The Son of a Holocaust Survivor Weaponizes Books to Stop Another Shoah

T. Belman. I first connected with Howard when he started Mantua Books. Since then I have promoted his books and he has generously donated money in support of Israpundit. I too was born in Canada but in my case to two immigrants from Poland who came to Canada in the twenties. You will recall that the US shut the door to Jewish Immigration in the early twenties, ergo Canada. My father’s family were attracted to Communism and my mother’s family were attracted to Zionism.

I am a Canadian author who has written often for Israel National News, New English Review and Frontpage Magazine, with some of my essays carried also in Israpundit.  I grew up in a small city about 15 miles from another small city where Ted Belman grew up.

I attained a degree in History from University of Toronto where I first became interested in cultural history and the history of ideologies and values.  I later graduated from that university in Law and practiced for 20 years, before founding a company providing affordable rental housing in converted heritage buildings such as old churches and warehouses.  I also founded Mantua Books, Canada’s sole pro-Israel and conservative and Torah values publishing house.

My writing is based on a traditional conservative or classically liberal understanding of ideologies and values and political culture.  I am particularly interested in Islamism and left wing ideologies.  The greatest influence on my writing is the Holocaust as my father was slave labor in Auschwitz and my father’s parents and then eight year old sister were murdered in the gas chambers.  My mother was born in Canada to parents who fled Uman near Kiev in the Ukraine, in 1910.   Since my mother grew up in peaceful Canada, I could distinguish a very different culture between my father’s family and my mother’s family.

I have written much criticism on Holocaust literature and commemorations.

My novel, The Second Catastrophe:, is very much in the genre of “Second Generation” literature as the protagonist is the son of a Holocaust survivor who is writing a book about Israel and becomes obsessed with what he sees as “Second Holocaust” this time directed at the Jews of Israel with explicit threats by the leadership of Iran that they will get nuclear weapons and use them against Israel.  There is a sad parallel between the world in general and Diaspora Jews in particular, concerning the lack of action to stop explicit threats to our people.

 Professor Norman Rosenfeld, my fictional cultural historian at a small Canadian university, has almost finished his new and controversial book about Israel and the Jewish people. He learns that his daughter, on a one-year study program at an Israeli university, has been injured in a terrorist attack. Rosenfeld, a widower, rushes to Israel, along with his father, an elderly Holocaust survivor, named “Lucky”. While in Israel visiting his injured daughter, at the height of the “Second Intifada”, Rosenfeld, an Orthodox Jew, meets and falls in love with a secular Israeli woman. This leads to discussion of the gulf between religions and secular Israelis. Chapters of the Professor’s book on Israel and the Jewish people are interspersed amongst the events of the novel. The dramatic events and difficulties of Rosenfeld’s life mirror catastrophic events in the life of the Jewish people. His journey to overcome these catastrophes is at the core of The Second Catastrophe.

By placing chapters of his book on Israel among the fictional events of his life, the reader can see how his life influences his writing and how his writing, (attacked by the usual anti-Israel crowd), then influences his life.  The book is set in Israel during the Second Intifada and nine-eleven, and was written in Jerusalem during the height of the suicide bombings.

In my first non-fiction book, Tolerism, I argue that we in the West have entered an ideology of “Tolerism” – an unhealthy degree of tolerance without limits, and an excessive leniency towards those who represent the most intolerant and illiberal societies.  Too many educated people think that tolerance is an important value when it is Justice that is stressed in the Torah, not tolerance.  I observe how cultural and moral relativism, moral equivalency, and political correctness have all contributed to a modern political culture whose elites and cultural symbols evidence, not only an undue tolerance of the illiberals, but a disturbing element of self-hatred, cultural masochism, and delusions about the difference between social tolerance and political tolerance – and an elevation of tolerance over the principle of Justice.

In the follow-up to Tolerism, which I titled The Ideological Path to Submission … and what we can do about it, I trace the ideological pathway resulting from tolerance and explore certain ideologies that have emanated from tolerism and pose a danger of possible submission to the anti-liberal values of the Islamists. I  look at such ideologies as Inclusive Diversity, Empathy, Denialism, Masochism, Islamophilia, Trumpophobia, Cultural Relativism, Postmodernism, Multiculturalism and the psychological factors that conduce to a flight from the anxieties of freedom to a submission to the enemy. I argue that Muslims who  wish to share Western freedoms, need to support reformers and participate in their essential duty to reject the Islamists who seek Sharia Law and a world-wide Caliphate in lands where they immigrate to. The sooner we understand the ideologies that lead us from tolerism to submission to the enemy, and that we can have a moral replacement to postmodernism, and the sooner we follow the Israeli example of resistance, patriotism and social cohesion as a way to build social resilience, the sooner we in the West can reverse our losses and start winning this war.

During the years subsequent to the publishing of these books (available through Amazon) the problems I deal with in my three books have only become more serious and more dangerous.  My prescience gives me no joy whatsoever;  instead it motivates me to do whatever I can.

“One thing that I learned was the need to publish other pro-Israel authors, and that I could do it.”  In talking to other authors and some professors, I realized as early as 2002 that mainstream publishing houses and media did not want anything to do with pro-Israel material.  Even some bookstores were becoming loath to carry these books.  I had taken early retirement from my law practice in order to concentrate on real estate development, but that new type of work did not occupy as much time as my law practice.   So, without any contacts and in the face of illiberal political correctness and cancel culture, I decided that somebody had to take on the project of publishing books that also constituted weapons in our war to stop radical Islamism and its Western enablers.

I knew that there was no money in it – the refusal of media to carry book reviews meant that we had somehow to get publicity for our books from social media, which at the time was not as developed as it is now.  I also realized that left wing university students and Islamists might well attack any authors for which we secured lectures or book signings.   And I became the first victim of Islamist threats at a book lecture for my novel.   See:

The irony was that my novel was about, in part, a pro-Israel university professor who gets in trouble at a lecture.

We also learned that organizations that were founded to speak out for authors and their freedom of expression, such as PenCanada and the Writers’ Union and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association refused to speak out in favour of Zionist Jews, our authors and books.

Since my real estate work was remunerative yet did not take up all of my time, I was able to do all the work needed for Mantua Books with one part-time secretary.  I have had some health problems recently, so have had to pause some new releases.

Perhaps with my age (71) it is time to pass the torch, but people are not lined up to buy a publishing house that barely breaks even and which gets no governmental or media support.   Here is a list of pro-Israel books (in addition to mine shown above) that we have published, with all of them available from Amazon:

Mordechai Nisan – The Crack-up of the Israeli Left

Jacob Sivak – Chienke’s Motl and Motl’s Chienke: A Twentieth Century Story

David Solway – Hear O Israel

Stephen Schecter – Grasshoppers in Zion;  Israel and the Paradox of Modernity

Giulio Meotti – The Vatican Against Israel

Paul Merkley – Those That Bless You I Will Bless:  Christian Zionism in Historical Perspective

Pamela Peled – For the Love of God and Virgins

Salim Mansur – Delectable Lie;  a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism

Dianne Weber Bederman – Back to the Ethic;  Reclaiming Western Values

Dianne Weber Bederman – The Serpent and the Red Thread; The Definitive Biography of Evil

Farrell Bloch – Identity and Prejudice

Farzana Hassan – The Case Against Jihad

©Howard Rotberg. All rights reserved.

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