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September 11, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 PAGE 15A Natianal NCSJ " Sen. Edward Kennedy (r), who died Aug. 25 at age 77, receives an award in 1979 for his efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry from Burton Levinson of the National COnference on Soviet Jewry. By Eric Fingerhut WASHINGTON (JTA)--U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D- Mass.) is being remembered in the Jewish community for his huge impact on domestic issues such as education and health care, but also as a giant in the Soviet Jewry movement. Kennedy "was one of the earliest, strongest champions on behalf of Soviet Jewry," said Mark Levin. executive director of NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf By Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman LOS ANGELES (JTA)--. With the Palestinian family cited in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet now denying ever claiming that their son's organs were "stolen" by the Israeli military, maybe the lurid and grotesque ac- cusation published by the newspaper in mid-August will disappear. Maybe the idea 0fan inter- national Jewish conspiracy stretching from Israel to New Jersey harvesting the flesh of Palestinian in- nocents will be forgotten except as a 21st-century footnote.to the odious blood libel tradition. It's a tradition that dates back to Apion of Alexandria, a contemporary of Jesus who accused Jews of kidnapping non-Jewish captives to be fattened and eaten at the Sabbath feast. But perhaps this screed is only a harbinger of a new epidemic of lies against Jews the likes of which we haven't seen since the days of Hitler and Stalin. During the Middle Ages, the libel of Jewish ritual murder was carved into the very stones of Frankfurt's city wall. In 2009, it's hard to see a difference between the virulent hostility toward the Jewish state by Sweden's largest left-leaning paper and the newspaper of the country's far right, the Svenska Motstandsrorelsen. Sweden's ambassador to Israel immediately de- nounced the obviously phony blood libel, but then had the ground cut out from' under her by her own government's assertion that it had to stand behind "constitutionally protected free speech." What a curious time to stand behind freedom of the press. During World War II, Stockholm took a differ- ent view when it censored newspapers to prevent pub- lication of stories critical of "neutral" Sweden providing Nazi Germany with iron ore and ball bearings, as well as safe passage for German soldiers posing as Red Cross personnel. Are the baseless charges splashed across a double spread in the style section of Aftonbladet anti-Semitic? Of course, but that's not the worsLof it. Sweden's government, through its defense of the indefensible, has sanctioned Aftonbladet's trafficking in political afiti-Semitism--a very different beast than the everyday kind of prejudice still experienced by Jews or African Americans and other minorities. Historically, this virulent ideology not only has justi- fiedsocial and economic dis- crimination against Jews. In Europe, it also opened the door to ghettoization, pogroms, deportations, yellow stars and, ultimately, mass murder. Make no mistake about it, there is an international conspiracy afoot in the 21st century, but it's a not a se- cret Jewish plot out of the pages of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." It's an open coalition of Palestin- ian extremists and their collaborators in Europe and -North America who don't even try to hide their coordi- nated efforts to make Israel into a pariah state--"the Jew among nations" as a prelude to elimination. For 20 years. Palestin- ian extremists and their Mideast allies, including Tehran's mullah-cracy, have been accusing Israelis and Jews of murdering non- Jewish innocents to profit from their blood. A few years ago, the Iran govern- ment's TV channel Sahara aired a weekly drama titled "Zahra's Blue Eyes" that portrayed "Zionist" doctors kidnapping little Palestin- ian children to harvest their organs. These fantasies, increas- ingly marketed as fact. are part of a broader Palestinian hate literature claiming that the AIDS virus is an Israeli ethnic bomb designed to selectively murder Africans andArabs. There is even the new charge in Palestinian media outlets funded by the gavernments of Denmark and the Netherlands that the swine flu is an Israeli/ Jewish conspiracy. Worthy of winning our new Ignoble Prize for this year's vilest anti-Jewish libel. Aftonbladet has man- aged to mainstream a favor- ite Palestine libel, as well as update it. by accusing New Jersey rabbis arrested for money laundering of involvement with Israeli soldiers in an international Jewish organ harvesting ring. The revived libel has now made the leap from medieval times, resurfacing in post- modern Europe. Rabbi Abraham CoOper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Historian Harold Brackman is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia."He was always proactive and didn'twait for NCSJ and other organiza- tions to come to him--he was always looking to see where he could make a difference." In his 2006 book, "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome q~ranny and Terror," Natan Sharansky specifically men- tions Kennedy as the first Western politician to meet with refuseniks"in a midnight meeting that was kept secret from the KGB until the very last moment." And Levin noted thatwhen- ever Kennedy metwith Soviet officials, in Washington or in the Soviet Union, he would bring lists of those he wanted to see released. "He never forgot we were talking about individuals and families," Levin said. Kennedy also will be re- membered as a strong cham- pion of Israel. Jewish organi- zational officials noted that he was a stalwart supporter of foreign aid, opposed arms sales to Jordan and Saudi Ara- bia in the early 1980s, andwas a strong backer of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Is- rael. He also publicly rebuked President George H.W. Bush when he linked settlements to U.S. loan guarantees for the emigration of Soviet Jews, and was a leading voice in speaking out against the Arab boycott of Israel. Israeli official rushed to praise Kennedy, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu calling the senator "an American patriot" and"a great friend of Israel," according to media reports. And Israeli President Shi- mon Peres said Kennedy's death was "a very big loss to every sensitive and thinking person the world over." "Kennedy was a clear friend of Israel the whole way, and in every place that he could help us he did help," he added. The late senator drew praise from a broad range of Jewish organizations, including both l he Orthodox Union and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. They noted that he had worked on a vast array of domestic issues over his 47 years on Capitol Hill, from religious liberty bills such as the Religious Free- dom Restoration Act, to his efforts on children's health insurance. In a statement; the presi- dent of the National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Ratzan, said: "We were hon- ored to work by his side on so many critical issues: Fam- ily and Medical Leave, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the Civil RightsAct, Voting Rights, the Americanswith DisabilityAct, hate crimes prevention, the Employment Non-Discrim- ination Act, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, health care, the increase in the minimum wage, and numerous judicial aaomina- tions--to name a few." The National Jewish Demo- cratic Council said in a statement that the "greatest tribute" to Kennedy would be to enact cgmprehensive health insurance reform. "On the little stuff and the big stuff, he was always there for us," said Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Boston JCRC. "There wasn't an issue he wasn't On top of." Contact Kim Olson (863) supporting Central Florida Hillel GET YOUR ROSH HASHANA SUPPLIES TODAY! Prepared Specialties Now Available! Fresh Challah, too! FRESH GLATT KOSHER* EASY 1. Goto www.theolamcafe.com 2. Click on "Buy Kosher Products" ORDER BY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th PICK UP ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th PICK UP Maitland JCC: (tennis court area) 5:30-6:30 p.m. Rosen (South) JCC: 7:30-8:30 p.m. Questions?, e-mail kosher@gohillel.org or you can call Avie (954) 662-6702 =. Order $35.00 or more and delivery is FREE! GET FRESH MEATS AND TREATS FOR THE HOLIDAY! .il