Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Considering a Sexual Encounter? - Bring Along the Required Documents

There has been much written about sexual harassment and rape accusations at colleges.  I thought it would be interesting to share portions of a 44-page document on sexual conduct and misconduct issued by California's Claremont College for its students (as reported in The Weekly Standard  Oct 20)

Effective consent consists of an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon (and the conditions of) sexual activity.  

The Essential Elements of Consent:
1.  Informed and Reciprocal
2.  Freely and Actively Given
3.  Mutually Understandable
4.  Not Indefinite
5.  Not Unlimited

All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting, and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.

Withdrawal of Consent can be expressed 'no' or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain, or is no longer a mutual participant."

Don't forget to bring signed documents and lawyers along on your next date!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

There Is Only One Holocaust - Stop Making Comparisons!

Godwin's law is an observation made by attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1989.  It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin believes that given enough time, all online discussions end up being about Hitler and the Nazis.

In fact the Holocaust, to which these so-called comparisons relate, is, in fact, not subject to comparison.  It is "incomparable!"

Yes, there have been ethnic cleanings.  Yes, there have been mass killings.  Yes, there have been atrocities of significant magnitude throughout ancient and recent history.  Yes, there has been slavery.  Yes, there has been the forced movement of peoples from their traditional homes.  Yes, there have been outrageous examples of discrimination.  And even more.

But there has been only one Holocaust.  Unique.  Incomparable.  Defined by what it represented.

It is mass killings. It is ethnic cleansing.  It is slavery.  It is forced movement of peoples.  It is the utmost form of discrimination.  It is all of these and much more.  It is a cold, calculated, engineered affair.  It is extermination as a business, in part analogous to pest control, - efficient, cost-conscious, scientific, and yes open to competitive bidding.  It was unique in the evaluation and commercial uses of its byproducts.  Products of the ovens were converted to energy.  Corpses were provided to medical schools.  Gold from teeth was extracted and melted down.  Skin and hair was re-cycled.  People were used as human guinea pigs in medical research.  It is an atrocity of such magnitude that, without records or witnesses, it could be regarded as unbelievable propaganda (as it was by many political leaders of the time.)  It is an unequaled barbarity of major proportions - cold, logical, unemotional, efficient, effective and productive.

It is the industry of human extermination.

Time to render Godwin's Law obsolete.  Time for a new law.

The Holocaust is unique
No comparison to other atrocities applies









Friday, September 19, 2014

Holocaust Survivor - Are You Really Special?

Alvin Rosenfeld, in the Jewish Daily Forward (Sep 12) quotes Hans Frank, one of Hitlers top aides and the Nazi commander in Poland, as remembering his "boss" saying:  "I am an innocent lamb compared to revelations by Jews about Jews......these instincts and.....character traits. It is not I who say this, it is the Jews themselves......."

This was used as an introduction to Rosenfeld's comments on a recent NY Times advertisement by  something called the International Jewish Solidarity Network which proclaimed that Holocaust survivors condemn Israel.  "Jewish Survivors and Descendants of Survivors and Victims of Nazi Genocide Condemn the Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza," screamed the headline!

There is no question, and it is only right, that differences between Jews exist  regarding the recent Gaza War.  Jews, whether Holocaust Survivors or not, have the right to opinions.  Rosenfeld goes on to define the signers of the document as  "relative of a survivor" as cousins, friends, distant relatives, grand children and great grandchildren of refugees.  One identified herself as "a great niece of an uncle who shot himself," another as a "third cousin of Anne Frank."

It is generally agreed that the definition of  a Holocaust survivor is: any Jew who lived for any period of time in a country that was ruled by the Nazis or their allies is called a Holocaust survivor or a Nazi victim.  (There is no clear definition of who has status as a "distant relative.")

I am, by that definition, clearly a survivor - I was there from 1937-1939.  Though I was a mere babe, my parents clearly were "adult" survivors whose lives were permanently altered.  My mother never could forget or disregard the great life and rather good social position she had in her beloved community.  My father had been one of the men rounded up on Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau.  Fortunately he survived, was released, and we were able to emigrate.

My mother never called herself a "survivor." She, and my father, never felt that they had special rights to special opinions because of their deplorable and disruptive history.  To them the Holocaust was, and should always remain a personal experience, not exploited, not memorialized with museums, and certainly not to be used as a cudgel by persons who feel "special" because of their victimhood.

They would condemn the rising "Holocaust Industry" which purports to grant survivors, and apparently even the survivors' (third cousins and great nieces) special rights to special opinions on special aspects of victimhood.

The Holocaust was unique in Jewish history - in world history.  It cannot be compared to any other form of repression and slaughter.  To even write words that tend to compare this unique event that has no defining adjectives that I believe appropriate, is to do a major disservice to the Jewish People and their history - to then go on and actually compare it to what is termed Palestinian genocide is an atrocity.

There are fewer and fewer real survivors and their distant relatives and friends hardly qualify as experts.  I am certainly no expert.  But these Holocaust bloviators, who feel special because of their suffering, must come to realize that their suffering, especially their suffering, was unique to them and should never be regarded as a special right or privilege.  Holocaust third cousin once removed - express your opinion, but don't feel your distant relationship to victimhood is some sort of privilege.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

American Action or Inaction - We Lose

The New York Times ("U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel," Aug 11) reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-designated "caliph"of the Islamic world, and the leader of of ISIS, owes his rise to power to U.S. involvement in Iraq.  "Political changes that fueled his fight, or led to his promotion, were born directly from some American action."

The story goes on to enumerate the following "direct" American actions (and inactions):
1.  He allegedly spent five years in an American detention facility.  (The Pentagon maintains, however, that following his arrest in early 2004, he was released that December.)
2.  The American operation that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006, led to Baghdadi's chance to take power.
3.  The American ouster of Saddam Hussein (Iraq's brutal dictator) opened the lid that had suppressed extremist Islamist movements in Iraq, allowing Baghdadi "the freedom for his radical views to flourish."
4.  The inaction of the U.S. early in the Syrian revolution my have led to the growth of ISIS, according to Rep. Elliot L. Engel (D-NY).

So are we to blame for the turmoil in Iraq and Syria?  Are we largely responsible for the slaughter that is being inflicted on Kurds and Shiites in Iraq by Baghdadi?  So it's  really all our fault?

We seem to be held responsible for the ills of the world whether by our action or our inaction.  We can't win!











Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What are Israel's Motives in Gaza?

Why is Israel involved in Gaza?  Why is Israel concerned about border crossings?  Why is Israel engaged in controlling access to Gaza from the sea? Why has Israel constructed walls along its borders with Gaza and the West Bank?  Why is Israel expending financial, political, and human capital on these issues?

Is it because Israel is interested in dominating the Middle East, beginning with the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza (with their 4 million Arabs, resulting in a possible Arab majority within the new state?) Is it because Israel is a war-obsessed anti-Arab country with an overwhelming determination to drive all Arabs "into the sea," and to annihilate the Arab population of Gaza and the West Bank?  Is it because Israel is, at its roots, a violently anti-Muslim country?  Is it because the Judaism, as a religion, demands that other beliefs be eliminated and that Judaism is the only way to the truth and to salvation?  Is it because the Jews want to conquer and enslave the Palestinian world?  Is it that Jews are dedicated to the slaughter and starvation of Arab civilians, especially children?  Is it because Jews are an inherently evil people who  want to "rule the world" - the first step being the "taking over" of Gaza and the West Bank?

Or is it because:

Israel is a recognized country, a member of the United Nations, whose borders have been constantly violated, whose land has been threatened repeatedly from its very beginnings, whose inhabitants (both adults and children) have been slaughtered by suicide bombers entering from Gaza and the West Bank, whose population is under constant threat from missiles launched from Gaza as well as from Lebanon, whose neighbors have charters which include destruction of the State of Israel amongst their articles - Israel has a government whose first and foremost dedication is to the protection of its people from constant threats to its very survival?

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Israel, Palestine, Gaza - Some Facts

It probably doesn't make a lot of difference, because many people really don't think it applies to present problems, nor do most people engage in Socratic decision making, nevertheless, I believe the time has come to review a bit of recent Middle East history.  Let's go:

A.  Israel-Palestine

1.  1923 - Palestine, after hundreds of years under Turkish rule, becomes a British mandate - Palestine, at the time, includes what is now all of the West Bank and Gaza.
2.  1947 - The United Nations, under Resolution 181 divides Palestine into two states - one Arab and one Jewish (the term "Palestine" is not used to describe the Arab state).  The Jewish settlement  accepts the terms, the Arabs reject them.  Jordan (then known as Trans-Jordan) annexes the West Bank and it becomes a part of Jordan.
3.  1948 - In May the British mandate officially ends and the British leave Palestine.  On May 14, the Jewish settlement's leader, David Ben-Gurion proclaims the founding of the State Of Israel.  Arab armies attack the new state - eventually losing the war.  An armistice is declared.   A "Green Line" is demarcated, creating an Arab portion including the West Bank (Jordan), Gaza (Egypt), and Golan (Syria).  Jordan resettles its Palestinian refugee population, Syria and Egypt do not.
4.   1949 - Israel is admitted to the United Nations.
5.   1967 - Arab armies mass on Israel's borders starting The Six Day War.  Israel wins and now occupies the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai peninsula and Golan.
6.   1967 - Resolution 242 is passed by the United Nations, resolving that Israel withdraw from "the territories," specifically and intentionally not using the term "all the territories."  Arthur Goldberg, US representative to the UN commented:

“The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967 lines. I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.”

The following statements are issued by the Arabs:

"We intend to open a general assault against Israel.  This will be total war.  Our basic aim will be to destroy Israel."  .......Gamal Abdel-Nasser, President of Egypt
"The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence."......Egyptian Radio 'Voice of the Arabs
"I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation."
...............Hafez al-Assad, Defense Minister of Syria
"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified....Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map.".....Abdur Rahman Aref, President of Iraq

7.   1973 - Yom Kippur War following attacks by Egypt and Syria.  Israel wins resulting in 1975 Sinai Agreement between Israel and Egypt.  (Syria refuses to attend the agreement discussions in Geneva)  Israel withdraws from a large portion of the captured Sinai peninsula. 
8.   1978 - The Camp David Accords result in Israel gradually withdrawing from the entire Sinai peninsula.  Egypt recognizes the State of Israel.  Skirmishes with Syria continue and Israel eventually annexes a portion of the Golan.  Israel continues to "occupy" portions of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan, eventually annexing a portion of Golan (as per Resolution 242), eventually totally withdrawing from Gaza. (see below)
9.   1993 - Oslo Accords divides the West Bank into Areas A, B, C which includes Palestinian control (together with Israeli control) of Area B.  Israel continues settlements in A and C.
10.  2010 - UN grants Palestine "observer status" (similar to the Vatican)

B.  Gaza

1.  1923 - Gaza becomes part of the British Mandate.
2.  1948 - Occupied by Egypt and becomes an "All-Palestinian" government.
3.  1949 - Following the Israel-Egypt armistice it continues as an "All-Palestinian government.
4.  1959 - Egypt occupies Gaza.
5.  1967 - Following the Israeli victory in the 1967 war, Israel occupies Gaza.
6.  1994 - Oslo accords grant Gaza to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasir Arafat establishes the headquarters of the PLO in Gaza City.  Israel retains some military forces in Gaza.  Some Israeli settlements are established.  Israel is granted control of airspace and control of sea access to Gaza.
7.  2000 - Palestinian Intafada results in increased Israeli control, including construction of a wall and limited access at Israel-Gaza crossings.
8.  2005 - Israel unilaterally leaves Gaza - both military and civilian.  
9.  2006 - Warring factions established in Gaza between al Fatah and Hamas (declared a terrorist organization by the United States and United Nations) which Hamas wins (at least 600 Palestinians are killed).  Israel closes the borders.
10.  2007 - present - Hamas in Gaza begins arming and firing missiles into Israel.
11.   2014 -  Hamas joins the Palestinian government in the West Bank and increases missile firings into Israel with missiles now reaching points in northern Israel.  Israel institutes military strikes in Gaza.

 Those are the facts.  













Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is There Life in "The Death of Klinghoffer"

 “Here was a wanton murder of a helpless human being. Trying to portray both sides and show they’re not monsters, but human beings who did foul, awful things to advance their cause, shows that it was a horrific event. If by producing this those questions are raised again, is that a bad thing? Discussions need to be had.”

The above quote by Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor,  as cited in the recent issue of the Jewish Daily Forward, was his comment on whether the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" is, in fact, anti-Semitic.  I guess he doesn't believe it is.  The opera has come under major criticism for its supposed anti-Semitic theme and this criticism has resulted in the cancellation of the Metropolitan Opera's world-wide HD transmissions of the live presentation of the work, scheduled for this November.

I have not seen it, nor do I plan to see it (I am not an opera-person) and have no idea whether the theme is anti-Semitic or not.  If the opera portrays all Jews, by virtue of their Jewishness, as a group that should be despised and perhaps even murdered, this is anti-Semitism.  If the opera justifies and praises the killing of Klinghoffer because he was Jewish - that is a clear form of anti-Semitism.   On the other hand, if it portrays the horrors of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the monstrous results that it may incur, is this really a form of anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitic, or not, the right to stage it should not be in question.