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Jak Niemcy stały się pierwszym krajem kapitalistycznym, który nawiązał stosunki ze Związkiem Radzieckim?

Podpisanie układu w Rapallo, od lewej: kanclerz Rzeszy Joseph Wirth, szef niemieckiego MSC Walther Rathenau oraz Sowieci: ludowy komisarz handlu Leonid Krasin, szef MSZ Gieorgij Cziczerin i dyplomata Adolf Joffe (Fot. Bernhard Hossner/Bundesarchiv)


Jak Niemcy stały się pierwszym krajem kapitalistycznym, który nawiązał stosunki ze Związkiem Radzieckim?

Mirosław Maciorowski


Opodpisaniu z bolszewikami traktatu w Rapallo niemieccy dyplomaci decydowali, siedząc w piżamach w pokoju hotelowym.


Sowiecko-niemiecka współpraca zaczęła się niemal natychmiast po zakończeniu pierwszej wojny światowej. W początkach 1919 r., gdy rozpoczynały się obrady konferencji w Wersalu, a silne niemieckie wojska tzw. Ober-Ostu wciąż stacjonowały na Wschodzie, już trwała, choć nie była jeszcze w żaden sposób sformalizowana. Kiedy bowiem Niemcy zaczęli się ze Wschodu wycofywać, opuszczane tereny i sprzęt wojskowy, którego nie byli w stanie zabrać, przekazywali nie tworzącym swoje państwo Polakom, lecz właśnie bolszewikom.

Nieformalne kontakty obu krajów utrzymywały i później. Państwo niemieckie upokorzone po klęsce i ustaleniach wersalskich było wprawdzie w głębokim kryzysie, ale jego elity, szczególnie wojskowe, nigdy nie pogodziły się z nowym porządkiem. Nie akceptowali go również nieobecni w Wersalu bolszewicy. Szczególnie powstanie Polski było solą w oku Berlina i Moskwy.

Dążenie do rewizji ustaleń wersalskich połączyło polityków obu krajów, choć po rewolucji październikowej dzieliła ich przecież ideologiczna przepaść.

Berlińskie negocjacje

W tej współpracy były punkty zwrotne, momenty, które zdecydowały nie tylko o charakterze obustronnych stosunków, ale w nieodległej przyszłości także o historii świata. Jednym z nich był traktat sowiecko-niemiecki zawarty 16 kwietnia 1922 r. we włoskim miasteczku Rapallo nad Morzem Liguryjskim. Ian Ona Johnson, amerykański historyk z Uniwersytetu Notre Dame, w książce „Diabelski pakt” barwnie opisuje okoliczności, w jakich został podpisany.

W początkach kwietnia 1922 r. podczas szczytu gospodarczego w Genui przedstawiciele 34 krajów mieli rozmawiać m.in. o powrocie bolszewickiej Rosji do światowej gospodarki. Delegacja sowiecka w drodze do Włoch zatrzymała się jednak w Berlinie. Szefowi dyplomacji Giergijowi Cziczerinowi bardzo zależało bowiem na jak najszybszym przywróceniu stosunków dyplomatycznych i nawiązaniu współpracy przemysłowo-wojskowej z Niemcami.

Sowieci spotkali się w Berlinie m.in. z Ottonem Hassem, wojskowym nadzorującym prace tzw. Sondergruppe Russland (Grupy Specjalnej Rosja), utajnionej komórki powołanej po to, by wypracować model współpracy z bolszewikami. Ale Cziczerin i jego świta spotkali się też z Hugonem Junkersem, inżynierem, przemysłowcem lotniczym. Obie strony rozmawiały m.in. o budowie w przyszłości w Rosji fabryki samolotów.

Wywróćmy razem stolik

Jednak umowy o współpracy nie podpisano.

Część niemieckich polityków była bardzo sceptycznie nastawiona do współpracy z bolszewikami.

Liczyli, że podczas szczytu w Genui uda im się doprowadzić do zbliżenia z Zachodem. Mieli nadzieję, że cztery lata po wojnie dojdzie do jakiegoś przełomu, który pozwoli Niemcom wrócić do międzynarodowej współpracy. Ale nie doszło. Podczas obrad Francuzi bezkompromisowo domagali się od Niemców spłaty długu wojennego i reperacji, a od Sowietów m.in. odszkodowań za mienie zagraniczne przejęte przez bolszewików.

Efekt tych obrad był taki, że 16 kwietnia 1922 r. tuż po północy do delegacji niemieckiej zadzwonił sowiecki dyplomata Adolf Joffe, który zaproponował, żeby obie delegacje opuściły genueńską konferencję. Zasugerował wyjazd do odległego o 30 km Rapallo, gdzie berlińskie negocjacje zostałyby dokończone i sfinalizowane podpisaniem traktatu.

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Rapallo - panorama z 2020 r.
Rapallo – panorama z 2020 r.  Dapa19, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Członkowie niemieckiej delegacji – jak pisze Johnson – „zebrali się w piżamach w pokoju hotelowym [Walthera] Rathenaua [szefa niemieckiego MSZ], aby przedyskutować kwestię spotkania z bolszewikami w Rapallo”. I do rana zdecydowali, że do Rapallo pojadą.

Następnego dnia około godz. 17 Rathenau złożył tam podpis na traktacie, który sygnował również Cziczerin.

Rapallo zmienia wszystko

„Traktat w Rapallo zawierał sześć punktów i w żadnym z nich nie głosił niczego szczególnie niezwykłego. Jednakże biorąc ogólnie, umowa ta miała wstrząsnąć powojennym porządkiem Europy – pisze Johnson. – Oba kraje zgadzały się »wyrzec roszczeń do rekompensaty za wydatki poniesione w wyniku wojny« czy za utraconą własność, wzywały do natychmiastowego wznowienia »stosunków dyplomatycznych i konsularnych« oraz odbudowy związków gospodarczych na podstawie »najwyższego uprzywilejowania«.

Niemcy stały się zatem pierwszym krajem kapitalistycznym, który nawiązał stosunki dyplomatyczne ze Związkiem Radzieckim.

Rapallo oznaczało dla obu stron wydostanie się z międzynarodowej izolacji”.

Traktat zapoczątkował odbudowę potencjału militarnego Niemiec poza kontrolą Zachodu, a także oznaczał wymierne zyski gospodarcze (także w postaci zbrojeń) dla Związku Radzieckiego.

Prawie 20 lat współpracy

Świetna książka amerykańskiego badacza nie jest oczywiście wyłącznie o tym, w jakich okolicznościach zawarty został traktat w Rapallo. Opowiada całościowo o współpracy sowiecko-niemieckiej w międzywojniu. Na końcu tej kooperacji, jak wiemy, był drugi fundamentalny dla świata pakt zawarty 23 sierpnia 1939 r. pomiędzy szefami dyplomacji obu krajów Joachimem von Ribbentropem i Wiaczesławem Mołotowem. Stał się on dla Hitlera przepustką do rozpętania II wojny światowej. Współpraca między oboma krajami kwitła aż do 22 czerwca 1941 r., gdy Wehrmacht uderzył na ZSRR. A więc, licząc tylko od Rapallo, prawie 20 lat.

Książka Johnsona ukazuje się w ważnym momencie – Ukraina bohatersko odpiera agresję Rosji. Propaganda Moskwy usprawiedliwia ją przeróżnymi kłamstwami. Przed rozpętaniem wojny Putin i kremlowscy propagandyści opowiadali też własną wersję historii II wojny światowej i międzywojnia. Również była do cna skłamana, a na opis sowiecko-niemieckiej współpracy nie było w niej miejsca. Tym bardziej warto sięgnąć po książkę Johnsona, który ją szczegółowo i rzetelnie opisał.

  • Diabelski pakt. Współpraca radziecko niemiecka i przyczyny wybuchu II wojny światowej
  • Ian Ona Johnson
  • Tłum. Jan Szkudliński
  • Rebis, 2022 

Ian Ona Johnson, 'Diabelski pakt. Współpraca radziecko niemiecka i przyczyny wybuchu II wojny światowej', tłum. Jan SzkudlińskiIan Ona Johnson, ‘Diabelski pakt. Współpraca radziecko niemiecka i przyczyny wybuchu II wojny światowej’, tłum. Jan Szkudliński  Rebis


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Europe’s Twilight: Christianity Declines, Islam Rises

Europe’s Twilight: Christianity Declines, Islam Rises

Giulio Meotti


  • Comparing only the weekly frequency of Friday prayers in the mosque and Sunday Mass in the church, the future is clear: 65% of practicing Catholics [in France] are over 50 years old. By contrast, 73% of practicing Muslims are under the age of 50.
  • In an essay on L’Incorrect Frédéric Saint Clair, political scientist and analyst, explains that “the milestone of 10,000 mosques, at the current rate, will be reached around 2100”. Will we have 10,000 full mosques and 10,000 practically empty churches?
  • “[A] mosque is erected every fortnight in France, while a Christian building is being destroyed at the same rate.” — Edouard de Lamaze, president of the Observatory of Religious Heritage in Paris; Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2021.
  • “During my first trips to the Middle East, in the early 1980s, I did not see veiled women and gradually the veil spread everywhere. It is the sign of the re-Islamization of Muslim societies and, in this sense, it takes on a political and geopolitical dimension. It is part of a conquest strategy. France is in a state of self-dhimmitude…. a legal and political status applicable to non-Muslim citizens in a state governed by Islam according to a prescription of the Koran (9:29). [Dhimmis] do not enjoy equal citizenship with the ‘true believers,’ who are Muslims.” — Annie Laurent, essayist and scholar author of several books on Islam, Boulevard Voltaire, May 19, 2022.
  • “…France, due to a colonial complex and a sense of guilt, anticipates a legal and political situation that is not (yet) imposed on it but which could be a day in which Islam it will be a majority and therefore able to govern our country…. [T]he situation is really worrying. Before it becomes dramatic, it is urgent to put an end to the concessions we are multiplying to Islamism by hiding behind our values. Because by doing so we erase our own civilization”. — Annie Laurent, Boulevard Voltaire, May 19, 2022.
  • Christianity in Germany “seems stable, but in reality it is on the verge of collapse. Pastors and bishops, but also many actively involved lay people, see landscapes in bloom where in reality there is nothing but the desert “. — Markus Günther, essayist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 29, 2014.
  • “Muslims, the winners of demographic change,” headlined Die Welt. “US researchers predict that for the first time in history there will be more Muslims than Christians. Societies change. Even Germany’s”.
  • In Trier, Germany, where Karl Marx was born, the diocese announced an unprecedented cut in the number of parishes which, in the next few years, will be reduced from 900 to 35.
  • L’Echo, the main Belgian economic newspaper, says: “Brussels was at the forefront of secularization before confronting an active Muslim minority. The first religion in Brussels today is Islam”…. Belgian anthropologist Olivier Servais confirmed a Muslim presence in Brussels at 33.5 percent, predicting a majority in 2030.

“A civilization is everything that gathers around a religion,” said André Malraux. And when one religion declines, another takes its place. Comparing only the weekly frequency of Friday prayers in the mosque and Sunday Mass in the church, the future is clear: 65% of practicing Catholics in France are over 50 years old. By contrast, 73% of practicing Muslims are under the age of 50. Pictured: Fire consumes Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, on April 15, 2019. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)

French writer André Malraux said it: “A civilization is everything that gathers around a religion”. And when one religion declines, another takes its place.

Sarcelles, Saint-Denis, Mulhouse, Nantes, Chambéry, Strasbourg, La Rochelle… The impressive images of stadiums full of Muslim faithful, who arrived from all over France for the feast of Eid Al Kabir, seventy days after the end of Ramadan. In Saint-Denis, the city where the kings of France rest; in Nantes, the city of the Dukes of Brittany; in Strasbourg, the city of the cathedral and seat of the European Parliament, in Mulhouse, in the heart of Alsace.

“In forty years, France has become the Western European nation where the population of Muslim origin is the most important,” wrote Vatican Radio. “It is not difficult to hypothesize that we are now close to Islam overtaking Catholicism.” What if the overtaking has already taken place?

“France is no longer a Catholic country”, writes Frederic Lenoir, editor of the magazine Le Monde des ReligionsLe Figaro wondered if Islam can already be considered “the first religion in France.” We are in the country where up to 5,000 churches are at risk of demolition by 2030, Le Figaro noted last month. Five thousand churches are at risk of disappearing within eight years, in a country lacking the political, religious and cultural will to keep alive a millennial heritage that represents France’s deepest soul. Perhaps the imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris understood what was evolving when he suggested using abandoned churches as mosques.

German writer Martin Mosebach observed that the “the loss of religion destabilizes a country”. When a society no longer knows how to give itself a reason to exist, others find one and the void left by Christianity is soon filled. Even an atheist like Richard Dawkins acknowledged that “the sound of the [church] bells is better than the song of the [mosque] muezzin”.

Islam is taking over Europe’s post-Christian ruins. It is estimated that today in France, for each practicing Muslim, there are three practicing Catholics. But if you dig deeper into this analysis, that relationship is about to be reversed. Comparing only the weekly frequency of Friday prayers in the mosque and Sunday Mass in the church, the future is clear: 65% of practicing Catholics are over 50 years old. By contrast, 73% of practicing Muslims are under the age of 50.

Hakim El Karoui, President Emmanuel Macron’s advisor on Islam and a researcher at the Montaigne Institute, states that Islam is now the most practiced religion in France. “There are more practicing Muslims, between 2.5 and 3 million, than practicing Catholics, 1.65 million”.

The same applies to the construction of new religious sites. Today, in France, there are 2,400 mosques, compared to 1,500 in 2003: “This is the most visible sign of the rapid growth of Islam in France,” notes the weekly Valeurs Actuelles.

In an essay on L’Incorrect Frédéric Saint Clair, political scientist and analyst, explains that “the milestone of 10,000 mosques, at the current rate, will be reached around 2100”. Will we have 10,000 full mosques and 10,000 practically empty churches?

Not only has the Catholic Church built merely 20 new churches in France in the past decade, according to research conducted by La Croix. Edouard de Lamaze, president of the Observatory of Religious Heritage in Paris, the most important organization that monitors the state of places of worship in the country, revealed:

“Although Catholic monuments are still ahead, one mosque is erected every 15 days in France, while one Christian building is destroyed at the same pace… It creates a tipping point on the territory that should be taken into account.”

Annie Laurent, essayist and scholar author of several books on Islam, and whom Pope Benedict XVI wanted as an expert for the synod on the Middle East, recently said in an interview published in Boulevard Voltaire:

“Despite the repeated assurances of firmness of the state towards Islamism and its rejection of every separatism, the opposite is happening: the advance of Muslim culture in different forms. A progress that seems to find no more limits and obstacles. There is the cowardice of public authorities who give in to electoral calculations or clients, and also the complacency of a part of our elites whose militancy is steeped in progressive ideology…

“During my first trips to the Middle East, in the early 1980s, I did not see veiled women and gradually the veil spread everywhere. It is the sign of the re-Islamization of Muslim societies and, in this sense, it takes on a political and geopolitical dimension. It is part of a conquest strategy…

“France is in a state of self-dhimmitude. What is dhimmitude? It is a legal and political status applicable to non-Muslim citizens in a state governed by Islam according to a prescription of the Koran (9:29). [Dhimmis] do not enjoy equal citizenship with the ‘true believers,’ who are Muslims. The dhimmi can maintain his religious identity but must undergo a series of discriminatory measures that can affect all aspects of life, public, social and private. Not all Muslim states apply all of these provisions today, but they are in force in some countries. However that may be, the principle remains as it is based on a ‘divine’ order.

“Muslims translate ‘dhimmitude’ with protection, which tends to reassure us, but the most appropriate translation is ‘protection-submission’: in exchange for the freedoms of worship or other freedoms more or less granted to them, they may be subject to special provisions, including Sharia, with the aim of making them aware of their inferiority.

“If I speak of self-dhimmitude, it is to express the idea that France, due to a colonial complex and a sense of guilt, anticipates a legal and political situation that is not (yet) imposed on it but which could be a day in which Islam it will be a majority and therefore able to govern our country. It should also be noted that Islam lives off the weakness of the societies in which it settles”.

How far will we go? “I don’t know, but the situation is really worrying,” concludes Laurent.

“Before it becomes dramatic, it is urgent to put an end to the concessions we are multiplying to Islamism by hiding behind our values. Because by doing so we erase our own civilization”.

Just two months ago, we had seen the same scenes for the end of Ramadan. Six thousand of the faithful celebrated at the Delaune Stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. “Allahu Akbar” resounded from the loudspeakers placed in the four corners of the stadium. The same scenes could be seen in dozens of other stadiums throughout France, and in small and medium-sized cities: in Garges; in Montpellier (10,000 of the faithful in prayer); in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, a town of 30,000 inhabitants, 5,000 gathered in prayer at the stadium. The celebration also took place in Gennevilliers.

You can see the same advance of de-Christianization and the growth of Islam, with different intensities, everywhere in Europe.

In a dramatic article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, essayist Markus Günther explains that Christianity in Germany “seems stable, but in reality it is on the verge of collapse. Pastors and bishops, but also many actively involved lay people, see landscapes in bloom where in reality there is nothing but the desert”.

“We are turning our backs on our culture” writes Volkert Resing in the latest issue of the magazine Cicero, speaking of the end of Christianity in Germany.

“In 2021, an average of 390 children were baptized every day in Germany. Ten years ago there were 800 baptisms a day. Last year, 359,338 people left the Catholic Church and 280,000 people left the Protestant Church. In both cases it is a new record. Last year 21.6 million people belonged to the Catholic Church and 19.7 million were Protestants. The number of Christians in Germany who are members of one of the two largest churches fell below the 50 percent mark for the first time. The fall of the Christian West? And who cares”.

“For the first time in centuries,” according to the German magazine Stern, “most of the people in Germany are no longer in the two great churches. A projection assumes that in 2060 only 30 percent will be Catholic or Protestant”. For that date, all Christian denominations will have lost half of their current members. And if in 1950 one in two Catholics participated in Sunday services, notes the largest German weekly Die Zeit, today only one in ten people who say they are Christians participate in religious services.

“The importance of Islam in Germany will increase and that of Christianity will decrease, explains Detlef Pollack, professor of sociology of religion at Münster University and the country’s foremost expert on religious trends, in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

“In 2022, for the first time, less than half of the Germans will belong to one of the great churches. There is a liquefaction. Muslim communities in Germany are undoubtedly vital compared to most Christian communities. By contrast Islam is a highly dynamic religion that aims at visibility”.

For some time now, German public schools have been offering classes on Islam.

Dresdner Bank study in 2007 predicted that “half of the churches in the country will close” and another that half of all Christians in the country will disappear. Within thirty years, according to the Pew Forum, there will be 17 million Muslims in Germany, compared to 22 million Christians between Catholics and Protestants, many of whom are only nominal (already today one-third of all Catholics are thinking of leaving the church) . The Muslim faithful settled in Germany will equal the total number of Catholics and Protestants.

This is a trend across the West. “Muslims, the winners of demographic change,” headlined Die Welt. “US researchers predict that for the first time in history there will be more Muslims than Christians. Societies change. Even Germany’s”.

Between 1996 and 2016, Germany lost more than 3,000 parishes, down from 13,329 to 10,280. In Trier, Germany, where Karl Marx was born, the diocese announced an unprecedented cut in the number of parishes which, in the next few years, will be reduced from 900 to 35. Compared to their Christian counterparts, Islamic places of worship are growing; in the last 40 years, they went from non-existent to between 2,600 and 2,700. We realize how our world has changed only at the end of an epochal transformation.

Practically every day in the German press there are articles like this in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“Generations of believers got married in the Kreuzkirche in the Lamboy area of ​​Hanau, they had their children baptized and there they mourned the dead. But the days when the rows of chairs were occupied even during the classic Sunday functions are long gone. The upcoming sale is a bitter new experience for Hanau. The culprit is the continuing decline in membership. This is due to demographic change and the numerous Muslim residents no longer provide a basis for a Christian community”.

538 abandoned churches and 49 newly built: this is the sad balance of Catholic churches in Germany in the last 20 years.

In Bonn, 270 churches will be abandoned, some of which can already be purchased on the diocesan online service.

“The Ruhr diocese wants to keep only 84 churches and 160 will have to be used for a new purpose… Mainz and Hildesheim want to halve their churches. Aachen has started a process of reducing buildings by 30 percent. The archdiocese of Berlin has also decided to reduce the number of churches by a quarter”.

From the diocese of Münster this month:

“87 churches have been deconsecrated. In various locations, churches are used as retirement and nursing homes for the elderly. Two churches in Marl alone are used as urn burial places. Apartments are being built in the St. Mariä Himmelfahrt church in Greven. Similar projects already exist, for instance, in Dülmen, Gescher and Herten-Bertlich. The former church of Sant’Elisabetta now serves as a sports hall”.

In the entire archdiocese of Munich, the hometown of former Pope Benedict XVI, there are today just 37 seminarians in the various stages of formation compared to about 1.7 million Catholics. By comparison, the American diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska currently has 49 seminarians for about 100,000 Catholics.

You can see the same disintegration happening in Spain. “Spain is the third country with the greatest abandonment of Christianity in Europe,” reported Spain’s major newspaper, El Pais. Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, ​​has sent to all parishes a message announcing the suppression of 160 parishes in Barcelona, so that each can make its own contribution before the plan is implemented. A headline in El Mundo reads: “Barcelona closes parishes due to the loss of faithful… The archbishopric will leave only 48 of the 208”.

In 2015, there were 1,334 mosques in Spain — 21% of the total number of all places of worship in the country. During a six months period in 2018, 46 new mosques were built, bringing the number to 1,632 mosques for that year. Mosque numbers are growing at a rate of 20 percent each year. In 2004, there were 139 mosques in Catalonia and in 2020 there were 284, or 104% more, according to the Catalonia Department of Justice.

In Andalusia the number of mosques in one decade increased from 27 to 201; in Valencia, from 15 to 201 and in Madrid, from 40 to 116. Demography is the engine of cultural change. “By 2030,” according to El Pais, “the Muslim population in Spain will increase by 82 percent”.

The same situation exists in Austria. According to Die Welt:

“In Austria, the Catholic faith is in decline, Islam is on the rise. There will be far fewer Catholics in the future, while the number of Muslims and non-denominational people will increase significantly, experts predict. In 2046, one in five Austrians will profess Islam. In Vienna, Islam will be the strongest religion: in 30 years, one in three Viennese will be Muslim. The percentage of Catholics will be only 42 percent in the country, dropping to 22 percent in Vienna”. In 1971, Catholics represented 78.6% of the population of Vienna; in 2001, just over half; in 2011, 41.3% and in thirty years Catholics will be only one third of the total.”

If the churches are empty, 3,000 people gather for Friday prayers in Floridsdorf, the first mosque in Vienna. The mosque was officially erected in 1979 in the presence of the then President Rudolf Kirchschläger, Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and Cardinal Franz König. Today the muezzin can call to prayer three times a day.

Christianity is no longer the first religion; Islam has taken its place. This shift should be grounds for discussion, not to say of concern — certainly not of cheerful indifference.

L’Echo, the main Belgian economic newspaper, says: “Brussels was at the forefront of secularization before confronting an active Muslim minority. The first religion in Brussels today is Islam”.

The monthly Causeur reminds us that Le Vif-L’Express (the main French-language newspaper) published a provocative front page entitled “Muslim Brussels in 2030”. Belgian anthropologist Olivier Servais confirmed a Muslim presence in Brussels at 33.5 percent, predicting a majority in 2030.

In Saint-Chamond, a French town of 35,000, the town hall recently ordered the disposal of the main church of the city, Notre-Dame, built in the 19th century. Closed for worship since 2004, deprived of the crosses that proudly towered over its spiers, this church, in view of its transformation into a cultural project, has just been condemned to deconsecration. Meanwhile, last week, near what remains of Notre-Dame, the muezzin called over the loudspeakers for the Muslim faithful to come to prayers.


Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


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Przed krytykowaniem Izraela USA powinny posprzątać u siebie w domu

Przed krytykowaniem Izraela USA powinny posprzątać u siebie w domu

Mitchell Bard

Tłumaczenie: Małgorzata Koraszewska


W czerwcu napisałem artykuł pod tytyłem: Co by było gdyby Izrael traktował Amerykę tak jak Ameryka traktuje Izrael? Wydaje się to szczególnie istotne teraz, kiedy sekretarz stanu USA powiedział Izraelowi, że powinien dokonać przeglądu zasad użycia siły przez IDF (Siły Obronne Izraela) po tragicznej śmierci dziennikarki Al Dżaziry, Shireen Abu Akleh, w maju.

Antony Blinken najwyraźniej nie uważał, że wystarczy doradzać ministrowi obrony Izraela Benny’emu Gantzowi, jak kierować IDF w rozmowie telefonicznej, której treść wyciekła do prasy (ulubiona taktyka tej administracji wyrażania niezadowolenia z Izraela). Polecił również swojemu zastępcy rzecznika, aby powiedział dziennikarzom: „Będziemy nadal naciskać na naszych izraelskich partnerów, aby dokładnie przejrzeli ich politykę i praktyki dotyczące zasad użycia siły i rozważyli dodatkowe kroki w celu złagodzenia ryzyka szkód cywilnych, ochrony dziennikarzy i zapobiegania podobnym tragedie w przyszłości”.

Co za hucpa!

Zaledwie kilka tygodni wcześniej oburzona opinia publiczna i gniew Kongresu zmusiły Pentagon do ogłoszenia nowego „Planu łagodzenia i reagowania na szkody cywilne” w celu zmniejszenia liczby osób zabitych w operacjach wojskowych USA. Nastąpiło to po latach nieprzyjmowania odpowiedzialności za „szkody uboczne”, jak w przypadku ataku dronów w Afganistanie w 2019 r., w którym zginęło 10 cywilów, w tym siedmioro dzieci. Ben-Dror Yemini zauważył w „Ynet”, że badanie przeprowadzone przez Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs na Brown University wykazało, że 71% ofiar operacji antyterrorystycznych prowadzonych przez Stany Zjednoczone podczas wojny z terroryzmem to cywile. Niemniej plan Pentagonu nie obejmuje badania przeszłych spraw ani pociągania kogokolwiek do odpowiedzialności za śmierć niewinnych ludzi.

Ogłaszając wynik śledztwa IDF, które wykazało prawdopodobieństwo, że Abu Akleh została przypadkowo zabita przez izraelski ostrzał, rzecznik Departamentu Stanu USA Ned Price potwierdził, że Departament Obrony uznał „potrzebę poprawy własnych ocen i praktyk w celu zapewnienia łagodzenia szkód cywilnych”. Nie powstrzymało go to przed podkreśleniem znaczenia odpowiedzialności Izraela i podjęciem środków, aby zapobiec podobnym incydentom w przyszłości, tak jakby Izraelczycy strzelali do dziennikarzy tak często, że potrzebna była nowa polityka.

Odpowiadając na pierwotne oskarżenie, że Izrael celowo zabił dziennikarkę, ówczesny minister spraw zagranicznych Yair Lapid napisał w „The Wall Street Journal”, że Abu Akleh pracowała w regionie przez ponad 20 lat, nie doznając krzywdy. Powiedział, że to samo dotyczy innych zagranicznych dziennikarzy w Izraelu. Zauważył również, że jej pracodawca, „Al Dżazira, sieć prowadzona przez państwo islamistyczne, które jest otwarcie wrogie wobec Izraela, ma w Izraelu stały personel, chroniony przez państwo, które ta rozgłośnia regularnie oczernia”.

Izrael gości najwięcej na świecie zagranicznych dziennikarzy per capita. Wielu z nich jest krytycznych, niektórzy jawnie wrogo nastawieni do Izraela; niemniej nie mają zakazu relacjonowania wiadomości z Izraela lub spornych terytoriów. Gdyby Izrael chciał zabijać reporterów, którzy piszą negatywne rzeczy o kraju, dziesiątki by nie żyły. Pomysł, że rząd celowo zaatakował dziennikarkę, jest zwyczajnie niedorzeczny.

Wyobraź sobie, że izraelskie ministerstwo spraw zagranicznych wydaje oświadczenia wzywające Stany Zjednoczone do zrewidowania swoich zasad użycia siły, biorąc pod uwagę straty wśród cywilów spowodowane przez ich siły zbrojne. To nigdy nie zdarzyłoby się.

Dobrze, że premier Yair Lapid stanął w obronie suwerenności swojego narodu, stwierdzając: „Nikt nie będzie nam dyktował naszej polityki otwarcia ognia, gdy walczymy o nasze życie. Nasi żołnierze mają pełne poparcie rządu Izraela i społeczeństwa Izraela”. Dodał: „Nie pozwolę, aby żołnierz IDF, który chronił się przed ostrzałem terrorystycznym, był ścigany tylko po to, by otrzymać aplauz z zagranicy”.

Również Gantz słusznie powiedział: „Szef sztabu i tylko on określa i będzie nadal określał politykę otwarcia ognia, zgodnie z potrzebą operacyjną i wartościami IDF, w tym czystości broni. … Nie było i nie będzie żadnego politycznego zaangażowania w tę sprawę”.

Warto zauważyć, że w 2014 roku, po wojnie w Gazie, amerykański generał Martin Dempsey, przewodniczący połączonych szefów sztabów, mówił o tym, jak „Izrael posunął się niesłychanie daleko, by ograniczyć szkody uboczne i ofiary cywilne”. Pentagon, powiedział, wysłał do Izraela zespół oficerów, aby wyciągnęli wnioski z walk, w tym „środki, które podjęli, aby zapobiec ofiarom cywilnym”.

Stany Zjednoczone są najważniejszym sojusznikiem Izraela. Mimo to amerykańskim przywódcom czasami trzeba przypominać, że Izrael jest suwerennym narodem, jak zrobił to Menachem Begin po tym, jak administracja Reagana podjęła szereg środków, by ukarać Izrael za aneksję Wzgórz Golan. „Czy jesteśmy waszym wasalem? Czy jesteśmy republiką bananową?” – zapytał ambasadora USA w Izraelu. „Mamy dość siły – oświadczył Begin – aby bronić naszej niepodległości i bronić naszych praw”.

Czy Stany Zjednoczone kiedykolwiek ośmieliłyby się powiedzieć Wielkiej Brytanii, Niemcom lub Francji, jak ich wojsko powinno wykonywać swoje obowiązki?

Nie, a to oznacza, że w sprawie Izraela Stany Zjednoczone stosują podwójne standardy, co jest jednym z przykładów antysemityzmu w roboczej definicji International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) stosowanej przez Departament Stanu.

Zanim Specjalna Wysłanniczka ds. Monitorowania i Zwalczania Antysemityzmu Deborah Lipstadt wyruszy w kolejną podróż za granicę, powinna posprzątać swój dom.


Mitchell Geoffrey Bard – Amerykański analityk polityki zagranicznej, redaktor i autor, który specjalizuje się w polityce USA – Bliski Wschód. Jest dyrektorem wykonawczym organizacji non-profit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise i dyrektorem Jewish Virtual Library.


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Spending Rosh Hashanah With a Very Hungry Caterpillar

Spending Rosh Hashanah With a Very Hungry Caterpillar


ILANA KURSHAN


What a children’s book can teach us about prayer and renewal
.

KURT HOFFMAN

For as long as I can remember, a key part of my spiritual preparation for the High Holidays has been deciding which books to bring with me to shul. Of course I’ll bring my Mahzor, my High Holiday prayer book, its margins filled with penciled notes I’ve taken over the years about what to think about at various points in the service so as to deepen my concentration. But prayer has never come easily for me, and during the long High Holiday services, I often find myself in need of distraction. Over the years I have collected certain books that I think of as “shul books”—books loosely related to prayer or repentance or some other aspect of the High Holiday experience, which I read whenever I find myself in need of the sort of distraction that paradoxically improves my focus.

Ever since I became a mother, though, I am less concerned with how to distract myself in shul, and far more concerned with how distract my children. What books can I bring for my kids to read so that they are less likely to interrupt me? What books can I trust that they’ll read to themselves, instead of thrusting at me eagerly with cries of “Read it! Read it!” What books are likely to absorb them for hours on end—or at least for the 10 minutes it will take me to get through the Musaf Amidah?

Most of my kids can read to themselves now, so it is getting easier. Even my youngest daughter, still in preschool, can happily occupy herself with HaParashah, an illustrated series on the weekly Torah portion by Emily Amrusi; she can’t read the words yet, but she uses the illustrations as a guide to retell the stories to herself. “No, no, no!” she’ll shout suddenly, unaware that she is speaking aloud, as if she has cried out in her sleep at night. I turn my head in her direction. Her arms are raised in the air in a gesture of protest. I look down at the open page before her, where Isaac lies bound on the altar, and I breathe a sigh of relief alongside her.

My toddler son is more difficult. Yitzvi goes through phases with books, and these days the only book he will read is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, all day long—by the light of the moon or the light of the sun, when hungry or after a snack of two pears, when wrapped up in the cocoon of his favorite blanket or when spreading his wings to flit about the park. “Hung-ee catapilla, hung-ee catapilla,” he insists, his appetite insatiable.

No doubt I’ll bring The Very Hungry Caterpillar to shul for my son on Rosh Hashanah. His sister will sit beside him perusing the Genesis volume of HaParashah, which begins, of course, with the creation of the world. I will be chanting a refrain from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy: HaYom Harat Olam, today the world was created. My son with his very hungry caterpillar may turn the pages contentedly for a few minutes, but soon he’ll plead with me to read to him, and I’ll have no choice but to oblige, starting from the very first page.

By the light of the moon. At first the world is just darkness and potentiality—a tiny egg in a dark world illuminated only by moonlight. The world is fashioned and God creates light, but there is still no life. And then there is a sun, and the first creepy crawly things appear, and “pop”—the caterpillar emerges. On each subsequent day, the caterpillar eats more than the day before, and the pages unfold as a series of flaps that grow wider and wider—one apple, two pears, three plums … Each day follows the same formula: The caterpillar eats, but he is stilllll—I draw out the final “l,” then pause and look at Yitzvi—“Hung-ee,” he concludes, and I’ll put my finger to my lips to remind him to whisper.

Today the world was created. In the book of Genesis, each day of creation is narrated with the same repetitive formula: “God said ‘Let there be’ … And it was so … God saw it was good … And there was evening and morning.” I imagine a children’s Bible in which each day of creation appears as an increasingly wider flap: Narrow for the light and darkness, a bit wider for the firmament, wider for the creepy-crawly things, still wider for the sun and moon, nearly a whole page for all the animals. Each day, God creates more and more, but the world is still incomplete. The caterpillar is still hungry.                       

On the sixth day of the caterpillar’s life, his appetite peaks. Over the course of a full-color, two-page spread, the caterpillar eats every kind of food imaginable: cake, ice cream, cheese, salami, candy, pie. This explosion of bounty has its parallel on the sixth day of creation, when God makes “every kind of living creature, cattle, creeping things, and wild beasts of every kind,” as well as man, created in God’s image. God charges the man and woman to be fertile and multiply and to fill the earth. But the tiny caterpillar in the bottom right-hand corner of the page is full already. He has a stomachache, and can’t possibly eat another bite.

Then comes a period of waiting, of dormancy, of sitting still and holding tight. God sees all that He has made, and finds it very good. And the heaven and earth are completed, in all their array. What is left for the seventh day? The caterpillar builds his cocoon and remains inside for two weeks. It seems as if nothing is happening. The cocoon is large and brown and it fills the whole page—for the first time, we don’t see the caterpillar anymore, with his wide smile and big green eyes. This is a period of resting, of desisting from labor, of not doing anything at all. This is Shabbat, the day of rest, when we are supposed to imitate God and desist from the work of creation.

It seems on Shabbat like nothing is happening. If we stop creating, how could something new emerge? What could possibly come of resting and staying put, holed up in the cocoons of our homes? Quite a lot, apparently. At the end of the book, when the caterpillar emerges, he is a beautiful butterfly, his dazzling multicolored wings spread across two facing pages. All that time he was in that cocoon, new cells were forming rapidly, increasing and multiplying so that the butterfly might spread its wings and fill the earth. All that time it seemed nothing was happening, a transformation was underway.

On Rosh Hashanah we focus on who we are and who we can be. We think about the ways we have changed, and the ways we still hope to change. Often it seems like we are in the very same place as we were last year, and the year before that. If we move forward, it is ever so slowly, like a caterpillar creeping along from page to page. When will the butterfly emerge?

Sometimes when I read Yitzvi The Very Hungry Caterpillar over and over, I feel like I’m sitting in shul for a long and repetitive service. I know the book by heart and Yitzvi can complete every line, so we recite the text responsively. I chant the words in a tune that has become familiar to us both, pausing each time in the same places: “By the light of the—.” I pause, and Yitzvi bobs his head excitedly: “Moon!” I go on: “A little egg lay on a—.” Again, I pause, and Yitzvi immediately chimes in: “Leaf!” The book unfolds between us as a call-and-response, as if I am the prayer leader and he is the congregation’s most vocal member.

One day I come into Yitzvi’s room, where he has been napping all afternoon. I find him sitting up in his crib with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, reciting the book to himself. He misses a few words here and there, but he is clearly not paraphrasing; he knows the rhythm of each page, and when he doesn’t know a particular word, he replaces it with a similar sound: “By a light on ah moon, a li’l egg, on on on leaf!” It is as if the words of the book have a certain sanctity, and he knows he must remain faithful. He turns the page. He is so absorbed in the book that he doesn’t notice that I have entered, and I think of the ancient rabbis’ image of a person so immersed in prayer that he doesn’t stop even when a snake curls around his ankle. I come over to his crib and tousle his hair, and he thrusts the book at me, tugging at my sleeve: “Read it! Read it!”

The more I read the book to Yitzvi, the better I come to understand my own struggles with prayer. The traditional Jewish liturgy is largely fixed and unvarying, with the same prayers recited every day of the week, and additional prayers for the Sabbath, holidays, and High Holidays. The challenge of prayer is to find meaning in reciting the same words day after day. Our prayers are not supposed to be rote; we are supposed to pray to God from the fullness of our hearts, bringing our fears and hopes to bear. How is this possible when each day we open to the same page and begin with the very same words thanking God for the gift of waking up in the morning: “I am grateful to You, O living and sustaining King, for restoring my soul to my body.”

Often it seems like we are in the very same place as we were last year, and the year before that. If we move forward, it is ever so slowly, like a caterpillar creeping along from page to page. When will the butterfly emerge?

Sometimes I try to pay attention to how the words speak to me differently today, in this time, in this place. Why am I especially grateful to have woken up today of all days? Was there reason to think I might not have woken up on this particular morning? Ideally the liturgy becomes a script we act out, each time infusing the words with new resonance, new significance, a new emotional valence. “Lord, guard my lips from evil and my tongue from lies. Help me ignore those who slander me.” What are the evil lies I am concerned about speaking on this particular morning? Who might wish to slander me, and why? The liturgy prompts the same questions in me day after day, but my responses are rarely the same.

And yet the purpose of prayer is not to arrive at answers to these questions. Prayer is not an intellectual exercise, but an act of devotion. I don’t understand every word in the prayer book, but the liturgy nonetheless has a comfortable familiarity. When I pray, my focus is less on the meaning of the words than on the experience of reciting them over and over again.

Does Yitzvi know what a cocoon is? A stomachache? He would never stop to ask me what a word means, because for him, meaning is largely irrelevant to the ritualized experience of reading. He wants to hear the story not to find out what happens, but to be transported by its rhythms, to lose himself in the phrases that have become intimately familiar even if they elude comprehension. By the end of the book, he will be in a different place, just as we are ideally in a different place after each time we pray. We may think, in the beginning, that we cannot bear to read the book another time. And yet each time we finish and emerge from the cocoon of our prayer shawls, we are transformed. Our prayers today are different from the day before; our prayers this new year are different from the year that passed. Perhaps The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a shul book after all.

Ideally our prayer is not just an occasion for transformation, but also a means of connection. The rabbis of the Talmud credit the forefathers in the book of Genesis—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—with the establishment of the daily prayer services. Abraham instituted the morning prayer when he prayed on behalf of Sodom; Isaac instituted the afternoon prayer when he went out to the field in the late afternoon; and Jacob instituted the evening prayer when he dreamt of a ladder of angels. None of these individuals was reciting a fixed liturgy; they were talking to God. In its most fundamental sense, prayer was, and is, a means of communication. The point is not the words spoken or the text recited, but the connection forged.

When I reread the same book to Yitzvi countless times, I challenge myself to view the fixed, unvarying text as a springboard for connection. I look into my son’s animated eyes as we come to his favorite page, on which the caterpillar eats the cake and the ice cream and the pickle, and each time, unfailingly, “He was still hungry.” Yitzvi never gets bored of the refrain. He is delighted each time anew. The phrase “His graciousness endures forever” repeats 26 times in Psalm 136, which is recited every morning. I marvel to think that God’s patience could be as enduring as God’s graciousness. Does God never tire of our prayers? Is God still hungry for more?

The Talmudic rabbis note a subtle inconsistency in the Bible’s description of the creation of the world. Although grass was created on the third day of creation, it did not emerge from the earth until the sixth day, when we are told, at least initially, that “no shrub of the field was yet on the earth” (2:5). The rabbis explain that for three days, the grass stood poised beneath the surface of the earth, waiting to grow until Adam came and prayed for it to emerge. According to the Talmud, “God desires the prayers of the righteous,” and thus aspects of the creation of the world were contingent upon human prayer. God created an imperfect world so that human beings would have reason to call out to God.

In some ways praying is easier with little children to distract me. I no longer read to distract myself in shul, but instead seek out every opportunity to focus on the prayer book. But my concentration wavers nonetheless. If only I could recite my prayers with the same eagerness and devotion with which God receives them. If only I could read to my child with the same excitement the words seem to awaken within him. “Again, again!” Yitzvi insists when we turn the final page. He wants me to keep rereading, even if we’re in shul, and even if it’s Rosh Hashanah morning. Today the world was created. No sooner has the caterpillar become a beautiful butterfly than Yitzvi wants to turn back time, starting all over with the egg on the leaf. I summon my patience and return to the first page, to the beginning, creating the world anew.


Ilana Kurshan is the author of If All the Seas Were Ink.


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Wszyskim którzy są z nami w Reunion’68

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