“I Had the Good Fortune to Be a Jew Born and Raised in the USA”

Sept. 21 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at the age of eighty-seven. Among much else, Ginsburg was one of the most prominent Jews in American public life. Herewith, her remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 2004 on the occasion of Yom Hashoah:

I had the good fortune to be a Jew born and raised in the USA. My father left Odessa bound for the New World in 1909, at age thirteen; my mother was first in her large family to be born here, in 1903, just a few months after her parents and older siblings landed in New York. What is the difference between a bookkeeper in New York’s garment district and a Supreme Court justice? Just one generation, my mother’s life and mine bear witness. Where else but America could that happen?

I am proud to live in a country where Jews are not afraid to say who we are, the second country after Israel to have set aside a day each year, this day, to remember the Holocaust, to learn of and from that era of inhumanity, to renew our efforts to repair the world’s tears. I feel the more secure because this capital city includes a museum dedicated to educating the world, so that all may know, through proof beyond doubt, that the unimaginable in fact happened.

It is fitting, I hope you agree, [to cite a] line from Deuteronomy: U-vaḥarta ba-ḥayyim. It means: Choose life. As did the survivors who somehow managed to stay alive, to carry on, and to tell their stories; as did Jews and Christians, in ghettos and in camps, who gave their lives endeavoring to save the lives of others; as did [the Jews of] Budapest, where Great Synagogue still opens its doors, the second largest synagogue in the world, the shul in which Theodor Herzl celebrated his bar mitzvah, a structure so impressive visitors from my home state might recognize it as the model for Central Synagogue in New York City.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: American Jewry, Holocaust, Hungarian Jewry, Yom Hashoah

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism