Netanyahu’s “show and tell”

PM Netanyahu gave his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, and as usual he had something up his sleeve.  He may not be the favorite speaker at the UN GA, but he is certainly the most entertaining.  Each year he comes up with some new disclosure in the form of a graph or a picture.  In this speech he showed a photograph with the title “Iran’s secret atomic warehouse,” and disclosed that Iran had this secret warehouse, unknown to the IAEA, where it was storing the products of its secret nuclear weapons program.  He also gave the exact location in Tehran.

He pointed out that according to the Iran nuclear agreement,  Iran is supposed to reveal all its nuclear facilities but has not done so.  And he added that even as he was speaking Iran was moving its nuclear products from this warehouse to other sites around the country.  He excoriated the IAEA for not doing its job, for not trying to find where Iran is storing its enriched nuclear products and he urged them to immediately follow up and inspect this facility before it is too late.

Since Israeli agents brilliantly removed the entire contents of a classified Iranian nuclear archive, the Iranians have been trying to move all their nuclear materials.  But, Netanyahu claimed he caught them in the act, and Israel “knows what you are doing and where you are doing it.”  Many people criticize Netanyahu for various political reasons, but there is no doubt that he commands the attention of the world when he gives his characteristically novel speeches at the UN.


The Holocaust by Bullets – a “Sacred Purpose”

I avoided reading this book, entitled “The Holocaust by Bullets,” when it was published in 2013.  Perhaps I felt understandably over-exposed to the suffering of Jews in Europe during WWII.  But, this book by Patrick Desbois and its successor “In Broad Daylight,” the English translation of which has just been published, reveal a unique insight into the murders of European Jewry before the gas chambers and the ovens of Auschwitz and the other extermination camps had been conceived and built.

There are two unique aspects of this book, first the author is a French Catholic priest, not the usual author of books about the Shoah.  Second, he has done original and extensive research into the program of extermination of the Jews in the lands occupied by the Germans early in WWII, in the period, 1941-43.

When The Germans occupied Poland in 1939 they started killing Jews, but they needed to consolidate their conquests and they needed Jewish labor to continue and expand their war effort and so they left the intended exterminations until later when they could get organized.  But, by the time they launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, by then they were ready, they had a plan, they were organized to carry out genocide.

The program consisted of four mobile Special Commando units (Einsatzgruppen) that fanned out across the Soviet Union days after the German troops advanced.  They each consisted of from 500-1000 German personnel, drawn from the SS and various Wehrmacht groups, under the orders of Heinrich Himmler.  They were quite simply death squads, their job was to round-up and massacre Jews wherever they found them.  This much was known, but exactly how they went about their task, how they carried out the executions, how they disposed of the bodies, and so on, very little was known.  There were even daily reports that were found in the German archives from the four groups detailing their locations and the number of Jews they had murdered, but there were very few eyewitnesses, mainly because nearly all the Jews were dead, and the Germans were under orders to carry out the murders in secrecy.

Father Desbois explains how he became involved in the subject of the Shoah.  His grandfather was in the French forces and was captured by the Germans and interned in a camp just over the Polish border in Ukraine, called Rawa-Ruska.  He intimated to his grandson that he had suffered there, but he always said that the Jews suffered much worse.   When Patrick grew up and chose to be a priest he wondered what his grandfather had meant.  He set out to learn about Judaism and eventually managed to visit the site of Rawa-Ruska, where he learnt the terrible truth.  In visiting this place he came across people who were actually eyewitnesses to what happened there, to the massacre of the Jews.  Later he realized that this was true all over Ukraine, there were local old people, villagers, still alive who had witnessed the terrible massacres.  “When we asked them if people had come to the village since the war to talk to them they told us ‘no, you are the first’.”  He gradually realized that this was an untapped source of details of one of the greatest crimes in human history.

This realization led to a series of trips, eventually accompanied by a team, that literally went from village to village from town to town, gathering eyewitness testimony to the crimes the Germans has committed, and how they had carried out and organised the massacres.  What he discovered, and what was not known until then, was that the Germans had a prearranged plan, depending on the situation.  If the number of Jews in any given location was small, they often had them dig their own graves and then simply shot them.  But, if the number was larger, or if they were going to bring together Jews from several locations to be murdered together, then they usually requisitioned locals, peasants, farmers, shopkeepers, children, to carry out necessary tasks.

First they would have them dig the trenches (the Germans themselves rarely did this), then they would have them wait until the Jews were brought, under guard in either trucks or carts. At this point the Jews were forced to undress, and the Germans took what they wanted and the rest of the clothes, jewelry, etc. was collected by local people, sorted and transported in requisitioned carts to a central location where it was packed up and sent on further, and what was left behind was left for the peasants.   Then  the Jews were forced to go to the edge of the pit, or walk into the pit, and they were shot in groups of 4-20, depending on how many shooters there were in the firing squads.  When one layer of the pit was covered with bodies, the locals went into the pit and covered the bodies with a layer of sand and lime.   They also used Ukrainian children to run across the bodies to tamp them down, they were called “pressers.”  Not every one was dead, some people were only wounded, and to avoid wasting bullets, Jewish children were often just thrown into the pit.  Then the process was repeated until the pit was full.  Then the locals covered the top with sand and earth, and the whole thing disappeared, except that it continued moving for up to three days, until everyone was dead.

The locals were not paid for their work, but they were given chits that enabled them to come and go, and which enabled them to retrieve their carts, horses or whatever the Germans had requisitioned.  The Germans evidently trusted the local Ukrainians to keep their secret.  This may have worked during the war, but when the Soviets recaptured the territory, they held enquiries that focused on who had collaborated with the Germans.  In most villages and towns the local police were arrested and executed.  But, the local people kept their secrets, until now.

In this way, crisscrossing the whole of the Ukraine, Desbois discovered massacre sites, some of which were previously unknown.  At the edge of one village a man told Desbois that the Germans had dug three big trenches in the forest behind his house and had brought Jews there in trucks from surrounding villages and the shooting went on for months.  They estimated that ca. 90,000 people were buried in these mass graves, including some Soviet and Italian POW’s.  It is now a small park inside the city of Lviv, where people stroll and have picnics.  There are no markers to show what  happened there.

It should be noted that the Germans who carried out these massacres were not all hardened SS men.  They were mostly ordinary Germans, who nevertheless did their task with dedication.  We learn from the book “Ordinary Men” by Christopher Browning that these men did not like shooting people face to face, hence the use of trenches where the shooting was anonymous and the bodies could be covered easily.  After a hard day’s work killing Jews the perpetrators had a hearty meal using requisitioned cooks and food from the houses of the Jews and even slaughtered cows from the farms of the Jews they had slaughtered.  They drank vodka and sang sentimental German songs.  They also set aside pretty young Jewish girls, and usually requisitioned a house where they raped them and kept them sometimes for months, until they were pregnant, and then had them shot elsewhere.

The ideas of concentrating the Jews from various locations and killing them in one central place as a more efficient solution than shooting them all over led to the idea of concentration camps. This was formulated at the Wannsee Conference in Jan 1942 in Berlin by SS and German Govt. officials.  As the war progressed and things did not look so good for the Germans, the SS decided to cover up the evidence of their crimes.  In Operation 1005 under SS Col. Paul Blobel (who had carried out the Baby Yar massacre) they organized units to go into the Ukraine and follow the routes taken by the einsatzgruppen, and using excavators or forced labor dig up all the bodies (each body was counted) and burn them.  The Germans were so meticulous that they experimented with the best way to burn thousands of bodies and found that alternating the corpses with wood to form a pyre on a metal (rail) base was best.  Then they took the ashes and using requisitioned agricultural equipment they ground the ashes into dust.  The idea of gassing the Jews and cremating the bodies directly also made the whole process more efficient.

The Holocaust by bullets murdered 2.2 million Jews in the former Soviet Union.  Most of the archives were not available until after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Some people are skeptical of the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust they say that 6 million is unimaginable.  If you think this then you must read this outstanding book on a terrible subject.  Together with the 1.2 million murdered at Auschwitz and the ca, one million murdered in the other camps (Belzec, Treblinka, etc.) that alone makes a total of 4.4 million.  As Desbois states in the book “My work is primarily an act of justice towards the dead,” and “a sacred purpose.”

The only quibble I have with this book is that all the Ukrainian peasants that Desbois interviewed had some form of remorse or repressed suffering about the tragic massacres they had witnessed.  Not one of them states explicitly that they were glad the Jews were murdered, or that they participated in the process willingly.  This is strange given that the Ukrainians were notoriously anti-Semitic, that their Government, such as it was, was anti-Soviet and welcomed the Germans, and that there were large numbers of Ukrainian volunteers who worked for the Germans and the SS, and they were even considered to be more sadistic than the Germans themselves (in Auschwitz the SS complained about the Ukrainians).

This reminds me somewhat of the story of Margaret Mead, the sociologist who visited Samoa and wrote a book based on what she was told by the young women about their sexual adventures.  A generation later it was revealed that they had made up these stories. I have no doubt of the authenticity of the revelations of these Ukrainian peasants, which have been checked against the German archives and archaeological investigations.  But, that none of them were outright anti-Semites seems strange. However, in the second book “In Broad Daylight,” that I am reading, he does show that the “requisitioned” Ukrainians took more of an active role in the terrible crimes than they often wanted to admit.


Principled Realism

In his speech at the UN GA Pres. Trump defined his Administration’s approach to dealing with the Middle East as “Principled realism.”  As far as he is concerned his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel simply recognizes reality.  He rejected being “held hostage to old dogmas” such as the so-called “two-state solution” that has long been a sacred cow in Middle East politics, which he claimed  “have been proven wrong time and time again.”(yet, the next day in a press conference with PM Netanyahu he endorsed the “two-state solution.”)

By contrast, King Abdullah of Jordan in his speech repeated his continued adherence to the old time-worn phrase of “two states for two peoples,” and also by implication  criticized Trump’s cutting of funds to UNRWA.  But, while he said this will affect Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, he neglected to mention that these people are in fact Jordanian citizens, and therefore are NOT refugees, and therefore are not eligible for support from UNRWA, that they have been receiving for 70 years.

Coincidentally the British Labour Party under leader Jeremy Corbyn is holding its annual Conference in the UK.  At the meeting, facing a sea of Palestinian flags and shouts of “Free Palestine,” Corbyn announced that Labour will call for an arms boycott of Israel, because of the way Israel defended itself against the demonstrators at the Gaza border, who he said were “overwhelmingly non-violent.”  Anyone who saw these riots would know that they were in fact overwhelmingly violent, that Corbyn is lying and that they used burning tires, rocks, incendiary devices and guns in trying to breach the Israeli border.  He also stated that a Labour Government would recognize “a State of Palestine as soon as we take office.”  If Corbyn were elected it would not only be terrible for Israel, it would lead to a crisis with the US.  Lets hope it never comes to that.


Fraud in Science III

The one case that looms large in the issue of fraud in science was that of the controversy over the discovery of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS. In 1984, the two co-discoverers of HIV, Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Inst., Paris, and Robert Gallo of the US Natl. Cancer Inst. (NCI), published papers side-by-side on their work.  But, subsequently a controversy erupted between them, because the HIV genome was found to be very variable, but the two sequences published by them were almost identical.  Montagnier accused Gallo of stealing a sample of his material.

A reporter for the Chicago newspaper wrote an article on the subject and Congressman John Dingell, who was Chairman of the Science Sub-Comm. of Congress, read the article and decided to hold hearings on the subject.  As a result there were a series of detailed investigations of Gallo’s lab by the FBI, that took 5 years!  It was discovered that Gallo had isolated his specimen of HIV from a sample of another virus given to him by Montagnier.  Although his scientific credentials remained intact, and the US and French Governments agreed to divide the royalties on their patents on HIV, nevertheless priority for the discovery of HIV was given to Montagnier, and he alone won the Nobel Prize in 2008.  However, several of Gallo’s co-workers were also supposedly found to have committed fraud and misappropriated funds.

Mika Popovic was a leading researcher in Bob Gallo’s Lab. He was found guilty by the Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) at NIH of scientific fraud related to a paper published in 1984.  On that basis he was fired from the NIH and lost his pension.  But, he maintained that he was never given any right of appeal or due process and he sued NIH.  In response the Dept of Health and Human Services established an independent panel of lawyers to investigate the procedures used by OSI and they concluded it was totally faulty, relying on hearsay and not allowing any response by the accused.  As a result, Popovic was exonerated and the case against Gallo was dropped after 5 years of investigation.

Another controversial area is climate change.  Climate change and global warming has been generally accepted as scientifically based.  But, there are many cases of falsification of data and analysis in order to “prove” the urgency of the case.  The evidence for the shrinkage of many glaciers in the Alps was shown to be falsified.  The UN inter-governmental panel on climate change claimed that the Himalayan glaciers were receding, but this turned out to be fraudulent.  Temp warming date from NOAA has been found to have been serially readjusted.  Such fraud does not disprove global warming, but certainly raises doubts.

A study by a University Committee tasked with estimating the amount of fraud in science came to the conclusion in 2017 that ca. 3% of published papers are unreliable.  Science itself is not at fault – because of the need to verify and check scientific claims the scientific method is self-regulating.  But, since science is a human endeavor that can give fame and fortune there is always a human failing to fake results.


The UK is a Racist Endeavour

After the British Labour Party was forced to compromise on its position regarding anti-Semitism recently, hard left elements in the Party plastered London with posters reading “Israel is a racist endeavour.”  Not only was this a case of being bad losers, but it also represents the fundamental view of the Corbyn side of the Party.

Of course, one can argue that Israel is racist because it does not choose to commit suicide and allow the so-called Palestinian Arabs to take over its Land and kill its Jewish inhabitants.  But, aside from that, most countries have been founded on what can only be called racist agendas.  Here are a few examples,

  • Australia decimated and massacred the Aborigine inhabitants who had lived there for thousands of years
  • New Zealand subjugated the Maoris
  • White South Africa decimated the Blacks and now the reverse is happening
  • Sweden subjugated and persecuted the Sami (Lapp) people
  • The US committed genocide against the native American (Indian) tribes and persecuted the Blacks under slavery and even until today
  • Russia defeated the Tartars and subsequently persecuted them and destroyed the Siberian cultures
  • For centuries the French and Germans fought over Alsace-Lorraine and hated each other
  • Hungary and Austria fought each other, as well as Hungary and Roumania, and Poland and Russia, and of course the Germans hated all of them
  • The Arabs decimated and forced all minorities that were within their various Empires to convert to Islam
  • The Chinese conquered Tibet and have persecuted its people
  • The Burmese have massacred the Rohingya (Muslim) people and expelled hundreds of thousands to Bangladesh
  • The UK conquered and suppressed the Welsh, the Scots (called euphemistically “the Highland clearances”) as well as massacring the Irish and denying them sovereignty until very recently.  And that’s not to mention the many terrible crimes the British inflicted on the many native  peoples in their Empire around the world, some of which still exists.

Since almost every country has a history of racist conquest, suppression and persecution, why is it that the British Labour Party singles out Israel for such a public lambasting.  If they only single out Israel, isn’t that a clear case of anti-Semitism.  Whereas in fact Israel is a stable, liberal democracy.  They should put their own house in order before they point the finger at others.

Fraud in Science II

There were several cases of fraud in science that received coverage in the US media:

  1. The Darsee case – painting mice: John Darsee was a very successful cardiologist at Harvard.  In 1981 some colleagues who were suspicious of his incredible output (5 major papers in 1.25 yrs) went to the lab director and complained.  An internal investigation found that he had been altering results and he was suspended.  An NIH investigation showed that most of his supposed data was fraudulent and he was fired. In experiments on mice Darsee had claimed genetic changes, but he had actually painted black spots on the mice skin.  This was the first case where an institution was required to return funds to a granting agency.
  2. The Baltimore Case: David Baltimore was a Nobel Laureate and Head of Rockefeller University and his co-worker was Dr. Imanishi-Kari.  It was alleged by a former student that a paper by them in 1986 had fraudulent data. There was a Congressional hearing by Rep. Dingell.  Because of this the FBI was involved and they found alterations of data in Imanishi-Kari’s notebooks.  The finding was that some data had been falsified and the paper was subsequently retracted. But,  following further investigation the case was dropped
  3. The Marc Strauss case: Marc Strauss was a very successful oncologist working at the Boston Univ. School of Medicine.  Several of his nurses and co-workers came forward and alleged that he had falsified results, including patient records. Since the work was supported by the NCI this was a federal offense. Although proclaiming his innocence, Strauss resigned in 1978 and continued to carry out oncology research elsewhere.  In 1982 he filed a m$33 lawsuit against 5 of his former co-workers.  Fraud was never proven on either side and eventually Strauss was reinstated
  4. The Spector/Racker Case: Efraim Racker was a leading expert in the area of energy metabolism and signal transduction at Cornell University.  Mark Spector was his wunderkind, who had just obtained his PhD in 1981.  He claimed to have obtained data to prove a series of cascade reactions that were supposed to cause cancer. Doubts were raised by some and Racker himself tried to reproduce Spector’s results, without success.  Under pressure Spector withdrew his Thesis and his results while maintaining his innocence.
  5. The Cold Fusion Case: In 1989, two scientists Martin Fleischman and Stanley Pons claimed that they had produced “excess energy” from an apparatus containing palladium and hydrogen at room temperature.  They attributed this to a nuclear reaction and claimed this discovery of cold fusion could revolutionize energy production in the world.  After an initial media frenzy, others tried to reproduce their results and could not.  This is now viewed by many as an example of a fraudulent claim in science.

To be continued.

The Murder of Ari Fuld

A 17-year-old Palestinian youth stabbed Ari Fuld, 45, father of four, to death in a Mall at the Gush Etzion junction on Sunday.  This is an area where Israelis and Palestinians regularly mix (there is no apartheid, if there was the Israeli death toll would be much less).  Ari, a well-known rabbi and Israel advocate, although stabbed in the back, chased his assailant, pulled his gun (necessary in those parts) and shot the perpetrator.  He is Khalil Yusuf Ali Jabarin, from the town of Jatta near Hebron.  He was injured and was taken into custody by Israeli authorities.  Fuld later died of bleeding from his wound.  He was a dual Israeli-US citizen.  Both the US and EU condemned this terrorist attack.

Although we call these “lone wolf” attacks, I fail to believe that a 17-year-old boy simply decides one day to go to a Mall and stab a Jew.  He must have received training and motivation from a terrorist organization. He must have been told when and where to attack.  He carried a long knife used only for murder.  Further, the culture of the Palestinians and of their leaders supports an atmosphere of murder of Jews.  The PA media played down the incident and reported it as “Occupation injures a boy South of Bethlehem.”  This is a typical media distortion that many pro-Palestinians in the West will believe.

The PA announced only a day after the murder that the family of Jabarin will receive NIS 1,400 ($400) per month for 3 years.  If this isn’t support of terrorism what is?  Also, where does the money come from, the PA depends entirely on foreign aid from the US, EU and other countries (not much from the Arabs).  So your tax dollars are being used to fund Palestinian terrorists murdering Jews.  There is a bill being prepared before the Israeli Knesset to deduct such payments from any tax revenues that Israel owes the PA .

Also, the IDF announced it is preparing to demolish the family home of the killer.  Call this revenge or call it a justified punitive method that Israel inherited from the British, but it is one of the few measures that Israel can take to let the Palestinian people know that we won’t tolerate these attacks.  If we were like the Burmese, Syrians, Iraqis or most other countries in the world, there would be massive retaliation against the civilian population.  But, Israel doesn’t do this, although we easily could, because we are civilized.  But, there comes a point when even a civilized country must protect itself against this form of terror attack by all necessary means.