Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Open Letter to the World --- World: this time they’re coming for you too!

Dear World,

My people, the Jews, are an ancient race. We’ve been here longer than just about any other nation, and we fully intend to stick around: let’s be perfectly clear on that point. Our collective memory stretches back far and is filled with the blood of our forefathers, unimaginable devastations, and incredible suffering. Most of us grow up learning about these horrors; in fact my children are now old enough and are asking questions like “Why do they hate us so much?” They are also learning, but failing to comprehend, about the genocide of the Holocaust which happened not very long ago and resulted in a loss to our people we have yet to recover from physically and psychologically. We don’t live in the past like our enemies do however, as is clearly evidenced by the tremendous amount of science, technology, art, medicine and industry the Jews produce, but we do remember. We will always remember.
We remember slavery in Egypt; we remember the Babylonians and the exile and horrors they inflicted upon us; we remember the Greeks and their attempt to force Hellenization upon us on pain of death (they burned alive our greatest sages wrapped in Torah scrolls); we remember the Romans and their brutality and forced exile; we remember the crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, forced conversions, blood libels, scapegoating, slanders and countless other persecutions. We remember how you’ve blamed us – and continue to do so – for practically every malady on Earth. Let’s not forget the charge of deicide lopped on to everything else.
We remember how Britain sank ships of Jews off the coast of Israel; Jews who survived the Holocaust and had nowhere else to go, while forcing imposed quotas on the number of Jews allowed into our homeland. We remember while imposing these quotas they opened the doors to floods of Arabs pouring in from all over the region quota-free, Arabs who now claim they’ve been there “since time immemorial.”
We remember world, how you stood by and watched as one third of our defenseless nation was slaughtered, gassed, and burned in ovens only 70 years ago.
– It behooves me at this juncture, as a dear friend correctly pointed out, to state that we also remember the world is filled with tremendous amounts of goodness and good people and that our people also owe an extraordinary debt of gratitude to many people and nations for doing exactly the opposite of what is described above; people who risked their own lives to save Jews; Cyrus and the Persian Empire, countries like The Netherlands and Denmark and its King Christian X, who defied oppression and hatred, and stood in solidarity with all humanity.  People like Wallenberg and Sugihara.  We will also never forget them and their love.  It is my fervent prayer that such a love for all people become globally pervasive and that all weapons and hatred are eradicated for good soon.
I often ask those who exhibit anti-Semitic tendencies how many Jews they think are in the world, the typical answer ranges between 500 million and one billion (I’ve received these answers numerous times): there are only between 13-16 million of us. You’ve done an outstanding  job of culling our numbers throughout the millennia.
Despite all your efforts at exterminating us, we’ve managed to contribute more to this world on a per capita basis than any other nation or people inhistory. We continue to do this in our homeland and in the diaspora today. Our contributions to humanity have been incalculable. One needs only to look at the roster of Jews who’ve been awarded Nobel Prizes and to realize that 0.02% of the world’s population has garnered 20% of the prestigious awards to begin to understand the magnitude of our contribution.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. You can thank Jews for everything from drip irrigation, hydroponic technology, cellular phone technology, instant messaging, and tremendous breakthroughs in science and medicine down to most of the superheroes we love, many of our favorite toys like GI Joe, Mr. Potato Head, and Curious George. We have produced some of the greatest filmmakers, musicians and entertainers, some of the finest doctors and lawyers, and have excelled in practically every field known to man. The list could fill volumes. We gave Monotheism to the world, and the two most populous religions – Christianity and Islam – have both been directly and heavily influenced by Judaism and the Torah. I am not ashamed in the slightest to say that world owes the Jewish people a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Like I said, though we remember vividly our past, we live for today and the future and continue to create and to give. It pains me to say that Israel’s neighbors in the region despite having orders of magnitude more population and in many cases practically unlimited oil money, can not claim even a fraction of these achievements as their people are suppressed under brutal regimes and kept in a backwards society.
As thanks, you’ve systematically humiliated my people in practically every place they’ve lived for thousands of years of our diaspora existence. For example, in many Muslim countries my people were not allowed outside when it rained, lest they taint the water. They were subjected to racist dimhi laws which were designed to single out and degrade non-Muslims. In Europe you made us wear gold stars or identifying symbols at times so that you could clearly identify the objects of your unbridled hatred; at other times in history you didn’t allow us to hold any professional positions yet levied incredible taxes on us and even kidnapped members of our community for ransom when the taxes weren’t enough, knowing full well the value we place on each and every life and the incredible lengths we’d go to save a life (something our enemy today is still exploiting). The list of wrongs perpetrated against our tiny nation can very unfortunately also fill volumes. You’ve done everything and anything to make our lives miserable.
Throughout this journey of ages we have clung to one hope over any other. We have prayed for one thing at every wedding, at every joyous occasion, at every Passover seder, during every prayer that is said thrice daily, on the walls of our homes, in our hearts and minds no matter where we’ve dispersed. We have dreamed of our return to Jerusalem, to Zion, where our nation was born and where we flourished independently of your hatred. This has been our singular national aspiration.
66 years ago, after 2,000 years of suffering, praying, crying, and hoping and against all odds, we finally realized that dream. Israel: a place that according to all accounts had lain barren during the entirety of our exile. A parched piece of desert, scarcely populated that had not seen any country or state since the kingdoms of ancient Israel. The Jews have transformed that desert wasteland into a blooming paradise; the only place on earth where the desert is receding, a place of freedom for all people regardless of race or religion (including 1.5 million Muslims and Arabs who participate in every sector of society), an economic powerhouse, a center for learning and advancement in all the forms of science and industry and a bastion for the advancement of humanity. We have been able to revive our language (the only time this has occurred in history) and have reunited our scattered people from every corner of the earth into a place where we can live freely as Jews, without having to worry about persecution – or so we thought.
This seems to have enraged much of the world as evidenced by the fact that our fledgling nation was attacked by five nations’ armies the day after we declared our independence and who have waged an unending smear campaign against our people from the first day. 

The fact that we reclaimed our tiny piece of land, which is smaller than New Jersey, and which had no such thing as a “Palestinian people” or Palestinian country, seems to have so enraged you, world, that we’ve been fighting for our very existence from that first day until now, physically and ideologically.
You seem to be totally fixated on us. You’ve singled us out in the kangaroo courts of the UN for unending reprimands and censures as we act to defend ourselves from genocidal barbarians, while turning a blind eye to atrocities committed all over the world. You hold us to a ridiculous and absurd double-standard, so much so that I question your morality, world.
Today my people are faced with the next empire that seeks to wipe us out. Here’s the difference though, and I hope you heed my warning, world: this time they’re coming for you too.

Radical Islam has spread across the world, and will stop at nothing short of complete global domination. One of the greatest problems we face today is that you’re too blind, naïve, or duplicitous to realize this and are busy cowering in fear rather than standing up for what’s right. Part of the problem is that you suckle on the oily teats of countries who stand for backwardness, slavery, chauvinism, homophobia, racism, actual apartheid, global dominion, barbarianism and chaos.
Our enemies would have you think they are battling for lines on a map, or to protect themselves; they are not. They seek nothing short of our complete extinction, and it burns to watch you stand by yet again, and even worse, lay the blame on us once again. It burns.
They say we are committing genocide when defending ourselves, while they daily call for the genocide of the Jews, while their charter calls for our murder and denies our very right to exist, while our army goes to extraordinary measures to try and save innocent lives and has taken more steps at safeguarding civilians than any other army in history.
They call us terrorists, yet they try and unfortunately all too often succeed at butchering my people in the most heinous and gruesome ways imaginable. Jews do not hijack planes. Jews do not murder Olympic athletes. Jews do not blow up buses and cafes. Jews do not threaten and kill those who insult us, our prophets or our faith. The audacity of the claim is infuriating.
They compare us to Nazis, yet in an unfathomable irony and in one breath deny the Holocaust and praise Hitler for what he did to us, all the while planning our extinction and how to “finish the job” Hitler started. They fly Nazi flags over their homes and pray for the day where none of us are left. Have you lost your mind, world?
They claim we are an apartheid state, yet the exact opposite is true. Not only do they practice full apartheid against Jews in almost all their lands, but have been systematically eradicating the Middle East’s Christian population for years. Yesterday saw the expulsion of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world from Mosul and the subsequent burning down of a 1,800 year old church. The Copts in Egypt are under siege, the Christians of Lebanon and Syria are all but gone, and Christians are being tortured, murdered and kidnapped in Nigeria and Sudan en masse. Israel grants full rights to all citizens regardless of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Do any of the women’s advocates and gay rights advocates falling over themselves to condemn Israel not see the hypocrisy of protesting the only country in the area that doesn’t kill gays and relegate women to the status of chattel?
800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab lands in 1948. Expelled. Again. They have been fully absorbed into Israeli society. The only refugee population to ever not be absorbed are the “Palestinian” Arabs, who have been refused for 70 years any rights to absorption or naturalization by Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, their supposed “brothers and sisters,” despite the vastness of their borders, in order to keep them as political pawns against Israel. Make no mistake about it, the desperate situation these people are in was manufactured by their supposed brothers and sisters in order to create this very problem and to use them as tools of propaganda against Israel.
The 1.5 million Muslims and Arabs that live in Israel have more rights and freedoms than in any other Muslim country in the world. They are members of parliament and the Supreme Court, they are national beauty pageant winners and professors, they are officers in the police force and the military, and are found in every profession and sector of Israeli life. Walk through practically any Israeli city or town and you will see Arabs and Muslims living and moving about freely. I guarantee you that were a Jew to try and walk through most any Arab neighborhood today, they would not make it out alive. How dare you accuse us of being an apartheid state?
We watch as the Arab world commits true crimes against humanity in Syria with over 200,000 killed under the butcher, Assad. We see hundreds of thousands killed in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and elsewhere. We see Sunnis and Shi’as massacre each other all over the Middle East. We see radical Muslims in every corner of the Earth perpetrate barbarous acts of terror in the name of their religion.
We’ve seen the Western countries and Israel’s supposed allies indiscriminately kill hundreds of thousands if not millions of Arabs and Muslims in the name of fighting terror, but there are no flotillas for any of them. There are no global protests when Muslims murder Muslims in far greater numbers than the totality of all casualties resulting from all of Israel’s wars combined. There are no angry mobs of Arabs and Muslims the world over rioting and foaming at the mouth at the injustice of it all, and sadly we know it’s because they can’t blame the Jews.
We see the pro-Palestine protests for “peace” being held around the world by Arabs, Muslims, neo-nazis, and left-wing extremists (groups who have ostensibly absolutely nothing in common and are diametrically opposed in all ways except for their lusty hatred towards Jews and Israel) chanting “death to the Jews,” or “Gas the Jews,” in a variety of colorful ways while throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks, rioting, destroying public and private property, burning Jewish businesses and creating chaos and destruction. We see synagogues being besieged and attempts to harm the Jews inside physically in France. They totally seem peace-loving and to want peace. We see the global spike in anti Semitic acts of violence. We see it and it makes this Jew stand taller and prouder that we have Israel today.
We don’t indoctrinate our kids to hate, they do this from birth. Our textbooks do not teach hatred, theirs do. We don’t praise death, they do. We don’t send our kids to terrorist training schools, they do. We don’t take pictures of our kids in suicide vest costumes, they do. We don’t have children’s shows extolling the murder of their people, they do. We don’t have Rabbis getting up and advocating for the total annihilation of their people, their Imams do. We don’t deliberately put our women and children in harm’s way in order to create photo ops for the world press, they do. We don’t beat our people trying to flee for safety, they do. We don’t send in photographers before paramedics, they do. We don’t fake images of the dead, or even worse, use the bloody images of Jews who were torn to pieces by Arab terrorists while sleeping, and claim them to be murdered Palestinians, they do. We don’t parade our dead in front of the world, we bury them with dignity and with streams of quiet tears. We don’t use schools, hospitals, ambulances, UN vehicles and private homes as bases for waging terror, they do.
We call people, text them, drop leaflets, map out safe areas to run to, and even send warning “knocks” before striking. They send people to the rooftops by force to act as martyrs. We send our women and children to safety, they strap their babies on themselves and send 12 year olds at our soldiers with suicide belts. We build bomb shelters in most homes and in every city, they use 800,000 tons of concrete meant for infrastructure to build tunnels to infiltrate, murder and kidnap civilians. We set up field hospitals for Gazans, and we’ve even treated terrorists who the very same day tried to kill us. Where is your moral equivocation, world?
Do we make mistakes? Of course. Do we regret our mistakes? Of course. We’ve seen the gruesome images of dead children and families. It pains us greatly that Hamas and other terror organizations have done this to their own people and are using it to wage a propaganda war against Israel. War is disgusting.  The vast majority of us want nothing to do with war and death.  We would simply like to live in peace and tranquility and to raise our children in such a manner, and I believe this applies to all “sides.” Do we dance in the streets and hand out candies when we dispose of our enemies? Do we hold up three finger salutes celebrating the murder of innocent children? Never. Yet time and time again, world, you blame us. You point the finger at us and tell us we are to blame for these problems.
I for one couldn’t care less what you think anymore, dear world, I’ve had quite enough of your hatred, hypocrisy and double-standards. I hope that my people and my country feel the same. As I look through the lens of history, I see what you have done to the Jews and I know what you are trying to do once again. 

We are not fooled, we’ve seen this all before too many times. We remember. It’s different this time though: my people can defend themselves once again, and we’re going to do it no matter what you say or how mad you get. 

We will never again march like sheep to the slaughter. We will never again allow you to determine our fate. We will live. We will continue to do the absolute best we can as a nation. We will continue to share our imagination, creativity and intelligence with you, despite yourselves. Maybe one day you will recognize us for all the good we’ve done, maybe you won’t. Like I said, I couldn’t care less what you think anymore. Am Yisrael Chai.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kerry’s disastrous intervention in the current fighting demonstrated the utter and complete incoherence of the position that he has carved out for the United States


Kerry v. Israel: Why It Gets Personal

After delivering demands to Israel that amounted to an American surrender to Hamas, in a speech delivered this morning Kerry said that “demilitarization” of Gaza was a necessary element of hopes for peace. He’s right about that, but after seeking to hamstring Israeli efforts to halt Hamas rocket fire and to eliminate the tunnel network they use to store their arsenal and to launch cross-border attacks on Israeli targets, the umbrage that administration figures are expressing about the reaction to the secretary’s behavior is unjustified.
The fact that it has become personal between Kerry and Israel does neither country any good and that is why even though the anger in the Jewish state at the secretary was universal, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., rightly sought to disassociate his government from any personal attacks on Kerry today. But as with previous tiffs in which the administration expressed anger about criticism of the secretary, the focus on defending Kerry’s honor or good intentions is beside the point. Though he continues to pose as the tireless worker for peace that is being unfairly targeted for his even-handed approach, it’s time to realize that Kerry actually deserves a not inconsiderable share of the blame for the situation.
Even if we are to credit Kerry, as Dermer suggests, for his good intentions, the secretary deserves every bit of the opprobrium that has been leveled at him by Israelis from the right to the left.
Kerry’s disastrous intervention in the current fighting demonstrated the utter and complete incoherence of the position that he has carved out for the United States. On the one hand, Kerry has prioritized the effort to create a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But by seeking to save Hamas by granting it concessions in the form of open borders rather than forcing the demilitarization that he belatedly endorsed, Kerry is making such a peace deal impossible.
The depth of the contradictions here are hard to comprehend. On the one hand, following President Obama’s lead, Kerry has praised Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas endlessly as a true partner for peace even though the PA chief has repeatedly turned down chances to negotiate seriously. But by seeking to place constraints on Israeli military actions directed at degrading Hamas’s capability to launch terror attacks, Kerry is actually undermining Abbas. His cease-fire proposal wasn’t so much an insult to Israel as it was to the PA. Though publicly condemning Israeli actions, it’s no secret that Abbas is hoping that the Jewish state will remove his on-again-off-again rival/partner in the Palestinian government from the scene. By endorsing the proposal for a cease-fire that came from Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey, Kerry stabbed Abbas in the back.
But the incompetence didn’t begin with one ill-considered piece of diplomatic ineptitude. It must be understood that nothing that is going on today—including the grievous casualty toll inside Gaza—would have happened had not Kerry single-handedly forced both Abbas and the Israelis into a negotiation that both knew would only lead to disaster. Throughout the nine months during which the secretary orchestrated a new round of peace talks between Israel and the PA, the administration was warned that the problem wasn’t just that the effort couldn’t succeed so long as the Palestinians were divided between Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas. It was that once the failure occurred, it would provide a justification for a new round of violence in the same manner that past such efforts had done. Kerry not only ignored those warnings but raised the stakes by personally speaking about a third intifada happening if the two sides didn’t do as he bid. Those who pointed out that this was a self-fulfilling prophecy were denounced as insufficiently supportive of peace. But the reality is that Kerry not only set the stage for this new outbreak, he more or less gave Hamas a green light to go ahead and start shooting.
The only common threads in Kerry’s diplomatic endeavors have been his enormous self-regard and a clear animus for the Netanyahu government. Either of these foibles would be forgivable if Kerry were focused on actions that would advance a two-state solution. But by pushing for a settlement when Abbas was unable to comply and then disingenuously blaming his failure on Israel, Kerry hurt the PA and set back any chance for peace. Once Hamas escalated the current fighting, he again took his eye off the ball and focused entirely on pushing for a cease-fire that would enhance the Islamists’ prestige and marginalize the Palestinians that he had championed.
Israelis who are forced to seek refuge in bomb shelters from Hamas missiles or await terror attacks from Gaza tunnels may be forgiven for losing patience with Kerry’s self-righteous lectures about casualties and human rights. But the attention given the anger he has generated there ought not to divert us from his record of failure. On Iran, Syria, and Russia, Kerry has done little to advance U.S. interests or to protect human rights. But with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has done worse than that. Having set the region up for conflict, he is now doing everything possible to ensure that the violence will continue at some point in the future by allowing Hamas to survive and even claim victory. Seen from that perspective, his good intentions and the insults being thrown his way from Israelis are mere footnotes to a historic legacy of failure.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


From reading the international and national news you would probably never have known that last Thursday and Friday alone, over 700 people were killed in Syria at the hands of jihadists and pro-Assad forces. Muslim on Muslim, Arab on Arab, human on human, whatever you like to think of it as - Western media is doing an awful job of reporting these abhorrent incidences - and I think I know why.

My colleague Jonathan Spyer from the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and fellow at the Middle East Forum (full disclosure: a position I also hold) noted it best today when he wrote: 
"More than 700 people killed in Syria on Thursday and Friday, in the bloodiest two days of the conflict until now. A woman was executed for adultery in Raqqa. None of the above were killed by Jews, however. This presumably explains the total lack of interest by the western media, (and of course by the Islamist/far-left crowd who have been attacking synagogues and so on in Europe in recent days.)"
Yes the preoccupation with how many Muslims are killed by Jews, rather than how many are suffering at the hands of their fellow countrymen/co-religionists is a stark reminder of how natural it is for most people to still focus their attentions on Israel and theJewish people respectively. Indeed it is this "everyday anti-Semitism" that leads the Guardian to depict the MH17 disaster in the same cartoon as that criticising Israel's operation in Gaza as if there were some link, and indeed which forces thousands of 'pro-Palestinian' activists onto the streets of London [link] to demonstrate against Israel - but not so much against ISIS or Bashar al-Assad.
The Asharq al Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday: 
More than 700 people were killed in Syria over the course of Thursday and Friday, in what activists say were the bloodiest 48 hours of fighting in the conflict to date.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdul Rahman, told Asharq Al-Awsat that this was the first time casualties had topped 700 in the space of two days since the conflict began in 2011. He contrasted the violence to the gas attack in the Ghouta region close to Damascus last year, which he said killed around 500 people.
The UK-based SOHR tracks casualties on both sides of the Syrian conflict by collating reports from a network of observers on the ground in the country.
The final toll was announced after the SOHR reported that 270 people had been killed in fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), when the latter seized the Shaar gas field east of the city of Homs on Friday.
And yet our radios, televisions, and streets are filled with people seekings to condemn and deplore Israel and sometimes even 'the Jews'.
Is it any wonder then, that France feels it has to ban so-called 'pro-Palestinian' rallies?

Finally, the French are ahead of the world on something: recognising anti-Semitism for what it really is… a looming and constant threat to an entire people, furthered by the media, and tacitly endorsed by an unassuming, do-gooder, left-leaning army of full time "activists".

Friday, July 25, 2014

Israeli Official: There Will Be No Ceasefire

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For the first time since Israeli troops entered Gaza in the current “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel decided on Thursday to widen the goals of its offensive, Israeli website Ma’ariv quoted unnamed senior officials in the Israeli security establishment as saying.
Israel’s cabinet was expected to convene Wednesday night to green-light a widening of the military operation in Gaza. Widening the offensive could entail entering deeper into Gaza. On Thursday, Israel rejected a proposal by Hamas to hold a humanitarian truce lasting several days.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon catapulted the operation’s stated goals to a new level when he said, “The end result of this conflict needs to be clear: Terror doesn’t pay. This terrorist entity needs to be disarmed.” Ya’alon echoed comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening, who also spoke of “disarming” Hamas.
Officials in Israel’s security establishment also assess that Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif will oppose any attempt to reach a ceasefire – even if the terror organization’s diplomatic wing agrees.
According to the official, from an Israeli perspective, implementing a ceasefire at this point would only bring about a partial resolution. Israel has caused damage to the tunnel infrastructure of Hamas, but on the other hand the terror organization maintains the ability to fire rockets into Israel, has caused a relatively high number of IDF casualties – including one missing soldier presumed dead, as well as triggered a two-day ban on international flights in and out of the country.
Implementing a ceasefire now would further send the wrong message to other terror groups like Hezbollah, and indicate that Israel cannot really cope with terror groups armed with rockets and anti-tank missiles.
The IDF spokesperson said on Thursday afternoon that during the last 24 hours the military attacked ninety terror targets, including hidden rocket launchers, lookout posts, and mortar infrastructure. In the early morning hours, soldiers from the Paratroopers Brigade identified two terrorists emerging from a tunnel. They were captured for interrogation.

Two rows of Gazan captives wearing only underwear and shoes, on their knees in the sand, are shown in an image posted on Facebook by Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. They were stripped of their clothes in order to ensure they were not carrying weapons. Photo: Facebook.
Paratroopers in the southern Gaza Strip identified a terrorist wearing an explosive vest. They opened fire and confirmed a hit. Two other tunnel openings were found near where the incident took place. Elsewhere in Gaza, IDF troops identified several armed terrorists and fired a shell at them, reporting that the target was hit.
Also on Thursday morning, three anti-tank missiles were fired at IDF forces from within the Wafa hospital building which had already been targeted by the IDF on Wednesday. During the fire exchange, two terrorists were killed. The IAF fired at the building from where the anti-tank missiles were launched, and at a building adjacent to the hospital which was used as a storage facility and control center for Hamas.
So far, the IDF has found 31 tunnels and completely destroyed nine of them. Additionally, on Wednesday, 150 Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip surrendered to IDF troops near Rafah. It is not clear, however, whether all of the Palestinians were Hamas members.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Jews have one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. They could drive the Palestinians into the sea any time they wanted to...

 AS Israel is under attack from Hamas in the Gaza strip and BDS -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -- right here in America, Bill Whittle makes the historical and moral case for Israel, and shows just who, indeed, are the tyrants and aggressors in the Middle East.
Even before the recent Israeli ground and air operations in Gaza, the BDS movement – that would stand for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – was gaining traction… not just in France, or Germany, or Oman: right here in America. 
BDS is being sold – as everything evil and stupid is being sold these days – as a moral good. The argument goes like this: Israel, a nation formed in response to the cold, concrete reality of extermination, has let its economic and military power go to its head. They, now, are the oppressors; they now are Goliath in a main battle tank facing a brave Palestinian David with a rock in his hand; they now are the racists. They now – Israel – are the Nazis. 
Are they?
Here is Israel at the time of its formation by the United Nations in 1948. Actually, you can’t see it on this map because it’s so small – smaller than the state of New Jersey. 
On that same year, the Arab nations surrounding the new country attacked what was then mostly small farming communities and tried to drive the Jews into the sea. 
But The Israelis won. 
The Arabs tried it again in 1967. The Jews beat them again. Then, in 1973, the Arabs tried again, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday – and the Jews won again. 
Israel’s territorial gains did not come from Israel attacking the Arabs. They came from Israel being attacked by the Arabs. 
And Israel has always tried to give the land back in exchange for peace, as it did when it voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula – which is bigger than Israel itself – back to the Egyptians who had tried to attack them from the Sinai, and likewise, they gave the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians who had attacked them – from the Gaza strip. 
Since then, thousands – thousands! -- of rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from schoolyards and orphanages and hospitals in -- Gaza. 
How many rockets and mortars would you allow to fall on your house by neighbors that have been swearing to kill you for 65 years? How many times will someone keep hitting you before you hit back? 
The Palestinians daily call for the Jews to be driven into the sea. The Jews have one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. They could drive the Palestinians into the sea any time they wanted to. They don’t.
The instant that Hamas or Hezbollah get their hands on a nuclear weapon, they will do with it what they do every day with their rocks and mortars and missiles. They will use it. On Israel. The Israelis have an estimated 500 nuclear weapons and could destroy the Arabs any time they chose. They don’t. 
Those are not Nazis. Those are moral, civilized people.
Israel is an island of civilization in a sea of barbarity, and that is why it is being targeted. Uncomfortable with those words, “civilization” and “barbarity?” Well, in Israel women can do whatever they please – including leading the state of Israel. In the surrounding Arab nations women are treated as chattel. They’re just property: useful for creating sons and carrying things. 
In Israel, homosexuals are tolerated and celebrated as individuals – why, just as if they were real people! In the surrounding Muslim nations they are hung from construction cranes in public squares. In Israel, scientists at the University of Haifa are studying In-homogeneous tachyon dynamics. The latest scientific invention in the Arab world is a buzzer that goes off when a Muslim falls asleep against his prayer rug. 
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was used, in the main successfully, against racist South Africa. Racist South Africa used brutal force to suppress people along racial lines. 
Israel, on the other hand, is the only nation in the entire Middle East where Arabs have a free and fair vote. Israel allows Israelis of any ethnicity to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament – including Arabs. So: If you’re in favor of equal rights for women, legal protections for homosexuals, advances in science, the arts and medicine, and political access and personal rights guaranteed by law -- you definitely should support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – for every nation in the region EXCEPT Israel.

Finally, I’ll just say this – because this is really what drives this whole thing. It is absolutely true that criticizing the actions of the State of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitism. Israel is as subject to criticism and condemnation as any other nation on earth. 
But you cannot understand Israel’s actions without understanding the pervasive, unrelenting, hate that surrounds that outpost of civilization. From Hezbollah rockets made in Iran, to BDS sanctions made in Berkeley and Santa Monica, the attacks on this country and its people cannot be understood without getting to the bedrock essence of the nasty, petty, small and mean-spirited emotion that drives anti-Semitism.
And that emotion is Envy. 
Genesis, Chapter 26, verses 12 through 16: 
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Aby melech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
That was thousands of years before there was a religion called Islam. And when the Israelis, as a gesture of peace and goodwill, turned over the Gaza Strip in 2005 the first thing these modern-day philistines did was smash the windows of the greenhouses that had been handed to them by other people’s labor. Once again, they filled wells in the desert with sand. 
Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, by far the safest home the Jews have ever known was here in America. No doubt there was anti-Semitism here, but with a few exceptions it was golf-course anti-Semitism: disgraceful, but a long, long way from the pogroms and the death camps. Why was America such a safe home for the Jews? Well, because up until very recently --- 2008 let’s say – envy was not admired here in America. “Coveting” wasn’t sold here as a virtue, either. 
So, to the American Jews who voted in huge numbers for the man who was personal friends of Palestinian terrorist – Rhashid Khalidi – to babysit his children – to the American Jews that watched and supported Occupy Wall Street as it smashed crystal windows and denounced Jewish bankers; to the American Jews who continue to vote for an ever more powerful state when no one in the world has more to fear from powerful states like the National Socialist German Workers Party or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; to those American Jews who watched through the 1930’s and 40s and ask, “how could they have let that happen?” I would simply say, “How can you let this happen? Why do so many of you vote for this to happen – pay for it to happen?” 
Tea Party Conservatives, like me – genuine friends of Israel and the Jewish people – look at you and think “It’s obvious you’ve lost your minds. Have you lost your souls as well?”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Israel, the FAA, and International Isolation

For years, peace processors and pundits have threatened that to stop its “growing international isolation,” Israel must make “painful concessions” and withdraw from territory. The “growing isolation” was always a myth. Israel’s trade with Europe has grown constantly in recent years, even as it developed new markets and ties in Asia. Tourism has reached record levels almost every year, as has the number of Israelis traveling abroad. Except to those sensitive to the movements of postmodern dance troupes, the international isolation was a chimera.
Now, however, international isolation has truly arrived–not from holding territory, but from leaving it. With the suspension of American and European flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, rockets from Gaza yielded what peace processors said settlement construction would. The flight suspension by all major airlines is a major–even if temporary–economic, diplomatic, and psychological setback for Israel. It finds itself, for the moment, in same position as Iraq, Libya, and Somalia.
The subtext here is that Israel has a sword at its neck: face a private-sector no-fly zone or agree to a cease-fire that lets Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion Airport again at the time of its choosing. It is a lose-lose proposition.

Yes, Israel faces international isolation–as a consequence of its attempts to avoid international isolation. Of course, nuanced thinkers are already explaining why this should not prejudice further, massive territorial withdraws from the hills immediately overlooking Ben Gurion Airport and the coastal plain.
Everyone is jittery from the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, they will say. If so, Hamas has succeeded in turning Israel into Donetsk.

Moreover, the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a cease-fire on Israel. Until his administration’s flight ban, that effort seemed entirely futile.

The West Bank is vastly larger and closer to central Israel than Gaza. What Hamas could do periodically and with great difficulty will be a daily occurrence. Israel would be able to survive, but with a sword at its neck, and on terms constantly dictated by the Palestinians, and whoever is ultimately in charge of the FAA.
Indeed, the decision-making behind the FAA ban demands investigation. Ben Gurion remains an extremely safe airport. The FAA had many various measures short of a flight ban, like warnings, that it could have imposed. The FAA only warns airlines about flying to Afghanistan; it does not ban them. And the FAA move comes the day after a general State Department warning about Israel–though far more people were killed in Chicago on Fourth of July weekend than in the Jewish state since the start of the Gaza campaign.
Whatever the intent, the administration has cornered Israel in a booby-trapped tunnel, with Hamas on one side, and economic perdition on the other.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What do Israel's enraged critics truly desire?

Sharona, the mother of Israeli soldier Tsafrir Bar-Or, leans on his flag-draped coffin during his funeral in Holon near Tel Aviv July 21, 2014.
Funeral for fallen IDF soldier Sean Carmeli -- "lone soldier" from Ra'anana/Texas. ...More than 10.000 people arrived for the funeral....No family ...No relatives..

I'm done apologizing for Israel.
It's tiring to apologize over and over. 
So, when it comes to Israel, many of those with whom I engage in social reform expect me to react to Israel's military actions in Gaza with scorn and criticism. To be fair, there are times when I do. My Zionism demands I speak out on behalf of the Israel that remains, in my world-view, the most ambitious project-in-process of the Jewish People.

Whereas Israel's 66 short years have witnessed strength and resilience that have redefined Jewish identity in profound ways, the global Jewish family remains interwoven with Israel. If you question this, scan the last week's news for anti-Israel rallies in Antwerp, Los Angeles, Paris, Boston, and elsewhere that featured widespread anti-Semitic chants and violence against Jews.
So I'm a progressive US faith leader. I'm a Zionist in Berkeley, CA. I'm a Jew in the world, worried for my family. So here is my response to those criticizing Israel this week.
To those who suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu is over-reacting to the missiles, I offer this response which I have now shared regularly at campus and communal conversations:
Israel is treating wounded Palestinians during this conflict, risking Israeli lives in surgical strikes to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels created with building materials Israel allowed into Gaza for infrastructure projects to benefit Palestinian society. Just for a moment, consider the deaths that would result from Israel wishing harm on Palestinian civilians. In just the last 48 hours, Israel has allowed over 10 tons of goods into Gaza. During the past weeks, Israel has agreed to two humanitarian cease-fires. In the first hours of those ceasefires, Hamas rained down over 70 missiles onto Israel civilians.
I ask: What do Israel's enraged critics truly desire? How is it possible to hear indignant claims of human rights violations in the context of Syrians slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands, state-sanctioned terrorism around the globe, and young immigrants treated like chattel by the US and other? Israel is doing its best, sacrificing its own children to preserve the lives of Palestinians.
I also ask, regarding the world's seemingly acceptance of Hamas' tactics as the only remaining option left for a desperate leadership:
Were Hamas to truly lead its people forward to a life of stability and peace, wouldn't it use building materials for schools instead of smuggling tunnels? Wouldn't Hamas stop stockpiling weapons in mosques and transporting them in UN ambulances? Wouldn't Hamas stop firing missiles from civilian population centers if it valued Palestinian lives as much as Israel does? If Israel weren't so concerned for Palestinian lives, wouldn't it respond to Hamas' horrific decisions in kind?
I ask the enraged critics of Israel's defensive responses to Hamas: Would you have us not respond to this monstrosity? Do you think it's not worth losing the PR battle to retain our humanity and save as many lives as possible? What country would stand by when thousands of terrorist missiles assault its citizens? I, a Jew, have lost 20 of my sons in the last three days, because I will not lose my humanity and stage a careless ground war in Gaza that would cause mass casualties. Though I fight monsters, I will not become one.
My response has changed these last few weeks, in which three Jewish teens were murdered by Arab terrorists and Palestinians celebrated by distributing sweets to children and an Arab teen was murdered by Jewish terrorists and the Jewish world condemned the hatred. I am done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality. I am done apologizing for my own Jewish existence.
Some will call this needless hyperbole. But, having watched in this last week anti-Semitic "die-ins" in Boston, violent assaults against Jews in Los Angeles and Antwerp, and an almost pogrom at a synagogue in Paris, I'm done mincing my own words.
We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It reminds us once again of our Sages’ adage that “he who is merciful to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the merciful.”

Palestinians celebrate Boston Marathon Bombing

The Civilian Charade

Israel has certainly publicly embraced this outpouring of anguish, saying all the right things, as in “we deeply regret the loss of civilian life…” or “we do everything to avoid civilian casualties…” or PM Netanyahu’s now-famous sound bite that “we use our missiles to protect our civilians, while they use their civilians to protect their missiles” (it is a good line). And Israel is sincere in these protestations.
Count me among those who found it hard to muster any sympathy for these Gazans, who routinely rejoice over Jewish deaths and would applaud the massacre and slaughter of any Jews. Let’s face a few facts and debunk the canard of the sacred civilian of the Gaza Strip.
First, even their combatants are “civilians,” and intentionally so. In blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, Hamas terrorists (the same applies to Islamic terrorists across the world) do not wear uniforms and intentionally try to blend in to the “civilian” population. Thus, when they are killed, the familiar scenes of sorrow can appear on the television screen, of the bereaved Arab crying, “look, they killed the teacher…the preacher…the butcher…the baker…the bomb- (rather, the candlestick-) maker.” Israel has to habitually identify – even by name! – these alleged civilians in order to refute the accusation that they are killing civilians. To the Arab way of thinking, no one is ever a soldier; they are all civilians.
Second, as is now well known, Hamas conceals its weapons and launches its rockets from the very heart of its civilian population. They have made their civilians the targets, and official Israel has done an outstanding job in underscoring this point. Homes and hospitals, mosques and schools, are used as both weapons storage sites as well as launching pads for rockets and missiles.That is a war crime, and Israel would do well to ignore all the hollow complaints and continue its offensive until Gaza is rid of Hamas. It would dramatically improve the lives of the civilians in Gaza, however many remain alive.
Of course, Israel’s sensitivity to this issue is such that it undermines the military success of this mission – while certainly acting in a humanitarian way – by warning the Arab inhabitants of targeted areas to leave, and to leave quickly, before a raid. This saves civilian lives, but it also allows Hamas-niks to escape their day of reckoning. In the end, buildings are destroyed, but the enemy, who can soon rebuild those buildings and those weapons sites, lives to terrorize another day
Third, we should not forget that these Gazans are “innocent” civilians only in the most elastic and distorted sense of the term. After all, they voted for Hamas. Hamas did not seize power, except in the sense that they ran on a platform and drew an overwhelming majority of support from the electorate. That the people’s favorite party turned out (surprise!) to be brutal, malicious murderers, who on occasion force them to be human shields and die an ignominious death is really their problem, not Israel’s or the world’s. To be sure, that the Western world decided to spin the Hamas election triumph as a victory for good governance, anti-corruption, and (that hoary cliché) the effective provision of social services does not matter in the least. The people knew for whom they were voting – much as the Germans did in 1933 when they gave the Nazis a plurality of their votes. They knew exactly what Hamas stood for and why it was formed in the 1980’s – to eradicate the Jewish state and its Jews.
Be careful for whom you vote.
The Nazi analogy is actually quite apt because it reminds us of the emptiness of the cries of the protesters across the world (who would rejoice – and do rejoice – when Jews are killed) and the sheer vacuity of some statements emanating from the UN and especially from the Obama administration. (By the way, is anything more repugnant that Obama’s repeated assertion that “Israel has the right of self-defense,” as if that is not obvious, as if it is a major concession on his part designed to win him plaudits from liberal Jews, and…as if he has to keep saying it in order to talk himself into it?)
Consider a point made two years ago (the last time Israel briefly invaded Gaza) by PM Netanyahu himself, to a BBC interviewer who castigated him for causing civilian casualties. “Do you really want to go there?” And Netanyahu, to devastating effect, reminded the British viewers of the Allies’ (mostly British) February 1945 firebombing raids on Dresden, Germany, which killed more than 20,000 civilians in just a few days. The Brits perceived this as appropriate recompense, as the Nazis spent two years bombing British civilians. He could mention as well, perhaps for the youthful Jen Psaki’s benefit, that the United States killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians – and rightly so – when two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
It is the first rule of war: civilians die. There are other rules: Truth is a casualty. The innocent suffer (the real innocent). The unexpected happens. The victor uses disproportionate force – in fact, that is usually how and why the winner wins. The evil aggressor should be vanquished, not saved by a hypocritical world to fight another day.
Those are basic rules of war, and only duplicitous, oleaginous Jew-hating purveyors of piffle would deny Israel those rights and seek to amend or repeal the rules of war – and only as they apply to Israel. And they know who they are – from oily politicians and media mackerel, to the Presbyterian Church embarrassing itself in well-deserved irrelevance, to the phony protesters around the world, to those who simply deny Israel’s right to exist. Putin’s allies killed more civilians in one instant with one rocket than Israel has in three weeks – Bashar Assad has killed exponentially more in three years – without evoking the same anger, vitriol, violence and angst. It is selective outrage, phony to the core.
Kudos to real leaders like Canada’s Stephen Harper and the US Congress for their unequivocal support, and to Israel’s government for focusing on countering another Arab attempt to scam the world into sympathy for its “victims,” victims of its own malevolence and suicidal hatred.
There are reasons why these Arabs engender more sympathy than did German or Japanese civilians during World War II. For one, they are fighting against Jews, for whom much of the world labors to find any love gratitude or appreciation. Call it rank Jew-hatred. Primarily, though, that is Israel’s fault, for rather than depict these Arabs as Nazis (or worse: the Nazis wanted to murder Jews, but they preferred not to kill themselves while doing it) Israel persists in designating these Arabs as “partners for peace.” Had the Nazis or Nips been perceived as “partners for peace” rather than subjected to the unrelenting demand for unconditional surrender, they too would have garnered sympathy for their plight.
Unfortunately, the land of Israel hosts Arabs who are largely not partners for peace, nor are they sympathetic characters in the least. They are allies with other Muslims across the globe who are responsible for the mayhem that is engulfing almost every continent – perhaps another reason why even the European and Western governments lack their customary anti-Israel ardor. The world has seen too much suffering caused by Muslims to prompt the usual outcries. It is long past enough.
Add to that another painful fact: those wailing over the deaths of their loved ones are generally the same people urging their children and others to become martyrs, suicide bombers and murderers of Jews. It is impossible for a Western mind to wrap itself around that macabre concept but it is sadly true: in the mind of many of these people, a person killed before he has a chance to kill Jews has really lived a wasted life. Hence the mothers of suicide bombers who “grieve” by expressing their desire that their other children should become martyrs as well. It is a sick death cult, and to the extent that they can be accommodated, they should be accommodated.
One Israeli commentator said years ago that it is the height of cynicism for the Arabs to cry over their civilian losses when their entire strategy is to inflict civilian casualties on Israel through terror. Every rocket or missile they launch has a civilian address on it. It is intended to hit homes, schools, stores and hospitals.
It makes their tears fake and their lament a farce. It should have no effect on any thinking, moral person. It should not – again – induce Israel to abandon its offensive until Gaza is rid of Hamas. It reminds us once again of our Sages’ adage that “he who is merciful to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the merciful.”
Indeed, that is the very epitaph for the Gush Katif expulsion nine years ago. You remember Gush Katif? That is the region from where hundreds of rockets have been fired against Israeli civilians in the last decade.
It is certainly a shame that civilians suffer in wartime, and some civilians are truly innocent and deserve sympathy and protection. Others don’t – not sympathy, deference, comfort, fuel, electricity or food. Let their elected leaders help them. The whole notion of offering “humanitarian” assistance to one’s enemy is foolish, counterproductive, un-Jewish and anti-Torah. Notifying your enemy where you plan on attacking is the height of stupidity and costs Jewish lives, unnecessarily, as it did today. It is a sign that deep within the Netanyahu psyche he still holds out the illusion that this enemy is a “partner for peace.” No nation informs its enemy where it plans on attacking. It is not moral; it is immoral and stupid. If the enemy wants humanitarian help, they should surrender. It would be good for them and for Israel, and for the world, which needs an unequivocal victory over Muslim terror.
Until then, my tears will be reserved for the real innocents, for those who yearn for peace and tranquility to serve their G-d, raise their families, build their homes and their nation, and are forced to fight a merciless foe again and again. Feelings of guilt are unwarranted.
May G-d strengthen the fighting forces of Israel, protect her soldiers from all harm, and guide her to victory with pride, understanding and majesty.