After many years as professor of Yiddish and Judaic Studies at Vilnius University, Lithuania, and research director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Professor Dovid Katz felt he could not remain silent at the growing campaign in the Baltic region of what he calls “Holocaust Obfuscation”, the attempt to potentially write the Holocaust out of European history without necessarily denying a single death, but by rewriting twentieth century East European history as “two equal genocides” (Nazi and Soviet, or in its antisemitic versions, Soviet-Jewish).
  • Things escalated in the Lithuanian capital in recent years when prosecutors and police began harassing aged Holocaust survivors who survived by joining the anti-Nazi resistance with “war crimes investigations”.
  • The website, which is openly partisan, seeks, in Dovid Katz’s own words, to introduce a Second Opinion into the debate and in time to chronicle the history of the Holocaust on a search-by-location basis in the Baltic States. The site opposes the 2008 Prague Declaration and associated resolutions, and also has a page dedicated to antisemitism in Lithuania in recent years.
  • It also provides links to dozens of media items from recent times, including the explosive UK Tory EuroParliament alliance with various far-right parties in Eastern Europe.

    Welcome!  This site opposes. . .
    ►the campaign to defame Holocaust Survivors who resisted
    ►the movement to write the Holocaust out of European history
    ►the ‘Prague Declaration’ and the ‘Double Genocide’ industry
    ►the state tolerated morass of antisemitism, racism, bias
    ►efforts to stymie free debate

    The site supports. . .
    robust defense of the Holocaust Survivors defamed
    ►opposition to ‘Double Genocide’ & red-brown commissions
    ►bringing you media coverage (scroll down for most recent)
    ►citing the work of bold citizens who speak up proudly
    ►recording noble gestures of diplomats and organizations
    ►study of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Holocaust
    research and education in the field of Litvak studies
    ►providing background to the history and current debates


    RECENT  COMMENT (more media here)

    ►Dovid Katz in the Jewish Week (30 Dec 2009)
    ►David Hirsh in Haaretz (25 Dec 2009)
    ►Efraim Zuroff in the Jerusalem Post (23 Dec 2009)
    ►Toby Axelrod on JTA (20 Dec 2009)
    ►Benny Weinthal in the Jerusalem Post (17 Dec 2009)
    ►Izi Leibler in the Jerusalem Post (16 Dec 2009)
    ►Dovid Katz and Clemens Heni in the AJ (4 Dec 2009)
    ►Dovid Katz in the Jewish Chronicle (30 Nov 2009)
    ►Tim Whewell in the Guardian (30 Nov 2009)
    ►Daiva Repečkaitė on Wonderland (14 Nov 2009)
    ►Mehdi Hasan in New Statesman (1 Nov 2009)
    ►Dovid Katz in the Irish Times (31 Oct 2009)
    ►John Mann MP (UK) in the Jewish Chronicle (29 Oct 2009)
    ►Daiva Repečkaitė on Wonderland (28 Oct 2009)
    ►Clemens Heni on WPK (26 Oct 2009)
    ►Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian (20 Oct 2009)
    ►Shimon Samuels at OSCE (5 Oct 2009)
    ►Paul Hockenos in Newsweek (2 Oct 2009)
    ►Efraim Zuroff in the Guardian  (28 Sept 2009)
    ►Seumas Milne in the Guardian (9 Sept 2009)
    ►Dovid Katz on Three Definitions (Sept 2009)

    ►Jonathan Steele in the Guardian (19 Aug 2009)

    ►Leonidas Donskis on (24 July 2009)

    Campaign by antizionists to have top Jewish surgeon struck off

    Professor Michael Baum

    This piece, by Leon Symons, is from the Jewish Chronicle

    One of Britain’s leading cancer surgeons has told a conference how his support for the Israel Medical Association sparked a campaign to have him struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).

    Professor Michael Baum told a packed session at the annual Limmud conference at Warwick University that colleagues — including Jews — in the medical profession had turned on him after he challenged the accusation made by some that the Israel Medical Association (IMA) was complicit in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.

    His session was called “The academic boycott of Israel: are the Jews among the worst antisemites?”

    Professor Baum said he had first become involved “as an innocent” in June 2007 when the British Medical Journal invited him to write an article for an online poll arguing against an academic boycott of Israel. “You’re lucky if 2,000 get to vote on any issue. They had 23,000 votes online,” said Prof Baum, 72, who is emeritus professor of surgery and visiting professor of medical humanities at University College London.

    “There were also rapid online responses. The views I got were extremely hurtful and extremely abusive, not to mention the hate mail I got both electronically and by post. It was also the first time I had experienced antisemitism in my life.”

    Then Professor Baum encountered Dr Derek Summerfield, who led a lengthy campaign to unseat former IMA chair Dr Yoram Blachar after he was elected president of the World Medical Association in 2008.

    Dr Summerfield set up a meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine attended by Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Physicians for Human Rights Israel, which reiterated the accusations against the IMA, and against Dr Blachar personally.

    Professor Baum said the personal attacks culminated in a letter sent to everyone on the BMJ website — invoking the name of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who carried out hideous experiments on Jews during the Holocaust — which accused him of covering for Israeli doctors.

    It also said he should be ashamed of himself and that the GMC should revoke his licence to practice medicine. “This was written by a Jew,” he said.

    “That’s when the campaign to get me struck off started — the worst ignominy any doctor can suffer. They collected signatures and tried to accuse me of complicity with IMA practices. Any attempt to defend myself provoked more anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric.”

    The surgeon went to the Community Security Trust for advice because he was worried about his and his family’s safety. He admitted to his audience that he broke down in tears during a private meeting with Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor.

    He and a colleague, Professor David Katz, decided to try to find out why Israelis were fighting Israelis and set up a meeting between the IMA and Physicians for Human Rights Israel. During the meeting in Israel in December 2008, Dr Blachar pleaded with PHRI to cease its attacks through both the BMJ and The Lancet, the other leading medical journal.

    The two Britons thought they had a deal that would have stopped the accusations against the IMA but only five days later, Professor Baum claimed, PHRI launched another attack.

    Both the BMJ and The Lancet ran special editions critical of Israel during what was called “Israel apartheid week” last February.

    Professor Baum said he had now taken himself out of the firing line and instead was helping both Palestinians and Israelis through a charitable trust set up in the name of his late brother David.

    This piece, by Leon Symons, is from the Jewish Chronicle

    More filth from Jenny Tonge.

    From the Jewish Chronicle.

    “The way Israel behaves is just not kosher. Jewish people should be totally ashamed of themselves that they are not doing more to stop them. It’s absolutely disgusting.” She claimed that the reason behind the weekend’s shootings in the West Bank was to “make provocations so Israel will have an excuse to go in again” and said that last month’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the “Israel lobby” may be the reason why Gordon Brown “isn’t doing something”.

    Previous articles on Jenny Tonge : Here and Here.

    David Hirsh on the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism

    This piece, by David Hirsh, is published in Haaretz.

    John Mann

    Gert Weisskirchen

    John Mann is a British Labor MP who explains that there isn’t a single Jew among the industrial workers, farmers and retired coal miners in his constituency. He is one of the handful of MPs who came out of the recent parliamentary-expenses scandals cleaner than he went in. He was honored with an award at the Knesset during last week’s conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, for his work in Britain and internationally against anti-Jewish racism. Mann compared the Jews to a canary, like the ones his constituents used to take three miles down into the mines to make sure that the atmosphere was healthy for human beings. The process of the decay of all human values begins with anti-Semitism, said Gert Weisskirchen, who was honored in the same ceremony. Weisskirchen is a scholar as well as a long-time member of the Bundestag, a man imbued with the spirit of the gentle, civilized and worldly social democracy that built post-war West Germany out of the ashes of the Holocaust.

    So what’s going on? The Jews are hawks, not canaries, aren’t they? The Global Forum is run by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, making Avigdor Lieberman its current host. He is a political figure who has broken new ground in Israel, mainstreaming the kind of racialized thinking of which anti-Semitism was a historic prototype, garnering votes by rhetorically threatening the status of the state’s Arab citizens. He is the deputy prime minister in a government that continues to fail to bring its army and its settlers home from Palestinian territory, where they perpetrate the daily violence and humiliation characteristic of all occupations.

    In truth, it is only by denying whole facets of reality that one can fit Jews and Israelis into a simple worldview that defines everyone either as oppressed or as oppressor. Similarly, we would all like to believe that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, but the ready-made ways of thinking that it offers are too deeply embedded in various cultural imaginations around the world for it to disappear easily. No matter how much serious consideration of anti-Semitism is ridiculed as a dishonest attempt to silence criticism of Israel; no matter how much Israelis would prefer to think of themselves as strong, and as being responsible for their own situation rather than perceiving themselves as victims of anti-Semitism – the old libels are still manifested in the ways in which people think about Israel and about Jews.

    Sammy Eppel, a journalist from Venezuela, explained to the conference in Jerusalem how half the members of that country’s Jewish community have left, as the Chavez regime continues to whip up fervor against “Jewish Zionist imperialism” and to embrace the Jew-hating Iranian regime. Furthermore, a 747 fully loaded with who-knows-what flies from Caracas to Tehran weekly.

    Dovid Katz, who teaches Yiddish in Vilnius, raised the alarm about current trends to normalize the Holocaust in the Baltic states by portraying Stalin and Hitler as perpetrators of twin genocides. This is a rhetoric that hides a preference for Hitler, and allows surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust to be honored as anti-communist partisans, and anti-fascists to be put on trial as Stalin’s collaborators. An additional worry is that this kind of “re-understanding” of the Holocaust fits in with other kinds of revisionism – like those that portray the Shoah as an invented justification for the State of Israel, or as a minor intra-European spat, dwarfed in importance and impact by the history of European colonialism – of which the oppression of the Palestinians is currently the key manifestation.

    Patrick Desbois, a quiet but hugely charismatic French Catholic priest, was also present at the Global Forum gathering, explaining how he has been traveling Ukraine and Belarus encouraging perpetrators, witnesses and bystanders of the Nazi genocide to divulge their memories before they are lost. Many who refuse to talk to investigators, and who appear to be Jewish, happily chat with him when he is wearing his comforting priest’s collar.

    Stories were also presented to the conference about intellectuals, trade unionists, anti-racists and other good people who seek to exclude Israelis, and only Israelis, from the global academic, cultural and economic community; who declare that anti-boycott lawyers are financed by stolen Lehman Brothers money from New York; who say that “Zionist” Jews are the new Nazis, the new racists, the new imperialists, the new supporters of apartheid; who teach that the “Israel lobby” is responsible for the Iraq war; who find excuses for anti-Semitic violence and terrorism; who act as apologists for “critics of Israel” who learn from far-right conspiracy theorists; and who seek to silence those who speak up against anti-Semitism by saying that they only do so to give Prime Minister Netanyahu an easy ride.

    Eminent Israeli scholars Yehuda Bauer and Emmanuel Sivan skewered the worldview of those who ignorantly and innocently embrace anti-Semitic notions when all they think they are doing is speaking up for Palestinians. Yet they both warned the Global Forum that the fight against anti-Semitism is only part of the general fight against bigotry. Both found it necessary to spell out what ought to have been obvious to the delegates: that the struggles against Islamophobia and other types of racism are intimately related to the fight against anti-Jewish racism.

    David Hirsh

    David Hirsh is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

    This piece, by David Hirsh, is published in Haaretz.

    The Inverted Image of Antisemitism on the Israeli Left.

    By Saul.

    The writings of the Israeli left have finally come of age; and is to be welcomed as a sign of Israel’s maturity. Yet, at the same time, they express a continuation of Israel’s well-known parochialism and of a failure to adequately grasp the world outside its borders.

    In this category we have a range of interesting and scholarly works that sets out to debunk many of Israel’s founding national myths. One of those founding myths that is currently under critique is that Israel is a bastion against what is presented as an all-pervasive global antisemitism. This was the theme of an award-winning documentary, Defamation, shown at the recent Jewish Film Week. The antisemitism it presented was anachronistic and, to a large extent, now spent. It focused mainly, but not exclusively, on a few comments by one or two aging Central European antisemites and one or two aging Jews (including the director’s aging grandmother and an equally aged Holocaust survivor), the aftermath of the “Crown Heights” conflict of over 15 years ago and one or two incidents in the US that, at worse, could only be evaluated as causing minor offence. Apart from a brief interview with one of the authors of ”The Israel Lobby” the sites and narratives of contemporary antisemitism did not figure at all, not even in passing.

    In Israel itself, the question of antisemitism has now become part of the battleground of the progressive left and the reactionary right and so has become part of the politics of how to move forward on the question of the Settlements and the Occupation of Palestinian lands. It is in this context that it is the right that is leading the charge against what it sees as antisemitism.

    Much as the Israeli right’s understanding of what is and what is not “antisemitism” is seriously flawed. Reading the literature on the “new” antisemitism, one is immediately confronted with the paradoxical finding that what is “new” about this antisemitism is precisely just how “old” it is.

    Yet, as much as the Israeli right’s reading of antisemitism is crude and unhelpful, the Israeli left falls into the same trap. This left mirroring of the right is evidenced in the belief to the effect that there is little (or in the opinion of Uri Averny in the film Defamation that there is no) antisemitism outside of Israel.

    If, for the Israeli right, antisemitism is everywhere, then for the Israeli left, it is virtually non-existent. Both left and right are, of course, empirically wrong.

    In the increasingly bitter fight between the left and right in Israel, the issue of antisemitism has become a central signifier of where one belongs in this political divide. In Israel, this is fully understandable and, indeed, in the context of Israel’s maturity, is to be welcomed.
    However, whilst this conflict is a sign of Israel’s political maturity, it also signifies its parochialism.

    Neither the left nor the right appear to consider for a moment just how their viewpoints play out in the world beyond Israel. They appear not to think for a moment how the arguments that make sense in the context of Israeli internal politics are exploited elsewhere.

    One need only think of Walt and Mearsheimer’s exploitation and distortion of Haaretz’s story about right-wing pro-Israel lobbying groups that a poster discussed on Engage recently. One need only think of the idea that is common in the UK and elsewhere that “Zionists” and “Jews” “cry wolf/antisemitism” every time someone “dare criticize” Israel, even where, or rather especially where, such “criticism” takes the form of the myth that Jews/Zionists “control the world’s media” or the BBC or the Liberal Democratic party, to name but a few.

    As between the Israeli left and Israeli right, I stand with the left. I welcome the debunking of the founding national myths in Israel as I would and do for any other country. I remain critical, though, with the left’s corresponding lack of understanding and lack of awareness, not of the “new” antisemitism, but of contemporary antisemitism, of the blurring between antizionism and antisemitism, of what some people believe is “mere” “criticism of Israel” and antisemitism.

    Eye to eye with their right-wing domestic opponents and unable to see beyond them, the Israeli left’s vision on the question of antisemitism, cannot but be severely limited. Parochialism has always appeared as an Israeli trait, it is pity that, for all its maturity, this is one trait the Israeli left has yet to grow out of.

    Leading trade unionist expresses ‘disgust and dismay’ at misuse of her name by pro-BDS campaigners

    From Tulip.

    Clayola Brown, the national president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute — a leading organization for Black trade unionists in the United States — has sent this email message to “Labor for Palestine”:

    It is with disgust and dismay that I find my name listed as a signer of “Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists.” I demand that my name be removed immediately!

    Prior to seeing the letter on the Palestine Chronicle website, I had never seen such a letter or engaged in discussions about its content. I find it disrespectful that someone would attach my name to a document and circulate such a document without contact with me, or consent from me.

    Please make every effort to convey my demand to and any other publications that you have used or are likely to use your letter with.

    Labelling of Israeli and Palestinian products – transparency not boycott.

    This is a guest post by “Progressive Zionist”

    Earlier this month, an article on Engage welcomed the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) new guidance for the labelling of West Bank products. The document recommends that UK retailers should label produce as either “Israeli settlement“ or “Palestinian.“

    It is telling how this non-binding document has stoked the ire of intransigent, anti-peace groups. Organisations united in their opposition to the Defra paper range from anti-Zionist campaign group, War on Want, who want to boycott Israel out of existence, to leader of the settlers’ Yesha Council, Dani Dayan.

    It didn’t take long for UK Zionist Federation chair, Andrew Balcombe, to fire off a sharp letter to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, defending the settlements and claiming that the advice “will only fuel pressure for a boycott of Israeli goods”.

    Mr Balcombe is wrong on both counts.

    From personal experience, one of the key arguments put forward by boycotters like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is that by buying an avocado labelled ‘Israel’ you could actually be buying produce from a West Bank settlement. Therefore, you should steer clear of anything remotely Israeli. This new labelling represents another nail in the coffin of their argument (which isn’t about the settlements – it’s about Israel full stop). Consumers can now buy Israeli food, drink and cosmetics with transparency and confidence.

    The heat of this debate has risen out of proportion to reality – the volume of West Bank produce entering the UK is tiny. These knee-jerk reactions are unhelpful and make unlikely bedfellows of War on Want and the Zionist Federation. Both seek to blur the distinction between Israel and the West Bank – running against Israel’s security and welfare.

    Anti-Semitism – an issue for everyone

    David Hirsh’s letter in the Jerusalem Post in response to this article.

    Anti-Semitism – an issue for everyone

    Sir, – David Newman expresses one facet of a complex reality (“Smoke screen strategies,” December 15) when he says that sometimes right-wing Jewish voices portray criticism as though it were anti-Semitism. Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’s blood libel accusation against Defense Minister Ehud Barak is a case in point.

    But by failing to take seriously the anti-Semitic potentiality of the contemporary anti-Zionist movements, Newman does little to untangle the knotted relationship between anger with Israel and hostility toward Jews. We have seen how the campaign to exclude Israelis, and only Israelis, from the global academic, cultural and economic community brings anti-Semitic ways of thinking wherever it goes. We have seen activists accusing anti-boycott lawyers of being financed by stolen Lehman Brothers money. We have seen a man found guilty of hate speech in South Africa being hosted by trade unions in the UK. We have seen “critics of Israel” drawing on far-Right conspiracy theory. We have seen any attempt to raise the issue of anti-Semitism routinely howled down by the cry, “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic!”

    The threat of contemporary anti-Semitism, including when it comes packaged in the language of Israel criticism, is real. There will be a significant stream of opinion at the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, which is critical of both anti-Semitism and Israeli human rights abuses. Anti-Semitism ought not to be allowed to appear as a right-wing issue.

    Of course, it does not help the fight against anti-Jewish racism that this conference is hosted by Avigdor Lieberman, a man who has done nothing to demonstrate an understanding of how best to oppose racist ways of thinking.


    Delegate to the Global Forum


    “Absolute Observer” goes cooking.

    “Absolute Observer” has just sent us his Recipe For “the Lobby”.

    The Ingredients

    The Recipe

    Ah, tis the season of goodwill, and many of us are looking forward to many a happy hour cooking up our familiar and traditional dishes. Today, however, I would like to do something different. Since Christmas is fastly becoming the new Easter, I thought I’d take an old Easter dish and rehash it so that, with luck, a new tradition will be born. I do hope you try this for yourselves.

    This recipe has been popular for years. Originating in Russia (although, some still think it is from Prague), it has been a staple for about 100 years. It fell out of favour after about 1945 but, with a slight change here and there, re-appeared about five years ago. People who you would never think would eat it, are now queuing up to do so.

    As with all recipes, make sure you use only the most unimpeachable ingredients.

    I tend to look for mine in the respectable Jewish and Israeli press. The more liberal the better – the US Jewish magazine Foreward comes highly recommended. However, if one is thinking of a more Israeli theme, then, I suggest, Haaretz.

    Cooking Method
    1. Take a story that appears to be ground-breaking (the fact that it has been covered a million times and contains nothing new should not be treated as a problem. I find that the words “amazing story” normally does the trick; this flatters the guests by implying that it is a new and original meal, and not merely a rehash of something that has been doing the rounds for years.).

    2. Force the ingredients into a mould. This part is somewhat tricky. Sometimes, the ingredients contain a bit of complexity and, without the forcing, could well ruin the dish.

    3. If you notice, in the present recipe the cook has simply ignored the fact that the original Haaretz article speaks only of Republican and right-wing Jews and that, amongst these groups, there is a great deal of disagreement them(between, ZOA and ADL for example).

    4.Having carefully filleted the story for anything that might stop the dish from rising, mix harshly, until what were diverse arguments, opinions and institutions are fully erased and now blended into a singular perspective. (If at this stage, any of the original ingredients are still recognisable, simply smear the singular perspective over them so that what separates one from the other disappears from view.)

    Having erased all differences you should by now have the perfect monolithic “Lobby”.

    5. Take the now doctored batter and mix thoroughly with popular public misconceptions. Half-bake for as long as you like.

    6. By now, the dish should begin to settle.
    Test with a knife.

    7. If what was previously the raw ingredients of “campaign against” and “oppose”, ingredients common to the entire US political process, have now hardened into “determined”, it is almost ready. Note, this hardening into “determining” is vitally important. Without the idea of the “Lobby” “determining” government appointments, it would lose its distinctive and unique “Jewish” flavour – the very essence of the dish itself.

    8 Half-bake some more.

    9. It is now ready to put on the table.

    Serve with stories about how you can’t even cook this recipe without being called antisemitic and how people who haven’t even tried it will do all they can to stop you from making it.

    Garnish with the tale that you have made the dish for the good of the Jews and serve.

    Be discerning to whom you serve this dish. Personally, I find the gullible lap it up without thinking. They always ask for more of the same.

    1.The distortion of the original ingredients is essential, since without it, the whole dish falls to pieces and you end up looking rather foolish.

    2. Try to avoid using the word “Jewish”. Much better is “Israel” or “Zionist”. That way people think they are getting something new as opposed to the older, and now discredited, dish. At my own dinner parties, I used to call it the “Jewish Lobby” and found that many people found it hard to swallow. By calling it the “Zionist Lobby” or the “Israel Lobby”, my guests just couldn’t get enough of it.)

    3. Should your guests complain of antisemitism, simply blame the dish (the Lobby) for not allowing them to eat in peace. Remember, if people complain, it is never, never the cook’s fault.)

    4. If there is any left over, simply put to one-side. Since the dish is rancid from the moment it is made, it cannot go off and can be used indefinitely.

    Happy holidays and peace to all (well, nearly all)

    (Alternatively, choose the healthy, non-racist, option – simply read Haaretz.)

    Report and video of Bricup meeting at Soas with Bongani Masuku

    Jonathan Hoffman : “I read out the last paragraph of the HRC finding. I was shouted down but managed to ask the question. When I had finished asking the question Hickey said that no-one should answer my question – not in the lecture theatre and not on the Panel. It is all in the video on YouTube.”

    See the whole article and the link to YouTube here.