Oh my. Controversy.
I expect that after reading the title, many people will get all huffed and puffed, go into the "he is an anti semite!" mode, report me to the relevant authorities, and leave it at that.
What, you are still here? Err, good I guess...
The title of this post is the same one that professor Norman Finkelstein gave his book. The book was controversial, because it dealt with a very controversial subject.
The Holocaust Industry.
Finkelstein quoting The Jewish Week 03/02/2006:
In the eyes of Leo Rechter, president of a local survivors group, the lawyer appointed by the court to represent needy survivors in the distribution of the $1.25 billion Swiss bank settlement was really the judge's lawyer, not theirs.
Rechter, of Hillcrest, Queens, said attorney Burt Neuborne fought the American survivors "every step of the way" as they sought a larger share of the settlement money. And he contends that Neuborne consistently maintained he was working without a fee.
So Rechter was aghast when Neuborne asked the court to pay him nearly $4.1 million of the settlement money for his fee — $1 million more than all needy U.S. survivors have received thus far from the settlement.
"They said the settlement was in trouble and that it was unclear if they could make it work," Neuborne recalled.
Neuborne said other class-action settlements "fell apart" because of difficulties in distributing the settlement.
An alliance of survivors' organizations has challenged Neuborne's fee request, and Neuborne last week asked that Korman hold a hearing so he can justify the 8,000 hours he said he worked on the case over the past seven years.
Neuborne insisted that from the start it was made clear that he would be paid from interest money generated by the settlement.
This is just one example.
Again, Finkelstain's webpage, quoting Haaretz:
Minister for Pensioner Affairs Rafi Eitan is seeking to reopen the 1952 reparations agreement between Israel and Germany.
Eitan, the minister in charge of the talks with Germany on reparations for Holocaust survivors and retrieving Jewish property, intends to discuss the matter with the German finance minister when he comes to Israel in two weeks' time.
Eitan told Haaretz that the original reparations agreement, the Luxembourg Agreement, did not take into account many issues relating to Holocaust survivors and should therefore be reopened. That agreement stipulated that Germany would give Israel $833 million in money and merchandise, and Israel would look after the survivors, who would not be permitted to sue Germany directly.
A state comptroller's report on the treatment of Holocaust survivors, released this past August, said that in the 50 years between 1954 and 2004, the government had spent some $3.5 billion on the survivors, more than four times the sum transferred by Germany.
The Luxembourg Agreement also failed to take into account the arrival of many additional survivors to Israel. "Nobody thought that 175,000 Holocaust refugees from the former Soviet Union would come to Israel," Eitan said. "That changed the entire picture, even if the Germans aren't interested."
A senior German Foreign Ministry source told Haaretz that Germany would accept some of the Israeli demands, and that Merkel had instructed officials to handle the matter "sympathetically." However, the German treasury wants to avoid setting a precedent by reopening the reparations agreement.
Oh yeah, one more quote from the article:
"The German deputy finance minister rejected the idea, and Eitan told him: "So just give us the money," Der Spiegel reported."
Holocaust Industry in full bloom. Moral extortion. Despicable.
Lets give voice to Raul Hilberg, the most distinguished historian on the Nazi holocaust, best known for his classic three-volume study The Destruction of the European Jews.. Amazon also claims "The Destruction of the European Jews is widely considered the landmark study of the Holocaust. First published in 1961, Raul Hilberg's comprehensive account of how Germany annihilated the Jewish community of Europe spurred discussion, galvanized further research, and shaped the entire field of Holocaust studies."
Swiss National Radio (SBC-SSR) on 31 August 2000 by Roberto Antonini:
"Q: Professor Hilberg, generally speaking would you agree with Professor Finkelstein when he denounces the American Jewish organizations and some class-action suit lawyers for "extorting" money from Europe in order to let's say "make a killing"?
Raul Hilberg: I would in substance agree with what he says because I have said much the same things myself and the methods of the World Jewish Congress and some other organizations or people allied with it in his campaign I feel are detestable. I don't subscribe to them. In sum and substance I agree with what Finkelstein says.
Q: Don't you believe that this book could be dangerous, that it could be used by some anti-Semitic extremists, by some neo-Nazi groups for anti-Semitic purposes?
Raul Hilberg: Well, even if they do use it in that fashion, I'm afraid that when it comes to the truth, it has to be said openly, without regard to any consequences that would be undesirable, embarrassing."
Berliner Zeitung , September 4, 2000 by Eva Schweitzer.
"Q: Norman Finkelstein accuses US Jewish institutions - in particular, the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) - of extorting moneys in the name of "needy Holocaust survivors." Is this criticism shared by others?
Raul Hilberg: Finkelstein criticizes the Jewish organizations as an outsider. However, there are also conservative Jews who oppose the reparation payments, and there is also criticism that money is not distributed to survivors, for example, in Commentary , the periodical of the American Jewish Committee. In the September 2000 issue, Gabriel Schoenfeld called the present situation concerning reparations a "growing scandal".
Q: But Finkelstein himself is a non-person in the USA.
Raul Hilberg: Yes, because it is held against him that he compares the fate of the Jews with the Palestinians, who were expelled by the Israelis. American Jews can*t stand that."
So, we have people, organizations and a nation that is getting paid millions and millions of dollars (or billions, if you think about the Swiss Bank case), using moral extortion.
But wait - this is for the good of Holocaust survivors, so ultimately this is for a good cause?
Not so fast there hombre.
There is a distinct lack of money for the Holocaust survivors, according to the israelinsider magazine. So what is the lot of Holocaust survivors in Israel, for whom all this money is supposedly going? From the article: "A study this year showed that 40 percent of them live below or just above the poverty line, defined by the government as $400 a month per person."
Again, from the Israeli Insider article: "Eli Yosef, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, said his agency gives about 7 million Israeli shekels ($1.5 million) to the foundation each year. He would not say whether that would be increased to save the threatened programs.
The foundation has received a $36 million budget for the coming year, the same as the previous year, Arbel said, but as survivors age, their needs have become more critical and the costs of assisting them rise. He said the average age of Holocaust survivors is now 80."
This was in 2006.
Which is interesting, as the article from the year of 2000, from Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted on Finkelstein's webpage, states: "NEW YORK, Aug. 29 (JTA) Since 1996, Jewish groups and their lawyers have gone to the mat with the likes of the Germans, the Swiss and the French, extracting $9 billion in restitution for the evil wrought in Europe by Nazi forces and their collaborators."
This money was won in international courts to be paid directly to the Holocaust survivors in Israel. And surely, Israel would not cheat Jews of their money?
Seems that is so. It appears that the Holocaust survivors have not suffered enough, and the money... well, they don't deserve it.
The foundation board will be made up of representatives of various Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivor groups and the Israeli government. Among the ideas floated are funding Jewish and Holocaust education, restoring Jewish communities in Europe or building Holocaust museums and memorials, said Elan Steinberg, WJC's executive director.
"The Nazis sought to wipe out not only the Jewish people, but Jewish communities and Judaism itself," Steinberg said.
"Obviously, this has been 50 years too slow. But I think the issue we have to address, are now forced to address, is to ensure that how these residual assets are used reflects the best interests of the Jewish people as a whole."
Many Holocaust survivors vehemently disagree.
While they support the general need for education, commemoration, documentation and research, they believe there are more pressing needs: health care for the 250,000 survivors worldwide, including 130,000 in the United States. An estimated 1,000 survivors die each month.
"Yes, money should be spent for Jewish education and culture, but that is the obligation of klal Yisrael of all Jews," said Roman Kent, a survivor who serves as chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and vice president of the Claims Conference.
"But to me, this money has one specific purpose: All of it should go to the survivors. As long as there are still survivors who are old and sick and needy, they are the first obligation."
"Of the $1.25 billion from the Swiss banks, $200 million went into a humanitarian fund for the 250,000 Jewish survivors around the world. Lump-sum payments ranged from $500 to $1,400. In the United States, nearly $30 million was allocated to more than 60,000 survivors, or $502 apiece."
Uh.....what? So what happened to the $770 million that was left? We have accounted for the United States, we have accounted for the rest of the world... so whats left? So where did the $770 million go? The Jews living in outer space?
What am I missing?
Perhaps we are not counting the Jews in Israel proper. But, remember, "Eli Yosef, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, said his agency gives about 7 million Israeli shekels ($1.5 million) to the foundation each year." You can do the math if that's the case - $770 million, at a rate of $1.5 million, will last how long?
So why is there no money left in Israel to give to poor old concentration camp survivors? Somebody explain it to this goy? Maybe my math is all wrong? Seriously, somebody explain this to me.
"Lump-sum payments ranged from $500 to $1,400. In the United States, nearly $30 million was allocated to more than 60,000 survivors, or $502 apiece."
Wow! For suffering in a concentration camp, working as a slave laborer making weapons for German Army in WW2, starving, shivering from cold, being medically experimened upon, you get 500 bucks. Wow, I am underwhelmed...
Also from the article, what is interesting is that the money won by the Holocaust Industry is broken down thusly: "According to Steinberg, France has committed to $700 million; Holland, $400 million; German insurers, $350 million-plus; various settlements for stolen artwork amount to $200 million; Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali, $150 million; Norway, about $70 million; and Great Britain, roughly $50 million."
Which is interesting, because while France's Vichy state took an active role in rounding up Jews (non French Jews) and handing them over to the Germans, Holland has an immaculate record in World War 2: in fact to protest the deportations of Jews from Holland, the Dutch organized a The 1941 February strike to protest those actions. So why does Holland of all countries pay $400 million....?
But I digress.
From the article again: "Holocaust survivors and their advocates say the stolen property and assets lost did not in fact belong to "the Jewish people as a whole," but to European Jewish communities and individuals. Furthermore, they say, it is the survivors, and they alone, who are entitled to decide the spending priorities, not the groups that negotiated on their behalf.
Their side was incensed by an Aug. 22 Reuters report stating that "for the past five decades" groups such as the WJC and Claims Conference "have been designated as the heirs of the six million people killed by the Nazis."
While survivors say this reflects the attitude and arrogance of these groups, Steinberg told JTA that Reuters got it wrong. He reiterated that "the Jewish people are the heirs of Jewish assets.""
The Jewish people are the heirs of Jewish WW2 Holocaust reparations, but the survivors do not get the money. Because the "Jewish People" in this case means World Jewish Congress and Claims Conference. They know better what to do with all that money.
But do not worry, Holocaust survivors. The Israeli government is on the case!
The joyous news is the "Israeli government offer of a new $20 monthly stipend for Holocaust survivors".. This is from Finkelstein's, quoting AP from 07.31.2007:
Survivors have long claimed that European countries treat them far better than Israel, where many elderly survivors live in poverty. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement of the new allowance did nothing to change that impression. One survivor called the offer "absurd and insulting."
Six decades after the war ended, the remaining survivors are elderly, and many have been unable to provide for themselves in their final years, suffering chronic shortages of money for medical and psychological treatment and in some cases even food.
Israel TV showed video of an 85-year-old survivor who said the only meat he could afford was chicken necks.
I am an atheist, and it may offend some people, but as a reaction to that, let me just say Jesus Fucking Christ!