Archive for July, 2009

Obama pushes Jews into Republican arms

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Barack Obama may yet succeed in doing what no Republican has yet come close to doing, which is to create Republican Jews (yes, some Jews voted for Reagan, but because of his personal magnetism, not his ideology. And then they went back to voting Democratic).

There’s no question that Obama’s approach to Israel has turned off pro-Israel Jews. Starting with the Cairo speech, in which he equated the Palestinian ‘pursuit of a homeland’ to the Holocaust, foundering through the US reneging on commitments to allow building within existing settlements, and coming apart on the rocks of his apparent acceptance of an Iranian bomb, Obama’s Israel policy has been a shipwreck. And it’s obvious that this is just fine with the majority of the Democratic Party that elected him.

Of course not all Jews are Zionists, and there is probably no hope for the anti-Israel J Street — who opposed Israel’s military action in Gaza and even endorsed a performance of the antisemitic play “Seven Jewish Children”. But some relatively centrist Jewish Democrats are beginning to have second thoughts about Mr. Obama.

Recently, the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Alan Solow — a Chicago native who was a long-time Obama backer — publicly criticized Obama’s stance on Jewish building in Jerusalem. Although Solow was present at Obama’s recent meeting with Jewish leaders, apparently he was not satisfied with the explanations he received.

Maybe the Obamacrats have calculated that few American Jews today, especially young ones, are enthusiastic supporters of Israel. But keep in mind that while the J Street types are vocal in their anti-Zionism, my guess is that the ‘silent majority’ of American Jews still does not want an American policy which is actively hostile to the Jewish state. And that is how the Obama Administration, increasingly, appears.

What is keeping these Jews on the Democratic side today are domestic issues, and of course the impression the Republicans give of hopeless incompetence. It will be interesting to see how far Obama has to go in a pro-Arab anti-Israel direction to cause them to jump.

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Tel Aviv club humiliates IDF

Monday, July 27th, 2009

The ‘Rogotka’ (Russian and Hebrew slang for ‘slingshot’) at 32 Yitzhak Sadeh St. in Tel Aviv is described as a vegan bar run by an ‘anarchist collective’. It does not serve products from ‘settlements’ and it does not serve anyone wearing an IDF uniform.

The following appeared on the Israeli blog “The Muqata”:

IDF Uniforms are associated with oppression and genocide, and the IDF’s violence is the reason for all violence in Israel, explained the club’s workers.

The ground rules of the club are clear: Naturalism, Pluralism, and no IDF uniforms — anyone can visit the club on Yitzchak Sadeh street in Tel-Aviv, with any clothing style, except for IDF uniforms.

Two IDF combat soldiers who visited the club last week were forbidden entry. They were told they could switch to civilian clothes and come in, but it was forbidden to wear uniforms inside.

“It’s nothing personal, but ideological. Your uniforms symbolize genocide and violence.” they were told by club employees and guests.

One of the soldiers took off his IDF issued shirt, but his Unit’s t-shirt didn’t pass muster either…and they were told to leave.

IDF radio sent a solider from an elite unit to validate the claims. As soon as he sat down at the bar, employees came over to him and demanded that he leave.

“Your shirt symbolizes sh&^ and disgust,” he was told, “and as soon as I see your shirt, it hurts me. So before I hurt you, I’m asking you to leave.”

The elite combat solider replied, “I kill myself to protect you and you’re throwing me out?”

Their response: “They pay you half of what you deserve. You aren’t killing yourself. They are taking advantage of you, and you’re a slave to the army…now leave.” (source, translated from IDF radio via rotter)

Maybe I’m hopelessly naive, but this is beyond shocking.

Here are about 5 million Jews surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs that would like to invade and destroy Israel, including — believe it or not — Tel Aviv. Think about what a victorious Arab army would do in Tel Aviv. You don’t need a lot of imagination, just think about the pogroms in Tzfat, Hebron, etc. and multiply them by a few hundred thousand. Think of the Russians in Berlin in 1945.

They would do this in a minute except for one thing: the IDF. Can anyone doubt this?

So this ‘anarchist collective’, who probably dodged the draft themselves and don’t plan for their sons and daughters to serve, who benefit from the Jewish state and the tiny bubble of peace, freedom and prosperity that it struggles to maintain in the midst of dictatorships and kingdoms where women are property, homosexuals are hanged and Jews are not allowed — these parasitic scum have the chutzpah to refuse to serve anyone in an IDF uniform?

The problem is that the IDF has done too good a job, and the parasites can live in Tel Aviv as if it were San Francisco. But even in San Francisco, how long would a nightclub that refused to serve US servicemen in uniform last?

How can this be allowed to continue?

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Mitchell brings good news and bad

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Israel’s President Shimon Peres met with US negotiator George Mitchell today, and if we can take Mitchell at his word, there is good news and bad news. First the good news that Mitchell understands that concessions on one side only are not enough:

“Israel has taken meaningful steps in the West Bank,” said Mitchell, alluding to the dismantling of 25 checkpoints, thereby allowing the Palestinians greater freedom of movement and easier accessibility to various destinations.

Referring to his visits with other leaders in the region, Mitchell said that he had conveyed the message that steps must now be taken by Arab States to fulfill the promise of the Arab peace initiative.

It’s also good news if the US understands the Arab (or Saudi) Initiative as a starting point for negotiations and not simply a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, because as it is it’s no more than a demand for Israel to accept all responsibility for the conflict and pay all of the price for a doubtful ‘peace’.

The bad news, though, is that the US is either remarkably naive about the Palestinians or doesn’t care about the ultimate outcome as long as Israel withdraws from the West Bank:

Anticipating the day when there would be “a state of Palestine” Mitchell envisaged that it would prove to be “a responsible neighbor to Israel…”

In discussions with US Security Coordinator for the Palestinian Authority and Israel General Keith Dayton, Peres said, Dayton had estimated that the Palestinians should be capable of self government by 2011.

The only kind of self-government the Palestinians are capable of today is the kind they have in Gaza, where Hamas has established totalitarian rule and maintains a state of war with Israel. Today,

  • The Fatah faction whose ‘security’ forces Gen. Dayton is arming and training has no popular support among Palestinians, who prefer Hamas if anyone.
  • Even this ‘moderate’ faction refuses to accept that Israel belongs to the Jewish people, demands a ‘right of return’ for Arab ‘refugees’ and in fact is now saying that they don’t really recognize Israel and that ‘armed struggle’ will continue. Some responsible neighbor they will be!

Dayton may think that by 2011 his pet Palestinians will have enough men under arms (the Palestinian authority already has a huge percentage of its population in police and ‘security’ forces) and enough weapons to challenge Hamas, but politically nothing has changed — except the rise of Hamas — since Arafat.

In fact, given the hostility to Israel displayed by Fatah officials when speaking in Arabic, and their political weakness vis-a-vis Hamas, one wonders whether arming them is a good idea.

Peres understood that US President Barack Obama has his own agenda calling for new facts on the ground at a somewhat quicker pace. But speaking with the hindsight of experience, Peres told Mitchell: “You need patience.”

President Kennedy made an audacious promise when he said that the US would land a man on the moon before the end of the decade, and of course we just celebrated the 40th anniversary of this event. Kennedy took the risk of appearing foolish because his competent scientific advisors told him that it was possible.

President Obama also promised that he would do something of monumental significance by ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is risking more than Kennedy did, because the consequences of bad policy in the Mideast may be a lot worse than just looking foolish. As we have so recently seen, mistakes lead directly to dead Israelis and Palestinians.

But unlike Kennedy, either Obama does not have competent advisors in this area or what they are after is something other than peace with security for Israel.

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Offensive anti-Zionism in Berserkeley

Monday, July 27th, 2009

It seems that the Berkeley Daily Planet (yes, that’s what it’s called), the only daily newspaper in the city of Berkeley, California — which the late SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen aptly referred to as ‘Berserkeley’  — has several contributors, staff members, and a whole raft of letter-writers who like to bash Israel and Jews.

My first response is to say “why am I surprised about this in a place containing the greatest concentration of extreme left-wing nutjobs in the known universe?”

Typical San Francisco Bay area demonstration

Typical San Francisco Bay area demonstration (courtesy zombietime)

But  if you live in Berkeley or you just want to support some local people who are tired of Planet owner Becky O’Malley using the local paper as a platform for ugly rhetoric, you can sign a petition here calling for “integrity and responsibility” on the part of the paper. And you can read about the controversy here.

My opinion is that it is not worth worrying about whether O’Malley and her friends’ anti-Zionism is or is not antisemitic — it is objectionable enough as it is.

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Nazi tactics at San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

In a reductio ad absurdum of the idea that there is a Jewish Zionist conspiracy, the San Francisco Jewish Film festival has chosen to show the film “Rachel”, about Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who lost her life in the unwitting service of Palestinian terrorism in 2003. Worse, they are hosting a talk by Rachel’s mother, Cindy, who has become a tireless campaigner for the Palestinian cause.

Cindy and Craig Corrie receive portrait of Rachel from the Original Terrorist

Cindy and Craig Corrie receive portrait of Rachel from the Original Terrorist

In response to an outcry from those who felt that a Jewish festival should not promote the destruction of the Jewish state, the festival organizers agreed to let pro-Israel activist Dr. Michael Harris speak for a few moments before the film.

When you watch the video of Dr. Harris’ talk, note the audience reaction as they try to shout him down. The forced laughter is a particularly juvenile manifestation of what is reminiscent of nothing so much as Nazi tactics of the pre-war era.

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Update [27 Jul 2009 0830 PDT]: You can read Dr. Harris’ own account of the event here.

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