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April 12, 2010

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Iran Unveils Advanced Centrifuges - Nasser Karimi (AP-Washington Post)
    Iran unveiled a third generation of domestically-built centrifuges Friday as the Islamic Republic accelerates its uranium enrichment program.
    The new machines are capable of much faster enrichment than those now being used in Iran's nuclear facilities.

German Shipyard Building Subs for Israel Sold to UAE Group - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The Blohm + Voss Shipyards in Germany, which is currently building two new Dolphin-class submarines for Israel, has been sold to a business group from the United Arab Emirates.
    An Israeli official explained that sensitive Israeli technology is not installed on the ships until they arrive in Israel.

For Some Survivors, Holocaust Lives On - Aron Heller (AP)
    As Israel on Sunday night began its annual 24 hours of remembrance of the Nazi genocide, at the Shaar Menashe Mental Health Center in northern Israel, it's as though the Holocaust never ended.
    Even today, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are sometimes screams of "The Nazis are coming!"
    Most survivors in Israel went on to live productive lives, and their ranks include politicians, authors and Nobel Prize laureates.
    But at Shaar Menashe, most of the patients are introverted and unresponsive. Some have lived in mental institutions since their liberation.

Obama Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day (AFP)
    President Obama on Sunday marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying the world must honor victims of Nazi horror by renewing a commitment to prevent genocide and anti-Semitism.
    "We must never tolerate the hateful stereotypes and prejudice against the Jewish people that tragically continues to this day," Obama said in a written statement.
    "The memories of the victims serve as a constant reminder to honor their legacy by renewing our commitment to prevent genocide, and to confront anti-Semitism and prejudice in all of its forms."

Study: Anti-Semitism in Europe Hit New High in 2009 - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)
    The worldwide increase in anti-Semitic attacks following Israel's 2009 incursion into Gaza hit the UK and France the hardest, according to the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.
    In 2009, the UK saw 374 manifestations of violence against Jews compared to 112 in 2008. France was second, with 195 violent attacks compared to 50 in 2008.
    The total number of anti-Semitic incidents was 1,129 in 2009, compared to 559 in 2008.
    The institute recorded 566 incidents of vandalism targeting Jewish property. There were 41 instances of armed assaults against Jews because of their religion, and 34 arson attacks.

Video: Anti-Israel Demonstration at H&M in Paris - Tom Gross (Mideast Media Analysis)
    This anti-Israel demonstration last month against the fashion chain H&M, which opened a store in west Jerusalem, claims the chain opened a store "in East Jerusalem on land stolen from the Palestinians."
    The lies contained in the ugly chants amount to virtual incitement on the streets of Paris to murder Israelis.
    See also Swedish Consumer Group Rejects Israel Boycott Call (The Local-Sweden)
    The Swedish Cooperative Union has ruled out calls to stop selling goods from Israel in Coop stores, after resolutions urging a ban on Israeli products were approved at Saturday's annual meeting in Gothenburg of the consumer cooperative society for western Sweden.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • White House: "No Decision" on New Mideast Plan - Caren Bohan
    U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones said Friday that no decision had been made for President Barack Obama to offer his own solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. "While we've not taken any decision to jumpstart any dramatic shift in our strategy, I think we should say, to make clear, that we don't intend to surprise anybody at any time," Jones said. Speculation that Obama was weighing his own plan was widely interpreted as a possible trial balloon by the White House to increase pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
        See also Obama Advisors All Over the Map on Israel - Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy)
  • White House Disputes Report that U.S. Stopped Issuing Visas to Israeli Scientists
    The White House is disputing a report from the Israeli newspaper Maariv that claims the Obama administration is denying visas to Israeli nuclear scientists. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Saturday that "the story is wrong."  (FOX News)
  • Obama Says Iran Sanctions Offer No Guarantees - David Morgan and Bill Trott
    President Obama said in an interview Friday that there is no guarantee sanctions will change Iran's behavior. "Do we have a guarantee as to the sanctions we are able to institute at this stage are automatically going to change Iranian behavior? Of course we don't," Obama told ABC's "Good Morning America." "If we are consistent and steady in applying international pressure...over time, Iran, which is not a stupid regime, which is very attentive and watching what's happening in the international community, will start making a different set of cost-benefit analyses about whether or not pursuing nuclear weapons makes sense for them."  (Reuters-Washington Post)
  • U.S. Defense Secretary: A Nuclear Iran Is Not Inevitable - Susan Cornwell and Will Dunham
    The U.S. government has not concluded that it is inevitable that Tehran will get the bomb, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." Asked if the U.S. government had concluded this was inevitable, Gates said, "No. We have not...drawn that conclusion at all, and in fact we are doing everything we can to try and keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons." However, he added that the Iranians "are continuing to make progress on these (nuclear) programs. It is going slower than they anticipated but they are moving in that direction."  (Reuters-Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S Tensions Put Jerusalem Construction on Hold for Jews and Arabs - Nir Hasson
    Construction requiring the approval of Jerusalem's district planning committee has been on hold for more than a month in all parts of the city due to concerns about ties with the U.S. The stoppage is even affecting approval by Arab developers for Palestinian residents of the city. Staff members of the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee have been instructed to halt their work. Architects have said district committee chairwoman Ruth Yosef is not even signing off on plans that have already been approved, causing a backlog. The district committee has not met for over a month and upcoming hearings have been canceled. (Ha'aretz)
  • Polish President Kaczynski Was Friend of Jewish People - Greer Fay Cashman and Herb Keinon
    Israeli leaders joined in extending condolences to the government and people of Poland as well as to the families of the victims of the plane crash that took the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other senior dignitaries and military personnel. Prime Minister Netanyahu called Kaczynski "a Polish patriot, a great friend of Israel and a leader who did much for his people and to further world peace and prosperity." Kaczynski was an ardent promoter of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, for which he gave the land when he was mayor of Warsaw. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA, Hamas Trade Barbs over Gaza Power Blackout
    As Gaza experienced a wide-scale blackout on Saturday, the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center accused PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of responsibility, charging that Fatah was "stealing sums of money donated by the EU for fuel shipments." Ghassan al-Khatib, spokesman for the Fayyad government, said the PA pays approximately 90% of Gaza's electricity bills and that Hamas did not want to contribute to paying for fuel shipments.
        "There are between 70,000 to 80,000 employees whose salaries are paid for by the PA; 20,000 take their salaries from UNRWA, while Hamas pays the salaries of 50,000 employees. Are these people unemployed? Why don't they pay their electricity bills?" al-Khatib asked. (Maan News)
        See also Gaza Power Plant Shuts Down, No Israeli Involvement
    Imports of industrial diesel fuel needed to run the Gaza power plant have declined since November when the European Commission aid program expired. The Israeli army said the Palestinians had stopped buying fuel in recent days after Hamas failed to pay its share of the costs. "There is no Israeli involvement; if they buy fuel we will let it in as we do on a daily basis," said Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli military liaison to Gaza. (AFP)
        See also Gaza Power Plant Resumes Limited Operations (AFP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Last year I visited the Wannsee Villa in Berlin where I saw the original invitation for the meeting of high-level Nazi officials to decide on the destruction of the Jewish people. In an elegant villa on the shore of a pastoral lake, over breakfast and glasses of cognac, 15 men sat and decided how to destroy our people.
        Yet the people of Israel re-established its country, gathered its exiles, built its army, settled its homeland and reunited its capital, Jerusalem. The State of Israel was born out of the ruins and the ashes, and today it impresses the entire world with the force of its creativity and innovation, and with its free and democratic society.
        The historic failure of the free societies when faced with the Nazi animal was that they did not stand up against it in time, while there was still a chance to stop it. We are today again witnesses to hatred of the Jews expressed by organizations and regimes associated with radical Islam, headed by Iran and its proxies. In the face of these repeated statements to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the Earth, in the best case we hear a weak protest which is also fading away. The world continues on as usual and there are even those who direct their criticism at Israel.
        The world gradually accepts Iran's statements of destruction against Israel and we still do not see the necessary international determination to stop Iran from arming itself. If we learned anything from the lessons of the Holocaust it is that we must not remain silent and be deterred in the face of evil. I call on all enlightened countries to rise up and forcefully and firmly condemn Iran's destructive intentions and to act with genuine determination to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • The Arab Position on the Holocaust - Shlomo Avineri
    The Arab argument that places all responsibility for the Holocaust on Europe is not completely correct. An untold number of Jews were not saved and did not reach Mandatory Palestine because of the position taken by the Arabs: They succeeded in shutting the country's gates during the darkest hour of the Jewish people. Anyone seeking reconciliation between us and the Palestinians must insist that both sides be attentive to the suffering of the other side, and that goes for the Palestinians as well as for us. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Link to Break: Iran and Mideast Peace Talks - Ray Takeyh
    Although pressuring Israel on settlements may be a sensible means of gaining Arab participation in peace talks, it is unlikely to affect the region's passive approach to Iran. Indeed, should Tehran perceive fissures and divisions in the U.S.-Israeli alliance, it is likely to further harden its nuclear stance. The notion that the incumbent Arab regimes are reluctant to collaborate with the U.S. on Iran because of the prevailing impasse in the peace process is a misreading of regional realities.
        In private, as any visiting American dignitary can attest, the Arab states, particularly the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, decry Iran's ambitions, fear its accelerating nuclear program, and even hint at the advisability of using military force against its atomic installations. Yet they are loath to be part of an aggressive strategy which would unduly antagonize the Islamic Republic. Arab leaders would prefer that someone else take care of the Iran problem without their active complicity. Absent such a solution, they are likely to coexist with the Iranian bomb. No degree of peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians is likely to alter that calculus. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    The Torchlighters: The Voice of the Survivors (Yad Vashem)

    At the memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem for Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, six torches are lit, representing the six million murdered Jews. The torchlighters in 2010 were:

    • Eliezer Ayalon and his family were incarcerated in the Radom ghetto in Poland in April 1941. Eliezer had work and residence in a German clothing warehouse outside the ghetto. In August 1942, the ghetto was sealed. Though anyone with a work permit could have left, Eliezer refused to part from his family. His family members spent two hours begging him to save himself. Finally, his mother said: "If there is anyone in the family with a chance to stay alive - it's you. This was meant to be. May you have a sweet life." She accompanied him to the gate with a cup of honey. Eliezer's mother, father, sister and two brothers were all murdered at Treblinka.
    • Hannah Gofrit was born in Biala Rawska, Poland, where in 1942 the town's Jews were deported to Treblinka. A neighbor obtained forged documents for Hannah and her mother, and for two years the women hid in the Warsaw apartment of the Skowronek family (later recognized as Righteous Gentiles). They were forbidden to look out the window or wear shoes, for fear of their discovery. Hannah and her mother were saved during a Gestapo raid when one of the daughters hid them in the attic.
    • Sara (Kati) Israeli was born in Pestszenterzsebet, Hungary (today Budapest) and in May 1944, her family were forced to live in the town's ghetto. In June they were transported to Monor, a concentration camp whose inmates were sent to Auschwitz. However, the family was put on a truck back to a camp in Budapest. Many years later, Sara found out that her family was supposed to have been put on a train to Switzerland, similar to the so-called Kastner train, but the plan was never carried out.
    • Leo Luster and his parents were deported from Vienna to Theresienstadt in 1942. In September 1944, Leo and his father were deported to Auschwitz where his father was killed. At the Blechhammer camp in 1945, Leo and a friend dared to flee to the nearby woods. Hearing the sound of approaching vehicles, Leo noticed a red star. He emerged from the trees, pointed to himself and yelled, "Jew, Jew!" A Russian officer stepped out of the car and answered in Yiddish, "I too am Jewish."
    • Baruch Shub was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. In June 1941, the Germans conquered Vilnius and began murdering Jews in Ponary. Baruch found work at a German garage in Radoszkovice. On 11 March 1942, the Jews were ordered to gather in the town square. From his hiding place in the garage, Baruch saw a huge line of people, including children, moving slowly towards a barn. The sound of shooting could be heard. At night, the barn caught fire and a thick stench filled the skies. His older sister Zipporah was among the 840 Jews murdered there that day. He arrived in pre-state Israel in October 1945, served as an airplane technician during the War of Independence, and became Chief Flight Engineer of El Al Israel Airlines.
    • Jakob Zim was born in Sosnowiec, Poland. He was with his younger brother, Nathan, at Auschwitz when the Red Army approached. The prisoners were taken on a death march, with Jakob and Nathan trudging over snow-covered fields, one brother supporting the other. The brothers made it to Buchenwald, where they were liberated.

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