Suspension of Amsterdam chief rabbi seen as ‘verging on facism’

The suspension of Amsterdam’s chief rabbi for signing a statement on “curing” homosexuality is “verging on fascism,” the committee of Orthodox Jews that sponsored the statement told a Dutch newspaper.

The Committee for the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality said in a letter Monday to the Volksrant newspaper that it is “shocking” that a chief rabbi in the Netherlands has been suspended for his statements on “centuries-old religious truths.”

Amsterdam’s Orthodox Jewish community suspended Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag of New York from his position for signing the “Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality,” which states that “We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire. Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid,” and that “therapy and teshuvah” can overcome homosexuality.

Ralbag travels to the Netherlands a couple times a year to rule on matters of Jewish law.

The rabbi said he will remain suspended until he and community leaders discuss the issue in person. On Sunday, however, Ralbag said he would not travel to the Netherlands for several weeks due to threats on his life.

“I have strong indications that my wife and I would not be sure of our lives if we came to the Netherlands now,” he told the NRC Dutch newspaper.

New Jersey Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, a Ralbag supporter who also signed the statement, told the Volksrant that “Dutch society is so tolerant, with legal and open prostitution and a sharp reduction in faithfulness in marriage, that it is impossible for Jews who grow up in such surroundings to embrace the moral message of the Torah. They are in spiritual shock.”

Report: Nazis found ‘safe haven’ in U.S.

American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” for Nazis in the United States after World War II, a secret U.S. Justice Department report said.

The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, was obtained by The New York Times, the newspaper reported Saturday.

The report examines the work of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis. More than 300 Nazis have been deported, stripped of citizenship or blocked from entering the United States since the creation of the O.S.I., according to the report.

The report accuses the C.I.A. of knowingly allowing Nazi war criminals to enter the United States “for postwar intelligence purposes.”

“America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became—in some small measure—a safe haven for persecutors as well,” the report said, according to the Times.

The report also said, however, that the number of Nazis that entered the United States after WWII was smaller than the 10,000 figure that is often cited.

The report was commissioned in 1999 by then-Attorney General Janet Reno, and edited by Mark Richard, a senior Justice Department lawyer, in 2006. The department has kept the report under wraps since 2006, only turning it over to the private National Security Archive last month under threat of a lawsuit. Some legally and diplomatically sensitive sections of the report were omitted before it was turned over, the Times reported, adding that it obtained a complete version of the report.

Cases examined in the report include: Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolf Eichmann; Arthur L. Rudolph, a Nazi scientist; John Demjanjuk, a retired American autoworker who was tried and acquitted in Israel of being Treblinka’s Ivan the Terrible; and Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death.