Diary

About the Iranian flotillas

Distracted by coverage of the BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, attention of most folks has moved from the Middle East.

Nevertheless, very high stakes games are playing out in the Mediterranean:

*  As many as ten Iranian-backed flotillas are now en route to Israel.  Their routes are via Egypt and the Suez Canal, and via Turkey and the Bosporus. 

The Jerusalem Post reports today that Egypt is refusing to disrupt flotillas heading via its waters. http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=178846

*  Other ships will steam Sunday from Lebananon towards Gaza.  Although Hezballah denies involvement, its partisans control the country of Lebanon.  How could it be otherwise?  http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hezbollah-says-it-will-not-join-lebanon-gaza-bound-aid-flotilla-1.297012

* NATO member Turkey appears on the verge of war with the state of Israel.  Where will that put the US, even to the extent that its President (reported to have told the Egyptians that ‘I am a Muslim’) ceases his anit-Israel stance?

* So succesful diplomatically was Flotilla I, suggests Caroline Glick, that on the horizon are likely to be various suicide missions aimed at Gaza.  http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2010/06/weathering-the-approaching-sto.php  She adds:

The intensification of the suicide protest campaign against Israel is dangerous for two reasons. First, it is a model that can be and in all likelihood will be replicated on air and land and it can be replicated anywhere. Israel can and should expect mobs of suicide protesters marching on Gaza to force Israel to surrender control over its borders. Israel can expect mobs of suicide protesters marching on Israeli embassies and other government installations around the world in an attempt to increase its diplomatic isolations. 
In the air, Israel can expect charter flights to take off from airports around the world with a few dozen kamikaze protesters who will force the IAF to shoot them down as they approach Israeli airspace. 
Iran and its allies have found a weak chink in Israel’s armor. They will use it any way they can. Israel needs to quickly develop tactics and strategies for contending with this.
Caroline writes from Jerusalem, as an Israeli.  But not only Israel needs to develop tactics for contending with this.
Has it not occurred to leaders in other NATO nations that an Iranian seaport on the Mediterranean represents existential danger?  Do they think Islamic extremists seeking to install Sharia law in London, Paris and Madrid are joking?
The timing of this is utterly logical:  A year into the Obama presidency, its ineptitude is obvious to friends and foes (hello?) alike.   Showing nothing but contempt for the US, Turkey has now lined up with the radicals.  Egypt lives in a very tough neighborhood, and sees nothing but heartache ahead should it line up against local bullies.
It seems now only about ten minutes ago that Helen Thomas disappeared from the scene after blurting out that Israeli Jews are claimless in Biblical lands, and should go home to Germany and Poland.  The journalistic establishment acted quickly to make her and the story line go away, but I find it very hard to believe she is the only one holding those views.  Just the only one old enough and possibly senile enough to express them publicly.
My mother’s cousin was born only two years after Helen Thomas; in his case in a small village on the Jura River in Lithuania.  Several years ago, he described to me taunts he had received while shovelling hay off the family’s wagon to its several head of animals:  “You should go to Palestine,” he was told.  “That is your land and this one is ours”
Years later, he told the Spielberg Project:

We found about about the war when we heard Hitler start talking on the radio.  We didn’t even have a radio.  We used to go to some neighbors.  I think it was frightening, you know: “The Juden, the Juden, the Juden.  The Juden must be taken”.  We never figured it would come to such a terrible thing.

I remember when the Germans arrived in Chweidan.  I was 18 years old.  I was in the attic, looking out over what was going on in the town.  I saw they were carrying all the elderly  people in cars and trucks and taking them out of the city.   They were Nazis, dressed in black clothes. 

Then they rounded us up on a Sunday, maybe a day later. That day was a horrible day.  There was a Lithuanian by the name of Kolicius.  He came into our house.  My father was already in the ally.  He told my sister that if your brother doesn’t come down, we’re going to shoot your father….  They told us, “Schnell, schnell.”  Then they closed the truck.  They took us to a town called Heidekru.  The date we left town was June 29, 1941.

The itinerary which awaited him:  Lithuanian work camp; Auschwitz-Birkenau;  then deconstructing the Warsaw Ghetto

We stayed in Auschwitz-Birkenau about six weeks.  Then they sent us to work on cleaning up the Warsaw Ghetto.  They only took Lithuanian Jews, Holland Jews, Hungarian Jews, any Jew who couldn’t speak Polish, to work at the Warsaw ghetto.  They did not want these workers to get in contact with Polish people.  All together, there were about 5,000 Jews working on cleaning up the Warsaw Ghetto.  We cleaned it up by hand, passing bricks from one person to another. 

The ghetto was destroyed in 1943.  I was there for 13 months.  It was very, very dirty.  We were sleeping on floors that were crawling with lice.  Typhus broke out.  They didn’t have a crematorium.  There were burning the bodies right next to our barracks.  They were building a crematorium but it wasn’t ready until the Russians came in.  We used to joke that today it is these dead, tomorrow it will be us.   I don’t know how I am sitting here telling you the story of all these horrible things.

Before freedom, another concentration camp

Finally, we got onto a train.  Another of the cattle cars.  Then we traveled up to Dachau.  First we settled in Dachau in Camp Four.  Then Camp Seven,  then Camp Eleven.  The soups in Dachau were thicker than in any of the other camps.  They took our names, where we born.  That was a surprise to us.  We thought, it must be near the end.  Some packages came in from the Red Cross.  I swallowed that little package like a lion swallows a deer. 

We all worked in construction at Dachau.  The name of the company was Morer.  We were in Dachau nine months after we left Warsaw.  The guards were all in their sixties.  Some people slipped away.  They didn’t count us any more.  We saw planes coming over us and we knew they were American.  We were told to get down, but we waved to the planes.

Normally, I don’t like hearing about or making a big deal of World War II’s inhumanity. 

Let me share with you, however, my reactions in advance to what is likely to occur over the next week or ten days.

My folk have been run out (by the Romans) of the Middle East;  expelled from England in 1290, from France in 1182, from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497. Each time of course with expropriation of most of our belongings.

After the establishment of Israel, the Expel and Expropriate game was played again and again in most Islamic countries.  Significant Jewish minorities in Middle Eastern cities are a thing of the past.

After all of what happened in the past century, forgive me for coming to the conclusion that any attempt by thugs to Expell and Expropriate one more time is not going to go down well.  

Even more significant, forgive me for believing exactly what the Islamic thugs are suggesting:  that their true intent is on taking over not just this little sliver of land in the Levant, but all of Europe and perhaps even America as well.

What say you, Mr. President?  Do you, as the Egyptians report, view yourself as Muslim and thus part of this adventure?  What are you, and where will you take us?