'Wiesel, you Zionazi!!'
Shocking footage: Ynet presents video of Iranian official verbally assaulting Elie Wiesel on eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day; member of Iran's official delegation to Geneva anti-racism forum seen screaming 'Zionazi' at Shoah survivor, Nobel laureate
Iranian disgrace in Geneva: A member of Iran's official delegation to the UN's anti-racism conference verbally assaulted Shoah survivor and Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel in Geneva, referring to him as a "Zionazi." The incident was captured on film by Sergio Wider of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The video features the Iranian official repeatedly screaming at Wiesel, who chose to remain silent and ignore the reprehensible comments.
Video: Sergio Wider, Simon Wiesenthal Center
In a conversation with Ynet, Wider said that while he was not surprised by such venomous display on the part of the Iranian delegation, the timing of the assault left those who witnessed it stunned. "We were shocked to see this assault on a Shoah survivor on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance day
, and ironically also on Hitler's 120th birthday," he said. "The Iranian president's sympathizers yelled 'Zionazi' at Wiesel, who was quite speechless following the incident," Wider said. "Nobody believed it happened, especially as Wiesel is one of the most well-known Shoah survivors and is greatly appreciated for his humanitarian work."
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who was also part of the Wiesenthal Center's delegation to Geneva, said Wiesel did not respond to the verbal assault, but was deeply affected by it, as was obvious by the speech he delivered later on. "I watched many of his speeches and I never heard him speak like this…he may be a Nobel Prize laureate, but he's still a Holocaust survivor, and coming to the UN on Holocaust Remembrance Day and going through this kind of experience was almost too much for him."
Israeli army chief Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi participating in a Holocaust memorial ceremony at Auschwitz. (IDF)
Israelis Remember the Holocaust
- JERUSALEM, Israel - Israelis throughout the country stood in silence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday as the siren sounded in memory of the six million Jews who perished at the hands of Germany's Third Reich, led by Adolph Hitler.
Traffic came to a standstill. People stood next to their vehicles, heads bowed.
Many contemplated the immensity of what had taken place when whole communities of European Jews were rounded up, loaded on cattle cars and shipped off to death camps, where some were shot to death, others gassed and tens of thousands perish from starvation and cold.
At Jerusalem's Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial, the day's ceremonies began as the two-minute air raid siren wound down.
Among the dignitaries at Yad VaShem were the president, prime minister, Knesset speaker, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) chief of staff, and the Supreme Court president.
Following the wreath-laying ceremonies, Israeli citizens read out the names of the victims, a tradition arising from the "Unto Every Person There is a Name" project, which has sought to document the names of every person who perished.
At the Knesset, the names of victims were also read out, a tradition now in its 20th year.
The theme of this year's memorial is the 1.5 million children who died at the hands of their Nazi captors.
At last night's opening ceremonies, broadcast live on radio and television, the six memorial torches, each representing 1 million Jews, were ignited by Israelis who survived the Holocaust
as children. Each one, including twin sisters, shared his or her story briefly.
Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post
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Welcomed by Switzerland - Ahmadinejad
The neutrality of evil
Hanoch Daum writes open letter to Swiss president in wake of meeting with Ahmadinejad
Greetings to the president of Switzerland:On this important day, we wanted to thank you, all of us, for bothering to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, and for choosing to share in our sorrow on this difficult day.
Your countrymen were generous people during the war, and they are also generous today. During the Holocaust, very few Jews managed to escape from Switzerland. In principle, you agreed to take in almost no refugee (being a neutral country and all,) and almost everyone who managed to get in was transferred to detention camps.
With your generosity, and with your famous neutrality, you stood at border crossings and attempted to capture anyone who arrived there, an act that constituted a death sentence. There were also children who made it to your
country, mostly from France. You were so nice to them that you put them in camps. You did not integrate them and you did not take care of them, but rather, you closed them off at camps, as if they haven't had enough of that.
Another facet of your kind character, Mr. President, manifested itself through the fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf was a popular book in your country at the time, often offered as a wedding gift (if I'm not mistaken, the book on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum is from Switzerland.)
You were so charming and neutral that assets from the Reich - Jewish assets of course, worth plenty of money - were deposited at your banks. Some of it, including securities and Judaica, are there to this very day.
You are certainly adorable and peace-loving people, Mr. President. For that reason, we were not surprised by the lovely gesture you organized for us Monday. The oh-so-creative idea to invite Iranian President Ahmadinejad to your country and grant him such respectable platform on Holocaust Memorial Day, in order to prove to the world that anti-Semitism has been eliminated, is a wonderful and original idea
It was truly wonderful to see how, using a clever ploy, you tempted this hateful person to come to Switzerland, just so you can tell the world in a clear voice: "A Holocaust can happen again and there are some people who have not yet given up
on the idea of exterminating the people of Israel. There are still states that deny history."
Yet what we failed to understand, Mr. President, is where this practical joke ends. That is, we saw your special meeting with that short and dangerous man, and we saw that Swiss representatives did not walk out when he spoke at the UN conference, and we wondered: When do you in fact intend to tell Iran's president that he is not really a respected guest in your country? When do you plan to tell him that he is part of a sophisticated public relations conspiracy that aimed to expose his real face to the world? Please keep us updated on this matter, so that we don't miss out on the happy ending.
Iran could produce first nuke in 60 days with 7,000 centrifuges working 24/7 – Western experts
DEBKAfile Special Report
April 21, 2009, 12:17 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iranian uranium enrichment leaps ahead
DEBKAfile's military sources cite some Western intelligence and nuclear weapons experts as predicting that Iran could turn out nuclear weapons some time in the next 12 months.
This estimate is based on Tehran's announcement that 7,000 centrifuges are in operation to enrich uranium. If all those machines were to work at top speed day and night, seven days a week, they could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb in 60 days, say some intelligence sources. According to American experts, given the current rate of the program's development, Iran will be in a position to manufacture as many as 60 nuclear bombs and warheads in 12 to 18 months.
This judgment was confirmed by Israel's military intelligence (AMAN) chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin in his latest briefing to the cabinet Monday, April 20. He reported that Iran is going all-out for enriched uranium from overseas to shorten the process.
Japanese sources recently reported that a North Korean boat shipped a large quantity to Iran earlier this year. According to the big-circulation The Nikkei, the North Korean vessel's hold carried a secret cargo of uranium highly-enriched to 50-60 percent. The ship set out for Iran in December, moving moved at a leisurely pace so as not to call attention from Western spy satellites, surveillance vessels and warships. Earlier this year, the illegal consignment was dropped at an Iranian port for transport to a facility near Tehran, according to the Japanese paper.
Yadlin noted that extreme economic crisis has not delayed Tehran's headlong nuclear progress or curtailed its designs on other Middle East countries – Hizballah's subversive activities in Egypt are not a lone instance. Inflation is officially put at 30 percent but is probably closer to 50 percent, while unemployment is deepening, yet Tehran upped the 2009 appropriation for its nuclear program by 15 percent.
Rather than translating the crisis into leverage for persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear objectives, the Israeli intelligence chief noted that the Obama administration has opened the door to dialogue with all the extremists of the Middle East, including Iran, albeit "with open eyes."
Iran, for its part, is accelerating its nuclear program, taking full advantage of the undercover communications with Washington which are aimed at gaining Tehran's cooperation for the US war effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama's charm offensive for radical rulers abandons Israel to Iranian threat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis
April 18, 2009
The new US president's dramatic global policy steps have easily dwarfed the knotty Israeli-Palestinian peace issue handed down from one US president to the next over decades. Barack Obama's outstretched hand to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Iran's best friend in the Americas, on April 17, at the summit of American leaders in Port of Prince, made the talk surrounding Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell's mission to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week sound eerily like voices from the past.
After talking to Mitchell, Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak tried the usual bromides: They protested that Jerusalem's ties with Washington and Jerusalem were as strong as ever and they would work together toward an agreed solution for the Palestinian problem.
But those words were lost in the black Iranian cloud hanging over the relations.
Barack Obama has set his sights and heart on friendship with the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their radical allies. The name and policies of the occupant of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem do not matter - any more than Tehran's determination to complete its nuclear weapons program in defiance of the world, or even its first A-bomb test in a year or two, for which intelligence sources report Tehran is already getting set.
Obama's Washington believes America can live with a nuclear-armed Iran – a decision probably taken first under the Bush presidency. But Israel cannot, and may have no option but to part ways with the Obama administration on this point. As a nuclear power, Iran will be able to bend Jerusalem to the will of its enemies, make it unconditionally give Syria the Golan plus extra pieces of territory, tamely accept a Hamas-dominated Palestinian West Bank louring over its heartland and let the Lebanese Hizballah terrorize Galilee in the north at will. All three would make hay under Iran's nuclear shield, while Tehran lords it over the region in the role of regional power conferred by Obama's grace and favor.
In no time, Israel would be stripped of most of its defenses.
Israel is not the only nervous country in the region. But Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is the only Middle East leader brave enough to stick his neck out, albeit with Saudi backing, and stand up to the Iranian peril, direct and through Hizballah.
He has also outspokenly criticized Washington's courtship of the revolutionary Islamic republic.
Cairo's Al Ahram Saturday, April 18, accused Iran, Syria, Qatar, Hizballah, Hamas, al Jazeera TV of a conspiracy to overthrow Egyptian government.
But the US president is not daunted by the radicalism or enmity of his new friends or the loss of old ones. At the Summit of All Americas, Obama greeted Hugo Chavez 24 hours after the Venezuelan ruler said: "The United States Empire is on its way down and will be finished in the near future, inshallah!"
Using the Muslim blessing to underline the wish for America's downfall was no bar to the smile and handshake; neither was Venezuela's recent severance of its ties with Israel for no provocation or its willingness to host a delegation of Hizballah (internationally branded a terrorist organization) in Caracas.
What is relevant to Obama is Hugo Chavez's role as co-architect of the joint Russian-Iranian campaign to displace American influence in the southern hemisphere. The US president has opted for winning America's enemies over with smiles and embraces rather than punishing them like George W. Bush.
Obama continues to woo Bashar Assad apace despite his blunt refusal to loosen his strategic ties with Tehran or stop supporting the Lebanese Shiite group because Hizballah is dedicated to fighting Israel, - as he is quoted as saying in the pro-Hizballah Lebanese publication al Akhbar on April 17.
For the first time in years, the administration this week sent a high-ranking delegation to Syria's independence day celebrations at Washington's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, headed by Jeffrey Feltman, former ambassador and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs.
The thaw in relations has gone so far that some Washington wags are calling Assad's capital "Syria on the Potomac."
The American storm besetting the Middle East leaves Israel's most vital interests way behind. The condition Netanyahu put before Mitchell for progress in peacemaking - that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state, which was instantly rejected by Palestinian Authority leaders – aroused scant attention in Washington or anywhere else.
As Netanyahu will find when he meets Obama in Washington early next month, Israel is no longer a prime factor in US global policy, because America has fundamentally reshuffled its Middle East allegiances and alliances. Even Tzipi Livni at the helm in Jerusalem would not divert Obama from his détente with Ahmadinejad, Assad and Chavez.
To gain points with his new friends, Obama's White House is not above nudging Israel to please them. This week, his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told Jewish leaders whom he met in Washington that if Israel wants America's help for thwarting Iran's nuclear program, it must first start evacuating West Bank settlements.
This was of course cynical claptrap.
Even if every single settlement were to be removed and Israel lined up with Obama's quest for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the US president would not drop Tehran or help Israel strike Iran's nuclear facilities. He has already ceded Tehran's uranium enrichment program (and therefore its drive for nuclear arms), and would forcefully oppose any Israeli military action. US defense secretary Robert Gates indicated as much this week when he went to almost absurd lengths to play down the Iranian nuclear threat and Israel's ability to handle it.
So what options are left to Israel at this juncture?
1. To bow under the Obama tempest until it blows over in keeping with the old proverb which says that trees bowing in the wind remain standing. This would entail going along with US acceptance of Iran as a nuclear power. The question is will Israel's trees still be standing when the storm has passed and, if so, in what strategic environment?
2. To follow the example set by Likud's first prime minister Menahem Begin in 1981. He stood up to Ronald Reagan's fierce objections and sent the Israeli Air force to smash the Iraqi nuclear reactor before it was operational. Saddam Hussein never rebuilt the facility. By following in Begin's footsteps before it is too late, Netanyahu would change the rules of the game regionally and globally.
(The London Times reported from Jerusalem Saturday that the Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government. Two civil defense drills have been scheduled to prepare the population for missiles that could fall on any part of the country without warning.)
3. Israel could go for a more modest target, one of Iran's faithful surrogates – Syria or Hizballah – to warn Washington that a larger operation is in store for their boss. If the Gaza offensive against Hamas last January was meant to send this message, it failed. Hamas is still the dominant Palestinian power and Barack Obama was not swayed from forging ahead with his policies of rapprochement with Iran and other radical world leaders.
srael's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials could face legal action in Norway over the Gaza offensive after six Norwegian lawyers said Tuesday they would accuse them of war crimes.
The lawyers, who plan to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, said they will call for the arrest and extradition of Olmert as well as former Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers.
Under the Norwegian penal code, courts may hear cases involving war crimes and other major violations of human rights.
The lawyers released a statement accusing Israel of "massive terrorist attacks" in the Gaza Strip from December 27 last year to January 25, killing civilians, illegally using weapons against civilian targets and deliberately attacking hospitals and medical staff.
"There can be no doubt that these subjects knew about, ordered or approved the actions in Gaza and that they had considered the consequences of these actions," the lawyers' statement said.
It also said the lawyers were representing a number of people living in Norway.
"It involves three people of Palestinian origin living in Norway and 20 families who lost loved ones or property during the attack," one of the lawyers, Kjell Brygfjeld, told AFP.
When questioned on the chances
of the case reaching court, fellow lawyer Harald Stabell said: "If we do nothing, it is more likely that a similar attack will happen again in the future."
"In our eyes, the political aspect is less important than the preventive aspect," he added when asked if the move could hinder Norwegian diplomacy in the region.
Israel's embassy in Oslo said they were unaware of the lawyers' attempt to bring the war crimes charges and couldn't immediately comment