Letters from our readers

On “Barack Obama pays tribute to George W. Bush at presidential library opening

Yes, I saw the new library dedication on TV. I understand it will have an amazingly voluminous amount of holdings. Rumor has it that there might be as many as five—and possibly even a ridiculously high six— copies of unread Cliff Notes.

Seriously, a disgusting spectacle.

Rob M
29 April 2013

On “Braying for war against Syria”

“The reality is that the intervention in Syria is part of the preparation of a far more dangerous war against Iran”—true.

But for this reason the western threats against Syria are likely to remain mere bluster. Any NATO/US/Israeli intervention will take place without any UN sanction. The abrogation of even formal compliance with UN etiquette will allow the Russian regime to supply Iran with high tech weapons, with which it can shut the straits of Hormuz indefinitely and make NATO/US/Israeli military interventions extremely costly in economic terms and in terms of Western casualties. What is more, the Russian regime will benefit directly from military aid to Iran. If the straits are shut, the price of oil will increase. For the West, regime change in Syria through direct intervention may make a similar scenario in Iran practically impossible. And it is these considerations that have shut the mouths of Israeli ministers.

30 April 2013

On “The Flat: A family examines a Nazi-Zionist friendship

Thank you for calling attention to this very interesting depiction about a period and people I am passionately interested in. I had grown up as the myth of the Warsaw Ghetto was being manufactured among people who suffered its reality. They spoke of it often in my youth “You would have eaten that in the Lager” and “You had to do what you had to do in those days.” Then grown rich, my elders much preferred “the narrative” which, as it happens, I had ghost-written on many occasions. You know, “I only lived to tell my tale and serve Eratz Israel”. Zeev (“Hitler for Germany, Palestine for Jews”) Jabotinsky’s Betar had grown comfortable for post-Vietnam America, an old story, raising terrorists to heroes. Shamir and Begin took the historical stage and the “Holocaust Survivor” was born.

In this context, it is good that you remember that evil Goldhagen book: “The leading role of Jewish socialists and communists in the Warsaw Ghetto and other heroic resistance to the Nazis was pushed aside. Not only was Zionist collaboration with the National Socialists erased, as in the relatively minor example of the Tuchlers, but the German people as a whole were portrayed as collectively responsible for Hitler, as in the notorious book Hitler’s Willing Executioners .”

May I take this opportunity to call your readers attention to one of my heroes, Marek Edelman, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto’s resistance leadership which fought bitter battles with Jabotinsky’s followers before the fight, refused cooperation with them during the struggle, the survivors, Edelman’s detachment, fewer than the fingers of one hand, crawled through tunnels, shit, and poison gas to tell the true story, and rejected forcefully the Zionist state of Israel to the end.

Worthy of note is what happened at the end of the uprising which began when the self-described “proletarian camp” alliance, ZOB, which gathered its weapons from ambushes (having killed on the first day fully 250 German soldiers with very few revolvers) were surrounded at 18 Mila street.

At the start of the rising, SS General Stroop had to fight well-entrenched cadres of the ZZW on Miaranowski Street fighting alongside the frankly “fascist” Polish resistance fighters, trained for war. The “fascists” (worth a Google search are the uniforms of Yabotinsky’s Betar of the time, expressing frank admiration for the brown shirts rising from historical gutters) raised the Betar flag of their future state alongside the Polish flag. SS General Stroop in his report called attention to the flag and the anthem that he heard from well-fortified and armed bunkers, Zionist and Polish.

By contrast, on May Day 1943, the ZOB command ordered a “holiday” offensive. According to Edelman, “In the evening, a May Day roll-call was held. The partisans were briefly addressed by a few people, the Internationale was sung … The words and the song that echoed from the charred ruins were, at that particular time, an indication that socialist youth were still fighting in the Ghetto, and that even in the face of death they were not abandoning their ideals.”

Nor did he abandon his ideals to his death in 2009 at the age of 90. He lived through the Stalinist betrayal of his socialist ideals without growing cynical or compromising. Despite the nationalism of the Bund to which he belonged, he never said that he fought in the ghetto so that the state of Israel would come into being, and served his version of socialism to the end. In 1988, just as the Holocaust myth was establishing itself, Marek Edelman was placed under house arrest when the Stalinists commemorated Auschwitz in 1981. He had his revenge holding a commemoration attended by thousands in 1988 in honour of his comrades who escaped to the Soviet Union and were used and murdered by Stalin. He had a long and active relationship as one of Poland’s leading cardiologists with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, director of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees. When Marwan Barghouti went on trial in 2002 he wrote in support as one fighter to another. Listen to his opening lines: “To all the leaders of Palestinian military, paramilitary and guerrilla organizations. To all the soldiers of Palestinian Fighting Organizations”. Needless to say the last the name the varied groups called their units in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A mensch, that man, and should be better known.

Toronto, Canada
24 April 2013