April 11, 2018: Our survivors come first

Our readers weigh in.

By
April 10, 2018 22:35
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Holocaust Remembrance Day

The poem below was one of many written by my late aunt, Marion Gross (sister-in-law of the late N. David Gross, an editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post). My aunt was saved the horrendous fate of most of her family by entry into England from Berlin via a kindertransport.

The terror of those years must have stayed with her all her life, as she requested that the poem be read at her funeral.

“Dream” I am in a group of Holocaust survivors/
We talk about our past experiences/
A clay pot is passed around/ Everyone has the chance to hold it/
And leave their fingerprints on it/
It takes on indentations, even coloration/
Finally it is handed to me/
This was the rainbow of our experience.

ROSALIND AISENSTARK
Petah Tikva

Our survivors come first

On International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, we read the usual heartbreaking articles about the poverty of many of our survivors and the grim statistics that on average, 40 pass away each day. And on April 12, our own Yom Hashoah, we will read the same message about the many (now numbering some 2,400 fewer than as recently as the end of January) who don’t have money for medical treatment, nursing care or even food, and who disgracefully live under a government that has failed in too many cases to allocate the money owed them.

I humbly suggest that Yad Vashem honor the biblical (and moral) imperative of giving part of our income to charity, in this case Holocaust survivors. This institution, the recipient of incredibly generous gifts from benefactors and foundations, is an amazingly impressive monument of stone and glass and marble to the millions who died in the Shoah, but the few thousands who remain a precious living testimony are not visited by the world’s dignitaries, for whom Yad Vashem is their first stop.

Over the years, funded by many of the philanthropic foundations that donate to Yad Vashem, thousands of academics worldwide have participated in long-term seminars, receiving an intensive educational experience about the Holocaust. At a time when we are seeing an alarming resurgence of antisemitism, we have not witnessed much protest by those academics from Europe who, despite their incredible educational experience, remain deafeningly silent.

A fraction of that money could make it possible for our Holocaust survivors to live out their remaining years in comfort and dignity.

I have read that each Friday, Yad Vashem offers tours (probably guided by unpaid volunteers) at NIS 32 per person. Donating this entrance fee to survivors could be a start.

ROBERTA CHESTER
Jerusalem

An angry descendant

With regard to “Egged station in Poland built on Jewish graves” (April 4), I am a descendant of Makow Mazowiecki’s Jews and I visited the town two years ago with my mother. I was in shock that the former site of the cemetery had become a bus stop and that the memorial was crumbling. (I do admire the fact that they were able to create a memorial under Soviet rule, but it’s a shame about its current state.) I had no idea that the owner of the station was Israel’s Egged and am appalled by this revelation.

I’m currently in Israel on a MASA teaching program and would like to connect with any other descendants or activists who are looking to pressure Egged to take action.

RACHEL WARREN
Ramle/Fairfax, Virginia

The ICC and Hamas

With regard to “ICC warns Israel, Hamas: Gaza violence may constitute war crimes” (April 9), the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over Israel.

Israel is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. The fact remains that even signatories are under ICC jurisdiction only so much as these states actually grant the court jurisdiction.

What’s more, jurisdiction in the end requires sovereignty, and even the most myopic investigator can clearly see that the ICC possesses none.

The ICC, recognizing the inherent contradiction of its existence and its utter lack of sovereignty, has, by warning Israel, displayed the political reality of its foundations, which is to say that the court is all about politics and nothing about either laws or justice.

But really, the ICC is besides the point. The fact is that Hamas has gone from happily killing the civilians of its enemy to developing a modern take on the strategy of waging war from behind its own citizens, to now embracing the large-scale use of its citizens in waging war on its behalf. So now it no longer merely hides behind its people in hospitals and schools – it plays on the idiocy of its population to try and harness mobs to accomplish military operations (e.g., penetrating a border to commit further operations on enemy soil).

Either the military operation fails or it does not, but either way, Hamas perceives it as a win.

That Hamas is too cowardly to deal straight – for instance, by putting in uniform the people it uses as soldiers – does not make the activities of these people any different. It’s idiotic in the extreme to assume that just because it disguises its military operations in civilian clothing, these undertakings are any less of a military nature, and a true stretch of stupidity to say that since an aggressor doesn’t look the “right” way to some far-off, illegitimate court, an opposing military cannot perform its basic operations of defending a country.

JAMES ESTRIN
Jerusalem

Get the story straight!

Gershon Baskin’s “Getting the story straight” (Encountering Peace, April 5) is an excellent example of the well-known saying “A half-truth is a whole lie.”

The half-truth of the article lies in its extensive praise for Hamas.

Mr. Baskin points out that “Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election”; that “Hamas is clean and not corrupt like the Arafat regime”; that “kids go to school”; that “social services are provided”; that “there is a system of law and order”; and that “six universities are working.”

Here comes the rest of the truth.

The Gaza Strip has been provided with nearly a billion dollars per year in relief aid. Unfortunately, much of this enormous amount of money has been used to build up an extensive military organization; prepare thousands of rockets and missiles to be fired into Israel; construct sophisticated tunnels through which Hamas militants can enter Israel to attack Israeli civilians; and run UNRWA schools, in which children are taught that Israelis are vicious murderers who must be uprooted from captured Palestinian lands, and that Hamas will continue its “armed resistance” to rid the world of the cruel Zionist entity no matter how long it takes.

Worst of all, the nearly 2 million people living in the Gaza Strip must continue to live like refugees in order to keep world attention focused on the Hamas agenda.

This is why so many countries have designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

NATHAN AVIEZER
Petah Tikva

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