Category Archives: Events

The St. Louis, Then and Now

By Sarah Breger

The contentious debate over Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his actions during the Holocaust is ongoing. There are those who argue that FDR was a true friend to the Jews, who led the United States to victory against the Nazis; others say that FDR turned a blind eye to reports of what was happening to the Jews in Europe.

The St. Louis has become a symbol of the United States perceived indifference. In 1939, the St. Louis sailed from Germany with 938 Jewish passengers seeking refuge in Cuba. After being refused entry, the ship searched for other safe havens, including the U.S. From the port of Miami, passengers sent FDR cables begging for refuge. Their pleas were denied and the ship was forced to sail back to Europe. About 1/3 died in Auschwitz.

For Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, the refusal to give these passengers refuge was a moral failure of the U.S., particularly the State Department.  A U.S. State department ceremony this Monday, marking the 73rd anniversary of the St. Louis’s voyage, was intended to “take care of some unfinished business,” Rosenthal said. The program’s goal was to face “our government agency’s responsibility,” she added.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns echoed that sentiment, saying, “our government did not live up to its responsibility,” and later adding, “to the survivors of the MS St. Louis, on behalf of the president and secretary of state, I am honored to say what we should’ve said so long ago, welcome.”

The event included a performance of the play The Trial of FDR, by Robert M Krakow, president of the SS St. Louis Legacy Project. In the play, FDR faces a judicial court on the charges of sacrificing humanitarian need for his own political gain. Witnesses brought to testify include Joe Kennedy who served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938-1940, Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt.

It’s interesting that the State Department brought this play in for the event. While there is a “defense” and a “prosecution,” it paints a very negative portrait of FDR.

Take a look at the opening statement:

“The Prosecution will demonstrate that his failure to act was motivated out of the Defendant’s lust for power and his single-minded determination to win the 1940 and 1944 elections. Furthermore, that the political decisions he made to further his presidential ambitions sent a message to the Third Reich that the European Jewish community was expendable.”

And the closing statement:

“Members of the jury, we ask that you hold the Defendant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, accountable for being complicit in Crimes Against Humanity. His presidency, for all its good, exposed the dangers of exceeding the term limit tradition established by the founding fathers. They feared a return to the monarchy with its inherent threats to the republic. The Defendant was perpetually seeking to maintain power and as such made decisions the consequences of which were disastrous for humanity.”

Following the performance a panel of survivors of the St. Louis answered audience questions. On a question about forgiveness, Eva Wiener, who was two years old on the St. Louis, said: “We who have come to the U.S. had to come to terms with what it would be like to enter a country that began by rejecting us.” She added: “And I have accepted the fact that the government of 1939 was not the government of 1946 when I arrived here. Thank goodness eyes were opened, not completely, but somewhat, and I was then allowed to come to the United States and establish my life and pursue my dreams.”

A Pioneer of Jewish Music

By Rebecca Borison

Born in Odessa in 1879, Jacob Weinberg was a talented and prolific Jewish composer, who sought to preserve and promote his Jewish heritage through his music. He is survived today by three granddaughters, and one of those granddaughters, Ellen Mausner, is working to revive and foster her grandfather’s legacy. As apart of that effort, Mausner is producing an hour-long concert version of Weinberg’s opera, The Pioneers, on Monday, August 20, in Manhattan. Moment was able to talk to Mausner to learn a bit more about her grandfather and the relationship between music and Judaism.

Can you tell me a bit of background about your grandfather?
He was a trained concert pianist and composer. He composed many works that have been published. In 1924, he wrote an opera called The Pioneers, or Chalutzim in Hebrew, that won an international composition contest. With the prize money of $1,500 he was able to bring his wife and son to New York City from Israel. He then joined the music faculty of Hunter College for many years.

How did he become interested in music?
I know he took piano lessons sort of as a cultural enrichment sort of thing, but he really loved it. And that became his life instead of following in the law practice his family had. I know he had an uncle, Peter Weinberg, who was a translator and a well-respected scholar. If you go on YouTube, there’s a clip of a young woman in Paris who was playing the clarinet in a recital and doing one of my grandfather’s pieces. I emailed her, and she was so excited that his relatives were still alive.

Were any of his pieces performed during his life?
He got several productions of The Pioneers concert version. It was performed at Carnegie Hall in 1946 and 1949 and at City Center in the 1930s when it was called the Mecca Temple. It was also performed in Jerusalem and in Berlin in the 1930s by a group called Kulturbund. The cast of the full production is actually a large cast, so it was more economical to just do the highlights. But The Pioneers have not a revival since 1949.

Why did you decide to put on a performance of the opera?
My father passed away a few years ago, and I’ve been looking more and more into his father’s work almost as a way of getting closer to my father and preserving his legacy. I feel closer to my own past. I’ve also been doing some genealogy research online. It’s only in the last few months that I even found out where my grandfather was buried because my parents never mentioned it. But I went to visit it at Westchester Hill Cemetery.

How did you go about putting together the performance?
I got a score of The Pioneers. We had auditions, and I hired four opera singers and a musical conductor, Cynthia Hiltz. We’re doing a concert version—no set, no props, just highlights. I’ll be the narrator.

Can you tell me about the opera itself?
The music is very beautiful. There are some comic numbers, love duets. It’s basically a tribute to Palestine. When people first left Eastern Europe to escape the pogroms they went to Palestine and lived on kibbutzes. That was the beginning of the State of Israel. The opera is 223 pages long. And this is just one of his many works. He was a brilliant man. He wrote a lot of fugues and rounds, and the way they blend is just beautiful. He also wrote the words, which are all in English. There’s a love story in the opera, sort of a Romeo and Juliet plot.

How have you been trying to publicize your grandfather’s work?
I’m hoping to get enough interest in this, so people will want to do a full production of it. I sent copies of the scores to the Israeli opera company. I’ve been in touch with the Milken Archives, which records classical Jewish music and honors composers of Jewish heritage. They’ve already recorded two CDs of Jacob’s music. I spoke with the director to see if he would do a recording of this opera. This music needs to be heard. It’s very enjoyable and catchy. We want to revive and promote this work so that Jacob Weinberg’s name lives on. The world can always use beautiful music. He has written so many wonderful things in addition to this opera. A lot of his clarinet songs are popular around the world. There’s so much that still hasn’t been recorded. It’s been published, but not recorded. They didn’t have the technology we have back then.

Did you receive your grandfather’s musical genes?
I do love music, and I’ve taken singing lessons, but I’m not an accomplished pianist. My father used to give me lessons, so I can play a little. I do acting and standup, and I played a psychiatrist on the Sopranos. My stage name is Ellen Orchid and you can see clips of some acting I’ve done on ellenorchid.com. I’ve written some plays. One of my plays is a solo piece called Rest in Pieces.  It’s a stand-up tragedy about the story of my father’s death told as a dark comedy. I use my grandfather’s music in it.

Why do you think music is important to Judaism?
Jewish music, the music that is part of the services, Passover, Sabbath, etc., all of the songs and traditions and the cantorial music is unique and beautiful and has unique musical features. Jacob used the traditional folk tunes and melodies of services, and even Hatikva, the Jewish national anthem, is included in The Pioneers. He wanted to preserve the uniquely Jewish music so that the music would be preserved and appreciated. What was unique to Jewish music is exactly what he wanted to promote by writing original music that included these folk tunes. He also wrote three different compositions of music for the Sabbath service as well as multiple Jewish hymns.

What is your next step after putting on this opera?
I’m not sure what the next step is. I’m fortunate enough, living in Manhattan there are a lot of collections of Jacob Weinberg’s papers. I’m going to be Xeroxing some papers my father donated to the Yivo archives. It contains handwritten music and orchestrations. I’m going to make it into an e-file so that I can send it to libraries around the world and the music has a chance of living on.

The (True) Myth of the Jewish Democrat

By Daniela Enriquez

Elections are around the corner and once again the question presents itself—are Jews by nature Democrats? That American Jews tend to lean left is not news. After all, 74 percent of Jews voted for President Obama in 2008; the only group that voted more heavily for him was African Americans. However, the November elections are going to be quite interesting from this point of view. On one hand, Republicans keep saying that Jewish support for President Obama will decrease over the coming months. On the other hand, the GOP candidate, if elected, would become the first Mormon president and it’s hard to know whether this would impact “new world” Jewry and its relationship with Israel.

In the latest issue of Moment Magazine, we analyzed the most famous—and infamous—Jewish myths of all times; that got me thinking, so I decided to look around the latest political commentary to find out if there is any news regarding Jewish voters that could support or debunk the myth of the Jewish Democrat.

What I found is not exactly a scoop; it was, however, quite interesting.  In fact, a newly released report by the North American Jewish Data Bank, “Jewish American Voting Behaviour 1972-2008,” upends the claim that Jewish voters are starting to swing to the right, showing that Jews are still voting overwhelmingly for Democrats, and that their support for liberal candidates is actually increasing, not decreasing.

The study shows that between 1972 and 1988, Republican candidates won 31 to 37 percent of the Jewish vote, and that in later decades, between 1988 and 2008, Jewish support for Republicans dropped to 15 to 23 percent. The report also shows that Jewish support for Democratic congressional candidates is even higher than for presidential candidates. According to these researchers, these numbers not only demonstrate that the majority of Jews have been, and will continue to be, liberal, but also that they tend to be more Democratic than all other Americans.

Despite this trend, some polls show that Jewish support for President Obama may be slipping. Right now, the president would receive 64 percent of Jewish votes, compared to 29 percent of Mitt Romney’s.

After reading through the report, two questions occupied my mind—if true, why is the number of Democratic Jews is declining? And how much does “Israel” matter in terms of political voting decisions?

For one, as Dr. Rafael Medoff writes, the relationship between the GOP and American Jewry has changed over the past few decades. When Jewish immigrants arrived, they where scared by what they considered a “WASP-only country clubs” Party, and found common values with the Democratic Party. But the situation has changed. The Republican Party has abandoned much of its old anti-Semitism, and is moving toward many Jewish values and needs. Now, not only do many Jews vote Republican, but several prominent American Jews are giving considerable amounts of money to Republican campaigns. One important example is the donations given by Sheldon Adelson to Restore Our Future, a Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign.

According to Dr. Gilbert N. Kahn, writing in New Jersey Jewish News, every year many American Jews decide not to register for any party. They prefer to define themselves as liberals or independents rather than Democrats, and don’t want to be affiliated with any political institution. This means that in the states where it is necessary to register with a party in order to vote for its primary, many are not allowed to vote. Thus, statistics on Jews voting in Democratic primaries show that Jewish participation is decreasing. And that is the reason why the number of American Jews who vote for Democrats seems to decline!

Continuing to read Mr. Kahn’s article, I found the answer to my second question. According to an April 2012 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, Israel and its relations with the United States are not the most important issues that American Jews think about when choosing a candidate to vote for. Just four percent of the Jewish population put Israel at the top of their political priority list. The majority prefers to give more importance to the issues of health care and the economy.

To summarize, American Jews are still overwhelmingly Democrats—although many prefer to be called liberals, and don’t always register officially as members of the Democratic Party. However, many Jews are still Republicans and willing to help the GOP to win the elections. Thus, the race for the November presidential elections is still quite open, and Jews are an important part of the equation!

TIAA-CREF Divests from Caterpillar

By Julia Glauberman

In recent weeks, TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services organization that manages nearly $500 billion in assets, has announced that it will remove Caterpillar, Inc. from its socially responsible investment portfolio and to sell Caterpillar’s shares, which are worth around $73 million. Like the company’s move to divest from companies with business ties to the Sudanese government three years ago, this decision comes after much contentious debate on the subject.

Caterpillar has recently been the target of criticism for selling bulldozers to the IDF, which uses the machines to demolish Palestinian homes in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. However, TIAA-CREF’s public relations department has avoided citing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the source of its decision, instead pointing to Caterpillar’s recent downgrading in MSCI’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings index.

TIAA-CREF’s apparent desire to distance itself from this decision and any related controversy is not surprising. Prior to MSCI’s revision of its ESG index, TIAA-CREF released a statement in response to calls to divest from Caterpillar that included the following: “While TIAA-CREF acknowledges participants’ varying views on Israeli and Palestinian policies and the Gaza Strip and West Bank, we are unable to alter our investment policy in accordance with those views.” But unlike TIAA-CREF, MSCI has acknowledged the conflict as one of three “key factors” that led to the ESG index revision.

Since TIAA-CREF’s announcement of its decision to divest, groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), and the Rachel Corrie Foundation are claiming the divestment as an indisputable victory. Whether or not the MSCI and TIAA-CREF decisions resulted directly from the actions taken by these groups, advocates of divestment surely have reason to celebrate. This is especially true for Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of the late Rachel Corrie and creators of the foundation that bears her name. Rachel Corrie, a college student from Olympia, Washington, was killed in Gaza in 2003 after putting herself between a bulldozer and a Palestinian home.

Since Rachel’s highly publicized death, the Corries have brought lawsuits against both the State of Israel and Caterpillar. While they are still waiting on a decision from the Haifa District Court, which will be handed down in late August, their case against Caterpillar in the United States has already been dismissed, appealed and dismissed again. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision on the basis that, among other things, the judicial branch cannot and should not make rulings that affect foreign policy.

The decision also noted that even if the court possessed the power to make such rulings, Caterpillar could not be held accountable on the charges of aiding and abetting war crimes or violating any other international laws because the corporation is not a “state actor.” Furthermore, Judge Wardlaw, the author of the final decision, points out that the case is further complicated by the fact that all of Caterpillar’s contracts with the IDF have been approved and financed by the U.S. government as far back as 1990.

Despite the clearly controversial nature of Caterpillar’s involvement with the IDF and the potentially massive negative impact of the downgrading in MSCI’s ESG index, Caterpillar seems to still be faring well financially. Recent reports from Bloomberg, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal point to impressive risk-adjusted gains, high dividend payouts, and increased global sales. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see how the ESG downgrading, as well as the divestments by more firms like TIAA-CREF that may follow, will impact Caterpillar and its involvement with Israel.

The Kosher Higgs Boson

by Daniela Enriquez

Last week, on the Fourth of July, while most Americans were celebrating their Independence Day, scientists working at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research) finally discovered the Higgs Boson, also known as “the God particle.” The entire scientific world celebrated the announcement, which signaled a new era of human knowledge. Israeli scientists were among the researchers who shared in this success. Eilam Gross, a member of the team and a professor at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, said: “When I walk around now and see the trees, I feel better connected to nature.”

Don’t worry if you’re not so interested or think that your life doesn’t seem so different than it did a week ago. I wasn’t thrilled about the sensational news either, until I ran across a number of articles about the religious consequences of this discovery and the relationship between the Higgs Boson and God. “God?” I thought. Why should He be affected by this human discovery? Why should religious people be worried about it? What does Higgs’s idea have to do with monotheism, with God or the Torah?

I started to read about the topic, trying to understand the relevance of this human achievement, and to figure out why such a small particle should be of such great importance to the Jews. I got lost in the midst of incomprehensible scientific descriptions and names, tried becoming acquainted with electromagnetism and the weak force, read articles about protons, electrons and neutrons.

I can’t say I totally understood the role of the Higgs Boson in our universe, but here is what I’ve managed to suss out:

1. The Higgs Boson is responsible for the mass of everything existing in the universe.

2. It controls the speed of protons and electrons.

3. Thus, it makes possible a structured universe, rather than an uncontrolled flow of energy.

By studying the Higgs Boson, scientists will be able to find an explanation to the beginning of the universe–a universe that is the result of a cosmic explosion, not created by God, but governed by natural laws that humans, finally, will be able to explain.

Is it okay for Jews to believe in such a world—come to life thanks to a huge collision, rather than one created by God? Is it okay to accept the idea of a world whose perfection depends on a tiny particle? There is a midrash, in Bereshit Rabba 1, about the letter Bet—the first letter of the Torah. The midrash asks why the world was created with a Bet. The answer? Because only one of its four sides is open—and open in the direction of the text. Thus, human beings can investigate only what has happened since the creation of the world, and not what is before, behind and above them.

Well, apparently this isn’t true anymore. Humans, it seems, are going to discover the entire history of the world, up to the very beginning, whether they are ready for it or not. It seems that religion and science are ready to collide and confront each other once again in the battle between creation and evolution.

Like many, I’ve always thought that in the modern era, religion and science could work together, as religion and philosophy did during the Middle Ages—as Maimonides seemed to be sure of.

But the question still remains: Is the Higgs Boson kosher?

Maybe yes. As Natan Slifkin writes on his website, rationalistjudaism.com: “In light of the foregoing, would Judaism not be justified in viewing this idea of a universal unity, which inquiring minds have already pieced together from the textbook of the universe and which man’s consciousness yearns to express, as nothing less than the long-awaited triumph of the truth of Judaism? This is the truth with which, thousands of years ago, Judaism first appeared in the midst of a chaotic multitude of gods, proclaiming that there is only one, sole God in heaven and on earth, and that all the phenomena of the universe are founded upon His Law. This idea, the concept of the Unity of God, is the truth for which Judaism has endured a course of martyrdom without parallel in world history. And so, I would firmly conclude that the discovery of the Higgs Boson is Good For The Jews”.

Maybe the idea of the world starting from a small subatomic element is anything but against Judaism. Maybe there is still room for dialogue between the most Orthodox rabbi and the most liberal scientist.

Or room for compromise. We discovered the particle responsible for the existence of the entire universe—but where did the Higgs Boson come from? Who created it? Or, isn’t it true that the world “Bereshit” could be translated as “with the principle” rather then “in the beginning”?

Maybe in the end it’s not so wrong to call it the God particle.

Escape from Freedom?

By Martin Berman-Gorvine

As Passover approaches, I have been reading the psychologist Erich Fromm’s 1941 work, Escape from Freedom. Writing when Nazi Germany was at its height, Fromm sought the reasons why so many people felt their freedom to be “an intolerable burden” that they wished to escape. The questions he raised are still vital.

We often think of people who live under tyrannical regimes as helpless victims. This neatly avoids the problem that even the most monstrous regimes enjoy some level of popular support, without which they could not continue to function; and even worse, that a people granted the vote may freely elect a dictatorship, as happened in Germany in 1932 and as appears to be happening in Egypt today.

Why does this happen? In the case of Egypt, we can begin with the failure of the old regime’s ideology of “pan-Arab nationalism” as championed by the wildly popular dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser, who died in 1970. Nasser’s enmity to Israel was later abandoned by his successor Anwar Sadat, who signed a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1979, although not before launching a devastating war of his own, the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

After Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by Islamists bitterly opposed to the treaty, the dictator Hosni Mubarak came to power and ruled for almost three decades, preserving the letter of the treaty with Israel while discouraging “normalization” and encouraging anti-Semitism in the government-controlled media, most notoriously in a 2002 TV series, “Horseman Without a Horse,” which was based on the anti-Semitic fantasy “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a text originally composed by the secret police of Czarist Russia but now ubiquitous in the Muslim world. While he was far from being the Arab world’s most vicious dictator, Mubarak mismanaged the Egyptian economy while allowing corruption to flourish, leaving an impoverished and deeply religious people vulnerable to the slogan “Islam is the answer” (which begs the questions, which Islam? whose Islam? Questions the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more extreme “Salafists” have already answered, and woe betide anyone who draws different conclusions.)

Hatred of America and Israel, already encouraged by Mubarak despite the billions in U.S. aid he received, is at the heart of today’s political Islam, whatever the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremely canny spokesmen may pretend to gullible Western reporters. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that, “In addition to antisemitic content, articles on the [Brotherhood’s] site also include praise for jihad and martyrdom, and condemnation of negotiation as a means of regaining Islamic lands. Among these are articles calling to kill Zionists and praising the September 9, 2011 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo – which one article called a landmark of the Egyptian revolution.” So how surprising is it that we are now witnessing the slow death of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty? In case any Egyptian harbors doubts about the wisdom of a new anti-Jewish jihad, recalling perhaps the disastrous wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1969-70 and 1973, MEMRI reports that state-owned TV is again showing “Horseman Without a Horse.”

The Torah teaches us that while the yearning for freedom is innate, so is the yearning for a Pharaoh who tells us what to do while “benevolently” providing for our needs. This is what our ancestors demanded in the wilderness to which they had escaped from Egyptian slavery, driving Moses and even God Himself to the verge of despair. What terrified the Israelites was the prospect of freedom as a barren wilderness; that is, a negative freedom consisting of the removal of all restraints. It is what today’s Egyptians, beset by poverty and violent crime, think they are glimpsing as well; and so two-thirds of them have turned for answers to Islamists who claim to have a direct line to God Himself. What these dangerous people have to offer is not a return to the medieval Islamic caliphate, but a religion-infused version of the twentieth-century totalitarian political movements that claimed tens of millions of lives. We have to start telling the truth to ourselves as well as the people of Egypt: that what they are building is not freedom, but a bridge into the abyss.

Murder is the Message

By Martin Berman-Gorvine

It started before the bodies were even cold, long before they could be returned to the earth. There was barely time for seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his five-year-old son Arieh and his four-year-old son Gabriel to be pronounced dead when the chorus of explanation began. The world was extremely eager to learn what message the man on the motorbike was attempting to deliver by means of a Colt semiautomatic pistol.

Before he could oblige, Catherine Ashton, Baroness of Upholland and the European Union’s “foreign minister,” had already answered for him, implicitly linking the Jewish murder victims in Toulouse with Palestinian children killed on the sidelines of battle in Gaza. Ashton has long had an obsession with attacking Israel, having used her maiden speech as EU foreign policy chief in December 2009 to condemn the “Israeli occupation,” so her offensive equation was hardly surprising. And neither was her attempt to “clarify” her remarks by appealing to “context.”

The baroness claimed to be wounded at the outrage her remarks caused, not least because she had spoken in the same breath of children dead in all kinds of circumstances, including the Belgian victims of a recent bus accident in Switzerland, and the victims of the Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot. Indeed, an amended transcript was recently released to accurately reflect her comments—which had initially been misreported. She said: “And the days when we remember young people in all sorts of terrible circumstances—the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot and in different parts of the world—we remember young people and children who lose their lives.”

It would be too easy to dismiss her remarks, therefore, as the ramblings of a fool, a fuzzy-minded veteran of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament that used to demand that her native Britain give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally in the face of the Soviet threat. But there’s the nagging fact of the important international position Ashton holds, and the deeply disturbing way in which the baroness anticipated the murderer, Mohamed Merah, in his explanations for his bloody deeds. Ashton’s utter confusion over the most basic human values, her inability or refusal to distinguish between accidental death and murder, is widely shared. It is not too much to call it the agar plate on which the germs of unreasoning hatred grow and flourish. For if the child who dies when her school bus hits a tunnel wall is to be mourned in exactly the same way as the child who dies at the hands of a gunman who seizes her by the hair and shoots her in the head, then the murderer is no more to be condemned than the concrete walls under the Swiss mountain.

But there was never any need to wait for Ashton’s witless ramblings, or Merah’s odious proclamations, in order to decipher the message he sent at the Ozar HaTorah school. The message was in the deed. The killer wanted nothing from his victims, except their lives.

The nihilistic political culture promoted by Ashton and those even worse than her leads to yawning indifference when Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah (“a Shiite military, political, and social organization,” according to the New York Times), says he likes the concentration of Jews in Israel, because it saves him the trouble of hunting them down elsewhere. It leads to the shrugs that meet the Iranian regime’s repeated promises that the cancer that is Israel will soon be extirpated from the Earth. It leads to the turning away of eyes and ears when the heroic rebels of Libya turn into a lynch mob at the sight of a lone Jew, while the freely elected Egyptian Parliament calls unanimously for the rupture of the peace treaty with Israel. It is these signs, combined with the dire threats the “international community” aims at any hint that the Jewish state might dare seek to defend itself against those who have vowed to finish Hitler’s work, with the nuclear weapons the Fuhrer never managed to obtain—these are what send a message. And the message is, as Ron Rosenbaum has acidly written, “Kill the Jews—this time they really deserve it.”

Merah, the man on the motorbike, took this message to heart, and replied with a message of his own. The message is murder.