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July 27, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 2018 PAGE 5A By Ariel Picard JERUSALEM (JTA)--There are many problems with the Nationality Law nearing pas- sage as the Knesset wraps up its summer session on Sunday, not the least of which is that there is no reason for it. No Israelis challenge the Jewishness of the state, thus the law is unnecessary. Unfortunately, something unnecessary can also be harmful. The language of the bill, which is officially called "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People," gives con- stitution-like force to the notion that Israel is a state for the Jews, from its flag and national anthem to the Hebrew language. It demotes Arabic from an officially recognized language to a "special" status. The latest version softened a declara- tion that could have led to exclusive, Jewish-only towns to say that Israel "views the developmentofJewishsettle- ment as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment." The effect of this measure is to humiliate non-Jewish citizens of Israel, especially its Arab citizens. If it passes and remains on the books, Israeli Arabs will be told that they may be citizens but will be reminded every day that they are not part of the nation. Jews in America will never be able to understand what that means because for them, being American is being a citizen and a part of the nation. The unique and chal- lenging situation in Israel is that the country differenti- ates between nationality and citizenship--that is, all citizens of Israel are consid- ered "Israeli," but individual ethnic and religious groups, like Jews, Arabs and Druze, are assigned a "nationality." The new Basic Law would enshrine that distinction in a way that comes close to making non-Jewish Israelis second-class citizens, a slap in the face to Israeli Arabs. What should especially concern Diaspora Jews about the bill is Article 6B, which says "The State of Israel will make an effort in the Dias- pora to reinforce the link between the State of Israel and the Jewish people." On its face it may look OK, but it reinforces the misguided Israeli perception that only in the Diaspora is the link between Israel and world Jewry weakening. In fact, Israel and world Jewry are supposed to be a partnership, reinforcing one another. Just as we know many in the Diaspora are drifting away from Israel, we know many Israelis do not recognize their connection to the Diaspora. The words "in the Dias- pora" were added because of pressure from haredi Or- thodox parties afraid the law would push the State of Israel to accommodate the religious concerns of non-Orthodox Jews as a show of their con- nection to Israel. The hare- dim feared that the previous wording could have been used to establish in law such things as the enlargement of the egalitarian Western Wall prayer area that has been scuttled by the government. It would have been a sign of the state's recognition of Diaspora Jews with different Jewish practices. But now the bill's wording makes clear that the govern- ment's efforts should be done only in the Diaspora. Israeli law would not require Jews in Israel to make any effort to accommodate Jews coming from the Diaspora In other words, Israelis have nothing to learn from you and owe you no favors. We are the big brother; we know it all. If this law comes into being, the logical outcome should be that Israeli Jews turn around the current equation and send donations to Jews in America. In reality, regardless of whether this legislation passes, I cannot imagine that happening. Why is this legislation gaining traction now? Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu, who is always under criticism from Israel's right, usually in the form of at- tacks by his Education and Diaspora Affairs minister, Naftali Bennett, sees this as a painless sop to the right and a final accomplishment before the Knesset adjourns for the summer. With a whiff of early elec- tions in the air, this bill likely will be the Knesset's ultimate action before the curtain falls. Netanyahu would have it as a last-minute buttress to his right-wing credentials. But this action, however symbolic, is a symbol that neither Israeli Arabs nor the Diaspora need or want to hear. Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard is director of the Shalom Hartman Institute's Kogod Research Center for Contem- porary Jewish Thought and a member of the institute's Executive Committee. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media. By Daniel Pipes (JNS)--On being desig- nated prime minister of Poland this past December, Mateusz Morawiecki made the extraordinary statement that he and his government want to "transform [the European Union], to re-Christianize it." Struck by this grand vi- sion of Poland's destiny, and particularly interested in the near-total ban on Muslim migrants (Morawiecki again: "We will not accept migrants from the Middle East and North Africa in Poland"), I just spent a week in Warsaw to understand why that coun- try differs so sharply from Western Europe and what this implies. I found a raging debate over the country's civiliza- tionist (usually and inaccu- rately described as "far-right") party, Law and Justice (PiS, pronounced "peace"). More precisely, Poles disagree on the question: Did PiS foment or respond to anti-Muslim feelings? PiS critics portray it (like other civilizationist parties) as riding imaginary fears and specious emotions to political power. Other than the 1683 siege of Vienna, they point to Poles' historic good relations with Muslims, including seven centuries of exemplary ties with the tiny Turkic-speaking body of Muslims living in Poland, the Lipka Tatars; the Polish nobility's romantic notions of their Iranian ("Sarmatian") origin; the Ottoman Empire refusing to recognize the par- tition of Poland; and PiS itself warmly welcoming Chechen immigrants to Poland in the early 2000s. In this interpretation, PiS and compliant media raised the specter of violence and other tensions concerning Muslims in Western Europe, scaring sufficient numbers of Poles that it could form the first single-party govern- ment of the post-communist era. Critics argue that PiS demagoguery debases and endangers Polish democracy while undermining the Euro- pean Union. PiS supporters reverse this account. In their telling, a steady diet of news from West- ern Europe ofjihadi violence, "taharrush" (collective sexual harassment) and "grooming gangs," honor killings, female genital mutilation, criminal activity, welfare fraud and cultural aggression prompted a demand from below for the party to adopt an anti- immigration and anti-Islam- ization platform. The Merkel Tsunami of 2015-16, with its million-plus Muslims walking through Europe, frightened Poles. Accordingly, some 75 percent of them reject Muslim immigration. So, even if PiS's main rival reaches power, they note, the Muslim banwill stay. Of these two interpreta- tions, I find the second far more convincing PiS is no more responsible for the fears of immigration and Islam- ization than Europe's other civilizationist parties, such as Austria's Freedom Party or Italy's League. They all respond to a growing unease, mainly from the bottom of the socio-economic spectrum. They represent Europeans who fear for their civilization. That said, there is much to criticize about PiS. It lavishes money on welfare payments the government cannot afford and has ad- opted the idea of "dependent market economies" from the anti-capitalist economic theorist Thomas Piketty. In a surprising nod to the commu- nist past, PiS wants to make the state more powerful, for example, by taking control of the judiciary. It engages in conspiracy theories (es- pecially about the airplane disaster in Smolensk in April 2010). It sponsored the idiotic law that would land someone in jail for referring to "Polish death camps" then made things worse by talking about "Jewish perpetrators" of the Holocaust. (Though, under international pressure, it did backtrack last week on the threat of prison.) Noting these problems, I maintain that the party should be educated and moni- tored, not demonized, so it can learn from its errors while protecting the country from the potentially existential threat of Islam's intrinsic drive for power. Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes. org, @DanielPipes) is presi- dent of the Middle East Forum. By Jack Rosen For the past century the American Jewish Congress has stood as a staunch, robust opponent of any and all who would harm our people. While this is our primary mission, we are equally duty bound to call out friends and family should they stumble in their uncompromising defense of the Jewish people. In this vein, and with a heavy heart, I feel it is my obligation to critique the State of Israel for signing a joint statement with Poland praising the latter's efforts to end a dispute over Holocaust legislation that would have criminalized identification of Poles complicit in Nazi crimes. The Holocaust is one of the most significant events in modern history and the worst genocide in human history. It is an event that changed the course of the Western world and had a monumental effect on Jews across the world. The Holocaust is no one's property and no one has the right to rewrite or decide on its facts and stories. Never- theless, Poland and Israel are treating the Holocaust as i fit was their property to decide what happened and what did not. It is not their preroga- tive and with that they took a step too far. While the bill in question may have been rendered less dangerous, it goes nowhere near to ensuring that the legions of Poles who, by turn- ing a blind eye to or through direct cooperation with Ger- man wartime crimes, enabled the Holocaust. By signing this cosmetic statement, the Israelis fail to address the underlying issue that gave rise to this problem in the first place: rising anti-Semitism and extremism in Poland, manifested by a concerted, strategic campaign of Holo- caust denial. Don't just take the word of this one man, born in a post-World War II displaced persons camp, whose fam- ily was annihilated through direct Polish support for the German extermination campaign. Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum--two institutions with unimpeachable cre- dentials in ensuring that Holocaust research remains accurate and thorough-- have been unsparing in their reasoned condemnation of Israel's willingness to be party to potential Holocaust revisionism. The Joint Israeli-Polish statement runs counter to objective historical research and, by failing to address re- surgent Polish anti-Semitism, gives cover (inadvertently, I am sure) to revisionist ar- guments asserting that the Polish government-in-exile during World War II defended Jews in the face of the Nazi on- slaught. The reality, precisely to the contrary, is not only that the government did not defend beleaguered Jews, but in many cases was an active partner in their destruction on an industrial level. I ad- dress this issue from a deeply personal place: My own Polish Jewish family was burned alive during the war by Poles who purported to protect them. I am of a generation of Jews who, from the cradle, proudly looked to the Jewish state as a "light unto the nations," an exemplar of righteous- ness, humanity and fealty to historical accuracy in the face of those who would deny the undeniable in furtherance of intolerance and hate. It is my sincere hope that Israel's mo- mentary deviation from this ethos is a fleeting anomaly. As much as I love the Jewish state and would defend it with my life, I will never agree that it has the right or ability to alter history, especially when such revisionism is potentially so damaging to the Jewish people. Jack Rosen is president of the American Jewish Con- gress. It had been sent from Gaza. Tied to it was a rope soaked with material. A:The cops who .dragged him out of bedat 5AM for