Developments have started moving quickly in the ill-starred project to host the current foreign minister of Lithuania as “guest of honor” at a Tel Aviv “gala” at the Dan Panorama Hotel on March 5th.
Shortly after DefendingHistory.com reported the story on 14 February, the announcement which first drew international attention to the event, on the highly respected Telfed.org website, was taken down. It is understood that leading South African Litvak personalities played in role in the rapid withdrawal of the announcement.
On 16 February, DefendingHistory.com, in an update to the story, reported that a group of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors would be demonstrating outside the Dan Panorama on the evening of the gala, peacefully and politely explaining to whoever may want to listen, their views of the Lithuanian government’s policies on the Holocaust, Jewish partisans, antisemitism, state honoring of local Holocaust perpetrators, and massive investment in Double Genocide and the Prague Declaration movement to minimize the Holocaust in European history.
In a statement released today at midday Tel Aviv time, attorney Joseph Melamed, 87, the elected chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel (who will be leading the March 5th demonstration outside the Dan Panorama at 6 PM), said:
“Real Litvaks will stay away from this gala sham that brings dishonor to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and harms our struggle for the historic truth and the survival of our Litvak heritage.”
— Joseph Melamed, Tel Aviv, 17 February 2012
Mr. Melamed, a native of Kovno (Kaunas), is a hero of the Kovno Ghetto resistance to the Nazis and their accomplices, of the Jewish partisan resistance in the forests of Lithuania, and of the Israeli War of Independence.
He is a Holocaust historian, author and editor, whose works include Lita (“Lithuania,” published in Hebrew), and Crime and Punishment (in English).
Mr. Melamed has himself over the last year been a subject of Lithuanian prosecutors’ shambolic pursuit of Holocaust survivors. At their insistence, he was visited by Interpol liaison officers in Tel Aviv. Yossi Melman reported in Haaretz on the Interpol visit, and on Yad Vashem’s response.