The Day In Israel: Tues May 12th, 2009


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It was not just Israeli Chief Rabbi Lau who was disappointed by the pope’s speech at Yad Vashem.

The speech by Pope Benedict XVI Monday at Yad Vashem drew criticism from staff members of the Holocaust memorial, who described it as disappointing and lukewarm.

The chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, said he expected the pope, “who is a human being, too,” to draw on his personal experience to issue a stronger condemnation of Nazis and Germans, who were not directly mentioned in the speech. The pope grew up in Nazi Germany and served in both Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht, before deserting from the army in 1944. Shalev, however, said the speech was “important,” especially in its criticism of denial of the Holocaust.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

9:10PM: Some good old fashioned anti-Israel bias at the New York Photo Festival (hat tip: Abraham)

Palestine: Unfortunately it Was Paradise
A Presentation by Brigitte Grignet in collaboration with Action Against Hunger

Thursday May 14, 2009
NYPH’09 Review Pavilion, 76 Front Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn

The Middle East conflict is probably one of the most studied conflicts in history. Every day we hear about the Occupied Territories but all we can get from the news is a feeling of confusion and violence. Behind the sensational images we see on television, are human faces, families, everyday lives.

From what we are exposed to, it sometimes feels that the Palestinian population is an abstraction. They are 4 million people, each with their own story: a relative wounded, another one killed, a house destroyed by a bulldozer, a son in prison.

In spite of that, there is the will to try to live normally. Inside their homes are big flowery curtains, five or six sofas, neon lights, and plastic chairs. Sometimes a room is left empty, in case a friend or a relative would be in need. The fridge is often empty. Men smoke cigarette after cigarette. With no work, they hangout, get bored.

How is it possible to go on with life in a place that has been occupied for forty years? How can people cope with the lack of hope? Mustafa tells me: “If I can not travel, then I read. I especially love Madame Bovary. If I could, I would go to Paris, but first I would go to Jerusalem.”

This presentation will display work that reflects the difficulties faced by Palestinians, their will to survive difficult situations, and their quest to build and live within a life of dignity and grace.

At least the location of this particular presentation is appropriate

6:10PM: George Galloway is suing the Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the heads of two major Jewish groups over remarks they made about him when he was barred from entering Canada in March.

Meanwhile, here is Galloway making a huge goose of himself. Enjoy!

6:02PM: The Vatican has contradicted the pope.

4:25PM: Iranian tv claims swine flu is a US/Joooooish conspiracy.

Which begs the question: what took them so long?

3:08PM: Perth-based anti-Semite Brendon O’Connell, whom I posted about here a few days ago and subsequently had his Daily Motion account deleted, has experienced a “resurrection.” His new YouTube account can be found here.

Which is interesting in itself, considering his constant references to “JewTube.” I guess if you can’t beat them, join them?

Meanwhile, here’s another of his reprehensible videos, which I expect will be taken down really soon.

3:02PM: The Chief Rabbis (past and present) have continued giving “advice” to the pope.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar had this to say:

“You represent a large nation of believers that knows what the Bible is, and it is your duty to pass on the message that the Jewish people deserve a renaissance, and a little respect – to live in this land.”

While Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said:

“To our sorrow, six million Jews did not return. Many of the children who survived thanks to the Church, grew up unaware of their Jewish heritage. We ask that the Church under your guidance, display transparency and reveal their roots so that they may choose their national and religious paths.

“A lack of transparency on this sensitive issue may perpetuate the suffering of many Jews and ultimately obtain the Nazi’s aim – the annihilation of the Jewish People.”

12:58PM: The pope has visited the Temple Mount and Western Wall, placing the following note in the latter: “Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family”

(the text of the Pope’s note was released by the Vatican, which may indicate that they learned from Barack Obama’s visit)

9:55AM: Who exactly is advising the pope? He seems to exercising some particularly poor judgment.

Pope Benedict XVI, wearing an Arab keffiyah headscarf presented to him, simles at Lady of Peace Church in Amman May 8, 2009.

Last month, he was photographed wearing a kaffiyeh presented to him by some palestinians at the Vatican, which caused quite a bit of controversy.

9:42AM: Ha’aretz’s Tom Segev on Pope Benedict’s controversial speech at Yad Vashem.

In the best-case scenario, Benedict will leave behind indifference, not hostility. The speech he gave yesterday at Yad Vashem was surprising mainly because one would have expected the Vatican’s cardinals to prepare a more intelligent text for their boss. Someday, maybe in 500 years, when the Vatican archive is opened to researchers examining the preparations for this visit, we will be able to learn from early drafts how the final speech came to appear so forced.

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