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How the Dutch Red Cross Abetted the Nazis during World War II

March 12 2018

Last month, the president of the Netherlands’ Red Cross visited Israel to apologize formally for the organization’s conduct during the German occupation of the country. He was moved to do so by a recent book on the subject written by Regina Grüter, which assembles much evidence to prove what Dutch Jews themselves have long believed, as Ofer Aderet writes. (Free registration may be required.)

At the beginning of 1941, when the order came to stop accepting blood donations from Jews, the Dutch Red Cross accepted the decree . . . and didn’t send a protest letter. In February of that year, when 427 Jews were arrested in Amsterdam and sent to Buchenwald, the Dutch Red Cross sent a letter to the German occupying authorities wondering whether the organization was allowed to send packages to these Jews. The answer was as one would expect: it was forbidden to help Jews. The Red Cross simply accepted the order and sent aid packages only to non-Jewish Dutch political prisoners.

When in late 1941 the Germans ordered that all Jewish volunteers be dropped from the Red Cross, the group [again] followed these orders without a word. And the archives contain not one mention of any attempt to oppose these orders, or any underground attempts by the group to help Jews.

The research also didn’t uncover any evidence of discussions among the group’s leaders about the fate of the Dutch Jews. Grüter’s book leaves the impression that the Red Cross people acted as mere bureaucrats who carried out the Nazi occupiers’ orders to the letter and never tried to make things hard for the Germans—in clear violation of their role as aid workers. . . . “They weren’t anti-Semites, they were simply neutral,” Grüter says.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: History & Ideas, Holocaust, Netherlands, Red Cross, World War II

 

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security