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March 9, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 9, 2018 PAGE 5A By Sarah N. Stern Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was forced last week to deny be- ing a Holocaust revisionist, after suggesting that Jews were complicit in their own genocide. Referring to a new Polish law making it illegal to say the country has responsibility for the Holocaust, an Israeli journalist and son of Polish survivors asked Morawiecki if he could face prison for recounting how his mother was betrayed by her Polish neighbors. The prime minister re- plied: "Of course it's not going to be punishable to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators." Morawiecki's remarks were a shameful adulteration of history. There were no "Jewish perpetrators" in the Holocaust. They were victims. The Jewish prison- ers who participated in the extermination machinery did so under the immediate threat of death. The new law, which Pol- ish lawmakers chose to push--on the eve of Holo- caust Remembrance Day, no less--cannot be understood without an appreciation of the context from which it emerged, nurtured by the rise of nationalism in Poland and the tactic support of the populist government, which views itself as the guardian of Polish historical honor. A dark trend is once again sweeping across the Euro- pean continent. In Macerata, a small town in Italy, a neo- fascist admirer of Mussolini recently went on a shooting rampage, wounding five men and one woman of African origin. In Austria, a party with neo-Nazi roots now sits in the coalition govern- ment. And from Hungary to the Czech Republic, France and Britain, political par- ties and their supporters are reviving the old blood libel against Jews. Europe's grip on its bloody past is far from assured. Of course, Poland's his- tory with the Third Reich is complex. If the new law were to clarify that the Polish government had no official role in the Holo- caust, it would be an ac- curate reflection of events. Likewise, Poland is right to object to the flippant use of "Polish death camps" to de- scribe Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek and Chelmno rather than "Nazi death camps inside Poland." But in every country under Nazi occupation--Poland is no exception--most of the local population were either silentwitnesses to the slaugh- ter or willing participants in the annihilation of Jews. Take, for example, the role of Polish collaborators. In July of 1941, 1,600 Jews, nearly the entire Jewish population in the village of Jedwabne, were murdered by their Polish neighbors. Some were hunteddown and killed with clubs, knives and axes. Most were forced into a barn and burned alive. The Polish police collabo- rated with the Germans on many occasions such as in Warsaw, where they remained on duty to control the 50,000 Jews still alive in the ghetto after the liquidation in the summer of 1942. This is only part of the story. In Poland, complic- ity and heroism coexist. An important aspect of history that must not be forgotten or minimized is the sacrifice of the Polish Underground State. The organization, which came to the rescue of Polish Jewry, operated from 1939 to 1945 and was subordinated to the Polish government-in-exile. The Council to Aid Jews codenamed"Zegota,"aunique organization one on a global scale, provided structural and monetary assistance to Jews hiding among the Polish population and those living in ghettos, saving the lives of tens of thousands. Thousands of other Poles sheltered Jews despite the fact they and their entire families faced execution by the Nazis, if they had been caught. But the selfless act of hu- manity by selective group of Poles cannot whitewash the more sinister chapters of Polish history. In Poland, and many other parts of Eastern Europe, historical revisionism is far from a new phenomenon. The widespread hostility that Jews faced did not die with the defeat of the Nazis. After the closure of World War II, Jewish survivors that re- turned home were confronted with an anti-Semitism that was terrible in its fury and brutality. The new communist gov- ernment in Poland made no mention of the crimes committed against Jews by the Nazis. They, too, were anti-Semites. In July 1946, a pogrom occurred in the Pol- ish town of Kieice, resulting in 42 Jews being massacred, an event that Poland's foreign minister would recognize 50 years later as an "act of Polish anti-Semitism." In recent years, things have regressed again. A rise in nationalism has always been bad for the Jews. Matters were not helped when Poland, over the last decade, lost important public intellectuals who reminded their country of the horrors of the Holocaust with first- hand accounts. Among them Marek Edelman, a Jewish leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and Wladyslaw Bar- toszewski, a leading figure in the Zegota underground organization. The so-called "Holocaust Bill," the new Polish law, promotes the avoidance of historical responsibility and deflects blame, in an attempt to rewrite history in the name of blind nationalism. But the Holocaust cannot be denied, avoided or played down. We are here to remember, edu- cate and speak truth to power. Sarah iV. Stern is founder and president of the Endow- ment for Middle East Truth, a pro-American and pro- Israeli think tank ad policy institute in Washington, DC. By Judith Bergman (JNS)--It has become a platitude repeated ad nauseam by former Israeli security officials: The Pal- estinian Authority must not be weakened because this might imperil Israel. The reasoning is that even though the PA is bad, at least it cooperates, to a greater or lesser degree, with their Is- raeli counterparts, whereas Israel does not know what kind of potentially radical monster would take over after a collapsed PA. This Sunday, the Min- isterial Committee for Legislation approved a bill that would deduct salaries given by the PA to convicted terrorists and their families from the tax revenues Israel transfers annually to the PA Israel transfers millions of dollars each year to the PA in customs duties levied on goods destined for Pales- tinian markets that transit through Israeli ports. If passed by the Knesset, the proposed legislation would enable Israel to either deduct the funds from the revenues or "freeze" the payments. "Soon, this theater of the absurd will come to an end, and the salaries of the terrorists that we will withhold from [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud] Abbas will be used to prevent terrorism and compensate victims," said Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman about the proposed bill. Predictably, parts of the Is- raeli security establishment were opposed to the proposed legislation, fearing that it couldweaken the PA. Similar fears have been expressed by a group calling itself Com- manders for Israel's Security, which reportedly represents hundreds of retired Israeli military officials, regarding the U.S. Taylor Force Act. The Taylor Force Act, which thus far has passed the U.S. House of Representa- tives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would end American funding of the PA unless it stops paying salaries to terrorists and their families. However, Commanders for Israel's Security have voiced concerns that the Taylor force Act would "undermine P.A. stability; expand the circle of frustration and hostility; erode the security coordination;" and deny the P.A. funding for "vital eco- nomic projects." All this, say the retired military person- nel, would "compromise Israeli security." Since when is stuffing your own pockets and using the rest to pay terrorists a "vital economic project"? One might argue, however, that the P.A. has done exactly that--created a monster that ceaselessly incites the murder of Israelis and the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. The PA differs from the Hamas only in its lack of hon- esty and its two-faced public relations, according to which Abbas says one thing in Eng- lish and another in Arabic, just as his predecessor Yasser Arafat did. The PA's ideology concerning the end goal, however, is as radical as that of Hamas. Furthermore, the constant brainwashing has ensured that Palestinian Arabs continue to see con- flict with Israel as the only viable option. As recently as two weeks ago, the official Facebook page of Fatah communi- cated that "the blood of the martyrs is the light of freedom" with an image of, among other things, the PA map of "Palestine" that presents all of Israel as "Palestine." Mahmoud Abbas is the leader of Fatah, the party that controls the PA. Also less than two weeks ago, Fatah honored the mothers of terrorists who have killed or wounded Israelis, calling them "the crown on our heads, the mothers of the Martyrs [Shahids]." The list goes on. What the former Israeli security-establishment fig- ures sorely seem to miss is that the P.A. has made impossible in the long term any kind of peace. In a 2012 interview, Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, which translates and makes accessible to the public the internal rhetoric of the P.A. that is not intended for West- ern consumption, said "the tragedy is that the Palestin- ians were much closer to peace with Israel before the Oslo Accords. An ocean has developed because of hate promotion by the Palestinian Authority." Marcus estimated that chances for peace may have been better in 1996, when after decades of contact with Israelis, a poll of Palestinians showed that 78 percent con- sidered Israel to be positive in democracy and human rights. Today, that figure would be pure science fiction. Poll after poll shows that a ma- jority of Palestinian Arabs hold deeply ingrained anti- Semitic beliefs (according to a 2014 ADL poll, 93 percent of Palestinian Arabs held anti- Semitic beliefs) and support terror against Israelis. That is what decades of the P.A. indoctrination has fostered or reinforced. A generation of people has been raised on an un- adulterated diet of hatred of Israel and the Jewish people, courtesy ofArafat, Abbas and their ilk. In kindergartens and schools, in the written and electronic press, on TV and especially on children's TV, Jews have been called monkeys and pigs that need to be killed. Schoolbooks show Israel erased from the map, history lessons deny the existence of Jewish nationhood and never teach the Holocaust, (Abbas, after all, has a Ph.D. in Holo ,[ caust demal) monuments ar~ erected in honor of terro st murderers of Jews in city squares, and terrorists are rewarded with fat salaries. While the PAhas been rais- ing "shahids" for the past 25 years--ensuring that there will be no peace for at least a generation--retired Israeli military personnel would have you believe that the PA is the guarantor of Israeli se- curity. The kind of "security" where you have--as was the case in January 2018--some 332 terrorist incidents in a month, resulting in one mur- der and 16 injured, including two stabbings/attempted stabbings, two shootings, one ramming attack, four roadside bombs, 251 stone- PA onpage 15A How Israel handles school shootings As our government con- tinues to debate the gun law issues and what to do concern- ing protecting our schools, Israel has the problem very much under control. Since 1974 there have only been about one-half dozen terrorist attacks on Israeli schools. What is their secret? CBS News foreign corre- spondent Jonathan Vigliotti asked, "Does everyone have a gun in Israel?" No, said gun instructor Sharon Gat. "Gun laws in America are much more loose than gun laws in Israel." What are the requirements to have a gun? It takes up to three months to get a gun. Forget 18 or 21, you must be over 27, unless you served in the military. You must prove your job requires a gun (not just that you want one). And you must get a doctor to sign off on your application. Dr. Omri Ben Ezra ex- plained to Vigliotti that if you suffer from epilepsy or loss of consciousness or any mental disturbances, you can't have a gun. Those who have guns must take a gun test (like a drivers' test) that is pretty rigorous, about 40 percent fail the test and need to reapply. Do teachers in Israeli schools have guns? "No," said Nati Stern, principal of Municipal School in Tel Aviv. "That is the job of police and the state." Every school does have an armed security guard outside the main en- trance of the school, which Stern said is sufficient. The guard is there not by choice, but by law. Security guards must take the gun test every four months. Sounds like a simple, clear solution. Would Americans give up some of their rights for the common sense protection of our children? Christine DeSouza REAL PEACE WILL BE WHEN THEY CONSK)ER GIVING US LANDING RIGHTS.