a notorious murder of millions.

So while many admirably love their pets and seek to treat them kindly and with care, there are those who still love for the likes of Hitler, the Nazis and the murder, cruelty, and chaos they inflicted on the world. 

What is commentary on and future of a world, when people love and respect their pets more than their fellow human beings? 

As the English Statesman, Edmund Burke, said, “The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Glenda Wiburn)