“Where was I during the Holocaust?” my father—a widower, living in an assisted-living apartment—asked during a recent Skype call with my brother.
My brother and I knew very well where he had been during the Holocaust; we’d heard stories since we were children. But now that my father has been diagnosed with progressive dementia, “Never forget” has often turned into “I can’t remember.”
From an early age, I knew my father was a survivor. I knew how he and one of his two brothers made it through the war fighting the Germans as Jewish partisans in the Belorussian forest. Dad always talked about the war years. He’d spend hours around the kitchen table after dinner, drinking tea with my mother and their friends; or a little vodka with his landsmen with names like Yisroel Chanowitz and Judah Yungelson, talking loudly in Yiddish about how they survived and others had not.
Every social construct exists solely because at some point it was a political declaration made by a social movement. One glaring example was the anti-slavery movement which eventually became the abolitionists. Even as the political potential of the abolitionists, they were mostly members of a faction within the Whig Party and when the Whig establishment refused to be rushed into opposing slavery openly and politically the abolitionist movement became the Republican Party and the rest is, as they say, history. For every social movement there is eventually made a political declaration which more often than not begins in one party. From humble beginnings often come greater results and this becomes even more likely when the social movement can claim the moral high ground through respected spokespersons lending their names and reputations being place amongst the ranks of the early movement.
In the brief history of Israel there have been a…
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Britain votes on its future relationship with the European Union on Thursday, and Boris Johnson has put forward a passionate appeal in today’s paper to voters on why they should “take back control of this great country’s destiny” by voting to Leave, which he says would “change the whole course of European history”. “If we vote to stay then I am afraid the whole EU caravan carries blithely on; and when I think of the champagne – guzzling orgy of backslapping in Brussels that would follow a Remain vote on Friday, I want to weep. We must not let it happen,” he writes.
Meanwhile the Remain camp has been buoyed by public support trickling back their way in the polls, with Opinium putting both sides neck-and-neck again. That doesn’t mean Europhilia has broken out among voters, as David Cameron still suffered a tough time last night on the BBC’s Question Time referendum special. One audience member accused him of pandering to EU leaders and being a “twenty-first century Neville Chamberlain”, which drew an passionate response from the Prime Minister, who compared his fight to keep Britain in the EU to Winston Churchill’s battle to win World War 2. Churchill, he said, “didn’t quit – he didn’t quit on democracy, he didn’t quit on freedom”. He also admitted that he has “got to do better” in the final days of the campaign to convince voters of the case for staying in the EU and suggested that there will need to be tougher immigration controls if Britain stays in the bloc.
MPs are coming back to Westminster today as Parliament has been recalled so they can pay tribute to Jo Cox. “Of course it is right to mourn Mrs Cox without regard to party or political opinion,” writes Charles Moore in today’s paper. “But it is wrong to react to her death by taking as many days as possible out of the few that remain in this vital referendum campaign. As so often in the history of attempts to keep us in the EU, this causes a feeling of bad faith, which would create further division if Remain were to win.”
The Prime Minister will be pleased this morning to see that one of his former ministers Sayeeda Warsi has joined Sarah Wollaston in abandoning the Brexiteers in favour of the Remainers. Baroness Warsi cited Nigel Farage’s poster last week depicting Syrian refugees coming to Slovenia under the slogan “breaking point” as part of her reasoning for shunning the Leave camp, telling the Times that it was a “step too far”. However, he may be feeling rather nervous about Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance tonight on Sky News, taking questions from young people on the referendum. You can follow our liveblog of today’s events here.
The Labour leader’s last media appearance – on Andrew Marr’s show yesterday – saw him admit that Britain can’t have an “upper limit” on immigration “while you have the free movement of labour”. He may have been dealing in his beloved “straight-talking, honest politics”, but that’s not the Remain script. “No wonder some Leave campaigners joke about Mr Corbyn as their secret agent working for Brexit,” we say in our leader. “If Britain does vote to leave the EU this week, history may record that Mr Corbyn helped bring about our departure.”
Anti-Semitism isn’t new to the UK Labour Party, and its recent anti-Semitic outbursts shouldn’t surprise anyone. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered an “independent inquiry” into the party’s anti-Semitism. Douglas Murray, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Gatestone Institute, explains in the video below how Labour’s anti-Semitism problem starts at top of the party, and why this inquiry won’t solve anything.
Immorality among women is causing a river in Iran to dry up, according to a senior cleric from the Islamic Republic
Seyyed Youssef Tabatabi-nejad, who leads Friday prayers in Isfahan, encouraged the country’s morality police to crack down on ‘improper veiling’ and suggested women’s immodest clothing was having an impact on the environment.
In a sermon this week, he said: “My office has received photos of women next to the dry Zayandeh-rud River pictured as if they are in Europe. It is these sorts of acts that cause the river to dry up even further,” ISNA News Agency reported.