“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” - Adolf Hitler.
So queried the leader of Nazi Germany on August 22, 1939, as plans to invade Poland and ramp up the Final Solution were laid out in his famed Obersalzberg Speech. One-hundred years later, what many of us in Jewish community see as the intellectual forebear to the Holocaust remains denied vehemently by Turkey to the point of recalling Ambassadors from counties who accept the overwhelming evidence of genocide.
Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Join me below the squiggle for some uniquely Jewish perspectives on an atrocity that not only inspired the Holocaust, but whose denial rings eerily similar to white supremacist Holocaust denial.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is currently performing what we in the Jewish faith call a mitzvah. Despite the Administration's shameful continued appeasement of glorified Holocaust denial from the Turkish Government in refusing to call the Armenian Genocide an actual genocide, Rep. Schiff is now on the House floor reading off the names of 1,500 victims of the Armenian Genocide, a staggeringly small 1% of the total victims.
The Armenian Genocide was one of the earliest genocides of the 20th century, and Hitler's inspiration for the Holocaust. Kol HaKavod (Hebrew for "all the respect") to Rep. Schiff. And to the Obama Administration, your appeasement is what we call a schande.
Live video is available on C-Span TV right now, or online here.
Once upon a time, politics stopped at the water's edge. We could passionately argue the merits of military action and diplomacy at home, but if Americans were in harm's way, we would come together as a country. Last night, we saw American forces initiate air strikes in Iraq. This morning, we saw unforgivably un-American rhetoric from the Speaker of the House.
American warplanes conducted their first air strikes in Iraq since President Barack Obama's decision to authorize them. Two F/A-18 Hornets attacked a mobile artillery piece that was shelling the Kurdish capital, Erbil, home to U.S. allies and a cadre of American diplomats and special operators, the Defense Department said.
"The decision to strike was made by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief," said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby
Oh man, a plane crash is bad enough, but a plane being shot down in a world hot spot? Even worse.
An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister says a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
Breaking news from Israel, as "three bodies buried 'in a field near Hebron'" have been found by Israeli Army troops. They believe they are the bodies of the three teenagers kidnapped two weeks ago.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity before the official announcement, said the Army had found the three bodies buried “in a field near Hebron” and were waiting to inform the families before releasing information.
“They know it’s the three, they will know for sure after they do the autopsy."The official said the three appeared to have been shot to death, likely “very close to the kidnap” time, and that the prime suspects had still not been caught. (NYT)
As anti-Semitism escaltes to a fever pitch in France, French Jews have increasingly decided that there is no future for them in the country. Officially, in the first quarter of the year, there were 140 documented acts of anti-Semitism, a 40% jump from the first quarter of 2013. And that includes only the acts that were reported. Now, French Jews are emigrating, mostly for Israel, as they are effectively pogrammed out.
Per the Washington Post:
French migration to Israel in 2013 jumped to 3,200 people, up 64 percent from 2012. A huge uptick in departures already this year has Jewish leaders here predicting that at least 5,000 French Jews will leave in 2014.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta just took to national television to announce that the four-day sieg eat Nairobi's Westgate Premier Shopping Mall is over.
Five attackers were shot dead by troops and 11 suspects are in custody, he said in a televised address to the nation.
Kenya has "shamed and defeated our attackers" but the "losses are immense", he said, confirming that 61 civilians and six soldiers had died.
Yesterday there was a diary lamenting the lack of discussion of this tragedy in which terrorists stormed a popular shopping mall in Nairobi. Whatever the reasons for not having many diaries on the subject, it was suggested that the diarist had every right to write such a diary, and he more or less agreed. Since I wondered the same things about the lack of discussion, and I try not to be someone who expects others to do that which he is not willing, I figured I'd try a go at it myself, given the rapidly changing situation on the ground.
This was the deadliest attack in Kenya since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. The terrorists responsible for the attack entered the capital city's Westgate Premier Shopping mall around noon local time on Saturday, lobbing grenades and firing weapons, killing at least 62 people and injuring more than 175 (five Americans are among the wounded). The latest reports suggest that the tide has turned against the perpetrators:
Kenyan security forces on Monday seized control of a luxury shopping mall that had been attacked by Islamist militants, but officials said some assailants remained hidden inside stores in the mall and little was known about who staged the brazen attack and what countries they came from.
In October of 2008, as the Presidential race was reaching a fevered pitch, then-Senator Barack Obama came out with a statement that was subsequently published by the news site, The Armenian Reporter. It read, in part:
Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics - displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter - that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.
On what should ordinarily be a joyous evening--the penultimate night of Hanukkah--we are instead facing a horribly grievous tragedy. As of this writing, twenty-seven people are dead, eighteen of them children after a crazed gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school.
In Judaism, when someone dies, we mourn them with the Mourner's Kaddish. Whether or not you are Jewish (or even theist), I invite you to join me in mourning the deaths of the victims.
I set my alarm for 3:15a. If I hit snooze once, which I knew I would, it would still give me enough time to shower, shave, put on my suit, walk the dog, and make the drive out to Loudoun County, VA to get to the poll by 5:30a on Election Day. As a member of the OFA volunteer legal team, I was one of two attorneys assigned to a particular precinct. Just about every precinct in a swing state (and maybe elsewhere) had at least two attorneys. Larger precincts had three.
We had one job: make sure no one was wrongfully or unlawfully denied the right to vote. And if anyone had to cast a provisional ballot, the attorney on the inside texted me what the provisional voter looked like, so I could approach them on their way out to get them to give me their contact information and sign the necessary form to allow the Democratic Party to represent them at a hearing on provisionals if need be.