Monday, June 30, 2008

Special Recital For Gilad Shalit--Wednesday, July 2

From an email:

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Just What Is Olmert Negotiating?

When Olmert announced the truce with Hamas,
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned on Wednesday that the imminent Gaza truce with Hamas would be fragile and may not last long.
When Olmert announced the deal with Hizbollah, Olmert said
There will be much sadness in Israel, much humiliation considering the celebrations that will be held on the other side.
Not only is Olmert pursuing failed policies--he admits they are failed even before he puts them into effect. Is this supposed to be what he means when he talks about painful concessions?

Is Olmert negotiating peace? Or surrender??
Maybe someone should raise that point with him before he goes any further.

Hat tip to Eric Trager, who suggests that Olmert is The Worst Politician Ever.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Nachum Segal Interviews Malcolm Hoenlein

Nachum Segal interviews Malcolm Hoenlein:
Nachum interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who called in for the latest Weekly Update. Nachum and Malcolm began this week with a discussion about statements made by Israeli Foreign Minister Zipi Livni regarding actions in Gaza. They briefly spoke about the dirth of strong leadership in Israel and how that plays out in the Israeli political and social structure. They covered several other topics including: Senator Barack Obama's "mussar" letter to President Bush in regard to Hamas and Israel, the latest news regarding Gilad Shalit and the other Israeli MIAs, the importance of registering to vote, information about Iran's on-going nuclear program, and MUCH more. Click the link to listen.

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What Jobs are HOT? Join the OU Job Board Seminar 7/10

From an email:

What Jobs are HOT? Join the OU Job Board Seminar 7/10

OU Job Board Career Workshop-What's HOT & What's NOT-July 10th

9:30-11:30 A.M.
“What’s Hot and What’s Not”
Presented by Louise Klaber Senior Career Counselor F.E.G.S

This is career workshop for job seekers who are interested in learning
about the major economic trends that affect our lives. The seminar
will identify job sectors that are growing in New York City, as well
as a discussion of those industries that are very competitive

“What’s Hot and What’s Not” will provide tips and suggestions on how
to play an active an assertive role in managing your career

• Learn what field is HOT
• Learn which careers NOT to go into
• Growth Industries: what is on the horizon
• Learn how to adjust your career and get on top of the curve
• Q/A session and interactive participation


The Young Israel of Woodmere
859 Peninsula Blvd
Woodmere, Long Island

Will also be available on the OU Job Board Archives after the seminar

Sign up NOW at Go to what's HOT and What's NOT tab
upper right hand of page.

Srulie Rosner
OU Job Board
Changing your life-forever!

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

PA Will Defend Itself Against Lawsuits--Maybe They Just Noticed The Prosecution's Lousy Record

The PA's decision might not be all that surprising.

In a surprising shift, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority says his government is willing to defend itself against lawsuits alleging that it is liable for acts of Palestinian Arab terrorism during the intifada, according to court papers.

For years, the Palestinian Authority has refused to contest such suits or acknowledge the jurisdiction of American courts, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in default judgments that the Palestinian Authority has refused to pay. Now, in a move that could lead to trials, the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is calling on federal judges in New York and Rhode Island to throw out the default judgments and give the authority another chance to respond to civil suits filed years ago.

"I have instructed new counsel that the Defendants will participate fully in this and other litigation in a cooperative manner," Mr. Fayyad pledged in an affidavit filed in court in Rhode Island.

The shift could prompt new suits against the Palestinian Authority, if other litigants, such as businessman, believe that the authority might actually pay judgments awarded by American courts.

What exactly is motivating the change is unclear, although it may have come at the urging of American officials.
One motivation could be that the money used to pay if the Palestinian Authority loses would come from the American tax money being sent to the PA.

But maybe part of the PA's reasoning is the poor record the US has had in persuing cases against terrorists.

The case against the Holy Land Foundation ended in a mistrial.
In one case, Hamas was found to be a political party--not a terrorist group.
In that case, the defense claimed that the Israel Lobby was involved--and the defendant got off.
In another case, it was argued that terrorism against Israel did not violate international norms.

Just what are the odds that the PA gets away with it?

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Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me This Month Is Hamas' One Year Anniversary?!

Rinat Malkes offers one possible reason:
The Hamas regime itself downplayed their one-year anniversary, which took place this month, for fear of sparking unrest. In the media, the event was overshadowed by the negotiation of a ceasefire with Israel.

For ordinary Gazans, the occasion was less about celebration and more about evaluation of the past year, economically, politically and socially.

The conclusion: over the past year Gaza has become more conservative, more religious and more hopeless.
Just how bad depends, as always on who you ask. On the one hand, there is Professor Mkhaimar Abu Saad, a political science analyst from Al Ahzar University. According to Professor Saad
the past year was undoubtably the worst in Palestinian history. The break in relations between the Islamic Hamas and the secular Fatah, headed by Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas has not only divided the Palestinians themselves, but made international hopes for a final solution to the Arab-Israel problem an even more distant prospect. Unemployment rates in Gaza reached 75% of Gaza’s population and the average annual income, which had been $1500 per capita, dropped to a mere $600 as a result of Hamas rule.
On the other hand,Professor Assad Abu Sharekh of Gaza University believes in giving credit where credit is due. He claims that
Hamas cannot be denied credit for bringing peace back to the cities of the Gaza. He is certain that Gaza is a much safer place today than it was last year.

“A year ago, there were gangs shooting, killing, attacking and robbing during daylight without any fear of punishment. It sounds strange, but Gaza today is a safe place, you are not afraid of walking on the streets anymore. There’s law and order and the corruption has completely gone.”

Read the whole thing.

I suppose if you consider the above-mentioned rise in unemployment and drop in average family income to be worth the money siphoned off for building Kassams to fire at Israel--then yeah, Hamas is squeaky clean.

Gee, you'd think more people would be celebrating...

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Israel's Release of Murderer For Dead Soldiers Raises Questions

Today it became official:
Israel’s government voted on Sunday to trade one of the most notorious convicts in its prisons, a Lebanese murderer, for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers whose cross-border capture led to and partly motivated its month-long war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

After a wrenching national debate which served to drive hesitant officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, into accepting the deal, the cabinet voted 22 to 3 to trade the prisoner, Samir Kuntar, along with four other Lebanese, for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers.

“Despite all hesitations, after weighing the pros and the cons, I support the agreement,” Mr. Olmert was quoted by his spokesman as telling his cabinet at the start of the meeting. “Our initial theory was that the soldiers were alive ... Now we know with certainty there is no chance that that is the case.” He added, “There will be much sadness in Israel, much humiliation considering the celebrations that will be held on the other side.”
Sure enough, Hizbollah is already bragging how the exchange shows how strong they really are. After all, the original goal of the 'kidnapping' was to gain the freedom of Kuntar:
Mr. Kuntar was part of a cell that in 1979 raided the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, shooting dead Danny Haran while his daughter Einat, 4, watched, then smashing the girl’s head, killing her as well. Mr. Haran’s wife, Smadar, hid with their 2-year-old daughter and accidentally suffocated her to death in an effort to stop her from crying out.
The exchange of Kuntar for the dead soldiers has raised questions about Israel's longstanding policy of doing whatever it takes to achieve the return of captured soldiers--even if their dead bodies. It it worth releasing such a murderer as Kuntar in order to know for sure the fate of the soldiers? The parents say yes--others are not so sure.

Earlier this month, a number of IDF reservists wrote a letter to the chief of staff that in the event they are captured, they do not want the government to release terrorists in order to get them returned.

Emanuele Ottolenghi has questions too.
When did the government know that the two soldiers were in all likelihood dead? Was it immediately after Hezbollah’s incursion into Israeli territory, on July 12, 2006? If so, the government launched a military campaign of 33 days, that cost the lives of over 130 Israelis, in order to rescue the dead bodies of two. Some explaining is in order, if that is the case.
And if the government did not know right away...
Did the government find out aout their fate after the war was over? If so, how long ago? According to Ehud’s father, “There have been assessments for a long time,” “But none of this matters because it is not fact . . . They were alive when they were kidnapped and no one has provided us with evidence to the contrary.” The government now seems to think that this is not so, but has not provided the evidence.

Why now? If the evidence is conclusive, should the families not know for sure? Shouldn’t the nation as well, given the price exacted in return? And should it not be the case that Israel should demand more, not less, of Hezbollah, now that its captives are dead? [emphasis added]
Under the circumstances, there is a noticiable lack of consideration, considering how this exchange is supposedly being done for the benefit of the Goldwasser and Regev families.
After all, Israel’s government has decided to return a monster like Kuntar, who killed an infant girl and her four-year-old sister in a brutal act of sadism after having slaughtered their father. At a minimum, Israel’s government should have told Israelis why two dead soldiers (for whose sake more than a hundred died) are now being exchanged for this criminal.
It is supposed to take up to 2 weeks to carry out this agreement with Hizbollah. Before it is finalized, Israelis should insist on clarification on just what Olmert thinks he is doing and why.

Is it a coincidence that this exchange is taking place now, at the same time that Olmert is attempting peace negotiations with Lebanon?

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Haveil Havalim #171 Is Up

This week, Ima On (and Off) the Bima is hosting Haveil Havalim #171--The Packing For Camp Edition, featuring a wide variety of posts from all across the JBlogosphere.

Come join the fun--and don't forget to pack your toothbrush.

Please note: I will be hosting the next Haveil Havalim. Please feel free to email me directly posts either by you or by another blogger that you would like to see included, either by using the using the carnival submission form or by emailing me directly at daledamos at blogspot dot com.

For information about hosting, email Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.
You can submit your post to the next edition of haveil havalim using the carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page.
Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Berlin Conference: "Zionist Entity" Should Be "Cancelled"

So good to know that ties between Israel and Germany have been strengthened.
Berlin forum calls for Israel's destruction

Representatives of Germany's foreign and economics ministries are fumbling the hot potato of who, exactly, backed a conference in Berlin last week that became a mouthpiece for anti-Semitic Iranian propaganda and a call for Israel's destruction.
German Foreign Minister Frank...

Iran's former deputy minister of foreign Affairs, Dr. Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani, told the Third Transatlantic Conference - whose stated purpose was to address "common solutions" in the Middle East - that "the Zionist project" should be "cancelled" and "has failed miserably and has only caused terrible damage to the region."
Here is an example of the kind of genius that was on display at the conference:
A German academic has claimed that there is a possibility that the 11 Israeli athletes who were massacred by Palestinian militants during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich knew of the attack in advance but willfully sacrificed themselves, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

At an academic conference last week, Prof. Arnd Kruger of the Institute for Sport Studies at the University of Gottingen compared the 1929 massacre of Hebron Jews with the athletes' refusal to leave the Olympic Village despite alleged prior knowledge of the attack.
Glad to see that the representatives from Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia did not have to do all of the work.

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Senator Brownback On Palestinians And Jordan

Looks like the topic has found its way into the open again:
Robert Kagan, foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, has vehemently denied reports on a Jordanian blog that Sen. McCain would declare Jordan the home for Palestinian Authority Arabs if he is elected president. The Arabic language Al Jazeera network reported that Kagan suggested the idea in a lecture at New York University.
Sure enough, there does not seem to be any indication that Kagan has been advocating the idea--The Elon Plan. But someone else has been--
Sen. Brownback: PA Idea Doesn't Work

Senator Sam Brownback (R – KS) gave a strongly pro-Israel speech at the Jerusalem Conference Tuesday, in which he advocated rethinking the idea of letting the PA administer itself. Instead, he suggested a confederation between the PA and Jordan, with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria enjoying limited self-rule. The current path to peace “isn’t working, wasn’t working, and will never work,” he said, drawing strong applause.

The PA, said Brownback, is not capable of administering its own territory. "After 15 years, billions of dollars in aid, massive international attention and unlimited diplomatic support," he asked rhetorically, "what do the Palestinians have to show for it?"

"Nothing," he answered.

"If our leaders want to talk in terms of a two state solution, it's high time that we started thinking of Jordan as the second state in that equation," Brownback told the audience at the Jerusalem Hyatt Regency Hotel auditorium. He cited a 2007 poll in which 42% of Palestinians expressed support for the idea of a confederation.
Read the whole thing.

You can view a video of an interview with Senator Brownback from the February Jerusalem Conference at the end of the article here, or you can download the video (wmv format).

In addition, there is also a video that Senator Brownback made back in October:

Benny Elon did an interview with Caroline Glick back in July 2003. At the end of the interview, there is a brief outline of the plan:

The Elon Plan

The PA

Immediate dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, a non-viable entity whose existence precludes the termination of the conflict.


Israel will uproot the Palestinian terror infrastructure. All arms will be collected, incitement will be stopped and all the refugee camps, which serve as incubators for terror, will be dismantled. Terrorists and their direct supporters will be deported.


Israel, the US and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Jordan will once again recognize itself as the Palestinian nation-state.

In the context of a regional development program, Israel, the US and the international community will put forth a concerted effort for the long-term development of Jordan, to rehabilitate its economy and enable it to absorb a limited number of refugees within its borders.

The territories

Israeli sovereignty will be asserted over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Arab residents of these areas will become citizens of the Palestinian state in Jordan. The status of these citizens, their connection to the two states and the manner of administration of their communal lives will be decided in an agreement between the governments of Israel and Jordan (Palestine).


Israel, the US and the international community will allocate resources for the completion of the exchange of populations that began in 1948, as well as the full rehabilitation of the refugees and their absorption and naturalization in various countries.


After implementation of the above stages, Israel and Jordan (Palestine) will declare the conflict terminated. Both sides will work to normalize peaceful relations between all parties in the region.
If the third step is dependent on carrying out the first two, the plan is doomed.

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Today Is The Bicentennial of Samson Raphael Hirsch

[Note: Mazal Tov to Jonathan Rosenblum on the engagement of his son Yechezkel Mordechai, to Tova Rina Zaldis]

Eduring, and still relevant.
The Enduring Legacy of Rabbi Shamshon Raphael Hirsch
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post
June 27, 2008

Today marks the bicentennial of Rabbi Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, whose vision dominated German Orthodoxy from the early 19th century until its destruction by the Nazis.

When Rabbi Hirsch first burst on the scene, as the 27-year-old author of The Nineteen Letters, German Orthodoxy was in full flight. In the first decades of the 19th century, for instance, nearly 90% of Berlin's Jews made their way to the baptismal font. The Nineteen Letters was the first work to address the modern age from the perspective of Torah. That work and its successor Horeb arrested in mid-flight thousands who had all but turned their back on traditional Judaism.

One rabbinical contemporary wrote, "Anybody who reads The Nineteen Letters will find that until now he did not know Judaism as he knows it now, and literally becomes a new being." Rabbi Hirsch's writings provided the initial inspiration for Sarah Schenirer, the founder of the Bais Yaakov network of schools for women, and the lay leaders of the original Agudath Israel movement were almost all drawn from the ranks of his disciples.

Because of his openness to secular studies Rabbi Hirsch is sometimes described as the founder of modern Orthodoxy. That is a mistake.
In the context of German Orthodoxy of his day, Rabbi Hirsch was considered a zealot. His insistence on a complete separation from the government-recognized communal bodies, on the grounds that they bore the taint of institutionalized heresy, divided the Orthodox community of Frankfort that he had almost single-handedly built. Every page of the voluminous Hirsch corpus cries out his intense Fear of Heaven.

Rabbi Hirsch is more accurately described as the architect of Torah Judaism for the modern world (the subtitle of the definitive biography by Eliyahu Meir Klugman.) He wrote for a modern world lacking the protective insularity of the ghetto, one in which every Jew simultaneously lives in a broader non-Jewish society. Though he recognized the dangers of Emancipation and repeatedly stressed that participation in the larger society could never justify the slightest deviation from one's duties as a Jew, Rabbi Hirsch saw Emancipation as allowing for a fuller Jewish life.

The narrow constraint of Jewish life in the ghetto had, in Rabbi Hirsch's opinion, robbed Jewish learning of its intended vitality, through actual application to life situations. "The goal of study," he lamented, "has not been practical life, to understand the world and our duty in it."

Rather than approaching the broader society in an exclusively defensive posture, Hirsch viewed it with optimism. He saw the historical circumstances of any period as the raw material upon which the ideals of the Torah must be impressed to the extent that the larger society provides the opportunity to do so.

His writings are filled with an enormous confidence in the power of Torah to uplift and transform every period of history. Accordingly, he addressed the entirety of German Jewry on a monthly basis on the major issues of the day. No Torah scholar of comparable stature fills that role today.

THE LAND OF ISRAEL has not provided fertile soil for the Hirschian tradition. Orthodox refugees from Germany, or at least their children have virtually all gravitated either towards Mizrachi or to the mainstream yeshiva world. It is often pointed out by the latter that the last 150 years of German Orthodox life produced no more than two or three Talmudists or poskim (legal decisors) of the first rank, compared to hundreds in Eastern Europe. For that reason, the Hirschian tradition will never become the dominant one within the Israeli haredi world.

Nevertheless Rabbi Hirsch's writings still have much to offer both to the haredi world itself and the broader Jewish society. Indeed it is hard to think of any nineteenth century Jewish thinker who speaks with such astonishing contemporaneity. More than 100 years after his passing, new translations of his work, particularly his commentary on Chumash, continue to appear regularly. On any issue to which he set his pen, his word continues to be not just the first word but the last.

As more haredim enter the marketplace and, as a consequence, seek some form of advanced secular education, Rabbi Hirsch's writings on the confrontation between modernity and Torah will gain many new readers. His corpus is already standard reading for ba'alei teshuva drawing closer to the world of Torah study and observance.

Rabbi Hirsch described the prevailing religious observance of his day as preserving outward forms without the animating inner spirit. His life task was to reverse that "uncomprehended Judaism." For Hirsch, the Torah is "Divine anthropology" – an account of Man from the vantage point of the Divine. The mitzvot must be understood not as arbitrary rules that demand only obedience but as the tools through which G-d seeks to shape the ideal human being, whose self-perfection is the goal of Creation.

In his commentary on Chumash, Rabbi Hirsch demonstrated the meaning and life lessons that each detail of observance, including that of the Temple service, seeks to inculcate. Even those who find themselves unmoved by a particular explanation will never again doubt, after reading Hirsch, the relevance of each word of Torah to daily life.

The awareness of mitzvot as educational tools for the formation of the ideal human being is closely linked to another key Hirschian concept: the imperative of sanctifying God's Name through one's every action. One of the miracles of the Tablets of the Law was that they read the same from whichever direction one looked. And so, Rabbi Hirsch taught, must it be with every Jew. From whichever direction he is perceived – whether at home, in the study hall, or in the marketplace – he must bear the stamp of a Jew shaped by Torah.

The glory of German Jews raised in the Hirschian tradition was their emphasis that one must not only be "glatt kosher but glatt yosher (straight)." A member of the Hirschian community of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan told me this past Shabbat that he has never experienced the temptation to cut a corner on his taxes or in business dealings.

I have no doubt that an exposure both to Rabbi Hirsch's writings and to Orthodox Jews raised in his tradition would go a long way towards drawing non-observant Israeli Jews towards their traditions.

But there is another aspect of Rabbi Hirsch that is crucial to the entirety of Jewish society in Israel today. Absent some understanding of why the continued collective existence of the Jewish people is a matter of universal significance those with the talents and wherewithal to go elsewhere will do so. Indeed the statistics on Israel's brain drain make clear that many already have.

Hirsch's writings provide perhaps the fullest account of the Jewish national mission. "To reestablish peace and harmony on earth . . . and to bring the glory of G-d back to earth," he writes in his Commentary to Chumash, "is proclaimed on every page of the Word of G-d as the result and aim of Torah." Elsewhere he described Emancipation as a step towards "our goal – that every Jew and Jewess, though the example they provide in their own lives, should be priests of G-d and genuine humanity."

Read more articles by Jonathan Rosenblum at Jewish Media Resources.

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For Many French Journalists, Enderlin's Reputation Trumps The Truth

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, a political journalist in Paris, gives an overview of the Al-Durah case up to the present, covering the current petition defending Enderlin and the reasons being given for signing it.
You might think Enderlin's professional standing would have been damaged by all this. You would be wrong. In less than a week, a petition was whipped up by his friends at Le Nouvel Observateur, France's premier left-wing newsweekly. The petition conceded no gray areas, no hint of doubt. It called Karsenty's vehemently argued but exhaustively documented stance a "seven-year hate-filled smear campaign" aimed at destroying Enderlin's "professional dignity." It flatly stated in the opening paragraph that Muhammad al-Dura was killed "by shots coming from the Israeli position." It expressed rank astonishment at a legal ruling "granting equal credibility to a journalist renowned for his rigorous work, and to willful deniers ignorant of the local realities and with no journalistic experience." It professed concern about a jurisprudence that would-shock! horror!-allow "anyone, in the name of good faith and of a supposed right to criticize and so-called freedom of speech, to smear with impunity the honor and the reputation of news professionals."

There followed the names of over 300 journalists-sorry, "news professionals"-and hundreds more miscellaneous celebrity intellectuals (under the heading "Personalités"), as well as a vast slew of mere web surfers ("Internautes"). Note, here again, that while the journalists were listed in apparently neutral alphabetical order, the managing editor of a provincial news conglomerate cheek by jowl with a lowly travel magazine stringer-the key distinction between pros and outsiders was maintained. It was as if the eight-year controversy had been irrelevant. From "news professionals," who were viewed as right by definition, no accountability could possibly be required. The guild was closing ranks.
Realizing that she recognized many of the names on the list, Moutet resolved to call her friends up and find out why they signed the Enderlin petition.
As it turned out, it was plenty awkward. I came to recognize the moment when, after the "voice-from-your-past" greetings and the "where-are-you-now" fat-chewing and the nostalgic memories of past editors, colleagues, competitors, copy-takers ("all done by computer now, nobody to tell you you're not making sense!"), I got around to the subject at hand. As I started explaining that I was writing a piece on the al-Dura affair and was wondering why they had signed the petition, I learned to recognize the telltale pause, the "Good Lord, she's caught Scientology! She's gone over to the crazies!" moment, after which the whole object of the exercise would become to hang up on me as fast as possible.
Moutet runs through a description of a variety of exchanges with journalists, whose excuse for signing the petition boils down to being in defense either of Charles Enderlin's reputation--and undisguised distaste for those criticizing him--or of his mental health due to the pressures of the trial.

Read the whole thing.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Truce Or Not, Things Are Not Getting Any Better In Lebanon

I wrote a few days ago about Michael Totten's piece on the deteriorating peace in Lebanon. Now, Michael Totten writes:
Hezbollah is alarming its Lebanese opponents by expanding its territory through the purchase of property outside Shia areas in Lebanon.

...Christians, Sunnis, and Druze have been talking about building up their own private forces for some time now to provide a balance of power in Lebanon because the state is too weak to handle the job. Since Jumblatt proved he can repel Hezbollah with a militia, and Hariri cannot because he doesn’t have a militia, the incentive for communal re-armament is now greater than it has been since the civil war ended. NOW Lebanon says Hezbollah’s current strategy is suicidal, and it is. But it’s the most destructive form of suicide possible, the political equivalent of a suicide bombing.

I have written many times that Hezbollah’s enemies cannot defeat them in battle. It’s still true. What’s also true is that Hezbollah cannot defeat everyone else. A renewed civil war would produce a grinding stalemate with Hezbollah as the strongest and with the highest body count. Nasrallah would lose nearly every advantage he has as the leader of the only seriously armed faction, and the rest of the country would circle the drain along with him.
In the other Totten post, he quoted a Lebanese leader who the Doha truce was only temporary. Apparently, the Lebanese have a Hudna of their own going with Hizbollah.

And into this mess comes Olmert, trying to negotiate some kind of peace agreement with Lebanon. Just how desperate is Olmert?

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Friday, June 27, 2008

One Jerusalem: End of Week Review: June 27, 2008

From their email:
End of Week Review: June 27, 2008

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

Here are the latest headlines from the One Jerusalem Blog:

Google Helps Arab Enemies Of Israel: Once again Google is assisting the enemies of the Jewish People.Dr. Andre Obler has written an enlightening summary of how Google is helping Israel's adversaries distort the historical narrative of the Jewish State. The findings of Dr. Obler's paper for the...(read more)

Barak and Olmert Push Israel To The Brink: During the past week, Israel's political pundits were confident that the Knesset would vote to dissolve itself today. In large part their confidence stemmed from the fact that the Labor Party under the leadership of Ehud Barak would support dissolution....(read more)

CUFI Conference: On July 21-24 CUFI will be hosting its 3rd annual Washington-Israel Summit. Pastor Hagee and CUFI deserve our support in recognition of his strong support for Israel and a united, undivided Jerusalem as its capitol. ...(read more)

A Jewish Running Mate For McCain?: The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and other new sources are reporting about a draft Eric Cantor for Vice President movement.While we are not in the business of endorsing candidates, it would be remiss of us not mention that others think...(read more)

Together we can win the fight to maintain a united Jerusalem!

The One Jerusalem Team
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Olmert Admits Transferring Hundreds Of Millions Of Shekels To Hamas

Words fail.
In the initial letter of warning sent by Shurat HaDin on behalf of victims of Hamas terror attacks to the PMO [Prime Minister's Office], Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote: "The currency of record in the Gaza Strip is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS)." Most of the financial activity in the Gaza Strip runs on a cash basis, using the NIS. Tens of thousands of Hamas terrorists and governmental official get their salary in Israeli currency -- in cash. Thus, the transfer of large sums of cash into the Gaza Strip is, by definition, an act that directly fuels the terrorist activity of Hamas and is therefore a violation of the Terror-Funding Act of 2005 and the domestic and international laws against money laundering."

The warning letters from Shurat HaDin also note that a portion of the cash funneled into Gaza by Israel is used to replace Israeli currency in Hamas' coffers that has physically deteriorated and another portion serves the international money laundering trade, most notably the money "smuggled" by Hamas from Iran via the Egyptian border. Without these criminal acts, Hamas' financial hold on the Strip would collapse and thus these measures are directly responsible for shoring up the Hamas control over Gaza and its continued terrorist activity launched from the region.

The PMO's letter reveals for the first time, that the Israeli government allows and encourages the financial support for the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip - knowingly and willingly. In reaction to the PMO's letter Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner stated that "the government of Israel cannot fight against the Hamas terrorist organization with one hand, and continue to secretly finance it with the other. Hypocritically, the Prime Minister demands governments around the world isolate and and embargo the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and stop transferring funds to them while at the same time he authorizes the transfer of Israeli currency into the hands of the enemy. This government claims to be fighting against the smuggling of tens of millions of dollars and euro into the Gaza Strip via the Egyptian border, all the while participating in the laundering of this money by exchanging them for New Israeli Shekels."[emphasis added]
Read the whole thing.

The problem with politicians who see no problem with the exchange of large sums of money in order to get things done--they think it is OK to give large sums of money to anybody to get things done.

Now, can we get rid of Olmert?

Listen to The Tovia Singer Show: Why is Olmert Funding Hamas?

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Muslim Refusal Is No Great Shakes

Back in April 2006, I first read on The Middle East Forum about Daniel Pipe's proposed Islamist Watch, which now is described on the Islamist Watch site as follows:
ISLAMIST WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, combats the ideas and institutions of lawful Islamism in the United States and throughout the West. Arguing that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution," we seek to expose the Islamist organizations that currently dominate the debate, while identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims. Islamist Watch specifically does not deal with counterterrorism but works to establish that lawful Islamism is by and of itself a threat. [emphasis added]
At the time, based on some of the examples Pipes gave I wrote him that:
I noticed that among your examples of nonviolent Islamism are:
Do you think there may be cases that will make the Jewish community susceptible to parallel criticism?

Might a group such as you are proposing pave the way to a group creating a more vocal and official "Zionist Watch" that would openly criticize Kashrut symbols on food, wearing of Kippot, and other things remotely similar?

I like the idea of your project, but after looking at some of the examples, I just wanted to know what you thought about this.
Daniel Pipes was nice enough to respond:
Do you think there may be cases that will make the Jewish community succeptible to parallel criticism?
not really; can't think of any. Jewish efforts are private, these are public.
Pipes' reply did not answer my concerns, though I signed up to receive emails from the new list. Not all "Jewish efforts" are private.

Today's post by David J. Rusin, The Non-Handshake That Shook Ireland, raised my old concerns again:
Shaking hands is a centuries-old custom that conveys greetings and respect. For this reason, refusing an extended hand will likely be interpreted as an insult. Such was the case when a Muslim asylum seeker set to receive an award for volunteer work in Ireland informed the committee that he would not shake hands with the woman presenting it. As a result, they gave the certificate to someone else.

...The Irish case is merely the latest handshake controversy. Last year, a female Muslim officer was exempted from shaking hands with the London police chief at a graduation ceremony. In 2006, an employment commission in the Netherlands ruled that a Muslim woman could not be barred from a teacher-training program because she refused to shake hands with men. Most ironic of all, that same year the Dutch immigration minister was snubbed as she presented diplomas to imams completing an "assimilation course."

Rusin recognizes that Muslims are not alone among religious groups in this regard, but still finds Muslims to be different:

Inter-gender handshakes are also restricted by some other religious groups, so why should the above stories be of concern? Because only among lawful Islamists is there a prominent push to institutionalize aspects of Shari'a-grounded gender segregation in the public square. Any accommodation must be viewed in this broader context.

With Shari'a on the march, Western society cannot afford to sit on its hands.

Reading this, I felt very uncomfortable that Rusin automatically assumed that the broader context was Muslim extremists instead of the commonality between Islam and other religious groups in this regard.

The four cases of Muslims refraining from shaking hands is a long way from Muslim taxi drivers refusing to give rides to blind people with seeing eye dogs or Muslim cashiers at Target refusing to deal with customers buying liquor--unless you take the position of the self-described Ethicist, who in October 2002 responded to a real estate broker who wrote that she was taken aback when an Orthodox Jew would not shake her hand:
Some religions (and some civil societies) that assign men and women distinct spheres argue that while those two spheres are different, neither is inferior to the other. This sort of reasoning was rejected in 1954 in the great school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, when the Supreme Court declared that separate is by its very nature unequal. That's a pretty good ethical guideline for ordinary life.
In responding to this answer, Jonathan Rosenblum writes:
Frankly, in polyglot New York, I would have expected a message of greater tolerance for practices that at first strike us as strange. The real-estate agent, after all, did not ask anything of the woman. He did not request her to don a long skirt and shawl, as tens of thousands of ardent feminists do every year upon entering St. Peter's Cathedral. Nor did he withhold anything tangible from her. (Presumably she had no interest in holding his hand.) [emphasis added]
In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, there is no reason to treat a Muslim any differently.

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Google Earth And Israel: Replacement Geography (Updated)

by Andre Oboler
  • Virtual Israel, as represented by Google Earth, is littered with orange dots, many of which claim to represent "Palestinian localities evacuated and destroyed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war." Thus, Israel is depicted as a state born out of colonial conquest rather than the return of a people from exile. Each dot links to the "Palestine Remembered" site, where further information advancing this narrative can be obtained.
  • Many of the claims staked out in Google Earth present misinformation, and sites known to be ruins in 1946 are claimed to be villages destroyed in 1948. Arab villages which still exist today are listed as sites of destruction. The Google Earth initiative is not only creating a virtual Palestine, it is creating a falsification of history.
  • The concept of "replacement geography" replaces the historical connection of one people to the land with a connection between another people and the land. The inclusion of virtual Palestine, superimposed on Israel in the core layer of Google Earth, is an example of replacement geography advanced by technology.
  • Those wishing to explore Israel in Google Earth are immediately taken to a politically motivated narrative unrelated to their quest. Google should remove the narrative and treat Israel as it treats every other country on the globe. The core layer of Google Earth should be ideology free and not serve as a platform for indoctrination or a campaign to wipe Israel off the virtual map.
This is the summary of the article--read the whole thing.

One of the footnotes in the article points to an article by David Shama in The Jerusalem Post: Digital World: Google Earth's 'false flags'. Shama addresses the claim by Thameen Darby on Google Earth that Kiryat Yam is built on the ruins of an Arab village named Ghawarina.

Shamah writes:
Well, I can help Thameen out a bit - from a site he is quite familiar with himself. A site called "Palestine Remembered," which purports to catalog the villages within the 1948 borders from which Israel evicted the Arabs, turning them into refugees, and which Darby refers Google Earth users to for more information. It displays a 1946 map of Mandatory Palestine, with all extant villages, cities, railroads, etc ( The map bears the signatures of Moshe Dayan and Transjordan's Ahmed Sudki El Jundi, establishing the "green line" cease-fire lines in 1949. The map was based on an extensive British survey of the territory in 1944 (updated in 1946, a year before the end of the Mandate and two years before Israel was officially established).

Guess what? No Ghawarina! Neither is Kiryat Yam there, for that matter. But since the town was basically a tent on a sand dune (, seventh photo down) when first established, it would make sense that it not appear on the map. In fact, the Palestine Remembered page with information on Ghawarina ( is completely blank - save for the claim that the village did indeed exist, contradicted by that "original source" map on the same site [Note: correct reference to PR should be DA].

Comparing Darby's Google Earth posts with the British map, I came up with some other questionable claims: villages claimed to have existed that don't appear on the British map at all (Wadi Qabbani, said to be be outside Netanya on Google Earth); villages that do exist today claimed to have been destroyed (the Arab Ein Hawd - see In addition, Darby has "claimed" as Arab villages all sites on the British map that use the term "Khirbet" - a ruin - even if they clearly show up as ruins, wells or springs on the map (numerous examples).

For another issue, check out Zombietime on Google Earth's treatment of Jerusalem.

Apparently, Google's problems go further than not recognizing Memorial Day.

Update: For some perspective, check out Mere Rhetoric.

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Olmert's Fire Sale Will Continue

Olmert salvages Israel coalition with deal

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert averted a split in Israel's restive coalition on Wednesday by striking a deal with his biggest partner, the Labour party, that stopped it backing a bill to dissolve parliament.

Labour's leader, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, agreed not to support the right-wing opposition's proposed legislation after Olmert pledged to hold an internal vote in his Kadima party that could remove him as its head by September 25, both sides said.

...Ratification of the bill would have undermined the government at a time when Olmert is trying to meet a U.S. deadline for a peace accord with the Palestinians, pursue Turkish-mediated talks with Syria, assemble a prisoner swap with Lebanese Hezbollah and monitor Iran's nuclear programme.
None of which Olmert has been particularly successful with so far--but he has bought himself some time:

Holding a Kadima election as late as September would effectively postpone a national ballot until 2009 at the earliest -- a reprieve for Olmert. The next election is currently scheduled for 2010.

"There will not be new (national) elections in 2008," Hanegbi said.

Now the question is whether Israel can survive in one piece till the next elections.

Check out Tel-Chai Nation about reaction to another flip-flop by Barak and Treppenwitz's list of best quotes from the Knesset session.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Video: Malcolm Hoenlein Speaks To Iran

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, addresses the people of Iran:

Interesting idea.

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Muslim Claims Judge Cannot Be Fair Because He Is Jewish

From the Associated Press:
A judge rejected a Lebanese-born defendant's request that he remove himself from a case involving terrorism because the judge is Jewish.

Fawzi Mustapha Assi, 48, has pleaded guilty to providing support for a terrorist group. He addressed the court Monday against the advice of his attorney, saying he heard rumors that U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen is a Zionist and might have pro-Israel sympathies.

Assi said he was concerned the judge could not be impartial when sentencing him for supporting "one of the most hated enemies of the state of Israel."

Rosen said Assi's request was "a little late" and that the court "has bent over backwards" to ensure fairness.

Assi, a former resident of Dearborn, was arrested in 1998 when he tried to board a plane to Lebanon with visual and navigational equipment for Hezbollah. He pleaded guilty in November 2007.

Sentencing is expected within eight weeks.
Given that logic, based on the murder of hundreds of American troops in Lebanon by Hizbollah, should Assi claim that no judge can be fair and demand a mistrial?

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The Blogosphere On The Divided Loyalty Of American Jews

I blogged earlier about Joe Klein's piece in Time Magazine where he implies that Jews have divided loyalties.

Jennifer Rubin writes:
I would note that the contrast in reaction to this incident between the Left and Right blogosphere is startling. It is clear from just a sample of views on the Right that anti-Semitism is beyond the pale among conservative commentators. The same is not true on the Left which is either silent or cheering Klein on. I would also urge readers to look at the comments which Klein’s postings have elicted — and note that the invitation to blame the Jews was warmly accepted by so many.
A distinction in approach that appears to be lost on American Jews themselves.

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Why Is Arabic Preferred Over Hebrew?

I just started reading "Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intolerance" by Denis MacEoin, and I just wanted to blog about the first paragraph before going any further. MacEoin writes:
The use by Westerners of the word hudna highlights an anomaly. Whenever journalists, diplomats, or commentators covering the Middle East use a non-English word, it will almost always be Arabic or perhaps Persian; seldom do they use any Hebrew words. Never has a U.S. or British newspaper, for example, used the Hebrew word for cease-fire (hafsakat esh). This is odd as Israel is the other side to these cease-fires. The majority of Arabic terms reproduced in Western language newspapers are concerned with either military topics (jihad, mujahideen, fida'iyin, shahid) or religious affairs (fatwa, mulla, ulema, ayatollah, Shari‘a, Allahu akbar). There is nothing wrong with borrowing Arabic words. However, doing so without understanding the word's nuance and historical development will render deficient any understanding of that word's true meaning.
Read the whole thing (I plan to after this post).

Come to think of it--he's right. But is it all that surprising? Just as the history is written by the victor, so too the terminology used would be that of the aggressor. Even the Arabic terms above pertaining to religious affairs have a militant context to them in the news. Hebrew words in general have not really penetrated the English vernacular. Yiddish of course is another story--and I imagine there are not too many popular Yiddish terms for military topics.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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So How Is That OTHER Ceasefire Going?

Israel's ceasefire with Hamas isn't going so well. How about that ceasefire up in Lebanon?

Apparently, ceasefires with terrorists are not holding up so well this week. Michael Totten reports:
You aren’t hearing about it in the Western media, but the truce agreement reached last month in Doha, Qatar, between the Lebanese government and the Hezbollah-led opposition is no more operative than the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Fighting broke out in the northern city of Tripoli between Sunni supporters of the “March 14” majority bloc in parliament and gunmen from the Alawite sect loyal to the Syrian Baath regime and Hezbollah. We’re not talking about street brawling here. Machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades were deployed. Several houses and a gas station were burned to the ground. Ten people were killed and at least 52 people were wounded.

One of Lebanon’s few pro-Syrian Sunni leaders, Omar Karami (he was prime minister during the Syrian occupation), said the Doha agreement was only a “temporary truce because historical grudges still exist.” [Emphasis added.] He is right about that much, at least. Historical grudges most certainly do still exist, even if the ceasefire doesn’t.

...When I first started visiting Lebanon, in the twilight of the Syrian occupation, it was a place full of optimism and hope. The Prague Spring must have felt something like that before it was crushed under the treads of Soviet tanks.

Read the whole thing.

Hope is one thing that Israelis did not have going into their own truce--and so far their worst fears have been realized. Knowing what to expect gives them one up on the Lebanese.

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The Price He's Willing To Pay Is Insane!

More than just a passing resemblance to Crazy Eddie...

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Pro and Con: Is Obama Good For The Jews? (Part II)

Yesterday on Pajamas Media, Daniel Toffler presented the case for Obama being good for the Jews and Israel (see my reaction here). Today, Ed Lasky of American Thinker presents the case against.

Lasky recalls Obama's problematic advisers and associates vis-a-vis Israel (and their comments), such as:
  • Pastor Jeremiah Wright
  • Louis Farrakhan
  • Father Pfleger
  • Reverend James Meeks
  • Bill Ayers
  • Rashid Khalidi
  • George Soros
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Robert Malley
  • Samantha Power
  • Daniel Kurtzer
  • Merrill “Tony” McPeak
From Obama, instead of actions, we get words:
How has Barack Obama responded to these relationships being revealed? He has claimed, “nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti-Semitism than I have” — which seems to give short shrift to Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Abe Foxman, Alan Dershowitz, and many others who have not remained silent in the face of anti-Semitism, let alone admit close ties to those who honor anti-Semites. He has also said that he has been in the “foxholes” in Chicago with his Jewish friends trying to heal the rifts between the African-American and Jewish populations. There is absolutely no proof of any of these claims. Aside from one ambiguous comment regarding anti-Semitism not being an effective tactic for ambitious African-Americans who hope to rise, there is no evidence that he has ever acted to prevent anti-Semitism in the African-American community, which has the highest anti-Semitism of any group in America. Did he ever discuss the anti-Israel beliefs of his pastor and church, which by far was the largest beneficiary of his charitable donations?
Yet, even what Obama has said is also cause for concern--beyond his backtracking on the speech he gave at AIPAC:
He has singled out two figures demonized by anti-Semites, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, as being responsible for the Iraq War. This despite the fact that Perle was not in the government and George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld were the key figures and decision-makers.

His use of the term “separation barrier” or “wall” rather than the far more commonly used “security barrier” has apartheid-like connotations, echoing the slurs of Jimmy Carter. And he expressed his feelings that “nobody has suffered more than the Palestinians” — a remark which he and his campaign have tried to “make over,” though their attempts to “redo” it were caught by the highly regarded and non-partisan FactCheck.Org.

Other warning signs include his feelings that Hezbollah and Hamas have legitimate grievances; that he has refused in the past to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terror group; that he has stated that an Obama administration would have problems dealing with an Israeli government headed by a member of Israel’s Likud Party, thus interfering with the domestic politics of another nation (oddly, he seems to have no problems dealing with Iranian mullahs); that he would eviscerate American defense programs that are vital to maintain the qualitative edge that our allies, including Israel, enjoy over their adversaries; that, as president, he would convene a Muslim summit to listen to their grievances (the major ones would be the existence of Israel and American support for the same); and that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians was an “open sore” that corrupted our foreign policy. Senator Obama seems to find the root of this conflict in the settlements — ignoring the ethno-religious nationalism and anti-Semitism that corrupt much of the Arab/Iranian world and that is the crux of the conflict. (Israeli removal of all settlements from Gaza has not resulted in peace.) Perhaps he has become inured to criticism of Israel — he has voluntarily chosen to expose himself and his wife and young daughters to it for years.

Perhaps the biggest warning sign is that those who present Obama as a qualified for president and as a friend of Jews and of Israel fail to address these concerns.

Read the whole thing
Read Daniel Koffler on why Jews should vote for Obama.

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Iraq's A Failure--Blame The Jews; Iraq A Success--Blame The Jews

Abe Greenwald notices that the fact that the surge is a success does not mean that you can't still blame the "Jewish Lobby" for being there:

After being labeled an unprecedented blunder for the better part of five years, the Iraq War is now conceived of as phase one in some ingeniously orchestrated grand plan to make the region safe for the Jewish state. “I fear they want a permanent presence in Iraq to reassure Israel,” wrote Andrew Sullivan recently. And yesterday he disingenuously claimed that I cited this aim as the initial rationale for invading Iraq. Yesterday, too, Joe Klein wrote that “an even more foolish assault on Iran, raise[s] the question of divided loyalties” among Jewish neoconservatives. Here we go again.

When the Iraq War goes badly, the critics talk about the lack of planning, the lack of exit strategy, and the general sense of hubris visited upon the endeavor. But once things look brighter, it’s straight back to the Jews.

Joe Klein did more than just casually write that attacking Iran was foolish. Here's the full paragraph:
The notion that we could just waltz in and inject democracy into an extremely complicated, devout and ancient culture smacked--still smacks--of neocolonialist legerdemain. The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives--people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary--plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel. And then there is the question--made manifest by the no-bid contracts offered U.S. oil companies by the Iraqis--of two oil executives, Bush and Cheney, securing a new source of business for their Texas buddies. [emphasis added]
Jennifer Rubin notes:
Perhaps he [Klein] is suggesting a new standard for Jews: take no position that cannot be construed as an example of dual loyalties. Or better yet, take no position which might benefit Israel and avoid the problem altogether.

Leave aside the non-Jewish supporters of the war, Klein offers not one smidgen of support that Lieberman or any other Jewish advocate of the war did not believe it was in America’s security interest to pursue the war and/or to prosecute it effectively. One can argue with the merits of those individuals’ positions without clumsily injecting an anti-Semitic canard into the discussion.

One can, but not many have been.
At one point, Democrats claimed that any criticism of their remarks on the Iraq war were a direct attack on their patriotism.
Apparently if Jews open their mouths at all about the Middle East, their own patriotism can be called into question.

It's an effective scam.

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Pro and Con: Is Obama Good For The Jews?

Pajamas Media is featuring opposing sides of the question. Tuesday, Daniel Koffler wrote about why Jews will vote for Obama:

This November, the overwhelming majority of American Jews will vote for Barack Obama. In the most recent poll of Jewish voters, Obama led John McCain by two-to-one. This makes perfect sense since the vast majority of American Jews are liberal Democrats who oppose the Iraq war, have become steadily more liberal and Democratic throughout George W. Bush’s presidency, and aren’t likely to have any major objection to a candidate like Obama whose position on Israeli security is slightly to the right of the current Israeli government.

That’s an odd set of background circumstances for the interminable chattering this campaign has produced about “Obama’s Jewish problem,” which seems to consist of the ordinary opposition of Republican Jews to any Democratic candidate, plus scurrilous rumor-mongering that begins and ends with Obama’s middle name.

...What journalists interested in telling the actual story of Obama’s Jewish support might notice — that is, by investigating the depth and content of Obama’s support among Jews rather than passing off sensational anecdotes and calling them a trend — is that Obama will not only win the Jewish vote by a huge margin, but also has a greater affinity with the culture and cultural history of American Jews than any previous major party candidate.
Don't bother reading Koffler about Obama's past connections to the Muslim community--both personal and financial. You shouldn't expect to read about his backtracking on Jerusalem either.
Instead, there is a lot of the warm and fuzzy stuff about why Jews will identify with Obama--plus 3 paragraphs about James Joyce and agenbite of inwit.

The piece is as marked by the issues it fails to address as it is by the feel-good tone to prove that Obama, as a 'stranger in a strange land' identifies closely with Jews.

Funny, I imagine American Muslims once felt the same way.

Read the whole thing.

It's amazing the lengths Obama's supporters go to compensate for the inability to talk about his experience and actual accomplishments.

Read Ed Lasky's rebuttal here.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Muslims Can Take A Hint

There was a time that despite what Obama did to cater to Jewish voters, Muslims thought he was just covering the bases--based on his past support for Muslim leaders and groups.

No more.
Muslim Voters Detect a Snub From Obama

...While the senator has visited churches and synagogues, he has yet to appear at a single mosque. Muslim and Arab-American organizations have tried repeatedly to arrange meetings with Mr. Obama, but officials with those groups say their invitations — unlike those of their Jewish and Christian counterparts — have been ignored.
The slow self-destruct of the Obama campaign continues.

Now, will the Jewish community be able to understand from Obama's treatment of his former Muslim friends just how unworthy he is of their trust?

[Hat tip: Contentions]

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Who Was Walther Rathenau?

The European Jewish Press has an article about the Jewish youth who was attacked in France and is now in a coma. This is in addition to the murder of Halimi in 2006, the attack on the Grand Rabbi of the Nord Pas de Calais last year, and the French Jew abducted and tortured this past March.

In the margin of the European Jewish Press article there is a blurb:
1922: German Jewish minister killed
Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau assassinated by nationalists.
A quick check at Wikipedia gives the background.

Apparently assassins are heroes:
On 1922 June 24, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo, Rathenau was assassinated in a plot led by two right-wing army officers (aided and abetted by others) linked to Organisation Consul: Erwin Kern and Hermann Fischer.[4] On that morning, he was driving from his house to Wilhelmstraße, as he did daily (and predictably). During the trip his car was passed by another in which three armed men were sitting. They simultaneously shot at the minister with machine guns and then quickly drove away. A memorial stone in the Koenigsallee in Berlin-Grunewald marks the scene of the crime, which was officially (with flags legally at half mast) but not necessarily fervently mourned in Germany. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, they declared Rathenau's assassins as national heroes and designated June 24 as a holiday of celebration. One of the assassins was the future writer Ernst von Salomon——he had provided the car but was not present at the shooting. Curiously, he managed to stay out of the Nazi party and had a Jewish wife, whom he managed to protect throughout the Nazi years largely because of his credibility with the Nazis in having facilitated Rathenau's assassination. His anti-American book after the war, Der Fragebogen ("The Questionaire"), about the history of Germany between 1918 to 1946, was one of the bestsellers in West Germany while simultaneously being banned in U.K. schools for being anti-British.
Apparently, in England being an assassin was not enough of a reason to ban von Salomon's book.

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A Reason For Jews To Vote For Obama?

I can't think of any other...
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said on Tuesday that he believes Israel will stage a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities if Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama wins the upcoming presidential elections.

Bolton said the IAF would likely strike in the interim term between election day (November 4th) and the inauguration (January 20th 2009) – while George W. Bush is still in office.

"I think if they are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President," Bolton said in an interview with FOX News.

"I don’t think they will do anything before our election because they don’t want to affect it. And they’d have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush’s term in office or wait for his successor."
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Scottish Jews Get Their Own Tartan

The first Scottish Jew is recorded to have come to Edinburgh in 1691--so this is over 300 years in the making:
It is the only Scottish Jewish Tartan approved and registered by the Scottish Tartans Authority.

Initiated by Rabbi Mendel Jacobs - the only Scottish born Rabbi living in Scotland, it's 100% Kosher - being a non wool-linen mix, and as it incorporates many aspects of Scottish-Jewish cultural and religious history, it is the perfect representation of our heritage.
A lot of thought went into the design:
Religious experts and Tartan Authorities worked meticulously to come up with a design that reflected religious values and Scottish history.

The colours, weave, and number of threads have all been picked for their importance in Judaism.

In the tartan design we have blue and white the colours of both the Israeli and Scottish flags with the central gold line representing the gold from the Ark in the Biblical Tabernacle and the many ceremonial vessels. The silver is to represent the silver that adorns the Scroll of the Law and the colour red is for the traditional red Kiddush wine.

There are seven lines in the central motif and three in the flag representations - both numbers of great significance in Judaism.
I looked around a little for the history of the Jewish community in Scotland and apparently Scotland holds a unique distinction in Europe:
Indeed the eminent Jewish-Scottish scholar David Daiches states in his autobiographical Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood that there are grounds for saying that Scotland is the only European country which has no history of state persecution of Jews.
That same source--Wikipedia--has a section on Scots-Yiddish:
The Scottish literary historian David Daiches describes it in his autobiographical account of his Edinburgh Jewish childhood, Two Worlds: "Recently I received a letter from the son of the man who was stationmaster at one of the small railway stations where the earliest trebblers [Yiddish pronunciation of travellers, i.e. Jewish travelling salesmen] would alight; he told me how, at the very beginning of this century, these Jewish immigrants, not yet knowing any English, would converse with his father, they talking in Yiddish and he in broad Scots, with perfectly adequate mutual intelligibility. Scots-Yiddish as a working language must have been developing rapidly in the years immediately preceding the first World War. It must have been one of the most short-lived languages in the world. I should guess that 1912 to 1914 was the period of its flourishing. The younger generation, who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s, of course did not speak it, though they knew yiddish; and while there is an occasional old man in Edinburgh who speaks it today, one has to seek it out in order to find it, and in another decade it will be gone for ever. ‘Aye man, ich hob’ getrebbelt mit de five o’clock train,’ one trebbler would say to another. ‘Vot time’s yer barmitzvie, laddie?’ I was once asked. ‘Ye’ll hae a drap o’ bamfen (whisky). It’s Dzon Beck. Ye ken: “Nem a schmeck fun Dzon Beck.”’ (‘Take a peg of John Begg’, the advertising slogan of John Begg whisky.)
That must really be something to listen to.

[Hat tip: Rubicon3]

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Gilad Shalit’s Book Now on YouTube

From the IsRealli blog:
Gilad Shalit’s book, When the Shark and the Fish First Met, now appears on YouTube to mark two years since he was kidnapped.

The Consulate General of Israel filmed five fifth-grade students from New York [Bronx Middle School] reading the story that Shalit wrote when he, too, was eleven years old. “Gilad was a boy our age when he wrote this story; if only we could write something so significant at this age. Today, no one knows where he is and he probably misses his parents,” said one of the students. “If the shark and fish can make peace, why can’t people?”

Click here to download (PDF) information about Shalit and the book.
You can also download the story in Hebrew and in translation here.

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Take A Video Trip Across Israel

In A Trip Across Israel In Real Time, you'll find:
This video documents a drive across the entire width of Israel from the West Bank wall to the Mediterranean Sea. The point is to illustrate how small and intrinsically vulnerable it is.

Nisiah Tovah!

[Hat Tip: Contentions]

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New Blog About Shimshon Raphael Hirsch

Thanks to Dixie Yid for pointing out that Neil Harris of Modern Uberdox, has started a new blog: Mensch-Israel, about Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch.

Currently, he has started a series of posts on The Nineteen Letters.

Check it out.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

A Dollar From The Rebbe (a joke)

Forwarded by a friend:
A Lubavitcher Shaliach has been working on a potential Ba'al Teshuva for months.

Finally, the guy is ready to become frum.

He goes to the Shaliach and tells him, "OK. I'm ready to commit myself to
Yiddishkeit. I just need one thing in order to make the final commitment -
a dollar from the Rebbe. That Bracha will give me the strength to succeed."

The Shaliach answers him, "I'm sorry, but that's no longer possible."

"Did you hear me?" asks the BT. "If I get the dollar from the Rebbe, I'll
become frum and take on all the Mitzvos!"

The Shaliach repeats, "I'm sorry, but that's no longer possible."

"Don't you understand? All I need is dollar from the Rebbe," pleads the BT.

"Don't you understand?" replies the Lubavitcher. "The dollar is dead!"