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August 10, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 10, 2018 PAGE 5A By Jonathan Feldstein This week, the fourth of my children visited Po- land. Though the immediate threats to Jewish life in Poland today are not what they were 75 years ago, I can't escape the need to protect her from Poland, our history, and its horrors. I don't fear for her physical safety, but I do fear her loss of innocence as she will be exposed to the hor- rors to which our people, and specifically dozens of our relatives, were subject, and murdered. I've been to Poland and I've witnessed concentration camps, death camps, the gas chambers, and the crema- toria. I've been to cities and small towns that once thrived with Jewish life, and in which now not a single Jew lives. I've been to synagogues whose walls remain scarred with the marks of bullets shot at Jew- ish worshipers, and I've been to towns where entire Jewish communities were rounded up and locked in their syna- gogues, in some cases to be burned down with the entire community inside. I've never been to the towns from which my grandparents were lucky to escape as young adults alongwith some of their siblings. However theirstories resonate in my DNA as to what their parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends and neighbors suffered, and the anti-Semitism to which they literally became victims. My daughter's visit to Po- land this week is particularly meaningful considering that we also celebrate my young- est son's bar mitzvah. He is our sixth child. The only one born in Israel. His birth alone fulfills the dreams of our rela- tives before us who could only pray for, and possibly never truly imagine, the life we are blessed to have in Israel. He is named for my great- grandfather, Shalom Yakov, who foresaw life for Jews in Poland getting dangerous and more precarious, andwas able to get four of his children out before it was too late. In the end however, he along with my great-grandmother and their many other children and grandchildren, were murdered by the Nazis and their Polish neighbors. My son is also named for my father's first cousin, Yosef, who was a little boy of four or five at the time my other great-grandfather left him and his wife behind in hiding while seeking help and a place of refuge along with his older son, Shlomo. When my great- grandfather and Shlomowent back to find their family, they learned that they had been rounded up and murdered. I often put myself in the place of my two great-grand- fathers, who only lived a few miles apart but may have nev- er known one another. I am awestruck that in both cases, while my great-grandfathers couldn't do anything to change their circumstances, they also didn't simply fall victim to the Nazi horrors in Poland. One survived with one son, but lost his wife and younger son. The other was able to save four children, but despite seeing the writing on the wall, had no escape for himself of the rest of his family. In both cases, they were driven to save as many of their children as possible. It's impossible to imagine fully what was going through their mind: their thoughts, fears, and prayers. But as a parent I do know the absolute imperative to save their children must have driven and weighed heavily upon them. They probably prayed to God fervently, and lost sleep and were fearful much of the time. One great- grandfather was murdered along with his children and grandchildren. The other left behind his wife and youngest child to find a place of sanc- tuary in which they could be safe, and must have regretted until the day he died that he was not able to save them. At least in part due to the miracle of the survival of the few who were lucky enough to escape, our family thrives in Israel today. My daughter visited the towns and cities in which Jewish live thrived, and the death camps where Jewish life was snuffed out. I wish she didn't have to go there, to bear witness, and carry our history with her for the generations that will come from her. But it's part of us. As much as I'd like to protect her from this, I realize I can't and shouldn't. Someone once said 'that which doesn't kill you will make you stronger.' I pray that she will be stronger for this experience. I spoke to my daughter just before boarding her flight along with dozens of classmates with who she grew up. As emotional as I was, I wondered what my great-grandparents thought in departing from their loved ones. When they said good- bye, did they know or think it would be their final good bye? Did they have hope of seeing one another again? Did they imagine that their sacrifice would enable future generations like us to thrive? Or were they just too sad and fearful to have any of these thoughts? My daughter will come home physically and emotion- ally drained. Two days later we will celebrate her little brother becoming a bar mitzvah. God willing, we will continue to have many future family cel- ebrations. But always, we will carry this baggage of our past. As her father, I just want to try to make the burden lighter. When I speak to my son at his bar mitzvah, I will remind him that he carries the names and memories of two relatives Poland on page 15A enemy as By Martin Sherman (JNS)--One of the most mendacious and widely propa- gated myths regarding the Middle East conflict is that Israel's defensive actions against hostile Arab initia- tives-whose sole aim is to murder or maim Jews, simply because they are Jews--con- stitute "racism." The apparent reason for these grave accusations is tooted in the fact that some of the coercive measures, neces- sary for the effectiveness of these defensive Israeli actions, are carried out differentially (and therefore, allegedly, dis- criminately) against Palestin- Jan Arabs, on the one hand, and Israeli Jews, on the other. Of course, in principle, the claims that counter-offensive actions by a given collective, against hostile initiatives of an adversarial collective, are tainted by some sort of ira- proper, indiscriminate group prejudice against that collec- tive, are clearly unfounded: conceptually, morally and practically. In the particular case of the Israeli-Palestinian clash, such claims are even more baseless. After all, to call on any collective entity to treat a rival entity, with which it is engaged in violent conflict, in precisely the same way that it treats its own members, is not only patently irrational, but also patently immoral. For, in effect, it includes the inherent demand to forgo--or at least, to gravely curtail--the right of self-defense, i.e the right to protect both the collective and its members from the aggression of the rival entity. To the best of my knowl- edge, there is nothing in the theory of democratic governance that precludes the possibility of a democ- racy--even one totally devoid of racial prejudices--from having enemies. Likewise, there is nothing to preclude the possibility that the ethnic identity of the enemy entity will differ from that of the majority of the citizens of the democracy. No ethical flaw in identi- fying the enemy as such So, does this mean that measures intended to thwart, deter or punish aggressive acts against a democracy-- and/or its citizens--vio- late some hallowed rule of proper democratic conduct? Moreover, how is it possible to claim any ethical flaw in the behavioral code of a democracy when it identifies its enemy as an enemy and treats it as such? When couched in these terms, the answers to these questions seem simple and straightforward--indeed, almost self-evident. Sadly, however, this is not true with regard to Israel, especially when it comes to the conflict with the Pales- tinians. In this conflict, democratic Israel is confronted with a bitter and irreconcilable adversary that harbors a pro- found desire to inflict harm on the Jewish state and its citizens--a desire, which is, for all intents and purposes, its very raison d'etre. Certainly, by the declara- tions of its leaders, the text of its foundational documents, and the deeds of its militant activists, the Palestinian col- lective has unequivocally de- fined itself as Israel's enemy. Accordingly, it would be wildly unreasonable to expect Israel to restrict the measures it employs to counter Pales- tinian enmity, to measures it employs against its own citizens--who harbor no such enmity! Arab enmity, not Arab ethnicity This, then, is the con- text, in which the various countermeasures that Israel undertakes against the mem- bers of the Palestinian enemy collective--but not against its own citizens--should be perceived--such as: travel re- strictions on certain roads; in- trusive security inspections at roadblocks and checkpoints; preemptive administrative detentions; demolition of con- victed terrorists' homes; dawn raids on households suspected of harboring members of ter- ror organizations; and so on. However, the enforcement of these coercive counter measures is not motivated by any doctrine of racial superiority, but by well- founded security concerns for the safety and security of Israel's citizens--concerns that are neither the product of mere arbitrary malice, nor of some hate-filled delusional prejudice. To the contrary, they are the result of years of bitter experience, of death and destruction, wrought on the Jews by Arab hatred. Of course, one might dis- pute the wisdom, the efficacy and/or the necessity of any, or even all, of these measures, but not the reason behind their use. This is, without a doubt, due to Arab enmity, not Arab ethnicity. Acq~rdingly, Israel would do well to clarify, forcefully and resolutely, this simple truth, which has been either unintentionally forgotten or intentionally obscured: Identifying one's enemy as the enemy is not "racism." It is merely an imperative dictated by common sense and by a healthy instinct for survival. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive direc- tor of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. The " By Raheel Raza (JNS)--Since Sept. 11, 2001, whenever there has been a terrorist attack in the West (and there have been many), the question everyone asks is: "Where are the moderate Muslims?" Well, we are here, but our voices have been drowned out by the hysterical din of the Islamist narrative. In light of the urgent need to promote the voices of progressive liberal Muslims, a conference was held on Aug. 8 at the Jewish Com- munity Center-Chabad of Aspen, ColO, in which five reformist Muslims spoke about challenges faced within the Muslim world. The key question posed was whether or not there can be reform in both Islam and the Islamic world. In my opinion, we are not at that point yet. Therefore, I prefer not to call myself a"reformer." Instead, I believe we are reform-minded Muslims who wish to change the way in which Muslims interpret, implement and practice the faith of Islam. We would like to see Muslims join the contemporary 21st century and embrace the values of a liberal democracy, which means gender equality, freedom of expression, respect and tolerance for others, and separation of mosque and state. This is the start of sow- ing seeds for change. This change has to come from within the faith because those standing outside will always be labeled. Therefore, the five speakers at this unique gathering are obser- vant Muslims, and although each of us may have varied opinions, we are united in our efforts to condemn the dangers of radicalization and work towards modernity. In this effort, it's important to distinguish between Islam as a faith like Judaism and Christianity, and Islamism, which is an ideology that is entirely political in nature and uses violence as a mechanism to further its agenda. The four main speakers who addressed the confer- ence were: Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, presi- dent and founder of the Amer- ican Islamic Forum for Democracy; co-founder of the Muslim Reform Move- ment; and a former vice chair of U.S. Commission on Inter- national Religious Freedom, appointed by the U.S. Senate. An American medical doctor, he is author of"A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save his Faith." Elham Manea, a political scientist specializing in the Arab Middle East. She is known for her writings on a in Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. Tawfik Hamid, an Islamic thinker, reformer and one- time Islamic extremist from Egypt who was a member of the radical Islamist or- ganization Jamaa Islameia with Ayman A1-Zawahiri, who later became the second in command of A1-Qaeda. Dr. Hamid started fighting Radical Islam 35 years ago. Author of"Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works; Why It Should Terrify Us; How to Defeat It," he has also written a modern commentary on the Koran that has more than 2 million followers. The goal of the conference was the hope thatthe audience would learn something new and be able to understand that the real struggle is within the world of Islam. Raheel Raza is president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, a found- ing member of the Muslim Reform Movement and direc- tor of Forum for Learning. She is author of"Their Jihad, Not My Jihad." Raza served as moderator of the Aug. 8 conference in Aspen. Mr. Shuldi9 and his dog Doobie Humanistic Islam; her work inthefightagainstextremism If Iran closes the and Islamism; and her defense of universal human rights. Manea has written "Women and Shari'a Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK." Salim Mansur, a professor in the department of political science at the University of Western Ontario, London, is author of "The Qur'an Prob- lem and Islamism" and "De- lectable Lie: A liberal Repu- diation of Multiculturalism." Mansur is a survivor and witness of Muslim-on-Muslim violence and ethnic cleansing in the 1971 war and genocide entrance to the Persian Gulf, Israel part of the coalition to confront