HOW ARE WE?

A good question for both Jews and Arabs in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Feldstein

In case you missed it, just over a week ago Israel suffered back- to-back terror attacks during Shabbat (the Sabbath) leaving seven dead and several more injured, some seriously. I was grateful for the many friends reaching out from all over the world, anxiously enquiring how we were. This has happened before, so my response was to write a series of updates of “How We Are”.

Taken by Terrorism. Only 14 years of age, Asher Natan, one of the victims of the terror massacre in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood. (Courtesy)

Palestinian Arab terror in Israel is not unique, and in the past year it’s been on the increase. However, there was something particularly disturbing about these recent attacks. Part of the reason that terror attacks like these can take place is that Jerusalem is a mixed Jewish/Arab city, roughly two thirds and one third respectively.  Jews and Arabs interact widely with virtually no impediments. It’s the norm to see Jews and Arabs shopping together, working together, on public transit, in the hospitals as patients and medical personnel, and much more.  So an Arab in a Jewish neighborhood is not new, and rarely suspicious. 

Of course, all this debunks the lie of Israel practicing Apartheid against Arabs, but that matters little to Israel bashers when it’s Jews being attacked and killed!

For a few days at least, the attacks were an explosive topic of conversation. Terror attacks don’t take place every day.  The norm is the intermingling of Arabs and Jews more than a terror attack, though the threat of an attack exists all the time. Nevertheless, these shook up many Israeli Jews maybe because:

–   they took place on Shabbat, the day of rest or

–   of the relatively high number of casualties or

–  the bigger attack took place outside a synagogue  or

–  one of the Arab terrorists was just 13!

No Kidding! Out to kill, this was the gun used by a 13-year-old Palestinian in a shooting attack near Jerusalem’s Old City on January 28, 2023. (Israel Police)

And then again, maybe because for months now, there’s been a steady wave of terror attacks leaving dozens of Israelis dead and wounded, and each one takes its toll and tension is compounded. 

In addition to being in the news in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the attacks were the inescapable subject of many individual conversations.

Of course, there is the grief for an among the families of the victims, that played out on national media in ways that were very personal and heart wrenching. And then there immediately followed the inevitable exchanges of conversations, discussions and questioning between friends and colleagues. In speaking with one friend who works in a setting where many Arab and Jews work together, there was a sense of tremendous stress. My friend didn’t know whether her Arab colleagues were celebrating the deaths, or whether any of them might be the next terrorist to attack, either at her place of work or somewhere else. A colleague who noted that her demeanor was not her normal friendly engaging self, asked if she was okay. She opened up candidly. They discussed their mutual stress and concerns. What is noteworthy is that my friend is an Israeli Jew, and her colleague who expressed concern is a Palestinian Arab.

Another friend expressed tremendous tension in her academic setting which also has a demographic mix of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. On any average day, it was not uncommon for her to engage in intense conversations with her Arab colleagues; sometimes leading to understanding, while other times to prickly friction. But this was no ordinary day!

Driven to Kill. 21-year-old Alqam Khayri, the suspected gunman in a Jerusalem terror shooting on January 27, 2023, that killed seven people, is seen in an undated photo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Social media)

On the day immediately following the terrorist attacks, my friend reported that there was very little interaction between the Arabs and Jews.  The Arabs largely kept to themselves speaking in Arabic rather than engaging their Jewish peers. The same was true with the Jews who were fearful and even angry that terrorist attacks take place at all, much less are celebrated with candy and cake being distributed in Arab communities.

Probably thousands of conversations like this took place with the undertone from an Israeli side that incidents like these make us feel unsafe even around Arab colleagues and peers with whom we interact regularly. In the news the same week, an Israeli Jewish woman reportedly protested being put in a maternity ward room with an Israeli Arab woman. Tension is thick.

Two days after the attack, I was pulling into a gas station to fill up my car. Ahead of me was a brand-new Mercedes E200 convertible.  Stunning.  It also had green and white Palestinian Authority license plates. At the pump, I commented to its owner, whose name I leant was Mohammed that he had a beautiful car.  He smiled proudly.  I asked him how much it cost. Also with pride he responded:

300,000 shekels.” 

That’s about $90,000.

I posted this interaction with a picture of the car on my social media, noting that despite the myth used to blame Israel for an array of suffering of Palestinian Arabs, not all Palestinian Arabs are poor refugees. This attracted a range of comments from calling Mohammed a terrorist (after all, where else would he get the money), and calling me out for playing on anti-Arab stereotypes.  I pushed back, sorry that anyone would read that into my comments, but that in this case, I tried to poke a hole in some of the misperceptions that people have about Israelis and their relations Palestinian Arabs.

Often, when people have biases, they cannot consider anyone else’s position.  That’s too bad. I also noted that it was too bad that my critics missed the human moment of me engaging Mohammed and his proud response. It’s easy to overlook and disregard the part about the Orthodox Jewish Israeli “settler” initiating a civil human conversation with a Palestinian Arab over his prized motor vehicle. 

Conversing over a Convertible. Despite the tension and suspicions following terror attack, this brand-new Mercedes E200 convertible caught the attention of the writer to engage with Mohammed its proud owner at a gas station.
 

My conversation also debunks the misperception that there’s apartheid here; that Jews and Arabs don’t and can’t get along and that we dehumanize them. Someone unaware, or unwilling to be honest, would be surprised at the frequency of civil interaction and basic human respect and decency that really is the rule even where I live in the Judean mountains.

Despite the very real tension that people were naturally feeling in the wake of the Shabbat terror attacks that left Jews dead and injured, the personal engagement as I encountered, continues. How are we? It’s complicated.



About the writer:

Jonathan Feldstein ­­­­- President of the US based non-profit Genesis123 Foundation whose mission is to build bridges between Jews and Christians – is a freelance writer whose articles appear in The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Townhall, NorthJersey.com, Algemeiner Jornal, The Jewish Press, major Christian websites and more.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

IHRA’s SUCCESS AND DIFFICULT DILEMMA

By Dr. Efraim Zuroff

(First appeared in The Times of Israel)

This week we observe International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp as mandated by the United Nations in 2005. If there was initial skepticism regarding this initiative, especially in countries which already had designated their own memorial days linked to the dates of important local events in the history of the Shoah, like Israel for example, I think that by now there is general approval for the need for an international memorial day observed all over the world on the same date. Thus one day can be devoted primarily to mourning, while the other day can be reserved for dealing the very important political issues which relate to the causes which led to the Shoah, and particularly anti-Semitism.

Tackling Antisemitism. An international leader today in Holocaust education, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) was established in May 1998 in Stockholm by then Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.

One organization which has accurately recognized the connection between the Shoah and its anti-Semitic roots, and is trying to uproot the latter, is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has become one of the most important groups promoting Holocaust education throughout Europe, North and South America, and Israel. IHRA was founded in May 1998 by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, who was shocked by a survey which showed that many Swedish schoolchildren lacked knowledge of the Holocaust, as well as his visit to the site of the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany. Originally named the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, Germany and Israel joined the initiative the same year as its first members.

Today, 35 countries are full members of IHRA, and 10 additional countries have Observer status. IHRA is playing a major role in a variety of areas connected to Holocaust commemoration, Research and education, as well as in combatting anti-Semitism. And in fact, its most outstanding contribution has most probably been its adoption in 2016 of its Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, which according to the Combat antisemitism Movement has been endorsed/adopted until the end of 2022, by a total of 1,116 entities, among them:

– 39 countries

– 464 non-federal government entities

– 339 educational institutions, and

– 274 NGO’s and organizations.

The definition, unlike various other descriptions of anti-Semitism, covers all the existing variations from right and left, including those focused on Zionism, and which unfairly single out Israel for criticism, which are often overlooked or ignored.

Truth be Seen. While Croatia’s parliament in 2018, passed legislation barring public access to archive materials on individuals aged 100 and over, in effect serving to silence research into Croatia’s wartime government’s collaboration with the Nazis, the photos speak for themselves. Seen here are Ustasa (Croatian fascist) soldiers about to kill a Jew with a dagger and bayonet in Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1944.
 

There are, however, various problems which plague IHRA’s activities. The first and foremost is that resolutions must be approved unanimously by all the member countries, but there are no consequences for those countries which do not implement them. The most disturbing example has to do with the issue of Holocaust distortion, which is rampantly prevalent in the post-Communist “new democracies” in Eastern Europe. In those countries, they do not deny the Holocaust, but they hide or minimize the highly significant role played by their nationals in the mass murder of the Jews, and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes thereby deflecting attention from their crimes and focusing attention on their suffering.

Thus in 2020, IHRA issued a Ministerial Declaration which addressed the issue in unequivocal terms as follows:

“We accept our responsibility as governments to continue working together to counter Holocaust denial and distortion…We will continue to work closely with experts, civil society and our international partners to further these goals.”

Croatian Cruelty. The bodies of Jasenovac prisoners floating in the Sava River between August 1941 and April 1945 – the Victims of Ustasa (Croatian fascist).

Another declaration under the heading of: “Leading global efforts to counter Holocaust and distortion,” specifically mentions:

 “a shocking increase in efforts to minimize the impact of the Holocaust and downplay the crimes of the Nazi regime and its collaborators. This trend, in which Holocaust distortion inches toward the mainstream, erodes our understanding of the historical truth of the Holocaust and fuels antisemitism.”

IHRA has even created a tool kit against distortion, and the German Presidency launched a global task force against Holocaust distortion which was given an extra-budgetary contribution. In addition, a global campaign to raise awareness about Holocaust distortion was launched, using slogans such as:

#Protect the Facts”  and  “#Say No To Distortion

Past preferred to Bury. Ustasa (Croatian fascist) camp guards at Yugoslavia’s Jasenovac concentration camp, order a Jewish man to remove his ring before being shot.

The problem is, however, that the same countries which are the worst offenders when it comes to distortion, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania cannot be punished, or expelled from IHRA. They remain members in good standing, and continue to deny the highly-significant role of their local collaborators in the murders. Thus, ironically, Croatia, a country which suffers from a significant proportion of Ustasha (Croatian fascists) supporters will ascend to the Presidency of IHRA, despite serious problems of Holocaust distortion ever since they became independent from Yugoslavia.



About the writer:

Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center’s Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs.






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

SOUTH AFRICA DARING TO DISCRIMINATE

As president of the BRICs bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in 2023, should the ANC government  not exercise moral responsibility and apply foreign policy consistently?

By Rowan Polovin National Chairman, South African Zionist Federation 

(First published in Business Day)


Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, is fundamentally concerned with one international issue over all others, what she calls “the ongoing flagrant abuse of the human rights of Palestinians” which, in her view places “a moral responsibility on South Africa to act.”

It is remarkable that Pandor is able to command such exclusive action from the ANC government over a territory smaller than our beloved Kruger National Park, whilst remaining deafeningly silent to the cries of Ukrainians last year and numerous other serious human rights issues in Africa and around the world. Moreover, she blames Israel for the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and absolves all responsibility and agency from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. 

Dressed to Discriminate. While consistently failing to condemn Russia’s barbaric war of aggression against the Ukrainian people costing the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor – feeling most at home in a Palestinian headscarf – will always rush to virulently denounce the Jewish state following any clashes between Israel and Palestinians.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and the South African public, should hold Minister Pandor accountable for her statement. Indeed our government certainly does have a moral responsibility to act decisively to assist global communities when it comes to the protection of human rights. Especially when they are being abused at a rate that only South Africans could begin to comprehend. 

The United Nations has confirmed that 170 deaths were recorded as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2022. While the loss of innocent lives on any side of a conflict is tragic, the vast majority of those casualties were Palestinian militants. By contrast, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, over 6 900 people were killed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. It is estimated that 408 of these fatalities were children.

 
This is utterly devastating, and we are no strangers to this level of violence in South Africa, where over 7000 citizens were murdered in just the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year. Tragically, over 550 of those deaths were children, according to the national crime statistics report as released by Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, last year.  

But, of course, it is easier for the government to deflect attention someplace else. 

Rampant Crime, Misguided Ministers. Nonthando Booi holds a picture of her murdered niece, Siphokazi Booi. While more than 7,000 people were murdered over three months (July-September) in 2022 in South Africa, the government prefers to deflect public attention elsewhere, like on the Middle East.  (Photo Kaylynn Palm / Action Society)

South Africa’s foreign policy appears to be singularly limited to Israel-bashing. This position prevents our country from playing any meaningful role in finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The ANC government’s obsession with Israel also precludes us from benefiting from the changing landscape of the Middle East and Africa. The Abraham Accords, where peace and normalisation has been achieved between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Morocco and Sudan here in Africa, has effectively ended the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

More countries in the Middle East and Africa could follow suit in 2023. The Negev Forum working group recently concluded groundbreaking meetings between these countries, focusing on food security, water technology, clean energy, tourism, health care, education, coexistence and regional security. Does South Africa want to be left out in the cold, and lose out on the advantages of these strategic partnerships?

The Outsider. While initiatives like the Negev Forum Working Groups hosted by the UAE on January 9-10, 2023 in Abu Dhabi with senior officials from the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE, and the US discussed opportunities to advance initiatives that “encourage regional integration, cooperation, and development, for the benefit of their populations and the wider region that include initiatives to strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people,” South Africa opts to be left out in the cold and lose out on the advantages of strategic partnerships.

Back home, our foreign policy decisions are irrational. Last week, ANC International Relations Committee Chair, Lindiwe Zulu, confirmed that the ANC had resolved to simply not take sides in the Russia-Ukraine war. She added that it would also be supporting China in its dispute with Taiwan. But the ANC went further. Its January 8th anniversary statement of this year calls on Western governments to end sanctions on global human rights abusers such as Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. The ANC has a remarkable willingness to be on the wrong side of history just so long as it retains its Cold War friends.

The ANC could be positioned to act as mediators between warring factions, people and states, given its own experience of great pain and suffering at the hands of a political authority that abused South African human rights in ways we are only beginning to come to terms with today. The collective trauma suffered by millions of South Africans should have left us at war with one another for decades – and yet, under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela, the ANC was able to do something fundamentally extraordinary. It shifted people’s perceptions of one another, in a way that enabled us to see beyond any illusion, that we are all South Africans and that this territory is home to everyone residing within its borders. Different religions, traditions and languages were not barriers to our social cohesion – but rather a celebration of our diverse, yet collectively shared humanity.  

South Africa’s political leadership changed the trajectory of the conflict present in our country. And as such, our country is in a strong position to assist other states with doing the same. But when Minister Pandor turns a blind eye to almost all international human rights violations to discriminate over Israel, one cannot help but wonder what has happened to the ANC and its international credibility. 

If the abuse of human rights is the starting point for Pretoria’s commitment to assist foreign states with local causes, where is the South African initiative on Ukraine or many other conflicts closer to home? Will we stand by idly while Russia continues to put hundreds of Ukrainian children in early graves? Why have we not seized the opportunity to become world leaders in changing perceptions and illusions that alienate human beings from one another? 

Blind Sided. While photos like this of death and destruction in Ukraine that will likely lay the groundwork for future charges of war crimes against Russia, South Africa’s ANC government prefers to look the other way, advocating instead “to not take sides” in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Our country should seek to apply its foreign policies with uniformity, and show a degree of courage and leadership at the same time. South Africa holds the Presidency of BRICS in 2023 – will we use this position of leadership to hold Russia and others to account? Or will the ANC government continue to pick and choose its moral responsibilities based on its nostalgic political relevance of yesteryear?




About the writer:

Rowan Polovin National Chairman, South African Zionist Federation 







While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

UN’SAVOURY

UN representatives downplaying terror when perpetrators are Palestinian and victims are Jews

By David E. Kaplan

Words, words, words,” was Hamlet’s reply to Polonius’ question,

What do you read, my lord?”.

By repeating the word three times, Hamlet suggests that what he is reading is meaningless.

Jews can never afford that luxury of dismissing ‘words’ as “meaningless”!

Take the relatively innocuous word “scuffle”. It seems such an insignificant word; hardly worthy of any analysis or concern.  Generally speaking, if reported that there had been somewhere a “scuffle”, one might just as likely ignore the news item.

Yet its usage earlier this month was anything but insignificant and harmless. On the contrary, it exposed blatant antisemitism at high echelons of the United Nations that warranted a summons to Israel’s Foreign Office.

The individual so summoned was the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process- Tor Wennesland.

Blind to the Truth. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace ProcessTor Wennesland, described a Palestinian terrorist attack as a “scuffle” and criticised the Israeli policeman who thwarted the attack.

After Palestinian Ammar Hadi Mufleh and two male accomplices failed in their attempt to carjack an Israeli couple on the 2 December 2022, they then tried to grab an Israeli police officer’s rifle, stabbing him before the officer responded by shooting Mufleh dead. The stabbing and shooting can be seen clearly on security camera video footage.

Terrifying Truth. Seeing it as a “scuffle”, UN ignores footage showing Ammar Mufleh trying to grab the police officer’s weapon during the struggle.

While this was a clear premeditated terrorist attack only thwarted by the  quick action of the Israeli police officer, this was not the way the UN’s Wennesland saw it.  Soon after the failed terrorist attack,

Wennesland, who not only should have known better but in fact did know better –  tweeted that he was :

horrified by today’s killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mufleh , during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier near Huwara in the occupied West Bank. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family. Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated and those responsible held accountable.”

On a Knife-Edge. The knife used by Amar Mufleh in his “scuffle” with Israeli border police on December 2, 2022.

A ”scuffle”?

Displaying no concern for the victims – only “heartfelt condolences”to the attempted killer’s family – how about the UN’s “horrified” Wennesland being “investigated” and held “accountable”?

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanual Nachshon had it right when he tweeted that Wenneland’s remarks are:

a total distortion of reality” explaining that:

“This incident is a major terror attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in his face and the life of another police officer was threatened and consequently he shot his assailant. This is NOT a ‘scuffle’ – this is a terror attack!”

This devious twisting of facts exposing bias, prejudice and antisemitism is systemic within the United Nations. Not to be outdone by Wennesland, another UN official joined the fray expressing support for terrorist attacks on Israel. Addressing a Hamas conference in Gaza following the terrorist attack, Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories said:

You have a right to resist occupation….Israel says, ‘resistance equals terrorism’, but an occupation requires violence and generates violence.”

Fran’kly Speaking. A strong critic of Israel’s right to exist or defend itself from missile attacks, Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories who compares Israelis to Nazis, addresses the UN, October 2022. (Photo: Screenshot)

Is this not the UN legitimizing and giving green light to violence against Jews?

If the UN has a nefarious track record when it comes to the Jewish state,  Israel also knows how to respond.

When on the 10 November 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution equating Zionism with racism,Chaim Herzog, Israel’s current State President’s father  – then Israeli Ambassador to the UN – responded concluding with these words:

For us, the Jewish people, this resolution based on hatred, falsehood and arrogance, is devoid of any moral or legal value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper and we shall treat it as such.”

Standing Tall. A resolute Chaim Herzog, Israel’s then Ambassador to the United Nations, addressing the General Assembly in 1975 following the iniquitous resolution equating Zionism with racism. (Photo/Michos Tzovaras)

With that Herzog – before the eyes of the world –  tore the resolution in half.

In further response to that iniquitous UN resolution, the street names of “UN Avenue” in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were switched to “Zionism Avenue“.

Whether thwarting terrorism or antisemitism, Israelis today are STREETSMART!



Chaim Herzog’s Speech in Opposition to U.N. Resolution Equating Zionism With Racism






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

A MATTER OF HONOUR

By Michael Kretzmer

My film J’Accuse! includes several lists. There’s the  80-name list of the Lithuanian murderers of my family in Birzai (50 were neighbors); there’s the epic, disputed and mysteriously buried Melamad List of the 21,000+ Lithuanian murderers who mercilessly destroyed the great Jewish civilization of Yiddish Lithuania; there’s the list of the glorious 918 Lithuanian Rescuers, people of unimaginable moral courage who will forever be honored in Jewish memory; and finally there’s the list of Litvak Jews who almost pleased their mothers and changed the world. 

You know, there were so many world famous Litvak writers, doctors, scientists, intellectuals, humorists, Nobel winners, activists, artists and Torah geniuses that it takes about three minutes to roll the names in the film, and then at some speed. And these were only what Wiki yielded – just last week I learned that the late great Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the man who changed my own life, was Litvak through his mother. 

Lithuania Uncovered. Originally published in hardcover as ‘The Nazi’s granddaughter’, award-winning journalist discovers that her grandfather, the legendary and heroic Lithuanian “General Storm” executed by the Russians was a Jew-killing antisemite.

Any other People or nation on earth would boast about this until the cows came home. But not us, not the Jews. We kvel (bursting with pride) furtively, privately, fearfully. I know my ‘List of Brilliant Litvaks’ induces a significant wave of ethnic buttock clenching:

Okay, already! Very nice but do you have to be so… public?! So boastful! Especially these days! (Here’s the glorious Jackie Mason on the subject) 

I had no choice. My film J’Accuse! is perhaps above all a demand for Jewish Honour. So the list is in, and proudly so. And from what I gather, the Yidden are loving it. Good. We should be proud and stand tall, especially when confronted by deliberate insult.

The Noreika insult beggars belief. Let me summarise: the Lithuanian government, via its Orwellian Genocide Centre, has manufactured a crude mythology based on lies in order to hero worship a notorious mass murderer, thief and polemical antisemite. Jonas Noreika murdered as many as 14,500 Jews in conditions of unimaginable cruelty and his guilt has been known for decades. Most recently Noreika’s own extraordinary granddaughter, Silvia Foti, has axiomatically blown apart the pathetic denialists in Vilnius. Her book, Storm in the Land of Rain and her devastating  testimony in the film J’Accuse!  has left them looking naked, nasty and ridiculous. 

Researched Reveal. Silvia Foti promised her dying mother she would write about her grandfather, Lithuania’s celebrated war hero and anti-Soviet partisan, Jonas Noreika. However, her research found something unexpected – that he was a Nazi collaborator responsible for the deaths of at least 8,000 Lithuanian Jews, including family of the writer.

That’s their problem. I am more concerned by the Jewish response to this demand for Honour. Why does Honour matter so much? It matters, primarily, because Torah matters. It matters because Jewish ethics and concepts of justice matter. It matters because Jewish Lithuania – that phenomenal, extraordinary civilization – matters. It matters because every human life matters. It matters because Jews, and Jewish civilization, and Jewish survival matter. 

And it matters because of the deranged cruelty with which we were annihilated. These are among the Jews Jonas Noreika dehumanised, imprisoned and murdered.

The rabbis and old men tied to horses by their beards and dragged to death for public entertainment.

The young girls of Plunge dragged from their homes and raped to death in drunken parties in the woods, then dismembered.

The 74 high school girls from Plunge tricked into a Christian conversion then mockingly executed along with everyone else and thrown into a pit

The old, frail men burned or beaten to death in the Demon Dance drinking game

The men, women and children of Plunge starved for three weeks in their own synagogue amid the stench of rotting bodies and human waste, then massacred.

Please imagine if these victims were Black. Or Irish. Or American. Or Muslim. Or anyone who has pride in their identity. No other nation on earth would accept such an insult.

But we Jews accept this Lithuanian insult with barely a murmur of protest. Worse still, important players in our community gobble up their trinkets, gongs, favours and God knows what even as they carry on brazenly holocaust-lying to our faces. Do these important Jews bring up the subject of Noreika and Silvia Foti at all? Do they feel it is unimportant? And precisely on whose behalf do they talk? Anything to say, AJC?

Bridge over Troubled Water. Where once there was a thriving Jewish community in Biržai – including family of the writer – today there is this memorial bridge across water in Astravas grove – the exact site of the death pits in which hundreds of Jewish were buried. Made from sheets of metal that have etched into them 522 names of the known victims, each accompanied by a Star of David – little ones for children and larger ones for adults – the memorial bridge was designed by South African architect Dr Joseph Rabie, whose great grandparents were from Biržai.

Honestly, many of us simply cannot understand it. Perhaps someone with close ties to Lithuania can explain and of course we will listen respectfully. But patrician silence is no longer an option: the devastating testimony of Silvia Foti in her forensic book Storm in the Land of Rain and in the film J’Accuse! make this an urgent discussion. 

It comes to this: do the Jewish People  support the holocaust truth-teller or the Holocaust liar? 

In my view there really is no choice. If we do not honour ourselves, no one will. And who could possibly blame them? 


J’Accuse trailer




About the writer:

Bulawayo born, Michael Kretzmer, a former travel writer for the Sunday Times and director/producer for the BBC and other once important media organisations, a keeper of chickens and grower of fruit and veg, a student of Torah, a Husband, Dad and “Grandad of the greatest kid that was ever born”…and a man determined to fight for justice in Lithuania.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

YE-DOLF UNHINGED

Kanye West or Ye as he now prefers to be called has engaged in a diatribe against Jews that even has white supremacists aghast

By Rolene Marks

Have you ever watched or listened to something in the media and asked yourself, is this real? Am I imagining this? Surely this cannot be happening? Those were the sentiments expressed in my home last week when reluctantly (and without the benefit of imbibing something alcoholic) my husband and I ventured near Kanye West’s latest diatribe against the Jews – this time on Info Wars, hosted by poster-child for the far-right, Alex Jones. Infowars is reportedly banned from most platforms; but clever sleuthing by my husband and The Jerusalem Post, it was found.

Devil’s Debate. Kanye West, Alex Jones, and Nick Fuentes during an Infowars livestream on December 1, 2022. (Infowars/Banned Video/Global News)

It has taken me a few days to be able to put down in writing what I heard because what Kanye West, who calls himself Ye, spewed was so abominable, so offensive that I was momentarily stunned into silence.

Why did we watch, you ask. Morbid curiosity? Gluttons for punishment? Content for my radio slot the next day? All of the above.

Ye, wearing a full face mask to show his support for shamed fashion house, Balenciaga but really just looking like an extra from an ISIS kidnap video, appeared along with white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who made headlines when he accompanied him to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Trump last week. Balenciaga is shamed for adverts that feature children and looking dangerously close to promoting paedophilia.

A veritable triumvirate of antisemites.

Heading Hate. The new high-profile faces of antisemitism in the USA –  Kanye West or Ye (l) and Alex Jones (Photos by Paras Griffin/Getty Images and Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

Ye had everyone in his sites – from Benyamin Netanyahu to commentator, Ben Shapiro and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) as well as any Jewish businessman who had told this overgrown tantrum-riddled toddler, no.

But it was this comment that really went beyond the extreme. The artist formerly known as relevant, began to praise Hitler.

You’re not Hitler, you’re not a Nazi, you don’t deserve to be called that and demonized,” Jones told Ye.

Ye, who I shall now rename, Ye-dolf responded:

Well, I see good things about Hitler also. I love everyone,” Ye said in response, “And Jewish people are not going to tell me you can love us, and you can love what we’re doing to you with the contracts, and and you can love what we’re pushing with the pornography” while also condemning Hitler, he added, saying “you can’t say out loud that this person ever did anything good, and I’m done with that.”

Sign of the Times.  An image integrating the Swastika with the Star of David posted by Kanye West to Twitter before his suspension, December 2022 (screenshot)

Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye continued. “Also Hitler was born Christian.”

As the show headed to a commercial break, Jones told Ye he had a “Hitler fetish,” to which Ye responded, “I like Hitler.”

Ye also said he does “not like the word evil next to Nazis” after Jones pushed back on some of his comments, saying, “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis. We gotta stop dissing Nazis,” he said.

Jones laughed in response, saying, “Well, I have to disagree with that.”

When a shill for the far-right feels uncomfortable with these types of comments, well, you may have a problem.

Still wearing his mask, Ye then spoke about his political aspirations. No, I am not making this up!

He spoke about approaching former President Trump about being his running mate in the 2024 elections and said this about being rebuffed:

They want to separate and confuse the Christians and make us afraid to stand next to each other, because Jesus can save everyone, but if the Zionists can get us so afraid that they’re going to do what they’ve been doing to me. … You put on the whole armour of god, and they will not be able to break your spirit.”

Hatemongers. Nick Fuentes (l) at a rally with right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones (r), made numerous antisemitic remarks on Jones’ InfoWars show including, “I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.” (Zach Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty)

As Jones was visibly uncomfortable and Fuentes watched with a grin, Ye pulled out a bottle of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink and a small net he indicated represented Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, mimicking him in a high-pitched voice saying, “We have to control the history books. We have to control the banks. And we have to go and kill people.”

He didn’t stop there. He accused Rahm Emmanuel of “controlling Barack Obama”.

It went from worse, to well, worse.

Rapper gone Rouge. Appearing on the Alex Jones “InfoWars” show with Nick Fuentes, Ye (formerly Kanye West), said “I like Hitler” and also asserted that Hiller had “redeeming qualities” and “didn’t kill 6 million Jews.”( Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

The artist formerly known as popular was condemned by most. I was following journalists tweeting as he spoke and many of them expressed the same sentiment – this level of hatred was so bad, that they were visibly uncomfortable and horrified.

Good. They must be. For years Jews have been sounding the alarm about rising antisemitism and it has fallen on uninterested ears. Twitter mogul Elon Musk has suspended Ye’s account for posting offensive imagery:

Antisemitism is now at a tipping point. We have said it before and will say it again – this is not the tirade of a man in the throes of a breakdown. Ye has a history spanning several years of antisemitic comments, deftly buried by his influence. Oh the irony! And they say we Jews don’t understand irony…….

Where do we go from here? One thing is for sure, we cannot be complacent or silent anymore. Commentator, Jordan Peterson, weighed in on Ye’s comments, saying that Jews are the canary in the coal mine and this is a sign of the “hell” to come.

Friendly & Frightening. Wildly welcomed at a ‘Make America Great Again’ rally, Nick Fuentes has “jokingly” on livestream denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps “to cookies in an oven”

Like him or not, Peterson is correct. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. Are we prepared? The alarm bells are no longer ringing – they are clanging. Ye said he was going “DEATHCON 3 on the Jews”. Well, he has gone full nuclear.

He may be unhinged with hate – but we have to be very aware of his influence on many who still sadly, support him. We cannot afford not to be.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

RUSSIA’S ‘DENAZIFICATION’ LIE AND THE WHITEWASH OF ROMAN SHUKHEVYCH

Journalist charged with spraying ‘Actual Nazi’ on a statue in Canada highlights Ukraine’s distortion of its complicity in Nazi crimes

By Dr. Efraim Zuroff and Prof. Per Anders Rudling

(First published in The Times of Israel)

Police in Edmonton Canada recently brought charges in the vandalization of a monument honoring Roman Shukhevych located near the city’s Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex. In December 2019, someone wrapped the Shukhevych statue in red tape and scrawled “Nazi scum”, on the memorial. Two years later, it was again defaced, with the inscription “Actual Nazi”, while “Nazi Monument 14th Waffen SS” was spraypainted on a memorial to “The Fighters for Ukrainian Freedom” in a local Ukrainian cemetery.

Crime Cover-up in Canada. The monument to Roman Shukhevych, a Nazi henchman who sided with Germany, has stood at the entrance of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in North Edmonton, Alberta, since the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of John-Paul Himka)

According to Edmonton police, the culprit was a local left-wing journalist, Duncan Kinney, who carried out these acts before “breaking” these scoops on his outlet, “The Progress Report”, described on its website as a “platform for reporting and analysis of Alberta’s politics, social movements, and media.” Earlier this month, Kinney appeared in court on a charge of vandalism and may also face an additional count of “mischief to religious property.”

Killer Command. The Nachtigall Battalion (1941) that Roman Shukhevych commanded .

The accused vandal’s identity has drawn a great deal of attention – less so the fact that the monuments do indeed honor mass murderers. At the outset of Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941, Roman Shukhevych commanded the Nachtigall Battalion, a volunteer unit operating under the orders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), as a subunit commanded by the German Abwehr special operations unit. In other words, he was an actual Nazi collaborator.

His OUN-dominated military formation served in German uniform, and its soldiers participated in the brutal Lviv pogrom. In 1942, Shukhevych commanded the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201, a Ukrainian auxiliary police formation serving under Heinrich Himmler’s Higher SS and Police Leader (Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer, HSSPF) which carried out brutal pacification operations in Belarus. From 1943, after defecting German service, he served as supreme commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which carried out systematic massacres of Polish and Jewish civilians.

Leader of the Pack. Ukrainian Nazi German Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201 with Roman Shukhevych (sitting, second from left), 1942. (PD via Wikimedia)

Following the popular revolutions in 2004-05 and 2013-14 against pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukrainian government invested significant efforts in the rehabilitation and glorification of Roman Shukhevych, together with Stefan Bandera, both leaders of the OUN whose men were actively involved in the mass murder of many thousands of Jews and other innocent civilians, primarily Poles.

This kind of historical distortion came back to haunt Ukraine when Russian President Vladimir Putin spun his web of disinformation to justify waging war. In February, Putin declared that his country was going to invade Ukraine to “denazify” the country. He did not elaborate on what he meant by this accusation, but it was met by almost universal ridicule or at least serious skepticism. Not only is Ukraine a democratic state that has had several democratic power transitions, but in 2019 it elected a Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Yet like many other East European post-Communist states, Zelensky’s predecessors pursued memory policies that sometimes clashed with the facts of the Holocaust. In particular, local collaboration in the Holocaust has remained the rawest of nerves in post-Soviet Ukraine. An undigested past, combined with the rehabilitation of historical actors involved in the Holocaust plays into Putin’s hands as he seeks to grossly misrepresent democratic Ukraine as a neo-Nazi state. It is a reminder that the failure to engage candidly with the difficult episodes of the past carries political liabilities.

March of Madness. Ignoring his brutal Nazi past, far right extremists in Ukraine march in honor of Roman Shukhevych in 2017. (Photo: Screenshot)

Countries afflicted with this tendency do not deny that the Holocaust took place, rather, they create a selective version at odds with the historical record. They do this by spinning a false narrative of the events of the Holocaust to downplay or outright erase the highly significant role played by local collaborators in the implementation of the “Final Solution.” While the situation differed across the region, in many parts of Eastern Europe collaboration included participation in systematic mass murder.

There is also an attempt to equate Communist and Nazi crimes, often by “inflation” – not only in the use of the term “genocide”, but also in overstating the victim tally. Moreover, this use of competitive suffering often emphasizes the role played by Jewish Communists as a way to counter inquiries into local participation in carrying out the Holocaust.

These countries glorify the activities of those who fought against the Soviets and turn them into national heroes, even if these individuals actively collaborated with the Nazis in annihilating Jews during the Holocaust.

Eventually, there is pressure for a memorial day for all the victims of totalitarian regimes (Nazi and Communist), which blurs these distinctions and render International Holocaust Memorial Day redundant.

Depending on its history during the Shoah (Holocaust), each post-Communist Eastern European country has its own unique version of Holocaust distortion that determines which aspects they emphasize and cultivate.

In some cases, the narrative adopted by a country has been developed during the Cold War by activists in their respective diasporas. These expat communities are strongly influenced by radical nationalists, many with a history of collaboration during World War II, who fled to escape prosecution by the Communists. Thus the Ukrainian community in Canada has had a significant influence on the Holocaust narrative adopted in Kyiv, and actively fought against the efforts of the Canadian government to prosecute Shoah perpetrators who emigrated to Canada. Ukrainians constituted one of the most numerous and politically organized ethnic communities in Canada; their vociferous opposition to denaturalization and deportation is a key factor in the abysmal failure of the Canadian government to successfully deport alleged Nazi criminals.

Irate Israeli. In January 2021, Israeli envoy in Kiev, Joel Lion, lambasted the city council of Ternopil for naming a rebuilt soccer stadium “after the infamous Hauptman of the SS Schutzmannschaft 201 Roman Shukhevych” and demanded “the immediate cancellation of this decision.”

In Canada, however, the glorification of Shukhevych had begun long before the demise of the Soviet Union. The Edmonton monument lately in the headlines was erected in 1973 by the League for the Liberation of Ukraine, a front organization of the Bandera wing of the OUN, partially funded by Canadian taxpayers as part of the Canadian policies of multiculturalism, introduced by Liberal PM Pierre Trudeau in 1971. That defaced monument to “The Fighters for Ukrainian Freedom” was erected by the “Brotherhood of the Former Combatants of the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army” (the name the 14th Grenadier-Division der Waffen-SS adopted in the final days of World War II before surrendering to the British), in 1976.

From Killer to Heroe! Stepan Bandera, revered as a hero in Ukraine for leading the country’s independence movement, called in the 1940s to ‘destroy’ Jews. (Wikimedia)

In light of Shukhevych’s biography, these monuments are deeply troubling.

The outcome of the vandalism case remains to be seen. Many in the Ukrainian Canadian community treat Shukhevych as a hero, and themselves as victims of hate crimes, lamenting that their community has endured Nazi labels and insisting this was part of the disinformation campaign by the Russians. Shukhevych’s biography and the role of the OUN and UPA during the Holocaust show that such claims are spurious.

Needless to say, the distortions do not justify Russia’s current criminal war of aggression against Ukraine, but they are a reminder of how manipulations of the historical record carry political liabilities.

Russia’s current war crimes call out for an open, candid, and honest engagement with war crimes, to prevent their distortion.



About the writers:

Dr. Zuroff is the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center’s Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs.

Prof. Rudling is Associate Professor of History in Lund University (Sweden), as well as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow (2019-2024)





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

NATO 2023 IN LITHUANIA: RIFE WITH POLITICAL PITFALLS 

With the shadow of the Shoah, NATO heading for an unseemly summit

By Grant Gochin

(First published in “The times of Israel)

One of the greatest public relations catastrophes of President Reagan’s tenure was his May 1985 visit to a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, that contained numerous members of the Waffen SS. Today, nearly four decades later, the visit is still remembered with anger, confoundment, and mostly for American embarrassment.

NATO has announced that the next meeting of its member heads of state and government will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12, 2023. There are, unfortunately, obvious parallels to Reagan’s “goodwill” visit to Bitburg.

Capital Crimes. The next meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government will take place in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on 11-12 July 2023. Seen here are the NATO and Lithuanian flags (Photo / E. Genys/LRT)

In World War II, and primarily in the second half of 1941, about 200,000 Lithuanian Jews – about 96% — were systematically expelled from their homes, robbed, starved, tortured, and brutally murdered primarily by ethnic Lithuanian death squads euphemistically referred to auxiliary “police” units. Lithuania does not acknowledge the fact that most of the mass murderers were ethnic Lithuanians. To the contrary, Lithuania in many cases has elevated the stature of many of those who led the Lithuanian Holocaust, arguing that they were anti-Soviet. This itself is an echo of the Nazis canard conflating Jews with communism.

During this NATO summit, the government of Lithuania will likely take the heads of state and delegations to four locations often displayed to visiting dignitaries:

– The “Genocide Museum”, a unique institution in the world that is premised on the contention that ethnic Lithuanians -rather than Jews – were the primary victims of genocide in the 20th Century

 – The Antakalnis Cemetery, their National Cemetery

  – The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

– The Tuskulėnai Manor 

Sparks Storm. A group of demonstrators stand outside the U.S. Embassy on May 5 1985 in Tel Aviv to protest US President Reagan‘s visit to the Bitburg military cemetery where some 50 SS soldiers are buried. (AP Photo/Max Nash)

Lithuania will characterize these locations as mere sites of national historical importance, hoping to deceive naïve foreign leaders. Yet, by giving the honor of their presence to any of these four sites, the foreign leaders are exposing themselves to scandal, embarrassment, and a public relations disaster akin to President Reagan’s Bitburg calamity of 1985. The problem is easily avoided by NATO dignitaries sidestepping these sites:

1.THE GENOCIDE MUSEUM   

Part of the former KGB building in Vilnius now houses “The Museum of Occupations and Battles for Freedom” formally (and informally) known as Lithuania’s Genocide Museum. This is a primary nationalistic tourist attraction. The exterior walls of the museum are inscribed with the names of people sentenced to death by the Soviet regime and executed at the Tuskulėnai Manor house in Vilnius.

Honouring Murderers. Many of the names engraved into the exterior wall of the Genocide Museum in Vilnius dedicated to members of the Lithuanian resistance who were murdered, imprisoned or deported by the Soviet Union from WWII until the 1960s include those of Holocaust perpetrators.

The organization in charge of the museum and for national commemorative policy, the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania (Genocide Center), is best described as Lithuania’s center for Holocaust fraud and fictional history. Indeed, the center’s Lithuanian name translates into English as something quite different – the Center for the Study of the Genocide of Lithuanian Residents and Resistance. This Lithuanian title suggests that ethnic Lithuanians were the victims of genocide – even though there was no systematic mass-murder of ethnic Lithuanians in the 20th Century – and that Lithuanians “resisted” some authority. Did the Lithuanians resist the Nazis? No, they collaborated with the Nazis to a greater extent than any other people in Europe. And after Lithuania regained its independence, it threatened to prosecute Jews who fought against the Nazis.

The Lithuanian government has repeatedly been exposed as promoting Holocaust revisionism. Indeed, for this specific reason, some international academic institutions have terminated their interactions with Lithuanian state-sponsored historical-revision institutions. Lithuania pretends that it is objectively seeking the truth. The record shows quite the opposite. They have gone to great lengths to devise artifices suggesting that Holocaust perpetrators were not involved in the Holocaust. This effort would no doubt win the praise of Goebbels in the Nazi era and is comparable to today’s Kremlin disinformation factories.

Many of the names engraved into the exterior wall of the museum are those of Holocaust perpetrators. This makes the museum a shrine for honoring murderers of Lithuanian Jews as well as those who played no role in the Holocaust. Under growing international pressure, the Genocide Center now vaguely concedes that there are “problems” with some of the names engraved into the museum wall.

In October 2019, the then-director of the Center, Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė said three of the names were complicit in Holocaust crimes. These three were:

  • Antanas Gerdvilis [1]
  • Bronius Jakunskas [2]
  • Petras Jurkus [3]

Burauskaitė omitted others, most notably Jonas Noreika, the murderer of up to 14,500 of Lithuania’s Jewish citizens. The Lithuanian government has now rewritten his history to portray him as a rescuer of Jews. Also omitted is the name of a notorious Holocaust perpetrator whose grandson, Darius Semaška, was Lithuania’s prior ambassador to Germany.

Wall of Shame. The memorial plaque to Jonas Noreika-Vėtra – “a mass murderer of the Jews of northwestern Lithuania” – at the WROBLEWSKI LIBRARY OF THE LITHUANIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES in Vilnius. / BNS

Joseph A. Melamed, a Holocaust survivor from Kovna (Kaunas), Lithuania, who became a Tel Aviv attorney, devoted many years to identifying the Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators. In a 1999 publication he identified 5,000, but added that the number of Lithuanians “directly involved in acts of genocide” is estimated to total 23,000.[4]

For decades, the Lithuanian government has promised to research and publicize the names of the perpetrators and, more generally, remedy the situation. But this remains unlikely. In 2012, the museum gave to the government a list containing the names of 2,055 supposed perpetrators, but the list was never made public by the museum or the government. A government deputy minister later denied having received the list.

And then-museum-director Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė herself subsequently said that after studying the list for three years, her organization eliminated approximately 1,000 suspects.

The list of perpetrators has now shrunk to a mere 200. The research on this group was due to be completed by the end of 2020. It was not.

In April 2021, Genocide Center historian Rytas Narvydas tried to justify the delay by saying that work had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Narvydas stated that “103 biographies out of almost 200 have been studied.” At the same time, he conceded that the pace of the study was clearly insufficient. He explained that the problem was that only one person was assigned to perform the research, and that that person could only research between 10 and 12 biographies per year. At this rate, the Genocide Center will need another decade or more to complete their ”study” of just 200 individuals. They have over 100 employees, so the rhetorical question to be asked is why has only one person been assigned to this task?

Arvydas Anušauskas, who is now Lithuania’s Minister of National Defense, was the previous head of the Genocide Center. While there, he oversaw rampant Holocaust revisionism. Among other things, he claimed there had been “exhaustive” research into names engraved  on the exterior wall of the Genocide Museum, and declared that none were Holocaust perpetrators. Anušauskas is a nationalist ideologue who has little to no use for “uncomfortable” facts. His self-described “exhaustive” research apparently was unable to take notice of the Holocaust crimes of Jonas Noreika. This is consistent with Lithuania’s track record of ignoring what Lithuanian perpetrators did during World War II.

When NATO foreign leaders visit the Genocide Museum or the Genocide Center, they will be visiting a shrine of perpetrator veneration. To honor such a shrine would display a profound disrespect to Holocaust victims and give credence to Lithuania’s studied inversion of facts.

Sharing space on the wall are the names of also Nefiodovas[5], Gylys[6], Andriuškevičius, Griška, and Paškevičius.

Foreign leaders should not “pay their respects” to the museum that honoring perpetrators. This is worse than Reagan’s benighted visit to Bitburg.

2. ANTAKALNIS CEMETERY

Antakalnis Cemetery is Lithuania’s national cemetery. The Lithuanian government takes visiting dignitaries to view the graves of its national heroes. Most recently, they took the Queen of Belgium to the cemetery.

The Lithuanian Government will almost certainly fail to inform visiting dignitaries that the cemetery likely contains Holocaust perpetrators whom Lithuania deems to be national heroes.

NATO protects Lithuania from her Russian enemies on the premise that Lithuania adheres to the same values as Western democracies. Yet, clearly, Lithuania does not hold the same values. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other allies would never honor those who committed the mass murder of innocent civilians. NATO dignitaries must be mindful of this and try to avoid embarrassing themselves and the nations they represent.

Grave Injustice. While the Lithuanian government takes visiting dignitaries to view the graves of its national heroes and will likely take next year’s NATO delegation, what is unlikely is that they will inform of the Holocaust perpetrators amongst its “national heroes”.

3. WROBLEWSKI LIBRRARY OF THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF LITHUANIA 

The exterior of this building displays a plaque honoring the genocidal mass murderer of the Jews of northwestern Lithuania – Jonas Noreika. Noreika‘s crimes are well known and have been exposed by his own granddaughter in her non-fiction work, The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal (2021).

Many governments, organizations, and individuals have voiced their staunch disapproval of Lithuania’s disingenuous efforts to deny the culpability of Jonas Noreika. Among those are the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the U.S. Congress and State Department, Lithuania’s own Presidential Commission, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Congress, and others. Given the volume of condemnations by major institutions, as well as the American, German, and Israeli governments, it is patently obvious that Lithuania’s government is deeply involved in Holocaust denial.

NATO delegations should avoid this location so that it is clear that they do not endorse the honoring of a known Holocaust perpetrator.

4. THE TUSKULėNAI MANOR

On the grounds of the Tuskulėnai Manor is the burial place of approximately 767 Lithuanians who were executed by the Soviets. Among those were many Nazi criminals who were members of the “Ypatingasis būrys” (“Special Squad”), a Lithuanian death squad that operated in the Vilnius Region. Also buried here are members of Rollkommando Hamann, a small mobile killing unit composed of 8 -10 Germans and several dozen local Lithuanian collaborators who traveled throughout the Lithuanian countryside in the second half of 1941.

Menacing Manor. While the grounds of Tuskulėnai Manor is the burial place of approximately 767 Lithuanians executed by the Soviets, less revealed to visitors is that among these were members of a Lithuanian Nazi death squad that operated in the Vilnius Region.

Lithuania deems all who were executed by the Soviets to be  “victims” and does not distinguish war criminals of the worst kind from those who were bona-fide heroes. By conflating them, Lithuania honors perpetrators. NATO should not.

NATO officials and state visitors will have no ability to avoid monuments and honors for Holocaust perpetrators in Lithuania. These monuments are everywhere.

Lithuania should not dupe NATO representatives into unconsciously paying respect to Holocaust perpetrators. If they will not be honest about their history, it is nonetheless incumbent upon the NATO delegations to understand Lithuanian duplicity.

For NATO members to pay respect at monuments for Holocaust perpetrators is to taint the mission of NATO, and question the naïveté of the countries they represent. After all, there will be much press in Vilnius during the summit and the world will see where the delegations pay respects.

Lithuania has made its fraudulent Holocaust positions clear many times, over many years, and in many forums. Even if Lithuania now tells the truth, it has been such a long term effort to bring them to truth, it would be impossible to now consider Lithuania telling truth as voluntary or sincere. They fought it too hard and for too long.

Lithuania themselves hold the key to the problem they have created for NATO. If Lithuania sincerely, honestly, and comprehensively state the details of who, what, when, where, why, and how, the country can move forward over time.

NATO is too critical for our own protection. They should not have been dragged into this Holocaust denial morass.



With gratitude to Evaldas Balciunas:

[1] A member of the June 1941 pro-Nazi “uprising,” a police officer from Alanta, Lithuania, who administered stolen Jewish property and was a Holocaust perpetrator.

[2] An alderman of Kalvarija, Lithuania, who arrested Jews, compiled lists of Jewish families, and seized their property.

[3] He took part in executing so-called Soviet activists in the town of Švėkšna, where the majority of the population was Jewish, and later administered property stolen from the Jews.

[4] Lithuania Crime & Punishment, January 1999 Edition, p. 5.

[5] In April 1941 – two months before the Nazi invasion of Lithuania – Vladimaras Nefiodovas was the commander of the underground pro-Nazi unit in the Kaunas suburb of Petrašiūnai. He was tried by the Soviets for criminal activity and convicted in 1945. At his trial he testified that his unit arrested 50 “loads” of Jews. Presumably, these Jews were among the 125 Jews of Petrašiūnai who were murdered in Petrašiūnai on August 30, 1941.

[6] Pranas Gylys was tried and convicted by a Soviet court for Holocaust crimes. He was sentenced to death and executed in 1946.




About the writer:\

Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo. He is the Emeritus Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations, and Emeritus Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty five years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which mapped / inventoried / documented / restored over fifty abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries. Gochin is the author of “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”, published in 2013. His book documents his family history of oppression in Lithuania. He is presently working on a project to expose the current Holocaust revisionism within the Lithuanian government. Professionally, Gochin is a Certified Financial Planner and practices as a Wealth Advisor in California, where he lives with his family. Personal site: https://www.grantgochin.com/





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

OCCUPIER BARBIE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF IHRA

Antisemitism needs to be defined in order to effectively combat this irrational hatred

By Rolene Marks

I was promoted recently. Not content to just call me “Zio racist”, “beneficiary of Apartheid in South Africa because you are white and beneficiary of Apartheid in Israel because you are Jewish”, social media keyboard haters, the Media Review Network (MRN) conferred a promotion on my Zionist self. According to them, I am now “Chief Hasbara Agent”. It is a great pity that my new title doesn’t come with a salary commensurate with such an illustrious promotion but c’est la vie.

You may be asking yourself while reading this, what I am trying to say.

It is no great secret that antisemitism is at alarming levels and that social media platforms are fomenting this ugly, ancient hatred. Social media has given keyboard warriors ample opportunity to spew their venom. As it has in generations before, antisemitism has taken on a new iteration – this time in the guise of anti-Zionism.

Let’s be frank – deciding that out of all the nations in the world, only the Jewish people have no right to a national liberation movement called Zionism that speaks of our return to our ancient and ancestral homeland, IS racist. As demonstrated in the tweet above, denying Jews the centrality of Zion and Israel to our Jewish identity is also antisemitic.

Flaming Hatred. Anti-Israel animus transitions into antisemitism that includes drawing analogies to the Nazis, declaring Israel a racist – and thus illegitimate – endeavor, holding it to standards expected of no other democratic state, and holding Jews collectively responsible for its actions. 

I was once called “Occupier Barbie” as an attempt to diminish my gender and my Zionist identity. While I do have to recognise the originality in coming up with nickname like this, it also speaks to the kind of abuse and insult doled out to Jews on a daily basis. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – and not nearly as vile as some of the more bilious comments we receive. In recent weeks, it appears as if a tsunami of hatred has been unleashed on Jews around the world in every possible iteration.

Why Did Nobody Tell Me That Barbie Is Jewish?!

We thought that we had raised the alarm effectively enough in previous decades to warrant a definition of antisemitism. It was soon recognized that in order to effectively combat this ancient and irrational hatred, it would have to be defined within clear parameters.

The result was – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This is the accepted, international gold standard by which antisemitism is defined and has been adopted by nearly 40 countries and countless cities, civil society organisations, NGO’s, universities, institutions, business and more – including English Premier League Football/soccer.

IHRA makes it clear exactly what is – and isn’t antisemitic.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The above definition does not state that criticism of Israeli policy is antisemitic. Criticising policy is democratic – it is also the national sport of Israelis – but it does clearly define anti-Zionism as antisemitism.

It would appear that there are many who are triggered by IHRA. In recent days, Hollywood actor, Mark Ruffalo and others including the UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, have railed against the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Is it because it holds a mirror to their anti-Zionism and their attempts to sneak in their antisemitism in through more nefarious ways?

Would they have the temerity to try to redefine any other form of racism or discrimination or is this honour reserved only for Jews?

No Laughing Matter. Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo who previously declared that Israel was an apartheid state guilty of genocide, urged the UN in a tweet not to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

For those triggered by the internationally accepted gold standard definition of antisemitism – IHRA – there is the alternative “Jerusalem Declaration” which very clearly states what some believe antisemitism is while greenlighting their anti-Zionism.

Below are excerpts taken verbatim from the Jerusalem Declaration:

Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is not antisemitic to support arrangements that accord full equality to all inhabitants “between the river and the sea,” whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in whatever form.

Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. This includes its institutions and founding principles. It also includes its policies and practices, domestic and abroad, such as the conduct of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, the role Israel plays in the region, or any other way in which, as a state, it influences events in the world. It is not antisemitic to point out systematic racial discrimination. In general, the same norms of debate that apply to other states and to other conflicts over national self-determination apply in the case of Israel and Palestine. Thus, even if contentious, it is not antisemitic, in and of itself, to compare Israel with other historical cases, including settler-colonialism or apartheid.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.

Political speech does not have to be measured, proportional, tempered, or reasonable to be protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a “double standard,” is not, in and of itself, antisemitic. In general, the line between antisemitic and non-antisemitic speech is different from the line between unreasonable and reasonable speech.

No attempts to rewrite our history and call into question our ancient ties to our homeland which is now our thriving nation state is going to dilute their antisemitism.

I only need refer to the opening tweet in this article and the slur, “Occupier Barbie”.  They say sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me. In this case it is the twisting of words and definitions that do cause irreparable harm. We see it every single day, on multiple platforms and across cities around the world.

Antisemitism in America. Seen here at this anti-Israel rally in Washington, DC, March 2010, the common practice of substituting a swastika for a blood-stained Star of David on the Israeli flag.

If there are going to be attempts to deny us peoplehood and a state wrapped up in clever language to try and bypass accepted, working definitions of antisemitism, then Occupier Barbie is a name I will wear like armour.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

HATED TODAY IN LITHUANIA

For simply standing and fighting for the truth

Back on “home soil”,Grant Gochin, who has spent the past 25 years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania, addressed the Jewish community of Cape Town, South Africa on October 27, 2022. A shocking indictment, discover below the complicity of Lithuania in the Shoah and its attempts thereafter to bury that past.


Chaverim, friends, I am honored and delighted to be on my home soil, speaking to my own people. My mishpocha. Thank you for coming. My sincere thanks to the organizers and attendees, and those who have kept me going in this cause.

Every Jewish person in this room has ancestry from Lithuania. Most of us here now, are alive because our families got out before Lithuanians were able to murder us. We are all who are left, to remember and speak the truth. Our families’ voices cannot be stilled through apathy or forgetfulness. Our families’ voices must be heard.

I became eager to find out about the “Old Country” from the stories and lessons of my paternal grandfather. More and more, I knew I had to walk those streets and see those forests.

I was the very first Jew to apply to Lithuania for citizenship. Three times, they rejected me for reasons even the Lithuanian Supreme Court ruled to be absurd.

I discovered there were two sets of rules, one for real “ethnic” Lithuanians, and a separate queue for Litvaks. This simplified their process – automatic denial for Jews.

I fought back.

Who is doing What! Not Germans but Lithuanian militiamen round up Jewish women. Kovno, Lithuania, June-July 1941.

I sued the Lithuanian government five times to expose and dismantle their “No Jew Citizenship Policy”. I started with the arduous task of bringing the injustices into the light. I badgered, pestered, begged, spoke and wrote to anyone having anything to do with Lithuanian Jewish policy. Sadly, the only chink apparent in the Lithuanian armor of distortion is their fear of public humiliation. They do not care about facts, morals, rights, truth or Jews. Eventually, Lithuania was shamed into having no option other than to change some of their Jewish laws.

Even now, I take personal pride and joy in every Lithuanian citizenship acquired by a South African. I urge every single one of you to apply.

Lithuanian citizenship IS our birthright. It IS our history. It IS our entitlement. Lithuania should have been where our families could have lived in peace and safety, grown, and been buried with dignity. We are owed.

Your Grandparents’ documents from Lithuania all prominently say “Zydu or Zydas”. “Jew or Jewess”. Just like Apartheid South Africa, we Jews could never be listed simply as Lithuanian, our racial classification was “Jew”.

As was “explained” to me by a Lithuanian diplomat in about 1990; a Jew could never be a “Lithuanian”, and a “Lithuanian” could never be a Jew. On our citizenship applications, they used to require our religious identity as a racial and national identification. Apartheid.

Today, Lithuania wants us to identify as Lithuanian because it sounds less apartheid, less racist. While they have removed our racial classification from their application forms, our names and our documents still show exactly who we are – JEWS!

We remain Litvak Jews. They didn’t murder 96.4% of Jews because they were Lithuanians, they murdered our families because we ARE Jews. They, on the other hand, remain Lithuanians.

This is the reason why so many of our family members fought against Apartheid so staunchly. Jews were the victims of Apartheid in Lithuania and are all too familiar with its recognizable hideous hatred. Whereas our families had no advocates and no safe harbor and were unable to defend themselves in Lithuania, they could stand up for black South Africans. And, in huge numbers, they did.

I identified the murderer of my own family in the Lithuanian Holocaust. To my amazement and disgust, I discovered that he is celebrated as a beloved and admired national hero in Lithuania. His name was Jonas Noreika.

Jonas Noreika. Angelic in appearance here, this beloved and admired national hero in Lithuania was a Nazi collaborator and mass murderer.

It is fact that Noreika personally was responsible for the savage and senseless slaughter of up to 14,500 of our family members.

Currently however, Noreika has been re-written in Lithuanian history as a heroic rescuer of Jews. The government of Lithuania enforces and applauds these falsifications. A result is that I have pending criminal charges against me – for “slandering” their heroes.

A few years ago, Noreika’s granddaughter, Silvia Foti, stepped forward to admit her grandfather’s crimes. She and I have now combined efforts. We have both written exposes of how the government of Lithuania fraudulently rewrote her grandfather into a national hero.

Lithuania has blocked every single path to actual truths inside Lithuania. The sole path left is judgement by the Court of public opinion. THAT my friends, is the main reason we are here today.

For the past few weeks, I have been publishing Lithuanian Holocaust testimonies in the Times of Israel. They are harrowing to read. A normal human mind cannot contemplate the horrors that were inflicted upon our families. I guarantee, you will be shocked by what you read. Remember the facts.

There are approximately 200 people in this room. Look around you my friends. Had we been in Lithuania, only seven of us would have survived to write one of those testimonies. Who among us would have been the survivor?

Lithuanians certainly were not and are not truthful about their crimes. They either mewl about having been victims and claim they heard nothing, saw nothing, and knew nothing, instead, they claim they were just too busy rescuing Jews to notice what was happening. Now, I ask you – do you believe that?

Michael Kretzmer, an English-Litvak documentarian, made a harrowing film called “J’Accuse! Lithuania”, which will receive its World Première at the Jewish International Film Festival in Australia next month.

The movie centers on Noreika and his activities during the Holocaust, as he systematically murdered the Jews of Northern Lithuania. Many of our South African Jewish families came from Northern Lithuania. This movie is as personal for you, as it is for me, as it should be for all of humanity. The movie is quite simply –  devastating.

My Oupa [grandfather] spent his life in South Africa searching for information about our murdered relatives. And then, in April 1984, the discovery:

In April 1984, the German magazine, Der Spiegel exposed Noreika as the primary murderer of the Jewish population in my Oupa’s region. 1984! Let us remember, that was before the advent of the internet and worldwide knowledge. The boat carrying magazines from Europe took about a month to arrive in Port Elizabeth – with hard copies. Oupa read Der Spiegel every month. At the end of May 1984, he finally read the April edition.

Noreika’s murders, inhumanity, and the gleeful cruelty and barbarity of the Lithuanians were all clearly revealed on the pages.

After reading and rereading the article, Oupa lost all hope of ever finding any familial Survivors. He was depleted and without further purpose.

A mere few days later, he dropped dead of a stress induced heart attack. I believe these Lithuanian monsters effectively killed my Oupa too. For me – Lithuanian Holocaust fraud is deeply personal.

Thirteen years after Jonas Noreika was exposed as a prime Holocaust preparator and the genocidal murderer of my own family, Lithuania declared him a national hero.

Sign of the Times! For fighting against the Soviets, his killing of Jews in the Holocaust is forgotten or forgiven. Here is a restored memorial plaque to Jonas Noreika in Vilnius.

Since Jew killing was by then a worldwide sport, Lithuanians were not satisfied murdering just their own Jewish citizens, so, they travelled all over Europe, volunteering to work in the Concentration Camps so they could also murder Jews in other countries.

Lithuanian army contingents travelled to neighboring countries to gleefully slaughter as many Jews in Europe as they could. Even some Nazis were horrified at the brutality and sheer bestial activity of Lithuanians.

Lithuanian murderers were supremely effective. Noreika was a minor murderer in comparison to other Lithuanians, he only murdered about 14,500 of us. 14,500. That is more than all the Jews in Cape Town.

Another in their disgusting pantheon of Jew murdering heroes, Antanas Baltušis, served as the leader of the guards at the Majdanek Concentration Camp.

The Lithuanian Government claims he only served on the outside of the camp, and therefore was unaware of what was happening inside. Preposterous! Do they really expect ANYONE to believe that?

Have you ever heard of a guard serving on the inside of a gas chamber? Oblivious to the screams, stench, smoke and blood of those actively being murdered two meters from him? By his own subordinates!

Damnation Road. Is walking down a street in Kaunus (Kovno) named after a murderer – Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas (1915–1948)  – now considered in Lithuania ‘Holocaust Remembrance’?

The distortion, revision and lies carefully constructed by the Lithuanian Government are so blatantly crude, that one wonders, whom do they think will actually believe it? We are not that naïve. Even so, Baltusis remains their national hero.

Yet another of their heroes, Kazys Škirpa, early on called for the elimination of Jews from Lithuania.

In 1939 there were approximately 250,000 Jews. Today approximately 2,500. It does not take a mathematical genius to recognize that 99% of Lithuanian Jews have been eliminated. Skirpa’s plan is the most successful program Lithuania has ever had in its entire history.

80% of Jews were eliminated prior to the Final Solution being established. The government of Lithuania says Skirpa’s call to “eliminate” Jews was just a mere “incident of antisemitism”. – “A mere incident”?

The Lithuanian government line is that these Jews are “lost”. Let me help Lithuania. Our families are not “lost”. We all know exactly where they are. They lie twisted in death pits strewn throughout Lithuania.

President Isaac Herzog and incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are both Litvaks with origins in Seduva. The murderer of their Lithuanian families in Seduva was Izidorius Pucevicius, also declared a hero of Lithuania, also rewritten as a rescuer of Jews.

Also rebranded “national hero” is Jonas Semaska, another Holocaust perpetrator. There are many others whose names and deeds we will never know.

I have provided the Lithuanian Government with more than a dozen names of their heroes who were Holocaust perpetrators. They. Do. Not. Care.

The Lithuanian lies that perpetuate today, are responsible for murdering our families yet a second time.

According to the post Holocaust legal Nuremberg definition, every single member of Lithuania’s wartime Provisional Government falls into the category of a Holocaust perpetrator.

The Lithuanian government tells us that the only ones to blame for the Holocaust were the “Nazis and their collaborators”. This stance has been created to focus only on Nazis and to distract away from Lithuanians.

They ignore the fact that Lithuanians began murdering Jews even before the Nazis arrived in Lithuania. What they refuse to acknowledge is simply that there were so very few Nazis in Lithuania. That Nazis gave Lithuanians weapons and Lithuanians joyously, willingly and enthusiastically murdered Jews.

Today, when you hear the Lithuanian Ambassador use the phrase “Nazis and their collaborators”, understand that this is a specific and deliberate form of Holocaust revisionism, distortion and distraction. The Ambassadors’ words are perfectly, excruciatingly and exactly crafted to minimize, eradicate and shift blame.

From Burying Jews to Burying the truth of their Murder.  Lithuanian collaborators guard Jews before their execution. Ponary, Lithuania, June–July, 1941.

Yad Vashem declared 0.04% of Lithuanians were Righteous Gentiles. 0.04%. That leaves 99.96% of Lithuanians who were either perpetrators, bystanders, or cannot prove that they were rescuers. Those who cannot prove that they were rescuers include Noreika, Pucevicius, Semaska and so many more.

Lithuania did not punish a single Holocaust perpetrator.

There is not a single piece of evidence that Nazis punished any Lithuanians for refusing to murder a Jew. The infinitesimally small number of Lithuanian rescuers were rescuing the Jews NOT from Nazis, but from – FELLOW LITHUANIANS!

Yad Vashem states plainly and clearly their definition for Righteous Gentiles; however, the Lithuanian government has created and defined their own standard for identifying “Righteous Gentiles”. THIS is a false system.

Privately, some members of the government admit the truth. But they insist that “education requires time”. How much time do they need? After 80 years – time is up.

Facts are simply facts. They do not change with age.

Through my legal actions, I have been able to expose the Lithuanian President, Prime Minister, Parliament, Public Prosecutor, Heritage Department, Mayor of Vilnius, every single one of their Courts including both of their Supreme Courts, as participants in the national program of Holocaust deception. Thus, I am persona non grata in Lithuania.

Efraim Zuroff of the Israeli Simon Wiesenthal Center and I share the honor of being two of the most hated people in Lithuania. Regardless of the blatant, absurd accusations they hurl at any of us in the small cadre fighting for truth, we stand steadfast.

Lithuanian officials come to South Africa to meet with Jewish leaders and implore them to promote tourism and investment in Lithuania, all the while as they continue to lie about the past.

Lithuania’s strategy is to delay and obstruct. They hope people like me will get so tired, we will give up. I will not. Lithuania has never told the truth about the Holocaust. I am not going anywhere and there are others to take up the reins.

I have brought close to 30 legal actions against the government of Lithuania. All of them were simply demanding the truth. Every case has been dismissed on legal technicalities, without ever examining any facts. So much for an independent judiciary. Their legal responses prove that when representatives of the Lithuanian government tell us they “want to know the truth”, and that they “oppose Holocaust distortion”, they are lying.

My cases stand as permanent proof that 78 years after the end of the Shoah, Lithuania is a country that elevates Holocaust fraud.

Lithuania comprehensively and deliberately lying about the greatest crime in the history of the world, begs the question:

 Is there anything they will not lie about?

The current Lithuanian Ambassador to South Africa, Dainius Junevicius, with full knowledge of Lithuania’s Holocaust frauds, signed a pledge in front of thirty four government representatives that Lithuania would not honor Holocaust perpetrators as their national heroes. Shameless.

They lie as easily as they breathe and as frequently. Nothing, absolutely nothing they say can be accepted as truth. When the government of Lithuania and their representatives communicate on Jewish issues, understand they are likely being deceptive.

Thankfully my friends, I am not alone in this fight. Many governments, organizations and individuals have voiced their staunch disapproval of Lithuania’s Holocaust deceptions, including – the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the US State Department, the US Congress, Lithuania’s own Presidential Commission, Simon Wiesenthal Center, American Jewish Congress, the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the European Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress and many more. Lithuania stands exposed in front of the world as Holocaust revisionists.

Lithuania claims that they want to talk to “anyone open and ready to discuss painful issues of the past, on a respectful and constructive basis BUT, only with those who share the effort to find the truth and reconciliation”. Their definition of those “sharing the effort to find the truth” refers to only those who will tolerate their Holocaust frauds. I am not one, and neither should you be. It obviously isn’t the US Government either, who have repeatedly and fruitlessly appealed to Lithuania to tell the truth. Lithuania’s truth is lies.

My case is currently in front of the United Nations. My case could take decades to be resolved. Indeed, I may not even be alive to hear the verdict. Our best immediate recourse is the Court of public opinion. And that is those of us in this room.

When they look us in the eye and misrepresent, they are insulting us and treating us with contempt. More importantly, when Lithuania covers up the crime of genocide and avoids culpability, it shows current and future mass murderers that they too can get away with murder. It has worked for Lithuania, and it will work for others. This places our future generations at risk. We are not just addressing this for our ancestors, we are doing this to protect our children.

US President John F. Kennedy stated the situation exactly. He said., “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” For Lithuania, their heroes are a statement of their national values.

We Jews worldwide, including in South Africa, attend Lithuanian events and hear warm words. Only an analysis of these words shows the exact same terms being used in the UK, US, SA & Israel. Their words are a dictated script written in Vilnius, crafted very carefully to distract from truth and soften their crimes. Do they really think we cannot figure it out? Their diplomatic staff are trained salespeople, skilled in how to convey their distorted messages.

They tell us that they are serious about remembering. Yet, my cases and the continual lies prove otherwise. Their standard procedure remains Holocaust revisionism.

Holocaust revisionism IS antisemitism. Defining the murderers of Jews as national heroes IS insulting the victims and insulting to every one of us. Rewriting history to declare the murderers as innocent or heroic is dehumanizing to EVERY Jew.

Germany’s official stance is to accept responsibility for the Shoah. There is now strong friendship between Jews and Germany and Israel and Germany. Lithuania has only lied, twisted and committed fraud. There is no honest basis for a relationship between Jews and Lithuania.

To attempt to correct this abhorrent situation, Lithuania urgently needs to show us they are sincere in outing the truth. Only firm and immediate action is acceptable. I propose the following :

Close down their bogus Genocide Center and revoke all findings

Create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of non-Lithuanian, credentialed historians to establish the actual truth – just like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission South Africa had.

Just stop distorting and lying.

If Lithuania genuinely wants to apologize for their behaviors, frauds and murders, I have a suggestion. Follow the example of Spain and Portugal and issue a mass blanket grant of full Lithuanian citizenship to all Litvaks. Worldwide. Laws can definitely be changed. They can definitely make this happen. Each of YOU deserves an immediate and unilateral grant of Lithuanian citizenship for what they did to our families, and for their rampant and consistent Holocaust fraud. We are entitled to it, and we should demand it.

I do not anticipate success in Lithuania. They have no intention of ever telling the truth. They manipulate us because they know South African Jews want their European passport. They can manipulate us because they have that power over us. Looking us straight in the eye while lying, while simultaneously hero worshiping the murderers is Holocaust Triumphalism.

It is easier for Lithuania to pretend our cause does not exist. We know the truth. We remember. And we must teach our future generations well. We are the protectors and guardians of Holocaust history. We need your voice. Please follow us on social media and in the Times of Israel. We need people to know what we are doing and how we are doing it. For the memory of our families and for the dignity of ourselves.

Lithuania CANNOT win. Lithuania WILL not win.

I thank you all.

“AM YISRAEL CHAI.”



About the speaker:

Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo. He is the Emeritus Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations, and Emeritus Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty five years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which mapped / inventoried / documented / restored over fifty abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries. Gochin is the author of “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”, published in 2013. His book documents his family history of oppression in Lithuania. He is presently working on a project to expose the current Holocaust revisionism within the Lithuanian government. Professionally, Gochin is a Certified Financial Planner and practices as a Wealth Advisor in California, where he lives with his family. Personal site: https://www.grantgochin.com/





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).