Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paul Schnee on Oliver Stone Putting the Holocaust "In Context"

This is the content of an email sent out by Paul Schnee, Executive Director for the Western Region for the Zionist Organization of America. It is posted with the permission of the author.

I have read Ms. Berrin's article in The Jewish Journal about Oliver Stone and his intention to make a documentary putting Hitler "in context".  I suspect this effort will probably illustrate just how frequently the bong is passed around Mr. Stone's house as did his film "JFK" which was riddled with invention and dramatic license of the most misleading kind stretching the 'willing suspension of disbelief' to the breaking point.

I do so hope that we are not going to be treated to an examination of the part that the "appeasers" in Britain and Europe played in the march towards the outbreak of World War II as if this was not already well known. The motives, activities, sympathies, and personalities of the "Cliveden Set" and their camp followers are all public knowledge today and there is little that Mr. Stone can add, other than his fanciful interpretation, that would enhance our understanding of that time in history. If, on the other hand, he made a film about the "appeasers' of today, then he might find himself, along with many of the Hollywood gliteratti, in one of the leading roles.

When Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 he codified what had already become the institutionalized persecution of the Jews that resulted in the annihilation of some 6 million innocent souls. When he invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941 he betrayed his erstwhile ally with whom he had previously concluded a cynical "non-aggression pact" which eliminated, for that moment, the spectre of a war on two fronts while he concentrated on invading Poland with Russian help instead of Russian interference. It was during Operation Barbarossa ( the code name for the invasion of Russia) that the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, a paramilitary group of SS lovelies, went about the summary execution of Russian civilians some of whom were communists, some of whom were Jewish, and some of whom were Jewish communists. For Hitler it was a distinction without a difference but an urgent necessity to be accomplished with enthusiasm and a good deal of relish.

It is difficult to grasp the point Mr. Stone is making when he says that Hitler killed more Russians than Jews. Most of us learned this in high school and hardly need Mr. Stone to draw our attention to this gruesome fact. If, however, he is suggesting that our outrage at the institutionalized slaughter of 6 million Jews should be less than our outrage at the death of 25 or 30 million Russians who were killed by their former ally then he must believe that we suffer from the same kind of moral relativism with which he is afflicted. This is a prism which distorts everything that comes into view much like Mr. Stone's camera lens.

The tiresome and loathsome canard that the so-called Israel Lobby has an undue, unhealthy, and overwhelming influence on American foreign policy is one of the standard accusations of stealth anti-semites who seek to cloak their anti-semitism by portraying themselves as merely being against America's policies towards Israel. It's a sham, of course, but one that has managed to gain some traction with the publication of books like Walt and Mearsheimer's "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" which can now be purchased on at a discount of 34%. A discount of 75% would be a more accurate reflection of the book's true value.

The idea that the so-called media Jews, to whom Mr. Stone refers, control or enhance Israel's position in the world is the sort of flight of fancy to which we have become accustomed from Mr. Stone. Clearly he is not a subscriber to the New York Times. He must not watch the news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, or MSNBC, where many of the senior executives are Jewish. Nor have the efforts of the exalted Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod done anything to to make Israel more secure or prosperous. We can leave aside, for the moment, that they haven't done that for America either!

Considering the position of Israel today as she is surrounded by genocidal enemies whose undiminished goal is her extinction, considering the plight of Jews who have been expelled from Arab countries, considering the rise of anti-semitism in Europe, considering that many of our universities and institutions are being subverted by the massive infusion of Arab petro-dollars, considering the historical opposition to Israel in our State Department, and considering the hostile attitude of the Obama administration towards Israel it does not seem as if all of Mr. Stone's vaunted claims of excessive Jewish influence amount to very much.

We cannot take Mr Stone "out" of context any more than we can put him "in" context since he lives so much of his life in an alternate universe where up is down and down is up and context is absent. The safest place for Mr. Stone is in a straight-jacket with his bong safely out of reach. In the meantime, I'm very much afraid that Mr. Stone is about to prove, yet again, that winning an Oscar is not sufficient proof that one has a firm grasp of reality.

Doubtless Mr. Stone's new project will be an entertaining tour de force where he can part company from the facts and demonstrate, once more, his faculty for realizing hallucinations.

It takes some chutzpah for Mr. Stone to imagine we have all been waiting for him to put Adolf Hitler "in context". Chutzpah, as Mr. Stone knows, is an old Yiddish word but then so, of course, is schmuck!.

Kindest regards,
as always,


Paul Schnee
Executive Director,
Western Region,
Zionist Organization of America

Film director Oliver Stone told London's Sunday Times that the Holocaust remains a focus of the world's attention because of "Jewish domination of the media." "There's a major lobby in the United States," Stone said, according to the blog Normblog . "They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."

Stone added that he is planning a 10-part documentary on Adolf Hitler that would put the Nazi leader "in context." For good measure, he added that "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people." To read more, click here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Setting the Record Straight on the Mavi Mamara

These two letters were published in The Hour (Norwalk, Connecticut) on Monday, July 26, 2010.

A few questions remain

To the Editor:

I have a few questions for Aletha and Lynn Carlton, who wrote a letter published July 16 in which they asserted the people on the so-called Free Gaza Flotilla "were not expecting a fight."

If they were not expecting a fight, which did they bring along dozens of armed and trained fighters from IHH?

If they were not expecting a fight, why did they come equipped with bulletproof vests and night vision goggles?

If they were not expecting a fight, why did they cut up the railings on the Mavi Mamara and use them to beat Israelis? In fact, why did they bring aboard tools to enable them to do that?

If they were not expecting a fight, why did they bring weapons?

If they were not expecting a fight, why did they start a fight, attacking the Israelis even before they boarded the ship?

All their actions are well-documented, including video.

The IHH, the primary organizer of the Free Gaza Flotilla, has already been banned by Germany from raising funds there because it promotes terrorism.

Overwhelming evidence has even forced our won State Department to consider officially designating the IHH as what it obviously is, a terrorist organization.

The IHH not only expected a fight, it planned for one and initiated one.

The losers, far more than Israel, are the people in Gaza who are being oppressed by their own government, controlled by Hamas. Particularly oppressed are the Christians in Gaza. Since losing any remaining protection once Israel completely left Gaza in 2005, they have been intimidated, beaten and tortured by fanatical Islamists, who are even oppressing the moderate Muslims in Gaza.

It is sadly ironic that those who are criticizing Israel are helping to perpetuate the enslavement of the moderates in Gaza, who need to be freed from their oppressive rulers.

Jay Jacovitz

Facts out of fabrications

To the Editor:

Regarding the letter "Flotilla was not expecting a fight," written by Aletha and Lynn Carlton ( The Hour July 16) I'm always amazed at how some people seem to be able to write an anti-Israel letter creating "facts" out of fabrications. Here are the proven, factual, and verifiable facts: The IHH operatives involved in the violence on the so-called "Free Gaza Flotilla" boarded at a different port, without being subjected to inspection, separately from others. They brought bulletproof vests, night vision goggles and weapons, including firearms with which they shot Israelis who boarded. Some of the bullets removed from injured Israelis did not come from Israeli weapons and Mavi Mamara crew members testified they saw the IHH attackers throw weapons over board once the Israelis successfully warded off their vicious attack.

This flatly contradicts the Carltons' assertion that those on the flotilla "were not expecting a fight." They not only expected a fight; they started the fight. This is corroborated by audio and video tapes readily available on YouTube and elsewhere. They declared themselves "shaheeds" (martyrs) before even leaving Turkey.

I also find it hard to believe their charge that Dore Gold, a Connecticut native and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, "assured an American Jewish gathering … They would … make life so miserable for the Palestinians and Christians that they would leave "voluntarily." That charge sounds totally out of character and I've found no evidence to support such a claim.

It is true, on the other hand, that Arab Muslims, in the West Bank and Gaza, are harassing and persecuting their Christian "brethren" and driving them out. Even Bethlehem has turned from being a Christian to a pre dominantly Muslim town since it came under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In the Middle East, only in Israel, do Christians escape severe persecution.

Perhaps I shouldn't really be surprised that those who oppose Israel find it difficult to write against Israel without making up their own, distorted version of the facts. I suggest they do a little research to verify their false claims. After all, if one actually looks at the facts, it's difficult to avoid supporting Israel, the only liberal, Western-oriented democracy in the Middle East and our only reliable and loyal friend in that part of the world.

Murray Bruckel

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Letter to the Editor - The Hour (Norwalk, Connecticut)

The following letter was sent to The Hour, based in Norwalk, Connecticut on July 14 and published Sunday, July 18, 2010.

Unfair criticism difficult to gauge

To the Editor:

Methinks Fred Wicke doth protest too much.

In his July 10 letter, he writes: "I can't believe that there have been a dozen writers calling Mr. Kimmich anti-Semitic and other insulting remarks."

There's a good reason he can't believe it: it's not true.

Between the time of the Kimmich letter to which he refers and the publication of his own letter, there were only five writers responding to Kimmich's factually challenged anti-Israel screeds. Of those, only one even mentioned anti-Semitism. That reference didn't actually accuse Kimmich of anti-Semitism, but simply referred to anti-Zionist as being "the politically correct term for Anti-Semitic."

Israel-haters seem to love to launch false accusations of being accused of anti-Semitism. Such false accusations far outnumber actual accusations of anti-Semitism. The latter are extremely rare. Here's why:

Unlike the Israel-haters, supporters of Israel are generally very careful about avoiding false statements. One rarely finds factual errors in the writings of supporters of Israel. (This is in sharp contrast to the other side; Wicke's letter is typical.)

Academic studies have shown a high correlation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This confirms the common sense understanding that the vast majority of criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism.

However, without intimate knowledge of the individual involved, it's extremely difficult to know for sure whether a particular person's unfair criticisms are motivated by anti-Semitism.

Hence, although they are often fully justified, suspicions of anti-Semitism are rarely voiced.

Alan Stein
President, PRIMER-Connecticut Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Maybe a Time for Jews to Affirm Common Cause

This commentary by Neil Berro was published on the editorial page of the New Haven Register July 6, 2010.

The beautiful sound of my daughter singing in Hebrew as she practices for her bat mitzvah wafted upstairs. I don't remember being that lyrical 41 years ago, or being that diligent in practicing.

I do remember loaning my cassette tape recorder to Morris Barocas for what seemed like a year as he practiced for his bar mitzvah. It must have worked. Morris went on to have a great celebration and become a prominent physician.

The bar or bat mitzvah is a coming of age for young Jews, and there is little about the experience that can be taken for granted.

As a baby boomer, I have been fortunate to grow up with more freedom and opportunity for Jews than perhaps anytime in America.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel celebrated his son's recent bar mitzvah by taking him to Israel. The prayer service was held at the Western Wall, part of the Temple Mount and considered the most sacred spot in Judaism.

Jews have lived or yearned for Jerusalem for thousands of years. "Next year in Jerusalem" was the rallying cry for Jews in concluding the Passover service of freedom whether they lived in grandeur or poverty, whether they lived in the Spain of Maimonides or were held captive in the squalor of a concentration camp.

Roger Cohen in a recent column in The New York Times noted that his daughter had just celebrated her bat mitzvah. I bet Cohen and Emanuel are as worried as I am for the future of their kids, as worried as many Jewish parents all over the world are becoming, as strange standards of morality are being applied, all seeming to have the same sickening conclusive judgment, one heard with the same fury and hostility of every pogrom, Inquisition or goose step that has marched through history.

The Turks attack Israel's morality, as does Iran President Mahmoud Amadinejad, Hamas, Hezbollah and those moralists at the United Nations.

It's flattering, no doubt, that enemies of Israel can count upon the shock value of their words because of the high expectations for Israel, and indeed all Jews.

Turks gave the world the first taste of genocide in the 20th century when they chased and slaughtered Armenian civilians by the hundreds of thousands. For good measure, Turks were generally regarded as the most brutal of captors during World War I, and seemed to take particular delight in abusing surrendered British troops. Kurds do not have anything kind to say about Turks either.

Iran would be comical were it not so deadly. Amadinejad brutalizes its people, yet shamelessly rebukes Americans and Israelis at every turn.

The Egyptians do not want an armed Hamas on their doorstep. Yet, Egypt moves to strip citizenship from any Egyptian daring to marry an Israeli Jew; shades of the Nazi Nuremberg laws.

Following the 2006 war, the United Nations passed strict resolutions, as did the Lebanese government, against the re-arming of Hezbollah. Hezbollah now has four times the advanced missiles and a charter calling for Israel's destruction.

So, why would Israel want Hamas becoming another Hezbollah? Hamas is as unrelenting in hatred of Jews as is Hezbollah.

The United Nations, which has never gone broke asking the world and especially the United States to pay for its every crackpot charge against Israel, winks at the missile buildup by the enemies of Israel.

These are disturbing times for Jews. We are not perfect and certainly Israel is not perfect. This may be a necessary time, however, for Jews to reaffirm their common cause.

For perfect, I would commend you to the melodious notes of a beautifully sung bat mitzvah service. It doesn't happen so often.

For the more ubiquitous sounds of hatred, I would merely commend you to the hypocrites attacking Israel.

Neil Berro of New Haven has worked for Jewish and Israeli causes since 1981. Readers may write to him in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. His e-mail address is

Deliberately Misreading the Holocaust

This letter was published in the Waterbury Republican-American July 7, 2010 in response to a letter which maliciously tried to associate Israel with Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the headline given the letter also distorted its message.

Israel's Existence Makes Another Holocaust Unlikely

In regard to the June 30 letter "Another Lesson of History Is Forgotten," there are significant differences between the situations regarding Hitler's Nazi Germany and the Hamas' Gaza Strip.

In both cases, there were maniacal regimes bent on the genocide of the Jewish people, but at least today the Jewish people have their own country, Israel, to defend them. While the calculus will change if Hamas' patrons, the fanatical mullahs in charge of Iran, succeed in their quest for nuclear weapons, it is highly unlikely Hamas will manage to slaughter 6 million Jews.

One difference: The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto did little to help their Nazi oppressors, but Israel is sending massive amounts of humanitarian aid to the Arabs living in Gaza.

In one way, however, the situation today is worse than during the Holocaust. The world was indifferent when the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto rose up to defend themselves. Today, the world is far from indifferent and immediately condemns Israel every time it tries to do anything to defend itself from Arab terrorism.

Alan Stein