Monday, September 30, 2013

Parasha Noah fun facts

Why does Wheaton College Prof Gary Burge want to ban evangelical group of pro Israel supporters from campus?

Why does Wheaton College Prof Gary Burge want to ban evangelical group of pro Israel supporters from campus?

Parashat Noah, How non-Jews achieve salvation

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Prof. Gary Burge wrong on the Palestine/Israel conflict

Prof. Gary Burge wrong on Bible teaching

Abraham's Children Organization of Wheaton First Presbyterian church based on erroneous understanding of the Bible

Abraham's Children Organization of Wheaton First Presbyterian church based on erroneous understanding of the Bible

Its the Muslims killing the Christians-refutation of Prof. Gary Burge of Wheaton College

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obama's speech to UN 45 minutes of boring and misguided

Posted: 25 Sep 2013 05:08 AM PDT
(Scott Johnson)
The White House has posted the text of President Obama’s speech to the United Nations yesterday here. Paul has ably extracted the highlights, so to speak, and explicated them here.
Obama’s speech should be read in its entirety. The speech represents a comprehensive map of misreading, to borrow Harold Bloom’s phrase. It takes us on a tour of American interests focused on the Middle East and advertises the cluelessness that emanates from the top of the Obama administration. The speech deserves a knowledgeable line by line annotation exposing its errors and fatuities.
I find this to be incredibly offensive: “The ban against the use of chemical weapons, even in war, has been agreed to by 98 percent of humanity. It is strengthened by the searing memories of soldiers suffocating in the trenches; Jews slaughtered in gas chambers; Iranians poisoned in the many tens of thousands.” If this were a multiple choice test, we would ask: which of these doesn’t belong?
Or take this stray thought regarding Syria, for example: “It’s time for Russia and Iran to realize that insisting on Assad’s rule will lead directly to the outcome they fear: an increasingly violent space for extremists to operate.” Don’t you love it when Obama tells the mullahs what they want? It helps them understand the extent of their good fortune to be dealing with such a man.
Or this stray thought regarding Iraq: “Iraq shows us that democracy cannot be imposed by force.” I thought Iraq’s politics were developing in a positive manner. They certainly represent an improvement over Saddam Hussein. Obama presents the lesson of Iraq as a universal rule. What, I wonder, do Germany and Japan show us?
“Meanwhile,” according to Obama, “the Supreme Leader [sic] has issued a fatwa [sic] against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has just recently reiterated that the Islamic Republic [sic] will never develop a nuclear weapon.” So what’s all the shouting about? (More on that supposed “fatwa” here.) Fresh from his diplomatic “triumph” in Syria, Obama is directing John Kerry to serve up one more, this time with respect to Iran nuclear program.
And that’s not all! Obama is also “determined to resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.” There is the testy problem of the permanent Palestinian war on Israel, but it doesn’t exist in the world according to Obama. Obama ascribes the wish for “peace” to the Palestinians: “[T]hey recognize that two states is [sic] the only real path to peace…” Although the evidence to the contrary is abundant, Obama finds it in his meeting with young Palestinians in Ramallah. So no problem.
And then there is this: “Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends upon the realization of a Palestinian state.” I doubt it, but this is a weird formulation in any event. Obama is speaking for the United States and this assertion is one of many errors that he “recognizes” to be true. Doesn’t the United States recognize it? I guess he is directing that statement to the likes of me.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Obama sees Israel as the key to the conflicts roiling the Middle East: “All of us must recognize that peace will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists, and embolden those who are prepared to build a better future.” What unadulterated claptrap.
If the White House speechwriters had inserted a thematic cue like “Message: I care” into the speech, it would have been “Message: I am a chicken ripe for the plucking.”

The first portion-we start over

a little humor

okes for the day?
It was mealtime during a flight on El-Al.
"Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked Moishe, seated in front.
"What are my choices?" Moishe asked.
"Yes or no," she replied.

Moishe is driving in Jerusalem . He's late for a meeting, he's looking for a parking place, and can't find one.
In desperation, he turns towards heaven and says: "Lord, if you find me a parking place, I promise that I'll eat only kosher, respect Shabbos, and all the holidays."
Miraculously, a place opens up just in front of him. He turns his face up to heaven and says, "Never mind, I just found one!"

A visitor to Israel attended a recital and concert at the Moscovitz
Auditorium. He was quite impressed with the architecture and the acoustics.
He inquired of the tour guide, "Is this magnificent auditorium named after
Chaim Moscovitz, the famous Talmudic scholar?" "No," replied the guide.
"It is named after Sam Moscovitz, the writer."
"Never heard of him. What did he write?"
"A check", replied the guide.

A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Chanukah cards. She
Says to the clerk "May I have 50 Chanukah stamps please."
"What denomination?" says the clerk.
The woman says "Oy god, has it come to this?
Okay, give me 6 orthodox, 12 conservative and 32 reform!"

Saul Epstein was taking an oral exam in his English as a Second Language class.
He was asked to spell "cultivate," and he spelled it correctly. He was then
Asked to use the word in a sentence, and, with a big smile, responded:
"Last vinter on a very cold day, I vas vaiting for a bus, but it vas too cultivate, so I took the subvay home."

A wealthy Jewish man buys a fabulous home in Beverly Hills .
He brings in a local workman to decorate the place.
When the job is finished, the homeowner is delighted but realizes that he's
Forgotten to put mezuzahs on the doors. He goes out and buys 50 mezuzahs and asks the decorator to place them on the right hand side of each door except bathrooms and kitchens.
He's really worried that the decorator will chip the paint work or won't put
Them up correctly. However, when he comes back a few hours later, he sees
That the job has been carried out to his entire satisfaction. He's so
Pleased that he gives the decorator a bonus.
As the decorator is walking out of the door he says, "Glad you're happy with
The job. By the way, I took out all the warranties in the little boxes and
Left them on the table for you!"

Moishe Goldberg was heading out of the Synagogue one day, and as always
Rabbi Mendel was standing at the door, shaking hands as the congregation departed.
The rabbi grabbed Moishe by the hand, pulled him aside and whispered these
Words at him: "You need to join the Army of God!"
Moishe replied: "I'm already in the Army of God, Rabbi."
The rabbi questioned: "How come I don't see you except for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?"
Moishe whispered back: "I'm in the secret service."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sukkot jokes

Favorite Sukkot joke
A House on the Roof

Levy built a sukkah on the roof of his apartment building several days before the eight-day holiday of Sukkot began. After the holiday began, the landlord noticed it and demanded that it be removed immediately, claiming it was a violation of the terms of the building lease. Levy refused, telling the landlord that since this was a religious observance, he had the right to build the sukkah there.

The landlord disagreed and took the case to court.

In court, the landlord argued that the sukkah was unsightly, against the terms of the lease, and was a fire hazard. Levy argued that his religious rights would be ignored. The judge, who happened to be Jewish, listened patiently and then offered his verdict.

“I agree with the landlord in this case, and I therefore rule that you have ten days from today to take down your hut.”

—Based on David A. Adler, The House on the Roof: a Sukkot Story. New York: Bonim Books

Here;'s a more subtle one-see if you get it. Will test your Jewish learning
Man comes to rabbi and asks for instructions on how to build a kosher sukkah. rabbi tells him what page of the talmudic tractate of sukkot to read and follow the instructions. Man does it and just as he put up last piece of scoch on top, the whole thing collapses. Thinking he made a mistake, he redoes it to the same result. very frustrated he goes back to the rabbi and explains what happened. the rabbi opens to the talmudic page, studies it for a minute and exclaims" funny, rashi asks the same question."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

raising children-the good and bad

1. teens out of control party and ruin home NFL star
Despite the threat of lawsuits by some parents, former NFL star Brian Holloway wants to help keep the teens that wrecked his house from going down a dangerous path.
Ex-NFL Star Attempts to Help Teens Who Wrecked His House
Some parents of the 300 teenagers who broke into former NFL star Brian Holloway’s home while he was out of town are threatening to sue him. That's not stopping Holloway from trying to expose these kids to better role models.
2.  3 Oklahoma Teens Kill Baseball Player Because of 'Boredom'
Rare that you'd see the mainstream media covering a story where a white victim (baseball player) is killed by any minority. But they have in this case.

vs this powerful story

Dairy Queen Customer Steals $20 From Blind Man, Employee Catches Her And Becomes Viral Hero

  • The Inquisitr·4 days ago   
    A Dairy Queen employee has become a viral hero after he confronted an elderly customer who stole $20 from a blind man. The blind man in question didn’t know he had dropped the $20 bill on the floor, which was then…

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

why 70 bulls?

Haftorah armegeddon

13 reasons to build a Sukkah

Obama- Kerry take a week to destroy US Middle East policy

Obama- Kerry take a week to destroy US Middle East policy
World Jewish Digest
The United States spent nearly seven decades building a Mideast foreign policy that attempted to limit Russia's influence in the region. President Obama and John Kerry have destroyed all that in a week.
Writing for the National Interest, academics Tom Nichols and John R. Schindler agree the recent decision to allow Syria to avoid attack by acceding to a plan that will supposedly see them give up their chemical weapons is one of the worst foreign policy decisions of the past few decades.
In less than a week, an unguarded utterance by a U.S. Secretary of State has undone those efforts. Not only is Moscow now Washington’s peer in the Middle East, but the United States has effectively outsourced any further management of security problems in the region to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
It will be nearly impossible to move chemical weapons anywhere in the midst of a pitched civil war; moreover, the idea that the Putin regime cares anything for international norms or global citizenship beyond its own crudely defined interests is laughable on its face. By gaining American certification of the most important role Moscow has ever played in the Middle East, Putin has achieved in a week what no Soviet or Russian leader managed to do in a century. There should be little wonder that Putin pressed his advantage with a shameless lecture to America in the pages of The New York Times in one of the most appalling and hypocritical public relations stunts by a Kremlin boss since the Soviet era.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Isreal wants Assad gone

By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel wants to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad toppled, its ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday, in a shift from its non-committal public stance on its neighbor's civil war.
Even Assad's defeat by al Qaeda-aligned rebels would be preferable to Damascus's current alliance with Israel's arch-foe Iran, Ambassador Michael Oren said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.
His comments marked a move in Israel's public position on Syria's two-and-1/2-year-old war.
Though old enemies, a stable stand-off has endured between the two countries during Assad's rule and at times Israel had pursued peace talks with him in hope of divorcing Syria from Tehran and Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had long avoided openly calling for the Syrian president's fall. Some Israeli officials now worry that radical Sunni Islamist insurgents fighting Assad will eventually turn their guns on the Jewish state.
But with Assad under U.S.-led condemnation for his forces' alleged chemical attack on a rebel district of Damascus on August 21, Oren said Israel's message was that he must go.
"We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren't backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran," Oren said in the interview, excerpted on Tuesday before its full publication on Friday.

Obama dithers and Hezbollah get the chemical weapons

Nightmare Scenario?

Arab media reports Assad smuggling his chemical weapons to Hezbollah

8:30 AM on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - Tishrei 13, 5774
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is smuggling his chemical weapons stockpile to Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, Arab media outlets reported on Monday.
According to the Jerusalem Post, an official from the Syrian opposition, Kamal Labwani, has told a Saudi newspaper that large amounts of Assad's stockpile of chemical weapons are being transferred to Lebanon in "trucks carrying vegetables."
They are to be given to Hezbollah, which has long been allied, funded, and armed by Assad, and then "stored in Hezbollah-controlled mountain areas of Lebanon, where it will be difficult to find and monitor them."
Assad's goal, of course, is to preserve his chemical weapons arsenal despite his recent agreement to dismantle it and hand it over to international inspectors.
There is no confirmation of the report from other sources, but if true, the move would represent what Israeli officials have long described as a nightmare scenario.
Hezbollah controls the south of Lebanon and is positioned on Israel's northern border. It controls a large stockpile of long-range missiles and has used them in the past to attack the Galilee region. It is now believed that the terrorist group may have missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Should Hezbollah prove capable of fitting these missiles with chemical warhead, it would represent an intolerable threat to the Israeli population, and would likely precipitate a massive military retaliation.

Monday, September 16, 2013

easy to assemble sukkah

about Sukkot

Lulav and etrog

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Islamic take over plan

An Ex-Muslim’s Warning

Posted on 9/12/2013 by

To the Infidel world:
I was born and raised as Muslim. My whole family is still Muslim. I know every genetic code of Muslim. I know Islamic brain. I live and breath with them. I am an insider. I left Islam when I understood that Islam is a sick and evil religion. Following are the Islamic message to the West.
To the infidels of the West:
Constitution for the new Islamic Republic of EU and USA is under construction.
We will fight the infidel to death.
Meanwhile American laws will protect us.
Democrats and Leftist will support us.
UNO will legitimize us.
CAIR will incubate us.
ACLU will empower us.
Western Universities will educate us.
Mosques will shelter us
OPEC will finance us
Hollywood will love us.
Koffi Annan will pass politically correct sympathetic statement for Jihadists.
Our children will immigrate from Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Indonesia and even from India to the US and to the other Western countries. They will go to the West for education in full scholarship. America is paying and will continue to pay for our children’s educations and their upbringing in state funded Islamic schools.
We will use your welfare system. Our children will also send money home while they are preparing for Jihad.
We will take the advantage of American kindness, gullibility, and compassion. When time comes, we will stab them in the back. We will say one thing on the camera and teach another thing to our children at home. We will give subliminal messages to our children to uphold Islam at any cost. Our children in America will always care more about Islamic Country’s interest than US interest.
We will teach our children Islamic supremacy from the very childhood. We will teach them not to compromise with Infidel. Once we do that from the very early age our children won’t hesitate to be martyr. We will take over the Europe first and then US will be the next. We already have a solid ground in the UK, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany, and now in the US.
Our children will marry Caucasian in Europe and in America. We will mixed with intricate fabric of the Western society but still will remember to Jihad when time comes. Who are we?
We are the “sleeper cells”.
We will raise our children to be loyal to Islam and Mohammad only. Everything else is secondary.
At the time of the real fight we will hold our own children as our armor. When American or Israeli troops shoot at us the world will be watching. Imagine,- Imagine the news in the world “Death of Muslim babies by infidels”.
We know CNN, ABC, CBS are broadcasting live. Al-Jazeera will pour gasoline on the fire. The news will spread like wildfire. “Americans killed 6 babies, 10 babies”. “Jews killed two women”,
Keep your Nukes in your curio cabinets. Keep your aircraft carrier or high-tech weaponry in the showcase. You can’t use them against us because of your own higher moral standard. We will take the advantage of your higher moral standard and use it against you. We won’t hesitate to use our children as suicide bomber against you.
Visualize the news flash all over the world, -Moslem mother is sobbing, -.crying. -.Her babies are killed by Jews and Americans, the whole world is watching live. Hundreds of millions of Muslims all around the world are boiling. They will march through Europe. We will use our women to produce more babies who will in turn be used as armor/shield. Our babies are the gift from Allah for Jihad.
West manufactures their tanks in the factory. We will manufacture our military force by natural means, by producing more babies. That is the way it is cheaper.
You infidels at this site cannot defeat us. We are 1.2 billion. We will double again. Do you have enough bullets to kill us?
On the camera:
We will always say, “Islam is the religion of Peace.”
We will say, “Jihad is actually inner Jihad.”
Moderate Muslim will say there is no link between Islam and Terrorism and the West will believe it because the West is so gullible.
Moderate Muslim all over the world will incubate Jihadists by their talk by defending Islam.
Using Western Legal system we will assert our Sharia Laws, slowly but surely.
We will increase in number. We will double again.
You will be impressed when you meet a moderate Muslim personally. As your next-door neighbor, coworker, student, teacher, engineer, professionals you may even like us. You will find us well mannered, polite, humble that will make you say, “wow, Muslims are good and peaceful people”, But, we will stab you in your back when you are sleeping as we did on 911.
There will be more 911 in Europe and in America. We will say, “We do not support terrorism but America got what it deserved.”
Muslims, CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and other international Islamic Organization will unite. We will partner with Leftist, ACLU, with Koffi Annan, and the UN, and if we have to then even with France. Fasten your seatbelt. The war of civilizations has just begun.
We will recite Quran and say Allah-Hu-Akbar before beheading infidels, as we have been doing it. We will video tape those and send it to all infidels to watch. They will surrender – ISLAM means surrender.
We will use your own values of kindness against you.
You are destined to loose.
Must be very depressing for you. Isn’t it?
as we say just before beheading.
21st Century Islamic Warfare
Let’s see the effectiveness of Islamic warfare.
Muslims Vs. the West.
THE RULE HAS CHANGED. There is new game in town.
Bill Clinton ordered 50 Tomahawks Cruise missiles costing $100,000,000 each to destroy $50 mud houses that belonged to Osama’s family. What a stupidity? What a poor ROI (Return On Investment)
In return Osama’s attack on the US.
Cost: 19 martyrs and less than $500,000.
Cost to the West: over 3,000 dead.
At least $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) dollars economical loss in one year. This includes the ripple effect.
Osama’s ROI with respect to: life = 3,000/19 = 158 fold.
Dollar = $1 tr./500K = 2,000,000 fold
That is modern warfare. The West will loose.
Islam will rule the world. There is nothing you can do. Even if the per capita GDP of the world drops to half of its present level as a consequence of Islamic laws in place all over the world but still Islam will rule the word.
From your point of view we bring to the world to the dark ages, so be it. But still Islam wins, West looses.
Are you sure you want to play this game?
Jihad, ..Jihad…Jeeehaaad…
You are destined to loose.
Saudi Arabia’s $100 billion investment over the last 3 decades on over 60 thousands Madrassas and school all over the Islamic world is finally paying off. While the West was busy inventing medicine, increasing life expectancy, elevating human suffering, decoding human gene to find cure for Cancer, heart disease etc, launching space shuttle, inventing internet, working on new laws/theory for human rights, developing better economical models for a more prosperous world, while ACLU was gaining control over common sense, while American ingenuity was benefiting the rest of the world, we Muslims were busy producing over 200 million out of 1.4 billion, Walking, Talking, Non-Thinking, West-Hating, Pre-Programmed, Suicidal, Parasitic, Terrorist Robots. You can’t win. The Genie is out of the bottle.
We will use American’s kindness, fairness, compassion, freedom of speech and non-discriminatory policy against them. We will stab them in the back.
What are you going to do? You are doomed.

Dershowitz to Newsmax: Israelis Have Lost Trust in America

Dershowitz to Newsmax: Israelis Have Lost Trust in America

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 02:39 AM

By Paul Scicchitano

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax .. he believes the Syrian crisis will have a negative effect on U.S. relations with Israel.

“I think the Israelis have basically lost trust in the Americans when it comes to Iran,” the famed attorney said in an exclusive interview following the president’s speech. “I think this increases the likelihood that Israel will have to go to it alone. What it says to the Israelis is that the president can’t declare red lines and can’t respond to the crossing of red lines.”

Dershowitz, a Newsmax contributor, urged Congress to pass its own “red line” — not only in the case of Syria’s use of chemical weapons, but also with respect to the ongoing Iranian nuclear threat.

“If it turns out this is all a fake — and they’re just buying time — the president then gets the authority to strike at any time he and the military feel it’s essential [in Syria],” Dershowitz explained. “And the same must now be true with Iran. Congress must establish a red line — the Iranians getting close to having nuclear weapons —and the president has to be authorized to decide when — and how — to respond to that red line.”

He said Congress rarely authorizes military action on its own “when it doesn’t directly involve the United States” or in the absence of a clear timeframe to act.

“I think a lot of Israelis are today thinking — as many have thought in the past — that they can’t outsource the defense of their own people, that they have to make their own decisions, make their own judgments and take their own actions as they did when they destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and various Syrian reactors more recently,” Dershowitz asserted.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Obama’s Syria Debacle Inflicts Historic Damage on America

Obama’s Syria Debacle Inflicts Historic Damage on America
Peter Wehner  | @Peter_Wehner
09.10.2013 - 3:10 PM

Max Boot does an excellent job explaining why the new Russian proposal on removing chemical weapons from Syria is almost certainly a mirage. Not surprisingly, however, President Obama is eager to embrace it. After all, doing so will avoid Congress rejecting his request to use military strikes against Syria–and the de facto collapse of his presidency.

But this will come at quite a high cost. Russia is now establishing itself as the preeminent power in the region, having displaced the United States. American prestige and credibility lie in ruins. President Obama has succeeded in undermining the moderate rebels he promised to assist. He has strengthened the murderous anti-American regime he declared he wanted gone. A despot who used chemical weapons and committed, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, a “moral obscenity” will now escape any punishment (which after all was the stated purpose of Obama’s threats to strike Syria). And Iran and Hezbollah, having (along with Russia) come to the aid of Assad, will emerge from this whole thing in a much stronger position.

It is hard to overstate how much of a debacle Syria has been for America. The damage we have sustained is deep and durable. The balance of power has shifted dramatically against America. It may take decades for us to undo the damage, if even that is possible.

This period may well turn out to be a hinge moment in the Middle East–and one of the worst diplomatic chapters in modern American history. Such is the cost to a nation when a community organizer is promoted to the job of commander in chief.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why Israelis prefer jihadists over Assad in Syria

Most observers agree that from Israel's perspective, the al-Qaida-affiliated organizations in Syria pose a very real and growing threat, but one which is significantly smaller in scope and more easily contained than the threat posed by a far more powerful axis: Iran, the Assad regime, and Hizballah.
This view is based on the fact that the Syrian regime forms a central component in the Iranian bloc. It is this bloc, on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons, and with access to unconventional weapons and state-sponsored conventional weaponry, that is the No. 1 threat to Israel's security.
Syria is the bridge connecting Tehran to Hizballah in Lebanon. Bashar Al-Assad has brought Syria closer to Iran and Hizballah, and today relies on them for his survival. Assad is facilitating the transit of advanced Iranian arms to Hizballah, as well as supplying it with Syrian-made weapons.
Syria is viewed by the Iranian regime as its critical forward base and springboard to eventual regional domination.
With Syrian help, Iran has armed Hizballah with 70-80,000 rockets that are pointed at Israeli cities. Hizballah's firepower has the potential to paralyze the Israeli home front in a future war.
The most critical threat is the Iranian nuclear weapons program, which is edging forward all the time.
If Iran isn't stopped, Hizballah, and other terrorist semi-states like Hamas in Gaza, could try to attack Israel while enjoying protection from an Iranian nuclear umbrella.
The same pattern can repeat itself on an even larger scale in the future. Iranian-sponsored terrorist networks might attack Western cities with impunity if they are emboldened by a nuclear-armed Iran.
The collapse of the Assad regime would deal a serious blow to Tehran and Hizballah, while significantly improving Israel's strategic situation.
Furthermore, a Syrian regime that is only weakened by a U.S. strike, yet deterred from deploying a chemical weapon again, could in turn deter the entire Iranian network, and give Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini pause before considering further progress on his nuclear program.
According to former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin,"Iran has all of the capabilities it needs to decide to create a nuclear weapon. The day of the decision could be tonight, when they might choose to break out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
U.S. influence and deterrence has never been more needed in the region, and it has never been more lacking.
If Iran, the world's most radical state – whose leaders have publicly declared their desire to see Israel destroyed – gets hold of humanity's most destructive weapons, the effect on regional security would be devastating.
Sunni Arab countries, made up of Gulf states and secular countries like Jordan and Egypt, are all deeply concerned about the potential of nuclear weapons in the hands of Shi'ite Iran.
It is impossible to divorce Syria's use of chemical weapons from the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards Corps is the Syrian army against the rebels, while thousands of Hizballah fighters are in Syria too, fighting alongside Assad's forces.
The Iranian-led axis views Syria as a battleground where it can experiment with unconventional weapons and push the boundaries on international prohibitions against weapons of mass destruction.
An indecisive response to August's chemical massacre in Damascus runs the risk of emboldening Iran and its allies. They in turn will continue in their scheme to emerge as leaders of the Muslim Middle East, acquire nuclear weapons, and confront Israel and the moderate Sunni states.
None of these concerns negate the dangers from a revitalized al-Qaida network in Syria.
Estimates vary about the number of radical Islamists among opposition fighters. The fact remains that jihadi groups are growing quickly there. They make up some of the most effective fighting units, and are thriving in the power vacuum and deadly battlegrounds of Syria.
The jihadi presence in Syria has begun infecting neighboring states too, such as Lebanon and Iraq, and is likely to spread to other territories experiencing power vacuums, like Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula, while threatening stable countries such as Jordan. A spillover of terrorists to other lands is inevitable.
While the Sunni radical threat is very real, it is also limited in scope at this time, as far as Israel is concerned.
Small terrorist groups can fire rockets and mortars at Israel, and launch cross-border attacks. But this is a threat the IDF can contain, and for which it has spent many months preparing.
In contrast, a war with the Iranian axis would take on a significantly higher magnitude.
When weighing the extent of the danger presented by pro-al-Qaida groups in Syria, one might also factor in the likelihood that they will be engaged in a power struggle, sectarian warfare, and battles with more moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army for years to come.
This subsequent conflict could hamper their ability to organize serious attacks.
To be sure, the security problem posed by jihadis is no laughing matter. As they continue to raid weapons storehouses once owned by the Syrian army, Israel must think ahead about a scenario involving a raid by al-Qaida on a chemical weapons facility controlled by the Assad regime.
A reality in which al-Qaida is armed with chemical weapons can never be accepted.
But right now, Iran is just a few months away from a working nuclear weapon, should it decide to obtain one. Its ally in Damascus massacred over 1,400 civilians with sarin gas, and its ally in Lebanon stockpiles more rockets and missiles than any arsenal in the hands of most modern militaries.
For all of these reasons, a failure to deter the Iran-Syria-Hizballah axis now could result in a future security deterioration, the outcome of which would be more extensive than any immediate threat posed by jihadis in Syria.
Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post's military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.

Repentance teshuvah

Thoughts about Yom Kippur

Jewish candle lighting blessings

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oslo at 20 years

Oslo 20 Years Later: Lessons Learned?

In my previous post, I noted the upcoming 20th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords this week. Though the agreement has been a disaster for Israel, I speculated that though these results were eminently predictable—and were by critics of the Labor government that negotiated and signed the accords on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993—it might have been inevitable that sooner or later Israel would test the intentions of the Palestinians. The question now is whether the Israelis and their American allies are prepared to draw the appropriate conclusions from the experiment.
What happened in the 1990s as the post-Oslo euphoria first receded and was then replaced by the horror of the terror war called the Second Intifada was the gradual realization that Western illusions about Palestinian nationalism were misplaced. Though Arafat signaled at the time that he viewed Oslo as merely a diplomatic ruse intended to help continue the conflict on more advantageous terms rather than a permanent peace, this was something that was largely ignored by those pushing the peace process. Though there is no going back to the pre-Oslo world, as Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to revive peace talks continues those who are calling for pressure on Israel to make concessions to Arafat’s successor need to wake up and stop making the same mistakes.

First among them is to stop pretending that the Palestinian leadership has embraced the cause of peace. The fact remains that Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism and the effort to reverse the verdict of history on 1948 remains their focus today. Until that changes, Israeli leaders and their American allies must understand that a conclusion to the conflict is not in the cards.
Throughout the 1990s as Oslo unraveled, American diplomats and even some Israeli politicians persisted in ignoring not only Palestinian violations of the accords but the campaign of incitement and hate against the Jewish state that was orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority in their media and the educational system they were given control of by the treaty signed on the White House Lawn. Turning a blind eye toward Arafat’s support for terrorism did not enhance the chances of peace. Doing so merely convinced the Palestinians they would pay no price for their intransigence and set the stage for the war of terrorist attrition that put an end to the illusion of Oslo. Repeating that error today as the incitement continues will only replicate those bloody results.
They must also stop buying into the myth that Israeli settlements remain the obstacle to peace. Both Oslo and the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza (not to mention the peace treaty with Egypt) have proved that Israeli governments are prepared to give up territory including the uprooting of longstanding Jewish communities. But doing so merely encouraged the Palestinians to believe that they could oust every settlement, if not the Jewish state itself, if they only hung tough. Rather than negotiate a compromise solution in good faith, they remain trapped in the idea that the Jewish presence on the land is the problem rather than face up to the need to abandon the century-old war on Zionism.
Prior to Oslo, both Americans and some Israeli leaders fundamentally misread Palestinian political culture. The late Yitzhak Rabin thought Arafat would be so eager for a state that he would fight Hamas without the hindrances of concern for human rights and legal niceties that hampered Israeli counter-terrorist strategies. That was a mistake since it not only wrongly attributed a desire for peace to Arafat but also underestimated the hold that a desire for Israel’s destruction had on both the people of the territories and the descendants of the 1948 refugees. Secretary Kerry seems locked in the same misapprehensions about Mahmoud Abbas and the current PA, fueled in no small measures by the same tactic of Palestinians saying one thing about peace to Western diplomats and media and something different to their own people.
So long as American diplomats remain focused on talks with Palestinian leaders who lack the will or the ability to negotiate a permanent end to the conflict rather than on the culture that makes such intransigence inevitable, we are doomed to both a cycle of Palestinian-initiated violence and diplomatic frustration.
If there is a disconnect between the myths about Palestinian intentions on the part of Americans (including many Jews) and the cynicism about the subject on the part of the overwhelming majority of Israelis it is because the latter have been paying attention to events in the last 20 years while the former have clung to their ill-informed illusions. That realistic attitude is a sign of sanity in an Israeli political system that often seems lacking in rationality. But Israelis need to understand something else that has happened since Oslo.
Israel has spent most of the last 20 years continually making concessions to the Palestinians starting with the Oslo empowerment of Arafat and climaxing in the Gaza withdrawal. But it has received scant credit from a world. The irony is that rather than these retreats (as well as a variety of other measures including the release of terrorist murderers such as the one that was extracted from the Netanyahu government in order to give Kerry the negotiations he craved) being rightly interpreted as a sign that Israel wanted peace and was willing to offer generous terms, they were viewed by most of the world as a sign of a guilty conscience. While many Israeli diplomats have believed that arguing for Jewish rights to the West Bank and even Jerusalem was counterproductive, a dispute between a party that only talked of its security rather than its rights is one that is bound to be lost.
This has fed a trend in which Israel’s delegitimization has increased since Oslo rather than diminishing. After Arafat turned down an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and part of Jerusalem, some Israelis thought their negative image would change. They were wrong. Palestinian intransigence, repeated twice more as they rejected even more generous offers in the years that followed, has not harmed their image or strengthened sympathy for Israel.
If that tide is to be stemmed, let alone reversed, it will require Israelis and their friends to stop playing defense about territorial disputes. They must cease merely discussing their desire for peace (genuine though it is) and begin again asserting the justice of their cause.
Should a sea change in Palestinian culture ever occur allowing a new generation of pragmatic leaders to make peace, they will find Israelis willing to deal. But until that happens, both Americans and Israelis would do well to lower their expectations. That is especially true for leaders like Kerry who seemed to have learned nothing from recent history. The euphoria about peace that followed the signing of the Oslo Accords was a trap that led to years of unnecessary bloodshed. In the years that follow this anniversary the test of statecraft in the Middle East will be in avoiding the pattern of self-deception that not only led to Oslo but also worsened its consequences

Evil J Street loses power

Leftist Roots Trump Obama for J Street

The irony is delicious. In the fall of 2008, the leaders of the J Street lobby boldly asserted their group’s coming preeminence as the leading voice in Washington about Israel over the more established AIPAC. The reason for that confidence was J Street’s close ties to the incoming Obama administration. Pointing to the huge majority of Jewish votes won by the Democrat in the 2008 election, J Street not only claimed that its views were more representative of American Jewry but that it would serve as a necessary pro-Obama counterweight to what they falsely claimed was an AIPAC that favored Republicans. But fast forward to September 2013 and the reality of the alignment of these two groups is vastly different from what J Street propagandists were saying a few years ago. Not only is J Street a shadow of the liberal behemoth that some expected would lead the discussion about the Middle East, disconnected from public opinion in Israel and bereft of influence on Capitol Hill or in the White House. It is also at odds with the man they once served as his main Jewish cheerleaders.
While AIPAC has reacted to the president’s puzzling decision to pass off responsibility to Congress for a strike on Syria by mobilizing its resources to back him up on the issue, J Street is standing on the sidelines of a vote that will have huge implications for the future of U.S. influence in the Middle East. In doing so, J Street is not only burning what’s left of its bridges to an administration that they’ve been out of step with for the past two years. It’s also showing that their leftist roots as the Jewish rump of the movement trumps their loyalty to the president or to the cause of human rights.

That J Street should be aligning itself with the isolationists on both the left and the right against the administration shouldn’t be any surprise. Despite their boasts about representing the mainstream of Jewish opinion in this country, it has always been a creature of the isolationist left. Though opposition to Syria intervention is widely unpopular, J Street might have been expected to rally to President Obama’s side in what is probably the most crucial moment of his second term. If Congress fails to grant him authority to attack Syria his credibility is shot at home and abroad and we might as well hang a sign around his neck saying “lame duck.”
But the crowd from which J Street sprung does not share the president’s apparent ambivalence about the use of U.S. power even when used against a Syrian dictator who has used chemical weapons against his own people. They are always against it. While J Street belatedly condemned Syria’s use of chemical weapons their outrage over this crime wasn’t enough to convince the leaders of the group to back up the president whose stands on Israel once enthralled them.
I deplore J Street’s belief that the U.S should use its status as Israel’s only ally to pressure it to make concessions to a Palestinian Authority that has repeatedly demonstrated its unwillingness to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. But do they think America’s capacity to use its influence in the Middle East will be enhanced by the evisceration of Obama’s ability to lead on foreign affairs by Congress? It is that reason that the pro-Israel community in this country which largely disagrees with J Street’s calls for pressure on Israel has weighed in on the president’s behalf. AIPAC was loath to involve itself in the squabble in Syria because it rightly felt that Israel favored neither side in the Syrian civil war. But a United States that is no longer capable of stepping up to punish those who use weapons of mass destruction in this manner is also an America that has been effectively rendered irrelevant in the Middle East. No matter what you think about the fighting in Syria or about the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, that should be a big problem for those who purport to speak for pro-Israel opinion in this country.
Nevertheless, it should be conceded that J Street’s opposition to Obama on Syria wouldn’t decrease its influence in Washington. That’s because it has none. Though it has been cheering wildly for Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to restart peace talks, it’s been out of touch with the administration’s attitude toward Israel since the beginning of 2012 when the president began a Jewish “charm offensive” in order to help his reelection. J Street loved it when Obama was picking fights with Israel during his first three years in office, but even then it was clear the White House understood just how insignificant a player the group was. That it must now look to AIPAC for help on Syria again demonstrates not only the mainstream lobby’s importance but also how foolish J Street’s attacks on it have been.
When push comes to shove, it appears J Street’s core beliefs about the illegitimacy of American power will always trump its claim to want to bolster Israel or even Obama. If few have noticed that they’ve abandoned the president, it’s largely because their hard-core ideological approach to issues always rendered it a marginal force even in Democratic councils, let alone the public square they once thought to dominate.