Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hanukkah-the real story and Zionism

Hanukkah in a New Light

Manuel Gold

Ask anyone to tell you how Hanukkah began or why we celebrate this =
festival for eight days and they are sure to repeat the story of how =
Syrian Greeks defiled the Temple, and how, after Judah the Maccabee and =
his brothers recaptured and cleansed it, they found a little jar of oil =
that miraculously burned for eight days. "Did that really happen?" you =
probably wondered as you grew older. Most of us quickly suppressed our =
doubts, after all, where would Hanukkah be without that miracle?

In fact, Hanukkah was observed for 600 years before the "jar of oil" =
story made its first appearance in Jewish literature. The Maccabees =
recaptured and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 b.c.e. The =
first mention of the "jar of oil" miracle appears in the Babylonian =
Talmud (Shabbat, 21b), which was written down in its final form about =
500 c.e., 664 years later.

Where did the story of the "jar of oil" come from?

More important, why do we celebrate Hanukkah?

Let us go back to the oldest written sources. Forty-four years after the =
first Hanukkah, two books were written about the Maccabean Wars and the =
rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The First Book of Maccabees
The First Book of Maccabees, compiled some time after 120 b.c.e., was =
probably originally written in Hebrew. Today all we have is an early =
Greek translation. Its intended audience was the Jews of the Land of =
Israel. Chapter 4 describes the recapture of the Jerusalem Temple, its =
purification and rededication.

They also made new sacred vessels, and they brought the lamp stand . =
into the Temple. They burned incense on the altar and lit the lights on =
the lamp stand, and the Temple was filled with light.. For eight days =
they celebrated the dedication of the altar. . Then Judah, his brothers =
and the entire community of Israel decreed that the days of rededication =
of the altar should be celebrated with a festival of joy and gladness at =
this same time every year beginning on the 25th of the month of Kislev =
and lasting for eight days. (First Maccabees 4:49-59)

Astonishingly, this most ancient source does not mention the "little jar =
of oil" miracle. Apparently the author knew of no such story. At the =
time, the miracle was the victory itself, that God had enabled the =
Judeans to overcome the far mightier Syrians. This source leaves us with =
some unanswered questions:

Why did they celebrate for eight days? Why did the celebration become a =
permanent festival (Hanukkah)? Where did the "jar of oil" story =
originate? What was the miracle of Hanukkah for our ancestors? What is =
the miracle for us?

The answers to these questions will unfold as we proceed through the =

The Second Book of Maccabees
The Second Book of Maccabees, compiled at about the same time as First =
Maccabees, covers some of the same period but was originally written in =
Greek and clearly was intended for distribution to the Jewish audience =
outside the land of Israel. That community, whose primary language was =
Greek, was concentrated largely in the bustling commercial Mediterranean =
port city of Alexandria in Egypt-The purpose of Second Maccabees is =
clearly stated in the two letters that precede the book, urging the Jews =
of Alexandria to adopt this new festival, which it appears. they were =
slow to accept. The author claims that his source for the history of the =
Maccabean war was a (now lost) larger five-volume history by one Jason =
of Cyrene. Chapter 10:1-8 of Second Maccabees describes the purification =
of the Temple, adding significant information that is not found in First =

Judah the Maccabee and his men, under the Lord's leadership, recaptured =
the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. . After purifying the Temple, they =
made another altar. Then by striking flint they made a new fire and . =
offered sacrifices and incense . lit the lamps. . On the anniversary of =
the very same day on which the Temple had been defiled, the 25th of =
Kislev, they now purified the Temple. They celebrated joyfully for eight =
days, just as on Sukkot, knowing that (a few months before) on Sukkot =
they had (been unable to celebrate at the Temple) and had spent the =
festival (hiding) like wild animals in the mountains and caves. That is =
why they came carrying stalks wreathed with branches-palm fronds-and =
ripe fruit (the lulav and etrog), and sang hymns of praise (Hallel) to =
Him Who had given them the victory that had brought about the =
purification of His Temple. By a vote of the community they decreed that =
the whole Jewish nation should celebrate these festival days every year. =
(Second Maccabees 10:1-8)

This source also omits any mention of the "jar of oil." Instead, it =
unravels part of the mystery for us. We now can understand what happened =
that first Hanukkah over 2,000 years ago (164 b.c.e.). The festival of =
Sukkot was once probably the most important holiday in the Jewish year, =
especially for Jewish farmers. In Jewish sources it is called =
"HeChag"-"The Holiday." Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were not pilgrimage =
festivals and attained the importance they now have only after the =
destruction of the Second Temple (70 c.e.). On Sukkot, however, vast =
numbers of Jews traveled to Jerusalem to give thanks to God for the =
crops they had just harvested. But they were always more concerned about =
the future than the past, about next year's crops, the grains and fruits =
that would sustain them for another year. On Sukkot, the most important =
prayer was the "Prayer for Rain" (Tefilat Geshem)-rain to soften the =
sun-baked soil so that it could be plowed and prepared for the planting =
of seeds, rain to help the seeds germinate, take root and grow during =
their mild winters. They hoped the rains would taper off in the spring =
when the grains were ripe for harvest. Without rain they were lost. =
Thus, the Temple was usually crowded with worshippers on Sukkot as at no =
other time of the year.

When the Maccabees completed the purification of the Temple, they were =
faced with a problem. A few months before, in Tishri, they had been =
unable to pray for rain in the Temple at Sukkot. Pagans had overrun the =
holy shrine for three years, while the Jewish partisans gathered in the =
hills and caves. Now the Temple was theirs again, and their first act =
was to belatedly celebrate Sukkot two months later in Kislev. Praying =
for rain was so important, that it was "better late than never." They =
carried the lulav and etrog, sang the Hallel Psalms as on any Sukkot, =
celebrating for eight days, the length of Sukkot. They participated in =
the Sukkot torchlight processions during which jars of water were =
carried up to the Temple and symbolically poured out onto the altar as =
part of the ritual for rain. The torchlight procession and large golden =
oil lamps burning in the Temple Courtyard lit up the entire city of =
Jerusalem. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:3)

The first eight-day celebration of the Maccabees was a belated Sukkot =
celebration. The following year, the new Festival of Hanukkah borrowed =
some of the rituals of Sukkot from that first celebration-the eight =
days, the recital of Hallel Psalms, the lights brightly glowing (later =
in every home).

The Name of the Festival
What was this new Festival called?

Second Maccabees (chapter one) begins with a letter dated 124 b.c.e. to =
the Jews of Egypt, asking them to observe the Festival of Sukkot in =
Kislev. "From the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea to our brothers in Egypt. =
'Shalom'. May God bless you . (there follow more blessings and an =
allusion to past historical events) and now we ask you to celebrate =
Sukkot in the month of Kislev." (Second Maccabees 1:1-9)

There follows another letter to the Jews of Egypt (Second Maccabees =
1:10-36), purported to be from Judah the Maccabee himself, written in =
164 b.c.e., before the first anniversary of the rededication of the =
Temple. "Since we are about to celebrate the purification of the Temple =
on the 25th of Kislev; we thought it proper to inform you that you too =
may celebrate this Sukkot (in Kislev)." . (Second Maccabees 1:18)

Both of these letters indicate that, for at least forty years, until 124 =
b.c.e., the new festival was called "Sukkot in Kislev," which supports =
the story in Second Maccabees 10, that the first eight-day celebration =
was indeed a delayed Sukkot.

We now know why Hanukkah lasts for eight days, why Hallel Psalms are =
recited and why lights are kindled. Still missing is the "little jar of =

Megillat Ta'anit
Megillat Ta'anit (The Scroll of Days on which Fasting is Forbidden) was =
written sometime during the first century c.e.-two hundred years after =
the Maccabean purification of the Temple. All the holidays on this list, =
most of which commemorate Maccabean victories, have disappeared except =
for two: Hanukkah and Purim. "On the 25th Day of Kislev, Hanukkah =
(begins)-eight days-mourning is forbidden." This is the first occurrence =
of the name "Hanukkah' ("Dedication") for the Maccabean Festival of =
Purification. Other people still called it "Lights." Its original =
connection to a delayed Sukkot seems to have been forgotten. Yet there =
is still no mention of the "little jar of oil."

Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews was completed by Josephus around 94 c.e., 258 =
years after the purification of the Temple. In this history of the =
Jewish people he writes:

So much pleasure did (the Jews) find in the renewal of their customs and =
in unexpectedly obtaining the right to conduct their own service after =
so long a time, that they made a law that their descendants should =
celebrate the restoration of the temple service for eight days. And from =
that time to the present, we observe this festival, which we call the =
festival of lights, giving this name to it, I think, from the fact that =
the right to worship appeared to us at a time when we hardly dared hope =
for it." (Antiquities XII, Loeb Classical Library edition, Volume 7, p. =

Josephus is not sure why the festival is called "Lights," is unclear =
about its exact original nature, and clearly omits any story about a =
"little jar of oil."

Two Prayers
Two ancient prayers, which are recited on Hanukkah, also contain no =
reference to the miracle of a "little jar of oil."

a) "Al Hanissim" (see Gates of Prayer, The New Union Prayer Book, p. 45) =
declares that the miracle of Hanukkah was God's enabling the weak, =
outnumbered righteous to prevail over their powerful evil enemy.

b) "Hanerot Hallalu" (see Gates of Prayer, p. 644) affirms the wonders =
God performed in delivering our ancestors.

Neither of these prayers contains mention of the "little jar of oil." =
The "miracle" of Hanukkah for all these sources is the unexpected =
victory against a mightier foe.

Hanukkah-A Haircut and a Bath
A story is related in the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah, 18b) about an event =
that occurred sometime during the last years or the first century c.e. =
"Once the residents of Lydda declared a fast on Hanukkah. Rabbi Eliezer =
(ben Hyrcanus) returned there and bathed. Rabbi Joshua (ben Hananiah) =
also returned and had his hair cut. (Bathing and haircutting were =
forbidden on fast days.) (Later) they said to the residents (of Lydda). =
"Go now and fast in atonement for having fasted (on Hanukkah)!"

This remarkable passage reveals that some Jews, after the destruction of =
the Temple in 70 c.e., were opposed to the celebration of Hanukkah =
(hence the declaration of a fast), most likely because Hanukkah =
represented the "activist" approach to dealing with one's opponents, =
whether Syria or Rome. The residents of Lydda wanted to play down the =
implied message of Hanukkah and the Maccabees-that, at times, opposition =
to foreign rule is justified, and may even succeed with God's help. =
Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, both opponents of Rome, and leaders of =
the Academy at Lydda, by their own example (bathing and cutting the =
hair) declared their opposition to the "passivists" who sought to =
eliminate Hanukkah and accept Roman rule. The "activist" approach later =
reached its peak at the time of Rabbi Akiba during the Bar Kochba =
revolt. Activism versus passivism, opposition versus accommodation-these =
two diametrically opposed methods of dealing with hostile foreign =
domination were to divide Jews for the next two thousand years. At =
certain times and in certain places one view would dominate. The =
"activist" could even at times be a "pacifist," employing non-violent =
opposition against an autocratic governing power.

The "passivist" was afraid that even non-violent opposition could bring =
down the wrath of the autocrat, and so almost always sought the road to =
accommodation at any cost.

From the fifth century in Palestine and Babylonia, one or the other of =
these views dominated. The Jews of Palestine, for a variety of reasons, =
continued to find a large number of proponents of activism among the =
population. Often this took the form of subtle literary derogation of =
the oppressor. The Jews of Babylonia, on the other hand, perhaps because =
the ruling authorities often gave them the right to self government, =
mostly favored accommodation-passivism, "the law of the land is the law" =
("deena de'malchuta, deena").

For the Jews of Babylonia, Hanukkah and the story of the victorious =
struggle presented a problem. They feared that their young people would =
be influenced by the model of the Maccabees and become "activist" =
opponents of authority. It was not possible to eliminate Hanukkah; it =
had become firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the people. But =
the miracle of the Hanukkah story could be changed from one of =
miraculous victory against overwhelming odds, to a miraculous story of a =
"little jar of oil."

Babylonian Talmud: Why Hanukkah?
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat (21b) (Completed around 500 c.e.)

Why Hanukkah? Our rabbis taught: (in Megillat Ta'anit) "On the 25th day =
of Kislev begin the eight days of Hanukkah on which eulogies (mourning) =
and fasting are forbidden." For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they =
defiled all the oil; and when the Hasmoneans prevailed and defeated =
them, they searched and found only one jar of oil with the official seal =
of the High Priest, but which was only enough for one day's lighting; =
yet a miracle occurred, and they lit the lamp with it for eight days. =
The following year these days were decreed a festival with the recital =
of Hallel Psalms and thanksgiving.

The real question of this text is not "why do we celebrate Hanukkah?" =
but rather "on the authority of what miracle are we permitted to recite =
Hallel Psalms on Hanukkah, a custom usually reserved for biblical, =
God-ordained festivals?" The answer given is the miraculous "jar of =
oil," borrowed from some other tradition or invented for the occasion. =
It served its purpose well. The miracle was now not the victory of =
"activism" but of a "little jar of oil." This successfully defused many =
a budding activist from going astray. "Passivist" peaceful accommodation =
would be preserved.

However, this story was not accepted by Jews everywhere. In Palestine =
300 years later, with its long history of "activism," another =
explanation was given, offering authority for the recital of Hallel.

Palestinian Midrash: Why Hanukkah?
Pesikta Rabbati (Palestinian Midrash completed in the year 847 c.e.)

Why are lights kindled on Hanukkah? When the sons of the Hasmonean High =
Priest were victorious over the Kingdom of Greece-(as predicted) in the =
verse (Zechariah 9:13), "the men of Zion will fight the men of =
Greece"-upon entering the Temple they found eight iron rods (spears?), =
which they thrust (into the ground) and kindled lights in them. And on =
what authority is Hallel recited? Because (one of the Hallel Psalms) =
states "The Lord God has given us light." (Psalm 118:27)

The author is not at all embarrassed by the activism of the Maccabees. =
In fact he even assumes that the Hasmoneans were originally High =
Priests, which is not otherwise confirmed. For this Palestinian, writing =
350 years after the Babylonian story of the jar of oil was "published," =
the authority for reciting Hallel is not the miraculous oil, but rather =
the authority of God, as predicted by two verses from the Bible.

For the next thousand or more years Jews in dire straits in different =
parts of the world usually chose the "passivist" route to accommodation =
and survival. There were many notable exceptions. Now, we are becoming =
more aware of the many Jewish uprisings during the Holocaust.

The State of Israel, this modern miracle, would not have been created if =
not for the return, beginning in the 19th century, of Zionism and its =
restoration of "activism" as a valid Jewish option.

My Chanukah youtube videos

Sukkot-Hannukah connection JewU 244
Thanksgiving Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg Jewu 447
Chanukah miracle needed today JewU305
Hannukah The real story JewU 31
Menorah Hanukah lighting rabbi Jonath jewu 452
Jews, Hanukah, and the Christmas dilemma JewU290
Hanukah message don't let the lights go out JewU 312
Our annual Chanukah party part 2 JewU307
Our annual Chanukah party part 1 JewU306
Hannukah songs and blessings sung JewU 69
How to play Chanukah dredyl JewU281

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov 30 buy israeli good day

The BIG day-November 30th-- is approaching fast!
On Tuesday, November 30, anti-Israel activists in New York City plan to demonstrate and call for boycotts of stores that sell Israeli products. Their target is Ricky's because it carries Ahava goods. But this action in New York is just one of many. Boycotters have been energetically lobbying other stores across the country to drop Israeli products, from local co-ops to Costco and Trader Joe's.

The pro-Israel, pro-peace community urges you to join a counter campaign. We are making November 30 a BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day. Let us show the world that calls for boycotts of even one or two stores will always be met with a much larger counter-movement to buy Israeli goods.

StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce calls on schools, college campuses, synagogues, community organizations, and individuals to designate Tuesday, November 30, as the day to actively Buy Israeli Goods. Go to your local stores and request Israeli products. Whenever a boycott is called, respond by purchasing the very Israeli goods that are being targeted and let store managers know they should keep them well-stocked on the shelves.

The holiday season is fast approaching. When you go holiday shopping, choose presents from the wonderful array of Israeli-made items, from fine Israeli wines to the high quality Ahava beauty products, Israeli jewelry, shoes and clothing lines, and of course, food. Select Sabra or Tribe hummus, great Israeli wines and Osem cookies to grace your holiday party.

We must defeat the boycotters who advocate destructive instead of constructive measures, who undermine hopes for peaceful co-existence, and whose only goal is to defame, cripple and damage Israel.

We can defeat them if we join together. The very date, November 30th, should encourage us. It comes the day after the 63rd anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution when the effort, against all odds, to restore the Jewish State was endorsed and recognized by the international community. It also comes just as Hannukah is approaching, when we celebrate the Maccabees, who also restored Jewish independence, and who where a few who triumphed over the many. We can do the same, and shine a light on Israel for all people of good will.

On November 30th, go shopping for Israel no matter where you live. Buy for Israel. Buy for peace. Be a big part of this BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day.

Shop with friends, and please take pictures or videos of yourself purchasing Israeli products, and send them to us. Make fun entries for youtube, make them positive, fun, and/or funny. Email your photos or links to your videos to big@standwithus.com .
Visit this website: www.BuyIsraelGoods.org --- The website includes a locator so that you can find stores in your area that carry Israeli products. The BIG campaign is a partnership between StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce and like-minded organizations.

Antisemitism is 9x worse than anti Islam

It turns out that there are 9 times as many anti Semitic hate crimes ,as those directed against Muslims.http://tinyurl.com/23496wb

good temporary news on Iran's nuks

Iran's Nuclear Program Reportedly Struggling - Glenn Kessler
Iran's nuclear program has experienced serious problems, including unexplained fluctuations in the performance of the thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, leading to a temporary shutdown. Speculation immediately centered on the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus that some researchers say was designed to target Iran's centrifuge machines so that they spin out of control.
Olli Heinonen, a former top IAEA official, said Monday that 3,772 centrifuges at the Natanz facility were being fed uranium gas and 5,084 machines were idle. "This indicates that there is a problem," he said. (Washington Post)

UNESCO outrage

Jewish Holy Sites in Israel to become Mosques
By Julie Stahl
CBN News Reporter
Sunday, November 21, 2010
7 Comment(s)

JERUSALEM, Israel -- A United Nations organization has released a statement declaring two biblical sites in Israel to be mosques.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron were an "integral" part of what it called "occupied Palestine."

"UNESCO is not scientific society. There's a vote of countries to decide designations of different places," former Israeli U.N. ambassador Dore Gold said.

The declaration comes despite historic evidence that Biblical forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs along with their wives.

The site of Rachel's Tomb is believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel, the favored wife of Jacob. Approximately 750,000 mostly Jewish and Christian pilgrims visit and pray at the tomb every year.

Still, Islamic authorities have insisted Jews have no history in either place.

"He read a verse from the Koran saying that Abraham he never been a Jew. He was a Muslim, pure Muslim according to the Koran," one Muslim man said.

Jews become pigs?

British Muslim Schools Teach Saudi Hatred of Jews and Israelis

by Chana Ya'ar
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news program, Panorama, reported Monday night that children in Britain are being taught in a Saudi national curriculum on the weekends to hate Jews, Israelis and homosexuals.

The textbooks being used to teach some 5,000 Muslim children Shari'a law in 40 weekend schools are reportedly using the Saudi Arabia national curriculum. According to the segment "British Schools Muslim Rules," children as young as six years old are being taught that those who do not believe in Islam die in “hellfire.”

Students are asked by one of the textbooks to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, the program reports...

The textbooks include content claiming that some Jews are transformed into pigs and apes, and that Zionists want to establish world domination by Jews.

Monday, November 22, 2010

new online course more advanced


ADL fights wrong thing

ADL fighting the wrong thing

from Richard baehr
Abe Foxman get a big fat salary for heading the ADL, a group supposedly committed to fighting anti-Semtism. In the last 15 years, there have been near 4,000 comments or press releases from ADL on anti-Semitism. 1.4% dealt with Islamic radicalism, 1.3% with Arabs, and over 43% with Christians and right wingers . Do you think this distribution reflects the threat to Jews today in the U.S or abroad?

let me ask you-getting on a plane, if you saw 4 evangelical Chrisitians discussing Bible verses, would you be scared they'd blow up the plane?

Interfaith Thanksgiving speech

Interfaith Thanksgiving Speech

It is so wonderful that all of us are here to join together at this annual interfaith prayer service. Bringing together so many diverse elements of the Niles Township religious community. It’s fantastic that people who normally don’t pray together, meet together to share a commonality as Americans and give thanks for all the blessings of our lives and of being in this great country. We in Skokie live in a community with dozens of diverse cultures, religions, languages. We come together this one night a year to express faith and hope in mutual tolerance and respect.
There are two very recent books by American scholars of religion which have valuable meaasages for us to ponder. First a book byStephen Prothero a specialist in erican religions at Boston U called God is Not one, the 8 rival religions that run the world and why their differences matter: he wrote about the eight major religions of the world, and the basic thesis of the book is that there is no unifying principle among them. There are very distinct differences in theologies, doctrines, beliefs and practices. Is this true? Is there nothing we have in common spiritually? So why have this service at all? So what is it that brings us together? Point one.

There’s an old joke about a Jewish University that wanted to have some kind of nationally competitive sport and they decided that since they didn’t have a great athletic program, the quickest way to national prominence would be a rowing team. So they bought a boat, they had tryouts, they hired a coach and the president of the university said that he wanted the team to compete against Harvard and Oxford in two weeks. And the coach was incredulous and he said, “They’ve been rowing for hundreds of years and are the best in the world. There’s no way we can compete.” The president said, “I want you to do it.” So he arranges a match, they get in the water, they start rowing and by the end of the race Harvard and Oxford were out of site, so far ahead. So the coach went to the president and said, “I told you it was going to be a failure”, and the president said, “Well did you learn anything?” The coach said, “Yes. I noticed that in their boats they were all rowing in the same direction and they had one person shouting instructions and everyone else listening. A very different situation from our boat.” Well, the question is, as Prof Prothero points out , if there is not one voice shouting directions that we listen to,
can we all row in the same direction?

Maybe it’s true that there are so many different doctrines and beliefs and practices among religions, but is there something that we all share?

There one teaching or one phrase that stands out as the essential idea that the universe wants us to ponder. It is as if the force of the universe broadcast a single soundbite, a slogan that can fit on a bumper sticker- That is why we selected the theme today; love thy neighbor as thy self. Because as you can see from the reading that we did, all across the earth, from east to west and north to south, over the span of a couple thousand years of recorded human history, sacred texts of many different religions teach the same basic principle. A variation of the words from Leviticus, love thy neighbor as thy self. Or, another way to manifest it is that what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, all the rest is commentary go and study. This idea seems like a bumper sticker broadcast by the eternal force of the universe to every culture. Can you imagine a world in which people really loved their neighbor as their self? I know people often respond and say, “Well that’s easy to say, but you don’t know my neighbor.” But if we really conduct ourselves in such a way that what we hated personally we didn’t do to anyone else and that we loved others as we loved ourselves, so much about what we dream about a better world, a world in which there is no war and there is peace and tranquility, in which a wolf can really lie down with a lamb in a metaphorical sense, in which anyone can sit under their own fig tree and no one can make them afraid, as the prophets of old said, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. And so as we gather in this one room today, in this one moment in history, let us each try to take these words to heart. To love our neighbor as our self. And to practice and act on it this coming year.

The Hebrew bible, a text precious to Western civilization, begins at the beginning with the creation and the story of one Adam. Whether or not you take that story literally, some do and some don’t, one of the teachings of that idea is that if there is only one person to start with, even if it is a myth and I don’t believe it’s a myth, it’s to teach us that we all have the same father so no one can say I’m better than you. As reflected in the following poem by Abraham, Joshua Heschel

We are companions of all who revere God.
We rejoice when the divine name is praised.

No religion is an island;
we share the kinship of humanity,
the capacity for compassion

God’s spirit rests upon all, Jew or Gentile,
man or woman, in consonance with their deeds.

The creation of one Adam promotes peace.
No one can claim: My ancestry is nobler than yours.

We are diverse in our devotion and commitment.
We must unite in working now for the sovereignty of God.

God is near to all who call upon Him in truth.
There can be disagreement without disrespect.

Let mutual concern replace remnants of mutual contempt,
as we share the precarious position of being human.

The hand of God is extended to all who seek Him.
Let our deeds reflect that we share the image of God.

Let those who revere the Eternal speak to one another,
leading everyone to acknowledge the splendor of God.

-adapted from Abraham Joshua Heschel

Book number 2 is by Robert D. Putnam, one of those Harvard University professors respected for his scholarly research and celebrated for the masterful way he connects it to the narrative of modern life. When he wrote that Americans were “bowling alone” — and therefore no longer building up “social capital,” the trust, informal networks and energetic communities necessary for a healthy, engaged democracy — his indictment of civic life in a book with that catchy title drew the attention of White House policymakers and influenced a generation of political scientists.
His New book, “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” Crunching decades of data, Putnam and co-author David E. Campbell went searching for the roots of interfaith tolerance and found that even though religious practice in America trends toward polarization, it is tempered by an acceptance based on familiarity. Knowing someone of another faith — and increasingly, Americans do — makes us more tolerant of those who hold that faith.
These trends include fluidity, as roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives; intermarriage, as up to half of all American marriages are between people of different faiths; polarization, as Americans are concentrating on either end of the religious spectrum — highly devout or avowedly secular — and the moderate religious middle is shrinking. And yet, almost paradoxically, Putnam and Campbell found in their research a high degree of tolerance for people of another faith, and for those who have no faith at all.
Why? The authors argue that the answer is what they call the Aunt Susan Principle: “We all have an Aunt Susan in our lives, the sort of person who epitomizes what it means to be a saint, but whose religious background is different from our own…. [Y]ou know that Aunt Susan is destined for heaven. And if she is going to heaven, what does that say about other people who share her religion or lack of religion? Maybe they can go to heaven too.”
This service began 40 years ago, the community coming together to respond to a proposed march in Skokie by Nazi supporters. 40 years, later , not having achieved a spiritual promised land here, we keep working towards it
I’ll conclude with a short story about what we in ancient times believed to be the holiest experience in history. That on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest place on earth which was the temple mount on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, the holiest Jew, the high priest went into the holiest of holies and uttered the holiest word there was, the ineffable name of God. Now we don’t know exactly where that spot was. We no longer have high priests. We don’t know how to pronounce that name of God. And so, all we can do is try and aspire to act as if every day is Yom Kippur, every word we utter be that name of God, every step we take be a step towards the holy of holies and everyone act as though we are an emissary of God, because we are. To love our neighbors as ourselves.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Congress most pro Israel ever

New members of Congress have expressed their support for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.
Article photo 2
The House’s current makeup is 240 Republicans and 190 Democrats, with five races (all involving Democratic incumbents) still undecided as of this writing.
112th Congress Expected to be Most
Pro-Israel Ever

Despite the many changes brought about by the 2010 midterm elections, the incoming 112th Congress is expected to be the most pro-Israel Congress ever. Many of Israel’s strongest supporters were reelected.

Sixteen new senators have been elected to the 112th Congress. Republicans have picked up a net gain of six seats in the upper chamber. The newly-elected Senate consists of 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats (Sens. Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders).

AIPAC lay leaders and staff have established relationships with every new senator, and have received position papers on U.S. Middle East policy from all of the freshmen-to-be. In those papers, the new members of Congress express their support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Many also emphasize the danger of Iran’s nuclear program and other issues important to U.S. policy in the region.

1.5 million Jews fought Hitler

Jewish Post
Red Army veteran Shalom Scopas defies his 85 years as he dashes about the m=
ini-museum of World War II memorabilia he has created in the basement of hi=
s Holon home. His bright blue eyes sparking with pride, he points out rows =
of medals, sepia snapshots of himself as a dashing young man in his smart S=
oviet uniform, and letters of gratitude from Russian President Dmitry Medve=
dev and former president Vladimir Putin.

Scopas is one of half a million Soviet Jews who joined the Red Army to figh=
t against the Nazis. Forty percent of these Jewish recruits died in battle,=
the highest percentage of all the USSR=E2=80=99s ethnic groups.

Soviet Jews were not the only ones to join the fight against the Nazis. One=
and a half million Jews from all over the world fought in World War II, in=
cluding 150,000 women. A quarter million of these Jewish fighters fell in b=

=E2=80=9CYet most Israelis, especially young people, don=E2=80=99t know tha=
t so many Jews stood up and fought Hitler and Nazism,=E2=80=9D says Scopas.=
=E2=80=9CIt=E2=80=99s very sad.=E2=80=9D

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The real truth from Arab journalist

Abu Toameh: What the Western Media Misses

November 12th, 2010 at 8:26 am Arsen Ostrovsky

A few days ago, I was fortunate to attend a talk by Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh in Jerusalem.

Toameh gave an incredibly wide ranging talk about the peace process, the double standards rife in the West and the media when it comes to coverage of the Middle East and his perspective as a Muslim Arab of Palestinian descent living in Israel (and you thought you had identity issues!).

Toameh has been working as a journalist for almost 30 years now, covering Palestinian affairs, focusing predominantly on the West Bank and Gaza, including for the Palestinian press under the PLO and for various international media outlets in the US and Europe. He is currently at the Jerusalem Post writing on Palestinian issues. Toameh is also an Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem. In other words, he is aptly qualified to comment on the issues of his discussion.

However, if you expected Toameh to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon with the familiar cries that Israel is an un-democratic apartheid state responsible for all that is wrong including the bubonic plague or to have a single-minded focus on the occupation, you would have been sorely disappointed.

Instead, he spoke openly, courageously and in his words, said it “as it is”. Asked what he thought was the essence of the conflict, Toameh said it was not about money or even settlements, as many so-called pundits often imply, as a precursor to blaming Israel. Rather, his answer was very simple: “This conflict is about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world.”

But before you get any conclusions, Toameh is not a card-carrying Zionist or as somebody once asked him “when did you get on the Israel lobby payroll”. In his own words, he says:

“I’m not pro-Israel, I’m not pro-Palestinian and I’m not pro-American. But as a journalist, I’m pro the facts and pro the truth.”

Here are some of Toameh’s illuminating comments:

I asked Toameh how, as an Arab Muslim Israeli, he responds to accusations that Israel is an apartheid state.

His response:

“Israel is not an apartheid state. But there are problems and some discrimination with the Arab minority inside Israel. If Israel were an apartheid state, I, for example, would not be allowed to work for a Jewish newspaper or live in a Jewish neighborhood or own a home. The real apartheid is in Lebanon, where there is a law that bans Palestinians from working in over 50 professions. Can you imagine if the Knesset passed a law banning Arabs from working even in one profession? The real apartheid is also in many Arab and Muslim nations, like Kuwait, where my Palestinian uncle, who has been living there for 35 years, is banned from buying a house. The law of Israel does not distinguish between a Jew and an Arab.”

As for the uniqueness of the Israeli media in the middle East, Toameh added:

“Israel is a free and open country with a democracy, that respects the freedom of the media. You can basically write any anti-Israel story and still walk in downtown Jerusalem or Tel Aviv without having to worry about your safety. Anyone can be a journalist in Israel.”

Toameh says he finds it ironic that as an Arab Muslim living in this part of the world, the only place he can express himself freely is in a ‘Jewish newspaper’, noting that:

“We don’t have a free media in the Palestinian area, we didn’t have one when I was working there in the late 70’s and early 80’s, we didn’t have one when the PLO came here after the signing of the Oslo accords and we still don’t have one under Fatah and Hamas.”

But what about the media’s need for an anti-Israeli angle on stories? Toameh says that when he tried to alert many of his foreign colleagues that Palestinians were dying because of an internal power struggle or gross corruption by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, their reflex response was:

Where’s the anti-Israel angle to the story? Give us an anti-occupation story. Make our lives much easier. An Arab killing an Arab, that’s not a story for us.

Toameh notes that the same foreign journalists would then ask him: “Are you on the payroll of the Israel lobby?” “Do they [the Jews] pay you to say these things against Arafat and the PLO?” Toameh’s response to them:

“What do the Jews have to do with this? I’m telling you what the Palestinians are saying about there being corruption in the Palestinian Authority. I’m even telling you that the PA is saying that the PA is corrupt.

“It is a sad reflection on the state of society, and in particular, the media industry, that not only are they not sufficiently concerned or outraged at the death of Arabs by Arabs (which coincidentally has claimed many more lives than the Israel – Palestinian conflict), but that they will only muster even an iota of concern if they can put in an ‘anti-Israel’ angle.”

On the proposed loyalty oath as well, Toameh offered a pragmatic response: “I have no problem with it because it applies equally to both Jews and non-Jews alike.”

One of the biggest and most intractable sticking points has consistently been the Palestinian demand for a right of return, which Israel will not agree to because it would mean the death knell of Israel as a Jewish state.

However, Toameh offers a very simple and pragmatic three stage solution, where the Palestinian refugees could:

1. Go to the future Palestinian state;

2. Resettle elsewhere, including other Arab states; and

3. Be offered compensation.

Most tellingly though, and in a statement seldom ever heard from Arabs (or the West), Toameh then asked: “And what about Jewish refugees that were forced to flee Arab nations”, suggesting that the issue of Jewish refugees must also be part of any future solution.

Focusing on the problem from Arab dictatorships and their insistence on inciting their people against Israel, Toameh says that we have a problem in the West in failing to believe what people tell us.

“If Hamas say they want to destroy you, you have no reason not to believe them. And if Ahmadinejad says he wants to destroy you, there’s no need to start analyzing what he means by that. Stop fooling ourselves, and if anyone thinks that Hamas will ever recognize Israel’s right to exist, you’re also living in an illusion. Take it from their mouth directly…the PLO however is different – they will tell you one thing in English and then another in Arabic.”

On the subject of Arab dictatorship, Toameh says:

“Arab dictators survive by constantly blaming the misery of their people on Jews and the West and never accepting responsibility for anything. And by inciting against Israel and the West, you divert attention from problems at home. Why? Because you always need to make sure that your people are busy hating someone else. If they’re not hating Israel and the West, they might wake up one day and come to you, and God forbid, demand reform and democracy.”

The crux of the message is:

“If you keep inciting your people, then they ask ‘well, why are we then making peace with the Jews?’ We should be killing them as Hamas is saying’.”

So what does Toameh think about Mahmoud Abbas, the PA President?

“Abbas is corrupt, discredited, weak and does not have much power. He is reliant on Israel, whose presence in the West Bank is ironically the only reason he has managed to stay in power.”

And if Israel withdrew to the 1967 borders as demanded by Abbas and the PLO:

“Abbas will collapse and Hamas will take over the West Bank in less than a day. If I were Israel, I would not give Abbas one inch of land in the West Bank – not for ideological reasons, but to avoid a situation where Hamas and others would take over the area.”

When we asked him how best to defeat the extremists, radicals and terrorists like Hamas and Hizbullah, Toameh answered:

“The first and most important thing is you go to the Arab governments and tell them, “Stop the incitement that’s feeding these radicals and driving people into their hands.” Sometimes there’s no difference between what is written about Israel and the Jews in the papers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia with what is written by Hamas.”

Noting again the billions of dollars in aid provided by the US and EU to various Arab dictatorships, Toameh says: In other words, and even more clearly, they should tell them: “Stop calling for my death with my money.”

I asked Toameh about what steps were needed to move forward. According to him, the answer is “very simple” and involves the following steps:

1) The Palestinians must start investing money (provided to them mainly by the US and EU) for the welfare of their people instead of incitement. Then dismantle all militias, establish a free press and democratic institutions, end the infighting, insist on good governance and speak with one voice so at least we know who we’re talking to. And then, he suggests, they should go speak with Israel and see what it has to offer them.

2) Deal with the enemies of peace – if you weaken the enemies of peace, like Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, the moderates will rise and start speaking out. But as long as Iran is breathing down the neck and threatening, together with Hamas and Hizbullah, who are threatening to kill anyone who makes concessions, no moderate Arab will ever dare sign an agreement with Israel. Toameh says:

“I don’t even rule out military action against any of them because this is the only language these guys understand. Talking to them and appeasing them is even more dangerous.”

3) “We can’t move forward when you don’t have a clear, strong, reliable and credible partner on the Palestinian side” says Toameh. According to him: “Abbas is not a partner. He and Fayaad might be nice guys with good intentions – but they cannot deliver. So the PA are not partners because they cannot deliver and Hamas are not partners because they don’t want to be partners.”

Addressing the issue of whether there was a clear and credible partner on the Israeli side, Toameh said:

“I don’t care who is in government in Israel. There is a partner. And my partner is the Jewish people. Why? Because a majority of Jews have already accepted a two-state solution. I see a majority of Jews who don’t care anymore about Gaza. I see a majority of Jews who want to disengage from the Palestinians. I see a majority of Jews over the last 15 years marching toward moderation and pragmatism. I don’t know today of one Jewish mother that wants to send her son back to the streets of Ramallah or Gaza. I don’t know of one Jew who wants to control the lives of the Palestinians and run their education and health system. Sadly though, while the Jewish public has been marching towards pragmatism and realism and moderation, on the Arab side the message remains no, no and no.”

In an incredibly candid address, for me perhaps the most defining statement Toameh made was when I asked him: Would you rather continue living as a member of a minority in Israel or move to another Arab country? Toameh’s response was simple, honest, and telling:

“Israel is a free and open democratic country. I enjoy living here and I would rather live as a second-class citizen in Israel, even though I’m not, than a first-class citizen in any Arab country.”

In a world where it’s all too easy to turn a blind eye to courage, Khaled Abu Toameh is a welcome breath of fresh air. A man, deeply committed to peace, who is seen as a traitor by many and who bravely continues to put his own life on the line each day, Toameh perhaps says it best himself:

“I’m not pro-Israel, I’m not pro-Palestinian and I’m not pro-American. But as a journalist, I’m pro the facts and pro the truth.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

US supporting terror

# According to the Congressional Research Service, the PA is the largest recipient of foreign assistance in the world. According to Bloomberg, it received $1.2 billion in 2009 and will receive $1.8 billion by the end of the year.
# Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is expected to become the chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee in the next Congress, responded to an announced expansion of U.S. aid to the PA: "It is deeply disturbing that the administration is continuing to bail out the Palestinian leadership when they continue to fail to meet their commitments, under international agreements and requirements outlined in U.S. law, including dismantling the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, combating corruption, stopping anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement and recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state."
# It is impossible to prevent U.S. budgetary assistance to the PA from financing Hamas. Each month Fayyad transfers funds to Hamas-controlled Gaza to pay the salaries of PA employees there, in contravention of U.S. and international law which prohibits assistance to areas controlled by terrorists.

when anti-Israel is antisemitism

U.S. Denounces "Obsession with Condemning Israel"
Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, told a conference on "Combating Anti-Semitism" in Ottawa, Canada, on Nov. 8: "Opposition to a policy by the State of Israel morphs into anti-Semitism easily and often. We record huge increases in anti-Semitism whenever there is activity in the Middle East. This form of anti-Semitism is more difficult for many to identify - but if all Jews are held responsible for the decisions of the sovereign State of Israel, when governments call upon and intimidate their Jewish communities to condemn Israeli actions, when academics from Israel are boycotted - this is not objecting to a policy - this is anti-Semitism."
"Our State Department uses Natan Sharansky's framework for identifying when someone or a government crosses the line - when Israel is demonized, when Israel is held to different standards than the rest of the countries, and when Israel is delegitimized. These cases are not disagreements with a policy of Israel, this is anti-Semitism. The U.S. is often the only "no" vote in international bodies who seem to have an obsession with condemning Israel." (U.S. State Department)

Just in time for Hanukah-more oil than Saudi?

The Great Israeli Oil Rush
Rock of ages: Can Israel turn its shale into energy independence?
Rock of ages: Can Israel turn its shale into energy independence?

Howard Jonas’ financial dream team–Lord Jacob Rothschild came on board this week–sees Saudi-level potential.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Jonathan Mark
Associate Editor

Golda Meir often told the old Jewish joke (though hardly thinking it funny), why did Moses shlep us for 40 years to the one place in the Middle East without oil?

Now, from Golda to black gold, an oil rush is on, with some of the top businessmen in the world betting big money on Israeli oil, and the only laugh may be the last laugh.

Howard Jonas, a major philanthropist and founder of IDT, once primarily known for its telecom business, told The Jewish Week, “We believe that under Israel is more oil than under Saudi Arabia. There may be as much as half a trillion barrels. The Saudis have 260 [billion barrels]; Israel definitely has at least 300, and might have as much as [500].”

Meanwhile, Jonas has put together an investment dream team. This week, media magnate Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild, of the famous banking family, have placed their high stack of chips in front of Jonas. Earlier this year, the hedge fund legend, and another major Jewish philanthropist, Michael Steinhardt, joined as an investor and chairman of IDT’s spin-off, Israel Energy Initiatives (the Israeli wing of IDT’s Genie Energy division).
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Skeptics say this group is tilting at windmills, but look long enough and those windmills are looking like oil drills.

Jonas has for several years been attempting to extract oil from shale on U.S. government land in Colorado, working a 10-year lease because that’s how long it can take. In 2008, Jonas, who has developed various projects in Israel over the years, was granted a license by the Israeli government to explore and develop a shale reservoir of 238 square kilometers under the Shfela Basin. Under Israeli law, the state would receive royalties from IEI. Aside from delays stemming from persistent challenges from environmentalists, IEI is ready to go. “We’re waiting for the final permit,” says Jonas, “so we can start heating the ground and getting the oil.”

The oil, however, is not liquid but in shale, and “oil shale has broken many hearts,” writes BusinessWeek of the Israel project. The process of turning rock-solid shale into liquid is costly, lengthy and difficult, not to mention that it might, according to critics, lead to excessive gas emissions, scenic defacement, damage to the water table, and overall leave parts of the environment messier than the mess left by the Cat in the Hat before the Cat’s eventual and impeccable cleanup.

Israel’s Union for Environmental Defense has gone to court to stop Jonas. But it is precisely Israel’s defense — Israel’s economic and military defense, and energy independence — that is motivating the Jonas team every bit as much as their business sense.

Jonas, an Orthodox Zionist, sees the project as a perfect storm of doing well by doing good. But one doesn’t have to be Orthodox or Zionist to agree. The hunger for not just Israeli but American energy independence, with its global political ramifications not to mention potential oil profits, has led MarketWatch to determine that 92 percent of market observers are now “bullish” on the Newark, N.J.-based IDT, whose stock had fizzled to just 66 cents per share before taking off like a Roman candle, as confidence in the oil project spread. IDT’s price now stands at $20.22, 20 times higher than its 52-week low.

Some of the “enthusiasm” for the Israel project is based on IDT’s handling of its “oil experiment in Western Colorado,” writes BusinessWeek. Other confidence in Israel’s energy potential has come (unrelated to IEI) from a recent natural gas find within Israel’s territorial waters in the Mediterranean, reports Bloomberg, a 30 trillion cubic-feet reservoir, double the gas reserves of the United Kingdom and enough to support exports to Europe and Asia.

Jonas said he first began thinking about the Israel oil project “about four years ago. While working with the shale in Colorado, which is the largest shale deposit, I learned that the second-biggest deposit was in Israel. And it’s something I always wanted to do.”

He’s prepared to be patient. “Commercial production,” Jonas says, “is probably 11 or 12 years away, a decade the soonest.”

It is common knowledge that the major oil companies have shied away from Israel because of pressure from the Arab boycott and the close relationships between the oil executives and Arab leaders. And yet, the French oil giant, Total, has now invested with Jonas, and joining Genie’s advisory board in September were such “mainstream” oil veterans as Harold Vinegar, former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Oil, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who also served as CEO of Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oilfield services corporations.

Nevertheless, it is the religious Zionists, such as Jonas and Christian Zionist groups, who have been in the vanguard of Israel’s oil exploration.

Christian Zionist groups have been citing biblical verses that they say refer to vast oil reserves beneath the Promised Land, adding that Israel’s energy independence and success is a prelude to Ezekiel’s scenario for the final Redemption, among other prophecies.

John Brown, founder and chairman of Zion Oil & Gas, a primarily Christian group exploring Israel’s energy potential, told Charisma, a Christian publication, “If they [Israel] become an oil producer tomorrow… [it] will bring an economic opportunity that will be unparalleled. ... Israel has a unique place in history where God is going to do a lot for the Jewish people.”

By contrast, Jonas, while often acting with a religious and spiritual imperative, professionally and personally, doesn’t speak with the apocalyptic urgency of the Christian Zionist oilmen.

Jonas nevertheless points out that some of best people working for him are Christians who have been “heroic” in their desire to help Israel, a similar phenomenon, Jonas said, to the Jews and non-Jews who brought their expertise to Israel in its fight for survival and birth in 1948. At that time, there were those such as Col. Mickey Marcus, a Jewish West Point graduate, later dramatized by Kirk Douglas in the film “Cast A Giant Shadow,” who helped organize Israel’s army before dying in Israel’s service.

Jonas gives the example of Vinegar and Scott Nguyen, both top scientists at Shell, “who moved to Israel to work on the project.” Vinegar and his wife, who are at an age and time in life when “they want to be together,” said Jonas, decided to live in Israel “where they don’t speak the language, and where they don’t have all their friends, but she feels that he’s a hero, and he should do this for the Jewish people.”

Jonas paused, adding that one of his top men, Fred Carl, recently died of a heart attack. “He was the former head of experiments of Shell’s field operations; a real gnarled Marine, a very devout Catholic guy, in his 60s, who gave up everything, including his position at Shell, to move to Israel and help the Jewish people get this oil out.

“Fred decided, while he was in Israel, that he was going to visit all the churches in Israel,” said Jonas. “He visited more than 40. We weren’t paying him big money; he just wanted to have a part of this great undertaking that was going to free the world of Arab oil. To me, he died in the service of Israel.

“These guys are all heroes,” added Jonas.

If Jonas, Steinhardt, Rothschild and the rest are able to turn Israel’s underground shale into an oil reserve the size of Saudi Arabia’s, thereby changing the geopolitical and economic balance of the Middle East, they’ll be heroes, too, giving Israel a gift beyond all their prior philanthropy combined.

And that Moses fellow, maybe he knew what he was doing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Should Israel have accepted the bribe from Obama?

Among real supporters of Israel in the U.S. (J-Street members are hereby excluded), there is serious debate on the wisdom of Israel agreeing to an additional three month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, in order to allow "peace talks" with the PA to continue. A bribe of sorts has been promised to Israel- delivery of 20 F-35 fighters, and a U.S veto of Security Council resolutions (for a year anyway) of any attempts to establish a Palestinian state through the U.N, rather than through negotiations. The PA for its part has already received a bribe of $150 million in additional U.S aid, and a promise that the U.S will attempt to push the negotiations during the 3 month freeze extension to a point where borders can be established for a future Palestinian state. Given that Israel's most important card in negotiations is land, such a process seem to suggest that Israel would give away much of the the store early in the process, receive nothing substantive from the Palestinians in return, and open itself to be pressured later for concessions on Jerusalem, refugees, water, air space, and so on. Then again, the Palestinians, whose idea of a Palestinian state has never meant just Gaza and the West Bank, but a replacement state for Israel, are balking at returning to the negotiation even if Israel accepts the 3 month freeze extension, because the eastern sector of Jerusalem is not included in the building freeze zone. It is a bit scary to realize that the Obama administration and the professional peace processors seem to be the only people left in the world who believe there is some kind of magic moment (window of opportunity) upon us, where all the issues that have , over a century, prevented a settlement of the conflict, are now going to be resolvable in a few months.
Caroline Glick on what the P.A buys with U.S aid: http://tinyurl.com/36e863l
Benjamin Kerstein on Obama's Lloyd Bentson moment- "Barack, I knew Bill Clinton, and you are no Bill Clinton: http://tinyurl.com/39xeaz7
Jonathan Tobin: http://tinyurl.com/32yr3oy
Benny Avni: http://tinyurl.com/3xrzkaf

Sunday, November 14, 2010


During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the
Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half
remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those
standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones
sitting to stand up. The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and
commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested
that he consult a housebound 98 year old man who was one of the
original founders of their temple. The rabbi hoped The elderly man
would be able to tell him what the actual temple tradition was, so
he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of
the congregation.
The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Is
the tradition to stand during this prayer?"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."
The one whose followers sat said,"Then the tradition is to sit
during Shema!"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."
Then the rabbi said to the old man, "But the congregants fight all
the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand."
The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is the tradition!"
Evening Prayers
When young David was asked by his father to say the evening prayer,
he realized he didn't have his head covered...so he asked his little
brother Henry to rest a hand on his head until prayers were over.
Henry grew impatient after a few minutes and removed his hand. The
father said, "This is important...put your hand back on his head!"
to which Henry exclaimed, "What, am I my brother's kipah?"

Two Texans are sitting on a plane from Dallas and an old Jewish
Texan is sitting between them. The first Texan says, "My name is
Roger. I own 250,000 acres. I have 1,000 head of cattle and they
call my place The Jolly Roger."
The second Texan says, "My name is John. I own 350,000 acres. I
have 5,000 head of cattle and they call my place Big John's."
They both look down at the Jewish man who says, "My name is Irving
and I own only 300 acres." Roger looks down at him and say, "300
Acres? What do you raise?" "Nothing" Irving says.
"Well then, what do you call it?" Asked John. "Downtown Dallas."

Morris returns from a long business trip and finds out that his wife
has been unfaithful during his time away. Who was it!!!???" he
yells. "That alta kakker Goldstein?" "No," replied his wife. "It
wasn't Goldstein." "Was it Feldman, that dirty old man?" "No, not him."
"Aha! Then it must have been that idiot Rabinovich!" "No, it wasn't
Rabinovich either..."
Morris was now fuming.
"What's the matter?" he cried. "None of my friends are good enough
for you?"
Doctor Bloom who was known for miraculous cures for arthritis had
waiting room full of people when a little old lady, completely bent
over in half, shuffled in slowly, leaning on her cane. When her
turn came, she went into the doctor's office, and, amazingly emerged
within half an hour walking completely erect with her head held
high. A woman in the waiting room who had seen all this walked up
to the little old lady and said, "It's a miracle! You walked in bent
in half and now you're walking erect. What did that doctor do?"
She answered, "Miracle, shmiracle . . . he gave me a longer cane."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

British Liberal Democrats in Amazing Turnaround on Israel

British Liberal Democrats in Amazing Turnaround on Israel - Robin Shepherd
Israel has a new friend in Great Britain. Hitherto the most anti-Israeli political party in the country, the Liberal Democrats appear to have performed a volte face with Nick Clegg - the party's leader and Deputy Prime Minister to David Cameron - saying that his party had got it wrong on Israel. ""I'm not certain that we have always made ourselves clearly heard on this, so let me say it again now: Israel's right to thrive in peace and security is non-negotiable for Liberal Democrats," Britain's Jewish Chronicle quoted Clegg as saying. "No other country so continually has its right to exist called into question as does Israel, and that is intolerable....There can be no solution to the problems of the Middle East that does not include a full and proper recognition of Israel by all parties to the conflict." The writer is director for international affairs at the Henry Jackson Society in London. (robinshepherdonline)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carnival Cruise luxury suffering vs real ship suffering

Britain's Plan to Blow Up Refugee Ships
Carrying Jewish Survivors from the Holocaust?

by Andrew Roberts
A new book uncovers secret attacks launched on ships bearing Holocaust survivors en route to Israel. Andrew Roberts on the violent lengths to which post-war Britain went to appease oil-rich Arab states.

As Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, the pitiful remnants of History’s greatest crime, tried to make their way across an often hostile Europe at the end of the Second World War, toward at least a semblance of safety in the Holy Land, they had no shortage of problems with which to contend, including disease and malnutrition, Polish anti-Semitism, Soviet indifference, Allied bureaucracy, and Arab nationalism. Now we discover that they faced yet another peril in the shape of bombs planted on their transport ships by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6.

A new book to be published next week entitled MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 , by the distinguished British historian Keith Jeffery, reveals the existence of Operation Embarrass, a plan to try to prevent Jews getting into Palestine in 1946-'48 using disinformation and propaganda but also explosive devices placed on ships. Nor is this some speculative spy story that can be denied by the authorities: Dr. Jeffrey’s book is actually, in their own words: “Published with the permission of The Secret Intelligence Service and the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.”

It's shameful that Britain blew up humanitarian flotillas after the Holocaust, but now condemns Israel for halting politically inspired flotillas to Gaza.When on June 1 this year the British government denounced as “completely unacceptable” the way that the Israelis landed troops on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza we did not know that its predecessor had done much the same, actually blowing up one ship and damaging two more vessels of a genuinely humanitarian flotilla that was trying to bring Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps to their people’s ancient homeland.
The Secret History of MI6. By Keith Jeffery. 832 pages. Penguin Press HC. $39.95

Of course the hostility of the British establishment toward Jewish immigration into Palestine since long before the notorious 1939 White Paper on the subject is well-known—even King George VI wrote that year to say that he was “glad to think that steps are being taken to prevent these people leaving their country of origin”—nonetheless this is the first indication of the violent lengths to which post-war Britain was willing to go in order to appease the oil-rich Arab states of the region.

For it now emerges that in late 1946 the Labour government of Clement Attlee asked MI6 for “proposals for action to deter ships masters and crews from engaging in illegal Jewish immigration and traffic,” adding,“Action of the nature contemplated is, in fact, a form of intimidation and intimidation is only likely to be effective if some members of the group of people to be intimidated actually suffer unpleasant consequences.”
Among the options contemplated were “the discovery of some sabotage device, which had ‘failed’ to function after the sailing of a ship,” “tampering with a ship’s fresh water supplies or the crew’s food,” and “fire on board ship in port.” Sir Stewart Menzies, the chief of the SIS, suggested these could be blamed on an invented Arab terrorist group called The Defenders of Arab Palestine.

Operation Embarrass was therefore launched after a meeting held on February 14, 1947 between officials from MI6, the armed services, the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office, the last represented by William Hayter, the head of Foreign Office Services Liaison Department, a high-flier who later became ambassador to Moscow. I knew Sir William Hayter in later life, but needless to say he never breathed a word about this operation. In his defense, it must be said that Hayter did order MI6 to ensure that arson “must be arranged, if at all, when the ship is empty the Operation Embarrass team was told that “the primary consideration was to be that no proof could ever be established between positive action against this traffic and His Majesty’s Government [HMG].” A special communications network, codenamed Ocean, was set up with a budget of £30,000 ($47,000), a great deal of money in 1947. The operation had three aspects: direct action against refugee ships, a “black” propaganda campaign, and a deception scheme to disrupt immigration from Black Sea ports.
A team of former Special Operations Executive agents—with the cover story of a yachting trip—was sent to France and Italy with limpet bombs and timers.

If captured, “they were under no circumstances to admit their connection with HMG” but instead claim to have been recruited in New York “by an anti-Communist organization formed by a group of international industrialists, mainly in the oil and aircraft industries,” i.e. to lay the blame on rich, right-wing, unnamed Americans. They were told that this cover “was their final line of defense and, even in the event of a prison sentence, no help could be expected from HMG.”

During the summer of 1947 and early 1948, five attacks were undertaken on ships in Italian ports, of which one was rendered “a total loss” and two others were damaged. Two other British-made limpet mines were discovered before they went off, but the Italian authorities did not find their country of origin suspicious, “as the Arabs would of course be using British stores.” Operation Embarrass even considered blowing up the Baltimore steamship President Warfield when in harbor in France, which later became famous in Israeli history as the “Exodus” ship that “launched a nation.”

The country that ought to be embarrassed by Operation Embarrass—indeed shamed—is Great Britain, which used explosives to try to stop truly humanitarian flotillas after the Holocaust, but now condemns embattled Israel for halting entirely politically inspired flotillas to Gaza despite her rights of legitimate self-defense. The depth of the animosity that Establishment Britain, especially the Foreign Office, felt toward the Jews of Palestine clearly went even further than we had ever imagined, and even 70 years later is by no means extinguished.

Historian Andrew Roberts ' latest book, Masters and Commanders , was published in the U.K. in September. His previous books include Napoleon and Wellington , Hitler and Churchill , and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 . Roberts is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Illinois' new Senator Mark Kirk

Kirk on Israel. Many did not vote for him for a variety of reasons. He is our new Senator. Here is a perspective about his record on Israel.

This article is by Dr. Richard Benkin.

Kirk is arguably Israel’s best friend in Congress. He was personally responsible for convincing the Bush Administration to give Israel enhanced missile defense after he saw the danger on a trip to a forward military base in Israel. (Kirk has been a Naval Intelligence Office since 1989, has combat experience, and was once named Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year.) He and Congressman Steven Rothman (D-NJ) have led efforts to end US funding for UNWRA-the UN agency devoted solely to promoting the system of Palestinian Arab refugees, a designation he challenges. With regard to Hezbollah, Kirk told Gordon “despite the UN peacekeeping force and $500 million of US taxpayers’ money that we simply reset the stage for another tragedy.” He has characterized attempts to force negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as trying to “chase down every terrorist group on the West Bank and Gaza... there are times when you have to hang tough.” An effective human rights advocate, Kirk (together with me), won the freedom of Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury after he was arrested and tortured for exposing the rise of Islamists and urging relations with Israel. As a Congressional aide, Kirk helped free several Soviet refusniks. With much of official Washington trying to find “nuanced” positions, Kirk remains undaunted. In April, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House Appropriations Committee that Israel would have to comply with the Administration’s demands, he replied that the committee would then have to cut appropriations to the Palestinian Authority.. In announcing for the Senate, Kirk pledged to fight those efforts, “And to supporters of America’s strongest friend in the Middle East - Israel’s greatest ally in Washington will be Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a military threat was the only way to influence Iran's nuclear policies

Netanyahu: "Containment Will Not Work Against Iran"
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans on Monday: "The greatest danger facing Israel and the world is the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran threatens to annihilate Israel. It denies the Holocaust. It sponsors terror. It confronts America in Afghanistan and Iraq. It dominates Lebanon and Gaza. It establishes beachheads in Arabia and in Africa. It even spreads its influence into this hemisphere, into South America. Now, this is what Iran is doing without nuclear weapons. Imagine what it would do with them."
"If the international community, led by the United States, hopes to stop Iran's nuclear program without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action. Containment will not work against Iran."

Palestinians clearly uninterested in peace

Is the Palestinian Authority Preparing Its People for Peace? - Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Barbara Crook
The four-month period of May-August 2010 brought no changes in the quality of the messages being transmitted from the Palestinian Authority and Fatah to Palestinians. An examination of the Palestinian leaders' statements, official media, children's programs and PA and Fatah-controlled events reveals that, contrary to the PA's moderate statements to the West, its statements to its people in Arabic continue to deny Israel's right to exist, define the conflict with Israel in religious terms, promote hatred through demonization and libels, and glorify terror and violence. (Palestinian Media Watch)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Obama letting in tens of thousands of Muslims

America Now Swarming with Somali Muslims – Thousands More to Come

Posted by jewishindy on Thursday, November 04 @ 10:10:10 EDT
(53 reads)

By Paul L. Williams, Ph.D.
The Last Crusade
October 29th, 2010

In a determination letter to Congress, President Barack Obama has announced that he will allow an additional 80,000 immigrants – – mostly from Islamic countries – – to resettle in the United States during fiscal year 2011.

Over 15,000 will come from Africa – – most from Somalia.

The increase in Somali immigrants, according to Mr. Obama, “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

The actual number of Somalis have been resettled in the United States during the past two decades remains a matter of conjecture, since reports to Congress from the Office of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) were not filed before 1993.

These official reports display the following figures:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Voters to Obama Don't mess with Israel


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has stated that yesterday’s Congressional election result indicates a sweeping rejection of President Obama’s domestic, economic and foreign policy. Many polls indicate Americans’ dissatisfaction with President Obama’s handling of the Arab/Israeli situation. This election further validates that part of the message sent yesterday to President Obama to cease pressuring Israel to make further, unreciprocated, one-sided concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas and Salaam Fayyad, which promotes violence and hatred towards Jews. In results so far, the Democratic Party has lost at least six Senate seats, but appear likely to retain a small Senate majority, while in the House of Representatives, the Democratic Party has lost its majority to the Republican Party, by an astonishing loss of over 60 seats.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “By common consent, the strong swing against the Democratic Party in these Congressional elections reflect the unease and disapproval of the American public for the policies and performance of the Obama Administration in both domestic and foreign policy.

“In foreign affairs, the American public has certainly been upset and unnerved by such things as President Obama bowing before foreign despots, like the King of Saudi Arabia; his return of the gift of a famous bust of Winston Churchill to Britain, a long-standing ally, after refusing to display it anywhere in the White House; offering open-ended negotiations and lots of carrots but no sticks to Iran over its nuclear weapons program, only to be ridiculed; the wasting of two years before allowing largely ineffective anti-Iran sanctions to pass, during which time Iran has moved even closer to acquiring nuclear weapons; letting down of our Czech and Polish allies by discontinuing plans to install missile defense systems on their territory; the bullying pressures exerted on small, democratic Honduras to reinstate a lawless president favored by Latin American despots like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega; the humiliation of his repeatedly apologizing abroad for U.S. actions; his erasure of the terms ‘radical Islam’ and ‘Islamism’ from government use; the renaming of ‘terrorism’ as ‘man-made disasters’; his support for civilian, rather than military tribunals to deal with foreign terrorists; and, last but not least, his policy towards Israel.

“This policy has consisted of the recurrent, harsh criticism, including public condemnation, of the U.S.’ best ally in the Middle East, Israel; pressure exerted upon it to make more one-sided concessions to the Palestinians, including a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria; a refusal to state that the U.S. will veto any U.N. Security Council action to support establishing a Palestinian state; support for the so-called Arab Peace initiative, which demands Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines; the flooding of Israel with Palestinian refugees of the 1948-9 war and their millions of descendants, and the leaving of 600,000 Jews in limbo in what would become Palestinian territory; as well as Obama’s failure to visit Israel since becoming president, despite two visits to the Middle East; and his not taking up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to visit Israel before the end of the year, to which President Obama responded that his schedule did not permit it. Moreover, President Obama publicly condemned Israel building in eastern Jerusalem, something that violated no existing U.S.-Israeli agreement and which in fact Israel had stated would continue. Now, he is exerting pressure on Israel to reinstitute the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

“This is not merely a matter of conjecture. An April 2010 Quinnipiac University survey, for example, found that 44% of the American public disapproved of the Obama policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, whereas only 35% approved. Moreover, two-thirds of people questioned in the survey said that President Obama should be a strong supporter of Israel but, by a 42% to 34% margin, said he is not. Also, last year, when President Obama was strongly pressuring Israel to bar Jews, and only Jews, from building and moving into homes in Judea and Samaria and parts of eastern Jerusalem, a September 2009 Israel Project poll found that Americans supported by 72% to 23% Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that ‘Israel must be allowed to accommodate natural growth of existing settlements.’ Clearly, the American public overwhelmingly disapproves of President Obama’s policy to stop Jews living and building in these areas.

“Indeed, even American Jews, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic, oppose Obama’s policies towards Israel – a July 2009 Global Marketing Research Services poll of American Jewish Democratic supporters found that they backed growth and construction in existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria by 52% to 37%; that a plurality of 44% believed that ‘Obama is naive in thinking he can make peace with the Arabs’; and that only 27% believed he is right that a Palestinian state’s establishment would bring peace, whereas 55% disagreed, believing the Palestinians would use such a state to attack Israel.

“The conclusion is obvious: any continuation of President Obama’s policy of pressure on Israel to make further one-sided concessions to the Palestinians is contrary to views of the majority Americans and American Jews, including the overwhelming part of American Jewry that supports the Democratic Party. President Obama lacks support for any such policy.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

why west denies islamic terror problem

Why west denies islamic terror problem
JPost.com opinioncolumnists
Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski Our World: The Age of Dissimulation
11/02/2010 00:12

Rather than discuss the nature and threat of Islamic supremacism, the Western media, Western political leaders and academics deny it.
Talkbacks (49)
Years from now, when historians seek an overarching concept to define our times, they could do worse than refer to it as the Age of Dissimulation. Today our leading minds devote their energies and cognitive powers to figuring out new ways to hide reality from themselves and the general public.

Take US President Barack Obama’s senior counterterrorism advisor for example. On Sunday, John Brennan spoke on Fox News about the latest attempted Islamic terrorist attack on American soil.

Since the Obama administration has barred US officials from referring to terrorists as terrorists and effectively barred US officials from acknowledging that Islamic terrorists are Muslims, Brennan simply referred to the Islamic terrorists in Yemen who tried to send bombs to synagogues in Chicago as “individuals.”

Today, practically, the only individuals willing to speak honestly about who Islamic supremacists are and what they want are the Islamic supremacists themselves.

For instance, in an interview last week with Reuters, the Islamic supremacist Hamas movement’s “foreign minister” Mahmoud al- Zahar told the Christian West, “You do not live like human beings. You do not [even] live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?”

Al-Zahar also made the case for Islamic feminism. As he put it, “We are the ones who respect women and honor women ... not you. You use women as an animal. She has one husband and hundreds of thousands of boyfriends. You don’t know who is the father of your sons, because of the way you respect women.”

Finally, al-Zahar claimed that Westerners have no right to question Islam or criticize it. In his words, “Is it a crime to Islamize the people? I am a Muslim living here according to our tradition. Why should I live under your tradition? We understand you very well. You are poor people. Morally poor. Don’t criticize us because of what we are.”

Al-Zahar can sleep easy. The citizens of the West have rarely heard anyone in any positions of power and influence criticize Islamic supremacists “because of what they are.”

In fact, the most remarkable thing about al- Zahar’s interview was not what he said but that Reuters decided to publish what he said. By letting its readers learn what al-Zahar thinks of them, Reuters inadvertently gave Westerners a glimpse at the simple truth its editors and their counterparts throughout the Western media routinely purge from coverage of current events.

Rather than discuss the nature and threat of Islamic supremacism, the Western media along with nearly all Western political leaders and academics deny and dissimulate. Rather than address the threat, they accept the Islamic line and blame Israel for everything bad that happens in the world.

THE ONE group of people that can almost be forgiven for this crime against reality is the non-Muslims who live under Islamic rule. On Sunday, we received a grim reminder of the plight of such minorities with the Islamic terror attack on Baghdad’s largest church, the Our Lady of Salvation Catholic church.

As some one hundred worshipers celebrated evening mass, Islamic terrorists stormed the church. According to an eyewitness account, they walked straight up to the priest administering the mass and executed him. The Muslim terrorists then took the Christian worshipers hostage.

As Iraqi military forces stormed the church under US military supervision, the Islamic terrorists threw grenades at the worshipers and detonated their bomb belts. By Monday, the death toll had reached 52.

It will be interesting to see how Catholic officials in Iraq and throughout the world respond to this attack. At the Vatican’s Synod on the status of Christians in the Middle East last month, Emmanuel III Delly, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq proclaimed, “The population of [Iraq] …is 24 million, all Muslims, with whom we live peacefully and freely…Christians are good with their fellow Muslims and in Iraq there is mutual respect among them.”

As the noted Islamic expert Robert Spencer wrote last week in Frontpage Magazine, Emmanuel has not always been so outspoken in his praise of Muslim Iraqis. In 2008, when US forces were still in charge in Iraq, Emmanuel made a statement that more accurately reflected the plight of his co-religionists.

Then he said, “Christians are killed, chased out of their homes before the very eyes of those who are supposed to be responsible for their safety…The situation in some parts of Iraq is disastrous and tragic. Life is a Calvary: there is no peace or security… Everyone is afraid of kidnapping.”

Christian clergy in Muslim countries are so terrified of Islamic aggression that they systematically hide the truth of their oppression and often distort their own theology to win the tolerance of supremacist Islamic authorities. Spencer noted that the head of that Vatican Synod, Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, who presently heads the Eastern Catholic church in the US, and in the past served as archbishop of Baalbek in his native Lebanon follows a similar pattern of dissimulation.

In Bustros’s case, his prevaricating goes beyond false depictions of the plight of Christians. In his bid to win the favor of his Islamic supremacist overlords in Hizbullah, Bustros has regularly engaged in theological revisionism.

At last month’s synod, Bustros repudiated the teachings of the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council and embraced the discredited supersessionist theology that Vatican II denounced. Bustros claimed that God’s covenant with the Jewish people and his promise to give us the Land of Israel “were nullified by Christ.”

In his view, “There is no longer a chosen people.”

Bustros did not simply assert a theological view at odds with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. He used his replacement theology to politically delegitimize Israel. Bustros said, “The theme of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians.” Bustros is set to return to Lebanon soon to serve as the archbishop of Beirut. The fact that he used his position as the head of the Vatican’s synod on the plight of Christians in the Middle East to earn him the protection of Hizbullah when he returns is made clear when his statements at the conference are compared to a speech he made in 2006, when he was still comfortably ensconced in the US.

As Spencer notes, in a speech Bustros made at St. Thomas University in Florida in 2006, Bustros minced no words about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Addressing the Islamic precepts on relations with non-Muslims, Bustros said, “The doctrines of Islam dictate war against unbelievers….[T]he concept of nonviolence is absent from Muslim doctrine and practice….Peace in Islam is based on the surrender of all people to Islam and to God’s power based on Islamic law. They have to defend this peace of God even by force.”

FEAR OF Islamic massacres of Christians – like the one in Baghdad on Sunday – goes a long way towards explaining anti-Jewish and pro-Islamic pronouncements by Christian clergy in the Islamic world. But what can explain the West’s embrace of lies about Islam?

Why would people who do not live under the jackboot of the likes of Hizbullah, Hamas or their sister groups in places like Iraq obsequiously parrot untruths about Islamic history and theology and deny the very existence of Islamic supremacism?

The most notable case of such behavior in recent weeks came with the UN Educational, Science and Cultural Organization’s Executive Board’s declarations about Israel and Jewish history. At its October 21 meeting, the governing board of the UN agency charged with naming and preserving world heritage sites engaged in a shocking episode of historic revisionism in the service of Islamic supremacism.

UNESCO’s board issued five declarations regarding Israel. In addition to its routine condemnations of the security fence, Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and Israel’s refusal to give Hamas control over its border with Israel, UNESCO’s board asserted that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are all buried, is a mosque. Rachel’s Tomb, where Rachel is buried, is also a mosque, according to UNESCO’s governing body.

It is not surprising that UNESCO’s Muslim members pushed for these declarations. Islam is a supersessionist religion. It claims that all the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs as well as all the Jewish prophets, kings and judges were Muslim. It similarly claims that Jesus, Mary and the apostles were Muslims. It is standard Islamic practice to transform Jewish and Christian holy sites in lands conquered by Islam into mosques.

It is this Islamic practice that led Yasser Arafat to shock and disgust Yitzhak Rabin in July 1995 when he proclaimed that, “Rachel was my grandmother.”

Arafat’s statement was the first time that a Muslim leader in modern times claimed Rachel’s grave is a mosque. Arafat made his preposterous claim in the course of negotiations about the disposition of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. Due to its significance to Jews, Israel demanded full security control over the tomb. Arafat based his counter-claim on standard Islamic historical revisionism.

While Rabin rejected Arafat’s baseless assertion, last month UNESCO’s executive committee, whose membership includes France, Belgium, Spain, Japan, Poland, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Italy, the US and India accepted Arafat’s wholly false rendition of the historical record. In so doing, they collaborated with an Islamic attempt to eradicate Jewish history.

Why would they do this? They are not bishops who have to worry that their communities will be annihilated if they step out of line.

No doubt, fear of Islamic terrorism fuels some of their behavior. But fear can’t be the full explanation. Most Westerners have no contact with Muslims. And Islamic terrorist attacks in the West are not a daily occurrence.

The West’s newfound obsession with Islamophobia probably also has something to do with it. Western elites are terrified of being accused of racism. This is particularly true when – as is the case with Islamophobia – the charge is leveled on behalf of people who were oppressed in the past by Westerners.

But while fear of the charge of Islamophobia does play a role in Western kowtowing to Islamic supremacists, the West’s aversion to the perception that it is oppressing those it once oppressed fails to provide an adequate explanation for its willingness to collaborate with Islamic supremacist attempts to blot out Jewish history. The West’s history of oppressing Jews is far bloodier and longer than its record of oppressing Muslims.

In the end, there is only one credible explanation for the West’s willingness to lie about the nature and goals of Islamic supremacism. There is only one credible explanation for the West’s willingness to collaborate with Islamic supremacists as they purge the historical record of the Jewish roots of Western civilization. There is only one explanation for the West’s willingness to accept the Islamic supremacist assertion that Israel is to blame for Islamic aggression against Jews and Christians alike.

But if I mention anti-Semitism, I will be attacked as a paranoid Jew.