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Israeli Jets Scrambled After Russian Plane Enters Air Space

By Ha'aretz

Two Israel Air Force jets were scrambled on Wednesday to intercept a civilian plane that had raised air controllers' suspicions. Officials alerted the IAF after the pilots of the privately-owned Tupolov 143 plane that took off from Samara, Russia, failed to identify themselves as required by protocol. Army aircraft escorted the plane until it landed safely at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. A short inquiry revealed that the flight posed no security threat and was carrying a cargo of 178 Christian pilgrims.

Iran: Israel Kills Palestinians Because of Nazis


International criticism has become more intense against comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the Holocaust, but the Iranian leader is not giving up. In a speech in northwest in Iran, he accused Israel of taking revenge against Palestinians in the territories following the Holocaust.

"In World War Two more than 60 million people were killed and tens of millions injured. After the war they thought they would make destruction go away but unfortunately, 60 years after World War Two, there are still many places in the world burning from the fire of this war," he said.

"Why do the Palestinian people suffer from the crimes of the occupying Zionist regime? Are they killing the Palestinian people following the events of the Second World War?" asked the president, and answered: "They are killing the Palestinians in their homes 60 years after the war as revenge."

"Why do the nations of the Middle East have to be under pressure which stems from the darkness of the Second World War? They say the Iranians want war; we say that the Iranians want peace. We don't want a peace forced on the back of millions of refugees. That is not peace; that is a crime. That is a continuance of the genocide of the Second World War, which is today being carried out under the disguise of human rights," said Ahmadinejad.

This is the second time this week that Ahmadinejad addressed the issue. During a long speech at a press conference on Monday, Ahmadinejad used exactly the same words: "60 years passed since the end of the Second World War, why do the Germans and Palestinians have to pay now for a war in which the current generation wasn't involved at all?"

He repeated in his speech his call to European countries to take back banished Jews, saying: "Due to hatred of Jews in your countries, the Jews left you and came to Palestine. The Jews, like all the peoples of the world, have a right to live in freedom and security. The Western countries must give them back their original citizenship. You are the ones that created the problem by bringing the Jews to Palestine and therefore you must solve it."

Sweden Boycotts Israel, Embraces Hamas


Sweden is boycotting an international air force exercise in Italy next month due to the fact that Israel's Air Force will take part. It has also decided to grant entry visas to Hamas members.

Though not mentioning the Jewish State by name, Sweden's Defense Minister Leni Bjorklund said that her country was withdrawing its participating due to the fact that "the Swedish Armed Forces were notified at a late stage that a state not belonging to the Partnership for Peace, and with which Sweden did not previously have bilateral military cooperation and which does not take part in international peacekeeping missions, was to take part in the air exercise."

A Swedish official told Israel Radio that Israel was not currently advancing peace and was therefore not fit to take part in the exercise.

Sweden has increasingly led anti-Israel moves in Europe and the Swedish government just granted visas to members of the Hamas terror group as well. Sweden's Ambassador Robert Rydberg was called to Israel's Foreign Ministry Thursday to explain the move.

Knesset member Zevulun Orlev slammed both decisions, saying that just a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day "an enlightened nation has surrendered to the Islamic axis of evil."

Gov't: Criticism of Papal Silence on Holocaust 'Unprecedented'

By Ha'aretz

Government sources have called statements made by a senior Vatican official condemning the silence of the Holy See during the Holocaust "unprecedented."

Sources in Jerusalem said it is still too early to tell whether the statements made Tuesday by Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, reflect a change in Vatican policy about the silence of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.

Speaking in Hebrew at a conference at Tel Aviv University on the actions of the Church during the Holocaust, Pizzaballa criticized "church leaders, including those of the highest level, who did not adopt a courageous stand in the evangelical spirit in the face of the Nazi regime."

Dr. Simcha Epstein of the Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of anti-Semitism, said the phrase "high-level leaders" was a veiled reference to Pope Pius XII.

Jewish organizations and historians for years have been at the forefront of a struggle against the Vatican initiative to beatify Pius due to his inaction during the Holocaust.

Jerusalem was expecting that with the ascendance of the new pope, Benedictus XVI, the process of beatification would be stopped. However, sources in Jerusalem told Ha'aretz it is ongoing, albeit at a slower pace.

Pizzaballa said that after the Holocaust, the Church struggled with "the question of how it failed at the task of molding the conscience of the faithful so they would refuse to cooperate with the Nazi machine of destruction. How so many of the faithful cooperated and even more stood and did nothing." Pizzaballa added that the 1965 Vatican declaration absolving the Jews from killing Jesus was a "response to the deep crisis created after World War II."

He said the Church subsequently had made a number of far-reaching changes, among them emphasizing the Jewish identity of Jesus and recognition of the Hebrew Scriptures as an inseparable part of Christian tradition, and that "preachers and the greatest of teachers" had presented Jews in a distorted way, which laid the groundwork for modern anti-Semitism.

"I cannot avoid the horrific thought that if Jesus were alive in the Holocaust, he would have been condemned to the same fate as the Jewish people, as would his mother, his family and his disciples." Pizzaballa said.

Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a member of the Permanent Bilateral Commission of the State of Israel and the Holy See, said he has heard similar declarations in the past from American cardinals. However, such a statement is rare from a clergyman of Italian origin like Pizzaballa.

"The attitude is that of a man who is aware of Jewish and Israeli sensitivities, and it is therefore more nuanced than the official position, however, it does not reflect a change in the official stance," Rosen told Ha'aretz.

Americans Anti-Israel, Anti-Jew

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

The Constitution of the United States guarantees that everyone is entitled to have an opinion and a right to express that opinion. We can adamantly disagree but never-the-less everyone still has the right to speak.

When someone sounds off, a wise person takes the opportunity to listen and learn. However, to really learn, we must not only listen to what is said but also to what is not being said. Then we need to analyze what we have learned and compare it to what we think we know.

It is reasonable for individuals, or groups, to utilize their notoriety to influence others. However, just because they are famous, it does not mean they know any more than anyone else. There are instances when they are absolutely incorrect due to lack of knowledge or because they are biased. It is your personal responsibility to ferret out the truth.

Harry Belafonte is an example of a well-known, successful, entertainer turned activist who speaks out against Jews and Israel. One of Belafonte's hurtful, incorrect statements was made in August 2005 at a civil rights march in Atlanta.

He stated that "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich." Then in January 2006, while being interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer, Belafonte blamed the Jews for not speaking out sooner or resisting the Nazis. "If they had spoken sooner they might have prevented their demise." I wonder if Mr. Belafonte has expressed similar dissatisfaction with the black people for not resisting slavery.

As for a group, "The Christianity Today" Magazine reported that in July 2004 the highest legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the 216th General Assembly, voted 431-62 to begin a phased, selective divestment in multinational firms said to be contributing to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. On Sept. 28, 2005 Will Spotts, an elder in Maryland, claimed that The General Assembly relied on flawed sources of historical background information. The two main sources used were writings by Walter Owensby and Lisa Hajjar. Spotts claimed both displayed elements of one-sidedness, biased language, and disputed statements.

It is apparent that a columnist has the vehicle to influence. So it is with columnist James Goldsborough ("The San Diego Union Tribune") whose writings at times are considered anti-Semitic in nature. In one article Goldsborough blamed Israeli and Jewish groups for causing anti-Jewish violence.

Then, in his December 2005 article, he wrote that murderers of Israeli children couldn't be called terrorists because Israelis are "occupiers." He is condoning the murder of children because he considers their parents "occupiers?" What type of person is he? I would expect this theory from Islamic extremists.

Then there is the former New Jersey Poet Laureate, Amiri Baraka (Formerly Everett LeRoi Jones), who spoke at Yale's Afro-American Cultural Center. According to James Kirkchick's article in the Feb. 26, 2003 edition of the "Yale Daily News," Baraka launched into a paranoid tirade. He cited "evidence" of Israeli complicity in the World Trade Center attacks and claimed that 4,000 Israeli workers knew to stay home from work in Manhattan that day.

Sadly, many Yale students vigorously nodded their heads and cheered in approval. At the end of the event, the crowd leapt to its feet to give the former poet laureate a rousing standing ovation. Kirkchick wrote, "Encouragement of Baraka reinforces bias and prejudice. It is confining rather than liberating for students. It is anti-educational."

On July 6, 2006 the Zionist Organization Of America issued a news release claiming that Ralph Nader, 2004 Presidential Candidate, said "Israel is to blame for Mid-East violence" and "Israel is destroying Palestinian children" and "Israel controls the White House." I would be fearful to have Mr. Nader's logic in the White House.

In a Washington DC forum titled "The Muslim Vote -- Election 2004" Nader said "The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced." It is sad this politician would say most anything to be elected.

There are so many individuals and groups that do not hesitate to take pot shots at Jews and Israel and those comments are frequently ignored by the media as well as by too many Jews. The trouble is there are people, only too ready to believe the lies. This is exactly why we cannot afford to make light of falsehoods and slander. Every Jew and lover of the truth must stand up and speak out. Remember never again. It is up to you.

Ed Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in The Villages, Florida, and past president of its Brotherhood. He can be reached at

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