a different side of Israel

Tag: Poland


Rafal Betlejewski, a Polish performance artist burned down a barn in the central region of the country in a commemoration of the July, 1941 Jedwabne incident.

In this deadly pogrom, in the presence of Nazi German Ordnungspolizei, approximately 340 Jewish people were locked inside a barn and burned alive by gentile Polish nationals.

Betlejewski said:

“Poland is a completely different country than it was 80 years ago when there was a big and significant Jewish minority, which participated in Poland’s cultural, social and scientific development…These people are gone after the Holocaust and later waves of emigration, and I miss them more and more. This performance is addressed to Poles first and foremost, to those ignorant who know nothing about Jews’ input in Poland’s history.”

A typical shtetl, consisting of 757 Jewish people, that is 61.9% of the town’s total population, Jedwabne was established sometime during the 18th century.

More than 1,000 people were present to witness the barn burning ceremony.

Betlejewski read out the names of people who sent in their thoughts and left their notes inside a barn rebuilt outside of the town of Zawada. He poured petrol inside the structure and lit it.

As the wooden bar went ablaze, the Polish artist rushed out of it.

So today I think of the pressure on the Jewish Country to give up its settlements in the Golan Heights and in east Jerusalem.

I think of Helen Thomas’s recent comments; and I think of the post-Nazi Kielce pogrom on July 4th, 1946 when a false tale of child kidnapping and blood libel allegations resulted in the murder of 39 Jewish Poles.

Let us never allow it to happen again and let us never forget.

Am Israel Chai…

War! No More

War No More!
This last summer I went to a rock concert in Poland (got there with a German train, how creepy is that?). The opening act was trying to warm up the rain-splattered audience, and the front man began shouting, for no apparent reason, “No more war!” The Polish guitarist in the band was asked to translate this phrase into his mother tongue, and the singer began to happily chant the line, only in a somewhat shortened version, omitting its first part… WAR!!! The crowd went berserk.

It was definitely not the first time I’d heard this word combination. Being an Israeli, it’s all too familiar, and I must admit – even a bit sickening. Now that this issue is less explosive, that almost all our soldiers are back from Lebanon, that there’s peace in the Middle East (ha, you’d wish!)… anyway, I think that now, along with the different committees investigating into the recent war and the renewal of enthusiastic calls for peace, we should pause and look around us with eyes open wide, with optimistic naïveté, as appealing as it may be, left aside – at least for a moment or two.

Without getting into the specifics of the recent war in our area, or of any other war, and without even trying to find the justifications for it or to refute any suggested, something that strikes me about anti-war lobbying is the blindness of self-proclaimed pacifists. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not promoting war, hatred or violence, being personally unable to kill a fly, really. I’m just saying: enough with those empty declarations. Shouting “No to war – Yes to peace” has absolutely no meaning in the real world, where innocent people are being killed, where innocent young children are raised in hatred and trained to sacrifice themselves for something they don’t fully understand, if at all.

Let’s try these first: FIGHT ignorance, STOP brainwash, BATTLE against hatred. On both sides, sure. Everywhere.

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