Saturday, October 29, 2011

Don't let Obama off the hook by silencing dissent on Israel

Conservatives Reject Call To Leave Israel Out of Campaign
Call for Bipartisan Unity from ADL and AJC Falls on Deaf Ears
By J.J. Goldberg the Forward
Published October 27, 2011, issue of November 04, 2011.
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Here’s how crazy things have gotten: An emergency call went out recently from the heart of the Jewish Establishment — from the very epicenter of macherdom, the twin citadels of Jewish defense, the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee themselves, in a rare moment of joint action — for American Jews to unite around Israel and defend its alliance with the United States.

And what’s been the response so far? To put it politely: Drop dead.

The machers’ summons is called the “National Pledge for Unity on Israel,” and it’s posted on the two organizations’ websites. They declare that with all the “new dangers and challenges” facing Israel in a “fast changing Middle East,” it’s more important than ever for America to “project to the world” that our support for Israel is wall-to-wall and rock solid. Right now, as we enter what’s shaping up as an ugly election season, the Jewish community should take care not to let Israel become a political football. Let’s have “American voices raised together in unshakeable support for our friend and ally.” If you agree, they say, click here, add your name and take the pledge.

■Proposed Unity Pledge Spurs More Debate
■Jewish Leaders Warn Against Using Israel As 'Wedge' Issue
■AJC Blasts Anti-Obama Ad Campaign
So where’s the problem? The problem, writes Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin, is that while “the cause of unity is noble” and much of the pledge’s text is “unexceptionable,” in the end the pledge “doesn’t pass the smell test” — parts of it seem “aimed more at silencing any effort to hold the Obama administration accountable.”

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition is more direct: “An open and vigorous debate on the questions confronting our country is the cornerstone of the American electoral process,” he writes. “This effort to stifle debate on U.S. policy toward Israel runs counter to this American tradition. Accordingly, the RJC will not be silenced on this or any issue.”

And, as is so often the case, no one puts it more succinctly than Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel. “Here’s the Emergency Committee for Israel’s answer to Directors Abe Foxman and David Harris: You must be kidding.”

Ah, you say, but that’s just a handful of voices on the Republican right. Let’s hear from the majority. What does the public say?

Funny — the ADL and AJC are wondering the same thing. As of six days after the pledge’s October 19 launch, according to one staffer, “maybe two dozen” people had signed on. “It’s not what you’d call a tidal wave.”

Read more:

latest on Israel bombing Iran

The Forward
The Political Dividends of the Shalit Deal October 28, 2011, 6:05pm
Israeli Brass Astir Amid Pressure for Iran Strike
By J.J. Goldberg
“Have the prime minister and defense minister sealed a deal between them, one on one, to attack the nuclear reactors in Iran?” So asks Nahum Barnea, commonly described as Israel’s senior and most respected political journalist, in an article leading the top of the front page of today’s Yediot Ahronot. He writes that growing rumors to that effect have created a quiet but urgent buzz within Israel’s political and military elites. They’re also troubling foreign governments, which “have a hard time understanding what is going on here”: a fateful decision that could “seal the fate of the Jewish state” for good or ill, and yet near-total silence on the topic in the public arena.

Barnea writes that the question of whether or not to attack divides Israel’s leadership into four camps. One camp says the benefits would be slim and the risks “insane,” given Iran’s ability to bombard Israel with deadly missiles from Lebanon, Gaza and Iran itself and touch off a regional war “that could destroy the state of Israel.” This camp says it’s better to focus on international sanctions, bearing in mind that if they fail and Iran does acquire nuclear weapons, “it won’t be the end of the world” — while an Israeli attack just might be.

The second camp says there’s no rush. Iran is still at least two years away from a weapon, which leaves plenty of time to let other options play out, reserving a military attack as an absolute last resort. Barnea quotes a senior American diplomat who told him Israel should back renewed negotiations on international inspections. If and when Iran turns out to be lying, an Israeli attack will have a lot more international understanding and support, which could be crucial in determining how well Israel survives the ensuing onslaught. Some Israeli cabinet ministers subscribe to this view, and suspect that the growing pressure for an immediate attack stems from “outside motives, whether personal or political.” More on that later.

The third camp consists of the heads of the military and intelligence community: IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, military intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen. All four, he writes, are opposed to the military option, just like their predecessors: respectively, Gabi Ashkenazi, Amos Yadlin, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin. The difference is that the current chiefs are all new in their posts and lack the standing, experience, self-confidence and temperament to “bang on the table” and restrain Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak, as their predecessors repeatedly did.

Finally, he writes, there are “the Siamese twins,” Netanyahu and Barak, who appear to be in a distinct minority, yet have the power to make the final decision. Netanyahu, he writes, has been warning since he entered office that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler and a new Holocaust is looming. “There are those who describe Netanyahu’s passion on the topic as an obsession,” Barnea writes. “All his life he’s dreamed of being Churcill. Iran offers him the opportunity.” As for Barak, he looks at Israel’s past attacks on nuclear installations in Iraq and (“according to foreign reports”) Syria, and figures the pattern has been set. It’s not just a strategy, he writes, it’s a legacy. Moreover, some cabinet ministers suspect Barak is driven at least partly by personal motives: with no party or constituency behind him since he left Labor, he may see a military triumph as his best ticket to a continuing role in politics.

For more details on the increasingly urgent debate on Iran inside the Israeli brass—and the role it played in the sweeping changeover in the senior command engineered by Barak and Netanyahu over the past year, here’s some of my own coverage of the struggle from August 2010, December 2010, January 2011, May 2011 and June 2011

Read more:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Conservative Rabbi students far left wingers on Israel

Jokes My Grandfather Told Me Daniel Gordis, Jerusalem Post. Gordis responds that the recent JTS study does not disprove but actually confirms his thesis that non-Orthodox rabbis have taken a universalist turn.

But if the new crop of Conservative rabbis has anything to say about it, Conservatism may not occupy the center for very long. That, at least, is the message of a recent report by the movement's Jewish Theological Seminary, based on a survey of political views among "Generation Y" rabbinical students—born in the mid-1970's to mid-1990's—and the Seminary's somewhat older rabbinical alumni, ordained since 1980.
At first blush, the report purports to show what one would hope to find among the rabbinate: a solid Jewish identity and strong attachment to Israel. On closer examination, this identity appears increasingly filtered through a universalistic and liberal political perspective. Among American Jews as a whole, according to the Pew Forum, 38 percent identify themselves as liberal; 39 percent call themselves moderate. In contrast, 58 percent of the Conservative rabbis surveyed—and 69 percent of the rabbinical students—called themselves liberal. It's hard to defend the center when you're not in it.
These rabbis and rabbinical students are "pro-Israel," but they are redefining what "pro-Israel" means. As liberals, they hold an optimistic view of human nature: Though Palestinian leaders see their conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game, it seems hard for the rabbis to acknowledge this grim fact. Instead, they get their understanding of events in Israel from ideologically reinforcing left-oriented sources: liberal media outlets, Facebook posts, and Haaretz. These sources help explain the conspicuous disconnect between the next generation of Conservative rabbis and mainstream American Jews on the subject of the Arab-Israel conflict. More than three-quarters of American Jews, according to the latest American Jewish Committee survey, believe that the Arabs' goal is not merely the return of the "occupied territories" but the actual "destruction of Israel." Only 30 percent of the JTS rabbinical students agreed with a similar statement.
Indeed, fully 12 percent of the rabbinical students are "uncomfortable" with Israel's being a "Jewish state." To individuals with this universalistic bent, moral relativism comes more naturally. Most of the future rabbis—all of whom have studied in Israel—do not see Palestinian leaders as their enemies. A majority, 56 percent, say the Palestinian side is no "more to blame" than Israel for the ongoing conflict. Sure, Hamas dominates Gaza. Yes, the West Bank Fatah leadership refused to negotiate with the Netanyahu government during a ten-month settlement freeze. Even so, a majority of the rabbis wants an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with "land swaps" and a freeze on any "expansion of settlements in the West Bank."
Compare these views with the position of most American Jews in the face of unremitting Palestinian intransigence: 55 percent, according to an AJC poll, oppose a Palestinian state. In equally stark contrast, most Israelis, regardless of their political views, simply do not believe that today's Palestinian leadership is capable of making peace with Israel.
The JTS survey elicited the opinion of 68 percent of the rabbinical students that the "settler movement"—not just extremist settlers, mind you—is a "threat." The survey did not bother to ask whether the Palestinians should be required to accept Israel as a Jewish state (the position of 96 percent of American Jews) or whether Mahmoud Abbas should abandon his demand for a Palestinian "right of return." The survey tells us that 72 percent of the rabbinical students have engaged in efforts at dialogue with Arabs: Some head to Ramallah for the opportunity to socialize with Palestinians, while others take excursions to West Bank Arab villages with New Israel Fund-supported activists. The survey says nothing about any commensurate efforts by the rabbis to understand the "settler mindset." Many report having visited a "settlement"; but the definition of "settlement" and the auspices under which the visits were made are left to our imagination.
We can guess the reasons for the disparate treatment of Palestinians and settlers. The rabbis believe AIPAC is not liberal enough. J Street, whose platform practically mirrors that of the Palestinian Authority, is closer to their hearts, with 58 percent approval. At 80 percent approval, the New Israel Fund is the absolute cat's meow.
The 63-year-old Zionist enterprise is a work-in-progress. No Israeli would suggest it is beyond criticism. But 30 percent of Reform rabbinical students return from Israel feeling "hostile" or "indifferent" toward the Jewish state; now we learn that 53 percent of JTS rabbinical students are "sometimes" or "often" ashamed of Israel. Is it the ultra-Orthodox stranglehold on state-controlled religious life that alienates them? Too bad, then, that so few future Conservative rabbis volunteer extensively at Conservative-affiliated Masorti congregations in Israel.
Seminaries and professors have been unable or unwilling to provide their students with the moral compass needed to navigate between worthy universalistic values and particularistic Jewish standards. By the time they get to seminary, it may be too late. Most of today's rabbinical students did not attend Jewish elementary or high schools, though they are likely to have attended Camp Ramah. The attitudes revealed in the JTS survey hammer home the need, now more than ever, for the community to find ways to provide its youth with, yes, a parochial education.
The JTS report concludes that the younger cohort of rabbinical students is "no less connected" to Israel than its elders. Yet, for many, this connection seems compromised by the felt need to reconcile their attachment with uncritically assimilated universalist ideals and, in extreme cases, left-liberal dogma that is anti-Zionist. No amount of redefining what it means to be pro-Israel can paper over the predicament facing Conservative Judaism's future leaders: What is the place of the movement in Jewish life if not as an embodiment of political and theological centrism and moderation?

Friday, October 21, 2011


More reason not to get complacent re Iran

Iran's Nuclear Program: The Full Picture - J.E. Dyer
A widely referenced Washington Post story has got folks feeling complacent about Iran's nuclear program. The piece, crediting Stuxnet and sanctions, speaks of a "sharp decline" in the output of low-enriched uranium (LEU) at the Natanz enrichment facility, along with the aging and low-performing condition of Iran's original Pakistani-design centrifuge cascades. Meanwhile, sanctions have apparently made it impossible for Iran to import high-strength maraging steel, forcing the Iranians to manufacture their newest centrifuges from less reliable carbon fiber.
But one of the most important facts is that, according to the September 2011 IAEA report, Iran had - as of mid-August 2011 - piled up a total of 4,543 kg. of LEU. By Western intelligence estimates, that is enough for 4 nuclear warheads. While the efficiency of production has declined and the Iranians are now using more centrifuges to produce the same amount of LEU, between May and August 2011, Iran still produced enough LEU on an annualized basis for a nuclear warhead per year. The writer is a retired commander who served in U.S. Naval intelligence. (Hot Air)
See also UK: Iran Nuclear Issue to Grow More Urgent - Adrian Croft
Tackling Iran's nuclear program will become more urgent over the next year and the world must not be distracted from it by the focus on the Arab Spring popular uprisings, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday. This was because Iran had stepped up its nuclear work by increasing the fissile content of its enriched uranium to the 20% level and moving centrifuge machines to a previously secret underground bunker near Qom. (Reuters)
See also Iran's Nuclear Program Suffering New Setbacks, Diplomats and Experts Say - Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
See also Report: Iran Could Make Atom Bomb Material Despite Hurdles
Iran's nuclear program is struggling with low-performing enrichment machines but it would still be able to produce material that could be used for atomic bombs, according to a U.S. think tank. "Is the Iranian enrichment program on a trajectory toward being dedicated to producing weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons?" the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) asked and replied: "Unfortunately, despite its severe limitations, this program is able to do so." (Reuters)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Repub candidates need to hire me as their argument makes

anemic responses last night to the question on cutting foreing aid to Israel. here is my video on it 9from former national HS debate national champion 1974)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rabbi David Golinkin on Simhat Torah

The Jewish people loves Simhat Torah. Even Jews who do not usually come to the synagogue every Shabbat, make an effort to come on Simhat Torah in order to dance and have an aliyah. This is not surprising. Simhat Torah is a spiritual and physical delight which allows Jews to rejoice and dance with body and soul. But Simhat Torah is much more than a day of joy and dancing. At second glance, it contains a number of deeper messages which are easy to miss amidst the enthusiasm of the holiday.
Love of Torah: First and foremost, Simhat Torah symbolizes the love of the Jewish people for its Torah. We are not only commanded to study Torah every day (Deut. 6) and to read the Torah in public on Shabbat, Mondays and Thursdays (Mekhilta B'shalah, ed. Horowitz-Rabin, p. 154 and parallels), but for over one thousand years it has been our custom to dance with the Torah once a year. There are very few peoples in the world who dance with their sacred scriptures. (2) Torah study ties us to the Torah intellectually and reading the Torah in public ties us to the Torah communally, but Simhat Torah ties us to the Torah physically and emotionally and that is a knot which cannot be undone.

The Cyclical Nature of Torah Study: Secondly, Simhat Torah symbolizes that Torah study has no beginning and no end. As we recite in the Arvit (evening) service every night: "for [the words of the Torah] are our lives and the length of our days; day and night shall we meditate upon them". Rabbi David Abudraham explained this aspect of Simhat Torah in fourteenth-century Spain: "And the reason we start again at Bereishit... just as we have merited to finish the Torah, so may we merit to begin her again". (3)

The Democratic Nature of Torah Study: In addition, Simhat Torah symbolizes the fact that the Torah belongs to the entire people of Israel: scholars and laypeople; men, women and children. This idea was expressed in a number of Simhat Torah customs. In twelfth-century France, they began to read V'zot Haberakhah (the last Torah portion) many times “until the entire congregation had an aliyah”. (4) In fourteenth-century Germany, they invented the kol hanearim aliyah so that all the children in the synagogue could have a collective aliyah. (5) In seventeenth-century Germany, they would honor the wives of the Hattan Torah and Hattan Bereishit – the men who had the last aliyah of the Torah and the first of Bereishit - with the title kallot and say to them: gut yontiff, kallah! (6) Indeed, many modern congregations continue this democratic trend on Simhat Torah and the entire congregation receives an aliyah: men, women and children. (7)

The Development of Jewish Law: Finally, the Conservative Movement likes to emphasize that the halakhah developed from generation to generation and from country to country. (8) There is no better proof of this assertion than the holiday of Simhat Torah. A holiday which began in Babylonia in the tenth century spread to the entire Jewish world, with each ethnic group contributing new customs which were then absorbed by Kelal Yisrael (the collective Jewish people). The Jews of Babylonia invented the holiday and its name and began to dance on Simhat Torah. (9) In France, they added the Attah Horeita verses in the twelfth century. (10) The Jews of Spain began to recite the beginning of Bereishit by heart at the beginning of the twelfth century (11) while the Jews of France instituted at that time that a Hattan Bereishit should read the beginning of Bereishit. (12) In Ashkenaz, they added a hakafah in the evening in the early fifteenth century (13) while the Ari and his students in sixteenth-century Safed instituted that there should be seven hakafot around the bimah. (14)

In summary, Simhat Torah is not just a holiday of joy and dancing, but also symbolizes our love for the Torah, the cyclical nature of Torah study, the democratic nature of Torah study, and the development of Jewish law throughout the generations.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why Israel made the Shalit deal

· OCTOBER 17, 2011
Israel's Deals With the Devils
What explains its lopsided prisoner exchange with the terrorist group Hamas, which will save one life now but endanger many lives in the future?

It's hard to think straight when negotiating with an adversary you claim is evil, and Israel proved it last week. The usual problem is a refusal to negotiate at all. Here the Israelis made what seems to be a crazy deal.

In a lopsided prisoner exchange, the Netanyahu government agreed to release about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single life: that of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli corporal kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid in 2006 and held hostage in Gaza. What explains this decision?

Israel has always claimed it will not negotiate with what it considers terrorist organizations. Chief among those groups is Hamas, which has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state. The deal announced on Oct. 11 was the result of months of secret negotiations between the Israeli government and Hamas, facilitated by the Egyptian government. Israel may claim that no one in the government ever met face-to-face with representatives of Hamas, and it is possible that the two adversaries worked out the details by exchanging offers and counteroffers through Egyptian intermediaries. But this fig leaf hardly hides the fact that a deal was negotiated.

I am not claiming that a government should never deal with terrorists under the table. Many governments maintain an official policy of never negotiating with terrorists, pirates or evil regimes—while secretly violating that policy when important interests are at stake.

In some situations this may be a pragmatic approach: Hypocrisy is at times the handmaiden of statecraft. But in this case, Israel is only compounding the damage from previous deals.

For example, in the Jibril Agreement of 1985 (made with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), Israel freed 1,150 prisoners in exchange for the release of three Israelis captured during the first Lebanon war. And in 1998 Israel and its ally, the South Lebanese Army, released 65 prisoners to Hezbollah in exchange for the remains of one dead Israeli soldier.

In cost-benefit terms these exchanges make little sense. Israel has typically justified such deals on the ground that Israel has a citizen army in which nearly all Jewish citizens (except the ultraorthodox) must serve. In asking its citizens to risk their lives in service of their country, part of Israel's implicit bargain is that it will make every effort to recover anyone who falls into enemy hands.

This justification would hardly seem rational to any hard-headed security analyst who thought through the long-run costs and benefits. In the present case, one Israeli soldier has regained his freedom. But to free 1,000 prisoners in exchange? Israeli parents may on some unthinking level feel better about their government's concern for each individual soldier. But the deal jeopardizes the freedom and safety of many Israelis in the future.

The most direct security threat is perhaps posed by the about-to-be-freed prisoners themselves. Some have "blood on their hands"—they were imprisoned after a trial demonstrating their participation in specific terrorist acts. They may well commit additional terrorist acts. In 2004, Israel exchanged several hundred Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli held captive by Hezbollah (and the remains of three soldiers). Drawing on government figures, Nadav Shragi noted in a report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that "those freed in the deal had murdered 35 Israelis" by 2007.

A more substantial cost is that of precedent. Just as paying a high ransom to pirates may encourage more piracy, paying this ransom to Hamas may encourage Israel's enemies to engage in more kidnapping.

A third cost is political. The deal enhances substantially the political standing of Hamas and further weakens its rival Fatah. Hamas cleverly negotiated for the release of not simply its own members, but members of Fatah as well as Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. In securing the release of nearly 1,000 Palestinians of mixed demographics, Hamas will claim that it is the most effective representative of all the Palestinian people.

So what may explain Israel's bargain? Gilad Shalit is a known individual: what psychologists would call an "identifiable being." His picture has been plastered throughout Israel. The Israeli press has written hundreds of articles speculating about his well-being. By contrast, the Israelis who are endangered by this deal are mere statistics—an unidentifiable group of people who may die in the future. Psychologists call these "statistical lives."

There is a long line of psychological research showing that, in making decisions, human beings will incur far greater costs to save one identifiable being from immediate peril than to enact safety measures that might save many more statistical lives. While no expense will be spared to save an identifiable miner trapped in a coal mine, there is often great political reluctance to spend an equal amount on mine safety. Such a response is entirely human, but it is not rational.

Mr. Mnookin is chair of Harvard University's Program on Negotiation. His most recent book is "Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight" (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

why no conversation?

Iran Iran Iran in all the discussion about the Iran backed effort to kill Saudi ambassador on US spoil note 1. virtually no conversation about the effort was also to bomb the Israeli Embassay and much much worse, 2. notice how virtually no talk about the impending Iran nuclear weapons developement and their determimnation to destroy Israel and the US? Sanctions are a joke. why is no one in this country talking about going to do the responsible thing and stop them with force?

Israel does not stand alone Amb Michael Orren

Israel does not stand alone

By Michael Oren, Published: October 13

The claim of Israel’s isolation, echoed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike, is gaining status as fact. “Israel finds itself increasingly isolated, beleaguered, and besieged,” John Heilemann wrote recently in New York magazine. The Economist reported that “Israel’s isolation has . . . been underlined by the deterioration of its relations with Turkey and Egypt.” New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “isolating his country,” while Thomas Friedman described Israel as “adrift at sea alone.”
But is Israel really more isolated now than in the past?
Isolation, of course, is not automatically symptomatic of bad policies. Britain was isolated fighting the Nazis at the start of World War II. Union forces were isolated early in the Civil War, as was the Continental Army at Valley Forge. “It is better to be alone than in bad company,” wrote the young George Washington. That maxim is especially apt for the Middle East today, where one of the least-isolated states, backed by both Iran and Iraq and effectively immune to United Nations sanctions, is Syria.
Israel, in fact, is significantly less isolated than at many times in its history. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel faced a belligerent Egypt and Jordan and a hostile Soviet bloc, Greece, India and China — all without strategic ties with the United States. Today, Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan; excellent relations with the nations of Eastern Europe as well as Greece, India and China; and an unbreakable alliance with America. Many democracies, including Canada, Italy and the Czech Republic, stand staunchly with us. Israel has more legations abroad than ever before and recently joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which comprises the most globally integrated countries. Indeed, Egypt and Germany mediated the upcoming release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for five years.
Israel is not responsible for the upheavals in the Arab world or for the lack of freedom that triggered them. Israelis did not elect Turkey’s Islamic-minded government or urge Syria’s army to fire on its citizens. Conversely, no change in Israeli policies can alter the historic processes transforming the region. Still, some commentators claim that, by refusing to freeze settlement construction on the West Bank and insisting on defensible borders and security guarantees, Israel isolates itself.
The settlements are not the core of the conflict. Arabs attacked us for 50 years before the first settlements were built. Netanyahu froze new construction in the settlements for an unprecedented 10 months, and still the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Settlements are not the reason that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity pact with Hamas in May, or why, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly last month, Abbas denied the Jews’ 4,000-year connection to our homeland. As Abbas wrote in the New York Times in May, the Palestinian attempt to declare a state without making peace with Israel was about “internationalization of the conflict . . . to pursue claims against Israel” in the United Nations, not about settlements.
As for borders and security, Israel’s position reflects the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. After uprooting all our settlements, we received not peace but thousands of Hamas rockets fired at our civilians. In Lebanon, a U.N. peace force watched while Hezbollah amassed an arsenal of 50,000 missiles. Israel’s need for defensible borders and for a long-term Israeli army presence to prevent arms smuggling into any Palestinian state is, for us, a life-and-death issue. Moreover, in a rapidly changing Middle East, we need assurances of our ability to defend ourselves if the Palestinians who support peace are overthrown by those opposed to it.
Despite repeated Palestinian efforts to isolate us, Israel is not alone. And we have a great many friends, especially in the United States, who we know would not want to imply that Israel stands alone in a dangerous region. Prime Minister Netanyahu remains committed to resuming peace talks with the Palestinians anywhere, any time, without preconditions, while insisting on the security arrangements vital to Israel’s survival. Meanwhile, we will continue to stretch out our hand for peace to all Middle Eastern peoples. To paraphrase one of George Washington’s contemporaries — if that be isolation, make the most of it.
The writer is Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Caroline Glick Bad Shalit Deal


A pact signed in Jewish blood

October 13, 2011, 6:23 PM
Comments (21) | | Print

No one denies the long suffering of the Schalit family. Noam and Aviva Schalit and their relatives have endured five years and four months of uninterrupted anguish since their son St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit was abducted from his army post by Palestinian terrorists and spirited to Gaza in June 2006. Since then, aside from one letter and one videotaped message, they have received no signs of life from their soldier son.

There is not a Jewish household in Israel that doesn't empathize with their suffering. It isn't simply that most Israelis serve in the IDF and expect their children to serve in the IDF.

It isn't just that it could happen to any of our families.

As Jews, the concept of mutual responsibility, that we are all a big family and share a common fate, is ingrained in our collective consciousness. And so, at a deep level, the Schalit family's suffering is our collective suffering.

And yet, and yet, freedom exacts its price. The cause of freedom for the Jewish people as a whole exacts a greater sacrifice from some families than from others.

Sometimes, that sacrifice is made willingly, as in the case of the Netanyahu family.

Prof. Benzion and Tzilla Netanyahu raised their three sons to be warriors in the fight for Jewish liberty. And all three of their sons served in an elite commando unit. Their eldest son Yonatan had the privilege of commanding the unit and of leading Israeli commandos in the heroic raid to free Jewish hostages held by the PLO in Entebbe.

There, on July 4, 1976, Yonatan and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the Jewish people. Yonatan was killed in action. His parents and brothers were left to mourn and miss him for the rest of their lives. And yet, the Netanyahu family's sacrifice was a product of a previous decision to fight on the front lines of the war to preserve Jewish freedom.

Sometimes, the sacrifice is made less willingly.

Since Israel allowed the PLO and its terror armies to move their bases from Tunis to Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1994, nearly 2,000 Israeli families have involuntarily paid the ultimate price for the freedom of the Jewish people. Our freedom angers our Palestinian neighbors so much that they have decided that all Israelis should die.

For instance Ruth Peled, 56, and her 14- month-old granddaughter Sinai Keinan did not volunteer to make the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the Jewish people when they were murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber as they sat in an ice cream parlor in Petah Tikva in May 2002.

And five-year-old Gal Eisenman and her grandmother Noa Alon, 60, weren't planning on giving their lives for the greater good when they, together with five others, were blown to smithereens by Palestinian terrorists in June 2002 while they were waiting for a bus in Jerusalem.

Their mothers and daughters, Chen Keinan and Pnina Eisenman, had not signed up for the prospect of watching their mothers and daughters incinerated before their eyes. They did not volunteer to become bereaved mothers and orphaned daughters simultaneously.

The lives of the victims of Arab terror were stolen from their families simply because they lived and were Jews in Israel. And in the cases of the Keinan, Peled, Alon and Eisenman families, as in thousands of others, the murderers were the direct and indirect beneficiaries of terrorists-for-hostages swaps like the deal that Yonatan Netanyahu's brother, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, made this week with Hamas to secure the release of Gilad Schalit.

The deal that Netanyahu has agreed to is signed with the blood of the past victims and future victims of the terrorists he is letting go. No amount of rationalization by Netanyahu, his cheerleaders in the demented mass media, and by the defeatist, apparently incompetent heads of the Shin Bet, Mossad and IDF can dent the facts.

IT IS a statistical certainty that the release of 1,027 terrorists for Schalit will lead to the murder of untold numbers of Israelis. It has happened every single time that these blood ransoms have been paid. It will happen now.

Untold numbers of Israelis who are now sitting in their succas and celebrating Jewish freedom, who are driving in their cars, who are standing on line at the bank, who are sitting in their nursery school classrooms painting pictures of Torah scrolls for Simhat Torah will be killed for being Jewish while in Israel because Netanyahu has made this deal. The unrelenting pain of their families, left to cope with their absence, will be unimaginable.

This is a simple fact and it is beyond dispute.

It is also beyond dispute that untold numbers of IDF soldiers and officers will be abducted and held hostage. Soldiers now training for war or scrubbing the floors of their barracks, or sitting at a pub with their friends on holiday leave will one day find themselves in a dungeon in Gaza or Sinai or Lebanon undergoing unspeakable mental and physical torture for years. Their families will suffer inhuman agony.

The only thing we don't know about these future victims is their names. But we know what will become of them as surely as we know that night follows day.

Netanyahu has proven once again that taking IDF soldiers hostage is a sure bet for our Palestinian neighbors. They can murder the next batch of Sinais and Gals, Noas and Ruths. They can kill thousands of them. And they can do so knowing all along that all they need to do to win immunity for their killers is kidnap a single IDF soldier.

There is no downside to this situation for those who believe all Jews should die.

In his public statement on the Schalit deal Tuesday night, Netanyahu, like his newfound groupies in the media, invoked the Jewish tradition of pidyon shevuim, or the redemption of captives. But the Talmudic writ is not unconditional. The rabbinic sages were very clear. The ransom to be paid cannot involve the murder of other Jews.

This deal - like its predecessors - is not in line with Jewish tradition. It stands in opposition to Jewish tradition. Even in our darkest hours of powerlessness in the ghettos and the pales of exile, our leaders did not agree to pay for a life with other life. Judaism has always rejected human sacrifice.

The real question here is after five years and four months in which Schalit has been held hostage and two-and-a-half years into Netanyahu's current tenure as prime minister, why has the deal been concluded now? What has changed? The answer is that very little has changed on Netanyahu's part. After assuming office, Netanyahu essentially accepted the contours of the abysmal agreement he has now signed in Jewish blood.

Initially, there was a political rationale for his morally and strategically perverse position.

He had Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Labor Party to consider.

Supporting this deal was one of the many abject prices that Netanyahu was expected to pay to keep Labor and Barak in his coalition.

But this rationale ended with Barak's resignation from the Labor Party in January.

Since then, Barak and his colleagues who joined him in leaving Labor have had no political leverage over Netanyahu.

They have nowhere to go. Their political life is wholly dependent on their membership in Netanyahu's government. He doesn't need to pay any price for their loyalty.

So Netanyahu's decision to sign the deal with Hamas lacks any political rationale.

WHAT HAS really changed since the deal was first put on the table two years ago is Hamas's position. Since the Syrian people began to rise up against the regime of Hamas's patron and protector President Bashar Assad, Hamas's leaders, who have been headquartered in Syria since 1998, have been looking for a way to leave. Their Muslim Brotherhood brethren are leading forces in the Western-backed Syrian opposition.

Hamas's leaders do not want to be identified with the Brotherhood's oppressor.

With the Egyptian military junta now openly massacring Christians, and with the Muslim Brotherhood rapidly becoming the dominant political force in the country, Egypt has become a far more suitable home for Hamas.

But for the past several months, Hamas leaders in Damascus have faced a dilemma. If they stay in Syria, they lose credibility. If they leave, they expose themselves to Israel.

According to Channel 2, in exchange for Schalit, beyond releasing a thousand murderers, Netanyahu agreed to give safe passage to Hamas's leaders decamping to Egypt.

What this means is that this deal is even worse for Israel than it looks on the surface.

Not only is Israel guaranteeing a reinvigoration of the Palestinian terror war against its civilians by freeing the most experienced terrorists in Palestinian society, and doing so at a time when the terror war itself is gradually escalating. Israel is squandering the opportunity to either decapitate Hamas by killing its leaders in transit, or to weaken the group by forcing its leaders to go down with Assad in Syria.

At best, Netanyahu comes out of this deal looking like a weak leader who is manipulated by and beholden to Israel's radical, surrender-crazed media. To their eternal shame, the media have been waging a five-year campaign to force Israel's leaders to capitulate to Hamas.

At worst, this deal exposes Netanyahu as a morally challenged, strategically irresponsible and foolish, opportunistic politician.

What Israel needs is a leader with the courage of one writer's convictions. Back in 1995, that writer wrote: "The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmail situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best.

"Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse."

The writer of those lines was then-opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu wrote those lines in his book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists.

Israel needs that Netanyahu to lead it. But in the face of the current Netanyahu's abject surrender to terrorism, apparently he is gone.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Santorum willing to go to war to stop Iran

Santorum on the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program
Posted by
CNN's Diana Ozemebhoya
Washington (CNN) – GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Thursday that as president he would use "whatever means necessary" to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear program, including going to war.

In an effort to halt the steps he says Iran is taking to grow a nuclear weapons program, the former Pennsylvania senator said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that in addition to using covert operations he would order "actual operations within the country to make sure the program does not continue."

Thanks to whomever nominated me for Jewish community Hero. See it at

Obama responds limpedly about Iran again www.RabbiJonathan

bama responds limpedly about Iran again
He is mad about Iran trying to kill Saudi ambassador in US. Lauds his efforts so far to curb Iran. But
1. White House Wants to Stall Iran Sanctions
Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 09:59 AM
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
Even before the House overwhelmingly passed long-stalled legislation Tuesday to impose sanctions on foreign suppliers of refined petroleum products to Iran, the Obama administration had asked the Senate to hold off on approving new sanctions on Iran until early next year.
In a little-noticed move Friday, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg wrote to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D.-Mass., urging him not to move similar legislation in the Senate because it “might weaken rather than strengthen international unity and support for our efforts.”
The Obama White House has used similar arguments in the past to forestall the House sanctions bill, which Democrats held for six months before finally voting it out of committee in frustration mid-October.
2. Obama to Iran: U.S. offer of dialogue still stands
By Jeff Mason And Ross Colvin Sat Mar 20 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama renewed his administration’s offer of dialogue and diplomacy with Tehran on Saturday, a year after his offer of a new beginning with Iran failed to achieve concrete results.
Obama, who addressed Iranians in a new videotaped appeal to mark the observance of Nowruz — a festival celebrating the arrival of spring — has pledged to pursue aggressive sanctions to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
"We are working with the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable because they refuse to live up to their international obligations," Obama said in the address released by the White House.
"But our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands." …
During his first year in office, Obama marked Nowruz with an unprecedented message offering Iran a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement with the United States.

3. Why is there no mention of the plot including bombing the Israeli embassy too? Doesn't Israel matter at all to him?
Last updated at 8:36 AM on 13th October 2011
House Speaker John Boehner today called on Obama to 'hold Iran's feet to the fire' in the wake of the thwarting of a 'significant terrorist act' by agents working for the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to America in Washington DC.
Vice President Joe Biden this morning said that 'nothing has been taken off the table' as the U.S. discusses possible sanctions and military action. He said the consequences for Iran will be 'serious'.
Retaliation: House Speaker John Boehner called on Obama to 'hold Iran's feet to the fire' after the plot was uncovered
He is accused of plotting to kill Adel Al-Jubeir by bombing a restaurant, before setting off blasts at the Saudi and Israeli embassies.

Read more:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

circumcision absolutely beneficial-God knows best

CBS) Is circumcision medically beneficial? Absolutely, say the Johns Hopkins' doctors behind a new report aimed to counter the flurry of anti-circumcision legislation sweeping the country.

Eighteen states have cut Medicaid coverage for circumcision, and recently there was a well-publicized battle to get a circumcision ban on the ballot in San Francisco. The doctors say these movements are loaded with "misinformation" and ignore a decade of evidence confirming circumcision's role in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

"In light of the latest medical evidence, the medical community and government officials at all levels would do well to revisit their policies on male circumcision, so as best to counsel parents on the potential health benefits to their children well into adulthood," Dr. Ronald Gray, epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a written statement.

In the report - published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association - the doctors highlight recent research suggesting that circumcision has life-long health benefits.

The authors reviewed more than 500 studies, finding that circumcision reduces risk for HIV transmission in heterosexual men by 60 percent, genital herpes by 30 percent, and cancer-causing HPV by 35 percent. Having the procedure also reduces the risk of urinary tract infections and inflammation, according to the report.

"If a vaccine was available that reduced HIV risk by 60 percent, genital herpes risk by 30 percent and HR-HPV [cervical cancer virus] risk by 35 percent, the medical community would rally behind the immunization, and it would be promoted as a game-changing public health intervention," study author Dr. Aaron Tobian, epidemiologist and pathologist at Hopkins, told MSNBC.

With regards to the states that stopped funding male circumcisions, the authors say not only can those actions up infection risk, but they violate the basic parental right of deciding what's best for a child's health, just as parents can with vaccinations.

What about those so-called "inactivists" who argue circumcision is unnecessary and dangerous?

The report showed that infection risk in infants is between 0.2 and 0.6 percent - those rates climb to between 1.5 and 3.8 percent if the procedure is performed on adults. And despite what opponents claim, the authors said there is no scientific evidence that circumcision reduces sexual satisfaction, sensitivity, or male performance.

Said Tobian, "Our goal is to encourage all parents to make fully informed decisions on whether to circumcise their infant boys based on medical evidence and not conjecture or misinformation put out by anti-circumcision advocates."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five of the seven Nobel Prize winners so far this year are Jewish.

Teshuva Repentance

Recognizing our shortcomings is the only way to achieve success in life.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

“What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?”
That was the tantalizing title of the lead story in the New York Times Sunday magazine a few weeks ago. The article makes us rethink an attitude that has become culturally accepted as unquestioned truth, and more profoundly, its conclusions encourage us to acknowledge the wisdom of Jewish tradition and the insights it asks us to emphasize in our observance of Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a day dedicated to acknowledging our failings.
Related Video: Yom Kippur: Everyone Falls
Over and over again we repeat the words, "I have sinned." We recognize that in many ways we "missed the mark," the literal translation of the Hebrew word for sin. We admit we weren't perfect. If we were to be graded by God for our actions during the past year, we confess that in some areas we deserve an F.
And yet whoever heard of a mark like that in our contemporary culture?
For decades now parents have been told by many ostensible experts that all they are permitted to do in rearing children is to praise them. Criticism is always destructive of self-esteem, and self-esteem is the highest value we must pass on to our progeny. Make them feel good about themselves; that way they will feel happy and self contented. Don't ever burden them with the verdict that they have failed to fulfill any objective. Don't ever crush their spirits by telling them they could've done better. Rewards, not criticism or punishments, are what children need to become responsible adults.
The teaching profession, too, was slowly drawn into this philosophy of "praise at all costs" without any reminders of failure. Grade inflation turned everyone into a scholar, because "he tried his best and he might feel bad if he didn't get an excellent mark." Valedictorians were eliminated in many schools because those who didn't earn the honor felt the loss of self-esteem, and it just didn't seem right to acknowledge that some weren't as perfect as others. More liberal schools eliminated competitive sports - or if they had them, rejected keeping score - so that nobody would ever have to admit to being a loser.
We need to acknowledge our weaknesses and failings if we are ever to improve and become what we are capable of becoming.
But what if the real secret to success is failure?
What if we need to keep score in our own lives and to acknowledge our errors, our weaknesses, and our failings if we are ever to improve and become what we are capable of becoming?
The New York Times article is an eye-opener because it forces us to confront what previous generations knew and we chose to forget: Recognizing our shortcomings is the only way to achieve success in life.
Paul Tough, the author of the essay (the appropriateness of his last name is stunningly obvious), concludes his lengthy analysis with this observation:
Most Riverdale students can see before them a clear path to a certain type of success. They’ll go to college, they’ll graduate, they’ll get well-paying jobs — and if they fall along the way, their families will almost certainly catch them, often well into their 20s or even 30s, if necessary. But despite their many advantages, Randolph [the headmaster of this exclusive and very wealthy school] isn’t yet convinced that the education they currently receive at Riverdale, or the support they receive at home, will provide them with the skills to negotiate the path toward the deeper success that Seligman and Peterson hold up as the ultimate product of good character: a happy, meaningful, productive life. Randolph wants his students to succeed, of course — it’s just that he believes that in order to do so, they first need to learn how to fail.
To learn how to fail is nothing less than a succinct five word summary of the Yom Kippur confessional. It requires us to be mature enough to face up to the personal failings which well-meaning parents, teachers and friends tried to shield us from recognizing. It asks us to admit we’re not perfect precisely because we’re willing to take on the challenge of perfecting ourselves.
On Yom Kippur we have to define ourselves in light of a concept that Benjamin Barber, a political scientist at Rutgers University, believes is an ultimate truth about human behavior. We love to categorize people, usually by labeling them by one of two distinctly different characteristics. People are skinny or fat, introverted or extroverted, optimists or pessimists, serious or funny. All of these lead to stereotyping and to generalizations that aren’t completely accurate. But there is one division of people that Barber claims is the most crucial and correct way to differentiate between them. He says:
I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don’t. I divide the world into learners and non-learners - those who acknowledge their failures, learn from them, and move forward as opposed to those who can't admit ever having done anything wrong, never learn from their mistakes, and doom themselves to reliving the errors of their ways.
That's why on Yom Kippur, when we’re asked to reflect upon whether our lives can be considered a success, we’re judged by whether we’re courageous enough to confess our sins and to admit our failures.
To acknowledge, to God and to ourselves, where we've gone wrong in our lives doesn't diminish us. On the contrary, it affords us the wisdom and strength to grow and to improve.
S. I. Hayakawa, former U.S. senator from California and a specialist in semantics, alerted us to an all-important distinction between two English words that most of us assume are identical: “Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, `I have failed three times,’ and what happens when he says, `I am a failure.’” To think of yourself as a failure is to create a perpetual self-image as a loser. But if you learn from your experience, if your failure inspires you to surpass yourself and to do it better next time, if you understand that failure is merely a momentary event but doesn't define you—then you are an alumnus of the best school in the world, and your failure was the tuition you paid for your eventual success.
On Yom Kippur we evaluate ourselves. On Yom Kippur we are critical of our failings. On Yom Kippur we don't deny our sins - we build on their memory for spiritual growth.
On Yom Kippur we realize the truth that failure - acknowledging it, learning from it, and rising from it - is really the secret of success.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Buy Israel Bonds now

There is no better way for your members to support Israel than through a Bond purchase and there is no more compelling deliverer of this message than you.

With the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the venom and hatred directed at Israel from Turkey, regime change and pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the Arab world, and of course the Palestinian’s petition to the UN for statehood, now is the time for every Jew to show their solidarity with Israel.

The strong message of solidarity in every purchase of an Israel Bond is unmistakable when you make out your check to State of Israel and the feeling of connection is lasting and satisfying.

In these uncertain economic times rabbis and community leaders need not hesitate to mention supporting Israel with a State of Israel Bonds purchase because they are an investment not a donation. Moreover the State of Israel has never missed an interest or redemption payment ever.

contact your regional Israel Bonds office (see for local contact information)

Absurdity of uniltaeral Palestinian effort

Land without peace: Why Abbas went to the U.N.

By Charles Krauthammer, Published: September 29

While diplomatically inconvenient for the Western powers, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to get the United Nations to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state has elicited widespread sympathy. After all, what choice did he have? According to the accepted narrative, Middle East peace is made impossible by a hard-line Likud-led Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state and continues to build settlements.
It is remarkable how this gross inversion of the truth has become conventional wisdom. In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu brought his Likud-led coalition to open recognition of a Palestinian state, thereby creating Israel’s first national consensus for a two-state solution. He is also the only prime minister to agree to a settlement freeze — 10 months — something no Labor or Kadima government has ever done.
To which Abbas responded by boycotting the talks for nine months, showing up in the 10th, then walking out when the freeze expired. Last week he reiterated that he will continue to boycott peace talks unless Israel gives up — in advance — claim to any territory beyond the 1967 lines. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. This is not just absurd. It violates every prior peace agreement. They all stipulate that such demands are to be the subject of negotiations, not their precondition.
Abbas unwaveringly insists on the so-called “right of return,” which would demographically destroy Israel by swamping it with millions of Arabs, thereby turning the world’s only Jewish state into the world’s 23rd Arab state. And he has repeatedly declared, as recently as last week in New York: “We shall not recognize a Jewish state.”
Nor is this new. It is perfectly consistent with the long history of Palestinian rejectionism. Consider:
●Camp David, 2000. At a U.S.-sponsored summit, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offers Yasser Arafat a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza — and, astonishingly, the previously inconceivable division of Jerusalem. Arafat refuses. And makes no counteroffer, thereby demonstrating his unseriousness about making any deal. Instead, within two months, he launches a savage terror war that kills a thousand Israelis.
●Taba, 2001. An even sweeter deal — the Clinton Parameters — is offered. Arafat walks away again.
●Israel, 2008. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert makes the ultimate capitulation to Palestinian demands — 100 percent of the West Bank (with land swaps), Palestinian statehood, the division of Jerusalem with the Muslim parts becoming the capital of the new Palestine. And incredibly, he offers to turn over the city’s holy places, including the Western Wall — Judaism’s most sacred site, its Kaaba — to an international body on which sit Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Did Abbas accept? Of course not. If he had, the conflict would be over and Palestine would already be a member of the United Nations.
This is not ancient history. All three peace talks occurred over the past decade. And every one completely contradicts the current mindless narrative of Israeli “intransigence” as the obstacle to peace.
Settlements? Every settlement remaining within the new Palestine would be destroyed and emptied, precisely as happened in Gaza.
So why did the Palestinians say no? Because saying yes would have required them to sign a final peace agreement that accepted a Jewish state on what they consider the Muslim patrimony.
The key word here is “final.” The Palestinians are quite prepared to sign interim agreements, like Oslo. Framework agreements, like Annapolis. Cease-fires, like the 1949 armistice. Anything but a final deal. Anything but a final peace. Anything but a treaty that ends the conflict once and for all — while leaving a Jewish state still standing.
After all, why did Abbas go to the United Nations last week? For nearly half a century, the United States has pursued a Middle East settlement on the basis of the formula of land for peace. Land for peace produced the Israel-Egypt peace of 1979 and the Israel-Jordan peace of 1994. Israel has offered the Palestinians land for peace three times since. And been refused every time.
Why? For exactly the same reason Abbas went to the United Nations last week: to get land without peace. Sovereignty with no reciprocal recognition of a Jewish state. Statehood without negotiations. An independent Palestine in a continued state of war with Israel.
Israel gave up land without peace in south Lebanon in 2000 and, in return, received war (the Lebanon war of 2006) and 50,000 Hezbollah missiles now targeted on the Israeli homeland. In 2005, Israel gave up land without peace in Gaza, and again was rewarded with war — and constant rocket attack from an openly genocidal Palestinian mini-state.
Israel is prepared to give up land, but never again without peace. A final peace. Which is exactly what every Palestinian leader from Haj Amin al-Husseini to Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept. Which is why, regardless of who is governing Israel, there has never been peace. Territorial disputes are solvable; existential conflicts are not.
Land for peace, yes. Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to national suicide.

American jews-Wake up !

Column One: A prayer for 5772
09/28/2011 16:57

It's my prayer for coming year that US Jewish community will act with the majority of their fellow Americans to defend Israel.

Talkbacks (172)
Upon his return to Ramallah from New York, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was greeted by a crowd of several thousand well-wishers. They applauded him for his speech at the UN. There, Abbas erased Jewish history from the Land of Israel, denied Israel’s right to exist and pledged his commitment to establish a racist Palestinian state ethnically cleansed of all Jews.

Many of Abbas’s supporters in Ramallah held posters of US President Barack Obama. On them Obama was portrayed as a monkey. The caption read, “The First Jewish President of the United States.”

The fact that the Palestinians from Fatah and Hamas alike are Jew-hating racists should surprise no one who has been paying a modicum of attention to the Palestinian media and general culture. Since the PA was established in 1994 in the framework of the peace process between Israel and the PLO, it has used the media organs, schools and mosques it controls to spew out a constant flow of anti-Semitic propaganda. Much of the Jew-hating bile is indistinguishable from anti-Jewish propaganda published by the Nazis.

As for their anti-black bigotry, it is enough to recall the frequency with which Condoleezza Rice was depicted as a monkey and a devil in the Palestinian and pan-Arab media during George W. Bush’s presidency to realize that the racist depiction of Obama was not a fluke. Moreover, and more disturbingly, it is worth recalling that like its fellow Arab League members, the PA has strongly supported Sudan’s genocide of black Africans in Darfur.

To a degree, the willingness of African-Americans to turn a blind eye to Arab anti-black prejudice is understandable. Since the mid-1960s, oil rich Arab kingdoms led by Saudi Arabia have spent hundreds of millions of petrodollars in outreach to African-Americans. This outreach includes but is not limited to massive proselytization efforts among inner city blacks. The combination of a strong and growing African-American Muslim population and a general sense of amity towards Muslims as a result of outreach efforts contribute to a willingness on the part of African- Americans to overlook Arab anti-black racism.

Unlike African-Americans, Jewish Americans have been targeted by no serious outreach campaigns by the likes of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world. To the contrary, as Mitchell Bard documented in his book The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East, these Arab nations have spared no effort in anti-Israel lobbying in the US. Among the Arab lobby’s goals is to undermine the legitimacy of American Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel.

Furthermore, the anti-Jewish atmosphere in the Arab world is far more comprehensive and poisonous than its anti-black prejudice. A Pew global opinion poll from 2008 showed that hatred of Jews is effectively universal in the Arab world and overwhelming in non-Arab Muslim states. In Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, between 95 and 97 percent of respondents expressed hatred of Jews. In Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan between twothirds and three-quarters of respondents expressed hatred of Jews.

Jew-hatred among Muslim minorities in the West is less overwhelming. But Muslim antagonism towards Jews vastly outstrips that of the general populations of their countries. According to a Pew survey from 2006, while 7% of British citizens express unfavorable views of Jews, 47% of British Muslims admit to such views. In France, 13% of the general population admits to harboring negative feelings towards Jews and 28% of French Muslims do. Likewise in Germany, 22% of the general population acknowledges anti-Semitic views and 44% of German Muslims do.

More dangerously, the quantity of anti-Semitic attacks carried out by Muslims in the West far outstrips their percentage in the general population. According to Pew data, in 2010 Muslims comprised just 4.6% of the population of the UK but carried out 39% of the anti-Semitic attacks. Moreover, according to the Times Online, in 2006, 37% of British Muslims claimed that British Jews are legitimate targets for attacks. Only 30% of British Muslims disagreed.

WITH THE overwhelming data showing that throughout the Arab world there is strong support for organizations and regimes which advocate the genocide of world Jewry, the American Jewish community could have been expected to devote the majority of its attention and resources to exposing and combating this existential threat. Just as the American Jewish community dedicated itself in the past to causes such as the liberation of Soviet Jewry and fighting neo-Nazi groups in the US and throughout the world, it could have been expected that from the Anti-Defamation League to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that major American Jewish groups would be using the financial and human resources at their disposal to defend against this violent, genocidal hatred.

But this has not occurred. Many leading American Jewish organizations continue to be far more involved in combating the currently relatively benign anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church and Evangelical Christians than confronting the escalating dangers of Muslim anti-Semitism.

According to a Gallup poll released last month, 80% of American Jews have favorable views of American Muslims. Seventy percent believe that they are not supportive of al-Qaida. These data indicate that American Jews are second only to American Muslims in their support for Muslim Americans. Indeed 6% more American Jews than American Muslims believe that American Muslims face prejudice due to their religion.

American Jewish championing of American Muslims is disconcerting when compared with American Jewish treatment of the philo-Semitic Evangelical Christians. Matthew Knee discussed this issue in depth in a recent article published at the Legal Insurrection website.

In a 2003 Pew survey, 42% of American Jews expressed antagonism towards Evangelical Christians. In a 2004 American National Election Study, Jews on average rated Evangelical Christians at 30 out of 100 on a “feeling thermometer,” where 1 was cold and 100 was hot.

A 2005 American Jewish Committee survey found that Jews assessed that following Muslims, Evangelical Christians have the highest propensity for being anti-Semites. And yet, in the same 2004 American National Election Survey, Evangelical Christians rated Jews an average of 82 on the 1- 100 feelings scale. Evangelical Christians rated Catholics at 80.

Consistent survey data show that levels of anti- Semitism among Evangelical Christians is either the same as or slightly lower than the national average According to a 2007 ADL survey, the US average is 15%.

There is a clear disparity between survey data on anti-Semitism among various American ethnic groups and American Jews’ assessment of the prevalence of anti-Semitism among the same groups. The AJC survey found that American Jews believed that 29% of Evangelicals are largely anti- Semitic. They assessed that only 7% of Hispanics and 19% of African-Americans are anti-Semites.

As it works out, their perceptions are completely incorrect. According to the 2007 ADL survey, foreign born Hispanics, and African-Americans, harbor significantly stronger anti-Semitic views than the national average. Twenty-nine percent of foreign born Hispanics harbor very anti-Semitic views. Thirty-two percent of African-Americans harbor deeply anti-Semitic views.

Like Jews, Hispanics, African-Americans and Muslims vote disproportionately for the Democratic Party. Evangelical Christians on the other hand, are reliably Republican. A 2009 survey on US anti- Semitism conducted by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco found that Democrats are more likely to be anti-Semitic than Republicans.

The Gallup survey from last month showing American Jews’ deep support for American Muslims is of particular interest because that support stands in stark contrast with survey data concerning American Jewish perception of Muslim American anti-Semitism.

THE 2005 AJC survey showed that American Jews believe that 58% of American Muslims are anti- Semitic. That is, American Jews are Muslim Americans’ strongest non-Muslim defenders at the same time they are convinced that most Muslim Americans are anti-Semites. What can explain this counterintuitive behavior? And how can we account for the apparent pattern of incorrect Jewish perceptions of anti-Semitism among Evangelical Christians on the one hand and fellow Democrats on the other hand.

As Knee argues, the disparity may very well be due to partisan loyalties. The Democratic Party has openly engaged in fear mongering and demonization of Evangelical Christians in order to maintain Jewish loyalty to the party. Knee quotes then-Democratic national chairman Howard Dean’s statement that “Jews should feel comfortable in being American Jews without being constrained from practicing their faith or be compelled to convert to another religion.”

As for Muslims, Knee cites a press release from the National Jewish Democratic Council from March attacking Congressman Peter King’s hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims. In the press release, the council claimed that such hearings “can and will” harm religious tolerance in America. That is, the council implied that by investigating the radicalization of American Muslims – and its concomitant transformation of American Muslims into supporters of the genocidal Jew-hatred endemic among radical Muslims worldwide – Rep. King is endangering Jews.

If American Jews are most concerned with being able to maintain their loyalty to the Democratic Party, then it makes sense for them to wildly exaggerate Evangelical anti-Semitism. It is reasonable for them to underestimate African-American and Hispanic anti-Semitism, and ignore the higher rates of anti-Semitism among Democrats than among Republicans. Moreover, it makes sense for them to follow their party’s lead in failing to address the dangers of global Islamic anti- Semitism.

None of this makes sense, however, if American Jews are most concerned with defending Jews – in America and worldwide – from anti-Semitic sentiments and violence.

On Wednesday evening we begin our celebration of the New Year. Rosh Hashana marks a period of soul-searching among Jews. We are called upon at this time to account for our actions and our failures to act and to improve our faithfulness to our people, to our laws and to God.

It is possible that American Jews are simply unaware of the disparities between reality and their perceptions of reality. But it is the duty of all Jews to educate ourselves about the threats that reality poses to ourselves and our people.

At the UN last week, Abbas received accolades and applause from all quarters for his anti-Semitic assault on Jewish history and the Jewish state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks were applauded by Israel-supporters in the audience in the General Assembly.

As Israel is increasingly isolated and Jews worldwide are under attack, it is my prayer for the coming year that the American Jewish community will come to terms with a difficult reality and the choices it entails, and act with the majority of their fellow Americans to defend Israel and combat anti-Semitism in the US and throughout the world.

More jewish Nobel prizes

Dr. Ralph Steinman used a treatment he devised as a 30-year-old postdoc in 1973 to extend his own life after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago.

After a lifetime of scientific achievement, the Nobel Foundation came calling last week to award him this year's prize in medicine. As fate would have it, ironically, Dr. Steinman had passed away three days earlier from the same disease he fought so tirelessly to eradicate.

After learning of his death, the Nobel committee was faced with the dilemma of whether to honor the deceased scientist. The Nobel committee does not grant posthumous awards.

On Monday, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm announced that their decision would stand.

The decision to award the Nobel Prize to Ralph Steinman was made in good faith, based on the assumption that the Nobel Laureate was alive. This was true – though not at the time of the decision – only a day or so previously. The Nobel Foundation thus believes that what has occurred is more reminiscent of the example in the statutes concerning a person who has been named as a Nobel Laureate and has died before the actual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.

Another Jewish scientist, Scripps researcher Bruce Beutler, will also receive Nobel honors in medicine this year.

With Steinman and Beutler, the Jewish people added to their dominance in the Nobel field.

Chemistry (31 prize winners, 20% of world total, 27% of US total)
Economics (28 prize winners, 42% of world total, 55% of US total)
Literature (13 prize winners, 12% of world total, 27% of US total)
Peace (9 prize winners, 9% of world total, 10% of US total)
Physics (47 prize winners, 25% of world total, 36% of US total)
Physiology or Medicine (53 prize winners, 27% of world total, 40% of US total)
The Jewish people comprise about 0.2 percent of the world’s population, yet they have won 181 Nobel Prizes. The Muslim world, on the other hand, accounts for 20 percent of the world's population, yet Muslims have won just six prizes, including Yasir Arafat’s Nobel Prize for Peace.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

American jewry in trouble because of ignorant futUre leaders?

It has become fashionable among a cohort of American Jews to bash the Jewish state and then cloak that criticism in a mantle of authentic "Jewishness."

Witness a recent article in Time magazine by Dana Goldstein, a fellow at the leftist New American Foundation and the Nation Institute.

Goldstein describes her trepidation upon reporting to her mother that she plans to write an article about the attitudes of young Jews toward the state of Israel.

A lump of guilt and sadness rises in my throat. I've written harshly of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and assault on Gaza in 2009, and on civil rights issues in Israel.

But speaking my mind on these topics — a very Jewish thing to do — has never been easy.

Notice that her criticism of Israel, in Goldstein's mind, is a "very Jewish thing to do." She goes on to explain that she was raised in a pro-Israel household, but that in college she "met Muslim friends" and was "challenged"

to reconcile my liberal, humanist worldview with the fact that the Jewish state of which I was so proud was occupying the land of 4.4 million stateless Palestinians, many of them refugees displaced by Israel's creation.

Wow. The ignorance -- or is it malevolence? -- is stunning. Goldstein takes the most extreme position available on the Palestinian refugee question, the one never relinquished by the PLO of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat. The 4.4 million Palestinian "refugees" she describes are the ones living in camps in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere who were never resettled, much less given equal rights, in the states of their inhabitance. Why? Because if they were settled they could not "return" to their "homeland" and thereby destroy Israel's Jewish character. These are the lessons she learned from her "Muslim friends" -- the ones who apparently taught her about being Jewish.

Sadly, Jews like Goldstein represent a trend. She goes on to write that

A 2007 poll by Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College and Ari Kelman of the University of California at Davis found that although the majority of American Jews of all ages continue to identify as "pro-Israel," those under 35 are less likely to identify as "Zionist." Over 40% of American Jews under 35 believe that "Israel occupies land belonging to someone else," and over 30% report sometimes feeling "ashamed" of Israel's actions.

Furthermore, some 70 percent of rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary report feeling "disturbed" by Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are America's future Jewish leaders. These are the people who will lead our synagogues, run for office and guide Jewish organizations. These are the people who are redefining Judaism by making it serve their liberal tendencies. These are the "Seinfeld" Jews and the bagels-and-lox Jews, most of whom couldn't tell you the difference between Talmud and Tikkun magazine. If they represent American Jewry, American Jewry is truly in trouble.