D-Day – June 6, 1944: The Meaning of the Supreme Sacrifice of Heroes and Guardians of Freedom

June 6, 2010

dday flags D-Day Message to the troops from Dwight D. Eisenhower

Let Our Hearts Be Stout – Roosevelt D-Day Prayer

My Fellow Americans,

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest – until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment – let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace – a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.

U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – June 6, 1944


Report records shocking rise of violent anti-Semitism in western Europe in 2009

April 12, 2010

A new survey by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism in Tel Aviv has revealed a strong surge in violent anti-Semitism in 2009, which in western Europe has now reached the highest level in decades.

The number of recorded violent incidents against Jews, or Jewish sites, totaled 1,129 last year, compared to 559 in 2008 – a rise of 102 percent. In addition, there were “many more hundreds of threats, insults, graffiti signs and slogans and demonstrations featuring virulently anti-Semitic content… sometimes resulting in violence,” according to the report.

“The year … was the worst since monitoring of anti-Semitic manifestations began two decades ago, in terms of both major anti-Semitic violence and the hostile atmosphere generated worldwide by the mass demonstrations and verbal and visual expressions against Israel and the Jews,” the study states.

Dina Porat, the director of the Stephen Roth Institute, told journalists at a press conference that anti-Semitism was directly linked to anti-Zionism. “Political goals are imbued with anti-Jewish sentiment and equations of Jews to Nazis,” she said. Her study was published on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Yom HaShoah.

In Britain, 374 manifestations of violence against Jews were recorded in 2009, compared to 112 in 2008. France – which has the largest Jewish community in Europe – reported 195 violent attacks against Jews, compared to 50 in 2008. Canada saw 130 incidents in 2009, compared to 13 in 2008, and the United States 116 compared to 98. The study records 566 incidents of vandalism targeting Jewish property worldwide in 2009, constituting 49 percent of all incidents. Germany, Russia and Ukraine were not as badly affected by the rise, and may even have seen a decrease in incidents for 2009, the report found.

Forty-one incidents were armed assaults against Jews because of their religion. Thirty-four arson attacks were recorded. Threats of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions accounted for 29 percent of all incidents.

The report attributes the surge in anti-Semitic acts in large parts to the 2009 Gaza war. However, Professor Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University in Jerusalem was quoted as saying by ‘Voice of America’ that “All kinds of new pretexts can serve to ignite anti-Semitism, particularly through anti-Israel feeling, through anti-Zionism; and above all it is Israel that has become the obsession of the anti-Semites.”

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, which co-sponsored the report, criticized some Jewish communities for “remaining silent” on anti-Semitism, but praised French and British Jewish leaders for speaking out forcefully against anti-Semitism. Kantor also said that the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe was a “new phenomenon financed and organized by pro-Islamic, pro-terrorist organizations and states.”

Porat said: “We had the feeling, which was corroborated by the facts, that the radical left – sometimes together with Jews and former Israelis, this is very disturbing – worked together with the radical Muslim leadership, using anti-Semitism and the Holocaust as political tools, to make Israel as a Jewish state a political target.”

Read full story.


Le savoir en appel: Martin Heidegger et le tournant dans la vérité

September 12, 2009

Un essai de Franz-Emmanuel Schürch

Ce livre propose, à partir du constat de difficultés importantes et de paradoxes dans la conception heideggérienne de la vérité comme décèlement (aletheia), une nouvelle interprétation du fameux «tournant» qui sera compris comme la nécessité d’une structure d’inversion réciproque des rapports fondatifs.

Contre tous les replis subjectifs ou les fixations sur des subsistances illusoires, cette structure « tournante » (à la racine du cercle herméneutique) montre comment aucune vérité ne s’établit sans sortie hors de soi, sans être provoquée par ce qui la met en question et qu’ainsi, contrairement à ce que croyait Emmanuel Lévinas, la pensée de Martin Heidegger ne consacre.

Cet ouvrage, bien qu’il témoignera d’une attention scolaire, ne veut pas être un commentaire destiné aux seuls spécialistes, mais constitue l’effort, à partir d’une certaine autonomie philosophique, de présenter la pensée heideggérienne à ceux qu’elle devrait intéresser, de l’arracher aux préjugés dans lesquels elle est souvent emprisonnée et d’en défendre le meilleur.

“INTRODUCTION

Martin Heidegger se signala au monde philosophique en 1927 en rappelant la question de l’être à son attention. Il soutint d’un même geste que l’entente de la vérité s’était figée, par superposition d’égarements, jusqu’à se boucher toute issue. Notre compréhension même de ce que signifie « vérité » en serait venue à nous bloquer la vue. C’est plus précisément la conception traditionnelle qui faisait de la vérité l’accord d’une proposition ou d’un jugement avec la chose visée, l’adaequatio intellectus et rei, qu’il conviendrait d’abord d’interroger afin de découvrir la clé de ces égarements. Cette conception, en étendant son règne, et à cause de la définition même des termes et des modalités de l’accord qu’elle revendique pour la vérité, aurait sapé ses propres fondements, jusqu’à en arriver à s’anéantir elle-même sans s’en apercevoir, laissant ainsi, quant à nos possibilités d’un véritable rapport à ce qui est, le sol glisser sous nos pieds.

La conception heideggérienne de la vérité s’exposant d’abord – nous le verrons toutefois, de façon ambiguë – telle une critique de la vérité-adéquation donna cependant un nouvel élan à la critique générale de la raison inaugurée dans sa radicalité par Nietzsche, mais nourrie néanmoins par Kant et même par le scepticisme empiriste de Hume. En effet, on peut dire aujourd’hui que si le siècle de Kant était celui de la critique, alors celui qui s’est tout juste achevé, le vingtième, fut celui de l’hypercritique. Néanmoins, la critique prit alors un étrange tournant, passant d’une révolte guidée par l’exigence de lucidité à un comportement normalisé laissant s’abîmer jusqu’à la passion du savoir, et consacrant ainsi d’une certaine façon le règne de l’aveuglement dans l’auto-assurance de sa virtuosité intellectuelle, ce à quoi toute ironie, lorsqu’elle ne se soumet qu’à ses propres impératifs, sera toujours condamnée. Du passage à la maturité, la critique a sombré dans l’immaturité de la fuite.

Il n’est pas sûr, toutefois, que Heidegger puisse se voir sans injustice mis au rang des complices de ce que nous appellerons bientôt le renoncement au savoir. Peut-être Heidegger peut-il nous apprendre tout autre chose et peut-être que cela n’a pourtant rien à voir non plus avec un retour timoré à la solidité simple d’avant l’ébranlement critique.”

Franz-Emmanuel Schürch, PhD en philosophie de l’Université de Montréal, enseigne actuellement la philosophie au Collège André Laurendeau.

Commander ce livrer.


Earl Shugerman’s Corner: Welcome to Israel!

August 16, 2009

Earl Shugerman, will bring every week a serie of stories about Anglo-Saxon immigrants to Israel. This project is aimed to promote a more realistic view of life in Israel.

English speaking Olim have a myriad of organisations and groups to support their new life in Israel. The largest private organisation that supports all English speaking Olim is the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel). It has offices throughout Israel.

The author of this article is especially appreciative of the AACI’s sterling work. The efforts of Yanina proved invaluable during my acclimation.

AACI, a voluntary, non-profit organization, was established in 1951 to help North American immigrants acclimate to Israeli society and to build strong ties between North American Jewish communities and Israel. AACI is governed by a lay board and administered by a professional staff. Its many activities are financed through the support of foundations, annual membership dues, an annual fundraising drive and private donations.

AACI provides a wealth of services and programs to cater for its membership:

  • Professional counseling on Aliyah and Klitah (absorption)

  • Employment Resource Center

  • Emergency, mortgage and small business loans

  • Support groups

  • Advice Sessions: tax, banking, translation and more

  • Legal consultations

  • Blood bank privileges

  • The AACI Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired

  • Senior Outreach

AACI Acts can move mountains when its members’ welfare is at stake.

AACI Acts:

  • Lobbied successfully to modify the effect of new Israeli tax laws on immigrants;

  • Produced and distributed a free Emergency Handbook and held gas mask demonstrations prior to and during the Gulf War;

  • Confronted the social, economic and psychological pressures affecting its membership through the Seniors Outreach Project.

AACI Build Community offers a warm and welcoming environment, with special programs targeting families, young adults, mid-lifers and seniors. Members participate in:

  • Welcome Home events for new olim (immigrants)

  • Home Hospitality

  • 4th of July/Canada Day & Thanksgiving Celebrations

  • AACI Travel Experience & Study Vacations

  • Social and Cultural Programs,

  • Lectures and more

Our regional representative, Yanina, is an American immigrant herself. For a number of years, she has assisted new Olim in overcoming all the obstacles. Her force is a calm disposition, which comes with years of experience. Yanina is supported by a group of volunteers including Laurie Rubin.

Laurie recalls her own Aliyah:

I met then-boyfriend, Miles, in San Francisco in 1981 and soon into our dating, he was clear about wanting to move to Israel. Our relationship developed and so did our plans to eventually marry and move to Israel.

We lived for 9 months at the Merkaz Klita in Kiryat Yam, which was difficult for me. I went to ulpan there (didn’t know one word of Hebrew) while Miles started his job at Technion. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any family or friends in Israel at that time and felt quite lonely.

It was AACI that helped me greatly in making me feel more “settled”. A wonderful volunteer visited me in Kiryat Yam, I attended classes at the moadon in Haifa, met people, volunteered and before I knew it, I had my “anchor”.

Since then, things have only gotten better. Moved to our own apartment, had 2 children, met lots more people, got various jobs…It’s still extremely difficult not having family around (I’m lucky to be able to visit them twice a year), but friends have become like family. I’m very active as a volunteer for AACI (Friendly Caller to new people), participate with the Haifa English Theatre, work as a teacher of Business English in hi-tech and go to the gym frequently among other activities.

Today Laurie is one of Haifa’s biggest promoters.

For those of you would like to learn more, you can read Lauries article here.

***

Our next article will be a tour of Israels holiest city, Jerusalem, with my cousin Naomi and her 3 years old son Elchanan who is our favourite Israeli citizen.

About the author: Earl Shugerman is a retired American Government public relations specialist,  currently spokesperson in Haifa for The Jewish Agency and a writer specializing in interfaith relations. He has worked together with the Catholic and Southern Baptist Movements, the Reformed Jewish Movement and Muslim groups in interfaith activities.


Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History

July 16, 2009

Dangerous Games The Uses and Abuses of History

Provocative…Dangerous Games should be read by anyone concerned with making the public dialogue as open and honest as possible. (The Washington Post – Jonathan Yardley)

Oxford University professor Margaret MacMillan issues a call to arms for academic historians to take back history from those who would abuse it. This book, first published last year in Canada, is newly available in the U.S. and Europe from Random House.

She admonishes governments and leaders using history to undermine the past, going so far as to question the significance of apologizing for historical wrongs. Using example after example, MacMillan demonstrates the violence that skewed history can create and mourns a trend of poorly researched historical biographies pouring from the press to fill a demand for new heroes.

To order this book, click here.


Durban II Hatefest

April 17, 2009

A statement by Anne Bayefsky at the Third Substantive Preparatory Meeting of the Durban Review Conference.

April 17, 2009
United Nations, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The eyes of millions of victims of racism, xenophobia and intolerance are upon YOU, the representatives of states and the United Nations. And instead of hope you have given them despair. Instead of truth you have handed them diplomatic double-talk. Instead of combating anti-Semitism you have handed them a reason for Jews to fear UN-driven hatemongering on a global scale.

The Durban conference – allegedly dedicated to combating racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance – will open April 20th on the anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler without agreement on even so much as remembering the Holocaust and the war against the Jews. Your draft words on the Holocaust – the very foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – have been narrowed to the barest mention from previous versions. And if the minor reference survives at all – it will be a testament to your interest in Jews that died 60 years ago, while tolerating and encouraging the murder of Jews in the here and now.

Furthermore, the draft before you demonizes the Jewish state of Israel and then has the audacity to pretend to care about anti-Semitism in a single word buried among 17 pages. Anti-Semitism means discrimination against the Jewish people. Since it is evident that almost none of you have the courage to say it, the face of modern anti-Semitism IS the UN – your – discrimination against Israel, the embodiment of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

Over and over again we have heard a massive misinformation campaign about the content of these proceedings and the draft before you. We have heard the tale that this draft does not single out Israel, that the hate has been removed, that the fault of the anti-Semitism at Durban I was that of NGOs while states and the UN were blameless.

Perhaps you think that journalists and victims will not bother to read for themselves the Durban Declaration adopted by some governments. There is only one state mentioned in it – Israel. There is only one state associated with racist practices in it – Israel. And yet the very first thing that this draft before you does is to reaffirm that abomination, abomination for Jews and Arabs living in Israel’s free and democratic society, and for all the victims of racism ignored therein. Lawyers call it incorporation by reference when they hope nobody reads the small print. The propaganda stops here. We have read it. We understand the game. And we decry the ugly effort to repeat the Durban agenda to isolate and defeat Israel politically, as every effort to do so militarily for decades has failed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chair of this Preparatory Committee also told us this week that the Durban Declaration in all its aspects is a consensus text. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the Canadian reservations made in Durban in 2001 which state categorically that the Middle East language was outside the conference’s jurisdiction and not agreed. Perhaps they failed to notice that one of the world’s greatest democracies, the United States, voted with its feet and walked out of the Durban I hatefest. The Durban Declaration has never represented a global consensus among free and democratic nations. When the head of the Islamic conference treats Durban as a bible, in their words, it is more accurately a defamation of religions.

This week you decided which states ought to serve in a leadership role at next week’s conference. Among them are some of the world’s leading practitioners of racism, not those interested in ending it. You have also decided to hand a global megaphone to the President of a state which advocates genocide and denies the Holocaust.

So in a state of shock and dismay we address ourselves not to the human rights abusers that glorify the Durban Declaration or its next incarnation, but to democracies – and we ask: Will Germany sit on Hitler’s birthday and listen to the speech of an advocate of genocide against the Jewish people and grant legitimacy to the forum which tolerates his presence? What about the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the Magna Carta? Or France that helped to ship last generation’s Jews to crematoriums?

You could have fought racism. You chose instead to fight Jews. You could have promoted the universal standards against racism already in existence. You chose instead to diminish their importance in the name of alleged cultural preferences. You could have protected freedom of expression. You chose instead to undermine it by twisted concepts of incitement. You could have brought victims of racism together in a common cause. You chose instead to pit victims against each other in an ugly struggle for meager recognition.

For those democracies that remain under these circumstances you are ultimately responsible for what can only be called an appalling disservice to real victims of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance around the world.

About the author: Anne Bayefsky holds a B.A., M.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto and an M.Litt. from Oxford University. She is a barrister and solicitor of the Ontario Bar, and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute as well as professor at Columbia University Law School in New York, where her areas of expertise include international human rights law, equality rights, and constitutional human rights law. Visit her website here.


Obama Administration to Join anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council

March 31, 2009

The Obama administration has revoked a decision by the Bush administration to boycott the Geneva-based United Nations’ premier rights body to protest the influence of repressive and racist states, according to The Washington Post.

The U.N. Human Rights Council is wholly owned and operated by Islamic states that legitimize Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism, supported by an automatic majority from China, Cuba, and other repressive regimes. Canada, now the true America,  is the only country in the world that has been willing to stand up and resist Orwellian resolutions that are destroying the true principles of human rights.

The resolutions of the U.N. Human Rights Council failed to address human rights violations of Muslim countries, notably Iran’s persecution of Baha’is, Saudi Arabia’s banning of all religious practice aside from Islam, and the persecution of Christian communities in Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq. Instead of this, the U.N. Human Rights Council recommended to criminalize the defamation of Islam.