Monday, September 30, 2013

TOI Promotes an Anti-Israel Activist

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

In a recent piece by Times of Israel writer, Talia Lavin, she promotes David Harris-Gershon's forthcoming book, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Harris-Gershon is a frequent contributor to the left-leaning American political blog Daily Kos - as was I - and to Michael Lerner's Tikkun Magazine.  His wife was injured in a Jihadi attack at Hebrew University in 2002, which left two other people dead.  His book is a personal memoir of the soul-searching that he went through following this attack and his efforts to understand what it would take for a young Arab man to commit such violence against perfectly innocent Jewish people sitting in a university cafeteria.

Lavin writes:
After the couple left Israel in 2003 after spending three years living in Jerusalem, Harris-Gershon began suffering symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including crippling anxiety attacks. The book delves deeply into his recovery process, including the traditional and innovative forms of therapy he tries.
As a former member of Daily Kos, and as a supporter of Israel, I know Harris-Gershon as someone who specializes in criticism of the Jewish State.  Although I have yet to read his book, I have read Harris-Gershon enough to tell him that, despite his personal trauma and the injury to his wife, neither the Jewish people, nor the State of Israel, are to blame for it.

Harris-Gershon, after much study and soul-searching, concluded that the Jihadi sought to kill him, his wife, and all those around them at Hebrew University in 2002, because the Jewish State of Israel oppresses the innocent Arab population.  Harris-Gershon accepts the post-colonial notion that the Jews of the Middle East are engaged in a vicious, imperial, and racist endeavor to persecute and oppress the "indigenous" Arab population.  It is precisely because of this colonial and racist endeavor that he feels the need to purchase presents for the children of the terrorist who sought to murder himself and his wife.

I, for one, find this exceedingly sad and it seems clear to me that Talia Lavin, and the Times of Israel, have made an unfortunate mistake in promoting this man's work.  The Jewish people are so often our own worst enemies and this is very definitely one of those cases, as any pro-Israel Jew on Daily Kos - to the extent that there are any left - would readily agree.  Even those who strenuously disagree with my politics, and who are familiar with Harris-Gershon's writings, would acknowledge that the man has a toxic voice; a voice that is poisonous to the Jewish people and to the Jewish State of Israel.

It is the insidious voice of spreading hatred toward Israel, and thus hatred toward the Jewish people, as an alleged matter of social justice and human rights.

Harris-Gershon has the appreciation of Philip Weiss, the editor of the anti-Semitic journal, Mondoweiss.  Weiss praises Harris-Gershon for coming out in favor of BDS, the international effort to boycott, divest from, and sanction, the Jewish people of the Middle East.  Outside of political Islam in its more violent expressions, the BDS movement is the foremost expression of hostility toward Jews in the world today.  It is the foremost expression of the effort to demonize and delegitimize the country of our family and our ancestors.

And, yet, Harris-Gershon favors that movement.  He writes: an American Jew invested deeply in Israel's success and survival -- which in turn drives my investment in stopping one of the greatest moral challenges of my generation: the occupation -- I have no choice but to formally endorse and embrace BDS.
What Harris-Gershon seems to have figured out, following anti-Israel Jews like Noam Chomsky and  Peter Beinart and Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappé, to name just a few, is that there is considerable appeal, and thus a considerable market, within the western left for stories of Jewish / Israel apostasy.  It's a simple moral tale and it runs something like this:
I grew up believing in the virtue of the Jewish State of Israel.  The Jews of the Middle East, having come through World War II and the Holocaust and the War of Independence, represented a Light Unto the Nations.  But now I see that my dreams and illusions were ill-founded and that, in fact, Israel is a colonial aggressor state and the Palestinians are living under occupation and persecution by my own people. In order to save my Jewish friends and family in Israel I must denounce that country before the world.
What is perhaps most galling about this delusion among people such as Beinart and Harris-Gershon is that they honestly believe that blaming the Jews for the conflict takes courage.  Furthermore, they even believe that blaming the Jews for Arab bigotry and hatred toward Jews is in the venerable tradition of social justice and human rights.

It isn't.

The irony, of course, is that it is precisely the kind of hatred that Harris-Gershon spreads toward Israel that got his wife injured in the first place.  By distorting the truth, and laying all the blame for the conflict at Jewish feet, Harris-Gershon helps assure future Jihadi attacks against the Jewish people. I consider the man to be a tragic figure who is probably beyond redemption, but what I mainly do not understand is why TOI's Talia Lavin did not, in her piece about the man and his book, alert her readership to the fact that Harris-Gershon supports the BDS?

This was an error of the sort that needs to be acknowledged.

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

Over at Israpundit, Ted Belman has published a notification for something called the Land of Israel Caucus in Jerusalem.
Wednesday, October 2nd (28 Tishrei) at 7PM in Binyanei Ha’uma, Jerusalem. 
Join the thousands of other Land-of-Israel supporters from across the country in a call to the Israeli Government to ignore international pressure and stop the Two-State-Solution madness now. Rather, embrace authentic Zionism and begin building new settlements throughout Judea and Samaria and keep Jerusalem united.   
Many leading rabbis, MK’s and VIP’s will be in attendance. . Subsidised round trip bus transportation available from your community. To reserve a seat, please call 052-262-2116 or 052-202-6604. 
This conference must be well-attended; your presence will make a difference! Please book your seat today.
If you are actually interested in attending you can download additional information at Israpundit by following the link above.

Speaking strictly for myself, I have always favored the two-state solution.  Until fairly recently, when it became very clear to me that the local Arabs have no intention whatsoever of allowing the Jewish minority to live in peace, I considered a negotiated conclusion of hostilities to be a reasonable possibility under the Oslo process.

I no longer consider that to be even a remote possibility and thus see US pressure on Israel under the Obama administration to be essentially malicious.  The problem is that the Obama administration, along with organizations like J Street, are pressuring the wrong people.  It is not the Israelis who have refused yet another corrupt anti-Semitic Arab dictatorship in the area, but the Arabs themselves.  From 1937 to the present the local Arabs have never accepted a state for themselves in peace next to Israel.

So, where does that leave us?

If the single-state solution is unacceptable because it will either erode Israel as a democratic country or undermine it as the national homeland of the Jewish people, and if the local Arabs will not agree to a true negotiated conclusion of hostilities under a two-state solution, then what is the answer?

I continue to believe that we can have a two-state solution, but it will need to be done unilaterally.  I understand, of course, that the example of Gaza does not speak well to unilateral action, but what is the alternative?  What Israel needs to do is declare its final borders and remove the IDF to behind those borders and then wash their hands, as much as possible, of the entire situation.

Israel should not annex the entirety of Judea and Samaria because it will then be forced to take responsibility, and give political rights, to an exceedingly hostile population that - until very recently from an historical perspective - held the Jewish people to persecution within the Sharia-based system of dhimmitude.

Thus I recommend that Israel annex some modified version of Area C and call it a day.

They won't do that, of course.  One reason is because the United States, particularly under this administration, as well as the EU and the UN, would strenuously object.  Another reason is because the political right-wing in Israel wants to see the annexation of all of Judea and Samaria, which they tend to think of as a Jewish birthright.  Still another reason is because so much of diaspora Jewry, along with left-wing Israelis such as Tzipi Livni, are holding out hope (against all reason) for an actual negotiated conclusion of the long Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East.

And this means we're trapped.

The only way out is for Israel to take matters into its own hands, but I do not see it happening.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rioting is Fun!

Mike L.

The snippet below was written and published by Arutz Sheva staff.

Three Arab rioters were arrested for throwing rocks Friday, following disorders at the Damascus Gate (Shaar Shechem in Hebrew) to Jerusalem's Old City. Another youth was arrested following a disorder next to the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives.

At the same time, additional disorders broke out in the area of the Rockefeller antiquities museum, across the street from the Flower Gate (Shaar Haperahim in Hebrew). Jerusalem District police, deployed with reinforcements since the early-morning hours in anticipation of pre-planned violent disorder, dispersed the rioters.

About 100 Arabs rioted next to Rachel's Tomb, between the Israeli capital and Bethlehem. They threw rocks at Israeli security forces.
Fourteen hundred years of Arab kids stoning Jews and today many western "progressives" honestly believe that the Jews of the Middle East deserve whatever beating they get.  They honestly think that Arabs throw rocks at Jews because the Jews are mean.

And this is not just hard-left fringe types that think this, but very many mainstream Democrats do, as well.  And, yet, we still stand in solidarity with a political movement that holds us in contempt despite all that we have done over the course of more than a hundred years to help build that movement.  In fact, it's considerably worse than that.  The Jewish people helped infuse the political left with the core values of social justice and human rights and now they use those concepts as a club against us despite the fact that it is the Jewish minority which remains the victim of the large and hostile Arab majority in the Middle East.

And just why do so many "liberals" think that the Jewish victims in the Middle East are actually the aggressors?  Rutgers University political scientist, Michael Curtis, has a few words on this matter.  He writes:
Arguably, the use of propaganda by Palestinians to gain compassion and political support has been their one great success.

The Palestinian narrative of victimhood, with its falsifications of history and politics, its portrayal of themselves as not only innocent but the most compelling victims in the world, its staging of events to blame Israel for atrocities they themselves have committed, its deliberate concentration on alleged injuries or deaths of children, and its achievement in persuading much of the media to accept and advance its manipulation of language and action, have all been part of its success in the propaganda war.

That success is shown by the fact that a considerable proportion of the European population accepts the Palestinian propaganda that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians, in spite of the reiteration by Palestinian leaders of their determination to eliminate the State of Israel. Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, is held responsible for the problems not only of the area but for those in the world in general.

In contrast, the Palestinians present themselves as helpless, blameless individuals who have been the victims of Israeli brutality and colonialism.

This presentation has been advanced in a number of ways but most successfully by three devices: using Palestinian children to assert Israeli brutality; staging and falsifying events, sometimes in collusion with sympathetic Western journalists, to portray Palestinians as innocent victims and Israelis as cruel oppressors; and by distorting the historical and political chronicle of Jews and Arabs.
Furthermore, even pro-Israel Jews assist the Arabs in their anti-Jewish / anti-Israel propaganda by using the very language created by the enemies of the Jewish people.  Thus we speak of Occupation with the Big O.  Thus we eliminate the ancient names of Judea and Samaria and refer to the region by the recent Jordanian term "West Bank" thereby erasing Jewish history on historically Jewish land.

So long as we honestly think that we are guilty of oppressing our oppressors why shouldn't regular Americans and Europeans and Australians support BDS?  So long as we frame our arguments in language that contains our guilt as a given there is no reason for people not to think that Israel is some hideous rogue state that needs to be boycotted, if not dismantled.

A big Tip 'O the Kippa to Daniel Bielak.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Obama! Obama! We Love Osama!"

Mike L.

This is a clip from an older news story out of Sydney, Australia, probably from around September 11, 2012, because it refers specifically to some offensive "anti-Islamic movie."

Shirlee, over at News and Views from Jews Down Under, published it within the comments of this piece and I thought it might make for a useful point of discussion.

We all know, of course, that there are elements within the larger Muslim community, particularly in the Middle East but also in Europe, that love nothing so much as a good riot.  This element within the Muslim community is perpetually aggrieved and willing to commit serious acts of violence in order to express those grievances.  They're mainly angry with Americans and westerners and Jews and Christians and Gay people and women, when they are not sufficiently submissive to men.

What I didn't realize until very recently, however, is that Australia seems to be getting it as badly as western Europe.  I honestly assumed that Australia was a tad more like the United States in that their Muslim population was generally peaceful and not given to outbreaks of violent chaos in the streets.

Clearly I was mistaken.  {I hate when that happens!}

I'm starting to wonder if it is almost only in the United States wherein the Muslim community remains peaceful and uses the normal tools of advocacy, economics, and politics in order to advance their interests, just like everybody else.  Our friend JayinPhiladelphia often talks about the ethnic harmony (and the delicious food) to be found in his neck of the universe.  My experience is much the same.  Oakland, much like Philadelphia, is as ethnically diverse as anyplace in the United States.  And, yet, it is not Muslims who riot here, but the Occupy Wall Street idiots.

Part of the reason that I want to highlight the video above - aside from showing that Australia seems to have a similar problem as to, say, France - is to suggest that violent protests of that type that we see above do not represent the core of that problem.

The core of the problem is not "violent extremists," as Barack Obama would have you believe.  Actual violent Jihadi types are only the tip of the iceberg.  Beneath the tip is a political movement that, in its contemporary iteration, began in Cairo in the late 1920s, that was influenced by European fascism and Nazi anti-Semitism, and that has in recent decades made considerable advancement throughout the Muslim world, particularly the Arab Muslim world.

The real problem is, thus, the politicalization of Islam.

Not all who favor al-Sharia use violence to advance their cause.   In fact, quite the opposite is the case.  Most Muslims who favor Islam as the basis of government - whatever percentage of Muslims that may be - abhor violence as much as anyone else.  The problem is not that they are violent, but that they promote a political movement that is basically at odds with the fundamental human rights of anyone who is not a Muslim male, if even then.

We should not make the mistake, as does the current president of the United States, in thinking that the real problem is the bomb throwers and rioters.  It isn't.  The real problem is the movement and the political ideology, grounded in Islam and influenced by twentieth-century European fascism, behind the movement.  The real problem is not only the various imams and ayatollahs who scream bloody murder in their mosques, thereby creating hatred within the Umma for Americans and Jews (I get to get hated twice!), but those within the Islamic community who would not harm a hair on Gilad Schalit's head, but nonetheless support clerics who cry out for genocide or who demean non-Muslims.

One way to help counter this problem is for the Jewish community to insist that after fourteen hundred years of perpetual abuse and persecution that it is, from a moral standpoint, simply unacceptable.  This is the case that needs to be made to the larger international community and needs to be a case grounded in the history of the Jewish people and the Christian people, as well as all non-Muslims, under Muslim rule.

So long as people throughout the world remain ignorant of that history, because we fail to teach it to them, they will always consider us the aggressor and the Arabs to be the innocent, indigenous victims of the militarist Jews.

We have the ability to change the nature of the conversation and all we need to do is introduce the history of dhimmitude into the conversation, but I see very little will on the part of the vast majority of diaspora Jewish people to do so.  There is a real squeamishness among diaspora Jews to tell the story of Jewish persecution under the boot of Islamic imperial rule from the time of Muhammed until the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

This is unfortunate because so long as we deny our own history, we can never win the argument.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Expanding the Focus

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Free News of the World and News and Views from Jews Down Under and The Times of Israel.}

Perhaps the biggest problem that we face in understanding the Arab-Israel conflict has to do with focus.

That is, among western liberals the typical understanding of the conflict is that it is one between Israelis and Palestinians fighting over a bit of turf, since November of 1947, on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.  We tend to think that Israel is largely at fault because it is occupying and causing innumerable sufferings for the indigenous population.  We tend to oppose tactics like suicide bombings or the violent targeting of innocent Israeli civilians, but we also tend to understand that a people under occupation will do what is necessary to free themselves, which is what the Palestinians are trying to do.

This, in a broad kind of way, represents the sort-of middle-of-the-road western liberal view of the conflict.  This western liberal view, which was my view until fairly recently, seeks balance and even-handedness.  It comes from an ideological standpoint in which peoples around the world are viewed as more-or-less the same in that we all want the same things.  We all want to live decent lives and have decent jobs and to take care of our families and to get along with our neighbors and to have a little fun now and again.  The basic idea is that everyone wants these things and that if we would simply treat one another fairly than we could all get along in peace.

As applied to the Israel-Palestine conflict this means that since the Israelis are the occupying power, who are persecuting the indigenous minority population, it is up to the Israelis to cease and desist in order to bring about a peaceful and just resolution to the ongoing problem.  If only Israel would end the occupation then resistance to the occupation would also end and we could see a Palestinian state living in peace and thriving alongside the Jewish state of Israel.

It's a matter of freedom and justice for the Palestinians and security for the Jewish people of Israel.

This is essentially where Barack Obama is coming from and while this view is more or less monolithic on the western center-left it is also significantly present on the western political right.  It represents a general consensus among people who bother themselves with the issue and it explains why so many friends of Israel throughout the world, including very many Jewish people, tend to think that both sides are largely to blame, but that the real burden is upon Israel to make the peace.

This very moderate, very reasonable, very rational take on the conflict is also, sadly, entirely wrong.

The conflict is much longer in time and much wider in scope than the typical well-meaning western liberal understanding of it.

This never-ending fight is not one between Israelis and "Palestinians," but between Jews and the much larger Arab world that has persecuted those Jews for centuries.  Furthermore, the conflict did not begin in November of 1947 with UN Resolution 181 calling for recognition of the Jewish State of Israel.  The timeline for the ongoing war against the Jews of the Middle East begins not in the twentieth-century, but in the 7th century with the rise of Islam, because Islam, itself, has hatred and contempt for the Jew hard-coded into the faith as written within both the Koran and the Hadiths and as acted upon by innumerable Arabs from that day to this.

The fact of the matter is that the Arab-Muslim world has persecuted and stoned and murdered and harassed the Jewish people for religious reasons since the time of Muhammed.  There are 60 to 70 Muslims in the Middle East for every Jew and the Jews have been driven out of every Muslim country throughout the Arab Middle East within living memory.  Our numbers are tiny compared to the vast hostile majority precisely because that hostile majority has succeeded very well in keeping our numbers small.  Living for thirteen hundred years under the system of dhimmitude a Muslim could beat or kill a Jew and that Jew, or his family, would have little, or no, recourse within Muslim jurisprudence.

So, if you honestly wish to understand the conflict then you have to understand that it is not a matter of post World War II militaristic Israelis persecuting a small allegedly indigenous minority, as most on the progressive-left, including the Jewish left, would tend to think.  Nor can it, from an historical standpoint, be reasonably characterized as "the Jews have done bad" and "the Arabs have done bad" and that if only both sides would take the measure of their own guilt then we could finally move beyond the problem.

The truth is that one side is far, far larger than the other and has been far, far more aggressive than the other over the course of fourteen centuries.  Although it is not politically correct to say so, and although it flies in the face of commonly accepted wisdom, the fact of the matter is that it is the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East which has been, and continues to be, the victim of the Arab-Muslim majority population.  The Jews of the Middle East are no more the aggressors against the hostile Arab majority than black people in the United States were the aggressors against the hostile white majority during the period of Jim Crow.

Until we can expand our focus, both in time and space, on the conflict than we can never make the Jewish case to the larger world and making that case is imperative.  The only way to understand the conflict is through the lens of Jewish history in the Arab world and the history of the persecution and submission of non-Muslims in territory conquered by Muhammed's armies.  Furthermore, the only way to understand the conflict is not that it is about Jerusalem versus Ramallah, but Jerusalem versus Ramallah and Cairo and Beirut and Tripoli and Mogadishu and Khartoum and Damascus and Riyadh.

Finally, all peoples are not the same and we do not all want the same things.  This is not due to issues of "race" - there is no such thing as a scientific biological category known as "race" - but because of culture.  Those among the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world who would like to see al-Sharia as the basis of government - Daniel Pipes puts the estimate at maybe 10 percent or 150 million people - may very well want to live decent lives and raise their children to be decent people, and so forth, but they also want to impose a system of government upon the rest of us in which women are chattel, Gay people are slaughtered outright, Christians are driven from their lands, and the Jews are either third class citizens... or dead.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obama at the United Nations (Or, Déjà Vu All Over Again)

Mike L.

The very prospect of going through Obama's recent speech at the United Nations is just simply depressing.  Nevertheless, let's have at it.
In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Iran clearly has nothing to fear from this administration and the Israelis need to stock up on body bags.  Every time the US inserts itself into the Arab-Israel conflict people start getting blown up.
I believe there is a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state.
Now that is some kind of sentence!  It's just so diffused with the Oslo Delusion that it becomes hard to know where to start in addressing it.  First of all, the Jewish people occupy Jewish land like I occupy this chair.  That is, I have every right to sit in this chair and no one is going to come into my office and tell me otherwise.  Israel doesn't "occupy" Israel any more than France "occupies" France.  If Israel wishes to give away the heart of its land in order to make room for an anti-Semitic terrorist statelet within spitting distance of Tel Aviv then who am I to quibble?

Also, why do we continue to use the Jordanian term "West Bank" for Judaea and Samaria when the entire purpose of that term is to erase Jewish history on Jewish land?  Wherever anyone may stand on the two-state solution, obscuring Jewish history through using the terminology of our enemies is not a very good idea.  It is, in fact, a sort of desecration of the memory of our ancestors.

Finally, the real growing recognition within Israel is that the local Arabs have no intention of ever accepting a state for themselves in peace and that Obama's pressure on the Jews is both redundant and dangerous.  It's redundant because the Israelis have always accepted the principle of two-states for two peoples.  They do not need to be pressured into accepting that which they've always accepted, but which the Arabs have never accepted.  It's dangerous because not only is the wrong side getting the pressure, but the Arabs will view any failure of the Netanyahu administration to bow to that pressure as a reason to continue killing Jews.
Likewise, the United States remains committed to the belief that the Palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state.
I agree.  The "Palestinian" people, which is to say, the Jews of the Middle East, have every right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state which, today, we refer to as Israel.  Arab citizens of Israel also have that right and, in fact, live with greater security and dignity than Arabs anyplace else throughout the vast and bloody Arab world.

I understand, of course, that when most people refer to the "Palestinians" that they mean the Arabs local to the region inhabited by Israel.  What needs to be understood, however, is that anyone born and raised in that region is a "Palestinian" in the sense that the land was once part of the British mandate for Palestine.  This includes Jews, Christians, Muslims, the Baha'i, the Druze, and the non-affiliated.  There's probably even a few Rosicrucians and Rastafarians we can throw into the mix.

"Palestinian" is not a distinct ethnicity.

Prior to the British mandate, Palestine, or Southern Syria as it was sometimes known, was merely one district among many others that comprised the Ottoman Empire.  The Arabs who lived there did not think of themselves as some separate order of Arab or Muslim.  Their self-identification was with religion, clan, tribe, and family.

The rise of an allegedly distinct Arab ethnicity toward the end of the twentieth-century was a political creation, not an organic one.  Furthermore, the very purpose in creating this ethnicity was in order to challenge Jewish rights on Jewish land.  I do not see why, as a Jew, I have any obligation whatsoever to recognize a people who came into being, as a people, about a quarter past last Tuesday, for the sole purpose of robbing my people of self-determination and self-defense on land that we have lived on for well over 3,500 years - long, long before anyone ever heard of this Muhammed fellow on the Saudi peninsula.
The time is now ripe for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace. 
Run for your lives!

This is essentially a threat.  If you read between the lines what Obama is really saying is that unless Israel bows to whatever demands the Arabs make upon that country there's going to be trouble.  The implication, to my mind, at least, is Stan Laurel's John Kerry's "delegitimization on steroids" threat.
Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. President Abbas has put aside efforts to short-cut the pursuit of peace and come to the negotiating table. Prime Minister Netanyahu has released Palestinian prisoners, and reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state.
So, let me get this straight.  Obama is praising both sides for taking political risks in order to bring about a negotiated conclusion of hostilities.  Netanyahu's political risks include releasing murderers of Jews from Israeli jails.  This may please Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas, but why it should please Jewish people is beyond comprehension.

What was Abbas' political risks?  Well, he agreed to negotiate which, I have to say, is mighty big of him.  That was his only concession.  In other words, both sides did not make concessions.  Only Israel did.  Israel released the murderers of Jews for the great honor of sitting with this little dictator who heads up a thoroughly corrupt regime that honors those murderers as heroes.

Of course, his people are already laying the foundation for how they plan to blame Israel for their own subversion of the process in the knowledge that Obama will have their back by laying the blame on Israel and the Netanyahu administration.
Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends upon the realization of a Palestinian state. 
Yes, that would be true if an additional Arab statelet in the region had any intention of living in peace with Israel, but that is emphatically not what they have told us.  What people like Yassir Arafat told the world is that the purpose of an Arab state within the Jewish heartland is to consume the Jewish state, bit by bit.  Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, under dictator Abbas, continues to incite genocidal hatred toward the Jewish people on PA television, indicating that he is at least as hostile to us as Arafat ever was.

What's going to happen moving forward will probably look something like this.

The two-sides, over meetings that will last for weeks and, perhaps, months, will fail to come to any meaningful long-term solution.  The Arabs will then blame the Israelis for the failure of talks, probably on the pretense that Jews continue to build housing for themselves in Judaea and Samaria.  The Obama administration will then lead from behind in the delegitimization effort that will be spear-headed by the EU and the Arabs, themselves.

Then the violence will come and when it does you can look for the western left to build itself into a sadistic frenzy as they blame Jewish people, and the State of Israel, for Arab violence against us.

Let's pray that I am terribly wrong - and maybe I am - but I would not get my hopes up if I were you.

I also pray that you will excuse me for my wee bit of skepticism, but we've seen this movie before and it doesn't end well.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Islam, Political Islam, and the Diaspora Jewish Divide

One cannot stand up for the Jewish people, today, if one fails to speak out against political Islam.

This assertion represents a significant dividing line among Jewish people, particularly throughout the diaspora.  The Jews of Israel do not need much convincing that political Islam is a threat.  The reason for this is the obvious reason that they live in the Middle East and have a far better understanding of their neighbors - who are doing a terrific job of murdering one another these days - than do either diaspora Jews or the dithering Obama administration.

The so-called "Arab Spring," which was (and is) the rise of political Islam, is not the great up-welling of Arab democracy - as we were so enthusiastically informed by naive western progressives, including many naive western progressive Zionists - but represents a murderous political movement that stones women to death on the grounds of adultery and that is chasing the Christian population out of the Middle East entirely.

The question is, however, just what is the source of the problem?  Is the problem with Muslims, in general?  Is the problem with the religion of Islam?  Or is it, as I maintain, the problem of Islam as a rising political movement throughout the Middle East?

The biggest geo-political problem facing the Jewish people in the world today, particularly Jews in the Middle East, is political Islam.  The problem is not Muslims, in general, nor is it the religion of Islam as it is practiced by many millions of Muslims throughout the world.

As someone who lives in an exceedingly diverse community, I know this first-hand.

Although there is unquestionably elements within the American Muslim community that represent the Jihad, stealth or otherwise, the great majority of American Muslims have no particular interest in harming either their fellow Americans or in any way undermining the well-being of the Jewish people or in introducing al-Sharia into the United States.  This, of course, is a tad different from what we see in Europe and miles apart from what we see in the burning Arab-Muslim Middle East.

It is therefore necessary to consider the nature of Islam as it manifests itself differently in different parts of the world.  Islam in the United States does not express itself in the same way that it does in Europe or the Middle East or India or Australia or elsewhere.

Thus, it has to be understood that Muslims as people are not the problem.

There is nothing in the Muslim people that is essentially, or inherently, hostile to either Americans or Jews.  This should not even need to be said and I absolutely refuse to consider the nice lady across the street to be an enemy to the Jewish people merely because she happens to be Muslim.  There are something like 1.5 billion Muslim people in the world.  To consider each and every one of them an enemy of the United States, and the west, and the Jewish people, not to mention Gay people, if not women, is not helpful, nor is it accurate.

It's also simply not true.

Some would argue, however, that the problem is not with the Muslim people, per se, but with the religion of Islam.   While almost everyone who concerns themselves with such things, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, do not blame the entirety of the Umma for the Jihadi hostilities in recent decades, there is an ongoing conversation around the question of whether the riots and the violence and the murders and the wars and the genocidal chatter against the Jews and hatred towards Gays and oppression of women and the subjugation of Christians is due to Islam, the religion, or because of some radical, extremist interpretation of the religion.

That's the question that counts and the latter has been the stance of consecutive American governments.  George W. Bush called Islam "the religion of peace" and Barack Obama was outspoken in his appreciation of Islam and said the Islamic call to prayer was “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” 

I don't doubt that it is.

Nonetheless, there is also little doubt that the religion of Islam is, today, retrograde when it comes to questions of human rights as it is practiced in the Middle East and much of Europe.  The same, of course, can be said for particular parts of the Jewish community and the Christian community.  The difference is that Islam is very, very big and Judaism is absolutely tiny.  The difference is that Islam controls many countries and Judaism informs only one.  The difference is that while Evangelical Christianity opposes abortion, it controls no central governments, while political Islam hangs Gay people from cranes and controls, or is gaining the control, of a number of important governments throughout the Middle East.

Yet another difference is that the Bible does not call for violence against either Muslims or Christians and the violence in that book is descriptive, not prescriptive.  The Koran and the Hadith, on the other hand, call quite specifically for violence against both Jews and Christians when those Jews and Christians refuse to bow to the rules of dhimmitude.  Islamic jurisprudence holds Jews and Christians as beholden to inferior doctrines and as people who must be held low in submission to the religion that carries that name.

But the primary source documents of any religion are only meaningful to the extent that the followers act upon the essential views.  While it is true that the doctrines of political Islam are not inconsistent with mainstream Islamic doctrine, this is irrelevant if those beliefs are not acted upon by the Muslim people, and the leadership, as they pursue their daily interests.

What this means is that the problem is not Muslim people.  It is not.

Nor is the problem the Islamic faith.

But the movement to politicize that faith, as we have seen in recent years from Morocco to Tunisia to Libya to Egypt to Syria, and to establish al-Sharia as the form of government within either individual countries or through a larger united Muslim caliphate, is the problem.  As people who care about the well-being of Israel, it is that which should represent our primary concerns on this question.

Islam, after all, is far less dangerous if it doesn't wield heavy weaponry, as it does in Iran and did, until very recently, in Egypt.

Thus we should be grateful to the Egyptian military and the Egyptian people for giving the Muslim Brotherhood the boot.

The Obama administration has been reprimanded by the Egyptian people and that's a good thing because no American administration should be in the business of supporting political Islam.

Political Islam in its contemporary form started with Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb in the late 1920s in Cairo, but gained its most impressive victory with the Iranian revolution of 1979.  In recent years the movement's fortunes were bolstered under the misnamed "Arab Spring" and, in part, through the offices of the president of the United States under the Obama administration.

The movement to politicize Islam is the most racist and backward-looking large-scale political movement in the world today.  Throughout the Middle East, and certain parts of Europe, large numbers of Muslims wish to see Islam as the basis of government.  What this means is oppression for Muslim women and all non-Muslims and eternal hostility toward the Jewish people.  And what that means is that political Islam must be opposed and the first way it must be opposed is through speaking out against it and simply not funding it.

The EU and the UN and the US fund various Islamist organizations and that is a terrible mistake because those organizations do not support the civil liberties of anyone who does not support Islamic Supremacist ideology.

It is thus a matter of basic human rights.

Yet the Obama administration is waiving a ban on arming terrorists for the alleged purposes of helping the Islamist authoritarian forces to stand against Assad and the secular authoritarian forces in Syria.

One of the dividing lines within diaspora Jewry - if not the Jewish people as a whole - is between those of us who acknowledge political Islam as a highly significant threat and those of us who prefer to turn our eyes away.  Given the fact that political Islam, as a movement, is now, since the "Arab Spring," taking over entire countries, it would serve the Jewish people well to recognize it and oppose it and and strategize against it.

If those of us who wish to do so are castigated and condemned in malicious terms by our fellow Jews as "racist" then we have far less chance against a rising political movement that is directly in opposition to the well-being of the Jewish people, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world.

Comment of the Whenever

Mike L.

I found this under a Y-Net article about how boycotting certain Jews is a good idea, by Ziv Lenchner entitled, The show must not go on.
35. The green line has no legal basis in international law  
The Jordanian-Israeli Armistice agreement is very clear that the Green line will not change any legality of the land. Read the document. The fact is that whether fair or not there is no document in international law which gives the Palestinians as a nation the rights to the land. More than that According to the Geneva Convention land can only be occupied territory if it was taken from one higher-contracting party with a legal claim to it by another higher-contracting party. Since it was taken from Jordan who had no legal claim and the Palestinians are not a higher-contracting party, the land is disputed. The Mandate for Palestine gave Jews the right to live anywhere in W.Palestine. Lastly the Palestinians had most Autonomy of their cities and towns in 2000. Arafat refused to negotiate and decided to go on a suicide bombing campaign instead. Is there any other country in the world which would be willing to give up part of its country to a group whose sole reason for existence as a nation according to the PLO Charter 1964 was to destroy Israel and specifically NOT TO CREATE A STATE. If anyone can find a peaceful part of Palestinians society go ahead. Otherwise don't blame Israel or ask of it something you wouldn't do yourself.  
Jerusalemite (09.22.13)
There are two further things that need to be emphasized.

The first is that demanding that Jews either move out of Judea and Samaria or stop building housing for themselves there is racist.  It is racist on its face and we need stop justifying anti-Jewish Arab racism by agreeing with them that any future State of Palestine must be Judenrein, because when we oppose and demonize the "settlers" that is precisely what we are doing.  We are sanctifying racism toward, and the ethnic cleansing of, our brothers and sisters in that part of the world.

The second thing that needs to be emphasized is that the demand to end settlement activity is what Abbas uses as an excuse not to negotiate a real peace and thus bolstering that demand hobbles any possibilities in a negotiated conclusion of hostilities.  Well-meaning diaspora Jews who oppose the settlers and the settlements believe that they are an obstacle to a two-state solution, but that is only true if one agrees that Arab racism against Jews is justified.

It isn't.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art Spiegelman's "Maus"

Mike L.

This is a comment by Empress Trudy that needs to be highlighted.

Art Spiegelman's "Maus" was nearly banned in Poland because he depicted the Poles as pigs with the implication that the Poles at best, did nearly nothing to help the Jews in the Shoah. While they weren't quite so evil as the Ukrainians who jumped at the chance to join the SS and Einsatzgruppen to exterminate Jews, the Poles to this day, when they talk about Polish deaths in WW2 generally exclude those of the Polish Jews.

Two of Walter Laqueur's books: "The Terrible Secret" and "The Changing Face of Antisemitism" are remarkable for the richness of content he includes carefully documenting the extent to which antisemitism was open and prevalent, and in many cases, government policy and law in Europe since 1850, and in the former book, the extent to which intelligence and media services in WW2 went to ignore, downplay and cover up the Holocaust.

Note: Laqueur is not an easy read. He's more of an archivist than an historian. His books are essentially several hundred pages of lists and footnotes with little to no historical analysis or interpretation.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stand with the Settlers

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

In a brief recent piece from the Jerusalem Post by Khaled Abu Toameh entitled, Palestinian groups campaign against the peace process, we read:
Several Palestinian groups and figures on Sunday launched a campaign to demand that the Palestinian Authority halt peace talks with Israel.

At a press conference in Ramallah, the organizers of the campaign said that the PA leadership should "succumb to popular demands to stop the negotiations with the government of [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu."

The call for halting the peace talks came as PA President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Un General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday.
And just why do the Arabs refuse a peace deal?
According to the official, Abbas will complain to Obama about continued construction in the settlements and plans to build new housing units in some east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

"President Abbas will make it clear that Israel's policies are jeopardizing the peace talks," the official said.
This focus on Jewish towns and neighborhoods over the artificial "green line," which is to say, over the 1949 armistice line, as a reason to maintain violence against the Jewish people is racist on its face.  There is no reason in this world why Jews should not be allowed to live, and thus build, on historically Jewish land.

But when Barack Obama backs dictator Abbas up on this notion he is, himself, supporting race hatred toward Jewish people while undermining the possibility of a two-state solution.  When progressive-left Jews do so, like the owner of the now defunct Progressive Zionist blog, they do likewise and thereby promote harm to their own people.

Obama, however, would not likely have taken this view if American Jews made it clear to American politicians that Jews are going to live and build on Jewish land whether anyone likes it or not.  To insist that we must not be allowed to do so flies directly in the face of modern liberalism because the very notion is grounded in bigotry.

It would be like saying that Chinese people cannot be allowed to live, or build housing for themselves, in Kookamunga.  In fact, it's worse than that.  It would be like saying that Chinese people cannot be allowed to live, or build housing for themselves, in Jiangsu Province.

If anyone were to suggest such a thing they would immediately be castigated as a racist and a fool and, yet, the president of the United States, with the backing of many progressive-left Jews, honestly believes that he and Mahmoud Abbas have every right to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live in our own homeland.

If we had stood up for our rights to begin with there is no way that Abbas could use the mere presence of Jews on Jewish land as an excuse not to make peace.

A Jew on Jewish land does not prohibit the possibility of yet another Arab state in the region unless one agrees with the Arabs that any such state must be Judenrein.

Again, if we do not care to stand up for our rights then no one else will do it for us... not even, apparently, most diaspora Jews.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Questions for the European Left

Mike L.

This piece was written by Pilar Rahola and published at Israpundit.

A big Tip 'O the Kippa to Ted Belman.
Why don’t we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris , Barcelona ?

Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship?

Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection?

Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam?

Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan ?

Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel ?

Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism?

Why don’t they defend Israel’s right to exist?

Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro-Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!”

Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.

The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don’t inform, they propagandize.

When reporting about Israel, the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her.

At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel, the indoctrination of children, and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain. 
And let me add on the topic of the Spanish left. Many are the examples that illustrate the anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments that define the Spanish left. For example, one of the leftist parties in Spain has just expelled one of its members for creating a pro-Israel website. I quote from the expulsion document: “Our friends are the people of Iran, Libya and Venezuela, oppressed by imperialism, and not a Nazi state like Israel.”

In another example, the socialist mayor of Campozuelos changed Shoah Day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, with Palestinian Nabka Day, which mourns the establishment of the State of Israel, thus showing contempt for the six million European Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Or in my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Thus, they invited Leila Khaled, a noted terrorist from the 70′s and current leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization so described by the European Union, which promotes the use of bombs against Israel .

This politically correct way of thinking has even polluted the speeches of President Zapatero. His foreign policy falls within the lunatic left, and on issues of the Middle East, he is unequivocally pro-Arab. I can assure you that in private, Zapatero places on Israel the blame for the conflict in the Middle East , and the policies of Foreign Minister Moratinos reflect this. The fact that Zapatero chose to wear a kafiah in the midst of the Lebanon conflict is no coincidence; it’s a symbol.

Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization. As I wrote before, they kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. And yet the Spanish left is the most anti-Israeli in the world.

And then it says it is anti-Israeli because of solidarity. This is the madness I want to denounce in this conference.


I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti-Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel . To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. 
Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say, that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty, I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

What she writes is more impressive because she is NOT Jewish.  Her articles are published in Spain and throughout some of the most important newspapers in Latin America. - Ted Belman.

Biden Goes to J Street

Mike L.

The snippet below was written by Rebecca Shimoni Stoil and published at the Times of Israel.
WASHINGTON — US Vice President Joe Biden will address the upcoming J Street annual conference, the organization revealed Tuesday. Biden will deliver his speech on the third day of the four-day meet.

“Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the American Jewish community to rally ‘a great constituency for peace,’” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “The Obama Administration has made the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top foreign policy priority. In convening this conference, we have a real opportunity and, in fact, an obligation to demonstrate the tremendous support that exists behind those efforts.”

Biden is not the only representative of the administration to come to talk up the current peace talks in front of what is considered to be a receptive audience. Martin Indyk, the US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, will also address the conference, serving as the keynote speaker for the gala dinner to be held on the same day as Biden’s address.

J Street has repeatedly emphasized that it views this year’s conference as unprecedented in the number and diversity of its participants, among whom are a number of members of Congress as well as representatives of six Knesset parties.
Well, if J Street's 2011 conference is any indication of what we can expect this year then Joe Biden will be in good company.

That year Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and outspoken proponent of BDS, spoke at the J Street conference as did Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative and BDS advocate who took part in the Free Gaza Flotilla. Attorney Michael Sfard, an advocate for lawfare against Israel, also spoke at that conference.

For those of you who may be under the delusion that J Street is a pro-Israel organization, it isn't.

Pro-Israel organizations are not friendly with people who advocate for the boycott of, divestment from, and sanction of the Jewish state of Israel.  Nor do pro-Israel organizations provide platforms for anti-Israel lawyers to advocate lawfare against Israel.

Thus Joe Biden, along with Martin Indyk, will be speaking at a meeting of anti-Israel activists and the sad thing is they probably don't even realize it.

Is anyone the least bit surprised?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Sharks Come Out.


Now don't get me wrong; Obama has a lot to answer for. But THIS is just downright opportunism (not to mention clownism) as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, September 20, 2013 10:43 AM
Bolivia to sue US for crimes against humanity

Bolivian President Evo Morales has decided to file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity, censuring its violation of international law.

“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against (US President) Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Thursday.
Morales branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.
He decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.

Venezuela also announced that Washington refused to grant permission for the plane of President Nicolas Maduro to pass through US airspace, calling the move an aggression against the Bolivarian Republic.
In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”
The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of the community withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama administration.

“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,” stressed Morales.

As a sovereign nation, the US is totally within its rights to act as it did. But hey, kick him when he's down. It's the communist way. Oh, and btw, it's also a lie. Maduro was granted the right. So what's Morales smoking? Or chewing.

A Response to Richard Morris

Mike L.

I don't think that Mr. Richard Morris is very happy with the Jewish state or with me, to be perfectly honest.

I recently wrote a piece entitled, Nicole Bernstein Hands Out Friendship and Hope, which I published at a number of places including Free News of the World.

In the comments, Mr. Morris wrote this:
It is extraordinary..... (no it isn't ,it's normal) that you can write about the Middle East... about Israel without one single mention of the people you occupy and subjugate and whose lands and water you have stolen. Do you know anything of history of the Holocaust... of the millions of Jews who died in vain for people like you to condemn the Palestinians to a lifetime of loss. Where is your humanity where is any attempt to SEE The OTHER ?
Shame on you
If you have any interest in learning about the Middle East read my blog at wallsofdespair.
My guess is you won't have the guts to face the truth
Truth will make you free but you have left it late to imbibe that fact
Richard Morris
Writer and Performer of Bitter Fruit Of Palestine on YouTube and
This is my response:
Richard, I do thank you for your input because it is important. 
You have a point of view that is prominent and that very much needs to be addressed. 
You claim that I am occupying and subjugating and stealing from others, although I am sure that you mean that it's not me, specifically, but just the Jews of the Middle East, or perhaps just the Israelis or even, perhaps, just the Zionists.  Or, perhaps, you think that from my perch, half a world away in the Oakland hills, that I am guilty. 
What I would ask for you to understand is that the Jews of the Middle East have been subject to 14 centuries of persecution by the great Arab-Muslim majority in the region. The long Arab-Muslim occupation of the Jews in the Middle East varied in intensity and hostility throughout the area. In some places it was better and in some places it was worse, but it was never better than African-Americans had it in the United States under the racist system of Jim Crow and it lasted far longer. 
As prominent historian Martin Gilbert writes in "In Ishmael's House A History of Jews in Muslim Lands" (Yale University Press, 2010): 
"There could be no building of new synagogues or churches. Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims... A dhimmi could not - and cannot to this day - serve in a Muslim court as witness in a legal case involving a Muslim... men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims... Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public - an offense punishable by death." (pgs. 32 - 33) 
So, essentially, what you are telling me is that in your opinion I have insufficient sympathy for the oppressors of my own people. 
I disagree. 
The truth of the matter is that the Jewish people in the Middle East, and throughout the diaspora, have been very sympathetic to their Arab-Muslim oppressors.   
In fact, I would argue that the Jewish people have been so sympathetic to our own oppressors that we've incorporated major parts of their a-historical narrative into our own understanding of the conflict. 
The cause of the ongoing war against us is not the tiny Jewish minority, who want nothing more than to live in peace and create computer software and send Natalie Portmans out into the world. The cause of the conflict is Qur'an-based bigotry toward us.  We earned that 14 centuries-long enmity not by coming home, but by refusing to give up our religion to Mr. Mohhamed. 
Many people think that the Jews are to blame for this conflict - which is to say that the small minority of victims are to blame - but as a liberal I cannot agree with that view. The Jewish people have lived in that part of the world for millennia. 3,500 years? 4,500 years? No one really knows, but our presence on that land well predates the academic field of history. We were conquered by the Romans shortly after the murder of Jesus and then, centuries after that, conquered by the Muslims when they came out of Saudi Peninsula in the 7th century. When we finally freed ourselves from the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they have waged continual war against us that continues to this day and they do so for religious reasons. 
Within living memory of the Holocaust - in which I lost my father's side of the family during Operation Barbarossa in the Ukraine - you are telling me that I am a bad man for standing up for my own people?  
A tiny persecuted minority on our own land? 
This is entirely unjust and I will not go along with it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nicole Bernstein Hands Out Friendship and Hope

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at News and Views from Jews Down Under, the Times of Israel, Free News of the World, and Geoffff's Joint.}

As my readers will recall, lecturer Ghassan Zakaria, of San Diego State University, gave out a map of the Middle East to his students with the homeland of the Jewish people deleted.

This kind of thing is pernicious because without actually criticizing Israel, Zakaria merely makes the country of our ancestry disappear.  This is simply unacceptable.  No one who teaches at the university level should be allowed by their department to simply make the Jewish people, or the Jewish State, go poof.

It's a form of heritage theft and whenever it occurs we need to stand up.

Zakaria teaches the Arabic language and, according to the SDSU Chair of Department of Linguistics and Asian / Middle Eastern Languages, Professor Ghada Osman, used "Palestine" in place of Israel on the labels of that map to "reflect the view of Arab-speakers in the region."

I just got off the phone with Nicole Bernstein, the StandWithUs Regional Director for San Diego, and I have to say I am pleased.  Nicole pursued this story and was interviewed live by ABC (10 News) correspondent, Cristin Severance.

StandWithUs is an organization, introduced to me by Dr. Michael Harris, that those of us who care about the well-being of the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel can be proud of.  They fight strong.  They fight smart.  And they don't seem to be ideologically beholden to either the political left or the political right.

Nicole tells me, furthermore, that SDSU, in response to this situation, has created two scholarships for those who wish to study in Israel and for those who wish to learn more about Jewish history and culture.

This, she says, is a move unprecedented among American universities.  In recent years some American universities have turned against the Jewish people, by turning against the Jewish State.  Thus Yale University closed its Institute for the study of anti-Semitism (YIISA).  This was a very important initiative headed by Professor Charles Small, the director of the program.  I, for one, looked to this organization because they highlighted scholars from around the world who concerned themselves with a question that should be of deep concern to all Jewish people.

The University of Pennsylvania, sadly, held a conference at the very beginning of this year to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the Jews of the Middle East.  Columbia University, amazingly enough, hosted Iranian president Ahmadinejad in 2007.

San Diego State University, however, seems to be taking another tack.  Instead of caving to anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, SDSU has stood up and said "no" and we should appreciate that fact.  It's important because it represents a bit of a turn in the way that things have been going.

A story like this is important precisely because it gives heart, and it gives hope, to our relationships around the world.

It's not every university in California that is willing to stand up for the Jewish people in the Middle East and the Jewish people of the Middle East are, in fact, a people under siege.

This story, in my view, represents a hopeful moment and hopeful moments are always more than welcome.

{G-d Knows.}

Many thanks to Nicole.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Jews and Political Islam

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at News and Views from Jews Down UnderFree News of the World, and The Times of Israel.}

The rise of political Islam represents the single most significant challenge to the Jewish people in the world today.

Political Islam, as it is represented by such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, is a deeply malicious political movement that we in the west should be forcefully opposing.  This does not mean that the US should send in the military to take out all such organizations, but it does mean that they need to be recognized as enemies of the state and undermined in any reasonable way possible.

Unfortunately, what we have been seeing under the current American administration is just the opposite.  Instead of educating the American people to the fact that political Islam is deeply misogynistic, violently homophobic, genocidal toward Jews, and filled with hatred toward the United States and the west, president Barack Obama pledges the Muslim Brotherhood F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks.  Obama, thus, supported the rise of political Islam, rather than opposing it.

This is not a matter of opinion or interpretation, but of fact.  If you give someone, or some organization, money or helpful material goods such as - oh, say - heavy weaponry, then you are supporting that person or organization.  If you demand that such individuals or organizations be given a place around the political table, then you're are supporting that person or organization.

This conclusion is what I like to refer to as "common sense."

Just why it is that Barack Obama has supported political Islam is a question open to interpretation.  In my meanderings around the various political blogs and news sites, as they relate to the Arab-Israel conflict, people offer different reasons for why they think that Obama supports political Islam.  Some think that he is, himself, a crypto-Muslim and that he seeks to undermine the well-being not only of the State of Israel, but of the United States.

I do not think so.

I have consistently argued two points.  The first is that Barack Obama is not nearly so smart as his supporters have told us that he is.  The man is not dumb, of course.  One does not become the president of the Harvard Law Review without the requisite mental capacity.  Nonetheless, it must be admitted that for an American president to support the rise of political Islam is a remarkably stupid move.  So, why does he do it?

This leads me to my second point.  Ideology.  It is my belief - and, yes, this is a matter of interpretation - that Obama does what he does out of sincerely held ideological belief which he learned at the feet of people such as Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, and even Jeremiah Wright.

Barack Obama lives in the post-colonial universe of his imagination.  That is, like all such thinkers, he simplistically divides the world into a contest between "Oppressed Indigenous Peoples of Color" and "White Oppressors and Colonizers."  It is this simplistic moral equation that forms the background of Obama's education when it comes to foreign policy and it is this that best explains his terrible behavior as president of the United States on matters of foreign policy.

Nonetheless, his supporters within the American Jewish community will tend to support him no matter what he does.  Thus we see prominent individuals such as the late Ed Koch and Alan Dershowitz, both of whom consistently stood up for the State of Israel and in opposition to the rise of political Islam, supporting the Obama candidacy of last year despite the fact that Obama supports a political movement directly in opposition to everything that those gentleman stood for.

This is actually not a very difficult puzzle to solve and, yet, so many people either misinterpret what is happening or refuse to acknowledge it at all.  The former are the conspiracy theorists who think that Obama does what he does out of intent to do harm.  The latter, which make up the majority of the American Jewish community, simply refuse to acknowledge that which is before their very eyes.

American Jewish supporters of Barack Obama are generally blinkered by progressive-left ideology and by their own political loyalties.  This turns many of them - such as our recent guest - into rabid ostriches.  I have never seen such vicious ostriches, I have to tell you, despite the fact that I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for two years and they actually raise (and race) ostriches in that unusual state.  They refuse to acknowledge what is before their very eyes because to do so would erode their own political sense of themselves.

The problem, of course, is that by supporting Obama's foreign policy viz-a-viz the Arab-Israel conflict they thereby lend a verdict of kashrut on that which is anything but kosher.

One thing, in my considered opinion, that the Jewish people need is a sense of political flexibility.  If we are so enamored of the progressive-left and the Democratic party that it doesn't matter what they say or do as it relates to the Arab-Israel conflict, then we come to stand for nothing.  If Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are more important to Jews than Israel, itself, then we end up supporting policies, like sending weaponry to the Muslim Brotherhood, that are obviously detrimental toward the Jewish people.

Until we can think our way past ideological imperatives, we can never truly support our friends and family in the Middle East.

Until we do so we can never really stand up for ourselves.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Governmental Belgium Anti-Semitism

Mike L.

The snippet below was written by Peter Martino and published by the Gatestone Institute.

Shockingly, in Belgium, history lessons about Nazism and the Holocaust are currently being used to infuse children with hatred against Israel.

The Belgian Ministry of Education funds an organization, the Special Committee for Remembrance Education (BCH), which provides teachers with ready-made templates for their history lessons. In its September issue, Joods Actueel, the largest Jewish magazine in Belgium, describes this educational material as "perverted." The so-called Remembrance Education, the magazine writes, "has degenerated into an instrument to infect youngsters with hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism."

One of the materials used is the cartoon "Never Again, Over Again." It equates the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis today with the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s.
"Never Again means that what happened under Hitler should never happen again. And Over Again means that what is happening today is the same as in the past with Hitler," the Belgian school teachers are told. "In the past, the concentration camps were fenced off with barbed wire. Today, the border between Israel and Palestine is marked with barbed wire and a wall."

The atrocities committed by the Nazis are linked to the so-called atrocities of Israel. Teachers indoctrinated with teaching material provided by an organization that is sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, in turn indoctrinate the school children in their care.

The material of the Special Committee for Remembrance Education is frequently used by primary school teachers, who seem to have little knowledge of history. Two Belgian researchers, Jan Swerts and Kurt Monten of the Catholic College of Limburg, found that young people studying to become teachers know amazingly little about history. Many of them were unable to tell in which century the Second World War took place. They knew hardly anything about major ideologies such as Socialism and Communism. Ten percent of them even confused Zionism with Fascism. They are easy prey for the anti-Semites who author some of the material provided by the Special Committee for Remembrance Education.
I wonder to what extent the Jewish left considers the cartoon above to be fair and accurate?

I think that they may be uncomfortable with it.  But given the fact the Jewish left tends to think that the real problem is the "Occupation" (with the capital "O") then they must believe that the Jews of the Middle East are, like the Nazis, Oppressors (also with a capital "O").

Part of the reason that I am focusing on the Jewish left is because the Jewish left has at least some influence with the international left, more generally, and the international left, including the EU, has a significant impact on the State of Israel and the Jewish people, as a whole.

And this is why someone like Jon Segall is relevant.

I apologize to my readers for perhaps focusing too much on this particular individual, but he is significant to the extent that he represents the political movement that he comes from.  The main problem with progressive-left Jewry is egotism.  That is, the main problem with progressive-left Jewry is that they honestly tend to think that the Jews of the Middle East are the reason for the hatred leveled at them by the vast Arab-Muslim majority.  In this way, they tend to think the real problem is with the tiny Jewish minority and not the vast Arab-Muslims majority.

This is egotism writ large.

Thus progressive-left Jews, like Jon Segall, focus their animosity on their fellow Jews who either live in Judea and Samaria or upon diaspora Jews who are supportive of Jews living within their traditional homeland.

Until we recognize that the problem is not with the Jewish people, but with our tormentors, we will never break free from this ongoing violence and harrasment.

Until people like Jon Segall come to recognize that the real problem here is not with Jews who live in Judea and Samaria then the ongoing war against the Jewish people people will continue on into the future and be supported by the European governments who look upon Jewish hatred toward Jews on those lands as a form of sanction.

Until we learn to stand up for ourselves, we have no chance.

Monday, September 16, 2013

An update on SDSU and Ghassan Zakaria's elimination of Israel

Mike L.

The San Diego State University (SDSU) teacher that eliminated Israel from the map is Ghassan Zakaria.

I called his number today (619-594-8800), as listed at the university website, and found myself talking to some random professor who tells me that Zakaria has moved to another office and that he, himself, has nothing to do with this situation, which I do not doubt in the least.

Basically what he told me was that Zakaria is no longer at this number.

I therefore called the Department of Linguistics and Asian / Middle Eastern Languages (619-594-5268) and was told that the department is no longer taking inquiries on the matter and referred me to the office of the president of the university.

Algemeiner has a recent update with a few new tidbits.
Ghada Osman, chair of the SDSU Linguistics & Asian/Middle Eastern Languages department, eventually wrote to concerned community members that Zakaria would replace the map with one that identifies Israel.
How nice is that?

I think that we should all call department head, Osman, and thank her at (619-594-1910).

I tried to do so but was told by her department secretary that all inquiries were being handled by the office of the president of the university, Elliot Hirshman.

Naturally I called that number (619-594-5201) and could do nothing more than leave a message.

StandWithUs, however, is happy as they have now awarded scholarships for students to the university:
“We are especially appreciative and impressed by the university’s rapid response to concerns we expressed on behalf of students,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “We only wish other universities were as responsive to student concerns.

StandWithUs also announced the formation of two new scholarship funds to expand its relationship with the university—the “Stand With Us-San Diego State Jewish Studies Scholarship” (supporting students enrolled in Jewish Studies courses) and the “Stand With Us-San Diego State Israel Study Abroad Scholarship.
The CEO of StandWithUs is Roz Rothstein.

I just got off the phone with StandWithUs, who tells me that for the first time ever a university - San Diego State University - is putting together a fund for StandWithUs and I think this is terrific.

SDSU is handling this thing in a manner that Jewish people who care about the well-being of Israel should be pleased with.

I hope sometime this week to speak with Nicole Bernstein to get her take, as she was the StandWithUs spokesperson who spoke with ABC News on the original story.

I have no particular desire to kick San Diego State University in the head and I honestly believe that they have handled this situation in a responsible and fair manner.

Good for president Hershman and department chair, Osman.

But the main kudos must go to Nicole Bernstein, of StandWithUs, for taking the lead and for standing up for the Jewish people.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Putin For American President


From Israel Matzav.


The USS Obama

Mike L.

The following was written and originally published by the FresnoZionist.


Who would have thought that the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, when America was attacked by the barbarians of the Middle East, would mark our full-scale retreat from that region?

We certainly haven’t done very well for ourselves or our friends there since then.

Thanks to a dysfunctional political system, we ended up with two of the worst presidents in American history, one incompetent and the other — how else can I put it? — anti-American.

It took us almost ten years to kill the seventh-century fanatic that murdered 3000 Americans. We engaged in an extended, expensive and mostly unnecessary conflict in Iraq, while Iran was allowed to develop nuclear weapons. We sent our troops to risk their lives for undefined objectives. We helped our enemies like Erdoğan, the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO, and hurt our allies, like Israel. We totally misread the so-called “Arab Spring.”

We did not support the Iranian opposition when young people were shot down in the streets in 2009-10. We took the side of Turkey in the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010, forcing Israel to end its economic warfare against Hamas. We helped depose Mubarak and then supported the radical Muslim Brotherhood as his replacement. We have forced Israel into a destructive ‘peace process’ and encouraged the PLO’s unrealistic demands.

But for sheer bumbling, nothing matches our response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. President Obama threatened to take action, explained in excruciating detail the “unbelievably small” attack that he planned, which would nevertheless not be a “pinprick,” delayed for several weeks while waiting for Congress to advise him (although as of yesterday he “hadn’t decided” if he would take its advice). Finally, he handed off the initiative to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, probably guaranteeing that Assad will stay in power.

“Big deal,” you say. “Syria will continue to be a mess and we won’t get stuck in it.” Not exactly. Actions have consequences. Putin now understands that the US will not interfere with anything he wants to do in the Middle East, including build an alliance with our greatest enemies:

Russia will supply Iran with a modified version of the vaunted S-300 anti-aircraft system as well as build a new nuclear reactor for the Ayatollah’s regime, the Russian daily Kommersant business newspaper reported Wednesday.
The report comes hot on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international supervision and thus avoid a U.S. strike on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Kommersant reported that the deal between Moscow and Tehran was formulated as part of Russia and Iran’s “commonality of views on the situation in Syria."
The S-300 is considered a game-changer, which will make any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities much more difficult. Israel and the US had pressured Putin to hold off on delivering the system. Now he is sending Iran a system that will be “even better than the ones Iran originally bought.” The only bright side of this is that it may accelerate the timetable of an Israeli strike — we certainly can’t expect Obama to do it!

We can also assume that Obama’s weakness will encourage Iran. I have argued before that nothing less than a credible threat of force could induce Iran to abandon its nuclear program. But if Obama is not prepared to take a much less serious action against the far less dangerous Assad regime, what can we expect toward Iran?
Iran will not give up “one iota” of its nuclear rights, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said in a speech to clerics, the Iranian Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.

Rouhani’s comments were made as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton prepared to meet in New York later this month to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program. …

While the West considers Rouhani to be moderate, his recent statements on Iran’s nuclear program have caused concern, as the rhetoric is similar to that of his predecessor in office, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The US is steaming full speed out of the Middle East. The Syria debacle will likely be noted by future historians as the point at which the US decided that it would no longer try to influence matters there, and when the Russians seized the opportunity to take the reins.