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Scoop of the Year: Proof of a Collusion

theweek.com

The post you are about to read—friends and foes, left and right—is a bit unusual. Unusual for this blog; unusual for this blogger; and unusual for you the reader. If you will join me for the ride, however, I believe you’ll be rewarded handsomely. And in the most unusual of ways. But first, let’s start with the word ‘scoop,’ which among other meanings and usage, is described in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary simply as “information especially of immediate interest.” For the purpose of our post here, at this time, this description will suffice. As for how convincing a case I’ll be making, and how newsworthy it’ll turn out to be, you’ll be the judge.

You may ask yourself also: What business does this blog have—a blog dedicated normally to the politics and culture of Israel, America, American Jews, and the interaction between these three entities—to the question of a possible ‘collusion’ between the Trump campaign and presidency, and Putin’s Russia? Well… let me tell you. Because it all starts with a new book, written by a well-known Israeli investigative journalist, Ronen Bergman, titled ‘Rise and Kill First, The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.’ The book is getting rave reviews for its “authoritative and exhaustive history of Israel’s targeted killings of its enemies, the most robust streamlined assassination machine in history,” (Washington Post, January 26), and asks “at what point does violence in the name of self-defense become an end in itself, so addictive to its practitioners… that it undermines the very values it is meant to preserve?” And yet, though this book is serving as our springboard here, it—and the important questions it raises—is not really our business today.

What our business is, here and now, concerning an interview given by the book’s author—who’s highly regarded for his deep knowledge and inside sources of Israeli intelligence—to the NPR program ‘Fresh Air with Terry Gross,’ on January 31. And especially a segment, an exchange towards the end of that most interesting interview (conducted that day by Dave Davies), which is very much related to the question we are probing today, and which is also, to my mind, the business of every person living and working in this land. For that purpose, since you might have missed that interview (which you can probably still find on the NPR website), here’s a short transcript of part of it—limited and condensed (not altered though) to the crux of the matter at hand—as related to our investigation:

Bergman: “… a group of American intelligent officers, in a regular meeting with their Israeli counterparts, just before Trump was elected, and before the inauguration, they suggested that the Israelis stop giving sensitive materiel to the White House. They said we are afraid that Trump or someone of his people under leverage from the Russians, they might give sensitive information to the Russians, who in their term will give that to Iran… And the Israelis were shocked… that the Americans will say something of that kind about their chief in command, about their president… Few months after that, it turned out that all the predictions that the American have made to the Israelis as warnings… everything came to be true! And President Trump apparently gave secret information, and I know the nature of that information: it is indeed delicate, and very, very secret.”

Davies: “… You know of specific information that the U.S. shared with the Russians that is not being revealed publicly and that you are not revealing publicly?”

Bergman: “The nature of the information that President Trump revealed to Foreign Minister Lavrov is of the most secretive nature. And that information could jeopardize modus operandi of Israeli Intelligence.”

Davies: “You are referring to something we don’t yet know?

Bergman: “Most of it we don’t yet know.”

Well, if that’s not a collusion, I don’t know what a collusion is. If that interview is not a proof of it, then I don’t know what proof is. Or what kind of proof is still needed. Worst of all: If that’s not an admission of the leverage the Russians have had, and are probably still having, on President Trump—”under leverage from the Russians,” Bergman said—then I don’t know what leverage is. And therefore, as in the beginning, I will resort again to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which defines ‘collusion’ as a “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.” I’m not a legal expert, far from it, but for our purpose here, exposing the possibility, if not the certainty of collusion—and conspiracy, complicity, involvement, agreement, knowledge, all words associated with collusion—this will do. And the rest is history.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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How the Jews Saved the World

coffeeshoprabbi.com

coffeeshoprabbi.com

A nagging, persistent thought regarding the Second World War and the Holocaust won’t leave me in peace. It’s been bothering me, or shall I say been challenging me, for a long time. And it seems like the right time now, with Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) upon us on May 5th, for me to formulate my thoughts on the matter. Indeed, as a son of Holocaust survivors, who sucked the Shoah from his mother’s breast (so to speak), and who grew up in a kibbutz in Israel where, literally, there were no grandparents, I thought it is high time for me now to finally dedicate a post to this most terrible event in our history.

First problem for me in doing so is that – especially regarding this specific topic, or the angle I want to explore here – I’m not a historian, though student of history I most certainly am. As well, I don’t consider myself a scholar of the Holocaust, though I definitely have read my share of books on the Shoah, have seen many films about it, and have heard many people talk about it. Second problem is, as much as I searched and googled, I could find no record, or study, a book even, anything that deals with what I am about to write here, or at least suggesting that particular point of view. If by any chance you, the reader, know more about it, or know of such a book or a research, please don’t hesitate to comment here, and enlightened me about it.

To the point. There are many studies as to Hitler’s origin as a man, and his hatred of the Jews in particular. There are equally many theories, too, but no definite answer – almost akin to the question of who came first, the chicken or the egg – as to what came first: Hitler pathological hatred of the Jews, seeing Jewish conspiracy in everything from capitalism to communism, or his megalomaniacal wish to conquer Europe and the world. In other words: conquer the world in order to annihilate the Jewish People, or annihilate the Jewish People in order to conquer the world? From what little I know, I believe the former to be the correct answer. I believe that in Hitler – who had Jewish blood in him, according to some (unconfirmed) accounts – the hatred for the Jews ran deeper. I also believe that his first calling and career ambition was to be an artist; he blamed the Jews and their prominence in the world of art, particularly in Vienna, for his failure as an artist. (He was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, as “unfit for painting”.) You know how it goes today, the “Jews control the Media.” Then it was the “Jews control the Arts”.

We know that Hitler was not even “pure German,” was not even “pure Arian,” by look or by ancestry; and yet, to an “artistic” degree and performance he assumed – and indeed conquered – this persona and identity. One has to see again, as I had done not so long ago, Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, “The Great Dictator” – remember the hilarious scene where Hitler plays with the globe as if it were an air balloon? – in order to understand the magnitude of his ambition in this regard, and the resemblance of the characteristics at play in his personality. It makes sense, therefore, to theorize that Hitler’s anti-Semitism, and his urge for revenge – that most brutal, and persistent of human tendencies – came first. And of course, he couldn’t have executed his masterplan of annihilating the Jews before governing and ruling Germany and Europe first. And there lay his ultimate failure and demise.

Think about it: He had accomplished, to an extraordinary degree, the initial stages of his plan. He created (or recreated) a political party; he won the elections democratically (there were obstacles along the way, of course, which had only made his resolved stronger); he established a dictatorship over “supposedly” the most culturally advanced people and nation in Europa at the time; he had built a tremendous war machine, unequal up till then; he maneuvered skillfully as head of state to push Britain and Russia aside for the time being; he had started a war which went very well, and according to plan for him, for more than two years. He was controlling most of Europe when he decided to conquer Russia as well, and at the initial stages was successful there too.

What went wrong then? I believe it was his obsession with annihilating and exterminating the Jews. Of course, there was Britain and Churchill, America and Roosevelt (not clear still, when and if, America would’ve joined the war had it not been for the attack on Pearl Harbor); and the Russian winter and Stalin pushed into a corner. Many reasons, for sure. But I’m here writing to suggest that crucial among these factors, and maybe the most decisive of all, was his obsession with the Jews. And that the cost of annihilating the Jews had cost him winning the war.

On the one hand, think about the enormous effort – personnel wise, resources wise, time wise, money wise, military wise – he had put into exterminating the Jews (and of course other minorities too along with them). Building concentration camps, sending trains full of people to crisscross Europe back and forth, exterminating them, guarding them, sometimes fighting against them when they rebelled and took arms. It was an enormous effort and strain on the German people, army, economy, and war machine. It would’ve been simpler just shooting them amass. Instead, had he used all these soldiers and officers, and had he directed these resources toward the war, particularly in Russia (which he too late had tried to do), it might have given him then a decisive advantage and victory.

On the second hand, had he used the Jewish people to his advantage, even if not willingly, his chances of success would’ve been much greater. Just keeping all the great Jewish scientists and engineers in Germany, not forcing them to flee the country, enslaving them or killing them, might have given him the Atom Bomb first. Who knows what would have happened then. Just thinking about it, Hitler possessing a nuclear weapon, makes me shudder. But instead, they built it for America. Yes, able Jews were sent to labor camps – as was the case with my father, who slaved at, and escaped from three of them – but had it been done without the hatred, in a “patriotic” fashion, they would’ve joined the fighting forces, the commanding echelon, the economic war effort, contributing their financial and professional strength. It may be hard to believe and accept, but even after the horrors of the Holocaust, in my kibbutz, those who came from Germany, escaping the purges and war ahead of time, still cherished its “culture” and language very much.

As I was saying from the outset, I’m not a historian. But it seems to me that among all the factors contributing to Hitler’s defeat, his obsession with the “Final Solution” of the Jews was indeed decisive. Had it not been for that, and for the urge to annihilate all the Jews, the story of Europe – indeed of the world – would’ve been very different. But then again, he couldn’t help it. His obsession with them ran deeper than anything else. And his obsession with not just killing them, but exterminating them, probably killed his chances of winning the war and conquering the world. In that respect, as of course in many others, we should be thankful to all the victims of the Holocaust and their survivors. They died and suffered so that we can live and prosper. They saved us all.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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