Friday, May 31, 2013

IRS targets pro israel

Obama IRS harassed pro Israel groups

Posted: 30 May 2013 02:22 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)
It wasn’t just the Tea Party: it has been widely reported that the IRS also has harassed and discriminated against pro-Israel charities, In the Free Beacon, Alana Goodman pursues the story:

A Washington Free Beacon investigation has identified at least five pro-Israel organizations that have been audited by the IRS in the wake of a coordinated campaign by White House-allied activist groups in 2009 and 2010.

These organizations, some of which are too afraid of government reprisals to speak publicly, say in interviews with the Free Beacon that they now believe the IRS actions may have been coordinated by the Obama administration.

does anyone really believe Obama did not coordinate the whole thing?
Frequent Visitor to the White House

John Steele Gordon | @steelegordon 05.27.2013 - 9:15 PM

The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 to 2007, during the Bush administration, visited the White House exactly once while in office. Indeed he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” so out of the ordinary political loop was he. But Douglas Shulman, Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, during the Obama administration, visited the White House 118 times (Daily Caller yesterday updated it to 158) just in 2010 and 2011. His successor, Steven Miller, also visited “numerous” times.

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is a managerial position, not a policy-making one, although his input on the practical realities of tax collection and how the IRS is structured might well be very useful if the President was planning a big push on tax reform. But no such push has been forthcoming. Obama’s sole interest in the tax code has been to raise rates on high earners. So what was the commissioner doing going to the White House more than once a week on average?

By his own admission he knew by the spring of 2012 (he resigned in November, 2012) that organizations with the words “Tea Party” in their names were being targeted for extra scrutiny. Is it really believable that someone who had a Wall Street career before coming to Washington five years ago was so politically naïve that he didn’t see the potential for scandal in that information and give the White House a heads-up? And, assuming he did so, is it believable that none of those White House staffers—who can hardly claim political naiveté—did not pass the information along to the president, leaving him to learn of it in the papers?

WHEN ASKED WHY we visited so often by Congress, he said to attend the Easter Egg hunt.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If your not content in your current religion...

The mitzvah of proactive conversion

The Mitzvah to Encourage the Convert

by Harold M. Schulweis

Rabbi Dana Kaplan's informative essay enumerates the lamentations of "the ever dying people," a dirge supported by surveys and studies in the last decade and reiterated in sermons and lectures from the pulpit and platform. The bête noire has been misidentified as intermarriage. While rhetorically we admit that intermarriage is a symptom, not a cause, our institutional projects commit a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. De facto, we treat the symptom as a cause. That inversion misdirects our struggle against the erosion of assimilation.
The symptoms are external; the causes are internal, within. The internal problems of interfaith marriages call for a double pronged inreach-outreach program. That approach must precede, not only chronologically but spiritually, the situation presented as interfaith marriage.
I write from the perspective of a congregational rabbi who has felt compelled to initiate and implement a pluralistic outreach-inreach program for unchurched Gentiles and unsynagogued Jews, and who are joined by affiliated synagogue mentors, all of whom attend the lectures and seminars. The mentors have pledged to open their doors and lives to the seekers, both Jewish and non-Jewish. I will shortly explain my motivation and method, but I would like first to confess my frustration with the conventional ways I have followed in dealing with the phenomenon of intermarriage.
Jeff's mother calls me with a not untypical request. Her Jeff has met Kathy who is "a lovely lady but a Catholic.” Jeff's parents are members of my congregation. They are 9-1-1 Jews, who mainly call on the synagogue in emergencies. "Would I officiate at Jeff's wedding?" …
For the sake of his parents, Jeff has come to see me. All Jeff wants is that I perform the marriage. From the initial conversations with both Jeff and Kathy it is clear that all they require from me is the performance of an "interfaithless" union. Their religious antecedents seem much the same. They are secular, privatistic, not particularly religious.
Jeff is part of our national statistics. According to the National Population Study of 1990, 1.2 million native born Jews when asked with what religion they identified, answered "None.” Jeff is de-facto, a "none-Jew,” as Kathy is a "none-Christian.”
And who am I to them? In their eyes I am a facilitator, a customs and ceremony officiant, an accessory to a wedding event, placed high on the list along with the caterer, florist and band leader. They prefer the benefits of clergy without the complication of conversion. Conversion is an instrumental matter, a temporary inconvenience, a means necessary for them to overcome the obstacle to matrimony. Still, Kathy is compliant, willing to undergo a ceremonial conversion because it will please Jeff and his parents.
But I've had experience with other Kathys before. I ask Jeff to leave us alone in the study. In pursuing the conversation with her, it is evident that there is more to Kathy than she presents. Jeff, of course, has never talked to her about the possibility of conversion to Judaism. In this he is a dedicated libertarian. He would not coerce her. Nor would I. But in the course of our conversation, it is evident that Kathy is a searching spiritual person who has done a good deal of investigation of other religions, from New Age religions to Zen Buddhism, but curiously not of Judaism itself. She is attracted to Jews and to Judaism and is aware of the warmth of the Jewish home, the absence of dogma, the emphasis on family and on education. Has she thought of conversion to Judaism?
She has been convinced that Judaism is not for outsiders. She knows this because she has been told by many Jews, secular and religious, that you have to be born into Judaism and that conversion is not the traditional way to Judaism. She echoes what I have heard from Jews and non-Jews alike and in fairly vulgar terms. She repeats the joke she was told by one of Jeff's friends. "What is the difference between a virgin and a shiksa? The answer: a shiksa remains a shiksa." The point is that a shiksa is incontrovertibly unconvertible. Being Jewish comes with the chicken soup. You cannot become a Jew by immersing yourself in a mikvah. "Blood is thicker than water." I am embarrassed by this racism but no longer surprised.
When we speak further about Jewish values, Kathy is seriously taken with the possibilities of conversion. But when Jeff returns to the study he is strangely upset with me. He had sought only a rabbinic presence, my ecclesiastical cloth to cover the embarrassment of his parents. He had certainly not expected talk about a series of classes of conversion, lectures, a Beth Din tribunal, and a mikvah immersion which would complicate their schedule. In all of this Kathy remained compliant and silent. After all, Jeff is the born Jew.
When they left I felt disturbed. It was not only that I felt myself being used by Jeff and his parents, but that I was caught in a web of symptoms. Was I treating the symptoms as if they were causes? The wrong questions were being asked and the wrong answers were given. The conversion was an afterthought. The ceremony was wagging the faith, the rite overwhelmed the passage. Moreover, the problem was with Jeff, not with Kathy. Who was the cause and who was the symptom? It was a mis-meeting. Jeff had to be spoken to differently, and Jeff's parents too. There are buried questions that must be raised. Why is my token presence so important? What has Judaism, the covenant to do with this contact? And how have I dealt with Kathy and how did she feel? Was she a commodity, an "it" used to pacify his parents' need for Jewish respectability? Did I regard Kathy as a surrogate for the Holocaustal hemorrhaging of my people, a replacement for our low fertility rates?
I sought a different opportunity to speak with them, to unlock their questions, to transmit something of the wisdom and pertinence of Jewish faith and practice. I needed to reach out to them both. If becoming Jewish is a sacred process, it cannot be confined to discussion of a celebratory event. It's not the wedding, it's the covenantal commitment to Judaism that is at stake.
I recognize that there are many Kathys out there who are reading books on religion and attending lectures in ashrams and not for the purpose of matrimony. Why is the synagogue so closed to them, why is the perception so deep and pervasive that being Jewish is a matter of birth, not becoming? I was left with many questions.
About two years ago, after many such misencounters with Jeffs and Kathys, I decided to organize and implement a Keruv program which would be different in a number of ways. With the enthusiastic cooperation of Rabbis Edward and Nina Feinstein, we created a pluralistic outreach-inreach program with some distinctive features. I sought a faculty that would be drawn from rabbis in the community, Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, who would teach subject matters ranging from rites of passage to theology from their distinctive ideological points of view. The idea was predicated on the belief that God did not create denominations and that Judaism is not a seamless univocal tradition. At the end of some seventeen sessions of lectures and meetings, those unchurched seekers who sought to become Jews to choose their own rabbis, their own Betei Din so that they would choose to live Jewishly in a manner compatible with their own beliefs and convictions.
Following a few announcements in the Jewish press and in the LA Times, we found people of all backgrounds and faiths, lapsed Christians and lapsed Jews, flocking to our lectures. Each session was filled with between 400-500 Jews and non-Jews.
There were whispered criticisms. Is it Jewish? Does Judaism encourage conversion? Can a non-Jew become a Jew? Who are "they" to "us" and do we neglect guarding our own vineyard?
We had occasion during the lectures to point out to the audience of seekers what many had forgotten, had not known, or never considered. Who are we Jews and where did we come from? Had we forgotten that the first Jew by choice was the founder of Judaism, that Abraham was mandated by God to "get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto the land I will show you...and I will bless thee and make thy name great. Be thou a blessing and I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Judaism's birth was through conversion. Who else was there for Abraham and Sarah to make into a people except the pagan non-Jewish population around them?
Had we forgotten what we recite in the Passover Haggadah – our reminder "in the beginning our fathers were idolaters," heathens and slaves, and that on Passover we celebrate not the birth but the becoming of the Jewish people?
Did we forget that every single day throughout the year, three times a day we pray the thirteenth benediction of the Amidah, which singles out "righteous proselytes" (gayray tzedek) as a blessing for us, and for God?
Had we forgotten that on the festival of Shavuoth, which celebrates the revelation of the law, the rabbis selected not the book of Ezra, but the book of Ruth to be read to the congregation?   Did we remember that Ruth was a Moabite woman, and that in the Torah the Moabite was prohibited to be married to a Jew; and according to Deuteronomy, a Moabite was not to enter the congregation even to the tenth generation? And yet it is Ruth, the exemplary Jew by choice, who is celebrated as the great-grandmother of King David from whom the messiah is to spring.
It is important that the community be reminded that the rabbis in the Talmudic era proudly claimed Bitya, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Yithro, the father-in-law of Moses, and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, and Shifra and Puah, the Egyptian midwives who refused to obey the edict of Pharaoh to murder Jewish males and saved Jewish lives, as Jews by choice. With pride the Talmud informs us that Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shemiah and Abtalion were all descendants of proselytes.
But there were many voices from high sources in Jewish life who criticized our efforts and said that we should be spending more energy on "us" rather than on "them.” But surely, when "they" become "us" they are no longer "they.” Moreover, what in fact did the Keruv Program do for "us,” for the congregational mentors themselves? The numbers of synagogue mentors who came from our synagogue and attended all the lectures did so in a dedicated manner different from their attendance at other adult education courses. The mentors were enlivened by the Keruv Program because they felt possession of a significant cause. They were learning in order to teach.
The bias against outreach searches for its own myths.
"Judaism doesn't believe in conversion." Yet, the great Jewish historian Salo Baron has pointed out that 2,000 years ago, Jews were ten percent of the Roman Empire because they were extremely successful in converting pagans to Judaism. So successful, that the emperors Domitian and Hadrian made proselytism to Judaism a capital crime. It was not Judaism that prohibited the proselytization of non-Jews, but Hadrian's laws forbidding Jews to circumcise non-Jews that proscribed proselytism. Not Judaism but Roman Christianity prohibited conversion.
Still, other myths to discourage pro-active proselytism; secular Jews use other arguments to oppose an open door to Jews by choice. "Not faith but culture and ethnicity present barriers to conversion." But what cultural aspects of Jewish life do they who neither read Yiddish nor Hebrew have in mind that is beyond the reach of Jews by choice? The secularists refer to culinary matters, the joys of lox and bagels, of knishes and kugel, and a smidgen of Yinglish and Hebronics. But I know their children. They exhibit no proclivity toward gefilte fish or lox and bagels. Maimonides himself ate neither cholent nor tzimis, nor understood "mame-loshen.” Did that bar him and his descendants from Jewish identity and loyalty? Neither ethnic culture or identity is innate. They can and are cultivated through the programs of Keruv.
Speaking of Maimonides, I turn to the magnificent answer he offered Obadiah, a convert to Judaism, who asked Maimonides whether he, a Jew by choice, could recite the prayer, "Our God and God of our fathers.” Someone had told Obadiah that because his ancestors were not Jews he dare not recite that prayer. In Maimonides' response he writes, "By all means you should pray 'Our God and God of our fathers,' for in no respect is there a difference between us and you. Do not think little of your origin. If we trace our descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, your descent is from Him by whose word the world was created."
Thinking back to my conversation with Kathy, I realized that these non-Jews who came to the lectures had not come to my office brought by a Jewish partner seeking my ceremonial imprimatur. Most of the non-Jews during these two years were not interested in matrimony. They were spiritual seekers and it enabled me to address them differently. Importantly, I never thought of them as making up for our terrible Holocaust losses or as surrogates for our lagging demographic statistics. I never spoke to them about their conversion for the sake of appeasing Jeff's parents. They are not to be used as means for our ends.
The Kathys in our midst have to contend with Jeffs, who wonder why she spends so much time and energy, why in the world she would choose to be Jewish? In that incredulity lies one of the primary sources of our dissolution the vacuity of Jeff's Jewishness. In truth, Jeff is unaware of the superordinate system of values and wisdom and spiritual depth in Judaism, not only wonders what it is that possesses Kathy to become Jewish, he wonders what possesses his parents to insist on a Jewish wedding. Both Kathy and Jeff must be encouraged to become Jews by choice. The outreach program is as much for the native born as it is for the searching stranger.
Either educate "them" or "us" is a perverse disjunction. If Judaism is understood as a faith and culture that has something of supreme value to offer the world, then outreach is very much part and parcel of Jewish teleology. Not either/or but both/and. The reluctance to share our wisdom with the spiritual seekers is less a sign of particularistic fidelity than a trivialization of Judaism. If we have nothing to say to the other who seeks, we have nothing to say to ourselves or our own. The seekers ask us hard questions. "Tell us why Judaism is so important? Tell us how it can enrich our lives and the life of the universe?" As much as they would know "how" and "when," they ask "What for"? That root question we must answer not only for them but for ourselves and our children, for all whose chose to be Jews.
The Talmud observes that the precept to understand and to love the stranger in our midst, which the rabbinic tradition takes to mean the proselyte, appears thirty-six times in the Torah. The stranger in our midst is our very selves. Proactive conversion must be placed high on the Jewish agenda of the next century. In the words of Dr. Gary Tobin, in his new book Open the Gates, "Proactive conversion can revitalize the Jewish community."

Shelach really about hesed

Europe going Muslim soon

Expert: Islam taking over, Europe soon to be unrecognizable

According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, European softening, together with demographics, is leading to 'abysmal' change. Dr. Avika Libman: Riots start with preachers demanding Muslim state
Roi Mandel
Published: 05.28.13, 00:18 / Israel News

The murder of a soldier in London, the stabbing of a soldier in Paris and the violent outbreak in Sweden – Europe's alarm clock has been ringing once again over the past week. The negative birthrate compared to the increase in Muslims, the heavy unemployment and the social-religious isolation of European immigrants are all back on the agenda.

"Europe has lost its will to live as Europe," said Mideast expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar to Ynet. "It is gathered into museums, into history. If the leaders will not put an end to immigration, we will soon be hearing the death throes of the continent as we know it."

Related Stories:

Even if it is somewhat demagogic to attempt to bind the three events from the past few days in different European sites under "Islamic extremism," and even if the rage sparks in the weaker classes of immigrants, it is hard to ignore the basic facts. Behind these events are African immigrants from Islamic countries.

Dr. Zvika Libman studies the effects of the Muslim minority in Europe in light of the radical Islam on European countries. When he sees the reality, he said, there is no alternative interpretation for the events. "There is no doubt that the unemployment and the economic hardships lead to rioting, as happened in France. And yes, there is a disadvantage compared to the European bourgeois, but this is not solely bitterness due to the economic situation – because there is unemployment among youngsters who are not Muslim, like in Spain for example.

אחרי המהומות בפרבר של שטוקהולם (צילום: AFP)
After the riots in Sweden (Photo: AFP)

זירת דקירת החייל בפריז (צילום: AP)
Stabbing scene in Paris (Photo: AP)

הרוצח בלונדון עם הדם על הידיים (צילום: רויטרס)
Suspected killer in London (Photo: Reuters)

The Muslims have a fertile ground of mosques that awaken them, preach to them that they are deprived, that they don't belong, that they're not wanted and that the only solution is a country with an Arab majority. This is the starting point for these riots."

According to Dr. Libman, Sweden is an example of the situation in Europe. Penniless immigrants coming from weakened and colonized countries, get housing, education and solid foundations from European welfare countries, and still express their anger at the establishment.
צילום: רויטרס

Riots in Sweden (Video: Reuters)

"The foundations they received could not exist in other countries," he said, "the conditions are much better than before, and it is true there is a great gap from the weaker classes, there is bitterness and deprivation – but the economic gap also existed in the countries of origin, under rich tyrants who ruled them. In Sweden, where the stronger classes are citizens and not tyrants, theoretically they have a fair chance to reach that level if they're lucky, some even managed to integrate in local and national politics. There is no depression aimed at the Muslims, it's the opposite. And still we witness such violent outbreaks."

'European Softening'

Dr. Kedar claimed that this is a process known in advance, ending with the disintegration of Europe in its current state. "It is all a result of a European softening, which the Muslims see as a weakness, as if they received Europe in their hands for free. They do not voluntarily blend in, entire neighborhoods perpetuate the culture they brought with them, they are not aware of the language and economy and stay in their enclaves. Once a French man of Algerian descent told me that they didn't move from Algeria to France, they brought Algeria to France.

According to many, demographics, which is the topic for many studies, is the red light. It points to the path in which the continent is headed – the European birthrate is at a continuous standstill while Muslim immigrants are doubling their rates.

"If they wanted to integrate within the society, as European leaders had hoped, this wouldn't be an issue," said Keidar. "But since they want to keep their identities and change Europe, it is obviously a big issue. Every year more Muslims than non-Muslims are born in France. Japan has no Muslims because they don't allow them in. Racism? Maybe. Superiority? Maybe. They don't care. They want to sustain Japan and are looking down on everyone."

The dream of European leaders, said Libman, mainly Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's David Cameron, is to see the second and third generations of immigrants as ordinary citizens, and shatter the deliberate segregation of the immigrant Muslim community. "There are thousands of mosques in every host country, especially in the core countries – Germany, France and Britain. The parents, even those assimilated into the European society, make sure to send their kids to traditional schooling.

The affinity to origin and religion exist all the time, more so to a global-Muslim entity and less so to the actual country of origin. They see the trends in their origin countries – Turkey, Egypt, they all discuss Islam as something global."

How long will Europe contain the situation? "Good question," said Libman. "After WWII Europe is extra careful about anything that has to do with human rights and right to freedom. On the other hand, it absorbs aliens that do not integrate within the community. Europe needs manpower because the birthrate is low, they need those immigrants that seek to change the religious identity of the continent. It is an interesting time."

Shelach lecha and the spies

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bury our heads in the sand to be pc?

Do we just bury our heads in the sand? There is the real world and the world we wish existed

British Soldier Hacked to Death in Islamist Attack in London - Gordon Rayner and Steven Swinford
A British soldier has been butchered on a busy London street by two Islamist terrorists. The men attempted to behead the soldier, hacking at him in front of dozens of witnesses, before both were shot by police.
After the killing, one of the men, believed to be a British-born Muslim convert, spoke calmly into a witness's video phone. "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day."
Witnesses said the men used a car to run over the soldier just yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, before setting about him with knives and a meat cleaver. As they attacked the soldier, one of the men shouted "Allahu akbar." (Telegraph-UK) Mayor of London says it is not about islam. 

Boston marathon bombers did it for islamic jihad. 
Ft Hood Muslim psychiatrist, still collecting full salary, kills many and shouts Allah akbar. But Obama says workplace violence. 

A Palestinian Peace Message - Editorial (Wall Street Journal Europe)

Palestinian politics has overwhelmingly rejected the notion of the Jewish state's legitimacy. Yet the "peace process" marches on, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Minister William Hague in the Holy Land again this week to give it another try.
Enter Jibril Rajoub, veteran Palestinian politician and member of the Fatah Party's 20-person Central Committee. Appearing May 1 on Lebanese television, Rajoub said in Arabic that "The resistance, for us in Fatah, is still on the agenda. I am talking about resistance in all its forms." Such as? "By God, if we'd had a nuclear weapon, we would have used it this morning."
Quite a message from a man who a few years ago recorded a Hebrew-language television ad assuring Israelis "I am your partner." But so it goes with a Palestinian leadership bred by Yasser Arafat, who made an art of delivering different messages to different audiences in different languages.
A two-state solution will be at hand when Palestinian leaders endorse it - consistently, in Arabic, to the Palestinian people and to the Arab world at large, in children's textbooks and at their summer camps. 

Friend of mine sent me this

Do you remember ? ? ? ?

1. In 1968 , Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male.

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim males.

3. In 1972 a Pan Am 747 was hijacked and eventually diverted to Cairo where a fuse was lit on final approach and it was blown up shortly after landing by Muslim males. 

4. In 1973 a Pan Am 707 was destroyed in Rome , with 33 people killed, when it was attacked with grenades by Muslim males.

5. In 1979 , the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim males.

6. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim males.

7. In 1983 , the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up byMuslim males .

8. In 1985 , the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim males.

9. In 1985 , TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens , and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim males.

10. In 1988 , Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim males.

11. In 1993 , the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim males.

12. In 1998 , the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim males.

13. On 9/11/01 , four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim males.

14. In 2002 , the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim males.

15. In 2002 , reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by---you guessed it was a--- Muslim males.

But we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us.
British soldiers are told now not to wear uniforms off base so as not to provoke jihadists. Europe is done for. Jews already can't wear Jewish identifying material in many places in Europe.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Iran is scared??? of Obama's promise to not let Iran get nuclear weapons

Iran is scared??? of Obama's promise to not let Iran get nuclear weapons

Sanctions? Diplomacy? Iran doesn't seem much to care.
Diplomats said Wednesday that Iran had installed 700 new centrifuges this year alone to speed a nuclear program that Israel and the West say is intended for the production of nuclear weaponry.
The Associated Press reports that diplomats leaked details of an International Atomic Energy Agency document set for release on Wednesday. In it, theagency says:
The new IR-2m centrifuges are believed to be able to enrich two to five times faster than the old machines. For nations fearing that Iran may want to make nuclear arms, that would mean a quicker way of getting there.

American funds are going to anti-Israel NGOs

The U.S. Congress received a report on Tuesday showing that American funds are going to anti-Israel NGOs that seeks to promote delegitimization, boycotts, and even antisemitism.
NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that monitors such organizations, compiled the report on the National Endowment for Democracy, a government-funded non-profit created in 1983.
The president of NGO Monitor, Gerald M. Steinberg, gave examples of several problematic groups, including MIFTAH, which is "involved in anti-Israel campaigns and anti-Semitism, including repetition of the infamous blood libel" and has accused Israel of murdering Palestinian children; and Windows, which makes "highly offensive comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany."
Both the report and Israeli diplomats are seeking better oversight of such groups and the dispersal of government funds. They note that the ideologies promoted by these groups are an obstacle to peace and in contradiction to U.S. policy.

Parasha bahaalotcha

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Israel prefers Assad stays

Israeli intelligence officials were quoted in the U.K. Times on Saturday saying that Israel would prefer a weakened Assad regime in Syria, rather than a victory for rebel forces.
According to YNet, one official was quoted saying, "Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos and the extremists from across the Arab world gain a foothold there."
Many observers of the conflict have concluded that Syrian rebel forces have been essentially taken over by Islamist forces, including some affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Another official reportedly said that Israel would prefer "that the two sides fight each other instead of joining forces against Israel." This was the case during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when an Israeli official quipped that "it's a shame they can't both lose."
Israel and Syria have been official enemies for decades, but since the 1973 Yom Kippur War have maintained an uneasy but nonetheless stable ceasefire on Israel's northern border.

New Jew from Ireland who took our our Convert to Judaism online course

Friday, May 17, 2013

Naso dvar #2

Parashat Naso

Why did IRS go lenient on terrorist groups and tough on pro Israel?

Why did IRS go lenient on terrorist groups and tough on pro Israel?

Posted: 14 May 2013 08:15 AM PDT
(Paul Mirengoff)
Josh Gerstein at Politico reports that the same Internal Revenue Service office that singled out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny also challenged Israel-related organizations, at least one of which filed suit over the agency’s handling of its application for tax-exempt status.
The group in question is called Z Street. It alleges that one of its attorneys was told that its application for tax exemption was delayed and sent to a “special unit…to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
As Gerstein explains, Z Street sought the 501(c)(3) status applicable to most charities, allowing for tax deductible donations. Most of the Tea Party groups that have come under scrutiny applied for 501(c)(4) status, which allows advocacy groups to avoid federal taxes on their operations but doesn’t render donations to the groups tax deductible. However, both kinds of applications are processed in the same Cincinnati office.
What is the IRS’s explanation for investigating Z Street? It admits that applications mentioning Israel received special attention, but says this was because “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a higher risk of terrorism.”
This is absurd. Israel may have (or have had) a high risk of being victimized by terrorism. But this fact should create no presumption that groups concerned about, or connected with, Israel are linked with terrorism. And absent that concern, what is the justification for extra scrutiny? Under the IRS’s logic, maybe it should now consider providing extra scrutiny to charitable groups headquartered in Boston.
Under President Bush, the IRS cracked down on “charitable” groups that support or sympathized with terrorists — an outgrowth of the fact that Muslim charities funneled money to Islamic terrorists. But, says Gerstein, President Obama has backed away from this approach, declaring that he thought government rules were unfairly impeding Muslims from carrying through on their religious obligation to donate to charity.
How ironic that the Obama IRS now seems focused instead on a tiny pro-Israel group that questions the president’s approach to the Middle East.
The IRS’s response to Z Street’s lawsuit raises more questions than it answers. The concern, according to the IRS, was not whether pro-Israel groups contradict Obama administration policy, but rather whether they violate “public policy.”
One doubts the ability of bureaucrats to distinguish Obama policy from “public policy.” Giving IRS the benefit of the doubt (but why would we at this point), the stated public policy in question is that the government shouldn’t bestow a benefit on an individual or organization engaged in illegal activity like terrorism, or in an officially disfavored activity such as racial discrimination.
But why would a pro-Israel advocacy group be suspected of engaging in terrorism or racial discrimination?
And how do some of the questions posed to pro-Israel groups relate to terrorism or racial discrimination? Among the inquiries sent to at least one group were:
Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?
Describe your organization’s religious belief system towards the land of Israel.
The proper answer to the second inquiry is, none of your damn business.
It’s too early to reach firm conclusions about the allegations in Z Street’s suit against the government. But the matter warrants our close attention.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Obama's IRS targeted Jewish groups too

Obama's IRS targeted pro Israel groups too! When are decent fair minded heretofore slavish Obama admirers going to realize he is a common Chicago street thug politician, lying tyrant? He seems likable enough and can be articulate when on a teleprompter, but if ruining the US economy isn't enough, and allowing terrorism to flourish abroad and here, what will it take?      

Richard Baehr

The lies pile up and the president goes silent
The week just ended may have been the worst week experienced by the Obama administration, and there are over 220 to choose from. The congressional testimony by three whistle-blowers on the widening Benghazi scandal drew attention even from the mainstream media outlets, which had chosen to bury the story for months. The president's press secretary, Jay Carney, in a performance worthy of a short career in this capacity, managed to double down on the falsehoods, continuing to avoid admitting even the obvious. For starters, Carney maintained that the talking points distributed to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for use in her appearances on the major news networks a few days after the attack in Benghazi on September 11 reflected what was known about the attacks, as opposed to the story the administration wanted to get out there (a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to an anti-Muslim video), and that the changes in the talking points in the days prior to Rice's appearances were merely stylistic, rather than substantive.

It is understandable that with less than two months to go in the presidential campaign, and the president ahead in the polls, and holding favorable ratings on his management of foreign affairs, there was pressure from the political types, who seem to be central to every decision by the administration, to defend the Obama foreign policy narrative even if a totally invented script on Benghazi needed to be written to do this. The narrative that needed defending, in reality, more mythology than substance, argued that al-Qaida had effectively been destroyed with the death of bin Laden, and that our Libyan intervention had been a great success.

Then on Friday, an arguably bigger story blew up on the administration. The Treasury Department's inspector-general for tax administration is expected to level serious charges next week of an attempt by Internal Revenue Service officials to target conservative groups seeking to obtain tax-exempt status under the code. The administration, as is its habit, released the news of the problematic behavior by agents in the Cincinnati office of the IRS on Friday afternoon, assuming the story would get overshadowed by the continuing Benghazi controversy, with which it would have to compete. The release of the news included suggestions that the singling out of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, was the work of lower level employees, in a branch office, and of course was unknown to departmental superiors or other higher up officials (e.g., the White House). These intimations have already proven false. Certain IRS officials were either in the dark about the operation or lied under oath to Congress in 2012 when asked about the program by members of Congress who had been informed about the behavior of the IRS by groups trying to gain the tax exemption. Incredibly, spotting words such as "constitution," "Bill of Rights," and "patriot" in the name or mission of groups, were red flags for the IRS agents. The IRS agents also asked for donor lists, which is both illegal and chilling for potential donors. And the supposedly rogue "way down the totem pole" agents in Cincinnati were anything but; that office is the central processing office for the IRS to consider applications for tax exempt status, so it represents ground zero for this activity.

One can easily make a case that the current law is too lax, and organizations that achieve tax-free status are more interested in political advocacy than in charitable purposes, such as education and communication on issues. If this is one's view, however, then enforcement of the law should presumably be applied consistently, across the board, to organizations and groups that may have crossed the line, regardless of their message. Groups that are really conducting politics and only pretending to have a charitable purpose would be identified from both the Left and the Right. This, of course, is not what happened here. The only groups that were identified by their mission or name, were on the Right, in other words, perceived political opponents of the Obama administration.

There is much evidence that Americans are not well versed in their history, including relatively recent history. Going back fewer than 40 years, the first impeachment article drawn up in the U.S. House of Representatives for President Richard Nixon in 1974 described his abuse of presidential authority by using the IRS to target political opponents. Is the offense of less significance now because the Democratic Party is in power, and it stuck the IRS on Republicans and conservatives? So far, the connection between the banana republic activity of the IRS agents and the White House has not been made. But this controversy is in its first weekend. So far, there has been no testimony under oath by anyone before a congressional committee. And more importantly, the misconduct is so serious that even the administration's most ardent defenders are not spinning that nothing bad happened here. Even Jay Carney admitted this was wrong, and that may be a first for him.

The president, who loves to be in the public view at all times, so long as the audience is friendly (worshipful is preferred), was little seen this week except for an appearance before a carefully selected group of cheering women to promote the increasingly troubled rollout of his health care reform bill, popularly known as Obamacare. That legislation will result in significant financial costs and prove politically embarrassing to the administration if healthy younger people do not enroll in large numbers. There was not a word from the president about Benghazi or the IRS controversy. Instead, Jay Carney was served up as the piñata for a suddenly aggressive White House press corps, which for over four years seemed to see its role as mainly to provide political cover for the administration.

The IRS story will get much bigger this week. The pro-Israel group Z Street, for which I serve as a board member, received a brushback from the IRS when it applied for tax-free status in 2010. The IRS agent who communicated with Z Street indicated that a special division of the IRS had been created to review applications for groups involved with Israel, and in particular was interested in its involvement with terrorism (!) There were also questions about the group's political positions, in particular how consistent they were with those of the administration. Until this weekend, no one had put together the IRS political harassment campaign against pro-Israel groups with the stories that had been circulating of roadblocks and challenges to the Tea Party and conservative groups.

The scrutiny of Z Street was not an isolated event for the IRS. Other Jewish groups, including groups not focused on Israel, were also targeted.

"And at least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel. Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization to state "whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel," and also demanded the organization "describe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel."

The mainstream media disregarded Barack Obama's political history in Chicago, his work as a community organizer, his connections with radicals and Israel haters such as Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Ali Abunimah and Rashid Khalidi, or his attachment to Saul Alinsky's methods and blueprint for political action. The president has so far largely kept his distance from the storm clouds gathering over his administration over Benghazi and the IRS. On Benghazi his fingerprints are clearer, since he personally provided misleading information (you can use a different word) about the attack in several talks and interviews in the two weeks after September 11, in every case blaming the anti-Muslim video maker for stirring up a mob to attack the consulate. He knew that was untrue, but kept saying it anyway. The bigger question will be this: Is it really possible that IRS agents simply chose to deal with conservative groups and Jewish groups in the way they did without any direction from above? And if there was direction from above, from how far up the chain of command was the direction given?