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February 10, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 PAGE 15A From page 1A on Jan. 9, 16 centers in nine states received threats. "We are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats. All threats from the previous two dates have been determined to be hoaxes. The FBI is actively investigating the source or sources of these calls. We are relieved that no one has been harmed and that JCCs con- tinue to operate in a way that puts the safety of their staff, visitors, and premises first." The list of JCCs which confirmed receiving bomb threats today follows, by state: California--Alpert Jewish Community Center, Long Beach and Lawrence Family JCC, La Jolla; Colo- rado-Boulder Jewish Com- munity Center; Illinois--Lake County JCC, Lake Zurich; New Jersey--JCC Metro West, West Orange, and Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Tenafly; New York--Sidney Albert Albany JCC, Jewish Com- munity Center of Syracuse; Massachusetts--Worcester JCC; New Mexico--Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque; Ohio--JCC of Toledo, Sylvania; Utah--I.J. & Jeann~ Wagner Jewish Community Center, Salt Lake City; Wisconsin--The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Milwau- kee; and Ontario, Canada-- London Jewish Community Centre. From page 1A Amy and Eric are proud to have seen their three daugh- ters grow into young women who are active in their Jew- ish communities. Geboff considers the greatest of her many achievements to be "Creating a youth com- munity where children of all ages feel like Ohev is a second home, lookout for each other and care about each other." All are invited to attend this event honoring and log into the On-line Auction at Gala2017. The On-line Auction be- gins Feb. 12 and remains active until 11:45 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23. The high- est bid on each item becomes the opening bid on the night of the Gala. The deadline for the Gala R.S.V.P. is Feb. 16. Please call Ohev Shalom at 407298-4650 or go to www.ohevshalom. org if you have not received an invitation or would like to inquire about the cost of the Gala, sponsor levels, and an ad in the tribute book. From page 4A travelers in the West, is that a sledgehammer approach to the more fundamental issue of Muslim integration may play well politically in the short term, but is highly destructive in the long term. Nobody could seriously argue that Islam is a united body, after all. It is more accurately understood as a culture in the grip of a bru- tal civil war--between Shi'a and Sunni, between secular authoritarians and radical clerics, between compet- ing jihadi schools--that is simultaneously linked, ideo- logically and operationally, to monstrous acts of terrorism against non-Muslims inside and outside the Muslimworld. There were plenty of warnings before the 9/11 attacks that this trend was growing, such as the 1994 Iranian-sponsored bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, but Western politicians by and large ignored or misunder- stood where this tide was heading. If we are to avoid repeating these same errors, we need to learn from the past by understanding that Islam's internal fissures can work to our advantage. But there is nothing to be gained from a situation in which the very word"refugee" becomes a pe- jorative, as is more and more the case in America, or when we face legislative proposals that could, for example, pre- vent Kurdish Muslims from Iraq and Syria--traditionally our close allies--from enter- ing our country. In that sense, we can learn much from people like Ahmed Hussen about the importance of nuance and compassion. As a former refugee, he instinc- tively understands the plight of those driven from their homes by war and genocide. As a human rights advocate, he grasps that some groups are far more vulnerable than others--which is why he just announced that Canada will allow entry to an unspecified number of Yazidis from Iraq, who have been horribly perse- cuted by Islamic State, within the next four weeks. At the same time, Hussen's record suggests that he rec- ognizes the clear difference between practical support for the victims of extreme cruelty on the one hand, and sinking into nebulous cultural relativism or knuckle-headed bigotry on the other. Partisans of both left and right would do well to consider that. Ben Cohen, senior edi- tor of & The Tower Magazine, writes a weekly column for on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics. His writ- ings have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. He is the author of "Some of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century An- tisemitism" (Edition Critic, 2014). From page 5A candles were lit," she wrote in an article in the Jewish Review of Books in which she lacerated Wiesenthal's ethical standards. "When I tell the organizers that they are engaged in historical revisionism, their reactions range from skepticism to outrage. Strangers have taken me to task in angry letters for focusing 'only' on Jewish deaths and ignoring the'five million others.When I explain that this number is simply inaccurate, in fact made up, they become even more convinced of my eth- nocentrism and inability to feel the pain of anyone but my own people." The problem, according to Bauer, who has debunked the number repeatedly in his writings over the decades, is not that non-Jews were not victims; they were. It is that Wiesenthal's arbitrarily chosen tally of non-Jewish victims diminishes the cen- trality to the Nazi ideology of systematically wiping any trace of the Jewish people from the planet. In fact, he said, the term "genocide" could accurately be applied to the 2 million to 3 million Poles murdered and millions more enslaved by the Nazis. But the mass murder of the Poles, Roma and others should not come under the rubric "Holocaust," a term that Holocaust historians generally dislike because of its religious connotations but nonetheless have accepted as describing only the annihila- tion that the Nazis hoped to visit on the Jews. "All Jews of the world had to be annihilated," Bauer said. "That was the intent. There was never an idea in Nazi minds to murder all the Russians." Mark Weitzman, the di- rector of government affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that Wiesenthal, in advancing the number, "never intended to minimize the Jewish specificity of the Shoah," the Hebrew word for Holocaust "He was trying to draw at- tention to the fact that there were other victims of Nazi genocide," Weitzman said. The White House has endeavored to show that the statement has Jewish approval. Spicer said a Jew- ish staffer descended from Holocaust survivors helped draft it, and Politico, citing a source, reported late Monday that it was Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born Jew who is one of Trump's advisers. The IDF spokesperson's Facebook post, which also ne- glected to mention the Jewish victims, said that "11 million men, women, and children perished in the Holocaust. Share their stories and speak their names to keep their memory alive." The post was later changed to include the 6 million Jewish victims, but the reference to 11 million remains. Editor's Note: According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, "there is no single wartime document created by Nazi officials that spells out how many people were killed in the Holocaust or World War II. As more documents come to light estimates of human losses may change. The single most important thing to keep in mind when attempting to document numbers of victims of the Holocaust is that no one mas- ter list of those who perished exists anywhere in the world." What follow are the current best estimates of civilians and disarmed soldiers killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Jews: up to 6 million Non-Jewish Soviet civil- ians: around 5. 7 million Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50, 000 Jewish soldiers) Non-Jewish Polish civil- ians: around 1.8 million Serb civilians (on the ter- ritory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000 People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000 Rorna (Gypsies): 196,000- 220,000 Jehovah's Witnesses: Around L 900 Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000 German political oppo- nents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70, 000 repeat criminal of- fenders andso-called asocials noted above). Do the math, this adds up to much more than 11 million. Danon From page 5A can make a real difference. We have to be willing to call out those who would take advantage of the U.N. and the international community. It is important, however, to also note the progress that has been made. More and more political and religious leaders around the world are speaking out against anti-Semitism. We particularly appreciated the strong words of Secretary- General Ant6nio Guterres condemning anti-Semitism when he spoke recently during a visit to a synagogue. This was a positive devel- opment, but the U.N. should build on such statements and take a leading role battling the rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents. This is why we have asked the secretary-general to appoint a special envoy who will oversee the U.N.'s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. It is important that we honor the memory of the Ho- locaust by making the world a better place, by pledging never to remain silent in the face of atrocities or human rights violations. We must, however, also make sure to cautiously weigh our words when comparing any events to what Winston Churchill correctly called "the greatest, most horrible crime ever com- mitted in the whole history of the world." Upon assuming my post last year, one of my first meetings in New York was with Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory. He taught all of us so much. Personally, I will never forget how he implored me to always speak up when Iwitness injus- tice orwrongdoing at the U.N. Elie was famous for saying "We must take sides. Neutral- ity helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encour- ages the tormentor never the tormented." Let us all pledge to heed these words of wisdom. Let us all have the courage to stand up when wrong is being com- mitted around the world. Most important, let us never shy ~way from speaking the truth in the defense of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Danny Danon is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations. From page 8A ropolitan area. The school was established in 1870 and nurtured the first genera- tions of Israeli agricultur- alists. Perhaps not surpris- ing, the school's grounds and extensive botanical garden boast a plethora of impressive trees. But a visitor's first stop should be the magnificent banyan tree located near the school's synagogue. The tree was planted in 1888 by Charles Netter, the school's founder and first headmas- ter. This fascinating tree is a forest all to itself--thick aerial roots have formed alternate trunks in an ever- widening circle that today encompasses approximately a quarter of an acre. Over the years, cuttings were taken from the tree--and so it is also the parent of many other beautiful banyan trees located throughout the country. So next time you visit Israel and pass by a gnarled, ancient tree, take a moment to reflect on the story behind it. Maybe the tree was planted by early Jewish colonists working for the Turkish authorities, or maybe it has outlived centuries-old towns or villages that once existed on the spot. Or perhaps it served as a landmark in an otherwise barren coun- tryside-one that's now crowded with buildings and automobiles. Every tree has a story. You just have to ask. From page 12A are not going to look to [the] refugee program as a way in. They are going to try a less intrusive method. We don't have any worries about it." Hetfield could not provide figures for how often asylum seekers are denied visas for security reasons--partly because Homeland Security neither specifies its reason for turning down applica- tions nor offers recourse for appealing it. Whereas the United Nations estimates that there are about I million people who meet its definition of a refugee--not including Palestinians, who have a different refugee clas- sification-only several hun- dred thousand of them have been offered resettlement. Prime Minister Jus- tin Trudeau of Canada and some lawmakers there sug- gestedthattheir countrywould be willing to take refugees affected by the White House crackdown, but have presented no concrete plans on how and when this would be done. Rather than encourage other countries to take in refugees turned down by the United States, Hetfield fears that Trump's executive order is likelier to have the op- posite effect: Other countries will be less willing to bring in refugees. "If the United States, that has led by example, decides its vetting process isn't safe enough, well, that will have huge implications for other countries," Hetfield said. The fact that the order came on International Ho- locaust Remembrance Day is "especially painful," he added, because "the international law pertaining to refugees today is a direct result of the Holocaust and the failure to act and protect Jews trying to leave Germany and Austria" and other places in war-torn Europe before and during World War II. Another immigration pro- fessional from the United States, herselfa refugee from the Middle East. said she believed that the language of the executive order signals that when it comes to the Muslim world, the Trump administration seeks to turn its refugee program primar- ily into an "escape route for non-Muslims." She asked not to be quoted by name because "things are too unclear right now to make an official state- ment." She cited a passage of the executive order that speaks of "changes, to the extent permitted by law, to pri- oritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based perse- cution, provided that the t eligion of the individual a minority religion in e individual's country of nationality." But that's not a good thing for religious minorities in Iran and elsewhere, the profes- sional said. "Just as Iranian Jews have long been flagged as a fifth column because they are welcome to resettle in Israel," she said, "now the same will happen to all the other mem- bers of religious minorities" in the region.