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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 11, 2019 PAGE 5A ar never By Martin Sherman (JNS)--If the "West Bank" was part of the "Hashemite Kingdom" up to 1967, how did it suddenly become the Palestinians' long-yearned- for homeland which, up until then, they were submissively willing to cede to an alien potentate? Not since the time of Dr. Goebels, head of the Nazi pro- paganda machine, has there ever been a case in which con- tinual repetition of a lie has born such great fruits Of all the Palestinian lies, there is no lie greater or more crushing than that which calls for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the West Bank.--From "Palestinian Lies," by former far-left Meretz Education Minister, Profes- sor Amnon Rubinstein, July 30, 1976. As the new elections ap- proach, the "Palestinian problem" is once again likely to dominate much of the in- ter- (and intra-) party debate. To demonstrate this, imagine for a moment that the 1967 Six-Day War never took place. Imagine that Israel had not been compelled to launch a preemptive strike in self- defense to thwart the Arabs' openly proclaimed aim of total genocide that resulted in it taking over Judea-Samaria, which the Palestinians now contend is their long-yearned for homeland. Then ask yourself: If that war had not occurred, where would "Palestine" be? After all, but for this war, the "West Bank" would not have fallen under Israeli ad- ministration. Surely then, the Palestinians would have no grievances against the Jewish state and there would be no charges of Israel "occupying Palestinian lands" and dispos- sessing the "Palestinians" from their "homeland." Sadly, this is not the case. Charges of "occupation" of Palestinian land and dispos- session of the Palestinians were widespread long before Israel had control of a square inch of the "West Bank." Indeed, as early as March 8, 1965, over two years before the Six-Day War, GamalAbdel Nasser, president of Egypt, proclaimed his bloodcurdling intent: "We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood." But what "Palestine" was he referring to? It certainly was not the "West Bank" and Gaza, which were under Jordanian and Egyptian rule respectively. It could only be the territory within the pre- 1967 borders of Israel. Similarly savage senti- ments were expressed by Ah- mad Shukeiri, Yasser Arafat's predecessor as chairman of the PLO. Indeed, only days prior to the outbreak of the Six-Day War, in a somewhat premature flush of triumph, he crowed: "D Day is ap- proaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation " Ominously, he threatened: "This is a fight for the home- land; it is either us or the Israelis." Here again, Shukeiri's use of the words "liberation" and "homeland" is revealing and damning for current Palestin- ian claims. After all, they clearly did not apply to the "West Bank" or the Gaza Strip, since both were under Arab rule and certainly not considered the "homeland" toward which Palestinian "liberation" ef- forts were directed. The true significance of these terms emerges with stark clarity from the text of the original version of the Palestinian National Charter formulated in 1964, a full three years before the "West Bank" fell under Israeli ad- ministration. Article 24 stipulates pre- cisely what was not included in the "homeland" of"Palestine" andwhere sovereigntywas not sought to be exercised. Indeed, it unequivocally forswears Palestinian claims to "any ter- ritorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Gaza." It is difficult to imagine a more authoritative source for exposing as bogus the Pales- tinian claim that the "West Bank" and Gaza comprise their "ancient homeland." This, of course, creates the remarkably anomalous situa- tion we have today. On the one hand, the Pai- estinians profess that they are willing to forego all the terri- tory they claimed as their pre- 1967 "homeland," but on the other, obdurately demand for their post-1967 "homeland" a completely different territory, which they explicitly excluded from their previous homeland demands. This is not a trivial matter. For a sense of nationalism is driven by a sense of belong- ing, inextricably associated with geographical sites in the homeland, where great events took place that generated a distinct national historical memory and consequent coherent national identity. But if such nation-gener- ating sites were located in pre-1967 Palestine, what such sites could there possibly be in post-1967 Palestine thatcould generate a sense of nation- hood since the Palestinians themselves conceded that, up to 1967, it did not consti- tute part of their homeland? War on page 15A By Ben Cohen (JNS)--Imagine that you are a Jewish doctor in a Nazi concentration camp. About 100 of your fellow inmates suffer from diabetes, and you only have a limited supply of insulin, with no guarantee of more on the way. Do you give each patient the same amount regardless of individual need, knowing that all of them will likely die within a month? Or do you reserve your supply for those with a greater chance of survival, meaning that those with severe diabetes will die much sooner as a result? Or imagine that you are the Greek Jewish teenager from Salonika who's picked up enough German from polishing the boots of the Nazi officers occupying your city that when you are eventually deported to Auschwitz, your linguistic abilities land you a low-level clerical job, instead of a spot in the gas chamber. In the camp administrative office, you have access to the index-card system that as- signs each prisoner to a differ- ent slave-labor brigade--most of which involves punishing physical work in the freezing outdoors, with the risk of frostbite, pneumonia, beat- ings or even execution for those deemed by the guards to be slacking off. One of your fellow prison- ers, who is near death, begs you to sneak his card into the box of a different brigade, one with lighter duties. As long as your Nazi overlords don't catch you, it's in your power to do that. But if you decide to help your friend, then you have to switch his card out with that of another person from the same brigade, and then that person spends his or her days facing snow, ice and death from starvation. What do you do? And, come to think of it, how on earth did you end up in this position? The above documented examples arewhatmany Holo- caust scholars and educators like to describe as "choiceless choices"--appalling moral dilemmas faced by a people thatwere systematically dehu- manized by the Nazi regime, and who knew that they faced death at any second. They formed part of an intense, enriching four days that I spent with a small group of other writers and journalists at Yad Vashem. We were there to study and discuss many aspects of the Holocaust but we did so from a starting point that the way we teach younger generations about the Nazi attempt to destroy the Jews of Europe and North Africa is changing radically. Holocaust survivors have all reached advanced ages. There won't be any in-person testimonies to listen towithin a few years (even if we are left with their accounts captured on video, holograms or other forms of visual reproduc- tion.) Since 1945, countless other genocides have wreaked havoc in the Balkans, much of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, while a few of those that occurred before--the Herero nation slaughtered by German colonists in southern Africa, the Armenians annihilated by Turkey--to this day remain under-recognized. Is the Ho- locaust any more important than these other demonstra- tions of inhumanity in the world? And there's more, much more. In countries like Lithu- ania and Ukraine, wartime collaborators with the Nazis are now being lionized as anti- Communist heroes. The Is- raeli government walks along an undignified diplomatic tightrope with these states, having to balance present-day bilateral relations with guard- ianship of the Holocaust's truths. Elsewhere, some Holocaust-commemoration activities are so fixated with a universalist approach that basic facts about the Jewish character of the genocide-- like the young diarist Anne Frank having been Jewish, and being deported because she was Jewish--are buried in a bid to be "meaningful" to "everyone." Meanwhile, in Western Europe and the United States, social protest movements, like the "Yellow Vests" in France and the Women's March in America, have been penetrat- ed by Holocaust-deniers, anti- Semitic conspiracy-mongers and advocates of Israel's elimination. And that's not to mention those who don't deny the Holocaust, but who do de- light in invoking the Nazis as a metaphor for Israeli policies towards the Palestinians or go the whole hog by making fun of it in front of receptive crowds in theaters. In the recent past, perhaps the key Holocaust debate was why the Allied powers did so little to stop it. During our group's exchange with Avner Shalev, the chair of Yad Vashem who pioneered its renewal over the last two decades, he related the story of guiding President George W. Bush around the institute's impressive museum. When they reached the exhibit about President Franklin D. Rooseveit's response to the Holocaust, Bush turned to his then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and asked: "Why didn't FDR bomb the camps? He should have." But that burning question has been superseded by an even more vexing one: Why should we seek to educate about the Holocaust in a worldwhere the phrase"Never Again" sounds farcical to many people? There are many answers, and to my mind, there are three key ones. First, there are still some survivors of the Holocaust. I think specifically of a man named Albert de Leeuw and 150 other former child labor- ers in the Amsterdam ghetto, who have still not received proper compensation from the German government, and who continue fighting for that recognition in the twilight of their lives. To abandon them now would be shameful. Second, however much people believe politics has changed with the rise of populism on left and right Teaching on page 15A @ y wron: By Alexandra Pucciarelli Since it came into our lives last year, I've had mixed feelings about "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Its jokes sometimes feel like the kind of things we say among other fellow Jews, but not to the rest of the world. The show does have a comforting familiarity that makes it easy to binge watch; I watched the whole first season in a single day. It's like the matzah ball soup of TV shows: It feels like home, with all of the wonder- ful and less-than-wonderful associations that home can have. One of its more discom- fiting aspects (besides the mostly non-Jewish staff and cast--a subject for a different article) is the character of As- trid, Midge's sister-in-law and recent convert to Judaism. In the newly released second season, she is treated as the butt of a joke rather than a whole person with a full life. She appears infrequently and always for a laugh, never advancing the plot. She is one-dimensionally trying so hard to be Jewish in a way that does not feel authentic. Full disclosure: My father is a convert to Judaism, and my fiance is currently undergo- ing the conversion process. So when portrayals of Jew- ish converts in pop culture miss the mark, I feel it on a personal level. When I look at Astrid, I see a woman who is trying her best. She goes to Israel 11 times as a means to impress her in-laws and prove her Jewishness. My fiance echoed this sentiment--that as a convert, you feel you have to prove that you are Jewish, unlike those who were born into the faith. It is hard to be accepted as part of the group, and Astrid takes her Judaism to the extreme by constantly using Yiddish phrases and pointing out the positives of Judaism to those around her. This is especially evident in season 2, which mostly takes place in a classic Jew- ish Catskills resort. Astrid is much more religiously observant than the family that surrounds her, like when she fasts for Tisha b'Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, while the rest of her family eats a hearty breakfast unaware of this day of mourning. Converts are known to be more religiously strict than their born-Jewish counter- parts, and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" brings this trope to the extreme. Therein lies the problem: In this extremity, Astrid becomes a thing to laugh at---look at the dumb goy, she doesn't get what it really means to be Jewish. One moment that particularly sticks out is when Astrid returns from Israel for the llth time with huge mezuzahs that she gives Midge and her mother. Her gift is seen as clueless rather than thoughtful. Later in the episode she gives Midge's son a set of rabbi playing cards, which the other characters also view as foolish. My fiance and I both found Astrid's portrayal pretty cringe worthy. It would be fine for there to be a run- ning joke about Astrid the convert, but the fact that this is her only characteristic on the show is problematic. She could be Super Jew, but she could also be known as a super dresser or super smart !iii!iiii ilSiiiiii!Jii!i!i!!ii,i! or so many other things. But no, she's the token convert. Many people already are leery about converts to Ju- daism (especially those who convert "for spouses"), and this kind of portrayal in the media doesn't help. This article originally ap- peared on Alma. Alexandra Pucciarelli is a writer based in New York. She received her bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently a graduate student of the sociology of col- lective memory and trauma at the New School for Social Research. She has written for Tablet Magazine, The L Magazine, Blood + Milk, and Brooklyn Magazine.