Sunday, July 31, 2011

From a Hebron Jew at Cufi Rabbi Jonathan Gnsburg

The Wilder Way Jer Post Blog
Sunday Jul 31, 2011

Christians and Jews united for Israel

This has been festering in me for the past week or so. I couldn’t decide whether to write it or not; I know it will bother some people. But I have to get it out – and probably post. Whoever is upset, well, that’s their problem.

Last week I attended, for the second time, CUFI, that is, Christians United for Israel, in Washington, DC. My friend Mike, from Amarillo, Texas, invited me to join him, and I took him up on the offer. As it was two years ago, so too this year. An amazing experience.

Somewhere in the vicinity of 5,500 people, including a group of Jews, mostly orthodox, as well as a contingent from Israel, congregated at the Washington Convention Center for three days. People from all over the world. That’s a lot of people. And a lot of money. The personal investment, paying for registration, hotels, food, for three days. Many of those attending are couples.

They come from all denominations of Christianity. In other circumstances, you would be hard-pressed to find all of them sitting together. Their beliefs and traditions differ, from person to person, from church to church, from institution to institution. This, not my invention, but as expressed (in my words) by Pastor John Hagee, founder and executive director of CUFI. However, they all have a nucleus binding then together, unifying them, and that, in one word, is Israel.

At an event as this, so much is impressive. The number of people, the speakers, (the best of the best, Christian and Jewish). But one emotion overshadows everything else, and that, in one word, is love.

I know there are many reading this, (and who will refuse to read it) who will be skeptical. Or perhaps suspicious is a better word. After all, in the eyes of many, all Christians are suspect. After 2,000 years of persecution and anti-Semitism, after holocaust following holocaust, (and in reality, there were many of them), while dealing with continued missionary activity, whereby Christian organizations attempt to supposedly steal Jewish souls, how can any of them be trusted?

I know, they believe things that I don’t. Each sect has its own set of rules and beliefs. There are those who wear crosses and others who reject it. Some churches are full of pictures, icons and crucifixes. Others have bare walls, without any of the above. Just about all of them maintain a basic belief, one way or the other, in Jesus. Jews don’t. Jews don’t believe in any of the above. According to major Jewish scholars, over the centuries, for a Jew, this is idol worship, as is forbidden in the Torah. However, they also rule that for non-Jews, much of this is (according to Jewish law) acceptable. Our theologies are different; each to his own. Of course, what is unacceptable are attempts by other religions to try and ‘convert Jews.’

So, the big question is, do they have an agenda? I have friends who have repeatedly told me, ‘we don’t want you to act like Christians; we want you to act like Jews. That’s who you are, that’s who you should be.’ Are there those who think we should believe like them? Probably. Why don’t they do anything about it? I’ve heard it with my own two ears. Some say, ‘that’s not our problem. When he comes back, he’ll deal with it.’ Of course, they are talking about their belief in what they call the ‘second coming.’

But so what! If that’s what they want to believe, let them. (We know better.) But what they don’t believe in is ‘replacement theology,’ that being a theory that G-d replaced the Jewish people with another. They believe, as is written in the Bible, that Jews are the apples of G-d’s eye, and whoever blesses them will be blessed, and whoever curses them will be cursed. There is full belief in the Tanach – the Bible, as they call it, ‘The Old Testament.’ They believe it, (and many know it) with all their hearts. Pastor John Hagee repeated, as he is wont to do, a most remarkable phrase: “There’s the Torah way, and there’s the wrong way!” (Let’s hear some more Jews say that!)

And their love for Israel, for the Jewish people, for the Land of Israel and the people of Israel, is overwhelming. I cannot say, 100% that there aren’t any agendas amongst any of them; I cannot read people’s hearts and minds. But the outpouring of love is much too much to be a superficial show, with all sorts of shadowy background schemes. It’s real – it’s genuine – it’s authentic. And to be blind to it, in my humble opinion, is a huge error of judgement.

I have a wonderful picture together with a Pastor named Sam Whaley from Spindale, North Carolina. He, together with his wife Jane, and other family members, came to Washington with their entire congregation, several hundred people. They set up a Holocaust memorial and exhibit honoring Israel at the entrance to the conference hall. It included models of the ‘Mishkan’ – the Tabernacle built by Moses in the desert, and Beit HaMikdash, the Temple. As featured guest speaker Glenn Beck walked through the exhibit, he wept. So did many others.

Another remarkable facet of CUFI is involvement of youth. The organization offers 500 scholarships a year for students, who were also present at the conference. These kids work on college campuses around America, countering the huge Arab propaganda machine, making major efforts to speak for Israel. In my opinion, even though I’m sure this will be considered somewhat controversial in certain circles, Jewish campus organizations should work together with CUFI students. They have the same goals, and a unified effort would certainly have positive results.

The last day of the conference, the entire group, over 5,000 people, ‘invaded’ Capitol Hill, with representatives of 46 states visiting their congressmen and senators. There were three talking points, all dealing with American policy concerning the state of Israel, and the Iranian plans to develop nuclear weapons. CUFI executive director, David Brog, together with Pastor Hagee’s wife Diana, made it very clear, speaking to the thousands that, despite other important issues on the table, the only subjects to be broached were Israel, US policy towards Israel, and Iran.

Left to right - Mike Isley, David HaIvri, Pastor Roman Asbill, Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, myself, Jeremy Gimpel, Ari Abramowitz

Many people, seeing me there, a Jew with a ‘Kippa’ (Yarmulke) on, came over to talk to me. I also approached many people, introducing myself and speaking with them. That’s the way it was, like a big family affair.

On the second day, during one of the sessions, I rose to ask a question. I introduced myself, citing my residence as Hebron, Israel. Within seconds thousands were on their feet, treating me to a standing ovation. It wasn’t me, as David Wilder, rather as a Jewish person, from Hebron, in Israel, at their conference. It was quite amazing and extremely touching.

CUFI is, I believe, probably the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States, if not in the world. They have over half a million ‘likes’ on their Facebook page, and I’ve been told they have over 700,000 ‘friends.’ The statistics speak for themselves.

I thought to myself, and mentioned to some of my friends at the conference, how ironic that the most powerful Israel lobby group in the US is Christian. What would happen if we tried to form a similar Jewish organization, with only one goal – that being the good of the State of Israel. Could we get 5,500 people together for three days to speak about G-d’s chosen people, their security, their future, in the holy land? Not a bad idea. JUFI – Jews United for Israel. When we had our own 700,000 people on Facebook we could combine, forming CJUFI – Christians and Jews United for Israel. (Dream on, my friends, dream on…)

With friends, David HaIvri (Samaria Regional Council), Tommy Waller (HaYovel), James Mucklestone

Until that happens, I can only offer my fervent thanks and blessings to the thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands of people, of whatever religion, who are standing up and being counted, working for Israel, in the name of G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one and only, G-d of Israel. May He bless all of us, Amen!

Rabbi stands up for CUFI

Going to War Against Your Friends - Rabbi Aaron D. Rubinger- June 10, 2008
Deuteronomy 21: 10 (“Ke Teze”) begins “When you go out to war against your enemies …..” Rabbinic commentators have asked: “Why must the Torah state ‘against your enemies’? Who else would you go to war against?!”. Apparently, the Torah felt it was necessary to add those words “against your enemies” lest, in foolishness, we go to war against those who are our friends. The great wisdom of this Torah verse, sadly, has been demonstrated by those in our Jewish community who have wrongfully gone on the attack against Pastor John Hagee, one of Israel’s greatest friends in the Christian world.
What exactly is a “friend?” My favorite definition of a friend is the one “who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” The rest of the world walked out on Israel when the Israeli government took the wise and necessary step of bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981. That worldwide hysteria against Israel for undertaking a military action necessary for its national security must have come as a shock to the Jewish State. Where were Israel’s friends and supporters to defend Israel’s action? Sadly, they were nowhere to be found. Yet a brave and solitary voice came forth from San Antonio, TX., that of Pastor John Hagee who stood up for Israel, defended Israel, in fact, applauded Israel.
Since then Pastor Hagee has repeatedly proven himself not only to be a great friend to Israel but to the Jewish people. As important as Pastor Hagee’s enormous amount of fundraising has been for Israel’s social needs, far more significant has been his long time political support, especially his creation of Christians United For Israel, the most important and influential Evangelical voice in Washington DC. Pastor Hagee created CUFI precisely in order to prevent a second Holocaust perpetrated against the Jewish people by the virulent anti-Semitic regime in Iran. What dearer a friend could we Jews have in this world?

Those who would so eagerly seize upon a single statement - one that is theologically troubling for those of us who have departed from ancient Biblical belief - and to exploit that statement in order to expunge an entire lifetime of devotion and dedication to Israel’s survival, are either fools, or else have a particular political agenda that blinds them to just how critical John Hagee’s friendship has been and still is for the State of Israel.
I have and will continue to have profound gratitude to Pastor Hagge for his genuine friendship and sincere love of Israel and the Jewish people. We Jews have so few true friends in this world that to go on the attack against one of our dearest friends strikes me as being so bizarre that it borders on the suicidal. I hope that Pastor Hagee is aware of how deeply appreciated and loved he is by the people of Israel. May God bless him and strengthen him for all that he is doing to safeguard Jewish lives.

Rabbi Aaron D. Rubinger
Senior Rabbi Congregation Ohev Shalom
Orlando Florida

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ways to stop iran's nuclear program rabbi jonathan Ginsburg

Ways to stop Iran
1. Targeted Iranian Confirmed as Nuke Expert - George Jahn (AP)
A man shot dead on a Tehran street by motorcycle-riding gunmen last weekend was a scientist involved in suspected Iranian attempts to make nuclear weapons and not a student as officially claimed, a foreign government official and a former UN nuclear inspector have told the Associated Press.
An official from a member-nation of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency verified that the victim was Darioush Rezaeinejad, who participated in developing high-voltage switches, a key component in setting off the explosions needed to trigger a nuclear warhead.
The official described Rezaeinejad as a physicist who had worked in the past for the Iranian defense ministry on projects linked to nuclear weapons development.

There is no indication that the Bushehr reactor, scheduled to start operation at least a year ago, will be operational anytime soon. The viruses introduced into the computer system controlling the centrifuges did, by all indications, considerable damage to the regime's nuclear infrastructure. Of these viruses (all reportedly designed by the U.S. and Israel) only the first, Stuxnet, attracted much attention in the West. Almost in passing, the Iranian regime referred to a second virus and, of course, claimed that much as they had with Stuxtnet the "soldiers of God" immediately beat back this new "Zionist-American" attack. The writer is Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, where he is also the codirector of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. (National Interest)

GLEN Beck and the Jews Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Beck and the Jews: Does he get them? Do they get him?
By Ron Kampeas · July 26, 2011

Glenn Beck talks about anti-Semitism and identifying with Jews at the annual Christian United for Israel conference in Washington, July 19, 2011. (CUFI)
WASHINGTON (JTA) – Does Glenn Beck get Jews?
It depends on whom you ask – to a degree – but it also seems to depend on the day of the week.
Here he is on the night of July 19: “The Jewish people have been chased out of almost every country on this planet,” he told a crowd of thousands at the annual Christians United for Israel gathering in Washington. "This is why the nation of Israel is vital.”
And here he less than a week later, speaking July 25 on his syndicated radio show, broadcast on 400 stations, describing the July 22 massacre in Norway of dozens of teenagers at a Labor Party summer camp: “There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth,” he said. “I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing.”
The statement about Israel earned Beck plaudits from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in a column he wrote for The Jerusalem Post. “I sat there thinking, if only the Jewish community could offer such unequivocal support for Israel,” Boteach said.
Boteach is hardly alone. Beck earned a rapturous reception when he appeared earlier this month before the Knesset committee dealing with Diaspora affairs and immigration, and he is planning a mass rally in Jerusalem on Aug. 24.
“We tend to give up and be hopeless,” Likud's Danny Danon, a settler leader and the Knesset committee chairman who proffered the invitation to Beck, told JTA. “And it’s heartening to see Glenn Beck and his show winning the battle.”
Mort Zuckerman, the New York publishing magnate and a past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella foreign policy group, wrote Beck to praise him for his rally plans.
"I am happy to support your efforts to explain why today more than ever we need people who are willing to stand with Israel and people who can explain Israel's unique position in the history of the world," Zuckerman wrote.
A number of liberal groups in the United States have opposed the rally as exploitative.
The statement about the massacre, likening the slaughtered Norwegian teens to Nazis, also produced Jewish comment.
“He’s back!” Dana Milbank, a Jewish columnist for The Washington Post, posted on Twitter, with a link to the audio. Milbank is the author of “Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America, which alleges that Beck’s theories are rooted in conspiratorial anti-Semitism.
Both of Beck’s statements are rooted in the overarching theory he peddles on his radio show — that despotic movements, like communism, fascism and Islamism, continue to seek world domination, and that they have tentacles inside the establishment reaching as far as the White House.
Beck’s speech at CUFI conflated the threats Jews faced in Nazi Germany with his familiar rhetoric about the threats posed by big government. “You cannot break down people's doors and snatch them,” he said. "All of us have a right to practice peacefully our religion, to raise a family and to use our God-given talent” to start businesses.
Milbank, who launched a campaign in his column to keep prominent Jews from joining Beck onstage in Jerusalem, says such talk is rooted in a conspiratorial mindset that has never been good news for the Jews. He notes that some of the books Beck urges his followers to read contain ancient tropes about Jewish domination and control.
Writing in The Washington Post, Milbank outlined a greatest-hits list of Beck’s offenses: “Hosting a guest on his show who describes as ‘accurate’ the anti-Semitic tract ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’; likening Reform rabbis to ‘radicalized Islam’; calling Holocaust survivor George Soros a ‘puppet master,’ a bloodsucker and a Nazi collaborator; touting the work of a Nazi sympathizer who referred to Eisenhower as ‘Ike the Kike’; and claiming the Jews killed Jesus.”
Such lists are ripped from context, David Brog, CUFI’s Jewish director, wrote in a counterattack on the conservative website the Daily Caller, and they ignore Beck’s efforts to shine a light on Israel’s delegitimization, which Brog characterized as the new anti-Semitism.
“Beck has not only recognized the threat of this new anti-Semitism, but he’s become a leading opponent of it,” Brog said. “How often do cable news shows devote entire episodes to such ratings busters as reviewing the history of anti-Semitism -- with a special focus on Christian anti-Semitism -- or interviewing Holocaust survivors?”
Beck declined an interview for this story, but his aides provided background on his friendliness to Jewish groups, dating back to February 2008, when he spoke at a fund-raising event for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Such appearances have proliferated recently, but so have the contretemps between Beck and the Jewish establishment, which tend to follow a pattern: He offends by likening Jews who promote social justice to Nazis or by likening Reform rabbis to Islamists. Then he apologizes, and then he offends again.
Beck’s supporters point to his devoting two episodes of his recently retired TV show on Fox News Channel to the March 11 murder of five members of the Udi Fogel family in their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar.
The Fogel murders occurred during the tsunami that hit Japan, and the American media devoted extensive resources to covering that tragedy.
Beck, Danon said, "was the only one in the media who gave the appropriate time and context to the massacre at Itamar." The Likud lawmaker added that the intellectual company Beck keeps is less important than his fervent and sincere support for Israel.
“I care about the issue of Israel, and when you see the remarks and comments about Israel, you should be happy about it,” Danon said.
That certainly seemed to be the view of the CUFI activists -- mostly Evangelical Christians, but also including certain invited guests, such as Boteach, who represent the Jewish community’s more conservative wing.
“We love you, Glenn Beck!” a man shouted out from the back of the hall during the CUFI gathering. Beck, who specializes in a self-deprecatory stance, retorted: “That's somewhat disturbing coming from a man, but I mean, look at me, I'll take it.”
He concluded his speech by appealing to the anti-Semites he had described: “Count me a Jew and come for me first.”
“Show me the Jews -- I’m one,” he said and raised his hand.
So did hundreds of others deep in the cavernous Washington convention center. One woman draped herself in an Israeli flag, and ecstatically danced through the hall.
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Ron Kampeas is JTA's Washington bureau chief.

Yes terrorism does have a religion Rabbi jonathan ginsburg

Bill Mahrer vs Glen Beck on Cufi speech Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Jews should embrace Christians United for Israel

Friday, July 29, 2011

Terrorism and religion/ideology Rabbi jonathan Ginsburg

Column One: Breivik and totalitarian democrats
07/28/2011 22:12

There are those that seek to silence conservative thinkers by making a criminal connection between our writings and the acts of a terrorist.

Talkbacks (37)
Last Friday morning, Anders Breivik burst onto the international screen when he carried out a monstrous act of terrorism against his fellow Norwegians. Breivik bombed the offices housing the Norwegian government with the intention of murdering its leaders. He then traveled to the Utoeya Island and murdered scores of young people participating in a summer program sponsored by Norway’s ruling party.

In all, last Friday Breivik murdered 76 people.

Most of them were teenagers.

Although he has confessed to his crimes, there are still important questions that remain unanswered.

For instance, we still do not know if he acted alone. Breivik claims that there are multiple cells of his fellow terrorists ready to attack. But so far, no one has found evidence to support his claim. We also still do not know if – for all his bravado – Breivik was acting on his own initiative or as an agent for others.

Finding the answers to these and other questions are is a matter of the highest urgency. For if in fact Breivik is not a lone wolf, then there is considerable danger that additional, perhaps pre-planned attacks may be carried out in the near future. And given the now demonstrated inadequacy of Norway’s law-enforcement arms in contending with terror attacks, the prospect of further attacks should be keeping Norwegian and other European leaders up at night.

Despite the dangers, very little of the public discourse since Breivik’s murderous assault on his countrymen has been devoted to these issues.

Rather, the Norwegian and Western media have focused their discussion of Breivik’s terrorist attack on his self-justifications for it. Those self-justifications are found mainly in a 1,500-page manifesto that Breivik posted on the Internet.

Some of the material for his manifesto was plagiarized from the manifesto written by Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, whose bombing campaign spanned two decades and killed three and wounded 23. Kaczynski got The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish his self-justifications in 1995 by threatening to murder more people if they refused.

Breivik’s manifesto has become the center of the international discussion of his actions, largely as a result of the sources he cited.

Kaczynski, like his fellow eco-terrorist Jason Jay Lee, who took several people hostage at the Discovery Channel in Maryland last September, was influenced by the writings of former US vicepresident Al Gore. A well-worn copy of Gore’s book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit was reportedly found by federal agents when they searched Kaczynski’s cabin in Montana in 1996. Lee claimed that he was “awakened” to the need to commit terrorism to save the environment after he watched Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Aside from Kaczynski, (whom he plagiarized without naming), certain parts of Breivik’s manifesto read like a source guide to leading conservative writers and bloggers in the Western world. And this is unprecedented. Never before has a terrorist cited so many conservatives to justify his positions.

Breivik particularly noted writers who focus on critical examinations of multiculturalism and the dangers emanating from jihadists and the cause of global jihad. He also cited the work of earlier political philosophers and writers including John Stuart Mill, George Orwell, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson.

Breivik’s citation of conservative writers (including myself and many of my friends and colleagues in the US and Europe) has dominated the public discussion of his actions. The leftist-dominated Western media – most notably the New York Times – and the left wing of the blogosphere have used his reliance on their ideological opponents’ arguments as a means of blaming the ideas propounded by conservative thinkers and the thinkers themselves for Breivik’s heinous acts of murder.

For instance, a front-page news story in the Times on Monday claimed, “The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam.”

The reporter, Scott Shane, named several popular anti-jihadist blogs that Breivik mentioned in his manifesto. Shane then quoted left-leaning terrorism expert Marc Sageman who alleged that that the writings of anti-jihad authors “are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”

That is, Shane quoted Sageman accusing these writers of responsibility for Breivik’s acts of murder.

Before considering the veracity of Sageman’s claim, it is worth noting that no similar allegations were leveled by the media or their favored terror experts against Gore in the wake of Lee’s hostage-taking last year, or in the aftermath of Kaczynski’s arrest in 1996. Moreover, Noam Chomsky, Michael Scheuer, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, whose writings were endorsed by Osama bin Laden, have not been accused of responsibility for al-Qaida terrorism.

That is, leftist writers whose works have been admired by terrorists have not been held accountable for the acts of terrorism conducted by their readers.

Nor should they have been. And to understand why this sort of guilt-by-readership is wrong, it is worth considering what separates liberal democracies from what the great Israeli historian Jacob Talmon referred to as totalitarian democracies.

Liberal democracies are founded on the notion that it is not simply acceptable for citizens to participate in debates about the issues facing their societies. It is admirable for citizens in democracies to participate in debates – even heated ones – about their government’s policies as well as their societies’ cultural and moral direction. A citizenry unengaged is a citizenry that is in danger of losing its freedom.

One of the reasons that argument and debate are the foundations of a liberal democratic order is because the more engaged citizens feel in the life of their societies, the less likely they will be to reject the rules governing their society and turn to violence to get their way. As a rule, liberal democracies reject the resort to violence as a means of winning an argument. This is why, for liberal democracies, terrorism in all forms is absolutely unacceptable.

Whether or not one agrees with the ideological self-justifications of a terrorist, as a member of a liberal democratic society, one is expected to abhor his act of terrorism. Because by resorting to violence to achieve his aims, the terrorist is acting in a manner that fundamentally undermines the liberal democratic order.

Liberal democracies are always works in progress. Their citizens do not expect a day to come when the debaters fall silent because everyone agrees with one another as all are convinced of the rightness of one side. This is because liberal democracies are not founded on messianic aspirations to create a perfect society.

In contrast, totalitarian democracies – and totalitarian democrats – do have a messianic temperament and a utopian mission to create a perfect society. And so its members do have hopes of ending debate and argument once and for all.

As Talmon explained in his 1952 classic, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, the totalitarian democratic model was envisioned by Jean- Jacques Rousseau, the philosophical godfather of the French Revolution. Rousseau believed that a group of anointed leaders could push a society towards perfection by essentially coercing the people to accept their view of right and wrong.

Talmon drew a direct line between Rousseau and the totalitarian movements of the 20th century – Nazism, fascism and communism.

Today, those who seek to silence conservative thinkers by making a criminal connection between our writings and the acts of a terrorist are doing so in pursuit of patently illiberal ends, to say the least. If they can convince the public that our ideas cause the mass murder of children, then our voices will be silenced.

Another aspect of the same anti-liberal behavior is the tendency by many to pick and choose which sorts of terrorism are acceptable and which are unacceptable, in accordance with the ideological justifications the terrorists give for their actions. The most recent notable example of this behavior is an interview that Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sevje gave to Ma’ariv on Tuesday.

Ma’ariv asked Sevje whether in the wake of Breivik’s terrorist attack Norwegians would be more sympathetic to the victimization of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.

Sevje said no, and explained, “We Norwegians view the occupation as the reason for terror against Israel. Many Norwegians still see the occupation as the reason for attacks against Israel. Whoever thinks this way, will not change his mind as a result of the attack in Oslo.”

So in the mind of the illiberal Norwegians, terrorism is justified if the ideology behind it is considered justified. For them it is unacceptable for Breivik to murder Norwegian children, because his ideology is wrong. But it is acceptable for Palestinians to murder Israeli children, because their ideology is right.

As much as statements by Sevje, (or Gore, Walt, Mearsheimer, Scheuer or Chomsky), may anger their ideological adversaries, no self-respecting liberal democratic thinker would accuse their political philosophies of inspiring terrorism.

There is only one point at which political philosophy merges into terrorism. That point is when political thinkers call on their followers to carry out acts of terrorism in the name of their political philosophy and they make this call with the reasonable expectation that their followers will fulfill their wishes. Political thinkers who fit this description include the likes of Muslim Brotherhood “spiritual” leader Yousef Qaradawi, Osama bin Laden, Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin, al-Qaida in Yemen leader Anwar Awlaki and other jihadist leaders.

These leaders are dangerous because they operate outside of the boundaries of democratic polemics. They do not care whether the wider public agrees with their views. Like Mao – who murdered 70 million people – they believe that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, not out of rational discourse.

Revealingly, many not-particularly liberal Western democracies have granted these terrorist philosophers visas, and embraced them as legitimate thinkers. The hero’s welcome Qaradawi enjoyed during his 2005 visit to Britain by then-London mayor Ken Livingstone is a particularly vivid example of this practice. The illiberal trajectory British politics has veered onto was similarly demonstrated by the government’s 2009 refusal to grant a visa to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Wilders has been demonized as an enemy of freedom for his criticism of Islamic totalitarianism.

The Left’s attempts to link conservative writers, politicians and philosophers with Breivik are nothing new. The same thing happened in 1995, when the Left tried to blame rabbis and politicians for the sociopathic Yigal Amir’s assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The same thing happened in the US last summer with the Left’s insistent attempts to link the psychotic Jared Loughner, who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents, with Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

And it is this tendency that most endangers the future of liberal democracies. If the Left is ever successful in their bid to criminalize ideological opponents and justify acts of terrorism against its opponents, their victory will destroy the liberal democratic foundations of Western civilization.

ANTI SEMITISM and anti Israel on college campuses

US Jewish College Students Threatened; ZOA Acts

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today filed a complaint against Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights because of a hostile anti-Semitic campus environment. The complaint, based on troubling reports from Jewish students, describes in detail the anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination that Jewish students have been subjected to at Rutgers, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including the following:

A Jewish student named John Doe (a pseudonym) was subjected to murderous threats made against him by other students on Facebook – to “shut him up” by “beating him with a crowbar,” and to “skin him alive.”
Jewish student John Doe was subjected to anti-Semitic name-calling, threats and intimidation by a university official – the Outreach Coordinator for Rutgers’ Center for Middle East Studies. The Outreach Coordinator referred to the Jewish student John Doe as “that racist Zionist pig!!!!!!!!” on Facebook, and incited other Facebook users against John Doe by encouraging them to go to a Facebook hate page about him. The Outreach Coordinator also physically threatened and tried to provoke a physical fight with John Doe, rushing toward him after a student government meeting, pounding on her chest, and yelling, “I’m Palestinian. Do you want to take me on? Do you want to fight? I have thick blood. Try me.”
Events and programs are regularly sponsored on campus that demonize Jews and Israel, crossing the line into anti-Semitism and causing Jewish students to feel harassed and intimidated.
At the start of one such anti-Semitic event – which falsely and offensively analogized the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews to Israel’s policies and practices toward the Palestinian Arabs – the organizers suddenly imposed and selectively enforced an admissions policy, charging a fee to those thought to be Jewish and pro-Israel, while allowing free admission for those thought to be supporters of the anti-Israel event. Students reported hearing one of the event’s sponsors say that that the admission fee was imposed when the organizers saw how many “Zionists [code for Jews] showed up.”
Middle East studies courses are so hateful and hostile to Israel, promoting anti-Israel falsehoods, that Jewish students avoid them. If they do enroll, they are reluctant and even afraid to speak up in support of Israel.
Jewish students feel harassed and intimidated on campus, afraid to show or express their support for Israel. Some students describe feeling afraid to wear anything that shows they are Jewish or pro-Israel. One student was reluctant even to talk on campus about having studied abroad in Israel. Some students fear for their physical safety.

After describing the problems in detail that Jewish students have been facing, the ZOA urged in its complaint that the Office for Civil Rights “investigate the anti-Semitic hostility at Rutgers, which reportedly has been a longstanding problem, and hold the university accountable under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.” Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin at federally funded schools, including discrimination against Jews based on their actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

Commenting on the filing of this civil rights complaint on behalf of Jewish students at Rutgers, Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, the director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, said: “The ZOA filed a Title VI complaint against Rutgers only after numerous serious efforts were made to get the university to respond to a long pattern of anti-Semitic hostility on campus, and the administration refused to do so. Jewish students tried on their own to raise their concerns with the administration, but these efforts were futile. Several filed bias reports, which are supposed to be responded to within 24 hours, but they were essentially ignored. When the ZOA got involved, we too reached out to Rutgers in an effort to resolve the problems without legal action. We twice wrote to President Richard L. McCormick, describing the many problems that Jewish students reported to us, and proposing reasonable steps that we believed would be effective in eliminating the hostile environment without impinging on any protected rights. Many of the steps we proposed were recommended by the Office for Civil Rights itself in a policy letter issued last October, regarding compliance with Title VI and other civil rights laws. President McCormick’s response was that no such steps were necessary or required; he rebuffed us, stating that ‘we [at Rutgers] are confident that we have satisfied our obligations under both Title VI and the First Amendment.’

“We at the ZOA do not agree, and neither do the students who have endured a campus environment that they see as increasingly hostile and anti-Semitic. It is therefore up to the Office for Civil Rights to ensure that Jewish students’ legal right to a campus that is safe and not hostile to them is upheld and enforced. We urge the Office for Civil Rights to investigate the ZOA’s Title VI complaint and compel the university to finally respond to the legitimate concerns of Jewish students and protect their legal right to a campus free from anti-Semitic hostility. We will do everything we can to assist the Office for Civil Rights in completing a fair and thorough investigation.

“The ZOA commends the Jewish students at Rutgers who have had the courage and conviction to stand up for their legal rights and insist that the campus problems be addressed. These students – like all students – are entitled to a campus that is not threatening or intimidating, where Jewish students who love and support Israel can be who they are, without any fear or hesitation. The ZOA stands with these students. We will do whatever we can to ensure them a campus environment that allows them to comfortably attend any class they wish, to walk, live and study on campus without fear, and to enjoy an educational experience is that is safe, nurturing and free from anti-Semitic bigotry.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Humanitariansm? BS! They just hate Judaism Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Jerusalem Post


Friday, July 29, 2011 Printer Friendly

The Judaism haters amongst us never are satisfied. The fact that there are observant Jews still around in the millions apparently disturbs them no end. After centuries of attempting to secularize the Jewish people they are vastly disturbed and disappointed that there are still so many Jews who refuse to heed their clarion call for progress and modernity.

It has been a battle for centuries in Europe regarding allowing Jewish shechita/ritual slaughter of animals. Sweden and Switzerland effectively ban shechita in their countries by requiring methodologies that are incompatible with halacha and kashrut standards. The Netherlands has also recently considered banning shechita. Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of Britain has warned that there is a danger of the entire EU considering banning shechita.

Of course all of this is portrayed as not being anti-Jewish; it is merely a matter of being more humanitarian to animals. In Germany in the 1930’s Hitler also banned shechita on humanitarian grounds and we are all aware what a great humanitarian he was.

In pre-World War II Poland shechita was vastly curtailed and made well nigh impossible by an openly anti-Semitic government. And in the paradise of the Stalinist Soviet Union shechita was also forbidden. Even in the United States, animal rights activists, PETA and the radical left are always attempting to have kosher slaughter banned.

Animals have rights and must be protected; Jews however have no right to observe their religion and must be coerced into the brave new world of murderous secularism. Of course the enthusiasm for anti-shechita legislation has waned somewhat since the Holocaust but, never fear, the avowed secularist/atheistic political action lobby has moved on to a new point of attack against Judaism.

The new culprit found lurking in Judaism and preventing the modern society from reaching the desired apex of free choice is the Jewish ritual of circumcision of male infants on the eighth day of their life. This ancient ritual attributed to our father Abraham and his son Isaac has been sanctified by Jewish martyrdom to preserve it throughout the ages.

Again, couched only in purely compassionate and humanitarian language, there is a referendum scheduled for San Francisco, California this fall to ban circumcision of infants on freedom of choice and humanitarian grounds. The obvious target of this high sounding proposal is squarely Judaism and the Jews. The fact that there is amongst us a number of nut-case Jews actually supporting this proposition only increases its shamefulness.

There were Jews who voted for Hitler also in the early 1930’s German elections. No amount of rational argument, scientific and medical testimony as to its benefits or appeals to religious tolerance will move the anti-circumcision group. As with most committed secularists and atheists it is either their way or the highway.

And, as usual, it is Judaism, Jews and Jewish practices that are the most disturbing elements of society as far as they are concerned. As a fallout of this by the way, the state of Colorado recently announced that it will no longer cover circumcision in its Medicaid program. This will save the state $186,000 out of a Medicaid budget of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Other states are also banning Medicaid payments for circumcision though again the amounts previously allocated were paltry in the general budgetary scheme of things. Jewish organizations have protested but to no apparent avail. But never mind, progress and fiscal probity must always prevail.

Here in Israel the diehard secularists have amassed forty thousand signatures on a petition to prevent God’s name to be used in the official memorial prayer of the Israel Defense Forces for fallen soldiers. So now the traditional Yizkor prayer is under attack. Yizkor services were the link connecting generations for ages in the Jewish world. Yizkor without God’s name in it is meaningless, a travesty of Jewish history and a mockery of the purpose of the prayer. Without God there is absolutely no purpose or true meaning to the prayer.

Every person has the right to decide to recite the prayer or not. But to attempt to adjust the prayer by the enlightened few at the expense of the sensitivities of the many whom they so disdain is arrogant and hurtful. As secularism declines here in Israel, the hardened believing (atheism is also a religious belief) non-believers have become more strident and bitter.

So, shechita, circumcisions, prayers and Yizkor are all today’s battlefront for the continuity of Jewish life, values and traditions. But, fear not, our avowed secularists and anti-Semites will find other causes to war with us in the future. Truly, what is next?

Shabat shalom.

Berel Wein

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Israeli did not cause Palestinian refugees Rabbi Jonathan ginsburg

Arab Leaders Responsible for Refugee Problem - Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky (Ynet News)
Today, the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim worlds say it was Israel that, in 1948, attacked and expelled the Palestinians. But who did Palestinians blame for their fate in 1949?
One of the largest Palestinian communities in the U.S. is located in Dearborn, Michigan. On December 15, 1949, the Michigan Arab newspaper As Sabah published an editorial on the question of the Palestine Arab refugees: "The poor refugees committed the crime of listening to those deceivers, they believed the liars, and went to the extreme foolishness of leaving their homes, counting on their deceitful leaders to bring them back....If there should be another war, it should be against the Arab leaders, the princes and kings who brought this catastrophe upon the poor people of Palestine."
British officials on the scene at the time, hardly pro-Zionist, were convinced that Palestinian leaders were steadily abandoning their people. In June 1949 Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East office in Cairo, reported that while the refugees "express no bitterness against the Jews (or for that matter against the Americans or ourselves), they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states." "'We know who our enemies are,' they say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes."
Israeli officials maintained from the beginning that a majority of the Palestinians were encouraged to flee by their own leaders and those of Arab states, who then abandoned them before or in the midst of battle. British officials on the scene and opposed to Israel, and Palestinians in America, would not have simply parroted their enemy's assessment.

"West Bank" belongs to Israel

The West Bank Is Not Stolen Property - Jonathan S. Tobin
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has created a clever and informative six-minute YouTube video on "The Truth About the West Bank" that is driving the Palestinian Authority up the wall. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed that by asserting Israel's historical rights to the West Bank and debunking claims that the territory is "illegally occupied," Israel is pursuing a "pro-conflict agenda."
Israel did not capture the West Bank in 1967 from the Palestinians but from Jordan in a war of self-defense. Jordan had illegally occupied the area as well as half of Jerusalem in the course of its participation in a war to destroy the newborn state of Israel in 1948. Jews were guaranteed the right of settlement in the West Bank by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
To assert the Jewish state's rights is not the same thing as saying Israel should never retreat from an inch of the West Bank. The borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state can only be determined by negotiations. But the Palestinians' charge that the land was stolen from them is false. If the West Bank is stolen property, then it should merely be returned to its owners and not be a subject for talks. (Commentary)

Masei Journeying, growing, redeeming oneself rabbi jonathan ginsburg

A. The Jews’ Itinerary. Moshe recorded the Israelites’ itinerary from the Exodus until their arrival at the plains of Moav. In all, the Israelites had encamped in forty-two separate places during their forty years of wandering.
B. Division of land. After conquering Canaan, the Jews were told to destroy any remnant of idol worship in the country. Ten leaders (one from each of the tribes other than Reuven and Gad), plus Yehoshua and Elazar were appointed to administer the equitable division of the land (which was distributed by lots in proportion to each tribe’s size). The Levi’im, who were not given separate land, were granted forty-eight cities on both sides of the Jordan.
C. Cities of Refuge/Laws of Murder. Six of the Levite cities (i.e., three on each side of the Jordan) were designated as Orei Miklot (“Cities of Refuge”), in addition to the other forty-two minor Orei Miklot. The Orei Miklot provided asylum for an accidental murderer, allowing him to escape the vengeance of the victim’s relatives. (A murderer could flee to the Orei Miklot, where he’d come before a judicial tribunal. If he was ruled an intentional murderer, he was handed over to the victim’s relative and anyone who committed a pre-meditated murder was put to death. If, however, the murder was unplanned and without evil intent, he could stay in the Orei Miklot until the High Priest’s death, at which time he was free to go home.) Even a willful murderer couldn’t be condemned to death unless two witnesses incriminated him. The willful murderer couldn’t commute his death sentence nor could the accidental murder escape the Orei Miklot by monetary payments.
D. Inheritance Rights. Leaders from the family of Gilad (from the tribe of Menasseh) raised the problem of land inherited by daughters, such as the Zelophchad’s daughters — i.e., if they married into another tribe, the property rights would go to the other tribe, reducing her former tribe’s holdings. This was solved by the ruling that during that generation only, an heiress should marry within her own tribe (which was, in fact, the case of Zelophchad’s daughters, who married their own cousins).
II. Divrei Torah
A. Lil’Mode U’lilamed (Rabbi Mordechai Katz)
2. Enumerating the Stages. No detail in the Torah is superfluous. Why then does the Torah list in such detail all of the various stages and stops in the Jews’ journey? Now that the Jews were to enter Israel, Hashem reminded them of their difficult journey, and that each stop along the way held its own unique memories and lessons for them to remember. The people had come a long way and shouldn’t forget Hashem’s assistance and the experiences that helped forge their national development.
B. Kol Dodi on the Torah (Rabbi David Feinstein)
1. The Road Away From Egypt. The Torah speaks of the “road away” from Egypt, rather than the road “to Israel”. This suggests that the Torah views the Exodus as more than just a physical or geographical re-location — it was (and, by analogy, is for us today) a spiritual process, involving the weaning of the “slave mentality” and the instilling of a commitment to Torah and Hashem.
D. Living Each Week (Rabbi Abraham Twerski)
1. Spirituality: A Gradual Process. In describing the journeys of the Israelites during their forty years in the desert, the Torah not only enumerates the various resting places, but at each point states, “They traveled from A and camped at B. They traveled from B and camped at C, etc.” Since the Torah doesn’t even have a single superfluous letter, why doesn’t it simply state, “They camped at A, B, C, etc.”? The Torah commentaries state that the forty years in the desert were a period of spiritual growth and development necessary to prepare the Jews for entrance into the holy land of Israel. The people that were capable of the lack of faith and trust in G-d manifested by the Golden Calf and the episode of the spies required a lengthy course in spiritual development, which they received under the tutelage of Moshe. Each encampment symbolizes another step in this process of spiritual development. While achieving spirituality is essential, it must proceed gradually. Only after the Jews had solidified their spiritual growth at a particular encampment were they able to travel to the next point, and if they regressed in their spiritual development, they had to go back and recoup the spirituality they had lost before they were able to progress further.
2. Maintaining a positive attitude. “They traveled from Marah and came to Elim, and in Elim there were twelves springs of water and seventy palms, and they camped there.” Inasmuch as the Torah does not describe any of the other camping sites, why does the Torah find it important to describe the features of Elim? In his commentary on the Parsha of Beshalach (supra), the Baal Shem Tov noted that the Israelites were unable to drink the water in Marah because they, the Israelites, were bitter. It is a common that when a person is in a state of depression and has an attitude of bitterness, everything appears to be bitter, regardless of how sweet it may be in reality. We must realize that our perception can be grossly distorted by our mood. The Torah teaches us this in the episode of Hagar and Ishmael, in which Hagar abandoned Ishmael in the desert, stating that she could not bear to see him die of thirst. “G-d opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” The Torah is telling us that the well was there the whole time, but in her state of depression she didn’t see it. In Elim there were springs of water and seventy palms. Of what value is seventy palms to a population of several million? Having rid themselves of their dejection at Marah, coming upon a small oasis was a pleasant event. When they “traveled from Marah,” (i.e., when they separated themselves from their bitterness), then camping at Elim was a great event. Some of life’s events may cause us to become dejected. We must try to overcome this mood, and develop a positive attitude, because in a state of dejection, we may perceive reality in a negative light, whereas in a state of simchah (joy), we can recognize everything we have as a precious gift.
E. Chassidic Dimension/In the Garden of the Torah (the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, z’tl)
The “encampments” of the Jews. While the Torah refers to the “journeys” of the Jews, it is actually referring to where they encamped (in fact, the Jews spend the majority of the forty years in encampments, not in travel). Why? The ultimate purpose of travels and encampments was to reach Israel — the encampments are referred to as “journeys” since they served no purpose in and of themselves. The Bal Shem Tov noted that the “encampments” refer to the various stages of spiritual growth to be experienced during life’s journey. Each step of the journey represents in and of itself a phase of holiness and possesses an importance of its own. However, in order for one to attain the next spiritual level, he must be “on the move” — if he stagnates or merely moves to a comparable level, he is considered stationary. “On the move” means that he has totally departed from his previous level. Thus, the verse emphasizes “journey” to remind us that we must always be on the “upward move,” constantly striving to reach an infinitely higher spiritual level than our current level. The forty-two “journeys” of the Jews allowed them to reach the proper spiritual level to enter Israel.
F. Majesty of Man (Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz)
Remembering the painful moments of our journeys. Rashi quotes a Midrash that explains, via parable, why Hashem chose to recount the Israelite’s travels: A king once took his ill son abroad to find a cure; during their journey home (after the boy had been cured), he recounted the stops along the way — “here you had a fever . . . “, etc. Similarly, Hashem recounted all of the places where the Jews had angered Him on the way to Israel. However, unlike the king who recounted the stops to evoke feelings of relief and thankfulness, Hashem’s actions are harder to fathom for they don’t seem to conjure feelings of relief and thankfulness. But, Hashem has infinite love for the Jewish people; even when we sin and act with ingratitude towards Him, He doesn’t view it in that light — in His eyes, these are merely temporary illnesses. Hashem’s love and compassion for the Jewish people is particularly uplifting during the Three Weeks preceding the 9th of Av, reminding us that our teshuvah (repentance) doesn’t fall on “deaf ears”.

The Biblical borders of israel analyzed

Parshat Matot-Masei -
The Biblical Borders of the Land of Israel

(To prepare for this shiur,
see the questions for self study.)
In recent times, the borders of the State of Israel seem to change every decade or so, but what were the precise Biblical borders of the Land of Israel? As we see in this week's Torah reading, the answer to this question is not so simple - for the story of Bnei Gad and Reuven in Parshat Matot (32:1-42) implies that Israel's borders are rather 'expandable,' while Parshat Masei (33:1-15) details what appears to be a rather fixed geographical border.

So what are the exact borders of the Land of Israel? This week's shiur examines the biblical roots of this complex issue.

Two clichés, both based on psukim in Tanach, are commonly used to describe the expanse of the borders of the Land of Israel:

A) 'From the Nile to the Euphrates';
B) 'From Dan to Be'er Sheva.'
The geographic discrepancy between these two boundary-lines is immense! According to (A), Eretz Yisrael encompasses almost the entire Middle East (see Board #1), while according to (B), Israel is a tiny country not much bigger than the state of Rhode Island (see Board #2).
So which cliché is correct?

The Borders in Parshat Masei
In Parshat Masei, the Torah presents the most precise delineation of the borders of the Land of Israel in Tanach:

"And God spoke to Moshe saying: Command Bnei Yisrael and tell them, when you enter Eretz Canaan, this is the land that shall become your inheritance - Eretz Canaan according ot its borders. Your southern border, from Midbar Tzin..." (see 34:1-13)
Over the centuries, many attempts have been made to identify each location mentioned in the parsha. With regard to the eastern and western borders, i.e. the Mediterranean Sea (34:6) and the Jordan River (34:11-12), there can be no question whatsoever as to their identity. With regard to the northern and southern borders, however, a variety of opinions exist.
The 'minimalist' approach identifies the northern border in the area of today's Southern Lebanon, i.e. along the Litani river until the Metulla area. The southern border, according to this view, runs along the Be'er Sheva - Gaza line in the northern Negev. On the other hand, the 'maximalist' opinion identifies the northern border somewhere up in Turkey and Northern Syria, while the southern border is said to be situated somewhere deep in the Sinai desert.

The Eastern Frontier
Although the eastern border in Parshat Masei is clearly the Jordan river, the story of "bnei Gad u'bnei Reuven" in Parshat Matot (31:1-54) indicates the possibility of expanding this border into present-day Jordan. Recall that Moshe Rabbeinu allows the tribes of Gad, Reuven, and Menashe to establish their permanent settlement of Eretz Yisrael on the 'eastern bank' of the Jordan River, provided that they fulfill their vow to help everyone else conquer the land located on the westerb bank. [See also Yehoshua chapters 13-14, and chapter 22.]

So why are the borders of Eretz Yisrael so ambiguous? Are they vast or small? Are they rigid and unchanging or expandable? Are certain parts of the 'Holy Land' holier than others?

To answer these questions, and to understand why this topic is so complicated, we must return to Sefer Breishit and God's promise to the Avot regarding the Land of Israel.

The Land Promised to Avraham Avinu
In Parshat Lech Lecha, when God first chooses Avraham Avinu, He promises him a special land. [See Breishit 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:18, 17:7-8. See also 22:17-18, 26:2-5, 28:3-4, 28:13-14, 35:11-12, 46:1-4, 48:4 and 21. (That should keep you busy.)]

In His first three promises to Avraham, God describes the land in very general terms:

1) In Ur Kasdim:
"Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land what I will show you." (12:1)
2) At Shchem:
"I will assign this land to your offspring." (12:7)
3) At Bet-El:
"Raise your eyes and look out from where you are... for I give all the land that you see..." (13:15)
Later in Parshat Lech Lecha, Avraham Avinu enters into two covenants with God concerning his future. Both covenants precisely define the Promised Land, but each covenant consists of an entirely different piece of land!
1) At Brit Bein HaB'tarim: "Ha'Aretz"
"On that day God made a covenant with Avraham, saying: to your offspring I assign this land, from the river of Egypt [the Nile] to the river, the river Euphrates, the Kenites, Knizites... (the ten nations)" (Breishit 15:18-21)
The land defined by these borders is enormous! To the northeast, the border extends to the Euphrates River, which flows from northern Syria to the Persian Gulf, and to the southwest, it runs from the sources of the Nile River in Ethiopia down to the port city of Alexandria! [Undoubtedly, this covenant is the source of the popular phrase "from the Nile to the Euphrates."]
2) At Brit Milah: "Eretz Canaan"

"I assign the land in which you sojourn to you and your offspring to come, all the land of Canaan..." (17:8)
In this covenant, the 'Promised Land' is much smaller. Even though the term "Eretz Canaan" appears here for the first time [see also Shmot 6:4, and compare with Breishit 17:7-8], the geographic definition of this area has already been mentioned in Parshat Noach. Let's take a careful look at that definition:
"And the border of the Canaani was from Sidon (the Litani valley in Lebanon) down the coastal plain to Grar and Gaza, [and from Sidon (down the Syrian-African Rift)] to Sdom, Amora... (the Dead Sea area)." (Breishit 10:19)
[Note that this is the only border detailed in the genealogical record of Breishit chapter 10. Most likely, this delineation is recorded as critical background information for Parshat Lech Lecha!]
This biblical definition of Eretz Canaan more or less coincides with the general region that the Avot inhabited - "eretz m'gurecha" (see 17:7-8). The Avot lived and sojourned in the area between Be'er Sheva and Grar to the south (see 28:10, 46:1), and the area of Shchem and Dotan (37:12-17) to the north. And during his battle against the Four Kings, Avraham chased his foes as far north as Dan (14:14)!

[Undoubtedly, these borders inspired the popular phrase: "from Dan to Be'er Sheva." This phrase is used several times later in Tanach to define the populace of the Land of Israel. For example:

"And all of Israel, from Dan to Be'er Sheva, knew that Shmuel was a trustworthy prophet..." (Shmuel I 3:20)
See also I Melachim 5:5.]
In summary, the source of the conflicting borders of Eretz Yisrael appears to be its different presentations in Brit Bein HaB'tarim and Brit Milah. Now, we must explain the relationship between each "brit" and its respective definition of the land.
Two Borders - Two Types of Kedusha
To understand the significance of these conflicting borders, we must determine the exact nature of each covenant.

In our shiurim on Sefer Breishit, we analyzed the significance of both covenants with the avot and the unique contribution of each (i.e., Bein HaB'tarim - b'shem Havaya and Brit Milah - b'shem Elokim). For our purposes here, we will briefly review our conclusions.

Brit Bein HaB'tarim
After Avraham's defeat of the Four Kings, God promises him that his offspring will one day conquer ("yerusha") the land, just as Avraham himself had just done. However, this conquest will take place only after several generations of bondage in a foreign land, after which they will gain their independence and their oppressor will be punished. The land in which they will establish their sovereignty is described as expanding from the Nile to the Euphrates [the land then occupied by the ten nations, see chapter 15, especially 18-21].

This covenant with Avaraham Avinu reflects the historical/national aspect of Am Yisrael's relationship with God, as it focuses on the long-term, historical process required for Avraham's offspring to achieve their sovereignty (better known as the process of Yetziat Mitzrayim). Notice that in this covenant, the Promised Land is consistently referred to as "ha'Aretz," and its conquest as "yerusha." (The significance of these terms will become clear a bit later in the shiur.)

Brit Milah
In preparation for this covenant, God first changes Avram's name to Avraham, in anticipation of the birth of a child from Sarah [formerly Sarai]. God then promises Avraham that He will establish and maintain a special relationship between Himself and Avraham's descendants - "lihyot lachem l'Elokim" - He will be a close, intimate God for them. [See Breishit 17:3-9.]

This covenant reflects the religious/personal aspect of Am Yisrael's relationship with God, as it emphasizes a unique, intimate relationship with the Divine. In this covenant, the Promised Land is referred to as "Eretz Canaan." [Note that its inheritance (from father to son) is referred to as "achuza," as opposed to the use of the word "yerusha" in Brit Bein HaB'tarim, as noted earlier.]

Hence, there are two aspects latent in the "kedusha" (sanctity) of Eretz Yisrael:

A) The National Aspect - the "kedushat ha'Aretz" of Brit Bein HaB'tarim relates to the conquest of the land ("yerushat ha'Aretz") and the establishment of a national entity - a sovereign state. This "kedusha" is achieved once Bnei Yisrael gain sovereignty, upon Yehoshua's conquest of the land. For example, the obligation of tithing the land's produce (i.e. "trumot u'ma'asrot"), a requirement contingent upon this 'national sanctity' of the Land, begins only once the land is conquered. [See Rambam, Hilchot Trumot, chapter 1.]
B) The Personal Aspect - the "kedushat Eretz Canaan" of Brit Milah already existed in the time of the Avot and remains eternal. This kedusha reflects God's special Providence over this land (see Vayikra chapter 18), even while inhabited by other nations. This intrinsic "kedusha" is forever present regardless of who seizes control over the Land, be it Persians, Romans, Crusaders, Turks etc. [If you are a "n'turei karta'nik" you can add Zionists to the list.]

Board #3 summarizes our analysis thus far.
Yerusha and Achuza
Understanding these two key words, which describe our acquisition of Eretz Yisrael in each covenant (respectively), helps clarify this distinction:

A) In Brit Bein HaB'tarim - "yerusha" (Breishit 15:3,4,7,8);
B) In Brit Milah - "achuzah" (Breishit 17:8).
In Chumash, the word "ye-ru-sha" denotes conquest that leads to sovereignty, i.e. military control over a given territory. [This definition must not be confused with its popular usage, "ye-ru-she," usually referring to an inheritance received from a parent.]
Thereafter, the sovereign power can then either apportion or sell that land to its inhabitants. As the conqueror and ruler, the governing body may distribute the land in any manner he chooses. Usually, should the owner die, his land is automatically inherited by the closest heir. In Chumash, this type of ownership is known as "achuza."

[For example, when Sarah dies, Avraham must now acquire an "achuzat kever" - a family burial plot (see Breishit 23:4). He must first purchase the plot from the Hittites, the sovereign at that point in time.]

Accordingly, then:

A) Brit Bein HaB'tarim, the national aspect, uses the word "yerusha," since it relates to Am Yisrael's conquest of the Land.
B) Brit Milah employs the word "achuza," as it emphasizes one's personal connection to the land.
At the Crossroads of the Middle East
Based on our understanding of these two covenants, their conflicting presentations of the land's borders can now be reconciled.

Avraham Avinu was chosen to father a nation that will "become a blessing" for all other nations (see Breishit 12:1-3). The special land set aside for that nation by that promise is called "ha'Aretz." In Brit Bein HaB'tarim, "ha'Aretz" is defined as the land between the Nile and Euphrates. These rivers are not borders; never in the history of mankind have these rivers marked the borders of a single country. Rather, these rivers mark the two centers of ancient civilization - Mesopotamia ("N'har Prat") and Egypt ("N'har Mitzrayim") [see 15:18-21].

Therefore, whereas Brit Bein HaB'tarim reflects the national aspect of our relationship with God, its borders of "ha'Aretz" reflect our destiny to become a blessing to all mankind. We are to become a nation 'declaring God's Name' at the crossroads of the two great centers of civilization.

The 'Kernel'
The more precise geographic borders of this special land are defined in Brit Milah, as Eretz Canaan - the land in which our forefathers sojourned. Given its destiny to become the homeland for God's special nation, this land possesses intrinsic kedusha. This inherent sanctity sensitizes the land to the moral behavior of its inhabitants (see Vayikra 18:1-2,24-28).

The basic borders of Eretz Yisrael are those of "Eretz Canaan," i.e. 'from Dan to Be'er Sheva,' as promised in Brit Milah. These borders form a natural geographic area: Eretz Canaan is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the West, the Negev desert on the South, the Syrian-African Rift (Jordan River) to the East, and the Lebanon Mountain Range to the North.

Once this 'kernel' area is conquered, its borders can potentially (but do not have to) be extended. The potential limits of this expansion are established by Brit Bein HaB'tarim - from "N'har Mitzryaim" to "N'har Prat." This demarcation may be understood as a limit rather than a border, as each river represents a center of ancient civilization. After conquering Eretz Canaan, Am Yisrael can, when such is warranted, expand its borders through continuous settlement outward, until (but not including) the two ancient centers of civilization, Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Expanding Kedusha

'Land for Progress'
We have shown that our relationship to the Land of Israel, like our relationship with God, exists at both the national and individual levels. God chose this special land in order that we fulfill our destiny.

While "kedushat Eretz Yisrael" at the individual level may be considered a Divine gift, its kedusha at the national level is most definitely a Divine challenge. To achieve its fullest borders, we must rise to that challenge.

Shabbat Shalom,
Virtual ClassRoom enhancements by Reuven Weiser.

Harry Potter in Jewish messianic terms

Posted by Danielle Berrin
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The marketing campaign for the final installment in the “Harry Potter” franchise saw billboards throughout the country declare that with the film’s release, “It All Ends.”
Presumably this means the Potter series, as “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II” is the purported end of J.K. Rowling’s epic literary franchise. But audiences are also meant to understand this pronouncement as a double entendre, as Potter and friends must face the threat of an apocalyptic end, in which good versus evil battle it out for the fate of the living world—unless, of course, Harry Potter is the messiah.
“And a little child shall lead them,” goes the famous verse in Isaiah that prophesies a peaceful world.
The Telegraph’s Sarah Cromptonpointed out in 2010, that Harry, played by the Jewish Daniel Radcliffe is referred to in “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part One” as The Chosen One. “No one else is going to die for me,” Harry declares, alluding to a messianic intent. The turn of phrase is bemusing because it can be read as either an affirmation or repudiation of the Christ figure.
Death, resurrection and mastery of death are central themes in “Deathly Hallows II.” In the opening sequence of the film, Harry confers with a character who tells him that if he acquires The Deathly Hallows—three powerful magic objects comprised of the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak—he can conquer death itself. “It is said that to possess them all is to make oneself a master of death,” Mr. Ollivander tells Harry, “but few truly believe that such objects exist.” Faith, it seems, is a precursor for redemption (there is another wonderful line about faith uttered by Helena Ravenclaw, who tells Harry where to find an object he’s seeking: “If you have to ask, you’ll never know; if you know, you need only ask.”)
Harry’s quest to overcome his own fate has foundational origins in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve choose to eat fruit from the Garden – they do not choose from the Tree of Life, the guarantor of immortality. Instead they choose the Tree of Knowledge and become inescapably, ceaselessly aware of their mortality. In “Deathly Hallows Part I,” there is a scene that evokes the Garden of Eden in which Harry and Hermione stand in as Adam and Eve, falling prey to the seminal biblical curse on humanity.
To reverse this curse, a Jewish mystical understanding of redemption posits a world in which death can be annihilated. Just as Harry’s pursuit of the Deathly Hallows can eliminate Death, Jewish mysticism conjures a world in which a child possessed of magical powers will bring about redemption.
In Aryeh Wineman’s 1997 book, “Mystic Tales from the Zohar” he speaks of the redemptive power of a child wonder or “yanuka”. In mystical literature, “the child figure is a kind of personification of Eden, a condition lacking blemish, defilement or moral complexity,” Wineman writes. The yanuka is a “wonder child capable of offering brilliant interpretations of Torah.” As it goes in prophecy, it goes in Potter: even a wonder does not work alone.
The Zohar, the major work of Jewish mysticism, suggests the importance of ancillaries in the redemption of the world. As the Potter movies can attest, Harry needs his friends. There is a concept, Wineman explains, of “a collective yanuka,” in which “the child-archetype has shifted from a single child to an entire generation of such wonder children.”
In one scene, Harry encounters Professor Dumbledore in a kind of postmortem heaven. As they discuss the nature of life and death, Dumbledore tells him, “Don’t pity the dead, Harry, pity the living. And above all pity those without love.” Harry’s ability to triumph, then, rests not on his shoulders alone, but on his ability to work in relationship with others.
No adult can save the world. In much of mythological literature (“Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings”) as well as in the bible, redemption comes through the gifts of a child. Even Moses seals his destiny as an infant. There is a midrash that tells of a suspicious Pharoah, who tries to test whether Moses is a threat to him. He places his crown on the ground, and at another distance, hot coals. If Moses were to reach for the crown, it would reveal his kingly ambitions. Since an infant is naturally drawn to the glittery crown jewels, an angel descends and promptly pushes the child toward the coals. Moses burns his hand and then reaches for his mouth, burning his lips. This, the rabbis, say explains his speech impediment, a handicap that becomes central to his development as a leader, God’s partner in Israel’s redemption from slavery.
There are things in the earthly world that resist the power of death. In Jewish mysticism, “the innocence of children, the wonder child, pleading to spare the innocent, the powerful prayer of the broken hearted, the willingness to die” are examples of the most essential forms of goodness, according to Wineman. Only when Harry accepts his fate, can he transcend it.
There are, however, moments of doubt and despair. When Harry returns to the post-war wreckage of Hogwarts, he despairs of what he has done, of what others have risked to protect him. It is one of most poignant moments in the film, as Harry realizes that even the pursuit of his higher purpose comes with casualties.
When Harry is finally prepared to confront his fate and face Lord Voldemort, he encounters apparitions of the afterlife. Wraithlike figures of his parents and friends appear before him. “Why are you here now?” Harry asks. “We never left,” his mother answers, suggesting the interconnectedness of life and death that Harry cannot yet know.
Likewise, in the world of Harry Potter, the magic that can save the world is inextricably linked with the dark arts that might destroy it. Harry contains within him both good and evil – it is why he can hear snakes, why he can hear Lord Voldemort’s thoughts. When Harry discovers that he harbors a piece of Voldemort within his own soul, he is anguished. No redeemer is pure. But Dumbledore reassures Harry that it was not his pure soul that was corrupted, but the evil of Voldemort that was overcome with good. “You were the heart cracks he was never meant to have,” Dumbledore tells him.
The world is not perfect when Harry defeats evil, it simply goes on. Harry must choose goodness and humility over power and control again and again. In his symbolic final act as a young man, just after he defeats Voldemort, Harry finds himself in possessesion of Voldemort’s wand. “That’s the most powerful wand in the world,” Hermione and Ron remind him. With it, he could become a kind of God.
But Harry’s truest act as a messianic figure is also his most human act: he snaps the wand in half and tosses it over the cliff, into the sea. He rejects power in favor of relationship. He doesn’t separate himself from his friends, he joins them in a final act of, you could say, true love. Interestingly, though the film values romantic love, the ultimate love combines sexual love with Godly love which is seen near the film’s end when Harry Hermione and Ron all hold hands together. It is a mirror of the Garden, a metaphorical ‘going back’ to a place where death, vulnerability, class, race and religious distinctions don’t exist, with three friends serving as stand ins for Adam and Eve and the Godly figure that saves the world.

Netanyahu govt. in trouble over domestic policy

By Benjamin Kerstein

It is an accepted if oft-forgotten truism that political fortunes can change with dazzling speed, especially in a country as volatile and contentious as Israel. No one, however, could have predicted the sudden change in the fortunes of the current Israeli government. It has come, politically and metaphorically, out of left field.

For most of the last two years the Netanyahu government has been remarkably stable and untroubled. It has weathered a contentious relationship with the Obama administration and incidents like last year’s Gaza flotilla with relative aplomb, and Netanyahu’s poll numbers have been accordingly high.

Now all of it seems to be coming apart, and not because of security concerns, war, or Israel’s relationship with the United States or the Arab world, but because of the most basic social and economic concerns. Massive protests have broken out across the country calling for reforms in housing, education, and other social services.

Thousands of doctors have gone on strike calling for better working conditions and improvements in the public health system. The streets of Israel are suddenly burning with rage and frustration and Netanyahu is their chosen target.

None of this would matter, of course, if the protesters were merely a vocal miniority, but evidence now indicates that this is not the case. According to Haaretz, figures from a recent poll “indicate that if elections were held today, both Kadima and Likud would lose four Knesset seats, while Labor would double its parliamentary strength.” This would effectively topple the current rightwing coalition and hand control of the country to Kadima and Labor, in effect, to the center-left.

More telling still is that

Asked whether the tent protest stemmed from real distress or was a political protest against the government, 81 percent of the respondent replied that it stems from real distress, while 87 percent said they supported the protest.

The doctor’s strike was supported by similarly enormous majorities. Moreover, opposition appears to be scant, indeed “only 9 percent of those interviewed said they did not support the protest.” It appears, then, that the protests have not been successful because of the passion of their participants or the excellence of their organization or even because of support from the media.

Instead, they seem to have captured the sympathies of Israel’s silent majority. And that majority is, in a country like Israel, particularly extraordinary. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that 80 percent of Israelis have never before agreed on anything, ever.

Netanyahu seems to have gotten the message. He is already attempting to rush major housing reforms through the Knesset. No one doubts the prime minister’s formidable skills as a politician, and with 32 percent of the public satisfied with his performance thus far and another 14 percent undecided, he has a base to build on.

Nevertheless, it will not be easy for him to emerge triumphant from the current crisis. The single-issue protests seen thus far are swiftly becoming a general demand for a turn away from the neoliberal economic policies Israel has followed for several decades, and Netanyahu is the Israeli politician most identified with those policies. He is a true believer in the free market, and he may not be able to temper that belief with a pragmatic response to the demands of a public that no longer seems to share it.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

White House Infiltrated by Muslims jihadists?

Canadian Muslim: White House infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhood
Thursday, 07 July 2011 07:49 Acharya S./D.M. Murdock
Canadian anti-Islamist Muslim activist and author Tarek Fatah in a speech claimed that the White House of Obama has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Well, it's all to obvious.

This is a great speech that everyone should hear. Tarek Fatah is a Canadian-Pakistani Muslim writer who recently beat cancer. Says he:

"In the closing time that I have, I want you to focus - and I hope you can talk to your families and your friends and your neighbors - that when someone says that there is a penetration of jihadi Islamists within Canadian society, do not dismiss it as some right-wing, xenophobic, racist rant."

"Today, in the White House there are three members of the Muslim Brotherhood that influence Obama's policy."

What's the problem with the Muslim Brotherhood? In their own words:

"The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." (Source: An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America)

Christians United for Israel Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Christian Pro-Israel Group Stakes Claim on Right Jewish Week

By Nathan Guttman
Published July 25, 2011.
WASHINGTON — Once a novelty, the shofar-blowing, hora-dancing Christian evangelicals are now an integral part of the pro-Israel advocacy scene.
At its 5,000-strong national conference in Washington, Christians United for Israel, the large Christian-Zionist movement, made clear it is stepping up its activity on the two issues that now top the pro-Israel agenda: fighting efforts to delegitimize Israel, and working on college campuses to counter anti-Israel activity.
With 700,000 supporters, CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in America. And while the views expressed by its leaders in their Washington gathering indicate that CUFI is still distinctly apart from the mainstream pro-Israel community, it is being warmly embraced by Israeli and American Jewish leaders alike.
CUFI’s acceptance as an essential part of the pro-Israel community was palpable in its three-day conference, which ended on July 20. The signs were abundant, ranging from the live satellite greeting by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a gesture many Jewish groups still fight to obtain, to the noted presence of top officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, offered enthusiastic support for the group and its leader, the Rev. John Hagee.
The Biggest Pro-Israel Group in America? That’s Us, Says Christians United
Why Christian Zionists Really Support Israel
Hoenlein spoke of the Jewish community’s efforts to counter delegitimization of Israel by setting up a leadership action network that has enrolled 750,000 participants in the past few months. The members of CUFI, he added, now double the number of activists taking a stand on Israel’s behalf. “You will be remembered in history, and the detractors will be forgotten,” Hoenlein promised. “Just think about your grandchildren. By standing up for the right thing, standing up for Israel, they will praise you.”
Beyond taking on the issue of delegitimization, CUFI also highlighted during its conference the fight for the hearts and minds of students on campuses in the United States, another theme that has been at the forefront of pro-Israel activity in recent years. The group held a special fundraiser to support its college initiative and honored student activists working on campus. The focus on campus activity mirrors similar initiatives launched by Jewish groups under the umbrella of the Israel on Campus Coalition.
At a time when Jewish groups are becoming increasingly critical of the Israeli government, whether due to its foreign policy or because of legislative actions seen as running counter to the nation’s democratic values, CUFI has emerged as an almost automatic supporter of Israel, a trusted base capable of providing masses to advocate for Israeli policy.
Pro-Israel activists point to CUFI’s potential reservoir of 50 million to 70 million evangelical Americans as Israel’s best chance to ensure lasting support within the United States, but scholar Marshall Breger, a Catholic University law professor who is active on interfaith dialogue issues, warned against misunderstanding the Christian evangelical world. “It is false to believe that Christian Zionists are the same as evangelical Christians,” he said, explaining that while Zionist evangelicals are driven solely by support for Israel, the broader evangelical community, though favorable toward Israel, is focused on the need for reconciliation and on the idea that “the stronger reach out to the weaker.”
As part of its attempts to enter the pro-Israel mainstream, CUFI has become more careful in stating its positions on issues relating to the Middle East conflict. Hagee, while making clear he believes that the Jewish people are not occupiers in the Land of Israel, as suggested by what he referred to as “the liberal media,” was cautious not to speak out against a two-state solution. “America should never pressure Israel to give up land for peace. Not to anyone, ever,” Hagee said, to the applause of an excited crowd. But CUFI’s press people were quick to approach reporters and make sure they understood the subtlety in Hagee’s message: The organization was against pressure, not against compromising on land.
But in the realm of domestic politics, CUFI’s leadership remains strongly on the conservative side. Hagee had no qualms about his views of the current administration. “The truth that many Americans do not want to face is, President Obama is not pro-Israel,” Hagee said in his speech at the conference’s main event, the Night to Honor Israel. Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a member of CUFI’s executive board, asked the audience a rhetorical question: “Who will defend Jerusalem? The State Department?” He immediately replied, “No.” Hagee and Bauer’s criticism of the Obama administration was merely a warm-up act for the conference’s main star and CUFI’s newest member: Glenn Beck. The TV and radio pundit, who has taken his anti-Obama message out to the streets, is now preparing for his planned rally in Jerusalem, scheduled for late August.
Beck, invoking the memory of the Holocaust time and again, and tearing up when reaching the emotional peaks of his presentation, made no mention of the Obama administration’s attitude toward Israel. He did, however, elaborate on his views about increased government involvement in daily life.
“No one can protect your rights better than you,” Beck said as he referred to the struggles of the Jewish people throughout history. “To rely on others is to ensure economic slavery at best, and death camps at worst.”
But what brought the crowd to its feet for a lengthy standing ovation, which included the waving of the Israeli and American flags and the blowing of the shofar, was Beck’s pledge to stand by Israel at any cost. “Today I declare: Count me a Jew, and come for me first,” he told the cheering crowd. “Let us declare: I am a Jew.”

Read more:

Why are we waiting on bombing Iran? rabbi jonathan ginsburg

Why are we waiting on bombing Iran?
hmadinejad Wants to Develop Nuclear Arms Openly, Khamenei Disagrees
Iranian President Ahmadinejad wants to shed the nation's secrecy and forge ahead openly with developing nuclear weapons but is opposed by the clerical leadership, which is worried about international reaction to such a move, says an intelligence assessment from a nation with traditionally reliable intelligence that was shared with the Associated Press. Ahmadinejad is pushing "to shake free of the restraints Iran has imposed upon itself, and openly push forward to create a nuclear bomb," says the assessment. But Khamenei, whose word is final on nuclear and other issues, "wants to progress using secret channels, due to concern about a severe response from the West."
The intelligence assessment further notes, "Khamenei has decided to transfer engagement with the most sensitive parts of the nuclear program, including activity that can be used for nuclear weapons, from...the group of scientists at the Defense Ministry, who are identified with Ahmadinejad, to a special body in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp. This, due to the increasing lack of trust the Leader [Khamenei] has in people in sensitive positions, who are identified with the President [Ahmadinejad]." (AP-Washington Post)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

what netanyahu has done for peace. Now PA, your turn Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Interviewer: The Palestinians say that you have left them no choice in fact but to go to the United make a bid for statehood.
PM Netanyahu: I challenge the premise and the question, because here's what I did. The first day that I came in I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. Shortly afterwards I lifted 400 roadblocks and checkpoints, allowing the growth of the Palestinian economy. Third, I called for two states for two peoples in my speech in Bar-Ilan University. Fourth, I agreed on a freeze on new construction in the settlements. Fifth, I agreed with President Obama, if necessary, for another three-month extension of the freeze. So these are five things I did. I think we've shown we really want the negotiations to come.
We've just wasted two years on a non-issue or an issue that has to be negotiated, the settlements. The entire built-up area of the settlements takes up 2% of the West Bank. It doesn't gobble up the West Bank, it doesn't preempt the map of a Palestinian state. It's a side issue.
I think that the Palestinians are missing a great opportunity. There is a government here and a prime minister here who, exactly contrary to the received wisdom, is able to deliver a peace settlement and wants to deliver the peace settlement. You can't do it if you're a marginal party in Israel or if you don't represent the large consensus. [Menachem] Begin did it once and I can do it again, but I need a partner.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UN Lies-why do we support it?

UNESCO against the Jews
Special: UN’s cultural body seems to be engaged in inquisition-like campaign against Israel
Giulio Meotti
Published: 07.19.11, 17:04 / Israel News

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a decision calling on Israel to immediately cease all archaeological works in the Old City of Jerusalem. In particular, UNESCO, one of the UN’s most prominent and influential agencies, attacked the renovation of the Mughrabi Bridge that links the Western Wall plaza and Temple Mount.
UNESCO censures Israel over Mughrabi Bridge / Itamar Eichner
World Heritage Committee calls on Israel to stop archeological excavations in Old City. Jerusalem 'shocked, furious' over Jordan's involvement
Full story

The decision, initiated and promoted by Arab states, was adopted by consensus of the Western members of the commission. Indeed, the vote is the latest anti-Jewish initiative launched by the UN office meant to promote culture, education and science around the world. In fact, UNESCO’s robber barons are sanctifying the current global campaign aimed liquidating the legitimacy of the Israeli regime.

In 2009, UNESCO designated Jerusalem as “capital of Arab culture,” working with Palestinian Authority officials and key Arab figures to protest against what they described as “the Israeli occupation of Holy Jerusalem.” Other cities granted the title over the years were Algiers, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, Amman, Beirut and Khartoum.

The Arabs find it difficult to convincingly portray Israel as usurper of the land as long as the world believes there is a huge connection between the people of the Bible and the land of the Bible. UNESCO is denying this connection by depicting Jewish history in the Middle East as no more than an insignificant, brief sojourn by arrogant colonizers.

UNESCO appears to deny that the Jewish people has laid its roots in Israel more than 4,000 years ago, or that 1,000 years before Christ, King David made Jerusalem the Jewish city par excellence, never entirely abandoned even in times of deadly persecution.

The City of David in Jerusalem, a major target of UNESCO’s anti-Jewish fury, is now the hottest open archaeological site in the world, with biblical artifacts, ancient burial spots and royal seals. There, UNESCO is using archeology to bash Israel and treats Israeli archeologists as nationalistic martinets.

In recent years, UNESCO increased its collaboration with ISESCO, the cultural body of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. According to ISESCO’s propaganda, the Biblical story and the Jewish temples are only fiction, Jewish monuments are Islamic treasures stolen by the Zionists, and Israeli archeological works are criminal acts against Muslims.

UNESCO’s ideology portrays the Jews as no more than invading colonizers, while the Muslims who invaded the country and ravaged it in the Seventh Century are, by some inexplicable leap, the descendants of the so called "indigenous Canaanites."

In 2010, UNESCO decided that Rachel’s Tomb and Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs are “Muslim mosques.” Western countries didn't raise any protest. UNESCO never mentioned that in addition to the famous Tomb of the biblical Patriarchs, Hebron contains also the tomb of the first judge (Otniel Ben Kenaz), the tomb of generals and confidants to Saul and David and the tombs of Ruth and Jesse, David’s great-grandmother and father. There is also no word by UNESCO about the fact that Rachel’s tomb is unanimously revered as the burial site of one of the Bible’s great women, the wife of Jacob, the Jewish blessed mother.

During the Second Intifada, UNESCO condemned Israel for “the destruction and damage caused to the cultural heritage in the Palestinian territories” as “a crime against the common cultural heritage of humanity.” However, UNESCO remained silent when a Palestinian mob destroyed Joseph’s tomb, a major Jewish religious shrine, and built a mosque on the site.

Upon the outbreak of the Second Intifada, Palestinian terrorists also attacked Rachel’s tomb, and for 41 days Jews were prevented from visiting the compound. UNESCO never condemned it. Recently, dozens of graves at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem were vandalized, the latest in a series of attacks on Judaism’s oldest cemetery, where Jews have been buried since biblical times. Again, UNESCO remained silent.

UNESCO also “boasts” a long list of decisions to boycott and isolate the Jewish State. On November 7, 1974, UNESCO voted “to withhold assistance from Israel in the fields of education, science and culture because of Israel’s persistent alteration of the historic features of Jerusalem.” On November 20, 1974 UNESCO voted also to exclude Israel from its European regional group. This anti-Jewish ostracism was not abandoned until 1978, after the United States withheld $40 million in payments from the organization in protest.

UNESCO’s war on Israel and the West continued and was so blatant that in 1984 the US, UK and others Western countries left the organization. In 1989 UNESCO made the claim that “Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem” was destroying the holy city by “acts of interference, destruction and transformation” (then-mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, expressed “deep disgust at UNESCO’s attitude.”)

In 1990, UNESCO attacked what it described as the “irreversible” changes to Jerusalem's architectural heritage resulting from Israeli “occupation.” UNESCO’s apparatchiks decried the “lost loveliness” of the city. In 1993, then-UNESCO director-general Frederico Mayor boycotted an international conference on science in Jerusalem, despite Israel’s history of scintillating enlightenment, like the highest production of scientific publications and museums per capita in the world.

In 1996, UNESCO organized a symposium on Jerusalem at the body’s Paris headquarters. But no Jewish or Israeli groups were invited. When in 1998 a UNESCO delegation visited Jerusalem, it refused to meet with Israeli officials. In the past, UNESCO also has called for “financial sanctions against Israel” and passed hundreds of resolutions criticizing Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria.

In 2001, UNESCO promoted the “Cairo Declaration Document for Jerusalem Antiquities Preservation,” which falsely accused Israel of destroying Islamic antiquities on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem’s Old City in an attempt to divert attention from Palestinian crimes against archeology and history. When the United Nations celebrated its 50th anniversary, UNESCO refused to mention the Shoah in its World War II resolution, intentionally ignoring Israel’s request to include a reference to the destruction of European Jewry.


On a final note, a recent UNESCO report on science, Jewish physician and theologian Maimonides is classified as a Muslim named “Moussa ben Maimoun.” So the Rambam - for Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon – has been forced to “convert” to Islam by the UN’s revisionist historians.

During the Middle Ages, the French Inquisition confiscated and burned Maimonides's books. From the elegant Parisian boulevards, UNESCO’s inquisitors are now following the same dreadful solution of rendering history and the Holy Land "Judenrein."

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism