Archive for August, 2013

Why I am important

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

On Friday, I signed a contract to buy an apartment in Israel. I will be returning to live here again after 25 years. I am very happy about it for various reasons, including the fact that as an Israeli Jew I will be a member of a tiny minority of huge importance to the rest of the world.

We flew to Israel from Los Angeles. At the gate we were met by several buses which took us to a remote terminal where we boarded the plane. The buses were escorted by two airport police cars and an El Al security car, which also followed the plane as it taxied from the terminal to the runway from which it took off.

As far as I know, no other airline gets this special treatment. In a way, it is flattering to know that I am so important that many people want to kill me.

Israel is special at the UN, too, where the Human Rights Commission and the General Assembly devote so much time, effort and (mostly Western) cash to condemning it and pretending that the ‘Palestinians’ are a nation in any sense other than as a negation of the Jewish nation. They pretend that the Palestinian Arabs are important, but everybody knows that it’s all about us, especially the Palestinians themselves (this is one of the reasons that they are so angry and frustrated all the time).

There is also the special treatment we get from Europe. Did you know that one thousand legal scholars and jurists recently delivered a petition to EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton explaining that contrary to the EU position, Jewish settlements across the Green Line are legal under international law?  The EU doesn’t boycott, for example, Turkish ‘settlers’ in northern Cyprus, but we are more important, so a special policy is implemented for us.

Then there is the clever US State Department which prefers ‘illegitimate’ to ‘illegal’. Somehow this is supposed to be a meaningful distinction in this context, but all I can think of is that someone’s parents were unmarried. They include Israel’s capital, which has been the seat of its government since the founding of the state in the illegitimate part. No other nation is so honored!

I am even more proud of the fact that the great United States finds it necessary to spit on us by forcing Israel’s government to release more than a hundred terrorists, all of whom were either convicted of murder (sometimes multiple murders) or of crimes related to murders. Some of these murders were remarkably evil and gruesome, and it’s unimaginable that the US would do something similar in its own homeland. But we are really important and special, so we are required to accept this.

I understand also that the US and EU were ‘furious’ that Israel’s Prime Minister recently announced that perhaps a thousand new homes for Jews would be built someday in places that they consider illegal or illegitimate. The argument is that this construction would create facts on the ground that would prejudice a future peace agreement. Of course, not a peep was heard a few months ago when Israel announced that it would build housing for Arabs in the same area. What else does this prove except that Jews are more important than Arabs?

Speaking of Arabs, Israel’s neighbors Egypt and Syria are presently displaying their truly shocking barbarism by engaging in vicious religious/ethnic civil wars, bombing, gassing, shooting and raping each other with abandon. The status quo in Israel is peaceful, and the economy — both of Israel and the Palestinian Authority — is excellent. So you would think that the focus would be elsewhere rather than Israel.

Nope — our importance is illustrated by the fact that the ‘international community’, led by President Obama, thinks it’s worthwhile to destabilize us also!

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Whose side are we on?

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Raymond Ibrahim tells us,

Indeed, the abuse of Egypt’s Christians has reached unprecedented levels in the modern era. Al-Qaeda’s flag has been raised above their churches; their pope is in hiding under threat of death; a priest was shot in front of his church, and another Copt beheaded; their children are being abducted; nary a day goes by without a church being attacked or set aflame; hate filled graffiti covers their homes and churches.

And why has the persecution reached unprecedented levels? Because the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was ousted by a revolution that saw as many as 30 million Egyptians, most of them Muslims, take to the streets. But of course, the Brotherhood does not want to admit that Muslim majorities do not favor their rule, so they scapegoat the already-hated Christians, portraying them as fundamental to the ousting of Morsi. Any number of Brotherhood leaders — from the general guide, Mohammed Badie, to the group’s spiritual father, Sheikh Yusif al-Qaradawi, all of whom publicly denounced the Coptic pope for being supportive of the revolution and supposedly even killing Muslims – are responsible for this rise in persecution of Copts.

Accordingly, among some Islamists, anti-Christian fury has taken on genocidal proportions. Recently a Libyan Muslim named Tamar Rashad called in to a talk show, saying “I want to offer the good news to [Pope] Tawadros that, Allah willing, the day is coming when no Copt will ever again tread the ground of Egypt – and no churches. We will no longer allow churches to exist.” When the TV host appeared to protest, Rashad interrupted him saying, “It’s already decided, take your cameras and go to the churches and you’ll see what’s going to happen soon, Allah willing.”

One of the reasons for the Jewish state is to be a protector and refuge for Jews worldwide. But who will protect believers belonging to the world’s largest religious group, Christians?

In the past several days, the Egyptian police and military have clashed with Muslim Brotherhood ‘demonstrators’. Hundreds have been killed, mostly (but not only) on the Muslim Brotherhood side.

My expectation is that bloody clashes will continue until the Brotherhood is suppressed. Neither side is interested in a compromise.

So here is how our Secretary of State responded to the situation:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called the bloodshed in Egypt “deplorable” and urged all sides to seek a political solution.

“In the past week, at every occasion … we and others have urged the government to respect the rights of free assembly and of free expression, and we have also urged all parties to resolve this impasse peacefully and underscored that demonstrators should avoid violence and incitement,” Kerry said.

“[Wednesday’s] events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy. Egyptians inside and outside the government need to take a step back, they need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life. We believe that the state of emergency should end as soon as possible,” Kerry said.

How even-handed! Or even a tiny bit pro-Brotherhood.

I think that it would be appropriate for a country one of whose founding principles is the rejection of religious persecution, and whose largest religious group happens to be Christian, to at least take into account the barbaric behavior and attitudes of the Muslim Brotherhood in its consideration of whom to support in Egypt.

The US has consistently ignored the fact that the Brotherhood is viciously anti-Christian (anti-Jewish is a given) and anti-American, as well as profoundly anti-democratic, despite the fact that it came to power through a (questionable) election. In any event, Morsi’s first acts were intended to arrogate total power to the Brotherhood and put an end to any future democracy in Egypt.

The pro-democracy protesters that began the process of bringing down Mubarak and were so admired in the US — the ones that use Facebook and speak English to CNN reporters — were never represented by the Brotherhood.

Yes, it is true that the Obama Administration did not use the word ‘coup’ and has not stopped aid to Egypt. But it is time to end the pro-Brotherhood tilt that started with Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009.

Trying to curry favor with Islamists of any stripe is stupid, unproductive and likely to cause pain for women, Christians, and many other groups that do not fit in their seventh-century worldview.

Whose side are we on, anyway?

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A day of national degradation

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
Palestinian 'president' Mahmoud Abbas greets released prisoners in Ramallah, August 14, 2013

Palestinian ‘president’ Mahmoud Abbas greets released prisoners in Ramallah, August 14, 2013

Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. — Deut. 25:17-18

Early this morning Israel allowed 26 Palestinian Arab prisoners to go free. They were released in Ramallah and Gaza. Although this has been discussed for some time, the act itself was shocking:

Of the 26 prisoners, 17 have been convicted of murder. The remaining prisoners were jailed on charges of manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping and conspiring to commit murder.

Of course all of the murders were horrible, involving burning, shooting and stabbing to death men, women and children. But there is a particular depravity in the pointless killing of older Jews who represent no threat to the killers:

Among the terrorists to be released is Salah Ibrahim Ahmad Mughdad, the murderer of Holocaust-survivor Israel Tenenbaum who was found dead on June 14, 1993, at the hotel in Netanya where he had been working as a night watchman. Mughdad had murdered him on the job.

Also being released is Barbakh Faiz Rajab Madhat, who murdered 61-year-old Moshe Beker at his orchard. Beker was murdered on January 21 1994, when he arrived at his orchard and was ambushed by three terrorists, who had slept on site and waited for him. They attacked him, stabbed him to death with a knife and a pair of pruning shears, and fled.

Al Haj Othman Amar Mustafa, who murdered Steven Rosenfeld on June 7, 1989, will be released as well. Rosenfeld went on a hike in the hills near Ariel, where he lived, when he encountered a group of shepherds who stole a knife that he had in his possession, stabbed him to death, and hid his body.

Another terrorist to be released is Abdel Aal Sa’id Ouda Yusef, who murdered Ian Sean Feinberg on April 18, 1983. Feinberg, who served for several years as an officer and lawyer in Gaza, had worked with commercial companies from Gaza and was murdered during a business meeting in Gaza City. Terrorists burst into the room and announced that they had come to kill the Jew. They then proceeded to murder Feinberg using a gun and an axe.

Ramahi Salah Abdallah Faraj, who murdered 84-year-old Avraham Kinstler in July of 1992, will be released as well. Kinstler was ambushed and murdered with an axe by a terrorist as he arrived to work at his orchard.

There is little more that I can add to what I and others have written about the humiliation suffered by Israel in this affair. By allowing murderers to go free in return for less than nothing — an agreement to negotiate about relinquishing part of the historic Jewish homeland –  Israel lost its honor, its deterrent capability, and the trust of its own people.

The government tried to ‘explain’ its action by saying that the murderers in question committed their crimes before the signing of the Oslo accord. Why this should matter, since Palestinian terrorism increased after Oslo, is not clear. Anyway, it isn’t even true. Announcements were also made of plans build new homes in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria. When or if this will actually happen is not clear.

Officially, this decision was taken to promote ‘peace’; unofficially it was understood to be a result of American pressure. No believable description of the nature of the pressure has been presented.

Israelis that I have spoken to have been unanimous in their disgust. It is hard to believe that PM Netanyahu will have a political career after this.

As expected, the released terrorists were treated as great heroes on their arrival. Also as expected, no humiliation of Israel is enough for the Arabs: according to reports, “Officials in the Palestinian Authority expressed outrage at Israel’s decision to release the terrorists late at night.”

Leaks about the proposed negotiations abound. One thing is certain: this is shaping up to be one of the most dangerous times for the state of Israel since 1948.

Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it. — Deut. 25:19

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Peres: repudiate anti-Zionism

Monday, August 12th, 2013

News item:

The Peres Center for Peace decided not to include the play “Snow Ball” in its program for the visit of the Barcelona soccer team in Israel, because the play includes the line that “the state of Israel is the national home of all Jews.”

The affair began in April of this year, when the new play, directed by Roy Horovitz, was performed as part of the Haifa International Children’s Theatre Festival. The play is based on an original Israeli script that tells the story of Felipe, a 10-year-old new immigrant to Israel from Argentina who is a huge fan of FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

After learning that FC Barcelona was coming to Israel, Sherry Aryeh, artistic director of the Israel Children and Youth Social Theater, which produced the play, approached the Peres Center for Peace with the suggestion of performing the play during Messi’s visit to Israel. …

But much to the theater’s surprise, the Peres Center ultimately nixed the play, via a letter written by Dvir Zivan, the manager of the Peres Center’s Sports department. The email, which has been obtained by Israel Hayom, says that “we would be happy to bring all the Jewish children to the play, but there is a problem. We do not do activities intended for one nationality only. It is hard for us to bring Palestinian children to a play that uses the words ‘Jewish state.’ Unfortunately, we will be unable to cooperate on this venture.”

This really gets to the heart of it.

Leave everything else aside — whether there can be a peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel, whether the already existing Palestinian state ruled by Hamas can be permitted to continue to exist as a terror state, what can be done about the Palestinian Arab refugees, borders, etc. — all of this is comparatively unimportant.

Palestinian children have been taught a narrative in which a Jewish state of Israel is beyond illegitimate, its very existence a crime against humanity. Apparently Dvir Zivan and the Peres Center think that this view has to be respected. It must be treated as though it is just as good as Zionism.

Zionism is not simply Jewish nationalism. It includes Herzl’s belief that without a state, the concrete expression of Jewish peoplehood, the Jewish people will not survive. An objective reading of history after Herzl supports this.

The view that nationalism is passé is popular today. Nationalism is blamed for wars and it is associated with racism. It is argued that a nation-state cannot by definition provide equal rights for minority citizens. Anti-nationalism provides yet another weapon for Israel’s enemies, who have variously deployed their own competing nationalism, Marxism, post-colonial theory, and the Durban strategy of smearing Israel as a racist apartheid state (sometimes all of these together) in a continuous war against Jewish sovereignty.

Is it surprising that while there are many, many nation-states in the world, only the Jewish one presents a problem that anti-nationalists feel urgently needs a ‘solution’? Unfortunately, not so much. Those who would like to see the Jews finally gone from history understand that Zionism is their great enemy.

But the idea of Zionism was developed in the crucible of history, a reaction to at least two thousand years in which much of the world tried to snuff out the Jewish people at any given time. Although the Arabs and apparently the Peres Center dispute this, the Jewish people, by any fair standard, have done pretty well in creating a state where the human rights of all of its residents are respected.

With all due respect, the various Arab nationalisms have not done as well. I think it’s safe to extrapolate from the behavior of the Palestinian Arabs that their recent discovery of peoplehood, if it develops into a state, will also not produce a shining example of human moral achievement. After all, we are talking about a state of Hamas and the PLO.

Unlike say, Tibetan nationalism, an essential part of Palestinian nationalism is the denial of Zionism. So what are we to make of the position of the Peres Center that this view deserves respect?

Shimon Peres is or was a Zionist — at least he would insist on this. Will he support or repudiate the anti-Zionism of the organization that bears his name?

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Bibi’s choice

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

News item:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. law enforcement officials expressed outrage over the release from prison of Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero and vowed to continue efforts to bring to justice the man who ordered the killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Caro Quintero was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 1985 kidnapping and killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena but a Mexican federal court ordered his release this week saying he had been improperly tried in a federal court for state crimes. …

The Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents in the United States said it was “outraged” by Caro Quintero’s early release and blamed corruption within Mexico’s justice system.

“The release of this violent butcher is but another example of how good faith efforts by the U.S. to work with the Mexican government can be frustrated by those powerful dark forces that work in the shadows of the Mexican ‘justice’ system,” the organization said in a statement.

So imagine how they would react if 104 “violent butcher(s)” were released from prison as a result of improper influence on the justice system, particularly if that influence came from a foreign power! This describes the prisoner release that Israel’s leaders have been coerced into accepting as the price for beginning talks with the PLO.

There isn’t justice in nature. Sometimes evil people do terrible things and escape punishment, even thrive. This brute fact has prompted countless pages of philosophical and theological discourse. But one thing that is not in doubt is that it is one of the functions of civilization to try to bring some order out of this moral chaos by imposing justice.

Hence one of the seven Noachide laws — one of the moral principles that Judaism recognizes as a requirement for any civilized nation, Jewish or not — is to establish courts of law. Subverting justice, then, is one of the worst crimes a person can commit.

PM Netanyahu fell into a trap set for him by Barack Obama, perhaps payback for the humiliation Obama suffered in May 2011, when Bibi dared to publicly instruct the ‘leader of the free world’ about “Middle East reality.”

Now Obama has handed him a “Sophie’s choice,” a moral dilemma in which both forks are horrible. Should he release the prisoners, cause immense pain to the families of their victims, damage Israel’s honor and deterrence, and subvert the legal system that condemned them (and by the way, destroy his own reputation and political career)? Or should he tell Obama to go to hell and expose Israel to whatever consequences were threatened?

Bibi has made his choice. History will judge him.

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