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August 28, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 28, 2009 PAGE 23A Facts From page 2A allege that the police were not a legitimate target; they were recruits, drawn from the massive ranks of Gaza's unemployed, who were "at rest" at a graduation ceremony. Moreover, they were supposedly slated for non-combat patrol roles. The Israeli army report does not mention the strike at all, or the deaths. Instead, it spends five pages generally justify- ing attacks on police, and noting that in some cases terrorists have doubled as police--although groups, including B'Tselem, have proffered evidence showing that this was precisely not the case in the matter of the cadets. Israeli spokesmen also repeatedly question the reliability of the human rights reports, saying witnesses must be compro- mised by fear of Hamas re- taliation. "Human Rights Watch is relying on tes- timony from people who are not free to speak out against the Hamas re- gime," Mark Regev, the prime minister's spokes- man, told the BBC on Aug. 13. In fact, HRW attempts to get witnesses alone, and corroborates their accounts with medical examinations and forensic evidence. Israeli government spokesman, moreover, do not account for the fear of retaliation--albeit of a less lethal kind, involving so- cial ostracization--when they dismiss accounts of atrocities compiled from soldiers by groups such as Breaking the Silence. Then there are the ex- amples where facts simply diverge: Israel says it used white phosphorous as an obscurant when it faced Hamas anti-tank forces; human rights groups have alleged that the presence, in some cases, of armed forces was minimal and did not justify the use of the phosphorous, which upon skin contact may maim and kill. Israel says the number of civilians killed num- bered in the low hundreds; human rights groups place it at closer to 1,000. Some divergences have to do with the perspective of the claimant. The Israeli army report says warnings to civilians to leave an area were as precise as they could be without betraying tactics and putting soldiers in danger; Human Rights Watch says the warnings, while welcome, were often too generalized and even confusing. Such differences might have been addressed by dialogue and an exchange of information that would observe limits aimed at preserving Israeli tactical secrecy. Israeli officers, for instance, have said that they have names to attach to fatalities that show that thevast majority were combatants; but they have not provided these to human rights groups. Human rights groups have constantly pressed Israeli authorities to ad- dress specific claims, and have been brushed off. Yet the release of information that at least 13 incidents were under criminal in- vestigation prior to the July 29 publication date of the military's report might have gone some way toward refuting claims that Israel was cavalier about abuse allegations. Instead, Israeli officials have devolved into name- calling, backed by an array of pro-Israel NGOs and lob- bying groups that distrib- ute-sometimes anony- mously--"backgrounders" that attempt through sometimes tenuous links to discredit the human rights groups. The foreign ministry recently distrib- uted material implicating HRW editor Joe Stork with disseminating radical, an- ti-Israel and pro-terrorist material in the 1970s; it was an odd volley from the office of a minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who says police investigations of criminal conduct and a youthful flir- tation with the racist Kach movement should not bear on his current diplomacy. More substantively, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is now seeking ways to legally cut off foreign government funding for Israeli human rights NGOs. The human rights groups are not above us- ing the law to make an exception of Israel; HRW frequently calls for inter- national investigations, saying that Israel has re- peatedly failed "to conduct credible investigations into alleged violations of the laws of war." The problem with such calls is that Israel believes such international mecha- nisms cannot be trusted because they are wrapped into the United Nations-- a worry Human Rights Watch admits is credible. Moreover, left unsaid is the failure generally among Western democracies to dig too deep when human rights abuses are at hand. The Obama administration reportedly is considering a strategy for prosecuting individuals who carried out torture, but not those who ordered it. Israeli army spokesmen say it is fairer to note what Israel is doing to prevent the recurrence of abuses, citing as an example the introduction of the ultra- precise missiles. Health From page 5A human judgment of their state of health, can be granted a mercy killing." The Nazis popularized and made into policy a concept first advanced by the eugenics movement: "life unworthy of living." Mass murder of the handi- capped began slowly. At first, authorization was informal, secret and narrow in scope--limited to the most serious cases. From the Berlin Chancellory Tier- garten 4 (code named '1'-4), officials ordered a statistical survey of all psychiatric institutions, hospitals and homes for chronic patients. Within months the T-4 pro- gram enlisted virtually the entire German psychiatric community. Three medical experts reviewed forms submitted during the survey without examining individual pa- tients or reading detailed records. Theirs was the power to decide life or death. Patients ordered killed were transported to six killing centers: Hart- helm, Sonnenstein, Grafe- neck, Bernburg, Hadamar and Brandenburg. The SS donned white coats for the transports to give them- selves the appearance of medical personnel. The first killings were by starvation--passive, simple, natural. Then injec- tions were used. Children were simply put to sleep, never again to wake. Seda- tives soon became over- doses. Gassing became the preferred method of killing. False showers were con- structed. Ph.D. chemists were employed. The process was administered by doc- tors, who killed 15 to 20 people at a time. Afterward, black smoke billowed from' the chimneys as the bodies were burned. A few doctors protested. Carl Bonhoeffer, a leading psychiatrist, helped his son Dietrich contact church groups urging them not to turn over patients to the SS. A few physicians refused to fill out the forms. One psy- chiatrist, Professor Gott- fried Ewald of Gottingen, openly opposed the killing. Growing public pressure, including a sermon on Aug. 3, 1941 by Bishop Clemens August yon Galen of Muen- ster, openly challenged the euthanasia program. "We must oppose the tak- ing of innocent human life even if it were to cost us our lives," he argued. On Sept. 1, 1941, almost two years after it began, Germany appeared to dis- continue the operation. In truth, it was merely driven underground. "Mercy kill- ings" secretly continued un- til the end of the war. Some 200,000 Germans--who the Nazis termed Aryans, not Jews--were victims. While T-4 continued in secret, mass murder was just beginning. Physicians trained in the medical killing centers graduated to bigger tasks. Dr, Irm- fried Eberl, who began his career in the T-4 program, became the commandant of Treblinka. His colleagues went on to Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Auschwitz, where killing took on mas- sive dimensions. At the Nuremberg doc- tors' trial of medical per- sonnel, the judges realized the need to enunciate ethical principles for phy- sicians that would prevent them from ever engaging in such practices. The first principle articulated the universal right of individuals to make their own medical decisions, free from coercion. "The voluntary consent of the human subject is ab- solutely essential," it reads. Obama's health plan honors that very principle by entitling the patients to be reimbursed for consulta- tions with their physicians to discuss end-of-life is- sues. That measure is the essence of humane and moral medical policy--the antithesis of Nazi medicine and Nazi practice. (We also should consult with clergy to ensure that decisions are compatible with both science and faith.) That is not to say there is no place for a Nazi analogy in this debate. The Nazis rose to power by mastering the art of propaganda, repeat- ing lies so frequently and so widely that eventually people took them as truth. Hence the importance of seeking out the truth and exposing those who would engage in such deceit. Freud taught us about projection: Those who would compare Obama to Hitler or his policies to Nazism ought to look in the mirror. Michael Berenbaum is a professor o f Jewish studies and director of the Sigi Zier- ing Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Im- plications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He was the project director for the creation of the U. S. Holocaust Museum and is the former director of its research institute. i i, ( Kinneret From page 7A the meals although donations to the program are accepted. As the residents finished their meal, many people stopped by and thanked Lisa McCrystal, Seniors First di- rector of nutrition services, for the meal. "Our g0al is to reach as many qualified senior citizens as we can," said Lisa. "It is very rewarding to be able to work with the residents of Kinneret, and we are glad that they are benefiting from the program expansion." The Kinneret Apartme ts are the Jewish community's twin residence towers for low-income senior citizens located in downtown Orlan- do. The Kinneret Council on Aging is a nonprofit agency that subsidizes a nutritious meal program available to residents and other life enhancing programs. Kinneret is a constituent agency of the Jewish Fed- eration. For information on the facility contact Leslie Collin at 407-425-4537, ext. 215. Seventy-five residents attended the first Seniors First Lunch in the Jessie Render Social Hall at Kinneret Apartments. Mickey and Iris Gartenbaum enjoy lunch. i ( Resources From page 13A Kinneret Council on Aging Fiscal year begins April 1 BUDGET Last year (2008): $281,000 This year (2009): $320,000 FEDERATION ALLOCATION Last year: $5,000 for dining program; $38,000 for Congregate Housing Services Program This year: $23,720 CHALLENGES "We need to keep our food program affordable," says Leslie Collin, di- rector of development and community affairs. "We must not pass on the increase in food for our residents who are on fixed income."...Residents pay about $5.50 for the main meal Monday through Friday, and there are between 70 to 85 meals a night. Kinneret pays about $3.50 per person a night...Besides the dining program, Kinneret Council on Aging deals with the Congregate Housing Services Program, which is designed to assist the low-income elderly living at Kinneret to remain living independently in subsidized housing and not in an assisted living or nursing facility. The program also allows residents to transition safely to their former independent activities after they have suffered an illness or injury. The program is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, partly by KCOA and a small percentage by the residents. Only 29 HOD facilities in the United States were granted funds for this program and the grant is renewed annually. In order for it to continue, KCOA must continue to fund a portion. CHSP currently serves 20 to 22 residents at one time and has been in place since 1994. Participants receive seven hot meals a week; two to three hours of housekeeping a week and one day of personal grocery shopping a week. Additional services include on -site professional counseling and social services support...Kinneret has a waiting list for the 280 apartments in its two 15rstory apartmentbuildings. SOLUTIONS The executive board of the Kinneret Council on Aging voted July 29 to use its reserves to fund CHSP for this year. The board requested that KCOA's Federation allocation from the 2008-2009 campaign be distributed to Jewish Pavilion and the Pearlman Food Pantry at JFS... Kinneret has renovated its kitchen to prepare dairy products one night a week to increase dining participation...It offers kosher takeout where residents and the community can order kosher meals, especially ideal for the High Holidays. It is a new income source to help keep costs down, in hopes not to have to pass rising costs on to residents...There is a farmers' market Tuesdays and Fridays where light lunch is served...These moves are bringing in more people to dine. KCOA needs more participation to keep the cost down_Currently KCOA raises money that pays for sub- sidizing the meals and some of the programming through an annual fund-raising gala, an annual Passover mailing, several newsletters ayear and memorial donations, all of which brings in about $80,000 to keep the food program going...KCOA is utilizing existing community orga- nizations to bring in new services to its residents. It is offering a kosher hot meal for lunch one day a week through a partnership with Seniors First. About 80 have signed up for the program that began Aug. 12... CoUin: "Congregate eating is not just about food, it is about connecting with friends and getting out and socializing with the larger community." I d (