Polish law puts survivors at risk for telling the truth
While no one should falsely accuse Poles of crimes committed by Nazi Germany in Poland, there were many non-Jewish Poles who collaborated willingly in the genocide of Jews in Poland.
Articles reporting the law limiting speech on Holocaust curiously fail to mention that Poland’s new law would put virtually every Jewish survivor of the Holocaust in Poland at risk of prosecution, because almost every Polish Jewish survivor testimony describes betrayal, blackmail or denunciation by non-Jewish Poles.
When the few Polish Jewish survivors returned to their hometowns to look for their families after the war, many were murdered or driven out, and the few saintly Poles who aided Jews during the war were afraid that if their actions became known to their neighbors, they too would be attacked.
Young Jews fought valiantly and against tremendous odds against the Nazis in Poland, both in ghettos and in the woods as partisans.
Poland needs to reconcile inconsistencies in story
I don’t pretend to know or understand what was behind Poland’s new exculpatory law involving its alleged role in the Holocaust, but what followed is perhaps no coincidence — not only the diplomatic uproar between Poland and Israel but the accompanying surge in anti-Semitism among Poles.
Is this something new, or is it the same scourge that once led some Poles to murder their Jewish countrymen themselves, albeit on a relatively small scale? That recent upsurge was followed by the statement of Arkadiusz Mularczyk, a Polish government official, that Germany could owe his country $850 billion for the damage it inflicted during World War II.
On the one hand Poland denies responsibility for killing Jews, and on the other it demands that Germany should pay compensation to Poland for as many as 6 million Poles killed by the Germans, of whom about 3 million were Jews. Poland seemingly wants to pocket the German compensation paid for the dead Jews it never killed, while simultaneously being absolved of its modern anti-Semitism.
If they want to be believed, Poles who claim that they didn’t participate in genocide in their own sinister way need to reconcile these inconsistencies.
To make change at SFSU, stop whining and start acting
I thank J. for its story “Hillel students not impressed with SFSU president’s latest apology.” It left me with the feeling of déjà vu, since I was affiliated with Hillel at State starting in 1990. I had many friends there and think very fondly of the wonderful place, which welcomes people from all walks of life, including non-Jews.
The article referenced a very hateful, threatening statement posted on Facebook by so-called “professor” Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi. Her words suggest that she incites violence towards Zionists, which in fact may be a violation of a student’s civil rights. That is an issue to report to the FBI, campus police and the school’s Title IX office. Students must complain in writing and not give up, and a competent attorney should refile that dismissed federal lawsuit against SFSU. The judge wrote a good opinion and it should be followed.
Students should also report that hateful vandalism in the photo to the campus police. Isn’t there video of it? That kind of vandalism is welcome at State. Make written complaints and it may change. Whining does not change a thing, but action does.
Workmen’s Circle denounces Trump’s embassy move
The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California (Branch 1054) strongly opposes President Trump’s recent decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, although that city’s status remains legally unresolved.
The White House’s decision is provocatively ill-advised, politically destabilizing and destructive of future peace in the Middle East. It ignores the necessary involvement of both Israelis and Palestinians in the peace process, including a negotiated agreement for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of both Israel and Palestine, with safe and guaranteed access for all people to all religious sites.
While the Trump proclamation may mollify the president’s ultra-right Jewish supporters and conservative evangelical base, it also encourages extremists of all stripes to pursue their discriminatory and violent activities over disputed, occupied territory. The decision is now provoking protests in the Arab world and will continue to endanger Israelis and Jews in the diaspora. It seriously diminishes the already waning prospects of a two-state solution by emboldening Israeli political leaders uninterested in achieving peace.
As American Jews, we urge all Americans, especially congressional Democrats and Republicans, including those who have supported this decision, to join with those who have spoken out publicly and unequivocally to oppose the divisive policy this White House is pursuing.
We also want Israel, an ally receiving substantial U.S. financial and military support, to become a nation where Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights, are respected and are not subject to the injustices that accompany occupation, displacement and abuse of power.
We reiterate the Workmen’s Circle’s decade-old call for a peace reconciliation process based on equal human rights and equal rights to self-determination for Israeli and Palestinian peoples; to the reconciliation of dual claims to their common homeland; and to mutual recognition, respect and adherence to the values of universal human rights, equality and justice. We oppose moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem prior to final status negotiations, which violates these basic, guiding principles.
Chair, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California (Branch 1054),
The gun numbers don’t lie
Thank you for your editorial “#NeverAgain: It’s time to end this gun madness.”
In 1965, a man who had recently joined the Nation of Islam — inspired by its message of anti-Semitic hate — walked into the delicatessen where my grandparents worked. He pointed a rifle at my grandmother’s head and, as my grandfather shouted: “Put that gun down!” murdered her in cold blood, then quietly left. During his arrest, he laughed hysterically. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The rifle didn’t make him hate, but it gave his hatred the power to kill.
It is unfathomable that five decades later, despite assassinations (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy) and school shootings that have somehow failed to shock our nation’s conscience into action, there are still no serious constraints on access to guns.
The fact is that higher gun-ownership rates and looser regulations correlate with higher homicide rates. A 2013 study found that “for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.” Similarly, while the assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004 (authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein) had a negligible effect on overall gun violence, it dramatically reduced massacres where six or more people were killed: from 19 incidents resulting in 155 deaths from 1984 to 1994, to 12 incidents resulting in 89 deaths from 1994 to 2004. After the ban expired, the numbers skyrocketed, to 34 incidents and 302 deaths from 2004 to 2014.
I cannot imagine anything more craven, sacrilegious and offensive than when politicians offer “thoughts and prayers” to the families of murdered children in lieu of taking action to stop this epidemic of deadly gun violence. Our inability to pass effective gun control measures to protect our children is a national disgrace and a moral failure.
Stephen A. Silver,