Wednesday, June 30, 2010

dennis miller on Israel

Dennis Miller and the Jews

For those of you who don't like Dennis Miller, who is not Jewish, you may want to reconsider after reading his brilliant comments that follow.
For those who don't know, Dennis Miller is a comedian who had a show called Dennis Miller Live on HBO. Although he is not Jewish, he recently had the following to say about the Middle East situation:

'A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you Really need.

Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that:
There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like 'Wiccan,' 'Palestinian' sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was Owned by Egypt , the West Bank was owned by Jordan , and there were no 'Palestinians.'

As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians" weeping for their deep bond with their lost 'land' and 'nation.'

So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word ' Palestinian' any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone Points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are:
'Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death.'
I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then:

'Adjacent Jew-Haters.' Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing: No, they don't. They could've had their own country. Any time in the last thirty years, especially several years ago at Camp David . But If you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks. And Chambers of
Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel . They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course --that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel .

Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or 'The Zionist Entity' as their Textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab Countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something.

It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mid-East. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way,thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five Million Jews.

Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a ack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals.

Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend, Kevin Rooney, made a gorgeous point the other day: just reverse the numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of ourse not. Or marshalling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of Innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting.

No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11th our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.

If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan .

My Israel resources


youtube videos
Efforts to weaken Israel
BDS Boycott Divest Sanction Israel vs Bracha, Din-Defeat, Shalom jewu 554
Top 10 lies about Israel lies 1-3 Jewu Rabbi Jonathan Ginsbrg jewu 556
Lies about Israel 4-10 Jewu Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg jewu 557
Disconnecting Jews from Israel via Khazars Jewu 521

Media,academic bias vs Israel
Tom Friedman Arabist lies in New York Times Jewu
Helen Thomas Resigns over "send Israeli Jews "back" to Poland and Germany Jewu 551
Times shows bias against Jewish tie to Jerusalem jewu 539 Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg
Refuting Kristof's March 17 NYT piece on Israel JewU 25
Mearsheimer/Walt -shoddy and anti-semitic? JewU 239

Israel light to the nations/Israel's rightsIsrael will save world: water Jewu 559 Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg
The Israel Test Gilder A Must read Jewu 529
Cases for Israel Jewu 558 Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg
Zionism-The Jewish people's right to Israel JewU 243
Israel's 59th birthday Happy birthday JewU 75
Israel: the greatest country JewU 32
What can we personally do to help Israel JewU 78
Bond to Israel with Israel Bonds JewU 266
Travel with us to Israel JewU 138

Turkish Terrorist flotilla bloodbath Jewu 548
Trading 1000 terrorists for Shalit? Jewu 546 Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg
Apartheid week? Promote Arab terrorism week Jewu 535
40 seconds for al jazeera on Hamas Terrorist killed
Purim and the right of Jewish self-defense Jewu 530
Responding to those protesting Israel Jewu 522
Israel settlements obstacles to peace? Jewu 498
Palestine/Israel peace challenge Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg Jewu 487
Gaza Aftermath Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg Jewu 476
Gaza Hamas trying to kill Jews Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg jewu 462
Palestinian refugees "return" wrong JewU 86
It's Not Israel's Fault JewU 19

UN Goldstone report on Gaza predictably biased vs Israel Jewu 513
Pope's disappointing visit to Israel Jewu 489
Shameful British Boycott JewU 99

Rotem Knesset bill on conversion update Jewu 538
Rabbinate hurts Israel by thwarting converts aliyah jewu 509

US-Israel relations
Disgusting Obama administration tilt to murderers Jewu 537
Obama's Cairo speech good and bad Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg jewu 493
What's Wrong with Jimmy Carter's Book? JewU 97
AIPAC Crucial for America and the World JewU 81

Key issue of the time:Iran Iran Iran JewU 212 Rabbi Jonathan
ancient egypt modern iran Jewu 540 Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Jewish/leftist anti-Israel forces
J Street exposed- new "pro" Israel group? Jewu 517
Has the American Rabbinate abandoned Israel? JewU 515
Leftist bizarre anti_Israel views Jewu 495
My report from the AIPAC proIsrael conference Jewu 418

Israel songs Jewish songs #7 Jewu 417
Intro to Judaism terms #14 Israel JewU 233

Tom Friedman NYT anti-Israel piece

Shame on you Tom Frierdman

The answer toTom Friedman, and to everyone who said they agree with him. He may have
Zionist relatives, and he may be active in his Conservative synagogue, but
he still, in his widely-rea column, compared Tzahal to Haffez el Assad's
brutal massacre of thousands of his own people. I believe Friedman's ugly
comparison did irreparable harm to the State of Israel. No one can possibly
agree with an outrageous, egregious, insulting, defaming, pillorying
statement like that. Shame on you, Tom Friedman!!

The answer to Friedman:


British Army Col. Richard Kemp, commanded his country's forces in

Afghanistan in 2003, during his 30 years in the British Army, in which he

fought in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.During the

Gaza operation ten months ago, he asserted that the IDF was using all

possible caution to avoid harming civilians.

Kemp also testified before the UN Human Rights Council on the Goldstone

report, supporting the IDF. He told the special session: "Based on my

knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the

Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a

combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare ... Despite all

this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of

mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other

in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error.

But mistakes are not war crimes... More than anything, the civilian

casualties were a consequence of Hamas' way of fighting. Hamas deliberatel=

tried to sacrifice their own civilians ... Israel had no choice apart from

defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets."

PS - the same can be said of the bogus humanitarians in the flotilla

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Only Israel is working towards peace

Op-Ed: Only Israel making the effort toward peace
By Lee Rosenberg and Alan Solow · June 29, 2010

CHICAGO (JTA) -- Like the people and governments of Israel, the pro-Israel community in the United States has long sought a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct negotiations between the parties that would lead to a lasting peace agreement and Israel’s acceptance by all its neighbors.

The Israeli people dream of peace, and their governments have worked and sacrificed for it. As American supporters of Israel, we are committed to helping them make it a reality.

Since assuming office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pursued peace with Israel’s neighbors. Netanyahu declared his vision for peace -- for two states -- last June in a landmark speech at Bar-Ilan University, saying he supported the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state of Israel.

Underscoring Israel’s sincerity and willingness to make the most difficult choices in the pursuit of peace, a few months after his speech Netanyahu took another bold step, declaring a 10-month moratorium on all Israeli construction in the West Bank -- a concession that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called “unprecedented” in advance of negotiations.

Alongside political gestures, Israel also has taken significant steps to ensure that life improves for Palestinians in the West Bank, such as dismantling hundreds of West Bank roadblocks and checkpoints, and enabling greater freedom of movement between Palestinian cities. Israel’s cooperation also helped produce double-digit economic growth at a time of global recession.

While the current Israeli government, like its predecessors, has proven its desire for peace, the leader of the Palestinian Authority refuses to meet or even speak on the phone with his Israeli counterpart. Given Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to even sit down to speak face to face about a shared future, how can there be a chance for peace?

During his recent visit to the United States, President Abbas made several public appearances in which he expressed his desire for peace. Many of his comments were significant and noted as such. But words alone are not enough. Abbas still refuses to talk peace directly with Israel’s prime minister, despite American demands that he do so. Abbas has said that his strategy is not to make concessions in negotiations but to encourage the United States, and even more the international community, to pressure Israel for unilateral concessions.

Abbas rebuffed then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s sweeping offer in 2008, and like Yasser Arafat before him, refused to even engage in more serious deeper discussions with Israel, which leads us to today, when new preconditions and further refusals to talk with Israel sabotage the dream of peace to which we all aspire.

It’s not just Abbas’ refusal to talk that is problematic. In recent months, the PA has intensified its efforts to delegitimize Israel in the international arena and increased the incitement against Israel. By endorsing the Goldstone Report, the PA has pushed for senior Israeli leaders to be charged with war crimes. The PA also lobbied forcefully but unsuccessfully against Israel’s admission to the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In addition, the PA continues to name schools and streets after terrorists, including Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 37 civilians, and Yahya Ayyash, a suicide bombmaker who is responsible for hundreds of deaths. The PA media carries outrageous programs portraying Israel and Jews in the most negative ways. Rather than seeking to isolate Israel in the international arena and to incite its population to hatred of Israel, the PA needs to prepare its people for genuine peace.

On a topic as complicated and emotional as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is easy to get caught up in the day’s news cycle and forget the history of Israel’s actual effort, sacrifice and good will in the pursuit of peace.

As American friends of Israel we must, and we will, continue to remind our leaders about how badly Israel wants peace -- and how tragically the PA has only increased its demands and pulled away from the negotiating table.

In the interim, the United States and Israel are attempting to engage the PA through “proximity talks” -- a significant departure from direct talks of the past 20 years. The Palestinian leadership now is refusing to engage directly unless it gets Israel’s concessions in advance, and the PA pays no price for its obstinate stance.

Peace may be a dream, but it takes work and courageous leadership in real life to achieve it. Don’t blame Israel for the lack of progress.

(Lee Rosenberg is president of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Alan Solow is chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations.)

Decoy Jews needed

Canary in the Coalmine: Europe’s “Decoy Jews”
From the desk of Paul Belien on Thu, 2010-06-24 10:50
“Decoy Jew” is a new phrase in the Netherlands. Jews are no longer safe in major Dutch cities such as Amsterdam. Since 1999, Jewish organizations in the Netherlands have been complaining that Jews who walk the Dutch streets wearing skullcaps risk verbal and physical attacks by young Muslims. Being insulted, spat at or attacked are some of the risks associated with being recognizable as a Jew in contemporary Western Europe.

Last week, a television broadcast showed how three Jews with skullcaps, two adolescents and an adult, were harassed within thirty minutes of being out in the streets of Amsterdam. Young Muslims spat at them, mocked them, shouted insults and made Nazi salutes. “Dirty Jew, go back to your own country,” a group of Moroccan youths shouted at a young indigenous Dutch Jew. “It is rather ironic,” the young man commented, adding that if one goes out in a burka one encounters less hostility than if one wears a skullcap.

In an effort to arrest the culprits who terrorize Jews, the Amsterdam authorities have ordered police officers to walk the streets disguised as Jews. The Dutch police already disguise officers as “decoy prostitutes, decoy gays and decoy grannies” to deter muggings and attacks on prostitutes, homosexuals and the elderly. Apparently sending out the decoys has helped reduce street crime. The “decoy Jew” has now been added to the police attributes.

The deployment of “decoy Jews”, however, is being criticized by leftist parties such as the Dutch Greens. Evelien van Roemburg, an Amsterdam counselor of the Green Left Party, says that using a decoy by the police amounts to provoking a crime, which is itself a criminal offence under Dutch law.

Unfortunately, the situation in Amsterdam is not unique. Jews in other Dutch cities also regularly complain about harassment. So do Jews in neighboring countries.

On Monday, the Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported that large numbers of Jews are leaving Antwerp for America, Britain or Israel. Antwerp – nicknamed the “Jerusalem of the North” – is one of the major centers of Jewish culture in the Low Countries. “In London, you are not harassed if you wear a skullcap, but here you are,” a young Antwerp Jew told the paper.

Kleinblatt, a famous Jewish Antwerp bakery, which has been handed down from father to son since 1903, will soon break with that tradition because the baker’s son has emigrated to the U.S. “We no longer feel safe and welcome here,” a young Jew who is leaving for London told De Standaard. “Muslim immigrants blame us for what is happening in Israel.” Another young Jew, who is leaving for New York, says: “New York is a paradise for Jews. Unlike Belgium, non-Jews in America are pro-Israel.”

Ultra-orthodox Jews remain in Antwerp, but the less orthodox are leaving in droves. Even Jacques Wenger, the director of Shomre Hadas, the Jewish community center in Antwerp, is emigrating to Israel. If the current trend continues, he predicts, in fifty years’ time there will be no Jews left in Antwerp except for the ultra-orthodox.

It is often said that the Jews are the canary in the coalmine. When the Jews feel compelled to leave, the light of freedom is being extinguished. Something is badly wrong when the police need to deploy “decoy Jews.” Once again, the specter of anti-Semitism is haunting Europe. If the Europeans do not stand with the Jews, they deserve no freedom themselves and cities such as Amsterdam and Antwerp will soon be Islamic cities.

Pinhas dvar

Pinhas bnot zelophad

Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 elction: who to support who is pro Israel

From Richard Baehr
J-Street has endorsed 58 candidates for senate or house so far, 57 of them Democrats

2 of the 3 Senate endorsements are for open seats. One is for Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who faces a serious challenge this year.
1. I think as a rule, we should never give money to any candidate endorsed by J-Street.
In the open seat races, there is no incumbency rule (e.g vote for the candidate who voted for foreign aid, )
so the two open seats are easy: we should support Republican Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak, in Pennsylvania. Sestak had a poor record on Israel votes in Congress. Toomey had a very good record on Israel votes when he was in Congress.
We should support Republican Roy Blunt in Missouri over Robin Carnahan. Blunt had a good voting record on Israel in Congress. Carnahan has no record, but obviously said something sweet to J-Street's ears.

2. We should not give big amounts to candidates who have little or no competition in their races. (e.g dick durbin, daniel inouye). Better to give to more candidates, and give bigger gifts in close races.

3. Of the 55 members of the House on the J-street list, these are the 17 who rates as vulnerable this cycle (in alpahabetical order, as is the J-street list)
Russ Carnahan, Gerry Connolly, Bill Foster, Debbie Halvorson, Jim Himes, Rush Holt, Steve Kagen, Mary Jo Kilroy, Ron Kind, Dan Maffei, Betsy Markey, Chris Murphy, Scott Murphy, Bill Owens, Tom Perriello, Carol Shea Porter, and John Yarmuth.

If we will be backing Joel Pollak (Schakowsky is not yet on the vulnerable list), then some of these 17 are worth opposing as well. Among those who standout for being very critical of Israel is Carol Shea Porter, a hard left member from New Hampshire.

There are other competitive Senate races, a few of which are open seats:
Florida: Marco Rubio has the best position paper on Israel of any member running. Much better than Crist or Meeks
Two incumbents who are facing challenges , and have good voting records on Israel: Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, and Richard Burr, Republican from North Carolina. Both are ahead by small margins.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul is not as much of a loon as his dad, and has authored a decent position paper on Israel . But I think he is still suspect. Jack Conway is his opponent.
Two other open Senate seats offer easy choices: In Ohio, Rob Portman had a perfect voting record on Israel in Congress. He is running against Lee Fisher who was never in Congress and has no record. This is a very close race. In Indiana, Dan Coats is expected to beat Brad Ellsworth easily. both had good voting records on Israel in Congress, but we should go with the winner to establish a link.

To date, we have given a bit over $12,000 to Democratss this cycle, and a bit over $10,000 to Republicans. I do not think in the end, that we have to exactly balance the amounts. Sad to say, but one party has become better than the other in the last few years on israel.

Two Democratic members of Congress stand out for having the courage to push back against Obama's pressure on Israel- Shelley Berkley of Nevada, , to whom we have already given this cycle and Eliot Engel of New York, who deserves support. . Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland , has also been good.

deaf dumb blind on Iran

Jennifer Rubin
The administration, the Congress, and American Jewish groups continue the dance — pretending but not believing (unless Jewish leaders are entirely out to lunch) that Obama has a plan and the will to prevent the “unacceptable” (a nuclear-armed Iran). The Israelis meanwhile are left to consider: just how long do they dare wait before acting on their own to eliminate (or at least set back) the threat of nuclear attack on the Jewish state.

released terrorists return to terror

According to Israeli figures, 45% of released terrorists return to terrorism. The number is even higher among Hamas members, of whom 63% return to terrorism. Of the 400 terrorists released to gain the return of Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers in 2004, 52% of those released returned to terrorism and are responsible for killing 27 Israelis.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

boycott jews?

Sam Levinson, had a great answer to anti-Semites.
> "It's a free world and you don't have to like Jews, but if
> you DON'T, I suggest that you boycott certain Jewish products, like
> The Wasserman Test for syphilis,
> Digitalis, discovered by Doctor Nuslin,
> Insulin, discovered by Doctor Minofsky,
> Chloral Hydrate, discovered by Doctor Lifreich,
> The Schick Test for Diphtheria,
> Vitamins, discovered by Doctor Funk,
> Streptomycin, discovered by Doctor Woronan,
> The Polio Pill by Doctor Sabin, and the Polio
> Vaccine by Doctor Jonas Salk.
> Go on, boycott!
> Humanitarian consistency requires that my people
> offer all these gifts to all people of the world.
> Fanatic consistency requires that all bigots accept
> Syphilis,
> Diabetes,
> Convulsions,
> Malnutrition,
> Infantile Paralysis and
> Tuberculosis as a matter of principal.
> You want to be mad at us? Be mad at us!
> But I'm telling you, you ain't going to feel so good

Monday, June 7, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Live Broadcast of Kabbalat shabbat service tonight 8 PM Chicago time

Live Broadcast of Kabbalat shabbat service tonight 8 PM Chicago time
- class- Sunday Conversion class/Intro to Judaism RECORDED

shelach lecha and hesed

shelach lecha weekly portion

Legal issues on blockade

Condemn Israel - Then Investigate

by Elliot Chodoff

The world has put on its usual show this past week, roundly condemning Israel for intercepting the Gaza-bound flotilla, and then calling for an investigation of Israel's actions. Normal legal processes, such as investigating prior to condemnation, don't apply. The verdict is already in: condemn Israel, let's not be confused by the facts.

(An investigation will find that Israel did not use methods that are acceptable to international bodies like the UN. For example, rather than hailing the ship and boarding it, Israel might have utilized the quietly criticized, but otherwise accepted, N. Korean tactic of a submarine-launched torpedo to sink the ship. This would have spared the world the drama of "peace activists" having to try to smash the skulls of IDF naval commandos with steel rods. Alternatively, Israel could have adopted the Iranian post-election crowd control method, raking the ship's deck with machine gun fire. It worked for Ahmedinejad; barely a peep was heard from the UN and its assorted organs, and Iranian protest has become a thing of the past.)

A number of points bear noting:

- Gaza is under Israeli blockade

It is a blockade, neither a siege nor proxy occupation. Blockade is a legal form of warfare, and does not constitute collective punishment (according to the Geneva Convention). The blockade was not imposed as a result of the Israeli disengagement, but rather as a response to Palestinian belligerency as expressed in cross-border terrorist attacks, ambushes of military patrols, rocket fire into Israeli towns, and the holding of Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Blockades are legal actions; even the UN allows itself the option to impose them (UN Charter, Article VII, Chapter 42).

Further, the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, compiled in 1994, states (emphasis added):

93. A blockade shall be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral States.
94. The declaration shall specify the commencement, duration, location, and extent of the blockade and the period within which vessels of neutral States may leave the blockaded coastline.
95. A blockade must be effective. The question whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact.
96. The force maintaining the blockade may be stationed at a distance determined by military requirements.
97. A blockade may be enforced and maintained by a combination of legitimate methods and means of warfare provided this combination does not result in acts inconsistent with the rules set out in this document.
98. Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.
99. A blockade must not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral States.
100. A blockade must be applied impartially to the vessels of all States.


Which one of these rules did Israel violate? (Hint: None!) It should be noted, that paragraph 98 states that after resisting capture, the vessel may be attacked. The Israeli Navy could legally have fired on the ship after the "activists" on board resisted.

- Blockades may be enforced in international waters

According to The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations” (US Department of Defense, 1 Jul 2007), a ship is considered to be running the blockade when it leaves port, not when it crosses into blockaded waters. (I am indebted to David Olesker for pointing this out at:

- Blockade runners are engaging in an act of war and are subject to attack

"Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral states may not be attacked unless they are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture," says the San Remo Manual.

So much for the law. While even Israel's friends refer to the operation to stop the flotilla as a "botched raid", I disagree. While the outcome was certainly far from optimal, "botched" implies something very different. The commandos were sent into what they knew was going to be a difficult and confusing situation, with orders to use minimal force to protect innocent "activists." They met a violent mob and nandles them rather well.

A few points are worth consideration. First, the mission's objective was to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza. This was successfully accomplished. Second, five of the six ships stopped were boarded without incident.

Next, the commandos were armed appropriately for this mission. They were charged with taking control of the ships and those on board, and did so, using minimum force considering the circumstances. I have yet to read or hear a better alternative plan. Had they gone in with greater force, the results would have been worse.

Emerging information points to the fact that those who resisted on the Mavi Marmara were paid, trained, Islamic mercenaries and not simply not "activists." This group was divided into squads, apparently had firearms that were thrown overboard when the fighting ended, were well trained, possibly ex-military. Most important, some at least, were on the trip planning to die as martyrs.

on the flotilla

Thursday, June 3, 2010

History of Turkey's murder of 1.5 million Christian Armenians

Compiled and written from numerous
public sources for Bible Probe
by Steve Keohane, USN (Ret)

Armenian & Greek Genocide
by Turkish Muslims against Christians
The world turned its

The 1st Genocide of the 20th Century
Before the Nazi's slaughtered 6 million Jews, before the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million of their fellow Cambodians, before Rwandan Hutus killed 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, the Armenians of Turkey endured mass slaughter at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. The centuries of Turkish rule reduced Asia Minor, the epicenter of western civilization and Christendom, into a bloody Islamic cesspool which culminated in a genocide by Turks against Armenian and Greek Christian populations.

The Armenian Genocide, occurred when 2 million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through forced deportation and massacres by the Turks. As Turkish authorities forced them out of eastern Turkey, Armenians say they lost 1.5 million people in 1915-23, during and after World War I. Turkey says the death count is inflated and that the deaths were a result of civil unrest. To this day Turkey denies the Armenian genocide, but history cannot be hidden or rewritten.

Even Adolf Hitler cited the killing of the Armenians as a precedent for his own slaughter of the Jews two decades later.

"Kill without mercy!" the Nazi leader told his military on the eve of the Holocaust. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"


For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The area, known as Asia Minor, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian homeland was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols. Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. In 301 A.D., Armenia became the first nation to officially declare itself Christian. A golden era of peace and prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, a flourishing of literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century, Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the "city of a thousand and one churches." In the eleventh century, the first Turkish (Seljuk Turks) invasion of the Armenian homeland occurred. The Muslim Turkish king, Alp Arslan invaded Armenia, and sacked its capital city Ani in 1064 A.D. This began several hundred years of rule by Muslim Turks. By the sixteenth century, Armenia had been absorbed into the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire. At its peak, this Turkish empire included much of Southeast Europe, North Africa, and almost all of the Middle East.

But by the 1800s the once powerful Ottoman Empire was in serious decline. For centuries, it had spurned technological and economic progress, while the nations of Europe had embraced innovation and became industrial giants. Turkish armies had once been virtually invincible. Now, they lost battle after battle to modern European armies.

As the Ottomon empire gradually disintegrated, formerly subject peoples including the Greeks, Serbs and Romanians achieved their long-awaited independence. Only the Armenians and the Arabs of the Middle East remained stuck in the backward and nearly bankrupt empire, now under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Ottoman misrule had made the Armenians, a prosperous minority despite its political disadvantages, sympathetic to Russia. Between 1894 and 1896 over 100,000 inhabitants of Armenian villages were massacred during widespread pogroms conducted by the Sultan's special regiments.

Sultan Abdul-Hamid II known in history as the "Red Sultan" carried out a series of massacres of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The worst of the massacres occurred in 1895, resulting in the death of 100,000 to 300,000 civilians, and leaving tens of thousands destitute. Most of those killed were men. In many towns, the central marketplace and other Armenian-owned businesses were destroyed, usually by conflagration.

armenian holocaust

The Young Turks were the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. The Young Turk Movement emerged in reaction to the absolutist rule of Sultan Abdul-Hamid (Abdulhamit) II (1876-1909). With the 1878 suspension of the Ottoman Constitution, reform-minded Ottomans resorted to organizing overseas or underground. The backbone of the movement was formed by young military officers who were especially disturbed by the continuing decline of Ottoman power and attributed the crisis to the absence of an environment for change and progress.

At the center of the Young Turk Revolution stood the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) formed in 1895. Its members came to be known as Ittihadists or Unionists. The most ideologically committed party in the entire movement, the CUP espoused a form of Turkish nationalism which was xenophobic and exclusionary in its thinking. The CUP seized power in a coup d'etat in January 1913. Armenians in Turkey were delighted with this sudden turn of events and its prospects for a brighter future. Both Turks and Armenians held jubilant public rallies attended with banners held high calling for freedom, equality and justice. But things were not as they seemed to those jubilant Armenians.

Along with the Young Turk's newfound "Turanism" there was a dramatic rise in Islamic fundamentalist agitation throughout Turkey. Christian Armenians, who had always been one of the best-educated and wealthy communities within the old Turkish Empire were once again branded as infidels (non-believers in Islam). Young Islamic extremists, staged anti-Armenian demonstrations which often led to violence. During one such outbreak in 1909, two hundred villages were plundered and over 30,000 persons massacred in the Cilicia district on the Mediterranean coast. Throughout Turkey, sporadic local attacks against Armenians continued unchecked over the next several years.

To consolidate Turkish rule in the remaining territories of the Ottoman Empire and to expand the state into the so-called Turanian lands in the east, most held by Iran and Russia, the CUP devised in secret a program for the extermination of the Armenian population. From the viewpoint of its ideology and its new and ambitious foreign policy, the Armenians represented a completely vulnerable population straddling an area of major strategic value for its Pan-Turanian goals. The traditional historic homeland of Armenia lay right in the path of their plans to expand eastward. And on that land was a large population of Christian Armenians totaling some two million persons, making up about 10 percent of Turkey's overall population. Somewhat surprisingly to many, Armenians and Turks lived in relative harmony in the Ottoman empire for centuries. Armenians were known as the "loyal millet". During these times, although Armenians were not equal and had to put up with certain special hardships, they were pretty well accepted and there was relatively little violent conflict.

During World War I, the Ottoman Turks, were allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and an enemy of czarist Russia. The Armenians fought with the Russians, and both the Germans and Ottomans considered Turkey's Armenian citizens as "the enemy within". When the world's attention fixed upon the battlegrounds of France and Belgium, the Turks decided it was time to solve their "Armenian Problem" by exterminating them. The cover the Islamic Turks used was the lie that during the war that Armenians had been, for their own safety, evacuated to strategic hamlets so they would not be caught between Turkey and Russia.

Echoes of the Jewish Holocaust
The remarkable thing about the following events is the virtually complete cooperation of the Armenians. For a number of reasons the Armenians did not know what was planned for them and went along with "their" government's plan to "relocate them for their own good".

The Turks began by disarming the entire Armenian population under the pretext that the people were naturally sympathetic toward Christian Russia who Turkey was at war with. First the Armenians were asked to turn in hunting weapons for the war effort. Every last rifle and pistol was forcibly seized, with severe penalties for anyone who failed to turn in a weapon.

armenian genocide
Turks seem to rejoice watching a massacred Christian family. Even babies were tortured and massacred.

Mass deportations of the the civilian Armenian population was carried out in the spring and summer of 1915 and were completed by the fall, the systematic slaughter of the Armenians had started earlier with the murder of the 40,000 able-bodied males already drafted into the Ottoman armed forces. These able bodied Armenian men were then drafted and told it was to help Turkey's wartime effort. In the fall and winter of 1914, all of the Armenian soldiers had their weapons taken from them before they were put into slave labor battalions, building roads. Under the brutal work conditions they suffered a very high death rate. Those soldiers who survived were shot outright.

By stealing the movable and immovable wealth of the Armenians, the CUP looked upon its policy of genocide as a means for enriching its coffers and rewarding its cohorts.

In 1908, Bulgaria was finally liberated from Turkish rule by Russia. In that same year, the "Young Turk Revolution" began. It was led by three young Turkish military officers: Mehmed Talat Pasha, Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal, were responsible for these policies. These three formed the governing triumvirate which had concentrated dictatorial powers in their own hands after the January 1913 coup. They divided the governance of the Ottoman Empire among themselves. Soon these three dictators began promoting the idea of a homogeneous Turkish state of one race and one religion (Islam). They decided to expel or exterminate all non-Muslim, non-Turkish ethnic groups, specifically the Greek and Armenian Christians. During World War I the western world was focused on Germany, France and England. This provided Turkey with the perfect opportunity to carry out their premeditated massacre of its ethnic minorities.

Enver was a young 26 year old military hero who married into the Ottoman dynasty. He provided the most public face of the CUP. As Minister of War he coordinated the buildup of the Turkish armed forces with German financial, logistical, and planning support. In an ill-conceived plan of attack, he precipitated land warfare against Russia in the Caucasus in the dead of winter. His December 1914 campaign cost an entire army lost in a period of four weeks. In his capacity as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Enver exercised ultimate control over the Ottoman armies which carried out major atrocities, first in 1915 and then with renewed vigor when Turkish forces broke the Russian line in 1918 and invaded the Caucasus. The forces under the command of Enver's brother, Nuri, and uncle, Halil, spread devastation through Russian Armenia and carried out massacres of Armenians all the way to Baku. Talaat was the Minister of the Interior in Istanbul who ran the government for a figurehead grand vizier. Talaat was the mastermind of the Armenian Genocide and coordinated the various agencies of the Ottoman government required for the deportation, expropriation, and extermination of the Armenians.

The decision of Genocide:
The decision to annihilate the entire Armenian population came directly from the ruling triumvirate of ultra-nationalist Young Turks. The actual extermination orders were transmitted in coded telegrams to all provincial governors throughout Turkey. Armed roundups began on the evening of April 24, 1915, as 300 Armenian political leaders, educators, writers, clergy and dignitaries in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were taken from their homes, briefly jailed and tortured, then hanged or shot. In May of 1915 claiming that the Armenians were untrustworthy, the Minister of Internal Affairs (Talaat) ordered their deportation to relocation centers in the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia.


Two op-eds from The New York Times forcefully explain Israel's position on the failed attempt by leftist and Islamist activists to break Israel's blockade of Gaza and the ensuing tragic consequences.

The first by Michael Oren, Israel ambassador to the United States:

Peace activists are people who demonstrate nonviolently for peaceful co-existence and human rights. The mob that assaulted Israeli special forces on the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on Monday was not motivated by peace. On the contrary, the religious extremists embedded among those on board were paid and equipped to attack Israelis — both by their own hands as well as by aiding Hamas — and to destroy any hope of peace.

The second by Daniel Gordis, author, columnist and a vice president of the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based think tank.

Israelis are resigned to the fact that reason will not shake the world’s blatant double standard. Our blockade of Gaza is “criminal”; yet nobody mentions that Egypt has had a blockade of Gaza in place since 2007, and has never hesitated to use lethal force against those trying to break it. Israel’s attempt to enforce a blockade becomes an international crisis, while most of the world shrugs when North Korea sinks a South Korean ship. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his willingness to sit with Fatah leaders any time, anywhere, but they insist on mere “proximity talks,” which they will probably now scuttle, using the flotilla as an excuse.

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday backed Israel's seizure of the pro-Palestinian flotilla, insisting that the Jewish state is entitled to defend its security, Haaretz reports.

"Look, you can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not -- but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know -- they're at war with Hamas -- has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in," he said in an interview with Charlie Rose.

"They've [the Israelis] said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship -- if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza,'", he said. "So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys [Hamas] are dropping… 3,000 rockets on my people."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Visions of a Sacred Community

Visions of a Sacred Community
From the Alban Insititute, "Visions of a Sacred Community" summarizes the new book of Isa Aron , Steven M. Cohen , Lawrence A. Hoffman , Ari Y. Kelman describing the key components of a "visionary" congregation, as opposed to one that they call "functional," which they (rightly) claim cannot survive in this environment. An excerpt:

Congregational leaders who embark upon change efforts develop contrasting images of the qualities they seek in their congregation and of the characteristics they hope to shed, transcend, or avoid. They aspire to become what we call visionary congregations, those that most effectively develop, nurture, and apply powerful, widely shared, and widely understood visions of the sacred community. In contrast, they distinguish their communities from what we call functional congregations, those that may excel at performing discrete functions that satisfy their consumer-members but tend to fall short of genuinely achieving an integrated sense of sacred community.

The composite images we draw here emerged clearly from interviews with the lay and professional leaders of eight transformed congregations. Not only can these leaders point to their currently held view of their congregation's ideal features, some can also point to the time when their dreams began to take shape and when their dissatisfactions came into sharper focus. All engaged congregational leaders had to face their congregations' shortcomings and envision the ideal state to which they could realistically aspire. Dissatisfaction with the seemingly adequate, functional present was a necessary prelude to envisioning the extraordinary congregation they wanted to become. We found that functional congregations had six characteristics in common.

Consumerism: the fee-for-service arrangements provide consumers with discrete services, in particular, education of children for ceremonial celebration of bar or bat mitzvah and clergy officiation at life-cycle ceremonies.

Segmentation: programs stand on their own, with little integration of worship, learning, caring, social action, or community building.

Passivity: professionals exercise firm control over congregational functioning; worshipers sit passively; parents drop off children for religious schooling; boards deal with marginalia.

Meaninglessness: rote performance of scripted interactions, with little genuine significance or feelings of transcendent connection with Jews and Judaism.

Resistance to change: the routine is supreme, preventing diversification and serious consideration of alternative modes and structures.

Nonreflective leadership: focuses on program and institutional arrangements rather than purpose and vision.

The synagogues we studied successfully challenged their congregants to be life-long, year-round, thoroughly committed and practicing Jews. We call these synagogues "visionary." Through the course of our interviews, our key informants provided contrasts between "the congregation we once were” and the "congregation we have now become." Some spoke of them (other, more typical congregations) versus us (a very special congregation), distinguishing the ordinary and mediocre congregation from the extraordinary and vital congregation. Visionary synagogues have six characteristics in common.

Sacred purpose: a pervasive and shared vision infuses all aspects of the synagogue.

Holistic ethos: the parts are related to each other, such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Torah, avodah, and g’milut chasadim are intertwined throughout synagogue life.

Participatory culture: on all levels—congregants, lay leaders, professionals, and family members of all ages—engage in the work of creating sacred community.

Meaningful engagement is achieved through repeated inspirational experiences that infuse people's lives with meaning.

Innovation disposition is marked by a search for diversity and alternatives and a high tolerance for possible failure.

Reflective leadership and governance are marked by careful examination of alternatives, a commitment to overarching purpose, attention to relationships, mastery of both big picture and detail, and a planful approach to change.

At the heart of the visionary congregation is an overarching commitment to sacred purpose, a commitment that suffuses all aspects of the community. Where the functional congregation delivers specified services to consumer-clients, its visionary counterpart provides sacred experiences to members of a holy community.
Visionary communities maintain a holistic ethos where the parts are integrally related to the whole. This ethos attempts to minimize boundaries between people, programs, institutions, groups, and space and to promote cooperation between and among the various domains of the congregation. It rejects dualisms such as education versus entertainment and study versus action. It rejects the segmentation of functions common in most congregations, such as compartmentalizing worship, learning, caring, and social action. It also rejects an atomistic view of the congregation as separate from everyday life, the larger Jewish community, and the larger society.

For leaders, clerical or otherwise, of visionary congregations, a highly participatory culture signifies not loss of control but success in leadership. Congregants' participation, initiative, and leadership are not seen as impinging upon the prerogatives of leadership; they are signs of its effectiveness and success in making engagement with the congregation truly inspiring and meaningful.

A major theme in American religion over the last twenty years or more has been the rise of meaning seeking on the part of Americans of all faiths. In Robert Wuthnow's terms, religious adherents have increasingly shifted from the mode of "dwellers," where extant religious structures are sufficient, to that of "seekers," where the journey is an end in itself. Current and potential congregants choose to affiliate and to become more or less involved in congregational life based in part upon the extent to which such involvement provides them with genuine meaning. Congregations are challenged now more than ever to provide environments and experiences where meaning making can happen. As people and culture continue to diversify and evolve, the objective requires ongoing innovation. As Alan Wolfe observes, "All of America's religions face the same imperative: Personalize or die."

The leaders of the visionary congregations with whom we spoke cast themselves as change agents who promote innovation but carefully pace and monitor change. Given the complexity of instituting and monitoring innovation, a visionary congregation requires a leadership and an organizational culture not merely predisposed to innovate but also committed and capable of engaging in genuine reflection.
For years social scientists have been tracking the ever-quickening pace of change in technology, culture, and society. Management experts have been nearly unanimous in proclaiming that corporations and the people who lead them need to develop the tools to make sense of the changing world around them, to recognize emerging obstacles and opportunities, to manage adaptation and innovation, to assess their successes and failures, and to adjust their responses in light of these assessments. Innovation demands ongoing reflection and attention.

No congregation performs perfectly as a visionary congregation in all aspects. Rather, we envision the six characteristics shared by visionary congregations as continual, in which the core distinction of a congregation is that it is always in pursuit of sacredness over consumerism, holism over segmentation, participation over passivity, innovation over routine, meaning over rote interactions, and reflection over inattention.

Behind these characteristics lies the larger story, the story of how the synagogues themselves were transformed, from "limited liability" institutions to sacred communities; from shuls with schools to congregations of learners; from having clergy who made hospital visits to having congregants who visit one another; from having a small and somewhat beleaguered social action committee (or no social action committee at all) to joining a citywide social justice coalition that engages a broad range of congregants.
By making such changes, these synagogues have joined a national trend in churches, too. The news is filled with stories featuring evangelical megachurches transforming the face of American religious consciousness. But quietly and with much less fanfare, mainline churches too are starting to move into the twenty-first century with a new sense of intellectual, spiritual, and prophetic excitement, reaching far beyond the small band of regulars and into the very heart of the church's membership rolls. If religion in America has a future beyond just its conservative right wing, it will depend on this kind of transformation of church—and synagogue—culture.

Comment on this article on the Alban Roundtable blog

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

kick Turkey out of NATO for this

Turkish (blood)bath
Ankara ambushes Israel at sea
Last Updated: 10:52 AM, June 1, 2010

Posted: 12:21 AM, June 1, 2010

Comments: 17 | More Print
Ralph Peters
Yesterday's "aid convoy" incident off the coast of Gaza wasn't about bringing humanitarian supplies to the terrorist-ruled territory. It wasn't even about Israel.

It was about Turkey's determination to position itself as the leading Muslim state in the Middle East.

Three ships of that six-ship pro-terror convoy flew Turkish flags and were crowded with Turkish citizens. The Ankara government -- led by Islamists these days -- sponsored the "aid" operation in a move to position itself as the new champion of the Palestinians.

And Turkish decision-makers knew Israel would have to react -- and were waiting to exploit the inevitable clash. The provocation was as cynical as it was carefully orchestrated.

So-called "peace activists" - more like pro-terrorist savages - attack Israeli commandos with an iron bar, among other weapons, aboard the Gaza "aid" ship.

see more videos
see more videos The lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, just happened to have an al-Jazeera TV crew on board to film Israel's response. Ironically, the early videos would've been counterproductive, had world leaders and journalists not been programmed to blame everything on Israel.

Those videos showed Israeli commandos rappelling onto the ship with both hands on the rope (making it rather hard to use a weapon), yet activists claimed the Israelis opened fire as they descended.

Purely by coincidence, dozens of "peace activists" waited with sharpened iron bars, clubs, slingshots -- and rifles. Of course, the nine dead in the melee were all Israel's victims.

The first wave of Israeli commandos reportedly were armed only with paintball rounds for crowd control. Inspect those videos of maddened peaceniks assaulting the soldiers as they landed on deck. You don't see any Israelis pointing rifles -- they're fending off blows.

But the claims of pro-terrorist "peace advocates" are given instant credence.

The US government's initial response was restrained, but Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understandably canceled his meeting with President Obama, scheduled for today. Bibi's got an emergency on his hands back home, as well-organized protests sweep the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Europeans and UN bonzes rage at Israel with unseemly relish, but ignore the luxury lifestyles of Gaza's insider elite and the fact that no Palestinian's going hungry. The Israelis had even offered to transfer the aid aboard those ships to the Palestinians -- as long as they could inspect it.

But neither the activists nor the Turkish government wanted a negotiated outcome. This was a stunt from the start.

Now, as we wait to see if Hamas and Hezbollah up the ante, the world ignores Turkey's decisive role in this fiasco.

The US and the European Union cling to the fiction that Turkey's a "westernized Muslim democracy." But Turkey's moving to the east as fast as the Islamist leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can drag it there.

Turkish leaders visit the West and sing, "Democracy, democracy, democracy!" We coo and clap. Then they go east and cry, "Islam, Islam, Islam!" And we insist they don't mean it.

Then there's Turkey's unfortunate NATO membership. Since the rise of its Islamists, Turkey has been a Trojan horse, not an ally. What happens now if Ankara provokes a military confrontation? How would we respond, given NATO's mutual-defense agreements?

The madcap agenda of Turkey's current rulers is to create a 21st-century version of the Ottoman Empire. Turks even mutter about the caliphate -- headed for centuries by the Turkish sultan. This is explosive stuff. And the Turks are playing with matches.

But we've obstinately ignored every warning sign. First, our "ally" stabbed us in the back on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, denying our troops their planned routes into Iraq. Then the Turkish media intensified its anti-American fantasies.

Headscarves became de rigeur for the wives of top officials in Ankara as the Turks made mischief in Iraq. Emulating the history-obliterating Saudis, the Turks began work on the vast Ilisu Dam -- which will permanently submerge pre-Islamic and Kurdish archaeological sites of incalculable value. (The Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban were of comparatively minor interest to researchers.)

Then, just last month, the Turks moved to provide the Iranian regime with cover for its nuclear program. And we still didn't get it.

The most dramatic transformation in the Middle East since the fall of the shah is playing out before us. And we can't see behind the mask of the "plight of the Palestinians" (a key Obama administration concern).

In yesterday's confrontation, Israel behaved clumsily. The peace activists behaved savagely. The Turks behaved cynically. The world reacted predictably.

And Washington scratched its head.

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