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- HERITAGE FLORIO& JEWllS41 NEWS, MAY S, 2017 p~.._n~_ 4#, By Jonathan Feldstein And then he went on to "clarify" by saying, "I In Jewish circles at least, Spicer's remarks hook on which to hang his hat and Francis' think when you come to satin gas, he (Hitler) unleashed a tsunami of backlash, with mil- comments wouldn't be as offensive. Israel observed Yom Hashoah Holocaust was not using the gas on his own people the lions of hits and comments on news and social Refugee camps are no picnic. Not now, and Memorial Day--lastweek, pausingto remem- same way that Assad is doing." media sites calling him out, or for him to be notanywehere.Butforthepopetosuggestthat bet the six million Jews who were murdered by During further "clarification," Spicer dis- fired. I noted then that other horrors may be there's any parallel to a concentration camp theNazisandtheircollaborators.AsHolocaust played his ignorance by saying that Hitler no less shocking, but over simplifying them showsnolessignoranceandinsensitivitythan survivors age and die, it's not long before our "brought them into the Holocaust center." and using Hitler and the Holocaust asa syn- Spicers'comments.Comparingarefugeecamp memory will be without the benefit of people To an educated person, the newly coined term onym for everything evil is wrong. People who wherepeopleare fed, bathed, treated medically, who actually suffered and still bear witness to "Holocaust center" was baffling. Of course he can't define why other situations are uniquely and taken care of to Nazi concentration camps these unspeakable and unparalleled horrors, meant concentration camp, but his ignorance dangerous or evil way diminish their own case, where people were enslaved, starved, tortured, It's all the more important to remember didn't allow him the ability to use a proper and the memory of the Jews who were the shot, hung, gassed, and burned is outrageous. in light of Holocaust denial; claims that the term, adding insult, and stupidity, to injury, primary victims of the Holocaust, a singular Yet, I haven't heard calls for the pope to step Holocaust simply didn't happen, that there On the bright side, Spicer wasn't denying event in history. Mass murder is bad but it's downoverthis, orhismakinganapologyeither. was no systematic murder of European Jews, Hitler'suseofZyklonBandotherdeadlygasasa not a Holocaust. There are no comparisons. Because of the depth of the horrors, there's or thatwe are exaggeratingthe actual numbers cornerstone of his genocidal murder machine. Spicer's gaffe and apology should be used to no limit to the learning and understandingone of victims. I have been confronted personally, The Nazis began using poison gas as early as turn this into alearning moment. It's truethat can undertake to absorb and transmit this. in response to an article like this, by someone 1939 against mental patients in mobile gassing if such a comment can be made by someone in Some months ago I read and recommended who I don't know and who doesn't know me, vehicles. By 1942, gas chambers became the thispositionthere'salotoflearningthatneeds a Holocaust memoir by the grandmother of statingthatmembersofmyownfamilywerenot common instrument of Hitler's genocide. At tobedone.SpiceristheproductofanAmerica one of my daughter's friends. It's incumbent murdered. I don't know how this person thinks Auschwitz alone, as many as 6,000 Jews were that may know about the Holocaust in broad on each of us to do so, even if it's only once a heknowssuchathing, butheisdeadwrong, pun gassed to death each day. This is not only fake strokesbutarenotscholars, don'tknowdetails, year at this season. intended. The fact that someone like this or news, it's incontrovertible, and certainly don't have the inbred sensitivity There's anew list of recently publishedbooks anyone--would have the despicable hubris to But stupid comments such as Spicer's are of those of us who lost dozens, or hundreds, or (I haven't read) but encourage you to take distort reality and deny that my family, or any not just wrong and offensive. They diminish relatives in the Holocaust, or who are children this opportunity to read, to remember, and to of six million others, were not in fact murdered facts that are indisputable, and in doing so and grandchildren or neighbors of those who transmit something to others, from these or by the Nazi machine is scary at best, becausein they allow 'deniers to creep in and fill the survived.Idon'tblamehimforbeingignorant, elsewhere( a generation there will be no living witnesses, void. Just by watering down the facts of these He's a symptom of a bigger problem,religion/7-new-books-about-the-holocaust- It's also all the more important to highlight unique and unspeakable horrors, it allows a Just when the dust settled from the Spicer you-should-read-according-to-scholars). And these facts and remember the Holocaust and false equivalence to other things that are no comments, another prominent person also if reading is not your thing, there are endless its victims in some way this year, not just less horrors, but that do not rise to the level made a comment that was no less insensi- videos you can watch and share as well. because of Holocaust denial, but because of of the wholesale mass murder of six million, tive, and perhaps more so. In speaking about But please take some time to learn and teach statements by people who are so ignorant or one third, of the world's Jews. These facts the state of Syrian refugees in Europe, Pope others so you can help be sure people won't insensitive as to diminish its significance. The must be affirmed and underscored because if Francis, referring to refugee camps, said make the same mistakes as Spicer and Pope fact that people in such positions would make people in such positions as Spicer don't get it, "many of them, are of concentration (camps) Francis, or others in positions like them who suchabsurd statements is indicative ofalarger its clear there are far too many like him who because of the great number of people left should know better. problem fostering ignorance and insensitivity, may understand something bad happened to there inside them." Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated not because of denial or even anti-Semitism, the Jews of Europe, but don't understand the By using the term "concentration camp" in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. but simply because of not knowing the facts, depth and uniqueness of the horrors, the pope so diminished its meaning and the He is married and the father of six. He has a The first of these comments came from To his credit, Spicer apologized. "I was try- horrors that actually took place. It's all the three-decade career in nonprofit fundraising WhiteHousePressSecretarySeanSpicer.Ear- ing to make a point about the heinous acts more an affront coming from the head of and marketing and throughout his life and lier this month, while trying to draw a parallel that Assad had made against his own people the Catholic church with its own mixed past career, he has become a respected bridge between Syria's use of sarin gas and Russia's last week using chemical weapons and gas.., under Pope Pius in not actively trying to save between Jews and Christians. He writes support for Syrian President Assad, he said, frankly, I used an inappropriate, insensitive the lives of the Jews of Europe. If Pius had regularly on major Christian web sites about "We didn't use chemical weapons in WWII. reference to the Holocaust for which, frankly, been so pious then as Francis is today with Israel and shares experiences of living as an We had someone as despicable as Hitler who there is no comparison. And for that, I apolo- the Syrians, perhaps more Jews would have Orthodox Jew in Israel. He can be reached at didn't even sink to using chemical weapons." gize. It was a mistake..." been saved. At least he'd have had an ethical Letter from Israel By Ira Sharkansky improve things for what he calls the working middle class. There's always somethingto bother the Kahlon first came to prominence as a Likud Jews of Israel. Minister of Communications in the previous Currently we're smelling the prepara- government, when he worked to reduce the tions for a national election. Some may cost of cell phone service He wanted a high suspect that it wafts over the continent place in Bibi's government, but Bibi played his from Britain or France, but it comes from tactic of cutting offthe opportunities of those local pressures, who seemed likely to challenge him. The major responsibility may be those As a result, Kahlon left Likud to create a long-running police investigations into Sara competing party, with enough success to get and Bibi Netanyahu, with a lesser inquiry into into Bibi's government. one of their sons. Minister of Finance is a key position, but Likud politicians are positioning them- is dangerous for its occupant. Kahlon is the selves, still careful to say that they support secondpoliticiantofallintoBibi'strap.Thefirst the Prime Minister, but getting ready to was Yair Lapid, who served earlier as Finance replace him. Minister, and had the unlovely task of saying Also playing the election game is Finance NoorNotsomuchtoalltheclaimantsofpublic Minister Moshe Kahlon. He's heading a party resources for their own favorite programs. that he called Colanu, meaning together, which In his latest effort to get media attention, is a play on his family name and points to the Kahlon made his dramatic announcement of strength of his ego. spending money to benefit some and reducing His party didn't do all that well in the past taxes to benefit others without informing the election, and is doing even less well in sev- Prime Minister. Bibi heard about it like the eral of the recent polls. Kahlon is seeking to rest of us, from the media. He has reacted rescue himself and his colleagues via an bold with a mild, "It's interesting and in the right announcement to increase grants for Israel's direction," but party colleagues are trashing handicapped, and to tinker with a variety theFinanceMinister, mostlikelyintheservice of taxes and benefit programs in order to of their party and the Prime Minister. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 45 Press Awards EWISH NEWS HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (1SN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Ylarci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore Involved here is a clash between politicians, each wanting credit for announcing goodies to the voters. Along with them are a host of econo- mists, saying that Kahlon's heart may be in the right place, but why spend all that money favoring A and B and not C and D. And wouldn't it be better to reform taxes the way they think is best rather than how Kahlon thinks is best. There's no end of these arguments, with no one clearly in the lead. Before we finished with Kahlon's media splurge, two other issues with deep roots in Israeli society seized the headlines. One is the Sabbath, brought to the headlines by a Supreme Court decision allowing some Tel Aviv shops to open on Friday evening and Saturday. It didn't take long for a rare uniting of ultra- Orthodox and Orthodox political parties, threatening a government crisis if nothing is done about that threat against the essence of how they define Judaism. Equally loud was a clash in a Knesset com- mittee, and several days media coverage of a shouting match between the parents of sol- diers killed in the most recent Gaza operation whose bodies are in the hands of Hamas, and Knesset members who felt that the parents were obsessed about one aspect of a complex set of issues. It's possible to understand parents who want closure and a proper burial of their sons. The IDF and those who fall in national defense are at the very top of Israel's esteemed values. Yet war is hell. Planning is imperfect. Soldiers do die, and not all can be dealt with as desired. Israel's military cemeteries, like those of other countries, record the names of soldiers who gave their lives, and whose graves are known only to God. While the Jews are immersed in several of our own problems, a cluster of Palestinian prisoners are clamoring for international at- tention by yet another hunger strike. They and their publicist supporters are demanding better treatment. Counter assessments is that this hunger strike is the effort of one imprisoned mur- derer, Marwan Barghouti, who aspires to the political leadership of Palestine. In the context of this note, we can label him the Palestinian equivalent of Moshe Kahlon. What's similar is that both want to replace their national leadership, and neither seems likely to do it. Barghouti managed to get an op-ed piece in the New York Times, which initially published the item without noting that the author was serving four life sentences for involvement in multiple murders. Barghouti has not managed to recruit to his hunger Strike more than a sixth of the Palestinians in Israeli security prisons. A number of those began with him have already begun eating, and his strike is being opposed by competitors for Palestinian leadership. An item translated to Hebrew by il, an Israeli site that provides material from Arabic, Farsi, and other sources, is headlined, "A Palestinian to Barghouti: There is no util- ity to your hunger strike. And in the name of which Palestinians do you speak?" A leftist Israeli talk show host provided time for an Arab expert on international law to go on at length in presenting Barghouti's case. She admitted that Israel treats its prisoners better than Britain or Russia have treated their security prisoners, but insisted Israel is violating the international laws concerned with prisoners of war. The host did not press her on the details, i.e., whether the laws of war apply to terrorists, involved in a conflict that is not a declared war, and does not involve conflict between the armies of recognized states. Like Kahlon's program, this hunger strike, still in its early days, will have to play onward before we see if it affects anything significant. Likewise the matter of Sabbath. About the parents demanding that Israel do something to acquire the bodies of their loved ones from Gaza, there seems no solution on the horizon. After Israel released more than a thousand security prisoners to free the live Gilad Shalit, with many of those released returning to acts of violence, there is little sentiment to paywhat Hamas is demanding for dead bodies. We'll hope all these commotions pass, with or without a government crisis that get's us to an early election, or the death of a hunger striker that'll provide yet another reason for Palestinians to throw stones and drive their cars into those suspected of being Jews. Yet there'll be something else. Commotion is part of a democracy, perhaps louder than elsewhere in Israel, given the Jewish nature of its majority. Comments welcome,