FresnoZionism’s last post

May 8th, 2014


FresnoZionism will no longer be updated. It will be replaced by a new blog called Abu Yehuda.

I thought that it would be appropriate to make the change now, as I prepare to move to Israel. I suspect the perspective of the blog will change at that point!

If you are subscribing to FresnoZionism by email via Feedblitz, then you shouldn’t have to do anything. The next post you get will come from Abu Yehuda — unless you subscribed anonymously. Anonymous means that I don’t know your email address, so I couldn’t transfer it!

Everyone who has registered to comment should also have their user IDs and passwords functional on the new site. If not, please email me at info [at] abuYehuda [dot] com.

I have kept my Twitter account, @fresnozionism, and Abu Yehuda posts will go there. If you are following me, you don’t need to do anything.

If you are using an RSS reader, the feed is

The new site is still under construction. But I like the new look and I hope you will too.

— Vic Rosenthal


The appalling ignorance of our ‘educators’

May 6th, 2014
Alleged photo of "British football team at Auschwitz" from Australian Holocaust denial site used as source for Rialto school writing assignment

Alleged photo of “British football team at Auschwitz” from Australian Holocaust denial site used as source for Rialto school writing assignment

Rialto, California is a town of about 100,000, located east of Los Angeles. Until now its main claims to fame have been bad drinking water and being the site of a chunk of freeway 210 that appeared in the movie “Transformers” and the TV show “Drive.”

Now they are known for something else: they have some of the the stone-ass stupidest personnel in history in their school district.

Rialto’s eighth-graders recently got this assignment:

When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.


The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

Just in case one of the teachers or administrators responsible is reading this, let me spell out the problem: this is not a legitimate controversy that can be debated. It is like asking the students to debate, pro and con, the proposition that the President is in the habit of having intercourse with sheep. It is like asking them to debate whether black people really are inherently dishonest and Mexicans lazy. The best “rebuttal” to this is either a punch in the nose or a lawsuit, depending on your social class.

Even in this day of Donald Sterling (non-US readers can satisfy their curiosity here if they care) some still don’t seem to get it:

“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students,” [school board member Joe] Martinez wrote in an email Friday morning. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education. The progression is within district board policy and also supports the district’s student inspired motto: ‘Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders.’”

And district spokeswoman Sayeda Jafri said this:

“There is no doubt the Holocaust was one of the most horrific, traumatic time-pieces in our history,” she wrote in an emailed response Friday afternoon. “We want our students to engage in developing critical thinking skills and have an in-depth perspective on the importance of the Holocaust. Although I received one email last week in reference to this subject, the district has not received any concerns about this writing prompt from any teachers, administrators or parents. However, due to its sensitive nature, we are always open to go back and examine the prompt.”

But by Monday, the school authorities seemed to understand that it was time to change course:

In a statement released Monday, [Jafri] said an academic team was meeting to revise the assignment.

Interim [since March] Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam was set to talk with administrators to “assure that any references to the holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research assignments.”

“The holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” Jafri said.

Jafri also said that the superintendent had not known about the assignment until he was contacted by the ADL on Friday. Apparently she did not pass on the email that she had received.

No, I do not believe that there was a Muslim conspiracy to teach Holocaust denial, despite the superintendent’s and spokeswoman’s names (they are of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin). I do think that there is a real problem with the mainstreaming of outrageous lies, and an incredible lack of judgment displayed by the under- or mis-educated people to whom we entrust our children.

This is actually more appalling.

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The ignorance, arrogance and bias of Obama’s negotiators

May 3rd, 2014

I have seen these people, the LORD said to Moses, and they are a stiff-necked people. — Exodus 32:9

Two unnamed members of the Obama/Kerry negotiating team — probably former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and academic David Makovsky — gave an interview to Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea, published yesterday, in which they displayed the ignorance, arrogance and bias that characterizes this administration and its clumsy attempt to force Israel into a disastrous deal with the PLO.

The interview is here. The officials’ account is riddled with inconsistencies — for example, they claim that the last straw, the final blow that caused Abbas to abandon negotiations was the announcement that Israel intended to build in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem:

And then came the Housing and Construction Ministry’s announcement of building tenders for more than 700 housing units in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood.

Abbas lost interest. He turned to the reconciliation talks with Hamas and to the question of who would inherit his mantle. According to the Americans, this is the reason for his recently launched public front against Mohammed Dahlan.

The Americans understood from their Israeli counterparts that the Gilo tenders announcement was an intentional act of sabotage, one of many, by Housing Minister Uri Ariel, an extremist who opposes any agreement with the Palestinians.

But earlier they said that Abbas agreed to the Clinton parameters regarding Jerusalem: Jewish neighborhoods would be in Israel, Arab neighborhoods would become part of Palestine (never mind that this might be a terrible idea). What is Gilo if not a Jewish neighborhood? And they fail to mention that prior to this announcement, Abbas violated his commitment not to seek statehood through the UN, and applied to join various UN treaties and conventions. So how could this have been the ‘last straw’?

Throughout the interview, they blame Israel for the failure of the talks, in particular for settlements. They completely fail to understand the significance of the recognition issue, or the degree of importance attached by Israel to security:

We couldn’t understand why [recognizing Israel as a Jewish state] bothered [Abbas] so much. For us, the Americans, the Jewish identity of Israel is obvious. We wanted to believe that for the Palestinians this was a tactical move – they wanted to get something (in return) and that’s why they were saying ‘no.’

“The more Israel hardened its demands, the more the Palestinian refusal deepened. Israel made this into a huge deal – a position that wouldn’t change under any circumstances. The Palestinians came to the conclusion that Israel was pulling a nasty trick on them. They suspected there was an effort to get from them approval of the Zionist narrative.

If the “Zionist narrative” means that there can be a Jewish state in the Middle East, then Netanyahu is guilty as charged! If US negotiators were too obtuse to understand why Israel demanded this and why the Palestinians would not agree, then they understood nothing.

“At the end of a war [referring to 1991, the Gulf War] there is a sense of urgency,” they said. And then one of them added bitterly: “I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress.”

“20 years after the Oslo Accords, new game rules and facts on the ground were created that are deeply entrenched. This reality is very difficult for the Palestinians and very convenient for Israel.”

Another intifada? The reality of 1400 dead Jews since Oslo was “convenient?”

What I found the most distressing was the insulting, demeaning tone — the lack of respect for the sovereign state of Israel, mixed with threats. Here are some examples:

“As of now, nothing is stopping the Palestinians from turning to the international community. The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.

The Jewish people are supposed to be smart; it is true that they’re also considered a stubborn nation [traditional anti-Jewish themes]. You’re supposed to know how to read the map: In the 21st century, the world will not keep tolerating the Israeli occupation. The occupation threatens Israel’s status in the world and threatens Israel as a Jewish state.

Israel is not China. It was founded by a UN resolution. Its prosperity depends on the way it is viewed by the international community.

This is a remarkably ignorant statement. The Jewish nation is actually a lot like China, going back thousands of years, always with a presence in and a connection to the land of Israel. Created by a UN resolution? Do they mean the non-binding and never implemented 181? The modern state of Israel was created by the struggle and blood of the Jewish people who threw out the British colonialists and defended themselves against the genocidal Arabs, who quite literally subscribed to Nazi doctrine.

Excuse me, these are the diplomats who represent the US? Or just a pair of idiots?

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Trend of US Israel policy is negative

April 30th, 2014


Yesterday I tried to explain why John Kerry’s use of the concept of ‘apartheid’ in connection with Israel was so outrageous.

For a top official of the US, supposedly Israel’s ally, to employ language more usually found in the sewers of Jew-hatred — sorry, I have to be accurate — is shocking, but indicative of the level to which US-Israel relations have fallen in the Age of Obama.

But there is also a practical significance. Kerry’s remarks constitute a threat. If Israel doesn’t roll over on command, suggests Kerry, it will get the South Africa treatment, boycotted and divested from by the so-moral ‘international community’ until its Zionist regime is forced to resign from the human race, like the National Party of apartheid South Africa. This isn’t the first threat from Kerry, who promised (and thus encouraged) a ‘third intifada’ if Israel didn’t hurry up and make a deal.

Kerry continued by blaming Israel for the failure of negotiations, even though the PLO leadership refused to commit to end the conflict, maintained their demand for a right of return to Israel, and never stopped the vicious incitement to murder in their media.

What has happened is that the center of discourse about Israel in the US has shifted. Administration and media people, educated in our ‘great’ universities — universities richly endowed with Arab petrodollars — have consumed a diet of extremist anti-Israel propaganda from teachers like David Klein, Lawrence Davidson, James Petras, Joseph Levine (three out of four Jewish!), and many others. Like the education for hate carried out by the Palestinian Authority, it has been effective. The students, including the President and his Secretary of State, learned their lessons and are applying them in their daily work.

The US Congress has been less affected, because of pressure from pro-Israel constituents — mostly evangelical Protestants and older or more observant Jews. But there is strong pressure on the evangelicals (especially younger ones) to move them away from their support of Israel, and as the older Jews (who tend to be Zionists) die off, the liberal Jewish community becomes less and less committed to defending Israel. Congress will follow the lead of its constituents.

I don’t see any reason for these trends to reverse, and the more that opinions formerly considered extreme become mainstream, the more they will inform policy.

On a personal note, I will be moving back to Israel in a couple of months. The US has been good to me, and I’ll miss my friends and a lot more about this wonderful country. But I can’t help but admit to a feeling of relief that Kerry, Obama and others like them will no longer represent me.

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John Kerry exposes his anti-Israel bias

April 28th, 2014
Apartheid -- the real thing

Apartheid — the real thing

News item:

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to Jewish State. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well. …

The application of the concept of ‘apartheid’ to Israel, a theme that began with the notorious Durban Conference in 2001, is one of the most offensive propaganda techniques used by Israel’s enemies to demonize it, matched only by the “Israelis are the new Nazis” one.

Apartheid, as everyone knows, is a set of laws designed to create ‘separation’ between races that existed in South Africa between 1949 and 1994. It was much more than mere racial segregation, being a complete system to ensure that blacks (and ‘coloreds’) would have inferior status in every sphere and be unable to obtain political influence. Nothing remotely like it exists in Israel (on either side of the Green Line) nor is it contemplated, even by the most right-wing members of the Knesset.

To be completely fair, apartheid is much closer to Islamic Shari’a, under which non-Muslims’ rights are severely limited. And racism more appropriately characterizes Mahmoud Abbas’ demand for a Jew-free ‘Palestine’ than Israel in any sense. But never mind, this isn’t a contest.

Kerry is alluding to the argument that if Israel annexes all of Judea and Samaria (and Gaza?), demographic considerations would lead to a loss of Israel’s Jewish majority. At that point, it’s argued that Israel would be forced to limit Arab suffrage in order to keep its character as a Jewish state.

This line has been shown over and over to be unsound. The demographic predictions are false, being based on phony Palestinian numbers and wrong assumptions about Jewish and Arab birthrates, and there are other alternatives. This has been covered in detail in numerous places, including Caroline Glick’s book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

But even if this is all that he had in mind, it is beyond inappropriate and offensive that the American Secretary of State would echo the most vicious anti-Zionists by using the word ‘apartheid’ in connection with Israel. Indeed, his use of it indicates that behind his ‘balanced’ rhetoric — he likes to blame ‘both sides’ — he is strongly biased against Israel.

Kerry needs to apologize (the lame attempt to minimize the damage by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki doesn’t cut it). Or, as the Emergency Committee for Israel suggests, quit.

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US Reform Jews following same path as in 1940s

April 27th, 2014

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom haShoah. Although I agree with those who say that preservation of the historical record is a necessary part of preventing its repetition, I am very uncomfortable with its use to produce an emotional catharsis, which often stands in the way of facing the real threats against the Jewish people today. The same people who cry over the dead Jews of the 1940s often have no problem taking anti-Zionist positions today — or supporting politicians like Barack Obama, whose policies are inimical to the continued existence of the Jewish state, and therefore the Jewish people.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as seems not to have noticed Yom haShoah this year — at least, I can’t find anything on its website. Individual congregations, like the one in our town, are holding commemorative events. Possibly they have decided to deemphasize the observance.

But the URJ’s drift in the direction of anti-Zionist politics hasn’t stopped. Under the leadership of its President Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs, we find the URJ supporting the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street in its bid to joint the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. J Street — which called for a cease-fire on the first day of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which supported an anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security council (which the US vetoed), which consistently opposed sanctions on Iran, which supported the conclusions of the Goldstone Report (later repudiated by its author) that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza and introduced Goldstone to members of Congress, which has invited viciously anti-Zionist and pro-BDS speakers like Mustafa Barghouti, Rebecca Vilkomerson and James Zogby to its annual conference, but refused to allow liberal Zionist Alan Dershowitz to speak — is anything but pro-Israel. It is, however, very pro-Obama.

It is ironic, then that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people. The danger is not as immediate today as it was in the dark days of WWII, although the Iranian nuclear project, which is being facilitated by the policy of the Obama Administration, could very quickly change this.

I am therefore taking this occasion to republish the following, which I wrote several years ago. It is even more timely today.


The failure of the liberal Jewish establishment, then and now

by Vic Rosenthal, 8/7/2011

400 mostly Orthodox rabbis march to the White House on October 6, 1943. Roosevelt avoided meeting with them.

It’s well-known that the Roosevelt Administration did little to help European Jews during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, part of the blame falls on American Jewry, which was sharply divided about how to respond — a fact which caused good men in the government to hesitate, while it gave antisemites an excuse to resist taking action.

The NY Times has published a piece by Isabel Kershner that may bring more attention to the shameful stupidity of the Jewish establishment during that period:

The Bergson group formed in 1940 when about 10 young Jews from Palestine and Europe came to the United States to open a fund-raising and propaganda operation for the Irgun, the right-wing Zionist militia. The group was organized by Hillel Kook, a charismatic Irgun leader who adopted the pseudonym Peter H. Bergson. [Samuel] Merlin was his right-hand man.

The group began by raising money for illegal Jewish immigration to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine and promoting the idea of an army composed of stateless and Palestinian Jews. But the mission abruptly changed in November 1942 after reports of the Nazi annihilation of two million European Jews emerged. Like earlier reports of the mass killing of Jews, the news barely made the inside pages of major American newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The Bergsonites were appalled by what they saw as the indifference of the Roosevelt administration and the passivity of the Jewish establishment, which staunchly supported the administration and largely accepted its argument that the primary American military objective was to win the war, not to save European Jews. The group embarked on a provocative campaign to publicize the genocide and to lobby Congress to support the rescue of Jews, roaming the hallways of Capitol Hill and knocking on doors, displaying a degree of chutzpah that made the traditional, pro-Roosevelt Jewish establishment uncomfortable.


The establishment, led by Reform Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, fought Kook’s group tooth and nail. Writer Ben Hecht, recruited by Kook to stage a huge pageant in Madison Square Garden in March 1943 (“We will never die”) to raise awareness and embarrass the government into action, described one encounter:

I first became aware that there was annoyance with me among the Jews when Rabbi Stephen Wise, head of the Jews of New York, head of the Zionists and, as I knew from reading the papers, head of almost everything noble in American Jewry, telephoned me at the Algonquin Hotel where I had pitched my Hebrew tent.

Rabbi Wise said he would like to see me immediately in his rectory. His voice, which was sonorous and impressive, irritated me. I had never known a man with a sonorous and impressive voice who wasn’t either a con man or a bad actor. I explained I was very busy and unable to step out of my hotel.

“Then I shall tell you now, over the telephone, what I had hoped to tell you in my study,” said Rabbi Wise. “I have read your pageant script and I disapprove of it. I must ask you to cancel this pageant and discontinue all your further activities in behalf of the Jews. If you wish hereafter to work for the Jewish Cause, you will please consult me and let me advise you.”

Wise was a confidant of Roosevelt, and tried to use his influence to get the British to allow European Jews to enter Palestine, with no success. He was even unable to get Roosevelt to publicly speak out on the subject. According to Hecht, Kook told him that

The United States has a secret pact with Great Britain concerning the future of Palestine. It is intended to belong to the British. President Roosevelt will do nothing to violate that pact. He will not speak of Jews being massacred because that might excite popular opinion to rescue them–and result in their being sent to Palestine as a haven, which would be a violation of this pact [in December 1942, Roosevelt and allied governments did finally issue a declaration denouncing Hitler’s murderous project, but no concrete actions were taken — ed.].

When Kook organized a march of 400 mostly Orthodox Rabbis (but including Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, z”l, who had been ordained as a Conservative rabbi some months before) to the White House, Roosevelt left before they arrived, on the advice of Wise and others.

In Louis Rappaport’s words (“Shake Heaven and Earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe,” p. xi),

During the era, Zionist leaders like Rabbi Wise and Nahum Goldmann told the State Department that Kook/Bergson was as big a threat as Hitler to the well-being of American Jewry.

Wise did his best, in the tradition of the medieval ghetto community leader who protects his people by virtue of his relationship with the goyische prince, but he failed utterly. And then he did his best to sabotage the more aggressive, public efforts of Kook. His publicly stated reason was that he feared that Kook’s actions (which included criticism of Christians who did not intervene) would stimulate an antisemitic reaction in the US.

But there was another motive, too. Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Reform Movement’s Hebrew Union College (in part founded by Wise), explained it in a September, 2008, talk:

“In the 1930s, it was Wise who led the rallies against Hitler, so why did he fail so horribly in the 1940s?” Ellenson asked at a Holocaust conference organized by the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute …

He said part of the explanation lies in Wise’s “absolute and complete love” for president Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as his antipathy toward the Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and toward the Bergson Group, whose leaders were followers of Jabotinsky, something that “helped blind him” to the need for more activism.

Ellenson said concerns of provoking an anti-Semitic backlash should not have thwarted the American Jewish leadership from actively working to prevent the extermination of six million Jews. “Jewish leaders have an obligation to be sufficiently flexible and imaginative to deal with unprecedented situations,” he said. He said he hoped that today’s leaders would respond more effectively to contemporary dangers facing the Jewish people, such as the Iranian nuclear threat.

“Stephen Wise spent too much time trying to protect FDR from criticism, and not enough time focusing on how to convince Roosevelt to help rescue Jews from Europe,” said Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff. “Rabbi David Ellenson is to be commended for acknowledging the mistakes of his predecessor and trying to ensure that the failures of the 1940s will not be repeated.”

It seems to me that this is almost exactly what is happening today, with the liberal Jewish establishment in America cleaving to its President, Barack Obama, while the latter pursues policies inimical to Jewish survival. It is ironic that Rabbi Ellenson criticized Rabbi Wise in this way, and then three years later viciously attacked opponents of the nomination of J Street and New Israel Fund activist Rabbi Richard Jacobs as head of the Union for Reform Judaism!

Kook and Merlin, by the way, both sailed to Israel in 1948 on the ill-fated Irgun arms ship Altalena, which was fired on by IDF forces on the orders of David Ben-Gurion (Merlin was wounded, as the Times article notes). Interestingly, later in life, Ben-Gurion said that he regretted the decision, which he would not have made had he known Irgun leader Menachem Begin as well as he had since come to know him.

I don’t know if Wise regretted his actions in regard to Kook, although he apparently understood that he had failed in his responsibility toward the Jews of Europe. Toward the end of his life, he wrote,

I have seen and shared deep and terrible sorrow. The tale might be less tragic if the help of men had been less scant and fitful.

Today’s establishment still has time to choose the right path.

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First victory, then peace

April 25th, 2014

Emily Amrousi’s piece about rape as an act of terror should be required reading for everyone who thinks that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is about borders and Palestinian statehood.

There is one passage that stood out, about the 2006 rape and murder of 9-year old Lipaz Himi:

Anwar Ahdush, a resident of the village of Tzurif and a member of Fatah’s Tanzim who had entered Israel illegally, confessed to the crime. Two days before raping and murdering Himi, Ahdush killed another Jew, David Ben-Hamo, with an axe. When police questioned him for the first time, he said he had committed both acts as “revenge for the suffering of Palestinian mothers,” and added that he had also planned to murder a female soldier and kidnap a bus carrying schoolchildren and steer it down a ravine.

When Judge Dalia Ganot of the Tel Aviv District Court asked Ahdush why he had committed the act, he answered: “Because tomorrow this girl will grow up, be in the army and murder our children.”

When he was asked why he trained at shooting, he answered, “Because we are in a state of war.”

“A war against a 9-year-old girl?” the judge pressed.

“For us, there is no 9 years old or 10 years old,” he answered. The fact that since Ahdush’s arrest his family has been receiving a stipend of NIS 4,000 ($1,100) per month from Fatah is further evidence that the crime was nationalistically motivated.

Some random thoughts that came to mind:

Israel has no death penalty, and lately a history of releasing murderers either to ransom kidnapped Israelis (even dead ones) or to “strengthen Palestinian moderates.” Fatah, the organization headed by Mahmoud Abbas to which Anwar Ahdush belonged, is counted as ‘moderate’. When prisoners are released, especially those that have murdered Jewish civilians, they are welcomed as heroes.

When Yasser Arafat returned from exile after the Oslo Accord created the Palestinian Authority (PA), he instituted a wide-ranging campaign to deepen the hatred of Jews and Israel in the Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian educational and religious systems and all Palestinian media were focused on this objective. The Palestinian Media Watch organization provides hundreds of examples, which include crude Jew-hatred, denial of Jewish history, distortions of recent events, sheer invention of ‘war crimes’, blood libels, religious conspiracy theories, adulation of terrorists and exhortation to martyrdom.

The Palestinian Cause, as it is taught, takes various forms, but what is common to all of them is the end of the Jewish state. The campaign has been continued, even strengthened, under ‘moderate’ Mahmoud Abbas.

In the US today there is a controversy about laws restricting certain breeds of dogs, which some consider inherently dangerous. Others say that the dogs, which are often adopted by drug dealers as guards or set to fight one another, are only aggressive when trained to be. In the case of the Palestinian Arabs, we have the result of deliberately training a population of humans for hate and violence. Unsurprisingly, it works. The various Palestinian factions have all adopted versions of this strategy. It is a kind of warfare, an adjunct to the kinetic kind.

On the other hand, Israeli media, for the most part, tries to humanize the Palestinians. If there is an Israeli ‘Cause’, it is presented as peace. This is a mistake. Israel doesn’t need to — shouldn’t — adopt a philosophy of hate, like the Palestinian Arabs. But it’s essential to understand that the Jewish nation is at war with the Palestinian Arabs, and has been for almost 100 years. If the survival of the state and consequently the Jewish people is important, then our primary objective has to be victory. Peace will follow.

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Is it good for the Jews? Maybe a little.

April 24th, 2014

Nu, my grandmother would have asked, is it good for the Jews?

I am talking about the latest episode in the Fatah-Hamas ‘reconciliation’ soap opera. Let’s look at some of the arguments pro and con.

First, on the left, we have this: “it is good for the Jews because a unified Palestinian entity can sign a peace agreement that binds all their factions.” This is probably the weakest argument. As I wrote yesterday, the idea that the PLO, even without Hamas, would in good faith make and keep an agreement to end the conflict is at best wishful thinking. This has been proven on multiple occasions since the days of Arafat. Add the rejectionist Hamas, and the tiny probability becomes even tinier.

Turning right, we hear that it is bad for the Jews because it will strengthen Hamas. There is some truth to this. Hamas has been suffering economically since its patron, the Muslim Brotherhood, lost power in Egypt. General Sisi’s forces are continuing to destroy the tunnels that provide a path for weapons and terrorists to pass into and out of the strip, and whose operation is heavily taxed by Hamas. If Hamas gets access to the European and American funds sloshing around in the Palestinian Authority (PA), that will offset the loss.

Some object that Europe and the US will not continue to fund a PA that includes the terrorist Hamas. But practically speaking, the powers are not prepared to give up the control that they buy with their aid. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated yesterday that Hamas would be an acceptable partner in a unity-governed PA only if it met the three “quartet conditions” of renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and accepting prior agreements (the Oslo Accords, in particular). While this appears to be a rejection of Hamas, which has often insisted that it would never agree to these conditions, it is also a door that Hamas can pass through. If it really wants to join the PA, I suspect a formula could be found that both Hamas and State would accept. Of course, in practice nothing about Hamas would change.

All this is true and on the ‘bad’ side of the ledger. But others suggest that there may be an unexpected benefit as well, which is that union with Hamas would expose the PLO for what it is — an organization with genocidal aims no less sinister than Hamas. After all, what distinguishes the PLO from Hamas? Three things:

Strategy — The Hamas approach is more directly confrontational, while the PLO prefers to alternate terrorism with diplomatic warfare. In both cases, the objective — the replacement of the Jewish state with an Arab state and the expulsion or murder of the Jews of Israel — is the same.

Ideology — Hamas would like to create an Islamic state following Shari’a. The PLO is mostly secular, with Marxist, Pan-Arab and nationalist elements. From our point of view, the kind of state they would create after eliminating the Jews is irrelevant.

Personalities — Hamas leaders would like to be the dictators of their new state, and so would those of the PLO. They would like to settle their scores and become the Arab tyrants they believe they deserve to be.

The idea of exposure is attractive: everyone would see the truth about the PA, and stop pressuring Israel to make concessions to forces that want to destroy it. But of course that is not what would happen. Would the US State Department suddenly reverse the course it has steered since 1967, to get Israel out of the territories? Would the Europeans suddenly decide that it’s acceptable for the Jews to have a sovereign state?

None of these things would happen, because the world’s priorities do not fall on the side of Jewish survival. They never have, and even our friends have more important concerns.

What might happen, though, is a short pause in the international pressure, along with a further disillusionment with the ‘process’ in Israel (even Tzipi Livni said that there could not be “business as usual” with a Hamas-ified PA). This could be an opportunity for Israel to act decisively to end the charade started at Oslo and the pretense that the PLO is anything other than the genocidal terrorist gang that it has always been.

Oslo, specifically the recognition of the PLO as the “legitimate representative of the ‘Palestinian people’,” is one of the greatest mistakes — if not the greatest — made by any Israeli government since 1948. While much of the damage can’t be undone — the roughly 1500 Jews murdered as a result of it can’t be brought back to life — at least the pernicious ‘process’ can be finally ended.

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J Street wants to ‘test’ Jewish state out of existence

April 23rd, 2014

I have rarely read anything quite as incoherent as the latest from J Street. In response to the news that the Fatah and Hamas organizations are yet again proposing a unity government for the Palestinians, they write,

J Street regards today’s news of a preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas with caution and urges the United States to press forward with an even more assertive effort to forge a two-state solution. Today’s developments only highlight how important it is for the United States – backed by the international community – to define the contours of a two–state solution.

A non-sequitur. But for J Street, nothing is more important, ever, than Israel being forced to withdraw from the territories. Anything that happens will “highlight” this, in their world.

J Street has consistently condemned Hamas for calling for Israel’s destruction, using terror and violence against Israeli civilians and denying the Holocaust. Bringing Hamas into a unity government poses real challenges to those of us who are deeply concerned about Israel’s security.

Hamas proudly proclaims that the highest calling of a Muslim is to kill Jews, and does its best to do so day in and out. So, yes, there are “real challenges” for those of us who want to stay alive. Does this mean that J Street reasonably opposes negotiations with a government that includes Hamas? Sounds like it…

However, we also recognize several important realities: first, that one makes peace with one’s enemies not one’s friends; second, that Hamas – although weaker today – still has a significant base of political support within Palestinian society; and, third, that overcoming the split between Fatah and Hamas (and between the West Bank and Gaza) has always been a condition for effective resolution of the conflict.

…but apparently not.

Of course you make peace with enemies, but only enemies with whom you have common interests, interests that are more compelling to them than their desire to kill you. Absent that, the conflict continues until one or the other side wins. Such common interests do not exist between Israel and Hamas, so the only way for us to survive is to win. Anything that strengthens Hamas physically or psychologically moves peace farther away, not closer. This is precisely why we should not negotiate with terrorists.

Many who oppose a two-state deal have argued that these divisions among the Palestinians make peace impossible. Reconciliation would, however, increase President Abbas’ ability to carry out a two-state agreement. Now, these opponents of a two-state agreement are likely to shift to arguing that a deal is impossible with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.

Certainly a divided Palestinian entity makes it harder to make an agreement that will stick — but so do the introduction of rejectionists into the Palestinian Authority. Regardless, even if Hamas didn’t exist, isn’t it clear that the PLO doesn’t want a negotiated end to the conflict? Hamas, in or out of the Palestinian Authority, only makes it worse.

If indeed this reconciliation deal is implemented – and history does give reason to question whether it will – the new Palestinian leadership that emerges will have to answer many questions in the coming weeks: Is the Palestinian Liberation Organization – as the official representative of the Palestinian people – still committed to a two-state solution? Is it willing to reaffirm its renunciation of the use of violence and terror against Israeli civilians? Will existing security understandings be honored?

The best way to test this is for the US to put a clear choice before the Israelis and the Palestinians. That is precisely why J Street has called today for the United States to put forward a framework for a two-state deal that sets out parameters for resolving the core issues of the conflict.

The PLO is not now and never was committed to a “two-state solution” (TSS) in the sense of a Jewish and Arab state living peacefully side by side. The TSS, to the PLO, has always meant an Arab-only apartheid state next to an “Israel” which implements the Arab ‘right of return’, and therefore ceases to be a Jewish state. This ambiguity has been consistently maintained throughout the ‘peace process’, which is one of the reasons it has consistently failed.

The ‘test’ proposed by the deliberately ‘naive’ leaders of J Street is for the US to force the implementation of some form of TSS. At very least it will include Israeli withdrawal from the territories. If the PLO fails to meet its commitments, what will happen? Will Israel send the IDF back into the territories, which will at that point be a sovereign ‘Palestine’? Will it un-bulldoze the settlements that it will have destroyed? Will it put its society back together after the upheaval caused by the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of its own people?

Some ‘test’!

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Lessons from the latest tragedy

April 17th, 2014
Mizrachi Family

Baruch Mizrachi, z”l and family

Funeral of Baruch Mizrachi, z'l

Funeral of Baruch Mizrachi

It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are.  They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not “meet halfway” those who do not want to meet you. — Ze’ev Jabotinsky

It is too painful to write these stories, so I will let you read the details here.

It still isn’t clear whether Baruch Mizrachi, a man who had devoted his life to protecting the Jewish people in their land, was targeted because of his job, or simply murdered because he was a Jew. It doesn’t matter. The question is, when is enough enough? When does the State of Israel decide that the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and start treating them as such (my guess is that the people of Israel already understand this)?

The police will be looking very seriously for the murderers, at least the ones that waited by the side of the road and pulled the trigger. When they find them, will they be hanged as justice demands? Or will they be jailed for a few years where they can take college courses and receive generous pensions from the Palestinian Authority, until they are released either as part of a ransom agreement or because of pressure from the anti-Jewish administration of Barack Obama?

When will the State of Israel begin to act on the fact, which everyone knows to be true, that the Palestinian Arab leadership as well as the average Palestinian in the street, is dedicated to the Palestinian Cause of removing the Jewish presence from ‘their’ land, which includes everything from the river to the sea?

When will Israelis understand that the Land of Israel, all of it, belongs to the Jewish people, both by historical right and international law? When will they take concrete steps to realize this? When will they stop internalizing the lies of the Arabs and the Jew-hating Europeans and allowing the inappropriate and neurotic guilt of the Left to paralyze them?

Ze’ev Jabotinsky explained it 90 years ago. Menachem Begin always understood it.

How many families will suffer like the Mizrachis until we finally get it?

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Actually, Brandeis got it very wrong

April 15th, 2014
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The recent controversy over Brandeis University’s withdrawal of its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali is symptomatic of the disconnect from reality prevalent in academia. Let’s look at Hirsi Ali’s “virulently anti-Muslim public statements” quoted by the Brandeis faculty members who signed a letter to the university president, urging him to rescind the offer:

David Cohen quotes Ms. Hirsi Ali as saying: “Violence is inherent in Islam – it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder. The police may foil plots and freeze bank accounts in the short term, but the battle against terrorism will ultimately be lost unless we realise that it’s not just with extremist elements within Islam, but the ideology of Islam itself….Islam is the new fascism” (London Evening Standard, 2-7-07). Rogier van Bakel quotes her as follows: “Jews should be proselytizing about a God that you can quarrel with. Catholics should be proselytizing about a God who is love….Those are lovely concepts of God. They can’t compare to the fire-breathing Allah who inspires jihadism and totalitarianism.” Van Bakel notes religions’ ability to bring about change for good: “Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?” Ms. Hirsi Ali responds, “Only if Islam is defeated.” Van Bakel asks, “Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?” To that she responds, “No. Islam, period.” (Reason, 11-07)

These are the statements which caused 87 faculty members to be “filled with shame,” because, in part, they “cannot accept Ms. Hirsi Ali’s triumphalist narrative of western civilization, rooted in a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples.”

They are entitled to their opinion that the “non-western peoples” that mutilated Ms. Hirsi Ali and murder women for the crime of being rape victims are not culturally backward, but I think she is certainly as well and probably more qualified to make this judgment than the Brandeis faculty.

It is hard for me to see why her position should fill them with shame to the point that they won’t allow their university to honor a woman who has quite literally put her life on the line to end these practices!

I was unable to find an argument worth discussing in the faculty letter, so I turned to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the former head of the Union for Reform Judaism. Here is why he believes that “Brandeis got it right:”

Ms. Hirsi Ali’s sweeping statements of condemnation do not make vital distinctions that civilized people must always make. I am referring to the distinctions between radical and fanatic versions of Islam and moderate and centrist versions of Islam. As we Jews know very well, there are real consequences when entire populations are represented in the public imagination by their worst elements.

If any major American university were to award an honorary degree to a political or cultural figure who had spoken in such broadly condemnatory terms about Jews, the Jewish community would be outraged — and rightly so. The task of American Jews and all Americans is to join with our Muslim friends in the fight against religious fanaticism in Islam and in all other religious traditions; it is to promote the values of justice, love, and moderation that are common to all the major religious faiths. But we cannot do that if we insist on honoring those who, however sympathetic their backgrounds and moving their personal stories, have made the mistake of demonizing all Muslims and bashing Islam.

Rabbi Yoffie himself fails to make a critical distinction, that between an ideology and a population. Hirsi Ali criticizes Islam, with which she has intimate knowledge, as an ideology, one which has elements that are pro-violence, intolerant, anti-democratic, misogynist, anti-Jewish and more. She believes that these elements are inherent in Islam, that they are an essential part of it. Hence she “bashes” Islam.

But she does not “demonize all Muslims.” This is an entirely different thing, and one that Hirsi Ali is careful to avoid. I am sure she would agree with Yoffie that there are radical and moderate Muslims; but in her analysis, a moderate Muslim is one that, for whatever reason, does not act out the more offensive parts of the Islamic ideology.

Criticism of ideologies, even vituperative criticism, has been part and parcel of legitimate discourse in the West since the Enlightenment. I’m sure that many members of the Brandeis faculty curse capitalism every morning before breakfast, and nobody is “filled by shame” by this. Half of the world’s Internet sites would go dark and there would be no more political speeches if one couldn’t criticize ideology.

To shut down critical discussion of an ideology by trying to assassinate the character (and in the case of Ms. Hirsi Ali, the person) of the critic, simply because the ideology is a religious one, is unreasonable.

Yoffie’s comparison to criticism of Judaism is instructive. He conflates Jew-hatred — the ‘racial’ form practiced by the Nazis, the religion-based version of the Spanish Inquisition, or the conspiratorial type preached by Frazier Glenn Cross (or Miller), which are clearly unacceptable, with ideological objections, which are not.

For example, there are misogynist and intolerant threads in Haredi Judaism which I oppose, as I oppose the universalist themes and conflation of Jewish ethics with leftist politics that appear in Reform Judaism. Public expression of this criticism does not make a me a bigot who hates Haredim or Reform Jews, or even wishes them ill.

There is a difference between Judaism and Islam, which is that the pernicious parts of the ideology that are found in Islam form an essential part of it, and one which at the present time is becoming more and more prevalent in the normative practice of Islam. One could say that more and more Muslims are becoming ‘radicalized’, or as I prefer, beginning to act according to Islamic ideology.

Normative Judaism, in which the understanding of the texts has undergone a process of moderation through the rabbinical tradition, strongly negates the idea that violent episodes (e.g., genocide in the book of Joshua) should be a guide to behavior today — precisely the opposite of what is happening in Islam with the spread of Islamist doctrine.

Muslim organizations like CAIR are trying to make it unacceptable to voice any “criticism of religion,” which they equate to a form of bigotry. But disagreement, no matter how vehement, with an ideology is worlds apart from hating its adherents.

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Europe’s chutzpah can’t hide decline

April 12th, 2014

Thanks to the perspicacious David F. for bringing this to my attention:

European Union officials alleged on Friday that Israel demolished EU-funded housing shelters outside of Ma’aleh Adumim earlier in the week, AFP reported.

Eighteen tin huts built to house Palestinians during the unusually severe winter weather this year were “partially funded by EU member states,” according to the report.

EU officials demanded financial compensation from Israel to Brussels in response to the demolition of three of the structures, Belgian news service EurActiv reported.

“We should ask for compensation from Israel whenever EU-funded humanitarian aid projects are destroyed,” EurActiv quoted an anonymous EU diplomat as saying.

The thought processes of the “EU officials” are remarkable. They finance illegal construction, and then expect to be compensated for their losses when the authorities intervene. If I pay someone to steal a car for me and he is arrested, can I sue the police to get my money back? Probably I would get arrested too! What should happen here is that the EU should pay any relevant fines plus the cost of demolishing the illegal structures.

But there is more. The EU gives large amounts of money to the Palestinian authority, much of which is used to pay the salaries of jailed terrorists — in other words, to reward them for every manner of crime, including murder. How about the EU paying Israel compensation for the actions of its, well, employees?

The EU is not acting from humanitarian motives (the Arabs of Judea and Samaria are better off than in any other Middle Eastern nation). It is financing subversion, sabotage and terrorism against the Jewish state.

The European demand for compensation makes sense in the context of their historic superiority complex, particularly with regard to the Jews, whom they do not believe have a right to sovereignty. How else can they justify their interference with the laws of someone else’s country?

The Arabs and others have a point when they complain about the colonialist arrogance that still characterizes Europe, long after its empires are gone and its vitality is trickling away in inexorable economic and demographic decline.

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