Tribal Report no.9

Compiled: 19 December 2009, 22 Kislev 5768

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"Tribal Report"-9

1. Eire: The Holocaust Shame of Ireland Will Not Go Away
2. Norway: An Anti-
Semitical Nation?
3. Judah in Israel: Conversion Problems (see the Brit-Am Comment below the article extracts)


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1. Eire: The Holocaust Shame of Ireland Will Not Go Away
From "Upfront" (Jerusalem Post) December 12, 2008
Extracts from:
In Comparison, Pius XII was a Saint by Sean Gannon
 Here in Ireland, the Catholic Church's endemic anti-Semitism had more indirect, yet still devastating, consequences.  Irish Catholicism had, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, published and preached against the Jews as a deicidal nation which had endured for 2,000 years as "the worm in the rose" of Christendom. And in a country where notions of Irishness and Catholicism were inextricably entwined, the Jews, as enemies of the Church, were, by definition, enemies of the State, and religious and non-religious anti-Semitic motifs were synthesized to create one national anti-Jewish ideology. So "Jewish finance" was characterized as a mean of enslaving the Irish Catholic nation while Freemasonry and Communism were presented as Jewish-driven vehicles for what Ireland's leading anti-Semitic ideologue Fr. Denis Fahey- (most of whose books were prefaced and approved by prominent members of the Irish hierarchy) called "the destruction of Catholic civilization through the perversion of hearts."
            Thus Ireland's Rome-based Catholic clergy could warn the Irish ambassador to the Holy See in 1946 that Jewish influence was not just "anti-Christian [but] anti-national and detrimental to the revival of an Irish cultural and religious civilization," an attitude which may partly explain the Irish colleges' apparent refusal to shelter Jews during the round-up of Roman Jews three years earlier, even as 4,500 were being hidden in other Catholic institutions, 10% of them in the Vatican itse1f.  The Irish government's response to the increasingly desperate pleas of the chief rabbi of Mandated  Palestine and former Irish chief rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog (ironically, one of Pius XII's first defenders) to use its influence to rescue small groups of French and Hungarian Jews was, in the words of the historian Shulamit Eliash, "tepid and unenthusiastic." And, mindful of the "numerous protests regarding the number of alien Jews who [had] established themselves" in Ireland, the Ministry of Justice (which had the final say on refugee visas) implemented throughout the Nazi era an immigration policy which explicitly excluded those with what were termed "non-Aryan affiliations." So while just one Irish Jew actually perished in the Holocaust, one wonders how many of her Continental coreligionists died as a result of Ireland's institutionalisation of societal anti-Semitism, which resulted in fewer than 70 Jewish admissions between 1933 and 1945.
Brit-Am Comment:
The alleged "70 Jewish admissions between 1933 and 1945" were not necessarily Jews but rather European (Austrian etc) Catholics of Jewish descent whom the Nazis would have killed on racial grounds but whose demise may have upset Catholic officialdom.
There were PERHAPS seven Jewish dentists who it is said were admitted to Eire.
These dentists had to come alone and be middle-aged so as to lessen the risk of their impregnating Irish females.
But did these dentists really ever reach the shores of the Emerald Isle?
Or was their entry only approved but not carried out?
How many real Jews did Eire actually accept?
By comparison Britain saved ca.70,000 Jews in Britain itself and another 70,000 in British Dominions and another ca. 70,000 taken to the USA at British request.
I myself may be of Irish descent on the side of my father and sympathize with the Irish so I can afford to point out these unpleasant realities.

2. Norway: An Anti-Semitical Nation?
Norway - a paradigm for anti-Semitism
Dec. 13, 2008

'I would like to take the opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background."

This is what Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen said on Thursday 27 November on the country's largest commercial TV station. Much worse, however, is that the director of the station defended this expression of "satire."

A week later Jespersen, in his weekly TV appearance, gave a "satiric" monologue of mixed anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli remarks. He concluded by wishing the Jews a happy Christmas. But then as an afterthought, he said this was not proper as the Jews had murdered Jesus. Two years ago the same comedian burned pages from the Tanach in front of a TV camera, but this was no reason to terminate his employment. Jespersen explained that he wouldn't burn the Koran if he wanted to live longer than a week.

LAST WEEK, on four consecutive days, there were anti-Israeli articles in Norway's second-largest daily Aftenposten. The first called for a general boycott of Israel. The second promoted an academic boycott, falsely accusing Israeli physicians of participating in torture and the Israeli Medical Association of remaining silent about it. Any honest debater would have reported that Israeli hospitals routinely treat Palestinian children, some of whom express joy when suicide bombers kill Israelis. One wonders whether any other country would allow this.

The third article stressed the right to criticize Israel. This is a typical attack on a "straw man," as nobody denies this right. The fourth claimed that Israel is not a democracy. Only thereafter a pro-Israeli voice was heard.

Two years ago the conservative Aftenposten got international attention when it published an op-ed by Jostein Gaarder which until this day remains the vilest anti-Semitic article published in a European mainstream paper since the Second World War.

Whoever wants to understand how Jews might live in a future democratic Europe if no major counter-forces are mobilized should study Norway. Among parts of the elite there, Jew-hatred and rabid anti-Israelism intermingle. The country's population numbers only 4.6 million. The Jewish population, even before the war, was never more than 2,000. It now numbers 1,300, of which only 700 affiliate with the organized community. Yet Norway must figure prominently in any future history of post-war European

Norwegian anti-Israelis keep repeating that their anti-Israelism is not anti-Semitism. One only has to check their statements against the European Union's working definition of anti-Semitism to see that this is often untrue. Norway has a long history of anti-Semitism. In 1929 a great majority of its parliament voted to forbid shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) - several years before Hitler's Germany did so. It is still forbidden, although hunters, including government ministers, can legally kill animals in as cruel a manner as they want. Last year Norway aimed to kill 1,000 whales, but succeeded in finding only 500. If all needs for kosher beef were met by local shechita, it would require at most several tens of cows annually.

During the war, the Norwegians were the ones who rounded up Jews and robbed them before shipping them off to Auschwitz. After the war, emergency help was given to what the Norwegians called the two "hardest-hit groups" - fishermen and residents of the northern part of the country. The Jews, however, were robbed further by the Norwegian democrats. During the restitution process, they had to pay for the administration of those of their assets recovered from the looters. About 10 years ago a senior Norwegian Nazi official proudly told a Jewish visitor that he had no regrets, and still had paintings and furniture taken from Jews.

In the new round of restitution in the mid-1990s, several authorities did their utmost to avoid paying. Berit Reisel, the only Jewish member of the commission of inquiry, states that she was threatened by chairman Oluf Skarpnes, a former Justice Minister. He told her that if she didn't go along with his proposed report, it would cost her dearly as far as her life and health were concerned. Reisel added that a few days later she was attacked on a street in Oslo.

AFTER THE beginning of the second intifada, several Jewish children were harassed in school. The aggression was supported by teachers on several occasions. Since then, the Jewish community has kept a low profile. When asked by the press, its leaders will admit there is anti-Semitism, but claim that critics overstate it. They usually remain silent on the anti-Semitic aspects of anti-Israelism.

Norwegian hate cartoons often mix anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Some are straight-out anti-Semitic, such as one which appeared in the Labor movement daily Dagsavisen in 2003. It portrayed a Jew with a long beard reading the new Ten Commandments, including "murder, kill, liquidate, execute." During the Second Lebanon War, anti-Semitic incidents in Oslo were the most severe in Europe. The synagogue was shot at, the cantor was attacked on a main street and the Jewish cemetery was desecrated. The Jewish community's president Anne Sender was thereafter quoted in a European Jewish Congress report speaking of the considerable "atmosphere of intimidation and fear."

Anti-Israelism has been built up systematically in Norway by trade unions, media, some prominent Christians and politicians. The demonization is classic: major media report negative things about Israel while obfuscating or omitting Palestinian suicide attacks or declared genocidal intentions. The main counterforce is a small group of Christian friends.

NGO Monitor has analyzed how significant governmental development aid reaches NGOs engaged in political campaigning against Israel and in support of extreme Palestinian demands. The good the Norwegian government does, including subsidizing the rebuilding of synagogues in Poland, cannot be offset against the infrastructure of hatred it supports.

The writer has published many books, the most recent of which is Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.

3. Judah in Israel: Conversion Problems (see the Brit-Am Comment below the article extracts)
July/August 2008-Opinion
Scandal in the Rabbinate
Extracts Only:

Israel's Supreme Rabbinic Court effectively accepted
a radical stance that conversions can be retroactively annulled.
The decision is a scandal.

Once, the rules seemed clear: Reform or Conservative converts knew that some Jews wouldn't accept them as members of the tribe. Orthodox conversions were honored by everyone, including Israel's state rabbinate. They were the gold standard.

It has actually never been so simple. Orthodox rabbis have cast doubts on one another's conversions, and the Israeli rabbinate has become steadily more selective even about accepting Orthodox converts who come from the diaspora. But the idea of universally accepted conversions collapsed completely with a decision of Israel's Supreme Rabbinic Court publicized in May. The panel of three judges upheld a lower court's ruling that a woman who had converted 15 years ago, under state-sanctioned Orthodox auspices was not Jewish, because she's not currently living by Orthodox law.

The judges also cast doubt on thousands of conversions performed through the state's Conversion Authority, headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, a leading religious Zionist rabbi. (The Authority was set up to ease the conversion process, until then handled by state rabbinic courts.) What's more, the court effectively accepted a radical stance that conversions can be retroactively annulled.

The decision is a scandal: People who made the choice to become Jews, studied Judaism and underwent the required rituals now find their identity challenged. Children born to female converts have been put in limbo.

Fortunately, a guide exists for those perplexed by the current crisis: Israeli scholars Avi Sagi and Zvi Zohar's newly published book, Transforming Identity, traces how giyyur, the process of becoming Jewish, has developed in rabbinic tradition. Theirs is that rare scholarly study of esoteric material that's easily read by lay people.

As Sagi and Zohar demonstrate, the Talmud contains two views of giyyur. One describes it as joining a group defined by the discipline of religious practice, the equivalent of joining a religious order. In the other view, giyyur is a ritual process by which "an individual born as a gentile is transformed into a Jew," a member of a kinship group. When a convert immerses in a mikveh, a ritual bath, and emerges, it's as if he has reemerged from the womb and been reborn into the Jewish family.

For centuries, the model of joining the tribe dominated halachic thinking. At the same time, rabbis have argued over whether a person had to show religious motives to be allowed through the gates of rebirth. But everyone has agreed on this: Giyyur is irreversible. A convert who doesn't keep the commandments is precisely like a Jew born of a Jewish mother who eats treif. Both are still Jewish.

In the last century or so, as Sagi and Zohar show, a new approach to giyyur has developed in ultra-Orthodoxy. First, some rabbis began to require converts to have inner sincerity in accepting the commandments "for the sake of heaven." Demanding an inner feeling was a fundamental innovation. Since the 1980s one Israeli rabbi, Gedalya Axelrod, has promoted an even more radical innovation: If a convert does not strictly follow religious law, we can deduce that she was insincere at the time of conversion. So the conversion is void. Therefore, all conversions are conditional on converts current behavior. Axelrod's revolutionary view has gained support among Israeli rabbinic court judges and underlies the lower court decision that was just upheld by the Supreme Rabbinic Court.

In the past, many Orthodox Zionists defended Israel's state rabbinate by arguing that it preserved "one Jewish people." No one but the rabbinate could perform marriage, divorce or conversion, and everyone accepted the rabbinate's decisions.

Gershom Gorenberg is a Jerusalem-based journalist and the author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977.

Brit-Am Comment:
The author of the above article has an anti-Jewish anti-religious agenda as may be seen by his activities against Jewish settlement in the Holy Land.  He is also exaggerating. And he is inaccurate. No real innovation has been introduced but rather an always existing opinion brought more into focus.
The article however does highlight a problem.
Too many non-Jews are converting to Judaism without intending to try to keep the commandments.
This is causing a reaction and may make conversion more difficult for those who are genuine applicants and who in some cases face a difficult enough task as it is.


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